Friday, January 28, 2011

NERelay: New England Running Relay

New England Running Relay

220 miles
36 legs
12 team members
6 states
20-30 hours

Sounds crazy doesn't it?

And that's exactly why I'm doing it.  I had heard about the Hood to Coast Relay out in Oregon, a 197-mile relay race that has grown to quite the popular race.  I mentally added that to my bucket list, but figured "when would I really travel out to the west coast just for a race?"  Then Jenn, the friend from Boston who came down to run the Hartford Half Marathon with me last October, texted me asking if I had heard of the New England Relay, NERelay.  Why go 197 miles when you can go 220?  Why run in one state when you can run through six?  Why be normal when you can be insane?!  I'm in!

Are you normal?  NO, and I don't ever plan on being it.

The race is July 11th and 12th (Saturday & Sunday).  It begins in Rhode Island and winds into Connecticut, straight up through Massachusetts, into Vermont, across New Hampshire, and ends in Maine.

The whole race is broken into 36 legs ranging from 3.3 to 11.6 miles.  These are split between 6 or 12 team members depending on where the team falls on the Insanity Scale.  I will be on a team of 12 and will run somewhere between 13 and 26.2 miles in total.  We are informed that we need to maintain an average pace of 9 minute miles, which would put the finish at a max of 33 hours.  (hahaha!  The more I sit down and really work out the numbers and description of this race, the more I realize how crazy it is.  I love it!!).

If you're man (or woman) enough to give it a shot and know people who are just as insane and fun who would join your team, I fully support it!  But for those who think this is a bit nuts and will make bets as to when I'll pass out (aka: die) on the course, you're the people that make this worth it.


Here is a short recap of the last two workouts.

Yesterday's Workout:
1.  3 minute walk at 4mph
2.  3.1 mile run at 8.0 - 9.0 mph
3.  2 minute walk at 4mph

1.  Step Jump
2.  Medicine Ball Push-Ups
3.  Ball Twist Balance
4.  Push Up - Pull In
5.  Side Jump Change
Repeat #1 - 5 for a total of two sets

Today's Workout:
1.  2 mintue walk at 4 mph
2.  3.1 mile (5k) run at 8.0 - 9.0 mph
3.  1 minute walk at 4 mph
4.  0.22 mile run at 10.0 mph
5.  2 minute walk at 4 mph

1.  Side Plank Twist (10 reps on side #1)
2.  Push-Ups (5 reps)
3.  Side Plank Twists (10 reps on side #2)
4.  Push-Ups (5 reps)
5.  Sit Ups (10 reps)
6.  Crunches (10 reps)
7.  Russian Twists (20 reps)
Repeat #1-7 for a total of three sets

The goal for tomorrow is to get to the gym between work and the show and manage to get in a short swim workout.  This hangs on the fact that I am able to have food ready for after work because we all know how much I eat and I can't go that long without a meal. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Crazy Schedules

Who here has what they consider a crazy schedule?

If so, I would be more than happy to hear about how you deal with it.  My goal today is to come up with a daily schedule that will help me stick to what I've committed to, but at this point it's crazy.  Between a 60+ hour/week job and gearing up for Ironman training, I have one day a week (Sunday) to do errands or see friends.  I certainly enjoy being busy though - it keeps me focused and productive.  I just need some guidance to get better acquainted with it before I hit the 'burn out' point. 

Here's a general daily schedule:

12:30 / 1:00am - Go to bed
8:30am - Wake up
9:00am - Arrive at the gym (running and core workout)
10:00am - leave the gym
10:15am - Eat breakfast
10:30am - Shower
10:45am - Checked email / blog
11:00am - Make lunch
11:10am - Off to work
..9:45pm - Leave work / head to the gym
10:10pm - Arrive at the gym
11:05pm - Leave gym
11:15pm - Home / Make dinner
11:45pm - Shower
12:00am - Check email / finished blog
12:30 / 1:00am - Go to bed

Due to the weather, I am home tonight instead of going to the gym.  Therefore, I'll have time to fold the laundry I did Sunday (...maybe).  Think I could talk LA Fitness into just letting me sleep there?  It would help out my daily driving for sure!

Today's Workout:

MORNING (running & core)
1.  2 minute 4mph walk
2.  3.1 mile (5k) run at 7:30 / 7:03 pace (8.0 - 8.5 mph)
3.  2 minute 4mph walk
4.  Side Plank Twists (10 reps each side)
5.  Sit ups (10 reps)
6.  Crunches (10 reps)
7.  Russians (20 reps with 10 lb)
Repeat #4-7 for a total of three sets

P.S.  Story from work.  Remember how I got told "Please go away or I'll call the police"?  Well, today the police showed up!  hahaha  Everything was fine - a person just called because of a "suspicious car."  It was still quite entertaining though.  Then to top that, that was only one of eight calls to the police we've had concerning our marketing group in that specific town; apparently some residents don't like us being there!

I also get to run the "Impact" meeting tomorrow - a short personal story meant to boost motivation and moral.  My plan is to talk about my goal to finish the Ironman and the quote "If it was easy, everyone would be doing it."  That quote pushes me through a lot of moments when I really want to stay in bed, opt out of a third set, give in, etc.  Should be fun, plus it gives them a bit of an insight into my own personal life. 

