Week 2, and planning to push things on before going away at the end of the week…
Monday 16 September 2013
After a great first week on my training plan I now have to spend 6 hours driving to and from a meeting in Avonmouth. I made sure to do two minutes of plank when I woke up, controlled what I ate in the car but I did not drink nearly enough during the day. Thankfully I got home in time for training.
The Monday evening Regiment Fitness sessions at Welwyn had come to an end, so after going to Hatfield last week, this evening I went to their opening Monday evening training session at Wheathampstead. This one was held on the Memorial Hall playing fields and was taken by Tom and mad Steve, and it had a big turn out of regulars from Welwyn. Judging by how it felt outside, Wheathampstead is in the Arctic. There was a biting wind blowing up the field and my teeth were chattering. However, despite the weather being as it was, the first thing I actually noticed was the slope. That would be fun. Mad Steve warmed us up with an on the spot warm up, although it did include running over to two trees and sprinting back from them up the slope a couple of times, before we finished with some press ups and sit ups, and if we wanted to push it then a run to the far side of the field and back. I was warmed up but still cold. It was a triangular circuit, with the first side of the triangle running down the slope, the second side coming back up it and the third, shorter side running flat. We did our exercises so we were working up the slope each time, doing 30 press ups at each pole followed by a running lap, 30 sit ups at each pole followed by a running lap, 30 squats at each pole followed by a running lap, and 20 burpees at each pole followed by two running laps. I found myself giving an extra push as I ran up the slope each time. If we wanted to push it at the end of the circuit then there was the option of running to the far side and back again. Again. I did it. I need to do it. I need to work on my running, and this is doing that. I come back from each of these pushes out of breath, and then have to quickly recover for the next activity. This evening it was (shadow) boxing with mad Steve. I say (shadow) because the numbers dictated that I had no partner, so I ended up doing the upper cuts either against my shadow or in a group of three, with one glove each to two of us, and then did the upward punching from the kneeling position by myself. The second set of that had us punching to opposite sides, which certainly added another dimension. The groups switched over and we ran jerry can relays, up and down the slope, holding the jerry can above my head, and then ran tyre relays, taking them from one cone to another, again up and down the slope. As I always do with these exercises, I gave it a sprint to finish off, which left me out of breath. We then got into pairs and brought matters to a close with wheelbarrow squats, with one us staying with straight arms in the wheelbarrow position and the other holding our ankles as they did squats. I did feel sorry for my partner, who had to squat 100kg. Then it was time for the warm down at the end of another excellent session. This location works really well for me coming down from Northampton and then heading home in St Albans, so I think I will become a regular.
I got home and once I had defrosted (myself, not my food) I ate a pea and ham soup with brocolli, spinach and two boiled eggs.
- Training – 1 hour
Tuesday 17 September 2013
I was back in the office today and as I would not be able to get to Regiment Fitness this evening because we were going to the cinema to see the opera Turandot by Puccini, I had to make sure I got out for a run. I also made sure I did two minutes of plank before I left the house, because that needs to become a constant thing and not something which happens only from time to time. I ate my pot of Oat So Simple (golden syrup flavour) and drank my milk and my fizzy vitamin C, made sure I continued to drink water, ate a banana and watched the rain through my window. Looks like wonderful conditions for a run today. The rain was holding off when I got out into the wind and the cold, but by the time I finished my 35 minutes of Fartlek it had poured down and I was soaked, which can only be perfect training for the Winter Wolf Run. I ran 3 minutes of warm up then 1 minute pushing and 3 minutes recovery, until I got to 32 minutes at the lamp post the far side of ABI Equipment, at which point I turned around and ran back to the office, after doing just over two big laps. I was cold and wet, so I quickly drank some milk and got down to the shower. I ate a Middle Eastern spiced wild rice salad for lunch with a white peach and raspberry live gourmet yoghurt, and drank more water, before eating an apple during the afternoon.
