Slowly, Slowly

Metatarsalgia is a bitch so I’ve been resting my foot and swimming last week, slowly getting back into a routine whilst being careful to avoid pushing myself to the point of injury. Two swims last week and a gentle jog this morning have left me feeling a whole lot better, particularly as I’ve slept well.

The data aren’t very interesting as these aren’t workouts that have pushed me into the stratosphere but at least I’m getting back on the move.

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Assessing Numbers and a Great, Faithful and Loyal Friend Moves on to her New Home at the Rainbow Bridge

Because I wasn’t blogging at the time I didn’t get a chance to immortalise our little lurcher, Muffington (Muffin), on here when she passed on to the Rainbow Bridge.

We rescued her and she became the most faithful and sweet little lap dog I have ever known. She gave us twelve years of unconditional love and loyalty and lived her life sitting on my knee. That dog hiked all over the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria with us and loved every minute of it.

Good speed into the void little Muffington. Enjoy your rest. You have certainly earned it.

Pulse Clues

A friend of mine who is a nurse tells me that one’s pulse and blood pressure are important because symptoms of serious illness so often manifest there first. She takes my pulse all the time (don’t ask) and confirms my resting heart rate at 54 bpm. This is apparently very good and the healthy norm for a 6’1 adult male of my height ought to be 60-80. This reading was taken during my recent hiatus with a pinched nerve so I am now on a mission to drive down my heart rate. The lowest I have ever recorded is 44 so I am aiming there first. I already eat a vegan diet designed to facilitate extremely good mental health – of that more anon – and this also keeps my blood pressure healthy. Where I can improve is exercise. I’m going to work hard to push my heart rate very high during runs and swims in particular to produce a positive effect on my resting pulse.

I’m also hoping to get some decent knowledge and understanding of logging this information and what to do with it over time.

Late to the Pool Party

I have not hit this week’s swimming target purely because I arrived late to the pool, which is extremely irritating. I did sets of twelve laps but only had time for five:

You can see I messed up on my intervals and I don’t know why the last set is so long. I must have not operated my watch properly and not pressed stop at the right time. Oh well.

I could have gone on for another hour or even swam nonstop for the full 45 minutes I had so I’m getting fitter quickly. I find this to be extremely satisfying.

Onward and upward…

First Class Swim, Record on a Whim

Today’s swim was actually 1500 metres rather than the 1250 I recorded. Sadly I somehow managed to record only five sets of ten laps where I actually swam six.

Data

I think I missed the third set somehow. The clue is in the interval breakdown:

You can see that set two is very long. I really don’t know what happened but I do know that I wish my Vivoactive watch would beep when I press start like my old Garmin Swim.

Feeling Good

What was good about this is that swimming longer sets feels more rhythmic. It is very easy to overdo short sets as they have the natural feel of sprints. This way I get into a more prolonged and regular cadence. I also benefited from eating properly after yesterday’s absurdity.

Next up: 1800 metres.

Short Laps, Long Laps, I’m Swimming all the Laps.

Today’s bizarre swim:

Bizarre because of this breakdown:

Set three is ten laps instead of eight, set four is shortened to six in order to cover that and set six is divided into two due to a goggles malfunction. In addition to that I had two zombie swimmers swin straight across and in front of me and I was checked out in the showers by an old biddy who looked at me and then straight down at my junk.

Don’t try to deny it girls. You know what you do.

On a positive note my shorts keep falling down which means I’m losing weight and this swim is my target of 1200 metres in the bag. Yesterday was a rest day as I was insanely tired.

This trajectory should see me hit 1800 metres by the end of next week.

Lapping Away…

Today’s swim:

Set four is long due to a goggles malfunction and sadly I encountered the scourge of lap swimmers up and down the country: dreaded fat girl who won’t get out of the fast lane. I really don’t get it. I’m in the one lane set aside for lap swimming and always some epic ham beast gets in and bobs up and down the length of the pool like a lump of whale blubber, doing an approximate ratio of one lap to my ten. They have the entire pool to go at and they always get in my way.

That aside today was progress. As I push into longer intervals the last two laps are always the weariest and hardest, however the last two laps of each set today were nowhere near as difficult as the ones I previously experienced at the end of shorter sets so that means I’m getting stronger and my cardiovascular capacity is increasing.

