From Prop to Wannabe Ironman Update

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Since last time I wrote this things have been going really well with training – completed a 1/2 marathon which was supposed to be a training run but I got carried away with the event and pushed a bit to hard, but still great experience! Yesterday I entered the Mumbles Duathlon, which I really enjoyed; I didn’t go all out and took my time and just enjoyed it and used it as experience with transition etc! I felt really strong on the bike averaging around 15.5 miles per hour so I was quite happy with that.

We’ve been upping the running lately for the marathon next month, which I am doing the 20 miler in Llanelli next weekend so will be good experience as the furthest I’ve ran so far is 14.5 miles.

I’ve been really enjoying my training lately, the one thing again which I am struggling is I am always hungry and I feel I can’t stop eating or thinking about eating! I am eating good natural foods, vegetables, lots of fruit etc. but I am letting it down by eating cake and snacking on rubbish. My aim for April is really get to grips with this!

More to come soon!

Martin’

Is It Wheelie Worth It?

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A wheel upgrade is a great addition to a bike. Gain speed, reduce weight and don’t forget aesthetics.   You can regularly get up to 30-40% off online and if you keep your eyes peeled you can find the odd 50-55% deal.

We do understand price is important to our customers and we will price match where we see it to be fair, but below is a few things to keep in mind when buying wheels online.

  • Demo wheels.

Being a Mavic Premier Dealer we regularly let customers try out different wheels so they can learn how a climbing wheel feels different from an aero wheel, and decide what they really want. Just going by reviews and online forums is a risky business.

  • Fake and counterfit wheels.

At an Ironman event last year, we came across a fake pair of Zipp 808 wheels. The athlete had purchased them from an online company in Asia and was not aware they were fake. We decided to order a pair to test what the difference was. During the order process we were even asked what logo stickers we would like on the wheel! There are a lot of fake wheels currently circulating auction sites in the UK and we do have a set in store for people to come and see the difference.

  • Warranty and returns

A horror story we witnessed last year was from a customer who had bought his wheels from a European web shop. Unfortunately the customer needed a Shimano hub and it arrived with a Campagnolo one fitted. After noticing this, the customer tried to call the web shop. No answer and no contact back what so ever. He then spent the money he saved on a new hub and fitting labour. Buying wheels online from a big cycle superstore doesn’t necessarily mean they have the manufactures warranty. Every wheel we sell has a warranty scheme and we make sure your bike leaves with the wheels fitted and working correctly as part of every sale. Both Enve and Mavic have excellent crash replacement schemes too.

  • Convenience

Having the wheels delivered to your front door free of charge from a single click of the button is certainly simple. Then realising you need to fit tyres, tubes new brake blocks and a cassette is not. The simpler way could be to buy from your local bike shop and while your brand new wheels are getting fitted, sit back and enjoy a coffee and welsh cake while chatting to your favourite staff member.

 

 

Check out the great selection of wheels on offer at Pembrokeshire Bikes. You can even order online and have them fitted in store!

wheels

Foundations: Part 2

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Foundations Part 2

Foundations are a key to building, not just in the construction world, but also in business, relationships, stories and in this blog posts case, the fitness world. As any ‘good’ builder will tell you, trying to build without foundations is a risky business, and as a self-proclaimed ‘good’ coach, I am going to tell you the same is said for building fitness.

So let’s get to the point, what are foundations of the fitness world? Well for the next couple of weeks I’m going to write about a few key ones and help to make the foundation of it a little bit deeper…

Number 2

Confidence is key.

One foundation that I believe is built in to most athletes is an inner stubbornness that has been channelled into determination. For endurance athletes, taking that determination and sprinkling it over your training phases is what gets you up on those dark cold mornings or late evenings to log those training miles and time.

 

Going into an event two types of nervousness can occur

 

Going into an event two types of nervousness can occur, the nervousness because of that little voice in your head asking yourself ‘have you trained enough for this?’ or the excited voice that feels the same as nervousness  but is saying ‘let’s see what we can do today..’ Both can occur, usually the nervousness of not training enough comes a few days before the race when you finally realise there is no more time to train.. And the latter usually on the morning or before the start gun goes..

Confidence is key here because if you have trained enough, you can read back through your training logs and gain confidence in knowing you have done everything you could have and you have put the work in. If you haven’t, well you can still take confidence in your inner stubbornness and the training you have done, you are now confident that today, your event day, you are going to give it everything and do the best you can. If you are getting the excited voice saying ‘let’s see what we can do today’ you are showing a scary confidence that means you are willing to push to your limits. Learning this confidence comes down to experience, usually from events you have gone into not fully fit or trained.. You learn what you can do even if the training plan hasn’t gone exactly as it should have. This doesn’t have to have come from race experience, it could be job interviews or other meetings you’ve not been prepared for but got through..

 

Confidence is key here because if you have trained enough, you can read back through your training logs and gain confidence in knowing you have done everything you could have

 

In both cases confidence has a massive role to play. Confidently smile on the inside and it will show through on the outside. If you go in with a negative nervousness it will show and doubtful critical comments will enter your head.

Remember there is no worse critic than yourself.

Foundations

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Foundations are a key to building, not just in the construction world, but also in business, relationships, stories and in this blog posts case, the fitness world. As any ‘good’ builder will tell you, trying to build without foundations is a risky business, and as a self-proclaimed ‘good’ coach, I am going to tell you the same is said for building fitness.

