2016 Fitness Goals – Part 2

2015 was a great starting year for my fitness and heath so I’m really looking forward to seeing how 2016 goes!

I’m already anticipating a few new topics now that I’ve sort of gotten past the initial beginner stage:

  • Injuries and rehab
  • Injury prevention
  • Learning new, more advanced/refined techniques
  • Mental health and preparedness
  • Healthy eating (yay, food!)

It’s pretty important to know what sort of injuries can happen in any sport or activity that you go into, especially when it’s endurance sports like long-distance running and rock climbing.

It’s pretty obvious that rock climbing and parkour can lead to some really serious injuries, but there’s less extreme but way more common injuries in all three sports like strained tendons, plantar fasciitis,  shin splints, tendonitis, micro-tears, sprains, etc.

These common injuries definitely won’t land me (and you) in the hospital right away, but it could very likely lead to more permanent health issues in the future.

In general, it’s better to know what’s the most likely injury to come from any particular activity and learn which techniques are needed to prevent or minimize the risk of injury. For example, there’s a bunch of stretching techniques that can prevent shin splints, like the ones outlined here in Runner’s World.

Since I’m going to be ramping up my mileage quite a bit, I’ll be studying a lot of injury prevention techniques and putting away some money for some physio and massage therapy!

Compared to rock climbing and parkour, running doesn’t have as many performance techniques to learn since it’s highly dependent on the runner’s individual gait and physiology.

But, I’d like to learn how to do more strength techniques for rock climbing since I’m shorter than the average rock climber and I need more power to go further up. I don’t think I’m not bad a traverses, though.

I’m also a woman, which apparently puts me at a disadvantage due to the way routes are set. (Seriously. I’ll discuss this in a later blog post.)

As the distances get longer, it’s harder to get out the door to go for a run!

So far, I’ve only had bad issues going out to run in super hot and humid weather, which is something Toronto is prone to getting in the dead of summer. It’s such a huge challenge to get out there because I really have to persuade myself that the dread is all in my mind. I don’t mind winter training too much because I have a track membership at a stadium that’s quite friendly!

I want to be more aware of how my mental state affects my physical activity, especially during climbing since it demands a good amount of problem solving skills.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to share more of my thoughts about food, nutrition and fitness with everyone!

These may be my most challenging posts since I’m very invested in the healthy food sector and I’m very passionate about presenting the most accurate, evidence-based science I can, especially since there’s so much pseudo-science in popular media.

I’m considering making a separate blog to post about food and nutrition issues and simply copying them to this blog soon after. If I do, I’ll make sure to post the name and link!

If you’ve noticed, I haven’t put any solid numbers into this part of my 2016 Fitness Goals.

I don’t want to HAVE to learn a new technique every week because I’d much rather focus on my progress than having to force a new technique so often. Besides, it’s better to learn a couple of techniques and master them (somewhat) before learning more, right?

Also, these aren’t resolutions just for the first half of 2016. I want to make this something that I’ll do for the whole year, next year and beyond!

Hope I’ll be able to look back on this and see that I’ve hit all of my goals!

Did you make any resolutions? How are they coming along?

xoxo,

B.elle

2016 Fitness Goals – Part 1

Happy New Year, everyone!

(I know, I’m more than a week late, but… shush.)

I know it’s been a while since December 22, which is the official start of winter, but I wanted to think about what sort of goals to aim for as my Winter Fitness Goals.

I quickly realized that I have a lot of fitness goals and related topics that I want to talk about upfront. So, I decided to extend my deadline to Summer and split my 2016 Fitness Goals post into two.

Running

We finally got some snow in this region of Canada, but Toronto’s still been so mild that it hasn’t really stuck around much. This means I can run both indoors and outdoors, yay!

I initially wanted to train for a half-marathon (HM) distance or race, but then I realized that it’s only 10 weeks until March 20, which is the first day of spring! I’ve started using Hal Higdon’s Half Marthon Novice 1 Training Program, which is 12 weeks long.

