Building a Fitness Base over Winter

My aim over the next 4 months is to build a base of fitness for going into the spring with. I’ve been struggling the month with being ill, the all the swimming galas, and now feeling run down and unmotivated. So I have taken some time out to look at what I want and need to do in order to meet my goals in 2015.

I really need to focus on my running and cycling as these would be easy to let slip through the dark and cold months ahead. This is also the time I would like to get back in the gym for some simple strength training to support the other training I need to be doing.

I would like to do this by committing to consistency again. This isn’t going to be easy over the next two months with Christmas commitments and birthday fun happenings.  So I need to do what I can, when I can.

I’ve been looking at training plans for build up to the 70.3 triathlon next August and nothing suggests starting before 4 months out, which makes total sense. However where do you start when you want to build your base?

From the research I have done I think I do need to do a mixture of activities and intensities.  The focus should be to remain injury-free.

My baselines currently November 2014:

  • Swim 3.5km in 90 minutes (mixed session)
  • Swim 400m in 6.5 minutes and 800m in 13 minutes
  • Cycle for 60-90 minutes non-stop (group leisure ride)
  • Run for 50 minutes non-stop (4.5 mile club run)

My targets for March 2015:

  • Swim 4km in 90 minutes (with speed work included in session)
  • Cycle 2-3 hours non-stop
  • Run for 1.5-2 hours non-stop

To get there though I know I need to work on several things:

  • Speed – incorporate speed sessions
  • Distance – incorporate endurance sessions
  • Strength – incorporate strength sessions or drills
  • Hills – incorporate hill sessions (bike and run)
  • Time – incorporate timed sessions

I would like to get thinking about the above things now so to make it as easy as possible once it comes to stepping up my training in the Spring. I know hills are a current blocker of mine on both the bike and the run, so it would be good to get a head start on overcoming this. I also know my confidence is low when it comes to running, so I need to spend some time building this up again. Overall I want to get a variety of training in each week and generally build up my fitness and lose weight.

Another aspect I would like to research is nutrition and fuelling endurance training properly. At the moment I have no idea where to start with this so need to talk to people and read up on the subject.

Adventures in Coffee… Praline Cappuccino

 

It’s my favourite time of year and the Christmas coffees are back on the menu. I’m a bit late as they have been back on the menu since the start of November, but I have been saving my tastings for towards December in the spirit of Christmas.

Costa have brought out a few new drinks this year and I decided to try the Praline Cappuccino at this month’s work bookclub.

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To be honest this is just syrup added to a cappuccino concoction. It was quite sweet and I think maybe I am going off my taste for sweet coffees as I didn’t really enjoy it as I thought I would.

 

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What I did love though was the coffee sprinkles that turned gold on top of the form! It made it feel quite Christmassy – although it hasn’t really come out in the photo very well.

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Things My Kittens Love

 

Overall my kittens love anything that moves or can be moved. They love playing with me when I am throwing or dangling things, but they also love things they can move themselves when they play.

  • The insides of loo rolls or kitchen rolls

An excellent cheap and easy way to entertain two kittens! I vary it between giving them the rolls whole or with the end cuts up. I think they like these because they can lift them and bat them around easily. They are light and can be picked up and carried around (or away from each other).

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  • Cardboard boxes

They love sitting in them of course, but they also love to chew them. They don’t eat them as there is rarely anything missing, just lots of bite marks. I think they just like the different texture on their teeth.  Shoeboxes are currently the perfect size for sleeping in, whereas delivery boxes are fun to jump in and out of.

 

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  • Feathers

This is the only thing guaranteed to make Merry growl. She is a little territorial when it comes to playing with the feathers on a string. They love feathers and therefore toys with feathers do not last long. I am pretty sure they eat the feathers as I do not hoover up that many. I am going to look into making my own cat toys with feathers as it could get fairly expensive the way they are going through them!

