Sunday, 27 November 2011

2012 Plans


This week isn’t going to be a big one as I haven’t done much again.  I managed to run over my foot with my desk chair then one of my lovely work colleagues decided to run over it with the Aeromix staging.  So apart from the regular commuting and one gym session on Monday not a great deal done.  Monday’s gym session did include some sprint intervals, which were productive.  I wasn’t sure how my knee would react or if I was fit enough to be able to be able to sustain 4 intervals of 1 minute flat out but it went well and the knee and my fitness where not found wanting.  I will be increasing duration and adding some incline over the next few weeks as I want to be able to compete again and my plans are going to involve running.

I have started planning for next year and have a few ideas to play with.  I will sign up for the Manchester to Blackpool, Manchester to Chester and the Manchester 100mile rides.  My other plans include a possible week long ride in Ireland doing 580 miles over 6 days.  The only real obstacle to this is that I have to raise £1500 in sponsorship money.  I think I will make a decision in December and see where that leads me.  My other project will be a ride over to Hull I think at some point in August.  I will have to find a route and some support for it but it should be something that is easily achievable.  The route finders have said it will be around 100miles.  Some possible issues with the Pennines but I think that by that stage of the year I should be around about the weight I want to be and the fitness levels should be at about there peak. 

Other possible plans for 2012 are a sprint triathalon (750m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run) and maybe The Humber Bridge half marathon in June depending on when the Irish cycle ride falls.  Just have to see how the knee reacts to some running outside first!

Have a great week!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Colder Commute's Incoming

Hey y’all

Welcome back to the blog!  This week has seen a couple of interesting events take place but I have to say that I have slacked on the exercise front.

It was noticeably colder this week on the commute into work so I went out and invested in some leg warmers for the cycle in.  Some may be thinking why hasn’t he gone the full hog and invested in some tights for the trip.  Well after speaking with my cycling mentor and good friend Mr Gordon at Evans Cycles it was thought that as my weight loss will continue over the next 12 months I will drop another couple of waist sizes and the tights would become obsolete, which would be a waste of money as I was looking at paying between £70 - £110 for a pair.  So we decided that the leg warmers where a better option and a lot cheaper.  I went for a Specialized pair Specialized Leg Warmers  and I have to say I am very happy with them.  They are warm and they don’t slip down my legs whilst I am riding!  Awesome.

My eczema has had a massive flare up this week not sure why.  I have even had to crack out the steroids.  I think it may be down to the change in temperature and the little one being ill but not sure.  Very frustrating after having a really good week and a half.  The steroids are clearing it up but I wish the damn thing would settle down again as its hard to move my hands and complete tasks like opening a jar or high fiving swimmers.

On the exercise front I managed to get a Wattbike session and two gym sessions in but not anything else due to general tiredness, little one being ill and a knee pain, which is perturbing me a little.  I was riding home on Thursday evening when I first experienced it.  It is the Vastus Medialis (Quadricep muscle) at the knee end where the pain is and it’s a sharp pain, which is constant whilst pedalling.  It did go off after about 5 minutes but was very uncomfortable.  I have the weekend off this week so am hoping that a little rest and relaxation will give it chance to heal and be ok for next week.  Possibly wishful thinking but I will keep you updated.

A really positive Saturday this weekend.  I had the privilege of going to the Speedo Swimming meet at Stockport Grand Central with Swim Trafford.  It’s the first real meet of the season and was very competitive as the swimmers/coaches wanted to see where their swimmers where at after the off season.  I went along so that I could see some of the swimmers in action and get a read on their psychological responses to the competiton.  I also wanted to see how we could improve the routines of the swimmers pre and post race.  Again I also wanted to look at the nutrition side of things to see when and what the swimmers were doing in between races and their pre and post race routines.  James Stannard and myself arrived at about 07:30 there where already a lot of swimmers there and we met up with the morning swimmers Heather, Sam, Olivia and Georgia.  James’s emphasis was on carrying out what they had achieved in training and looking at the process of the meet rather then trying to swim PB’s.  As this was the first meet we weren’t expecting any superb performances.  However Sam reached the final of the 100m fly and both Heather and Georgia swam PB’s.  Olivia had been unwell for most of the week and swam a little slower then normal.  A really pleasing effort by all of swimmers though.  The afternoon saw Nile and Zoe join us and both swam really well although not achieving PB’s they where both close and this early in the season it is encouraging.  Chloe has swum well the evening before and attained a PB and also a mention for Ex Swim Trafford athlete Lucy Grainge who also swam well and was welcomed into our team area on poolside.  Good luck to the swimmers on Sunday! I am hoping that the meet will provide good fuel for their training sessions over the next month until they compete again.  All are well capable and with James’ help and encouragement I am sure we will see some national qualifying times achieved.  I also have a lot to offer I think and have come away from the meet with some ideas and recommendations to speak to James about.

Thanks for reading and I will post again soon (is that a threat or a promise you may ask).
"Being your best is not so much about overcoming the barriers other people place in front of you as it is about overcoming the barriers we place in front of ourselves. It has nothing to do with how many times you win or lose. It has no relation to where you finish in a race or whether you break world records. But it does have everything to do with having the vision to dream, the courage to recover from adversity and the determination never to be shifted from your goals."
Kieren Perkins (Australian Swimming Legend)

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Pain and Healing

Hey hey,

I have a couple of things to talk about this week so forgive me for a reasonably long blog.

