Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Who Are You?

A chat with a friend recently brought a stark fact into realisation for me.

In the case of an accident, while out training, how will people know who we are?

It’s a scary thought...

Scenario 1: We are out running and not feeling too good, the next thing we collapse and there is no way for anyone to know who our nearest and dearest are. 

Scenario 2: Out for a ride and we are clipped by a passing car knocking us unconscious into a hedgerow. Mobile phone smashed in the process – leaving no access to the ICE contact which you may have set up.

These two scenarios may occur when training a lone – but they could also easily occur when training with others. In that case though, you may think your friends and club mates know you…

But think about it. They may know you because you tur up at the club most weeks. They may have you mobile number to allow training sessions to be arranged. They may even know where you live, because they’ve picked you up before…

Think a little more. They may have your number but not your partners or home number. They might be able to drive to your house but could they rime off you address. Not too optimistic is it? And let’s not go into the problems of the worst happening when training alone.


I would everyone to think about wearing a wearable ID bracelet. There are a number available from the likes of Road iD and OneLife iD. Wearing a personal emergency ID ensures immediate identification, and quick communication with your next-of-kin. All providing peace of mind to you and your love ones.

Stop Messing about and get it sorted.



Friday, March 02, 2018

Feb 18: A Look Back

The first two months of the year gone already and the time before my A Race (Ironman Vichy) grows ever shorter. February marked my training's transition from PREP phase into BASE phase. Training proper. 

The weather may be foul, but I cannot let that get in the way of progress. I have continued with a TrainerRoad / Wattbike combination to keep my cycling on the up. I am actually following(ish) one of the TrainerRoad-Base cycling programmes to get me through to the more clement months. 

On the running front, February marked the highest running mileage, for me, in three and a half year. 93 miles. Not a huge mileage for some ... but good for me. This was not the intention but I have been asked to coach a Couch-to-5k lunchtime group where I work. Who am I to say no.

So now, the numbers: -



One final point to note, is that February also marked an improvement in my 1hr, 1.5hr, and 2hr watt averages on the bike :-)

Now, through the blizzards and into March

Train Strong

Monday, February 05, 2018

Jan 18: A Look Back

So, the first month of the year has been and gone already: Planned, Trained, and Logged. So how did I do?

Well the month started bad as I was still suffering the after effect of Decembers flu. Then it also ended up ‘off plan’ due to life getting in the way. Although in-between I feel like I good some solid training in.

So, how do the figures look: -



So, Although I dropped a couple of sessions, I seemed to have performed better in those sessions than I had hoped. The significant over-achieve on my bike, also seems to have paid off in other ways too. As stated in my previous post I have been using a TrainerRoad / Wattbike combination for my bike training and during January, even though I started the month under the weather, I made improvement at quite a few ‘Watt’ assessment points along the way. Including: -

5sec, 10sec, 20sec, 30sec, 2min, 1hr, 1.5hr, and 2hr.

Happy with that :)

Now, onward into February…


Thursday, February 01, 2018

A Bit of Prep

I’m a firm believer that ageing as an athlete should not hold you back. Especially for us that came to sport later in life, just because you have reached a certain age doesn’t mean that all your bests are behind you. Also, in Triathlon, since we compete in age groups – each new age group provides new opportunities for setting AG specific bests. 

For me the challenge of a faster Ironman is still firmly dragging me forever onward, and to this ends I have decided (as alluded to in my last post) to be more structured about my training. 

With a Joe Friel inspired structure, I am just coming to an end of my first phase: PREP. Running from the 1st January through to 4th February, it is a short 5 week phase to get me ready for the real training to get me ready for Ironman Vichy. With this in mind, during Prep of have moved my training to be both more structured and more Triathlon focused (PREP Plan Below). Although, I am still totally ignoring the swim element of the sport.

I have decided to take the TrainerRoad / Wattbike route for the Cycling element of both PREP and BASE phases. The aim: to provide me with structure and focus for the job at hand – rather than just riding round country trails with a few mates. 

