The Break Through Mile

Running had felt so piss lately. I love running and when it feels bad, I feel bad.

I actually end up running more, too much in fact, when running sucks and that makes it suck more. It’s like being an alcoholic where you want to drink because you want to be happy but drinking makes you unhappy and you know it; still the only signal your brain gives you is the drink to be happy signal.

When I have a bad run the only thing I think will fix how I feel is a good run.

And it finally happened. I owe it to work, strava, and unexpected solitude.

So work because I went to went to my job as a running instructor today; Unexpected solitude no one showed up to run club; and Strava because even though no one showed up I figured I’d run anyway so people would see that I had run and I’d log this route that I’d been wanting to show off.

And with my worn out shoes, shin splints, piriformus syndrome, and unsatisfactory cardio (because it’s the start of the season and my expectations are set by the end of the last season) my running was piss. My legs hurt, my form sucked, my breathing sucked but why stop? I’m on the clock, have nothing better to do, and Strava is recording so fuck it.

And like I said, it finally happened that I broke through. Probably 3k into the 5k(ish) run my legs loosened up and I felt free – I got that running-fast-breathing-slow-meditative-feeling-the-music-connected-to-the-earth-and-the-sun-freedom-feeling that we chase.

Quite a relief.

Marathon Training Resumes!

Day 1. Oh its good to be back.

Over the off-season I mentioned a few times in my private life that I missed running and I was looking forward to coming back; I’d get the urge, for the joy of it all.

And now I’m back old friend. I got a junkie-like thrill walking up to the treadmill which makes sense, so many positive chemicals running through the body associated with the sights and feels of the treadmill (the treadmills at MRU and SAIT are different generations of the same machine which is great).

My form was odd at first, shaking off the cob webs, but it settled in; and my cardio was much the same – I knew I’d taken a hit but it’s still there.

Day 2 of the program is 45 minutes of non-running cardio so I’ll hit the treadclimber at home, day 3 is rest so that’s no problem, and I need to run 5 miles on day 4. Since I can’t afford to drop-in at the gym or a pass it’s going to get complicated but I might be able to borrow someone’s pass and/or use someone else’s treadmill. If the temperature is around zero I can still run outside too.

From Couch To Spartan Sprint – Exercise 10.3

Thou Shall RUN.

Running is the most important part of Spartan and often the most neglected.

Lots people hate running just because they’re bad at it but you know what? You’re probably pretty bad at sex too and it’s not stoppin’ ya. Or at least stopping you from trying.

 

I’m writing this on the fourth day of Fall which means that winter is upon us in Canada, and I’m headed indoors to my beloved treadmill.

This wraps up another 2 week segment of Spartan Training Videos. I like to leave big gaps between the segments so I’m not putting an overwhelming amount of ideas out there. Like, if someone says here’s 10 suggestions 5 might stick, if someone says here’s 50 none will stick.

So if and when I get another handful of ideas I’ll do this again in a while. Til then, Stay Strong Spartan and Leave No Doubt.

 

 

From Couch To Spartan Sprint – Exercise 8.3

Thou Shall Pull…

All the other motions that aren’t up.

If I had any foresight when I started this serious I wouldn’t have ended up with 10 things. I did everything excitedly off-the-top-of-my-head and then just had to live with it, like everything I do.

Pull ups and Pulling All The Other Directions are not that different, but in Spartan they will serve different purposes, like the difference between monkey bars and sled drags.

Plus it’s a good opportunity to move explosively and train the fast twitch muscle fibers.

 

From Couch To Spartan Sprint – Exercise 6.3

Thou Shall Grip.

And rather than just train the strongest part of your grip to be stronger, train the weaker parts of your grip SO THERE ARE NO WEAKER PARTS!!

 

Also, seriously, people have an unaware habit of hooking things in their fingers and letting gravity do the work – that’s poor grip strength and leads to forearm problems down the road.

Make sure to grip things by rolling them deep into your palm. Then play around with which fingers you can lift and for how long.

From Couch To Spartan Sprint – Exercise 3.3

Thou Shall Squat.

But I’m out of ideas for the squat right now so Thou Shall Swing The Kettlebell.

 

It’s also a matter of having a cool idea to share and then deciding where it sort of fits in. I learned these side stepping KB swings in Exercise Theory and it fit in with this idea I’ve been having of designing a work out for a too-light kettlebell.

With a dumbell movement you can always add more reps when you’ve gotten stronger and it feels light. With KB swings though, once it feels light you’re not actually deriving any benefits. So I was thinking about what a person could do now that they’ve outgrown their first one, when this move came up in class.

If you want to make a too-easy movement challenging again then adding instability is the easiest way. As a beginner the search for stability is your primary goal, always find the strongest safest way to move. As an intermediate though you can play with that.

It’s like any skill or discipline – first they tell you what you never, never, never do and a few years down the road they quietly tell you when to do it.

From Couch To Spartan Sprint – Exercise 2.2

Thou Shall Take Your Vitamins.

Which in this case means drinking things that taste like yard clippings.

 

The deeper spirit of Take Your Vitamins though is that most people get hung up on what they like and what you like is nowhere near the fucking point.

For one you can change what you like – people train themselves to like cigarettes and alcohol for years, they train so hard they seek professional help to untrain those cravings.

And second people never question if they really like something or if they merely want the absence of a craving. Let’s use soda as an example because it’s one I’m guilty of – I feel like having pop all the time. When the wanting comes up go ahead and get a soda. Then turn off everything. No video or TV, no music, no scrolling your phone, no nothing. And drink the soda.

Do you feel better? Do you feel the happiness that marketing and your dopamine system promised you? Probably not. You probably feel really underwhelmed and bored and kind of gross and you crave more distraction, because that’s all the soda really was.

You are actually suffering through the things you think you like and numbing it out with distraction.

…And if you’re willing to that for destructive things then go ahead and do it for constructive things. Like fiber shakes. Made from hemp.

From Couch To Spartan Sprint – Exercise 1.3

The first Commandment is to Stay Inspired. This video deals with what to do when your inspiration is drained.

 

You need to be able to see the heroic version of yourself in – let’s make up a term – future hindsight. Keep in mind that you are at the beginning of the training montage, you are a walking before photo. When you feel like quitting don’t tell yourself I won’t quit, listen to your future self say I didn’t quit.

The book is already written, your best self is waiting on the later pages and you just have to keep turning ’em to get there.

And, this is weird for an aspiring woo woo fitness guru to say, remember that you’re not special. Meaning that you’re not different than millions of other people getting in shape. We have a terrible misconception of thinking our suffering is unique, our wounds are only our own like no one else, that everyone else is a normal person and we’re battling something unseen that’s much bigger.

And you’re just not that special, kid.

There’s no such thing as other people. Just people. Doing difficult, unseen things everyday, and you’re one of them. The belief that one is uniquely flawed is an excuse.