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Friday Stray Thoughts

February 13, 2015 Leave a comment

FridayImage by Glenn McCoy

Happy Friday everyone!  For those of you looking for a little light lunchtime internet distraction to tide you over until quitting time, here’s a few Stray Thoughts for your Friday Afternoon

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weight_lifting-300x224

This week I re-introduced strength training into my routine, for the first time in… well… a lot of months.  And by that I mean I lifted a bunch of weights on Tuesday that were WAY too heavy given how long it’s been since I last lifted weights.  My everything is sore, even still today, 3 days later.  I’m familiar with the general gist of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness – I’m not terribly surprised at being really sore after not having lifted in a long time.  But I am surprised at how much I hurt, and how long it’s continued to hurt.  I’ve been walking real funny around the office this week, kinda like an elderly penguin.  Last night I went for a 20 minute hard run, and I could tell near the end when my form started to falter, and my arms started to swing a bit more wildly than normal, because my pectorals started to wince.  I’m clearly broken.

Tomorrow is my long run for the week, and while I wouldn’t normally plan to add strength on a long run day, I’m thinking it’s best to pick up a few (moderately less) heavy things tomorrow as well, lest the muscles relax too much again.

– – – – –

TriHoodie

I think this came across my Facebook feed this morning – for some random reason – which is totally amazing.  You all need to rush over to teespring.com and spend all your money on this hoodie.  Do it now, before you forget!

Because Sharks!!

(I have absolutely no affiliation with the people who make or sell this shirt.  I just think it’s totally fantastic and happen to have a birthday coming up… in 5 months… hint hint)

– – – – –

BeerJersey2

Speaking of amazing crap that I totally need but really shouldn’t spend money on, I came across this cycling jersey on Pinterest by way of a link to an amazon store (where, sadly, the link to the store on Amazon is no longer valid, otherwise I would gladly link it here and encourage you all to go and spend your money there).  Nevertheless, this jersey is still AMAZING and totally reminds me that spring is on it’s way, which means outdoor cycling is on it’s way.  And I’m truly in the mood for an awesome new cycling jersey (or 3) to get me through this summer!

– – – – –

Have a great weekend everybody!  Good Luck to everyone racing or training this weekend!!!

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Friday Stray Thoughts

July 25, 2014 2 comments

FridayImage by Glenn McCoy

Happy Friday everyone!  For those of you looking for a little light lunchtime internet distraction to tide you over until quitting time, here’s a few Stray Thoughts for your Friday Afternoon

– – – – –SubaruMy third – and likely final – triathlon of the season goes this weekend.  This time, my first ever Try-a-Tri distance race at the Subaru Grimsby/Niagara Race (they can’t seem to get their marketing lined up.  Is it Grimsby?  Is it Niagara?  Let’s pick one folks!)

Anyway… I’m looking forward to this one:

1) It’s a FLAT course – should be fast, and fun

2) It’s an all-out intensity effort, as opposed to an endurance effort (which is new to me)

3) It’ll be done in under an hour

4) I’m racing with a couple buddies from high school who are tackling their first tri.  Really excited to see them pull this off.  And for the celebratory beer after 🙂

What’s breaking my brain is the 1:15pm race start time.  I’ve not done an afternoon race before.  I’m not sure how to handle this.  I have a morning routine – when to wake up, what (and when) to eat.  What do I do now – do I sleep in?  Do I eat a big breakfast?  Do I eat lunch?  Do I go for a walk or a jog in the morning?  Do I drive down early, or hang around at home in the morning?  I’m being a little OCD here, but my routine is broken and I’m not sure what to do about it!

Anyone out there with any advice for an afternoon race start?

– – – – –

broken bike

I may have had a little crash last week (about 10 days ago), while bike commuting to work.  A bit scary at the time – fortunately it amounted to just scrapes and bruises in the long run.  All things heal.  My commuter bike, however, needed several hundred dollars worth of repair work.  Yikes!

