Monday, October 28, 2013

First week of training under the belt!

I'm going to try and actively post during this training season so I don't forget anything and really keep track of our progress.

The first week of training was a success! Having a calm and mellow weekend prior to it made it easier to have a smooth transition, catch up on sleep, get in the correct mindset, get food prepped and ready to go (all things that equate for a successful week).

Monday night: Legs!

  • It had been almost a month since we had had a hardcore leg workout, but it felt great to be back in the swing of things with a 90 minute leg workout.  15 minutes of speed intervals on the stair climber followed by three sets of 10 each of the following: Squats with an overhead bar, single leg squats holding a bar out front, calf raises on a step with an overhead bar, incline leg press, incline calf press, incline wide angle leg press, linear hack press, squats balanced on a bosu ball, alternating jump squats, toe lifts (30/set).
  • We determined we needed to add in another hamstrings exercise for knee strength, and add in single leg dead lifts to also help with ankle support, so those will get added in next week. 
  • It was also pointed out by my lovely sister and personal trainer that we are doing a lot of work with our calves that may actually be too much, since we are starting to add a lot more mileage.  We will get rid of these so we don't end up injuring either our calves or shins. 
  • We have finally found a very well-rounded workout that hits all the target areas, as well as works a bit of core.  It's taken awhile but it's finally getting there! We had to drop down the weight a bit since we were a bit out of practice, but that will build back up over the next month with no problem.
Tuesday: rest day
  • Oh my legs and ass! So sore! Very happy to "rest."
  • Also, how did I end up with leg night on Monday, followed by school all day, which means repeatedly climbing up and down 3 flights of stairs?? Ha! 
Wednesday: Double day
  • 4:30am: 4 mile run - with everything going on over the past month, it had been a while since we had run 4 miles straight, and without a treadmill assist.  Back at the track, we ran an 11:00 minute pace, which was a bit slow for us, but the run actually felt really great.  I will take a slow and really great feeling run over a fast and miserable one any day.
  • The best part? It was 64 degrees. FINALLY, our 4:30 run isn't hot or sticky.
  • 7:30pm: Upper body and core - We used to do upper body split out over a few days, during our lunch break in 20-25 minute chunks.  That definitely sufficed when trying to work with time constraints, but I love having a designated day with 60-90 minutes of time to work out.  Did 15 minutes on the elliptical machine (cascades) to warm up, followed by three sets of 10 each of the following: tricep dips on the bench, skull crushers with a barbell, bicep curls with a barbell, hammer curls with dumbbells, assisted pull ups and dips, captains chair abdominal crunches, flat bench lying leg raises and lying leg raises with butt lifts, push ups on the bar, 1 minute plank holds.
  • We may add a bit more to this but the majority is going to center around using these muscle groups.
  • We also took measurements just to see what type of physical progress we have throughout the training season, also to see if there is a large disparity between left and right sides. Just out of curiosity. :)
Thursday: rest day
  • Yay!
Friday: Speed intervals
  • The ultimate goal was 30 minutes on the treadmill, which Christi was able to do.  I was running late and trying to catch a flight out of town so I only got in 25 minutes.  5 minute warm-up plus 15 minutes of 1 minute sprints (alternating 5mph and 7.5-8mph), followed by a 5 minute cool-down run.  I was feeling pretty good about the 8mph pace until I looked over at the guy next to me and realized he had been running at that pace for 15 minutes straight. Ha! Good thing I don't compare myself to others. :)
Saturday: Cross-training
  • I was in California, so my sister and I went on a bike ride on the path along the LA runner and Long Beach ocean.  Round-trip it was just under 15 miles, and I did it all on a beach cruiser! That meant it was a little tougher than it would have been on a road bike, but the scenic view was worth it. :)
Sunday: Long run day
  • I messed this part of the schedule up by being out of town.  Sunday became a rest day, and we moved it to Monday. Since I wasn't getting in until late, it got shifted from Monday morning to Monday evening, which meant we had to condense the Monday night workout.  A little bit disappointing, but in the end, it's better to sleep than try and push through when my body might easily get an injury. And really, how effective is a long run on zero sleep? (It's not).
Monday: Long run and condensed leg workout
  • 5 miles! We both would have preferred to have been able to do this on the track, but since we were attaching it to our leg workout at the gym, treadmill it is. 
  • I decided tonight (we both did actually) that I hate running on the treadmill.  It's fine for a mile or so but I feel so much better when I'm propelling myself.  5 miles is a long time to run in place and it's easy to step funny.  If it wasn't so late/dark and we weren't trying to immediately transition to a leg workout, I would have rather have run outside.  I was feeling it in strange places and felt like each step was stepping very heavily.  This could be a combination of treadmill and just being tired, but either way, I don't want to have to repeat that again if possible.  I'd rather split the distance into two smaller runs.  
  • By the time we finished 5 miles, we didn't have much time for a leg workout.  And honestly, we were tired, our legs were a little jello-y (technical term) and it would probably have hindered us more than helped us.  We did three sets of the following: 10 stationary squats balanced on the BOSU (combination of quads, balance, and ankle support), 10 single leg deadlifts (per side) with a 15lb dumbbell (to work on ankles and hamstrings), and 30 toe-lifts (to work the shins). 

