The month that was..


Well the month of Movember is drawing to a close and my move for Movember efforts closed off this morning with the first run of week three of the NHS Couch to 5K series.  I managed to get some excercise in 28 of the 30 days of November, and while I could go for a bike ride this afternoon, I wont as my legs are feeling more than a little tired after everything I have put them through in the last 30 days.

Last week was quite a good week, I found by Friday that I was able to keep running at the end of each run session in the podcast and my sore knee felt quite a bit better after changing my route and shoes.  The road I was previously running on had a steep camber and I think this was causing me to aggravate my knee, so a change of course and shoes seems to have made a difference to it and the knee feels better, if not completely healed just yet.

One thing I did find over the last month was that trying to do some excercise everyday of the week meant that I did feel like I was over training a little by the end of the month – basically my legs have ached for the last 10 days or so and really just need a break, especially as I walked up to the top of Maungakawa and back on Saturday which meant that on Sunday I actually just had a rest day and chilled out. (Some ghouls and super mutants may have suffered as a result)

I did go back over my whole month just to get a feel of how many K’s I did in official training runs/walks this month, and was surprised to discover that I ran 79.6k and biked 49.1k, which means that I managed to do just over the equivalent of HALF the cost to coast distance in an entire month, its going to be an interesting year next year.


  • Monday – Run 4.6k
  • Tuesday – Bike 10k
  • Wednesday – Run 4.3k
  • Friday – Run 4.6k
  • Saturday – Walk 9.2k

Bike Fit



The Friday before the Round the Bridges I bought myself a new bike.  I wasn’t planning on buying a new bike just yet, my old Lemond is still fine for the type of riding that I’m doing at the moment, and after telling Chicken that she couldn’t have a carbon bike straight away it would be disingenuous of me to go out and buy myself a flash carbon bike straight away.  Unfortunately trade-me made a liar out of me and a sweet Cervelo S5 came onto the second hand market for a great price.  Chicken has just bought herself exactly the same bike, so I realised just how awesome this bike was. Jane and I discussed it and decided that it really was too good a deal to pass up.  Needless to say I now have a new to me Cervelo S5 sitting on the garage wall, in true second hand dad style its second hand, but as good as new.

The first time I took it out for a ride it was amazing, compared to my 10 year old Lemond it felt light and responsive, accelerating with ease and generally just feeling like it was electric 🙂  Still there was one small issue, and that was the fit, the bike just wasn’t set up correctly for me to be able to put all that (admittedly meagre) power down correctly.  The seat was way too high and the reach was too long as well.

I could have cut the seat post down and moved the seat forward to try and get a better fit, but I’m not a bike fitting amateur let alone professional so I made an appointment with David Bowden of Velogicfit here in Cambridge.  David has been fitting bikes for a number of years and is passionate about getting the correct fit for people to enjoy riding their bikes and get the best efficiency possible.  He is so passionate about it that he has started Velogicfit which provides bike fitting software to Cycle shops around the world.  There are three levels of bike fit, from the standard fit (coming soon) which takes your measurements using a camera and then gives the bike shop the adjustments that need to be made to your chosen frame.  The advanced fit takes more exact measurements and dials in the changes to your bike setup and finally the full shebang 3D fit, which uses 3D camera technology to measure leg angles and your posture on the bike to recommend specific changes to your bike to ensure that your position on the bike affords the best bio-mechanical transfer of power to the wheel.

The whole process took about 90 minutes and the bike now feels significantly different in terms of fit and I’m sure that I will see some improvement in times.  I’ll be sure to let you all know how I get on over the coming months.  You can read more about Velogicfit here or read some of Davids blog here – note due to the workload of starting a new business the blog hasn’t been updated in some time, however its a damn good read for any bike performance geeks.

Unfortunately there is still the little issue of riding carbon when I have spent the last two years telling Chicken about how she didn’t need one just yet, I guess I’ll just have to save it for the long rides and put some more miles in on the trusty Lemond…


Disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with Velogicfit other than the fact that I like David and what he does, I paid for my bike fit and have not been asked to write this post.  (lets face it my readership isn’t big enough to warrant any kickbacks)



The week that was…


Last week started out pretty tough, I hadn’t really made any plans for training after the round the bridges, and as that run was on the Sunday my normal Monday morning run wasn’t really an option.  After my experience on the Round the Bridges run I decided that I needed to change the focus of my training from relatively casual, but distance based to a more focussed plan that was geared to get me up to the point where I could run for 30 minutes/5 k.

Luckily there are plenty of couch to 5k plans out there on the internet either written down or as podcasts and being a bit of a geek I went down the podcast route.  I looked at a couple but settled on the NHS couch to 5k series, for no other reason that a get fit guide produced by the UK National Health Service is unlikely to set unrealistic goals or cause me to injure myself.

