Bacteria to the future

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Greetings, don’t worry I chided myself recently due to the infrequency with which I have been updating my blog. In my substantial defence, as was outlined in my previous entry I have struggled somewhat of late with my health. Now before you start dropping to your knees and doing novenas I am fine. I seemed to have succumbed to that stubborn virus doing the rounds (isn’t there always one) at the beginning of February and was still wrestling with it until the third week of March!! To say it was frustrating and discommoding was an understatement but my frustration gave way to acceptance fairly quickly because the mere thought of exercise fatigued me. Yes there comes a point when you just have to let the body do its thing. So in all, I took about 5 weeks off training which is the longest time I have been inactive for 20 years. I even took 2 sick days!! This was a big deal as I hadn’t taken a sick day in about 6 or 7 years.

So there were two trips to the doctor who ironically enough had been ill himself with a similar ailment. He prescribed steroids the first time and a brief course of antibiotics on the second visit, more on this later.

The strain of virus I had, affected my chest with a niggling cough but more than that it sapped my energy. Feeling listless is very alien to me. I generally have boundless levels of energy and can survive easily on 5 hours sleep no bother. The last few weeks however would be characterised by an unfamiliar malaise which could be attributed to the virus in my system. Eventually my energy levels returned to normal and I’m back training now thank goodness, but in the aftermath of the illness and having taken a brief course of antibiotics I elected to take some probiotics

The illness prompted me to put on my biochemists hat and investigate further. I happened to be in the book shop when I saw The Psychobiotic Revolution on sale. The premise of the book fascinated me in that it suggested our gut bacteria were in constant dialogue with the brain and could influence diet, mood as well as immunity.  It seems our microbiota (the name given to our gut bacteria ) changes constantly based on our diet and directly influences that exact diet through cravings, it also influences our moods through the use of neurotransmitters that reach the brain via the vagus nerve and is instrumental in our ability to fight disease both short term and chronic.

Above I referenced having been put on antibiotics for a short period of time despite my doctor being fairly sure I was suffering a viral infection. Perhaps he was hedging his bets or trying to placate his patient by writing a prescription so as avoid leaving the surgery empty handed. The trouble with this is that antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria in the gut and are useless at killing viruses. We are instructed to take probiotics so as to attempt to reestablish the bacterial homeostasis that existed before the course of treatment. The problem with this is every successive course of antibiotics further disrupts and complicates an already highly complex microbiota status quo.

There is always a war going on in your gut between harmful pathogens and the good bacteria like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. When your good bacteria are thrown off kilter you are open to ill health in the form of systemic acute and chronic infections, inflammation, autoimmune disease, craving unhealthy foods and alarmingly depression and anxiety.

What I find very interesting is that our diet is very much dictated to us by our gut bacteria. If we get sugar cravings it is partially because the brain associates sugar with dopamine release. Sugar is also an instant source of energy which is always valuable to the muscles but it is also a food source for the bad bacteria in our gut. The argument here is that we have overlooked the huge influence gut bacteria has on our food choices. When you reach for pizza and a coke its actually the bacteria influencing your choices via neurotransmitters and not actually you. The result is the bacteria that crave sugar become satiated and begin to quickly outnumber the good bacteria and before long you are overweight, addicted to sugary foods. A byproduct of such an overproliferation of bad gut bacteria is chronic disease plus depression and anxiety.

It’s no coincidence that obesity has become an epidemic at a time when western diets have been so laden with processed foods. It is also no coincidence that anxiety and depression have become so ubiquitous when we are consuming more sugar and unnatural food than ever. One of the arguments made in the book is that depression and or anxiety often accompanies chronic illness and can actually be a precursor to illness. The most compelling thesis is that by treating a person with a particular strain or combination of strains of bacteria you can treat the disease plus the accompanying anxiety / depression.  The book gives hundreds of citations as evidence that the health of your microbiota can be enhanced benefitting your physiology and your neurochemistry. Targeting the gut brain axis is also seen as the key to the development of new psychotropics that will treat depression and anxiety conditions.

Apologies for the heavy science but it seems revelatory to me that these little single celled organisms can have such an influence on not just our physical well being but also our mental wellbeing. Certainly there is still much research to be done, but if simply adopting a balanced diet laden with fresh fruit and veg and probiotics while eschewing processed foods and refined sugar can bring me immunological plus mental health benefits then I am all for it. Check out the book if you’d like to know more, by the way this isn’t an advert in any way, merely a subject I thought would be of interest.