I got home and we headed off to the cinema and popcorn. Scream for me, Turandot ! That’s with a dot. I managed to avoid a ‘burpee line’ at Welwyn training, and although I have no idea what that might be, I think I was lucky.
- Run (work) – Fartlek 35 minutes
Wednesday 18 September 2013
Another two minutes of plank to start my day. I was in the office and followed my usual morning routine and got myself ready for a lunchtime run. My pot of Oat So Simple was apple and blueberry flavour, and I did not like it so much as the others. I ate a banana later in the morning and kept drinking water before going out into the overcast day for my lunchtime run. Today I was doing an Interval Workout, which should be four 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 four 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 entrance to cereform on my smaller lap. I drank a cup of milk as soon as I got back into the office and then ate a granola, honey and yoghurt pot for lunch with a Russian fudge live gourmet yoghurt from the Collective Dairy. I ate an apple during the afternoon and kept drinking water.
I ate an apple as I drove to St Albans for my evening session with Regiment Fitness. The person taking the session was a new one to me, Graham, who usually works out of the Watford location, and as it turns out was the one who launched me over the last wall at the Warrior Adrenaline Race I ran in , which you can read about here. It was a little worrying that as people turned up and saw Graham they sighed and declared that they were going. It seems he has a reputation for squats. After this session I can say that reputation is very well deserved. We warmed up in two lines facing each other, on the spot, gradually building, and obviously falling on to the ground a lot. Then it was a run over to some trees for those who wanted to push it. The circuit was an interesting one because of the exercises involved in it. The layout was straight forward, running out to the first pole, doing 15 repetitions then running back; running out to the second pole, doing 15 repetitions then running back; and running out to the third pole, doing 15 repetitions then running back. The exercises were jumping lunges, squat thrusts with a press up included, tuck squats, random press ups (where you change the location of your hands between each one) and bitches (which are bastard burpees with an added tuck in the jump), so all very exotic and none of your normal exercises. We also squatted between each set of exercises, and at one point because some people went for a drink while the rest of us were still out there working hard we all got five burpees. And there was a run to the trees at the end to push it. Next up was a tyre relay with a twist. Well, a couple of twists. We were in teams of four, and while one person ran the course the second person could stand and the other two would hold the press up position. The course was a leopard crawl out to a cone, then a bear crawl to the next cone, then a run to the tyres before leapfrogging one tyre over the other, continuing until both tyres were back the other side of the cone we were running from. Once we had finished we held the press up position until everyone else had finished. And then we held it some more. And then we held it for a final long 30 seconds. It was time for a drink but we did not get into position quickly enough for the next activity, so we began with 10 burpees. This was a medicine ball relay, running out to the pole with the 4kg medicine ball held over our heads, then 20 repetitions of bringing the ball down from above our heads to chest height while keeping the arms straight, then running back. We were in teams of three and while one was running the other two held the squat position, and by now the squat position had become one where our feet and knees were together. We were to run this three times each, but when I got back from my second run the next person in my team had incurred a press up forfeit for not holding the squat low enough, so I was told I might as well go back and do another set, which I did, so I ended up with four sets. To finish off the session we then ran the medicine ball out to the pole and chest pressed it 20 times before running back in. The warm down brought a very interesting, intense and excellent session to a close. I really enjoyed that !
I got home and felt I deserved a treat so ate chicken and chips.
