Monthly Archives: January 2013

Workout for Thursday, 31 January

Short, 30-minute jog today in the Five Fingers.  My feet and calves are feeling it.  I am not as used to running in those things as I was four months ago.

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I really, really, REALLY can’t wait until I live somewhere that has more than one viable running route available from my place of residence.  I am getting extraordinarily tired of the scenery and traffic on my current route.

But, the more exciting note for today is this:

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That’s right.  I did a pushup.  More precisely, I did 80 pushups in five sets, separated by a minute.  One of these days I’ll do a post just about the app that is shown above, but suffice it to say (for now) that today was the first day of my quest for 100 consecutive pushups.

Which is the first day of my renewed quest for the 375.  Pushups and pushup motivation are the big rock to be crushed in this equation (shhh, don’t think about the metaphor, just keep going, it’s okay) so for now, I’m going to start doing pushups.  Saturday, I’ll be doing 100 of them (not consecutively).

The Best Breakfast Ever Cooked

A couple weekends back I was having a lazy Saturday morning and was using up some cupboard and refrigerator ingredients and the result was a simple but absolutely amazing scrambled egg meal.

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I made about 3 strips of bacon then set them aside and poured out most of the grease, then I threw in a bunch of chopped up vegetables (mostly bell peppers and frozen, chopped up broccoli florets, but I think I used some mushrooms too).

After those had cooked for a while I lightly beat 2-3 eggs and poured them in.  Cook ’em up, towards the end add a small handful of cheese, season to taste.  Ohhhh, so good.  It was so good I made the exact same thing the next day and then over a week later (i.e. today) when I found this picture on my phone I felt compelled to post it here.

So the lesson here, kids, is make good food.  Then eat it.  It’s good.  There may be something more useful to learn there but I can’t think of it.

Workout for Wednesday, 30 January

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Yup.  Swimming in the rain, in the dark, in the cold . . . well the RELATIVE cold.  Which is actually pretty comfortable.  Just an easy 30-minutes.  Back in the day (2-3 years ago when I was training for my second half-ironman) I used to do actual swim workouts.  Drills, intervals, kick drills, pull drills, etc.  I may get back to that eventually but right now my swim days are really more active recovery that full bore training event.  So for the moment I’ll stick with what I’ve got.  Such as the following from today:

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Workout for Tuesday, 29 January

Old Faithful (with a twist): 8 x 400m w/200m recovery intervals, but the fourth and eighth intervals were at a faster target pace and there was a 2:00 minute moving recovery interval after the fourth 400m.

I hit all my interval target paces pretty consistently.  It took me until this workout to get my feel for my pace back.  Now that I know where I stand I can start dialing up the intensity a little bit.

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Workout for Saturday, 26 January

This was another workout that made me feel like a badass.  I was traveling for a work related training event this weekend.  Up to Bangkok to stay in a hotel on Friday and Saturday night for a conference on Saturday and then some sightseeing on Sunday.

Perfect excuse to skip a workout right?  Traveling.  Working on the weekend.  Crowded hotel fitness facilities.  Completely suboptimal conditions.  Except that I didn’t.  Skip that is.

Instead, I went down to the hotel pool after my seminar wrapped up and knocked out the following swim:

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Not too impressive right?  Right.  Except that I had plenty of good excuses not to do it (including the fact that I had to dodge clueless, oblivious goofballs in the hotel pool) and I did it anyway.

I think this is something that is absolutely key to my fitness consistency and lifestyle stability: ignoring optimization.  It is way, way too easy to justify skipping a workout because of suboptimal conditions.  Let me know if any of these sound familiar:

  • I don’t have enough time to do a REAL workout
  • I don’t have enough time to do my full, planned workout
  • I don’t know a good (run/bike) route
  • I don’t have the right (shorts/shoes/attire) with me
  • I don’t have my (iPod/Garmin/headphones/piece of technology) charged.
  • I don’t want to bother the other people who will be around.
  • I’m too embarrassed to work out in from of these complete strangers.

That’s what I thought.  Overcoming or ignoring any and all of these excuses and conducting “suboptimal” workouts is critical to maintaining workout momentum and a good rhythm.  Something is better than nothing.  A good plan now executed with aggression is better than a perfect plan later (or never).

Workout for Friday, 25 January

The accomplishment of today’s workout made me feel like a badass.  Not how I performed, or the feeling when I finished (although it’s always a good feeling).  No, this time getting started made me feel like a badass.  More than usual even.

Why?  Because I overcame golden excuses to bail out.  I motivated myself to go for my run, got down to the spot along the road where I usually warm up and found out that my Garmin was dead.  Boom.  Excuse to turn around and go home.

Instead, I pulled my phone out of my Spibelt and downloaded MapMyRide.  Now, I’d had this app on my phone previously, so I had an account already, but I’d never used it so I deleted it a while back.  Now, I put it back on my phone, logged in and for the first time ever I used it to track a workout.  Boom.  Excuse eliminated.

So I put my phone away, fired up my bluetooth headphones and took off with MapMyRide running.  Aaaannnnnd before going 600m I promptly found that my planned run route was flooded.  Four to six inches of water covering a good 50m of road.  Boom.  Excuse to turn around and go home.

Instead I turned around, ran down a road I’d never run down before and connected up to my planned route a little further down where there was no water.  Boom.  Excuse eliminated.

Right around that point is when my bluetooth headphones and phone music playlist combined to a) be uncomfortable and unstable [the headphones] and b) play crappy music, not follow the playlist and generally avoid effective user interface (phone).  Boom.  Excuse to turn around and go home.

