Out to play after tea

So happy that the clocks have changed and we've had such a beautiful week. It's been like summer and I've been out on my bike or running every night. Went for a fantastic hill run in the Kilpatricks last night. I think the surroundings and 'real hills' gives me a lot of motivation. I'm normally struggling along behind on the Westies runs but last night (for about the first time ever) I wasn't the last person. Finally, it looks like the training is paying off. So I obviously deserved the curry after :)

More hills tonight, this time in Kelvingrove (where there was even an ice cream van it's so warm) and I exchanged my camera for one that I think actually works again so I've rescued my weekend photos.

Had a fit of the giggles at the core class today. We were all supposed to sprawl over the gym-balls on our stomachs and then bounce up and down until the ball starts to move. Looked VERY bizarre and I'm not quite sure which muscles it was supposed to be working, other than the giggling ones!

Got the pool to myself now all the students are away for Easter (yay!).

I'm reading Going Long, a guide to training for ironman races. Not all of it is completely relevant to what I'm training for (e.g. it says not to do too many hill training sessions, possibly a bad idea given the number of hills in the Hebrides) but it's changing the way I think about the intensity of different sessions, how you recover, plan a training year and stay injury-free. This past year has been a real journey of discovery. I swear I never knew that my hip flexors existed before last year but it turns out they're pretty important and I need to stretch them properly and make sure they're strong. I've also found out that the reason why I never thought I needed to stretch my quads was because my hip-flexors were so tight that they were preventing me from doing a proper (standing-up) quad stretch. Turns out they're pretty tight too.
The book has answered loads of questions that I've been mulling over, things like whether the Monday body pump class is really worth it, given that it takes so long to recover from (the answer is yes, but depends on the time of year and I should be moving into a strength-maintenance phase, rather than building). I definitely think that body pump and all those squats and lunges has helped to prevent injury and I felt like my legs were really strong doing all the cycling in Lanzarote.
I still think I've got loads to learn but I feel a lot better informed than when I did the Heb in 2006. I can remember the training weekend in the Peak District, where I didn't want to be the 'weak' one of the team. We did a 5hr bike ride (where I probably pushed up every hill and then had to push down again - don't take a novice rider on something called 'The Beast'). I only had a bottle of water with me and some jelly babies / a cereal bar. Unsurprisingly after that I felt absolutely awful. However, I decided it would be a good idea to go straight out on a 1.5hr hill run. I ended up shivering in the tent that night, tucked under a down jacket and down sleeping bag. Yet I STILL went out the next day. What was I thinking?


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