Gearing up for Crossfit

Yesterday morning my legs were still sore from slipping and sliding around the trails on the weekend, so I postponed my Monday night run until tonight. But rather than laying around on the couch I decided it would be a good time to FINALLY start my weight training that I have been putting off since November.
I warmed up with a set of jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, back-extension and dips then headed upstairs in my shed to my “fitness room” (basically an unheated attic). I haven’t done any Crossfit since last year, so decided to start slowly with some circuit training. I went through 2 rounds of the following exercises:
5 min. cycling on stationary bike
10 x bench press
10 x kettlebell swings
50 strokes rowing
10 x jerk
10 x dead lift
I used really low weight with the lifting, it has been almost a half year since I have been doing any lifting so need to build up gradually.
The workout warmed up my muscles well, without working stressing them too much, in other words ideal for a “recovery” day. The important thing is that I have started, now I only need to work up to the normal Crossfit routines. Tonight I’m meeting friends for a run, on Wednesday after work I want to do laps at the pool.

An Easy Night of Crosstraining

Last night I took a night off from running as planned. I had to work a bit later than normal, so decided not to stop at the swimming pool on the way home. Later in the evening I did a half hour of crosstraining consisting of rowing, stationary cycling and some Crossfit exercises. The focus with the latter was mostly on upper body strength and strengthening my lower back. It is important to have adequate upper body strength particularly on hillier ultras where you need to use your arms to help propel you up a hill. The lower back strength is important when pounding downhill sections during a longer run.
Tonight I am looking forward to a run with my running buddy, we will probably do two loops around the local research facility. At the beginning of February we will “officially” begin training for her first marathon, the Upper Elbe Marathon in Dresden. For me it is exciting to accompany a “marathon virgin” in her first journey at this distance. I hope I can keep up with her, she is an awesome runner!

Cooking and Weight Training

Last night my wife wanted to work on a project management class that she is taking, so I prepared dinner. By the time she got home I had dinner ready, nothing fancy, Spaghetti Carbonara and a simple green salad with lettuce, carrots and some strings of cheese. My wife was pleased!
Later I decided to do some weight training. The daily crossfit (www.crossfit.com) called for:
Three round for time:
Run 400 meters
21 Kettlebell swings
12 Pull-ups
I warmed up with:
Three rounds of:
20 Jumping Jacks
20 Push-ups
20 Air squats
20 Sit-ups
Then I did:
10 Pull-ups
15 Kettlebell swings
10 x 30kg push press
10 x 40kg dead lift
10 Pull-ups
50 reps. Rowing
15 Kettlebell swings
This took about 18-20 minutes, whereas I decided I should stop or I won’t be able to run this evening. This turned out to be a good idea, because this morning my muscles are sore – this is the first week that I have started weight training since last Spring.

Training, Crosstraining, and Otherwise Enjoying the Weekend

On Saturday morning I had an appointment for a haircut at 8:00 a.m. in the neighboring town of Linkenheim. Despite the 7°C/45°F temperatures I decided to ride by bicycle, it was only about 7+ km (4.5 mi.). After about 20 minutes I arrived at the barbershop half soaked with sweat rather than frozen as expected, I guess I was too warmly dressed after all. Luckily the young lady that cuts my hair was tolerant of my perspiration (her father is an ultra-runner).
Later on Saturday I met my running club at the trailhead for a run. We meet at 4 p.m. on Saturdays, which allows us almost an hour of light before darkness sets in. I started out with the mid-pack group that I usually run with, but after a couple minutes a few ran on ahead. I guess I got an adrenaline rush or something, cause I took off after them. I ended up with a good speed workout, completing the roughly 11 km (7 mi.) loop with an average pace of 5:06/km (8:15/mi.).
On Sunday I met my running partner and we drove to Rheinstetten, near where I work, and ran a 20K DVV/IVV “volkswalking” course. The route turned out to be closer to 19 km, but that was fine. The weather was a bit cool and windy, around 10°C (50°F). My friend wanted to keep the pace down, but I guess I was too motivated, we averaged around 6:06/km (9:45/mi.). I had a great time chatting away with my friend, I couldn’t imagine a better way of spending a Sunday afternoon!
Later in the day I decided to do the daily Crossfit workout, which consisted of 5 rounds of 5 repetitions of the back squat (Rücken Hocke), whereas you try to build the weight up to you maximum.
Here is a list of my workout, which took about 30 minutes:
20- jumping jacks (Hampelmann)
20 – toe-touches (Zehen berühren)
3 rounds of 20 Push-ups (Liegestütz) and 20 sit-ups (Bauchmuskelübung)
10 – Pull-ups (Klimmzug)
10 – kettlebell swings (Kettlebell Swingen)
Crossfit workout: 5-5-5-5-5 Back squat @ 40kg/44kg/44kg/46kg/46kg
10 – pull-ups
10 – kettlebell swings
100 repetitions on rowing machine (Rudergerät)
6 minutes on the home (bicycle) trainer (Fahrrad Heimtrainer)
This workout left me pretty well whipped, especially considering the run I did earlier, but it was very satisfying – I feel pretty good this morning!

