Sunday, 25 November 2012

Weighty matters

During the process of training for the AHM, I managed to lose four pounds.  This was despite refusing to give up the joy of cake(s).  My clothes fit a bit better and I felt better; I had high hopes for the weight loss continuing as my pre-marathon training carried on.  Unfortunately, as we now all know, my running stopped and it was only the eating of cakes that carried on.  I regained the four pounds plus one extra.

Now, I know that running at a lighter weight would be kinder to my joints and tendons and also enhance my speed.  I read one estimate that said for every 10 pounds lost, you could gain an extra 20sec/mile.  Over the course of a marathon, this amounts to being 9 minutes faster.  Woo hoo!  But what is the optimal running weight?

Enter this month's edition of Runner's World and an article on Your Perfect Running Weight.  There were two options for figuring this out.  The first was for recreational and/or fat runners, the second for proper runners.  Although I consider myself a 'proper' runner, I don't have access to a body fat composition scale as required for Option 2, so I had to do the more basic Option 1.  Already, I was annoyed.

To calculate the baseline weight, you start with 100 pounds for the first 5 feet of height and add 5.5 pounds for each additional inch.  Then you measure your wrist to see if you have a small, medium, or large frame.  Mine is small.  Teeny wrists but not so teeny hips.  Anyway, for a small frame, you subtract 10 pounds from your baseline weight and voila!  You have your Perfect Running Weight.

Now, at the moment I am already 6 pounds above my RW baseline weight.  I have to lose SIXTEEN POUNDS???  The last time that I weighed that particular weight was in 1994 when I spent five months walking from England to Scotland via a series of long-distance footpaths, carrying a 40 pound rucksack on my back and covering up to 20 miles a day.  The weight dropped off and, by the end, I could majorly see my hipbones.  My periods also stopped.  Yep, that's a healthy weight, no doubt about it.

So, here's my plan.  First, I'm going to make myself stand really, really tall to add an extra inch to my height which will make the target weight be a bit more realistic (this would be the weight where ALL of my clothes, not just the ones with elasticated waists, fit).  Then I'll forget about that weight because, unfortunately, it just isn't realistic for this middle-aged stage of my life.  However, a couple of pounds over that probably is doable, if I keep running and (more importantly) limit the cakes.

Except for cupcakes.  They're small and therefore don't count.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

I'm back

And some cookies while you're at it...
Has it really been over a month since the AHM and since I was full of good intentions and grandiose plans to maintain, if not expand upon, my fitness in the two months before marathon training starts?   How come the only thing that has expanded is my waistline and the only thing that I'm full of is cookies?  Yikes, what happened to me??? 

Well, I didn't run for two weeks after the race.  My initial happy legs gave way to a painful calf following the wearing of my favourite boots (they don't even have much of heel compared with some of my other footwear, but there's something about them that has been making my calf hurt; I am now phobically avoiding them).  I couldn't walk without pain for a week.  The 3rd week post-race, I did a gym session on the advice of Adam to get a baseline for my cardio and ran 3 miles on another day.  This was hard hard hard, and I twinged my calf a bit.  Cue sore and aching calf, and no running, for the rest of that week.

The 4th week post-race, I ran three times (3 miles, 3 miles, and 5 miles).  My calf felt okay, if a bit stiff, and I was confident that I could carry on the momentum the next week when I was working in Shetland.  Except the weather was abysmal and I couldn't face running outside, and the Lerwick gym was doing some kind of promotion whereby you got points and prizes for doing the equivalent of 5km every day for a month so the gym was heaving and the Gym Police were limiting people to 10 minutes at a time on the cardio machines and even the weight machines had queues, all of which is my idea of Gym Hell, so I didn't run at the gym either.  There was a bright side, though; I didn't miss Masterchef: The Professionals. I did manage a 3 and 5 mile run once I was back home, both of which felt okay physically but a bit meh emotionally.

And then this week, I had no motivation whatsoever.  I even entertained the idea of giving up running altogether.  I finally dragged myself out for a 3 mile run yesterday, but that was only because I had an appointment with Adam that afternoon and I wanted him to see my calf immediately after having run on it.  I was relieved to notice that 1) I enjoyed this run 2) my calf didn't hurt and 3) I enjoyed this run (worth saying twice).

Adam gave me a verbal kicking (in the nicest possible way) to remind me to look after my legs (e.g. stretch, stretch, and stretch again), a physical pummelling (not so nice, but a good test of the treatment room's sound-proofing), and then a nagging text later that night complete with shouty capital letters to WEAR YOUR COMPRESSION TIGHTS.  I did, and my legs felt tons better.  So, funnily enough, did my psyche.  I think I'm ready to start again.