Tag Archive | "adherence"

exerciser 2

Fitter, Faster, Stronger, Leaner part 2

exerciser 2Aerobic Training Variables – things we can change about the way we do our cardio.

As with resistance training, there are a number of things we can do to make our cardiovascular exercise more productive and therefore improve our aerobic fitness to new higher levels. By implementing the following, we can make sure that the dreaded plateau is a thing of the past.


  1. Frequency – exercise more often
  2. Intensity – work at a higher percentage of maximum Heart rate
  3. Duration – exercise for longer periods of time/cover greater distances
  4. Speed – run/cycle/swim/step/row at a faster rate
  5. Intervals – employ interval training in place of steady state cardio*
  6. Terrain – run/walk/cycle on different surfaces
  7. Hill work – purposely seek out hillier routes to walk, cycle or run
  8. Modality – select different aerobic training methods e.g. run instead of swim
  9. Add resistance – use weighted vests, ankle weights or back packs
  10. Employ an aerobic training method – e.g. fartlek, FCR or LSD)**

*Interval training – periods of high intensity work interspaced with periods of low intensity recoveries e.g. run hard for 60 seconds, jog for 120 seconds and repeat

**Fartlek – mixed speeds within a training session performed randomly, FCR – Fast Continuous Running…aerobic exercise performed  at high levels of intensity for shorter periods of time, LCD – Long Slow Distance…Continuous aerobic exercise performed at a comfortable pace for extended periods of time

As with our resistance training variables, it’s a good idea to focus on one or two of the above options for a few weeks before selecting other variables from the list. Trying to make too many changes at once is likely to be too dramatic a change and result in exhaustion and possibly injury. It is also worth bearing in mind that it is recommended that increases in duration/distance per workout and per training week be limited to approximately 10%. In other words, if your current longest run is 3 miles, don’t increase your mileage up to 4 miles over night but increase the distance to by around 400 – 500 metres to avoid potential overuse injuries.

“If we are going to succeed, we need to plan for success” & “Failing to plan is planning to fail”

Improvements in physical fitness don’t happen by accident. They are a direct result of the application of consistent and sustained effort, good eating habits and appropriate rest. If we have no real plan, we have much less chance of making the progress we are looking for.

When thinking about exercise, it’s necessary to think long term – not just tomorrow, next week or next month, but next year and the year after. How are you going to take your current level of exercise and fitness on from the here-and-now to your ultimate fitness goal? The answer is to make a plan.

They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, but if those initial steps are in the wrong direction then we’ll never get to our destination. It is necessary to “reverse engineer” our journey from where we want to be to where we are now so we can plot our route to ultimate success.

So – a few questions…write down the answers:

  1. What is your ultimate fitness goal? (lose fat, run a marathon, make it to the 1st team etc)
  2. Where are you currently in relation to your ultimate fitness goal? (score out of 10)
  3. How committed are you to achieving your goal? (score out of 10)
  4. How much time can you dedicate to your goal? (list the hours per week)
  5. What are the possible barriers you might encounter during your quest for success? (make a list)
  6. How can you remove those barriers? (write down solutions to the above list)
  7. What/who are your allies in reaching your goal? (Who can help you?)

Once you have answers for the above questions, you are well on your way to making a plan of battle to take you to your goal.

Next – we need to break down the ultimate fitness goal into smaller bite sized chunks. Our ultimate goal is probably a long term goal…months or possibly years away. That’s a very long time to remain motivated. To help keep us focused on the prize, it’s worth breaking our main goal down into several sub-goals which are more readily achievable.

To give you an example – let’s say your goal is to run a marathon (26 miles) but currently your longest run is 6 miles. That means you have to run a whole 20 miles further to reach you goal. For many people, that might seem like a daunting if not impossible task! Instead, let’s break that ultimate goal down into more manageable chunks…

1st sub goal – run 10 miles

2nd sub goal – run a half marathon (13 miles)

3rd sub goal – run 17 miles

4th sub goal – run 21 miles

Ultimate goal – run a marathon

By breaking down our ultimate goal into smaller bite sized chunks, we will experience numerous minor successes on the way to realisation of our end goal. This promotes adherence, maintains enthusiasm and improves our success potential dramatically.

To train smarter, think SMARTER!

