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.

Bendy.

I think it was back when I was training for Six Inch in 2014 there was a yoga studio using some retail space downstairs from work, and they offered a Yoga for Runners class at around lunchtime. I booked in for it because I had a niggly hamstring that I couldn’t quite properly stretch, so I thought it was worth a shot, whilst also being relatively cheap.

The class was successful in releasing my niggles but frustrating. I was part entertained by the graceful flow that the yoga teacher had; she easily moved from one pose to the next, whilst I looked like a mid-sized JCB telehandler trying to imitate her movements. At the same time it all felt a bit mortifying; her flow was graceful, but fast, and I’d feel about 3 steps behind with each pose. Also the hippy chat shit me. So I never went back.

Around the end of May I randomly got some spam from Runner’s World magazine. I haven’t subscribed in years, so I was surprised to get any emails from them, and almost immediately deleted it. I saw something like Become a faster and stronger runner in the subject line and held off from deleting; opening it up expecting a teaser about an article in the next issue. I realised that they were selling a DVD called Yoga for Runners. It was a two disc DVD, it had a few routines on it, including a beginners routine and was only $19.95, which included shipping, so I cracked out my “wasteful spending” credit card (aka the Stupid Fund for Stupid Things), and bought a copy.

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It turned up about a week after I fucked my left ankle, so I took the plastic off it, chucked it on my laptop and had a quick watch whilst flopped on the couch with my foot in the air. The presenter, Rebecca Pacheco refrained from most of the hippy chat, which was a big plus, and appeared to factor in all abilities. When I realised that generally she would try and take you from the easier technique through to the harder version (the reverse of the yoga class teacher) I felt like I hadn’t wasted $20. And best of all, I could pause and rewind as needed.

I’m sort of following a training plan for Six Inch, and it has a flexibility part to it which I think I need at the moment more than anything. Tonight I felt like I’d regained enough balance to give the beginners routine on the DVD a shot, and it went OK. I managed to follow along relatively well, only having to rewind once. I can’t sit on my heels any more (I can barely get the tops of my feet to touch the floor at all), but I didn’t fall over. I did notice that it’s going to take some serious effort to get me to be able to successfully hold even the beginners tree pose.

Work is part sponsoring six weeks of lunchtime yoga and pilates classes. I’ve signed up for Tuesday pilates, so with that plus the beginner’s yoga routine, I hope I can get back that ankle flexibility and balance that I used to enjoy.