Sunday, 29 July 2007

Time to work...

Seeing as I think H will pretty much cover this weekend's Tough Guy adventure in her post I'll let you read all about it over there ;) Suffice to say it was a brilliant event and yet again reminded me of the value of working as a team to achieve a common goal... in this case, to get everyone round alive!!

Back to this week's picture and my current athletic inspiration... Lance Armstrong. I wanted to choose a picture which captured how I want to train (and live) over the next few weeks and one which was also fairly topical (I'm sure some of you will have doubts as to whether LA achieved his seven straight Tour de France victories without the aid of illegal substances but if you could for the purposes of this post assume he was clean I would be grateful). For those looking to maximise their potential within endurance sport there is no substitute for good old-fashioned hard work and following last week's return to 'reality' I was keen this week to remind myself what it was like to graft... hard. A few years ago, during Lance's domination of the Tour, I heard a quote that he won number six on the Sunday and was training for number seven on the Monday! Although this is likely to be somewhat of an exaggeration for me it defines what made him the greatest endurance athlete of his generation, the fact that he applied himself with focus, drive and belief like no other. Those of you who have followed the Tour over the last few weeks will have seen both the best and worst side of sport with the likes of Alexandre Vinokourov and Michael Rasmussen hailed as heroes one day only to be exposed as villains the next. In the subject of our photo, and as of today Alberto Contador, we have two 'heroes' who (in the absence of evidence to the contrary) inspire and motivate by reminding us not only of what is possible but why we should look to test ourselves and strive to achieve beyond our perceived limitations.

So... has this week been tough? Following the usual 'recovery Monday' of easy technique swim in the morning and easy bike/run brick in the evening it was time to get busy. Tuesday saw a tough weights session with AKJ in the morning and a tougher 8 x 2 min run intervals with H in the evening. Wednesday became an impromptu rest day when H's work over-ran and we missed the Pool Triangle, although we recreated the session on the turbo at 6 o'clock on Thursday morning. Nothing like 35 minutes of all-out race pace effort to start the day and get you ready for breakfast! Thursday evening became a steady ten mile run at 8 minute miles and Friday morning soon followed with 15 x 50m efforts in the pool and the second tough weights session of the week. Friday evening's session was the clincher though as I popped over to Selby for a 75 mile ride with Ben G from our tri club. Ben's just under three weeks away from Ironman UK and is in solid form on the bike. A joint training session therefore seemed like just the thing to blow the post Ironman cobwebs from my lazy legs. I was pretty pleased to hang on to his pace to about 70 miles before a final ten minute effort left me clinging on to his back wheel for dear life. A couple of swift corners saw the six inch gap from my front wheel to his back wheel increase to about six feet which those of you who ride will know meant I was instantly history and within a few hard minutes I'd lost a good half mile! Still, if you're going to work to your limits you must first find them and Friday was a good marker as to my current condition. Saturday brought a nice 2k open water swim with LBT and an 11 mile run back home for breakfast before the week was rounded off in style with four and a half hours of Tough Guy suffering. Was this a hard week? Yes... but with only five training weeks and a taper week until the Vitruvian there is plenty of work to do.

My planned reflection session never materialised this week and I hope to sit down with my thoughts sometime over the next seven days. Without this happening it is impossible to define clear goals for the coming months and it will therefore become my priority this week. In the short term I'll no doubt be looking to inject some speed in to all three disciplines with the aim of posting a decent time a the Vit which I can use as a springboard to start the new year in great shape.

"This is my body and I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it. Study it. Tweak it. Listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I'm on? I'm on my bike busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on?" - Lance

speak soon,


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