The weather was so much better this week and that makes such a difference. I think that if you have to do your Ironman training in the UK, you should get a headstart in the race to make up for the bad conditions you had to suffer in training. The long rides on Saturday and Sunday were actually a pleasure (once my shoulder had settled down) - not too hot (only needed less than half a litre of water per hour and no sunblock), not too cold (shorts and t-shirt) and lovely clear blue skies. Only got one puncture on the road bike but I managed to (calmly) fix it without any problems.
My shoulder is a lot better thanks to Marta - it's still not perfect, though. I can almost set my watch by it - it starts to hurt about 30 minutes into a ride and then stops again after about an hour. Even though I am coming to expect that the pain will subside, it severely effects my mood and makes the ride seem daunting at first.
I did my long run on Friday on the way to work (2 hours) and I am noticing that I am a lot fitter (which is just as well) but I am getting a bit lazy, I have to say. I am running at about the same speed as I would have done some months ago but my pulse rate is much lower (133bpm versus 147bpm). What I should be doing is running faster but, although the cardiovascular load seems less, the muscular load does not and, after a week of heavy training, my legs feel like lead.
What about swimming? I hardly ever mention it, partly because I do much less of it than the other two sports (it is a relatively small part of the Ironman) and partly because it is what I am worst at. Still, that means that the improvements I am making are all the more dramatic. When I can, I have a private swimming lesson with Luis from the gym at work. The good thing is that he has done the Total Immersion course so at least he knows what I am trying to do and can help me develop a style that includes the best of all worlds, hopefully. There are times when it "clicks" and I feel like I am swimming on top of the water - it is a very rewarding sensation when you get it right, but it is also very demoralising when you are slugging it through the water. At one point I started to worry that I was getting one of those dreaded swimming related injuries like Swimmer's Shoulder - it turned out that that the burning sensation I was feeling in my shoulder came from my beard rubbing against it every time I turned to breathe!
Anyway, all this to say, so far so good. Next week I have the mother of all weeks as far as volume goes. I've decided to take a couple of days holiday to be able to train without getting unduly stressed about it: I have been building up to being able to handle this volume for the last couple of months so I really want to be able to tackle it head on. After next week there will be a relatively light week and then a build towards the Half Ironman in Lisbon at the end of April and, after that, a final build towards the Ironman in Brazil itself. That's not to say it's going to get any easier but I'm hoping that it will be easier to keep motivated.
|From my commute: Some of these olive trees are over 1,000 years old!|