Bigger, better and certainly faster

I’ve been going to the gym very regularly; it’s literally around the corner so it’s super easy to go. It’s as if it’s in our apartment building, but without the increase in strata fees.

Today I did my standard thing, and took some photos and details of what equipment is available at the gym. I am planning on seeing an exercise physiologist that runs for some development exercise programs. I feel like I’ve rehabbed my back and hip sufficiently and now we’re going for progress work.

In my accident prone past, I have seen physiotherapists that do not run, and I have not had a great experience, so that’s my selection criteria for all medical professionals to do with sports injuries, or anything that impacts on my ability to exercise. They need to do the thing that I do.

I’ve also made a list of qualities I’m looking for in an exercise plan, restrictions and guidelines that improve the chance of success.

Firstly, it has to avoid inflaming my foot issue (right foot, capsulitis, second toe). I think I’m on the home stretch with that, but I need to have that sorted before we get really stuck into anything else.

Secondly, I need to even out the strength and ability of each leg. I know that my weak side is my right side. I’ve been doing eccentric one legged squats and concentrating on not dropping my right hip, and that’s easier, but I know I have a hamstring strength discrepancy too. On that point, I want a personally measurable; almost KPI measurement for leg strength and discrepancies.

Which leads into my third goal; I need to work on the musculature that will improve my running form. I’m fed up with tripping up on trail, I need to lift my foot up higher, and I can do it, but it feels unnatural. I think the unnatural feeling is related to muscle weakness, so I want to work on that.

For more specific requirements; I know I’m much happier to do a set time of activity. I’ll be more keen doing something like 2 minute long continual exercises, instead of some arseing about with 4 by 7 sets with 60 second recovery. That just feels like wasting time.

I have a tabata timer on my phone which makes things like 10 times 15 second glute bridges easier, because I don’t have to count seconds and repeats, but I still want minimal stationary rest time. Sitting around in a gym annoys me. I don’t want to piss about.

I need to know how to do an exercise. When I can’t work out how I’m supposed to feel the exercise, I just won’t do it. Activity without obvious purpose is ignored.

The whole show needs to be a maximum of 45 to 60 minutes, in and out the gym door. By the end of that time frame I’m bored. Because I’m so close to the gym I’m not wasting time getting changed at the gym, so it’s not like we need to factor in driving and showering time.

I prefer to do my cardio outside. If you’re putting me on a treadmill then I want to know why. I will happily run in pissing rain and cold, don’t assume otherwise.

I have learnt that I generally prefer free weights over machines, but when it comes to something like abdominals and back extension, machines are more fun because the weights are far far heavier and I’m less likely to injure myself with a poor technique with a machine.

Lastly, I would like to do whatever routine regularly. I pay to access the gym, it’s literally around the corner from my apartment, I don’t mind going frequently. Once a week is nonsense. More is better.

Mildly disappointed in error.

I need to remember that memory can fail you. (Shut up). For starters, I hadn’t run Pioneer parkrun since March and had somehow forgotten a few of the small inclines of the course. That bend near the finish line past the stairs was never uphill, surely?!

I put out the marking cones for Anna before parkrun with Milly scooting alongside, so I’d had a mile warm-up, and then started out on parkrun. I didn’t look at my watch and just ran on feel, and my god the feel was ARSE. It felt like a whole lot of effort, a whole lot worse than running had felt like for a while.

My PB at Pioneer is 25:26, dating from September 2014 when I was training for Six Inch, and I sort of ignore its existence because it’s going to take a fair bit of effort to get back to that. So I didn’t really know what finish time I expected today.

I can honestly say I’ve been quicker at parkrun these past few months after I decided to take the attitude of “I will run Tuesday darkrun, Thursday from work, Saturday parkrun and Sunday long run. And if I don’t want to run, I’m still going to run.” (That said, tomorrow I’m volunteering at Masters Athletics so might only get 5km in). I realised I needed to start to make ‘not running to the schedule’ the exception rather than the rule.

Anyway, I know I’ve recovered almost completely from last month’s ear infection and this month’s chest infection (my resting heart rate is slowly getting back to normal), and my overall speed is getting back to pre-illness levels, but the effort this morning felt harder than normal.

I wasn’t entirely impressed with my time when I got to the finish, and it wasn’t until we were in Dome after parkrun that I looked at Strava and it said ‘trending faster’ for the Pioneer parkrun course. I scrolled through my past results and realised that the last time I was in the 27 minute range on that course was July last year, and prior to that was March 2015. So in retrospect, it was actually bloody good work. Hard work, but good.

We’ve been running at flat parkruns because Jez has got a training program and needs to hit specific pace targets for his runs, and Tony, his coach, plugs in a parkrun with a warmup and a cool down, but the paces required are more feasible on a flat course. Pioneer was a last night whim and while I’ve been going to Kings Park on the odd Thursday, I haven’t been doing anything like what you could call hill intervals.

Now I’m going to do more hill interval sessions on a Thursday evening, and so when I run Pioneer again next time, I’ll have done enough hills at effort to know what a solid effort feels like, and I won’t be stupidly, mildly disappointed at the finish line for no good reason.