Marathon training days – part 1

Marathon – that’s the goal. That’s what I plan to do in September. That’s all what my current life is about.

It’s quite an interesting experience to prepare for a marathon run, even after finishing four half-marathons this year and the overall feel to finally get used to long distances, the distance beyond 21km is something completely different. In several test runs I started running 26km and even 32km to find out how it comforts me and it was a tough lessen I had to learn.

Even with 5km over half-marathon distance I struggled to reach my training goal, which was only to make it over the whole distance. I ran the 26km with my girl-friend, accompanying me and providing me with hydration. It was on of the first real warm days of the year and I had some problems with it. In the meantime I finally got used to it and would also say, that I feel comfortable at higher temperatures. But back on this very day kilometers 22 to 26 felt just tough. Not only because of the warmth outside, also because my legs felt heavy.

A couple of weeks later I had a 32km run with a colleague of mine. My training plan was set for 28km, but on this day we ran 32km. That was a huge mental problem for me. I was very happy to reach the 28km mark and I could have stopped instantly but my colleague just said “Why don’t we continue till we reach the bridge?” or “Why don’t we run back to car?”

This may sound easy, but for me, as a runner who just felt a little comfortable with half-marathon distance and covering a mileage over a period of just one year, it was a huge hurdle to master. I struggled but at the end of the run I had the 32km mark popping up on my GPS watch and was just glad.

It’s still a long way to run, to finally reach the form I need to reach and conquer the marathon mark, but it’s possible. From now on I can say, it’s just 10km more. Before these runs I had things like “And now I have to run half-marathon two times?” in my mind. Adding the 10K to my current longest distances made is a much better motivation than a simple ‘now I have to do it again’ thing.

No resolutions – just solid plans

It’s these days at the end of the year where most of the people come up with a resume of the current, fading year and a lot of them come up with new year’s resolutions. I’m not a big fan of the new year’s resolutions because most of them get abandoned on the January 1st.

To make a long story short, in 2013 I switched companies and I was able to work in my hometown again. The commuting was a thing of the past and I once again had the time to focus back on sports, because I was a fat whale and wanted to get back into shape. Well, to be honest, I never was in a fit shape, but this should change during the next couple of month.

I started to go back to the gym again and once per week I had a swimming session. Gym was kind of hard during the first weeks, because the massive overweight was something that did not make things a lot easier. I made one mistake, that I returned to the treadmill too quick and I suffered multiple minor injuries and experienced a lot of pain in my knees and hips. But with a few kilograms less, these issues slowly disappeared.

One of the main things I tried to focus on, was to do sports because I wanted to not to simply lose weight. I wanted a large variety to chose from, for instance cycling, swimming, running, strength training and so on.

Running was on of these disciplines where two of my co-workers had a great influence on me. I agreed to join the company relay run in my hometown and took part in the running sessions my co-workers were offering. I have to add, that I never really ran in an outside environment, except a couple of runs during a vacation the year before, and that this was a totally new experience.

It started with a pretty basic distance of 2,5 km and then switched to longer runs. After two or three sessions a 8K was set on schedule and I was very nervous about it. For my co-workers it was some sort of a regenerative run, for me it was like going for marathon. In the week after we did a 10K. I was able to run both of these distances with minor walking interruptions.

I continued my sports programs over the next following weeks and I slowly started to improve myself. I rode my bike faster. I could run longer distances. I could swim much faster. And I finally got stronger and muscles started to grow again.

The summer this year was devastating. The heat was murderous but this is no excuse for anything. I pushed through my training plan and gained some decent results. By the end of August I ran the 7 km distance and an additional 5 km with faster pace three times per week and the issues with my feet and knees started to disappear, because I finally reached a weight that wasn’t that much of an issue.

Mid September was the time of the relay run and I made it to starting positions. I have to mention, that, in the beginning,I was only a runner in case a substitution is needed. I started in the mixed team, got the slowest time but I’ve finished my first public run. I was so excited about it, that I instantly registered for the 13K run at the next marathon event in my hometown.

In the meantime I’ve found a buddy to join me and a friend of mine for swimming. Our plan was and still is to teach ourselves crawling. Till this very day we were only swimming breast stroke and thought it was time for something different. I’m now able to swim crawling but it still consumes a lot of energy and my technique is far from optimal, but I’m still learning and improving.

For the 13K a friend of mine joined me, but she decided to go for half marathon distance. Until this time I usually ran around 10 to 12 km average per running session and I thought 21 km would be too much. The event was yet another very exciting one. It was very impressive to start in a crowd of 4,000 runners. I finished in an acceptable time and was looking for new challenges.

