Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Run to Chill Out and Swim Smooth.

As Christmas obligations get evermore it's nice to get out for a run to clear our minds. I used running many years ago for this, then it became a hobby, a sport and then something more professional. But it's nice to get out and run free of times, distances, and heart rates and chill out. 

Also this time of year, I'm not brave enough to open water swim, but getting a swim in once or twice a week is also nice just to feel the water. It's a good time to meditate on how you move through the water, rather than the drills and distances.

One of the things I have been keeping an eye on is the amount of glide that I have, quite a lot, I was thinking about how the Garmin Swim watch shows quite a fluctuation in lap times. That said it has only been recently that I started to make sure that all laps were under a set time. But I soon realised that its is very hard to judge. Then last week I was looking at and they have a very interesting page about, rhythm and stroke rate.

There is a new product by Finis the Tempo trainer Pro, It is the perfect little aid that beeps to you laps or stroke rate to see where my swim dead spots are and also to set my stroke rate and lap times. I used Amazon to buy it at 47 euros delivered. I thought it is worth a try. I noticed right away that my lap times are bang on, I can touch the wall every 30seconds, beep, beep. Meaning the Garmin Swim metrics are a little inaccurate.
So on with hunting out the dead spots, now this take a few sessions to get the correct beeps per cycle of your arms. Mine is about 50 strokes with both arms per min.

What now, well over Christmas I will be playing with increasing my rate to very gradually and timing it over a 100m. I will have to be careful not to increase my strokes per lap as that will decrease my efficiency. So its a fine balance to find the 'sweet spot' as Swimsmooth call it. But it's a nice little project for my winter swims to fine tune getting my swim better without the 'junk miles' as they say in running.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Re think Stress = Wider Vessles and Bigger muscle Fibres for endurance sport

Two Size topics that I found interesting this week. 

 1. How we think about stress controls the diameter of our blood vessles. Kelly McGonigal heath psychologist and Yoga teacher, describes the affects of those who deal badly with stress have a higher percentage of mortality due the affects on the heart.

screen shot taken from video
 Interestingly people who are courageous and those who give up their time to help others don't have this reduction in diameter. I can think of  those that won the Victoria Cross Award for Bravery, many who have shown amazing strength of character to do the impossible. Kelly tells us how we should be rethinking stress it is actually helping us.
here is the link via Ted Talks.

The second is an article blogged by sports scientist Alan Couzens how us endurance athletes should spend more time lifting heavy weights and not just to strengthen the weak areas, Our muscle fibres actually reduce in size to help them function for longer with the same amount of fuel. Us ectomorths need to take note as over time we will reduce muscle mas. That of course can be see in older age and problems with osteoporosis.
Part of Alan's study, muscle mas

To quote Alan. "Muscle Moves Stuff" and we want to move our bikes better we need some of that fast twitch white stuff. Time to get out and toss a caber or two over the winter. And time to get out your old body measurements to see whats has been happening, or start recording them for future reference.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

It's Easier When You Know Where the Finish Line Is.

Why some people find exercise harder than others

Watching this TED Talk by Emily Balcetis Psychologist, about our perception of things related to fitness is a good way to look at a race or fitness goal. We all know that doing things in smaller more manageable parts is easier and combines to achieve our bigger objective. From losing 5 or 10 kg to finishing an endurance race.

At a recent running race, I had no real goals only to finish strong, I didn't worry about times, or position, I could look at that after the race. But it was somehow comforting to know the area where the race started and finished. In fact the same place. Meaning that as the race progressed, making the 5km marker was one of the small parts, I only then had to focus on the finish line. Mentally I could see it and knew how to get there. Keep running.

Many endurance athletes use a similar techniques, rewarding themselves after every small part of a race. It may be broken down into distances between lamp-post or mile markers, drink stops. It is a key factor in achieving the task we have set.

This talk looks at how this perception is used by those who feel motivated to do sports and those who don't.

I will be re watching this TED Talk, to see how it can be applied to real people that want to get fit but lack the focus and perhaps rewire their perception to suit their goals.

Running Accidents Why am I not Wearing Them?

Trail run today, although I have done many in training and in duathlon cross races, today was the first 10.5km official trail run. Linea de Salida, Mountain trail run, La Manga Club; Portman, Cartagena.

Menos a Más, as always running negative splits is a safe way to run, avoiding using up those precious white fibre - fast twitch muscles, saving them for unexpected climbs, rocks, banks, tree stumps. I started then from the back of the 300 runners.

