Monday, 18 September 2017

Grit And Passion - Bruce Wilson - Edinburgh Triathletes Athlete

''...I just want to do as well as I possibly can... This is a great thing about triathlons, you only race yourself...''
Bruce Wilson is Edinburgh Triathletes Athlete. He has finished Celtman: Extreme Scottish Triathlon 2017 in a very high, 17 place.


Links:




Saturday, 16 September 2017

68 min faster in 11 months. My journey to sub 11h Ironman Triathlon.

In October 2016 I raced my first full distance triathlon, Ironman Barcelona. It took me 12:06:58 to finish.
11 months later, in August 2017, I competed again, this time in Copenhagen. My time, 10:58:31.
This article is for anyone who would like to learn how I trained, what worked and what didn't, what I could do differently and what specific training sessions I need to implement to go faster next time.



Humble Beginnings
Before the race in Barcelona, I was relatively new to the sport of triathlon. I had only a few races under my belt, and I had no previous professional experience in any of three sports.
My cycling was probably the strongest.
Swimming, total disaster. The year before the event I could bearly swim 50m without gasping for air, at a very slow pace, and with an awful technique.
And lastly, running. To be honestly, I don't know what I was thinking. I always hated running!

So as you can see, I wasn't ''an endurance guy'' at all.
I had a vast experience in sports, first playing handball for 12 years, then squash for 7 and kettlebells for few but those were all explosive base sports.
Short, fast bursts and a lot of breaks. The longest rally in squash last 1min, and the kettlebell sport set is "only 10min" (although very long 10 min!)
I was a total newbie in the cardio world.

The training for Barcelona was very sketchy. I've only signed up 3 months before the event (one of those wine fulled ad hoc decisions), and my plan was downloaded from one of the Tri websites (generic and very random).
I mostly focused on the swimming, and I did some cycling, completely ignoring the running. There was simply not enough time for everything, I was exhausted after all that time spent in the water. "If I cannot run, I will walk" I've said to myself. And boy, I did walk a lot! (painful 04:51:24) (a full race report here)

After the Barcelona, my competitive side kicked in. I knew I could do better. I wanted to go faster!
But this time I wanted to be more strategic.

First of all, I decided to learn more about the sport and the endurance training.



As always, I jumped head first, and consumed all the info I could put my hands on;
  • books (paper and Kindle version - lately only the Kindle as my wife banned me from buying more physical copies, our flat is apparently too small!), 
  • tri online magazines,
  • podcasts
  • apps  
With Joanna, my best training partner!
I signed up for the Ironman Coaching Cert, a huge money and time investment but totally worth. Your tutors are the best coaches in the world!
And lastly I've joined Edinburgh Tri Club, and I've managed to convince their primary coach to become my mentor.
Now, armored with all that knowledge it was time to put into the practice.


Training Plan
I started with planning my regular training week. I didn't have a specific plan to follow, I simply put down what I wanted to do every day.
After many tweaks it looks like this:

Monday - swim
Tuesday - turbo
Wednesday - run and swim
Thursday - turbo plus run (brick)
Friday - swim/rest
Saturday -long bike plus run (brick)
Sunday - long run

Knowing what is planned for every day has brought some regularity into my training and life. I wanted it to become a habit, so I didn't need to think:

"oh, it's Wednesday, what should I do today"
and instead
"right, it Wednesday, hill sprint!"

The training sessions are easy to follow too. My favorite one is run out and run back faster the same way, hill sprints, 20x100m and turbo sessions on the bike.

I would increase training intensity or training volume for 3 weeks and then deload in week 4.
3 days (Tue, Wed, and Thu) would be shorter and fast, and the weekend sessions tend to be longer and endurance based.
Friday would be an easy swim or rest.


