Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday Swimming

Decided to just go for a normal swim on Saturday. 1.75km in 40 mins with a few drills in-between. Felt OK - tried not to use my legs too much as want to save them for the race tomorrow and my arms felt pretty good.

Concentrated on keeping my body flat in the water and on rotating, so making sure my right shoulder comes up out of the water when my left arm is out front. I hear this makes you quicker - and it certainly does seem to.

Long stokes today with glides - so not race pace - tried to make sure the technique is decent rather than the pace. Interestingly I am sure I am quicker with a slow stroke than I am with a fast one, just need to strengthen the shoulders and loose a stone!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wednesday and Thursday, Sad Days...

It was a sad day on Wednesday with the passing of our beloved and much missed feline, Jasper. He will be missed by me and all the family as well as by his sister, Lucy who keeps waiting by the back door for him to arrive back. Sorry honey, its just you now

No training on Wednesday.


In order to clear my head I ran to work this morning 5km in 29:10. Not much else to say today to be honest. Still fairly upset and un-talkative. Amazing how pets really get under your skin.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's a grey overcast Tuesday and time for a run...

I got up this morning to find a cool, overcast morning facing me for my run. Still, at least it isn’t raining so I don’t need to carry the extra Gortex layer that annoys me so much. I do however need to carry trousers, shoes etc. as I forgot to leave them in the office yesterday so it’s a heavy rucksack this morning. My wife has kindly made me sandwiches for lunch and I just know that they will be squished flat by the time I get to the office but hey what can you do?

The train is late unusually my service from Wellingborough to London is usually pretty prompt and it runs on the slow line so we hit London even later. I don’t mind so much but it means that the pavements will be busier and full of people smoking which you have to run through. I decide to take some back routes in order to avoid as many people as possible.

Ive been reading Haruki Murakamis book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running recently and there is a lovely chapter in it near the beginning that explores what the author thinks about when he is running. He explains that he often thinks of virtually nothing with ideas occasionally popping into his head, but he tries to think about very little, and when he does he often cannot remember what it was. Well I thought about this today as I ran my 5km into the office and wondered what I thought about when I ran. I think this state of mind must be partially down to the individual, but also down to the environment. My mind covered various topics such as Get out of the way, Don’t pull out now, Are you really going to just block the path like that?, Don’t just stop like that, Euch, you blew that smoke straight into my face and my all time favourite, Can I go faster than that cyclist!. No void of the mind for me, just absolute garbage.

I wonder if the zen like state that Haruki discovers in his running is achievable by someone like me. Do I need to run more, longer, elsewhere, without disturbance etc? Who knows. But the important thing is when I got to work this morning I had a bloomin big smile on my face and felt great.

5km, 32 mins carrying mental baggage and a big rucksack!

Monday, February 23, 2009

This Weeks Training Plan


Rest day


5km run. Steady pace.


20km bike.


5km run. Slow, just for endurance.


20km bike if knee is ok.


All afternoon swimming lesson from 12:30 until 17:30!!!


10km running race cross country.

Monday and a day off

I need to combine two things this week that don't go together well. 1.
A week of less exercise in order to perform well on Sundays 10km and;
2. The additional milage I need to get under my belt for the half
marathon in less than 3 weeks.
Today is a rest day but I am really worried that the half marathon
will suffer. My max so far is 10km and it's a bit of a big jump to
21km so my concern is still that I won't make the distance. I am still
carrying a stone to much in weight and can't find the time to do the
extra milage.
How do people find time do do training for longer distances such as
the Ironman etc? A friend of mine who has no wife and kids and did one
last year said that he was training in excess of 20 hours per week.
How do you honestly fit this in? I am already getting up at 4 to 4:30
every day so I cannot get up earlier for a run! People that do these
long distances must make huge sacrafices in order to manage them and
my hat well and truly goes off to them.

I am in awe...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday and a day off at the weekend...

I went on my bike last night as well - so completed a 20km hill ride in 38 mins with some pretty high HR numbers. And so - I woke up this morning and decided to take the day off training today as I wanted to be fit and healthy for work tomorrow - and I've had enough of not allowing myself to recover from illness properly.

So - an actual day of rest, on the day of rest! Brilliant. Its a taper week anyhow this week as next Sunday is a B category race, with the 10km off road race. I am pretty sure my knees still need resting - so I shall not complain about the extra rest.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday and out of bed!

It is so great to be out of bed and feeling better. I was a little worried this morning - I had a couple of twinges in my stomach and thought that they would put pay to any training today - but by 11 they had gone and I thought I'd give it a go. And what a great day for a run! Bright sunshine and a cool breeze.

