Finding the time

So work is back in full effect and training time has been reduced due to working late everyday and the winter drawing in.

Running has become infrequent again and I’ve not swam in ages due to the pool opening times on base clashing with what time I have available.

The only positive is that the bike has become my constant companion.

If it wasn’t for riding everyday (even if only for half hour here and there on bad days), then I think I’d be a little down heartened at my lack of exercise.


So, what have I been up to of late.

Well, I’ve learned to change tyres, set up gears and breaks and generally how to look after and maintain my bike.

The saddle is now my friend, My posterior has gotten used to riding and I am now comfortable with the more aggressive frame.

I’m tired now so I’ll sign off.

I’ve got plenty to write about and hope to find time this weekend.



A busy few weeks

So my last few weeks have been extremely busy, and usually that’d be enough of an excuse to sack off the training and revert to my old ways.

Fortunately I haven’t done that. Since my last post I have cracked running 10 miles (Although my daily run is 5), I’ve had my first sea swim and tested my new wetsuit, and I have also tested out my cycling kit by having a few rides out in preparation for my bike finally arriving from Ribble.

The highlight of these past few weeks has to be my first sea swim.

I took the kids down to Bovisand and went out for my swim in the bay. No sooner was I in the water, my two eldest were in there with me. No wetsuits to keep them warm, just youthful exuberance. And the water was COLD !

It was great fun splashing around and brilliant to see the kids so happy to be in the water as well.

It really shows that enthusiasm and a sense of excitement can make even the hardest task fun, and that is something I want to carry through to the rest of this adventure.


I have to say how impressed I am with the wetsuit as well. It makes you so buoyant and swimming in it was a dream. I can’t wait to get a few more swims under my belt.


Something that has changed this month has been my own attitude towards………myself.

I was lucky that my birthday coincided with my new hobby, meaning I could basically buy all the equipment I needed right from the outset.

That said, initially I still did all my training  in my old sports kit and barely wore any of my new stuff.

I think it’s because at first I felt like a fraud. I had “all the gear but no idea” as the saying goes, and I genuinely felt embarrassed to be running in compression clothing, or riding wearing a cycling specific getup.

I guess I was kind of worried that people would see this fat, unfit oaf struggling to do whatever activity I was doing at the time and laugh at the level of kit I was sporting.

Well, I’m still a fat knacker but my view of myself has shifted subtly.

I’m now happy to don whatever attire is best suited to my training.

This last 3 weeks I’ve been wearing tights whilst running.

I know that’s a horrific mental image, and a few people who might be reading may be thinking “Well, it’s not the first time he’s worn tights” but these are compression tights.

And now I don’t care what anyone thinks (or is it what I thought of myself?)

I’m no Mo Farah, but now I can now run 10 miles and I’m training every day, I’m finally starting to feel like I can take myself seriously.

And that’s a nice place to be.


The final part of this puzzle that I really need to sort is my diet, but now I’ve taken control of the rest of my life I feel like that shouldn’t be to such a challenge.

Time to sacrifice the Ginsters

Training aids.

Short of hiring a big man with a stick to motivate me to get out and train, there are two apps I have been using to help keep me focused and working to a plan.

The first of these is MyNetDiary.

The app basically records all the exercise you’ve done, everything  you’ve eaten, and helps you make a plan for weight loss using your targets. You can also record vitamins and supplements taken, water consumption, body measurements etc.

I like that at the end of the day I can see wether I need to go for an extra run to hit my target daily calorie loss, or wether I can have just one more spoon of peanut butter (my new vice) as a reward for putting in the effort that day.

The best part of the app for me is that it gives me an analysis of what I’ve eaten and breaks down the amount of saturated fats, sodium, cholesterol and fiber etc.  Add to that the vast food data you have access to (for example when eating Tesco’s own Greek style yoghurt it actually has the data specific for Tesco’s own yoghurt.) and what you get is a complete little app.

I’d recommend it for anyone trying to lose weight, or for anyone who wants to keep a comprehensive record of their training.

I’d even recommend it for people who are just curious as to how their diet stacks up against the recognized ideal.


The second app I have been finding a great help is MapMyRun.

Now, I used to hate running outdoors, and although this app isn’t solely responsible for my new attitude to outdoor running, it has certainly helped. I initially just used the web based version on my laptop, which let’s you plan out runs in advance and that’s great. I really like to know how far I’m going to run and how long it should take me.

Then I downloaded the GPS enabled app for my phone and that’s when it became fun.

I can just run, with no map, and get feedback on my speed, distance traveled and all other manner of good stuff.

I like to make it a challenge that I do every kilometer a little faster than the last.

Add to that one more important fact, and it has become a very worthwhile app for me.

That important fact is, the GPS map. No more getting lost for me.

And that is a good thing.

I went out for a little jog the other day and got so lost I was looking for moss on trees to try to find which way was north, I even tried to navigate by the sun, but this being the tail end of British summer, the sun was nowhere to be seen behind the thick cover of grey storm clouds…

The app links seamlessly with the web based version so your profiles match up, and it has Facebook integration so you can let everyone know you’ve done some exercise, and returned safely!


