I can now nasal-breath for the first time ...
One hundred and thirty-eight days ago, on July 7th, 2020, our city went into a tight COVID lockdown. We were only allowed out for one hour daily (plus essential trips) and masks were compulsory.
If exercising, masks were optional. Since we propel massive volumes of moist air from our lungs when running past people, I chose to wear a mask. Today restrictions were lifted.
I trail run 5km daily, so that meant I ran 138 days with a mask.
It wasn't what I would call enjoyable, but it did have some benefits. Today, running without a mask for the first time since lock-down, I was able to sustain my pace just breathing through my nose - that's a first.
A little imagination helps ...
I trail run with injury-free at the top-of-mind, but I also enjoy challenging myself along the way. If I see someone 200m ahead, then it becomes my challenge to calculate a passing move.
That takes stamina.
You want to run at tempo pace to close the gap, pass strongly enough to discourage tailgating, and then settle back into a pace that keeps you moving ahead. What you don't want is to pass and then blow-up. This is where stamina comes in to play.
Managing fatigue, rest, recovery and technique to avoid injuries
On my local running trails, people know me as the old guy that runs daily. Some shake their head in disbelief as this 72-year old makes a good pace along the track, and some shake their head in disbelief that I should be so foolish. (MostlyI get cheery smiles and nods.)
What I notice is how many other runners fall by the wayside, with injuries. Running every day is fine if you can do it without injuring yourself. Here's how I manage fatigue, rest, recovery, awareness, breathing and natural time to avoid injuries.
How to avoid becoming frail before your time
Regular running is typically the most popular mode of exercise as people transition away from the gym, their youth, into looking after a family, or during a pandemic. Running is spectacularly better than doing nothing, but even frequent running doesn't maintain muscle strength as we age.
We need to do something extra.
Three transitions to take you over the line at 100% intensity
You're reading this because you want to win. That's great. If you are content to just finish, that's also great, but you may not need to go to this level of intensity.
Winning requires stamina. I define stamina as the ability to win the race and endurance as the ability to finish the race. Stamina allows you to accelerate and pass people and to hold your lead once past.
Interval training builds this kind of stamina. Hill sprints, stair sprints, and sprint variations are essential. The intensity of intervals needs to be, well - intense. Not "HIIT Yoga" intense but real HIIT intense enough to make you almost sick.
How To Easily Calculate Calories Burned Walking, Running, Rowing or Exercising in Bed. No Gadget Required
For when you need to know how many calories HIIT Yoga burns
You know those times when we're not wearing a fitness band or an Apple Watch and wonder how many calories we're burning? Here's a simple and accurate method that you can easily do in your head.
I often run or walk without any gadgets, and I rarely wear fitness bands at the gym, and never take my phone. From time-to-time, I wonder how much energy I've used in a workout.
Now, I use this method, which I worked out after plotting a few charts and averaging a few numbers, and comparing to the estimates from the times when I do wear a fitness band.
I will explain the one key variable that you need to know, the calculation you apply to that key variable, and why the answer makes sense metabolically.
How to make the most of your energy system
I didn't know how our energy system worked until I studied for my professional diploma in sports nutrition.
It's helpful to know, as knowing equips you to better match your exercise intensity with your energy capacity.
We've all had the experience of having to move quickly, and after a short time, our legs feel like lead.
Perhaps we've had to run to grab one of our children who has made off down the road. Perhaps after our dog who has got off the lead.
We run strongly for about 10 seconds - feeling pleased with our pace - then find ourselves slowing for about 10 seconds. At this point, we suddenly feel our legs to be heavy and unresponsive.
Karate is a sport, but it's still martial arts
I was recently browsing Youtube watching World Championship Karate sparring championship fights - Kumite (Japanese: 組手, literally "grappling hands") - as my daughter is competing in this sport.
On one match there were a bunch of bro-comments dissing the karate fighters. The consensus was that karate fighters wouldn't stand a chance in a real street fight as it was all theatre.
There's a grain of truth in those comments. Martial arts were about defending yourself and disabling your attackers.
If there were multiple attackers, then your survival demanded that you inflict as much damage as possible on them to bring the odds back to your favour.
Over 50 and hit a plateau? Here's what to do
You're consistent with your training, but losing your motivation because you've hit a plateau.
Sound familiar? If you are consistent it should, because it happens to us all. I've noticed over the last 20 years of training that as we get older the plateaus get longer. I've had a few people lately express frustration with their plateaus, but don’t give up - all will be well. It's by perseverance that your fitness will get to the next level of reward for you.
As good - if not better - than cardio
From what I see around me, it seems that the older we get the more we become wary of strength training. We start to believe that it will do us more harm than good, or that we will injure ourselves.
That’s not the case. You don’t have to start with heavy weights to do strength training.
I’ve been strength training for the last twenty years. I will be 72 this year. I’ve learnt a lot about what to do, what not to do, what is sustainable and how to get the best value for your effort.
My four principles below will give you a great head start to building fit-for-purpose strength. A strength which is fit for living longer better — intended for men and women 50 and over.
This is my experience in the broad topic of “strength training” (as compared to weightlifting or powerlifting which as are specific forms of strength training) which has served me well.
Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter