Tag Archives: cross training

Checking In 9/20/2021

Hello from Las Vegas. After morning coffee, I gassed up and drove straight back into town. I ran some morning errands, then hit the gym for an hour on the elliptical that was rather comfortable given the hours spent running yesterday. I followed that with a rowing machine session, my first swolework in about a week, and then out to finish more errands before the day was out.

I slept in this morning but feel alarmingly good… energy wise. Physically I’m still feeling beat up from the waist down after Saturday’s running. It’s all fortunately soreness: My left leg feels otherwise normal.

Today was supposed to be a scheduled day off. But I had a planned errand tonight pushed back to Tuesday night, so I’m going to make tomorrow the scheduled day off and do some light training today. Compared to yesterday my soreness feels a lot better, and some easy training will help move things along before resting tomorrow. It’ll be like a soft rest day followed by an actual rest day, helpful after the long workout this weekend.

Vegas has finally cooled off to where afternoons following work should cool to the high 80’s Fahrenheit, and I think attempting some brief post-work running sessions outdoors is worth a shot. Worst case scenario I have one brief, overheated session and I just bring training back inside the next day until further notice. But either way it will have to wait until at least Wednesday or Thursday for an attempt. (I notice there’s also a bit of wildfire haze this morning, so I guess that works out)

If I can resume workouts in the evening, that opens up my options quite a bit. If work break runs beforehand feel okay (and they’ve been feeling good since I’ve resumed them this past week), I could build back up to around 6-8 miles of interspersed easy intervals during training days. As of now I think it makes the most sense to still cross train early in the week, coming off heavier longer weekend workouts, and then work more on outdoor training later in the week as my legs bounce back, with one or two rest days in-between each week.

If I manage 4-5 weeks of consistent training this way or close to it, I think I can still be fairly ready for Indy.

One thing I really liked about this weekend’s long running is that, even though I hadn’t really done it at all in a couple months (outside of the 8+ miler I ran through Flagstaff three weeks ago), going long again was like the old adage of riding a bike: My body remembered how to do it even though I hadn’t trained anywhere close to it in a while. And yes, I stopped a lot in large part out of an abundance of caution.

But as many would tell you to fear, I wasn’t hurting and out of gas 3-6 miles in just because I hadn’t been doing 60 minute runs in a while. It took about a couple hours of running before my body really began struggling, which you’d expect even if you were well trained and had been running regularly for a while. It’s the other old adage: I listened to my body, and my body was able to handle quite a bit cold-turkey.

And it’s another good sign that, the day after, I was easily able to get back in the gym and cross train like before plus a little extra. It looks like overall I’m in good condition given I had to basically shut things down for a while.

Part of that is being patient and willing to pull back on my training, but also focusing on consistently eating good foods that foster recovery rather than inflammation. I’m not going to pretend my diet is anywhere close to perfect (hell, I had chicken fried steak Saturday night after the long run, and yes it was great), but most of the time I’ve been pounding clean protein, fresh fruit, and avoiding anything (else) fried. My supplement stack isn’t anything different other than maybe some extra Omega 3 some mornings. I always try to get Garmin’s recommended amount of water and at least get pretty close. Perhaps I’m getting more consistent sleep lately and that’s helped. But nothing I did during that recovery period was crazy-different outside of leaning heavily on cross training and being touch-and-go patient with my training.

So I’ll continue to be patient as I ramp up training, continue to listen to my body and give whatever volume and quality efforts I reasonably can going into October.

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Checking In 9/17/2021

I took yesterday off from training, and I clearly also took yesterday off from writing. I’m traveling this weekend and plan to run long before I return to Vegas.

If I don’t run on any breaks today, then tomorrow it’ll have been four days since the last time I ran. Given how little I’ve run over the last two months that’s not the end of the world. And I don’t want to needlessly get tired or sore the day before trying to run long.

The main goal is to run long this weekend and as long as I’m up to that task then I’ll be in good position for next week and beyond. My long elliptical workouts have helped keep me in the aerobic and physical shape needed to run easy for a long period.

