Thursday, 31 January 2008

Training update

Another Thursday, but this time its not been too bad. I'm not saying it was great, just ok. I'd like to think I'd a minimal calorie excess for the day.

Had every intention of going for an outdoor run this evening, but when it came around to it, I realised it was blowing a gale and bloody freezing. Opted for the treadmill instead and W4D3 of the JD Red plan. I'm getting towards the end of the first set of the plan, but I still haven't cracked a full set of the 6 min runs at threshold pace (D3) or a full set of the 4 min runs at threshold (D5).

So tonight, I decided to drop the pace a little and aim to get a full set in. I didn't quite succeed, but I did manage to do 3 out of the four of them, and finished up with two 4 min ones, so I'm happy enough. Total running time was 50 mins, which after my hour last night isn't bad going.

I definitely figure that I need to up the pace slightly though as I think my body is becoming too accustomed to the "slow" pace. Only problem is that the threshold pace is too fast according to the JD guides, so I guess I'll just have to fudge it for a while.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Training update

Tonight's been the first night I've broken a sweat in almost a week (since last Thursday). Its basically been down to a combination of being mad busy at work and being away for the weekend.

I had planned on getting down to the gym last night but just ended up going to bed really early instead. Was determined to get down there tonight, especially as I got home too late to go to the Turbo session with the local tri club. Plan was to do 40 mins of easy running on the treadmill, followed by a dip in the pool.

Running went fine, at 8.6kmph (1% incline) so as I was coming upto the 40 min mark I decided to go for 50 mins. Got towards that without too much struggle, so aimed again for 55 mins, with the intention of going for the hour. Got to 55 mins, but was struggling a little, but after my previous effort of getting this far and not making the hour, decided to dig deep and hung in for the hour. Very happy with the performance, so think that its probably time to increase the pace a bit.

Got down to the pool afterwards for a while. Was very quiet, so got in. Done a half a length of a drill to warmup. Then tried 2s/1b with a new breathing technique that I'd read about called "breathe, bubble, bubble, breathe" and to my suprise made it about 20m (normally just make it 15m) where I'd ventured off course and was getting into someones path.

Gave it another go on the following length and made it 23m, not quite the full length, but close enough that I'm chuffed. Just got out after that as I was pretty tired following the run, but hopefully I'll get a chance to have a proper session tomorrow.

I've taken the plunge...

and signed up for the Eton Super Sprint Tri (400m / 20km / 5km) on 17th of May, and while I was at it, the Sprint version of the Royal Windsor Tri (750m / 30km / 5km) on 15th June. Better start getting down to the pool to sort the swimming out.

Thursday, 24 January 2008


I've been wanting to give pilates a go for a while, but have never really had the balls to give it a go (thats technically not true, I once tried to get into a class only to find out it was booked out about a week before, so never bothered afterwards). So, one of the lads I play GAA with went along to a class last week and basically put the idea back in my head again.

So I turn up a few mins early and my initial preconceptions all turn out to be true almost immediately. Firstly, its all chicks, apart from myself, my friend and some gay lad. And I'm feeling like a complete spa.

So we go in and setup the mats. For some reason everyone is using two mats, which to be fair are quite comfy when you lie on them. Shoes off and down on the mat. Hands up to show that I'm the only beginner in the place, which makes me feel even more like a tool. And then we're soon down to business.

For the most part, the exercises didn't really do much for me. I think for the most part I mustn't have been doing them right. A couple of the exercises were killers, but thankfully the trainer started off with easier movements and worked up to harder ones, allowing beginners to find their own "level".

I'd done a few of the exercises before in varying guises at football training or circuits. This seemed a bit better in cases as it was in a more controlled environment, with more emphasis on technique than on "feeling the burn". I think the most important lesson I learned was that I can't breath for crap. All shallow breathing and found it tough enough to co-ordinate with movement. Also, my flexibility is a lot worse than I thought it was!

I still don't think I got a whole lot out of it besides an hour long stretch, but even if thats all, I think it might be worth doing. Toughest thing of the whole thing was trying to stop farting while trying to "engage my core". Seriously.

Went for a 30 min easy jog on the treadmill afterwards. Then ate like a pig. So would I go again...quick answer is yes, I'd give it another go or two.

Black Thursday

Another disastrous Thursday...its turning into a joke now. Day started off well, was up at 6.30am and in the gym around 7.30am for a weights session. Got into work for 9am, all going well. Only thing I had to eat (actually drink) was a protein drink that I purchased in the gym.

So I get to 11am and I'm getting pretty hungry. I know there'll be a buffet at work around 12pm, but the selections been poor enough the last few weeks so I decided to go for a Ham and Emmental "special" roll from the deli across the road. This is my regular roll, the specialness being it includes salad, wholegrain mustard and mayonnaise. Could probably do without the mayo, but probably not too bad besides (don't start about the carbs T, I said I was starting next week).

