Winter Wolf Run training : Week 4

Week 4, and I am looking to Thrive…

Monday 30 September 2013

As I mentioned in my last training blog, which you can read here, I am going to spend some time in this one telling you about the book I read whilst on holiday, Thrive Fitness – The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health and Fitness by Brendan Brazier.  Reading the book has already had a profound effect on me and I will run through a summary of each chapter at the end of the entry for each day this week to hopefully give you an idea of why it has had such an effect.

I was back in the office and trying to retain the happy thoughts of the holiday in Kefalonia.  We had not managed to go shopping since we got back so I was eating whatever was left in the cupboard, so my dietary changes would not be an immediate thing.  I ate a sweet cinnamon flavour Oat So Simple pot when I got into the office and drank a cup of milk and a cup of my fizzy vitamin C.  I kept drinking water through the morning so that I was ready to try a new running exercise from Brendan Brazier’s book at lunchtime.  The weather was overcast and not too bad for running.  The running exercise I was about to do is intended raise my VO2 max (my maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake, or aerobic capacity) and would be intense.  However, it would translate to improved cardiovascular efficiency and, therefore, performance, so it would be worth it, and I would only be running it once each week.  I would run for 5 minutes to warm up, then run three repetitions of 30 seconds hard followed by 30 seconds recovery, then run two repetitions of 1 minute hard followed by 1 minute recovery, and finally run another three repetitions of 30 seconds hard followed by 30 seconds recovery.  I managed to complete one big lap and got to the entrance to cereform on the smaller lap, and I could feel how intense it had been.  I will monitor how my distance covered changes week on week.

Thrive Fitness – Brendan Brazier

What Happened To Our Health ?

The Decline of our Well-Being

  1. The Obesity Epidemic
  2. Overfed Yet Undernourished
  3. The Economic Cost
  4. The Environmental Cost
  5. Reasons ? Or Excuses ?

At A Glance :

  • North America’s greatest killer – cardiovascular disease – is a disease that is nearly 100 percent preventable through sound nutrition and regular exercise
  • Taking time to focus on your own well-being will significantly improve your quality of life as well as the standard of living of those around you
  • Eating high-quality food will save you money in the long run
  • Most people in North America are overfed yet undernourished
  • The health of the people becomes the health of the nation
  • Healthier people are able to achieve more
  1. Run (work) – VO2 max

Tuesday 01 October 2013

I made sure to do two minutes of plank before leaving the house in the morning.  I ate a Golden Syrup flavour Oat So Simple pot when I got into the office, together with a cup of milk and some water, and I kept drinking water through the morning so that I was ready for my lunchtime run.  It was overcast with a cold wind when I got outside.  Today I was doing an Interval Workout, which should be six sets of 800 metres at 10km pace, each followed by 400 metres at a jog.  I have no idea how far 800 metres or 400 metres are on my route, so I decided to run 3 minutes of warm up followed by six sets of 2 minutes at full pace, with a minute after each at a recovery pace.  The way I see it, I need to be pushing as hard as I can for the two minutes.  Doing that I managed to complete one big lap and got to the cycle path logo painted on the pavement by the main road on my smaller lap.  I drank a cup of milk as soon as I got back into the office and ate a pot of tuna and a pot of cheese for lunch.  I ate an apple later in the afternoon.