(no, that’s not my bike above – that’s just a stock picture.  I’m not on the ball enough to have taken a pic of my own bike)

Thus, I haven’t done an ounce of biking since my last race 2 weeks ago (well, if you don’t count the ~3km from my house to the crash site that one morning… which I don’t).  The cuts and scrapes on my arms and legs have kept me out of the pool.  I did manage one training run this week – a quick slow treadmill 5k at the gym on Monday that felt TERRIBLE!  Seriously – it’s a treadmill; I know exactly what speed I’m running at, and how long I’ve run it for.  I KNOW my numbers used to be better than that.  Where has all my fitness gone this summer?!?  Apparently racing every other week, and not doing much of any training in between, does not constitute maintaining the fitness you built in the off-season.  Whoops.

– – – – –

weight-loss-scale

The nice thing about that one trip to the treadmill (and the gym in general) is that I got to step on the scale there.  I am losing fitness, for sure, but I’m also losing weight (proof, I’ll assume, that weight loss is much more driven by diet then by exercise).  My weight is at an all-time post-highschool low, and dropping.  Which is good.  Which is really good.

Except it coincides with lost fitness, and I don’t like that.  It probably suggests I’m losing more muscle mass than I should.  I don’t like that either.  Which isn’t to say that I’m not totally ecstatic about losing weight, and really happy that my eating habits (in general) are finally supporting this rather than hindering it.  But it also tells me I really need to get my ass back in the gym and do some strength work.  I find it very easy to remember to get out for a run, or a bike ride.  Well, relatively easy, at least.  Those are directly relate to my training goals (plus, going faster is fun)!  I need to remember to continue to hit the weights.  I think that’s going to be this off season’s #1 priority.

Yes – it’s mid July, and I’m talking off season already…

– – – – –

Have a great weekend everybody!  Good Luck to everyone racing or training this weekend!!!

Month in Review

June 30, 2014 1 comment

badtri

Looking Back, June 2014:

MIR 1406 2

MIR 1406

(“Sport” is a combination of softball, volleyball, or any other team sport I may get myself talked into.  Not “training” per se, but part of the general contribution to how tired I feel in any given week/month)

I was hoping for a bit of momentum after a strong end to May, but that didn’t turn out as such.  There were a few rainy days (and many days threatening to be raining) that altered my training plans – and a race on June 21st led to a bit of a taper the week before (and a bit of recovery/laziness the week after).  But, if I’m being honest, it was a bit of a let down month.

I find posting the images above (and thus, looking at them) to be really helpful.  What good is data if you’re not reviewing it and learning from it, amiright?  One thing jumps out at me above all else in the pictures above – there was zero time spent on strength training in June.  Zero.  Whoops.  I certainly need to fix that in July.

On the positive side though, I stepped on a scale this weekend for the first time in a long time: 228.6lbs.  That’s the first time I’ve been < 230lbs since… highschool?  maybe?  possibly very early highschool, even!  That’s a pretty damn awesome feeling!!

YabbaDabbaDo

Looking Forward:

July is a bit of an odd duck.  My “A” race of the year is two weeks away, on Sunday July 13th.  And I’m debating adding in a Try-a-tri at the end of July that wasn’t in my original race calendar, but a bunch of highschool buddies are trying it out, and if I’m gonna drive down to cheer them on, I might as well suit up as well, right?  For all my Sprint and Olympic distance races, I’ve never actually tried a Try-a-tri.  I don’t take it lightly at all – it’s a whole different beast: a max effort sprint rather than an endurance effort race.  I think it could be fun to give it a shot!

My month then really breaks down into 4 distinct weeks, with very different goals:

