The latest of my fundraising challenges was the Mersey tunnel 10k. This run entails competitors to run through the Kingsway tunnel in Liverpool, onto the Wirral side of the river and finishing in New Brighton. A 10k distance in total.
Ok so you’re probably thinking 10k shouldn’t really be much of a challenge for someone who exercises daily, but I decided to do a little experiment. The last run I participated in was back in June 2017. My goal since then has been to gain more size and focus on weight training and conditioning.
So what happens when you do absolutely no running in preparation for a running event? This was what I wanted to find out. I decided that my preparation this year would be to focus more on conditioning my legs and incorporating a high-intensity circuit in between my weight training sessions. The circuit would definitely get my heart pumping and push my cardiovascular system, but training my legs heavily and more frequently should condition and prepare them for running, right?
I started training specifically for the 2018 challenges at the end of January. My sessions would look something like this:
Mon: legs + shoulders
Tues: chest + biceps + full-body circuit including core
Wed: day off
Thurs: back + triceps + full-body circuit including core
Fri: legs + shoulders + upper-body circuit including core
Sat: day off
Sun: back + full-body circuit including core
For me, this would certainly condition my body and work my cardiovascular system, or so I thought. Ok, so now onto the run…
The first 5k of the run, I felt like my cardio was taking an absolute beating and I was breathing heavily (which I don’t usually struggle with). My legs, however, had absolutely no issues, this could be due to the fact that the tunnel run is basically at an incline for the first 3k, and I had definitely put my legs through this kind of stress in training with heavy squats, lunges etc.
Once I hit the 6k mark I found my cardio actually improved and I became quite comfortable. But then the issue was my knees. I’m sure this was down to being heavier than usual and the repetitive movement of running taking its toll on my legs.
Upon finishing the race I felt that my cardio had improved again after hitting the 6k mark and I could have gone on for further than 10k, although the run definitely took its toll on my knees.
I’ve given advice in previous columns on how to prepare for a run and also how to gain size, but never at the same time. I would say the program provided is definitely a good blueprint on how to do this. Although, if I were to do it again, I would take out two of the circuits and in their place incorporate a 5-10k run twice a week to prepare my legs and joints for the repetitive movements of running. Also, don’t forget to consume the right amount of calories to gain size.