Wednesday, 24 February 2010


...Nothing Further to Report. An acronym used in military parlance but that aptly describes this week. Training has been going quite well - a weights session and 3hr run on Monday followed by a 75min swim and 2hr bike yesterday so some consistent work completed. I am racing on Sunday in the Sleaford Half Marathon so will use that as a tempo run and make my session today a short tempo run instead. Then intervals thursday plus a couple more bike and swim sessions and a good week completed!

Weight is slowly coming off - I have lost 1/2 a stone to date and I now sitting around 10st 8lbs. Still have 8lbs to go to make weight race but that will come off when I start with the long long session post marathon! The marathon is a difficult one. Training is going well and I think I could be close to the 4hr mark. However, I would have to push myself to the absolute limit to make sub-4hrs and that will probably impact on my training post the mara. I really want to be able to get straight back into biking and swimming, at least, from the following Tuesday morn. I think I could probably do sub-4.15 'comfortably' or as comfortably as these things could be but, if this is going to be my last marathon 'race' for a while will I be happy with that and can I put the sub-4 dream behind me? Another option is to target a late-autumn marathon and is the Abingdon marathon still has slots when I get paid in March - I may well go for that. Though again I won't exactly be marathon fit - endurance will be there but speed will have diminshed with all the loooooong miles. Hmmmmm, decisions decisions!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The Hills are alive......

Firstly, Hi to Ian and thank you for your comments - you're right, we Cadman's are few and far between!

I raced the Stamford Striders 30k this weekend, a notoriously hilly course ideal for tough marathon preparation. Normally I quite like hilly courses as I am reasonably strong and for the first 17-18kms I was quite happily motoring along. By 22kms, I had a massive stitch and never wanted to see another hill! Yet still they get coming! That last hour was a real struggle and it will be interesting to see how my splits changed (though hard to judge on a hilly course). I think I need to perfect my nutrition strategy. I was well fuelled and hydrated before the event (had 700ml of H3O Pro, some Soreen and a Banana) but I need to think what I am going to eat during the event itself. I use High 5 gels at the moment but you should really take them with a lot of water and given there were water stations only every 5kms this was hard to acheive. I also don't like stopping at water stations and whilst I am reasonably skilled at drinking whilst running, I probably don't get enough water in and I certainly felt parched by the end of the race. I do wonder if not taking enough water on with the gels caused the stitch? Or it could just be all the jolting around - my internal organs did feel like they had had a bumpy ride especially with all the downhills.

Stitches are becoming more and more of a problem for me having hampered a few of my last races. I don't seem to have too much of a problem in training probably as I tend not to be pushing the pace for a long period of time but racing is a different ball game. I wasn't planning to do anymore long races in advance of the marathon (though I have the Sleaford Half Marathon next weekend) but I think I may now do the ALDI 20 in Ashby-de-la-Zouch simply to practice nutrition at marathon pace. Which does mean I have to be strict and do all the rest of my long runs at a SLOW pace to get time on my feet.

Swimming for me yesterday as recovery and I am practising my drills diligently and not doing much more than that. Every so often I throw in a 950m (1/4 IM) distance TT just to make sure I am on track but as these are fairly consistent at 17.30ish without too much effort I am reasonably happy. Just off to the gym now for a tempo run session and some weights. I headed to my trainer sponsor, ProFeet (www.profeet.co.uk) on Saturday at their fabulous new store on Fulham Road. My insoles were checked and I got some new trainers and socks which will be fab as I think my others are on their last legs - they must have done over 500miles so time for retirement! I ran the 30k in them as I didn't want to switch to the new ones for such a long race but today's tempo run will be the test of whether these new ones suit my feet. They are Mizuno but a slightly different type (more forefoot support) so we'll see!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Well that's a way to make race weight....!

I had a great training day last Friday racking up 16miles on the treadmill. Adam and I had booked to take our friends away for the weekend as a wedding present so I wanted to make sure I got my long run in early so I could prioritise the weekend relaxing. I had a bit of a long slow run epiphany last week in that I realised why people advocate running marathon training runs so slowly (how can 22miles at 10.30min/mile prepare you for running 26miles at 9min/mile pace?!). In training the most important thing to build endurance is time on the feet. Your ability to run faster comes for the tempo and speedwork runs. If I do my training runs at 9min/mile pace not only will it take a lot out of me but it also negates how much time I spend on my feet and thus hampers endurance building. The difference between 22miles at 10.30min/mile and 9min/mile pace is 33mins (3hrs 51 and 3hrs 18 respectively). That 33mins when I am already really tired is what is helping build the ability to run for 4hours. So, anyway I tried to run a bit slower for my 16miles (very against instinct but we'll see) and completed it in 2hrs 33mins. Just over 9.30min/mile pace. So still a bit fast but I am reasonably happy with that. I have longer runs to come and some long races aswell which will quench the need for speed! This weekend is the Stamford Striders Valentine's 30k (18.75). Adam is working so I figure I may aswell train!!