Racing

I had a couple of B and C raced planned: 2x sprints, 1x Olympic distance and the half distance, 2 months before the main race.
On each of those races, I would focus on one thing.
It wasn't about winning or going as fast as possible. No, it was about the practice and rehearsal for the big day. One time I would focus on transition, the other time on the swim or eating. John, my mentor, and coach has sold me on this idea and I think this worked very well. 


Strength

Strength training played a significant role in my preparation. I believe that one or two brief training sessions a week make you stronger and bulletproof your joints.
My weapon of choice are kettlebells: swings, squat and press. Very low key, simply to learn and very effective.
I also do a lot of hanging and core specific exercises, with the hollow body position being my favorite.
A Strong core means less energy is wasted and you can sustain better form for longer. This means faster times and low risk for injuries.


Eating

I raced Barcelona on carbs only, mostly gels. Copenhagen was more solid food and only one or two gels during the run.
Omlet with Avocado, Peppers and Mushrooms
I've made a conscious effort to eat more fat during the preparation and limited simply carbs.
To teach my body how to use the fat as a fuel, I perform some of my training in the fasting state. I also do 16-20h fasts every other week.
Running slower was a big step forward. Instead of going faster everytime on the sub-max HR I rub slower, at around 135 beats per minute. This approach was first used by Dr. Philip Maffetone and then applied by many great athletes, including Mark Allen!


Recovery

During the given training session, your body is pushed to the limit, it uses their reverse, the muscles are overtrained, heart overused. The training makes you weak. It is rest and recovery what's make you strong.
There are many ways to make a recovery faster. Many of them are very easy, and it only takes a couple of minutes. During my preparation I did:
- sauna - 2-3 times a week
- foam rolling - before and after all the sessions
- stretching - mostly Jefferson Curl and The Couch Stretch, multiple times during the day
- massage - a couple of times
- meditation, a breathwork - 1-2 times per week


Ironman Copenhagen

I am pleased with my result. The swim was a little bit slower than planned, due to a very crowded course and the massive cramp which almost stopped me altogether.
With Grzesiek (still faster than me, but not for long :p)
The bike, very good, although I still think a could push a little bit more. And the run, I've planned 4h, and I did 4h2m. Not but for my second ever marathon distance:)

You can read a full race report here.

What's next?
The goal for the next year is sub 10! I know it's possible, it's just the matter of a good winter training, fast course and a little bit of luck! And in next couple of years, if the heath is good, I will race in Kona!!! :)



Before you go, check out my book, podcast and training recommendations:

Books:

            

And my favourite!



Podcasts:

Strength:





Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Don't Be One Of Those People

Are you one of those people who set up the goals and then never achieve them?
You are not alone. In fact, the majority of people never reach their full potential.

It's sad but is true.

It's sad because there is nothing better than fulfilling your dreams and reaching the stars. And it can be done, everyone can improve and get better, in anything, almost infinitely.

Yet we can find 1000 reasons to hold us up. We would need a whole book to discuss them all, so let's focus, in my humble opinion, on the most important one.

What's your WHY?!

Let's take the most common goal for my clients: burning fat.
When I ask them why they want to burn fat, they may say
"Well, in 2 months I am going for holidays to Spain".
Ok, but why slimming down is important?
''Because I want to fit in this blue swimming suit I've bought before I got married 5 years ago".
That's better but still not quite.
What will happen after the holidays? They will put all fat back on because the goal was too short sighted.
So I ask again, why?
Then they may say because they want to look good.
Close but not enough. I like them to dig deeper, much deeper.

At the end of our chat they might come up with something like this:
"I want to drop the fat percentage because I want to be healthier and have more energy so I can live longer and happier life with my partner."
Bang!
That's the half of the battle, right there. The mission statement like this will keep them going not only for a month or two but for years to come. It will also be harder, if not impossible, to get distracted or sidetracked.

By knowing your TRUE WHY you are doomed to SUCCESS.

Leszek

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

How Do I Deal With A Tedious Daily Tasks And How You Can Get Fitter By Using A Game Approach.




