Another good training week and a mixed weekend in terms of race results for the team.

Pentland Ride and shorter stuff


An awesome Pentlands Ride

My friend Mike had taken Monday off work and suggested we should head to the Pentland Hills on the mountain bikes. I was thrown into a bit of a dilemma as Alan also wanted to go skiing. The conditions looked great for either. As I had already agreed to ride with Mike, this is what we ended up doing and Alan came along too. We ended up doing a fabulous 3.5 hour ride on mostly snowy tracks which had been pressed down by walkers the previous day leaving us with great riding conditions. With the exception of some ice around the reservoirs we couldn’t have wished for a better day which included wall to wall sunshine and hardly a breathe of wind in the air. Skiing would have to wait for another day.

The above ride hadn’t quite fitted in with my training plan so the next ride would only be on Thursday which was me accompanying one of my clients while he did a threshold test. The test went well but we did have to reconsider the route as one of the chosen bends was still icy and hadn’t been gritted. I did come off my bike testing the corner – but I was travelling at about 1 mph at the time, so no harm was done.

Oops, nearly forgot, I did get a very short and wet ride in the Dells after coaching on Saturday morning. More of an MTB technique ride than distance.



Another snowy morning run

Only 2 significant runs with an 11 mile snowy run to pick up Fiona’s Brompton from the cycle shop and an interval session along the canal. 20x250m with 30 sec jog recovery intervals in between.  A good and well executed session although the timing in the week wasn’t perfect.

Coaching Feedback

I use Training Peaks as the coaching tool to communicate the training plans to my athletes. One of the things that came out of the Training Peaks University course I was on in November was that I am not the only coach that gets frustrated at the level of feedback some athletes give to others.

If you meet your athletes daily or weekly then the feedback can be done face to face and a picture can be regularly drawn. If most of your communication is by some form of online media then the only way for the coach to understand how the athlete is doing is by the feedback the athlete puts there. No feedback, or very little, leave the coach in the dark.

Most of my athlete are good to very good in providing feedback. A small number need to be helped along the way. Over the course of the last year I had put in place a ‘shining beacon’ system – suggested by one of my athletes, Carolyn – to reward those doing well with their feedback, or those improving.

I have recently refined that into a points system and a league table. Seems to have done the trick in kindling some competitiveness in those lagging a bit in the feedback stakes. At the end of the day more feedback means better info for the coaches and better coaching adaptations towards the athlete.

I’ll elaborate on this in a separate post one day.

Session Feedback

A few of my athletes very kindly gave me some very good feedback over the past week:

Tracey: “Not done much exercising over past few weeks and just took 1 minute off my 750m swim. Thanks to superb swim coaching from Karl. Arms must go faster. Arms will move faster!”

Trish: “Thanks Karl for the excellent swim coaching and for the encouragement..I appreciate it!”

Lyndsay: “Thanks Karl for helping Kristin with her swimming. She thoroughly enjoyed it and is looking forward to putting her top 3 technique tips into practice. I saw massive improvement within the hour.”



Fiona about to finish for 3rd place.

At the weekend was Devilla 15k trail race which was meant to have 6 of the team racing. Unfortunately we had one injury and one illness which brought the number down to 4.

Out of those though Mo and Fiona both finished 3rd in their age groups. Ian unfortunately laboured home with a bit of an injury too.


Mo on the way to her 3rd place.

The Devilla 15k is a mix of trail and forest tracks with the majority being forest tracks but with the recent weather the trails were very muddy slowing things down considerably. One of my friends finished 6 minutes off last year’s time.

Overall a very enjoyable and well organised event.

Luckily those injured or ill are all well on their way to recovery and will be back racing soon.


Friday of last week I met up with Roy who is in a similar situation to where I was 6 years ago when I started up the coaching business. We a chat about the pitfalls I felt he should try and avoid and what things to look out for when starting up his own coaching business. I can see us working together at times over the coming months.


That is all for this week. The next roundup is likely to include more racing and some skiing.