Ok, off to bed early tonight, woohoo!  Stay fit.  Stay healthy.

I will call the police!

Random Fact of the Day:  I had my first threat on the job today!  A lady yelled through the door that she would call the cops if I don't leave the property.  What do I look like, a hit man?  haha  That made my day.

Today's Workout:
1.  250 Warm up (free, back, breast)
2.  1,2,3,4,3,2,1 Pyramid (swim on the way up, speed up on the way down)
3.  350 Cool Down
TOTAL: 1400 yds (0.8 miles)

Today was a short day because I was at work until 9:45pm and didn't make it to the gym until 10:05pm.  Either way though, Collin and I got in a good 1400 yards and I definitely pushed him in the back half of the pyramid set.  I'm very proud that he took the push and met it.  It was a quick workout for sure, but great job Collin.  Tomorrow (or whichever day we get together next) will be circuit training.  My goal is to attempt doing something a little different each day.  This will help both of us.  Collin's muscles will continually be stimulated to burn energy stores without getting used to a single workout and I'll get practice coming up with ideas for workouts and will build up my base repertoire. 

So the first question you may ask is "What is circuit training?"  According to Wikipedia, it is a form of conditioning combining resistance training and high-intensity aerobics."  According to me, it is an aerobic training approach that stays away from free weights and machines and is therefore applicable to a wider range of locations - you can do it at home without a home gym, at the gym, in the office with coworkers during your lunch break, or up on the top of a mountain you just climbed (congratulations to you!).  The items that these exercises will use are resistance bands, medicine balls, stability balls, light weights at times, and a floor mat when preferred.  The whole idea is to use your own body as the weight as much as possible and keep the exercises simple.

I'll post the list of Circuit Training exercises that I've been amassing tomorrow after the workout (or maybe in the morning depending on how I feel about time).  This will be what I begin to use in order to come up with circuit training workouts.  Until then, it is time to get back up to date with my email and get some rest. 

Goals for tomorrow:
1.  Get up and go to the gym (run, circuit exercises)
2.  Figure out something other than pb sandwiches to bring to work for lunch (any ideas? - it has to be in the car for multiple hours before being eaten and I have no access to a microwave or cooking unit)
3.  Decide on a 4 or 6 exercise circuit workout
4.  Get back to the gym in the evening with Collin for his Circuit workout.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Finally Too Cold

As a native Western New Yorker, the one thing you don't hear from me often is "it's cold."  However, this morning I must admit that the temperature kept me from getting in my full run.  I may have to look into a ski mask or something of that sort.  About 0.7 miles into my run my face was beginning to go numb.

Morning Workout:
Run - 1.5 miles outdoors

My plan this evening is to head to the gym with Collin to get in a swimming workout.  We probably will only have 45-60 minutes, so I'm going to try and push to get 1750 yds done.  Wish me luck!

Stay fit!  Stay healthy!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Super Sunday

Today I had Collin coming by the gym to get some help in his training.  I ended up getting to the gym a little earlier and doing some work before he got there; a Super Sunday workout. 

Today's Workout
1.  Warm Up - treadmill; 2.71 mile run
2.  Dumbbell Press (10 reps with 55 lb)
3.  Seated Bicep Curl (10 reps with 50 lb)
4.  Tricep Bench Dip (20 reps)
Repeat #2-4 for a total of three sets

5.  Elliptical - 2.5 miles
6.  Chest Press (10 reps with
7.  Shoulder Press (10 reps with
Repeat #6-7 for a total of three sets

8.  Seated Leg Curl (10 reps with 95/95/105 lb)
9.  Glute Extension (10 reps with 50/50/60 lb)
Repeat #8-9 for total of three sets

10.  Side Plank Twists (5 reps per side)
11.  Sit ups (10 reps)
12.  Crunches (10 reps)
13.  Russians (10 reps)
Repeat #10-13 for a total of three sets

1.  250 Warm Up (free, back, breast)
2.  5 x 50s easy with 10s rest
3.  10 x 25 hard / easy
4.  5 x 50 drill / swim
5.  250 Cool down
TOTAL: 1250 yds (0.71 miles)



How do you keep yourself motivated to continually reach for your goals?  How do you avoid the inner voice that tells you it's okay to slack a bit from time to time?

I just started a job that runs 9-10 hours, six days a week and it has been killer on my motivation.  I've been to the gym early most every day this week.  Yesterday was my day off.  Today I have plans to meet a friend for training at eleven, but had planned on going early by myself to lift on my own; that has not yet happened.  Instead, I wake up TIRED and pop in a movie to finish while I remain lying in bed.  It's hard to keep yourself motivated, but you can't let it ruin you. 

So today I want to ask you - How do you keep motivated?  What tricks do you keep up your sleeve for the rainy days?

Friday's Workout

Yeah, this is going to be short...

