Tuesday, 30 April 2013

A huge month of training!

This month has been an epic training month… no wonder I sleep well at night.

52 sessions

Covered 1,008 km

Total time: 62 hours, 26 minutes and 38 seconds of training

Burned 46,784 kCalories

60 days to go and the training has now entered the 'peak phase' for weeks 21-30 of my plan… Hard to think how I'm going to squeeze in any more hours than I have already but needs must… I'll keep on plugging away ;-)

Only 8 more weekends of training to go - and one of those is my sister-in-law's wedding… And I've been told trainers are not acceptable footwear - hehehehe  :-)

And the winner is...

Congratulations to Ryan S. 3D1 - you've just won a £30 voucher for the Glasgow East Showcase Cinema (G69 7TZ)!!!

Thanks to everyone who entered online - I'm sorry some of you found it difficult to register - down to pretty ancient browser technology I'm afraid… It works perfectly on my pc / mac at home and my mobile - honest!

Thanks for visiting the site - I hope you find it an interesting read - keep on coming back, I'm going to need your support as I get closer to the race.

We've now surpassed 7,500 hits on the blog.  I honestly never thought it would be this popular!

Friday, 26 April 2013

7200 hits!

Wow! Really cranking up the hits on the site now - who'd have thought that the lure of free cinema tickets would bring in so many new visitors!  Thanks for stopping by - have a read over the site and feel free to leave comments on what you like and what you'd like to read more of.

For those new visitors - click on the links above to read the daily Training log - detailing the workout sessions I'm doing to improve fitness, strength, endurance and stamina in the lead-up to the race. Keep checking this page - I update it pretty much on a daily basis even if I don't update the main blog pages...

If you really love data, then click on the Detailed Garmin Training Logs where you can access all the heart rate, cadence, speed, power, elevation and route data (etc. etc.) for each of my workouts.

The Previous race reports does exactly what it says on the tin. There's even a bit of video on yours truly from the Virgin London Triathlon in September 2012 where I survived a swim in the Thames - yum!

Personal Bests, Goals and Statistics is a page that continues to change - as I get fitter I'll set myself more aggressive goals… For example, I broke my half marathon time by over 2 minutes last week on a steady training run - will be interesting to see what I could do in an actual race!

And last but not least, if you're feeling flush (it is pay-day after all) please visit the Virgin Money Giving page and donate what you can. Let's see if we can raise £5000 together!

Thanks to all those that have donated already - especially Ross P who gave me £2.19 today, no doubt missing out on something tasty to help out the charity fundraising - a great gesture!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Carluke High School - competition

With the news that Ironman 3 is almost in cinemas, I thought I'd get you all interested in (hopefully) Ironman 4… bit of a low budget version, starring yours truly and definitely not in cinemas near you!

30th June, 2013 - a live action extravaganza, running time probably in excess of 12 hours. 

Location: Klagenfurt, Austria.

Swim 2.4 miles / 3,800m in the Worthersee
Cycle 112 miles / 180km around the Austrian countryside
Run 26.2 miles / 42km around the town of Klagenfurt

Why? It's a great challenge, I'm getting fitter and much more importantly, raising money for 5 fantastic charities:


Cancer Research UK



St Andrew's Hospice

For those of you from Carluke High School click on the special competition tab above for your chance to win some cinema tickets… Keep reading the blog!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

What a weekend!

Well last week was my biggest week of 'normal' training so far, excluding of course my training camp.

Put in over 15 and a half hours of training this week - I must confess, I'm looking forward to my rest day tomorrow.

On Friday I knocked more time off my 3km swim, although I'm still 20 seconds over the hour mark. I followed this up later with a 1 hour run and 10 minutes of that 'busting a gut' so to speak, with my heart rate hovering around 170 bpm… I don't think I could go a great deal faster!

On Saturday morning I managed an incredibly scenic, although incredibly windy, 5 hour ride taking me on a 113km loop through Wishaw, Motherwell, Carluke, Carnwath, Biggar, Lanrk, Stonehouse, Strathaven, Glassford, Quarter, Hamilton and home! 

Today saw me break 4 personal bests on 1 run - the most significant was knocking about 90 seconds off my 1/2 marathon p.b. Not too shabby given it was a steady zone 2 run in yet more windy, sunny , warm, cold and wet conditions - welcome to Spring in Scotland. It's true what they say - if you don't like the weather here, wait 5 minutes!

I'll post up yet more riveting information when the Garmin site is back up and running… Now it's back to the marking for me. Enjoy the remainder of your weekend!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

75 days to go - An ode to Ironman Austria!