And it’s not like I need permission to stop and rest over and over throughout the long run. I plan to slow down and relax a lot on this weekend’s running. The important thing is to cover however much distance I can and give myself that neuromuscular stimulus to recover from.

If somehow I end up in good fitness to run Indy in November (rather than barely passable fitness just to finish) I’ll have semi-accidentally stumbled upon a solid marathon training approach: Focusing on cross training for easy aerobic work, focusing more in the early going on cross training and strength training, and then transitioning more into heavier running on the back end of the training cycle. I won’t say that I’m sure it will work, but I obviously suspect that this approach could end up working out once it’s done, even if it was a circumstantial product of necessity.

Obviously I don’t want to go too hard and try to make up for lost time. That’s not possible and you’ll only burn yourself out and get hurt doing that. But that doesn’t mean I can’t train seriously for 5-6 weeks and make substantial progress to get in marathon shape. All is clearly not lost yet.

So, busy day today ahead of travel, and I’ll probably turn in a bit later than I’d like. But now that it’s cooling off it’ll be rather cool at altitude anyway (even cold if I’m early enough), so starting a long run late in the morning isn’t going to be a problem. My biggest concern will be suitable shade from the sun.

More to come once I’m on location….

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Should you strength train before or after a run?

Hey, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything besides daily check-ins. I’ve finally found a topic I want to separately discuss.

I’ve talked about this before, when you as a runner want to strength train with your endurance workouts, and whether to do it before or after the run.

First of all, I offer the caveat that serious endurance training will always compromise growth and development in any strength training you also do. Your body physiologically does not compartmentalize its recovery and adaptation to multiple simultaneous forms of exercise. Your finite hormonal and nutritional resources will spread recovery efforts across everything in your body that needs repair.

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Checking In 8/22/2021

Today’s long workout was an exercise in moderating expectations.

I had hoped to try and do some treadmill running, which I hadn’t done since the hamstring issue began. However, I had woke up this morning with some hamstring soreness, and I suspected those plans weren’t going to go according to plan.

I started slow and planned to do a 10 minute warmup in increasing increments, but I got barely into the 2nd increment before I realized shutting it down was the best idea, and so I did before the vague soreness got any worse.

In fact, I got on the elliptical, thinking perhaps I’d knock out another 80-120 minutes, and for a change it actually began to feel sore about 15-20 minutes in. So I shut that down as well.

I decided to try an old friend, the spin bike, even though my last experience with that provided some pain and soreness. But I remember that was on the recumbent version and I had yet to try the regular spin bike.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover the spin bike felt fine. Incidentally, Garmin this weekend has a challenge badge for 40K (24mi) on the bike, so I gave the spin bike a good hour and 45 minutes. Maybe it wasn’t a long run, but this was certainly close enough for now.

I have some hope to do some Easy Intervals this week. If I can get them in, my Indy goal might still remain within reach going into September. We’ll see.

Over coffee this morning, I did some meal planning for this week. The challenge is I spend about 12-13 hours at work or to/at/from the gym training. I want to see if I can clean up portions of my diet and effectively fuel an increase in training volume.

So far I had been eating a light breakfast, and I think I’m going to start cramming more fruit and protein into that morning meal. I also swapped out nuts for more fruit, as I’m already taking in quite a bit of dietary fat and want to see if paring that a bit will help shed some extra weight. I also wanted dinner to be more consistent, as I’ve mostly been grabbing whatever’s most readily available and best a fit for what nutrients I need. If I can eat lean protein each evening, that will set me up nicely to sleep well that night.

I managed to get the needed grocery shopping for all this planning, and will look forward to seeing how this goes this next week.

This is the kind of stuff I can get done when I decide not to travel for a weekend.

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Checking In 8/9/2021

Operation Shutdown has gone 7 days, and though my leg is doing a bit better I think I will extend it another couple days as there’s still residual soreness and stiffness. Granted, some of that may have to do with yesterday, I’m sure.