Half marathon and full marathon distance came up on the plan.

During the next weeks a increased the distance per week up to an average of 45 km. And I also started running half marathon distance. The first two runs were very hard and I had to do some walking breaks during the runs, but I finished my first 21Ks.

I did another public run by the beginning of December. I’ve decided to go for the 20K and on the morning were everyone was registering for the, I wondered why no one else, or only a handful of runners, took this distance. Well, I should know very soon. The run was more a cross run than a usual run on roads and gravel paths. Anyhow, I’ve managed to finish this run as well and it was the first 20K where no walking breaks were taken. I was so proud.

So, what’s up next? Well, five running events are already on my schedule. Three half marathons – one in Berlin, another one in the beautiful city of Prague and one in my hometown. But most importantly, I want to conquer the 42.195 kilometers, so I registered myself for the Berlin Marathon. This and the half marathon in Prague are the two events I’m the most excited about. Prague, because I simply want to run through this beautiful (I love Prague) and Berlin, because it’s one of the biggest Marathon events in the world and I want to be part of it.

As you can see, no giant new year’s resolutions, just plans for 2014. I think, the marathon training will be very intense – but the final experience will be worth all the effort and pain I’ll go through. I’m certain about it.

Run, Forest, run!

Last post was back in August, right before I went off for my vacation. A lot of things happened in the between time and I’ll try to give you a short report about the recent events.

The vacation itself was for one week only and I tried to used it to focus a lot on sports and improving certain disciplines – running, for instance. Back in the days of August I was still suffering from some minor injuries in my right foot, mainly fibre related, that were causing some trouble to correctly balance my right foot while running. As a result of this, I had some serious problem to normally walk after a running session, because I wasn’t able put my foot on the ground without any pain. Pain also occurs while resting the foot.

Whatever the case, I continued to run no matter what kind of injury I was suffering from and it became better and better. I ran around 45 km on my vacation and it seemed to have some sort of curing effect. I was very happy about these circumstances and I was now able to take the whole running thing to a new level.

I still have to admit, I’ve chosen running, because it was one of these kind of sports that I liked least and it would take a lot of willpower to get through this. And another aspect, I didn’t want to leave my running team for the relay run high and dry.

A couple of training sessions were left until the big day – the relay run. I finished them smoothly and without any interruptions or any other disturbances. The day of the relay run itself was very exciting, because I’ve never been to such an event as an athlete. Actually, I’ve never been to any sports event.

I couldn’t ever image that there will be so many runners in my hometown appearing on such an event. I was so excited that very day, that I even forgot where the meeting point for my team was, but we finally found each other and we were ready to run. I was the third of five runners in my mixed team. The whole starting area was very crowded and I did not realize how this whole this would work in the first place, but after a couple of minutes and after the first round was finished I’ve finally found out, how this relay run does work.

I’ve finished my lap in 11:59 min for a 2.5 km distance, which was more than two minutes faster than the time I was running at the very beginning of my training. I was happy with this result and it’s something I can build on. I’m not a Usain Bolt but on the other hand even no fatty with a short breath after 100 meters of running.

After this run I’ve tasted blood for these kind of events and I instantly registered for another in mid October, which I will tell you about in my next post.

Achilles’ curse

If you think things couldn’t get any worst things will start to get real bad. As mentioned in previous posts, I thought was suffering a tiny little injury that is located somewhere around my heel spur. Luckily it’s not an issue with my heel spur, it’s an issue with my Achilles’ tendon.

Details on this latest issue will I get to know by the beginning of next week. Hopefully it’s not such a big thing and I hope even more, that this will turn out good without having a surgery or something.

Secondly, my back – or my shoulder to be exact – thought to come back to my mind by reminding me of its existence with a terrible pain during a swim last weekend. A blocked muscle caused a limitation of my heads movement abilities and a lot of terrible, quite disturbing sufferings.

It wasn’t actually that kind of a big deal, but nonetheless I find these tiny issues and injuries pretty annoying. Especially with a “tight” training plan. I’m forcing myself to stick with this plan and every interruption is sooo not welcomed, you cannot imagine.

Anyhow, I still continue with sports and I still have the goal to do the relay run. I switched to sport types that are less demanding and it’s going quite well in that manner. I hope that the issues that I currently have with my back and my foot are gone in the near future, that I can  move back to my regular training plan.

Doing a running training is much more efficient when you run, if you know what I mean.

Relay run preparation

This week so far has been a very lazy week. I had the very first training session for the relay run in July and I went swimming on Wednesday.

