New highs, new lows

Sunday morning: Harry morning.

I meet him in the car park, he opens his car door and in the footwell of the passenger seat are my three (not) best friends, Mr Dumb Bell, Mr Medicine Ball and the dreadful Mr Hells-Kettle Bell.

But thankfully they remained in there, today is to be running based training.

After a 10 minute jog to warm up, that turned out to mean running up and down flights of steps – a la Rocky – 10x, which I can do. Progress! Then using one of those picnic bench tables as a step block and doing squats in between – 10x, which I can also do. More progress?!

Harry pronounces my legs much stronger and then we’re off for a run with me wheezing and Harry waxing lyrical about how fast we’re going as he glances at his smartphone. I know we’re going faster, I can’t breathe comfortably, never mind talk, but this is what I pay him for.

Now the following humiliation is completely my own fault. We’d done some intervals (these went well too) and we’re opposite Chorlton Water Park so I point out a hill that would be good for hill training. So we run up it. It’s a big hill. My arms are pumping, my legs are protesting and we go the top and then I… vomit!

Yes, I’ve now thrown up in front of my personal trainer.

I get waves of nausea quite frequently, about 30 minutes into a run. Harry’s advice; knock the coffee on the head. Acidic, apparently. Pre-exercise I should try that flat lucozade stuff which Harry says has been proven to be effective for people exercising.

I’m certainly willing to give it a go, I’m sick of feeling sick, if you see what I mean.

But, vomiting aside. And having it pointed out to me that I have a forehead dotted with flies stuck to my sweat (sexy, huh?!) today went well. I ran three miles in 35 minutes, including four intervals and a stop to throw up.

My ambition to run faster is an uphill struggle in more ways than one. I’m not making massive strides over night. But I am improving and I am getting faster.

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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.