Recovery in Sport: Food good but forgot the compression clothing

This week we had a home football match to play and I had tennis immediately after.

During the week I ate well and alkalised my body. I bought three OTE carbohydrate bars ready for Saturday.

In the match I played centre back. There was less running in this position but more tackling and fast sprints. There were two forwards with speed, so the game had pace.

At half time I sipped my electrolyte drink. I felt good during the match and no calf tightness. After the match I drank my recovery drink and ate 1.75 carbohydrate bars. I did not feel as hungry compared to previous week.

I went straight to tennis and played one set. My partner and I won, with the end score being 7-5. It was a hot day and I could feel fatigue in my body. I started to cramp in my toes and calf. I realised I had not drank enough electrolyte.

At change of ends on the court I drank electrolyte. It took a little while to work, but my cramp did recede, and after the tennis I did not suffer further cramping.

I got home and realised I left my compression leggings at work. I was disappointed as I always look forward to wearing them to help my recovery.

I decided to have a hot shower and then have a 10min cold water bath. I like the cold water baths. After the initial shock of the cold, my legs feel good in the cold water. When I get out of the bath I feel like my legs are fresher and a little numb, I like it.

For the rest of day we were at a BBQ and playing with my children. My legs felt good.

I am not able to play football this coming weekend. My plan is to continue alkalising, buy a thermometer to test the temperature of the bath and drink alkalising salts (have not done so on a regular basis yet).

I must remember to prepare my compression clothing for recovery. In fact, I could get into a routine of checking I have everything in place for recovery pre match.

I also want to start ice baths. Once I test the temperature of the water I can adjust it with the ice.

Last week I avoided mid week training, as my legs needed more recovery time. This week I can feel my legs will need training, but towards the end of the week. Getting the balance between rest and flexibility, and training will be important.

I have a weekend of no football. Next game in two weeks.

Recovery in Sport: Second 90 mins of football, better hydration, mid week training, and alkalising

Last week I played my second 90 minutes of football. I decided to drink more electrolyte during the match. I finished off my entire bottle of electrolyte at half time. Compared the the previous week, I did not cramp in my calves at the end of the match, and I did not feel so thirsty. After the match I drank my recovery (SIS) shake and ate a recovery (OTE) bar. I ate lunch within 1 hour of finishing the match. I felt good after the match and did not get the tiredness I felt in my body after the first 90 minute match of football I played.

I wore  my 2XU recovery leggings in the evening after the match. I wore them all night and through the following day. My legs felt good when I was wearing them, and I did not have pain, or as much tightness when I took them off. This week I did a mid week interval training session. I did not use my recovery leggings after the session, and my legs have felt sore and tight for the last two days. My hamstrings feel particularly tight. I must wear my leggings when I train midweek.

I will be testing my MCS performance leggings in training tomorrow. It could be raining so it will be interesting to see how they perform.

I have realised I must use my electrolye drink and recovery shake after my mid week interval training sessions. This may reduce my post session pain and tightness, and prevent injury, in the same way it does for match day. I will be training tomorrow with tightness in my hamstrings and I hope to avoid an injury.

This week I have started alkalising my body. I bought an alkalising pack from Energise for Life. The pack included Greens, Alkalsing Salts, Udos oil and PH drops. I have used the Greens, PH drops and Udos oil for the past three days. I will start the salts tomorrow. I must admit, my body feels less stiffness in my legs and I can sprint with less tiredness. My Achilles, Injured 4  weeks ago, has less twinge to it. I know I will get fitter in the following weeks but there is a difference in how my body feels. I will explain more as the weeks go by.

I am now looking at alkaline breakfasts. In the past, eating well has required lots of preparation and forward thinking. I want to find simple breakfasts I can prepare easily and I like to eat. I have found a few on the Energise for life website and will test them in the following weeks.

I am interested to see if my body is alkalised (tested with PH test strips), I have good hydration and recovery plan, and I use compression clothing what happens to my performance. At the same time, I will be working on fitness, flexibility, strength, speed, and eating post workout and dinners. Of course there are the ice baths to trial.

