I’m like a woman possessed at the moment, pulling on my lycra kit with superhero efficiency and hitting the gym every lunchtime for at least 30 minutes. The staff in the local supermarket have started smiling at me now as I jog in to collect some lunch, sweat patches galore and glowing cheeks, on the way back to the office. My colleagues think I’m mad, but with only 8 days to go until the Cardiff 10K I’m not about to quit just yet. For extra motivation today I wore my new official Cardiff 10K t-shirt and as a treat I went to Pret for a posh yoghurt.
On the whole my ongoing exercise experiment is enjoyable. I’ve really been looking forward to my 30 minute lunchtime sessions and they have been great for blowing away cobwebs that have gathered during a morning of desk work.
But it’s getting harder and I’m getting tired.
Normally I would have a (highly recommended) ‘easy’ week every 4th week of training, but with only 5 weeks available for this 10K training I am pushing through the exhaustion and frustration and aching and worrying.
Yesterday was the first genuinely tough day in 4 weeks. As 1pm approached I really did not want to run. And I don’t mean I felt a bit tired or a little bit reluctant… I mean I really, really did not want to run. I can’t quite pin point what part of running was filling me with such dread, but somewhere between the prospect of the gym, lactic acid, and Capital FM I had decided that the only thing I wanted to do was eat mashed potato.
I don’t think I have ever experienced such an overwhelming aversion to running. I’ve been lazy, sure, and I’ve been seduced by How I Met Your Mother TV marathons (damn you E4…) that have pinned me to the sofa, but yesterday’s internal tantrum was a whole new experience. No rhyme or reason, just my inner toddler banging her fists on the changing room floor. I didn’t cave. I still went to the gym, but me and the toddler compromised and I went spinning instead.
I love spinning and I used to go 4 times a week, including 2 Saturday morning classes one after the other, 9 – 11am (though this was largely influenced by the crush I had on my triathlete-esque spinning instructor), but since I moved to London I haven’t gone for more than a few weeks at a time. I do however enjoy some solo spinning sessions with my own (terrible) music collection from time to time.
I felt infinitely better for not caving in to my potato craving and completing my 30 minutes training regardless. It is so easy for complacency to set in after taking what you promise will be just one day off training. For me it’s never just one day. That first day is the start of a snowball of laziness, and so I am very proud of myself for being flexible and crosstraining instead. This minor victory yesterday made today’s threshold run more enjoyable, though I must admit I still feel like crap!
Feeling glum? Try my solo spin tracks and when you feel tired just try and visualise a super-fine spinning instructor on the bike next to you… It’ll perk you up. If you’ve never been spinning before I would thoroughly recommend trying a class.
Kelly Clarkson Since You’ve Been Gone
With just a little resistance spin gently through the verses and then sprint as hard as you can hold through every chorus, including the long chorus at the end. Embrace the pop-rock angst.
Kele Okereke Tenderoni
I like to do a hill climb with Kele. Switch backs are when you change between sitting and standing as you cycle. My old instructor used to do a workout like this (they’re not traditional switchbacks), so I assume it’s a good one, but I’m not an expert. Start by sitting for 16 counts and then standing for 16 counts. After 4 reps change to sitting/standing for 8 counts and do 4-8 reps. Then sit/stand for 4 counts, and finally just 2 counts. Then work back down the pyramid: 4 counts, 8 counts, 16 counts… Start with a moderate resistance (no cheating) and increase it gradually as the intervals of your switchbacks decrease. You can decrease the resistance as you descend the pyramid, but make sure you keep it moderately high. It’s a hill after all.
Far East Movement Like a G6
Don’t laugh. My motivational gym music is cheesy, I know, but I discovered that this track has a great tempo for hill climbs so don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. Keep your pedal strokes to the beat and gradually increase your resistance every 15-30 seconds. Start sitting, end standing, sweat throughout.
Today’s session was on the treadmill: 2 minutes on a 3% incline, 2 minutes on 0% for 20 minutes all at threshold pace followed by 5 30 second 6% hills at 5K pace with 45 second recoveries in between. Cardiff 10K – I’m coming to get you…