It’s really just over a week to go till the race. My training is easing off and I enter what I find the most difficult period. Training decisions are so much harder now. Way out from a race pushing and just getting on with sessions has less risk attached. Now there’s always a question about whether it’s the right thing to do. This combined with the usual feeling of lack of energy, achy legs makes it a worrying period.
This past week I’ve done several rides but made a point of none over 5 hours. This meant that the first three days of this week I did 4hr, 4hr and 5hr rides. Been off the bike for 2 days now and plan a final long ride tomorrow. This has worked well in the past – the weekend before Busselton I did back to back long rides. I won’t do quite that much this time. During those rides there’s been a few harder efforts on particular hills but generally the riding has been lower intensity.
Now we’re at La Santa I’ve really been able to get some good swimming done. Lots of long steady swims, loads with full gear. I tend to breath to my right but in this race the line of buoys is left so breathing that side would be good. Rather than just try to breath that side I’ve focussed on bilateral breathing in the hope it will balance out my stroke. I’m feeling better in the water than I have for a while. I’ve found that big swimming a week out from the race can make a big difference for me come race day. So this high volume steady swimming will continue till we leave Club La Santa on Monday.
After this afternoons ‘sun tan swim’ I had a chat with Bella and Stephen Bayliss. They’re both looking fit and had been thundering up and down the pool the whole time I was there. Stephen said I was looking pretty fit myself. Lets hope he’s got a good eye for that sort of thing. Certainly I’m getting a little leaner. The buffet here allows for easy Paleo eating and I’ve been pretty strictly paleo since arrival (the odd ice cream during a ride excluded!) and as expected despite eating TONNES I am getting leaner.
The big question mark for this race has always been the run. How good will it be? I’ve been very conscious of not pushing too rapidly trying to force me back to where I was. Many years a go I had a period of 5 years where I couldn’t run at all. I kept pretty fit from swimming and spin classes. When I finally could run I went at least 2 years with just easy conversational paced running (some VERY long runs). I was aware that my aerobic fitness would allow for faster more intense running but my joints, tendons, ligaments probably would not. This approach meant I went ten years without anything more than a niggle and never really had a period when I couldn’t run. Then of course I snapped a tendon … thats a whole other entry as to what may or may not have caused it. Anyway…. again I’m being very wary about pushing too hard. Thus I’ve slowly increased my volume first and still done no real intensity. The volume has not gone that high but at the moment I’m seeing improvements.
In fact, at the moment it seems almost every run feels a little better than the last even though my legs often don’t want to run before I head out. Today I ran my 10k route with Russell. After the first 3km of climbing we started to slowly increase the pace. As is often the case this happens without any sort of word passing between us. I felt I had the better of Russell… you know that feeling you’re almost ‘half wheeling’ someone. With 2km to go though the pace upped further and it became clear that I was no match for Russell. With 1km I couldn’t stick with him. Not long after he’d broken away I justified to myself that it was wise not to go as the pace was too hard for me. A good dose of reality. Yes, my running is improving ,I feel good running but I just could not match that pace. It’s not back where it can and will be. Hopefully good enough to gain a slot but if it’s not, I am happy that I’ve not pushed and risked injury to get the speed back quickly. I’m starting to run well and know I can push on for the summer. With luck that will be for a great run at Kona but failing that it will be focussed on a stellar run in Busselton.