The first 8 weeks of my NJ Marathon training ended today with a 10 mile run. It helped that temps were in the mid-60’s and I got the run done in shorts & t-shirt. #FTW!
By the end of the week I was feeling a bit beat up, mostly from strength training (hamstrings REALLY sore) and that lead to an extra rest day on Friday and a shortened ride on Saturday.
But this week I’ll be back to full load with the Al Gordon 4 miler on Saturday and Sourlands Semi Classic on Sunday. Depending on how I feel I may add in a swim on Wednesday and an extra loop of the 4 mile course on Saturday.
Also starting on Monday and for the next three Monday’s I’m taking StrongFirst Kettlebell training with a local instructor. The plan is to add swings and TGUs to my BFL strength routines on Tues & Thurs. As I move out of marathon training and into the build phase of IM training, I’ll may need to cut back on the strength training due to time challenges. However, I think I can add in 30-40 min of kettlebells and at least keep most of what I’ve gained over the last year.
So I’ve been duly patching and cleaning up spam on my blog, but have NOT be posting any real content in a very long time. If you scroll down a bit, you will see that it was March 2016 when I last posted.
So catching up…
Completed IMLP. Ugly and slow, but finishing wasn’t the point. Getting to the START line was the point. Mission accomplished.
Goals for 2017
Get my run mojo back. Post-OHS I never felt good running. That lead to running less, which lead to feeling worse each time I ran. In 2017 I’ll be sucking it up and lacing ’em up. So far I have completed 107 miles running, which is approaching 30% of last years total.
Get swol – Through mid-January I was doing 2x week “tri-builder” workouts, alternating upper body and lower body. I’m now doing BFL workouts, 2x week, also alternating upper and lower body workouts. Soon I’ll be adding in KB swings and TGU work on Mon/Wed mornings. So far I’m feeling a LOT stronger, but not where I want to be.
I knew that I hadn’t posted updates in a while, but I didn’t think it was two months, so here is the summary for Jan & Feb
I’m a bit surprised that the bike volume was about the same for both Jan & Feb, since I rode the Tour of Sufferlandria in early Feb, and I figured that would have bumped up my bike volume a bit more. But ToS was a great block of bike training. Hard efforts and some really tough days mentally, but I got them all done. I tried to carry the training through the following weeks, but fell apart last week after the 60 miler for the Sourlands Semi Classic. I was tired, flat and truly suffered the last 15 miles of that tough ride. I took four full days off and got back to an easy TRX class this past Friday, then a solid 38 mile ride on Saturday. I definitely needed a break.
This coming month will be tough with a full 6 day trip to Orlando for SANS pen-test training, leaving me little time for IM training. I’m thinking that 30-45 min bike or run each morning and 30-45 min bike or run each evening should keep my volume where it needs to be. I think that the hotel has a decent fitness center, so time and energy management will be my biggest challenge. That and diet. I struggle with eating well on the road.
Speaking of diet, I’ve been slipping back into some bad habits again, so I do need to get back on the ‘eat cleaner’ bandwagon. Sugar and sweet treats are my kryptonite.
Strength training has been going pretty well, but I’m stagnating a bit. I need to come up with a new routine that I can fit into 30-40 min after TRX class, or find a different set of classes.
March through mid-April will need to include a big run block. First big event is the Rutgers 1/2 marathon. No way I’m going to be ready to even start that sucker unless I get back to regular running. Tula will be quite happy about that. She loves running with her daddy…
Speaking of which, looks like it’s time to get out and run… Till next time…
Wow, three weeks behind with the updates. I suppose I can blame the holidays, a heavy workload or just being lazy. Probably some of all three.
Recovery and training progresses well. I’m hooked up with some great friends around the country in a virtual “support network” to keep us all motivated and training hard through the holidays. It has really helped me a lot as there have been any number of days these past weeks where I just didn’t want to train. But the thought of having to explain why I slacked off to this group was just the extra oomph I needed to get back on the bike trainer, or off to the pool, or out the door in the very early morning to the gym.
Over the last week, I’ve really begun to feel normal again. Friday was 14 weeks out and I had a great 5k run that had me match my Turkey Trot race pace, but at 15bpm lower heart rate. That was a huge metric for me. The next day I rode a 26ish bike loop, at a relatively casual HR and felt totally solid, including the long climb up Allen Rd at the end of the ride. Another huge mental boost for me.
I’m swimming with a great Masters group on Monday and Wednesday mornings, and am about to jump into a much faster lane at the beginning of the year. I’m currently leading my lane (1:50 pace lane) and am coming in well ahead of the listed pace. So I’m being encouraged to move up, and will do so in two weeks.
