Blog Move: http://www.runningmatters.me.uk

Hi folks,

This blog has moved. I’ve made a small investment and gone self hosted.

You can follow me here: http://www.runningmatters.me.uk

Cheers,

Matt

Greater Manchester Marathon 2016: Week 6 of 18

Week 6 has been somewhat of a milestone week. Not only is it the end of the first Mesocycle of the training, and not only is it the first recovery week, or the point where it marked being exactly  one third of the way through… But we were finally able to announce that we are growing a new little runner!

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We’re 12 weeks pregnant, and have had our scan. It was a truly magical experience which I’m sure every parent goes through the first time. What you don’t expect to see in the scan is the baby moving – I assumed it was still pictures – Imagine my surprise when our little one kicked out and had a ride around Jodie’s uterus! This of course means that Jodie will not be running the Manchester Marathon this year, but she is continuing to run to maintain fitness and hopefully she’ll be fine to run in the Cardiff world championships!

The recovery week in the plan has obviously been perfectly timed. My legs felt battered all week right up until Saturday so I deliberately went out to run at the slower end of all of my pace zones.

Tuesday saw me on an easy 8  miler with 8 strides. The weather was miserable and my legs were knackered. I also sufferedf romt he fact that I needed a poo. At some point I realised that everytime my runs are interrupted by a such an event, its normally a Tuesday! Without wanting to get too graphic, I suspect that as my biggest meal of the day is on Sunday, that Tuesday’s GI problems are simply that the food has finally digested! So I need to try and shift that event to happen pre-run!

Wednesday was a straightforward recovery run. Legs still feeling a bit dead, still miserable weather.

Thursday was another easy 8 miler with no strides. Heavy legged but did a reasonable amount of climbing too. Heart rate looked better though, and I knew Friday was a rest day.

Friday of course is weigh day, and it seems the hard work has paid off, I dropped 4lbs this week, most of it in fat and increased my muscle mass! So just another stone to go til my pre-race target.

weight progress

I’m a little unsure how much stock to take in the body composition analysis of these things. It said that I was 25.1% body fat, 50.3% water, and 28.3% muscle – that’s over 100% and doesn’t include bone any everything else! But I guess its designed as a guide and a way of tracking progress rather than a zero-sum game.

On parkrunday we avoided Ham Hill again to continue our tour. A group of us went to Blandford parkrun instead. I was scheduled for 4 miles recovery, but I was tempted to “have a go”. Its a fast course and could have had a pop at sub 20, but I figured if I run this hard it would affect my sessions next week. I felt quite self righteously smug at my self control! It was a good controlled effort and finished feeling refreshed.

Unfortunately, the next 18 hours consisted of bad food and several cans off Thatchers Gold. Which meant Sunday turned into a bit of a mare… Still, I figured a bit of a blowout wouldn’t hurt. Struggled through the first 6 of my 12 miler slowy, and had to make a pub stop to use the facilities, after which I felt significantly better. Managed lots of climbing too which was a plus point.

Next week is a bit of a big week (not as big as the following week though!), with 52 miles scheduled (It’ll go over that with warm up/cool down) and will be the biggest week for ages. Another tempo run is on the cards (Which I struggled with last year) and my first 20 miler of the campaign, which I’m going to part run with the group – carefully considered after my 18 miler a few weeks back caused me to want to cry!

12 weeks to go – which emans only really 9 weeks until the taper…. this time is disappearing fast!

 

 

 

 

Opening Weigh In

Well, that wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought…

I weighed in this morning for the first time since the wedding and I was 15st 4lbs. So a “holiday gain” of 12lbs. OK, that’s still a lot, but I had feared i’d come back over 16st, so that’s a real bonus.

Contextualising that for me, is that I am currently around the weight I was for the Paris Marathon last year. Not too shabby!

Now, doing what I do best (Putting together whizzy spreadsheets to make things easier for me to track)

weight31stjuly

I can see that in order to reach my target, I need to lose 2lbs per week every week, and need to have a 3lb week too. Its ambitious but acheiveable.

