A month between races
I’m sitting on a plane heading back to Europe, and the forced inactivity gives me a great opportunity to catch up on my blog, Haven’t written anything since the Marbella Half Ironman report end of April, so I thought I would first update on the previous month, and then write a report on my race last weekend in a separate post.
I had marked the Japan Half Ironman in June as one of my A races for the year, and I knew I would have to focus hard to improve my rather shitty results from Marbella. I hadn’t expected anything from that race so had just enjoyed the experience, but it was different now and I had 6 weeks to get back into race shape, so I got down to some serious work as soon as I landed back into Tokyo.
My basic plan was to ride my Wahoo Kickr 2-3 times a week to build strength (I knew my bike endurance was basically ok after the mountains of Marbella, so aimed to increase my FTP), plus a long ride outside when I could. I continued my run streak, but upped my mileage to ensure I averaged over 40k per week with some speed work as well as long runs thrown in, and tried to get in 3 swim sessions weekly too. Basically all about improving my strength and ability to keep pushing hard over the full half ironman distance.
I had come down with a cold just after Marbella 70.3, and the long trip back to Tokyo just made it worse. I also suffered a bad back and ended up having to visit the physio twice. And finally the mysterious shoulder pain I get in my right shoulder mysteriously returned several times (not the shoulder damaged in the accident, but I believe a flare up of an old Anti-immune issue), each time mysteriously disappearing again after a few days. But all in all I managed to pretty much follow the plan I had created for myself and felt happy enough with my efforts.
The other big target I had was to lose some weight. I know my ideal race weight is below 75, but the last few years the scales have kept going north, recently reaching around 81kg and above. I decided to hit the nuclear button and see what I could do in a full month alone in Tokyo. I deliberately didn’t bring any snacks back from Europe, nor any of my favourite foods like cheese and sausage. I then ate every piece of chocolate and every snack I had in the house within first 3 days of being back (I couldn’t throw them out and knew I would be tempted if they were around the house), and basically didn’t buy anymore. I cut down on carbs, and tried to eat more healthy proteins and fats, slating my in-between meal hunger with fruits and vegs. The time I had between races was just right to keep the enthusiasm up and to stay positive about what I was trying to achieve.
It worked! I lost around 4kg in a month. Probably 1-2kg in water weight from not eating salty snacks, the rest was from losing the extra bodyfat my unhealthy eating habits had allowed to develop. I could see and feel the difference, with the lightness on my feet while running the most obvious result.
I do love it when thing seem to go to plan, although I know that its 80% about my own internal discipline, with only 20% due to external sources. Last year I only managed one race, the year before just two and I had felt myself going backwards even though I had given myself so much opportunity to train during my stays in Spain. This year I feel happier about training, I try to leave my ego at the door and so enjoy it more even though I am more disciplined, and feel I am getting back to my old mind set of a few years ago. If I can combine that with my increased knowledge about how to train (actualy I have always known how to, but find it hard to put into practise) and the increase in time and opportunity I have to train, then who knows, I may start to creep from back of the pack to somewhere a little more lofty.