Saturday, December 31, 2011

Eric's Strength Challenge/Spinervals Day 30

Started the day with the Warrior workout. This is a pretty good spin in my opinion. You warm-up, you do some superspinning, and then you do some near-threshold work. Talking about a straight forward workout, it's simple, it's just under an hour and when you're done, you feel pretty good. This was a good way to come back from a rest day, and I had a good sweat working during it.

Then it was time for the strength workout.  Planks w/ Leg Lift (see Dec 24th), right into 20 reps of Woodchoppers, right into 20 reps of Double Crunches. Nothing overly challenging here. The planks were the hardest part, but 4 circuits of this was pretty easy, considering EH was going to be dropping the 100 double hammer on us.

Then I went out and ran 50 minutes, but at a lower intensity. Had a good run.

This was definitely a meat and potatoes day, even though I don't eat meat.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Eric's Strength Challenge/Spinervals Day 29

Not much to tell today as it was a rest day.

I hate the rest days with a passin, especially rest days that are also days off from work. What a sub-optimal combination...

Today was curl/press combos, lunges, and supermans. Curls are easy. Lunges are not. To take twelve stes in my basement and not just lunge, then back, I have to do a circle around the place, dodging the underfoot kitten the whole time. Then it was on to supermans, which I always find tiring. I have no idea why. I didn't rush through the four sets because it was all the exercise I was getting today.

More than ready to get back at it tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Eric's Strength/Spinervals Day 28 Challenge

Started the day with my strength training. I had the day off, and was a bit unsure how to get going with my workouts because I didn't have the workout I was meant to spin to.

The strength training was box jumps, squat-shoulder presses and V-ups. I hate the box jumps. I just don't have anything to use as a box and I'm sure that every last box jump is going to end in a face-cracking face plant because I use- the stairs. Yes, the stairs in the basement. I know. Sounds harmless. Try it. Try doing a set of box jumps up onto stairs. See if you don't end up thinking your teeth are going to eat step. The shoulder presses and the v-ups were easy, and just as I would get relaxed it was back to the stairs for the face-threatening jumps.

Then I took Ian to school. On the drive home it finally hit me. Since I couldn't do the Ray Lewis Team Fitness (oh, the irony John Hirsch), I would do Muscle Breakdown, one of the oldest Spinervals (4.0). Not only are some of the rest intervals in this meat-grinder short, it's got isometric squats and what is simply the sickest spinerval set ever. Imagine BR 15, 5 minutes, 4 seconds on, 4 seconds off. Yeah. Imagine you do some tempo work (by which I mean 5 2 minute tempo sets with 30 seconds rest).

Now let's do that 4 seconds on, 4 seconds off rep AGAIN, and yes Coach Troy, slip in an extra rep at the end just to make sure the hammer is well and truly applied.

Awesome workout. I loved it.

Then I rested for a couple of hours and went out and ran 7 miles in 45:30. That is a good day for me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Eric's Strength/Spinervals Day 27 Challenge

90 push-ups. 90 sit-ups. There's no way around it. I did this after my ride, and it was f'ing tough. I am not a big man, and I've been losing weight steadily during the challenges, not a lot, but I'm getting leaner, almost ten pounds lighter than the same point last year. Push-ups, well, I kind of suck at pushups, and I'm determined to do them well, and not have my belly hanging down or my ass pointing in the air.

I did six sets of 15 of each, with 15-15 being a set. Maybe that makes me a girlie man, but I was coming off a two hour spin.

On sit-up 89 I went back down and smacked my head on the cement floor. Finally- I'd been waiting for that. Now I've got it out of the way.

The spin was one loop of the IMAZ course, and I'd been looking forward to it because I've done the race (poorly) twice, so that alone is six loops of the course. It started out with about 10 minutes of small ring 15, which was easy, followed by the rest of the ride at an 85-95 cadence.  By rest of the ride I mean like over an hour and a half before a short colldown.

It probably sounds boring, and maybe it is for most people, but I enjoyed the workout. I used the music less track and listened to Evanescence the entire ride and I enjoyed it. And when I was done I was drenched in sweat.

Another good day in the virtual saddle.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Eric's Strength/Spinervals Day 26 Challenge

I had the day off from work so I slept in until around 0625 today. I only was looking at a one hour spin, so it was easy to get that in.

