Enjoying Exercise Again
We first heard from Rob Battigan on Office Worker Health back in August regarding the exercise challenges he was facing at that time. In this weeks blog Rob gives us an update on his progress since he went public with his exercise goals!
A couple of months ago I titled my first ever blog on Office Worker Health, Hopeful of Better, and I am happy to report that things have gotten better.
To recap in short, I had allowed life to get in the way of regular exercise and faced with a challenging new job and a couple of very busy toddlers I was finding it difficult to fit in a structured exercise routine and often adopted the mantra of ‘I’ll go tomorrow’. Tomorrow usually arrived and the mantra would be repeated.
The challenge I had set myself at the time of writing that post was to complete a 5 km race and push up the distance to 10 km whilst challenging myself to improve completion times.
So what did I achieve?
My first 5 km event was in September on a lovely evening in Dublin’s Docklands. Training had been very sparse and for that I was disappointed in myself. In the two weeks between calling out publicly what my intentions were (complete a few training sessions) and the race itself, I had managed to clock up just 3.34 km in training in a time of bang on 15 minutes. Not great preparation for a 5 kilometre race in which I would be representing my new company and running alongside over twenty of my new colleagues.
Completing the race itself wasn't too difficult despite feeling a very heavy left calf for the last kilometre and I managed a time of 22 minutes 53 seconds which, being honest, I was very happy with.
Since that first challenge in early September I have tried to hit the roads at least once a week and have found that a running mate has been the best motivator. We have ensured that by setting an evening aside to get some kilometres done has given us the opportunity to set further challenges and strive for greater levels of fitness. On the evenings where I didn't really feel like getting up off the couch, I knew that I would be letting my running mate down if I didn't make it out and from talking to him about it he was having the same thoughts. That’s not to say we haven’t lapsed here and there! But in general, we have managed to hit our weekly target. Mid October we completed another 5 kilometre race, on this occasion I conceded almost three minutes on my previous time and that got to me. I knew I could do better. I had done better with little or no training and I knew I should do better. The post mortem result was that we had started off too quickly and not regulated our own pace but allowed it to be dictated by the sprinting masses at the beginning.
We entered our names for a 10 km race and agreed that stepping up the distance meant the challenge to get out once a week had to be met and the distances we were managing needed to be extended. For me, times were important but the other main goal was to increase my lung capacity. I knew that would help me run for longer and if I could go longer I could increase the pace and reduce my times. A win-win as I saw it.
Leading up to the race, I managed to complete 10 kilometres as a training run only once and that was three days before hand. We had hit our weekly challenge and that felt good. But the day after that run I didn't feel so good. That left calf strain had re-appeared and I was concerned for my goal of breaking the 60 minute barrier for the 10 km race which was two days away. Rest and Voltorol gel had become the last minute plan.
Sense of Achievement
Last Wednesday we completed the ‘Run In The Dark 10km’ race in Dublin and had agreed before the race that we would start together and finish together – again, an effort at motivating ourselves to push each other on. The route was flat enough and the pace was good but almost a kilometre in my calf started to concern me. Eric asked me a couple of times how I was feeling and I kept saying I felt good. Mentally I was saying I was all good so that physically I felt all good. It worked. We both finished inside the target of 60 minutes, achieving a time of 51 minutes 53 seconds. Delighted with that time, the next challenge has naturally been set and that is to break the 50 minute mark for a 10km run.
The routine has been formalised to one night a week and we both independently have gotten out a second time every other week also as competitive streaks creep in. Work and family life are very busy, the Christmas party season is approaching but I now have a structured routine that I intend sticking to and hopefully improving upon to get that sub 50 minute milestone. Lung capacity still needs work but I know that sticking to a regular pattern will get me there. I feel there has been an improvement to my overall wellbeing and a definite improvement in my general fitness. Will the next 10 kilometre race lead to a half marathon target? Possibly, but right now I’m happy to be meeting a weekly goal and feeling the better for it.
In short, I am enjoying exercise again!