Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Blogging Tips

As you may have noticed, this blog is very old. In fact the work here represents everything I have done with respect to blogging (ever). So I thought I would give you some blogging tips from a noobs perspective:

  • Write about things you are interested in – You probably represent your readership, if you aren’t interested in writing about your topic why would anyone be interested in reading it? Also it will be a lot harder to motivate yourself to write stuff if you aren’t bothered about it.
  • Set yourself a timetable for publishing – Initially I thought I would just publish stuff when I’ve written it. But this led to problems such as multiple posts in a day and periods of not publishing anything. Now I try to publish three times a week, evenly spaced out so articles get exposure and there is new content on the blog.
  • Write things ahead of time so you have stuff in the back – Stuff happens. Be prepared. I don’t think there is anything wrong with writing a bunch of articles and then storing them up to publish in line with your timetable. You might find some days you can write loads, but then some days you might not write anything. I think its good to be ready.
  • Write about current events – People are generally interested in things that are happening around them. Make some of your posts related to recent news items.
  • Read other blogs – Both in and out of your blog’s area. See what people are talking about and how they write (and display) their blog posts.
  • Leave useful comments on other blogs – Once you’ve read articles on other blogs, if you have an opinion feel free to leave it. I’m sure the blogger will be very happy when they see someone has left a comment on their blog and they might reciprocate.
  • Things will start slow – Sometimes very slow. In the first month of this blog I got about 10 views. But since then viewing figures have been increasing quite quickly. Just persevere and keep putting those posts out. 

Monday, 9 January 2012

The Untimed Run

In this age of GPS watches, Smartphone apps and whatever else tech you use when training it’s become very easy for anybody to track and analyse all the details of their workouts. As such it’s very easy for people to get bogged down with stats and progress of their training. I myself have fallen victim to this. Using (perhaps the simplest of devices) a stopwatch and a spreadsheet to predict what I should be doing in the next sessions.

This does have its benefits, don’t get me wrong. For example, knowing how quickly you can complete set distances gives you a good idea of what to aim for in races and the like. But I think this can have a detrimental effect on training too. Becoming obsessed with the ‘numbers’ can detract from the joy you can get from just going out to exercise. In fact, it’s not too hard to imagine a scenario where you push yourself a bit too hard to achieve what you think you should be doing one day and end up injuring yourself. That is, the desire to meet predicted times may outweigh listening to your own body. Everyone has off training days and that’s ok. Even if it doesn’t fit in with what you think you should be doing. A bad day of training can be as beneficial as a good day because it allows you to develop coping mechanisms when things are not going your way (which will eventually happen in a race).

This brings me in a roundabout way to the subject of this posts title – the untimed run. A while ago I was going out for a run as part of my training regime but didn’t really feel like it. Instead of bailing I didn’t take my stopwatch and decided just to go for the run for the sake of running (not training). After about the first mile I forgot I hadn’t got my stopwatch on me (do other people constantly look at the time when they are out training? Do you find it distracting?) and was just enjoying the views along my route – I stuck to the same route I was going to anyway. At the end of the run I didn’t know how long it had taken me to complete but I had enjoyed it much more than if I had been a slave to my stopwatch.

So, I put it to you on your next swim/cycle/run, leave your tech behind and just enjoy it. Want to know how fast to go? Listen to what your body is telling you it can do – a useful skill to have on race day.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Operation Breaking Dawn Week 5 Report

Spent this week ‘off’ from waking up early as I had the week off. I am a little concerned though that I will not be able to wake up early next week.

Previous articles in this report:

Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year Resolutions

Does anyone have any interesting resolutions lined up for the new year? Write them below in the comments.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Operation Breaking Dawn Week 4 Report

So I spent this week waking up an additional 30 minutes earlier. Nothing new to report really. However, with next week’s ‘holiday’ approaching and the fact that I will be abandoning my getting up early regime for this, I am concerned that I’m going to slip back into bad habits. The biggest problem I’m worried about regarding this is it could result in me having to start again getting my body to wake up early in the mornings. Thus, undoing all the work I’ve already put in. Will let you know how it goes.

Previous articles in this report:

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

5 Tips for Creating a Training Plan

1.       Work to an end goal – this could be an event, a pace or anything else measureable.  A measureable end result will give you something to aim for and that you can visibly measure progress is made towards.
2.       Don’t do too much too soon – you’ll find that you can’t achieve the goals you set yourself, become less motivated and be more likely to abandon the plan.
3.       Work backwards from your goal and forwards from what you can do now – the only person who knows what you can do is you.  Similarly, the only person who knows what you want to achieve is you.  I find it best to write down what you can do now and what you want to achieve in the future and then think about how you can best move from one to the other in the time you have.
4.       Work time off in the plan – think ahead.  Think about when you are going to be on holiday, or when you will be busy with other commitments and work it into the plan.  Either reduce what you are going to do or take the time as rest. You can see an actual example of when I didn’t do this and hence had to change a plan here – I forgot to take the Christmas holidays into account.
5.       Stick to the plan once it is made – consider the time set aside for training as `protected’ time.  If friends ask if you want to go out and you know it will clash with the training plan.  Say no.  It may sound harsh.  But I’ve found letting training plans slip is one of the worst things to do.  I tend to feel worse for not sticking to a training plan than I feel good for going out.  Yes, sometimes in life you do have to be flexible.  But only change training plans as a last resort. 

Monday, 19 December 2011

Operation Breaking Dawn: Week 3 Report

After another week of maintaining the same waking time as last week, I have the following conclusions to make:
  • I’m finding that I am making more use of the time in mornings – I’m waking up quicker in the mornings. I guess this can be attributed to my body becoming used to the new waking up time.
  • I’m starting to think that I could be training in the mornings now. That is, the original plan covers a time period that’s too great – I could’ve started training sooner. However, I will carry on with the previously proposed plan so that I can report fully on it at the end of this.
Previous articles in this report: