Enjoying the Journey, Strength, Open Water Swimming, Recovery

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,

for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself,

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

The intense beauty of Istanbul is all well and good but it did smash through my workout plans for last week. There was little strength training beforehand and none out there at all although I did manage 7 miles on a Treadmill and a WOD that I’d programmed for long haul flights.

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Unfortunately, the run was in minimalist shoes…cue getting up for my flight the next day and collapsing in a fit of one-legged agony at 0430, my left calf as solid as the marble on the mosque roof on the other side of the dawn-bathed Bosphorus. It wasn’t exactly funny at the time but imagine the inevitable pain that comes another 24 hours later! Saturday morning, trying to get down the stairs to the Action Princesses was hysterical. Trying to get a cup of tea up to the Chief Warrior Princess was even funnier! It turns out that walking backwards up stairs isn’t very clever either (unless you like Early Grey covered carpets).

I want to highlight my last post. Before heading out to the continental bridge between Europe and Asia last week, I got a new Clean PR baby! 103.5kg! I kind of brushed over it in my last musings, covering the Level 2 CrossFit Trainer course instead. But hell, I got my first major PR in AGES! Boom and, indeed, SMASH! I put it down to the strength programme, CF Watford’s programming, good nutrition and adequate recovery.

Having a goal is really keeping me motivated at the moment. More than that though, I’m enjoying the process. I’ll be honest, I do enjoy weighing and tracking my food. I love seeing my power output in workouts and I’m pushed to keep writing this blog in the vain hope that someone might read it 😉

Anyway, back in to it today with Day 24 of the AMRAP Plus One Strength Programme and my first proper Open Water Swim training.

Strength

  • Cleans 5 x 1 @ 75% – 77.5kg
  • Cleans 5 x 1 @ 80% – 82.5kg
  • Cleans 5 x 1 @ 85% – 87.5kg
  • Clean Pulls 3 x 3 @ 90% – 92.5kg
  • Halting Clean Deadlift (3 x Knee), Finish (x1), Floating Clean Deadlift (x1) @ 87.5kg

I didn’t warm up completely this morning and felt it in the catch, in the lumbar. It took me all day to unknot it. However, each rep was strong. I’m enjoying this programme.

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Swim

1km Open Water @ Denham Water Ski

Time: approx 24 mins.

Nothing fancy, a chance to try on the new DHB wetsuit (which I love) and get in to the cold water (11C). I plodded around (is there a ‘slow swimming’ verb?) and made my way out in good order. Of course, what noone tells you (unless you actually read triathlon websites! – Ed) is that trying to walk after a 1km swim is REALLY funny! 😀 How I’m expected to run 15km, I’ll never know. Still there’s about 5 weeks until the event – plenty of time 😀 😀

Nutrition

  • Pre-Strength – Banana
  • Breakfast – Porridge, Whey Protein, Milk
  • Snack – Brazil Nuts and Cherries
  • Lunch – Turkey Burgers, 2 x Eggs
  • Snack – Seed Mix
  • Dinner – 2 x Organic Bramley Apple Pork Sausages, tonnes of carrots, broccoli and parsnips.
  • Post-Swim – Whey Protein & Milk, Chicken, Rice, Egg

Total Carbs: 202g (808 KCal)

Total Protein: 211g (844 KCal)

Total Fat: 73g (657KCal)

Easter Week Training. Open Water Swimming, Long Distance Running. And Weights :D

Easter Week Update

Swimming

What a beautiful scene. Tranquil harbour, blue haze, warm sun.

Utterly ball-freezing British water.

Yes, at only 10.4C, I don’t mind admitting that I was nervous before diving in and shocked to the core once in. It took almost all my reserve to pretend it was fine, look cool, and swim off. For my first open water practice of the season, I’d hoped for 600m but in just a 3mm Shortie I made it a mere 400m before deciding that the shivering was hampering and semblance of style I may have begun with. Besides which, I quickly realised why swimming wetsuits are designed the way they are; attempting front crawl in a suit made for body-boarding / messing about in the surf is really tough, especially in the shoulders. I can’t wait for my new DHB swimming wetsuit to arrive today! Longer distance this weekend. 


Running

In training for the South Milton Sands Swim/Trail Run, I’ve also started pushing my running figures up too. Yesterday saw 5 miles in 38:45, the furthest and fastest I’ve run in a very long time. Indeed, according to Beyond the Whiteboard, it’s a pretty good time for a CrossFitter. I don’t mind admitting that I’m going to aim for faster than that, with an average pace of 7:30 per mile by the time of the race. I think that this will allow me to keep under 8:00 per mile after a 1km Sea Swim. I hope. Maybe.


