Week of 12/9/19: Workouts on Wed/Th/Sat. New Year GGRade run. Christmas Challenge continues.

Hi Folks,

Updated 12/14/19: I was sad to read of the passing of the famous New Zealand two time Olympian and three time gold medalist, PETER SNELL. He’s the only Olympian to win both the 800 and 1500 in the same Olympics in 99 years. He won the 800 in 1960 and the double 800/1500 in 1964. He ran the 800 meters in 1:44 – on grass; a WR along with the 1000 meters in 2:16! I met Peter Snell at exercise physiology lab session at UC Davis with Dr. Jack Wilmore where he eventually earned his Ph.D. with research on altitude training. When we were conversing he said that after his athletic career was over he wanted to learn how the human body worked in the field of exercise physiology. “How does the body work to perform these athletic feats on the track.” I think he ended up doing research at the University of Texas.

HONOLULU MARATHON 2019, a new CR: TITUS EKIRU, the new man on the block from of Kenya, had already set course records at the Mexico City Marathon (2:10:38 at over 7,000 feet altitude) and Milan Marathon (2:04:46), and now a 2:07:59.2 -rounded up to 2:08:00 at Honolulu! Conditions were more or less perfect on race day: no trade winds and 68 degrees – a rare day for the stars to align for the CR! This is not a flat course either! Look for this athlete to continue making his mark on the marathon community. I first ran Honolulu in 1978 and then another four times during the 1980’s and 1990’s. It gave Sandy and I a chance for a break in warm weather after a very busy October and November. What I also liked about running that marathon was that I could cross the finish line in Kapiolani Park, walk across the street to the beach and take a post-run swim. Wonderful!

Marathon Statistic: Interesting to note that in 2019 some 293 runners broke 2:10:00 (123 from Kenya and 98 from Ethiopia) remarkable!

Updated on Friday 12/13/19 at 1:40 pm: Saturday HR/Cross Training are a go, but will be modified due to light rain: I won’t be using the individual mats; instead we’ll mix up the hill work, Loaded Carries and sprints.

LOOKING AHEAD: New Year’s Day is not far off; time to see if I have takers for running the RAILROAD GRADE 8M that morning? It’s been a tradition with our workout group for a good many years; let’s see how many of you are up for it. Probably have early start group at about 8 am for those who will take 1:40 or longer to get to the top from downtown Mill Valley. The second group starts at 8:30 am.

Every New Year’s Day the Gravity Car Museum located at the top next to the parking lot holds their Open House, I think from 11 am on. You will also see many hikers going up the RRGrade and trails to join in on the tradition.

Another update on training employing two key lifts for “General preparedness”.

You’re in the second week of the CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE getting in Kettlebell Swings with sets of 10 reps, plus one Turkish Get Up on the right and left side. You should be adjusting to what works for you for total sets and reps – and build on the volume. Remember to keep the reps to 10 so you’re not pushing fatigue, but can build on many sets of 10; then you’ll start with a heavier kettlebell once a 100 reps total have been achieved. We keep it to 100 reps or less due to diminishing returns if you go over 100 reps; better to increase the weight to build strength and endurance.

For now you’re adjusting to and building sets and reps that you can maintain four to five days per week. If you are very involved in a sport keep it to 3-5 days per week; not seven as fitness enthusiast would do. There’s only so much energy available that can be maintained and you want the two exercises to enhance your fitness and sport. A reminder that the Swings and Turkish Get Up ( TGU) have been found to be two exercises that are quite complete for “general preparedness” and applicable to most any sport and for general fitness. Very efficient.

(updated 12/11/19) Getting it done

Now that you’re two weeks into the Challenge and getting in the 5 days per week you’ve no doubt found that the mental and scheduling side of the program is the most difficult; executing the sets and reps are fairly cookbook. But it is something you can have under your total control. Just decide to do it and stay with it! “If you want to be tougher mentally, it is simple: be tougher: don’t meditate on it., “  by Jocko Willink, 20 year Navy Commander of SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser and author of Extreme Ownership; How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win. Found in the book by Tim Ferris, ‘Tools of Titans, The Tactics, Routines and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World Class Performers.’

Getting in those sets and reps of Swings and TGU’s puts discipline into your day and you reap the rewards of fitness and strength improvement. It’s something you can have under your total control. The discipline gets you the freedom to reach your goal. 

The learning never ends

We may have been doing the Swings for a couple of years, but do you own the form, explosiveness, flow of this dynamic movement? As you increase the size of the kettlebell or work the reps, there’s always room for improvement. Just when you think you have it down, you work with a highly qualified instructor and you realize you “don’t own it”. 

I’ll use the analogy in the martial arts world. Just when I think I have the basic karate punch or kick down as a third dan level black belt; I never felt so vulnerable, slower, off with my timing,not as powerful or toyed with sparring ( kumite) with a 4th, 5th and 6th degree black belts at special three day training sessions. Very humbling. You realize how much you don’t know and that I needed more “perfect practice”.  So in your case, the journey is always on improving your execution of the three lifts, feeling the proper form, breathing and power. 

Learn how to execute the dynamic and explosive Swing to be contrasted with the yin of the deliberate controlled constant tension of the Turkish Get Up.

12/11/19 WEDNESDAY 8 am MADISON AV GYM workout with Kees at Warren’s. We’ll get in our 100 reps today and will be part of your work on the Christmas Challenge along with mobility exercises. Then two rounds of the Circuit followed by Deadlifts.

BB “Fat Grip” Deadlifts, Pec Stretch, Wipers / Weighted Incline Push-Ups, R. Reverse Lunge to Step-Up, L. Reverse Lunge to Step-Up, DBL KB Pause Swing Cleans, DGB Situp & Reach, DB Plank Row, 25# or 35# Plate O’Head Carry, KB Farmers Walk.

12/12/19 THURSDAY 8 am TRACK at COM…might be raining…..(to be done on your own). Working on building your number of 400’s. After your warm-up run,

“B” gp: 6 x 20 meter pick-ups “fast feet”, 2 x 150 (50), 1 x 200 (200). Then it’s 6 x 400 (on 3′).

A” gp: 6 x 20 meters, 2 x 150 (50), 1 x 200 (200); 10 x 400 (on 2′ if running 6′ pace or faster; on 2:30 if slower than 6′ pace for 400’s.

12/14/19 SATURDAY 8 am It’s a go for tomorrow! start for HILL REPEATS/CROSS TRAINING/LOADED CARRIES & pickups for leg speed. Held at Olivett Seminary College, off Seminary Drive. We will do workout posted on last week’s blog; it was cancelled due to rain. Arrive earlier to get in a quick warm-up run; then run up entry road to get in the workout where I have exercise stations set up.

NOTE: I have modified the workout format a bit due to some very minimal rain by eliminating the exercise mats. We’ll do fewer HR, add in the Loaded Carries, and sprints on the flat. Will be a bit of a variation, but hits all the aspects for boosting your fitness.

Joining in: Andy, Paula, Elizabeth, Tom, Shirley, Judi