Wednesday 30 November 2011

Fuelling within the day

Today I have a couple of training sessions scheduled in; spin session and a swim session. The challenge is to not leave the majority of the kcals for the day's efforts right to the end.  So, I need to eat more, earlier in the day. Obvious innit?

Thing is... unless I'm ill, recovering from a massive effort the day before, hung over or $other, I don't get all that hungry in the mornings so it's quite an effort.  Today, I shall be mostly doing this:-

06:30 - Greek yogurt with protein and fruit compote
09:15 - Muller Vitality cherry yogurt
09:45 - Graze, black pepper crackers and mango dip
10:15 - Banana
11:00 - spin session
12:15 - Protein shake
13:15 - Chicken and black olive salad (with lettuce and sweet pepper)
14:30 - Broccoli, cauliflower and cream cheese soup
15:30 - Spelt and seed crisp bread and cream cheese
17:15 - Graze, fruit and seed flapjack
18:00 - swimming session
19:15 - Graze, almonds, cranberries and sultanas
20:00 - Venison steak with mashed potato and acorn squash, and peas

Calories (kcal) 2075
Protein (g) 185
Carbohydrate (g) 211
Fat (g) 57
Fibre (g) 30
Fruit & Veg 10

As you can see, it's a lot of little snacks and for the kcal total vs cardio work, the carb level is too low and protein a bit high.  So I'm looking at trying to move my during-the-day training session to the afternoon and get some couscous or pasta into my lunch to up the kcals and carbs before that session.  Perhaps replace the yogurty breakfast with a porridgey one on cardio heavier days.  For some reason, weekends are easier to figure out, nutrition-wise and I think it's because (at the moment) I can get going and out running/cycling/whatever first thing rather than going to work and sitting down for hours before any training.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Lickle bit of rest and a lovely ride

"Only" 7.5 hours training this week.  But I did have two full rest days and a nice, gentle-ish ride today.  Went up to the Thames Turbo race route and went around the bike leg a couple of times.  No hills at all but it was a bit blowy.  Really really enjoyed it.

(red means I did 0 - 50% of the planned session, yellow is 51 - 80%, green is over 80%)

Need to try to keep it sensible next week, so planning to commute only once to keep the bike hours at a reasonable level.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Learning the hard way - Part I

Some lessons I seem to learn only if I learn the hard way.  This is one of them.  Or, in fact, three of them.

Having undertaken very very low levels of training all year, in fact ever, I raced a few races and didn't do terribly badly.  Fared well in my age category, improved a little and then the season ended.  My pathetic levels of training dropped off to pretty much nothing at all.  I went on holiday and got a bit tubby.  I came back.

With no races to keep me interested, no goals in place, no plans or thoughts other than the distant mountains next year, I was in a wilderness.  So I forgot how little I'd been doing before, forgot that I'd been doing almost nothing for a couple of months and threw myself into an ill-considered 'base training' plan.  I forgot that my endurance levels were never really that great and that my power wasn't ever that great and my technique is nowhere (though improving significantly in swimming over the last couple of months).  For example, I worked out that I'd run six times in August, the last month of the racing season for me; then twice in September - and one of those was a half marathon; and once in October.  This is really bad.

Last week, I did 2x runs, 2x swims, 2x strength sessions and a cross-training session with Jez.  I had one rest day.  6 hours training from pretty much nothing.

This week, I started back cycling to work again... Monday 30km, Tuesday 30km and a planned swimming session with Jez.  Wednesday strength session, Thursday cycle and swim.  Friday strength session.  Saturday rest/Parkrun/  Sunday long slow run.

Monday felt great.   Tuesday morning was a less pleasant ride to work and then I got to my session with Jez.  I was mentally already not feeling very up for it and, thinking about it, I was already about 1200kcals in deficit for the day (how I got there I'll explain later) and with a hormonally abnormal state (for me) due to trying out being on the pill again (another post for another day).  And I did a few lengths to warm up before the session.  Felt OKish, a bit more whacked after each pair of lengths than usual but nothing to make me really worried.  Then we started training.  And I was increasingly getting wound up about how out of breath(!) and prickly (you know that hot, prickling sensation you get in your muscles when you do a lot of low weight repetitions for a while... that) I was feeling after each drill.  Eventually Jez stopped the session and we chatted a bit.  He basically said 'Stop getting so wound up about going so hard with cardio now.  It's wrecking your training and it's achieving nothing.  Now is not the time for this stuff, now is the time for strength and conditioning.  Rest at the weekend.  Stay in Zone 1 otherwise.  Now it the time for catching Zs as much as you can."  So I ate my banana and cycled home.  I tried to keep it trundly, but I got angry a couple of times as car drivers tried to kill me and/or got stroppy that a bicycle dared be on the road and that ended up with a bit of high heart rate towards the end.  I got in to the house and fell apart a bit.

We were supposed to be having cottage pie for dinner, but ohgod I didn't feel like it by the time I got in, plus MrTOTKat was working late and not back yet.  So I got pizza in.  *ding* once the potato wedges had hit my stomach, I started to feel a whole lot better.  Slowing down to munch through the pizza, I did the calorie calculations for the day and it turned out that by the time I hit my swimming session, I had about 1200kcals to take in to maintain the activity I'd already done that day.  The banana I had afterwards just about put back what I'd taken out during the swim and by the time I got home on my bike, I was another 400 under where I should be for the day.  1600kcals in deficit by the time I got home and -of course- I was going to be feeling awful!  I don't deal with deficit very well (cranky, tired, wobbly and if I don't make up most of the deficit I start to lay down fat and put on weight!).

