Archive for the ‘Circuit Training’ Category

Insane in the Portslade   1 comment

I thought I’d better get back to the gym after a three week break as I am paranoid I shall lose my leg muscles again. I was pleased to discover I could do everything at the same weight as before so everything is ok. I was less pleased when I arrived at track in the evening and remembered it is difficult to run having been to the gym in the morning. Although I tried I was completely unable to keep with Mark and Rick in the 4 minutes kilometre group. This week we had to do the 1000 in 4 minutes then 2 x 500 in half the time minus 5 seconds so 1.55 in my case. As I couldn’t keep with Mark and Rick I had no idea of my pace except what my watch told me and I don’t think it’s very good on the track. Too many corners and not much real movement in a GPS sense. Bob confirmed this by telling Joel and I at the end that we were too erratic and thus had rendered our session useless. Ooops. Sorry Joel!

On Wednesday I was able to go to the Arena tempo run after last week’s bicycle breaking ruination. I had a plan to run at 7mm again this time with Joe but when it came down to it I just stayed at the back with Andy doing 7.45 – 8mm as he was tapering for Beachy Head marathon on Saturday. Thus it was a pleasant chat-speed run and a good solid 9 miles in the bank all told.

Thursday was a break from the norm with a visit to the wizard in the morning followed by an exercise class in the evening. I had been invited to try Insanity so I would then write about it for the West Hove Directory. Having done most sorts of classes going I thought it can’t be that hard. It was. It was like circuit training but continuous with only a 30 second rest every 4 revolutions of 3 different 30s exercises followed by a minute of “power” moves which seems mainly to be jumping. Obviously I got stuck in with gusto from the off which meant I was well and truly dead by about half way through (25 minutes or so). I began to massively rue thinking it would be a good idea to go to the gym on Monday (and was very glad I hadn’t been this morning). I reached a point where my legs just had nothing left so had to wibble about jellily for the second half. It was an excellent class but doesn’t mix well with gymming and running. Or it didn’t for me anyway. I could tell it was hard as I was already DOMSing before I’d even finished, so technically I suppose that’s just MSing. After crawling home I put my calf sleeves on my upper arms which had taken an almighty beating. Psychosomatic. Addict. Insane. Except there was quite clearly a reason for my all over brokenness.

On Friday I had planned to do a LSR but after the Insanity I had to cut it down to a SSR, partly for recovery, partly because I couldn’t be bothered to drag my sorry form any further.

Saturday meant parkrun. Obviously. I am still trying to make my way back down to sub 20.30 pre Brooks 10k. I managed to knock a tiny bit off my recent times with 20.49. I am hoping that, like the past, if I am consistent for a few weeks then I shall suddenly jump down by 30 seconds or so. The last 4 I have run have been within 7 seconds of each other which is really consistent for me so I’d better pull that sub 20.30 out of the bag soon.

This morning I joined a merry band of fellow Arenas on a LSR. It is so much easier to run with other people. It was stupidly windy in one direction which was still horrible but at least there were others to share the pain. 13 miles at an average 8.47mm, though the middle 8 were sub 8.30 (wind permitting).

All in all this was a good week with a variety of runs and strength things. Somehow I ran 40 miles.

Back on track (on track)   Leave a comment

Having had a break from running last week I was hopeful that, breathing permitting, I would be able to put in a good session at the track. This week the fast group were doing 8 x 800 with a minute recovery so Paul and I tagged on with them. I knew I would just do the first 400 of each rep as any longer and I wouldn’t be able to keep up or complete the session. This gave me a 2 minute recovery between each 400 which was perfect. I made sure I worked hard to keep with the group for the 400s. I was pleased with this session as I managed to achieve what I wanted. 8 x 800 at approx 80 – 85s per lap. Not particularly fast but consistent and good for 8 reps.

On Tuesday I went to Core & Stretch as usual but decided to give kettlebells a miss with the promise that I would do Matt’s boxercise class on Thursday evening instead. As usual (other) Matt and I found ourselves unable to do lots of the C&S class but this week there was a new man who looks like he could well join our small elite group of not-very-bendies.

Wednesday was LSR day. Having managed 14 last Sunday I hoped I could do roughly the same today without the hindrance of a headwind this time. It was definitely less windy though more misty. The 14 passed much more pleasantly this time and in no time (well two hours) I had another 14 in the bag. 