 

Oh dear goodness

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So I’m back. See you thought I had given up on the oul blog but no. See I’ve been going through the horrors of late, ok perhaps not quite the horrors but it’s been a miserable few weeks having contracted a chest infection which has forced be to lie low.

Now I’ll freely admit that I’m like most men in that I’m not a good patient. Now at the outset I’ll say I have been sicker in the past but this time it was the combination of the chest infection and the total depletion of energy levels that rendered me incapable of going about my regular schedule. While I was given steroids the medical consensus was that I was just one of an epidemic of victims who had succumbed over the winter and the gestation period of this illness would most likely be several weeks and indeed that’s how things turned out.

Naturally all exercise went out the windows for the month of February and quite frankly I was far too listless to care. Normally I’d be fretting over missing a session but there comes a point where you just say sod it. The biological imperative ensured that I needed to fight the virus, rest and recover in that order so any talk of cycling, swimming or running was laughed out of town considering turning sideways in the bed was a major achievement.

Thankfully I’m practically back to my former self. I have done a couple of very light sessions on the bike this week but have resisted the urge to challenge myself too much lest I tire myself into a relapse, god forbid. I will step things up gradually in the coming weeks and am encouraged that my niggling leg injury seems to be behaving itself given there seems to be no abreaction to yesterday’s brief treadmill session, fingers crossed I will be able to kick on from here. So expect regular service to be resumed in the coming weeks and months as the triathlon season gets underway in earnest.

High standards !!

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Just a brief post this week. I have to give a mention to one of the icons of triathlon Alistair Brownlee. Last year he took the step up to middle distance triathlons from the sprint triathlon world which he has dominated at both the ITU and olympic level for years. This chap is 3 time european champion, 2 time world champion, 2 time olympic gold medalist and 2 time world team champion, so his pedigree is second to none. Last year he took part in his first 70.3 triathlon and dominated the field which included Lionel Sanders amongst other heavyweights, so it was no mean feat. Unfortunately for Brownlee, he subsequently underwent hip surgery so has been recuperating for the last 6 months. At the weekend Brownlee took part in one of the first 70.3 triathlons of the year in Dubai and totally dominated the field. In fact he posted an average speed on the bike of 45 kmph completing the bike route of 90km in just under 2 hours. His swim and run legs were also so strong that he posted a time which was the second fastest in history, an ominous sign for his competitors.

ali dubai 3 Brownlee on the scott foil triathlon bike valued at 10k

As someone who trains and competes in triathlon at an amateur level it is mind boggling to even try process the speeds at which the top pros are swimming, cycling and running. In fact Alistair ran the first 10 km of the 20 km run leg in Dubai in a blistering 31 minutes!!! Incredible stuff!! It does however provide inspiration for regular triathletes like me as we plod through weekly routine that is winter training. On that note I have been enjoying (not sure that is quite the right term) using my new turbo trainer. It has allowed me to up my weekly mileage on the bike which is vital at this stage of the year if I am to improve and achieve my first goal of qualifying for the european age group triathlon championships. To do this I need to get top 5 in my age group in one of the national series triathlons during the upcoming season. Now I have certainly improved on the bike in comparison to last year and with a new lighter bike I would expect to be faster than last season. I have been plugging away at the swimming which can be a frustrating sport as it is so technical and improvements are slower to come. I am seeing the first signs of improvement by incorporating speed work and endurance work, something I had omitted before. Running is proving equally frustrating but for a different reason in that I am experiencing tenderness in my shin again so have had to take my foot off the running pedal for the moment. I am looking at acquiring new footwear, orthotic inserts which are used by runners with recurring injuries as well as having my run gait analysed to rule out any biomechanical flaws. For the moment, I am focusing on running, swimming and strength training as I work on my core which will reap dividends later on this year. That’s the hope at least. 🙂

 

Hardcore indoors !!

heart

The above looks like algebra to most people, heck it made no sense to me till I did a bit of research. Yes this is where my training is now at, it involves research. The chart refers to heart rate zones during my exercising with Z1 which corresponds to zone 1 or the lowest level of exertion to Z5 or zone 5 which is an all out lung busting effort. As you can see above I spent 8 minutes in zone 5 with most of this particular session in zone 4 which is still a fairly strenuous zone. I am posting this for my benefit as well as yours because it corresponds with my first session on my newly acquired turbo trainer.

elite

Now forgive the state of my bike which was filthy but I was in such a hurry to use the new elite trainer that I didn’t even clean the bike. Turbo trainers essentially allow you to use your own bike for training sessions without leaving the house which is a serious bonus when the winter weather is as wet and cold as it has been lately. This is a cheaper version of many trainers out there where you simply fasten your bike onto the roller at the back of the trainer which once rolling has a decent inertia. If you have speed and cadence sensors you can monitor these metric as you cycle. I obviously have a watch which measures heart rate which is also very useful.

