Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas 2011

So some of you may have noticed that i missed last weeks blog and that i am publishing this on a special Sunday...Christmas Day. I have tired of playing with my socks, well i am 31 and that is a standard present for a male of this age.  In all honesty though i got some great presents and really enjoyed the day.  The thing i love about Christmas is not really the receiving of presents but the look on peoples faces when you give a great present.  I also love Christmas Dinner and of course spending time with family and friends.  Its a shame that it doesn’t happen more often during the year.

I am sat thinking about what i have achieved this year on a personal level and where i can improve in 2012.  I have to say some of my biggest achievements this year have been on the cycle.  The rides to Blackpool and then the Manchester 100miler (minus numb groin) are the two highlights of my year and have proved I can achieve great things when i put my mind to it.   Along with this i have to make a few thank you’s.  My first thank you is to Mr Ted Gordon who has mentored my fledgling career this year putting up with my slow ass to start with (still slow in comparison but better) and my constant moaning about climbing hills.  My second is to Mr Richard Salisbury for the hours he’s put in this year with me and his expert bike fit through Pedal Precision ( .  There are the others who i have ridden with this year Andy McVeigh, Mark O’Reilly, Lee Bradley, Kelly Strickland and others.   I think my second massive accomplishment has been to donate some time volunteering with Swim Trafford.  It has been rewarding on many levels and i have made some great new friends along the way.  It will be one of my focuses for the coming year to help the group shave some seconds off their PB’s and achieve their goals.  The other achievement is a reduction in mass.  I have been working hard on this over the past 12-18months and it is looking good.  To date 3 stone has been shifted.   My last thank you goes out to Mr Marek Holowenko physiotherapist ( extraordinaire he has put my shoulders, neck and back into good shape and given me sound advice all year.  I will be trying to pick up some regular Pilates in the New Year.

2012, what can i achieve, what should my goals be.  I have some thoughts on this.  Another 2-3 stones weight needs to be shifted and I’m hoping to achieve this by September.  I need to knuckle down and return to a decent routine.  I am itching to get back out on the bike and can’t wait for the fairer weather.   I want to sign up for the Manchester to Blackpool and better the 4hr 30mins i took this year.  I also want to attempt the 100miler this year and come in under 6 hours hopefully more towards the 5 hours 30minutes mark.   Both well achievable.  I am also going to attempt the Big Red Bike Ride in June, it will be 600miles in 6 days which will be my biggest challenge yet.  June will also see me try and complete my first half marathon.  I am looking to sign up for the Humber Bridge half marathon.

Leaving you with a song that has perked me up alot this month.

Merry Christmas and may you have a productive and happy 2012!

Sunday, 11 December 2011



Some of you may have noticed over the last few weeks the different greetings I have been using.  This is due to the stats page on the site telling me that people from all around the world have been viewing my blog.  It feels a bit weird really knowing that someone in India or Japan has been looking at the blog.  The blog itself has achieved over 2500 visits since it first started in April so thanks to all for visiting.

The main aim of the blog is to record my efforts each week but again this week I haven’t done much as I have been suffering a bit with some sort of bug.  I did a Wattbike session earlier in the week and it felt like I didn’t have anything in the tank by the 4th set of my usual threshold set I was hanging out and had to lower the targeted watts average to complete the set.  It was not fun.  Had a productive gym session, which was productive but again I struggled for intensity so not sure what the issue was.  I think it has been important to try and have a few days off completely and just recharge the batteries completely.  I feel ready for this week and have a session structure this week to stick to.  I will be doing spinning for Swim Trafford on Thursday, which I am really looking forward to.

The other major bits and bobs this week where a visit to Manchester Academy to see one of my favourite bands from the 90’s Indie revolution Shed Seven.  Looking round it was great to see a generation in a room by this I mean the Indie generation (middle aged people to you guys).  Chris Helme (of Seahorses fame) was supporting and did a great acoustic set and a brilliant job of setting up Shed Seven so much so in fact I am at this moment listening to The Seahorses album.  Shed Seven came out and from the off just nailed it.  The crowd were well up for it and they didn’t disappoint.  I have to say one of the best gigs I have been to ever.  I would definitely recommend them and would love to go and see them again.

So until next week love life!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Back on it....kinda


This week saw a return to around about ¾ of what I have been doing fitness wise.  I have to say that it has been hard.  I didn’t think two weeks of very little activity would hit so hard.  I managed to maintain a decent threshold set on the wattbikes on Thursday and the mental battle was won in that I completed the full five sets even though I felt shocking on the fourth set.  I hit the gym twice and the session on Saturday felt good apart from the crosstrainer were I didn’t feel I had anything in the tank my RPM dropped to 75 when its normally between 85-90.  I have been struggling with a groin strain this week so that may have been why.  So the gym session is looking like this at the moment;

Ø      1000 metre row to warm up
Ø      Full body stretching session 15minutes
Ø      23minutes Crosstrainer – Random setting level 11 keeping rpm into the 80’s.
Ø      3 sets of 12 reps  - Freeweights – Lateral Raises, Push Presses, bicep curls (Toning)
Ø      3 x 12 – Chest press, lat pull downs, inside and outside thighs (Toning weight)
Ø      15min hill walk (Knee is still a little dodgy for running)
Ø      3 sets of plank holding for 30secs resting for 30secs
Ø      15minute hill ride on the cycle level 15 maintaining 90rpm.
Ø      Full body stretch down

I am still yet to reintroduce the swimming and want to start again on the sprint intervals on the treadmill as soon as the groin strain has gone.  Not sure when that will be as I am not finding it easy to rest it.  I have a day off Monday so may just chill and try and give it a break.

The commuting is starting to be fun again.  This summer had washed away my memories of last years winter commuting but they are slowly being re-etched into my mind.  Yesterday was the first time I have been caught out in the rain for a long time!  I was warm enough though and it didn’t cause me too many problems!

We have had a productive week with Swim Trafford this week.  Two meetings earlier on in the week provided some good momentum to push on and make sure we are still progressing on my end of the bargain.  The website ( ) has been touched up with a new banner and Simon Blair and myself will be looking to make updates once James Stannard has done some blurb for the site.  We have also spoken about supplements for the kids for meets in carb gels and protein bars.  Emma Thomas has been in touch with BSc ( an Australia firm who do great nutritional products and they have agreed to provide some sponsorship and samples for the squad.  Hopefully this is a relationship we can develop going forward and will benefit the kids on meet days.   I have used the energy gels and protein bars and they are really good.  If anyone wants to know more you can get in touch on here or via Twitter/Facebook.

This weekend saw the swimmers meet at Manchester Aquatics for a North West meet.  The stand out performance as I write this is Chloe Waddell who swam two personal bests and is the 800m fly North West champion.  Congratulations to her and the rest of the team on a super meet so far.  The younger swimmers are away also and I have been informed by Coach Stannard that some other PB’s have been swum this weekend.  I will try and get some more information for next week!

“I will always listen to my coaches. But first I listen to my body. If what they tell me suits my body, great. If my body doesn't feel good with what they say, then always my body comes first.”
Haile Gebrselassie