The cliche, "all the gear and no idea" sprang to mind was I began to pick off some runners in their, compression socks, Batman style belts laden with stuff, energy bars, one woman looked like she had a flask of tea. Nice ;) I spotted a man wearing the same gloves I use on the mountain bike, fingerless with palm protection. There I was thinking it's only 15 degrees why is he wearing them!?

As I passed many on the ups who seemed to have blown a gasket in the first kilometre, we got on to the trail/single track, this is where I stated to see how my mountain bike experience crossed over well, short steps quick cadence up and log stride using gravity to spring along the down sections. I saw a lot of heavy footed runners braking here, slowing their average speed and causing them to use extra effort to get up the next slop. On the bike you do this, use the speed of the down to get you up the next part. So I picked off half the field.

At the 5km turn point we started a long wide down section, here I am afraid is where I needed to moderate my speed as my right knee (broken twenty years ago) always reminds me not to run too fast. A few runners came past, but not too many ten or so, then back on the undulating final few kilometres to the finish. Knee stared to feel better, and my power was ok for a fast finish. So on with race, I could see a man just up ahead and new that in a few hundred metres I would overtake, just as get close I trip, a root, a rock, karma, took out my right foot and I fly both hands out.

The runner in front stops to help, what I surprise, "thanks, I'm ok, I just left some skin back there" I ran along-side him for a bit chatted, looked at my bloody wounds and got my rhythm back, then sprinted the last kilometre to finish mid-pack and under the hour.

The question then is, not, why are you wearing them, but why aren't I?
profile of race, finger marks the learning moment ;)

Mountain bike gloves in the kit bag for the next race.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Pancakes and Mountain biking

Every weekend for the last three years I have been out on the bike, all over the Spanish countryside, from the hills in Istán; Malaga to the Arragones peaks in the Pyrenees. It is safe to say I know my way around and when are where is a good time to ride. see link to April blog

So with my girlfriend in the UK, I started thinking how lucky I am to ride all year, she's just moved for work near Cannock trails, so I'll be checking them out in 2015, but for now its back to rides, rides and more rides with the sun on my back and never having to think about rain.

If you are interested in doing some riding check out the link to the April blog, and get in touch and maybe we can sort some rides out for you.

this morning's pancakes
Heading out to check out this ride in Sierra Espuña, 40km from home, part of the Yeti mtb trail that runs through here once or twice a year.  ;)) Be safe, be lucky and enjoy what you have on your doorstep. (unless its a message from the neighbour's dog;)

....some hours later, the pancakes did well but the hot coffee and ham bocadillo in Camping El Berro went down well. Without doubt Sierra Espuña is visually impressive, higher than Snowdonia and BenNevis at almost 1,600m, so there is all types of weather, the isn't much single track but there are now four officiil routes thanks to Espubike and I was able to pick up a map, all gps track are on Wikiloc. So quite a bit more riding to do.
146km in 4 sections. the ride today used the final part of No.4

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Get some Coaching

Having a personal trainer is a bit of an expense that maybe most of us don't need, however all of us need some coaching to see perhaps the small changes we can make to improve our run, swim, bike, workouts and nutrition.

We might have a 'go to friend' or web page that we can search for answers. But I want to take a more personal approach. The next stage for PersonallyTrained is to offer a service to look at data: from runs and races, workouts, training plans - intensities/duration. And give feed back on how to cut out junk kilometres and give you some professional input. Speak to you about diet, performance and all those little things that we like to fuss over, what gear, when and where to train or race. A lot of what us athletes do can cause some nerves and stress having someone that gives you confidence in the choices you make will make any event much more enjoyable.

So bottom line, I will look at data from the start or the end of your season or every six to eight months for 50 notes, this way I get something for my time and you get a personal feedback on how you are progressing and where you should be heading.

Those that are interested send and email to and I'll send you the data pack that I'm putting together.

find those flat spots and tweak your motor

Friday, 24 October 2014

Active English

After ten years of teaching English mostly in Spain, my conclusion is that there is too much focus on B1/2 exams, what is more important is, 'Can you speak!?'

For many years during the summer I work in intensive courses and what stands out the most is the comments of the students, 'the best things were the activities and chats over lunch' this is why I want to focus the next ten years on doing things in the second language.

My interests are activites like, hiking, mountain bike rides, running and general fitness. There are two main benifits, one you are doing something while you speak and two that your heart rate is higher so you have more blood moving round your body and that makes you more involved.

