Monthly Archives: October 2012

Caught back up

Last night was long workout push-up/sit-up night.  Nothing special to report.  Workout completed as planned.  I gotta say though that I feel really weak on push-ups.  Sit-ups don’t seem too bad but push-ups?  Yikes.  Trust the process, trust the process, trust the process …

Short hard run tonight to keep getting back on track with running.  Six short 100m hill repeats.  I chose a somewhat too easy hill just because it was close to home and it was already late when I started.  Next time I have the hill workout I have a b**** of a hill picked out.  Should be a good one.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a 4-mile easy run, but in order to head off an ankle re-injury at the pass I’m going to switch it to a 40-minute bike ride. 

I’m back and I’m back on track

Sunday late afternoon/early evening I laced up my supportive Brooks running shoes and went down to the gym.  I did the elliptical trainer for a few minutes until my body felt loosened up.  Then I went through my traditional rotational warm-up exercises to send some blood to my joints.  Then I got on the treadmill.

I left the incline flat and started out slowly – 6 kph – until I got warmed up and started bumping into the front of the machine.  I slowly – very, very slowly – increased the pace until I was going about 7.5 kph.  And my foot/ankle felt good.

So I went outside and did this:

It was longer than it looks on that map.

Workout for Friday, 26 October

Two workouts last night.  My “wildcard” night for push-up and sit-up workouts and a substitution cardio workout for what should have been a planned 5-mile easy run.

For the push-up and sit-up workout I did ring push-ups.  I hung my gymnastics rings about 3 inches above the ground from the frame of the Smith rack in the fitness center and did ten sets of ten reps of push-ups.  For sit-ups I did three sets of weighted stability ball crunches and three sets of weighted leg raises.  

After that I did three sets of ten rows.  I raised the rings up so that when I grabbed them and put my feet up on a bench (facing the ceiling) I was about 6-inches off the ground.

I enjoyed mixing up the PU/SU workout.  I’m going to take advantage of my wildcard workouts to do a lot of assistance exercises, strength work and other things to mix it up and keep it fresh.

For cardio I spun at an easy cardio rate for 40 minutes on my bike on the trainer.  For those of you who have never ridden your bike on the trainer 40-minutes FEELS like 120-minutes.  I must have looked at my Garmin every 90-seconds.

Tomorrow is the one-week point of my no running requirement.  I’m going to jump on the treadmill after a deliberate and thorough warmup and see how my foot/ankle feels. If it is good to hook, then I’ll go out on my scheduled long, easy run from LAST Sunday. If all that goes to plan then I’ll pick up my run plan with the schedule that I had before.

Here’s hoping.

Workout for Thursday, 25 October

Tonight’s workout was a “run substituted” swim interval.  I did a 10 x 50m hard effort workout.  I did 300m to warm up and 200m to cool down.  Overall a shorter workout than Tuesday and with more rest intervals, but hard sustained efforts and more total time and distance at a hard pace.

I like the workout and it felt good.  I coulda-woulda-shoulda incorporated some technique and skill drills before and/or after the main workout sets but I didn’t.  No equipment, not training for a triathlon or swim race, no observer to provide technique feedback.  Take your pick.  I did.

The data above is a little messed up because I screwed up one of my lap button – start button combos around lap 9.  I have no idea what happened but there’s a 50/50 chance I only did 9 work intervals.  Oh well.  I’m using a Garmin 310XT which is Garmin’s premier triathlon watch, but it is terrible at lap swimming.  

I am totally off my game

So on Wednesday I did my push-up and sit-up improvement and then forced myself (against my will) to do some pull-ups.  There I sat – all smug, all night – because I had done some “extra work”.  I stepped out of the shower (late, right before bed) and got struck by a lightning bolt: I didn’t do my scheduled cardio.  Doh.  

I was supposed to do a 40-minute spin on the bike trainer yesterday as a substitute for the 4-mile easy run I couldn’t do and instead I sat around all night and didn’t do it.  Didn’t even think of it.  For Pete’s sake.  Sometimes I amaze even myself.  And not in the good way.

