The Fan Dance training : Week 4

Week 4, and moving swiftly on from the St Albans Half-Marathon to the Wolf Run…

This week’s blog is brought to you by Simon Bush and Lyndsay Mottram, because it’s time for the Summer Wolf Run, and we all know that means MUD !

It's gripped...sorted...let's offroad !

It’s gripped…sorted…let’s offroad !

Monday 09 June 2014

Fall off a horse, get back into the saddle.  Put in a rubbish running performance (which you can read about here), get along to the Regiment Fitness early morning session at St Albans to get going again, and by early morning I mean 0630.  The sun was still shining as I walked down, eating an apple for my breakfast, and jogging across in good time for the beginning of the warm up being taken by Steve.  There were another five people there this morning, and it is good to see the numbers going up.  The running warm up included a run over to the drain and back before we moved on to the circuit.  This would involve shuttle runs out to each of four poles and back doing a choice of 10, 15 or 25 repetitions at each pole.  I chose to go for 15.  We did sit ups, press ups, squat jumps, burpees (3 at each pole) and leg raises.  I was soaking with sweat at the end of it and it felt hard after the run yesterday.  We split into pairs and started off with a jerry can push out to the poles and back, which we repeated three times.  I got up early on the second push back so got three burpees as a forfeit.  We changed over to the tyres, doing as many shoulder presses as we could in 20 seconds, then running out to the poles and back with the tyre held over our head, repeating the whole thing three times.  My shoulders were definitely feeling it.  We finished off with boxing, doing 100 high, straight punches, 100 upper cuts and 100 hooks, before doing 200 piston upward punches from a sitting position, which I managed in 38 seconds, an improvement on last week.  The warm down brought an excellent session, and an excellent start to the week, to a close.  During the session we had run almost 1.6 miles.

  1. Regiment Fitness – 1 hour

Tuesday 10 June 2014

I was in the office and doing an Interval Workout today, which would be seven sets of 400 metres at 5km pace, each followed by 400 metres at 10km pace.  As I do not have a track to run on, I ran 3 minutes of warm up followed by seven sets of 1 minute at the full pace, with a minute after each at the recovery pace.  Doing that in the sunny conditions (which still found a way to include a headwind !) I managed to complete one big lap, and got half way down the middle road, which is not as far as I got the last time I was running this, and it left me feeling much the same as I did on Sunday.  Maybe that means I need more recovery, or maybe it means there is an underlying problem with me at the moment, perhaps I am carrying a bug.  I certainly noticed I had picked up a bite from the bootcamp session yesterday.  Of course, as I said last week, now that I am thinking about it, this is not a 7 x 400 metres workout, so I will have to adjust my timings.  I did some squats before my shower.

Regardless of how I was feeling, I decided to go to the early Regiment Fitness session in Welwyn, which was being taken by mad Steve and Joe, who was new to me, but seems to have picked up my name immediately.  We began with a very active warm up, so active that it saw us running to the far end of the field and back to start with, and included getting into pairs so that our partner would provide resistance as we tried to run forward.  I took the extra run to the far end of the field and back, and was feeling all right, though definitely not 100%.  We moved on to a square circuit, doing repetitions at each of the four poles before running a lap of the square.  We did 5, then 10, then 15 and finally 20 repetitions of an exercise where we started in the press up position and jumped both feet out to the left and then out to the right.  It probably has a name, but I doubt the name reflects the hell of the exercise – in fact, it could be bunny hops.  We then did the same thing with press ups, before the repetitions suddenly changed so that we were doing 30 half sit ups at each pole, then 30 squat thrusts, and finally 30 sea turtles, which was another new one for me, where we lay on our fronts with our arms in the air out in front of us, bringing them back to the top of our thighs as our legs, which were also being held in the air, moved apart.  This would have been tough even if I was feeling in top form.  We split into two groups and I started with the boxing, going hard and fast with rising hooks, upward straight punches and upper cuts.  We switched over to do 10 clean and jerks with the log, 10 upward rows with the jerry can, and 10 shoulder presses with the tyre, doing each set three times.  There was a run to the goal and back after each complete set, but I decided to leave that out because the exercises were leaving me a little dizzy and breathless.  We finished off in our groups pulling a rope around the field.  The rope had a tyre tied to the end of it.  Joe sat in the tyre.  It was a great way to finish off a great session before we moved on to the warm down.  I will be running the Wolf Run on Sunday in a pack with some others from the Welwyn Regiment Fitness and we had a quick chat about matters during the changeover between sessions.  I hope I am feeling a lot better by then.

