Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gym then squash

Going to the gym yesterday after a session in the pool on Friday was very tough.  

Last year when I read my book and wrote my programme I missed out a whole chapter of the book called, "Strength".  

At the last local race of this season I was feeling really weak on the climbs.  Not just tired but so weak that Claire lapped me, Melissa nearly lapped me and I went out and bought a 36 tooth chainring.  So I decided to re-read the Strength chapter of the book.

Turns out, missing a whole chapter of the book means I missed a whole "type" of training out of my plan, particularly the bit that recommends that women can improve a lot by doing weights all year round (unlike men who are naturally stronger and get a rest from the gym in the summer).  I'm yet to find out if the other women, to whom I aspire, actually spend all season pumping weights but I think I'll give it a go and see what happens for me. 

My target in the gym this week was anatomical adaption which means three sets of 20-30 reps of low weights so that my body will adapt to weight training.   I didn't expect this to be a problem as I've always been quite strong in the past.  However, the pre-LBHN days when I was racing I used to rock climb too which is a slow and strong sport that naturally maintains core and upper body strength as well as leg- strength.  In the break that I had from racing - and climbing - whilst I was with LBHN my strength died away and now I am left trying to race, without the  strength to back me up.

The fact that I had to do 20-30 reps meant that the weights I was lifting were really low.  I used to be able to push 65-70kg on my legs but yesterday I was struggling to move 60kgs and ended up dropping to 43kgs to get 20 reps in.  On the arms and knee/calf excercises I was lifting 14-20kgs and when I went to do a bridge yoga position, it was not my flexibility that let me down but the fact that my triceps were not strong enough to push up the weight of my body.  All 59.5kgs of it (I can't believe I am less than 60kgs - that's lost muscle that!)

The bridge has been the one yoga position that reassures me I'm still young so now it is my mission to reinstate this one act of flexibility and feat of strength again.

It's never interesting at the gym but it can be strangely cathartic.  However, it was like a morgue - both the attendance (sweet peace and quiet) and the temperature.  I had to force  myself to run for 10 minutes to warm up again before stretching at the end of my workout.  With perfect timing the noisy guy arrived.  The one who always raises the volume fifteen-fold by huffing and puffing 1-2-3-4, "I'm sorry, I don't give a crap how much weight you can lift / how many times / STFU, you're too loud and sweaty, I'm off".

Still, there you go. Saturday in the gym was hard.  It was less hard to go out for a game of squash with TSK this afternoon.

Over Christmas we exhausted ourselves, playing for an hour and 20 minutes.  This week we restricted ourselves to an hour, my calf muscles have finally cleared up from Skiing on Wednesday and I am ready to take on the world - or at least the next workout - tomorrow.  I am really enjoying this cross-training part of triathlon training.

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