Strava and your relationship with speed

For those of you with a Strava account, what have you noticed about your behaviour in relation to the app? Have you noticed anything? Have you ever stopped to consider it?

What if I told you that if you don’t consider your relationship with Strava it could kill you. Have I got your attention now? I’m not going to apologise, I nearly witnessed a friend go over a car bonnet because of his relationship with Strava.

What happened? He wanted to look good to others. He thought that other people looking at his ride would see a high average speed for a ride, which would somehow indicate that he was a good rider.

He wanted to maintain a high average speed for the ride he uploaded to Strava. For him to do so meant not stopping at a junction. I stopped for a car. He didn’t. He looked, saw the car and ignored it. In that moment, his Strava average speed was more important. He was nearly killed. Fortunately, he was quick enough through the junction and the car driver braked sufficiently to avoid smearing him across the tarmac. Lucky! That time.

If this is you then please spare some time and thought to your ego, your relationship with such apps and comparing yourself to others. Raising your self awareness can really help change your behaviours for the better.

I’m glad to report the guy is still alive. I really like him but was afraid to have the conversation with him at the coffee stop. At this moment in time, I’ve still not said anything to him. Maybe he got the message from the near miss? Maybe not.

Maybe someone can chip in with some helpful suggestions to overcome my fear of having the difficult conversations.

 

Is riding ‘easy’ hard for you?

In order to examine this issue and for you to answer the question for yourself, let’s define what I mean by easy.

An easy ride in this sense is the amount of effort you apply to the pedals while riding your bike.

Think in terms of every second of the ride. That’s every second. Not just when you’re going downhill or on the flats. I mean every second. Yes, that includes the inclines.

But, that’s impossible, you reply. You can’t go uphill at an easy effort.

This might be true but here lies the challenge…can you? The challenge is to go easy or maintain your easy effort up your particular incline.

It is this that makes the ride hard for some people.

Can you maintain an easy effort whilst riding uphill?

Coached Events…

I have had the pleasure of coaching athletes that have taken part in the following events:

140.6/Ironman/Challenge/long course triathlon
World Championships (Kona)
Lanzarote
Embrunman
Norseman
Deca/quintuple
UK
Roth
Port Macquarie
Barcelona
Coeur D’Alene
St George
Melbourne
Western Australia
Lake Tahoe
Arizona
Nice
Zurich

ETU/ITU long course triathlon
Long Distance Triathlon World Championships (GB age group team)
Long Distance Triathlon European Championships (GB age group team)

70.3 triathlon
Vineman
Geelong
Big Kahuna
Zell am See
St Polten
Lisboa
Outlaw
Swashbuckler
Vitruvian
Mallorca
Henley
Oceanside
Day in the Lakes
New Forest Middle
Lake Stevens
Wildflower
Hellvelyn
Wales
Hever Castle

Standard Distance triathlon
World Championships (GB age group team)
European Championships (GB age group team)
Escape from Alcatraz
Wildflower
Little Beaver
London
Silicon Valley
Donner Lake
Dambuster
Stowe
Shropshire
Deva
Bedford
Strathclyde
Marlow
Eton Dorney
Worthing

Sprint triathlon
Blenheim
Schongau (Germany)
Morgan Hill
Moraga
UC Davis
Hever Castle
Eton
Thames Turbo series

Ultra Running
UTMB
Western States 100
Winter 100
Fellsman
Lakeland 50 & 100
10 Peaks (Wales)
Lakes in a Day
Rock ‘n’ River 50
London 50K

Marathon
Boston
Chicago
Tokyo
London
Barcelona
San Francisco
Milton Keynes
Marathon (Greece)
Brighton

Half Marathon
San Francisco
Marrakesh
Barns Green
Kaiser
Walnut Creek
San Ramon
Richmond
Wokingham

10 miler
Tadworth
Cabbage Patch

10K
Chevin Chase
Richmond
Bromley
Abbey Dash

Cycling Sportives
Paris Roubaix
Tour of Flanders
Liege-Bastogne-Liege
Etape (TdF)
Marmotte
Nove Colli
New Forest 100
Surrey Rumble
Ride 100 London
Around the Bay (Australia)
Three Peaks (Australia)
Mt Taranaki (New Zealand)
Lake Taupo Challenge (New Zealand)
America’s Most Beautiful
Hell of Ashdown
Fred Whitton
Etape du Dales
Dartmoor Classic
New Forest Rattler
Etape Pennines
Exmoor Beast
Etape Caledonian
Dragon Ride
Soth Downs Way (MTB, two days)
Etape Cymru

TT
Mt Diablo Summit

Open Water Swims
Hampton Court

Time to Plan

Coming to the end of a calendar year can be an ideal time to take stock, look back on what you have achieved, celebrate your successes and plan for next year.

The media is full of stories about more and more people taking up sport and leading a healthier lifestyle. This is particularly evident in the UK at the moment, where the success of the British Olympic team, especially in cycling and triathlon, has meant an increased interest in these sports with events selling out faster than ever before.

Don’t miss out

Last year, Ironman Melbourne sold out in record time, many of the legendary trail runs have decade long waiting lists, sportives have huge waiting lists.

