Monday, September 29, 2014

Raising a child

When I started this blog it was because I wanted to document what it's like to raise a baby and continue to train as much as I do and how I manage the 2.  Over the course of almost 2 years, I think I have possibly forgotten a lot of writing about the raising a child part.  It's so easy to write about training and what I'm trying to accomplish and how I've either been successful or not.  Those are documented things.  However, I haven't been writing that much about Riley and how he has influenced my life.

Outside of the obvious, he's changed my life for the better, he's the most important thing in my life, and everything a parent should say, etc.  Riley has also taught me a lot over the past 21 months.

-He has taught me that it's so easy to laugh at almost anything.  The wife and I are really lucky. Riley is such an easy baby.  Very rarely do we experience the typical terror baby (which is also why we don't want to mess it up and try for a second soon).  So it is very easy to look at Riley and laugh at almost everything he does.  He is so good and playful that even if he does something bad, he gives this face and you just have to laugh at him.  Even in his devilish ways, laughing at him is so easy.

-Schedules are good.  Yes, we all know schedules are supposed to be followed, but how many of us actually do this?  Since about 3 months, Riley has been on a schedule for most things. Naps, food, playtime, bedtime, etc. What we find is that the more he follows this schedule, the better acclimated he is at everything else.  What this also does is allow the wife and I to be on a regular schedules ourselves.  We know how we can build our days, workouts, plans, and everything else around his schedule.  This makes our lives so much easier.  Yes, we get the comments of how "structured" we are, but we also get the comments on how good Riley is, so I'll take the structured comments with how great of a baby he is.  I'll also take knowing when I can go for a long run vs. short intense run because of timing issues.  This helps me plan my training tremendously.

-Grandparents mean well, but.....I'll just leave it at that.  Riley has 2 sets of wonderful grandparents.  They both love him and make our lives easy....most of the time.  Some of the challenge with having grandparents is that since they raised you, they think they know everything and always use the line "well, I raised you and your sister (or brother or X amount of kids).  This is very true, but it is the wife's and mine choices that are going to have the most impact of Riley's development.  We like to think we know what's best for him since we see him every day.  So when we know he has to be fed by a certain time or he'll turn into Audrey 2 from the Little Shop of Horrors, we know what we're talking about and that he should probably eat.  While we can stretch out the times we eat, he can't.  Or when we only allow him to watch TV before naps and bed, that means it should not be on all day.  The wife and I can't complain about Riley's grandparents too much since we'll take them over most, and definitely not having, but we wish they would listen to us a little more.

- A way to make Thunder like you is through his stomach.  At first, Thunder wasn't too fond of Riley.  He didn't like the attention he was getting and wanted me all to himself.  This all changed when Riley started eating real food.  Since Thunder was always Riley's best friend, but Riley wasn't always Thunder's, this had to change.  Riley always wanted to play with Thunder.  So when Riley started giving his Cheerios to his sidekick, Thunder started getting a little more interest in Riley.  Now Thunder follows Riley around since there is a chance he might get a snack.  To watch a boy and his dog play is one of the true treasures in life.

There are tons of things I have learned and experienced over the months since Riley has been born that I can't write enough.  But since I realized that I have gone away from a lot of the reasons I created this blog, I wanted at least get some of them out there.  Having Riley in our lives has been a blessing and one that we wont trade in.

A Boy and his Dog

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Favorite workouts

Now that Tri season is officially over for the year, it's time to focus on marathon season.  I'm actually really excited about this.  Having a disappointing Tri season is something that I wasn't expecting, but I'm happy to put it in my rear-view mirror.  This way, I can focus on only one discipline, which also happens to be my favorite of the 3 disciplines and one that I am most comfortable in.

Over the past few years, I've developed or stolen some workouts that have been staples in my running training programs.  They are just my go to workouts that I know will kick my butt, but also give me a good idea of where I am in my training.  I would say that 95% of my workouts are hard.  I very rarely do "easy" days.  I know this isn't good and that easy run days are needed, but it's not something I can do easily.  Even during my easy days, I find myself pushing myself during parts of the run.

I've also had the experience to bring on a few fellow runners and introduce them to a few of my workouts.  Some like them, most don't.  But when we all get through the workouts, everyone does thank me for introducing them to the pain. So here goes.  Feel free to take them, tweak them, make them yours.  Just pass them on and push yourself during each workout

Treadmill Speed workout:
Warm up with a 1/2 mile-1 mile at half marathon pace
Interval runs 2 minutes on, 1 minute rest
Here's the kicker- make the intervals FAST.
For example, my treadmill run pace for a normal run is 10.2 mph. For this workout, my run interval speed is 11.8 mph for the first minute, then 11.9 the 2nd.  After 2 minutes, either rest with a slow/comfortable jog or hop off and stand on the rails

Do this for at least 5 miles on the treadmill.  For me, that breaks down to about 25 minutes. If you can do longer, then do it.  I know I'm exhausted and fighting at the end of it, so do it until you can't sustain the entire 2 minutes.
To make it harder, increase the incline on the treadmill.  I start mine at a level of 1.0

Hill Workouts:
Warm up with a jog to your desired hill.
Find a hill that is about 1/3-1/2 a mile long.  The speed for this workout should be faster than 5k pace.  I know a lot of people don't recommend this, but I find that essentially sprinting up a high grade hill at this speed gets me more ready for long runs than doing a hill at an easier pace.
Jog back down to the bottom of the hill and start again.

Build up hill reps.  When I start these each season, I struggle to finish 5.  By the end of the season, I'm up to 10 hill repeats.  The goal during the actual run part is to really fight the pain and mental pain during the last 30 seconds of the hill.  That's how fast you want to go.  If you can do the hill and it feels easy or slightly difficult, you're not pushing yourself hard enough.  At the top of the hill, you should have your hands on your knees gasping for air and then recover on the way down.  This makes racing up hills a lot easier and you get to find that edge where you blow past people on the hills during a race and really get a lift.

note- this is the hardest workout I do.  At first, it was just me.  Then I had Leo join me, and have since had others join.  Each have said how much they hated it the first time doing it.  I think one person even threw up.  But I can tell you that every single person has asked me when is the next time we are doing this workout.

Pole Workout:
No, I'm not becoming a stripper.
I stole this workout, so this is one I can't take credit for.  Since Central Park is my home turf, I use Light posts as my markers, but you can use whatever street marker you want.

Run at 5k pace for 3 lamp posts, then jog for 3 lamp posts. Then run 4 lamp posts, jog for 4 lamp posts.  Go to 5 lamp posts, then start again at 3.

Why this is good is that you can't pick a course that is easy.  If you happen to start an interval on an uphill and have to do 4 lamp posts, then that's what you have to do.  You can't cheat the system.  It all depends on the street, the course, what marker you are using, where your intervals start and stop, etc.

Those are my 3 favorite workouts.  The first 2, I typically use every week.  The last one, I tend to use in the beginning of the season for some reason and then forget about. Every single one of these workouts make my long runs easier because it works on specific parts of each run.  Knowing that I can bust it up a hill at a pace faster than 5k speed helps me get through the pain I'm in when I'm doing that same hill at marathon pace.

Tempo runs, long runs, Canova workouts and a bunch of others are all incorporated into my running, but as much as I hate the 3 above, I love them just as much, if not more.