A Bit of Cross-Training

This afternoon the sun was shining, so I decided to go home a half hour early and try to get in a bike ride before dark. When I got home I scrambled into my training clothes and headed out on the bike path towards Linkenheim. The sun was shining, but it was still a cool 11°C/52°C, but I was dressed for the occasion. I ended up with 22 km (13.7 mi.) in about 61 minutes (21.5 kilometers/hour), not bad considering it has been months since I road my bike for any distance.
Afterward I went upstairs in the shed and knocked out some Crossfit type exercises:
20 push-ups
20 squats
20 sit-ups
10 pull-ups
10 push-press
10 dead-lifts (40+ kg)
100 reps. rowing
20 sit-ups
20 push-ups
10 kettlebell swings
10 dead-lifts
As I finished that my wife came home so I quit and got ready for dinner, it was a good quick workout, at least I burned off a few calories. I want to start doing similar workouts at least once or twice a week for the rest of the year.

11K Tempo Run plus 7×3 Push Jerk

Last night I met my running club at our trailhead for an 11K/6.8M run. I was still missing a tempo run for the week, so fell in with Walter, who usually runs with the fast group. As we started out we were eventually joined by two others from the mid-pack group. I guess I was motivated to run because I seem to have ended up in the front setting the pace. I paired with one of the guys and we quickly outpaced the other two. It was a mild 9C/48F outside and the rain that we experienced earlier subsided and we both seemed to have the urge to stretch our legs out.
We finished the first 5K in around 25:50, and my running partner decided he had enough and said he wanted to take the shortcut back to the trailhead. I debated on whether to slow and let the other two catch up, or continue on alone. I didn’t hear the other two, so figured they were several minutes behind, so I elected to continue on alone at my pace.
For the rest of the run I did my best to maintain the pace, but eventually started wearing down over the last couple kilometers. I ended up finishing the 11K in 58:22, for an average pace of 5:18/K (8:32/mile) – not too bad for this time of year.
When I got home I hurried up into the shed and did the Crossfit WOD (WorkOut Daily), which consisted of:
Push Jerk 3-3-3-3-3-3-3 reps
I completed 6 rounds of 3 repetitions using 38 kg/84 lbs., and 1 round with 40.5 kg/90 lbs. For comparison, last time I did this workout in December I used 35 kg/77 lbs.
I am strongly considering running a 20K race on Sunday as a warm-up for my March 9th marathon. I ran this race in 2005, finishing in 1:52:41. I think I have a good chance of improving this time, plus it is supposed to be almost 50F, perfect weather for a race!

Crossfit: Joshie

Tonight’s Crossfit workout was “Joshie”, which consists of completing three rounds for time of:
40 pound Dumbbell snatch, 21 reps, right arm
21 L Pull-ups
40 pound Dumbbell snatch, 21 reps, left arm
21 L Pull-ups
This was a new workout for me and, is often the case, I had to modify the workout to account for my lack of upper arm strength.
Having never done a dumbbell snatch before, I first practiced with a 10 pound dumbbell. I then used 12.5 kg plus the weight of the bar, a total of around 31 lbs., for the snatches. I also substituted regular pull-ups for the L-pull-ups.
I was able to do 5-6 good pull-ups on the first round, but in each case had to finish with jumping pull-ups. My strength is increasing, but quite slowly. If I was doing just Crossfit and not training for a marathon I probably could/would push myself harder and see faster gains. I finished the workout in around 20 minutes, but this was the first time I did the workout, so I have nothing to compare this time with.

