Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Embrace the Chance for Variety

People who don't like to run think running is boring.  People who like to run think everything else is boring.  But ... variety is never boring.  So a little swimming here, an aqua-run there; throw in a hilly bike ride, and you have a great week of training.

Trusting that everything I do will help keep me fit, I have actually began to enjoy the cross-training.  I must admit that the initial incessant H2O running got old real fast, but since then I have offset those runs with hard swims, and an occasional hard bike ride. 

I actually have found the most ideal (for me!) hill repeat route for my bike rides.  As far as cycling goes, I offer no apologies for any offense I may cause by saying I find minimal joy and benefit from a long, moderately paced ride.  I'm a runner which means I want my heart beating hard the WHOLE time.  Do not let me coast, and put no stop lights in my path.  So when I ride, I maximize the benefit by doing hill repeats.  I love going uphill and hate going downhill.  I am a total wimp when it comes to the decline and my hands wear out from brake overuse.  So the best possible hill repeat route for me would be a nice, long, hard, steep incline (the kind that makes your legs quiver at the crest) followed by a moderate, straight decline which requires little use of brakes.  And I found it.  So now I have this totally cool hill repeat route and it is only a mile from my home.

My swimming speed has increased over the past three weeks because I am putting full and complete effort into it and have been doing multiple sessions of swim sprinting.  My goal with each workout is to max out my effort and ability, leaving it all in the water.  On Sunday (for example), John and I swam the following:  600 meters (Swim, pull, kick) warm up; 6 x 50 full on sprint (about 45 sec recovery between each); 6 x 100 full on sprint (40 to 45 sec recovery); 6 x 50 full on sprint again; 3 x 100 full on sprint.  This was followed by 300 meters of kicking and 300 meters of pulling.  I can't seem to get around the fact that sprinting and putting in full effort intervals gives me the greatest workout in the absence of my running.

So the variety has been nice, but I remain beggingly hopeful that all of this is enough.  I have three weeks remaining to my commitment not to run, and at the end of those weeks I have to be healed enough to begin running again in order to be on schedule for the Masters World Champs.  No time to waste and a lot of work to do.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Woe is Me

Aqua-running ... is boring.  Why do the youtube video stars smile when they're strapped to the side of the pool by a tether, flailing like they're rabid?  I tried it.  It's boring.  The ongoing dilemma of finding adequate cross-training occupies my mind.  I seek sweat, an overly rapid heart-rate, sore muscles (not sore tendons!), all-over full body fatigue, something that builds me instead of something that bleeds me.

Other options?  The elliptical, swimming, bike hill repeats.  I think that's all the options.  The elliptical ... is boring.  BUT it is effective!  And the boring elliptical breaks up the monotony of the boring aqua-running.  Yesterday I swam the Masters workout at Los Banos and it was awesome.  OMGosh!  During one part, we had to do three sets of:  sprint 50 meters kick x 2 followed by sprint 50 meters swim x 2.  My lanes buddies killed it.  On the third set of kicks my calf cramped up and wouldn't let go for three minutes.  Excellent!

My Achilles is STILL sore to walk.  I am icing it at least twice a day and I am imagining the healing that is taking place.  Heal, heal, heal!!!  It always feels better when it's numb.  Odd.  I'm also using moist heat to increase nourishing blood flow to the area.  Flow, flow, flow.  Nourish, nourish, nourish.  And I HATE seeing other people running.

Right now I'm off to the weight room.  Oh good, sore muscles again.  And I am looking forward in the manner of the roller coaster.  Positive, negative, up and down.  Will 6 weeks be enough?  Oh and by the way, there must be something in the water here because runners are dropping like flies.