Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Chest to Failure and Organ Meat Bonanza

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Day: 6.50 am - Tuesday - 28st September

Dumbbell Chest Press 1x5@30kg, 2x5@32kg, 1x5@30kg, 1x4@30kg (touch for last rep)
3 x 20 Ab Crunches (with a 1/2-second squeeze)
Upright Rows with barbell (EZ bar, wider grip) 2x10@35kg, 1x10@30kg
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 2x5@20kg, 1x5@18kg, 1x5@16kg, 1x5@14kg
Push Ups - 8, slow, high quality, last one failed

45-60 seconds between sets

Total Time: 29 minutes

Nutrition (higher carb, lower fat on workout day, based on my Leangains experiment):

20 minutes before: 10g BCAA
1 hour after: 10g BCAA
3 hours after: 10g BCAA
Lunch @ 11.20am - liver, yam & beetroot with lemon and a banana
Dinner @ 7.30pm - a hare's torso (complete with organs), fried pig's kidneys, yam & veggies

I just went for it with the weights today. I felt fresh and strong, so I ignored my plans to alternate easy with hard. I was rewarded with progress on dumbbell chest - two good sets at 32kg and two more at 30kg.

I read an article on Conditioning Research the other day that reminded me what I had already read in the BBS book - that 7 days may be too small a rest period if you are going to failure. I may need to keep this in mind. Everyone is different, of course. I will see how I get on next week; but I must not assume that 'Tuesday is chest day' is a useful marker.

Today was an interesting food day - all kinds of organ and yam for the first time. I definitely overate in the evening, but although high carb (thanks to the yam) it was also low fat. My guts were rather active overnight :-@ Yam is like very dense potato. Not un-pleasing.

I ate earlier than I should have, due to meetings, so it was only a 15-hour fast.

Today I think I will fast to stabilise my intestines, then hit a big steak in the evening.
... Read more

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Hill Intervals and Suspected Stress Fracture

Location: Lickey Hills, South Birmingham (map)
Date: 2pm, 25th September

  • 5-minute warm-up jog
  • 3 x hill intervals. 70-75 seconds each, 3-minutes rest between.
  • 5 minutes of mobility work in the sun.
Total Time: 20 minutes

First part of the hill
Second part of the hill...with a sting in the tail

(for my Leangains experiment I saw this as sort-of intense workout)
45 minutes before: 10g BCAA
2 hours after: 10g BCAA
4.5 hours after, huge dinner:

Chicken-bone broth with leftover lamb
Bakes sea bass, courgette, fennel, tomato, kale

Foot Problem

It's been two weeks since the big fell race in Wales. My right foot was pretty sore after the race - those rocky descents had given it a fair pummelling. It had slowly recovered, so that yesterday it was fine to run downstairs on.

However, when I started jogging yesterday, I could tell it was not 100%; and once I hit a couple of tree roots on the intervals, I got warning shots of pain.

'The Internet' tells me this is probably not a broken foot (no swelling, okay to walk on etc) but possibly a stress fracture. 6-8 weeks rest is recommended, if so.

I have another race scheduled for 9th October. Also big and gnarly. That gives me another 2 weeks of rest from running. Leading up to the race I will do some careful evaluation of the foot. I would not like to start a race like that unless 100%.


In spite of that I did manage to do the intervals as planned by avoiding uneven parts of the trail. I did not push it too hard, but given the likely enforced rest period (which I had already figured out as I was running) I did go into leg jelly territory for the third interval.


It was a funny day of eating. I felt like I needed a full 24-hour fast, but was very hungry by the evening so I ate pretty much everything in the fridge!
... Read more

Saturday, 25 September 2010

3 Reasons Mountain Running Won't Destroy My Legs

You may have noticed I've been doing a lot of fell running recently. Big ones. Tough ones. A few of the posts have mentioned sore legs, feet, knees and other body parts.

In Scotland last month, I briefly met an older guy who'd been a top performer in the Ben Nevis race in previous years. He was struggling up the stairs at the bed and breakfast where we stayed.

"You'll have knees like me one day," he said, paternally.

Then, in a recent forum post I came across, a runner was explaining how bad his knees had become from years of mountain running.

So I have been thinking about this a lot. I do not want 'bad' knees or legs. Part of being Paleo is being in tune with our ancestral past and therefore living in a way which is optimal for our bodies. Optimally-used bodies don't start giving up at the age of 60.

