Showing posts from September, 2008


I'm a new Dad. Couldn't be happier. All are doing well. Jaya was initially reluctant to enter the wide world, but she soon changed her mind and took everyone by surprise with a fast entrance. Born at 3.680kg (8lb 01 in the old school). She's happy and hungry.
I am so completely inspired by Kristy. What she went through and did during labour is far beyond anything I can imagine doing myself.


The weather was perfect today. It hit 28 degrees with clear skies and a strong, but reasonable wind. Perfect cycling weather. Today was the first day I wasn't wearing extra layers such as arm warmers, windbreaker or similar since last summer. Unfortunately I didn't think about the sunscreen and will be sporting the lines of my sleeves and knicks for the next few days.

Still no action from the little one yet. As a result even though my ride was 3 hours worth, my route choice meant I was never more than 30 minutes away from home. My mobile was always on hand too, just in case.


I was expecting my life to change signifcantly before today, but it hasn't yet. Our daughter is now four days past her due date. Kristy is well, but definitely feels well past ready. The waiting continues.

Loving It Tough

Finally I got that ride in. Unfortunately a decent change in the weather with strongs winds and heavy rain hit, so I put in the hours on the turbo trainer. Coach Troy Jacobson was on the DVD yelling... 3,2,1 go go go... if it was easy, then it wouldn't be worth doing... don't slow down on me now... building endurance, building strength...

In end cycle 4 wasn't too bad, I did get all the key sessions in, so my consistency is there. Should pay off later.

Chasing The Long Ride

Listing only the key sessions in my program provides me a certain degree of flexibility. Instead of being locked into set days for each training session, I can simply fit them in where they fit best. This is important with rotating shiftwork. For most weeks it works very well.

This week it hasn't so far. For most of the week I've been chasing my long ride. On the first day I was hoping to cover those miles, I was so tired after night shift that I spent most of the day sleeping. Then after being up for only three hours was back into bed again. Each day after that had some unexpected, but neccesary appointment of different sorts that meant my time has been a lot more limited than I wished.

This brings me too the last day of cycle 4. I have managed to fit in all key sessions except for that long ride. So, once the morning's appointments are done, I have set the afternoon free. That ride will be covered.

Moving On Through

The last few days have been completely full, but nothing of too much note. Plenty of work, moderate sleep, lots of coffee post night shift, steady training, good weather and waiting. Our daughter is due next Monday so we're not committing to any set plans at the moment. Which is something I usually tend to struggle with. I usually have everything planned well in advance, but I am enjoying not being able to at the moment.

Training is simply following my program. The best thing is I'm seeing obvious improvement and the load is very, very manageable. This is despite not quite keeping up with adequate food intake. The lack of appetite towards the end of night shifts, followed by sleeping through a good portion of day has resulted in a couple of missed meals. I didn't notice at the time, but looking back it is a pattern I've fallen into in the past. Need to keep an eye on it.


Having geeked it up a bit over my last few posts, I thought it was time to reflect a little on the other aspects. Plus my brain is a bit fried from too many night shifts, as evidenced by all the gramatically errors of my last post.Last night I changed into my running gear at work and headed out onto the dirt trails following the Yarra river. What a perfect night for running. One where I wished I was carrying a camera. First I just felt really good running at a nice easy pace. I was able to take in the sites. Being Spring and with some recent rain the grass was bright green, instead of the usual dry brown of the last couple of years. The sun was heading towards setting and was sending awesome streaks of pink, orange and yellow to contrast the dark clouds. A sunshower resulted in a double rainbow. To add to the enjoyment I passed a mob of twenty or so kangaroos with their young joeys. They were a great site spread out in the orchards as I ran past.

I became lost in my surroundings, the a…

Heart Rate versus Oxygen Consumption

Monitoring exercise intensity is a mixture of art and science. Using a only single number (no matter which variable) to fully quantify training doesn't cut it. The body is a complex and changing organism that doesn't always respond as expected. Training can be simple, complex or everything in between. In order to get the most out of yourself it may help to have a good understanding of the scientific concepts. From this grounding, the art of training can be further developed.

To begin with I need to define a few things. Yes the first part is heavy on jargon, but I have tried to stay away from too much detail and focus on the key concepts. Hopefully this provides a good enough base to see where I am coming from and heading to.

Oxygen consumption (also termed VO2) is how much oxygen the body can utilise for exercise. Oxygen is essential in the breakdown of fats and carbohydrates to the usable form of energy for cells, adenosine-tri-phosphate (ATP), without the resultant waste and f…

Limitations Of Measurement

So--do you recommend using vo2max or hrmax? It seems that to get an accurate HRmax number is very difficult and could be dangerous for someone who is deconditioned. However, VO2max testing isn't exactly readily available. If done by a non-experienced person, the numbers could be all over the place. Fortunately, many gyms are offering VO2max testing out here. But how reliable are the people giving the test?

