Tuesday, 31 July 2007

New "Swimming" PB

Done 300m in around 25mins tonight in the pool. Of course, it wasn't "proper swimming" but somewhere in between drills 9 and 12 in the Total Immersion training drills. Still, feeling a lot better at the moment while doing them, no longer needing to stop when the pool starts to get shallow (a previous problem of mine).

Got the 1-2-1 coaching on Saturday week, so hopefully my technique will improve further with that.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Weekly update: 23/07/07


30/07/07: 118.88kg
Difference: 0.1kg

Well, as you can see, another disappointing week. Still, at least the figure is negative, which I suppose is a good thing.


According to buckeye, this week I did the following running

DateDist. (Mi)TimePace Min/MiSpeed (MPH)AHRMHRCal.Strides

plus two strength sessions and two GAA training sessions.


Well, after being 10secs slower than my PB last night, I logged the same time tonight which was pretty disappointing. Don't really know what happened, but was messing around with pace a bit and think I got a little too tired in the middle section of the run. I also done a lot better on the hill section tonight, but fear that may also have taken a lot out of me!

I'm going to start doing the Couch to 5k Running Plan over the next few weeks. I think I'll start off at week 5 and see how that goes. I've found a podcast that accompanies the plan, basically giving a musical accompaniment and also plan directions.

I'm also going to aim to get at least one session on the treadmill like before, so as to keep track of progress. Got the Regents Park 10k on Saturday, so probably going to mainly focus on road running over the next few days.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Last few days + protein shakes

Was thinking tonight that I'd actually taken it handy enough over the last few days, but turns out that I was forgetting stuff. Done a weights session on Wednesday night, followed by a "BodyPump" class in the gym the following morning. Basically, its a weights class, with low-resistance but high intensity, which meant I was absolutely wrecked on Friday morning.

I took Friday off (mainly cause I could hardly walk), although I did do a bit in the pool going over some drills. Finished up with a run around the block tonight, at a relatively easy pace, finishing up 10secs slower than my PB for the route. Think I might do it again tomorrow and see what happens.

Diet\weight wise, its not been a great week. The first half of it went well, up to Wednesday. We'd a release party at work on Thursday, so been spending the last two days recovering from that. I still have to get the front wheel of the bike fixed, which I'll hopefully do tomorrow or early next week.

Had an email conversation with Scoob last week about protein shakes and stuff like that. I've been very skeptical about them, thinking that for the level of exercise that I'm doing, I can get enough protein from my diet. One or two good points later, and I'm now considering giving them a go for a while, mainly as a diet supplement. I'll do a bit more reading up first about it but I reckon its worth a shot.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Upcoming events

Thinking of doing the following events over the next few months...
As yet, none entered, but training is ongoing. Had two PB's the last two nights on the treadmill and started to incorporate a bit of rowing into workouts. Swimming is going ok, going to be starting lessons soon enough.

Weekly Update: 23/07/07


Well, thankfully I'm not reporting two consecutive weeks where I've gained weight. I managed to undo the damage of the previous week, though I'm definitely not setting any records!

I was helped this week by one rather dubious weight reading on Friday morning...I discovered something under the scales the next morning that may have distorted the readings slightly. I'd had a good workout in the gym the night before, so I decided to keep the reading.

Anyways, here's the graphs...

Monday, 23 July 2007

London -> Cambridge Bike Ride Report

Unfortunately I had to retire from this event after completing 30 miles. I had started to notice my front wheel was wobbling quite a bit (thought I was imagining it at first) and when I stopped to look at it, I noticed that there were 2-3 spokes gone and the remainder were quite loose. I continued on to the next stop (fortunately it was only about 1 mile away), where the mechanic on-site advised ending the cycle there.

Apparently its quite rare for the front spokes to go, as the rear normally takes a lot more load (especially in my case). I hit a pot-hole pretty hard earlier in the race, so I reckon that may have done the damage.