I didn't have the recommended Spinervals 34.0, so instead I fired up 37.0, Suffering Along the Chesapeake. This is a pretty good workout. After the warmup you do some high cadence spinning, then some long intervals (5 minutes) near threshold, then 2 minutes at threshold, the one minute over threshold. This progress is definitely a good one.

My legs were a little tired from lack of sleep but I thought I really nailed today's workout.

I followed it up right away with Eric's strength training, which was lateral stepping squares with front shoulder raises, followed by plank rows and bicycle crunches. 4 sets. I kind of struggled with form on the first exercise and the other two are downright easy now. Still I was breathing hard when I got done.

4 hours later, I was back at it again, running. I did 6.75 in 48 minutes so I felt pretty good about that because I ran hard the whole time, kept the intensity up, and felt good.

Overall, a very good day.

Eric's Strength Challenge/Spinervals Christmas Day

The strength challenge was 80 double crunches and 80 super mans. Easy day, this was Eric's Christmas present to us. I did 80 and 80, all at once, because otherwise I'd have ended up late for company.

I got a mountain bike for Christmas- which is just an awesome gift- thanks Margit- probably the coolest thing I've gotten ever.

I tried sticking some aerobars on it, but neither pair I had available would fit. I then considered whether to stick a pair of too small toe-clips on the bike or pedals. I put real pedals on, even though I though my feet would end up getting cold in the bike shoes. I went with my usual two pairs of socks and got out the door, jamming Evanescence.

The new mountain bike is great- it weighs half what the one I've been racing on does, has a great big wheel-base, that while twitchy, is super.

On the negative side was the pedals. It's amazing how even a decent bike from a totally great bike shop ships from the manufacturer with crappy flat pedals that your parents would use on a bike they rent in Cabo. So I went into the basement, found some pedals and those where what I used.

Note to self: if there's a pair of pedals that has been lying around unused in your basement for three years, there may be a good reason.

I headed out and it seemed like I was doing pretty well. Despite the lack of aeros I was having a good ride. The seat's a little low, but overall everything was going well. Until the pedal fell off.

Well, not the whole pedal. The pedal actually fell apart, with the clip still in my shoe, but the shaft still attached to the crank.

I did what anyone with an iPhone would do. I pulled over, took a pix, and tweeted it. This gave me time to think. I was about 5 minutes from home so obviously not much to think about. I screwed the pedal back together by hand and- kept going. Good thing I had the chance to think about it. I went up some hills and down some others, and going down a big hill at about 25 mph, the pedal came off again. My foot shot out and hit the shaft of the pedal scraping the crap out of my ankle.

I started pedaling with one leg.

Yeah, that was my reaction the second time. Let me put all the one-legged Spinervals drills to good use as I ride to Guilford and back on one leg. It had become a testorone-fueled man vs. bike parts story...

Two or three minutes later I turned around and went home instead, like a normal person, threw the pedals away and put on toe clips. I started out to do a Hammerfest loop and immediately threw the chain. I sorted that with a strategic re-shift,  most of the rest of my ride was safe.

What a blast! At least I have a decent story to tell of my first ride...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Eric's Strength Challenge/Spinervals Christmas Eve

Well, Saturday was the workout I was most looking forward to on the whole schedule, the Lake Placid Virtual Reality DVD.

I've done LP five times, and I've ridden the course many more. Two of the absolutely best workouts I had last year was the loop of the course I road on my mountain bike in 90 degree heat, and the loop I rode the next day on my race bike- backwards. I love everything about that course- the race memories, the awesome backdrops, the massive downhills and the climbs.

The DVD doesn't of course capture all of it, you can't smell it, or breath it in, but the workout is very solid and the video certainly is a great reminder of all the places you see on that ride.

The workout also starts out pretty easy. In fact, you spend a LOT of this workout in small ring 15, which might have you thinking you're getting an easy day.

You aren't. The whole point of the video is to try and prepare you for how to ride the course on race day, which is all about backing it down and letting the complexity and difficulties of the course push your effort up, and up and up. You can can either ball on the easier parts of the course and cry on the hard parts, or you can keep the intensity down and ride the course in a solid and productive way. Guess which one sets you up for a good run.

