In part 1 of this post I went through the process of how I plan my upcoming training, this time we’re going to look at what actually happened…
Monday, rest (or recovery) day; nailed it! All green, all ‘workouts’ complete – but to be fair nailing a rest day should not be a challenge, although I do occasionally get carried away on the easy run.
Tuesday; this is where my first little ‘tweak’ appears – the eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that there were two easy runs and a pyramid workout in the plan, however, as winter and dark mornings draw in, my enthusiasm for early starts wanes, and having had no lie-ins at the weekend I took advantage of no school run to have a late (6:50am) start to the day. Therefore I combined the two runs into one longer run. By lunch time I had got a lie in and done a solid long-ish run, things were looking good. Unfortunately things then took a downhill turn.
The first clue as to where things started to go awry is that there is both a strength and bike workout to get in by about 6.20pm and yet this bike workout hasn’t started until 5.03pm. The reality of not being a professional athlete is that training comes 3rd (at best!) to work and family commitments and in this case work ran on longer than planned. But still something is always better than nothing so I picked a 45 minute workout from Zwift’s library and set to it – again the observant amongst you will notice that this 45 minute workout did not take 45 minutes… I’m generally fairly fortunate that I can get workouts in around my other commitments, however this time the phone calls came thick and fast. I finished the bike workout but that was it for the day. Not an auspicious start to the training week!
I made an early decision on the Wednesday not to even try and get a swimming session in with the associated faff of changing etc. which meant I was able to then get all the other workouts in and even catch up with a few minutes of strength training.
Thursday morning is Team Time Trial morning on Zwift; where a team of up to 8 cyclists from across the globe compete against other teams in a virtual environment to get the fastest group time around a course as possible. Normally this a great workout and having to stay part of a small team is a great motivation to work hard, unfortunately this morning a phone call a little way in to the race meant I had to abandon the group and limp to the finish alone. I was starting to wonder if I was jinxed this week. Thankfully that afternoon’s run went fine and it was nice to have a workout go as planned.
By the end of Thursday I was feeling distinctly demotivated by the number of workouts that hadn’t gone as planned and the idea of pacing a 10km and then a half marathon at the weekend was starting to make me distinctly nervous.
On Friday morning winter in the UK was starting to make its presence felt so I took advantage of the treadmill and warmed up indoors before a brief 6.30am interval session; early on I had a bit of adductor soreness, but overall the session felt pretty easy.
After the way the trainer workouts had gone earlier in the week I was distinctly nervous about 7x3mins – it is a workout given to me by my cycling coach and one that I always dreaded coming up in the calendar; it starts fairly comfortable, and by starts I mean the first 60 seconds of the first interval… After that things get tough, the second interval is probably the worst, intervals three, four and five are really hard going, interval six is also the worst – but by the last 15 seconds of interval seven it finally feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel! This is a workout that takes a good degree of motivation just to put in the calendar let alone to start it. However, start it I did and 50 something minutes later it was over and I felt like I had gotten over the ‘hump’ of the week.
The weekend’s plan was, on Saturday morning, to cycle 16km to Tatton park, run a 45 minute 10km, then cycle home, relax for the day and repeat on Sunday but with a 1 hour 40 half marathon instead of the 10km (and then follow up with a sneaky strength set for fun). And remarkably that’s exactly what happened and I enjoyed every moment – I even managed a nice pub lunch with a friend on the way home on Sunday.
So there you have it a week of training; in many ways unremarkable – some workouts went to plan, others not so much. What can we take away from this week? I think the most important point is that after so many minor ‘failures’ early in the week it would have been easy to not bother with a hard workout on Friday and start on a road to losing consistency – but having a plan and a workout in the calendar gave me motivation to make a start and get the workout done and finish the week well.