Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Workout 05-03-15 and Why My Gym Smells of Marzipan!

on 5 March 2015
Image courtesy of Naypong at

Image courtesy of Naypong at

Today I wanted to try expanding my workout a bit to include something different, so after kitting out The Box Room with some new gear (more on that below!), I went riffling through my Women’s Running back issues looking for some inspiration. Sheer chance got me started looking at workouts on a magazine which I already had the gear for – the Feb issue I’ve been following has a pretty general toning session called ‘Feel the Burn’ aimed at building strength and boosting metabolism – it only requires a set of handweights (or baked beans!) and for comfort, a floor mat (or towel). When I went flicking through the others, about half of them required gym equipment that I don’t have yet – a gym ball and a medicine ball – neither of which is unusual home workout equipment, but neither of which I currently have. A gym ball is on the shopping list as I progress – I didn’t want to go on a major buy-all-the-things spree, so I’ve been getting a few things as and when I feel I need them, or dragging things out the attic which I’ve had from when I went through a phase of working out at home while at uni – hence already having the floor mats, hand weights set and I also have an aerobic step.

I found a few magazines which required no equipment, or just hand weights, and one which needed a resistance band – of which I found one in a DVD I bought a while ago and have never used. The workout I decided to try today was one called ‘Exercise Your Speed Demons’ and is supposed to help you get your race pace quicker.

I did my normal workout twice through with 10 reps for each exercise using the 2kg hand weights, before swapping to the 1kg ones for the new workout on the exercises that required weights – I didn’t want to risk hurting myself using the heavier ones in unfamiliar positions while I get used to this one.

Time: 25 mins + warm-up/stretches

Equipment: 2kg hand weights

  • 2 sets of each
    • 10x Dumbbell Bent Over Row
    • 10x Dumbbell Lunges – each side
    • 10x Dumbbell Triceps Kickback – each side
    • 10x Crunches – straight and each side obliques
    • 10x Dumbbell Shoulder Press
    • 10x Dumbbell Squats
    • 10x Kneeling Side Leg Lift – each side
    • 10x Toe Taps

Equipment: 1kg hand weights

  • 1 set of each
    • 10x weighted running arms – each side (I know it’s exactly the same but I didn’t feel ‘even’ without doing the other side leading!)
    • 10x squat jumps
    • 10x overhead triceps extension
    • 10x single-arm bent-over row – each side
    • 5x V-sits
    • 10x and 20x jogging bum kicks
    • 20x and 20x jogging high knees
    • 10x weighted ABC calf raises – straight, pigeon-toed and plié

I found the new workout as a whole to be a bit stilted – it seemed to change quickly between very quick moments like the squat jumps (where I felt a little like a jackhammer) and the bum kicks and high knees, and the slower and more controlled arm and calf exercises. I may re-order these so I have a section of quicker ones, followed by a section of slower ones – I didn’t really feel the workout flowed very well. I also found that the shoes I’ve been wearing for working out are not well suited to doing the faster jump-around exercises. I’ve been wearing a pair of old trainers which have travelled many miles and are getting a bit worn wide around the ball of the foot, and I found them slidy and unsupportive when doing the high knees in particular. I’m going to try my running shoes next time and see if they’re better 🙂

The V-sits were a new one for me – and I didn’t push myself to do 10 this time, I’m wanting to get used to doing these 5 at a time as I found it difficult to hold for more than a second in the extended position – it’s one that’s going to take some getting used to! By contrast, having done the double-arm bent-over row with 1.5kg and 2kg weights for a few weeks now, the single-arm row with 1kg weights was very easy as these muscles are more developed and familiar with the motion.

I wish I could say I enjoyed this workout – but truth is, I’m shattered! I was looking forward to doing it, but as soon as I started warming up I felt somewhat lethargic – I got through it anyway, but my heart wasn’t really in it, so it’s going to be an early night and hopefully a good night’s restful sleep for me in preparation for a weekend of running! Friday I’m either going to be having a rest evening, or trying the stomach crunches workout I found in another WR mag – depending on how I feel 🙂

Something I did enjoy today – some of my gym shopping turned up! Now I’m officially declaring The Box Room to be The Gym. That’s right, I now have a gym in my house. A sparsely equipped one, but none-the-less! Last week I ordered some floor mats – less slidy than the yoga mats I have been using, a foam roller, some bigger dumbbell weights for P, and an ipod docking station so I don’t have to wear my shuffle with headphones while I’m working out. This gym is getting kitted out with cheap things! The mats were £20 from Amazon, I got the dumbbells on ebay – £21 for 35kg, brand new :O, the foam roller was £10 and the docking station was £20. The roller and docking station are at the delivery office waiting for me to pick them up on Saturday morning, but the mats arrived today and we picked the dumbbells up last night! The mats remind me of the Uhu glue I used to use in primary school that always smelled of marzipan, they’re a little pongy (not unpleasantly) and the cat is fascinated by them. I don’t think P’s going to be using the room much until the smell disipates, but I’m hopeful that will be in a day or two!

The transformation from The Box Room to The Gym!


The guitar chair is now my magazine stand, and I dragged my step out the attic for calf exercises, and to use as a ‘box’ when it’s at full height for push-ups etc. (One day, one day I will be able to do a set of full press-up!!!) The new big dumbbells I am hoping to upgrade to using soon – but not in the way P’s currently got them set up! The small weights stacked under the guitar chair are 1.25kg each – so by putting one on each side of the bar, I’ll have two 2.5kg dumbbells to try as an upgrade to the current 2kg ones I’m using, without having to buy another set of hand weights! The weights currently on the bars are 2.5kgs (and I could also use these as they have handles in them) and 5kgs – so if I don’t want to buy any more hand weights, I’d have to jump straight from 2.5kg to 4kg – which I’m unlikely to do – but we’ll deal with that when the time comes! For now, I have more than enough to be getting on with!



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