Once you have decided upon your goals, apply the acronym SMARTER to them.

SMARTER stands for:-

Specific – put a numerical value to what you are trying to achieve

Measurable – make sure you can prove success by hitting numerical targets e.g. body fat %

Achievable – is your goal feasible?  Do you have the necessary resources to allow success?

Realistic – can it be done in the time available? Are there many barriers to overcome?

Time bound – set a dead line when you expect to achieve success

Enjoyable – if it’s not you are less likely to stick to it

Recorded – write it all down, tell your friends, make your goals public property! It makes it much harder to drop out if you know people are interested in your progress!

By applying SMARTER to the goals we set for ourselves we improve the likelihood of succeeding massively.  

Training Diaries – No more wasted workouts!

I am an absolute believer in the power of a training diary. I have kept training diaries for my entire exercising life and rely on them constantly to help me plan my next phase of training. A training diary will provide you with numerical evidence of previous workouts performed, allow you to track improvements, see what has worked well for you and what has been less successful, show consistency and highlight lapses as well as improving focus as you record your performance from workout to workout.

By making use of a training diary, you’ll never go into the gym and be saying to your self “Now, what shall I do today?” Every workout will be productive and specific to your goals.

Personally, I use A5 sized ring bound note books as training diaries although I know you can buy fancy programmes for your computer. Alternatively, if you are so inclined, you could even design excel spread sheets. Regardless of what method you choose, keeping a training diary is one of the most useful tools we have available to keep ourselves motivated and focused.

By utilizing the information in your training diary, you can plan your next workout based on how your previous workout went. Make a note of which exercises you performed, which exercises which need increased resistance, reps achieved with a given resistance, number of sets performed, rest intervals used, settings on cardio machines, durations and heart rates of CV exercise, total duration of each workout, how you felt etc. By having all this information to hand, we can use the training variables discussed earlier to push our selves onwards and upwards towards out ultimate fitness goals.

So, the take home points for continued exercise progress are:-

1)    Whatever you are doing now, you need to change in the near future

2)    Manipulate the training variables regularly to promote progression

3)    Set goals and work towards them

4)    Make long term plans for success

5)    Keep a training diary to measure your success and keep you focused


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evolution of man

So you want to get fit?

evolution of manSo, you’ve made the decision to start getting some exercise – that’s great! But where should you start your new journey from Couch Potato to Fitness Fanatic? In this article, I hope to help you map out a plan to get you on the road to improved health, fitness and wellbeing.

Step One: Get a check up. It’s an irrefutable fact that exercise is good for you. It can reduce your chances of suffering many common chronic diseases, help you control your weight, improve your general health, and give you more energy and so on. There is a long list of benefits associated with exercise but exercise also comes with some risks. Because of this it is vital that you get a full medical examination before commencing your new exercise regime. Your doctor will be able to screen you for any medical conditions which may worsen because of your new routine. It is very VERY rare for a medical practitioner to tell you not to exercise, but they may suggest certain restrictions if a particular condition is discovered – e.g. low impact exercise for morbidly obese exercisers or avoiding overhead weight lifting in hypertensives. If in doubt – get checked out!

Step Two: Decide on how much time you can realistically spare for exercise. The truth is that if you are short of time and your exercise programme becomes an inconvenience, it is very likely that your plan will be a non-starter or certainly a short runner. Calculate exactly how much time you have spare each day and look for ways to maximise that time. Are you really going to want to commute for an extra hour to get to the gym across town? Or are there better ways to use your valuable spare time? Remember it is not necessary to spend hours and hours exercising every day. 20-30 minutes, 3-5 times a week will yield amazing benefits. The average person spends 4 hours a day watching TV…you need to find less than 4 hours per week for exercise!

Step Three: Explore your exercise options. There are literally hundreds of ways for you to exercise. Some will suit you perfectly, others will be completely unsuited to your needs, your personality or your goals. You can choose from aerobics classes to weight training, from Pilates to swimming, from jogging to tennis. From the almost endless list of possibilities, choose activities which you think you will enjoy. If you have “two left feet” then maybe hip-hop aerobics isn’t going to be for you. Not a great fan of loud music, shiny chrome and mirrors? Maybe the local Fitness Studio isn’t for you. I guarantee you that there are plenty of activities out there which will suit your personality and physicality so do some research, look around and then select something you feel comfortable with and not intimidated by. The caveat is that whatever your chose, you should enjoy.

