Monday, 25 February 2008

Week 3 Summary (18/02/2008 - 25/02/2008)

Weekly Totals:
Exercise Time: 4:11
Running: 2x, 30.20km
Football: 1x, 20 mins
Treadmill Elevation: none

Calorie Averages (daily):
Expended: 2895
Consumed: 2300 (Fat 30%, Carbs 52%, Protein 18%)

Weight: 97.2kg
Body Fat(%): 26.5

RestHR: 46 (sleeping)
MaxHR: 181 (estimated)

Loving it slow!

If you had told me a month ago that I would have recaptured my passion for running then I wouldn't have believed you. I was finding running mentally and physically difficult. The fact that my weight had shot up over Christmas didn't help. The biggest problem was that we were training at a much too high pace - something my body and mind found all too stressful. When you aren't fit you worry about the effort involved - this makes you tense and makes the training ever harder. This is something I usually encounter when I mountain bike with my brothers (and brother-in-law), who are all considerably lighter than me...I get stressed (and tense) before I even begin the bike ride. It was the same running with Jo at the start of the year as she is a faster runner than me whereas I like to go slow but far :)

Somewhere along the line Jo and I slowed down our pace drastically. It made a huge difference to our enjoyment factor. It can still be difficult mentally, because it takes so long to complete a run at the slower pace, but physically you relax and begin to enjoy it. My tip for anyone wanting to try running is that no pace is too slow, even if you think you can walk at the pace you are jogging at it doesn't matter.

Since I injured my ankle on Tuesday I was craving going out for a run. You know your training is going right if you miss it when you don't do it whereas if you are relieved when you get injured then you probably needed a break anyway. I'm glad to report that I was able to take part in and complete our Sunday run of 21 kilometres. We ran to and around Greenwich park again, doing three loops of the hill (not quite the Rockies, but it's a start). My ankle did hurt a little when we started the run, but the pain faded by about 5k. In fact I think my ankle hurts more when I walk on it, rather than running on it! The injury was actually a big confidence booster - to know you can still run when you have a niggling injury feels good to know.

So in summary another good week, and happy to report it's getting warmer. We even ran without jackets on Sunday....yippee. I love the heat :)

Thanks for reading, please feel free to post a comment.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

First Little Hic-Up

I play 5-a-side football every Tuesday lunchtime....I knew I couldn't continue this activity for too long as there was always a risk of injury. Although, having said that, I've been played almost every week for the past 19 years and only picked up about 5 injuries. But I know it's sod's law that the injuries always occur at the most inopportune time (like a few days before skiing), so I knew I was pushing my luck.

Anyway - I as luck would have it, I got injured on Tuesday :(
It was a shocking foul and the player should have got sent off, but the referee at Powerleague bottled it...and just told him off (ooohhh)....grrrr

I was pretty worried about the injury on Tuesday; I seriously thought I had broken the foot as the trunk of the foot was causing me some serious pain (as well as the sprained ankle). The foot pretty much throbbed all of Tuesday night, but I was lucky I was able to work from home on Wednesday. This allowed me to rest it, elevate it and ice it regularly. The trunk of the foot no longer hurts but the foot is pretty badly sprained.

So, although I'm injured I think I'm quite lucky the injury wasn't serious and has happened very early in the training (and it's made me realise I cannot continue playing contact sports if I want to take the TransRockies Run seriously).

I'm a quick healer - I wouldn't be surprised if I am able to run on Sunday, and if not then I'll go to the gym and maybe do some swimming. Although if anyone has seen me swim then they would probably worry about me injuring myself with my wayward swim strokes (think monkey having high voltage going through it's body while trying to stay afloat....and that's me on a good day!).

I guess the next big question is when should I start a moratoriam on mountain biking?!

Monday, 18 February 2008

Week 2 Summary (11/02/08 - 17/02/08)

Weekly Totals:
Exercise Time: 7:29:16
Running: 4x, 59.38km
Football: 1x, 20 mins
Treadmill Elevation: 1908ft

Calorie Averages (daily):
Expended: 3818
Consumed: 2510 (Fat 32%, Carbs 46%, Protein 20%)

Weight: 98.4kg
Body Fat(%): 27

RestHR: 56 (seated)
MaxHR: 181 (estimated)

Hot and cold

It's that time of the year in London whereby the weather one day is freezing and the next day it's lovely and mild. It's a bit like my attitude to training at the moment, some days it is great and on others (usually when it's freezing) I really don't look forward to it.

Wednesday's run was brilliant. We ran first think in the morning, to Chelsea bridge (and then Jo and I parted company as we headed to our respective work places). It was dark and cold when we left the house, but we still found it enjoyable. On our return from Chelsea bridge the sun came up and we were rewarded with a brilliant sunrise over the river Thames. It was glorious.