So these two apps are my new training buddies. No need for men with big sticks here…..




7 Week Training Camp…..

Well okay.

I’m not at a training camp as such.

What beginner triathlete goes to a training camp ?

I am though, away from home for 7 weeks on a couple of training courses.

And what with being in the Navy I have my pick of gyms, pools and activities I can do to continue to up my fitness and stamina.

Add to that the fact that my shiny new bike should be arriving sometime mid month, and I have my pick of training available.

So even though I am here to learn about the 30mm DS30M Mark 2 Automated Small Calibre Gun  (the mighty Bushmaster II) and the 4.5 inch Mark 8 Naval gun , it is the training time that this affords me that I am looking forward to the most.

So where am I now.

I’m 84.4kg. Which is a drop 0f around 3.5 kg.

I can happily run for 45 minutes covering about 8km

I can happily do 20 min bike, straight into 30 minutes of running and I can manage 30 minutes breaststroke in the pool without to much drama.

Where do I want to be in 7 weeks

I am quite fearful of doing any real high intensity running as my shins splints play up the harder I run.

So, with that in mind I am going to increase distance rather than speed.

By the end of the 7 weeks I want to be running 12 km in around 1 hour 10 minutes.

I want to have my brick sessions (bike followed by run) up to 40 minutes cycle and 40 minutes run.

And as for time in the pool, I’d really like it if I didn’t drown. At all.

In all seriousness though, I want to be swimming full hour sessions and have a target of 14 consecutive lengths front crawl in the 33 meter pool. That’s 462 meters and although it is less than a third of what I need, I feel it is a realistic goal.
I have also been subtly altering my diet as well, and now the excesses of my birthday are over (takeaway, cake and wine) I’m feeling good again about being on the straight and narrow.

I’m having porridge for my breakfast, a carb packed lunch and a full meal in the evenings,minus the desert.

And although I’m never really feeling full to bursting as I used to after almost every meal, I have to say, I’m not feeling hungry at any point either.

Now I just have to incorporate some core exercises into my boot camp routine, and maybe I can deflate this spare tire around my waist a little……..

Disaster strikes……

Despite my best efforts, and despite trying to avoid the inevitable, the inescapable has happened.


I have turned 32.

But in spite of this truly horrific occurrence I am feeling mostly positive.

I say mostly because although my training has been going better than expected (Especially in the run department), my shin splints are back with a vengeance.

And I know why.

I have been so sensible, making sure I stretch correctly before every run, making sure I pace myself and don’t push myself to far to fast.

That is, until my birthday.

Knowing that I would be celebrating with the family that evening (cake, wine and takeaway, oh how I have missed you), thus having no time to train, I decided to have a lunchtime workout.

This left me with a 35 minute window so I decided that I should do as much as I could in that time.

So with minimal warm-up and stretching I set the treadmill so I’d cover 7km in 30mins with a 2% incline.

And within minutes I was in pain. I knew I should stop but I wanted to cover my daily distance so I kept on.

I managed about 6.5km in the end, and was it worth it.


My shins stopped hurting after about 9 minutes so I just kept on.

That is, they stopped hurting until after I had finished my run.

And then they let me know in no uncertain terms what a wally I had just been.

And not just my left shin, they are both painful me know in equal measure.

I now feel I have set myself back a bit due to my own stupidity.


Strangely, this setback may work to my benefit in the long run.

Right from the start I have carefully set my goals and targets, and taken note of what I was capable of and what I should be aiming for week on week (working to the 10% increase rule).

And the one time I went against my careful planning it has ended in the full return of an avoidable problem.

Lesson learned.

From now on I will be sticking to my plan.

It’s a shame as I was really starting to love the running part of my training, but I guess I’ll just have to focus on my swimming (read: thrashing wildly and ineffectively whilst in water) and my cycling for a few days.


Now, it’s off to bed for me. I have my first outdoor swim tomorrow.



Training pains.

So it’s been a couple of days since I’ve posted and that’s mainly due to increased workout levels leaving me to tired to think of anything to write about.

I’ve been training every day and this has led to two problems I have suffered from in the past reoccurring.

The first of these problems is shin splints.

The term shin splints is a common name often given to any shin pain at the front of the lower leg. However, true shin splints symptoms occur at the front inside of the shin bone and can arise from a number of causes.

These include over-pronation of the foot (I am a mild heel striking over-pronator), increases in training (check), running on hard surfaces (check), and inadequate footwear (not sure about this one as I bought special insoles tailored to my needs and new running shoes and these really helped)

Now, I developed shin splints a couple of years ago when I was training to get ready for my Royal Navy Leadership course.

It was a problem I managed and it went away after the course as I reduced my exercise levels back down to my usual none….

Well, I have started to feel a slight niggle in my left shin so I am looking at a few options to help counter this.

They say prevention is better than a cure so I am getting proactive.

The first thing I am going to try (mainly because they will arrive quicker) are compression socks.

