The week that was…

Top of the hillLast week was a really good week for running, the weather wasn’t too hot and I managed to keep up with the couch to 5k podcasts.  In fact the runs were appreciably easier by Friday, so there is some definite improvement in fitness levels and endurance/stamina.  Saying that I’m still only covering 4-4.5k in each 30 minute session, but I can see that each week my average pace is slowly getting quicker as the podcasts have me running more and walking less.

I only went for one ride this week, a quick 10k sprint on Saturday morning.  My legs felt OK after Friday’s run, but they were definitely tired and the headwind heading out meant that I made a decision not to do my longer loop and just hit the 10k as fast as I could.  I was pleasantly suprised when I got home to find that I had dropped about 40 seconds of my previous best time and achieved an average of just over 28k an hour.  My aim for the bike is to get my average speed up into the low/mid 30k’s before I start to lengthen my rides, I figure I have plenty of time to work on the distance aspect and I would rather work on building some speed first before I work on the distance.

  • Monday – Run 4.7k
  • Wednesday – Run 4.2k
  • Friday – Run 4.0k
  • Saturday – Bike 10k

 

The week that was…

WP_20151123_06_04_48_Rich_LI

Last week started out pretty tough, I hadn’t really made any plans for training after the round the bridges, and as that run was on the Sunday my normal Monday morning run wasn’t really an option.  After my experience on the Round the Bridges run I decided that I needed to change the focus of my training from relatively casual, but distance based to a more focussed plan that was geared to get me up to the point where I could run for 30 minutes/5 k.

Luckily there are plenty of couch to 5k plans out there on the internet either written down or as podcasts and being a bit of a geek I went down the podcast route.  I looked at a couple but settled on the NHS couch to 5k series, for no other reason that a get fit guide produced by the UK National Health Service is unlikely to set unrealistic goals or cause me to injure myself.

The first week was really good – the run/walk is a 5 minute warm up walk then 60 seconds running interspersed with 90 seconds of walking.  After the previous work I have done I found that the first few running sections were quite easy, however after the 5th and 6th I was getting quite tired and I really appreciated the ‘coach’ letting me know what was coming up and making me stick to the regime. My only criticisim of the podcast was that it didn’t tell me when I had gone halfway through the podcast and I ended up going for a bit longer than the 30 minutes on the first day.  Apparently it will take 9 weeks to get me to a point where I’m able to run for 30 minutes or 5k, and at the moment I’m doing 4.5k in the 30 minute programme so hopefully I will be able to do a bit more than the 5k in 30 minutes by the end.

Tuesday – Run 4.46k  36:30

Friday – Run 4.5k 32:00

Saturday – Run 4.8k 35:00

 

 

 

Movember

 

MG-SLS1012-Movember-Campaign-Support-Icon-Mo-WhiteJust a reminder that I’m participating in the Move for Movember fundraising event, my donation page can be found here http://mobro.co/secondhanddad

The Movember Foundation does great work promoting mens health, because lets face it, us guys are pretty rubbish at looking after our health as a rule.  So please give a little to my page and help promote this great cause.

 

Running while you travel – Tips for getting the most out of your runs.

WP_20151026_06_03_25_Pro__highres

Last week I was lucky enough to travel to the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia for work.  My initial thought was “EXCELLENT” – I always love traveling overseas, and while Australia is basically New Zealand with better weather and worse accents its still a lot of fun.  My second thoughts though were, damn what am I going to be doing about my training.  Obviously cycling was going to be out, so it was going to be a week of running while I was attending a conference as well.  But how was I going to get the most out of my training for the week, while still enjoying the experience.  I did manage to continue my training and came up with the following tips to help you if you travel and run.

