Slowly does it, recovering runner

An early morning weight training session this morning.

Not exactly helped by a night out with my friend Anja, Mr M and three French martinis. Well they have fruit juice in them, it’s almost good for me.

Adam had me in the alpha male, rock music room doing Olympic lifts, 12kg Kettlebells and swinging around 5kg dumb bells while lying on an exercise ball, pushing up my hips and trying to count slowly and not pay attention to my screaming core muscles.

If I don’t have a six-pack by August I will be miffed.

My last set of exercises were one-legged squats. Not too deep, more an exercise in keeping core firm, hips straight and feeling the muscles work without exhaustion. There’s a special name for it, which of course I’ve forgotten, but they are about building muscle around joints to ensure the body can cope with the demands sport puts on it. According to Adam this is why footballers etc get injured, because they can do all the speed and control work, but the joints aren’t properly supported to prevent what is often avoidable injury. Of course, you are stood in the middle of the alpha male room, stood on one leg, looking a bit like you’re attempting ballet in trainers… it’s not exactly the stuff of alpha dreams.

Last tempo run before Manchester 10k

If being dedicated to the cause could make you faster I’ll be whipping round that course next Sunday like a rocket.

Text from Adam yesterday:
‘Hi Deana, are we still ok for our very early start tomorrow? I’ll have to be in Bolton for 7 so it would mean starting at 6.15. That’s no problem for me, i just wanted to check with you.’

Text from me:
‘That’s fine with me, see you then. Appreciate the early start commitment.’

Text from Adam:
‘ No probs, I think it’s work a good-paced run before you taper off a little through the week in prep for Sunday.’

So, there I was, at 5am, mixing protein shake. At 5.45am I was out the door and by 6.15am we were warming up. Pretty gorgeous out there this morning.

wood path to Whythenshawe Park

Check out that early morning light

Trees at whythenshawe park

Look up, so beautiful

We did a 4.2 mile circuit at a fair lick, just enough to make me wheeze, just on the edge of uncomfortable, but not full-pelt sprint. We did this loop a few months ago and I’d had to walk some of it and i felt much stronger so much more pleased, though i had the strangest feeling someone else had been running with us that day, which can’t be right.

Anyway – round in 43 mins, 40 secs which means I’m running at 10.30 pace which is pretty good.

Quite pleased, frankly. I know I want to do an hour, but you know, it’s the taking part that counts and goodness knows I’ve put the miles in. And the weight training in. And the Grid sessions in.

So this afternoon. An hour’s yoga and some more hip rolling. And then a couple of paced, but nothing sprinty runs during the week. ūüôā

Nervous, but prepped – and that’s all you can do.

Feather in the dewy grass

Delicate little feather in the dewy grass – I’m being all metaphoric here! ūüėČ


Greetings from bingo wings on fire world

Running training with Adam in the gym tonight.

Circuits of:
* lunges swinging 5kg medicine ball from one side of my body to the other, across the room
* stepping up onto something the height of a coffee table and pushing up 4kg dumbbells over head and then back to shoulders x 12
* swinging a 12kg kettlebell about x 15
* pulling myself up on gym rings x 12

Repeat everything above again and then nice little quarter-mile run on the treadmill at 6.5 mph.

And then repeat three more times and see how wheezy you are on that last run when 2mins 20secs seems forever.

Of course running trainer Adam likes to mix it up so in those starred activities there was also:
* hopping on and off a bench
* press ups off a medicine ball and then lifting it over your head
*squats off a bosu (inner thigh killer) and
* something with one of those big space ball things that made my hamstrings go into spasm (was supposed to work my glutes, what can I say – lazy bot ;))

Those gym rings – you’ve got to love them. There’s something really empowering about pulling up your body and trying to control the rings while the muscles on the back of your arms burn. I mean really burn.

