Exploring the footpaths and bridleways around Crosspool

In between the horrendous weather that the UK is having, I managed to go for a run in sunny and not so windy weather. Once again, my Garmin decided obtain signal about a km into my run, but I suppose that was my warm up anyway.

I decided to explore some of the footpaths between Crookes and Crosspool, so I ran towards the Bole Hills and then looped back through some allotments. Because I was not feeling particularly great still, I aimed to run around Z1/Z2 and really level out on the inclines. I think I kept to that for the most part. I didn’t feel like I expended that much energy and my pace certainly suggests that I was taking it easy! My average heart rate was right in the middle of Z2 and I often was in Z1.

It is quite frustrating running so slowly, and feeling like my cardio fitness and running pace is slipping backwards, but I made the conscious decision to focus on climbing and try to maintain my running. I’m still completing 2 runs per week, and my distance has not decreased that much during a 1/2 hour run. I also think that I’m fighting a cold or virus because I’m feeling a bit drained.

On the plus side, I’m slowly putting together some shorter routes that are off-road almost straight from my house, which is great. As much as I enjoy street-running, I do miss off road. Now that I’ve found some footpaths and bridleways very close to me, I’ll actually be able to get off-road more easily and quickly!

Some stats:

  • Distance: 4 km
  • Time: 36:57
  • Pace 9:23/km
  • Elevation gain: 187 m

Year-to-date

  • Distance: 97.9 km
  • Time 11:50:00
  • Elevation gain: 1876 m
  • Runs: 17
Advertisements

Steep climbing at the Climbing Works

 On Sunday, I was supposed to do an easy Zone 2 circuit. Because I had done one on Friday, I was pretty felt pretty strong and wanted to see what I could do on the competition problems on the Comp Wall instead. My aim was to see if I could top out at least 2 of the problems on the Comp Wall.

I topped out on two problems on the Comp Wall (a 6a yellow and a 6a+ murple) and turned to something harder. I made a number of attempts on the 7a pinkle going up the main overhanging wall. The first couple of moves were quite straightforward, but there was one move which was really quite strong. It required a deep Egyptian and a slap to a not particularly good hold (it was a good hold, but turned the wrong way). This was a pretty hard move for me because it required dynamism, a bit of strength and being able to latch the sloper. I almost managed to hold it once, but I started getting lower on the move so I decided to change problems as I was fatiguing. 

The next problem was even harder – at least for me! It was made up of the toothpaste volumes that I never get on with. The problem is graded 7a, and I didn’t get anywhere on it! It’s really not my style. After trying different things for a good 5-6 attempts to get off the ground, I moved on. I was getting bored of the Comp Wall, so I decided to try some of the yellows and whites in the rest of the Works.

In the end, I didn’t get up anything but I did manage to link some moves on steep stuff, which took me a couple of goes but I achieved it. I was super stoked about being able to link a white problem opposite the reception. It included two finger pockets and quite a hard cross over. I figured out how to hold myself in when making that cross-over, but it was a very strong move so I started to fatigue quite quickly. I started to warm down (dynamically) and get ready to head home.

Exploring the Climbing Work’s Mini Works

Friday’s training aims were nice and straightforward:

Warm up: traverse no matching, L-R, R-L, cross-through where possible

Main session: Recovery circuit (Z2), easy effort

Warm down: easy problems, missing out holds

As luck would have it, the Climbing Works had reset their green and pink spotties across both the main wall and the mini-works. Because it was a recovery/endurance circuit, I thought this would be a perfect circuit to play on. I tried not to have too many rests between problems, and luckily it wasn’t too busy so I didn’t have to wait for problems. I did have a short rest catching up with some people who I’ve not seen for a long time, and then I had to walk to the mini works after completing the 20 problems in the main wall. I’d still like to believe that I was doing endurance work.

The problems were really straightforward and not particularly difficult. I think they’re roughly font 4 and that was perfectly fine for me as I was supposed to be in Z2. I probably could have gone up a circuit, but the holds are so grotty and dirty on the pinkles that I really didn’t want to. I did feel quite tired towards the end of the session. The last 3 problems did feel like effort and I had to drop down to the level to complete.

Green/pink spotties. Photo CanadianKate

The spotties were graded 3-4 by the setters.

It was the 2nd time that I had been in the Mini Works and it was certainly overrun by children. However, the mats are still rock hard and super painful to jump down on them. This kind put me off throwing for things because my back is a wee bit niggly at the moment and I really don’t want to aggravate it. I think they should have one of the indoor comps in the Mini Works – or get a whole bunch of adults in there jumping up and down on the mats to soften them up a bit!

