#Swimrun Training – Week 3

Total Miles: 46 Miles + 2.8k swim + 30mile bike
Average Pace:
 7:54min/mile
Longest Run: 13.2 Miles (Saturday) = 29% of weekly total
Speedwork: 3 miles = 6.5% of weekly total

week3

Happy with the way that week went. I started out with a mini taper knowing that I wanted to run well on Wednesday at the Splash Point 5k. And I closed the week out with a swim/run effort and a half marathon steady paced run.

Favourite Session of the Week

Easily, without a doubt, my nice shiny new PB at the Splash Point 5k. I’m not going to rewrite the report here, but if you want to read the blow-by-blow post of how it went down, then read this post.
In short, the conditions weren’t easy, and I knocked 82s off my previous time with an 18:11. I placed 4th overall and I know there’s more to come. I’m confident I’ll be able to go under 18mins this Summer.

I feel like my swimming is improving every week, especially since I discovered 3:2 breathing. I’m still concentrating so much though that counting laps is beyond me.

Anything Else

I had lots of Deep Tissue massage on my legs on Saturday and Sunday which felt amazing at the time. My HM effort felt sluggish afterwards though and I kept on battling against the voice telling me to stop. I’d look at my watch and think, “I’m still on pace here” so told myself to man up and see it through!

Going Forwards

Next week is going to be a write off for training as I’ve got an exam to prepare for and sit, and my wife is away for most of the week hosting a wellbeing retreat, this means I can’t get out to run at all. I’m going to use these excuses as a forced taper for the 3 Forts Half Marathon though so its all good, hopefully the rest will ensure my legs are coming into it feeling great.

My Breca Swimrun teammate has informed me he’s just ordered this wetsuit. I really need to get some funds together to get mine sorted now. I foresee a clearout of the loft, ebay here I come!

 

 

#Swimrun Training – Week 2

Total Miles: 67.3 Miles + 3k swim
Average Pace:
 7:59min/mile – includes some run walk stuff & half a mile with a 4/yo
Longest Run: 16 Miles (Saturday) = 24% of weekly total
Speedwork: 3 miles = 4% of weekly total

week2
biggest mileage week – ever

Monday: 8 miles – the goal was to maintain a steady pace of 7:30min/mile and to be done in an hour. The route I’d chosen specifically to make this difficult. Twice up to the windmill at High Salvington from 2 different approaches, both involving a mile long climb. I let the downhills take care of themselves as I knew these would be well below target pace.

My Garmin uploads via my work computer so it wasn’t until Tuesday morning that I was rewarded with this on Strava for my efforts. (Always nice to chalk up a Course Record)

crS
Course Record on a tough hill climb

Tuesday: 4 miles recovery at lunchtime, 6 miles steady in the evening.
Wednesday: Track – 8.5 miles including Warmups, cool downs and recoveries
Thursday: Run/Swim/Run – 15.4 miles + 3k
Saturday: Long Run – 16 miles
Sunday: Easy Runs – 7.7 miles + Epsom Salt Recovery Bath!

Track Workout of the Week:

Pyramid Workout
4×200 // 2×400 // 2×800 \\ 2×400 \\ 4×200
Rolling Recoveries: 200m jog after the 200’s, 400 jog all others.
Total: 5.5miles plus warm ups and cool down
Max HR: 177

This one was superb. Cheers to Coach Wardy for suggesting it.  The track session started with a very relaxed atmosphere as we worked our way through the warm up and mobility drills. There were a number of athletes who had just come back from Half and Full marathons in Vienna, a couple of runners who would be racing Brighton Marathon in a few days time and Coach Wardy had just arrived back from a 3 week Road Trip in the USA. Plenty of fun was had picking on Wardy for his newly acquired American accent and we put out a rallying call for the Splash Point 5k next week. (21 Tuffs entered so far I believe – we could be on for a record)

After the long reps of late it was nice knowing the efforts could be run a lot harder. We set off on the first 200m with joyful recklessness, I think Tom hit it in about 33-34 secs although he must have peaked early as he was somewhere behind us for the rest of the session. I kept my 4 reps at a steady 36-37secs (5:00m/m) before we moved on to the 400’s. Two of these both on 1:23 (5:33m/m), so far so good. The dreaded 800’s were next but I actually found these pretty comfortable aerobically. My legs were starting to disagree after the faster work at the beginning of the set, my quads were beginning to feel pretty solid, and my glutes were screaming. Despite this, we went through these in 2:58 each (5:56m/m) and it was onto the faster reps again.
The pace increased as we sailed through the 400’s in 1:25 and 1:23 before we hit the final set of 200’s. My legs didn’t feel like they had anything left in them for hard efforts but I was pleased with 38s, 39s, 34s and 36s.

