Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Summer Training Regimen: Days 1-3

Monday, I started my summer workouts after a week off. I took a week off because 1) the school's gym is closed and 2) I was feeling too busy to work out. Now, with the true advent of summer, I've got a couple other problems: 1) the gym is still closed for another week or so and 2) the gym is 15 minutes away, which is kind of inconvenient now that I'm not going to work.

So: what to do? One option would be to get a membership at Lifeplex, which is within sight of our house... but it's not exactly a great value. And I have a hard time paying for a gym membership when I have free access to a pretty decent gym (even if it's 15 minutes away). So I'm thinking along different lines: for the next two months, I'm planning to forgo the gym entirely. Which is tough, because I love lifting weights. Seriously: love it.

But I'm also usually up for something new. I drew some inspiration from this article on suggesting bodyweight alternatives to weightlifting standards. So I put together the exercises into a workout. Normally I would do a workout that combines a couple muscle groups and hits them hard, in different ways. Like, say, 3 different chest exercises, then three more tricep exercises, plus some ab work; and then on another day, I'd do a bunch of back exercises and then a bunch of bicep exercises. Etc. But while I do think that these bodyweight exercises can be good substitutes, I don't get the sense that I can get that kind of variety. So what I'm thinking is doing a full-body workout three days a week, with something else in between. So far, with a sample size of one, that's been running.

 Day 1
 So what am I doing? Monday, it was Handstand Push-ups (modified), Clapping Push-ups, Diamond Push-ups, 1-legged Pistol Squats, Wheels, Pull-ups, and Australian Pull-ups. Three sets of each, and between each set I did a minute of cardio, per Jim Stoppani's Shortcut to Shred on Cause, you know, who needs actual rest between sets? One problem: while I have a pull-up bar, and pull-ups are great, our beautiful old farm house has no doorways that will accommodate a pull-up bar, even if I did want to ruin the gorgeous moldings on our door frames. But hey, we've got a rusty old clothesline post in the back yard, so that's good. I'm pretty sure my tetanus shots are up to date.

Day 2
Up bright and early, but our oldest daughter was up right after me. Crap. She'll freak out if I leave to go for a run. Fortunately, a little chocolate milk and Dora put her right back to sleep. That's my favorite part, Dora. That.

I pulled up my running mix on my iPod and set off down our street, which resembles nothing so much as an industrial wasteland. But hey, it's home, and the shoulders are nice and broad. My plan was to run 40 minutes and see where that got me--or, more precisely, to run 20 minutes and then see if I could get back home in another 20. The good: I did, in fact, get back in 20 minutes, so my pace didn't slow in the second half. The less-good: I was really hoping when I mapped out my run that I would have gone 5 miles or more, since that would have translated into 8-minute miles; instead, it was just 4.66, which put my miles just slower than 8:30. Still, for the first day out running, I was happy enough just to be there.

Day 3
Got out of bed and could hardly walk down the hall. I guess I forgot to mention in Day 2 that I did  the run in my Vibrams. I ran a 5k less than a month ago, but that was in tennis shoes. It's been months since I pulled on these babies:
These shoes, by the way, are very good at encouraging you to strike the ground with the balls of your feet rather than your heels. Which is to say, a run with these is a great way to shred your calves, as every step I took this morning reminded me.

But I took our oldest to peewee tennis and spent 20 minutes serving, then came home and pushed through my workout: chin-ups, close-grip overhand pull-ups, Australian pull-ups, pistol squats, clapping push-ups, inclined push-ups, and--what the hell--diamond push-ups. So it was a back and chest day, with nods to biceps and triceps, and legs thrown in for good measure. And I did the whole "cardio acceleration" thing between sets.

And I almost died.

I thought, at the end, that I should really be doing some ab work. But no. I was out of gas. And given how I woke up, just psyched that I still managed a great workout.

Day 4
Day 4 is still an open book. I was leaning toward another run, because there's a part of me that wants to make running a bigger part of my training. But given the severe thunderstorms we're having tonight, I don't know what to expect. There's another weather to consider: whether or not I'll be able to walk in the morning. So... maybe yoga. Because that will be easy when I can barely walk.


  1. Loved this, John. It's great to see what all you an accomplish outside of a gym -- and outside, period. I hope you find some puddles to splash around in tomorrow -- Vibrams might be good for that. :) Any plans to run with the kids in a stroller? Might solve the coaxing back to sleep issue at some point. I've never done it myself (our kids were outside stroller age when i acquired them) so I'm interested to hear your experiences.

  2. I haven't run with either kid in a stroller, and that's not territory I'm eager to venture into. I do bike with a trailer attached that hauls around both of them, which gives me a good workout. Of course, as often as not we're biking to the deli that sells ice cream and gelato, so it's probably a push at best. And more likely I'm kidding myself.

    I did get up and run this morning, but since I had to get the 3-yr-old to her tennis lesson, I decided to make it a shorter run at a faster pace: I did 1.62 miles at about an 8-minute pace (my stopwatch stopped watching my run somehow, so I had to guesstimate), and then I tacked on an extra half mile for fun.

  3. Need to do some lifts? Lie on your back, lay your youngster on your chest, raise and lower slowly, up and down, until your child has a fit of the giggles--and you do, too!

  4. Sarah, that's a pretty good idea too, and brings a whole different kind of intensity to the workout.

    And can I just say thank you to both of you for your comments? I was beginning to think this blog (granted, this blog that I haven't been updating regularly) was becoming an aggregator for spam comments--thanks for proving that hypothesis wrong!