More to come in the following weeks.

Starting the Thrive in 30 days Vega nutritional educational series

Today I have noticed my recovery from my bike training for the Etape du Tour is substandard. I take artificial products like SIS protein powders and eat loads of carbohydrates. I feel tired and lethargic and recover very slowly.

Bredan Brazier is a Vegan Ironman athlete who has designed a range of products and educational videos and books to help the everyday person learn more about eating wholefoods to maximise their health. Some of the benefits include:

  • Decrease body fat
  • Diminish visible signs of aging
  • Boost energy without caffeine or sugar
  • Cultivate mental clarity
  • Enhance mood
  • Eliminate junk-food cravings
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Build a stronger immune system
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reduce biological age
I like all these benefits and if it can help my recovery in training and sleep I want to know what to do.
You too can start the Thirty day challenge on
The key is to complete the action plan with each lesson. The videos with each lesson is exactly the same as the text in each lesson so watching the video can be faster if you learn this way.
The first lesson action plan is described below:

Take Action:

  • Examine your current diet. Write a list of all the things you eat that you think might be taking away from your energy or aren’t supporting your health and fitness goals.
  • Plan for success as you take action over your 30 day journey to thrive. The changes you make throughout this program will be most effective when you can make them your new habits. The following five habits are the tools that will make it easier to get the most from this program—they’ll help you succeed if you develop and follow them consistently:
  1. Eat throughout the dayeating several small meals helps maintain energy levels, eases digestive strain and spreads nutrients to sustain you all day
  2. Drink a nutritious smoothie each dayyou’ll get whole food nutrition that’s easy on your digestive system and provides lasting energy
  3. Eat a big green salad every daythese are a staple when eating to thrive (you’ll learn why over the next 30 days)
  4. Eat a raw energy bar every daythey’re an easy way to pack nutrition into a convenient, easy to carry form
  5. Eat a substantial, balanced afternoon snackyou’ll get the nutrition you need so you won’t be famished when it comes to your evening meal
Next Lesson Preview:
Stress has a BIG impact on your health! You’ll get an in-depth look at different kinds of stress and empower you to reduce stress’s ill effects with simple dietary choices.

Reentering the Etape

It has been a great week. At first I thought the Etape wasn’t possible this year but things have evolved and I have been given the opportunity and time to race again. I have snapped it up with eager hands and am back into training again.

I feel I am not in the best condition for the event because I have not entered any other events to prepare me for the hill climbing. I have rested for 2 weeks and my hill climbing in and around London is no comparison to the hills in France.

I spoke to my Coach (Fran) and he has said I must commit 3 x week t training, plus one gym session and train overseas to get to know what real hill climbing is all about. The advice he has given me has stimulated me into action. I am checking I still have an entry into the Etape next week. If it is still available I will be on a flight out of London on Friday to train in Portugal with Sigma sports associated coach, Flash. He will train me 3 full days on hill after hill until I break. I hope this gives my body the experience it needs to learn how to hill climb  in France.

This week I have done a time trial around Richmond Park. I finally cracked 20 minutes with an anticlockwise lap of 19.52. I have told to do 3 laps in 60 minutes. If my coach sets me three laps I will aim to complete this target.

Today I went out for a 4 hour bike ride with my Ironman friend. I decided to ride as many hills as I could find in Surrey and we did long hills ranging in gradient from 3%-13%. We avoided boxhill as there were more challenging hills to climb. On the way home I ran low on energy. My legs were painful climbing  up the hills and I pushed hard t get to Sigma Sports in Kingston. It was a pleasure to get off the bike after such a hard ride. It hit home again how much hill climbing I have to do before the event.

I went to the Sigma Sports sale and picked up half price Specialized bike shoes and a racing top. The shoes were so comfortable to wear and gripped my foot with three straps to help me hill climb. On the way home I took three gel shots as I felt like I needed them. It was a slow ride home and finally getting home I ate a big plate of pasta with cheese. Probably not the best food but I was soooo hungry.