IMG_20160413_204047
Gococo Compression Socks keeping my calves fresh

This was a fast paced session and I only just about held it together at the end. Those 200’s are pretty much my top end speed, I certainly couldn’t have run those ones at the end any quicker.
I tried to focus on a fast turnover, engaged arms, high hips and really pushing the ground away from me with every stride. It really helps your overall running economy to do quick work like this.

After 10 minutes of chatting I clocked an extra 2 miles to cool down, no-one else stuck around for this but it was a nice evening to idle away some time running round in circles.

A good strong session to go into next weeks 5k race with.

Favourite Session of the Week

Hard to choose actually, I really enjoyed my running, every session felt like I was running well, or at least achieving something. I think the benchmark run for me was my Long Run on Saturday evening.
For a while now I’ve been thinking that my 2 hour pace was about 7:30min/miles and I wanted to go out and test this. I laced up, put some gels in my pocket (one every 6 miles) and off I went to see how long I could hold on. As the miles ticked by I could see I was about 10s quicker per mile, I started having negative thoughts cross my mind and I’d already planned my escape route home if I needed to cut the effort short.
But I remained pretty comfortable throughout, even hitting my quickest split at mile 14. (7:04 if you’re asking) Yes, my glutes were burning but that was to be expected towards the end of a pretty tough week.

My average pace for the run was 7:19 m/m which I’m really happy with. Thats a 16 miler in 1:57. And thats pretty much as long as my longest run is going to get. Anything further than that and I tend to get injuries creeping in. If I can keep up these weeks of high mileage with my longest run only going up to 2 hours then I’m going to be in really good shape come July.

What Else?

My Run/Swim/Run session increased the mileage each way to just over 7.5 miles, and this week it was raining hard. So with the swim in the middle this was a mentally demanding set which I could have backed out of easily at various points.

Finally

3forts
The sensible option!

I made my mind up about the 3 Forts Challenge and decided that the Half Marathon fits into my training much better. If I do the full marathon, I ‘ll get round it, but it’ll wipe my training out for a week with 2 months to go until Breca. So I’ve gone for the half, and I’ll try and race it.

Talking of races, its the Splash Point 5k on Wednesday. I’ll be taking it easy for a couple of days now in the hope of setting a new PB. Bring it on!

 

#Swimrun Training – Week 1

As I mentioned in my previous post, my Swimrun training block has now begun. And its off to a flying start.

WEEK 56.1

56.1 Miles. That’s the highest mileage week I’ve ever done. Even in the build up to previous marathons. What that tells me straight away is that I’m coming into this training block fitter than I’ve ever been.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the figures I’m most interested in.

Average Pace: 8:12min/mile – reflects lots of easy paced running
Longest Run: 10.5 miles (Sunday) = 19% of weekly total
Speedwork: 5.1 Miles = 9% of weekly total

Track Workout of the Week

5 x 1 mile 
Splits: 6:01, 5:47, 5:59, 6:04, 5:59

Analysis: Good session, strong wind on the back straight made it difficult and a too fast 2nd rep which was lots of fun made the last half tough.

Best Session of the Week

Thursday: My first attempt at a Swimrun specific session.

SWIMRUN SESH

So this was almost a 3 hour session – and as tough, if not tougher, than any 20 miler marathon training run I’ve ever done. It wasn’t exactly how Breca Swimrun will go down in July, I wasn’t wearing a wetsuit and the swim was in a pool, however, the swim also included work at much higher intensities than I’ll experience in the race (4x50m all out sprints for example).
I reigned my pace in on the run to the pool as I didn’t know what to expect, I was terrified of bonking at some point during the evening. I was pleased to hit a quicker pace on my run back home whilst still feeling comfortable.
I took a gel after 10 minutes in the pool as my toes were cramping and I had no electrolytes in my drink.  I took another one as I started the run home. I walked the last 800m to try and ease my legs off a bit before stopping which is why the run home was shorter.
When I woke up on Friday morning, EVERY muscle in my body ached. I’m not exaggerating here. I must be mental because I can’t wait to do one of these sessions again!

Any negatives?
I didn’t get any off-road work in, and I could do with getting some more hills in too. On the swim I’d like to try and get an endurance session with a pull buoy in as well as the club swim.
Other than that, I probably broke one of the cardinal rules in training. The one about increasing training load by 10% at a time.

WEEK

My previous week was almost a complete rest though so I can live with that!

N.B: Will endeavour to utilise my Heart Rate Monitor as I’d like to see the trends over the training block.

