Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 - A retrospective look at the year which changed my life

I sit here writing this blog reminiscing over the previous 12 months.

One year ago today, if you'd asked me what 2012 would mean for me. I would have responded that the Olympics would be a big deal and I would get one year older. That was the scale of my sedentary lifestyle.

Who knew how much my life would change following a decision I made on the 26th January?

It was on this fateful day that I decided to give up smoking. It was also on this day that I thought that I could complete an Olympic distance triathlon.

So here I sit looking back at all I have achieved and 2012 looked like this for me.

  • Distance travelled under my own steam - 703 miles
  • Distance Swum - 26 miles
  • Distance Cycled - 511 miles
  • Distance Run - 166 miles
  • Number of workouts - 141
  • Calories burnt - 78679 kcal
  • Time spent training - 86 hours and 9 minutes
  • Times this blog has been read - 11305

This is astounding in itself but if we break things down further the scale of improvement is massive

Comparison between 2011 and 2012
As well as this I have completed a sprint and an olympic distance triathlon and in the process raised £1025 for Cancer Research. 

Not bad for a years work but if we consider what I have planned for 2013, there's a long way to go.

2013 will mean for me
  • Completing 5 triathlons ranging in distance from sprint to ironman on my own.
  • Completing an olympic triathlon as part of a relay.
  • Swimming a minimum of 210km as someone on Twitter challenged me. This is equal to swimming the channel six times.
  • Training as a BTF level 1 coach
  • Assisting in the running of a new triathlon club in Sheffield.
  • Raising as much money as I can for Help Harry Help Others
  • Beginning to enjoy running
  • Training everyday in January as I have signed up for the Poppyfields January Challenge.
01/01/13 edit

It seems that I have signed up to several challenges for 2013 through the wonderful medium of Twitter

I have signed up to

  • #DryAthlon and aim to become a #DryAthlete by not drinking for a minimum of one month. This should help with my planned weight loss.
  • #ChannelChallenge which involves swimming the English Channel as many times as possible in 2013. Obviously I will not be swimming the English Channel for real but will be completing the 35km as many times as possible in 2013 by swimming in pools and outside and logging the distances completed.
  • #12runsofchristmas this involves running everyday for 12 days from the 26th December. I am currently on day 7 and will be going for a run later. This challenge has seen me set new personal bests for 1km, 1 mile and 2.5km and there is still another 6 days of running to go.
  • #PoppyfieldsJanuaryChallenge involves me exercising every day throughout January and if I miss any days I have to pay a fine to charity of £1. For more information on this challenge please check out the blog here.
  • #FitTeam13. This is not a challenge but more of a Twitter movement set up by Stuart Amory who is a personal trainer to celebrities like Jake Humphrey. Every month he posts a video on YouTube which his followers aim to complete. The hashtag #FitTeam13 connects like minded people on Twitter and has put in touch with some wonderful people. For more information on this please check out Stuart's blog.
If you're feeling particularly generous and would like to donate to my quest, you can do so at 

Thanks everyone for reading and continuing to support me in my quest.


Sunday, 2 December 2012

Training bits and bobs

Well my blog post last week was received very well. I can't believe the support my honesty got. If you missed it you can read it here.

I am a little shocked that I haven't blogged since the 5th November about my training. It's been going okay apart from the fact that my knee is a little painful today although that could be as a result of 8 training sessions in 8 days.

I've been steadily improving in my swimming and my running. And finally I don't have an excuse not to go out on my bike during the winter.


Since the 5th November I have been swimming a total of 5 times and have accumulated over 4 miles in the pool. I really do find that swimming helps me forget the stresses of work. I've been concentrating on both technique and speed this month. I've also set myself a target of being able to complete 1500m non stop in the pool in a time of 00:27:30. My best time to date has been 00:29:30 so I have some work to do but I think it will be achievable.

One of my Twitfriends commented on how well my swimming has been going and as a result I am now signed up to the Leeds Triathlon as part of a relay. I will be completing the swimming leg with @thebaldygit completing the bike leg and  @nicolaclarefox completing the run. We have named the relay team "The Twitter Trio" as we have all met on Twitter and not in real life.


My cycling workouts since my last post have totalled 38.55 miles split over two workouts. I've been struggling to find the time to train at weekends as I have been busy. The other reason behind my lack of training has been my nervousness over crashing on my Trek Madone during winter.

I formulated a plan for this with the help of my friends and family. I debated getting a second bike using the Governments Bike to Work Scheme but decided against this. I debated buying a second cheaper bike but in the end I decided to take my 1996 GT Tempest mountain bike to a local bike shop to see how much it would cost to repair and turn into a winter training bike. This was the cheapest option and I really don't know why I didn't do this sooner. I picked my refurbed bike up today and took it out on two rides. It's definitely not as quick as my road bike but at least if I crash, it should be cheaper to repair.

My refurbed training bike
This month has also seen me purchase my race wheels for 2013. I decided on some Planet X 60mm carbon clinchers and I can't wait to try them out in Mallorca in March.

My new wheels
The turbo chamber has also been outfitted with a telly to make my sessions less tedious, this training in winter lark is a lot different to training during summer.

The latest addition to the Turbo "Torture" Chamber

This month I've mostly been concentrating on increasing my run distance in weekly increments with the aim being to be able to complete most of my runs without walking next season. This has been going very well until yesterday when I seem to have tweaked something in my right knee. Yesterday was my first trail run since I was 14 and (apart form the pain today) I really enjoyed it which was a shock in itself.

My muddy trainers
My Newton trainers have been a really good purchase and I'm really glad the ran the BOGOF offer. Two pairs for £120. They really suit my forefoot strike. I think I prefer the Sir Isaac to the Terra Momentus but this is probably due to the fact I ave worn them more.

In total since the 5th November I have run 11.37 miles and set a new PB for 1km. 5 minutes and 33 seconds. Who knows maybe there is a runner hidden in me somewhere. I'm not gonna lie I was knackered after this but at least I set a new PB.

The other interesting thing I have learnt about my running this month is I appear to not be using my glutes when running. I think this is the case as I am getting a lot of pain in my quads when running. I need to remedy this as my legs are beginning to look like Robert Forstemann's. They are bordering on ridiculous. I would put a pic up but instead you'll have to make do with the aforementioned sprint cyclists.

I resorted to Twitter and think I have a plan to make my glutes start firing but if this doesn't work I am sure the wonders of Google can come to the rescue.

Other bits and bobs

Centurions Triathlon has moved on in the last month or so. I met with the bloke who's brainchild it is and should be attending my first training session this week (knee pain depending). I've been given a Centurions Triathlon hoodie as thanks for my help in getting things moving. The trisuit design has been finalised by Quest Sportswear and it largely replicates my initial design and is looking really good.

Centurions Triathlon trisuit
Also this month I have ordered a mug to provide motivation with regards to the London Triathlon next year. I am still annoyed I missed my target by 2 minutes and 57 seconds.

My daily motivation and reminder
Just so you all know I finally managed to beat my sponsorship target for Cancer Research. In total I raised £1025. Thank you all for your support.

November in numbers

Training sessions - 15
Training days - 15
Non training days - 15
Swimming miles - 4.06
Cycling miles - 47.48
Running miles - 12.57
Average speed - 7.63 mph
Total calories burnt - 5173

Remember you can sponsor me for next season by clicking on this link. It is for a great cause (Help Harry Help Others) and your sponsorship could make a huge difference to someone.

Thats all from me folks. Thanks for reading.

Michael (30 days without a cigarette and going strong)