Its good to be back!

Wow Mid-March already! Where is this year going?

February was a really positive month for me. Training has been consistent with only a brief interruption due to a dose of the deadly man flu which I managed to survive. Just.

The injury that has plagued my off season seems to have finally disappeared and this has been down to a combination of things.

  • Sensible training. Not rushing to get back up to speed and building gradually to protect the injury and not risk having any further setbacks.
  • Regular treatment from Luton Osteopathy. Ensuring I am fit and well and ready to put my body under the strains of pre-season training.
  • Finally daily stretching and using the foam roller. I used to think I hadn’t got time to do this daily, perhaps I even managed to convince myself I didn’t need to. Needless to say it is now part of my daily routine and my legs and back have certainly thanked me for it. I am a convert!

Things went so well I decided to enter the Winchester 10km held on the 26th Feb. Those of you that know me well will know my nerdy side involves Vikings and Norse mythology. So a visit to Winchester was a good excuse for a race. Winchester is where Alfred the great defended England (OR more specially Wessex) from the Vikings.

The race itself went well. A great course and a really well organised event saw me finish 38th out of 900+ entrants. The time was 40:15 which is over 3 minutes away from my PB but the important thing was that I raced pain free for the first time in two years. Brilliant T Shirt and Medal too! (Viking related of course)

 

The final week of February featured a visit to Alex @ Insight Nutrition. I had feared the worse but actually I was pleasantly surprised. I left feeling boosted by my visit and a nice finish to February.

Before I got injured I made plans for my 2017 season. My main focus is of course to qualify for and represent GB in Rotterdam in the World finals in September. My “B” goal is much the same but for the ETU Europeans next year. A sub goal was to qualify for GB ITU Duathlon.

My one shot at this sub goal was 12th March at the Bedford Duathlon. Based on not being 100% fit and not having the best preparation over Winter I was not overly hopeful at achieving this goal and certainly wasn’t looking forward to the event. I was put off even more when I woke up and saw the rain lashing down. However, I decided to pull my finger out and race, if nothing else it would act as a line in the sand to understand where I am in the road back to fitness. This would also be my first race in a draft legal race, so good practice for the rest of the season. One less thing to get disqualified for!

The weather didn’t improve much and transition was wet and grey, it was clear that the competition on the day would be fierce. I prepared my Transition area and retreated to the warmer pit lane buildings to keep warm and await the start of the race. After a brief warm up and race brief we were called to the start line.

Bedford Duathlon – Race review

Format: 5km run \ 20km Bike \ 2.5km run.

Organiser: NiceTri Events

The horn sounded and we were off. I followed my coaches’ advice and hit the first 5km run hard and came in just under 18 minutes (17:58). I was really happy with that considering my lack on running over the last few months!

With no wet suit to faff around with T1 was quick and I was out on the bike in around 30 seconds. I managed to chase down a decent group on the bike and working together managed to progress through the field and pick up additional riders. A group which started as 5 grew to over 15 and as usual we had 3 or 4 of us working on the front while some slackers sat and drafted happily for the entire 20km. The conditions were wet and slippery and the hairpins on the bike proved interesting as a few places were gained by some people sliding off onto the verges. There was some pretty impressive road rash on show after the race. Fortunately I stayed out of trouble and posted at 29:55 bike split.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

T2 was trouble free and I was quickly out onto the final 2.5km run. The legs were tired from the first run and a hard bike but I pushed on and did whatever I could to hold position.  The final 2.5km run was sluggish and something I need to work on as I came across the line in 10:15.  My overall time was 59:15. A good race and I am really pleased I took part, it gave me a boost in confidence and highlight areas I need to work on. In addition it gave me some practice in racing a draft legal event. Not only that but……

As I type I believe I have qualified as Q4. I am awaiting confirmation from the BTF but we are certain that my position and time was good enough to earn a spot on the GB AG Team. Not a bad day all in all, watch this space!

