A solid week

Feet of a barefooter

I’ve not been able to blog in a week because I used my internet bandwidth last month. But all is well now that the internet billing month is over. While I’ve not been blogging I have been training solidly and have also started a new nutrition plan that seems to be working out well.

On the training front I started the week by sleeping in on Saturday morning and swapping my morning session for an afternoon run. I had simply intended to run a short 3-5km jog but ended up exploring some nearby streets for a delightful 8km cruise at 5:50 min/km pace. I felt strong on the run and felt that I certainly could have kept going had I not found my way back home. I also did two sets of strength while out on my run. The first was 20 sit ups, 20 push ups and two sets of five chin ups. The second was 20 push ups and 20 sit ups. It was a hot afternoon run so I came home covered in sweat and feeling chuffed with my effort.

On Sunday I went on a relaxed 26.75km bike ride with my friend Ange. We had a delightful chat as we cruised along the flats and roller coasters circuit through the paddocks near our homes. Our average speed of 23.3kph was a tad on the relaxed side, which  gave us plenty of opportunity to catch up on the previous week’s events. We topped our lovely ride off with a visit to a local cafe.

I took a rest day on Monday, enjoying a sleep in and then relaxed night before Tuesday morning’s speed session with the running club. We ran two 400m sprints followed by two 200m sprints. I actually timed my sprints this week. I ran my 400m sprints in 1:15 and 1:20, and my 200m sprints in 36.3 seconds and 35.8 seconds. I don’t think I’ll be going to the Olympics for sprinting any time soon – haha. But now that I’ve started timing my sprints I’ll keep doing it to see whether I improve. We ran a total of 3.88km for the session.

Wednesday was another casual bike ride, this time with Mum. We rode 33.7km at 21.1kph. It was a similar loop as Ange and I completed on Sunday but we added a few extra kilometres riding down Mum’s road. Again it was an opportunity to chat and enjoy a social ride rather than focusing on training. It highlighted for me how important the social aspect of my fitness is to me and confirmed that I’m not out to be the fastest but I’m out to enjoy the lifestyle of healthy living.

On Thursday morning I hit the pool for a 1.6km swim. I started with my usual warm up of 500m alternating between 50m freestyle and 50m breast stroke. I followed this with a hard 500m set alternating between 25m butterfly, 25m Biondi fly, 25m freestyle drill and 25m freestyle sprint. I finished with 600m of freestyle and breast stroke. I felt strong in the water and enjoyed my session.

Today I slept in again because it felt so good in bed this morning. Besides, it’s Friday and I finish work an hour earlier so can go running at night. The change in routine was a good move. I rode my motorbike down to a gym car park in Shailer Park, stripped down to some running clothes, locked my gear in the box on the back of my motorbike and took off down the road. I ran past my old primary school and down to what we locals call Slide Away Mountain. After a short 600m warm up I found myself running up straight up the side of Slide Away Mountain for 1.6km. It was seriously steep and I felt a sense of achievement at reaching the top. This set the tone for my run: for the first 50 minutes I ran up and down Slide Away Mountain following different roads. The final 10 minutes took me downhill back to my motorbike. I ran 9.6km at 6:17 mins/km. I felt strong running up the hills and ran solidly at 5 mins/km on the brief sections of flat that I encountered.

I’ve also had a change in nutrition this week. When I first got back into triathlon I lost 10kg quickly because I improved my diet on what it had been and significantly increased my level of exercise. My diet wasn’t great though and after the initial weight-loss I  slowly put three kilograms back on because I took the view that I could eat whatever I wanted now that I was training.

My cousin introduced me to MyFitnessPal last Friday so I downloaded the app on my phone. I entered my details and asked the program to help me lose 1lb (450g) a week until I lose the 3kg I put on the past few weeks. I feel most healthy when I’m about 75kg – 77kg and last Friday I weighed 79.5kg. The app told me that I should consume about 1,590 net calories per day to lose the weight. Net calories are the number of calories eaten less any calories burned in training. So if I burn 1,000 calories training I can eat 2,590 calories for the day, making it feel like a sensible way to lose a few kgs. Once I have lost the few kilograms again the app will set me to a diet of 1,990 net calories a day to maintain my weight.

I am usually not a fan of dieting or calorie counting but my diet has been so bad the past few months that I’ve had sugar-induced reflux more than I care to admit, and I’ve had whole days where I’ve not eaten anything from the fruit or vegetable group. So this is a way for me to break bad habits and learn how much food I really can enjoy if I make healthy choices. And once I’m at 76kg I’ll set the app to maintaining my weight (I’m currently at 78kg).

On the first day I just logged my usual diet and found I ate 3,000 net calories, largely in sugar and fat. The next day I tried to watch what I ate a little bit and still ate over 2,500 net calories. But since Sunday I’ve been doing well, staying just under my calorie allowance most days and only just going over on others. And I’m enjoying food again – especially not having reflux. I’ve got so much more energy already after just a week of eating well. It’s a good feeling and I hope to stick it out for a few weeks.

So it’s been a good solid week. And hopefully I can return to writing about my training experiences again now that I’ve got internet access again.

4 responses to “A solid week

  1. Great training week Andrew! To me sleep and nutrition are equally important as training volume. If your not rested you will never gain maximum benefits from training. As for nutrition, do you take any supplements such as energy gels, sports drinks or whey protein to help your muscles recover? I am trying to work out the best solution for myself so am interested in your thoughts…

    • Hi Stew 🙂
      I agree about sleep. I really love my sleep and rest time. I generally go to bed between 9pm – 10pm every night and get up between 4:30am – 5:30am. But if I go to bed later then I sleep in to about 6am – 6:30am. That’s in summer at least. I usually get up a little bit later in winter when it’s light later. I also often have a kindy nap on weekends 🙂 Gotta love the kindy naps 🙂

      I don’t take many supplements. I use basic sports drinks (like Gatorade, Powerade or Staminade) to get some electrolytes to help me rehydrate after a hard session. I also drink Sustagen Sports with milk in the afternoon at work if I’m hungry. I use gels and PowerBars when I race though. I often take a PowerBar after I put my bike in transition a few hours before the race and then a gel when I head out onto the run so that it kicks in when I run out of fuel.

      I’ve considered taking supplements during training but I think that given I only train half to one-and-a-half hours a day at a level that’s enough to break a sweat but not enough to have ongoing muscle fatigue it’s not necessary for me to use supplements. I also have a sedentary lifestyle when I’m not training: I work a desk job from 8:30am – 6pm Monday to Friday, I watch a lot of television at night, and I spend at least one weekend day every 2-3 weeks indoors watching movies or playing on the computer. So I don’t think that my ‘outside training’ time warrants supplements.

      That’s not to say they don’t have their uses or that others shouldn’t use them. It’s just what I’m trying at the moment 🙂 This could change in future 🙂

      I am currently focusing on eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts, lean meats, eggs and dairy. Through a sensible diet like this I should get enough nutrients to fuel my body.

  2. Sounds like a very solid week of training Andrew, well done and keep at it. How much better have you been feeling since you cut back on the sugar and fat in your diet? I’m still struggling with my nutrition, not so much that I binge out on junk food, those days are gone thankfully, for me its more about when to eat, how much and whether it should be carbs, protein, etc. to even out my energy levels. I had my gallbladder removed a few years back and that has changed what I can digest comfortably, so I cant eat a lot of grains, etc. I’m thinking about going to a nutritionist and getting a proper training diet sorted out. – Simone

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