Thursday, April 21, 2011

New job at LA Fitness

This week I became a trainer at LA Fitness.

This is a brand new facility that just opened on Tuesday.  All the equipment is fresh out of the box.  The place is huge, they’ve got a great selection of machines, cardio equipment, and pretty much anything else you can think of.  They also have a power rack!


My hours are so incredibly flexible.  I essentially make my own hours, can change them at will, and don’t have to tell anybody if I want to take a day off.  I’m not kidding!  Obviously this is only if I have no appointments, I would probably be in trouble if I ditched a client.


The downside to the place is that it is definitely a big, corporate, chain gym.  The trainers don’t get paid very well compared to other gyms.  You do get plenty of clients though.  So it’s a great place to get some experience under your belt.


There is no way I could work here and not get in great shape.  I have way too much time to work out!  Somebody stop me before I get over training syndrome! 


Tuesday, April 12, 2011



What, you may ask, is Randonneuring?  Well honestly it is summed up here quite nicely.  And there is also an old picture of me.  Wow, shortest post ever.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Frederick Fifty


Went on another fantastic ride today.  I was originally planning on taking my first trip to Seneca Rocks of the year but I got sidetracked when LA Fitness called me for a job interview on Sunday.  Well I guess that might have been a little (tiny bit) more important than going climbing.  The good thing was that the interview was in the morning, leaving most of the rest of the day free.  And I got the job :)




I have ridden close to 2,000 miles on my ‘06 Specialized Allez Comp without changing any parts of the drive train.  I decided I didn’t want to have a chain break in the middle of a ride (99% of the time leads to total wipeout) and bought one from online.  It is always cheaper to buy parts online as shops have a 500% markup.  However since I couldn’t be bothered to change it myself (total PITA) I took it to Bike Doctor Crofton.  Of course they told me yeah your old chain was done 500 miles ago and so is your cassette.  I actually stopped there on the way to my bike ride!  So with a new cassette and chain I headed over to Frederick.  The new cassette cost me $90 at the shop.  When I checked online tonight I found several places that have it for $59.

I love my new Garmin.  It may be the best thing I bought in the past 4-5 years.  I just plug into the website: Frederick Maryland, 40-60 miles, bike ride.  And like magic I got a perfect ride in my GPS for an area that I have never been to.



The actual distance was a hair under 50 miles.  It started with some serious hills in the first half.  I know what goes up must come down.  But for some reason there didn’t seem to be any down.  Until I hit Catoctin Park.  Then it seemed like I was flying. 

I love the 50 mile distance.  A nice half century.  You can bust it out and still make it home in time for dinner.  And you don’t even have to wake up early.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Training for a marathon

I am training for my second marathon.  I have changed what I am doing this year from what I did last year.  Looking back, my training last year was very unstructured.  I think that was fine for last year because my goal was simply to finish the marathon.  However this year I have created a detailed week by week training plan.  Much of the running that I did last year could be called junk miles in the new program.  Junk miles is a common term for miles that are run just for the sake of getting in more miles.  This year, every mile has a purpose and fits into “the big picture”.  Every minute spent training is time spent towards achieving my goal.

An indispensable part of my training is my Garmin 310XT.  The heart rate monitor allows me to precisely pace myself on all my runs.  It has a GPS which accurately measures distance.  But more than that it easily allows me to keep detailed records of all the runs that I do.  This is very helpful to look over a week or month at a glance and get an idea of how the training is going.

There are essentially 5 types of runs that I am doing.

1. Warm up
Probably speaks for itself.  But last year I did little if any warming up.  As a general rule of thumb, the shorter and more intense the workout is the longer the warm up should be.
2. Distance
I do a long distance workout once a week only.  It is probably my most damaging workout, and leaves me fairly sore.  It essentially trains my aerobic systems to use energy more efficiently.
3. Tempo
A tempo run is a fast paced run which is run near your anaerobic threshold.  They are designed to increase anaerobic threshold (otherwise known as lactic acid threshold). 
4. Interval
High intensity interval training can create large gains in cardiorespiratory fitness in a short amount of time.  Simplified, it’s the ability of my lungs to take in oxygen, and the ability of my body to deliver the oxygen to my cells.
5. Recovery
A common misconception is that a recovery run lets you recover faster.  In fact, recovery runs are training runs during your recovery period.  They force you to exercise in a pre-fatigued state.  Your muscles must adapt in new ways (recruitment of more fibers).
Another thing that I am doing is to schedule a series of smaller races leading up to the marathon.  The most significant of these is the Hidden Treasures Half Marathon in September.  However there are a few more local races that I am doing as well.

Note on stretching:
Most of the recent evidence suggests that stretching is of no use to runners, and could actually decrease running efficiency.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pennsylvania Dutch 55 miles


I went on a nice medium length bike ride through Amish country.  Eastern Pennsylvania may be the best kept secret in road biking.  It may be what Yosemite is to climbers.  There are just endless miles of winding country roads.  Hilly enough to keep it interesting but not ridiculous.
The ride was 55 miles and gained 3400 feet elevation.  There were a hundred small hills, and 2 very long big ones.  My max speed was 46.2 mph this time, but I’ve topped 50 coming down from that same hill before.
I managed to take some shots and some footage while riding and not totally wipe out.

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