Holiday Fitness, Week 2: Work in Progress

One of the things I’ve been keeping tabs on is how often I’ve gotten sick this year. Having my nephew running around my place most days means I get exposed to all sorts of virulent strains; every time he had a runny nose, I’d get struck down for a whole week.

Well, last week I realized it had been more than a month since I’d last had a full-blown cold or flu. I came close a few times, but a day’s rest and a good night’s sleep were able to ward the sniffles off. It’s amazing how well the human body can recover, but to get to this point I’ve had to drop any sort of hard training and gain some weight — five pounds, to be exact. It’s a good trade-off though, because being sick sucks. Continue reading “Holiday Fitness, Week 2: Work in Progress”

Holiday Fitness, Week 1: Nike Run Club

With no racing in my immediate future, I can turn my attention toward rebuilding my fitness properly. This year more than ever I’ve seen the importance of taking things slow to be able to go fast later on, so a return to basics is in order.

The problem with race-based training is that when you go into the offseason, suddenly it’s like you’ve got nothing to aim for. Couple the offseason with the start of the Christmas holiday season, and it’s a recipe for letting yourself go.

I took on a challenge from my friends at Nike to use the Nike+ Run Club app to help keep me on track. Continue reading “Holiday Fitness, Week 1: Nike Run Club”

Short Circuit to Total Body Fitness

Working out doesn’t have to take your entire day, unless you’re a professional athlete or bodybuilder. If you’re just like the rest of us, you want to be fit and look good in the least amount of time needed, which probably explains the popularity of late-night infomercials about the latest machine that will give you several workouts in one.

But no major purchase is required for a decades-old workout methodology that gives you a cardio and strength workout combined. I’m talking about circuit training, and how a simple series of exercise combinations can burn fat, tone muscle, and give you the health and strength you need.

Circuit Fitness Routine

Continue reading “Short Circuit to Total Body Fitness”

Into the Offseason

Now that I’ve finally ticked off all the races I set out to do this year, it’s time for me to head into the offseason. This year more than any other year I am reminded of how important this time is. Let me tell you why.

Into the Offseason
Offseason run = 2.2 km only :P

When we’re training we always talk about incorporating rest or easy sessions so that the body can recover. However, as endurance athletes we find it much easier to keep moving rather than stopping and starting again. This gives rise to the “no offseason” mentality where you have people continuing to do almost the same mileage and intensity of training even after their A race has been completed.

“Oh, I don’t want to get fat.”
“It’s so much harder to get back into training when you’ve stopped for a while.”
“A nice race might pop up so it’s good to keep the fitness going.”

Sounds like you? Well, it was me for the past two years, and it all finally caught up with me resulting in that most dreaded of maladies: OVERTRAINING.

Here’s a timeline.  Continue reading “Into the Offseason”

Road to Vietnam, Week #12: Final Preps

Last week was a bit of a blur as I battled jet lag, catching up on work, and making sure all systems are go for next week’s trip to Nha Trang for Challenge Vietnam.

Because I had my race registration transferred to a relay, I had to wait for my prospective relay teammates to register. With Challenge Vietnam, you can register as a relay with friends or indicate your interest to do one leg and the organizers match you up with potential teammates.

Initially only tapped to do the swim, I now also have to run the final half-marathon as our relay runner never got back to us. I don’t really mind though; my main issue is I’m not fit enough to be out on the entire course for what could take me longer than six-and-a-half hours to complete. With the bike leg taken care of, I’ll treat the swim as a morning warm-up and the run as my main workout for the day. At least I can still enjoy my hotel’s buffet breakfast after the swim!

Road to Vietnam Week #12
Bumping up swim mileage was easier than building long run fitness, though.

I felt a burden lift off my shoulders when I decided not to do the entire race as an individual competitor, which only confirms that it was the right choice. As a result, I found last week’s workouts much more enjoyable as well. It is after all the last two weeks leading into the race and nothing I do now will improve my fitness very much for what’s up ahead. All that matters is just keeping the engine turning over.

Road to Vietnam Week #12
Just keep moving.

Because I’m not doing the bike leg, I’ve done considerably less bike work. That doesn’t mean I’ve left my bike to rust, though. Thanks to the team at Primo Cycles as well as Jerry Santos of Ceepo, Aki is ride-ready.

This is Aki 2.0 because Jerry replaced my 2014 Katana frame with the 2015 edition. There’s no difference in the geometry, but it now includes two bosses on the top tube for easy installation of direct-mount bento boxes, as well as a CO2 cartridge holder on the chain stay. Glenn the master Retul fitter from Primo made sure the bike was set-up exactly as the previous one was so I could still have an optimized fit.

Road to Vietnam Week #12
Now all I need is to get on and actually ride the bike.

I’m not bringing the bike with me to Vietnam though; I’ll probably be back on it on the open road after the race. Until then it’ll just be me and my own two feet splashing in the water and hitting the pavement.

It’s been an interesting racing season with an unexpected conclusion, but I’m back and I’m still loving the lifestyle of being a recreational endurance athlete.

Road to Vietnam Week #12
Catch you on the road.