We’ve been discussing how Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training (LT over Max HR) and in the last post I explained how to test your Lactate Threshold (Test your LT)
Once you have done the two step test and properly determined your Lactate Threshold you will be able to set your training zones as follows:
Zone 1 – Recovery: Below 80% lactate threshold
Zone 2 – Aerobic: 80-90% lactate threshold
Zone 3 – Tempo: 90-99% lactate threshold
Zone 4 – Lactate Threshold – 100%-104%
Zone 5 – VO2 max: 105% – Above lactate threshold
Equip your watch (and connect your heart rate straps) to record data for zone training.
Re-testing lactate threshold every 2-3 months (depending on the fitness age of the athlete) is required as zones will need adjusting as fitness improves, meaning your field tested data stays accurate and allows for fully robust training sessions.
As you improve your aerobic fitness, you would expect your average heart rate during a 30 minute lactate threshold time trial to decrease.
This is because the heart becomes more efficient at pumping blood and oxygenating the muscles as cardiovascular fitness increases.
There are a few key reasons why heart rate at lactate threshold pace decreases with training:
Increased stroke volume – The amount of blood pumped per beat increases, so the heart can deliver more oxygen at a lower heart rate.
Improved diastolic filling – More blood fills the heart between beats, boosting stroke volume.
Increased capillary density – More blood vessels in the muscles allow better oxygen extraction.
Greater mitochondrial density – More cellular mitochondria let muscles utilize oxygen more efficiently.
Enhanced fat burning – Greater reliance on fat metabolism and less on limited glycogen stores.
The cumulative effect is that the cardiovascular system can sustain a given pace with less effort and lower heart rate.
So if you see your lactate threshold heart rate dropping over time, it’s a good sign you are building robust cardiovascular fitness.
In last week’s conversation I discussed why Lactate threshold is a better guide than maximum heart rate for heart rate run training.
In a nutshell it’s becuase it gives you a more personalized and accurate measure of your aerobic capacity.
As promised, this week I’m going to lay out a simple way to test your lactate threshold on your own, meaning you need no fancy equipment (beyond your watch and ideally a heart rate chest strap for better accuracy) or a coach to deep dive into a load of data and do a lot of analysis.
The method I am going to explain here is not the only one, but it is the most accurate I have found for an athlete to do by themselves.
The Incremental Step Test
1) Complete an easy 10 minute warm up.
2) Run progressively faster 1/2 mile intervals, starting easy and increasing the pace each mile and take note of your average heart rate during each mile
Aim for a pace increase of 30 seconds per interval.
Take a short break between intervals to allow your heart rate to come down.
When you start to struggle to complete an interval or your heart rate stops increasing with increased effort, you are nearing lactate threshold.
The interval before you start struggling is around your lactate threshold pace and heart rate.
For example, if you struggled to complete the 7:30 pace interval but the 8:00 pace felt sustainable, your threshold is around an 8:00 mile pace. If your average heart rate during that 8:00 mile interval was 158, then your lactate threshold is 158.
You then confirm this by running a 30 minute time trial at your lactate threshold heart rate.
If you can sustain it for 30 minutes, it’s likely a valid measure of your lactate threshold.
Only do this test after a full period of recovery. If you try to go off to soon you will skew the data.
I advise doing this as a two day process, following a full rest day with the Incremental Test on day 1 and the Time Trail on day 2.
Retest every few months as your fitness improves. Using lactate threshold for training helps target the right intensities to build your endurance and speed.
Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
Lactate threshold is a better guide than maximum heart rate for heart rate run training because it gives you a more personalized and accurate measure of your aerobic capacity.
As you exercise harder, lactic acid builds up in your muscles and bloodstream.
Lactate threshold is the exercise intensity where this buildup rapidly accelerates.
For most runners, this occurs between 80-90% of maximum heart rate.
The problem with just using max heart rate for training is that it varies widely between individuals based on factors like genetics and fitness level.
So a heart rate that’s 80% max for one runner could be too easy or too hard for another.
Lactate threshold is a more functional measure of your ability to work aerobically.
Knowing your lactate threshold heart rate zone allows you to tailor your training to target the ideal intensity for building endurance – hard enough to challenge your body, but not so hard that you’re wheezing or struggling.
Using lactate threshold for heart rate training helps optimize development of your aerobic system.
Previously I gave a little bit of insight into my Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy and my 5 golden rules.
I’m diving a little bit deeper in to each one in separate posts. So far I’ve discussed Rule #1 Control the Controllable, #2 Find the Positive, #3 Focus on You and #4 100% Effort.
Time for the last piece of the Mindset puzzle…
#5 – Extreme Ownership
Hands up, this one isn’t mine. I stole it from Jocko Willink, ex Navy Seal.
If you haven’t heard of him or heard of his theory of Extreme Ownership before do yourself a favour and look it up. He has many YouTube clips, there is a short 13 minute TedxTalk and he has actually published a book called Extreme Ownership and it is 100% worth a read, or a listen.
In a nutshell Extreme Ownership means having a unwavering “the buck stops here” attitude.
It means owning your failures and your mistakes. It means never looking for someone else to blame, even if other people did contribute to the situation.
Why? Because when we own our problems we find solutions. When we take ownership we get shit done.
Ultimately you are responsible for your life. If you want to be a success, take full responsibility.
Stop blaming the fact you are tired, you are busy blah blah blah. Most people are tired, most people are busy. You aren’t so different, your circumstances arent all that special. You are just getting in your own way.
If it is something worth chasing, find a way to make it happen. It might look a little different to how you thought it would but if it works, it’s working.
If you want to truly be the best version of you, it’s time to take
Previously I gave a little bit of insight into my Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy and my 5 golden rules.
I’m diving a little bit deeper in to each one in separate posts. So far I’ve discussed Rule #1 Control the Controllable, #2 Find the Positive and #3 Focus on You.
#4 – 100% Effort
This should be the easiest of all the rules to absorb and commit to quickly.
If you can’t you are, for whatever reason, just not fully ready for the journey yet.
It doesn’t require any deep mindset practice or any great amount of thought… and really, is pretty self explanatory!
It simply requires you to show up and do what it required, giving your true best effort every time, all the time.
It means never dialling it in. It means not cutting a warm up, a RAMP, an interval, a set/rep or a piece of mobility as they all have value and meaning and are there to make you better.
It means not looking for the shortcut or quick fix as you know such things don’t exist. True champions know this all too well.
100% effort means just that. 100% effort. In EVERY aspect of your life that requires it in order for you to achieve your goals. In sport and in life.
Everyone has a different level of ability which means that your 100% and mine may look a little, or a lot different. That does make one less valuable than the other – and if you have truly taken on board rule 3, Focus on You, you won’t be aware or concerned about what anyone else is doing anyway!
It comes back to ‘better athlete = better person’. 100% effort means having integrity and doing the work, regardless of who is watching as you know that it has to be done.
If you want to be the best you, you will do the work. All of the work.
Previously I gave a little bit of insight into my Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy and my 5 golden rules.
I’m diving a little bit deeper in to each one in separate posts. so far we have covered Rule #1 Control the Controllable and Rule #2 Find the Positive.
#3 – Focus on YOU
This can be the hardest one for some athletes to get.
It sound simple but in a world of social media and Strava (Social media for sport) there are a thousand and one distractions.