I can pull up my body if I lean back with my feet on the floor. How you actually lift yourself up, feet off the ground, goodness only knows. I will be watching those men in the Olympics with great awe. Nice shoulder muscles too and I smugly note there are no women on these things in the pictures I could find. Guessing any ambitions I may be fostering in this direction maybe pipe dreams, I suspect it’s going to be harder than running ūüôā

Dilettante of the gym

Apparently I’m a bit of a dilettante.

MrM¬†hoots with laughter when we walk past the golf course and I’m watching the golfers trundle¬† their clubs about in their natty smart casual clothes. He just says ‘no’ and then gaffaws a bit more. He¬†knows how interests go with me… He likes to remind me how I’ve read every Henning Mankell¬†novel ever written and¬†seen every Jean Cocteau film.

You see, I am an obsessive, but I’m an obsessive dilettante so ‘yes’ I¬†do wear a Breton¬†top every time we go out (I own five, what’s not to like about stripes?). I can be really, really, REALLY into something and then… not so much. I’ll be over¬†Breton¬†tops by September, even if two of them are real sailing tops from the cutest little shop on Shaftsbury Avenue where they sell sailing ropes and hooks and not much else…

And at the moment I am really, really not into running on the treadmill in the gym. Over it. I get too hot, I keep banging my hands and I swear I run worse on it than I do outside. I did one mile of steady pace, speeding up for a tenth of a mile, but it felt hard work. And not fun hard work.

But I am loving the weights. Well they’re a new toy aren’t they – and so many of them.

At last night’s training session with Adam¬†I did 12kg¬†kettlebell¬†(Hello? Anyone want¬†to buy a 6kg¬†kettlebell, bought at Christmas? I want a bigger one), stepping onto a box swinging an 8kg¬†medicine ball (was using 4kg¬†last winter) and doing lunges while pushing 5kg¬†dumbbells. I can jump forever, till my calves are on fire, and I’m a fan of the¬†bosu contraption. I had a go at rowing and learning how to use your whole body, not just your arms, and I did squats walking sideways like a hot sweaty crab (not one for impressing anyone,¬†I can tell you).

This week is all about one-mile intervals and now my blistered throat has cleared up I’m thinking good to go.

I’m planning on doing three sets of three-mile intervals this week.

What are everyone’s training goals this week? Do you set goals every week or do you have chill-out weeks too?

Does anyone else find their treadmill running isn’t as good as their outside performance?

Bit poorly, but still running

I have a touch of tonsilitis. Or something similar.

The back of my mouth, going down to my throat, is sore, raw and possibly a bit blistered. Tricky seeing down there.

Anyhoo, nice spicy food is off the menu, as is anything salty, acidy, lemony…it all stings most unpleasantly.

But it’s not going to stop me running. Fortunately I like milk and I can get that down. I had mushroom tortellino and avocado yesterday. strangely pleasant.

And this unpleasant little throat infection is above the throat, well not below it anyway. So I am off for a run in a bit.

Adam the running trainer is running Bolton 10k today. Wonder how he’ll get on in the rain. It’s super hilly, that course. You virtually have to take on an escarpment in Leverhulme Park.

Good luck, Adam!

I’m going out in a minute to do a six-mile loop. Can’t do splits because i forgot to charge the garmin. Tsk. I’ll let you know how i get on in a bit…

Legs on fire!

Today’s gym session with Adam has been all about the legs today. Strong legs, strong runner. Tough glutes, strong runner. Steely calves, strong runner.

We did a bit of arm and core work too *everybody now ‘STRONG RUNNER’*. But mostly legs, legs and more legs.

