Thursday, 9 June 2011

9th June 2011

        Good Morning.

       Or maybe good afternoon, just looked at the time and it's 5 past 12, so the mornings gone if you were planning on a morning training session, don't give up, just postpone it until this afternoon...
       I did get out for a ten mile walk yesterday after the long session around Coniston on Tuesday, although not my morning cardio. I felt a little tender, especially around the quads, stomach and back so some analgesic ice gel around the affected parts and an afternoon ten mile to loosen up and get everything working. Start slow and build up as the muscles warm up, avoiding too many hills. The aching muscles was good, the motto "no pain no gain" is a good one, microscopic muscle tears and lactic build up all repair and improve fitness and make muscles more efficient. The four mile trail run in the middle of the Coniston circuit most probably did the most damage (damage? probably not the right word taken into context...) and checking through the readouts, the average walking speed was under 10m 30s a mile, way quicker than necessary, and it was more undulating than the Parish course.
       I've recently been put onto the fitness training of Erwan Le Carre, who advocates MovNat training, and, as he's been touted as the worlds fittest man, maybe someone to aspire to.
       MovNat is the idea that we as animals are part of nature, so use nature to keep fit. He's never been to a gym, machines at the gym target specific muscles while natural exercise, whilst being free, also work all the muscles, including the heart. It just involves trail running, hill climbing, balance training, swimming, tree climbing, and other exercises such as barefoot running and crawling at speed on all fours. All natural exercises which improve muscles you use in the natural world. One of his quotes states that a super fit body builder who works out daily at a gym and can bench press 300lb will find it difficult to run a mile. While I don't crawl along the ground or climb trees, (I'm 47, it's cute when toddlers do it, not grown men) running up mountains and along rough trails build up fitness better than steady running on a treadmill, is cheaper, and works out many more muscles and tendons. (Not that you should give up the treadmill, all fitness work is good, it's just that some are better than others.) Some of the fittest people in the world are the indigenous tribes of Africa and South America who have little contact with the Western world. They have high VO2 levels, super efficient running and swimming speeds and styles, all developed from tracking and hunting prey. Nature at her efficient best.

        I'm sat at work at the moment, waiting to see if any work's going to come in. I got out very early for my cardio, up the hill, past the cattle grid and another 50 yards farther than before, so improving steadily. I managed to get back before the fish stall in the outdoor market had sold his manx kippers so had a couple of those for lunch. A walk into work, steady 11 minute miles, and resting now before walking back in a couple of hours. With a new drum of protein shake. Holland and Barrett are doing one of their half price sales at the moment, and with the training going the way it is, a couple of protein shakes a day for recovery. You can do all the training in the world, but if you don't do the rest and recovery it will all lead to nothing.

        A couple of points to make here. VO2 max levels. You've probably seen this written, some of you will know what it is. ( I didn't properly, until recently after a coaching session.) It is the volume of oxygen your muscles can use while working at maximum capacity. Measured in millilitres of oxygen you use in one minute per kilo of body weight. Cardio work (yes, that again.) is one of the ways of improving this. Working at maximum sends signals from your brain to muscles to take more oxygen until it's at it's maximum. As you exercise more at maximum, your muscles learn to use more oxygen, more red blood cells are used to do this, and energy levels increase as a result. Cardio work improves these levels dramatically at first, and even though initial results are impressive, eventually it becomes more difficult to improve. Don't stop though, these slight improvements later on are just as essential as the massive benefits at the beginning of training.
        Essentally, during the parish, the benefits from this work show as more efficient oxygen burning by the muscles with the increase in red blood cells, less pain from muscles as they don't have to work as hard, and increased stamina which brings increased endurance. It means you can go further, faster, more efficiently. So, go on and run up that hill. You know it's good for you.

       Finally, (sorry, I'm sat here with a cuppa staring out of the window with nowt to do) one other thing to bring into Parish training. Cadence Breathing.
       I'll explain how it was explained to me. A car engine works in a timing sequence or rhythm which makes it more efficient. If everything works as it should, fuel in, air in, ignition and exhaust (and the others, I'm not a mechanic so no e-mails pointing out what I missed out...) then the engine is at it's most productive. One thing out of synch and the engine sounds like a tractor and eventually gives up. So, breathing, and cadence breathing in particular. Athletes are trained to breath in rhythm to the steps they take, and start a breathing sequence on a particular point of the steps. For example, start breathing in the second your right foot hits the floor. Keep breathing in while it goes through the step, the left foot hits the floor, and the right comes forward again. As it hit's the floor, start exhaling, and exhale while the right foot and left foot go through the same sequence again. As soon as the right foot hits the floor inhale again. It creates a steady breathing rhythm which delivers a steady amount of oxygen in a rhythm that the body gets used to and can work with efficiently. This type of breathing increases stamina and endurance as oxygen is delivered in a more usable rate. Breathe in, right left, breathe out right left. Don't try and stick to this though. If you want to do left foot down start sequence, or left hand up start etc, then go ahead. Try a few different methods and get one that's comfortable for you.
         Military cadence, used in drill training, is 3-2, thats breathing in for a count of three, then out for a count of two. No, you won't expand like a balloon, but it increases oxygen levels coming in, exhale is more forceful, and for a first timer is probably better as increase in oxygen levels is more helpful.

       Right, the sun's out, I've drunk enough tea, and it doesn't look like I'm needed here, so I'm off home.

      Remember, breathe in, 1, 2, breathe out, 1, 2.



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