Friday’s training aims were nice and straightforward: Warm up: traverse no matching, L-R, R-L, cross-through where possible Main session: Recovery circuit (Z2) (easy effort) Warm down: easy problems missing out holds. As luck would have it, the Climbing Works had reset their green and pink spotties across both the main wall and the mini-works. Because it was a recovery/endurance circuit, I thought this would be a perfect circuit to play on. I tried not to have too many rests between problems, and luckily it wasn’t too busy so I didn’t have to wait for problems. I did have a short rest catching up with some people who I’ve not seen for a long time, and then I had to walk to the mini works after completing the 20 problems in the main wall. I’d still like to believe that I was doing endurance work.  The problems were really straightforward and not particularly difficult. I think they’re roughly font 4-5 and that was perfectly fine for me as I was supposed to be in Z2. I probably could have gone up a circuit, but the holds are so grotty and dirty on the pinkles that I really didn’t want to. I did feel quite tired towards the end of the session. The last 3 problems did feel like effort and I had to drop down to the level to complete.  It was the 2nd time that I had been in the Mini Works and it was certainly overrun by children. However, the mats are still rock hard and super painful to jump down on them. This kind put me off throwing for things because my back is a wee bit niggly at the moment and I really don’t want to aggravate it. I think they should have one of the indoor comps in the Mini Works - or get a whole bunch of adults in there jumping up and down on the mats to soften them up a bit!  After I completed my circuit, I wandered back to the main wall and contemplated climbing some more. I felt quite tired and couldn’t really be assed, so I did some easy problems with a bit of dynamism to cool down and then got changed.  I’m nearly at the end of my 2nd week of training for Font and I feel like I’m getting somewhere. My footwork is getting better and I feel like I’m happier on my feet. It’ll still take me a while to get happier on using insecure holds, but I think after 2 sessions I still feel like I’ve improved.  Bring on next week!

The Mini Works have some lovely problems for adults too, but my god are the mats hard!

After I completed my circuit, I wandered back to the main wall and contemplated climbing some more. I felt quite tired and couldn’t really be assed, so I did some easy problems with a bit of dynamism to cool down and then got changed.

I’m nearly at the end of my 2nd week of training for Font and I feel like I’m getting somewhere. My footwork is getting better and I feel like I’m happier on my feet. It’ll still take me a while to get happier on using insecure holds, but I think after 2 sessions I still feel like I’ve improved.

Here’s the

Bring on next week!

Covering Steep Terrain at the Foundry

On Thursday I had a double training session. I went for a 30 min run and then had a short but sweet session on the training board at the Foundry because the Wave was being reset for F-BO 2014 and was off-limits.

My training aims were:

Zone 3/4 on Steep Terrain

Warm up: ‘wrong handed’ climbing and no hands climbing
Main session: Steep terrain (Z3/4) keep feet on wherever possible, explore foot position, hip position, and body rotation to keep feet on (over and above trying to top a problem)
Warm down: Easy problems, dynamic, missing holds.

 What I actually did was:

  • Warm up: traversing, and using the bottom of the lead climbs in the Furnace. Did cross through and used holds the ‘wrong way’.
  • Main session: Played on the 45⁰ board. Mainly focused on linking moves rather than getting to the top of the board.
  • Cool down: Did big moves and swung around on big holds in the traversing corridor.

I warmed up traversing around the Furnace and in the traversing corridor – there wasn’t really an opportunity to climb wrong handed as there weren’t the problems and holds. That said, having to warm up on the bottom of routes in the Furnace did mean that I was using holds the ‘wrong’ way.

A warm up problem on the training board.  Photo: CanadianKate

I was aware that I only had an hour to train, so I finished warming up on the steep board. There are some pretty big holds on either side of the board. These were the only problems that I actually topped! But that isn’t the real point of the session, so it didn’t bother me that much. As Diane keeps telling me (and I keep telling myself):

Remember that trying really hard on moves that I ultimately fail at/fall off on will make me stronger!

I tried 3 different problems, using features for feet rather than holds. This meant that I could only link 4 moves max before getting tired, or forgetting where I was going. I tried to use the centre of the board, but mainly played on the sides.

One of my problems on the training board. Photo: CanadianKate

I definitely felt that my core got a work out and better at thinking where to put my feet. Although, knowing the features of the board would really help! I also had to remind myself to keep resting between tries. This really helped and after 3-4 goes, I could link the holds that I had chosen. Next session, I might even make it to the top of the board!

