Learning to Fly…

I’ve just had a holiday.  A few days on the beautiful North Coast of Scotland with a good friend, having adventures.  On the surface, a similar trip to many I’ve done in the past.

The difference this time was in me.  What do I mean?  Well, Martin (the pal in question) is also a kayaker and runner, and fellow training-convert.  So we went equipped with a multitude of toys, ready for whatever took our fancy but determined to paddle and train as much as possible.

We had an awesome few days away, and managed to surf and run most days.  We trained on the beach, and ran to stunning landmarks at both of the top corners of this fabulous country.  Could I have done that 6 months ago, or more?  Absolutely not!  We were able to surf in the morning, and then ask ‘What’s next?’ and go for an adventurous run or train on the beach in the sun.

The feeling of freedom and the high provided by my new-found fitness and strength was transformational.   I feel as though the work I’ve put in over the last few months has been training for this: the feeling of flying.  I can do more, perform better, and have more energy than I’ve ever done – and then I can get up the next day, and do it all again.  I have never, in my life, felt this good, both physically and psychologically.  If I can do this now, what could I be capable of if I can keep this going??!

So I’ve now reached the end of this ‘training cycle’, and amazingly I’ve managed to achieve everything I set out to do!  Not because those goals were easy or not stretching enough: they were pretty tough!  I’ve done it because I worked hard, put in the hours and persevered in finding a system that works for me.  I’m not normally very comfortable with blowing my own trumpet, so to speak, but in this case I’m really, really proud of myself.  I just need to make sure I remember this feeling when things get tough in the future.

Since New Year 2018 I have:

  • Lost 10kg in weight
  • Reduced my body fat by 4.8 percentage points
  • Trimmed 5cm off chest & waist, and 7.5cm off my hips
  • Set a 5k PB of 29:44 (my time in January was closer to 35 mins)
  • Deadlift PB is now 89.5kg (In Jan it was 65kg)
  • Back squat PB is now 70kg (Jan was 42.5kg)
  • Completed 5 push ups (I couldn’t even come close to doing one!)

So what’s next?

My next training cycle is going to sit over my busiest working season of the year.  Working as a sea kayak coach & guide means lots of time away from home, and ironically isn’t always conducive to the healthiest of lifestyles.  So it will be a challenging period: I won’t always feel like training, and will often be surrounded by temptation where food is concerned.  However, I feel as though I know my body better now, and I understand what I’m capable of: when I genuinely need rest, and when I’m just being lazy! I will also be flying solo, so to speak:  running and training when I can, fitting in whatever I can, rather than following a programme set by Tim.  We will reconnect in October, when I’m able to devote more time to a routine over the winter.

So, I’m going to set myself the following goals, to complete by the end of October:

  • Run a 10k in under 60 minutes
  • Deadlift 100kg
  • Squat 80kg
  • Do 10 push-ups
  • Maintain (or preferably reduce) weight/ body fat percentage

This summer is going to serve as a ‘dry run’ in discipline terms for next year’s marathon training: I plan to run the Anglesey Half Marathon in March, followed by Marathon Hebrides in August.  In the past that thought would have been daunting; even terrifying. Now, though, it fills me with excitement and joy.  Like a drug addict looking for their next fix, I can’t wait to get out and run again, to get stuck into my next training session, to surf or paddle and feel great in my boat.

Can I imagine returning to my old habits?  Absolutely not.  I feel like the last few months have educated body and mind: I know how much food I need, and when, rather than just what I want.  I also understand my own physiology better; I’m beginning to realise I’m stronger than I thought… As for the future?  Who knows where this could all lead me…

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