Monday, June 16, 2008

My First Brick Workout in Over A Year

Can this be true? After a strenuous brick workout yesterday, I am feeling pretty decent!!

A Brick workout is where you combine two of the three legs of a triathlon, in order to condition our muscles to get used to switching from one sport to another. The most common one is the Bike to Run brick, because it is usually the hardest on your legs to make the switch from Bike to Run. Yesterday I did my first brick, risking feeling some serious level of pain this morning. I spent 90 minutes on the bike (on the trainer, so it was non-stop spinning, no coasting or stopping like you would usually do on a road ride), then changed into running gear and jogged/walked (usually 3 minute jog/1 minute walk intervals) for about 25 minutes. In the beginning of the run I actually felt pretty good, but towards the 15-20 minute mark my legs started to feel quite fatigued. I tried to sprint towards the end but at that point my heart rate was over 171, so I had to cool down. My runs are still weak, and I need to focus on that over the next couple of weeks.

After the brick, I stretched diligently for 20 minutes, iced my back, upper quads and hip, rested for a couple of hours. While I was resting I drank a carbohydrate/potassium drink, ate protein rich foods to help muscle recovery and drank a ton of water. After that I stretched again, then took a hot epsom salt bath. I was dead scared that if i didn't take all measures possible (to my limited knowledge), I would end up waking up with unbearable pain the next day. And I had a long Monday to deal with at work. Being in pain was really not an option (but of course I get myself in trouble by doing a brick for 2 hours+, setting myself up, but hey you never know until you try...).

This morning I woke up and paused. 'How am I feeling right now?' I asked myself. I was no doubt pretty stiff, but i wasn't in pain. I was so amazed and so grateful. I got up, did some back and hip stretches and then i jumped in the shower.

I feel pretty good considering - i'm a little tired, a little tight on the right quads, but I am doing really well! What a great feeling!

Recovery is just as important as the workout itself - if not more.

Well, before I make any conclusions let's see how i feel tomorrow morning. :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Build Stage I Training Schedule and Thoughts on Pain After Exercise

I sat down earlier this week and came up with a schedule - I modified it today after feeling very sore after the Bike on Tuesday. High-intensity workouts, although shorter, will initially put some strain on the muscles, and that's exactly what happened. Instead of Biking, Swimming then Running back to back, I modified the schedule and included Yoga between the Bike and Swim, because this morning I felt pretty sore and fatigued. So, here's my schedule for this week (and probably next week as well):

6/9 Mon: Yoga
6/10 Tue: Bike 45 minutes (3-4 5X2 intervals (with gradual intensity buildup), 10 min hold at mid-effort, cooldown)
6/11 Wed: Yoga
6/12 Thu: Swim 1500m (200m warm up, 300 (low)/500 (mid)/200 (high) intensities, 200 drills, 100 cool down)
6/13 Fri: Run (3 miles, fast pace at high intensity), weights/strength training in the evening
6/14 Sat: Power plate strength training, Swim (1500-1700m)
6/15 Sun: Yoga, Bike (1 hr, same interval mix as Tuesday, with 15-20 min hold at mid-effort)

Fri-Sun might be a challenge, but I'll modify as I go. However, Monday is rest day so I will try to push through the weekend and enjoy the offday.

I just wanted to address one very important thing before I end today's entry - it's about PAIN, our sore subject (pun intended). I know it is daunting when we perceive some level of soreness, discomfort and pain after a workout, because we tend to think, "ok what is happening here?" The truth of the matter is, it is NORMAL to feel sore after a workout - people with decent health and strength still get pretty sore after a workout (many of the triathletes I know carry ibuprofen around at all times). For us, it will be a bit more intense - however, if you put it in perspective, that is really no reason to freak out. We need to stretch more, eat better to aid recovery of our muscles (protein, water, vitamins A,C,E - pls see my previous entries) and sleep well (don't say "but i have fibro, i can't sleep well" - take natural supplements that suit you). I don't ever NOT feel pain or soreness after a workout - in fact, I am sometimes limping and walking around with a stiff neck the next day. I do what I call active pain management - basically, I do what i can to reduce the pain and stiffness, while preventing the worst by eating right and stretching (and yoga) before and after workouts.

If it were as easy as working out in whatever way we wanted, eating whatever we wanted, and doing nothing about pre and post-workout activities, then everybody would be doing what some of us are doing. Exercising is challenging for all people at all health levels - wonder why so many people in the US are obese??? It takes work to exercise regularly and live a healthy life. It's work, but I also think it's quite fun to learn about our body and nutrition on so many levels. There is science behind all this, and we are smarter for knowing what we know - and it actually has a positive effect on our lives.

I try to abandon my fear towards pain - instead of being reactive to pain, let's take control and be proactive about managing it.

Before I close - when it comes to stretching, I think has some very cool articles about stretching for specific purposes. I recommend searching articles for stretching the hip, quadraceps, IT band, shoulders, calves and back. Well I guess the entire body. :) I do these stretches pretty much every day, even when I don't exercise. Your muscles will LOVE you for treating them right.

God bless*

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Quick Update

It's been a while since my last blog entry. Life has been a bit hectic lately, but in a very positive way. I started a new job with more challenging work and greater responsibilities, which led me to a couple of long hours and late nights. My training plan was to start buildup stage I, after ending my base training stage at the end of May. Due to the hectic work schedule, training plans have been compromised a bit. However, instead of stressing about what I couldn't achieve in the past week, I have decided to just jump back into training and go from there.

More importantly, I just wanted to show my appreciation to those who have been reading my blogs and sending me messages and comments - most of you were all so encouraging and wonderful. I truly appreciate your honest opinions about my blog and I am very happy to hear that some of you are determined to start changing your lives. Thank you, and please let me know how you are doing!

I have been most grateful for my ability to work long hours for weeks without having a bad flareup day - granted, days haven't been easy and I could sense some level of inflammation in the mornings, but I truly have been enjoying a steady level of health. I feel that all the hard work over the past 5-6 months have been paying off. This weekend, however, I did feel exhausted and achy all around on Saturday....but not too bad that it kept me trapped in bed. Flareups are short-lived and pain is lighter. I am so grateful.

Once I get my buildup stage I training schedule figured out I will post a sample two-week schedule. I have some work cut out for me.