Good Run, Getting Excited.

Did a good 5.5 miles this evening. I set my virtual partner at 8:50 pace and kicked his ass. I had to work on the hills but this morning’s post was constantly in the back of my mind: if it doesn’t feel like I’m working hard, then I’m probably not!

The next two runs are going to be really interesting. Tomorrow I’ll do the “hilly” middle 6 miles of the half-marathon course, I want to find out how they feel before the big day. My training route is a lap where half of the loop is uphill so I should be ok, but I don’t want any surprises. (When I say “hill” I mean any gradient at all! The course is regarded as flat and PB-friendly.)

For my last long run I’m going to try and do 4 laps of my loop (11 miles) against my 8:50 training partner. It’s a big if, but if I can nail that then I’ll have 23 minutes in which to limp home and still crack 2hrs. I’m feeling confident.

The new routine has failed

I stopped posting daily NR updates.
I’ve stopped accurately tracking my calories.
I’ve stopped trying to achieve 9 sessions/week.

I need to do some thinking and figure out why. Maybe I need to revise the goals a bit, or change some things to make it work better.

The failure is at the micro level though, the big picture is going fine: my times are going down and my endurance is going up. (Note – I just realised I’m now thinking about my progress in terms of athletic performance rather than weight loss. Neat!)

Physio For “Weightloss Rehab”?

I’ve started visiting a physiotherapist to help diagnose/fix an “injury” in my right glute. I say “injury” because it’s something that seems to come and go without an obvious trigger. In the initial consultation I told her about my weightloss, I figured it would give some context, but I didn’t expect to be the cause of my problem.

She had me doing various movements like walking, bending, squatting and standing on one leg(!). It was very cool how she could demonstrate stuff to me: I’d be walking normally, then she’d say “keep walking, but tell me how your arms are moving”; all of a sudden I’m aware my left arm is swinging, but my right arm isn’t! It’s so weird how we’re not conscious of stuff like that.

This is my first experience with a quality physio and she is blowing my mind. It’s as much mental as it is physical, and learning to understand how my body moves and becoming more aware of certain things. In the last session we did some work on the connection between my hips and my heel; it was just 30 minutes, but when I walk and run I can already feel the difference; I swear it’s already improved my running technique (a nice side benefit!).

Her diagnosis was focused on my glute problem, but more generally she said I had some issues that were a result of an obese/sedentary lifestyle. So we’re fixing up my glute, but also other things like posture and core strength. It seems like a whole different domain and approach than “personal training” – one that I’m really connecting with.

Rehab for the formerly obese? Yea, that kinda makes sense.

New Workouts

This is the first full week with my new trainer. He’s putting together session for me remotely and then I feed back how they went. Here’s a list of stuff I did this week:-

  • Functional Fartleks
  • Weights (strength)
  • Rugby training (misc drills)
  • Boxing (HIIT cardio)
  • Weights (circuits)
  • Arm-bike (HIIT cardio)
  • Functional pyramid shuttle

This is pretty neat – seven good workouts. I haven’t done HIIT stuff before, but I am absolutely loving it: pushing yourself to your limit and trying to hold it there is a great feeling. The functional stuff is also new, it’s basically mixing in body-weight exercises with a bit of running, which better reflects how your exercise when playing a game. This really suits where I am right now: I’m fit enough to do these things but they are still pretty hard. I really suck at bodyweight stuff like pressups, but I figure I won’t get better if I don’t start trying.

Functional Fartleks

  • Run hard 2 mins.
  • Jog 1 min.
  • 10 x pressups
  • Run hard 2 mins
  • Walk 1 min.

The workout is 5 sets of this, but replace pressups with some other bodyweight movement (squats, burpees, lunges, etc). This is harder, and more fun, than jogging a 5K.

Varying the workouts is also deliberate: the trainer doesn’t want my body to get comfortable with doing just one thing. This has also helped me fit all these workouts in – doing different stuff makes it feel fresh and fun, and not a tedious grind; I’m actually looking forward to my next boxing session or weights circuit, rather than having to motivate my ass out of the sofa.

