Friday, 4 May 2012

Weekly Workout Roundup

This is long... in fact it may even break the record for longest ever ramble about nothing in particular.  The worst bit is, there isn’t even any pictures to break it up... so please bear with me (try and stay awake).

  • Badminton Club               2 hours

I didn’t get out for my run on Monday due to waiting in all day for the delivery man.  I am slightly embarrassed to admit we had McDonalds for dinner as we had absolutely no food in the house (but it was so naughtily good).  I headed out to badminton club after dinner and played so appallingly badly I looked like I was drunk, it was like none of my limbs were connected, they were all doing their own individual thing.  The only thing they had in common was keeping my racket as far from the shuttle as possible!  Having said that, I still had a great time.       

  • Swimming:         50 lengths          45 minutes
  • Weights                Legs, Back, biceps, triceps, abs
  • Easy Run              4.2 miles/09:03mm         00:37:59

I had a rubbish start to my Tuesday morning – first I dropped my phone on the kitchen floor and the screen smashes rendering it completely unusable.  Next, I accidently ran a red light on my way to the swimming pool...  I have no idea what I thought I was doing, I just have to hope that I didn’t get caught on camera and there isn’t a fine winging its way to me!  Finally, when I arrived at the pool I managed to reverse my car into the side of a police van full of policemen.  Yep... it could only happen to me!  Luckily for me I was going so slowly I didn’t cause any damage to my car or their van, but I received a proper telling off from the policeman.  This all happened in the space of about 20 minutes – now that’s what I call sod’s law in action! 

After having a little cry in my car (I still behave like a child when being admonished), I headed into the pool where I managed 50 lengths in just under 45 minutes.  Yep, you heard right, that’s 50 lengths.  I am so pleased with myself, this is way further than I have managed before.  I managed 2-6 lengths at a time before stopping for a rest.  It took me a while to find a rhythm but having decided to stick with unilateral breathing I found it less lung-bursting.  I was using each set of continuous lengths to concentrate on a different aspect of my stroke that my swimming teacher told me I need to improve.  This included kicking from the hips and keeping it shallow with feet relaxed, relaxed arm recovery, breathing and head position in the water and the reach and glide. 

After my swim, I headed straight to the gym to do some weight training.  I am having a personal training session next week to introduce me to my new sport specific weight training plan.  I am really looking forward to this as it will mean every session is focused (although I have no doubt that Rob will push me to puking point). 

Later, after a short but satisfying afternoon nap, I headed out in the sunshine for a run.  My legs took a few minutes to wake up but overall it felt comfortable.  After my poor performance on the hills of Hereford at the weekend, I made a special effort to power up any and all sections with even a slight incline.  I began to stuggle between mile 2.5-3.5 as my left calf felt really tight and I found myself breathing more heavily than usual but this soon passed.  I was trying to make a conscious effort to keep my upper body loose and relaxed as I have noticed that when I run I hold my shoulders really rigid which results in muscle soreness after my longer runs.  
The only real complaint about this run was that I dressed way too warm for the weather, I think shorts and t-shirt would have been more appropriate than the full length thermal tights and long sleeved technical t-shirt I was wearing (you’d think there was no windows in my house for me to check the weather).   

  • Spinning – turbo              Hill training        01:08:00

I put the turbo to good use on Wednesday morning by trying one of the spinning podcasts I had downloaded.  I have never done spinning before and didn’t really know what to expect but secretly thought... how hard can it be?  Well, I thought my legs were going to drop off after 20 minutes and my quads were burning.  I nearly cried when I realised I wasn’t even half way through!  It seems I had inadvertently chosen one of the hill training podcasts which involved lots of ‘climbing’ up out of the saddle.  I persevered, although I didn’t manage the whole session at the prescribed intensity and on more than one occasion found myself dropping into an easier a gear when I should have been aiming harder.  Still, this leaves plenty of room for improvement.  By the time I had finished I felt like I had had a really good workout, got my HR up nicely (probably too high, but hey) and believe it or not, I’m actually looking forward to trying it again. 

I think I lost at least a stone in weight through sweating – there was a lovely puddle of sweat on the floor by the time I had finished (note to self: put towel down on floor under bike for next time so as not to ruin very expensive wooden floor).  I will also be placing a fan next to me to try a keep me cool and to mimic the wind in my hair (yeah right J).   