Cardiovascular Statistics

A nurse friend of mine recently calculated my resting pulse at a strong, rhythmic and regular 54 bpm. The lowest I’ve ever clocked is 44. I think I can hit that again. I’m hoping to finally shed the stone I’ve carried since being hit by cars four times in one year whilst cycling. That had a massive effect on my body. Now that the kids are older and I have more free time I can get into a proper regimen rather than the guerrilla approach young children necessitate.

Keep buggering on…

Week in Review

Summary

Last week I moved from 600 to 1000 metres in the pool, from 2 to 3 miles running and I completed a rigorous 8.4 miles family hike over Whernside in the Yorkshire Dales. This was a good week with which to start a long summer of outdoor activities.

Coming Next

This year I want to break out of the Dales and conquer more of the Lake District. The big targets are Skiddaw and Blencathra, each of which are approximately 900 metre climbs so they are ones to work up to. I take the kids hiking so it wouldn’t be a problem for adults to climb those two but the sprogs need to work up to climbs like that. Luckily there is the gorgeous Cat Bells fell, around a 500 metre elevation.

I can’t wait to ascend this fell over the weekend and get some photographs of the stunning Lake District views. In addition to that I want to push up to 4 miles running and 1500 metres swimming. That leaves me with one hike to plan for the weekend. Time to research…

Progress Delayed

Yesterday’s swim happened today. My local pool and it’s useless staff admitted me to swim yesterday and then kindly closed the pool five minutes later. Thanks a lot goons.

Today I pushed up to 600 metres via six sets of 100 metres (4 laps per set).

I was only swimming for 10 minutes or so but I definitely pushed myself into the shaky muscles zone. That isn’t a technical term obviously. I think the correct term is lactic acidosis. I could be wrong on that, I’m no expert but it’s where I get the endorphins and I know to stop before I strain something.

At my best I’ve pushed up to 5000 metres so I have a long way to go yet.

Pushing On

I am in the habit of starting small and building quickly. That’s what I have done in the past and I am doing it again now. Yesterday I swam and today I pushed myself further on the road.

Swimming

I started yesterday with what I thought was ten sets of 50 metre intervals. I either miscounted or I forgot to record one of my sets with my swim watch so I’m posting a 450 metre swim rather than 500. Whatever, it’s a start. I’ll soon be pushing up to swimming an hour nonstop as I did previously.

Running

Today I added half a mile to my previous 2 mile run on Monday. My time is abysmal here, over 10 minute miles, but hey, distance is distance and I’ve never been a particular fast runner.

My struggle is often what to do once I get to high distances when it comes to running and swimming. When cycling I would always commute so it was easy to be consistent. I guess we’ll see how I motivate myself with leisure exercise. Stats below.

Weather permitting this weekend will be two mountain hikes in the Yorkshire Dales.

Good Friday Push and Interval Swimming

Tomorrow is Good Friday and I have teamed up with a friend to push through the half marathon barrier for a run. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and I won’t get sick. Anything else I can work through. I’ve been swimming and cycling regularly, although unlike my previous blogging I won’t be posting maps all the time unless I take on a new course. Anyone genuinely interested in maps of previous runs can view them via the Garmin Connect links posted with my data. The last couple of days are thus:

Data

Cycling

Distance 11.03 mi | Time 47:03 | Speed 14.1 mph | Elev Gain 896 ft

Source: Garmin Connect

Swimming

Distance 1,000 m | Time 40:06 | Pace 1:40 min/100m

Source: Garmin Connect

I have had a week off from swimming so I carried on yesterday from where I left off previously, namely interval swimming. Two sets of 8, 6, 4 and 2 laps, going as quickly as I can with three minutes rests between each interval in order to get my heart rate down to resting as quickly as possible. I could carry on doing 3000 metres three times weekly but this new routine not only breaks up the monotony, but also interval training is recommended for fat burning (calorie burn continues for hours after workouts), building endurance and it allegedly is very good for the heart as it ‘increases the flexibility and elasticity of arteries and veins better than continuous aerobic exercise‘.

I haven’t really done very much interval training in the past so I am keen to explore it, however I worry about it becoming a means to and end in itself. I actually enjoy long runs and bike rides so if I do go further on intervals I will restrict it to the swimming pool for now. I also need to learn a lot more about it before I continue to develop as I know very little other than my own invented interval swim workout.