Friday, January 07, 2011
Yesterday I finished the fourth week of CP25K workouts, namely, jog for 1.5 minutes, walk for 1.5 minutes, jog for 3 minutes, walk for 3 minutes and repeat one time. I modified this a bit by jogging for 5 minutes on the last interval.
So now I've reached the next level! Week four goes like this: warmup, jog for 3, walk for 1.5, jog for 5, walk for 2.5 and repeat one time. I'm very excited, I start tomorrow, I can tell that it'll be easy and I'm so happy about that. Last year even this moderate level of jogging was very difficult. I can just taste that 5K in my near future and it makes me smile!
Hope you have a great day!
Thursday, January 06, 2011
I've had a wonderful last couple months in the gym and I've really been reaping the benefits lately. My main goals for this year come in July and September so it's very important that I not over-train now otherwise I'll be burnt out or injured when the big days come. So, as excited as I am about pushing forward hard and fast, I must take it easy, be patient, and trust the process.
This is a great problem to have--only two years ago I could hardly do anything anymore!
Hope you all have a great day!
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
I've always hated running just to run. I love the kind of running one does for football or baseball or tennis, but running to run has never made any sense to me. However, as I learned more and more about fitness over the last few years, and as I began to walk for exercise on a semi-regular basis, I developed a moderate desire to run. So last year I came across the "CP25K" and decided I'd try it. I quit just four weeks into the plan because my shins were hurting so bad and my right tendon was strained, and I didn't want to cause a leg injury that would ruin my cycling season. I remember thinking to myself, "You know, I really do hate running so I'm just going to stick to things I like--there's plenty of those!"
This year, as I transitioned from cycling season to gym season, I decided to warm up for each strength training exercise with 30 minutes of walking and then end each session with 30 minutes on the elliptical. I would walk at 3.5 or 4.0 and pretty much go all out on the elliptical. I was really enjoying myself, and growing in strength and fitness.
Then one night I decided to stop by the gym and walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes at 3.0, just to unwind from the day before I went home. About 15 minutes into the walk I thought, "I wonder if I could run for three minutes?" So I began jogging and next thing you know 5 minutes had passed. I walked for another 5 minutes and then jogged for 3 more. To those of you who are runners, jogging for 8 minutes is nothing. But for me it was huge. I had no pain whatsoever, aerobically I remained strong throughout the jog (last year a 3 minute jog made me feel like I would die), and I realized that I could run a 5k.
As I reflected on this experience later that night I realized that the difference between this year and last was that last year I didn't give my body enough time to prepare for the rigors of running while this year two months of walking set me up for success. So each week now I've been progressing in the plan and am to the point of jogging for 3 minutes, then 5, then 3, then 5 with adequate breaks in between.
I'm so excited to be able to do this AND enjoy it! I can't wait until I can jog that full 5K. And hopefully it will help me climb better and go faster on my bike this spring. I don't know, we'll see.
Thanks for reading, hope you have a great day!
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Over the last couple of weeks I've shared quite a bit about my 2011 goals and strategy, and I want to bring this series of blogs to an end by saying that, for me, it's all about the glory of God in Jesus Christ.
God is unspeakably glorious, by which I mean he's holy and wise and mighty and merciful and infinitely honorable. He's committed to the exaltation of his glory above all things (Isaiah 24:15, 42:8, 43:6-7, 48:11, 59:19), which doesn't mean he's self-centered. He's not like us. He doesn't need others to exalt him in order to feel better about himself, rather, he commands others to exalt him because he alone is worthy of the same and he knows our highest joy is found in obeying this command. When God is in the center of the solar system of our lives, everything else falls into its proper orbit.
This is why the Bible says, "Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). In other words, put God at the center of everything you do at all times by believing and listening to and obeying Jesus Christ. This is the path to true joy.
All to say, I am pursuing health and stretching for new fitness goals in 2011 for the glory of God, the good of others, and the joy of my soul--in that order. Health is but a means to an end, it's not the end itself. Communion with God in Jesus Christ is the end, the ultimate goal of all of life. "And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (John 17:3).
Thanks for reading, hope you have a great day!
Monday, January 03, 2011
Yesterday I said that recovery is an important part of cycling, or of any sport I suppose, and today I want to say that rest is, too. By rest I have in mind days away from exercise, naps, and nightly sleep. Let me comment on each of these in turn.
First, rest days are crucial because they help your body recovery from the damage physical activity causes. That damage is good provided that we rest and otherwise recover well, but if we don't rest it compounds and causes injuries. Therefore, rest days are not only helpful, they're necessary and I need to learn to make the most of them. I love exercising, especially being on my bike, and it's hard for me to stay away from it but I must. And when I do I must learn to limit my physical activity as much as possible and envision this as part of my training regimen.
Second, taking naps on exercise days, especially when that exercise is rigorous, can actually help increase the speed at which your body recovers and grows in strength. Joe Friel, author of the "Cyclists Training Bible," says that a 30-60 minutes nap is the best way to recover from a rigorous ride by far. Other methods such as a hot shower or bath, a massage, stretching, or a slow walk in a park are helpful, but naps far outweigh them in terms of results. The difficulty for me here lies not in the concept but in making the time to ride long and hard, and then also to nap. But I'm convinced that it would be better to ride a little less and nap a little more if I have to, so I'll be working hard this season to find the right balance.
Third, it's probably obvious enough to point out that nightly sleep is a part of rest. However, the reason I bring it up here is to say that it needs particular attention. Planning for sleep needs to be given just as much thought as planning for workouts because without good sleep the body simply will not perform as well as it can on any given day. The most important part of improving my sleep patterns has been letting go of caffeine once and for all. I've been free from it for about three weeks now and I'm sleeping so well and waking up full of energy. This in turn has helped me to exercise better and grow stronger, faster. It will be critical this year for me to avoid the temptation of caffeine when the cycling days get longer and the body is crying for energy. What it will need on those days is not a stimulant but a little rest. Our bodies know how to recover if we give them what they need!
The point of this blog is to say that rest is just as important a part of training as any other aspect, and I plan to give it much thought and take it very seriously. And I hope that, along with the other aspects of my strategy, this focus will help me to go faster on the bike for the glory of God!
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