Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Just another day of training

Today I ran on the treadmill for the second day in a row and have decided that I've got to get a motivational poster to put up on the wall in front of it. I remember going to the gym for the first time and thinking that the t.v.s were stupid up on the walls in front of the treadmills. Now I know why: when there is nothing to do except look at the clock and analyze how many calories you've burned or how far you've run, you can become quite crazy. It was really really difficult not to look at the clock constantly. So instead I zoned into my legs. I basically just analyzed how each leg felt as it hit the conveyer belt. I tried to keep my steps light, my upper body straight, and my pelvis level. It was actually pretty effective. That is why I don't use treadmills at the gym. So I did 35 mintues in total, with 25 minutes of intervals: 2 minutes at a higher heart-rate (150-160bpm) and 3 minutes at 130-150bpm. With 5 minutes to warm-up and cool down. Oh yeah, and I kept the incline at 4.0.

Tonight my coach schedule me an hour and a half on the bike, but I did 1:10 and then did some core and some push-ups. I did 10 full-length push-ups at one time. It was awesome! The last couple were shakey, but I still did them! All-in-all, a very productive workout day.


Generally I hate treadmills. I dislike running in one spot. However, it sure does beat running outside in -20 oC weather in a snowstorm. So that's what I've been doing the last little while. Yesterday I did 30 minutes on it and today I'm doing some sort of fitness testing that my coach has set up for me. We have a treadmill in the office and it's pretty slick. I don't even have to go anywhere to run! I bring clothes to work and leave them here for the week. It actually works out pretty well.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mental block

Sometimes I have no problem actually doing something, but get hung up on the details of it. Biking on my wind trainer is one of those details. I just got a computer that measures cadence and distance on the back wheel, but I have not put it on. So before today, I had not put my bike on the trainer because I was waiting to do this bike computer thing. It's a motivation issue. I started looking around on the internet for videos on spinning intervals and asked my coach about it. Eventually I called her to talk about it and we talked about how it doesn't matter if I don't do every workout she gives me and that it's just important to get through the winter doing SOMETHING. With it being -20oC outside, winter is here to stay.

So while we were talking about the issues around this, I got my bike on the trainer, changed into my bike clothes, and started spinning. I spun for 60 minutes at a 130BPM heart-rate (I just got my heart-rate monitor working again too). I am so glad that I have such a great coach & friend who will spin with me while talking on the phone for 40 minutes. THAT, dear readers, is why I have a coach.

And stay tuned for bike workouts coming up!

Monday, November 20, 2006

I just kept on running...

So I have been biking to and from work, but I haven't hit the pool in a couple of weeks. I need a new swimsuit and I don't want to use my other one. It's not so much about looks as much as it is about logistics and comfort. However, I've been running a lot. In fact, it's what is keeping me going.

I ran everyday from Thursday to Sunday. Thursday and Friday were short runs that I could barely fit into my busy full-time life. On Saturday, I decided that I wanted to take "the plunge" and break 10km. So I did. It was slow-going and my ankle started to hurt at the end. That is always the first sign that I need new shoes, so I might go tomorrow and pick some up. Then yesterday, on Sunday I went to the tri club's coached session. After a good warm-up, including some accels, I did 2 sets of 4x400m at 26 second 100s. Then we did our hurdle workout, which was so hard. My hamstrings and glutes are super sore, so I did some yoga this morning to stretch it out.

Biking outside has been extremely fun because it's so warm! I mean, right now it's 0 degrees C... that means that biking to work has been a treat instead of a burden. In a way I kind of hope it stays like this. I still haven't put my bike on the trainer... I'm basically avoiding it because I hate it so much, but I definitely have to change my attitude towards it. I have to LEARN to love it!

Tomorrow I wanted to bike with the tri club, but I have a meeting. So I'll try to get the bike on the trainer tonight so that it's ready to go tomorrow after the meeting. Fun times will be had... I hope!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Training in Saskatchewan isn't always easy, but it is often innovative!

This morning I awoke to a blizzard for my Tuesday run. Well, maybe not a blizzard, but a snowstorm for sure. This is the second week in a row that we've gotten dumped on by the snow gods. I have to admit that I don't always love the snow or the winter, but most days I at least tolerate it. So I got up and perservered through the snow drifts and had myself a little run. It was extremely short, but I assure you that I worked my butt off for every single step. No roads were cleared, the sidewalks were snowed in, and the city was dark. While it was really hard and I was sweating a lot, I enjoyed every second of it.

