cycling

Week 7

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Week 7

4 runs – 3 short (including a lovely run home!), 1 long

2 rides – 1 road, 1 turbo

1 swim

1 brick session – bike / run

3 short and sweet core sessions and of course more yoga

Things I have learnt this week? 

When talking to my cycling / tri friends the benefits of having a “bike fit” were mentioned just a few times (!?!) and after doing some research I could see why.  A bike fit looks to help you be as efficient and comfortable as possible whilst in the saddle, improving your overall riding experience.  However, it would appear that in most places this comes at quite the price!

I bought my bike at Evans, I have had it serviced at Evans, I have been to maintenance classes run by them and so I was delighted to see that they are now offering bike fits for as little as £45.  I have had nothing but great service from these guys and the bike fit was no exception.  After having a few measurements taken, including sitting on a special pad to give a bum imprint (!?) I was asked to hop on my bike (clipped into a turbo) so I could be filmed.  Rhys (my bike fit man) showed me the video highlighting the various lines my body was creating and how, if adjusted, I could be a lot more efficient in the saddle and hopefully a little more comfortable.  So, with small adjustments to my saddle, handlebars etc I then hopped back on the bike to be filmed again.  Straightaway I could feel the difference and looking at the film was quite shocking, the tiny changes to the height etc made a huge difference to how I sat in the saddle!

 

The fit lasted an hour and I came away extremely excited to get on the saddle and sail home.  Obviously I am sure the more expensive fits are fantastic and offer a lot more in terms of analysis but if like me you are new to this whole cycling / triathlon thing and don’t want to spend £100s then I could not recommend the Evans service enough!!

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Friday’s Fact File

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Things that I have discovered or just loved this week …

 Music!

Lion Babe – Impossible  

Shaka – Say Nada 

Eats!

9bar

As I mentioned in my post about cycling from London to Paris  one of the most important things whilst on the road was to ensure that we just kept “having a nibble”.  This meant ensuring our bodies had plenty of fuel to keep us going up some pretty serious French hills!  One of my favourite snacks along the way were 9bars, and most of my friends will tell you I am a little obsessed with these yummy, seedy snacks.

9bars are a high fibre, gluten free, mixed seed energy bar, where the seeds actually make up to around 71% of the bar itself.  If you didn’t already know seeds are a great source of plant protein and are also rich in essential fatty acids and high in Omega 3 – sounds pretty good right!

I have found these bars perfect for my long rides as they seem to fuel my legs and are actually pretty filling!  It’s also worth mentioning that they have an incredible amount of different flavours ….

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Personally my favourites are from are their “Cocoa Kick” range, previously known at the “Indulge range”.  These bars have an gorgeous layer of yummy cocoa mixed with either raspberry, cashew, coconut or hazelnut.  I don’t know how many raspberry bars I got through whilst in France ;D

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And on top of being a pretty tasty they have now teamed up with UK charity SolarAid, who provide solar lights to those who need them most in Africa, so every time you buy a bar you are providing energy elsewhere giving “good energy, twice”.  So many reasons to try all the flavours ;D

PS. Just wanted to say a little thank you to 9bar who kindly gave me a couple of bars to try ahead of my long ride, I have been a fan of 9bar for ages now and was extremely grateful to receive a few more before I started on those 200+ miles!!

Stuff, things, bits and pieces!

Can we just dicsuss these flip flops !!!

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Havaianas have released 3 different types of Snoopy flip flops and well we all know exactly where I am going before I fly off to France next week … but just which one to pick!

 

 

 

Croissant the Channel

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So if you didn’t know recently I cycled to Paris.  To Paris from London with 5 friends and my brother who I don’t think even knew what lycra was until a few months back.