There is a Physics teacher at Carluke, his name is Dr Gall,
His knees were in a shocking state, he’d played too much football,

He’d wake in agony in the night, his knees screaming out in pain,
In those dark hours, the sobering thought of never playing sport again,

Off he went to hospital, put under the surgeon’s knife,
Melodramatic as it sounds, it really changed his life,

“I’ve cut, I’ve scraped” the surgeon said… “I’m sure you’ll be just fine”,
“Just remember, get exercising… but keep your sports in-line”,

“Swim front-crawl, take up running or ride a bike,
You can do all three.., add in some weights if you’d like!”,

So he listened to the advice and promptly made a plan,
Eighteen months later, he’s attempting an Ironman,

2.4 miles swim, 112 miles on the bike and a 26 mile run?
It may be your idea of hell, but for some of us it’s fun!

He joined ATHelite, a club of fellow souls, all training every hour,
“We’ve cut the sugar from our diets – our coffee is quite sour!”

Out every Saturday morning, he’s become a biker,
Wearing pointy shoes with carbon soles and dressed head to toe in Lycra,

He’s learned to swim and charges up and down the pool, practicing his drills,
The amount of time he spends in water, he’s thought about growing gills,

Chi-running has transformed his run, he’s no longer out just ‘jogging’,
And when he gets back from his sessions, he sets to work on blogging,

And this, dear reader, is where you come in – keep clicking on that link,
For this guy is no action hero, he’s just trying to make you think,

If the blog makes you smile, remember it’s for your delectation,
Feel free to click on the Virgin Money Giving icon and make a small donation!

He’s raising cash for 5 brilliant charities; their work makes such a difference,
Give what you can, don’t be shy, in Euros, Dollars, Pounds or pence,

The race itself, in Austria - June 30th is drawing very, very near,
So post some comments, join in the fun or give a little cheer,

Well, this ode draws to an end, he hopes you don’t think it rubbish,
Remember, he’s a scientist – a ‘Fizziks whiz’, he barely speaks English!!!

© Gav, 2013  ;-)

Monday, 15 April 2013

Boston Marathon - a very sad day

Horrendous news this evening from Boston where 2 people have been killed and several injured near the finish line at the Boston Marathon.

My sister, brother in law and niece live there and thankfully they are safe. My thoughts go out to the families of those killed and injured in this cowardly and brutal attack.

Difficult to express my emotions in words, but whatever your politics, upbringing, struggles or religious beliefs, violence is NOT the way forward. It never has been, it never will be.

The Marathon is a celebration of life, overcoming the odds, striving for one's best - it embodies what is good about humanity. 27,000 runners set out on this journey today, sadly some will never reach the finish line.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

2 hours of pain!

Well, my plan called for 90 minutes run today so I decided to time this to coincide with my beloved Newcastle taking on the local rivals, Sunderland.

The run was great, but the match was a disaster - hence the 2 hours of pain!!! C'est la vie... At least I've stuck with the plan, actually more so, and posted 14 hours and 18 minutes this week, burning 10,706 kCalories. That brings training this month to 33 hours and 3 minutes and 26,375 kCalories. That should just about offset the 109 Mars Bars I've eaten (only kidding!!!).

A rest day tomorrow - well, if that's what you can call the first day of a new term!

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, 12 April 2013

6000 hits!

It doesn't seem too long ago that we'd reached 5000 hits on the blog, now less than a month later, we've achieved 6000 hits!

Thanks for reading!! - let me know if you have any questions or comments on the site, my training, my diet, my sanity…

Click on the No comments: hyperlink at the bottom of any post (e.g. you'll see it beside Posted by Dr Gall at 10:42 on the bottom left of this post).

My pal Derek Stewart has almost completed his journey on the Marathon Des Sables 2013 -  his blog is well worth a read. He's battling extreme heat and conditions and blisters the size of golf balls to make a difference for his charities - truly inspirational! He's posted up that he is looking forward to some (well deserved) decent food and an ice-cold beer after he crosses the finish line :-) Having that vision of what it will be like to cross that finishing line is vital, it keeps you going when times get tough and provides the motivation to keep working towards that goal one step at a time.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

More Power!!!


After waiting for several months my new turbo trainer has finally arrived. Of course it had to come whilst I was out on holiday, but after paying customs fees and import duty it is finally in my possession. The Wahoo KICKR is an iPhone powered turbo trainer which provides extremely accurate power readings to allow you to tailor your bike sessions exactly as planned. I'll now be able to quantify how my training is (hopefully) increasing my strength.

You can read a detailed review of the trainer here. This is probably the first KICKR in Europe - I've always been an early-adopter of new technology!!!

The unit is really well built and weighs in at about 250N (or, for those of you who deal in mass, we're looking at about 25kg!). As you can see, the rear wheel of the bike is removed and the chain connects directly to the KICKR's rear cassette. The drive is very smooth and the platform is unbelievably stable, even when you're out of the saddle.