The plan is to start with rides and hikes on the weekends and to progress to other activies.
keep an eye on Twitter to see what is coming up and if you are interested get in touch or send me an idea you have.

YOU! You are coming with me. Lets Go!

Ha pasado diez años desde empiezo a dar clase de inglés, Y mi conclusión general es lo bonito es un certificado de B1/2, puedes hablar!
Durante varios cursos intensivos lo que ha destacado es los comentarios de los alumnos, 'lo mejor era los actividades, he aprendido más que en clase'
Actividades, como salida de senderismo, una cena o comida, rodar una película, hacer una tarta no importa la actividad pero que sea en English así la practica será algo más real.

Entonces el plan es hacer salidas  en bici, senderismo, y entrenar  in English

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Happy Fit

After training and eating focused on triathlon events, it was nice to just run and swim for fun and to use the weekends over the summer to get to know the Vally Alto Gállego on the mountain bike.
There are over twenty routes marked and I was lucky enough to get to ride about half of them.
Seeing the high peaks of the Pyrenees and the birds and animals that live there was pure peace, so that when I got back to Murcia I felt happy and fit, not race fit, but right now Happy Fit is the new goal.
ruta 3 La Partacua, starting in Piedrafita de Jaca

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Gettin Wet

Sometimes it's hard to make the right choice, the menu is often too big so when deciding what was going to be the next focus of Personally Trained I had to look back at my notes to see that one goal I had made was to improve my swimming, and as this years and last year's triathlons had the swims cancelled due to conditions.

So when I saw Travesia in the Santa Pola área I put my name down straight away, June 1st, 2500m sea swim. Up until now the most of my training was at 1500m but with the help of my very buoyant wetsuit I was able to get round the sea course.

Starting out in a group of about 80 swimmers through the waves to the yellow buoys then north up the coast at a turn point marked by an inflatable pyramid we then headed out to a yatch swam round that then set course :/ sort of straight diagonal to the start finish. Navigation on this last stretch was not easy as the swell meant the seaweed point of view of swimming and no return markers meant that after 1hour 18mins i got out the water feeling a bit wobbly but very happy with the result

So as with all addictions and sports ´ganas de más' looking fwd to the next challenge ;)

Monday, 19 May 2014

5 Meses Entrenado para Xterra Spain

Hace varios meses estaba sentado contando a Fran los entrenamientos que llevaba apuntado en esta hoja por debajo de las gafas. Ahora que he compelido lo que empecé, bueno más o menos.

Termine 2013 con la duatlón cros de Istan, Malaga - contento y en forma con un plan de hacer la Xterra en mayo 2014 aquí en Cieza Murcia, donde desfruto la carrera del sprint año pasado, esta año el nivel sprint en España no es tan popular, la gente encantan a la bestia, yo prefiero disfruta y ser capaz de llegar al trabajo lunes.

Sin embargo el reto, es un reto así que training para distancia olímpica empezó en enero distancia y volumen para tener la base adecuado para aguantar las tres pruebas. Incluido también fue carreras populares, marchas de bici para ponerme en situación de estrés y las pulsaciones en zonas 4 y 5.
También, hizo un curso de Fitnes Triatlón en Úbeda con la Federación Andaluza de triatlón y leí todo el libro de Joe Friel, Triathlon Training Bible.

Febrero y un gripe, ya veras de la hoja de training, pero sin gran problemas para recuperar unas dos semanas de fondo. La prueba mas difícil del año hasta ahora ha sido Guzmán y Bueno Maratón de 55km de sierra de Morena, 5 horas y casi tres mil calorías gastados.

Semana Santa traje lo mejor, la sorpresa es Cofrentes triatlón de montaña, bici, correr, kayak y bici todo por la zona impecable del campo de una área de Valencia interior precioso. y un bocadillo para todos nada más terminar. volveré.

Disfrute una carrera popular de la playa con unos amigos y ya a empezar entrenamientos de intensidad mas corto, técnicos y como todo los planes hay que tener un plan B así que cuando publico Xterra la cambia de la fecha y lugar pensé sin problema pero, la realidad y somos aficionados y tenemos que ir al trabajo, ver la familia, hacer la compra y entrenar. Entonces termino los cinco meses una semana antes con la triatlón cros de Mojácar un lugar muy bonita y disfruto del los meses de entrenar, siendo capaz de hacerlo y sentir contento que los meses han sido un estudio personal para saber los limites dentro una vida normal.

