Cheshire Backmarkers Race Debut

Training is bowling along. Concentrating abit on the running side as I have the Wilmslow Half Marathon coming up at the end of March and want to try and keep my record up on that. Have been doing it for 4 years now, and have always beaten the previous year’s time. Over the years, I’ve managed to get down from 2 hours 24 minutes when I first wobbled round it to 1 hour 59 that I did last year, so a decent improvement over the years, but nothing double quick. Would really want to try and get under 1 hour 50 minutes so that why I’m trying to do more running training at the minute.


I’m still doing some swimming, did a 4 km swim last week which felt fine but swimming isn’t too much of a problem. Cycling is more of a problem, but I’m trying to do some on the Wattbike in the evenings just to build up some bike strength and then hopefully wait for some better weather, or that’s the plan.

Anyway, saw that there was a half marathon and 10k race at Oulton Park coming up so thought I’d put myself down for the 10k. Be a decent work out, it is run by xtramileevents who do the Wilmslow Tri so that should be sorted and just a novelty of running on the circuit. Completely forgot to enter until I saw a tweet to say 30 minutes before cut off, so did it with about 10 minutes to spare. It was then that I realised we had a night out planned for the Saturday, the day before so not ideal preparation.


Rolled back home at about 12.30 the morning of the race and by the time my head hit the pillow, I was getting up again, or that’s how it felt. Down at Oulton by 9.00 so I could register for the start at 10.00. Felt quite windy driving down, and when I parked up, the door of the car flew open and nearly took the car parked next to me out. Was thinking of packing some running tights and a long sleeved top but didn’t bother, cosmic!!


Got blown over to registration and began to question what I was doing, but at least there were a few hundred other idiots who’d been let out for the day as well as me. Back into the car to keep warm, quick gel and drink then wander down to where I thought the start was. Everyone was just milling about, then suddenly we all trooped onto the circuit. Bit strange as there was no loudspeaker or at least a big bloke with a shouty voice, but we all just followed. Walked up to the start, hung around for a bit getting more chilly, then there was a loud whistle, we all moved up to the start and away we went.


The start was just at the beginning of a left hand bend, and as we rounded that, it was straight into the wind. Not great, and as we were doing 3 laps, knowing we had to face that 3 times wasn’t great for moral but hey ho. At the end of the straight into the wind, we had a hairpin and my next surprise, a hill!! Didn’t even cross my mind about hills on here, and as it happened, there were 3 hills on each lap, so guess it could have been called an undulating course if it was on the road. The photographer positioned himself at the top of the second hill and snapped away as we went past. One good point about this was you were able to download the pictures for free, which a lot of the races I’ve been in previously don’t do. Not really a lot to say about the race, it was cold and windy so doubt many PB’s about but I just enjoyed it. I wasn’t lapped which I got thinking about when I saw the leaders charging off so guess that’s a small win!! Finished in 53 minutes 30 seconds, not quick but happy enough and it gave me a decent work out. And it was the debut of the “Cheshire Backmarkers” team colours, so good day all round!!






More Fitting Training in

Following on from what I wrote the other day, here’s a couple of examples of being flexible with a training plan.


On Monday, its half term and my the two youngest daughters are not well. They’ve been up all night so between them and my wife, they didn’t get much sleep. I was due at the gym that morning but to let them sleep in I cancelled my session. After lunch, they all went back to bed, so I knew I was going to have some time to kill so I got my kit on and went out for a run whilst they slept. It was quite worthwhile as I managed my first 10 mile session for a long time.


Today, I’ve not been able to get my swimming session in as I was needed at home to look after my youngest. No probs, she’s having her afternoon sleep so get an hour in on the Wattbike.


Both might not be planned sessions, but at least I was getting something done rather than nothing by being a bit flexible, and I’m sure something is better than nothing.

Fitting training in

From what I read, this seems to be a common question and worry, “How do I fit training in”. Most people are going to have work, and probably a family to fit in with the training plan, so how can you please your boss and family, yet still fit a decent amount of training in?


I can only say how I manage, and I’m quite lucky in that work isn’t really an issue for me. Having said that, 5 kids is, so I try my best to work around family life, and Manchester City. 🙂


I have 3 sessions with a PT each week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9.30-10.30. These are set in stone and I’m generally doing core and weights to build up my strength. On a Wednesday and a Friday, my wife is also at the gym, and as we don’t pick our youngest up from Nursery until 12.30, we tend to stay there and pick her up straight from the gym, so that leaves me another 90 minutes after my sessions. I would prefer to do my swimming drills both days but there is now a swimming lesson going on that involves the whole pool for some reason, so that takes that session out. So I have two spare 90 minute sessions. One I use for my swimming, the other I usually do a gym based brick session, with the bike usually having some kind of interval session. On the day I don’t do my swimming, my daughter has a swimming lesson at the gym, so we pick her up from nursery, and she has her swimming lesson in the afternoon. This has now given me a 45 minute slot where I can fit another swimming session in.


At home, my wife always watches the soaps. These are pretty much on every night, but twice a week they’re on for 90 minutes an evening, so during this time, I’ll either go for a run or more likely, go on the turbo. I don’t have any interest in watching them, so I’m not missed.


