Too cold for that sort of thing

I started off the week with dreaded running intervals. This week was shorter intervals, just 300m, but there were 10 of them, and with only 100m rest in-between. I took the decision to keep jogging in the rest stretch instead of walking like I might, maybe, do sometimes… occasionally. Despite the odd road crossing during a couple of the sprints I averaged 3:42/km which is about right given my performance in recent weeks. My legs were burning after the session which has got to be a good sign.

Tuesday morning started with the other dreaded workout of the week… spin class (bike machines in the gym for the uninitiated). This week there was a guy taking it who showed no mercy. It was brutal. The area around my exercise bike looked like a salty snowman had been murdered.

Keeping up with the early starts, on Wednesday I went for a 1600m swim. 32 laps of the Olympic-size pool in under 40 minutes — I was very happy with that. Breathing and technique felt positive and I barely stopped for the whole 40 minutes. The person at the ticket desk reminded me that I only have one day left to get a pool membership without a joining fee. Given that you only need to swim 7 times a month to make the membership fee worthwhile I was very tempted…

Not sure I’m ready for this kind of big commitment in my life.

Ok, I did it. I feel terrible. But in my defence it makes sound financial sense. I’m already swimming twice a week, which is enough to cover the cost of the membership, but in March I’ll start swimming three times a week as a gear up for the Half Ironman.

At lunchtime I went out in the mud and ice for an 11 kilometre saunter along the Thames. The middle 6km were at a threshold pace of 4:18/km. I was hoping for a slightly higher pace (around 4:14/km), but considering the number of icy puddles I had to dodge on the way I’m happy with that result.

Another early start on Thursday morning, and getting to use my pool membership officially for the first time. I hate myself. It was a 1300m swim, but it didn’t feel as methodical as Wednesday. However, I kept the same pace so it can’t have been all bad.

When I got out of the pool I discovered that I’d picked up a bike puncture on my way there. A thorn had lodged itself into the front tyre. If there’s one thing that can take the shine of a lovely morning swim, it’s repairing a puncture in -4 Celsius. It was too cold for that sort of thing.

This is the point in the week where London got a few millimetres of snow and everything got a thin coating of ice. I was supposed to do a couple of bike sessions, but given the conditions were not ideal for cycling, and there was a nice warm fire a home, I opted to ‘postpone’ them.

Saturday morning however was lovely blue sky and sun out for my first half-marathon distance run of 2019. It was still quite icy in patches, and very muddy along parts of the towpath, but none of that took away from the run.

21.1km along the River Brent, Osterley Park and the Grand Union Canal. Definitely worth getting out of bed for!

I completed the half marathon distance in just under one hour and forty minutes. Only ten minutes to knock off to get the magical 1:30… easier said than done!

On Sunday I couldn’t help but go for a bit of a cycle ride while the sun was still up. This ride had to make up for missing the two sessions on Thursday and Friday so I went hard. I completed 22km in 55 minutes. I think that counts as going hard, plus it was a beautiful way to close out the week.

Only five weeks to go until The Big Half!