Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sometimes Rest is Good

Well I packed to run in Nepal, but all I did was eventuall spend over three days in planes and less than 44 hours in Katmandu, so last weeks lack of training I actuall put down as a chance to get some needed Rest have been working hard in the last few weeks and my muscles were complaining, felt almost like a groin strain and now after the rest that is totally gone.

So hit the gym today for a double session, early morning spin class with a patriotic Insrructor who claimed that with Memorial Day coming up we were going to have Israeli Music, it was like a bad restaurant turned up loud and the whole class was flatter than an omelet in the end , but after my rest week probably best .

Second session was Eliptical 40 minuutes at Intervals followed by twenty minutes of weights and a 500 m swim so in all a solid day

Looks like my first tri is set for June 17 in Tel Aviv , have to get Medicals done and join the Tri Association here, looking forward to it

Monday, April 24, 2006

You know when you are a runner

Tel Aviv Airport 4am

Being sent on assignment means that your training can suffer, so tonight when I was told I was going to Kathmandu Nepal to cover the riots and civil unrest. So what is the first thing I pack , my running clothes and swimmers, hey I want to get in a Mal Hotel Tri in Nepal, will just have to avoid the curfews, tear gas, rubber bullets, police and army not to mention the population intent on overthrowing the King.

Yesterdays training was the standard 15km long run in the early hours down in the park, moving along in sub 6 which felt good, followed by setting the hash and then running the hash in the afternoon, not only did I have to run I also had to run back and find my footpod for my 625 HRM which managed to get dislodged and drop off in the forest.

Man I was sore and stiff this morning but managed a core workout down at the Gym

Life goes on, now it is a day and half on aeroplanes

Friday, April 21, 2006

Going to Gaza

Going to Gaza

Now I have a reason to have a Rest Day, well three actually.

1. I am sore from playing Aussie Rules Footy yesterday in the park.
2. It is a Public Holiday for the end of Passover and the Gym does not open till nine am
3. I actually do have to go to Gaza and the walk of shame to get into Gaza is a workout in its own right.

I used to train in Gaza, I would run from the Hotel, down to the then Chairman Arafat’s compound, where the soldiers would raise their guns indicating that I should turn, then back past the fish market, past the donkeys waiting outside the UN Food Distribution Centre and along the Beach by the Refugee Camp, aptly named Beach Camp.

Those days are a long past memory now, the risk of kidnapping in Gaza is a extremely high, as the situation down there deteriorates into anarchy and desperation, there are too many reasons to list here, and those thoughts and musings will be on by Unholyland blog.
Last couple of days, I have been training hard, with emphasis on getting these core exercises down, At the Gym every hour on the hour they run a fifteen minute mini class, where the Instructor puts you thru a hellacious program that works the entire ab’s area, keeping this up you never know I might even one day have the elusive six pack.

Taking a rest from doing extensive running, have cut out the junk runs, whereby I would go out for junk km’s, they were runs without focus and I think were actually doing me more harm than building my fitness.

I still like to concentrate on three running workouts a week

1. The Saturday LONG Run with emphasis on Progression of Pace
2. A Hills session
3. A Track workout, 400m repeats at the moment, will work up to Yasso 800’s later in the year, when the marathon program actually starts

Now that I have added Spinning, Eliptical, Strength & Core and Swimming the training towards my first Triathlon I think has greatly improved my fitness in the last month.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sunday and the First Core Workout

Everything you read tells you that the most important inner strength to holding form and improving my fitness is to develop a stronger core.

What is "The Core" well in essence a new way of saying Ab's , strong Ab's hold your core together and the Gym here has a great program whereby on the hour every hour they run a mini session of fifteen minutes of Abs workout , simple and brutal but at the end you can feel the difference

I had started with an Eliptical session which I wanted to use to shake the cobwebs from yesterdays legs , a neat piece of machinery that has no impact physically and I use different muscles from running and spinning - approx 3 - 4 kms cannot remember but a good thirty minutes before the core.

Then down to the pool for another 500m , today I was determined to get a 500 in but with the first 100m freestyle, I know taht I suck in swimming at the moment BUT thinking back I was a guy who could not run around the block without collapsing and I take that into my swimming - the 100 m freestyle was painful but then I could see from the time that what ever reason I come up with it is faster than breast , my bad 100 free was done in 2:39 and my other 400 times breast sucked 2:50 to 3:00 which was even worse than yesterday

Finished feeling really pumped and strong in the shoulders which was a nice burn

Run Spin Swim Run

Always enjoy Saturdays, for they are the big training day of the week and this Saturday was no exception.