January starts the bike segment of the USAT challenge and I’m going to switch into HIIT mode with TrainerRoad and The Sufferfest. I’ll start with an FTP test on Saturday (2 Jan) and then try to hit 2 HIIT workouts and a long bike each week. The week of 3-8 Jan I’ll have to figure out some way of training while I’m on the road for work.
Also starting January I’m going to switch out TRX classes for free weights, starting up with my normal winter program again.
Next week is supposed to be another short work week, but I know that I’ll be working a lot to get ready for the onsite stuff the following week. Staying motivated and consistently training is going to be hard, but there are lot of people supporting me and pushing me forward. It’s nice to have friends to which I’m accountable and can give me the encouragement (and large quantities of good-natured ribbing) that keep me recovering.
Again, and again, and again: Consistency is key. Something is better than nothing, and it ALL adds up.
Tracking my metrics (HR, pace, power etc) has been really important to keep myself mentally sharp and not get too depressed about ‘where I was before’. The big gains I’ve earned since surgery are clearly evident.
Diet needs to improve. The holidays are over and it’s time to get back to the diet that furthers my training. Food is fuel.
The “off-season” is often a time to set up challenges, streaks or other gimmicks to keep training going. I’m as guilty as the next person of really slacking off in the cold winter months, so I certainly understand the appeal of the challenge. In discussions with other friends the subject came up about “junk miles” during these challenges. “Junk Miles” being a catch all for simply going out and swimming/biking/running or just “working out” simply to keep the streak going. I think there is some merit to that for elite or even top-tier challengers. But on the other hand for the 90% of us that participate in endurance sports for health, fitness and fun, the winter streak or challenge can be a good way to stay off the couch.
I usually participate in the USAT National Challenge each year, and this year I’m leading the Somerset County YMCA Multisport Club program. Doing so makes my effort extra visible, so I’m going to try and stay on track, AND lead a number of workouts during the challenge. I can’t keep up with a lot of the members (yet), but I can do bike trainer workouts or swim sessions and not have to chase people all day.
In the past, I’ve often just used these challenges to log “base miles” but it appears there is some science that says ‘base mileage’ may not be all it’s cracked up to be, especially for the time constrained amateur athlete. So I’m going into each workout with a specific plan in order to improve a particular aspect of my fitness. My swims are going to focus on form, specifically maintaining good form during very hard efforts. On the bike, it’s seated hill climbing and regaining raw power. On the run, it’s simply getting back to actually “running” instead of walking or walk-runs.
All of that is a very longwinded way of explaining this weeks workouts. The USAT Challenge has extra points for swims in December, bike workouts in January and running in February. So this week I had three swims, two bikes and one run. The swims went pretty well, with Mon/Wed spent leading my lane for masters swim sessions. I’m able to snap off some 1:15ish 100s and am doing so without getting choppy. Thursday morning’s bike ride was miserable, just not feeling it after about 45 min, but stuck it out for the full 1:15. Saturday’s ride was the exact opposite, as I was able to hold a reasonable pace for the whole ride, and didn’t completely run out of gas. I did the same route that I rode on Thanksgiving afternoon, and felt a whole lot better. Sunday’s run was the high point. I decided to do a true walk/run split, by 1/4 mile segments. That knocked 11 minutes off the same 5.5 mile route I did last week, and I felt strong and solid the whole way around both loops. The run gave me just an additional bit of encouragement that I am improving and that I can continue to get back to at least the paces that I had prior to OHS.
Also, Sunday marked the longest unbroken streak of workouts since OHS. 11 straight days. I’m certainly feeling the cumulative effects, and will be doing additional rolling/compression and other recovery work to make sure I don’t end up injured. I’m going to press on through next week w/out a break to see how the body reacts.
It didn’t feel like 6 hours of training, but there it is… Mon & Wed I missed BOTH swims. Mon I turned off the alarm vs hitting the snooze button (Doh!) and overslept. Wed I got to the pool only to realize that I had forgotten my swim gear at home. (Doh!).
But I had a good 5k running with a friend at the Morristown Turkey Trot, clocking a 38:15, over 3min faster than the Swamp Devil 5k and a tad over 12:00 per mile. Slow, but a nice improvement over two weeks. I suffered a bit on the bike ride later in the afternoon, but it was good to get out for a bit. I think I went out way to hard on the bike, trying to keep up with Hootus, and that lead to suffering at the end of the ride.
The long “run” on Friday was my standard two-loops of Natirar with Tula. I wasn’t feeling it when I started so I just planned to keep HR in ZR/low-Z1 and ignore pace. I was surprised when I was having trouble getting HR into Z1 after a mile at under 15:00. I decided to push up the two hills each loop which did get my HR into upper Z1, but it never felt really hard. I was pretty happy with the pace results at the end of the walk and physically felt awesome; like I could have gone a bit longer. I think I’m about a week or two away from actually RUNNING during my shorter runs, or a true run/walk approach to my long runs. I’m also seeing HR drop pretty quickly after harder efforts, which is always a nice sign of improving fitness.
