After six weeks of slowly building endurance work, this past week was a Rest Week. I needed it. Instead of just resting, however, I also tried to use the week to reintegrate weight training into my workout regime. That proved to be something of a challenge.
I need to add weights for two reasons. The first is simple good sense. Building strength is always useful for triathletes as long as you’re careful not to compromise your endurance training. You don’t necessarily want to get heavier, but it’s great to get stronger, and anyway, doing resistance training will also help reinforce your bones and joints for the toll that the coming season is inevitably going to take. The second reason is personal. I put on five extra pounds during my last trip to Albany, and I’ve struggled to take it back off again. It’s been several weeks, but that weight is still hanging around. By increasing muscle mass, I’m hoping to speed my metabolism during endurance training, thereby increasing my calorie burn. In conjunction with some diet changes, this approach should get me down about ten pounds.
I swam twice this week, neither time particularly far. The first time was Tuesday. I talked my buddy Ben into hitting the weight room first and then hitting the pool, and that was a bad mistake. By the time we got in the water, my arms felt like lead weights, making it hard to hold my stroke together. I’ve been swimming a lot lately, and this was a distinctly unwelcome surprise. I forced myself through all of 800 yards, but it was not enjoyable. Ben went a little farther. I was very impressed.
Friday was better. I decided to hit the water first and then swim.
-- 5 x 100 warm up @ 1:30
-- 4 x 200 pull @ 2:55
I’d been sore all week from weights, and I struggled through Friday’s warm-up, but I felt much better by the time it was over. The 200s pull actually felt good, and by the last one, I took the paddles off and built to a strong working pace. Wound up finish just over 2:30. All things considered, that doesn’t suck.
Swimming total: 2 x short swims (800, 1300); 21 pts
I rode my commute twice this week, and it sucked both times. I don’t think that had anything to do with weight training, but it was cold--in the 30s--and I faced a pretty consistent headwind.
Sometimes I feel like the air is thicker when it’s cold. That might be in my head; I don’t know. Regardless, I never seem to ride well on those days.
Cycling total: 2 x commute ride (22.6 miles); 22.6 pts
This being a Rest Week, I only ran twice. That was nice, especially because the week itself felt busy as Hell, and we had a couple of days of rain.
My first run was Thursday, and it was no big deal. I put in 2.4 miles in a bit more than twenty minutes. I didn’t wear my heart rate monitor, but I was holding a bit less than 9:00/mile, and I didn’t feel like I was working. That’s good.
I did my long run Sunday, and that was where I felt the effects of cutting back on training this week. My goal was to run for an hour; I wound up going 6.1 miles in just over fifty-seven minutes. I was between 9:10 and 9:25 per mile with an average pulse of 141. I felt really good afterwards, and more importantly, my average times at aerobic pace have been steadily falling for the past seven weeks. I would very much like to get under 9:00/mile at this easy pace, and I feel like I’ll get there if I just keep working at it.
Running total: 2 x runs (2.4, 6.1); 34 pts
The question was: How do I get something useful done in the weight room in half an hour? I lifted weights Tuesday and Friday, and I was in a hurry both days. In fact, both days were swim/weights bricks in which I had an hour total to workout.
I decided to use supersets, slamming diverse muscle groups together in lieu of rest. The theory here is that because we’re training for endurance sports, we benefit more from consistent work. We want to work different muscle groups effectively, but we also want to keep our heart rates up during the entire workout. Supersets will get this done. Besides which, supersets are an excellent cheat if you’re short on time.
Tuesday we focused on chest/shoulders/triceps. For each set, we did 3 sets of 12 repetitions, straight through with no rest at all.
--5 min. yoga warm-up
--Rear leg extensions (to yoga’s Warrior 3 pose)
I felt great for all of that, but considering how sore I got afterwards, I probably should have started a little lighter with the weights. That was also a super-quick warm-up. And, of course, swimming afterwards was a significant struggle.
Friday was better. I hit the water first, and I felt much looser by the time I got into the weight room. I don’t know how easy it will be to keep that up this offseason from a time-management perspective, but swimming and then lifting is definitely the way to go.
As with Tuesday, I did supersets, 3 x 12 reps. This was back/biceps/core:
--Lat. pull downs
--Rear lateral raises
--Lower back extensions
I made an effort to keep the weights light, and was much less sore afterwards. Swimming even flushed away the existing lactic acid that had pooled in my chest. It was great all the way around!
Total Training: 77.6 pts
This week is Thanksgiving, and it’s a good bet that my diet will take a hit. Ugh. I hate that. I started the week at a hair over 200 pounds; when I weighed myself this morning, I was 197.6. That feels like hard-won progress.
Against the certainty of over-eating, I plan to get back into the weight room, get back in the pool, and put in at least seven miles running on Thanksgiving morning itself. I have no idea if that will be enough to maintain my weight, but it will be an excellent training week, I’m sure.