This was the main reason for extending my fitness goals to the first day of summer because I’d rather not risk a shorter training period just to end up seriously injuring myself.

… Okay, FINE. I also made a fitness wager with Chris over at The Other Side of The Box!

If I’m running at 32km/20mi distances as my long run by May 15th, she’ll get me a $50 gift card to a yet-to-be-decided store.

If she manages to lose at least 10lbs by May 15th with regular fitness training, I’ll get her a $50 gift card.

If we both manage to achieve our goals by May 15th, we’ll get each other something nice.

If we both don’t achieve our goals by May 15th, the first person to reach their goals will get their prize.

Basically, my running goal is to get up to 32km/20mi without dying.

It’s gonna be a huge challenge for me both physically and mentally because I’m going to have to overcome my anxiety of going back up to 15km.

I hurt my foot pretty badly last year at the Nike Women’s 15K Toronto. I haven’t gotten back up to that mileage yet so I’m kind of worried that it’s an issue with my feet’s physiology rather than environmental factors. The only way for me to find out for certain is to build it back up and hopefully go even further!

Rock Climbing

I’ll be on the search for a new belay buddy for a little while since the Monsieur has started his graduation proceedings and needs to focus on his PhD thesis. (Go, babe!)

Either way, here’s my goals…

Rock Climbing (at least 1X a week)

Top Rope: I want to be able to do 5.10a grades comfortably. At this point, I should be okay going halfway up 5.10b as well.

This might seem very conservative for a 6-month goal, but there’s a huge difficulty jump from 5.9 to 5.10b!

Bouldering: V1s should be comfortable and some V2s are challenging but doable.

To achieve both goals, I’ll need to learn new techniques and start doing more formal weighted and/or bodyweight exercises to build up core strength.

We’ll see if I need any new shoes by the end of this!

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My current rock climbing shoes

Parkour

I’m on the fence with this sport, to be honest. On one hand, I love flying around and the absolute boldness of parkour.

On the other hand, getting to the gym is such a pain!

At this point, because I’m such a data nerd, parkour has turned into a casual hobby sport rather than a main fitness focus.

So, my goal for parkour is to ho at least once a month!

Keep an eye out for the second part of my 2016 Fitness Goals!

Xoxo,

B.elle

Weekly Fitness Update #13 – Results!

It’s been a bit quiet over in this little corner of the blogging world because I went away to Québec City for about 2 weeks with the Monsieur! Even though I speak very, very little French, they were so friendly and hospitable, but I definitely ended up indulging in more than a few delicious Québecois delicacies. (Tarte au sucre, anyone?)

But, I managed to get some running in before and once during my vacation!

Dec 15 – 5km @ 5’42” avg pace, 28:39*
Dec 22 – 7km @6’19” avg pace, 44:28*
Dec 28 – 5km @6’08” avg pace, 31:13

The stars mean than I was running indoors and I’m still not 100% sure how accurate the Nike+ watch is indoors, so it could be a little faster than I’m actually running.

On December 28, I ran through the countryside in -15C weather and it was a bit hillier than I expected! I was surprised at how much I loved it!

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Running in the Quèbecois farmland in winter

BUT! Did I actually achieve my running goals for Fall 2015 even though it’s already Winter 2016 while I’m writing this?!

Fall 2015 Running Goals (3X a week)

  • Weekly mileage of 20-25km with a 5-7-10 pattern
  • Dream pace goal of 6’00″/km for 5K distance
    1. Realistic pace goal of 6’15″/km for 5K distance
  • Dream pace goal of 6’20″/km for 7-10K distances

Fall 2015 Running Results (mostly 3X a week)

  • I tried my best to stick to the 5-7-10 pattern, but quickly learned that the general weekly run distances were more effective than forcing myself to do 5-7-10 throughout the week.I dropped down to about 10-12km per week in December, which was really not good but I did a pretty terrible job at balancing all my hobbies with the holidays!Otherwise, I think I came up just a bit short on consistently reaching that 20-25kpw goal.
  • I’ve been running at less than 6’00″/km on 5K runs for about 3 weeks now, so I’ll say that’s in the bag!
    SUCCESS!
  • I run as many 7K routes, but it seems to be at around 6’05″/km to 6’10″/km so I’m really happy about this speed!
    SUCCESS!
  • I don’t have enough data on 10K runs because I really haven’t run 10K since the adidas race, where I cinched a PR at 6’16″/km, so I would highly doubt that I can do 6’20” for 10K comfortably.
    FAIL!