I ate a nakd bar and an apple as I drove down to Welwyn Garden City for the late evening bootcamp session with Regiment Fitness.  It was dry with a cold edge to the night, but I was still pleased to have some time to catch up with everyone to discuss the Warrior Adrenaline Race before we got going.  James had even brought along his new baby daughter, although he did not stay around for training because she does not have any Merrell Trailgloves yet.  This evening’s session was being taken by mad Steve and Jesus.  Although Jesus did have a passing resemblence to Tom.  We started with a running on the spot warm up, which was followed up with an extra short, sharp warm up from Steve (everything for ten seconds – sprinting on the spot, press ups, sit ups, plank), and somehow we managed to incur a couple of burpee forfeits along the way.  I have missed this over the last week !  Naturally, we ended that with a run to the far goalposts.  The circuit was a straight one with 5, then 10, then 15, then 20, and finally 25 repetitions at each post, doing press ups, then sit ups, then squat jumps, sprinting back to the start at the end of each exercise.  We then did 5 burpees at each pole to finish it.  We split into two groups and I started with the boxing, doing combinations of our choise to start off with in short, sharp bursts; then lots of high punching, first from a standing position and then kneeling; then we did sit ups to warm up before punching from the sit up position, and it was all done quickly, with tight changeovers.  We swapped groups and I moved on to tyre shuttles in our team of three, doing 4 carries of the tyre each.  Then we changed to holding the medicine ball while doing squats, with the other two in the team either holding the squat position or doing lunges, before we did sit ups while holding the medicine ball above our heads and bringing it up to touch our toes, while the others did leg raises (holding the legs at 6 inches above the ground) or cycles.  And as we moved on to the warm down I was very glad to be back.

I got home and ate an Innocent vegetable pot and two boiled eggs.

Thrive Fitness – Brendan Brazier

What Is Thrive Fitness ?

The 4 Components of Vitality

  1. High-Return Exercise
  2. High Net-Gain Nutrition
  3. Efficient Sleep
  4. Uncomplementary Stress Reduction

At A Glance :

  • Thrive Fitness is a lifestyle, not merely a program.  Its gains go way beyond fitness
  • Better muscle tone and lower body fat are a byproduct of Thrive Fitness, rather than the ultimate goal
  • Thrive Fitness provides a high return on energy and time investment.  Therefore, peak fitness can be built quickly and efficiently
  • Stronger muscles move with greater ease, fluidity and grace
  • Increased muscular strength reduces the heart’s workload and therefore boosts energy
  • Increased maximum oxygen consumption can significantly improve overall health and greatly reduce the risk of heart disease.  Oxygen consumption can be improved in a short amount of time and with minimal energy expenditure

At A Glance :

  • Physical exercise offers a vast array of non-physical benefits
  • Being active can bolster creativity and help develop big-picture ideas through right-brain stimulation
  • Regular exercise can improve subconscious function and problem-solving ability
  • Mental outsourcing can improve mental performance
  • A select-information diet and active meditation can improve brain function
  • Learning new physical movements contributes to the construction of neurotransmitters and therefore may reduce the risk of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

At A Glance :

  • High-quality nutrition is vital for cellular regeneration and ongoing athletic improvement
  • Regular exercise and high-quality food collaborate in the creation of a biologically younger body
  • Consuming high net-gain foods will result in sustainable, non-stimulating energy
  • The reduction of nutritional stress will significantly reduce overall stress and will boost vitality with no loss in productivity
  • Willpower is finite.  When it runs dry, even minor tasks will seem difficult
  • Enjoyable activities restore willpower, resulting in the ability to take on major tasks and overcome significant challenges
  1. Plank
  2. Walk
  3. Run (work) – 6 x 800 Interval Workout
  4. Training – 1 hour