It is one of the reasons I advise all my athletes to leave the facebooks groups etc at least two weeks before their events. Those places become a drain and if you have trained right, they are not needed. They mostly just become a source of anxiety and annoyance – not great for building the right headspace to head into an event with.
Thanks to the ability now to constantly see what everyone else is up to, you can be fooled in to thinking that your goal is to go faster than other people.
It isn’t. Your only goal is to go as fast as YOU can go.
You are put in a start pen, or on a starting line, against other athletes but your job is not to race them. It is to be the best that you can be.
I get so much push back from athletes when I tell them I want them to come off Strava. “I like seeing what others are doing” “I’m only looking at ‘X’” are common replies.
If you are focusing on other people, you are not 100% focussed on yourself. And that means wasted time and wasted energy.
My most successful athletes are the athletes that really buy into this way of thinking.
Their only focus is on their pacing, their Heart Rate zones, their FTP, their preparation etc. They don’t engage with other people about what they are doing in their training as it is of no concern to them.
This doesn’t mean they don’t support others. It is not about being selfish or shut off. It doesn’t mean they don’t want the best for their fellow athletes. They do. They just don’t need to see the numbers or hear about the details.
As their coach, I need to know the numbers. I am data driven when planning their training. I need to know what results we are aiming for. But thats another part of what a great coach will do for you. They will unburden you of all the noise and distraction and build you the stage on which you can rise to your true, full potential. You just have to want to perform.
If you are still looking all around you at what others are doing, you are just not there yet. You are not really ready.
If your focus is anywhere but on your own capacity and capability you will never reach your true best.
So cut the noise and cut the distractions.
If you want to become Great stop competing with others and start only competing with yourself.
If the race is important to you, nothing new on race day!
Do not be tempted to try that snack new bar in the vendor village. You have trained hard for this event so no point screwing up your chances by putting something in your system that may not agree with you, or not digest properly leaving you feeling sluggish, or worse, with digestive issues.
You will need to be prepared to consume a few hundred calories in the morning to ensure that you start the day right and end up properly fuelled to begin the event. *This may be hard for some athletes, so be sure to practice prior to the event.
Breakfast should be easy on the stomach so it needs to be low in fibre and easily digested. Stick with simple carbohydrates again like a bagel or even rice, possibly some fruit and just a little bit of easy to digest protein like egg or nut butter.
Include your normal coffee/caffeine routine.
In an ideal world you would finish breakfast 2 hours before race start and once you have eaten you should aim to consume 500ml of water every hour until you are out on course.
Race Start At the 10 minute countdown to race start, you should be drinking 1/2 to full bottle of sports drink or a sports gel plus water for a final carbohydrate boost. Do not take the gel without water as it will not digest well.
Avoid taking in this fuel in the 30-60 minute pre-start window as you will lose the benefit of the boost and are more likely to suffer a drop in blood sugar at race start.
Front Half of the Race In the “front half” of the race (especially the early stages) your gut is able to absorb the nutrients much easier than when your body begins to shut down blood flow completely to the gut in the closing stages of the race.
In the closing stages your body will be sending all blood flow to your working skeletal muscles, which means limited flow will be sent to the gut and this often results in those dreaded GI issues.
A common mistake people make is going too hard in the early stages and then failing to hydrate and refuel efficiently. This leads to a big drop off in performance thanks to the combination of fatigue, dehydration and low energy.
General Rule of Thumb Endurance athletes should aim to eat 60-90 grams of carbohydrate per hour during their event. You will need to practice and experiment to see what exact levels work for you.
Fluid Intake Your fluid intake plan needs to take into account the hourly amount of fluid you need (example, some athletes need about 1 litre/hour to match their sweat rate – others need half that amount and some need nearly double that). *The only accurate way to really know is to perform a sweat rate test which means taking pre and post body weight checks when racing in similar conditions and intensity as you have on race day
Ensure you have practiced with your chosen electrolyte fluids and that it has enough of the critical component; sodium 800 mg/litre of fluid is a good “starting” amount. If racing in particular hot conditions this may need to be closer to 1000-1,500mg/litre while some people suffice with only 400-500mg/litre,
Back Half of the Race The total fuel intake here is typically lower. However, you still need to ensure you are maintaining hydration and electrolyte balance (again – the importance of sodium) and going with more fluid energy intake, rather than eating bars/chews.
Consuming a caffeine liquid, such as a flat coke on the last couple of laps is common place in endurance sports such as Ironman and can be beneficial but I generally wouldn’t recommend starting to drink coke until you’re at least half way through the back half. Ideally you would, if needed, consume something like this in the last 10K to 10 miles.
There Three Big Mistakes
Not hydrating early enough. If you wait to start your hydration plan this can result in early dehydration. This can have a huge negative impact on your race as your body then has a reduced ability to process fluids and fuel for the rest of the day.
Not having enough sodium in your fluids. This means you do not ingest enough sodium which at best can cause bloating and at worst, potentially dangerous hyponatremia (low blood sodium) which can result in coma and even death.
Taking on too much fuel and/or taking on too much fuel in one go. If the body needs to work at digesting food it will divert blood flow away from the working muscles to the digestive system and your race will suffer.
As you are heading into your race week your training phase will be Competition Phase.
During the Competition Phase your macronutrient intake will switch slightly to slowly increase your carbohydrates and fully build your glycogen stores.
During the Prep Phases you will most likely sit somewhere around a 40%P, 30%C, 30%F split (as a guide) as we are looking to build lean muscle to increase power and speed as well as maintaining a strong base of muscular endurance and cardio ability.
In Competition Phase the split will be a little more carb heavy to ensure you are properly and fully fuelled for racing. Not the best for body composition but that’s not the concern now as that work has been done
A Competition phase will look more like 25%P, 50-55%C, 20-25%F (again as a guide, each athlete will have there individual needs).
Do not leave your carb loading until the night before and just eat all the carbs thinking you’ll be good… you won’t be!
Best Carbohydrate Sources
Increasing carb intake should be done smartly, using the best sources possible to maximise your results.
You don’t want to smash the chips, crisps and pizza thinking “hey, it’s carb loading!”
You want to include foods that are low on the Glycemic Index, especially the closer to race day you get as these are broken down more slowly in the body and do not cause spikes in blood sugar.
Some of the best food choices are: Bananas Berries Brown Rice or Quinoa Yogurt Oats
Avoid Food that causes inflammation
This sounds obvious but some people are not aware of the inflammatory actions of some foods. As you approach race day you want to reduce and ideally eliminate your intake of all these bad boys.
Biggest Offenders are:
Red Meat and Processed Meat Refined Grains including White Bread/Rice/Pasta and a lot Breakfast Cereals Snack Foods such as Crisps, Cookies, Pastries etc Dairy Products Fried Food Anything with added sugar Soda and Sweetened Drinks Alcohol
Focusing on recovery is one of the most important and often overlooked aspects of proper sports nutrition.
An effective nutrition recovery plan supplies the body with the right nutrients at the right time.
Recovery is the body’s process of adapting to the previous workload and strengthening itself for the next physical challenge.
The key nutritional components of recovery are: Carbohydrates to replenish depleted fuel stores. Protein to help repair damaged muscle and develop new muscle tissue. Fluids and electrolytes to rehydrate.
A full, rapid nutritional recovery plan supplies more energy and hydration for the next workout or event, which improves performance and reduces the chance of injury, meaning we become fitter and improve our endurance.
Rapid recovery is especially crucial during periods of heavy overload training and anytime two or more training sessions happen within 12 hours
When to start replenishing carbs
Training will generally deplete muscle glycogen.