Rock Climbing – Dec 20th

We were both feeling sick! My belay buddy lost her voice and I was beginning to feel the beginnings of a cold so I knew our game wouldn’t be as strong as normal.

Top Rope – Not gonna lie… I did really badly. The 5.9s that were relatively easy felt almost impossible that day and I even struggled on a couple of new 5.8s!

But, we both knew that we’d be doing pretty terribly!

Bouldering – I tried out a couple of V0s that were okay but the V1s were pretty much a giant NOPE.

Dec 26th

Bouldering – The Monsieur and I went to a smaller rock climbing gym in Lévis and I was surprised to see that this particular gym had a different grading system. Instead of the traditional V-scale, they simply used ascending numbers to gauge the difficulty of the route.

For example, 7 would be easier than 12, but harder than a 4. I even saw one that was graded with 18 and even the Monsieur didn’t go near that one!

I managed to get up to about 9 on a traverse route, but I couldn’t really go past half of a 12 traverse. It was super fun, though!

So, did I manage to achieve my Fall 2015 Rock Climbing Goals?

Rock Climbing (1X every other week)

  • Work on 5.8 and 5.9 belay routes
  • Work on V.1 bouldering routes
  • Increase grip strength and more confident footwork

Rock Climbing Results (1X every week)

  • I’m comfortable with tackling most 5.9s, so I’d say that this is…
    SUCCESS!
  • I did work on the V1 bouldering routes and I still can’t usually complete a route… But, I didn’t say I’d try to complete one so…
    HALF SUCCESS!
  • Since I saved myself in parkour several times recently, I’d say that…
    SUCCESS!

I’m pretty sure I did horribly for my Fall 2015 Parkour Goals.

Parkour (1X every other week)

  • Work on climb-ups with vertical wall (at least 1 good climb-up per session)
  • Regain balance on rails

Parkour (Very rarely)

  • Didn’t even try climb-ups yet.
    FAIL!
  • At least my foot is completely healed and I’m able to balance and walk along a rail like normal again!
    SUCCESS!

I’ll be making a post of my Winter 2016 Fitness Goals soon, so keep an eye out for it!

xoxo,

B.elle

Weekly Fitness Update – #7

I only managed to run twice this week because a work project tied me up longer than expected on Friday and the physical labour part of it really drained me on Saturday.

Here’s my results from last week:

Nov 3 – 5km @ 5’53” avg pace, 29:26
Nov 5 – 7km @ 6’15” avg pace, 43:59
Nov 7 – 10km

Look at that, I actually managed to run 5km in under 30 minutes! Another PR run!!

I was sprinting for a couple of streetlamps at a time and then slowed down to almost a walk for about the same distance for some interval training at various points in the route. I don’t really keep track where and how long I did those, aside from “it had streetlamps.”

I didn’t quite sleep too well before the 7km run, so I wasn’t feeling in my top form that day. It was still a pretty decent time, though!

I was doing so much (relatively) heavy lifting and moving things around on November 6th that my back and thighs were aching the day afterwards. In retrospect, going out for drinks that Friday night wasn’t such a great idea…

Rock Climbing – Nov 8

By this time, I realized that my left wrist and hand has a strange, dull pain, so I wrapped up in some KT Tape and decided to gauge how I felt throughout the workout.

Top Rope – Since I knew that I’m squarely in the 5.8 grade, the second route I tried was a 5.9 with a slight overhang. I almost fell when I was close to the top, but I managed to complete it on my first try! I even managed to easily climb up a very interesting 5.8 that was overhanging and required a clip in the middle of the route.

