Monday, July 15, 2013


The week didn't get off to a great start as I had a bit of a dodgy tummy on Monday. It can't have been too bad, though, because by the time it was time to do my run, I'd forgotten all about it and took the rather unwise decision to start immediately after eating dinner. One of the many advantages of having a treadmill at home is that you can fart away to your heart's content; this, however, was not the right moment for it. After 20 minutes, all the jumbling around of my food in my stomach was too much for me and I ran (literally) to the toilet. I didn't feel up to carrying on afterwards so I left it at that.

I was fine the next day - it was probably just the hot weather rather than a virus or anything I had eaten. As we were planning to go and see "Despicable Me 2", I did my 40 minute run at 15 kph at work, followed by hill sprints (up to 3 this time) and plyometrics (240 contacts).

I managed to get my intervals up to 8 lots of 5 minutes at 17.5 kph, which is the top speed of my home treadmill (or, at least, it was - see below). I got so sweaty that I had to change my shoes at one point - the slight extra effort required when I lose traction on the belt was just too much. As I've said many a time, I sweat a lot. So much, in fact, that most of the little buttons on my treadmill no longer work. Almost all the "shortcut" buttons that allow you to start the belt up directly at a particular speed, for example, no longer work. On Thursday evening, I set everything up for my run and found that now the little "arrow" buttons to increase or decrease speed had also stopped working. This means that my treadmill can now only go at 4 kph or not at all. It was a fairly good excuse for cancelling my run (it was still too hot outside). There is a silver lining to every cloud, I thought, and went to the shop to see how much a new, faster and hopefully more robust treadmill would cost. A slightly faster one would cost twice as much and a more robust one, like the ones you find in gyms, would cost around €6,000!!!

Instead, I did the responsible thing and rang up the manufacturers of my treadmill (a Proform 780 ZLT), who were extremely helpful. For a very reasonable (I thought) €160 they are sending me a brand new console which I should receive next week. If this one lasts another 3 years then I expect that something else will give out first (and then I can justify buying a faster treadmill!). Even so, I think I will try to find some way to sweatproof it a little better.

This weekend it was the turn of my parents to get a visit down in Benalmádena on the Costa del Sol. In hindsight I would have been better off running in the relative cool of the evenings but instead hauled myself up in the mornings in a half-hearted effort to beat the sun out of bed. On Saturday morning I ran down to the beach, cooled off by lying fully clothed in the sea for a while and then started the hard climb back to my parent's house up in the village. I much prefer to run up and then down rather than down and then up so the next day I went for a "run" in the mountains.

One of the more "friendly" bits
The paths were very rocky and the stones weren't all that stable so running was not an option for most of the way. To be honest, being so steep it was a very different exercise to the one I was accustomed to. I found that my calf muscles started to burn in spite of them being well trained from running on the balls of my feet. I realized that it was a very different use of my muscles from the elastic demands put on them by road running. I enjoyed the climb with its rewarding views and I liked to think that these paths were well known by my Dad who has hiked them many a time.

Going down was in some ways much easier (less tiring) but in other ways much more difficult (more technical). I slipped a number of times but never losing my balance entirely. The Vibram Spyridons held up admirably and my feet didn't feel any worse for all the rock bashing they had endured. Still, this was just a baby hill (375 metres climb in 2 kilometres) - I can't imagine how people complete these ultra trail runs... I suppose everything you can train for.

Monday: 20' @ 4:00 (toilet break!)
Tuesday: 40' @ 4:00, hill sprints, plyometrics
Wednesday: 8 x 5' @ 3:25
Thursday: (treadmill -> deadmill)
Friday: 40' @ 4:00, hill sprints, plyometrics
Saturday: (Benalmádena) 60' @ 4:36 (not including dip in the sea) w/ 250 metres ascent
Sunday: (Benalmádena) 60' hiking / running along rocky mountain path w/ 375 metres ascent in 2 km


  1. 2k at 20% is a baby hill? What does a proper hill look like? :)

    1. haha, i suppose you are right. must be the influence of having the tour de france on the telly these days