The first 30 minutes or so after exercise provide the best opportunity for nutritional recovery due to factors such as increased blood flow and insulin sensitivity, which boosts cellular glucose uptake and glycogen restoration.
To maximise muscle glycogen replacement, you should consume a carbohydrate-rich snack within this 30-minute window. Ideally this should include foods providing 1.0-1.5 g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight. Since it can be difficult to eat whole foods so quickly after exercise liquid and bar supplements may be useful and convenient choice.
For endurance athletes especially, if you are going to do another intense session within 24 hours you should ideally repeat this carbohydrate load for 2-hour intervals for up to 6 hours,
Consuming smaller amounts of carbohydrates more frequently may be the way to go if the previous recommendation leaves you feeling too full.
Now on to Protein
Recovery nutrition is essential for muscle tissue repair and muscle growth. Whether you’re focusing on endurance or strength training – or both, taking on protein after your session provides the amino acid building blocks needed to repair muscle fibres that get damaged and promote the development of new muscle tissue.
As a rough guide, as protein requirements vary from person to person, consuming 15-25 g of protein within 1 hour after exercise can increase the muscle rebuilding and repair process and help you achieve those all important strength gains. It will also help those trying shift, or maintain, their body composition from fat to lean muscle and can be worked into a calorie restricted diet.
Pretty much all weight lost during exercise is fluid, so weighing yourself (without clothes) before and after exercise can help gauge net fluid losses. Knowing this is something recommended for endurance athletes especially.
Be sure to replace fluids gradually and not by gulping down an entire litre of water as soon as you are done. The recommendation is, over the course of 4 to 6 hours drink 1/2 a litre of your chosen recovery fluid or water for every pound of weight lost.
It is essential, for performance levels, to properly rehydrate before your next exercise session. If your sessions are an hour or less as low to moderate intensity than water should suffice. However, if you are in hot or humid conditions, or undertaking long or high intensity sessions you will likely find rehydration more effective if sodium is included with the fluid and food consumed.
GET IT RIGHT
As with effective pre workout nutrition, post workout nutrition will need personal experimentation regarding the best fluids and foods to deliver the necessary nutrients.
Everything here is a guideline, a recommendation and a starting off point. There are no exact hard and fat rules that suit every individual.
Pay attention to how you feel during your sessions. Notice when you feel like you have no energy to being with or when you book really quickly on your runs and/or rides.
Play around with timings and quantities until you hit upon what really works for you and your body.
The main goal of eating before a workout is to replenish your glycogen, the short-term storage form of carbohydrate. Glycogen supplies immediate energy needs and is especially crucial for morning workouts, as the liver is glycogen depleted from fuelling the nervous system during sleep. The muscles, on the other hand, should be glycogen-loaded from proper recovery nutrition the previous day if you hit the post workout routine right.
The body does not necessarily need a lot (depending on the timing and type of session), but it does need something to prime the metabolism, provide a direct energy source, and allow you to perform the session at the planned intensity and for the given
As for what the something is, following the basic guidelines it is best to experiment with a few different snack and meal choices and see which works best for you.
What to Eat Before a Workout
As stated above, this will come down to personal preference.
The majority of nutrients in a pre workout meal should come from carbohydrates. You also need some protein, but not a significant amount as protein takes longer to digest and does not serve an immediate need at the beginning of your workout. Fat and dietary fibre also should be marginal to minimise the potential for gastrointestinal upset – we’ve all been there right!
Research has shown that the type of carbohydrate consumed does not directly affect performance across the board. Some thrive on regular foods (e.g., my personal favourite; a bagel with peanut butter). Some reach for the convenience options such as an energy bars or replacement shakes.
One crucial element that is often overlooked is Pre-workout fluid intake. This is critical to prevent dehydration, which results in a severe drop in performance as best and serious help issues at worst. Be sure to time your fluid intake so that you are not busting for the loo during your workout. Ideally start 4 hours before and aim for 5-7mls per kilo of bodyweight.
When to Eat Before a Workout
When is a huge consideration for pre workout nutrition and almost as important as what.
Eat too early and the calories are gone by the time the exercise begins. Eat too late and the stomach is stealing all your energy trying to do its digestion thing, and making you feel uncomfortable in the process.
As a general rule the ideal time for most people to eat is about 2-4 hours before activity. Again, you can play with this depending on the session/day you have and figure out in different situations, what works best.
If your meal time is 4 hours before your workout you can safely consume up to 1,000 calories. If the gaps between eating and training are much shorter (a pre-7 a.m. workout, for example), eating a smaller meal of around 300-400 calories or less, about an hour before the workout, can suffice.
A general recommendation that can be a good jumping off point to figure out what works for you is to consume about 1 gram of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight if working out 1 hour after eating, 2 g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight if working out 2 hours after eating… and so on.
To avoid GI issues it is advised that anything consumed less than 1 hour before an event or workout be in liquid form, such as a sports drink or smoothie.
Get it Right
An effective pre workout nutrition plan should be planned based on the duration and intensity of session. You should also take into consideration your ability to supplement during the activity (if longer than 45-60 minutes), your personal energy needs and environmental factors; is it hot, humid, cold etc.
Determining how much is too much or too little and getting the timing right can be frustrating, but experimenting is vital for success.
Previously I gave a little bit of insight into my Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy and my 5 golden rules.
I’m diving a little bit deeper in to each one in separate posts. Last week was Rule #1 Control the Controllable
This week it’s Rule #2
Number 2) Find the Positive
Like the first Golden Rule, this one takes a lot of practice and commitment. You can’t just wake up one day and change your mindset. It takes work.
Finding the Positive, like Control the Controllable, means embracing the Stoic way of thinking and controlling your reaction to situations.
As an Endurance Athlete finding the positive is crucial to success.
You are going to have bad races. You are very likely going to experience a DNF. You are very likely going to get injured at some point.
Endurance events are tough. You are going to spend a lot of time feeling beaten up and wondering “why the hell am I doing this”
How you handle being placed in tough situations, as well as dealing with the lows, are what is going to make you as an athlete.
Race DNF – sure it sucks, but what went well.
Why did you DNF? What can you learn? I had a mechanical failure very early on the bike leg at an Ironman, which was my first DNF ever. It was devastating BUT I had a great swim. I took that away with me. Attempt 1 done… live it, learn it… head back for Attempt 2. Yay, I get swim in the gorgeous lake again.
Injured – yep, its annoying for sure but injuries are opportunities.
Can you train around it?
Yes, then let’s go and it might be the chance to work on a new strength or skill!
No, ok great. Then you now have a bunch of time to devote to developing a different skill that will help you become a better athlete, and a better person.
Jocko Wilink, ex Navy Seal, calls his take on this theory ‘“Good”.
Whatever happens, the response is “Good”
Didn’t get the promotion you wanted.
Good. It gives you more time to sharpen your skillset and become better in your current role.
Can’t afford that fancy piece of equipment you wanted.
Good. It gives you more time to become a savage using the basic things you have available.
As I said, this one isn’t easy but it is worth it.
People love to complain. People love to make excuses… but those people are the ones content with being average at best.
If you want to rise up, you will find the positive and say “Good”
In a previous blog I gave a little bit of insight into my Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy and my 5 golden rules.
