Monday, 23 January 2017

Kickstarting the engine....

Joining in a XC race
After the 100k, I knew that I needed some time off, both mentally and physically. I'm sure that a few people were surprised when I decided to take a good 6 weeks off, but I felt that in the long run it would be a good things for me to do. I didn't exactly do "nothing", taking part in a XC race, a hill race and a cheeky parkrun, but I did nothing of any distance and only ran because I really "wanted" to. It was quite nice to lie in bed, or sit indoors and hear the wind howl and the rain pour down, smugly knowing that I wasn't going to have to go out into it.

As always though, returning to training isn't the easiest thing to do......having to give yourself a kick up the backside to do it, and "knowing" that its normal for everything to feel much more of an effort, even if you're operating at a slower pace than when fit.

In recent years, I have sought some warmth and sunshine with friends at the start of January to give me the notion to get out there and exercise....and this year was no different. As well as getting back into some regular running, with a couple of actual efforts, it was an ideal opportunity to try some fun new activities while away from the pressures of work.

Attempting to SUP
Full speed ahead.....
I enjoyed trying to SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) though I found it more fun just playing around with the board and paddle myself than an actual SUP fitness class.......whoever decided it would be a good idea to try to do exercises such a squats, lunges and burpees on an unstable board floating on a cold lagoon was probably a sadist! It didn't help that I didn't realise you had to "anchor" your board onto a fixed loop on a rope, so mine kept trying to float away down the line of the rope itself. 

The running mutt goes to Pilates
As well as discovery that childhood hula hoop skills are not retained as a stored memory into adulthood (I have the foot and ankle bruises to show how often I dropped my hoop) I also tried a 6D sliding class. The best way I can think of describing this, is like a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) session with beer mats under your feet or hands. It may not sound tiring but I've never been so knackered as trying to crawl around using only my hands with my feet sliding along behind on these "coasters". To be honest it reminded me of visiting Polish palaces and stately homes as a child as you had to put your feet into fabric mats to protect the floors, and my sister and I would have a great time trying to run and skid across all of the rooms! 

My attempts at Barrefit
Watching the pro, semi-pro and club athletes in the International Duathlon was an eye-opening experience, the pace that the leaders go off at......especially considering the difficulties I had in trying to run on some days due to the strong winds (I actually recorded a 10 minute mile, running downhill on tarmac, as the headwind was so strong). The wind also meant that Fitball and Barrefit classes (which also use Pilates balls) could be entertaining, but luckily my favourite class (aerial relaxation) was held indoors. This consisted of being gently rocked in a silk hammock for half an hour while imagining yourself floating on a cloud overhead......magic!!!

All too soon, it was back to cold wet Blighty with a crash.......but I must must must try to keep up the motivation for getting out and exercising regularly!