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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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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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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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2 Weeks into the Ironman Project

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Well, today is one of my rest days in terms of training, so i thought I’d take the opportunity to let you now how the initial 2 weeks of training has gone on this new way of training that I’m ‘guinea pigging’ is going.

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In week 1 I trained for a total of just 7 hours, and in week 2 I racked up just 8, but ALREADY the results are starting to show! Now obviously I’m still not going to give away any specifics with regard tot he program, but I have to say that the extra rest I’m getting seems to be making a real difference. Despite working long days (3 days a week I’m up at 4.30m to train a client 30 miles away), I’m able to put a great amount of energy into every single session, no matter what time of day I’m training.

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This week I did a little testing session on the bike, and hit out a time that was slightly better than the same route, at the same sort of intensity, as I did at week 20 last year. As for running, I hammered out a hardcore session yesterday (I’d love to tell you the details but just can’t!!!), and knocked up a time that last year took me to week 12 to achieve. In terms of the swim, well that still sucks as the shoulder really isn’t up to it yet. Having said that, I’m just doing kick right now and having never put any focus whatsoever of kicking, it’s improving rapidly. Last year my swim times plateaued  in training after hitting my time target for a 2.4 miler at about week 24. As soon as my shoulder is swim ready, it’ll probably take about 10-12 weeks until I’m hitting the same time as for last year. BUT, my feeling is that if this year I can do a little kicking rather than dragging two hairy anchors behind me, I still should be able to knock some time off last years IM swim. So right now I’m happy enough to kick kick kick!

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So you can see that right now, things are looking pretty good with training. Times are coming down, fitness levels are on the way up, and the training is time efficient and fun. Bonus.

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Until next time.

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Andy

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Triathletes, do we need to train so much?

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Triathlon training at any level takes time, and lots of it. Professionals may train for up to 30-40 hours per week, and novices right up to age groupers will often put in between 4-25 hours per week depending on their circumstances. But is all this really necessary? Do we NEED to train for that long, or is alot of what we are doing, purely JUNK MILES? Is there a better way to train?

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I’ll be clear on something right now: The purpose of this post is not to try and change the way you train, or to rubbish any other method of training, rather, it is to encourage people to have an open mind when it comes to training for triathlon, and to let you know just what I’m up to right now in terms of training, following my week in Florida.

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During the mentorship program, in one of our final lectures, we got talking about swim training, and in particular, why it is that a sprint swimmer will put in so many hours and miles in the pool each week, when they are training for a race that lasts less than a minute. Do they really need to spend so long training? After all, a 100-400m track athlete doesn’t spend so long training, and we are all humans, so how is it beneficial for a sprint swimmer to train for so long? Would it not be more beneficial to have shorter, more focussed workouts, and more rest in order to allow proper recovery and reduce the risk of injury and over training? After all, how many swimmers (in particular children who are overtrained) develop shoulder, back and hip problems? I don’t know the exact figure, but it’s alot! We then spoke about marathon running, and again, is it really necessary to put in 40-80 miles a week, or would it be more beneficial to have shorter, more focussed workouts, with a bigger emphasis on recovery? After all, you make your improvements while you recover.

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We then touched on triathlon, and again the same things came up. Is it NECESSARY to do so many hours? Has ANYONE ever experimented with far less hours, but a much increased quality of training at the expense  of junk miles? If you’re training for a long race, do you have to train for as long as the race (or at least each discipline) will take you? If you’re training for Ironman, that could mean putting in 2+ hour swims, 8+ hour bike rides and 5+ hour runs. No not every session, but you get the idea I’m sure. What I’m also sure of, is that there HAS to be a much better way to train. Step up Juan Carlos.

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At the end of the mentorship program, a few hours before we were flying back to the UK, I sat down with JC to get his thoughts on Ironman training, and in particular, to help me reduce my own Ironman training volume. Now, as well as the fact that I’m 100% sure that there are more effective methods of training for triathlon than are currently being utilised, I’m also recovering from a shoulder operation which has sidelined my swimming for 12 weeks, cycling for 8 weeks, and running for 11 weeks. On top of that, I work a long hours (much like you), and juggle a girlfriend, friends and family at the same time. Right now I have just 18 weeks to get into the best, injury free condition of my life in order to knock the 45-60 minutes off my Ironman time at IM France on June 27th (that’s my personal goal for the year).

