Improve your cycling – Know your FTP. Yes, it does matter!

As many of you will know, I am an Indoor Cycling Instructor and over the last 3 years I have developed my skills and knowledge to become a Power Trainer.

I am lucky to have done courses with two of the best Power Training Providers in UK Indoor Cycling; ICG and Stages. What they have taught me has been invaluable and allowed me to completely overhaul my classes and really help my students see true and robust improvement.

Their success is measured by the result of their quarterly FTP test and any decent cyclist that’s been around for a while and truly cares about their performance knows their number.

So, what is it?
FTP stands for Functional Threshold Power. It is a number. That number is representative of Watts, a measure of power.

What does it mean?
Your Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is the highest average watt output that you can sustain for an hour.

Why should I care?
FTP is the gold standard in the cycling world. Once you know your FTP you have a bullet proof, quantitive way to measure your improvement. It will also allow your set your training zones accurately, meaning you make your training more targeted and meaningful.

“But I know I’m getting better” I hear you say. “I beat my friend up box hill last week and I never do that” or maybe “I beat my strava time on that time trail segment” These are all good indicators that yes, you may be getting better but other factors may have been involved and they are not scientific. FTP is. Number goes up, you have improved… Fact!

Ok, sounds good, I want to start caring… how do I do it?
Welcome to the grim world of FTP Testing. We love it but we really, really hate it (for the 20 minutes we’re in it!).
You can do the test inside or out, depending on the equipment you have. Purists will tell you outdoor testing is best as you can generate more power when you are outside, than you can indoors.
You will need a bike (obviously) and either power meter or a smart trainer. Some indoor bikes in the gym also have testing capability.

The Test
You need a good warm up protocol as the test demands a lot from you so you have to fully prep both the body and the mind to be ready.
A full test warm up can be anything as long as (brace yourselves, this is how I do it) a 20 min easy ride, 6 to 10 mins of 1 min max effort intervals followed by 1 min recovery riding, another 5 min easy ride, 5 min max effort and finally a 10 minute easy ride. This may seem extreme but it works. Some people do less… I’m not sure if anyone does more!?

Once warmed up, it is straight into the test and it couldn’t be any simpler… ride as hard as you can for 20 minutes. Make sure you record the 20 minute test as a separate lap/segment on your device as we don’y want the data from your warm up confusing the results. You must stay seated for the 20 minute effort. Yes, you can push more power standing but it isn’t a sustainable position for very long periods so we need to know what you can do in the saddle. There’s no hard and fast rule for preferred cadence. The slower you go the more your legs muscle fatigue will play a part in the result. The faster you go the more stress there will be on the efficiency of your pedal stroke and cardiovascular system. The advice I was given when I attempted my first test was to ride between 80 – 95 RPM and I generally stick to this. Make sure you stay on the bike once it is over (even though everything in your being will be screaming for you to get off, make it stop – thats how you know you did it right) and cool down properly. Ideally you want to ride easy for about 15 minutes, longer if you want.

Getting your result
Once you have completed your test we need to do some maths. Look up the data on your ride and find your average power for the 20 minute test. Subtract 5% from that number and jackpot you now know your FTP.
* we have to subtract 5% to find your average power for the hour and this sum is always pretty accurate. If you want to do a one hour test you can but I personally don’t advise it. I have done it once and I meant it when I said never again!

Final thought… power to weight ratio.
As you can see, FTP doesn’t take into consideration anything about you other than what you can do on the bike. It doesn’t know how old you are, your gender or how much you weigh.
This is why I also tell my students to monitor another number which is their watts per kilogram or power to weight ratio. To find this simply divide your weight (in kilograms) by your FTP.
For some this wont be important but for for anyone that really cares about their cycling performance, and I work with a lot of people that really do, it’s important because how much you weigh relative to how much power you can generate will determine how well you perform.
In a nut shell, if you are shedding a bit of fat and therefore getting lighter and that FTP still keeps going up, you are definitely doing something right.

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    No body comp stats this week as Sunday morning is my check in and we were in Devon.

    Mon: 12:15pm Total Body Conditioning

    Simple yet effective work… the shit that gets yo fit (if you hit it hard enough); 35 minutes of Row, Bike, Ski – 40 secs on, 20 secs off.

    Mon: 1pm Upper Body Strength Work

    5 x Negative Pull Ups, 10 min EMOM of 3 Strict Banded Pull Ups and 10 min EMOM of 3 Strict, chest and thighs to the ground, tricep Push Ups. Working hard for bullet proof shoulders 🙂

    Mon: 1.30pm Strong Leg Programming

    After a chat with Kerry a couple of weeks ago where we agreed I was missing weekly leg strengthening sessions, she wrote me a Strong Leg programme and today was day 1.
    Build to a heavy set of 3 Front Squats followed by 5 sets of 5 at 80%.
    I was also supposed to do 5 x 5 Barbell Split Squats but ran out of time and the gym was shutting.

    Mon: 6:30pm Indoor Cycle Class + 2 mile Run

    I got asked to cover a Monday night class which meant a bit of extra bike work 🙂 I chose a favourite playlist, which I put together specifically for cover classes as it showcases most of the key elements that go into making my periodised programme. Gary and the husband did the class with me so we all turned it into a brick session and added the usual post class 2 mile run.

