Archive for March, 2009

Trail Running

The weather was absolutely perfect for a trail run tonight.  It was just about 60 degrees before the sun started setting, so probably around 55 by the time we finished, which was a perfect mix of “not too hot, not too cold”.  The park was pretty empty, and other than a few people fishing in the pond and a lady walking her dog, we only had to share the trails with a few deer.  We did a 30 minute run on very soft dirt trails at about a 10 minute mile pace, so probably did a little under 3 miles total.  I didn’t get in any speed work but we had some pretty nice little hills to mix it up a bit.  I’m so used to running on either a treadmill or a flat asphalt bike path that this was a welcome change and a bit more of a challenge than I expected.  I really need to find some place with some steeper inclines to prep for the May race, which is in the mountains and very hilly.  All in all, the run tonight was a nice Zone 1/2 run for me to ease into the week after my race on Sunday.  It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so it looks like I might do some swimming after TNT tomorrow.  Although, I heard a rumor in the locker room yesterday that the pool might be closed this week.  If that’s the case, I’m going to do a bike workout instead on one of the stationary bikes.

On a side note, I bought a heart rate monitor today!  It should get here in about a week, so look out for future posts to incorporate it into my running and biking workouts.

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TNT Monday

On a whim I decided to try out this program at my gym in January.  I had seen advertising for TNT and always been moderately interested, but never went any farther than thinking about it.  But when I got an email saying that I could try out two sessions for free, I thought why not?  Now, I’m hooked.  Seriously.  I haven’t missed a session in the past 8 weeks.  The program is designed for people who want to obtain great fitness, but may need some direction and for whatever reason don’t want to hire a personal trainer.  It’s basically two sessions of weight training with a trainer per week with a small group of 2-8 people.  There’s also a cardio script and nutrition guidelines, but  I rarely use the cardio script as my tri training provides more than enough cardio to meet the goal of 4 hours per week.  Also, I’m not trying to lose weight and I have fairly healthy eating habits so I don’t use the nutrition guidelines.  Even without all that, in the first six weeks of the program, I lost 0.8% body fat, which tells me that it is definitely working!

Yesterday was the first session of week 9 of the training session (they run in 13-week cycles).  I usually go Monday and Wednesdays from 5:45 to 6:30, but had plans at 7:00 last night, so I went to the 5:00 session.  Each workout has the same basic structure, starting with Pilates-based core exercises followed by the main workout of arms/upper body weight lifting alternated with some type of legs (usually squats or lunges).  Sets are based on time instead of repetitions, which makes it difficult for me to remember exactly how many reps at what weight we do each exercise.  Megan (the trainer) keeps us moving through each set and there’s little (if any) rest between sets, which usually alternate between legs and upper body.  Right now we’re only doing one set of each exercise, but we’ll probably switch back to two sets in a couple of weeks.  The program typically alternates every few weeks so that your body is constantly having to adjust and learn to adapt.  Also, Megan is really good about choosing the right weights for each person.  The goal is to be at or near muscle failure by the end of each set and she makes sure that you reach that point!

I think I remember everything from yesterday’s workout, so here it is…

Core:

2 sets of Russian twists with an 8lbs medicine ball alternated with V-ups with the medicine ball

1 set skewed push-ups (one hand is slightly higher than the other, switched hands on the second half)

1 set of leg circles in both directions

Main weights (one set of each):

Shoulder press

Rotator cuff with bands and balancing on one leg with eyes closed (this is a lot harder than it looks at first, it’s amazing how much balance you get from your sight)

Upright row with a crossed band

Seated row

Hamstring curls

Chest press

Assisted pull-ups

Bench dips with feet on a Bose ball

Bicep curls

Squat and shrug with 15lbs dumb bells

Legs (one set in between each of the “Main” weights sets):

Regular squats (1-2 sets)

10 seconds holding a squat followed by 10 seconds of jump squats followed by holding a squat for another 10 seconds (~4 sets)

Jump squats (~4 sets)

My shoulders and butt are a little sore today, but it’s a good kind of soreness.  Mondays are my cardio rest day, so I only did the weight training and will do some cardio today.  Curtis’s dad is in town today, so we’re all going to go for a run tonight after work.  I’m so excited that the weather is finally starting to feel like spring!  I have been getting major cabin fever working out at the gym all the time.  It’s supposed to get up to 60 degrees today, so running outside is going to be a great treat.   I’m hoping to get in some speed intervals or hills, but I’m not sure where we’re running yet.  Stay tuned…more later after the run!

