#360fit: Countdown to Cape Town training diary

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Sport360's Stuart has competed in Dubai, Barcelona and Copenhagen this year.

For the next five weeks I am trying to run around 75 kilometres per week before gradually tapering down my running plan three weeks before the September 18th race date in Cape Town.

This will be my fourth marathon (42.195 km) in 2016 and I have been training hard since recording my personal best time to date, 3:07:55 in Copenhagen in May.

But now I will be upping the intensity and pushing my body to the limit to reach the target I’ve dreamed of for the first time.

I’ve read around the sub-3 subject and spoken to people involved in athletics and they have advised that running a greater volume of kms between now and the marathon, more than I’ve ever done before, will give me the best chance of achieving my target.

And I have to agree. Distance running training will be the key for me. In the last few races I have ran out of steam during the latter stages and I need to maintain a speed of 4.15 minutes per km, something I’ve fallen short of before.

A marathon is very much an on the day race, I know that sounds obvious but it’s a sport where you never know how your body will respond until you cross the start line. That’s why preparation is key.

I’m mixing my running routine up as much as possible and, while I actually enjoy running in the challenging daylight UAE summer heat, of course I am running bigger distances in the evening time when temperatures are a lot more enjoyable.

I won’t just be running – a big focus of this training block will be on strengthening core muscles through gym work, stretching, yoga exercises and regular games of squash to keep my movements free and body supple.

Recovery is also vital. Training overload can cause muscle fatigue and injury so I will be trying to ensure I get adequate rest time and resist the urge to just keep on running! Although, in the past, I’ve found this difficult.

I’m not a running expert by any means but I’m delighted to share my journey with Sport360.com readers as I take this step into the unknown.

I will be updating this diary with video content and pictures as I move through the weeks and please let me know your thoughts, get in touch on email: [email protected] and follow @Stuart_Appleby on Twitter.

And with the first week over and done with, here’s my timetable of activity:

SUNDAY 17TH JULY
Distance run: 20 km outdoor run from JLT Dubai to Kite Beach.
Gym: Cross-trainer for 40 minutes, working on glutes, hamstrings, quads and calf muscles. Then a mixture of sit-ups, leg crunches, press-ups, pull-ups, weights.
Stretching: All main leg muscle groups and upper body.

MONDAY 18TH JULY
Distance run: 10 km outdoor run around Dubai Marina.
Gym: Cross-trainer for 40 minutes, working on glutes, hamstrings, quads and calf muscles. Then a mixture of sit-ups, leg crunches, press-ups, pull-ups, weights.
Stretching: All main leg muscle groups and upper body.

TUESDAY 19TH JULY
Distance run: 30-minute treadmill (around 6.4 kms).
Stretching: All main leg muscle groups and upper body.

WEDNESDAY 20TH JULY
Distance run: 20 km outdoor run for long stretch towards Jumeirah Beach Road and back to JLT.
Outdoor Yoga (41 degrees): Following Bikram Yoga routines.
Gym: Cross-trainer for 40 minutes, working on glutes, hamstrings, quads and calf muscles.
Stretching: All main leg muscle groups and upper body.

THURSDAY 21ST JULY
Distance run: 10 km outdoor run (various).
Squash: Intensive hour session, using core strength to move forward, back, side-to-side and to loosen back muscles.
Stretching: All main leg muscle groups and upper body.

FRIDAY 22ND JULY
Distance run: 10 km outdoor run (various).
Stretching: All main leg muscle groups and upper body.

SATURDAY 23RD JULY
Rest day with stretching. I suffer from tightness in my left calf and because muscle groups inter-link and work together, it has caused a few problems with my left foot. I felt a shooting pain through my left foot for most of the day and applied ice for long periods. I’m hoping the pain will ease due to rest.
Stretching: All main leg muscle groups and upper body.

TOTAL DISTANCE RAN: 76.4 km.

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#360fit – The most precious of senses & treatment for pink eye

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Allergic conjunctivitis is common in the UAE due to the dusty environment.

Having finally risen from my sick bed and emerged from a darkened room following acute viral conjunctivitis which left me unable to use my eyes for two weeks, I’m seriously valuing my sight. Although I have never experienced or seen such an acute form of this affliction affectionately known as ‘pink eye’, it is apparently one of the most common reasons for visits to eye specialists.

I am slowly recovering, but apart from the discomfort and a month’s disruption to my life in terms of work as well as social activity, I now fully appreciate how precious my eyesight is and I’ve learned a few things on this journey.

Causes: The three main causes are bacterial, viral or allergy. In the case of bacterial and viral, whatever caused it in the first place is probably irrelevant as it is highly contagious and passed very easily from person to person. In my case it was the adenovirus that was responsible, a virus that causes the common cold amongst other upper respiratory illnesses. Allergic conjunctivitis is common here in the UAE due to the dusty environment.

If your doctor is unsure of the cause, simple blood tests can determine which of the three is responsible, although my ophthalmologist was able to determine the cause by examining my inner eyelids.

Symptoms: In the milder cases, the whites of your eyes turn pink, your eyes will probably be itchy, a little swollen and watery. In the more severe cases, the discharge will be thicker and profuse, your inner eyelids almost turn inside out, pain can keep you awake at night and you become photophobic, unable to stand any light, especially bright sunlight.

Prognosis: Allergic conjunctivitis can be controlled with the use of antihistamines, either tablets, eye drops or both. It tends to be seasonal too, so should settle down.

