ALAN PARRY: Walking a tight line between the ideal pre-session preparation… and real life.
The sports media’s most enthusiastic walking footballer is back on his front foot with an analysis of the perfect pre-session preparations vs. how best intentions generally turn in to a whole different approach…
To outsiders who have never sampled the delights of walking football, we’re seen as a bunch of sad geriatrics who can barely summon the energy to climb out of bed in the morning. Little do they know that in reality we’re all finely tuned athletes with perfect physiques and limitless stamina.
What do you mean I must be joking? Speak for yourself. Ok, we may not be the fittest sportsmen and women on the planet but faced with the choice of a plate of muesli and a kale smoothie or a chicken curry washed down with a few pints, it’s obvious what most of would choose…. isn’t it?
Well, if you really are undecided, let me offer two different versions for a day in the life of a walking footballer and invite you to pick the one that suits you best? We’ll call them the athlete’s approach and the alternative.
5am alarm call. Leap from bed and take a cold shower. Twenty minutes of stretching exercises followed by half hour run. Breakfast of muesli and quinoa fruit salad, cup of cold water with a slice of lemon.
Ignore 10am alarm call and have a lie in till 11am (big game tonight so need plenty of rest). First cigarette of the day combined with breakfast in bed: sausage and bacon sandwich and mug of tea with five sugars. Stay in bed reading the morning paper till midday.
Power yoga session to prepare body for an hour’s cycling spin class. Cool down in the sauna. Straight on to advanced pilates before main meal of the day: small plate of lentils with kidney beans and asparagus. More water.
Get up, go to toilet, go back to bed exhausted. Snack: four rounds of toast and jam, bar of chocolate and first pint of the day. Consider getting dressed, idea rejected.
Back to the gym for weightlifting session followed by five rounds sparring with local heavyweight champion. Afternoon run, target five miles in 20 minutes. Sprint home to warm down.
First stretch of the day as you reach for dressing gown and mobile phone. Call pizza takeaway shop to order lunch: 15″ thick crust with melted cheese topping over chicken and bacon. Large cappuccino, lashings of cream and sugar. Back to bed to recover.
Now time for some serious exercise – a triathlon before bedtime. 1500m swim, 20km bike ride, 5km run. Relax afterwards with glass of soya milk. In bed by ten o’clock, too exhausted to play walking football.
5pm so time to get up and prepare for walking football. Bedroom ashtray now full so downstairs for another ciggie. Time for quick burger (and chips) before set off for the game. Swift pint on the way.
Zzzzzzzzz…….too knackered to be woken.
Great game, played brilliantly (only warned for running seven times) and nearly scored. Off to the pub with the chaps to conduct detailed analysis of the game. Chinese takeaway before bed. Can’t wait to play again tomorrow.
Yes, I know it’s all a little (?) exaggerated but I’m sure you get my point. The great thing about walking footballers is that we come in all shapes and sizes and with different levels of fitness…..and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
For us, it’s all about enjoyment, friendship and the desire to get some gentle exercise without going crazy. Our philosophy is summed up like this: doing something active is better than doing nothing at all but we have no desire at this stage of our lives to train like an elite athlete.
Walking football has given a new lease of life to thousands of men and women all over the country and long may it continue to do so.