But at least the workout that I did remember went fairly well.  Wednesdays are currently my “speed and continuous movement” workouts.  Five sets of 30-seconds with 30-seconds of rest.  Same for both push-ups and sit-ups.  Short, fast and furious.  I’m not even going to pretend that I remember the numbers for my push-ups.  I tried (I do know I did thirty on the first set).  But there was too much heavy breathing and too little brainial oxygen.  Yes, that’s a word.  No, you shouldn’t look it up.

For the sit-ups I did 25, 25, 25, 23 and 23.  For the set sets of max pull-ups I did 10-8-6.  

My ankle seems to be getting better in that at least I haven’t thought about it or been aware of it for 12-24 hours.  Two more solid days of rest and it should be ready for a test drive.

Me and Johnny Weismuller are tight

Yesterday’s cardio workout was a swim interval in place of the scheduled (short, hard) hill workout.  I chose to do a 10 x 100m EBEH workout.  The EBEH (for those of you who are as swimming noob-ish as I am) stands for easy-build-easy-hard.  

What happens is you do a warm-up (200m for me) and then start your work sets.  Each work set consists of one LENGTH (not lap) at a nice easy pace, followed by a second length at a “building” pace.  The building pace is supposed to be faster than the easy pace but not an all out sprint or anything that leaves you gasping.  I think of it as the pace (and form) that I would use to swim a length if a couple of really attractive women were watching from poolside – fast and smooth enough to impress but not so much that I couldn’t talk to them at the end of length.  Which of course I wouldn’t do because this is a purely hypothetical scenario and I’m in a fulfilling relationship (hi honey!).

Moving on.  After your building length you do an easy recovery length and finish up the work set with a hard length.  That’s exactly what is sounds like.  You go as fast and hard as you possibly can while maintaining as much form as you can.  It’s how you’d swim a lap if you were racing someone.  I assume.  I’ve never been in a swim race.  But I’ve got a fairly good grasp on the concept.

In between EBEH’s you can either rest or not depending on: a) your fitness level b) how “hard” your “hard” is c) your training goals and d) how many EBEH’s you’re planning on doing.  Myself, I strung the first three or four together (okay, okay, the first two or three) and then started stopping in between for the highly scientific and analytic time period of 10-15 deep gasping breaths before kicking off on the next EBEH interval.

Overall, a great workout.  

Hard decisions

I am going to take one full week off from running and lower body strength training.

It was really hard making this decision.  In fact keeping myself from working out is turning out to be harder than making myself work out.  Unfortunately my foot/ankle is still feeling strained and tender.  I’m going to commit up front to taking one full week and letting it heal so I can move forward.

Obviously this means no running (starting with what would have been my first good hill workout of the program today).  I’m going to replace any scheduled speed work with swim intervals in the pool.  I’m under no illusion that a swim interval equates to a run interval, but it’s better than nothing.

For my easy and long run workouts that I’m skipping I’ll do time-equivalent cycling workouts.  I’m not using cycling intervals (i.e. spinning) to replace the run intervals because while easy spinning is no impact to my foot, hard cycling could still retard the healing process due to the stress. 

I will continue to execute my PU/SU training as planned.  I’m also going to eliminate any strength training or other training that puts undue stress on my ankle.  I’ll have to think about it today and figure out what exactly that is going to look like.  What I’m thinking off the top of my head is to just add some pull-up work to my PU/SU sessions and call it good.  We’ll see.

I’m frustrated and disappointed but I think this is the best way.  I’ll take this week off and pick back up with this week’s workouts next week when my foot feels 100%.  I am very encouraged by HOW frustrated and disappointed I am.  I think it is a powerful indicator of how much of an ingrained habit my training is and how much I enjoy it.

Good sign for the future.

The good old days

Today was a rest day for running.  Foot still feeling wonky.  I may have to skip my Tuesday hard run.  I hope not.  But maybe.

But, getting back to grueling things that DID happen on schedule, today was the first day of my new PU/SU improvement program.  In the new program, Monday is my PU/SU “long day”.

