Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Started cycling to work

Up at the crack of dawn this morning (well before 7am to be precise). Decided to cycle in, so after some faffing around, eventually left the house just before 8am. Made it up to work (8.5km) in just over 21 mins, with plenty of traffic light stops en-route.

Trip home in the evening was probably more downhill, but didn't bother to put the HRM on or to time it. Aim is to try to cycle in most mornings, especially before the London duathlon. Might even try to do a few bike\run sessions (bricks).

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Last few days

Done a 10 mile time trial on the bike on Saturday morning. It was my first TT, and I definitely learned a lot from it. Got around in 33 min 48 secs, which I was happy enough with. Previous rides suggested that I could do around 26 kmph, while I averaged 28.37 kmph on Saturday.

I was absolutely shattered afterwards and could hardly keep my eyes open that evening.

Didn't get up to anything else for the rest of the weekend. Most of Sunday and Monday were taken up with a Christening that I was at. Needless to say that I eat way too much. Half afraid to step on the scales at the moment :)

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Very good run tonight

Just done a tough interval set tonight on the treadmill. For the first 30mins, I was going for 3 mins at 12kmph, followed by two mins at 5.5kmph recovery pace. First few were easy but were getting progressively harder. Finished the last one and thats the main thing.

For the next 15 mins, done two sets of 2 mins @ 11.5kmph with 1 min recovery (didn't quite finish the second one). Finished off with a two 10kmph runs of 5 and 3 mins with a minute of recovery between them.

Over the 45 mins I covered a distance of 7.02km, which is actually a barrier that I've been hoping to break for some time. Closest I'd got previously was 6.73km on Week 6 Run 1 of the C25K plan. Just need to push onto the 7.5km mark and I'll be at a 10kmph average pace (means doing a 10k in exactly an hour!).

Got my next lesson with Ian at Swimshack tomorrow night, so stay posted to see how that went.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Weekly update: 21/08/07

30/07/07: 118.11kg
06/08/07: 117.57kg
Difference: 0.54kg

Well, it was a bit of an indifferent week. First half of it started off well, I was pretty disciplined with what I was eating. Second half of the week, went to pot though. Seemed to have a massive sugar low towards the end of the week, resulting in some serious chocolate eating/biscuit eating/etc at work.

On the fitness side, a relatively poor week. Managed three runs, totalling 15.6km and went to both GAA training sessions. One positive was that I was able to practice the Swimshack drills every night of the week, apart from Sat and Sun.

I really need to up the running side of things over the next few weeks. I must also try to get out on the bike as well. Was thinking of entering the Newmarket Duathlon but left it way too late to enter :(

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

C25K: Week 6 Run 1

Completed Week 6 Run 1 of the Couch to 5k Program earlier this evening in the gym. As this consisted of intervals, I upped the pace slightly to 9.5kmph from the previous run which was a long run of 25min at 9kmph.

Because I also want to start doing longer runs than 30mins to build up stamina, I done an extra set and made it up to a 45min run by adding two 4min runs at the end (split by a 1m rest). All in all, a good workout, which kinda got easier as it went along (if that makes sense).

I was at the physio earlier today and got some good news. The old scar tissue on the ankle has more or less been healed and now its just a matter of building up the strength of the ankle. He gave it a massage and it felt great afterwards. Didn't even hurt this evening while running on it.

Clapham 10k Report

Had to really struggle to get out of bed at 7am to drive up to Clapham for this. Was considering the train but it looked like I'd have had to sleep in a station overnight...not really an option. So got up and breakfast consisted of a banana and some Tropicana! Hardly the ideal start.

Made it up to Clapham in plenty of time, done a quick stretch and a bit of a jog to warm up. Started towards the back of the pack, and it took me the guts of 40s to cross the start line. Started off a bit too fast, as usual, doing the first 1k in under 6m and completing the 2nd in 12mins (non-stop). Started doing my usual run-walk routine from here, with the walks consisting of 30secs.

I made it to 5k in 30mins 20secs, easily my best time yet (1m 40s faster than Dorney) but thats the only good news to report. The second 5k were unbelievably hard by comparison. It took me 8 mins to reach the 6km marker as my legs were totally shot. I picked it up a bit until about 7.5km, where I really struggled for another km. Eventually got to 9km and the homeward come that last km is always easier than the couple beforehand.