I also went for a maintenance run during the day which meant staying in Zone 2 heart rate for the whole run. Unfortunately, my Garmin decided not to join the party and spent most of the run trying to find signal. I think the really crap weather probably didn’t help. Anyway, I felt really good and quite light on my legs other than the fact that I really needed to pee for most of the run. That is such an uncomfortable feeling and really put a dampener on the run. I ended up having to split my run into two separate recordings because Garmin finally got some signal after 20 minutes. I did 4.01 km in 29:46 min (give or take). For the last 10 minutes which Garmin actually tracked, I had a pace of 6:44 min/km. Pretty pleased with that!

By the end of the day I was pretty damn tired, but really pleased with my training. I felt like I had balanced the strength/steep session to keep some in the tank for Friday’s training session, but still had something to go for a run as well. I’m so excited for Font!

Some stats:

  • Distance: 4.01 km
  • Time: 00:29:56
  • Elevation gain: ?
  • Pace: 6:44 (roughly)

Year to date:

  • Distance: 89.8 km
  • Time: 10:37:00
  • Elevation gain: 1588 m
  • Runs: 16

A light session at the climbing works

Friday’s training goal was a light endurance session. Here’s what my training plan said:

Day 5 Friday: Zone 2 Recovery Circuit

Warm up: traverse no matching, L-R, R-L, cross-through where possible
Main session: Recovery circuit (Z2) (easy effort)
Warm down: easy problems missing out holds.

What I actually did was:

  • Warm up: – 1 legged climbing and ‘wrong handed’ climbing on some of the reds and greens at the Climbing Works
  • Main session: – Z2/Z3 circuit, moderate effort, but longer rests between. Dropped to reds to Z2/Z1 after 24/25 problems
  • Warm down: – Easy reds

I warmed up slowly and did a couple of easy problems. I felt pretty good, and kinda wanted to play on the new(ish) yellow circuit, but I heard that it is quite hard, and as my plan said do a circuit in Z2, I stuck to the pinkles. It is the replacement circuit for the old purple and pink spotties. They were just right. Enough to keep me thinking, and having to put some effort in, but with enough rests to bring down the effort level. I completed 24 or 25 of the problems, and only failed on 3 – mainly because the holds were in really poor condition. I started to fatigue and my friends were getting to the curry stage, so I quickly ran around 3 or 4 more reds. They were probably a bit too easy, but I was quite tired. I didn’t really warm down according to my training plan. I did run up and down some reds, but it wasn’t particularly dynamic and I was feeling more like a sack of potatoes. After doing some stretching, because I didn’t really do enough after my run and did a small amount of core work.

I’m really pleased with my effort on Friday. I stuck to my training plan and was happy to do doing my own things.  My friends joined me for bits and then went off and did other circuits or climbed with other people. I didn’t feel any pressure to perform better because I was doing an easier circuit that by rights I should flash every problem. Instead, I kept remind myself that what I was doing had purpose and focus on the aim of the session rather than the grade of the problem or circuit I was trying. Lets see what happens on Sunday!

Janathon Day 31 – my 5km race, which wasn’t that racy

I’ve been feeling very tired in the last week or so. It’s partly been insomnia related and partly because I may have been doing too much – trying to follow both a 10 km training program and also pulling hard, quite often on the same day is exhausting. So, I’ve pulled back and had a proper rest in the final week of January. This meant that I felt fairly fresh when I got out of bed on Friday to go for the last ‘real’ run until after I get back from Font.

I decided to follow a run that I did right back at the beginning of January and compare my timings. It’s not a direct comparison, because I didn’t use a heart rate monitor when I first started running after my physio said that I could start back again.

Here’s my stats for the first time I tried the same(ish) route back at the end of 2013.

  • Distance: 5.01
  • Time: 32:01
  • Pace: 6:23 min/km
  • Heart rate: mainly Z3, high-end

I had some errands to do as well, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and started with the same route as my original 5.1 km but then added a little bit more so I could do my errands. This involved a horribly steep hill (Conduit Road for anyone who reads this from Sheffield) and that really didn’t help maintain my heart rate in Zone 3. Also, I broke my phone by dropping it in coffee and I couldn’t rely on my Spotify playlist and had to use my iPod which has good music, but not necessarily at the correct tempo.