I'll admit that I was flagging a little bit coming back from Hazelton, however, once we got on the last segment the energy game right back and I really felt the final climbs went well.

The workout was like an early Christmas present.

It was on to Eric's strength training after that. The one arm snatches were easy, the lateral squat jumps were not and the plank leg lifts- well let's just say I was glad there were only three sets.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Eric's Strength Challenge/Spinervals Day 23

Today's spin was Aero Base Builder VI, a great hour long spin with a series of reps that decrease in gearing and duration and increase in number. You start out with 8 reps if a minute in big ring 15 and progress to 20 reps in big ring 23.

That's my kind of workout. I love spinning hard in big ring 23 and it's more than just that it's easier than grinding out a massive spin in 13. I come from a racing background of big gears and a lot of mashing but instead have learned that by keeping my weight down I can attack the on the bike much more efficiently in 17-19. Turnover comes easy and that's where my watts are, so this workout helps me train myself to what I do.

I really enjoyed the spin.

Then I got off and did 80 pushups and 80 twist sit-ups and those were not so easy. Yes, I'll admit, I did 4 sets of 20 in quick succession and the last set was just plain hard.

Starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Eric's Strength Challenge/Spinervals Day 22

Today's spin was No Slackers Allowed.

If you are are a real Spinervals veteran, you need no other explanation.

If you aren't, well, imagine the cruelest moments of the spinervals you have done. Increase the reps in each set, and reduce the rest period both within and between the reps. Well, that's No Slackers Allowed. This video (and yes, I only have it on VCR- what's that you ask) is so intense it has a 6 minute cool down, despite being 44 minutes long.

You either do this video at 100 %, dying the whole time, or you waste a workout. Are your muscles screaming ? is the seat running down your face ? Do you wish you were in a coma ? Then you're working hard enough. This workout totally fits my mentality right now. I want to suffer. I want the workouts to hurt like hell. I want to get back to where I was before I lost my edge, before I became weak and complacent as a triathlete.

This workout takes me where I want to be. I wanted to back it off. And I didn't.

Bring it.

When I was doing I did 4 sets of Eric's workout, step ups, punches, and twist sit ups. I used a mirror to track my punches and my kitten made everything else interesting, but when I got done with the weights I felt good.

At lunchtime I smoked my run, 5.75 miles in under 40 minutes, running hard and steady and-

I want to race. I am ready.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Coach Eric/Spinervals Day 21

Ugh. I got to bed late- really late, and then I was up at around 5, drinking coffee and cutting grapefruit before a 2 hour and 10 minute spin. I'd identified this at the start of the challenge as one of the days that was going to be a problem- how was I going to get something this long in before work, and on a night when the Zane's party (bike shop) would make it impossible to cram the workout in later ?

So I got up after sleeping about 4 hours, took a little prep time, and was on the bike at 0520AM.

The workout is a compilation of sets from other aero base builders. It's not perfect. If it were 90 minutes long, I'd never use it, because I have 90 minute spinervals that are one cohesive workout. But this compilation works. In part because it's 2 hours and 10 minutes long, and there are not too many two hour rides in the series, but also because the segments that Coach Troy lifted out of the various Spinervals do have a logical progression. I think the workout actually work.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think you have to like Spinervals to like this workout. This is not a standout like Uphill Grind or the Mount Lemmon climb.

But it was a nice two hours and ten minutes of aerobic spinning.

I skipped adding a lunchtime run in order to shop.

The strength challenge was just that, push-up rows, standing alternate shoulder presses and woodchoppers. The big thing in this workout for me was a) how frakking tired my arms got, and b) how much it reminded me of high school. In high school I chopped wood for 3.00 (US) and hour and man, this workout, which I did after work, brought back some memories.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Coach Eric/Spinervals Day 20

Hard to believe that I have been dong this for 20 days now.

I knew I had a long day ahead of me because I was supposed to do a 90 minute spin, which is right on the edge of what I can reasonably do in the morning timewise. It was also supposed to be one, Spinervals 41.0, which is a climbing session. The recommended substitutes were shorter and required additional sets, so I went with on that was not on the list- the Mount Lemmon climb from the Virtual Reality Tucson ride. This is the hardest 90 minute ride I have and is one of my favourite workouts because it really pushes me.

