2016 – I best write something!

So it’s been a while since I last did a blog entry so I thought I would put virtual pen to virtual paper and let you know what I have been up too!

First off I am really pleased that my cross country season has come to an end and I am still in one piece. Cross country has never particularly been a friend of mine but I was committed to completing all five of the league fixtures this year without injury and I’m happy to say that I did that. I will never set the world alight in such a race but over the course of the season I was happy with my performances. Only one performance was poor and that was down to a rather heavy hangover!


With Manchester marathon approaching ever closer and with a sub three hour target in mind my training has been largely run focussed in the first few months of 2016, with swimming and biking both being reduced dramatically to allow for the extra run mileage.

Training is going well, I have already completed my first 20 miler ahead of schedule and no sign of any injuries or marathonoia creeping in. So all is good on that front. February and March are a key time in the training plan and week 8 marks the halfway point of training, so I guess I’m on the home straight now!? Right??


Away from racing and training I am really happy to announce that Inframon have agreed to sponsor me again for the 2016 season. They join Insight Nutrition in supporting me in my debut season in middle distance racing. This season will very much be a transitional season for me and in truth I do not know what to expect. Perhaps I will love stepping up the distance, perhaps I will just hate it. Watch this space I guess.




One thing I do know is that during 2016 I will be attempting the sub 3 hour marathon and racing a distance of 500 miles for charity. I have decided to raise funds for a local (Luton) charity called Signposts. Why not pop along to www.signpostsso.com to find out who they are and all the good shizzle they do in the community.


On that note please pop along to my fundraising site and make a donation. http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Sub3500

I have a couple of races coming up in the next month so the next instalment should be a little more thrilling. But for now, keep safe and speak soon.


Lesson Learned!

Ok so back to triathlon\racing related activities….

This week has been a real mix for me, with Oakley 20 being cancelled due to the glorious British spring time I decided to take on the Northampton Marathon on Sunday. I thought this would be a good confidence builder ahead of Paris just one week later.

Having read through the website and seeing that it was mixed terrain and flat I decided that there would be no harm in taking part as long as I took it easy and just completed the distance. Now, the very idea of completing two marathons back to back within the same week is really not advisable but I just wanted the confidence over the full distance, so I ignored my better judgement and took part.


Delapre Abbey, Northampton was the scene for Northamptons Marathon.

I arrived in Northampton and realised that it was 12 loops of the park where we would do the cross country during the winter, however the course had been altered due to flooding. The race itself comprised of a 10k, a half and a full marathon all over the same course. The 10k kicked proceedings off at around 10am and five minutes later the half marathon got underway. A further five minutes later it was the turn of the full marathon, off we went!

Now, lap 1 of 12 and I knew this was going to be far tougher than I had originally planned. The terrain was muddy, really muddy and this really disrupted my stride and I was unable to get into a decent cruise rhythm. I continued on in a cautionary way and managed to get to the half marathon point (6 loops) in around 1:30, however the next two or three loops really started to take it out of my legs and I thought it best to stop, retire from the race and protect my legs for Paris the following week.

Although I know this was the right decision and Paris is the priority in pre-season training I still feel an air of disappointment. We all feel like we would love to stop and pull out of a race once in a while but never before have I actually done it. I felt like I had failed. I have no doubt in my mind that I would have completed the distance, albeit at a slower pace but at what cost? This certainly wasn’t an easy decision but like I said, I believe it was the correct one. I just hope my caution pays of in Paris next week.

So it goes to show, I have learned a lesson this week. I can tell you something else though, no matter how low I’m feeling I will never pull out of a race ever again!

So what are my goals for Paris? Well I always approach races with two goals in mind, a realistic goal and an ultimate goal. My ultimate goal is to slip in under 3:15:00 and get a “good for age” spot which will bid farewell to ballots in future! The realistic goal is simply to beat my PB. My current PB sits at 3:21:00. I am quietly confident that the ultimate is achievable if the day goes well and I run to what I am capable of. Putting the disappointment and self-doubt obtained in Northampton last week behind me I have to look at the larger picture and take into account all the good strong 7 minute mile runs I have managed in the recent past.