    Tue: 1:30pm Pool Swim

    This was one of those sessions were everything leading up to it went wrong so I was just not in the mood! I had to hunt around for change for the parking meter only to lose the ticket down the front of my dashboard. I then went to pay for my session and realised I’d left my debit card at home. Once changed I found I didn’t have the right hairband, only my Tough Mudder headband which is too big for my swim cap meaning I couldn’t put my hair up and wear my cap. No cap meant my dreadlocks getting wet which gets heavy fast. In the pool the space was really busy, which in turn meant the lane was busy and given my foul mood I got my head down, did 400m and got out.

    Wed: 6:45am Indoor Cycle Class and 2 mile Run

    One more go at coaching my Le Tour session. Definitely my favourite session of my programme and given the feedback I got, a lot of the class seemed to feel the same way.
    The post class run was bloody cold and both Gary and I felt it in the legs.

    Wed: 12:15pm Total Body Conditioning

    3 workouts split by a 2 minute rest.
    1) 10 min partner AMRAP. 1 = 12 cal Assault Bike. 2 = Max Effort Ski Erg
    2) 10 min EOMOM. Max Effort Row
    3) 10 min AMRAP of something that I didn’t write down and cannot remember! Seriously, I cannot remember what it was so maybe it was so awful I wiped it from memory!

    Thu: 9:30am Indoor Cycle Class

    Split the sessions today so that I’m doing the same thing in the morning and the evening. This morning we did an old session I created in 2018 all focussed on endurance. 40 minutes split over 6 tracks meaning 3 long ass climbs broken up by some varied sprint work.

    Thu: 1pm Pool Swim

    I took my time today, made sure I had everything I needed and arrived at the leisure centre in a much better mood than Tuesday. I felt in the mood to swim and was determined to have a positive experience.
    The aim was to swim an easy mile and I achieved that goal, leaving with a smile on my face 🙂

    Thu: 6:30pm Coach By Colour Indoor Cycle Class

    Week 10 of the programme. Just two more weeks before FTP test week and tonights offering is a pure interval session. Each track offers a different type of interval with strict RPM and Watt guidance. I was extremely pleased with how this session went as it was way better than I had hoped it would be. Everyone was moaning at the end, so job done I guess.
    No brick session tonight as on Sunday the husband and I are running The Grizzly and I have a running interval session planned for tomorrow courtesy of Head Coach Toby, and his coach Matt.

    Fri: Unplanned Rest Day

    So, as just mentioned I had planned to do a running interval session today but I went to Big Crocodile HQ straight from coaching my classes at Nuffield Chichester and ended up staying longer than planned. It was a productive visit with Pam (owner of Big Croc) and not just because I had stopped at Marks and Spencer on the way so that we could try some of their weirdly flavoured Jaffa Cakes (note: the raspberry are much nicer than the peach and passion fruit). We sorted out quite a few things so it was worth missing my run session for.

    Sat: Rest Day

    Sun: 10.30am The Grizzly

    If you’ve never heard of The Grizzly Race it is a brilliant but brutal 20 mile run across the beaches, fields, swamps, hills and cliffs in and around Seaton, Devon. Carl and I ran the race in 2017 but that year the weather was very much on our side and it was a different, nicer beast. This year it truly was a mental and physical slog. I said to Carl at about mile 15 that if I say in August that we should enter the ballot again he had permission to punch me in the face! However, even on the way home I was already thinking that actually, we may just be doing it again. I left my Garmin watch at home charging and it was quite nice to run ‘naked’ as it’s sometimes called and not worry about heart rate, pace etc.

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    Body Comp Stats 
    Weight: 75.1kg (-1.0kg)
    Body Fat %: 28 (-0.3)
    Muscle %: 33.8 (+/- 0)

    Mon: 12:30pm 6 Hour Hell Session

    Kerry (my coach for you new readers) kindly agreed to do this once a month for me and this one came around real quick. I felt a bit like I had gone to war with CrossFit and I although I survived, I got my butt well and truly kicked in the process.
    Workout 1:
    100 Jumps over the Jerk Blocks
    Every 10 reps = 10 Russian Twist (10kg plate)
    Every 20 reps = 20 Kettlebell Swing (16kg KB)
    Every 50 reps = 10 Sumo Deadlift (35kg)

    Workout 2 / 3 / 4:
    Accumulate;
    2 min Handstand Hold
    10 min Wall Sit
    6 min Hollow Hold at top of Dip Bar

    Workout 5:
    7k Run
    5k Assault Bike
    3k Ski Erg
    *all in weight vest

    Workout 6: Memorial Workout ‘Gilbert Drake’
    Accumulate 6 minutes hanging from the rig
    1st drop from rig = 800m Run + 20 Burpee Box Jump Overs
    2nd drop from rig = 600m Run + 20 Burpee Box Jump Overs
    3rd drop from rig = 400m Run + 20 Burpee Box Jump Overs
    4th and every subsequent drop = 200m Run + 20 Burpee Box Jump Overs
    *Should have only been Burpee Box Jumps but I misread the workout!
    This one hurt. For one of the first times ever I started to hate burpees. Luckily Toby was on hand to present me with a little written motivation…

    Workout 7: The Finale
    100 cal Assault Bike
    100 cal Ski Erg
    100 cal Row
    Every 2 minutes = 10 meter walking lunge w/ 12.5kg Dumbbell

    All done and my lats, delts, glutes and hamstrings felt completely beaten up, exactly what I wanted so once again it was time to thank Kerry for an amazing job and head home to start the clean up process as I appeared to have been cleaning the floor of the gym with my legs….