As usual it did not disappoint. Riding in BR 13 for more than half the workout is a tremendous way to get a sweat working, and then after a 'break' of BR it's 10+ minutes in 12-11. When you get done and Coach Troy heads back down the hill, it's usuall time to relax. Not today.

I went right into EH's strength training. Angled lunges with interior raises, lateral jumps and bicycle crunches. Just three sets, which beat the hell out of yesterday's four sets. I was breathing hard and sweating mre as I did these and while strength is clearly improving it is still not 100%.

At lunch I ran for a litte under 40 minutes really hard and it felt great. More harder runs when I run really seem to be paying off.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Coach Eric/Spinervals Day 19

Well, today's Spinervals was the easiest one so far because it was a rest day. No problem there, except that I'm not a huge fan of days off.

The strength training was not as easy. Squat/shoulder press combinations followed by bench dips, with supermans added in. I did my three sets and came upstairs to post on Facebook that it was done, and saw that it was supposed to be four sets. So I went back downstairs and did one more set.

Looking forward to getting it back on the bike.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Coach Eric/Spinervals Day 18

For the second straight Sunday the day started not with anything challenge related, but a run. I was out the door at 0630, well before sunrise, running again to the sound track from BSG re-imaged. If I have a geek side, its probably that. I get more motivation out of that music sometimes than even things like Evanescence, NIN, or Linkin Park.

I had the type of 90 minute run you have when it's in the 20s (F) out. Slow at first, a little careful, but then you start to feel good and you pick it up. I had no nutrition because we are out of everything except electrolyte fizz and I didn't feel like carrying a bottle today. As a rule I don't run without a bottle, I certainly won't race the half in Disney without one, but today it was fine.

I came back and did 70 minutes of spinning, Aero Base Builder I. This is a good workout in that the many sets are 20-15-10-5 minutes, so each one is shorter.

I was not at my most energetic. All I had during that second workout was a cup of coffee and by the end of it, I was really just glad to be done. It's a good workout, but I was actually dipping into my reserves- I'd had a banana and a coffee before my run.

But I wasn't done. No, I had 70 pushups and 70 v-ups to do- yes, I know Eric is priming us for 100, which thankfully don't have to be done all at once. I did a set of 25, and then three of 15, and by 0930 I was done for the day.

Great Sunday of working out...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Spinervals/Coach Eric Challenge Day 17

I got up at around 0530 (on a Saturday!) and started Tough Love, a 3 hour spin, before 0600.

The advantage of this was that I'd be minimizing my son's alone time after my wife started her 3 hour run, but this is a hard workout. It could be that it may set the record for the amount of standing that you do while doing a spinervals. It could be the 30 minute set that comes in the first hour- yes, a 30 minute set. It could be that there is significant time in the big gears.

It could just be that it's a 3 hour workout and at the time it was realised, it was a seriously long spinerval- this was ages before hardcore 100.

I had two bottles of Hammer Fizz, one nutrition bar, some race caps and a cup of coffee. I started to sweat early and continued to sweat often, but the workout when pretty quickly. Before I knew it I was halfway done and then it really started to, yes, bring a little. Of all the workouts I've done so far, this one really did have the most challenges. Between 60 and 20 minutes left I really started to push myself, to get my heartbeat to the very edge of my threshold, but in the end, I finished still feeling really, really good.

The strength challenge was jump lunges, plank rows, and double crunches. I was able to get through these relatively easily, although the jump lunches are always hard for me. I was tired from the spin, and this made the strength training more effective, I think. I was tired, and I had to work hard to get through the three sets. That's how I want to feel when I do the strength gaining- tired but pushing myself.

I really am glad these two challenges came along- loving them.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Coach Eric's Challenge/Spinervals Day 16

Now we are really on the back half of these challenges.

Today was Spinervals Big Gear Strength. This is an hour of just what it says. After warming up in BR 15 you spend the whole workout in BR 13 and BR 12, mostly the later, with the exception of about 3 minutes of lunges. You have to be in the right frame of both mind and body to do this workout. I remember doing it once when physically I was not ready and I was sore for two days.