The first item for discussion today will be a mini breakthrough I have had with my eczema.  On the recommendation of a friend I started to use Bio Oil (  after my shower every night on the affected areas mostly hands and legs.  Bio Oil is described as working on scars, stretch marks and dry skin conditions so I thought I would give it a try, I’ve tried damned near everything else for it!  Within 48 hours the hands where a lot better and the other areas started to heal to.  It’s now a week since I started to use the oil and my skin is feeling great there is still a little of the eczema remaining but my hands especially have responded very well to the oil.  For the first time in a long time I am not itching every five minutes and have pretty much full mobility in my hands!  If you suffer with dry skin conditions it really is very good (just wanting to share not being sponsored by Bio Oil!!!).  If it helps anyone else as much as it has me that would be amazing.

The fitness has been going great guns over the past few weeks in that it is now a firmly set routine and I am really enjoying it.  I have started to introduce some core muscle work now I have lost a fair bit of weight (Garry our engineer at work has started drilling new belt holes as I am to tight to go out and buy a new one!).  I have been working on a technique called the plank ( which is designed as a starting base to strengthen all of the core muscles I need to work on.  I have slotted in to my gym workout 3 x 30 seconds hold with 20 second rest in between.  This may not sound a lot but it is really testing me to the max.  At the end of each set I am physically shaking from the effort to hold the correct position.  I am sure it will get easier as I work on it and become stronger in my core areas.  I have also done the usual spinning with friends and done two Wattbike sessions which where really productive.  I am still yet to fit the swimming back in, which I really need to do.  I have to make some time somewhere to do this. 

I want to share some of the data I am working on for my Wattbike session just for interest really.  I performed a 3 minute all out test with Tony Jolly from Manchester Triathlon club ( so we could determine my average watts for the threshold workout.  After a three minute world of pain session we worked out that 80% of my maximum heart rate equated to roughly 240 watts.  This means that I have to hold 240 watts for 5 minutes then a 2 minute rest then repeat for five repetitions.  It is hard work but I am definitely improving and my heart rate recovery has improved immensly.  I intend on doing another test at some point this week to see if I have progressed and to see if I can increase the wattage requirement.  Watch this space.

The last thing I want to talk about this week is a friend of mine.  Rich had lymphoma a few years ago and got through it.  Rich writes a blog on BlogSpot ( ) and I cycle with him also.  In Rich’s latest blog he speaks about working for a charity called Cyclistsfc they obtain bikes for cancer families and have volunteers build them and deliver the bikes to the families.  Rich is also involved with a volunteer project for the Lymphoma Society whereby he buddies up with people who are going through what Rich had to a few years ago.  I just want to wish Rich well publically and say that he has inspired me to start to take a look at myself and how I can help others.  Over the next few weeks I am going to try and get involved with something that I can relate to and commit some time to.

Guys have a positive week.  Take your chances and opportunities and make sure you live each day to the full!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Fitness and Fireworks

Hey folks,

This week saw a return to the dreaded spinning.  I participated in one of James Jacksons 30minute spinning sessions at Stretford Leisure Centre ( .  It was severe interval training but it was fun.  I was full on the resistance for the climbs but really struggled with the standing sprints.  They are not something that comes naturally to me as I don’t really sprint as such when out riding.  I could not seem to get the legs going very fast at all.  I did work hard during the session though and that’s what counts.

On Friday some of us regrouped to do a 45 minute spinning class in the same vain as the one I have posted previously but I did change the music, which went down well.  It was an all James affair with James Moffatt, James Stannard and myself all putting in a good tilt and working hard.  If you fancy coming down I have started a Facebook group called Impromptu Spinning @ Stretford Leisure Centre.  If you ask me or add me to your friends list I post a time each week that I am going to run the session.

I did a couple of other great workouts this week two threshold sessions on the Wattbike and a decent two gym workouts.  Again I haven’t been in the pool this week I am finding it hard to fit it in on top of everything else.  I really need to get on it and put some hard miles in.  I just want to talk a little bit about the Wattbikes.  I use them to do threshold sets.  This is where I work at 80% of a pre calculated maximum for sets of 5 minutes with a 2 minute recovery in between each set.  The complete workout lasts 35minutes and I am pretty much spent by the end of it.  I’m really hoping that the dropping of weight and the maintenance of leg power will see my climbing ability on the bike drastically improve.  I suspect the power to weight ratio will be pretty good by the end of this training and weight loss cycle.  The other good thing about the Wattbikes is that I can have a look at my pedalling efficiency and make sure that I am using the best technique.  It has been pretty hard to maintain a good shape but I think I am finally getting the hang of it.  I have to say my left leg is still slightly dominant in that there is a 51% > 49% split.

This Saturday we went as a family to Chassen Road Fireworks display and bonfire.  The event was supporting Swim Trafford and a percentage of the money raised will go to helping the club to continue to produce excellent swimmers.  The display itself was probably attended by upwards of 1500 people and they where not disappointed by a truly excellent fireworks display.  The event had a great family feel to it and my little one, the Mrs and the sister in law really enjoyed it.

Have a great week!

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”  Aristotle

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Nutrition Powerpoint

Hey all,

Below is the link to the Nutrition Seminar i did for the Swim Trafford Squad.  It's a basic introduction and over the next few months i will be putting together some more technical ananlysis for them on an individual basis.

Nutrition Powerpoint

if you have any questions of queries don't hesitate to get in touch.  Enjoy!