Friday, 8 October 2010

Loch Ness 10km

Delighted with a finish time of 50:06.

Well, I say delighted but for the sake of 7 seconds I could have had a sub-50 minute 10km under my belt for the first time in about 10 years, grrrr!!!!

The stat porn is a like this

Predicted VO2 Max:39.9
Predicted speed at VO2 max:07:23 min/mile
Age graded time:: 56.7%

Haven't really though about what the predicted speed at VO2 max actually means, but it translates to 8.13 miles per hour or ~13km/hour.

anyway, the good news is that it's more than 1 minute better than my predicted race times from last week, based on the 5km, but nowhere near the times predicted by the VO2 max measurement on the treadmill...

At least that tells us something... in order to predict a race time, based on a race time, it's much better to base it on a run similar to the one you're actually going to undertake, rather than some crappy gym test... who'd a thunk it?

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Event specific testing

So, it's the big 10km race in Inverness this Sunday and I can't wait. Training has been pretty piss poor if I'm honest though. Putting a 2 week family holiday into the schedule just 3 weeks before the event smacks of poor planning... getting lashed on the vino most night smacks of an irresponsible lack of commitment... ho hum!

I thought I'd put myself to the test as best I can this week to check my form though.

Saturday's 5km parkrun saw me record a personal best 24:40. To be fair it's notth emost accurate timing in the world and I could probably claim a few seconds back for the way the start is organised... but I won't.
Using the Running for Fitness website that gives a predicted VO2 max of 38.9.
According to the VO2 max normalised tables (find them here) that's not much better than average.
The mitigating factor here would have to be that the Glasgow Parkrun is a bit of a beast with 2 laps of a fairly hilly route, but average is less than good in my book!

Race Predictions:

Riegel formula based on 5km time51:25
VO2 max51:13

To be fair I'd take either of those time quite comfortably.

Anyway, I went to the gym today and did a V02 max test on the treadmill (5 min test walking at 7.3 km/hour). Estimated VO2 max was 44.3 (that's above 'above average' and into 'good', which is in the very good category and I'm much happier with that... until I relise this means a predicted 10km time of 45:50... I'd be ecstatic with that... in fact 47min would be an awesome 10km run for me...

Quickly rubbing the gloss of that result though was the O'Neal rowing test on the concept2 Rowers, where my meagre 990m is still below average... I think I'm going to assume that the only people they actually measured doing this test were keen rowers with the physique for rowing... unlike my short legged, long backed, not very flexible one...

What does all this mean? It probably means that I could run a half decent 10km if I put my mind to it properly and even if I plod I should still be running much faster that I have been in the recent past...

I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Squash - Getting better...

2-3 with the final game going to 8-8, against a man closer to my own age... so not quite as embarrasing as the previous 2 games (0-3 drubbings by pensioners).

Not rushing every shot now as I desperately lunge to get close to the ball, but actually getting into decent positions and giving myself a bit more time to consider the shot. Perversely though, most of my unforced errors came from having too much time to think about what I was doing or getting ahead of myself and moving to the next shot before I've played the current one. As a game, it's got a lot more than just physical fitness or even ability to play a shot. The tactical side of squash turns out to a be a whole lot more important than I'd ever imagined it to be! On the other hand, I came off court dripping in sweat and the guys in the court next to us looked like they were in a steam bath, so it's still a mighty work out.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Running test

Nice page here on a 1.5 mile running test.

1.5 miles is 2.4 km

To run 2.4km at 15km/hour (the required speed for a 40 min 10km) the 40 year old man will get there in 9 minutes 36 seconds and has a VO2 max > 48 putting him in the top 90% of performers for his age...

Running at 10.8km / hour (my plodding speed) is pretty much the 50% mark - Jo Average! Baws to that!

To get into the top 25% we need to break 11 min 49 seconds, which equates to a running speed of 12.6km/hour - that'll do for a start!

Age Grading & Body weight considerations

So Finlay has issued the Challenge 40. Run a 10km road race with your target time in minutes being your age...

There's been chat of a wee caveat to entice the rugby boys, which is that if you can bench press twice your final time, then you're ok.

That's maybe a wee bit unfair on the shorter, fat chap (me!) so I'm proposing that he introduces actual body weight into that equation to even things up.

Bench press = (Race time / Age) * Body weight.

So an 85 kg chap running in 40 minutes should bench press 85kg, but if he runs in 45 mins, he needs to bench press 95.625kg.

The gist of it is there are 2 aims here... Run 10k as fast as you can and lose as much weight as you can, but there's no real hiding place!

Anyway, speaking of the Challenge 40 - seemingly arbitrary time limit, I thought I'd do a wee bit research. There's a method used by many running clubs to grade people using the age of the runner and the approximate world record level for a runner that age.