But, I tried another 5.9 and just couldn’t figure out how to reach the second hold… By that time, I was getting pretty tired so I went to the bouldering section with my belay buddy.

Bouldering – I did manage to climb a V1, even though it was pretty difficult! I didn’t quite have enough energy to tackle another V1, especially since my wrist and arm were starting to feel kind of weak and stiff.

I’m starting to get pretty good at this climbing stuff, eh?

Even though it’s already getting close to mid-November, I’m starting to feel really burnt out and not in great condition. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been over-stressing at work or if I’m just going out too much (a likely possibility), but my energy levels and enthusiasm about fitness are crashing pretty bad.

That’s why I’m taking a rest week! I think I’ll finish reading Bill Nye’s Undeniable

Nov 15 – Rock Climbing

I promised a couple of friends I’d go rock climbing with them, so I guess my

Top Rope – I’ll try tackling more 5.9s but I get the feeling half of the routes I’ll be doing will be 5.8s.

Bouldering – More V1’s! I’ll have to get better at gauging how tired I am before I go bouldering.

Ever take a rest week? I’m hoping I’m nice and refreshed after it!

xoxo,

B.elle

Weekly Fitness Update – #6

I only managed to do 2 runs last week, but that’s because I didn’t want to burn out for that race!

Here’s my results from last week:

Oct 28 – 5km @ 6’01” avg pace, 30:13
Oct 30 – 7km
Oct 31/Nov 1 – 10km @ 6’16” avg pace, 1:03:07

Guess what? IT’S A PR WEEK! I managed to break my previous Personal Record during the adidas Runmore 10K but I’ll have more details about that later in my Race Report!

I’m also super pleased with my 5km speed because that was actually the day that Toronto was hit with a pretty nasty storm but the majority of the rain had stopped by the time I got home. It was still a bit windy, but totally bearable. The only thing I didn’t like was the tiny droplets of rain that really impaired my vision.

Luckily, it gave me plenty of chances to test out the bright neon yellow running shirt and adidas Running Light, which is now my Slappy Sparkle Light. (I’ll put up a proper review later!)

I didn’t do the 7km run because I could feel like it would probably exhaust me a bit too much to perform that well at my first night race. I can barely stay awake past 11pm these days!

Rock Climbing

I spent the majority of the time keeping an eye on my coworkers, who were taking the beginner lessons so I couldn’t tackle as many routes as I usually do. But, it was still super fun!

Top Rope – I’m feeling very comfortable at 5.8s now, but the only 5.9 route that I tried out was on the auto-belay system and I couldn’t see a hold about 3/4 the way up. I had to let go, so I drifted back down and saw that the hold was on the other side of a dome… Sigh.

Bouldering – I didn’t get a chance to really get into the bouldering section like usual, but I did an overhanging V0. Next time, more overhangs!

Now that it’s November, I’ve realized that I only have about 7 weeks to reach my goal!

This week’s running goals:

Nov 3 – 5km @ 6’05” avg pace, 30:30
Nov 5 – 7km @ 6’05” avg pace, 42:35
Nov 7 – 10km @ 6’20” avg pace, 1:03:20

I know it’s technically “race pace” according to last week’s results, but it’s not actually that much faster, so I want to incorporate it into my usual pace training.

Nov 8 – Rock Climbing

Top Rope – I’ll definitely be looking into more 5.9 routes if I can squeeze in! On Thursday, a lot of people were challenging those routes, so I think it’s a common difficulty where peoples’ skills plateau.

Bouldering – V1’s? V1’s.

I still haven’t figured out a decent Weekly Fitness Update picture yet, but at least I’m half finished the adidas race report! Here’s a sneak peek photo:

Princess Hi-Visibility adidas Runmore 10K

xoxo,

B.elle

Weekly Fitness Update #5

I actually managed to complete my runs! That’s always good, but I’m not sure if I can keep parkour in my fitness goals anymore… I explain below.

