January update

A nice Sunday morning in January… I’m running in a small-scale 10km cross-country run, and I’m doing well. Feels as if my heart is about to explode, legs hurt like hell, but there’s only a few laps to go. Then something starts to buzz on my wrist. I look at my watch, and see that my ‘recovery heart-rate is too high’. All I can think is: ‘recovery??? I’m running a race here!’. Then I realize that I must have pushed the ’stop’ button instead of the ‘lap’ button at the beginning of the lap. Well, better press start again… New goal for the months leading up to The Brutal: learn how my new watch works…

January has been busy, but there’s not really any ‘big’ stories to tell… There were two main goals in Januari: getting used to the structured training after the off-season, and research for The Big Trip to Wales… Not sure which of the two took up more time…

Structured training

The 2015 season ended with a lot of running; chasing the magical sub-3-hour marathon in October (and failing), then trying again in November (failing again). Still very happy with both races, but the body did tell me to take a little step back from all the high-intensity running… The last six weeks of the year I basically did what one should expect during an off-season; just training whenever I felt like it, and not training when I didn’t. Those who know me might suspect that I still logged a considerable amount of hours (and they would be right)…

But in Januari it’s time to start with a structured plan. Basically that means that my coach tells me what to do, and I’ll try and do that, and usually do more (sorry coach, I really try to stick to the plan… really!). After the relaxed off-season-weeks it takes some time to get used to the life/work/training balance, but so far I seem to get back in the rhythm…

Running is mainly about building the distance (with the occasional short cross-country race), and trying not to get injured; I ended the season with a light achilles-injury, and now it’s all about listening to the body, and backing down when there’s even a suggestion of pain… So far, so good… The bikelegs are coming back, and thanks to a ‘bad’ winter in the Netherlands (almost no snow and ice so far), most of my training has been outdoors, instead of on the turbo… The turbo doesn’t seem like the right place to test my new bikelights, so I’m happy to be riding outdoors… I did my first really dark ride, and that did add a whole new experience to a well known bike route… Cycling at full speed in the dark might not be one of my new hobbies, but I guess the more you do that, the easier it gets…

And although the 7.6km Brutal Swim is the shortest part of the race; it’s nice to find my swim ‘mojo’ again… Mostly in a nice and warm pool, but I did put in a few cold-water outdoor swims. I guess that doesn’t make me a better swimmer right now, but mentally it’ll help me when I’m on the shore of Llyn Padarn in September!

Research, research, research…

Slowly I’m starting to get an idea (and the occasional panic attack that goes with that) of what this race is about; it’s not “just” ‘swim 7.6km/bike 360km/run 84km’… It’s the weather, the cold water, the elevation profile, and of-course Mount Snowdon… So now is the time to prepare mentally and logistically! The house for my support crew (and me, although there’s at least one night during the week in Wales that I’m not going to see that house…) is booked, now it’s time to rent a van, book the ferry, so that this part of the ‘operation’ is done. Meanwhile I’m working on my bike position (looking for the perfect balance between comfort and power, where comfort should be more important…), have been running in the dark a lot to get used to my new headtorch, and finally found a bikelight that should be bright enough to wake up all the sheep in Snowdonia (now just hope that I’ll stay awake as well!)… And as if there’s still plenty of time; the ‘Duolingo’ website just added Welsh to their language course, so I’m trying to pick up a few words.. Not sure what’s going to be harder; racing for 30+ hours, or learning this hard language… I guess I would be happy if I can yell ‘why did I think this was a good idea?’ in my best Welsh to my support crew during the run!

Happy training to you all!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *