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Archive for the ‘Goals’ Category

Thanks for the kind words about my race report!  I’m so used to my husband’s eyes glazing over when I talk about races that it’s unusual to have people actually be interested.  🙂

Kendra over at Kendra Through The Looking Glass is running a Change It Up Challenge where each week in August she’ll present a challenge designed to get you out of your fitness ruts and shake up your routine.  I love this idea so I joined right in.  The challenge for the first week is to change your workout three times this week.

One of my biggest workout ruts that I fall into is only doing cardio.  I hop on the strength training wagon now and then, but I don’t stick with it long enough for all the sets, reps, weights, exercises, etc. to become as mentally easy and second nature as heading out for a run.  So strength training was the first thing I thought of for changing up a workout.

To get even further outside my comfort zone, I decided that for my first changed workout I would try out a piece of exercise equipment I’ve had sitting around for over a year but have NEVER used:

TheraBand Resistance Band

(not my picture)

I got a TheraBand resistance band last year through a wellness program at work.  But I had no idea what exercises to do with it, so between that and my general aversion to strength training it’s been sitting in my closet gathering dust.

But no more!  I found this routine on Livestrong targeted towards swimmers, and did 3 sets of 12-15 reps of each exercise (except for the flutter kicks because my core strength sucks).

It’s always a little awkward doing new exercises for the first time, but I actually had fun with it and it was harder than I expected.  Like most things, the resistance band has both good and bad aspects.

Pros:

  • It’s super portable, perfect for tossing in a suitcase when traveling.
  • The resistance is very adjustable.
  • I definitely was able to get a good workout.
  • Grabbing the band is much more convenient than dragging out my dumbbells or going to the gym.
  • It allows you to do lat pulldown / rowing type exercises (which are great for swimming) without a cable machine.

Cons:

  • It’s a multiple sets, high reps kind of strength training, which I find kind of tedious.
  • Gripping the band made my hands a little sore and crampy after a while.
  • It gives your hands that latex-y, swim cap smell.  They do make latex-free bands, which might be better.
  • The routine I did required anchoring the band at waist height, and seeing as my husband hasn’t talked me into installing a pole in our house yet, it was difficult to find something vertical to loop the band around that was also strong enough to pull on.  I ended up using a fence post in the back yard (my neighbors already think I’m crazy).

The overall verdict?  I think if I had the right routine, I could get into doing a resistance band workout regularly since it would be really convenient to do at home.  I’ll continue my search for exercises, but at any rate I’m glad I finally tried it out.  Thanks for the inspiration Kendra!

Have you ever used a resistance band, and if so what kind of exercises do you do?  How do you feel about strength training?

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The view from my ride

Scene from my bike ride yesterday. I don't know why I have a hard time getting out there, it's so nice when I do.

It’s halfway through July, and one week after I outlined my goals for the month, so I wanted to update my progress on each of them.

  • Get prepared for a sprint triathlon on July 31st. I’m at 4 bike rides and 4 runs in the past week including last Thursday.  Still working on dragging my butt to the pool.  I also registered for the race, so there’s no backing out now!  You can see all my training at The Daily Mile.
  • Re-build the habit of morning workouts. I’m 4/7 in the past week, but 3/3 in the past 3 days.  I feel like I’m getting back into the a.m. rhythm, now I just need to stick with it.
  • Bike commute at least four times. Still 1/4 since I haven’t done this since last Thursday, but I’m planning to tomorrow.
  • Keep a food journal. Only 3 for 7 on this one.  Due to my Saturday activities it wasn’t really feasible to track everything I was eating (more on that in a post to come), but I can definitely do better on this!

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I was intending to scale back this summer.  Just not quite so much.  My wedding was just about a month ago, and I didn’t want the stress of wedding planning on top of maintaining a demanding schedule like I had last year while training for my half-ironman triathlon.  And post-wedding, I convinced myself that I deserved a break from being consistent with training and healthy eating, and I’d be able to ramp back up quickly.  I also convinced myself that it was perfectly fine to develop a daily (occasionally multiple times daily) leftover wedding cake habit.

Wedding cake

In my defense, it was really spectacular cake.

But the wedding and honeymoon break got extended into a recovering from a cold break, and after three weeks of minimal exercise I was faced with the registration deadline for a local sprint triathlon that I had planned on doing.  I told myself I still had the fitness to muscle through it and do fine, I just didn’t want to spend the money to go through all that hassle and not get a PR.  But after huffing and puffing my way through a slow 3-mile run yesterday and then struggling to squeeze into a pair of formerly loose dress pants, the conclusion is unavoidable:  I’m kinda out of shape.  Like, may-not-have-been-able-to-finish-that-sprint-tri out of shape.  And I don’t like it.

So I decided to make July all about getting back on track.  I still want to have plenty of summer fun and keep a more low-key approach to training and eating, but I miss that fit, in-shape feeling of knowing that I could bang out a 10K or a sprint triathlon or a long demanding hike without thinking twice about it.

July Goals

  • Get prepared for a sprint triathlon on July 31st. This will involve things like “biking” and “swimming” and “not blowing off training to go to the brewpub instead”.
  • Re-build the habit of morning workouts. I have gotten out of the mode where working out in the morning is just what I do every day.  Instead it’s a choice and a debate, and for me if I’m asking myself the question “should I sleep in?” then the battle has already been lost.
  • Bike commute at least four times. Bike commuting is great for squeezing more cycling time into the day, since you’re trading useless car time for extra training time.  I have a good start on this one since I biked to work this morning.
  • Keep a food journal. I really tried to come up with a less-tedious goal for improving my eating, like treats only on weekends, or eating more fruits and vegetables.  But even though tracking calories is a pain I think it’s the best option for me right now.  I’m not sticking to a calorie limit, just trying to honestly record everything for a bit of a reality check.  And looking at my Plate at Livestrong is definitely a reality check (eating out for four meals in the past three days – not the healthiest).

I figure if I can stick with these it will ease me back into athlete mode, and put me on a good path to achieving some of the loftier fitness-related goals I have for the rest of the year.

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