A 13K Run and Crossfit = Back Squat

Last night I met several people from my running club for a couple 6.7K loops around the local research facility. I was feeling kind of tired from a hard day at work so stayed back with the pack. We finished the first loop around the lighted facility in around 40:19, for a roughly 6:00/K (9:40/M) pace. We stayed at roughly the same pace for the second round, but I sped up with one of the guys for the last mile, finishing the loop a minute or two faster than the first loop.
After chatting a bit we dispersed and I went home and did the daily Crossfit workout, which was 5 rounds of 3 repetitions of the back squat. The idea here is to try to achieve maximum weight. Including warm-ups, I completed:
3 x 38 kg. (84 lbs.)
3 x 48 kg. (106 lbs.)
3 x 58 kg. (128 lbs.)
3 x 62 kg. (137 lbs.)
3 x 64 kg. (141 lbs.)
3 x 68 kg. (150 lbs.)
3 x 70.5 kg. (155 lbs.)
3 x 72 kg. (159 lbs.)
By the time I reached 72 kg. I was kind of shaky and could barely do the squat, so decided to quit before I hurt myself. I need to build a squat rack before I go much heavier – I can’ drop my weights like some Crossfitters do – my workout room is in the shed over the laundry room, my luck and my wife would be right below when I did this.
I finished off my workout with 10 normal pull-ups (a new record for me), 20 16-kg kettlebell swings, 6 pull-ups plus 4 jumping pull-ups, and 100 rowing repetitions.

Working(out) with Grace

Last night when I got home from work I spent some time with my wife taking care of various errands. When my wife settled down to return some phone calls we missed when we were out I hurried upstairs in the shed to do my Crossfit workout.
The workout was called “Grace” and had little to do with what we lovingly receive from God or may say at the table. No, Grace is 30 repetitions of the Clean and Jerk and for those untrained in weight lifting like me quite the challenge.
crossfit_clean-and-jerk.jpg
The Crossfit recommended weight was 135 lbs, but 95 or 65 (or a broomstick) could be used by those not up to heaving that much weight.
Being a weight lifting newbie I first viewed the video on the Clean and Jerk available at Crossfit.com, then practiced with a broomstick until I felt comfortable with the motions. I then completed the following repetitions, trying to rest as little as possible between each:
10 x 20kg (44lbs.)
10 x 30kg (66lbs.)
10 x 40kg (88lbs.)
10 x 40kg (88lbs.)
I was starting to struggle towards the end of the last set, my arms were starting to quiver. I cooled down a bit with 4 x 5 pull-ups, then decided to try out my new toy, I mean fitness device:
ruder1.jpg
The rowing machine is no top-of-the-line Concept 2 Rower, but it gets the job down. I have been searching for an affordable machine for several months and final found one through e-bay. The only flaw is that it doesn’t record the mileage, only the time, calories and repetitions.
In any case I knocked out 100 repetitions at the hardest level setting (5). I anticipate having a growing relationship with this machine, it was fun and I feel it in my muscles!

Crossfit, Running, more Crossfit

I seem to be behind with my posting again, let me try to catch up. On Sunday evening my legs felt good despite have running a race in the morning, so I decided to do the daily Crossfit workout. The workout was called “CrossFit Total” which is one of the tools to measure ones progress in the exercise regime. The workout consists of:
Back squat, 1 rep
Shoulder Press, 1 rep
Deadlift, 1 rep
In other words you try to work up to your maximum weight in each exercise before moving onto the next one. My results were:
Back squat: 64.5 kg/142.5 lbs. (new record)
Shoulder Press: 32.5 kg/72 lbs. (no improvement)
Deadlift: 84.5 kg/187 lbs. (new record)
I showed improvement with the back squat and deadlift, probably due to my strong running legs. My raw upper body strength, which is required for the shoulder press, still seems to be lacking based on the results. I think I need to focus more on strength building in the area.
On Monday night I met some friends from the running club for a couple rounds around the local research facility. There were seven of us as we started running around the lighted path surrounding the facility. We stayed more or less together for the first 6.7K loop, but as we began the second our speedy runner Walter pulled ahead. I continued on with the pack, chatting away with Lena at the front of our little pack. Before we knew it we had left the others behind and were running on our own. We both felt good with the pace so kept it up, finishing almost 4 minutes faster than the first loop and a couple minutes ahead of the others. Walter in turn finished several minutes ahead of us.
When I got home I went upstairs in the shed and did my Crossfit workout. The daily workout (WOD) was “Cindy”, which consists of completing as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Squats
I completed 17 rounds, which is two less than the last time that I did this workout, but still not bad considering that I had just finished running 13.2K (8.2 miles). I should mention that this time I did “real” pull-ups the first five rounds, rather than “jumping pull-ups” like I did the last time I did this workout. I did resort to jumping and pulling myself up to the bar in the latter rounds as my arms failed me. I highly recommend this workout if you want to get your heart pumping!