 

Up next – 10 days in Majorca J

January Blues

So it has been just over a month since I last wrote and I hope you are all well and  still keeping your resolutions?

It’s been a mixed month personally. Having found some run fitness I went and destroyed any progress I had made by pushing myself too hard whilst on my Level 2 coaching course. Stupidity and male ego took over and something that was meant to be a simple drill turned into the biggest race on the planet. Detect the massive undertone of sarcasm as I say “Hoorah, I won”. The cost of this “win” was another 21 days of not running. Let’s just say my Osteopath and Coach were less than impressed. Lesson learned!

So it’s been a month of further frustration on the run front but again I have found myself pushing the bike, Swim and Strength and conditioning so all is not lost.

The last two weeks have seen me running again and completely pain free which is fantastic. I made the decision to pull out of the Ashridge Duathlon as I don’t think I would do myself justice and that is not the biggest focus of the season.

On the 24th January I also turned another year older! However, I had a great birthday and got some great gifts which is always nice.

So now I am fit it’s time to buckle down. I am a little behind where I would prefer to be in training but the important aspect to remember is that I still have 3 months until the first Humanrace ITU qualifier at Eton. So that’s the target fixed firmly in sight now. I need to ditch a few KG, regain some run speed and continue to work on the top end of my cycling which seems to be coming along nicely.

It’s a recurrent theme but I’d like to thank Carly @ Luton Osteopathy (https://luton-osteopathy.co.uk/ ) for her patience and knowledge to continue to “fix” me and get me back on the path to Rotterdam.

The next few months are critical for the success of the season.

 

Oh and…. keep an eye out for this – Spring 2017!

 

 

 

Happy new year

Firstly, Happy new year to you all. I trust you all had a good Christmas and enjoyed your new year celebrations.

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To say that I am looking forward to 2017 is a huge understatement. As I said in previous posts, 2016 was an experimental year with a disappointing end spending 3 months on the injury bench. However, I don’t believe in dwelling on the past and there was certainly my fair share of good that also took place in 2016. As I have said to one or two people recently, I now know that everything happens for a reason, you just may not know or appreciate it at the time.

The past month has seen me get back some much needed base mileage in the run which in turn has given back some fitness whilst fighting off the inevitable Christmas calories. I have also managed to clock a couple of sub 20 minute Parkruns which I can’t really complain at having been off for so long and I even managed to represent the run club at a local cross country race which was as pleasant as ever. I still think back to the days in upper school when the very mention of cross country simply meant having to run to the local railway bridge, hide underneath it, extract the cigarette and lighter from ones sock and wait patiently for the rest to return and join on the back. Job done. How times change!

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My swimming has remained constant throughout winter and over the festive period which I know will pay dividends when the season comes knocking. For that I have to thank Putteridge swim club for being such an awesome club, not just the coaches but the other members who make getting up at 5:15 worthwhile.

PSC

The bike has been fairly static, as most are this time of yeah. Ice on the roads and freezing conditions making it a little too dangerous to venture outside, so plenty of sessions spent on the Turbo trainer trawling through episodes of Vikings, The grand tour, The walking dead and anything else I can find on Amazon.

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Another mention has to go out to Carly @ Luton Osteopathy. Without her dedication and knowledge (not to mention patience) I don’t think I would now be running pain free, so a huge thank you to her for getting me back out there. However, I am still getting nagged to stretch and foam roll on a daily basis. My only question is, does foam rolling ever become pain free?

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Looking forward to January there are no specific race plans but the plan is to shift the winter weight and get back down to what I consider to be the racing weight. This is a weight that I have felt I have raced best at in the past. Since working with Alex @ Insight Nutrition I have learned that it is key not to focus on numbers too much but focus more on how strong you feel come race day.

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I will continue to build up the race pace on the run. I need to find 2 minutes over the 5km distance before the first race day lands in May. However, I trust my coach and my training so I don’t see that as an issue, it will come. I just have to believe… always.

