Thursday, April 28, 2011

Interval Protocol

The spinning intervals that I'm working with:
o 60 seconds at approx. 95% max. heart rate,
o 75 seconds active recovery.
Should do 8 to 12 reps (plus standard 5 minute warmup and cooldown).

This fits under the general rubric of "high intensity interval training" (HIIT).

This particular protocol has some limited specific research going for it; I found the study by Gibala encouraging. I can get to 95% max. heart rate on a regular spinning bike, and I find the combination of level of discomfort and time of discomfort acceptable and perhaps preferable to sharper shorter efforts (e.g. Tabata).

With the first two weeks done I'm decreasing the number of sessions per week from three to two (with allowance for zero during recovery weeks). I expect that I'll continue with them at least through the end of June (looking for fitness gains through the end of May and then maintenance through June training disruptions).

Here's the most interesting piece that I've found so far that relates to HIIT and long-term training of endurance athletes: article
[Hat Tip: a comment on a web forum]

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Week That Was

Monday: 1.0hr. run (zone 2)
Tuesday: spinning intervals (set of 8)
Wednesday: 1.0hr. run (zone 2)
Friday: morning weights experiments, afternoon spinning intervals (set of 8)
Saturday: 1.5hr. treadmill run (zone 2)
Sunday: morning weights experiments, afternoon spinning intervals (set of 8)

With two weeks of training, heat acclimatization should have set in. Temperature and humidity will be rising (and I may add more outdoor time), so it'll be an on-going process.

Also, with two weeks of high intensity interval training from a detrained state, early easy fast improvements (in mitochondria development, fat oxidation, and insulin sensitivity at least) should be in hand. Without having done a baseline set of measurements I can't back that up, but let me live in my happy little world.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Week That Was

Monday: 1.0hr. run (zone 2/zone 3)
Tuesday: spinning intervals (set of 8)
Wednesday: 1.0hr. run (zone 2)
Thursday: spinning intervals (set of 8)
Saturday: 1.25hr. treadmill run (zone 2)
Sunday: spinning intervals (two long separated sets of 4), weight experiments

While I was able to convince myself to get out of bed to run before my work day, I wasn't able to convince myself to do the same for spinning intervals. On Sunday I tried doing intervals first thing. Ground through 4 of them and still wasn't getting my heart rate above zone 4.

I'll take that as a scheduling constraint: intervals in the afternoon only. I expect to retest that constraint, but little point in that until my training week seems easy or Fall Back reworks my schedule.

Structure of the week isn't too heavily tilted to weekends. That's good, because I foresee a bunch of disrupted weekends in June (and one in May). Amount of exercise ought to improve body composition without much in the way of having to "add calories to my excluded food intake" (per Jon Stewart).

Shoulder rehab continues. Physio Christine has cleared me for weight training (light weights, high reps, elbows not to go back past shoulders on chest press). On Sunday I did 2 sets of 20 reps of chest press and lat pulldown. It'll take me a couple of weeks to put together a suitable routine - not only the exercises and loads, but also the scheduling.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Trajectory Improvement

Since early December I've been doing rehab for my left shoulder (sprained rotator cuff followed by onset of frozen shoulder syndrome). It's much better now (my thanks to Christine Gibbs of A Step Ahead Physiotherapy), but we're continuing with treatment to bring it back fully.

I didn't care to apply more discipline for fitness than the rehab demanded. So I'm now at what I consider peak fatness.

A couple of weeks ago I added abdominal exercises to most days, primarily to avoid going over the brink of having to buy pants with larger waistbands.

This weekend I started experimenting with a return to cardio exercise. Saturday afternoon I did a one hour treadmill run (zone 2/zone 3), along with the minor walk to and from the gym. Sunday morning I did a set of 5 intervals on my spin bike.

Right now, I'm thinking that I'll target relatively long duration low intensity running three days a week and on those days (and only those days) I'll target expending significantly more calories than I consume. No two of those days would be consecutive. I could target doing spinning intervals on two (or three!) other days a week.

Not sure when I'll add more resistance training than the theraband work I'm doing for my shoulder and back (along with some core exercises).