So I dropped the wife and kids at the gym and got changed into my outdoor running gear and headed off cross country. I love running on the footpaths - while it doesn't get your knees ready for the pounding they take on the road - its just so much more enjoyable. So I ran through all the mud, cow manure, waterlogged ground, clay and general much that turned up on the 'path' and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Its just such a welcome relief not to be in bed or the bathroom this afternoon!

It was a day for sunglasses as well - bright sunshine today enticing you to run further and further. The only thing that stopped me today was that the route I took came back to the gym! I had to take my trainers and socks off before entering the gym and they all looked at me quite quizzically - I didn't have the guts to tell them that my trainers were covered in silage! Still - at least I took them off (and put them in a plastic bag ASAP!). They are currently going round and around in the washing machine with my other silage covered clothing.

A quick swim after - only managed 500m - and I was done today. I think that's probably enough - don't want to overdo it on the first day back after illness. The rest of this week will probably be toned down as it is my first 10km race next weekend after swimming lessons on Saturday. The 10km is the end of the Irthlingborough series I have been racing in (the previous two 5km races) so I'd like to post a half decent time to get my points up and keep me on the first page of the race results which is where I am after 2 rounds.

Quite a decent time for 10km off road for an old guy today - 01:02:58. None too shabby - but hopefully can improve on it next weekend - I'd like to come in under an hour - but not sure how realistic it is after a whole day of swimming on the Saturday. We shall see....

Friday, February 20, 2009

Further rest

I'm a bit sick of being sick to be frank! This is the second day in bed and I have only managed to get out of bed a few times. I'm taking extra iron etc now, but I'm not eating a great deal - although I'm at least not being sick today.
I'm soooo bored, but absolutely knackered - so am even struggling to watch TV. I just want to close my eyes and snooze.
I am really hoping that by tomorrow my stomach will be feeling good enough to get a run in or something - I really need to do something.

Perhaps I should start taking vitamins etc as I seem to get ill at the drop of a hat at the moment. Probably because I am extra tired due to both work and training.

Anyway - more tomorrow - back to sleep now.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday in bed

I've spent all day either in bed or visiting the bathroom - so I'm completely knackered and unable to train. My boss at work was off yesterday with a similar ailment - but this has totally washed me out. I'm so dehydrated and knackered I simply cannot do a damn thing.

Not sure if I am going to manage anything tomorrow either - not really feeling up for anything.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday and its too early!

Its 5am and I am standing at the station in running gear again waiting for the train. It isn't cold, but I feel freezing - just tired I guess. We get to London on time and the streets are empty at this time of the morning, a wonderful contrast to yesterdays packed pavements and throngs
of commuters.

Its meant to be 6km on the plan today - but I decide to push this back to 5km. My leg was a little sore yesterday and I haven't even got a 6km route planned out, pretty sure I know a 5km one however.

I stick on the new Runner software on the iPhone along with some "Jimmy Eat World" and off I pound. There is something not quite right about heading the wrong way in order to get to your destination - I have to fight the urge to turn right instead of going straight on so many times
in order to keep the mileage up. The Runner software chirps in every so often telling me how far I have gone and what my expected run time will be for the 5km, a figure which is surprisingly accurate. At half way it starts telling me how far I have left which is a nice touch.

I'm averaging 02:28 per 400m which isn't going to break any records, but gives me a finish time of 00:30:35 at 5km with what can only be considered a relatively easy pace, an average HR of 150 - which is slightly elevated (possible over training?) and 565 kcal burned up.

Some of my muscles in my right leg (always seems to be that one) ache a little - so I have a good stretch, and the right knee still isn't perfect. I am due to do another 5km tomorrow - might need to change that to some core work and move the run, although I am probably going to have to bike to work on Friday as my car goes in to the garage for its MOT.

Now, given that I've done so much today and there is a bike ride planned tonight - can I treat myself to a bacon sarnie?....


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday Morning Training

Ah, the morning run after the rest day is either awful or brilliant, there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground for this exercise. This morning was awful. I woke up late, ended up in a rush, had to run through the crowds on the London pavements and as I was running late for work, couldn’t manage the full 5km that I wanted to do. This is terribly annoying as I am missing a lot of build up for the half marathon and all plans indicate that really I should be able to run for 90 mins by now – something I just haven’t achieved yet.

I managed 3.6km in 20 mins at an average pace of 5:41 with a average HR of 140 and using up 457 Kcal. So – not too bad – but really I need to extend this out to 5+km.