Weekends are a little bit more difficult, but at least one morning, I’ll try and get up early and go for a run. Whilst its not too light early on, and the weather is like it is, then I’ll leave the bike but when the mornings start to get lighter, then I’ll try to introduce more and longer bike rides into my weekends. Ideally, I’m back for about 9.30 so I’ve not eaten into anyone else’s day and we have time to do something as a family if we choose.


Some of the training does have to be reactive. If you spot a gap and you can do something, then go for it. I’m sure even half an hour of something is better than nothing at all. I once had 20 minutes to kill so I just sat on the turbo practicing clipping in and out of the pedals. Might not be a huge benefit in the long run but I had the time and managed to do something constructive, every little helps I’m sure.


You also need an understanding family as you will be out at daft o’clock in the morning, you will come back covered in shit and you will be absent for some time, so make sure they buy into what you’re doing, it’ll make it so much easier, though I have been told if you’re not arguing about how much time you’ve spent training with your partner, then you’re not going enough training.

Week 1 is here!!

I guess it’s all got a little bit more real this week, the first week of my IronMan training course. It’s one I’ve got from trilife through the IMUK website, a 26 week course specifically aimed at the IMUK course apparently.


First day was Monday, and I woke up feeling like shit. Came down with a really bad cold on Sunday so first email I saw on Monday was my training plan for the day. Great, first day and I’m already behind. Opened it up and result, today is a rest and preparation day!! Then the rest of the week has just been drills and easing into the 3 disciplines.


Like I’ve said, the swimming isn’t really a problem, I can do the distance now so its just a case of trying to knock some time off it. The first swim session was some drills, and I have to say, I found the drill doing catch ups quite difficult. Not so much the doing it, more the coordination I think. Anyway, all done, certainly felt it across my shoulders more than a normal swim, so presume it must have done some good.


The running was easy enough. A gentle 40 minute run one day, followed by an hour a day or two later. I did the hour one yesterday first thing, and felt really good. There’s something about running first thing, really enjoy it, no matter what the weather. It was cold and windy yesterday but just got on with it and when I got back, felt like I could take the world on, or at least my 2 little girls anyway!! Think the hardest part was waking up and getting out of my pit as I could hear the wind outside, but once out, it was fine.


And the cycling. Not great to be honest. I’ve buggered up my bike on the turbo and not had chance to get it into the local shop to have it looked at, hopefully tomorrows job. There is a solution on the way to force me to improve, but that’s another story, so for the time being I’m just doing my biking on the wattbike, which is great bit of kit.


Here’s to week 2!!


Not really mentioned my training much. Since Christmas, been concentrating on just getting my strength and stamina back and hopefully that’s worked. Feel a lot better and fitter so everything seems to be going in the right direction. Whilst I’ve not had a training plan as such, I’ve followed some different routines and sessions with the view to getting my fitness back up to what it should have been.


Swimming is the one that I don’t have a problem with. I’ve done the full 3.8 km distance this month without a problem, so I’ve just been doing some interval training to try and get my speed up. Depending on time, I’ll do 10 x 100m and try to keep them at the same time ish. Usually works, and I’ve been lucky in that I seem to have the pool to myself most days when I go in. My youngest daughter has a swimming lesson on a Friday afternoon, so while she is doing that, I can get a quick 45 minute swim in as well which keep things ticking over.


Running has been fine, although most of my runs have been on the treadmill in the gym as the weather has been shite. The most I have done is 10 km but that was fine and I’m gradually building that up.


The bike, not great!! My plan was to be hitting the turbo over the Winter a lot more than I have. I’ve had mechanical issues with the turbo in that I keep getting flats, so thought I’d be clever and go and get a wheel, cassette and turbo tyre so I would have a dedicated turbo back wheel. Great idea in theory but with my mechanical ability, it all turned to shit and I’m going to be phoning the local bike shop to give the bike a service as I’m not convinced I’ve put everything back together ok!! In the end, I’ve decided to dive in for a Wattbike. I’ve sold it on the fact that we all can use it, but I’m hoping that this will give me more use by having a dedicated exercise bike there. I need to put in some serious miles on the bike, but with the weather, I’ve only been out on the mountain bike, and even then, not too far. If I have my bike all serviced and ready to go, then I know I’ll be able to hop on it when the weather improves and get some proper road use, but in the meantime, its going to be indoor stuff.


I’ve also been doing some brick sessions in the gym after my PT sessions. Friday I did 30 km on the bike, followed up by a 6 km run, and it felt fine. Have to admit, the first time I ever went from a bike straight onto a run, it was a strange feeling, but now it doesn’t seem to bother me which hopefully is the training working.


And talking of training, in my inbox this morning was an email from giving me my first day of IMUK training plan, so its starting to get real now!! Hope this isn’t an omen, but I feel like shit, got a really bad cold so thought that its day 1 and I’m already going to be behind!! Fortunately, day 1 is a rest day, preparing you for what will be happening over next 6 months so all being well, will be feeling better tomorrow and I’ll be able to start it properly.