Thursday, September 27, 2012
For a day off, it's been pretty busy.
The major event was moving my daughter from one apartment to another. Got that done pretty easily, thanks to daughter organizing her third move well and recruiting sufficient labor to make it quick and easy.
That resulted in my having time in the afternoon for walk/run intervals. As planned, I held the workout steady: 12 cycles of walk 1, run 1:30 followed by walking the rest of the way home. Took the same route as Tuesday, covering 3.82 miles in 31:42 for an average pace of 8:18 per mile.
Got home, and the next door neighbor was mowing the lawn. That made it obvious that my lawn needed to be mowed. Started mowing at 5PM, and had enough daylight to get it done but not much to spare. This will be the last mowing of the month. I'd be happy to have this be the last mowing of the season, but that's probably too much to expect.
Betweem moving, walk/run intervals, and mowing, my pedometer is over 14K steps for the day. That's high for me currently, and the bad foot is mentioning that fact periodically. But the foot wasn't complaining before I mowed, so I hope it will be fine after a good night's sleep.
Assuming the foot feels as good on Saturday as it did today, that will be the third day of the same 12 cycles of walk 1, run 1:30. Yes, I want to add more running. But I'm sticking to a full week of holding this steady. If everything still feels good after doing the same workout on Saturday, I'll try doing 10 cycles of walk 1, run 2 next week. That would be 20 minutes running time, as opposed to the 18 minutes I'm doing this week. I *think* that's probably pushing things along slowly enough.
But I shouldn't get ahead of myself. First, deal with tomorrow as a non-running day. Then, evaluate whether I can do intervals on Saturday. If I need to rest an extra day on Saturday, the interval routine will need to stay constant next week.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Lately my fitness thoughts have been focused on rehabbing the bad foot so I can get back to running. I've blogged several reminders to myself to be patient about this. Today I'm thinking forward to when I can run consistently. What will maintenance of fitness look like?
Most of the easily located material on fitness talks about *improving* your fitness level. Get stronger, become more flexible, run faster, improve your endurance, lower your blood pressure and resting heart rate. For the average American, these are worthy objectives.
But it occurs to me that improving fitness is a bit like losing weight. If I'm successful, there will come a time when I'm as fit as I need to be. At that point, the challenge will be to maintain my fitness level. Aside from the fact that I can't run regularly right now, I'm pretty close to that point.
The classic response to a statement that I want to maintain fitness would be to point out that there's always something that can be worked on. To a certain extent, that's true. But there are limits to what is practical. At some point, the risk of injury outweighs the gain of shaving a few seconds off my running pace or deadlifting or benching 10 more pounds. When I get to that point, I'd like to maintain my strength, flexibility, speed, endurance, blood pressure, and resting heart rate without necessarily becoming stronger, more flexible, etc.
I want that magical exercise regimen that keeps what I have without injuring myself striving for more. Unfortunately, I don't know what that regimen is, or even if it really exists. I suspect that this is something like a maintenance diet; what works for one person probably won't be the same thing that works for another person.
One of my personal challenges for maintaining fitness is the voice of Mr. Testosterone telling me I'm not doing well enough. I caught him at it today. I was feeling like I wasn't doing much, as this is a non-running day. But when I look back at what I have done, I see three sets of 12 neutral grip pullups this morning that went very smoothly. The pushups were easier than a couple weeks ago, too. And I got in my TGUs and snatches while the steel cut oats cooked this morning, which hasn't been a given for me lately.
Maybe this is what fitness maintenance looks like. Do something every day, even if I'm not terribly motivated. Let the amount be steady for a while, and then switch to other exercises (e.g., DB renegade rows trading off with KB TGU/windmill combos) instead of straining for more and more weight. And live with the doubts about whether I'm working hard enough.
I don't know. I can push the hard thinking about maintenance to the back of my mind as long as I'm trying to improve. And right now I'm certainly trying to improve my running by gently rehabbing that bad foot. But eventually, when I can run regularly, I may face this same issue: Where do I stop pushing for more, and what does maintenance look and feel like when I get there?
Some people live with fitness cycles. They train for an event, be it a marathon or a triathlon or a 100 mile bike ride or a weight lifting competition. This produces a cycle of trying to get the fitness to peak for the event. Intellectually, I understand this. Done accurately, fitness reaches an attainable but not sustainable level for the event. Then there is post-event rest and recovery, before training for the next event.
I'm not opposed to participating in events, but I don't think that training for the next big event is going to be an ongoing way of life for me. I might end up putting a half marathon or even full marathon on my bucket list and training up to it, but I can't see myself in an ongoing event training cycle as a way of life.
