Back On The Horse…er, Pony

On Friday, I had my first structured workout in months, a small thing but it put me back in the game: 8 miles with 10 x (1min on/1min off).  Modest as it was, I managed to feel somewhat accomplished afterwards.  Baby steps are not overrated.

Somewhat related (at least to my infamous resistance/dread of standard workouts) I’ve been enjoying a thread on LetsRun about a coach and his winning team of high school girls (#8 in the country with four #1 performers) who do no formal speed training – no intervals or tempo runs.  Why? Because the gals don’t like them.

He’s found a way to make them fast while keeping it enjoyable for them.  Here’s the article about the coach/team and here’s a FloTrack video of them.  Lastly, here’s the LetsRun thread.  It should be noted that they do race often, so in essence that’s their speedwork – still, it’s not a traditional approach by any means.

Film Recommendation
I just saw a wonderful “body/health/life makeover” documentary last night that’s inspiring, motivating, funny, charming and made me tear up at the end: Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.  It follows an Australian guy, the filmmaker, who travels the US for 60 days on a juice fast to lose his gut and improve a chronic skin condition.  Midway through the film he meets a morbidly obese guy and eventually helps him out to dramatic effect and who in turn spreads the word…  It’s just great.  Available free on Hulu or via streaming on Netflix.

Speaking of body makeovers
Mine is going slowly but steadily; lost 4lbs in the last 3 weeks and my fancy-schmancy scale reports a 1% drop in bodyfat.  I’m having a good time with this!  I decided upon 112 lbs as my goal and since I’m currently at 120.5, I’ve got 8.5 lbs left to go.

To my friends who are also trying to lose for racing season, have heart! It hasn’t been a linear drop for me and never is, more like down, up, up, down, up, down, down, etc.   My bodyfat, however, has been a steadier progression which makes up for all that down/up crap.

Between hormones, whether you did or didn’t poop before weighing or if you had some high sodium thing for dinner the night before, it’s going to vary day-to-day, especially if you don’t have a lot to lose in the first place. I do like weighing daily, though many people don’t – for me it’s a better way to get the average than doing it once a week and possibly landing on one of those sodium/hormone/non-poop days.  Plus, I made a cool live graph in Excel so it’s fun to input the data.

In other body news, I started doing squats and step-ups yesterday – long overdue since I’ve always hated my ass.  I admit to copping out all these years, thinking the butt is a difficult place to make improvements so why bother?  That might have been a semi-valid argument when I was a couch potato with a lot more cush in the tush, but now I expect the result will be more readily apparent.

What’s funny is that every nice change my body has undergone since becoming a runner was a byproduct of trying to become faster.  Whether it was adding pushups, working on posture, weight…it’s always been about the running, looking better was just a cherry on the sundae.

My ass, however, is the opposite.  I’m finally doing something about it for vanity but in a brilliant turn, it will also make me a better runner.  Glutes are the powerhouse for explosive movement, it’s where we get the force to run fast.  Along with that, there’s a big anti-injury element since weak glutes mean your leg muscles are forced to compensate.

And I’ll have a cuter butt.

A Chilly Cutback Week In Review
Yesterday’s runs were lovely, big fat snowflakes but nothing sticking to the roads or paths.  I added a few miles to the afternoon run since today was forecast to be super windy and frigid.  It was.  One hour in that suck was enough.

5@8:44 8@8:14
7@8:24 8@7:49 (10x 1on/1off)
7@8:33 11@8:00
Total: 67.5 miles



8 thoughts on “Back On The Horse…er, Pony

  1. Rebecca

    I’ve been doing squats, too, but not for the reason of my butt. (Haha, get it? “But and butt!”) Anyway, I’m trying to strengthen my legs in general, in order to prevent hamstring tightening during races and workouts. Since I quit the gym, I love reading about at-home strength training. What are “step ups”? (I mean, I get it that you go up the stairs, but how many stairs at once, reps, etc.?)

    Great job on getting that first workout in, too! You didn’t elaborate, but I’m assuming you felt great throughout?

    1. Flo Post author

      Check out step-ups here, they start at 1:35. It’s just stepping up on a high step (my coffee table is perfect, lol) by engaging your glutes. Cool that you’re doing leg work too, great idea for injury prevention. And yeah, felt fab for the workout, thanks for asking.

  2. Adrienne

    Depending on how you do ’em, step ups can be quite challenging. That is one thing I don’t do currently (or when my leg isn’t jacked). I guess we all have those exercises we avoid.

    I must attest, however, that a good set of glutes is running gold!

    Keep up the good work:)

    1. Flo Post author

      I woke up with a solid case of ass DOMS, so I think I did ’em right. Hurts so good. :) Gotta love exercises that don’t require any equipment, too. Anyway, glad to know you’re another butt workout appreciator. Feel better soon, hon!

  3. Ewen

    Thanks for the link to the story about Samantha Nadel and coach Neal Levy. Fascinating. Breaking the rules of ‘traditional’ U.S. high school coaching, yet producing happy and fast athletes. A great example to other coaches of HS runners and perhaps even self-coached ‘slightly older than high school’ runners.

  4. Jim E

    Sorry to hear about the ass DOMS, but the phrase sure rolls off the tongue. Interesting about that coach. I gather he arrived at his program by degrees. I have a friend who is a HS XC coach, and she told me they have a 1-mile time trial every week that determines who is on the team. It the only way to quiet parents who don’t understand why little Samantha didn’t make the cut. It’s not easy being a HS coach, so hats off to Levy. And yes, the program is very Lydiard-ish. We self-coached runner types have the opposite problem. We do stuff we like, even if it’s not optimal.

  5. Ela

    love coming to your page here and there for a nice relaxing read … I am still on running break and have to be careful not to get depressed reading too much about real running. Just started PT again since boy#2 is out for 8 weeks and my pelvic girdle needs some work … but the PT said I might be jogging a few miles several times a week within a few weeks which made my day … so I am contemplating a fancy scale to hopefully see fat% twindle and since my adductors like to spasm these days also a foam roller … so I’ll just be lazy and order the one you linked ;-)))

    1. Flo Post author

      Ela!! So great to see you here, congrats on Baby#2, seems just yesterday you didn’t have any babies at all. :) Glad you can run again soon. I LOVE that roller, it’s heads and shoulders above my previous one. Good luck getting back out there, I hope to see you in MRT again!

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