Wednesday 02 October 2013

To be honest, I was too tired to do plank in the morning and then work got in the way of me taking a run at lunchtime, so I was more than ready for the Regiment Fitness session in St Albans, and I walked down to it rather than taking the car.  It was dark out but not cold.  The session was being taken by Steve (not the mad one) and we started off with a shuttle warm up, gradually building up what we did in the shuttles, and finishing off with a run over to the bench and back.  The circuit was a new one for me, running from one set of cones over the rope in the middle to another set of cones on the other side.  We did 20 repetitions of each exercise at both cones, with 4 burpees every time we crossed the rope.  We started with press ups, then did alternate leg raises (coming up to touch our toes from a lying position), squat jumps, press ups with one arm a bit further down the body than the other (and swapping half way through), half sit ups (with the repetitions increased to 40), dorsal raises, and finished with burpees.  If we got back before everyone was finished then we got into the plank position.  That was tough and had me sweating, but I managed all the repetitions.  Steve then got us into pairs for piggy backs, dead man drags, fireman lifts and wheelbarrow races, which sounds like messing around, until you consider that you are carrying someone else’s body weight.  If the circuit had not finished me off then that was having a damn good go at doing it.  We split into two groups for tug of war, which had to happen with the rope just lying around.  The group pulling downhill won each time, and again my body was feeling the effort.  Taking the strain.  We split into pairs for three sprint shuttle runs while our partner did upward rows with a jerry can, before we did three shuttles pushing the jerry can along the ground, and finished off with three shuttles carrying the jerry can, and for the last two sets of shuttles we rested in the plank position.  And still we were not finished.  Now we split into three groups, with one group running over to the far bench, another group getting into a plank position with hands on a medicine ball and moving our feet to the right, then back to the middle, then to the left, and repeating, and the third group doing press ups between tyres with our hands on the tyres and our faces going down to the grass.  I was in the first running group and we noticed some cones on the ground as we ran over to the bench, so we helpfully picked them up as we came back.  I was more than ready for the warm down.  That had been a brilliant session and just what I wanted and needed.

After this...

After this…

Even better, I got home to steamed salmon fillet with roasted butternut squash and roasted brocolli, which was delicious.

...it was great to come home to this !

…it was great to come home to this !

Thrive Fitness – Brendan Brazier

Training, Living And Improving

Sharpening Your Focus

  1. Train Your Weakness, Race Your Strength
  2. Justified Confidence
  3. Persistence

At A Glance :

  • Being sensitive to personal faults is necessary in order to identify and eliminate them
  • Positive thinking can do more harm than good and can hinder ongoing progress
  • Building “justified confidence” will significantly help in any pursuit and is only possible once weakness has been determined
  • Persistence is necessary but not the answer to every problem
  1. Walk
  2. Training – 1 hour

Thursday 03 October 2013

I was back in the office and eating my Oat So Simple and drinking a cup of milk and my fizzy vitamin C, while the part of my back just below my shoulders was aching from yesterday evening’s session.  I will see if I can run it off at lunchtime, as I had managed to do two minutes of plank before I left the house.  I was on a conference call for most of the morning so did not eat or drink as I would have liked to before setting off for 40 minutes of Fartlek running at lunchtime.  It was overcast when I got out there and the weather only got worth with me finishing the run in the rain.  I did 3 minutes of warm up and then sets of 1 minute pushing it and 3 minutes recovery, covering two big laps, 1 complete little lap, and finishing at the bus stop outside cereform, which meant that I ran over 4 miles and I reckon I was running at 9 minutes and 30 seconds per mile pace.  I now need to make sure I am properly refueled and ready for Regiment Fitness this evening, so I drank a cup of milk when I got in and ate a banana, some tomatoes and an apple through the afternoon.

It was dark before we started the session, but it was dry and I did not think it was that cold at all.  It was being taken by Tom and mad Steve again, and they work really well together, so I always enjoy their sessions.  We started with a running warm up.  And then did an extra warm up with Steve, doing lots of 10 second bursts of press ups, sit ups and sprints.  And then, of course, we had a run to the trees and back again.  We set up in a square for the circuit, lining up on the four sides between the poles, so that each side did a different exercise for a minute.  The first sets were close hands press ups, sprints, holding in the down press up position, normal press ups; then we had sit ups, sprints, sitting upward at the same time as raising our legs to touch our toes, held leg raises; and we finished off with squat jumps, sprints, burpees, and holding a squat.  Naturally, we then had a run to the trees.  The boxing was varied and very short and sharp throughout.  In the other group we did shuttle runs in teams of three, and three sets of 20 upward rows with the jerry can.  Then we got into teams of five and sat in a circle with our feet raised as we passed a medicine ball around our circle, first three times, then five times, and finally twelve times.  That was tough but bearable, and it felt good to warm down and stretch out after that.

