DIARY: Circuit Training x8

While awaiting Friday’s verdict on my medial tibial stress syndrome I have been hardening my body and spirit with circuit training and sticking my legs into ice-water (10x 1 minute in, 1 minute out). Hobbling around the house like a lunatic due to the senseless feet afterwards has also added some wonderful comedy to my daily routine.

First circuit of the week was on Monday and this was the hardest yet, I had cranked up the weight on a lot of the exercises and it told. Towards the end of the second circuit, muscle failure loomed in a few exercises but as always I found enough bearings to whip myself through the third. I am a bit of a mess to have in a gym, my deep breathing sounds like an attempt to try and asphyxiate everyone else in the room, my angry snarls put question to my sanity and you can’t go near me for the sweat flying off a drenched face. Indoor exercise really is unpleasant!

Beyond all this fun and frolics, though, I have gotten very competitive and as this is my eighth Milon Circuit completed since I started to have leg issues, it has been heartening to see my strength really improve across the board. John had put a challenge to me that a competitive runner should be able to at least leg press twice their body weight for twenty reps thrice in the circuit. Having started out at a lowly 94 kilos I have finally progressed to 104 kilos and feel ready for more after today’s session. Whilst still embarrassing for a male athlete at least I am inching closer to 136 kilos (yes, the lay-off has actually allowed me to lose a further 500g and reduce my fat percentage markedly, I don’t need much food when not running…)

With Monday’s session having been merely unpleasant, today I took a burning defiance into it and every time I felt failure coming on and my heart protesting at the oxygen demands made, I decided to do what you would do in a race – push harder. I particularly liked the burn the cross-trainer shoots into your upper quads and glutes when you increase the wattage, it is very similar to uphill running and undoubtedly transferable. The leg extension is another favourite of mine because it digs deep into the weakest of my four quadriceps muscles, the one causing my leg to collapse inwards, and with a bit of luck this will give me both more power and stability.

As Rob de Castella said: “Injuries happen when your fitness exceeds your strength,” and unfortunately my oxygen uptake is so high it will take years to build the bones, muscles and tendons to support them. Having not given it enough attention in the past this has been a golden opportunity, especially as, to steal another quote, this time from the great Seko’s coach Nakamura: “Talent is limited, effort is limitless.”

Tomorrow I am hoping for a morning spin up past Glenmacnass with some good hard effort into the hill like during the race on La Santa. I do not have the time for conventional bike training with my work schedule so all cross-training done while injured needs to be able to fit into 1.5 to 2.5 hour slots meaning easy exercise such as biking must be of higher quality to match.

A third Circuit and a core workout with Medfit will finish off the work week, and then I will hopefully receive permission to ease back into my running and prepare for the hill phase ahead.