What is in a heart beat?


Because your resting heart rate indicates how efficiently your heart pumps blood throughout your body, your pulse rate is a useful tool for gauging your fitness level. Athletes tend to have lower resting heart rates because training programs that build speed, fitness, muscle and endurance also train your heart muscles to pump a higher volume of blood with each heartbeat. Ultimately, it takes fewer heartbeats to power a well-conditioned athlete during intense training as well as during rest.

Now heart rate differs with age and gender. While the normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute, conditioned athletes and other highly fit individuals might have normal resting heart rates of 40 to 60 beats per minute. This indicates a high level of cardiovascular fitness. Gender is another factor in resting heart rate norms because women at various fitness levels tend to have higher pulse rates on average than men of comparable fitness levels. For example, the average resting heart rate of an elite 30-year-old female athlete ranges from 54 to 59 beats per minute, while the resting heart rate for men of the same age and fitness level ranges from 49 to 54, according to the YMCA’s “Y’s Way to Fitness.”

But then people differ … my friend Jim and I are of comparable fitness – he is slightly younger, taller and thinner but his heart rate is way, way  higher always when we ride together – yet his breathing gives no indication of a high HR like mine would at that bpm…..

EXAMPLE: Here is a stretch of road we both did recently a few days apart  – same time same wattage and we are same weight.

james seg

JIM ave HR 165bpm/174bpm max

RICH ave HR 123bpm/133bpm max

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As soon as Jim moves his heart rate is 150bpm but mine rarely rises as much although in anaerobic sports like 5 a side football going from still to full sprint it does sometimes hit those high peaks of 180bpm+ (my 100% max)

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Although I get slightly worried about my friend’s high HR it also appears that people with a low resting HR (me) can need pacemakers later in life as the heart doesn’t function as well with age. Will need to question my cardiologist pal next time I see him.

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Recovery 



I do t actually feel that bad ….. Still going to do another park run in the morning.

Garmin info on recovery:

Recovery check

The recovery check provides a real-time indication of your state of recovery within the first several minutes of an activity.


Recovery time

The recovery time appears immediately following an activity. The time counts down until it is optimal for you to attempt another hard workout.

Stepping up the miles


I have been doing more miles on the bike this year than i normally do

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I am nearly 1000km up on where i was at this time last year. I also have been a bit more focused on riding rather than my other loves of kitesurfing, swimming and running.

The end result is that I am doing between 1 and 2  100km rides a week and they are beginning to feel easy.

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This morning I headed west into a 15mph wind on a gravel towpath and then around an exposed headland with nary a thought about the wind. Sure I felt it but i just thought ‘more resistance then’ which I think is a positive.

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It wasnt the hilliest route but even after 80km I was tootling along then came home to discover i had knocked off an impressive 56 Strava trophies – most of them PR’s for sections as well as a mysterious top 10 placing and all this with an average Heart Rate of 121bpm (in my fat burn / low cardio zone)

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So then i thought i really should be cycling either quicker or longer or BOTH. So my next challenge …….

There comes a time for most road riders and this includes me, where you focus on the 100-mile (160.93km) target. This can be in the shape of a sportive, club ride or a personal challenge, alone or with a group.

For some, 100 miles is no big deal, just something they do every Sunday. For others it can be the single biggest physical challenge they will ever undertake on a bike. For me it is something I have never done but feel that i am nearly ready to do it. The precursor to this is the eTape Caledonia in a fortnight,  an 82 mile ride sportive done at a much higher pace with no stopping.

From Cycling Weekly – Many cyclists, however, fall somewhere between the two and may already be comfortable with 50-60 mile rides but are eyeing the triple-figured milestone for their next achievement.

Just how big is the jump from 60 to 100 miles? How will you know if it’ll be a cakewalk or a frustrating grovel ending in a miserable train journey back home?

Let’s take a look at the factors that come into play with the extended mileage and see how best to prepare for 100 miles so you can undertake that distance with a realistic chance of it being an enjoyable and achievable target.

We’ve split it up into five sections, which we think need to be nailed in order to smash the 100-mile barrier. So let’s start with the biggie: training.

Pondering the big one? Start training today!

1 – Train!

The physical aspect of training is usually the most common focus for people with a new goal or challenge, and many folks will think that riding as much as possible in the two weeks leading up to the big ride is sufficient. This isn’t the best approach though, and what we need to do is ‘train smarter’.

This doesn’t mean we are striving for marginal gains like the GB squad; it means that we should be looking to maximise our training so that we are doing the right things at the right times.

Cycling Weekly Box Hill sportive 2014

 

If you are regularly riding 50-60 miles then that is already a great start; you could probably get through a century ride without too much bother, although you could be far better prepared if you have gradually increased your riding time and distance on your training rides.

Remember, to do the 100, you don’t need to be training by doing 100 miles all the time — 75-80 per cent is ample preparation without adding excessive volume.

