Tuesday, January 9, 2018

New Year Goals

The festive holidays are over--time to get back to work.  I am generally not a fan of new year's resolutions.  I think it is better to set goals.  Here are my thoughts on goals from 2012.

Like most people, my training was interrupted by Christmas and New Year and sabotaged somewhat by overindulging.  Life happens!  And, I want to enjoy it!  But, as I said, time to get back to work.

I do not set new year's resolutions, but I have looked at races this year that I may run (long-term goals) and considered how best to get there (short-term goals).  My plan starts this month with getting back into a routine and doing some general base training.  Part of my plan includes a few challenges I set for myself:

1. Complete twelve 3-mile runs in January.
2. Work up to 300 air squats, starting with 30, adding 30 each time, resting as little as possible.
3. Same for sit ups.
4. Same for military/Pilates-style push ups.

I will fill in my weekly plan with cycling (power intervals on the rollers) and CrossFit-style workouts, i.e. cardio 5-7 days/week and strength 1-2 times 5-7 days/week.

As soon as we can finish all the rich, festive food in the house--I hate to be wasteful--I will start somewhat of a detox/cleanse/reset, essentially by eating clean.

Best wishes to you all with your resolutions or goals for your health, fitness, and training in 2018!  We can do it!




Thursday, November 16, 2017

Is It working?

I wrote recently about my goals, how I currently train, creating and finding motivation, and a little about my running routine.  Apparently a few people have found this interesting--at least they clicked on the link!  When I have spoken to people in the past about working toward a goal, I told them to set the goal, develop a plan to achieve their goal, work the plan, then reassess.  Essentially, I have told you about the first three steps in my personal program.  Now, it is time for me to reassess.

Yes!  It is working, at least in some areas.  I have not taken a lot of measurements and a lot is subjective, but that can be positive as well.

1.  I am feeling better at the beginning of my runs, even if I do not warm up.  The legs are responding to a moderate pace right away.

2.  I have been sore.  This is great!  I am actually working hard enough to earn delayed onset muscle soreness.  Previously, I had thought I was working hard but would not be sore.  I think this is a direct result of doing the CrossFit-style workouts, logging my times/weights/rounds, and working each time to do better.  I have PR'ed almost every workout in the last 8-ish weeks!

3.  I hopped on the scales once recently--the first time in months.  My weight was slightly up, but my percent body fat was down.  Thus, lean body mass was up which means, more muscle!  At least that is the inference I am making.  Of course, there is error to consider along with water...probably some other stuff if I thought about it.  Whatever!

4.  I have changed my running routine a bit, so I cannot be sure if I am yet any faster.  As I have already said though, I feel good in the Merrells and I feel good at the start of each run, certainly better than in previous months.

5.  My watts on the bike are going up.  I am getting off the bike afterward completely spent too.

So, the plan is working; at least I am moving in the right direction.  I have made some minor changes in the routine, but I will write about that later.

Thanks for reading.  I hope someone is deriving some benefit from me sharing my journey.  I know writing about it is helping me.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Minimalist Running

Great shoes for rowing, by the way.
Several years ago I tried barefoot running.  I will not bore you with why, but I did it.  I tried the Vibram Five Fingers and later had two pairs of Merrell minimalist shoes--one for trails and one for roads.  I covered a lot of miles in all of them, even a few half marathons.  At one point, I bought another pair of more traditional running shoes, a New Balance stability shoe.  I think this was after I hurt my foot and I returned to running.  Some would blame the minimalist running for my foot injury--maybe; maybe not.

My point is: I am back in my Merrells (I discarded the others prior to the move.)  I had been thinking that I needed to lose some weight before I ran in them again.  However, I tried them on a short run during the summer and I felt fine.  I do not run in them all the time right now, but I am doing most short runs and speed work in them.

As an older runner, i.e. over 40, I need to protect my feet and ankles as they account for about 50% of all injuries in runners over 40 or so.  I also have an annoying on-again-off-again case of what I believe to be posterior tibialis tendinopathy (sore foot in simple terms) that I need to manage.  To do this I have been doing work in the agility ladder (also good for the hip musculature which will help protect the knee) and I do a lot of strength workouts, including some plyometrics, barefoot (in my living room).

Result: my feet are feeling good in the Merrells and I think I am faster in them.  Bonus!  Also, I think I may be tripping less often.  So, when the barefoot running craze comes back around, be sure to strengthen your feet first.

This is what I run in now, most of the time.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Motivation

After my recent vacation, I returned home with a souvenir head cold.  Awesome!  So, my planned rest break (other than thirty miles of walking in three days in Italy) was extended, although it was not what I would describe as quality recovery time.  On the tenth day after my last pre-vacation workout, I completed some running hill repeats and a strength workout.  The next day I was tired, a little sore, I had a headache and was still feeling the symptoms of my cold, blah blah blah... I was compiling excuses not to work out.  Even with all my fitness and health-related degrees and credentials and years of experience in the exercise field and in training myself, I still struggle with motivation at times.

