Tag Archives: Interval training

Lamp post intervals

Last week I had the all clear from the physio to gently start running again, well run/walk that is. It was just as well because I had decided that I was probably OK to do this on Monday and so had done a short one already.

I still took it easy, running for three lamp posts and walking for one. I also unintentionally ran quite fast – hitting sub 8 minute mile pace each time I ran. This was really encouraging to me as it meant that the gym work and swimming had kept my fitness levels up.

My sats from my first official run

My stats from my first official run. The blue is the speed – see how it is quite regular.

I have to say that I didn’t find run/walking easy at all. I lost my rhythm and felt that getting started again was really hard work. Also lamp posts are just not even. Some are really close together and some are a long way apart. Why? Why not put them the same distance from each other?

Despite this I am really happy to say that there is no pain in my foot at all following both of the ‘proper’ runs which means (to me) that I am ready to get back into it. I just don’t know how to progress without going too fast and injuring myself again.

I also have to try to gain trust in my foot again. When I am concentrating on it I am sure that it hurts/twinges etc but when I am not it is fine. I went out with my son today and was focusing on him – not my foot thus it was all absolutely fine. I am sure that it is fine but the brain is a powerful thing!

Finally, I had a really great session in the gym this weekend with my Personal Trainer. A couple of weeks ago he introduced skater squats to me. These are one-legged squats where you try to get your knee as close to the floor as possible.

I surprised myself (and maybe my trainer too?) at how strong I have become. I really hope that I can now get on with the running side without any problems.nj

Practice makes it easier?

It is the school holidays here in the UK. To be exact, the first full week. This means that all routines are out of the window. There is no need to jump out of bed every morning and hassle, shout and encourage everyone to get dressed, breakfasted and out of the door for school. We can get up slowly having had a relaxing cup of tea in bed before having an enjoyable fun-filled day doing nice things together.

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Hmm well if you believe that you will believe anything. For a start we have been going to a club this week, everyday for a 9am start. Yes you read that correctly. For those of you who know me in real life it may surprise you to read that I am actually not organising this in any shape or form except that I am going along every day to help. This is a big step for me who can’t say “no”.

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It does still mean that we have to get up and out fairly early every day. That is fine except by Tuesday night I realised that I wasn’t fitting any training in at all. This is no good at all for me. I …need…to….run…. If I don’t I begin to go a little bit mad. Every evening I had the intention of going out except I was always too tired or too busy catching up on all the jobs that I haven’t managed to do throughout the day due to it being the holidays.

On Tuesday night I decided that the only way I was going to fit it in was to go in the morning. Early. Before breakfast. Oh how I hate this. It meant that I would have to forgo my half an hour lie in and my cup of tea 😦 but it would be worth it? As a slight insurance policy I tweeted about my intention the night before. Jolly good job I did. I so nearly didn’t go. Indeed, I got up to make myself a cup of tea before I forced myself into my running kit.

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I did it. I was pleased with myself. My body screamed at me for most of the way around but the satisfaction at the end was brilliant. I woke up on Thursday and  it was a bit easier. The forecast was for a hot day so I knew that I would do it now or never. This time I did an interval session (having read Red Hen runs post on HIT workouts just before I left). This was hard – I was hungry, thirsty and stiff but I did it. I felt great for the whole day.

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Will I manage it tomorrow? I am not at all sure. As this publishes I shall either be on my run or sitting having a cup of tea in bed. What do you think? Will it be easier again having done it two days on the trot or harder? We shall see.

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Garden workout for marathon runners.

Last week I pondered about the place of cross training when working towards completing a half marathon. In my heart I knew that just running was not the complete picture and it seems that I may indeed be right! (yes I was a little surprised).

Books

On a visit to our wonderful library on Saturday they had a display of ‘Olympic’ themed books, 2 of which were to do with training for marathons. I snapped these up sharpish and have part read one of them.

Product Details

Image from Amazon!

The Key Requirements

I am not about to run a marathon but I figure that what works for a marathon will work for a half marathon. Indeed the last chapter is entitled ‘Workouts for Beginners and Fun-runners’.  So it must be relevant? (Nowhere does it define ‘endurance’! ) In this final chapter is a list of the key requirements for endurance running:

1. A good basic aerobic fitness.

2. Good posture and running technique

3. Sound joints, mobility and suppleness.

4. Mental strength and determination.

5. A good quality of trainers.

It goes on to give a  basic start-up running program. The rest of the book basically takes you through each of the key requirements

General Anaerobic Conditioning.

Anaerobic running produces pain due to a build up of lactic acid in the muscles. Michael A. Winch (the author of the book)  recommends that one way to be able to deal with this during a race is to build up some tolerance to this. He also mentions that it is a good idea to experience this before a race so there are no nasty surprises! The ways to do this are thorough interval training, hill running and circuit training (amongst a few others.) Most runners will be aware of hill and interval training, indeed I credit a lot of my recent improvements to interval training. The one that I was particularly interested in was the circuits.

Circuits

My interest in this is obviously that it is not running! Having done one of the circuits that he suggested last night I would suggest that it is also good for flexibility and the core muscles which are also given their own chapters in this book. He gives 2 basic circuits, the one that I did where you work through each of the exercises without a break and another where you repeat each exercise a number of times before moving on the next. So here it is:

Circuit 1:

Repeat the whole thing 4 times for the first session (I nearly ducked out after 3 but did persevere!)

1. Squat thrust. Start in a press up position. Jump your feet forward and then return them to the press up position. 10x

2. Chinnies. 8 on each side.

image from womanworld.org

3. Full-arm body circling: 8 clockwise and 8 anti clockwise.

I spent ages looking for an image or video for this but could not find one so will do my best to describe it. Stand with feet well astride and arms extended above your head.  You then sweep your arms around in a full circle, touching the ground and then back up to the top.  Once you have done all 8 on one side, repeat on the other.

4.Narrow-stance alternate-leg split jumps 8 on each leg

Action Steps 1 & 2

Pictures taken from Peak Performance on line

If you start with action 1 (you do not need the pole) you bend down (action 2) and then jump into the air, swapping your legs around as you go. Repeat.

5. Alternate leg ‘V’ sit ups: 8 on each side.

6. Feet raised bench dips: 10

7. Full squat jumps: 10

8. Free twisting hyperextensions: 6 on each side

Image from here

The above picture shows the basic hyperextensions. The only difference with the free twisting ones are that you come up and twist to one side. Hold the position for 2 seconds then lower and lift again. This time twisting to the other side.

9. Free twisting sit ups: 8 on each side

Image from teamdropit

As in the above image position your arms across your chest and lie on the floor with your knees bent. Using your stomach muscles, sit up so the head comes up to the knees, twisting to one side. Lie back down and repeat, twisting to the other side.

So there you have it:

This is the circuit that I did and I have to say that it was a bit of a challenge! Could you do this? Do you think that it is worth it?

Please note: I am not a qualified fitness instructor and all the opinions are mine, I have nothing to do with the author or anyone mentioned in this post.