Step Four: Make a commitment. A plan is just a meaningless piece of paper unless you commit to following it. Decide on a start date for your new, healthy lifestyle and zero in on it. Make it an appointment in your diary and stick to it. Work towards it so that when you reach your intended commencement day, you are ready to start. Plan ahead for this day. Have you booked your place in the class? Bought some appropriate work out clothing? Arranged a baby sitter? Do everything in your power to make this as easy a process as possible. The last thing you want is for uncontrollable details to derail your new healthy lifestyle.

Step Five: Do it! Get off the couch, out the door and get started. Procrastination will ruin even the very best intentions. A journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step or so they say, so make that first step now. Your old life of inactivity has an inertia all of its own and it’s absolutely vital that you make a clean break from it. Put it behind you and move onwards and upwards into your new healthy lifestyle. Treat this change like a battle – attack it with tenacity and aggression and you WILL win.

Step Six: Stick with it. You’ve done the hard part – you got started. Now you need to keep that momentum and maintain your new active lifestyle. Tell your friends what you are doing, keep a workout diary, and set your self some goals. Take a look at my article “Habits of Effective Exercisers” and you’ll learn about a number of excellent strategies designed to help should your motivation levels start to wane.

Step Seven: Enjoy it! Look back on what you have achieved and take pride in it. At the very least you have broken away from the gravity of your couch and have now made moves towards a new, healthier lifestyle. And remember, it’s not a race – there’s no hurry, take it a day at a time, a workout at a time and you WILL make improvements and progress. You will have done what many people never manage to do – taken positive steps to improve your health and fitness. Good for you!

I hope that gives you a plan of action to get up, out and exercising. It’s time to stop thinking about getting fit and start doing something about it – Just do it! The rewards and huge!

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Learning ladder

The Learning Ladder

Learning ladder

Everyone has heard the expression “practice makes perfect”. The thing is, this isn’t strictly true – if we practice something incorrectly, all we get is very good at doing something wrong! For example, if you always perform (in other words practice) press ups with a sagging lower back; this is how you will always do them. It will become engrained and breaking this habit will be very difficult and time consuming – thus practice didn’t make perfect, it merely taught a bad habit. Really, the saying should be “perfect practice makes perfect” as it’s far better (and easier in the long run) to establish good habits in the first place, rather than have to unlearn bad habits before replacing them with better ones.




It’s sometimes quoted that (in terms of exercise performance) that it takes around 500 repetitions to learn a new technique and for it to become automatic but 5000 to unlearn an old one and that assumes that all 5000 are performed faultlessly! This is one of the reasons that at Solar Fitness Qualifications, we strive for good form in all our exercises from the very beginning of our courses. We know that, for every day we let our students perform exercises with poor form, there will be a whole lot of extra work required to prepare them for their assessment time both for the students, trainers and the assessors alike!

This leads nicely onto something called the “Learning Ladder” which describes the process we go through when learning a new habit or skill. The learning ladder can be applied to just about any behaviour but this article will focus on things health and fitness related…

Unconscious Incompetence
On this rung of the learning ladder, the individual doesn’t realise they have a negative habit. This could be a gym goer who always does lat pull downs behind the neck without realising the dangers to his or her shoulders or a dieter who skips meals to help them lose weight, not knowing that this behaviour could disrupt their metabolism and stall their fat loss. People who are Unconscious Incompetents would benefit from education and explanations to teach them why their behaviours are not the best way forward in achieving their goals. 

Conscious Incompetence
“If at first you don’t succeed, try try and try again!” goes the old saying.  This sums up the Conscious Incompetent. They know what they should be doing but often fall “off the wagon”. This could be the dieter who just can’t say no to cakes when it’s some ones birthday at work (and there are a lot of birthdays at their office!) despite the fact they know it will hinder their fat loss or the weight trainer who, more often than not, misses their Friday leg workout because the guys on the football team convince him to skip training and have a few beers down the pub instead, despite the fact he knows this will unbalance his weekly training programme. Conscious Incompetents need help with motivation and assurance that the new habits they are trying to develop will be of long term benefit. Tools such as goal setting and decision balance sheets can be very beneficial for this type of person.

