Cathy Zielske, a blogger I admire, blogs once a month on how she is progressing in her "Move More, Eat Less" journey. Following her lead, it was interesting for me to summarize my month's activity. And since some of you have shown an interest in my healthy living journey, I thought I would share how I'm progressing in my triathlon goal with you once a month.
For the 31 days in December, I exercised 23 days and had 8 days off. In previous months, I would exercise 3/4 times a week. Bumping this up to 5/6 times a week was great and draining at the same time and I sure was sore a lot. There were big changes this month, adding strength training, swimming and biking to my routine. The breakout is as follows:
I hired Joy, an Ironman Triathlete and a trainer at my gym, to take me through strength training exercises twice a week. We got in six sessions in December and I puff and pour sweat throughout our time together. Joy loves step ups (on platforms and benches) and sits (where you sit on something just barely off the floor and then stand up and throw a weighted medicine ball or some other upper body exercise). Everything we do works both parts of the body (upper and lower) at once, like lunges and shoulder presses. And everything we do works my core. I feel my core getting very gradually stronger. She works me hard and fast and I'm too busy trying to breathe to talk with her but she has shared some triathlon information with me and is keeping my attention on my diet.
I swam 3 times in the month of December. Mostly I was trying to get comfortable in the water but the whole time I was swimming, doing the front crawl up the lap and backstroke down the lap, I knew I had improper form. This was further confirmed when I read that a female swimmer should be able to complete a junior olympic-sized pool lap in under 20 strokes. It takes me around 26-28 strokes using the crawl or backstroke and around 22 strokes using the breaststroke. I hope to have a swim coach help me improve my form in the month of January.
I will say that swimming the day after a long run is the best way to stretch out and get some non-impact exercise. Although I'm still nervous and self deprecating in the pool, I still really enjoy being in the water
I went for one bike ride in my neighborhood, wobbling horribly then braking and stopping for every car. I have such a long way to go.
I used the gym's stationary bike 3 times for 30-45 minutes per workout. One time after my strength training with Joy, one time after walking the stairmaster for 25 minutes, and one time as a prequel to a 3 mile run. Boy, my legs felt really rubbery going from the bike to a run.
Joy encouraged me to use the gym's spin bike rather than the stationary bike. With the spin bike, I can train my body to get used to the aero position I'll need to be in for a triathlon. I used the spin bike once on my own and then took my first spin class. And immediately went out and bought a pair of padded biking shorts. Those shorts were sorely needed.
When you total this up, you get six bike workouts in December
Joy snuck up and watched me run on the treadmill without my knowledge. During our next training session we discussed changes to my running form. She didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know. That my upper body is way too rigid (I blame years of cheerleading for this). And my arms tend to swing up too high and cross my body, like a speed runner rather than a long distance one, and my hands flare out. In essence, my upper body is expending energy rather than helping me run further and longer. So on my runs this month, I worked on relaxing my shoulders, neck and mid-section. I worked on bringing my arms to down to 90 degrees and to think about pushing my elbows back when I run (like you are trying to elbow someone behind you). I'm learning to hold my hands in a very loose fist with my thumb "pinching the wing of a butterfly".
The biggest help Joy gave me was to teach me how to foam roll my IT band. I was experiencing quite a bit of knee pain after my runs, particularly the day after. Foam rolling has worked out the knots in my legs. I have no pain in my IT band now. Here are my runs for the month.
Tempo and speed runs:
5 miles in 48 minutes
5 miles in 48 minutes
4 miles in 38 minutes
6 miles in 60 minutes
8 miles in 80 minutes
8 miles in 80 minutes
7 miles in 76 minutes
3 miles in 30 minutes
5 miles ?
4 miles in 41 minutes
Total of 10 runs and 55 miles in December
Besides the other additions I made to my workout schedule, I also added a Les Mills Body Combat class. From their website, Body Combat is a fiercely energetic program inspired by martial arts and draws from a wide array of disciplines such as karate, boxing, taekwondo, tai chi and muay thai. Supported by driving music, you strike, punch, kick and kata your way through calories to superior cardio fitness. I love this class and was able to get in four classes in December. I smile the whole time which cracks my instructor up. And I'm always very sore after.
Walking with Sarah
My friend and neighbor Sarah and I walk once a week around our neighborhood. It's a nice way to gab and stretch and burn some calories. We walk around 4 miles after she gets off work.
Although weight loss is no longer a primary goal, I was pleased to lose 3 pounds this month. I now weigh 129 pounds. Medium is the t-shirt size that fits me best. And I went through my closet and moved out all the extra large shirts and pants. I now have just medium and large shirts left in my closet.
And there we go, one month summarized. Whew!