Sunday, January 27, 2013

Barry Gets Fit - week 3

I know it a cliche if you told me back in December that during January i'd be going running three times in one week, i'd have laughed  But today i'm after going for run number three and I feel fantastic! On Wednesday I started the Couch to 5k running plan, a 9 week programme that uses "interval running" (a mix of walking and running) to turn you from coach potato to running 5km.

During week one, you have to do 30 minute three sessions (with a rest day in between). Starting off with a brisk 5 minute walk you then alternate between 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of running followed by a 5 minute warm down walk. I won't lie- it's not easy especially the first few runs but as you push on your body eases into it and by number number 7 you're flying. When you finally finish the 8 and final run, you get a great feeling of accomplishment.

To help me, I'm using the NHS Choices c25k podcasts in which a chirpy English woman named Laura tells you when to walk and run and occasionally says "well done you're doing great" along with some music with the right bpm for walking and running. There are plenty of podcasts available so look around and find the one that suits you.

Wednesday's running took place along the canal bank by UL. Friday morning saw me visit the equally impressive Phoenix Park in Dublin. On Sunday I was running through hail, rain AND shine, along Limerick's North Circular Road. Next week i'm on to Week 2 of the C25k and starting the first week of the NHS "Strength & Flex" plan, a five week exercise programme that fits perfectly into the rest days of the c25k.

So three weeks into my fitness attempt and despite making I'm feeling fantastic. I can't get over the amazing physical and mental benefits in such a short time. When I started this three weeks ago, I'd didn't think beyond improving my fitness and being able to hike again but the benefits have far surpassed that goal and improved several other areas of my life. Earlier in the week I decided that a definite end goal would be beneficial - more on that one to come.

Thanks to everyone who's supported me so far. I couldn't have done it without ye. I'll leave ye with this:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Barry Gets Fit - Week 2

Another week done and dusted. I wrote last week about how I didn't think I'd get much walking done this week due to my wisdom teeth. The surgury didn't happen due to a family bereavement  Despite the craziness of the week I managed to get out walking on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Due to the miserable weather, my pace slowed down to 10mins/km on Monday and Wednesday but by Friday I was back on 9 mins. Didn't make it to the climbing wall this week and it'll probably be two weeks before i make it there again unfortunately.

On Saturday morning I was off out on the hills of Tipperary to climb Keeper Hill with my Scouts. Great day out. Not only did I do the hike with no bother, I managed to help a young scout who was struggling to make up the mountain with I was really happy with. And when I got home, I still had enough energy to hit the town for a night out

Two weeks into my fitness attempt and i'm feeling great. I'm sleeping better, I have more energy and confidence and I'm able to enjoy a night out again with feeling wrecked after one pint. This coming week the bike comes out and i'm started the Couch to 5k plan. I've also signed up for the Castleconnel 10k walk next month. Onward and upward.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Barry Gets Fit 2013

I've never really been on for new year's resolutions. Usually because I know I can't be bothered keeping them. But 2013 is different - it has to be.

My fitness has always been a funny thing. I've never been the most athletically fit, running was never my thing. I like to walk and to hike, its one of the few physical activities I was good at. But during 2012 I became a couch potato and my fitness hit an all time low. I had no energy and (for the first time ever) I started to put on weight. Not only was I unfit but it was starting to feel the mental effects as well.  I could blame a lot of external factors such as the stress of college or job hunting but I won't. I'll admit I dropped the ball big time.

I spent new years at the incredibly amazing Kandersteg International Scout Centre in Switzerland. Being out in the Alpine fresh air, trying out all kinds of new activities with some amazing new friends, I regained my lust for life. I spent new years night sleeping in an igloo and that night I decided that in 2013, something needed to be done. To quote one of my favorite films "Get busy living or get busy dying".

So I can home with a new sense of direction in life. I was going to get fit, fitter than ever before. My fitness wasn't going to be a barrier in my life anymore. So the day after I got back (Saturday 5th Jan) I downloaded the RunKeeper app for my phone and I started walking again. RunKeeper was great in that it kept telling me how far I had walked and my pace. After two days I had settled back to an average pace of 10mins/km which i decided was a steady pace to keep for the week. If i could maintain that pace for the week i'd be happy.

One week later, I've walked ever day (with the exception of Friday), I've gone for a walk. Some days this has only been a quick 30 mins but other days I've gone for over an hour. By Thursday I had reached a surprising average pace of 9 mins/km which I was very impressed with. This morning I had a nice change of scenery by going for my walk along Galway bay at 8am.

On Thursday I spent two hours at the Nevsail Indoor Climbing wall doing a beginners lesson and from here on in, I'm going to try make this a weekly activity. Thanks to Dave for his help so far.

Next week will be a challenge as I'm going to be mostly bedridden from dental surgury on Monday so hopefully I won't loose the momentum. On Saturday i'll be going hiking up keeper hill with my scout troop. Going to try get out on the hills once a week where possible.

In the next few weeks I'm going to added cycling to the mix and I'm even contemplating giving a "Couch to 5k" running plan a go (this is going to be the hardest part I think). From February I'm even going to look at my diet to see what changes can be made (although this might give my poor mother a heart attack)

I;m going to try keep a weekly record of my progress here as well as updates on facebook and twitter (hastag: #BarryGetsFit) to help keep things on track. Let's see how this works out