Returning to Fitness and shedding the fatness!
So right around the 5 month mark I was killing it! Swimming was improving rapidly, I was upping my minutes on the treadmill, hitting my rehab, and generally progressing nicely. Then I did what I always do and ignored my own limits. With my back feeling great from my last steroid injection, and the warm weather lasting well into November, I decided to run in my neighborhood on the pavement, which was the one thing my hip doctor, my PT, my back doctor, and my own brain told me to stop doing. I have a great neighborhood for running though, and it is just so convenient! Plus I had been feeling great on the treadmill. Well 3 5Ks on the pavement plus a couple of 18-hole rounds of golf and I was heading back to the operating room for another transferal epidural steroid injection, which was two weeks ago. Also, my hip flared up badly, SO NO MORE RUNNING ON PAVEMENT (except on race day). Treadmill, trails, and tracks for me from now on. Let's get to the update!
I've come up with a general training schedule that I adapted from this book by Gale Bernhardt. She's got a 52-week training program that I really like and I think works well. I was about half-way through it last year when my body started failing, so I'm looking forward to getting to the second half. For now though, I'm still fairly limited in my ability to recover in time to hit double workouts, and when my hip tells me it's time to rest, it's time to rest. Like my last post, I'm still having the snap, crackle, and pop in various joints around my body, but it's not really bothering me. Aside from a lack of power (i.e. hard swim kicks and any attempt at "speed" while running), I'm not having any issues with my hip. I'm icing religously using the best ice pack i've ever had and it seems to be making a dent in my soft tissue issues. If you have any issues in your hip, glute, quad, or hammy, you should invest in one of these. You will thank me. They make other wraps for other body parts too. I'm a believer. Lets get to my training program:
Monday - weights and rehab
Before every single exercise session, I warm-up with the following:
2 sets w/ black band, goal is to hold for 1:00 (i'm only at :30 now)
Banded-Clam Shell Side-Plank Holds
Banded Fire Hydrant holds
Banded Lateral Walk
Circuit Lift: Lift nothing heavy, 2-3 rounds depending on time available (if only 2 rounds, no rest). 20 to 30 reps, add or subtract weight to stay in range.
tuesday - masters practice
I am generally pretty sore from my Monday weight session, so I don't get in a workout at lunch to rest up the legs. I joined the Noblesville Adult Swim Team (Inc.), better known as the NASTIs. This has been something I've wanted to do for a few years, but my work schedule and injuries had not allowed me to. I joined a Masters swim team to meet some like-minded folks, give me some structured group training, and to keep me accountable, and I'm pleased to report that it's working! I started swimming again at week 6 and just plugged away for a few months and started swimming with the NASTIs in October, and they kick my ass! There are some damn good swimmers on this team! I’m swimming comfortably around a 1:15-1:20/100yd pace and I’m only in Lane 2! Yikes! Practices are Tues, Thurs, Sat, and Sun. According to my training calendar I’m supposed to run on Tuesday as well, but after a few attempts at this my hip can’t take that workload in a day, and it also resulted in severe calf cramps at swim practice. Eventually, I'll have to start adding in either a bike or run before work to give me ample recovery time before the 7pm practice, but for now I'm just easing into my heavy workload for the week.
Wednesday - run
My training schedule calls for Wednesday to be a weight training day right now, however my new mantra is to listen to my body more closely and trust my gut, therefore I have to adjust my schedule based on my abilities. Also, because I don’t do my run on Tuesday, I have to make it up on Wednesday. This workout starts with 15 minutes of small hip/glute/core work followed by a run on the treadmill. Eventually, this will become more of an actual workout, but for now, I’m up to 40 minutes at 150-170 heart rate at a steady pace. I'm really at the point with my cardio now that I'm limited by my legs than my heart, and while I understand that an extra weight session should help with that, I just can't both in (yet). My number one goal right now is to increase my frequency of my running sessions, and I can't do that if i'm hitting the weights more frequently. While I don’t foresee any sprint intervals (maybe ever), I hope to start incorporating some faster run/jog intervals and Fartleks in the next month or so, barring any setbacks.
