Completion of Couch25K – and beyond! My running story

Since my last blog post on Amateur Blog talking about Couch25K, I have since completed the program and added running into my weekly routine. Read this blog post to see how the completion of Couch25K went.

Completion of Couch25K

The second half of Couch25K consisted of road runs instead of running around the field. This added a new level of variety to the running sessions as it allowed us to go different routes.

For the first few weeks, my  knees suffered quite a bit as the impact of the tarmac was a lot more hard going than grass. Luckily within a few weeks this cleared up without major injury.

The runs consisted of a simple out and back route. So we ran out for half the distance, turned round and ran back to the start. I think this helped me psychologically to complete each run, as on the way back when I started to lack energy, it was easier to comprehend the end of the run.

At the end of the 12 week Couch25K program, we graduated by all running a Parkrun together. I will write more about my first ever park run in a future blog. For those of you unaware of Parkrun, they organise completely free 5k runs within the local comunity. They are great events suited to both complete beginners and professionals.

Since my Completion of Couch25K

Since I have completed my Couch25K program, I have tried to keep running in my weekly exercise regime. Looking back now, I cannot believe how far I have come since I started.

Roy Memorial Runs

Roy is a colleague who I worked with for several years in my current job. He was an avid runner but sadly I never got the chance to be able to run with him. Roy passed away last year due to cancer so a group of us from work have set up a memorial run once a month in his honour. We start from our place of work and run a 5k loop in the surrounding countryside.

Distance Building Runs

At least once a week I try to do a run pushing myself distance wise. I am currently at the 8km mark with the hope of doing my first timed 10km run in a couple of weeks times. Each week I try to increase the pace a bit until I feel comfortable running that distance, then I increase the total distance.

Hilly Runs

Every once in a while, especially when I hate myself, I try to do a hilly run. My aim for these runs is to be about 5km in length and include three or four large hills. These runs help to build up my stamina and leg muscles which I feel help me on my normal runs. I can’t describe the feeling of the first time you manage to run all the way up a hill that you have failed several times before.

Strava - Hilly Profile - Amateur Blog Run

Thank you for reading this far!

Thank you for reading my blog post. Please feel free to comment below, message me on my Facebook Page or on Twitter. I look forward to hearing from you. Please also Follow my blog with Bloglovin if you use the site.

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Couch25K – My first attempts of running – Half way through!

Couch25K – Amateur Blog’s introduction to running

Hi there! Welcome to my new blog post. Recently I have joined a Couch25K programme with my local running club. I am currently half way through and this blog post will tell my story so far.

Couch25K is a run/walk approach to going from zero running to being able to run 5k. Each week, the intensity increases by increasing the run time and decreasing the walk time.

Similar to how I started cycling, which can be read in this blog post here, I had heard of a running club which is based at my work. I sent them an email explaining that I had limited experience of running but was interested in starting. I received a reply back that in a few weeks time they were starting a Couch25K programme.

Week 1:

I was eager to start when the first day came along. In total there were seven of us and one instructor. We had a quick introduction to find out a bit more information. The sessions are run three times a week and each week the intensity increases. The idea is at the end of the nine week programme to all run a Parkrun together.

We started by walking around the field to warm up spending a few minutes raising our knees up and then a few minutes lunging. The first session consisted of running for one minute with four minutes walking in between, repeated eight times.

Amateur Blog - Couch25K - Week 1 - Strava Screenshot
Couch25K – Week 1 – Strava Screenshot

At the end of the eight reps, we did a 5 minute cool down which was a similar style to the warm up. I found the first session difficult but not so difficult as to put me off completely. Sessions two and three in Week 1 were a lot easier. I suppose my body had get over the initial shock of running.

Week 2:

For week two, the amount of running time increased to two minutes with three minutes walking. Instead of eight repetitions there was seven. I found that I was able to run for the two minutes without any difficulty and even managed to increase my pace from the previous week.

