Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Return of the Suicide Sprint

Or, how to get what you ask for ...

After Monday night's run it was clear to me that I need to get my leg strength back up, and I've been doing this stuff for long enough to know what I have to do! After a good Balance class on Tuesday (where once again I was able to focus on my breathing, and my balance poses flowed) Duck suggested that I do a circuit workout before her 6.35 RPM class. This is what I came up with:
  • 24 walking lunges with a 15kg power bag, followed by
  • 20 squats with the same power bag, followed by
  • 15 jumping squats, followed by
  • a one minute hover, followed by
  • 10 full press-ups.
I ran through that four times, and still had some time left over, so did four sets of swiss-ball hamstring curls and jack-knives, then four sets of calf-raises. Then I went downstairs and did some work on my abductor. After all that I was thoroughly sweaty and it was time for RPM. The most notable feature of the class was the amount of sweat that continued to pour off me, to the point where I was mopping off my chest with my hand-towel. Obviously I managed to stumble across a very effective combination of workouts, and I would love to know how many calories I burned through.

I went home feeling very mad dog and much happier about my fitness levels. However by the end of Wednesday and a frustrating day at work I was feeling exhausted and unmotivated. Even as I was changing before Jog Squad I was contemplating just packing it in and going home for a glass of wine. I'm glad I stuck it out though. Each run I tick off improves a little. Wednesday's run felt pretty horrid until about half an hour in, when I pulled myself out of the mire for long enough to realise I was feeling ok.

We ran up Willis Street, up Aro Street to the shops, back over the pedestrian crossing, down Webb Street, up Wallace Street to Newtown, then back down around the Basin to Courtney Place and back to the gym. From there I ran around the block to bring the total running time to 40 minutes. The speedies took off early in the run, but then they've increased in fitness when I've been recovering from injury, so I can't feel sad about losing my brief spot at the front of the pack. Instead, running on my own, I was able to settle into a good pace.

I still didn't have the strength I would have liked on the rolling hills, but coming back down Adelaide Rd and Cambridge I was able to once again crank up my glutes and turn up the speed a bit. Although that little voice in my head was complaining, when I really challenged myself I had to admit that I could keep going, and for quite a bit longer. So now I'm looking forward to running 70 minutes this weekend, just to see what I can do. I went home in an excellent mood, which just goes to show I did the right thing by choosing cardio over wine, and that endorphins are a wonderful thing!

My legs were feeling it a bit as I walked up the steps to the gym for my session with Duck this morning. They weren't terribly keen on the exercycle when I was warming up either. Which was all rather worrying, because I suspected that I was in for the Aurora Terrace suicide sprint workout of doom... Not that Duck's predictable or anything, but ...

And sure enough, it was off to Aurora Terrace. To explain, Aurora Terrace runs very steeply up the side of the gym, with a bridge over a four-lane motorway. At 7.30 in the morning most of the pedestrian traffic consists of people on their way down the hill to work. My office looks directly down on the bridge. And it was here that we did the following:
  • A warm-up walk up to the top of the bridge and back again, with me holding a 10kg powerbag straight up over my head and Duck hassling me every time my arms started to bend.
  • A round of suicide sprints (a short sprint uphill and slow descent, followed by a longer sprint halfway up the bridge and slow descent, then a sprint right to the top of the bridge and VERY slow descent)
  • A set of walking lunges up Aurora Terrace to roughly the mid-point of the bridge, with the power bag on my back
  • Another, shorter set of walking lunges up the Terrace with the power bag held straight up over my head.
  • Another round of suicide sprints.
Somehow that doesn't seem like enough sprints up the Terrace. Perhaps there were one or two straight uphill sprints that I blocked out. I do remember wondering whether I was going to vomit at one point. I do remember feeling like I was going to die while at the same time flogging myself mentally for not going harder. I distinctly remember not being able to catch my breath on the last return downhill. I remember being happy that we had returned to a "this is killing me in the best possible way" level of intensity.

From there it was back to the gym, and the workout continued:
  • walking duck squats (a kind of wide-legged waddle) the length of the weights floor, with a 20kg power bag
  • 20 basic squats with the power bag, then
  • walking duck squats back again with the power bag, then
  • a repeat of the duck squats and basic squats with a 15kg power bag, then
  • another set of walking squats, this with legs hip-distance apart, crouching down very low the entire length of the weights floor, again with the power bag, then
  • 20 lunges with the power bag, then returning in the crouched walking squat position, then
  • another set of walking squats and lunges with the power bag.
We finished that off with four sets of calf raises. Phew! All of which left me thanking my personal trainer and staggering to the showers. If that workout doesn't earn me some results I don't know what will!

I have nothing more strenuous planned for tomorrow than a Balance class. I suspect I will be a little stiff in the morning. My metabolism has gone insane this week. I'm eating like crazy and only just managing to maintain my weight over 55kg. My body will appreciate the rest.

Finally, here's an interesting post from the Running Chick that I wish I had written myself. It's all about how we runners tend to push ourselves too hard, and about learning balance.


Whirling Dervish said...

Hi Pip!

Sorry if you hate these things, but I've tagged you--feel free to ignore!

Kate said...

What an awesome workout- I might have to try that one lunchtime!!