It’s Training Time (ow!)

Because we’re in-season, and my league is a full WFTDA member now (whee!!), and it’s business time! PAST time. Time to get this body back in fighting shape — and more — and that means doing a bit of EVERYTHING. I’m pumped up, but daunted because I can’t seem to fit in enough sleep and still get my old 5-mornings-a-week schedule in at the gym now, at least not the way I used to. But I can get 3, plus derby, plus some weekend fun things, and that’ll do just fine.

Here’s what should be on the docket for a derby girl in the competitive season, assuming it’s in addition to one 2-hr team practice, one 2-hr league practice, and one full scrimmage each week:

  • 20 minutes of plyo 2x a week
  • 20-30 minutes of running 2x a week (more, if training for a race)
  • 60 minute boot camp 1x a week w/ the trainer or a similar class (BodyAttack etc.)
  • PiYo or Yoga class 1-2x a week (something for core & upper-body)
  • 20 minutes of strength training 1-2x a week
  • 20 minutes of core work 3x a week (e.g., 100 pushups / 100 crunches – see, e.g., Century Club on fb)
I’m also looking at a sprint tri or two this summer, and that means putting in some miles on the bike and in the pool, in addition to more running. Cycling is great cross-training for derby, since it works so many of the same muscles, and long weekend rides are almost as fun as derby practice. For swimming, finding a pool is the biggest hurdle (done, finally); I’d enjoy putting in some time on the weekends or over lunch when scheduling allows.

Why so long to get back in the groove again? After my stupid long fall/winter break, it felt like more than enough just to add back the two league practices each week. I was so sore the next day, sometimes even for two days after those practices, I didn’t want to add anything else until my body adjusted (and it does adjust). It’s not that I’m not sore after practice now, but it’s nowhere near as intense. While activity does help to relieve what researchers call DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, my experience is that it’s easy to strain something else (like my back) while guarding those sore muscles in the legs — particularly in that first day or so when the muscles are at their weakest, So I’ve been trying to add new things gradually, one each week. After a few weeks of derby, I added a little bit of running once or twice a week, then a class, etc.

Now I’m at a sort of early-middle point in re-entering the training plan, settled into derby 2-3 days/wk and some kind of off skates workouts 1-2 days/wk, ready to take on more, but that little voice at the back of my head is going “hey, where’s my weight loss? where’s the extra room in the jeans? what the hell, body? you’re not holding up your end of the bargain!! It’s been how many weeks now, WTF!@#&*?!”  So we’ve had a little talk, that voice and I.  Because it doesn’t work that way, at least not on a 40+ year-old body. Activity and nutrition changes don’t show up immediately on the scale or the measuring tape. Or even after a month. This is the time to really kick things up, not to be looking for results. So I need that voice to pipe down and be patient for a while – a long while.

So the scheduling is obviously key here — when to fit everything in? Planning is one of my greatest challenges, and I can’t be alone in that. I’ll have great intentions, but in a normal work week, the time flies by and workouts slip through the cracks very easily.

Mornings tend to make for a stickier habit for me in the gym, and my favorite classes are also very very early in the morning, but with evening practices out of town twice a week, those just aren’t workable on a regular basis anymore (cue EXTREME sadface). So I have to go in later, and work out mostly on my own, which means I need a solid plan going in. Without it, I’m a mess and I punk out easily. Ok, that’s doable. How many days? I get home around midnight on a practice night, so the mornings after practice are pretty much out. That leaves 3 weekday mornings, and the weekends for cycling or outdoor skating. So 60-90 minutes 3x a week.

Now, what to try and accomplish in those 3 days?

I find that when I’m on my own in the gym, I’m much more productive if I break the time into smaller chunks. 20 or 30 minutes is a nice amount of time for any one activity:  running, plyo, lifting, core work, etc., so I can get three different things into one morning. Now it’s just a matter of fitting tabs into slots: mixing up different activities for variety and to get sufficient training for derby performance, not doing the same thing on successive days, and eventually trying not to do anything new right before a scrimmage or bout.

One way to deal with this puzzle is to treat it as such: I’m building a set of little 3×5 cards that are each marked with a category (e.g., plyo, lifting, core, running), a description of the exercises w/ a number of sets/reps, and the amount of time they should take. So in a pinch, I can shuffle them and pick up enough to make 20 minutes in each category. I’m sure there’s an app for that, but it’s somehow more satisfying to see them in print. All those running and fitness magazines are going to come in handy here.

Now, JUST DO IT. Set those alarms for the whole week ahead of time, program in a message or song that will make you laugh or remind you why you’re doing this, and JUST DO IT. Don’t think about it, don’t question it, don’t take the time to wonder whether you’re in the mood.  Mood is irrelevant. It’s like that poster I keep seeing around Facebook:



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