Anyway, long run bagged we set off for a lovely relaxing weekend at Oulton Hall with the plan to do a long ride on the Monday to finish the weekend off. I had thought I would maybe sneak a little intervals session in on the Sunday if I felt like it but was open to having two full days off if needs be as I was feeling a bit tired. We had a fab time relaxing with friends, eating too much and spending time in the spa and I felt great taking the two days off. Ready and recharged to face a heavy bike week this week.

Hmmm, well Monday came and the ride was abandoned. Not, for once (!), because we couldn't be bothered or the snow had ruined things but because Adam and I woke up and both promptly threw up! Nice!! We both spent the day feeling absolutely terrible with all the symptons of food poisoning. Three of the four of us had tried oysters on the Saturday nights as a little amuse bouche but let me tell you, come Monday my bouche was not amused!!! We left out friends and drive slowly across to Adam's parents who luckily live only a few miles away. We were in no fit state to drive (I spent most of the day sleeping or otherwise disposed(!)) so had to call in sick for the Tuesday aswell. It really ruined what had been a lovely weekend! Still, having not managed to eat for two days I happily read the scales on Wednesday morning at 10st 8lbs. Racing weights here I come!! ;)

Needless to say, I am still not 100% fit though the desire to train is back. I had a gentle swim yesterday and will do a interval session today followed by some biking this evening. I won't do too much in advance of the race on Sunday which I want to be fully fit again for so I am having a slightly impromptu rest week! Results of the race to come.........

Even my swimming needs therapy!

So, part 2 of the journey saw us visit Swim Therapy (www.swimtherapy.co.uk) near Leicester for a video analysis of my swimming technique. Nigel Kube, the Head Coach, offered me a reduced rate for 4 sessions in support of the Arch 2 Arc challenge and I have to say this might be my best 'bang for your buck' sponsorship offer! The set up there is fantastic - they have a fabulous endless pool - MUCH more substantial than some of the ones you encounter at trade shows etc. and a fabulous recording suite of cameras that capture every angle of your stroke. You can have one or multiple strokes analysed but I stuck to my priority stroke, freestyle. After an initial capture, my coach Steve displayed the data on four seperate computer screens, shown at every angle, and talked through areas I could improve. We then filmed some further footage concentrating on a drill he gave me to help me focus on my catch - this is definitely my key area for improvement. It is fascinating how having a third party can help you notice things and, of course, the underwater filming means there is nowehere to hide - all your flaws are exposed!! They also have a dry-land pulley set up which Steve re-inforced the drill on - having this stage was extremely helpful as I could feel exactly what an improved catch should feel like and then mimic those movements in the water. Finally, a copy of the filming is made for you on DVD with voice-over advice from your coach to help you when you go away.

It was, all-in-all a brilliant experience and an extremely worthwhile investment - I would suggest it to anyone. For someone who is going to be spending hours and hours and hours in the water if I can improve my stroke efficiency and power just that little bit it will make all the difference when I am battling the Channel in 18 months time!

Meeting the Sponsor!

So there is, as always seems to be the case, a lot to catch up on! On 28 Jan we headed down to Herbalife to meet with the team there and to do some publicity shots. Adam came with me and it was great to finally put names to faces and have a chance to offer some thanks for the great support that Herbalife are offering me - I absolutely couldn't do it without them. Unfortunately Neil was unavailable at the time - he is a very busy guy! Instead I met with Julian Cacchioli (VP for Corporate Communications) and Gavin Aley (Director Sales, Strategy and Service for the UK and Irish Market). Both were extremely welcoming and enthusiastic about the challenge. I feel extremely supported and like I have the best possible people on my side. They explained the history of Herbalife to me and it is obvious they both feel passionately about the company and the products it delivers. Neil had stressed how important it was to me that I would actually utilise the products when I first signed my contract with them and now I understand why. Herbalife actually wants its sportspeople to be ambassadors for the brand and believe in the products which they couldn't do if they didn't work for them. Happily, I believe strongly in them and am certainly getting through my fair share!! The Formula 1 shakes support my recovery every day and they certainly taste better than any other recovery product (maybe, at a push, bar strawberry milkshake!) I have ever used.

I also had my modelling moment with the photographer. We set up some publicity shots using the products and also headed to the local park for some action shots. It's at times like this when I must remember not to bring Adam to stuff as he spent the entire time taking the mick out of my running action! He says I stick my elbows out - hmmm, we can't all be perfect POSE runners can we! With a parting gift of lunch out and a snuggly Herbalife fleece for us both, we were on our way for Part 2 of our long weekend!