March Training

I didn’t really have any goals as I kicked off March which was probably a mistake.
I’d set myself an arbitrary figure of 200 miles for the month on Smashrun – a great tool with some really useful insights into your running stats. I’m currently using this alongside Strava to satisfy the inner geek. But this magic figure of 200 was pretty much plucked out of the air, it wasn’t based on a plan, it didn’t take into account my February training. It was just a round number.

I got off to a good start though, and hit almost 4 weeks of good solid running. I’m still pushed for time at the moment so I only managed to get into double figures on a run twice.
Unfortunately, I lost momentum and in the final week, the wheels came off. I dropped down to a ridiculously low 5 mile total for the week. I put this down to not having clearly defined goals for the month.

The Numbers:

Mileage for the month – 150 miles
Biggest week – 41.6 miles
Longest run12 Miles (plus 5 miles – Double run day)

smashrun march

Positives:
My mileage did increase. Up by 21.5% on Feb.
I’m finding Double run days manageable.
My longest run was most of the 3 Forts HM route – in the dark, by headtorch and it was amazing. On reflection, the distance is probably appropriate for my weekly mileage.

The biggest positive for me though is my ability to maintain effort and focus during track sessions. This time last year I’d hit the halfway point during a workout and my thoughts would all be negative

I can’t do this, Its too windy, I’ll sit the next rep out, I’ll call it a day…

But I’m finishing track sessions strongly now, and I’m feeling hyped throughout, no demons on my shoulder whispering at me to stop. And these have been HARD track sessions, 1200’s and mile repeats, you soon know about it if you pace it wrong in one of these sessions.

Unfortunately, swimming hasn’t happened this month. Not even once.

I’m going to chalk the final week of March off and call it a training break as April is where my 3 month block starts for Breca Swimrun.

April goals:
Mileage: 175 miles
Long Run: 16 miles
Swim: Once a week
Race: 5k  – (‘A’ = 18:30, ‘B’ = Sub19, ‘C’ = 5kPB)

I’ve got the 3 Forts Marathon at the start of May and I’m still undecided on what to do. I can run it very easy and enjoy the scenery, the company, and get some miles in my legs. Or drop to the HM and race it. I’ll make a decision closer to the date, and base it on how well my long runs are progressing.

In other running related stuff – the beginners group I coach with ShoreFit Run Club finished their 0-5k course. And my wife and 4 year old son ran the Sport Relief Mile, raising £270 for charity in the process! This was a great opportunity for him to experience running on a running track, and now every time we drive past it he points it out to me as where he did his race.

I also passed my ITEC Level 3 Sports Massage Therapist exams and I’ll be posting more on that soon. I’ve moved on to Level 4 now which I’ll be tested on in April. Lots to learn, but have already picked up so much that I can use to help other runners, especially with regards to maintenance and injury prevention.

 

Team Profile – A Geordie and A Frog

3 months to go until Breca Swimrun at Lake Buttermere. I’m only just now starting to realise how big a challenge this is going to be. I’ve been in denial up until this point.

Running = 38km
Swimming = 6km
Ascent = 1900m

9 runs/8 swims

Let’s not dwell on the specifics. In fact, let’s distract ourselves completely. I’ve been in touch with another team who are racing on July 2nd – Lets get to know them.

Team Name: A Geordie and a Frog
Team Members: Jamie Guerin & Mike Stobbs

Team Motto: Just got to get on!

Geordie - Frog

Who are you, where are you from and how do you know each other?
Mike
– Jamie and I work together at Latimer Vintners a wine merchant in London. We met playing cricket for our local village Cricket team, Wilcot CC, in Wiltshire. When Jamie finished Uni he had no idea what he wanted to do so I gave him a bit of work experience, that was 3 years ago and I still haven’t managed to get rid of him! Jamie is about as French as they come.. with a thick accent and so he adds a bit of French authenticity to the business. This counteracts my strong Geordie twang.., so I suppose he does offer something! (Actually to be honest when Jamie first started working for me he told me he was fluent in French, being half French, I believed him, turns out this was not exactly true as discovered on a trip to the Rhone valley! And while I am from Newcastle, I am not sure how well I would blend in nowadays on a Friday night down the Bigg Market…….)

What do you do when you’re not jumping into lakes with your shoes on or running round in wetsuits?
Mike– I have a four year old son, who’s great fun and so I enjoy spending time with him. On the sport front I do some running on the Salisbury plain or round the streets of London, play squash, cricket, real tennis and now have started swimming more regularly than I have in the past. Beyond that my job takes up a lot of time and due to the nature of being a wine merchant I have to eat and drink a fair amount which will be the excuse I use for our less than stellar performance on July 2nd.
Jamie– I enjoy a range of sports and especially love playing and watching cricket in the summer.