  • Your physical training should take into account the following points:
    Specificity: Is your 100-mile ride going to be hilly? Then ride hills on your 60-milers! Some riders really struggle on the climbs. If you are one of them then make sure you are addressing them in your training. In many cases, 100 flat miles can seem very easy and very different when compared to a hilly 60 or 70.
  • Saddle time: Try and focus more on the time in the saddle without stopping, rather than miles covered on your training rides. Try riding at a lower intensity and see if you can stick it out for longer. If your average speed over three hours is 15mph, do you think you can hold it for over six hours? If you can comfortably ride your bike for 4-4.5 hours, then you are in a good place to think about the century.
  • Rest: This is so important. Include active recovery in your training weeks and make sure you are resting properly. Keep the legs turning in the week leading up to the big ride, but don’t do anything that will make you excessively tired.

Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/fitness/training/five-invaluable-tips-to-help-you-step-up-from-riding-60-to-100-miles-170890#h3Z75lQPY2WLY6f9.99

2 – Effort levels

Whether you are riding an individual pursuit over 4km or a whole Grand Tour, pacing your effort will be of maximum importance.

For 100 miles, you will want to make sure you don’t use up all your energy too early and struggle badly in the last third of the ride. You can use a simple speedometer to gauge an average speed which you know you are comfortable with, or a heart rate monitor to keep around a particular BPM, or even old-fashioned perceived exertion — simply going by feel.

>>> Build your strength and big gear efforts

However you pace yourself, it’s a good idea to also have a psychological pacing strategy, such as waypoints you think you should be at during particular times. For example: “I should be at the sharp climb at 40 miles in 150 minutes.” You can adjust your effort to ensure that you avoid blowing up too early, but that you also aren’t dawdling unnecessarily and missing out on a faster time.

Fitness

3 – Getting in the zone

We all know how powerful the mind can be, and how it can affect performance both positively and negatively. If you are riding 100 miles alone, the mind can be a helpful ally, or a destructive pest. We want to enjoy our ride, so learning during training how to disassociate ourselves from feelings of discomfort is a useful skill.

Try to focus on other things, like the scenery, your pedalling technique, or holding an aerodynamic position. The small ‘process goals’ of each waypoint within your pacing strategy will also help to break down the ride in your head into more manageable sections.

Remember, no matter how demoralising the weather, the hills or the headwinds might be, think about how amazing you will feel at the end of the ride, and always look ahead, up the road to where things will be changing.

Nutrition

4 – Fuelling

How you approach your nutrition both before and during the ride can be the difference between a great performance and a trip to A&E.

How you refuel afterwards can also be a factor, which will have a huge influence on your general health and your future riding plans.

Nutrition tips
Before: The day before your 100-miler needs to be seriously considered — this is where the ride actually starts. You may have heard of ‘carb loading’ but the simplest advice here is to make sure you take on a healthy, balanced meal with fresh vegetables and low glycaemic index carbs. It’s also worth considering a bowl of cereal two hours before bed as a booster.

Leave off the alcohol or fizzy pop, and drink plenty of water. In the morning, go for the cereal and fruit, and drink at least 500ml of water before you set out.

During: Avoid taking on a whole bunch of energy gels; these are mostly designed to help riders through the last few demanding kilometres of a road race.

You might want to take along something with caffeine and sugar just in case, but don’t be tempted to break into this unless you are getting really fatigued and have already covered a good distance. All you really need is adequate carbohydrate to fuel from. An average sized cereal bar of about 30 grams for every 45-60 minutes of riding is ideal. Take along some bananas too.

Don’t forget to keep eating! A critical stumbling point for many riders is the inability to fuel while riding, so make sure you are able to take a drink from a bottle whenever you need to.

When drinking, tilt the bottle up and to the side to avoid tilting your head (so you can still look where you’re going) and keep your food to hand in jersey pockets. You will need around 500ml of water per hour (more if it’s very hot and you are losing it through sweat). And to help replenish the lost minerals, your second bottle should contain a small amount of an additive which contains electrolytes. Go for the powders that are aimed at hydration rather than energy. Don’t try anything you haven’t already used and are happy with — the big ride isn’t the one for experimenting with nutrition and hydration.

>>> Six steps for healthier eating

After: Your muscles need glycogen now, so this is the time for fruit juice or a purpose made recovery shake. Get those sugars in within 20 minutes —even ‘bad’ sugars like fizzy drinks and sweets (in moderation) can help at this point. Remember to keep hydrating and sit down to a decent meal containing some good protein within about an hour.

Bike fit

5 – Bike fit

When you are on the bike for several hours, little imperfections in position or fit can evolve into very major issues. If you have any niggles or particular localised discomfort during your normal rides, then it pays to get these seen to before the century ride.

A professional bike-fit can improve comfort and performance, while reducing fatigue and the risk of injury. It’s not just how the bike fits you though — how you fit yourself to the bike also matters.

What we are talking about here is your ability to hold your position, your pedalling efficiency and flexibility.

>>> Cleats explained: how to set them up correctly

Check out the pros with their slightly bent elbows and stable upper body, their flat backs and aerodynamic positions. OK, you might not be able to emulate them immediately, but you will probably be able to improve your current position with a few tweaks and off-bike exercises and stretches.

