Key sessions

I’m sitting here feeling pretty proud of myself, having cranked out my longest run of the year. To be precise, at 1hr 48mins, it’s the longest run I’ve done in nine months (three months before I tore my calf muscle). And my calf feels good…so far…touch wood…I’ll shut-up about that!

Anyway, I missed my long ride on Sunday because I was sick. In fact, the whole clan got sick, one-by-one and I ended up being out of action for four days. If I wasn’t mopping up spew, I was making some of my own! Well, that’s not quite true. Using my new-found ‘Ironman constitution’ ;-p nothing cleared my top-end…you get the picture! That’s one of the things about being a parent. You’re gonna miss out on large chunks of training either because one of the kids gets sick and you’re up all night, or because you catch something off them and get sick yourself. The more kids, the more bugs, the more time away from training. It’s not a BIG DEAL, it’s just something you have to factor in.

By Tuesday I was feeling better and I suddenly realised that this “long ride” was a session I wasn’t happy to miss. I’d had no problems dropping out swims during the week, but I felt I really needed to make-up this ride. It felt like a key session. Hmmm, this was something that I hadn’t specified in my plan anywhere – I seemed to have some unwritten rules. Time to explore my unwritten rules – and write them!

You see the phrase “key session” bandied around a bit. Gordo talks about how you need to hit your key sessions and everything else is a filler (see Rule Three). Joe Friel talks about making up your key workouts when you’ve been off for 4-7 days. What makes a session a “key session”? What are my key sessions during this initial base period?

Key Sessions

Quoting Joe Friel again, a key session is “a workout intended to push the limits of your fitness”, and “Essentially, a key workout is a hard session.

OK, so that’s easy. My keys sessions are:

  • long ride
  • long run

Miss either of those, and I’ll try to make it up. There are a couple of other key goals for my base training:

  • I want to run frequently (3-5 sessions a week; 1 long, the rest sub-60 mins) to get my calves used to running again.
  • I need to build my ride volume up to 5-6 hours per week.
  • I want to do regular benchmark testing, perhaps every 4 weeks across swim, bike and run. So I know what the training is doing!

So, key “long run” session done today – check! Now I’ve just got to drag my butt out of bed 5am Sunday and do the “long ride”!

Note to self, read Gordo’s “Going Long” book which I’ve had for six months and not picked up yet!

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