Unbelievably it appears to be Janathan time again, it seems to come round quicker than Christmas.
My current fitness levels mean that I am a long way off being able to string together another running streak. Fortunately I stumbled upon a book that came just in time to give me a new challenge for January.
There is a popular squat a day challenge on Facebook that sees you aiming for about 3000 bodyweight squats by the 31st Jan. I will be ignoring this challenge in favour of one with a powerlifting slant.
I’ve been doing the stronglifts routine for about year but me and my training partner – the cat, are characteristically haphazard with the frequency. It’s supposed to be a 3 day a week program but we’ve slipped to once or twice a week. That’s where the discipline of the squat a day program should kick my butt. By removing the optional nature of the routine I should progress more rapidly.
While its called Squat Every Day, I’ll actually be alternating some of the other big moves everyday as well, including the deadlift (almost illustrated below), shoulder press, bent over row and bench press.
I’ve signed up for Cory Gregory’s specific program on BodyBuilding.com to ensure some variety and will be aiming for a squat PB every week. At the moment I am only up to 65 kg for the back squat so it will be interesting to see where I get to by the end of Janathan. I will spare you from daily updates of me squatting on the blog, although I will be all over Instagram like a rash.
Running will of course be thrown in for the occasional warm up – it is Janathon after all.
I was delighted yesterday to be awarded with the Janathon Baton of Shame for my exemplary performance in the lethargy and idleness arena.
I truly did mean well when I signed the dotted line and committed myself to daily jogging, logging and blogging, but then I got sick. I took to my bed at 22:30 on New Year’s Eve, having been struck down by what was destined to develop into a 3-week lurgy. It’s fair to say however, that people at work would describe me as having had a 5 day cold followed by a 2 week stint of sympathy coughing, aka making a great big fuss about nothing.
I tried to stay in the Janathon loop, posting reports on sporty books I had read and plans for exercises I was going to do when I recovered, but somewhere along the line I lost my jog, log, blog mojo and before I knew it, I was 21 days down.
If I can offer up a further defence of my partial commitment to Janathon, I would like it to be known that I have now ventured outside and run 6 whole miles in order to redeem myself. They were cold and arduous miles and the unexpected gradient caused me to cough and splutter pitifully. It was an absolute joy to be back in the running swing of things though, squelching through icy, muddy trails and getting lost in the countryside.
I may have reclaimed my running enthusiasm and hope to end the Janathon month as a Girl That Can:
Much as like my Baton of Shame, I do need to pass it on to another slacker. This time to someone who made a very public commitment but then failed at the first hurdle. And the baton goes to……@runforthequiet
My schedule called for 6.5 mins of Japanese inspired, high-intensity, treadmill torture.
I set my phone app to beep at 20s and 10s intervals, indicating torture and relaxation intervals respectively, performed a gentle warmup and then attempted to coordinate the start button pressing on 3 devices – the iPhone app, the Garmin and the treadmill.
I was straight into 13 kph sprinting when I realised I was accompanied by a near cacophony of conflicting electronic beeps. The phone is thankfully alerting me to the near arrival of a rest interval while my watch is manically beeping at 172 bpm as I failed to amend the settings from my previous metronomic run.
This becomes entirely confusing. I’m trying valiantly to stay on the treadmill at break neck speed, while absent-mindedly concerning myself with my out of sync treadmill pounding. There follows a very brief interlude while I try to pound at 172 bpm, while sprinting at 12.5 kph and staying on the treadmill. Fortunately, as I realise I am failing, and the arse-about-tit motion commences, the iPhone sounds out a rescue chirrup, and I can leap off for a 10 s wheeze.
This is the first Janathon where I haven’t logged a run within minutes of the midnight chimes. I did plan to, I had my kit laid out next to the bubbly but when push came to shove my cold and a deep sleep overcame me and I retired to bed instead.
A truly wild and rocking start to 2015!
So now I have a more sedate, mid-afternoon, Janathon kick off and today’s focus is running cadence.
Everywhere I turn at the moment I see information about running cadence, I feel bombarded. I’ve been reading about efficient cadence in Unbreakable Runner (a very good book about training with Cross Fit Endurance), I’ve been monitoring it on my new Garmin 920XT and this morning I received an interesting video email from James Dunne (Kinetic Revolution) on the subject.
It’s time to dabble. The last time I checked I was running with a cadence of 155 steps per minute. Rather unsurprisingly I am not the model of a lean mean running machine – the typically stated goal for an efficient cadence pattern is 180.
Here’s my attempt at running my legs off for Janathon, guided by the Garmin 920XT metronome feature which was beeping and vibrating at 172/2 bpm.
Although I felt decidedly ridiculous at 172 spm, I don’t think the transition looks very noticeable on my video. In contrast, James Dunne’s YouTube video illustrates a more dramatic change in form following a similar 10% increase in cadence.
I’m tempted to experiment further and see how long I can hold a cadence of 172 spm, I can see that footfall seems to be improved but it strikes me as a rather exhausting improvement.
Recently, whenever I start to prepare for exercise I feel as though I am about to have a heart attack. It’s not extreme pain but does feel as though I have an elephant sitting on me or more precisely a belt tied tightly around my chest.
