Countdown to Stowe.

It’s only a few weeks away now from Stowe Middle distance and I’m feeling quite nervous. I’m nervous because I haven’t done too much open water swimming this season and open water isn’t my favourite place. Once I have got over the initial shock of the cold and the mayhem of the first five minutes I’m fine. That’s something I’ll be practicing of the next four weeks, deep start, face straight in, and controlling my HR, I have hyperventilated on a few occasions, which isn’t good!

Training has been going well and one thing that I have noticed is that my endurance levels are rising. Although my speed seems to have slowed (which I’m not concerned about) I feel that I can go longer and stronger. The intensity is increasing and the training hours will peak over the next three weeks up to 11:20hrs.

There are a few large brick sessions planned starting tomorrow with a 4 hour bike and a 20 minute run. I’ve invested in a Garmin Edge 800 with 1:50 maps…

Garmin Edge 800

this will allow me to go further a field without worrying about getting lost. I’ve also acquired the Ironman Bolton Cycle route, so I’ll be giving that a bash at some time. Also there are a number of hills not too far away from Birmingham called “Clent Hills” I’ve never ventured there because of getting lost, but nothing will stop me now!

Tomorrows planned route is a 65 mile circular, which I will be completing with Rich. This is a no pressure ride, concentrating on nutrition and hydration. The run off the bike is a short 20 minute out and back and we’ll be looking to pace 9 – 10 min/mile.

Tomorrows planned route – Abbotts Bromley Circular

During the week I had a couple of days off work and decided that I would use this to build up my shoulder at swimming. It didn’t quite work out as planned as my shoulder is feeling a little sore today. I also used another new toy in the pool, my training flippers…

Not good if you try and stand up in the pool.

Not good when you try and stand up in the pool.

It was the weirdest feeling, I’ve never used them before and I don’t use my legs too much so it was a completely new experience for me. The worst part was when i reached the end of the pool, my legs wouldn’t drop to the bottom of the pool and I nearly choked!

I’ve noted on my training plan that I also have to start using my paddles / gloves…

Swim Gloves

Swim Gloves, Something I don’t normally use.

I sometimes use all these toys and have them piled at the side of the pool like a professional swimmer, unfortunately professional I am not!! It looks as though I’m going to be using them in the future so they’re useful to have! I’m hoping to get some video’s of my swimming in the next few weeks so I can see how poor I am. Christine has volunteered to be the director and come film me. I just cannot seem to improve my SWOLF which seems to be hovering around the 55 – 60. I’m not too worried at the moment because in February of this year I couldn’t swim 100m Front Crawl straight off. I would hope this to have improved considerably prior to Bolton though.

Running is probably still my weakest discipline and I’m still struggling to get on to my toes no matter how I try! It’s quite frustrating and I know I have to strip my running right down and start again. My trainers have had quite a hammering since I’ve had them but I’m going to make them last till the end of October until I’ve completed the Birmingham Half. Once I’ve finished that I’m buying some Vibram Five Fingers…

Vibram Five Fingers

Vibram Five Fingers – Help with soft landing and get you on your toes.

Runners World Review – Five Fingers

During the winter I think they will be a useful training tool, I will start off on the treadmill for about 15 minutes at a time and gradually increase over a few weeks. Once I’m used to them I’ll take them outside and concentrate on the soft landing. Hopefully at the end of winter my technique should have drastically improved.

I used to suffer with shin splints, calf cramps and quad cramps and it used to be quite a hindrance but I was advised by a masseur to start using a foam roller at least two times a week, which I have been doing. This seems to have made a massive difference and I would urge anyone who suffers with cramps to go out and purchase one, it’s money well spent!

Argos Foam Roller - Best £20 I ever spent!

Argos Foam Roller – Best £20 I ever spent!

So with Stowe four weeks away I have a heavy training load and it looks quite intense. I have an 9 hour week, 11 week and an 8 hour week with a few hard brick sessions each Sunday to finish me off completely. I normally do a little something on my rest days but I think all I’ll be doing over the next few weeks is resting on my rest days., maybe fit in a sauna or a steam session. 

Thanks for reading…




2 thoughts on “Countdown to Stowe.

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