Amateur Blog - Couch25K - Week 2 - Strava Screenshot
Couch25K – Week 2 – Strava Screenshot

Week 3:

Week three stepped up to three minutes running and 2 minutes walking, repeated six times. This week I started to struggle. I was getting a lot of pain in my ribs, which I can only assume was due to me breathing heavily. During cycling I can seem to control my breathing a lot better than running!

Amateur Blog - Couch25K - Week 3 - Strava Screenshot
Couch25K – Week 3 – Strava Screenshot

Week 4:

Week four had what seemed like quite a large step up to five minutes running and two minutes walking, repeated four times. This week the pace decreased quite a bit but we managed to keep up for the full five minutes.

Amateur Blog - Couch25K - Week 4 - Strava Screenshot
Couch25K – Week 3 – Strava Screenshot

Week 5:

As I write this blog post, I am now at the end of week 5. Compared to week four, the step up in week five was not too bad. This week was 6 minutes running and 1 minute 30 seconds walking, repeated four times. Towards the end of the week, I was beginning to feel that I could easily do more than four reps at the pace we were going.

Amateur Blog - Couch25K - Week 5 - Strava Screenshot
Couch25K – Week 5 – Strava Screenshot

Next week we move up to eight minutes running. Since running, I have noticed that my overall fitness has increased significantly. I have also noticed a difference during cycling as well. I am looking forward to completing my first Parkrun within the next few weeks.

Thank you for reading my blog post. Please feel free to comment below, message me on my Facebook Page or on Twitter. I look forward to hearing from you. Please also Follow my blog with Bloglovin if you use the site.

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Cycling Turbo Training – World Class Warm Up

Warm up before exercising!

From just finishing my second winter of turbo sessions, I have had the necessity of a good warm up drilled into me from day one. This blog post I am dedicating to what my cycling club call the ‘World Class Warm Up’. This blog follows on from my brief introduction to turbo training blog.

I will start with a brief explanation as to why this routine is referred to as ‘World Class’. It provides a combination of gentle cycling building up to higher intensity endurance and then sprints. The endurance stage helps to raise your pulse rate and get you breathing with the sprints helping to wake up your muscles.

The table below shows the timing for each phase of the warm up. I will go into more detail afterwards. Over the next few weeks I plan on recording some tutorial videos and will update the blog post to contain these.

Table showing the time frames for the World Class Warm Up

Steady Pedalling:

The Steady Pedalling Phase is essential to ease into the exercise session. It it helpful if you have aches and pains from a previous workout. The gear that you are in should mean that the current effort can be sustained for a long period of time. You should be able to speak easily during this phase.

Ramp up to Race Pace:

The Ramp up to Race Pace Phase allows you to gradually raise your heart rate. This is achieved by upping both the resistance and cadence. Seven minutes is a long time, so ramp up slowly. I generally do one gear every 30-45 seconds and increase my cadence over the last couple of minutes.

Race Pace:

The Race Pace Phase is to maintain the pace you get to for one minute only. This pace took me a while to work out correctly for me. It should be about 80% of your maximum effort, so you can sustain it for a while, but probably not more than about 10-15 minutes.

Recovery:

By this point you will be smiling that the Recovery Phase has come along. Similar to the Steady Pedalling Phase, you want to be in an easy gear and a low cadence. Use this time to get a drink and lower your heart rate. It is vitally important to keep pedalling in any Recovery Phase.

Sprint:

The warm up consists of three sprint phases. The aim for this is to get your cadence as high as possible as quickly as possible. Make sure you are in a suitable gear to begin with and step up during the sprint if necessary.

The End:

Well done! You have made it this far. The World Class Warm Up can be used if time is limited, to just get a quick session in. If not, feel free to continue your exercise session now. Over the next few weeks I plan to create some more blog posts to give some inspiration as to what the session can include.