What attracted you to this race? Why Swimrun, why not a normal run or a triathlon?
Mike– I am turning 40 this year and decided I wanted to do a proper challenge having done a few half marathons and cross country runs over the past few years. The thought of marathon is a bit boring and I have no interest in cycling so a triathlon was out although that said I was not exactly an avid swimmer either! I saw an article on the swim run in the Guardian and it appealed as it was a bit different and would definitely be a big challenge but one that seemed achievable with a lot of training. Also I went on family holidays in the lake district every year when I was kid and I have done a lot of walking over there and used to swim in the lake (Ulswater) everyday, so I have a soft spot for the region. Finally it seemed like a big enough deal to use it to raise some money for charity which I support the MSA Trust.

Do you have a personal connection with the charity? 
Mike
– Yes its a syndrome that my dad had and so I have seen how it effects people first hand. It’s a Parkinson related neurological disorder which causes degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and  causes all kinds of physical problems for those who suffer from it. There is no cure and very little is known about how to treat it effectively. As I have said I have very fond memories of holidays with him in the lakes when I was young so it seemed like a good way to remember him and try and raise some cash. Here is a link to my just giving page https://www.justgiving.com/CM-Stobbs/

Jamie– Having just turned 25 I do not have the same mid-life crisis reason as Mike who is nearly over the hill… however it seemed a good step up from some triathlons I dabbled in last year as well as the marathon. Having played cricket alongside Mike for several years and had plenty of competitive games of squash against him I was only too happy to join him on this challenge, also he might have fired me had I refused. Daunting as it seems training is stepping up week on week and I am really looking forward to this challenge!

2014-09-18 23.57.58

I love how far removed this race is from village cricket. And the fact you’ve jumped straight in screams mid-life crisis, I agree with Jamie! It would be much easier to just go and buy a sports car. How mad do the people around you think you are?
Mike
– Generally speaking yes, Georgie was not keen when I suggested it but is now totally on board. Most people think I am completely mad but my view is why not, what’s the worst that can happen (don’t answer that!)

Will you be dashing back down to London or are you hoping to have a long weekend?
Mike
– No, my girlfriend (Georgie) is coming along to support us so we are going to spend a couple of days in lakes after the event.

Any chance of bringing some wine up to Buttermere? I’m quite certain it will taste amazing after the event! In fact, what wine would you recommend after this!?
Mike
– I will certainly be needing some so yes a few sneaky bottles will makes their way in to the boot of the car. To be honest I suspect anything will taste good after the event but if pushed I reckon a nice Double Magnum of Ch Romanin Rosé would hit the spot!

When do you think you’re going to start getting in some open water swim practice?
Mike
– As soon as the wetsuit arrives which should be in the next week or two (I have Gone for the Orca Swimrun suit). There are a couple of lakes near London (Heron Lake and liquid Leisure) which I think will be the regular options (any other suggestions gratefully received). We also have a couple of training weekends in the diary when we plan to practice the transitions etc. One of them will be in the Lake District in May where we are going to try and replicate a bit of what we will face in July.

So you guys are training together as well?
Mike
– Yes, we have done a couple of runs together and we both did the Pewsey Terminator on Feb 28th. We are also planning a couple of training weekends in May and June.

It’s going to get tough out on the course, it’s a long old race. What mental tricks will you employ to keep yourselves going?
Mike
– Well Jamie doesn’t shut up so I guess that will either entertain or irritate me enough to take my mind off the pain. Beyond that I am sure we will manage to keep each other going with some inane chat and a few jokes along the way.

What do you see as your biggest strengths?
Mike
– I am pretty determined and I don’t generally give up on things (ask Jamie re the Phall challenge). Jamie’s biggest strength is probably an extraordinary (and potentially delusional) self-belief when it comes to his sporting ability/prowess he has described himself as “a natural athlete”.

And finally…

Karaoke song of choice?
Mike
– Ain’t no doubt– Jimmy Nail
Jamie – Je ne regretted rien – Edith Piaf

A double act that you aspire to be like (or might be tarnished with!)
Glen McGrath and Shane Warne (just to keep on the cricket theme)

 

Looking forward to meeting these guys up in the lakes on race day. Good luck with the training and with the fundraising (here’s the JustGiving page once again – www.justgiving.com/CM-Stobbs/)

And a reminder of the Breca teams featured so far:

Tuff Fitty
Tri Energy Mums
ATC Triology
2 Slow 2 Win, 2 Dumb 2 Quit

I hope everyone’s trainings going well, mine’s still yet to kick off properly, although my team-mate has done a couple of Aquathlons already. I’ve got some catching up to do.

