There are tracks like this in nearly every city or town with a school or recreation center. Sometimes running in an ellipse in the summer sun is just what I need. In off-hours, frequently, no one else is there. What a great opportunity to make a training meet-up with a friend who is at a fitness level close to yours. Early mornings on a track can also be invigorating. Remember this option; it’s a good one. Use it according to your needs, fitness level, and do check with your physician if there are any known conditions for which you should get a doctor’s OK.
Today for me, this is how I used the track.
warm up: 50 body weight squats (25 half, 25 full).
Ran 12 laps (3 miles)…
One Sprint per lap, or 1/4 mile…
Eleven 50 yard sprints…
Lap 12 was a 220 meter sprint…
1 quarter mile cool down walk…
It was 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Like Smaug the Dragon, the eyes of my road running shoes open at the breath of Spring in the air, fair winds blowing upon the great icy mountain of doubt. Stand to train again.
The depthless, fathomless, soaringly timeless, state of being arising when a person digs deep enough to leave body and mind behind and achieve what those two weaker vessels could not on their own.
An example, the night raid at Riva Ridge by the 10th Mountain Division in 1945, and digging deeper the next day against stiff resistance to take Mt. Belvedere:
This is relative to mental and physical conditioning, for the person with lesser conditioning, if their body then mind gives way earlier than those more advanced in body and mind training, the spirit kicks in sooner. And for the advanced athlete, warrior, whatever…later, perhaps.
Will we ever come to the point where we run, perform, act, compete, work, and achieve from this state of being from the beginning of the effort, mind and body moved efficiently from this zone in our being? That would be a breakthrough. What endurance, strength, and other qualities would be possible then? Where are the limits? I guess we really don’t know yet, and that is an exciting frontier that those of us in a boundary set world can escape to every day.
Mountains catch light and shadow so subtly and differently from moment to moment, their beauty brings enough surprise to feel transportive. There is a sense of renewal given by myriad conditions.
It is the same way when you hit the road for a walk, run, or cycling. Part of the reason for hitting the road is to put variety in your life. There are so many roads, routes, directions, and orders of taking them that hitting the road will often have reset value for you.
Ran the fine country and ranch roads of Northern Colorado in the cool, sunshiney air and logged 5.02 miles.
The run felt humble in phases, especially during intervals in which I stepped up my pace, however, finishing I felt immediately better and recovered quickly. I think this bug is about gone.
You know how it is when you think it’s gone, you’re trying to tell someone something, and the mere intake of air to speak draws a cough, and you feel like your 400 years old because of it. Still, it didn’t make me feel like staying home today and eating gobs of hot salsa with chips and drinking 400 gallons of water.
Yesterday, though, it did make me feel like eating medium hot Thai fried rice, a veggie spring roll, and a pot of hot green tea. Later, invited out yet again, dinner involved Miso soup and a small flask of hot sake. These are comforting substances at the end of a virus.
Also comforting was letting garlic flakes sit on the back of my tongue, and sort of marinate and waft through the upper respiratory tract with the believed knowledge that garlic is a natural antibiotic. Anecdotally I felt less inflammation around the cough zone in my throat after trying that.
I think we both know you’ve heard enough. I’m just glad you stop by from time to time. It’s a privilege for this writer.
To catch up on my periodic journaling of training experiences:
Vancouver, BC. Be it known that I skipped the hotel fitness center in Vancouver BC, and opted for family whale watching, walks in the rain, and bicycling in the sunshine.
On the whale boat I could have sat the entire journey and monitored the Pacific waters for sea life. But I spent some wonderful time holding my child and working on fixing on distant, relatively fixed points to avoid symptoms of motion sickness as we motored over the waves to where the whales were spotted off the coast.
Going up to the boat’s viewing roof, I found that riding those waves in a rain coat afforded me a nice, standing core exercise trying to stay balanced on the boat, minimizing dependence on the rails.
Movement with Forces training came into play staying out in the rainy, windy sea weather and exposing myself to the wet cold for a time. Cold, wet sea weather is a force.
Another force encountered was the motion of moving in circles on my feet on the top deck relative to the boat’s forward, swell-riding motion. The circling was to scan the ocean’s surface for whales and other sea animals, while keeping balance, orientation, and trying to mitigate motion symptoms. This was a unique experience. I might have slogged through it, jetting along with the experience incidentally, and trying to avoid the elements as sources of discomfort instead of sources of mind-body training.
