Archives for posts with tag: Health

In Part 2 of 7 Days to 10K I shared my trepidation about phase 2 of the plan, which was to run 8K on the treadmill, the first serious test of my body’s resilience and recovery from injury.

Well, I got through it, just about. I did indeed run 8K, in the grand old time of 52:17. It’s the longest I’ve run in years. It was hard. I had a stitch, sometimes 2 stitches, for most of the way. I haven’t had a stitch for probably 25 years!

I rowed for 5 minutes to warm up, then did some leg stretches to get in the mood. I’d been worried about this run all day and wasn’t sure if the legs would hold up. I walked for the first 2 minutes to warm up, then ran at 10 km/hour up until the 20 minute mark. After 20 minutes my right calf, the one which I most recently injured, was fine, but the left one was aching, so I went back to walking for 2 minutes. I thought that I might have neglected it since most of my recent rehab work was on the right side, and I didn’t want it to pain suddenly, hence the middle walking phase.

After that, I went back to jogging, at 9 km/hour. The left calf was still aching, but I figured ‘well it’s either going to stay aching or I can’t run on it, so I might as well test it out since I’ve only 5 days to go til the race…’

Finally, I finished the 8K. The aching had not got any worse. I walked for 2 minutes to warm down, stretched the legs out, went home and even iced the calf, such was my dedication.

Yesterday I did some more exercises on the troublesome right side that caused the biomedical fault I mentioned in Part 1 of this series. Today I plan to execute the third phase of the 7 days to 10K plan, which is a 10K street run. If I can get through that, I know I should be OK for the big day. I’ll report back on the morning of the race and let you know how my final stage of preparation goes. I know you can’t wait…


In Part 1 of 7 Days to 10K I outlined why I’ve prepared awfully for a 10K race I have registered for and which is but a few days away.

2 days ago I executed – successfully – the first phase of my simple plan to be as ready as I can be for the race. I played a fairly taxing game of 5-a-side soccer for over an hour. I played rather well, for me, and emerged unscathed. This was great for me, as it was my first proper lung-stretching exercise in a while.

Later today I will execute the second phase, which is to run 8K on the treadmill, and see how I get on. This is the phase I’m most nervous about, since it’s my first sustained run over 15-20 minutes since I last tore my calf.

When I mentioned the race to a soccer pal, he said ‘oh, I registered for that a couple of years ago and just turned up and ran the race, it’s not too bad.’ A perfectly legitimate response, were it not for the fact that I have been doing some exercises to cure a biomechanical fault which is causing my calves to tear and pain after a quarter of an hour’s exercise.

One of the odd things I’ve noticed in the mirrors over the last 30 years of running at the gym is that any shirt I’m wearing pulls down at the next towards the right shoulder, and never the left. I could never figure out why, until the physio mentioned the fault with my running in my previous post that cause my right side to dip, and then it all made sense.

In 2 days time, as per my plan, I’ll let you know how the 8K run went and what bearing, if any, this has on my ‘practice’ 10K run on the streets of my home town, scheduled for later in the day.

I’ve signed up for a 10K run. It’s in 7 days’ time. It’s my first 10K. I have run further before, but it was when I was training for the Dublin marathon, in 2000. I got injured 3 weeks before, having done all the training, and had to miss it.

My wife does 10K 3 times a week and will be doing this one too. It’s a regular event for her; she breezes through them. SHe’s a good bit younger than me and rebounded back from a serious ankle injury earlier in the year by doing her rehab religiously. More on that aspect later.

I don’t usually run more than 5K. It’s simply something to get the heart pumping for 25+ minutes so it qualifies for aerobic exercise. I also haven’t run in about 3 months.

Why the appalling preparation, I hear you say? Well, I get injured a lot. Not major injuries, just niggly little calf injuries that put me out for a few weeks at a time.

I went to a new – new to me – sports physio about 2 months ago, complaining about the fact that when one of my calves breaks down, it’s about 15 minutes into a run, when I’m nicely warm. He had me run on the treadmill for a couple minutes and diagnosed a bio-mechanical fault which was causing my right leg to move out slightly, rather than forward, during the lifting-striding phase. This was causing my right side to dip slightly, which, he felt, was creating the imbalance that cause either calf to break down and start paining me.