Now its has to be said trainers like these can range in price from 50 euro to 1500 euro and above. The more you pay the greater the number of features and the greater the accuracy. I have to say my main concern was the level of noise that anecdotally can be quite loud when using these trainers but this has an elastogel roller which means it is very quiet. My trainer isn’t a smart trainer so cant communicate with my computer as the more expensive versions can. This means when using an online application like the incredibly popular Zwift the resistance doesn’t automatically change. This feature have been very useful but it would have involved another 200 euros of an outlay and I couldn’t justify it at this time.

ride

When used in concert with my garmin 735XT watch which has a heart rate monitor and the speed and cadence sensors, the ride looks something like this above. Its interesting to see how over the course of the 20 km cycle my heart rate steadily increases over the first ten minutes and then maintains a peak of 160 plus over the remainder of the ride. This ride felt intense but judging by my average heart rate it was less intense than the last equivalent indoor bike ride in the gym so I’ll have to tweak things as I go. the good news is I still had more gears to go on my bike so a ramping up of intensity is possible. (The gears on your bike are what adds intensity and difficulty to your cycle).

Overall I was very pleased with the performance of the trainer, which will absolutely become an invaluable part of my training arsenal. I bought my for 133 euro which was really a steal. The benefit of using any kind of trainer is that it enables you to train more efficiently. Instead of having to suit up and head out into the traffic which invariably slows you down while enduring the cold, dark evenings, all I have to do now is hop on the bike once I’ve installed it in the trainer. I complete mysession and then its straight into the shower. There is simply no lost time and no stoppages for traffic lights and the obvious dangers that come with traffic. Now, I’m not saying I will forgo all outdoor cycling, not at all, but this trainer will allow me to complete focused targeted sessions which should bring me along as a cyclist.

Even if you aren’t especially a cycling or a triathlon enthusiast turbo trainers are a great way to stay in shape because you’ll find that fairly quickly you’ll work up a serious sweat and all in the comfort of your own abode. Actually that reminds me, I must buy a fan to help me cool down during a session.

Just plugging away !!!!

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So we are half the way through January already I’ve racked up about 10 days training so far mixing it up both indoors and outdoors. Its a challenge at this time of year to keep yourself motivated purely because there are so few hours of daylight. What certainly doesn’t help are the inclement weather conditions, in fact right now it’s snowing outside, not exactly inviting conditions for a cycle or run.

So far this year I’ve cycled 130 km, run 10km (my run mileage is generally low and on grass to protect against calf / shin injuries) and 10 km swimming. I have decided to up my cycling mileage as I feel it is the area I can see they greatest potential for improvement, certainly as far as reducing my time is concerned. You see, you will spend most of your time in the saddle during the course of triathlon. I am training for a sprint triathlon which comprises a 750 metre swim, 20 km cycle and a 5 km run and of the three disciplines I could spend 30 – 35 minutes on the bike depending on the topography of the route. The swim would take me 15 mins at most and the run 20 mins at most, so it stands to sense that if I can improve my bike time I can certainly make the biggest inroads into lowering my overall time.

Much of my bike training has been indoors in recent times because of the wet, wind and cold temperatures. I have actually been considering buying a smart trainer, pictured above which allows me to rain my bike without leaving the house. It has become very popular amongst triathletes because it offers a time efficient way of training in the comfort of your home, so you can log your mileage on the bike, without faffing around in traffic and safely away from buses, lorries and cars. There is also the ability to hook the trainer up to the internet and race virtually against other cyclists around the world. This feature in particular intrigues me as it might help to negate the boredom that inevitably accompanies a long time sweating in the saddle.

So I need to look into purchasing a trainer and quickly while it can still be of use during the dark days of winter. Swim training also continues unabated. I have modified my sessions to include sets of 50s and 100s, swimming 50s off 60 seconds, meaning each set must be completed within 60 seconds before snatching a couple of seconds rest and doing it again. 100s are off 2 mins. The sets are lung-bustingly exhausting but absolutely necessarily if I am to begin to swim faster. I have learned that swimming long distances at a steady pace is absolutely no good for anything other than promoting endurance. You really have to train fast to swim fast in competition, and this maxim goes for running and cycling too. You might remember I bought a swim snorkel a few weeks back, well I have been using it during my drills sessions purely to allow me to perfect my swim technique and it definitely helps focus on particular parts of my stroke.

