A dry(ish) June, a health kick and a couple of PBs
Missing the AG win at Westonbirt by just two seconds was a bit of an eye opener, or perhaps a good kick up the butt. I can list a ton of excuses as to why I lost the time, but ultimately it was good to be reminded that you can’t (or, at least, I can’t!) just turn up at a race and expect to take a category win (I’m not stupid enough to imagine taking an overall win).
So for the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to train a little more intelligently – still haven’t found a coach, though – as well as treat the body a little better. I’ve never been a particularly heavy drinker (too much of a lightweight), but I’ve cut out alcohol completely and the plan is to keep it up till the end of the month, just to see if it makes any real difference, not only to my athletic performance, but my sleeping and general wellbeing.
I’ve also been tempted into taking a ‘personalised’ vitamin plan from a company called VITL. Based on an internet questionnaire about my lifestyle (lots of airplane travel, hotels, restaurant food and, of course, training) and diet (not good) it came up with a daily dose of a probiotic, an ‘energy complex’, a ‘cleanse complex’ and a dose of Co-Enzyme Q10. I’m one week three of the new regime and so far, I feel…
No different whatsoever.
I still wake up knackered every morning. My body still aches (especially my ankles, every morning!). My digestion seems to be no better. For £25, it was hardly a costly experiment, but I doubt I’ll be renewing my VITL subscription for a second month.
I still like the concept though (the daily multi-pill blister pack makes it easy to pack in hand luggage etc.), so I’m interested to hear from other Age Groupers with genuine positive experiences of personalised supplement / vitamin plans.
One piece of good news was a new course PB on the relatively flat-but-slow H10/3 10-mile time trial course along the A4 near Hungerford. On what felt like a sub-optimal night (wind coming out of the North West at 3.7m/s) I managed to take about 10 seconds off my previous PB, just shy of breaking the 22-minute barrier.
Interestingly, my Garmin Vector pedals were reading quite low, hovering only at around my FTP figure for the 16.1km. But my RPE (rate of perceived effort – how hard I thought was trying) was right up there, so once again I’m having my doubts about the Vector’s accuracy and (more importantly) consistency from bike-to-bike and day-to-day.
The effort wasn’t a fluke, though, as I also managed to set a small new PB on a training ride later in the week. Just a six-second PB over a 12-minute circuit, so nothing spectacular, but I’ll take progress over regression!
I’m going to have another go at an overall 10-mile PB on the closed-road Castle Combe circuit (flat as a pancake, but very exposed to any prevailing winds) and then again in a few weeks on the P881 circuit, which I’m told is fast.
I’ve also got the rescheduled Eastleigh 10km (snowed-off earlier in the year) this coming Sunday. Being honest, I’m not in good running shape at the moment (have I mentioned the fact I wake up nearly every morning feeling crippled with painful ankles and a sore back???), so I’m really tempted to skip it, knowing that I’m not going to make a sub-40 time.
But on the other hand, I probably need a benchmark, if only to know just how bad it is.
After that, I actually entered a few more races (shock!) so will be doing a few more little local events as my ‘keep it quiet’ 2018 continues to pan out.
Oh, while I remember, if you have a bike with Di2, don't be me. Having only picked-up the new Giant TCR SL1 a few weeks back, and not having quite put 400km on it yet, I didn't think for a moment to check the battery (I did check it on delivery and got a nice 'green light' on the Di2 junction box). So it was a surprise on yesterday's easy spin to have the front mech shift too the small ring and have to spin my way home at 100+ rpm. A good reminder to check the battery status more often!