    Tues: Rest Day – funny that!

    Wed: 6:45am Indoor Cycle Class + 2 mile Run

    Coach cycle. Run with Gary. Standard Weds morning and I was surprised at how well my legs held up. I thought this would be the slowest run ever but I did ok. Again, the constant chat helped 🙂

    Thu: 9:30am Indoor Cycle Class

    Coached week 9 of my programme which is an homage to my favourite stage of The Tour last year. Stage 15, a mountain stage with awesome climbs and an uphill finish.

    Thu: 6:30pm Coach By Colour Indoor Cycle Class

    Second attempt at The Tour stage, I enjoyed it just as much the second time round and it may just be my favourite week of the programme this year. The plan was to hit another run after class with Gary but he forgot and I took the easy way out and went home, rather than run on my own.

    Fri: 1pm CrossFit Class

    Kerry asked me when I arrived how I was feeling and I answered honestly that I felt really good. Skill/Strength focus was all about the Overhead Squat but if I put anything more than a PVC pipe above my head I could really feel it in my lower back (yes, I am still struggling with it nearly 2 months on!) so it was Front Squats for me… 5 sets of 3, building up to a heavy 3 for the day. Given everything I did Monday I didn’t go near my usual heavy but what I did do felt heavy enough and as Kerry says “If it feels heavy, thats because it’s heavy!”
    The workout was a 10 minute AMRAP of 1 Front Squat, 1 Pull Up (jumping for me), adding another rep of each movement every round. Three rounds in and I realised how tired my lats, triceps and shoulders still were. When I told Kerry this she just laughed and said “I thought that would be the case!” Remember kids, just like your mum, your coach knows everything!

    Sat: Planned Rest Day

    Sun: Unplanned Rest Day

    My alarm went off at 6:30am so I could get up and head to the pool, followed by the cycle studio but I rolled over, turned it off and snuggled back down in bed with my husband and our dog.
    I decided to give myself one lazy morning and have a day where I’m not getting up, rushing around and then catching up with my husband later in the day. Even on rest days I have to get up for work so we don’t get mornings like this anymore.
    Did I feel guilty? No
    Did I completely enjoy sitting in bed drinking tea, reading my book and even (horrific gasp!) eating a few biscuits? You fucking bet I did.
    So there will be an X over this mornings session. Big deal. It is just one session and as long as this doesn’t become the habit (which I already know won’t happen as a I am too focussed on my goal) there is no harm done. 
    I know how much effort I put in this week and I made the instant decision to put just as much effort into some pure quality time with my family as that was where I have been slacking this week!

  • The Phases of Menopause
  • Recovery Training???
  • Power through your PMS
  • Can Herbal Adaptogens help Perimenopause? 
  • 75Hard… This is what discipline looks like
  • IM Training Blog w/c 07.03.22
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    Body Comp Stats 
    Weight: 75.5kg (-0.1kg)
    Body Fat %: 28.9 (-0.1)
    Muscle %: 33.4 (+/- 0)

    This week is my first de-load week of the year and after a hell session on Monday and 33 mile Ultra on Sunday man, did I need it!

    Mon: Rest Day

    Normally the day after a marathon/ultra I would go to the box and do a very light recovery total body conditioning session but I was told by many sources (Kerry – my coach and Tim @ We Dominate Nutrition, my nutrition coach to name just two) to just take the day off. I quite like to move the day after as I think it helps my recovery so I took Cracker dog for a long walk instead.

    Tue: 10:30am Insanity Class

    Coaching this class wouldn’t normally even be considered as part of my training but on de-load week it counts.

    Wed: 6:45am Indoor Cycle Class and 2 Mile Run

    I asked my class this morning “have you ever seen a Spin Instructor die on a bike before?” Even during the warm up my legs felt heavy and my breathing was very laboured. I struggled through the entire class but made it through and weirdly, the run was absolutely fine. Well, I say fine. It is supposed to be a zone 2 run and on checking my watch at the end it was pretty much all in Zone 3. I had Gary for company again (thanks Gary) so maybe the fact that we just chat had something to do with that.

    Wed: 1pm Pull Up and Push Up work

    Amy and I, same thing every week, working on a couple of our weaknesses for half an hour. I recently found Eliud Kipchoghe’s 10 minute core routine from his training camp on YouTube and did this before we started the Upper Body Work.

    Thu: 9:30am Indoor Cycle Class

    The first go at Speed Week this year, renamed ‘Get Faster’ for 2020. I was a little nervous after how hard yesterday’s class was, especially as speed work is not my favourite. It was still tough, but I felt a little better than yesterday.

    Thu: 6:30pm Coach By Colour Indoor Cycle Class

    Get Faster take 2… Having the power meter and colour zones keeping me honest and controlling my output meant nowhere to hide and I honestly don’t think I have worked as hard on that bike as I did in this class to keep up. I hated myself a little bit for creating the damn session!

    Fri: 10:30am 400m Swim

    After coaching Insanity, LBT and Tabata classes I took advantage of the Nuffield Chichester facilities and hit their pool for an easy 400m. They only had one lane open as there was an aqua aerobic class going on which made the swim a little busy and choppy. I guess thats good IM training in itself.

