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So as of today I’ve exercised for 12 straight days, doing two workouts a day on some of those days. That’s a lot for me. I actually feel really great, but I’m worried about burning out. My schedule, now that I’ve added triathlon training in the form of swimming and bike workouts, is pretty full and doesn’t have any complete rest days. I figured that on 3 days a week, I would just do a light workout and count that as a rest day.

However, I really think I need one complete rest day a week, just to make sure I don’t overtrain. So I’ve
redone my schedule to have a complete rest day and to make Sundays only for bike rides instead of doubling up with running.

So here’s my new schedule — we’ll see how it works out:

  • Mon: Complete rest.
  • Tue: a.m. short run plus weights; p.m. swim.
  • Wed: a.m. medium run (might include hills or tempo); p.m. bike ride.
  • Thu: a.m. short run plus weights; p.m. swim.
  • Fri: a.m. short run plus swim.
  • Sat: long(ish) run.
  • Sun: long(ish) bike ride.

As always, I will try to remain flexible and might change this if I feel it’s too much, so don’t be surprised if I keep reporting changes as I feel it out. I will also give myself the flexibility to skip or postpone workouts if I think I need more rest.

I’m really enjoying my training and feel like I’m getting in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I’m even looking for longer triathlons later this year and early next year!

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Signed up for two triathlons!

I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but I’m planning on doing a couple of sprint triathlons within the next two months. I just signed up, and got my bike fixed and am ready to go.

A sprint triathlon is a relatively short race, for trained triathletes, but for me it’ll be a tough one. It’s a 750-meter ocean swim, 12-mile bike ride, and 5K run. Obviously I can do the run distance, but I’m a complete beginner on the bike and in the water, and haven’t done either for more than a year (and even then I had only just begun to learn each sport).

So I anticipate the swim will be difficult for me, and I’ll do the bike real slow. Then, if my “super-sprint” triathlon done more than a year ago is any indication, I’ll have very dead legs on the run.

But all that doesn’t matter. I’m not going to train hard for this, or try to race it. I’m just doing it for fun, to see if I can do it, and I hope to do a relaxed pace the entire way. The triathlon is in 4 weeks, and my second one (with an identical course) will be 3 weeks after that.

Why am I doing it? For fun! And because I know that training on the bike and in the water will get me even fitter than just running and strength training alone.

I don’t plan on cutting back on running or strength training, but I will be doubling up the sports on some days. I am just going to do some easy biking and swimming, to gradually increase my endurance in those sports so that I can finish the distance.

Here’s my planned schedule starting this week:

  • Mon: swim
  • Tue: easy run and strength workout
  • Wed: medium run plus easy bike ride
  • Thu: easy run and strength workout
  • Fri: easy run and swim
  • Sat: long run
  • Sun: easy run and longer bike

If I need to take a rest day, I will. I don’t want to overdo it.

I hope to work up to 12-15 miles on the bike and eventually 800-1000 meters on the swim. But for now I’ll be doing much shorter distances — for instance, I did about 6.5 miles on the bike today.

Wish me luck! I’m super excited!

p.s. I know that some people will say that I’m overdoing the cardio and that it will hurt my strength training. But I’m OK with that. I just want to get in good shape, and gain some strength, and I’m confident this plan will get me there.

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One of you, my group of wonderful encouragers, asked about my wife Eva’s plan, and wanted me to share some details. I’ve shared the details of my plan, but if you want to hear about Eva’s plan, here ya go.

Some background first. Eva has always been a skinny chick, even just months after giving birth to any of the babies. She’s still pretty thin, though she’s gotten a little bit of a stomach. I think she looks very very good, but you know how it is — we all want to get into better shape, right? So she’s joined me in our healthy eating plan (different for each of us) and is also exercising.

She’s not as avid a runner as I am. She’s doing a run/walk kinda thing, because though she was running and doing 5Ks a little over a year ago, she kinda fell out of it. But she’s making the effort, and making progress.

She’s also not a full vegetarian as I am. She gave up most meat about six months or so ago, which thrills me to this day, but she does eat seafood, so her meal plan includes fish.

So here’s her workout plan, followed by her meal plan:

Eva’s Workout Plan

Keep in mind that Eva is just starting exercising again, so she’s been getting sore and may skip a workout if she feels her body needs it.

  • Mon: Walk/run
  • Tue: Strength (mostly bodyweight exercises)
  • Wed: Walk/run
  • Thu: Strength
  • Fri: Walk/run
  • Sat: Rest
  • Sun: Walk or Strength

So far she’s done a couple of days of running and then walking and one day of strength this week and she’s pretty sore. :)

Eva’s Meal Plan

Day A

  • B: Toast w/ almond butter, fruit
  • L: Pita, tuna, veggies
  • S: Yogurt, granola, fruit
  • D: tofu stir fry w/ veggies OR baked salmon

Day B

  • B: Whole grain cereal, low-fat milk
  • L: cheese quesadilla, carrots
  • S: fruit smoothie
  • D: Leo’s veggie soup OR salad

Day C

  • B: Toast, peanut butter, fruit
  • L: salad
  • S: yogurt, granola, fruit
  • D: veggie chili OR salad

Day D (cheat day)

  • B: Whole grain cereal, low-fat milk
  • L: pita, tuna, veggies
  • S: fruit smoothie
  • D: cheat meal!

The week will go something like this (though it’s flexible — on some days we eat leftovers from the night before):

  • Mon: A
  • Tue: B
  • Wed: C
  • Thu: A
  • Fri: B
  • Sat: C
  • Sun: D

We can also switch the cheat meal to any of the days if we go out or there’s a party or something like that.

