Category Archives: Gym

Week in Review: 1/30/17 to 2/5/17

Monday: Tempo run outside on the new part of the bike path! 3 by one mile with 90 seconds rest between. Total 7.4 miles.

Tuesday: 3.25 mile Treadmill Express Hills. 

Wednesday: 5 mile regular run with 4 by 30 striders in the end on the treadmill. 1 hour of easy classic skiing in afternoon.

Thursday: 7 mile steady state run with 4 miles at steady state.

Friday: 11.5 mile long run along Lake Michigan. Windy and cold but insanely sunny.

Saturday: 3 miles easy on treadmill pre-interview.

Sunday: Ugh. Done with interview season and instantly sick. Achy, sore throat, nauseous. Miserable.

Total Miles: 37.2

The good news is that I got all three workouts in this week: tempo, steady state and long run! I did a good job of getting glute activation in daily and did some form of core and basic strength before bed every night. The bad news is that I didn’t manage to explicitly lift a single day, my diet was somewhat of a scatter and I still didn’t do any yoga. Not great…

This is a pattern for me (and I presume many other people) that when mileage creeps up (even if it’s half of my usual mileage), all the extras get pushed out. My focus this week is on keeping the extras in, even if my mileage isn’t quite as high. It’s good practice for next year when I’m going to have almost no time to train.

The week ahead may be complicated as I go back on clinical medicine service (for the first time since August) and right back onto Internal Medicine, which is 6 days a week with rotating call. I start tomorrow post-call, which means that I probably won’t be there too late tomorrow but as the week goes on, the hours get crazier. The approach for this week? At least 30 minutes of running in the morning (varying between workouts and recovery) with lifting at night (I already wrote what I’m doing into my schedule) and a hope that I’ll be around 40 miles.

The hurdle may be how long I feel miserably sick for. I am rarely too sick to run but felt like if I could lay low today and go to sleep early, I might be able to stave off whatever this is.

How to Build a Runner’s Home Gym

With the New Year approaching, lots of people refocus on fitness and good health. For Will and I, one of the biggest keys to ongoing fitness is our modest home gym, the newest feature of which is a treadmill. Before we bought the treadmill, however, we had a fully functional home gym that cost us less than a month at a gym and was as convenient as walking down to the basement. With all the end of the year sales underway, now is a perfect time to start constructing your home gym AND set yourself up for a healthier 2016.

Functional, not fancy.

Functional, not fancy.

Space: We’re lucky to have a large basement where we can spread out. Our current set up is about 12 feet by 12 feet but if you have enough space to store the bench, you can condense into about 3 feet when you aren’t actively working out.

Equipment and Key Exercises: 

  • 16″ Step Up Box (optional: you can use your bench instead)
    • Step ups are one of the most effective exercises for runners. Start with either 30 seconds or 10 step ups and focus on tall posture and driving your knees.
  • Flat Bench
    • Tricep Dips
    • Seated Bicep Curls
    • Bench Press
    • Single Arm Row
    • Glute Raises
    • Plank Pushups
    • Bulgarian Split Squat
    • Adductor Thigh Lifts
  • Pull-up Bar 
    • Pull-up/Chin-ups
    • Hanging Pike-ups
  • Yoga Mat
    • All of the core, yoga and flexibility you can think up!
  • Speakers (gotta have tunes!)
  • Dumbbells (5, 10 and 15 pound pairs)
    • Unless you are extremely strong for a runner, these weights should allow you to do almost any exercise. Remember, higher reps, lower weight tend is more endurance focused while heavier weights, lower reps is more strength focused. You should include both over the course of a week.
  • Kettlebell (10 pounds)
    • This is a tool I didn’t entirely appreciate until I found some good kettlebell routines, but I find it irreplaceable for dynamic and rotational strength building. Check out half get ups, woodchopper and two arm swing to see what I mean!
  • Resistance Band
    • Monster walks
  • Foam Roller
  • Exercise Ball (you can use this as a bench for any exercise; added core work!)
    • Crunches
    • Reverse crunches
    • Forward tucks
    • Wall sits
    • Pushups
  • Balance Board

How To Build It Frugally!