  1. Take your running kit with you.  Yes I know this seems a bit obvious, but if you don’t take your kit, you won’t be able to run, when you wake up and see it there watching you accusingly its a lot harder to blow off that days run.  Also don’t forget any preventative stuff you use – knee braces, anti-chafing cream etc. It doesn’t take up much room so there’s really no excuse.
  2. Check the weather.  You’ve decided to take your running gear, now its time to check the weather where you’re going to.  It might be a cool 15C where you are running at the moment, but if its 26C where you’re going to then you’ll need to pack slightly differently.  This is even more important if you are moving between seasons, there’s no point in packing your summer running kit if you’re heading to the opposite hemisphere’s winter.  Check if it is usually raining at the time you are going so that you can decide if you’re going to take a rain jacket or not, make sure you check how much rain they typically have as well – a light summer shower will need a different approach to a tropical downpour.
  3. Take enough shirts/socks.  So you’ve put your shoes in your bag and have a pair of socks, shorts and a shirt in there as well.  Thats great if you’re only going to be away for a week or so, but if you’re planning on running more than a couple of times you’ll want more than one top and a pair of socks for each day you plan to run.  Getting clothing laundered in hotels is expensive and hand washing is good for a day or so but eventually you need to put them into a washing machine.  Taking extra clothes just makes things easier.
  4. Plan your schedule.  This ties into the point above, if you’re running every day or every other day or even just once a week for a multi week trip, unless you know roughly how often you are going to run you won’t know what you need to pack.  Planning should also cover how long/far you intend to run.  Unless you are on some major training program that demands constant improvement then I would recommend not changing your program much, travel can mess with your body and you can be struggling with jet-lag as well, adding extra distance to those factors is a recipe for disaster.  You may be able to achieve it but it won’t be as much fun and recovery will probably be longer, which just means that you won’t have as much time to explore your new surroundings.
  5. Get local knowledge.  If you’re staying in a hotel then this is quite easy, ask the hotel receptionist or concierge if they have a running map.  If they dont tell them that you are looking to go for a run and do they have a local map so they can show you some areas where you can run.  Make sure you get this information as soon as you arrive – then you have no excuse not to go for a run.
  6. Work around your schedule.  If you normally run when you wake up then that can work really well, especially if time zones mean that you’re waking up earlier than the rest of the local population.  It can be great going for a run and then getting back in time to have a shower or swim before breakfast.  Conversely if you’re awake late at night and feel safe then going for a run later at night can also work.  I did both while I was away and both runs were excellent in their own way.
  7. Chill out and enjoy the scenery.  Running in a strange city is a great way to see the sights and watch the city’s pulse as the locals go about their daily business.  Don’t forget to take photos if you see something particularly awesome or interesting and also take note of any good looking cafe’s and restaurants that you want to come back to later.
  8. Enjoy yourself.  You’re away from home, whether for work or on holiday, so don’t get stressed if you don’t seem to be running as well as your normally do.  Changes in diet, sleep patterns, temperature and weather can all affect how you run and there is no point to be gained by getting upset that you’re not running as well as you think you should be.  The fact that you’re running means that you will be maintaining conditioning and you may even see an improvement in performance when you return home even if you don’t feel like you have had the best runs ever.

So there you have it, my tips for running when you are traveling.  If you have any tips to add please add them in the comments section.

Shawn

One Month of Fitness

Beautiful spring mornings

I was updating my training plan over the weekend and I realised that I had been on my fat to fit journey for over a month…  They say time flies when you’re having fun, it also flies when you are fitting several extra hours of activity into your week.

When I’m in the middle of a training session it can be difficult to remember just how much progress I have made.  My first run was 1.5K’s and it took 13 minutes, it was pretty much a walk, and last Friday I managed to complete a 5K run in 36 minutes, and my bike ride has progressed from 6k to 17k and the average speed increasing from 22kph to 25kph.

For me its really helps to record my training data, not just to confirm that I actually did the training but also to see my progress over time.  There was one morning that I came in from my run and felt pretty rough, tired and felt like I had really not run well, when I entered my time I realised that I had actually run further and faster than I had to date – it completely changed how I felt about that training session and set me up for a really good day.

As well as seeing improvements in overall times, I have also lost 2kg and am starting to notice an improvement in my general fitness.  I’ve found that I can actually run across a busy road without feeling like I’m completely uncoordinated, and stairs no longer seem to rob me of my breath.

So its been a busy month and I have surprised myself by actually enjoying the training routine.  I have managed to not injure myself and have seen some steady progress.

