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December 29, 2013

Just because you’re on the road holidaying doesn’t mean that you don’t have to sit on your butt all day and eat reheated Christmas dinner at 11PM on Christmas night (OK, guilty, but I hadn’t eaten for 15 hours anyway). There are still chances to get active, there are still opportunities to at least try to keep the weight under control, there are still ways to maintain the form heading into the new year. It’s something I feel I need to do before I start some sort of organised training program on January 27.

Victoria Park, possible training venue not used

Victoria Park, possible training venue not used

Fortunately I was able to to find accomodation that had access to an on site gym, which was challenging considering finding places to stay at an affordable price during the festive season in Melbourne. OK, maybe I should have stayed at my aunts and saved some coin, complete with running trail in the backyard and a cousin keen to run in the mornings. Perhaps I should have stopped at the famous Victoria Park, former home ground of the Collingwood football club to have a trot around the ground f0llowing one of the 3 days of cricket I attended. There was even a chance to have a trot (literally) around a former trotting training circuit adjacent to the Northland Shopping Centre homemaker centre and accross the road from the main centre, but I felt purchasing DVD’s and blowing $30 at Timezone was more worth it, plus the finish to Run For a Reason in Perth on the Gloucester Park trotting track wasn’t the greatest (or worst) experience in running I’ve ever had. But in the end on Sunday Night it was a trip to the on site Gym that would have to suffice.

Usually on site gyms aren’t as well stocked as a major corporate fitness centre that you’d find the chardonnay sipping theatre set in their lunch breaks from the suit and tie desk job. I’ve stayed in hotels where the gym was basically a bunch of free weights, a single bike, a humble treadmill, perhaps a cross-trainer and rowing machine, and not a lot else. There have been facilities at other accomodation places that have had less, there were others that I haven’t bothered checking. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see multiple bikes, cross-trainers and treadmills, meaning I wouldn’t have to fill in time waiting like an impatient kid for some travelling so and so to finish their time fiddling with settings.

After about 40 minutes warming up on bikes and cross-trainers, it was time to have my first run on a treadmill since 2011. It’s fair to say I’m not a person who prefers gyms, I am not a member of any gym back at home or anywhere, and would prefer to spend money on other equipment. The run on the treadmill at this facility confirmed my preference for the outdoors and the road. It’s not that I couldn’t get what I wanted to achieve from the change in surrounds, the timing mechanism I use didn’t really differ from the training times for a road run, and can be found at Instead it was frustrating trying to alter the set program used for “Fat Burning” to meet what I wanted. Perhaps I should have used a different setting or not used settings and just used auto start. But there were times where instead of concentrating on speed and stride where I had to press buttons to reach a speed and incline that I thought would be beneficial that what I wanted.

I know some people prefer the use of the treadmill, after all it can be used in conjunction with everything else in the gym for warm-ups or a workout in itself. After all, treadmill walking seems to be a staple of the middle aged lady spending time with their friends while the kids are either at school are painting and pasting at daycare. To me though nothing beats the road early in the morning or reasonably late in the afternoon. Pacing is not really set by a machine who thinks it knows best for everyone, but yourself who is more often than not the best judge. Instead of virtually running on the spot, you could choose your own path (though local knowledge or reasearch prior to running is essential, you don’t want to be like I was the last time I was in Canberra wandering about town trying to work out where I was as darkness set in). Plus the folks at the power companies won’t be getting the money needed to enter the events I want to enter, or purchase the shoes I’ll be needing sometime in February.


As this will certainly be the last blog in 2013, I hope that all of the readers around the world at least come back for 2014. I’ve checked the stats, I’ve had readers in Armenia amongst others! Stay safe, let the champers and beers flow freely on New Years Eve (but make sure someone sober takes your keys, trust me every available RBT unit will be in force from December 30 till about January 6 so taking the risk isn’t worth it), and we’ll see you for another year of running past empty when 2014 comes around.



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