I lost my mojo. My running mojo. I don’t when I lost it, or where. It happened quite quickly, and I for the first time in over two years, I have found myself struggling to get enthusiastic about running. Crucially, I didn’t stop. I haven’t been running as frequently, and I’m probably down to about three times a week now. But I’m still going, albeit more through a sense of determination not to give up than enjoyment. So what’s the problem?
Well, there’s more than one. I don’t know how many exactly, I haven’t written the post yet. Perhaps I’ll come back and edit this bit when I’ve finished and identified all the problems. I won’t though. I never read the posts back once I’ve finished them, which is why they’re normally shit. But enough of this. You want to hear about my problems, yes? Yes. Yes you do. You DO, so sit there and shut your pie hole. Here they are, with free bullet points:
- Boredom. I’m too lazy to get in the car and drive to somewhere for a run. I want to run straight out of my front door. (Not literally, I’m not mad.) As I’ve said before, I’m fortunate to have quite a bit of beautiful countryside to run around in. And I I’m bored with it. Perhaps that makes me an ungrateful git. You think? Yeah? What would you know about it? You can jam your opinions up your arse.
- Fitness. I’m not fit enough. Running is deceptively easy. Even when I’ve been running in the region of 35 miles per week (which is a lot for me), and maintaining a reasonably good pace, I haven’t ever really felt like I was pushing my limits. Added to that is the occasional moment when I’ll be doing something active and find myself getting out of breath. And I’ll think to myself “what the fuck? I’m a runner, I’m fit!”. But the truth is that I’m not, at least not in any meaningful sense. If that’s the case, it’s impossible not to conclude that I’m wasting my time doing just one form of exercise.
- Weight loss, conditioning (lack thereof). From when I started running, I’ve lost seven pounds. My weight has been stuck at around 12 stone 12 ounces (about 180 pounds or 81.5 kilos) for months, sometimes dipping a couple of pounds under or over but generally hitting 12st 12lb at least five times a week. I’m not interested in losing weight for the sake of being able to say that I weigh x or y, but when I look at myself it’s obvious that I’m carrying way too much fat. So whilst I do think my weight needs to come down a bit, it’s more a case of fat burning and building muscle. Diet is clearly a huge factor, and I eat pretty well. Still drink a bit too much, but let’s not do anything too rash.
A few days ago, my good friend and fifty percent of the regular readership of this blog suggested something called Freeletics. He sent me a link and proposed that we try and complete workouts three times a week. It was perfect timing; I had been talking to the local gym to arrange a visit that very day. At the time, I thought the gym was my only real option for changing my routine. I now feel like I’ve dodged a bullet. I’m not a ‘gym person’, and I suspect I never will be.
The Freeletics website breaks it down in simple terms. Freeletics is a series of high intensity workouts, with optional (paid) training and nutrition plans. Workouts focus on either cardio, strength, or both and are centred around there being almost no equipment required. You can complete the workouts anywhere and being high intensity, they don’t take long. I’m not going to go into detail about all the different exercises here, just have a look at the website.
I was interested. Then I watched this video and I was extremely interested:
I will admit to be conscious of the fact that pretty much all the people they use to advertise Freeletics are under 30. Whereas I am seven or eight months from 40. But what the hell. I signed up, which is free. This morning I received my first email from Freeletics, with instructions for my first three workouts. The plan is for me to complete all three within seven days. I’m not sure how long I’ll keep getting this for free, since the idea is that you pay for the ‘coach’, which is more tailored towards your size, fitness level and desired achievements. But for now, I’ll stick with what I’m getting and after that, if I’m still alive, I’ll buy the coach. The coach costs around £35 for a 15 week course. The gym membership would have cost me almost that for one month, plus I’d have to actually get in the car and go there.
Anyway, my first workout was, on the face of it, simple. Five minutes to do as many burpees as possible, followed by as many sit-ups as possible in the same time. Ten minute workout. No sweat. I suspect I’m not the first person to make that mistake.
After around 90 seconds of burpees, my face was starting to do that involuntary contortion thing. After two minutes, I was groaning. The groans quickly turned into full on grunts, which in turn transformed into strangled “AAARGHS”. The sit-ups were slightly easier; I did more of them and didn’t start grunting until about the three and a half minute minute mark. The “AAARGHS” put in a spirited appearance towards the end. When I’d finished, my son asked me if I was alright.
I was KNACKERED. My triceps appeared to be vibrating. I felt sick. I have not felt like this after a run one single time in the past two and a half years. Out of breath, sure. Sweaty, certainly. (CERTAINLY. I do like a good sweat.) But probably for the first time since I was at school, I felt like I’d just been to my limit, or close to it. And yes, it felt good. I didn’t. I felt like shit. But IT felt good.
So that’s day one. My wife is going to do her first workout in about ten minutes when she gets home, and I’ll hopefully be joining my friend for workouts as part of the routine. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m also a little bit scared. I have taken the obligatory photo and video of myself this morning. I have chosen not to inflict either upon you. Be grateful.
Next up, probably on Wednesday, is the Metis routine. More burpees (hoo-fucking-ray), climbers and high jumps. Might put up a brief post to let you (both of you) know how I’m getting on.