I’ve got a packed day at work today so I haven’t got any chance to go to the gym during the day. I might run again tonight if my legs feel ok and my knee isn’t aching as I really need to get these kilometres in.

I used a new app on my iPhone this morning: Runner. It reads out your pace and distance to you while you are running which is brilliant.

I am pretty impressed with this software. It gave me a full breakdown of my run in 400m sections with pace etc. and also mapped the run. You can export it all to Excel and mail it to yourself if you really want to. The great thing about this is the vocal reports on your progress – so you know how you are doing. There are a few bugs with it – but all in all its pretty good – one of the better running apps out there for the iPhone and I have tried quite a few!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday - Rest day....

I hate rest days. It always feels like a wasted day - but as all the books say - it is required to let your muscles recover and build new fibre etc. Well - I still itch and want to go out and run.

Took regular readings this morning:
Weight = 82kg (put on .5 of a kilo - and far too heavy again - need to cut out the fats).
Resting HR = 52 (pleased with this)
Blood Pressure = 118/58 (so much better than it used to be)

Some aches and pains in the ankles - but all together not too bad considering the exercise this weekend.

I am looking at getting some of this: to see if it is any good. I've heard it is worth taking after exercise to stop any muscle damage. Would be interested in any comments around this subject - don't particularly want to look like a weight lifter - but am interested in keeping the muscles healthy.

Have signed up for some swimming lessons! and - they seem like a pretty good idea - and hopefully will improve my front crawl. Will see how they go as it is only 2 weeks away.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This weeks Training Plan

Rest Day

5 km run to work, slow and easy pace.

6km run to work, slow and easy pace.
20km Bike ride, stationary trainer.

5km run to work, faster pace, some interval training for last 2 km - fast pace for 1 min followed by 2 mins slow pace, repeat until 2 miles is complete.

Gym - core work. 45 mins.

10km Run - slow and easy for endurance.
Swim 1000m. Drills. Warm up 400m. 5 x 100m, Decrease lap time each time, 1 min in between set. 100m Warm down.

Gym - core work. 45 mins.
Bike - stationary trainer - 60 mins with hills.

Sunday evening on the Bike anyone?

Well - I got bored sitting watching the Rugby - so decided to have a go on the bike. I love my trainer - its a Tacx Cosmos trainer - and it allows you to generate a lot of power by simulating the hills. The nice thing is - it simulates the downhills as well!!!

I managed an hour on this on one of the many hill courses. I wasn't burning as much as I had in the past - 765 kcal in an hour isn't a lot on one of these - I've done over 1000 kcal in an hour before - but I figured I was best taking it a little easy given my recent injuries.

I don't feel to bad after it - but I expect my legs will ache a little tomorrow after all the running and now cycling. It's a training day off tomorrow - a chance to let the legs recover. Hopefully this week I will be able to run most of the planned days - I really need to in order to get ready for this 10km and more importantly the half marathon - which I am a liitle more confident about - but still fairly worried to be honest. 28 days until the half marathon and only 84 days until the first Triathlon of the year. It is all coming so quickly now.

I just want to manage an injury free season this year and make sure I get some finishes.

Weighed myself this evening (obviously not the best time to do so I know) and god I've put on some weight. I think I need a concerted effort looking at my diet. I could have sworn I had cut out crisps and chocolate - and yet I found myself with a packet of salt and venegar french fries in my hand this afternoon! What was I thinking? Raw carrots this evening as a snack. Mmmm, yummy. :-(

Sunday - the day of rest?

My wife and kids went up to her parents this morning leaving me at home - so I took the opportunity to head for the gym once more - in the hope that I can start to improve my swimming. The swim was a struggle - I'm still a little sore from yesterday - but the 1000m can up in 20 minutes again and I carried on for another 10 mins without counting the lengths. I'd do more that 30 mins - but I get terribly bored - what I really need is a training partner for the swim.

So - what to do next. On the plan I am doing core work - but I just don't think I have run enough this week - so I thought I'd do another 5km at an easy pace and see how my sore legs from yesterday would cope.

Well they coped just fine. In fact I am pretty pleased. Dont get me wrong - this wasnt race pace by any means - but yesterday was the furthest I had ever run and following that with another 5km today is pretty enjoyable. While I'm not getting cocky for the half Marathon at Silverstone in 4 weeks - I am becoming quietly confident that as long as I am injury free - I can complete the course.

I treated myself to a great big Tuna steak - griddled - with sun dried tomatoes, anchovies and salad. Mmm - and now to have a snooze in front of the TV and watch the Rugby......

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday's training

Its valentines day, so after cooking my wife breakfast in bed and breaking up the fight going on between my 2 kids - we headed off for where - but the Gym of course!