Friday's Workout
300 Warm Up (free, back, breast)
8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 free with 10s rest
4, 3, 2, 1 free, back, breast
4, 3, 2, 1 free
300 Cool down
TOTAL: 2000 yds (1.14 miles)

...very short.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Today I managed to make it to 7:30pm.  "Until what?" you may ask.  Well, I made it to 7:30pm before I started yawning.  haha

Morning workouts take their toll on the evening hours!  I'm just hoping it will end up helping me get to bed earlier in order to wake up earlier (to get to the gym earlier and have more time to workout); it should be a vicious cycle. 

Today's Workout:
1.  Warm Up - 2 min @ 4mph, 7:03 @ 8.5mph, 2 min @ 4mph
2.  Dumbbell Press (10,4,8 reps with 60lb/arm)
3.  Seated Bicep Curl (10 reps with 50lbs)
4.  Tricep Bench Dips (20 reps)
Repeat #2-4 for a total of three sets

5.  Hamstring Leg Curls (3 sets of 10 reps with 110lbs)

1.  250 Warm Up (free, back, breast)
2.  5 x 100 IMs with 10s rest
3.  5 x 50 75% down, stroke back with 10s rest
4.  10 x 25 hard with 10s rest
5.  250 Stretch
6.  5 x 100 IMs with 10s rest
7.  5 x 50 75% down, stroke back with 10s rest
8.  10 x 25 hard with 10s rest
9.  250 Cool down
TOTAL: 2750 yrds (1.56 miles)

Back up again tomorrow to see what I can pump out.  My goal is to keep running on the treadmill for now with a 1.5 degree incline in order to mimic road conditions and focus on my strike.  I'll look to add some stationary biking into the workout as well; if anything just to get the muscles warmed up and used to riding before I break out the actual bike come Spring.

Stay fit!  Stay healthy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Double Partial Workout

Recently, life has been a constant rush.  On one hand I love it because things are getting done and it's efficient, but on the other hand once in awhile I just want ten minutes to relax and take things a bit slower.  Thankfully, I found time this evening (by not making it to the gym) to write today's blog.  (I know, you're all applauding - you're welcome!).

Today I'm gonna' talk about me because it's all about me.  This is my story about becoming an ironman, so where better to start?!  Haha.  I got up this morning (admittedly a little later than I had hoped), got dressed, stuffed a hand full of peanuts in my stomach, grabbed my gym bag, and booked it to the gym.  My plan was to do a short lifting workout before getting in the gym (my hope is to double up a couple workouts a week and get more and more used to extended workouts spanning multiple dynamic exercises; running and swimming, lifting and biking, and obviously bricks).  Unfortunately, I ended up not having AS much time as desired, so I shortened both ends of the workout.  I did a single upper body set for lifting and then hopped in the pool for a bit before rushing home to get ready for work.

Today's Workout:
1.  Upper body warm up - 10lb deltoid lifts [side & front], bicep curls, military, and stretching
2.  Dumbbell Press (10 reps with 55lbs/arm)
3.  Seated Bicep Curl (10 reps with 30, 40, 40 lb)
4.  Tricep Bench Dip (20 reps)

1.  250 Warm up (free, back, breast)
2.  5 x 50 free on 55s
3.  5 x 50 drill/swim on 10s
4.  5 x 25 efficient push
5.  125 Cool down
TOTAL: 1000yrds (0.57 miles)

My goal is to get to bed earlier tonight so that I can get up and be at the gym by 9am tomorrow - that'll give me two hours to do a full lifting workout and at least a 2000-2500 yrd workout. 

I was very disappointed with not having enough time this morning to do what I wanted to do because what I ended up doing was cutting short the warm up and cool downs.  I will always suggest to someone that doing some cardio is the best way to warm up before lifting and I cut it out today due to time.  I still did the light lifting which I normally do after the cardio before the workout, but I'm not following my own advice.  Secondly, my swimming workout got cut short and I ended up not cooling down as much as planned.  Swimming is a bit more forgiving in this respect because your muscles are generally already stretched.  However, it is still not good to cut out either aspects of a workout.  I did one thing I would certainly harp on others for! 

Today's Lesson: Never cut into a workout's warm up or cool down.  If you have to cut something out, shorten the workout.  Your body needs to be warmed up correctly in order for a workout to reach it's full benefit as well as be SAFE.  Also, your body needs the time to relax, stretch out, and cool down after a workout or you'll end up with tight tendons, ligaments, and muscles; you could end up with residual cramping or risk of pulling that muscle later in the day because it was not properly relaxed.  Thankfully I did not fall to any ill fate due to my bad choice and hopefully I can time manage better to avoid such positions in the future.

Stay fit!  Stay healthy!

Late Night Laps

My day today began by waking up on a pull out couch in my dayclothes.  You can tell it's going to be a good day when that happens!

Last night after work I went to the tail end of a friend's birthday party.  It was a bit of a drive and by the time the party wound down it was late, so I decided to sleep there and drive back in the morning.  Then after waking up I was informed of the incredible ice storm CT was forecasted to have; yay!  Everyone still at the apartment either had work canceled or called off - I on the other hand packed myself up, drove home, got ready, and went to work.  It doesn't help that I currently work as a door-to-door marketing associate.

