Thursday 25 December 2014

It’s been tough, but my training mojo’s making a comeback

Yvonne Hogan

Published 03/06/2014 | 02:30

Good luck to Cork firefighter Alex O’Shea, who is attempting to break the Guinness World Record for running a marathon in full firefighting gear at the Cork City Marathon today.
Good luck to Cork firefighter Alex O’Shea, who is attempting to break the Guinness World Record for running a marathon in full firefighting gear at the Cork City Marathon today.

I can't tell you how happy this last week has made me. After months of inactivity, to get out and actually do something physical was such a joy.

To do something positive for myself was a relief. To sweat, to feel my muscles working, to push myself was just bliss.

Even though I am barely a week in to my eight-week challenge, I have some of the exercise happy back. I have been less stressed. I can't say that I have more energy — it has been a particularly bad week for me sleep-wise as my daughter was sick and had me up three nights out of five, but I am definitely more positive.

However, my cardiovascular fitness isn't remotely as good as I had hoped it would be. To be honest, the very idea that I will be able to run for 5k in seven weeks does seem a bit far-fetched.

I found the training really hard as I started on the wrong foot. My programme is three sessions a week. I would do Monday, Thursday and Saturday evenings, after the baby goes to bed.

My first session was last Monday night. I had planned to come home, have my dinner, play with the baby and get her ready for bed and then go out at about nine.

But as soon as I came through the door, I could tell she had no notion of going to bed for hours. She was wired with manic, sick baby energy. If I waited for her to go to bed, it would never happen.

So, even though I hadn't eaten since lunch, I threw on my runners and gear and headed straight out the door. I obeyed my app. I walked for five minutes to warm up, yawn, and then I ran as fast as I could for one minute.

Grand. Walked for 90 seconds. Ran again. Starting to struggle. Then again and again. Six times in total. I was in bits, had a stitch and could barely catch my breath. When I got home I lay on the ground with my legs up on the couch trying not to pass out. “Protein shake,” I said to my husband. “Now. Quickly.”

“Wrong,” said my friend, the marathon runner when I told her of my experience. “All wrong. You need to pace yourself, and you should have eaten something an hour or so before. Rookie mistakes.”

I brought my dinner to work with me on Thursday so it would be nicely digested in time for my run. However, I got caught at work and by the time I got home it was dark. Run rescheduled until the morning.

I got up Friday at 6am, made a protein shake and drank half of it before I set out. It was a glorious morning and there wasn't a sinner on the streets. I followed the app, but ran slower this time. One minute running, 90 seconds walking. Eight times. At the end of the workout, I was very out of breath, but not in a need-to-lie-down now kind of way.

I finished the shake and had my breakfast half an hour later. I felt great, energised — and the feeling lasted all day. At the time of print, my third run is planned for Saturday 9am. Mornings definitely work better for me. Next week, I will do Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. A 90-second run, 120-second walk x 4; a 60-second run, 60-second x2 on Monday and Wednesday; a 90-second run, 120-second walk x 6 on Friday.

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