thursday - bike and swim
Last Summer I was averaging 19-21MPH on 40+ mile rides, however, after 9 months of no cycling plus the surgery, I am basically starting over here and barely averaging 17MPH over 10 miles. My legs are just nowhere near as strong as they were, so I have a long way to go. Right now I’m just trying to maintain a 90RPM cadence and increase my volume steadily while getting comfortable on the saddle and in the aero position. This is another area where I need to increase my frequency to a minimum of 3 rides per week. This morning I was pleased to complete my longest and hardest session so far:
5 minute easy spin
5x:30 spin ups (110RPM), :30 rest
3x10:00 in the big ring, using the big ring to gear to a tough 75 RPMs
5:00 recovery between sets at 90 RPMs
5:00 easy spin cool down
Felt really nice and happy to report no hip, hamstring, glute, or back pain. Generally on Thursday I just do a 10 mile ride about 2 hours before swim practice with some 2-3 minute intervals, and then I pull at least half the swim practice. I'm on vacation today though, so I pushed it a little further. A good idea would be to get in more similar sessions like today before work, the be totally recovered by evening practice, so I'll eventually try to do that.
Friday - wildcard....or run
Like Charlie Kelly, Friday has been a bit of a wildcard for me. This year, I had a lot of vacation that I had to use, so I've been taking Friday's off for a few months (when you live on a lake, you don't need to take vacations....life tip right there). Everything in my schedule is always subject to change though, and typically my hip or back will be aching at some point and I’ll need to take a day off to ice, stretch, or just rest, or life events will get me off track. That's what my Fridays are for...they're my wildcard! My schedule calls for strength training on Fridays earlier in the year and then transitions to other specific workouts, but I have just been using this day to either make up a workout, have a back procedure (I kid, sort-of), or rest. If I can actually get through the week without any lingering pains, I will get a run in since I typically have only put in one so far during the week. Running is by far the hardest thing to get back into after this hip injury, and many are told to never run again. So if I can just get in some decent time and distance without hurting myself, it’s a win. Baby steps. The last two weeks I've spent a couple hours at the gym getting in a long foam rolling session, a core workout, and then a longer run (or elliptical if my hip is sore), and then a soak in the hot tub. It's really nice to have nowhere to go or be and just focus on yourself for a few hours. Come January though, I'll be back to 5 day weeks, so I'll probably continue with Friday being a run day.
Saturday/sunday - swim, Bike, run, who knows!?
Everyone knows that the weekends are for long runs/rides. Unfortunately for me, my body isn’t ready for those. We have swim practice both of these mornings, and as swimming is the one thing that hasn’t been bothering my hip, I’ve been pretty good about attending. I will get in a bike session before practice one day. I used to always run for 30-40 minutes after every swim, however I gave that a shot last week and could not manage more than a mile jog. Due to terrible winter weather and logistical issues, weekend swim bricks (swim-run or swim-bike) are probably limited, and my lack of a treadmill at home also limits my winter bike-run bricks. I'm not too heartbroken about that though. If my hip is doing well, I will (try to) add in a trail run on Sundays. Of course, all of this is subject to change if I do something fun on Friday or Saturday night and really get after it! One thing that joining the masters team has really helped with is that I have no desire to go swim with a hangover, and since I’m paying money to swim with the team, I’ve cut down on my weekend drinking significantly (down 15lbs from peak post-surgery weight). Still have a long way to go on my diet unfortunately. Baby steps. Since it's swimming season, oftentimes there are swim meets where we practice on Saturday, so I've been hitting LA Fitness and teaching my wife to swim aerobically, and she is doing an awesome job. It's fun to have her in the pool with me as well!
So that's my training schedule right now. I’ve got several books to provide me with plans, workouts, techniques, etc, however, due to my body limitations, I’m mostly just focused on steady zone 2 aerobic efforts as my body becomes accustomed to the workload. It’s OK to ping my heart rate here and there, but I feel like I need another 2-3 months before I start putting in any major Z4-5 efforts. While I do plan on winning the 2017 Clydesdale Sprint National Championship, I have to be extremely cautious and conservative with my training or I won't even make the starting time.
By the way, I went running yesterday outdoors with a wind chill of 8 degrees. I was so comfortable! Here's what I wore (seen in first picture in post)
Not listed, but also worn: "ANTI-QUIT" lycra sweatband from Love The Pain (get 15% off with IDIPHON code at checkout) Weatherproof wool socks from Costco. Long Sleeve wick-away thermal under the jacket, also from Costco. Costco for life!
Thanks for reading and happy rehabbing for my hipsters and training for all you athletes out there! Stay warm!