What a bendy freak

This might be a short blog. Not a great deal to talk about, but last week I made the decision to step up to the mark, and start blogging on a more frequent basis again – so as promised I am back again.

Last weeks post was a lot about my lack of motivation or self-belief, and a brief mention was made of some inspirational characters. A funny old week seemed to turn that on its head as I became the motivator, an innocuous text about a small challenge I have decided to undertake got my twitter feed into a frenzy and I think the space of less than an hour 5 or so people had decided to give it a go too! What I don’t know, is how many have decided to keep up with the initial excitement.

The challenge of which I speak is the ‘one hundred push ups‘ challenge. The ultimate aim of which is to be able to perform 100 consecutive push ups at the end of a six week training period. I have dabbled with this plan in the past, making it into the third week on one occasion I think – but last weeks revelation of a poor fitness base, and even worse core strength situation has inspired me to push onwards (and upwards) to completing the challenge – or the very least completing the 6 week programme and aiming for 100!!

The challenge in itself is very difficult for me – I have never been able to do push ups, even as a boy there was something inherently impossible about them for me and I think it comes down to my hypermobility. Hypermobility is basically the doctors way of saying ‘double-jointed’ and whilst I have some funky party tricks as a result – it also makes me more susceptible to injury as I can push my joints way past their natural boundaries. So whilst running it is incredibly easy to lock a knee or put my hip out of place – being aware of the issue complicates things a little too as I think I consciously try to protect my joints from this issue and subsequently probably have a somewhat stuttering and inefficient running style.

bendy thumb a result of hypermobility
Hypermobility does lead to some fun party tricks

The worst thing about the condition (for me at least) is that all the work of moving my arms and neck are done by completely the wrong groups of muscles. To move, lift, rotate my arms, rather than engage shoulder muscles, my back does the work and even when I am not moving? well the muscles can’t switch off and are constantly tense. I have atrocious posture as a result, and stretches that I do not do even close to enough. But fundamentally it means that push ups are bloody hard work, as not only do I have to concentrate on managing the push ups – but have to put real mental effort into making sure my form is perfect and that I am engaging the right muscles.

So as well as building core strength, the better posture and shoulder muscles will help because when running and the arms are swinging forward and backwards to help the momentum, it is not muscle doing it for me, but ligaments and tendons not designed for such things and at mile 18 of VLM the pain nearly crippled me.

Anyway, I posted my new training plan during the week (in the ‘training plans’ section above). The fundamentals of it are: 3 runs a week, 3 push up sessions, and maybe some extra core/strength work. From my VLM training I know that I focused too much on trying to attain the magical 4th run – so for now I am not going to bother adding that distraction and subsequent disappointment to my training. I will have 1 standard easy session at the beginning of the week, one interval session(alternating with a hills session each fortnight) and one progressively longer run. My current race target is about 10km, so this long run is building to a comfortable 10miles over the next couple of months. The key is building a base level of fitness, and getting in the habit of adding some speed-work too.

Speaking of training, had a nice 3 miler in the middle of last week. All felt comfortable and I was happy with the world (if not with the blooming hills that someone stuck in the way), and this form continued for a lovely seafront 6 miler on Sunday. Legs felt good, lungs and heart felt OK, so it’s all good from here-on-in this week!! Which reminds me, must get my push ups done for this evening!

Catch ya later guys.

p.s. Looking more and more likely that we are going to go for a family trip out to the Three Molehills, so can anyone come up with a good team name other than ‘The Mercers’ *yawn*

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