Tag Archives: weights

Triathlon Training Programs

j0387211For the last couple months I’ve been trying to figure out what I would train for next and at first I thought it would be a summer half marathon (and it still might be), but now it is most definitely training for my first triathlon. The first hurdle has been to find a training schedule that makes sense to me, seems realistic with my life schedule, and that will give me a comfortable balance of swimming, biking, and running.

All my running schedules have always been in miles. (I hate to admit that I have yet to train with speedwork, hills, fartlek, etc but that is also in my future if I’m going to do all this the right way.) You slowly increase mileage balanced by some easier or rest days and then taper off closer to the run. I thought for sure that triathlon training would somehow be similar.

Well, wasn’t I shocked when I started to look at a variety of programs that vary from ones that are entirely time/duration based to ones that are a mix of time and distance to ones that focus on heart rate training to others that rely on each work-out being at either foundation, tempo, sprint, or time trial pace. There’s so much to choose from! A comforting line, however, in a Runner’s World article written for runners trying a tri said “it’s ok to experiment.” 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?

Building a Strength Routine: Back

j0395958The lower back is an integral muscle in the core and having a strong lower back and core contributes greatly to being able to maintain proper form over long running distances. Having a strong lower back also eases the shock the back muscles absorb with each step during a run and can help eliminate possible pain as a result of consistent running. I feel as though many of the core muscles I have always worked are the various abdomen and oblique muscles and I often neglect the lower back as part of the core unit. In my new strength training regimen, I have an entire set of exercises that work the lower back and surrounding muscles and though I feel sore from finally working that area, it’s a good pain and I imagine will pay off in the long run.

In addition to strengthening the lower back muscles and training them to be a support group for the rest of the core, doing regular back exercises and stretches will help improve posture. I sit in a chair in front of the computer most of the day and I love to slouch. I find it comfortable but I am very aware of how bad it is for me and I’m sure it’s not the most attractive look either. It also concerns me a little that it is a chore for me to sit up straight for extended periods of time. If I can’t simply sit straight in a chair, how am I supposed to run more marathons with any kind of good form? Continue reading

Building a Strength Routine: Legs

I am happy to say that I have been sticking with the strength routines that I put together just a week ago. It helps that I have a lot of exercises to choose from so I can vary the routines for the various muscle groups which will hopefully keep me from getting bored. Though I think I like working my arms the best, I understand the importance of strengthening all the muscle groups to improve running performance. After reading a fantastic and detailed article about IT Band Syndrome (perhaps the best one I’ve read yet), it’s even more clear how critical having strong legs and glutes are to preventing injury.

Unfortunately, I don’t love leg exercises; in fact, I loath them. For a long time I thought that running was all the leg exercise I needed until I started learning more about training, strength, performance, injury prevention, and realized that successful running and overall fitness is best achieved by a combination of routines and exercises. The following leg exercises are from the 2007 SELF Challenge and Runner’s World and have the added bonus of working multiple muscle groups. You will notice that lunges are missing from my leg routine though they are part of some other muscle group exercises. Continue reading

Building a Strength Routine: Arms

CB021012I love to run. I will happily dedicate hours of any given day to running but you ask me to carve out time for strength training and I am likely to all of a sudden “run out of time.” I enjoy the feeling of getting stronger, of stretching out newly used muscles, and the overall satisfaction of working new muscles. However, in years of exercising I have never stuck with any consistent strength routine. I get bored. I forget the exercises. I slack off on repititions. I don’t do enough sets.

I am not opposed to strength training and it’s not like the actual exercises are so hard I can’t do them, it’s that building and then sticking to a routine is extremely challenging. In my new quest to confront the things I’ve been avoiding, I am going to be customizing some strength routines for myself based on exercises I’ve done over the years, read about, and watched others do at the gym. I have chosen to put together routines to tone and strengthen my arms, back, legs, and of course abs. Ab and core exercises are actually the only thing I do consistently and enjoy almost as much as running. Continue reading