That’s it, we’re three months into the training plan, reaching February already, time is going by pretty fast these days..!
So yeah, mid-February already and guess what, I’m still swimming, cycling and running with added work at the gym as well as cross training a little. As said earlier in previous posts, having taken-up cross-country skiing on the first week of December and setting the goal of finishing the Transju’ Marathon on the second weekend of February so pretty much 2 months after I began skating, it’s been very busy.
Combining training and work has kept the whole timetable busy and as you would guess and there’s no time to really rest. Focus has been on swimming primarly as I really want to make what I consider my biggest weakness a strong point. I wouldn’t say that I’ll be a proper swimmer when I reach Frankfurt but when I’ll come out of the water, I just want to feel good for the rest of the course and that means getting my technique and work strong enough to sustain the distance. Funny point is that I’ve only started enjoying the swim recently and I guess it’s a state of mind that will help the work. It’s gotta be special to enjoy three sessions a week at 6 in the morning..!
Then and if considering the early part of the year, cross-country skiing has been the other main and strongest part of the training. As said earlier, I had engaged myself in entering the Transju’ Marathon, a 48km race accross a part of the French Jura, something completely new to me as I hadn’t skied for more than 10 years and basically never done any sort of cross-country skiing before. Learning curve was steep as I discovered a sport that is pretty much like swimming and by that I mean it’s all about having the right technique so, far, far, far from easy…
Truly, I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed every second of the build-up and learning curve. Not at all, first session felt very hard as I just kept falling down and then, once I got myself up and standing, I was struggling to find any sort of speed. To give you a summary, it took 1hr30min to cover 6.5km and a 120m of elevation on my first ever outing, something to compare with my race which took 3hr55:41min to cover 48km and 800m of elevation. More or less, that is about 30hours or 260km of training spent on the slopes before the race.
All in all, it turned out a beautiful moment if considering the race. As my first time racing in that sport, the goal was to finish and finish happy with a smile. Conditions were not easy as it snowed almost during the whole day, snow was constantly changing and a bit sticky, sky was very low and the sun was hiding but still, atmosphere was fantastic with people, kids, families, locals or not, all along the course and cheering for us. It felt fantastic from the start, I took it easy thinking that I would have to manage the whole distance and effort, eat and hydrate correctly without burning myself mid-way into the race.
I kind of surprised myself in terms of average pace and specially when going uphill but as it turns out, I love a good hill when running and it’s more or less the same on the skis. For the rest, I tried to get and keep myself into my zone, comfy and happy so I would finish under 4hours and I made it to the finish, five minutes under my goal with a smile, so yeah, very happy. Once again, thanks to my friend Marc for dragging me into this and to his wife for keeping up with us along the preparation.
On the rest, well, don’t really know what to say… Still training and probably going to continue on the slopes. Cross-country skiing has turned out to be a fantastic way to prepare and build my whole body. Core and strength has gained an awful lot ever since I started it so it’s only an added bonus to the Frankfurt quest, it’s also the best way to do endurance and spend time out while it’s cold and grey. The perfecrt alternative to cycling I would say. As it turns out and three months into the training, I’ve already swam a third of the total distance I swam back in 2017, more or less 60 000m already for 160 000m last year.
And pretty much, the leitmotiv for the moment is still all about swim, bike, run and repeat..! Got a new bike coming for the road, a lightweight special, focus has to continue, work as well. More tests are to come, it really feels like having two jobs but I guess I’m loving every second of it. If not, why would I do all that?!
To be continued, cheers, Louis.