This weekend is the Virgin London Marathon and sadly, I won’t be running it. I have entered the marathon ballot for four years on the trot and have still not got a place. Those who do not get a place after the fourth attempt will, on the fifth attempt, get a guaranteed place; so, I was expecting a place for 2011. Then I get an email yesterday from Virgin saying that the 5th time rule will be phased out over the next few years…excuse me while I shout some expletives…@#CK!
Anyway, the good news is that I managed to submit my early entry yesterday to increase my chances of getting a place. So, as of now, I will be training as if I am going to be running the marathon in 2011. I will be running when I’m 34 and I’d almost totally forgot that I’d made a goal to run it by the time I was 35.
I could have gone for a reserved charity place like Arvind but I decided a while back that I didn’t want to do it that way.
Run Fatboy Run
So far I’ve run the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge 4 times. It’s a 5.6Km race and I’ve run it in 50, 45, 42 and 39 minutes respectively with my ultimate goal being to run it in under 35 minutes. I’ve run the Silverstone Half Marathon twice and ran it in around 2h:40 both times. I ran it while I was 19stone and I have since gained a bit of weight. If I’m going to run the marathon, and I want to be able to still walk for the rest of my life, I’ll need to drop about 4stone or get down to 16 stone to be able to do it properly and run it in under 5 hours.
As far as fitness and overall health are concerned, I’d say I’m probably one of the fittest, 20 stone fat blokes, that I know. (I’ve laid down the gauntlet!) There are people out there, even slim people, who are not capable of doing what I do. However, I want to do the marathon properly and I know it’s not exactly as stroll in the park. I’m kicking off my game plan now to be in the right condition physically, mentally and spiritually to be able to run it. I also want to be publicly accountable to you all for my fitness and preparation for the race next year.
Before I reveal my game plan, if you’re over weight and unfit, ahh heck even if you’re under weight and unfit, you have to begin somewhere so I suggest starting here. People still continue to make silly mistakes like joining overpriced gyms and buying expensive equipment way before they’ve even got into the habit of exercise and end up wasting tons of money.
There is always some level of investment needed. For badminton, there is the cost of being a member of a club, (3 actually for me), racquets, regular restringing and since it’s such a high impact sport, I buy new trainers every 3 months. Each pair only costs £27 each so for those of you not so good at math, that’s £108 each year.
Any activity will require some form of investment. The one key thing I will always invest in is, a decent pair of running shoes. I get my running shoes from Runners Need. They film you while you run and then based on your running style and shape of your foot they will recommend the ideal running shoe.
Here are the existing tools I’m going to use:
1. I have a Wiseman Klein wrist heart rate monitor which monitors from the wrist and doesn’t need the chest strap. It’s great because it has a calorie counter too. With this watch I discovered that my resting heart rate is 46 (excuse me while I just show off for a little while) and that during a 3 hour session of badminton I’m burning, in the region of, 1500 calories.
2. I have this cool pedometer application on my iPhone which monitors how many paces I do per day. I don’t use it every day but I used it a few times to average out what I do so that I have an idea of how much I do. From it I’ve discovered that I burn about 100 calories for every 1000 steps based on my height and weight. I generally do a minimum of 5000 steps a day. 10,000 steps is recommended but I think a minimum of 5000 is fine if you exercise regularly too.
3. I keep a skipping rope in my badminton bag and I skip regularly. It’s a great, cheap form of exercise that is great for footwork and fantastic for building endurance.
My Game Plan
1. Continue playing badminton – Although badminton doesn’t burn fat, it is a great fitness exercise and also builds flexibility and stamina.
2. Use the stairs – I’m going to continue to use the stairs as much as possible. It’s great for strengthening the leg muscles, especially around the knee, and the gluteus maximus aka the butt-tocks. Ladies – it’s fab for minimizing cellulite!
3. Weights – I already have a gym membership and I am going to take up weight training again for fat burning. Most people don’t realise that cardio alone is not enough to burn fat; you need to add a weight training program in to do that. I’m going to create my own program but if it doesn’t work I’ll hire a personal trainer to devise a good program for me.
4. Cut down on fat intake – My biggest weakness has always been food. However, I’m not going to deny myself anything, that hasn’t worked for me in the past and I don’t see it working in the future. I will however cut down and monitor my fat intake closely. My diet isn’t terrible. It just needs tweaking.
5. Water – Probably the best drink in the world! – I drink plenty of water, usually at least 2 litres a day if not more. However I’m a bit erratic sometimes. Drinking water first thing in the morning is a great tip for keeping your body healthy.
6. Run – Because I already exercise so much, I won’t be doing much running in the beginning. I will drop some weight first and then kick of running by doing the JPMorgan run again in July. Over the year I’ll slowly build that up to 10 miles. Before the big event next year I will want to run 20 miles at least once.
I just wanted to finish talking to you a bit about procrastination. If you intend on doing something like this then most people let little things get in the way. That always happens. In fact things will inevitably come along to test your resolve; they always do! Here are a couple of quick final tips:
1. Find a exercise or activity that you enjoy doing. Nothing trumps enjoyment. If you enjoy something, you don’t need to motivate yourself to do it.
2. Prepare for setbacks now. They will come; in what guise, I cannot tell you but it’s up to you how you respond to them and you choose whether or not they will get in the way.
Apparently countries like the USA and the UK people are getting fatter and more obese. Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t make exercise a chore. Make it fun!
I’m only gutted that after this I won’t be able to use my fat jokes in my comedy set any more!