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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Training

So, I have been soul searching a bit about my triathlon, racing, training and sport in general. Very uplifted by the Olympic, but lost a bit of motivation for triathlon. Racing is becoming very expensive, and the rewards for competing for top age group finishes continue to be vouchers for a bike shop that I don't use. And I'm not in the market to race for yet another T-shirt and bag of energy gels and powder drinks and discount vouchers for yet more fitness stores. 

Like a lot of experienced and competitive age group racers, the incentive to continue racing I am sure is dwindling a little, as the cost of entering events far outweighs the return for finishing. There is obvious personal satisfaction in finishing a race and there is no denying the rewards for that self belief in having performed well. But to pay over £50 for a pool based triathlon, only 400m swim and a short bike and short run, just seems over the top. Which is why I have not raced a great deal this season. And I do miss it, because one very rarely gets the chance to combine all three sports in one session, and the exhilaration of pushing yourself to the finish knowing you have given it everything. But it's all got so very serious, even in the relatively short time I have been involved in the sport. Bike bling and tri-suit porn seem to the be the order of the day, and if you don't turn up to the race with a massive box of all the kit in the shop then there's something wrong! Calf guards and recovery shakes abound, and if I have to ride past a disc wheel again when I'm out on a leisurely Sunday ride, then something needs to be said! 

That aside, I have myself been changing the way I train. I am building upper body strength which will transfer to the pool when I feel like getting back into my swimming. I am doing short intense workouts to work at strength and cardio combined and it is having a very positive effect. I have been back into riding and done some more TTs over the last 3-4 weeks, and my riding is returning to form. I lack the motivation a little to do very long rides, but riding for tempo at 2 hours over the Purbecks is again having a good effect when combining it with a solid turbo session and an easy rollers session. As for running I have not stepped out in anger for 3 weeks now! Unheard of. I love running, but not enough it seems! I will return to that soon, but I'm finding the short workouts are much more enjoyable for the time being. Here's an example of the type of session I have been doing. 

Warm up with 5 minutes of:
Burpees, Squats, Press ups, Lunges, Step Ups, Plank, Sit ups, Boxing. 

Main Set, endurance:
3 x 40 secs with 20 secs rest.
Deadlift, 60kg
Bench Press, 40kg
Bent Over Row, 40kg
Front Squat, 60kg
Military Press, 30kg
Back Squat, 60kg

5 minutes cool down.

Other Session Example:
Complex
After short 5 min warm 
5 sets, 5 reps, 60 secs rest between sets. moderate weight, 60-70% of 1RM
Deadlift
Bent Over Row
High Pulls
Front Squat
Shoulder Press
Back Squat
I also do this above routine as a circuit, moving quickly from deadlift to row to pulls etc, which then counts as one rep. 

As you can see, my workouts consist of a lot of compound exercises, but those really are the best ones to work the whole of your body and to develop a strong core and condition the body for swimming biking and running, and most other sports for that matter. I also do use kettlebells a lot, again brilliant for both strength and cardio combined. 
It's challenging my body differently and keeping me lean, and easier to do 20-30 minutes solid gym work than pound the pavements for 90 minutes! For anyone wanting to get fit or get lean, short intense workouts are the way forward. My bodyfat has dropped from 11% to 9% over the last 4 weeks, purely down the the fact that I have changed my training and am doing shorter sessions with higher intensity. Strength work promotes muscle growth by firing up your testosterone levels, which then gets your metabolism working and then providing you don't stock up on sugary foods, this will burn off your biggest source of energy, which in the human body is your fat stores! 
More info to follow, and I am planning a blog to chart my progress over the next few months. I shall be posting up lots of workouts and nutritional information, and more besides so keep reading to find out more!