Saturday, 5 February 2011

Flash! Aaaaarrgh

I'm now getting back into a sort of training plan, having spent most of the winter doing the odd jog here and there. I've been out running 3 times this week, and I fancied something a bit different today. So I tested my new cross-training technique - cycling hill reps.

The good thing about cycling is that it's not an impact activity, so you can do it when your joints are sore from running or as a recovery activity. It also isolates your big thigh muscles so is good training for uphill running. The bad thing about cycling is that it takes a long time and there are often long bits between the hills.

So, why not do hill reps on a bike? There are many answers - such as "because it's dull". Still, I've not grown tired of it yet. I'm quite lucky in that I live within a few miles of Flash - Britain's highest village. Old Flash road deserves more than the 1 arrow it gets on the OS map. The steepest bit has over 100 metres of ascent in not very much distance and I'm pleasingly tired by the end of it. I can just do it on my road bike, but the gear ratios are not really designed for hills, so I prefer it on Mrs Noel's heavier mountain bike.

Today I did four reps of it and my thighs are now pleasingly achy, despite the rest of me not feeling too tired. Hopefully I can get out for a run tomorrow. I'm sure I could do a lot more ascent if I went out for a proper bike ride. However, that would take 2-3 hours. Today's reps took less than an hour, including the time taken to get there and back.

Here's the profile from my mapping software.

I await comments:
(a) from proper cyclists, saying how I should be doing more reps, harder hills, and using my road bike, and
(b) from fell runners, saying how this type of training won't help.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Statistics for ladies

Normally I try to get into the top 20% of fell race fields. In the last year or so, I've even managed to sneak into the top 10% of some race fields. This is possible if there are 150 people. It's harder if there are 15!

The number of ladies entering fell races doesn't often lend itself to such analysis. There might be 10 women in a field, and one or two of them are normally disproportionately fast.

Last Sunday's Tigger Tor race was one of the few exceptions. Mrs Noel did it for the first time, and there were loads of ladies there. So I felt very helpful doing the maths and pointing out that she was in the top 10% of the ladies' field (5th out of 67) and of the lady-vets' field (2nd out of 27).

I stayed at home as our youngest was a bit ill, so I have no photos of the day. However, I can show the marmalade that was part of the prize. I realise I've done quite a few photos of jars of conserves, so am trying to make them more interesting with unusual camera angles. What do you think?