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Reverse Super-Sprint

Yesterday, I completed my first race of the season!  It was a super-sprint reverse triathlon, so the disciplines were in reverse order and distances were short, 1.4 mile Run/4 mile Bike/250 yard Swim.  The weather was pretty crappy, although it was MUCH warmer than last year, and I was dressed more weather-appropriately.  All I remember from last year is being so cold on the run leg that I couldn’t feel my hands by the end.  Even though it had been about 35 degrees, I only wore shorts, a t-shirt, and a light jacket for the run and the bike.  This year I tried to be a little bit more prepared by wearing UnderArmour ColdGear leggings and long-sleeved shirt with a  light bike jersey over my bathing suit for the run and bike.  It was the perfect amount of clothing for the ~45 degree and raining weather.

Those of us in the first wave lined up at about 7:45 AM.  I made the mistake of starting at the very front of the pack even though I knew I’d be quite a bit slower than any of the leaders.  It was a bit discouraging to immediately have about fifty people surge by me in their early run efforts.  It didn’t take me long to convince myself that I was being smart by pacing myself from the beginning when I began passing competitors who had burned up too much energy in the initial surge.  I should mention the reason that I chose to start at the front of the pack was that my finace, raced with me and running is his strongest leg.  He was one of the leading runners, and made it to the first turn before I had even fully settled into my pace.  It paid off for him as he ended up finishing 4th in the run out of 300 finishers.

The transition from the run to the bike was fairly simple in this race.  I didn’t have my clipless pedals or cycling shoes for my new bike yet (although I went to the LBS later yesterday afternoon to pick up my shoes, but they didn’t have the pedals I want so I’ll need to go back later this week), so I road in my running shoes and only needed to buckle my helmet and put on my gloves.  In hindsight, I probably didn’t really need the gloves for such a short race, and I wasn’t coordinated to get them on while running with my bike to the mount line so I might have lost some time to fumbling with them.  I need to work on that aspect of my transition for longer races, especially since I’m going to be coming out of the water.  I might play with the idea of having them attached to my handlebars and donning them after mounting the bike?

The bike leg itself went really smoothly.  After last year, when I rode on a broken bike that wouldn’t shift properly, I felt good!  As I mentioned, I have a brand new bike and I love it.  I haven’t sprung for a Tri bike yet, but this road bike is really an improvement on the borrowed bikes I’ve used in the past.  It’s a Fuji Team model, with a full carbon fiber frame and a mix of Ultegra and 105 components.  We got a great deal on it and it feels amazing.  I’m hoping to get some clip-on aerobars for it for my September Olympic distance race, as I’ve heard the course has been changed so that there are some really great spots where the aerobars will make a huge difference.  Even without the aerobars or the cycling shoes, I felt strong on the bike.  When I came to the end of the course, I couldn’t believe it as I thought I still had some riding to do before reaching the four mile mark.  On a side note, Curtis is getting me a cycling computer for my birthday, so I’m super-excited to actually know the distance when I’m riding, since right now I have to rely on mile markers during training.

My bike to swim transition was a bit sloppy as I had so many layers on.  I also forgot to not double-knot my shoes, so I had a bit of trouble with them.  I’m not too worried about this transition because in a “real” triathlon, I’ll never have to strip to swim!

There were a lot more people in the pool during my swim than I anticipated, and I didn’t do as well as I could have.  Swimming is usually my strongest discipline, but I was slower than last year by a whole minute! Granted, this includes T2 time, but I was aiming for a lot faster than that.  This was a good pool practice for open water swimming though.  Since there are so many people around, I really had to concentrate on not getting kicked in the head and passing people effectively.  My finish was a little shaky as I didn’t hit the wall right at the ladder and got pushed behind two people that touched after I did, so I might have lost a few seconds there.  Overall I was pretty pleased with my performance.

We stayed for the awards ceremony after the race and found out that Curtis and I both finished third in our age groups and I had taken 5 minutes off of my time from last year, which was my goal.  I also won a $15 gift certificate to RoadID, so I’m going to have to look into that and maybe order one for when I’m out training by myself.  It’ll be nice not to have to worry about carrying a separate ID with me (not that I usually remember anyways!).  The preliminary race splits were posted this morning and I was pretty happy with my numbers.  They were about what I had aimed to do, with the exception of the swim time.  The things I’m going to need to work on in the next few weeks are my run speed, pacing on the bike, and doing hill workouts in both disciplines.  My upcoming May race is on a very hilly course, so I’m going to have to simulate it as best I can on nearby trails.  Today is a cardio rest day, but I have weight training with my trainer tonight.

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