The Long and Short Of It

I fell into running a couple of years ago and always had a goal to increase my distance. Two marathons down and a third in training I am loosing perspective on the running game. Not fallen out or even become disillusioned just we don’t seem to be getting on.

When I went to increase my runs from the 5 or 6 kilometre mark to that of 10K and then to ten miles when I was in training for the Great North I was enjoying myself. Even only a couple of months ago I would joke that a 10K would be something I would nip out to do before breakfast. Truth known I rarely run before breakfast.

I enjoyed the long runs and found it a pleasure that the 6 miles that I had trained to run was something that was really quite painless and getting past ten miles was now the target. This has gone on and on and as I try to train for my third marathon I really can’t be bothered.

I will wake and think ‘Nah forget it’. The trouble is while I’m out running I enjoy it. But I only enjoy it if its short. Well, I say short, I’m talking under ten miles. This is off course an issue with  Marathon training as I need to be pushing another eight or ten miles on top of the ones I am still enjoying. I think the trouble was the weather as I as many other runners ran for the gym rather than quite literally hit the icy pavements.

It was while I was in the gym I decided that long running on a machine was dull and therefore I should give the old interval HIIT sessions ago. A month on and I am enjoying these workouts more, far more. I prefer running fast and short than slow and long.

So what is to be done. Friends have suggested to take time off, which can’t happen as I don’t have the time what with the marathon being in 3 months.

I’m hoping some new routes and some runs with people will ignite the flame that I held for long distance running.

I certainly hope it will do the trick, otherwise I will be hitting that wall very hard.

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Thought it was Suppose to Get Easier

This running lark and lifting weights and doing 40 minutes on the old spinner before jumping across to the static rower is hard work. Some one once said and in fact everyone says if you keep at it you will find it easier except I don’t.

Well I do. 3 years ago, running for more than two minutes was something off a dream not that I would choose to dream about running. Lasting 40 minutes on the spinner or being able to row 2000 meters in eight minutes seemed to be out of my reach. Roll on the old clock and I’m doing Marathons. I’m doing 60 minutes of hill and speed work in the gym while I have other men falling over themselves trying to complete the pre programmed 5K in less than 30 minutes. As they wheeze for the breath of life in contrast my composure is that of some one walking in the park.

So this is evidence that it does get easier. Well yes, but also no. It’s a big no. I know that I have lost several pounds while I have been running and that affects the calories you burn which means it becomes harder to carry on losing the weight. When I ran 5K as I was starting out on the running journey my body was burning 500 calories, now a 5K may see as little as 300 being burnt. As for my heart rate that is a whole different kettle of  fish. Looking back at my Garmin I can see my first 10K had my heart rate at around 175 BPM that I ran in 55 minutes. Roll on the years and a brisk 45 minute 10K will see my heart max out at around 160 BPM.

This may be good. I have trained my heart to a level where it can do it’s job while being economic, but at the same time it means if I really want to do high intensity I have to work harder than I ever have before. And so we come to the title. As I am training for yet another run I have decided to mix in some speed work and interval training and while I am finding it easy, or should I say easier than I thought, I am really having to push myself to the limit to get my HR up high.

So while exercise is good for you, it seems the more you do the more you have to continue doing and work harder to maintain the benefits of when you first started.

Spinning into 2013

Well, I never made it out for New Years run as the bottles of red stuff put a dampener on that plan but I did eat a lot of food and thought I needed to do some exercise so went to the gym which I have not been too for some time. Did a bit of treadmill hill sprints and static bike and thought I would give the Spinning Bike a go.

I would recommend this to anyone it is such a good work out and really empties the legs of any fuel. the half a mile run home was a very slow painful one.

Ten is the magic number

 

Well those of a certain age will know that ‘three’ is the magic number but for me at the moment ‘ten’ is looking very good.

This weekend kicks of the first of many 10k’s one of which is Manchester’s Great 10k run, the race where my obsession all began. Sure back in November 2010 I had started running to lose the belly and as motivation I entered the race to make sure that the past times I use to loathe and have such distaste for would not beat me  and force me to give up my aim of dropping the excess weight. Up to that put, I would run and then feel shattered so would leave that past time alone. But now I had an aim, a race and further more I was doing it for charity so I couldn’t escape from the torment of running.

But now just almost a year on to that race which opened my eyes to the joy of running, I’m running in several races. Since that first race I have gone on to loose two more stone, ran a marathon, several halfs and a handful of 10k’s all of which sees me running five days a week to a tune of forty miles.

