Thursday 1 March 2012

Training Update

On the 14th of July this year I’m doing Tough Mudder in Scotland. It’s not going to be easy and I’d like to put myself in the group of people who manage to finish it. To make this happen I’ve been following a training programme that’s designed to get me back running, lose the excess body fat, be prepared for the obstacles and get in as good condition as I can.


I blogged about this last week, but I’m well on my way to recovering from ITBS. The secret for me has been in learning how to run (semi) barefoot in my vibrams and keeping a daily stretching & foam rolling regime. I’m up to running about 11 miles per week totally pain free and in a few days I’ll be tackling my first 10k since september 2011. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be at the 13 mile mark in mid May.

You have no idea how happy this makes me. Running first thing on a morning is a privilege, you get an empty world and scenery like this. I snapped this at the halfway point at about 6:45am.

Sunrise on Blyth Beach

Body Fat

I love food. I like cooking it, I like growing it and I especially like eating it. I have a huge appetite and I don’t do diets. Which is why I’m a big fan of the lean gains approach to training nutrition. I get to eat big.

When I started back in Jan I was at 16.7% bodyfat and as of Monday the 27th of Feb I was 12.6% body fat. I’m measuring my body fat using a 3 site skinfold method with a pair of inexpensive (though still overpriced for what they are) body fat calipers. Here’s the obligatory graph, and it’s heading in the right direction. I should be at around the 7% mark round about the sime time I’m hitting half marathons - May.

Body fat percentage graph

Here’s how my food intake looks.

Nutrient Training Day None Training Day
Protein 200g 200g
Carbs 187g 15g (or less)
Fat 40g 80g
Cals 1880 1580

You may think that the calorific deficit is too much there, but so far I’m not losing any strength and all my performance data is pointing in the right direction. However, if I notice that I’m losing strength I’ll be upping the training day intake. Currently it’s not inline with the leangains protocol of maintanance +20%. So from that point of view I can’t claim I’m “doing lean gains”.

On the flip side I do fast for 16-18 hours of the day and when I eat on none training days my meals are split so that the first one (lunch) is the biggest, whereas on training days, the biggest meal is directly after I’ve worked out.

I weight myself daily when I wake up, but I’m not that interested in the day to day weight, it’s the overall trend that I’m interesting in.

It’s easy to get hung up about Scale weight, but it’s only one factor in the equation of body composition. You may also notice that February wasn’t as successful as I planned. I didn’t factor that it’s typically a month rammed with a lot celebration in it. My birthday, wedding anniversary, Jo’s birthday. I’m not making excuses, I just chose to enjoy the days around the events, rather than follow the nutrition 100%.

Having said that, it’s going in the right direction. The top graph is January and the bottom is February. A green cell is when I’m ahead of my plans, yellow when I’m behind and blue when I’m bang on.



Tough mudder is going to take me about three hours to complete. It will require me to sustain running and be able to do short bursts of very intense activities. I really don’t have much to say this at this stage because I’ve just started to focus on improving my conditioning. My biggest focus until this point has been on learning to run again.

However, I love kettlebells for conditioning myself. They allow you to perform some brutual full body workouts that leave you begging for mercy in a matter of minutes. I have a kettlebell workout that lasts under 10 mins that I’m using to gauge the improvement of my conditioning. It’s quite simple:

  1. 30 Swings – 20kg
  2. 15 Presses – 16kg/12Kg
  3. 10 Snatches (5 on left, 5 on right) – 16kg.

The goal is to get five rounds of that done as quickly as possible. I’ve got a logged workout of me peforming this back in January 2010. I managed 5 rounds in 10:28 and I was using 2 × 12kg for the presses. On Monday when I last performed this workout I got 5 rounds in 8:26. By the time tough mudder comes around I want to be able to 10 rounds in less that 17mins.

My workout schedule looks like this:


  • 6:00am stretches
  • 6:30am run 3.5 miles
  • 12:00pm a HIT style workout (kettlebells / bodyweight)
  • 17:30pm - weights. Deadlifts, weighted chins and pullups.

Tuesday (rest)

  • 6:00am stretches
  • 6:30 2 mile run ( if my body is up for it)


  • 6:00am stretches
  • 6:30am long run (up to half marathon when I can do it)
  • 12:00pm a HIT style workout (kettlebells / bodyweight)
  • 17:30pm - weights. Presses, push presses, and clean and jerks.

Thursday (rest)

  • 6:00am stretches
  • 6:30 2 mile run ( if my body is up for it)


  • 6:00am stretches
  • 6:30am 1mile run & 1 mile swim (front crawl)
  • 12:00pm a HIT style workout (kettlebells / bodyweight)
  • 17:30pm - weights. Power cleans, Squat cleans & front squats


  • 5:30am stretches
  • 6:00 long run (up to half marathon when I can do it)

Sunday (rest)

  • 7:00am stretches (I’m always up by 7am, this is a lie in!)

Water & Sleep

I drink as much water as I can without having to force it down my neck. Currently I’m drinking about 4-5 liters each day. As for sleep, I’m nearly always out for the count by 9:30pm and I get up at 5:00am every day. In short I feel great.

I’m heading in the right direction with everything, I just need to keep up the mileage and recovery on my knee and at the same time stay focused on the nutrition and my overall conditioning.