Progress is progress

I started my weightlifting last week. In that time, I’ve increased my squats weight every time. On the StrongLifts 5×5 program, you actually increase weights every single workout. It sounds intense, and aside from the DOMS pain I had the first week, so far, it’s been completely manageable. Sure, at some point it’ll become impossible to progress, but that day is far off for me. I started with the starter weight amounts, and while they feel easy in the beginning, by the last set of each exercise, I feel mostly pretty tired. I’ve not yet noticed it getting really hard yet, but again, after just a week, it’s more about learning the proper form and movements of each exercise. There are a few that still feel awkward to me; I need to work more on my form for those.

In related news, I received a new set of weights, a new bar, and a new bench. Much like any hobby or endeavor, you learn what works best for you by doing. The weights I bought to start with were acceptable but the attachment system for the weights was annoying and used up a lot of time. Also, the bar wasn’t weighted and was throwing off all my calculations for weights. I needed to get a bar and weights that were standard, so I did that. It wasn’t cheap, but I figured that an investment in my health and fitness was worth the expense. It does feel good to be using high-quality weights and a very nice bar.

So, the graph on the weights I am lifting are on the climb. It looks great (I love data!), and I feel great. I look forward to five weeks in the future to see where I’ll be then!

Running? Weightlifting?

This site’s current URL is running.paleomarine.com. I think that’s going to change to fitness.paleomarine.com, or maybe exercise.paleomarine.com. Not sure which yet. But the reason for that is that I don’t just run anymore. Heck, right now, I’m not running regularly because I’m doing StrongLifts 5×5. I need to increase my strength much more than I need to get fast. I know that within 6 weeks, I can get my run times to where I need them to be to pass an APFT with a 70 or better in the running event. My push ups and sit ups will be just fine with the weight lifting (and the fact that I’ll continue to do push ups after my weightlifting). What is NOT okay is my upper body strength right now (and that is unacceptable).

So, it’s all up to weightlifting for me now.

I have purchased my own free weights, squat rack, and bench. I have a gym in the house that I can use anytime to get my workouts in. I’m actually excited and motivated in a way I don’t remember myself being in a long time. I actually look forward to working out and getting stronger.

So, you may see more from me here in this space, but it won’t just be about running. It’ll be about just about anything I do to get stronger, faster, and leaner.

Unplanned Running

I had to do a stress test as part of my annual physical, and part of that was running on a treadmill on an incline. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal at all, but I ran hard yesterday, and while my legs weren’t sore when I went into the run, they certainly were when I got done.

I passed the test with flying colors; the doctor was very impressed with my heart’s performance during the test. I had to take an extended test because my heart rate stayed very low when most other people’s heart rates would have reached their max. The funny part for me is that I never felt out of breath or tired, but my legs began to burn something fierce. Were it not for that, I could have easily gone 30 minutes.

So, I will take tomorrow off from my scheduled run and catch back up later this week. I need to let these old legs rest a bit.

Great Run After a Week Off

20180122_run

It’s been an entire week since I last ran, and I feel badly about that. I had planned on running my minimum three times, but life and weather got in the way and it just didn’t work out.

When I hit the ground for my push-ups, I was expecting some difficulty, but to my surprise (and great pleasure) I was able to whip out 65 push ups without much effort. This is good for a 100 score out of 100 on my coming APFT in February.

Then, came the run. I started with a good pace just barely pushing it, and I ended up really happy with the results: 8:19/mile average for 3.1 miles. It’s not my fastest, but it’s definitely on-par with my better times. The best part is that I felt great afterward.

I hope to run at least three times this week.

Another great run

180115 run

Well, after running only once again last week due to weather and being busy, I finally had a chance to get out and run another three miles. What I didn’t expect was for it to go so well! It turned out to be a great run with a sub-8 minute first mile pace! I ended up with an 8:31/mile average pace, which is good. My pace was faster overall than last week, and the run felt good. There were a few times I pushed past some desire to slow down, and it felt wonderful.

I did 55 push ups before the run which helped warm me up a bit, since it was pretty windy and about 64 degrees. I don’t know if I’ll be running over the next few days due to the weather being really cold again, but at least I’m not worried about my APFT coming up in February. I can already pass it easily.

Post-run report for the second time in January

run 20180109It’s January 9th, and this is only my second post-run report. I need to pick things up a lot!!! I just found out TODAY that my Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) is going to be held in February instead of April. That makes running and push ups a top priority for me. I was expecting to be able to slide into faster times on my runs and more push ups over the course of the next three months, but now, I have four weeks to prepare. The good news is that it looks like I’m already where I need to be; I just need to maintain where I’m at now and make any incremental increases I can to pad my score.

Today’s run had low expectations. After running last week for the first time in four weeks, my legs were sore and I had to take a few extra days off from running to allow them to heal. I was going to run Monday night, but life once again got in the way, and I wasn’t able to run until tonight. The good news is that I really think that extra day of rest helped my legs a lot.

My first mile was a blazing 8:18/mile. I say blazing, because it’s only my second run in a month. It was blazing because not only was I quick, but I felt good doing it. I wasn’t pushing myself beyond comfort, and my breathing was good and my legs felt great. The following two miles were both at 8:41/mile pace. This is significant because I wasn’t trying to set a pace, yet I was hoping for sub-9 minute miles. I did it! And I felt good afterward!!! This bodes well for the APFT in February.

As for push ups, I easily knocked out 50. I could have upped it by 10, but I am going with the method I used to get up to 120 push ups without any arm pain: I do as many push ups as I can without straining, and rest for a day and then do them again. Using this plan, I got up to 120 push ups in two minutes within three months with NO muscle soreness or pain. Since I’m already near the max points for my age in push ups, I don’t need to go crazy and push to failure each time I do push ups. Again, I feel comfortable and I’ll be good for the APFT in February.

The only thing I don’t build on are sit ups. These hurt my lower back, and I find that as long as I’m doing proper push ups with my runs, my core strength is good enough to get me a passing score in sit ups once a year.

Back at it (it’s about time!)

For the past few weeks, I was worried that when I finally got back to running, it would be a painful, slow, and emotionally difficult thing. I was also stressing about getting back to doing my push ups. I shouldn’t have been so worried. I finally got back on the road last night for a run, and it went far better than I expected in more than a few ways.

file (2)
My first post-run selfie in four weeks. It was pretty cold out this time.

First, my pace was decent. I ran a sub-9 minute average over the three+ miles. The second and third miles were over 9 minutes/mile, but the first mile was an 8:21/mile, and I’m pleased with that.

Second, I actually felt good on the run. Sure, there were times I was pushing it and I was winded, but I never really felt like quitting. Not once. It was actually a very nice run, and my legs felt great.

Finally, I was able to get my push ups in. I did 50. It was a bit of a push to get past 40, but 50 is good. I could have made the last 10 to 60, but that would have left me with sore arms today, I stopped at 50. I’ll be at 60 or more by the end of the month for sure, and 60 is my max for score on my Army PFT’s.

Since it’s the day after, I expected to wake up with sore legs, but they aren’t any more sore than they normally are after a run. Heck, my legs hurt me more when I was walking in NYC than they do this morning. That’s a great thing. I will run again either Saturday or Sunday, depending on how much I have going on. Then, Monday it’s back to my regular running schedule.

It’s funny; I felt GREAT after I ran. There was a little trepidation before the run, but afterward? Nothing but GREAT. Sure, I had a little soreness in my right calf and my right knee, but that was all gone by this morning. It’s great to be back to it. I’ve missed it.