  • Craigslist: Great source for things that don’t have joints like metal dumbbells or weight benches. Use caution with equipment like treadmills, exercise bikes or weight machines as they have cables and parts that can make them expensive (or dangerous) space wasters if broken.
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore: This store has been golden for us; our weight bench was $10 from here and when we got it, there were tons of others from a local gym that closed. You have to be a bit patient (and have a critical eye), but stores like this are a great place to pick up home gym staples at a low cost.
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods or Similar: This is a place where you have to watch your prices, because you can pay a TON for basic items but their Hex Dumbbells are reasonably priced and durable.
  • TJ Maxx/Marshall’s: Much like their hidden wealth of exercise clothes, these stores often have great prices on yoga mats, resistance bands and exercise balls.
  • Your Local Gym or PT Clinic: Gyms and PT clinics generally like to have up to date equipment and replace their items more frequently than the recreational user. Although equipment like treadmills and bikes have a lot of use, they are also commercial quality to begin with and have almost certainly had appropriate maintenance. Similarly, the weights and other exercise equipment are top quality. Ask your club manager to let you know if they are planning on replacing equipment. (This also goes for hotels; worth a quick phone call)

Week of Workouts

Nothing suggests a return to normal like a week of workouts planned out. And nothing calms me like knowing what’s ahead. My second day at the gym went really well and even included some intervals and I’m tolerating walking in my boot, so it’s time to work on slowly rebuilding fitness, stability and strength.

Today: Nothing. It’s our annual MMU Nordic Pursuit and I’ll be on my feet all afternoon walking around the ski course. Staying upright and getting through the day will be a success.

Saturday: 45 minute upright bike (as opposed to the recumbent) and Arms.

Sunday: 45 minute bike and legs.

Monday: 30 minute aquajog (and prayers that I don’t drown trying to get in and out of the pool)

Tuesday: Rest Day/Exam Day

Wednesday: 30 minute bike and arms.

Thursday: 40 minute aquajog

It’s no 70 mile week, but it’s a nice start! Have a great weekend.

(Treadmill) Running is Hazardous to Your Health

It’s that time of year where weather makes running outside seem unpalatable. Freezing temps, wind and slippery sidewalks can force the faint of heart inside. Inside is apparently no safer, however, as this link demonstrates. While I’ve logged my share of miles on the treadmill (including a 16 miler), I almost always opt for the outdoor option. As for treadmill fails, I’ve only had one significant one; I was running on a treadmill in my college gym when we had a power outage and flew backwards along with everyone else running on the treadmills at the time, a coordinated fail if you will. Too bad we didn’t have YouTube. My sister, however, had a treadmill fail that resulted in a large hole in my aunt’s living room wall.

Anyone have a good treadmill fail story to add?

Mind over matter

I’ve never been able to do a pull up in my life.  The past year I’ve been working on my core and upper body strength, which is more like upper body endurance as isn’t it impossible to really get upper body strong while running?

At the gym last week I was marveling at a fellow runner in his 60s reeling off pull up after pull up.  He gave me some advice and with some major effort and over a minute of struggling I did one.  He said to do them palms up as they are easier and do them at every workout and they will naturally be easier and you’ll be able to do more.

And he was right as after a week of persistence today at the gym I was up to four pull ups in a row.  They aren’t the prettiest pull ups you ever saw and everyone knows now to stay clear of the bar area to avoid being kicked by my flailing legs, but I get my noggin above the bar four times, so they are legit.

Anyways the Mind of Matter part of the story comes in now:  After doing my rep of glorious four pull ups today I came back to the bar at the end of my workout knowing I should be able to bust out at least two more pull ups.  And without realizing I gripped the bar palms down and started pulling.  To date I hadn’t come close to doing a palms down pull up.  I struggled mightily, but my mind said “Tim, you just did four, there’s no way you’re not doing less than two now” and I did it, I pulled myself up and not until my head cleared the bar did I realize I had just done a palms down pull up.

Ok so I probably just needed to push myself to do a palm down pull up as I was getting comfortable with pull ups in general by now.  But it’s weird as I could feel a difference when my mind was determined to do it, it’s like it found another gear to get the job done.

So now I’m wondering how I get that mind to take over at mile 20 of a marathon or even in the middle of a tempo run.  Maybe I’ll just run palms down?