Friday, May 30, 2014

Prep Update: Running and Intensity

Where do I begin? It's been a month since I've written a blog, and I have so much to talk about, I'm not sure where to start. Perhaps I'll start with how I'm feeling TODAY and then in subsequent posts, catch you up on other things that have happened during the past month.

As of today, I'm exactly 5 weeks out from Team Universe. I can't believe I only have 5 more weeks to go. It seems like such a short amount of time, yet still 5 more weeks of dieting, cardio, and intense training. I have to be honest - this prep is the hardest I've had since 2010. We knew it was going to be difficult and different because of the time off I took last Fall. I was prepared to work hard, so it wasn't a surprise. But just because I anticipated it doesn't make it any easier.


I'm doing a fair amount of cardio - more than I've done in previous recent preps. We needed to reformulate my body composition and then get rid of the fat. Because our dreadmill is still dying a very slow death, and I need to be doing intense cardio, I've been running outside. Yes, running.

I am not a runner.

Yet, there I am, layering on the outdoor clothes, strapping on my iPhone armband, and heading out the door every morning to tour the neighborhood. If I'm really being honest, it's more of a wog (walk/jog) than an actual run, but let's not get hung up on details. I've improved my pace drastically, so I'm finding a new challenge seeing my pace increase.


My training is intense. Every workout is a struggle. Sometimes every set, even every rep is a struggle. I'm not one who enjoys and thrives on pain. To be honest, I avoid it. I don't like to hurt, I don't like the lactic acid burn during and after a tough set. I don't get encouraged by "feeling the burn." Quite frankly, that just makes me want to stop. But how can I improve and make progress if I don't make myself uncomfortable? Literally and figuratively.

The other evening, J looked over while I was training and noticed that a set seemed too easy for me. I didn't think it was "easy" but apparently, I was supposed to really struggle with it. So he handed me a heavier set of dumbbells and instructed me to do another set. As I tried to move the weight, it became more and more difficult for me to complete the movement. I became frustrated that I couldn't complete the set, and since my emotions are thisclose to the surface these days, tears started to run down my face. It's no secret that I cry in the gym from time to time. I told J that I didn't want to cry every workout, and he flat out informed me that it's going to happen because I need to be pushing that hard. I now dread every single workout. But I still go to the gym and get the job done, because that's what champions do.

One of Muhammed Ali's famous quotes keeps running through my head:
I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'
I want to be a champion. I WILL be a champion. I AM a champion!

Do you enjoy training to failure? What are your biggest challenges during prep?