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December's Training Summary

Updated: Jan 5, 2022

After announcing my intentions to have a second crack at the Bob Graham Round in 2022, and then listing how I intend to go about it in a further blog, I thought it would be nice to summarise my monthly training with comments on how I feel it has gone, and where I expect it to go next month.


Running: 27 Hours, 139km

Hiking: 11 Hours, 18.0km

Workouts (Circuits or Home Workouts): 8 Hours, 9 Sessions

Indoor Cycling: 55 Mins, 14km.

Total ascent: 6847m

Week of most volume - 13-19th December

Running: 49.6km

Hiking: 5km

Workouts: 2 hours

Personal Stats at the start of the month: Weight: 85.9kg Muscle Mass: 67.7kg Body Fat: 17.1%

Estimated VO2 Max - 36.7

Personal Stats at the end of the month: Weight: 85.25kg Muscle Mass: 67.3kg Body Fat: 16.9%

Estimated VO2 Max - 40.6

The black line is my fitness. As you can see it is slowly trending upwards. The red line is the level of fatigue. The lower graph shows where my training has been more intense and productive (the troughs) and then the recovery (the peaks). It finished the month in 'Keeping Fit' but did visit 'Productive Training a number of times.

In Summary

Going into December my cardio stats were fairly low, mostly because we'd been on holiday and I'd also been spending more time doing resistance training. Many of these resistance trainings had a strong focus on leg strength as I have the long term goal of climbing an 8000m peak. I had started doing some low intensity runs again, but then at the start of December I was pulled into supporting James Gibson on his Winter Wainwright round. It was then off the back of this I decided I wanted to knuckle down and train for my BGR.

Overall, my running has felt OK. The main aim has been trying to rebuild some consistency and just get out running more. Based on October and November, this wasn't going to be hard to improve upon. On my last couple of runs of the month I've suffered with pains in my shins which tells me something isn't quite right (form? Footwear? Volume - too much too soon?) and so I was forced to dial back on heading out. This is where my spin bike at home helps as I can get some low impact cardio in. I completed quite a good session on my spin bike which will help improve my V02 Max. This included 10 x 30 second bursts, broken by 30 second rests.

An example of a 10 minute Interval Session on the Spin Bike - 30 on, 30 very light.

Before December I was resistance training / doing circuits 3-4 times a week. I have cut this back to twice a week and made sure there has been a real focus on exercises that are going to improve my leg strength - weighted squats, split squats and lunges.

With my daughter off school for Christmas and some nice(ish) weather about I took the opportunity to take the kids hiking. All my hiking mileage has been completed with my 15kg son on my back which has been pretty good training to say the least! This weight isn't massively heavy, but for some reason when it is a child and not a dead weight it feels at least twice as heavy.

The Christmas week offered quite an obstacle to training. I was on daddy day care duties most days and of course couldn't justify training much when I should be spending time with the family. Of course, this was an easy decision to make on a goal that is 6 months away. Like many, I have managed to consume an unbelievable amount of calories so I look forward to shaking them.

I've had a couple of days this month when I had planned to train but didn't quite have the energy to execute it. Maybe I was feeling sub-par, or I missed my 'sweet spot' (everyone has a circadian rhythm which dictates a period of the day we prefer to train) and just couldn't bring myself to get something worthwhile done. I had hoped to train on 30th December, but sitting for 5 hours on a drive back from my parents on the 29th left my back feeling pretty tight. On these days I've accepted the rest and just put in a great session the next day. It's important to remember that although quantity (training volume) is important, the quality of those sessions is very important. If you are not putting in enough time or effort to enforce some stimulus, which will in turn force the body to adapt, then the training time could be regarded as potentially useless.

What do I hope January holds?

The weather will dictate and as we all know, January can be unpredictable. As soon as the snow hits much of my training will be spent on the hill with a heavy pack working. How much work I'm doing will dictate to how many runs I can get in as I always need to make sure I'm in an energetic state for work.

As long as the snow isn't about, I'll aim to keep getting out running as much as possible, with at least three runs a week. My longest run this month was 17km and ideally I need to pull this up. I have planned some 30-40km mountain runs which depending on the status of the above I hope to complete.

With regards to resistance training, I hope to keep doing what I'm doing. Two sessions a week with a primary focus on legs and core. The circuits sessions I run on a Monday night will be one of these and it will act as great all body conditioning.

You'll see on the first screenshot of graphs I have spent a little time in the darker red box (Productive Training) but thanks to some missed sessions / Christmas I rose back up into the 'Keeping Fit' phase. This is basically worked out on the basis of fatigue and fitness levels on my Suunto watch app. In order to make some better fitness gains I need to spend more time in the 'productive training' zone with the odd venture into 'Going to Hard' (at the bottom of the graph).

Let's see what the start of 2022 offers. Happy New Year all!

Weighted Hiking!

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