Wednesday, 1 January 2014

End of 2013 and plans for 2014

Insanity Workout

Since the last entry I have continued and recently finished the insanity course. I didn't quite get to follow it rigidly as I wanted as the odd day was missed and on one occasion I went two weeks without a workout. Because of this I continued my next workout in a day or two normally after the last one. I started on 4th October and finished on 27th December 2013, so I don't think that's too bad going especially when I had no big interest in interval training beforehand. As for whether I will do more of it I doubt I will do as much as I did before. Time wise they are pretty consuming ranging from roughly 35 mins to just over one hour. Trying to fit these in when you have a busy family life is very difficult. Although at times my little daughter got plenty of smiles out of watching her daddy either in the back yard or living room doing funny jumps and stretches (she even tried to copy me with the stretches) I would much rather prefer to spend this time playing and helping my wife with house duties.

I would love to say also that I got ripped and have a six pack and lost a stone doing these exercises, but I didn’t lose any weight and didn’t get any six pack neither. Poor me. On the upshot I felt that the exercises were good for my core and more and more I hear these days that triathletes should spend some time doing core exercises in addition to the three disciplines to help them in all three sports. I also liked the incorporated stretches which have a bit of yoga and balance thrown in for good measure.   

Weather and lack of daylight

The weather has taken a downturn. Both morning and afternoon on are basically dark and dreary. I've been using my trusty headlamp which works a treat and is so handy on the country roads.

Also we have had some severe wind conditions.

Our fence panels in the garden came down and even running was pretty tough for a half hour slot in Newcastle I did recently. The good thing about getting out in the poor weather conditions is the added difficulty it will add to your workout. I remember saying to myself whilst out recently on the day the wind was really bad and the rain felt like hailstones because of the force it was hitting me and the cold - 'boy this is tough, I'd rather go for a half marathon run in decent weather rather than this 4 mile short run in this'.
Afterward though I thought to myself that I got a real sense of mental toughness training instead of just going out for 'just another 4 mile run' or what some would call 'junk miles' - a run in which you don't really push yourself or benefit and become better.

Plans for 2014

As for what I will do in 2014 I still haven't fully finalised any major event. I am still keen on doing a self supported iron distance triathlon. I would love to try the double but I would prefer it if it was an organised event which I could go to instead of doing my own one. In the meantime I have signed up for a couple of running events and started the year with a typical running plan for me to stick to.

Going green / detox

Watched a film recently about a guy called Joe Cross and his process of rebooting his diet by going through a juice cleanse to get rid of all the toxins and help improve his health. It was very good and in similar vein to Super Size Me. Watching it you really ask yourself how much processed and unnatural man made foods you really intake and the effect it has on your body. After watching the film I think I might try something like it , eg replacing some meals  / snacks with veg only and see how it goes.

We already have a juice and smoothie maker so I might try doing one or the other.

Find out more about the film / documentary (Fat Sick and Nearly Dead) -

Trailer -
Full film -

Lack cycling, increase in frequency short runs

I haven't been out on the bike for a long time. Both the darkness and the lack of any upcoming event makes feel less enthusiastic about going out for a long ride session, much nicer in the better weather. Hats off to the guys who in the heavy rain or odd black ice spots will still get out on their bikes. This time of year there are very few of them. I'd much rather go running or if I'm strapped for time just a quick swim.
I have however started to go a bit more regurally out for a run. I might not be doing long runs, but even if I am going a couple of times a week for 4 mile runs, that's better than nothing at all.


With regards to the swimming, nothing much has changed. I finally have got my mojo back with regard to enjoying swimming again. I used to only enjoy swimming if I clocked up a lengthy session - nothing major - for me a long session would be 1 mile or 64 lengths, but I haven't been doing long sessions now for years.

Thankfully now I don’t even count laps anymore. I just enjoy the session and especially the 5 minutes of drills at the end which are tough for me.

Exercise - how it effects our mood

In this post I thought I'd say about how important exercise is for me. I find that doing exercise, any exercise makes me always feel better afterwards. I rarely feel stronger, fitter or better at one or other of the sports, I just do them primarily for the 'feel good' factor that I get. I do find however that if  get into a rut and don’t do exercise I very quickly start to feel low and miss the buzz I used to get.

I think its important nowadays with a better awareness on how we can help ourselves mood wise on making sure that we look after ourselves and maintain a good state of wellbeing.

Each of us have our own way of making ourselves feel better about ourselves eg shopping, beauty treatments, going for walks, meeting up with friends, going for a drink with the mates, cinema or whatever.

My way of feeling good about myself is by getting out in the fresh air for a while - seeing the sights, the sounds, the smells, the oddities that you pass and later recall with your loved ones the strange going on when you where out and about. It really really is a total sensory overload and on top of this you get the endorphin release - free drugs; yepee :-)

I love getting out and about and I cant wait until in years to come hopefully will be able to do the same thing with my daughter and have further fond memories to share. I cant wait!

Other Stuff

I notice that since the ironman last year and the lack of training over the last number of months, my weight has increased a fair bit. I'm hoping in the new year that I can focus on my new training plan and with a closer eye on my diet I will get a handle on it before it gets out of hand. Even if I could get back to where I was I think it would make my running a lot easier and reduce the strain on my knee joints and reduce the likelihood of foot injuries which I tend to get - the extra weight definitely doesn't help. Also hopefully 2014 will be the year that I finally close the lid on the smoking. Unfortunately at Christmas on two  nights out I had ciggies again - I didn’t even feel really pressurised to have them. Also I notice more and more that many folks are turning to the electronic cigarettes instead - even some long term smokers and some young teenage groups in town can be seen with the odd member only smoking a normal cigarette - its like they are finally being seen for what they are - a waste of time, money and poison on a stick. Hopefully I will stop having the odd blip every so often only to feel awful afterwards.

Santa Run

On a happier note, this year for a laugh I got up pretty early on Christmas morn and went for my first Santa run. Absolutely loved it. I was nervous at the start but after a few beeps of the car horns and people out walking bringing big smiles to their faces I was ho ho ho all the way. I purposely ran only in the local neighbourhood streets all over. Hopefully a few kids whilst opening their Christmas pressies saw Santa running past their house and I brought a smile to their face too. A bit weird though on my playlist I was listing to Frank Sinatra singing 'white Christmas' which I was getting voice updates from my phone app 'strava' giving me pace per mile feedback. Weird but funny too.