  • Week 1 (this week): I’ve got some work to do!  I want to get 1-2 strength sessions in, and particularly work my lower back, traps, and glutes.  If Guelph Lake taught me anything a few weeks ago, it’s that I’m a lot weaker there than I should be.  Continue cycling to work, a long ride and long run this weekend, and a few shorter runs/rides this week would be good.  And it would be nice to get in the pool once or twice too.  Shit – that’s a really busy week…
  • Week 2: Taper week leading up to TTF.  1-2 mid week runs/rides, and a pool session or two.  Start to back it off by Wednesday or Thursday.  Better to be a bit under trained and rested than well trained and exhausted going into a race, IMO.
  • Week 3: Waddle week.  If Guelph Lake taught me anything else, it’s that I’m going to hurt for a few days after the race.  Lots of stretching, walking, and active recovery.  Hopefully by mid-late week I’ll be ready for some light running
  • Week 4: Shit, it’s race week again already, huh?  I may not get as much of a taper in leading up to my try-a-tri (and hoping I don’t need as much of a taper).  Try to squeeze a few speed work sessions in, especially early in the week.  But really, this 2nd race is for fun – I’ll do what I can, and won’t worry about what I can’t.

5 Things I Think I Think:

  1. I’ve noticed that my training, and my blogging, tend to follow similar patters.  When I blog 1-2 times per week, I train regularly.  When I’m absent online, my training often suffers.  It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg thing: I don’t know which drives the other.  When I blog, I think about training.  When I think about training, I am more inspired to get out and do it.  When I get out and train, I have more experiences to blog about.  I don’t know if this means anything or not… funny coincidence, perhaps…
  2. I’m starting to question some of the goals I set out for myself for my “A” race, now only 2 weeks away, when I wrote them back in March.  I’m still learning how to set reasonable expectations for myself as far as racing and training are concerned.  I think this may warrant a full post on it’s own (which, hey, maybe the prospect of another post will help me get through this training week!)
  3. Sports Geek: The CFL season kicked off this past Thursday.  I think I should be a lot more excited, but I’m not.  The funny thing about sports in summer – I just want to get outside, go sit on a beach, or a patio, or ride my bike.  I don’t want to follow yet another sports league starting up right now!  The CFL is a great league, with a great product, but the timing of their season is all wrong.  I’ll start to care in September, when the season is half over, and I can figure out which bandwagon to jump onto.  I just can’t bring myself to be interested in it at this time of year.
  4. Beer Geek: Got to try a growler of Pale Ale this weekend from Royal City Brewing, who’ve been open in Guelph ON for less than a month now.  My first impression – it was a pale ale from a new brewery that was still getting settled.  But the more I had over the weekend, the more I really enjoyed it.  Really happy to see another new local craft brewery getting off the ground.  Exciting times right now!
  5. I think having a stat holiday on a Tuesday is weird.  I’m all for celebrating Canada Day on July 1st each year – birthdays should be celebrated on their proper day – but the stat holiday (the day off work) should be flexed to a Friday or a Monday.  It’s odd being at work on a Monday, knowing tomorrow is a day off.  Oh well, happy pre-Canada Day everyone!

CanadianFlag

Does a Try-a-Tri need a taper period before the race?  What do you think?

Week/Month In Review

June 2, 2014 2 comments

badtriThis may or may not end up being a recurring feature on this blog, largely dependent on how busy lazy I am on Sundays.  We’ll give it a try for a bit and see how it goes.

Looking Back:

I’m killing two birds with one stone here, looking back on the past week, and on the Month of May all in one post.  Efficiency!

May 2014:

MIR 1405

(“Sport” is a combination of softball and beach volleyball, or any other team sport I may get myself talked into.  Not “training” per se, but part of the general contribution to how tired I feel in any given week/month)

Last week (May 26th 2014 – June 1st 2014):

WIR 140601

(I did 25 minutes of hill repeats last week.  I didn’t bother to measure how long the hill section was that I did, but I did 6x run up/walk down the garbage toboggan hill at McLennan Park.  So that was that)

Not my best week/month, but certainly not my worst.  I feel like winter is finally behind us, and I’m so much more inclined to get out and train.  And to get outside and train!  Cycling has certainly ramped up over the past two week, due in part to commute cycling.  The swimming and strength numbers look kinda ugly (particularly last week, where they were non existent).  But holy shit – nearly 400km of cycling in May!!  And almost half of that last week alone!! Damn!!!