Good question Tea. As usual I don't think the answer is as simple as just picking one over the other.

First things first, anyone that says they can test your VO2max with a test that doesn't involve gas analysis is wrong. To explain this I'll delve into the definition of maximal oxygen consumption, beyond it simply being the highest rate of oxygen that can be used by the exercising body.

Oxygen consumtion (VO2) is the product of cardiact output (Q) and arteriovenous oxygen difference (CaO2 - CvO2):

VO2 = Q x (CaO2 - CvO2)

This is reflected by both central and peripheral ph…

Training and Fat

This is a revised version of a two part article I wrote about two years ago on how training, and diet affect fat metabolism, plus my view on what should be the focus of training. Overall it provides a good amount of the background theory behind my current training strategy.

In order to appreciate the intent of training a few simplified concepts need to be understood. Exercise intensity influences the contribution that carbohydrate (CHO) and fat have in fueling exercise. The cross-over concept outlines that there is a certain exercise intensity at which fat and CHO both contribute 50% of the energy required. Below this point the majority of energy is from fat, and above this intensity the majority of energy is from CHO as demonstrated in the graph below.

From Go Hard

This cross-over point occurs somewhere between 40-55%VO2max depending on a number of factors, this is often the intensity recommended as the so-called fat burning zone. Unfortunately it is a case of a little knowledge can be …

The Master Plan

The training plan is now in writing. It follows the main format that I have been most successful with in the past. The basic approach is very simple: build a good easy aerobic base, gradually add some volume then steadily increase the intensity to peak for racing. If the format doesn't work properly, the plan can be read here.POLICE & EMERGENCY SERVICES GAMES 2009: TRAININGAll cycles are 7-9 days.Key sessions only listed.Other training will include each cycle:2-3 strength/power workTechnique workBase aerobic conditioning of 60-75% easy runs/ridesOne day for recovery each cycle.
BASE 1 (September-October 08)CycleRun: LongRun: MediumBike: LongBike: MediumIntensity11:151:002:001:00Run: 8.4km Maf.21:201:002:151:10Bike: 2x4km Hill31:251:002:301:20Run: 8.4km Maf.41:301:102:451:30Bike: 2x4km Hill51:351:103:001:40Run 8.4km Maf.61:401:103:151:50Bike: 2x4km Hill71:301:002:001:30-8Round The Bay In A Day 100km cycleNOTES: All sessions @ 60-75%HRmax except for the Intensity sets.
BASE 2(Octo…


The plan has been evolving, disintergrating, bouncing around and chopping and changing in my head over the last couple of weeks. Plenty of notes on scraps of paper, charts and spreadsheet work has finally evolved into my training plan. The biggest hurdle to it all was actually deciding on what I was working towards.

Victorian Police & Emergency Services Games
March-April 2009

One to one-and-a-half weeks of running events. The exact events will depend on the scheduling but based on previous years I'll looking to compete in:

10km cross country5000m trackHalf marathon1500m (perhaps)
I'll be going for the Gold medal in all events. It's all about placing in these event. To put myself in the winning positions I'll need to be capable of running sub 38min for 10km, sub 18min for the 5000m and close to 1:20 in the half marathon. Furthermore, I need a good base for recovery in order to sustain good form across the whole week.

Melbourne Marathon

October 2009

My best is …

Slow Speed

Almost through just the first two cycles (weeks) and I have seen a nice steady improvement on each run at 60-75% HRmax. The first couple of runs initially were at between 6:51-6:45/km but as each day has gone by I am now seeing 6:30-6:10/km. While still relatively slow it definitely improvement. Also my HR is staying more consistent throughout each run. Much less sudden spikes on small hills and the like.

Seeing obvious improvement is a great motivator.

Also a point I didn't make in my last post on the Maffetone formula is it really is only applicable if your maximum HR is in line with that predicted by age related formulae (such as 220-age). Mine now is, as over the years my age has actually caught up with what used to be considered a slightly low HRmax. It has always been 192 gradually reducing to my current 189bpm in the last 15 years.


Having made it clear that I am reestablishing my aerobic abilities, it is important to decide how to measure this. Again I am going back to what has worked for me many times in the past. I will follow the concept I originally learnt from reading all about how Mark Allen trained. I will apply the Maffetone formula to calculating a so called Maximum Aerobic Heart Rate. A good article written by Mark Allen can be found here.

The calculation is as follows:
1. Take 180
2. Subtract your age
3. Take this number and correct it by the following:
-If you do not workout, subtract another 5 beats.
-If you workout only 1-2 days a week, only subtract 2 or 3 beats.
-If you workout 3-4 times a week keep the number where it is.
-If you workout 5-6 times a week keep the number where it is.
-If you workout 7 or more times a week and have done so for over a year, add 5 beats to the number.
-If you are over about 55 years old or younger than about 25 years old, add another 5 beats to whatever number you now h…