Posts Tagged With: Outlaw Half

Duston Sprint Triathlon – Race Report

My first triathlon of the season and although still early days I was keen to see if the ‘proper’ training I had been doing since January was working. I’m not training for sprint triathlon at the moment – my goal race is the Outlaw Half in June and I’ve been following a plan set by GreenlightPT so very little out and out speed work has been done but this would still be a good test.

Due to my swim improvement over the last year, I was given a start time of 13:03 – some five hours into the event – although there were still a fair few waves after me (400m times posted at 4:30) – not quite at that level yet! This was a bit strange as most triathlons are started at stupid o clock in the morning when you get up, pack the car and go. Yesterday was different – I got up, had a leisurely breakfast, sauntered round the house packing up kit, checked online to see team mates were already racing and in some cases finished before I’d even left the house – all a bit surreal!

The event is run by JustRacing who organise many events locally around here plus the Challenge Weymouth event (formerly Challenge Henley) and I usually have a go at their final event at Roade each year so knew this would be a slick well organised affair. And it was – car parking easy, registration quick, plus a t shirt. I set up my transition area – in a bin bag as it was raining and went to find the family and team mates in the warm.

I haven’t done a sprint triathlon since September last year so this would be a good tester of how training has been going. It would be a 400m pool swim, 20km testing bike ride plus a reasonably flat 5km round the outskirts of the village of Duston. All distances are much shorter than what I’ve been training for but still a good training session if nothing else.

Each swim wave had 5 competitors and set off every three minutes. 16 lengths, jump out and get on the bike. For some reason my lane seemed to be short of people from the wave before and the wave after so when I started a guy from two waves previous was just finishing and I then had the lane to myself for around 6 minutes. In some ways this was great, but there was no one to race after so I was kind of left to my own devices – and lost count of my lengths – luckily the guy who started in my wave 2 lanes across was a similar speed to me so when he stopped – so did I. At the end you had to haul yourself out and run out of the pool complex – easier said than done! We were at the deep end so nothing to push off and I couldn’t pull myself up – I ended swinging a leg up and rolling out on my tummy only to find there were steps next to me – never to late to learn to scope things out first! Anyway out of the pool and a quick run outside to the bike.

A quick loading of helmet, glasses and shoes and I was off, utilising my new found running with the bike skills. The bike route could only be described as undulating and to be honest I really struggled to get going for about 6-7 miles. A few guys on TT bikes came past me but kept my head down and kept pushing. The road came out of Duston and onto the A428, a reasonably busy road. The surface was not the best and led for a very bumpy and lumpy few miles. About 5 miles down we turned and headed towards the village of Great Brington – this is the fabled hill that many competitors talk about but having just cycled over the Brickhills this week I wasn’t too worried and sure enough the turbo sessions kicked in and I whipped up it. According to Strava it’s 12% in places but didn’t seem that bad.

The hill seemed to kick start my legs and suddenly I felt comfortable on the bike and my speed came back. I got my head down through the next village and worked hard to get to the road that would take us back to Duston. I took on a gel – all good practice although with one hand on the tri bars, one hand on a gel while passing a gateway with strong winds wasn’t my finest hour – need to plan the best way to do that a bit better in the future. With the gel out of the way there was a quick 3/4 miles back to transition. With the school in sight, down the gears to get the legs spinning and T2 appeared.

I dumped the bike and set off on my run. As I left T2 my brother in law came into transition – I had a six minute head start on him from the swim so my first goal of the day was achieved, to get back to T2 before he caught me! We were a good 1/2 mile into the run before he passed me so I was quite pleased with myself! The run started well – no real jelly leg feeling (brick runs are working!) and I settled into a steady pace. I had no Garmin on me so was running by feel. A few guys came past me but no women so figured I was doing ok. The circuit of the village was a long drag out initially but this then ensured there was a reasonably downhill section towards the finish. The last 400m were tough but finished strong.

Just Racing offer an immediate results service so you can see how you’ve done as soon as you finish. I was a bit disappointed with my swim although those who had watches on showed the actual swim time was about 20-30 seconds faster – it just depended how long it took to get out of the pool and cross the timing mat! In my case probably nearer 30 seconds so must have a been around 6:30 for the swim which I’m more than happy with.

My T1 and T2 times were both less than a minute so the transition training we’ve done with Adam at the GreenlightPT turbo sessions are paying off.

I felt my bike was a bit slow. I’ve not done any speedwork on the bike – all long rides have been well over 20 miles but when you factor the wind and the undulating route my average speed was still higher than normal so not too bad considering but still a ‘could do better’ or ‘room for improvement’!