I’m going to dive a little bit deeper in to each one, starting here with Rule Number 1
Number 1) Control the Controllable
Only certain things are within our control. If it isn’t something you have any say over, forget it. Only expend energy on the things that you can directly influence.
My personal belief system and ethics are shaped by philosophies and teachings of Buddhism and Stoicism.
At the heart of Stoicism is the understanding that the only thing we can truly control is our reaction to the things that happen. If we can learn to control our reactions and remain steady there is no situation that can either completely undo us or over inflate us.
It doesn’t mean not feeling joy or celebrating the wins. It also doesn’t mean never feeling sad, angry or let down.
What it does mean is learning to control those emotions so that they don’t overtake your life and screw you up.
Learning this lesson as an athlete can help set you free and elevate your performance.
Weather looks bad on race day – nothing you can do about it and it’s the same for everyone. What can you control? Having the right kit. Practising in all conditions throughout your training so you know how it feels.
Can you actually turn this into an advantage? Going to a hit race? So many people underperform in heat – can you heat train? I did some of my turbo sessions in front of my fire in my living room, in a hat and long sleeves to prepare for the weather in Spain)
Forgot a piece of kit, maybe a piece of clothing or nutrition – What can you do about it? Is ranting, swearing, getting stressed out helpful? Absolutely not. So what can you do? Do you have time to source something? Can others around you possibly help? If not, whats the best case scenario.
At an Ironman event this year someone got to the swim having left their wetsuit back at their hotel. They spoke to the IM announcers. The announcers asked over the PA system if anyone had a spare wetsuit and within 5 minutes that athlete had their pick of 4 wetsuits!
These are just two examples.
Anyone that knows my story from IronMan Vitoria Gastiez in 2022 knows that I came up against obstacle after obstacle in a race that ended in a mechanical DNF 20km into the bike. Without all of the work I have done on my mindset over the last 5 years that situation probably would have broken me, especially as that race was 4 years in the making.
Yes I got upset. Yes I was bitterly disappointed. But I was also making a plan for my come back before the first athletes had even crossed the finish line that same day.
Another big lesson – Its only failure if you give up completely. Otherwise, it’s just an attempt.
For me, that race was merely attempt 1. I hadn’t failed yet. Attempt 2 was July this year, one year later, and I finished that damned race!
My personal ethics and belief system are a mixture of Buddhism and Stoicism and this heavily influences who I am, both as an athlete and a coach.
As an athlete, I hold myself accountable to same 5 rules that I apply to my coaching, and I try and instil these into my athletes.
As an Endurance Expert these 5 rules have been shaped over many years of racing and they are the foundation I believe every great success can be built upon.
*I’ll go into each one in more detail as the subject of their own conversation.
1) Control the Controllable
Only certain things are within our control. If it isn’t something you have any say over, forget it. Only expend energy on the things that you can directly influence.
2) Find the Positive Even in the most disappointing situation (that race DNF, that training injury) there will be a positive IF you are willing to look for it.
3) Focus on You
This is one of the hardest ones for athletes to really internalise and act upon. Looking at what others are doing on Strava and/or comparing yourself to other athletes is a waste of your time and mental energy. All of your focus should be on your own performance.
4) 100% Effort In everything you do. This feeds into the message of the previous weeks conversations…Integrity to do the work even when none is looking and acting like the athlete you want to become.
5) Extreme Ownership
Thank Jocko Willink for this one. No matter what the situation or anyone else’s involvement, take ownership. Don’t find someone else to blame. Make it your problem and find a solution.
Let me ask it another way… Are you truly acting like the person, and athlete, you want to be?
I work with a range of athletes across various endurance sports; Triathlon, Obstacle Course Racing, Hyrox etc.
Every single one of them has a goal they are working towards. For some it’s an age cat or podium finish. For others it’s simply to complete their A race and finish it well.
Every goal, regardless of size, requires some level of sacrifice alongside a huge amount of hard work and dedication.
Most people have a good idea of what it takes to achieve their goal. The hours of training required, the organisation of daily life to make that time, the dialled in nutrition, the early nights, the early mornings, saying no to certain social gatherings, saying no to certain favourite races or events as they just don’t mesh with the overall Big Goal … the list goes on and for some, it just doesn’t sound worth it.
Thats why so many people are content with just being average…if that.
Some are content to make the excuses, hide behind busy lives and find all the reasons not to do what is truly required.
Others say that they really want it, but their actions just never quite meet their words.
It may be that they just aren’t quite ready yet, or maybe they like the idea but in practise they really aren’t willing to do what it takes.
I’ve definately been guilty of this in the past. I would say I really wanted to achieve “X” but I wasn’t acting the person who would do that. I wasn’t watching my nutrition, I was still eating badly, watching my weight creep up but not doing a damn thing about it. I would say I was too busy to count macros but come on – it seriously only takes a few extra minutes of effort to weigh food and log it correctly. I was just being lazy. Plus, that still didn’t explain the amount of crap I was eating! I was hitting my training sessions, for the most part, but I was content that that was enough. I wasn’t truly ready or willing to do everything it would take.
Luckily I have managed to shed that person and now I can, hand on heart, say that I truly act like the person I need to be to achieve my goal.
The first step – getting real with yourself and figuring out if you are truly willing, and able, to do what it takes.
This might involve a conversation with your coach as you may be willing but not be actually sure exactly how to make it work, especially if you have a very busy life that seems inflexible. As I said in the beginning, it will require some sacrifice but a smart coach will be able to help you figure out how to lessen the impact and make it work.
Is it hard? Yes… but then so is dialling it in, living behind excuses and not living your true potential. Both are hard. One is infinitely more worthwhile than the other.
We’ve all met those people. You know the ones. They turn up on the start line and immediately tell you all the “ reasons” why they are likely not going to have a good event. They got a poor night sleep / They woke up that morning with a weird niggle / Their dog ate their training plan…. Preloaded excuses give weak minded people a get out of jail free card. It doesn’t matter if they suck, because they already told you they would… and it’s not their fault.
Do not be one of these people.
Do the work that’s required, ALL of the work that’s required and whether you do or not, own your shit.
Also, remember this (one of my favourites: No one Cares. Work Harder.
Once you have set your sights on a goal, make sure you go all in and back yourself 100%
*As this was a Goggins event I thought I would use his suggestion in his book ‘Cant Hurt Me’ and file my challenge review as an AAR, After Action Review.
4x4x48 – After Action Report
Establish the Intent:
The 4x4x48 is a training tool that David Goggins (DG) has been using for however many years – I don’t know. I first heard about it while listening to Jessie Itzler’s book ‘Living with a Seal” as DG puts Jessie through it in the book.
Its a simple format: Run 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours. If you can’t run you do your chosen alternative activity for 45/60 mins instead.
It became an event that people took part in last year but because of work etc I didn’t even consider it. I first talked about doing it this year with my very good friend Chris James in January – as I knew he’d be up for it and probably already mentally signed up. I then sat down to discuss it with Carl, my husband, at the beginning of Feb (as he would have to take over dog walking duties etc, plus it would just be generally disruptive to his weekend) and once it was clear he was on board I was committed.
Up until the start of Lockdown 1 (23/03/21) my running was pretty ok. I was training for my IronMan and had been running a marathon or Ultra a month since September. I’m not a fast runner but I’m pretty good at staying the course and I’m a stubborn bitch so I will get the distance done. However, as soon as Lockdown hit I stopped running as I wore myself out doing so many online classes trying to keep my fitness business going. That has levelled out as this Covid situation has progressed but I hadn’t run more than 22 miles in any one month, with a couple months registering a big fat zero!
