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Gear, Injury, Recipes, Strength, Training

A String of [Semi-Related] Thoughts

Well, y’all, it appears that all I need to do from now on is complain about things — on the Internet, to my PT, to my mom over and over and over, thankfully she’s patient — and life will magically get better. I’ve had two appointments with (insurance-approved) PT #2, and I feel really good about the direction this whole knee debacle is headed. He basically said the same thing we’ve kinda suspected all along — tight quads = patella tracking a little bit off = tendonitis. Self diagnosis is always right. Anyway, I’ve been introduced to the magic that is ART — quick but ouch it hurts — and have had several good runs in the last few days with next to no pain or discomfort and now I’m ready and raring to go on this whole marathon training thing. I’ve only lost a week, and not even really that because I was still getting all my miles in the pool. While I’ll have to be cautious in stepping up the long runs right away, I’m no longer worried about not being able to train for Eugene. Like the rest of the universe, I ran in shorts and t-shirt last night and all is again right with the world.

On a related note, this whole mess has made me super religious about my recovery and prevention strategies. I’ve been icing multiple times a day for weeks now, stretching like it’s my job, practicing proper form with my squats, strength training/yoga-going/core-working, and, most recently, learning what it means to foam roll the shit out of my quads. I’m pretty used to working my calves, but GEEZ is the quad a different beast. To assist with this self-inflicted pain, I’m very seriously considering the purchase of one of these suckers:

The general Internet consensus is that it’s worth every penny (and it’s not even that expensive as designer foam rollers go). My current one is the cheap kind from City Sports, and while that’s fine for now, I think the GRID will last longer, work better/deeper, and be good for travel. No price is too high for for injury prevention, or something.

And related to that, I’m at the point — again — at which I have to decide what to do about my gym situation. I’ve been living off of LivingSocial or intro passes for months now (prior to which I didn’t really do any consistent strength training) and now that my last Washington Sports Club card is about to expire, I have to figure out how to maintain this excellent but pricey habit I’ve created. The reality is that once tri season (ie. spring/summer) rolls around, I’ll be pretty unmotivated to waste workouts in the gym when I need to be swimming/biking/running outside and can do core work at home, especially given that I’d be paying a decent amount per month to go once or *maybe* twice a week. I joined WSC when I first moved here primarily for the boot camp classes but quit after discovering I was halfway decent at triathlon.

So, I have several options. I can join Results for pretty cheap through my office. It’s convenient to work and home and has an underwater treadmill, which is kind of awesome. I can hope that Groupon or someone keeps coming up with passes, though serial gym switching is getting kind of old. Or I can start building my own little home gym with the minimal equipment I actually need to do my routine. I have a yoga mat, a pull-up bar, a trainer, a foam roller, and outdoor/rooftop space (abs at sunrise, anyone?), so at the get-go I’d only really need to invest in some free weights. I mean, I’d love to have a TRX set and a Bosu trainer, but, baby steps. The upside of this is that with an initial investment, I’d avoid paying gym fees forever and always. The downsides are the $$$ upfront, my teeny apartment, and the fact that I wouldn’t have access to classes. This is basically a non-issue except for yoga — in which case I’d rather have a pass to a studio anyway. So I think the solution is to get a yoga pass, part of which would be covered with a sweet work wellness benefit, and work on my personal equipment selection.

Which leads me to the real point — if you were building a home gym in a studio apartment and didn’t want to spend a lot, what would you add?

Still going with the related theme, I got back on my bike this morning for the first time in awhile. Yeah, it was on the trainer, but I did an actual workout and really enjoyed it. I understand that part of the deal with marathon training is that something’s gotta give, and since swimming is basically a recovery activity, that something is the bike. I hate this, mainly because 1) I just spent every last cent I don’t have on a new ride 2) the winter has been mild enough to basically avoid the trainer and 3) I worked really super hard last season to be a strong cyclist and I’m not into the idea that I’ll get to May and have to start over at zero. Even though I have a background in running and swimming and almost none in cycling, my bike split every. single. time. was my strongest relative to the rest of the field. I have to hope that by staying strong with consistent run/swim training and throwing the occasional trainer intervals or outdoor ride in there, I won’t totally fall apart when tri season rolls around. The slightly good news is that I won’t need to train to race more than 56 miles, and I killed that last May after only a few months of only half-consistent from less than zero thanks to, you guessed it, marathon training.

And lastly, this time on a not-really-related note, last night I made pasta for the first time since July. In all the GF stuff I basically gave it up (GF varieties are really expensive) in favor of quinoa supplemented by very occasional lasagna goodness. I also experimented with mung beans. Have you ever heard of those? No? Me neither. They’re a lot like lentils — I think — which means they’re pretty bland but delicious when combined with other ingredients. Right now I’m way into recipes from Ashley over at Edible Perspective, so I tried her Mexican Spiced Veggie Pasta using GF brown rice spirals. Other than cooking the beans a little bit too long, it turned out great, and now I have enough pasta in my fridge to feed an army. I also highly recommend using her recipe for homemade tomato sauce instead of buying it in a jar. Now to decide which recipe to try next…

Happy Thursday, all! The weekend is almost here!

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Discussion

17 thoughts on “A String of [Semi-Related] Thoughts

  1. Keep an eye on Craigslist for a set of Bowflex dumbbells. I got a “broken” set for $100 (only the 20lb setting on one dumbell doesn’t work otherwise they are perfect). What’s that? Like 2 months at a gym and they take up hardly any space.

    IMO running and biking go hand in hand when training. You do a lot of one and the you don’t lose too much of your fitness in the other. Missing the biking has been more of a factor comfortwise when I get back on the bike. I have been trying to get on twice a week during marathon training just to keep my ass comfortable.