    Sat: Rest Day

    Sun: 9:30am Sunday Funday Boxing Session

    I was due to do a 15 mile cycle today but thanks to Storm Ciara I decided to bin this idea and Saturday night I put a call out to some of the Forza Fitness squad to see if anyone fancied a boxing session. Lorraine and Anna answered the call and we spent about an hour boxing, combining it with Squats, Jump Lunges, Slamballs, Push Ups and Sit Ups. All done by 10:45 meaning The Boy and I had the rest of the day to binge watch The Stranger (in between taking Cracker Dog to his training school) and yes, we finished the entire series by 10:30pm!

  • The Phases of Menopause
  • Recovery Training???
  • Power through your PMS
  • Can Herbal Adaptogens help Perimenopause? 
  • 75Hard… This is what discipline looks like
  • IM Training Blog w/c 07.03.22
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  • IM Training Log w/c 20.01.20

    Body Comp Stats 
    Weight: 75.6kg (-0.4kg)
    Body Fat %: 29 (+/- 0)
    Muscle %: 33.4 (+/- 0)

    Mon: 12.15pm Total Body Conditioning

    10 Rounds of 40 seconds on 20 seconds off; Row, Bike Ski, Rest.
    That rest minute meant that each 40 seconds of work should be a hard effort. I tried but it got tough!!

    Mon: 1pm 10 min Pull Up EMOM + 10 min Push Up EMOM

    Same as last week but we (meaning me and my friend Amy, who is doing this extra work with me) have added in some negative phase work before the banded work to try and fast track our Pull Up progress.

    Tue: 12pm Pool Swim

    Today was a CrossFit day according to my training plan but I decided to go back to the pool and put a bit of extra work in on my swimming. Just a short session focussing on trying to improve my breathing, working specifically on breathing on every 3rd stroke. I’m fine on 2 but if I do 3 stroke alternating sides, after 50 meters my lungs feel like they want to explode. It got a little easier but it needs a lot of work.

    Wed: 6:45am Indoor Cycle Class

    I do love coaching indoor cycle and no matter how tired or sluggish I feel when I wake up by the time I start this session I am buzzing. Tracking my performance this year I can already see that I definitely don’t perform as well at 6:45am as I do later in the day.

    Wed: 7:30am 2 Mile Run

    Straight out of the spin studio on to the road for a little run. Training is usually better with someone else and this was no exception. My friend, PT client and fellow Ironman in training (he has already done one though) Gary did my Indoor Cycle class and then kept me company on the run. I do love my friends :0)

    Wed: 1pm PT with my Coach, Kerry

    Does your Coach make you cry with laughter during your sessions? Mine does! We did some strength work, specifically Strict and Push Press, and between lifts she was telling me a story that had me howling with laughter. Thank goodness, as the lifting was enough to make me cry with frustration… but so far I’ve only cried over a deadlift and I don’t want to add to that list! I know I lost a lot of strength due to “ribgate” but it’s still a little frustrating to realise how much. At least knowing where I am means I can figure out what I want to do about it. Before I signed up for the IronMan I had planned on focussing on the Barbell and improving all of my lifts. I think this will be the first thing I do after… once we get back from our trip to the CrossFit Games.

    Thu: 9:30am Indoor Cycle Class

    Ohhhh the hamstrings were feeling the workload today. I got asked recently if, as the instructor, I ever turn it down and coast through the class. The honest answer is no I don’t. I ask my class participants to give me 100% so it only seems fair I give them the same. I know that I find it difficult to engage with an indoor cycle class if the coach isn’t in it with me. If I have a reason to take it a bit easy I tell the class beforehand. I coached a 1hr class the day before the London Marathon. I said to the group I was heading straight to London after the class so I would be just having an gentle ride (what I call a “Do as I say, not as I do” class) but I got wrapped up in the class and ended up leaving a sweaty mess as usual.

    Thu: 11:45am Pool Swim

    It was time to increase the distance with 3 x 400m metre intervals with a 3 minute rest in between. I alternated between 2 and 3 stroke breathing so that I could focus a little more on distance and pace. It still isn’t what I would call smooth or easy but it did feel a little better.

    Thu: 6:30pm Coach By Colour Indoor Cycle Class

    Oh my god, I struggled towards the end of this one. It’s week 4 of my programme, which means ‘The Scorpion’, an intense, progressive interval session which improves active recovery. Twice in one day was tough. Enough said really!

    Thu: 7:30pm 2 mile Zone 2 Run

    Rather than doing a double in the spin studio I swapped the second class for another little brick session of cycle and run. This time the Boy (meaning the Husband) kept me company and to be honest, to have 20 minutes of side by side running, just the two of us, was pretty lovely. We train at CrossFit together quite a lot, participate in OCR together quite a lot but hardly ever is it just the two of us. Hopefully there will be a bit more of this.

    Fri: Unplanned Rest Day

    Today was supposed to be a TBC and CrossFit day but after coaching my three classes at Nuffield Chichester I decided to take the rest of the day off. I tweaked my glute during Insanity at 6:45am and if a client had done that I would be telling them to go home, stretch and look after themselves. So, I listened to my own advice and did just that.

    Sat: Pool Swim

    My friend and client Anna wanted a bit of company in the pool so she picked me up at 7:15am (!) (Saturday is normally my rest day which means I lie in until about 7:30/8am) for the lane swimming session. Just an easy recovery session for me consisting of 800m all done in breaststroke.

