Last week in London (Competitive training week 2/2): did the jet lag-busting plan work?
by roborobOct 14th 2012
Well, kind of. Monday to Friday at work was pretty surreal. Cycle-commuting every day because the trains don¬'t run that early, the rides in were totally serene (which almost made up for the awful rides home through rush hour, and later in the week through the school kicking out time). One thing I didn¬'t factor was that my plan meant that I was effectively losing an hour a day, everyday. This left me with a mild feeling of jetlag all week, and made the last training sessions before bed a lot tougher than normal. As this week was the second and last high volume/high intensity week, I just did my best to dig deep and do the best I could, and try not to worry too much about the poor performances.
By Friday, I was still on track with the schedule, and in bed by 3pm. I had to fit in a 3-4hr endurance ride on the Saturday, which was scheduled for 2am. Luckily for me, I wouldn¬'t be alone, as two of my crazy tri buddies had agreed to join me. Just for the hell of it!
All was going to plan until about 6pm, when something clicked in my brain, and I woke to the feeling that I was back in UK time. Maybe it was because I¬'d lost having the routine of work, but ended up staying up most of the night, and then almost overslept for the ride that Selwyn Smith and James Raffle were up and ready to join me on!
We did make the ride, although 10mins later than planned. Given the time of day, we thought it would be a nice chance to explore central London, rather than the usual escape to the countryside. The first stage, from Crystal Palace to Richmond Park, was pretty quiet, with the ¬ĺ lap around the park one of the eeriest but most serene rides I¬'ve ever had. Our dim lights through the mist could just make out the startled Deer that were scattered across the road ahead of us.
From here, we headed towards the West End, and down Oxford Street. I think we had all forgotten just how late people stay out on a Friday Night (note: must get out more often after this race is over), and as a result this part of town wasn¬'t quite the ¬'28 Days Later¬' scene we were expecting. Heading north up to Hampstead Heath brought more tranquility, and a chance to hit the ¬'no cycling¬' paths (not that I would recommend hanging around the heath at this time of night on your own!). Anyway, the result was a great ride from all accounts, with talk of having to do this again someday.
After a number of failed attempts to sleep to schedule on Saturday, I stuck to the plan of a race pace 1hr turbo/30min run brick. When you¬'re running at that pace around South London at 5am on a Sunday morning, you find that the few Pedestrians you encounter along the way are quick to get out of your way!
One last swim at CP pool followed by another botched attempt to sleep in the middle of the day, before packing up the car and heading to Heathrow for 7pm, ahead of the 10pm flight and 28hrs of travel.
Conclusion: So did the plan work? I had gone against the advice of my friend Anna Jackson, an expert in Sports Science, who had advised that you cannot trick your body into shifting more than 2hrs from your current time zone, given that the body clock takes its cues from daylight just as much from sleep and meal times. I think it worked in the week, as I work in a large office full of florescent lighting, and failed at the weekend for the very reason that I don¬'t have that at home. The other problem is that the duration of the travel, with the broken opportunities to eat and sleep, pretty much destroys any sense of day and night that you might have worked on adjusting. If I was to do it again, I think just getting up 2-3 hours earlier than normal for the whole week would probably be enough. Oh well, you gotta give me credit for giving it a try!
Next stop: Auckland!!!!
Total training time: 16h:18m:46s