So another weekend over, and just one more left for me before I get home. Next weekend actually should be very relaxing as I am going to Carlisle to spend some time with a couple of friends from school back home. I've got a couple of essays due on Monday though, so it's looking like a marathon effort in the library this week to get them done by late on Friday so I can head across the Pennines without any nagging deadline worries. Watch this space...
That's a bit of a digression I know but it is slightly relevant, I suppose, in that next weekend is a wipeout as far as any sort of training is concerned, and I'm not just on about the walking variety.
Having re-read last week's posting, I might have come across as taking the view that only walking can help you build up for the Parish - but I'm sure that's not true. Any kind of physical excercise in my book can only be beneficial, whether it's taking the dogs for a walk round the block or going for a 10-mile run.
I would say there's no need to feel guilty if you can't go 'Parish' walking with your bottle of juice and comfy trainers - a stroll in hiking boots along the beach it just as good for general stamina and can make you feel a lot better after a long day (or week) in the office. If you're aiming for speed and technique then of course a few road/NSC track sessions will be helpful, but for the majority some general activity here and there helps keep you 'ticking over' during the winter and can provide some stimulation to get out of the house.
Being a student, I'm in the privileged position of having a raft of sporting opportunities open to me both in Durham, and also at home too. I play 11-a-side football in Durham twice a week - training on Wednesdays and matches on Saturdays, which (to my limited knowledge in this area) is great for leg muscles especially, and helps to build stamina. Add to that the 5-a-side centre down the road, and the fact that I'm in a house with 4 other football-crazy lads...you can see where this is going.
Surprisingly, I actually play more football at home. Most local teams, both 1st and Combination (the 2nd team, if you like) train twice weekly as well as playing on Saturdays. Mine is no different, and we have fitness sessions on Mondays with not a football in sight - usually it's the gaswork steps by the swing-bridge in Douglas or a gym somewhere. At least on Wednesdays we get to practice skills and match situations, so all in all it's quite a well-rounded way to stay in shape.
Hiking is another hobby of mine. It may not seem like everyone's idea of fun, but putting on some heavy, cumbersome hiking boots and going up Snaefell for example, really works the calf muscles - especially when you are wading through thick grass or when it's especially steep.
If you combine hill walking with something like Geo-caching or the more old-school letterboxing, which adds an extra dimension to your walk as you search for the hidden caches and boxes, it can be really good fun. Plus, as has already been mentioned on the manxathletics forums, going out in your trainers after a couple of weeks in boots is a pleasant surprise and a bit of a treat.
Hiking brings other benefits too. My claim to fame when out on the Island's hills? Seeing Sean Hands on Clagh Ouyr just 1 week after the End to End this year. Not a word of a lie - just a shame I couldn't garner any technical tips for road walking from him! :)