Looking Forward:

ride alarm

My ability to get my ass out of bed and train in the morning before work is really what’s going to make or break my training season (and possibly make or break me in the process).  I hate waking up in the morning.  I feel like a fail as a triathlete because I’m not jumping out of bed at 5:15 every morning, pounding a protein shake and a coffee and putting in 100km before going to work.  Isn’t that the stereotype?  I seriously love sleeping in!  But the work doesn’t get done if I don’t get my ass up!  It’s true.  Trying to do everything at lunch or after work – life gets in the way.

This morning I got out of bed and did 1,500m in the pool.  An easy swim, but the real victory is in the routine!  Tomorrow morning I’m getting up again and swimming 2,500m.  And Wednesday I’m getting up and hitting the weights.  Every.  Day.  That’s the goal for this week.  Every.  Day.

5 Things I Think I Think:

bike commute

  1. I think I’m really enjoying my bike commute to/from work.  The commuter bike kicks the shit out of my quads (that thing is so old, and heavy, and stiff), but it’s so much nicer riding home from work through the park than being stuck in traffic.
  2. I think I continue to be amazed by the differences between my commuter bike and my road bike.  I’ve been alternating between the two riding to/from softball, depending on if I want to ride in traffic, or on the park paths.  The trip by road is a hair longer, but takes me 2/3rds the time.  And my body is almost more comfortable now in the aggressive road bike position than on a very casual hybrid bike.
  3. Sports Geek: That Blue Jays 9 game winning streak was amazing!  But it wouldn’t last forever, and I’m kinda glad it did end.  A baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.  Just keep winning series’ boys.  Can’t wait to see how they stack up against Detroit this week.  Go Jays!!
  4. Beer Geek: Had a lovely Hop House Belgian style Pale Ale by Ommegang Brewery this weekend.  That was quite the treat!  I’ve really come to love Belgian style beers lately, but haven’t had many with a strong hop component without losing the typical qualities of a Belgian ale.  This one was very well done.  Ommegang can pretty much do no wrong in my books at this point!
  5. I think I love the way swim training exhausts me in a completely different way than run training or bike training.  Swimming is so peaceful and so killer at the same time.  Love it!

Do you prefer to train/work out in the morning?  Or in the evening?

Rest Day is the Best Day

May 1, 2014 2 comments

worn out

I find it interesting, in a frustrating kinda way…

When I do a tough swim training session, I feel the effects almost immediately.  Within hours, my arms, back, shoulders, and chest are all tired and lethargic.  I feel gassed quickly, but I bounce back pretty quickly…

When I do a tough bike or run session, I feel a bit tired afterwards, but the muscular soreness and stiffness doesn’t kick in usually until the next morning.  My legs get tired, particularly my hamstrings, and I find myself waddling around the office more than walking the next day…

When I do a tough strength training session, my body skips a day.  I feel great right after (which sometimes leads to a bad habit of not stretching, or doing any active recovery).  I usually feel great the next day (which definitely leads to a bad habit of not stretching, or doing any active recovery).  But two days later, it’s as if a time bomb went off on my limbs.

Boom!

I don’t get it.  at.  all.

On a possibly related note, somehow I managed to go the entire month of March AND the entire month of April – up until Tuesday April 29th – not having done a single strength training session.  How I let that happen is beyond me [Note to self: Tracking your workouts is only useful if you look back at your progress and notice trends like these].  Tuesday I got back at ‘er.  Wednesday, of course, I felt great.  Today: Boom!  Big Time!  I feel like I’ve been hit by a bulldozer!

I did have workouts scheduled for today.  They all just got moved to tomorrow.  Listening to my body > Mindlessly following a training plan on paper.  Today is now a rest day.  I’m kinda excited to go home from work tonight with no plans to workout whatsoever!  Rest Day is the Best Day!

… and hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be able to walk without looking like a penguin.  Fingers crossed!

[Edit:  Ok – I do get it – all kinds of different muscle groups and different energy systems and delayed onset muscle soreness and all that jazz.  I know there’s science behind this stuff… it’s not actually a magical bomb going off…]

Being Realistic

January 2, 2014 9 comments

worn out

I’m pooped!