In hope of raising some money for Yorkshire Air Ambulance, who amazingly saved one of our friends a few years back, my big bro and another friend thought “why not try and cycle to Paris”.  Fast forward one year later and there were 7 of us standing on my favourite bridge of London (Tower Bridge) ready to start a journey to the next tower The Eiffel Tower.IMG_1654

Helped by the invaluable blog posts from Charlie – particularly her packing list (it’s amazing how you can easily forget that you will need your passport) I am extremely pleased to say that as a team we successfully made it to Paris agreeing that this was an experience of a lifetime and one we will NEVER forget.  Ceri has written a great blow by blow account of the trip over on her blog so I thought I would just offer my top tips in case you fancy getting ON’ER BIKE!

1. Pack light!  Like I said we used Charlie’s packing list as a guide but a few members of the group still went a little overboard on the packing which made their bikes INCREDIBLY HEAVY!  If, like us, you are planning to do the trip in the summer then the quicker you get used to the fact that you are going to get sweaty, dirty, smelly etc etc the better.  I took bare minimum.  My toiletries, for instance, consisted of suncream, babywipes, deodorant, a toothbrush and lip salve.  Someone may have brought an entire washbag … just saying it’s not the most glamorous I have looked but the less weight the better.

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My life was in my little backpack … including a “fancy” change of shoes and dress for Paris ;D

2. Bring food  So whilst knocking back the red wine in Paris we discussed the different but equally important roles we all played in ensuring our safe arrival.  My invaluable role appeared to be getting everyone to “have a nibble”.  Cycling to Paris, in the summer, means heat, hills, long days and apparently minimal amounts of open shops.  You may not feel hungry whilst cycling but it amazing how much you burn whilst doing 60+ miles a day up and down pretty impressive hills.  You may also find, as we did, that a lot of places in France seem to close during the days, not really offering much opportunity to grab nibbles en route.  We were stocked to the brims with 9Bars, Soreen, gels, nuts, dried fruit, crisps and a couple of sneaky extras (mainly in the form of haribo picked up at the Carrefour!).  Little and often is ABSOLUTELY KEY, and if at all possible bring a variety of snacks to save you getting sick of the same thing!  My personal favourites during the trip were a couple of the new Cocoa Kick 9bars (but more on these another time!) oh and those and the mille-feuille we had in Marines

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3. Choose an amazing BnB for your second night.  After two days of cycling you are going to be tired, your bum is going to hate you … never mind anything else … and so a good rest and a bit of treat will do your mind, body and soul a world of good.  When I say a bit of treat … our team chose Chambres du Confiturier.  A family run, beautiful, BnB roughly half way between Dieppe and Paris, perfectly catered for tired, smelly, HUNGRY cyclists, this place was incredible.

We were firstly shown to a huge shed to store our bikes, full of tools and equipment should we need to tweak anything or pump our tires and then we were led to our rooms, our beautiful, beautiful rooms – so beautiful in fact that we all jumped straight in the showers before we touched anything so not to dirty it.  Following this we then reclined in the large garden with a glass of locally sourced red wine whilst watching the sun go down.

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Then came the food, the most incredible 4 course meal (starter, main, cheese, dessert) all made with ingredients freshly picked from the garden.  I thought dinner was good … then came breakfast the next morning … I could literally have just stayed there with all the pancakes, homemade loaves, jams and museli …   Marie absolutely spoilt us and I could not recommend this place more!

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Ready for the final day after an amazing stay at Chambres du Confiturier !

4. Remember you are team  – One of the reasons this trip was so memorable, a side from the fact that we actually managed to cycle from London to Paris (!?) was that we did it as a team.  We spurred each other on up those grewling hills and clapped when one by one we made it to the top, we were mindful when each of us went through a little less than positive moment, we shared stupid jokes and stories as distractions and always made sure we were feed and watered ;D.  Our group was of mixed abilities, some could power up hills, some were not afraid of absolutely flying downhills but there was not one point on this journey we were were split (well apart from when one of us had to do a wild wee in a very public space).  This trip would not have been anywhere near as amazing if it wasn’t for the people I rode with and I could not have done it without them :D!

