AFTER last week’s biking disaster, and ahead of a half marathon I was meant to be running on Sunday, Stephen decided this week’s two sessions would be more cardio-based to avoid any muscle stiffness that might hamper my performance.

The first was a metabolic conditioning work-out, and was a new one on me.

It involved four different exercises – a backwards sled drag of 100kg, a battle rope (a thick, heavy rope in each hand which you pelt up and down), the prowler, and farmers’ walks.

The idea is to do each one for a minute, with a short rest in between (45 seconds) - all through four times.

The first time through was okay, but the battle rope section seemed like a very long 60 seconds.

After the second time through, I started to feel a bit sick and lightheaded, but I pushed on and completed my third set, albeit at a much slower pace.

The fourth time through hurt, and left me breathing like I’d just sprinted a 400m race for most of it.

The battle rope and farmers’ walks were the toughest, but afterwards, once I’d got my breath back and my heart had slowed to a normal pace, I could tell that I’d had a good, all-over workout.

The following day, as a special treat, Stephen introduced me to a max ramp test on the gym’s wattbikes.

This was another new concept, and turned out to be a short, sharp cardio shock that left me with jelly legs and in a pool of sweat – all in just 14 minutes.

As someone who has traditionally felt that a proper work-out involves a good hour’s run, or 45 minutes in the pool, it’s really intriguing to find out what you can actually achieve in a much shorter time.

The max ramp test involves increasing your target wattage by 15 every minute, from a starting point determined by your weight, gender and age, until you can’t pedal any more.

I got through 14 intervals before my legs and lungs gave up.

To start with, I was chatting away as normal, but a few minutes in, all conversation was over as I concentrated on pedalling at the required speed.

And you do really have to concentrate, as it’s quite easy to let your wattage drop, as the clock ticks on.

All of this should have stood me in good stead for a challenging half marathon at Ravenscar on the North Yorkshire coast two days later.

But once again the weather conspired against me. Just ten days after being on the verge of hypothermia in snowy Northumberland, a mini-heatwave arrives, right and cue.

Me and hot weather are not friends – never have been – so after breaking into a sweat just walking down the village to register, I decided to scale down my ambitions and run the 10k option instead.

The weather (not even a sea breeze!) and the terrain made it hard going, but I got round in a time that was respectable by my steady standards.

As with the biking last week, I did feel like my training with Paragon is paying off. I haven’t really done anywhere near enough running this year to be entering events, but I was strong enough to keep running up the hills, and finish with a sprint, in sapping conditions.