Queda el reto de las distancias más largas pero hay bastante reto día a día solo los que tienen mucha tiempo disponible o un gran capacidad recomendó esta nivel de entrenamientos, que sea un mínimo de 15 horas por semana aquí veras que yo tengo una media de 4/5.

Bueno yo ahora voy a tomar un descanso y pásalo bien con unos amigos y buscar nuevos retos dentro mis capacidades para lo que quedad del año deportivo ;) un abrazo y suerte con los pruebas. Cas.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Mountain Biking Spain

Day rides, in Murcia, Huesca, gpx Tracks, Cross Country, Duathlon Cross, Triathlon Cross.

In this quick blog I will out line some of the riding that is available, better seasons, races and where riding can be done without coming across hunters, fences and unwanted surprises.

Winter riding from October to April in the Murcia area is ideal with season low in Jan 5ºc first thing but 10-12ºc mid day. Some of the riding is close to the city however it is overloaded with local riders on the walking tracks so better to get away from the crowds, we have built up an extensive range of rides from 20km to 60km height gains from just a few hundred meters to over a thousand. And of course all the places to stop for coffee.  please email for more details.

lets look at some races, Alicante area; Santa Pola, right next to the airport holds a Triathlon cross race at the start of June and a duathlon cross at the end of September, be warned the temps are still high. distance 1km swim, 18km ride, 6km run.

Mountain bike riding in Cofrentes the Valencia area is a a real treat the local mountains about and hour from the city in a small town boasts an amazing range of sign posted tracks all marked with their level of difficulty in colours like ski runs however they cover a wide area so you get the feeling of freedom and the safety of not getting lost. They also hold a mountain triathlon in April.

Almeria, has great weather all year round and some amazing marathon rides, a regular on the calender is Velez Blanco in the autumn it can get cold as the village is at 500m but after a 55km ride you are provied with a huge sit down meal and all at the cheap price of 35 euros.

80km mountain bike rides in the Sierra Morena, Cordoba  Andalucia is a very challenging ride in March, cool conditions similar to those in UK. A marathon ride that also has a short 55km route but tough with over two thousand riders its difficult to keep up or get out of the way, only recommended to the serious rider. It is co run with the local infantry mechanised unit so food tent and bike wash are provided. It is slightly more expensive at 50euros.
Also in the same area is the very hard core Andalucia bike Race in Feb that is a week of cross country 60/70km rides and comes in at 400euros a head.

Xterra is a brand of triathlon cross that is getting bigger all the time last year the Spanish race was held in June in Cieza, Murcia, this year it has moved to may and La Manga area of Murcia. 1500m swim, 28km ride and a 10km trail run in the afternoon heat is a very tough challenge and it has a hefty price tag of 112euros.
Madrid is also hosting Xterra this year in July and with sprint distance too, making the experience more fun and less demanding. Another company is also holding a series of duathlon and triathlon cross races around the Madrid area although the distances are at sprint level all of this Madrid action is in the summer and rather hot for those used to colder conditions.

Moving north we can get into the famous La Rioja region, not for the wine, but for their well established tacks in the hills and mountains making riding worry free and free ;)

The big hills are where we might expect the down hill riders to be but the mountains around Huesca and Jaca and well into the Pyrenees, crossing over to the French side in Arrete can also offer some cross country riding without getting out of your depth also with established routes marked and free.

This summer I will be investigating some of the riding around the mountains in Navarra, Catalonia and also the French side. My knowledge of places and rides is growing fast and if you are thinking of heading south to get some sunny rides then please get in contact and I can help you find the right location.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

How to read Run Pace and Heart Rate. Going off the Rails, Saliendo las Vias

He estado leyendo el blog deJoe Friel el autor de muchas libros de ciclismo, triatlón, es entrenador y triatleta con 70 años parece tiene 50. Hoy voy a usar sus ideas en como usar data de frecuencia cardiaca y ritmo (pace) y el uso de vatios.
para quedar claro no tengo un Power meter para medir la fuerza en vatios de la bici, ni tengo plan para uno como he comentado cuesta unos 700 euros y por arriba. en un blog ya he comentado que no esta claro como usar ésta data. Pero Joe lo tiene claro. mirando la frecuencia cardiaca y poder si puede demostrar el nivel de fitness. viendo las dos líneas en un grafico deben tener una tendencia paralelo.
Vale como no puedo probarlo, vamos a la versión para correr de pie. La idea es igual, las pulsaciones y el ritmo kilómetro por minuto. por ejemplo:
5min / km con pulsaciones 140/min durante 6km ahora continuar correr si no estamos en forma las pulsaciones suben para mantener el mismo ritmo y las líneas en un grafico desvían, mirad.
la línea roja marca pulsaciónes y siempre hay retraso de pulsaciones al principio.