Get advice from a physio if needed, and make sure that you don’t attempt the big ride without properly testing new positions or bike parts beforehand.
Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/fitness/training/five-invaluable-tips-to-help-you-step-up-from-riding-60-to-100-miles-170890#h3Z75lQPY2WLY6f9.99

Strava sinks (and stinks) for swimmers


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There is a severe lack of Swim detail in Strava imported swim activities. Essential metrics for loyal Strava customers such as lap splits, heart rate, PRs, CRs, etc, etc are all missing. The current swim visuals are very poor indeed. I’m more of a cyclist and runner, but if I feel this aspect of Strava lets me down, I can only sympathise with true swimmers and triathletes.

Swapping to Premier paid membership didn’t make any difference in this aspect. Thus, one of the reasons I cancelled my Premier status as have many others. Strava is a great app, but outside cycling and perhaps running, it doesn’t cater for much else.

Many have invested in expensive fitness devices that allow measurement of these metrics. Without the ability of Strava to take advantage of these, customers will consider using the device bespoke applications instead.

Customers have been asking for this for years and Strava just doesn’t seem to care.

Even endomondo also a running cycling site is much better mapping PR’s etc

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Garmin itself does much more (it even shows the gap where I paused instead of pressed lap) but it has never really taken off as a social platform ….. will update this if i see something better.

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My first time …… at Parkrun


Parkrun (styled as parkrun) is the name given to a collection of five-kilometre running events that take place every Saturday morning in several countries. All are free to take part in and require runners to register online in advance for a unique athlete number and to print their own identification barcode for use when taking part.

I had registered years back but have never got around to taking part in one. Yesterday I changed that – I printed out my barcode Friday night chose one of the 3 in glasgow to take part in and off I went. I cycled down and locked the bike up – the run was due to start 9:30am and with 40min to kill I decided to run the course before the event slowly. A bit of stretching and warming up. Listened to the briefing and applauded a man on his 50th run. Then boom off we went. Victoria park in glasgow has the Parkrun go 3x round the lake so on the 2nd lap we started hitting back markers. Still pretty doable and my pace was pretty high (competition you see)

Came in and stopped the Garmin 19min59sec and 4.8something km.

I queried distance with runner next to me – his Garmin had 5.05km so it must be fine – I hadn’t cut corners into the lake that was for sure.


First lap quickest then got my breath back regretting start then upped it on final lap …..

Runners’ results in each event are processed and uploaded online after the run by volunteers. Each registered runner has an individual page cataloguing the details of each event in which they have participated.

So checked my time later 20min 00sec

Pretty happy with that so will try make next week for no2 before I try other courses.

Garmin 920XT and running Dynamics


Got new life insurance and the company i am with offers 50% off on garmin products and as I am such a gadget head i decided to buy the 920XT which is also useful for swimming besides my normal running and cycling.

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The watch itself maps other data that i was not familiar with so popped out this morning on a run just over 10km to explore what the running dynamics mean.

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Running dynamics give a summary

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Cadence i know is stride rate – quicker chi type running has always been my thing – i am not a long heavy impact strider … In general, more experienced runners tend to have higher cadence. An often-cited target for running cadence is 180 steps/min. So i am bang on target for this run.

 

First off is Vertical Oscillation

I was feeling stiff at first but loosened up after a km of running – this is where the data goes into blue – there are green spikes in sync with the downhill sections after that …

The colors show how your ground contact time compares to other runners. The color zones are based on percentiles.

Color Zone Percentile in Zone Ground Contact Time Range
Purple > 95 < 218 ms
Blue 70 – 95 218-248 ms
Green 30 – 69 249 – 277 ms
Orange 5 – 29 278 – 308 ms
Red < 5 > 308 ms

Garmin has researched many runners of all different levels. In general, more experienced runners tend to have shorter ground contact times. Elite runners often have ground contact times of less than 200 ms. Virtually all experienced runners studied have ground contact times of less than 300 ms. Higher cadence and faster paces are both associated with shorter ground contact times. Many running coaches believe that a short ground contact time is characteristic of a more economical running form. However, at a set cadence, decrease of ground contact time usually increases vertical oscillation.

Froome on Strava and then …..not


CYCLING WEEKLY REBLOG:

Does Tour de France champion Chris Froome have a Strava account? Someone uploading rides under the name of ‘Luke Skywalker’ accompanied Team Sky’s Ian Boswell during training rides in South Africa, and they are seriously quick up mountains.

Boswell said yesterday that only he and Froome and been training together in South Africa – which leads us to the not very clever conclusion that the mysterious Luke Skywalker (Sky-walker, get it?) is indeed Froome.

However, the account was deleted on Wednesday, March 2, shortly after this article was published.

The Skywalker account was created on February 18, kicking off with a ride with Boswell. The two riders covered 172km (107 miles) at a seriously impressive average speed of 31km/h (19.2mph), particularly given they climbed just under 3000 metres in total. Maximum speed was a scary 83kmh (51.7mph).

