The Big Suck: The Next Chapter

Posted: November 16, 2012 in The Plan

I’m desperately trying to get back in some sort of regular fitness routine again, despite still not being able to run given the on-going issues with my left foot.  FML!  Regardless, the next chapter to the ‘Big Suck’ is back once more; time to put down the Ding-Dong’s and Ring-Ding’s and get my hurt on with some sort of designated Plan.

At the moment, I’m trying to take advantage of the remaining off-season “downtime” by remaining primarily focused on strength building and resisting the urge to do something stupid and end up exacerbating my injury further.  Had I known – even three months ago – that I would be so stressed about not being able to run I might have strangled myself right then and there with a bicycle chain and simply ended it all for good.  However, as it is, I’m coping as best I can so that when I do return to the usual pavement pounding program and the normal volume that I’ve grown accustomed to it won’t be quite so in vain (i.e. it won’t kill me).

In the meantime, my current weekly schedule rounding out 2012 now looks something like this:

Monday Swim / Interval Row / Yoga

The week starts out early; morning that is. I’ve enjoyed the sleep-in to be sure, but my swims need to be early – like, stupid early when it’s still dark and shitty cold out – if I’m even going to come close to spending any time with my family.  In the pool I am back to incorporating drills and kicking exercises while also getting accustomed to this whole bi-lateral breathing beast.  My Masters swim class has been moved to another facility on another day of the week and at a different time altogether so I’m not able to attend.  That means then that this guppie is all on his own now.  Therefore, I have put into effect an Action Plan already and I will work diligently on it to keep my form and ability intact.

In lieu of not running, I am rowing instead as I’ve already posted about.  As such, I’m structuring my weekly rowing sessions to mimic the typical run workouts I would be doing if/when I’m able to begin reinstating them.  This interval row session is a moderate tempo row infused with some fast, hard ‘sprints’  thrown in for good measure, similar to my run speed workouts.  I try to maintain a 2:05/500m  pace with minute intervals of 1:45/500m  every 5 minutes for 25-30 minutes in total.  Believe me; this spikes my heart rate higher than a jack rabbit on crack.

Afterwards, a nice long yoga stretch to loosen up and restore some lost flexibility, balance and core stability from being relatively inactive for two months or so.

Tuesday – Cross-fit (Strength)

Let the ass-kicking commence.  I have been joining this Cross-fit class offered through the YMCA for a few weeks now and, let me tell you, it’s hard.  It’s a combination of plyometrics, endurance building, strength conditioning, and everything else you can imagine thrown in for good measure and the instructor is absolutely ruthless.  You can see it in his eyes, he absolutely delights in making us do, like, a billion burpee’s and squats and push-ups and frog jumps and, and, and….yeah, it sucks oh so good.  For 45 minutes it’s like being a willing participant in some evil, Nazi fitness camp; definite ‘mental toughness’ conditioning for sure.  This officially compromises ‘Day One’ of my specifically designated strength building program.

WednesdayRest Day / Yoga

Rest day or a long slow stretch either at home or in a quiet corner of the gym somewhere if given the opportunity.  Ideally, I’d like to spend about 60 minutes or so focusing on flexibility and balance.  Periodically, I may initiate my Plan B by substituting Sunday’s workout instead and take my rest day on the weekend instead.

ThursdaySwim / Long Spin

Thursday is my only real difficult ‘Double-Duty’ day.  It’s back to the pool in the morning to complete my weekly 7k  distance goal.  In the New Year I’ll throw a third swim day into the mix and up the distance to 10-12k  per week. There will be more kicking, more drills, more bi-lateral bullshit and, yeah, lots of laps.

In the evening after work I have joined a 90 minute spin class hosted by the local Liberty! Bicycle shop with my triathlon group.  I’ve never participated in a spin class of this nature before but I’ve been enjoying it.  Lucille is now housed at the shop and I set her up on my trainer to spin my ass off to ‘Sufferfest’ videos lead by our instructor.  Where’s it’s fun to work out to videos of actual race clips from the Tour de France and imagine being shoulder-to-shoulder with actual professional riders – which is very cool to imagine being able break away from Andy Schleck up Mont Ventoux, or attempting to run down Taylor Phinney in the Prologue – I’m definitely capping out my exposure to spandex-clad man ass for the week.  Whatever, Lance Armstrong will be my bitch by the New Year.

FridayEasy Row / Strength

This day contains the rowing equivalent to my easy runs; just holding down 30-40 minutes on the ergometer at an easy pace (approximately 2:15/500m) for the purpose of burning as many calories as possible.

Afterwards I’m doing some specific core and weights workouts designed by Natalie, a current ‘Exercise Science for Health and Performance’  Graduate student at Niagara College.  She has outlined a challenging functional strength building plan closely resembling the one I have been following in the ‘Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Triathletes’.  I more appreciate the one-on-one communication and interaction with a live human being and keeping things dynamic beyond what I read in black and white though, so this is a very welcome opportunity.  This is ‘Day Two’ of my strength building routine.

SaturdayLong Row / Yoga

Saturday is my official LSD day equivalent to my usual weekend long run.  I’ve been increasing my distance on the ergometer by 10% each week and I am already 13k into the plan, so I project that I am well ahead of my goal to row a half marathon on Christmas morning.

Then it’s another slow, solo Hatha-style yoga session focusing on muscle recovery and breathing.  Basically, it’s an excuse to plug into song easy listening tunes and chill out on my matt, so you can expect some more ‘Yoga Music Picks’ posts in the near future as well.

SundayStrength / Easy Spin

My week ends with an easy spin (either at the gym or at home on the trainer in front of the boob tube) and ‘Day Three’ of weights, hopefully, after a nice leisurely pancake breakfast at my favorite diner.  ‘Slow and Easy’ is the overall objective of my Sundays and they will eventually transition into my Rest Day come January providing my ‘Masters Swim’ class isn’t reinstated by then.


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