I will probably talk more on my thoughts on TrainerRoad / Wattbike in a future post. So watch this space. 

You will also notice from this plan that I have both Saturdays and Sundays as rest days, this is due to the fact that I work away from home - so weekends are family time. Also, this early in the session the planned volume is low enough that I can fit the training into 5 days.


Next phase: BASE training, so watch this space. 


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

2018 - A New Start

The start of another year means the start of another campaign… 

But, now in my fifties, I need to consider my long term goals. Is that ever elusive sub 12:30 Ironman doable for me. Or, is it all just a pipe dream that remains forever out of reach? Do I need to revise my goals? Do I need new goals? Questions, questions.

This year I have, once again, entered the ‘hot box’ which is Ironman Vichy (France). I have raced Vichy twice and both times the temperatures have reached the high 30s. (About 100f for those of you who are still old school). Also, the last time the swim was an over distance, non-wetsuit swim. But all considered I like the place, the people, and the race. Plus, I will treat the race as my summer vacation.  
Across the early winter months I have been feverishly scribbling, and now, I have a plan, which consists of:
  • 5 weeks prep 
  • 12 weeks base 
  • 8 weeks build 
  • 8 weeks peek
With the odd ‘off’ week built into the schedule to account for family time and a few breaks to allow for recovery.

So, at the moment, I have the plan, I have the enthusiasm: so I am saying to myself: “Ignore the age and onward and upwards … the goal will be sub 12:30.”


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fasted Training

Fasted Training is not something I have given much thought to. However, on examining my training log, it is something I do. Regularly. In fact, about 5 times per week. I get up and use my commute to train, run or bike, before having my first meal of the day at work. Or, I get up early on a weekend and grab a quick run or swim before the rest of the household rises – again before breakfast.

So, in short, I am a fasted training.

Don’t get me wrong I am not a low carb high fat dude. Or an evangelist of training the body to burn more fat. It just turns out that 50% of my training is fasted.

The theory:

If you train in a fasted state, the body will be forced to break down stored fats in order to fuel the training. In this situation, your insulin level is low and will not interfere with the fat burning process, thus allowing you to access and burn more stored body fat for fuel.

My Experiences:

Looking back at my training diary I cannot see a definite train. What I can see is that I have had great training sessions, session where I feel like I’m floating along – one with the world. Although, on the flip side, I can also so sessions where I’ve died on my feet. I have bonked, hit the wall – whatever you want to call it.

However, I would say, that I have been more likely to crash and burn in sessions that are closer (in time) to the hour, or more. So, for me – there may be a limit to how much I can push myself on an empty stomach.

But I have been able to maintain quite a low (for me) body fat – even though I like my food and a beer or three.

My thoughts:

Fasted training may not be for everyone. If you think on it. training on an empty stomach used to go against the grain in the fitness world. However, we are learning that there is no one right formula for all who train. So, it may be worth giving a go.

If you do give it a go, don’t jump in all gung-ho. Ease in to things. Test out training at various intensities, as some athletes have better results with easy session but don't perform well with higher-intensity workouts, and yet others are the polar opposite.  

We are all different so it pays to try different training methodologies… don’t you think?

Also, break the fast as soon as you have finished your training. Not with any of these faddy diets., but with a good balanced meal. A meal that includes a good mix of protein, fats and complex carbs …. Your belly will thank you for it.


Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Ironman Maastricht 2016: Race Report

Originally published on

For me, the race report starts away from the event. It starts with the reason I was determined to make it round the race, and within the cut offs.

My father had been battling cancer for a few years and in February this year, after a bout of illness, he lost his battle. Training for an Ironman was the last thing on my mind. During the time I should have been building a base, I was spending my time in hospitals, and then a nursing home.

Roll on a couple of months and as I was just starting to be able to handle the grief of losing someone so important to me – my mother took ill. She could not cope without my father. In May this year I lost my mother.

