Saturday, June 30

Spinning class - Pyramid SEZ

This is great for building leg strength - getting your "climbing legs". For a 45-min ride, repeat the pyramid loop three times; add another loop for an hour-long ride (add a few minutes extra for warming up and/or cooling down to bring it upto the full hour). Ideally, you should work to your limits (80-85% HRR) for the 36-min climb, without going above your lactate threshold (the "red line"). This allows you to keep going without a break, optimising your energy output (read: calories!). It's important to never lose your rhythm, keeping a steady cadence throughout, and never reduce that resistance.

If you're not sure of your limits or doubt whether you'd be able to finish the whole climb, try tackling the first loop at a comfortable level (say, 75% HRR), then add resistance for the second loop (to 80% HRR) and upping your effort level to 85% HRR for the final loop. This will give you a profile like the one below - gradually increasing in effort until you're working as hard as you can without going over your red line.

Warm up - 3 min
Pyramid loop:
Seated climb - 1 min
Standing climb - 1 min
Seated climb - 2 min
Standing climb - 2 min
Seated climb - 3 min
Standing climb - 3 min
Cool down and stretching - 6 min

HR Profile:

Harlem's nocturne - Alicia Keys
Tokyo - Steve Gibbs
One for you - James Holden
Playa Sol - Novacane vs. No One Driving
Light a rainbow - Tukan
On the move - Bartezz
Blast the speakers - Warp Brothers
Tomorrow - Dumonde
Open our eyes - Insigma
We can be like they are - JEC
Hablando - Ramirez
Easter song - A Man Called Adam

Wednesday, June 27

One for the birds!

Raaaaa! Volvic advert time again!

This time, George the volcano is making it tasty for the ladieeeees.

His birds like a twist with their wateeeerrrr....

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Spinning class - Power Intervals IEZ

This interval session will help build leg power, making it better able to handle sudden increases of effort and making them adapt to higher stress (resistance) loads. Use the first minute of each interval to build up to desired level, then maintain that intensity for the remainder of the interval. If you're feeling really strong, increase the effort level in the final minute. Important is to recover as much as possible in between efforts.

Warm up - 5 min
Interval set - repeat 6 times
Hard climb @ 80-92% HRR - 3 min
Recovery - 3 min
Stretching - 4 min

HR Profile:

Come home - Lil'Devious
I lift my cup - Gloworm
Le Maire de Venise - Tommy Hools
Don't you want me - Felix
Topo do mundo - Daniela Mercury
Insomnia - Faithless
You don't love me - Dawn Penn
Fuego - Bond
Passing through - Rafael Aragon
Greece 2000 - Three Drives
Don't know why - Norah Jones
Hungarian - Bond
B2 - Banco de Gaia

Come on world, I'll have you for breakfast!

Raaaaaaaaa! You've probably seen this, one of the funniest adverts I've seen in a long time.

It'll grab you by the conkers and make you want to shout "come on world, I'll have you for breakfast!"

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Friday, June 22

Spinning class - Pyramid IEZ

One of my hardest classes, judging by the members' reactions! Simple enough - descending intervals with equal recovery. First couple of intervals are manageable, as your body is able to take it. I find the 3-min interval is hardest as (a) your body is getting tired, (b) the interval is short enough for you to go 100% from the start, (c) it's long enough to push your limits, especially in the final minute, and (d) the music I chose for this interval just screams for a maximum effort! The final, 1-minute interval, is a 30-second climb with a final 30 second sprint (to the Mission Impossible theme tune) by picking up the cadence (leg speed) as much as possible. If you can manage more than 30 seconds, you're either Mario Cipollini, Alessandro Petacchi or... it could be you're just holding back!

Warm up - 4.5 min
Seated Flat - 5.5 min
Hard climb @ 80-92% HRR - 5 min
Recovery - 5 min
Hard climb @ 80-92% HRR - 4 min
Recovery - 4 min
Hard climb @ 80-92% HRR - 3 min
Recovery - 3 min
Hard climb @ 80-92% HRR - 2 min
Recovery - 2 min
Hard climb @ 80-92% HRR - 0.5 min
Sprint @ maximum effort - 0.5 min
Cool down and stretching - 6 min

HR profile:

Erin Shore (instrumental) - The Corrs
And voodoo - Block 16
Just let go - Petra & Co
Who's gonna stop the rain - Anastacia
Sunstroke - Chicane
A grand love theme - Kid Loco
Hungarian - Bond (this is the killer 3-min track!)
Red red wine - UB40
Galaxia - Moonman
Rolling thunder - Ride
The bait - Hans Zimmer (inc. the 30-second sprint)
B2 - Banco de Gaia

Rome Marathon, March 2007

This is my report of insanity in trying to achieve a sub-4 hour marathon at my first attempt!

I went there with my friend Darryl (Daz) Carter, an experienced marathon runner (and now Ironman), who had also been helping me train up for long distance running since September 2006.

Saturday: lovely warm day, spent mostly eating and watching the rugby. Despite the temptation to join the Irish drowning their sorrows at throwing away the 6 Nations and to help them celebrate St Patrick's Day, we had to keep our powder dry for the race.

Sunday: just for info, there were pacers with coloured balloons representing their finish time (3:45, 4:00, 4:15, etc.)

Pre-race: quite hard for me, as I couldn't wait to start my first marathon. Especially when I caught sight of some old geezer rubbing cream into his groin... and not stopping there. Gross! I felt my breakfast about to make a comeback but I managed to erase that image from my mind... urgh! My legs were really feeling good and I felt confident in my aim to go sub-4hr.