  1. Run (work) – 7 x 400 Interval Workout
  2. Squats – 50
  3. Regiment Fitness – 1 hour

Wednesday 11 June 2014

As I said last week, I had signed up for the DUO, an 8 week course of outdoor strength and conditioning sessions from Great Shape Fitness which were designed for runners and cyclists, and this was week 2 of that.  And what a contrast to last week as I walked down under the lovely early morning sun, eating an apple and feeling much better than I had yesterday.  I got there just on time and the same four of us as last week went straight into the mobility exercises before jogging over to the netball court, doing some variations in our running as we went.  Once we were there we continued a running warm up which gradually built up until we were ready for the circuit.  The circuit was made up of bunny hops while holding on to a bench (so very similar to the first exercise from my Regiment Fitness session yesterday), lunge and squats with a 8kg weight (lunging forward, then coming back and squatting, before lunging forward on the other leg), press ups, kettlebell swings with a 5kg weight (and it was agreed that weight should be increased for next week), the DUO jump accumulator (where we ran towards the netball net, jumped up to (try to) tough it, then bent down to touch the ground, before going back to the start point and repeating it with two jumps, then three jumps, and so on – a very explosive exercise), and bakehouse jacks (eight mountaineers followed by jumping our straight legs apart twice).  The way it worked was that we did 45 seconds of each exercise before moving anti-clockwise to the next one, and once the circuit was complete we repeated it with 1 minute on each exercise, with a run round the outside of the whole circuit until we came back to the next exercise after each one.  As with last week, the focus was very much on form rather than the number of repetitions, and each exercise was scrutinised.  We moved on to some balance exercises, standing on one leg, then standing on the same leg with our eyes closed, before repeating the exercise on the other leg.  Then we split into pairs with one of us standing on one leg while the other bounced a tennis ball to our middle, or our left, or our right, before we repeated on the other leg. I fancied the tennis ball and remembered that I’d played that with Babolat Pure Strike Tennis Racquets. I could feel it in the outside of the bottom of my legs, and it was also straining my concentration, partly because it was still early but mostly because of the fatigue after doing the circuit, and so it will benefit me when I am less fatigued.  We continued with a drill we were told is used by Paula Radcliffe, using a raised cone.  Standing on one leg you pick up the cone from the centre with the right hand and place it to your left with your left hand, before bending over to pick it up with the right hand, and then repeat on the right side.  As we progress we will reduce the height of the cone to make the exercise more difficult, although it is really difficult already with the raised cone !  Then we had four minutes of sprints, working in pairs and taking turns to run down to the far end of the netball court, pick up a cone and come back.  I thought the teams were pretty level, and that we might even have been one cone ahead at the end, but it turned out that we were two cones down on the others.  Not sure about that…  Anyway, we all got a forfeit of 45 seconds of plank, which I have to say felt easy.  We finished off with a series of warm down exercises, including another yoga position, extended triangle, which was familiar to me and felt very good.  It had been another excellent session which had progressed from the first one, and which had once again tested and pushed me, so I am looking forward to seeing how things move on from here.  I felt a whole lot better both during and after that session than I had done previously this week, so I took that as a positive.

In fact, I took it as such a positive that I decided to go to the Regiment Fitness session in St Albans in the evening, and especially because the sun was still shining.  Maybe I would not have taken that decision if I had known Graham was going to be taking it.  I did wonder if something had changed for the evening because as I was walking across the grass I saw that the van was back near the sandpit (which was the lake) where it always used to be.  I like Graham’s sessions but they are always very tough.  Like, really very tough.  It was good to see him again and be able to have a short chat about the Fan Dance, which he ran last weekend in 2 hours 16 minutes.  I will not be beating that time in July.  The way the session went from there was probably not helped by Ellis telling him that he had gone soft and his sessions were easy.  We started with a continuous movement warm up, and when anybody stopped moving we all had to run over to the bench and back.   That ended up being a lot of running.  Then we split into pairs for some push and pull exercises and poor Serena ended up with me, and obviously never stood a chance against my weight.  After a final run over to the bench and back we were ready for the circuit.  Which was going to be a shuttle one, so more running.  We wouldrun out to each of three poles and back, doing 20 repetitions of wide arm press ups at each, and then 20, 30 and 40 repetitions of normal press ups, 20, 30 and 40 of close hand press ups, 20 burpees at each, and finally 20, 30 and 40 squat jumps, all of which weas followed by a run to the bench and back.  Anyway, the only way to follow that was, obviously, with more running !  I have to say I did not mind so much because we were doing a stretcher run using a poncho, and that is just fun !  There were 9 of us in our group, so we had one person lying in the middle of the poncho and 8 of us grabbing the sides and running out to Graham with it, before running back and swapping the casualty.  I was the last person swapped in and could feel myself starting to be dragged along the ground, so I grabbed the sides of the poncho and pulled them up to keep myself up.  To be fair to the carriers, I was most likely the heaviest weight out there.  We did not win, so we got an extra run over to the bench and back with the stretcher, fortunately with the very much lighter Serena as the casualty.  We moved on to working in pairs for log chest presses while one of us did shuttle runs out to the pole and back twice, repeating the whole thing three times, and for the final time of chest presses I had Graham lying on my log.  And, yes, I cried out as I pushed for the last couple of presses.  We had run out of time for some boxing, but apparently not quite run out of time entirely because we were down in the press up position, then lifting our right leg, before keeping it lifted and raising our left arm, then repeating all that with our left leg, then just lifting our right arm, before finally lifting our left arm, and then collapsing into the warm down after a very tough and rewarding session.  I walked home because now was not the time for running up a hill.

  1. theDUO – 1 hour
  2. Regiment Fitness – 1 hour

Thursday 12 June 2014

I walked for 4 miles today, and while it was not in a strenuous way it may actually turn out to be the most important 4 miles I have covered in a long time.  More about that next week…

Friday 13 June 2014

Lots of work and some tapering.

Saturday 14 June 2014

There was a Warrior Adrenaline Race training camp, and I could not miss that.  You can read all about it here.

The poor things had to carry all my weight...

The poor things had to carry all my weight…

  1. Regiment Fitness – 1 hour

Sunday 15 June 2014 – Race Day !

It was the day of the Summer Wolf Run and you can read all about it here.

Stu takes a lie down

Stu takes a lie down

  1. Run (Stanford Hall) – 10k – 1 hour 45 minutes

Positives from this week – running in a pack for the Wolf Run was brilliant fun.

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