Autumn Update – What’s been happening?

Well I realise it has been since September since I last posted and there is good reason for that. Quite simply, there isn’t much to report on and it’s the time of year that my blog slows down. I like to think of it as its ‘off season’. I take one, so does the blog!

My training has certainly started – well the preparation period has anyway which has now come to an end. With the new goal as outlined in my previous post, I needed to start much earlier this year to try and reap the extra performance gains I thought I may need to try and achieve it. I have just finished an extended preparation period of almost 8 weeks and just about to undertake some testing and then begin the base period. My plan is 24 weeks in duration with a little give and take for some planned holidays I have. It’s a much longer than usual plan and one you would think I am doing a full ironman for. Hopefully, I should be in prime condition for the Outlaw half in May which will be my first stab at my goal.

If you wondering what my preparation period has consisted of, well it’s all about getting my body ready to train and carry out slightly harder workouts. My simple goals were:

  1. Follow the base training programme for the bike on Trainer Road
  2. Increase my run miles so that I’m running around 4 times a week
  3. Keep 80% of everything I do low in intensity
  4. Develop strength throughout my body through a dedicated strength programme

I’ve taken a break from swimming which has only just started up again. This is one discipline that doesn’t take very much for me to get back to where I was. It isn’t a limiter for me and therefore a break from the pool was needed. It feels good to be back now though and it is a case of me just swimming for a few weeks – no workouts, no plan, just swimming and drilling to build up some time in the pool before I put some structure back in.

On another note, I have been recently made an ambassador for Sundried sports apparel. It’s a great little company that provide some excellent gear. And I’m not just saying that! A Castelli slave no more! The good news is that all my readers can benefit too – 50% off all their gear by just visiting the website and putting in the code DANNY. Go over and check them out – you will be pleasantly surprised at the quality.

An Apology

I do have a slight confession, as in one of my previous posts I promised a different take on a blog through a vlog type effort, which to be honest I did not manage to get around to do. It’s still in the pipeline though and I will have a go at that when I get the chance to do it.

Changes to my Diet – meat or no meat? Well a few free meat days…

So I’m a meat eater. Always have been and meat of some kind every day is how I live. Most of that is white meat and some fish. I love meat – simple. So why have I changed my diet to include a few plant based days every week? Ok I’m not going into all the mumbo jumbo and vegan arguments of saving the world and why doing it is better for our planet. I get all that (and agree with most of it) but that is not my motivation. And plus – I’m not going vegan, or vegetarian for that matter.

I’ve been doing a bit of research into the various diets and seeing if there is anything I can tap into that would allow me to eek out more performance gains, but more importantly health benefits. Seeing some really high performing athletes also makes you wonder on the effect it is having. This, and the health benefits is my main motivation. So what conclusion have I come to? Diets are hard to stick to and being realistic is more achievable than trying to be rigid. One thing I have learnt is that I need to reduce my meat intake across the week which will surely have beneficial effects on my health. I’m not giving up meat, or fish or eggs for that matter. I will make a conscious effort in reducing the amount I eat and introduce new plant based meals. Notice how I haven’t said replacements there!

The other thing I have learned is that to try and replicate meals you do by substituting ingredients will lead to disappointment. ‘There not the same’ – well of course they’re not! My view is to look at new recipes and try to create new dishes, which on the whole I’ve been really impressed with. There have been some great meals coming out of my kitchen the last few weeks.

What has been really interesting is my performance and training. Since cutting meat I am training really well, have more energy and am less tired. Is it a mental thing? Who knows – yet! Time will tell but from the performance point of view I’m impressed so far. I thought I’d also be hungry and you know what? I’m not! I’m not even snacking as much (something my stomach needed to do particularly late afternoon before a workout). This is all very new for me and I don’t want my blog post to be dominated by this but feel that this is a significant thing to report on. I now have 3 or 4 meat free days a week in which I feel great about. That’s it.

Short Term Goals

So my aim now is to keep training consistently. Consistency is key and trumps everything else. There are days when I’m tired and not feeling it, but it’s these days that make or break a season. It’s a lot harder training during the winter months, but getting a few things right can make all the difference. Planning takes a lot of time with all the things to consider. Consideration into all the workouts and when to do them, family and personal life events, work, what I’m eating blah blah blah…. the list goes on. Although the more thought you put into this, the more successful the plan and season will be you put together. You know what they say about piss poor planning!

I have a few markers lined up along the way to my first triathlon. I’m hoping to achieve PBs in 10k and the half marathon distance. These will act as good indicators to my training and allow me to make adjustments to it if needed. I will of course try and update as I go through my season. So until then…happy training.

Oh and look out for an article I’m doing for Sundried on ‘Turbo Training Workouts’. In-fact, I’ll probably re-blog it here!