I got home to more delicious food – chicken souvlaki with roasted garlic quinoa, which was a nice mixture of Kefalonia and Peru.

More yummy !

More yummy !

Thrive Fitness – Brendan Brazier

Training, Living And Improving

Preventing And Reversing Disease

  1. Sustainable Health Is Possible

At A Glance, this chapter deals with :

  • Arthritis
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Depression
  • Elevated Cholesterol
  • Osteoporosis
  • Type II Diabetes
  1. Plank
  2. Run (work) – Fartlek 40 minutes
  3. Training – 1 hour

Friday 04 October 2013

My plans had changed because some work matters came up, so instead of driving down to the Brecon Beacons in the early hours, I was at the morning Regiment Fitness session in St Albans before driving down to Gloucestershire for the Summer’s End progressive rock festival.  I turned up to find that Shaun was taking the session, so I knew it was going to be tough, and I was already feeling low on energy this morning.  We began with a running warm up around the square we would be using for the circuit, and that finished with sprints around one side of the square, then two sides, then three sides, and finally the whole square.  The circuit itself was 30 repetitions of each exercise at the three corners away from the start point around the square, doing press ups, then sit ups, then burpees (with only 20 repetitions at each post), and running a lap of the square when we got back to the start point.  We finished off with one side of lunges, one of sumo squats, one of walking while holding our ankles, and finally power jumps to bring us home.  I was already feeling more than exhausted at this point and was sweating a lot.  We moved on to log chest presses of 50, then 60, and finally 70 repetitions in teams of three with a run out to the far pole after each set.  Then we did the running to build up to being in chains of 5, and I sprinted in to finish off ours and that certainly finished me off.  It was also interesting that the person I was running next to remarked that my hands were cold, so my low blood pressure is clearly still there.  The boxing was something of a daze by this time and my shoulders kept telling me they could not take any more so I kept trying to show them that they could and in the end the end could not come soon enough.  The warm down felt wonderful.

Not long after that I spent three hours driving down to Gloucestershire and then 6 hours standing up enjoying the music.

Thrive Fitness – Brendan Brazier

Achieving And Maintaining Thrive Fitness

Performance-Building Exercise

At A Glance :

  • Stretches
  • Adaptation
  • Maintaining Thrive Fitness While Travelling
  • Fixing And Preventing Common Problems
  • Thrive Fitness Program Exercises
  • Raising VO2 Max
  • Training And Nutrition Log
  1. Walk
  2. Training – 1 hour
  3. Standing

Saturday 05 October 2013

It was going to be another day of standing up so I decided to get it off to a good start with two minutes of plank followed by a tabata I put together that morning.  I did 20 seconds of each exercise at full intensity followed by 10 seconds of rest, and repeated it three times.  I did press ups, sit ups, squats, lunges, tricep dips, mountaineers, gecko press ups and burpees.  I was sweating for some time afterwards.  Then it was down to the Festival to stand for most of the time between midday and half past one on Sunday morning.

Thrive Fitness – Brendan Brazier

Fuel For Fitness

Eight Key Nutrients

  1. Alkaline-Forming Foods
  2. Antioxidants
  3. Calcium
  4. Electrolytes
  5. Essential Fats
  6. Iron
  7. Phytonutrients
  8. Raw Food
  1. Plank
  2. Tabata
  3. Standing

Sunday 06 October 2013

I drove home early in the morning from the festival and did not feel like doing anything else today.

Thrive Fitness – Brendan Brazier

30 Thrive Performance Recipes

Positives from this week – I have managed to fit a lot of variety into the week and started to introduce some of the ideas from Thrive Fitness.

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