So far three months into the regime I have to say I really notice the difference to my health.
Firstly I am thinner and trimmer: trousers are getting too big for me. Muscle forms are reappearing. I have lost three kilos, one per month, plus three or four more from just training without a focus on cutting out life's-little-luxuries.
Secondly when I compare this regime to my many, many years of training since I reached about 30 and went over to smaller, more intense training sessions, I find that I am more comfortable: I have actually had fewer sports related injuries and although I get some of my stiffness, especially in the feet/heel tendons and calve muscles, I feel a lot better.
Today was a wet forecast and I got out in the morning actually and without knowing it I was up at two hours, and had to think about what time I actually started, ending up with a 2 and three quarter hour yomp through woodlands.
On my bike I am feeling like I did when I was about 29 ( when I did about six hours cycling per week, one long session at the weekend around the lanes of Cheshire and then some one hour or shorter "bursts" of intensity or burn up interval training)
XC skiing is a fortuity I have for the winter months, otherwise it would be offroad cycling and walking in the mountains for me when there is salt on the roads. I am very prone to injuries from running and only do run on soft wooded paths or treadmills.
Psychologically I find a very big benefit in having both more energy and usually getting a better night's sleep ( I am a bit insomniac ). As said I tackle two hour sessions well, and really it is a time to reflect on life, listen to music and so on. Also to relieve boredom I vary routes and activities, and concentrate at some points on technique, or heart rate, or breathing or what ever in the sport. This is a big fortuity too with XC skiing because it is very technique sensitive and there is always ways to improve or use the terrain differently.
I also do include some natural interval training, which is the nature of the beast with cycling and XC skiing in the wooded hillbilly county I live in. You go up a hill, give it some gusto, and then ski or freewheel down, recovering. Your heart will be in the intense zone a while, but it will slow down and anyway you are then using up a bit more sugar. My typical hillclimb here of note is half an hour on skis or the bike, and actually there is very little non active down hill after that. Sometimes I feel like backing off and doing the hills steadily at mid intensity breathing. Sometimes I break them up into mini intervals.
I actually think I am hitting the sweet spot for VO2 max versus fat tissue break down and may actually lose more than a kilo a month forward to the early winter time, when we get short days and slushy, cold weather of no real use to anyone outdoors. Then I will have to consider using a gymn and what a two hour aerobically demanding session will be! I am in it for the long haul and prepared for a possible set back or slow down at this point and at the xmas feasting time.
On the diet side though, I am very much more aware of all extras and have better self discipline than before. The thing is I know I have treats to look forward to, it is not all black, even though the luxuries are far reduced. As for ordinary extra portions juice, dinner, sandwiches I am very on top of that because I am not a super endurance multi marathon runner or tour de france rider: I do not need to carbo load!!
What I will blog on next is the "maintenance" period ie the rest of life, which I hope will have a major rub off in different ways on both firstly being slimmer, then attitude to diet, and then how effective training becomes for shorter time.
I admit that I see it hard to maintain 6 hours a week training in three two hour sessions if I am to get promoted and spend more time with my kids. However today I noticed that my legs just wanted to go, so to hell with the weather, after a short walk I changed clothes and went out for almost three hours. This could be Saturday morning when the kids are lying in or watching TV. It could be sunday evening while dinner is in the oven on slow cook. It could be friday night when the gymn is deadly quiet. I dont' go out to the pub anymore which is helping keep the beer to a minimum, and maybe as a fitter, faster person I will be able to train with the slank crowd.