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Weymouth Triathletes tear it up in the snow

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

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Yesterday, To the MAX was on the brink of being cancelled, for the first time ever!

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The snow had forced our usual facility to be closed, and they wouldn’t let us in to train, so I put my head down, and though ’sod it. Let’s get out there’. So we did. I pinged a text and an email to the 24 strong group of triathletes and runners of varying abilities, letting them know that the session would be running, but outdoors, on the stoney Overcombe beach and along the prom, in the snow.

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These guys love to train. They see and feel the results. They see the benefit in the work we do. They enjoy the program, and they never give excuses for not being able to train (maybe the occasional genuine reason, but never an excuse). That said, I wasn’t sure how the team would respond to knowing they had to get out in -5 celcius to train in the snow and ice.

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There was no way my car was getting out of my ice rink of a road, so I donned a load of layers, and ran the 3 miles to the meeting point. A couple were already there, a little cold, but ready to go for it. Then a couple more turned up Then 4 more, then another one, until eventually, come 6.30pm, we had a 16 strong team of people ready to train. Ready to stick two fingers up to the weather, and get their training done. These guys, I said to myself, are dedicated WINNERS.

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IMMENSE.

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So anyway, I thought you’d like to see what we got up to:

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Warm up

About 3-5 minutes jogging, followed by an unloaded full body complex of lunges, squats, push ups and more.

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Stage 1: Run and Rep (the real R&R!)

30 paces sprint: 10-25 push ups: 30 paces sprint: 10-25 squats: 30 paces sprint: 10 single leg squats per leg: 30 pace sprint: plank to push up position switch: 30 pace sprint. Repeated x 2-3

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Stage 2: Lunge and Leg it

20 walking lunges: 70 meter sprint. Repeated x 2

40 walking lunges: 50 meter sprint. Repeated x 2

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Stage 3: Buddy Bondage Push ups

Partner A is in full push up position on floor. Partner B has on hand on A’s ass, one on shoulder. 2 push ups. Shift round so both hands on A’s shoulders. 2 push ups. Shift round to other side, one hand on ass, one on shoulder. 2 push ups. Each repeat for 2:2:2, then 3:3:3: then 4:4:4, each with 20 squats in between each complete set.

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Stage 4: Ass blast and boot it

Tall to small squats x 20

Single leg jumps x 5 per leg

30 pace sprint x 1

Repeated x 3

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Stage 5: Piggy back hike

Patner A carries B for 30-50 paces, swap and B carries A back. Repeat x 3. No running allowed, just fast walking with knees slightly bent the whole time. Savage thigh burn.

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Stage 6 (optional): Run!

At the end of the workout, at least 8 of the team said ‘well we’re here, so let’s go for a little run’. So they smashed out a brisk 1.5 miles running to polish off the session.

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AMAZING workout, enjoyed by all.

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Try it out ;-)

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Andy

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WEATHER is NO EXCUSE, nor is TIME

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

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So today the whole of Weymouth has come to a monstrous stand still. Snow everywhere, cars sliding all over the place, kids launching snowballs in your face, and facilities closing for no apparent reason.

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I have to tell you that the weather is no excuse not to train! Yes it’s cold, so wrap up. Yes it’s dark, so get a head torch on your skull. Yes it’s easier to sit at home watching Jeremy Kyle and eating chocolate buttons, and plumping up ‘because it’s that time of year’. It’s not however so easy to get into shape, after you’ve let yourself get in even worse shape than last week, and the week before that, and the month before that and so on. You gotta do what you gotta do to get results. So get your ass out there and train. Whether you’re just heading out for a walk because the gyms closed, or maybe a run, perhaps you’re gonna hit out a bodyweight workout in the snow filled park. Whatever you need to do, DO IT. If you don;t want to get outside, then do it indoors TRY THIS 4 MINUTE WORKOUT 4 TIMES IN A DAY if you’re not sure what to do.

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You’ll see how little of an excuse the weather is by watching the video in the top right of this post! Not the greatest workout ever arguably, BUT we got in there nonetheless!

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This evening my TO THE MAX program should be cancelled due to the snow, as the venue has told me they won’t open up for us. BUT, I know that all 24 of the people on the program are serious action takers, committed to success, and  WANT to train as much as I want to train them. So, this evening, we’re braving the cold, getting outdoors and we’re gonna have a BLAST with our triathlon training on the beach here in Weymouth. weather is no excuse, and lack of facilities is no more of an excuse than a little bad weather is.

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Anyway, I also wanted to make a confession today, because I’m not perfect, and I slip up, just like you do. You see, the past 4 weeks, I’d done what I tell SOOOOO many clients NOT to do. I’d let my work take over, and have let my training slip. Although I’d been still getting in around 5 sessions per week, I’d let my triathlon training fall onto the back burner. I’d been so busy with clients, planning for next year, courses, writing stuff, creating new things etc, that I found I didn’t have enough time to train. Or rather, I wasn’t MAKING enough time to train. Although 5 hours a week is a reasonable amount of training, and by no means lazy, I should’ve been doing close to double that to push toward my goal of hitting a sub 10h30m Ironman in Frankfurt in July.

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So what did I do? Well I did exactly as I tell my clients to do. I went back to my diary, rearranged a couple of things, PLANNED my week out to the minute, and made sure that I’d scheduled in enough time to work, learn, create, train and LIVE. All it takes to break the ‘no time to train’ excuse is a little planning, time management, and a willingness to get it done.

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Anyway, end of the story, I’m now back up to hitting my training targets, and also now have MORE TIME to do other stuff too. All because I managed to plan things a little better. If you’re lacking time, PLAN your week, and make sure you PLAN TIME TO TRAIN, as well as PREPARE FOOD.

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Have a great week. Be true to yourself and your body, and get some workouts in, NO MATTER WHAT!

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Andy ;-)

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Fuel yourself to triathlon success

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

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If you’re an endurance athlete reading this, the chances are that right now, you’re used to fuelling your body to meet your increase caloric expenditure with foods such as pasta, bagels, bread, milk, cheese, and pretty much anything that’s calorie dense, and that will help you to maintain a reasonable balance between calories in vs calories out.

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But, the chances are also that you’re recovery time between workouts is slow, you suffer from a  lack of energy, frequently feel bloated, your guts may feel messy during training, and you frequently seem to hit ‘the wall’ during training and racing. It shouldn’t be like that!

