Turbo Charged Endorphins

One of the great things about endurance sport is the ‘see-saw effect’, or perhaps more aptly the, ‘pain – pleasure phenomenon’. Let me give a few examples. The wetter and colder you get on your long run: the more enjoyable the hot shower afterwards; the hungrier you get on your Sunday ride: the more satisfying the massive feed when you get back; the stronger the desire to stay in and watch telly: the greater the feeling when you complete your session. However, for me, this pain – pleasure phenomenon is never more significant than on a Thursday evening for Thursday is Turbo Pain Day.  This hard-core interval sufferfest starts featuring in my mind early and remains as a lingering feeling of unease beneath the surface for the duration of the day. Summoning the mental strength to drag myself from the warm house to my cold shed where my Cavallo del West TT bike waits eagerly atop my Taxc Flow turbo trainer is tough. When I do get out there, the first few pedal strokes feel like I’m on the final few KMs of Le Mont Ventoux I.e. the legs are tired, sore and it hurts! Even a good dose of Calvin Harris’, ‘Let’s Go’ on the headphones only briefly relieves the mental and physical trauma. The key is to get going because after 10 or 15 minutes of the warm up the legs wake up, the sweat starts dripping and endorphins begin to stir. After that it’s all about summoning the mental strength to get that first interval out the way (stato types see below). Once that’s done it’s a question of ticking off each minute as it comes – thinking about the full session ahead of you is a killer. Just stay in the here and now. The final interval is always a teeth grinding affair with a lot of self-deprecating swearing (in my case anyway) and the final 30 seconds takes an eternity as legs scream and the heart feels like it’s going to explode. But after this frenetic crescendo comes the easy warm down during which the agony is immediately replaced by relief and a flood of turbo charged endorphins. The neighbours’ thinks it’s odd, and I can see why, but if I could bottle that feeling and inject them with it, they’d understand. Have I ever regretted making myself get out there? Never!

Turbo interval session: My usual interval turbo session is outlined below.  The aim is to get into the ‘red’ as much as possible to push the lactate threshold up.  I can only hold this session when on top form.  Usually the final 360 watt burst is less than 3 mins and I can’t do 10 reps!!

15 minutes warm up
1 min at 250 watts
1 min at 300 watts
1 min at 330 watts
3 mins at 360 watts
2 mins easy spin
Repeat the above for up to 10 reps.



Castle Coombe Midweek Duathlon – Race 4

I stood on the start line a little nervous & unsure on my fitness levels, as I hadn’t raced a duathlon since April & that ended up as a DNF. Training during the past couple of months have been consistent though, so I knew all I had to do was relax and not put any pressure on myself – just race to enjoy it!

During the first 2 mile run I felt relaxed, and was easily running sub 5:50 pace. A good lead had already opened up on the rest of the women’s field, so I maintained the pace to give me the advantage on the bike. I stayed relaxed & felt full of energy when I reached T1 in 11:31.

Conditions were cool & blustery around the race circuit & it was straight into a head wind, so I started the first lap of 5 in an easier gear & kept up a high cadence. I was a little caution, especially on the bends but was able to keep in an aero position all the way round & clocked even paced laps. It felt good to be racing on my Kinetic-One Cavallo again & I felt my confidence returning on each lap. I posted a 25:10 bike split, which was almost a 2 minute improvement from my previous Castle Coombe duathlon. My aim is to knock at least another minute off next time.

My second 2 mile run went well & I concentrated on chasing down the guys that had zoomed past me on the bike. I hadn’t pushed it 100% on the bike, so my legs still had plenty of energy in them & was pleased to run a sub 6 pace again. I crossed the line with a huge smile on my face in 50:17 wishing I’d pushed myself a little more to go sub 50 – I’ll save that for next time!

Chippenham Half Marathon

On Sunday I raced the Chippenham Half Marathon and was pleased to take 1st lady spot, 27th overall and also the FV45 prize in a time of 82:54 minutes.

Training over the longer distances have been going well this summer, so I was confident I would put in a good performance. The conditions were perfect on race morning; a bright, sunny windless morning. I was particularly pleased with the way I ran, as I didn’t bother wearing my Garmin watch or racing flats – I decided to run as I felt & treat it like a Sunday long run, without any pressure on running a quick time. Running without a watch was an alien feeling though, as I had no idea what pace I was running. I probably ran the first 5 miles slightly too quick!

The 1 lap course was gently undulating with a couple of long drags at around 11 miles but finished with a flat & slightly downhill final mile. I led the women’s race from the gun and won by 25 seconds. This is a race I would definitely recommend to others; it was a pleasant rural course, well organised, good facilities, generous prizes & a great atmosphere.