Monday, 28 June 2010

2/3rds of a Tri

Another few weeks of training under my belt now, in preparation for both the London Duathlon and 7Oaks Triathlon, although is only been cycling and swimming (the forced break from running until beginning of July is still in effect).

Swimming - never been a good swimmer, so this was always going to be the part I struggled with and after several weeks of trying to learn freestyle, and failing badly I have decided to stick to breaststroke, as the Triathlon will be in a pool, rather than open water. Time trials for swimming 400m have been coming down steadily (currently at 9:30), which looking at last years results, is competitive with the others. This time will hopefully drop some more, and I have been aided in the last few sessions by a pair of Orca Core Tri Pants, which have added to my buoyancy and brought the times down. I now have a structured training schedule, which will add some endurance swimming and make the shoulders stronger and get me ready for the race.

Cycling - Having spent several months cycling to work once a week I have now started on the long rides on a Sunday - nothing like quiet country roads on a Sunday morning, until you hit the hills!! Downs great - Ups not so!. Leg strength has improved a great deal, not just because of the mileage, but with a little help from a pair for CompresSport Quad Guards, which have a gradually compression and great for recovery afterwards, thanks to Time Williams, who will be at the Duathlon, with his own stand.

There have been a few tumbles, mainly due to traffic suddenly stopping, and not giving me time to release the cleats in my shoes from the pedals (7.1 for the tumble, from the Polish judge) and scrapes here and there, but all parcel of training, and at least the toenails are returning to a proper colour after the Grand Union Canal Race. I now need to look at either adapting my mountain bike for constant road use, by changing the tyres for road ones, or trying to find a proper road bike, either via sponsorship (lend my your bike and I will post a review here) or by borrowing one (any offers).

Cycling kit, is now coming together, as well as the Orca Tri Pants, which I will use for the Duathlon too, I have both a very cool Buff cycle-top, and some superb Polaroid P7003a Sunglasses, as well as the Quad Guards, so now am almost set to go.

Summer Holidays are looming for the kids, and with Mandy working during the hols, as well as a trip to Bavaria at the end of August, I will be off for a couple fo weeks, so training may hit a slump then, but have already planned a 45 mile cycle on the Bank Holiday Monday, before I go, after a 5 mile foot race on the Sunday at Mersea Island with Mandy.

Talking of running, that will start this week, probably, although with the Duathlon only having a 20k run, I wont need to do a great deal of running over the next few months, so can concentrate on the other 2 disciplines instead (review on the Vibram 5 fingers to follow soon)

That’s me for now - more in a few weeks, 'til then "Happiness is the Open Road"

Monday, 14 June 2010

Footwear - Barefoot

One of the benefits of starting all over again means i will start slowly and have a chance to try some new footwear. With the current craze of barefoot running shoes, i have been given the chance to try out the
vibram five fingers and will be posting a review on these, once tested.

The concept behind these and the Invo8 Evoskin, is to try to get runners running more naturally, as we were intended. It may not be for everyone and certainly the look will put some off, but for me its something to try and see if it suits me and helps with my posture and energy levels, as it will force me to take shorter strides, land lighter and be more aware of how i run.

Adam Smith, from Fitness Footwear, has posted his own review of the New Invo8-evoskin, a direct competitor to Vibram in this market and you can read that report here.

Watch this space for the review in the next few weeks.

CrossFit!!! (Cross What???)

I am currently recovering from my attempt at the Grand Union Canal Race, on Saturday 29th May, from which i was withdrawn at 70 miles due to eyesight problems.... I couldn't see!!!!. Basically (as diagnosed by my GP, and later by an ophthalmologist, who checked me for Glaucoma) it had happened due to a "blood Diversion", where the brain decides which parts of the body need more blood, during intense exercise, and mine decided that as it was 11pm my eyes weren't needed, whereas my quads were.

Following Alex closely down the canal towpath, not being able to see more than a reflective strip on his packpack, was (in a word) terrifying, although i kept my feelings to myself, until we got to the check point. My obvious confusion, as a medic pointed me to a chair to sit on, made them realise there was a problem, and after several checks pulled me out of the race (yes i would have gone on, because i wanted to try to finish, and also not let Alex down).

They were right and i have no issues with that, and have since thanked them for saving me from possible permanent problems, although at this moment in time, i still do not know what the long term implications are. It may have been a "one-off" occurrence, however have been advised that once i start running again (currently on a months sabbatical from running) to monitor the situation and gradually build up. I have set targets (London Duathlon and Sevenoaks Triathlon, both in September), and am looking to do a marathon in November - but time will tell.

However this time has given me a perfect chance to try something new, CrossFit, as suggested by Adam Smith at Fitness Footwear (crossfit shoes)

CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning program, designed to elicit as broad an adaptational response as possible. CrossFit is not a specialized fitness program but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of ten recognized fitness domains. They are Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy.
The CrossFit program was developed to enhance an individual’s competency at all physical tasks. Athletes train to perform successfully at multiple, diverse, and randomized physical challenges. This fitness is demanded of military and police personnel, firefighters, and many sports requiring total or complete physical prowess. CrossFit has proven effective in these arenas.

Aside from the breadth or totality of fitness the CrossFit program seeks, the program is distinctive, if not unique, in its focus on maximizing neuroendocrine response, developing power, cross-training with multiple training modalities, constant training and practice with functional movements, and the development of successful diet strategies.

For more about this craze go to and for the best footwear around the gym check out the Fitness Footwear range of crossfit trainers