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To be honest as someone who first tried cycling back in March this year due to an injury preventing me from running I am still shocked that I have actually just cycled to Paris, I mean on bike from London to Paris.  But what is more amazing is that I got to watch my brother, who I am sure will not mind me saying NEVER does any exercise, do it right by my side (most the time ;D)  I could not recommend doing this trip enough.  I know there are people who do this in 24 hours and that is truly incredible but in my eyes by doing it over numerous days you really get to enjoy what it feels like to cycle on big open roads in the middle of France and really soak in the incredible experience.

Let’s be honest if team #croissantthechannel can do it SO CAN YOU!  And please do get in touch if you have any questions or want any advice 😀

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otherwise all that is left for me to say is

BONNE CHANCE!

 

Friday’s Fact File

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Things that I have discovered or just loved this week …

Tricurious 

What do you when you are a runner who cannot run?  You find other ways to exercise in hope of getting the same buzz!  I plan to write a lot more on this in the coming weeks but in short I started swimming and even more incredibly cycling (I was a very nervy cyclist up until recently).

About a month ago I became a runner in recovery, slowly managing to go a bit further, a bit faster but still wanted to keep up the swimming and cycling.  As a runner I enjoyed a good race, the atmosphere, the opportunity to put your training to good use and of course that finisher’s high and so well … a triathlon didn’t seem like such a ridiculous idea, particularly after buying this …

 

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TRICURIOUS

Written by the lovely Laura Fountain and Katie King this fantastic book provides an incredible source of information for anyone wanting to try out a triathlon for the first time.  It details Laura’s journey from a non runner/swimmer through to becoming the inspiring runner/triathlete that she is now with the incredible of help and support from her friend Katie.  Throughout the book you are given advice and some very funny anecdotes about all things triathlons but all in a way that makes these races sound possible, even for the total beginner!

So after feeling so inspired and actually quite excited about the possibility of trying something completely different I have decided to take part in the Shock Absorber Women Only Challenge.

On Sunday 12th July I will be taking part in a triathlon, A FULL ON TRIATHLON and putting all these new found skills to good use.  The day itself actually offers the opportunity to take part in a swim, triathlon, duathlon and a run so if you fancy joining for just one discipline … OR if you decide to pick up a copy of Tricurious (which I could not recommend enough!) and feel inspired to give all three a go then you might even like to make use of this …

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By entering the code “KISDISCOUNT” at the checkout you will be entitled to £5 off!  £5 to spend on snacks instead ;D

Either way I could not recommend the book enough for anyone who has a slight interest in any sort of sport, or if you just fancy reading an inspiring story, who knows I might even see you on the start line!

 

So just in case you missed it…

Buy the book here 

Learn more about the Shock Absorber Challenge 

 

 

Runners Not Running: Psycle

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Very excitingly I was invited down to Psycle a while back to “enjoy” a 60 minute spinning class and then have a sneak preview at the Richard Nicoll X Sweaty Betty collection, available next week (more on this on Friday)!

So lets discuss Psycle …

Arriving at the studio you cannot deny that their staff are super friendly and extremely helpful, particularly to Psycle newbies (I have been once before but it was a long time ago – check Charlie’s blog to hear about that!).  You are provided with cleated shoes, free of charge, which I think it brilliant, but a little tip if you are not used to wearing them DO NOT put them on until you are downstairs and pretty much in the studio, apparently there are not as easy as they look to walk in!  The actual spin class itself is definitely different to any spin class I have been to before.  When you walk into the dark studio with what I like to call “disco beams” all over the walls and ceiling, you are instructed to pick up hand weights!?!

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The class has a lot more focus on the upper body than I am used to.  You start going through various spin style sections and then it’s time to start working those arms – OUCH (I definitely felt the upper body workout I had done the day before!) The music is brilliant as it includes lots of current tracks that have been (in my opinion) successfully remixed to give them even more energy and drive you during the workout.  This 60 minute class definitely got my heart rate up, though the incredible instructor Chiara looked like she hadn’t started!  Post class all Psycle class survivors are treated to as many towels as needed, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, moisturiser, deodorant … the list goes on!  This definitely appeals, apart from makeup they literally have everything there for you!   It is a little more on the expensive side being £20 a class but the studios are gorgeous, the staff are friendly, the class will definitely get you sweaty and the changing rooms are seriously kitted out!

