Week 3: Challenge Roth Blog by Fred Willis – 41¾’s

  • By Fred Willis
  • Published January 26, 2013

Week 3 of the campaign and it’s been an interesting one. Unfortunately it has included a cheat, challenging weather and a dropped day culminating in only 7 hours of training. However, this did finish with a couple of magnificent sessions.

The week started with moving my weekly swim session due to my wife’s work commitments. I was staying in to ‘babysit’ my own child (The old fashioned among you may refer to this as parenting). It was fine, it gave me two days rest after a busy weekend and instead of a swim I was going to do the Poole Runners 5K time trial at Boscombe Pier on Friday evening. Perfect! I’d get a speed session in towards the start of my Virgin London Marathon training to monitor my progress. Previous best time was 21’43 and I want to break 20 minutes by April.

This is a good family balance isn’t it?

The weekly training commences….

Wednesday’s Zoom Turbo session, lead by Coach A, was a 10 x 1’ VO2 effort. It’s hard to work this on heart rate alone as the bpm is always delayed slightly, so it’s hard to get 170 + bpm. I’ve got a power reading on my turbo so for this I’m looking at an output of 250W plus. Compared to the previous week’s 10 min max out Fitness Test I thought 10 x 1’ efforts with 1’ rest intervals would be easier. But no, all going in the right direction and it’s given me a great focus on Power and not Heart Rate.

It was 2 degrees outside, we were all covered in sweat, so best throw a running vest on and get a quick brick session done. I’m sorry but 5 minutes in the cold and I was done. It was supposed to be easy pace but I’m afraid it developed into a threshold run due to the cold. I wanted to go home.

Thursday night is run night

It’s soon going to be a track session building every week on 400m repeats. At the moment we are building our base strength so after the 10 x 1’ Turbo session the previous evening, Coach C, decided on the following: a 1 ½ mile warm up run followed by 10 x 1 min efforts at 5K pace (that’s 6’30’s for me) and then a 1 ½ mile recovery run home. Total distance equated to 6.9 miles. Christ this killed me!! Then, when I thought I was safe, stretched and about to get on my way home, Coach C approached me to say that he and some of the other long distance guys were going to put in another 30 to 45 min run. I wondered why I was sprinting past them up the hill efforts. They knew fine rightly what was coming later that evening and were clearly sand bagging the uphill efforts. I was done, so I had to turn their very kind invitation down. Maybe next time lads.


Thursday night was big news. That cheating, bullying scumbag was about to admit to everything. I wanted to stay up for it but decided to hit record instead and get up at 5 o’clock to start the Tivo box along with a strong coffee…

“Yes or No. Did you take performance enhancing drugs…..?”

Answer – “Yes”.

Amazing, what a revelation that was.

Did I feel sorry for him? No I didn’t.

Would I like to see him in Triathlon? Yes, I know he shouldn’t be allowed but part of me would actually like to see it.  I think he could do some damage in the pro division and bring a worldwide, ‘Joe Punter’ focus to our sport.

As a loyal Triathlete Europe reader I’ve got some of the Xendurance tablets that are a subscriber offer. I’ve only just started taking them as I started my crusade to Roth so it’s too early to comment on their effectiveness. However, I was taking my morning supplements as I watched Lance and I had a shudder of guilt. At least mine were legal!!!

Snow stops play….

Friday was a shocking day with heavy snowfall as you all know. This adds a new dimension to planning training and the 5K TT was cancelled. I was down a session and I couldn’t do anything about it.

Our usual cycle around the New Forest on Saturday after Swimming was also looking like a really stupid idea. I’d offered our Dude Shoes warehouse as a possible fall back but fortunately Coach A was able to get us into our usual Wednesday night hall for a 2 hour Turbo session. There were obviously a lot of triathletes with itchy feet in Bournemouth as 30 people turned up for the following session:

20 mins warm up Z2

3 x (10’ zone 3 – 2’ rest – 8’ z4) 2’ rest between sets 1 & 2 with 10’ rest between sets 2 & 3.

10’ cool down

A total of 2 hrs on the bike. The radiators were on and it felt like a Bikram Spin session. Note this isn’t a Fitness Club – IT’S A TRIATHLON CLUB… no Bikram.

A tough session, but brilliant. The snow meant we got a superb interval session in a controlled environment that we simply would not have got on the road that day, or any day for that matter. Every cloud has a silver lining.


I had a 13 mile run booked for Sunday. I’d gone up to stay with my in-laws in Surrey but when I woke up the pavements were still very icy, it was snowing again and I was looking down the barrel of a DNF.

What the hell, let’s give it a go. I’ll drop the idea of a negative split and race paced efforts and just go with a steady, easy run. There was nothing steady about it with such slippery pavements and it sure wasn’t easy running in the snow but it was very enjoyable! I quickly opted to run in the gutter of the road facing oncoming traffic. As a car approached I’d hop up onto the pavement. A bit of Sunday morning curb crawling in the snow, lovely.

At the halfway point I was pleasantly surprised that my average pace was 8’37, not a lot slower than my usual target of 8’30 at this stage of the run. This was going really well so I stepped up the pace as much as possible and in the second half I got 8’15’s with my last mile at sub 8’s. I was really pleased in such awful conditions to have had such a great run. It would have been all too easy to have missed this run entirely due to the weather.

The cross training with bike and swim is doing my running the world of good. I’m feeling strong and averaging 8’ miles for a 3hr 30’ VLM (Virgin London Marathon) finishing time is going to be well within my grasp.

Progress to date:

Weight 81.7 kgs and 17.5% body fat.

It’s all heading in the right direction



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