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Strengthening the immune system against the Corona virus.

‘Ring a ring a roses,

A pocket full of poseys,

Atishoo, atishoo

We all fall down’

This rhyme originated at the time of the Black Death in the 1300s. The Black Death was a global epidemic of bubonic pneumonia with symptoms of sneezing. Flowers are now out as protection. Hand sanitizer and loo roll are in apparently, along with the odd dose of black humour, to protect against the coronavirus.

 

But what else can we do?

We can continue the normal measures for our everyday persona such as hand washing and social isolation. We have all read more than enough about that I’m sure.  So this article considers what we can do within our athletic personas to maintain good health.

All advice indicates it would be wise to proceed with caution. Training sessions can suppress our immune system which makes us more vulnerable to illness. This is most likely to happen when ‘sessions are prolonged, of moderate to high intensity and performed without food intake.’ (Gleeson M) Interestingly ‘long’ is being talked of as anything over two hours so take particular care around your longer bike rides as the weather gets better. If we get ill in the current situation most of us should recover relatively quickly but we could easily pass the coronavirus on to someone else, who may become seriously ill.

It is a game of minimizing risk.

Things that can minimize our risks- Continue reading “Strengthening the immune system against the Corona virus.”

Coaching using Micro-energy Management

Written by Kath Finn and Jane Senior, who speak from bitter experience. They have both spent many months ill and have finally and successfully taken the slow road to recovery. They would like to support others to make this journey a little faster than they did. They are Triathlon coaches and coaches with the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and Association of Coaching.

 Coaching for recovery from illness … and getting back to training

Simple, we just get better and return to normal training, right?  Not quite, it pays to build up slowly.  Training before you are fully well can lead to long term problems of various kinds. It has been linked to a higher possibility of developing chronic fatigue syndrome and increased ongoing respiratory difficulties.  Training with a virus can also cause tachycardia – a speeded up resting heart rate.  So patience is a virtue. One many of us haven’t got.

On occasion we don’t respond as we expect during a gradual recovery, then a new a new softly, softly approach is required. People who don’t recover as expected often experience a huge amount of frustration and are likely to try the yo-yo approach of too much training followed by periods of illness for a while.  They unable to believe that the paltry amount of exercise they are doing is too much. Eventually some re-framing has to come into play.

Recovery through micro energy management

When we are struggling to recover from something we are already in a personal energy crisis and we need to take charge to move ourselves out of this crisis. We have to re-frame the way we think about our energy use.

Our energy comes in different forms – physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. All strands of energy need to run at a reasonably high level over time for us to function and train effectively. People’s energy is finite and sometimes, like a car, we dip near the bottom of our reserve energy tank. Like a car, we tend not to function perfectly until this energy tank is topped up again.  When our energy reserve tank is very low it is likely that all types of energy are low, possibly due to illness or life stresses, and all types need to be rebuilt. Lets consider the different types and some ideas for measuring them.

Physical 

Physical energy forms the platform that our other energies are based on and this is the one that we are often most familiar with.  The ‘more is better’, ‘no pain, no gain’ approach to training is currently unfortunately popular. However this is not sustainable, we are designed to need a recovery phase to ensure that we have the energy required to push again, both in training and in life.   Recovery is not a luxury, it is essential to improve and sustain our performance. This is true when both training and recovering from illness.  People find their own way of scoring things but a 9/10 here is ready to go out and race or ride your favourite long route, feeling on top of the world, fit and strong.  A score of one might be able to walk slowly up the stairs but not much more. 0 and you are in bed….all day.

Continue reading “Coaching using Micro-energy Management”

Scotland?…or maybe not

I could almost be in Scotland. The views are big, the roads are empty, the gradients constantly unrelenting.  I can hear the odd song bird, see the odd animal. The early morning air is sharp and I struggle to understand people. But I am most definitely NOT in Scotland.

WP_20171025_013The early morning nip gives way to a hot 26 degrees at the end of October, the animals are lizards scuttling for cover and crickets landing on my mitts. Beautiful autumn colours in the leaves are reflected back in the colours of the house walls and every village has a church or a castle dominating its skyline with a plethora of little streets and hidden bars beneath.

My wheel bounces off fallen almond nuts and I catch glimpses of red and orange as ripe pomegranates and oranges peep from under laden boughs. The olive trees are speckled green and brown and black as this year’s crop bends the branches and splashes of yellow announce the presence of some lemons.

We climb out of this richness and wend our way across barren scrub land plateau before climbing once again. Our reward is a wide angle view of the sea and the coastal plain and we then plummet towards some larger settlements where we find good coffee and sandwiches in a shaded town centre square. Continue reading “Scotland?…or maybe not”

Heart Rate Zones Explained

 Heart Rate Zones for Mapdec Cycle Studio 

Within three minutes of a question on heart rate being asked on the Mapdec weekly check in we had neatly demonstrated the complexities of the subject. We had 3, 5 and 6 zone models, all developed by different people such as Friel and Steiler, and all in use. Not to mention those models which have 4a, 4b or 5a, b and c….I could go on. So we have taken a bit of a mish mash and come up with a working  Heart Rate Zone model.  This model uses the Sufferfest model used at Mapdec with one or two tweaks – no 4a and b zones, that’s just splitting hairs and I know no garmin which uploads 4a and b religiously onto Strava.

