Coaching – Week 55

The week between Xmas and New Year, no work, lots of food and some really good training sessions…

Day 1

3 x 10 minute easy (3 minute walk) –  The goal is to build up some volume but in a very structured way. Keep the 10 minute blocks easy and stretch your calf muscles and hammies in the 3 minute rest periods.

Another early morning start while trying to fit in with other Xmas activities. It was cool and dark but good conditions, if a little damp under foot.

The muscles were a little on the stiff side and there was definitely a lack of fluency in the run, but that is due to lack of running as much as anything.

I had to constantly remind myself to ease off in the first 2 blocks of running, but not so much in the last one as I was getting tired by that point.

There was no pain in the heel, which is good, but I need to manage the muscles and joints to get them built back up.

The first block was 5:35 pace, 2nd 5:32 and the last one 5:46 which backs ups how I was feeling. The heart rate was well controlled in all 3 of the blocks with an average of 130/1. That was the longest in the latest comeback! 5.35km running and 6.09 overall with the recovery sections


Day 2

3 x (8 mins + 3/2/1 mins) – The goal of this session is to get you riding race effort around surges in lactate. I wan toa 75 minute ride with a decent 15-20 minute easy warm up. Then complete 3 sets, each made up of;

  • 8 minutes at threshold intensity, regular cadence for this Chris, rather than the lower cadence, power output focused TT type blocks. Am for threshold heart rate or just below.
  • When finished spin easy for 90s before adding 3 minute hard, 1 minute easy, 2 minute hard, 30s easy, 1 minute out of saddle big push.
  • Spin easy for 5 minutes between the 3 sets

OK, the weather first. It was clear, sunny and no wind. Perfect? Yes apart from the cold. It got down to -3.7 in the shaded areas of the woods!

I set out with the effort of the running still in my legs and they were not feeling great, but the warm up shook off a lot of that.

I hit the exact point I wanted to start at after the 15 minute warm up. I was very focus on trying to complete the workout, especially after some of the recent failures. I know a failing of mine can be going too hard in the first block and paying for it later. I was determined to get through this one so was trying to keep within the zones.

The focus on the 8 minute blocks was the heart rate and getting it around 150, but also trying to get the power at 240 or above (which would be above FTP).

The first block was tough getting the legs going, but it was good once there were up and running. Next up were the hard blocks where I was trying to get the power above 275 if I could on the 3 and 2 minute sections. This was before the big push, which I wanted above 300 watts.

The first 2 repeats of the hard and push were OK, although with the push I could not manage to sustain the full power for the full minute and averaged around 30 seconds of big push. The main reason for this was the cold. When I was at full tilt I was I gasping in cold air and it got to the chest so I backed out of them as I knew it would finish me off if I really pushed through for the full minute. Having said that I am pretty pleased with the average power on the pushes, all over 300 despite having to back out of them.

The final of the 3 reps was tough and when I asked for the power in the hard blocks it was just not there. I pushed as much as I could but the tank was pretty empty.


Day 4

Speed Endurance intervals – 5×3 min at vo2 – Flat route or turbo. Warm up and then complete 3 sets of 12 second sprints – Eyeballs out effort (3-5 minute recoveries) – Then 5 x 3 minutes at 90% max HR, from 90s easy spin recovery – Then 3 more sprints – High cadence, but seated for all reps.

Finally, a ride in temperatures above freezing and in glorious sunshine.

I was not sure how this one would go, but I was looking forward to trying out some sprints. I had chosen a route that would give me a good 15 minute warm up over rolling terrain, including a couple of steep ramps. This got the legs and heart going.

The first of the sprint blocks was going to be up a gradual incline, but that just adds to the challenge.

The first of them was a bit of a mess, I had gone for a gear that was too tough and it took most of the 12 seconds to get over the top of it and get it going. The other 2 were much better.

For the first time in a while I then managed to do the tough Vo2 max efforts, without any major problems. I was focused on getting the heart rate up to around 160 as soon as possible (this is my 90% max point for running, so slightly over for cycling which would be nearer 156). I chose to stick with my running max as the target to really work myself, plus this would then mean the average would be about right.

