2016 London Marathon Training – Week 9 (29 February – 6 March)

As in week eight of training, week nine was long scheduled to be a week light on running due to covering F1 testing that turned out to be even lighter on running as the right calf issues that have plagued me for the past six months continued to cause woe.

Monday was the only weekday when I wasn’t working, I began the day with half an hour on the elliptical trainer, then select aside thirty minutes of transition practice ahead of Saturday’s Dambuster Duathlon. This consisted of setting up my bike outside my house, fixing the bike shoes to the pedals and practicing putting on the bike helmet, mounting the bike,putting on the shoes while on the bike, dismounting from the bike minus the shoes, removing helmet, putting on trainers and running a short distance before repeating the exercise six or seven times. 

The first two attempts were comically bad and nearly very painful. Forgetting that the shoes move around unless your feet are on them I very nearly went over the handlebars as one of the shoes dug into the ground and threw up the rear wheel. The same thing happened at least two more times before I got a grip on what needed to be done. I then nearly came unstuck on some gravel at my turnaround point, only some quick reactions saved me from an embarrassing and potentially painful fall.

That evening I headed to the gym for a spin session. I was still very tired from the weekend’s efforts, so I reduced the FTW from 265 to 255 to reduce the exertion. The first 20 minutes of the session were really hard work but it got easier as it went on – 240 watts average a fair reflection of the effort put in. With an extended warm up and warm down in total I spent one hour forty minutes on the spin bike.

Tuesday was the first day of the second F1 test. Not as busy as the first day of the first test, I was able to put in an hour on the elliptical trainer during quiet moments in the middle of the day. I was hoping to run in the evening, I did get out but only had long enough to do a simple thirty minute fartlek session on multiple loops around the block. My legs felt reasonable, the right calf ached a touch during the run but worryingly tightened a lot following it.

Wednesday saw two hours on the elliptical trainer in quiet spells during the test, which meant a lot more time off the trainer than on it. A bit frustrated I took it out on the trainer in the final minutes maxing the Watt counter with >399 watts registered. The following day saw an hour on the trainer at lunchtime. I had hoped to run in the evening with the club but work ran late. I could have gone out by myself but I had no confidence in the calf and judged it would be more prudent to rest rather than to risk a run.

Friday saw ninety more minutes on the elliptical trainer, split into chunks during the final day of testing. I felt a bit more tired than I would have liked – indeed the theme for much of the week was how tired I was, it had taken me a long time to recover from the Cross Country race and the ride on the Sunday.

Saturday saw the Duathlon that is reported on elsewhere. Following the event my right calf was very tight and sore, so Sunday would be a case of wake up and see how it felt before committing to any exercise. On waking I was quite stiff and sore but good enough to head out with the Wheelers for what is possibly the last Reliability Ride I will take part in this year. Again with Group 4, which had a few Group 5 riders thrown in, I made a deliberate ploy to begin more steadily than the week before, not taking a turn at the front until we hit the main hill of the day. the tactic seemed to work, I only began to tire around 45 miles into the ride.

I was dropped, along with a couple of others, on a drag up at 60 miles – there was just nothing left in the tank. The only surprise was I’d been able to keep up for so long. I dug fairly deep to finish the ride as the snow began to fall, averaging 18.8 mph for the 68 mile ride. There was to be no brick run on returning home, so it was just the three miles home to finish the exercise for the week.

A frustrating week in many ways, although the planned work covering testing probably meant in terms of miles ran I lost very little anyway to the injured calf. Going forward the calf continues to be the biggest concern, with no prospect in the short term of being able to run on a regular basis. The elliptical trainer, I think, is going to see a lot of action.

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.