Instead I shut off the music, put the headphones in my pocket and agreed with myself to run without musical accompaniment.  Boom.  Excuse eliminated.

Now, let’s face it.  On a badass scale of 1 to 10, overcoming these “obstacles” and doing a 5K run is probably somewhere between 0.5 and 0.8.  But you know what?  I don’t care.  I did a workout in the face of numerous easy outs and did the right thing when it would have been easy to wuss out and do nothing.  That’s enough badassery to celebrate.

Here are some screenshots from MapMyRide.  I am considering using this a little more to see what kind of functionality it has.  Especially since I routinely leave my Garmin turned on when I come home and don’t find out until I try to turn it on before I start running.  It does have more adds and falderal than Garmin Connect but it might be worth trying.  It’s clearly worth having around as a back-up data collection method.

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Motivation: Beyond the catchphrase

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This is part of an ongoing series where I take a look at motivational images, phrases and soundbites culled from “fitness motivation” websites and other sources.  I break them down and try to figure out what makes them effective or ineffective spurs to motivation for me.

This particular poster is one of my favorites because it speaks to one of my especial weaknesses.  I am easily distracted and easily addicted.  This is a bad combination.  More times than I care to remember I’ve gone into an evening (or a full weekend day) with the intention to workout, gotten distracted by a TV show/computer game/book/other thing and turned around to find that the entire evening (or day) is gone and I haven’t worked out (or done anything else important or productive).

Time flies.  Sometimes we waste time without really being aware of it.  Other times we intentionally avoid doing things we know we should do, such as workout.  Other times we are legitimately busy and have unavoidable obligations that consume large amounts of time (although this is less often the case than most of us portray to others).  In any case, it is really easy to cut out working out.  In fact most of the time I bet it’s the first thing to get squeezed out.  Here’s the thing though: when I don’t workout, my life falls apart.  I get stressed, I start eating badly, I don’t sleep well, I let other important habits (cleaning, grocery shopping) fall by the wayside.  I get grouchy.

The key?  MAKE the time to workout.  But what does that mean?  It’s not as if you can just wave your hand and add hours to the day.  You can’t just set your clock back three hours and give yourself wasted time back.  “Hey, boss, I’m supposed to make time to workout so I’ll be coming in at ten from now on”?  Probably not.  And you – or at least me – aren’t going to quickly and easily stop doing the time wasting activities (TV, computer games, Internet).  Some people will same “time management”.  But that’s a stupid term.  You can’t manage time.  You don’t manage fifteen minutes and turn it into 30 minutes.  There is only doing something or not doing something.

So “making time to workout” simply means “making yourself workout”.  Making yourself DO it.  At first, particularly if I’m in a bad rhythm, this can be difficult, even ridiculous.  For example, after Christmas and New Year when I got out of my workout routine and had to start making time for exercise, I didn’t do it by eliminating books and computer games.  I didn’t do it by getting up early or skipping out on work.  But I had to do it.  So I made the time by just doing it no matter what or when.  9pm?  Doesn’t matter, go workout.  Tired and have to get up early tomorrow?  Doesn’t matter, go workout.  Overslept on Saturday and now it’s 95 degrees and sunny?  Doesn’t matter, go workout.

So at first, I’m making myself workout at whatever time is available, even if it’s inconvenient or ridiculous.  But eventually, usually within a week or two, I get tired of the ridiculousness and I start MAKING that time more conveniently, meaning I start to do my workouts at a more convenient time in place of other activities.  “Self”, I say to myself, “you know you’re going to make yourself workout at some ridiculous hour anyway, so go do it now, right when you get home.  That other stupid stuff you’ve been wasting time on [computer games, music practice, sleep, etc.] is a lot easier to do at 10 o’clock at night, so go workout when it’s more sensible.”  Eventually, a combination of workout routine, improved fitness, and complete fatigue force the elimination of less worthy or less productive and rewarding activities.  Boom.  Time made for exercise.

[The poster clearly says “Hasfit.com” on it, but frankly I’ve never been to that website.  I got this image from fitness related Tumblr – don’t remember which one – that is just a vast stream of random images – mostly either lame platitudes or unattributed quotes or pictures of bodybuilders and figure competitors.]

 

Workout for Thursday, 24 January

A nice little spin on the cycle trainer tonight.  No screen caps since my Garmin is (as usual) being tempermental about uploading and transferring to Garmin Connect.  Spinning on the cycle trainer is approximately 500 times more boring and mind-numbing than running on a treadmill or swimming laps.  It is absolutely critical to maintaining good mental health (not to mention for being able to stay on long enough to achieve a fitness objective) to have some form of entertainment to get you through.

TV series on Netflix or DVD are great.  Right now I don’t have any of those but what I do have and really enjoy are audio books.  I’ve always been a fan of audio books for my long runs or rides when I’m training alone.  Same on the trainer.  I use the Audible app on my iPhone and a pair of bluetooth headphones so I don’t have to deal with cables.  Plus it means that I can put my phone on a table or something and not have to put it anywhere near my grotesquely sweaty body.

So far I’ve almost always just done boring steady state riding on my trainer.  Occasionally, I will do some kind of interval riding (warm-up, 2 min hard, 5 min recovery, repeat 4 or 5 times, etc.) but nothing intelligently designed or structured.  Just messing about.   I actually own a cycling trainer DVD (no idea where it came from) but it’s still in the cellophane.  One of these days soon I’m going to pull it out and give it a whirl.  I’d like to introduce some variety in my cycling workouts and milk a little more fitness value out of them than just basic cardio and calorie burning.