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As an endurance athlete, whether recreational, age grouper or pro, you will be burning around 1000-3000 calories per day more than mere mortals. But most endurance athletes seem to think that because of this higher demand, that they can eat pretty much what they want in order to satisfy the energy requirements of the body. Too many people end up using their training volume as an excuse to eat a diet high in refined foods when really, training and competing should be a reason for them eating a healthy, well balanced diet.

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Consuming a diet high in foods such as the aforementioned, as well as things like sweets, biscuits, pastries, cakes, muffins and all those other tasty treats, leads to heightened blood sugar levels. During exercise, the excess glucose can be used as an energy source, but where most endurance athletes continue to consume these foods during their ‘normal’ daily life, it leads to increased free radical damage within the body, inflammation, poor recovery time in between workouts, and an increased potential for insulin resistance.

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When you add the above to the high training volume, which itself causes inflammation within the soft tissues of the body, this further negatively affects the bodies internal function, and subsequent performance. If the inflammation is chronic, then the athlete will end up with sore joints, fatigue, poor and incomplete recovery, increased incidence of sickness and poor sleep patterns. Studies are also showing that a diet that is high in refined carbs, is strongly linked to an increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol production, which opens you up to a whole new world of problems, such as coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis and strokes.

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In addition tot he above, many people have food intolerances, most of which are completely un noticed, or ignored. The diet that’s high in calorie dense, nutrient scare foods is one which increased the consumption of common intolerants such as dairy, wheat and gluten. These intolerances often manifest themselves as bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, gas, weakened immune function, and generally feeling like crap. Most people will put these symptoms down to their training volume, when really it’s usually predominantly down to having a less than satisfactory diet.

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With an exercise regime such as that of a triathlete and endurance athlete, your body is already under a pretty big level of stress, so your diet should be one which support your health, as opposed to one which ends up adding to the internal stresses of training. In a nutshell, nutrition should support your training, rather than simply being a case of ‘calories in vs calories out’.

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When working on the nutritional program of an endurance athlete, the very first thing that we will do is to find out which foods are causing, or could cause, problems. To do this we will eliminate the common intolerants such as wheat, gluten, dairy, grains, caffeine and alcohol for one month. This means that the athlete will eat a diet that composes of entirely fresh, wholesome foods. Wheat and cereal based carbohydrates will therefore be replaced with foods such as quinoa, amaranth, millet, lentils, chickpeas, sweet potatoes and yams. Healthy fats are consumed through foods such as seeds, nuts, fresh fish, coconut oils and avocado. Lean protein needs are met by many of the above foods, as well as lean meat such as organic beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pheasant and eggs. Eggs will occasionally however be taken out of the diet also, as it is possible, and common, for people to be intolerant to these. The athlete will consume plenty of fresh fruit, and loads of vegetables also, to ensure the body is receiving a high level of good quality vitamins and minerals.

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After this initial month, we will gradually and systematically re-introduce certain foods to see whether they have a negative effect on the athletes feeling of wellbeing. If any ill-effects are felt, such as bloating, cramps, fatigue, or digestive problems, we can be pretty safe to say that their body doesn’t want to be eating that food, so we get rid of it for good. If however the body has no negative reaction, we can determine that the body is able to handle that food well, and so can be reintroduced in moderation.

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The end result is that the athlete will end up at the end of the process knowing what foods are going to be of actual benefit to his/her health and physical and mental performance, and the foods that it is necessary to avoid. This then allows the athlete to complete their training regime in the knowledge that the nutritional strategy is supporting rather than inhibiting their performance. Improved diet leads to improved performance. Many people will often say that sports performance is 50% training and 50% nutrition, but I would totally disagree. It’s 100% nutrition, and 100% training, so train well, cut out the crap, eat fresh, and gain the competitive edge.

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To your success

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Andy ;-)

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Eat your immune system to optimum health . . .

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Autumn is on it’s way out, and Winter is on it’s way in. As I sit here writing this post, it’s hammering it down with rain outside, and howling a gale at the same time. From a training perspective, I’m just happy to own a turbo!


Anyway, I’m not here to rant about the rain, whinge about the wind, or feebly try to alliterate any more words.

Triathletes and long distance runners are a strange breed. We often look so fit on the outside, train like champions and have a strictly ‘can do’ mindset. But on the other hand, we often have weakened immune systems, causing us to need to take time off training every month when we get a cold or just don’t feel right. Maybe you’ll take off up to 3-5 days per month due to this, which results in a loss of up to 60 days (around 2 months!) per year or quality training, all because your immune system isn’t as strong as it ought to be. In the Triathletes Training Bible, Joe Friel makes reference to a study of runners in the LA Marathon that found that runners training for more than 60 miles per week were twice as susceptible to respiratory illness as those who ran for just 20 miles per week (another tick for reduced volume training!). The runners who completed the marathon, were then 6 times more likely to be ill in the week following the race as those who had done the training, but didn’t race. As well as all this, internally, our bodies are often inflamed from the volume of training we do, coupled with the high consumption of inflammatory foods, many of which cause a hyperglycaemic (fast blood sugar release) response, such as breads, pastas, cakes, muffins, pastries, energy gels, bars and drinks and whatever else we eat ‘because we need to’.

When in training, a triathlete/runner will burn around an extra 600-1600 calories per day, depending on training volume and intensity. This obviously puts a big demand on the athlete to consume enough food to maintain and develop themselves physically, so most athletes will turn to the high glycaemic index, sugary foods such as those outlined above in order to bridge the gap. BUT, but eating these foods, you cause this inflammatory response within your body, which often leads to unstable appetite, frequent illness, increased body fat and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Not what you want. Chronic inflammation is closely linked with, and can lead to, a whole world of different problems such as irritable bowel disease, Parkinsons disease, various cancers, psoriasis, atherosclerosis, chronic dystrophy and type 2 diabetes to name a few. So definitely not good.

So enough of the depressing stuff, and onto what can help you.

