Lock up your hindbrain, it's Andy's Bucket-o-Memes

Training Diary

Use this link to directly, permanently reference this blog entry May 31, 2002 -
Seven weeks to the Dun Run. Starting to formulate training schemes. Want to get several big mileage rides in: at least one century before the ride itself. I'm also considering some hill work, some intervals (thrash-rest-thrash-rest, using heart rate as a guide), and some drag riding (riding with a heavy load, the equivalent of running in big boots), as well as working in a lower gear than usual to rediscover my spinning technique. The nights are light right now so let's say I get a big ride in every other weekend, 70, 85, 100 miles. Then in the evenings after work, trade in one of those gym sessions for a bit of specific training: Jackdaw Hill, or intervals along the estuary road. I still rather want to keep one gym session for upper-body sculpting: that's just vanity! What else? Diet has to alter too: abandon bulk! Food consumption to drop, glycaemic index to be considered more carefully pre-ride. Ride food to be researched, as it's an area in which I have real problems (I am the bonk monster). If I need, say, 85g carbs / hour, that's a lot to stomach on real food and I'm leery of techno-food at the moment. Analyse some flapjack recipes, perhaps!

Use this link to directly, permanently reference this blog entry May 30, 2002 -

All change! Time to shed that heavy leg work in favour of endurance. We've got the Dun Run in seven weeks, so that's seven weekends of training rides. Endurance is needed for a 125-mile night ride (night=dynamo, after all). Also going to refit my bike for distance, with drop bars and a leather saddle. So, the routine will be shifted to encompass upper body work, a cutting regime (bodyfat is non-power-producing) and mileage. En garde, monseiur vélo!

Use this link to directly, permanently reference this blog entry May 27, 2002 -

Did a 45-mile hilly ride at the weekend - to view a house - and am totally zonked. Legs are very weak today; I feel overtrained, drained, and hurting.

If we get this house, it will mean longer, hillier rides - and that will force me to change my training goals. I've been veering towards powerlifting, but all that mass will have to come off if I want an efficient cycling body instead. To be honest, this concerns me a lot: I'm a straight-up endomorph and have great difficulty losing fat (which is why heavy training was suiting me so well). Still, taking the Dun Run as a near goal, we'll see how I do.

Use this link to directly, permanently reference this blog entry May 22, 2002 -

Slight change of plan: I've got a cold. Which means I've been sloppy about protein after exertion. Tsk. Probably last night that did it: the Monster Truck Pull (heh). Our ambulance, Boris, broke down and after recovery, was still at the wrong end of the village. Let there be harness! Man, I'm sore. Annoyed that this moves Heavy Leg Day, but I'm too thick in the sinuses to train today.

Use this link to directly, permanently reference this blog entry May 21, 2002 -

Heavy day for my upper-body split, then:

  • Bench press 20kgx8, 35kgx6, 40kgx3 - wow, I managed the magic 40kg (blue plates)! Okay, it was for three, the last one was eased into place by my lovely spot (ta sis) and the form was wobbly, but they were there and they were good. That's a big psychological barrier broken: I can bench the big boys' weights.
  • Chins: 112lb assist x10, 82lb assistx6, 82lb assistx6 - ouchie! That was harder than I expected.
  • Incline crunch x15, 8 - technique is patchy here; drop the incline for Real Weeks.
  • Dumbbell Flye @ 12x5,4,4 - ouch!
  • Shoulder press @14x8,5,5 - ouch, but satisfyingly ouch. Huge boost to see those big-arse dumbbells going up.
  • Preacher Curl: 12.25x11, 22.5x9, 8 - another psychological barrier, 20kg on the EZ-curl bar, broken, and quite convincingly too.
  • Lat Pulldown: 112x10, 137.5x4.5, 1 - I've been a tad overloaded on pulldowns lately anyway and this proved it. I'll concentrate on form and up reps before weight for the rest of this programme.

    Use this link to directly, permanently reference this blog entry -

    Welcome to Heavy Week. Heavy Week is a experiment in mixing things up a bit halfway through a three-month programme. The goal is to break a few barriers - psychological, mostly - and to deliver a really heavy anabolic growth shock ("grow or die") to my system. I'll be doing my standard routine, but increasing the weight to about 120% of my usual lifts - close to my one-rep max. For the non-pyramid lifts, I'll do one warmup set with light weight, then a couple of sets at big weight.

    That systemic growth impulse is, I am realising, really a very important part of the equation. It sets the whole body system into muscle production - I'll have to work out the biochemistry of this sometime and write it up. But the idea seems to be that you shock the system into growth, and then do specific muscle exercises to indicate where it should concentrate that growth. Thus the big lifts - squats, deadlifts, bench, chins - are important for overall gains even in areas not specifically targeted.