Conscious Competence
To an outsider, those that have reached Conscious Competence may seem to have it easy but the reality is that, despite the fact they eat what they should and exercise regularly, it’s a struggle. They’d love to skip a workout or two or relax their diets and eat some junk food but they just won’t give in to temptation. Periodically the gravitational pull of the sofa, the lure of the pub or the thought of sugary foods can get to the point where they feel like it would be easier to just give up and indulge but they stay focused and stick with it – but it’s not always easy to do the right thing. For this person, positive affirmations can be very useful to help maintain focus and as a reminder that all the hard work is worth it.  

Unconscious Competence
At this level, exercise and eating well are a part of everyday life. No external stimuli are necessary as habits are now just a fact of life and it would be unthinkable to not exercise regularly or eat well. For this type of person, adherence to regular exercise and good nutrition are easy which, ironically, can make them less than ideal as mentors to those people who find sticking to their new healthy lifestyle choices a struggle. It’s possible they may lack empathy as it’s been so long since they found exercising frequently and eating well a struggle. Ideally, we should all strive to reach this level of self-mastery but the reality is that very few do which is probably just as well or personal trainers and nutritionists the world over would soon be out of a job!

Regardless of your current level on the learning ladder, keep at it, and keep striving for improvements. It IS worth it in the long run. It’s not always an easy process and there will be times where you’d rather stay in front of the TV or buy a take away instead of cooking a healthy meal at home BUT…they payoff every time you resist temptation you will be one step closer to your health and fitness goals. And remember, perfect practice makes perfect!

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The Success Quotient – reach your fitness goals

GraphAre you getting the results you deserve from your exercise time? Are your workouts effective, productive and enjoyable? Are you moving towards not just reaching your fitness goals but exceeding them? No? Well you aren’t alone. Many people put in their time in the gym and eat well but find themselves treading water rather than steaming ahead. Why? Exercise and eating well are only two parts of the equation – when it comes to getting into great shape, what you do during the rest of the 168 hours that make up the week is as important as what you do in the gym.



To improve your chances of success and reaching your fitness goals, answer the following 30 questions honestly, making note of any shortcomings or areas that need attention….

For each question use the following scoring system…

Always = 10
Mostly = 8
Frequently = 5
Rarely = 3
Never = 0

Look at each 10 question section individually to see how you are faring exercise, nutrition and recovery wise and then add up the score for all 3 sections, divide by 3, to give you your combined score…

Section 1 – Training

If you are taking the time to exercise, it makes sense to do it right. If you score badly in this section, make some changes so that unproductive workouts become a thing of the past!

  1. Free weight/bodyweight exercises make up most of my training volume
  2. Compound exercises make up 80%+ of my training volume
  3. I use proper exercise techniques in all my training (minimal cheating)
  4. My training programme reflects my goals and weakness
  5. I change my programme at least every 6 weeks but stick with it long enough to give it chance to work
  6. My programme is balanced to ensure all major muscles are trained equally and I perform not just the exercises I’m good at but also the ones I’m not good at
  7. I refrain from performing low quality workouts e.g. junk miles, too much easy cardio etc.
  8. My training is consistent and I seldom miss workout except when absolutely necessary
  9. I perform adequate appropriate CV and flexibility work for my goals and my health

Section 2 – Nutrition

Without good nutrition not only your fitness but your health may suffer. Even if your training is perfect, without adequate nutrition your body is unlikely to benefit from exercise.  Like putting the right fuel in a high-performance car, eating a well balanced diet will ensure the machine runs smoothly and optimally.

  1. I only eat junk food one or fewer times per week
  2. I consume adequate quality protein according to my requirements
  3. I consume adequate carbohydrates according to my requirements
  4. I avoid low quality/highly refined foods as much as possible
  5. I try to minimise my consumption of processed foods, sugar and trans fats 
  6. I consume fruit and/or vegetables with every meal
  7. I eat 4-6 quality meals a day (not just snacks)
  8. I consume a post workout meal within 15 minutes of my training session
  9. I keep my alcohol intake within healthy levels

10.  I drink 2 or more litres of plain water a day plus 250ml per 15 minutes of exercise

Section 3 – Recovery

To benefit from exercise, the body must be allowed to recover. For recovery to occur we need to be in a neutral state called homeostasis which means all the systems of the body are in balance. If our body is out of balance e.g. because of too much stress or too little sleep, its recovery ability will be impaired and, as a result, progress is likely to be slow or possibly non-existent. Work with your body – not against it!