Losing both my parents in less than 12-weeks has had a massive impact on me this year. Even now I struggle to keep my grief in check. But one thing I did decide … no matter how untrained I was … I was going to do Ironman Maastricht in the memory of my parents.


In June I turned 50 and my better half bought me a pool. This was the only swim training I did. Tethered swimming in a cold pool in a northern garden.

I commuted half the time on my bike, rides of between 6-miles and 18-miles – plus managed to get a lumpy 30 in on a Wednesday evening. On top of this I did get a couple of 70-milers. However, this would be the 1st time I would attempt an IM without a good base of long rides.

I also ran commuted, for the other half of the time. Runs between 4 and 7-miles. Although I did get a 15-miler in. I knew the IM run was going to hurt.

Then the unthinkable. Two weeks out from the race, things went a bit pear shaped and a major issue meant it looked like I was not even going to get to my race. However, at the last minute, my mother-in-law and father-in law stepped in to save the day. For that, I will be forever grateful.

I was on my way

The race: Swim

Maastricht is a river swim. No laps. A simple out and back with an Australian exit, on an island, at the turn-round point.

This was the first time I have done a self-seeded start. I found a sign, that had 1:30(estimate) and then a 1:10 estimate. So I stood at a point about half way between the two, with a couple of other pirates (Chris & Boo). I was hoping for something around the 1:22 sort of area.

The start was sounded and the line began to move. Within 15mins or so I entered the murky waters of the river Maas. I had my usual slight tightening of my chest. However, I soon calmed down and got into a sort of rhythm.

The seeded start worked well. None of that normal underwater rugby sort of thing.

The swim seemed to go on and on and I felt like I was struggling. But eventually, I could see the turn round point in the distance. I just focused on getting there.

As we hit the channel into the turn round the water became very murky. In fact, it became black. A bit disturbing, but I plodded on – that’s how my swim felt now – a plod.

The next thing that hit me, was the smell and the taste. Marine diesel – obviously from all the river traffic. I would be burping diesel well into the bike.

I exited the water, walked the short distance to the re-entry, to try and catch my breath. Then I was back in. The swim had taking more out of me than I had expected.

Now I focused on the reason I was doing this race and forced myself to relax. I swam like I was having a holiday paddle – at least I was moving forward.

We passed the start/finish for a small loop then I was exiting. 1:12:12. A full 10-mins faster than by estimate – actually it is the fastest I have done the distance within an IM.

The race: Bike

IM Maastricht has a looonnng transition and I was in and out in just over 7-mins.

The bike was a typical two lap Ironman type bike ride, with the slight difference of crossing the border. Half the ride was in Holland – the other in Belgium. On paper it looked like a fast course. Not too hilly (only one real hill on each lap).

The reality was different though. Corner after corner, speed-bumps galore, cobbles and an assortment of other horrible road surfaces.

Then there was the weather: dry, rain, dry, monsoon-type rain dry, more rain and even a bit of gale-force wind for about 20-mins.

I raced on my TT bike with a racing set, rather than a compact. This would have been OK if it was not the points above. However, I spent as much time aero as I could and I found the 1st lap quite comfortable. Spending most of it in my big cog. And the main hill was no problem at all

Lap-1 … 3:15
The 2nd lap, my lack of training showed and I began to slow – big style. I even got off and walked up the hill while I refuelled. I slowed so much, I was an hour slower on the 2nd lap.

Bike completed in 7:15:52

The race: Run

I actually had to have a little sit down in T2 – I was done in. However, after a little talking to myself, I was out on the run in a little under 7m-mins.

On the run I just intended to wing it, focusing on the reason I was going to complete the race.

I crossed the river and into the town. The crowds were amazing; the streets were packed and the parks were alive with parties. However, the cobbles were a pain. I was glad I had taken my normal running shoes rather than my lighter racing option. All the same, It would not be too long before my ankles ached and my knees throbbed.

I managed to run most of the first 2-laps, but then again my lack of training came to call and I almost ground to a holt.