Over the weekend I obviously did not run, but I went hard both days: I went hard on resting Saturday, and I went hard on cross training on Sunday.

Saturday I had my first total rest day in quite some time, since (according to my logs) June 5. No training, no walking any extended distances, nothing. I didn’t even go to the store. I did take my car in for service that morning, but I sat waiting for an hour or two, had some coffee afterward, and then laid out at home the rest of the day afterward.

Sunday I went to the gym and, while I obviously could not run let alone run long, I got on the elliptical and went 2 hours 20 minutes. I now know that the back-row machines at my gym will let you go 98 minutes before the timer resets to zero (though I don’t believe that’s a cooldown phase), though my watch could count it as one full workout.

Though I tired a bit over time, I never felt aerobically distressed, and obviously there was no real pounding on my body through the elliptical’s fluid motion. I can now get my body comfortable into heart rate zone 1, and on this long workout I even got about 15-16 minutes in zone 2.

I periodically did release the moving handles and hold the static ones to give parts of my body a break, and did have to hop off at 40 minutes to verify I hadn’t left something in my car (I had not) before hopping right back on. But otherwise the 2:20 was a continious workout and I felt no pain. I certainly felt better after that 2:20 session than I would after a 2:20 long run. As manosphere Twitter accounts would say, there’s probably a lesson in there.

After that, I actually got on the treadmill and walked a steady 3mph for an hour. This was for a Garmin badge, honestly, but the extra time on my feet wasn’t much trouble, and probably a beneficial session for those same legs. It was a lightweight therapeutic session of rehabilitative movement, and I comfortably held the treadmill handles any time my hamstring felt even the hint of discomfort.

And finally, I did a brief swolework session, just some rapid fire seated-row sets, some facepulls and even some light seated hamstring curls to finish. The surprising thing is how relatively fresh I felt for the strength training despite 3.5 hours of extended light aerobic work. I was certainly stiff throughout my lower body after the elliptical, though the walking helped loosen that back up. But I didn’t feel so tapped out the way I often am after long runs.

After lunch, and after getting groceries, I headed home and relaxed the rest of the day. And I slept considerably well last night, as I did Saturday night.

Tempting as it is to test drive a short run this morning, I’ll probably just walk out the next two days’ work breaks to see how everything feels, and continue stretching the anterior hip and working on opening up that space more. I’ll certainly barring any setbacks train tonight, and every night through Thursday.

If everything continues to progress, I jog out at least one work break Wednesday, and gradually re-introduce regular running through the next week while continuing to hammer hour+ workouts on the elliptical, as those are working really well overall.

I think at this point my body’s message is clear: Other than a couple of key workouts a week and maybe your work breaks, take it easy on the running overall and go to the elliptical for the rest of your aerobic volume. The hamstring issue is probably a product of the volume, and while maybe someday it can gradually handle more, it was beginning to buckle under the volume I was giving it this past couple months. As for the groin (which in fact is feeling somewhat better itself), I’m thinking it strained from overcompensating for the declining hamstring, so I’m not so worried about that.

So, even though the wake-up aches and pains are annoying, as are the continued adjustments and struggles with things like putting on pants… I do see progress, and will continue with aggressive recovery and rehab.

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Checking In 7/27/2021

I went for a lunch run yesterday and my left hamstring started hurting, more than random aches and pains or lingering soreness. The pain while not that bad did not subside and I shut down the run after 0.3 of a mile.

It was the same hamstring I hurt two years ago on the treadmill, though I’m not totally sure if it’s the same spot or related to the same injury.

It certainly isn’t anywhere near as bad as that injury, in which I felt a pop and the pain was immediate. I can also walk fine, and in fact I can even jump with no pain. It’s only when I attempt to run do I feel it at all. It’s a dull but slight ache and when I do feel it it’s high, near the buttock.

As I did when I got hurt two years ago, I tested multiple cross training machines at the gym to see what I could do without pain, and it turns out I could use everything I tried with no problem: The rowing machine, the elliptical, the spin bike. (I also strength trained, though that was all upper body and core work.)