I think there are three reasons this won't happen to me.

1. Recovery.
2. Diet.
3. Style.


Many runners, especially the faster ones, seem to run a lot between races. "I managed to get a couple in" is a phrase often heard from someone seen at a race the previous weekend. As though it's an obligation.

I think we were designed for more episodic, traumatic runs. Perhaps a long hunt or sudden move across the mountains to a new camp. We would then have rested when we got the chance, rather than feeling obliged to do yet more activity.

There is a line, different for each person, where the volume of running exceeds the ability to repair. The sweet spot is where your body has just finished a full repair when you next traumatise it. I doubt whether the training regime of most runners in the top 25% is on the right side of that line.

By mainly running only races, I will remain on the right side. I am certainly listening to my body, and right now it tells me I need at least another couple of weeks without any significant leg trauma. I will duly oblige.

I am happy not to be one of the faster runners - I think that is an important place to get to. The law of dimishing returns can make striving for ever more improvement a depressing long-term strategy for the mid-pack amateur athlete.

These days, my priorities have shifted towards enjoying the mountains, avoiding being timed out, and following the correct route. I am choosing longer and longer distances, which means a lower heart rate and therefore more of a Paleo-friendly workout.

Six years ago I was finishing much farther up the field, but I was training hard, running hard and only really getting pleasure retrospectively from the experience.


Another factor may be diet. High volume cardio training is often fuelled by a high carb diet, which can mean a lot of grains. There is evidence that grains aren't good news for the joints.

Could my Paleo diet further protect me?

The phrase I used earlier might actually say:

There is a line, different for each person, eating a given diet, where the volume of running exceeds the ability to repair.


Mountain running, which is almost exclusively the type of running I do, takes place on a more random terrain. This means runners are less likely to get the kind of specific oversuse injuries road runners can expect.

Nevertheless, many fell running shoes have big heels just like normal running shoes. A heel strike on any terrain will create more force through the legs than a forefoot strike and therefore promote more injury.

If I successfully apply the pose running technique (I am still working on this) in the context of mountain running, it should also avert the threat of leg deterioration.
... Read more

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Lighter Weight, Better Form on Deadlift (Video Update)

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Day:6.50 - Thursday - 23rd September

Chin Ups (3 x 5 weighted @15kg, 1 x 4 @15kg, 1 x 4 @10kg)
One-Arm Bent Over Row (3 x 10 @24kg)
Romanian Deadlift (4 x 5 @80kg)

About 60 seconds rest between sets.

Total Time: 16 minutes

Nutrition, based on Leangains experiment (did higher carb on Tuesday, so almost zero carb today.)

20 minutes before: 10g BCAA
1 hour after: 10g BCAA
2 hours after: 10g BCAA

Lunch (12:00pm) - salmon, sardines, walnuts, extra tuna, lemon

Today was a 'hard' day for back exercises, so I went to near-failure on chin ups and one-arm dumbbell rows. I progressed by a single rep on chin-ups. This may not seem like much, but I definitely felt stronger.

After last week's video showed me how badly my form had slipped on Romanian Deadlift, I dropped the weight on deadlift and followed some of the advice from the comments.

- Started with the bar at waist height
- Kept back as flat as possible

Here is the video.

Not having to lift the bar from the ground on the first rep made a big difference. There is something about Romanian Deadlift that makes the first rep especially awkward when you start with the bar on the floor.

Even though I dropped the weight significantly, keeping my back totally flat made it still feel hard. I am happy to re-calibrate my expectations about strength and work upwards from here.
... Read more

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Chest & Shoulders, Hard Week

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Day: 6.45am - Tuesday - 21st September

Dumbbell Chest Press 2 x 10 @26kg, 7 @24kg
3 x 20 Ab Crunches (with a 1-second squeeze)
Upright Rows with barbell (EZ bar, wider grip) 3 x 10 @30kg)
Dumbbell Shoulder Press (2 x 10 @14kg, 9 @14kg)
Machine Lateral Shoulder Raises 3 x 10 @30lbs (first set started off too heavy and dropped)
Push Ups - 11, slow, high quality.

1 minute rest between sets (no training partner today)

5 minutes of mobility work.

