Thursday, 11 July 2013

Busy Busy

Wow I've been busy. Not really had a spare moment for days it seems. Training has gone off the wall... I am training a lot. This month with be me largest in terms of hours trained, and much larger than anything i've ever done before. This evening I got a spare moment to update my training diary. I use two online diaries... and  Ilog was the original online training diary, designed by a canadian skier. Ive used it for years. But the site hasn't been updated in years. When i went to Norway i started using their new one that had just come out. Now i have to use both. Ilog sucks. It is rubbish and expensive compared to olt, which is free for athletes. I update olt almost daily but can never really be bothered with the hassle of ilog. The only thing it is now useful for is to compare it to my training before i started logging on olt... unfortunately this is a good enough reason to keep me using it. Today i went over and copied my training from olt (written in norwegian) and wrote it out in english on ilog for the last 6 weeks. The most boring and time wasting task i have ever done.
Anyway the one good thing it allows me to do is compare year to year. And i can tell you... in terms of hours (a fairly rough guide to how training is going) that i am 3 weeks up on last year.  I have trained as many hours now as i had in 3 weeks time last year. Last year was a further week up on the year before.  Basically i've trained a lot.  The problem with measuring in hours is that it only measures time.  I could go and ski for 3 hours.... but that could be 3 meaningless hours with no thought and no quality in it. Or i could ski for 2 hours with thought, quality, technique work and have probably more improvement.  But by measuring in hours i would be behind.
So hopefully i have trained lots of high quality sessions and got some good improvement. Quality and quantity together as one is, of course, the aim.
It has been great being home, especially as the weather has been good and i have had some pretty good long sessions out on the roads i used to train on when i was back in school. I have found some new routes too, and now i have a pretty good archive of routes to choose from for different sessions.
The other day i had some running intervals on my old interval hill. For those of you familiar with Ming Midsummer Madness Endurance Event, i start at the stream crossing and run up the road before running up the way we run down in the Ming Event.
A pretty standard running interval for me is 6x5 min with 2min breaks. On this hill i know how far i should get on each interval and i have a record for each one. A stone, a tree, a drain, anything to mark how far i got or should get. The first interval is a little controlled, just at or above lactate threshold. For the steep bits on the second i run hard and relax on the flatter sections. For the last 4 it is all out. As hard as i can for 5mins.
I was quite pleased with the session, i was a little off my best distances for the first two, but the last 4 were all on my best. I made it over the top and jumped/stumbled over the fence at the top to the ordnance survey trig point in 4.55. I had a record of 4.30 to the telephone mast... but now the mast is gone and i run to the trig point... so i'm guessing i was about on a par with my best for the last one.

With the increased training i'm doing this year i have to have an extra eye on recovery. Making sure i'm eating and sleeping enough. During the summer i don't tend to bother with stuff like ice baths and compression clothes, although i use them between races in the winter.  The most important thing for me is to sleep lots and eat well. Sleeping comes pretty naturally, most nights i sleep around 10 hours and if i have 2 sessions a day i will sleep again in the afternoon normally for an hour or so. I find i sleep as long as i need to, i don't tend to set alarms although at home this is easier as my mum will always slam the front door at 8.25 when she leaves for work... so if i don't have an alarm i get one at 8.25. When it comes to eating there is one main thing i'm training to avoid.  Not a food... but getting hungry out training. There is nothing worse that being 10km from home, you have finished your drinks belt, the cereal bar was eaten 10km ago and you are completely empty. I have, in the past, been nearly crawling home from sessions. After feeling like this, i can barely manage to prop myself up on the kitchen counter, neck to glasses of water and invade the fridge.  It also has knock on effects on the next days training.
So i have a strategy. The worst thing for me is to run out of drinks. So i drink a litre before i head out training. In this hot weather we have been having i have taken to freezing my drinks bottle before going out. When it is sort of slushy it is perfect as i melts into a really cold drink after 30min. I now ban my self from finishing my drinks belt before i know i am with in 20mins of home. Regardless... do not finish it. I know i would pay for it later.  After drinks i think about food. I have banned myself from going out training without a cereal bar and/or an energy gel.  The gel is there purely for precautionary measures... but it has been needed. By doing this i have managed to escape any serious hunger out training. I've learned my lesson from earlier in the year.

Last week Andrew Musgrave had some Norwegian friends visiting him for a private training camp at his house here in scotland. I was away in London (uncles 60th birthday party) over the weekend so i could only join them for the first few days.  It was like nothing i've ever done before. I've read about british cyclists turning pro and going over to the continent for the first time. How everything was a few k's per hour faster, how everything was a little harder. It felt like this. This was the Norwegians over to show us how it's done. They are all guys i've trained with before. All guys i've beaten in ski races. All guys that have beaten me. It terms of performance i fitted in. But wow. The long easy sessions.... were not easy. During the first session my self and fellow british skier Callum Smith were slow starting after a drinks break... we took 10mins in level 3 to catch the group back up. Everything was a notch higher, a notch faster. If the plan was to ski for 2.30 we did 2.50. Run for 3 hours, we ran for 3.15. Ski for 2 hours... we did 2.30. A bit of a shock, but i was happy to see it wasn't just the brits that struggled with the fast tempo. Everyone was struggling at times.
The hardest session was a 6x4min classic roller ski interval. The idea was to go for 4.10 on the first one and set a marker we had to get to every time... from starting in the same place.  The speed on the first interval was insane. Straight out the start i went straight to the back with 2 others. Double poling as fast as i would in a speed session i managed to stay in touch. Some started to pay the price for the fast start and i made my way up through the group of 8 and started skiing in the middle of the pack. I was still a little shocked by the start pace on every interval. If you lost the slip stream on the double pole section in the first 30 seconds you were done. There was no catching back up. As people tired they couldn't hold the slipstream and a gap opened, then the people behind would try to come past and either get caught out in the gap and spend everything they had to make the gap and then die later in the interval. So it had a lot of technical and tactical training as well as the all out effort that was going on.
Tomorrow i have an "easy" day waiting for me.  The gym in the morning and "only" a 2 hour ski in the afternoon. On sunday i have a monster endurance 5 hour session.  I'm really looking forward to it bizarrely.  I'm going to do a route i've been eyeing for a long time but never got round to doing it although i have done parts of it. I'm going to start in Huntly, ski out the Dufftown road, up through Glass to the Grouse Inn, then over the Cabrach to Rhynie, and then back to Huntly. I think it is just a tad over 30miles... so it should take 3 and half maybe 4 hours.  When i get home i will switch over to my running shoes to finish the session off.

I have gotten myself instagram... a picture sharing app/website. My user name is andrewyoung92... please feel free to follow me for picture updates from my training and adventures. I'm rubbish at posting pictures on here but on instagram there are plenty to keep you entertained.