So this brings me to my first mistake of the day...I also go for a big dirty sausage roll with it (you know that old adage about not shopping when you're hungry...). To pretend I'm being healthy, I also get two banana's for later.

So thats grand, I'm satiated for the time being. The buffet comes at work and while the rest of the herd are swarming I'm chilling. However, after the hoard have been and gone, there's always the left-overs...normally involving a load of junk food. So rest of my evening is spent snacking on crisps, nachos, flapjacks, etc, etc. Absolute disaster.

Then in the evening, I get to the gym again for pilates (see following post) and also get a run in. Course I'm starving after this and just decide on the way into the supermarket that I'm just going to get some junk, that the day is already a write off.

I suppose, considering the weights and the run I'm probably not too bad, but its the lack of mental willpower that really annoys me. Suppose it can only get better. T has convinced me to give a "diet" next week for a month or two, more info on which I'll post next week. Hopefully that'll help...probably won't.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Another good day

Following on from yesterdays exertions, I was pretty determined to have a pretty active day today. Last night, the plan was for some training on the turbo, but legs were just a bit too stiff this morning when I got up.

Went to work, took the easy option of a pub lunch so had to get out and do something tonight. On the way back from work was absolutely starving, so had to decide what to get that wouldn't cause the same problems as the ice-cream mars last week (I'm still surprised they caused as much trouble as they did). Settled on a banana and two fairness the second muffin was a big risk, but couldn't just leave know what I mean :)

Anyways, an hour later I was out on the road with the intention of doing 5km non-stop. Biggest obstacle was going to be the second "hill" on the route, but when I made it up that I let the pace pick up a little. Overall average pace was 6.37 min/km, which isn't bad considering I was just planning a 7.04 min/km average. The 5km took 33.25 in total, not my fastest but at least it was non-stop.

Done a set of 6 strides after that and went into the gym for a circuits training with the GAA lads. Circuits seemed to be a bit easier this week than last week, but to be fair, I was still absolutely wrecked at the end of it.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Another benchmark run

Done 30 mins on the treadmill tonight, for W3D1 of the JD red plan. The plan also called for 6 strides, but I didn't bother with them. I'd already ran into work earlier in the day, so felt that this was enough.

The 30 mins was easy enough, for the most part. Probably could have done more, but wasn't really in the mood for it. I've had a quick comparison with previous benchmark runs and there's a nice graph (below) comparing tonights run with a run one month ago.

Good days work

Despite a slight sleep-in this morning, I was on the road at 7.37am for my inaugural "run" into work. I'm using the term "run" in the loosest sense, there was some running involved, but it could hardly be considered continuous. It started off well, with just brief stops in the first 2.5km to cross roads. However, after that it all went downhill (figuratively speaking, not in reality). Queue numerous run\walks, of generally short duration. Just felt very lethargic. I'm going to put it down to the early start but I think my initial pacing was a bit too "fast".

Still, at least its a benchmark to improve on. I'd be hoping to do the run at least once a week, probably instead of one of the JD long runs, which are normally on a Sunday or Monday. We'll see how it goes.

See the graph below for the details...

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Swimming progress

I think I posted before about taking a more disciplined approach to my swimming drills. I've started to do sets of drills, focusing on one thing at a time on each length (breathing, kicking, stroke, etc). Seems to be going well so far, after 2-3 sessions. Got the furthest ever tonight in the pool, not quite completing a full length, but stopping about 2m short. That was while doing 2s/1b (2 strokes per 1 breath) where I was really focusing on light kicking just to keep my balance (I'd be almost not kicking during the stroke).

So, tonights routine as an example of what I mean was:
  • 100m of 1s/2b
  • 100m of 2s/2b
  • 100m of 3s/2b
  • 50m of 1s/1b
  • 50m of 2s/1b
  • 50m of 3s/1b
Now, I'm not saying I completed them all as described above, but I did try where possible to complete the length, even if it meant having to take an extra breath or two. Still, 450m isn't too bad going for me (possibly the furthest I've ever done in one session). However, at 45 mins, its still got a long way to go.

A poor week for fitness...

Another week down. Pretty poor amount to show for it as well, mainly due to getting a cold towards the tail end of the week. Actually, looking back at what I done, the first half of the week was alright, consisting of:
  • 2 weights sessions, only normal and one heavier one
  • 1 run around the block followed by...
  • a circuits session
  • 1 cycle around the block (5.57km). Was supposed to be into work but forgot to bring my bike lock. Drove in instead.
  • One swimming session.
That was the first half of the week. I didn't do anything else until Saturday and today where I just done some swimming drills and tonight I'd a quick walk around the block.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Early mornings

So far this year, my new year resolution has been going ok. This morning is my fifth day in a row getting up before 7am, with about a 6:40 average I'd say. I'm still not really doing anything with the extra hours I have besides the odd gym session or getting into work a bit earlier, so I guess I should really start looking to utilise the time as much as possible.