This week will be a taper week, just keeping the legs and body ticking over before flying out to Paris on Saturday morning. Can’t wait – I love that city!


and now for something completely different!

Training has continued to go well this week but once again the weather has caused interference with pre- marathon preparation. Oakley 20 was cancelled by the race organisers as was my back up plan of the Gade Valley Harriers 20 mile practice run. I am not in any way challenging the decision as safety must come first every time, it’s just frustrating. I just want the snow\sleet\rain and cold to do one! Really, had enough now!

So, with that it gives me an opportunity to talk about something else, totally away from triathlon, running, bikes, swimming and lycra!

I am not just a triathlete trying to obtain age group status I am also a husband and a father. It is the latter of these two that I want to talk about and during this week I was struggling to think about what I was going to dribble on about this week and on Friday evening I found what I was going to talk about. That subject? Ellie, my eldest.

Fatherly pride is something that fortunately I experience fairly often, however this was something else. Over the last few months I have been very critical of Ellie going off in the evenings and doing a rehearsal for some theatre show that I knew nothing about. I have had a go at her for being in late. Questioned what the point of it is and most importantly (and this still stands) worried how much it was effecting a very critical point in time in her studies.

So, Friday rolls around and I hand over my £5 to visit Luton Library Theatre and witness this production that has caused so much grief. The show was a musical produced by Olympian Productions and was based on the once popular Dunstable ballroom “California Ballroom” (http://www.lutonculture.com/luton-library-theatre/whats-on/2013/03/21/ballroom-california/455/) and is a work in progress, meaning that you get the first thirty or forty minutes of what will be a two hour plus show.

Anyway, so having forked out the vast sum of a fiver and queued to get a seat, I found myself sitting just behind the VIP are so not too shabby. The small audience settled and we were introduced to the show by that fella that plays DS Lewis (you know Inspector Morse’s sidekick – yeah him!). The music started and the main character and narrator came out and began to set the scene. The first musical number kicked in, the curtain went back and OH MY GOD! Where the hell has my little girl gone? Ellie looked fantastic and performed so well, I sat there speechless for the entire show and for those of you that know me will know that doesn’t happen too often. I really enjoyed watching her perform and the immense amount of pride I felt throughout the show was overwhelming.

Ellie if you are reading this; which I doubt; I am very sorry for all the hassle I have given you over this show, I was wrong and you proved it up there on stage. I really enjoyed the show and am very proud of you. I love you, well done.


Like I said, this show is a work in progress and as long as they secure funding there should be more one the way, so keep an eye out for it.

Right, there we have it, the first blog entry that’s completely unrelated to triathlon. I guess only fathers will appreciate what I felt on Friday night, but I still felt it was important to share.  The only thing I will add though is that Ellie’s male colleague on stage wants to be VERY careful where he places his hands! Not impressed young man!ells

Don’t worry folks, back to triathlon and lycra next week


Come on Spring!!!!

As expected I have had to start learning how to juggle training and family life around the new job and this continues to be a learning exercise.  However, I am not the first Age Group hopeful to have the pressures of work and family and I certainly will not be the last. I am sure that everything will fall into place.

That said this week has been a good week of solid training with no “wasted” miles. I have kept my base of runs to an interval session, a mid-week half distance tempo run and a weekend long run. In between these I have added a healthy spattering of good turbo and swim sessions. The new Sufferfest training video “Blender” is highly recommended …. for the slightly insane! Great workout though. (www.thesufferfest.com)



This weekend I decided to take part in the Nice Tri 18 miler in rural Cambridgeshire (www.nicetri.co.uk). This was actually my first race of the season as the two previous ones have not happen for me for one reason or another. This race meant another thing as it was an 18 miler, not a distance I have “raced” before so I was guaranteed a PB. What a PB though, I wasn’t expecting to hold 7 minute miling all the way round, but I did and that led to a great 2:06:00 time over 18 miles. Really happy with the result and stands me in good stead for Paris.

Race report for St. Neots is now on the “Race Reports” page.


Me taking a much appreciated drink from one of the well manned water stations.

Next weekend sees the running of the Oakley 20 race in Bedford and as this is a race I have run before I will be in search of my first real PB of the year.

Another first happened for me this week, when I was asked by a friend to give advice to a triathlon newbie. I had always seen myself as a newbie as I have only been doing this for 2 years. However I was honoured to be recommended to help someone who was just starting out. So I thought to myself “why not put this in the blog”…. So here it is, here is the advice that I gave to him based on what I found as a beginner.

Male, Age 30, Experience: Beginner,

First race: Jenson Button Trust Triathlon, Goal: Top 50 and to make the second wave.

OK, so let’s start with the bad. I need to warn you about the 2 worst bits of triathlon.

Number 1 is the start of the swim. You have a good strong swim time for your 1km; therefore I suggest you position yourself in a strong position in the swim so that you are not being held up by slower swimmers. However the start is always frantic and you will be right in the “washing machine”. I’m sure you have heard this phrase but it’s a melee of hands feet and elbows, expect to be squashed, punched and kicked!
So my advice is more for the start of the swim, the longer it goes on the calmer and more spread out it gets, it’s all about the start.

  • In the pool after a warm up, time yourself over 750m, but push REALLY hard at threshold (as hard as you can) for the first 200m, then swim at your normal pace… do not rest. This will replicate the frantic start on race day when the adrenalin is pumping.
  • Swim with others if you can, or ask people to swim alongside, in front, behind etc. So you get used to people being all around you when you swim.
  • Practice your sighting, don’t always trust the feet you are following, they may be going wrong. Stay aware of where you’re supposed to be going.
  • Get open water experience, it is NOTHING like a pool. Wearing a wetsuit, cold water, unknown depths etc. etc.

Ok, so onto the second worst bit of a triathlon….. jelly legs. Again I’m sure you know what it is but basically it’s the feeling in your legs when you transition from bike to run. This generally isn’t too much of an issue in half and full Iron distances as you have time for your legs to adjust. However in the short stuff this is VITAL, you don’t have 1km to “get used to it” you want to be off and running at your best immediately.

  • Practice going from bike\spin\turbo to run as much as you can. Brick sessions are so important. A great session that you can do inside (gym) or outside is; 10 mins bike, 10 mins run repeat 3 – 5 times. Try and run as fast as possible as soon as you get off the bike, but don’t use the bike as a chance to rest. Hard session but the benefits are massive.

Additional stuff.

People think triathlon consists of 3 disciplines. It doesn’t its 4. Learn to go through your transition (even if it’s in your garden\front room etc.) I can’t tell you how important this is in short distance races. Practice your layout, practice everything. For example I have been known to put on my wetsuit in my garden, goggles, swim hat etc. submerge myself in my daughters paddling pool, then run to my “transition area” and prepare for the bike, do a loop on the bike around my block (literally half a mile) then back into the garden to change for the run and another loop. Sounds like a tiny session but I see so many people fuck this up and cost them serious time and places, and even worse get disqualified. I will be practicing this soon heading into the season.

I would recommend going to the race location one day and having an easy run \ walk around. Get a feel for where the fast sections will be, where the hills are etc. Just so that there are no surprises on the day.

 Wow….. I don’t half bang on! Sorry – a lot to digest there….

In summary…

Practice a fast and frantic swim start then hold the race pace for      the 750m. (time it)

  1. Brick sessions! VITAL! Run off the bike – always.
  2. Practice Transitions
  3. Know the route      and prepare.

Hope all this helps, stay in contact and give me a shout if you need to. Happy to help

Xterra Wetsuits Blue Logo


It’s been a crazy few weeks!

Firstly I have to apologise for the delay in writing this week’s blog. I will explain all below, but I have good excuses….. Honest!


Last week began superbly and training was definitely on track which included a visit to Ampthill and Flitwick Flyers (http://www.affrunningclub.org.uk/) for an early speed work session, the session itself was excellent and the people were really welcoming and friendly. The following day I decided to do my weekly long run with my mentor, thank goodness I did it early in the week. The long run was based around Woburn and was by far one of the most punishing runs I have ever done on tired legs. This session hit me pretty hard and I felt it for days afterwards.

Last week also saw me bid EasyJet goodbye and as a result my leaving do was on Thursday night. I was joined by all of the friends I have made in my time there and it was a nice break in training. I took the opportunity to top up my carbohydrate stores (beer is carbs right!?) this more or less ruled me out for Friday, who am I kidding, it completely ruled me out for Friday. However it was great to be joined by Sean and Zach from Inframon (my race sponsors). www.inframon.com


Training resumed on Saturday and I was very pleased to have got my long run out of the way earlier on in the week.

Monday came around very quickly indeed and with it bought two things, the sun and my start at Tesco.com.  Just to remind you the sun is a big yellow thing that sits up high in the sky and warms you up! My initial fear was that different hours and strains on my time would have a negative impact on training but even though the workload is heavier and the hours are longer I am already seeing opportunities to train around the long working hours. The facilities at work are brilliant so once I am settled in I intend to use the 15 miles to and from work to my best advantage on the bike. I wonder how fast I can cover the 15 miles?!





This weekend was meant to see me compete in the Grizzly in Seaton, Devon. Billed as the toughest race in the U.K.  I was really looking forward to a challenge, but, unfortunately race logistics and getting to and from the race venue proved too difficult and so I am having to pull the event from my race diary.



I had some news later on in the week which really put the icing on the cake. I am really chuffed to announce that for the 2013 season I have been accepted as an ambassador for Xterra UK. So if you see me during the season I will be sporting my new Xterra wetsuit and associated apparel. I am very proud to be selected to represent such a great brand.

Xterra Wetsuits Blue Logo

What a superb finish to a hectic training period! To find out more about Xterra and their products please visit the website http://www.xterrawetsuits.co.uk/ or hunt them down on Facebook and Twitter.

Xterra Wetsuits Black_White Logo

So you see, heavy training, alcohol related activities, finishing at one company and started the next chapter in my career are all very plausible excuses for the blog being late. Well, I think so anyway.



Its all about the weather!

Ah Sh*t. That’s all I have to say! This weekend was supposed to be the start of the 2013 race season with an outing at Althrop Duathlon. I was really looking forward to getting a race under my belt and giving my first Duathlon a bash. But the weather gods decided to alter those plans dramatically and the race was postponed late on Thursday evening. Which threw my pre-race nutrition plans into turmoil, never mind – it was good practise for when race day does finally come around.

The event will now take place on Saturday 2nd March. A date I cannot make. Never mind, suck it up and assume it was never meant to be.


Ironically the sun shone instead and allowed a good 40k pedal with the Ridgemont gang in the early morning winter sun followed by some smaller 5k loops with effort. Of course this was followed by the obligatory visit to the café, which is by far the best bit 😉

The long run is now a solid weekly feature and I am hitting 20 miles for a long run and around 40 miles per week in total in the run up to Paris in April. Good to be getting some mileage in my legs but still struggling with the pace that I want to achieve in Paris. Have I aimed too high? Who knows, it’s early days, we shall see. The good news was that the sun was still shining as I made my way out of Luton on the “Upper Lea Valley Way” and into Harpenden; I was surprised at the level of activity in and around such a small town for a Sunday morning. I turned for home and headed back up the main road back into Luton and through the grounds of Luton Hoo. Lovely run all be it a little lonely, sob!

Luton Lea








Luton Hoo









This week saw the return to the swimming pool as my tattoo has finally reached a point where I can safely immerse it in water and I have to admit it was really tough. Not really sure what I expected having been out of the pool for the best part of two months but it was like someone was hanging onto my feet. Hopefully this will improve over the next few weeks, it was great to be back in the pool, I have to admit, I’ve missed it.

The next few weeks sees me leave easyJet and start my new role with Tesco.com. Save the horse jokes – trust me, I have heard them all!

There is no doubt this change will cause some disruption in training but that is to be expected as I settle in. Really looking forward to the challenge of the new role and being the chance to develop my career.

To check out the route of my long run (Luton to Harpenden) please see Sustrans site.