Bad Harry, Bad Mr Medicine Ball

Harry’s been training me for, oooh nearly four months now.

In that time I’ve got to read him pretty well. We do hard on the muscles session followed by more on the speed sessions. I know that.

I think he knows me. If he says ‘be careful jumping back, it’s slippy’ he knows (NOW!) to stand behind me so I don’t fall over.

And now I know ‘well, you have worked pretty hard’ that means two days of ‘ooohing’ and ‘ouching’ around the office. I’m ok walking, once I’ve warmed up, but every time I get up from my desk the guy I share an office with gets to hear me run the gamut of grumbling expletives.

Remember Sunday’s run with medicine ball, do squats, repeat session?

Not only do I now have inner thighs packed with burning rocks but my core muscles are deeply unhappy about my laughing. Or breathing.

And it’s not those front muscles that make up a six-pack, or in my case the soft squidgy bit at the front. No, it’s the side muscles that run from your armpit to your waist. You use these quite a lot in running because when you run you make a kind of twisting motion and that engages these muscles, so having them strong; no bad thing.

Of course walking like a furious robot means I’ve not been able to run yet this week. And I have had half a mind to text Harry and have a whine.

But then the other half thinks he wouldn’t push me further than I could take and I do like pushing to my limit.

Did I mention I’ve been thinking about buying a medicine ball?

Am I completely out of both halves of my mind?!


Moving on up

Sunday = Harry the personal trainer day.

As I got to the park there he was waiting for me with a kettle bell and dumb bells in his hands. I’m smiling but I’m not really smiling, if you know what I mean.

I was beginning to develop feelings of trepidation around training days with Harry. Could it be the DOMS? Could it be the waves of nausea?

Our routines go one week heavy on the weights, one week heavy on the runs. And this was, weights week.

Now as you’ll know, if you’re no stranger to my blog, I’m not wildly keen on Mr Kettle Bell and his pals. Aside from the fact I’m trying not to think about my reputation for clumsiness, coupled with what will happen if I accidentally let go of the kettle bell as it soars above me head, these fellas work your muscles big time.

But, bit of a revelation this week. I could not only do two sets of exercises – I could do three! Harry was bouncing around, cheering my progress while I tried to smile through the wheezing as I recovered from sets. And although it wasn’t easy it didn’t feel impossible.

So this is what I did today.

Five minutes jog round to warm up including skipping along at times:

  • squat position with kettle bell. Swinging kettle bell up as high as possible, squeezing glutes at the top of the swing. X20.
  • little jumps on the spot x 8 and then big massive jump, knees up x 1 (repeat x 6)
  • hold kettle bell in front of chest as far out as possible and rotate through the waist each side (x15)
  • little jumps on the spot x 8 and then big massive jump, knees up x 1 (repeat x 5)
  • lunge position, clutching hefty dumb bell, dip down left hand x 5, swap hands x 5 (repeat on other leg)
  • heavy dumb bell in one hand, light dumb bell in another. Lean over in squat position, but with bum out and straight back. Swing one arm up, twist through waist and swing other arm up. x 10.
Then repeat the whole set twice more. Sweat liberally and wheeze at will.
These exercises are designed to give me stronger arms and core and stronger glutes, a powerhouse of running energy.
Then after that lot – sprints.
Three times three lengths of gate to lamppost (about 25 metres), three times two lengths and three times one length.
Apparently I’m way faster, my jumping is stronger and running as fast as possible towards the finish line got me an ‘I like it, accelerating – that’s great.’ My wheezing is dropping off, though I’m still panting furiously and, weirdly, I’m starting to enjoy sprints.
Needless to say I’m aching now but delighted to feel progress. I can’t wait to get out and run again but, of course, I’ll be walking like a robot tomorrow. But I’ll be walking like a robot who’s moving on up.


,,, And we’re not talking about the dramatic chord sequence that accompanies the revealing of a murderer’s identity in old-time mystery films.

DOMS is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. After last week’s squat, lunge, kettle bell, medicine ball marathon with Harry the Personal Trainer I had three days of DOMS. Big time.

It’s unpleasant; it involves walking like a robot, it involves emitting weird noises every time you get out of a chair – mostly ‘Arrgggghhhhhh’. It involves learning new ways to get in and out of bed and it makes lowering yourself into a bath something of a challenge. It involves slow, strange descents of stairs and a slight feeling of nausea. It’s annoying.

Harry says what’s going on is the high-intensity exercise – jumping, squats, lunges stuff – is causing little tears in the muscles. This is what aches and feels tight and stiff. After the soreness goes the muscles are rebuilding, getting stronger and bigger and more effective.

So no pain, no gain is true here, annoying though the pain is. It also stops you running for a few days. (Ever seen a robot run?) which seems to contradict what I’m aiming to achieve here. How can I be running faster when I’m struggling to walk?

But when you can get your running shorts on without keeling over you should be a stronger runner. Says Harry.