Saturday, October 25, 2014

Freeletics: C&S Coach Week 8

According to the Coach, the goal this week was to complete at least two of the assigned workouts with a star performance. I know that I had been struggling with motivation recently, but this was exactly what I needed to really get back into things. The goal was challenging but obtainable, so I felt particularly compelled to give it my all. At the end of of the week I had successfully pulled off a star performance on everything I attempted, not just the four workouts that the Coach had assigned, but on every workout and exercise that I had added myself as well.

I'm not entirely sure what led to my renewed zeal and fondness for the Freeletics program, but it's certainly a welcome reprieve from the monotony and dullness I had been experiencing. This week actually felt a lot like when I first started, back when I was excited to include additional workouts and when I pushed hard in every single session. Now that I'm closing in on the end of the program I just have to hope that this new found momentum can carry me through to the end.

Session 1: Metis 2x (13:41) (*) (PB) | 50 Sit Ups (1:53) (*) | 10 Pull Ups (0:27) (*) (PB)
Session 2: Venus [endurance] (15:33) (*) (PB) | 50 Mountain Climbers (0:24) (*) (PB) | 50 Sit Ups (2:22) (*) | 50 Mountain Climbers (0:21) (*) (PB) 
Session 3: Hades (26:16) (*) (PB)
Session 4: Gaia [endurance] (21:55) (*) (PB) | 50 Push Ups (1:58) (*) (PB) | 50 Sit Ups (2:19) (*)
Session 5: Hyperion [endurance] (7:43) (*) | 50 Climbers (0:24) (*) (PB) | 10 Pull Ups (0:21) (*) (PB) | 10 Pull Ups (0:38) (*)
   * blue text denotes additional workouts unassigned by the Coach

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Freeletics: C&S Coach Week 7

The seventh week of Freeletics marks the halfway point in the program and it is given the moniker "Hell Days." Regardless of the number of training days you typically have set, the Coach assigns only three workout days for the week, but each day consists of two workouts. It's a far cry from the intensity of the Hell Week that concluded the Basic Package, which had workouts assigned for all seven days of the week, but nevertheless, this past week was definitely more challenging than any of the previous weeks in the program.

The Coach says that you can split the workouts into a morning session and an evening session, and that you should take a rest day between each of the workout days. Being up for a challenging though, I ignored both pieces of advice and did my double workouts back-to-back over three consecutive days. I even added in a Poseidon on the fourth day just to stick with my usual workout schedule.

I know that I could have taken it a lot easier than I did this past week, but I really wanted to push myself to help get me back in the swing of things. My motivation was really suffering last week and I found myself struggling to complete the workouts, so I made a point of it to go on the attack this week to build up some momentum again. I can't say that my motivation is back to where it was when I first started the program, but my approach this week definitely helped and I'm feeling a lot more enthusiastic about finishing than I had been. Now that I'm more than halfway through the program I'm basically in the home stretch, and that means that there's no reason not to push hard to the very end.

Session 1: Venus [2/4] (10:23) (*) (PB) | Hades (21:15)
Session 2: Gaia (26:58) (PB) | Venus [2/4] (9:54) (*) (PB)
Session 3: Kentauros [endurance 5/6] (26:21) (*) (PB) | Hades (21:15)
Session 4: Poseidon (5:46) (PB)
   * blue text denotes additional workouts unassigned by the Coach

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Freeletics: C&S Coach Week 6

Between Helios, Hades, and Hyperion all on tap for this past week, it seems like the Coach got lazy when it came to picking from the alphabetical list of workouts. When I saw the schedule, my first thought was to stick with the pattern and tack on a Hera at the end of the week, but I had my school's annual overnight retreat and camping with forty middle schoolers just wasn't conducive to having the time to get an extra workout in. I was able to complete everything that was assigned, but unlike in previous weeks, I didn't have a chance to do much more than that.

I had gotten into the habit of adding extra workouts or exercises to nearly all of my assigned sessions, but that fell apart this week and brought a lot of my momentum to a halt. I know that with the camping trip I was a lot busier than I usually am, but that doesn't feel like the only problem here. Each session this week required a ton of mental effort to push myself through, and I'm really not sure why that was the case. Maybe it's because it's getting colder in the mornings, or maybe it's because I'm no longer seeing the same leaps in progress that I had been when I first started, but whatever it is, my motivation has really been suffering lately.

I'm not worried about finishing the 15 weeks—when I commit to something, I commit to it entirely—but it's hard to maintain the necessary level of determination when the workouts aren't feeling as fun as they had been just a short time ago. If things continue like this, it's going to be a real struggle to make it to the end, so I just have to hope that this week was a fluke and that my outlook will improve.

Session 1: Helios [endurance] (37:28) (*) (PB)
Session 2: Hades (27:51) (*)
Session 3: Hades (23:56)
Session 4: Hyperion [endurance] (7:57) (*) (PB) | Hyperion [endurance] (7:32) (*) (PB) | 50 Sit Ups (1:41) (*) | 50 Push Ups (2:12) (*)
   * blue text denotes additional workouts unassigned by the Coach

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Freeletics: C&S Coach Week 5

September always brings with it the start of a new school year and the seemingly relentless temptation of sweets. Between birthday cupcakes, doughnuts in the faculty lounge, and surprise treats from the parent association, the opportunity to overindulge is ever present. Combine that with the fact that due to my foot injury I've been running less than half the weekly mileage that usually I do, and you have the recipe for some weight gain that I'm not too happy about. Realizing the need to counteract my dietary transgressions over the past month, I've committed myself to reverting back to the much healthier habits that I had no problem employing prior to the first day of school.

Don't get me wrong, I'll still split the occasional pizza or share a pint of ice cream with my wife—what's living if you don't splurge from time to time on the weekends—but I've sworn off the mid-week treats. I've also tacked on even more additional exercises than I normally do after my assigned Freeletics workouts this week and I've spent more time on the stationary bike. Tightening up my diet and shifting my workout balance towards more cross-training activities will have to be my plan until I can get back to my normal running routine.

Fortunately, the Coach seems to agree with what needs to be done and was happy to oblige since this past week featured a noticeable increase in the difficulty of the program. With the rare exception, I had gotten pretty accustomed to spending less than 10 minutes on each of my assigned Freeletics sessions, but this week essentially doubled the duration of my workout time. The four workouts that the Coach issued this week were all much tougher and longer than the majority of the ones that had been appearing in the program thus far, and looking ahead, it seems that next week is even harder. Attacking those tough sessions is exactly what I need though if I have any hopes of maintaining my fitness as I go through running withdrawal.

Session 1: Venus [endurance 3/4] (10:46) (*) (PB) | 50 Climbers (0:28) (*) (PB) | 50 Sit Ups (2:06) (*) | 50 Squats (0:40) (*) | 50 Climbers (0:27) (*) (PB)
Session 2: Hades (27:29) (*) (PB) | 50 Sit Ups (1:55) (*)
Session 3: Kentauros [endurance 4/6] (18:01) (*) (PB) | 50 Push Ups (2:13) (*) | 50 Sit Ups (2:08) (*) | 50 Squats (0:40) (*)
Session 4: Gaia [8/10] (20:57) (PB) | 100 Jumping Jacks (1:08) (*) (PB) | 50 Sit Ups (1:57) (*) | 50 Squats (0:38) (*) (PB)
Session 5: 50 Climbers (0:26) (*) (PB) | 10 Pull Ups (0:29) (*) (PB) | 50 Sit Ups (1:54) (*) | 10 Pull Ups (0:30) (*)
   * blue text denotes additional workouts unassigned by the Coach

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Freeletics: C&S Coach Week 4

According to the Coach, this week in Freeletics was all about taking my training outside. Fortunately for me though, I'm no stranger to braving the elements since I run outside every day, but getting rained on while performing pulls ups on a tree branch and doing burpee frogs down a gravel driveway was a completely new type of challenge for me, one that I really found myself enjoying. I love being outdoors and since my job confines me to a classroom for most of the day, it takes more than a little bad weather to keep me from getting my fix of fresh air. It actually rained nearly every day this week, and while it may have slowed me down a bit, it certainly didn't stop me.

For the first few weeks of the program, the sessions had been just a bit too easy, but now it seems as though the difficulty is much closer to what I'd like it to be. The sprints that started off the week had me running faster than I usually do, and it was nice to find that my foot which had been injured for the past few weeks didn't cause me any trouble at higher speeds. On top of the sprints, this week introduced me to Kentauros, a brutal workout in which I felt totally wiped after only having to do half of it, and it reintroduced me to Dione, an old nemesis of mine since I have a history of struggling with the straight leg levers. All of this amounted to what I would call a comfortably challenging week and I'm proud of what I accomplished, even if I didn't set as many PB's as I have in previous weeks.