Up to that point, I was going well. It was a hilly enough route, and the first few hills really took a lot out of me. I seemed to get used to them though, knowing what gear to attack the hills with, so I wasn't going too slow up them at any stage.

I met up with one of the Cambridge GAA lads early on and we more or less stayed together until my mechanical difficulties struck. No other difficulties besides, was a little stiff this morning, but had a great sleep last night. Had a bit of grundle chaffing, which is annoying, but didn't stop me going for a jog in the gym tonight.

Hope to head back and finish of those 20 miles sometime. Seemed like a nice enough ride in to Cambridge from there.

Friday, 20 July 2007

BodyStat improvements

Just done a BodyStat analysis in the gym earlier and generally good results compared to what I was expecting. Last time I done the test was 12/7/07, just after getting up and feeling a bit rough. Here are the results:

Date: 12/6/07 20/7/07
121.7 120.8
Body Fat %: 12-18% 29.9 26.5
Body Fat (kg): 13-19kg 36.4 32.0
Lean Mass %: 82-88% 70.1 73.5
Lean Mass (kg): 86-92kg 85.3 88.8
Total Body Weight: 101-108kg 121.7 120.8
Water: 55-65% 48.9 52.5
Water (ltrs): 66-79ltrs 59.5 63.4

As we can see, all figures there are going in the right direction. Good to see that, although I'm approximately the same weight, that I've lost 4.4kg of body fat and gained 3.5kg of lean mass.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Today I did..,

10km on the bike (first 10km out of the 100km I set myself for the month), followed by a relatively easy jog at 9kmph\5.5kmph pace, for 45mins. Covered 5.94km in the time.

I'm a little bit confused as to what to do regarding my heart rate training now. I've been sticking to the 150-166bpm zone for the last month or so, varying the pace in different runs. However, when I go back to doing a slower run like tonight, after the initial run to get to the upper limit (6 mins today, but after a pretty fast bike ride where resting HR was 120bpm as I got onto the treadmill), later runs generally go for about 1m 45s before topping out. Surely I should be able to go for longer than that at this stage.

This leads me to think that I'm under-estimating my HR-zones. For the last few week I was actually leaving my upper limit open-ended, stopping when I was tired or felt the burn. What I seemed to notice happening was that my HR would continue to increase until I topped out around 175bpm. I'm thinking of setting that as my upper level for future sessions and see how that goes.

Now I appreciate that some of that zone probably includes some anerobic training, but as the intensity is the same, hopefully it'll help push increase my efficiency in the aerobic training zone. Who knows, but I'm going to give it a go for a while and see what happens.


Had to abort a run on the treadmill after 15 mins last night due to chaffing caused by the shorts I was wearing. I've had this problem before, and the best way to get around it is to wear a pair of bicycle shorts, but unfortunately I didn't have any clean ones last night and decided to risk it. Disaster.

Anyhow, made up for it tonight (made sure I done some washing when I went home last night). Done 45mins at 10kmph\5.5kmph pace. My HR was shooting up today for some reason (probably the lack of running over the last week or two), and I was stopping on 166bpm dead, so only went 5.96km which is a bit disappointing given previous runs. Oh well, can only get better I suppose. I'd like to break the 7km barrier in 45mins before the end of the month is out...will need to do more training as its looking a good bit off at the moment.

Besides that, done a full length in the pool today of "almost" proper swimming...3 strokes\alternating sides breathing. Only cheat was that I would have stayed on the sweet spot for a couple of extra breathes towards the end of the length. Up to that, I was only able to go from the deep end to where it starts to get shallow before giving up...I've got some sort of mental barrier at that point. The lengtht I done was going in the opposite direction, so perhaps thats the key to future training!

Monday, 16 July 2007

Swimming news + other

After debating about it before, I've signed up for a swimming course with Swimshack. Starting on the 11th of August, so hopefully I'll start seeing some results soon afterwards. Was down in the pool earlier doing some drills, mainly to give the ankle a bit of a break after physio today (at one stage I had to ask the physio to stop what he was doing...it was killing me).

