January in the UK – one of my favourite times of the year! We are already well into the New Year and winters training so I thought I’d write a quick blog update before the season comes upon us.
So what’s new since October?
I enjoyed an end of season break after Heaver Castle with some easier training weeks, lots of lie-ins and a bit of time spent visiting friends down in Cornwall – a much needed rest
I got back into full training in November, minus running still. The first week back in the pool felt horrific, but then it always does when getting back into it, otherwise training was going swimmingly
I raced a 1500m swim at Barnet Copthall at the end of November where I posted a time better than the previous year and a PB, though I was slightly frustrated as I thought I could go significantly faster given the times I had been hitting in training
December came around and after extensive treatment with the Bosworth Clinic I slowly got back running – WAHOO! Just 2 minutes at first but it was a start and I’m very nearly back to a full run programme. I ran for an hour this week, my longest run in 18 months, so we’re starting to get somewhere at long last
I forgot how much running hurts literally everything – recovery is so important, you can't do too much. Endless amounts of strength and conditioning, rehab work, exercises, core work, lots of magnesium baths (with Better You magnesium flakes), stretching, physio and massage, along with endless time spent with the foam roller and golf ball. It’s essential. I haven’t been properly running for a long time so it’s important for me to build up slowly
I’ve managed a few parkruns – Christmas Day at Bushy Park is one of my favourites and I managed to persuade my sister to join. New Years Day at Black Park was always going to be a tricky one, given the lack of sleep the night before, but I was pleased to back it up with another run there the following day
The Imperial Winter Series kicked off in December at Minet Park – it’s great fun racing around the circuit and requires a lot of concentration given the number of inexperienced riders. I usually race after a solid swim and run in the morning so it makes for a great days training. 3 out of 4 races done with one to go next month, with the quality of the riders picking up every race and my bright yellow Dassi bike there’s no hiding for me!
I was incredibly tired before Christmas so it was good to enjoy some more relaxed training over the period and spend time visiting relatives. My blood test for iron showed my ferratin levels were the best they’ve been (yay!) – despite the GP receptionist reading me the incorrect value over the phone and having me in a panic for a week before I got the print out, puzzled as to why it could have been so low!
January brought round the Herts Cross Country. I was unsure whether to enter a while back when the entries had to be in as I had only just started running, but I thought I could hopefully get myself round and use it as a ‘long’ run. It’s a race I won in 2014, but it was nice to run under no pressure or expectation where I would finish. I kept in control and got myself through the mud in 8th place, which wasn’t a bad effort given it was my longest run in about 4 months since Hever Castle. The best news of all, and to some extent the biggest relief, was that I suffered no muscle soreness or pain the next day
With the cold weather and snow that came this month I timed a quick break out to Portugal to perfection for 6 days at Tri-Spoke Activities where Carol and Steve looked after me superbly. It was a great block of training covering 500k on the bike in 5 days along with swimming and running. The weather was great and I was very pleased with the training. It’s a shame I’ve had to come back to such wet and cold weather here but I've unfinished business with Foia so it won't be long before I'm back I'm sure!
Last weekend I raced the 100m free and 4x100 relay at the South East Regional Masters in Crawley. The 100m is not my sort of distance at all, especially given my shocking ability to dive and turn – but I annoyingly didn’t get my entries in quick enough for the 400 and 800 and I wanted to do something. I swam a PB and our relay team won a gold so it was a good mornings work
I’m still continuing treatment with Gordon at the Bosworth Clinic who has been excellent and I am super pleased with my progress, I’m also working with Paul for strength and conditioning which is going well. I’m glad I’ve still got a few months to go to get my run up to speed but I’m definitely looking forward to racing this year, hopefully kicking off with the British Duathlon Champs on my doorstep at Windsor. I’m enjoying getting my training back up to a 'normal week' and having the structure with running back in place, it feels unbelievably good to pop my trainers on and head straight out of the door for a run – something you should never take for granted!