- Run (work) – 4 x 800 Interval Workout
- Training – 1 hour
Thursday 19 September 2013
I was working from home this morning because once again I had a meeting in London later in the day, so I decided to get along to the Regiment Fitness morning session at Harpenden. I have always enjoyed my sessions there, so am keen to take any opportunity to get along. It does seem to take longer to drive to Harpenden than I ever expect, so once more I was worried that I was going to be late, but I arrived on time. The session was being taken by Coxy and there were seven of us there, so no place to hide – I think that is one of the things I like about it. We started with a running warm up around the centre circle on the football pitch, which finished with a sprint around the centre circle. Then there was a run to the other end of the football pitch and back if we wanted to push it, so I went for it. Well, we were half way there already. The circuit was an interesting one, and one I had seen him mention from some of his other sessions. We were in two teams and we would be keeping a record of the number of repetitions of each exercise we managed in the circuit. We would do each exercise six times for 30 seconds, with 15 seconds recovery time. We started with squat jumps and I managed 182 over the six lots of 30 seconds, then sit ups (135), press ups (252) and finally mountaineers (290). I lost it a bit in the fourth set of the squat jumps, could have done with someone holding my ankles for the sit ups, destroyed my shoulders with the press ups, which pretty much got in the way of the mountaineers. I was done by the end of it. It was really like doing a few tabata in a row. We split into pairs for a relay involving a medicine ball, a tyre and a jerry can. One of us ran out to the medicine ball and brought it back, then out to the tyre and brought it back, and then out to the jerry can and brought it back, before the other one then ran them back to their starting places, and we did that four times. I was in the line with the heavy trye and heavy jerry can. I did two runs using my right arm to carry them and two runs using my left, and sprinted back in for the last run. And was done again. Then it was time for some boxing in pairs, starting in the sit up position to come up for hook punches and building in twos each time from 2 up to 40. Yes, it has gone up from 30. Then we stood up and did 30 straight punches before running to the pole and back, and then the same thing with 30 hooks and 30 upper cuts, then repeat all three, and add in a seventh just for luck. While one person was doing the running the other was doing two burpees. The warm down felt really good after another hard and enjoyable session, and I felt all the better for it. As we collected up all the kit and brought it back to the van (including the logs which we had not used), Coxy added up the scores from the circuit and on the day the team I was in had won. Which, obviously makes no difference whatsoever. But we won, and you cannot ever take that away from us.
Now I needed to recover from the session because my training plan called for another run today, so I ate an apple and drank water. The run should have been 4 miles but I decided to do two of the big laps on my home route, which comes to 4.6 miles. It was cold and pouring with rain when I got outside, so more perfect training for the Winter Wolf Run. It will be different next week in Kefalonia ! I do find my home route harder than the one at work, and given that I had put in a training session this morning, I was pleased with my time, coming in at a second under 10 minutes per mile. I drank some coconut water with pineapple when I got back in.
As I said last Thursday, man cannot live on beefcake alone, and after the opera on Tuesday at a cinema, tonight we are going to enjoy some jazz at a Pizza Express. The jazz is The Steve Howe Trio, although I am a lot more familiar with Steve Howe’s work with Yes and Asia. Except that when we got there we found out the gig was yesterday, so we had something to eat and came home. I suppose at least I got some walking around London and up and down steps and the like.
- Training – 1 hour
- Run (home) – 4.6 miles – 45 minutes 59 seconds
Friday 20 September 2013
Another day working from home so that I could be ready to go on holiday, so another day when I was able to take advantage of an early morning session with Regiment Fitness in St Albans. This one was taken by Steve (not the mad Steve) and the warm up began with Stevie Says, which means we only do things if he says Stevie says before the command, and which also means people end up with forfeits for not following that very simple instruction – it is amazing how exercising can mess with your brain like that. The warm up finished with a run round the lap we would use for a circuit and then a run over to the bench if we wanted to push it. It was an interesting circuit in pairs, with one of us working with a medicine ball while the other ran two laps. We did standing chest presses, sit ups, squats, sit ups bringing the medicine ball with straight arms from behind our head to alternate feet, lunges, holding the plank position with our hands on the medicine ball, and Russian twists (where you sit upright and touch the medicine ball on the ground beside the top of your thighs – try it, it is a killer), and some of the runs