Who Turned Off The Lights???

A room with a view.
I’ve just got in from a training session in the shed.  It really is as grim as it sounds. It’s a bog standand 5m x 2m wooden shed which I expect was bought from somewhere like B&Q. It’s top of the range (not), full of damp with a plastic window covered in moss and a buckled door.  Mmmmmmmm the luxury!

My Concept2 rowing machine sits right in the middle giving me just enough room to flair my elbows whilst in full swing,  surrounded by everything me and my housemate convince ourselves we’ll need at some point in our lives.

My shed training is usually first thing in the morning as soon as I get up but recently I have been focusing my attention to fundraising instead (if you’d like to support me 😉: gofundme.com/ltfactor).  After having my wisdom tooth out on Friday, or not as the case may be (they couldn’t get it out and spent 45 minutes and 5 injections yanking at my mouth), I wasn’t able to train because A). I was tanked up on medicine and B). I have been on a liquid diet due to the inability to chew food for 4 days.

This is the actual view I had on the rowing machine
Getting home from work, I felt withdrawals from my lack of rowing and decided on a 30 minute session to clear the cobwebs. The sun had gone down and my head torch was low on battery so I decided to row in the dark.  “This is what it is going to be like rowing on the water at night after all right?”  Good mental training I think.

I pull at the handle and the flywheel is loud. I’m feeling good!!!  A few more pulls and I flick my head torch on to look at the stats on the screen. Blimey!  “Those spilt times are looking good.”

And that’s when I decided to do a 30 minute time trial………

I set the rowing machine computer to 30 minutes and my phone timer to 29 minutes. I figured my head torch will have just about enough battery if I flick it on for the final 1 minute.

The shed is absolutely pitch black. I couldn’t even see the outline of the computer 1 metre in front of me, so I close my eyes.  The first 10 minutes (I guessed) felt good and I feel like I’m on for a personal best.  And then the inner voices start talking to each other.

I begin bribing myself that if I get a PB today then I won’t have to do the GMB Fitness programme I originally had planned for after the row (I have a love/hate relationship with this programme – more on that in a bit).

Devil – “You can’t get a PB. You haven’t trained hard in weeks! Plus your face looks like a football after the dentist.”
Angel – “You haven’t pushed hard in ages. Just give it a try, you never know what might happen.”
Devil – “You’ll do yourself harm training hard after all that medicine, you should be resting.”

So on and so forth…..

I promised myself for the entire 29 minutes that I wouldn’t turn on my headtorch to see how much time was remaining and look at the stats. Only would I turn it on once the timer on my phone went off for the final minute.

Devil – “Just turn it on, then you can see how much further you have to go, and how much faster you will have to push to get a PB.”
Angel – “Keep it off. This is great training of the row.”
Devil – No-one will know if you turn it on. Turn it on for just a second…. Go on……”

You get the score. A good proportion of the 29 minutes was spent having a ‘discussion’ with myself until 28.5 minutes and the devil won. I turned the head torch on.

(Now, just to back myself up, I have always been amazed that the Concept2 computer does not make a noise when the time has elapsed. Also, my phone has a terrible habit of switching off when it gets cold and my shed is cold! I thought I might be rowing forever if I didn’t peek.  Either way, I gave in. All I had to do was wait 30 more seconds!)

The long and short of my little story is I got a new 30 minute personal best!!!  214 metres further than my previous 30 minute time trial a few weeks ago. Usually I get 30-50 metres more on a PB, maybe 100 at a push but 214 metres!!!  I was amazed. And relieved I didn’t have to go and do my GMB programme as I was being sick in my mouth a little bit whilst rowing.
I’ve tried to come to a conclusion on how this happened, as I had so many things against me.

  1. My main theory is that training in the dark and not seeing the stats meant I wasn’t chasing numbers but instead working off how my body felt. I was able to close my eyes and focus on my power, posture and breathing rather than getting sucked into feeling motivated/demotivated by what the numbers were telling me.  If in the first 10 minutes I’d have seen I wasn’t able to get a PB, it’s likely I’d have slowed down and given in. (All this relates back to a previous post about chasing stats whilst exercising)
  2. I have been living sugar free for 4 weeks and loving it.  A friend who joined me in the challenge said he is running faster than he has ever ran in his life after eliminating sugar.
  3. Could it be less is actually more a bit like my post Don’t Try As Hard … Laura Try, which completely disagrees with Train Like A B*****d. Hmmmm, I’m not sure I’ll ever decide on this one.
  4. The GMB fitness programme that I do 2-3 times per week is keeping me strong, functional and healthy which is the reason I love it. (The reason I don’t love it is because I am so rubbish at some of the moves and get frustrated).

My favourite option for why I got my PB on very little training is a combination of numbers 1, 2 and 4.

Try ditching the stats, whether that be the watch or cycle computer and try training just listening to your body. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Right, I’m off. I’ve got more fundraising to do!


Happy Training xxx