Strength

And, not to rest on the simple monostructural events, I’ve been digging in to the AMRAP Plus One Strength Programme too. On day 10 now, I still feel like it’s a bit of a transition phase, having not lifted beyond 80% of 1RM in either Clean or Snatch. I see that from next week this starts to increase though and so am very much looking forward to that. I did love getting my improvised squat rack out too!

Nutrition 

Despite it being Easter hols, I’ve been pretty good and have logged everything still. Ok, sure, the macros have become a bit unbalanced in favour of carbs but that’s a function of modern family intake, especially at Easter time, and a demonstration of me not being in overall control. Overall KCal have remained pretty steady at 2300-2500 though and so I’m happy for this week. Besides, it’s a holiday period and you can’t take these things too seriously when at parties/picnics/beach/cinema.

Lake Swim, Team WOD, In-Flight PT -Sun 11 Sept

Stretched out across 3 empty seats, I’ve gorged on, “Captain America: Civil War” (enjoyed it, geeking out on superhero stuff), “Daddy’s Home” (brilliantly predictable and very funny), slept, eaten some Thai chicken curry and bored the hell out of myself with, “London Has Fallen” (utter turd, waste of 90 mins of my life). With 3.5 hours remaining of this United Airlines flight, and before I treat myself to some,”Big Bang Theory” hilarity, I thought I’d catch up on yesterday’s action.

Saturday

Having not headed home, with the flight looming, I made a plan to really make the most of my day. Following up on the extra swimming during the summer holidays, I decided to find a lake to get some distance in.

This is not easy in the UK. Too many refuse swimmers on health & safety grounds. Like much of the UK outdoors, we over – egg the risks and simply lock it away, preferring our society to engage through the perceived safety of consoles and devices, getting lazy and slow instead. Not this Team Nomad, I can certainly say that. Our family love the outdoors and between Mrs Nomad and I we encourage all activities outside. However, I found Denham Water-Ski centre about 20 mins away and shot off there for 0730.

It was about 500m in to my 1km loop that I realised how out of swimming condition I am; or compared to present compant anyway. At least 5 people overtook me, 3 with “Ironman” swim hats on. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will be going back there in the future. The facilities were first rate, cafe-bar very well maintained and spacious, and the staff were extremely friendly. I wasn’t too put off by seemingly being the only one not a triathlete. 

Pulling on my CrossFit Towoomba t-shirt (feeling immediately better about myself 😉 ), and after my body had recovered, it was over to CrossFit Watford for a Saturday morning Team WOD. I’ve been looking forward to one of these for a while.

Strength 

3 x 3 Back Squats (to 90% 3RM only)

105 / 110 / 115 kg

After this week’s squat programme, I decided to go easy on this and push myself only to about 85%.

Team WOD

20 min AMRAP (team of 4)

  • 250m Row (each)
  • 20 x Burpee Box Jumps 24″
  • 20 x Kettlebell Swings 24kg
  • 20 x Pull Ups

Total: 3 Rounds plus 731m

We rattled through this quite comfortably. The row was the hardest part but I stuck to 2000+ cal/hour Avg. We had a very strong team, breaking everything up in to 5s or 10s and changing over rapidly. I’ve always performed far better when I know others are directly relying on me; today was no exception. We stormed through as the top team.

The remainder of the day was spent catching up with friends that I’ve drifted far too far apart from.

Treating myself while watching,  “Interstellar” (awesome movie, boggles the mind in to weird shapes),  I gave myself a Kronenborg 1664 while eating a Marks & Spencer Thai Banquet For One (extremely tasty), and went to bed feeling pretty strong (although that could just have been the beer).

Commando Bear and Tigger on more Adventures

Sunday

Out of bed at dawn o’clock, car to the airport,  stumble through security and then some bacon, eggs and coffee in Terminal 2. And wake up.

Next stop, Houston International and then onward to San Antonio.

About 6hrs in to this flight though,  right before I thumbed this post, I realised I’d not left my seat at all – dangerous business on a long haul flight. Standing up to stretch off, I munched on a “Graze” box of nuts (expensive for a few nuts but it’s on expenses) and looked down the plane, wanting to do some exercise. So, in typical NomadicCrossFit style,  I headed to the back and did this:

Have you ever had to improvise to get some exercise in? Do you have a routine?

I’ll be off for a day or two but will catch up with you all from Texas!

Open Water Swimming – Newbie Top Tips

Looks calm…..looks easy….

Through the recent good weather, and with ankles/achilles too crook to run, I’ve really taken to Open Water Swimming. Specifically sea swimming, but also considering lakes and other inland areas, I am enjoying the challenge not only in swimming as a skill that I’ve neglected but also in the nuances and natures of different bodies of water. However, as we all know,  the risks of open water swimming must be well understood in order to safely appreciate this environment correctly.

