Friday, 26 August 2011

August – What a great month that was

August has been a great month this year, where all the effort of training over the last winter, and the experience gained over the last two seasons of summer TTs has all finally come together and produced a month of great results.

So what we’ve had so far is

Tuesday 2nd August – 13 mile circuit course – PB by 27 secs in less than ideal conditions

Tuesday 9th August – short “10” mile TT course mediocre result in very windy conditions

Sunday 14th August, Debut HM, mixed course, trails, grass and tarmac.  1:42:24, enough for 15th Overall in a field of 106 finishers.

Tuesday 16th August – the longer of the club 10 mile TTs, this one is a true ten, starts uphill, out to a round about and back, finishing at the top of the hill you come up at the start (so you don’t get it back).  A very windy day with a strong help out to the turn and then holding on back into the wind for the return leg.  PB by 33 seconds

Then Wednesday 17th, injury strikes.  I thought that was it for the month, but it turned out to be one of those odd injuries that was more of a pain whilst walking around than exercising.  The Peroneous Longus tendon, curls around the outside ankle bone, turns under the foot at the cuboid bone (where the peroneous brevis attaches) and then runs under the foot to attach behind the big toe.  Apparently it’s quite common in runners and cyclists to get tendonitis or irritation where it turns under the cuboid.  It’s a very different pain than PF, which was my first worry, and the consensus seemed to be ice it, roll the foot on a golf ball and take NSAIDs.

I did the first two but am reluctant for the third.  The foot progressed however, and while I didn’t run on it, and rested it completely for a couple of days, I found that rowing and cycling were fine

This week (Tuesday 23rd) back onto the short 10 miler TT course, about 9.8 miles by my Garmin 310XT.  Conditions this time were good, and with that rash of earlier good results I was up for a try at another PB.  This was also the last one of the year for me, so it would be good to finish the season on a high.

Looking at the forecast it was good, with rain passing then leaving a light wind and dry conditions behind. All looking good until, after a pretty mediocre warm up to be honest, a shower swept through. Poor warm up caused by wife needing to be dropped off in town, so instead of riding to the start I drove, which cut 5 miles off the "getting everything going" warm up.   Anyway, slight headwind and slight rise on the out leg, slight tail wind on the return, three big turns to negotiate on the course.

I started at 4, caught number 3 within 2 miles, hard push to the turn, slight sphincter contracting moment as both wheels slid, then start hammering it home. Hit the turn at 13:30 vs PB of 26:30 overall.

Eventually caught number 2 at about 7.5-8 miles, when I relaxed a bit, only to have him say "I''m not having that" and re-pass me, so I said "I'm not having that" and went back past him this time digging in and making it stick. That was my cue to dig deep and push hard for the finish.

My timing 25:59.6, official timing 26:01. Whichever way you look at it, that's a PB by about 30 secs on a ten mile course.

Result 26:01 / 9.8 mi
Average speed 22.6 / Max 28.8
AHR 160 / MHR 167

Another PB, by a whopping 29 secs, just a shame I didn’t break the 26 min barrier.   That makes it PBs on all three of the main courses we use, and all in August.

Couldn’t have a better end to the season.

So how did it come about?  Well, I’m not sure exactly as this year I’ve been mainly focussing on the running in prep for the half marathon, so biking miles are way down this year, and running is way up.  What I can say though is that for the second winter, I followed the Black Book plan when I could between October and about February, and then followed another fairly structured plan for ten weeks leading up to my HM.  Structured plans suits me, particularly if they define pace or some other variable.  Otherwise I have a tendency to race every workout and go as hard as I can.

The second factor I think is just sheer training volume.  This is the ramping up in training I have done over the last few years
sessions /week
  May 08-April 09
  May 09-April 10
Jan 10-Dec 10
  Jan 11 – Aug 11

Thirdly, I think I’ve had a better mix overall this year, with fitness gains in running translating well to the bike and vice versa. 

The only drawbacks I see are in the specific fitness area.  I’m not comfortable on the bike for more than about 2.5 hours as I’ve just not done any long rides this year.  I’ve also struggled a little on the erg (Concept 2 indoor rower) where fitness is very specific and relies on some regularity of use.  If general fitness is high, it comes back quickly, but all I’ve generally done is a few cross training sessions and a monthly virtual team challenge.  Just not enough there.

Overall though, couldn’t be happier and the gains outweigh the drawbacks.

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