Total Time: 32 minutes

Nutrition (higher carb, lower fat on workout day, based on my Leangains experiment):

20 minutes before: 10g BCAA
1 hour after: 10g BCAA
3 hours after: 10g BCAA

Lunch @ 11.15am - sweet potato, tuna, salmon, cucumber, lemon, banana
Dinner @ 9:30pm - fried cow's liver (grass-fed) + tom/lemon sauce, fried chopped broccoli & onion

Food composition was good today (in terms of adherence to the experiment), but I was forced to eat very late by a meeting, so timing was not. Lunch was large and higher carb. Dinner was large, but mainly protein and fibrous veggies.

Training partner let me down, so no chance to use my normal 5 x 5 weights and test progress on dumbbell chest (too heavy to get into start position.) The gym supervisor did dive in to give me that 7th rep on the 3rd set, on which I was struggling.

This was my hard week for chest and shoulders so I crammed as much into the 30 mins as I could, even resorting to the old laterals to finish toasting them delts. I also went to near failure on the press ups.

Current weight: 11-8, 11% (started on 11-6.5, 11%) - but the numbers are too small to judge. I will post a graph of the trend next time.
... Read more

Monday, 20 September 2010

O'Neil Test and Video of Better Rowing Form

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Day: Sunday - 19th September - 10.45 am

O'Neill Test (4 minutes on rowing machine) - 1086 metres


20 minutes before: 10g BCAA

Lunch at 12.30 pm - fresh crab, avocado, beetroot, onion, cucumber, tomato, olive oil, lemon

Dinner at 6.40 pm - crab/onion/carrot soup + wild duck, tuna, roast butternut squash, marrow & leek, steamed kale

I was not sure whether this counted as an intense workout or not (according to my Leangains experiment.) I took BCAA beforehand anyway, but since this was a Sunday and I had the luxury of training late morning, the next food was lunch.

The O'Neil was painful. I have been doing only weights and distance running in the last 4-6 weeks, which means the god of pain has been absent from my life. Took 30 mins for the burning throat to subside.

Rowing was the obvious choice for a weekend workout because my feet are still ragged from two consecutive monster mountain races (this, then this) but I wanted to do something for my fitness, especially give the recent absence of the above deity.

A while back I posted a video of me doing a rowing Tabata, which drew some constructive criticism from Chris on my technique. He 'd posted this video on his blog before, showing how effortless rowing can look.

So I took a video of this session to see whether I could improve the form. I think it's better. Since a 4-minute row is less intense than a 20-second Tabata interval, it is perhaps a better time to work on form anyway.

There is still room for improvement though, and I am looking forward to any comments Chris or others have. I suspect I am compressing my body and pausing for too long at the front (i.e. bending my legs too much and leaning too far forward) especially towards the end as I got tired.

1086 metres is slightly more than my previous best, and I could have worked a little harder.

... Read more

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Video of Deads & Post Workout Fat Bonanza

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Day:6.55 - Thursday - 16th September

Chin Ups (2 x 5 weighted @15kg, 1 x 7 @bodyweight)
2 x 10 Hanging Leg Raise
One-Arm Bent Over Row (2 x 10 @24kg)
Romanian Deadlift (5 x 5 @ 115 kg)

45 - 60 seconds rest between sets.

Total Time: 30 minutes

Nutrition (low carb today, having decided to only have one high carb workout day per week for my Leangains experiment):

20 minutes before: 10g BCAA
1 hour after: 10g BCAA
2 hours after: 10g BCAA

Lunch (12:00pm) - Good fats bonanza! - 6 organic eggs + parsley & olive oil, tin of salmon, avocado, walnuts, coconut cream

As planned, I took it easy on chins by doing only 3 sets and making the 3rd bodyweight only. On dumbbell rows and hanging leg raises, I stuck to 2 sets and avoided coming close to failure.

But I nailed Romanian Deads, which I omitted last week to ensure I was in good shape for the evil mountain race at the weekend. I did 5 x 5 at 115kg, a distinct improvement from three weeks ago, since the intensity was roughly the same. More evidence that easy (or excluded) sessions can lead to gains (for me.)

I videoed one of the sets, because I was interested to see whether my form is okay. I think it's pretty clear it could be better. I am thinking a flatter back is needed and shoulders further back. Comments welcome.

... Read more

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Restraint on Chest and Shoulders

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Day: 6.55am - Tuesday - 14th September

3 x 5 Dumbbell Chest Press @30kg
3 x 10 Upright Rows with barbell (EZ bar, wider grip) 1@25kg, 2@30kg)
3 x 20 Ab Crunches (with a 2-second squeeze)
3 x 5 Dumbbell Shoulder Press (1@18kg, 2@20kg)
10 Push Ups

Performed in the traditional way - my partner, then me. Not much rest other than waiting our turn.

