Day 3: Or, Why I hate strength training…

I’m sure some of my competitors are going to read this and say… “Ha! Zappo talks a big game, but he doesn’t really have the heart of a champion.” Well, I’m here to tell you that I will get past this hump in my training, and it will make me stronger, and then you’ll regret thinking I was a chump when I pass you on the course…. Or, at least that’s what I’m going to tell myself as I hobble around my house in pain.

The truth is, I have never really liked strength training, and that’s why I never stick to it. I am trying really hard to stick to it… and this season I am going to stick to it. No more excuses about it taking to much time away from “real training”… no more excuses about my latest injury being caused by that last strength training session. 😉 Yeah right!

So I did a “legs” strength session on Tuesday for the first time in almost 6 months. I had to recover from my heel stress fracture, and before that I was focused on “running” (like strong leg muscles aren’t useful in running), before that I was tapering for my Ironman, before that I was focused on road workouts, before that… before that… before that… These are all just excuses.

So, I did squats, lunges, and leg press. Nothing huge, not massive weight… in fact, I am sure the other guys (yep, it was only other men) at the gym were thinking, look at that wimp! Hey, that’s another excuse I can use next time I stop strength training…  yeah, all those people are laughing at me. Bah!

So here it is, the third day… and I am sore as hell. Yesterday, I didn’t ride, swim, or run, I was busy with lots of other things… I did do chest & shoulders, and I did do some flexibility work… so I am still on course to keep to my strength and flexibility every day. But no active recovery on my legs made them even more stiff and sore on this the worst day of all day 3. I hate day three.

So, I jumped on my bike and headed out for a nice little role. Still riding that single speed fixed… let’s see how fast I can push this thing and still stay in zone 3… hmm… 23mph on the flat. Not bad. Legs getting stretched out a little… pumping that blood through there. Feels a little better.

Back home… sat down. Why did I sit down? Dammit! I’m sore again…. Did I mention I hate strength training?

That that doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. Right? Yeah… I keep telling myself that.

So today. 40 miles 2:20 on the bike… oh yeah… biceps/triceps/lats… and don’t forget flexibility.


11 Responses to “Day 3: Or, Why I hate strength training…”

  1. garyd Says:

    40 miles outdoors on January 4th…. I’m jealous of that! Not that weather is an excuse this year as it was great outside yesterday, but I have as many excuses about winter riding as you do strength training.

    Keep up the good fight.

  2. zappoman Says:

    Actually, I missed doing my strength workout last night… I got caught up on a new computer project and was “in the lab” till 2am… So the real test was today… and from now on…

    Now that I can’t claim to have an every day streak! Jeez already on day 5 I blew it… but I can still have a don’t miss a workout streak (I did today and yesterdays workouts this morning)… legs again, and arms and back…

  3. noelryan Says:

    Maybe you should go for a 6 in 7 process goal: do a weights session on 6 days out of every 7. That way you can afford a blip day. It also means that when you get to day 5 or 6, the pressure is off and you can choose to do something different for one day out of the 7.

  4. zappoman Says:

    That’s a good suggestion. I had planned on doing my 3 day rotation twice a week, and then with the 7th day I was planning on doing a Yoga w/ weights video I got last year called Iron Yoga.

  5. bettehall Says:

    Well Brad, we’re in the same place.

    I mentioned a few days ago that I planned to do 100 squats after I finished the post. Well I’m used to doing regular squats, so I probably wouldn’t have had any trouble if that is what I did, but it’s not. It was the first time I tried to hit the 100 mark and I changed to Hindu Squats. That is where you come up on your toes when you’re squatting.

    I felt great that evening, but the following day…

    I was slated for split runs for the following day, but my lower gastrocs were so sore and my body felt so exhausted that I ended up running only 2 miles and only ran once instead of twice.

    Anyway, my entire week has been off. With Monday being New Year’s Day and Tuesday being a one time holiday due to the death of Gerald Ford, I just wasn’t able to stick to my training.

    I’m not going to beat myself for it. I managed to get some form of training in everyday, but not the intensity I wanted. I plan on starting fresh come the new week.

    BTW, my legs are still sore. Guess I’ll have to lighten up on the Hindu Squats.

  6. zappoman Says:

    I saw your post the other day, and I thought it said you wanted to do 1000 squats… I was like… WOW! That’s amazing… Either way, 100 is still a lot.

  7. bettehall Says:

    I’m working up to that. It’ll take a while. I’m only up to 100 right now, but I’m determined to reach 1000 eventually.