I'm finding in general that I'm absolutely wrecked by 10.30 or 11pm and generally getting to bed around these times. I still haven't been able to carry this new regime over to the weekends, but we'll see how that goes in the upcoming weeks.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Quick update

Haven't really done a whole lot over the last two days. Ended up doing some weights last night in the gym. I changed tack a little bit in this session, going back to some heavier weights with plenty of rest between sets. I hope to do this every 3 or 4 sessions just for a bit of variety. I actually had plenty of time between sets last night as one of the lads from football was also down so ended up chatting a fair bit between sets.

Best thing about last night though was that I got my first decent run in the pool of the year. I was in there for at least 40 mins, with a whole lane to myself for the most part. Ended up doing TI drills, mainly focusing on ensuring that I was able to do 1 & 2 stroke swimming with three breaths. This went well enough, and it was pretty disciplined so hopefully something to work off next time I get down to the pool.

Even yesterday I was starting to come down with a bit of a cold and its definitely started to settle in today...sneezing, runny nose, sore throat at work today. I was half considering going home early but stuck with it...we'll see how tomorrow goes. Strange thing was that I perked up around 4pm and was dead keen on going for a run...common sense prevailed and I took it easy this evening.

I've been using the time to play around with the Sport Tracks software that I use with the Garmin...its a seriously quality piece of kit, really powerful, especially with some of the plugins that you can get. I've been playing around with the overlay one, which lets you overlay graphs of different activities over one another. This will be quite a useful feature when I've got a few more benchmark treadmill is the output with my two current benchmark runs.

Any of you out there with a Garmin (or any other GPS enabled HRM) should definitely check this piece of software out.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Running Update

Went for a run today for the first time since Saturday. I'd club circuits so decided to jog to them, taking the long way around, which is about 6km. Initial plan was to do W2D7 of the JD red plan (40 mins continuous easy running (about 7 mins/km). I set off at an easy pace, not looking at my Garmin until I was 2km into the run. Was pleasantly suprised to see that I'd done the first 2km at 6m 24s pace and I'd already completed one of the two hills.

The next hill however soon scuppered my plans of a continuous run...2.5km in and I'd to stop. I'm laying some of the blame with the icecream mars that I had about an hour before the run, but perhaps it was the pace. Anyways, to cut the story short, I done the 5km run in 32m 41s, including four brief stops. I'm quite happy with that, as its two mins faster than my last 5km run a week before Christmas.

To finish off, done 6 strides of 20s followed by 1min of recovery, which worked out nicely as it got me to the gym for circuits. Didn't feel the best during circuits, or on the walk home, but overall a good session for the day.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Running benchmark comparison

I've done two comparable running benchmarks now with the HRM on, the first on 21/12/07 consisting of 45 min run at 8.5kmph at 1% incline on the treadmill. The second was a 55 min run at 8.6kmph and 1% incline on the treadmill (W1D7 of the JD red plan). Just got around to comparing the HR outputs from the two runs and got the following:


One or two quick conclusions...
  • Results are pretty meaningless as is...would really need more "benchmark runs" and the method of picking HR at arbitrary times is pretty arbitrary in doesn't for instance take into account spikes or troughs in HR at the measurement time. Still, performing the test on the treadmill is supposed to help prevent such anomalies so we'll just bear with it.
  • I've also added other workouts where the warmup consists of similar paces.
  • From the two benchmarks, it seems that there's a definite improvement at most of the data points...HR is a few beats lower in six out of eight of the measured times. On average, the later measurements are 4.75bpm lower.
  • I think the value of your HR after the first 10 minutes is highly dependent on what your were doing previously (i.e. your starting HR).

Training update

Had two decent workouts over the last few days. Yesterday (Friday) I done a good weights session in the gym. Was also planning on giving W2D5 of the JD Red plan a go, but after the weights I was struggling on the treadmill and quickly gave up. Got down to the pool for a few lengths, but hardly anything worth mentioning. To be honest, getting a little bit annoyed with it at the moment.

Then today, on of the lads rang to see if I wanted to go down the gym...grand says I, expecting a good session. Didn't turn out like that, ended up spending all the time in the jacuzzi and sauna. Still no harm chilling for a while.

