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.
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Sunday, day of rest… for some

What were you up to at 7.30 this morning. No, don’t tell me, let’s just pretend you were sleeping.

Me? Meeting Harry for our weekly one-hour sessions at the local park in south Manchester. I’m on the third one now, so I’ve learned to be apprehensive about what he pulls out of his car boot.

Medicine balls, kettle bells, dumb bells, big blue balls you lie on. Oh, I’m familiar with them all.

This week, nothing. This week we’re using a picnic table. No hamper, either. Straight down to business.

Exercise 1 – step up onto the bench seat with the right foot and then down, leading with the left. x 10. Repeat stepping up with the left.

Exercise 2 – step up onto the bench seat, just pushing with one leg and put the left leg straight back down. Repeat x15 times on each leg. This one is murder on the top of the thigh. Trust me.

Exercise 3 – press ups. So it’s hands onto the bench seat, out on plank position and press ups x15. Don’t go too low, you’ll never get back up.

Exercise 4 – dip things. Face away from the bench seat, bob down, hands on bench and do 20 dips. I can do these, I don’t know why. Harry pushes me to the point I’m keeling over on everything else.

Repeat the whole set again.

Sound exhausing? It is, but it’s all about strengthening muscles to give you more power when you run. The more strength on your arms, legs, core etc the easier you’ll find asking your body to do more.

Next – find a 20m length of grass.

Exercise 5 – side steps. Like sideways skipping but when you get to the end you do 5 squats and skip sideways back and repeat.

Exercise 6 – walking lunges. Walk the 20m length but lunge on each step Don’t go too low and do keep your back straight. This is something to do with your pelvis but I was on the verge of collapse here so you’ll just have to take my word for it. Straight back, not too low. There and back x2. There will be Jane Fonda-style ‘feeling the burn’.

Then repeat exercises 5 and 6.

This little playground of torture has taken 40 minutes. We now go for a run round where Harry keeps making sure I’m alive by chatting to me while I manage short sentences followed by a wheeze. This is pretty close to tempo running for a woman whose legs are mostly made of jelly now.

He then sets off in his car to go do something else athletic while I stagger home and lie in the bath. A small comfort, he was sweating after running for 20 minutes with me.