No doubt I’ll lose a lot quickly and then plateau, but I am motivated to succeed and have set myself some interim goals to get some “quick wins” and stay on track.

Time to finally “finish” this weight loss thing!

 

Time for a new plan!

So now I’m a married man, it appears I’ve already let myself go. I have a noticable weight gain since our amazing 3 week honeymoon, and I’m keen to shift it fast. That, and a renewed motivation to get training for the Great Birmingham Run means I need a new plan.

As mentioned in my last post, my ultimate goal is to reach 13st3lbs by the age of 33, which I turn on Nov 10th. I’m not convinced this is feasible yet, as I haven’t had the opportunity to weight myself post-honeymoon as I’ve not been home. But that will be my starting point. I at least want to finally break the 8 stone barrier… 13st 13lbs also has a nice ring to it and be an adequate secondary goal.

I’ve always found running faster and losing weight to be complimentary to each other, goal wise. The lighter you are the less energy you need to run, so can use the energy to go faster. Also, when you are training carrying extra weight it also provides an extra training stimulus… think about running whilst wearing pack with an arbitrary 10lbs, that has to help when its gone right?

To acheive the weight loss along with the running I need to control my calories, and I’m going back to using MyFitnessPal. My username on there is mattywarr if you want to follow me. I’ve always had the best results when I make myself FULLY accountable for whats going in my body.

As part of this, I am also considering my nutrition – specifically post run. Last year I experimented a bit with recovery shakes, and they seemed to do me some good. So after every session (Excluding recovery jogs) I’ll be having a recovery drink of some sort to help build muscle and recover those muscles faster.

And then of course there is my training plan. I’ve learned a lot over the last year and have designed my own training regime for this campaign. I only hope it works! Some of the lessons I’ve picked up and applied for this cycle are:

  • There are my usual prerequisites, like no back to back hard days, no increase in mileage over 10% per week.
  • More recovery runs. P&D taught me that easy mileage should be very easy an I’ll be following the same principles.
  • Rotating my quality sessions. Back when I was following the Bupa Intermediate plan it rotated Tempo work, Intervals and Hill Repeats. I’ve rotated tempo and hill repeats, as i want to do my regular interval session with the running group to build back up my core speed.
  • Strides. I found these to be fantastic for my running form and speed, so am going to use them in this plan too.
  • Race pace in my long runs. This was another key component from P&D, and I’ve adopted a similar approach for this plan, running the last x miles at race pace to get my body used to it, hopefully without burning it out!

August is all about building mileage back up and getting my body used to running at a decent pace again. Shorter tempo runs and running at the slower end of my pace zones. I am going to run the Yeovilton 5k early in the month as a way of gauging my current fitness levels. From this, I may end up further adjusting my pace zones for the remainder of the programme as to avoid injury. I know I’m not in good condition right now and would be silly to overdo it.

august

In September I’ll run the Yeovilton 5k and use it as a progress measure. My pace zones will be adjusted and as I will be up to where I want to be volume-wise, I am going to increase the intensity, peaking at the end of the month with a 14 miler with 6 at Half-Marathon pace. I have highlight the Bath Two Tunnels 10k as another race to test my fitness, but may opt for another long run yet or switch to a different race. Maybe even do a hard parkrun the week after instead.

september

And in October its just tapering. I’ll run my hardest tempo run before drioopping the volume off and recovering a bit for the race.

october

I’ll update on a weekly basis as to how my sessions went. As for the race itself, I am running it as part of a team at work. Though running as a team, I still want to finish first in that team! Bragging rights in the office would be quite nice…

Watch this space, and thanks for reading!

 

Why does Garmin not agree with Strava…

… When it comes to Calories?