5 minutes of mobility work.

Total Time: 30 minutes

Nutrition (higher carb, lower fat on workout day, based on my Leangains experiment):

20 minutes before: 10g BCAA
1 hour after: 10g BCAA
3 hours after: 10g BCAA

Lunch (12:15pm) - 2 tins of sardines, a sweet potato, beetroot, tomato, spinach, lemon juice (+ a banana to finish)

Dinner (7:30) - carrot/onion/lamb soup + cod, herring, sweet potato, broccoli, carrot, parsley, lemon.

Today I exercised restraint - fewer sets, manageable weights. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I would like to see whether I make better progress when I alternate easy and hard weeks for a given exercise.

Last week I nailed chest, shoulders and chins, but did not do deads. So this week it's easy chest, shoulders and chins and I will crucify the deads.

Last week I also mentioned that I wanted to make the 30kg dumbbells my 'bitches' before moving to 32's. Today, for the 3 sets at least, that's how they felt.

Also being tested - a wider grip on the upright row, since this employs less bicep. I was suspicious that over-zealous close-grip upright row on Tuesdays might be sabotaging chins on Thursdays.

After dinner, I had a mini-gorge on nuts, coconut cream and pumpkin seeds. Not the end of the world. I am fasting all day tomorrow anyway.
... Read more

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Peris Horseshoe Slain by Leg of Lamb

Last week I ran the Ben Nevis race, saying in my write-up: I can honestly say it was one of the toughest mountain races up I have ever done...

If I am not careful, I may get a reputation for exaggeration: one week later I am compelled to make the same declaration once again.

Fortunately, there's little chance I will be saying it yet again anytime soon, because the combined effect of Nevis and the Peris have left me feeling like I've been hung upside down by a Bond villain and my feet pounded by a meat tenderiser. I will not be tackling something like that again for a little while.

Yesterday's race, the Peris Horseshoe, is 8500 feet of ascent over nearly 18 miles. Here are a couple of select quotes from a forum thread:

"Tough? Very tough. Serious terrain too, few races go through such serious terrain. "

"...this is in the top handful of hard fell races in the UK."

Here is what happened.

The Leg of Lamb

The day before the race I roasted a 2 and a half pound leg of organic lamb. This was to fuel the race. I also roasted some organic gourd-like vegetables. Breakfast was the vegetables plus about a pound of meat, and post-race I had another pound. Half a pound was my mid-race treat.

The Cut-Off Threat

Last year, Lightning and I did the Half Peris (my write-up is here) - and I remember thinking, at the finish for us, but the mid-point for the 'fullers' - "Jeez, I am glad I am not doing the Full Peris."

After the Borrowdale failure in August, Lightning and I had been quietly brooding about our fell running credentials, so I think we were both determined to get round the Full Peris without being timed out.

There is a small turnout for this race. As we were briefed by the organiser, up ahead we could see the zigzag path we'd be taking up the side of the quarry (yellow arrow on second photo.)

Last year I did the half in around 2:45 (Lightning was 2:40), so our prediction was for 6 hours this year on the full - but with the halfway cut-off being 2:45, it was by no means secure.

As it turned out, we nailed the first half in 2:36. This was a 9-minute gain for me, but one that could be explained by 1) not getting lost this time, and 2) not wearing smooth-soled Vibram Five Fingers. Then again.... last year, I was knackered and the race ended there. This year I felt fresh and ready for the second half. So my maths tells me this is and improvement.

Razor Sharp Granite

Don't get me wrong, the first half is tough. There were rock-fields to cross consisting of sometimes-loose, razor-sharp granite, utterly impervious to the supposed grip of our studded shoes, and no shortage of tough climbs to be had; but we'd done it before, and somehow the knowledge of what is coming makes a difference.

At the halfway point, Pen y Pass, we consumed our respective treats. My cold lamb versus Lightning's Snickers and caffeineated energy drink. As we set off, he emptied the dregs at the side of the path. Even he was alarmed by it's appearance - a kind of nuclear yellow. I half expected a Simpsons-esque scene whereby the surrounding widlife began to die before our eyes.

