“Sleep-deprived triathletes face an uphill battle”

Zigzag path up a mountain

Sleep-deprived triathletes face an uphill battle is the title of an article I read today. However, despite agreeing fully with its contents, here I am. It’s five past eleven and I’m blogging about my training because I promised I’d keep on track for a week!!! I really should have more sleep or rest on a daily basis!

The importance of rest days

I frequently get asked about how often I have rest days. The truthful answer is that despite being naturally lazy, I feel the need to follow my schedule. Trying to combine marathon training with preparing for a sprint triathlon means that it’s not easy to fit rest days in. Also, how little exercise constitutes a rest day? Does yoga count? How about stretching? The other issue is that I cycle to work five days a week. I’m not racing there on my road bike, but it’s still over 20 minutes of effort (albeit it doesn’t make me breathless).

Exploding watermelonThis morning, I thought today might end up as a rest day. I was meant to be swimming at lunchtime but then realised I was going to a work lunch. I was just too tired to get up and go for a swim this morning (plus a watermelon exploded in my kitchen overnight, which took a long time to clean up).

My running coach told me that I should also schedule in some rest weeks in my training schedule. I have been trying but it’s so difficult. I worry about not getting enough training in and I get bored if I’m not training, which delivers me to the enemy – food! If I’m at home with nothing to do, then at some stage a snack will find its way into my tummy, so I’d rather be out of the house and away from temptation.

Making healthy choices

Anyway, my meeting schedules got changed around with my first meeting postponed until later, which meant that I missed lunch out and had to scavenge a salad from the student union shop. I couldn’t find a vegetarian salad first of all, so I almost resorted to a Korean noodle pot, but then I saw it had 2000 calories in it – OMG! I was then very virtuous – I put it down and started hunting for a better alternative. Clearly, fortune saw my good deed so a single veggie salad appeared on the counter (or was dumped there by someone who was tempted by the unhealthy stuff!)

Sneaking off to the pool

I knew I couldn’t swim after work, as I had to marshal at my club’s league race, so I was pleased when Rikki suggested that I play hooky and go swimming. It seemed like a naughty thing to do, despite the fact that I’ve arrived at work early several times this week, and I didn’t really have a lunch break.

We went to the pool and after doing a warm up, I moved to the middle lane and timed myself doing 200m. That’s how far I’ll have to swim in the Jubilee Pool Aquathlon. It’s at the beautiful Jubilee Lido in Penzance which is the biggest seawater lido in the UK:

Jubilee Pool

The last time I timed myself over 200m, it took 7:30, which seemed like a long time. I swam it again and managed it in 5:30. The first time, I must have miscounted. I was ecstatic as I thought that sounded like a good time. Then I looked at the results of the last aquathlon and found that the slowest swimmer did it in 4:40. At my present ability, I would definitely be the last one out of the pool. The good news is that I can run two miles in 20 minutes, even in my current unfit state, so I may not finish last overall. Any, I digress…

Today, I timed myself over 200m and did it in… 5:15. Yay! A swimming PB! And that included pausing twice because I thought a fast swimmer wanted to go ahead of me (he didn’t!) So, I might still be the last one out of the pool in Penzance, but at least I’ll know it’s not because I haven’t been trying. Will it be easier swimming in a salt-water pool? If so, that might help.

A good deed before Weight Watchers

After my exploits in the pool, I went back to work for an hour. Then I realised I’d better hurry home to get to Weight Watchers before marshalling. On the way, I saw a young guy who had stopped with his bike by the side of the path. He was a Chinese student who has only been in the UK for one week and who had only had his bike for one day. The chain had come off and got stuck. Being a good Samaritan/sucker for lame ducks, I got off my bike, got out my tools and donned my latex gloves. I couldn’t fix his bike, but I did everything I could.

Eventually, some others came past (including an LRR posse). Someone explained that to free the chain from where it was stuck, we should engage part of it onto the cog, and then just start pedalling. I did that and miraculously it worked. It made me late, but the Chinese guy was happy and I learned something new.

After pedalling home like a crazy thing, Stu drove me to Weight Watchers. There I had a huge victory – a 6.5lb weight loss!!! My hard work this week has been rewarded. Unfortunately, I celebrated a little too much after marshalling by eating delicious home-made cakes. I will be back on the wagon tomorrow, with a 6:30am Run Camp session. There is also the threat/promise of a long run in the evening. I should be doing 15 miles. Will I manage to motivate myself to do it?

Finally, if you’d like something to read, this link was tweeted to me today: Running technique – Six ways to improve efficiency.



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