Session 1: 200m (0:47) (PB) | 200m (0:44) (PB) | 400m (1:41) (PB) | 400m (1:35) (PB) | Poseidon [3/4] (5:44) (PB)
Session 2: Kentauros [3/6] (16:15) (*) (PB) | 50 Sit Ups (1:40) (*)
Session 3: Dione (35:21)
Session 4: Ares (10:01) (*) (PB) | 50 Sit Ups (1:40) (*) | 50 Squats (0:41) (*)
Session 5: 50 Push Ups (2:09) (*) | 50 Sit Ups (1:47) (*) | 50 Squats (0:41) (*)
   * blue text denotes additional workouts unassigned by the Coach

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Freeletics: C&S Coach Week 3

Between ramping up my mileage in preparation for some races that I have on the horizon and all of the extra jumping that comes with doing Freeletics, it seems that I've come down with a bit of a foot injury. My right arch has been causing me some very minor discomfort for awhile now, but this was the first week were it actually got painful enough that I had to ease up on my running. I suspected plantar fasciitis at first, but I've had that in the past and it seemed unlikely since the pain wasn't at its worst first thing in the morning; instead, my new diagnose is peroneal tendinosis, which makes more sense based on the location of the pain and the fact that it gets worse, and not better, over the course of a run. I know that it would heal faster if I actually took some time off from running, but with my 300th day of running in a row set for this Tuesday, I'm just way too committed to my run streak at this point to even consider breaking it any sooner than reaching a year. I'll just continue running lighter mileage for the time being and hoping that doing so will be enough to get me over this injury.

Aside from that though, everything else has been going really well. As a runner and an indoor cycling instructor, I came into Freeletics with a pretty strong cardio base, but constantly pushing myself to set new PB's has helped me quite a bit in that department and has definitely shown me that I still have plenty of room left for improvement. Where I've noticed the biggest gains though is in my upper body strength. Push ups and pulls ups are way easier than they were when I first started; in fact, I've become so fond of doing them that Poseidon is now my go-to workout for when I'm looking to add a little something extra to whatever the Coach has planned for me. It's working hard and then actually seeing that progress from week-to-week that really make Freeletics an incredible program.

Session 1: Metis (4:47) (*) Poseidon (7:33)
Session 2: Hyperion [endurance 4/5] (6:27) (*) (PB) | 50 Push Ups (2:03) (*) (PB) | 50 Squats (0:40) (*) (PB)
Session 3: Ares (10:22) (*) (PB) | Metis [strength 1/3] (1:39) (PB) | 100 Jumping Jacks (1:09) (*)
Session 4: 5K (39:59) (PB) | 50 Sit Ups (1:38) (*) (PB)
Session 5: Poseidon (6:20) (PB) | 50 Sit Ups (1:57) (*)
   * blue text denotes additional workouts unassigned by the Coach

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Freeletics: C&S Coach Week 2

Aside from the two sets of 50 Push Ups that started things off, the Coach only assigned me cardio workouts for my second week. Hera, which consists of alternating jumps and sprints, was a workout that I had never done before, but it quickly became one of my favorites. It's such a simple workout, but the intensity is ideal and the two exercises are a perfect compliment to each other for developing the fast twitch muscle fibers in the legs. I was actually kind of bummed that the Coach only had me do two of the five rounds. As much as I've now come to love Hera though, I unfortunately can't speak as highly of Metis.

Metis is short, and brutal, and I absolutely hate it. You would think that there wouldn't be much to complain about with a workout that literally takes less than five minutes, but the combination of burpees, climbers, and jumps just leaves me doubled over and panting. Plus, once you earn yourself a decent time, it becomes extremely difficult to make improvements since the workout is already so short; seconds become harder and harder to whittle away, and an already tough workout just hurts exponentially more each time you try to push passed your limits and set a new PB. There's also apparently no shortage of irony in the universe, because as much as I loathe the Metis workout, I have it on the schedule again twice next week, one of them a full standard workout and the other just the first round of the strength variation.

Overall though, the week as a whole wasn't too bad. In fact, just like with the first week, I ended up feeling like it was a little too easy for me. I still decided to tell the Coach that the difficulty was right on target though; I'd rather just add in extra workouts and sessions on my own than get assigned something way too strenuous or time consuming to complete. From what I hear, the difficulty increases after the fifth week anyway and I like having the freedom to choose which supplemental workouts to include, so at least for now, I'll stick with what I've been doing for as long as it seems to be working.

Session 1: 50 Push Ups (2:15) (*) (PB) | 50 Push Ups (3:27) (*) | 50 Sit Ups (1:44) (*) (PB)
Session 2: Metis (4:38) (*) (PB) | Poseidon [1/4] (2:30) (PB) | 50 Sit Ups (2:05) (*)
Session 3: Metis (4:31) (*) (PB)
Session 4: Hera [2/5] (7:06) (*) (PB) | Poseidon (6:33) (PB)
Session 5: 50 Sit Ups (1:49) (*) | 50 Squats (0:43) (*) (PB) | 100 Jumping Jacks (1:09) (*) (PB)
   * blue text denotes additional workouts unassigned by the Coach