Archive for the 'Training' Category

Team Daft on the silver screen

We’ve been working away on the Team Daft Round Ireland Yacht Race challenge, and as well as ticking the admin boxes, we’ve had some practical stuff to do too.

Mick has been showing me the ropes, literally, in a 1720. I’ve found that helming upwind is no problem, there is a gentle tug on the tiller that lets you know when you’re hitting the right angles. Downwind, I need more verbal cues as there is less feel on the tiller, so the boat isn’t ‘telling me’ much about what’s going on. We’re working with technology experts to deal with that problem.

We also had the small matter of the Sea Survival Course to deal with, which went well and allows us to go into the offshore phases of this project with plenty of confidence that we can deal with the worst, should it occur. All the while, we’ve had Markham Nolan looking over our shoulder, and he’s put together this video detailing our progress to date.

Keep an eye out for us on the following channels:

Battery-powered team-mates

For years I’ve been banging on about the importance of getting the right team around you…and this post is not going to dispute that. However, over the last week I added an electronic team-mate to the group.

A talking heart rate monitor from Oregon Scientific – the AH310 – is the new addition. It’s a heart-rate monitor chest strap with a built-in earphone jack in the chest belt. Through the ear phones I get periodic updates on what my heart rate is and I’m blown away by the impact it is having.

When I could see I used to use a whole suite of electronic equipment to measure my progress on a given day – electronic read outs on rowing machines, speedos on bikes and heart rate monitors when rowing, running, swimming or anything else. I was constantly checking and rechecking my progress against previous performance.

Sometimes I was ahead, sometimes I was behind but the point is that I had something to work off. But when I lost my sight I lost my training independence. From 1998 until today, unless I had a willing team-mate to either set the pace or read my scores out then I was completely on my own. I rarely, if ever, got off a piece of exercise equipment or out of the pool feeling like I had done enough. And for years I have found motivating myself for training a real drag.

The races and adventures have been amazing but getting my training right has been really tough. For example, back in 2006 I did most of my training on my own and eventually managed to over-train myself. I was training for Ironman Switzerland (3.8 km swim, 180 km bike and then a marathon) and was scared of not doing enough training. Pushing myself to the point where I became over-trained was, in no small part, due to a lack of feedback. For the most part I relied on perceived effort (difficult if you don’t have an initial mark to base the perceived effort on) and far too much time spent in the pool, on a stationary bike and on treadmills. The result was that my performances dropped dramatically, I was really down in the dumps and my weight shot up.

The over training, I believe came about due to 2 factors: firstly, I had very little feedback on how hard I was training which resulted in me doing far too much and secondly, I wasn’t fuelling my body for the effort I was putting in (but I didn’t really know how much effort I was putting in!)

Today, I’ve learned lots about the importance of nutrition and hydration but until I put my new talking heart rate monitor on for the first time, my work rate in training remained a mystery. Now, talking heart rate monitor in place, I seem to be motivated to train again on my own. This simply hasn’t happened since 1998 when I could see. I’m training more effectively, enjoying it and am even eating better than I have for ages.

Maybe, just maybe, this simple piece of electronic kit is the missing team-mate that I’ve been looking for. I’ll reserve judgement and see if my enthusiasm lasts but right now the heart rate monitor is in the team!


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