I decided to miss my run in the evening as my calf was still very tight and sore – I actually have a palpable knot in the side of my calf.  I felt really guilty about not going and had to fight the urge to go out and ‘run through it’ but I know from previous experience that one missed session will make no difference compared to aggravating an injury and ending up spending a week or two out of action.  So my Wednesday evening was spent in compression, foam rolling and stretching.

  • Swimming:         54 lengths          45 minutes
  • Weights               Chest, shoulders and abs
  • Run                        5.16 miles/09:09mm       00:47:13

Another good swimming session on Thursday morning and I managed 54 lengths in 45 minutes.  I found it took me about 16-18 lengths to get warmed up and into a manageable rhythm.  Up to that point, I was only managing 2 lengths at a time before having a break.  The best news is that I managed 3 x 8 laps continuously... WOOHOO!!  This really takes the pressure off as I now know that I can complete the swim distance for my first ever super-sprint tri.  The last few times I have been swimming, I have been experiencing dizziness when I stop swimming.  It feels like it might be an inner ear problem but maybe it could be a drop in blood pressure when I return to being upright.  Think I will have to ask my swimming teacher for advice.     

Before heading to the gym, I headed home to wolf down some porridge and did the dutiful wife bit and drove Arran to work as it was pouring with rain.  Today’s session was my last session of faffing around in the gym before my new programme starts next week.  I am more than a little bit scared, as Rob who devised the plan was grinning evilly while telling me he can’t wait for me to start as it is going to be fun... and by fun, we all know what he really means is that he will torture me until I puke!! 

I headed out for a run just before lunch.  As per usual, my pacing was crap!  I ended up running far too fast for what was supposed to be an easy run.  I felt fine for the first 3 miles (even when running up a mammoth hill).  I started to fall apart between miles 3-4 and really struggled to keep placing one foot in front of the other.  I just concentrated on keeping my arms moving, knowing that my feet would follow.  About 1 mile from home I started to feel better (but that may just have been the thought of putting my feet up with a nice cuppa). 

On a positive note, I am getting better at running downhill.  I have been making an effort to develop my downhill running skills (all the time pretending uphill doesn’t exist... bad Westy) with the aim of increasing my speed downhill while still being able to recover and not expel too much energy.  I think I managed it quite comfortably today. 

  • Recovery Run                    4.25 miles/9:58mm         00:42:20
  • Swimming Lesson           01:00:00

 This morning was officially SLEEPY TIME!!  I slept in until 11:30 this morning... it was lush!  I do have a very good reason (it’s not just me being lazy, I promise), I am starting another round of night shifts tonight and I knew I wouldn’t get any nap time this afternoon due to my swimming lesson, so I made the most of having the whole bed to myself, snuggled up and went back to sleep after Arran left for work.      

When I finally dragged my backside out of bed, I headed out for a run.  I was really determined that this run would be a slow, steady run at a comfortable pace and that I would not get carried away.  Last night my left calf was really tight so the evening was spent stretching, on the foam roller and trussed up in compression – it worked, as my calf felt great this morning.  My run was good, and I actually managed to reign myself in and keep a steady pace and it felt good, I wasn’t knackered and had plenty of energy left at the end.  I monitored my calf all the way round but at mile 3 it started to feel tight with the beginnings of cramp so I changed my gait slightly to take the pressure off. 

I know it is not recommended to change your gait without professional guidance but I have found that for me slightly altering my gait can make a massive difference, particularly on long runs.  I am a forefoot striker and run higher on my toes with my left foot than my right.  As a consequence, my left calf often takes more strain, particularly on uphill sections.  When I feel my muscles starting to tighten and cramp I switch to a more mid-foot strike action for a while and this seems to relive the problem without altering my gait so much that it causes problems elsewhere.

My swimming lesson was HARD.  We did plenty of drills and ended with 200m of sprints with reduced recovery time.  By the end, it felt like I was going to cough my lungs up... nice eh!!    

So, here ends possibly the longest post in history... are you still awake?  You may have noticed I have deftly skipped around the subject of the dreaded weigh in, but I must be accountable for my actions, so here it is – I gained 2lbs.  No excuses, no fancy talk – it is entirely my own fault for shovelling every bit of food in sight into my gob all week.  Lesson learnt...?  (Only until the next time).  

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