First Blog Post

I’m not a blogger.  This is my first attempt, so you will have to bear with me.  Today I was given the all clear to begin training after a tibial stress fracture.  Naturally, I am over the moon.  This time, I am going to take things slow to start.  I have 137 days to go until the Druids Challenge (84 miles over 3 days).  Should be plenty of time.  Apparently, tight calves are one of the reasons for the fracture so from now, daily calf stretches.  I work in a brokerage which entails sitting at a desk from 7 til 5.  That should give ample time for stretches to be done.  Probably won’t be able to do ‘downward facing dog’ at work.  Think I might be judged for that but some simple ‘straight leg calf stretches’ at 10am and 3pm I anticipate making a difference.  Celebrated the good news with an 8 mile walk with a 16kg rucksack.

I’m currently using the WAA 20l Ultrabag.  For £149.00, I’m not happy with it.  Both sides of the chest strap are positioned on a solid rod with nothing at the top or bottom to stop if from coming off when bouncing up and down.   I will be changing this at some point to the Raidlight Ultra Olmo 20l one.

Weeks 1 – 4:
Weight at start – 87kg

Coming back from the stress fracture, I intend to take things easy.  Training plan looks something like this
Monday – 30 mins on the Powermill stepper, 30 mins Cross Trainer
Tuesday – 60 mins Cross Trainer, 20 minute run
Wednesday – 30 mins on the Powermill, 45 mins Cross Trainer,
Thursday – 20 mins run, strength training
Friday – 40 mins Watt bike
Saturday – 20 mins run, strength training
Sunday – strength training

Runs will increase by 10 mins per week.  I’ll walk to work (about 25 mins each way) every day with a back pack with around 16-20kg of weights in the form of sand bags.

Weeks 5 – 17:
Weight at start – 83.5kg

I’m getting on better with my WAA backpack.  For those of you who have the same issue with the chest strap coming undone at the top through repetitive motion, I found a solution.  Simply, sew through the top of the chest rod, over and over again until it looks too bulbous for the strap to slip over.  Then cover in nail varnish and allow to dry.  Time will tell how durable this is but for now, it works.

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As for training, it’s been slow but steady.  I’m basically following my own 12 week plan with the Druid’s Challenge in mind.  I intend to buy all the kit and food I’ll be using for MdS to test on that 3 day adventure.  My training involves gym four times per week.  In the gym it’s about 40 mins on the Cross-Trainer on the ‘Hill’ setting.  High resistance but slow.  I am trying to keep my HR between 140 and 155 bpm and no higher.  20-40 minutes on the Powermill Climber.  10 minutes of abs and core. A further 10 minutes of stretches post-work, be it at the gym or home.

As for running:

Mon      Rest (gym)
Tue       4 miles (gym)
Wed      6 miles (gym)
Thur     4 miles (gym)
Fri         Rest
Sat         Long run (currently at 10 miles but increasing 2 miles per week until I get to 26 then I’ll see how I feel.  Plan is then, to go back down to 20 miles on a Sat without a back pack and then do an 8-10 mile run on Sunday but with a back pack
Sun       10 mile walk carrying 12kg pack

When running, I’m trying to focus a lot on my cadence, keeping it between 175 and 185 spm, along with HR within the 140-155 range.

A little note on diet.  I do intend to have an athletes’ diet nearer the time.  What that is going to be, I do no know yet.  My focus now is on training.  I gave up smoking a few months back.  I have cut my drinking to (maybe) once or twice a month and I just feel, that if you cut out everything naughty all at once you will inevitably fail.  It’s much better just to focus on one thing (training for me), whilst slowing adding or subtracting positive / negative aspects from your lifestyle, diet etc.  For example, I have decided to increase my intake of greens every lunch and dinner.  I’ve managed it for a week or so, and I feel slightly better for it both physically and mentally.  I’m now going to add a protein shake to my morning routine.  I’m hoping the more little resolutions I add (and keep to) the more little victories I will have,  so when it comes to really knuckling down, I should have the desire, focus and confidence to know that total abstinence and an athlete’s diet will be easily done. Basically, I want to enjoy this process and not make it into a year of total abstinence because it’ll be too hard to maintain and too dull.

I intend to do a full review of all items of kit after the actual MdS so you can see what fared well and what didn’t.  I just thought I should mention these compression shorts and shoes I found recently.  The compression shorts (X-bionic Fennec) are expensive and appear totally out of sorts for a desert race with their wool-like appearance.  That said, they are held in high regard among MdS runners hence my purchase. The level of comfort and absorption is outstanding.  I thoroughly recommend.  Cooling, airy and comfortable.
The second mention are my shoes.  The ones I am hoping to run in.  Saucony Iso Xodus trail shoes.  Very sturdy.  Superb grip.  Very comfortable and a wide toe box.  Let’s see how they are on longer runs but they feel excellent so far.

See you in a few weeks.