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A series of identical rides were then logged on both Boswell’s and Skywalker’s accounts, the longest being 214km (133 miles) on Monday, February 29. The two riders covered that distance at an average speed of 34.7kmh (21.6mph). No wonder Boswell said in a blog this week that Froome pushed him to the limit.

As you may expect, both Skywalker and Boswell had secured pretty much all of the KOMs on the mountain roads in the region where they were riding, including the 9km (5.6 miles) Steenbrasberg Pass at an average of five per cent gradient. Now that the Skywalker account has been deleted, the KOMs are all Boswell’s.

Boswell has now returned to Europe, and will start Paris-Nice on Sunday. Froome will continue training in South Africa and commences his European campaign at the Volta a Catalunya on March 21.

Froome – if it is him – may need to brush up on his Star Wars knowledge though, as they used a photo of Anakin Skywalker on the account rather than Luke. Schoolboy error.

 

New Year Weight


This year like last year has seen my weight hit the post xmas not good limit …. early 2015 was a 2 week drinking cocktail with breakfast holiday in Cuba and this year has been Xmas at home with kids – how much beer and food can I enjoy

So 3kg up on what I want …. 73kg in 175cm so BMI still says healthy – but the mind says no … BMI calculator

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Then read this in the Radavist and my mind is opening up to possibilities …. WATCH THIS SPACE

Rouge_Roubaix-FOOD-1

Over the past few years – since moving to Austin in 2010 – I’ve been struggling with weight loss. Look, we’re all cyclists. We probably all ride with skinny, fit dudes and as a bigger guy, it’s frustrating. Even now, at the peak of my fitness, I still get dropped by “climbers”. What I found was to take these experiences and use them as part of my motivation. There was one defining moment however. A majority of it came from a ride I did in Australia a few years back…


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Granted, this ride was really tough. Two, 100-120 mile days with over 15,000′ elevation a day in the Australian summer. I didn’t bonk, but it took me forever to climb, then I laid down and rested for 3-5 minutes. No big deal. It did however lend itself as an opportunity for Andy to make some sort of comment along the lines of “you’ve got big lungs and long legs, if you got in shape, you’d be a strong rider.”

From there, something burned inside me and I’m not talking about a hot pizza slice. I wanted to be able to enjoy tough rides and be fit enough to carry camera gear with me, or sprint up ahead to set up a photo. I wanted to up my game.

I began thinking about what I was eating. Instead of getting BBQ after a ride, I ate lean protein and salads. Instead of drinking beer, I switched solely to bourbon and instead of riding at a comfortable pace solo, I began pushing myself.

It took over two years before people began to see a noticeable difference in my fitness.

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Here I am in 2012, racing cross. I probably weighed around 215 here, down from 225.

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2013, around 210.

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2013, opening weekend of cross season, right at 190lbs.

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Now, in 2014 I fluctuate between 175 and 185, depending on what I’m riding, how often and hydration levels. “Race weight” is 175, sitting on my ass driving a pickup truck down the PCH and traveling to see family for a month weight is 185.

That’s over four years of steady, slow weight loss. Any doctor I’ve talked to has told me that is the key. Weight loss should come from a lifestyle change, from diet, to physical exercise and it should happen over time. If you rush it, you’ll do your body more harm than good.

That said, here are the main changes I made with my lifestyle. Granted, you shouldn’t try to go all in here. Just make small changes. Cutting yourself off from your favorite foods sucks. Instead, treat them as a reward. Really love burgers? Reward yourself after a tough ride with a burger. Just don’t keep eating burgers every single day!

Rouge_Roubaix-FOOD-6

Here we go. Healthy helps. These are my normal meals:

Breakfast: a 1/2 – 1 cup of oatmeal with blueberries, toasted almonds, cinnamon and water. Simple. Or quinoa with a fried egg. Yolk and all.

Lunch: I have two lunches, the post-ride lunch and busy day lunch.
-Post-ride: fish tacos (grilled) or a salad with fish on top.
-Busy day, no ride: Fresh soup and tortilla chips. Even canned soup is good, just watch the sodium.

Dinner: I love the shit out of greens. Bok Choy, kale, chard spinach. Sauteed, steamed, whatever. I eat a good portion of greens every day. That’s a given. Fresh fish from the market, cooked on a skillet. Sweet potatoes, squash, brown rice, quinoa. Whatever. If you like Whole Foods, look into the “Health Starts Here” food items. Hell, try to go vegetarian.

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Photo by Margus Riga

Ride a lot, often. The shorter, sweeter rides are better than always doing 60+ rides. I’ll go out on the road bike in the morning for 20 miles and then the mountain bike at night sometimes for the same. Mix your riding up. Mountain bikes rule because they wipe out your entire body. Give yourself time to recover. If your legs are sore, do a recovery spin. Don’t go out hammering away.

Don’t overdo it. You can literally ride yourself into trouble.

That said, big rides help in weight loss for sure. I still do one or two big rides a month. Eat on the bike, but avoid mass-produced bars. Instead, go for foods like avocado, almonds, mangos, almond butter, etc. Sweets are ok on the bike, so relish them! Just remember, if you eat foods high in cholesterol, you’re not helping your body.

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Drinking.

