100 Hour Months

100HourMonthIt’s been just over six months since the start of my 100 hour month cap. Hows it gone ? The easy answer first is that I’ve achieved it so far:

Oct: 85 / Nov: 100 / Dec: 78 / Jan: 93 / Feb: 99 / Mar: 49 / Apr: 86 (1 day to go)

Initially I believe I gained hugely just from getting lots of rest and freshening up. I’m pretty confident my Busselton result was largely down to getting fresh and tapping in to the fitness built in the summer when I was cranking out 150+ hours. This already makes me wonder about whether through the winter I will go back to big hours and reduce from say May onwards. I found also that the cap made me think before I headed out. I found myself knocking on the head those bikes and runs where I would have just been going out to get the miles done. Instead I’d save the hours for later when I could do the session better.

So far, however, it’s been pretty easy to achieve because of all the racing I was doing and then March including some proper down time after a tough winters racing. Heading into Apr / May / June I knew that keeping to this cap may prove tricky especially in April which started with our first EverydayTraining Camp. This meant that the early part of April had lots of hours and I would have to temper my enthusiasm in the latter half. Instead I got ill and the easter weekend was a write off. Suddenly the 100 hours was looking easy. A few more days ill and suddenly getting close to 100 hours was going to be the challenge.

This highlighted the first negative in this approach. The ends of months are like discontinuities meaning I can end up with some extreme hours forced in because I can’t let the hours drift in to the following months. So I arrive at Wednesday this week finally feeling great, 4 days left of the month and 28 hours to play with. Joy of joys I can train like my old self. So despite 2 weeks of disrupted / no training I through myself in to it. Wed – 1hr swim / 6 hr bike / 30 min run then Thurs 1h20 swim / 4 hr bike / 1h20 run. I was feeling good and developed some good leg ache.  However, I was left with 14 hours and two days to go … game on. Who said this was a cap and not a target;o)

This morning I am tired … very tired. I don’t swim. I keep putting off my ride by working instead until finally I come to my senses and realise that the only reason I’d be heading out is to use up the remaining months hours. This is not in the spirit of the cap. It’s not the idea of it. I decided on rest. I like to think I was wise.

100HourMonth1

The main picture is my training stress since Ironman New Zealand. You can see the drop in fitness due to the break and how my fitness came back on the camp and now even with the time off my fitness is right up there. The individual sports show a different story. You can see my swimming has been in steady decline since not swimming with the Christchurch Squad (more on squad swimming below). The camp really improved my bike fitness and is still there, which has been evidenced in my riding the past two days. My running has just declined massively. This is largely because the down time had no running, the camp was low on run volume and thus my illness really dug in to the remaining run fitness.

I feel like in May I need to get fit.

So… May is going to be tricky. Not only the above but also I have got a 2 week training camp in Lanzarote and I’ve just got access to a new swim squad. Having been on the waiting list for the local tri club swim squad for nearly a year I managed to make contact with the coach of the Taunton School swim squad and went for a try out there on thursday.  Now, I not only have access to 4 morning sessions of 90 minutes but it looks like they’d like me to help coach some sessions which would be great. I went on Thursday and the coach was really good. He took an immediate interest in my stroke and highlighted something new which made real sense. It was actually quite funny as he first saw my freestyle. Then he saw my backstroke and commented how good it was (it used to be my best stroke). Then he saw my butterfly and said “freestyle is you’re worst stroke!”. I think the reason for this is I have hardly swum the other strokes since being a kid and thus have not developed bad habits. As for my freestyle… I’m optimistic that with work I can really get a step change in my swimming.

So whats this got to do with my 100 hour months ? Next week i feel I need to swim focus to kick my swimming back in to shape especially with 2 weeks in Lanza with only open water swimming. This means I may well do 6 hours of swimming. Can that fit with the 100 hours. I find myself so tempted to remove the cap for May. I feel like I need to put the work in for Austria and wonder whether a big month in May followed by a capped month in June just might be the ticket. Alternatively, this is the moment I need to stick to my guns.

Jo came up with a alternative approach – instead of a monthly cap have a rolling monthly cap. Ie my 30 days to date totals must not be over 100 hours. In fact, I think this is a tougher cap as the current approach means I could do, in theory, 200 hours in a 28 day period and still meet the strick cap. I think another reason for her suggestion was to give me something to do whilst I wasn’t training. She knows me pretty well.

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