I had a pretty good swim - managed 1000m in 20 mins - it felt pretty easy - although I have to say that now I am back at home - I really ache - especially my pectoral muscles. Perhaps it wasnt as easy as it felt.

I got into my running gear after the swim and headed out into the cold - it was only about 2 degrees above 0 - and there was still ice and snow on the ground - but to be honest - that actually made the run more enjoyable this time. I ran around a place balled Billing Aquadrome - a caravan and camping site that is pretty massive with a load of lakes in it.

My only companions on this run were Geese and Swans - and quite a few of them - especially when I got to the frozen lakes. There was so much ice it was amazing. After the warmer days we have had and the sun - I am still stunned by the fact the snow is still around up here.

I kept my pace pretty low today - around 9-10km an hour. This felt pretty easy and I settled into it quite well. It also more importantly wasnt hurting my knee. I stopped half way round to take a phone call from a friend - but I didnt need to - and the legs felt as if they could do more - which is encouraging for the half marathon. The interesting thing as well - when looking at the graphs is - this little drop in pace has brought my HR right down to 140-150 which is around my lactate threshold - so it looks like this is a pace I can hold for quite some time. It isnt quick enough to really do the half marathon in under 2 hours - but it is damn close....

I managed 9.35 km in 01:01:42 - not a stellar time - but encouraging at least in the fact that I wasnt tired, could have carried on and didnt have any niggles.....

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday and Friday Training

My right knee is still sore which is a little concerning. I am not getting enough miles in under my belt at the moment - but all the books I read - and 220 Triathlon magazine this month re-iterated under Joe Friel's page - as soon as you feel something not quite right - dont train through it - rest it.
So - no training until this pain goes.
Its an odd pain - right across the front of my kneecap - and it feels as if you could happily run through it - but I know that as soon as I try this - I will end up damaging something and missing a load of races. Better to be conservative with this type of thing than push myself into a season ending injury. Still - its really annoying. But it did mean I could go to the pub to see off one of my friends who is heading back to New Zealand.

Hopefully by Saturday it will have stopped hurting.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thursday Morning Training

Its quite depressing when you find that you are of an age where a couple of pints the night before have such a profound effect on you the next morning that you simply don’t want to do any exercise. I hit that issue today.

Waking up at 5am to a -4C temperature outside didn’t do my enthusiasm any good whatsoever, but I found myself lethargic to say the least and the prospect of pulling on the running gear for a run to work just filled me with a certain amount of dread which didn’t dissipate when I looked out of the window to see a frosted up car and knew I was going to have to scrape the windows in order to drive to the station. So instead I just got dressed for work and decided to walk from the station to the office in London and hopefully make it to the gym later.

I’m hoping this lethargy doesn’t last all day and that my head will clear a bit – looks like I will have to start settling for orange juice at the pub in future if I am to meet the training regime I have set myself.

There are some days when getting older isn’t much joy….


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday evenings lack of training

In true amateur style I nursed both my knee and a couple of pints at
the pub with some fellow trainee triathletes for a few hours after
work this evening. So that's it for today. Another official rest day.
Let's hope for a better performance tomorrow! I shan't hold my breath!

Wednesday Training

I am frankly struggling to train today. Real life keeps getting in the
way if you like with work starting at 7am and a sore knee I just
haven't got a run in. On top of this I now have meetings late into the
evening so even the evening ride on the trainer is looking unlikely.

Perhaps an extra rest day would do my knew some good but it makes me
nervous every time I miss a session.

Hopefully I can get a good long run in tomorrow without any snow!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday Training

Tuesday Training Plan:
4km run to work, slow pace.

Actual: 5km run in 29 mins.

I ended up working from home today - so I went for a run in the evening instead of the morning, and it was in the snow again. The pavements were covered in snow and ice - and rather than running in the trail shoes which were wet, I went out in a pair of road shoes. Wow - they were all over the place and I ended up with a sore right knee and a very sore stomach. Almost felt as if I had pulled my stomach muscles from trying to hold myself up. Core muscles working overtime.

Quite enjoyed the run - the average pace was something like 5.5 mins per km - which was very comfortable - could have carried on quite happily if my knee hadnt been so sore. The plan for running tomorrow is probably out of the window - I think I had better rest the knee.

My New Suunto t6c watch/HR monitor/Training aid!

It is all these things and more!

So - I broke my watch strap on my very expensive Polar watch which I had had for a while - and the stupid thing is - you cannot get a replacement! How can that be! Are Polar total mad or is this a ploy plain and simple to get you to buy more Polar watches? Well whatever - it backfired. After I found that my RS800D strap is unlike all other straps and Polar don't make a replacement for the moment - I decided to ditch polar in favour of some other brand.

