It's 2017: Get outside! Build Muscle! Have fun!

I don't think I have any regular readers on the blog, but if I do... sorry for the lack of content in the past nine months! It has been such a busy period and I have faced a lot of personal hurdles this past eight months, some more successfully than others. That said, I have learned so much about myself, both mentally and physically and I wouldn't change a thing.

Firstly, on the sporting front, I had set myself a challenge of completing the Glasgow half-marathon in under 2 hours. In 2015 I finished that race with a time of just under 2 hours and 7 minutes, so I didn't think it was too big a task with another year of training under my feet. Also, I had decided to fundraise for Epilepsy Research UK [ERUK], in memory of a childhood friend, Christopher John Wilson, who sadly passed away unexpectedly last summer.

Unfortunately, I was unable to beat my time and ultimately finished 1 minute slower than the previous year, despite giving everything in the race. In hindsight, I did not train anywhere near hard enough, especially as I was one stone heavier than 2015's race. But, the fundraising was a huge success and I raised £690 for ERUK in Chris's memory. This is something I am immensely proud of and I know it meant a lot to the Wilson family.

Also around this time I had started training with Paisley Spartans, who are a new 'Flag Football' team, now competing in the BAFA Flag Championship. This was a great experience learning a new sport and getting to know some new people in my area. In the end I decided that Flag wasn't for me and I gradually dropped out during a period where I was constantly getting hamstring strains through the increased sprint load and a bad attitude to stretching. It's been great to see the Spartans getting to grips with the competition in the BAFA and I'm looking forward to seeing how they progress. They are always looking for new players and everyone is welcome, so if you fancy a go, you can get in touch with them on Facebook and Twitter!

Away from sport, I had been asked to lead a project, training a group of young people as part of an employment programme. This was extremely stressful, yet rewarding and I was pushing myself too far in terms of responsibilities; training every day of the week, being a husband, studying for a degree, working all day and many evenings, volunteering and being part of two sports teams! Ultimately, something had to give and I suffered a large anxiety attack driving to work after getting a shock on the weigh scales on Monday morning due to my increasingly poor health habits. I have experienced anxiety attacks before whilst driving, but this one took me a few days to get over and I had to cancel my work plans on the day. My employer was extremely understanding, which was a great help. However, it was clear that I wasn't coping and/or was asking too much of myself on all fronts.

I sought help privately and engaged in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy [CBT] for the next few months. This was a highly beneficial process and I was able to remove a number of items from my schedule, and habits I had developed, that had led to my anxious incident. I would highly recommend CBT to anyone who experiences anxiety and/or depression, or has done previously. Now I feel I have much more control and am a lot more aware of how I feel and how I behave in response to certain stimuli. It is an ongoing learning process, and thankfully I haven't experienced a repeat incident since.

All the while...I have still been practicing progressive calisthenics, although progress has been extremely slow. I think I've learnt more in the last year as to how not to make progress with calisthenics, than I have about progressing! All learning is beneficial, I suppose. I am still working towards the muscle-up, handstand and front lever three/four days a week:

My muscle-up technique has improved, but my numbers have not.
I have moved on to head stands, much to the concern of my wife when I practice them in our tiny living room.
And I am now edging closer to a full one-leg front-lever.

So, I suppose I should say I am making consistent slow progress in all areas!

After last year's mild disappointment in the Great Scottish Run, I decided to up the stakes and sign up to the Loch Ness Marathon! This might have been hasty, as I have since learnt it is one of the hardest ones going! Not to worry, the training has been much better this year and I have been steadily upping my distance. I was due to be attempting 15 miles this weekend just gone, but I had perhaps been overtraining and experienced a tendon injury in my left foot mid-run - although I still completed 7.5 miles.

(c) Asana Rebel
Despite the injury, I am confident that I can complete this challenge, and then beat my PB in the Great Scottish Run the following week (don't hold me to that!). At least now I have more time to practice Yoga and my flexibility.

Yoga is something my wife has been participating in and I've slowly developed an interest. I have been using a free app called Asana Rebel, which has been a good starting point. I just have to develop a better habit of getting out of bed to do the quick session each morning. I really feel it helps me get ready for the day, but I end up staying in bed far too often! Definitely more commitment needed here.

Finally, I'm also hoping to join Paisley RUFC for pre-season training in July. This would probably appear to be a guaranteed way to get injured with my history, but rugby union is a sport I always loved playing as a teenager, and I always wish I had done more in the game. Paisley appear to have a really good community set-up and I am looking forward to seeing where it goes - marathon training will take priority until October though!

OK, that's my life update. I am still here and training hard in Renfrewshire and Glasgow. The weather was stunning this weekend and I took every opportunity to train outdoors. It was the perfect conditions to get outside, build muscle and have fun!

I currently train at Knockhill Park in Renfrew on Friday evenings from 6-7pm and Sunday morning from 10-11am. If you fancy getting outside to build muscle and have fun but aren't sure how, why not come down and say hello! It's never too late to try something new, especially when it is free!

Get outside! Build muscle! Have fun!


Popular Posts