In order to ensure that your immune system remains in tact, and your internal environment is not inflamed, there are a number of things you can do. The good thing, is that everything I’m about to lay out for you is dead simple. Before we kick off, here’s a list of some of the top culprits for causing inflammation within our bodies:

  • Sugars
  • Polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as sunflower, canola, safflower,
  • Trans fats such as those found in fast food, processed foods, cakes, pastries
  • Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt
  • Processed ‘meat’ (if you can call it that!)
  • Refined carbohydrates such as breads, bagels, muffins, tortilla, pitta, pasta (brown included)
  • Alcohol
  • Artificial food additives such as those found in just about any food which comes with a label
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Now, just as foods can cause an inflammatory response, they can also cause an anti-inflammatory one too. So there are foods out there that’ll reduce the inflammation within your body and bring you back to full, optimum health once more. Some of the best include:

  • Papaya
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potato/yam
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
  • Parsley
  • Cabbage
  • Bell peppers
  • Avocado
  • Fresh salmon
  • Almonds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Kiwi
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You get the idea. FRESH FOODS! There’s a tonne more foods that’ll fight inflammation within your body, and also give you the vitamins and nutrients you need to ensure your immune system gets back to greatness, and if you follow the (very basic yet very effective) guidelines I’m going to lay out for you for your off-season training, you’ll be well on your way to optimum health, recovery and performance. So here goes . . .

For ultimate results you’ll . . . . . .
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  1. Remove all dairy from your diet
  2. Remove all wheat and gluten from your diet
  3. Remove caffeine from your diet
  4. Remove artificial sweeteners and packaged foods from your diet
  5. Remove alcohol from your diet
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You’ll fuel yourself on fresh, wholesome foods alone, such as plenty of fish, meat, vegetables, legumes, pulses, beans, nuts, seeds, and all that other good stuff. You’ll also drink plenty of water, around 1 litre per 50lbs of bodyweight per day.

If you can’t remove EVERYTHING outlined above, then simply make a conscious effort to greatly reduce your consumption of those foods, and ensure that you are eating fresh fruit and veg with every meal, and drinking plenty of water.

If you use energy drinks, bars and gels, or high sugar content foods for training, limit these to either 5-10 minutes before training, during the workout, or within 20 minutes post workout as these times are when the body is more likely to use these sugars as a primary fuel.

Ideally, you’ll also ‘front load’ your carbohydrate intake. By this I mean that you’ll eat the majority of your carbs earlier in the day, and then gradually reduce carb intake as the day progresses. This will mean that you’re more likely to use the food as fuel in the day, as opposed to going to bed with high insulin levels. Think of your carb intake as a pyramid, so plenty for breakfast, slightly less at lunch, then minimal at dinner (also include healthy snacks in between meals if hungry).

With vegetables, the brighter the better. Try to include a variety of colours within your diet, as this will provide a massive range of phytonutrients that’ll help boost your immune system and vitality. When snacking on fruit, make sure you eat some form of protein and fat with it, as this will slow down the rate of sugar release into the bloodstream, release hormones such as leptin to signal fullness, and also helps ensure a steady release of energy so no ’spiking’.

If you employ the strategy I have outlined above, you will quickly find that you will improve your health, vitality and general feeling of well being within a very short space of time, as well as drop a few pounds along the way. I should also warn you though, that by removing the inflammatory foods, your body will thank you initially with headaches, fatigue and maybe some mood swings for 1-4 days. After that time however, you’ll feel like you’re living in a totally new body, and will quickly find that the common colds and illnesses you suffer with frequently, will disappear.

Enjoy ;-)

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To the MAX and the UNSTOPPABLE TRIATHLETE

Friday, October 1st, 2010

WHO ELSE is ready to take their triathlon and endurance sports training well and truly TO THE MAX?
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So, the last of this years UK triathlons are pretty much all done and out the way, and right now is a great time to take a couple of weeks out, recharge your batteries, and begin to set some goals for next year. How high will you aim?
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Maybe you want to complete your first ever triathlon
Maybe you’re looking to step up to a middle distance race
Perhaps you’ve decided that 2011 is the year that you, yes YOU are gonna tackle the ultimate challenge, and attempt an Ironman
You may be looking for a high ranking as an age group athlete, or to even win a race outright
You could even be hoping to qualify for Kona or Clearwater
You might be hitting a marathon, maybe London
Or in a moment of madness you may have decided to swim the channel
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Whatever you’re looking to do in the endurance sports world, To the MAX has your conditioning and programming well and truly covered. Appropriate and correctly delivered strength and conditioning work has a major effect on performance, there’s no doubting that. After all, what athlete out there wouldn’t benefit from being stronger, faster and more powerful over their chosen distance(s)? What athlete out there wouldn’t benefit from having a bulletproof core, massively enhanced proprioception and a body that functions at its peak? And what athlete out there wouldn’t benefit from saving time on the road, the turbo, the treadmill and the pool, giving them more time to rest, rebuild and reap the benefits of their enhanced conditioning? I’ll answer that for you now. There isn’t one.
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To the MAX will deliver all of the above, by the barrel load, and more. Much more. It is the ultimate in conditioning work for swim, bike, run, and so far as I’m aware there is NOTHING like it anywhere else in the UK. Want to have an insight into WHY strength and conditioning work is so vital for endurance sports? Check out the articles here:
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Functional strength training for the endurance athlete Part 1: http://www.procisionfitness.com/blog/2010/03/functional-strength-training-for-endurance-athletes-part-1/
Functional strength training for the endurance athlete Part 2: http://www.procisionfitness.com/blog/2010/09/functional-strength-training-for-the-endurance-athlete-part-2/
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Sounds like something you can’t afford NOT to do right? Here’s a little more info about the program itself: http://www.procisionfitness.com/blog/2010/09/triathlon-specific-conditioning-class/
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So look, right now I can release PROVISIONAL start dates and times for the program, but these will be confirmed early next week. The program is going to be run in 8 week blocks of sessions. The actual training program will be changing every 4 weeks, so in any block of 8 weeks, you’ll go through 2 training cycles.
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Here’s how the details look right now:
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Start date:                   21st October
Session Days:              Thursdays
Session times:             6.30-7.30pm
Location:                      Wey Valley School, Weymouth
Price:                            £45 (8 weeks)
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In addition to the sessions you’ll complete with me, you’ll have the opportunity to follow one of my full, fool proof, no junk miles, no BS, UNSTOPPABLE programs, that’ll hit all your targets and much more. Would one of these benefit YOU?
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The UNSTOPPABLE Triathlete: Sprint to Olympic distance
The UNSTOPPABLE Triathlete: Middle to Iron distance
The UNSTOPPABLE Runner: Half to full marathon
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If I were to tell you that by November, any one of these programs, along with the email and telephone support I’ll be offering you, is going to sell for in excess of £50 per month, I bet you’d think that To the MAX is going to cost an arm and a leg. Well I have great news for you. It’s not. In fact, the UNSTOPPABLE program will not cost YOU a penny extra. There is however a maximum of just 20 spaces on the program, and with the interest I’ve already received, I anticipate that these will fill up fast.
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All I need from you right now is to reply to this email, letting me know that you’re interested in the program, and as soon as details are finalised, I’ll be able to make the last few arrangements, and let you know what it is you need to do to confirm your place.
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Over to you . . . . .