Tonight I was supposed to go to the bike session, but in a whirlwind of leaving the house late I forgot many items necessary to do a spin class (like a water bottle and a towel), so instead of suffering through, I decided to just keep biking outside. It's still snowing and the wind is blowing hard from the NorthWest, but for some reason I'm loving the power that is Mother Nature right now. So I biked as hard as I could through the snow drifts and on the roads and paths. I did a good 40 minute bike ride around my area before I made myself home and could FINALLY have a nice, big glass of water.

I will be the first to admit that training in the winter in Saskatchewan isn't always easy or enjoyable, but it is challenging and sometimes just requires a little bit of imagination and innovation to make it work. Tomorrow is my day off from training. I hope to get my heart-rate monitor going, and my bike computer on my bike and onto the trainer. I'm also thinking about playing badminton again. It would be a nice cross-training sport for the winter.

Monday, November 13, 2006

My coach is awesome!

This morning I didn't lift weights and tonight I didn't go swimming. There are scheduling issues that I'm trying to work out... not to mention motivation issues. Also, there is a snow storm that is hindering my love of cycling outdoors.

So I called my coach. I have been kind of "beside myself" lately with my lack of motivation and scheduling difficulties. However, she was great. My training is not imperative right now and I have lots of time to get the kinks worked out. In later months, I will definitely have to put in my time, but for now enjoying the workouts and getting a schedule that works for me.

But one thing that IS working for me is yoga!!! Wow, thank goodness for yoga. I'm still sore from badminton and it's because of yoga that I'm not walking with a limp. Not only that, but it grounds me in the day. I start my day and week off in a positive manner and that, to me, is the best thing I could do for myself.

Also, even though I'm not training as much as I could be, I'm still biking everywhere and running 3 times a week. So I still have a good fitness base.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Cold runnings

Today I FINALLY went for a longerish run (that's a technical term, longerish) of 8.76km with a friend of mine. Motivation levels are definitely not where I would like them to be. My excuses: it's cold out, it's dark, and I really like being at home. Well, maybe those are more like reasons than excuses. However, I've recommitted to myself that day-by-day, week-by-week, I am going to get into training more.

The other day I found all of the parts to my heart-rate monitor. All I need to do is change the battery in the watch and I'll be set to do some testing with my coach. The testing that we do will definitely help to keep me motivated. I love being competitive with myself.

On Friday, I used muscles by playing badminton that I never use in training for triathlons. I'm not sure if it's beneficial or not, but it sure was fun. I used to play competitively, so when I was challenged I had to take the challenge. The next day I could hardly walk. The main areas of soreness: butt, back, abs, calves, arm, shoulder, and neck. There is so much twisting, lunging, and side-to-side motion in badminton that is just not present in swimming, biking, or running. Triathlon is very "up-and-down" whereas badminton is very side-to-side. It was good, but now I'm super sore. I wonder if this would be good to incorporate into my cross-training... I'm not even sure that I need cross-training, but it might be fun to go and play badminton on Friday nights. I'll have to think about that.

Honestly, I think the only thing that kept me going the past couple of days is yoga. Without it, I think I would be in bed, unable to move. Instead, I stretch and do some breathing exercises and I feel way better. I can feel my body recovering faster from workouts because of it. I'm loving being a yogi triathlete.

Today's run was pretty good. It wasn't super cold out (the other day it was -25!!!), only around -11 degrees. The ground was a little slippery and I think I'm going to get those plastic spikes to put on the bottom of my running shoes. Last year I was pretty envious of the people who had them and I kept thinking "When I can afford those, I'm totally getting some!" and now I can! So I'm going to pick some up in the next couple of weeks. Last year I fell a couple of times on the snow and ice, so it'll be good to have a plan.

