Sunday, 28 September 2014

TRAINING UPDATE: Run, Cycle, Swim, Repeat

This last fortnight has been far more successful than previous. Coming out of the flu was a slow(ish) progress. The snuffles and an awful cough were what remained from my bed ridden state but I was just grateful to be back up and running again.

I felt fully recovered midweek but still opted to avoid exercise until the weekend. Despite that though, I didn't hold back come Saturday and I headed out bright and early for an easy eight mile run. The first mile was literally run at snails pace just to get me into my rhythm but by 5K I had found my feet and was running on average just under nine minute milling. By 10K my legs were aching but I trooped on to complete what I set to out to do. I did keep coughing a lot on this run and I felt a tad wheezy but way better than I was expecting which was a great sign!

I had planned a bike ride on Sunday as the weather was going to be nice. I woke up with very heavy legs from my run but despite this, I still got ready to head out for a cycle. It would probably do my legs some good loosening them up. I took the route through Hampstead to Regents Park where I did a lap of the outer circle. I then took a quick pit stop and walked my bike up to the top of Primrose Hill (one of my favourite spots in North London) to take in this beautiful view:
After Primrose I then looped back round through Kentish Town to bring me back home. My cycle was roughly 10 miles so not too strenuous but enough to wake my legs up.

By Monday, I was craving a swim. I haven't been for a good couple of weeks and previous to this I was really making progress with my front crawl. I don't want this focus to slip so after work, I headed to my local lane pool and set myself a little workout based on exercises and technical movements a good friend (and incredible swimmer!) had taught me:

Front Crawl Technique (in 30m lengths)

4x standard front crawl (warm up)
4x arm pulls with float
2x standard front crawl
4x around the world hand touches
2x standard front crawl
4x leg kicks with float out in front (THESE KILL ME!)
2x standard front crawl
4x 'sharkies' (where you touch your shoulder on every arm stroke)
2x standard front crawl
4x leg touches
2x standard front crawl
4x arm pulls with float
2x standard front crawl

TOTAL: 40 lengths (1200m)

By mixing standard front crawl lengths between each technique it is helping me to put them all into practice when swimming normally. I do feel like my style is improving - I am using less energy per stroke which in turn is making me go faster. I do however need to work on 'cutting' through the water better. I do worry when I swim I am a bit all over the place, kicking and splashing.

Tuesday was club night for me and as I was missing the track session this particular week, I opted to head with a few others to the Regents Park dirt track which is situated on the outer circle. It was just over a mile jog there and then after some drills we went straight into 400ms. Two sets of 4x400m with decreasing rest periods (45secs, 30secs and 15secs). I found these hard, especially as my body was feeling fatigued from the last three days of running, cycling and swimming but I stuck to working as hard as I could. You can see below with my times that my speed greatly improved whilst on the track and I even managed a faster run back to the club than I did running to Regents Park. 

I really feel my core working when doing these high intensity workouts and they are a brilliant way to kick your metabolism into gear and burn fat faster. That said though, after jogging back to the clubhouse I did have two chocolate biscuits. Oops!
The rest of the working week was fun and play after this. Thursday I would normally head to the track for a HIIT session but instead I spent the evening with family at my favourite dim sum house, Ping Pong. Check out this scrummy cocktail!
By the time the weekend arrived it was time to head out on a long run again. This is actually my last shot until Cabbage Patch 10 to squeeze in a decent run as the next couple of weekends I'm away. I chose to do eight miles again with the aim to be quicker than last week. I set off not really knowing where I was going - I sometimes prefer planning the route on the spot as it makes the run more adventurous and free. 

I headed to Hampstead Heath but only stopped there for five minutes, choosing to run through and up to Kentish Town and onto the towpath towards Angel. I have only run along here once but where I cycle along it weekly now, I thought this would be a great place to pick up some speed (something I am lacking greatly at the moment!). It was really quiet and peaceful running along here and I was boshing out some great times too (miles 2 - 8 were all sub 8.30)!

By the time I reached 10K, I didn't feel tired at all which I saw as a great sign compared to how I was feeling the week previous. Running along the towpath also allowed me to keep my pace consistent as its a straight path with very little people. Once I was off here and onto the busy streets of Angel there was lots of stopping and starting, weaving in and out of people. Still though, I was super chuffed with my time. I was nearly four minutes faster than last week and had plenty of gas left in the tank, which is very reassuring for me as Cabbage Patch is fast approaching.
By Sunday, it was time to head out for a bike ride and after heading to Regents Park last week and seeing all the cyclists on the outer circle, I wanted to head there to experience my first proper speed session on the bike. After a comfortable cycle there once I was on the outer circle I aimed to do four laps (I'm not too sure on the distance per lap but I would predict 2.5KM), two laps fast and two laps recovery. This was the first time I had picked up speed on my bike without lots of traffic around me and it as brilliant! Although many fellow cyclists sped past me, I revelled in pushing myself around the circle and in the final straight to the marker point where I move into a steady lap, I made sure I pumped my legs harder and faster. 

Doing four laps was definitely a good starter. My legs felt like they had a good workout and bum hurt which can only mean I worked hard *must invest in cycling shorts*. After the session I remained in Regents Park to meet a friend at the boat pond for a coffee. It was such gorgeous weather and lazing around in the sun relaxing was a lovely way to end my exercise fuelled week. 
Here's to the same next week!

Lipstick Runner.

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