Of course, it's also the sort of workout you can half ass, but I'm happy to say that I did not in any way half-ass it today. Despite being woken up by a cat walking on my chest before 0600, I got up quickly, was on the bike and knocked this workout down and felt good. I pushed the BR 12 sprints at the end, came upstairs and EH's strength workout came in just as I was sitting down to eat some grapefruit.

Curls-punches followed by side planks. The great thing about the side planks ? My kitten was chewing on my hand during the planks, which took them from hard to nearly impossible, but i still got them done. If there's one thing the strength training is teaching me it's that I need to improve my strength....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Coach Eric's Challenge/Spinervals Day 15

Today was another easier day. I was taking some of my staff out for sushi, so I knew there's be no lunchtime run.

I got up and hopped on the bike for Spinervals 28, one of the aero base builders. It's a great work out, with the gears getting easier as the ride goes on, and the intervals increasing in number and decreasing in duration.

This combination was perfect for me today and I really felt good doing the workout.

Eric's strength truing came in and it was just right. Much less ball-busting that yesterday and a good mix of lower and upper body.

Today would have been a great day for a run, but hey, the people who work for me are awesome and I enjoyed taking them for sushi. Life, and not just working out, is good.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Coach Eric's Challenge/Spinervals Day 14

Wow, two weeks. It hardly seems like I'm approaching that point in the challenges, but there it is.

Two weeks. Today's spin was Hillacious. This is a favorite of mine. I love the two climbing DVDs- Uphill Grind and Hillacious. What's nice is that where Uphill Grind is just 45 minutes, Hillacious is over an hour, so for those days where 45 minutes just isn't enough, there's a longer option that gives you the same general flavor.

I slept in until about 5:55, which is late for me, then got up and went right to work on Hillacious. Where the hardest part of yesterday's workout was the first half of an hour this spin builds, starting with 8 minute steady reps in BR 14 that really get you in the mood to do the rest of the workout. By the time we hit the rollers I really felt like I was working hard, and when we got to the last set- the 10-12% grade hill sprints, I was really bearing down on the bike.

I was also watching my RockMelt browser for Eric's strength challenge. When I got into the last 10 minutes of the workout and it wasn't there I was kind of relieved. I figured I do it in the evening.

And then with 5 minutes left there it was.


And then I saw 60 pushups, 60 sit-ups with twists, and I was psyched. Yeah, I know eventually it's going to be 100 push-ups and that will suck but whatever. It was the right challenge for me today, it fit perfect.

I added 40 minutes of running at lunch.

Another great day of training. Loving this.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Coach Eric's Strength Challenge/Spinervals Day 13

I had to get up extra-early today because the spin was long- 85 minutes. I want to try and get every day's spin and strength-training done before I go to work, so there I was, in the basement at 5:35, on the bike, doing Aero Base Builder I.

The spin starts out with 4 times 5 minutes in Big Ring 15, which all things considered, for an aerobic workout is serious work and I was sweating pretty seriously by the time I got passed that. Of course, you're also under an hour left to go when you get past that point, which is pretty huge and I felt like I was really working right at the level I should be, my HR in the 130s and sweating like a bear in a sauna.

The later reps, in easier gears, felt good, although as always big ring 23 felt easier, not harder, than small ring 15.

I hopped right off and did the strength truing, crouching box jumps, plank rows and cycling twists. By the time I was done, I'd burned through an hour and 40 minutes of my morning and I felt good.

I decided that after running very hard two days in a row I should really take a day off from running. Another day of bright sun and 50 temperatures really made me regret that decision, but hopefully we'll get one more day of nice weather that I can push a good run out. I had an itch I couldn't scratch all afternoon, regretting not running. Hopefully that's a good thing....

Monday, December 12, 2011

Coach Eric's Strength Challenge/Spinervals Day 12

Started the day with the Pain Cave. I definitely went in there, and believe it or not, I was happy about it. I felt like I had a really good workout, and then I came back and did Eric's strength challenge.

Once again, I was tired and sweating when I got done and thought after yesterday I'd skip the run at work, I've felt like this a few times after a hard morning challenge.

Instead I went out and did my 40 minute run in 38 minutes, maxed my heart rate at 161, and overall I really felt great. Another good day on the challenge.

I'm liking this.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Coach Eric's Strength Challenge/Spinervals Day 11

The 5K is obviously not part of the Spinervals challenge. So I truncated the 90 minute spin down to 60 minutes and did the whole thing in either small ring 15 or big ring 23 while watching the Bears make no credible effort to beat the Broncos.

