With the arrival of a New Year there’s always resolutions to be made and then often broken! So instead of resolutions I have New Year changes and challenges; a new training regime, demons to banish, fears to overcome and medals to earn!
My first change to my training regime is Tuesday morning my running schedule is now a Plyometric hill training run, yep that was a new one on me too! Basically a Plyometric run is one where your muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time with the goal of increasing power, apparently! This week was my second Plyo run! Firstly I had to find a steep hill and then devise a route which would involve a 20 minute warm-up to reach it, stupidly I chose a very undulating route to reach my steep hill! Once I reach my steep hill I then have to run/bound up it for 20 seconds as hard as I can with high bounce, short stride and ensuring my heel never touches the ground. In theory it sounds easy, I mean it’s just 20 seconds and then I get to walk back down the hill before doing it again, however repeating this 8 times is not easy by any means! Once I can breathe again I then have a 15 minute cool down. Weirdly so far I have enjoyed it.
I am back swimming training on Mondays and I am in the gym 2 – 3 times per week with core, glute and strength work. The gym has always been a staple of my training but I am trying to devise new exercises to challenge myself more.
I still enjoy RPM sprint on Wednesday evenings which in essence is a 30-minute high-intensity interval training on a bike or in other words 30 minutes of torture and glowing! I am still also enjoying watt bike sessions at the gym which I have gone into in a previous Blog so I won’t repeat myself but in brief a watt bike is the closest you will get to the feel of outdoor cycling without having to go outdoors! Last night I did a 1 hour endurance program called ‘Building Blocks’ where I had to really push myself to keep going; bloody-mindedness springs to mind! I have been listening to Desert Island Discs during these sessions but last night I tried a talking book which I actually really enjoyed, a real book would have been impractical not just logistically but because I did seem to glow an awful lot; remember women do not perspire we glow!
So to my Blog title ‘Completely clueless but lived to tell the tale!’ Last Sunday was my first cycle sportive, another new experience where I am completely inexperienced! My understanding of a sportive is that it is a mass participation, non-competitive cycle event. The one we had chosen is designed to be simple, and cheap! There is no electronic timing or feed stations, the routes are designed not to be gut busting ones but they are well-marked, however most importantly there is a free bacon butty at the finish! There is no mass start they just ask that you are on the road sometime between 9 – 9.30am. So once I’d worked out how to put my bike back together after fitting it in the back of a Fiat 500 I met up with my cycling partners in crime for the day; Kirsty, Lindsey and Sam.
We set off at around 9.15am on a dry, calm, chilly Sunday morning. As I may have mentioned on many occasion I am not an avid cyclist (I can hear all those of you that have listened to me moan actually groan at this point!) so this ride for me was to see if I could actually see what all the fuss is about and not fall off! The route was easy to follow, interesting, on the most part quiet roads and the camaraderie was good. We took it in turns to cycle together where safe and chat, we stopped approximately every hour to refuel and when needed we also stopped to regroup. I expressed moments of ‘enjoyment’ at times, much to the amazement of everyone else! Compared to running there is so much to think about; traffic awareness, remembering to unclip your feet before a junction and change gears accordingly, watch every pot hole, drain and manhole cover, get your gears right going both up and downhill as well as hydration and refuelling. I have a real problem with the latter as I struggle taking a hand off the handle bars just to signal, let alone anything else! So in the January sales I invested in a cycling hydration pack which worked a treat on Sunday and then stopping to refuel resolved that issue; Millionaires shortbread was a winner that day! There were two route options; long and short and you could make your choice just a couple of miles before the end of the short route as the arrows went in two separate directions. Being the elite cyclists we are we turned left; long! Throughout the day I felt strong and coped well on the uphills, less so on the downhills as now I seem to no longer be that fearless cyclist of my youth but a big scaredy-cat instead! 65 miles later we finished and never has a bacon butty tasted so good, and again I expressed statements of enjoyment! I also have never felt so knackered, a whole new type of tiredness, a very different type of fatigue compared to that of endurance running! But I’d done it and I did enjoy it, however in reality it does take the whole day. Time I’d driven there, we were then out for 5hrs 25mins (with 5hrs 54secs of actually cycling), then pack up and drive home and finally wash the bike! It’s a long day but I appreciate I am not the speediest of cyclists which doesn’t help!
Apparently this is where we cycled, but a lot of it is a bit of a blur! I will be honest the blur is not due to the speed I was cycling at but more because of pure concentration on the road!
Here’s Lindsey, myself and Kirsty coming in for a refuelling stop.
The next morning my arms were killing me! Who’d of thought!
On to the next adventure!
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