    I see you’re going to add some Iron Yoga. I have that dvd too. I really like it. I’m using it on days that would otherwise be a rest day and I’m only using two pound weights for the Iron Yoga.

    I feel really good afterwards. I think you will too. It makes for a nice change.

    BTW, congratulations on your bicycle feat for 2006. I was rootin’ for you.

  8. garyd Says:

    Hey Zappo. I have asked myself a couple times after reading your dedication to strength training, “What is he trying to accomplish?” I am not trying to squash the weight training goal, but 6 days, especially a split routine, seems like a lot for a triathlete/cyclist.

    Just curious.

  9. zappoman Says:

    Good question Gary… I’ll be the first to admit that as a self coached (and overly exuberant) serious amateur, I haven’t gotten much guidance on my strength training plan. So I appreciate any feedback you want to provide.

    I’ll also admit, that my strength training is probably less related to any specific race skill, and more related to my desire to be more fit.

    If you read some of my comments on my blog and my “about” page, you’ll see that I only very recently (in the last 3 years) became more fit. Before that I pretty much lived my whole life out of shape and overweight. So part of wanting to strength train more (i.e. more regularly) comes from a little bit of body image stuff… I’d like to have more muscle tone… not big muscles, just muscle tone.

    Cycling certainly has achieved that for my legs… and the limited strength training (and dieting) has trimmed by body fat to a point where my arms are pretty well toned (although not muscular). But my torso is pretty non-muscular… and I guess, I’d like to change that.

    From a “triathlon performance” perspective, I don’t have any misconceptions that this strength training will improve my performance…. I guess I do think that being more disciplined about it will make my arms and legs less likely to be muscularly fatigued during swimming and hilly bike rides. But I’m not really counting on that.

    So I guess the answer is I am trying to do this program in order to achieve two things in the following order:

    1) Be disciplined about something I don’t naturally enjoy. I guess we’ll call this my hairshirt.

    2) Improve my overall body (specifically core/torso) muscle tone.

    Feel free to post a great article about the best strength training plans to achieve this goal. I’d gladly read it and consider adapting to it. 😉

  10. garyd Says:

    Zappo. One great thing about being healthy and having some fitness is that sometimes our answer to questions is “Because I can!” The truth is that I do a lot of things that are not “ideal” (whatever that may be) but because I think it is going to be cool and fun… and I like to have fun.

    Anyway. Last spring, early summer I was heavily looking through the literature for research that looked at strength training and endurance performance. I wrote some about it then. Here is a link that lists those posts:

    Strength Training for Runners

    I love conversations on this topic. Hopefully we can discover so more interesting and valuable ideas.

  11. zappoman Says:


    Actually, the “Because I Can” answer is very similar to another reason that I should also mention. But it goes something like this… about a year ago (when I decided to try to take on an Ironman, even though I had never completed a sprint triathlon), I had a conversation with my buddy Phil about trying out new fitness goals. And he coined a phrase that rang true for how I was (and still am feeling)… he basically said… “…you woke up Christmas morning and noticed that under the tree you had this really great new toy — your healthy fit body — and now you want to see what it can do…”.

    Throughout my life I was always a believer in myself… and a believer in “the underdog” or more importantly, I believe that people that have will and desire can accomplish anything. I guess it’s the optimist in me. Before I became fit (and I lived my big life completely in my brain and intellect) I mostly assumed this only applied to thinking and solving problems… I assumed that the “fit people”, the athletes, had some unique genetic gift that most of us don’t have.

    Then I lost 50lbs, and became “that fit guy”… This concept still blows me away… people at work think that I’ve always been fit, they associate me with being fit… wow… that’s so not me?! Or at least not what I was.

    Now I still believe in the human beings ability to do anything… but I am even more convinced in the “human being’s” ability to do anything with it’s “human body”.

    This is why I am still a believer that Lance is clean… I even believe that Floyd is clean and that he was possibly set up by the french lab. I am pretty sure that Barry has crossed the line (just look at how his head shape has changed) but I am also convinced that most of what he has accomplished is through his human spirit and not drugs.

    So, maybe my strength training everyday isn’t the most optimal thing to do as a triathlete looking to improve my Ironman distance time by 12%… or a runner trying to improve a marathon PR by 18% (wow, that looks a little daunting when I write it like that)… but like you said… I want to do it “Because I can!”

    Thanks for posting!

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