Went back again later for a proper session. Actually done W2D5 of the JD Red plan, just failing to complete the last rep properly. I could probably have done it but was happy getting 5 out of the 6 reps done so broke the last one into two parts before the warmdown. Felt pretty good afterwards.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Training Update

Quiet few days training wise. Went to the gym Tuesday morning for a weights session. I didn't get a chance to do anything that night as I was playing (badly) in a poker tournament.

Then on Wednesday, was planning on going for a turbo session at the local tri club but my car exhaust went on the way back from work. Didn't bother doing anything as a result.

Today, I ended up going to the gym for a 40min run and a few lengths of the pool. Done W2D3 of the JD red plan as best I could.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Training update

Went for a run on the treadmill tonight. Was planning on doing W2D1 of the JD Red plan, which called for 30min of easy running followed by six strides. I decided early on that if I felt good at 30mins, I'd continue on to do the 40min session that I couldn't complete last night.

Well, got there alright and actually made it up to 55mins through some mental battling. First I just told myself to get to 45mins and that I could give up then. Still felt alright, so pushed that out to 50mins, and then 55mins. Was hoping to do the hour, but I was pretty shot at that point. Still, not a bad run, my longest continuous run by at least 10mins.


Went in this evening to the gym for a body stat update. Didn't realise that it'd been so long since my last one, which was back in September. Generally, everything is going in the right direction, perhaps a bit slower than I'd have hoped, but still. Here are a few notes:

  • My weigh-in tonight was 119.2kg. This is a full 4kg heavier than my moving average weight that you'll see in the weight charts opposite. I can only put this down to the different weighing scales and the time of day. I take my daily measurements first thing in the morning when I get up.
  • My body fat percentage is going down (which is good), which means that my lean mass percentage is going up. The interesting thing though is the sum of the two in actual terms. For every unit of body fat I lose, I gain a half unit of lean mass. This isn't exactly what I'm trying to do, but its better than actually losing lean mass. For example, in the last period I lost 2.7kg of body fat and gained 1.5kg of lean mass, resulting in a net loss of 1.2kg.

Acceptable Range07/01/0813/09/0720/07/0712/06/07
Body Fat (%)12 - 1825.227.226.529.9
Body Fat (kg)13 - 1930.032.732.036.4
Lean Mass (%)82 - 8874.872.873.570.1
Lean Mass (kg)86 - 9289.287.788.885.3
Total Body Mass (kg)101 - 109119.2120.4120.8121.7
Water (%)55-6553.452.152.548.9
Water (ltrs)66 - 7763.762.763.459.5

Training update

As I've mentioned before, didn't really get up to much training wise while I was at home. So started back on 2nd Jan with a walk to work in the morning, followed by a jog to the gym that evening for a quick visit. The place was absolutely jammers with new recruits, it'll be interesting to see how long that keeps up.

Thursday then involved another gym session, doing W1D3 of the JD red plan followed by a pretty tough weights session. Pool was very busy again, so when my lane got up to seven people after I'd just done 3 lengths, I gave up and went home.

Friday was similar again, where I attempted W1D5 of the JD red plan. The plan actually calls for a rest day (or an easy day) the previous day, but I wanted to try it as I knew I would struggle to get something in on Saturday. I failed miserably, but with four weeks to master the plan, hopefully next week will be better.

Then tonight, Sunday, I tried W1D7 of the JD red plan. Again, didn't go too well and a planned 40m easy run turned into a 22m easy run. Still, better than nothing. The positive thing about tonight was the swimming...I done about 225m - 250m in the pool, front crawl with a good rest between lengths. I'm still breathing at least twice on average, but hopefully I'll be able to get the distance up while working on that.

New Years Resolution

As well as the usual New Years resolutions, my main aim for the year is to get up earlier, especially for work. Had a bag of a mixed results so far. Tuesday was new years day, but didn't get up early as I was out the night before.

Then a run of success, 6.30am\7.00am\6.35am for the next three days, causing a bit of a suprise at work :) Fell back into old habits at the weekend, with late nights and late starts, so that still needs working on.

The plus side of the early starts is that I can do stuff like walk\cycle etc into work in the mornings. I walked in on Wednesday, taking 1h 15m to cover the 8.5km.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Happy New Year

First off, happy new year to everyone. I'm back again after the Christmas break, where I more or less done absolutely nothing, despite my best intentions. Did make it out for a walk around the block one of the nights, which was about as good as it got.

Like I said, back in Cambridge again after the break. Went out for my first run of the new year tonight...went well enough, but set off a bit too fast I think and struggled later on. Still, felt good doing the first 5km about 50s faster than just before Christmas. Finished off the run with 6 sets of 20s of strides, which were bloody tough going.

Should be interesting to see the weighing scales in the morning...when I jumped on quickly on Saturday they were showing 117.5kg, but I've been a lot more disciplined over the last two days so hopefully it should be a more favorable reading tomorrow.