Reaching Breaking Point

Well, I hope this week of training has had some lasting benefit as it’s been quite a tough one. Within my periodisation I’m just coming to the end of a Strength and Endurance phase before staring on some more speed / race focused work. Within my 3-weekly, Medium, High, Recovery cycle it was a high week. You would therefore expect it to be a hard week, and going into it a little fatigued from a fairly big week last week obviously makes it harder.  If I keep on training like this I have to reach a breaking point of some kind, hopefully it’ll be a breakthrough in my firness and speed rather than a breakdown of my body.

It wasn’t huge amounts of training by some people’s standards, but mixed in with a busy week at work, meetings every day and lots of other things going on, it’s not always easy to fit it all in.

Sunday started with a hard run session that involved eight 2 minute hill reps up and back down a steep hill just outside of Machynlleth. Pretty hard work on the quads and an hour of hard running. This was followed immediately by a 3.5km swim in the pool. The afternoon wasn’t that restful either with lots of gardening and digging. The hill reps did of course produce a nice elevation and heart rate graph.

Sunday's Hill Reps

Sunday's Hill Reps

Monday saw Morgan at home from school with me, so after a little Mountain Bike ride around Pendam with him it was lots more digging in the garden and then yet more hill reps, this time on my bike. The session today had me doing six 4 minute hill climbs within a 30 mile (1hr 45) ride. Another tough session but I felt OK.

Monday's Hill Reps

Monday's Hill Reps

Tuesday was a busy day at work, the first day back into the proper school / work routine since Easter so there was lots of catching up to do. Training wise it was a brutal 1 hour circuits session in the evening followed by a hard swimfit session in the pool.

Wednesday was here and it was time for a longish run with five 1 mile hard efforts with 3 minutes easier recovery paced running between them. These are always quite hard as the run ends up being quite long. In this case it was 9.5 mile run in 1 hour 5 minutes, but I did manage to push a good 6:15 min/mile pace for all of the intervals.

Thursday was another run, hot on the heels of yesterday’s long run, so plenty of fatigue in the legs but it ended up being a good one. Yet more hill reps of course, this time ten 2 minute climbs with a recovery back to where I started, and with 15 minutes either end as a warm up and cool down we were looking at a very good quality 8.26 mile run in 1 hr 7 minutes with loads of climbing. That session should have counted towards something! It was followed later in the day with a 2.5 km swim that consisted of three 750m race pace efforts. Unfortunately they weren’t that fast, all just under 12 minutes and the last one at 11:44 but I was pretty tired and they didn’t feel good. I then had to go for another swim later in the day with Morgan, but that was of course very leisurely for me.

Friday and there was a bit of a let up as todays training was just a strength and endurance ride on the Turbo Trainer. 1hr 30 with lots of slow cadence, high gear, long intervals.

Saturday was a big day to finish off the week though. First a bike ride with six, 2 mile flat out efforts. It was a little damp out there and I pushed really hard on the intervals. I then had a longer than expected ride back home as I’d forgotten that the road was closed. The last 5 miles into an ever increasing wind weren’t much fun. 47 miles in total. After some lunch and a brief lie down I was back up and mowing the neighbours lawn before heading out for a run. This was the dreaded fartlek run! I tried this last week and really struggled with it so hadn’t been looking forward to it, especially with legs already fatigued from the cycle in the morning. This session consists of:

  • 10 min warm up
  • 4 mins hard, 4 mins easy
  • 4 mins hard, 3 mins easy
  • 4 mins hard, 2 mins easy
  • 4 mins hard, 1 min easy
  • 4 mins hard, 30 secs easy
  • 4 mins hard
  • 10 min Cool down

I started off OK, and actually got better and better throughout the run and finished off with the final 4 minute effort at 6:05 min/mile pace. Not bad, and a great way to finish off a hard week.

My charts are looking good. Needless to say there have been a few sessions this week where the Training Stress Score (TSS) has been pretty high so my overall training load over the 7 days has been pretty high – my  7 day training load is at its highest so far this year. Similarly this week has pushed my chronic training load up to a year high of 107 as well. Better still, despite all of this I haven’t had a single day with any muscle soreness.

Training Stress Chart

Training Stress Chart

My muscles used to be pretty sore a day or two after hard training but they seem OK these days. I don’t know if its the fact that I’m more used to it these days, I’m not trying hard enough or that I’ve changed from one type of statin medication to another, but it’s certainly better.

You’ll be pleased to hear that I have a recovery week planned for next week, and even have a whole days rest on Monday! Mind you a recovery week still involves 3 swim sessions, 2 hard run sessions and 2 bike sessions with of course some hill reps thrown in for good measure.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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