Instead I decided to consciously engage the ride as a crossing of training dimensions, and I thoroughly enjoyed it while witnessing the stunning beauty of the NW coasts and isles. Along with others I got to share ocean air and space with killer whales, humpbacks, sea lions, porpoises, and varied seabirds. The salt on the air, the relaxing of the boat’s fellow riders, and the graciousness of the husband-wife captain-naturalist team really enhanced our day.
Our walks in the rainy city gave us many chances to negotiate the architectural inclines, hilly city blocks, and wall tops as we used our feet to move through the concrete, glass, and steel mountains. The sea air blowing between them was a bonus. After much cool weather walking about, you can imagine that fish and chips, coffee, and hot chocolate called out to us a time or two. Let me also recommend the practice for parents of safely holding hands with your child in the city, and swinging him over the lines, manhole covers, sidewalk designs, and props found along the city course. I think switching sides and getting both arms in on the child swing is a good practice. Teaching city safety and enjoyment awareness at the same time is a bonus. During these walks, sudden footraces are known to break out, too. Race you to that monument — to that hydrant — to that vent – to that tree…
Our bicycle outing was just plain fun in the sunshine viewing the mountains we hadn’t been able to see for the clouds for three days straight. And walking some sandy, shelly, mossy, and very clean inner beaches came with the cycling trip through Stanley Park.
We had no time to hit all the most advertised destinations, but we saved a list for another time if it comes available.
To counter the experience of sitting on planes, trains, and automobiles, I used the symmetrical carrying and lifting of luggage, treating it as if I were carrying kettlebells, and keeping the exercises with it closer-in and less conspicuous so as not to embarrass family too much. This included lunging it, squatting to lift it, shrugging it, variable one and two armed rows, curling it, shouldering it, and the like. Same with the carry on back pack. Luggage that I carry is often between 35 and 40 pounds, and serves nicely as a clunky kettle bell by the top handle. I also kick it up with my foot when putting it on wheels and pulling the handle out to pull it. Sitting in airport seats I am able to do wrist curls with my luggage, propping wrists on knees and grasping the top handle.
Trips can afford more than in my laziness I took advantage of.
What a privilege to sit down and talk with Federal Executive Institute alumni and friends last night. These professionals brought up a host of great topics. We talked gluten freedom, how eating, drinking, and sleeping are self-trainable behaviors, and how intelligent attunement can benefit us in every dimension of physical action as well as perception. These civilian and military public servants, technical, and knowledge workers spoke in ways revealing their high accomplishment, and by their intelligence had found the many packaged fitness offerings in the marketplace unfulfilling or unsustainable. We also discussed the texture of real life: traumas, shadows, and challenges in daily life. Being with intelligent people can be a good time, but being with intelligent, feeling people is the best of times, and that is what last night’s gathering was like.
We talked nuts and bolts: Muscle, Mileage, Mobility, Midsection/Core, Mountains’ Meaning, and more. Everyone in attendance had been athletic in their lives whether they considered themselves so or not, and I made sure to point this out first of all. We must be clear about our identities, that we are among other wonderful truths, mind-body entities capable of athleticism in physical sport, art, and work. Yes, the basic adaptive physical training pathways can expand to intellectual and for some, spiritual athleticism.
On the sheer material side, a la Steve Martin in The Jerk, needing to hold onto some possessions on an anniversary date when I had once felt I’d lost everything, I brought some self-comforting props for my presentation. Rip’s Fire Engine 2 (TM) Plant Strong cereal (my strength), and Toblerone (TM) swiss chocolate (my weakness). They seemed like the props to bring at the time.
Along with a box of books and a gym bag with all I needed, I walked into Breckenridge Craft Colorado, home to craft beers and LoDo Denver venue-name dropping. You may remember our former mayor and now Governor Hickenlooper owned a restaurant in LoDo (Lower Downtown), where rough-hewn, red-brick mellow-looking pubs and brewers fill old warehouse buildings near lofts where nearly everyone walking around down there looks like they do Pilates during breakfast, Yoga during lunch, and feed intravenously through a liquid food bladder while running long distances through dinner.
Well, that may be an exaggeration but I’ll tell you what is not: most people living in downtown lofts are single, young, career starters enjoying urban life to the fullest, and throwing their pliable youthful bodies into one or two training modalities, sometimes not really bothering with long range thinking. They live close to their white collar work. They’re busy on various levels, but many don’t yet know the change that comes with rising in the ranks of responsibility, having a family, and having more and more people they are responsible for (at which time they often move out of the lofts). That doesn’t make them lesser or lazy, they just fill more of their time focusing on self-development than other-development because of their phase in life. Logic says juggling a one bean bag business is easier than juggling and adapting to three or more bean bags’ businesses…
Leading me to the course of our discussions last night: How do those with hairy schedules at work and home, extra-curriculars in the community, and little time to themselves make changes that temper for them a sound, powerful training life with consistency, excellence, and purpose? How do they overcome the crushing, conflicting, Hoi Polloi of Expectation-a-Legal living and not become unhealthy?
