So, it’s January. A time where everyone dusts off their gym membership card. I have mixed feelings about the annual influx of January gym-ers. I’m happy that they are back and trying to get healthy. I’m a little annoyed they sometimes don’t know proper etiquette. But mostly I’m terrified that they are going to tear off a limb lifting weights or mangle an ankle on a cardio machine.
So many people hit the gym with the best intentions, but soon end up back on the sideline, either injured or discouraged. Getting started is the first step, the biggest step maybe, but getting started correctly will make the chances of developing fitness as a habit and seeing real, tangible results much, much higher.
As I’ve hit my forties and found my time to workout more limited, these are the five things I’ve found most helpful in making sure the time that I do workout is healthy, effective and safe.
What’s the best way to train for a 5k? Do you still need long runs? Only sprint workouts?
It’s been at least 10 years since I really focused on the 5k as a goal race. Recently, it’s been longer road races and triathlons as the goal and the 5k’s were only there to spice up the training or get in the speed work, but with my knee arthritis and the goal of building back up very slowly, 2018 is looking like the year of the 5k and the sprint triathlons.
For the last six weeks I have slowly been ramping up the running with the goal of starting the new year with a solid race. Here is what I’ve learned and put into practice as my training.
Since I started running, way back in the local Hershey youth track meets, I’ve been running after numbers. Each distance, each event was defined by a winning time, or later when it was a clear I wasn’t going to be an All-American, a personal record.
I’m highly motivated by goals and for much of my running career that goal has been to go faster. To lower those PRs. Ask any serious runner, even weekend warrior, and they will be able to tell you their PRs across distances.
My knee has been feeling a lot better in the last two weeks. So much better than I’m nervous my body is screwing with me and it’s all going to come crashing down at any moment and leave me hobbling around again and finally understanding the merits of a cane.
I don’t know what’s made the difference, which is what has me nervous, but also hopeful that at least something is working. I’m not sure if it’s the three times a week I’m doing a 20 minute simple strength routine, the daily foam rolling or the extra stretching. Maybe it’s just time and rest. Or voodoo.
It’s likely a combination of all of them. But probably voodoo.
TrainerRoad is a cycling app that provides interval training and guided workouts for your indoor trainer. I’ve been using it mostly in the winter months for the past two years. This spring, I kept the subscription going (you can go month to month) and took advantage of their triathlon training plans to prepare for my Olympic distance event in June.
The plans provide a detailed cycling workouts along with suggested workouts for running and swimming. The app also includes plans beyond triathlon to road racing, off-road and just get-in-shape hobbyist plans.
Cycling has always been the weakest area for me in triathlon. Given a choice, I’d almost always rather run in training, even hill intervals. This year, I hoped that by committing some money to it, I would get my butt my in the saddle more often. Given where I was starting (a rather embarrassing FTP below 200), I believed plain old saddle time was going to bring the most improvement.
The Cape Cod Rail Trail follows a former railroad right-of-way (it was operational and transported passengers and freight to Cape Cod in the early 1800s until around 1960) for 25 miles through the towns of Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham and Wellfleet.
It’s a paved path, well maintained with very few hills. It’s a great way to see the (non-beach) scenery of the mid-Cape.
It’s also a good way to work off that lobster roll and get a little exercise while you are on vacation.
Here are my tips for 5 effective ways to get in a quality training session using the Cape Cod Rail Trail.
I turned 40 this year, became a Master’s runner and promptly got my first major injuries in decades. Coincidence? Probably not.
Warning sign to stop running? Definitely not.