Fuck beer. Seriously. It’s the worst. If you’re trying to lose weight, stop drinking beer! It’s tough, but that stuff is like drinking dead calories. You might as well be eating pizza every night.

Bourbon has the least amount of calories than any other liquor. It has no additives, no flavoring, it’s a mash in a charred oak barrel and that’s where it gets its flavoring. Vodka is also good. Drink it on the rocks, or neat. Mixing with ginger ale or ginger beer is horrible for you. Look at how much sugar is in ginger ale!

If you’re going to drink beer, drink shitty, “light” beer.

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Snacking. Buy almonds, salted is fine. They’re great for you. Just don’t eat an entire bag. I usually snack on a handful if I’m hungry. Or eat a banana. If I am craving something sweet, I literally drink a thing of Skratch.

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Finally, recovery! I used to do nothing for recovery, aside from trying to eat in 30 minutes of finishing a ride. Now, when I finish a ride, I take a plant-based protein mix. Doing so has really helped me build lean, healthy muscle.

Normal protein has so much added shit in it, makes you feel bloated, swells your muscles and it always made me gassy. This stuff is amazing. Vanilla is my favorite.

Self
Photo by Kyle Kelley

I know that didn’t read much as a guide book to losing weight, it’s more of an explanation as to how I lost weight. Look, it’s not easy, don’t be fooled. There’s a lot of times that I want to gorge on pizza, or eat nonstop. You will be hungry, a lot. It’s tough, but you’ve really just got to ‘shrink your stomach’ and your appetite.

Like training on the bike, you’ve got to train yourself to eat well, in order to be well. Yes, I still eat breakfast tacos, or pizza, or burgers, but a lot less than I did. Remember, it’s about a happy medium.

 

Strava: Running in the UK 2015


Strava has become the biggest site for runners and Cyclists in the world and sporty bods in the UK have been quick to crunch the stats …

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here is an article from a running site …

Strava, the social network for runners and cyclists, has published its annual End of Year Insights for 2015. Comprising of millions of individual runs and rides, the data offers unique insight into the habits and behaviour of Britain’s runners.

The data reveals that in 2015 a staggering 5.3 activities were uploaded and shared on the social network every second. Such an immense depth of data allows documentation and analysis of the UK’s growth in the world of running and cycling, while also providing direct comparison with the Strava community on a global scale.

Global Running

Runners around the world clocked up 52,006,574 runs on Strava, recording the equivalent of 275,648 marathons along the way, as they reached an impressive running total of 434,262,247 km. Runners looked to the tail end of the year in order to stretch their legs and marked Sunday 13th September as the most active day for a run. Global elevation gain was one of the most astounding statistics for Strava runners, reaching the dizzying heights of 3,810,420,727 meters in total.

UK Running

The UK contributed 10,879,161 runs and 86,760,994 km to the global figures. Men recorded an average pace of 5:17/km for their average running distance of 8.4 km, while women recorded a pace of 6:13 over their 7 km runs.

During the year, men and women spent a similar amount of time pounding the roads, parks and countryside of Britain; finishing only 36 minutes apart as men totalled 14hr 38min to women’s 14hr 02min over the course of the year. London and West Yorkshire once again locked horns for most active location, with the capital’s runners completing 1,350,078 activities to its northern rival’s 416,215.

Wales proved a similarly lumpy affair for runners as it did cyclists, charting 177m of elevation on average, while also seeing Powys secure top spot in both longest average distance 9.8 km run and longest average moving time 1hr 07min.

Run Commuting

Tuesday 14th April had the most people digging out their running shoes and commuting into work, encouraging 5,751 to swap their usual mode of transport to work up a sweat instead. Commuters heading in on foot spent a minute less travelling than their cycling counterparts (38 min v 39 min) and uploaded 19,137 runs to Strava each week.

Simon Klima, UK Country Manager for Strava, commented; “This latest release of Strava’s data demonstrates once again the great depth of insight which is available when collating the activities of the world’s cyclists and runners.”

He continued: “The UK’s Strava story offers us an unprecedented opportunity to analyse and interpret a broad spectrum of data, helping to understand behaviour and habits; as well as providing real world feedback on how people utilise their local roads for both exercise and commuting.”

Strava insights – US focus but still an interesting read


In 2015, 5.3 activities were uploaded and shared on the social network every second.

Data trackers extraordinaire Strava has published its annual end of year insights for 2015, and there is some pretty info in the report.

Comprising millions of individual uploaded rides, the data offers unique insight into the habits and behavior of cyclists in the United States. For example in 2015, 5.3 activities were uploaded and shared on the social network every second.

This immense depth of data allows documentation and analysis of Strava’s growth in the world of cycling and running in the United States, while also providing direct comparison with the Strava community on a global scale. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most interesting information.

2015 Highlights
  • Globally, Strava athletes uploaded 5.3 activities every second
  • Over 26 million rides uploaded in the U.S.
  • Average speed for U.S. male cyclist is 14.6 mph, female U.S. cyclist is 12.7 mph ­
  • Average cycling commuter distance in U.S. is 10.5 miles
Global Cycling

Across Strava’s global platform, cyclists shared a total of 115.8 million rides in 2015, accruing a total of nearly 2.6 billon miles — almost enough for a one-way trip to Neptune. Strava’s cyclists together accumulated 133 billion vertical feet in elevation gain.

