Week 2 in which I…

-Try my first ‘speed run’

-Try life in the fast lane

-‘Barely’ do a week

Week 2 was barely a week!, to be frank! Arriving back physically exhausted but mentally invigorated from 4 days mountain biking in the Welsh peaks two days into it was not the best start with a training plan to stick to! But the things I did learn from the activities I did have time for were rewarding.

Arriving back late Tuesday night, it should have been obvious that Wednesday would be a write off. And so it was that week 2’s training started on Thursday with a swim at Oasis Sports Centre. My lovely friend who I had planned to meet unfortunately cancelled last minute, but nevertheless I showed up. There’s nothing like a swim for easing aching muscles from the bike, this is something I discovered last Summer. Cycling tightens and swimming loosens, and I accompanied my swim with a good deal of arm and upper back stretches, too. The reps were more challenging this week, focussing on distance and speed. It is never easy to practice speed in a lane-divided pool as your speed is more often controlled by those around you. There’s a very enthusiastic breast-stoker who frequently occupies the medium, middle lane when I’m there. He always keeps up the same regular pace, which is fine for a medium-slow crawl but if I were to speed up, his wide stroke makes him very difficult to swim around! I split up my medium-slow crawl instead with ducking into the fast lane and frantically beating out a messy 25m, stopping to allow any speedier swimmers, then continuing. It’s not ideal but it seems to work. I also add a slow, skulling 25 and a 25m kick to the fast/medium-slow crawl lanes to break it up a bit and test out all my swimming gears!

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A busy weekend behind me and a busy weekend ahead makes for Friday morning to be run training time. I am still exhausted from the Welsh peaks, and it just doesn’t feel right to be out of bed so early, how will I focus? The short ride to the park sharpens my attention, and it is a beautiful morning I observe as I chain Sylvia up. It’s a 35 minutes run on the plan this week. Since I tried the 35 minute ‘Long Run’ on Nike Run Club last week, I pick a 35 interval run “My First Speed Run’ from the Nike Run Club app and give that a shot. Contrary to the trainer in my ear telling me that running fast is “fun”, I’m just not feeling it. I have never tried interval running before, maybe I am pushing too hard? Maybe I just haven’t given my body enough of a rest from Wales. Maybe it’s the fact I spent last night cramping up from a badly executed smear test that left me bleeding… Maybe that’s too much information. I still shared it on the Her Spirit app regardless, tucked up in bed feeling tired and emotional the previous night – I think it’s important we reflect the struggles as well as the triumphs. Otherwise a visit to the app could be reason to feel more down than up, like looking at pictures of your friends far-off holiday in Barbados when you’re stuck in rainy London, triumph can feel so remote when you feel run-down. To top it off, on completion the app malfunctioned and wouldn’t save my run – I had to discard the data. It’s not about the record, I told myself sternly, you still ran it! But I cannot deny that it was a frustrating finish!

Besides the short ride to the park and back, Sylvia the road bike and my did not see a lot of training. My Welsh mountain bike riding on Rolo can only count for so much, however… I’ll need to get back on it next week, and wobble my way through some laps!

A relaxing weekend in Oxford is on the cards for the next couple of days however, without a pair of running shoes, swimsuit, or bike in sight…

 

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