Moving forward

Following last week’s  experience I was somewhat cautious heading into this one. With the first event of the season rapidly approaching the last thing I wanted to do was incur further injuries. On the other hand for the first time in a long while it looked set to be decent weather. To that end I reasoned the time ought not to be wasted, this of course had absolutely nothing to do with me wanting to avoid Uni work.

Tuesday started off very well, after a couple of months of weight training these last few days seem to have yielded a breakthrough. Finally I was able to up the load on several of my usual exercises. It’s deeply refreshing to be focusing on getting bigger & stronger, making a nice change from usual struggle to get down to something resembling racing weight. One of the nicest things about resistance training is the ease with which progress can be quantified, either you can lift a certain weight or you can’t. No complex interpretation of power data required.

Following the successful gym session in the morning that afternoon’s run was a good one. I’m going to run the risk of incurring the wrath of my Cycling friends when I say that there are times now and then when I prefer it to being on the bike. There is a wonderful simplicity to the action of putting one foot in front of the other. Especially on traffic-free sections it’s possible to switch off during a run in a way that you can’t quite (safely) manage on rides. I was very happy with the eventual average speed, a pace that would have seemed unattainable a couple of months ago can now be achieved with moderate effort. My goal of getting round next week’s Half Marathon in under 1:30 might just be achievable.

Wednesday began with my first swim in at least four months. As you might imagine it felt strange at first, especially with my arms still aching from the previous day’s exertions in the gym. Nonetheless eventually I was able to get back into something resembling a decent rhythm.  Interestingly although the pace wasn’t high it hadn’t dropped dramatically, my guess is that the extra upper body muscle I’ve acquired has gone some way to counteract the lack of time spent in the pool.

Inevitably the weather forecast was revised, looking far less optimistic. Torment specifically coming in the form of heavy rain all day. Not for the first time I was deeply envious of those Cyclists lucky enough to live in hot countries. You’d have hoped that by mid March the time for turbo sessions would have passed, no such luck. I’ve long since climbed aboard the Zwift train and have to say that it helps massively when it comes to alleviating the inevitable boredom you experience during indoor workouts. Nonetheless it can never compare to the feeling you get out on the road or trail.

Thursday turned into yet another double day. Starting off with weights, attempting some new exercises following the advice of a friend. Judging by how sore I was on Friday morning it’s fair to say they must have done the trick. A steady run afterwards marked the end of the streak, by this point my body was crying out for a rest. Never before had I managed three such days on the trot. I freely admit that in the grand scheme of things it’s a minor achievement but nonetheless I’m proud of myself for pushing through. After a tricky winter being physically & mentally capable of training hard again feels like a big step.

Friday was the calm before the storm, an easy evening swim served as good way of recovering from the rather long statistics seminar I’d sat through that morning. Unbelievably snow was forecast for the following day, practically unheard of at this time of year. For the second time in as many weeks I (wrongly) dismissed it. You won’t be surprised to hear that I was proven spectacularly wrong, what was supposed to be an easy hour on the Mountain Bike turned into a rush to get home having been caught out in a minor blizzard.

Sunday’s ride probably deserves a post of it’s own but I’m not quite ready to relive it yet. A three hour endurance session was planned and therefore I set out to do just that. Typically it began to snow once again just as I set off, over the course of the ride the wind got colder and the snow deeper. To tell the truth at one point I was seriously worried about losing a finger or two to frostbite, having discovered that after four years of usage the pair of gloves I was wearing were no longer waterproof. Once again my humble MTB proved it’s worth, the weather that had made it impossible to traverse certain roads by car did nothing to stop that £400 hardtail. I accept that going out in that weather may not have been the most sensible decision I’ve ever made but nonetheless I’m glad I did, the satisfaction that comes with not letting anything get in the way of training is well worth it.

So there we have it, apologies for the slight ego massage. If I’m honest it’s been the best training week I’ve had for several months. I’m curiously optimistic that good things might be around the corner, perhaps 2018 might turn out to be a half-decent season after all.

Thanks for reading.

 

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