Monday, February 8, 2016


I got in the hole for calories earlier in the day, I realized post-workout, and by the time I was done working out I was about ready to eat a horse! Once you're really down, it's hard to make it back up - I can do better....

Anyway, I didn't feel focused during the workout, but that was also because there was this horrible thing with the band for the deadlifts, which I couldn't figure out how to hold without it slipping - not a quality set, I am afraid. Anyway, workout more or less as follows:

4 x 6 medicine ball "sledgehammer" slams (R and L, 6lb)

5 x 4 deadlift with resistance band to add uneven tension (135lb)

3 x 10 safety squat bar (70lb) with box! (I really like this, though I'm anxious about taking it back to the regular squat bar - but when I said that, Josh says not yet, all in good time, so I will listen to him!)

3 x 10 one-arm rows (42.5)

3 x 10 bicep curl (12.5)

Possibly one other thing that I am forgetting?

1:15 lower body

Then I took my stuff to a treadmill for a notional 30-minute run with intervals and I just had NOTHING - was sitting on end of treadmill trying to get a sock on and after some struggling I realized that brain fog was telling me I needed to eat rather than do more exercise!....

Sunday, February 7, 2016


Just writing a quick log on iPad before heading downtown for dinner with G. This was the whole workout as I remember it (I've minused the 50s I had to sit out!):

300 (minus 50)

(1) 3 x (50-50-50 drill-swimm-drill, 50-50-50 kick-swim-kick) (900 - I probably did 700)

(2) 2 x 300 (swim, pull); 2 x 200 (swim, pull); 2 x 100 (swim, pull) (1200 - I probably did 1000)

(3) 8 x (50 build choice, 25 sprint choice): we did IM order x 2 (fly drill on the 50 - I did an extra fly in place o the last breast since mine is so slow!) (these short IM sets I can actually more or less keep up!) (600)

200 swim down

c. 2850


Like night and day (not having a pack on is helpful too) - glute-hamstring still a little tender, right side of back still a little tight, but nothing like yesterday. Really the difference has to do with Friday having been extremely taxing and Saturday having been a day of recovery - when I am finding it a huge mental effort just to get out the door it often means I have overdone it in some respect (work or socializing) the previous day.

Gorgeous weather too - 45F, sunny and mild, with not a hint of wind!

1.5hr easy

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Run hodgepodge

Hahahaha, really it's a fail, but it was worthwhile in its own right, and I'm going to have a try at doing it tomorrow (a real ninety-minute run) which I think was always the more realistic possibility!

Got up pretty early to have breakfast with my mother before she went back to Philadelphia, but inevitably went back to bed when I got home. Slept maybe 11 all the way to 2pm, oh dear - and I had a date to meet Lauren at 4 at Chelsea Piers. So I thought I'd run there plus a bit extra, but I was groggy and dragged my heels on getting out of the house (and it's a cumbersome pack you have to bring with winter change of clothes), so by the time I left there was no slack for a bit extra.

And once I was jogging, although the weather was beautiful I just felt slightly horrible - big pack, sore back, sore right glute-hamstring attachment, dead legs, etc. etc. So I told myself I just had to "run" 30 minutes (which is what's on the schedule for tomorrow) and I could powerwalk the rest of the miles to the gym. And I did that (hahahaha, powerwalk is only a hair slower than very slow run!).

Then Lauren and I did 30min on the treadmill, I kept mine at a walk as everything was tender (right knee also a bit sore!) but did brief easy run intervals - 3.5mph base, plus 10 x (:30 @ 6mph, 1:30 walking recovery). And some good stretching.

:30 jog
:42 fast walk
:30 walk on treadmill with easy run intervals

That's actually at least a pretty decent amount of time moving - as I say, I will try and do the real run tomorrow instead!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Upper body!

In an ideal world I'd have my second upper body workout either with Josh or with a teammate as a training partner, but it doesn't seem feasible this semester - Friday's the best day for me to do it, and Josh doesn't have an open slot at the beginning or end of the day, while I'm tied up 9:30-3:30 uptown in TRAC and report-writing (the reports in particular use up every ounce of willpower so that for the first two Fridays of the semester I just came home and fell into bed afterwards for an overly long nap). Teammates have other things going on and I don't really want to look at Saturday, which I think should be considered long run day.

So I bit the bullet and hired a trainer through Columbia - that gym is horribly crowded, but on the other hand it's one block from home and office and setting up something like this is clearly the only way I'm going to EITHER get a second upper body workout in regularly OR work out on Fridays at all! So - it was great! It's going to be a really good arrangement. I am fortunately at the career stage where the problem of being overly busy can be largely remedied by throwing money at problems and making them go away (taxis, prepared foods).

We did the workout exactly as Josh specified!

