I’m now 14 weeks into my training plan, a little over a quarter of the way through. It’s time to reflect on how things have gone and where I need to focus going forward

Assessment of how well it’s all going: 0 (not well) to 5 (fabulously)

Training

I’m really pleased with how my training has gone so far. I haven’t developed and adhered to a plan, per se, but I been consistent and used cross-training to good effect to gradually build up over time.

  • Increased weekly training time by 50% (from c. 6 hours per week to c. 9 hours per week)
  • Increased weekly running time to 5+ hours
  • Increased longest run from 10km to 25+km
  • Increased aerobic fitness considerably. My Maximum Aerobic Fitness (MAF) test has improved to c. 4:10min/km @ 80% HR max, up from c. 4:40min/km in May (and c. 5:10 in February)
  • VO2 max up to 60 (from 55 in May) according to Garmin test
  • No loss (or gain) in performance of strength tests (pistol squats, pull-ups and plank)

Strength

This has not been a consistent focus for me really. I tend to do upper body strength sessions sporadically (on days when legs are tired) and then do push-ups and pull-ups when I remember. I have avoided doing specific leg strength exercises so as not to tire my legs out. This will start to be more of a focus for me in the next quarter. Mainly to incorporate some specific running strength exercises (inspired by Eric Orton’s book The Cool Impossible) and to do some basic upper body callisthenics every day. Without a greater focus I fear my body won’t react well to the increase in mileage I need to pursue.

Active recovery

I have incorporated minimal stretching and foam rolling after the vast majority of sessions. However, my training records shows few dedicated mobility sessions which I tend to do in the evening while watching TV. This will be a greater focus for me in the next quarter, to develop the discipline to do 20mins. I plan to make use of my paid-membership of TheRunExperience to inspire this as they have come up with a daily mobility focus which looks comprehensive and takes the guesswork out of what to do. I’ll also be able to build in regular massages now that lockdown restrictions have eased.

Nutrition

The area I’m least satisfied with is my nutrition. In my two-part blog on weight management I talk about my demons in this subject. A flick through my weekly training record shows I yo-yo badly in terms of eating well and then gorging. My last one-week holiday saw me gain 2kg in a week. While I have lost 0.6kg since then, I’m still 2.8kg heavier than when I started back in May, and that is not all muscle. The simple answer is to be more aware of what I’m eating and not just reach for a snack (often highly calorific) at the first sign of hunger or boredom. I need to remind myself of the tips I posted here.

I also need to start trying different fuelling strategies on my runs as I start to build these up. At the moment they are short enough that I can get around without eating, but that won’t last long!

Race preparation

Nothing to report on this yet. For the time being I’m focusing on my duathlon on 6 September!

Kit

Nothing to report on this yet.