Saturday, 29 November 2014

Pilates & 1 week Cold Shower Challenge Review

After a busy first half to the week, culminating in the kick set from hell I'm now half way through a rest week, but wanted to quickly report a few things from the back end of the week.
Thursday evening I met with the club chairman who had invited me to a male only Pilate's class.
Sarah has long extolled the virtues of this, and I understand the principles of core strength in helping to improve fitness and  with a season of 'going long' looming I am willing to give anything the courtesy of my time if it might be able to help me in my endeavours.  With that thought and approx. 1/2hr of previous experience under my belt from a failed foray into a home Pilates video some while back we turned up at the lesson.

There were only 4 of us in the class. All of us desk jockeys by day, the main complaint seemed to be bad backs as a motivation for attendance.
The instructor warmed us up. Rolling spikey balls on our feet to start, it felt weird, but being only men bar the instructor there was no embarrassment at any stage. We progressed to stretching our sides, and a lot of work on our pelvic floor (ready for when we give birth I expect). Part of the stretching involved resistance bands, and I have to admit I enjoyed the opportunity they gave for smooth controlled action and movement. This class was the very basics, but even that highlighted how stiff my neck has become on one side since coming off my bike last January. Looking around it is apparent everyone had strengths and weaknesses. This hour gave me enough of an insight to appreciate how this will help build my core, make me more efficient and help delay fatigue in a race.
The hour passed quickly and I felt relaxed after, but my muscles felt like they had worked quite hard without being out of breath. I go away feeling positive, and keen to see how I can insert this weekly class into The Program once I am back into the build cycle next week.
After getting home I almost felt sick, but not quite. I was very aware of every little muscle in my neck and shoulders and steeled myself to be stiff and sore the next day. To my surprise I slept really well and woke up feeling fine. Absolutely no ill effects to report. Before bed though all I wanted was a nice warm shower to help ease the ache. Then I remembered that wasn't going to happen........

....and so the 1 week shower review.
As of today we're 8 days in. I haven't deviated or cheated in any respect. That in itself I'm really pleased with. The biggest surprise is the number of people it has motivated to join us. Over the course of the week I have had confirmation from 8 people they are also doing it and intend to see the 30 days through, and a couple more that have at the very least tried it.  Every time sticking my head under the cold water has felt like too much effort remembering that others are doing it tips the balance and under I go.
The act in itself has lost its novelty. I can honestly report that my body is now used to the cold - from the neck down that is. The head and the skull is acclimatising and desensitising to the feeling, but once I am under it does not register on the body as cold. It is just water. The lowest I have had the heart rate while under there is 57bpm. Washing and shaving is a distraction that eases the discomfort.
A week and a day and a total of 35minutes clocked up.
This morning saw the usual swim set, and after starting with an even 1000m with fellow Triathlete Jon Bromfield I was recruited to the tri club set to undertake the 100's challenge.

This challenge involves swimming 100m each time, starting off 1:50 and descending by 1 second per set. We did this a while back and I clocked out at 1min 26. This morning off the back of the rest I've had I wasn't feeling the love. 1:33 was enough. I was disappointed afterwards not to try harder, and should definitely have made myself go under 1:30. The clock didn't beat me, I just dropped out. This week shouldn't be about thrashing it though, and now I've had time to think about it I'm glad I didn't push it. I had averaged 1:31 per 100m, so knocking that in at 1700m on a 24min mile pace after already logging 1000m was more than enough. 500m afterwards on a pull at a decent pace with Jon and the swim set was done. 
Home, cold shower and out, and a good day spent on Leicester's Golden mile with the family. 
Tomorrow sees a return to The Pit for some more open water acclimatisation. I am excited to see if the showers have helped in this respect.