All the key races are now booked, hotels reserved and plans are firmly in place, so it’s truly time to hit 2017 with full force and make it a year to remember. Watch this space!

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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!

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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??

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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.

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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.

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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.

Laters.

Up and running!

Sorry for the absence in my blog writing, I have been busy training, working and also completing my Level 1 coaching course which should see me a qualified triathlon coach before the end of April.

Training has been going well since we last spoke, I have managed to get some consistency into my schedule which has seen benefits come thick and fast. Another big part in my preseason improvement is my nutrition guidance provided by Alex at Insight nutrition, his monitoring and advice has seen me get back to race weight and feel ready for the season ahead.

Insight

On the back of a successful first build phase of training I enjoyed a much deserved “rest and test” week. This means I had a much easier week training but also put in some timed efforts as a baseline for performance. The initial signs are good but there is still room for improvement before the season kicks off. The biggest win is that I have increased the intensity of sessions and remained pain \ niggle free. The hamstring injury which has plagued me for the last few months seems to be well and truly on its way out and I am able to regain some of the speed I had lost during a period of non-running. I actually find myself to be itching to race!

March was meant to see me take part in the Welwyn half marathon but I decided against it due to the lack of specific training I had done for it. I feel that this slightly over-protective approach is probably the best course of action in the run up to what I hope will be a successful season.

Before I knew it, April was well and truly upon us and the days are longer which makes training much more agreeable with everyday life. April also saw me run a Park run as my timed effort which produced a decent 19:40 and 9th place. Although I’m reasonably happy with that I want to take a minute off that time in the coming months. I travelled to Paris to watch some friends and fellow striders take part in the Paris marathon. I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed not to be taking part, but I jumped in with a friend for the last 12km and ducked out just before he went on to finish. It made for a great weekend away and I even managed to fit in some interval training alongside “Le Seine”.

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Upon returning to England I decided I wanted to do another race before any triathlons kicked in and by chance the Flitwick 10km was held on Sunday 19th April. I entered straight away as I have done this race once before and it’s a tough undulating course which is by no means a fast PB course. That said, I managed to complete the course in a respectable 39:15. Which by chance is actually a road 10km PB. I have spent so many years running a 10km but only as part of a triathlon I had totally forgotten what my PB was in a road race. After much searching through old race logs I managed to find my previous 10km PB. It was 39:35. So on a tough course I managed to take a full 20 seconds off my PB. I will have to find a nice flat course and really give it some welly!

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So, in summary, as you can see the injury seems to have passed, training has been going really well and I am starting to see positive results from consistent training. With May rapidly approaching it will soon be time to get my backside back in that lake! (Just the thought of that is sending a chill down my spine). Of course May also brings the first four consecutive weekends of racing! It’s going to be a busy month!

inframon Huub Design

A quiet one!

February has been a relatively quiet month from a training perspective. The training intensity and length has become progressively harder and longer in the build up to the training camp at the start of March. I have continued to run with Stopsley Striders to put some focus back on my running and in addition have added a group turbo session with the guys and gals from Transition Tri, so I am very much enjoying the social aspect too.

TT

Also this month has very much been about honest training and clean eating in a final push to kick off the post-Christmas kg that we all put on so easily during the off season and then spend months getting rid of. I am almost what I consider to be at racing weight so this final week and the training camp should start my season off with perfect timing in the 4 month plan up to Austria in June.

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On the race front, again it’s been a quiet month with the focus simply being on head down training. However March offers up some different prospects.

Currently I have 3 races planned in March following on from the training camp in Lanzarote. These include an obstacle course challenge purely because I have never done one before. The following weekend I have a Duathlon to use as a little pre-season sharpener to get an understanding of where my fitness sits right now and lastly the Sandy 10 mile road race where I am hopeful of a 10 mile PB.

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http://www.nuclear-races.co.uk/index.php/events/nuclear-blackout/

F3

http://www.f3events.co.uk/general/duathlon

Short and sweet this month but I do want to add that I am really looking forward to the dedicated training camp and without the financial support from my sponsors it would not have been possible. This is the catapult I need to start off what I want to be the best season ever, so continued thanks to Inframon. Superb support which doesn’t falter.

inframon

www.inframon.com

Hopefully next month’s blog will be full of pictures of blue skies and hard training and of course any stories from the camp.

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For now though, take care and see you all next month.

 

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A strong start to 2014

With the Lanzarote training camp fast approaching it was important that I found some early “pre-season” fitness to take with me.

Since the beginning of the year I have focussed on losing the excess off-season weight and building a good base of fitness to head to the Canary Isles with.  This has involved hitting the cold winter roads and the turbo trainer as hard as possible, with many hours sat on the bike in my man cave. In addition the return to swimming has been, well, disappointing. Tom Daly and the circus that follows “Splash” around have taken over my usual pool and due to the winter break I am swimming like a breeze block! That said, I am back in the pool so things can only improve, surely!

I have re-joined Stopsley striders in order to put some focus back into my running and forced myself to run outside a little more rather than in the warmth and relative comfort of the treadmill. I am pleased to say that I believe it has had a positive impact already.

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In my last blog I touched upon my goals for this coming season and they remain unchanged. My focus from now until June will be geared towards the European Championship in Austria. I will race some small local races in the build-up but nothing that may have a negative impact on training in any way.

In addition I have entered a 10 mile run for the end of March that I intend on obtaining a PB in. Especially as it is in my home town of Sandy, Bedfordshire. (http://www.biggleswadeac.org.uk/sandyten/)

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In terms of triathlon and continued GB representation, due to taking part in Austria my choice of dates are fairly limited, also this year I didn’t want to be travelling all around the country in order to take part in races, there are plenty of good local races and TT’s about that I am yet to investigate.  I have entered the ITU qualifier at Emberton Park in July as this fits nicely with returning from Austria and will not impact on the upcoming training for my first half iron distance race in Weymouth.

So, it’s been a good positive start to what I hope to be a good positive year.  Roll on February,  I cannot wait to get to Lanzarote and out of the cold and endless rain of the UK!

Getting chilly out there!

So it’s been a while since my last update, but that’s simply because I have had some down time, which wouldn’t interest you greatly. Don’t get me wrong I have still been training but October is a chance to down tools and relax a little after a busy season. I think it’s important for the body to recover and important for the mind just to chill out a little.

Having said all that, I have turned my attention to next week’s half marathon in St Neots and thoughts of a possible PB at the distance. Training for the half hasn’t been without its issues, but I have worked closely with my coach to deliver on the day, so it’s now just a case of hitting the start line in the best shape possible and giving it everything I have.

stneots

After that there is one final PB to aim for and that will be a 5 mile road race on New Year’s Eve.

Away from this season and 2013 my thoughts have started to turn towards next season.

I have now Identified my two major “A” races next season. Of course one is very obviously the European Championships in Austria at which I have decided to represent GB in the Olympic distance race. This will take place on June 22nd.

Once that race is done I will up the distances and train for my very first Half Iron distance which will be Challenge Weymouth which takes place at the end of September.

Weymouth

Those are preceded by a week-long training camp in Lanzarote planned for early March this provides the main spine to next year’s plans.

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After the half marathon next week I will be looking forward to travelling down to Bristol to catch up with my sponsor’s at their Christmas do. It will be great to meet up with all of them again and have a few drinks with them…. Well it is almost Christmas!

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At the end of each season I think it is important to reflect on the goals that you set at the same time last year, assess whether they were achieved and if they were not then ask why. This is what I plan to be doing over the next few weeks so I will post my thoughts and season’s reflections in my next blog update.

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

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.

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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!

inframon

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!

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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

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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?!

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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.

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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.

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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.