I love games. Games are fun. And very addictive.
As I kid, I had a game for every occasion. I played with my friends but also on my own.
I could transform any boring task into a fascinating game within seconds.

When my mum asked me to help her with peeling the potatoes, my goal was to create the longest peel.
Take the rubbish out? Let's see how fast I can run up and down the stairs. (We lived on the 4th floor, without the lift, and I run those stairs at least 10 times a day, every day, for 20 yrs!)
Walk to the school - can I cover the distance in less than 500 steps?

Do you see the pattern?

Now into the adulthood.

At same point we are told to grow up, stop playing games, start being an adult.
And we are slowly losing the ability to play.

What a waste!

But the good thing is you can start playing anytime.
Try my favorite game: Game Of Fitness

Rules are simple.

Every action either brings you closer or further from your goal. You are in control, and your actions make a difference. Choose wisely.

For example:

  • Go for a run before the work: plus 1 point
  • Walk instead of taking a car: plus 1 point
  • Eat a salad instead of cake: plus 1 point
  • Do 10 squats during the lunch break: plus 1 point

But:

  • Take a lift instead of taking stairs: minus 1 point
  • Sit during the lunch break: minus 1 point

Your goal is to get the maximum number of points. Try to beat the previous day score.
Did you win or lose?! Let me know!

And remember, don't beat yourself if you lose, be like a kid, try, fail and try again!

Leszek

Monday, 4 September 2017

Fitness Revolution Manifesto

Let's make the fitness and the healthy living accessible and fun again.

No more boring treadmills, no more machines which limit your movements, no more over-complicate split programs or unnecessary calories counting diets.
And no, you don't have to drink nasty protein shakes or perform rings muscle up, and handstand walks daily.

You see, we, people, have a tendency to overcomplicate and to overthink.
In our heads, the more sophisticated and advanced the program, the better.
But when it's come to your fitness and the well-being, the opposite is true. The simpler, the better. 



The irony is that the simple doesn't sell well. It's not sexy enough for the fitness magazine cover or the online program. There is no big money to make in teaching the basic, you cannot trademark a body squat or cooking from scratch and, you cannot call yourself a creator.
And young, fresh after the course and ego driven personal trainers want to show off, sell you on newest tips and gadgets.

I don't blame them, I was there once. But after more than 10 years in the business I see a massive value in back to the basics approach. My clients don't need another all in one TRX like machine or another fantastic and "the best" insane program.
They need a solid squat, good mobility and basic understanding of the home cooking instead.

Let me be clear here. I'm not the first and not the last who preach the simple approach. Nothing that you read here is mine or created by me. I've just recycled the common knowledge

So, are you ready?
Let's make a "common knowledge" common again!

Move.
And when in doubt, move more.

Run, cycle, lift, hang, hit, sprint, walk, squat, jump, dance. All those activities are good, all are equal. Some might be frictionally better in (insert... burning the fat, building the muscles, etc.) but until you move every day, it really doesn't matter.
Don't look for marginal gains when you leave so much on the table.

Eat. Good. Food.
You don't need a nutritional coach to tell you that this pack of crisps and cola aren't right for you.
Deep down there you know what your body needs and wants.
Choose a real food, not fake substitutes.
Don't believe in the hype. You don't need shakes, pills, drinks, additional proteins, etc.
Spend your money on your local farmer's market instead.

Play

With your kids, with your dog, with your partner. Allowed yourself to be kid like, learn something new, challenge yourself every day.

Rest. 

Good night sleep will make you feel invincible!
When was the last time you felt that way?!

And that's it. This is really that simple.
I know that the transition from the complex to the simple might feel hard and unnatural. But it's so worth it.
If you need guidance or help, hire a coach. But be critical, think for yourself, learn as much as you can, and don't be afraid to ask her questions. 

It's your body and your responsibility to keep it healthy, supple and fit for as long as you can.

