Thursday, 20 January 2011

Training smarter

If last week and this week is anything to go by then my running mileage in 2011 is going to be far lower than 2010, but I'm hoping that by training smarter this won't matter and in fact could even improve my race results.

Now I have my new toy (see pics and youtube video courtesy of Nick Ham - Brit Nick) I'm going to be doing many of my training miles on the ElliptiGO. Both on my commute to work and weekend long rides.

On Tuesday I did my first out and back commute to work on the GO. A 45 mile round trip, which I plan to make a regular weekly occurrence perhaps cycling twice weekly once the days get longer. For the most part it is a reasonable route with smooth fast roads, if a little hairy due to the volume of traffic using the same stretch of road and short days making it a little daunting in the dark. Potholes are not easy to spot either until you ride straight into one! There are also some sections of road which are in a dreadful condition and where I feel every crack, bump and hole. Argh. I've cursed on more than one occasion over one particular stretch where my rear light flew off the GO and only narrowly avoided being crushed under the wheels of the cars behind! Nevertheless a super way to get to work that keeps me on a high for the rest of the day.

The GO itself is a great bit of kit from a fitness perspective and I like the fact that it's a little quirky and looks a bit different. My colleague who saw me on the way to work as I passed her stationary car said I looked like a stick insect on wheels. Very flattering indeed!

If you are looking for speed it's not for you though. I've ridden to work on my normal mountain bike in 1h10m, and a performance road bike could do it in an hour. On the GO it took me 1h37 on the first ride in last week, which I managed to shave 6 minutes off on Tuesday. I reckon once I get fitter, faster and the days get longer that I could perhaps get it down to 1h20m.

When I ran the same route to work last year it took me 4h30m so the benefits of the GO for me is that I can 'run' to work in a sense and get all the training benefits without invested much more time than if I drove! And its no impact. It's also fun as long as you don't mind being pointed at and heckled by children on their way to school. I'm getting use to it!

The GO isn't without its issues though. I'm in regular contact at the moment with the main ElliptiGO chap in the UK - Idai, on some teething issues I'm experiencing. The hub gear still isn't shifting quite right and I need to sort this. There's a few other niggles too. The reason I am slightly accepting of these issues is that the GO is a first of it's kind - a prototype of sorts so it perhaps isn't going to be perfect. Idai at ElliptiGO who only lives 10 miles away from me is great and has arranged to come over this Sunday morning to check it out and go for a long ride together.

So keep watching this space if you are interested in the GO and outcomes to the above. And if anybody is curious and wants to come over to test ride the GO you are more than welcome! That's a genuine offer.

So a weeks smarter training in 2011 may look something like this:

Sat or Sun - Long Run (15m+) or Long ElliptiGO ride (25m+). Rest other day
Mon - Steady Run (5m)
Tues - Commute to work (45m)
Wed - 1hr Aerobics lunchtime / Club Run evening (Steady 7-10m)
Thurs - Recovery run
Fri - Rest Day

You may have noticed the inclusion of aerobics on Wednesday. I have started doing this since the new year and despite how it sounds (I know what you are thinking!!) it's not just for girls and it's hardcore! Seriously, I work harder in that 1hr than I do on a 4hr long run! It's a great workout focusing on all aspects of the body, especially the core. My core was killing me on Wedesday! And a strong core means better running form for longer = more miles :-)

So moving forward it's going to be an interesting year to see how I perform in future events. My next ultra is in March - the Lightning 12hr, where I will be looking to improve on last years 67 mile total which I ran in around 12:45.


  1. Stu, please be careful on your commute. Apart from the traffic, the potholes after this winter's big freeze are lethal, even for the much bigger bicycle wheels.
    I'm back to cycling to work. It's much better than ultraplodding for strengthening the quads.

  2. I've got serious gadget envy - the coolest thing I've seen in a long time! Would probably feel a bit safer than on a bike with being able to jump off (work in London where you get cut up all the time...)