These are notes, and certainly not exhaustive ones, of what I have discovered so far as a newbie myself.

Noone about, all to yourself. Noone about, noone to help.

Know the Beach

The sea is just water. It’s the solid bits all around and in it that cause the problems, coupled with tides. While we can see the surrounding topography, the danger lurks beneath. We have no way of seeing or understanding what’s under the waves, nor how it affects the activity of the water, there are ways to find out.

The Beach Guide is a good place to start for research if you’ve not been to the site yet. Weather,  tides,  parking areas, shops local knowledge, and some updated commentary. 

Google. As is so often the case these days,  Google It. You can find a great deal about the detail of a new place with a simple search. Find a local outdoor swimming group on social media and ask them directly. 

Beach Information Boards and Flags. Every public UK beach has an information board showing the critical information about the hazards and dangers unique to that particular spot. IT MUST BE READ! Likewise the beach Flags. Understand what they are indicating before you set foot in the water; conditions can change suddenly and the flags are the update. Learn more about the flags on the RNLI website.

Know Yourself. 

If you cannot swim 500m in a pool, you certainly cannot swim 500m in open water. The water temperature alone will sap your strength. Tide, currents and hazards will sap your strength. Know your own limits,  then ramp them back further, especially on your first few forays in to open water. Judging open water distance is difficult for the uninitiated; Google Maps is good to get a strong approximation of a planned swim. Instead of going out for a single long distance, consider breaking up your swim in to short laps so that you’re never far from the shore or your start point.  

Report your Location 

Ideally, you’ll have someone on the shore while you swim at all times, especially in new areas. Once in trouble you can be overwhelmed far too quickly.

At the very least, let someone know where you will be swimming exactly, how far and how long you intend being out. With smartphones and built-in GPS, giving precise locations on land has never been easier.

I always make a point of chatting to any locals I happen to see on the shore too, just so someone keeps an eye on me.  



Equipment

Speedos and goggles.
I’m kidding…kind of. 

Wetsuit. At the basic level, swimming should require nothing more than a swimming costume of whichever gender. However, the water temperature will entirely dictate this. A simple 3mm shortie wetsuit can suffice in all but the coldest UK waters but a specific swimming wetsuit or triathlon suit should be considered for comfort of warmth and ergonomics. 

Hat. You might look like a bit of a title but I recommend a bright (not blue or black) neoprene or rubber swim hat. You will lose an incredible amount of heat from your head, necessitating the hat, and a bright colour allows you to be seen on dull days.

Ear Plugs. After recently suffering with blocked ears, I recommend ear plugs if you’re prone to the same. Cheap and effective, they block water but not sound.

Nose  Clips. I don’t respond well to these but I know others who swear by them. Even a minor ‘chop’ will result in water entering through the nose, inhibiting good breathing, causing nausea and worse. 

Decathlon is a great amateur sports shop these days and it offers a wide range of swimming options at a good price.
So, know your location, know yourself, know your equipment. Open Water Swimming is a great option for superb genetal fitness levels but there are hazards that have to be understood and prepared for.  

Have a great swim!

Summer Hols Week 3 – Coaching, More Swimming, Lifting

There is no fate but what we make – Sarah Connor

Croyde Bay

North Devon coast for 3 days this week. We made the most of the good weather, getting out to Combe Martin bay for rock pooling and swimming as well as Croyde Bay for the girls’ first ever bodyboarding experience. They were awesomeballs! Check out the weather!! This must have been the best British summer in years. Love it!!!!

Combe Martin

I swam for about 800m between bays although had no way of measuring it until the tide went right out; I then measured it with GPS and found I’d been quite precise. On Wed morning, I repeated the 800m at 600hrs.  Growing in confidence,  I did an extra lap and completed 1200m on Thurs morning too. Of course, I could have completed the mile but judging open open water is a completely different beast to pool swimming. 

Time Lapse of 1200m Swim: https://youtu.be/p4FisJJHArQ 

This open water lark is quite fun! A whole new challenge. I’m even very tempted by a triathlon.  Open water swimming does take some prep though and I’ll write about that soon. The Olympics have inspired and motivated me almost every single day. What from Rio inspired you the most and what will you do to harness that feeling?

Coaching. On Monday morning, I headed in to CF Plymouth to coach a session. It being 0700, there was only one person in, a relative newbie. This was a top opportunity to refresh my 1-2-1 coaching skills. Not coaching regularly results in inevitable skill fade. I love coaching so much; not so much sporting / fitness but coaching others to achieve whatever they truly want in any aspect of life.

