Testing? But I’m not good enough….



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I’m not a professional, why do I need a fitness test?

How many times do I hear that?  You might be surprised!  Many people think that they are not good enough to warrant the cost and time of a full fitness assessment that we undertake at Sportstest.  They think it is the preserve of only elite athletes!  But you’re not a professional are you?

Fitness testing is not just for professional athletes. Anyone with a goal will benefit.

Fitness testing is not just for professional athletes. Anyone with a goal will benefit.

No! In that case I may surprise you….

Fitness testing can prove to be more valuable to a developing athlete, or even to someone new to a sport than the elite or professional athlete!  Why’s that you ask.  Well there are many reasons, the most important are: Continue reading

The madness of winter training

Some great reasons to get on the turbo from Sportstest coached Karen Poole….

After all Winter pain = Summer gain 🙂

Sportstest RT

Most people who get to know even a little about me think I’m mad; for cycling to work in heavy rain / snow / gale force winds, for riding a CX bike round the 7 Stanes forests (red loops), for racing 3 Peaks less than 4 months after breaking my collar bone, for naming each and every one of my bikes and holding conversations with them, or for taking my cuddly zebra (Zeb) with me everywhere I go! The thing that throws even hardened cyclists is my winter-long love affair with my turbo trainer.

It’s not the fact that I do training on the turbo that other cyclists find mad, everyone does some turbo training right! It’s the nature and style of the training. Working with my valued coach Garry Palmer (Sportstest) we use the turbo to increase my aerobic capacity and lose a bit of winter blubber in the…

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To the Dark Side…


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We have teamed up with Elite mountain biker Verity Appleyard to deliver an MTB training day…

What is it?  A day of discussion, seminars and practical sessions looking at the elements involved in improving your mountain biking. Aimed at the regular cyclist (mountain bike or road) thinking of making a transition into mountain bike racing events, or who would simply like to to go faster. The day will be targeted at women but both genders are welcome. To keep the day personal to each cyclist, the group size will be a maximum of 8.


Verity will be using the time on the bike to help you develop your skills….but she won’t be showing this off again….unless you really want her to!

Who? The day will be delivered by Dr Garry Palmer and Verity Appleyard. Garry is a sports scientist, runs Sportstest coaching and has a long history of coaching athletes in cycling, running and triathlon. Verity is an elite cross country mountain biker and physiotherapist in Sports and Exercise Medicine, and has a special interest in lifestyle coaching.

Continue reading

First Running Race and Rehab

More brilliant insights from Sportstest coached Alex Taylor…. his summary:
Running races are really friendly and supportive
When adrenaline kicks in, things that hurt, stop hurting. Until after.
Trust your coach (as long as you have a good one!)
Don’t underestimate what you can achieve
Spend money on seeing the right people rather than Gucci kit.

….but read the whole post!!!!

Alex Taylor - Project: Donkey

Saturday 12th November saw me run my first ever running race, the Cheshire 10 at Arley Hall.

It was also the first time I’d run 10k as a discrete, ‘in anger’ effort. The fastest I’d covered 10k in before was 49:25 during an interval session. I’d only really started running in November last year and, as per previous posts, I was RUBBISH back then. 10k took me comfortably over an hour.

However things have improved significantly with Coach Garry‘s help and I was nervously excited to see what I could do, despite a recurrence of a very painful ankle that had initially hampered me in the Spring.

I had no idea how I’d do or how to pace it. About a month ago I did a park run in a time of 20:50, which was a huge improvement of over 3 minutes from my last one a year ago…

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A new Venture: Project Donkey pt 2

It is always great to make a few notes as an end of season review. It helps give focus when building for the coming season. Here Sportstest coaching Alex Taylor gives an honest and useful review of the season.

If you have done something similar we would love to hear from you….

Alex Taylor - Project: Donkey

I’m writing this now having finished my last main event of the year. It’s been a brilliant year for me, I’ve learnt so much, met some great people and got fitter than I ever thought I could. I wanted to wait until now to have a good overall perspective. This is a long post for me. Bear with it.

End of 2015

At the end of part 1 I explained how I had gotten a little bored and was looking at a new challenge. I didn’t want to go back to bunch racing due to the risks. I was finding the training for Time Trialling a little dull.