This is what we did:
* five minutes warm up jog

* running on the spot like a maniac for 10 seconds then jogging for 10 seconds, for 2 minutes
* dead-lifting a 15kg weight bag x 10
* lunges with arms in the air clenching fists above head x 12 each leg

repeat x 3

Stepping machine – 5 minutes of stair-climbing

* some weight machine guaranteed to make your bum burn as you pull weight to waist while simultaneously pulling leg from lunge positing to waist height (don’t ask me, I am the sweating guinea-pig)
* semi squad position, holding an 8kg medicine ball, swing from left side at thigh level, swinging to head height on opposite side
* buso ball, flat side up. Hand each side, step into plank position, hold for 10 seconds, step back. Repeat x 3

repeat x 3

Stepping machine – 5 minutes of stair climbing

running machine Р30secs walk at 3mph,  30 secs 5mph, 30 secs 8mph and back to 30 secs of 3mph, 5mph etc. Repeat for 10 minutes.

Looks a lot all written down but it only took one hour and the time flew by.

I was sweating fiercely after five minutes but I¬†wasn’t out of breath until i stopped the exercises. Even when I was pacing about breathing fast I wasn’t wheezing and it wasn’t for long.

Apparently my recovery is improving massively. “Remember that when you’re doing intervals,” said Adam. “Your recovery after intensive work is much quicker.”

So that’s me told!

“Oh and don’t do anything tomorrow, have ¬†rest day.”

No need to tell me that. Legs on fire!

In conclusion though can we have a big ‘yay’ for my 8mph sprints after a full-on legs session. Those legs were jelly, but they kept going… though as much because I¬†was visualising a messy, bloody tangle of hair, nose and broken bone if I tried to stop! Call me vain… ūüôā

Weighing into gym session running training

Last night was my weekly running training session with Adam.

I’ve not been sleeping well. Apparently not even running can save me from insomnia now. Over the past few weeks I’ve slipped into that midnight world of semi-sonambulistic internal incantation, my mind charting impossible scenarios that always start badly and never turn out well, that make no sense but stillvhaunt me like the ghosts of personal disasters never-were.

Consequently I’m not firing on all cylinders. I am pondering random lines of poetry – mostly Keats, yes it’s THAT bad – but apparently I can still run. And lift weights. Lots of weights. Bloody love the weights just now.

Last night I did circuits of one-mile jog-sprints on the treadmill, at various inclines. Seven mph 30-second bursts with 5.5 mph recoveries was pushing me.

In between squats with a 10kg medicine ball, press ups to standing and lifting two 5kg dumbbells, jumping on and off steps and wee table things (quite easy, don’t tell Adam) and swinging this heavy pole about (for muscles down the sides of my body, I guess).

I really enjoyed it. Weights training is completely different from running. While you’re doing the exercise you’re fine, it’s only after you stop that you’re panting and pouring with sweat. And the challenge – great fun.

Adam’s got family staying so more homework for the weekend – same as last week. A timed 10k and one-mile intervals.

Let’s hope for some decent weather here – it was hailing when I got in last night!

Lone wolf or pack animal?

I’ve always been a lone runner.

It’s not that I don’t mix well with others, I’m quite a social creature, generally, I just like my own company for certain activities. Running is one of them.

Running gives mes time to think properly uninterrupted, to review and think through problems, savour my triumphs, contemplate the future What I really enjoy is listening to my body; wheezing in and wheezing out, aching here, and aching there. Adjusting my stance, dropping my shoulders, standing tall, moving my arms, feeling the tightening of my quads and then the release as muscles warm and something else vies for my attention. Being within myself. Running is a meditation and that’s perhaps why I like doing it on my own.

Crocuses: hanging out in a crowd on my run route

Sounds dreadfully self-absorbed, but I don’t tire of listening my body and hearing when to push on, when the pace is too much for my breathing. I’ve got the knack of controlling my breath, at last, and that makes a huge difference to my running confidence.

But today, being running training day, I was running with Adam. He ran a little bit ahead of me, staring into his phone to track pace, and I wheezed along just behind him. We ran four miles, which felt like forever in my cold-recovery state, and we ran it in 42 minutes 20 seconds. That is a minute a mile faster than I manage on my own!