On Thursday I went to boxercise as promised. The circuit aspects were good though trying to do this sort of class after a LSR is hard on the legs, perhaps this is why usually I do a Tuesday class. Unfortunately when we moved on to pad and glove work it all went wrong. I was way to uncoordinated to move my pads fast enough which meant the punched was often punching nothing as my pads were yet to materialise in the right places. Yikes! This was horrible and a massive disaster and I got really anxious which made me even worse. Aaarrrrrrrgggghhhhhh! This is in no way the fault of Matt or the class. In fact the class must have been good as so many parts of me are now seriously DOMSed. I shall however NEVER be returning. I must stick to things where any of my failings only affect myself and not other participants of the class.

Friday was a rest day.

I took myself off to Preston Park on Saturday  for parkrun but it was not worth mentioning. Started off OK then just slowed to a crawl as the run progressed. 

Today it was the Worthing Lido 4. I have been lucky insofar as the last 3 or 4 times I’ve done it the weather has been dry and not too windy. Alas today this lucky streak was undone. Spectacularly. Very wet, very windy (managing to be a headwind in both directions) and very cold. I gave it a good go but it was not to be. Perhaps I should have taken the fact I was number 13 as an omen. Double omen that it got lost in the post so I got a drawn on replacement. Drawn in washable ink too it seems…

Not indelible (delible?) ink

Not indelible (delible?) ink

Anyway over all I wasn’t too displeased with my effort but it’s a shame it doesn’t translate into anything good at the moment. Around two minutes slower than last year. 

Having thawed out (finally) I see I managed 26 miles for the week. Everything still hurts from boxercise. Another pretty busy week all told.

(Almost) a week off (running)   Leave a comment

I started the week with good intentions to rest after the struggling to breathe whilst running of the preceding few weeks or so. So I didn’t go to track on Monday. A good start.

On Tuesday I decided that Core & Stretch would be ok as it is a relaxing class. Well its actually not in any way relaxing but it is stretching so not a vigorous jumping about type class so in terms of lungs should be fine. It also kills the core which is always a good thing. I’m sure there is still a lot of mince pie lard to burn off. The class was absolutely rammed again so it was single mats all round which meant when rolling the spine it was rather painful and knobbly on the floor. As always the class was good and I felt that my poor legs had at least had some good done to them.

In the evening I found myself at kettlebells before I had really thought about it. Ooops. Perils of having a routine. As I was there I decided to make the most (least?) of it by going down quite a lot in terms of weight and concentrating on form and stretching out the hamstrings and so forth. It was definitely a good idea to go down a weight or ten as I still struggled. This was due to the inability to breathe properly, I just felt rather weak and run down. I made sure I did the upper body stuff to the best of my ability as this area is otherwise neglected what with all the running. I managed around 10 proper press ups before my spaghetti arms decided enough was enough. Along with all the other stuff I think my arms got a bit of a going over which is good.

On Wednesday I had promised Matt I’d go to Break the Cycle even though he wouldn’t be there so off I went. Rest week going well…This class is a mix of spin and circuit training. We started off on the circuit which was arm based (as the spin part is obviously leg based) which was excellent as I want to show my arms what’s what after they’ve got away with not having to do much for many years. Each of the ten or so stations is only 45 seconds so just long enough for a good blast but not too long that you flag badly before the end. After going round once we hopped on the bikes for 10 minutes of spinning, then back on the circuit. Finishing off on the bikes. I really enjoyed this class and hope to add it to my repertoire. On Thursday morning various new bits of my upper body ached so I know the class was a success! I did actually manage to rest on Thursday.

On Friday I went to spin and thoroughly knackered myself, probably due to not having done any running and only having taken the classes I had done quite gently (for me). Thankfully it was an endurance session so was mainly uphills and uphill sprinting. I much prefer this to normal sprinting which I find really hard, my legs just never seem to be able to spin as fast as everyone else’s. Anyway there was hardly any of that so I was happy to concentrate on killing myself on the climbs. We finished off with a ridiculous attempt to sprint in the highest gear. Sprinting was of course unachievable but we tried to at least keep the pedals turning which in itself was virtually impossible. I enjoyed the class greatly. I can definitely tell the difference having not already run many many miles in the week.