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Andy Sloan BA (Hons), MMA – CSCC
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Procision Fitness

Dorset’s ONLY guaranteed results personal trainer

T – 07843438173
E – andy@procisionfitness.com
W – www.procisionfitness.com

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Functional Strength Training for the Endurance Athlete: Part 2

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Functional Strength Training for the Endurance Athlete: Part 2

So you’ve now had an insight into the benefits of appropriate and functional strength training for the endurance athlete, and now it’s time to give you an idea on exactly what it is that should/needs to be trained in order to maximize specific functional strength and power output for your sport.

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It’s first necessary to take a quick look at what is written in training books for the endurance athlete. I’m sat here with my 4 favourite ones, and just recapping on exactly what they recommend in terms of exercises and programming. Now, before I say anything at all, it’s important to mention that I am by no means slating any of these authors, as they are all experts in their chosen fields, have given and continue to give huge amounts of fantasic information to the sport and I respect them all very much for their contribution to the endurance sports world, and my own personal knowledge also. That said, here are my thoughts:

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What is prevalent in all these books is single joint isolation exercises, fixed path machines, bilateral (2 legged) exercises, a few stability ball and resistance band exercises.

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What largely isn’t present is multi-planar movement (the body works in 3 planes of motion; side to side, forward/backward, rotating), uni-lateral (single legged) exercises, any emphasis on exercises that work on your opposite shoulder to hip relationship through integrated core training, or any real bodyweight training.

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The above are a few of the very basic things that MUST be in your strength program to achieve the performance results you are after, yet for some reason are neglected in just about every book out there that covers strength training for the endurance athlete. Here’s why they’re so key:

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Multi-planar movement

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As stated, the body works in 3 planes of motion. The frontal plane, which works side to side, the saggital plane, which works forwards and backwards, and the transverse plane, that works rotation. These planes are all prevalent in endurance sports and so must be trained. Running was initially thought of as a purely saggital movement (you’re moving forwards). However, all 3 planes of motion are present. To pinpoint a couple, in addition to the obvious saggital movement, there is the frontal plane movement of the weight shifting from one side to the other, and the transverse movement through the torso as your shoulder and opposite hip link up. Even in cycling there is an element of transverse and frontal plane motion, for instance as you turn corners, and shift your weight side to side to climb a hill respectively.

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Single legged movement

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This is an easy one. One of the biggest endurance sports out there is running. How often in a run are both feet firmly planted on the floor? So why should you train for running, with two feet on the floor, or even worse, with your legs strapped into a leg curl or extension machine? It makes no sense. In order to improve running strength, economy and power output, you need to be strong and stable on a single leg. You get a lot of ground reaction forces with running, and it’s important to ensure that your ankle, knee and hip joints are all working efficiently and well enough to cope with the demands without injury. Any exercise you can do on 2 legs or sat down, you can do on 1 (or an equivalent exercise at least). These are a few very basic and general exercises this can be applied to: If you’re doing seated bicep curls, get up on 1 leg and do them. If you’re squatting, do them on one leg. If you’re doing bench press, get up and do it on 1 leg using a band or cable. Now I’m not saying that every exercise needs to be on one leg, it doesn’t, and shouldn’t be. However, it IS important to have an ELEMENT of single legged work in your program. Exercises like single leg reaches are great for improving running mechanics as well as working on hamstring and glute strength, and single legged, single arm band presses will give a great workout for your spinal rotators as well as providing shoulder stability work, and again, looking at that shoulder to hip relationship.

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Integrated core training

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Core training and core stability is something that has gotten a lot of emphasis over recent years, and rightly so. Ensuring you have a healthy, strong core is necessary to remain injury free and for top performance in sports. However, many people seem to think that core training is all about doing all your exercises standing on a BOSU or stability ball, laying in a plank position, throwing in a pile of sit ups, and maybe a few hyperextensions on the mat. It’s so much more than this, and half the exercises I see people doing in the gym environment every day for ‘core stability’ are doing precious little of anything.

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Without going into big detail, your core is pretty much all the muscles from your ribs to your knees, and is the thing that connects your upper to lower body. From the big externally visible muscles to the smaller hidden muscles, all your major muscles attach to the core in one way or another, either directly or indirectly. If the core is weak, then the link between upper and lower body is weak, so your power output will be weak, your movement patterns will be less than efficient, and you stand a bigger risk of injury.

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Your core affects every big movement you make in endurance sports, from pulling your arm through the water, to spinning your pedals, to running in a straight line, and has big implications on, to name a few, stride length and frequency, pulling power, and out of the saddle hill climbing.

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In terms of integrating core training, your body doesn’t work in isolation, it works in integration, so train that way. I have nothing against sit-ups, hyperextensions, or any other valid exercise, but it’s about using the right tool for the right job. How is banging a load of sit ups going to help your running? And why would doing biceps curls on a BOSU ball help you run better?

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Core training needs to focus on a few things such as strengthening the diagonal force production and transfer (exercises such as diagonal chops, single arm-single leg presses/pulls are great for this), opening up the hips to help counteract seated positions (posterior reaches, staggered stance reverse band flys, and ensuring your midsection is able to cope with what you ask it to. If the core is not strong enough, is not stable enough, and is not stiff enough when required, when you go to push it harder in the swim, hammer it up hill on the bike, or quickly slowing yourself down to turn a corner on a run, it’s like you’re shooting a cannon from a canoe. Integrate your core training by ensuring all your exercises require it to be working. Push ups and recline rows rather than fixed machine chest presses and rows, squatting rather than leg pressing, cable chops instead of sit ups, the list goes on.

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Bodyweight training

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I won’t spend long on this at all, but for some reason, and I don’t know why, this is often massively neglected. It seems that most peoples perceptions of what is functional and beneficial, involves the use of some bit of kit. BOSU balls, stability balls, dumbbells, benches, barbells, power plates, body blades, balance boards an whatever the hell else is out there. But what ever happened to bodyweight training? It seems as though it’s mostly been lost somewhere along the way. The importance of bodyweight training can be summed up in the answer to this question - What is it you carry around with you in every workout, every practice, every race, all day every day? Your body. So why would you not train your body, with just your body? In order to master your performance in a sport, surely you need to have total control of your body, how it moves, and how it performs. Functional strength training for the endurance athlete must start with bodyweight work, or at least the vast majority of it must be bodyweight based.