My intent for the event was simple… Align with David Goggins (he started at 8pm Friday, which meant 4am Saturday here) despite it being a pig time wise and finish It. And finish it injury free, with minimum recovery required. I had no pacing goals. Speed, Cadence, Pace etc were not my concern. The aim is to run each lap as a zone 2 run to minimise stress.
Outline the Performance
I met my goal and completed every one of the 12 runs. I stuck to the timing schedule and completed the event as prescribed. Run times ranged from 44min18 to 52min56. I achieved the goal of maintaining a zone 2 HR as much as possible. There were instances of walking to either get out of zone 3, or just because I needed to walk. Again, pace was not part of my game plan so this was not an issue.
Report on the Learning
Positives/ What went well
I met the objective. I completed the challenge and am injury free. Recovery is looking good so far, 16 hours post event finish.
I ran every lap on my own, testing my true mental grit. I wanted to see what happens when its just me. No eyes on me, no one to cajole me alone, no one to cheer me on. I realised that all the things I say in relation to mindset, grit etc are really true. I don’t just talk the talk, I do actually walk the walk.I am proud of myself for this.
While I ran every lap on my own I did have the best pit crew at home. Carl made it so that I didn’t have to think about anything other than running and what to do during the down time. He had coffee, tea, baths waiting as required and made everything that little bit easier.
Forming a team with my 3 fellow badasses was a great idea. We quickly became Team NBR, No Bling Required – which sums up our ethos quite well. We were not together physically but supported each other via our WhatsApp group. The pre run check ins and check outs reminded me I was part of something bigger than just my efforts. Although it was a solo mission, we were still there for each other as all good team people are.
Changing up the route where possible (i.e. during daylight hours) helped break the monotony. (It still got boring though)
Finding two different 1 mile loops that started at my house made me feel safer during night ops, but also gave me at least a little bit of choice.
Kit choices were smart. I have done enough other events to know how to dress for running in all weathers I am fully aware that you need to stay warm and that, once you get cold, it is too late. In the cold icy nights, layers are your friend. I also had the right clothing for running in the dead of night plus a second head torch and spare batteries.
Creating an event schedule that tracked the run times, plus essential warm up timings, hydration requirements and carb/protein intakes ensured I didn’t miss anything key, meaning I enhanced my goal of finishing injury free and minimising my recovery time.
Forming an UK event facebook group (Goggins 4x4x48 Challenge UK (Unofficial) https://www.facebook.com/groups/230741878545765 with Chris, which grew quicker than either of us expected, gave us a sense of community and allowed us to connect with other people who actually get shit done, rather than just talk about it. These are the people I want to know and hopefully even learn from.
Deciding to add a fundraising element, as a team, meant that we got to put something good out in to the world. No member of the team usually does any of the events we do (Obstacle Courses, Marathons/Ultras, Triathlons, Sportive’s etc) We do them purely to test ourselves, or just to have fun with our friends in the mud. We are always asked “oh, why are you doing that? Is it for charity?” so we decided to add that element to this challenge. Not because we needed it, but just because we figured that, even if we raise only a few £££, that has to be a good thing. We all know people that have been effected by this past year so chose Mind, the Mental Health Charity as our benefactor. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/liza-chris-pete-4x4x48
Negatives/What went wrong
The week of the event was planned as a Taper week but I got taken down ill on the Monday with a fever and spent the next 3 days in bed unable to work or really even move. I went for a Covid test Wednesday morning but luckily that came back negative. It was left as a down to the wire decision as to whether I would participate or not.
Lack of run training. Having decided for sure a month before the event that I would definitely take part, I ramped up my run training. I broke every rule in the book about how to increase volume etc and my lack of talent as an endurance athlete showed itself after the first 24 hours. Luckily talent was not required as I had the mental grit to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. Coming from a CrossFit background helped the lack of run training not become an issue as my general fitness carried me through.
Felt nauseous on both 8pm runs. I have examined my food diary and the break between the 4pm and 8pm run is when I ate most solid food. It is clear I have not yet built up the endurance athletes ability to consume food… and I def should not have had that extra pizza slice on the Saturday!
Finding a way to make the 3 hours pass in between runs, once you have stretched, foam rolled etc gets tough, especially the 9pm to midnight gap!
Inability to sleep. A lot of people in the group were talking about getting their heads down in between runs, and some saying the key to success was sleep gaps. I managed a grand total of 4 and a half hours sleep from 3am Saturday to 1:30am Monday. This isn’t a massive downer for me as I am able to function on little sleep, if and when required – as long as this isn’t too often. This is because I abide by the main rules all year round – get 8 hours sleep, hydrate like its your job and fuel your body for what you want it to do. Getting these basics right massively improves your chances of success, in all situations.
Provide a Future Outlook
If participating in this event again next year the only real thing I will do differently is ensure that my running is on point way in advance of the event. Now that I have completed it relatively stress free I would take it to the next level, increase the difficulty and the obvious way to do this would be to push the pace and set myself specific targets for each run.
I enjoyed the event the way I did it, for me the challenge was definitely more physical than mental. At no point did I question whether to get moving, ready for the next run… I did have a small negative moment after the penultimate run (8pm) as midnight seemed so far away and I just wanted to go out and get it over with. Having to hang out and wait for 3 hours began to annoy me, a lot!
Knowing that I can mentally handle it the way I did it I would push the envelope and see if I can hold on to that if I make it tougher. I saw the DG changed it up although I only saw his 11th leg, where ehe did 45 minutes of Jumping Jacks… maybe this is an idea to play with. There are many options, IF, I decide to do it again.
Hopefully, if I do do it again, these crazies will be right there with me… maybe even in person if the world sorts itself out.
Improve your running, get in the Zone… Zone 2 that is!
Let me preface this by saying if you are already a Zone 2 convert then this post is not for you as you have already learned the secret and it would be a pretty safe bet to assume you are reaping the benefits.
However, it seems lockdown has pushed a lot more people to get outside and get running. I’m guessing a good percentage of these will not continue to run when they can get back to their old routines but some will. Some will have started to find that place where running starts to suck a little less and actually becomes something (almost) enjoyable.
Maybe thats you, or maybe you’ve been a runner for a long while now but you’ve never heard of Zone 2 or you’ve heard of it but not bothered to look into what it actually means. Well lucky for you, I’m going to break it down and make it real simple for you.
Zone 2 training is probably the best tool available to improve your running, especially if you want to get faster over longer distances. This is also the perfect solution for those of you that struggle to breathe properly whilst running.
Zone 2 refers to heart rate zone 2 so in order to unlock this magic you will need a heart rate monitor, preferably of the chest strap variety (as these are way more accurate than the monitor in the watch on your wrist).
Your Heart Rate Zones
Zone 1 – 65% to 79% Zone 2 – 80% to 89% Zone 3 – 90% to 94% Zone 4 – 95% to 99% Zone 5 – 100% +
% of what ????
I know, I know.. the next question is % of what exactly and the answer is your Lactate Threshold.
It is better to work off your Lactate threshold rather than Max Heart as this gives better results for running performance and it is easier to work out your Lactate Threshold than Max Heart Rate; no Max Heart Rate is not 220 minus your age. It’s a calculation used as it’s better than nothing but wildly inaccurate for a lot of people and doesn’t take into account he myriad of factors that affect your heart rate.
