Firstly hank you for the lovely messages, comments and kind words after my last post. It really meant the world to me. I know I’m young and my life is ahead of me, I just needed that cathartic vent…
Anyway, onto the subject of this post. Since being injured and being unable to run I’ve been focusing a lot of my energies on going to the gym and really working hard at overall strength. Previously I had been following the New Rules of Lifting for Women which was really good but I was losing a bit of motivation for it. Doing the same two sets of workouts for weeks on end was getting boring. Don’t get me wrong, I still fully recommend that book and it’s highly likely I’ll get back into it (and it’s a great point of reference for different exercises). But after getting injured I needed a complete shake up of what I was doing and a new drive.
I actually found a great website called MuscleForLife that spoke a lot of sense to me by a guy called Mike Matthews. His website has loads of great resources and he talks a lot of sense in terms of workout splits, reps and different exercises (from what my albeit fairly limited knowledge and experience can tell anyway!).
I started breaking my workouts into body parts (sounds painful) and balancing ‘push/pull’ exercises. So for example, Monday is arms day and I’ll try and balance some bicep curls (a push exercise) with tricep pull downs (a pull exercise), amongst other things. And I’ve really been loving it.
What I’ve really come to learn is that you don’t need to go to the gym and come out sweating and gasping for air to know you’ve worked hard. Your heart rate doesn’t need to sky rocket to get a good workout in.In fact, I’ve never seen my body change as quickly as it has done with these kind of workouts than all the time I’ve ever been running. And I haven’t touched a cardio machine other than a three minute warm-up for each session. OK, OK I’ve only been doing this for a few weeks and I’m not saying I have muscles of steel or popping abs, but I can see the changes – they are tiny changes but they’re perceptible to me.
And more importantly, I can feel the changes. When I was down in the dumps about not running and I needed to find a new focus I decided to give myself the goal of strengthening my upper body (as well as continuing to strengthen the rest of me). One of my goals was to eventually achieve a full pull-up. I haven’t achieved that yet, but what I did achieve at the gym yesterday was almost there. Technically I achieved a neutral grip pull-up… or chin-up. To be honest I’m not entirely sure which it is, but there was definitely an ‘up’ in there 😉
It’s not a full pull-up because as my grip needs to be wider, which is ultimately so much harder because you’re using your back muscles to do most of the work, whereas what I achieved was kind of a combination of back muscles and biceps (a full chin-up uses solely biceps I believe).
I was so pleased you wouldn’t believe. I felt bad ass and like a warrior. If I fell off a cliff I can smile smugly knowing I can pull myself back up it 😉 and then run away from the zombies chasing me in this crazy scenario.
The point is, I don’t regret getting injured. It taught me a lot. Firstly it taught me not to be such an idiot about marathons and running. Three marathons in under six months is stupid for me. I’m an injury-prone runner and looking back I can see the times I was pushing myself when I should have been taking time off. Never ever underestimate the marathon distance. Even if you think “oh I’ll just pootle around really slowly and enjoy it” it’s still 26.2 bloody miles. There ain’t no pootle in that.
It also showed me that the gym isn’t just to keep me running and it isn’t necessarily a chore. It’s somewhere else I can push myself and feel like I’m achieving something amazing (for me anyway). I don’t always need PBs, a runner’s high or the fresh air to get that ‘punch in the air’ killer workout.
It’s another quiver in my bow of mistakes I’m learning from. Plus I got a huge medal soo… totally worth it 😉
Do you have any mistakes you don’t regret?
What is your favourite exercise?
What achievement are you most proud of?