(1) dumbbell floor press (1-second pause at bottom): 4 x 6 @ 35

(2) lat pulldown: 5 x 10 x moderate weight

(3) close grip bench: 2 x 10 @ 75 ("competition pause")

(4) dumbbell skull-crusher (single-arm as we could only find one of the set): 3 x 10 x 15

(5) lateral raise: 3 x 10 @ 5 (6-second eccentric tempo)

Then some really hard abs stuff - I don't usually do such a good job with that! 2 times each through 2 short circuits, pretty challenging....

1hr upper body!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Lower body!

That was really good. We started using this safety squat bar last week and it seems incredibly helpful for me in particular - my block on squats is more mental than physical, and with this bar I feel a lot more stable and secure. Good workout today - the infrastructure is changing a little but the transition seems to have worked pretty smoothly. I really want to be able to do a decent squat for the meet in May, but decent in this case has more to do with me feeling that the lift has become absolutely reliable and predictable to me than anything specific in the way of numbers - I'm working out at a very low percentage of max due to caution.

kneeling medicine ball slam (8lb): 3 x 6

squats with safety bar: 4 x 10 x 80

weighted eccentric lunges (1 chain): 3 x 8 x 6 seconds descending

dumbbell hamstring curls: 3 x 10 x 37.5

8 x :30 plank on 1:00 (substitution for 200 abs with band)

c. 1.5hr with warmup and stretching


It is so strange: the aversion one feels before doing something either new or that one hasn't done for a long time is very strong! It's years I think since I swam at Dodge, but I've signed up for Tues-Thurs-Fri 11am-noon lap swim this semester as a backup for days I can't get downtown (I will never be able to swim in the Friday slot, and I should usually be able to get to Tuesday masters swim in Chelsea but the Thursday slot is potentially quite useful, and work commitments sometimes prelude Tuesday downtown daytime swimming too, so I think it's worth it). Had a very hard time getting myself out the door (next week I will go straight from my meeting, but it finished early and I hadn't brought work so I came home instead), but it was nice once I got there. The Columbia gym is fairly awful (built underground, a labyrinth, mediocre facilities) but the pool itself is nice, albeit in the DUNGEON (4 floors underground). Deeper and cooler water than Chelsea Piers, but also I think with more chemicals - I am sneezing like crazy and with streaming nose!

There is a gal supervising who will give stroke advice and/or a workout, but I was happy today to do my own thing (my homework from my lesson yesterday!). Not sure this is exactly right, but let's say:

100 swim
100 kick
100 sweet spot drill
100 alternating sweet spot drill
100 swim with salute and sweet spot
100 free concentrating on form
2 x (50 swim with salute and sweet spot, 100 free)
4 x 50 drill-swim (IM order)
100 IM
100 free
one more set of 50 swim with salute and sweet spot, 100 free

x. 1450 (I was in for about 40 minutes, that seems right)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Bliss in three drills

In utter state of euphoria now. How could I have forgotten that a lesson with a great swimming teacher is one of the most absolutely heavenly things in the whole world?!?! Hahahaha, Slava is a genius - we had a very productive session. No need to tally yardage as it was all drill, but here is my lesson and homework:

Three drills:

(1) Sweet spot. Kick on one side, rebalancing as you go and concentrating on staying relaxed and with an easy kick. Five rules: (i) chin to shoulder; (ii) if legs are sinking, lower head more deeply into the water; (iii) if you're swallowing water, bend neck very slightly to lift head higher in the water; (iv) if you're not moving forward strongly, leg should come out more resoundingly forward; (v) if you're floundering/moving unsteadily from side to side, leg should go more strongly backward.

(2) Alternating sweet spot. One side, then the other side. Rebalance each time. Easy kick with same rules as (1). Starting to think about stroke coordination.

(3) Swim with salute and sweet spot. Stroke coordination as a priority: salute (alternate: "time to switch" drill where you only go for catch and pull in front hand when your back hand reaches the position where you could check your watch), begin catch/pull, sweet spot each time.

I love it so much! Really I am leading a fortunate life: now have just over two hours to read a student article draft, write a few paragraphs of response to positive readers' reports on a book proposal so that it can move forward to the final stage of review at the press, retool my Wordsworth lecture opening given that we're coming off Marvell rather than Milton. Then student meetings and office hours, lecture on Lyrical Ballads and post-lecture teaching meeting with seminar leaders (at my apartment - must do a bit of tidying as well!). A day full of things I really enjoy....


Slow ambulatory one from home to Chelsea Piers. Nice slightly rainy mild morning in NYC. Have just eaten an energy bar and will now have a swimming lesson!