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Importance of knowing your sport

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One of the key aspects of training for functional strength is making it specific to the environment and demands of your sport, as well as the movements and forces that are present within that sport.

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Take swimming for example. This of course takes place in water, and so ground reaction forces, gravity and momentum don’t play a big part as they would in other disciplines such as running. We (usually) swim in a prone position, and so the force we generate comes not from the ground, but is largely generated by our core musculature. Every movement comes from the core, as each body part involved in swimming is anchored at the spine and hips, and so core stiffness and strength is a major factor in efficient and powerful swimming. With the swim, you must also realize the rotational forces transferred through the body, with every kick and every arm movement causing your body to rotate in the water. Stability within the shoulder and hip joints is also essential for the swimmer. If these joints are strong and stable, combined with a strong core, incorrect muscle firing and movement patterns will significantly decrease, leading to increased economy and power output and a decreased risk of injury. So if you’re someone who frequently gets shoulder or lower back pain while swimming.

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I was recently speaking with a runner friend of mine who religiously completes a ‘run specific’ strength training routine that was given to him by a fellow runner, 2-3 times per week, although doesn’t really feel any real benefits from the program. He’s kindly let me have a look at it, and I’ll share it with you now:

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Bench press: 4 x 6-12

Machine leg press 3 x 10

Machine hamstring curls 3 x 10

Lat pull down 3 x 10-15

Dumbbell ‘arm running’ 3 x 30 seconds

Biceps curls 4 x 6-12

Tricep dips 3 x 6-12

Twisting sit-ups 3 x 20

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It doesn’t take a genius to see that this isn’t in any way run specific at all. As with most peoples training programs, it follows more of a traditional, ‘bodybuilding’ type workout, and it’s easy to see why he hasn’t been getting the gains he hoped for. After all, what has heavy bench press or curls got to do with running?! What I did for the guy, is completely revamp his workout into a much more run specific session. I’ll explain the exercise selection a little as we go:

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Bench press is swapped for push ups: The push up is a fantastic full body exercise, and not only does it hit the pecs, triceps and shoulders, but also works on providing core strength during deceleration.

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Leg press has been changed for a single leg squat: The single leg squat is much more run specific than a heavy leg press. By using this exercise, he is now getting a great workout for not only his quads, glutes and hamstrings, but also for the strength, stability and integrity of the knee, hip and ankle joints, while also causing a much more specific core workout at the same time, as the body stabilises itself on the single leg.

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Machine hamstring curls swapped for stability ball hip lifts: The position I’ve got him using during the hip lift simulates the point at which the leg is pulling back against the ground to propel the runner forward, and is giving the hamstrings and glutes the specific strength they require to do this effectively, powerfully, and efficiently.

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Lat pull down swapped for a recline row: The recline row allows him to target his lats, biceps and rear delts, while also helping to open up the hips in order to counteract poor postures, as well as being able play around with various leg and foot positions to increase/alter the core demands of the exercise.

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Dumbbell arm running replaced with band resisted single leg step ups: Driving your arms forward and backward with some light dumbbells does nothing to improve your endurance running! The exercise I replaced this with provides a beast of a workout through the entire leg, which also providing single leg stability training and some kick ass core work too, while also allowing the runner to work on arm mechanics for running.

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Bicep curls replaced with dumbbell single leg reach-curl-press: Hitting the beach weights won’t help any endurance runner to get faster or better. SO what I’ve done here is incorporate the curl into a run specific exercise that targets the ankle, knee and hip joints and their surrounding muscles, while also hitting the shoulder-hip relationship, but still alowing him to bang out some curls!

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Tricep dips has been replaced with a slit stance overhead band triceps extension: The position we adopt here actually stretches the hip flexors and opens up the hips, while also providing some great deceleration training through the core, as well as enabling him to hit some triceps at the same time.

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Twisting sit ups were replace with a high to low cable chop: The chop is a great way to work on the shoulder-hip relationship, and also provides a great workout for the spinal rotators and stabilisers, much more so than any sit up can ever do.

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So that’s what we did with his workout. In the 8 weeks it’s been since I changed his program, he has put a poor start to the season behind him and has smashed his previous PB’s in both 5k and 10k races. Is it all to do with the strength training? No. Did it have a good effect? Clearly.

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I hope that this article has given you some food for thought, and will cause you to think seriously about integrating an appropriate strength training program into your regime. You WILL feel and see the differences, in the way you look, feel, and most importantly, in your race times.

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Andy ;-)

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Triathlon Specific Conditioning Class

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

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To the MAX is on it’s way back!

That’s right, you read it correctly, the much talked about To the MAX – Triathlon and Endurance Sports Conditioning sessions are coming back, and this time there’s a BIG twist!

Those of you who attended previous phases of TTM already know the benefits of the type of training I’ll be putting you through. The evening sessions, combined with the winning attitudes from participants, helped to enable several of the group to compete in and complete their first IRONMAN triathlon, several people to complete their very FIRST triathlon, and a pile of people to smash their PB’s. The conditioning also helped me to complete 2 x Ironman races in the space of 5 weeks, both in faster times than last year (the 2nd of this year was the fastest yet!). And the next few months of conditioning are also going to help me complete Ironman events on back to back weekends in 2011 too. Bottom line: IT WORKS. Below the bottom line: It’s going to be EVEN BETTER this time around! Here’s why:


Earlier this year I headed out to Florida to undergo some professional development at the world famous
Institute of Human Performance, which is the facility created and directed by world renowned strength and functional training coach, Juan Carlos Santana. While over there I became one of just 3 people in the whole of the UK to become an IHP certified functional training specialist, but that’s not the really important bit.



The really important bit,
is that while over there, I told JC that I wanted to drop my training volume but still get great results in Ironman. You see, in December I’d had a shoulder operation which put me out for a while, and had left me with just 18 weeks to train. With the shortage of weeks, and the fact that I was working anything from a 45-65 hour week all in, time wasn’t on my side. I told JC that I knew it was possible for us to get me in great condition in no time at all, and that I was sure there’s a better way of training for long distance without having to put in the 5-10,000m in the pool, 200-300 miles per week on a bike, or the 40-80 miles a week running volume that you hear of elite age groupers and pros talking about. We needed to come up with a way to hit my targets, but with approximately 40-50% less volume than I’d completed per week in the previous season, and in 34 weeks less.