Figure 1 – My workout in Garmin Connect, displaying my workout burning an impressive 1230 calories.

garmincalsSo why is it that Strava (Figure 2), when the activity is synced via the Garmin integration (The accounts are linked) shows an even more impressive 1802 calories?!

stravacalsI mean… that’s not even close! 600 calories is 3 pints of lager! Or a decent lunch! How can 2 systems with exactly the same data calculate such different values? And more importantly, when considering this data from a weight loss/calorie controlled diet point of view, which is right?

Answers on a postcard…

 

 

Return of the weigh in…

It would be fair to say I’ve been rather more relaxed about my weightless since I broke my previous goal. I’ve found myself feeling much less self inflicted pressure to carry on shedding pounds, have been relying far less on MyFitnessPal, and generally just been a bit more relaxed about my eating whilst still training.

As such, I’ve not really been weighing in on a regular basis. A couple of weeks back, before I went on holiday, I weighed in at 14st10, so a net increase of 3lbs. But after a solid weeks graft I’ve been able to gain that back, and then some.

Weight: 14st5lbs (-2lbs, 12lbs to go)
Body Fat%: 21.7% (-0.7%, 6.3% to go)

So I’m now exactly 1 stone lighter than my Paris weight! With 2 weeks to go until Bristol Half Marathon, I’m hoping I can get that down to 14st flat.

All really good numbers and I am of course delighted…

… But not as delighted as I was to buy new jeans at the weekend… In a 34 inch waist! THIRTY-FOUR! I’ve not been this slim since I was 16! They are the first jeans I’ve bought since Christmas, those being a 38 waist. Jodie kept telling me they were hanging off me, but I was scared to buy new ones. I don’t really know why, but I felt like I’d be disappointed if I didn’t get into a 34.

Still this is only one brand of jeans. Some others I could get on, but they weren’t what I’d call comfortable. Hopefully by the time I reach my final goal weight I’ll be comfortable in any 34s that are going. I shouldn’t think I’ll fit into 32s ever, just not got that build!

Either way, I am absolutely over the moon. Now time to try a final push for that dream goal weight.

Weigh In

Last week was a tremendous result for me. So much so i thought it could have been an anomaly. That, coupled with the fact I have had a particularly average week food wise (I wasn’t bad, but I certainly wasn’t as controlled as I should have been) I wasn’t going to weigh myself today.

But that would have just been burying my head in the sand, and I’m not scared of the scales any more. So I weighed myself just to remain accountable for my actions!

And I stayed the same weight.

A pleasing result, and a platform for me to work on next week when I can be a little more disciplined.

The downside to weight loss…

unnamed (1)One thing I need to remember… I don’t have the body weight to support the alcohol I was previously able to comfortably consume. Look at the state of me!! (Photo taken from my desk at work the morning after). Don’t worry folks, I feel just as bad as I look!

 

Weigh In: Plateau Smashed, Goal Achieved!

If you read last weeks weigh in report you’ll know that I’ve bee struggling with somewhat of a plateau in recent weeks, my body simply has not wanted to shift any weight at all. This has been tough to swallow as I was so close to my goal.

My primary goal has always been, ever since that fateful first day at Weight Watchers, to have a healthy BMI of under 25. BMI isn’t for everyone. I understand that if you are a body builder, or a rugby player then your BMI is not going to be an appropriate way to measure your health based upon weight. But for an average guy like me, not interested in bulking up, its as close to an accurate barometer as I am likely to find.

After following most of the advice in the article (I didn’t change up my workout routine, but I have changed my weigh day to non-running day) the results have been a staggering success. I weighed in at 14st7lbs. Thats a shift of 5lbs week on week.

Now, thats a huge amount and extremely unlikely to have been achieved in a week. I would say that last weeks was an anomalous result to some extent. But nonetheless I am absolutely chuffed as nuts. Thats a 10 year old goal, finally achieved.

