Simple Planning For Base Fitness

I feel like a total wanker of late.  Maybe less wanker and more poser.

Yesterday I was cleared to ride my bike for the first time in 6 weeks.  So I did.  Left hand completely restrained in my splint, only able to balance it on my handle bar.  Baby stepping it off the curbs.

My legs got nothin’.  Seriously, some kid blew by me on the peat gravel trail near my house, I almost chased him down and was going to challenge him to a race.  The only reason I didn’t… it wasn’t because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to control myself or even that I would make an ass out of myself in acting like such a buffoon.

No.  In actuality I think I was more afraid of the kid kicking my ass and then saying something like “Ha!  Your just another washed up old man sucker.” and me not being able to stop from cowering on the trail huddled over in tears screaming back at him “Nobody asked you!  At least I shave!”.

To say I have been shocked by the surprising loss of fitness in 6 weeks would be an understatement.  I’ve probably suffered more because I was in a one week “recovery block” when this happened and getting ready to build up for one last grind towards the focus of my goals for the season.

1. Finish Leadville 100 MTB ride in under 9 hours.

2.  Place well in my AG at Xterra Nats, race my tail off at World’s in Maui and see where the cards fell.

3.  Continue my strength gains as well as my development as a complete tactical athlete.

*Note for later discussion this is heavily based in endurance sports.

If I were to state a belief  in anything, it is that there is always another option and play.  We only bow out when we opt for that as a solution.  People that quit, choose to quit.

So where I am taking this is to begin the process of building out your fitness, whether it be from scratch, from a serious setback or to take to another level.  This is not comprehensive, it will serve as a 2 to 4 week starting point and spark plug to spur you forward.

It will come down to proper planning, execution, management and evaluation.  Pretty much more than anything though it will come down to you.

The solution and the problem exist between your ears.  Your body, no matter how well or how shitty it works, only responds to what you order it to do.  That is why their are so many guys/gals on our job that cannot do the job and it all falls on their schedules.  It sure as shit isn’t our joke of a Pier Fitness program, that would fail regardless of anybody’s schedule.

To bring your body into action, we first need to bring your brain into that same fold.  I will lay it out the way I’ve done it starting back to the week before last when I knew I was getting ready to cleared for activity.

1.  Identifying and Planning – I started by pulling out a white board and assigned an activity to every day of the week, it sits in my office and I see it every day.

  • Sunday is run or recovery day (depending on where my body is at and if I am working, it is typically my long run day)
  • Monday is run or recovery (see above)
  • Tuesday I lift with an endurance focus, I keep my weight at < 67% of my 1RM and build big sets.  There is very little down time during this workout.  I will typically make this my double down day and ride hard for an hour, mountain, road, xcross.
  • Wednesday is typically an easier run or cardio day.  Not digging any more holes, probably doing a bit of “digging out” if I know myself correctly.
  • Thursday is Run and Power/Strength lifting day.  Run is done at tempo pace (pace I’d like to hold at whatever I am training for) and lifting is typically done just before or just after.  Thursdays will be tough.  Lifting is done at > 80-85% of 1 RM and with sets no longer than 8 reps.
  • Friday swim and whatever else I feel like getting behind.  Even a rest day for starters as I get back into things.  I absolutely would rather rest up than blow out.  Note to you former couch surfers – ease into things so that you can sustain them.
  • Saturday, longer ride and possibly a short run after.  I also prefer to throw in some honest work around the house or in the yard these days.

2.  Execution – As an athlete with an established baseline of training, volume and known acceptable intensity I have a general idea of where I am and what I should be able to handle.  In the same breath, I have never taken 6 weeks off and for the first time in a VERY long time I could use some accountability and a plan.  Whether I feel great or feel like death, I can do this for 2 weeks and I can force myself back into the saddle BUT only if I plan my structure based upon reasonable expectations.  To many people fail because they don’t have the discipline to plan modestly and truthfully to whom they are.  This is difficult stuff, everyday when you awake you stand your greatest chance of being successful.  You will find the rest of the day only adds barriers or validation of your excuses.

3.  Management – is huge and having the guts to follow through on a plan that is attainable, has the appropriate difficulty and keeps you engaged is a tough balance to not only plan for but to follow through on.

4.  Evaluation – Anybody reading this knows someone that is reasonably fit and loves to show you just how much so?  Yeah buddy, love seeing that guy.  Usually on Facebook in his bunkers with his shirt off and making us all a bit more ashamed of our culture.  Point being, plenty of people out there, even if they have some degree of success with training don’t break themselves down or take long and hard enough looks at not only what might be working (Your abs are so hot bro and I love that tribal tat!) but what isn’t.  On my blog we talk about being tactical athletes that can cover a wide range of activity and across a broad range of fitness components.

I hate doing bench presses or open free weight max weight front squats.  I suck at both.  I think bench pressing is dumb and has nearly no carry over into most activity.  I had front squats because I am constantly amazed at how bad I am at them.  Seriously a guy like me should be able to push more weight.  I’ve proven I can run and do some other things, what I need to do is prove that I am capable of overcoming my limiters too.

If you are convinced you could be better or that you gotta break your mold here it is again….

  1. Identify and Plan – Where are you, what do you want to do and by starting with something as simple as a white board get it down and broken into a week.  Wouldn’t hurt to identify a few other goals (short and long term) as well.
  2. Execute – Put it into action.  Not later.  Do it now and get busy beating back that noise between your ears.
  3. Manage – You need oversight and management incorporated into this, stay on top of it.
  4. Evaluate – Is it working and are you progressing?  It should always be challenging and you should never stop progressing.

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