Martyn Bell: Training

Training – Martyn Bell

Hopefully, the text below will provide you with a little insight into how I approach my training and the principles I have employed.

Back in March 2012 I made a promise to myself to focus on some essential areas – work on my body composition, and get the mix right across frequency, volume and intensity.

In 2009 when I turned 40 my weight was 17 stone and is currently 12 stone (as at October 2012) with a further 8lbs to lose by year end. The biggest single factor that has contributed to improved racing performance is getting rid of the lard – a further 8 lbs will ensure 15-16 secs /per mile faster with no changes to my training !!!

WKO – Performance Management Chart

I am mentored by my father who runs a coaching business for endurance athletes called Mercury Performance Coaching – I am also a coach and we have testing facilities across the UK (see

I keep a training diary in hardcopy and also comprehensive notes on Garmin connect – the data held on Garmin Connect is then downloaded into WKO software and essentially allows me to quantify my training – I have the means to know how “hard” or “easy” my sessions actually are by awarding “stress points” to each session – this would require sometime to explain but the chart below shows 3 of possibly 50 areas that MPC measures to monitor my training.

The blue line (Chronic Training Load) is my fitness and measures in batches of 6 weeks of training at a time – the trend I have been looking for is a steady and progressive line upwards – the angle of the line is also critical as I can ensure the ramp rate (loading) is sufficient enough to stress the body and get a training effect but without going into a sustained over reaching which can cause injury and high levels fatigue.

There are many times that I need to work hard but also allow my body to recover and this is shown by the yellow bar chart called a “training stress balance” – this shows my fatigue levels and ensures I can put in large dose of training but have the means to recover or taper adequately. The chart shows lots of “spikes” which are the times that I have reduced the training load to become more recovered. RECOVERY IS KING !

I also ensure that my personal circumstances are considered and having a young family and busy job. I train in the mornings and in my lunch breaks which works for me – I also train 30% of my time on my bike (a “cateye” turbo bike in the garage) and I currently do not do any speed work faster than 5k pace but train at an appropriate pace and intensity which has kept me injury free.

I generally structure my training in 6 week blocks and get tested at Mercury Performance Coaching to assess how efficient my aerobic base is – this will set my training zones for the next 6 weeks. My weight will hopefully continue to drop and this is supported by good nutrition and training in the correct heart rate zones ie: the lower zones / lower heart rate to burn a higher dosage of fat calories.

All this effort has contributed to me gaining selection for England in November.

Best of luck in your training