Yours, 

Leszek


Saturday, 26 August 2017

All style, No Substance.



A six pack, a perfect figure, a shiny Lamborghini, 1000 of likes on the Facebook, a Rolex watch, 5min handstand, massive tattoo, a newest TT bike, a perfect somersault, a prize wife, 24h hustle... Just the tricks, just the gadgets.

Chase them, and you will never be satisfied, never happy. There will always be someone further down the rabbit hole, someone who can sacrifice more, someone better in the cheap show-off without substance.

 And my answer? Focus on the basics, day in day out the build and grow into the better human being. Cover all the aspects: health, relationship, fitness, money, spirituality...

I don't need a visible six pack, I need strong muscle to protect my spine and the vital organs.
I don't need a Lamborghini, I need a safe, reliable car to drive around to visit my friends.
A prize wife? No. I want someone who will stay with me in good times and in bad.
24h hustle? So I can buy Lamborghini, prize wife and the six pack?

Get the F out of here! :)

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Life lesson nr 578.

There is always someone who doesn't like you, someone who doesn't accept you. He will try to change you because you are to big for his small world, you make him uncomfortabled and unsecured. Let him be. Don't engage, don't waste your time or energy. Keep being awesome regardless!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Ironman Copenhagen 2017 - Race Report

The night before.
It's 2 am, and I'm fully awake. In bed, desperately trying to fall asleep. But I can't.
In 2 hours I need to wake up and be ready for the longest and hardest day of this year, Ironman Copenhagen.
I thought I had the nerves under control... It wasn't true.
It turned out that the second Ironman is even harder the first one. When you are Ironman rooky, your goal is straightforward, just to finish the race.
But when you are racing again, you have higher expectations. You want to prove yourself that you weren't just lucky the first time, that you really deserve it.

Sunday, 20th August 2017
After a very rough night, I woke up surprisingly fresh and ready.
Grzesiek, my close friend whom I was racing with, looked strong and confident too. We knew that we were going to have a cracker day!

We had a big support crowd with us, Joanna, Alicja and PaweĊ‚, and Zbyszek. They did a fantastic job throughout the day, cheering us up and never stop believing. The challenge felt much easier and doable with their help.
It might sound banal, but it's true: surround yourself with people who believe in you, no matter what, and you can reach the stars.



Why?
In Copenhagen, the swim takes places in the seawater lagoon. With the soft morning light, I was in awe of the beauty of the site.
When walking down the bridge towards T1, you could almost feel an electrifying atmosphere of the hope, the fear, and high expectations. It's a celebration day for us, a moment to remember, a culmination of months of training.

You can call us crazy, but for me it's crazy not to try, to dream, to push.
We have amazing bodies who love to be challenged, we should celebrate that fact and work them to their maximal potential.



The Swim - 3800m
When compared to the mass start, the rolling start, with 6 people start every 6 seconds, should make swim easier, less daunting.
But the narrow course and the very tight turns made it tough anyway.
I managed to stay calm and relaxed for most of the swim. The only couple of times I had to swim over, under or around the people, who fought back with the high elbows and deadly breastroke kicks.
Then, suddenly, my left calf cramped, badly. Fron that point the kicking was not an option, and it was only a "surviving swimming."
I've finished in 01:13:59. I was hoping for 1:06 but taking the circumstances I'm pleased with my time.


The Bike - 180km
Transmission from the swim to the bike went very smooth. In no time I was cycling through the city center and then into the countryside. The fast winds and scattered rain made me feel like back in Scotland.
My nutrition was good, I stuck to the plan.
After 90km I've realized that my time finish time would be close to 11h.
I wanted sub 11! Last year in Ironman Barcelona I've missed sub 12 by 3 minutes, finishing 12:03. I didn't want to make this mistake again.

Bike split 05:32:34, with the average 33.5km/h.