That is what Farm Your Training Day was written to begin answering. It contains many specific guidances on HOW, not just statements and restatements of a vague vision. I couldn’t convey all of it in one sitting and standing. What I could convey are some of the broad brush adaptive training principles and dimensions, and suggest that the fullness of these is in the book. This includes illustrations, guidances, sources, stories, and some visualizable details over 276 pages and 17 chapters without pictures.
All I can say is, after reading the book, which is not a Polly-Anna Manifesto by any stretch, and which takes a look at the mundane and dramatic obstacles to a consistent training life that would wear us down and make us unhealthy, I think people find not only bedrock to stand on within themselves, but a process of remolding their bedrock again and again from the interior life. Their training lives spring out of this aquifer of intelligent, planned and unplanned energy and movement within that connects with the world around them. The book maps forward, not ‘out.’ I say forward, because every reader is invited to be the pioneer who adds to this map, innovates, and improves the book by going into other principles and dimensions of adaptive training.
I know something of what there is and wrote a book about it, yet part of that is seeing that I do not know the limits of what is possible.
The Federal Executive Institute Alumni Association (FEIAA) consists of graduates of professional education programs of the Federal Executive Institute, serving federal government executives building on their talents, skills, and abilities for public service. It’s area alumni are gathering in Denver for a reunion and refresher tomorrow.
As part of those FEIAA proceedings I’ve been privileged to facilitate a conversation about my book Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness. I will also sign-off on copies of the book for those in attendance who add it to their training libraries. I am looking forward to learning more about the adaptive training needs of these busy professionals.
I have Michael Anderson to thank for the privilege of meeting with his fellow alumni, and hope that everyone in attendance will come away with something permanent on which to build and improve as leaders of their own training lives.
After the event I’d like to post what I learned from a discussion of adaptive training with a group of dedicated professionals whose lives are quite busy. Public service can be an intense challenge, and work-life balance will figure into our conversation. More soon!
Friday and Saturday yielded wonderful company on back to back afternoon family hikes above 10,000 feet. The trail was Herman Gulch trail. This trail starts at 10,332 feet and gains 1,655 feet in 3.25 miles to a high cirque lake at about 12,000 feet elevation. Friday we went about half way and back, totaling a little over 3 miles at the late hour. The steepest gain is in the first mile.
Saturday our family hike went further, about 3/4 way, with me running intervals, sprint intervals, and incline sprints then hiking back to the family and repeating. That is the way to work in more arduous speed-endurance when you have a crowd with mixed stamina levels along. I was able to sprint ahead, hike back down to my betters, then run back up again in repeat heats. It was humbling for me, and someone special got inspired and started joining in, taking the lead higher up! I was stoked by that I have to tell you. What a gem.
Whatever cold bug of seasons’ change we’d picked up during the week hit us after the exertion of Saturday’s hike, and for me, the trail running intervals. The running intervals were on a 40 degree slope and were at maximum sprint speed until I couldn’t do it anymore. Hiked the rest.
Photos share the vistas along the way. The Fall colors are fast emerging in the September Rockies, even in the mushrooms! Soon, I’ll have my Canon serviced and I’ll stop pushing these phone photos on you!
I did not expect the unexpected on Saturday. That’s good or else it wouldn’t be called unexpected. Expectations did not fail, they changed. However, adapting prevailed.
I’d planned a 5-7 mile run depending on how my foot felt. My friend and neighbor (who has been very busy lately) happened to be running at the same time. It was good to catch up, and to have someone else to share a cadence with on the road. We didn’t say much, just our feet. My friend’s ankle limits his running, a result of pounding from basketball. After a brief talk about that, and some talk about Eastern medicine approaches, I ran his run with him for three miles. I could run again later, and do a double. It was no problem for me. Waving him off and running further would have risked discouraging future runs together, so I ran in with him. My neighbor invited me to the Mayweather-Alvarez fight later in the evening. I said yes, and we parted ways.
I went inside, and focused on the heaviest kettle bells for 100 slow, near continuous movements (squat / dead lifts / rows / shrugs / incline presses).
