Posts filed under 'strength training'

Finding My Fast

So it might seem I’m abandoned all things running in the last few months (along with abandoning this blog)…I haven’t. Okay, December I definitely abandoned all things running (but I had the best intentions!). It’s true that after the Paris Marathon in April I pretty well quit running. I was doing more lifting and Les Mills classes at the gym, and would run maybe a couple times every fortnight or so. But I was burnt out and had a lot going on.


Then, on November 2 I was in a cold sweat. I had to officially cancel my NYC Marathon entry (which I obviously wasn’t running but had this weird mind battle with officially cancelling) to ensure that I would get my guaranteed entry in 2016 (guaranteed WITH paying the $350+ AGAIN). Once cancelled, it was hard to ignore the fact that my next marathon was pretty much exactly a year away. I needed something to bring me back to running, but I didn’t want to do the same old run schedule that marathon training is and becomes. I needed something to motivate me but not let me get bored, antsy, or burnt out. Thus, I decided to train for my fastest mile.

I looked at and considered a couple different plan: this one at Competitor, this one on Women’s Running (intermediate), and this one at Nike. And ended up choosing the Nike one….I mean, who doesn’t need a little Bugs Bunny inspiration? It started with an out of shape timed mile- just under an 8-minute mile. And from there I set the goal of a sub-7 minute mile (which would be epic for me…I understand people run marathons at like a 5min mile pace for 26 miles straight…I am not one of those people) and calculated ideal pace times for the 5K (8 minute mile) and 10K (9 minute mile which I know shouldn’t be that much slower but leave me alone). Then I set out to do my work. The plan has you doing speed workouts 2x a week and wants you to do a long run on the weekend, and any other runs you want under 5 miles.

I was pretty diligent with the two speed workouts for 5 weeks. But I wasn’t doing any other running. In my defence, those 2 speed workouts a week really crushed me. My whole body hurt (a lot more upper body than I expected) and I felt so fatigued all the time. We would do the workouts at the only (level) track in Aberdeen at the Sports Village. One day was so windy, rainy, and icy that we did the workout inside on a treadmill. Otherwise the workouts would be late at night or E would drive up immediately after work and I’d meet him (hard to plan eating around), we could maybe get one lane, sometimes not even, and it cost £3.70 each time, for each of us (E was my pacer as he was the only one with a running watch at the time…and I’m rubbish at pacing myself). There is one other track in Aberdeen at Hazlehead park, a 500m track that goes uphill in one direction (and a nice downhill in the other) but it often has a lot of people on it and because it is pavement, becomes icier more frequently.

I had big plans for my speed work in America. I put in every workout on my calendar. I planned to use the gym and a treadmill mostly, but a couple runs I preferred on the high school track. As it turns out, when I was home I never put on my running shoes once.




Well I am proud to say that I got back on the Find Your Fast plan and started from the beginning the first Monday I was back here in Scotland. This time around I’m doing pretty much all of my workouts on a treadmill (at 1% incline). It’s not ideal, I actually hate treadmills. But it’s a short workout and saves the trouble of getting to (and paying for) the track, especially when I feel I can’t do track workout without E…I know I’ll puss out. He tends to tell me I’m slower than I am so I push myself much harder…. Oh well, gotta work with what I got. I am happy to say I haven’t been feeling AS completely knackered after these workouts so that’s good in a way, but bad in a way. Don’t get me wrong; my body still hurts. And I am getting in another 1-2 runs on top of that- at least one distance run- building up to 10 miles as I have a 10 miler race on March 6. I am trying to push myself and on my last couple of sprints do them at a faster speed….I figure that’s got to good to push it then when I’m already fatigued right?

We did manage to do minute long hill repeats outside this week. Of course on one of the windiest days in Aberdeen, Storm Frank I think, and I am running uphill directly into the wind. I’m not happy to say I didn’t accomplish 7 minute mile pace up hill, into the wind for a full minute. But I got the 8 and 9 minute mile paces (repeat these 3x each). Oh well, working on progress.

So let’s see how this one goes. 1 full month of training down, 1 month to go. Doing speed work I’ve never done before. Can I get a sub-7 minute mile?images

Gotta Get Swoll

Gym Weightlifting

I realize I need to lift.   Again. I used to lift. Several times I used to. Most recently was probably like 7 years ago. Shit. That was forever ago. Wait…I do recall lifting at FFC (Fitness Formual Clubs – a Chicago gym) for at least some period of time. So let’s say I haven’t really lifted in 5-6 years. And since I haven’t really run in 2(ish) years, I guess that’s not that surprising.

But with getting back into the running and being healthier and not being such a sloth thing…I started lifting again. Really, just to compliment running and to make running as easy as possible. The first month or so, even though I was just running 3 miles, my upper body was dying. And I like lifting. I kinda know what I’m doing. I like free weights and knowing my way around them. But I had decided not to lift lower body (despite my love of dead lifting) because I didn’t want to further exhaust them ham-hocks.

So for 7 weeks I lifted! My 2 days looked like this:

Day 1

  • Bench Press
  • Bent Over Row
  • DB Shoulder Press
  • Standing Tricep Extension
  • Barbell Curl

Day 2

  • Assisted Pull Ups
  • DB Side Lateral Raise
  • Tricep Cable Press Down
  • Cable Curl

For about 6 weeks I followed this, did 3 sets of each, with 8-12 reps. On week 7 I attempted to do the same routine, but with heavier weights to do 3 sets, but only 6-8 reps. The first round was rough…I felt my shoulder stretching on bench press and backed off. I was pretty conservative and didn’t have nearly heavy enough weight on it because I was still cranking out about 12 reps. Just proving that I could actually have had heavier weights the previous weeks. Then on week 8, I decided to go all out. Bench press was difficult without a spotter since I have difficulty getting my shoulder to get the weight (dumbbells) up to start with, but I got it. Bent over row- fine. Now for shoulder press. I got through 2 sets, and it was hard. I didn’t want to go lighter, so I rested up and with all my might tried to throw those weights up for the first rep.

Then my shoulder started dislocating. I am very acutely aware of what this feels like. It was on its way up and out. I stopped immediately. Dropped the weights. Freaked out and started crying. I am pretty sure the only reason it didn’t dislocate was because in my surgery to reconnect the labrum tears, they also added in a fake “bumper” on my shoulder socket that the bone would have to additionally jump to get out of socket. It was an awful feeling. I seriously live in a constant fear of my shoulders becoming dislocated. At home, the fear is manageable. At the gym or out in the world, it’s a pretty intense fear. Especially when I’m alone because if I do dislocate- it is quite an ordeal and I don’t think it would translate well in Scotland. My screaming, running around, getting to a wall and slamming into it and/or laying down and rolling to force it back into place and/or running up to strangers begging them to bear hug me and pop it back in.

It probably didn’t help that the week before I was trying to shove a suitcase overhead in a plane that was far too heavy for me to lift above my head. There was a definite shoulder pain. No attempted dislocation but I felt all the ligaments streeeeeeetch. I emailed my PT and she felt pretty sure they didn’t tear. But who really knows.

Then being away from the holidays I had every intention to lift to some degree. But I didn’t. So now, into double digit runs (whoop, whoop!) I need to get back to it. As much as I enjoy real weights…I think I’m stuck with lighter weights or at least using machines from here on out. In addition, my knee PT wants me doing leg press, lunges, and squats 2x a week as well. I’m going to have to figure out my plan of attack and what I feel comfortable doing ASAP. Because I really can’t end up like this:MCX1mE9CnY-8