I don’t have accurate records of my weight loss until I started using Garmin Connect in November. But since then alone the graph looks pretty cool.

weightchart

“Back in the day” I though reaching this goal would be some kind of watershed moment, that I’d be overcome with emotion, or want to throw some sort of party for my achievement. But it doesn’t really feel like that. Its taken me so long to do it, and there were so many false starts I’d feel a bit of a fraud for celebrating this. After all, the real challenge is learning to keep the weight off.

I still feel happy, but it’s not the life changing moment I thought it would be. Its more a sense of quiet satisfaction. Unless you’ve struggled with your weight you won’t understand I guess.

I want to thank the following people from the bottom of my heart for helping me acheive this personal goal. I quite literally couldn’t have done it without them.

  • Mum – without you I wouldn’t have gone to weight watchers and set me off on this journey
  • Jodie – You put up with the miserable weeks when I don’t lose weight, and the hours I’m out running. I hope the good times outweigh the bad! I love you

A New Goal

Since I’ve started running though and I’ve gotten closer to my goal I’ve realised that even a healthy BMI was still going to leave me with a bit of a wobbly belly and wobbly inner thighs. So it isn’t quite “Job Done” yet, and I’ve known for a while I’d need a secondary goal to shoot for. Much like with Races, its always best to have a target!

Trying to work out what that should be is a tough question. On the one hand, I’d like to have a certain body fat %, and on the other hand I’d like a mid-range healthy BMI. So I’ve gotten to work in excel and come up with some numbers.

  • According to the NHS, a healthy BMI ranges between 18.5 and 25. The midpoint of that is 22. At my height, I would need a weight of 12st13lbs (181lbs) to be this BMI.
  • The generally accepted body fat percentage for “Fitness” is between 14% and 17%. The midpoint for this is 15.5%
  • My current Body Fat % is 22.3%. If I were to take 7% off of my current bodyweight it would give me a weight of 13st 7lbs (189lbs)

Therefore, my newly amended target is 13st 7lbs (189lbs). Once I reach this target I’ll use the same methodology so see where my Body Fat is vs my Weight/BMI to see if I can find a way to reconcile those two numbers. But, for now at least, only 14lbs to go!

 

Weigh In

Feeling a bit disappointed today. Despite a very good week food wise, and a 40mile week running wise (And the associated calories burned from it) I’ve not lost any weight this week.

I’ve only lost 1lb in the last 3 weeks, and I don’t know why. I’m still an agonising 2lbs from that elusive Healthy BMI target I set myself all those years ago.

I turned to my friend Google and found this interesting article by Jillian Michaels about how to beat a weight loss plateau. And I can relate to it in a few ways.

Question 1: Are you keeping track of your daily calories?

Yes, I am. I am even, during weekdays, going well under this calorie allowance – which is already set aggressively low. I’m not sure I can actually be any more anal about watching what I eat. I log everything that crosses my lips, often to the annoyance of the other half.

Question 2: Are you trying to lose “Vanity Pounds”?

Ok, I guess I am at the point now where I am.  She explains (What I already knew) that the less I had to lose the harder it is to shift it. But the part that resonated most with me was that the usual solution to this would be to exercise more and eat less – which is pretty much what I have done. The issue being that my body may have hit starvation mode. This is a very real possibility, I’ve been finding myself to be very hungry this week. More so than usual. Her recommendation: Keep the body guessing by spending the next 3 days varying the calorie intake. I’m not sure that would work for me, I just think i need to make sure I eat ALL of my calorie intake rather than trying to undercut it so much like I have been doing. Give my body more fuel to kick start the metabolism instead.

Question 3: Do you need to change up your workout?

I already run a variety of different sessions, at different paces during the week. But I guess I don’t do a lot of core work, which I know is something that could also benefit my running. So I’ll try and get back on the 30 day abs challenge which I started and then decided to ignore.

Conclusions

In the opening paragraphs she said that a typical plateau usually lasts 3 weeks, which is about where I am at. So I am hoping next week will be a bit more positive. But to help it along I am going to try eating my full calorie allowance and give the Ab challenge another crack and see if I can get things moving again.

I will of course, report back on the result next week!