Posts Tagged ‘Core Strength’

2014.  Buh-bye! Stress fracture, some missed training cycles and races, some regrets but plenty of highlights.  One affirmation too. Strength is key.

This year my hours of strength training were the only ones to increase.  Miles took a hit (swim/bike/run/row).  Was able to amp up the strength side – in part it was all I could do for a few weeks (other than walk).

The strength training was split into:

  • Circuit / bodyweight intensive boxing working outs (January – April with occasional hitting a 100# bag in basement now)
  • Metabolic conditioning during kids’ baseball, softball, soccer practices (either as coach or parent in waiting) – bring a 12# medicine ball or 45# kettlebell and workout on trail, park or field for an hour (March – October and occasional now)
  • Progressive Calisthenic Conditioning – bodyweight alternative to weights (March to now)
  • Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength – barbell fun! (November to now).  Legit 3 x 5s as of 12/26/14 are 150# back squat, 135 bench, 95 press, 95 power clean and 185 deadlift.  Started at 95 BS, 75 bench, 60 power clean and 135 deadlift (11/8/14).  Got a form check on back squat when hitting 165 – not going nearly deep enough.  So I backed off weight load and slowly added.

Got this article from co-Lincoln Marathon director and Tiger Coaching founder, Gary Bredehoft.  Triggered a memory of Mark Rippetoe and Starting Strength.  http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/bodywork/in-stride/Lifting-Heavy-For-Endurance-Gains.html.   Went through some Starting Strength during some sweet 2012 workouts at Cornhusker CrossFit.  This short article captured a much longer research effort by JSCR – maximal strength training PLUS endurance is better than bodyweight circuits PLUS endurance.  A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that maximal and explosive training paired with endurance workouts lays a better foundation for running economy than a combination of bodyweight circuits and endurance training.

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No, as runner there’s no risk you’ll max out the plates like Suh!

So if time is pressed – best to get some squats + miles in than a whacked out circuit or WOD (not that those are fun!)

Some strength training basics from Mark Rippetoe – there are five core barbell moves and progressive loading of weight over time. The moves: squats, presses, dead lifts, bench presses, and power cleans. The programming is start light and add weight slowly over time.  There are similar programs out there (5 x 5s, 5/3/1). Consistency over several months / years is the key. My 50 year old target in June is 215# back squat, 185 bench, 145 power clean, 265 deadlift and 135 press.

Bodyweight substitutes are available – just journey over (google) progressive calisthenics, Convict Conditioning or my personal favorite Al Kavadlo.  This isn’t an either / or proposition.  The two coexist and compliment – so within the confines of my own “globo-gym” Golds. I’ve hit the 5 barbell moves 2-3 times a week and blending in some PCC (bridge, leg raise, handstand, push up, pull up single leg squat progressions).

http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/bodywork/the-fit-list/How-to-Make-Better-Fitness-Goals.html

Recap

2009 looked liked this

runpyramid

2015 will look like this

strengthpyramid

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This is one of those New Year’s Day Planning – Retrospective Blog Posts – 2014.  It’s inspired in part by trying to bring together a few data sources: planners, paper scrapes, DailyMile extract (app used from 2010-12) and garmin connect (new tool used since 2013 since I got garmin and they got a good website now).  I’ve continued this blog to help me keep track of the different approaches to fitness I’ve foolishly or wisely pursued. On to that retrospective.  I’ve done a couple of them – last time was in 2011 for a year-end planning.    I’ve also tried to capture two post “big day” events following the:

First, a pic to those who love miles.

24k miles

24,000 miles over the last 22 years. Fun!

I tend to be on the low side of miles for a once to three times a year marathoner type; especially since 2010.  I’m right at 1,000 miles of running each year (1,020 in 2013 and 1450 to 1700 overall the last five years). Those running miles are 1/2 to 1/3  of most marathoners.

The reason for this lean mileage approach is increased reliance on strength training (CrossFit, Starting Strength, Metcon, Body Weight, Boxing, etc) and plenty of cross training.  Related, is the desire to keep healthy.  While not true of every runner, I do find an increase in injury and illness risk from unrelenting mileage.   I also have been able to keep at a happier weight in my mid 160lbs and avoid the “marathoner gut” weight level of 185lbs.