After the run I had intended to spend the morning working on my current writing project, study my NSCA strength conditioning materials, and watch the thunderheads build over Colorado. Then I thought of my brother-in-law’s brother, whose basement had been flooded in the foothill community he lives in.
I put in a call. He was tearing soaked carpet out of a walkout basement. Nice. As I spoke to him I watched a huge thunderhead building over the mountains in his direction. Phoning a person whose basement has been flooded to say, “Hey, how’s it going, let’s get together sometime,” is shallow to someone in deeper waters, so it was not long before I was driving down a rural country road toward the mountains, toting water remediation stuff I got from Lowes and my garage. It was an opportunity to listen to a U2 CD I got at a garage sale and drive new roads.
It also became a physical labor opportunity for conditioning. Here were some movements one doesn’t get to do every day. Squeegy work, water vacuuming, more carpet removal, baseboard prying, movement of irregular, heavy items, fan assembly, including a Precor treadmill, box hauling, and dumping water vac containers. After 3 hours of that, I realized that opportunities for exercise will arise under many circumstances helping people with physical burdens.
Later it was Pho Vietnamese soup with my family, and we all puzzled over the question of MSG, what had the least of it, and how to avoid it in the future when we wanted to go out.
The Mayweather fight was excellent as was the good company and conversation at my neighbor’s house. Observing Mayweather’s boxing mastery was a beautiful thing to behold. His humor came out a couple of times too. Without destroying his opponent physically, he mastered the fight in every way. His defense was subtle, swift, and sapped his opponent’s energy. His jab was a granite blur. His combinations were carefully timed, highly accurate, and powerful. His larger and younger opponent had not trained as hard or as long to be a master of the sweet science. Mayweather had, and it showed. On the other had, Mayweather’s team had forced a catch-weight regulation on Alvarez that had Alvarez dropping and gaining weight again swiftly before the fight. It may have affected Alvarez adversely to undergo such a fluctuation. Asked about it, Mayweather’s team chalked it up to the art of war.
An interesting fact: Mayweather was accompanied to the ring by rapper Lil Wayne and singer Justin Bieber. Psychological warfare, no doubt, meant to distract, or maybe feign excessive preoccupation with fame. If so, Mayweather’s training was definitely not distracted by fame.
Loneliness does not discriminate. Probably everyone knows what kind of life events, states of being, and physical burdens correlate with it. Whatever isolation and loneliness comes from, those who suffer from it know why solitary confinement is one of the worst punishments prisons dole out.
A training life can move you out of the lonely place into a new life.
Growing your own training life from the ground up will lead you into short, manageable social interactions that begin slowly and gently to drain away the loneliness with each outing. You’ll have time to think, to hold problems up to the sun in your mind and heart, and to subject them to the light that dawns as you move.
The sunshine can boost you up some more.
Start simple: a walk or hike. Go to a nearby running track, a trail you know, or a park with long sidewalk pathways along a lake or river. Or just make the city blocks in a familiar area your training scape.
It is training, and retraining your brain, nerves, muscles, and body chemistry simply to get out and move in the outdoors. So much happens when you do this, there is an automatic element to outdoor outings.
Dress in what’s comfortable, do what you need to do to feel comfortable to get out the door. Then soak up the world’s outdoor riches as you journey.
The YouTube clip is from the top of the East, some say South Tower of The Citadel. Some call it Snoopy because of rock outcropping that looks like Charlie Brown’s dog. Will update with photos of different kinds from this beautiful 13,294 foot twin peak ascent. I climbed it last in 2007, and again today. It is a beautiful, soaring twin tower with some “technical” effort once reaching each of the two towers. Today I only climbed up one and down one stretch and was able to scramble, step, and hike the rest.
More photos and videos to come from this trip, and some reflections.
At launch, I was driven. I’d made the twisty-turning, detoured road to the trail head at about 10,600 feet. I started briskly, moving with intent to make a fast outing of it. I felt good. I was mildly irritated with the many distractions that had me coming out for an afternoon interval hike and run. Time is scarce these days.
I slipped, caught myself, and hurt my foot. See my previous post for that story and what it did externally.
Afterward, I was exasperated, scorning the decisions of fate.
Then I asked myself: what am I so attached to that I am upset about this?
As I tenderly hiked and occasionally ran along another six miles, I thought about that.
Is being “driven” healthy? Slaves are driven. Oxen are driven. Unloved horses are driven.
And yet, I’d been driving myself.
The injury stopped that with punctuation.