Lifting. On Friday, back in Plymouth after the 3 days away, it was Lifting at CFP.  Front Squat x 3 -105kg,  3RM is 112.5kg. I could have achieved that but ran out of time. Strict Press x 3 – 72.5kg, new 3RM! After 3 weeks of softness, I am happy with both of these numbers as I move in to a new squatting programme from www.weightlifting101.com.

All in all, I think I’ve done pretty well to maintain general conditioning over the summer period. Ok, I could have done more but then it wouldn’t have been much of of a holiday,  would it!? I have been SO inspired by Rio Olympics and really want to push on with this amazing feeling.

Oh……and I’ve signed up for the Plymouth 10km on Oct 9th with CF Plymouth…..what can go wrong? 

So, how did you do do through the summer break? 

Cheers, Chief, and thanks for the Open Water Swimming

“Sports do not build character, they reveal it.”

Despite the body still suffering the latter stages of a chest infection, I decided that I’d had enough of this mooching about and needed to get back in the gym ASAP; yes. I KNOW it goes against any advice I’d give to others but sometimes, “Do as I say, not as I do!” Got It??!! 😉 Looking at the CF Plymouth WOD for today, it was “The Chief”. This is one I’ve cracked in the last 7 months but not with the best of scores. Could I beat it, even with a lingering gunky cough?

The Chief

5 Rounds of:

  • 3 x Power Clean @ 60kg / 135lb
  • 6 x Push Up
  • 9 x Air Squat
  • 1 min Rest

Previous Best: 20 Rounds and 6 Reps

New Best: 21 Rounds and 16 Reps

Yep, I smashed it! Unbroken Power Cleans (only managed first rounds last time), Push Ups burpeed in to Squats every time…I did slow down in rounds 4 and 5 though, simply coughing too much and finding it extremely hard to breathe. There’s more to come from this one in the future.

A New Sport

I’ve always loved being in the water; I’ve lived near the coast my whole life and am always the first in the sea when it’s in front of me (except last week when Mrs Nomad made a point of racing me in!!). I’ve never really got in to open water swimming though, normally seeking to mess about or bounce canoes around.


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With the sun breaking out in Plymouth, we took a trip down to our local rock-pooling location, Mount Batten. Throwing my little shortie wetsuit in the boot, I was feeling quite excited about getting in! With the tide out so far, there wasn’t a great deal to be done and I perhaps swam only a total of about 400m, across thick, entangling fields of kelp, wrack, bladderwrack and sea lettuce. I think there’s definitely more of this to come in the future too, starting this week in Swanage!

Flash WOD

Flash WODs are those you can do anywhere, at any time and with no equipment. They are not complete workouts in themselves but can easily be extended to be so.

 

Wherever you are, whenever you need to do it. See Twitter #flashwod for more.

 

 

Wed 01 Jun – It’s Summer?!? Not according to this man’s morning! Running & Squats.

Thanks Summer, that’ll be you then! Thank Thor I made the most of the sun on Sunday and got in to the sea for a swim; who knows when (IF) summer will visit us again. Digging the wetsuit out on Sunday, I really enjoyed the dunk and am thinking perhaps of giving it another go, with a lot further distance, soon.

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Clearly, this is NOT the most flattering photo! Honestly, I am in much better shape than this photo demonstrates! HONEST!

Even the crappy, pissy wintry weather is an opportunity though; a bit of arduousness never hurt anyone. “If it ain’t rainin’, it ain’t trainin'”, “skin is waterproof”, (etc). I left the curtains open last night to wake naturally and it really did make me feel better when I eventually woke.

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It didn’t stop me turning over for another 25 mins of dozing though before launching myself out of bed, ready for:

MetCon

4 Rounds for Time:

  • 400m Run
  • 50 x Air Squats

Time: 12:40 Rx

A recognised BTWB.com Bodyweight WOD (here), this is a tidy little one to start the day with. Given that I started it at 0630, with a banana and gulp of coconut water inside me, I am really quite pleased. I know that if I were to retest this at a later time in a day I would destroy it and may give it another go in a week or so, we shall see.

Nutrition

  • Breakfast: Eggs, Whole Milk, Cocoa Powder, Spinach, Naked Bar (Cashew)
  • Lunch: Tuna Kebab w/ little vegetable Rice
  • Dinner: Homemade Hawaiian Pork & Rice (Thanks, Mum!!)
  • Snacks: Wasabi Peas, Granola Bar
  • Drinks: Loads of Water, Coffee, pint of Bishop’s Finger (beer – thanks, Dad, I’ll finish it all off for you!!)

Well-Being

Slept really well, feeling strong. In a good place at the moment.

Misc

Over the next few days, I’ll be getting some more bodyweight work in, more out of availability of equipment (lack of) than any plan. This will involve handstand pushups, pistols, burpee box jumps (on a wall) and other such shenanigans. Stay Tuned!