Avalanche Endurance Events : Ricochet training : Week 17

Week 17 and I have to get some runs in…

This week’s blog is brought to you by Ariston, because my training went on and on and on…

...and on and on and on...

…and on and on and on…

Monday 17 August 2015

Once again I feel like I continued to make progress with my training last week, just not as much as I wanted to, so now I have to push on and build on that.  For that reason I am going to repeat my opening notes from the last few blogs, and will continue to repeat them until I finally achieve them.  Sorry, not sorry, again.

I will be starting my day in the same way every day with 4 spirulina tablets, and a bowl of Rude Health muesli mixed with flaxseed; sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds; goji berries; hemp; chia and maca.  I have some new things from Organic Burst to add to it – wheatgrass, to support my immune system; chlorella, to revive and renew the cells in my body with iron and manganese, detox and support my liver, gallbladder and kidneys, maintain radiant skin and normal hair, and balance my gut bacteria for good digestive health; baobab, for alertness and energy, supporting the immune and nervous system; and acai berry, a source of polyphenols and fatty acids.  To be honest, the Rude Health museli is excellent even before I add in all that good stuff.  I will also be drinking three litres of water a day.  I am hoping that doing that will provide me with a decent base to ensure proper fuelling of my body.

I will be doing my extended two-minute drill every day, and that will very much be a minimum, with the intention to add in a lot more fitness training besides that.

30 minutes of at least three days a week will be spent doing the Primal Power Stretch workouts (there are three to rotate) from the Bear Grylls ‘Your Life – Train For It’ book.

I will run at least 2.3 miles every day until I can do it without stopping, and then I will increase the distance.

I was working from home today and started my morning with the two-minute drill from a booklet called The Fat Burner’s Bible which I got from Men’s Health magazine some time ago.  It is 8 exercises for 15 seconds each and is intended to jump-start my metabolism, meaning I should burn fat more efficiently all day.  I increased the time to 20 seconds per exercise.  I did sit ups, press ups, high knees, side to side hops, jumping jacks, squats, mountaineers, and bodyweight thrusters, pushing to do as many as I could in the 20 seconds and leaving as little time between exercises as possible.

I once again took the opportunity of a gap in work over lunchtime to do the Primal Power Stretches, beginning with the warm-up, 4 breaths in Mountain Pose, 6 Standing Side Stretches, 6 Sweep the Floor and Rises, 6 Extended Mountain Pose to Standing Chair, 6 Extended Mountain Pose to Standing Chair on toes, and 6 Forward Fold to High Plank to Down Dog to High Plank to Forward Fold.  I was doing workout 1 again today – Whole Body; Emphasis on Standing Strength – and would be completing the sequences three times for a 30 minute workout.  It is split into two blocks.  In block one I hold the pose for 45 seconds, and repeat the poses four times (two times on my left-hand side, and two times on my right-hand side) to complete the block.  I did Standing Chair, Warrior One, Warrior Lunge and Reach, Warrior Two, Eagle Pose and Extended Bear Pose, which were all familiar yoga positions.  In block two I hold the pose for 30 seconds, and repeat the poses three times to complete the block.  I did Low Plank, Boat Pose, Russian Prayer Twist and Extended Bear Pose, extending through to Forward Fold and rising into Mountain Pose to complete the workout.  I finished with a warm-down.

In the afternoon I went to the Adizone in Verulamium Park to do the Spartan Soldier Programme from The Para Fitness Guide.  I am doing the strength parts of the programme (using the Paratrooper Programme number of repetitions) until I am able to properly run again and can do it all, which meant this afternoon I ran a mile to get there, and then I did 4 x 25 press ups, 4 x 25 dips, 4 x 25 sit ups, 4 x 25 squats, 4 x 70 second planks, and 4 x 5 eccentric pull ups (lowering down, rather than pulling up).  The place was very busy so I spent some time waiting around to use the pull up bars each time.

Lying down on the job

Lying down on the job

We ate yet another delicious meal from Hello Fresh in the evening, this time the cheeky chicken paella, which also included chorizo.  It had a wonderful taste.

Cheeky !

Cheeky !

  1. Two-minute drill
  2. Primal Power Stretch – workout 1 – 30 minutes
  3. Para Fitness

Tuesday 18 August 2015

I began my day with the two-minute drill.

I mentioned Organic Burst yesterday, and I came across a very informative article on their website about food cravings, which I am going to mention over the next few days, not least because I appear to have a number of these cravings so I need to learn more about them.