I’m not entirely sure that I can see a difference or improvement in my running or cardio fitness. I ran my 5.7 km ‘race’ in 35:25 minutes, with an average pace of 6:13 min/km. This is faster than back in December, but I would have liked to see more improvement. However, my HR was much lower in general – in the lower end of Z3. I think my average would have been much lower if I didn’t have the usual issue of running in the cold – my HR monitor kept giving anomalous readings because I was cold so there was a poor contact. According to it, I jumped from 131 bpm to 178 bpm in less than a minute. Both when I was running at an easy pace. I also ran a hillier course, too.

So, here are the stats of my final Janathon run:

My 5km ‘race’

  • Distance: 5.7 km
  • Time: 35:25
  • Pace: 6:13 min/km
  • Elevation gain 97 m

My running errands/warm down run:

  • Distance: 0.8 km
  • Time: 7:48
  • Pace: 9:56 min/km
  • Elevation gain: 51 m

I have really enjoyed Janathon. It’s made me get out and actually do something everyday and establish a routine rather than the more ad hoc training that I usually do. While there wasn’t that much improvement between my final 5 km run in 2013 and the 5 km run at the end of January, I have improved my pace in Z3, and can maintain a lower heart rate as well. However, what this month has really taught me is that doing less is more. Running in Z2 and occasional Z2/Z4 intervals and hill reps are more effective than going out for ‘long’ runs at max heart rate. I didn’t feel as fatigued after each run and could happily run 2 days in a row. In terms of training for a race, I could definitely maintain this approach. I also managed to log a significant distance (for me):

My running stats for January:

  • Distance 85.7 km
  • Time 10h 7m
  • Elev Gain 1,588 m
  • Runs 15

This means that I have run on at least 1/2 of the days in January and could have run to Hathersage via Buxton and Bakewell (86.7 km) caught the train home:

In terms of trying to combine climbing and running training, it didn’t work so well. I found I was still quite fatigued when I was climbing – probably because I was trying to do two very different types of activities – often on the same day. Towards the end of January, my energy levels really dipped and I had to take the hard decision of pausing my 10 km race training in order to focus on bouldering. I’d accidentally timed my race 3 days before going to Font, and I wouldn’t be able to give my full effort to both at the same time. That said, I am going to continue to run, and try to fit at least 1 ‘maintenance’ run in per week, but climbing is my main focus between now and March. 

So, my aim for the next 2 months is to get fit for Font. I’ve written a training plan which I’ve uploaded under ‘Training Plans’ and thus far, I’ve stuck to it. Although, it is only the 2nd day!

Janathon Day 29 – The start of my training for Fontainebleau

Today was the start of my training for Fontainebleau and it started with a zone 4 session on the steep section of the Foundry. My focus was on keeping my feet on the wall and using my core to progress between holds. It didn’t matter if I completed the problem, so long as I explored different ways to use my feet and work on keeping everything static.

I warmed up slowly and used the Foundry’s traversing wall to traverse without matching, working on foot placement and generally dicking about. Afterwards I moved into the main room and did some easy L1s to get the blood moving. I still wasn’t that psyched to climb and felt like I was climbing through mud.

I then moved to the main focus of the session: the steep stuff. I thought I’d start off gently and tried a problem that I flashed first off. I didn’t retro-flash it. It took me 3 goes to get it! But I wasn’t particularly warmed yet and I couldn’t remember the sequence that I used last time. After I made the first move, the rest of the problem felt really easy so it boded well for the rest of the session.

I guess it was a good session, but I didn’t feel particularly strong in general. I worked some L2s on the low roof and in the bay area. In general I just felt weak and working in Z4 really took it out of me.

After trying some of the problems in the main room, I decided to work on the 45 degree board. It’s definitely steep and has some pretty challenging holds to use. I couldn’t even  repeat the problems that I did the last time I was on the board (albeit I was trying to do them features for feet). I persevered and continued to try to link moves rather than focus on getting to the top. This, I think, is the point of the exercise so I tried not to take it to heart.

I kept getting tired really quickly and I felt like I have fallen backwards in my ability. I’m sure it’s just because I’ve done so much recently, but it is also pretty damn gutting too. I climbed for about 1 3/4 hours and tried to keep in Z4 for the entirity. By the time that I finished my warm down, I felt like my core had definitely had a workout!

My Session

Warm up

  • Completed 2 traverse problems L-R and back again.
  • Did a couple of L1 problems in the main room.

Main Session

  • Repeated 1 problem that I flashed on the Wave (L2)
  • Worked 1 problem on the Wave (L2, but everyone agrees its well hard)
  • Worked 2 problems in the Bay (L2)
  • Worked 2 problem in the Low Roof (L2)

Warm down

  • practised moving dynamically between holds in the traversing corridor.
  • moved into the main hall and did some L1s skipping holds.