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I thought I’d go into a little more depth on my strength training plan for those who are interested.

My goal isn’t to build up huge muscles, or compete in anything, or to become more of a manly man. I just want to have slightly larger muscles, be more toned, and generally have a better body shape (skinny arms and legs and a fat stomach hasn’t been working for me).

So with a modest goal like that, my training plan is aimed at making the most gains in the least amount of training time. I’m sure I could do a lot more by training 4-5 times a week, focusing on different muscle groups, but I just don’t have the time or energy. So I chose to do a full-body workout, twice a week.

And even within those two workouts, I am trying to maximize time by focusing on compound muscle lifts. So I’ve chosen classics like the bench press and the squat (and eventually the deadlift), the pullup and the shoulder press and standing rows. Eventually I’ll also add dips. I’m doing bicep curls and probably tricep lifts, despite that they’re not compound lifts, because I’ve never had nice arms and would like to improve them just once in my life at least. Btw, I took a lot of inspiration for my plan from my friend Medhi’s Stronglifts.com beginner program.

To give you a little history on my strength training, I never did it when I was a teen-ager or young adult. In my 20s, I tried a few times, but never made it to the 2-week mark. Same thing in my 30s — I’ve tried perhaps 5-6 times to start a strength program, but have never been very consistent. I start with a lot of enthusiasm, but end before I see any gains.

So my plan, again, is to start really easy, and just focus on being consistent for 2-3 weeks. I’m only doing one set, and not even very heavy weights, and not a lot of reps. That means my workouts are not very challenging. But at least I’m doing them. And after 2-3 weeks, when I feel like I’ve gotten into the groove, I will add a second set, and maybe a third or fourth, and additional weights. Maybe, eventually, even a third workout day, but not necessarily.

Let’s see if I can keep it going! With your help, I think I can. Thanks everyone for reading and encouraging me!

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My wife Eva and I started our own two-person health club, the Unbelievable Lightness of Being Club, and we’ve created custom meal plans for ourselves (different for each of us) and workout plans as well. I thought I’d share just so you can see what we’re trying to do.

First off, we picked a variety of healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks based on foods we want to eat. Most of them (but not all) use fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean protein such as tofu, beans, nuts and the like. It’s low in saturated fat (but with adequate good fats) with a decent protein level (I had 81 grams of protein my first day, today, which is more than adequate).

Then, we put those meals and snacks into four days – A, B, C, and D, with D being a bit of a cheat day — though not a complete cheat day. Then we put them throughout the days of the week. We’ll probably redo our meal plan every couple of weeks just to have some variety.

So here’s my plan for this week:

Day A

  • B: oatmeal, soy yogurt, almonds, berries
  • L: Amy’s frozen vegetarian lunc, with fruit or veggie
  • S: Fruit, almonds, yogurt, cottage cheese
  • D: Tofu stir-fry with green veggies OR black bean burritoes

Day B (strength training day – protein shake)

  • B: Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal, soymilk, fruit
  • L: pita, hummus, veggies
  • S: protein shake, fruit
  • D: Leo’s veggie soup, OR a dinner salad (greens, nuts, cheese, fruit)

Day C

  • B: Whole wheat toast, almond butter, fruit
  • L: dinner salad (greens, nuts, cheese, fruit)
  • S: smoothie, fruit
  • D: chili and steamed greens OR greens, beans, fruit

Day D (cheat day – long run day!)

  • B: whole wheat pancakes OR muffins
  • L: Amy’s frozen lunch OR pitas w/ hummus OR salad
  • S: fruits, low-fat pretzels, or blue-corn chips
  • D: cheat meal!

So my week will go like this (with workouts):

  • Mon: A – short run
  • Tue: B – strength training
  • Wed: C – tempo run
  • Thu: B – strength training
  • Fri: C – run short
  • Sat: A – rest!
  • Sun: D – long run

Now, this is going to be a flexible schedule — as things come up we will make switches as needed. But it’s good to have a basic plan. Let’s see how I do!

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OK, Here We Go!

Why have I created a training blog (or “tralog”)? To hold myself accountable, to allow the light to shine on my training plans, meal plans, and actual results. To motivate myself.

My overall goal is just to get myself in good shape for my honeymoon in late June, and then after that to prepare for my 3rd marathon in December.

My sub-goals:

1. Start and stick to a regular strength training routine. I’m going to do 2 full-body workouts a week, just 6 exercises: bench press, standing rows, shoulder presses, pullups, bicep curls and squats. I might add deadlifts and dips later, and maybe a 3rd day per week once I’ve gotten into the habit (after 3 weeks maybe).

2. Build my running back up to a decent level. My focus won’t be on running, but I’d like to have a decent base (maybe 30 miles per week eventually) before I start my marathon training. I’ll also do a faster workout once a week, to increase fat burning and to get me in good shape for some shorter races I’ll be doing for the next few months.

3. Eat lightly. I’ll go into more detail on this in a future post, but I’ve created my own meal plan, and will be eating 4-5 times per day, about 300-400 calories per meal. Sometimes a little more. Eat when I’m lightly hungry (instead of ravenous), eat slowly, eat until I’m lightly full (not stuffed), eat light foods (not heavy). Allow myself to cheat a couple meals per week.

4. Stay accountable. I will be trying to post daily (or so) here on this training blog, as well as keeping a public training and eating log on FitDay — take a look at my FitDay log (because of a time-zone thing it only shows through yesterday; also, I just started the log, so ignore stuff before April 6, 2008).

I’m psyched and ready to go!

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