On Sunday I ran my second half marathon in as many weeks. I set myself the challenge in January, wanting to get decent times and push myself. It ended up just getting both done would be the challenge.
The problem with such a short gap is that your legs were just about at full recovery when the second run came around. It meant I went into the day pretty much not knowing how it was going to feel. My body had also only just shifted that fatigue you get after a big run.
It was much hotter this time round, even at 9am. By mile 2 I felt like I was burning even with factor 50 on and I felt dehydrated by the first water station which is unusual as I can often get round a half with a few sips of water at each station – I could have happily had several bottles of water at each one this time round! I got cramp in the top on my right calf again and I’m pretty sure it was dehydration.
Manchester is flatter than Birmingham which helped a bit, as did the knowledge that I’ve recently done the distance and so could, in one way or another, do it again.
Again I was ok for the first 3, even 6 miles. Hitting the 11 km mark at around 1 hour 20. If I had stayed on pace I could heave finished in 2 hour 30. The lack of training and hang over from Birmingham though meant maintaining that pace just wasn’t going to happen. The cramp kicked in around 14 km in and I couldn’t shake it fully. I managed to walk it off a bit but it kept creeping back in so I had to keep walking it off. I slowed dramatically and introduced a bit of strategic walking, getting in at 2 hour 56 in the end.
That being said, I completed one of my goals set out at the start of the year, not exactly as I planned but I did it nonetheless. Now it’s time to decide what I want to do for the second half of the year. Hopefully now that the cough is starting to ease (it’s there still but much better) I can train properly again and either look to improve my time at this distance later in the year or look to try a different challenge all together.
I ate well, and by well I mean a lot. Of course I didn’t track anything but the food was all fresh salad, vegetables, meats and fruit, so whilst I ate a lot I also ate plenty of colour and nutrient filled food.
My chilling by the pool was broken by a few sunny walks, some aqua aerobics classes and I did a few little 10 minute body weight training sessions on the balcony because I get restless if I don’t do much all day.
My sleep was great, easily 8 hours a night so overall I returned feeling super rested.
Now I get back to tracking and training (even though I still have this cough that I can’t seem to shift) ready for week 6.
Things to ask before you start working with a PT …
What’s the structure of their programme / offer?
Do you see them face to face, is it a plan on an app or spreadsheet? Do they provide nutrition support? Are there things you’re expected to do each week? Is it for a set amount of time or ongoing? What results do they offer? Are you happy with this? Will it align with your lifestyle, time commitments and does it offer what you are looking for?
What type of training will they do with you?
Home or gym, cardio, weights? What equipment do you need, how will workouts be structured? Will you doing low reps / high reps? What will splits look like? How long will sessions take? This isn’t about right or wrong but if the PT you’re looking to work with advocates full body sessions only and you’re convinced the only way forward is the ‘bro split’ you probably won’t enjoy training that much. If it’s different to what you normally do, can you go in with an open mind? You need to be honest with yourself about this because if you aren’t going to follow their advice do you want to waste your money?
Check in frequency
Will you check in daily, weekly, monthly, at all? How will you do this? Phone, text, email, questionnaire, Zoom? Will this work for you and does it meet with your expectations?
Do their views align with yours?
What do they talk about on social media? Do you generally agree with what they say? If their posts make your blood boil because you don’t agree with their stance on food or training or results you probably won’t enjoy working with them.
Qualifications and Experience
It goes without saying they should be a level 3 PT, if you are getting meal plans are they a qualified nutritionist? Beyond that, do they have the experience, knowledge and empathy to help you? Do you feel like they understand your specific pain points and have the ability to help you work on those?
Here is talk about why understanding the reasoning behind your goals is important so they really matter to you and allow for an enjoyable process, as well as how to refine your goal to make it effective and plan it in to your everyday life.
I had a bad week at work. Stressful and early mornings, late nights.
It did two things for me. Firstly when I’m stressed I want to comfort eat which tends to make me feel worse. It also meant I just got out of step with what would make me feel better. When I got in late I either ate quick fast food or just grabbed some toast, in the morning I grabbed more toast at the office. This meant my resolve was low to saying no to the many cakes in the office because simply put, I was already hungry and had limited food already prepped (I did have lunch prepared so I at least had a proper cooked meal for lunch). My brain kind of set into a cycle where I hit the fuck it button with my diet. I kind of trained a bit but I didn’t feel committed to it so all in all I felt rubbish.
You can prepare all you want for the week ahead but sticking to intentions is tough when you face changes to your plans. It goes to show diets and fitness plans aren’t just knowledge dependent, although of course that is the first step, they’re also very mindset based and having the ability to remain consistent in the face of life is the key to getting results. That isn’t about doing everything right no matter what happens, but it is about being able to bounce back from rubbish days and keep going so that you do what you planned more often than you don’t.
I talk about what group fitness really is, the negative spin it sometimes gets, wh I think people should give it a try, what the best group exercise for you is and some tips on how to make the most out of your group exercise experience.
There’s lots of things I think you can see both sides of in both life and fitness and plenty of things you see within gyms which you might do differently but are still perfectly valid and can work for that person.
What I will never get in gyms is why people think it’s ok to judge other people and make unsolicited comment to them on that opinion.
Generally speaking, most of us would be upset if someone commented that we looked a bit bigger or smaller or had lost a bit of definition. Even the most confident person in a gym can go through periods they feel a little out of shape and having someone highlight it to them doesn’t really help. Realistically, even people who thrive off dissatisfaction cues or challenge as motivation comments about weight, shape and size can be unhelpful.
It occurred to me whilst writing that this might conflict a little with my last post, but I’m not talking about genuine concern for clients or patients that may arise, more the general opinions we have of other gym goers that are simply nothing to do with us.
As a general rule, unless the person has started a discussion about their body or is seeing you in some form of professional capacity where their health / body is the topic, keeping you opinions in your head is generally the best thing to do. You might have great advice about how you think they could grow those glutes, flatten their stomach, tone their arms whatever, but the confidence you’ll give them with that advice is unlikely to outweigh how they will feel when you point out things they were already a bit paranoid about anyway!