Friday, July 27, 2007

On Flexibility and Resistance

After my time trial post my soon to be brother-in-law emailed me with some tips. Wes is a bike guy. A fast bike guy at that, so when he speaks--which isn't often-- I listen. Especially if it is free bike advice. He, like my Ms. Anon commenter kindly pointed out to me that perhaps I did not have the resistance hard enough on the bike at the gym since my RPM were way high. Wes said a bunch other kind and helpful things but the bottom line was basically "Nat you ain't pushing hard enough on that bike at the gym."

So the gym bike and I had a come to Jesus conversation yesterday and I basically got my ass kicked. Uhm, yes Wes and Ms. Anon, you were right and I am not worthy. I was being a total pussy on level 8. I've been schooled.

I kicked it up to level 15 and it was hard as shit. I had to get out of the saddle on most of the hills. I kept the RPM at max 110 for the flats and around 60 for the hills. I am too scared to go higher than level 15. I think 15 is just hard enough. My heart rate was also up but only in the 130-145 range. I think it should be more in the 150 range for the bike but I am just guessing here. It may have been and possibly the HR monitor just doesn't work very well as I was sweating buckets. It was gross. The watts were a lot higher too-- I think like in the 180's--I can't remember but it was much higher than last time. But here is what I don't get: my mph was the same. How is that possible if my rpm were less? I still finished at 22 miles for the hour.

Is it a resistance thing?

The bike is very confusing. Running? Much more simple.

Anyway, after the bike I had wanted to swim but only had 20 minutes left before the kids' time in gym hock was up and that just isn't enough time for me to change, swim and change again. So I did something I have been very bad about doing since I started all this triathlon training. No it wasn't weights. I have actually managed a few weight sessions this summer. It was stretch.

When training for marathons I always work in stretching after a run on the treadmill and when I do weights. I have been good about stretching my quads, hammies and calfs daily but the past 2 months I have completely eschewed my stretching routine that I usually do 2-3 times a week during the rest of the year.

So yesterday I sat down on the mats at the gym (after I did my calf stretches on the stairs). I went through my usual yoga poses and I noticed right away I was very, very tight. But as a runner I am use to tight hamstrings so I wasn't too worried. Then I switched and tried to pop into a left split. Not even close. This surprised me because I can always do a left split. So I tried the right split--which is usually harder but I can always get it too. Nope, not even close. It was embarrassing. I looked like a guy who was worried about smashing his kickstand. For shits and giggles I tried the middle split which I had worked on all last year and had finally gotten it back. It is gone too.

So I stayed on the mat and I stretched and tried a few more positions to see if I could loosen the muscles up. After 10 minutes I managed to get into the right and left splits--if only for a second, but I did do them. The middle split is a lost cause for now. I tested out my flexibility in my back too and I was relieved that I could still do a back bend even if it was much wider than it was 2 months ago.

So in 2 months I have lost a lot of flexibility. The last time my flexibility was this diminished was after I had been running for few years and had a baby. I took ballet lessons and Pilates and regained it after a year. I am hoping it won't take so long or as much effort. Ballerina I am not and I just don't have time for that. But I have always been of the mind that good flexibility is the key to injury prevention so it is important for me to maintain a certain level just so I can stay injury free. I guess I am going to have to suck it up and take a yoga class if I can't be better about doing this on my own.

Here is my update for the week. I'm a little slack. I've got Beaupalooza IV tomorrow so I've been busy in my party preparations. More about that on Sunday.

Sunday: rest
Monday: 10 mile run
Tuesday: time trial: swim 1000m, bike 13 miles, run 5k
Wednesday: 10 mile run
Thursday: 22 mile gym bike level 15 hills. 15 minutes stretching
Friday: 10 mile run. And hopefully 15 mile gym bike and a mile swim this afternoon.
Saturday: I hope to make it to the gym for a 7 mile ladder run on the treadmill and either 30 minute swim or bike. Depends on how much time I have in the morning. My goal will be to keep kids out of the house and busy until party.


  1. Sounds a lot better for the bike workout.....

    It's hard for me to explain how you covered the same amount of distance because I don't totally understand it myself but it isn't surprising...I always ride in the big chain ring unless I am riding up VERY big hills. My friends who ride in smaller gears and spin and spin and spin go much slower than I do. I cover more ground per rotation in a bigger gear. I would imagine that more resistance uses the same idea.

    The racing time indicator was interesting...according to it I should avg. 21.5 on the that would be something to write home about!

  2. Yes, that's correct. You are in a bigger chain on your bike, so the RPMs are slower but the speed can be the same or even faster. It's all physics. Dee Dee and I are doing a full tri in the morning at Lake Acworth. We'll have a full write up soon :-)