Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hitting the Books & The Empty Miles

It's officially off season.  At this current moment in time, I have no more races on the calendar.  G and I are talking about doing a 5km New Years Eve race but that's just talk at this stage of the game.  We'll see if that actually materializes into anything.   I'm sure if I pester him a bit, we'll end up toeing the start line of that race in December.  I think it would be a fun way to close out the year.  In the meantime, I'm slowly easing back into some semblance of a routine.  I am one of those people that can't function without some sort of routine.  I have a hard time just winging it.  I have a basic schedule that I follow in terms of what I do on what days.  My swim and run clubs dictate most of that schedule so I fill in the other days with either rest, weights or cycling.  Now that the off season is here, I think it's wise for me to back off the intensity in my running and log a few more empty miles vs. dedicated speed workouts.  I will probably drop my Tuesday tempo workouts in favour of an easier mid-paced run.  I also need to really work on sorting out my bio-mechanics.  My ankles and calves are in rough shape.  I'm hopeful that my weekly PT appointments will get me sorted out sooner rather than later.  There has been huge improvement in my ankle mobility on my left foot but now my right foot and calf are causing me some minor problems (mostly due to a massive calf cramp I got while trying to do a flip turn in the pool.  Note to self:  stop trying to do flip turns, you'll only continue to hurt yourself).  So frustrating. I guess that's just my body's way of saying "Slow the *bleep* down!".  

I'm working on addressing some of these issues in the gym.  This is one place where I really have no idea how to formulate a training plan.   I know I like to lift weights and I know the basic exercises that I should be doing as a runner but, there is so much more you can do in the gym and I think it's good to dice up your routine.  Your body needs that kick in the pants sometimes to get to that next level of strength or leanness.  So I turned to the man that many gym rats have turned to:  Alwyn Cosgrove.  He designed the workouts in a book by Lou Schuler and Cassandra Forsythe called The New Rules of Lifting for Women.  I started reading this on Sunday and to my delight, it's funny and easy to understand.   There is a strong emphasis on functional weight training as well as working those lesser known muscles.  The workout program in here is a comprehensive one.  And best of all, stage one only had me doing 5 different exercises!  I was done my main workout in 30 minutes so I got in a good solid cool down with stretching and foam rolling.  I like!  Of course the first few stages are the easier ones.  As the program continues, the stages get a little more difficult.   There are 7 stages in total.  The first 5 stages are 4 weeks each.  Stage 6 focuses on strength building and it will be roughly 5 weeks (I only lift twice a week vs. 3 as they suggest).  Stage 7 is 6 weeks if you workout 2x a week.  Stage 7 is called the Final Cut. According to the description in the book, it's designed to be "one last assault on whatever body fat you still want to shed."  I'm not sure I'll even need to do stage 7 but it might be fun to give it a try.  It will all depend on where I'm at in my marathon training schedule.  The best part is that this will give me at least 6 months of weight workouts! YES.

I also picked up a couple of other books.  One is a guidebook to Paris, which I figured would be handy for our upcoming trip and, the other one that I'm SUPER excited about is the Run Less, Run Faster book that is based on the F.I.R.S.T training program.  This will probably be my in flight reading.  I'd like to get through it before I actually start training for Boston so I can effectively design my training plan and not wing it like I did with NYC (one more reason I'm grateful I didn't actually get to run it, I'm sure it would have been ugly).

Good thing it's off season.  Looks like I've got a lot of reading to do.

They had me at "Lift Like A Man, Look Like A Goddess" - how could I NOT buy it? ha ha.

Have you bought any fitness related books lately?  If so, what are they?


Kate said...

Enjoy the break from intense running! I always need a routine as well, and I'm constantly reviewing my training plans and options to see what works best.

I haven't read a fitness book lately - but I love the idea of that 7 step program!

Phaedra Kennedy said...

I will! Thanks Kate! Although truth be told I feel like I haven't done any intense running in about a month given my nagging achilles problem. I will probably post a review of the program once I get through it.

Yo Momma Runs said...

Definitely enjoy your break! I'm using Run Less Run Faster right now and have really enjoyed it. So far, so good with having no major injuries, which is why I switched to this plan originally. I'm interested to see how you like it.

Phaedra Kennedy said...

Funny, I've been training that way (3x running a week, same key workouts as the book) for the last 2 years and it's really worked for me. I figured I should probably buy a book and actually figure out a good solid program for my 2 marathons next year!