So ten is the magic number. It was the number that got me into running and is a distance I can just beat out before I go to work. It’s also a good race to train for as you can do some good hill and speed sessions and that is where this post is born from. For the last six months I’ve been working on my marathon training and now that I’m rested and recovered I can look forward to my preparation for the 10k races which means I can rediscover all those benefits of speed and hill sessions, not that I ignored them while training for 26.2 but I felt building miles in the legs were a bigger benefit and now I can just run and fit in speed sessions into my weekly training. So tonight at the gym (because I have more control of the speed and inclines) I did a stocker of a session that left me a little drained but still wanting more.

So here’s to one of my favorite distances and races both for what it means to me and the training that goes with it.

 

So Here’s to a New Year

Well it has begun and we are on the second day already. I did run in the last day of the year and on the 1st day of a new year and 2012 which I have targeted as my Marathon year was getting off to a good start, that was until this morning.

I am still under the covers as I write this and it is already midday, my left calve is aching and I’m trying to get the strength to go and face the gym but fear like last year it will be filled with resolution junkies taking up all the equipment. I will have to go down there at some point as I need to keep my fitness up and have now begun my training and judging by my leg I don’t think it will be wise to go running.

In other news, I had a wonderful New Year Eve, I think for first time since I was a kid I wasn’t awake to witness our pound shop of a firework display over London. In fact I was tucked up and fast asleep by 10.30, and as for the big day it self we cooked a lovely meal for our friends off which none drank. It seems strange as you grow with age, you feel less inclined to drink booze. While I have not made any resolutions partly because unlike the new gym going crowd I know that all resolutions will fail. I have however vowed to live my life in a certain way.

I am setting out to run two marathons one in my home city of Manchester in the UK and the other in my favourite place in the world, the wonderful National Park of Snowdonia in Wales with the Snowdon Marathon. Part of this will include cutting back on drinking and finally reaching my desired weight. Running has already shredded several pounds so it’s clear as I step up the miles the weight is bound to drop quicker. Well that’s what I hope will happen. The other big news apart from controlling my drink and eating addictions is to put a cap on my social media affair. I tweet far too much, in fact since I opened my twitter account back in 2009 I have tweeted over 12,000 times. So far I have not tweeted in 2012 and I have also closed my Facebook account. Now I’m not saying I will leave the social sphere of the web for ever but a holiday away to discover life again and the fact I can ask my friends what there up too, rather than being a very lazy spy by logging on to their FB page will hopefully do me the world of good.

So that’s my 2012, as well as try to break into my career or find a sharp exit which ever comes quicker, I do not have much planned. 2011 was only good for one thing and that was the fact I found the joy of running. What started as a training schedule for the 10K at the start, ended with an addiction and I don’t care who knows it. God I would even stand up and say “I’m Tom and I’m addicted to running” to sit down with mutterings of “Welcome Tom” and clapping. I hope 2012 will see me carry on running while continue to enjoy it. I just wish I had friends who enjoyed it as much as me. Therefore my last promise to myself is to join a running club, and hopefully within  these like-minded people finally find a mate of the opposite sex as while having brushes nothing has ever really stuck for some time, and even dating agencies don’t want to know.

I was bored a couple of nights ago and thought I would try e-harmony after finishing the long questionnaire I was simple told I was incompatible with anyone. Good job I’m not suicidal over being alone. As anyone tried this method of meeting people, I do have a mate from high school who is now happily together with some one he met from Match.com. For many years my career, or trying to kick start my career has been my goal, but now as I’m in my 30’s I want to settle, I want a house, I want to talk to some one when I wake up and before I close my eyes. I’m fed up of being the guy who makes the seating plans at weddings a nightmare because I’m an odd number. I’m fed up of having to pay twice the amount for hotel rooms because I can’t split the cost, or just being billy on a night out. My best mate often tells me I think I want this as all my friends are settling down and doing it and maybe there is truth to it, but what he doesn’t see is how lonely being single is when all your close friends are in long term relationships and planning wedding and families. Suddenly the ‘Two’s company and three’s a crowd” echoes around your head. Anyway this is turning into another blog post and is starting to get a little depressing. I wish I could tell my mates how this business makes me feel, and maybe they may start reading my blog again and will find out, but for now I’m going to make another promise to the list of ‘Go out there and stop self loathing’ the trouble is when you have no single friends to help you, you become that pervert in the bar. Right going to stop this now, before I spend the second day of the year with a bottle of whiskey and box of chocolates listening to Eric Carmen ‘All by Myself’ on a loop. I need to get out of bed and go and hit the gym and keep my promises. Sorry if I have bought of you down with me on this strange blog post. Normally I do structure them, but this one I have just allowed myself to write what was in my head. Right time to keep these promises. After all this is what the blog post was wet out to be, a little paragraph about what I want to do in 2012.

Hope you all had a good New Year what ever you were up too, now time to get some energy and go to the gym.

