All hail the ma­chine

ANDY COOPER is get­ting him­self fit­ter thanks to the team at Ex­eter Golf and Coun­try Club and is shar­ing his progress in this monthly col­umn

Devon Life - - Editor's Fitness Diary -

For me, mo­ti­va­tion lev­els for get­ting out on a run just about hit their low­est point when the clocks go back at the end of Oc­to­ber and don’t get go­ing again, shuf­fling and croak­ing their way back to some form of en­thu­si­asm, un­til Jan­uary when that postChrist­mas feel­ing forces those limbs out onto the streets.

Those dark, dank morn­ings and evenings do not of­fer the great­est in­cen­tive to get out and pound the streets and so, apart from week­ends, I find it hard to go on runs dur­ing these late months of the year. I know there is heaps of re­flec­tive kit and as­sorted body/head torches I could equip my­self with in or­der to tackle the mean streets of Devon but it just doesn’t feel the same to me when you can’t re­ally see your sur­round­ings as you pound along.

Which means it’s this time of year the gym truly be­comes a life­saver, of course. That run­ning ma­chine is a bea­con of light in an oth­er­wise dark world of fit­ness and I have been em­brac­ing it with a vengeance.

I am work­ing my way round all the pro­grammes it of­fers – ran­dom, car­dio, hill, su­per en­durance ul­tra marathon run­ner (I may be ex­ag­ger­at­ing on that last one) and en­joy­ing the va­ri­ety they of­fer. Pop in some head­phones and lis­ten to some mu­sic, or in my case a pod­cast or two, and you can while away plenty of time – and lots of miles – in the process.

I am com­ple­ment­ing these miles on the run­ning ma­chine with a weekly fit­ness ses­sion led by per­sonal trainer Lee Cooke, which adds to the va­ri­ety of my pro­gramme.

Lee has had me do­ing quite a few weight train­ing ses­sions and also one par­tic­u­larly, ahem, “chal­leng­ing” mul­ti­ple choice task which had me jump­ing, hop­ping, side-step­ping, push­ing, pulling and stretch­ing around a squash court fes­tooned with all kinds of fit­ness kit. My mus­cles the next day told me it had worked!

I have, of course, pledged to run the Ex­eter Marathon on 19 May and so that date looms large in my men­tal cal­en­dar. Lee has given me a be­spoke 17-week train­ing cal­en­dar to pre­pare for those 26 miles and my rudi­men­tary cal­cu­la­tions show I need to start on this in earnest by 20 Jan­uary.

So, this is just the build-up to the build-up, I reckon, as I pre­pare my­self to take on that May tar­get. I look for­ward to re­ally hit­ting my straps come Jan­uary and I aim then to mix some out­door run­ning with in­doors as I need to keep the va­ri­ety go­ing and as the morn­ings get brighter so will I.

A quick word too for all those new ‘gym bun­nies’ plan­ning to hit the place with a fit­ness plan in mind come Jan­uary. There will be no snob­bery from me about these new guys and gals join­ing…i have been in that po­si­tion my­self and it’s easy to sneer at those who turn up at the start of the New Year aim­ing to get fit­ter but I think they de­serve all the plau­dits and en­cour­age­ment they can get. And they won’t get a warmer, more re­laxed wel­come than from the fab gym team at Ex­eter Golf and County Club. ex­etergcc.co.uk

‘It’s easy to sneer at those who turn up at the start of the New Year aim­ing to get fit­ter but I think they de­serve all the plau­dits and en­cour­age­ment they can get’

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