You can control all of the functions of the trainer using your iPhone; i.e. setting resistance, interval workouts, erg/power workouts or even simulating different types of bike in different conditions (wind speed, gradients,..). Pretty clever stuff. Plan is to send a virtual course of the Ironman Austria route to the trainer so that I can virtually 'ride' the  same roads before the real race in June.

So, after a bit of App downloading I clipped in and set about my first training session. Something ridiculously cool about seeing how much power you're generating as you drive the pedals around their endless loop. After 45 minutes of quad-burning fun, it looked like I needed to quit the day job and join Sir Bradley Wiggins on this years Tour… Averaging 567W and peaking at 657W with a heart rate in the low 130s - that training camp must have paid off ;-)

Unfortunately, I hadn't calibrated the KICKR, so after a quick 15 minute spin this morning, I let the Wahoo Fitness app do its thing and now it is showing the real power figures: under similar conditions I was averaging 320W and maxing out at 353W. So no job as a 'domestique' for me, I'll have to settle for being a domestic god instead!!!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

March statistics

Looking back, March wasn't a great month for training. A chest cold / infection wiped out the best part of two weeks. Perhaps an element of overtraining or just the fact I work in a school and I'm exposed to all manner of coughs and colds, but that knocked my training back.

However, taking out the positives, I still managed the following:

It's pretty easy to become obsessed with the training plan and ensuring you hit your targets but I suspect the rest will have done me some good. Much easier to say that now the chest has cleared up and I'm training like a MADman again!!!

April has started very well and in just 2 weeks time I'll be starting on the peak phase of the plan, building up to 15 hours per week with a significant more training in the higher heart rate zones.

Time is forever ticking and Ironman Austria is getting closer and closer!!!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

A week at La Santa… and not a single Reindeer in sight!

Well, back from a fantastic week of training at Club La Santa in Lanzarote. I've cycled more here in a week than I probably have outside for the past year.

We were part of the Robin Brew triathlon training camp - what a really lovely, friendly bunch of people! We were instantly welcomed and made to feel part of the group, despite missing the first 3 days of the 10 day course.

Robin's sporting CV is immense and he is very gifted as a coach, putting his points across with ease and giving you the confidence to try new techniques or to push yourself further than you thought possible.

His swimming highlights include:

  • Olympic Record - 200m IM, Los Angeles 1984
  • Commonwealth Silver Medal - 200IM, Brisbane 1982
  • European Championship Finals, 1983,1985
  • Current World Record - 15hrs 35min Two way English Channel Relay Swim,1985
  • Masters World Records - 100m IM, 200m IM, 400m IM, 1500Freestyle
Despite the fact that Robin normally teaches Olympic and Commonwealth level athletes, at no point did we ever feel unworthy of his time. He has explained the swimming technique in a way that makes total sense - all I need to go and do now is keep on putting the time in in the pool to ingrain the correct muscle memory. For anyone remotely interested in improving any aspect of their triathlon performance I'd thoroughly recommend spending time in one of his coaching camps.

If you don't know much about Lanzarote (as I did before going), then all you need to know is it is a volcanic outcrop in the Atlantic Ocean, with more hills than you can shake a big stick at and a headwind strong enough for you to think your rear brake has seized!
So, in essence, a perfect place to cycle!

Drivers on the island were excellent - slowing and moving right over the other side of the road to pass cyclists  - something UK drivers could learn.

We squeezed in roughly 20 hours of training; 5.6km swimming (2:20), 30km running (2:42) and 350km cycling, including 5100m of climbing (14:36) and burned about 16,200 kCalories. Not too shabby for a week's efforts.

The swimming went well and I posted a new p.b. of 39 seconds for 50m - beating the missus into the bargain! I've now got a couple of things to concentrate on in my stroke and hopefully I'll get to do this later today…

Running was great - I seemed to fly along on the track and posted a couple of 7 minute miles - not especially fast, but not too bad following 3.5 and 5 hours of cycling, respectively.

I'll admit that the cycling was pretty tough, especially given I have really only been cycling for the past year. There were times when I honestly thought I couldn't push harder and the temptation was there to take your foot off the gas and coast home, tail between legs. But I put those thoughts to the back of my mind, gritted my teeth and shouted at myself to keep on going. Funny how much more satisfying finishing a ride is when you know you have given it your best shot.

I was (hilariously) mistaken for a member of the GB cycling team whilst sitting at a cafe waiting for a bowl of tasty Canarian soup to come. If they'd seen me cycle before that, they'd have realised I bought the top from Wiggle and hadn't 'earned' it!!!

Me and the better half after a quick run around the track following another gruelling cycle session!

At the top of Mirador - with Celine McPhilips (going for Nationals) and Andy Wilson (competing in his first Ironman in Lanzarote in May this year) - good luck folks!!

At the the start of the climb - keep pedalling, don't stop!!! 

At the top of Mt Tabayesco - a great view following a steady 10km climb! Just as well there were cafes at the top of each mountain selling coffee and cake.

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