If I am honest I prefer a more “traditional” type of indoor cycle class, without hand weights, mainly because I do weight sessions in my regular week by week workouts however, I do think Pscyle offers a fun, full body workout.  So, if you are into pumping tunes, like a full body work out and up for sweating in a dark room with strobe lights then definitely give Pscyle a go!

 

Chasing the side dream …

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I have a little side dream … it’s kinda explained in the snazzy little video on The Training Room‘s page entitled LOVE WHAT YOU DO 

So when I was offered the opportunity to attend a specialist training event and potentially walk away as a qualified studio cycling instructor I couldn’t really say no.

The Training Room Certificate in Studio Cycling is normally part of a wider six week intensive personal training course but this one day date was a great opportunity to get a feel of what doing the full course would be like.

We kicked off with a quick hello and got given our tops for the day … I was very excited to wear mine (with the words Personal Trainer on the sleeve ;D)

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And after a quick selfie with our tops we headed straight to the studio to take part in a class. Our teacher David took us for a full 45 minute session making us do all sorts of spinning moves and definitely got us all sweating, even with the aircon on full blast!

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After he had finished turning our legs into jelly it was back to the class room.  We discussed the various advantages of “indoor cycling”, both physically and psychologically, I of course mentioned that incredible smug feeling after a workout (flippin’ love that feeling) and how taking part in group work outs can really have a knock on effect on so many other aspects of life! After this it started getting technical!

Natalie, Alex, Charlie, David, Dani, Nick, Annie

We learnt about how to get ready for a class, how to help set up a bike correctly, the various moves you can perform whilst in a class, what the technical elements are behind each one and how to best to instruct your class to perform them properly.

After a delicious lunch it was back to the classroom to do a quick test., yes A TEST, to recap on various points we had discussed earlier in the day.  Once we had all finished it was time to discuss music.  Music is a massive part of a class for me, I always go back to the same class because 1. I like the trainer and 2. I LOVE the music she chooses, for me it just works!  Next came the scary part – designing a class and choosing what we were going to teach as part of our assestment!

After learning the moves, discussing music and understanding the structure of a class it was time to put it all to use.  Firstly we had to write down what a potential class could look like, including a warm up, 3 full tracks and a cool down and then we had to think about which one track we would teach the rest of the class.  YES we would have to teach the rest of the class as part of our assessment.  Now we had been quite a chatty bunch until this moment, I think things got a lot more real and the nerves started to set in!

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I opted to go first – like a plaster get it done quickly – and off I went!  I took my class through a nasty seated climb and then a standing sprint finish!  I LOVED IT and definitely discovered a new found respect for all indoor cycling instructors, speaking and spinning is definitely not the easiest but what a buzz you get from leading other people!  One by one we each taught one track and the supportive atmosphere in the studio was awesome!

Once back in the classroom we were handed back all our paperwork and I am extremely happy to say that I can now officially instruct Studio Cycling Classes.

A huge thank you to The Training Room I had an awesome day and I am extremely proud of my achievement … so London watch out I might be teaching in a studio very soon ;D!

Getting into a routine …

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So I think I am finally getting into a nice little routine … almost … nearly

Monday

Bit of ab work but otherwise “cool down” after the seriously sweaty race that was “The British 10km”

Tuesday

Morning – Upper body stuff, kicking off with interval rowing!  This was then followed by pull ups, skull crushers, curls and presses.  As mentioned last week I went with my list of moves and also started to note down the weight I use so I can monitor my progress!

