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