Then, I got a message from my good friend, Sarah, through Facebook Messenger:  "Working out today?"  @%$&!  "Well, I am now!!"  I replied.  As I told her, the message was just the kick in the butt I needed.  We continued chatting and I told her what workouts I had planned.  Then, I proceeded to destroy two CrossFit-style workouts and run some hill repeats.  Without Sarah's initial nudge and subsequent conversation, none of that would have happened.

I have written about ten different CrossFit-style workouts for myself, all with time or repetition goals--goals that I can attempt to beat each time I do them.  Over the last month or so, I have improved nearly every workout each time.  After at least two of the workouts, I have had to lie down on the floor for a few minutes to recover.  I have also set power goals for my cycling workouts which I have been doing on my rollers.  During my planned thirty-minute ride over the weekend, I had to stop at about fifteen minutes, because I was exhausted after killing my one-minute power goal during three intervals.  So, my programming is forcing me to work harder.

My point is, motivation can come from different sources.  Sometimes you need a nudge from someone else--look for this.  You can also create your own self-motivation with goal setting.

This is the guy I'm looking for in the mirror
(2010 Tri-ing to Help)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

This Training Cycle

I have shared my goals.  The next logical step is to have a plan to achieve them. I have tried various approaches over the last few years.  Unfortunately, I think my age is working against me a bit.  I think training solo might be limiting my progress a little too--no one to compete with or to push me.  Obviously, I cannot do anything about my age (other than attempt to defy it) and I will still probably train solo for various reasons.  So, I just have to train intelligently and follow my own advice.  Right now, I think that means working harder with consistency.

My current focus is on multiple, short, intense workouts, mostly a combination of the following:

1. Running: hill repeats or 1/4 mile repeats; 3-5 days weekly; 30-45 minutes total.

2. Cycling: on my rollers, mostly 1-minute intervals recently; 1-2 days weekly; 30-45 minutes total.

3. CrossFit-inspired workouts; 10-15 minutes; 7-10 weekly.

Of course, this means multiple workouts in a day, some days as many as three. Full disclosure: I usually plan my workouts ahead each week, but frequently life happens and I do not fit them all in.

Anyway, today's example:

Early-ish morning workout:
35# dumbbell swings with sit ups
x50, 40, 30, 20, 10 for time.

Midday workout:
45# overhead lunge
pull down (using bands)
supine windshield wipers
x10 each for 10 minutes, max number of rounds

Afternoon workout;
Hill repeats x40 minutes

I planned a fourth workout after the run, but didn't have time prior to a work obligation.

Side notes: I train at home, using some bands, an adjustable set of dumbbells, and my body weight.  I also work mostly from home and have a flexible schedule.

It seems to be working.  All the strength workouts are getting faster or I am doing more rounds.  I also feel better at the beginning of my runs--I do not seem to require as much of a warm up.

I will continue with this for a few more days prior to a recovery week while on vacation.  We are going to Italy! Then, I will ease back into a routine over a few days and return to this schedule for a week for sure.  After that, I am thinking I will change my running focus a bit, but continue with the strength workouts as I am doing.

Anyway, time to BRING IT!


Yes!  You too!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Where To Begin?

Since I hurt my foot back in 2012, I have struggled with my fitness level.  Being busy with the move to Scotland and getting settled here did not help.  I have been exercising regularly and currently, I would describe myself as fit for my age--nearly 47.  However, in the early 2010s, I would have described myself as fit, period.  I was competing with athletes much younger than me and was getting progressively faster.  I have not given up on returning to that level, but progress is much slower.

So, goals (in no particular order):
1. Lose weight; partially for vanity, partially for performance by improving my body composition and my power to weight ratio and, of course, for my health. My measuring device: my favorite black belt--I'm on the second hole and I want to be back in the fourth hole.  Also, I want to be back near my high school graduation weight--175 pounds, around where I was in the early 2010s. Honestly, I do not know what I weigh right now, perhaps 190-195 pounds.

2. Exceed, match, or at least approach my running PRs:
5k, 20:38
10k, 46:43
13.1, 1:37:26
This will be tough.

3. Increase my cycling wattage.

4. Achieve 365 fitness: ready for anything physical on any given day or within a reasonable amount of time for training, e.g. run a half marathon within 6-8 weeks or compete in an obstacle course or adventure race.

5. Stay injury-free.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I'm Back!

I suppose the main reason I stopped posting is that I got busy with other things, primarily moving to Scotland. You can read about that here. I'm settled now, but I actually considered shutting down this site/blog. However, on a run today, creativity struck and here I am!

I'm going to change focus a bit. I want to continue to use this as an outlet for my exercise expertise, especially since my current work does not provide that. But instead of teaching, sharing information, etcetera, I plan to use it as a sort of exercise journal for myself, providing me with some accountability and discipline. It might help me justify my own training and hopefully promote some discourse. Ideally, others will derive benefit from it as well. 

I plan to keep my posts short. Frequency will depend on my other obligations. I may incorporate Twitter and Facebook as well.

Watch this space.