TRX classes are also starting to pay off. I’m feeling stronger in my core, arms and legs, and the exercises are getting to be a bit easier to complete without surgical area discomfort (core, chest). HR is a bit lower during the workouts as well. A couple more weeks like this and I’ll be adding progressions to the moves. Yay..
Monday starts two big challenges. First, Fran starts at The Max Challenge, and I’m going to join her in the diet portion. I need to really clean up my diet, and want to support her, so this is an excellent time to do so. Second, the annual USAT Challenge starts up with a month of swimming in December. I’m going to use the swimming in December to pile on a lot of base HR (ZR-Z1) training without a lot of joint stress on my body. I’ll probably swim 3-4 days a week, Mon-Wed with the masters group at the Y, and Friday evenings and (possibly) Sunday afternoons. I’m also going to throw in two 30 min base ‘walk/runs’ on the treadmill after TRX classes on Tues/Fri mornings. The rest of the week I’ll do some easy bike rides to spin out my legs and maybe one longer bike ride on the trainer or outside depending on the weather.
Total workout times will likely stay in the 8-10 hour range. I’m hoping that workload at my job continues at the same pace so I can keep up with this workout/recovery program. So far it seems to be working.
Not a great week. Was pretty tired on Thursday, so made it a rest day, and never really got motivated to do anything sunday. Still got some solid work done. Two great swims and two great TRX sessions. TRX is getting better as I’m able to do more with less soreness or HR spikes. The Turkey Ride on Saturday with Cyclecraft was a TON of fun. Beautiful skies, lots of people and got to ride with great friends.
Maybe the week was better than I thought
On the recovery note, the cardiologist took me off my last med (enalapril) so my BP is rising a bit, but I’m no longer dizzy when standing up. I’m going to continue to monitor BP closely and we’ll see where it stabilizes.
Going into a busy holiday week is always hard on my training schedule, but I’m looking forward to being with family and friends and ESPECIALLY a short work week.
Back to a full week of training. Had a disappointing ride on Wednesday, just could not keep moving for the full 90 minutes I planned. Simply ran out of gas. But the week got better as I kept hitting the workouts. Thursday I hit Masters swim and found my mojo again. It was hard, and I was whipped at the end, but it was a complete, solid workout. Saturday I experimented with my BP meds, and had a better bike workout, doing the full 90 min while watching the Ironman World Championship on TV. It was a great ride, and a very emotional experiences. I so love this sport, and as Sean Astin put it “I love identifying as an Ironman athlete, it’s badass” Just writing those words makes me smile.
Sunday I ran my first post-OHS race at the Swamp Devil 5k. I felt good and the weather was fantastic. I started off at 11min pace, but that quickly started to slip. I ended up power-walking the last mile simply to keep my HR under 150. I finished in just under 42 min, which is a bit less than twice my 5k PR. I felt bad about being so far behind my past level of run fitness, and was questioning whether I’ll ever get back to where I was before. But I have control over my training and diet, so I’ll do what I can to hit all my goals in those areas and see what happens.
I have a great support network. It was wonderful to have a bunch of friends waiting for me at the 5k finish line to cheer me in.
I’m really grateful for the new Masters swim sessions. They are going to kick my ass each and every session, which will help my overall cardio fitness.
You can never be too well informed about your health. I’m learning a lot about my medications and potential impact on my training and fitness.
Short entry for a recovery week. I was feeling a bit run down by Friday, and decided to make this week a lighter, recovery week and focus on swimming and TRX. Well, the best laid plans often go awry. I over extended myself on Tuesday’s TRX session (though I really thought I was going easy) and I could barely get out of bed Wed morning from DOMS. I tend to forget how fast muscle strength drops off at my age. So Wed/Thu/Fri were simply off days. I probably didn’t need all three days to recover, so I picked it back up on Saturday with a 90 min bike ride and Sunday with a 90 min hike. The bike ride sucked from the outset. Very low pace, struggling with low BP sensations, and complete lack of power on any incline. Sunday’s hike was better, but still pretty weak on the hills. As HR increases, I tend to get dizzy, similar to how I feel if I stand up too fast. I’m almost positive it’s the BP meds. I think it’s time to meet with the cardiologist again and discuss my meds.
A solid reminder that we don’t get stronger from the workouts, we get stronger from the recovery. Train Hard, Recover Harder.
Stretching and movement are VERY important after strength training sessions. Keep the DOMS monster at bay.
A well planned recovery week isn’t a failure! It sets you up for achieving more in the following weeks.