Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Mindful Running

Monday, August 17th, 2020 | Books

Mindful Running: How Meditative Running can Improve Performance and Make you a Happier, More Fulfilled Person is a book by Mackenzie L. Havey.

It’s a nice read. Nothing suer-new or much I did not know, but if you don’t practice mindfulness already or use it in your running, this would be a recommended read.

It was also a good reminder of what Havey calls our “True North Goal”. The thing that keeps us going regardless of what races are coming up. For many of us, it will be to stay on top of our physical and mental health, to challenge ourselves, to show ourselves we are stronger than we thought. A timely reminder given almost all of the races in 2020 are cancelled.

One-Hour Guide to Sport Nutrition

Thursday, May 21st, 2020 | Books

New book alert. If you are an athlete, coach or just someone interested in learning more about nutrition and exercise, The One-Hour Guide to Sport Nutrition will give you a fundamental and practical overview in around an hour’s reading.

We’ll cover macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and how they work. `But we’ll also look at personalising nutrition, the psychology of healthy eating, managing hydration, losing weight safely and how to fuel before, during and after exercise.

It’s available on Amazon in paperback now.

Garmin heart rate monitors: HRM-Tri vs HRM-Swim

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019 | Video

Garmin produces a range of heart rate monitors for triathletes. In this video, I’ll compare the HRM-Tri and HRM-Swim. I’ll also talk about Garmin’s new models, the HRM-Run and HRM-Dual.

Both the Tri and the Swim come in the Forerunner 935 triathlon bundle. The Tri is the go-to heart rate for everyday training. It has a stretchy strap that is comfortable so makes the perfect choice for running and cycling. It can also be used in the pool for short distances, such as pool-based sprint triathlons. Just make sure to give it a good rinse when done.

The HRM-Swim is specifically for swimming a pool. It has a non-stretchy grippy strap that is less comfortable but means that it won’t slip down when you dive into a pool or kick off from the side. It is also more resilient to corrosion from pool chemicals.

Both can record heart rate data underwater, although you will only be able to download it when you get out of the water. They both transmit over ANT+, so if you’re looking for something that does Bluetooth you need to look at the HRM-Dual instead. Or the Polar H10, which I have also reviewed.

Announcing Resilient Running

Thursday, August 16th, 2018 | News

In June, I launched my Running For Beginners course. It quickly became the most popular online course I have ever taught, with nearly 2,000 people signing up in the first two months alone.

The course has received great ratings, but some students wanted to take it further. Some were existing runners and found the course content too basic. As it was a beginners course, I didn’t want to make it too advanced. So, I started work on a new course for existing runners looking to take their game to the next level.

The result is my new course, Resilient Running. It will teach you to run faster, longer, and stay injury free. It covers technique, training, injury prevention, nutrition, psychology and more. It’s targetted at people who already run on a regular basis, so we get straight down to business. There are no beginners steps because that’s all covered in my first course.

Will it prove as popular? I certainly hope so. Over 1,000 people have signed up in the first 48 hours.

Here’s the trailer:

Announcing Running For Beginners

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018 | News

I’m pleased to announce the launch of my new online course, Running For Beginners. It’s a complete introduction to running for those who want to get into it for the first time or are coming back to it after a break.

Topics covered include:

  • Where to run
  • What to wear
  • Staying safe
  • Warming up and cooling down
  • Motivation
  • Dealing with different weather conditions

And much more. So far, it is proving rather popular:

And best of all, it’s free. Click here to check it out.

Physiology of Sport and Exercise

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 | Books

Physiology of Sport and Exercise is a textbook by W. Larry Kenney, Jack H. Wilmore and David L. Costill. I read the fifth edition.

I got on well with this book. I was able to read in detail the sections I was interested in and skip straight to the “in review” summaries of the sections I wasn’t. There are case studies which help add a bit of colour to the otherwise dry science.

It starts with a description of what happens to the body when you exercise, before moving to talk about the theory behind training. It has sections for environmental factors and individual differences such as age and sex.

There is a lengthy discussion of nutrition and doping, too. Though, unfortunately, I haven’t found any safe and easy ways to dope. I don’t fancy withdrawing a load of blood and re-injecting it six weeks later, so it looks like I’ll just have to keep puffing away on the old salbutamol.

Keep on Running

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 | Books

Keep on Running: Science of Training and Performance is a book by Eric Newsholme, Anthony Leech and Glenda Duester.

It’s a popular title for books: a search on Good Reads turned up over a dozen books with the same title. This one is to do with what it says on the tin. That is, it is about how to run faster and longer.