So in my late 40’s I’ve found that mix of exercise that works best – both in form and time.  Yours is likely different.  Just find that happy place and balance.

More on that balance, with other demands in life, it’s strangely consistent that I can crank out 5-7 hours a week of working out.  Sometimes it’s hit, miss or around or during kids’ event; while traveling, picking up what I can almost anywhere and anytime.

5 year time

5 year time – for some key exercises (swim, bike, run, row, strength)

Based on that measure, I hit a high water mark of 290 hours in 2013.  That translates into about 5 hours and 1/2 hours a week. Some weeks topped 10 hours, others were 2.  A strength training intensive week – lots of lifting – typically translates into less time.  During the 10-14 week prep for Pikes Peak, more time each week is on the menu.  I’ve found a benefit of much improved core, pillar, whole body strength in my 40’s – is much smoother adaptation.  So ramping up miles on bike or feet does not kick the snot out of me into to DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness).  Attaining marathon times of 4 hours to 4:24 since 2010 has involved much less pain the following days than marathons from 4:33 to 4:55 from 2006-09.  Another benefit is there’s more to life than marathons – so all times from one mile to 1/2 marathon have improved.  As I look at my “athlinks” profile I’m actually much better suited for 5k, 10ks and 1/2 marathons.

The number of times I workout is helpful measure to. Bring all three together and a 3D picture of time, number and distance emerges!  It’s displayed in an Excel chart that shouts “way too much time on New Year’s Day after a Husker victory over Georgia (24-19) and time between other bowl games”. 😉

3 dimensions

3 dimensions

Now on to 2014!

Goals?

Keeping it simple.

  1. Run Lincoln Marathon well.  Hit Pikes Peak Marathon PR!
  2. Workout 6 hours a week.
  3. Snag at least 3 PRs across any event (run, bike, swim, strength) – could be a 5 mile run, 25 unbroken strict pull-ups, sub 32 50 meter swim.  Who knows?
  4. Run one ultra again (fun because I don’t care about time on those).
  5. Volunteer at 5 or more events.
  6. Learn and master 3 new skills (currently picking up boxing and kick-boxing which is fun beyond all belief; double unders and muscle ups still mock me!)
  7. Have fun!  Enjoy those I workout with and workout with those I enjoy!

What are you goals? I would like to know.

Finally here’s the detailed data – that way I can find it again when I torch a laptop! 🙂

detail

detail

20131227-184601.jpg

Have been kicking and hitting it the last month or so with TITLEBoxing in West Omaha (Oakview mall). Literally on the kicking and hitting in terms of workouts. Helping a bit on the business side too.

The core workout mixes boxing and / or kickboxing over 8 rounds (4 minutes each). It’s a perfect program for metabolic, body strength building.

Warm up and cool downs of 15 minutes bracket the core workout – hitting core, abs, lateral and vertical movements.

The pace and fun of learning how to hit well, then applying those skills makes the time fly. It’s a blast!

Menu of exercises includes:
Dozens of and core exercises
Lunges
Burpees
Squats
Med ball varations
Shuffle
Planks
Push-ups
Sit-ups
All four punches (jab, cross, upper cut and hook)
All kick combos (front, roundhouse, back)
Hammer strikes, elbows, knees and other nasties.

Check it out! It’s a solid stand alone program and hits enough body, rotational and skill development for a killer marathon / triathlon cross training workout.

Yo Adrian!!

Summer time of S/B/R/S – Swim/Bike/Run/Strength and what a
fun summer it’s been! Last weekend capped it off with a second
Pikes Peak Double – truly a life defining experience.

Pikes Peak Ascent  - finish cries out for a handstand!

Pikes Peak Ascent – finish cries out for a handstand!

Along the way I’ve been
blessed to snag some bling at our State Games (swim and run), gain
a new 15 year PR in a 5k (21:49) and find that balance among
swimming, biking, running and strength that propels the run
side. There are times in a year where those four legs of a
fitness table are used to propel another side; such as a USMS one hour
postal swim in January or CrossFit Open Games in March to April
Here’s the workout numbers since June 24. Weekly run average of 35
miles per week is something my prior run only focus would have been
proud to attain. Not going carry that the whole year, but
it’s good to know, when a ramp is needed, it’s there. And of
those 280 miles, over half were at a high intensity level – so not
a slog easy run.

