Tuesday 6 February 2024

Flotation tank + 48 hour fast

A couple of activities (health related) to catch up on...

As planned, I managed a half-marathon distance training run on Saturday, from Hove to Saltdean, and back at a relatively comfortable pace. The return leg was slower but against the wind. This was closely followed (with tired legs) with a 45min session in a flotation tank.

I did enjoy the flotation tank session but probably won't be going back. It was good for relaxation and quite like a meditation session, but it didn't give me the buzz I had hoped for. I reckon I could get the same benefits (post exercise) from a sauna, at a much lower cost.

On Sunday we jumped on the road bikes for a local loop. My legs were relatively tired but I was pleased with my efforts. From there it was a shower on out for a nice lunch at the Perch, Lancing.

I then decided to start a 48-hour fast just to see how my body would feel plus determine any benefits - weight loss, reset of gut, changes to appetite etc.  I did a bit of research prior hand and decided 48 hours was about right for most benefits and a decent enough challenge.

The first 24 hours whizzed past and I felt no hunger. The second, a little more challenging, although I never really felt proper hunger, it was more of missing the habit of eating, if that makes sense. During the fast all I drank was water, black coffee, green tea and a half of glass of slightly salted water.

I ended the fast successfully at lunchtime today but probably ate the wrong foods - quite a large amount, albeit bias to protein (steak and prawns). It wasn't that I was that hungry it was simply 'back to normality'.

So, what did I learn and any immediate visible benefits from the 48 hour fast. Well, I did lose about 1.5kg but that might come back quite quickly, especially if I can continue to eat as I did this lunchtime! My first few mouthfuls of food did taste good and I enjoyed eating them slowly and savouring the flavours - felt a bit more intense. I certainly found the whole experience quite easy so maybe I should include in my diary each quarter (or month). This evening I did 30mins weights. Tomorrow I plan an interval run.

Back to it.

Thursday 1 February 2024

Monthly check in - what has been happening

Thursday 1st Feb and reporting in...

Just had my 56th birthday. Feeling relatively fit(ish) - During January I have managed to reduce my weight down a couple of kilos but still need to do more work to get it back into healthy range. Drinking less alcohol has helped, albeit not a totally dry January (more 'damp' January). I do however, wish to continue the less alcohol drive through February, and beyond. It certainly helps, especially with my sleep quality. I generally get a good 8 hours per night but my Garmin sleep score if I had a drink in the evening is always around 50-60. With no alcohol is it mostly in 80's - there has got to be something in that.

Otherwise, I have increased my 'TRX and Weights' sets to 2-3x a week (previously once a week) and received some additional weights plus barbell as a birthday present - thank you Lucy x

I still need to work on my daily water intake plus creating a focus on protein over carbohydrates, each meal. I feel my bias to real food over processed options has continued to improve, not that it was ever that bad. I have also slightly reduced the intake of sweet and salty snacks - now much more of a treat.

So the weight + focus on strength is finally moving in the right direction.

The colder (+ wet) weather through January has resulted in less outdoor cycling (more Peloton based). My running is OK - I am probably a little behind where I wanted to be - need some longer/easy runs and some shorter/higher intensity sessions, especially as my half-marathon (Brighton) is less than a month away.

I do have an easy/longer run planned for this coming Saturday - I want my legs nice and tired prior to a flotation tank experience, the kids have treated me for my birthday, which I am excited to try out.

On Sunday we have a bike ride planned for the morning with a nice gastropub lunch for afterwards. I was then thinking I might try a 48-hour water/black coffee/green tea fast from around 1pm Sunday through to 1pm on Tuesday - pretty challenging, probably more mentally than physical. I am simply interested in how I would cope, how I would feel and if it help reset any markers plus assist with weight loss.

Hopefully providing some decent content for the next blog.

Monday 1 January 2024

2024 - thoughts on fitness, health and wellbeing for the year ahead

So it is 1st January 2024 and we are just back for a lovely few days in Malaga - we found the sun in December 😁.

Back home it is grey, windy and wet! Oh well, don't you just love the UK.

Anyway, we did manage a nice bike ride in Malaga - a slow start (Garmin navigation issues) but once we found the hills, it was amazing cycling. I have to admit I was very rusty and found one particular part of the climb (17% incline) very challenging, so much so, my legs cramped out and I had to stop for 5 - not great!

Back home I am thinking about the year ahead - as always my weight needs to be addressed - this must have been on my 'to do' or wish list every year for the last 5 years plus! But that recent mountain climb on the bike made me really think it needs to be sorted. I have the Brighton half-marathon in February and I want to give it my best - dropping 5kg must be part of my preparation for the race.

Thereafter I need to keep the weight off, or at least in check, as I do intend to enter a few more races - some local trail runs, maybe another SwimRun, and possibly a half-Ironman, yes, you heard it here - I really do want to get back into triathlon.

So, one step at a time - I am committing to 'dry January' and a reduction in snacks + sweet treats. The training volume needs to be increased (gradually - I don't want any injuries), the strength training needs to be properly included. Protein needs to be the focus of my meal plan and carbs/sugars reduced. Let's see where that gets me - hopefully to the start of Brighton half-marathon suitably prepared and a target of 1:40(ish) in mind.

Thereafter, I will report back with those next races and the all important half-Ironman attempt!

Happy New Year.

Tuesday 12 December 2023

Jump ropes, Peloton rides and more focus on strength

I am looking out the office window and the weather remains grim - I enjoy a cold-spell, blue skies and frosty underfoot, but all we are getting is rain and wind! Simply the worst weather for wanting to get outside and exercise. 