Of course a rest week wouldn’t be a rest week without ruining it so off I swept to Lancing on Saturday afternoon for the masters xc championships. I knew I wasn’t going to be much good at this as it is a long long uphill drag over much mud, grass and flinty-chalky paths and is just generally not my kind of thing. I was mainly there for the nice long downhill finish and to turn out for the club. There were only two of us in the v35 category so I didn’t need to worry about placing for the team as we needed another person. The race panned out as I expected, I really struggled on the uphills, you get an extra one in this race as it is a mile longer than the League xc that takes place here, and was overtaken by loads of people. I managed to claw a few back on the first downhill but by the time I’d reached the summit the second time everyone was too spread out and I failed to catch anyone on the long downhill finish. Nevermind. The downhill was slightly marred by the strong and cold headwind but I still enjoyed it and managed to throw in a mightily impressive (thanks Hywel) sprint finish to know avail but I loved it anyway. On the plus side my lungs felt much better and I only felt knackered in the normal way rather than in a breathless unexplained way.

This morning I decided not to go to RunBrighton as it was 2 hours over the downs which would really not please my bum injury after yesterday’s exertions on the mud and hills. I plumped for a lone LSR on the seafront (no missed “keep away from the sea” warnings this time). I found it rather hard and dropped my pace quite significantly on the long drag back into the wind. Oh well, 14 miles in the bag.

So a not very restful (except slightly in a running sense – 18 miles) rest week completed.

Spookathontastic!   5 comments

Having not done anything on Tuesday or Wednesday morning I thought I might be OK on Wednesday evening. I was not. Slow and generally a bit feeble. Another 7.5 miles for the book. Thus I felt maybe Thursday would be better as Wednesday was not. Wrong. Perhaps this meant I was still not fully well. Slumped around HovePark and moseyed up and down some hills. Did nothing on Friday or Saturday (didn’t even help at parkrun having woken up on the dot of 9 – oops – but probably good for my health).

Today (Sunday) was the charity spookathon at my gym (Alive, Castle Street, Brighton). Six back to back classes to raise money for LostCatsBrighton (where I work) and The Martlets. I couldn’t bring myself to do zumba or yoga but psyched myself up for four classes, a long day and plenty of cakes to keep me going. I started with the spin/circuit combination class which was good.

Still Alive in the first class…












Lots of people there and a good variety of exercises. As I hadn’t done anything proper since Monday I felt quite strong and got stuck in. Not long after I realised I still had three more classes to go and had already used up most of my strength. Oh dear. Never mind! Onwards. I refuelled with a tasty chocolate brownie and a banana. An hour later (after fitting in a bit of food shopping – tres excitment) I made my way in to the 80’s step class. Having never done step before I knew I would find it very hard as it involves coordination and concentration. I was so right! It was really really hard and complicated and I was getting all the steps wrong left, right and centre. It was without doubt the hardest but most fun I have done for ages. So funny! Thankfully there were plenty of people equally uncoordinated and getting themselves confused and tied in knots. I spent a good proportion of the time laughing and standing on my step bemusedly trying to work out how the heck those who were good at it were keeping up and getting the steps right. The trick was to focus on one person who was doing it right’s feet and copy their footsteps whilst not listening to Toby’s instructions or looking in the mirror as that just caused further confusion and falling about. It was without doubt the most fun I have had for ages and also really really hard! My legs and abs were wibbling like crazy by about 20 minutes in. Probably not helped by already having done one class and surviving on brownies in the interim. If this class were to be brought back I would sooooo do it. Even if only because it was so funny being so useless. This is the reason I don’t do this sort of class but in this case it just made me happy. Maybe because there were many others equally useless? Also I think I had become somewhat hysterical with lack of food and tiredness. I was already shaking, with dead quads and arms and this was only class two.

As I moved on to kettlebells (having scoffed another brownie in about 30 seconds) I was really feeling it. Quivery muscles, general shakiness. On the upside this had made me somewhat hysterical so I alternately laughed and died my way through. We finished with a (more gentle than usual as Jenny was also dead) Core & Stretch class. I was still laughing, shaking and fuelled on yet another brownie. But oh so knackered. Downward dogging, which I always hate, was an impossibility so I generally lay in child’s pose. Finally the  spookathon was over and I fuelled up on a vegan flapjack and wibbled home on my bike with legs o’ jelly.

All in all it was an excellent day which I thoroughly enjoyed even though it was a killer. God knows what state I’ll be in tomorrow but a superb time was had so no complaints.

Goodness gracious I think this might be the first wholly positive post I have ever written! Hoopla!

