Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rambling thoughts about working out

So, obviously, I am not a boot camp camper (from the daily e-mails they send out, which I am still getting despite dropping out, "camper" is the term they've been using.  Ick.).  That said, my hour of torment on Monday did bring home to me that perhaps, the switch in our way of eating may not have made me stronger, no matter what I might have thought.  I'm cool with that, and, quite frankly, the shape I'm in strikes me as perfectly appropriate for a 50 year old woman.  I have pretty much full mobility, I can get up out of chairs without bracing myself on something (hands-free, except this week), I can carry multiple bags of groceries in one hand as necessary.

Things I'm a bit unsatisfied with?  I've been having some issues with shoulder pain lately - and because my occupation involves mostly sitting at a desk typing at a computer, I get a lot of knots in my delts and trapezius muscles, and my pecs are generally too short.  It would be nice to have a way to counteract those forces.  I would like to be somewhat stronger, and to have a slightly better body comp (never did get the skinfold test that the boot camp place promised; they did it on day 2, when I was negotiating rush-hour traffic across town, near as I can tell (not that I was still a "camper" at that point, anyway).  Whoops, got distracted there.  I don't think my body fat needs to be below 20% at this age, but I think I'd rather be in the 21-24% band, and as of the weekend, the tape measure had me at 26.7%. 

By way of having some sort of goal, Liz mentioned last night that she wants to do the Bolder Boulder again this coming May.  That sounds good to me, so I can use that as a training goal - and maybe (assuming I find my old bib - I wrote the time on it) I could set a goal to beat my old Peachtree time, which, I believe, was my fastest 10K.  I would do it in Vibrams, of course.

Back when I did the Peachtree, in '98 (oh, Lord - that makes me sound like some sort of old-timer!), my training plan was to walk lots and often, working up to the 6.2 miles.  Mostly because I hadn't attempted that distance before and had no idea if I could do it.  Well, that, and to try to leave my most annoying sister-in-law, with whom I did the race, in the dust - and I did not meet that goal, unfortunately.  She stuck to me like a limpet. 

Nowadays, I know I can walk 6.2 miles, probably at close to a 15-minute mile without much additional effort.  And I can and will certainly walk as part of the training; my racewalking form is probably sloppy at best and could be tuned up.  But I think I can work on the other items as well, and that improvements in those areas will probably help with a fast 10K.  I'd want to add some weights to the mix, but maybe not just working the cycle on the weight machines each time we hit the gym.

So, targets for the weight work:
  • Shoulders - lat pulldowns, biceps and triceps, maybe some rowing
  • Core - I'm actually thinking about doing the full-on situps that she had us test out on Monday - I did 32 of them, with weight on my ankles, meaning that hip flexors were almost certainly engaged, but I can still feel the effects in my abs three days later, and 32 was pushing the muscles to exhaustion.  Probably worth repeating, actually.  Also planks.
  • Legs - squats, especially the knees-and-toes-pointing-out sort, so that inner thighs are engaged as well as hamstrings and quads.  Machines that are squat-y in nature (leg press and extensions, probably)
  • Overall strength - the biceps and triceps weight work should help, but I think maybe I should continue to do pushups, even if they have to be knee pushups.
A plan would involve multiple trips to the gym per week, because I am still feeling the results of trying to do all that within a single hour on Monday.  Probably walk each visit, and then focus on upper/core and lower on alternating trips.  Maybe the walking approach would be to allot 15 minutes for walking, and work on increasing the distance I cover in that time.

This could work.  If I'm serious, I'll start logging my results.

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