The takeaways are –

Continue reading “Heart Rate Zones Explained”

Training Stress Score explained. TSS

So far we have just been using Training Peaks as a diary of sessions. This is absolutely fine and this programme was set up to support people to exercise and stay healthy. However now we are starting to get a lot of questions around training to be fitter instead of purely exercising. The difference is outlined nicely in an article on the Mapdec App. If you are interested in the training aspect then please read on.  If not – STOP RIGHT NOW…. and continue to enjoy lots of varied exercise.

Continue reading “Training Stress Score explained. TSS”

Base training explained…

Why are we doing what we’re doing at Mapdec?

We are to some degree following The Training Cycle…..several of you have mentioned that you haven’t ever trained ‘properly’ and would like to know more about the process. So here I have tried to construct a thumbnail sketch.

You don’t have to consider yourself ‘an athlete’ to benefit from this process, many of us don’t hold that as a self image. You also don’t have to be heading to a main event such as the woman’s Kendal Cycle Club trip or the Kendal Cycle Club Mallorca trip to benefit from using the training cycle. You may just wish to arrive at the British summer feeling ready to enjoy your cycling, gardening and walking.

So, in outline, the training cycle lasts all year. It normally looks very roughly as described below. It should be noted that this year, due to the current situation, the Beginner’s Group is currently working in the Base phase. (May 2020) In a normal year people may well be in ‘Build’ by now and we may progress there, depending how long Covid 19 lasts. Continue reading “Base training explained…”

Blind and Visually Impaired Triathletes go training ….

‘Lanza baby YEAHHHHHH! ‘

And so began an adventure for everyone, four blind or visually impaired athletes, (VIs) a guide and two multi-purpose coach/guides.

Five days of a d-i-y coaching course at Club La Santa, Lanzarote, with eleven sessions on offer focusing on technique over the three sports, and the chance to do a couple of fitness tests along the way.  Impairments ranged from totally blind athletes to those with almost enough sight to ride a bike solo. But the athletes react differently to different light conditions. One needs funnelled bright light and carries a torch, one has vision reduced even further in bright light. One reacts to flashing lights so spent a sleepless first night – the two tiny red lights on the fire alarm in the bedroom appeared as disco strobe lights to her. One of my first morning jobs was to perch on a stool and cover them with kinesiology tape. The other job was to talk to reception and ask the cleaners not to ‘tidy’  any belongings as the VIs struggle to  find them again. Mental mapping, especially in a new place, takes a huge amount of energy and carries high anxiety levels. And at Club La Santa all accommodation looks identical wherever you are, even as a sighted person!

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Day one – Swimming in an outdoor 50 metre pool for the first time for everyone was a great experience. One to one coaching was on tap and we had two swimmers per lane, only one crash and everyone received individual input on their own specific points for improvement. Productive session. Any more than two swimmers and the result is carnage. I still don’t know how visually impaired athletes know where the end is, this proved to be difficult due to the pool markings being a faint blue instead of a bold black strip. Bruised fingers and heads all round I guess.

Continue reading “Blind and Visually Impaired Triathletes go training ….”

Manage my Fear, Strathpuffer 24 hour relay MTB race, Jan 2019

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I was inspired by a blog written by a team of 13 year old girls who completed ‘the Strathpuffer’ last year. This is a 24 hr mountain bike race in a forest in the North of Scotland, held in January. My rationale was that if they could do it so can women who are over 50.  It will be fun, something different and a bit of a challenge. That was July, in the hottest summer for years.

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I needed a  light in a black hole

January 2019 and I have a team of women, and a fear monkey. This is supposed to be a little bit of fun but my head as gone into overdrive and is hiding in a black hole somewhere. It quite often does this before races. Eating gets harder, my head is convinced I’m ill, it’s normally lying. It’s trying to protect me from myself. After a week of this I decided this is ridiculous and we sit down and have a big talk with each other.

What is the issue? There are several – as someone very close to me pointed out I am a lousy mountain biker, I hate being cold and get cold very easily and I can’t function without sleep. Ideal! And all of those mean I might let the team down and that isn’t OK, So how do I get out of this hole? Find the evidence to convince myself these problems aren’t problems….

Continue reading “Manage my Fear, Strathpuffer 24 hour relay MTB race, Jan 2019”

World Championships Rotterdam 2017

Rotterdam, what a party, what a blast. Olympic Distance World Championship Triathlon, whooop whooo. I don’t know what it is about the sport. In the days before you complain about all the faff, organising, walking about, difficulty of transport etc. And then you race, and all that tension and pent up energy explodes. Amazing bike course, just screamingly good fun, adrenaline flood. A few weeks later I am still high and still can’t wait to do it again.