2 More Weeks Training, 1 Week Taper, 1 Snowed Out Half Marathon

Today was supposed to be the Reading Half Marathon but the mini “beast from the east” had other ideas here in the UK.  Here is what the start line and 1.1 mile markers looked like this morning.

Needless to say the race was cancelled, though unlike many events around the country which were cancelled mid week or at least the day before, this one was cancelled only a couple of hours before the start.  Still it was the right decision looking st those conditions..

It was disappointing though - Reading is about 1hrs drive from home and we were half way there before getting an email cancelling the race. And my last week had been a relatively easy taper from a training point of view building up to this, which now feels a little wasted.

Here’s what the training looked like: 


in actuality, it was quite pleasant having an easier week, and I felt like I had a lot of energy by the weekend.  I can tend to overeat if I’m not careful on an easier week, but I felt I managed that quite well this time.

The endurance swim was great - I was short of time before the lane swimming changed to the chaotic children’s splash-around, so I just got in and swam for 45mins without warm-up or stopping and lost myself in my stroke.  I felt strong at the end and was happy with a 1:55/100m pace.  I can sometimes lose myself in swimming completely, much more than in running or cycling, it’s like being in another world with blurry glimpses of reality every third stroke.

Two years ago I did the Thames Bridge to Bridge Marathon swim - 14km downstream from Henley-on-Thames to Marlow in a wetsuit in August.  It was great, and despite picking up a violent stomach bug two days after (which I’m pretty sure was the Thames water), I definitely want to do that again.  I really did lose myself during those 4 hours, in parts the water was crystal clear and I could watch the river bed glide by underneath me, the reeds swaying majestically in my tide, while I concentrated on long powerful, graceful strokes*.

 The Thames Marathon - 14km swim

The Thames Marathon - 14km swim

On top of that I only had some turbo and light running, together with an adventurous 36km commute on my reliable old Brompton on Thursday.

The previous two weeks were a little more intense but went pretty close to plan and I was happy with them.  


A couple of new editions

  1. i have changed my aging Wahoo Kickr Turbo for a new Tacx Neo.  So far I have been really impressed, firstly because of how quiet it is, but more importantly how smooth it is when changing resistance. This is especially noticeable if you push hard for a bit then let off and “free wheel” - the Kickr would get confused and rack the power up to a wattage that was hard to get started again with, whereas the Tacx handles it much more gracefully, and thus is far kinder on your knees and legs during the bits in-between intervals. 
  2. The guys over  velomounts.com kindly sent me a sample of their excellent Apple Watch mount for the bike, which I used on this ride.  It was rock solid, and I was impresssed how clear the Apple Watch was in use like this.  Couple of tips: turn off wrist detection in the Apple Watch app on iPhone (under Passcode) so you don’t keep getting prompted for a code, and secondly, somewhat obviously you will need an external heart rate band if you want to record your heart rate.  I used a Wahoo TICKR X but any Bluetooth one would do.  More on this setup and apps to use when I get out more on the bike in the coming weeks (depending on the weather)

With that I am going to see if I can get a run in this afternoon, though with the snow still falling quite heavily, that might end up being the treadmill and Netflix.




* might have looked different from the shore, especially when I got cramp at about 10km and started splashing frantically like an octopus in a phone booth, but apart from that it was glorious.