What is my Lactate Threshold?
Put as simply as possible the lactate threshold is defined as the fastest pace you can run without generating more lactic acid than your body can utilise and reconvert back into energy. I’m sure you’ve all experienced that uncomfortable burning in the muscles when working at high exertion. That burn is lactic acid!
How do I calculate my Lactate Threshold
With an uncomfortable 20 minute max effort run. This must be completed while feeling rested and refreshed – Do not do this under fatigue! Here are the steps to follow…
1) Ensure you can record your run on a device that will record your heart rate for your 20 minute effort.
2) Put your heart rate monitor on (if you have a chest strap)
3) 10 minute warm up run. Gentle pace but with 2 or 3 sprint intervals that spike your heart rate as high as you can. Ensure the last spike allows for 2 minutes easy recovery. Do not record this warm up on your watch or if you do make sure it can be separated from your 20 minute effort. You do not want heart rate data from your warm up mixed in with the data from your 20 minute effort.
4) 20 minute max effort run. Basically ensure your watch starts when you start and run as hard as you can for 20 minutes. Distance is not important, only time and your effort. Stop the watch after 20 minutes. If you do not go as hard as you can the data will not be accurate, which means your work following this test will not yield the best performance improvement possible. Make sure you give this your all. It will hurt, it will not be any kind of fun but it is important and necessary.
5) Recover! Make sure you take some time to walk off the effort. Please do not finish the 20 minutes and then just collapse on the ground. Take a few minutes, walk around the park/block. whatever.
6) Workout your Lactate Threshold – yay… at last I hear you say, and it’s really simple; Your Lactate Threshold = your AVERAGE Max heart rate for the 20 minute effort.
Now, you add Zone 2 runs into your programme. Some of the best runners and endurance athletes do nearly all their training in Zone 2. All you do is go for your planned run and keep your heart rate in Zone 2.
Sounds easy huh? ell, it is easy but it is also hella frustrating when you first start out. It’ll be frustrating as I can can pretty much guarantee you will end up walking a lot because as soon as you run your heart rate shoots into zone 3 and above. I usually advise people to start with 5k. If you haven’t got to that distance yet then you do whatever you can.
The key to Zone 2 training is patience and perseverance. Because you end up walking a lot in the beginning many, many runners give up, claiming it can’t be doing any good. Oh how wrong they are. For maybe the first month it might feel like a pointless exercise but just hold on, good things come to those who wait.
Once you manage that first 5k where you can run the whole way and that heart rate stays in the right place you are well and truly on your way. You will soon find you can run that 5k at your old pace but in Zone 2, where it feels soooo much easier than it used to. Then you start increasing distance and soon you are running long distance, at a great pace, all in Zone 2 where you feel comfortable and in complete control.
Don’t Get to Comfortable
Just remember to retest your Lactate Threshold every 3 months or so. The heart is a muscle and like every muscle, the more you train it the fitter it gets.
To continue getting great results you must ensure you are working with accurate information.
Body Comp Stats Weight: 76.1kg (+0.5kg) Body Fat %: 28.3 (-0.6) Muscle %: 33.8 (+0.4)
Mon: 12:15pm Total Body Conditioning
Come on, you know it by now… Monday = Row, Bike Ski 🙂 Today it was 1 min Row, Bike, Ski, 2 min, 3 min, 4min and back down. No rest and, as those that mentioned this found out, no sympathy either!
Mon: 1pm 20 min Core Conditioning
Another go at Eliud Kipchoge’s core routine (taken from his training camp for the 2 hour attempt) which takes roughly 10 minutes and then 10 minutes of GHD, Sit Up, Russian Twist, V Up work.
Tue: 12:15pm FTP Test (Take 2)
It isn’t really advisable to do two FTP tests in two weeks but I wanted to validate my Ramp Test result with a 20 minute Test and I really wanted to do it on a Concept Two Bike -Erg. Luckily my Coaches recently purchased one and very kindly let me have some quality time with it.
Man, does it burn!!! My test result was very slightly less than last weeks Ramp Test but I kinda expected that so I wasn’t disappointed. I’m excited to see what I can achieve when I retest in 12 weeks time 🙂 Toby and I were going to do a second workout, something called Acid Bath (I will explain more when we do it) but he informed me that we were postponing that joy as he was still a bit broken from his session yesterday. The only good thing about this was that I could go all out on the FTP test without worrying about what was coming next.
Wed: 6:45am Indoor Cycle Class and 2 mile Run
Certain things are becoming routine and coaching my class then heading straight out with Gary for a quick out and back run is one of them. I am a believer in routine being the enemy but my indoor cycle changes week on week and you can’t beat a brick session when preparing for a triathlon.
Wed 1pm PT with my Coach, Kerry
The focus today was on building leg strength and power so say hello to Bulgarian Split Squats, with a barbell. 5 sets of 5, with a little interlude from Toby informing me these were the thing that fucked him up! Obviously I wasn’t doing them anywhere near as heavy as he was, plus I wasn’t doing any of the other stuff he did with it so I was pretty sure I would be ok… and I was. I mean, don’t misunderstand, it was hard work and my glutes were on fire in that way that you are very aware of your ass for the next 24 hours but I was ok.
Thu: 9:30am Indoor Cycle
It was week 8 of my indoor cycle programme; Unbreakable, a tough race – climb – race pyramid session and one of those sessions that I was cursing myself for creating at certain points.
Thu: 6:30pm Double Coach By Colour Indoor Cycle
I hit the training jackpot this evening. Rather than coaching a class then participating in a class I was asked to cover the second class meaning I got to control the programme. The first class stuck to the programme so, second shot at Unbreakable (I was not the only person cursing me this time!) and then I chose to bring back one of my favourite 2019 sessions called Relentless… which is exactly what it sounds like. A brutal mix of racing and hills that simply didn’t let up.
Fri: Unplanned Rest Day
Again, my Friday plans went awry but like last week, because I had coached an Insanity, LBT and Tabata class all by 10:15am I wasn’t too worried. I was also aware that next Monday is Hell Session day so an extra rest day isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Sat: Planned Rest Day
Sun: 7:30am Pool Swim and Coach By Colour Indoor Cycle Class
I made up for my missing swim by hitting the pool early but I guess other people had a similar idea because wow was the pool busy. But, this turned out to be a good thing as I had a lightbulb moment while following an older lady up and down the lane towards the end of the session. I realised that swimming had suddenly got easier and it was simply because I had slowed my stroke.
I remembered things that I had learned a long time ago and clearly forgotten. Its like rowing… power over speed. Unfortunately I figured this out at the end of the session so I’m excited to get back in the pool and test out my re-learned knowledge.
Quick change and straight up to the cycle studio. I had 30 minutes before the class so I got to put in a decent amount of time in the saddle. I wasn’t coaching this class so I was able to just focus on the work and nothing else. My training plan had me doing a 40 mile ride and by the end of the class I’d hit 37 so not too bad at all. Hopefully the weather changes soon and I can actually get outside.
Body Comp Stats My weigh in is on a Sunday morning at the end of each week and as we were out the door at 6am on Sunday for an Ultra race I didn’t weigh in!
