Thursday, December 20, 2007

Training Log: 7.2

Tuesday 12/18 Cross Training: 1 hour of flow yoga

Given my recent issues with strains and my chronic lack of flexibility, I tried doing a yoga workout this week. It was harder than I expected, but I think it's something I should do more regularly to increase flexibility and build strength.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Training Log: 7.1


Sunday 12/16: Cross training, 60 minutes of Cross Country Skiing

What a treat! We got about a foot of fresh snow overnight, so I was able to get out on the XC skis for the first time this season. I had a great workout lasting a little more than one hour. XC is really fun, and you get a great upper-body workout as well as an aerobic and lower body workout. I hope the snow sticks around so I can do it again this week.

My course today was in the backyard. I managed to get a nice track going and created a loop that took about 45 seconds per lap. I reversed my direction every 10 laps or so and got some good practice turning. If the snow sticks around, I'll try to head over to Lake Lansing Park this week for another session.

My gear:

Karhu XCD Pinnacle Backcountry Skis
Alpina Boots, Bindings, & Poles

Training Log: 6.2 (and a milestone reached)

my bike

Saturday 12/15 Cross Train, Bike: 70 minute resistance workout on the trainer.
Spin 10, 3 x 15 minutes pushing heavy gear w/5 minute RI, Spin 10

Today is my 1 year anniversary of acknowledging my diabetes risk factors. One year ago, I weighed 218 lbs., had high blood pressure and elevated fasting glucose. I was taking medication for the blood pressure problem and my doctor also put me on metformin to control blood glucose levels.

Today, I am happy to report that I am 61 lbs. lighter (weighed in at 157), I take no medication, and I have erased all my risk factors. One down, hopefully many more to go!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Training Log 6.1

my shoe

Thursday: Tempo Run on the Treadmill
1 mile warmup (9:30/mi), 3 miles @ 8:00/mi, 1 mile cooldown.

No pain! I wouldn't say this confirms my theory about canted surfaces just yet, but it gives me confidence. 5 miles with no issues during or after is a good sign. I am sure the extra rest didn't hurt any either. These light training weeks are better for the joints then for the soul, though.

Canted Surfaces

Well, I think I know why my knee hurt the other day. It also explains the tenderness in my medial ankle after longer runs: running on the country roads around my house means running on a canted surface. Running on the same side of the road too, usually. This creates a functional leg length difference and can cause both of the problems I experienced.


The bad news is that fixing this problem is not as easy as it may sound. Running down the middle of the road is not always an option. So it may mean that I have to drive somewhere to run. Ugh.

You live and learn. I'd never experienced this problem before, really, because I hadn't run such long distances on rural roads before.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Source of my pain?

Doing a little poking around...maybe this is my problem?
Gastrocnemius Tendinitis

* Overuse especially by runners, leads to a sprain of the tendon of the medial head of the muscle Picture - Gastrocnemius Trigger Point Map where it attaches to the back of the medial femoral condyle. Muscular sprains may also occur in the body of the medial and lateral heads.

* Pain on palpation is localised to the attachment point on the back of the medial femoral condyle. Referred pain down the leg may occur. Examination reveals pain on resisted knee flexion in the prone position.

* Treatment consists of initial rest, oral analgesics, progressive calf stretches with the knee straight, and trigger point injections.

Source: The pain clinic.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Training Log: 5.2

my shoe

Saturday, 12/8: Long Run
7 miles

I had a bit of an injury today during my long run. The first four miles were fine. But I started having a pain that felt like a mild muscle strain or, perhaps, tendonitis just behind my left knee. It was just tight and uncomfortable at first, but became a genuine limit factor. I slowed down considerably and even walked a few times. But I didn't push things once the pain started. A key goal of this training program is to not injure myself.

I attribute this pain to improper warmup. It was pretty cold - about 23 degrees - and so I should have taken more time to stretch and warm up before setting out on my first long run in about two weeks. The pain was not in the joint itself.

My 4 mile pace, for what it's worth, was not so fast as to be a cause of the problem I do not believe. I was on about an 8:30 pace, right on my goal for a 10 mile run.

