Fitness Life

Friday Fitness Rest.

This week has been about walking. Kea has done more than I have — for me this week has been far too much about work, and not enough about rest. Rest is biblical: rest is essential.

At present we are in a baseline period — working on getting fitter, losing weight, and letting our injuries heal. However, when the weeks are bad, this can and will go backwards — the stress reaction and the inflammatory reaction are closely aligned.

But life does not care about your training goals.

When you have brutal weeks (and this has been one of those) then rest. This should involve some simplification of your life and what you are doing. Your plan for the week has to be able to be written on an envelope: communicated simply.

Consider Lydiard’s big idea: build an aerobic base and then add strength then speed. Most people forget that there was a period of hill work — high bounding up hills and fast running down them two to three times a week before bringing in the speedwork and sprints that gave the anaerobic polish to his athletes. Then, following competition, one rested and started the cycle again.

(When I was young and in training I used a notebook to record my training. One line per workout. Simple. It worked. Simple is always best).

What do we do now? We complicate it. Some of that is useful — a heart rate monitor can stop you running too fast or training too hard. A GPS watch or cellphone measures distances more accurately than driving them. We know a lot more about diet (because we got it very wrong for a very long time — most of my adult life). We know that strength work helps, and doing a variety of tasks prevents injury.

And we know that this has to be done in real life: fitness is not digital, it is analogue.

My plan this weekend is to not worry too much about the walks but instead to have some family time and fun. I need the rest: for the stressors of this season will not simply evaporate. And yes, I know you can measure this from Heart Rate Variability (on many smart watches) but the simplest measures are that I feel irritable and exhausted, and my old injuries hurt again.

Others have instead skin reactions or inflamed joints.

The prevention is to schedule rest. The cure is to cut intensity of everything (work included) down. In extreme situations, this can mean taking time off: in mild situations it means making sure time off is soon.

And doing nothing on your time off, but relaxing and sleeping.


I’ve tried food tracking — it does not work for me, and I agree with Mark Sisson that it is only good if something is going very wrong. It is one less app to worry about. Very low calorie diets do improve glucose levels in Type II diabetes… the simplest way to to do this is to eat once or twice a day, at home, and avoid the cafes. If you have a bad day, just keep on doing what works for you.

One of the joys of seasonal eating is that in spring you get and can grow asparagus. We have found a purple variety locally, which raw, is delicious. To the point that we are now scheming where to put this into the garden next year, as it is too late this season.

Despite (or because) we are concentrating on rest and diet, progress this week

Weka Kea
Change this week – 1.0 kg – 2.0 kg
Change since baseline (13 weeks) -8.3 kg -8.0 kg