Since arriving in France just over a month ago, cycling has certainly been the focus, although that wasn’t necessarily the plan. Due to the unseasonal weather over April which caused the pool to resemble the Arctic, I struggled to get my swim sessions done and decided to back way off on the swimming until it was warmer. My arrival in France also coincided with a developing niggle in my hip flexor, which didn’t bother me on the bike, but was noticeable on the run. Though it wasn’t enough to stop me from running, the mileage and intensity was reeled in to try to allow the hip to improve. After three weeks of reduced mileage, my eureka moment occurred last week at the start of a short run – no pain. Run mileage over last ten days or so has gradually increased, ensuring that the hip isn’t overly stressed too soon. I'm now feeling 100% and I'm ready to resume normal run training.
Whilst these factors weren’t conducive to improving my swimming and running, it opened the door to increase the miles on the bike. Despite what can only be called appalling weather in the first three weeks, I went out and got the bike training done. My motivation was never in question, but the weather made getting the training in a mental challenge. Over the last few weeks especially, there have been some memorable training sessions. Training in a group environment has been a new experience and has made training much more enjoyable. Yesterday was a perfect example – a 6h22’ group ride, which was also the longest time I’ve spent on a bike, eclipsing my maiden Ironman bike leg of 5:46 at Ironman Switzerland in 2008. The effort was steady for the first 4 hours, but the final couple of hours were a battle, as I discovered that maximum efforts at the end of a long day in the saddle are no fun! To top off the weekends training, today was the hardest ride I’ve done since Abu Dhabi. After a short run to start the day, I took Xecute and prepared for the ride - 3h30’ at an average intensity of 4W/kg. It’s fair to say that the coach has me in good bike shape. Although tough, days like these push you to the next level and stretch the boundaries of what you think you can achieve.
There’s a long summer of training ahead, so I’m not in the least bit concerned that swimming and running have taken a back seat for a few weeks. I’ve taken the opportunity to build upon the solid bike fitness I had for Abu Dhabi, which we’ll look to further improve upon throughout the season. It’s now time to get the swim and run up to speed. Ironman 70.3 UK is fast approaching and will be the next chance to assess where I’m at.