From personal experience, I just missed out on registering for next year’s Vitruvian triathlon, by two days, which now means the earliest I can do this event is 2014..!

Create a wish list of events

Since 2008, I’ve had a list of events/races/courses that I would like to do and have fortunately been able to tick a number of these off every year. The list continues to grow and event priorities change due to my circumstances.

The main point being, start a list and capture every event you’ve ever wanted to do. Research the sports that you like and pick out events that appeal to you, your budget, family, travel, etc.

Chart your events

The next step is to write all the events down by month, day on a page of A4 or next year’s calendar if you have one. Depending on your sport and race season(s) you’ll soon notice popular months.

Categorize

When I’ve put everything down I then assign an A, B or C category to events based on my desire to do the race, travel, family commitments and a whole host of other personal circumstances. If you have a coach talk to them at this stage and together agree the objectives for these A races and what the training implications are.

Working backwards from my A events (I usually pick two or three per year), I can start eliminating events that will interfere with the necessary training plan. For example, if you want to be competitive at Ironman Wales then you won’t be doing Challenge Henley, which is on the same day, but The Dragon Ride could be an option if worked in to your training plan.

Talk to your partner

Before I start paying for events, travel and accommodation, I always ask those around me that might be impacted by my decision to do a race. This should be your partner but may also include your wider family and friends if you’re planning to stay with them because they are close to the start line.

Get help from your coach

When creating your plan get input from your coach who will be able to give you ideas about training implications and what other events might fit around your A races.

Register as soon as possible

Once I have all my races down on paper, decided which ones I really want to do and got agreements from my support crew then I set about registering.

This may not always work out, as you may find you’re too late, in which case go back and re-assess your priority races, Challenge Henley might now be possible.

Once you’ve registered your A races the next thing to do is book accommodation (or make sure there is availability at the same time as this may decide whether you do a race or not). Being close to the start line will ensure you get as much sleep as possible. Being close to the finish line will mean less faff and a quick getaway if this is important to you.

Find out when registration opens

It’s a good idea to research your desired events years in advance and find out when they open for registration. My calendar is populated with events I’ve registered for or the date registration opens with calendar alerts to make sure I don’t miss opening times, which can be midnight, 4am, 9am, etc. the day after the event finished that year.

In the UK, for cycling, triathlon and ultras my current thinking is to start trying to register for next years’ events on 1st October the year before.

I was a little late this year and paid the price but having now drawn up my plan for 2013 I’m looking forward to the exciting challenges ahead. I just hope it keeps me motivated through the British winter.

Tarantula Trail Training

With the move to San Francisco comes the welcome opportunity to train in a new environment with a better climate, challenging terrain and a variety of different wildlife.

Having settled inland from the City in the East Bay regional town of Walnut Creek, I’ve been exploring the 20,000-acre Mt Diablo State Park on the bike, with its 10.8 mile summit climb and on foot with various trails going up and around the summit.

Mt Diablo

It was out running on the trails when I stopped to read a local noticeboard.

A sign on a local trail noticeboard

A sign on a local trail noticeboard

Having read this I thought it wise to read up on anything else that I might encounter whilst running around the mountain. Errrrrr…coyotes now seem rather tame when compared to rattle snakes, tarantulas and mountain lions..!

Camera on full zoom...

Camera on full zoom…

Aware that I was losing the light whilst out running the other night, I decided that instead of running the trails back home and risking getting lost, I’d opt for the road. A longer route but easier to navigate home. I thought this was a smart move only to realise that when the park cools down the wildlife seeks the last remaining heat of the day by crawling, creeping and sliding on to the warm tarmac.

Thankfully, I only came across one snake, cuddling a cats-eye in the middle of the road and didn’t feel any significantly large crunches under foot thank goodness. I’ll set off earlier next time.

UK Deca Ironman: 4 days to go…

Use it…or, you lose it..!

As a coach, I’m all too aware of an athlete’s conditioning and I spent a lot of careful time training for this event.

I’ve been tapering for about a month now. I built my training up to a final block of eight back-to-back days that included minimum half ironman distances in each discipline.

My concern has been how long to taper without losing the accumulated fitness. In coaching terms – Reversibility.

I decided to take about a month, with shorter more power focused sessions to keep me sharp. I did the TriGrandPrix two weeks out to have one last big full throttle effort. Since then I’ve been doing more open water swimming, 10-13km runs and joining the Paragon club for low intensity aerobic rides e.g. today’s 80km.

80km club ride to turn the legs over

80km club ride to turn the legs over

Open Water Swim Training with Wakefield Triathlon

To keep up with open water training whilst visiting family and friends up North, I contacted a coach/friend at Wakefield Triathlon Club.

The Club runs an open water swim session every Saturday at Pugney’s Country Parkjust off the M1 (Wakefield).

Wade, jump or dive in...

Wade, jump or dive in…

I was very impressed to see about 50 athletes (50:50 members and non-members) of all abilities turn out on a cold, wet, Saturday morning. I was also impressed by the organisation, warm welcome, briefing and safety considerations, including a rib in the water, two binocular armed spotters and walkie talkies.

Open Water Swimming at Pugney's Country Park, Wakefiled

Open Water Swimming at Pugney’s Country Park, Wakefiled