20 Mar 2013

New Blogger – Welcome Alex Houghton!

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ah_blogAlex is like many of us – he has a busy life and fits in his training in and around his commitments. Alex is going to be submitting his blog every other week to let you know what training he is doing in preparation of an Ironman in Switzerland later on this year.

Training Week: Warm Weather! (4th – 17th March)

The week looked like it would be a warm one compared to recent ones. Looking forward to getting out for a couple of runs and a ride on Saturday. Monday was a good day, big 2012 holiday booked! Hawaii, to support (lay on a beach) a mate at the Ironman Worlds. Can’t wait. I’m not expecting to qualify myself, unless over the next 21 weeks I become a super biker! That evening I did an hour on the gym bike, short sharp intervals over 4 sets, killed the legs, half way through the doubt of whether I would finish the session crept in. Started to play tricks on my brain, only 1 more set (not really!).

I have been running recently with a tight hamstring, doesn’t stop me but I can feel it. So took it easy on my 8 miler to work. Really need to start stretching properly! Straight to Wednesday morning when I did a swim including 10 x 200m, decided on that set on my way to the pool. Not much structure to my swim training at the moment. Felt good once I’d finished. Headed to the gym for some core and weights work that evening, this is an area that I completely ignored whilst training last year. I’m hoping the upper body weights will help my swim, more reps per set so hopefully will build endurance rather than size.

Another 8 miler on Thursday, made sure I warmed the hamstring up before heading out the door, swing leg back and forth 20-30 times, like you’re kicking a ball. Really helps! Increased the pace of the run and the hammy felt good, not out of the woods yet but on the way. A long overdue pint that night, was on best behaviour, only 2…

Friday was a day off from training with Saturday’s ride in mind, wanted to do 4 hours in the saddle including a short time trial, 7.4 miles. I knew of a good undulating stretch of road between Guildford and Leatherhead. I’ve not done much time trialling so was interested to see how I’d get on. Hit the road on Saturday at 9ish, weather was ok, makes a change! Completed 35 miles to start pint of time trial. Got the head down and stayed in the aero position 90% of the time, averaged 21.5mph, happy with that. Then headed up box hill once and home, 71 miles done. Sunday I went to Twickenham to watch England versus Italy, not good from England, need to up their game for Wales next weekend!

The warm weather didn’t last long, after enduring the freezing temperatures at the rugby on Sunday I headed out early on Monday morning for a 6 mile recovery run. Wow, SO cold! The wind was insane. A guy at work had just got back from Moscow where it was minus 18, he felt colder in London that morning. That evening it wasn’t much warmer but managed 8 miles run home at 7:11min/mile pace, given the morning run the last couple of miles were tough!

Hit the pool on Tuesday morning, 4 x 500m main set, total 2,600m. Need to build this to at least 6 x 500m, and speed it up! Never feel I have enough time before work to get a descent swim in. Headed to yoga again that evening at Evolve. Quietly confident after my last performance… Loads of new moves, damn it! And I had to go on a mat by the radiator, worked up quite a sweat!

I could not get out of bed on Wednesday morning, couldn’t even motivate myself to cycle the 3.5 miles to work. Just an off morning. That evening I did a hard interval session on the gym bike, 5 minutes on 5 minutes off times 5. That session really gets tough toward the 4th and 5th efforts, so good to get it done though. Thursday morning I hit the pool and did a threshold test in an attempt to focus my swim training more. A good warm-up then 400m flat out then 200m flat out, recorded the times and then entered it on a website to tell me my 100m threshold pace. No idea how it’s worked out but mine was 1:50/100m, that works out at roughly 1 hour 10 min swim split for the Ironman, room for improvement there. I can now use this for a weekly threshold swim, we’ll see how that goes next week!

Headed back to the Cotwolds after work on Friday with my bike, aiming to get a ride done. Saturday morning saw wind and rain, I thought against heading out because I had a turbo. I put the movie Gladiator (fantastic movie!) on and started peddling. I did 2 30 minute efforts at 80% in a big gear in the aero position. Two hours later I was done. Felt good, I’m getting more comfortable in the aero position. That evening I watched England get thoroughly outplayed by Wales in the 6 Nations! Gutted. Should make the Lion’s Tour selection interesting. Lots of beer consumed so Sunday was another hangover day.