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JC is a huge lover of all things sport and fitness, and was more than happy to look at my proposed training program, and after checking out my program, subsequently decided to slash my training hours by about 40%, and ‘play around’ with intensity a little, as well as introducing some pretty exciting new techniques. We then came up with a plan of attack. A structure was formed, followed by specific phases, and I spent much of the long flight home planning out each individual session. What we have come up with is something that has NEVER been tried, or at least documented, within the industry, and could well be something that will help triathletes all over the globe to achieve their goals in less time, with more recovery, and increased performance.

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What methods are we employing?

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Well…..there have to be some secrets right?! All I can tell you is that a couple of methods could, and probably will, raise a few eyebrows in the triathlon world, but both JC and I are extremely confident that what we have devised will work, and when it does, we are going to be ready to transform the way many triathletes go about their training, leaving you with more time, more energy, and better performance.

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From now, leading up to June 27th, I’ll be posting regularly on here letting you know how the training is going, the results I’m seeing and everything else….except of course the program! So keep your eyes on this area, and feel free to add your own comments ;-) Before you leave, checkout this video of myself and JC talking about the plan right here

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Wish us luck!

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Andy

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TRIATHLON and ENDURANCE SPORT-SPECIFIC LAND TRAINING IN WEYMOUTH AND DORSET

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

COMING SOON . . . . . . .

 

Anyone who has ever trained or competed at multi-sport or endurance events such as triathlon, duathlon, biathlon, long and ultra distance running etc spends masses of time in the water, on a saddle, or in running shoes. For the most part, this is quite right. After all, you’re not going to get good at swimming, cycling or running without the use of water, a bike, and a decent pair of running shoes. So of course, a huge part of your training time will be spent swimming, biking and running.

 

However, what the vast majority of multi-sport athletes tend to neglect, is the stability and strength training necessary to help boost performance, reduce the risk of injury, and really hammer away at their PB times. As an endurance and multisport athlete, if you have performed any type of gym based training, the chances are that you won’t have exlpored much beyond the realms of traditional ‘bodybuilding’ type training. This method of training for strength does have it’s place, however it’s of limited value for endurance and multi-sport athletes. That said, strength training, in it’s appropriate form, should hold a key position in the training program of a multi/endurance sport athlete. 

 

You may be of the mindset that gym based training has no place in triathlon and other multisport events, as you feel that by putting on muscle and size, your times will slow as you become heavier, less mobile and less hydro and aerodynamic. If you’re thinking about training with traditional ‘bodybuilding’ movements, you’re most probably correct. However, through an appropriate strength training regime, that focuses on developing muscle strength and efficiency through training functional movements used in the sport(s) as opposed to isolating muscle groups, you can significantly improve your performance.

 

Put it this way, if you’re training for swimming, running or cycling, performing heavy bent over rows or bench press has little to no value in enhancing your performance. However, utilising functional strength and stability based exercises that mimic aspects of your chosen discipline(s) will help you develop as an althlete, through not only increasing contractile strength, but also the much talked about ‘firing’ of your muscles. (Swimming - aspects such as the catch and pull, as well as the rotational torso action during freestyle. Cycling - for instance the powerful driving force through either leg on a 10% incline, core element of cornering. Running - including the transfer of weight from one side to another, speeding up, slowing down).

 

Check out the exercises below and notice how they relate to the each sport -

 

Anterior Reach - Bottom Phase

 

This anterior reach with a single arm row is a great move for training single leg stability as well as an efficient arm drive for running, while also working the lower back effectively.

 

Total Body Swim Specific Exercise

Down phase of swim-specific 'polling' exercise

 

This polling exercise helps to develop a powerful pull during freestyle, by developing the lats, rear deltoids and triceps during the downward phase. On the way back to the top, the front and mid delts also get a workout for good measures!

 

Top phase of adapted single leg squat

Down phase of adapted single leg squat

 

How about these modified single leg squats, finishing in an (albeit slightly exagerrated) aero position, and working the glutes, hamstrings and quads, while also hitting out some core in the process.