Then I banged out the strength challenged, ate a veggie burger and drank some beer.

Back at it in the morning!

Christopher Martins 5K

I went into today's race on somewhat heavy legs. Doing the Spinervals challenge has been great for my fitness and while I have been running well during the week I mostly chalked that up to the great weather and in fact when I did run in colder temperatures Friday, I felt sluggish.

Last year I ran a pretty weak 18:43 at this race, on the 'new' course. I also got beat by a dog.

I was not in sync at the end of last year. I'd gained some weight and really, was just kind of relaxed and in my post season. This year I came off the Ironman and really felt like I ran well. It was like I came back to running and it was simple and easy compared to multisport racing.

It was colder this morning than it has been all year and I was really debating whether I was going to run in just my EH singlet and shorts. I ran my warm-up with Margit and then came to the conclusion that yes, I was going to give it a go- hat, gloves, arm warmers, iPod on but the buds tucked behind my ears.

I shepherded Maureen Terwilliger to the starting line after doing my warm-up, starting right in front of Charlie Hornak and next to Bryce Lindamood.

The start off this race is psychotically fast. You're on a four lane road that is wide- crazy wide, and you run basically straight for almost a full mile. A lot happens in that first mile. The pretenders, the contenders, and the tweeners like me all find their appropriate places in this first mile. I knew that I wasn't going to keep up with Greg Pelican, although I was going to try and keep him close, and I knew the guy with the motherfrakking dog was going to be right where I was for the whole damn race.

That guy with the dog.

I got beat by the dog last year.

As we were near the end of the long run out, I settled in, but not the way I often do. I was outside my comfort zone. It's a 5K, I should be outside my comfort zone!

We made the two quick turns and were running the opposite way into the wind and I was losing a little ground on people. The guy with the dog actually passed me so I tucked in behind him to get a break before we turned. We took the next two turns right after that and now we were running away from the starting line but two blocks over (or so) and that's when, in the 2 mile area, I has some doubts about what I'd be able to do. We passed Breuggers and guys were moving back and forth.

I just kept running.

We twisted our way around the course, passing people still going out at less than a mile as we were past two. We humped up a small bridge and I really felt the strength training I've been done, and not in a good way.

Finally, we were back on the main road, headed towards the finish line. I couldn't see the finish. My eyes were tearing a little in the cold, and there were so many people in front of me- that's all I could think, I can't see the damn finish line because I am so far back. But I was just too far away.

Finally, I did see it, just after some 25 year old flashed by me. It was at 17:42 and I was a LONG way from the finish. I so wanted to break 17:59.

I had no one to play off of. I just had to run my ass off. I kept digging. The clock kept ticking.

I gave everything I had. I hit the mat at 17:59 and I was sure that it would tick over the way it always does.

It didn't.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Coach Eric's Strength Challenge/Spinervals Day 10

Today was the latest start I've had since I began the challenge.

I started with 50 sit-ups and push-up for Coach Eric at around 7:30 this morning, Those went well, but I have to admit that I was sweating pretty good for what is a fairly short effort.

Two and half hours later I started Spinervals 31.0, Endurance Booster I actually did this workout last Saturday to, along with another 30 minutes of spinning and a 30 minute run. With the Christopher Martins 5K in the morning, I wanted to keep it easy- not extra spinning a certainly no brick today.

I felt decent during the workout and I had a nice sweat going, and I felt like I had a good workout, however, I don't expect to look back and see this as one of the best days of the challenge.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Coach Eric's Strength/Spinervals Challenge Day 9

It was back to a higher level of intensity today. I slept in a little (all the way to 0545) and then got up and relaxed for twenty minutes before starting today's spin, which was The Sprinting Machine. I love this workout because it's just the right length for the morning- 50 minutes- and it's got a lot of great intensity to it, but without putting a hurt on you. Where you potentially feel Big Gear Strength all day, the Sprinting Machine is more of a 'feel good' workout.

I got into the spin quickly, it went really fast, and I felt good when I got done. But the three sets of plyometric jumps definitely took something out of my legs for Eric's strength challenge. There were three exercises this morning, include squat presses, bench jumps and some ab crossovers. I was definitely sweating when I got done, and the spin and the strength workout was definitely enough for one day.

