Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Back on the wagon...

Following Amsterdam, I was determined not to make the same mistakes as I had done after Paris.  I was going to properly rest for 2 weeks before running again.

However, it didnt quite turn out like that.

I didnt run for 8 days but I was itching to get out again by then so I thought I'd go out for a gentle plod.  As it so happened, it was a Tuesday night and I was staying with Alison in Petts Wood so I thought why not go for a run with the local club, Petts Wood Runners.

In comparison to the Plums, PWR is a much bigger club with much larger number of runners and it was quite strange turning up for a club run with about 70-80 people, where as 20 would be a great turn out for the Plums.

The advantage PWR have is that they can put on a selection of runs, covering various different paces.  7 groups, all bases covered.  Everything from the slows peeps through to the fast guys and girls.

Because I was recovering from Amsterdam, I chose group 5, which stated from the outset that the average pace for the run of just over 10k would be 9:15 min/mile pace, something I can usually do with my eyes shut and without not too much effort.

If I'm honest, I felt pretty good throughout the run and didnt feel as though I was busting a gut but one alarm bell was beginning to ring. Well, lets say bleep. My average HR was 168bpm. Now thats my race pace average HR. Uh-oh. From previous experiences, seeing a highly elevated average HR for a run of not taxing effort is a sure sign of tiredness and overtraining. Thus I decided to have another 6 days off before attempting to run again.

Now, PWR.  The run was good, it was a decent route but it was so different from a run with the Plums.  With the Plums, its a really happy camp.  Everyone is pleased to see the other members and you hit it off instantly.  A 8-9 mile run is usually peppered with conversation from the usual suspects and we discuss everything and anything from the football, women...you name it, its constant chat all the way round, no matter how hard the run is.  Its that kind of bonding, down to earth and very personal.  PWR didnt strike me like that.  I introduced myself to the group leader at the start of the run and that was pretty much it for the conversation until the last half a mile or so.  Very strange.  I hope if I run with them in the future it will be a bit different to that.

During that extended 6 day rest period, I spoke to Alison about how I tend to take longer than most to recover from a marathon and I really needed to get back on the wagon as I knew I'd put on some weight but I needed to lose it.  Alison was keen to join me on the regime and we decided to get some new scales.  Not just any scales though.  Luckily for me, Alison is a keen gadget lover too and we opted for some wi-fi linked scales, the Withings WS-50.

They're expensive but they're definitely worth it.  You get on the scales first thing in the morning, your weight is then transmitted by wi-fi to the Withings app on your iPhone (also compatible with Android smartphones) then you can tie your Withings account to your My Fitness Pal account and you have the complete weight loss tool at your disposal, as long as you're committed to counting the calories.

(Talking Alison being a gadget lover, we've bought her a Garmin Vivosmart.  Its a fitness activity tracker which plugs into the Garmin Connect system that I've been using for years, which can sync with My Fitness Pal.  She's been experiencing a few teething problems but once we've sorted them, I'll attempt to write up a brief review!)

Anyhow, 17 days in...

...one 'bad' day which took me 200 calories over but I'm running a calorie deficit for the 17 days and I've lost almost half a stone and my body fat percentage is between 14-15% which I'll take gladly. Now thats progress.  I could do with losing 4-5lb more then I'll be happy.  It'll take a couple of weeks but I'm moving in the right direction.

I can already feel the difference in my running in that short space of time.

Since running in Petts Wood on a regular basis, I've made a short 2.8 mile out and back loop from Alison's road which is nicely undulating and creates a sort-of fartlek if you like, as the pace can change throughout due to the gradient.

The loop is here...

Now the four times I have run the loop since the start of the weight-loss kickstarter, you can see my times have improved and my HR is steadily dropping...

Data captured from Strava...via Garmin Connect

Last week's Wednesday night Plums run was brutal and was quite possibly the hardest run we've done on a Wednesday night in a long time.

Three big climbs in Shooters Hill, Eglinton Hill and Bostall Hill with a nice little flattish bit in the last mile and a half to open the legs up and kick for home. My HR was reasonably stable and increased where I would expect it to be, so more evidence that I'm getting over Amsterdam and I'm getting back to where I should be.

I think we can safely say I'm back on the wagon of consistency and discipline. Damn it, did that bacon roll just pass my lips?

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