I still feel hamstring pain this morning, though a bit less so than yesterday, and it’s my hope a few easy days will resolve the issue. In my experience, total days off don’t help as much as continuing to train however I can, as the bloodflow is important to spurring recovery, not to mention being able to maintain aerobic and whatever neuromuscular fitness I can.

I won’t run today, and if feeling better I will attempt light jogging tomorrow (a brief test at home this morning found I could do that pain free, but I’ll give running a rest instead of chancing it today).

Today, I’m going to give the elliptical 45-60 minutes, and that’s going to be a workout as I found my 20 minutes on it yesterday a bit of a challenge. But again, I felt no pain on the elliptical, so that’s going to be the trainer of choice for now. And maybe sustained training with the different whole-body motion will provide some sort of breakthrough once I’ve returned to normal.

If it lingers or doesn’t fully improve before Thursday, I may consider cancelling this weekend’s road trip since the goal of that trip was to run.

My hope is that this isn’t a cumulative stress reaction, that I just unduly tweaked something while out running at lunch, or perhaps aggravated something tweaked during Saturday’s long workout… an isolated incident.

Rest and recovery has not been an issue. As mentioned yesterday, I’m sleeping much better lately, and recent nutrition has been more consistent and supportive. I slept well last night.

As usual, I am not taking any NSAIDs or drugs to deal with any pain as it won’t help with recovery, and feeling any pain is important feedback.

I also have over 14 weeks until Indy, so it’s not like if I must take a break for a week that it would derail anything. But, if I can cross train through this to stay aerobically fit and progress, then I will do that however much I reasonably can.

Hopefully, in a few days of work and rest, this is all a moot point.

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Checking in 6/24/2021

Yesterday’s scheduled rest day, while necessary, did highlight a personal fitness issue I had forgotten about.

I mentioned having recent sleep issues, and turns out last night I had the opposite issue from before, awaking before 3am even though I felt like I wanted to sleep a couple more hours. My body decided it was time to wake up.

This impact this morning’s hill repeat workout, as I felt creaky and sluggish warming up out to the spot. And while I could have pulled a Kenyan Runner and just cancelled the workout I decided it’d be better to at least do some of it. I knocked out 5 of the 12 scheduled 30-second repeats before I felt like that was enough and headed back to the ranch.

So what’s the fitness issue? One of my prior tendencies is that if I don’t put in much of a moderate or greater exercise effort on a given day, I tend not to sleep well that night.

I also made a point to stop using the spin bike, which means I’m not cross training on my rest days, aside from any walking.

So I think last night I could have used a better expenditure of energy, one I would have had if I had rode the bike or done some similar cross training yesterday. Because I didn’t, my body felt too “revved” to drift off and stay asleep. I did get to sleep around 10-11pm, much later than I’m used to, and then as mentioned I woke up before 3am.

Would I have slept better if I had cross trained that morning or evening? Perhaps. I realize I can’t be sure. But by not doing so, I think I set up another night of poor sleep. I had taken it easy thinking I needed the extra rest, but taking it easy yesterday might have held back my ability to get that rest.

(By the way, food intake couldn’t have been the issue, as I ate about 3000 calories yesterday and a sizable dinner. I also didn’t take in any caffeine beyond my usual 12oz morning coffee.)

I want the rest days to be easy, but it may be possible to do some very easy 45 minute cross training on something other than the spin bike, which as I mentioned I need to stop using for now. The ARC Trainer is a little too intense, and the elliptical may have the same issue. The rowing machine is very difficult to use for more than 20 minutes, and would not suit my needs. And, being a nominal rest day, I want to avoid strength training.

Plus, of course, I could just go ahead and jog provided the effort is easy enough. Before, I had avoided it because running at that point was still strenuous enough to not be a rest/recovery-day sort of activity. Having built up volume and comfort with easy running, I may be at the point now where it’s no big deal.

I’ll have to think about my options before tomorrow’s scheduled rest day.

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