Stairs and consistency.

Tonight we are tired. We have walked about two hours around the shore, including some wading in the sea and scrambling over rocks. Two years I could not have done this. And yesterday I ran up stairs.

This is significant. When I moved to Dunedin I found that most hills have stairs that lead to the higher streets. I went up them and down them… slowly. I was not used to such, I was unfit, and I was slow. Yesterday I ran up them, with minimal tightness, and at a good pace. I found myself using techniques to get going…

  • Taking a skip step to load my dominant leg (right) before taking off.
  • Leaving room so I could chase the person in front
  • Hunch forward, chop stride, high knees and use arm for pace (this is faster than two at time.
  • Slow recovery down

I used to do these things when I was competitive three decades ago.

So what happened? It has not been an easy week. We have been fighting off the flu, the diet has been somewhat clear but not perfect, and our weights are plateaued far higher than we want them.

We have done something physical every day we were not sick. Either intense and hard, or very slow (read walking) and quite long. It is moving into summer, and we are using the evenings.

My inspiration here has been Scott. I could not do his workouts — though I used to things about that crazy when I was quite young. But he is disciplined, he is consistent. His diet is based on a quasi zone approach, and worth considering.

Consistency matters, diet included. My old coach, Daz linked to this via facebook.

Those we trusted with health advice told us to eat vegetable oils, focus on the fat and calorie content of foods and exercise more. They also had scant concern for sugar. The food industry paid attention and pushed the ‘healthy eating’ barrow as hard and fast as it could.
Our food was filled with vegetable oil and sugar and that was ok as long as it was ‘low in saturated fat’. The dietetics industry merrily accepted the sponsorship of the food producers and sung uncritically from the same hymn sheet.
But now we see the grisly consequences of that gormless obsession with saturated fat unfolding before our eyes (provided they haven’t been destroyed by vegetable oil induced macular degeneration).
The evidence that sugar and vegetable oil is crippling us is now abundant, but those in charge of health advice refuse to act. These same experts who have presided over three decades of culpably negligent public health advice, now refuse to either acknowledge their error or change their foolhardy ways.
That advice must change immediately. We cannot afford to throw millions more of us under the bus driven by the egos of academics and fueled by the blood money of the processed food industry.

You need quite a lot of volume at low intensity. Vary it. Beach walk. Run, Swim, move the wood, weed the garden, go dancing. I get quite a bit of this at work.
But you need to make your diet things without nutritionist labels or heart ticks: vegetables and meat. We try to stick to the outsider of the supermarket: if it is a box, avoid it.
And you need to, two to four times a week, do something really intense. Such as sprinting up stairs, lifting weights, or gymnastic movements. You will need to scale (main reason to have a coach is so you scale correctly) because the training effect comes with intensity.

And regardless of age, if you are sensible (the main reason I don’t use supplements is that pain is a good limiter), you will improve.