O por el contrario si continuamos a 140 pulsaciones pero el ritmo pasa de 5min/km a 6 pues vamos más lento por la fuerza que ponemos. Ambos significar que falta entrenamiento para mejorar el rendimiento.
Os dejo con otra grafico de una carrera de 10km al final veras he subido el ritmo y las pulsaciones sigue en paralelo se corresponde la fuerza usado por el ritmo marcado.

as you can see, the lines are parralle this is good. when the lines start to seperate at the end of your run. there is still some base training to do at that distance.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Legs on Fire

Hola a todos, un resumen del entrenamiento...domingo pasado con la bici de montaña en Cieza (GR7) una ruta de 50km de campo, con unos 25° de sol, increíble, bueno lunes a la piscina para unos invervales suaves, martes descanso, pere el miércoles hice un sesión de media hora en casa que resultaba interesante, aquí tienes.

Series de uno solamente.
Flexiones con las piernas subidas a un silla, 20 reps
Flexiones con balón medicinal pasado la a un mano a otra 16 reps
Planks con disco de 2kg, 12 reps
Planks laterales con abducción de pierna hacia arriba, 12
Crunches, 20 reps
Bridge, 20

Goma elástica verde, bíceps, cada lado 20
Manquierna 8kg, Rows laterales, 20
Hombros goma verde (flys) 12reps cada lado

Isquios 'good mornings' con balón medicinal 20 reps
Sentadillas con balón medicinal piernas individuales, 20
Lunges con manquierna pasado por debajo de la pierna, 20
Sentadillas con balón medicinal por encima de cabeza, 20
Y ya hacer tortitas, dos huevos, un poco de leche de soja, haría, y un sartén none stick.

Las tareas de la mañana y a las 11:30 a correr 10km por el barrio en zona 1&2. La verdad es que la cadencia fue lo normal 85 pero la zancada unos 10 cm más que normal. Por lo cual la velocidad por km era mejor.

Bueno gracias a esto hay agujetas :-) :-) así el jueves descanso y hoy viernes a la piscina y domingo otra ruta por el campo de Cieza en la bici:-) :-)

Bueno la sesión en casa tardo nada pero siento los beneficios así que haré mas de esto como no tarda nada en
hacer la planificación.

Saludos, cas

Monday, 20 January 2014

training update

Termine el año con el duatlon cros de Istan, un pueblo de monte cerca Marbella, y empeze el año nuevo con un 10k de un pueblo de Murcia. Asi que contento con nuevos retos cada temporada.
El sábado estaba en Ubeda, Jaén participando con otra 12 deportistas fantásticos en un curso de fitness triatlon, un día para estudiar unas cosas olvidadas y aprender cosas nuevas para aplicar en los días de entrenamiento de uno mismo o los de mas. Con esto puse la idea uno del grupo a publicar entre nosotros los planes de entrenar.

Nada mas el training de hoy.

Calentamiento en casa, 38 flexciones, un por cada año que tengo, os toca mas o menos:-)
Unos 20 sentadiallas con balón medicinal

Fuera en el parque de niños,
20 dips de triceps usando un banco
20 pull ups inclinadas (como un flexcion al revez)
Y pull ups la verdad en la barra de calumpio hoy max 7

Y a correr, hoy unos 7km y pico de campo y cuidad con una subida fuerte asi las pulsaciones llega brevamente a Z4 pero principalmente en zona 3 unos 30 minutos.
Vuelta a la calma, estirar, duchar y comer, hoy ensalada de salmon humado con limón de la huerta Murciana, y pan intergral.

Ésta tarde y mañana uso la bici para ir al trabajo, el miércoles la natación usando la técnica de Pedro con el dedo gordo rozando el cuerpo.
Y el fin de semana btt en Cieza para entrenar en el campo de Xterra.

Bueno depende el trabajo meto otras días para correr en zonas 1&2 y sessiones de 4&5, corto y intenso. Pero me gusta tomar uno o dos días de descanso, entrenamiento invisible, y siempre mirando la combinacion de hidratos de carbono, protienas y grasas para cada comida y día de actividad.
Os recomendo el libro, Nutrition para Deportistas, de Nancy Clark publicado por Desnivel.

Saludos, Caspar