Please feel free to comment below, message me on my Facebook Page or on Twitter. I look forward to hearing from you. Please also Follow my blog with Bloglovin if you use the site.

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Why I decided to start cycling and never looked back

Why Cycling?

A question asked by many a friend and family member. But why did you start cycling? Please read on to find out why. This post is building on from my introductory blog.

December 2015, aged 25, was when the realisation that I was not as healthy as I used to be became apparent. Several years of the lifestyle of a software engineer had taken it’s toll.

The realisation came at work when I went to visit a colleague four floors above me. I never take the lift, but it finally dawned on me how out of breath I was by the time I got to their desk. This was the day that everything changed for good.

The standard gym and dieting regime had failed on and off for years, so whilst looking online, I found out that there was a local cycling club based at my work. I decided to drop the club an email. I was completely expecting to be shunned by the club due to my lack of cycling experience. But I was wrong. I received a warm reply inviting me along to one of their winter turbo trainer sessions.

Now. If you were me on that day. You are probably asking yourselves what the heck is a turbo trainer. A quick google told me it was one of these:

Amateur Blog - Cycling Turbo Trainer Amazon Link

You essentially connect your back wheel to a resistive flywheel to add resistance. I only needed to bring along myself  as I was assured by the club that there were plenty to spare.

First Session

I was met by a room full of friendly cyclists when the first day came along. All of which stopped what they were doing to greet me and to help me set up. The session was harder than I expected.

I only had an old mountain bike lent to me by a family member, which I found out quite quickly was not suitable for a turbo trainer. However, luckily the club had a spare bike I could borrow for the day.

I was on a different programme to the others. Essentially, I was just getting used to the equipment and cycling in general. I struggled with just that, whilst looking horrified at the others, who were doing the actual training session.

It must have looked like a bus had hit me the next day. I had muscles hurting where I didn’t think muscles existed. However, I had caught the bug, and haven’t looked back since.

Further Sessions

Over the next few weeks, the sessions slowly built up in intensity. By about Session Three, I was essentially doing the same programme as the other cyclists, but with less repetitions of the workout.

I attended each session, which the session leader planned extremely well, which focused on a different aspect of cycling. From sprinting, to endurance and simulated hill climbs. I am planning a number of future blog posts to share these workouts with you.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please feel free to email me, message me on my Facebook Page and follow me on Twitter. I look forward to hearing from you. Please also Follow my blog with Bloglovin if you use the site.

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Welcome to Amateur Blog! Come read my first Post!

Welcome to Amateur Blog!

Hi there, and welcome to the first blog post for Amateur Blog. My name is John Taylor, I am a Software Engineer living in the South East of England. I have been looking at creating a blog for a while, and here we are.

I have several goals for my blog. The fact that you are reading this means one of them has been met already. Secondly, my other goals are to blog about my day to day life and hobbies. Please feel free to contact me via email, Facebook or Twitter to add some suggestions to the content I write.

As a Software Engineer, My aim is to do some tutorial blogs about engineering. As well as some blogs reviewing current technology. I have joined a cycling club at my work recently, so I am looking to blog my journey into cycling as I progress. My aim is also to do some training and tutorial videos and blogs for cycling and exercise in general.

Amateur Blog Circuit of Kent Cycling Sportive
Photograph after finishing my first cycling sportive. The circuit of Kent 80km.

I am quite into computer gaming, especially the old style PC games. So I will be looking at making some play through videos and blogs to go with that. I also aim to do some general game reviews.

I have newly started gardening, so don’t know much about it, but I plan on blogging my journey and everything I learn along the way.

Finally, I am a keen motorcyclist and have been riding for over 11 years now. I have a couple of bikes in disrepair so I plan to do some blogs related to restoring them and getting them back on the road.

Contact Amateur Blog

Anyway, enough about me now, please feel free to email me, message me on my new Facebook Page and follow me on Twitter. I look forward to hearing from you. Please Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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