So, we sat down, discussed every aspect of my past training, what works, what doesn’t work, and then began to devise a plan. What we came up with was something (so far as we’re aware) that had never before trialed in the triathlon or endurance sports world, and something that broke pretty much every rule of training for long distance. So what was involved? I won’t break down specifics YET, but: My training hours for the 18 weeks were 7-12 per week, including 2-3 x strength and conditioning sessions per week. I swam on average just twice per week. My only long rides were the 4 that I did between 70-83 miles. I did only one long run (this was 15 miles). Compared with the 14-20 hours per week I trained last year, in that 18 week period, I must have SAVED myself maybe 120-150 hours! That’s 5 or 6 days!


Did the training work? Absolutely. Ironman France was faster than IMUK the previous year, and IMUK this year was faster than them both!


So why am I telling YOU this?


Because, through To the MAX, I plan to deliver a full 42 week training program, using the same system that JC and I devised, to help YOU and another 19 people to achieve their triathlon goals, with minimum training, but maximum effect. You may be training for Ironman like myself and a pile of other guys from
Bustinskin Tri club, you may be training for 70.3, or standard distance, maybe sprint or super sprint. You may be a total novice, or possibly an elite age grouper, but one thing that there is no maybe about, is the fact that whatever you want to do, you want to do it well, you want to be injury free, and you want to be able to ENJOY training for it, and completing it. And that’s why I’m telling you this. Whatever distance you’re training for, whatever level you’re competing at, this program WILL work for you. It’s going to give you a total blueprint of exactly what you have to do on each day, and will even be taking you through nutritional strategies for triathlon success. To cap it off, I’ll be delivering the strength and conditioning program to you through the To the MAX sessions (these will be 1-2 evenings per week for one hour). I’m taking literally all the guesswork out of your training, and giving you the chance to spend more time with your family and friends, and just relaxing, and less time wasting time on junk miles in the pool and on the road.


I know it’s not quite the end of this season yet, and that’s why this program will be kicking off in mid October. BUT I wanted to touch base with you right now, to wet your appetite, give you an idea of what’s going on, and let you know that YOU have the chance to be part of something special. Once this program has been completed, and results show that it works for you as well as it worked for me (probably even better as we’re improving it RIGHT NOW), JC and I plan to undertake some sort of a project, either a book or a DVD detailing the new way to train for going long, without ever needing to go long.

That’s it from me for today. If you’re remotely interested or excited by this (and I’m guessing you are seeing as you’ve taken the time to read this loooong email), then please send me an email letting me know. Feel free to include a couple of details about yourself if you like, such as the event you wish to train for, your current level, any significant achievements thus far etc.

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Over to you . . . .

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Ironman Nice - Race Report

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

So that’s it, Ironman Nice has been completed, and now it’s time to tell you just how it all went, so read, enjoy, and then decide to do something to REALLY challenge yourself this year ;-)

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Ironman France, Nice, June 27th 2010

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Hands down, this was is the hardest, most gruelling, relentless race I’ve ever competed in, but it’s also the greatest. I’ll kick things off by telling you the lead up to the race:

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I eventually flew out to Nice on the Thursday, after being sat on the runway for 3 1/2 hours due to a strike in France. Upon arrival, I got to the hotel (in the centre of Nice), unpacked a few things, built my bike, then went off to meet my buddy Sam Wait at the Ironman Expo to register, sign the waiver and get our transition bags, race numbers etc..

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After looking round the expo, we headed off to have a look at the start along the Prom Des Anglais, right on the beach. Already the whole place seemed to be buzzing, with hundreds of soon to be Ironman athletes wondering around, swimming in the beautiful sea, cycling, running, and soaking up the sun. The organisers were in the process of constructing the finish line, stands, transition tents and bike racks, and I got massively excited picturing myself crossing the line at the end of the race.

Getting hungry, I headed back to the hotel via a butchers and fresh veg shop, then cooked up fresh chicken breast and steamed potato  on the George Foreman grill and vegetable steamer that I’d packed in my suitcase in order to ensure my diet remained clean. After happily watching Italy crash out of the world cup, I headed out for an easy 30 minute run with a few 60 second bursts of pace, then headed back, showered and into bed.

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I was up at 6am the next day, steaming more potato, and some eggs as well, then headed off to the beach for a swim around 7 with Sam. The sea was immense. Warm, blue and a pleasure to swim in. A far cry from Weymouth Beach in April when I began this seasons open water swim training. Part of my bike had been damaged in transit, so I took that to the Shimano bike mechanics at the Expo, who sorted it out for me. After a bit of sunshine and a lot more chicken, rice and potato, I headed off to meet my girlfriend who was flying in that morning, before later heading out for an easy spin on the bike with Sam along the prom. Then it was more chicken, more rice, more eggs, then bed.

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On Saturday morning I’d planned to get up early and head out for a swim, but woke up at 5.30, and decided that an extra couple of hours sleep would do me better than half hour in the water, so went back to sleep. I headed out with my girlfriend to the Expo, bought some new tires for my bike, fitted them, left her on the beach and then headed back to the hotel to pack my transition bags, do some final checks on the bike, and ensure all my nutrition was sorted and ready for the morning. By now I’ve got pretty excited, and am getting the standard random giggles whenever I think about what I’m about to do the following day. It gets to 5.45 and it’s time to head off to check in my bike and transition bags. The nerves start to set in a little now, not so much about the race, but whether my knee, which had been in poor form for the last 3-4 weeks, would do it’s job on the day. Anyway, checking in was smooth and stress free, and took little time, which left me loads of time to cook and eat before getting an early night.

However, I ended up watching Ghana beat USA in the World Cup on TV, so bed didn’t end up as early as I’d hoped! After tossing and turning, I finally got to sleep, and 4 hours later was up at 3.30am, cooking and eating skinless steamed potato, steamed rice, grilled chicken, steamed eggs and half a small slice of pineapple as a treat. What a breakfast. It was so dry that every mouthful needed to be flushed with a big gulp of water, and even then it wasn’t fun! Still, it was going to do the job, and do it well, so I forced it down (well, most of it). I had a quick shower to wake myself up properly, necked an energy drink while getting dressed, grabbed my stuff and headed out, excited, and ready to get stuck into some serious work.

