Training Update … Comrades 2018
Bodybuilding a dream
Thursday morning straight after my last blog post I made it to the gym. I got stuck into a strenuous back routine. As you might have realised or not. I am no longer a gym fanatic. No longer have aspirations of trying to emulate my bodybuilding heroes of the early 1990’s. Heroes like Bob Paris, Lee Labrada, Rich Caspari or Shawn Ray. I used to spend a lot of money on all the international body building magazines. Reading up on their training routines, supplementation, competitions etc.
Training up to 6 days a week and sometimes even twice a day. I was never into any serious sport at school. Probably because of my health challenges. As I got older and started enjoying going to the gym and seeing the effects of training and dieting on my body, I started taking it a lot more seriously. It is extremely hard work and takes a lot of dedication and discipline. Like most things in life, if you work hard enough at it, you can achieve anything despite your background, your obstacles and even your genetics.
Nowadays as a 40-something self-employed dad, spending hours in the gym is no longer an option. Today, it’s all about getting in, going through your training regimen and then heading home or to a meeting or to a school pickup. The best time to train for me remains the early morning. When I know I don’t have to worry about clients trying to get hold of me or being needed by the family. It simply just puts your mind at ease that you have already trained. For the rest of the day, you can focus on work and provide for the family. This routine is great for gym workouts but when you actually need to get on the road to either run or cycle you need to make other decisions regarding how you apply your time.
Feasibility of urban training
Unfortunately living in a city like Johannesburg, is not an ideal cycle or runner friendly place. You need to either pack your bike, head out of the city limits and find a quieter stretch of road to cycle on or run when it is a much quieter time of the day. An added frustration in winter is that it remains darker for longer. By the time you are able to go running, it’s almost time to get the family up and start breakfast. Fortunately, being self-employed, I can wake earlier, put in a few hours of work and then go and run once the school run is over and the traffic has calmed down.
I have never had a problem with running in the cold or the dark in winter, but there have been occasions when I have twisted my ankle on a stone on the road because of the dark.
Learning to adapt
I have adapted my training during the week and I run twice a week, just after lunch time, and I try to fit in a quick 6-8km run on a route I know well. On weekends and public holidays when the roads are quieter I tend to go for a longer, much slower run. Just to get some mileage on my legs. Alternatively, and this has become a tactic more recently, I use official races as training runs on weekends.
This was the case last weekend, when the day before the Old Ed’s 21.1km half-marathon, I went for a gentle, easy run. Something I had never done before. Previously I had always based my rest days before a race, on the distance, I would be running on race day. Example, for every 10km of race distance I would rest a day. Technically I should have rested both on Friday and Saturday last week in preparation for the race on Sunday. However, my objectives are completely different this time around. I need to put as much pressure on my body, especially my legs, in an effort to simulate the conditions on the road come June 2018. The 7.5km run on Saturday took me almost an hour and I walked the last 800m, something I would never dream of doing previously. It just seemed the sensible thing to do at the time.
Race day training
Race day on Sunday had finally arrived and we made our way to the race.
The tactic was to run the race together with hubby at my Comrades pace of 6:50 per kilometre. The objective was to learn how to run at a slower pace, allowing me to pace myself and spend as much time on the road as possible building my stamina and endurance. Our strategy fell apart as hubby and I lost contact with one another at the first water point. Roughly about 3.5km into the race. I had stopped to collect a water sachet or two, didn’t notice hubby run on past me and spent the next hour ambling along very slowly and occasionally stopping to see if I could spot him.
Needless to say, he had decided to only run 10km. Finishing the first half of the 21km route about 5 minutes before I did. This race was probably the first race in my life where I finished the second half stronger and faster than the first half. I felt I still had some energy to spare and that was as a result of the slow start. More encouraging was the fact that I had very little pain the following day. No stiffness in my legs whatsoever. Managed a 45-minute spinning class on Monday morning after the Sunday race. Also managed to complete a leg workout on Tuesday.
Currently, very happy with where I am at present with my training and fitness.
I feel strong, fit and still enthusiastic about my training.
All very good signs at this point.
The trick is to maintain the balance of training enough, resting enough and staying healthy long enough.
I have a very good feeling about this up run.