I noticed hill climbing made me eat and drink more than normal and because I did no crab load I ran out of energy. I plan to crab load on future rides and take more food with me.

I am interested in what my coach gives me next week and if I go to Portugal this will be a totally new training experience. This is helping me understand the effect of cycling on the body and what to do best to prepare for rides and recover. Until next week I will sign off  a much happier cyclist.

Hill climbing lessons, time trialling and post training fatigue

My coach wanted me to train three times this week. A few weeks ago I was getting too tired with work and life and decided I would make an effort to look after myself better. I therefore decided to train twice instead this week. My coach wanted to come out with me on the weekend and also take my good friend an ironman athlete. He wanted to push me up the hills and make it a hard training session.

Earlier in the week I had a decision to make between time trialling or hill climbing mid-week. I decided to do time trialling as I knew there would be hill climbing on the weekend. I rested with no weight training during the week.

The time trial was done in Richmond Park and in the past I knew I could do a round in just over 20 minutes. It is not a consistent time trial because the wind can blow at different speeds and the traffic can vary depending on what time of day you go. My main ambition was to set my stop watch and see that I done a round of Richmond Park in under 20 minutes.

I had two laps to do with a warm up lap at the start and half a lap cool down in between. I decided to go clockwise around the park for my first lap. I dropped the gears and started the push. In my mind I knew I had to pace myself to keep a consistent speed around the park but also knew I had to push harder and harder. I did not look at my watch at all during the lap. The traffic was building up and when I stopped at roundabouts I counted the seconds so as to subtract it from my final time. The wind was against me along the flats and it hit me on the final stretch of 400 meters. The flat was where I could really pick up my time but the wind had other ideas. I pushed right to the end of the lap and looked at my watch 20 minutes and 15 seconds. If I subtracted 10 -15 seconds off for traffic I think I would be in on 20 minutes but I really wanted to see the watch say 20minutes or less.

On the second lap I decided to ride anticlockwise to see if I could change the effect of the wind and hope the traffic lessened. I took aff again and as I was riding my fastest up the hill from Roehampton Gate to Richmond Gate another cyclist blew past me. He was sitting in his seat and probably travelling three times faster. I was absolutely amazed at his leg strength and as he pulled away into the distance I felt such a weak climber. I stuck my head down and pushed harder. The wind was assisting me along the flat but caught me on another section of the lap and the traffic held me up more. Coming in the final 400 metres I pushed and pushed and my right calf suddenly cramped. When I tried pushing hard with the right leg it cramped. I didn’t want an injury so eased off the pedal pressure. I crossed the line in 20 minutes and 30 seconds. If I did not have the cramp I think under 20 minute was a sure possibility. I  would wait until next time.

I have been focussed on getting my hill climbing stronger and all I want to do is climb hills. I get out of the seat of the bike more and maintain a better speed up the hills. On the weekend my coach and the ironman athlete took an alternative route out to Box Hill. This route had hills with 11 an 15% gradients with a variation of long and short distances. My coach told me to push hard on the first hill. I accelerated away and half way up totally blew up. My lungs were about to blow up and my heart could not pump any faster. I slowed right down and my coach blew past me. I told him I went to fast at the start and the lesson I got was to pace myself better for the entire hill. If I do not know how long the hill is I can underestimate its length , therefore, it is better to keep a steady pace and when I see the top push hard. I asked him why he could blow past me so easily and he explained my training had not included many hills and I was heavier that he was so it was easier for him to pedal up the hills. I wondered if my leg strength needed work and he thought they were ok. So it is lots of hill climbing and practice to get my technique correct.

