Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Getting back on the horse (with a bit of a wobble)

So after my determined rant on Saturday, I got up at dawn on Sunday (please note the effort, but also note that dawn is a measly 7:30am here in London at the moment so not particularly early) and went to the gym. In an effort to avenge (and punish) my laziness over the week I pushed hard with an 18km bike ride (about 35 mins) on a hill workout followed by a 1.5km jog on the treadmill (which I must admit was a bit of a killer after the bike) and then 12 minutes on the cross trainer. After which, being a bit of a glutton for punishment, I went on to do a chest, arms and back weights workout, with a choice of weight which was light(er than usual) ... just enough for me to be able to do 3 sets of 20 reps. Having not done any weights whatsoever (except for the saturday before) in months, my body wasn't best pleased with the effort.

Bring on the next week and lactic acid stiffness ruled the day on Monday, I was shattered sore and in need of a break (or so I convinced myself). Swimming with a sore back and sore arms isn't the best of ideas.

Tuesday, and the lack of discipline reared its ugly head again, still slightly sore at 5:45 am (yes ppl that's when the alarm clock rings for me to go to the gym) I excused myself from training pledging to leave work early and get to the pool in the evening. In my defence, though it is still sort of my fault, I get home at 8:30pm, usually still with an hour's work left to do, and wind down thereafter, so I only end up going to bed at midnight. The thought of working out on the back of 5 and a half hours of sleep is not too appealing. Leave work early(ish) I did, get to the pool, I didn't. Being a lazy sod I didn't even go for a walk with Clare just to have done something. So disgusted at myself I went to bed early (or earlier than usual) and I did get out of bed at 5:45 and I did my blooming swim!

1.1km with 10 breath breaks after every 75m (3 lengths). So i've increased length of the swim overall and the lengths between stops, which are both positives to take forward. Technique wise, I notice that I flow better on the first of every three lengths and struggle by the third, that will have to be worked on in time as the fitness improves.

I should be back on the bike tomorrow morning (should being the operative word), but it may be a long night at work so we shall see the state in which I wake up tomorrow.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Trials and Tribulations

This week has not been a particularly good week on the training front. Two of my major obstacles have reared their head in all their glory this week and its not been a good time.

I have in 6 days, managed only one training session (shame on me). And the reasons behind all this are two: (1) indiscipline; and (2) work.

Monday, and Friday were examples of issue no. 1, while Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday were examples of no. 2.

It is going to be difficult to keep going ... I have to conquer the indiscipline and work around work ... easier said than done but we (i.e. I) will persevere. A combination of long days at work (starting early) usually mean I'm too shattered to get to the gym the next morning (or unable to because of early meetings).

Friday and Saturday were classic examples. After a long day in the office on Thursday (was in the office by 8:15, meaning I walked out the door at 6:50 and got home at 11:45pm) meant that when the alarm went off at 5:45 am on Friday, I barely registered it, let alone got out of bed. After yawning my way through half of Friday I had a long sleep Friday night and woke up late Saturday morning (around 11:30am). I had work to do today and spent most of my afternoon doing it. Finished at around 6:45 and as the gym closes at 8pm on Saturday I didn't have enough time to get down to the gym for a workout.

On the bright side, I did get to the gym on Wednesday and went for a swim. And the positive was, Emerson's tip worked. I managed to keep track of the lengths I was swimming and I did in fact swim a whole 1km of front crawl, taking 10 breath breaks after each 50 metres. I think (I can't really ascertain this on my own) technique is improving slightly also (or maybe fitness is, its hard to tell).

Here's to hoping I'll manage to fit the gym in tomorrow and for much of next week! Its time to put in double effort.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

the weekend

so the weekend is over, and its been an interesting weekend. Yesterday I had my gym induction. So I trotted off to the gym to meet with one of the trainers to go through a workout etc. I must first say that after the swim I was very very stiff and not just the shoulders and arms, but my legs and my butt (which I must admit, surprised me somewhat).

So with a stiff body, the trainer put me through a weights workout (which I must admit, I did not fully enjoy, bearing in mind the stiffness).

As I've been reading through some triathlon books (they will be my companions throughout this journey, "Triathlon for Dummies" being a particularly apt example) I read that one possible way of getting rid of some stiffness is to have an 'active recovery' session ... i.e. a workout at low intensity which just helps to get blood into the stiff muscles and reduce the inflammation etc.. So... I jumped on the bike and had a low intensity 20 minute cycle, followed by some power-plate assisted stretching.

Waking up on Sunday morning I'm afraid the 'active recovery' session didn't quite have the desired effect ... stiff is an understatement.

Bearing in mind the stiffness, with hindsight, a skiing lesson may not have been the best idea, but that is exactly what I got up to today, on a dry slope in Chatham. My adductors, abductors, quads and calves are screaming at me ... "What the F*&K!" is currently the most common expression I'm getting from my legs in general.

90 minutes of skiing did the trick for alternative exercise but I am now officially due a rest day. Whether I do have the rest or not will depend on how I feel during the day. Clare is planning a pilates work-out tomorrow evening, and I may join her in doing so ... pilates would be a useful addition to my training regime.

For all those sending messages of encouragement, thank you ... they are all very much appreciated!

Friday, 9 January 2009

the first swim

Second training session and this time I opted to go for a swim. The swim section of the triathlon, I must admit, is my biggest concern out of the three disciplines and today was a bit of a shock and a wake up call which has made me aware of just how much work is required in order to put on a decent show.

So I trotted off to the gym, as one does at 8:45pm on a Friday night, got into my swimsuit and headed into the pool. The 25m pool was ideal to allow me to pace myself (and indeed pacing was needed).

The plan was 2 lengths at a time (i.e. 50m) following which I'd take a 10-15 breath break and start again. I didn't have a specific distance I wanted to swim but I had it in my head that the 'work-out' couldn't last less than 20 minutes.

In the end it was a half hour 'swim' (breaks included) and I swam the race distance, stopping every 50m and swapping stroke (100m front crawl and 100m breast stroke).

Though slightly demoralised I am now all the more determined to do the hard graft. I need to be swimming a lot more and I need to work on technique ... time to do some research.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

I can, can I?

Today is a big day ... today I signed up for the London Triathlon! That's it, commitment made! On the 1st of August I will be swimming 750 metres, cycling 20km and running 5km all the way (I hope) to the finish line. Its called a 'sprint triathlon'.

I am going to use this blog for many reasons ... amongst which I hope to keep a log of my training, motivate myself, and record the various trials and tribulations that I will no doubt face. Feel free to leave thoughts, messages, advice and comments as we go along.

I am currently overweight, unprepared and massively unfit and I have just under 7 months to complete the challenge.

I also hope to be raising money for charity in the process of doing so and I will update you further on the charity and the way you can donate to the cause if and when you feel you wish to do so.

For the record I had my first training session yesterday. The next couple of months are going to be largely endurance based training, geared towards building up a fitness base on which I can then build up event specific and race specific training. With that in mind my first training session consisted of the following:

10 mins bike
20 mins cross trainer
7.5 mins stepper
approx 10 mins of powerplate stretching/exercises
chest flys and chest press (3 sets of 12 reps on light weights)

Its not going to be easy staying away from heavy weights (I prefer to lift weights rather than lighter, conditioning exercises) so discipline will be key as bulk is not going to be helpful for this challenge.

Onwards and upwards! I look forward to sharing my experiences with you