So let’s get to the point, what are foundations of the fitness world? Well for the next couple of weeks I’m going to write about a few key ones and help to make the foundation of it a little bit deeper…

Number 1

Biomechanics of the body.

Run, bike, swim, choose your poison. Each one has a huge biomechanical demand on the body and each one will easily get you injured if you’re not biomechanically sound.

Biomechanics is defined as the study of the mechanical laws relating to the movement or structure of living organisms.

A huge part of biomechanics is your everyday posture..

Posture is defined as the attitude or position of the body and, according to the book Functional Movement Development, should fulfil three functions:

It must maintain the alignment of the body’s segments in any position: prone (swimming), quadruped (cycling), standing (running), supine (sleeping) and sitting (working/driving).

It must anticipate change to allow engagement in voluntary, goal-directed movements such as reaching and stepping.

It must react to unexpected perturbations or disturbances in balance.

In short ,  your POSTURE is very, very important! The most common postural deviations are:

Flat back (Lumbar region of the spine is under curved).

Hollow back (Lumbar region of the spine is over curved).

Sway back (the pelvis is positioned forward of the trunk).

Each one is different and not always so easy to see but they have a few things in common. In all of these deviations the head sits forward to the centre line of the body, the cervical part of the spine becomes extended and there is an increase in the thoracic spine curvature. They also all cause back pain! Add in the stress of fatigue when training in these positions day in and day out and the problem increases tenfold.

Why are we developing poor posture?

Physical trauma is one of the most common causes. Any injury that affects the body’s movement patterns forces a compromise to the body’s posture in some way. An acquired musculoskeletal deformity, whether it be from birth or a progressive disease, will usually cause posture problems and needs addressing early on in the condition to minimise any long term effects. Lastly, a faulty loading pattern is also a common causative factor as this can occur frequently during daily activities. Sitting or standing in a poor position at work, driving, on public transport, at home or even walking in the wrong shoes means poor posture is being repeatedly enforced. Now add in exercises and the loading pattern becomes up to 7 times greater meaning a rapid increase in injuries.

 

What are the implications?

Impaired movement, usually due to poor posture, can easily lead to injuries. To the untrained eye, not knowing where to look or what to look at, it is difficult to pin point what has caused the impairment. As an example, for those following a training programme, resistance training is wholly based on repetitions. If you are not performing the exercise with the correct posture, movement patterns will be affected and can cause injury. Sports that involve uni-lateral repetition or static positions over long periods of time such as golf, cycling and race car driving, often see their professionals committing a lot of time reinforcing and strengthening posture.

It is not always during the impaired movement phase that injury occurs. A sudden movement or over-extension during an exercise session or just participating in normal daily activities can catch your body off guard and unprepared. Consistent poor posture will almost certainly in some type of injury which will cause pain and discomfort.

Muscular pain in everyday life occurs when muscles are over activated and stop working within their correct movement patterns. When muscles contract, blood flow lessens. If a muscle is overactive, blood flow becomes restricted, lactic acid and other metabolites build up. This leads to tension and discomfort which in turn leads to reflex contraction. Postural position is then over adjusted and leads back to more overactive muscles. This is known as the pain spasm cycle.

 

Ways to avoid poor posture.

Prevention is always better than cure.

We use the latest technology, The Performance Matrix screen. It allows us to recognise and assess the site, direction and threshold of uncontrolled movements that lead to poor posture and injuries. From this screening we then put together a rehab program with instructional videos and diagrams so you can then rehab and pre-hab any issues picked up by The Performance Matrix screening.

 

If already in the pain spasm cycle, it is highly recommended to seek professional help to alleviate tension and discomfort. Once the acute pain is under control, an assessment to find the root cause of the problem is essential and should then be followed up by a corrective exercise plan.

 

Thoughts On The Year Ahead

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I’m really looking forward to this year; Mallorca in February, The Tour of Pembrokeshire in April, The Santini Stelvio Gran Fondo in June, The Everest Challenge on Mid-Summer’s Day, Off The Beaten Track Pembrokeshire in October and The L’Eroica in Tuscanny, also in October.

Tom Walker’s set me a really enjoyable training plan, it’s achievable and it’s keeping me focused.  My cycle, if you’ll pardon the pun, begins with a 20 minute warm up followed by X3 10 minute efforts at FTP (functional threshold power) abbreviated by 5 minute recovery spins.  The Watt Bike in our Performance Suite is a boon if it’s chucking it down or I have a tight time schedule.

After a recovery day I have a 2.5 hour road ride.  If it’s dry I’ll take my Colnago Master-X Lite, otherwise it’s the Storck T.I.X. which has a reassuring feel, whatever the weather.

With another recovery day under my belt I have to perform three hill sessions climbing a 1 in 4 for 3/4 mile reducing my time by 10 seconds on each occasion.  It would be a lot easier and better for my cadence with a 12-29 cassette rather than the 11-25 I’m using.

I find my final session to be the hardest: X8 seriously tough (for me) 20 second reps on the rowing machine followed by X8, 20 second sprints running.  I do the latter on a stretch of road which has a very slight gradient and I cannot understand why I’m faster on the incline than the decline?

So, as I said, it’s an enjoyable programme, varied, tough and achievable.  I’m looking forward to the one young Tom will set next month which I know will get me even closer to achieving my personal targets.

If you’re interested in knowing about my diet, I just stick to one that I understand: the Palaeolithic or Caveman, it’s so easy to follow, if an item of food was here 40,000 years ago you ca eat it, and if it wasn’t you can’t!