  1. I try to keep my stress levels to a minimum
  2. I sleep 8-10 hours a night
  3. I go to bed no later than 11pm
  4. I get a sports massage at least once a month
  5. I am on time with work tasks and/or studies
  6. I take time to relax during the week – not just at weekends
  7. If I drink alcohol, I do so in moderation
  8. If I am feeling over tired, injured or unwell, I will refrain from training until I feel better
  9. When my stress levels are high, I reduce my training intensity/volume

10.  I perform a light CV cool down post training

Add the scores for each section together and divide by 3 to give you your Success Quotient percentage…

90-100% – Excellent!
You are virtually bound to make good progress and, with continued determination and patience, should have little trouble reaching your health and fitness goals.

70-89% – Adequate
Some of your practices are maybe holding you back and whilst you may well reach your fitness goals, it’s likely that it’ll take you a lot less time if you address the highlighted shortfalls

40-69% – Poor
Your progress and ultimate success is being hampered by poor nutrition, training and recovery habits. It’s very unlikely you’ll make significant progress towards your fitness goals unless you make some radical changes to your lifestyle

0-39% – Danger!
Not only will you fail to make any significant progress, your performance is very likely to decline with possible negative effects on your health and well being. It’s time to make some radical changes for the better before it’s too late!

So, now you know what you need to do to increase your chances of success. If you need to make changes, avoid trying to make too many at the same time. Introduce a couple of changes at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Lifestyle changes can take a while to “stick” so make it as easy as possible by making simple changes initially and working up to bigger changes once you have built up some momentum. Finally, make sure the changes you make fit as easlily as possible into your current lifestyle as if they don’t, it’s highly likely that you’ll soon revert back to your original behaviours.

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aerobics 1

7 habits of habitual exercisers part 4

Patrick Dale continues to motivate you to exercise, this time he blogs about getting your friends to help you


4) Recruit a network of supporters. Why suffer alone!?!? Ask friends, neighbors, family and friends to assist you in your goals. Seek out like minded people to act as training partners, get support from those closest to you, join one of the many web based groups that can offer both support and information to help you on your way (www.ultraifitmagazine.co.uk  is a great place to start!). The main point is that you don’t have to “go it alone”. For some people this might mean hiring a personal trainer, or joining a group exercise class or it could just mean you work out with a neighbor. Whatever support method you choose, your efforts will be easier with someone else in your corner.

5) Keep accurate training and diet logs. Write it down! Nothing motivates like success…but to judge success we need to see where we started. By keeping track of workout performance, dietary trends and physical measurements we can see when we improve. Sometimes we fail to see our improvements because they are, on a day to day basis, so small but overtime, these small improvements will add up to noticeable changes in body composition, bodyweight, fitness levels etc. Often, someone who hasn’t seen you for a while will comment on your dramatic weight loss or improved muscle tone – they haven’t seen you in a while so the changes seem great whereas to you, seeing yourself in the mirror on a daily basis may not have spotted much in the way of changes at all.

6) Don’t be afraid to fall off the wagon. Even with the very best planning, goal setting and support network sometimes things just go wrong – life gets in the way. The key when this happens is to not let it phase you for too long and to pick up where you left off as soon as possible. These disruptions in routine are not failures, nor are they enough to undo all of your previous good works but unless you jump back on the wagon as soon as possible, they can be the start of the slippery slope back to our previous physical state and a lot of hard work wasted. Learn from whatever caused this disruption to your planned routine and take measures to try to minimize the chances of a similar disruptions happening again. Its kind of cheesy but some say that to FAIL is the First Action in Learning and so long as we take something positive away from a failure, then it was not a wasted opportunity.

 7) Choose things you like. By using the above 6 points, we can make exercise adherence much more likely, but if we choose activities we don’t enjoy or foods we don’t like, it becomes increasingly doubtful we will succeed in reaching our fitness or diet goals. There are many options for us to choose from and it is vital we chose things we are going to enjoy as much as possible. Why make things harder than they need to be? The old saying “it doesn’t have to be hell to be healthy” is a good one to adopt as a diet and exercise mantra. So…don’t like running? Try cycling. Not so keen on the gym? Join an exercise class. Don’t like fruit? Make fresh fruit smoothies or juices. There are many ways to skin the proverbial cat, so spread you net wide and select activities and foods that slot as seamlessly into your lifestyle as possible.

