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The Bullhorn, Issue #049 -- Monthly Motivator for April 2010
April 15, 2010

Just the right push to succeed!

Shift on the Fly!

In a world of constant ‘go’…bills to pay…deadlines…little league games…some days seem impossible to fit in a workout. My routine has been anything but routine. Some workouts come in the morning; some at night; some at lunch; and some get buried and skipped by life’s competing priorities. The only thing that is constant is the cycle: Set a goal; Write a plan; Track milestones; Reach goal; Set a new goal.

Sometimes the key to our fitness success hinges on our ability to be flexible. If our schedule, the weather, or our mood throws us a curveball…we need to shift on the fly! Let’s say an afternoon meeting goes late and you lose your lunchtime run window…do you chalk it up to a missed workout or lace up your shoes at the end of the work day? What if the forecast is calling for a morning thunderstorm? Can you go out for a night-time run? Can you change your course to a local loop so that you’re never more than a mile away if & when the lightning ever strikes?

For the past 5 years, I’ve always been at a varied stage in a training plan…and of the 10 marathons, multiple 5ks, and other distance events…I’ve NEVER stayed on the training plan I sketched out at the beginning. I’ve always had to shift on the fly…life’s too dynamic not to.

When you write a fitness plan, a training plan, or other workout schedule, know what the key points are and what the underlying goal is. For example, my workouts now are centered on the long run. If I need to change a mid-week run from 6 to 4 miles…I don’t sweat it. And conversely, if I need to set my alarm clock a few hours early on Saturday to get a long run in before little league…so be it. Know the pillars of your plan and build around them. At the end of the day an unplanned workout is worth more than a missed planned workout every time. So don’t fret if your plan goes awry….shift on the fly!

Listen to Your Heart

After just surviving a month-long bout with an upper respiratory infection, it’s made me look long and hard at what went wrong: Was it over-training? Lack of sleep? Poor nutrition? Or a little bit of each?? And while I’ll never be able to conclude the exact cause, I’ve been much more in tune to the warning signals.

One such signal is heart rate. I started wearing my heart rate monitor on all of my workouts: treadmill, outdoors, and cross training. I also started taking my pulse at various times during the day to gauge where I was in relation to my typical resting rate. This little experiment has also helped me in my training. I’ve figured out that running my long runs in the 60-70% MHR range resulted in quicker recoveries, while running the long runs in the 70-85% range took me a day or two to fully recover.

I’ve also determined that the heart rate at the beginning of my run is very “telling”. A high beginning heart rate tells me that I’m still not fully recovered from my last workout or something else may be going on (i.e. immune system is fighting something). I also noticed that on my back-to-back long runs that Day 2 HR was slightly higher at the end of the run than the same pace on Day 1. And on a positive note, I’ve watched my resting heart rate decline in the last 8 weeks of ultra marathon training.

Want to know how you’re doing…when to ease up…and when to push the pace? Listen to your heart!

Exercise of the Month:

Push-ups are one of the most convenient and effective exercises that you can add to your daily exercise routine. Push-ups are a great chest and arm workout without the need for weights. In this exercise you are pushing approximately 3/4 of your total body weight with each repetition. For a 150-pound person, this is equivalent to bench-pressing approximately 115 pounds.

To do a proper push-up, lower your body so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor, as pictured above. Do the exercise slowly for maximum benefit. To concentrate more on your triceps and inner pectoral muscles, place your hands 8-10 inches apart. To work the outer part of your chest, place your hands 24+ inches apart, or slightly more than your shoulder-width. As with any exercise, do the amount of repetitions you can comfortably do without taking your muscles to exhaustion. You can gradually increase the repetitions, sets, and frequency over time. This favorite “punishment exercise” is a great addition to any workout and will give you some noticeable muscle changes in a fairly short period of time.

Sound Off!

If you have any feedback (positive or negative), success stories to share, or suggestions for future articles, please feel free to drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you and we take all feedback, suggestions...and yes, even criticism very seriously. We’ll use this information to improve our newsletter and The Fitness Motivator site to help you and others like you attain your fitness goals.

Encouragement to Succeed!

P.S. - Please feel free to forward this to a friend!

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