After leaving my girlfriend at the entrance to the bike park, I headed in, pumped my tires, attached all my food and drink to the bike, queued for half hour for the toilets, got the wetsuit on, and headed down to the beach with 2500 other people.

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I wasn’t too excited about the swim start. I’d raced in Bolton last year and that wasn’t too fun, but there was just 1500 people there. 2500 people in the sea was set to be a nasty encounter, with punches, kicks pushes, slaps, and people pulling you down and swimming over you. Still, I decided to get right in amongst it and hammer it out any way I could. The atmosphere was already electric, and as soon as it hit 6.30am, the race began. We piled into the sea, and the carnage began. Arms flying, head getting whacked, kicked in the face, pulled under, swallowing water, it all happened. Do you stop? Not even if you wanted to. Stop and you’ll get swum over, probably concussed, and may not come back up until you get dragged out. Not an option. To be fair though, I quite enjoyed the swim! Most of the time swimming for 70 minutes gets pretty dull, but when you’re constantly having to avoid being hit, it makes it a little more interesting to say the least, and time passes nicely. I swam pretty well, and had no problems. More than I can say for the owners of the dozens of empty swim hats and goggles I saw floating and sinking in the sea, some right at the very start!

Anyway, my swim split was 1h12m which I was happy enough with, and after slipping out of my wetsuit, grabbing my transition bag and getting ready, I legged it out, got my bike and headed off, feeling fresh, happy and ready to bang it. The bike leg starts off flat, fast and easy, so I was able to stay aero for the first 20km and hit some good speeds at a high cadence. You then hit the first hill, a 500m climb up a steep incline. We’d been warned about this as being a tough hill, but to be honest it was nothing even compared to Abbotsbury hill. The hardest bit was trying not to crash into the hundred other people climbing it at the same time.

A while into the bike, and there’s an epic 20km climb, which isn’t made any easier by 30+ degree heat. This was intense and the climb seemed to go on forever. There were people stopping on the side of the road, falling off, bikes breaking and ambulances with lights flashing. Never a good sign. The good thing was that at the top of this climb you knew that you’d done the hardest art of the course. I’d felt strong the whole way for the first 49 miles, but at mile 50, I had the worst most painful, horrific cramps I have ever experienced. Not just in one place, but in both sets of quads, both sets of hamstrings, both glutes and both sets of abductors. I hoped that I;d be able to shake these off, but despite taking on plenty of water, loads of energy drink and salt sticks, it wouldn’t go. Every now and again my legs would literally stop working due to the involuntary contractions, with quads fighting hamstrings and hip flexors fighting my glutes for the right to take me down. I kept having to slow, almost to a stop, and it for the first time it crossed my mind that it was possible I wouldn’t actually be able to complete the race. This is when mind over body takes over. It’s just cramp I told myself, and despite the absolute agony that caused me to occasionally let out some sort of an ‘arrrgghhh’ sound, just a minor setback. I could still move, so I could still bang it out, and even if it meant slowing considerably, stopping was never an option. Anyway, there were a couple of fun descents, some nice flat roads and the a nasty 12km climb, which again, went on, and on, and on. The landscape and scenery was immense, among the best I’ve ever seen, but when you looked over the edge of the 2-3ft high wall lining the road, you saw a shear drop down the mountain. best to stay away from there given the cramp situation!

After this last big climb the bike was largely easy. The cramps were still horrendous and frequent, but the remainder of the course was downhill, and flat at the bottom. The descents were amazing. Flying down a mountain at 30-35mph on a bike, round 180 degree bends, past shear drops, was an awesome sensation. Not so awesome for those who came off. I must have seen the ambulances go by around 10 times during the bike course. There were people with bust bikes all over the place having fallen off. Couldn’t help but just feel glad I was in one piece!

My bike split ended up at 5h57m, which although I was aiming for 5h30m, I was pleased with due tot he situation with my legs. I entered transition, someone racked my bike, then I grabbed my bag and hobbled off to get into my run gear. By now the day was intensely hot, up to around 35 degrees, and the run didn’t look fun. It’s flat, yes, but utterly relentless and extremely hard with no respite from the intense sun. My legs were still fully cramped, and so just moving was an effort, but I started the run relatively brightly. As the cramps worsened and the heat intensified, my speed dropped. The course involved 4 laps of running up the prom for just over 3 miles, then back to collect a coloured wristband, until you’d collected all 3 bands and were finally allowed to finish on your last lap after 26.2 miles of pain. The thousands of onlookers in the crowd that lined the streets were fantastic, and every time you’d start to walk, you’d just here ALLEZ! ALLEZ! and would have to get your ass back up and at least try to run, cramp or no cramp.

The run went on for what seemed like an eternity, when in fact it was around 4h16m. Severely unimpressive, and a far cry from the 3h30m I wanted to hit. But bearing in mind my legs had been in a severely damaged state for around 7 hours by the end of the race, I was happy enough to come home in 11h39m.

The sweet end

The sweet end

Upon crossing the finish line, you get what you’ve been picturing every time you thought about skipping a training session, every time yo feel at all down during the race, and every time you thought about just giving up; that golden Ironman medal. The thing that tells the world that you’ve just swam 2.4 miles, cycled 112 miles, then run a 26.2 mile marathon at the end of it, and that reminds you of what you’ve achieved, and that you can accomplish just about anything you set your mind to, so long as you’re willing to commit, sacrifice, and stop at nothing to achieve what you set out to. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is simply the word extra. Extra will power, extra motivation, extra effort, extra attitude and extra determination to succeed. The accomplishment of the 2000+ people who managed to finish this race, and in fact the race itself, is truly extraordinary.

Next stop = Ironman UK in Bolton, August 1st 2010. Yep, 5 weeks after Nice!

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5 weeks into the Ironman project

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

I’m currently just more than 5 weeks into the Ironman Project, in which I’ve cut my training volume by around 40%, played around with a few things, and am hoping to achieve a time 1 hour less than last years Ironman UK time. I have to say, even I’m a little suprised with just how well it’s all going thus far.

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In week 3’s testing session, I knocked 5 minutes off a bike: run brick session, with plenty of gas left in the tank. In week 4 I banged out a PB in the pool despite only having done 3 swim training sessions (other than the kick sessions I was doing previously due to shoulder operation). Most recently, at the end of week 5, for a 40 mile bike ride I increased my average speed by 1mp from 2 weeks previously, and a total of 2mph from the same session in week 2, which is more than a 10% increase in speed over 40 miles in just 6 weeks. Run times are also improving well, with average pace over 8 miles increasing by 20 seconds per mile within the last fortnight.