Start: Soooo many people! I haven't done London but I thought it would take me hours to get to the start line. Luckily we got under way pretty quickly, although I was stuck behind the 5:00 numpties - not good if I wanted to keep to a 28min pace for each 5Km. I absolutely refused to run behind someone wearing what looked like black Calvin Klein boxers (with the label on the outside!). In fact, I even ended up walking, as there was bottleneck after the first bend. Many of us started running off-piste to pass as many as possible in the first 2Km.

5Km - 27:43 (7689th overall)
Easy peasy, still warming up, still dodging people, managed to catch up to the 3:45 balloon and even had to ask whether I had it right, as I thought the pace was far too easy for a sub-4hr. Mind you, I'd been going quite fast just to catch up with them, so I settled into the rhythm and started to enjoy it.

10Km - 55:24 (7518th)
27:41 for the second 5Km stretch. Now I'm starting to warm up and really settle into it, especially as the field is beginning to thin out so I don't have to spend so much time and energy dodging boxer short-wearing numpites. Again, I didn't bother with the feeding station, so I could by-pass as many people as possible.

15Km - 1:23:37 (7548th)
28:13 for the third 5Km. Still on track for a sub-4hr and still feeling amazingly good. What's all this about marathons being hard? It's a walk in the park... how anyone can go over 5hrs is beyond me (this thought will come back to bite me on the arse!) Made sure I started drinking some Gatorade, although the amount they gave me wouldn't be enough to water a cactus.

21Km / half mara - 1:58:12 (7527th)
My half-mara pb! Well, that wasn't hard as I've never raced over 10Km before. 34:35 for 6Kms but I clocked my lap counter at 28:40 at the 20Km mark. A bit slower but I think that may be due to some undulating roads. Will need to check my HRM stats for altitude readings...

26Km - 2:25:04 (7474th)
26Km ??? No wonder I was gasping! I had to run an extra Km to get my oranges and drinks. Maybe that's why I ran a fast 26:52 for the 5Km from the half-mara time check! Still feeling OK but the loop took us out onto a hot and humid dual carriageway and I wasn't feeling so comfortable now.... Once I got to the feeding station, I had enough of their miserly portions, so I took a whole 500ml bottle of Gatorade and a handful of orange slices. I slowed to a walk in order to eat and drink properly, although I knew this would slow my overall time. I didn't care at this stage, as the humidity was sapping my strength and I was getting worried about the state of my legs.

30Km - 2:58:30 (8270th)
Uh-oh! Slipping down the field and I clocked a very slow 33:26 just for 4Kms! I know I was walking for much of the first Km but still.... WTF's happening to my legs? Still in touch with the sub-4hr balloons but all of a sudden I'm not feeling so good at all. I hope the muscle fatigue doesn't get any worse...

35Km - 3:42:13 (9124th) has got worse! Where are those magic ice-cold sponges? I'm grabbing half a dozen at a time now and stopping to apply the coldness to my sore muscles. Also slowing to a walk after the feeding station, which makes me lose contact with the 4-hr balloon and I get passed by the bunch on 4:15. Noooooooooooo! I try to keep up with them but my legs refuse to comply. What's the matter with you? Pain is nothing, keep moving!

40Km - 4:25:31 (9618th)
More walking, especially on one evil cobbled section. The only thing that kept me going was the support from the crowd. At one point, we ran through a narrow street into Piazza Navona (a long narrow piazza with restaurants and bars on either side) and the uproar from the crowd really made my spin tingle. I have to keep going... for them! Then the sponges... more walking.... then a group of teenagers were chanting, football style. I waved to thank them and they cheered me on, so I just had to start running again. This isn't funny any more... Daz is going to die for getting me into this. Where am I? How long to go? HOW LONG???? God, I hope I can get there... maybe I should walk the rest of the way... oh no, here come the 4:30 numpties... just can't keep up with them... stupid legs....

Did last 2Kms in 17:42 - much less walking but that's thanks to the motivation of running with a guy we'd at the airport. Also his first marathon, although he was aiming for a more sedate 4:30. Neither of us was going to get that but we wanted desperately to get a sub 4:45 now we were so close. But he started off before me, so I was actually ahead of him on time - so my turn to motivate him to keep him going. Up the final climb around the Colisseum, only to hear Daz shout out "Hahahahaha how are you feeling?". F***ing Bar Stud! I'll get you for this, Carter! (It was at this stage he took a photo of me looking particularly angry!)

Final stretch: Downhill to the finish line made my legs hurt more than the uphill section. I urged my friend to keep pushing, I had a few minutes in hand to get my sub 4:45. Go, mate, go! I just keep plodding on until I get overtaken by boxershorts man! Nooooooooooooooooo! I'll never live this down - overtaken by a numpty wearing Calvin Klein underpants!

Managed to finish in 4:43:13 and also pleased my running mate for the final 2Km also came in just under the 4:45 mark. I'm 9668th overall but I don't care - give me my medal, I've f***ing earned it!

Two days later, legs have recovered already. But I've not forgiven them for letting me down.... tomorrow, I'll remind them of what they need to do with a nice 10Km run

Next stop either Carcassonne (Oct), Florence (Nov) or Milan (Dec) and I'll do a sub-4hr or die trying - I refuse to be beaten!