So, in conclusion: set goals, note down decision change pros and cons, make a plan and stick to it, recruit a support network, keep food and training diaries, don’t worry if you make mistakes (try, try and try again!), and choose foods and activities you enjoy. Following these simple guidelines won’t turn you into an exercise addict overnight but will help you to become a habitual, self motivated exerciser and lead you towards a long and productive health & fitness lifestyle.

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7 Habits of habitual exercisers part 3


Why you should write a pros and cons list to help you become a regular fitness trainer

2) Write a pro and con decision list. What have you got to gain versus what have you got to lose. If you ever feel your resolve waning, revisit this document and remind yourself what you have given up in return for all the benefits you are working towards, e.g.



  • Look better
  • Half an hour less sleep
  • Lose weight
  • Have to be organized
  • Feel fitter
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Have more energy
  • Eat plainer foods

After reviewing the above lists it should be apparent that the minor cons are outweighed by the greater pros and should serve as a reminder that the decision made is a worthwhile one.

3) Make a plan and stick to it. Getting fit is a journey, and to successfully complete a journey you often need a map. By planning how to get from A to B, we can prepare for change and give ourselves a route to follow which will allow us to progress along our chosen path without having to worry about losing our way or getting distracted. Remember the old adage – “prior preparation prevents poor performance!” To help keep on the straight and narrow, consider the following points…

Plan your workout times – treat them as appointments and stick to them.

  • Have a back up plan in case you are unable to exercise at the time you wanted to – if you cant go to the gym, what can you do instead? If it’s raining, where else can you workout? Cover your bases! Have alternatives ready to cover as many eventualities as you can envisage.
  • Plan your weekly food intake and shop accordingly. One of the truths of diet and nutrition is that if you have junk food in your cupboard, you will eat it. As a result, make sure that you have plenty of healthy food in your cupboards and that includes snacks.
  • Make sure you carry adequate food and water with you so you don’t have to rely on grabbing a snack at work – prepare much of your days food the night before
  • Tell other people about your plans so they don’t accidentally interfere with your efforts to adopt a new healthy lifestyle.

More tips in part 4…

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7 habits of habitual exercisers – part 1

PatrickDalePTHISI am a life long exerciser – I can honestly say that I have been exercising all of my adult life (some 20 years) and for a fair amount of my childhood too. During that time, my efforts have been consistent, regular and productive. As a result I have achieved a reasonable level of success in many sports ranging from rugby to trampolining, to athletics to rock climbing.

The one thing that has been a constant companion throughout this long training career is I have always needed to find ways to motivate my self. It has never been easy to drag my self into the gym at 6am, or out to run at 10pm but somehow, almost every time, I have done it.

Without realizing it, I made exercising a lifelong habit and now enjoy the fruits of those endeavors – above average muscle mass, lower than average body fat, sufficient strength for all everyday activities, muscular endurance which allows me to perform physical tasks for prolonged periods of time, adequate CV fitness that allows me to run about as far as I will ever want to, not to mention lowered incidence of illness and disease compared to my peers, high energy levels and the luxury of knowing I will probably enjoy these benefits long into my twilight years.

People often say to me, “Oh but it’s so easy for you!” but I can assure you it isn’t. Training never gets any easier – that’s a fallacy! You merely get fitter and work harder. I feel the same discomfort as a beginner exerciser, get out of breath in the same way an unfit person would and weights feel heavy to me as they would to a person with less strength. I just have a greater work capacity that allows me to work at higher levels of output – however, it’s still as hard as the first time I ran around the block as an eight year old training for my first sports day. And yes – that feeling of sore muscles beginners get after starting a new exercise routine (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS) – I get that too … at least a couple of times a week!

I’ll tell you what you can do to follow an active life and get as fit as you can in part 2.