Anyways, I braved the cold, rain, and ice, and made it through my day at work.  After I got out, I rushed home, changed, grabbed my gym bag, and sped down to the gym.  I managed to get 1500 yards (0.85 miles) in within a thirty minutes; not bad if I do say so myself.  I certainly could have used more of a cool down and possible a bit slower of a build up early in the workout, but when the gym closes 45 minutes after you arrive, there's only so much you can do.  If I can get myself up tomorrow, I'm hoping to get a short lifting workout in before a full swim workout.

My Workout:
250 Warmup
5 x 50s easy on 0:50
5 x 50s drill/swim on 0:55
10 x 25s mid with 10s rest
5 x 50s free/stroke on 0.55
250 cool down
TOTAL: 1500 yrds (0.85 miles)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Swimming Training

Today's blog is going to be an overlook at how to approach swim training.  I've had a couple people ask me questions about this topic and since it is the one I feel most confident giving advice about, I figured I might as well start attacking it.

I understand that the following points, questions, answers, etc. are rather general.  Due to the fact that I do not know of any swimmers who read the blog, I felt I shouldn't get too detailed.  Of course, if you have any more specific questions (or even further general ones), please feel free to leave a comment, message me, or email me (  I'd be happy to talk more. 

First, let's start with some general information:

Q: What are the benefits and downsides of swimming in comparison to other general training methods?

A: In my mind, swimming has three main benefits over most any other general form of exercise.  Swimming is non-weight bearing.  You've all seen the aquatic classes filled with retirement age or older adults.  Whether it be the elderly or people with (for example) a shoulder or knee injury,  both groups are advised to avoid applying significant weight to the joints and therefore must avoid weight training, biking, running, court sports, etc.  Since roughly 70% of your body is water, we are bouyant in water and therefore our body is required to apply less energy and force to maintain our stature.  Swimming is a great sport in which the possibility of injury is greatly reduced (just don't dive deep on the shallow end and you're good!).  Secondly, swimming is one of few exercises to make use of muscles throughout your entire body simultaneously.  When you're pulling with your arms, you're kicking with your legs and maintaining the prone position with your core.  There are certainly ways to rely more on one part of the body more than others, but once you're swimming, you're entire body is engaged.  Lastly, done correctly, swimming incorporates stretching into itself and therefore requires a much shorter post-workout routine.  After lifting, running, biking, court games, and just about anything else excluding yoga, I always take 15-20 minutes and stretch.  After swimming however, I may stretch for 5 minutes if I feel like it, but I never feel "tight" after a swimming workout.

I also recognize that there are two downsides to swim training.

First, the amount of training required to become proficient at regular workouts is much greater than other forms of exercise.  I train with swimming, but I have been in the pool since I was six weeks old and swam competitively for nine years.  I would never deter someone from wanting to swim as a training routine, but I acknowledge that for those not equipped with previous technique training, it can be difficult to pick up quickly.  You don't take a couple quick lessons and then head off on your own. Secondly, some people complain about dry skin from the pool.  It's true, the chlorine in the pool can really dry out your skin, but with moisturizer, you are good to go.

Now, a bit more of how to go about swim training...

Q: How do you design a swim training schedule?

A: Firstly, there are a few general guidelines to any workout or training schedule that apply here.
1.  Do not jump the gun.  Unless you already have built an endurance base, ease your way into swimming workouts.  Start out with short, slow workouts and gradually increase to longer, faster workouts.
2.  Endurance before speed.  Do not expect to break out of the first week of swim training and be setting world records.  Focus first on increasing your endurance - increase the length of your workouts, decrease the rest you take between sets, or increasing the length the distance you swim between breaks.  Once you have a reliable base where you are beginning to swim at consistent speeds, then you can begin working on speed.
3.  Technique and drills, Drills, DRILLS!!!  I swam competitively for nine years and I will never design an entire workout without having a drill set in there.  I don't care if this is your first time in contact with water or you're Michael Phelps, technique always needs your attention.  Tons of training without drilling technique allows yourself to build bad habits.  Early in your training, you should be doing a LOT of drills to make sure you are proficient.  Down the road, you can back off, but never eliminate drills completely.
4.  Be imaginative.  There are tons of technique drills you can pick up from online resources or other swimmers.  There are always an unlimited number of ways to design specific workouts.  I always find repetitive workouts quite boring.  For that reason alone, I enjoy designing workouts with unique twists or patterns to each one.  Let your imagination run wild with it and you may end up finding something that works incredibly well.

Beyond those general points, the first thing I would do is determine your goal.  Your goal can dictate a lot about how to approach swim workouts.  For myself, my goal is to complete the swim portion of two Ironman 70.3 races which is a 1.2 mile swim.  Based on that, I should eventually work up to swimming more than 1.2 miles per workout.  This does not prepare me to set any records just yet, but it does set me up to be able to simply finish a swim at that distance.  If your goal is not a race, but simply to be able to swim a certain distance (or amount of time), then your job simply is to start where you are comfortable and work your way up to your goal over time.