I've got the London to Cambridge bike ride to do at the weekend as well. So far, I've done no training for it. I'm going to try to get out on the bike one or two evenings this week and get some kilometers in (plus it shouldn't cause the ankle any trouble).

I've also decided to enter the Regents Park 10k on 04/08/07. Should be pretty flat course, so hopefully I'll be able to knock a minute or two of my PB. Will have to start doing some training runs soon though.

Weekly update: 16/07/07

WEEKLY GAIN: 0.18kg (198kcal excess per day)

In brief, its my first week in 15 weeks that I've actually put weight on! Bit disappointing, but allow give a few excuses:
  • Previous weekend was on a stag in Warsaw
  • This weekend I'd a wedding back in Ireland
  • Been getting physio on ankle
Still, I'm not looking for excuses. Will need to re-double efforts over the next few weeks, but absolute minimal goal for this week is to get back on track with some weight loss over the coming week.

As we can see in the last graph, there is a severe "flatting" of the graph, which will need sorting out ASAP.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Ankle Trouble

My ankle has been causing me a little bit of discomfort over the last few weeks. Nothing too much to worry about, as I've always had weak ankles since going over them playing astro-football a few years back. What was causing some worry though was when my ankle started to hurt while I was in the pool.

Anyways, been to the physio about it and there's definitely damage there. Basically it'll need strengthing, and he's given me a few exercises to do over the next few weeks. He also gave it a good massage, which hurt like hell when he was doing it, but felt great this morning.

Went to GAA training tonight, went well. Went to go for a half an hour jog afterwards in the gym, but ankle was killing me. Just hopped in the pool instead for the half hour.

Got another busy weekend ahead. Back in Ireland for a wedding on Saturday, up all Sat night for an eight thirty flight back and then got a game at two thirty in London. I'll probably be wrecked for the rest of the week.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

lack of progress noted

On my last few weigh-ins, I've actually been registering weights above my trend line (the solid\non-straight line in the graph), which is a very bad trend. I'm going to have to rectify this soon. The reason for this lapse has been that stag in Warsaw that I mentioned in the last post and my subsequent recovery requiring copious amounts of sugar!

The good news is that I got down to the gym tonight for a run and a swim, so hopefully the recovery process is complete. I've also started to keep track of what I'm eating again, which I'd been doing a few weeks back, but stopped doing lately. If I'm to hit my goal of getting down to 115kg by the end of the month, I'll need to really start taking things seriously.

Unfortunately, I've got another wedding (back in Ireland) this weekend, which hopefully won't put too much of a dampener on things. I'll be back anyways for a game on Sunday (with probably minimal sleep), so at least I'll be doing at least one active thing over the weekend.

The following weekend, I've got that 50k cycle from London (Watford) to Cambridge. Can't wait...ain't gone anywhere near that distance before, but hopefully should be able to do it in around 4 hours.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Upcoming days

Likely to involve very little training, due to the fact that I'm off on Archies stag (in Warsaw). Actually, thats not neccessarily true...no doubt there'll be a fair bit of walking around trying to find a decent pub, knowing what the lads are like.

Also, I'm off to my first Reading GAA training session of the year tomorrow night, traffic permitting. I've heard some scare stories and considering the training in Cambridge tends to be more skill than fitness based, I'm getting quite worried. Sure we'll see how it goes...it'll hardly kill me.

Besides that, I'm trying to figure out what to do about my swimming. I feel that I've hit a bit of a wall with the Total Immersion stuff, so I feel its probably right to get a few lessons on board. Now, its looking like about £30 per hour for 1-2-1 lessons no-matter where you go, so I'm trying to figure out is it worth trying to get a TI tutor? Been in contact with a few, and they're willing. Question is, am I? Nearest one is about 100 miles away, which is a serious commitment.

