|Well if it isn't the Wii. Screw you Wii.|
On Sunday the 12th of June 2012 I will be tackling the Dragon Ride and aiming for Gold standard. There is however, something of a problem. I'm in the worst shape of my cycling life! As well as a distinct lack of form, I'm carrying almost 2 stone more weight than I was during my peak period, 728 days ago. In order to lose 2 stone in 2 months I will need to tackle the problems that lead to me gaining weight in the first place, and work on building form during two of the harshest months of the year.
Why 2 months? Apart from enjoying a challenge, I believe it can be done safely in this time. Considering I cycle more than 50 miles every week on my commute, I have literally excelled in the field of glutony in order to gain weight. Since the end of this summer, beer has become a regular fixture during the evening. And with the release of Battlefield 3 and Skyrim, I've started playing PC games more than I have in a long time. Where I would normally be gearing up for a quick 20 mile spin, or something even more substantial, I currently spend my free days levelling up my mage or unlocking weapons and equipment on my soldier. That is about to change.
I must do something quickly or lose most of my fitness. I won't be able to do it all through cycling, I haven't got enough time to ride the necessary miles. So I've decided to take up running. By mixing these two forms of exercise with sensible eating, much less drinking, giving up smoking and some stomach toning sit-ups, I intend to become the ultimate gaming athlete.
This Blog will chart my progress on a weekly basis. I will weigh-in and record how the campaign is faring. The Dragon Ride is always challenging but in 2012 it will be harder than ever. There will be more climbs, which will require a lighter build. I managed to power my way through the 2011 Dragon and get the Silver standard, but right now I have neither the power or the slender build. If I rode the Dragon this week I would probably fail to finish.
For those of you planning to get fit for a Sportive next year, it may be useful to monitor my progress. It may be surprising how much weight you can lose if you put your mind to it, and how fit you can become in the process. We are fast approaching the fattest time of the year for most, and I'm no exception to this festive folly. Not one Christmas has gone by in the past where I haven't eaten far more than I should.
I have no experience of running, beyond an ill-advised 6 miles jog to work and back a couple of months ago (which resulted in chronic leg pain for over a week). That was a bad idea that hasn't helped fan the flame of enthusiasm.
I decided to try and create some enthusiasm and wrote to a colleague at work who runs a lot. I asked Steve what trainers I should purchase. Expecting a runner to have very little to say about a humble pair of trainers, I was taken aback when I opened his e-mail. This is his response:
Most people will go out and buy a good pair of running shoes and then wonder why their feet/shins/hips/back ache after a 'long' run. The most important thing to bear in mind before shelling out the best part of a hundred quid is a proper gait analysis.
I understand Warwick Sports http://www.warwicksportsshop.co.uk/ and Coventry Runner http://www.coventryrunner.co.uk/ both do gait analysis along with other 'proper' sports shops (I don't include Soccer Sports or JJB in that list!!!)
Basically you jog or run slowly on a treadmill in the shop for 30 seconds or so and a slow motion camera captures your foot fall on the belt and shows clearly whether you are an 'over pronator' 'under pronator' or neutral runner. It's nothing bad if you under or over pronate, this just describes rolling action of the foot and you strike the floor, I over pronate quite severely and have had lots of different shoes plus orthotics to correct my pronation.
You must also buy running shoes bigger than your normal shoe size as your feet expand when hot and being pounded for distances in excess of a few miles and you will lose toenails if you don't go bigger....I lost three toenails in the London Marathon even with shoes larger than my feet!!!!
In a nutshell I couldn't point you to a particular make but the following brands are good.... Adidas, Nike, Mizuno, Brooks, Asics and Saucony. By the way once you know whether you are an over pronator, under pronator or neutral runner this will not change as you age so you can find your next shoes online and probably save a few quid too.
You could get a gait analysis at a shop and go away and use the information to buy online, however a lot of shops will price match and I don't mind giving them my business if they have taken so much trouble to get me the right shoe...plus you can try them on too!!!
Incidentally I run in Asics Kayano 17's which cost me £80 but some places wanted £120 so prepare to haggle a bit if you think you're being charged too much!!!
Anyway you will notice a massive difference running in the 'right' shoes and your legs/feet won't hurt half as much as running in badly chosen running shoes.
It would appear you can spend lots of money on running as well! Hooray! I intend to go and get myself analysed for the correct trainers this week. Meanwhile, I'm eating sensibly and not drinking ... until saturday, which is the works Xmas bash. In order to escape from a blanket alcohol ban, I've decided not to drink in the house. Regarding the smoking I will be getting myself on Champix within a week as it's been recommended to me by a couple of friends.
|No cushion. No Photoshop. Just months of beer and snacks.|
I only have friday to actually cycle more than my commute distance this week, as the weekends are taken up with kid stuff. This friday I will try and push over the 50 mile mark. Nothing too strenuous, just a steady spin to remind my legs what cycling is all about.
|+1st 8lb weight gain in 728 days. Ouch. OVERWEIGHT. Really ... screw you wii|
MY CURRENT "SPECS"
Presently I weigh in at a touch over 16 stone, according the Wii balance board, factoring in light clothing. It seems to be fairly accurate having compared it to other scales in various households. I plan on taking my weight down to exactly 14 stone or below before the 1st of February 2012.
Right now I feel a physical wreck. I'm permanently tired from too much gaming. My belly is out of control, and my trousers are beginning to feel like they belong to Peter Pan. This is rather worrying as my work trousers are actually rather baggy when I'm in shape.
If all goes to plan, next week :-
1. I will have started giving up smoking.
2. I will have got (completely) pissed only once.
3. I will have cycled 50+ miles this friday.
4. I will have done 50 sit-ups every day this week.
5. I will have purchased some annoyingly expensive trainers.
6. I will have run a few miles on friday and sunday.
That's a lot to expect of me!
Watch this space.....