Sunday, November 30, 2008

Begin Off Season Training

Tomorrow, Monday December 1 , I begin 16 weeks Endurance Nation "Out Season" training.

The basic concepts on which EN bases their off season training:

  • Fitness is the ability to do work,
  • Improved fitness will naturally follow from doing more work,
  • To get faster you need to train faster,
  • Build 'go fast' now, add 'go far' later,
  • Rest and recovery are as important as work,
  • Measure for benchmark, set goals, work, remeasure to set new benchmark.

Week one looks like this:

Day off , listen to podcast and read off season plan overview
1 hour- bike time trial to establish functional power threshold
1 hour- bike time trial to establish heart rate threshold
20 minute run (easy)
1 hour-run 5k to establish heart rate threshold and vdot
1 hour bike, main set 2X6 minute 90-100%, remainder 85%
Day off
1 hour bike, main set 8 minute 95-100%, 5 minutes easy, 2x10 minutes 85%, remainder of hour 75-80%
45 minute run- 15 min warm up include 4x30 strides, main set 3x800 at threshold pace/zone 4 w/2 min recovery, 5 minute cool down

No swimming! There is no swimming anywhere on the out season plan. I will probably add 1 or 2 swims per week focusing on form/drills on easy/off days. I also plan to do daily core a al Grease The Groove, but will not start that until Iweek 2 or 3 depending on my Rolf series progress.

This first week work totals around 6 1/2 hours, and that's fairly representative for the next 16 weeks. Through March 2009 my main focus is marriage, family, keeping healthy, getting my business in order and getting all my soldiers in a row and ready to launch the main training block, in mid to late April.

I am excitied to see where my threshold numbers start, and to establish some meaningful and realistic goals for improvement.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I can has a gravity.

Structural Integration (The Rolf Method)

I've been dealing with a few nagging niggles, aches and pains for almost a full year now. Last winter, as I focused on core strength and stability training, I injured myself, a groin/abdominal pull i think brought on while doing planks and crunches.

Even before that, I have had pretty consistent issues with the ITB, piriformis, and plantar fascia, which i attributed to, and were exacerbated by increased running mileage and my adult onset cycling as i trained for triathlon. I've also had some issues with my shoulders and arms that seem to associate with my swim training.

I tried to follow what was suggested for this variety of problems. Rest, strengthening, stretching, massage. All of these were really helpful but only temporarily.

Then recently I became aware of "Rolfing", less commonly but more descriptive called "Structural Integration". Basically this method involves reorienting the body to more efficiently exist in gravity. As this is a force that is constantly pulling on our bodies, even non athletes might benefit by such adjustment. Intuitively we know that gravity is the force that we increase, and sometimes fight against, when running, for example.

Rolfing generally involves a "ten series", each session should not be separated by more than two weeks. At first the therapy looks like massage. It's done by a massage therapist in a massage studio, with a massage table etc. And part of the process involves palpation. But that's where the similarity ends. The first thing i noticed was that the therapist was taking notes! Next, she asked me to walk back and forth and made notes as to how my body moved through space. Then she had me get on the table and began working on my lower legs, just that.

The next week she spent time on my lower back and hips. The following session started with my raising and lowering arms, viewing from front and back. Noticing my right side was tighter than my left, she focused on opening my right shoulder, which we accomplished to some extent, but not completely, by the end of the session.

After 3 sessions I am starting to notice a difference in how i am moving through space. My feet are more solidly, but with less impact, meeting the earth as I walk. My body column feels more vertical, more properly aligned over my feet. Each week I have had some new area of pain, which seems to indicate a shifting of structure based on the prior week therapy.

I am excited to see what happens over the next 7 sessions. I also have some questions. This method seems to assume we are moving upright, walking or running. How does movement in other positions, like swimming or cycling, work into this process? Also, I noticed all of my complaints are on my right side. Are we going to find some deep imbalance on my right side, or will it be on my left and is that causing me to overcompensate to the right?

Oh, and I had my eyes checked this week. I am nearsighted in my right eye. Whats up with that?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Let's get jiggy with the chick pea

Lately, Texafornia from Triscoop and Holisticguru from Live and Eat Better have been making alot of noise about hummus. I have been waiting for a recipe for about a month now, and finally just had to take up guru's challenge and try my hand at the garbanzo goo.

Traditional hummus is a blended puree of chick peas, lemon juice, garlic, sesame seed paste and olive oil. It's served with pita, raw vegeatbles, chips, etc. You can see by the ingredients this is a healthy, high protein, low fat food. It tastes good and fills your stomach. And its the perfect platform to mix in your own ingredients. Google hummus recipes and see what you find.

Here's a basic recipe I used for my first attempt last Sunday (from

Prep Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
  • 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.

Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus.

Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well. Garnish with parsley (optional).

Serve immediately with fresh, warm or toasted pita bread, or cover and refrigerate.

We've recently started getting a carton of organic produce delivered to our house each Friday, and so always find some new, extra vegetable in our fridge. This week we had some fresh organic spinach, so I chopped up a cup and added it to the blender. It really didnt add much to the taste, but boosted the nutrients and made it look a little like guacamole!

That turned out pretty good, and sitting at my daughter's swim practice Sunday I thought about what else you might put in hummus. How about something sweet? My wife and I both love pumpkin pie, and sure enough I didnt have to lok far to find a recipe for a pumkin hummus.

I whipped this one up tonight (Adapted from

Pumpkin Hummus
"Pumpkin puree, nutmeg, and allspice lend a fall flavor to this hummus."
1 (16 ounce) can garbanzo beans
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
juice of one lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup tahini paste
1 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
salt to taste

Drain the garbanzo beans, reserving the liquid. Place the beans and 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid into a blender, and puree until a smooth paste forms. Add the pumpkin puree, lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Cover and puree again until smooth. Use additional cooking liquid as needed to achieve a smooth consistency. Season to taste with salt.

The version you see here was made with a bigger can of chick peas, juice of 2 lemons and 3 cloves garlic. Still good, especially with the graham crackers (a nod to the traditional pie crust ingredient, thanks to my smart wife), but I think the next batch will come out better, a little less spicy, a little sweeter and more pumpkinier.

Please try your own and let me know if you come up with a decent version. Enjoy