As I begin training ahead of 2014, I ought to really review my 2013 season.
My first full season’s training in the offthatcouchfitness stable was tough but enjoyable.
I spent many hours on my gym bike and turbo grinding out the turbos, while watching Saturday kitchen and other tantalising cookery programs. I also spent, not enough, hours battling the wind and rain. This is something I intend to be better at this winter. As soon as it got light (and warm) enough I spent more of my sessions out on the road. Much more enjoyable even if it does mean taking on the nutters and getting a bit Gyp Rosseti.
I loved the club run sessions on the Monday. There’s something about putting yourself through it going up hills. I kept off the treadmill as much as I could, preferring to hit the streets of Crowle and Ealand instead. I was fortunate to only sustain one minor injury that stopped me running and that was self inflicted from poor shoes and not stopping when it hurt. I’ve learnt from this and implemented this through the season.
There isn’t much I can say about swimming. I put a couple of sessions a week in and I’m fortunate to have the lane at relatively quiet times which allows me to practice drills and get the pool toys out. Swimming up and down doesn’t have much too it, although I’m definitely quicker as a result. However, what has been a revelation has been open water swimming. From the freezing Ashby Ville in May to the warmer summer waters of Tyram Lake, I’ve loved it. It’s so much better than swimming in a pool.
I also trained while on holiday too. Running up the hills and along the cliffs of Caleta de Fuste as well as swimming in the tiniest pool, I must be mad.
My season started with the Lincoln 10k. This was my PB course and once again it didn’t let me down. I set another PB going under 44 minutes with 43:49. I was pleased to have set my PB again.
My first Tri was at Grantham in May. Having not ridden my tt bike much at all and with the strong winds I was pretty nervous and decided against racing on my carbon wheels. In hindsight this was a mistake and I could’ve handled the bike. Nevertheless, an improvement by some distance on my Brigg time of 2012 with a time of 1:07:19.
The next race was the Bupa London 10,000. Normally this race, in the city of London, is roasting hot and so I was not expecting to do anything amazing. The weather was hot and sunny and I decided to set off and see how it went. I also desperately needed a wee! Through the first few kms I was quite steady but started to feel better quickly and every k ran faster. I was stunned to have finished with another PB of 43:45 and a good 3 minutes faster than I had ran on this course previously. My training was obviously paying off.
Next up was my A race of the season at the Rother Valley Sprint Tri – a BTF European qualifier. It’d been my aim to qualify for Team GB but having seen the previous results, the course and the quality of competitor I knew I’d be up against it. It was also my first open water race. I did do well though and in my opinion it’s something to build on next year with a time of 1:27:50. I was able to produce a sub 21 minute 5k which was something I didn’t do for the rest of the season.
My next race was my debut Olympic distance race at the Virgin London Triathlon. I loved the big race feel apart from the mass swim start and I was pleased with my time of 2:31:22. Not a bad effort considering I wasn’t flat out. I can go faster for sure. I was at the peak of my powers and confident of flying through the rest of the season.
Straight after this I suffered from bronchitis (ain’t nobody got time for that) and then post viral fatigue. It took me a long time to get over it.
I loved racing the club relays with my teammates. It’s a great atmosphere and great fun. I did suffer a panic attack after putting myself on the anchor leg of the swim. Even though I knew what was happening I just could not get over it. Consequently, I felt like I let my teammates down and buried myself on the bike. The run was hard and I was knackered by the end of it. A respectable 1:01:25.
I started September with the Drax Sprint. I was starting to feel like I was coming back to my old self. My time, albeit on a shorter bike course, was just 59 seconds short of achieving one of my aims of 1:03:00 this season.
I finished the season, as it turned out, in style at the World Series Open Age Group Race in London. Running down the blue carpet was a high point of my season for sure.
I had aimed to do the Brigg Sprint as my final race and best comparison with last season. However, gastroenteritis put pay to that and so I spent the morning marshalling for the club which was a pleasant and rewarding change.
Throughout the year I also took part in the Burringham Duathlon series and the latter part of the Lincsquad TT series. I love the duathlons and they are genius. Looking at the results I have certainly improved. The TT’s are a different challenge but one where I relish getting my head down and pushing myself and trying to work out the pacing. While there’s more work to be done, two PBs are not to be sniffed at.
The hard work for next season starts now and I’m putting it in. With finishing at youthy I’m aiming to train twice a day. I’ve been inspired by Steve and the Kona boys and I’ve got my aims for next season but I want to be realistic. Once I’ve sorted them in stone I’ll post on here. One thing I do know, is that I’ve got to hurt and suffer more while racing.
Follow more of Olivers season here