 

Feeling Good

Yes I am. Even with Christmas round the corner. This week I have been running and when I have not run I have been to the gym to cycle or cross train and hit the weights. I’m 13 stone, my belly and love handles are reducing and firming up, my housemate has been through my running magazines and has started to cook a menu of treats from the food pages (she likes to cook) and I feel good. My taste buds are singing from a choir of new delights and cocktails of ingredients all designed to give energy and recovery when it’s needed.

So much so that I am giving myself Saturday off as a rest day. I think I need it. I went on a 8 mile run on Saturday last week then worked from 10pm to 6am fitting up a show to then go on another run in the afternoon of 7 miles and hit the gym on Monday then a 10K on Tuesday followed by gym Wednesday and a short 6K on Thursday in the rain and wind to the gym today. So a Saturday of rest is called for, plus I am planning a nice big run on Sunday, a 8 or 9 miles. However I am going to enjoy tonight with some curry and red wine, as a little treat and reward for this week. Doing it just the once won’t hurt surly, and I need to drink otherwise come Christmas my body won’t know whats hit it. Saying that I am planning a quiet Christmas, I’ve asked for running gear so am hoping I will be able to fit in a cheeky 5K on Christmas morning as well as Christmas eve as I don’t want the festive period to be an excuse for not getting out there, after all this weather hasn’t stopped me yet.

Anyway thought I would explain that all to you. I think I am also feeling happy as my stomach is starting to take shape, a long way away from Brad Pitt or Ronaldo but the very faintest building blocks are there, there is still a tyre all be it a bicycle one, but it’s starting to be toned, and the side flab is reducing…. This just means I need to work hard at it and keep it going.

Right off to the shops to wave goodbye to a very good and healthy week.

Today has seen something that has been locked away for a long time

Well I don’t like keeping stuff that I don’t need. It’s true. But I do keep some stuff and today I am wearing said article. Perhaps I should fill you in.

I was never fat, I was big and had a waist of 38″ at one point in my life I was thin but after uni and having a full-time job and drinking every night I piled on the weight. I lost some weight only to gain it all back and a little extra. Each year I would give up some vice, be it the drink or the pizza or bread. I would start exercising but soon get bored. Now whenever I lost weight I would often discard the items of clothing that were no longing fitting as they often made me look like I was wearing a tent. However not that I was super skinny at Uni, but I was a 34″ I decided to keep the clothes that no longer fitted me in a hope that when I tried the items on in the future the mere nature of them hugging the fat and magnifying the rolls of flab would encourage me to shed the extra tyres.

But as I have already said the encouragement only lasted for so long and not long enough for me to fit once again in these T-shirts. However 16 months ago I needed to lose weight I was unhappy and a new gym had opened up that was cheap. While in these beginning months nothing happened, I still weighed 17 stone and had a belly. I should explain that while I was heavy and I never looked to see what my BMI was I was only showing the weight on the belly and face that allowed people to reassure me that I wasn’t fat or overweight I was just carrying a beer belly.

So with the new cheap gym membership I decided to go and aim to lose weight. This time I was going to moderate my eating and drinking activities rather than cutting them out. Two years previous I gave up the booze and lost a stone only to fall off the wagon when I felt and looked thinner. This time was not going to be like this. I joined the gym with a friend to encourage me, but he found the gym boring and due to our working lives we soon stopped going. I convinced another mate to join and this is where it all changed.

I have mentioned how and why I started running and it was down to this mate. 13 months ago I could not run for more than two minutes, and now I am running 7 miles a day and have run 2 half marathons and am entering a full on 26.2 miles in April. This is all because I am stubborn and very competitive and was not about to let my mate out run me on the treadmill and as a result I found that with determination I could run longer for 2 minutes. To make sure it wasn’t a fluke I returned to the gym to run for 20 minutes again and again, soon selecting the 5K option and finding that 24 minutes later I was being instructed by the running machine to begin my cool down. Fellow runners told me that this time was good for a novice and a newbie. I quickly had the bug and didn’t want to get rid so I entered the Manchester 10K and began running.

13 months on the bug is still invading my body; I am runner, I live running. Just after 3 months I noticed the difference. I became more lean, my diet didn’t really change, I was just running and clocking up the miles. Running has become my life, the magazines, races, medals, the cost the talk and the communities and the freedom and feel good factor of when you’re out beating the pavements and then there is the added benfit of the calouries and fat that it burns and so when I went to choose a t-shirt to wear I grabbed one from the back of the shelf that hasn’t seen the light of day since 2002 and for the first time it doesn’t make me look like a pregnant man. I am very happy as not only do my old clothes fit me, but with those 16 months I have gone from 17 stone to 13, and it’s true that I have cut back on my drinking but I would say I drink like a normal person now. What I didn’t cut back on was my chocolate and treats I just upped my water intake and vegetables and fruit and off course the running, who can forget the running.