I was pleased with the run. Without a watch I actually ran over 30 seconds quicker than my Parkrun PB so was really stoked about that. I was even more pleased to then find out later on that I had won my age group as well – got to stand on a podium and received some nice glassware for the mantlepiece.

All in all, a good day out. My training plan from GreenlightPT is working, I’m swimming, cycling and running as fast as I ever have, in fact several of us from the team got podium places in our age groups and there were good results all round.

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I would recommend the Duston Triathlon – a really well organised event and totally inclusive – there were complete novices through to GB Age-Groupers taking part. Just nicer weather next time please?

Sun

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Outlaw Half Training – Week 10 & 11 done – the really hard work begins

Week 10

Turbo on Monday was a tough start to the week as usual, especially following the Cobbler from the previous day. We finished with some core work and I then ran 3km to make it a brick session.

The GreenlightPT swim session was a toughie and one of the hardest I’ve done (20x100m). The pace was 400m PB pace which sounds easy enough but not when there’s 20 to do and there wasn’t much rest involved. But I did them all, and got rest and gave a good indication of the what might be coming up as this training plan really gets into its flow.

Intervals on Thursday were what most people would call ‘character building’. The rain was tipping down as I left work and by the time I’d reached my starting point for the intervals it was torrential! This was then followed by lightning and thunder. I was completely soaked, but three of the intervals were the fastest yet – one was actually on target pace! Only taken four sessions to get there…

My early morning swim session on a Friday is now a firm fixture and I actually quite enjoy starting the day with it. I usually do some 400m reps and my times are now consistent so the endurance is coming together. This is also the chance for me to work on specific drills that have come out of my swim clinic.

Saturday was my first long bike/short run brick sessions. It looked chilly outside but wasn’t. With not enough water and being rather overdressed so I struggled towards the end of the ride. Once home a quick change and I was out for a run. I was quite pleased to be able to keep a reasonable pace. The first kilometre was tough but I was surprised how quick the legs responded and recovered to run normally.

I rounded off the weekend with a long run on Sunday. It was a nice day and I got a bit carried away on the way back with the last four miles around 7:45 a mile which was a bit quick for me really but was a good confidence booster to know it’s in the tank if needed! My body bit back though and my troublesome knee flared up afterwards – back on the ice and ibuprofen…

WeeK 11

Following the hard run the day before my knee still felt a bit tender so for a change I listened to my body and took my rest day a day early, but missed my turbo/run session as a result. By Tuesday it felt a lot better so took my bike out, with its new tribars for a quick spin up the road and then a quick 3km run after so this made up for the missed Monday session.

I swam as usual on Wednesday but had to miss my interval session on Thursday as the other half was really late home from work. With the GreenlightPT 70.3 Training Weekend this weekend I decided to miss my Friday swim session and went out for a run instead as I knew we’d be swimming on Saturday.

The weekend was consumed by the Training Weekend – a post covering this will follow, but it is fair to say – it was a full weekend of training!

 

 

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Outlaw Half Training – Week 9 done – ticking over

Another ‘solid’ week completed with no major catastrophes – well to me, my new bike isn’t so clever but that’s another story!

The week started well with a tough turbo session – lots of hard riding followed by hard running and rounded off with transition practice. I followed this with a quick run and was surprised how well the legs worked considering the battering they’d just received during the previous hour.

Wednesday night was the usual GreenlightPT swim session and was our 6 weekly 400m time trial. I’ve felt I’ve not performed particularly well at these over the last few months. The problem being towards the end of last summer when we did the first proper time trial I managed to post a massive PB, mostly helped by the fact I was able to draft for most of it. I’ve spent the last six months not getting close to it – but in my head that PB is now written off and this week I got a new PB – not a million miles off the old one, but a much more realistic one to work to.

The rest of the week went as planned – I did my long run on Saturday as I did a sportive on the Sunday and felt like I was flying – amazing how different it feels to not run on tired legs. Sunday was the ‘Cobbler Classic‘ a new sportive covering South Northamptonshire and started from Towcester Racecourse – just a few miles from my front door. 60 miles in rather cold and windy weather and finding some hills that I didn’t know existed. It was a tough, tough ride – particularly over the first 25/30 miles – constant undulating terrain battling the wind. It was a bit of a reality check – although we tried to schedule in food stops, they weren’t enough and the final 10 miles were a real struggle – not helped by a long drag into Whittlebury from Stowe. But I got round and despite several stops for food I managed to gain a Gold Award. Wasn’t the quickest ride in the world but a great experience and would definitely recommend this sportive for next year. With a choice or 39, 60 and 80 miles there’s something for everyone. The medals weren’t half bad either!

