The first month of 2020 has come to an end, was it good, bad, ugly or indifferent?

What were the lessons learned and the ups and downs of the first big month on the lead up to Ironman UK 2020 and hopefully qualification to Ironman Hawaii.

January Stats…

As you can see there is a little bit of a volume jump from December (lol).

Couple of reasons for this..

  1. December sucked illness wise, i was out for the beat part of a week at the start of the month and had another kick at the end of the month
  2. It was December, nobody does big numbers in December really what with one thing or another

So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise to see that increase in volume but to be honest, seeing a full working week and a half dedicated to training was a bit of an eye opener, especially as I lost the first 4 days 5 days to illness!

Swim review…

The month started pretty badly swim wise, lack of fitness and strength made the first weeks sessions feel pretty horrible but over week 2 and 3 it started to come round.

My goal for IMUK is to come out of the water in under an hour (which will be a 9 minute improvement over Nice last year).

Coach Deano put together some solid sessions for Jan with plenty of technique work and some focus on intensity levels.

To try and judge these alongside the required pacing for the IMUK goal I figured breaking the overall time and pace needed into a ‘per length’ time and setting an alert on the trusty Garmin would be an idea.

This is the first time that swimming to time has really entered my thought process and it seems to be working well – although trying to knock 1second per length off a time is a bigger challenge than expected.

Finally managed to film myself swimming and got that dissected by Dean and his swimming aficionado Tina Wilson.

Turns out my right side is ok but my left arm drops an elbow and makes me kick on the left leg like a sealion chasing a beachball – as documented below…

By the way, if you want some mega inspiration, coaching, or just a stream of good advice I suggest following both Dean – @triathlon_deano and Tina @wilsonwasgale on Insta.

Swim rating for January – 7/10

Bike Review…

January was a pretty big bike month, well over 600miles ridden and fairly comfortably.

As with swimming the month didn’t start particularly well in terms of the quality sessions but the volume was there which is a good thing for this time of year.

As the month progressed the power started to come back on the Wattbike and the smile came back to my face (lol).

Managed 2 rides out in the lovely Essex lanes and can report that trying to ride to power on the roads is very different to riding to power on a static bike.

Where it seems easy to hold wattages of 230+ on a Wattbike it is a different world trying to do it on the road (or maybe I have a dodgy power meter lol)

This is definitely something to be worked on over the coming months.

Finally got my bike for the 2020 season built and almost set up – will be getting a bikefit done but that is for a different post.

In slightly unrelated bike based points, the local graffiti crowd have got well on board with motivating me, as below…

Graffiti Kona on wall in London

And I learned the correct way to wear an aero helmet…

Idiot Wearing Lazer Aero Helmet Backwards

Bike rating for January – 8/10

Run Review…

How is it possible that running can be such a cruel mistress?

I had a proper moan early in the month when I realised I had gone from running sub 40min 10Ks in November to not being able to hold that pace for 3 minutes in January – bad times.

Although, it did come back pretty quickly and what was impossible at the start of the month is now (borderline) easy.

Pacing is getting better, am comfortably holding 7.30/mile for 90mins now which hopefully is a good omen for January, with 6 months to get faster.

Had another look at my gait with the physio as I wasn’t convinced I was in the right shoes, turns out (as with most things in my life) that I am a bit weird in that I am borderline in need of stability shoes on one foot but need neutral on the other….. Which should make things simple when buying shoes, have gone for a set of Nike Pegasus – have to say they are the most comfortable running shoes I have had for a long time.

Video of my stupid gait below (including bonus dog).

Positives for the month – getting faster, feeling lighter, moving better.

Negatives – I have realised I am now old enough to HATE sliding around in the mud running off road, que another moan to coach Deano (lol).

Run rating for January – 6/10

Other stuff…

Pretty proud of the fact I managed a fully dry January, not one drink consumed but maybe even more proud that I managed a Dairy Milk free January.

One of my goals for the year is to try to reframe my relationship with alcohol, I wouldn’t say that I drink too much or that I am close to having any kind of issue BUT I do have a dependancy in some situations (socially etc) which I want to change.

With the above in mind I am happy to have been able to have a night out at Slipknot, including dinner with my beautiful wife without having a drink (Slipknot in itself would have been a big drinking night lol).

On a slightly different note, we marked the one year anniversary of my sister passing away, I still can’t quite believe that she is gone and still think about her every day. Her strength and determination stay with me and still keep me driven in every difficult moment and session.

Next month…

More of the same really – got a bikefit booked for Feb 1st which I will write up over the first week or so, the short version of which being that it is a worthwhile exercise.

Got race 1 of the year – a duathlon in Berkhamstead, have not done a duathlon since I was 21 so should be an interesting one, there will be a race report for it at some point!

Thats it for now – if you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read.

If you have any comments please drop them in below AND if there is anything that you would like me to write about please let me know 🙂

Michael….