Thursday on the other hand was hard work. I felt very tired before the run and found it difficult to motivate myself. It was freezing outside, so I was glad I had planned to do the training run on a treadmill. I wanted to see how it felt to up the incline, so I reduced the target distance to 10k (instead of the planned 12k) but set the incline to 6% on the treadmill. You can blame John DiMeo for that (training blog link on the right) - as he did inclines of 10% plus when he trained for the TransRockies Run - so I figured we need to work up to that. A training plan that's cast in stone is as much use as a chocolate tea-pot, so expect more tinkering of the training plan in the coming weeks. Anyway, the training run at 6% incline was bloody hard - I had to take several walk breaks but I resisted the temptation to reduce the incline. I felt great afterwards - even though it took me quite a while to stop sweating. It's always a great feeling after the Thursday run because you know you have two rest days to follow :)

I'm trying to improve my diet in order to accelerate my weight loss, but it was difficult this week. Jo's parents were down Thursday to Saturday, hence we went out for a meal for (Jo's father) Dave's birthday on Thursday. I didn't have desert so that's a step in the right direction. Friday we went to see Mama Mia in the West End - it was superb (thoroughly recommend it), but I had a slight lapse as Jo and I polished off a tub of Minstrels chocolates (oh well, we deserved a treat!). We had lunch at The Horniman pub in Hays Galleria - I don't recommend the food - it was pretty poor. Later on Saturday Liverpool went and lost to Barnsley in the FA Cup. Bloody hell :(

Sunday's run was planned to be a 20k, so we decided we may as well do a half-marathon, i.e. 21k. We also decided to run to Greenwich Park so that we could do a little hill running. Again it was freezing on Sunday (thankfully not as cold as Saturday which I in my opinion was the coldest day of the winter so far), so we decided to start the run a little later (past midday) which gave us time to have breakfast and relax a little before the run. Really enjoyed the run although it felt a bit strange running east rather than our usual westbound route. It was freezing in the shade but gloriously warm in the sunshine - I love running in the sun :)
The return leg from Greenwich was difficult but that's was because mentally you feel you've got a long way to go before you get home (whereas if we came from Chelsea bridge then it doesn't feel so bad, as we tend to aim for one bridge at a time). In the end we did almost 23km (it was difficult to gauge distance while we were running in Greenwich). so we felt pretty good; it almost helped me forget about Liverpool's loss to Barnsley...still can't believe it :(

I had lost 2kg during Sundays run, hence in future I must force myself to take on more fluid as this 2kg translates to 2 litres lost in sweat. Incidentally we run with Camelbaks hence do run with plenty of water easily accessible - maybe I need to force myself to have several sips every minute or something. Also we've now got some SaltSticks; we'll see how we get on with these as a mode of salt (and mineral) replacement.

So in summary - training is going well, we're a little tired but we're getting into a routine. Thanks for reading - I hope some of this inspires you to do something equally stupid with your life ;)

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Week 1 Summary (04/02/08 - 10/02/08)

Weekly Totals:
Exercise Time: 5:15
Running: 3x, 43.13km
Football: 1x, 20 mins

Calorie Averages (daily):
Expended: 3657
Consumed: 2302 (Fat 32%, Carbs 46%, Protein 19%)

Weight: 99kg
Body Fat(%): 25

RestHR: 62
MaxHR: 181 (estimated)

Monday, 11 February 2008

It's for charity, mate!!


Like the title of this posting suggests we are trying to raise some money for charity (as well as suffering for fun!). I am not much of a people person myself (they tend to bring out the worst in me), so I'm raising money for WSPA (World Society for Protection of Animals) as they fight causes that I'm passionate about (stopping bear farming/baiting/dancing and whale hunting). Jo on the other hand is a much more caring soul, and having known several cancer patients she knows what a great role Macmillan Cancer Support do in helping those affected by cancer, hence she's raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. Our fundraising pages can be found at and

Moving on, the first official week of training is over. I say "official" because Jo and I had actually done a couple of weeks of training before the official start of the training plan. Those two weeks for me had been hell as I did not enjoy them at all...they were too hard, leaving me totally knackered. After analysing our heart rates we concluded that we were training too hard, hence we have slowed ourselves down considerably during the past week (i.e. stuck to the heart rate percentages dictated by the training plan). In the early stage of training the speed really doesn't matter, in fact the slower the better, as it's about getting miles and time under your belt/feet. In future postings I'll talk more about the three distinct phases of the training plan (in case you're interested).

As a result of this new found discipline I can report that we are enjoying the training. Sunday evenings run was a good example; we were tired from four hours of travelling, and then further drained from watching the Chelsea vs. Liverpool match (90 minutes of screaming at the TV must be good training, right!?). Anyway, I was dreading the run....and even offered Jo an opt-out ("we can run in the morning instead, blah blah blah"). Jo wasn't having any of it which was a good thing because as soon as I stepped out the door I enjoyed the run. For once (this year) there were no gusts of wind to slow us down in our tracks and the weather was milder than usual. Although we weren't going too fast (as dictated by the heart rate limits in the training plan) it was still a good workout which we found very easy. We even had stupid grins on our faces during the run.

