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Press Up Challenge

Thursday 17th February 2011

This is stupid. I should have never started.

In November, a couple of friends and I decided to take on the Marathon Talk Press Up Challenge. The philosophy behind it is that anyone can get fast/strong/fit by just increasing their exercise load by a very small amount every day, and with no effort, suddenly you are capable of feats you never previously thought possible. This is known as the ‘Training Effect’ and I agree with every aspect of it besides the ‘no effort’ bit.

The challlenge involves training one’s body to do three sets of 100 press ups by increasing the number in each set by one every day. Some people start from 1; we started from 5. Now, I know that any gym monkeys with hefty triceps who are reading this are laughing at the easy target we set ourselves, but do remember that we are runners, not a breed of human known for their upper body strength.

The only other rule is that if one person is unable to do their press ups due to illness or other circumstances, the others have to stay on the same number until they have caught up. This ‘all in this together lads’ attitude appeals to me (and gives me an easier day when my friends are ill).

Today we did 3×60, by no means the hardest day yet. I have found that the higher into each ten you get the harder the effort seems. So 40-44 felt fine but 45-49 were really tough, and this had been the case throughout. As a maths teacher, certain nunbers appeal to me more than others too, particularly the ones that are easily broken down to make the task seem easier. 60 was fine today – it’s 30 sets of 2, it’s 6 sets of 10, and so on. Multiples of 5 are fine. Even numbers I can just about tolerate. Prime numbers are horrible. I’m dreading 83 and 97 already.

Our current predicted finish date is March 29th. I really can’t wait.

Footnote: The men who conceived the idea are doing their 3 x 100 at different stages of the 90km Comrades Marathon in South Africa: At 30km, at 60km and at the finish. Insane.