Suspended Animation

Ideally rest days should be scheduled rather than stumbled upon. Yesterday I accidentally arrived at midnight without exercising and therefore declared it a rest day but it was not restful. I must have told myself at least 6 times during the evening that I should exercise but I was quietly resistant and unfortunately still a little edgy.

Today I feel as though I have made up for my tardiness. I woke feeling a bit ropey but I strapped myself into the rower and churned out 6k to start the day. I left it feeling quite spritely despite the persistent buttock cramps.

20120107-234817.jpgI’ve just finished the day with a set of body weight exercises using the TRX Suspension trainer that Santa delivered. It hasn’t had much use up til now but I picked up a £9 chin-up bar from Lidl this morning which I can use to support the contraption from the bedroom door. I feel much happier now I can use it indoors, it feels so much safer suspending myself above a shag pile carpet rather than the concrete patio.

Arms are killing as well as the buttocks now.

Barefoot Rowing

I was scheduled for another run this evening but after watching Biggest Loser UK and seeing myself get thrashed by one of the contestants over the 5k distance, I didn’t feel much in the mood for running.

20120104-222617.jpgI opted to row instead and as I’ve been reading about the new rage for barefoot and/or strapless rowing I thought I’d go back to my roots and give it go.

It’s supposed to hone your technique but maybe that requires you to have some to hone.

It turned me into rather a pants rower. Everything dropped – pace, power, stroke rate. I kept thrusting myself off the back of the machine.

Better improve before the biggest losers show me up at that sport as well.

Buns of Steel

I joined a virtual rowing club yesterday and now find myself weighed down with rowing related responsibilities. There are at least four monthly challenges in the indoor rowing scene and now I have to do it for the Team.

I felt fairly sprightly this morning and sat astride the Concept 2 fully prepared to polish off two of the challenges – the first was a mere 500m sprint, so I could treat it as a warm up for the more serious 7x777m interval sesh.

2:07mins later I was coughing and wheezing and had to stagger downstairs for a little sit down.

20120102-212756.jpgMore than 10 hours later and I’m still sitting here, wondering if it’s time to attempt the big one.

It’s actually getting quite hard to drag myself off the sofa, this rowing malarky is a killer of all things gluteal. I can’t move without a buttock related spasm. I’m hoping that when it finally calms down it will improve my running, when I went to Running School the instructor spent quite a lot of time trying to teach me squat exercises to fire the glutes – he should have pointed me towards a rower.

So I’ve already made a tiny offering for Day 2 of Janathon but will soon be recording a 6k row for the cause.

The Winter Cross Training Concept

The Hal Higdon marathon plan includes one day of cross training every week. My fear of recurrent plantar fasciitis pain has made me determined to include at least one (preferably two) days of non-running activity in my weekly schedule for injury proofing purposes.

Settling on the cross training activity of choice has been a little tricky. I initially pencilled in a whole load of cycle commutes but the weather has been grim and I’ve turned a little soft and spoilt in my old age and they just haven’t happened.

I considered swimming but my swanky gym was burnt down during the riots and the ever expanding Tesco monster demolished the local municipal swimming pool for a car park.

With swimming and cycling knocked off the list of possibilities I turned to rowing which led me to a whole new world of gadgets – massive gadgets!

20111230-115718.jpgHaving sought agreement for the acquisition of a smallish rowing machine I was very quick to fill out the hire agreement for a Concept 2 erg. Within 4 days of the initial idea I had installed the worlds largest rower in the middle of the bedroom.

It may be huge but it is a damn fine rowing machine. I have it wired up to an old PC running RowPro software which enables me to visualise my attempts on the water and race against my previous sessions – the equivalent of the Garmin Virtual Partner.

Rowing is satisfyingly technical, I have yet to explore the world of power curves and it’s relationship to stroke rate and pace but any sport with graphs has got to be one for me.

My first 2k attempt at 9:40 ranks me as a fairly useless rower, perhaps moderately better than my running rankings but unlike with running, I can actually visualise myself as a speedy rower. I’ve started the Pete Plan for beginners and will spend countless hours analysing my technique. Hopefully come April I’ll be able to record a respectable 2k rowing time as well as jog around a marathon course in central London.