Patrick Dale

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ultra-FIT Tri Challenge Event News

The ultra-FIT Tri Challenge

Entrants advice

Dorney Lake, Eton Nr Windsor Sunday May 23rd 2010


The event

The ultra-FIT Tri Challenge, held at Dorney Lake, Eton Windsor on Sunday May 23rd 2010 consists of a Half Olympic Distance of 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run plus a 3Quarter Olympic Distance of 1000m swim, 30km bike and 7.5km run.

The swim

The Half Olympic triathlon starts with a 750m swim, a one-lap rectangular course in the Lake. The 3Quarter Olympic Distance 800m swim is a two-lap rectangular course in the Lake. The start will be a deep water start. Keep the buoys on your right as you swim round the course. The swim exit will be clearly marked with a large buoy and flags.

The bike

Then it is a four-lap 20km bike course, which takes you around the lake 4 times. The 3Quarter Olympic bike course is a six-lap 30km bike course, which takes you around the lake 6 times. You must count your own laps!. Drafting on the bike is not allowed. Drafting is cycling too closely behind another cyclist and therefore taking pace from that cyclist. The drafting zone is 7m, so keep at least 7m behind the cyclist in front, unless you are overtaking. An approved cycle helmet must be worn for this section.

The run

Lastly, the Half Olympic 5km run finishes with 2-laps of the lake with the 3Quarter 7.5km run being 3-laps.This final run will be clockwise round the right hand side of the Lake, to finish just outside the transition area. Your race number must be clearly visible at all times. Water will be available on the finish line.

Wetsuit use

Use of a wetsuit is highly recommended if the water temperature deems that wetsuits are optional. Please contact www.triandrun.com for wetsuit hire, purchase or advice. The wearing of wetsuits in triathlon is governed by British Triathlon rules and is totally dependent on water temperature one hour before the start of the race. The rules are:

  • Water temp = less than 14 degrees – wetsuits are compulsory
  • Water temp = between 14 degrees and 22 degrees – wetsuits are optional
  • Water temp = above 22 degrees – wetsuits are banned


We won’t know until each race day whether wetsuits will be compulsory, optional or banned this year. However, we do say that wetsuits in fact help with buoyancy and warmth, so we strongly recommend that you wear one if they are optional. As May is the start of the triathlon season, the water temperature may be less than 14 degrees, so wetsuits could be compulsory for this event.


Venue and car parking

The venue is Eton College Rowing Centre, Dorney Lake, Boveney, near Eton Wick SL4 6QP. Please leave plenty of time to get here. Car parking will be at the side of the bike course. The only access will be via the main access road. Just follow the signs as you come into the venue. You will have at least an 800m walk to the race site, so allow yourself extra time after you have parked your car. The closest station is Windsor and Eton Riverside and taxi’s need to be pre-ordered.


The results will be on the website www.humanrace.co.uk within 24hours of the finish and photos will be available on www.sportcam.net

If you haven’t entered yet it’s not too late. If you don’t think you can tackle the half of 3Quarter distance on your own, grab some mates and enter as a relay team

Enter online @ www.humanrace.co.uk/triathlon

We look forward to seeing you at Dorney Lake May 23rd!

ultra-FIT and the Human Race Team

“The harder you train the week prior to the race, the more you take away from your race day performance”

One of the greatest rewards and feelings in triathlon, is experiencing the perfect race, when all appears to go perfectly to plan in all three disciplines, your transitions were swift and you achieve a new personal best!  This can only be achieved following months and probably years of hard work, self discipline and determination, and I have come across many triathletes that rarely experience such a perfect priority race.  One of the biggest reasons for under achieving is insufficient recovery i.e. training too much during the competition phase and not allowing yourself to recover pre and post racing and training.

The best way to approach race week, is to make rest the major objective of the week. When a taper is executed correctly, you increase your chances of achieving the perfect race tenfold.

There are a number of different approaches to tapering, and each taper can be individual to the athlete. I would advise you to discuss a specific taper with your coach or attend one of theTriLife.com training days, to find out which approach would be best suited to yourself. A word of warning on tapering. Yes, although I did previously state that the objective the week prior to your priority race should be rest, there are several studies that have shown that total rest causes steady loss of fitness. The happy medium would be between your normal training week and total inactivity. Reducing the volume of training by 40%-60%, reducing the number of intervals within your key sessions by 50% and increasing the normal recovery time between repetitions.

Train Hard and race SMART!

Rich Jones


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