Archive for January, 2017

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When my daughter announced she had got an audition at a prominent Dance academy we were very pleased. When she told me it was 120 miles away in Leeds and she would only need to be there half a day…. not so much!

Anyway, my new mental philosophy is to try to turn a negative into a positive. The audition was on a Saturday and Saturday is Parkrun day. A quick google found me not only a Parkrun close to the Dance school but a Hotel slap between the two. It didn’t take long for a plan to form in my mind. Travel up on the Friday night, sleep in the Hotel, both be fresh as daisies for our exertion in the morning.

The plan went with out a hitch and, despite the weather being on the drizzly side, I left the Hotel and ran the mile to Woodhouse Moor, known colloquially as Hyde Park. The buildings I passed along the way were stunning and a real credit to Leeds.

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So, this leads me (Leeds, Get it?) on to the park run itself. Situated in a very pleasant park behind some of the Leeds University campus, the course consists of, mostly, tarmacked paths with some grass/ mud (mostly mud on a rainy morning in January). Being a smaller area than my home Parkrun of The Memorial Park in Coventry, Woodhouse Moor requires almost 3 full laps to complete the 5k route. The route is quite undulating with 250 feet of elevation change. Strangely enough the route felt more down hill than up but this must have been my imagination or the famous “runners high”, who knows?

The run started just a few minutes late with a cheerful briefing and a round of applause and a few friendly jeers for the visitor from down south and also a visit from the Leeds University Mascot.

I completed the run in an official time of 24:29 helped, in part, by the downhill sections no doubt. This is now just a few seconds off my PB for 5k so my leg is definitely getting stronger. I just hope that this is a sign that my injury is a thing of the past.

Post race there were sweets and cakes laid on by the University. Unfortunately I didn’t partake as I had to be back to my hotel to shower and check out but I did have time to chat to a couple of runners. One of which had come over from India and was only running his second ever Parkrun.

Summing up I had a fabulous experience of a new city and a new to me Parkrun. If you are reading this and are thinking I could never run 5k, it’s cool, you don’t have to. walk, jog, run, it’s totally up to you but please go and try one. There is bound to be one close to you.

Take a look at http://www.parkrun.org.uk/ it might just provide your path to fitness and turn you in to a runner like it did me.

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The Road Ahead

Posted: January 23, 2017 in Fitness, Health, Uncategorized

I thought I would amalgamate a few posts I had been thinking of into this one. Basically it’s a catch up of what I have done and what I plan for the rest of the year.

It was a cold and frosty morning on Saturday but even wheelie bin covered ice patches could not deter me from completing my 17th Coventry Parkrun in, what turned out to be, my second fastest time. I had been worried my calf troubles would come back now that I have increased my running again but so far so good. The heel raises I was given by the physio along with new trainers (ASICS Patriot 8) and the purchase of some Kalenji calf sleeves (Decathlon) seem to be keeping me on track. Unfortunately it’s not such good news on the shoulder injury I got taking a slow speed tumble off my mountain bike during the Evans’ cycle Ride It cross country event on Cannock Chase at the start of October. Despite physio and implementing the exercises I was given, the shoulder is a million miles away from where it needs to be.

With this in mind it was time to start thinking about events for the year ahead. I have already ran the January Draycote 10k and have now signed up to run again in February. Let’s hope the weather is kinder to us then as it rained so much last time I may as well have swam the 10k.

Also signed up are not one but four Wolf Runs this year ( http://thewolfrun.com/ ). Last year it was my ultimate goal to complete the Autumn Wolf, which I did, and that has given me an appetite for more. If I can complete Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter I will qualify as an Alpha Wolf. This will be my main goal this year. Not bad for a totally Beta Male. For those of you unsure why anyone would want to put themselves through the torture of an obstacle race I urge you to watch Rise of The Sufferfests. A documentary into what makes people repeatedly go back for more. http://riseofthesufferfests.com/

I do intend to enter a few more events, including a return to the King of the Mytons cycling event, but that’s all that are booked so far.

My training has stepped up a gear lately so I thought I would share what an average week looks like for me. With this being winter, my distances have fallen but as lighter evenings and warmth returns I will be building back up.

Monday

3-4 mile run

Tuesday

HIIT row session 20s sprint/ 10s rest x8

Supersets of:

chest press/ seated row. 3 sets 20 reps.

Squats/ dumbbell lunge 3 sets 20 reps

Lat pull downs/ shoulder raise (forwards and to the side) 3 sets 20 reps

Leg curls/ leg extensions 3 sets 20 reps

Plank 75s

Plank push-ups 30s

Mountain climbers 30s

Swiss ball jack knives 30s

Leg raises 30s

Plank 75s

X-trainer 20 minutes on random

Followed by a repeat of the core exercises (plank etc.)

Wednesday

Rest day

Thursday 

Repeat Tuesday

Friday

Bike 10 miles +

Saturday

Run

Sunday

Repeat Tuesday

Now, that may seem like a lot but I do worry that I need to increase the cycling and, at some point, introduce swimming. Not enough hours in the day!


