Posts Tagged ‘challenge’

Run The Rock: Better Breathing

High school cross country practice was almost exclusively running with a small amount of weight training. Distance days we learned the layout of the city, running the streets around town to put in mileage. Speed work was always done on the track, mostly in the form of 800 or 400 repeats. If you want to build speed an endurance then you should work on running fast and far right? After six years of cross country I certainly didn’t know any better, but as it turns out running isn’t the only way to a faster race time.

One thing that was never taken into account when I was trained to run was technique, specifically when it comes to breathing. What is the most energy efficient way to breathe while running? What should I be doing to provide my body with the most fresh oxygen in every breath? These are the questions that occurred to me the other day, and I found the answer… one answer any way. HowToRunAMarathon.net provided me with an article called ‘Belly Breathing‘ that I decided to put to the test.

Wednesday evening I set out on a short run to train for a half marathon and practice this new breathing strategy. Half of a mile into my run, I had just broken a sweat and settled into a comfortable pace, I turned my attention to my breathing. Shallow and harsh, in and out through my gaping mouth. I don’t know how I was getting enough oxygen to stay conscious much less active.

Taking advice from the article I began forcing air out of my lungs by tightening my stomach muscles as I exhaled. This required constant focus specifically on breathing. Gasping for air when my lungs were at capacity I would realize that I had quit belly breathing and would again have to focus. As the next few miles passed beneath my feet it took less concentration, and even became comfortable. The same pace seemed much less demanding and I was able to breath strictly through my nose for the first time. With only one run of practice belly breathing is a method that I intend to adopt permanently. In addition to the increased endurance that I am sure will result, the effectiveness of this technique has inspired me to work on my form in the near future.

Do any runners know where I could find running technique suggestions?

Run The Rock: Time to Train

When my friend Charlie asked me if I would like to run the Dallas White Rock Half Marathon in December I couldn’t imagine saying no. I have always enjoyed running, even the days that I barely forced myself to put running shoes on I took them off feeling invigorated. A half marathon would be a great reason to start training again, and with fourteen weeks to train I would have plenty of time for a good program. So I had him sign me up and began searching the internet for a suitable training schedule.

After just two weeks of procrastination, as I began to fear that I might not finish the race and receive my 13.1 sticker, I began training on September 12th. Having spent hours over two weeks trying to decide on the best way to train and how to schedule my runs, two minutes is all that it took to find a basic training program online. Continue reading

Webster In A Week: A lesson in procrastination

    After procrastinating for the entire week I was in a rush on Sunday to land a webster and complete this weeks endeavor. Unfortunately, as I learned in school, waiting until the last-minute and rushing to be done returns half-assed results. So, as you can see in yesterdays post, and video, I had not completed a webster in the good-looking fashion that I had hoped.

    When I went back out yesterday evening I viewed it as one last opportunity to land a smooth webster before the end of the week. After a few more attempts on flat ground I was still landing in a squatted position which doesn’t have the aesthetic appeal that I am looking for. Walking through the park behind my house I was hoping to find a small ledge or hill that I could flip off of. This would add some extra height and time to rotate allowing me to land in a standing position. Continue reading

One Workout Every Hour: Hourly Exercise Day 2

    In yesterday’s post I wrote that I was finishing up my post quickly in order to avoid another exercise that night. Unfortunately as I got into the bed and checked the clock it was already 1:01. So I rolled out of bed, landed on the floor in plank position and held it for 50 seconds. I figured since I would be getting straight back into bed that I wouldn’t do anything to significantly raise my heart rate. From now on I will have to leave myself more than 30 minutes to prepare for, and get to bed.

    Today I worked a from 9am to 9pm today, and much like yesterday was quite busy. Although, unlike yesterday I used my opportunities to workout at home to use weights and increase intensity. Continue reading

One Workout Every Hour: The first day filled with exercise.

Last week was severely disappointing, for the first time I completed a week and feel like I have failed. Over seven days I spent more than three-hour attempting to meditate and was not able to concentrate. The practice continued to frustrate and disinterest me. Despite this I held out and completed the week, but found no real benefit from doing so. Because of the high praises that I continue to hear about meditation it is possible that I will revisit this challenge in the future, but not until I have gained new insight on the practice. In the meantime I have returned to a physical challenge for this week’s endeavor.

From the time I woke up this morning, to the time I go to sleep Sunday night I will have completed more than 100 workouts. My goal is to complete one workout for ever hour that I am awake for an entire week. Continue reading

Practicing Meditation: Getting started is a struggle.

This week I expected my task to bring ease and relaxation. I was looking forward to the added focus and concentration that I would find. Instead I have found frustration and fatigue. After the first three days I have only completed one thirty minute session. One week of meditation has been much more of a challenge than I had expected.

On the first day I followed along with a YouTube series about how to meditate. As I listened to these videos my mind was constantly wandering. With my eyes shut my brain filled in the pictures, but quickly took over the rest of my senses also. Losing all focus on my meditation I was lost in my own thoughts, just seconds after I started. This happened repeatedly, only to be corrected when the video reminded me to focus on my breath. Continue reading

Afraid to Flip: A confidence building week.

On a few occasions as a kid I was taken to a gymnastics gym, usually for a friends birthday party. I always had a blast doing flips and tricks on the trampolines or into the foam pit. A gym would be the perfect place to learn a backflip, with padded floors, a spring board, and possibly somebody to give me advice. On Wednesday I began searching for local gyms, and when they had open gym times. After calling a few local gyms I realized that most don’t allow adults. The closest one that I could find with adult open gym was an hour away, with open gym on Monday and Tuesday. By now I had wasted most of my evening and it was necessary that I made some progress. Continue reading