Please get in touch if you fancy answering some questions about your team. Its great to read some of the stories and learn a bit more about who we’re all racing with.

 

February training

So how did February look for you? For me it went quite well. Despite not racing at all I’ve managed to get in some quality training.

Mileage for the month – 123.5 miles
Biggest week – 48 miles
Longest run14 miles

That’s starting to pick up nicely, with my biggest week coming in the final week of Feb. And in fact, that’s my biggest week since the same time last year.

biggestweek

My little boy is also training for his first race, the Sport Relief Mile and its been great fun encouraging him to start running. He’s managed a 16:13 mile so far which involved a lot of jumping over drains, walking to cross roads and stopping to point at his school.

me&sonny

I’m hoping to carry through some consistency into March, keeping my mileage at a minimum of 40 per week and adding a 90-120min long run in each week. My track sessions are strong at the moment, sub-6:00min/mile pace in big sessions. We’ve just moved into 1200 reps (5 of them this week) and I’d like to see my splits closer to 5:45min/mile if I can manage it. Although I’m not going to break myself trying.

My limiting training factor is time.  My other half works several evenings a week, often not getting home until 9:30 and that’s not a good time to go out running. So I’m trying to squeeze runs in where I can. For instance, my trip to the launderette gave me £2’s worth of time – which I’ve now learnt translates to a fast 4 miles. I’m running on my lunchbreaks too. In fact, my biggest training week in 12  months came without running further than 8.5 miles in a single session.

My swimming is improving, I’ve managed to get to one session a week which at the moment is focussed on strength. That means lots of climbing in and out the pool to do press-ups, squats, tricep dips and planks, and swimming in T-shirts with pull-buoy and paddles. This is a great session for me as it really addresses my weaknesses. I’m hoping to start doing a weekly distance/endurance session soon, to really work on my pull. I want to be able to use paddles comfortably by the time Breca Swimrun comes around in July as it will make a huge difference in the swim times.

Other training,  I’ve been doing a press-up challenge since the beginning of Feb, starting at one and adding one each day. So today it will be 30 press-ups. A month ago I couldn’t have done 10 without stopping so I’m pleased with my progress here. I don’t think its been an increase in strength, but more a neurological thing. Engaging the right muscles to achieve the goal. Whichever it is, it should help my swimming, and I might even develop a chest that comes out further than my abs.

I think the biggest plus I can take from February is that I’ve come out of it without any niggles. I’ve increased my mileage and I’m injury free. I have to thank Gococo Sportswear for helping me out here, my compression socks are awesome.

 

COMPETITION – WIN GOCOCO COMPRESSION SOCKS!

In my quest to find the perfect socks for running I came across a Swedish brand called Gococo.

In particular, I was looking for a compression sock that was quick drying, warm and aided recovery helping me to run long and run often.

GOCOCOSOCKS

After reading the adventures of Rosemary on the awesome blog PlanetByde, I followed a link to the Swedish sock Company, Gococo. I wrote about them here after I’d spent some time trying different brands out – Gococo came top of the tree.

So here I am, about to start training proper for Breca Swimrun and I am proud to say I am now a UK Ambassador for Gococo Socks. What does this mean? Well, it means I’ll be out and about in great socks ALL the time!

gococo

To celebrate this I’ve been given the green light to run a competition to WIN a pair of the Superior Compression Socks (worth €42) In fact – I’ve got TWO pairs to give away!

All you need to do is Follow Me and Retweet the competition tweet on Twitter.

Not got Twitter? Drop a reply below and I’ll put you in the draw.

I’ll pull 2 names out of the hat after 9pm on Sunday 14th February and contact the winners shortly after. In the meantime, have a look over on www.gococo.se and dazzle your eyes with colourful socks!

Compression Superior

Gococos Compression Superior is the ultimate sock for you who want powerful support over the calf when you want to perform at your best! Superior Compression is a graduated compression sock that stabilizes the calf muscle and increases circulation in the calf when you are active.

Gococos compression socks are reinforced to protect your feet during activity, such as running. The 37.5 Technology material in the sole is extremely quick drying, which reduces the risk of chafing and blisters.