Run training is always delicate affair primarily because I seem to have delicate calves which affects my shins, so am continuing to run on grass even though it’s muddier these days. I have decided I need to get someone to examine my biomechanic when running and examine whether I have the correct footwear. There is the possibility that I made need special insoles or orthotics to help me run and avoid injury in the medium term.

I am also trying to incorporate more strength and conditioning work as well as stretching, the benefits of which have been well and truly signposted for me at this stage. So we are ticking along putting in the unglamorous miles in the hope it pays off when the days are a heck of a lot warmer and longer !!

If you are struggling for motivation check out my video below for some top tips.

Motivation made easy

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Motivation can be elusive at the best of times. Sometimes you just don’t feel like you are in the zone and the very last thing you want to do is the thing you probably should do. At the start of the new year it might help to give you three tips to help you with that motivation and keep you honest in your endeavours in the year ahead.

One, set out your goals. You can have minor and major goals but clearly define them. They give you a target to aim for. The minor goals also are easier to achieve along the way and as you do it gives you the momentum, impetus and confidence to stay true to your ultimate goal.

Two, write down your goals and keep them in plain view as a daily reminder of what your purpose is. If they are unavoidable then you are more likely to stick to task at hand.

Three, tell people. If you share your goals / aims with others you will hold yourself more accountable and be less inclined to fail. Sharing your aims is a perfect way to keep you motivated as it makes your commitment to achieving a goal official and makes you accountable.

Make a change ?

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Happy new year folks hope you had a blast over the holiday season. So its January second and a time when people reappraise their goals and ambitions for the year ahead. Thankfully I didn’t take too long away from my training routine but even the 10 days I afforded myself meant that it was a struggle to get back in the fitness saddle again. The first session on the bike last week was pure pain so I can fully appreciate the difficulty people have when embarking on a new fitness regime or indeed anything new. The pain and discomfort are real and very off putting, in fact any change away from the habitual is discomfiting and a real shock to the system.

Given the time of year and my own inner reflections about what lies ahead over the next 12 months I was spurred to dig out an old copy of a book I bought in the departure lounge of Dublin airport almost ten years ago. It was a copy of Who moved my cheese and it’s central message is one of embracing change. The book uses a parable to illustrate in almost childlike terms it’s lesson that fear and discomfort must be embraced for change to occur in your life. Indeed quite often the perceived fear limiting us is often worse than the reality that transpires if we only actually choose to grasp life by the nettle and strive to improve our lot.

Nothing worth doing comes easy and that is so very true, certainly when I reflect on my triathlon adventures so far but it’s so very much worth it. If we continue to live in our comfort zones avoiding change and challenge we will certainly be safe and comfortable but in time that can eat away at you especially when you look beyond yourself and the potential that lies beyond your own cosy horizon.

Feel the fear and do it anyway as the saying goes and as it says in the book (reviewed below) move with the cheese and you’ll be a lot happier.

Festive fitness challenge

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Well its almost that time of year again can you believe it. Haven’t posted too frequently in recent weeks purely because there hasn’t been that much going on. I have literally just been focusing on winter training which can be a tad monotonous in the dark, cold, damp winter evenings.

I have had calf issues in recent months which cut short my season and while I have been extra scrupulous about run training such that I don’t aggravate any pre-existing scar tissue I did feel some pain in my left lower leg so have eased off on the running for the moment. This has allowed me to focus on swimming and cycling, both of which are happening indoors solely because its too sodding cold and dangerous to partake in either pursuit outside. Particularly in relation to the bike it just is alot safer to cycle on the watt bike in the gym instead of piling on loads of layers and lights while attempting to negotiate pre Christmas traffic. Getting on the watt bike is much more time efficient and it means I can get into the gym, get my training done and get out within an hour.

I have been pretty happy with my indoor bike sessions of late. I am doing two forms of bike sessions, the first where I use intervals to help me cycle 20km as fast as I can. The 20km is the distance I would ordinarily cycle in a sprint triathlon. The intervals I refer to involve cycling hard at about 270 watts for 30 – 50 seconds before easing off for 10 – 30 seconds, I continue this pattern of intervals every minute until I have cycled 20km. When I first started this form of interval training on the indoor bike a year ago 20km was taking me 46 mins and I struggled to reach 170 watts. Now it takes me just over 38 minutes and I am averaging 244 watts over the 20 km. Wattage is an important metric for cyclists, it relates purely to the amount of power you are putting through the pedals, the more power the faster you will go. If I can continue to improve my average wattage it will hopefully reflect itself in my results next season.