Cobbler Medal

 

 

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Outlaw Half Training – Week 8 done – boom!

Bit late with this weeks round up so I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. Hit a few brick walls in some respects, but also made a massive breakthrough as well.

Turbo with GreenlightPT on Monday had the usual mix of hard cycling and some transistion training. I can now run with my bike – it’s not as hard as it looks and will be trying it out at a triathlon in the near future. We also did some dismount practice – I realised very quickly that my confidence on the bike is severely lacking – I’m ok riding but getting on and off at speed I really struggle with – so much so that I now have bike homework – scooting on my pedals!

scooterSwimming on Wednesday was a solid session – I don’t feel I’m getting any quicker, but I am getting stronger and can maintain a good pace throughout when others are dropping off so I’m hoping that is a good sign and will help with the 1.9km swim that starts the Outlaw Half off. I’m getting into the habit of a second swim session a week now and I’m hoping this will start to pay dividends too. Others seem to be swimming a lot more than me but in the scheme of things I’m getting by on two sessions a week and when you think the swim is only a fraction of the full 70.3 distance I think that’s enough.

My ‘boom’ moment this week was my tempo run on Thursday – as week 8 was a recovery week there were no intervals, just a zone 4 6km run. My running club regular route is a 4 mile loop and a great gauge of where I’m at. Four weeks ago I ran my equal fastest time on this route but still felt there was a bit more in the tank so this week, I went for it. I was helped by the fact there were a few of the quicker runners there so I hung onto them for the first mile and settled in. I knocked 1m 30 off my time of four weeks ago and ran every mile at exactly the same pace – to the second! Boom! I’m so pleased my running is back on track – after what seems a lifetime of niggles and injuries I’m hoping I’ve turned a corner and can get back to a decent level of running as I always felt I’ve never quite fulfilled what I can actually do in running terms – I know I’m never going to be as quick as I was as a teenager but I’d like to think I can knock out a few PBs this year. I’ve got a few targets in mind, some of which I’ve shared as it’s a good way to motivate yourself to achieve it, but there are a couple more lurking that I’ll have a pop at, at some point – but all can wait till Outlaw is over.

I had a reasonable ride at the weekend. The weather was lovely so my new bike came out to play – unfortunately it didn’t sound to clever so after 10 miles of pootling and trying to rectify the problem I just decided to ignore the annoying chain noise and get stuck in. My planned 24 miles turned into 34 – oops! It’s such a nice ride – I just need some more decent weather and we’ll be back out again soon! I rounded off the week with a short/long run – only 7 miles but was nice and steady and in the early morning glorious sunshine.

Almost half way in the plan now and from this point a lot of the really hard work starts. Hopefully the first eight weeks have given me a good enough base to build on. My swimming is getting stronger, my bike is ticking over and my running is coming on a treat – just need to learn how to put it all together (and scoot on my pedals)!

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Outlaw Half Training – Week 7 done – getting it together

A good solid week of training was achieved this week and I managed to tick every session on the plan off, although not quite gold star material as I only ran four of the five intervals I should have on Thursday (the fourth was so bad, I gave it up as a bad job!).

The week started well with a good turbo session with the GreenlightPT crew. We started with a killer of a pyramid session followed by a brick set. I was quite pleased with my running off the bike – considering I’d run 12 miles the day before the legs moved quite well so they’re definitely getting used to trauma of running straight after a ride. I followed the session with an easy 3km run which was a good way to run off the previous days run and the pain I’d just put them through.

Swimming on Wednesday was good – feel like I’m getting my swimming mojo back again after a bit of a lull – felt strong throughout the session and am relieved that the pain I had in my shoulder is lessening as the weeks go on. Can only assume it didn’t like the increase in training and introduction of core work!

As I mentioned earlier, my interval session on Thursday was not 100% successful. As with last week I had to do the intervals up and down the A5 which is not ideal. It’s difficult to get any sort of a rhythm going as you’re either running uphill, downhill, crossing a road or turning around. I’ll be pleased when the lighter nights return so I can go and use a great 1km straight we have just outside our village – could have been designed for interval work.

I finally managed to get my second swim of the week in on Friday morning – I hadn’t been able to try the endurance session yet so gave it a go and was quite pleased with the outcome – all reps in under time and without too much effort expelled – it did help having two bloke ironman training hanging off my feet as it forced me to keep an even pace which is no bad thing.

With the MK Half on Sunday I only had a reasonably short bike ride to do (50km) on Saturday so tagged along with my father in law and brother in law en route to some hill training – thankfully I got to turn around before they hit the bigger hills although I was faced with my other nemesis on the way home – the wind! Made my planned fun ride home a long slog – not perfect preparation for a race the next day but hey, that’s what training is all about!