Dolphins' tears

Dolphins’ tears

1. Salty food

Burying your face in a bag of crisps or chips, and not stopping until the last salty morsel is licked thoroughly off every finger could be a sign that you’re stressed.  Our adrenal glands become overworked in times of stress, and because one of the adrenal glands’ functions is to produce a hormone called aldosterone, which keeps our sodium levels steady, we lose salt when its production goes down.  You may think the answer is to eat more salt to sort out the balance, but do you really want to stuff yourself with a hefty amount of processed food?  There must be another way.


  • Deal with the root of the problem by looking at ways to manage stress and take the load off your adrenal glands.
  • Learning breathing techniques, delegation, saying no, avoiding stressful situations and people, are all wonderful ways to help.
  • Incorporate Organic Burst Maca powder into your daily routine, which strengthens the body and increases stamina and endurance because it acts as an adaptogen – which literally means it helps us adapt to situations.  Maca also contains calcium, potassium and iron – if you are low in these nutrients you tend to crave more salt, so maca can help you combat salt cravings from both angles!”

I was working from home and did my Primal Power Stretches at lunchtime, beginning with the warm-up, 4 breaths in Mountain Pose, 6 Standing Side Stretches, 6 Sweep the Floor and Rises, 6 Extended Mountain Pose to Standing Chair, 6 Extended Mountain Pose to Standing Chair on toes, and 6 Forward Fold to High Plank to Down Dog to High Plank to Forward Fold.  I was doing workout 2 today – Whole Body; Emphasis on Spinal Mobility – and would be completing the sequences three times for a 30 minute workout.  This workout was just the one block and it had a good flow to it, Extended Mountain Pose, Forward Fold, deep, Forward Fold, eyes gaze forward, High Plank, Up Dog, Down Dog, Forward Fold, deep, Warrior One, right, Warrior Two, right, Standing Chair, Warrior One, left, Warrior Two, left, Standing Chair, Advanced Standing Chair, on toes, Extended Mountain Pose, Forward Fold, deep, Forward Fold, eyes gaze forward, High Plank, Up Dog, Down Dog, Forward Fold, deep, Standing Chair, Advanced Standing Chair, on toes, and Extended Mountain Pose to Mountain Pose.  I finished with a warm-down.

  1. Two-minute drill
  2. Primal Power Stretch – workout 2 – 30 minutes

Wednesday 19 August 2015

I began my day with the two-minute drill and then ran a mile to get to the park.

So last week I did Murph after seeing it in The 100 Peaks Challenge team Facebook group, and this week I was going to try freeletics after seeing Iain Campbell writing about it.  I decided to try the Aphrodite workout, which is said to be one of the favourites, and uses only three movements, the burpee, the squat and the sit-up.  This is a ladder set where I start at 50 repetitions of each movement, and then drop 10 repetitions until I get to 10.  By the end of the workout, that equals 150 burpees, 150 squats, and 150 sit-ups.  It was a lovely sunny morning, just right to be working out.  The sun appears to have had an effect on me, though, because I messed up the order of the exercises, doing burpees, then sit-ups, then squats.  As I said, I ran a mile to get to the park to do the workout, which took me 10 minutes 07 seconds (although it seemed to take longer to reach a mile, so I think the GPS may have been out a little) and it took me 36 minutes 02 seconds to complete the workout.

Exhausted after Aphrodite had her way with me

Exhausted after Aphrodite had her way with me

It is time for my Organic Burst food craving of the day, and this one is very close to my heart :

2. Chocolate

A love of chocolate is deep rooted in many of us, interestingly in more women than men, but the two main triggers for chocolate cravings are a magnesium deficiency and/or a low mood.  Raw cacao powder (chocolate in its most natural state) is an incredibly rich source of magnesium, so it’s only natural that our bodies associate an extra need for this mineral with eating chocolate.

We become low in magnesium when we do a lot of high intensity exercise and when we don’t eat enough greens, nuts and seeds.  Magnesium levels are also affected by some medications, alcohol and caffeine.  A lot of women madly crave chocolate during their period because magnesium is a muscle relaxant and can help with cramps.

If you are down, you naturally seek out foods that will increase the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin that modulates mood.  The bad news is, that gorging on chocolate usually makes us feel worse in the long run, partly to do with feelings of shame about overeating, but also the blast of refined sugar and fat into our bodies leads to hormonal imbalances and weight gain.


