May Training

If you’re reading this and you’re not me, it probably won’t be that thrilling. There are plenty of other content nuggets more compelling and scientific to consume on exercise and health. This is the second web post that logs what is on my mind so I can refer back to it later. Read April 2022 training post here. The aim is these monthly posts will be valuable to rewire habits and thinking with my training.

Goal: Reduce body fat and build a reliable base fitness for running Hackney Half marathon in 60 days. Start date 1st April, race date 22nd May.

Results: Cold virus contracted on 2nd May, too sick to run.

April 1st April 29th May 31st Month
Weight (kg) 73.1 69.8 68.6 -1.2 -4.5
Fat (%) 25 22.6 22 -0.6 -3
Muscle (%) 71.2 73.4 74.1 0.7 -2.9
Fat Mass (kg) 18.3 15.8 15.1 -0.7 3.2

It has been 29 gruelling days of living with a cold virus. I managed all of two runs and seven weights session. Cancelled running the half marathon and I’m gutted about the outcome.

Context: I started May the leanest, strongest and fastest I’d been in years. On April 30th I ran for an hour at my race pace, felt amazing and logged a 4:39 /km average. My assumption was that I’d train for three more weeks up to the half marathon and focus on three times: 1:35 – 1:40 – 1:50.  I bet that I’d finish the month with my weight around 67kg and be closer to <20% body fat. I’d just come from months of ballooning and no running, more detail on this in April’s web log.

What happen?

  • Caught the cold virus (probably at a night out in Birmingham) on the 30th April, by the 2nd of April I was in bed
  • Training ground to a halt, I was too sick to concentrate, work, run and sleep
  • The virus haunted me on and off for three weeks, I always felt like I was around the corner from recovery – I never quite arrived until week four since being in bed. Week four I was back at work and had my spirit and energy back
  • During week three of the virus my GP was alarmed by the blood coming from my nose and sent me for chest x-rays, bloods and a face to face consultation
  • My assumption that I had sinusitis turned out to be true, a huge relief after an evening in hospital
  • Seven weights training session in total over month, I think the goal would have been 14
  • Two runs, one while sick which was a terrible idea, one yesterday now I’m better
  • Skipped two meals on a few days, eating only dinner
  • Indulged on food more times than I can remember, puddings, large portions, take-outs, carb heavy options

What a shitty month. Perhaps one of the most prominent examples in my life of a well made plan not going to plan. Perhaps running races are just cursed. Before I delve further into the dark of the last month, I’m going to look at a few positives that and the bigger picture. I reached 67.2kg | 21% body fat | 14.1kg fat mass on May 26th – this is with diet being all over the place, no running and a few weight sessions. That is just under 6kg total loss, 4% body fat loss and 4.2kg of fat mass loss in 60 days. Those are some great stats and they can get better. On top of that, my weights session yesterday (Mon 30th May) saw me push arnold press and tricep extension up to 14kg, squat, goblet squat and floor press all to 20kg. I learnt that the dog can jog! Over the last year I’ve tried running with her and it’s been a nightmare, she steps into a sprint and pulls your arm out of its socket whilst tripping you up with the lead when she changes direction. However, if you jog and never let her get past a fast trot – she can actually jog. I’ve done about three of these so far, ideally I want to get as many in as possible in June. My belly isn’t so fat that my Nike Germany t-shirt clings to it, only noticed this month. Skipping two meals wasn’t that hard. I want to test this out now I’m feeling heaps better, it could have been the ride of paracetamol, endless tea and living on a sofa that made it so easy. However tricky it might be, I’ve been learning about the benefits so I’m all for as many additional skipped meals as I can squeeze in whilst still feeling strong and capable. Which leads nicely into learning about electrolytes. In the past, when I’ve skipped meals I haven’t had any supplements. In June I’m going to see how I feel when topping up on electrolytes.

Right, onto some analysis – I haven’t seen huge wins this month, it is a slow and steady improvement. Which is okay, but we’re approaching familiar plateau. Potentially a dangerously complacent one when combined with no running. The total wins of dropping a bunch of fat of 60 days can easily become the only thing I concentrate on. Whilst at the same time my fat loss is slowing, my eating plan is closer to random guess work and a few bad habits of sweet treats are creeping back in. If we add all these together the forecast could easily trend back to fat gain. The numbers right now look like this:

Note: I mentioned the best day of the month, this wasn’t a weigh in day so it sat between logged spreadsheet days.

May is now behind me. Thinking about the 30 days of June, what do I want to get out of it? I really want to break into the sub 20% body fat. Now, this is a strange concept as fat percentage is calculated from total weight and a dexa scan is the only real way to determine fat composition. So the goal is more about seeing the fat loss in the mirror and feeling less fat. I’m using my scales a bit like I use Google Maps when I have a working knowledge of how to get somewhere, it’s a calibrator to keep you in check. Also, as I can still pinch a fair old grab of belly fat with my finger and thumb – theres no real concern on the metric accuracy when the evidence is a fist of fat.

Next up, running. Running and spinning. From watching a few training videos I really like the idea of mixing up my heart rate zone 2 training with spinning so I get the benefits of effort exertion but I’m not overworking muscles in the same way day on day. This should reduce the risk of injury and increase the volume of training. Dog jogs, park jogs, in and then out routes, fast laps in Victoria Park and laps with Chris are all on the cards. I might not hit the final target this month, but there is a plan to do a half marathon distance with Hollie on the bike next to me when I feel as physically fit as I did on April 30th.

I’m going to continue with the Q2 weight lifting routine, ideally pushing a few sessions to fatigue, overload and reduce the rest time. These will be done on days where I’m well slept and up for the intensity. It would be a nice to have to get some big lifts in at the gym, highly likely to only do these if and when.

Food is easy to get complacent about, theres been a lot of eating out, over eating, eating sugar and carby meals and larger portion sizes this month. June is about recalibrating these. I’m tempted to set some rules on the consumption, but, I know they tend to be hard to follow to the letter. I will let the scales guide me and aim for a mix of skipped meals and veg/protein only after spikes. I do need to get better at picking healthier options when I eat out. I’m still in the stage of seeing weight loss even when not running, however, my bet is this will plateau soon if what I’m eating still follows three a day and spikes. It is a tough one as I don’t sustain a strict plan for long.

Plan for next month

  • 65kg | 19% body fat | 12kg fat mass – these are tough targets, but that’s the point, right?
  • Running training back to 1hr at 4:39 /km average or better
  • Run with Chris, dog and in-and-out routes
  • 15 chin-ups in a row
  • Four mega weights session (low rest, higher volume)
  • Skip breakfast unless a weekend, skip three lunches on weekdays (around 40% meal skipping from three meals a day)
  • 50% of meals out are healthier options and/or not a full portion eaten


Written by
Lawrence Brown on 31st May 2022