Learning curves

I’ve recently discovered that I have a learning curve – as in a “learning to love something I previously hated.”

(hat tip to my sis for helping me come up with the idea for this blog post today)

Case in point #1: The dreadmill

You all know that I cannot stand the dreadmill. The time goes by so s-l-o-w-l-y. It’s painfully boring. It’s not at all exciting like running outside, the wind rushing through your hair, the birds chirping (well not in the winter, but you get the idea), the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the run. Nope. The dreadmill is surely some form of torture chamber for us fitness and running nuts.

BUT, I learned something this weekend. I’d rather run on the treadmill than not at all. In other words – there will be times this winter where it’s either “put up and shut up” and get that run done on the treadmill or face no running at all. And you know how I feel about not running. I miss it WAY too much to avoid it this winter on days when running outdoors is just not an option (like this weekend, hello 18″ of snow!).

So yes, I’m learning to suck it up on the treadmill. But only when I HAVE to. This weekend I managed a 5.5 mile run at a 6.7 mph pace or faster (topping out at 10 mph at the very end of the run for about a minute) and it felt awesome! I won’t lie – the first THREE miles were torture. The only thing getting me through it was the Hawaii Five-O episode I watched On Demand.  I’ve figured out that the magic number for me is getting past the 3 mile mark on the treadmill and I’m golden vs. the usual 1-mile mark it usually takes me to get my groove when running outside.

Case in point #2: I tend to get really bored when lifting super heavy and taking long rests between sets.

Enter STS mesocycle #3 this morning. Normally I dread the leg workouts in this mesocycle because there is a full 2.5 minute rest between each set. That is a LONG time in my book. But today was different. I made sure I was lifting as heavy as I could safely lift for 8 reps. And I felt it. Like whoa. My legs were deader than dead by the end of the four rounds of each leg exercise (squats, deadlifts, front squats and lunges). And it felt awesome! Normally I’d be sitting there with antsy pants the entire time, so tempted to fast forward through the rests. But today, I NEEDED that rest and it made all the difference in the world. Totally worth the 68 minutes it took to get that leg workout done.

Silly me tried to “stretch my legs out” by doing a short jaunt on the treadmill (see? look at me go on that treadmill, ha!) but ended up having to walk most of that 25 minutes because my legs were so tight that I was giving myself a nasty case of shin splints. Not good – especially since the temps are supposed to get to a “balmy” 45 degrees later this week. Hello outdoor run, you’re calling my name! 🙂

But I digress…what have YOU learned recently about your workout style that surprised you? Any interesting learning curves you’ve experienced lately?

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14 thoughts on “Learning curves

  1. Great post sis, thank you, thank you very much 😉 The dreadmill is still my nemesis but I am hoping I can increase my speed by doing intervals, since I run so slow! My usual pace is 5.5! jeesh, 6.7 is a faster interval for me! I’ll get there, I just need my patience pants, right? Wish I had my own treadmill though!

    • You can do it, sis! Just keep at it! You’ll have lots of opportunity to face down the treadmill in your new job too ya know so all the more reason to kick it’s ass if tyou ask me! 😉

  2. Hey there! I love that you’ve discovered that even though the painful first part of your run is longer on a treadmill, it can be a good thing to have around on those cold days. (God, I feel like I’m living back up there these days…it’s BRUTAL!)

    With me…running in general was a surprise. I NEVER thought I would be a runner, and after I hit all my milestones, I got addicted. For me, though, outdoor running is harder for me. I find it hard to focus. I do plan to a lot more outdoor running this spring.

    Great job on kicking the treadmill and lifting “learning curves”! I bet it feels fantastic!

    • I’m with you – running was a surprise for me too. A few years ago I would HATE every run. It was so hard for me, I felt like I’d never get my groove. I won’t lie and say running is easy because it’s NOT (nor should it be, right??), but at least now that I love it, even the toughest of runs is still something I enjoy. And I never thought I’d ever say that, ever in a million years!

    • YES – yoga/pilates, I’m with you. I have a hard time getting into it, mostly because I have NO patience for it and it is hard for me since I am sooooo inflexible. MAY need to be a new years’ resolution for me, now that I think about it.

  3. I’ve learned that my On Demand hates working out…I’ve been trying for DAYS to do Body by Bethenny, a mixture of yoga and strength training (about an hour long workout), and every time I go to it, the On Demand is not available. Once I decide on a workout, it’s nearly impossible to get me to do a different work out. I guess I’m good at getting myself excited about the activity. I’m learning I need something a little more certain than On Demand. I also learned that going to classes at the gym keeps me involved a lot longer. They cancelled the session I went to most often, so now I am floundering, but I know if I keep at it, I’ll find something else I love. Hopefully they change it up for the new year and I can find a schedule that works for me. Good luck in 2011 with your fitness goals.

    • Have you considered another at-home workout routine? I know you loved Insanity but maybe try something else that you can do at home (aka no excuses not to do it)? I’m telling you, if you loved Insanity, I PROMISE you’d love Cathe’s workouts too (if not more…but then, you know I’m biased!).

      • I have considered other work at-home routines. I was in Wal-Mart the other day and almost picked up a yoga DVD from Jillian Michaels–until I remembered she scares me a ton. Nothing about her says “zen in your den,” and I have a sneaky suspicion her yoga is designed to kill mere mortals like me.

        I’d never heard of Cathe until I began reading your blog. To be honest with you (and please don’t laugh), I kind of love Denise Austin. I don’t understand it, but I like her. I did her Yoga Buns workout every evening for months; it was my most consistent workout.

        Hopefully something will stick in 2011 other than fat to my bones! 😀

      • It boggles my mind how few have heard of Cathe’s stuff. She is SO MUCH better than the Beachbody workouts (IMHO ONLY) and is just such a class-act all around. Her workouts are such fun but SO intense you’ll never regret one of her workouts.

        Just keep trying out new things until you find something you love, it’s the ONLY way you’ll figure out what works for you that you can live with and stick with.

  4. Great job on the treadmill! I used to hate it, but I’ve embraced it this season. The three mile mark is the magic number for me, too. Once I get past it, I am more than happy to continue. I actually enjoy just zoning out on the treadmill sometimes. I also chat with other people at the gym to pass the time. Happy running!

    • Aha! So glad I’m not the only one that battles the treadmill those first few miles! I feel quasi-normal now 😉 Of course, now that I claim to have conquered the dreadmill, I’ll probably hate it the next five times I hop on the darn thing, right??

  5. I’ve learnt that my body responds really well to heavy weight lifting and that I can actually follow a rotation. I gave up on Beachbody’s Chalean Extreme and Insanity after a few workouts with Cathe’s STS programme, I’m always looking forward to the next workout. I’m thinking too that I may repeat the programme when I finish STS 3 (starting STS 3 next week). Good to know that I’ll need the long breaks if I lift heavy.

    I’ve learnt too that I looove cardio but sometimes it’s to my detriment, need to cut down on step workouts and too much high impact (my poor knees get sore) and do more work on flexibility and of course work my abs.

    I’ve learnt too that I love to read about anything fitness related. I’ve ordered Body By Design and Tony Horton’s new book along with the new ab workout book and Men’s health nutrition book. Love Women’s Health big book of exercises.

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