were clockwise, others anti-clockwise, and one featured one lap running forward with the second lap running backwards. The running was tough, but I can feel it getting easier than it used to be. We moved on to boxing and I stayed in the same pair as for the circuits. We started with our partner kneeling and us in the squat position for 150 straight arm punches, which we did twice. The thing is, from time to time my partner’s counting was a little out and I was doing 15 punches for every count of 10, so I did end up doing a few more. We then moved on to the sitting position for upward punching for two sets of 45 seconds, and finished doing straight punches from the sit up position, in singles with three sets of twenty, although again the counting was a little out so I did thirty for at least two of the sets. It is all just a bit more of a push, so nothing wrong with that. I was then sent to the pain station, which was the tug of war rope wrapped around a tree, and you hold the ends in your hands and whip them with your hands coming up to your shoulders. I eventually pulled the rope tight after ten repetitions, and did the 20 repetitions which were required. I then rejoined the group in time for some interval sprinting. We would run round the circuit lap, then walk to the next pole in the lap during our recovery time, before running the full lap back to that pole and then walking to the next. We would be running five laps. My shoulders felt tight for the first lap after the pain station, although they were better by the second. My recovery felt good on the third lap and I was right up near the front for the fourth, so decided to push it for the final lap and came in third in my group, just managing to overtake someone on the line, which I am afraid won him a forfeit. I was pleased with how well I was recovering between laps, and I think it was that which moved me up in the group – I was able to keep a constant pace while others dropped theirs. We were not finished yet and split into two groups for a medicine ball relay, passing the ball backwards along the line over our heads. It looked like a dodgy decision, but my team lost and we got a forfeit of 3 burpees. We then each got into a downward dog position so that people could crawl under us and had a race to see which team could get everyone through first. We lost again (and, frankly, when you saw how wonky our line was at the end, we deserved to lose) and the forfeit was to run over to the bench and back. I was sweaty and tired and my legs ached and I felt good going into the warm down. This had been a great session to send me off on holiday.
I snacked through the day as we made our way down to Gatwick for an overnight stay before a very early morning flight.
- Training – 1 hour
Saturday 21 September 2013
We had to check in at 4am so we woke up at 3am. I managed to get in two minutes of plank as we got ready, and when it came to the more than limited leg-room on the flight I was glad I am in pretty good shape right now. Having said that, the staff on the Monarch flight were excellent and it all went very smoothly. Once we were settled into our hotel, and I had eaten the Jamie Oliver roast chicken flatbread I had bought for the flight, we walked down to the beach to get some afternoon sun and I took a swim in the sea. I plan to do that every day of this holiday. I have to say that unlike most of the rest of this week, it is not perfect training for the Winter Wolf Run because the water temperature was just lovely ! We ate out in the evening and my main course was Briam, vegetables and feta cheese baked in the oven. I do like feta cheese. When we got back to the hotel I continued with my holiday reading Thrive Fitness – The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health and Fitness by Brendan Brazier, as recommended to me by my personal trainer, Christianne. I am already about a quarter of the way through, recognise a lot of what he is saying from my own personal journey along health and fitness so far, and am very impressed. This book could well be life-changing for me. I suspect there will be more about that in next week’s training blog.
- Swim – 30 minutes
Sunday 22 September 2013
I will be doing the fitness drills session from the August issue of Outdoor Fitness magazine each morning on the beach while we are here, in the same way that I did in Le Croisic, which you can read about here. There are 9 exercises – jump squats, lunge to knee-lift jumps, press-ups with gecko, elbows to full-arm extension, tucks, ice skaters, sprawls, sit-ups with oblique twist and tricep dips – and I will describe a few of them each day in next week’s training blog. I did 15 repetitions of each exercise, and went through the routine three times before finishing off with a swim in the sea, where the water was lovely and warm again. It might be a shock coming back to a cold, wet field and Regiment Fitness after a week of this. We went to have a walk around Argostoli but got caught in a thunder storm, so instead spent our time sitting in a cafe by the harbour. Once it passed we came back to Lassi and the weather was perfect for another swim in the sea. We went out to eat in the evening and I had a traditional Kefalonia meat pie while we watched another lightning storm out to sea.
- Holiday Drill
- Swim – 20 minutes
- Swim – 40 minutes
Positives from this week – four sessi