Training journal | weeks 4 and 5/41

The last two weeks were meant to be taper and recovery weeks around a race on the middle Sunday, so a bit light in content. I won’t lie, the relative rest was very welcome. In the end I decided not to do the race. I’d been running a temperature for nearly a week that wouldn’t respond to medication. I didn’t want to put myself through a challenging event and make things worse. In any event, we went to the race and supported chums who were there doing much crazier distances than I’d signed up for. But more of that soon…

We started the week with a brick session; bike followed by run. Even after just four weeks I can definitely feel a difference in my running. Although still slow, I managed one of the best runs I’ve had for a while. It was steady and controlled and needed only one or two walk breaks.

Consistency really does work.

The raging temperature came back with a vengeance on Wednesday so I decided to take an impromptu rest day before returning to running and cycling on Thursday. Even then, I was still sweating buckets and feeling quite unwell 🤒

On Friday we packed and headed to Snowdon to set up camp in a house shared by competitors and supporters. Nervous energy quietly seeped through the house. This was to be a tough gig no matter which side of the fence you sat. We knew what was coming, we’d been here before.

Our friend was competing in the double Brutal Triathlon. A double Iron distance event comprising of 4.8 mile swim; 232 mile cycle followed by a 51 mile run. All conducted around Mt Snowdon. The cycle route alone included eight ascents of Pen-y-pass.

The house was situated at the top of a hill just off the main centre of Llanberis. Arranged by our friends (thank you) it was a perfect (although slightly spooky) base. Talk of ghosts before bed didn’t help our reaction when our bedroom door suddenly blew open in the middle of the night. I was fully expecting Granny Miggins in nightdress clutching a dripping bloody knife – thankfully nothing was there but it really put pay to any further sleep that night.

The weather the next morning was typical Cymraeg and the race start was postponed for two hours until the gale force winds settled down. Potential parkrun tourism when out of the window and instead we gathered in a field at the end of Lake Padarn while the heavens gave their best. It was a good way to verify that my water repellant jacket is definitely not waterproof and those stood by the side of the lake in wetsuits were definitely the most appropriately dressed. Never-the-less they eventually got into the lake to commence laps and we went off to hunt for breakfast.

It was a long and very inspirations couple of days. It’s rather humbling to be around people so dedicated to a sporting goal, they were willing to keep going without a proper break for 42 hours to achieve it.

For us, it was an excuse to be outdoors for significant periods of time. There was one wonderful moment when G and I were accompanying M on one of his night bike loops. We were in the van and leapfrogging him to make sure we were close by, in case he needed assistance. The pauses while we waited for him to come along gave us a chance to appreciate the darkness and quiet of rural Wales. The stars were glowing, bright and clear and uninterrupted by pollution. Bursts of them across the night sky. It was a unequivocal reminder of how small and unimportant we really are.

Because Coach Jon had anticipated a few days of recovery after the event, we returned home on Sunday with nothing scheduled in the diary. As it was, the recovery was very welcome. G and I headed out on a gentle, undulating run along the South West coast path on Monday.

We picked up the coaching again later in the week with a recovery spin and conditioning work before heading into Saturday and the long run.

This week the legs felt much stronger and I had a good half hour warm up before heding back to the start of the parkrun at Woolacombe for another round of Nicky v ‘the beach’. We were back to tide out and softish sand although I did take advantage of some very good firm spots on the beach. I managed to equal my course PB and came away feeling satisfied that there is progress being made.

The euphoria didn’t last long, as a little while later I managed to catch my toe on a piece of furniture and break it. Ouch!

Fortunately it wasn’t an important toe and we managed to head out to Dartmoor on the Sunday for a long ride. I opted to ride clipped in to take pressure away from the toe, which made for an exciting ride – especially down unmade rocky paths with Strava segments called ‘The Widowmaker’. But it was a really good opportunity to explore the area and we found some really good cycle routes to explore. Including a dedicated track along a disused railway line that used to serve the (now disused) tin mines in the area.

Week 5 done and back to a full week next week.


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