I had this wicked plan for today’s early morning to go for a jog in the park nearby, but firstly my bed was holding me really, really tight and secondly I made a mistake the day before. I ate a cheeseburger with french fries. My stomach was aching and sounded for some periods like a chemistry lab.

I switched my jogging dates to the weekend and will hopefully be in a better condition without having to fear the revenge of fast food debauchery.

My suffering with my heel spur is still going on. After the relay training I once again felt a pain under my foot and I had problems to correctly step on the ground. I’m thinking about getting some insoles for my shoes to absorb some of the pressure that pushes on my heel.

On the other hand, I’m very happy to announce that I had no serious problem to run the whole distance that is given. And I was also able to keep up the pace with the other runners who were running with me.

I’m also keeping an eye on the scale and like I expected, the weight is dropping slowly but it drops. It’s something around 3 kilograms since I started with a more intense training. I still haven’t changed my nutrition that much, because the past showed me that the final results will turn into something totally different and unexpected. I’ll change my nutrition in two or three weeks and even then not too drastically.

Break even

So I’ve made it into the relay team of my company. Well, I’m reserve but nevertheless I’m part of a team and I get some good training with experienced runners over the next couple of weeks. Nothing that would hurt.

Speaking of hurt – I kind of injured my heel spur at one gym session the other and instead of just breaking everything up, I decided to give it a rest for a few days and then continue with sports that doesn’t stress my feet that much. At least one time a week I go swimming, so my feet will be fine. And in the gym I moved to rowing and indoor cycling.

Rowing for instance almost killed me after the first time doing so for such a long time. My legs felt like filled up with plumb and I had sore muscles in my neck and my upper arms. I’ve done multiple sessions so far and I’m getting used to it. I always underestimated rowing but compared to jogging, which powers me off quite good, is one sports discipline that’s able to show me my borders.

And speaking of borders – I seriously have to do some extra training for my back. During the rowing sessions I felt that my back isn’t as muscular as it was a few month back. I was never in the condition that I looked like a body builder when it comes to this, but I always managed to train the stabilizing centre of my body quite good – like belly and back.

This is very important to gain good training results, because you don’t develop in a good pace when you miss to do the additional workouts your main disciplines base on. Always keep an eye on your centre!

To summarize what this post was all about, even with injuries, I’m still focusing on my training. And hopefully I’ll get back to jogging and running very, very soon. Everything looks good so far.

Time for a relay

After a slightly of depressive undertoned post a couple of days ago, a more positive post is going to follow.

About one or two weeks I signed up for the runners team in my company. With this assignment and the fact that we will appear at the companies relay in the middle of July this year comes great responsibility. The form of responsibility is mainly focused on my person. I have to schedule a tight training plan to get in shape to run the 2.5 kilometers without having a breakdown or need half of an eternity to finish my round. Secondly is it more than important to get in shape so that my team can count on me. I don’t want to let them down and I also want to make my appearance at the relay with a quiet good finishing time.

running empty

In other words, it’s very important for me to be part of that team and I also want to celebrate a successful finish. For me it’s not only about the appearance, it’s also about good results at the end of the day. In almost two month I’ve to train really hard – absolutely hard. But I also have to keep an eye on my current condition which, in numbers spoken, is a bodyweight of 112 kg and a BMI of 31. That’s a terrible condition, but if I can make it without exaggerating I’m sure it’s a goal that can be reached. The condition to be in shape to run and the finish line as well.

I’ve told our team leader that I’m far from good at the moment and that I’ve just started again with sports and all these things. You may remember from several posts from the past, I was injured and in those periods where I wasn’t injured I was sick. Or just stupid, fucking lazy. She accepted even though I actually am not the kind of runner to push the team on the top of the leader board. This is a good sign for me. I feel safe and sound in this team because I know that I’m with people who are aware that I am their weakest link and they are willing to accept. I’m truly thankful for that.

Apart from this, I’m organizing my daily life pretty straight at the moment. This is one of the leftovers of my year and a half of commuting. I had to schedule and plan otherwise I couldn’t get anything done. All my gym, swimming and running sessions are scheduled two month in advance. The only thing that is left for me to do is to come up with a nutrition plan that pushes me as well. I’ve to lose weight and I’ve to get fast and arduous.

With this first milestone to reach, the team around me and the power of my own will, I’m dead certain that I can make it. It won’t be easy but it’s not impossible.

SE 3.0 – Interim Report – #8

My sports activities do change these days. I’m trying to get a little further away from pure gym sessions and focus more on ‘outside oriented’ activities. By saying that I do also consider swimming in a natatorium as ‘outside’. Nevertheless, the intention should be clear. Avoiding boredom and get more versatility.

