Sunday, February 08, 2009

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

This week's lessons: sit, lay down, roll over.

Previously I've done things mostly my way when it came to exercise. Having been a fitness instructor, read a lot of books about triathlon & running training and attended a running coach certification course, many friends have often asked me for exercise/training advice and I'd tell them what I thought was best.

But do I always follow my own advice?

Are all doctors and nurses the picture of perfect health? Do parents always do what they tell their kids to do? NOOO!!!

In many ways, I am my own worst enemy. A former workaholic, I'm still very driven and competitive at heart (does that ever really change?). I take for granted things I can do well. The other things I think I can do too if I just work hard enough and keep at it. In either case, often I overdo things (shocking, I know!) and don't get the results I want.

That's why I need a coach. To save me from myself, so to speak, and especially this year with two iron tris on tap. What, doing full iron distance workouts a couple times a month is not a good idea?

And the first task Coach Bill has me doing is building a solid muscular base, which I've really never done before for triathlons (I just went straight to doing all the fun endurance stuff!). This means cutting back on my swimming, biking and running mileages (GAH!!) and doing more strength workouts. But, really, could I expect to build any strength at all while breaking down my body with all the cardio I like to do?

Here's a summary of this week's key workouts:

3 full-body strength workouts (easy resistance - just get back into regular strength training)
2 swims (3900 yards - one group swim, one on my own)
2 runs (13.25 mi - one easy run and one track workout; clearly obvious I've not done any speed work in a while)
1 bike ride (38.5 mi - easy, optional ride; mandatory for my mental health!)

No doubt the hardest part for me is not doing more, a LOT more. It reminds me of when I began training in karate (about 10 years ago). The average time it took to earn one's first degree black belt was four years and during that time we spent a lot of time on fundamentals and basics, not the self defense techniques that drew me to martial arts. The term we used to stay motivated and focused was "Black Belt Spirit," even as white belts. The term I will use to do the same in my training this year is "Heart of a Champion." I may not win any races but I can still have a winning attitude that will get me where I want to go.

Week one down!

29 comments:

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

I"m going to learn from you...in reverse. Now I'm hooked on strength training but wasn't sure how to add in swimming/cycling on top of running. I'll try your formula when I get to that point. :-)

Road Warrior said...

Very interesting. I'm very curious to see how this affects your overall tri training. Keep us posted

Jenny Davidson said...

Congratulations! I agree with you, it is all a question of swatting down the inner workaholic when she rears her head...

Calyx Meredith said...

You have one of the greatest attitudes EVAH!! Your winning attitude will definitely get you where you want to go. Great job doing things a new way.

aron said...

sounds like getting a coach was a great idea... cant wait to follow along with your workouts!

Eileen Swanson said...

Nice! Love strehgth training. It's so good for you! Can't wait to see how it transforms you ;-)

Tammy said...

Thanks for sharing, I've recently slacked off on the strength training, makes me think I'm making a big mistake. Keep us posted on the your results.

Susan said...

Oh Shirley - you are going to HAVE to help me with my post-baby goals! :)

akshaye said...

That does make sense.. he's setting you up for a great upcoming season by adding strength training now.

I loved what you said about how you think you can do something if you keep at it. I tend to think the same way and often find out otherwise!

X-Country2 said...

What a great matra to follow. Good luck with your training. It'll be interesting to see how it all works for you.

Stef said...

I used to LOVE strength training, when it was all I did. Yup, strength training and no cardio. Added about 10 very essential pounds doing that. It was aweseome! Well I should have been doing cardio too but I took things in stages I suppose.

Now when strength is in my schedule it's kind of a pain to do. It wears me out. But I do it! Right now it's in my schedule every week.

Your attitude is awesome! So funny the things we have to alter in order to become better/stronger. You speak of having to do less mileage. I had to be pushed to do more! So glad your first week with your Coach went so well! :-)

RBR said...

Go Shirley!! I LOVE reading your posts. Even when I am feeling poopy they make me smile.

I long to look 1/2 as cute as you working out. Whenever I do strength training I look like I am in the late stages of labor.

Bruce Stewart (ブルース・スチュワート) said...

Strength training is certainly something I need to focus on. Most of my life while training, I have focused on cardiac fitness but not on building muscle, so that I could recover quickly but I had nothing when I tried to exert some force. Still don't you overdo it, maybe you will be into arm wrestling next, LOL.

Shannon said...

Please please please keep posting your weekly results, I'm in full 1/2 Iron training (I'm training myself) and I'm very interested in your results. My training is very similar to yours. TWO Irons...your amazing!

Petraruns said...

I know - why is the cardio just so much more fun than strength. I'm a few years behind you mentally so I'm still taking my body to pieces with cardio. I'll start rebuilding soon-ish...

Vickie said...

I'm the same, although have probably slowed down considerably over the last 10 years due to injuries and aging. I am always at odds with myself about either doing too much training or not specific enough, and am working very hard on controlling the urge to do totally my own thing when it comes to training. I don't want to blow it!

Runner Leana said...

I'm sure all of the strength training is really going to help you a lot. I'd like to get a bit more in myself, but we'll see what the coach has in store for me!

Steve Stenzel said...

That sounds like a solid week of GOOD (but not over-the-top) workouts! Good luck!

Oh, and I've got a quick question for you - how "hard" was the surface for the ZYY marathon? Is it really hard? Or did it have a little spring to it? Just wondering. Yes, I MIGHT be thinking about throwing my hat in the ring for their lottery next year. We'll see. Don't tell anyone! ;)

Nico said...

Nice blog.....
keep going
Nico (Spain)

Smithposts said...

Great attitude, great mantra "Heart of a Champion"! Look forward to your strength training transformaion.

Spokane Al said...

You remind me of me. Last year I hired a coach a couple of months prior to IM CDA. The first thing she did was make me take some time off and the remainder of days until IM were spent protecting me from me.

Trust your coach and life will be good.

Kevin said...

I have such trouble adding strength training into my schedule. I am trying now to do some strength training in my office like pushups and dips and bridges. Dont know how much it will truly help, but it cant hurt

Arland said...

You for sure have a winning attitude. I'll be interested to see how the new training works for you.

Gotta Run said...

My husband is always telling me that I over do it. This time I am doing my best to follow a plan and stick to the workouts.

This is the year for change and being smarter will be key for all of us.

Your coach has his work cut out for him :)

jen said...

Good luck with your strength training, I bet it will have a direct benefit.

I love the 'Heart of a Champion' theory. I will keep that in mind! Have a great week!

Sunshine said...

You inspire again! I think strength training is foundation.. but I don't always do it.
Might be really good to have a trainer for a while because they can see what we can't.. but then it may be important .. some of the time.. to take responsibility for our own training. (I read that somewhere.)
Good luck.. I'm cheering!

LKA said...

I did pretty much zero strength training last year (tri season 1) and realized how much my body needed to be stronger for me to do the big 3.

Looking forward to reading how it goes.

jeanne said...

sounds like a VERY wise coach, but i'm sure it's a SHOCK to your system! You're starting out great, keep it up!

fanatix said...

interesting post. i know you're always up for new challenges...and solid base sounds like a good way to start off your season..