Saturday, May 22, 2010

Thursday And Friday

So my focus for Thursday and Friday is primarily strength.

This Thursday was 90 min upper body and core workout that started with a 20 - 30 min light jog to warm up (about 10 - 11 min pace, HR in the 125-135 range). Then the fun began. I did 2 rounds of variations of pushup and pullup sets averaging about 20 pushups and 10 pullups for each variation. Along with this there were several jump rope sets interspersed throughout while I waited on my shoulders and arms to recover. All of the pullups were assisted because I had done a full pullup routine and added some dips for good measure on Wednesday after my track workout.

I trained strength again on Friday focusing on my legs. But my work, while including needed movements for the quads and hamstrings to insure both strength and balance, also incorporates movements to open and support the joints and the knees and ankles. This meant along with squats, leg extensions and curls, step ups, lunges (in varying directions) there were also circular movements, taken from yoga, martial arts, and Tai Chi.

This work has been instrumental I believe in restoring my speed and strength as well as resolving a knee issue I've lived with on the bike for over 10 years. I can't wait to see how this plays out in my cycling and running this year but for now I'm content knowing that I'm feeling better and training consistently and well.

After my leg work I went for an easy swim focused on a single rotation drill and kicking. All in all just a pretty good day.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday - Post Recovery

So today was my first day back after a 3 day unscheduled hiatus from training. I'm not really sure what to make of what happened. So for 3 days, I was just tired. sleeping 12 hours a day tired and that is not including the 2 hour naps. As far as I could tell I wasn't fighting off an infection. My heart rate was pretty normal. And to be honest, I wasn't "tired". But I was abnormally sleepy.

My mantra from when I was working over night is to never train when I'm sleepy. That's how I got to 3 days off. I would wake up after 8 hours of sleep and still be yawing. So I'd have breakfast then go take about an hour nap. I'd work on some video projects for a couple of hours, then I'd be ready for nap number 2. 3 days of this was killing me. But in the scheme of things we'll see how this plays out for my training.

Wednesday is my normal day to go to the track and check the results of my MAF (maximum aerobic function) work. Things looked pretty good for the first mile but I think the heat and the wind were a bit much for me and my heart rate started to climb out of the zone for the test. I think this is where discipline comes in. I could have held on to the pace I normally am able to run out of pride but I want this work to pay off long term so, I sucked it up and slowed way down to get my heart rate back down. The cool thing is I didn't have to walk to do it. So if there is a moral victory to be had anywhere, I'd say that would be it.

I also rode my bike this morning but only for about 45 minutes in attempting to keep my first day back moderate while sticking to the training pattern I like to follow on Wednesdays.

After the track MAF, I went down to the shore and did some pullups. I think about 60 total. And I did a few sets of dips. So tomorrow I'll lighten up on the pullups and enhance the core work during my strength training. I'll do a 20 minute run to warm up for the strength work.

And I suppose I'll get to bed now. I'm sleepy again. Peace and train well!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Monday and Tuesday

Well both days were pretty much the same. And then again, pretty much not. I finally sat down and wrote out a training schedule. I know. I know. I know.

I always do much better by putting down a set schedule in writing. But for some reason, I seem to need some sort of dire threat each year to make me actually sit down and do it. And it didn't even take long. 5 minutes tops.

But now I have training "appointments" and I don't ever miss those unless I'm tired or sleepy. If you need my help with something or want to talk during these blocks of time I'm not available. And if they are in my calendar, I show up, do the work and go home. Case closed.

What I think is a mystery for most athletes is what exactly to do with these blocks of time and how many of them to schedule. Personally I like to think long term, which conversely makes much of the type of training to do moot.

In a nutshell my goal for the last several years was to change my body composition. Now that my average weight is between 146 and 148 pounds off season (previously it was 155 - 160), I can turn my attention to the overall process of building the engine necessary to actually train for an Ironman. So my only goal this year is creating the aerobic engine combined with the structural integrity in musculature, tendons and joints to be able to "train" properly for an Ironman distance race. Once I have the body and the aerobic and physiological structure in place, combined with proper nutrition and training, then I can think about "racing" an Ironman.

This is definitely not how most people approach their training, though reading that paragraph they might like to say they do. The reason I say this is because in order to take the approach I'm advocating, you give up a lot of short term accolades such as age group victories during the early years or just beating your buddies to the next stop sign in a sprint. But I'm cool with that.
Last week at the track I was talking to a guy in his late fifties who was telling me he didn't do Maximum Aerobic Function work because it forced him to run too slowly. He didn't feel like he was getting a workout and thus couldn't see the benefit. His fastest recent 10k was about 40 minutes and some change. All winter I've watched this guy lap me on the track as he runs his 400 meter intervals at close to 6 minute pace. He does his weekend long runs at a "slow 7:30 minute per mile pace, closing the session at about 7 minute pace. He does this year round. I don't even have to ask him if he's getting any faster.

At any rate, I on the other hand am getting faster and more efficient at running slowly. My MAF pace is almost a full minute per mile faster than when I started. And this is what makes what I actually do with my training appointments so easy. I train either at, as I do on the track, or below, as I do elsewhere, MAF. The only variable is the time spent. Easy.

So yesterday was an hour on the bike, this time on the stationary trainer maintaining easy cadence. The goal here is technique. I've been working on my connection to my feet in both cycling and running as a way to maximize power with less effort. And this is one of the unseen benefits of training at lower intensities. You are able to make real connection to the movement you are carrying out so that when you do speed up you can keep that connection and thus efficiency. Higher power output at lower effort = better end results.

After the bike there was an hour run. This was also easy. During the middle of the run I went "vertical" for 15 minutes and hit some stairs. Again the challenge here is to attack the stairs efficiently so that my heart rate stays low and I keep moving. No easy feet but I'm getting better at it. When I started these vertical runs I could only do about 7 minutes before my heart rate forced me to stop between ascents. Now I'm up to 15 minutes.

Today was the same except the bike and the run were 90 minutes a piece. This time the run was just on a flat road and the bike was outdoors. I had some trouble with my heart rate on the run because I didn't space the workouts apart do to some personal commitments and thus didn't properly hydrate but I was still aerobic. Tomorrow is more of the same and back on the track again. I start my swim cycle with strength work on Thursday. Train Well everyone!