Sunday, January 26, 2014

Muscle ropes...their jump rope is the new weapon in my training aresenal is easy for us triathletes right? Its all about swim, bike, run. Go longer, go harder, go faster, recover then repeat...right?! Right?! I often chuckle at my single sport friends who complain about trying to find time to "cross train". YOU can't find time? Try being a triathlete!

I admit however that its a constant struggle for me to find time, or the desire, to do some other type of training after a swim, bike or run workout. As most of you know that read this blog or follow me, I'm a total night owl and most gyms are closed when I get the urge to workout. So I'm always looking for things to keep in my home gym, or take while traveling, to help keep me in shape when I get the urge to train (at whatever ungodly hour that is). Well, I recently came across Muscle Ropes because of my association with FitFluential...more specifically their jump rope.

Now, we all know that jumping rope is a great exercise. I mean how can all those boxers and MMA fighter's be wrong?! We've all seen the black and white video of Muhammad Ali looking all graceful while he "floats like a butterfly" jumping rope and doing crisscrosses and such (what? too old of a reference? Well then watch any MMA show)...but its not as easy as it looks...and this ain't your dad's jump rope. This thing is 2" thick and is heavy. Sure there are weighted jump ropes on the market but this thing is diesel...and bombproof!

Now I just thought I would pick this thing up and use it like a regular jump rope. Oh no, this rope takes a little getting accustomed to. First off, its not soft and pliable (although I sure it would get that way over time and with use) like a regular jump rope and secondly your forearms and hands alone get a work out from just holding onto the 2" think ends while the rope spins around you. IF it hits you, you know. That smile in the picture is not because I'm enjoying myself...rather its from the fact that I finally learned to quit smashing myself in the calves with the rope!

So, I rethought my plan and started with sets of 3 sets 10 just to learn how to handle this thing and after just 30 reps I was sweating, my shoulders were burning and I was winded...from jumping rope! Thirty minutes into a workout and my upper body was on fire. My shoulders, chest, arms and forearms were pumped like I'd been lifting in the gym. My quads and calves, from the constant bouncing up and down on the balls of my feet with the added weight of the rope, were killing me. My jump rope workout now is: 20-jumps, 15-figure 8 swings, 20-jumps and 30 pushups (which constitutes one "set"), repeat for 4 - 6 sets or to failure. I can tell you that after the third set my forearms look like Popeye's!!! I would've never thought I could get such a massive workout in such a short amount of time with just a jump rope! You can find out more about Muscle Ropes here but I'll tell you that this is a new staple in my training routine! The upper body muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardio and balance built from using this will pay off in the water, on the bike AND on the run. Its a great cross training tool for any athlete especially triathletes. Go get yourself one and see for yourself!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

And the 2014 season is on paper...

So...trying to get back on track, recover from the debacle that was my December and look forward to the new year...and no better way to get there than put marks on the wall to hit. And tentative 2014 schedule

2 February: Super Sunday 5 Miler, Boston MA
16 February: Old Fashion 10 Miler, Foxboro MA
1 March: Phoenix Marathon, Phoenix AZ
9 March: Celtic 5k, Worcester MA
6 April: WCC Half Marathon, Whitinsville MA
27 April: Jay Lyons 5k, Worcester MA
4 May: Race of Rams Duathlon, Whitinsville MA
18 May: Just Du It Duathlon, Seekonk MA
24 May: US Coast Guard MWR Duathlon, Bourne MA
14 June: Patriot 70.3, East Freetown MA
22 June: Hero Olympic Triathlon Cape Cod, Mashpee MA
20 July: Mill City Triathlon, Lowell MA
17 August: Timberman 70.3, Gilford NH
31 August: Mighty Merrimack Swim race, Lowell MA
12 October: Army Ten Miler, Washington DC
26 October: Marine Corps Marathon, Washington DC
30 November: .....???.....  

Sixteen races is a little less than normal for me (although there are some open weekends in there to squeeze in a last minute race...or two...hehe) but I think overall its a decent schedule to start. No doubt that the two 70.3s are my "A" races, I have some unfinished business at Timberman, but I have my eye on a podium at a few others. Not to mention, I'd really like to make it to AND actually compete at Duathlon National Championships this year (I made it into Nats last year but getting there proved too difficult to accomplish). That 30 November date is out there too. I couldn't get into IMAZ or maybe...

Now to start training. NOw where'd I put my mojo?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

"Run in" the new year

Why "ring in" the new year when you can "run in" the new year?! Too often people just sit around, do next to nothing and drink to celebrate the beginning of the new year. In my opinion, that time should be a time of remembrance of the past year as it comes to an end. The high...and low points. Learning from them and making a fresh start moving ahead. For me, no better way to start a new year than to "run off" the last: the flu to start the year, missed races, heat exhaustion/heat stroke at Syracuse 70.3, overtraining/required recovery, the terrible crash in the bike at Timberman 70.3, the trying to salvage my season afterward, my dad's death and my divorce.  Rather than see those as devastating, I see them as hurdles I overcame and proof that I can get through anything life has to throw at me. I have often relied on Nietzsche's quote "That which does not kill me makes me stronger". I want to take my "strength" into the new year. Here's to a fantastic 2014...may it be EPIC!