The MK Half marathon on Sunday was great – I’ll save the details for a race report but in the scheme of things, after a swim on Friday, a ride on Saturday I was more than pleased with my performance on Sunday. I ended up only around two and a half minutes off my PB and to be honest, it was only my lack of long runs (2 x 10 miles and 1 12 mile) that undid me in the end but still early days – plenty more running to come…

Quicker runner

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Outlaw Half Training – Week 6 done – up and running

After a pretty much non-existent week of training last week, things are picking up again. I’ve still got my cold (I never have one of those few day colds that others seem to have) but it’s not on my chest so pushing on with the training!

Back into the turbo session with GreenlightPT on Monday. It was a great brick session with reps on the bike followed by runs round the block. My first foray into brick training this year and the legs weren’t sure what had hit them – especially as one of the reps involved a running parachute! It must have given various passers-by a giggle. But it got me working up a sweat so must have been doing some good.

Swimming on Wednesday was hard – it looked so simple on the board, two of everything – unfortunately there was also a x4 and brackets involved…but I finished the set in one piece and my shoulder held together…

I ran my first set of intervals in about a year on Thursday. Not quite on target pace, but considering I had to do them up and down the A5 (not flat and junctions to cross) was pretty pleased with the outcome. Consistent pace throughout and definitely room for improvement. Haven’t been able to run that fast comfortably for years if I’m honest so feeling pretty chuffed with myself and really looking forward to getting the running part of my training underway properly. I just need to remember to look after my legs – stretching and rolling…

Life got in the way on Friday with a poorly little boy and a husband away with work so unfortunatetly my second swim session was canned. I hoped to make it up on Sunday evening but just never happened, just need to make my next swim session better to make up for it.

The weekend was probably my biggest yet in total distance covered.  Not my biggest ride but was the largest bike/run combination over two days. I didn’t go out with my usual group on Saturday morning. It was quite icy, even at 9am and as I don’t do ice (ever) a mile out of my village I chickened out and came home. I eventually ventured out at around 10:30 and had a pootle around the lanes. It’s always tough out on your own, the miles seem to take so long to stack up and you never travel as fast. I was quite grateful to ride for about 10 miles with a fellow cyclist who I’d caught up. We had a nice chat which made the miles go past quicker, even though the speed wasn’t so hot. After I left him in Fringford I pushed hard for  few miles to make up some time and was quite pleased with what I could do – the lack of headwind did make a difference! for the second week in a row I avoided a cafe stop, but as a result did need to stop to take a gel. I need to start to take on food a bit more on the go as it wont do the bike split much good to be stopping for tea and toast.

Sunday was a long run – I had a target of 12 miles on the plan and the DLRR club run was an hour or 2 hours 20 mins – I needed a bit in between that so ran five miles on my own and then ran an hour with the club. It was great to be back running with the guys again and I quite surprised myself as how quickly my running has come back together. With the MK Half next week it could be an interesting race. It is just a training run, and I don’t think I’m in PB shape but sometimes once you get going you feel it’s there – I’ve got my game plan worked out for a conservative start and finish strong, but I’m terrible as sticking to my preconceived plans…so roll on next Sunday.

runner

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Outlaw Half Training – Weeks 4 & 5 sort of done – Some good, some bad…

After the rather downbeat previous post things picked up the following week. A quick chat with Adam from GreenlightPT (who set my training plan) set my mind at rest and getting used to running a long run the day after a long ride is part of the process. In other words – suck it up! 🙂

Week 4 was recovery week, mainly the same sessions but slightly reduced distances for the runs and bikes. It started well with a good turbo session, but during my swim session on Wednesday started to get some shoulder pain. Not sure if it is due to using muscles I’m not used to using or whether I’ve actually hurt something. I dropped to the back of the lane and finished the session but it was still sore the next day so icing it every day to see if that helps.

Had a massive breakthrough with my tempo run on the Thursday night – I went to the club run (been about 6 months…) just intending to run a good steady pace. Once I got going, felt so good pushed it on a bit and ended up running the route the quickest I ever have, and there was more in the tank. After pain in my knee for over nine months and countless physio sessions I cannot explain the relief and excitement that running that evening gave me. To say I was happy was an understatement.

It kind of went downhill from there…missed my swim on Friday as shoulder was still sore (although I did do a turbo session instead). With 25mph+ winds on Saturday did another turbo session instead of the long ride and Sunday’s run was a slip and slide affair with ice on the ground, cut short as I felt a bit rough.