Second, I would determine whether you are looking to build endurance or speed.  If my goal is simply to finish this race, then I can focus solely on adding distance to my workouts.  However, if I am shooting for a specific finish time, then I need to work my way up to swimming sets at a pace faster than that time requires.

Lastly, it is important to be very self-critical when you swim.  Even if you have a swimming buddy there to help motivate you through the workouts, they won't be able to tell you that your form is off or that you're not doing the hard set as hard as you can; those are up to you to tell yourself.  When you're out on the field, the road, a trail, or in the gym, others can watch you clearly and let you know that you what you need to change, but while splashing around in the pool, breathing, and paying attention to your own body, it is hard to keep track of others.

Q: What type of sets are good to do in a workout?

A: Any and all sets have their benefits.  This is where some research into swim workouts others have posted, talking with swimmers, trial and error in the pool, and some imagination come in handy.  Since I had practice for 9 years, I have a lot to pull from when writing my own workouts, but I still try my best to come up with new things.  I will always post my workouts here on the blog, so feel free to pull ideas from those.  But all the general basics are there for you to construct your own workouts; use your imagination.

Every set I've ever done simply addresses these five points...

1.  You can swim any stroke of your choice
2.  You can swim one length, two, three, four, five, six... at a time.
3.  You can repeat that once, twice, three... ten, twenty, thirty... times
4.  You can rest a certain amount of time between each repetition [rest interval] or give yourself a preset time to swim each repetition [time interval]
5.  You can incorporate a technique drill or just swim

An example set would be ten 50s on a 55 second time interval with a rooster tail drill going down and swim normally coming back.  Therefore, the replies to the above points would be.

1.  I'll swim freestyle
2.  I'll swim two lengths at a time (a "50")
3.  I'll repeat that ten times
4.  I will give myself 55 seconds to complete each repetition before starting again
5.  I'll do the first length with a rooster tail drill to work on my full pull through and then swim normally coming back

Q:  How do I know what type of sets are best to do?

A:  Your body will tell you.  At first, you won't be able to swim 100s (four lengths) well, so do 50s and 25s.  Push yourself once a practice to do a single set of 100s and soon enough you'll be moving up to 200s, 500s, and more.  The same goes for speed.  You may not be able to swim a single length in less than 40 seconds.  So start out with rest intervals until your speed seems consistent, then start with 50 second time intervals, work your way down to 40 second intervals and as you continue to cut down, you'll be doing 50s on the 40 second time interval and still have five seconds rest inbetween.  So let your body tell you what to do, but don't let a good pain (muscles being worked) to convince you that you need to stop.

Q:  How do I train for speed?

A:  All swim training begins by building up endurance.  You have to be able to withstand the distance of a full workout before you can do a speed workout.  Once you have a decent size workout being consistently done, begin including fast paced sets in your workout.  In order to race fast, you have to practice going fast.  The main difference between speed an endurance workouts is the focus of each set (time interval and distance).  For speed workouts, you want fast paced, short workouts.  For endurance workouts, you want endurance pace, long workouts.

Stay fit!

Pleae feel free to leave a comment, message, or email me ( with any further thoughts/questions.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Let the Fun Begin!

I am officially a member of LA Fitness. And I have my own personal gig as a non-certified personal trainer! 

My review of the experience I had during my three-day pass at LA Fitness is still to come, but after talking with Collin who I had helped with swim workouts during that period, we arranged it so that I will now step in as more of a formal personal trainer.  I'm pumped to have access to a pool on a regular basis (that'll come in a lot of use for the Tri season) and I'm sure Collin is pumped to get working on getting more fit.

I'm battling some sort of illness (most likely a cold) that came on earlier in the week, but it's only been maybe an hour and my head is already buzzing with ideas of how I want to approach the training, habits I want Collin to get into, workouts are popping into my head, etc.  This is a moment I want to remember - being this excited for "work": that with any hope can potentially turn into a real job down the road.

I will be back next time with a jump into an idea of how to approach swim workouts including how to train for endurance, strength, sprinting, and general information about how much you can benefit by adding swimming into your normal workout routine.

Stay fit!  Stay healthy!

EDIT - Addition added below:

Saturday's Workout:
250 Warm up
5 x 50 easy
5 x 50 drill / swim
5 x 50 free / stroke
10 x 25 drill
5 x 100 IMs
5 x 50 easy
5 x 50 drill / swim
5 x 50 hard / stroke
10 x 25 hard
250 Cool down
TOTAL: 3000

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Greatest Feeling in the World

We are all hungry to some degree after a good workout.  Have you ever been so physically exhausted that the act of eating seems like a workout in itself?  *sigh*  Such a great feeling!

Last night, while the majority of CT sat at home sipping hot chocolate, watching movies, and considering themselves stuck indoors due to the snowfall we had, I made a trip to the gym.  I've only been to LA Fitness once before (I was on a three day pass), but it was extremely odd to see the place nearly empty; there may have been ten people in total.  Anyways, I hopped in the pool, which I had all to myself and swam roughly 1.6 miles (2850 yards for those familiar with swimming).  I will detail the workout below.