There's a link here but to put things into persepective - a word I'm coming around to hating! - A 40 year old running a 10km race in 40 minutes gets an age graded score of 71.02% - which is actually a Regional class time. The world record for a 40 year old would be 28:25

Your age-graded score is the ratio of the approximate world-record time for your age and gender divided by your actual time.

Age-graded scores have been categorized into these broad achievement levels:
100% = Approximate World Record Level
Over 90% = World Class
Over 80% = National Class
Over 70% = Regional Class
Over 60% = Local Class

To score 100% you would need a time of:

Your age-graded time is your finish time adjusted to that of an open division participant using a factor for age and gender. Thus, the times for women and older participants are adjusted downward, while the times for most open division participants (such as 25-year-old men) remain the same.

Look, noone said it was an easy challenge!

Press up Tests

Physical fitness isn’t just about lifting. It’s about how strong you are relevant to your body weight, says Martin Rooney, the author of Ultimate Warrior Workouts. That’s why he has his athletes-in-training do body-weight tests. If they struggle, they need to either gain strength or lose weight.

The challonge:
Do as many push-ups as you can in three minutes

The Rules:
1. Rest whenever you want, but keep the clock running the whole time.
2. For a rep to count, you must maintain perfect form: elbows locked at the top, chest five centimetres above the floor at the bottom, hips not sagging and knees not touching the floor.
3. Pace yourself however you’d like, but it’s best not to rush, says Rooney. Take a 15-second break once you slow down after your first burst. Then take longer breaks as you become more tired, he says. Never push yourself to total fatigue.

How did you do?

< 55 Below average
55-74 Average
75-99 Good
100-110 Excellent
> 110 Extraordinary

Back in the day, I always expected that I should be able to do at least 50 press ups in under a minute without stopping otherwsie I would not make myself available to play rugby... Seems like it wasn't such a bad wee test to have! Wonder how I'll do today??

Gubbed again! but inspired...

Another 0-3 doing from another retired guy! This is very humbling!

At least this time it was more to do with the fact that my opponent was an extremely skillful player with a beautiful touch... I played much better than I did at the weekend and am hopeful that I might get some league points tonight... although 2 matches in 2 days might be too much at this stage in my regime... sauna at lunchtime I think!

On the broght side though, these old fellas that are retired are enjoying the time of their lives with their weeks filled with golf, tennis and squash. When I'm their age, I can only hope to be as active, but the secret to that has to be getting into shape now and staying in shape for the next 30 years.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Speed test

Thought I'd better see what 15km/h felt like, so set the treadmill at 0.5% incline and ran for 1 min @ 15 km/h.
It's not exactly a flat out sprint, but it's markedly faster than my normal plod, which according to my calculations is somewhere about the 10.8km/h mark. That being said I run at that (10.8km/h) speed easily and haven't really pushed myself to see how much faster I could go and for how long I could do it.

Anyway, more squash tonight and tomorrow, and some strength testing on Thursday, which will be 80 days out from the event... here's a thought though. What if I just added 1 minute of running at 15km/h every 2 days and did nothing else. After 80 days I'd be right up there at running 15km/h for 40 minutes which would cover the 10km in my target time... Interesting thought! but probably not how I'll approach the problem... although perhaps I should consider doing something like that... hmm! Procrastination mode ON!

Monday, 12 July 2010


Oh dear! Just got annihalated 3-0 by a retired guy...

Ok, so my technique let me down on more than one occasion, but still... he was retired!!!

Oh yes! and to run a 10km road race in 40 minutes, means you need to average 15km/hour (9.375 miles per hour in old money!)

These moments are what you might call 'eye openers'. Challenge 40 is going to to be a lot tougher than I thought, because
a) I hadn't considered how tough it was in the first place...
b) I'm not in as good a place as I thought I was...

Is it too late to make this a game of golf???

The beginning... again!!!!

Well, the football is finished, Wimbeldon is over, I'm not even sure what cricket is being played this summer and no Sky TV means no access to the Tri-Nations... all the excuses are played out and we're 12 weeks away from the Loch Ness 10k.

I've been doing a few wee training sessions at the gym over the last few weeks, but not much. Very pleased to note that the 5kg I dropped for the rugby has stayed off, but I could probably drop another 5k quite easily, so best not get too smug about it.

I turned 40, just a couple of weeks ago and that's when I've officially started my countdown to the race, and the other things that I've got planned, but let's set some targets.

1. The bevvy! - I love the drink! I love the social aspect, I love the taste of wine with food, I love the refreshing zing of a cold beer after a long week and I especially love that with friends... The thing is it doesn't actually complement a running or weight loss regime wonderfully well... So between the 30 June and 3rd October there are 95 days. I've got a couple of Edinburgh festival days pencilled into the diary already and I've enjoyed a few nights out watching the world cup already, but the aim is to arrive at the start line with at least 90% of those days designated as AFD (Alcohol Free Days)... there is one sneaky wee caveat that applies: Steaks may be accompanied by 1 glass of red wine and that does not break the AFD (life is far too short for the alternative!)