The feeling a bit rough turned into a stinking cold and meant week 5 was a bit of a non-event. I eventually dragged myself out on the bike on Saturday – it’s still so blinking windy, will it ever end? Then on Sunday managed a quite satisfactory 10 mile run.

So, things are coming back together again – but I really would like to have just one ride this year without the wind making me feel I’m cycling in treacle or blowing me across the road – please?

windy tree

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Outlaw Half Training – Week 3 done – 16 weeks to go – really??

Phew! Struggled this week big time – I’m writing this very quickly before I take myself off to bed. If it tails off a bit, I’ve already fallen asleep. It’s not just the tiredness that is kicking in now, but also the mental toughness that I need to toughen up on a bit if I’m honest.

I’ve completed every session (one tweak to my run intervals as usual while my knee gets better) so I do have a real sense of achievement but am just struggling a bit with the whole putting it together concept – there’s not a lot of light at the end of the tunnel – well it is 16 weeks away still! The bike rides seem hard (I don’t think I’ve managed to ride in anything other than gale-force winds since New Years day), core hurts (never done it before), turbo is mental (jelly legs central) and even running is a struggle (10 miles today – hurt – I ran two marathons last year 10 miles should be a walk in the park…!) and swimming, well, my supposedly stronger element took a bit of a hit this week too.

But, it’s all good as I know I’m getting some good training in, I just don’t think i was quite prepared for how tough it was going to feel. But looking forward to next week – recovery week although still as mad as this week, just not quite as far…

The tunnel - no light showing yet - but I know it's there...

The tunnel – no light showing yet – but I know it’s there…

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Outlaw Half Training – week 2 done – what did I learn?

Second week now finished and didn’t miss a session, even managed to do them on the days they were intended! Only the run sessions were altered slightly while I return to fitness so all in all I’m pretty pleased with my work this week.

I have discovered though that there’s more to this training lark than simply completing the session, yes that’s important but I have felt really tired all week and constantly hungry. And (according to my other half) quite irritable…I had a think and realised that I normally only get about 5-6 hours sleep a night. I’ve managed like this for many years and as many fellow parents will know this is quite normal. But now I’m training a fair few hours a week – mostly at the start or end of the day, I’ve actually realised that sleeping is something I need to pay attention to and will be striving over the next few weeks to get into the habit of going to bed a bit earlier.

Another area I need to pay attention to is food and drink – I love my food and in some respects one of my main reasons for training is to justify eating copious amounts of food and alcohol! But I have recognised that I need to fuel my body properly to be able to cope with the demands of training but not overload it with rubbish, or booze – the last one is going to be difficult…

eatsleepdrink

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Outlaw Half Training – week 1 done, 18 to go…

First week of training is complete! Not exactly as set out on the training plan, but pretty darn close and for me that’s pretty good!

The week started well – usual GreenlightPT turbo session in the open air. It was bit chilly so I actually wore tights for a change. Was a good move as the wind doesn’t half whip under that underpass – anyone who knows MK will know the John Lewis underpass is a rather large underpass underneath Midsummer Boulevard and takes you through to Campbell Park – the highest point in MK.

Tuesday was a rest day which was nice and a bit of a change as I’ve always run on Tuesday since I was about 12 and trained with MKAC. Wednesday started early with a core session – and boy does my core need some work. I’m reasonably fit and regard myself as strong, but as for core fitness I am lacking severely! But it’s still early days and with 2 sessions a week in my plan, plus a bit as part of the turbo session I’m hoping this will improve over the next 18 weeks. I struggled in the swim in the evening but completed everything in the required times and still got some rest.

Thursday should have been intervals, but as my knee isn’t up to that yet, I’d planned an easy run instead but as with the best laid plans it didn’t happen. Mr C had to work late so I ended up doing an improptu turbo session instead. As a result of the late night – and it was very late, I had to forgo my early morning swim session but did get a quick (sorry slow) recovery run in at 6am. There is something quite special about running before the sun comes up. The birds are already tweeting and although it’s still dark, it doesn’t feel like you’re running in the dark – hard to explain but I’m hoping to get some more early morming running in like that as it really does set you up for the day – especially if it’s a bit fresh outside – I was wide awake by the end of the first mile!

Ealry Morning in Pury

We had a long ride planned for Saturday – I had about 40 miles on my plan so took an amble over to Cartlon. The wind must have been behind us as it was the fastest ride I’d had for months – slowed a little on the way back but felt really good. Lots of chat, not too much puffing and I only got dropped once – that’s good! The week was rounded off with a slow 5 mile this morning in horizontal rain and I finally squeezed in that missed swim session in the evening. A bit of traffic in the lane made it a challenge but all done and that is week 1 complete! All starts again tomorrow…

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