Time for the Ironman death-march. Slow – but I was still moving forward. In fact, I was once walking and talking to a guy who was running – until I walked away from him. But on the last lap I slowed even further.

I crossed the line, looking to the heavens and tears in my eyes. I completed the run in a shameful 5:47:20, but I had done it. In memory of my mam and dad.

In closing

I completed the race. That was my only aim. It took me 14:29:47. Not my fastest but not my slowest. But what mattered was the honouring of my parents.

And Maastricht … I think I’ll go back. What the bike ride lacked was more than made up for by the town and the people.


Thursday, September 25, 2014


This morning’s pre-dawn run gave me pause for thought.

I am not a very good triathlete. I am not a very good endurance athlete. In fact, I am not very good at any sport. I did not even go to PE at school and only took up training when I arrived at the age of 35 at almost 20stone.

However, I train and I compete.

I do it because I enjoy it. I do it to stay trim. I do it to stay healthy. In short, as a popular sports brand would put it … I just do it.

Many people come up to me with the usual comments and/or excuses:

“You must be mad.”
“I just don’t have the time.”
“I’m too busy.”
“Work leaves me too exhausted.”
“I travel too much with work.”
Etc, etc... You get the drift.

All the time the same people complain about not losing weight, being unfit, having no energy… but they seem to watch a lot of TV or spend time in pubs etc.

Well, I want to be blunt: We can all come up with excuses why we do not do something. It gives us a crutch to lean on. It takes conviction to find a way to get things done.

I have friends:
  • With family commitments, that train at times that some would consider the middle of the night.
  • With stressful jobs that fit training in when they can
  • That take training gear away on business trips, then train rather than sitting in the hotel bar
  • That run with their children in strollers, or bike with their kids on hook on bikes/kids seats
  • Use their commute … even though they have only an flannel and towel to clean up when they get to work
  • People use indoor trainers while child sitting.

I could go on and on. However, what I am saying is reasons are no more than excuses. If you really want to sort yourself out and get fit or train for something - you will find a way.

Leave your crutches by the wayside.


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Weight Issue

For me, weight seems to be a constant struggle. I took up triathlon (some time ago now) because I (That’s 280lb for my American friends OR 127 KG for my continental fiends). I was fat, unfit and on the short route to a heart attack.
was a fat lazy blob, tipping the scales at almost 20stone.

Since then I have brought my weight down to a respectable level. Nevertheless, it always seems like a struggle. Like a yo-yo journey of loss and gain. Never quite getting there.

Just a couple of weeks ago I weighed in at 13stone 10lb (192lb / 87kg). This was the slimmest I have been in approximately 25 years.

Nevertheless, this was short lived. 2-week holiday in the Lake District put a sharp end top that.

Even though I did plenty of hiking, a bit of lake swimming and a little running in that 2-week period, I still managed to put on a chunk of weight…

... 10.5lb in fact ...in 2-weeks … not good.

I know it is down to me. I know it is because I like my food and my drink … more so when away from it all. 

Therefore, it’s back on the roundabout. Time to grasp that yo-yo string and with luck drag it back down again ... 

Feeling Fat 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Looking back: On July

After loosing most of a year due to injury (I tore my calf), I decided to make this summer about getting back into training. I could feel my fitness escape me and it was getting me down. I needed to get myself back on the fitness wagon.

To this effect, I started back training in mid-May and had a solid June. In fact, he only day in June that I did no form of exercise was my birthday on the 2nd.

This led me to a good place for July. In July, I did some sort of training or exercise every day, although some of it was heavily focused on recovery.

I totalled over 86 hours for July … But as can be observed from the chart, half of this was hiking and walking. As I have said, I am still trying to come back from injury and do not want to aggravate things by pushing too hard too soon.

July By Activity

Also noticeable by its absence is swimming. I have only swam twice this year. However, I intend getting back in the pool once the school holidays are over and there is more room in the water.

The Numbers

372.1 Miles
51.05 Mile
55.15 Miles