barbury castle

Stop, re-calibrate and listen

Wednesday last week we all sat around the breakfast table feeling very sorry for ourselves. None of us wanted to be out of bed, none of us wanted to be heading out into the dark and cold to work/school/childcare. I had tonsillitis, my wife had a throat infection, our youngest had an ear infection and the older 2 children coughs and colds. I think we lead a healthy life, we get lots of exercise and fresh air, we generally eat well with lots of fresh fruit and veg but this winter has been pretty darn miserable.

In these busy modern lives that we lead it can be hard to stop and rest, I work in finance and being off at month end isn’t really an option. So I ploughed through it and then crashed for 2 days afterwards as my body screamed at me to rest. But rest and listen to our bodies we must, especially if we are endurance athletes who at some point this season want to try and push our bodies. There is no point pushing on with sessions when sick, better to recover properly and quickly.


Training with YouTube

I don’t like gyms. In fact I might go so far as to say I hate them. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see photos of sunrises and muddy trails not selfies with a latte as I leave my morning yoga class. In fact I’m not even sure there is anywhere within a 10 mile radius of where I live that I could go to for some pre-work Pilates. But despite all that incorporating some strength training and stretching into your week is very important and a good way to help prevent injury.

Fitting it in isn’t easy, especially if you have to work around a class schedule at your local gym/leisure centre plus normal life commitments. My training budget is limited so I have to make the best use of it that I can which is where YouTube comes in. A quick search for yoga or strength workouts will give you an almost unlimited choice of videos to follow on demand from the comfort of your own home. Personally I think this is a great way to get your strength training done during the week and takes away one more excuse for not doing it.

With that in mind I thought I’d share a few of my favourites that I use all the time, you can also find a strength and conditioning playlist on my YouTube channel here.

Yoga for runners – Ekhart yoga

This is my go to video whenever I feel I need to stretch. At 20 minutes long it’s short and to the point and easy to do once I’ve go the kids to bed in the evening. Plus of course being able to enjoy a Savasana at the end!


mid ride cake stop

The danger of rest

Have I mentioned that I did an Ironman? I’ve certainly managed to shoehorn the subject into most social conversations over the past 2 weeks and of course used my race backpack for tri club swim practise. It does feel like it happened in a different life time though and I’m sure if I tried to run a marathon today I’d fail miserably. Can your fitness evaporate in 2 weeks of rest?!

Post race rest

I’ve consciously given myself lots of rest since race day, I’ve focused on refuelling (and yes cake and beer counts as refuelling) and generally giving my body and mind a well deserved break. But as I pass the 2 weeks post race mark I can feel that I’m hitting the danger zone, the one where you start to feel tired and lethargic all the time and can’t quite comprehend that 2 weeks ago you were at peak fitness. If you’re not careful you become a grumpy, irritable and low on motivation. I think my wife would confirm that I’m definitely in that zone!

I can feel myself getting twitchy, inevitable when you complete a goal you’ve worked towards for so long. The post race blues would be another way to describe it, good to give yourself a break but at some point you need a new focus ,whatever that is, rather than going cold turkey. I will always be a runner and love just heading out with no pace or distance goal, but I also know that having some sort of goal is a good thing for me.

Spaniel sleeping

Pretty much how I feel!


The Lakesman race review

This time last week I had just finished The Lakesman iron distance triathlon. Writing that feels a little surreal, did it actually happen? Did I actually finish an Ironman? Well this large piece of slate says I did so it must be true!


It’s always a weird feeling when you complete a big race or challenge, something you’ve been working towards and dreaming of for a long time. I’ve spent every Sunday night for the past 30 weeks planning how to fit my training in around family and work life, every time we made weekend plans my first thought was always ‘does it stop me doing my long ride?’. Commitment and obsession are definitely the required values of a wannabe ironman.

Why The Lakesman?

The logic went something like this; an Ironman is going to involve pain and suffering so if I’m going to do one I might as well do it in a location that inspires me. I’m a trail runner at heart and there are few towns as closely intertwined in trail running history as Keswick. Having a course that went past most of those famous peaks seemed just perfect. How could you ever choose Bolton instead?

Add to that a reasonable entry fee (£275 – still a lot of money to do a race of course, but given what’s required to put on a race like this I’m sure justified), incredibly positive feedback from the inaugural race last year and a race ethos that focused on the athletes and not the brand and I think you have a winning package. […]