People have mixed views on the benefits of these socks and many claims are made by the manufacturers as to what they actually do.

One claimed benefit (that pertains to my problem) is that they supposedly reduce vibration in the muscles and tendons of the lower leg as each foot hits the ground. This can therefore help reduce the severity of, and in some cases prevent shin splints.

I’m willing to give this a try, and even if it doesn’t help dramatically with the shin splints, it may be worth it for the other reported benefits.

Apparently these socks help the blood flow back to the heart more efficiently, which in turn helps remove metabolic waste thus reducing muscle fatigue. That coupled with reduced vibration and shock absorption helps the legs recover faster which can only be a good thing.

I’m going to give them ago, what’s the worst that can happen.
The other course of action that I am going to try is barefoot running.

Well, running in shoes that mimic barefoot running but protect the feet.

I’m going to attempt to adopt a more natural running gait.

By this I mean I will try to avoid heel striking which causes shock to the lower leg, knee and ankle.

This will hopefully stop the shin splints. Only time will tell, but if it doesn’t work I intent to use those shoes for when I’m open water swimming so I won’t be wasting money either way.


Now my second problem is one that I have solved already but I feel is worth mentioning.
Sore nipples.

I take all the precautions, I put Vaseline on them, I wear specially designed running t-shirts and still my nipples rub and get sore to the point of distraction.

I have changed to non biological washing powder, I have lubricated them and still the problem persists, so I have resorted back to the old tried and tested method of taping.

In the last few days I have tried zinc oxide tape which works well until I sweat and then comes off.

I have tried Duct tape. which tends to bunch up at the sides and annoyingly sticks to my t-shirts.

And now I have settled on Strappal super sticky thick dressing tape.

It works a treat and has solved the problem completely. I put a little bit of tissue paper over the tip of the nipple and then tape straight over the top. No more nipple pain.

There’s only one problem. I have a hairy chest and have had to shave two circles around the nipples to avoid pulling hairs every time I remove the tape.

And as you can imagine, I look ridiculous………They look like to nipple mountains rising above a chest hair forest !

When I get rid of my moobs I may consider shaving it all off.

Still, I’ll take no sore nipples over vanity anytime so taping and shaving it is.




The power of blog.

This morning was a Sunday in every way.

I had a lovely lie in, and had nothing planned other than a session at the gym that I’d definitely be ready for by 10 am

Well, 10 am came and went, and so did my motivation.

I felt sleepy, unmotivated, and if anything, the extra time in bed had made me feel lethargic. Not energized as I  thought it would.

So I made my excuses to myself.

I had done an 8km run at 10 o clock the night before, and maybe that had left me too tired this morning.

And well, it is Sunday after all.

And maybe my body is just better suited to working out at night.

That must be it.

So I sat down to write a blog entry and promised myself that I’d work out tonight.

I had a quick read of some of my last entries, and felt………………stupid.

The whole point of this “training for a triathlon” is so I can get away from my lazy attitude.

And here I was sacking it off just because I didn’t quite feel like it.

Well, 10 minutes later I was in my sports rig and out that door and off to the gym.

The blog had served it’s purpose and helped to motivate me, and that’s the whole point of writing this I guess.

It gives me nowhere to hide from myself.

So off to the gym I go.

I was intending to do another 8km run and see if I could beat my time from yesterday but I ended up walking past the squash courts on the way to fill my water bottle up at the fountain.

Now, I’ve played squash in the past and so I walked past the courts, staring in at the players with some interest.

Until I came to the last court, which was filled with bikes. Spinning bikes. And 5 Lycra clad ladies.

Well, desperate not to look like I was checking out said women, I looked up  a little too quickly and caught the eye of one of the ladies.

She smiled at me in a friendly manner (Oh God, she must think I was perving!) and very sweetly said

“Hi, would you like to join us”

I was about to make my excuses and get the hell out of dodge when another Lycra clad lady of advancing years came up behind me and said “Yeah go on, get in there” as she ushered me in.


Oh well, how hard can it be I thought, the woman who had arrived after me must have been at least 55 and possibly older.

I’ll be alright………….

5 minutes later and I was blowing out of my hoop. I was drenched from head to foot and looked like I’d sprung a leak.

I looked around and everyone else looked as fresh as they had when they arrived.

And then the evil instructor made us turn the resistance up.

Wow, This is a lot harder than it looks.

I kept checking that the women either side of me were putting full turns on their dials to increase resistance in line with the lady instructing, and to my dismay they were.

My pride wouldn’t let me do any less than they were doing so I matched them for the full half hour.

It was by far the best workout I have had so far, and at times I felt like my lungs would explode.

At the end of the session they all leapt off their bikes, toweled them down, said their goodbyes and off they went.

I stayed a few minutes longer as I had to, you know, sort my headphones out and collect my jumper and I.D from the other side of the squash court where I’d left them

And in no way to catch my breath and wait for my legs to stop wobbling………….

Those women were fit, and although we all looked knackered come the end of the ride I’m sure I looked the worst by far.

Still, onwards and upwards. Perhaps I’ll do spinning again, it can only help.