Progress

I ran 10 miles Sunday, which is a record since hurting my knee two months ago. It was also in the snow, which was totally awesome. I had great fun watching people tip toeing carefully across the fresh powder (which is silly, as you get plenty of traction on new snow) and then blazing past them, having a great time. There were a couple points that were miserable, when the wind was blowing directly at me and the snow started piling up on my jacket, water bottles, watch, etc. I also still don’t own running pants (which I’ll be fixing very soon), so my legs were pretty dang frozen by the end. Not frostbit, certainly, but far colder than I’m comfortable with.

I’ve been adding a mile with each run, alternating run days with weights days at the gym (and training 6 days a week, resting Mondays). My weights sessions have been alternating between upper and lower body, with sets, reps, and rests designed to stimulate hypertrophy. That is, get bigger, fast. This sets the stage for next month when I’ll shift to a program that focuses on building strength, at which I’ll make better gains following hypertrophy than if I’d just been working on strength alone the whole time. That’s the theory, anyway.

I’m using The New Rules of Lifting as my guide, and I highly recommend it (there’s also a separate book for women). The pictures and explanations are simple and straight forward, and there are a variety of programs to choose from, depending on your goals (fat loss, strength, etc).

I took their suggested workout sheet and recreated it in Excel, playing with the text placement and column widths until I liked what I saw. You can see from all the folds that I don’t use a clipboard. I just fold it up and keep it in my pocket along with a mechanical pencil, and pull it out between sets to note the reps and weight I just did, along with stars, smiley faces and up arrows to mark whether I was happy with the weight I used or if I should bump it up next time.

It simply can’t be overstated how important it is to keep track of your workouts. This guy lays it out pretty well:

  • Motivation. Looking back at where you come from is inspiring.
  • Awareness. You get an understanding of what works for you.
  • Experience. You learn from your errors: injuries, stalling, etc.
  • Confidence. You’ve got a plan when you go to the gym.

I love being able to see what I did last time and try to beat it. I don’t always succeed, as there’s variables that affect each workout in different ways: time of day, sleep, work stress, nutrition, that really intimidating hulk in the corner, that really hot chick in the spandex, etc. Or, maybe I beat my reps or weight in the first exercise I did, but it took so much out of me I didn’t do as well in later exercises. That’s OK too. The point is to be conscious of where you were, where you’re going, and how you’re getting there.

Taking that control is one of the differences between “exercise” and “training”.

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Will vs. Alzheimer’s (and Ironman) update: $205 down, $395 to go. If you have any leftover holiday cash from Grandma, I’d sure appreciate the support!

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