Perhaps the best wisdom I have heard in years of training came later in the day when listening to a Zen & the Art of Triathlon Podcast when they were talking about training partners and different levels of intensity, the key word is Mutual Respect and that is something that I am going to work on.

The day began with a long run 15 km in 1:24;00 , for the first time in weeks in felt like a solid run a pace the slowest km was a 6:08 and the pace for my last three km's was 5:46 , 5:35 and a 5:15 which was great to feel strong enough to turn the screws up at the end and finish strong which was the plan to pick up the pace at the end of a long - start slow manintain the pace and then push at the end. Heart rate average 115 Max 135 bpm

Then it was off to Spin (really want to bike but the roads are to dangerous here to realistically go out and ride without a chase car blocking, which a lot of cycling groups do here.

So the Spin class was a full out push , even with some English thrown in so that I could actually track what was going on - really worked on cadeance and position on the bike managed to ramp the heart up to 151 bpm and could feel the burn in my legs for nearly 30 minutes at the end. Dripping with sweat I jumped off the bike and headed straight for the pool for a swim , a mini reverse Sprint triathlon which I am now really enjoying doing.

The swim was a steady 500m breaststroke with no freestyle today splits for each hundred were 2:32 . 2:44 , 2:48 , 2:40 , 2:40 , I am more than convinced that in Triathlons that my best strength is to keep with a solid breaststroke that I know I can maintain for a steady few km's

Now an hour or two break and out for another run , with the local Hash House Harriers Group, 7.2 km with lots of holds, my legs felt dead to start and very tired, finished first as the front running bastard which at the end of a workout day like today was very warming to know that I am feeling extremely toned and pumped at the moment.

Looking forward to a 10 km race in a few weeks and not to repeat the mistakes of my last 10km

Friday, April 14, 2006

Gym Assessment Day

Awesome run last night with the Thursday Knight Hash House Harriers , 10 km in the humidity which was turned on for the first time yesterday in Tel Aviv , summer is here now I look forward to the cold in December long hot training days ahead.

Finally managed to get to the Gym today for my assessment took along some heart rate readouts which seemed to blow the Instructor away with my low heart rate , my weight has gone up due to muscle mass increase , my clothes are fitting loose , fyi weight is up to 87 for the first time not worried about getting weight down BUT want to drop weight for Fall marathons so have time to work on that

Had my Body Fat measured and had two readings the first 10.4% based on Athletic reading and then again on a standard reading which came out high at 19.5% , Instructor calculated the median out at approx 14 % , so very happy with these figures and the comment that I do not need to loss weight

Taking a Rest Day today , listening to the body and preparing for a solid workout tomorrow , long run planning 15 km's slow then perhaps a spin class and swim enjoying the full training regime at the moment and keeping lots of effort in minimising impact injury

Thursday, April 13, 2006

THE MHT - Conclusion

Dubai Hotel Tri – Part #2

The One with the bike and swim

Jonathan insisted that since we had gone to the mall to see the snow, remember we are on the Desert in Dubai and I had been to the mall to watch people ski , not water ski – snow ski. Jonathan really wanted to see the Gold Souk, Souk being the Middle East word for shitty market area, but Souk sounds better than Market.

Ok OK Jonathan but after I have finished my Hotel Tri, my new aim and goal whilst being on the road at a decent hotel now is that I am going to do my own little Mini Triathlon, Swim in a short pool not designed for lap swimming, bike on a bad hotel gym bike bought by someone who had no idea what they were buying and run. Now I hope to get the run outside as I hate Dreadmills, but sometimes in the places I go I cannot run outside.

Now I do not have to do them in order, just in one day – swim at least 500 m (or rough estimate) bike 15 km and run at least 5km and that is the Mal Hotel Tri (MHT)

So before we headed out to the Souk, it was down to the Gym – Have you ever noticed that hardly anyone sweats on bikes at the gym its like a fashion accessory people sit there blank faced aimlessly turning the pedals with no effort or cadence and no sweat, hell after my 15 km there was a healthy pool of Mal salty water under the bike, heart rate pumped up and clothes wet. The dude next to me was like a statue on one of those sitting stationary bikes not even a bead of sweat but given the pace he was pedaling at I think he had done 3 km

Out and into the transition area (Ha ha give me a break Mal, changing into your Speedos in the mens changing room is not a Transition), BUT in a MHT: Change Rooms are Transitions. The Intercontinental Hotel in Dubai is not used to elite athletes like me competing on their premises.