Strava 2015 Insights

U.S. Cycling

Cycling uploads on Strava continue to grow and grow as riders in the U.S. logged 26,320,103 individual rides throughout the year, logging 539,112,239 miles along the way. Saturday, July 11 proved to be the year’s most popular day for a ride. From the hills of Vermont to the high Rockies of Colorado, riders in the U.S. climbed an 25.6 billion vertical feet.

For average distance, men recorded 23 miles for each ride, while women averaged 20 miles. The average ride time was yet another significant difference, as the men’s 1:54:00 put them in the saddle for longer than the women, who registered 1:38:00 in comparison. Women recorded an average speed of 12.7 mph for an individual ride, with men registering 14.6 mph.

Not known as a traditional cycling state, Louisiana emerged as surprisingly the fastest state, with an average speed of 15.2 mph, joined by flatland Florida atop the ranking for longest average ride with 24.2 miles. Also surprisingly, Vermont topped Colorado and California as the biggest climbers, with 1,460 vertical feet gained per ride.

Strava 2015 Insights

Strava also revealed that California was the most active state in the U.S., with 7,172,721 rides logged, a considerable margin of difference over its nearest rival, Colorado, where they totaled 1,465,414. Sausalito, California, was home to the most popular segment in the U.S. in 2015, with 15,327 attempts on the “7-11 Bump.”

Bike Commuting

For many Strava members, commuting is a large part of their daily routine, with an average of 95,878 rides recorded as commutes to and from work every week. A pacey average of 15.0 mph ensured riders made it in on time, tackling an average 10.5 miles door-to-door. Winter was an unappealing affair for many, axing commuter activity by 63.3 percent as people returned to more comfortable methods of transport.

“This latest release of Strava’s data demonstrates once again the great depth of insight which is available when collating the activities of the world’s cyclists and runners,” says Andrew Vontz, Strava brand manager. “The Strava story offers us an unprecedented opportunity to analyze and interpret a broad spectrum of data, helping to understand behavior and habits of athletes in the United States; as well as providing real-world feedback on how people utilize their local roads for both exercising and commuting.”

That was Snow weekend


Took my 11yo this weekend up to the Cairngorm range and walked into a bothy for an overnight adventure. ruby bothy-2

The forecast was for the howling wind and rain to give a brief 48hour window … so Saturday morning at 7am we left for a 3.5 hr drive up the road.

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Temp was -1C walking in but sun on the face and felt good.

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The walk is under 10km and with only one stream to negotiate as the other 2 have small makeshift bridges over them.

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Temp was forecast to hit -6 which is cold for us. Bothy looked warmer than it actually was as no insolation to speak of and a poor wood burner.

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Ruby enjoyed it though – this was taken in the morning as the tea was brewing and the candles had melted the ice on the inside of the windows.

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A glorious morning and a decent walk out too …..

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The best thing about days like this is it gets children enthused about the outdoors and also great to spend time one on one with the kids. Normally there is a juggling act to some with ….. and finally below a GoPro movie of the 2 days …..

 

Cycling makes up on 6th of all (Central) London transport


Transport for London (TfL) says bicycles now make up one sixth of traffic in the centre of the capital, with cycling levels in London are now the greatest they have been since it began keeping records at the turn of the Millennium 15 years ago.

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Mayor Boris Johnson says that the figures show the need for infrastructure such as the two proposed cross-city Cycle Superhighways, due to be approved by TfL’s board this week.

According to TfL, levels of cycling on the city’s major roads, which make up the TfL road network, rose by 10 per cent in the quarter from 14 September to 6 December compared to a year earlier, and by the end of the current financial year it expects annual growth to have hit 12 per cent.

Last year, for the first time TfL began monitoring the number of trips made by bike within the Congestion Charging zone, and says that 170,000 are being made each day, with bicycles now making up 16 per cent of traffic in Central London.

It adds that between a quarter and a half of all journeys on some routes during peak hours are undertaking by bike.

“Last week I announced my final intentions for the new East-West and North-South superhighways,” said Mr Johnson.

“These amazing numbers show how cyclists are becoming ubiquitous in London and prove, if further proof were needed, why we need to crack on with catering for them.”

TfL said that use of the city’s Cycle Hire scheme had also hit new highs, with just over 10 million journeys made during 2014 – up 25 per cent on the previous year, and 5 per cent greater than in 2012, which had been the year in which the scheme saw highest take-up.

It added that the number of hires made at Waterloo station had increased by 12 per cent, which it said suggested “more people are now using the scheme as a viable commuting option,” and it also revealed that customer satisfaction with the scheme was at record levels.

One of the reasons for the continued growth in use of the scheme is its wider availability – now covering 100 square kilometres and with further expansion planned, there are also more bikes and docking stations.