  • Enrich your diet with plenty of magnesium-rich foods, these include greens like spinach and kale, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds.
  • Choose your chocolate fix carefully, homemade raw chocolate treats with cacao powder are fantastic, adding some cacao nibs to your breakfasts, or buy only the best quality dark chocolate, ideally sweetened with unrefined sugar.”

I could very easily have let work get in the way but I was feeling on a roll with my exercise today, so I went out for my (should be) daily run.  I managed to run the first mile and kept it under 10 minutes, and then had to run/march the rest of it, which just emphasises why I need to be making sure I do it every day.

We did eat very well in the evening, with the from Hello Fresh, for which I.  The dish had a lovely flavour.

  1. Two-minute drill
  2. Run (St Albans) – 1 mile – 10 minutes 07 seconds
  3. Freeletics – Aphrodite – 36 minutes 02 seconds
  4. Run (St Albans) – 2.3 miles – 25 minutes 43 seconds

Thursday 20 August 2015

I did my two-minute drill when I woke up.

There is a running track at the park, and if I get there early enough in the morning nobody will see me using it.  It may be free to use anyway, but I am not taking any chances, so I will keep it early and quiet.  The reason I need the track is so I can do another of the freeletics workouts, Appollon, which means 25 burpees, 400 metre run, 50 squats, 400 metre run, repeated three times.  Apparently the routine will lay more emphasis on the muscles of the leg, but I just see it as a good, overall workout, which should assist me in getting back into my running.  It certainly made doing burpees and squats a lot harder, and I completed it in 33 minutes 31 seconds, after running the mile to get down to the park.  Strava reckons the run took over 10 minutes, but when I stopped my Garmin Fenix 2 the reading was under 10 minutes.  Either way, it is a mile, but it is still not quick enough.

Saved by the bell

Saved by the bell

A little more from Organic Burst, bringing two food cravings together :

3. & 4. Dairy and Gluten

‘Don’t you dare tell me to avoid my favourite foods!’  I hear you, but we are focusing on dairy and gluten because of the body’s dramatic response to these seemingly innocent substances.  Many of us have trouble digesting dairy foods – especially milk and grains high in gluten – especially wheat (bread, pizza, pasta, pastries, etc.). The proteins in these foods can irritate the gut, making it inflamed and allowing undigested particles, known as peptides, into our bloodstream.

The reason we love these foods is that the peptides have an opiate effect on our brains, meaning they imitate the effect of drugs like heroine and morphine. Being a ‘pasta-junkie’ takes on a whole new meaning!  It is also quite a cruel trick that our brains make us crave the foods that are damaging our gut lining, but you can fight back.


  • Monitor how you feel when you eat any foods containing dairy and gluten, watching out for digestive symptoms as well as a tendency to eat too much and with urgency.
  • Try cutting out the offending foods, you can try switching to sheep, goat and buffalo milks and cheeses as these tend to be less irritating on digestion.  There are tonnes of gluten-free options.
  • Nourish your body to allow your intestine to heal and repair with fresh vegetables and essential fats. Organic Burst Chlorella contains a high level of iron, manganese, Vitamin B6 & B12 to help form new cells in your body, it also balances bacteria in your gut for good digestive health.”

We went to Roast in Borough Market as it was my birthday, and decided to walk from there to the station via St Paul’s Cathedral afterwards.  Which would hardly have dented the calorific intake from the meal…

Happy birthday to me :)

Happy birthday to me 🙂

  1. Two-minute drill
  2. Run (St Albans) – 1 mile – 10 minutes 02 seconds
  3. Freeletics – Apollon – 33 minutes 31 seconds
  4. Walk (London) – 1.5 miles – 30 minutes 56 seconds

Friday 21 August 2015

I woke up feeling tired and aching, especially in my back, so decided to take it a little easy today, only doing my two-minute drill in the end.

A final word this week from Organic Burst, who do not sponsor me, but maybe really should do :

5. Sweets

Your day was going so well, but you have hit a wall, your legs feel like lead, energy has dropped and you can no longer concentrate.  What sorts you out like nothing else?  For a lot of people, active energy-bunnies and desk-bound students alike, something sugary is the perfect pick-me-up.  This is because glucose is our body’s primary fuel – used up mainly by the brain, which explains the need for a boost when studying.

As anyone who is familiar with diabetes knows, however, too much sugar is a disaster because it upsets our energy balance and makes us resistant to insulin.  Chromium is the most important nutrient to help manage blood sugar levels and it is found in very high levels in natural sugar cane.  Unfortunately, sweets are made with refined sugar cane, which has all the chromium stripped away, giving us no support in the processing of this dangerous substance in our bodies.


