The Japanese government announced last week the expansion of the lock down to cover the whole country, along with a promised payment of Y100,000 per adult to support the economy. My office has been in “Work From Home” (WFH) for basically a month, and two weeks ago my gym and pool closed too. Tokyo, much like the rest of the world is under a state of emergency, and everything seems to have either stopped or gone into slow motion.
The last weekend I should have been in Malaysia, taking part in my first race of the year, the 70.3 Desaru Half Ironman. Instead I sat on my sofa in Tokyo, trying to keep myself focused to train while there isn’t any races to train for. I was reading a few blogs to motivate myself and I thought it may be fun to see how I have managed the 7 point plan that I had written in my blog about a month ago.
So lets take a look and give myself an honest appraisal of how I have done
Commitment 1: Start getting up earlier and doing my runs in the morning, thereby getting them out the way and freeing up my evenings for bike and/or relaxation
Actual: Grade B Ok, so, semi successful on this one. Right after I wrote the blog last month, I decided I needed to fully rest my Achilles, and so took 3 weeks off running completely. I re-started last week with some gentle short runs, and have done all but one of those in the early morning. This has been great, I’ve enjoyed the quiet of Tokyo before it fully wakes up, and I intend to keep doing the same as my running increases.
Commitment 2: After each morning run spend 10 minutes following the Stretch and strengthen routine set by my physio
Actual: Grade E (Looks away in embarrassment). I haven’t managed to do this properly once since lock down happened. I was doing ok while I had use of the gym, as its part of my routine, but since being stuck at home I haven’t done anything more than heel drops.
Commitment 3: Longer swims at least 3 days a week. I don’t like swimming so I avoid it, only doing 1-2hrs a week. I believe that just getting stronger would help me as my early lengths are always much faster than my later ones, so it makes sense to increase my time in the water. Of course this only holds true as long as the pools stay open
Actual: Grade C I have the brilliant excuse that the pools have been closed, but in all honesty I hadn’t been doing more than one or two days swimming per week before lockdown. I am now in the process of ordering dry land swimming bands to at least keep some of the muscle memory alive
Commitment 4: Bike. by running in the morning I can get my evening intervals done without conflict. Again sticking to the schedule of 4 bikes a week will help increase my FTP (which has always been pathetic)
Actual: Grade A One of the really good things to come out of the last 4 weeks has been a real commitment to riding. Has all been indoors but I’ve been religiously following the workouts on the 4 days they schedules, and doing a gentle hour recovery ride on the off days. Would have been an A+ if I had gotten outside on the bike, which I haven’t, but I did fix it up properly this week with power meter pedals and HR monitor locked into the ELEMNT bike computer, so ready to go
Commitment 5: Be sociable, if social distancing allows! There are at least 2 runs, one bike and one open water swim group sessions every week, but I avoid them. As with much of my training, once I am out, I enjoy group sessions and generally I get much better quality workout, but I am always reticent to go. That has to change, and I commit to at least one group session per week.
Actual: Grade B What can I say, we aren’t allowed to socialise. I have tried to be active on the various networks groups I belong, but haven’t yet joined the IM virtual races, mainly due to not running properly yet. I have also investigated Zwift, and will make an effort to get on a virtual group ride soon
Commitment 6: Getting to bed before 11pm, to ensure proper sleep, proper recovery and able to get up to run
Actual: Grade B I have been pretty successful on this, completing daily training by 8pm, eating and going to bed generally between 10:30-11:30pm, which has enabled me to wake better refreshed in the morning.
Commitment 7: Lose weight – plan meals, stick to healthy options. The constant battle. However one issue I have is late night snacking so if I am going to bed earlier, hopefully this will be less of an issue.
Actual: Grade B+ – again, been pretty good with this one and even with the WFH and lack of gym/pool access I have managed to slowly reduce weight. This is very connected to the fact I have not been eating out and also a big reduction in late night snacks
Of course this is all means nothing in the “real world” as I have no idea when I can race again, but I certainly feel stronger on the bike, I’m sleeping better and my training gear seems to fit a bit better than it did a month or so back. I will do a Ramp Test on my Kickr end of this month and hopefully I will see a gain in my FTP, and I am slowly planning to increase the duration of my runs, or at least as much as the Achilles issue will allow me. If nothing else, this forced rest from “training to race” has allowed me a more thought out and long term approach to my sporting endeavours, which hopefully will result in a fitter, stronger and more balanced me when life gets back to normal.