So many people make New Years resolutions to ‘get healthy’ or ‘work out’ or ‘lose weight’.  And they all show up to the gym on January 2nd.  And I was right there with them this morning.

The alarm went off at 5:15, like it does every training morning, and my wife and I were at the gym by the time it opened at 6:00.  #Proud!

After changing, the first thing I did at the gym was step on the scale.  It was then that the full impact of the Christmas break hit me: I’m 6lbs heavier than when I last went to the gym, only 2.5 weeks ago.  That’s 6lbs of Christmas cookies, turkey and gravy, chocolates, and beer.  That’s 2.5 weeks of largely sitting on my ass (okay – I did spend 1 day skiing at Mt. Tremblant… and I had a pretty nasty head cold for half of that time… but after that I’m running out of excuses).

I’ve got a lot of work to do!!!

GetOffTheCouch

The problem is – it’s the new year.  It’s 2014.  I’m Gung-Ho!  I’m determined to start the new year strong!  I’ve got my 2-a-day training plan all mapped out.  I’ve got my new words for 2014 to inspire me.  I’ve got my new copies of The Time Crunched Triathlete and One Hour Workouts by my bedside (both Christmas gifts from my Mother-In-Law – will have to do a review post at some point soon).  I’m ready to hit it harder than ever before!!

… but my body isn’t.  My body remembers the 2.5 weeks off.  My body remembers all those cookies and gravy (not together though… gross).  My body hit it hard this morning, and is now in complete revolt!  Ouch!!!

One of my words for 2014 is Consistency.  And if I’m going to consistently hit my training plan, I need to be realistic in my planning.  I can’t do a 2-a-day, mid-season-intensity plan right now (nor should I, probably).  I’ve sat on my ass for the past few weeks!  I can’t jump back in and dial up the tempo on the treadmill.  I’m carrying an extra 6lbs of cookies!!

The fitness will come back.  The couch and junk food holiday is over now, but I can’t fix it all in one day.  And if I want to be consistent – and I do – I need to be a bit more realistic about my plan.  That extravagant training plan is going to need some… adjustments.  Maybe I won’t try to dive straight into 2-a-days (and maybe also I’ll have a salad for lunch today).  The alarm is going off at 5:15 again tomorrow morning – I’ll be back at it.  Consistently training, albeit a bit more realistic about the intensity 😉

But first, a nap might be in order when I get home tonight…

How is your 2014 starting out?

Race Recap: Binbrook Triathlon

June 9, 2013 6 comments

BinbrookImage from the Multisport Canada Facebook Page

I’m really not sure how to feel about yesterday’s Binbrook Triathlon.  I’m still processing, but in a nutshell, here’s a few quick thoughts:

  • I actually did okay.  And okay isn’t bad.  And while I didn’t meet most of the time goals I’d set for myself, I still had PB times.  So I should be happy.
  • Even with PB times, I think I could have done better.  It felt, while I was racing, like I should have been doing better.  It felt like a fight.
  • I was really proud of myself for tackling longer distances than I had before.  I knew the distances were long – it felt long.  It was a mental grind to stay strong through the whole distance.  But I stayed strong, and I’m proud of that.

The morning started off well.  My alarm went off at 5:40am.  I had my bike ready and my gear bag packed the night before, so it was a quick morning and I was on the road by 6:00am.  I had no cheering squad with me this race – no paparazzi (and thus, no pictures for this post… sorry).  I was at the race site by 7:15 – an hour to go before the race gun.  Perfect.

I felt great pre-race.  Even though I slept little the night before (I always find it hard to shut my mind off to sleep the night before a big event), I felt rested and awake – well fueled, and ready to go.  Got through body marking quickly, and went to pick up my rented wetsuit.  Yes, I rented a wetsuit.

Turns out, the race was “wetsuit optional” in the end, but I was glad I had it.  The water was COLD – I don’t recall ever being in colder water before.  And while classified as wetsuit optional, there wasn’t a single racer without a wetsuit.  Did I mention it was cold?  It was cold.

