Monday, January 20, 2020

The progress continues

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So, last time out I wrote about getting myself a coach for the first time and having to learn to trust in that relationship. I also wrote about my introduction to the concept of winter base training. Well, one month in and I'd have to say things are showing signs of promise.

As I'm sure you have too, I'd read a lot of contradictory evidence for and against base training and the LSR (long slow run) concept; all of which left me pretty much none-the-wiser. However, I commited fully to doing whatever programme coach set me for the week - and one of the initial surprises is that the LSR doesn't really seem to feature at all. I do one longer run (still only eight miles or so) each week at around 72% of max HR but all my other runs are typically less than six miles with turbo sessions no more than 75 minutes (I get to do a longer cycle at the weekend). Obviously this schedule is influenced strongly by the fact that 2011 for me will consist of sprints and olympic-distance races (no Ironman madness for me just yet). But while the intensity has dropped off, the volume has been wound up significantly, with three sessions a day now not uncommon. This is leading to a new kind of fatigue for me, which I'm told is all part of the learning process!

I've started running at my local (Swindon, Lydiard Park) ParkRun ( whenever I can. For those of you that don't know, ParkRun is a nationwide program of 5KM runs, usually held on a Saturday morning. They're all staffed by volunteers and there are no prizes; but with winter training (high volume, low intensity) now in full force, I've come to appreciate the opportunity for a flat-out lung-busting effort on Saturday morning.

And it seems this 'lack' of speedwork isn't hurting me as much as I initially feared. I've managed to run three of the last four weekends and have improved my 5km time on each occasion (finally, I can claim a 'sub-20' 5km time).

I've also signed up to the 'Winterswim' training competition ( - new site) to give me that little encouragement to not skimp on my swim training. And that too seems to be paying dividends, with three successively faster 400m times recorded.

It's far from scientific, I admit. But from where I'm standing, there seems to be a strong argument for base training exclusively in the low aerobic zone - at least for a period of time. Hopefully it will put me in good stead for introducing speedwork in the new year, ahead of the 2011 season.

Speaking of which, I really need to start planning my race calendar for 2011. After next weekend's Chilly Duathlon at Castle Combe, I don't have any confirmed entries. Must sort that out - a few early season Duathlons before the main Tri season kicks off will probably be the plan.

See you at Chilly - let's hope it doesn't live up to its name this year!

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Matt Fisher runs - so it's all his fault! He pretends to be a triathlete, but really he is a husband, father and company VP. But he has raced for the GB Age Group squad a few times and is a two-times qualifier for the IM70.3 world champs