Cruel Second Half

The second half was cruel. Lighting had repeatedly warned me about this, but it still took me by surprise. These photos show the first ascent, with an arrow on the first one indicating where we would go

At times, we were virtually climbing. Snowdon's acscent felt like the North Face of the Eiger, a relentless, barely walkable steepness that anihilated our already wasted quads. And by the time we descended from her, my legs could scarely tolerate the twisting and turning of another steep, rocky descent. My IT bands were tightening up and it felt like someone had a fish hook embedded in my right knee.

So the final ascent of an apparently benign peak actually felt disproportionately tough, as did the equally grassy descent to the final set of marshals. The look on Lightning's face in the second photo says it all.

By now my feet and legs were unravelling by the second, but Lightning looked stronger, and he pulled away, calling back "we can crack the 6-hours if we crank it up." To this I replied something along the lines of "I no longer have a crank." The magnification in the first photo shows how we could just see the final checkpoint in the distance as we started descending.

The photos at the final checkpoint are a fair reflection of our respective conditions (thanks to Alistair for taking them.)

The Beast was Slain

In the end, he clocked up 5:56 and I clocked up 5:58. The beast was slain. The ghost of Borrowdale, exorcised.

Our navigation had been largely spot on in spite of poor visibility at times, thanks to Lightning having come down a couple of times to scope it out. I was able to correct a potential error in the first half so I felt I had contributed at least something to our navigation.

We chinked our award mugs, glad it was over, then headed out the lake for some leg-cooling action.

In the evening, we were joined my Mrs L and Mrs M to celebrate. A few glasses of wine and body crazed with desire for food led me astray from the Paleo path, as the photos show. This I can live with. I will fast today and allow my body to recover from these dual assaults with some dignity.

Now You're Just Showing Off

One amusing story to add. As we were descending to the mid point on the grassy slopes, I was following Lightning, who was following another runner. The other runner suddenly lost his feet and slid down a bank on his behind.

"Now you're just showing off," shouted Lightning.

The words had scarcely escaped his mouth when he executed an exact copy of the fall himself, to join his fellow runner at the bottom of the slope on his backside. How I laughed.
... Read more

Friday, 10 September 2010

Stretching and Mobility

I used to stretch a lot. Being the obsessive type, I developed a routine that hit all the muscles and took around 15 minutes to complete. I would do this before and after each run, and even on non-running days or after weights sessions.

Stretching Injuries

Something stuck me time and again: most of the injuries I developed appeared to originate from stretching. Not all of them, of course: as any former running shoe user, I can tell stories of runner's knee, Achilles tendonitis and shin splints. But most of them were indeed from stetching.

Over-zealousness was probably a factor. I was not content to just stretch. I had to become really flexible. Overstretching is not good.

I have now stopped stretching more or less entirely.

Why I Stopped Stretching

Other than my tendency to injure myself doing it, I stopped because I read a variety of articles that question whether it is effective. This one suggests it leads to reduced strength. This one suggests it has no impact on reducing running injury.

That said, some studies suggest it may reduce stiffness when done after exercise, so admittedly the evidence is mixed; but for me, mixed evidence did not justify the time I was spending on it - and since stopping has apparently done me no harm, why bother?

Cavemen did not 'Stretch'

Hunters of yesteryear certainly didn't stretch in a way that resembles what runners typically do, so provided we exercise it a way that broadly aligns with what they did, it should not be necessary.

Mark Sisson recommends two Primal 'stretches' - the hang and the squat (at 0:50 in the sprint video). I often do these for a minute when I feel like it, usually after a workout.


Instead of stretching routines, I've started doing mobility work. This is more akin to dynamic/ballistic stretching, which the above study on strength suggests might not have the same adverse effect on performance. Mobility work has the added benefit of ensuring joints are able to go through a full range of movement.

The routine in this video is one I often use.

This is a good website that focuses on mobility.

More Information

Chris from Conditioning Research has done a lot of reading around this subject, so to find out more, check out his posts on stretching and mobility.
... Read more

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Chins, Dumbbell Rows & Way too Much Fat

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Day:6.50 - Thursday - 9th September

Chin Ups (2 x 5 weighted @15kg, 1 x 4 @15kg, 1 x 4 @10kg, 1 x 5 @bodyweight)
One-Arm Bent Over Row (1 x 10 @26kg, 2 x 10 @24kg)

45 - 60 seconds rest between sets.

5-minute mobility workout, based on this video, which I originally found on Conditioning Research.