There is a coach in my local gym thats doing 3x30 min sessions and they're supposed to be pretty decent. I think that works out at £90, which makes it pretty expensive though.

Another alternative, staying with the TI approach, is to go on a course with swimshack. Its about £350 for an 8 hour course, but the facilities look class and from initial feedback from the guy running it, the whole course is pretty customizable to all levels. Course consists of 1x2hr session, followed by 4x1.5hr sessions. In between, the idea is to practice the techniques from the previous sessions.

I suppose, for £350, if I finally learned to swim after it, it'd be well worth it, no questions. I suppose, what I'm most apprehensive about is the fact that I don't think I'm that far off swimming at the moment...its hard to know, but one\two sessions might be enough. That said, extra sessions aren't going to hurt, are they?

Monday, 2 July 2007


I probably meant to write this a while back, but got a little distracted. Basically, I'm learning to swim. Despite at least 4 years of swimming lessons in national school, I never even learned how to float...all I ever remember doing at those lessons was going over and back across the pool with a float!

So, around about Sept last year, I decided that enough was enough and that I was going to learn how to swim. I signed up for 13 weeks of beginners classes in Reading and attended diligently. I was even moved up to the improvers class after about 3 weeks (that just meant that I wasn't afraid of putting my head in the water!). So, that was going fine and dandy until I got a job in Cambridge...had to give up the lessons and move. At this stage I'd gotten to going about 4 x 3 strokes before almost choking (each breath worse than the previous).

So when I moved up to Cambridge, checked out the story with lessons in the local pool. They seem to do things different here, you basically pay for classes monthly by direct debit, and it looked like it was a lot more expensive than in Reading. So I decided to try to learn myself.

I'd heard from a few different places about a system called Total Immersion, which to boil it down to its simpliest, is basically 12 progressive drills to practice repeatedly. By drill 12, you should be "swimming like a fish". All well and good. Ordered the book from Amazon and decided to give it a go.

First drill is basically floating on your back, with gentle kicking. This was a skill I'd never mastered before, and after a few days of struggling, it just came and I was up and down the pool on my back.

Anyhow, to cut a long story short, progress went well and I'm currently on drills 8-9. I've probably hit a little bit of a hurdle, probably more from the boredom of repeating the drills or from skipping through some of the drills too fast and not becoming proficient enough. I'm thinking of getting a one2one lesson with a Total Immersion tutor to hopefully kick start the process again or alternatively just going back to normal swimming lessons. I like the Total Immersion system, so at the moment, I'd say I'll try to stick with that. Trouble is, there are no tutors nearby, but for the sake of one or two lessons, I'd probably be willing to go out of my way for some guidance.

Sunday, 1 July 2007


Here's a few goals for the future

  • Do another 10k, beating previous PB by at least 3 mins (i.e. in 1hr 3min or less)
  • Get down to 115kg (119.2kg at present)
  • Do the London to Cambridge cycle (22/07/07)
  • Cycle at least 100km otherwise
  • Do another 10k in less than 1hr
  • Aim to get weight down to 110kg (re-assess goal weight at first of August)
  • Cycle at least 100km, with at least one ride of 20km
  • Aim to get weight down to 105kg (re-assess goal weight on first of Sept)
  • Enter the Mens Fitness Rough Tri (Dualthon)
  • Do another 10k, beating previous PB
  • Cycle at least 100km, with at least one ride of 30km
  • Hopefully win the London Junior Championship with St. Anthony's
End of year (2007)
  • End of year weight MUST be 102kg or less...no compromise. This is my approx weight in Sept 2005. Ideally it will be lower (considering other goals above).
  • Do what it takes to be able to swim 100m non-stop (front-crawl)
  • Complete the Reading Half Marathon in less than two hours
  • Complete a few multi-sport events
  • Re-enter any 10k events completed in 2007
  • Ideally drop weight to 90kg