Here’s my results from last week:

Oct 20 – 5km @ 6’11” avg pace, 31:00
Oct 24 – 7.1km @ 6’01” avg pace, 43:07*
Oct 24 – 10km @ 6’44” avg pace, 1:07:20

It’s not exactly a PR week, but it’s not too surprising since I’m coming off of a rather nasty sickness.

I’m a little suspicious about the 7km run results because it was indoors and the shoe pod and Nike+ watch were registering some strange pace times compared to when I run outdoors. According to this Nike+ support answer, I’m getting about 90% accuracy if I use a Nike+-ready shoe and calibrate with a steady pace.

I’ve calibrated it, but I use New Balance shoes with the shoepod sensor locked into my laces, so I guess that’s why it’s a little less accurate.

My 10K run this time was SUPER hard because I actually went rock climbing on Sunday, before I went running… Trust me, I’m quite sore today and slogging through the last bit of work before I can go home!

Rock Climbing

I know I said last week that I would go do parkour instead of rock climbing, but a friend of mine lured me out by saying she wanted me to belay her. GAH!

Top Rope – I didn’t have any specific goals this week, but I stuck with a lot of 5.8s in the belay bays that were a lot more interesting than the auto-belay routes. It’s a lot more fun when there’s two walls involved, I can tell you that!

Bouldering – I didn’t bother with a lot of V0 routes because they were too easy! I did tackle quite a few V1s that were sort of challenging, but I was already getting tired by the time we hit the bouldering walls.

The adidas Runmore 10K is this weekend, so I should technically be taking it easy. But, since I run 10km regularly, I’m not terribly worried about tapering. In fact, I’m more concerned about keeping myself rested and sober for the night…

This week’s running goals:

Oct 28 – 5km @ 6’10” avg pace, 30:50
Oct 30 – 7km @ 6’10” avg pace, 42:50
Oct 31/Nov 1 – 10km race @ 6’30” avg pace or less, 1:05:00

I know it’s highly unorthodox for me to do cross training in the middle of the week, but there’s a company team building thing on Thursday that I’ll use as my workout.

Oct 29 – Rock Climbing

I’ll be helping belay the others, but I’d love to finish a 5.9 on Thursday!

I’ll have a race report on the adidas run finished next week, so YAY!

I also need to figure out a new Weekly Fitness Update picture… Bah.

xoxo,

B.elle

Weekly Fitness Update #4

Last week was an absolute FAIL… I mean, take a look at my results:

Oct 15 – 5km – Rest (still not feeling well)
Oct 17 – 10km – Rest (went to a Farmer’s Market instead, does that count?)
Oct 18 – 5km – Rest (sore throat)

I knew I was being pretty optimistic about running while recovering from the flu, but I was feeling pretty good by Friday. Too bad the weather around here decided to switch from Fall to Winter Mode within a couple of days!

I usually don’t mind running in 3C weather, especially since there’s no ice, but I could tell that my body wasn’t acclimated to that temperature range and it was still pretty worn out so I didn’t run. Instead, I went to the Evergreen Brickworks on Saturday and made some pickled beets in the afternoon.

Yay!

But I started to feel some ominous itching in my throat on Sunday morning and lost my voice by the end of the day! I’m much better today, but it’s still a bit painful to speak. A coworker was sick with some sinus-related symptoms on Friday, so I wonder if I caught something last week when I was super susceptible…

Obviously, I didn’t go to parkour, either… Ugh.

Anyway, I’m going to try my best to get back on the road this week and get my blood pumping again! It looks like it’ll be much warmer this week and I’ll hopefully be all better after today!

This week’s running goals:

Oct 20 – 5km @ 6’10” avg pace, 30:50
Oct 22 – 7km @ 6’10” avg pace, 42:50
Oct 24 or 25 – 10km

Instead of rock climbing as I had originally planned, I will get myself to the parkour gym to do last week’s goals. NO excuses this time!!

Oct 24 or 25 – Balance work, vaults, bar swing exercises

Hope I’ll be back next week with better news!

xoxo,

B.elle