Evening – RUN DEM aka speed session!  This week I decided to go to the next level after figuring that I really need to start pushing myself and so I opted for #CheetahElites but somehow got asked to lead!   It was an AWESOME 5 mile run and absolutely amazing to have the opportunity to lead such strong crew of people!  Down to City Hall, across to Blackfriars and along past St Paul’s this SPEEDY run left me buzzing for days!!!

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Wednesday

A great 7 mile run to an awesome soundtrack.  During all my races now I chose to go without music and just enjoy the sights and sounds around me but when I am running on my own I love being able to catch up with musics/mixes!  It’s awesome running to some serious tunes and I would definitely recommend listening back to MistaJam’s show at 7pm on 1xtra, it’s a great mixed bag of beats!!

Thursday

BOOM Cycle and London Duathlon BRICK Training Event

On Thursday I was lucky enough to be invited to an intensive one hour BRICK training alongside London Duathlon 2014 ambassadors, ITUDuathlon Champion, Ryan Ostler and Junior Team GB silver medallist, Charlotte Harris, in a 30 minute spin class mimicking the hills of Richmond Park followed by a 5k run.  It definitely provided that “jelly leg” feeling but I actually really enjoying pairing the two disciplines!  So much so that I would definitely have signed up for the London Duathlon on 14th September but sadly I am already taking part in another event!  However, if you fancy getting involved you can find out lots more on their website – http://www.londonduathlon.com

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Friday

LEG DAY – I know I keep saying it but I am loving my strengthening sessions at the moment, I just love the idea of making my body stronger! During this session I tried something a little different. After a gentle warm up I did 3 minute bursts on the sweat inducing stepper machine following by squats, lunges and kick backs. I did this little sequence 4 times … and then collapsed! It was AWESOME!

Saturday

Gardening … lots of gardening!  I volunteered through work to help a fix up a school as part of a surprise for the pupils.  It was a great thing to be a part of and I definitely think it counted as a full body workout!  Even just carrying the wheelbarrow was tough haha!

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Sunday

An absolutely glorious 10 mile run in the sun and when I say glorious I 110% mean glorious!  I went with my music, after sourcing a great mix by Kaytranada, and just ran, not for time, not for distance but just to run and it felt amazing!!!! Now I know I am shortly going to start working on my speed which means shorter, more intense runs but this confirmed I just love a long run!  I love the feeling of racking up the miles and the glorious satisfaction of that. I could have carried on for hours but I had a brunch to get to…of course ;D

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So there we are!  Do you prefer a long, chilled run or are you the type that likes short bursts of intensive running?

 

Variety is the spice of life …

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Yep you got it another mixed bag last week … but I think I am building up a rough routine …

Monday

Rest day after ROGA!

Tuesday

Morning – Really looked forward to my upper body work out, starting to feel a lot more relaxed using the weights. Tip here: go prepared! I always write down the four moves I am going to do and how many reps and sets I plan to do giving me the look of confidence whilst surrounded by big, grunting, muscly men!

Evening – RUN DEM aka speed session! 5.5 miles averaging between 7.5 / 8 minute miles! Now granted there were a few traffic light stops but I am still seriously buzzing about those times!

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Rolling with Cheetahs!
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Charlie’s idea to take over the road in the middle of Oxford Street … fast enough to take a photo before the lights changed ;D!

Wednesday

A glorious 7 mile run. After some forward planning, making sure I ate a good meal straight after Run Dem, I woke up feeling fresh and ready to go! However the last mile may have been a little tough….!

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Thursday

BOOM! Love a good Boom class with Lissy!  I LOVE that I can get a good work out whilst catching up with friends…very lucky to be able to do both!  Nice and sweaty 45 minute spin class busting my ass to the likes of Usher, Prince and Britney!

Friday

NTC Abs work out … ouch!

Saturday

Does shopping along oxford street count? Followed by a huge wardrobe clear out?

 

The weight sessions are really becoming something I look forward to, though it is definitely getting to the point where more moves, advice would be seriously appreciated!  If you want any info on the stuff I am doing at the moment just pop me an email or leave a comment!  I am happy to share :D!