As you can probably already tell from this blog I love running. Well not always. There are always those runs where you wish you had never pulled on your trainers and the sofa beckons the whole way round, but I have found that the fitter I have got the less they have happened. Even if I start a run badly, by halfway round I have usually cheered up and the endorphins kick in to make it a joy to be out and on my feet.
But being vain, while I love having strong and fit legs I want my top half to match, which brings me to the vexed question of weight training. I know others love pumping iron. My wonderful on and off personal trainer Andrea is a huge fan, but I just can't get into it. To me it is a necessary evil to tone up the old bingo wings and strengthen the core.
I have tried all kinds of different approaches to strength work from classes to free weights, machines to boxing. I will admit I do love a punching session but unlike running it's no fun on your own and it still doesn't give me quite the same buzz.
I have been giving a new gym a try this week and had a routine drawn up for me by one of the trainers there. It's a combination of free weights and a swanky weights machine the name of which escapes me as I write (will update after my next visit). It was fun as it was something new, but even as I entered the third round of the circuit I was beginning to get a bit distracted.
Perhaps that is the problem. When you run getting distracted makes everything flow much better. If you can let your thoughts drift off and puzzle away at some psychological knot you forget the ache in your hip and the fact that your legs were feeling like lead about a kilometre ago. I think this suits my butterfly mind which is forever darting off in a new direction.
Weights on the other hand require concentration and a dedication to 'form'. It is no good simply slinging the barbell around and hoping for the best, you have to keep the mantra of 'keep your shoulder blades back and down', 'keep your elbows close to your body', 'keep your hips up', 'keep your core tight' constantly flowing as you also attempt to lift the barbell in a graceful and effective manner.
This whole process is so much easier with a professional at your side reminding you how to do things, but when you are on your own it is too easy to find yourself drifting off only to realise that your shoulders are far from back and down, more like up and all over the place, your hips are floppy and your core flabby. Running is just so much easier.