Good and Bad Training Week Part 1

Yowzers this week has been pretty mental!

On one hand basically the shit hit the fan at work and I’ve been nose to the grind stone all week trying to fix a pretty major problem, it’s taken pretty much all of my energy and mental concentration just to keep my head above water.

Add to that the fact that I was away last weekend visiting my brother and his family which meant that all the chores I usually get done on a weekend, laundry, food shopping and food prep for the week wasn’t done so I was playing catch up this week with that regard.

However, on a positive note I’ve had a very busy but wonderful training week – despite not wanting to go to my sessions due to being stressed and tired from work I made it to all my planned sessions.

Monday morning was swimming – at 6am I got into the pool and swam 50 lengths, I only planned to swim a half mile (40 lengths in my pool) but was feeling good and felt like I should start pushing the distance a bit so completed another 10 lengths to make a nice round 50. Only took me 20 minutes but it got my work week to a good start (little did I know how much I’d need those good vibes later in the week!)

Monday evening was my PT session with M – we had to rearrange our sessions a bit due to both of our schedules so this week I was lined up to do back to back PT (Monday and Tuesday evenings) and I’ll be the first to admit I was a little scared. M’s sessions are always awesome and very full-on but at the same time pretty brutal and I wasn’t sure how I’d cope not having at least a day between seeing him to recover.

This session was based on heavy weights, I’m looking to really build up functional muscle and strength and to do that you have to go heavy. Add onto that the need for muscle endurance and we did some heavy super sets to exhaustion. Basically this involves doing a certain exercise for a certain number of reps (I did 15 reps per set) – the weight based on being able to complete the first 75% of the set with it feeling tough but manageable and then feeling more of a struggle to get to the end of the set i.e. my reps felt ok up until about 11 and then it was a bit of grit and determination to get to 15. This exercise is then immediately followed by another, different set without a rest period in between. This weight is also set pretty high and you have to do that exercise to exhaustion, basically until you can’t complete a full movement. The weight for me was set at a point where I should be maxing out at about 12 reps.

I did some arm work, lat pull-downs, chest press, shoulder press and low rows before hitting the legs with the super sets detailed above. Needless to say I basically had to crawl across the gym to my next exercise! Yes I am one of those people!

After my PT session with M I had 3 miles on the schedule for my half marathon training plan so I jumped, figuratively speaking, on a treadmill and set off. My legs felt like jelly after all the workouts which is a very strange feeling but it’s also very similar to getting off the bike and onto the run in a tri so I need to get used to that feeling and also learn to push through. My legs pushed through to a point, I was pleased with how I felt during the run and my pace but I could only hold on for 3Km – although I didn’t make the distance, knowing my training schedule for the rest of the week I called it good and headed home.

Tuesday morning I had ‘off’ from training but really all that means is that I get into work earlier – so it’s not even a lie in really!

Tuesday evening was my second session with M of the week – I had had my first nightmare day at work where my horrible situation reared its head and M had told me the day before that we would be doing cardio and HIIT (high intensity interval training) this session so I wasn’t feeling too confident going into this session! Plus my legs were aching from the previous days training.

We started off by doing the Cooper Test – M likes to do this to judge fitness level and with him I’ve done a handful of them since having sessions with him – in short I hate the Cooper Test.

For those who don’t know, the Cooper Test is a 12 minute run on the treadmill where you start the first 6 minutes at a steady state, this should be a comfortable pace that you can hold for some time. Then at the 6 minute mark and on every minute up to 12 you increase the speed each time so that you’re pushing yourself more and more each minute. There is a table you can get off the net that estimates your fitness level based on the distance covered.

Now I have a couple of issues with the Cooper Test – firstly because I’m a slow runner I find it hard to get what I have in my head as a decent distance – I’m basically running about 6:15 minutes for a Km which means that in 12 minutes I don’t even get to 2Km! I’ve gotten to 1.96 and I’m desperate to get to that illusive 2Km mark – I’ll get there someday but at the moment the Cooper Test and the darn 2Km goal is my personal nemesis! Secondly I don’t like that it’s based on speed, there’s no way I could beat Usain Bolt in a sprint but I bet I could keep running for longer than him (according to my tri coach J I’m the little engine that could) I’m one of those people who isn’t very fast but set me off at a speed and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll maintain that for a good distance – does that mean that Usain is fitter than me? (In reality probably yes but you get my point regarding speed vs distance?) A better comparison is probably Usain Bolt Vs Mo Farrah – would you say one was fitter than the other simply because they can run faster?!

Anyways enough of the moaning – needless to say I got my furthest distance to date, 1.96Km, but was still 400m short of my goal! Damn it!!

M then got me on the rowing machine for 200m intervals with 30 seconds rest in between – I had to do 10 of them and was pleased to manage negative splits for all of my intervals, where each interval is faster than the previous one. And that was without me being sneaky and holding back for the first few – I hope M doesn’t read this but I’ve done that before! I actually went off pretty fast and then when I was told I had 10 intervals to complete I was secretly wishing I’d employed my above tactic.

After the rowing machine it was onto the wattbike for yet more intervals. 10 200m sets again trying, obviously, to go as fast as possible but also to try to keep the left and right power equal on the pedals. The wattbike measures the force on each foot and gives it as a percentage – I’m pretty lucky that I seem to be pretty equally strong on either side and don’t really have to concentrate too hard to get an average of 50/50 left to right, I sometimes get an overall average of 51/49 which to my perfectionist brain isn’t quite good enough but I know most people struggle a lot with having a considerably more dominant side that takes over when you start to tire – I seem to be lucky.

After that I was pretty much done – my legs were not responding to my brains shouts of faster – they were being very childish and sticking their fingers in their ears and singing la la la at the top of their voice to drown out my brains commands. I still managed a pretty consistent set of intervals though, not negative splits like the rower but I only deviated by a couple of seconds per set so I was tired but happy about that.

We finished up with some crunches and yet another embarrassing moment of not knowing whether I’d be able to get off the floor or not! And so tired and incredibly sweaty I headed home to do the food shop and some laundry – joy!

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