Sunday, February 18, 2007

Balance in training. Fitting in sleep, family, work..the essentials!

I have figured out that this Triathlon is about balance. Everything I have read and talked to with other people confirm that. I have trained for other events in the past, but this Tri is overwhelming in a it when one is starting from a position of lower endurance like I am. I have no doubt that I will make the end and reach the goals but it is difficult to get it all in balance.

And then there is life in the way. The funeral was a whirlwind and very draining, in more way than one (I promise a later post. Trust me, it was hilarious at times!). But it killed about 1/2 a week.

I love weight training. It is a very focus activity for me. I must clear my mind of all of the outside world and focus. A few weeks back I went in very, very distracted and dropped a 100 pound weight off of a leg press machine on to my big left toe. It is a miracle I did not break the toe or lose a nail. That is one of the very few times I have been hurt in the gym. I pay a lot of attention to what I do. The end result, beyond a healthy body, is a mind a spirit that has been free from the demands of every day for an hour. I love it.

This Tri changes things a bit. I usually go into the gym and focus on single body parts. So legs only one day. Chest and back the next. Shoulders and arms the next. Abs somewhere in between (and actually mixed in. I firmly believe strong Abs are they key to overall performance).

Not for the Tri.

I do not have 90 minutes to kill on just my back and chest. I have changed my training to lighter weights at 3x12 reps. enough to feel the weight but not enough to really push. I also am doing circuits so I am hitting all of my body in one shot. 30-45 minutes not counting warm-up and stretching.

Balancing back and forth between muscle groups helps you move forward quickly since one muscle can recover as you work the other. And I am working larger to smaller muscle groups. So, my typical Tri weight training workout looks like this:

  • Warm-up
  • Glutes and Quads (usually squats. I hate squats. Everyone hates squats. Except your body. Your body LOVES squats!)
  • Back
  • Ham-strings
  • Chest
  • More legs (Lunges, Step-ups, etc.)
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps
  • Calves
  • Biceps
  • Cool-Down and Stretch

I try to work in "super-sets" where you work two muscle groups at the same time. For example, dumb bell squats with a shoulder press. Tricep-pullover with a chest extension. Arnold Presses (Biceps and shoulders).

Speaking of balance, somewhere in here I need to add in my run, bike, and swim. Considering that it is still winter in the mountains of Northern New Mexico it is difficult. I am often out the door at 5am to walk or run but it is still pitch dark and very bitter cold. The dogs love it (stupid Husky!) but my muscles tighten up fiercely in the cold. I have figured out that the pain in my knee is due to tight ham-strings. I usually do not warm up enough in the bitter mornings.

Swimming puts me out in the dark at night in the cold.

Have you figured out yet that I hate being cold?

So, balance. I have not been able to bike because it is difficult to get through the snow and ice!

And April seems really, really close!

Well, I know I will make it. Just whining a bit for now! Balance. works for Tris and works for life in general.

Now go do a full circuit in the gym!

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