The Run - 42, 195m 
During the regular marathon, you can expect "the wall" after 30-35km. At the full distance Triathlon, the wall hits you in the first minute of the run. And its gets worse and worse with every minute, and there is almost no chance for the second wind!
Your body wants to stop, but your mind pushes forward.
Good bless aid stations! A sip of water, 2 sips of flat coke and you feel fresh for another 10min.

I was on time for sub 11 for the first 20km, and then I slowed down.
My goal was in jeopardy.
With 10km to go and 50 min spare, for me, the race has started again.
I did go for it. Going 5km/min pace, pushing my battered body to its limits. It hurt. Very bad.
When I've passed a 1km to go mark, I knew I've done it.
Finish time, 10:58:31.

I've flown through the finished line, received the medal, and then cried for good 5min. Pure emotions overtook my body and mind. Those long hours of pain, discomfort, and exhaustion, it didn't matter now.
Can I have a post-race burger and beer, please?





Post Race.
Stairs, especially walking downhill and using the toilet are challenging. And the deep hunger doesn't go away.

I'm proud of my final time and the whole preparation process. There are a couple of things which needed to be tweaked. In October I race middle distance, and I want to go under 5h.

But this can and must wait. I am planning to be lazy for next couple of days;)




Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Kettlebell Strength Training 101 for Triathletes, Cyclists and Runners

As a Triathlete – you’re probably deeply in love with the Sports.
Coming to think about it, you could probably swim, cycle and run the entire day and consider it a day great spent.
I’m the same way. A beautiful day of cycling as wind breezes over my skin in the nature is what I’d always choose over a boring gym session…
A beautiful day of cycling as wind breezes over my skin in the nature is what I’d always choose over a boring gym session…
However, as a Coach committed to your best interests, I’m fully aware of the fact that strength training is crucial.
Running with a painful knee is no fun, and if you’re serious about longevity and vitality – my Kettlebell strength program presents the perfect solution uniquely tailored to your specific needs and requirements.
It’s so simple it will only take 30 minutes of your time per session, with 3 trainings per week required in order to enjoy the immense, powerful benefits!
Oh – and did I fail to mention you’ll require minimum equipment and that the Program is extremely easy to follow?
Forget all about wasting money on gym membership and start saving those pennies for aero wheels with my top quality course that will provide you with everything you need in order to succeed!

Why would you follow my Program?
Frankly, we can all agree that most strength programs are highly complicated. A huge number of exercises, technicalities and lack of real action is one of the things that come to mind…
We all want something we can do anytime, anywhere, without having to do too much thinking.
In order to assist you in getting the most fun, benefits and enjoyment out of your Exercise program while minimizing your expenditures I have utilized the full extent of my experience and cherry – picked the best, easiest to learn and most beneficial exercises for you to follow.
Enjoy feeling powerful benefits of exercising every major muscle, including: lats, chest and shoulders for swim, quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves for run and cycle as well as the core to assist you in transferring the power efficiency and keep a good form.
The best of all is – the exercises are incredibly easy to learn and incredibly beneficial at emphasizing your core stability and posture that will improve your endurance and stamina during sport – specific performances.



Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Are you this annoying Finish sauna user who...

  • Leaves the doors half open because is too hot?
  • Leave the doors open for your mate?
  • Comes in and out every 1 min?
  • Pours the whole bottle of water on herself.
  • Doesn't take a shower before?
If you do any of above, please stop. NOW! You don't get any benefits, and you ruin other people experience.




The dry sauna is fantastic. Regular users benefit from:

  • Enhanced Muscle Recovery
  • Detoxification
  • Heart Health
  • Enhanced Lung Volume
  • Mental Relaxation

But for any of above adaptations to occur, the sauna has to be hot. And it has to be dry. And you need to spend at least 10 min inside.

Rant over!




Grit And Passion - Bruce Wilson - Edinburgh Triathletes Athlete

''...I just want to do as well as I possibly can... This is a great thing about triathlons, you only race yourself...'' ...