So there we are.  Three enormous mistakes.   Three lessons to learn, not just one.

A - too much too soon from nothing is BAD
B - underfuelling within a day is BAD (physically AND MENTALLY)
C - now is the time for long, boring, gentle cardio, not thrashing it on the commute to work

A and B are quite easy to deal with, C... less so if I want to cycle to work.

Monday 21 November 2011

That wasn't so bad

I've not been cycling on the road more than up to the common for Parkrun in... around 2.5 months.  I lost the love.  That and the miserable state of the traffic on the route to work; so many other bikes, so many of them being assholes (running red lights, cutting people up, being wobbly etc.), it just meant I really didn't want to get to work that way.

I finally found enough love to get back on the commuter bike and do it this morning.  And it was great!  Because we're getting up early anyway at the moment, leaving the house at 06:45 wasn't hard.  The traffic on CS7 is not too bad at all at that time and, more importantly, there are far fewer cyclists and those that are out are the more confident and experienced ones (easy way to determine that is to do a cleat count at traffic lights, 4/16 at the last set were not wearing clips of some sort).  45 minutes in, which is pretty zippy for a first time in ages and not putting in masses of effort, and no rage at all.  Score one!

(the down side was that my wash bag as work was 1/2 full of shampoo where the bottle cap had been leaking for weeks...)

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Back to it

What's the best thing to do after 14 days doing very little exercise (OK, 1 5km run and 3 trips to the gym)?  I know!  Let's go gung ho back into things and lack any sensibility!

Since we got back on Thursday night last week:-

Friday - rest
Saturday - 10km run, 4.5 hours hard gardening
Sunday - 2 hour bike ride, 4 hours hard gardening
Monday - swim session

and then

Tuesday - gym session
Wednesday - swim lesson/training session
Thursday - tri training session
Friday - depends what we did on Thursday (so, choice of gym or spin bike)
Saturday - Parkrun
Sunday - long slow run

Hmm... not -exactly- easing back into things when I never did have a particularly high training load anyway.  Time to start gently laying out a rough idea of a training plan.  Not specific sessions just yet, but an idea of how much I'll be doing, what intensities and durations and when I'll start the actual Ironman trainnig schedule itself.

There are a few events in next year's calendar already, starting with the shorter Hell of the Ashdown bike ride in February (it's a tiny bit hilly), which doesn't give me long to get my cycling legs up to spec.  I've not really even done hills as such (London to Brighton a couple of times doesn't count) and my cycling endurance is through the floor, having done bugger all cycling the last 4 months or so.  And I'm not feeling the cycling commute love still (mostly around not wanting to play with cars so much), so we'll see how long that lasts before I either feel like doing it again or end up having to force myself.

Swim session with Jez tomorrow and a tri session on Thursday... and hopefully a bit of a read and a play with training plans over the next few days.

Friday 11 November 2011

Heavenly soup!

I had a load of cauliflower and broccoli hanging about in the fridge just before we went on holiday, so I decided to do the usual of making a soup and freezing that in portions, so it wouldn't go to waste.  And this one is a total and utter bowl of heaven:-

Broccoli and cauliflower soup

Ingredients - makes 4 servings

  • 2 vegetable stock cubes (I used Knorr organic ones)
  • 1 medium head of broccoli (about 250g)
  • Most of a small tub of soft cheese (I used 180g Philadelphia extra light)
  • 1 Romanesco cauliflower (about 400g)
  • 1 large onion (about 275g)
  • 10ml mild olive oil
Finely chop the onion.  Break the cauliflower and broccoli into florets, discard the leaves and cut the stalk into chunks.

Sweat the onion in a pan with the oil, until the onion is soft and translucent - do not brown the onion.  Add the stock cubes so they dissolve/melt in with the onion pieces and coat them.  Add the cauliflower florets and chopped stalks and toss with the onions for a couple of minutes.  Add enough boiling water to just cover the vegetables - don't worry if a few bits stick out - and simmer for 10-20 minutes until the cauliflower and broccoli are tender.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool a little.  Once the liquid is cool enough not to burn if you are splashed by it, add the soft cheese to the pan and blend everything to a smooth, creamy soup with a hand blender.  If it is too thick, add a little more water.  If it is too thin, blend thoroughly and then return to the heat and simmer off a bit more of the water.

Divide into portions and chill/freeze to reheat later.

Nutrition Data Per Serving
Calories (kcal)157.4
Carbohydrate (g)11.5
Protein (g)12.0
Fat (g)7.1
Fibre (g)4.2
Fruit & Veg3.0


Back from hols.  Got a couple of extra pounds, unsurprisingly despite the gymmage and Parkrun tribute that happened while we were away, though I was already a bit lardy before we went.  Feeling quite spaced.  Few days ramping down but eating little and often to get my stomach back to normal again.  And a good week of no drinking.

Photos in processing... didn't take that many really.  Too busy doing naff all and snorkelling a lot.