Bacterial and viral infections will run their course within a week or two, although sometimes it can last much longer. In the case of viral, there is little that can be done and as I was told on a number of occasions, you just have to be patient.

I would avoid using steroid eye drops or any other drops available over the counter as the virus must run its course and nothing can hurry this along.

Treatment:
1. Rest: If you have an infection, you aren’t well and your body needs time to recover.
2. Hygeine: Wash your hands frequently and thorough Clean youreyes/eyelashes frequently using cotton buds (using fresh cotton wool/buds for each eye) and babyshampoo. Good habits to get into are things like not sharing towels, thoroughly cleaning your eyes morning and night and keeping all eyewear scrupulously clean (special care should be taken in the
case of contact lenses). Keep your surroundings clean (especially door handles) and bedding.
3. Compresses: When my eyes were too sore for anything else, warm or cold compresses really soothed them.
4. Artificial tears: Dry eyes are a problem anyway in hot, windy,
dusty conditions and air conditioned areas, but your eyes will probably thank you for the extra moisture these products provide.

Josie is a health, fitness & lifestyle adviser and a Pilates & yoga instructor with 30+ years experience. www.bodysoulwell.com. Follow her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Josie.McKenlay) and Twitter @JosieMcKenlay.

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#360fit: Pilates is the Real deal at One JLT’s slick new studio

Alex Rea 21/07/2016
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Real Pilates’ new studio in ONE JLT is the ideal setting.

It’s been one of the most popular buzzwords throughout the fitness industry for decades, yet has escaped this humble writer’s attention for too long. Not anymore, though.

When it comes to strengthening and activating your core muscles, Pilates is the real deal – trust me.

As someone who weight trains five times a week, plays football and basketball regularly, it was fair to say confidence was no issue when it came to testing out ‘Real Pilates’ Reformer class. Now, admittedly, some prior research would have quickly dissipated that foolhardy conviction because it turned out to be one of the toughest, but most importantly, enjoyable workouts I’ve experienced.

Some of you, particularly fellow men, may raise an eyebrow to that statement, but believe me, just try it and you’ll know.

However, first some background, thankfully provided by the incredibly knowledgeable STOTT Pilates trainers, led by passionate founder Reza Alavi, who inhabit the brandspanking new studio in the heart of the sleek ONE JLT building.

The Pilates Reformer uses a device originally invented by Joseph Pilates in the 1900s when he rigged up springs to hospital beds to help bedridden patients exercise. Of course, as our understanding of the body has grown, so, too, has the development of his rehabilitation programme, helping everyone from professional athletes to those recovering from cancer.

As the region’s largest STOTT Pilates teaching facility, it’s fair to say there are few better introductions to this form of exercise regime.

The combination of state-of-theart facilities and award-winning trainers made for an eye-opening experience. And when you first lay eyes on the Reformer, it eerily resembles some sort of torture device with its composition of bands and springs.

But thankfully the class trainer Tahlia was on hand to help me settle in. The class size was just right – full, holding about 12 people – and the pace was perfect.

Tahlia would quickly explain each move, which we performed for around 12 repetitions, giving you plenty of time to feel the burn, maintain momentum and keep things interesting. Although I was definitely the first to break out into a sweat, there was never a feeling of being overwhelmed, which you’d expect as Pilates technique focuses on control and form. Though the first reformer was designed to help rehabilitate wounded soldiers, the modern equipment helps students perfect their technique.

“Pilates is great because there is a lot of rehabilitative aspects to it and then once you start learning and embedding the basic principles of Pilates into any form of fitness you do then you prevent injuries,” Alavi says.

“A lot of marathon runners, cyclists, horse riders, of course the Royal Family do a lot of serious professional equestrian, they come to us because they want to make sure they have the right posture, strong core and prevent injuries etc. We have a lot of private sessions, one-on-one and personal training sessions based on Pilates.

“Injuries have come from all kinds of backgrounds, it could be from something like cross fit to people who are reconstructing after cancer. People from all walks of life, all ages and all backgrounds.

“When there’s a unique thing about the person then of course we prefer the one-on-one training because we want to tailor the exercises to the body but when the person is ready to go into a group class they do so.”

No matter your background Pilates will make you stronger.

Studies have shown that a twiceweekly class can lead to significant increases in the endurance of muscles in the abdomen and upper body. And for someone like me who already weight trains, it’s the perfect complement to my regime because it negates the worry of fitness plateau. But why have people like myself, neglected Pilates for so long? A lot of it, is perception.

Medical professionals prescribe Pilates as the best form of rehabilitation but it’s not been promoted as it should be, as an integral part of injury prevention rather than post-injury. But with 75 classes per week at ‘Real Pilates’ there is no excuse to ensure your body is well maintained. Just ask Tahlia.

“Pilates honestly caters for everybody!” she says. “The elderly, sports stars, any special population – pre/post natal for example – rehab, injury recovery as well as injury prevention. It is used for performance enhancement, to teach you guys how to correctly lift, and make the most of the weight training, to compliment weight loss, to tone and firming, balances flexibility, core strength and muscle strength, stress relief… The list goes on.”

What: Real Pilates
Where: ONE JLT
Verdict: 9/10 As a complete newby to Pilates the depth of knowledge from the trainers was crucial. Areas of my body which had been neglected in weight training were given a real workout and I’ll be going again that’s for sure.

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