I am also considering acquiring a couple of pieces of training equipment to allow me to train on my own bike without leaving the house. How can you do that I hear you ask ? Well by sing one of these …

 

trainer

This is a smart trainer. You slot your bike onto a roller which creates resistance against which you cycle. The beauty about this kind of trainer is that it can communicate with software on your computer so that it mimics a variety of terrains as it automatically alters the rolling resistance. So you can be cycling on your bike in the living room yet be ascending the Alps, only without the frostbite!! Online software programs like Zwift allow you to race some of the most famous cycling routes in the world and they even allow you to race other cyclists at the same time which adds a whole new dimension to winter indoor cycle training and alleviates the boredom. The software in conjunction with the smart trainer give you metrics like cadence, speed and power output and allow you to cycle the same route repeatedly such that you can compare performance improvements over time. The only catch is I need to also buy a power meter to attach to my bike for accurate power output readings. The smart trainer and power meter together will cost about 550 euro but they are an investment worth getting I believe.

Aside from interval sessions on the bike I have been doing longer endurance sessions also purely to clock up hours on the bike which is never a bad thing. These sessions would be less intense at a wattage of 180 roughly and would last up to 2 hours. Some lunatics training for a full ironman distance of 180km actually spend 5 – 6 hours on their smart trainers !!!!!! Talk about a sore ass !!!

Swimming training continues although I missed my swim session last Friday as I had to attend a festive gathering. I had however been earlier on in the week and have tried out my new snorkel. My first impressions are that it will take getting used to. I am also glad that I bought a nose clip because when you breathe through the mouth you invariably take some water in through your nose when your head is submerged. The whole practice of swimming and breathing without lifting your head to the side to actually breathe felt a bit disconcerting initially and actually still does but with time it’ll become second nature I’m sure. What the snorkel does allow me to do is to focus on my swim technique which as I’ve said before is darned tricky but worth the time and energy investment.

What is apparent is that I need to swim both interval sessions and longer distance endurance sessions ( as is the case with cycling and running) for me to swim my race distance of 750m faster. In fact I stumbled upon this conclusion when I did indeed swim my fastest 750 m split in just over 14 minutes, so I delighted with that. If I continue going the way I’m going I should see significant improvement in the water and on the bike in the coming months.

The challenge for the moment though will be to negotiate the festive season and copious amounts of mince pies such that come January 1st I can still physically throw one leg over the cross bar of my bike 🙂

While you’re here check out my video from an international Triathlon competition I attended in September.

I put on 3kg in 1 week !!

Greetings, its been a couple of weeks since my last entry and I actually decided to take a week off training just to allow the body to recover. I’m constantly reading advice along the lines of rest and recuperation being just as important to a triathlete as the actual training. It’s funny, just knocking back and doing very little physically sounds pretty easy to do but you’d be surprised how it nags at you. You see you’re so used to training 4 to 5 days a week and your body is ticking over nicely that its a shock mentally and physically when you take more than a couple of days off in a row. The enforced rest goes against your natural inclination to build your own momentum especially if you’re seeing improvements but to just forge on regardless and not rest is foolhardy and a recipe for injury.

Speaking of injuries, I may have alluded to a persistent calf niggle in the aftermath of a calf strain I acquired initially in August, well while I have managed to return to running in anger (on grass) I decided to have some physical therapy on the offending leg. Now I hadn’t been to see anyone for physical therapy in a few years bit again have noted that the pros indulge in various forms of massage therapy, needling, and manipulation to keep them from getting injuries. So I popped along to a place off Grafton street on Saturday. I had decided in consultation with my physical therapist that I would receive a combination of sports massage and deep tissue massage. What followed was 45 minutes of prodding, massaging and not an inconsiderable amount of pain, but it generally felt good. My therapist Debora from Italy was only a sprightly looking young girl but my god she had arm strength that would rival a Bulgarian weightlifter. I think at one point she was kneading my quadricep with her elbow which was particularly sore as it was pressing right against my thigh bone, so there was a lot of breathing through teeth on my part at that point. My calf muscles were confirmed to be quite tight and have yet to run this week as I was told they would be tender for a few days but I will resume running tomorrow or Thursday.