The key takeaway message is that you are slowed down by your weakest system. So, you have a great vo2 max, but if your lactate threshold is terrible, you’re not going to be setting any records. Similarly, you can have all the slow twitch fibres in the world, but you need a decent running economy to run a marathon fast.

This means working on all of the bodies systems. It’s not enough to just do the same thing over and over again. You need variety in your training routine to work on each part of the body.

Of course, vary your training system is nothing new or surprising. But the book breaks down the details in a clear and easy-to-follow manner.

Spin class

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 | Sport

Last week I went to my first spin class. I was a bit nervous about going as I worried I would be the only man in a room full of women, and that everyone else would have done a spin class before. It turns out that some fears are justified.

I didn’t really get what it was about. With a regular exercise class, it makes sense. There is an instructor there that tells you to do different things. But what can you do on a bike? Do they just sit at the front shouting “pedal faster”?

The answer to that question is basically yes.

Sometimes you pedal slowly in a high gear. Sometimes you pedal fast in a low gear. Sometimes you stand up and sometimes you sit down. Occasionally you alternate between the two which turns into some kind of press-ups on a bike. The instructor is also there to be a DJ, synchronising the instructions to the music.

I like it as a workout. It pushes you harder than you can push yourself. And there was another guy there. He turned up late and looked like he had only come to support his girlfriend, but technically he was there.

Start running with Parkrun

Saturday, February 25th, 2017 | Sport

Just going outside and running is simple. But for us adults, we often need something a little more structured to get started. Parkrun is a great option.

If you are thinking about getting started with running, Parkrun is a great way to go. Founded in the UK it was quickly spread to almost every town and is rapidly spreading across the rest of the world too.

So what is it? It is a timed 5km run that takes place every Saturday. It is free, so you can simply turn up and do the run. At most Parkruns there is a huge ability difference between runners: some will complete it in 15 minutes, others will take 50. Everyone goes at their own pace.

As a Yorkshireman, one of the major appeals to me are the free t-shirts. When you reach 50 runs, 100 runs and 250 runs you get access to a special t-shirt for that “Club”. Actually, it is not free, but all you pay for is a few pounds postage. There is also a “25 Club” for those who volunteer as marshals.

Here are the technical details. You register on the website and are given a unique barcode to print out. Take this along with you to the run and when you complete the course a volunteer will scan your barcode so that your time can be sent to you.

Slimming down

Thursday, July 14th, 2016 | Health & Wellbeing

Given my recent slip into bad BMI I’ve been working on losing some weight. So I have been playing around with some tools to help me.

Apple Health

Health is one of the apps that Apple forces on you. I had never actually used it. However, when I opened it, it turned out that it had spent the last year counting every step I make. That is both horribly invasive and rather interesting. I am averaging 7,500 steps per day.

You can record body metrics such as weight and then have them plotted on a graph. This makes sense. Why I would need to regularly record my height and plot that on a graph though is unclear. Perhaps it is aimed at children and the shrinking elderly?

apple-health

MyFitnessPal

I am using this to record my diet. Yep, I have become one of those calorie counting wankers. You put in your weight, target weight and target period to lose said weight, and it gives you the number of calories you need to restrict yourself to per day. This goes up and down as you exercise and eat, giving you a number of calories left for each day: I have 785 spare so far, which I could spend on two chocolate chip muffins…

myfitnesspal

I can also record exercise on it. This will be useful when I exercise without my phone, such as American football training. For running, I use the app below.

MapMyRun

I have used MapMyWalk for years but now I am upping the ante by using the run version. It is actually the exact same app. When you log a work out in one it immediately appears in the other. Also, once you have synced one with MyFitnessPal, they are all synced. They are all Under Armour apps, so you would expect them to work pretty well together and so far they do.

map-my-run

Results

After three months I had managed to drop 8kg. This was working off net 1500 kcals per day, which I hit almost every day. A few days I was a few hundred kcals over the limit, but on others I was up to 1,000 below the limit (due to large amounts of exercise) so I was definitely below the limit on average.

weight-graph

However, I then spent a week on my honeymoon and put 2kg back on.

Conclusion

I have a new found respect for anyone trying to lose weight. It is really difficult. At net 1500 kcals per day, which is the maximum my app allows, you can just about fit three meals in, but no snacks or beer in. After all of this, I was only losing 0.5kg per week. Then just a single week off ruined a month of work.

Of course, it could be that if you are significantly overweight it is easier to shift the first lot of kilos. However, it really is hard work and difficult to find the motivation when it piles back on so easily.