    Sun: 8am Bike Ride

    The boy was happy to stay in bed with the dog so I was on my own today. God, it is a bit dull on your own! I’m also not overly familiar with cycle routes, roads etc so headed out to see if I could do 30 miles without getting lost. I chose a fairly straightforward (and straight) out and back but after 9 miles my hamstring started to really pull so I turned round earlier than planned and headed home. Slightly annoying but with a 6 hour hell session tomorrow and a 50k ultra run on Sunday it is all about the long game.

  • The Phases of Menopause
  • Recovery Training???
  • Power through your PMS
  • Can Herbal Adaptogens help Perimenopause? 
  • 75Hard… This is what discipline looks like
  • IM Training Blog w/c 07.03.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 28.02.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 21.02.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 14.02.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 07.02.22
  • IM Training Log w/c 06.01.20

    Body Comp Stats 
    Weight: 78.2 kg (+0.9kg)
    Body Fat %: 26.4 (- 4.1)
    Muscle %: 33.1 (+2.5)
    * Take a moment to digest these figures. I am constantly talking to my clients about the fact that the scales won’t always accurately represent your journey, especially if you are training hard and fuelling efficiently. If I just went by the number on the scale I would probably be feeling a little deflated. Luckily, I learnt along time ago that number only tells me about gravity’s effect on my body and nothing more. I always do my measurement and take progress photos and alongside losing fat and gaining muscle I also dropped a total of 2.5 inches.
    Other things to consider are the fact that I am sleeping well (apart from one rubbish night) and have more than enough energy to complete all my planned training sessions and can give my clients and class members 100% of my energy, just as they deserve.

    Mon: 12.15pm Total Body Conditioning (Recovery Style)

    Recovery TBC means I do a round (it was Monday so Row, Bike, Ski, obvs!) and then skip a round and use the time to hold various stretches and poses. Toby, our head coach, used this during The Open, and I have adopted it as a good recovery session after a hard effort like, say, a marathon.

    Tue: Unplanned Rest Day

    On the way home from coaching Insanity in the morning I blew a tyre so by the time I had got that sorted out (huge thanks to the Boy for coming to my rescue and helping me put the spare on… I did learn how to do it but not having had to do it ever I had no idea what to do).

    Wed: 6.45am Indoor Cycle Class

    First early morning class of the New Year so that meant treating my class members to Week 1 of my new 2020 programme. To keep myself honest I use the Coach by Colour system even though this isn’t officially a Power Training class. It’s useful as then I can compare my performance on the same equipment and same programme at different times of the day as my Thur 6:30pm class is in the same studio.

    Wed: 7.40am 2 mile Zone 2 run

    This was meant to be a 5k but I went out straight after coaching my indoor cycle class and the car park started charging at 8am so I had to get out and back in 20 minutes. The point of the run was a Zone 2 and it went surprisingly well. I held a 10 min pace and honestly, I was pleased as I thought I would struggle to hold any kind of run pace given that I’d just done the cycle class. Legs felt fine, lungs felt fine. All good 🙂

    Wed: 1pm PT with Kerry (my Coach)

    Today was all about the Paused Front Squat. Lots of glute firing work first. This means putting a band around first my quads and then my ankles and walking/waddling up and down the gym. Bless Kerry for walking with me so we could continue our conversation. I say walking, at one point we were more dancing than walking as the music seemed to demand it. Cue finger snapping and everything!
    The Paused Front Squat is exactly what it sounds like, do a front squat and pause in the bottom position for 2-3 seconds before standing up. Things went well, I got to ring the PB bell. I don’t like ringing the PB bell but Kerry was pretty insistent and the gym was practically empty. I also got to practise bailing out of front and back squats which isn’t something I’ve ever had practice with. I think this likely helped with the PB!

    Thu: 9.30am Indoor Cycle Class

    This is the class that uses MyZone but since acquiring a Garmin chest strap to pair to my watch, I’m no longer using MyZone as I want all of my data and stats to be in the same place. Regardless having MyZone definitely increases the motivation and effort from the class members and it showed today for sure.

    Thu: 12.30pm Pool Swim

    Yay me! I finally, finally, actually got in the pool and do a swimming thing. I haven’t really swum since 2014 and for some reason I thought I would just jump back in and it would be as easy as it was then. Now, really, I know that isn’t how it works but hey. My training plan said 2 x 400m with a 3 minute rest. It was originally 1 x 400m but when doing the double check before finalising it, I decided that would likely be too easy so I doubled it! More fool me, I did the first 250m and then decided that I would be better doing it in 100m intervals and using each block to focus on a different aspect; breathing, stroke pull, kick etc) I got very out of breath and my heart rate was quite high but it still felt like a victory as I had done my first swim session.

    Thu: 6.30pm Coach By Colour Indoor Cycle Class

    Week 2 of my 2020 programme and I unleashed ‘The Threshold’. Naming my sessions is one of my things. I don’t really know why, I’ve done it ever since becoming a power trainer and writing periodised programmes. I think it helps give the sessions meaning and fit the programme together. Plus, people remember it and it sets me apart from other trainers. The Threshold is, obviously, a threshold session, working in the saddle at 100% FTP for varying lengths of time and cadences. The slower the RPM the longer the interval and rest breaks between intervals got shorter and shorter. It was unilaterally described as tough… job done!