  • Reduce your sugar cravings with Organic Burst Spirulina powder, simply take a teaspoon in a glass of water with lemon juice when you get a craving.
  • Choose natural sugars from fruit, black strap molasses (which also contains chromium), dates, grapes.
  • Make sure you eat enough foods containing chromium through the day to help balance energy and avoid sugar cravings.  Go for corn on the cob, broccoli, green beans, brewers yeast and oats.

The next time a food craving hits you, stop and consider whether you are tired, stressed, sad or have not eaten enough greens that day.  Then go for the healthier version to get back into balance.”

  1. Two-minute drill

Saturday 22 August 2015

My back was really aching when I woke up, and a tester of a sit-up most certainly confirmed that I could not do many of those at that time, so I hit the idea of an early morning Para Fitness circuit on the head.  I did my two-minute drill.

We still had some Hello Fresh meals to eat this week, so for lunch I did all the preparation of the ingredients for a delicious stir-fried Chinese chilli beef.

Delicious flavours

Delicious flavours

In the afternoon I went over to see my parents and then to drop off a birthday present for my daughter, so on the way back I stopped off at the Adizone in Verulamium Park to do the Spartan Soldier Programme from The Para Fitness Guide.  I am doing the strength parts of the programme (using the Paratrooper Programme number of repetitions) until I am able to properly run again and can do it all, which meant this afternoon I did 4 x 25 press ups, 4 x 25 dips, 4 x 25 sit ups, 4 x 25 squats, 4 x 70 second planks, and 4 x 5 eccentric pull ups (lowering down, rather than pulling up).  I had a little gap after the second set of repetitions as I explained what I was doing to a family who were also using the Adizone.  Their daughter has to take steroids for a heart condition, which has seen her gain weight, but she has done very well recently to lose some of that added weight and her mother was interested in the circuit I was doing.  I am always very happy to pass on whatever knowledge I might have to help others, and it was great to see them joining me to see who could hold plank for the longest.

More playing at the park

More playing at the park

  1. Two-minute drill
  2. Para Fitness

Sunday 23 August 2015

When Sean Linehan plans something you fall in and get on with it.  We were meant to be going into London for Debbie to take part in a 10k race but the trains were cancelled because someone did not turn up for work, which is no excuse at all.  Useless.  This did, however, make it a lot easier for me to join in with the virtual 2 hour speed march at 0800.  I decided to go Clean Fatigue, not least because I did not have time to get my bergen together, and went out in my Merrell TrailGloves.  With the benefit of hindsight, that was not the best idea as the balls of my feet took a pounding, and I think I have only just managed to avoid a blister to the left one.  It became a fasted exercise, again not least because I had no time to get any food inside me, so while I carried a bottle of water I chose not to drink any of it.  I followed some of the route from the St Albans Half-Marathon once I got to Verulamium Park, heading down Bedmond Lane once I had been round the golf course and up Bluehouse Hill, then turned right after The Holly Bush pub, to bring me on to Hemel Hempstead Road, which is where I finished up after the allotted 2 hours.  I managed to get two PRs on Strava for my speed march, which probably says more about the other times I have covered this route than anything else.  Anyway, they were for Bedmond Ln to Pub, and Bluehouse Hill.  I was pleased that I had covered more than 8 miles, and equally pleased that only one of the miles had been in excess of 15 minutes (and then by only 1 second !).

Left 2.5 miles from home...

Left 2.5 miles from home…

It was another 2.6 miles towalk home from there, with sore feet.  I passed the Sunday morning Regiment Fitness session, and will be back to those in September.  I also passed Eve, who I know from Regiment Fitness, and while she has had her own injury problems, she was now coming away from having done the Colour Run.

Looking back at my week, I still did not get those runs in but I did keep my exercise going, and I was happy enough with the results of the speed march.

  1. Speed March – 8.2 miles – 2 hours
  2. Walk (St Albans) – 2.6 miles – 53 minutes 51 seconds

Positives from this week – I tried freeletics and enjoyed it, so that is something new to keep on with.

This entry was posted in Avalanche Endurance Events, Elan, Elan 2015, Fitness Training, Long Drag, Long Drag 2015, Paras'10, Ricochet, Ricochet 2015, The 100 Peaks Challenge. Bookmark the permalink.

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