 

So why am I telling you this . . . . ?

 

The reason for the above, is that Procision Fitness is soon to bring you the areas very first TRIATHLON/ENDURANCE SPORT SPECIFIC FITNESS CLASS! Although no dates or locations are set in stone, the class will be commencing in mid-late October, most probably on a Thursday evening, starting around 6.30/7pm at a Weymouth location.

 

The training is going to be approprately phased and 100% geared toward multi/endurance sport success, ensuring that you get the best gains possible. In addition to the weekly session, you will have the option for a heavily discounted individual strength training program specifically for your event(s).

 

So keep your ears and eyes open, and await the full details! If you have any questions, or want any extra info, feel free to get in contact via the contacts page.

 

Yours in training

 

Andy ;-)

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IRONMAN UK 2009

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

August 2nd 2009, Bolton, England

August 2nd 2009, Bolton, England

 

3 weeks on from completing Ironman UK 2009, and having now had time to reflect on the event, I figured it’s time to give you a short report on how the race went. In a nut shell,  it sure as hell wasn’t easy! But then again, few things worth accomplishing generally are. So here is the timeline of how the day panned out . . .

 

11pm (day before): Finally managed to get to sleep! I wasn’t feeling nervous, but despite getting to bed at 9.30pm, just couldnt sleep. Not what you want before a long race!

 

Race Day

 

2.30am: Alarm went off. I’d actually set 5 on my phone, as well as a couple on my girlfriends phone just in case! There was no way I wasn’t getting up! I found myself suprisingly wide awake for this time in the morning, and was massively excited about the day ahdead. I was less excited by the prospect of what I knew i was going to be having for breakfast!

 

Because I was staying in a hotel, which wasn’t providing an early breakfast for competitors, I had to work round this. So brought a steamer and a load of food ready to cook and eat. As I was eating a pretty low fibre, no wheat, no dairy diet in order to reduce risk of digestive problems, but still needed to get on board a good few calories, my breakfast consisted of the following: 1 x  steamed sweet potato, 1 x small steamed baking potato, handful of steamed green beans, 1/4 an avocado, 150g cooked chicken breast, butter, sea salt, 2 x bananas. I can safely say, that this will not go down in history as my favourite ever meal, and in fact, despite usually being able to eat anything, anytime, with a few bits of sweet potato and some dry chicken left, I called time on my breakfast and conceded defeat to the early start.

 

4am: Left the hotel, and drove down to the Reebok Stadium, where shuttle buses were running competitors to the start at Rivington Reservoir. On the bus, I chatted to a fair few people, and realised that there were a lot of first timers there like myself. A few nerves started to creep in on the way to the Reservoir, but mostly I was excited about starting, and finishing the race.

 

4.30am: Transition was open, so I got myself down to my bike to pump the tires up, and do a last minute check, as well as affix my fluids and food for the bike leg of the race. Because the weather had been so horrendous for the last few days, with loads of rain, the grassy area in which the transition was located was nothing more than a muddy pool, and despite the mats that had been layed down, it was very boggy underfoot, which meant that running from the transition tent to my bike was going to mean my cleats were full of mud, so clipping in could be a pain.

 

5.30am: By now, I’m in my wetsuit, all prepared, with hat and goggles in one hand, and my dry clothes bag in the other, ready to drop off before the swim. The man comes on over the speakers and gives the call for everyone to line up ready for the 400m walk down the steep concrete path to the swim start.

 

6am: The race was due to start by now, but not everyone was in the water as yet, so we had to wait. I positioned myself about 50m away from the line of buoys we had to follow, and right at the front of the start line. A few more nerves set in about now, as I’d not yet done a swim with so many people in such a small space, and it was going to be pretty nasty for sure!

