Winter - short days, long nights, and if you live in Vancouver, that means lots of rain. Now in the summer I love this city, but right now looking out at yet another apocalyptic rainstorm it’s easy to feel a little like Eeyore.
Motivationally I find this a tough time of year; Christmas holidays are over, training is ramping up, but race season still seems far away. Every morning the alarm goes off, it’s pitch black outside, and I fight the temptation to just hide back under the covers.
I’ll sometimes try to trick myself. I stand on the doorstep, pre-run, eyes closed, dumping rain and put this song on. This is usually accompanied by my inner voice shouting ‘MOVE, MOVE, MOVE,’ and off I trot, several seconds later I’m utterly soaked and (sometimes) cursing.
I’ve realized one thing that helps me is to set small, yet measurable goals, ones where I can see week-to-week progress. Previously that’s been through learning to swim and stroke improvement. This winter's focus is building strength, more specifically with my new ‘frenemy,’ the squat rack.
I’ve known the importance of strength training for a few years; I see it as my insurance plan against injury, and hopefully, osteoporosis.
However, previously I had never lifted anything heavier than 40lbs, and no, I’ve never tried a crossfit class either ;)
So, I got quite a shock a few months ago when my chiropractor Jamie said, at a bare minimum I should be squatting my own body weight, so a little more than 40lbs then! Thus began the basis of this winter's motivational challenge, a twice-weekly meeting with the squat rack.
Each week I’ve been increasing the weight by 20lbs. Each subsequent day I’ve found myself using the disabled toilet & the handrail to walk downstairs, due to soreness, (minor problem!)
However, soreness abates, (albeit several days later) and weekly progress is made!
Fearing that I may end up injuring myself I recently started working with Sean Del Ben, a strength & conditioning specialist. He’s been making some corrections, and prescribing some great new strengthening exercises. I would definitely recommend him.
So winter progresses; its still dumping rain but I think the days are finally beginning to get a little longer? Maybe?
In the meantime my new evil squat routine awaits me, just in case anyone else wants to share in the pain :)
Sets 1-3 = 80lbs, squat low, explode up.
Set 4 = 130lbs, less of a range of motion.
(8 repetitions each set)