GymBug

I've caught it. Fortunately, it's not treatable.

Archive for the tag “improve”

How I drastically cut my 10km run time

Hi there!

When I started running consistently it was during my Christmas break of 2012. I had put on weight in first year (the ‘fresher’s fifteen’) and was really uncomfortable with how my clothes felt and how unfit I was generally. I started running with my dad who had been at it for a while. When I ran my first 10k it was brutal. My time was around 1 hour 15 minutes. It was a struggle the whole way and my evening was spent with me on the couch. It was here I realised just how unfit I had been.

I started running regularly and more and more I started to enjoy my Dad’s and I’s Sunday 10k sessions. By Christmas 2013 we were running 12k’s and made the mistake of doing a 16k too (no one won that one). Our 10k always hovered around the 1 hour mark. My dad is over 50, so we never pushed it.

Fast forward to Summer 2014. I went on a family holiday to Nerja (below you see the view from our villa, which indicates the length of the hill I had to run up). It was here my sister introduced me to hill sprints. Brutal, heart-pounding hill sprints. We only had to do roughly 20-30 minutes to be as worn out as a solid 45 minute run! I fell in love with the new high intensity element, something that I had generally lacked in my running. I continued to do hill sprints when I got home over the summer and I noticed my 10k runs with my Dad were becoming easier and easier (but not faster, because my Dad is over 50, I was warned).

I joined a gym within my first couple of weeks of moving to Madrid for a year abroad for University. I started off with just using the bike, doing some intervals and things. Then I went onto the treadmill and slowly started incorporating more and more intervals and HIIT into my cardio. I now combine HIIT on the treadmill and the bike for 2 cardio sessions a week, I do about 45 minutes each session.
Important; my first stint in Madrid was September-December, and I lost far too much weight. A key part of this was doing too much HIIT and not fuelling my body properly. Even with weight training I ended up being scrawny and unhealthy. If you do HIIT, ensure you’re fuelling your body correctly too. This means good carbs, protein and fats.

Now, onto Christmas 2014. I was limited to my exercise routine because I was putting on weight (because it was absolutely necessary). However, I did go out with my Dad for a 10k during my tme at home. The second we were out the car he said ‘Just you go on and run at your own pace’. I initially resisted, because I enjoyed the time we spent together running, but he refuses to accept it wasn’t my fault we ran a 16k!
It ended up being a mistake anyway, I ran so far ahead he tried to reduce the distance between us and pushed himself to far. However, I ran 11k in 57 minutes! I couldn’t believe it. I thought back to what caused my sudden incrase in speed and realised it was the HIIT. Whilst I did not fuel myself, my fitness and times improved dramatically (the lack of fuel is really bad and embarassing, I’m not endorsing my stupidity, if you do HIIT or speed work, fuel it right)!

My most recent 10k which I did on a treadmill clocked in at 47 mins 35 seconds. I altered my incline and speed throughout to achieve this and I wasn’t wiped out by the end! (I was tired, don’t get me wrong).

So, after this long (hopefully not boring) story, what’s my point? My point is if you want to cut your time and improve your fitness, logging kilometers and kilometers of steady running will not do it quite the same as using HIIT, hill sprints and lots of intervals. You need to speed train to improve your times!

Here’s an example of what you could do on a treadmill;

Warm-Up; 5 minutes at 9km/h

Sprint; 1 minute at 13-15km/h (wherever you feel you won’t come flying off the treadmill)

Rest; 1 minute at 9km/h

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Cool-Down; 5 minutes starting at 9km/h then reducing by 0.5km/h every minute.

I do this often, I also mix it up with inclines in place of a sprint. The point is to challenge your body and your speed. You also don’t need to workout for as ong when doing HIIT because your sending your heartrate into a higher zone (if done correctly. Check out my HIIT post for more information on HIIT and routines!

Gym Bug

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Should there be a Sugar Tax?

Hi there!

Today the BBC released an article about how imposing a sugar tax could help fund public health. It got me thinking, “Is a sugar tax a good idea?”. Patient UK has given a decent summary on why this would be good.

I believe a tax on ultra-processed, high sugar content foods is a good idea. The UK has a shockingly high obesity rate and introducing a tax (according to the Patient UK link) could see a reduction in 100 calores a day (on average). The tax would also provide more revenue for the government AND hopefully reduce spending on obesity and related diseases (such as type 2 diabetes). Personally, I also believe it would help people live a healthier lifestyle. At the moment, looking at the prices of foods is incredibly frustrating. Why would someone buy the ingredients for a healthy salad when a microwave burger is a fraction of the cost? Or why would someone buy apples as a snack when a huge bag of chocolate is cheaper? Something needs to be done to help people lead healthier lifestyles. It is a choice but if healthier food is more easily available and unhealthy food less so, maybe people will start making better choices!

Apologies if this appears as a rant, but a salad should not cost an arm and a leg and a burger should not cost next to nothing. It encourages unhealthy habits and fuels the obesity epidemic we’re witnessing today. What’s worse is that marketing campaigns for junk food and sugary products are heavily targetted at children. They are the most vulnerable members of our society when it comes to marketing campaigns and ofcourse if they see Powerade advertised as a sports drink, they’ll guzzle one down straight after P.E, essentially undoing their work (given the amount of sugar in a Powerade). Don’t get me wrong, sports drinks can be incredibly useful sources of energy and recovery but only when you’re enduring hard, intense exercise. P.E is not hard nor is it intense. These children are being brought up surrounded by temptation, it’s not fair.

Everyone is feeling the financial squeeze given the crisis that unfortunately hit the UK and the world, so in theory, by increasing the price of unhealthy products, you’ll decrease the demand. It can only be beneficial for the long term health of the population and help generate further revenue to help the econom get out of this slump. (P.S I’m a business student).

So, that’s my idea on the whole subject. What’s yours? Is a sugar tax a good idea? Will it help?

Gym Bug

Lower Intensity Interval Training

Hi there!

I found another variation to an extremely dull treadmill session! It’s slightly lower in intensity than my 1-minute off, 1-minute on one which is good if you’re wanting to a good workout but for whatever (legit) reason can’t quite manage it. Don’t let the title fool you, this will still get your heart rate up and you nice and sweaty (if you’re inside, although an outdoor treadmill seems a bit dodgy). Lower intensity should not mean easy, it should be slightly easier than you high intensity.

It’s really straightforward and you can alternate it really easily into different workout lengths.

First thing is first warm up for 5-minutes; best to start at a brisk walk and build up to your recovery pace (run at recovery for at least 1-minute and 30 seconds).

Now the fun begins.
2- minutes at a medium-intensity incline (I use 6%)
1- minute recovery pace
2-minutes at a fast run (I use 14.5 km per hour)
1-minute recovery pace
Repeat for desired length of time.
Cool down (5-minutes)

There you have it! It’s lighter but still incorporates a bit of interval training. This is good for beginners, a slightly more relaxed workout or to try improve endurance or build up your speed (maybe you’ve got a race coming up?)
If you’re looking to improve speed then best do repeated sessions of 2-minutes at a fast run instead!

Have a great day, we are half way through the week! You’ve got this.

Gym Bug

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