Completed the race in 1hr 5min 40s, which was 20s faster than my previous best at Dorney. But given the 5k pace, it was a bit disappointing that it wasn't a bit better.

So what went wrong...well my preparation on the day was hardly ideal. Thats definitely something that needs to be looked at in future. But I think the main problem was probably my training runs in the previous two weeks...all except one (of 9 I think) were 30-36mins. No wonder I didn't have the legs after half way, considering the pace I'd set up to that point. I'll be making a conscious effort over the coming weeks to do more longer runs (at slower paces) just to build the stamina up.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Swimming Update

Well, made my way up to Loughborough on Saturday for my first session at Swimshack. Met Ian, my instructor\teacher, who gave a brief introduction into how things normally proceed, the setup, etc.

The setup he's got going there is pure class. Its a pretty big pool (I'd say massive, a lot bigger than I was expecting), loads of mirrors all over the place so you can see your stroke from different angles (thats if you're a good swimmer and have time to notice these things). There seems to be at least four different camera's on you at different angles at all times, with a projector in the corner, but more about that later.

So to start off with, I explained to Ian that I normally wear a nose clip while swimming as I tend to drink water through my nose. He wasn't too impressed by this and said that hopefully I wouldn't need the nose clip by the next session.

Next, he got me to try to swim. Now, I am pretty weak in a normal pool, but I couldn't seem to get the hang of this endless pool at all. Still, after thrashing around like a lunatic for a while, Ian had seen enough, he brought me down to look at the projector.

What I saw was NOT a pretty site...what I was doing didn't really resemble swimming in any way shape or form. I actually felt embarrassed. Fair play to Ian, he pretty much pointed out what I was doing wrong and was pretty re-assuring that it could all be rectified. My two main problems at the moment are breathing (pretty damn important!) and balance.

So basically the rest of the lesson focused on the first, with Ian going through the theory and introducing me to some practical drills. We also done some kicking drills and then merged the two to finally practice a drill that involved underwater breathing and kicking at the same time...doing two things at one is a killer. At that point, the lesson was stopped, for me to go and practice this stuff in my own time.

I'm pretty hopeful that this can work out. I practiced the drills tonight in the pool and seemed to be getting on better than I was on Saturday (doesn't mean that I'm doing them right though). Hopefully over the coming days, I can get the breathing to be like second nature, not needing to stop if I accidentally take some water on board. We'll see how it goes.

feckin scales

About a week and a half ago, my scales started to give me pretty inconsistent readings, often varying by 4-5kg between readings. Prior to this, the maximum range would have been 0.5kg, so something was amiss. I changed the battery and I was still getting the same problem.

The thing was, the average of the weighing that I was taking each morning were class (usually averaged over 5 reasonable readings)...according to this method, the weight was flying off. I was a bit suprised, but I'd been doing a bit of training so continued to log my weights.

Normally, I'd use the electronic weighing scales at the gym as a check but for some reason, they were out of order the last week or so. The mechanical scales they have in the mens changing rooms are always wrong (about 0.5 stone (3kg) out at the best of times), so these were no use.

Finally get to the gym today and the normal scales are back in action. Step up to face my worst fears...came in at a whopping 120kg (in clothes, so at a guess about 117.5kg if I were to weigh myself in the morning in just boxers). This was a far cry from this mornings reading on my scales of 113.5kg.

So I get home and do some investigating. Normally scales are on carpet in my room so brought them down to the kitchen, where the floor is lino (over concrete). Step on and get more or less the exact reading I was getting in the gym. Variation was down to +- 0.3kg over 6/7 readings. I've now relocated the scales to the downstairs bathroom (similar variation and accuracy as kitchen readings).

Needless to say, I've removed all the readings on the physicsdiet site for this month. Should be ok prior to that, as results were fairly consistent, despite also being on carpet. Anyways, lesson learnt...if it starts playing up again, it'll be binned. Its on its last warning :)

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Good fitness blog

Came across the Fitness Rocks Podcast on iTunes about a week ago. All I can say is that this podcast is class...the guy is a qualified doctor and he review all the latest health and fitness research, breaking it all down into good sensible advice. He literally talks about everything from diet to exercise to nutrition to genes. Go, check it out as soon as you can. You won't regret it, I promise.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

25min non-stop run

After GAA training this evening, went to the gym to attempt Week 5 Run 3 of the Couch to 5k program. Now, my previous run last night was an attempt at Day 2, which I failed to complete, so I really should have done that again. However, I felt there were two mitigating circumstances to allow me to attempt the next run:
  1. The program calls for 3 min rest between each run. I was only doing 1 min (which is what I was doing before I recently heard of this program).
  2. I upped the pace from my previous long running pace of 9kmph to 9.5kmph, which I feel really kicked in on the last set.
So dropping the pace back down to 9kmph, I set off to attempt the continuous 20min run. Now, this is quite a big jump from the previous days run of 3x8min runs with 3 min of rest between sets. However, the people that designed the course apparently reckon that most of the difficulty is actually mental. Now after completing it, I'd probably have to agree.

