Modifying Workouts – Weekly Recap – 6.21.20

This week was a fun one.  My running schedule was centered around my first hill workout.  I’ve had a lot of fun learning new skills on the trail and challenging myself in ways that I haven’t before.  I was somewhat intimidated by the incline of the trail I picked, but I was looking forward to new adventures, and the workout did not disappoint.  We also had both of my boys birthdays this week, which is always a fun time for the family. All of the fun did mean modifying workouts, which is something I’ll talk more about.

On Monday, one of the CrossFit coaches who left the box I was previously a member of was sweet enough to have Henry and I over for a great garage workout.  We had dinner and chatted about the state of the sport, and it was really nice to process all that has happened over the last couple of weeks.  When it was announced that Greg Glassman sold CrossFit, I was very  happy.  I still want to see how and what changes are made at CrossFit, Inc before making any decisions about if I’ll return to a traditional CrossFit box.  But I think this was a very positive step for the entire CrossFit community, and I hope it proves restorative.

Related Post: CrossFit , Systemic Oppression, & Why I Left

Our son’s 7th birthday was Wednesday, and we celebrated with cookie cake and trip to the pool at LifeTime. Henry’s birthday was Thursday, and we had a relaxing night at home with some red velvet. You’d think I’d be all caked out after this week, but I have to be honest, there’s never a wrong time for cake. We had planned a little road trip to Dallas to visit some friends this weekend to celebrate their birthdays, but had to reschedule due to the lovely pandemic and our friends family health issues. Sometimes it feels like this year has been one cancelled plan after another, but at least we are all healthy.

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Since we weren’t able to make it out to Dallas, we decided to meet my dad in the hill country and spend a few hours on the lake together.  My dad has some jet ski’s and an float to pull, and we had a lot of fun just floating around in the water together.  We had dinner on a restaurant patio overlooking the lake, and then made the drive back home.  The visit was shorter than what I would have liked, but it was really great to see my dad for a few hours.  We haven’t been able to visit him since the coronavirus first started to spread in Texas since my stepmom takes care of her elderly parents.  I think this has been the hardest part of the pandemic for us; not being able to spend as much time with my parents and grandparents as we usually get to over the Summer

Sunday was a relaxing day for the three of us.  After a few hours on the lake, I am always amazed at just how exhausted I feel, even though I don’t exactly do anything physically taxing!  Our 7 year old enjoyed his birthday presents and watched some Netflix in our bed, and I slept in and spent most of the day on the couch after my short run.  Perfect recovery day in my opinion!

The last couple of months have certainly prompted me to adjust my workout habits. Initially, I had to figure out how to continue strength workouts at home after my CrossFit box closed because of the coronavirus. Then, all of the disgusting issues at CrossFit, Inc left me feeling uncomfortable with continuing to support and promote the sport, so I left the box. At this point, I feel like I have become a pro at adjusting workouts, whether it means running differently than my training plan initially called for, or having to change workouts from barbell weights to dumbbells. And as frustrating as it can be, I do think it’s a good skill to be able to be somewhat flexible and still workout consistently.

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Which is why I want to share a few of the ways I have been able to make adjustments to training, when I need to.  Here’s a few helpful hints if you find yourself in a situation where plans change or resources are less available.  I hope it’s helpful from time to time!

Modifying Workouts

If you are like most athletes, you’ve got a number of non-athletic things on your calendar competing for your time.  As a full-time working mom and wife, I know this is the case for me.  And sometimes it’s not time that I’m short on, but equipment.  From work travel to family vacations, I don’t always have access to the perfect running destination or the weight rack I need to get in the workout I had planned.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again for the athletes in the back, the best trait an athlete can have is flexibility.  And not in the physical sense (thought it doesn’t hurt), but in the way of being able to adjust and modify workouts when needed.  So when I find myself in a situation where I don’t have everything I need, here’s a few things I do to help me troubleshoot.

Swap Workouts – I’ve had more than a few good runs rescheduled because I woke up to thunderstorms, and I’m not particularly enthusiastic about the chance of being struck by lightening.  Sometimes that means I do my strength work in the morning, and my run in the afternoon.  It’s usually my preference to do them the other way around, but despite the fact that I’d like to control everything, weather is not one of the things I can manipulate.  Other times, I realize the trails are closed, and decide to swap a trail run for my speed workout and get the trail miles in later in the week.  Whenever there is some sort of hurdle standing between you and the workout you had planned, take a quick peek at the rest of your week and see if there’s something that can be switched so you can get all your workouts in, but just in a slightly different order than planned.
Be Flexible with Location – As a truly type-A individual, I tend to plan out not only my workouts, but also where they are going to happen.  Certain runs on the trails, workouts at the gym, core work at home, etc.  But every once in a while, I find that my venue needs to change.  If I wake up and find that a Biblical swarm of mosquitoes have recently hatched, I just might decide to run on the treadmill instead of in the woods.  I’ve had more than one lunch workout end up taking place in my living room when a meeting runs longer than planned.  Again, it’s not usually ideal, but a moved workout is better than a missed workout in most cases.
Shorten When Necessary – Sometimes my phone does this fun thing where it sets my alarm for 5pm instead of am.  And I refuse to accept that it is user error and not some sort of technological demon, so don’t try arguing this one with me.  Anyways, whenever I am dealing with something like telephonic possession, or a prolonged work day, or an unexpected (but welcomed) playdate, I look at what pieces of the workout I might be able to remove.  If I had planned on doing both a lifting and metcon for a WOD, I might decide to just do one.  On many occassions I’ve taken a 20 minute AMRAP and cut it down to 10, or changed 6 rounds to 4.  Sometimes, if I had planned a 7 mile route, I might cut it down to 4.  One of the things that appealed to me when I started researching online workout programs was the fact that Streetparking (the programming I eventually chose) offered multiple options to either lengthen or shorten workouts.  Do I throw in a little internal tantrum when I can’t fit in everything I had planned?  Sure!  But at least it’s short lived, because if I don’t have time to squat, I certainly don’t have time to throw a fit.
Change Movements to Fit Equipment – This last pointer has been huge for me in the past few months.  First when gyms closed, and again when I started working out in a big box gym instead of a CrossFit box.  I’m very grateful that LifeTime has almost everything I need, but there are a few odds and ends I don’t have full access to.  For example, one recent workout had handstand push-ups programmed, but that’s not exactly possible in the gym.  So I subbed them out for a dumbbell push press + a burpee.  Try to determine what the purpose of the movement is, and sub in something that achieves that purpose but in a different manner.  If it’s cardio equipment you don’t have, sub in burpees or jump rope.  If it’s a lower body strength movement, find an alternate movement that uses the same group of muscles.  Almost any barbell movement can be modified as a dumbbell or kettlebell movement.  You still get the purpose and intensity of the workout, and you get to use a little creativity.  Plus, you can always program that movement into another workout later in the week!