So I think about what maintenance of fitness will look like if I'm not training for a big event, I can do everything physical I want to do, and I need to keep what I've got without risking injury trying to become higher/stronger/faster. It's a puzzle, and I hope I can stumble my way into a solution when I need one.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
The bad foot felt better yesterday, but time didn't allow me to do intervals. Today was a work at home day, with midday sunshine and temps in the mid 60s F. The intervals were a go.
In the six days I took off to rest the foot, I've had plenty of time to think about how to limit the intervals. I decided on 12 cycles of walk 1, run 1:30. That was just a shade too much the last time I did it, and pushing to 13 cycles was definitely too much; but perhaps the foot has healed a little more now?
Got out, and did my walk/run cycles. Planned to follow the same route I did the first time I did these, but I missed a turn and took a slightly different route. That turned out not to be material. I finished running the twelfth cycle at 30 minutes, and had two minutes of walking to get home. Elapsed time, 32:06 to cover 3.82 miles for an average pace of 8:24 per mile.
Got home, and the bad foot didn't complain about much of anything. It still isn't 100%, and in the early cycles it grumbled just a little; but this is looking like the level to hold at for at least a week. I won't do this again tomorrow, because the disicpline right now is not to run on consecutive days. Time to do intervals on Thursday is in doubt, because that's the day I help move my daughter from one apartment to another.
So I'm still kind of playing things by ear. If the foot feels great Thursday evening after moving furniture, I might try some intervals then. Otherwise, it will be Friday.
This is almost like watching paint dry. But I think I can handle the excitement.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
After Wednesday's episode of overdoing it, I planned to do more controlled walk/run intervals on Saturday.
That didn't happen. Saturday morning, the bad foot had twinges and reminded me while doing the morning light jog up and down the hallway that real running would be a Bad Idea. So I gave the foot another day of rest, kind of. I'm still logging 11K+ steps per day, they just aren't running steps. I managed to do my walking Saturday mostly when it wasn't raining.
More foot twinges overnight, and this morning's jog up and down the hallway was better; but there were still some bothersome twinges. The foot gets a lot of rest Sunday mornings in church, so I deferred the decision.
Come afternoon, I had sunshine and temps in the low 60s. The grass is growing almost like it's spring. Sigh. Got out and mowed the lawn before addressing exercise. Had a few minor foot twinges while doing so, and that solidified the decision to walk, not run.
I don't time every walk, but the last time I did it came out to about a 14 minute mile. I think that's close to what I was doing today, and early on the foot reminded me that this was okay . . . but running wouldn't be. Sigh.
It's hard to be patient. I want to run! But I want to be able to run consistently more than I want to run right now, so I walked.
Maybe I'll be up for some walk/run intervals on Tuesday. Just have to see how things go.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
I took today off work to stay home for the contractors doing the air seal of basement and attic, plus some insulation work. In spite of it being a nominal day off, I got a decent amount of paid work done this morning.
The good news on the exercise front was that the contractors got done by 2 PM. Because I have the day off, I didn't feel at all guilty to go out for my walk/run intervals at 3 PM. My bad foot was still complaining a bit, but not as loudly as yesterday. And it's hard to pass up sunshine and variable light breeze at 63°F (17°C).
Because the foot had complained, I decided to hold the program steady at 12 cycles of walk 1, run 1:30. I varied the route a little on the small hills, and it turned out to be a bit longer. Mr. Testosterone managed to talk me into running for a 13th cycle, but I held firm and walked when the signal came for the 14th running cycle.
The effort mapped out to 4.04 miles in 35:09, for an average pace of 8:42 per mile. I'm okay with that not being as fast as last time. I'm less thrilled with the amount of complaining my foot did afterward. I'll definitely be doing no running till Saturday, and I'll have to think about what I'm doing then. Options are walk 1, run 1:30 and strictly limit to 12 cycles; or walk 1, run 1 and go for 15 to 18 cycles. I'll think it over between now and then.
I have to laugh at myself just a little over this. I had been building slowly, I thought. In light of the foot's complaint, I realize that the 5K Your Way program I was modeling on is primarily designed to build cardiovascular endurance. My cardiovascular endurance could handle a 5K right now; it's the foot that need to develop. And every article on running that mentions the subject tells me that muscles and ligaments develop more slowly than the cardiovascular system.
So . . . I think I'm at the point where I need to hold the workout steady at some level for a while, until the foot complains less afterward. I just don't know for sure what level I want to hold the workout steady at, or how long "a while" is.
At least this time past I'm recognizing it earlier than I did the first time. I have no decision on the October 28 5K at this point, but I'm leaning toward skipping it. I'm committed to the Thanksgiving Day 10K, and I might still be doing intervals at that point.
But I'm delighted that my daughter wants to do that 10K "with" me, even if she needs to walk and takes two hours to complete the course.
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