Incidentally we have a number of running aids to help us train. We both use an iPod with a Nike+ attachment hence allowing us to record our speed and distance, although I actually find the music (and Jo's singing!!) breaks my focus! We also use Polar heart rate monitors, both of which are capable of recording speed and distance too. Mine also records cadence (number of steps per minute), but we'll get into that much later in the training. If you pay any notice to our training plan you will see that Sunday's run (10th Feb 2008) shows different distances for Jo and I, even though we ran together. This is because of errors in our Nike+ calibration (I cannot rely on my Polar Footpod for distance etc as it appears to be playing up). At some point we will try to calibrate our hardware, but we'd need to get to a running track to do it properly as treadmills cannot be relied on either!

If you are really interested/nosy then you may wish to see our runs on the Nike+ website (the iPod uploads them to the web - good eh?). Mine can be found at:,runs,754258116, whereas Jo's can be found at:,runs,888475870.
We're not sponsored by Apple or Nike, but if they read this then they're welcome to send us some merchandise for the free publicity ;)

Thanks for reading and happy running.
Sat (& Jo)

Week 2 - A Routine Routine?

Week 1 ended on a high. We spent a fabulous weekend in Cardiff which included a lovely trek on Saturday afternoon. The weather was glorious and the scenery spectacular. So after building up a well-deserved appetite it was only natural to follow this with champagne and a surprise family dinner to celebrate (Sat's sister) Am's 50th birthday earlier in the week.

After dinner it was all back to Am's place for present opening and birthday cake. We had previously agreed to not have dessert, but our sister-in-law (Parm) surpassed herself; the white chocolate cake was too good to resist :( We won't mention the spilt glass of red wine on the rug at the end of the night, the cursing that followed and the copious amounts of salt left to soak up the stains overnight...

Sunday morning we left Cardiff to head back to London knowing we still had a 15km run to do. But of course, we had to watch the Chelsea-Liverpool game first. As it ended 0-0 there's not much to say about the match so I won't (if Sat has anthing to say I'm sure he'll add his comments on here). We couldn't delay the inevitable any longer so we synchronised iPods and set off for a round trip from Tower Hill to Vauxhall Bridge and back again. I know this'll sound weird but we really did enjoy doing 15km on a Sunday evening in freezing cold February. Can't say why really but maybe it's just easier to run later in the day than first thing in a morning. So the end to a successful first full week of training.

For those of you who have decided to scrutinise our weekly progress schedule, I'll tell you now that I will probably be short of the required 7.5km every Monday since it's a slow recovery run following the long session on Sundays and my run into work is just about 6.5km - I figured the extra 1km wouldn't be too much of an issue?!? Anyway, it's week 2 now so here's hoping the weekly schedule of 15km on Weds and 12km on Thurs are now just routine.

Hasta luego mi amigos!

Friday, 8 February 2008

End of week 1...not quite!

Having run 34km already this week we still have a 15km run to do on Sunday. Someone at work has just asked me what I'm doing this weekend, I explained all the social stuff like going to Cardiff tomorrow to see sis-in-law Am to celebrate her 50th birthday, and then surprised myself by saying that we've ONLY got a 15km run to do on Sunday (I had thought it was 20km so 15 came as a nice surprise!) I don't expect I'll be saying that after 7 months of upto 100km per week training.

The great thing about all this training is that Sat told me (so it must be true!) that we should eat whenever we're hungry. Brill! Although there is a lot of healthy stuff being consumed. I've never eaten so much fruit in all my life, so if you see a banana-like figure trotting along the Thames, do say hello as it's probably me! :-)



Thursday, 7 February 2008

Moment of madness

It was a moment of madness (last August - 2007) that led me to tell Jo about the TransRockies Run. I had been browsing the TransRockies (mountain biking) website when I saw a link to the running version of this event. I figured Jo doesn't do biking but she sure loves running - so I sent her a link. Ever since then she's been keen for us to enter this event (in 2008).

The TransRockies Run is a (approx) 120 mile race over the Rockies, over 6 days.
Last week Jo entered us into the event - and got a confirmation (yikes!).

Now, let's put this into perspective. Jo and I started running in late 2005. We both did the London marathon in 2006. Jo decided distance wasn't "her thing", so I did the Helsinki marathon in 2007 (it destroyed me), while she concentrated on 10k races. So what makes us think we can run 120 miles in 6 days, over mountains?

Simple really - we are team "Can Do Sandhu". We are confident that if we apply ourselves to the correct training then there's no reason why we cannot physically and mentally overcome a challenge of this magnitude. (Ask me again at the end of August when we have to run several marathons in a row....and did I mention the mountains?).

Regarding the training - well, we've adopted a training plan from the TransAlps website and tailored it to our particular needs:

We think the biggest problem will be the little know hills called the Rockies (did I mention these?), especially since we live in London (UK). London has no hills, unless you count the bridges over the river (or Greenwich Park). So not sure how we're going to get the hill training in. Also there will be the issue of altitude but I don't think we can do anything about that - we'll just have to make sure we're fit :(

Going forward the aim in to do weekly postings (time permitting) highlighting how the training in going. We'll also try to post some of the numbers behind the training (i.e. resting heart rates and weight).
So not sure who will find this blog useful - really the blog is our personal diary (so we don't make the mistake of entering the same event again next year!). Hopefully other people will find it useful too.

Goodbye for now,
Sat & Jo