So more recently my focus has been on trying to burn a few calories indoors. I have followed up on my interest in the benefits of jump rope, thanks to the guys at 'Jump Rope Dudes' (check out their YouTube channel). My initial effort was a classic 'cock-up' in that rather than complete the recommeded 5-10 mins per day, every other day, I went straight into a 30 mins set of the same exercise, trying to build my total up to 800 jumps. All cleverly recorded via my Garmin and new 'Jump Rope' widget/activity.

Anyway, you can guess it - a stupid rooky mistake that messed my hamstrings up and meant I could hardly walk for a few days after. 

I did persevere with the jump ropes and have enjoyed a couple of additional sessions, post injury, this time around at a more realistic time effort of 10 mins each - reaching 400+ jumps and max reps of 50+ - getting better! I plan to continue with the jump ropes aiming for 3x weekly sessions - hopefully increasing the time, total jumps, max reps, cadence, and eventually mixing up the footwork - I am currently only focusing on the simple boxer's jump using both feet.

In addition to the jump ropes I am also increasing my efforts on the Peloton bike (now that I have re-calibrated the bike) and time in the 'cave of pain': TRX and weights. Plus I have been more regular in my daily push-up habbit. 

None of this indoor work has helped much with the weight issue - still hovering around 86kg, however I do feel a bit stronger and have had less injury niggles. 

Let's hope the weather improves and I increase the bike and run (outside fun), however I continue to complement the triathlon training with some decent resistance training plus HIT.

Wednesday 29 November 2023

It has been a while since my last confession

It has been a while since my last confession....

Since my half-marathon event back in October my training and diet has been a bit 'hit and miss' .

As always, fitness remains an important part of my life and I still seem to manage a broad range of activities and movement. However, there has been a lacking of structure and commitment, not totally unusual for this time of year but I feel I should be doing better.

My weight in particular has reversed and back to the levels I was uncomfortable with after my holiday in Vietnam (in April). So, my first priority is to get that back down into an acceptable range. I am a bit bored in telling the same story: 80kg to 82kg is the goal, 76-80kg is the stretched goal (maybe unrealistic) and 86kg is now where I find myself.

The good news is that I have recently found some focus on strength and spent more time in the 'cave of pain' with my TRX and weights.

I am also researching the benefits of jump rope (skipping) and will report back if that becomes part of the regime. Otherwise, I have also enjoyed a couple of cold-water sea dips, whether that does any good, or not.

Thursday 26 October 2023

Race report (delayed) - Bath half-marathon

Sorry... not posted my post race report for the Bath half-marathon on the 15th October...

Just back from a nice easy local 10km trail run in the mud - kept it really easy (6:15 min per km) but enjoyed being out. My training post the Bath half has been pretty light, to say the least, although not been such great weather.

Anyway, onto the race report...

As I have peviously highlighted I went into the race with my Achilles (left foot) and Plantar fasciitis (right foot) niggles but fortunately they didn't give me too much trouble.

It took a good 2-3 hours to get to the start line, a long drive, although with no hold ups, and then some fun and games getting parked and into the City centre with the thousands of other runners who like us had opted for 'Park and Ride'. I was quite surprised at the size of the field, apparently some 15,000 runners!

We found Amalie, grabbed a coffee and headed for the start line. Just to note when I first got up at 6ish I made sure I had a good helping of porridge. We were in Bath by 10am and supposed to be off at 10:40am, a nice respectable time.

It felt good to be on a crowded start line once again (been a while) - Amalie (her first ever running race) was so excited and that was lovely to see. I wanted her to have a good race. Initially she wanted me to run with her, and set a steady pace to get her over the line within 2 hours. Then the goal changed to sub 1:50 and then on race day we agreed on a slightly more ambitious 1:45 - now this was going to hurt a bit!

With previous PB's (1:35 ish - a good number of years ago!) I thought a sub 1:45 was possible but we were going to have to push it. The race gun started and we were off. There were a lot of people and it took 2km to settle down, at that time we were already averaging more than 5 mins per km so our pace needed to increase to achieve our target. Over the next 10km we ran consistent 4:40 to 4:45 mins per km.

I thought Amalie would tire but she was loving it - she rows for Bath University and her fitness / strength is good (better than mine). Anyway, helped by all the crowd support we kept on pushing the pace right through the second lap and then to the finish.

About 0.5km from the finish (a short climb) we saw Lucy and Oliver who gave Amalie and I the final support we needed to push for the finish line. Amalie was on a high and you could see she wanted to sprint the final distance - I let her go and have her glory - she deserved it. She got around 1:43 on the clock and came around 20th in her age group. I followed her in 30 secs later to come around 50th in my age group - good enough for me!

A great day of racing - an amazing first race by Amalie (she is hooked now!) and a very respectable time for me.

Next one... I have booked the Brighton half-marathon but this time will be running with my Son, Alex.

Thursday 12 October 2023

Taper week

Do I even deserve a taper week?

Not really, the training remains a little on the light side - I have been cautious because I am still struggling (bored saying it!) with some minor foot/ankle injury - on my left side, tendonitis, and on the right - my heel (plantar fasciitis). Over the last few days I have been using a massage ball under my feet while I sit at my desk, which I hope is helping - who knows!

My last long(ish) run was on the 7th October, 8 days before the event - I managed 16km at a 5:08 min per km pace - not too bad, although it felt relatively hard and was also quite hot.

I should be OK on the day and hoping the chance of doing a big race with thousand of runners will motivate me, plus keeping up and setting a decent pace for Amalie.

Just 3 days now...

I will let you know how it goes. See you on the other side.

Flotation tank + 48 hour fast

A couple of activities (health related) to catch up on... As planned, I managed a half-marathon distance training run on Saturday, from Hove...