Once again, these aren’t innovative, idea’s that no one else has ever utilized.  But truthfully, sometimes we forget that we have options, especially when our phone has been temporarily possessed, and we’re in a rush.  So, I hope these little reminders might be helpful for you the next time you have an issue or two that keeps you from getting in the workout you had planned.

This Weeks Workouts

Total Miles: 57
Total Workouts: 4
50 Mile Training, Week 5
How the Runs Felt
This week was back to some slightly higher mileage. Sunday and Monday I got out on the trail at the wilderness center near our home. I had another snake sighting on Sunday, but it was just a little grass snake and it was pretty cute. Monday I had some company for about 5 miles, which I always enjoy. I’m loving all of the trails I have access to since we moved, but I am definitely missing having some regular running buddies.

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Wednesday was my first hill workout, and it was tough! I warmed up for about 2.5 miles, and then had 4 miles of trail repeats. I ran a new area, the powerlines, which is not an official trail, but more of a gravel access to the powerlines. The powerlines run up very steep hills, and were a great source of strength building. There were definitely a few sections that I had to power hike, but considering that I will likely be power hiking the hills during my ultra, I figured this was good training. The downhill was just as difficult as the uphill, because the of the loose gravel on the steep decline. I certainly had a few close calls where I slide a few feet and felt very awake. In about 4 miles, I climbed about 900 feet! Not bad!

I finished up 1.5 miles later in the day, and then had short runs on the trails on Thursday.  Friday and Saturday I was back on the roads for a change.  Friday I had planned to run on the roads to get in some steady miles.  The roads around us are somewhat hilly, so it was definitely a challenge, but I was able to keep my pacing around 8:20.  It rained most of Thursday and Friday afternoons, which meant that the trails were closed by Saturday morning.  I’ve been loving being on the trails for hours on my long runs, but I also knew that we wanted to get out to the lake by early afternoon.

So with most of the trails being closed, and our tight schedule, I decided to run my long run out at Leon Creek. It’s been a few months since I’ve run more than a handful of miles on the Greenway, and it wasn’t the worst change of pace. I got my miles in much faster than I would have on the trails, and focused on getting a little turnover back in my legs. I also got to take my new Nathan VaporHowe hydration vest for a test run. I’ve had the 4liter vest for several years, and have loved it.

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They released a 2.0 version recently, that has a few changes to the storage that seemed useful.  The newer version has a different cell pocket to fit larger phones, and some small changes to the other pockets as well.  Over the last couple of long runs, I’ve had a few close calls where I almost ran out of water, and decided that I should probably give a resevoir bladder a trial, since they hold a bit more.  I bought the 12L updated version of the VaporHowe, and absolutely loved it.  I didn’t notice any sloshing, the insulated bladder did it’s job keeping my water a nice temperature, and I was even able to carry a 20oz bottle with my tail wind in addition to the bladder.  Overall, there wasn’t anything I didn’t like about the updated version, and I’m excited to have two vests to rotate between.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the trails, but I did have a really great run!

What I’ve Been Listening To
I’ve been listening to seasons 3 and 4 of the Uncovered podcast.  It’s a true crime podcast focusing on one story per season.  The first season covered the cult NXIUM, and I loved it, but wasn’t super interested in the second season.  The third and fourth, however have been very interesting, and I am loving catching up.  I also LOVED the most recent episode of the Run Hard, Mom Hard podcast.  They interviewed the editor of Ultrarunning Magazine, and she shared her experience running the Western States Ultra Endurance Race.  It was such a great way to live vicariously with all of the races recently being cancelled.

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How the WODs felt
I had a great time working out with my coaching friend in her garage on Monday. Wednesday I decided to workout at home with my pull-up bar, kettlebell, and jump tope. The equipment was minimal, but the workout was tough. Thursday and Friday, I worked out at the gym, and I am still so grateful to have a space where I have access to everything I want to workout the way I want. This week was good training for me on all fronts.

What Went Well
I really loved seeing my dad this weekend, and spending some time relaxing on the water.  My hill workout went really well, and I got in some really good strength training.

What Went Shitty
I would have loved to have more time on the trails, but otherwise it was a good week.

Plans to Improve Next Week  
Next week, I’m looking forward to getting a little more experience and skill on the up and downhill training.

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