We spent some time in Texas this past week visiting my father and my sister and her family. It was a lot of fun. I did get two hilly 8 mile runs in and a short visit to the gym. My father has found some friends from the Master Gardeners club who frequent a local gym. This has motivated him to start a training session. We are all very proud of him for taking these steps. I have told him to simply start the habit of going to the gym and then we would work on the program. He is meeting with a personal trainer at the beginning of the year for an assessment. My father also signed up for a smoking cessation program at the gym (which is associated with a medical center).
After we got home it was more running. On Christmas Eve the weather was cold (low 40’s) and I went for a quality session. It was difficult. I wanted 14 miles with 10 of them fast. I did my warm up and then kicked it into high gear – high gear for me anyway. The 10 miles I wanted to run at my hope to be new half marathon pace – 6:35 minutes per mile. This pace only worked for a few miles before I started to implode. I always try to push the pace knowing that there is a slight incline heading out. I usually train on the Long Leaf Trace which is a rails to trails. There are zero hills on the rails to trails but very long slight inclines. It is much more noticeable on the bike than the run; however, the incline is evident as soon as you head back.
Well, I always try to push the pace and I usually fail. And I did fail on this run. However, I did adjust and made the run of a longer interval type run. After the 4 miles at projected pace I shut it down and ran my comfortable pace for a mile (comfortable being 8 minutes per mile). I then ran several sets of 2 mile intervals at pace. I just simply tried to keep the pace as fast as possible which was in the 6:30’s and 6:40’s. I wrapped up the session with 13 miles at an average of 7:30 minute per mile pace. Although the session was not complete as prescribed it ended up being a challenging run.
On Christmas day I went for an easy run. Once again the pace would be comfortable. I was running by heart rate so the pace would settle in around 7:30. The temperature had dropped from the day before and the wind was rather brisk. I wanted to turn around after the first mile. I was cold and running into the wind was tough. I persevered and came up on another running out on the trace. I yelled at him from a good distance – I hate startling people at on the run. He had his music blaring and did see or hear me until I passed. He jumped a bit. He was running a little bit slower than me. I slowed a little bit and he picked up the pace a little bit. He was here visiting family from New Orleans. There are few strangers when out running. We ran the next 5 or 6 miles and just talked shop. We had both done the Jazz Half in October and the Mardi gras marathon back in February. We were evening matched in pace. Oh how I prefer some company when out on these runs. Talking with Scott from New Orleans allowed for both of us to push the pace and get our miles. This run was easy and I ended up with 10 miles at a 7:20 minute per mile pace.
Later, on Christmas day I tried at the TRX for the first time. I set up the trainer in my garage with an older TV and DVD player. After I watched the introduction video it was very easy to set up the TRX suspension trainer. In addition, adjusting the suspension trainer for the various exercises was a piece of cake. The system really is easy to go from one exercise to the next. I also liked how you can make each exercise harder or easier with simply the stance or your proximity to the anchor. The workout was comfortably challenging. It was very different from one of my typical weight workouts. It was more fluid and, sorry for this, “Zen like”. I felt like my body really was working as a complete unit – none of the isolation that I experience with normal strength training. In addition, the workout had several stretching routines at the end. I normally do not do any stretching but I could feel it throughout my body. It was positive experience. I am excited about adding this suspension training to my normal workout routine. I believe that strengthen my core via suspension training will help with triathlon – the swim, the bike and the swim.