After I got home, I had an experience I hadn't had since high school - it felt like it took a whole new workout to just make and eat dinner.  I remember back in high school I would come home from swim practice (typically 6000 meters or ~3.7 miles) and in the middle of literally inhaling food my jaw would cramp.  haha  It was so sad; I had worked out so much that the muscles in my jaw couldn't chew my food.  Despite the fact that this was extremely frustrating for someone who consumed 6-7000 calories a day, it was all a part of the swimming lifestyle to me.  Therefore, to revisit that last night was a very nostalgic moment.  You may think I'm crazy, but I love it. 

My workout:
200 warmup (free, back, breast)
5 x 50s easy with 10s rest
5 x 50s drill out, swim back with 10s rest
10 x 25s hard with 10s rest
5 x 100s with 15s rest
(25 easy, drill, hard, easy)
50 cool down
5 x 50 stroke down, free back with 10s rest
10 x 25s drill down, swim back with 10s rest
5 x 50s pyramid (drill, swim/drill, swim, drill/swim, drill) with 10s rest
5 x 50s hard down, easy back with 15s rest
350 cool down
TOTAL: 2850 yards (1.62 miles)

Due to a rather extended interview today, I will not make it to the gym, but I'll be back soon with blogs concerning a review of LA Fitness, my suggestions on how to design swimming workouts, my opinion on how to get abs, and an exploration of what is a good "diet."

Stay fit!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Sorry for not getting back to you guys yesterday as I said I would, but I ended up being out much later than I expected and by the time I was home and had eaten, I needed to crash.  But either way, I'm here now and let me tell you - it felt GREAT being back in the water.

I will detail the workout below, but overall, when you start a swimming workout you want to focus on two things - technique and rest timing.  Obviously technique is an obvious choice because you want to make sure that once you get better and better at swimming which will result in you swimming more and more distance that you are doing so in the most efficient way.  Rest timing may be new to a lot of people.  People who have any experience with competition swimming know that practices use a lot of timing; you're swimming 100's on the 1:30 or sets of 50's on a 5 second descending interval, etc.  Instead of swimming laps on a certain interval when you just start swimming, I would suggest using a rest interval or a certain amount of rest you take inbetween each set.  That way, no matter how fast or slow you end up going, you still have that rest.  You can switch over to interval timing after you've built up more endurance and become more consistent.

For those of you unfamiliar, one length of the pool is typically 25 yards in US league swimming (25 meters in international swimming).  Therefore, one length of the pool is called a "25," two lengths a "50," four lengths a "100" and so on.

Our Workout:
200 Warm Up (free, back, breast)
5 x 50s easy
10 x 25s drill (3-5 kicks)
5 x 100 IMs
10 x 25s drill (catch up)
5 x 50s stroke down, freestyle back
10 x 25s drill (finger tip drag)
10 x 50s hard down, stroke back
200 cool down
Total: 2650 yds (1.51 miles)

The great part about swimming is that your muscles are not tight when you're finished.  The technique of swimming forces you to use your muscles at extended positions, which continually keeps your muscles from balling up which can happen when lifting, running, biking, etc.  Both Collin and I came out of the water feeling a little like Jello, but it is a good feeling.

Due to an extended interview I have today, our second swimming workout is going to be pushed to after 8pm tonight.  The gym is only open until 11pm and yesterday's workout lasted 2.5 hours, so I will have to shorten todays workout a bit.  I will tell you tomorrow how it went.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Designing Workouts

It's nice to have a good feeling about what you're doing, isn't it? 

Today I find myself designing a set of swim workouts for a friend, Collin Marrero, and I LOVE IT!  I was in the pool at six weeks old, swam competitively for 9 years with three teams, and I've swam over 8,000 miles (to help better visualize that, it's a third the Earth's equator, or NYC to San Fran to NYC to Salt Lake City, UT).  Swimming was where I really first attached myself to goals, friends, and a real personal identity; I was "Kurt, the swimmer" in high school.  Yeah, there were a lot of swimmers, but I was the intense one and it really was my lifestyle.  So finding myself now developing workouts brings back a lot of nostalgia. 

On top of the nostalgia, I'm also very happy to be able to help a friend with their fitness goals.  Collin began running a few months ago using the Couch to 5k program but got cut short by an injury.  Therefore, on top of being happy to help him now, I'm happy to be able to find a way around the previous road bump.  I know there are a lot of people out there who begin activities only to stop short soon after whether it be out of boredom, busy schedules, lack of motivation, or injury, so I'm happy to see people stick with it or find ways around the road blocks that come up.  Collin has been everything BUT unmotivated since his injury.  Whether it be running, swimming, or mountain climbing, I'm confident he'll be able to meet his goal in time and I'm excited to be able to help him meet it. 

I'll be back later tonight with the workout and ore about swimming itself.

Stay fit!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Why do you Exercise?

I was struck with a question today: Why do you exercise?

There are a million different answers: Because I want to be fit and healthy, I want to live longer, I want to avoid certain diseases, I want to lose weight, I want to tone up, I'm trying to fit into certain clothes for a given event, I want to impress someone, I want to bulk up, I enjoy the idea of being stronger, I want to be a body builder, I like the feeling of a workout, It is my stress reliever, and tons more.