How can this be? Well clearly someone pacing you makes you keep your pace up. It looks like in a race scenario I could manage a 10k in one hour pretty confidently, which is a huge relief. And he doesn’t talk much, other than to check I’m not about to keel over and shouting out times and words like ‘keep the pace’ at random moments. Actually, I don’t mind running with him. If I could find someone to run with who kept quiet I’d be fine!

This week I’ve been set homework. Two interval sessions and one long run.My intervals are:

  • warm up run five minutes
  • one minute fast
  • two minutes recovery
  • two minutes fast
  • three minutes recovery
  • three minutes fast
  • four minutes recovery
  • four minutes fast
  • five and a half minutes recovery
  • five minutes fast
  • seven minutes recovery

and then back down the other side and five minutes jog off.

That should keep me out of mischief!

I love my running trainer, I hate my running trainer…

Dawn over Northenden

Taken on way to training - how peaceful, how genteel, how unlike hill repeats training

Adam: “Push, push, push, push.”

Me: “Wheeze, wheeze, wheeze, wheeze.”

Adam: “Push, push, push, push.”

Me: “Wheeze, wheeze, gasp, squeak, wheeze.”

We’re doing hills in my Sunday running trainer session. Five sets (if you’re counting the warm-up loop – and I bloody am) of six hills today. Fast as possible up, jogging it off on the downs.

In between hill sets, lunges swinging the medicine ball, bouncing from one lunge to another (burns your thighs and bottom) and squats while pushing out the medicine ball (piece of cake, but don’t tell Adam!).

On the warm up round of hills I was thinking “Oooh, this is ok, I can do this.” By round three I was thinking more along the lines of “Oh no, I’m not going to be able to do this… yes. you can.. I don’t think so.. you can, you can, you CAN..” (Does anyone else have these inner pep-talks with themselves? Mine are more like inner-bollockings, but I digress…)

Adam does lot of “Good, good, excellent, pump those arms, pull up those knees, yes, brilliant, fantastic,” chat too. But when he said: “One more set.” I actually said out loud “oh no”.

And yet I made it. These trainers know what they’re doing. They don’t drive you into the ground. And yes, I may be cursing him on hills No5 and my only distraction is looking up from my pumping knees, to notice the hill’s brow has somehow shifted and I’m still going up. But without him I would never have made round three.

I am sure there are plenty of people who can push themselves past wheezing into the air-gasp suffocating-while-running state, but I’m not one of them. Not because I’m lazy but because I’m genuinely amazed I can achieve what I obviously can do and so would never think to go round one more time. I’ve got to love what Adam helps me achieve, but I’ve got to say sometimes… grrrr!

Run like the wind

Today’s my personal trainer day. The day where I get up at stupid o’clock on a Sunday so someone 20 years younger than me can bounce about like an excited puppy while I wheeze, indiscreetly wipe snot on the sleeves of my micro-fleece and contemplate whether it’s possible to suffocate while running due to the fact my lungs can’t get the crap out fast enough to let oxygen in.

Whythenshaw Park was looking pretty gloomy today and it’s rained so much over the past couple of days little lakes have popped up all over the place

Lodge at Whythenshaw Park entrance

Lodge at Whythenshaw Park entrance

New lake

New lake

Today was interval training session. We did 1.5 minutes slow, 1 minute fast x 10. Twenty-five minutes with matching winds speed, squally showers with 25 mph winds pounding at me was, shall we say, refreshing. About the sixth interval I was really feeling it and as Adam is chatting away about how he wants us to do four more, I’m thinking… well, more praying really… that I won’t cave and walk, but suddenly we’ve done eight and I’m thinking ‘I can do this’. In the end I finished strong.

We then spent half an hour doing Mr Kettlebell drills with varying success. Although my lunges are much improved and my squats are almost a pleasure, I had some moments losing control of the kettlebell as I swung it over my shoulder. It’s only the blind terror over the potential damage I could do with 8kg of steel and my skull that keeps me in check.

I have now eaten an obscene amount of bread, butter, ham and about half a gallon of tea. I am complete; and bloody knackered.