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As well as all this, the strength and conditioning is having a major impact in terms of injuries and various aches and pains. Staying in the aero position on the bike is much, much more comfortable for prolonged periods, with no ache whatsoever (I’d often get a little lower back ache from time to time before). There’s no knee pain during running (I used to get a little due to overpronation and tight ITB’s), and the shoulder is feeling strong once again.

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So, all in all, the program is still going extremely well, and I’m very excited about the next couple of months and the lead up firstly to Ironman Nice, and then to Ironman UK 5 weeks later. I’m also excited about releasing the details of the program to you just as soon as I’ve finished the guinea pig side of things. Until then, I thought I’d share just one workout with you, so check out the video, and I’ll write again soon.

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Stay strong.

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Andy

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Functional strength training for endurance athletes: Part 1

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

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Endurance athletes typically have a few things in common.

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Firstly, they love what they do, and knowing the fact that 99.9% of the population couldn’t imagine doing the sorts of races they do, whether its a Channel Swim, Ironman triathlon, mountain marathon, century ride or ultra distance run. Having the determination and dedication to complete and compete in these events is true testament to the human will, and something that only a small minority of people are capable of. The endurance athlete loves to push him/herself to the limit, overcoming barriers in training, and breaking down every wall that stands in their way on race day.

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They also love to train. Endurance athletes are quite happy to slog out 10, 20, 30 hours per week at their chosen sport, and make the sacrifice that is necessary to achieve their goal, whether it’s simply completing the course, or a top 5 finish. The training mindset of the endurance athlete is one that is strong, whatever the weather, against the odds, and willing to go the extra mile.

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However, like everyone, endurance athletes have flaws. The biggest that I can determine is that they (not everyone, but the vast majority) neglect strength training, or at least don’t perform the correct type of exercises in the gym. It is this similarity that is the focus of this article.

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Ask any endurance athlete out there why they aren’t performing strength and conditioning as an integral part of their plan, and I can guarantee that one or all of the following 3 points will come up:

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Strength training will make me heavy, slow and inflexible . . . .

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First off is the thought that performing strength training will make them heavier, sluggish and inflexible, and so strength training should be excluded from their training plan. There are a couple of things to address with this misconception. Firstly is the nature of the training that the athlete is associating with strength and conditioning. Often when people think of strength training, they think of traditional bodybuilding training, which is largely dysfunctional to the endurance athlete (although still seems to be advocated in a number of endurance sports training books). However, with a functional training program that has been designed in order to specifically enhance performance, you’re not going to get huge muscle mass gains, you won’t get any slower and you won’t get less flexible. In fact, you’ll actually become faster due to increases in strength, power, economy and movement patterns, you’ll get more flexible due to the integrated nature of the training, and as for getting bigger and slower? Nope. Regarding this, the first thing to mention is that the strength gains you’ll be getting are largely going to be down to improved neuromuscular performance, without a big increase in muscle size. Secondly, in general, endurance athletes are largely ectomorphs, who find it extremely hard to gain any significant muscle size. Those two things aside, the strength and power improvements you’ll gain will totally outweigh any added weight as you’ll be stronger, more powerful and more efficient at your event(s), thus making you a superior athlete and improving your performance greatly.

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I don’t have the time to train strength . . . .

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The second point is one of time. The endurance athlete spends so much time each week actually out on the road, in the pool or on the trail, that they believe there is no time left to perform strength training. To be fair, in their current regime, they’re probably right. But they shouldn’t be. There is time, and plenty of it. More so, it is a case of not being willing to ‘sacrifice’ a little swim, bike or run time in favour of 45 minutes strength training 2-3 times per week. The philosophy of the vast majority of endurance athletes is that in order to get better at swimming, cycling and running (or whatever your sport entails) the only and best way is to do more swimming, cycling and running.

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This is largely where overuse and overtraining injuries set in; that niggling hamstring injury that forces you to take a few days off every couple of weeks, that knee pain you get after mile 13 in your long run, the lower back ache when staying in the aero position on the bike for more than 5 minutes or when running up hill; the list goes on. In order to get better at your discipline, it’s NOT necessary to do it for longer, you just need to do it better. There’s no point rowing the boat harder if it’s pointing in the wrong direction.

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Strength and power training won’t help me as an endurance athlete . . . .

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My third point is the single greatest myth when it comes to training for the endurance athlete, and that is the fact that the endurance athlete feels that strength and power work will not improve performance in their endurance based event.

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During my recent mentorship at the Institute of Human Performance in Florida, Juan Carlos Santana explained this beautifully. Basically, believe it or not, endurance sports are ALL about POWER. The equation for power is work/time, So if an athlete runs a 3h30m marathon one year, then runs the same race the next year in 3h flat, she has become more powerful, as she has performed the same amount of work, in less time. The more functional power you have, the greater your stride length, swim stroke and cadence will be. Another equation for power is force x speed. If you’re stronger, you can generate more force, and as the equation states, power is dependent on strength and speed. So, you can see that it is absolutely necessary to develop functional power (it’s no good working on a 1 rep max power clean) as well as working on strength in addition to speed.

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By incorporating an appropriate and functional strength program into your training, you will improve also economy no end, meaning that movements require less effort, and so performance improves and injury risk reduces. Just think, in a 2 ½ hour run each foot will hit the ground around 13000 times. If it’s planting incorrectly, then that’s 13000 incorrect foot strikes in a single run. How many more times does your foot need to land poorly before your knee hurts, adductor pulls or achilles inflames? Not only this, but with incorrect movement patterns, comes power wastage, and if the body is not generating power from where it’s meant to, it’s got to find it from somewhere else. If however you’ve been (and still are) performing the right types of conditioning exercises, then you’ll minimize this and increase your power output and thus improve performance.

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An appropriate functional strength training program will give you the following key benefits:

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· Improved economy

· Reduced risk of injury

· Improved power output

· Improved neurological performance

· Improved lactate threshold

· Increased flexibility

· Increased functional strength

· Increased stride length

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From this article, you should now be thinking differently about the need for training strength for endurance sports success, and in part 2, I’ll be going into a little depth regarding just what a truly functional strength training program involves.

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