• The compression reduces the risk of stiff calves and swollen feet

• Piquet knitting in the shaft and foot provides an even and smooth pressure

• Silicone dots on inside shaft for ideal grip on leg

• Compression socks have a pressure of 15-27 mmHg (ie higher pressure than Gococo Compression)

Size: The size is measured where the calf is at its peak. S (27-32 cm / 10.5-12.9 inch) M (33-39 cm / 13-15.6 inch) L (40-45 cm / 15.7-17.7 inch)

If you already use Gococos Compression socks and are not sure what size you use, look at the color line in the shaft where: Small = Green Medium = Red Large = Blue

Material: 77% Polyamid 15% Elastane 8% 37.5 Technology yarn

 

Small Print:
You’ll need to Follow me @davewilsonmarch and RT the competition tweet to be eligible to win. Only one entry per person will be counted, but feel free to keep sharing!
Winners will be contacted for size, colour and postal address which will be forwarded to Gococo for prizes to be sent out. Entries close at 9pm 14/2/16 – after which I’ll collate all the names and pick 2 out at random. Gococo may or may not have all the sizes/colours in stock so please be prepared to have a 2nd choice on standby!

Training Snapshot

Here’s a little snapshot as to how my own training is going. I’m managing to run in my lunchbreak at the moment which means although my mileage is fairly low compared to lots of runners, the quality is high.

Monday: I ran what I call a “Super-Tempo” effort, this is a mile warm-up followed by 12 minutes at what I would like my current 5k pace to be. Then a mile cool down. Each week, I’ll add a minute on to the length of the effort until I’m either happy to race it or step back to a shorter quicker effort and start again. Splits in the effort were 5:57, 5:58.

Tuesday: 10k (not so) easy. I thought this was going to be a really tough run as the wind had really picked up. The first 5k was straight into it and I put in a good effort, the 5k return along the seafront was much easier and I was able to coast it all the way. I was still able to chat with a guy on a bike during the last 800m so I knew it was still a fairly relaxed effort. I was quite surprised to see my splits as: 6:22, 7:02, 6:55, 6:37, 6:32, 6:27 and finishing up at 6:34. Thats more like a solid threshold pace for me.

Wednesday: Bit of a cold & felt stiff  from the previous day so decided to get to the track 10 minutes early for an extra warm-up mile. So 2 miles warm up for me, followed by 15 minutes of drills and dynamic stretches. The main set was 9x800m on 4mins. The warm up did its magic and I felt really good throughout. Pleased to be able to pick it up in the second half of the set too. 6.8 miles in total, annoying that I couldn’t round it up to 7 but I had no time for a cool-down.

DATA

Thursday: That’s today…I’m struggling a bit with a cold and I had a terrible nights sleep but the weather is glorious so I’ll be doing an easy 5 miles along the seafront at lunchtime, that should blow the cobwebs away. Then it’s Tuff Fitty Swim night and I’ll be heading over with my Breca Team-mate Tom.

Hoping to clock 35 miles this week which I haven’t done since mid Dec and then maintain for a few weeks before targeting some more specific plans. (whatever they might be!)

Enough about me…How’s YOUR training going?

 

TEAM PROFILE – 2 SLOW 2 WIN, 2 DUMB 2 QUIT

Have you got a drink? Put it down. These guys will probably make you spit it all over your screen.
Part of the reason for doing these profiles is so we might be able to identify each other on the day and strike up conversations easily. I must say, after this interview I’m really looking forward to meeting these guys at Breca Swimrun although I wouldn’t accept a drink off them during the race…..it might be sabotage.

Team Name: 2 Slow 2 Win 2 Dumb 2 Quit
Team Members: Manuel Campana / Dino Sarpi

10698473_10154588021190024_6404139980782489600_n
The chuckle brothers – happy with Pizza & Beer

Who are you, where are you from and how do you know each other?
Dino: My name is Dino, the result of an eclectic mix of Iranian and Italian blood resulting in what was summarised in the year book as a Terrorist Pornstar… being a terrorist is no longer cool and the pornstar days are long over or were just wishful thinking! I have known Manuel since I was 10? but didn’t talk to him for several years because he was hanging out with ass-holes.
Manuel: Just for the record, we were 13. And very good friends. Then something yet unknown to mankind happened in his brain and he stopped talking to me. Then one day he must have come to his senses and here we are, good friends again. Go figure. I’m really enjoying our friendship now though. Hopefully he won’t change his mind again.
Anyway. I’m Manuel, 100% Italian, no terrorist at all, let alone porn-star. Web developer by day and nothing by night because I have a tendency to fall asleep straight after dinner.

Italians eh?  On a scale between Ferrari and Fiat, where would you like to put yourselves? Judging by the team-name, I’m going with Lambretta?
Dino: Italy is also well known for wine, Amaretto Disaronno (feels like there’s a theme here), good food, and bunga bunga (watch out!); but if you put it that way, yes, since Manuel is part of the team we’d go with a rusty Lambretta Innocenti or an even rustier Ape Piaggio (go on, google it). With all due respect to Innocenti and Piaggio of course.
What attracted you to this race? Why Swimrun, why not a normal race/triathlon?
Manuel: Not a triathlon mainly because it would involve buying a bike or race on a Boris bike (although I’m still considering the latter). Not a normal race because I keep listening to my friend here. I should probably learn how not to.
Dino: No longer terror-porn-starring-wishful-thinking, so this was the next best thing!

