The First Workout Back.
I still haven’t run since the marathon. It’s coming up on two weeks. We did walk some 47 miles in Hong Kong, but that’s not the same as getting running miles in. Though, I’m a huge believer in walking as exercise. When I first decided to get in better shape, I did it with push-ups, sit-ups, and walking. That alone helped me lose 20 pounds and change my whole outlook on life and fitness.
But what I did do is a gym workout. It was my first one since the marathon as well, and today I’m pleasantly sore. I didn’t try to break myself, or anything. I did some “power” work, like throwing the medicine ball, and some strength work. I can reliably do 3-5 chin-ups in a row these days, which is a huge accomplishment for me. Now I’m starting to work on pull-ups, which I’ve discovered are an entirely different animal.
To do a pull-up, you have to have back muscles. Chin-ups are largely about your arms and shoulders. Pull-ups are your lats. For me, that’s much harder. So I’ve been doing band-assisted pull-ups where you use a giant rubber band to reduce the load. That’s how I started with chin-ups too. It’s a slow process to build strength, but it’s a lasting one.
I read an article recently that endurance doesn’t come back as fast as strength does when lost. Something to do with building cell-nuclei or mitochondria or something biological that I don’t really understand. Strength builds lasting structures that don’t vanish even when you lose fitness, whereas endurance training doesn’t. Thus, when you get out of endurance shape, you have to rebuild it all over again, as I learned this summer.
So, in order to maintain my cardiovascular fitness when I’m not running, I put in some time on the rowing machine, which ought to help with my pull-ups too. I rowed two miles in 14 minutes. That got my heart rate up to my maximum, and felt like a lot of work without being high impact on joints and such.
So, while avoiding true burnout and taking a break from the monotonous parts of constant endurance training, I’m trying to make sure that I do a good job of keeping fit. I actually lost a couple of pounds in Hong Kong with all that walking. I’m feeling like I’m in pretty good shape despite a few nagging injuries, and I’m talking with my new endurance coach in a couple of weeks to prep for next year’s challenges.
Right now, I’m committed to the Love Run in Philadelphia, the Garden Spot Inn marathon Lancaster, PA, and I’m looking for an Olympic distance triathlon or two in the late spring or summer. If I get all that in, then I’m going to do a late summer/fall half Ironman. In addition to several more half-marathons. I want to get back to the NAF Half in DC, and maybe a destination run in the fall. And of course, I’ll be supporting BB if she commits to the 50km trail ultra she’s considering.
It’s going to be an exciting year, fitness-wise. Right now, my training consists mostly of resting my knee and mind before the big lifts of the season.