Running hard, feeling strange   Leave a comment

Having got Henfield out of the way on Sunday I was looking forward to track on Monday. Even more so when it looked like it really was going to be a nice day for it (unlike last week where it looked nice until an hour before when the heavens opened and it became more of a paddling session). It was! Warm and sunny. Perfect for a fast session. Bob obliged!

3 x 500 @ 1.45, 1.50, 1.52

5 x 300 @ 1.01, 1.00, 59s, 1.01, 1.00

5 x 200 @ 37s (last one 34s)

All these were run at around 80 – 90% effort to ensure I kept the consistency and speed throughout the reps. Success! The rest was 100m walk, except for the 200s where it was 100 walk, 100 jog into rolling starts. I ran in my own group of one so I could take a long enough recovery to keep each of my reps fast and consistent. This worked well. By the end it was just me with 3 reps left to run and everyone else having finished and warmed down. I managed not to get too paranoid as I knew I was doing the session in the best way for me. Unfortunately we had a committee meeting afterwards. The meeting in itself is fine but I had worked so hard I was totally spaced out and felt sick and couldn’t write. (I can never write after running for some reason. My hand can’t hold a pen properly – odd.) Shame the meeting was mainly about the Arena 10k I organise!

On Tuesday I felt very strange. Really very tired indeed. In fact I can’t remember ever having felt more tired. I dragged myself out to Core & Stretch but was so dazed and weak I could hardly do anything. Just wanted to lie down on my mat and sleep. Naturally I didn’t learn from this and sensibly take an evening off kettlebells. This was stupid as I couldn’t lift my normal weights and had to downgrade massively to weights I’m not sure I ever used even when I first started. I had no control over my form and even the lightest weights were almost beyond me. If the snatch is beyond you you can use the clean version suggested Matt as he looked at me with dismay as I failed to clean the 12kg. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that doing a half marathon out of the blue followed by a hardcore track session means I have nothing left for Tuesday but I’m still not sure that’s the whole story as I’ve worked hard before and never felt so utterly drained as I did yesterday. Thankfully today I felt a tiny bit more awake though at yoga I was still weak but then I always am so not sure it was so apparent. Usual downs run this evening could be interesting. Will take it very very easy (which I do normally anyway) and hopefully I’ll be able to run tomorrow’s interval session properly then 3 days rest before King’s Head Canter 5k on Monday.

A good start to the week and the new me   Leave a comment


Rightio. Another week has started. Which means another Monday at the track. This week I was looking forward to some short fast stuff as the introduction to my new training regime. The day was hot and humid, perfect for some speedy reps! Alas, around an hour before the session was due to start it started absolutely chucking in down! Of course this didn’t stop the core of hardy souls descending on the track as usual. After a mile warm up I was thoroughly soaked and it was raining so hard it was battering straight through my sparse eyelashes and causing major stinging and blindness. Arg! However when the session proper started it had stopped raining so after another quick warm up lap consisting of the traditional high knees, heel flicks etc we got stuck in. Bob asked us to get into pairs as we would be doing 10x500m as a parlauf. For those who don’t know what this is it is basically a continuous relay. So Kim (my partner) set off on her first 500 metres while I walked on 100m to meet her as she finished and I started. This went on for the whole session. I was very pleased to discover I was doing my reps in around 1.48 (1.45 for my fastest, 1.52 the slowest) which is amazingly consistent for me. Not particularly speedy, but consistency is the key. Two things were responsible for this I think: 1.) I had not done anything since Thursday so was well rested for once. 2.) The recovery was quite long, around 2 minutes I’d guess and was walking/standing rather than jogging (which I can’t count as recovery as I’m still running!). Also because I was fired with enthusiasm for my new style of training (ditching the unenjoyable long stuff). Now I will work hard in the sessions I do do and reap my rewards in the days I do nothing (Friday and Sunday at least). Once I get the Henfield Half out of the way this Sunday I don’t intend to do anything over about 7 miles in training and 10k in racing. As I mentioned in my last post I know I am fit enough to race well it is just a matter of getting my mind to cooperate so I must concentrate on this rather than exhausting myself doing too much in the foolish belief that it will help my racing especially as I KNOW it is my mind not body that is at fault.

On Tuesday I rolled on over to Core & Stretch in the morning in bright sunshine. Naturally, as it’s an indoor class! (I did hang my sodden trainers on the washing line before I left though.) I felt that my down dog was not quite as awful as usual so perhaps I am actually become a teensy bit more flexible? I am NOT attributing this to hot yoga though as I MUST NOT do any more classes once my 20 have run out. The angriness outweighs any benefits. Core & Stretch will be enough.