I have never worn a wetsuit before.  I decided it was prudent to zip myself in and get into the water early for a light warm up swim.  Very glad I did.  The feel of neoprene around my shoulders and down to my ankles was really different.  But after a light warmup I decided this was something I could work with.

The Swim (750m OW)

Goal: 0:14:00.  Result: 0:16:32

The gun went off, and off we went.  From standing in waist high cold water – shivering – to full race pace in mere seconds.  And suddenly I couldn’t breathe.  Lesson #1: no more “light” swim warmups.  I hadn’t gone full effort in my wetsuit.  As soon as I did, and tried to breathe, I felt the constriction in my chest.  Normally I’m a bilateral breather.  Not in this race.  Quick rapid strokes.  Shallow frequent breaths.  By the first turn I started to feel comfortable enough to switch breathing sides.  By the second turn I got a little bilateral breathing going.  By then I had lost the feet of the swimmers in front of me and sighting became more of a requirement – and more of an issue.  Lesson #2: Pool swimming is nice, but I need to train more in Open Water.  I need to get more comfortable with a powerful bilateral breath stroke while still sighting.  I erred too much on the side of sighting, and couldn’t get into a strong rhythm.

Overall the swim was okay, given how cold the water was, and how unfamiliar the wetsuit was.  These are things I can get used to before my next race.

The Bike (30km)

Goal: 1:05:00.  Result: 1:02:53 🙂

As soon as I stood up at the edge of the lake to run out of the water I had a problem.  I was hit by a crazy wave of nausea.  Where the hell did that come from.  I unzipped my wetsuit and flipped it down to my waist as soon as I was on land.  Didn’t help.  I walked most of the distance from shore to transition.  Didn’t help.  I sat on the ground through most of T1.  Didn’t help.  I couldn’t shake it.  I got on my bike and peddled the first dozen strokes thinking to myself “I wonder how many triathlon races have someone throwing up in the bushes on the bike leg?  I wonder if that will be me?”  It wasn’t, but it was close.

After about the 1st km things started to settle down a bit – enough that I could peddle stronger and get into my larger cog ring, but not enough that I could ingest anything.  I tried to nibble at my Cliff Bar – that didn’t go well.  I tried to sip water – even that didn’t go well.  I couldn’t take anything in.  Lesson #3: Need to reassess my fueling strategy.  What I can eat and drink on a long bike ride might be different from what I can take in after a swim.  I actually had a strong bike ride… for the final 29km at least.  I made my goal time, which I was really happy with, but I didn’t take in any calories or fluids, which left me in real trouble on…

The Run (7.5km)

Goal: 0:50:00.  Result: 0:56:43

Oh geez… this wasn’t pretty.  I had nothing in the tank to start the run and it quickly took it’s toll.  I think I took a walk break almost every 500m – WAY too often.  I thought at first it was just jelly legs off the bike (Lesson #4: Need to do a lot more brick sessions!), but I couldn’t ever settle in.  I kept telling myself “You’re in a fight.  Time to fight harder than you ever have before”.  The last 2km were a little stronger than the rest.  I found a little something left at the end to push through the finish.  It’s always good to finish strong, but I really wish I could have run better.  Lesson #5: Keep running.  Run every other day.  Run longer.  Keep doing fartleks.  Keep doing bricks.  I can’t ever do enough run training.

Overall my race time was 2:20:36.8.  24/25 in my age group.  Slower than my goal, but only by about 6 minutes.  And given a few challenges I had to work through, I’m happy with the results.  But, at the same time, it’s a reminder of how much work I have to do to get to where I want to be.

Today I’m putting my feet up and recovering.  I ache like hell!  Particularly my arms – I’m surprised at how much my arms hurt this morning.  Lesson #6: Keep going to the gym.  Keep getting stronger.  And that’s what I’m going to do, starting tomorrow.  Tomorrow I hit the gym.  Tomorrow I get out to RunClub.  Tomorrow I get back to work – to getting stronger, and faster.  I can’t wait!

Next up on the race schedule is the Tour de Waterloo, a 70km bike race back in my home town that I’m really looking forward to.  And it’s only 14 days away.  Time to get to work!

~DO’G

 

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