Activity
Type
Count Distance Time Elevation
Gain
Avg Speed
Running 68 280.47 – 35
per week av
53:34:52 22,233 5.2
Lap Swimming 13 3.09 1:45:27 0 1.8
Walking 11 4.15 1:32:08 211 2.6
Strength Training 10 0 1:55:19 7
Cycling 8 83.37 7:09:43 1,869 11.6
Open Water Swimming 1 0.28 12:05 1.4
Summary 113 371.36 66:13:23 24,320 5.8

Death by Prowler.

Have been exploring alternatives for metcon/chipper work to balance out s/b/r (swim/bike/run) and structured Olympic lifting training.  Need to get my hands on this.  The concern with high rep barbell training is form breakdown.  The run/bike/row repeats (200,400,800 meters, mile) with body-strength and appropriate loaded weight (kettlebell at 35-52lbs) have been great for me.  At times I’ve questioned the wisdom of same with OHS, Cleans, Snatches where I’m still mastering the form.

Darndest drill - looks nasty

This statement on page 3 of by Matt Reynolds and Stef Bradford’s article struck a nerve, chord with me – in a good way.

It would be irresponsible of me to fail to note that the Prowler can be effectively used and programmed for regular people, non-competitors active in a strength program but who want to work for “metabolic conditioning.” I believe that “metcon” work with the Prowler is far superior to that performed with barbells (using strength exercises, or even worse, Olympic lifts), because the point of the exercise is to appropriately condition the metabolic processes without the systemic inflammation, muscular microtrauma, and CNS frying of the typical Crossfit “metcon” workouts. This can be done efficiently and effectively with the Prowler, since you literally cannot use bad technique – as opposed to barbell-based “metcon” where form breakdown with ultra-high reps leads to a relearning of incorrect motor patterns, as well as a highly increased chance of injury from performing barbell movements under extreme fatigue. Be smart. If you want to do “metabolic conditioning,” then condition the metabolic processes. Don’t destroy your body with mindless high-rep barbell movements using horrific form.

Today’s WOD 130305

Scribbled results!

Scribbled results!

20 minutes of kipping pull up work for cash-in then

Tabata Power Press Back Burpee

Description
4 TABATAs of:
Power Clean #95/65 (FB: #135/95)
Push Press “ ” (“ ”)
Super Man (FB: Back Ext.)
Burpees
Compare
Results for today – Rx (but not fire breather – yet :-))
228 reps total – min of 4 on Power Clean/Push Press; 15 on  Super Man and 5 on burpees
38 minutes of workout time!
Tomorrow – let the games begin!

The time over distance, speed/strength over LSD (long slow distance) and intensity of effort over “logging miles” has sunk in deeply now.  In looking at January I could feel a few different ways:

  • Down because my running miles were low (67) and almost 1/2 of a year ago.
  • Excited because I had over 300 aerobic miles and several anaerobic sessions (the aerobic miles inflated due to indoor bike/spinning)
  • Steady because I hit a target time goal of 26-30 hours each month or 50-55 minutes each day.

I’ll chose steady.

Daily mile allows a nice quick summary for both time and distance.  I’m hoping to see some drill down ability for

Time

Time is my primary outcome measure now

Rowing and CrossFit/Fitness categories – but I’m not picky.  It’s nice to have a utility that lets me track it all.

Here’s January’s summary

  • Total miles: 301
  • Cycling (trainer, spin, rinse, repeat) – 222
  • Running – 67
  • Rowing – 10
  • Swimming – 2
  • CrossFit WOD’s – 11

February may have a different mix of aerobic miles.  My plan though is a little more swimming, less spinning, running up to 90-100 miles, same row and 12 CrossFit WOD”s.  The idea is flexibility, intensity and consistency.  I would rather hit  rowing/bike/swim at 100% than just log miles on ice (though sometimes I’ll use the mental discipline and crank some miles in -10 weather).

distance

My primary exercise outcome measure from 1992-2009, no longer the case.