Two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of rest, one minute of push-ups, one minute of rest (twice), thirty seconds of push-ups, thirty seconds of rest (twice).  Same for sit-ups.  Some of you are grimacing in remembered disgust of this one.  This may have been the most common PU/SU workout I did during the time when I was trying to max the CPFT originally (and later the APFT).  I HATE this workout.

And you know what they say about workouts/exercises you hate to do: you probably suck at them and should be doing them.  Yup.  The truth hurts.

For all sets the key is to maximized continuous effort and number of push-ups even if it means going to your knees and doing modified push-ups.  The idea is to do as many push-ups as possible but also to keep your arms and body moving and minimize rest. For me it looked like this:


  • 65
  • 35
  • 25
  • 21
  • 17


  • 83
  • 43
  • 40
  • 22
  • 21

The push-up numbers are somewhat suspect (+/-10%).  The level of effort was such that attempts to remember what number I was on or finished on were a little sketchy.  It felt great.  I really like this workout.  And I really think it’s going to improve my performance.  Why?  Train as you fight.  And it sucked (see above).

Sunday, bloody Sunday . . .

So my foot was feeling better (not 100%, but better) on Saturday and when I walked in my Brooks running shoes (as opposed to my FiveFingers or barefoot) there was no pain.  So I was really excited to get out today and knock out the longest run I’ve done in the longest time (that’s 7-miles to you, me and Billy Joel).

I won’t go into detail about the psychological damage that I experienced on my first attempt.  Suffice it to day that I spent 2.5 hours driving to and back from the place I thought would be ideal to run without getting out of the car.  Further psychological trauma occurred when I finally went out to run on my regular route and had to quit after a third of a mile.

I wore my cushy and supportive Brooks runners, I warmed up well, I was taking it easy, but after a quarter mile my foot/ankle was painful and the hitch it caused in my stride was putting a huge strain on the back of left knee.  So I came back home and eventually pummeled my Self 1 into 30-minutes in the pool and 40-minutes on the exercise bike (70-minutes of cardio to equate roughly to the training time 7-miles at 10 min/miles would be).

I’m seriously considering the potential necessity of taking a full week off of run training to let my foot/ankle recover.  I’m not happy about it but I’m playing the long (short) game here.  Better to heal completely and then get back at it than to hobble along partially healed for weeks at a time.  Monday is a rest day (see the schedule, I didn’t post it for my health), I’ll make a game time decision on Tuesday (which is also a national holiday at work).

Also, this morning before I ran I retested my push-ups: 57.  A 25% improvement.  The plan for next week (and beyond) is to do an old classic “long” workout on Mondays; the old “fast” workout on Wednesdays; and a wildcard workout that varies each week on Friday.  Back at it tomorrow.

Wolf! Wolf! Guys? Wolf?

I didn’t notice it too much during the day yesterday because I spent most of it sitting on my butt in my office, but the inside of my left ankle is still really tender.

This is upsetting for two reasons: 1) its impact on my physical activity (no running, very limited lifting/strength training) 2) I have a long weekend off from work starting today and now I don’t know if I’ll be able to do any of the things I was hoping to do.

In an effort to take it easy and allow my ankle to heal up, I skipped the scheduled 4-mile run last night and cycled on my trainer instead.  

[Above: a sophisticated device for generating GALLONS of sweat without any forward motion occurring.  Rube Goldberg would be proud.]

It’s difficult to determine what an equivalent workout on the trainer would be to a specific run protocol, but I finally  decided to bike for the equivalent time that an average easy 4-mile run would take.

You can see that my Garmin didn’t record a speed or distance.  I have a speed/distance sensor that works in conjunction with the cadence sensor but I’m still on the fence about its utility.  A lot of the online information says that for mechanical trainers (as opposed to power meter enabled or computer/software interface enabled trainers) are much too susceptible to gearing changes for the distances recorded by sensor systems to matter.  In the past I’ve used the distance sensor and tracked the distance just for the psychological comfort of complete data screens.  I’m not sure I like the gaping holes in my summary screen when I don’t track distance.  I’ll have to review some of my old data and do some more trolling on the Slowtwitch forums.

I’m off to obsess over my ankle and ruminate over the potential collapse of my (fitness) dreams due to pain in a single, isolated strip of tissue.  Have a great weekend!