This week, I'm onto my coach's training plan. I still have to get some things in order: the bike computer on my bike (it measures cadence), my HR monitor, my wind trainer needs to come out of storage, cleats for my running shoes, and starting to use the gym near my work for workouts.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


The past couple of days have been difficult, logistically, to working out. With freezing rain yesterday and the snow coming down today, it is difficult to get to where I need to go. Not to mention I fell off my bike twice yesterday on the very slippery roads and I was extremely lucky to not have been killed by a car. So last night after work I went to my chiropractor. He told me to take last night and today off. Done and done! My lower back is really sore from previous injuries that got inflamed from biking on Sunday. Today I have to spend many hours in the car for work (should be fun with the snow), but I will have to stretch frequently.

On Monday, I went for a good little 4km run and it felt great. Easy as pie. This is a good sign for me. I'll up the ani a bit either this weekend or next weekend and start doing some longer runs (in the 10-12km range). By the end of December I hope to be up to 20km. It's not unrealistic I think.

Also, I'm looking into working out at the gym near my work. I think that is the best way to ensure that I workout. I also may switch my swim times from night with the triathlon club to mornings with the Master's Swim Club. Decisions, decisions.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A pain in the neck!

Every year at the beginning of cycling season, I spend a couple of weeks with a sore neck and frequent trips to the chiropractor (actually, the chiro thing just started this year). Today's ride has really messed up my neck. How do I know that my neck is messed up? There is one sure-fire way of knowing that my neck is sore: headaches. I'm not usually a person that takes painkillers, but when it comes to neck-related headaches, I don't really see the point in prolonging the pain. I've been stretching and trying to relax my neck muscles, but the headache is persisting and making my evening and football team's victory seem sub-par. The problem is that it isn't just the muscles, it's the "junk" in the neck that gets inflamed when I spend an extended period of time in my aero-bars, ie. on any ride over 15 minutes. So tonight I'll be babying my neck and trying to stay away from bright lights and loud music, which shouldn't be too hard to avoid on a Sunday night. I'll be seeing my chiro on Tuesday [he doesn't work on Mondays].

Biking outdoors in November?!?

I feel like I robbed winter today. It was +3C this morning, so I had to get out on my bike. It was so great! I thought that I had my last outdoor ride a few weeks ago, but today was awesome. I came home with frozen toes, oxygenated lungs, and super sweaty. It. was. so. good.

There was a tail-wind on my way out of town, so I got kicked coming back. That's all right, though, because I just had a fantastic time. It took me about 10km to get my legs going, but after that it was gravy. However, with that ride, I've decided to skip my running session. My legs are just a little too tired. Plus, I have a report to finish for my old boss.

In summary...
Distance: 34.84 km
Ride time: 1:31:14
Avg speed: 23 km/hr
Max speed: 41. 1km/hr

Tonight I'm going to hook up my new bike computer that measures cadence. I'll put my old computer on my mountain bike. Things never stay the same.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

New job, new schedule

I started my new job on Thursday and I think it is going to be a challenge to do all of my workouts. However, the meeting with my coach was really good and between the two of us, we should be able to figure out how to make it all work. We are going to do monthly "tests" that measure my progress. She said that'll help with motivation instead of a race that is almost 10 months away. I like the idea because I'm very goal-oriented and it will be good to see progress every few weeks.

Yesterday morning I did a 4.8km run. It felt really good and by the end of it, I had the feeling that I could run forever. However, my schedule is all over the place and I'm not even supposed to run on Fridays so that I can do a long run on Saturday. However, it just didn't work out this week. So after I run around the restaurant all day, I'll pick it up on my trainer tonight for an hour or so at an even pace. This weekend is my weekend to organize stuff, but all I want to do is sleep. Perhaps a bit of both will ensue.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Spinning my wheels

Last night I went to the triathlon club's spin session, after missing it two weeks in a row. It was a pretty good session. I didn't sweat nearly as much as I could have, but it's all right. My right calf muscle was borderline cramping up on me and it did not feel good. I'm not sure what the deal is. It feels like most of the time, but every once in a while I can feel the top of the muscle being really tight. I stretch all of the time, so hopefully it gets worked out.

Our session went like this:
~ 2 reps of spin-ups... spinning fast and then settling in at a high cadence for 1 minute
~ 2 x 3 reps of 3-minute intervals at Zone 3 heart-rate, 2 minutes rest in between the intervals, 5 minutes rest in between sets
~ stretching and abs

It was a pretty good workout. I will try harder to sweat more next week.