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Where do you see yourselves being strongest?
Dino: Weeeeeelll…. so…. Manuel…. basically… he will try very hard. I am there to try and make sure he finishes. As for everyone else, please go faster else you may be used as a flotation device.
Manuel: What do you mean ‘try’? You WILL make sure I finish! Also you’ll make sure I finish ALIVE! Won’t you? Yes you will. I’m sure he will.
Also if I find an effective way to make him tow me without realizing it, we may even aim at a decent time. But seriously? My strength is definitely my teammate. We’ve known each other a long time and we love spending time together. The fact that I’m doing this race with him gives me a big hype. I’ll try my best not to slow him down too much but in any event I’m sure we’ll enjoy every second of it.

Are you happy with your teammate?
Dino: Manuel is probably the best team mate you could wish for. I always wanted to…
Manuel: *interrupts*  I didn’t have much choice to be honest. I’m just not sure whether or not we’ll still want to be friends after the race.
Dino: What?!?!? …drown him, so here I will have the opportunity.
Manuel: Hahaha! See? Friendship is in jeopardy already!

Any amusing stories you’d like to share with us?
Manuel: Amusing stories about Dino?
So… *coughs* …first of all I have to say that my storytelling skills are not that good and this guy here is such a character that you’d have to know him to fully understand what he is like. Me telling a story doesn’t even cut it, plus the funniest episodes are usually quite obscene in a way or another.

Having said that,  there is an episode that can be published uncensored. We were in north Wales for a double ironman (needless to say I was only supporting) and the participants had to do registration the evening before the race. So in the afternoon we were meticulously going through the mandatory kit list that needed to be approved at registration. It occurred to me that said list wasn’t very precise and left a lot to interpretation. For example they required to carry at least a certain amount of drink to avoid dehydration. But they didn’t specify in what container. A bottle? A bladder? A flask? And they didn’t even specify what kind of drink. Water? Energy drink? Orange juice? Presumably it was irrelevant. However, with Dino taking part, they should definitely have specified.

So off to registration we went. The lovely lady who checked us started going through all his stuff. First aid kit, check. Waterproof jacket, check. Whistle, check. Head torch, check. Drink….. er…. excuse me Dino, where is your mandatory drink to avoid dehydration? And he simply replied “well, your list wasn’t very precise so…. there!” pointing at his bike.

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Dino: I didn’t finish the race… seriously! Our friend Chris had to pick me up off the side of the road at midnight after 150miles of cycling.

Have you looked at the course map yet? Is there anything making you nervous?
Dino: Bring it on.
Manuel: There’s a big difference between looking at a graph on the screen with your hand scraping the bottom of a pack of crisps and actually running that graph. But the thing that makes me nervous the most are the constant reminders from Dino (e.g. Emails with subject: “You’re in the shit now!”).

What have you done in the past? Give us a brief background.
Manuel: Until last year just some sporadic climbing, some recreational skating, a lot of snowboarding, and the rest was in front of an Xbox. Then last year, probably due to a premature midlife crisis, I joined BMF (British Military Fitness) and started doing various OCRs (Spartan and whatnot), some swims, aquathlons, etc. Now I’m trying to move towards fewer but more “serious” events. Let’s see if I’ve got what it takes.
Dino: I have participated in several running, swimming and triathlons (I have a feeling this might be a modest understatement folks!)

Are you planning on any particular races in the build up?
Manuel: Nothing planned yet, but I’ve got at least a couple of swims in mind. As for running, for now I’m giving some rest to an injured ankle but normally I train on the hills of Hampstead Heath and enjoy the beautiful views that my local park has to offer.

Will you be making a weekend of it or is it a splash,dash & grab?
Manuel: My hope is to make a weekend of it. I’ve never been there and I’d love to enjoy the place and bring home some nice memories; other than just pain and suffering. Let’s see if the girlfriend will oblige.
Dino: Girlfriends decide.

