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.