My plan heading into week six is to bike and only do one short run after giving myself a chance to heal a bit. I'll keep you all posted.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Going Nowhere: The Technology

I get a fair amount of questions about my trainer, that nifty device that turns your ordinary bike into a stationary one. So here's a few words about two devices that help to keep the suffering going even when I can't (or won't) go outside due to inclement weather.

The Trainer
Cycleops Fluid 2 by Saris Cycling Group

This trainer uses hydraulic resistance to simulate road riding conditions. And it does a great job. It's very quiet, smooth and the resistance curve is nearly infinite as far as I can tell. I can't come close to "topping out" on it. All you do to change resistance is shift gears as you normally do on the road.

Other trainers use mechanical resistance (usually wind) or magnetic resistance. These are louder, easier to top out, and require getting off the bike or using some kind of wacky remote to change resistance levels. If the hydraulic system seems costly to you at first, think of it this way: it's still about a third of what you'd pay for a lame, upright stationary bike from Sears.

As you can tell, I'm a big fan of my trainer. I'm not the hard core guy who insists on rollers, but I do like the fact that there is a lot of similarity between riding on the road and riding indoors with this trainer.

Two other features worth noting: it's east to take your bike on and off (like, 15 seconds or so easy). To go from the road to the trainer, though, you should have a metal rear-wheel skewer rather than the nylon ones that usually come stock. The trainer comes with one. We bought another so that Les and I could both use the trainer.

The Treadmill
T9500 Deluxe by Vision Fitness.


What can I say? This is a big expensive treadmill. We've had it for 7 years or so, and it's been fine all that time. I am ambivalent about it. On the one hand, it's good. On the other hand, we had to spend a lot to get one that is good AT ALL. And still, after all that, it's a treadmill.

To be fair, this one has a nice UI and a bunch of features like heart-rate monitoring and elevation changing. It looks and feels like the ones in a gym. If you need one and can lay out for it, I'd have no reservations recommending it. That said, if you buy only one device for going nowhere...get a bike trainer.

Training Log: 5.1

my shoe

Sunday: Tempo Run on the Treadmill
1 mile warmup (10 min/mi), 3 miles @ 8:00/mi, 1 mile cooldown.

Today was an easy tempo day, to be sure. Running on the treadmill is less than ideal, but today is cold and the roads are covered with ice from a nasty ice storm that came through last night. So 44 minutes going nowhere is going to have to be it for today.

Running on the treadmill is also a bit easier in some respects than running for real. There is less resistance, of course. But it's also true that you aren't varying your pace at all, so for something like tempo training it can be beneficial. It's a topic of much debate - Google it and you'll see. Let's just agree that speed on the treadmill is a bit faster than speed on the road, but pace is more consistent. Sound good?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

T-Minus 25 weeks...

Until the Bayshore Marathon. That is still about +7 weeks until the marathon training program I've been loosely following even begins. In other words, it starts 18 weeks out.

At my current fitness level, I can do the "12 weeks to go" workout without much trouble at all. So this is a good place to be. It's also a reason not to worry about my week off. Still, I don't think I'll have to do that again any time soon unless I get sick or something.

For those keeping score, my 18 week training program would begin on Sunday, January 20th. That's deep in the heart of winter here in lovely mid-Michigan, but a month past the solstice so at least the light will be getting better. I still plan to do a fair amount of biking when the weather is foul. No running on country roads in ankle-deep slush. As Ridolfo says, time to toughen up!

Training Log: 4.1 (and only)

my bike

Saturday 12/1 Cross Train, Bike: Hard "Eights" on the trainer.
3 x Spin 8, Hard 8 + extra Spin 8 cooldown

Well, I had an unintentional week off mostly due to a crushing workload this week. The cold and snowy weather didn't help either. But I got a ride in today. Felt good to suffer. As a bonus, I watched the Ironman Hawaii telecast during the workout...always good for a little motivation.

Looking forward to resuming the normal schedule this week. I won't likely get a long run in tomorrow (Sunday) to start week 5 because we are due to get 5 inches of snow tonight. I can't bear the idea of running 10+ miles on the I will see if I can slot a longer run in later in the week.