Category Archives: health and fitness

I hate this time of year

I don’t mind the cold. And although I hate long dark nights, they haven’t really begun to bite yet. And the autumn leaves look pretty.

What I hate is the plague of viruses that appears around now. No sooner do I get stuck into my 10% programme than I’m struck down with a cold. I’ve been incapable of doing much for the last week.

Before I really got bad I managed a swim – 20:39 for 800m. I think this is on the slow side for my current fitness, as I had the remains of a backache, which I’d got from trying a Body Combat class the previous week, and, as became apparent over the next few hours, the beginnings of this cold. But it gives me a target of 18:35. I’m hoping to do a bit better than that, though.

I’ve got my new shoes, and went out for a microminijog to try them out. They felt good, but I’ll have to wait till my cough goes to really put them through their paces. I’m slightly anxious about the running, as it’s now two weeks since I’ve been for a proper run.

The only compensation is that I lose my appetite when I get ill, which means that I’ve lost 1kg in the last week without making any effort. So less lard to lumber around, at least.


10% in 10 weeks?

I’m pleased to have got my first race under my belt. What next?

Well, I’m still a bit on the porky side, and I wasn’t exactly speedy. Unsurprising really, since when I signed up 3 weeks before the event, I’d never run the distance. It was also not a very fast course.

My swimming is also a bit lackadaisical. I know I can swim faster, if I get into the habit of going regularly. My cycling is by far my best discipline – lets leave that for the minute.

So: My aim is to improve by 10% in 10 weeks.

I dieted for about 3 months at the beginning of the year,. My weight has rebounded very slightly since then, though I’m still well within the “healthy” BMI range. So on Tuesday 16th September I was 73kg. A 10% loss would take me to 65.7kg, but I’m not too bothered if I don’t quite make that. I’m aiming for an average of 100g loss per day, but have lost a bit faster than that during the first two weeks. I’ve still got about 5kg to go to make the target.

I think I need to do a bit more than pootle up and down the pool. I also need to get into the habit of going at least twice a week. I didn’t swim between February and July, though I’ve gone quite a few times since then. I found a helpful site (swim4fitness) which has 10-session programmes of varying intensity. I aim to do one relaxed swimming session per week, and one session following the part 3 fitness programme from that site.

I haven’t measured my baseline swim speed yet. I will measure it this week over 800m.

I’ve ordered some new running shoes. Well, I think I have – I haven’t actually received a confirmation e-mail. The next couple of weeks, I just intend to keep the distance up, and to go for regular relaxed runs without my Garmin to put pressure on me.

Then I’m going to try the Runner’s World 8 week 3x per week 10K training plan, targeting a race at Worthing on December 6th. The plan includes all sorts of technical stuff such as interval running, tempo runs etc. If I find it’s too much I may switch to a simpler plan.

I’m targeting a 10% improvement on my Alice Holt race – that would be 56:41. The weight loss should help, but I’m also going to have to get fitter. It should be feasible – The Alice Holt race was only the third time I’d covered the distance, and was a pretty technical course.

Alice Holt 10K

My first “running only” race was on 14th September, at Alice Holt Forest, near Farnham.

It was advertised as an “off-road, multi-terrain undulating course”, and was pretty much as I expected – some small areas of mud and puddles, and narrowish paths, but mostly pretty good forest tracks with quite a bit of up-and-down (about 170m ascent and descent according to Bikely) but nothing to stop me in my tracks.

Alice Holt Forest 10K

I cycled there from my sister’s house, and the back route I took was quite hilly, so I was a bit more “warmed up” (=knackered) than I intended.

I was a bit nervous when I saw how many club runners and proper fit people there were, and wondered whether I’d bitten off more than I could chew. I started right at the very back of the starting funnel, rather than in the middle of the crowd.

We were started off by a Town Crier, and the start was very slow and congested, but once the field had spread out a bit we got a bit of a move on.

I was pleased that I managed to run up the hills when others were walking, although my slow steady pace became a bit slower and less steady. I was quite knackered by the end, but did manage a bit of a dash for the line and finished in 1:02:59 (140th out of 188 women in the race). I was quite glad to hear more experienced runners describe it as a tough course.

Then ice cream and beer beckoned, and it would have seemed rude not to answer their calls.

My only major frustration is that my bastard Garmin 405 chose that day of all days to cut out, revert to factory settings and lose all my data, including all my heartrate and pace data from my first ever race.