To be honest, as much as I like to go to the gym and take it to the next limit, I also feel like I should to something that gives more of a ‘I know why I’m doing this’ feel. My mountain bike trips are one of these activities, because a lot of things come together in this – cardio training, leg training, arm training and strengthen of the my back.

Another thing that I have to mention, despite my many sessions on the treadmill I don’t actually like running. Even though it does blast my brain free and helps me get rid of certain things of my daily life that bother me. My plan is to do more and more jogs outside, especially trail runs. It’s basically the same reason as it is with mountain biking. I hate running/cycling straight ahead. I need some obstacles and several things that I have to ‘master’.

There are a lot of parks in my town and also a lot of nature areas that are mainly untouched inviting to sport them. So I’m gonna use them. Last weekend I had the most unpleasant weather on one of my bike trips. Stormy, soppy and cold. But I like it that way. It gives that kind of feeling that makes me want to say: “Come get some!”

That’s this particular point I’m actually missing in gym. You can set certain milestone that you want to reach, but at the end of the day it lacks the bite. It’s always nice to reach a new mark, but on the other hand does it not give the same feel like sports outside. I guess, it got something to do with the circumstances outside and the connections you make between them. Like, ‘hey, it was on this bad, rainy day, where I ran my first 20 km without a single walking break’

Well, I guess, you got my point. Another reason for this whole ‘let’s get away from gym’ thing is, that I now want to know, what do I actually gain from my training sessions. As a short reminder, this whole training is not mainly about losing weight, it’s more about getting into a better shape. The weight loss is a greatly appreciated and welcomed side effect. For this very reason I’m also glad that I finally found someone who is willing to do the swim training with me. It’s perfect for motivation and a great control factor as well.

I’m certain that my technique on some swim strokes is far from perfect and needs a lot of practice. Especially things like the crawl stroke, the dolphin stroke and for instance the quick turn as well will take a huge amount of time of training. Swimming this week is that one thing I’m excited about the most.

And once again and last but not least, for the those of you who like to play with numbers, my current weight is 104,1 kg, which means that I haven’t lost a lot of weight for weeks now. But like I mentioned before in this post, it’s about the shape and not the weight. Well, and the whole “sportability”

SE 3.0 – Interim Report – #5

Another week has past and the project is still up and running. Just like me.

I actually had some serious digestion problems. This led me to a slow down of my training program. I mainly avoided the treadmill or in other words, I had to do several breaks to calm down. I can’t run with little aches and pains and I also don’t want to take sports to a point where it’s a sort of a suffering. I did a lot of spinning, used the elliptical and took a few rides on my mountain bike.

Last has also been a week of seduction. I was invited to a wedding and weddings are very well known for lots and lots of delicious, calorie rich food. I was aware of myself and the training program that I’m currently in and wasn’t eating like I would normally do under “usual circumstances”. To be honest, I’m that kind of person that eats like a sodding pig as soon as I can get fine and tasty things to eat.

My discipline has paid off well and the scale did not bump out and presented me a freaking high value. In fact, I’m still making progress and my weight is still going down. Dropping below the 100 kg mark will be difficult, but it’s possible.

Sports in general has become a routine over the last couple of weeks. It’s still nothing disturbing or something that bothers me terribly. I feel fine with this whole situation and I can’t even wait to actually start going to gym or grab my bike to simply power myself a little off. Like I already mentioned in one of my previous, it’s finally fun and no longer a strong, dogmatic project. Sports has become a part of my life and I really look forward and also work hard on it to keep it that way.

If you’re that kind of person that is interested in some facts and statistics about my whole sports activities, you can follow me on runtastic.com ( http://goo.gl/xY577 ).

Wanted! Companion

Once again, it was 4:00am, the alarm clock was ringing and I kept there lying. There’s no other way than going to gym right after work this week. Actually, I don’t feel that much like losing time of the day and I’m not that tired. The big disadvantage of going to gym in the afternoons is very simple, the building is packed. I’m used to switch freely between different machines and no one’s there occupying. This makes my training in the morning more individualized and I simply don’t have to care about others. Whatsoever, going to gym, even if it’s packed, is way better than just staying at home and doing nothing. The schedule for this week says, training on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon and the fourth day comes up randomly this week.

I’ve recently (2 days ago) finished the single player campaign of “Portal 2” and switched to “DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue” till I’ve found a mate for the coop campaign. If you’re also looking for someone to play “Portal 2” coop mode with you, feel free to add me on Steam (n3G.!nV4d3r). I’m also looking for someone who wants to play “Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light” with me. Actually, there are so many games that need a companion, so hook up and join.