ARMS and ABS! All Hail the New Regime

Week Two of the New Running Regime. Just a few sessions under my belt and I can already see a huge improvement, that and it feels completely different. Much more streamlined.

The main focus has been strengthening my core, in a bid to stabilise my running and sort out the alignment. So that means literally, sucking it (the abs) up. I have never felt my abs work like they do when I’m working this program. Hopefully by the end of this I should have a wash board stomach.

The running itself is knackering, mentally as well a physically. The combination of core work, and trying to remember to pull in the tail bone, keep the back soft, remembering to lift and pull (hamstrings and glutes) rather than push (calves) AND lean forward from the ankles to aid momentum, my brain is having a hard time keeping up with my feet. That’s only doing two minute intervals (running) and three minutes walking. Exhausting and I have to keep reminding myself to breathe.

Most of the time all I can hear in my head is my coach shouting ARMS and ABS! Repeatedly. Arms must not swing across my body. Ever. Abs need to be in pain. Constantly.

Once a week I get filmed running on the treadmill (*cringe* but a great motivation to pull in the abs!) so my running coach and me can check out what’s going right and what’s still going wrong. Everything from my left hip collapsing half way through the cycle and the weird flick I do with my right foot. But its also great for seeing how far I have come, with four weeks still to go.

The great news is that I am already faster. Like much faster. I can’t quite believe it was as simple as bring the feet in line with my centre of gravity, upping the cadence and leaning forward. Just a tad. Well, let’s be honest, I’m running faster in two minute spurts. Not sure I could keep up the pace for 13.1 miles. But we’ll see.

Here’s me after 20 minutes (that reflection is actual sweat + smudged mascara for proper authenticity). I usually looked like this after 2 hours. So that’s efficiency for you!
Here’s hoping for a 5km for Christmas.

Hair a complete state and V sweaty. Not well documented here! 

Going Nowhere Fast

First day back at work and we are greeted with howling winds and pouring rain. Not drizzle  or classic London ‘tiny’ rain that just gets you damp, but howling sheets of the wet stuff. Like I said, the Apocalypse is right on time!

It cleared up for about half an hour but I wasn’t hardcore enough to chance running home and being lashed by winds and icy rain (yes I am a wimp), but I also couldn’t miss a training session seeing as the half marathon is next month (!!).

So I made for the safe and dry haven that is Gymbox and I hit the treadmill. This is no mean feat. I hate the treadmill. With a passion. It makes me feel like a tubby hamster, that sweats more than any of the other hamsters. Not pretty.

This is the thing about running in the gym, you’re not alone. At any point. Particularly in January, when all in sundry are out in force starting out new year’s resolutions, they should all be out by March thankfully.

But in losing my precious alone time, I do get to avoid slow walkers, nasty dogs snapping at my ankles from doorways, stall workers chucking out old veg, or kids on bikes swerving on the pavement.

The monotonous treadmill drudge also means its all about the playlist. And while I’m not dodging nefarious stains on the pavement, I’m unearthing a couple of new gems to add to my A/W 2012 playlist. I say new gems, but really it’s just new tracks I’m discovering from recent downloads that help me beat the boredom, and forget about the twinge in my calf or the cramp in my foot!

So far I’ve discovered these two tracks, which significantly helped my pace, and made me forget about the very skinny blonde next to me smashing the treadmill at twice my speed (although I did feel very smug when she only managed it for 10 mins. Too much speed, not enough stamina. Shame)

So that’s another week committed to the run, or so my Nike+ tells me. I need the practice, I’ve got 16kms in my training schedule on Saturday and I am praying for some sun, even if its cold. I don’t think I can take 1.5 hours on the treadmill calorie watching on the screen and praying the super fit body builders aren’t laughing at my gait. You don’t get that on the street!

Dirty as you like, London streets are more interesting than the inside of a gym, and there is nothing that beats that knackered-off-the-street feeling when you walk through the door in from the cold. Sorry treadmill trainers, unless it’s armageddon outside, I’m avoiding the fake pavement. And in fact I may just invest in some proper rain gear to make sure it really is only once in a blue moon I’m forced to use them!