Physical jerks. Or do I mean joggers?

Snowboarding - more strenuous than it looks, honestly

The vexed question of the interseason exercise regime raises its ugly head once more and in an increasingly pressing fashion following the best part of two months spent doing pretty much nothing whatsoever other than wandering out to the boulangerie now and then. Winter season food, wine and snackette habits are all very well when you’re snowboarding for a minimum of two hours a day, frequently in temperatures a polar bear would consider parky, but festering on the futons doesn’t consume nearly as many calories, most of which promptly convert themselves to blubber.

Drastic diminution of food intake has been the order of the day (and is having the desired blubber-banishing effect), but for optimum results is best combined with increased running about. Unfortunately though, a combination of trashed anatomy, poxy weather and lack of indoor facilities is curtailing the options.

Plan A was to get involved with the possibilities offered by the local Via Ferrata, a kind of cross between proper climbing and the sort of rope, cable and zip line constructions offered by the likes of Venosc’s Aventure Parc (open for the summer from June 18th, not that I’m plugging it or anything, honest). Unfortunately such things are better tackled by people who aren’t currently being held together by six screws and a shelf bracket, so that one was off the menu, as was any kind of serious hillwalking, which JC can’t really be bothered with anyway.

About to rain again at any minute

I did indulge in a bit of mild local yomping about back in May, but a serious glitch in the weather has rather put paid to that, as while I don’t mind walking about in the cold I’m not really on for getting piss wet through while half way up the side of a mountain 10km and 1000 vertical metres from wherever I’ve left the car.

Normally my second choice for regular exercise (a long way behind snowboarding, obviously) is swimming, but despite heatwave weather in May the pool remained resolutely closed, so the only options there were either Alpe d’Huez or Vaujany, both of which would set us back a fiver each plus petrol, not an attractive option in the lean interseason times.

Which brings me to jogging, a sport with the advantage of being free once you’ve forked out for the necessary footwear, and something you should be able to do immediately on leaving the house. Unfortunately though, that would appear to be its only advantage. You would imagine that any old punter should be able to run about – I mean it’s basically just walking, isn’t it? Only faster, and with your feet off the floor a bit more than usual.

Wrong. One look at most of the jogging public should be enough to put you off even trying the activity. Red in the face, gasping like a landed trout, arms and legs flailing all over the place …….. I’m sure that’s me whenever I try it. How does Usain Bolt make it look so graceful? Or all those twig-like Ethiopians manage to keep it up for hours on end? I’m lucky to get 10 minutes in before collapsing in a heap and having to be stretchered home for tea and buns.

I can only assume I’m not doing it right, though it’s hard to see where you can go wrong with just putting one foot in front of the other. The omniscient interweb isn’t much help either, as the first thing I came across was trying to tell me that in order to be a true runner I need to get over my fear of portable toilets. Now generally I’m quite indifferent to portable toilets, and I can certainly do without’s detailed instructions as to how to have a wee, having mastered that one at about the same time as I learned to walk. Other web offerings seem to be aimed at stringy Ethiopian types already doing four marathons a day and looking for advice regarding shin splints, training schedules which look as though they could adequately prepare you for the Tour de France and inedible-sounding foodstuffs.

Pool. Weather still poxy but at least it's not jogging

Fortunately the pool reopened at the beginning of June, allowing me to go back to my default position of swimming three times a week, and while a howling north wind doesn’t exactly encourage getting wet al fresco at least it keeps most of the anklebiters elsewhere, so I can do the swimming up and down thing without having to dodge inflatable crocodiles and small boys leaping off the sides without looking. But there’s going to be no such luxury in September, so unless someone opens a gym in the meantime I shall have to get the dreaded running shoes out again and give jogging another go.

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About misplacedperson

Camping and snowboarding for a living. It may not be a career, but it's certainly a life.
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13 Responses to Physical jerks. Or do I mean joggers?

  1. Cal says:

    Take a really unfit person and if you can snowboard your not, then the steps in order to get into running are thus…
    Frequency of activity until you start to get your natural energy levels back , don’t try to run fast even if it means brisk walking, try to vary your stride length. And don’t expect to just be able to start to run and be any good it’s no different to any other discipline. More frequently less is better than once killing yourself and making it a chore, when you get it right it’s actually a pleasure.

  2. Sarah says:

    Get a mini trampoline. €35 and you can put it in front of the tele to bounce and wave your arms about while watching Midsomer Murders and stop off for tea and buns whenever you like. It’s kind on your joints too. And weather-proof!

  3. I can totally relate to that interseason problem. The pools here remained closed and Lake Annecy was still a bit too cold to go for a dip. However, I have found the answer (for me). Aerobics, Rosemary Connelly stylee! Having a broken DVD player but an old and working video player, I bought three Rosemary vids off eBay (UK) months ago. Morning workouts are going well, although I appear to have gained 3kg in the past two months of workouts and lost nothing (I blame recent visits to London and Stockholm – too many treats and no aerobics either). I’m waiting for the weight to start falling off now though. :O)

  4. Evan S says:

    Oh god, interseason … if I put on any more weight I’m going to collapse in on myself and become a black hole. I’m already attracting small orbiting planetoids. Off to the local pool to sort out my direct debit this morning, then …

  5. ivan says:

    60 kg! I have a Newfoundland that’s twice that. Talking of Newfoundlands, there is the ideal way to get exercise – like a 3 km walk first thing in the morning with a half km at mid day and just a short 1 km walk in the evening. Doing that has the tendency to keep you fit – it might make you feel fit to drop at the beginning but you do get over it. Another advantage, they love the snow – at least mine does, he also likes towing a sledge with friends kids on, especially when he can tip them into a drift.

  6. idreamofkona says:

    The trickiest thing with starting to run, or re-starting after injury (as I had to a little while ago) is pacing. I worked up from a 5 minute walk warm-up, with 1 minute jog, 4 minute recovery walk, repeat for 30 minutes. Do it three times a week and reduce the recovery walk, and extend the jog.

    Try to find somewhere reasonably flat to do it (could be tricky for you!) and don’t worry about walking.

    It takes a while to get used to it, and be sure not to try to do too much too soon, it’s the road to injury.

    Good luck, and have fun.


    PS – Via Ferrata is truly bonkers and terrifying!

  7. Pingback: Four wheels good, two wheels better | It's All Downhill From Here

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