 

6.10am: 3…2….1….GO! Swim begins, and I get a reasonable start, managing to avoid getting kicked in the face more than a couple of times, and after 400m or so I find myself in a little bit of space. I get to the first turn, and everything slows down, as so m,any people are turing 180 degrees at the same time, and at this point there’s a few more arms and legs flying in faces which makes it interesting! I ended up pretty wide on the turn, and had to cut back in, and in fact, I ended up zig-zagging pretty much the whole of that straight until the next turn. Within 30 minutes of starting, I felt my hips and calves cramping, and had to keep trying to stretch out while swimming. Eventually this subsided luckily. Lap 1 complete, and just one more to go. After about 2 miles of the swim my shoulders were beginning to tire, and I felt my technique and speed both go downhill, but as soon as I got to the home straight, got a burst of energy and hammered home. After about 1h11m of swimming, I was out of the water, and began the steep 400m run to transition.

 

Out of the water. Leg 1 complete.

Out of the water. Leg 1 complete.

7.20am (ish): Got up to T1 and took my time getting myself sorted out for the bike leg. I necked a bottle of Gatorade while running to my bike, then picked it up, ran down the muddy path, and jumped on. As predicted, my cleats were full of mud so it took a bit of time to actually clip myself in, but once in there, I was feeling strong and ready to go.

Over the mud and onto the bike

Over the mud and onto the bike

After a short downhill section from the start, the course then leads you 2-3 miles up a nasty hill, which at one point gets pretty steep around a hairpin bend, before starting a winding decent, before another hill.

Tough climb at the first hill

Tough climb at the first hill

The first lap on the bike was fast. i was feeling strong and averaged 19.3mph, a little faster than predicted. Lap 2 was slightly slower, as the head wind picked up. When it came to lap three, that first hill seemed twice as long, although I was able to overtake a lot of competitors during the climb which felt good! The final 20 miles of this lap were pretty slow, with fatigue setting into my legs, as well as some cramps coming and going in my hips. I was finding myself needing to feed more often, and that seemed to help.

 

Nice flat bit to make up some time, at last!

Nice flat bit to make up some time, at last!

1.30pm (ish): At the end of lap 3, with my legs feeling prety ruined and energy levels getting lower, I thought to myself, what a time to do my first marathon! When at T2, I again took my time to get sorted out, and when ready, began the initial climb past the spectators, including some family and friends who had made the journey to watch this event.

Out of T2 and up a hill at the start of the marathon. Easy!

Out of T2 and up a hill at the start of the marathon. Easy!

The encouragement was amazing from everyone, with the croud shouting to competitors ’well done, keep going, you’re looking really strong’. Tell us that in 26 miles time! I actually started the run pretty quick, and felt suprisingly good, but 6 miles in it hit me. Another 20 to go.

 

Running technique starting to suffer

Running technique starting to suffer

I managed to stay pretty strong for the majority of the run, although frequent cramps in my calves, hips, quads, hamstrings, groin and at one stage even my right forearm made running pretty hard going at times. After 16 miles, stomach problems began to hold me back, requiring me to walk and even stop every now and again, which disappointed me. Feeding was hard, so I stuck to Gatorade and energy gels, although did manage to sneak in 3 bananas on the route too which were a great boost. With 3 miles to go my stomach was in bits, and hurting more than I had ever felt before, but knowing that there was less than 30 minutes of running left for me, I put it aside and pushed through.

 

With the home straight in sight, emotion started creeping in, with the enormity of what I was about to achieve actually sinking in. The feeling was amazing. The croud was cheering, the finish line was in sight, and all I had to do was finish the final 100m and that would be mission accomplished.

 

10 months of training, all worthwhile. Job done!

10 months of training, all worthwhile. Job done!

5.45pm (ish): Crossing that line was the best feeling I have ever had, and after being given my finishers medal, and t-shirt, and a cap for coming inside the top 250 finishers, I found my family, who were beaming with pride, and most probably, relief that after 11h45m28s of hanging around the course, waiting for me to swim, cycle or run past them every couple of hours, they could finally go home!

 

Mission accomplished, all smiles!

Mission accomplished, all smiles!

My split times for the race were 1h11m30s for 2.4 mile swim, 6h9m39s for 112m mile bike, and 4h10m47s for 26.2 mile run. This placed my 222nd overall and 12th in my age group of 18-24. All the sacrifice and hours of training have been worth while, and having loved every minute of the race, I have now set some targets for next year, where I’ll be competing at Ironman France in Nice. Bring it on!

 

Yours in success

 

Andy ;-)

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