Similarly if my shoulders are screaming after a CrossFit WOD (lets say pull up, thruster or wall ball intensive one)  I’ll rest from swimming and rowing for a day or two.  I’ll bike or run instead.  Over the last year I’ve found rowing to be the closest substitute for running in terms of distance and effort.

Quick question for you all, how do you gauge your exercise outcome and success?

finish line

Racing like Lightning McQueen - Cha Ching!

52 weeks of CrossFit Workouts Of the Day and Triathlon Training.   Add in the P90x round from October of 2009 to January 17 of 2010 and that’s a solid 65 week test of cross training.  The detailed statistics are available in a year end capper.  I also shared some candid results in the “Proof Positive of Training Change after the Tulsa Marathon”.  So there’s been enough summarizing already!

The last five weeks were a true rush of activity – catching up on some cycle, row and swim miles.  I have been ramping up the CrossFit WOD’s in preparation of returning to CrossFit Lincoln (which began last week!).  Through all of that and the normal Christmas – New Year’s activity rush I felt comfortable and strong.

So without further ado – here’s the highlights.

For the next 52 weeks, I’ll pop in a quick blurb from time to time regarding my weekly training.  Feel free to join me on Daily Miles for the weekly logs.  I’ve been looking at a lot, and I mean a lot, of aerobic / anaerobic/ strength training exercises and will be share much more on those in 2011.  So keep your browsers open and check back!

Five Week Stats Day 329 – 365

Week ending 12/19 12/26 1/2 1/9 1/16
Running 11.5 8 16 9.5 17
Walking / Hiking 0 0 0 0 0
Cycling/spinning 21.7 27 33 30.5 88
Swimming .57 .71 3.1 .85 0
Rowing 3.11 0 4.35 .62 3.5
CrossFit WOD’s 3 3 4 2 2
Total miles, Time. Workouts (WODs), Highlights 37 miles
5:13hrs
11WODs
Mix of workouts and CF Whitten
35 miles
4:15 hrs
12WODs
Power Snatch WOD & Workout Mix
62 miles
7:48 hrs
15 WODs
Wrapped up 2010 miles – 3 mi of swim, great spin, CF WODs, 7.35 6 mile run
41 miles 4:19 hrs
10 WODs
CrossFit Luce.
109 miles, 7:27 hrs
11 WODs
Not a mileage hog but all those spin miles add up.  Plus 63 miles on bike on Friday evening into early Saturday

Summary

If you’re an aerobic athlete (runner, swimmer, cyclist, triathlete) who’s reached a plateau, has found more miles does not translate into success and wonders if strength training might help – please read. I’m not offering a quick fix, food gimmick, shake, or simple  trick.  Over the last year I’ve ventured into a different way of getting to a goal – it may not be for everyone.  But I have found an incredible payoff from it and embrace it.

It’s a few simple things

  • Incorporate the right kind of strength training (read more in this blog) 2-4 times a week
  • Cut back your miles for miles sake
  • For your existing mileage look toward performance, speed and stamina
  • Chart your progress over 12 months and see what happens!

Detail

Proof.  Data.  Trends.  Statistics and data gathering can mislead and interpretation of results requires wisdom as well as raw analytic power.  That clarification and limitation declared, I do think there’s enough evidence that a combination of Strength Training + Aerobic Training is far more powerful than Aerobic Training alone.  Modify that aerobic training to focus on stamina, speed, flexibility and burst, and alongside the strength training, your results will be strong.  Hone that further with improved nutrition and those strong results become powerful.

Two years ago, during one of my worst marathon experiences (4:52 at Twin Cities), I thought about punting it.  Pack it up.  Give it up. It was miserable weather day, but I had endured worse.  It seemed though a goal of getting to Boston (or 1 hour and 22 minutes faster) was an impossible hope. Rather than give up I decided to push it harder.  So in 2009 I ramped up the training.  I knocked off a Pikes Peak Double and some “ok” marathon times (4:30 range).  The price of that ramp up was high: a strained, torn sartorius tendon.  By October of 2009 I was hobbling at the start of the Des Moines Marathon.  Sure, lots of miles in the bank, toward 1,500 running for 2009.  But hobbling still.