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Mr Johnson said, “Barclays Cycle Hire continues to grow in popularity and there can be no doubt that our trusty bicycles have changed the way people get around our great city.”

Tfl’s director of strategy and planning for surface transport, Ben Plowden, added: “Our aim is to make cycling an integral part of London’s transport network and to be normalised so that anyone can jump on a bike to get to work, to the shops or to discover London.

“Seeing these continuously record breaking numbers of cyclists in London is a great demonstration that our work to make cycling easier and safer, including unprecedented levels of investment, is achieving this aim.”

NEW Year update – or what a month off the booze does for you


After Cuba I was disappointed to see that my weight was higher than it has ever been.

I did a post about this HERE and then since that time I have laid off the drink (well apart from one sip of a new wine and a whisky on Burns night)

So this morning I weighed my self and have dropped from 73.8kg to 69.9kg this morning. Nearly 4 kilos which is good going and works out at 1kg/week.

BEFORE JAN3
BEFORE JAN3

And I took another photo this morning

AFTER 1 month of being good
AFTER 1 month of being good

Not much difference really to see is there. Anyway it taught me a few things:

  • Will stop drinking in the week through boredom
  • I saved about £100 just on not drinking
  • I enjoy the taste more now
  • Even at 45 years old you can still shift weight if you want to.

New Year – New Drive


After a trip to Cuba in mid December for two weeks I stopped exercise – I thought I might lose weight in Cuba what with the heat and the really crap food everywhere (the exception being fruit which was umnmolested by human hand) but NO – those 4 cocktails a night and the beers took their toll and i returned to Scotland the Heaviest I have ever been in my life.

73.8kg 

I am only 175cm tall and have been 67 – 70 most of my life. I would like to pretend and say it is the muscle i carry (as it weighs more than fat) but sadly it seems to be a spare tyre.

lovehandle tastic
lovehandle tastic
more than an inch to pinch
more than an inch to pinch

So January sees (well from the 5th) No Alcohol / no cakes / no chocolate / no alcohol (had to say it twice) Also lots of cycling / spinning / running planned (despite winters best efforts to derail)

Will update at the end of the month on where I am …. but here is the start

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The Pros and Cons of Coffee from SUP magazine


Photo: Erik Aeder

PADDLE HEALTHY: THE PROS AND CONS OF CAFFEINE

With energy drink marketing increasing its reach, the continued spread of Starbucks and the rise of craft coffee houses (complete with bearded baristas), our culture has become more caffeinated than ever before. So, is all this caffeine good for us, or are we drinking too much as recent investigations into deaths that may be caffeine related suggest? What are the performance benefits of our favorite natural stimulant, and what are the pitfalls? Is naturally derived caffeine better than the stuff cooked up in a lab? We’re going to do our best to answer these questions.

Photo: Mike Tavares

THE BENEFITS OF BREWING ANOTHER CUP

The good news is that in moderate quantities, caffeine can help your paddling and recovery. Caffeine is one of the most highly researched exercise aids, so there’s a ton of useful data on how it positively impacts sports performance if not consumed in excess. Ingesting a moderate amount of caffeine before exercise has been shown to increase endurance for workouts lasting an hour or longer by slowing glycogen (stored carbs) depletion and encouraging the body to burn fat, leaving more glycogen for later. In addition, nutritional scientists at the University of Illinois found that caffeine also decreases exercise-related anxiety, which may dull pain perception and so further boost endurance.

For river-running standup paddler and kayaker Haley Mills, pre-race caffeine is a must. “I sometimes have multiple events in a weekend and drinking espresso before each one helps me feel more aggressive on the water and focused on the tricks I’m doing,” she says. “I have poor circulation in my hands and feet and when I drink coffee I feel there’s more blood flow to those areas, which helps me stay warmer.”

And the benefits aren’t limited to during exercise. Research published in the Journal of Applied Physiologyproved that when consumed with a carb-rich post workout snack, smoothie or meal, caffeine can help restore the glycogen lost during physical activity. So don’t second guess having that second Americano of the day after you hit the water, as long as you’re combining it with the right 3:1 mix of carbs and a fast-acting protein such as whey.

Naturally derived caffeine comes from various sources, which typically have additional health perks. Coffee has been shown to prevent macular degeneration and Alzheimer’s, while black tea reduces inflammation and exercise-related soreness, and green tea takes down free radicals, enhances brain function and promotes fat burning.

Photo: Aaron Schmidt

CAFFEINE CONCERNS

Despite the science behind using caffeine as an ergogenic performance aid, it’s possible to misuse and abuse it to the detriment of your health. Common results from overconsumption include stomachache, sickness and diarrhea, headaches, nervousness/anxiety, acid reflux, and racing/irregular heartbeat.

While java junkies can certainly get a dodgy stomach from one too many refills, much of the concern surrounding excess caffeine centers on so-called “energy drinks” and shots. For people who don’t like the taste of coffee or tea, such drinks can seem like a legitimate alternative. And, with millions of marketing dollars poured into making the connection between extreme sports and energy drinks, caffeine-in-a-can products are expected to soar to $21 billion in annual revenue by 2017.

