Thursday, January 28, 2010

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

To say I've been busy would be an understatement. Lately I've been working to move this blog, or at least certain parts of it to its own domain. That way I'll have more control over how it looks and hopefully create a more easily navigated site. So I've been setting all of that up. Currently I plan to leave this blog up primarily for those folks still looking for P90x reviews but the new site will focus more specifically on endurance athletes and performance related information. I'll keep you posted as this process progresses.

Man where did the week go? It's a good thing I wrote things down or there would be nothing to post. At any rate I've been working my way back into a routine. At this time of year I attend to things like strength, flexibility and endurance. I also focus a ton on technique. So, except were technique gets difficult, the majority of my work is deeply aerobic. To make sure it stayed that way, I had a brief email conversation with runner/blogger Lucho. We talked about MAF (Maximum Aerobic Function) specifically where it pertains to swimming intensity at this point in my training cycle.

Somewhere I'd read that swimming was a sport where intensity could be high year round (don't ask me where - I don't remember). But after reading a bit more about MAF, I came to the conclusion that this could not be right so, I checked with Lucho who is a big proponent of MAF and his results speak volumes as to the soundness of the protocol. As a result of our conversation my swim plans for the next few months have changed. I will be training in the pool the way I did last year which was something on the order of 90% drill 10% swim until about 8 weeks out from my goal race. I had planned to join a masters swim group this winter, and I still may to break up the monotony of the drill work. I just won't make interval swimming a steady diet in training until much later this year.

So here's what I've been up to this week. Monday was a 75 min bike ride and 90 min of yoga. Tue was a 1 hour run followed by a 45 min walk, then a 60 min bike ride followed by a 30 min drill swim session. Wednesday was a 2 hour run then 30 min of yoga. Nothing fancy but I'm feeling more and more like an athlete again.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday Rest Day; Tuesday Vertical Running and Bike

Today, I did nothing. Not because anything was wrong. I wanted to start to solidify my training for the season. I find it hard to "plan" and train at the same time. So I decided to just plan today.

Yesterday, I got vertical and ran up and down a flight and a half of stairs for about half an hour. Then I rode my bike for about 45 min. The key is to keep these efforts strictly aerobic, deeply aerobic if possible. On the bike I can tell my ability to govern this low intensity effort is coming back. I was able to ride at about 4 beats per minute lower than I was on Monday. I find to do this type of work, I really need to turn my focus inward. Typically, I've used an Ipod to facilitate this type of riding, but the last few times I've worked on just working with my own breath.

I think this has some benefit because I was able to discover, for example, that I've been riding with a slight amount of tension in my lower left leg and foot. So I spent most of the ride working out a strategy to counteract this and learn to relax the leg. I can only imagine the amount of tension I hold in the leg when I'm racing. But that is one of the lessor known benefits of training at low heart rate. You can actually feel what is going on in your body. So I found if I just concentrate on my big toe and the one next to it, my whole left leg relaxes. Again it is the whole thing about connecting through the feet.

As for the vertical running (basically up and down a flight of stairs for almost 30 minutes) that is going to take some work to get my heart rate to stay under aerobic threshold. But all it means is that instead of a continuous set like I did on Tuesday, I'll just do intervals until I get within 10 beats of AT and then walk until it comes down. That way I get to keep doing a workout I find more beneficial for my running overall than straight distance as well as work at burning fat as a fuel source.

Monday, January 18, 2010


So this morning I ran again. I ran for about 1 hour. Things started off slowly but I went to a yoga intensive this weekend and my body feels like it belongs to someone else. I'm not really sore but I'm aware that things have shifted and may not work the way they did on Friday.

I haven't gotten back into my full routine and strength work has been noticeably absent from my training recently. Largely because I knew how intense the yoga workshop would be physically. At any rate my run went better than I expected. Most of the aches and pains and "complaints" my body gave me last week while running have disappeared.

The run was over varied terrain, rocks and mud, some grass (on the golf course), some asphalt and a bit of concrete. There was a good bit of climbing as there were a few hills on this route, both off road and on. While I was out, I was thinking about all the things I've been learning over the past year about foot strike, running from my core and brining the ground up to meet my feet. This is probably the first run I can remember feeling so good. It was just fun to move. And I was running without my heart rate monitor speeding up and slowing down as I liked.

I was thinking of replacing my old Polar with a Garmin this year, but I may take my training tools in the same direction I've been taking my running shoes and run/train more by feel this year. I'm not a hundred percent on this yet but I am seriously considering it. I'll write more about this and my reasoning later. For now just want to go make some juice and maybe a bike ride before teaching yoga tonight.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Triathlete Day Two - Wednesday

So, I finally got the urge to run again. Not just mess around in the gym in the VFF's. No I actually went running yesterday and today. I think I'm on a roll here. I really didn't feel like running at all after Arizona. I went for a walk a couple of times down at Town Lake and hadn't the slightest hint of competitiveness or envy as folks ran past me.

The thing for me is if I start dreaming about something, then its time to do it. In fact that's how I got into Tri's in the first place. I started dreaming about swimming. In this case when the dreams didn't fully peak my interest, I started noticing runners while driving. When that didn't work someone sent me an email with a comped entry into the 3M Half marathon. Finally, my true running sidekick sent me a text, "Start running or else!"

She's the person who got me to start running last year. If she says run, I run because running with her when I'm in shape is pleasant. When I'm not it can be a disaster. For me. Plus she could always find someone else to run with... Who else could I call in a moment's notice to go do a 10 or 15 miler? Uh, not many folks.

So yesterday I ran for a bit over an hour. Today was 30 min. We'll see how I feel about running tomorrow. But I've been swimming and cycling in small increments. Mostly up to now I've been focusing on restoring my body to some semblance of balance. I think everything's back to normal for the most part. I'm starting to feel a bit of fire in my psyche to get back into the fray. We'll see.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Thursday and Friday - Oh and Happy New Year Everyone!

Believe it or not there was actual training on both days. I was supposed to go to a New Year's Eve party and was sort of on my way there when I noticed Lifetime Fitness was open. One of these days I'll have to rave about how much I like Lifetime but that isn't the point of this post. Anyway, Lifetime was between me and the party.

I never made it to the party.

I stopped in and started shooting baskets in my VFF's. I have to say my running mechanics have improved tremendously since I started playing basketball in the VFF's. When I decided to use them in this way, I was thinking of the fastest way to retrain myself to run more efficiently. The problem with simply running the way I've done for the past several years is even with paying close attention to things like leg turnover, foot strike and the like, the monotony of running primarily in the same manner with very little variation in speed and effort has a detrimental effect over the long term. I was pretty good at the beginning of 2009 with varying my run workouts, which like my swim work was more heavily technique based relying largely on plyometric, stair and hill work. I found I could handle hour long workouts in this fashion gaining endurance without the monotony of long slow distance running for fitness. Next week I'll start back up with that type of training again. At any rate, I'm happy with the way I chose to start my year versus how it could have started.