I was attached to ownership of myself, my day, my training, my business, my goals, my aspirations, and my expectations. All mine in Me-Myself-and-I-Ville. Forget my context, my purposes, what I was doing all of this for, and what I have dedicated myself to that is beyond me.
Yes. Subtly through growing impatience with delay after delay getting out there, I became more the slave driver. The Owner of everything. The hard-to-please judge of every little thing and how it was going. I allowed frustration to turn my day into a driven drought.
Then I hurt my foot and arrived at what I needed to do.
Let go and move, hike, and run free.
Overview and Preview as Seen at iBookstore, Lulu.com, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon (with some formatting changes here).
With this guide, you can take ownership of your physical training life and leave behind co-dependence on unsustainable, packaged dieting and fitness hype.
Here you will learn ten principles to help you rewire yourself to train adaptively, more consistently, and thoroughly. Seven training dimensions encourage you to train often, in more places, with more choices.
Table of Contents
Introduction ………………………………………………………………………. vii
Organization, Content, and Safety Notice ………………………………..ix
Part I. Principles of Adaptive Training ………………… 1
Chapter 1. The Training Day Principle ……………………………………3
Chapter 2. Interval Farming Principle ……………………………………..7
Chapter 3. Adaptive Journal Principle ……………………………………40
Chapter 4. The Working Principle ………………………………………..45
Chapter 5. The Gradualism Principle …………………………………….60
Chapter 6. Windfall Principle ………………………………………………71
Chapter 7. Attunement Principle …………………………………………. 74
Chapter 8. Adaptive Eating, Drinking, and Sleeping Principles….90
Chapter 9. Objective Principle: Identify & Excel in Your Sport,
Art, and Work …………………………………………………. 107
Chapter 10. Navigation Principle …………………………………………. 111
Part II. The Seven Dimensions of Adaptive Training …127
Chapter 11. Dimension One: Muscle …………………………………….130
Chapter 12. Mileage ………………………………………………………….. 155
Chapter 13. Mobility …………………………………………………………. 173
Chapter 14. Midsection + Core …………………………………………… 183
Chapter 15. Mountain ……………………………………………………….. 192
Chapter 16. Movement with Forces (MWF) …………………………..206
Chapter 17. The Seventh Dimension: Mind-Body Training via
Sport, Art, Work ………………………………………………254
Elevation: 10,000 Feet
Distance: 3.6 Miles
Time: Twilight after Sundown
Temps: 40’s Fahrenheit.
Priority: Last. Family-firsts came first, and therein, this writer’s personal, adaptive training purpose-growth.
Special Occasions: First family camp-out with our girl, first-time fishing with her, first-time rainy camp-out, first-time camp-out for dog, and first tent construction and fire build with my daughter, and first tent take down in the rain with my better half. Joyous experiences.
Tag-Team Family Training Principle: Covered for my spouse, enabling her time to hike and run without distraction, a rarity for her. In a setting away from home (absent the familiar rationales) one who writes about accessible training for others, for self, and tests these principles, faces own selfishness. The practice emerges with greater focus away from home, evangelized by reflection in a tent, and by a fire, symbolizing the burning away of my rationales.
Team Member Check: Ceded nutrition lead to spouse, whose professional vocational training, research, and intrinsic discipline better fills the nutritional knowledge role between us, as I pursue the adaptive personal fitness focus. Teams and their members share ownership. A family must choose teamwork, every member contributing, and every member respecting the others’ contributions. A dedicated zone of listening to the expertise and role, an area that calls us to expand this mutuality, and harmony.
All in all, a wonderful weekend, a wonderful place, and joy in the rain.
On Walker Loop Trail, he whose laziness left his i-Phone in that little top pocket of his Camelback(TM) found rescue in Hiking-to-Healthy’s blog, who is one of you: the diligent, the excellers, the mountain movers who visit this blog and make it real…
We worked in some boulder scrambles, and each used a fallen pine tree trunk as a power lifting prop. We counted ourselves successful just to budge it several inches off the slope. The oxygen debt from sprinting on a mountain grade was humbling in a way that made one-minute’s recovery seem to slow down in time.
Here’s one of several shots from Hiking-to-Healthy’s earlier and thorough photo-journal capture of Walker Loop Trail:
This was a paved run, whereas I had become used to dirt trails of late. The paved run in hybrid barefoot / road shoes did challenge my lower calves and knees with the need to stretch from time to time in the last 3 miles. I pulled a sock off that was pulling my little toes too hard as I ran.