Shawn

The week that was…

Last week was the third week of my master plan to ditch the middle aged spread and get fit enough to complete the Coast to Coast 2017.  It was a bit of a difficult week for me.

Monday morning I woke to my alarm at 6 and got up in the dark as Daylight savings had started over the weekend and it was now dark when I get up.  Running in the half light of the sunrise was quite surreal, the black clouds threatening rain, less so.  But I did push myself to run further and faster and achieved a personal best of 3.59km in 30 odd minutes – more importantly this was mainly up hill.

Tuesday woke to incredible pain in my calves and rain – I couldn’t walk that well so I gave the ride a miss, that and the fact that I still haven’t found my lights and its still too dark to ride on the road without them.

I finally went for a run again on Thursday, which felt really good.  Muscles that were sore loosened up and I ran the same distance as Monday but a couple of minutes faster which made me feel good. Friday the legs were a bit tired and I didn’t quite run the same distance but still got out there in the dark and the drizzle for a good run.

Saturday I managed to get back on my bike and had a bit of a breakthrough ride.  I managed a local loop that I have always meant to ride but never got around to.  It actually runs past the house I grew up in.

  • Monday – Run 3.59km
  • Thursday – Run 3.59km
  • Friday – Run 3.3km
  • Saturday – Ride 17.1km

30 Days until Movember

MG-SLS1012-Movember-Campaign-Support-Icon-Mo-White

I received an email from the Movember team today reminding me that Movember was approaching. For those of you who are unaware, Movember is a fundraising event held in November every year where men raise money by growing a moustache in support for mens health.  Its a great cause, and it highlights the fact that us blokes are just terrible at looking after ourselves.  I’ve grown a ‘tache a couple of times over the years, but as I generally sport facial hair it’s the initial shaving that garners all the attention and I’m not really Tom Sellick so I can’t really rock the look.

This year however the Movember team are offering a new way to support mens health and their charity.  Called Move for movember it challenges people to Move everyday in November.  That is a challenge that I can take on, and it ties in nicely with my current efforts to remove the couch in my couch potato.

So if you want to sponsor me in my quest to get more active please sponsor me at http://mobro.co/secondhanddad

Motivation

The last two weeks have been an interesting introduction to getting fitter and turning the clock back my middle aged body.  Getting up earlier than I used to so that I can go for a run or a ride before work has been both easier and harder than I thought.

Last Friday I didn’t go for a ride in the morning, Jane was taking the kids to compete in the NZ Secondary Schools Cycling champs down in Palmerston North and Friday morning was the last day that I would see them for 4 days.  So I stayed home and spent a little more time with the family before they all headed off for 4 days.  It wasn’t a difficult choice, not going for a ride, as the whole point of getting fitter/healthier is to ensure that I can spend quality time with the family in the future.  It was made even easier by the fact that it was raining quite heavily at the time so I just decided to ride when I got home from work that night.

Except I didn’t…  and then I didn’t on Saturday either, and I woke up on Sunday and all I could think about was the fact that my exercise stats for would be broken, I wouldn’t have achieved what I set out to do.  Motivation is a strange thing, for some people it appears that they can motivate themselves really easily, others seem to rely on others to motivate them, or at least how others perceive them.

I’m not sure what motivates me, I’m pretty sure that I’m not motivated by others, or others perception of me.  I’ve never been much of a team player, I was never that good at ball sports which meant that I just didn’t see the point in taking part in something that I wasn’t very good at.  I’ve always preferred to be active in ways that pit me against me – Rock climbing, tramping (hiking), even when I ran or biked I would do it to go somewhere, never competing except with myself, making myself go that little bit harder/faster than I had previously.

So I guess that means that I’m internally motivated, but the challenge is going to be maintaining that motivation for the next 16 months.  I don’t have the answers yet, but I’m sure I’ll explore this theme more over the coming months.  My motivation on my run today was simply to get to the next driveway up the hill I was running up, one driveway further along than I had the last time I ran in the same time I did previously.  Even better was the view when I turned around to come back down again.  That was motivation enough today.

Shawn

The View when I started my descent
The view when I started my descent