Pool swim went well as can be expected with a bitch of a headwind kicking up chop on the pool; moved well, just have to try to push myself into more freestyle. Just that I know over a longer distance I will outpace any average Joe doing free style

OK another MHT finisher T-shirt in the cupboard.

Went to the Gold Souk, bought nothing walked around lots of gold, walked more got bored after ten minutes, taxi and back to the hotel for a beer

Hey have to celebrate another MHT

Arse back Elbows In

WEDNESDAY 12 April 13, 2006

Get your arse “back” Elbows in, relax the shoulders. arse back over the seat, not that far back just the thin bit of the seat between your legs, and of course turn your legs real fats nice and easy, concentrate on pulling up, do not mash , now these are things that my Spin Instructor would of said to me if I spoke to Hebrew or she spoke English.

One of these days I am going to be somewhere where I can actually understand a whole spin class, it is going to be fun to find out what actually is involved in Instructing a spin class, because the energy they have is phenomenal.

For the meantime I rely on Mo, to laugh at the look on my face gesture little hand signals as to when to turn the tension up and of course to move my arse back over the seat, but then again I do not wear one of those sweat bands that make you look like Olivia Newton John from the 1980’s Lets Get Physical Video, but then again would not miss a class together, there is nothing better than working out with her.

Rest Days Suck

TUESDAY 11 April 13, 2006

Do you resent the dreaded Rest Day more than 30 minute run on a “Dreadmill” in an airless gym next to someone talking loudly on their phone in a foreign language. I know we all need to rest to allow the body to get stronger, muscles to rebuild, twitches to get slow and fast, protein replaced and Glycogen stores back to optimal levels.

I know all these things, but cannot someone invent a pill that does “Rest” doubt it sort of like wishing for the weight loss pill that works or the instant hangover remover pill.

So today was Rest Day, nothing zip, f… all OK, being a good boy, surely an easy Elliptical workout and swim does not count.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

100 km Plus

Back from the desert and the snow, back to life here in Israel , arriving back Sunday I headed for a spin class in the evening which after being up since 2:45 am and having to go through four sets of Immigration and Customs made for a long day and a hard session. One good thing about the Dubai Trip was that I figured that on a stationary barge arse hotel it takes 30 minutes to cover 15 km , so I have gone back thru all my training records I have put 30 km's on all my spin class workouts so that has racked up the km's in my logs.

Neat way to add 100km's - all genuinely riden

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Dubai Long Run

Saturday morning Dubai, room service coffee and a banana from the fruit bowl. Then out the door Ipod on and cross the street to the river. Dubai is the commercial consumer capital of the world have no doubt this is where money comes to be spent.

The river is a classic blend of multi million dollar private yachts, refurbished dhows as restaurants for hotels, ten cent ferries for foriegn workers and commercial dhows loading everything from cooking oil to tyres.

The thing that hit me the most was the wind it was brutal, so i turned and headed into the wind not having a clue where the river would take me , had to run on pavers which felt hard and my shins later today will start to ache. The river meandered along getting more commercial and less tourist, past the Gold Souk and the river swung around a bend and ended at the Gulf, which was neat apart from the wind which got evener stronger, you could see the spray of the water breaking

Just kept pushing along at a steady 5.40 pace, heart rate in the 120's before I turned and headed back along the Gulf, starting to get thirsty and with no water in sight it was going to be long second half run back to the hotel, normally traffic is quiet for me on Saturday longs and I had forgotten what it is like to run with traffic , it sucks.

The wind just got stonger and it was a hard push along the Gulf, back to river and relief as I turned and had the wind at my back , man that felt good, felt very lonely doing the long by myself today, so used to running with friends

Life along the river had grown by the the time I was running back, 100% foreign workers no problems here with Immigration everyone is an Immigrant , I could of been in Bombay or Karachi.

Approached the hotel and by now my thirst was the overiding issue to be dealt with up to the Exec lounge OJ water and a banana

A nice 12 km , hot sweaty and smelly


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Waiting for the King

Amman Jordan

When I am busy I am very busy and when i am waiting , I just wait , hotel television kills me to death with boredom and repetition, going to the bar and drinking yourself into hangover and feeling like crap the next day is something of the past.

Today we are scheduled to fly down to Duba, all I have to do is a stand up outside the hotel where we are staying, Hyatt Amman the one that was bombed last November, we now stay on the 9th floor as far away as possible from the Ground Floor.