In the evening I was back at the gym for Kettlebell Circuits. As I had worked hard on Monday I did find it a little harder than last week and my shoulders gave out pretty early but this was due in part to the morning’s class and because I was back swinging 9kgs in each hand. I did try and use the 12 for the clean and press but failed dismally so back to the 9 it was! Charlton will be pleased to know we finished on snatch and I succeeded with with the 9kg. Over all I felt alright with my performance although I wasn’t completely dead like the week before but not sure that’s a bad thing.

I think I may be gaining a bit of self confidence as I actually dared to ding someone who was strolling along the cycle path. In the past I would merely throw them an evil look and mutter to myself as I passed. Progress!

Posted 15/08/2012 by Isobel Muir in Blog, Circuit Training, Kettlebells, Running

Knackered already and it’s only Wednesday!   Leave a comment

Monday means track. This time it was actually at the track. Felt like I hadn’t been there for years but could only have been two or three weeks. Mark was in charge so the session was a bit different to usual. We would be running to time rather than distance. We started with 3 x 3 minutes, with 2 minute walk recovery in between efforts. I knew I should be covering at least 800 metres in this time so made sure I worked hard to do so. Naturally I did the first one too fast and covered around 850 metres so it was a struggle to go over 800 in the remaining two but just about managed it. Next up was 4 x 2 minutes with 90 second walk recovery. Although it was a full minute less to run it felt just as hard and I only covered around 550 metres. Though I have just worked out that was a bit faster pace-wise than the 3 minutes so not as bad as I suspected. Mark had told us we would be finishing with a “fun” 800 metre race. This is of course a massive oxymoron! The group was split so the race was run as a handicap. I was quite happy to skulk in a slower group but was promoted to a fast group as supposedly I am an 800 runner. Unfortunately I psyched myself out totally as I can’t cope with people suggesting I could be good at something so my brain rebels and I run really badly to prove to everyone I am not worthy of their confidence and am useless which is what the self-destructive part of my brain wants me to believe. Anyway I rolled home in last place. Regardless of this less than great finish I felt I ran hard for the rest of the session and was pleased. Just remembered I did a 3 mile warm up with Des that included running a mile up quite a substantial hill which didn’t kill me as much as I feared so all in all it was a successful evening!

Tuesday began as always with Core & Stretch class. Alas my inflexible comrade was not there so it was just me surrounded by folded in half fellow stretchees. No matter, I’m sure it is doing me good somehow…. Onwards to kettlebells in the evening where there were only 6 people after last week’s 20 or so. Strange how it can fluctuate so madly. We split into pairs, one doing mat work while the other swung the kettlebells. This week Matt introduced some hard new exercises. Well they weren’t really new but as well as doing double arm swings with a single kettlebell we also had to do the same movement but with a bell in each hand. On the double arm swing I was using the 16kg bell so on the single I went for two 8kgs but Matt bumped me up to the 9kgs! Who’d have thought I’d be capable of swinging 18kgs. It was OK but hard to fit two bells between one’s legs on the back swing! Alas there was no snatch this week which I know will disappoint Charlton but we were kept busy with various simultaneous single arm lifts and swings that we haven’t attempted before. I now understand the phrase “leaving everyting on the track” or in this case in the studio. By the last 10 minutes my shoulders had completely given out and finishing on jump squats shot my quads. I really had nothing left to give and could hardly lift my arms and my legs had given up totally. This was excellent insofar as it meant I had given it everything but not so good as I still had to cycle home. Luckily the vicious headwind of the morning had calmed somewhat so I did manage to get home albeit very slowly and wobblily. I then dicovered I couldn’t lift the spoon to my mouth when trying to eat my cereal, though I managed to eat three packets of Monster Munch afterwards so it can’t have been too bad!

However I was totally knackered this morning so have not done part one of Wales Wednesday. I think it is probably for the best though I am thinking of ways to do it later in the week but perhaps I should give myself a break and let myself have a bit of a rest. Adding a slow and painful 10 miler is probably not productive so I must ignore the nagging part of me that tells me I SHOULD do it and just chill out in front of the Olympics. I am going out for the usual downs run later so it’s not as if I’m not doing some form of exercise today.

Posted 08/08/2012 by Isobel Muir in Blog, Circuit Training, Kettlebells, Running

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