So I wanted to ask you guys, why do you work out?  What's your reason for heading to the gym, for heading outdoors, popping in that workout video, or however it is your exercise?  What is your motivation?  PLEASE leave a comment below letting me know.  I'm extremely interested to hear your answers.

Today, I didn't really feel like working out.  My body was tired and I lacked a bit of motivation, but mentally I knew I had to; an Ironman doesn't let low days get in the way!  And soon after I got to the gym, I was SO happy I did.  I enjoy fitness mentally for the idea of being fit and healthy, but physically for the feeling of soreness.  I got acquainted with that feeling long ago as a competitive swimmer and in my opinion, over the years I've come to associate it with a LOT of good memories and thus, I physically enjoy that feeling of sore muscles and working muscles.  Plus, the feeling of being able to do something easily that used to be much more difficult (be it a point of endurance or a strength) is extremely gratifying.  So that's why I exercise.  How about you?

Today's Workout:
Warm-Up: Elliptical; 4 minutes at lvl 13, 1 min backwards at lvl 5
1.  Dumbbell Press (10,10,6 reps with 55 lbs)
2.  Seated Bicep Curls (10,10,10 reps with 45 lbs)
3.  Tricep Bench Dips (30 reps)
4.  Deltoid, bicep, tricep weighted stretch (10 lbs)
Repeated #1-4 for a total of three sets

5.  Squats (10 reps with 90, 110, 130 lbs)
6.  Lat Pull Down (10,10,8 reps with 100 lbs)
Repeated #5-6 for a total of three sets
Today's workout was cut short by having to stop at various stores to look at goggles for swimming.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll be headed over to LA fitness in the afternoon to get a swim workout in and help Matthew with his own swimming fitness; that means I have to write a swim workout (YAY!!)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Shin Splints Strike Again

Yesterday I revisited the gym since I'm having issues with a shin splint in my left leg.  I figured I'd give it a day off and hop back on some research into why the heck I'm all of a sudden unable to avoid these things.  But anyways, I had a short workout yesterday before Chicago's opening night.

My Workout:
Warm-Up: Treadmill - 2 min @ 4mph, 8 min @ 8.5 - 11.0 mph, 2 min. @ 4mph
1.  Dumbbell Press (10,10,6 reps with 55 lbs)
2.  Seated Bicep Curls (10,10,5 reps with 45 lbs)
3.  Tricep Bench Dips (20 reps)
Repeated #1-3 for a total of three sets

4.  Side Plank Twists (5 reps on each side)
5.  Crunch-Ups (10 situps & 10 crunches)
6.  Russian Twists (20 reps with 10 lbs)
Repeated #4-6 for a total of three sets

7.  Stretching
8.  Vertical Tricep Dips (3 sets of 10 reps)

I've been trying to be religious about icing/heating my legs, stretching after working out, and maintaining form as much as possible during my runs, but I continually get shin splints.  If anyone has ideas on preventative measures to avoid these buggers, I would greatly appreciate it.  They are really ruining my training.

Time to go play in the newly fallen snow!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I Miss Being a Morning Person

I must start by saying that I miss being a morning person.  My "morning" runs have turned into afternoon runs since I'm up 'till almost 2am every day and sleep 'till 9 or 10am.  I used to be up by 7am at the latest (without an alarm) and get so much done early in the day.  I am not used to this night owl stuff.

Anyways, due to practice, food, my hair, job hunting, and previously scheduled engagements with friends, I only managed to squeeze in two miles today.  However, it may have been for the best since my left leg is getting a shin splint.  I've got the ice pack in the freezer getting cold.  I'll wrap the leg for awhile tonight and I may end up taking tomorrow off since I have to fit an interview into my schedule as well (yay!).

As far as today's stats...

My workout
Distance: 2.0 mile run
Pace: 7:23/mile
Ending BPM: 140

Ok, time for more food.  Yum, yum, yum, yum...


Yesterday I did a sort of double workout; I went to the gym AND ran.

My workout
Warm Up: Treadmill; 2 minutes at 4mph, 10 min @ 7.5-8.0 mph, 2 min @ 10-11 mph. (total = 1.6 miles)
1.  Dumbell Press (10 reps with 50 lbs)
2.  Seated Bicep Curl (10,10,5 reps with 45 lbs)
3.  Tricep Bench Dip (20 reps)
Repeated #1-3 for a total of three sets

4.  Side Plank Twists (5 reps on each side)
5.  Crunch-Ups (10 situps & 10 crunches)
6.  Russian Twists (20 reps with 10 lbs)
Repeated #4-6 for a total of three sets

7.  Stretching
8.  Outdoors - ran 2.0 miles

I was a bit short on time, so I wasn't able to do a leg set at the gym.  I figured running afterward would somewhat make up for that.  Then on the run, I was cutting short on time as well or else I would have gone further than 2.0 miles; I felt great the last half a mile. 

I may not make it to the gym today, but I plan on running - maybe somewhere around 3-3.5 miles.  Either way though, I've got that morning after soreness which is GREAT!  Love the pain.