Total Time: 25 minutes

Nutrition (low carb today, having decided to only have one high carb workout day per week for my Leangains experiment):

20 minutes before: 10g BCAA
1 hour after: 10g BCAA

Lunch (12:10pm) -
6 organic eggs, 2 tins of sardines, coconut cream

Dinner (6:30) -
free-range pork chops, butternut squash, shredded onion & cabbage, all fried in coconut oil + 10g of BCAA I forgot to drink earlier

Lack of Chin Up Progress: After making progress on Tuesday with chest, I was a little disappointed not to see the same gains on chin ups today. However, I think the following perspectives are important:
  1. In reality, I managed one whole rep more than 2 weeks ago (4 instead of 3 on the 4th set)
  2. This is an exercise where form makes a big difference, and I have a habit of becoming more strict, the more I want to make gains. As though I am afraid of cheating. I was being pretty strict today.
  3. I am wondering whether the close-grip upright rows I have typically been doing 2 days before the chin ups is sabotaging my biceps. Next week I may opt for a wider grip, or alternatively, a less bicep-intensive exercise.
Eschewing Deadlift: You have no idea how much effort it took this morning to avoid doing any deadlift. I had decided to do just a single set of 5 at 110kg; but in the end it seemed like a lot of effort setting up the bar, and I realised it was the right thing to do considering Saturday's 6-hour fell race.

Easy-Hard Approach. The idea of doing easy-hard-easy-hard etc based on this week's chest success may not work at the session level. In other words, I may need to alternate effort level on individual exercises and body parts. For example, I may take deadlift close to failure next week, having skipped it this week, but take it easy on chins and chest, since I worked them hard this week.

Leg Recovery: I drove to work for the 4th consecutive day today and used the lift/elevator all day. My legs still hurt after Saturday, but they feel stronger. I have 48 hours before the 18m 8500' Peris Horseshoe. I might be okay.

Mobility and Stretching: The mobility exercises are great. I pretty much gave up on stretching when I realised it was the main source of my injuries and there was little evidence for its benefits. I need to create a page about stretching and mobility. Chris at Conditioning Research has done a lot of excellent posts on the subject, so I will no doubt be drawing on some of his resources.

Food: I ate WAY too many calories tonight. Those pork chops had huge rinds and the veg was soaked with coconut oil. I will probably fast tomorrow again, depending on how I feel, but I am conscious that big, high fat evening meals are not what Martin at Leangains recommends.
... Read more

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Progess on Chest in Spite of Murderous Weekend Race

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Day: 6.55am - Tuesday - 7th September

5 x 5 Dumbbell Chest Press @30kg
3 x 10 Upright Rows with barbell (EZ bar) 2@35kg, 1@30kg)
3 x 20 Ab Crunches (with a 2-second squeeze)
5 x 5 Overhead Press (normal reps, not super-slow like the video) - 75 lbs
10 Push Ups

Performed in the traditional way - my partner, then me. Not much rest other than waiting our turn.

Total Time: 30 minutes

Nutrition (higher carb, lower fat on workout day, based on my Leangains experiment):

20 minutes before: 10g BCAA
1 hour after: 10g BCAA
3 hours after: 10g BCAA

Lunch (12:00pm) - 2 tins of sardines, a sweet potato, beetroot, lemon juice (+ a banana to finish)

Dinner (6:30) - hare leg and torso, fried butternut squash, fried cauli, cabbage & onion

Considering the beating I gave my body on Saturday, I was suprised not to be weak today. In fact I felt strong, and completed the 5 sets of chest press at 30kg for the first time since I started doing them again.

I will stay with that weight for at least another week, though, and concentrate on form. I would prefer to make those dumbbells my 'bitches' than be made into a bitch by the 32's because I am not ready.

Previously I had found that long races sabotaged progress on weights. Two things were different this time. First, the leangains eating and BCAA. Second, my deliberately easy session last week, before the race. Perhaps alternating between easy and hard sessions is the way my body likes to recover, and the running is largely irrelevant to upper body work, provided I consume adequate nutrition.

At the race on Saturday my lower back was a little painful for a time, so this Thursday, ahead of Saturday's Peris Horseshoe race I will not go anywhere near deadlift, instead concentrating on chin ups and dumbbell rows. I will treat this week as a hard week for weights, and make next week and easy one. See if this alternation business works.

This Saturday's race is 18 miles and over 8000 feet. Makes Ben Nevis look like a school outing.
... Read more