Our training ride on the weekend started in wet conditions and I have never seen so many riders on the side of the road with flat tires. My coach said it is because of the rain and the water lifts sharp objects to the surface of the road. I had just made this distinction when my front tire blew a flat. I pulled out my inner tube and it did not have a valve or a locking screw on it. I pulled them off the flat tire to use. Remember not all inner tubes come with valve and locking screw so check this out when you buy it. I pumped it up with one CO2 canister but it was not fully inflated. When I climbed the hills again I could feel the front tire compress and I was losing valuable energy and momentum and speed. I pulled out a second canister and inflated the tire more. It was much better and next time I  will leave the canister on the valve until I feel the tire is fully inflated.

In the same ride the traffic was awful as we were still riding t 1pm. My front wheel hit the curb when slowing up and because my foot was still clipped into the pedal I fell over. My right hip and hand took the brunt of the fall. Fortunately I had fallen badly once before and knew this was a minor one. I continued riding but I could certainly feel the stiffness come on that night.

I have woken up this morning and feel exhausted. I was going to get to work for 10am but I am still at home. I am going in at 12pm instead as my body is tired. These long fast rides need good recovery and I am feeding my body good food and resting. Still feel like I need more sleep but that will come with an early night tonight. I am not going to train today or tomorrow and when my body feels strong again I will hit the gym. I am learning how to get the best out of my body. I might be able to train tomorrow in the gym.

This coming week my coach wants me to do hill repeats in Richmond Park, gym session based on endurance and then a 6 hour bike ride. I plan to ride on saturday to allow my body to recover on Sunday before the week begins. I want to ride my  6hour ride by myself to go at the speed I want and to ride several hills. I think my strength is improving on the hills and I am certainly going to make the effort to get all the hill climbing I need completed.

Training regime for the L’etape du tour begins

I completed the training for the Switzerland Ironman and completed the race in July his year. I want to do the L’etape du tour and have enrolled. The training starts now and like the Ironman my coach has been in the gym working my legs for strength first. The serious training starts in January so the time I have until then is for strength training.

I went to the gym last Wednesday and had maximum strength tests completed for squat, lunge and cleans. The max for each exercise were as follows:

Squat 90kg, lunge 26kg, clean 60kg.

My coach wanted me to train at 90% of max for the squats 3 sets of 3-4 reps, maximum for the lunge 3 sets of 6 reps and maximum for the clean 3 sets of 3-4 reps.

This week he sent me this program:

Let’s focus on strength for the next few weeks, increase flexibility and fascia release.
Mon 29 Nov  strength (if you can)
Wed 1 Dec  strength
Sun 5 Dec 2h easy bike ride

I have been to the gym twice this week. I had pain in my knees because my ITB’s were still tight from the Ironman. Before starting weights I rode the stationary cycle for 25 minutes, foam rolled the sides of my legs to loosen the pressure on my knee caps and then started. My knees felt no pain with the exercises and after the first session I stretched and foam rolled my calfs, hamstrings and quads. In the second session my ITB on the right was tighter and I could feel discomfort when performing cleans so I stopped. I also noticed my right wrist and left shoulder were hurting from the cleans. The pressure of holding the bar with my wrists fully bent backwards did not feel great.

I can feel my legs are responding already and I am looking forward to the ride this weekend if it is not snowing. I have an Ironman riding with me this weekend. I am excited about getting back on the bike. The winter kit comes out again and my bike had been serviced and is ready for action.

I feel this race does not have the same intensity as the Ironman or the same prestige but it will be a tough challenge with lots of hill climbing. I am looking forward to training with other guys as I trained alone for the Ironman. I have taken the Aero bars off my bike and placed the Garmin Navigator right in the middle of my handle bars. My Zipp 303 wheels are ready for action next year when the weather is better and I have built up some strength in my legs.

On December 14 my bike Mechanic Dave Taylor is running a workshop for intermediate cyclists. He will teach us how to manage our bikes when on the road and away travelling. If you are interested in a bike workshop contact me on

I start my massage sessoins in the new year and will be revising my nutrition for the race. I would like to look at natural versions of energy rather than the synthetic products we all buy. If I have the time I will do this.. Brendan Brazier is an ironman and produced the Vega range range of products. He is vegetarian and has become a successful speaker on healthy nutrition for Ironman. At the moment I want to eat good carbohydrates like pumpkin, sweet potatoe, and butternut and find better sources of protein.