The first week was really good – the run/walk is a 5 minute warm up walk then 60 seconds running interspersed with 90 seconds of walking.  After the previous work I have done I found that the first few running sections were quite easy, however after the 5th and 6th I was getting quite tired and I really appreciated the ‘coach’ letting me know what was coming up and making me stick to the regime. My only criticisim of the podcast was that it didn’t tell me when I had gone halfway through the podcast and I ended up going for a bit longer than the 30 minutes on the first day.  Apparently it will take 9 weeks to get me to a point where I’m able to run for 30 minutes or 5k, and at the moment I’m doing 4.5k in the 30 minute programme so hopefully I will be able to do a bit more than the 5k in 30 minutes by the end.

Tuesday – Run 4.46k  36:30

Friday – Run 4.5k 32:00

Saturday – Run 4.8k 35:00






MG-SLS1012-Movember-Campaign-Support-Icon-Mo-WhiteJust a reminder that I’m participating in the Move for Movember fundraising event, my donation page can be found here

The Movember Foundation does great work promoting mens health, because lets face it, us guys are pretty rubbish at looking after our health as a rule.  So please give a little to my page and help promote this great cause.


The week that almost wasn’t

mgldvlohnc_rtb2015_003279I’ve been a bit slack this last week, feeling a little down after my Round the Bridges performance, I didn’t do my usual Monday morning wrap-up of the previous week.  Instead I got busy at work, changed my training focus and also took a bit of a rest – my legs were definitely feeling a bit stiff after the race, more than I had been expecting to be honest.

So here it is the rundown of the week that was…

  • Monday – Walk 6.8k
  • Tuesday – Bike 10k
  • Thursday – Run 4.5k
  • Saturday – Bike 10k
  • Sunday – Round the Bridges 6.5k (Yes they lied it was half a K longer)

Race Day

raceplaceAfter a beautiful week of sunshine and definite suggestions of summer, Sunday morning we woke to unremitting drizzle, nice!

It was going to be a big day of events in our household and there were some definite grumbles about not wanting to get up and go and cycle/run but we all got up and suitably attired against the rain and departed for our various events.

The rain held off for the run which was great, although I was wearing a jacket which just meat that I got a free sauna as well, anything to lose a bit more weight I say.  And at 10:10 I crossed the start line and set off on the 6k course.

Of course I made a classic beginners mistake and started out too strongly and after about the first kilometer my shins were on fire and I felt like I couldn’t run any further.  Regardless I slowed to a walk and persevered, slowly working the pain out of my legs and running whenever I felt like I could give it a bit more.

All in all I was disappointed in my performance – I still can’t actually maintain a run for any distance and that has to be the focus of the next few weeks, drop the distance I’m doing and increase the amount of time that I run.  My time wasn’t too bad for a walk, but I really need to get the pace up so I’m putting myself through the NHS couch to 5k program over the next 9 weeks which will mean that by the time we go on our summer holidays I will be running 5k!



Race Week

The Mighty Waikato

That’s right, its race week – not the mighty Coast to Coast, rather the slightly more pedestrian round the bridges in Hamilton.  Just how pedestrian? Well there are two distances you can run and I’m entered in the shortest, a mere six kilometers.  Given the state of my fitness when I started I’m feeling quietly chuffed about even being able to contemplate entering let alone actually doing it.

Sadly Jane, Chicken and Buddy won’t be there to cheer me on, they are all taking part in the Maunga cycle race which is happening at the same time on the same day.  I was going to do the Maunga as well but when I realised they were on the same day at the same time, I decided that as running was my weakest discipline that I would leave the biking for later.

I’m not looking forward to the run on Sunday though, I have been feeling lately like I’m not making enough progress – patience has never been one of my strengths.  After the initial rush of improvement I feel like I have reached a plateau, this has been further reinforced by the fact that I don’t seem to be losing any more weight.  I’m sure that I am making improvements, it’s just that things don’t seem to be getting easier, and I had hoped by now they would be.

Anyway the run on Sunday will tell me if I have improved, its largely flat compared to what I normally run so I’m hoping I can run a bit longer than I typically do and finish faster than I usually do 6k’s in.


The week that was…

waikato by sunriseIt was a good week last week.  The weather was looking awesome for the weekend so I took Friday off and had a list of things I wanted to get done, not least was to get to the top of the hill I run up/down!  And I did it – my longest distance yet 9k and I managed to run the majority of the downhill leg.

The knee problems that were plaguing me before I went to the Gold Coast appear to have resolved themselves with some time off running while I was away.

Also this week I finally fitted my bike with the clipless pedals that I bought while I was in the Gold Coast – took them for a spin on Sunday.  They’re not quite right just yet – I had numb toes on each feet after the 10k that I rode, so I will have to experiment with my shoes and cleat placement this week.  If that doesn’t work I may have to get a proper bike fit…

Exercise completed for the week:

  • Monday – Run – 6.65km
  • Tuesday – Bike – 9.8k
  • Wednesday – Run – 5.5k
  • Friday – Run – 8.82k
  • Sunday – Bike – 9.8k

Running while you travel – Tips for getting the most out of your runs.