    You had to throw in that link to homemade tomato soup just to torture me didn’t you… Grrrr! haha

    Posted by Kevin | February 2, 2012, 3:50 PM
  2. I don’t belong to a gym because I’m too cheap too. I have a yoga matt, free weights, tension band, and my trainer at home. I seem to be able to get everything in that I need to and nothing takes up to much space.

    Posted by Sarah | February 2, 2012, 3:51 PM
  3. I love the weights we have–that lets you add and take off weight on the same dumbbell. It’s a great space saver. We have ones that go 2.5-12.5 lbs and another set that is 20-75 lbs. A bit pricey, but it makes it easy to do a bunch of different exercises at different weights.

    Posted by Rachel | February 2, 2012, 4:03 PM
  4. I’ve been not so subtly eyeing the TRX system that you can mount/hang from any door anywhere. Of course I still haven’t bought it yet.

    Posted by amy | February 2, 2012, 4:09 PM
  5. I love my GRID foam roller. I also just got a Stick (actually because I thought it would be easier for traveling) which is great as well. I probably don’t need both, but it’s nice to have options. I’m still in the process of to figuring out which one is best for which muscle.

    Posted by Allison | February 2, 2012, 4:14 PM
  6. At the risk of sounding like the publicist for Results–they actually have a studio-quality yoga program. The instructors are amazing and definitely big names in the DC yoga world. I can tell you all about it.

    Posted by lizard151 | February 2, 2012, 4:43 PM
  7. I’ve been doing all of my strength with bands recently. You can get a set of varying strength for about $20 and find ways to hit all the major muscle groups. Its easily portable, takes up almost no space and can give you a pretty good workout if you do it right. I don’t think its the same as heavy lifting, but you probably won’t get that at home anyway unless you get a full weight set and bench.

    Posted by Beth | February 2, 2012, 4:44 PM
  8. I need to try out the GRID roller, as I am finding my legs are too used to my white generic foam roller. I need more abrasion! (TWSS?)

    When I do strength in my apartment, a simple adjustable incline/decline bench and some dumb bells is enough to get in a full body workout. Works for all seated or laying down movements, step ups, pitchers squats, jump ups. Plus! You can then throw a nice cover over it and! bonus seating!

    I have one similar to this (made sure it folds up as compact as possible!):
    http://www.amazon.com/Powerline-PFID125X-Incline-Decline-Folding/dp/B000R11G2I/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1328215354&sr=8-10

    Posted by Jon | February 2, 2012, 4:44 PM
  9. Definitely recommend the TRX system and some free weights for a great strength routine with limited space. Also, bike strength and endurance translate very well to running, I trained for my marathon PR running 4 days/week, biking 2 and swimming 2 for recovery.

    Posted by Shevaun | February 2, 2012, 4:46 PM
  10. I agree with Beth and the bands. Not to mention you can focus on weak running muscles (think glute med) and make them stronger with medium resistance and high reps. Also, you can do a ton of work outs with your own body weight- squats, push ups, yada yada.

    Posted by Lauren | February 2, 2012, 4:50 PM
  11. 1. Grid is amazing. It’s hollow and has a ‘reinforced’ [or something] center so it is definitely better than the cheaper ones. But sometimes when I’m super sore or tight, I still use the cheap one bc it’s nicer to my legs.
    2. Don’t join a gym for yoga classes. I went to my first, and last, yoga class at LA Fitness this week. SO BAD.
    3. Home gym = Bosu and TRX (and pull up bar which you have). Bosu fits nicely under the bed. You can usually find used TRX on craigslist or ebay. There is also another ‘version’ of the TRX that people seem to like, but I forget what it’s called.
    4. Please keep biking, bc I like biking with you ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted by Sarah | February 2, 2012, 5:18 PM
  12. I’m always up for a new healthy meal. Mug beans sound interesting but worth trying.

    I’ve had my perfect home gym planned out forever. Wood floors, big windows, yoga mat, trainer, Bosu ball, treadmill and some free weights/bands.( I had it my way I’d have a 25m pool too)

    I don’t have a grid but I do have a black foam roller which has been doing wonders for me.

    Posted by Katie | February 3, 2012, 11:13 AM
  13. I still belong to my gym because I will never buy one of those giant cable machines for my house. and I want it.

    Posted by katie | February 3, 2012, 11:44 AM
  14. I have a set of adjustable dumbbells which is good for a small space. Other stuff I have are: exercise balls (deflated right now), perfect push-ups (gifted), resistance bands, trainer and a jump rope. Gyms suck ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted by Liz | February 3, 2012, 12:58 PM
  15. Hmmmmmmm, great minds.. I’ve been wanting to put in a make-shift home gym, with some of the basics. On my list were medicine balls, exercise balls, yoga mats (duh), resistance bands, and some light weights. Everything above and beyond that is too much work and I won’t do it ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Posted by Meaghan | February 3, 2012, 3:07 PM
  16. So happy to hear that the knee is cooperating!

    I’m not so helpful in the home-gym input – I love doing body-weight exercises, and requiring no equipment. I rely on the yoga studio to fill the only void, which is the fact that I just don’t get the same workout doing yoga on my own or from a podcast. I do think that Stroga might be a good investment for you, though, since they have a mix of the two types of classes! And selfishly, because it’s close to me, too… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Posted by Heather C | February 4, 2012, 2:05 PM
  17. I actually love belonging to a gym because I prefer to get out of the house for my workouts. I could have the best gym at home, and I’m still not sure it would be as fulfilling. That’s just me though.

    Posted by Brigid @ Live Breathe Huzzah | February 7, 2012, 10:53 AM

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