2. The food - crisps are now banned. Chips are no more than once a week.

3. Squash - I've joined a squash club and I will play in the leagues at least once a week.

4. Weight - I'm loathe to set a weight loss target, but I'm currently 84kg and feel pretty good. The gut is too big though, so I'm going to aim to be less than 80kg by race day.

5. Mornings - We've already wasted more than half of the summer! I need to be out of bed at 6am and going for a short walk / jog. This will start this week.

6. Pull ups - I can't believe how the power to weight ratio has been decimated, but if I can't do 10 proper pullups by race day, I will be raging with myself - currently I can do 4...

Wish me luck!

Monday, 31 May 2010

Loch Ness 10k

Accepted the challenge! yep!
Entered the race! tick! yep!

125 days (~ 18 weeks) till race day.

Downloaded EndoMondo sports tracker software onto my snazzy new Nokia X6.
Need to get one of those fancy arm bands to hold the phone whilst I'm pounding out the miles... This is the prevarication stage which starts all great fitness challenges!

Football world cup is coming up along with my 40th birthday!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Challenge!!!! Bring it on!


It's been quite a while since I've thought about my fitness. Got into what I thought was looking like pretty decent form for the Melrose 10's... then got a horrible cold and followed it up with sinusitis. My sympathetic doctor supplied me with the anti-biotics and nasal spray to get me onto the pitch... and what an honour that was, to once again pull on the boots and chuck a ball about with good people. The boys won the plate, Graham Shiel gave me a black eye and I ended up in Border's general hospital for 6 stitches after an accidental clash of heads... money can't buy you that sort of fun!

The last few weeks have been a prolonged period of indolence mixed with over-indulgence though and it's time to start taking care of the physical again. Finlay has come up with the ideal challenge... We all turn 40 this year. The Loch Ness marathon / 10k happens around his birthday... so here it is... Run the 10k in as many minutes as you are old... Pay a forfeit for every minute over your age to your charity of choice.... how confident are you?

As I'll be 40 next month and am currently running 10km in not much less that an hour, it's a real hum dinger of a challenge, but 10km is a great distance. You don't need to be away running for more than an hour at a time when training. You can mix genuine speed work with hill work with reasonable distance work.

The solution is obvious. Lose weight, improve cardio, improve flexibility, improve leg strength and toughen up mentally... Simples!

See you at the start line!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Ye know what ye know. Ye know it's right and you're wrong! So stop it

I've been off the sauce for a few weeks now. Had a fairly dramatic effect on the weight very quickly, but I was surprised yesterday to be back up in the heavyweight division. I say surprised. I wasn't really that surprised as I've been doing a bit of snacking. A wee biscuit here and there and a bit of chocolate... ho hum! I knew I shouldn't have, but I did...

That's not to say that that I wasn't actually a bit heavier than I expected, but still there was an underlying reason... and here's the really daft bit even beyond the biscuits...

Last week I was eating cup noodles, trying to kid myself on that I was giving myself some energy to work harder in the gym. Was I dickens! I was eating cup noodles because I like them, especially the spicy Tom Yum Tiger ones. It took my boss ripping the piss out of me to make me think about it... So sad am I that I even googled "cup noodles for energy before a workout" to see if I could get some backup... All I got was confirmation that I was eating super processed shite, flavoured with a half cup of salt... I still like them, but they're off the menu ;-(

Worse still, earlier this week I convinced myself that eating houmous and fresh bread would be a terrific snack. Great taste, full of friendly proteins and the oil is the healthy Mediterranean Olive oil. Of course that only works if you treat it like a snack, but the greedy got that I am saw me scoffing a whole tub of the stuff with a wee baguette. OK, so I was hungry, and the stuff I was eating is supposedly healthy. but that was ridiculous AND I knew it.

So, I'm off the drink, exercising more, but the weight isn't really coming down as I'd like it too... because...
i) Well, just weighing yourself isn't the best measure anyway
ii) You need to watch the diet too!
iii) When you're my age, you really need to watch the diet!

Monday, 4 January 2010

New Year

Well, that's that! A cracking Festive season. Way too much bevvy than was good for me, but the party's over now and time to get back to business.

I'm going to spend January working on my weight, flexibility and general movement, as well as reacquainting myself with a rugby ball. Fortunately, a few junior clubs are doing some indoor work due to the astonishing snow we've got just now, so that works for me. The big trick I'm going to play this January though is to get along to some dance classes and see if I can't loosen up these old hips of mine. Fingers crossed!