So who knew all the core strength and balance work would prove so useful at Badminton? Sadly, I wasn't riding, but I was staying in the lorry with friends on the campsite, which has been an annual event for a few years now. It's a great way to spend the week, and the people who run the campsite do a fantastic job.
In common with lots of people (I think!) I've always taken flipflops to wear in the campsite showers, but have sometimes found it quite a challenge to balance myself on one leg for a prolonged time when doing the whole 'drying myself/getting out of flip flops and into clothes and shoes' thing. This year - no problem! I think the (quite difficult!) single leg squat and hop in week eight's programme has helped a lot. It's odd the things which make you realise how far you have come!
Well, at long last I have completed week 7 to what I think it an 'acceptable' standard - hurrah! I've done the pyramid workout three times, as well as the intermediate core workout and I am relieved that I have finally managed to galvanise myself to do it properly.
I think my main problem has been trying to fit everything in - and not scheduling when I will actually do the programme. I'm much better if I get up early and exercise, but if I'm honest, it is sometimes just a bit too tempting to stay in bed! However, I've come to the conclusion I am much better to plan ahead when I will do the programme and then I can't convince myself that 'I really will do it tomorrow' and go back to sleep...
Because I have been working in London a lot, I've been doing a lot more walking to and from the office. Yesterday I worked out I'd walked about six miles, which was a surprise. It has meant, though, that I've had to adopt the 'trainers and office gear' look, which I am never quite sure about, but there are lots of London commuters doing the same, so it's not so bad.
I am feeling a lot fitter, and trying hard to be very symmetrical when I ride, as this has been one of my main problems. It's always interesting to see other riders though, and I had a great opportunity last weekend when I did some dressage writing at Weston Park BE for my trainer Sue, who was judging a section. It was really great to see horses and riders who looked like they were perfectly in harmony and happy - the best of them looked like they were working together through the test and made it look easy. I'm also in awe of the riders who have multiple rides - they must be very fit and super-organised to successfully manage all three phases with very different horses, never mind remembering different dressage tests for different levels!
Thanks Motion Event Photography for their photo
You know when you come out of the arena having just done a jumping round and you're breathing like you've done a 400m sprint and requiring oxygen that you really DO need to do something about your fitness..... So it's probably a good thing I've started The Active Rider 12 week plan, and I'm pleased to be blogging about it. Hopefully, I'll be a good bit fitter by the time the eventing season starts, and writing this means I will be able to track my progress over the weeks.
It's been a good first week - and it's great that I actually have to write about it as it means no shirking! I wasn't quite sure what the plan would involve, so I spent a while reading the first week's programme and the other articles that are part of it, and then decided I really had to get going. The programme is quite in depth, with video links to explain everything, and it is specifically targeted at riding, which is great.
I've found the two workouts quite straightforward so far, and they really don't take long at all - but the more aerobic one (especially the 30 second bursts of 'fast feet') does make me puff, which is good. I'm also feeling more aware of my core having done the core workout, but it still takes quite a bit of discipline to remind myself to sit better at my desk at work or when I am driving. I've alternated the workouts each day, which has worked well, and have been trying to drink more water as part of this programme too.
So, a good first week and I do feel a bit better already. Bring on week two!