Training Diary Results
The idea behind any training plan is to create a structured environment that makes it easier to achieve your goals. When you know what you’re going to do every day and what you’re going to eat at every meal, progress becomes almost automatic. I’ve also found that one of the best tools to help reach my goals is keeping a training diary to track progress and results.
A professional athlete’s training program is likely to vary throughout the year as they adjust their training between their peak and off season. But I’m not a professional athlete, so I don’t have a peak and off season. If I was just trying to stay in reasonably good shape, my program probably wouldn’t change much throughout the year. But there are always specific weaknesses I want to focus on. Sometimes I change things up to keep exercise interesting and I love to tackle new challenges, so I like to vary my training throughout the year.
I don’t specialize in any specific sport, and while I do a fair amount of running, there’s a lot of other things I like to do too. Not specializing in one area gives me the freedom to explore different things. I like to think of myself as an all-rounder.
In South Africa they don’t play much baseball, but they do play cricket. In cricket an all-rounder is someone who is equally good with the bat and the ball (they call throwing the ball bowling). A player might not be the best batsman or the best bowler, but because they’re pretty good at both they bring a lot of value to the team.
I can run, I can easily carry my own body weight on my shoulders if I have to( I’ve even been known to give my husband a piggy back ride), I can jump, I can climb, and I’m fairly flexible. An all-rounder. My training will never be done. I’m always maintaining what I’ve built up, and working on weak areas. With time and persistent training, some weaknesses have even become areas of strength.
It’s taken me a little longer than I’d hoped to wrap up this training diary. Getting sick was definitely not part of the plan, but then, when is it? I had some very specific goals in mind with this exercise cycle.
Some of those goals were relatively easy to achieve (improving on my 400m time) and others were extremely specific, like lowering my overall body fat down to 12-15% from a starting point of 18.5%. I also wanted to improve my VO2 Max numbers.
While I won’t be posting my exercise diary on the blog any more for now, my training doesn’t end here and neither does chasing goals.
But lets look at where I’m at right now.
Body Fat % – Before and After
I’ve managed to bring my overall body fat down from 18.5% to 15%. I carry most of my body fat on my lower body, so sometimes it’s a challenge to get the dial to move on that half of my body, but I’ve seen some decent results. My upper body is probably between 10 and 12% right now, but overall my body fat, including upper and lower body, is measuring in at 15% right now. That’s measured using the calipers and a seven site skin fold test.
Body Weight and Soft Tape Measurements
When it came to the fitness/performance evaluations I was a little concerned. I’ve struggled with asthma and my lungs for many years and the change of seasons usually has a fairly big impact on my running performance. Getting sick on top of that wasn’t going to give me a fair reflection of my improvement. Why is this all so important to me if I’m not a professional athlete? Because success motivates me. So does failing to hit benchmarks! Yes, I can objectively look at things and say this is what happened and how it impacted things. But in a small corner of my mind it feels like I’m making excuses.
- On the 400m sprint I had a 9% improvement in performance.
- On the 1km run, I had a 2% improvement in performance.
- My VO2 max , according to the Cooper Test I ran, showed no improvement at all! My VO2 Max is exactly the same as it was in my previous test. 🙁
I’ve followed the Brian Mac 400m training protocol numerous times in the past, and I used my own version of that sprinting program here, so it isn’t surprising that the 400m is where I saw the biggest improvement. With a 9% improvement in my 400m time, I feel I’ve made some strides in improving my anaerobic and lactic capacity.
In a perfect world it’d be possible to recreate the exact same conditions when doing evaluation tests. If you run on an indoor track you can get reasonably close. I don’t have access to that, so I have to consider that wind, temperature and my health had an influence on my test results.
The Cooper Test was disappointing for me to say the least, and even though my husband reassures me that being sick for two weeks surely had a negative effect on the test, I won’t be satisfied until I see my VO2 max numbers nudge in an upward direction in the future.
Some Fun Statistics
Over this training cycle I have done:
- 4 sledgehammer workouts (1120 hammer swings in total)
- 6 back and shoulder workouts
- 5 chest, bicep and tricep workouts
- 2 leg and squat workouts
- 5 plyometric frog hop workouts (700m in total)
- 21 1km hard-as-I-could-go runs
- 22 400m sprints, plus one 400m time trial
- 30 50m sprints
- 20 40m sprints
- 10 150m sprints
- one 3km run
- one 4.2km run
- 100 chin ups
- 200 push ups
- 1 cooper test
- a bunch of other stuff, like handstand push-ups, exercise band work, etc
Here’s a fun fact. If you add up all the arm curls I did over this training period, I arm curled 16,369 pounds!! Technically, that means I arm curled my car for seven reps! Oh yeah!! 😛
The Next Phase of Training
I’ll be making some decisions about the direction I’m going to take my training over the coming weeks and months. My VO2 max numbers refusing to budge is something I intend on addressing. The 400m sprint program targets lactic and anaerobic capacity, and I feel good about what I’ve accomplished there, but I also want to improve my aerobic capacity, so that along with the VO2 max are what I’ll be focusing on for a while. I’ll probably be switching from a 400m based sprint program to an 800m program for the next 6 to 8 weeks.
I haven’t said much about my diet during this training period. Over the next few weeks I hope to share what my eating plan looks like during periods of intense training as well as during down time.