I still want to add in more core.  Our Monday and Wednesday evening includes it, but I feel like I need to add in more planks and crunches intermittently throughout the week so that they are really getting targeted.  A strong core is key to keeping everything strong and happy and I don't want to forget about it as I start getting more fatigued.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's go time!

It's finally time to start training!

I've been pretty good about my consistency over the past year and keeping a pretty regular exercise routine.  But let's face it: without a goal, it's hard to truly improve.  Nothing has exemplified this fact like the past month, where I have caught myself with amazing lack of motivation, something I have managed to maintain since last year.  There are a couple of factors that have contributed to this:
1. I've been sick.  I got hit with the flu for a week, followed by an upper respiratory infection/bronchitis that I am still fighting off two weeks later.  Since I've been medicating like crazy, I am pretty much always feeling lazy and sleepy.
2. The calm before the storm.  I don't remember doing this during the last training season, but I think it's my subconscious telling me to sleep and relax while I can, knowing that I am going to be pretty exhausted over the next several months.

While this might bring about a little bit of shock to my system, it's okay.  My body has been craving the rest and if I have learned nothing over the past couple of years, it's to listen to my body when it says STOP. SLEEP! So that's what I've been doing.

Monday the 21st marks the beginning of training season: 13 weeks of intense physical, emotional, and nutritional training leading up to the PF Changs Half Marathon in Tempe.  In the middle of it all, we are running the Hot Chocolate 15k in December, which is going to cause us to amp up the mileage a little earlier than our normal training plan. I'm pretty excited about this because we've only ever done 5k, 10k, and 21k, nothing in between.

Our final, solidified training schedule will run Mon-Sun:
Monday: leg night
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: short run in the morning (50-75% of long run), upper body workout in the evening
Thursday: rest
Friday: sprint/interval run
Saturday: cross training (hike, bike riding, yoga, zumba)
Sunday: long run
*core training and abs each time we work out

Here's the progression of our long runs each week: *edited with the corrected dates to adjust for holidays and weekend commitments*
10/28: 5 miles
11/3: 6 miles
11/11: 6 miles
11/17: 6 miles
11/23: 7 miles
12/1: 8 miles
12/8: 9 miles - HOT CHOCOLATE RUN
12/15: 8.5 miles
12/22: 9 miles
12/29: 9 miles *TBD
1/5: 10 miles
1/12: 7 miles
1/19: 13.1 miles - P.F. CHANGS!

To put this in perspective, last year's training schedule only hit 8, 8.5, and 9 miles once, so there's a bit more mileage in this plan.  However, I feel very confident that we can stick to this schedule, knowing we may have to alter slightly during the holidays. Besides, we've already run this before, so we know it's possible. :)

At this point, I have two fears, and they are just things I am learning how to overcome:
1. injury.  I'm not going to lie, I'm a little petrified of it.  I am realizing that I am might be a bit prone to shin splints or calf inflammation and it's frustrating.  Especially after last year's race, I really don't want to run through injury again.  I am vowing to be extra diligent about treating my muscles with care both before and after each training workout.

2. my stomach.  Stress is my biggest IBS trigger and it's incredibly hard to convince my body otherwise! My stomach became my worst enemy the week leading up to the race, so I am really hoping that I don't have a repeat of the same experience.  I am working extra hard at learning how to stay calm and keep everything in peace.