At some stage we might get to see the King, actually I just want to see the Queen

Hit the pool nice and early and I think I actually swam a km 960 m Breast Stroke 40 m Freestyle all I have to do is work towards reversing those numbers , Going to try and get another workout in later tonight in Dubai

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Amman Sprint

Wednesday 5th April 2006

Having only a few hours sleep and having to get up at 3am to get to the airport by 4am for a plane that departs at 7am makes any day a long day. Then when the flight takes only 23 minutes, yes Tel Aviv to Amman takes only 23 minutes, you spend longer taxing than the actual flight.

The Royal Jordanian Frequent Flyer credits you with having flown 80 miles this has to be one of the shortest international flights in the world.

Arriving at the hotel I had 45 minutes to get my act together and be ready down in the lobby to go, so what did I do well, this tri bug has bitten me big time and my goal now is to try and do a workout that is in effect a sprint Triathlon at every hotel I travel to in the Gym.

Now I am still actually trying to figure out how far to swim bike and run, more research is required, but I did get a 500m swim in the pool, so that is leg one done for the day this evening will be the bike and run, looking forward to seeing how my legs cope with the bike run transition.

7pm Local

Back to the gym, and onto (lets say a bike that was not bought by anyone who has any idea about Gym Equipment) the seat is designed for, to be polite someone with an extremely wide berth) But you take what you take in hotel gyms.

I had sat in the traffic today driving around Amman trying to find out if there was an official distance for a Sprint Triathlon, on my blackberry. It just confused me more as there were multiple combinations and computations. So I mentally agreed that a 15 km bike and 5 km run would be a good combination.

The bike leg went well cannot remember my time as my watch Polar 625X cannot be downloaded to my Apple Mac G4. I had worked up a good sweat and was mentally quite psyched for the run section also I could of forgone the run as I am absolutely knackered being up since 3am in the morning. But I wanted to see how my legs would handle the bike run transition.

Unfortunately people trying to twist their spines as they walked on the machines holding the handles in any combination occupied all the five treadmills.

This was my mental out, and I settled in for some core work on my ab’s, on a Swiss ball in the corner for decoration more than use.

Then I spotted a treadmill free and jumped on, ready to run “OK says left side of the brain you only have to do 2.5km (another distance I saw a few times on various web sites.

I settled in and the immediately noticed that the treadmill and watch were not in any correlation of accuracy, so I went by my watch.

I deliberately took a slow pace as I felt twinges in my hamstrings, and after a couple of km was really ready to throw the towel in at 2.5 km. But I am a stubborn soul and would of just cheated myself; I felt good and just chugged thru the km and did the 5km.

More than anything I felt good within myself and had met my goals for the day and the future, every new hotel on every trip time allowing “No Excuses” I aim to do a Sprint Tri, just got to find out the official distance

A good days training all told

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Simply Stu's Triathalon

If you are not into Running Podcasts then you are missing a fascinating new aspect to running and training. Runners and Triathletes around the world put their thoughts and ideas out there, and then you can download their mussings and listen to how other like minded people around the world are running and competing.

Simply Stu is one such podcast, a mad keen Triathlete from Wisconsin has put together a great podcast that offers insights into some of how the worlds top Triathletes train and compete. Then he came up with this idea of having all his listeners compete in there own parts of the world, in your own time doing your own thing as long as you swim run and bike in a weekend, then you are in.

Now i am a competitiive person to say the the least, one of my not so good traits but still thats me. So I took the challenge yesterday and in my own way did my first triathalon

First up was the regular long run on Saturday morning 16 km with the gang, the pace is now getting ridiculous, to try something new I got everyone into the Galloway method of running, whereby you run for 8 minutes then walk for one minute. More on this in a later blog. I was hoping that this would inspire Judith to put the pedal to the metal, all that happened is that she was slower in all due respects this stupid diet of hers is starting to really drag us down. Still I hope that in a week or so she will give up on this craze, start a proper diet and then her running should pick up.

After a rest and breakfast it was off to the gym , here for the bike leg of my tri I took a killer spin class and once again kicked my own butt big time. Have no idea how far you actually go in a spin class but at the pace i was at it was a damm fine distance.

Straight out of the class and into the pool for a 600m swim and thus my first tri was done. I had a great deal of pride in myself at the end of it and now have the bug to get into tri's over summer and use this as a boost to my running program.

All I have to do is let Stu know how i did and that the world just got another tri in the mix