Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

Upper body workout

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020 | Sport, Video

This is a 30-minute upper body workout for endurance athletes. It is perfect for triathletes, runners and cyclists. Even though our legs are doing most of the work, having upper body strength is important for maintaining good form and running economy. In this class, we’ll go through some strengthening and flexibility exercises for our arms, shoulders and upper body.

Balance workout

Friday, July 31st, 2020 | Sport, Video

The third workout in my strength and conditioning series is all about balance. Balance is super important in triathlon. If you think about a race, you spend none of it with both feet on the ground. You’re in the swim, pushing down with each leg in turn on the bike, or running, which by definition means having one foot off the ground at all times.

As such, having good balance means you can maintain good technique and therefore avoid injury, and also significantly contributes you your economy: the less energy you can waste swaying side-to-side, the more energy you will have to drive yourself forward.

Legs workout

Friday, July 24th, 2020 | Sport, Video

Following on from my core workout last week, the second in my series of strength and conditioning workouts for endurance athletes focusses on legs.

Try to keep your knee behind your toes when doing lunges. I couldn’t find the part of the video to add a note to it.

Core workout

Monday, July 13th, 2020 | Sport, Video

There isn’t much triathlon-specific strength and conditioning stuff on YouTube, so I have put my strength & conditioning coaching qualifications to good use and made one. I’m pretty happy with the results. I had to do some noise reduction on the video as the microphone kept getting ruffled, but once that was applied everything sounded good. If it’s popular, I plan to make some more.

Running gait analysis

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 | Sport

Since I hurt my foot in November, it has taken a long time to get running again. So, I decided to invest in some injury prevention. Top of that list was a running gait analysis.

I could go to a running shop where they would put me on a treadmill and analyse what was going on. However, there is a severe risk that what would happen is that it would magically turn out I needed a new, £100+ pair of trainers. In fact, that’s exactly what did happen to me.

So, I was looking for somewhere that might be able to give me some better advice. I found David at West Leeds Practice. They are a physiotherapy clinic based in the city centre and one of the services they offer is a running gait analysis.

It’s certainly thorough. We started off with some strength exercises, testing the differences between my left and my right side. My left was weaker, and this was no surprise to me, but having measured it, David has then been able to give me a strengthening routine tailored to improving it.

Then I hopped on the treadmill and we did a video analysis. I ran for a little bit and then we analysed what was going on with my arms and legs from a range of different angles. There was some stuff here, too, such as my crossing my legs over the centre was I run. I think this was exhibited by the rather small size of the treadmill, but it’s something I’ve been mindful of ever since.

Finally, he gave me a set of foot pods to place on my trainers and monitor my running for a week. I went back a week later to get the analysis (all of which was included in my session) and we reviewed my cadence, ground contact time and oscillation. I’m working on improving my cadence at the moment. It’s too early to say whether it is working or not, though the few test runs I have done made things go from red to green on my Garmin run reports.

All in all, I like what they do. David was very evidence-based and the analysis is certainly in detail: we looked at a lot of different things and reviewed all the ways I could improve my technique and reduce the chance of future injury. If you run a lot, it is worth investing in.

The holiest way to get healthy

Saturday, August 30th, 2014 | Health & Wellbeing, Video

Run Less, Run Faster

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 | Books

I recently read Run Less, Run Faster after it was recommended by a friend. It sets out a training programme that emphasises getting rid of “junk milage” and making the runs you do do more effective.

In general it seems to have a lot of good stuff in it, and if I wanted to take my running more seriously, it seems like a great programme to follow. As it is, I will take some ideas from it without taking the whole package.

It seems mostly written for people who run marathons. There is plenty of adjustments for 5km and 10km races and all the tables discuss these values, as well as values for quite slow runners (a lot slower than me even) but even so I feel like it is really for people who dedicate their entire lives to running. I guess that should be obviously from a scheme that advocates five workouts a week. It certainly is not a book targeted as casual runners, or anyone who’s primary purpose is fitness rather than competitive running.

It is filled with jargon. Maybe if you are a serious runner you will understand it all, but a lot of it is lost on me and I have had to look quite a few terms up.

Some of it seems cautious. It talks about speaking to a doctor before beginning a training programme. Perhaps this is good advice if you have health issues, but I am pretty sure that the overwhelming majority of doctors will tell overwhelming majority of people “yes, of course you should exercise!” And as Chris H has pointed out previously, if you are a healthy 20-something year old, you don’t really need to train for a 10km. If you already do regular exercise, you will just be able to do it. Even by accident. Again though, that goes back to whether you just want to run it, or whether you want to run it competitively.

I like the way they mix up the format of the book. Some of it is standard flowing text, other parts are delivered as a question and answer. They also intersperse of all this with letters from people telling them how amazing they are. This I find odd and uncomfortable. I am always suspicious about texts that spend so much time openly stating how good they are rather than offering real content.

Overall, I think if you want to run competitively, this is a great book to read. Otherwise, it probably is not that useful.



Monday, May 5th, 2014 | Life

Parkrun is a network of UK (and now international) 5km weekly runs open to the general public. There are now three in Leeds – Woodhouse Moor, Temple Newsam and Roundhay Park.

Each one takes place at 9am each Saturday. You register (for free) and print out a barcode. You then turn up and run 5km with everyone else and get your barcode scanned when you are finished. They then upload all the data and email everyone to let them know their times. They are popular events. Woodhouse Moor had around 400 people there this week.

Overall, I am not sure I prefer it to running on my own. For a number of reasons:

  • I like running because it is accessible. I live next to the canal, so I can leave my front door and start running. No overheads. With Parkrun I have to make my way up to Woodhouse Moor, wait around for it to start, do my run, then come home. The whole experience takes around 75 minutes for less than 30 minutes of running.
  • I am not very fast, so it is not that motivating to be at the back of the field.
  • It is hard to pace yourself when running in a large crowd.

However, cleverly they give you a t-shirt when you have completed 50, 100 and 250 runs. And I want my t-shirt!