Last week I was lucky enough to travel to the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia for work.  My initial thought was “EXCELLENT” – I always love traveling overseas, and while Australia is basically New Zealand with better weather and worse accents its still a lot of fun.  My second thoughts though were, damn what am I going to be doing about my training.  Obviously cycling was going to be out, so it was going to be a week of running while I was attending a conference as well.  But how was I going to get the most out of my training for the week, while still enjoying the experience.  I did manage to continue my training and came up with the following tips to help you if you travel and run.

  1. Take your running kit with you.  Yes I know this seems a bit obvious, but if you don’t take your kit, you won’t be able to run, when you wake up and see it there watching you accusingly its a lot harder to blow off that days run.  Also don’t forget any preventative stuff you use – knee braces, anti-chafing cream etc. It doesn’t take up much room so there’s really no excuse.
  2. Check the weather.  You’ve decided to take your running gear, now its time to check the weather where you’re going to.  It might be a cool 15C where you are running at the moment, but if its 26C where you’re going to then you’ll need to pack slightly differently.  This is even more important if you are moving between seasons, there’s no point in packing your summer running kit if you’re heading to the opposite hemisphere’s winter.  Check if it is usually raining at the time you are going so that you can decide if you’re going to take a rain jacket or not, make sure you check how much rain they typically have as well – a light summer shower will need a different approach to a tropical downpour.
  3. Take enough shirts/socks.  So you’ve put your shoes in your bag and have a pair of socks, shorts and a shirt in there as well.  Thats great if you’re only going to be away for a week or so, but if you’re planning on running more than a couple of times you’ll want more than one top and a pair of socks for each day you plan to run.  Getting clothing laundered in hotels is expensive and hand washing is good for a day or so but eventually you need to put them into a washing machine.  Taking extra clothes just makes things easier.
  4. Plan your schedule.  This ties into the point above, if you’re running every day or every other day or even just once a week for a multi week trip, unless you know roughly how often you are going to run you won’t know what you need to pack.  Planning should also cover how long/far you intend to run.  Unless you are on some major training program that demands constant improvement then I would recommend not changing your program much, travel can mess with your body and you can be struggling with jet-lag as well, adding extra distance to those factors is a recipe for disaster.  You may be able to achieve it but it won’t be as much fun and recovery will probably be longer, which just means that you won’t have as much time to explore your new surroundings.
  5. Get local knowledge.  If you’re staying in a hotel then this is quite easy, ask the hotel receptionist or concierge if they have a running map.  If they dont tell them that you are looking to go for a run and do they have a local map so they can show you some areas where you can run.  Make sure you get this information as soon as you arrive – then you have no excuse not to go for a run.
  6. Work around your schedule.  If you normally run when you wake up then that can work really well, especially if time zones mean that you’re waking up earlier than the rest of the local population.  It can be great going for a run and then getting back in time to have a shower or swim before breakfast.  Conversely if you’re awake late at night and feel safe then going for a run later at night can also work.  I did both while I was away and both runs were excellent in their own way.
  7. Chill out and enjoy the scenery.  Running in a strange city is a great way to see the sights and watch the city’s pulse as the locals go about their daily business.  Don’t forget to take photos if you see something particularly awesome or interesting and also take note of any good looking cafe’s and restaurants that you want to come back to later.
  8. Enjoy yourself.  You’re away from home, whether for work or on holiday, so don’t get stressed if you don’t seem to be running as well as your normally do.  Changes in diet, sleep patterns, temperature and weather can all affect how you run and there is no point to be gained by getting upset that you’re not running as well as you think you should be.  The fact that you’re running means that you will be maintaining conditioning and you may even see an improvement in performance when you return home even if you don’t feel like you have had the best runs ever.

So there you have it, my tips for running when you are traveling.  If you have any tips to add please add them in the comments section.


The week that was…


Last week I was lucky enough to be on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia for a conference. This did however mean that my normal training routine was going to be a little bit disrupted.  I did however manage to get out for some exercise in the mornings.  My knee was really sore when I arrived, I did head down to the beach at 5:30 on the Monday morning to go for a run only to discover that
  1.     Running on soft sand was really difficult – I knew this from past experience but clearly my newly exercising mind over stated my abilities.
  2.     It is still quite a bit warmer on the Gold Coast at 5:30 than it is in the Waikato.
  3.     My knee was REALLY sore..
Therefore I just decided to go for a walk and enjoy the sights along the beach.  Wednesday’s walk was two hours while I was hunting cycling shops to find a new pair of cycling shoes, it was 25C and hot, I was wearing a pair of all stars 🙂
Thursday I walked with my boss, the pace was a little slower than I had previously been doing, but it was a nice change to walk and talk with someone, and Saturday I was home and headed up my usual hill route and achieved my best distance to date.
  •     Monday – Walk 6.1 km
  •     Wednesday – Walk 10.0km
  •     Thursday – Walk 5.0km
  •     Saturday – Walk 6.7km