Mon: 12:15pm 6 Hour Hell Session
Last Monday of each month between now and the IronMan is Hell Session Day 🙂 Workout 1: 6 rounds of 30 cal Ski Erg and 15 Double 10kg DB Front Squats. Rest 1:1. Workout 2: Accumulate 5 Minute Wall Sit (total time to achieve = 7:26) Workout 3: Accumulate 10 Minute in Dead/Active Hang off rig (I broke this into 2 sessions doing the last 4 minutes after workout 5). Attacked this Tabata style hanging for 20 secs, dropping for 10 secs and repeating. Workout 4: Build to a heavy set of 5 Deadlifts and then 5 x 5 @ 80% – this one was cut short as my back wasn’t playing. At 45kg I could feel my back pulling despite good technique so not worth pushing through. Workout 5: 8 Rounds of approx 1km run loop and 15 squats… in my weight vest! This one was done in the pouring rain and one of my favourite workouts as I love running in the rain. That doesn’t mean it was easy, I just really liked it.
Workout 6: 3k Assault Bike + 50 Bar Facing Burpee 6k Assault Bike + 40 Bar Facing Burpee 9k Assault Bike + 30 Bar Facing Burpee 12k Assault Bike + 20 Bar Facing Burpee 15k Assault Bike + 10 Bar Facing Burpee Total time = 1:50:35 This workout was the worst thing my coach, Kerry, has ever programmed for me. I told her as much and she looked very pleased with herself. Maybe if I had done it first it would not have been so bad and pretty much after finishing it I was considering when I would do it again to test that theory!
Tue: Rest Day
Wed: 6:45am Indoor Cycle Class + 2 mile run
Same as usual, coach a 45 min cycle class and head out the door for a run. Not much more to say really 🙂
Wed: 1pm Pull Up and Push Up work
Again, with my friend Amy we worked through 5 as slow as possible Negative Pull Ups, a 10 minute Pull Up EMOM of 3 strict banded reps and a 10 minute Push Up EMOM.
Thu: 9:30 Indoor Cycle Class
Week 5 of my programme sees the return of the Power Pyramid, the first indoor cycle session I ever created and 5 years later it still forms an integral part of the periodised programme. It is a brilliant session for increasing both aerobic and anaerobic fitness and improving recovery. Who doesn’t want that.
Thu: 6:30 Coach by Colour Indoor Cycle Class
Power Pyramid take 2… oh my god I nearly died on the final round but the Coach By Colour system is a great motivator, especially when you are up on a platform with the entire class able to see if you turn down, slow down or give up.
Fri: Rest Day
Another extra rest day this week in preparation for the South Coast 50 on Sunday… a 50km+ ultra race.
Sat: Rest Day
Sun: 8am South Coast 50 Race
5 repping the Forza Fitness Squad today 🙂 It was quite simple… start is on the pier in Littlehampton and, via a self directed route with check points/aid stations roughly every 7 miles, run 33 miles back to Portchester Castle. I had a really lovely day on this run. Unfortunately the boy (My husband, Carl) voluntarily withdrew at mile 23 in Emsworth, but still hit his longest run distance to date so went home happy.
As you can probably tell from these training logs I don’t actually do what most would call traditional training runs, partly because I find them quite boring but mainly because of the way I train I don’t feel the need. I don’t care enough about pace and times to give up my other training (or time at home with the boy and the dog) to hit the pavement. I run for enjoyment enjoy. I can comfortably run decent distances and thats enough for me. I get asked quite a lot about why (and how) I rock up to these endurance events without properly training for them and my answer is that I do train for them, just not how most people expect. If I was more competitive, or cared more, or wanted to focus just on running, I could probably become a much better runner but honestly, who cares. I definitely don’t. In a year, a month, or even a years time will it matter how fast I ran this race? No it won’t, What I will remember is having a brilliant day out with my husband and my friend Claire, who, until this race I hadn’t spent any one on one time with and now know much better.. I am very grateful for this and means more to me than a time.
Body Comp Stats Weight: 75.6kg (-0.4kg) Body Fat %: 29 (+/- 0) Muscle %: 33.4 (+/- 0)
Mon: 12.15pm Total Body Conditioning
10 Rounds of 40 seconds on 20 seconds off; Row, Bike Ski, Rest. That rest minute meant that each 40 seconds of work should be a hard effort. I tried but it got tough!!
Mon: 1pm 10 min Pull Up EMOM + 10 min Push Up EMOM
Same as last week but we (meaning me and my friend Amy, who is doing this extra work with me) have added in some negative phase work before the banded work to try and fast track our Pull Up progress.
Tue: 12pm Pool Swim
Today was a CrossFit day according to my training plan but I decided to go back to the pool and put a bit of extra work in on my swimming. Just a short session focussing on trying to improve my breathing, working specifically on breathing on every 3rd stroke. I’m fine on 2 but if I do 3 stroke alternating sides, after 50 meters my lungs feel like they want to explode. It got a little easier but it needs a lot of work.
Wed: 6:45am Indoor Cycle Class
I do love coaching indoor cycle and no matter how tired or sluggish I feel when I wake up by the time I start this session I am buzzing. Tracking my performance this year I can already see that I definitely don’t perform as well at 6:45am as I do later in the day.
Wed: 7:30am 2 Mile Run
Straight out of the spin studio on to the road for a little run. Training is usually better with someone else and this was no exception. My friend, PT client and fellow Ironman in training (he has already done one though) Gary did my Indoor Cycle class and then kept me company on the run. I do love my friends :0)
Wed: 1pm PT with my Coach, Kerry
Does your Coach make you cry with laughter during your sessions? Mine does! We did some strength work, specifically Strict and Push Press, and between lifts she was telling me a story that had me howling with laughter. Thank goodness, as the lifting was enough to make me cry with frustration… but so far I’ve only cried over a deadlift and I don’t want to add to that list! I know I lost a lot of strength due to “ribgate” but it’s still a little frustrating to realise how much. At least knowing where I am means I can figure out what I want to do about it. Before I signed up for the IronMan I had planned on focussing on the Barbell and improving all of my lifts. I think this will be the first thing I do after… once we get back from our trip to the CrossFit Games.
Thu: 9:30am Indoor Cycle Class
Ohhhh the hamstrings were feeling the workload today. I got asked recently if, as the instructor, I ever turn it down and coast through the class. The honest answer is no I don’t. I ask my class participants to give me 100% so it only seems fair I give them the same. I know that I find it difficult to engage with an indoor cycle class if the coach isn’t in it with me. If I have a reason to take it a bit easy I tell the class beforehand. I coached a 1hr class the day before the London Marathon. I said to the group I was heading straight to London after the class so I would be just having an gentle ride (what I call a “Do as I say, not as I do” class) but I got wrapped up in the class and ended up leaving a sweaty mess as usual.
Thu: 11:45am Pool Swim
It was time to increase the distance with 3 x 400m metre intervals with a 3 minute rest in between. I alternated between 2 and 3 stroke breathing so that I could focus a little more on distance and pace. It still isn’t what I would call smooth or easy but it did feel a little better.
Thu: 6:30pm Coach By Colour Indoor Cycle Class
Oh my god, I struggled towards the end of this one. It’s week 4 of my programme, which means ‘The Scorpion’, an intense, progressive interval session which improves active recovery. Twice in one day was tough. Enough said really!
Thu: 7:30pm 2 mile Zone 2 Run
Rather than doing a double in the spin studio I swapped the second class for another little brick session of cycle and run. This time the Boy (meaning the Husband) kept me company and to be honest, to have 20 minutes of side by side running, just the two of us, was pretty lovely. We train at CrossFit together quite a lot, participate in OCR together quite a lot but hardly ever is it just the two of us. Hopefully there will be a bit more of this.
