Tag Archives: Spinning

Swim-Bike-Run, Oh My!

pe05982_A couple years ago my husband and I went to watch his sister and her fiance and some other friends finish the first triathlon in Annapolis. We cheered her on through the finish line at Navy Stadium and I remember clearly being in awe of the hundreds of people who had just done three sports in a row! My sister-in-law and her fiance have competed in a number of triathlons and I feel fortunate that I am continuously meeting and connecting with other triathletes as their multi-sport talents are ever impressive.

In getting to know triathletes, however, I still always positioned myself as a runner forever and ever. No need to also be a biker and a swimmer. But then I took a break from running and started spinning, albeit not the same as road biking, but certainly a good introduction to the work-out. And then a friend of mine signed up for a triathlon in July and we got to talking about swimming. Next thing I knew, I was at the pool trying for a half mile swim with her. Continue reading

What Are All These Thresholds? Introduction

j0313896When I started training for my first half marathon last year I was stumped by how tired I would get after long runs. A close friend, who is now a NSPA-certified trainer (National Strength Professionals Association) recommended I get a Polar watch to monitor my heart rate while training to make sure I was not over-exhausting myself on those long runs. I did and despite having read the owner’s manual there are still some things that stump me about heart rates, “own zones,” and what the numbers really mean.

As I started to pay more attention to message board posts, other blogs, and articles that discussed heart rate training I started to find that heart rate is usually used in the same sentence as lactate threshold or anaerobic metabolism or VO2 max–all terms that in all my years of running I am just now discovering. For example,  a spinning instructor recently had a hand-out at the end of class an article from a copy of Spinning and what is probably the summary sentence of the article is quite foreign to me: “Testing your lactate threshold provides you with a maximum aerobic heart rate because it tells you at what heart rate your body switches to anaerobic metabolism.” Continue reading

Day by Day

Sitting on a notepad next to me is a list of topics I plan to write about on this blog. In the drafts section of the blog editor are a handful of posts I’ve started but that aren’t quite ready to be published. And on the “notes” area of my Outlook program is another long list of things I’d like to research and write about here. Rather than complain about how there never seem to be enough hours in the day, as I’ve done before, I’m going to attempt the “day by day” strategy and just fit in what I can. On my run this morning I was thinking about all the things I haven’t done and all the things I have yet to start, blog posts being one of them.

I thought it might be helpful for both me and you to think through what has happened so far, reflect on how some things have been going, and figure out what’s next on life’s list. Ideally at the end, you’ll have something to look forward to reading and I will be accountable for getting it written.

Since the March 1st marathon and a month of recovery from ITBS, I am grateful to be back running again on a consistent schedule. I got very focused on strength training for a while, but there is some vortex that running pulls me into and it’s all I want to do. Since running had made its way back into my life, the weights have taken a back seat which goes very much against my original goal of having a better balanced work-out plan the second time around. Knowing that I will be in training mode soon, I need to work in the balance of cardio and strength training. So I am sorry to report that with the exception of core work-outs I have let the arm and leg exercises slide, but this will change starting today.

I also reported that I was going to be doing my first adventure race. Due to my own poor planning and schedule conflicts, I did not make it out to Rocky Gap for what would surely have been one of the more gratifying and challenging races on my calendar. Doing an adventure race is definitely still on my radar, however I think I’ll start with trail running first and build up an actual understanding of “off road” training before heading into the wilderness.

Cross-training is the one thing that has managed to remain a part of my new routine. Spin class continues to be at least a one time per week work-out for me and while I have yet to say that I love spinning, I can say I love the work-out that spinning provides. It makes me sweat like no other exercise makes me sweat and I am acutely aware of my beginner level skill at spinning so I welcome the challenge each time I go to the class, including the challenge of waking up at 5 a.m. to get to class on time. These are some of the things that have been going on over the last few months.

What’s Next?

With regard to races, I think I finally have my summer schedule figured out which is a huge relief because now I can start training and get some order back in my life. I plan to do the Ben Moore Memorial Half Marathon August 1st, followed by my first sprint triathlon in upstate New York with my brother-in-law on August 9th. I realize that back to back races might not be ideal but I feel as though with a solid three months to train for both that the tri training will keep me even better conditioned for a summer half marathon. The Annapolis 10-Miler is one of my favorite races and is August 30th, so that will be on the schedule as well. In June we’ll find out if I get into the NYC Marathon, so we’ll cross that marathon bridge when we come to it.

In addition to training for the above mentioned races, there will be a host of things I have to learn about triathlons and I plan to write about them as I discover the answers to my new questions. I am training again with my Polar heart rate watch and this is a subject I will cover here once I get it all figured out. I have some definite “user error” issues with the watch as well as a mental block in regard to how to train by heart rate; but I will learn and share.

I will continue to do reviews of training logs and have a couple more weeks using the Runner’s World log before I write the review, but I am eager to move on to the next log; we’ll just leave it at that for now.

One category that stands out on my multiple lists of blog topics are things in the “health” category. This blog is “Health and Running” and while running is by default a healthy thing to do, it is by no means the end all be all of health. Food and nutrition is a whole category of posts but as I am not a food or nutrition expert, I’m just a normal eater, I will explore some of my own food and nutrition questions and bring you the answers I find. A friend of mine just started a site aimed at helping others make informed eating decisions and with his knowledge and that of many other helpful resources and healthful eating experts, I imagine we will start to cover more of the “health” in Health and Running.

So that’s what’s next on my plate; feel free to add to it if you want. What’s next on yours?

Thinking While Doing

PARISThe past couple weeks I have gotten into spinning and strength training in lieu of my regular morning runs while my IT band gets back to normal. I am definitely enjoying the change in routine and appreciate the challenges of these new work-outs. I’m testing out the Runner’s World training log this month and one of the fields you can complete allows you to rate your effort as well as the quality of your work-out on a scale of 1 to 10 and I’m finding that with these new work-outs I have to put in a lot of effort but am not getting the quality I’d want because everything is so new.

Running for me still remains the ultimate work-out not just because of the calories it sheds or the lean frame it allows me to build, but also because of the mental balance I can achieve when running. Despite the enjoyment of these new work-outs, I miss running terribly for it’s mental stimulation, quiet focus, and creative freedom. On any given run my thoughts would move between concentrating on my form to planning my “to do” list to thinking through poems to simply taking in my surroundings. Every day I could start with a run was inevitably a better day for it because the run would give me time to wake-up my body and my mind and prepare for the day ahead. Continue reading

Starting to Spin

Photo by Chrisobal82.

Photo by Chrisobal82.

The room was dark, a fan was blowing on me from the corner, I was slightly uncomfortable on my seat, I was focusing on the upbeat music the instructor had chosen, and in my mind I was pedaling along an uphill road that I had once biked along in Cape Town, South Africa. Except that I was on a stationary bike in Charleston, South Carolina. Soon I was sweating profusely and by the end of my first spinning class I was drenched, sore in places I didn’t think possible, and my legs were shaking from being pushed like they had never been pushed before.

That was seven years ago. I’m grateful to have taken spinning classes before because I know from personal experience what an incredible work-out a well taught spinning class is and that the harder you’re willing to try, the better the class can be. In college I might have taken a couple dozen spinning classes which was great for when I needed to get in a good sweat, but not enough to get me totally hooked. Though I enjoyed the spinning classes I took in Charleston, since graduating from college I have focused my energy mostly on running. Continue reading