I have a client who has not time to make food and we are looking into company which delivers three meals a day for £21/day. The meals are high protein (120g/day) and can be adjusted to add carbohydrates as needed. They provide two snacks and the food is frozen to be made as and when it is needed. This is a good alternative for the busy person.

It is great to have another physical challenge over the next 8 months. Going the gym with a purpose in mind makes it all the more meaningful. Time to get the bike out and prep it for the ride this weekend.

Health phase of training prescribed by nutritionist and swim training schedule.

Been trying to eat 6 x day as my nutritionist recommended. I went and bought a rice cooker and a slow cooker in an attempt to save time and eat quality food. I made sushi on the weekend and made the rice too Gelatinous but still ate it and my friends enjoyed it. Last night used the slow cooker for 8 hours. This morning ate it for breakfast and it taste great. Had Chicken with vegetables in a chicken stock.

Eating six times a day and drinking 3 litres of water a day does require organisation and having the food available in the kitchen at work. I have Two 1,5 litre bottles of water with lemon juice in them sitting in the fridge. I have have snacks like rice cakes and rye crackers with bananas for snacks and now I must get good carbohydrates and protein to eat as main meals. The trick is having variety and also having food which is fast and easy to prepare. I find I get hungry after 8pm and do feel like eating carbs after 3pm. I think I have not got the balance right in food yet to stop the hunger feelings.

I will try eating more carbohydrates in the morning and for lunch and then try protein and salads in the afternoon and dinner. If I do more exercise like yesterday I find I am hungry in which case I am eating as I feel my body needs it.

Sleep is an issue for me as I am in a habit of going to bed late. This is especially true when I am out with friends. If I have a late night out it upsets my sleep cycle for the beginning of the week and with work it takes time to recover. I am have got my Anti oxidant juice Monavie, Udos oil and multivitamins to take each morning and now I must organise my sleep.

I do have opportunities to go to sleep early but I mentally want to do more things and go to bed later. I am going to buy a new Tempur Mattress because my current mattress is hard to lie on and I find I wake up with a sore shoulder. I hope this will help me sleep deeper and longer. I have cleared my diary of social activities from now to xmas so I can put events in that I feel fit with my sleep cycle.

I can cope better at work and with life if I get adequate sleep. I am fed up waking exhausted in the morning and not enjoying the day. This Ironman has made me make positive changes in my life that I would not have done otherwise.

My training schedule has evolved. I have have swim sessions to fit in after the assessment from Emile. The schedule will look like this

1 Hour Technique Sessions:

1 – Identifying drag, focus on kicking, rotation, breathing & streamlining (200m)
2 – Review 1 and focus on arm recovery (400m, 1min rest between 200s)
3 – Review 2 and focus on timing of stroke (600m, 1min rest between 200s)
4 – Review 3 and focus on catch (800m, 1m rest between 200s)
5 – Review 4 and focus on underwater pathways (wetsuit optional) (1,000m, 1m /200m)
6 – Review 5 and prepare for race condition swimming; sighting, drafting, positioning, starts and finishes, vascular shunting (wetsuit optional)

Fran has me increasing my weights. I have developed a clicking on my right knee cap with deep squats. It can happen sometimes and not others and I think it is my biomechanics as I squat. When I feel the movement is awkward the clicking occurs. The strength training has made  big difference to my bike strength and I am enjoying the hard workouts. I can push more but I am making sure I keep good technique with all the exercises.

Fran and I have decided on doing a UK half Ironman and also doing a training camp in Provence, France. I will book these and we are putting the calendar together nicely. I have been invited to train with Debbie Shaw, winner of  age group  Forestman this year once I get some mileage in the legs. I want to connect with more triathletes and build a great network of friends.