The first 3 went really well with the heart rate up and feeling good. The 4th one was a bit tougher but again I got through it (even though I ran out of road so had to turn) and then the 5th was fine. I was on a bit of rolling terrain and then the gradual incline and decline.

Then the next set of sprints, I was determined to nail this, but sadly I had thought there was a recovery section between the Vo2 and sprints, so for the first one I was in the wrong gear so not as good as it should have been. The next 2 I was determined to push hard and spent the last 30 seconds of the recovery part building the pace and effort so that I could hit the sprints properly. I was hoping to average 700 plus watts for the sprints but only managed to do it once, but was close on a few others. The penultimate sprint did produce a max power of 992 though, which apart from the race training day is my highest power but quite a margin.

Strangely I really enjoyed this session, yes at one point on the Vo2 max efforts I was thinking it might be a bucket inducing session, but it was all good and the legs felt fine.


Day 5

75 Minute easy road bike

Well, that was horrible! I left this ride as late in the day as I possibly could, while still being in daylight, but it was no good the fog did not clear. It was as bad as it has been recently so I had to get out there and do the ride.

I was riding a reasonably an undulating route and riding smoothly and quite quickly considering. I was not trying to push too hard, but the pace was good and the effort levels bang in the zone I was looking for with an average heart rate of 125.

This really was a filthy ride with lots of ‘crud’ on the road and the roads were wet, which makes the ride even better as I was having to be very cautious at times


Day 7

Parkrun – Super easy! This is all good to keep ticking over with a very slow, gradual build up with the running, but a nice way to start the year!

So this was it, the return to racing, well back to Parkrun anyway. I had almost forgotten what to do and how it felt, but I was ready to run, despite it being NYE the night before.

Luckily the showers stopped just at the start. There was a pretty big field of around 280 and I was just hoping to get round without needing to stop. This would be the longest continuous run since September. I would have been pleased with 5:30 pace.

Setting off I resisted going quickly with the guys at the front and settled in to a nice comfy pace, one that I wanted to keep through the race. It felt good and comfy and I was surprised to be running at a fraction over 5:00 pace. The heart rate was higher than expected, but that did not reflect the effort. I suspect that the heart rate was high due to the previous night rather than the running!

Where ever possible I stuck on the path, but about 1/3rd of the run was on the grass, which was pretty muddy.

I was in a good steady rhythm and the heel and ankle were not giving any problems. I was determined to stick to the pace. Around the 3km mark I started to feel it and had the start of a stitch, but again that was more due to the previous night/week!

I managed to stick to a very consistent pace with the first 4 at 5:04, 5:08, 5:06 and 5:02. The final one was quicker at 4:47 as I pushed a little bit towards the end, mainly as I knew I could sneak under 25 minutes. Which I did with 24:56.

OK, that is not quick and 4 minutes off where I want to be, but I am pleased with that after so long and not pushing hard. Next time the prep will be better


120 minute easy bike after parkrun – Include some short, hard hill efforts (8-10) but otherwise remain easy throughout.

After Parkrun I got home, changed and got on the bike, in the drizzle! At least it was warmer. The roads could best be described as wet!

Given how the legs have felt after the last few runs I was surprised that I could even face the ride, but it was all good.

I was on my fairly route and was really zipping along nicely, and comfortably, for the first hour or so.

Every time I saw a hill I made sure to hit it pretty hard and was out of the saddle for all of them. I did not track this as laps, but each spike in heart rate is where I went for it. None of them were long and varied between 5% & 10%. At times I felt as good as I have ever done out of the saddle and really trying to ‘dance’ on the pedals. Be light and fast.

After about 90 minutes I started to get tired, but I was determined to get over 50km so instead of completing the route I was on I extended it and was really pleased to get through to just under 2 hours.

Not a bad start to the year.

As get stretching session after has helped and the legs do not feel too bad. I was so glad to get out of the damp though! It did get to the point where I thought that I had enough of being out in the cold and wet but stuck it out


The Current Week

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Health Data


4 Week Rolling Durations



A whole new set of targets for 2017, tougher than ever!

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Author: The Mr Smith

Photographer, Gourmet, Cook, Oenophile, Traveller, International Athlete, Investor, bit of a Geek and observer of life

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