Still, with more abnormally nice weather on tap- it was sunny and nearly 50- I went out at lunch intending to run 30 minutes. But I felt to good to cut the run short and pushed it to 40, keeping the intensity down.

Another good day on the challenge.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Coach Eric's Strength Challenge/Spinervals Day 8

Today was an optional rest day or we were supposed to do Spinervals 8.0 Technique and Recovery. This was one of the few Spinervals left that we only had on VCR tape. Note that I said had.

I stuck the tape in and it didn't want to play. I kept trying and next thing I knew, I was pulling tangled up VCR tape from the machine. This qualifies as the low moment of the challenge.

So then I just went to the Apple TV, did Spinervals 23.0 workout A, added about 10 minutes, the did Eric's strength challenge. Today was two parter: Single Arm Chest Presses (while prone) and V-Ups. The chest press, which requires you to balance on your head with your body at a 90 degree angle, was a bit difficult to determine how to do at first, but overall, it worked well.

I couldn't run at lunch because I was meeting with our Apple account team.

Tomorrow it's back to harder workouts and I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Spinervals/Coach Eric Challenge Day 7

Another really good day.

The Spinervals was Aero Base Builder II. This is an eighty minute spin, which is kind of a sweet spot workout- long enough that I didn't have to feel guilty about not running in the rain at lunchtime. It's also a good workout, with a nice mix of gears and effort durations. I'll keep it simple. I enjoyed the spin.

Then it was time for the strength training, which was a combination of step-ups, plank rows with weights and ab toe touches. By the time I was done, the whole workout had taken two hours and I was feeling pretty good, but a little tired- just the way I like it.

Sorry today's post is so short, but I just spent 75 minutes getting a server back up at work and it's midnight. Time to get some sleep so I can get back at it tomorrow....

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Coach Eric/Spinervals Challenge Day 6

This was by far the best day of the challenge. I got up early after very little sleep and jumped into Big Gear Strength.

OK, not really. My network had hiccoughed and I needed to reboot my Airport. After that, I jumped right into Big Gear Strength. I was pretty sure that I was not going to have a great workout, but what do you know. I really felt good on the big, grinding the big gears. Even the lunges felt OK, although I reduced the weight on the last set. By the time I finished Big Gear Strength I was sweating pretty heavily, but I wasn't done yet.

I hopped on the internet and got Eric's Strength Challenge for today- Curl/Shoulder Presses and Deep Squat Knee-High Jumps- these weren't easy, but at least I didn't feel shot after doing both a strength workout on the bike and another one when I was done.

The surprise came when I went for my run. The truth is, I didn't want to run at all. It was raining on and off but with it hovering at 60 degrees, I decided to go for it. I started out at a pretty high cadence and was running fast, and I thought that would fade. I was only planning to run half an hour and then bang, once I got going, it really kicked in. I just felt like I was completely dialed in on the run. The 5 hours of sleep and the morning workout were just not factors and I really nailed the run- the weather definitely helped....

So far, so good

Monday, December 05, 2011

Spinervals/Coach Eric's Strength Training Day 5

Today was a nice easy day- Aero base Builder III, a 65 minute zone B workout with 20, 15, 10 and 5 minute reps. It's awesome when the reps get shorter with each on, and when 0645 comes and your main workout is done for the day.

I'd say this spin actually felt better than yesterday, given that my legs were a little tired Sunday. I was really able to get into a zone this morning and the workout was definitely enjoyable, what I expect from an off-season (if I have an off-season) spin.

I hopped off the bike as soon as I was done and started the weight workout-Reverse Lunge w/Anterior Shoulder Range. I tend to think my balance is really good until I do things like this and then, not so sure. I added 44 pushups.

Much later in the day- around 1630, I did a 35 minute run in the gloom- the gathering darkness and the fog. It was foggy all day and during the run was no exception, but it was a good run.

So far so good, liking this challenges and looking forward to more.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Strength Training/Spinervals Day 4

I got up this morning with my big workout planning to be a run, but I was on the bike at 0620, doing Spinervals 28.0, or Aero Base Builder VI. I had a really good spin- ABB VI is just under an hour and it's a lot of short intervals. most of them in (slightly) easier gears.