    Use this link to directly, permanently reference this blog entry May 17, 2002 -

    Uppers last night. Smith bench (as I didn't have a spot) - dull, no technique required, did 3x8@30 and then finished with 40 for 4. Nailed flye form. Advanced on chins and curls. Flaked out tired on pulldowns - I really should get more sleep!

    Use this link to directly, permanently reference this blog entry May 16, 2002 -

    Lower body last night, advanced on 'em all again. Squat form was bad but I hit another mini-target, repping 3x8 at 80Kg - two blue plates a side and the bar nicely saggy, muy psychologico. Stiff-leg deadlifts were absolute brutes, the final rep almost a dropper, and my back is quite solidly beasted today. Experimented with light sumo deadlift, 20Kg plus the bar, but I couldn't find comfortable form; will try again as it targets the adductors and arse, and tightening my inner thighs will balance my big quads and (hopefully) ease some of the knee problems I've been flirting with.

    For fun, I had a chat with nice-stomach-shame-about-the-2lb-dumbbells girly about her curl form; she turns out not to be a drooling Morlock nor did she tell me to bugger off, which was rather edifying. We'll see whether she adjusts her form in future - if she does, I'll badger her to up the weight too. The world needs more buff girls :)

    The evening was a slowly-fading ebullient chatty high - not sure if that was endorphins or target-hitting, but whatever it was, it was nice. Bonk was avoided by means of a bottle of gloop and a packet of chicken sandwiches afterwards. Didn't protein load before as I've been feeling a bit queasy lately.

    Use this link to directly, permanently reference this blog entry May 09, 2002 -

    Lower body, advanced on everything (squat, calf raise, stiff-leg deadlift, low row and dips). My back's had quite a beasting with both days together like this. It's nice to be so acutely aware of my physical structure. Was in good shape after the session, rode home at a good pace and wih plenty in the tank.

    Use this link to directly, permanently reference this blog entry May 07, 2002 -

    Upper body. Advanced on chin, shoulder press, preacher curl and lat pulldown. Dropped on flye due to reassessing form - it was way off, and in good form I can't do anything like the same form. Shaky afterwards, bonked: had to have a lie down. Weird thing about the bonk, it totally screws your judgement. I am glad that I progressed on two-thirds of my lifts, but instead I found the poor form in the flye and the presence of some fairly hardcore girls and boys to be very distressing (while at the same time being amused by watching this distress playing out). A bit of a kip and a huge pile of carby food later, and all was well again.

    Use this link to directly, permanently reference this blog entry May 03, 2002 -

    Didn't get out of work in time for BodyPump last night, so tried a second arms day for the week - disastrous! Got some poor chins off, decent bench (I'll nail 3x8@30kg next time!), and furtled around a bit discussing plateau-breaking ideas with Sam. Tried incline situps, which were fun but very hard and need form work. Legs are absolute bitches today, with a deep itchy ache. Memo to self: the day after leg day should be a rest day.

    Use this link to directly, permanently reference this blog entry May 02, 2002 -

    Good session. I didn't get to the gym until late, and my hydration was pretty poor, but I snacked up on a couple of cans of tuna before I went, so I was at least nicely protein loaded. Managed to advance on all my training lifts - squat, calf raise, stiff-leg deadlift, dips and low row. I did strap the knee in the end, just in case and just for the squats (which I superset with the calf raises to save time and increase systemic intensity) - it's healing up nciely and unless it blows again I'll probably not strap it next week.

    And a gratifying little silly thing while I was in: Andy (one of the instructors) comes into the weights room to clear up and sees the stack I have on the calf raise machine (290 Kg). "Blimey, that's a lot of weight," says he. Heh.

    And this is why I'm getting into weight training so much. Because this is something I can do, and do well. It's something I can structure so that I'm making targets, hitting microgoals each session. Part of that is the deliberate, pedestrian way I build up - a small plate or a rep each week, keep trying until I hit a target number of reps, then add another tiny amount. No rushing here.

    I've had some problems in recent years, lots of which is down to a battered sense of self-esteem. I deliberately pulled back my tentacles, reduced my interactions - magically I'm almost offline, I've unsubscribed from many lists, I'm living in a very small social circle in a charming rural swamp. Many of the things that were hurting me (more accurately, allowing me to hurt myself) have been put aside. And here in their place is this thing that I can do, that takes a planning and detemination and physical gumption; that gives a tangible sense of acheivement and of bettering myself.

    I'm using strength training to build a new, stronger foundation. When that is solid, I'll probably feed in my old activities again, in a different format. I'm already itchy to get back into magical work. Strong bases? Heh. Call me Usul. Or al-Qaeda.

    Use this link to directly, permanently reference this blog entry May 01, 2002 -

    Leg day today. I like leg day: it's an excuse to shift big weights and get really grunty. The physical shock of such work is fab, and it's very satisfying, more so than the upper-body work: here the progress is tangible and, yes, it makes me feel like a big boy (!). Left knee is a bit gyppy, though, so I'll probably be strapping that for the squats.

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