Fri: Unplanned Rest Day
Today was supposed to be a TBC and CrossFit day but after coaching my three classes at Nuffield Chichester I decided to take the rest of the day off. I tweaked my glute during Insanity at 6:45am and if a client had done that I would be telling them to go home, stretch and look after themselves. So, I listened to my own advice and did just that.
Sat: Pool Swim
My friend and client Anna wanted a bit of company in the pool so she picked me up at 7:15am (!) (Saturday is normally my rest day which means I lie in until about 7:30/8am) for the lane swimming session. Just an easy recovery session for me consisting of 800m all done in breaststroke.
Sun: 8am Bike Ride
The boy was happy to stay in bed with the dog so I was on my own today. God, it is a bit dull on your own! I’m also not overly familiar with cycle routes, roads etc so headed out to see if I could do 30 miles without getting lost. I chose a fairly straightforward (and straight) out and back but after 9 miles my hamstring started to really pull so I turned round earlier than planned and headed home. Slightly annoying but with a 6 hour hell session tomorrow and a 50k ultra run on Sunday it is all about the long game.
* I am not including the classes I coach in this training log but for reference I coach 3 indoor cycle, 2 Insanity, 2 Boxercise, 1 LBT and 1 Tabata class a week between Tuesday and Friday.
Once again plans went awry but at this stage in the game I am not worried about it. I’m lucky enough to be a part of an Accountability Group with 5 awesome guys I met doing Tough Mudder. We check in with each other, discuss workouts, training plans, share anything we think will be useful, and talk about David Goggins… a lot! One of the things we’ve started doing recently is setting a personal weekly goal and due to how things have been going I have made mine for next week really simple; Train 6 days out of 7 as last week I only hit 5. My training plan is always 6 days on, 1 day off with Saturday as my rest day so to make sure the fundamentals are right this week that is my main focus, rebuild my routine. Yes it has only been a week but stuff can start to slide really easily if you let it and I am just making sure that doesn’t happen.
Mon: 12:15pm Total Body Conditioning
Mon is always a pure Row, Bike, Ski day and todays formula involved 3 rounds of Tabata on each piece of equipment. Simple and highly effective.
Mon: 1pm CrossFit Class
I was on my own for class today which was tough as for a workout like this one it is good to have someone to go against. I really love rowing next to someone really strong as it pushes me to go that little bit more. Class format was straight forward; 10 x 250m sprints, rest 1:1 (meaning rest as long as each sprint takes). Fastest sprint 51.9, Slowest 54.9. It was a true slog and suckfest but Coach Toby turned ‘The Prodigy’ up loud (one benefit of being in class by yourself – you can own the playlist if you ask nicely, although I didn’t need to ask, Toby knows me that well!) and I was away 🙂
Tue: 12pm Zone 2 5k run
My zone 2 (low aerobic) heart rate ranges from 140 to 156 and for the first two miles I could hold a steady run and stay in this zone. The last mile went completely to hell and I seemed to be walking every minute as the moment I started running I was pushing into the high aerobic zone. Very frustrating but I am trusting the process and just going with it.
Tue: 1pm CrossFit Class
Today was a repeat of an Open workout, 14.5 and 16.5. A grim couplet of Thursters and Bar Facing Burpees. It was sweaty, it hurt but my goal was just to keep moving and get the thing done and I made the time cap. Job done.
Tue: 2:15pm A Harry Workout
I was rehydrating in the social area at the gym post class, everyone else had left and I was about to get my stuff together and leave when Coach Harry looked at me and said just two words “Bike Sprints?” Me being me, my only response was “how many?’ and that was that. 6 rounds of 90 sec work/ 90 sec rest, completing 15 cals on the Assault Bike and as many 10kg DB Power Cleans as possible in the remaining time. It was my first time working out with Harry and I was determined to put up a fight on the bike so as not to get left behind. It was tough but fun. For some reason Assault Bike and Dumbbells are a favoured combination of mine.
Wed: 1pm PT Session
Dogshit Deadlifts today! Yes I know I am getting over a cracked or broken rib or whatever but we did deadlifts not even a month a go and I did better than I did today. The plan was 5 x 5 but I didn’t get that far. 65kg went up fine, 5 times, no issues. Add 5kg and for whatever reason I could not pick 70kg up off the floor. Last time, I was picking up 80 for 5 and my rib is better now that it was then so no idea what was going on.The only thing I know for sure is, it was a weak day! Second part of my session went much better; 45kg Deadlifts and Prowler Pushes. Talk about a lactic acid quad burn.
Thu: 12pm Zone 2 5k run
Another run where the first 2 miles were great but the third mile was spiking heart rates and lots of walking. This has to get better though right?!
Thu: 1pm CrossFit Class
All about the Back Squat today and after my shit day with the barbell yesterday lets just say I was feeling a little nervous about how this was going to go. 5 sets of 3, building to a heavy 3 for the day. Since ‘rib gate’ I haven’t tested my back squat, or any squat that much, but in July I hit 65kg which is a good average for me. I am pleased to say that I hit 65kg today, although I took my time getting there. I hit 60kg ok, put 65 on the bar, did one rep, decided I didn’t like it so took it off again. Hit 60kg again, had a word with myself, loaded up 65 and hit my 3 reps. What was all the fuss about? It’s a barbell, I love it but I am not confident with it so yes, sometimes I make a fuss! Finished the session with some accessory work in the shape of 3 x 20 15kg DB 24″ Step Ups.
Thu: 2pm Playtime with Jade
I was trying to decide what else to do when I noticed Jade at the back of the box with a barbell out. We’d already done 30 burpees as it’s her 30th birthday today and the tradition in our gym is that you do birthday burpees. I managed to coerce all of the 1 o clock class in to doing them with her as who wants to do 30 burpees alone on their birthday. I ended up joining her and her barbell and we worked our way through sets of power cleans and power snatch. Next up was 30 Pull Ups, then 30 Push Ups and finally some skipping. Happy Birthday Jade 🙂
Fri: 12:15pm Total Body Conditioning
Another ‘made up on the spot and ingenious session’ by head Coach Toby involving a 10 min Assault Bike Test, Goblet Squats, Max Effort Rows and a Team Challenge of Ski Erg Cals and Burpees. Just like last week, I had planned to jump in the 1pm class but was completely done in so skipped it and just helped judge the guys doing The Open.
Sat: Rest Day
I had planned to do something today as the Forza Fitness squad were going out in the evening and I knew that Sunday would most likely be a write off. But, the day was busy, no workout was done so, rest day. There were a couple of burpees on the dance floor that night though!
Sun: Rest Day
And here is where it all fell apart. Sat night some of us made plans to train together today. The night wore on, more cocktails were drunk but we were still talking, and fist bumping, about training. Roll on Sunday and everything is quiet… no messages are being exchanged, everyone is busy, my dog went back to school (advanced classes as well 🙂 ), the boy and I had an afternoon nap, dinner time rolls around and it is clear that nothing resembling a workout is going to happen. No biggie though, last night was worth it and come 2020 the alcohol will be cut completely. I barely drink as it is and these nights happen less than once every 2 months so I’m not beating myself up about it. Whats the point. It’s done, it’s happened. Tomorrow is a new day, a new week and I have my goal. Train 6 days out of 7, no excuses. So I will do just that and have no remorse about 1 missed workout!