Sunday, 23 September 2012

August Training Update

Captain Tardy here, yes I am still alive and still on the long road to l'Etape 2013.

Well August has come and gone, and yet again I seem to be writing a training update at the end of the month that followed the one I am writing about (note to self; really, really must try and do the update more promptly!) What can we say about August? It was wet, no make that very wet, and unseasonaly cold. It was also the month Mrs Pixie and I chose to go on holiday for a couple of weeks which had the potential to disrupt the training programme.

I had originally planned to minimise disruption to the training schedule while i was on holiday by taking the bike on holiday with me, which would have allowed me to continue to "get the miles in" and minimise the risk of going backwards in terms of cycling fitness. In true Pixie style, work, life and procrastination seemed to get in the way of putting that plan into action and on the day we flew out from Bristol to Menorca, the bike was in the garage rather than in the hold of the plane.

Was I worried about not having the bike with me and not really having a training plan for the coming two weeks? For the first two days I convinced myself that it would be a good thing to have a proper break from training and just relax by the villa's pool, partake of a G&T (or two) and stay in bed in the morning. That plan lasted exactly two days, on day three of the holiday I got up at 6:30am (to avoid the daytime heat) put on my running kit and went for a quick run around the resort. It was only a quick run of maybe 20 minutes duration, I was on holiday after all and at this point I still faintly believed myself when I was telling myself I could probably get away with doing nothing for two weeks.

Day four of the holiday and I'm up again at 6:30am and off for another run around the resort, today however I had a different plan. The previous day Mrs Pixie and I had laboured our way up a set of steps which led from the beach to the top of the cliffs where the main resort centre was and while I was walking up them I couldn't help wondering what my heart rate would be if I ran up all the way up to the top of the 193 steps? and the inclusion of the steps into what was to become my daily run would add some much needed hill work. By the time I had actually got to the steps on the morning of day four I had convinced myself that simply running up the steps once wasn't worth the effort and it would almost be like doing some interval training if I ran up and down three times. So, 193 steps had become 1158 steps in the space of less than 24 hours. The steps in question weren't just any old nicely constructed gradual incline steps either...........   

The bottom third of the steps to the beach

Day six of the holiday and having conquered the steps the previous two days it is time to change the  now daily run. Day six saw the daily run direction reversed and the distance extended to include a section of cliff path that Mrs Pixie and I had strolled around the previous day in the midday heat (what is it they say about mad dogs, Englishmen and the midday sun?) The inclusion of the cliff path section did mean that for every remaining day of the holiday I was able to enjoy the sight of the sun rising over the cliffs and some lovely views of the resorts beach and bay. 
Cala en Porter bay

Sun rise over the cliffs at Cala en Porter
Reversing the direction of the run had another effect on the amount of effort needed to finish the run, because instead of running down this hill at the start of the run, I now had this hill as the finishing stretch just before I got back to our villa each day.
Was going for a run everyday enough to stop me from thinking about training schedules and diminishing fitness levels? Yes and no, the final addition to the daily exercise regime happened at the end of the first week, when I decided to include a daily one mile swim into my poolside "relaxation" programme. Swimming a mile in one session in the Villa's pool proved to be just to boring for me so it was very quickly turned into two half mile sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon which suited me much better. 
The combination of running and swimming every day seemed to suit me quite well and it definitely had the desired effect of keeping the muscles and heart "ticking over" while we were on holiday.
I think something I have learnt during August and whilst on holiday is that exercising daily has become a habit for me and like most habits, any break in the routine or habit can be difficult to deal with. The other thing I have learnt is that with a little thought and creativity it is possible to exercise at a worthwhile level whilst away from home and without all of the "required" kit and clothing
What did the month look like in numbers?
  • 30 training sessions completed over the month
  • Total training time was a little under 30 hours (so just under one hour a day on average)
  • Average recorded heart rate during training sessions was 115 beats per minute (this fall is probably due to swimming sessions)
  • Average maximum heart rate during training session was 151 beats per minute
  • 9746 calories burnt as a direct result of exercise (so just under 3 pounds "lost" due to exercise)
  • Weight remained static although approximately 1-2 inches lost off of waist size
  • 242 cycling miles completed in first two weeks of the month

For those of you that read what is in effect my training diary on a regular basis you will know that one of the things about our holiday I was most looking forward to was being able to fit comfortably into an airline seat. I am happy to report that for the first time in many, many years I was able to fit into the seat comfortably and didn't feel like somebody had booked me into a child's seat. Happy days.

What impact has all of the above had on our holiday arrangements for next year? Well, Mrs Pixie isn't convinced I can relax without being able to train on the bike, so next year we are going to Majorca one of the worlds best cycle training destinations and yes I will be taking the bike with me. Next years holiday accommodation is already booked, but do I need to take myself off on a pre l'etape training camp in Majorca sometime in the early Spring of 2013?

As always thanks for taking the time to read the Pixies ramblings and hopefully you will be able to find the time to visit the blog again in the future.

Dha weles diwettha


(Apologies for the change in font size towards the end of this blog post, I am trying to sort this out over the next few days) 


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