Stay fit!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

TM 1000+++ Club

Who's gonna' run 1,000 miles this year?

There is a blog I follow called Tall Mom on the Run.  Tall Mom has a "club" she sets up for people shooting to run, swim, bike, crawl, or hobble 1000+ miles over the course of the coming year.  And you guessed it, I just signed up to join.  Yay!! 

Of course, I am personally shooting (possible naively) to run 2011 miles, but it's still nice to know that there are other crazy people out there besides myself. 

It is time however to head to bed so I can get up in the morning and go for my run and maybe even a workout. 

Stay fit!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Personal Training

As I may or may not have mentioned previously, I am in a local production of Chicago that opens this weekend.  One of my friends who is in the show has made me her personal trainer; Vixen from the Christopher Martin 5k race.  Last night during rehearsal, I got asked by two other members to be their personal trainer.

I'll admit that my typical action is to avoid responsibility when I don't think I can live up to the bar I set; and being a perfectionist sure doesn't help that.  This time however, I'm going to do it.  If this is what I'm going to work towards doing as a career, I need to bite the bullet and admit that I'm not going to do everything perfectly.  So here goes!

Everyone thus far wants to lose some weight.  I've got to map out some running routes for Kristin, get in the pool and help Matt develop swimming technique until he can get back into running, and develop workout routines for Chelsea.  So as a heads up, among my nutritional blogs (which I plan on continuing) and my own personal reports on workouts, I will be posting my advice on workouts for the purpose of losing weight (as opposed to workouts geared towards strength training or body building).

Today's Question:  For those who have had sessions with a personal trainer, what drew you to do it?  For those who haven't, or have opted not to at times, what keeps you from doing it?, is it cost or another reason?

My Workout:
I ran another 2.0 miles today.  Unfortunately, I suffered a piercing headache the entire time which slowed my pace I'm sure (I'm still running without a watch).  I got a headache last night during rehearsal and should have drank more water (my guess was I was getting dehydrated).  Either way I'm still out there building up my base.  Only 2007 miles to go!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back on 2010, Forward to 2011

Welcome to the New Year!  I know it's already January 3rd, but since this is my first blog of 2011, I figured it'd be appropriate.  I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe holiday. 

With the new year comes everyone's favorite topics: what did you do in 2010?, what are you going to do in 2011?, and what's your resolution?  Personally, I've never felt I've had a resolution; only goals for that year (call it what you will).  Either way, let me get right to it.

First off, What did I do in 2010?
It's been a roller coaster of a year and as cheesy or ironic as it might sound, I've come out the other side with one of the best mental and physical states of my entire life. I lost someone extremely close to me, faced a large unexpected academic/career decision, and took the first few steps down a new path away from what I've worked on for the last six years.  I wouldn't take a moment of it back.  They're not all fitness related, but here's a list of my 2010 accomplishments.

1.  I discovered some things that make me happy 100% on my own
2.  I took a trip to visit my little sister in TX
3.  I got back into hiking
4.  I bought my first road bike and competed in my first sprint & Oly triathlons; thereby becoming a triathlete
5.  I took a trip to NYC with my dad and sister
6.  I moved back in with the greatest roommate ever!
7.  I took a much needed one week vacation to NC to visit friends and surfed in Hurricane Earl
8.  I became a runner and ran my first half marathon
9.  I returned to NC for Thanksgiving
10.  I took a Masters degree from my Ph.D. program, thereby ending my current academic career
11.  I chose to pursue fitness as a career
12.  I went home for Xmas and got to visit family I haven't seen in years; first time being home in a year as well
13.  I spent New Years with amazing friends in New York City

I may be unemployed, not be sure where I'm going, or what to do with myself, but I simply happy with where I am.

What am I going to do in 2011?
This list will grow, change, and become more detailed throughout the year.  Therefore, I will copy the fitness related goals on this list into my GOALS page and keep it updated there.

1.  Compete in at least one race every month
2.  Run a total of 2011 training miles (That's roughly 170 miles/month)
3.  Run my 2nd Half Marathon
4.  Run my 1st Marathon
5.  Compete in two Ironman 70.3 races (Providence, RI in July and Syracuse, NY in September)
6.  Go kayaking
7.  Break my 5k PR (19:30)
8.  Break my Marlborough Sprint Triathon PR (1:12:00)
9.  Break my Oly Tri PR (2:40:51)
10. Become a personal trainer
11. Attempt switching to a more efficient fat burning metabolism

The easiest part of a resolution or goal is making it.  Everyone wants to be better at something, but saying it and doing it are two different things.  As much as I always try to keep up with all of the goals my friends set in order to help motivate them, I welcome all the scrutiny.  Goals are not primarily meant to be met; they're something to strive for, to continue trying to achieve.  As one of my favorite Ironman videos says, "If it was easy, everyone would be doing it."  So challenge yourself and if you achieve the goal, celebrate and set a new one.

As a start to this years goals, I set out on my first run since I busted my toe back in December.  The toe is still a little sore at times, but felt fine out on the road.  I ran 2.0 miles today, so I've only got 2009 miles more to go.