Monthly Archives: September 2014

Stop, just for a moment.

So much of the time when I am out on my bike it’s a head down hard effort ride. Trying to maximise the time out on the road doesn’t always lend to begin able to truly enjoy the view. Which seeing as Yorkshire is one of the most beautiful places in the world, FACT, is a shame. How ever this morning I went for a birthday ride with my good friend Neil over Ilkley way. And we stopped just for a moment to admire the view.



Sub 19 again

Traditionally all training sessions with my Tri Club stop over the October period, giving everyone a chance to rest and recover from the previous season before the building starts towards the next. On Thursday at our last track session before the break we had a 5km time trial to see how we were getting on.

I had hoped to just nip under 19 minutes, but wasn’t really feeling in sub 19 form, but everyone else was going for it and a thought why not Zoidberg me. So I went for it, trying to get a new PB. What was I thinking.

The plan as described to us was to control it for the first 8 of the 12 1/2 laps, then control it for the next 2, and then go for it.

Control wasn’t a problem, and I decided to run on feel, rather than eyeing my watch every lap/half lap. In the end it all went ok. Not a nice shiny PB, but given that I didn’t feel in shape for it getting under 19 again was my main goal

So to start, I broke 19, but was still 21 seconds off my PB (set at the ‘lumpy’ Leeds Hyde park parkrun), I did manage to hold a pretty consistent pacing, once I’d gotten over the initial burst of excitement.

I came away from this effort in both good, bad and indifferent moods.

Good: I was under 19 minutes again.
Bad: I didn’t set a new PB, this is the track, it should be super fast here, and now my legs are killing me!
Indifferent: ok, no PB but I’m not in PB shape, stop moaning.

I wasn’t in sub 19 shape, let alone PB shape but it felt good to get there again and I put this effort down to the help of a running analyst I had been to see a few weeks earlier. Dr Hughes of is amazing. Looked at my running and given me several pointers and exercises to do. This has changed how I run (though still very much a work in progress) and once my body gets used to the changes I will be much quicker. Anyone in the Leeds area should check him out.

And cos it amuses me, the route map, round and round and round and rou………


New weights day

Having started to use some weights to do core work whilst I was injured and off my feet, I have been enjoying the benefits of ‘working out’ feeling stronger and fitter in my swimming. However the weights I managed to borrow off a friend were but small 3kg weights and I grew out of them really quite quickly IMG_0036.JPG
Aren’t they cute!

I finally got round to (or rather my wife did) ordering a new set of heavier ones. IMG_0034.JPG
These look much more like proper weights, and I can’t but help think they might make me more beefcake. Not actual beefcake as I know from my younger rugby playing days that I could work hard in the gym, get stronger but still remain as twig like as ever.

With the mention of beefcake I thought I would end with the motivational words of Eric Cartman;

Follow your dreams, you can reach your goals, I’m living proof. Beefcake! Beefcake!


It’s plan time!

With winter upon us it’s time to really settle in on the turbo trainer for the next few months. Now I’m back to something like full fitness I can start planning in building bike strength in a structured manner.

As when I was starting to plan for swim improvements I referenced this quote

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”

My turbo sessions have always followed the same formula, get on the bike and cycle as hard as I can for an hour. Not really very structured is it.

I have a plan, a cunning plan…IMG_0030.PNG …and while it is not ‘As cunning as a fox who’s just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University’ it’s still pretty cunning.

Mostly it involves riding to a power training plan found from the interweb, and then reassessing after and planning againIMG_0029.PNG
This started yesterday so tonight is the first night of actual training. Three blocks of training in specific zones, a percentage of my FTP (see my post on this previously) at different times, a endurance section and rest days. Fortunately the rest days for the bike coincide with my day for going to the track so I’ll still be working hard, just in a different way.

We shall see how it goes over the next four weeks.

Gratuitous Stephen Fry picture.

Flying 40’s (or how I suck)

I had the first of this training blocks HIIT sessions tonight a session of ‘flying 40’s’. This is a session where after warming up you go balls to the wall for 40 seconds, recover for 20 and then repeat 10 time. The general idea is to then have a 5 minute rest (easy pedalling) period and then go again and again (and again if you have the legs.)

I was really not prepared for the level of hurt, which I put down to doing it properly and reall, really going balls to the wall. I managed 1 set.

IMG_0027.PNGthen I was done. Utterly. It’s been almost three hours and my legs still hurt.

Thinking back to my last post about new kit and theta it gives me, I can see the massive difference between my first and subsequent sets, and how much I need to improve, especially towards the end, but also how my ‘recover”‘ wasn’t always the same.

As always, things to improve upon.

New kit, more data, still the same legs

During the big trip to the States/Canada I picked up a couple of new gadgets, which later turned out to be birthday presents. A shiny new Garmin Forerunner 910XT with HR and speed sensor, and a fitbit, a device for measuring walking about type activity and sleep.



The Garmin is quite exciting for various reasons, mostly in being that it takes a whole lost less time to find satellite signal than my old 305, but it is also waterproof so I can have a better idea of just what the heck I’m doing in the water, both at the pool and during open water sessions. Though I’ve only used it for a session and a half in the pol (due to a neck injury, wtf) it’s already given me a better idea of how my pacing goes over the course of 1500m, giving a breakdown of the timing of every length. Much better than before where I had to rely on hitting the lap timer myself and then spending ages inputting the data into a spreadsheet, which I could only do for 100m sections.

Data from my first swim session, a 1500m straight time trial.




The speed device (attached the the wheel) and HR strap now mean I have a visible representation (nice graph) of all the work I do on the turbo trainer. I already had this information to hand but other than recording it I. Excel as I went had no way to look back at how it went. Obviously more graphs the better, after all I am yet to meet a triathlete who doesn’t love a graph.


You can clearly see where I had to dismount to stop something from rattling on the dining table.


It still gives me the same data about performance when I’m out on the bike on the open roads, but given that winter is coming (Insert Ned Stark meme) more and more time will be spent indoors.

The Fitbit, while nice isn’t quite as good as providing information about exercise, but it does show very well the active parts of the day, and the parts where I am less active. Most importantly and the main reasons I got it is it provides data about the quality if your sleep and acts as a very good silent alarm. Having had no ouch with silent alarms on the iPhone, and a very poor wrist version of a silent alarm (which was a proper bugger to operate) to finally have something which will work all the time, and actually wake me up without disturbing the wife is a godsend, for both of us!