The new regime has got off to a great start :).

Unscientific report on fat/muscle loss

My scales have bio-impedance built in, which means in addition to my weight, they give me my “muscle”, “fat” and “water” percentage breakdowns – ie my body composition. The technology isn’t great yet and I don’t have much faith in the numbers they report, however it is a measurement that can be compared over time.

I could only find 1 recorded measurement of the muscle-mass number and that was for week 18 (28.2%). I hopped on the scale this morning to get something to compare it with (32.2%).

Week 18: 365.2lb @ 28.2% = 103lb
Week 49: 287.4 @ 32.2% = 92.5lb
Difference = 10.5lb

So in 78lb of total weight lost, 10.5lb (13.5%) of that was muscle. That seems like a pretty fair deal to me, even if the numbers are make-believe.

The reason I mention this is because I think my progress over the next 6 months is going to be less about the scale and more about other numbers. In my “3 Chapters” plan Chapter 2, which I’m about to start, is about going from “normal fat person” down to “normal person”, ie continuing my weight loss for another 6-9 months and getting down to my goal of 217lb. Chapter 3 was about then going from “normal person” into “cor blimey, you’re fit!”, where the focus was on body composition and bulging muscles. The reason this might change is the rugby 🙂

Having had a taster of what I was missing, I’m now feeling very motivated to get back into it. I had planned to have a PT re-evaluate my weight-lifting anyway, but with the addition of rugby training, games and my running, I’m getting a little overwhelmed as to what I should be doing. So instead of having a generic PT look at my weights, I’m going to have a rugby strength/conditioning specialist look at the overall picture. Right now I’m not sure what such a program would look like, but I imagine it’ll be more calories and more hardcore training :). That might mean my weight loss slows down, or goes up as I put on extra muscle, so I’m going to need to look at other measurements to track my progress (in addition to the trusty scale of course).

I’m really excited. With my drop to part time work I’m going to have loads of time to dedicate to training, how good is that? :D.

1st Rugby Session

Woohoo! I did it.

As workouts go it was pretty tough, more HIIT than endurance, and I feel sore like I’ve been lifting weights. I loved it though :D. I think this will compliment my existing routine nicely; right now I aim to run 3 times a week and lift weights 2 times, adding in rugby is +2 training sessions and a game on most weekends (should I get selected!). I’ve got a feeling morning runs are going to be in my near future :). That’s not necessarily going to be too hard to do either, my work contract is switching back to part-time soon (a good thing), which frees up my hours. For example, I could get up at a normal time on tues/thurs, do a quick 3-4 mile run, go to work, then rugby in the evening. I’m planning on seeing a couple of PTs this week to discuss some my strategy for the next 6 months, so I’ll see what they say.

First 10K, on 10/10/10 at 10am

I’m a huge geek and I just couldn’t say no to running a 10K on 10/10/10 at 10am :D.

It’ll be my first proper race and I’m excited. Coincidentally, the route is exactly the same as my new long route; I was a little apprehensive about signing up, until I realised that I’ll be running at least the same 10K every weekend anyway. Because that’s what I do! During the week I knock out a couple of 5Ks, then I’ll do a 10K at the weekend for a laugh. WHAT!?! So. Fucking. Surreal. I’m sitting here with a big WTF grin on my face :). Most of time I down-play the last year, but right now the difference feels unbelievable.

I am almost convinced that I am the fittest I’ve ever been, the lingering doubt is how I’ll perform playing rugby. The more I think about it the more I’m calling bullshit on this doubt though: even when I was playing regularly I couldn’t run like I do now. Perhaps it’s a different type of fitness, strength and burst rather than endurance, but still, my long runs are at an average of 80% max HR for 60 minutes – that’s gotta be way fitter than I’ve ever been. I’m nervous about tomorrow, my first rugby session, but so excited too. Bring it.

Sidenote – I have a stinking cold: my nose is bunged up and I’m coughing and spluttering. Sounds like a perfect excuse not exercise – “I’m sick” – but that thought never crossed my mind. Get the fuck out of my way Mr Rhinovirus!