Sunday 8th September 2013

Workout Soundtrack: Imelda May – ‘Love Tattoo’ (on the way to and from the pool)

100m freestyle (warm-up)

30x25m freestyle (untimed)

100m breaststroke (warm-down)

[15mins pacing in steam room & 5mins in sauna]

I woke up this morning after thirteen and a half hours of pretty much unbroken sleep – I really don’t think even a war breaking out on my street would have woken me up! Alas, I could still feel an odd sensation in my back but I resolved to get up and try to stretch it out before heading to the pool. I drank some coffee, ate a piece of toast and went over to the pool whilst speaking with my best friend over Skype (he now lives in Australia), he also called me an idiot for not making it to our mutual friend’s stag last night but then told me to get my butt in gear with booking flights to get out to the Land Down Under for his wedding in March next year! I made a mental note of this before hanging up and heading into the changing rooms.

I dropped into the pool with  no specific goal in mind at all and after my 100m warm-up I still felt kind of sluggish. I set off on what I intended to be a 20 lap timed swim but after 4 laps I got caught up in a bit of a pool based tailgate so had to stop while everyone got back into a suitable rhythm. I stopped the timer after about 40 seconds of waiting and then decided I’d swim a comfortable, untimed 30 lap session just to get a half decent workout done. Had I been feeling tired and irritable I would probably have just got out of the pool and headed straight to the steam room instead of waiting for the other swimmers to sort themselves out. It took about 15 or 16 laps before I got some sort of comfortable stroke/breathing pattern going and up until this point I still felt sluggish – my arms felt heavy and I didn’t feel as though I was ‘gliding’ through the water, more like ‘battling’ instead! The last 15 or so laps were different though, I’d gotten into a comfortable position and stayed that way and for some reason my arms began to feel lighter and I did start gliding. The only reason I stopped at 30 laps is because a faster swimmer got into the pool around lap 27 and I began to chase him – I really didn’t want to push myself hard today and not having the timer on meant I didn’t really know how I was going anyway! At lap 30, I ducked under the fast lane barrier and did my warm down in the general lanes, lest I be pulled into a workout race with the faster swimmer!

Post warm-down I headed to the steam room and I was delighted to find it was hotter and steamier than usual! Furthermore, it was empty and I drank in the silence for fifteen minutes of fast pacing. I cannot explain how much I love it when the steam room is empty – you really do feel like you are on another world, it’s so quiet that it’s like being in the middle of a desert only indoors (and more humid)! Toward the end of my fifteen minutes I decided I would head over to the steam room where I intended to do absolutely nothing except sit and breathe deeply for ten minutes or so. Unfortunately the sauna was quite full and there was a lot of chatter going on between the occupants – I just cannot relax when it’s like that so after five minutes I got up and hit the showers before heading home. I will be using the sauna a lot more in future though as I’ve heard it’s a great way to acclimatise to racing in the desert – I’ve now registered interest for the 2015 and 2016 Marathon des Sables and I’m also looking at an event in Northern Chad called Le Treg which is a 160km non-stop race through the Ennedi desert area. I hope to run Le Treg in 2015 if I don’t get onto MdS, if I do get on then I will run Le Treg in 2016 instead [in the unlikely event I get on to the 2016 MdS as well I will defer my entry if possible for the following year].

After getting home and having a little breakfast I decided that I better get down to booking some flights to Australia next year – my best mate needs his best man there after all! After twenty minutes, one phone call and an e-mail later I’m booked up and ready to go on my first ever long haul flight! I’ll be flying out Thursday 6th March at 2200hrs from Heathrow arriving in Melbourne on Saturday 8th March at 0645hrs local time and then I’ll be flying out of Melbourne – 1 wedding and 12 days later – on Thursday 20th March, arriving back at London Heathrow 1615hrs, local time the same day – time zones, aren’t they just the craziest thing?! I’m really excited to be leaving my home continent for the first time ever and I’ve set my best mate the task of finding me a race anywhere from Half Marathon to 50km to run whilst I’m out there – trail or road, I’m not fussed! No bother if he doesn’t find me a race anyway because I’m really looking forward to running on another continent. Woohoo!

Onwards now to later in the afternoon when I took a stroll to see Matt Godfrey, a local sports masseuse. This was my first ever sports massage and I didn’t really know what to expect – I told Matt to go for it as I have a high pain threshold and just wanted to work out the knots, bumps and aches that have been plaguing me for some time. Well, Matt went for it alright! I appreciated it too as I was worried that whichever masseuse I went for wouldn’t give it enough ‘oomph’! When he found a knot or a bump he went at it with fist, thumbs, elbows – the lot, until he was satisfied he’d done all he could. A couple of things came out of the hour long session. First of all it became apparent that, as I have been saying for a couple of weeks here on the blog, I need to work harder on my core and dorsals. Most definitely I need to stop being lazy and just crack out at least one core/dorsal workout a day along with a couple of sets of unweighted squats like I used to! Secondly, I need to do more stretching every day, without fail. It turns out both of my IT bands could do with a foam roller session once a day to keep them supple and the stretching will also help my thighs and hamstrings from becoming so tight and knotted – thanks to Matt for pointing this out because I wouldn’t have been able to figure this out on my own! To summarise the findings of my first session:

  • Both IT bands are tight and need work
  • My right hamstring is tighter than my left (probably arising from adjusting my gait due to left IT being tighter than the right and also because it seems my right leg is the push-off leg)
  • My left thigh is tighter than my right (probably because that is the leg that gets most impact during my runs)

After the session was up we agreed I should call on Tuesday to feedback on how my back and legs feel. Matt has advised that I take a hot bath tonight followed by a swim instead of a run tomorrow. I should call after my scheduled Tuesday run (5 mile, easy pace) which I should do on softer ground as opposed to road running it. All in all, a very worthwhile undertaking as I’m sitting here with far less discomfort in my back and legs and feeling confident that I’m still going to get to the starting line at Pisa in tip-top condition!

That’s it for today people, I’m off to visit my Dad for some dinner and then when I return I’m going to relax in a hot, hot bath for forty minutes or so before heading to sleep (hopefully before midnight) as I’m on an early shift at work.

Hope everyone has had a great weekend 🙂

Peace & Blessings

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