I’d been to Aerocoach for a session there to get me more aero, resulting in potential savings of around 30seconds over 10 miles, however I never got to ride the new position on the road as I managed to defect my bike…

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3 Peaks – Crazy Race!

Sportstest RT

In a moment of madness back in June, when I was probably still zoned out on morphine and cocodamol, I put my name into the hat to get a start at the 3 Peaks Cyclocross race. I didn’t necessarily expect to get a place, with both suitable demonstration of experience and a little bit of luck required for first timers. But a few weeks later the email arrived confirming my place.

It was always going to be a stretch to get ready, with a few hurdles in the way first. I didn’t touch my cross bike until I got back from Haute Route, so although the endurance fitness was there in bucket loads, the technical skill required to get down each of the 3 Peaks safely probably wasn’t. And with ‘normal’ cross season starting in parallel (grassy cornering doesn’t really compare to gnarly rocky descents that go on for ever)…

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Good days and bad days

Midway through the Haute Route, Sportstest coached Karen Poole shares her highs and lows…

Sportstest RT

So somehow 4 days of Haute Route has already been and gone. And despite my best intentions of blogging every day, this will be my first full update. The logistics of moving hotel almost every day, finding wifi, plus the oh so critical recovery has got in the way.

With recovery in mind, I shall keep this brief. The title of the blog kind of says it all really.

We started from Anglet near Biarritz on Saturday, with a rolling stage into the foothills of the Pyrenees and finishing up the brutal Pierre St Martin climb. To make it even tougher, the rain decided to fall, making road surfaces slippery and some sketchy moments. I made several conscious decisions to sit up, letting groups push on, knowing I needed to spare my legs not just for the climbs at the end of the stage but for the remaining 6 days…

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Le Tour….l’offre…

Well it’s that special time of year again when both cycling and non-cycling fans tune in to watch the daily drama of the Tour de France. This year could have been rather dull and tedious (despite the stunning scenery), but seems to be turning into one of excitement.


Froome’s “unusual” descending technique….dangerous or pure genius?


Whether you consider rather unusual tactics of Froome to be fantastic, unsafe, or just spectacular, he has certainly set the GC alight. Likewise, after yesterday’s epic breakaway by Sagan (and Froome) can Cav get the Green Jersey back….and will he last the Tour, or drop out in favour of the forthcoming Olympics???  That brings us to the Ventoux….wow!!!

Whatever your views of this year’s Tour, we hope it has inspired you to get fitter, faster, stronger and leaner!

However, to help motivate you further we are offering a massive 20% discount on testing for the four weeks following the Tour. Simply log on to our booking site (www.sportstest.me) and use the discount code “FASTER” to make the most of this offer, regardless of whether you are a cyclist, runner or triathlete!

Want to know more  about how our services can help, then check out our previous blog on what the testing will tell you (or contact us directly), and make the most of this offer!  You may not ride like a Tour rider (or even be a cyclist), but will we certainly get you in your best possible shape!

Look forward to hearing from you soon


A new venture pt 1: Operation Donkey

Some great musings from Alex Taylor as we turn him from donkey into a race horse and then…

Alex Taylor - Project: Donkey


At the start of 2014 I was lost. My training was going nowhere. I had enjoyed doing some sessions on the track and had managed to get my Accreditation at Manchester Velodrome however I felt like I was going backwards.

Back in 2009 I’d been to see Dr Garry Palmer at http://www. Sportstest.co.uk as I’d got a free session through Cyclepowermeters when buying my first powertap.

I remember it being an enlightening experience, made a fair bit of progress (resulting in me winning the Macclesfield Wheelers 10 mile TT handicap trophy in 2011.)

However following my broken back/shoulder in 2011, in 2012 I was lost again. In 2013 I started doing a bit on the track and a couple of club time trials but I was very poor. I was going nowhere.

It took me until February 2014 to ‘remember’ about Garry’s services. So I booked in for…

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A Picture Says A Thousand Words – European Championships 2016 — jamesphillipstriathlon

At Sportstest we are really proud to be working with James Phillips. We hope you will enjoy his thoughts on what we think is an awesome performance at the European Sprint Triathlon Championships…

I’m on the plane back from my second European Championships, was it a successful trip? If you’d asked me before I left if I’d be happy to come back with a Silver medal I would of said of course a Silver would be great – but why not a Gold? I like to think I’m […]

via A Picture Says A Thousand Words – European Championships 2016 — jamesphillipstriathlon