    Thu: 7.30pm RPM Indoor Cycle Class

    This one was as a participant, not a Coach. To help build my overall stamina and endurance I will be staying after my class to take part in the next one on any week that isn’t a recovery week. It just happens to be an RPM class. I am not particularly a fan of Les Mills RPM as I find doing the same programme week after week a little dull but at the end of the day it is another 45 minutes in the saddle and I stick the Coach By Colour on to help keep my efforts honest and consistent.

    Fri: 12.15pm Total Body Conditioning

    3 ten minute workouts as is becoming the norm for the Friday Class, separated by 2 minutes rest.
    1; 10 min amrap of 200m Run, 10 Walking Lunges, 10 24″ Box Step Ups.
    2; 10 min EMOM. Odd = 50 sec Assault Bike. Even = recovery paced Down Ups (chest to floor burpees without a jump)
    3; 1 min on, 1 min off Max Effort Ski Erg

    Fri: 1pm CrossFit Class

    It’s been Back to Basics week at our CrossFit box which means stripping back the fundamental and basic movements and just having a week to refocus, relearn and tidy up technique. Today was the turn of the Overhead Squat, Pull Up and Push Up. All the work I have been putting in on my mobility showed during the Overhead Squat portion of the class so that was nice.

    Sat: Rest Day

    Sun: 10am 20 mile Bike Ride

    Yay me.. again. I actually got on my actual bike and cycled outside. I think the last time I used my beautiful Bianchi bike was probably 2017. I aways enjoy being on my bike but I lack confidence. The boy came and kept me company and some might say we have issues as we decided to test ways to cycle to CrossFit, and yes, it is closed on Sundays! This is because I want to cycle to CF occasionally but the roads are quite busy and in some places not where I would feel safe on a bike so we tested different routes. I have lost some basic skills, like being able to look over my shoulder without pulling the bike to the centre of the road but all that will come back with practise. Two big wins this week… I got in the pool and I got on my bike. Whoop Whoop.

  • The Phases of Menopause
  • Recovery Training???
  • Power through your PMS
  • Can Herbal Adaptogens help Perimenopause? 
  • 75Hard… This is what discipline looks like
  • IM Training Blog w/c 07.03.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 28.02.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 21.02.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 14.02.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 07.02.22
  • IM Training Log w/c 30.12.19

    Body Comp Stats
    Yes, Christmas did have a negative effect on the fat and muscle. Weight didn’t change though, once again proving you shouldn’t pay too much attention to the scales.
    Weight: 77.3kg
    Fat%: 30.5%
    Muscle: 30.6%

    This week brings the start of my fully planned training plan. I have mapped out every single day from now until the IronMan. Plus, I have started a new fully coached programme with We Dominate Nutrition so it really is a case of ‘bring it on!’

    Mon: 12.15pm Total Body Conditioning

    The usual Monday routine of Row, Bike, Ski as a 36 minute EMOM. Simples. Well, simples apart from the fact that rowing started to really pull on my back. Since that first back spasm a few weeks ago things haven’t been quite right so I’m having to adapt certain movements and it now seems rowing might also be on that list

    Mon: 1pm CrossFit Class

    5 Rounds of 1 min Max Effort (ME) Assault Bike for calories, 1 min ME Pull Ups (Jumping), 1 min Single Under Skips, 1 min Box Step Overs, 1 min Rest.

    This workout was meant to include Rowing but I swapped to the bike to avoid any further back pain. It was also meant to be double unders and box jump overs but I’m being super careful and sensible. Yay me!

    Tue: Rest Day

    Today wasn’t originally planned as a rest day, even being New Years Eve. The gym’s tradition is to do the hero workout Bert, which I quite like in a weird way. Unfortunately the Boy and I found ourselves in Trowbridge attending the funeral of my uncle. Despite the sad occasion it did bring my family together and I got to spend the end of the year with some lovely people I haven’t seen in far too long.

    Wed: Rest Day

    Planned rest day. I had spoken to Kerry (my coach for those that are new to my blog) about doing Bert today at home but to be honest, after yesterday I just wanted a quiet day with the boy and Cracker Dog so thats what I did.

    Thu: 9:30am Indoor Cycle Class

    Man, it was so good to be back in front of a class, coaching a class. I launched my 2020 programme and week 1 is simply called ‘The Beginning’. Nothing complicated, just a tough non stop rotation of 1 climbing track and 1 speed track.

    Thu: 1pm CrossFit Class

    One of the Girls today;
    Helen.
    3 Rounds for time of 400m Run, 21 American Kettlebell Swing (kept it lighter than usual at 12kg to protect my back), 12 Jumping Pull Ups.
    Workout went well but the pull ups were definitely the worst bit.
    Ended the session with a 10 min EMOM of 30 sec Hollow Hold and 30 sec Arch Hold.

    Thu: 6.30pm Coach by Colour Indoor Cycle Class

    Another go at the week 1 programme, this time with the Coach By Colour technology. Using power and proper metrics makes such a difference. The calorie burn between this and the morning class was similar but the training effect using Power was soooo much better. Power training really works people, use it!