He gave me a raft of exercises to do 5 times a week, that would have taken me an hour or more to do, if had ever done them all. I didn’t do them at all for the first 2 weeks, as I was travelling. Since those 2 weeks I’ve done a fraction of the exercises he gave me, maybe twice a week. I haven’t been able to make the time. You know the drill, or if you don’t you can read here.

So, here I am, with 7 days to go til my 10K. Here’s my plan. I realise that 10K isn’t very far and many of you reading this will wonder what all the fuss – and all the planning – is about. After all, it’s less than half an hour’s exercise for proper athletes, and less than an hour for many average runners. It’s hardly the Ironman. Well, for me, it is what it is.

This evening, day 1, I’m going to play a game of 5-a-side soccer with the lads. It’s my favourite exercise. I like to start in goal and then I’ll be running around for 45 minutes or so. It’s a useful test of fitness and of how my calves are feeling. In two days time, I’m going to go to the gym, on the advice of my good lady, and try to run about 8K on the treadmill. Apparently it’s more forgiving than the road.

If that goes OK, then in 4 days time I’m going to run a 10K on the road. If that goes OK, I’m going to take the next 2 days off before the big day, 1 week from now, in 7 days’ time.

There’s a lot of if’s in the plan, and no plan every goes perfectly, so doubtless you’ll be reading about adjustments, avoidance or even abandonment.

I’ll let you know how I get on. I have to. After all, you can’t have Part 1 of a total of 1 Part, can you?

I’m quite pleased with myself. Today marks the point where I’ve gone 10 years without missing a working day due to sickness.

The last time I got sick was a rather nasty dose of viral meningitis. As luck would have it, it was over a bank holiday so I was only absent for work for 2 days. I can’t remember the last time I was sick before then. Alright, so I might have left work twice at around 4pm with a migraine, but not even a half-day ‘sickie’ has blemished my work attendance record for the last decade.

I’m not breaking any kind of health record here, and I’m not saying I’m the healthiest person that has ever lived either. What it boils down to is – yes – being fairly healthy, but more importantly it’s about culture and work ethic.

I’ve not had to suffer working in a large or public sector organisation where people play the system and take a sickie as if it’s their fortnightly right. These people are not invested in their organisation and those kinds of places would drive me mad. And as for the ‘oh, I’m staying at home, I don’t want to pass it on through the office,’ puh-lease. Those folks – and the colleagues and bosses that encourage them to do that – well, let’s just say it’s a different culture. The kind of culture that doesn’t think it’s their problem when billions of dollars of national productivity are lost annually through sickness. Plus, it’s no accident that incidence rates of sickness are far lower among the self-employed.

Many’s the time I’ve had a bit of ‘man flu’ or have poorly rebounded from a night of moderate imbibition, but you go in, you suck it up, take your meds and get on with it. If it’s a genuine illness – and I think meningitis scores quite well against that criterion – then, fair enough, stay away and get better. But if it’s not, then come on, gone are the days when organisations had the buffer to cover for a sick person. We’re all busy, we’re all maxed. Work is a team game and your colleagues are relying on you.

So I’m raising a glass to another 10 years of sickness-free work. Only the one glass though. It’s a school night and I don’t want to have to take a sickie tomorrow…

Do you spend as much time working on your health as you do earning, or working on your wealth? No, I didn’t think so, me neither. It’s a luxury of time that not many of us can afford.

It’s still hugely important that you prioritise your health, though. You can have your health without wealth, but if you don’t have your health, then it doesn’t matter how much money you have. You can’t take it with you when you shuffle up your mortal coil.

It’s easy to get sucked into work and family, and then diet, health and exercise take a back seat. Even though we know that a healthy lifestyle makes us work better and live longer, still sometimes weeks or months go by without us doing anything about the yin to our yang of work.

Unless I have a specific game of sport organised, I find it harder to muster the time and energy for exercise the longer the day goes on, which is why I try and get at least some exercise done first thing in the morning. It sets me up for the day and the clever people tell me it increases my metabolism for the day too, meaning I absorb my food better. That’s a win-win for me.

So don’t forget to prioritise your health. You family and work will thank you for it. And you’ll thank yourself that you’ve increased your chances of enjoying your wealth for longer.