There were are least two times during the run that I was thinking that I'd had enough, both of which were between 12-15 mins. Digging deep, pulled through and actually got to the 20min mark feeling good, so decided to do another min. Which turned into 2mins and then 3mins. At this stage was kinda struggling, was getting a high HR warning on the treadmill so decided to call it a day at 25mins.

Finished off to complete the 30mins, coming in at a slightly less of a distance than yesterdays run at the faster pace.

I've got a 10k at the weekend, which it'd be good if I could somehow replicate todays run in. Not sure that'll happen though, as tend to set off a bit fast so that'll probably bugger me up :) Still, suppose I got week 6 of the program to look forward to now.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Weekly update: 06/08/07

30/07/07: 118.88kg
06/08/07: 118.15kg
Difference: 0.73kg

A cracking week of weight loss this week, as I've actually managed to stick to a decent plan of eating little often and no crap (well, I lie...I was at a bbq on Sat).

General idea is to eat a portion or two of fruit first thing in the morning, followed by a bowl of cereal (museli) mid-morning. Sandwich or whatever for lunch and another portion of fruit mid-evening (maybe a water-biscuit or two at some point as well). I'll generally try and eat a (microwave) meal (about 500kcal) around 5.30pm, so I'm able to train or go to the gym later in the evening. Last meal at night is generally a fresh-fruit smoothie.

My approach to fruit above is that I can eat as much as I want of it, any time. I'm going to the shop every second day or so these days and stocking up on grapes, banana's, plums, peaches, pinapples, etc.

I've also invested in a protein supplement, which I throw into the smoothies. I'm dubious, but I'll see how it goes.

Training Info

DateDist. (KM)TimePace Min/KMSpeed (KMPH)AHRMHRCal.Strides

DateDist. (M)TimePace Min/100Speed (M/hr)AHRMHRCal.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

My first triathlon...kinda

Volunteered to give a hand at the local triathlon here in Cambridge this morning. Very enjoyable experience. I was asked to act as a timing scribe, basically registering times and numbers of athletes as they exited T1 and also as they finished the race. Went well over-all, got a little bit hectic at times, but ran pretty smoothly.

Anyways, it gave me my first close up view of how a triathlon works, from seeing people setting up for transition thru to the last person crossing the line. And there's a fair bit to see in between. The lads (and girls) at the top of the game are unreal...literally taking no time to pass through transitions and going everywhere at pace.

Then you've the average lads, who are still impressive, but are generally out for a PB instead of to win the race. They're a little more relaxed through transition, but still posted some pretty impressive times overall.

There were a fair few people there as well that were just there to complete, which in fairness to them, they all did (only about 4 DNF's I think). In a sense, these lads are almost as impressive as the top guys, as the mental strength thats needed must be unreal. I have to say I feel a bit sorry for this group of people that happen to be in the wrong age group...I'd say its lonely enough as you're generally the last wave to leave, so you're always going to be finishing towards the end of the race.

Anyways, really enjoyed the day and I'd have no hesitations doing it again.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Another PB equaling run

Set off tonight, not really wanting to go but dragged myself out. Decided to do 5 min runs and 1 min recovery. Went well and completed the first 5 without too much trouble. Was even a bit ahead of previous times, but it all fell apart in the last 1k or so. Legs just gave out a little, so ended up stopping\starting for the next few mins. Finished off with a 2 min run to equal my previous PB to the second.

Hopefully I can continue to build on this, both in terms of running time (I did feel that I could have continued on a few of the intervals) and stamina (if I could have got the last interval in, I would have defo beaten my PB).

Arranged to have a quick GAA kickabout with few of the lads, mainly focused on drills. Was planning on hitting the gym afterwards, but was a bit too late when we finished up. Still, the kickabout was definitely worth it.