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!