Monday, January 18, 2016

Eugene Week 2 of 17: The new strength plan...

Lots of miles on the RunShields this week!

Love these things! They really do work amazingly well.

(It's a little hard to tell but this is rain absolutely pouring outside our door last night.)

Back in the day I used to hate running in the rain. And the dark, and the heat, and you get the idea. Basically if it didn't look like a Disney movie outside I'd park myself on the treadmill and that was that. These days, though, I'd much rather be outside no matter what it's doing, and I've even gotten to where I kind of enjoy a nice, damp run from time to time.

Drenched but happy :)

The Wide Wide World of Strength Work

I had this plan to get back to working with the strength trainer I was seeing last year once the holidays were over, but then I found out I had to go back to physical therapy for my foot, which pretty much put the kebash on that financially.

Something I have learned about myself over the years is that I can get myself to a place/do a thing consistently as long as I have a plan, which is what I liked best about the time during which I was working with the trainer. We would meet once a month, and she would spell out for me what exercises to, how many, how often, how much weight, etc. I didn't have to think at all and it was BRILLIANT.

In the last few months I've tried to mimic the workouts I was doing on her instructions, which was sort of 60/40 okay, but I'd get stuck on things like, "Is it time to switch things up? Should I add more weight? More reps? Eh?" Which too many times led straight to Screw It town, wherein I would skip workouts and not try that hard when I did go because I was obviously just making shit up and why even bother.

So, since I can't go to PT *and* pay $90 a pop for a real-life trainer, I got The New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women. Several people I know have raved about the plans and flipping through the online version it seemed pretty legit, so I decided to give it a shot while I train for Eugene.

I am not particularly concerned with looking like a goddess & have more than
enough nutritional advice to be getting on with, but sign me up for the rest!

It's not running-specific, but a lot of the exercises are the same or similar to what I was doing with AT (deadlifts, squats, weighted lunges & push-ups, plenty of ab stuff), so there's only a few other things I know I need to throw in occasionally (clam shells & some eccentric one-legged stuff mostly). It's not periodized for distance running, obviously, so I'll probably need to do some adjusting during the weeks when I'm racing, but whatever.

The main things I like about it are 1) written by a dude that knows what he's talking about, and 2) there are actual plans, both short- and long-term, that are pretty detailed so I'm not left guessing about things & making them up. I'm only two weeks in at this point, and WOW, I'd forgotten how hard real, actual strength workouts are when you're not just making them up as you go. But I've gone from 107 lbs lean tissue to 110 in that time, so I'm not complaining.

What Else Is Going On

  • WE PICKED A KITCHEN COUNTER! Oh my god. Holy Jesus. I can't tell you what a relief this is.

    This is our current kitchen floor which is going away, but the cabinets
    will be a similar color. (If you hate it maybe just don't tell me.)

  • WE CHOSE A DOUBLE OVEN! I am not joking when I say I'd become 90% certain that there was not a decent, reliable double oven anywhere on planet Earth and in place of the ovens we were just going to have a giant gaping hole with a scribbled note that said "Sorry, ovens were too hard, use the microwave."
  • Still no holes in our house but I am told the engineering should be done any day now, after which we should be able to start getting bids from contractors. I am hoping the fact that it is pouring rain lately will somehow guarantee the holes will start appearing soon. (Phhhbbbbtt an El Niño winter is a GREAT time to start construction, I don't know what you are talking about.)


Some Numbers:

    * 20 miles running (woohoo!)
    * 1:24:45 elliptical (fine)
    * 2:45:00 strength work (woohoo!)
    * 0:30:00 stretch & roll (boo, I suck)

Monday: a.m. 45:00 strength / p.m. karate. I can tell I'm doing real, actual strength work again because I left the gym feeling pretty much like jello in every muscle. I was BARTing to Oakland this week for work, & going down the steps into the station adventure.

Tuesday: a.m. 30:00 stretch & roll / p.m. elliptical speed work. This is when the soreness really hit. Given that I could barely walk, any type of running-like motion was *completely* out of the question. Even rolling was pretty miserable.

Wednesday: afternoon 1.5 easy to the gym + 1:00 strength + 1.5 easy home / p.m. karate. I wanted to do strength in the morning again, but my Oakland gig had a hard 8:00 start, which would have meant getting up at 5am and that was just NOT happening. Luckily we finished early that day, so I had time to get it done in SF before karate.

Thursday: 5 easy. I worked late Thursday so didn't actually start this run until about 7pm. Still kind of sore in the quads, but once I started, running actually felt really good, so I went with it. I'd kind of toyed with swinging by the gym for 20-30 additional minutes on the elliptical, but it was so late and I was so not feeling it. I was really enjoying running what felt like an *actual* real distance for the first time in forever, and I really didn't want to ruin it with the stench of sweaty bro & cleaning fluid. (The official plan only called for 5-6, though, so I don't feel that bad about it.) I did not stretch or roll, though.

Friday: 1.5 easy to the gym, 17:00 marathon effort + 7:45 HM effort on the elliptical, 1:00 strength work, 1.5 easy home. I have a feeling this is maybe not how you should do these things, but it's just how the day worked out. A little light stretching but not nearly enough.

Saturday: 3 easy. Just an easy recovery jaunt because I felt like it.

Sunday: 6 easy + 1:00 easy elliptical = more or less equivalent to a 13-14 mile long run. This was my longest run post-sfx, and it felt just amazing. Even the part where I was running home in hammering rain was kind of fun in its own way! But mainly, just being able to complete what feels like a real distance on my usual route & feel completely 100% pain-free (even if my muscles & connective tissues are still adjusting).

Friends, I am putting this one solidly in the win column. Only 15 more to go. :)


  1. Your kitchen is going to be amazing! I can't tell you how envious I am of the marble counter. You can temper chocolate on that! And a double oven!! Dinner doesn't have to taint dessert.

    1. It's actually engineered quartz, which it turns out is both cheaper & involves less maintenance, so that's a win! ;)

  2. I just checked out that New Rules book. This is very good information especially for someone like me who is pretty clueless with regards to strength training. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You're welcome! Glad it's useful! :)

  3. Ooh I might want to check out that book. I feel like I have a fairly good handle on strength training, but I always want to do more, and I've been told I need to work more on hip and glute strength so a guide could be helpful.

  4. Love New Rules! I've been doing it about a year and just finished phase 6 (umm... it's not supposed to take that long, I've taken a bit more breaks in between things than prescribed). I really like it. After phase 1, the workouts get a little longer, so a bit harder to fit in amongst a running training plan, but definitely still worth it.

    1. Yeah, that's been my biggest challenge, even in phase 1. Typically I can squeeze in 45:00 before work, but these workouts seems to take about an hour. (I'm sure I'll get more efficient as I do them, but I definitely lose time hunting down barbells/weights/etc. & putting them back at the end, going to the other part of the gym where the other stuff I need is, etc.) We'll see what happens!

  5. With all of the rain I wish they made a waterproof version of my shoe. Pushing the running stroller I often have no choice but to plow through deep puddles and that would come in handy. I have always been Eugene-curious so can't wait to hear how it goes!