July had the main focus of the year, the Bolton Ironman. The short version is job done, goal achieved, but target massively missed. I’ll put together a separate post about the race.
The rest of July was spent recovering from the Ironman, and getting back into training. The disappointing IM time oddly saw me really motivated to get back into training. The goal for Bolton was only ever to use it as a test event for “the big one”, Challenge Roth in Germany in 2015, but I was still gutted (and I guess a little embarrassed) with the finish time, especially how completely I fell apart on the run.
August saw me back at The Vitruvian. The race was very hit and miss. The swim was the highlight, 3 minutes quicker than 2013. I was quite pleased with this, building on my good swim at Bolton. I had been back in the water consistently since I dragged my ass out of bed in May, swimming 3 times a week, and only missing sessions I had to, rather than because I couldn’t be arsed, or because I overslept.
I was making good time on the bike, and was on course to beat my 2013 time when my front mech broke, and wouldn’t change into the big ring, at the end of the first lap. This was somewhat of a problem because a lot of the course is fairly fast, but sections such as the Rutland Ripple definitely need you to go down to the small ring. I spent a couple of minutes faffing trying to fix it, but in the end decided the easiest way would be to only change down when I needed to, and then get off my bike and manually put it into the big ring at the top of any such hills. Although my bike split was officially 4 minutes slower than 2013, my Garmin’s moving time was a few seconds quicker.
The run repeated the pattern of being largely pants. Quicker than at the Outlaw, but 10 minutes slower than last year.
Into September and and just the one race, the Stockport Big Event 10K. I was starting to get my running mojo back by now, and ran 47 minutes. Not great by any stretch (my PB is 43) but a nice return to something approaching form.
September also saw me take a more periodised approach to training. I know that a good routine is the key to me being consistent with training. To that end I was always looking to come up with the “perfect” routine that would work for me year round, but I never found it.
I decided to change my training routine into blocks, and focus on different aspects. I therefore targeted ASA Masters Nationals at Ponds Forge in October and adjusted my training accordingly. This meant ramping up the number of sessions I was doing from 3 per week to 5/6 per week. Including double days on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
This focus on swimming, combined with the longest period of consistent swim training I had ever done resulted in my swim times coming tumbling down. Nationals was a success, with me smashing my old PBs, the highlights being going sub 1:10 for 100 free, 5:17 for 400 free, and 21:23 for 1500 free.
My overall impression of 2014 is that it was fairly disappointing. A lot of it of my own making. But looking back there were a number of highlights, I dropped my bike times across the board, and certainly the swim improvements that I made at the end of the year took me into 2015 on a high.