    Fri: 12.15pm Total Body Conditioning

    A 3 parter today, with 2 minutes rest between each workout:
    1) 10 min AMRAP of 200m run, 5 DB Box Step Up, 5 Single Arm Devil Press… well it was meant to be 5 but I told Toby I was going to do 6 as my brain can’t deal with odd numbers and uneven work so he made it 10… Sorry to the rest of the class!
    2) 10 min EMOM 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off; Row and Slamball
    3) 10 min EMOM 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off; Ski Erg and Squat
    Hard work but enjoyable 🙂

    Sat: Rest Day

    This was one planned, ready for the run tomorrow.

    Sun: 9.30am Resolution Run, by On The Whistle.

    First race of the year and I made a promise to myself not to come home with anything less than a marathon. This was a 6 hour event comprising of 4.4 mile laps, well I say laps but it was actually dull as dishwater out and back along the same piece of coastal path. You needed 6 laps to hit marathon distant and this one was a true test of my mental grit. Plus, I should probably stop rocking up to events trying to run a marathon without doing any type of training run. I was seriously contemplating stopping after lap 3 but, being a follower of David Goggins, I sorted myself out and pushed on for the last 3. It was possible one of the least enjoyable runs I have ever done. Not that that is a reflection on the organisers, it was another well organised and well supported event. Total distance 26.4 miles..Done.

  • The Phases of Menopause
  • Recovery Training???
  • Power through your PMS
  • Can Herbal Adaptogens help Perimenopause? 
  • 75Hard… This is what discipline looks like
  • IM Training Blog w/c 07.03.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 28.02.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 21.02.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 14.02.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 07.02.22
  • IM Training Log w/c 25/11/19

    * I am not including the classes I coach in this training log (apart from my indoor cycle classes) but for reference I also coach 2 Insanity, 2 Boxercise, 1 LBT, 1 Core Strength and 1 Tabata class a week between Tuesday and Friday.

    This week was a planned light week post marathon on Sunday and pre 6 Hour Hell Session next Monday. After the big run I was pleased to find I felt pretty ok. My glutes felt tight, my calves felt tight but nothing terrible and nothing that would stop me training this week. I have booked a physio appt for Monday 9th Dec so that anything still lingering from the two big days can be sorted before becoming an issue.

    Mon: 12:15 Total Body Conditioning

    You know the drill as well as I do by now. Monday = Row, Bike, Ski and today is was just that 30 sec on, 30 sec off for 36 minutes. Nothing fast, nothing frantic. A classic “just moving” day to flush the legs after the 28.2 miles yesterday. I spent about 30 minutes after the session stretching, rolling and running a few mobility drills and walked away feeling great.

    Tue: Rest Day

    I would never normally rest on a Tuesday but I coached Insanity and decided that that was enough for today. Its called a light week for a reason after all 🙂

    Wed: 6:45am Indoor Cycle Class

    Week 7 in my programme brings my least favourite week… Speed Week. Give me hill climbs any day. But, I know that a lot (read most) of my participants feel this way too which is why I designed a specialist week devoted to improving our speed work.

    Wed: 1pm PT with my Coach

    After missing two weeks due to the back spasm it was good to get back to some one on one time with Kerry. We started with Deadlifts and there were nerly tears and tantrums, until Kerry reminded me we were using the Hex Bar, which weighs 30kg on it’s own so I was lifting more than I thought! After deadlifts I got to play with some sled drags and the GHD Sit Up machine. My fear of falling still kicks in on the GHD but hopefully with more practice and regular use this will disappear. It makes no sense to me that I can drop backwards out of an elevated tunnel at Tough Mudder and this is one of my favourite obstacles and yet I cannot let myself drop backwards of the GHD, when I know I can’t fall off. This fear of falling is ridiculous and if I could have one superpower I would just wish to rid of it as it holds me back in so many ways!

    Thu: 9:30am Indoor Cycle Class (with MyZone)

    Another crack at speed week but it’s much harder to gauge in this class as the bikes don’t have RPM meters or levels, just the turning dial. Luckily the MyZone shows your HR and effort on the big screen so there is some accountability but it’s not the same as being able to see your pace etc.

    Thu: 6:30pm Coach By Colour Indoor Cycle Class

    From my least favourite week to my most as, being a week behind my other 2 classes, it’s climbing week. There’s nowhere to hide when the colour is on and I love how committed and motivated the guys in this class are.

    Thu: 7:30pm RPM Cycle Class (as a participant, not a coach)

    I’d made a deal with my friend, PT Client and fellow IronMan hopeful Rich to do the double tonight so as soon as I was done with coaching my class as I was off the instructor bike and set myself up on the floor next to Rich. It was good fun being back on the floor and in a class, especially being next to someone hat constantly pushes me that little bit more. 3 cycle classes in one day.. done 🙂

    Fri: 12:15pm Total Body Conditioning

    Three 10 minute workouts, separated by 2 minutes of rest.
    1: 10 min Assault Bike; every 2 minutes complete 20 Jump Lunges…. hello quads!
    2: 10 min EMOM 40 secs on, 20 secs off; Med Ball Box Step Up and Down Ups (chest to floor burpees without a jump!)
    3: 10 min EOMOM; Max Effort Ski Erg for Calories.