  • Lasers

This was a lazy buy for me. I love playing with my kittens, but with all the swimming I’ve been doing I found I was struggling to find the energy. This toy, which they love, means I can lie on the sofa and play with them – I told you it was lazy!

I’ve gone a bit cat toy mad for December. Basically I think I have bought every Christmas pudding cat toys that was available!

Swimming Gala Results 2014!

In my 2014 swimming club champs I took part in all 17 events running. I hadn’t trained specifically for these, so my goal was to complete all events, rather than worry about beating times. However I did manage to beat some of my times from last year, which is a nice bonus.

  1. 200m Breaststroke = 03:44                 (2013 = 03:43)
  2. 50m Breaststroke 00:48:97                 (2013 = 00:52)
  3. 100m Freestyle = 01:28                         (2013 = 01:30)
  4. 100m Backstroke = 01:42                    (2013 = 01:42)
  5. 50m Butterfly = 00:39:48                      (2013 = 00:44)
  6. 400m Freestyle = 06:27                         (2013 = 06:32)
  7. 200m Butterfly = 03:49
  8. 200m Backstroke = 03:36
  9. 200m Individual Medley = 03:30       (2013 = ?)
  10. 800m Freestyle = 13:20                         (2013 = 13:16)
  11. 400m Individual Medley = 07:28
  12. 200m Freestyle = 03:10
  13. 100m Individual Medley = 01:37.62
  14. 100m Butterfly = 01:42:38
  15. 100m Breaststroke = 01:48:56
  16. 50m Freestyle = 00:40:00
  17. 50m Backstroke = 00:48:52

My one goal after last year’s events was to commit to doing the 800m Freestyle with tumble turns and I did! I was expecting to be a lot slower than 4 seconds as they still wear me out, but I feel in more or a rhythm when I do them. I am extremely happy I kept to this goal. My goal for 2014 is sorting out my bilateral breathing for both the 400m and 800m Freestyle (and bonus for my open water swimming!)

Adventures in Books… The Good, The Bad, and The Furry

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“Meet THE BEAR – a cat who carries the weight of the world on his furry shoulders, and whose wise, owl-like eyes seem to ask, Can you tell me why I am a cat, please?Like many intellectuals, The Bear would prefer a life of quiet solitude with plenty of time to gaze forlornly into space and contemplate society’s ills. Unfortunately he is destined to spend his days surrounded by felines of a significantly lower IQ . . . RALPH: handsome, self-satisfied tabby, terrified of the clothes horse. SHIPLEY: mouthy hooligan and champion mouser, rendered insensible by being turned upside-down. ROSCOE: fiercely independent kitten, tormented by her doppelganger in the mirror. And then there’s Tom, writing with his usual wit and charm about the unexpected adventures that go hand in hand with a life at the beck and call of four cats . . . or three cats and a sensitive poet who just happens to be a foot high and covered in fur.”

This is the third book from Tom Cox about his cats and it is a funny and heart warming read. I must warn you there are also sad bits, where I had tears streaming and had to put the book down so I could get myself together and carry on reading. Maybe it is because I now live with two cats, but I felt more connected with it than maybe I would have before.

This book carries on with the story of Tom and his living arrangements with three, then four cats, each with their own personalities. I totally understand this now, living with my two. They are both kittens still, but their personalities have been coming through more prominently over the last month or so.

It was interesting to read about the lives of the cats as they get older and how they change. It was also interesting to read about the introduction of a kitten into the fold.

Whenever I read these books though I wish I lived in a house with better access to the garden. I would love to let my two out on their own while being able to watch from the house. Unfortunately my garden access is through the garage or through the front, neither of which are suitable for cat flaps. I do take them out regularly, so they can play and explore, but know it’s going to get harder through the winter months with the weather and darkness. It’s amazing the things you consider when it’s no longer just you.

Overall a really enjoyable read, especially if you love cats. I suppose it’s a sneaky way to write an autobiography.

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