A while ago, my wife bought me a Suunto watch that had a compass on it, an altimeter etc. Its been around for ages, still works, nothing has dropped off it, its generally bombproof - I have been in 3 bike crashes wearing it including one where it was dragged accross the tarmac - and there seems to be nothing that you can do to it that stops it - short of taking the battery out.

So - I thought this brand might fare better than the disintegrating Polar.

Wow - good call!

So - I'm not going to go into a full review of the watch - there are references below for you to look at - but I'll give my brief overall impression after using it for a few months.

1. The interface works as well as the Polar. It has 3 lines that you can interchange with what they display and cycle through one of them on the fly as well.
2. The training aids such as EPOC and Training Effect are very useful for a visual guide of how hard you are working.
3. The PC software is great - it does pretty much everything you want to do for analysis - it is missing the planning side but there are other tools for that I guess.
4. There are loads of components that fit with this watch: FootPod (works a treat and I use this in the main), GPS (actually pretty good - much quicker positioning than the Polar equivalent), A comfy chest strap for the HR functions and also a harder one with its own internal memory for use when swimming (this is great if you are Tri training as you get your proper HR in the pool and can merge it with any lap data and time data from the watch afterwards in the software), Bike Pod - speed etc and I even think there is a cadence one...

I'm quite impressed with this watch and it was especially useful in my last 5km running race where I wanted to monitor my pace to ensure I finished under a certain time. Great flexibility and it doesnt look too bad either.


You Tube Video of this watch - well worth a look:
Suunto Home Page for this watch:

Monday, February 09, 2009

Useful tools

Since I have stopped with the personal training - I have decided that I need to keep a log of all the training I do. I have looked around at a whole load of different tools on the market - and the best and easiest I can find (as long as you don't want long technical Joe Friel type planning) is Fitness Journal: - I have been ever so impressed by it - but would be happy to hear of anyone who has looked at other tools. This one is fairly inexpensive and allows you to log everything and also enter some basic training planning etc. It also allows you to track calorific intake and expenditure etc....

Worth taking a look at.

This weeks Training Plan

Rest Day

4 km run to work, slow and easy pace.

5km run to work, skow and easy pace.
20km Bike ride, stationary trainer.

5km run to work, faster pace, some interval training for last 2 km - fast pace for 1 min followed by 2 mins slow pace, repeat until 2 miles is complete.

Gym - core work. 45 mins.

10km Run - slow and easy for endurance.
Swim 1500m in the pool slow and easy. No drills.

Gym - core work. 45 mins.
Bike - stationary trainer - 40 mins with hills.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Wellingborough Multi-terrain 5km Race No 2.

The second in the series of 5km off road runs - and this one was in the Snow!
Yep - we still had snow on the ground and it was cold, bright and very slippery.

I set my watch to note what pace I was doing. I wanted to get inside 25 mins - so was looking for a pace of 5min/km on the watch.

The horn sounded and several hundred of us ran off in the snow into what became a very fast and hard fought race. I was very surprised to see so many people running in normal trainers - how they manager to stay standing I will never know. I managed to overtake many of these on the hills where my trail shoes had better traction, but by half way around - keeping this pace - my HR was at 170 and I was feeling worse for wear.

At the half way point - the course essentially heads back round to the start and what had been predominately uphill at this point became downhill. My HR went down (a little - it was still pretty high) and I started managing to keep my pace a little easier.

Overtaking at this point became very difficult - we were now running on almost singletrack as the field had spread out and had created a small trodden path through the drifts of snow. This was very different to the start that had wide compacted areas - see the photo of the author (left). This meant that whenever you wanted to overtake - you needed to run out into the thinker snow expending a lot more effort to overtake the person in front. I started to struggle - especially as the height started to increase again and decided to settle into my stride behind one individual who I essentially followed to the end of the race.

I managed a very respectable 24:03 - which I was very happy about in the conditions - and came 13th overall - which I was over the moon about.

This is the last of the 5km races I am running in - the next is a 10km and that actually feels like a pretty big step up to me at the moment. I'm certainly not looking forward to the up coming half marathon in March.....

More updates to follow...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

End of personal training

Unfortunately, due to finances this year, I have had to stop the personal training sessions with Jesse at Virgin Active. This was such a difficult decision to make. He is blooming brilliant and frankly has made such a difference to me over the last 6 months.
Today was the last session - and I ache like hell afterwards. He may have been making a point!