My online Active I.Q. Gym instructors course seems to have gone off with more of a whimper than a bang after the first online lesson was cancelled due to technical difficulties and the rescheduled lesson was during my working day so I couldn’t attend. Ascthere is no course portal or online forums yet, there is no way to collaborate with my peers on the course. This is not what I am used to from distance learning. Things can only get better I guess.

On the whole though, what is normally my most hated month, January has got off to a flying start and as we approach it’s end I hope to carry this momentum into February and beyond.

Happy training!

First Event Of The Year

Posted: January 15, 2017 in Fitness, Health, Uncategorized
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The Draycote 10k

After what seems like an eternity since my last event I am pleased to report my 2017 campaign has got off without a hitch.

The Draycote 10k is a new run to me but has been running for several years. The event is organised by The Race organiser ( http://theraceorganiser.com/index.html ) and is set around the normally picturesque Draycote Water Reservoir located in the Warwickshire countryside about 13 miles South East of Coventry. I say normally because, today, the weather was not kind to us. Low cloud, heavy rain and low temperatures greeted us as we assembled in the car park to head to the race village to claim our start numbers.

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The visitor centre and race village through the rain

Never one to be put of by a bit of rain, it was heartening to see how many others had decided to turn out anyway and the carpark was soon way over capacity. As were the loos with the ladies having to form a long but orderly queue which meant some had to start the race late.

As start time approached I moved up to the start with some trepidation. It had only been 9 days since I pulled my calf yet again and hadn’t run at all in that time. I had done a couple of sessions of resistance with some supported cardio on the X-Trainer and had been wearing a calf sleeve all week. To say the injury was worrying me would be an understatement. I tried to fight back the natural instinct to get swept along with the crowd at the start to try to help my leg but I was soon setting a pace in the low 8’s. The course helped. Set along the perimeter road of the reservoir, the 10k course had 2k of, mostly, downhill double back till we strode off around the course proper. Undulating around the lake, giving a fair change in elevation, the tarmacked surface was a pleasure to run on with only avoiding action for puddles breaking the flow.

 

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Elevation plan of the course

 

As it turned out the injury didn’t reappear and my pace for the first 5k was good (for me) but as I passed the 6k marker I felt that my pace had fallen right off. That said I still felt good. Running a 10k straight off in brand new trainers was probably not the sanest thing to do but even that turned out to not be a problem. Hey, I didn’t even feel the rain despite having to do jumping jacks on the start line to stop shaking in the cold.

It was with relief that I spied the red LED glow of the finish clock 1km from the finish. All my fears of my calf ending my season before it started melted away and I made a push for home. As I crossed the line a glance at the clock showed me I had finished 53.33 after the official start. Knowing that I hadn’t crossed the start line till over 1 minute after the start I knew I had put in a time far faster than I thought and one possibly a PB. After I regained my breath, a quick check on my TomTom Spark showed me that I had indeed set a new fastest 10k time of 52.11! What an awesome way to start the new year.

As I moved up to claim my goodie bag (the usual fare of protein bar, nutrient drink etc.), medal and T-shirt I caught up with one of my friends who had came home a couple of minutes before me for the usual photos and war stories. He too had enjoyed the event and vowed we should do more. Looks like 2017 will be a busy year.

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To the Victor, the spoils

 

New Year, New Goals

Posted: January 13, 2017 in Fitness, Health, Uncategorized

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Here we are, two whole weeks into 2017. Time to think about what I want to achieve this year. In all honestly last year exceeded my expectations and I will be hard pressed to match it but here goes.

First off I want to say thank you for the support I have received through the last 12 months. Going from the weight I was to being considered fit and healthy has had its own rewards but the constant encouragement I have had from friends, old and new, has got me through the tough times and there have been a few. more on that later.

I have taken the decision to rebrand both this blog and my Instagram (go give me a follow) to be more in keeping with the new direction my life is taking. Will I still play and rant about video games? You betcha. They are still a part of who I am but I am so much more.

That leads me to my main goal for this year. At the start of this journey it was all about feeling better about myself. improving my self image, feeling healthy and basically extending my life as much as I possibly could. As I made progress and started to lose weight I started getting people asking how they could do the same. I have found I have really enjoyed offering what advice I could and seeing others start their own journey and it has made me consider my career choices. I really want to help make the difference. I feel that, as I have taken the journey myself, I am well placed to help others do the same. The upshot of this is that on the 17th of January I will start studying to become a level 2 Fitness instructor with Henley College, here in Coventry. This will then give me a more in-depth knowledge of the subject helping me to give better advice. I am obviously hoping it will also lead to a career change eventually. Me? A gym coach? who would have guessed!

I am also hoping to get to 50 ParkRuns this year. So far I have 16 under my belt so this should be easy to do so long as I can get Saturdays free.

Coming up before that is the Draycote 10k on the 15th January. This is a lovely location around the perimeter of a local reservoir. I have walked around it many times but this will be my first run there. I am excited to get this year’s events under way but I am still carrying an injury that has bugged me off and on through last year and have been advised not to do it. Trouble is I really want to so I may end up walking by the end.