    Fri: 1pm Week 2 Row Programme

    As mentioned last week on 18th January 2020 CrossFit Iron Duke are hosting their second charity row event. This time it’s The 2 Million Meter Row… teams of 4 people per rower, each team has to row 100,000 split into 25k per person. This weeks prep programming was 4 x 1000m, with 3 minutes rest. Luckily I wasn’t on my own this week as India and Raquel who were with me in the Conditioning class also needed to do it so we set up together for a bit of camaraderie. I was a bit faster than last week (although I couldn’t have been much slower to be fair) and still very consistent. Good times!

    Sat and Sun: Rest Day

    Yes, it’s a lot of rest this week but again, a light week is meant to be light. I was going to train with the girls on Sunday but decided to be smart and give myself a little more of a break before the return of the 6 hour Hell Session tomorrow!

  • The Phases of Menopause
  • Recovery Training???
  • Power through your PMS
  • Can Herbal Adaptogens help Perimenopause? 
  • 75Hard… This is what discipline looks like
  • IM Training Blog w/c 07.03.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 28.02.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 21.02.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 14.02.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 07.02.22
  • IM Training Log w/c 18/11/19

    * I am not including the classes I coach in this training log (apart from my indoor cycle classes) but for reference I also coach 2 Insanity, 2 Boxercise, 1 LBT, 1 Core Strength and 1 Tabata class a week between Tuesday and Friday.

    After the back spasm last Wednesday this week was all about protecting myself ready for my run race on Sunday. It was already planned as a de-load week so with the back issue as well things were pretty quiet.

    Mon: 12:15pm Total Body Conditioning

    As always. Mon is Row, Bike, Ski. The twist this week was that it was to be sprint efforts. 36 minutes of work, 4 minutes spent on each machine at a time varying the sprint time. This is a session I will revisit as it was a little bit wasted on me this week given that I couldn’t give it my all.

    Mon: 6:30pm Physio with Louise

    First session with the wonderful Louise. Bless her for being available at short notice. I’d gotten into the habit of having semi regular appointments with my sports therapist but for one reason or another I got out of the habit. This last week has taught me that this is something I cannot overlook. One hour of pretty intense therapy on my back, glutes and hamstrings and my mind is finally at ease knowing that there is nothing serious wrong. The diagnosis; extremely tight hamstrings and glutes so even more stretching required. I’m not sure how much more I can do but OK!

    Tue: Rest Day

    I wouldn’t normally rest on the Tuesday of a race week but given I only had physio last night and coached Insanity in the morning rest was the only sensible option.

    Wed: 12:15pm Total Body Conditioning

    After a chat with Kerry, forever looking out for me and putting out the sensible suggestions it was agreed I would forego PT this week, so as not to risk anything post physio and pre race, and just come in for some modified conditioning. I started with a 10 min consistent Row and then moved between intervals on the Assault Bike and various mobility stretches.

    Wed: 6:45am Indoor Cycle Class

    Week 7 of the programme and it’s Climbing week. Exactly as it sounds, 40 minutes of a variety of hills, presented in different ways. One of my favourite weeks as I am all about the climbing and not as strong with the speed stuff.

    Wed: 1:15pm Week 1 Row Programme

    On 18th January 2020 CrossFit Iron Duke are hosting their second charity row event. This time it’s The 2 Million Meter Row… teams of 4 people per rower, each team has to row 100,000 split into 25k per person. How we split the meters is up to us as long as each person does their bit. To support us in the build up to the event the coaches are releasing a weekly programme. Week 1 is 3 x 1000m, with 3 minutes rest. The goal is to be consistent with both pace and stroke rate. I took this really easy but my consistency was on point 🙂

    Thu: 9:30am Indoor Cycle Class (with MyZone)

    Second time for Climbing Week. Having the MyZone screen in the studio definitely helps with the effort levels. A lot of the guys in my class embraced it and bought the MyZone heart rate monitor. The screen shows everyones Heart Rate, Calories and Effort levels… I have some quite competitive people in my class, it makes it interesting for sure. What didn’t help was dropping a 20kg plate on my left foot during a session with my first PT client of the day. It landed directly on my big toe and the pain was pretty intense. I didn’t really want to know how bad it was so just got on with my day without removing my socks or shoes.

    Thu: 6:30pm Coach By Colour Indoor Cycle Class

    Week 5 for my evening lot which means the Power Pyramid. I talked about this in last weeks log so will not repeat myself. I did finally take my sock off for the first time after the class and it wasn’t tooooo bad. The nail was split and the right half was pretty black. I cut the nail down as low as possible but I got next to no sleep due to the pain!

    Fri: Rest Day

    I had planned to hit a Conditioning Class today but my morning ran away with me and food became a priority so I skipped class in favour of lunch. Given I had plans to run a Marathon, or possibly an Ultra on Sunday I wasn’t at all concerned about taking an extra rest day. Especially as my Friday morning is spent at Nuffield Chichester coaching Insanity, LBT and Tabata pretty much back to back!

    Sat: Rest Day

    Sun: Festive Frolic Run, by On The Whistle

    I won’t go into massive detail about the race here as I will write a separate race report blog but I will say I achieved my goal of a marathon plus, (6 laps equalled roughly 28 miles).

  • The Phases of Menopause
  • Recovery Training???
  • Power through your PMS
  • Can Herbal Adaptogens help Perimenopause? 
  • 75Hard… This is what discipline looks like
  • IM Training Blog w/c 07.03.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 28.02.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 21.02.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 14.02.22
  • IM Training Blog w/c 07.02.22