Training with Balance
I wanted to create a blog entry as a way to psychoanalyze what I did and how I try to balance work, life, and training. A quick high level background; I have been tracking and making my race results and activities public since about April ’09 and mostly via Runkeeper (click the link to see my profile). To date I have recorded over 481 activities, 3,678 miles and burned 288k calories. I began this entire training obsession with simple 2.5-3 mile runs and have worked my way up to swimming, running, and biking twice a week each for an hour or more at a time.
This is a rest day for me. Used day to recover from terribly organized sprint triathlon Angela, Tyler and I did the day before. Won’t do them the favor of linking to their site or mentioning name. Somehow it was USAT (USA Triathlon Governing Body) sanctioned but should be sanctioned for being poorly organized. No individual chipped timing, poorly marked bike course sending everyone on an extra 5 mile ride up a mountainside, and a sloppy track/road looping run where they struggled to keep track of how many laps each participant had completed (3 was the requirement).
Spent morning working from home. Short morning visit to the Orthodontist. Afternoon working from Starbucks. Spent the evening eating boneless wings and drinking beer while watching the Patriots play to a victory against the Dolphins.
Two training session day. Stretching and strength training at 6 am in the gym in our apartment building. Swim session at 5 pm that afternoon at what my friend Hilla Peled calls LA Fitnot (LA Fitness) in her triathlon training blog (click to read her awesome entries). 1 mile in 45 minutes. I took two FRS chews and a gel shot before the swim workout. Worked from office all day. Being sedentary at your desk is not all bad as you can use the time to recover. Had dinner that night with Angela, Jessica, and Rupal to celebrate Rupal’s birthday at Urban Flats.
Up at 5:30 am for spin class at LA Fitnot. Jeremy, the spin instructor, created a team for us in order to raise money for Camp Twin Lakes. You can see our total fundraising and click to make a donation if you already haven’t. I know spin isn’t a favorite among hard-core cyclist but I did say this was all about balance. We have resolved ourselves to 1 outdoor ride a week 9 months of the year (usually on weekends) and 1 spin class a week. We use spin to augment our need to ride twice a week without having to brave the weekday traffic that is too dangerous in Atlanta to risk. Maybe if we lived in Seattle but not here.
Took a gel shot (2x caffeine), ate a honey stinger waffle and 2 FRS chews before spin class. After spin, drive back home to shower. Swung by dry cleaners and then to the office. No afternoon workout because of a 7 p.m. advanced screening of Ryan Gosling’s new film “Drive” at Atlantic Station; which turned out to be a waste of time because the movie sucked. What was worse though was that the food we took with us into the theater from Tin Drum, basil-fried rice with tofu, was so greasy and dull. Extra disappointing because we can usually rely on Tin Drum to provide good food.
Up at 5:30 am to run on treadmill. 1 hour, 8 mile run at an average of a 2% incline. Started at a 6 mph pace at 0% incline. Increased speed .1 mph every minute up to 9.4 mph. Increased incline 1% every 10 minutes to 3% at 40-minute mark. Decreased incline 1% every 10 minutes to finish at 0%. Decreased speed .1 mph every minute to 7.4 mph. Ate two FRS chews and took a gel shot (2x caffeine) before run.
Doctor’s appointment at 10:30 am, annual physical. Learned that I have almost no fat around my heart and that my 80% heart rate zone is between 142 and 152. Based on heart rate measurements for some of my workouts I am safely within that zone even during 100%+ cardiovascular output workout; final results in a week. Cobb County college fair at 6 pm. Represented Oglethorpe as an Alumni Board member talking to high school students about choosing OU. Team trivia at 9 pm at Cheyenne Grill. Finished 1 point away from finishing 3rd three weeks in a row.
Up at 5:30 am for another swim session at LA Fitnot. Completed 1.75 miles in 1 hour and 25 minutes. Good pace and exhausting swim. They usual in regards to nutrition; honey stinger waffle, 2 FRS chews, and 1 caffeinated gel shot. I don’t drink water while swimming though I should (just forgetful). This was my first morning swim ever and I really enjoyed it. I think I will switch to almost all morning workouts during the holiday season in order to maximize my day. Shower at gym and then straight to work. First morning swim ever for me. Sucks having to lug so much equipment to gym for morning swims. Tons of errands around lunch and work from Starbucks in the afternoon. Dinner at Capozzi’s in Decatur (a great place) with Praful, Angela, and Catherine. Drank more wine than I probably should, leading up to an early morning bike ride the next day.
Up at 5:30 am to drive an hour up to Cartersville for a 31-mile bike ride in Cartersville. Rode a negative split through the first third but still managed to finish in just over 2 hours. Consumed 2 gel packs (1 with 2x caffeine), 2 honey stinger waffles, 2 FRS chews, and 3 Sports Legs sodium caps. Probably didn’t need all of it but I wanted to bypass a lot of the food at the rest stops because I tend to overeat when I stop at them. Angela, Tyler, Praful and I went to the Braves game at 4:00 pm (they won) and got ice cream afterwards at Atlantic Station. Watched a little TV and then passed out around 10 pm. Just too exhausted from all the running around.
Up at 5:30 am again to do chores and errands while Angela is helping her cousin get ready for wedding. Ran a 9.55-mile slow run outside on the pavement at 8 am, in order to hit total of 25 miles of running training for the month to date. Legs felt like rubber. Took a while to wake up. For fuel; 2 gel packs, 1 honey stinger waffle, 2 FRS chews and of course water infused with accelerade. For reference, I only drink accelerade, much better for recovery and endurance than any other sports drink I have tried. Also, I prefer Clif Turbo Shots (double espresso, 2x caffeine), GU gel shots, GU Roctane gel shots (2x caffeine), and s caps during activities. I wore compression calf sleeves and shorts the rest of the day to speed up recovery. Went to the wedding at 6 pm, on a Sunday, and during football season. Not my happiest moment. Someone needs to talk to these people.
In summary, I think whether you want to do more or less training than I do, I think there are some key take aways to being able to balance work, life and fitness. First, find a routine that works for you. It is easier to stay consistent if you don’t have to think so much about it. Secondly, recovery is key. If you don’t find away of avoiding that sore/stiff feeling, you’ll be discouraged from continuing. Lastly, get a handle on nutrition. You can’t work out, go to work, and have a social life without fuel. There is no one size fits all plan for integrating these key points into your life. I think there is a lot of trial and error involved until you find the approach that works best for you. I hope this entry and all my other social media fitness post help motivate others and I hope all of this training will lead me to completing my first Iron Man 70.3 next September.