Today the plan was to attend an early morning BMF session, our first since xmas, and so Lynn was inclined to assume my groans were some form of psychosomatic / exercise avoidance attack.
The discomfort lasted right up to our arrival at the park and I very nearly got out of the group exercise torture. When I got out of the car and stretched it had disappeared though and I’d also determined that the new pain coincides with the precise moment I fasten my sports bra. So it’s probably an indication that my girth has expanded rather than a shrinking of my cardiac arteries.
British Military Fitness was a bit of shock to the system this week. We may as well have been first timers again, weeping silently as we did wide legged pressups into a muddy puddle. The only thing that keeps me going is the image of me as GI Jane. Almost there I think.
Both fitflo and jogblog have noticed my absence and have been kind enough to send out a search party.
I’m still here, quietly dabbling with Janathon, which of course is not the point – Janathon is supposed to be shouted about on a daily basis.
There has been some daily form of exercise happening. This weekend for example, was given over to hiking as the London2Brighton training has started in earnest again. From now until May I will have to gradually increase my weekend walks until I can happily skip my way across 100km of the South Downs. Given that neither Lynn or I actually enjoy walking, that should make for a few grumpy weekends.
We tried to make the most of the first training hike by booking into our favourite sea-front hotel in Hastings, and spent the first evening plotting what appeared to be, an exciting 11 mile route along the Royal Military Canal. The walk sounded exciting and a touch romantic.
We managed a little enthusiasm at the first WWII pill box but very soon descended into a downward facing trudge. The canal was monotonous and it was a cold day, which never helps. The ground was so slippery that it was constant battle to keep your feet from sliding back and losing ground.
I won’t go on with the moaning or you will soon find yourself joining the funk.
I woke the next day with thighs that carried the pains of at least twice the distance walked. My daily commute has clearly not been preparing me well for sliding across grassy trails with 20kg of excess mud attached to my cleats.
Today was a much brighter day and we celebrated with a more leisurely stroll along the sea front.
I came very close on the 11th.
It was 11:45pm and I was settling down to watch episode 4 of The Bridge, when Lynn started the Janathon countdown. I told her didn’t matter and I wasn’t doing it anymore but she wasn’t having any of it.
I’m a starter-leaver by nature. I love the thrill of a new project but have very little interest in following anything through to the end.
I married a completer-finisher which can lead to an interesting dynamic, where I tend to have a million and one things on the go and Lynn feels some sort of compulsion to make me finish…. them…. all. I’ll be run ragged by the time I reach my grave.
Anyway, back to last night.
With 15 mins between me, The Bridge and Janathon failure, Lynn had me off the settee and on the carpet performing a sequence of BMF inspired exercises. I did a 57 sec plank, 15 push ups and 10 squats. Unfortunately I can’t provide photographic evidence as I was wearing the same t-shirt as yesterday and can’t have you thinking I’m stinky as well as lazy.
There was considerably more faff than exercise associated with today, the 9th day of Janathon.
There was another long and frustrating day at the accountancy desk split by a particularly frustrating lunch. I had failed to prepare a slow carb pack-up and therefore slowly descended to a near starvation, stressy state because I couldn’t find a low carb snack anywhere.
When I got home the internet welcomed me with broadband speeds below 1MB which took me back to the frustrating days of dial up. I dialled up Virgin to complain and spent the next hour chatting with a nice chap, checking ping speeds, adjusting channels and polishing off a bottle of wine.
When we finished I still had a shit broadband speed, but was £30 better off and felt the comforting complacency of Chardonnay.
Still no exercise though.
My trusty spotter persuaded me to dabble with the weights routine and there followed a giggly and wobbly session with excess weights.
It is remarkable that I have yet to paralyse myself with an abrupt bar to neck, shoulder press manoeuvre, or worse yet, split the veneer on the Scandinavian sideboard that sits perilously close to the barbell action.
Another Janathon completed but it breached health and safety regulations and is not to be recommended.
Well I woke up this morning and completely forgot about the lame leg experience. It must have been psychological.
Work took up far more than its fair share of my life today, so by the time I got back home I had only a tiny modicum of energy for exercise.
I opted for a very sedate 20 mins on the treadmill while my pork chop roasted itself to perfection.
Did I mention that I want a new job?
The 9th is the day that most people abandon their new fitness resolutions and I’m ashamed to say that while we are only on the 7th day, my excuses are already stacking up.
Immediately after yesterday’s run commute I had a strange dead-legging experience. Without any obvious contributing factor, my leg started to behave as though it had received a forceful knee into the side of the thigh assault.
It’s getting worse and I am now hobbling around with ooh oww accompaniments.
So I’m afraid today’s exercise offering was a bit lame and restricted to the upper body.
I performed 6 pull-ups.
I would be quite impressed by that sentence but they were of the stool assisted pull-up variety, so practically a step-up really.
In other news the slow carb diet is going well.
I’m sticking with the plan and have successfully removed sugar and all white carbs from my diet and the post Xmas weight hike is finally reversing.