I drove into Boston on Sunday morning to attend Race-Mania, which has become the unofficial kickoff to the endurance season in the Northeast. It might not be spring yet, but you can at least sniff it. Time to start cleaning gear and firming up those race plans for the year. No better way to kick-start flagging motivation or find an inspiring race or new piece of gear than an expo dedicated to all things endurance racing.
Training for endurance sports can often be a lonely pursuit, even if you’re on a team or have a coach, so it’s always nice to emerge from the training bubble and mix and mingle with other people that think about run cadence, single versus double leg power meters or what flavor of gel is best at mile fourteen of your run. You are not crazy. You are not alone. You are just an endurance athlete.
As a Dad, with a full-time day job, in addition to blogging, 60 minutes is usually the absolute max I can spare for a workout and still make a dent in my daily to-do list. In order to get the most fitness return for my time, I lean heavily on VO2 max intervals across biking, cycling and swimming to get me as ready as possible for my races. And this strategy can work really well in boosting strength and fitness, but you need to be careful as there is a dark side to leaning too heavily on interval training.
This lingering cold is petering out like a weak storm front drifting out to sea. Still there but slowly weakening. It didn’t hold me back in any workouts. The actual weather, on the other hand, is just gross. We are now in that month long wet, cold, sloppy, slushy transition into New England spring. It’s not pleasant, no one likes it and we just hope it doesn’t last too far into April. I mostly spent the week indoors wishing I lived somewhere else or could just fast forward through March….Some notes on the rest of the week.
It was a gray, unsettled, sometimes wet Saturday here. In other words, spring in New England! But it wasn’t freezing. And we weren’t over scheduled for what felt like the first time in a month. We had the usual dance class for Cecilia (recital costumes arrived today! – very exciting in the life of an 7 year old dancer), a trip to Costco (free lunch of samples for the kids!) and then some science fair prep (nothing like some Saturday homework).
As usual we started the day on the couch with a show and some maple sausages….
I have two things to confess. First, I am one of those weirdos that actually don’t mind workouts on the treadmill. For certain workouts, I even prefer to do it on the treadmill, even if it’s not the middle of January in the Northeast and perfectly fine to run outside. The treadmill allows me to peg a pace and hold it and the treadmill offers little distraction (for better or worse!). I’m notorious for returning from runs where I’ve stepped off the curb or onto a root and twisted an ankle.
Second, I am a championship sweater. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 20 minute low impact stretching session or a 90 minute tempo run, at the end my shoes will be sodden and I’ll be five pounds of fluid lighter. And if I’m doing that workout on the treadmill, most of that run off ends up the treadmill. In short, my treadmill is well-loved and usually disgusting.
Here are the things I try to do daily, weekly and monthly to keep it working and fungus free.
I’m comfortable saying it now. I’m not a gym person. I know strength training is important for an endurance athlete or runner, but getting in the gym and lifting weights is at the absolute bottom of my list of training activities.
In the last year, I’ve found HIIT workouts to be helpful by mixing in the cardio with the weights, but even then I struggle to get myself to the gym to lift. My preference to improve strength and speed is to actually do it by running and the best way I know to do that is to run hills. That’s what I did yesterday.
In the interest of full disclosure, I made poop pretzels last week. I am not joking, they bore a very strong resemblance to Mr. Hankey. I’m not totally sure what went wrong. Everything was going well right up until the end when I pulled the poop sticks out of the oven. I suspect my second proofing after shaping wasn’t quite long enough.
The silver lining? They were for Cecilia’s school winter carnival so the fact that my proposed pretzel braids came out looking like poop emojis might have actually made them more attractive to first and second graders. The other silver lining? I was planning on making them again for the church bake sale this past week. I’m not sure poop would go over so well there…..