Are there any questions you’d like to put to other teams/organisers/experienced swimrunners?
Manuel: Can you all pull out, please? Jokes aside, I’d love to read other interviews. It makes the race more personal. I understand it’s a race so you kinda want to demolish the other competitors (be prepared guys, I’m ruthless), but usually you just race with other people and getting to know them a bit more is something that could really make a better event.
As for the race itself my biggest question mark is the amount of stuff to carry and how. I guess experienced swimrunners might be able to help there?
Dino: The secret to a good time is proper lubrication, so how do you stop chafing from happening during a swimrum event!?!?
You mean SwimRUN right?
Man
uel: No no, that seems plausible, I’m pretty sure he meant swimRUM

Pick a famous duo you can compare yourselves with:
Dino: Tom & Jerry? Road Runner & Willy Coyote? Pinky & The Brain?
Manuel: No no no. I don’t want to be Tom nor Willy. Let alone Pinky. Pfft. I was thinking more something along the lines of Mario and Luigi. Then my girlfriend got involved and she suggested the Chuckle brothers. I had no idea who they were so I googled them. I think I want a new girlfriend.
To you, to me, to you, to me…

chuckle
Manuel & Dino with a lady who is definitely not holding a cock in a glass
Post-race Food/Drink of choice?
Dino: Can we leave a message to the RDs? Provided Manuel survives and makes it to the finish line on his legs, we would be extremely grateful if you could have a hot calzone and a fresh pint waiting for us. Thanks.
Manuel: Seriously. It would be a massive achievement for me, but asking for press and TV to celebrate the event seemed a bit too much, so I think pizza and beer is a fair compromise.

Afterparty Karaoke song of choice?
Manuel: Uh oh… this is not going to end up well… we could be on a very dangerous ground here… especially after a few tequilas. We won’t say anything for now to avoid compromising the little reputation, if any, we’ve got left.

If you’d like YOUR team to be featured on here, drop a comment below, or on twitter, or send me a message and we’ll get on the case. It would be great to get as many profiles before race day as we can. Fast, slow or just in it for a laugh, I’m fascinated to see who we’re all up against!

Have a look here for the Breca SwimRun profiles so far:
Tuff Fitty
Tri Energy Mums
ATC Triology

And for some great SwimRun tips make sure to read this interview here. Its got everything from kit-tips to videos on how to transition.

How I’ve recently become mad about socks….

My sock drawer is overflowing. 2 reasons for this:

  1. My sock drawer is actually quite small
  2. I’ve gone a bit mad with new socks

You see, I’m a runner and if I’m going to be so particular about which trainers best suit my foot, and then which trainers best suit the terrain I’ll be on. I might as well be particular about not getting blisters.

So I’ve been testing out a few different brands and I’ve come up with some favourites. I thought I’d share these on here, particularly in the context of SwimRun.

3rd Place: Bridgedale
Who Are they? British company making socks for hiking, running, cycling, ski-ing, mountaineering etc etc. Outdoorsy type stuff.

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What are they like?  I’ve got pairs of the Speed Demons & the Speed Trail and they are WARM! Probably down to the Merino Wool content. Perfect winter socks for when the tarmac or trail is freezing cold.  They hold the water a bit when they get wet but they stay warm. These have quickly become my favourite sock for the bike.

As a sidenote – Bridgedale also make this great reversible hat which is perfect for going under a helmet and its been stuck on my head all winter so far.

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2nd Place: Feetures!
Who Are They? A family run company from Charlotte, North Carolina. Designed for Runners by Runners.

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Feetures! Elite Merino+

What are they like? Fantastic. I’ve got a pair of the Elite Merino+ and two pairs of the Elite Ultra Light. The Merino ones are super warm, and the Ultra Lights really are Ultra Light. The edge these have got over any of the others I’ve tried is the compression around the foot. They feel like your foot is getting a gentle hug from the moment you put them on. They’re not touted as compression socks but that’s one of the reasons why they’ve almost hit top spot.

1st place: Gococo (Swimrunners take note!)
Who Are They? Award winning Swedish sports & compression socks, quickly becoming synonymous with SwimRun. Scandinavian functional design.

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Gococo Compression Superior

What are they like? Perfect. I’ve got almost the full Gococo range here. The sport socks do everything you want them to, they’re light, blister-free, no seams, and pretty cool making them suitable for races and hard efforts. Those are the sort of sessions where you don’t want your foot to feel heavy and warm inside your shoe.
But where they really excel is in the long compression socks.
These offer stabilization through the calf, and if you believe the compression hype they allow increased circulation throughout the muscle whilst active. Now, I don’t know about that, but I’ve raced in these up tough hills and done hard track sessions in them and my recovery has been almost instant. If that’s down to the socks then my sincerest thanks go to the brains behind the design!
They also work with “37.5 Technology” to help maintain optimum body temperature, this is something I’m sure we might see spread to more winter apparel here in the UK.

In a Nutshell
These socks dry quickly, keep your legs at optimum temperature and provide support for your calf muscles. They don’t rub and they look good. For a Swim-runner, they are like the Holy Grail in sock form. Thoroughly recommended.
What socks do you run in?
Any Swimrun sock tips?