Project X: The lacrosse ball

Workout

Five squats, four push-ups, three jump squats, two tricep dips, one burpee, hold plank until the next minute begins. Twelve minutes, one set per minute.

***

During my first week of Project X, I’ve learned many things – almost all of them involving suffering of one kind or another.

Some of the lessons I’ve learned:

Three minutes and two seconds stretches into eternity when you’re running full-tilt up an 800-metre hill.

On the fifth hill repeat, eternity becomes infinite.

Thirty minutes is much, much longer than three minutes. Go figure.

During a 30-minute time trial I have lots of opportunity to ponder the meaning of the word, “trial.”

A lacrosse ball is capable of drawing out the most exquisite pain – and that’s just from rolling it under your glute. The IT band is unspeakable.

A green lacrosse ball now triggers a Pavlovian response in me whereby if I see one it automatically elicits a whimper.

But Project X isn’t all hard work. On Friday, I ran an hour in heart rate Zone 2 on the treadmill…while extremely tired from everything leading up to that run.  Er…wait, that was tough as well.

Of course Sunday I ran an easy 100 minutes in Zone 2…only to arrive home and discover that I’d been running well below my true Zone 2. Yup. I was taking it too easy. My coach sent me my heart rate zones, which I’d been estimating up to that point. So much for that “easy” run.

Actually, this is part of the point of the training: if I do my run properly in the right zone, it should still feel relatively relaxed – unless of course, it’s two times 15 minutes in Zone 4, a workout I can look forward to this week.

Regular followers of this blog know that I’m currently experimenting with a heart rate training program through Halifax’s Kinesio Sports Lab.

Pretty much all the workouts have consisted of activities or runs that I wouldn’t normally do. Monday night’s repetitions of push-ups, sit-ups, burpees, tri-dips and more are exercises I’ve long been out of the habit of performing.

In fact,  just finished a hellish 13 minutes of squats, push-ups, jump squats, dips, burpees and planks. It’s amazing I can even type this sentence.

So far the training effects I’ve noticed are a desire to eat everything in sight and when I lay down for the night, I’m out immediately. And I’m start to feel like a…er, cross-fitter instead of a runner.

Certainly, people have a lot of interest in the program. When I mention I’m testing out heart rate training, people either are curious or talk about their own experience doing it. The latter has been universally positive so far.

Beyond that, it’s early days yet. I’m only starting the second week. Just don’t show me any green lacrosse balls; you’ll make a grown man cry.

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About subthree

A multiple award-winning journalist, I'm currently a contributing editor with both Canadian Running and Canadian Cycling magazines. My articles have appeared in Explore, Canadian Geographic, enRoute, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and many other magazines and newspapers. Formerly a competitive cross-country mountain biker, I switched to running in 2006. I've run seven marathons, qualifying for Boston five times (and which I've run once). Generally, I've placed or won in my age group in races, in distances ranging from five and 10 kms to half and full marathons. I've also taught spin classes at a number of leading Eastern Canadian gyms. Sub-three was a 2012 #Runchat finalist for Best Overall Blog.
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