In the meantime I have been plugging away in the pool. My swim fitness is certainly coming on but am still struggling to hone my technique. Had another look at a video of myself swimming and my arms seem to still be too low on recovery and when entering the water. The result is that my elbow is hitting the water first and this dropped elbow is killing my forward momentum. I feel like I’m not rotating enough through the shoulders and hips which would give my arms clearance over the water during the recovery phase. If it sounds very technical thats because it is 🙂 There are so many different things to think of when swimming. The whole learning process reminds me of learning to drive a car when you’re trying to familiarise yourself with the accelerator , clutch, brake, handbrake and indicators all while watching out for oncoming traffic and pedestrians. It can be overwhelming as can trying to time your stroke with your breathing and your kick with your arm turnover all the while trying to stay streamlined and flat in the water !!!

To help me focus on my stroke I have decided to buy a snorkel. finis.jpg

Now this is a slightly different snorkel that you might have seen before as it is orientated towards the front. It will allow me to swim and focus on my stroke without the added complication of having to worry about breathing. If I can focus exclusively on my stroke for portions of my swim sessions it will allow me to acquire the muscle memory such that proper technique becomes second nature. Thats the idea anyway!!

I also bought a new toy, a triathlon watch, but more on that later.

As for the 3kg weight gain, that is true. When I take a week off, I really take a week off, but thankfully when I’m active I tend to burn calories for fun so all that weight which would have included water is already gone, but it goes to show you just how easy it is to acquire the lbs if you aren’t keeping active !!!

The snorkel I bought : http://amzn.to/2ig3YaW

My latest Vlog :

Say what now ?

cycle 3

What a glorious day for a cycle that was. The above photo was taken on the way back from Howth Head on Sunday just gone. I was hurtling down the road on the way home with bugs in my teeth and a bit jaded after a 90 minute cycle at the end of a long week of triathlon training when I saw this view and I just had to stop to take it in. Dublin is really stunning sometimes. This is the view across Dublin bay from the north to the south, amazing stuff.

Yes it had been a long oul week of training but a good one. After various injuries over the last twelve months I feel like I’m beginning to build some momentum in training with successive sessions. Before I had various aborted attempts at consistency due to leg injuries, but now I feel like I’m getting places. I have been quite strict about my run training in particular as I confine myself to running largely on grass. Grass is much kinder of the joints and muscles than concrete or tarmac and is in fact a slower surface to run on as the softness absorbs some of your energy and momentum. So training on grass has two benefits theoretically, one is fewer injuries and two, it means when you transition to running on harder surfaces which are faster surfaces you will find it easier. Thats the idea anyway. I’m just glad to be able to run injury free in successive sessions, if the speed transfers to tarmac then terrific.

I have also been doing some strength and conditioning work which till now I had ignored, silly I know. The idea behind S and C work is that you are reinforcing the joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles through a serious of exercises either using weights or purely body weight. Essentially the idea is to condition the body with the aim of providing anatomical balance so that the likelihood of injury is reduced and energy during exercise is transferred to the parts that require it in the most efficient way possible. Below is a recent video I did for core strength, which is very important in triathlon. A tight, strong midsection is vital for any single sport but more so in a multisport context. A loose wobbly belly and pure posture is the last thing conducive to injury free training nevermind posting good triathlon race times.

So this week I trained practically everyday, running twice, swimming twice and cycling twice plus doing the S and C work. I have edited together a short video of some of the sessions and posted it below. While the weather at this time of year makes it tougher to get outdoors I try to anyway, especially for run training. I was especially lucky with the weather last week which was unseasonably sunny so took to the Phoenix park for a run session on Saturday and even spotted some deer and then took to the hills in Howth on the bike on Sunday. I also had two sessions in the pool which are very structured now that I have joined a triathlon swim group. For instance my latest swim session involved swimming 50 metres by 16 within 70 seconds (that includes rest), then 4 sets of 400 metres with each 100 metres within 2 min 10 seconds, and a 45 second rest after every 400. It takes a while to get used to the combinations but I definitely prefer having structure rather than hammering out 1000 or 1500 metres at a steady pace with no real aim or attempt to get faster. The saying is if you want to race faster then you have to train faster and that applies as much in the pool as on the bike or in the run. While I was chuffed to swim 2550 metres in my last swim session, which was the furthest I’ve ever swam, it still pales into insignificance compared the top triathletes in the world who are doing between 5 and 6000 metres per session !!!!! Say what now ? Yes!! I know its nuts !!!

Check out my latest video below, if not for the training but for some of the lovely views of Dublin.