As soon as the spin was over I did Eric's strength workout- Plank Rows/Ab Toe Crunches, in sequence, 3 X 12 each side. This was also very fast paces, going straight from the Rows to the Crunches with no break. It was over quickly but I really felt this one in my abdomen and I felt it was the best of the exercise sets that we have gotten so far.

Then came the meat of the workout, a 75 minute run. To save time I played to run to Pinchbeck's Tree Farm in Guilford and meet up with the family. Just as I got to Pinchbeck's though I got a text saying the family hadn't left yet, so I talked on 18 more minutes. It was a good solid run with the flats at a heart rate of 133, the hills at 142, and downhills in the 120s, all of it very steady.

Great weekend of workouts- 3 hours on Saturday and two and a half today.

Then I cut down our cristmas tree.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Day Three of The Coach Eric Strength and Spinervals 31 day Challenges

Being Saturday and knowing how this close to the holiday it is, I started spinning at 0610. I needed to get in 2:20, so I opened with Spinervals 23.0, workout B, but I approached the 90 second anaerobic intervals aerobically instead. So I was good and warmed up for Spinervals 31.0, Muscle Booster.

This is a surprisingly tough workout, because there are a large number of efforts in the big ring 13. By the middle of this hour and 45 minute workout my hamstrings were reminding me I'd slept just 5 short hours before being woken up by the cat and starting my day, and in the middle of the workouts I was flagging a little, still getting the work done but feeling a bit spent.

The last set in the workout is 15 minutes split between big ring 15 and 17 and that was just what I needed. I finished the workout feeling really well and then slipped on my running shoes and immediately ran a solid 30 minutes, at a heart rate between 127-133 the entire time, great zone B work, whatever that's worth.

I came back and immediately did Eric's strength routine for the day, 3 x 12 of what I'd call squat-ups- starting in a squatting position with barbells shoulder height, stand up and thrust the barbells over head. By the tenth repetition in each set I could feel it in my pectorals, a great reminder that my strength is NOt adequate. I love the strength challenge because it's such a perfect example for me of what I do not do well as an athlete- thanks Eric.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Day Two Of Coach Eric's Strength and the Spinervals Challenges

Yes, I'm actually doing two challenges at once. Eric Hodska's strength challenge and the Spinervals 31 days challenge. Today was an easy day, well, relatively speaking.

I got up at 0545 and realised that I didn't have time to do the spin, so I did a 5 minute warmup on the trainer, the Eric's workout. I did three sets of double crunches, the easy part, and then attacked the 40 push ups, so I started off easy, doing 11. Then I did 14, then I did 15 more. Nothing to be proud of, but it is Day 2. I'm sure I could have gutted out at least 30 in a row, but half of them would have been lousy, so what's the point of that ? I wanted to do 40 good push ups.

If it had not been for the New Haven Road Race Board meeting, I might have squeezed the 80-90 minutes in, but I wanted to make sure I made the meeting and got myself on the committee considering altering the race's course.

The spin came after I got home from work. I actually packed up my bike and trainer and took it to work, but that was never going to happen. I started Aero Base Builder 16.0 after putting my race bike  (with training wheel) on the trainer and for an evening workout (not my favorite) it was a nice change of pace. I  enjoyed what is a pretty straightforward workout, got on a good sweat and feel ready for day 3 of both challenges.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Day One of the Spinervals Challenge

Day one of the Spinervals challenge in done and I thought I'd write a little post each day to track what I'm doing.

Today the big challenge was the stress test/time trial. I'm not particularly good with the stress test on a trainer. I actually think I train on the trainer very effectively, however, I have trouble spiking my heart rate. The truth is, it's the same on the road. I actually time trial solo a lot, almost once a week from June through October. And I think I ride fairly fast, but for whatever reason, my heart rate doesn't get that high.

So when I started out and was only trending in the 140s, I didn't feel like I was dogging the test. I was sweating up a storm, breathing heavy, just not spiking my heart rate. I felt like it took forever to get into the 150s, and when I got to the last minute I jammed it into the hardest gear and got a max out at 171.

What amazed me about the workout was how absolutely great I felt when I got done- felt great all day.

Maybe I should do that more often...