Monday, March 20, 2017

Training Log - week 2

If you read about my first week, you'll soon notice that the second week wasn't actually that much different. At some point, I should, you know, shift more toward actually running, but as I think I made clear in the first post, running isn't really my thing, so I plan on putting it off as long as I can.

And I will justify my decision to do so under the aegis of "minimum effective dose." If you're not familiar with the term, it comes from the pharmaceutical world, where they ask the question about how much of a particular drug is needed to get an effect (perhaps not completely irrelevant to the current discussion, they also sometimes look at the dosage at which half the subjects die). But anyway, whether it's a drug or whether we're talking about running (which I like to call the opium of the middle class, so also a drug), it should be obvious that too little will not be effective. But on the other hand, more isn't always better, so I'm kind of wondering where that sweet spot is (in other words, how little can I run and still managed to get through a half marathon in less than 2 months?). I mean, the thing is, if I get injured, I'm not going to be able to run much so, you know, better safe than sorry.

With that lengthy preamble out of the way, here's what I did last week.

Monday: nothing. Too busy adulting, couldn't find the time.

So on Tuesday , I did my leg press, bench press, squats, and lat pull-downs routine, and on Thursday I did my dead lift, shoulder press, pull-down routine. Sandwiched in between, I did actually do some running (see? I really might be training for a half marathon!).

I "discovered" running much the way I discovered a lot of things: in a bookstore. May of 1998, killing time in the Kenyon College bookstore as either graduation or reunion weekend approached, I found a book on running. The recommendation there was to block out 40 minutes, and depending on your level of fitness, you might start by just walking the whole 40 minutes, then you might go to four blocks of 1 minute running, 9 minutes walking, then you'd keep working your way up until you were running for the whole 40 minutes. I think I jumped right into running 4, walking 6, because my ego told me to. But anyway, that was my template, and before too long I was running 40 minutes at a chunk. As a result, I kind of internalized 40 minutes as the right amount of time to spend on such an activity, however far that would take me.

So Wednesday, that's what I did. It was cold, so I ran inside on this rather odd track we have at our school. It's a big catwalk around one of our gyms, with a wood floor. Kind of like a basketball gym floor, except it's suspended in the air up above actual basketball courts.

I started running, aiming for 40 minutes, and then I kept going until the song I was on finished, 43 minutes total. I didn't stop to walk at all, though I also wasn't setting any land speed records. If I had to guess, I'd say I ran 10-minute miles, but honestly I have no idea. I'd like to think I ran faster than that, but I'd also like to think I am a physical specimen in the prime of my life, not some dude who's almost 40 and looks more ancient than that to his high school students. Anyway, I will absolutely concede the possibility that I was slower than that. For now, I wasn't too worried about my pace, I just wanted to keep running the whole time and I did.

And wow! I was pretty tired after that. The kind of muscular fatigue where you can't get to sleep because your legs are achy and restless (which, I have to say, is not very good design: I mean, if my legs are that tired, clearly I need a good night's sleep to recover--someone should work on fixing that design flaw in our dna).

Here's the thing though. If you were following the sequence earlier, I ran on Wednesday and then lifted again on Thursday. My legs were still tired on Thursday, but I went ahead and did the workout I'd planned, because that's what you do. And you know what? My legs actually felt better afterward than before. Kind of weird, no? Go to the gym with sore, tired legs, move heavy plates of metal with my legs, they feel better. My hypothesis is that the short, intense workout didn't tire my legs the same way a 40-minute run did, but it did help to move the lactic acid out. Whatever. All I know is they felt better.

Friday, I did a little more running. Once again inside on the wooden track, I ran one mile, and this time I actually inflicted a stopwatch on my mile (9:48, so I think my estimate of my Wednesday pace was reasonable), then I walked for a minute or so, then I ran another mile, which was also sub-ten-minutes, though not as rigorously timed (i.e. I know what time I started, and it was 9+ minutes later on the clock when I stopped). And that was it. Just two miles with a short walk in between. I was crunched for time and wanted to get at least a little running in.

Perhaps because they were still stinging from their treatment on Wednesday, I found my calves particularly sore. Particularly when I stopped and started again. Because of my embrace some years ago of "minimalist" running shoes (which goes nicely with my approach of minimal running), I've transitioned to striking first with the balls of my feet rather than the heels, and one consequence is that my calves do a lot more work. Combine that fact with the fact that my calves do not do nearly as much work when I squat or deadlift (i.e. all the times I've exercised in the last several years), and that's probably all the explanation needed.

Anyway, it's a decent week of training in the books. I'll take it (as if I have a choice!).

Tuesday: Leg Press (2 min), Bench Press (2 min), Squats (3 or 4 sets), Lat Pull-Downs (2 min)
Wednesday: ran 43 minutes
Thursday: Dead lift (2 min), Shoulder Press (2 min), Box jumps (1 set, c. 36"), Lat Pull-downs (2 min)
Friday: ran 2 miles, slight break between them
Saturday and Sunday: rest

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