That began my entry into cross training – had done that in triathlon terms for several years.  But serious cross training, or more properly strength training, nope, nada, avoided it.

P90x was Stage 1.  It was perfect for torturing my aerobically fed and strength dead body into shape.  All the Tony Horton’isms, pull ups, sneaky lunges, gut cracking ab routines, yoga twisting/humbling sessions and push ups a guy could hope for.  I saw some nice results.

A chance encounter with a surly but dedicated athletic trainer, Mike Livergood, at Bellevue University in January of 2010 led to Stage 2 – CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance.  Similar in many regards, the difference between the Beachbody DVD fed programming and organic CrossFit approach was significant. CrossFit is a better fit for my performance goals.  Step by step, coaching from a great box and set of trainers at the Lincoln CrossFit box (Cole, Jeremy, Kelsey Phil and Tanya) and staying with it on my own have led to the best fitness base in my adult life.

Stage 3 involved extending a wonderful speed group of like minded, er like age, friends to a group of Freaky Fast Runners I had no business trying to chase.  From June until present, this group has been an evolving network of fast people who have fun.  Not quite the same every time, but always putting the hammer down for speed, hills or a Saturday run.  Love you all!

So what does this mean?  Big deal?

I’ve been blessed to achieve 15 year PR’s in 5 mile, 15k and marathon races.  This has been my best year of racing since 1996-98.  There’s been some learning curve and minor injuries: a hamstring pull in late May from performing too many deadlifts a day before a 5 mile race and calf pull in July as my body adapted to move towards a “pose” esque running style, lots of hills, etc. From beginning to end – I’ve been pleasantly surprised or more apropos, shocked!

While a 3 hour 30 minute marathon for Boston or a Full Ironman triathlon are not a sure thing, I can at least place those in the realm of possibility.  I’ve been able to shave 24 minutes off my aerobicly training injected marathons of 2009, and now have only 37 minutes to go.  The table below lists the results for marathons.

I’ve also cut 15lbs, from 176 to 161, increased muscle strength and burst across a variety of tests.  My “vitamin I” (ibuprofen) fix has been cut dramatically (not pounding the body and actually strengthening muscles, ligaments and connective tissue).  I am to do things I didn’t image possible – a kipping pull up, jumping up with confidence to a 8′ pull up bar height, over 250lbs for deadlift, 40 unbroken knees to elbows. This still a ton of other goals to still drive me; for example, why not try to attain the Navy Seal standard for 40-50 age males?

More distinctions:

  • In 2010 I will run 66% the amount of running miles compared to 2009  (1,000 to 1,500) with the same biking and swim miles.  Total aerobic miles will nudge 1,550 to 1,600 versus 2,000 in 2010.  New aerobic miles have been introduced through rowing.
  • In 2010 that 66% running miles will have been done at much more efficient and faster pace.
  • In 2010 my anaerobic training (CrossFit) will reach 140 Workouts Of the Day (WODs), not including the aerobic oriented WOD’s.  Overall training hours will be the same as 2009.
Marathon State Date Place Overall Place % Pace Time PR +/-
Route 66 Marathon – Tulsa
Marathon
OK 11/21/2010 422/1648 25.61% 9:27 4:07:55 P.R.
Lincoln National Guard Marathon & Half-marathon 2010 – Run -Marathon NE 5/2/2010 667/1154 57.80% 9:51 4:18:29 +10:34
Brookings Marathon – RUN – Marathon SD 5/15/2010 119/203 58.62% 10:02 4:22:57 +15:02
Lincoln Marathon – Run :: 26.2Mi NE 5/4/2003 523/785 66.62% 10:02 4:23:14 +15:19
Siouxland Marathon And Half Marathon – Marathon SD 10/20/2007 107/166 64.46% 10:07 4:25:11 +17:16
Scheels And Adidas Fargo Marathon, Half-Marathon & 5K – Marathon ND 5/19/2007 819/1191 74.81% 10:18 4:30:02 +22:07
IMT Des Moines Marathon 2009 – Run*Marathon IA 10/18/2009 922/1374 67.10% 10:21 4:31:27 +23:32
Lincoln National Guard Marathon & Half Marathon 2009 – Run -Marathon NE 5/3/2009 768/1142 67.25% 10:26 4:33:23 +25:28
Go! St. Louis Marathon & Half Marathon 2008 – Run-Marathon MO 4/6/2008 1106/1617 68.40% 10:36 4:38:00 +30:05
Lincoln Marathon 2006 – RUN – MARATHON NE 5/7/2006 775/959 80.81% 10:44 4:41:28 +33:33
11Th Annual Gobbler Grind Marathon,Half-Marathon, 5K & Marathon Relay – 26.2Mi Run KS 11/18/2007 175/244 71.72% 10:54 4:45:46 +37:51
Oklahoma Marathon 2003 OK 11/22/2003 205/308 66.56% 10:57 4:47:15 +39:20
Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon & Medtronic Tc 10 Mile 2008 – Run-Marathon MN 10/5/2008 6172/7967 77.47% 11:04 4:50:09 +42:14
Pensacola Marathon And Half Marathon – Marathon FL 2/17/2008 175/263 66.54% 11:09 4:52:24 +44:29
Community First Fox Cities Marathon WI 9/24/2006 510/706 70.96% 11:13 4:54:10 +46:15
Pikes Peak Marathon 2007 CO 8/19/2007 551/773 71.28% 18:28 8:04:03 +3:56:08
Pikes Peak Ascent 2009 – Marathon CO 8/15/2009 668/711 78.48% 21:31 9:23:49 +5:15:54
Lincoln National Guard Marathon – 1995 NE 5/1/1995 NA NA 9:38 4:12:22 +4:27
Lincoln National Guard Marathon – 1994 NE 5/1/1994 NA NA 9:03 3:57:11 -10:44
Lincoln National Guard Marathon – 1996 NE 5/1/1996 NA NA 8:59 3:55:36 -12:19

Flipped the monthly blog update title.  I’ll explain more about that later.

Three pictures help tell the story of the last five weeks better than words can.

They are from the Thunder Run (Sherri, Joy and Amber – front, myself, Rob and Jason back), Pikes Peak Ascent (finish line!) and Mud Run (Joy, Andi and I crossing Steven’s Creek)

The last five weeks were heavier on the Triathlon training than CrossFit WOD’s.  I’m still notching one or two WOD’s a week, but more on the triathlon disciplines.  Why the switch up?  Summer is part of the reason and a ramp up in swimming – 5 miles each in July and August.   Another reason is figuring out how to best use of the Olympic Lifting and Metabolic Conditioning from CrossFit as it worked to support some key races (Pikes Peak Ascent primarily).  The idea is you don’t want to go into an important race with sore or at risk muscles/joints (there seems to be a “happy” 72 to 96 hour buffer).

I pulled my right calf during a speed workout, 5k time trail, in late July.  That workout was two hours after a CrossFit Angie  Workout Of the Day(squats, pull ups and pushups).  Was it the squats or speed?  Maybe a bit of both.

Now the balance may very well tilt heavily back to WOD’s in the Winter!

Five Week Stats + Day 185 to 220.

Week ending 8/1 8/8 8/15 8/22 8/29
Running 6 12 19 21 14
Walking / Hiking 0 0 0 2.7 0
Cycling/spinning 39 9 12 4 2
Swimming 5 miles! 1 mi 2 mi 0 0
Rowing 0 .25 .5 0
CrossFit WOD’s 1 (Angie) 2 1 0 0
Total miles, Time. Workouts (WODs), Highlights 50 miles
7:22
15 WODs
Swim Baby Swim! 

Calf pull on 7/26 – track at 1,200 mark of a 5k time trial

22 miles
3:48
13WODs
Thunder Run 5k – 23.36 – 4th in age group
33 miles
6:17
12 WODs
12 mile day on Aug 11 – 11+ run and 500 meter swim
28 miles
7:20
7 WODs
Pikes Peak Ascent – 5.01 – 3rd Fastest Ascent.
16 miles
2:37
13 WOD’s
Mud Run with Andi and Joy!