So are energy drinks worse for you than natural caffeine options? Not always, but many contain high quantities of sugar and artificial sweeteners, colors, and preservatives. As ever, if you can’t pronounce an ingredient or don’t know what the heck it is, it’s probably best to steer clear.

Part of the issue is that the small size of energy “shots” is deceptive. Some people think because the container is diminutive it doesn’t contain much caffeine, so they can just pound back several in one go. This assumption is wrong and, according to certain reports, it may be dead wrong, as a single energy shot can contain as much caffeine as a medium coffee. Would you line up six coffees and drink them all? Probably not–especially if they had a bunch of synthetic junk in them.

Another issue is that synthetic caffeine often found in energy drinks and shots is made in a lab using a wide range of substances that include petroleum and urea (a component of urine—we know, gross!) Some experts argue that synthetic caffeine is absorbed more quickly, leading to a quicker caffeine ‘high’ and sharper ‘crash’ that may aggravate underlying health issues. While the jury is still out on the effects of energy drinks, we advise sticking to natural caffeine sources, just to play it safe.

Photo: Harry Wiewel

HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED AND WHEN?

Many studies suggest that optimal caffeine before a workout is 0.5 to 1.5 mg of caffeine per pound of bodyweight. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you’d need between 70 and 210 milligrams of caffeine in the hours leading up to training or a race, and the same afterwards with your post-exercise nutrition. According to Caffeine Informer, that’s the equivalent of between one and three espresso shots, or somewhere between one small and two large cups of coffee.

Though such a recommendation is based on experiments conducted with endurance athletes, everyone’s body is different. Our advice is to play around with how much caffeine you need, using the minimum needed to make a difference. Also, try occasionally going caffeine free for a few days so your body’s dependence on it doesn’t blunt caffeine’s positive effects.

Will the apple watch shake up the GPS and app market?


In addition to being a wearable emoji-sender, heartbeat-sharer, and payment system, the Apple Watch will also be a fitness tracker. And although the watch won’t be available until early 2015, Apple provided a few details on how the wearable will track activity. The watch has its own accelerometer and heart-rate monitor, but it needs to be paired with an iPhone to track your distance traveled via GPS or Wi-Fi.

These features are of note because they add a new set of functions to Apple’s hardware stable, and they directly compete with offerings from long-time hardware partners who already make fitness tracking wearables like Jawbone, Fitbit and Garmin.

The Apple Watch has some standard features familiar to the fitness crowd. Its built-in Activity app has three modes, all of which display goals in a ring-shaped interface. In the “Move” display, it shows you how much you’ve been in motion during the day, gives you a running countdown to your 30-minute goal, and shows how many calories you’ve burned. The “Stand” display reminds you to stop sitting for at least a minute every 12 hours (see the photo above), and the “Exercise” ring will gauge harder-core activities like running.

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There’s also a separate Workout app that can break your activities into more-specific groups, such as Running, Cycling, or Cross Training. All your stats and workout history are stored in a Fitness app, which gives you a dashboard of your workout sessions. You can share your workout stats with third-party apps via the watch’s Health app, too.

Even though all of that is standard-issue stuff for a fitness tracker, Apple’s HealthKit initiative is likely to play a major part in making all that workout data usable by other apps on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch. The software package for developers will likely speed the growth of the ecosystem of apps built for the watch—though Apple has been largely silent on details about how or when those third-party apps will make their way onto its Watch.

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The Long distance Cyclist – an amazing film insight.


This video of Mike Cotty’s 1,012km ride to Chamonix is well worth it, if only to add a whole bunch of climbs to your bucket list and take in the extraordinary views.

Mike’s no stranger to epic rides, having completed a 666km monster ride from Evian-les-Bains to Nice last year. That ride took in 17 cols on its way to the sea but this monster route packs in 21, many of them well in excess of 2,000m, and a total of 21,250m of climbing. Or 2.4 Everests, since that’s the universally accepted height gain unit of anything like this.

A 1000km non-stop journey across the Dolomites, Eastern Alps and Swiss Alps.

Exploration is as much about overcoming the unknown challenges of the road ahead as it is about learning of one’s own physical and mental capabilities. On August 4th 2014 Mike Cotty faced the longest and hardest ride of his life, a personal challenge to see if it’s possible to cycle over 1,000km and 21 mountains non-stop across the Dolomites, Eastern Alps and Swiss Alps from Conegliano, Italy, to Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France. Thunderstorms during the darkest depths of the night, a bitter cold dawn on the Passo dello Stelvio, punishing headwinds and the will to overcome adversity and sleep deprivation from over 50 hours on the bike and 21,250 metres of elevation make this journey an inspiring test of human reserve.

The mighty Stelvio (2,757m) was the highest point en route and Mike didn’t have it all his own way this time, having to endure some heavy rain on the first night. That’s when having a full Mavic backup car is a good idea…

The total riding time was 50 hours and 29 minutes, with just over three hours of breaks. Two and a bit days, then, at a riding average of just over 20km/h, over some pretty substantial terrain. The cobbles of the Gottard Pass, some 43 hours in, must have been a whole lot of fun.