1:05 slow run

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Very good afternoon work session in the cafe (work work, not athletic work!), then a fun upper body session with the team. I had that tendonitisy feeling in head of biceps that comes from swimming with poor technique, and perhaps should have eaten one more thing, but the factor that killed my first attempt at the bench work set was something that's been bedevilling me recently, namely concentrating so much on tucking elbows that I am moving bar down at a snail's pace and fatigue unduly soon! Josh cut the work weight back from 100-105 to 85 and it was fine thereafter, I felt good (though at the 1:20 mark I called it, there were still abs and rope pull but I needed food more than I needed either!).

Medicine ball slams (3 x 10 on each side, standing, winding up to side and then hammering it down hard)

5 x (10 ring rows, 5 pushups)

bench: 5 x 6 x 85

lat pulldown: 4 x 10 x misc. weights

1:20 total

Happy happy run swim!

Hmmm, it is a beautiful day, I am in a good mood. I am doing some slightly naughty things this semester in terms of discretionary use of daytime hours for exercise and also lavish use of TAXIS to facilitate good mental and physical health in conjunction with the realities of life demands...

40min run as 20:00 easy, then 10 x :30 fast, 1:30 walking recovery

1hr masters swim! Today the coach gave a good modification to the lead swimmer so that she mixed in breast or back to make us able to have the same sendoffs, that was thoughtful (and accommodating of C. to modify!). Hmmm, not sure I am reproducing this at all accurately, but it was along these lines:

400 warmup (I was a bit late getting in the pool - it was notionally 3 x 200 as (1) free (2) back (3) reverse IM swim-kick by 25) - 50 free, 200 back, 150 reverse IM (free-breast-back)

4 x IM on 2:10 (I sat out a couple of 50s, so call it 300)

Then I really found my groove!

5 x 50 fly-back on brief rest

200 pull (I did 100)

5 x 50 free alternating on 1:10 and 1:00

5 x 100 free on 2:10 (this was lovely - C. was alternating back and free, I had 12-13s rest and swam very steady for the whole set)

200 free

100 easy swimdown

2100 yards total (is that implausibly much? I think that's right actually - we stayed in a little late and didn't have a lot of rest or hanging around more generally)

Monday, February 1, 2016


Deadlift day: my favorite....

Medicine ball toss for power (seated) 3 x 10 (6lb)

DL: 4 x 4 (3 seconds eccentric/concentric) @ 151

squats with safety bar (70lb): 3 x 10 (with box)

landmine rows plus 50: 4 x 10

4 x 20 alternating curls with band and plank (30s)

1.25hr lower body


Last week I put down a very good nutrition week and a pretty good exercise week. This week I'm shooting for a PERFECT exercise week! Off to a good start anyway (but Monday isn't my tricky day):

:30 easy!

Sunday, January 31, 2016


I did make it downtown to swim, and it was good. Slightly complicated during first stretch by a new young swimmer - a former age-group swimmer who wouldn't not wear fins and who didn't have a good feel for how to swim in a lane with others - she was nice, I should add, but it made it much harder for me than it was last week to skip 50s and hop back in at the right moment. Finally there was a crash and a confrontation (I was at the other end of the pool) and I am sorry to say she got out and the three of us had the lane to ourselves for the rest of the workout! Lane dynamics are so complicated....

Anyway I don't think I'll even really log it as I missed so many 50s. Coach said the total workout was 3500 and I will conservatively guess I swam 2800? Certainly that, possibly a bit more. It's not my favorite kind of workout - after some stroke count work (at which I am horrible), the two main sets were structured along these lines (1) 2 x 50 kick, 3 x 100 pull, 2 x 50 kick, 2 x 100 pull, 2 x 50 kick, 100 pull with specific instructions about breathing 3-5-3-7 etc. Then (2) 2 x 50 kick, 200 free (build by 50), 2 x 50 kick, 300 free, 2 x 50 kick, 400 free. Something like that anyway - it's a bit of a blur....

(One very nice bit at the end where I was allowed to put on fins myself - 8 x 25 as fly down free back on :40!)

I think I am going to have a bit of one-on-one coaching for stroke work. Really if I swim regularly three times a week I will get faster! Coach says the Saturday 9am slow lane is quite a bit slower, that's what I heard already from my friend Ellen, but I couldn't get up for it yesterday and don't imagine I will this coming Saturday either as I'm out late Friday and my mother's staying over. Maybe the following week....

1.5hr swim/c. 2800 yards


Ridiculously nice weather today - mid-50s, I was in short sleeves! Schedule said 30min easy (we are trying just to get back some frequency and make things utterly routine and easy to tick off), but I added in an additional segment - easy speed just now is practically a walk, it's good to get faster turnover/high knees/efficient arm movement going!

40min as 15:00 easy, 10 x (:20 great form/harder, :40 walking recovery), 15:00 easy