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Off the Bike

Keeping fit : 6/100

When we hit the road 6 years ago Kate and I had just completed our second of two half Ironman triathlons. We had trained with a coach for about 8 months. As a result we were in possibly the best shape of our lives.

Once we hit the road our workout volume dropped significantly. I tried doing some bodyweight exercises. However we mostly just focused on living in the RV and adopting Dazey and Enzo. As a result we lost our fitness.

Personally I noticed it most when getting up from working on something low to the ground. Or when grabbing pots out of the under sink cabinet. Kate would even mention that I sounded old with my groans and sighs. My back and knees were not feeling great.

Getting older means that the ‘use it or lose it’ mantra applies more everyday. In 2015 I hurt my knee pretty badly doing a relatively minor task. This required surgery and I ended up on crutches for a few months while my meniscus healed. Physical Therapy(PT) was brutal but I knew it was critical for my recovery.

The last time I had done PT was in University 16 years earlier for almost the identical injury, just on the other leg. Back then I took for granted my body’s ability to heal and recover. I did some PT but it didn’t take long to get back on my feet with full range of motion.

This time it took considerably longer to regain the strength but the flexibility part was the most frustrating. One goal was to be able to bend my leg till my heel touched my butt. When we started I was about 8 inches away. The therapist was really helpful here by giving me some encouragement. As the weeks went by I improved, but it took work everyday. Not just when I was at the therapist’s office.

After that surgery and recovery I started to realize how important staying in shape is. Beyond being able to bend down and pick things up without groaning and pain, staying in shape prevents injury.

6 years ago I did the St George Half Ironman triathlon. It was a pretty cool achievement that required months of training. Today I am not running anymore as my knees like to break too much. So I am focused on riding my bike to stay in shape and have fun.

My next goal is to race in an endurance mountain bike event, once this pandemic stuff settles down. I was hoping to either do a 12 hour event or a 100 mile event this year. Now I am focused on training and getting ready to race in 2021. My goal is not to win but to finish with a smile on my face.

In the meantime I am focused on the process of training. Compared to when I was young, I am learning to enjoy the training process. When I was in high school I hated workouts and just wanted to ride my bike or play soccer or ice hockey. Workouts weren’t fun, at least that was my mentality. Now I know how important training is for being prepared for an event or activity. Training also gives me daily routine and makes me feel more confident and comfortable during the rest of the day.

This post just touches the surface of what goes into my training. Currently I am using my Apple Watch to collect heart rate, distance, and speed data. I then upload this to the Training Peaks software to compare and analyze it with my training program. Currently I am following a training plan focused on athletes over 40. This has an adjusted focus towards recovery. So far I am enjoying the program and have been following it almost exactly for 4 weeks.

Workout details:

Today we are back on strength training. I did the recommended routine and felt good. This is the 3rd day in a row that I have not had coffee before my workout. I am mainly doing this to keep from waking Kate up in the morning. However I am also interested in seeing how it affects my ability to complete the routine. So far I have not noticed any decrease in performance or lack of enthusiasm.

My pull ups seem to be progressing. Today I did 4 sets of 3 reps. I used a neutral grip for the last 3 sets as it felt stronger. The entire workout looks like this:

  1. Warmup – Various movements to get the body going. About 10 minutes. This is part of the workout I have learned to spend more time on.
  2. Pull ups 4×3 / Squats 3×8 – 1 min rest between each set then do the other exercise. This gives over 2 min of rest between the same exercise.
  3. Dips 3×7 / L-Sits 3x30sec – Same as above. My L-Sit is progressing and I currently try to pick up one leg at a time.
  4. Rows 3×7 / Diamond Push Ups 3×7 – Same as above.
  5. Core – Various things from knee ups, side lifts, supermans, etc. Mostly I still hate doing core exercises. Need to make this part more fun.

That’s what I have for today. I will get into the riding side of the training more tomorrow.

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