Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thames Trot 2010 - Training countdown has commenced.....

I have blogged previously about my ambitions for 2010 which is to take a triathlon sabbatical and compete in running events. I am sure my triathlon days are not over but I want a new challenge and I want it to be an endurance challenge. So I have been considering the Thames Trot which is a 50mile point to point from Oxford to Henley on Thames.  The race is on February 6th and I have an 18week training plan that looks achievable (removing two disciplines from training frees a lot of potential time) and starts on Monday 5th October. 

I have not entered the race yet as, having discussed with my family, I have agreed that I will start the training and will see how it goes in terms of impact over the initial weeks before committing to entering. If the impact is too great I will revise my plans and go for a race later in the year. 

As I think about the concept of running an ultra I find myself mentally able to break it down and rationalise it pretty easily. I am looking at it as having to run 5miles an hour for 10 hours. The more I think of it that way the more achievable it seems. If I go full tilt I can run 5miles in just over 31minutes and so that leaves me 29minutes per hour to play with! Even a slow 5miler would be 40minutes still leaving me 20minutes. I understand that my pace will be significantly slower and that being on your feet for that amount of time will be no means be easy but I know it is achievable and more importantly I believe that I can achieve it. 

I think this thought process has proven to me that I am, at heart, a runner and not a cyclist or swimmer or triathlete or anything else for that matter. The prospect of running 50 miles seems achievable despite the battering that my body will take through training and then the event itself, yet I can consider that it is something I could do. Conversely the thought of cycling 100miles and more fills me with dread and as I sit here today I do not think I could complete that, yet the impact on my body would be nothing as intense as running. 

So to the training – I am already ahead of schedule in terms of the distances I can cover on a weekly basis but I will follow the training plan to the letter rather than skipping forward a few weeks. I want to build the strength/stamina gradually and ease into it. For me this represents the unknown and so a more structured and methodical approach is vital for me to achieve the goal of completion. So despite the first three runs only being 2miles that is exactly what I will be doing! 

The first week of training is as follows (note distances are in miles): 

















I will track my progress on a daily basis against the plan and also introduce some other training. For example on my 'days off' I will do some strength training and core stability work. I will also be working on a thorough stretching regimen. Injury prevention will be as significant as any other aspect of this training particularly as the mileage peaks at around 62miles in week 15. 

I am really looking forward to this. The endurance challenge is the main reason I am doing this, how can you push yourself ever further in a world where so many people run half marathons and marathons, complete triathlons and do ever longer distances in any discipline. Today, for example started his cross channel swim! There's always something bigger and better to do. I like the kudos that comes with doing things that people cannot do or think that they cannot do. It makes the challenge ever better, and is almost like membership to an exclusive club. I want to see what I am capable of mentally and physically and I want to be a member of that club!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Darrens last stand...

Sunday saw an early start and another brick session. This was Darren’s ( final outing, for the time being at least, with the Shurdington Tri Club as he will be heading to Melbourne in the next 10days to set-up a new branch of the club – from small acorns we will be truly global J

The off was at 7am with a 33km route on the bike planned to take in Bishops Cleeve where Booy senior was waiting astride his new Scott Speedster! This was to be followed by a 7km run with a handicap system. Darren to start with Le Fassett following after 2:30 and then me after another 2:30.

It was a much cooler morning than we have been used to and was actually a little darker than normal, there was also quite a fog hanging around. So much so that it was not feasible to ride in glasses as the fog was collecting on them and making them wet and impossible to see through. On the couple of peaks on the ride the sun was evident and the day looked like being a good one. We made good pace to Bishops Cleeve where we let Booy Jnr. lead out to meet his father – we played the Hushovd and Farrar to his Cavendish!

After introductions team Scott (two of us were on Speedster S30’s and one on an S40) then continued up through Woodmancote along to Prestbury and then back through Cheltenham at a reasonable pace. There was a breakaway on Bath Road by the Booy’s who must have thought they were riding for Rabbobank but this was quickly snuffed out.

As we got to Shurdington Road the pace quickened and there was some jockeying for position between Le Fassett and I. Le Fassett eventually went for longer than I could hold on and put in a 10m gap. I got my breath back and tried again, got to his back wheel and we both pushed hard across the line neither of us able to make the break through.

I am under no illusions though had it not been for Le Fassett’s exertions in breaking his tri-duck on the Saturday I would not have been able to compete on that home stretch. The Booy’s crossed the ‘line’ moments later in much better condition. We said our goodbye to the Snr. as he prepared to cycle back through to Bishops Cleeve and got ready for the run.

Darren set-off up the road, his familiar loping style. Le Fassett and I did consider just getting a coffee and sitting on the drive waiting for him to come round but thought better of it! After what seemed like an age but was 2minutes 30seconds Le Fassett set-off in pursuit. I then followed a further 2min 30secs back.

It was an interesting run, having been stood around for a few minutes I was stiffer than I normally am going from bike to run. I was also mindful of blowing up – knowing I had to catch the others I had to rein myself in from going to hard. Lucky the route is such that there is good visibility so I could see Le Fassett ahead and had something to aim for. A case of not getting too carried away in the early part of the run. We reached the Norwood about 1/3 in and ahead I could see that Le Fassett was gaining on Darren. I increased the pace a bit as my ego wanted me to catch Darren before Le Fassett did but that was clearly not going to happen. Le Fassett passed Darren and a couple of minutes later I managed to as well. I then slowed to recover before pushing on and catching Le Fassett.

When I reached him I slowed down a little then as we hit a slight rise put the hammer down and dropped him. It was then a nice run back to my place – I kept the pace up as was feeling pretty fast by this time. I then managed a PB for that run in a brick session of 00:28:58. Le Fassett came in just short of 2minutes later with Darren around 3-4mins after him.

It was an excellent run session and I think that we all pushed ourselves harder than normal as we were either being chased or chasing. A good way to get a PB but not something to be done everytime! With the Cheltenham Triathlon at the end of September this is a good way to get some speed into the legs!

So Darren now heads off to the Australian Summer as we head into Winter – he will be missed not least of all by me as I will now be last on the hills around Cheltenham ;)