I ventured to the University of Delaware last weekend to visit my brothers in the Xi Mu chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Since leaving UD I’ve upheld my promise of attending the initiation of each probationary class, and was excited to see my friends and family. In addition to the fraternity events planned for the weekend, I was also prepared or some physically and mentally hard training.
On the way to Newark I stopped in Glenolden, Pennsylvania to visit Iron Sport Gym. I had the chance to lift there in the fall, and fully plan on making any trip in the Philly area include a detour to this facility. Since you’re likely to ask ‘Why?’, check this out:
How awesome does this place look?! They have plenty of the gear that’s on my wish-list of equipment, and I went in knowing I wanted to use some of the items that I won’t be seeing at home any time soon. My training followed the template which I’ve been using for my ‘heavy’ lower body days for the past 3 weeks, and which made choosing specific lifts much easier.
After a solid 15-20 minutes of foam rolling, mobility and activation drills, a series or kettlebell swings and prying, I moved on to my lifting. I used a safety squat bar for my squat variation, and sumo deadlifted with chains for my deadlift variation. After that I moved on to giant cambered bar reverse lunges, then paired glute ham raises with a leg raise variation. While I haven’t used any of these specific bars or variations before, it provided a needed variation to my training at home. Here are two videos of my top-end sets:
I have mixed feelings about each variation. The safety squat bar squats were deceptively difficult, and kicked my ass. That bar is evil. As for the chained deadlifts, that has got to be the most fun I’ve had lifting in a really long time. They weren’t very heavy, but it was great fun. I don’t have clips of the last three exercises, but did manage a screenshot of the lunges before my phone flipped over. Let me just say that 185 on the GC Bar felt a lot heavier than 225 on the Olympic bar.
I’ve been rather religious about ending each of my training sessions with a 7-15 minute finisher that makes me gasp for air, but opted out of it on Friday night. Why? Well, I had registered for a 5k on Saturday morning.
Wait. What? A 5k?
Yes, you read that correctly. One of my brothers in Delaware was planning on running in the Best Buddies Delaware Friendship Walk/Run in Wilmington, and asked me to join him. I
As much as I dislike traditional endurance training, it can’t be that bad once in a blue moon, can it? Plus, it was with good people, for a good cause. After sending some e-mails over the alumni and active list-servs, we had a total of 9 gentlemen participate in the event:
I experienced several thoughts during the event, and I’ll list them in chronological order for you:
- 0:00 – 0:30 “Gosh these people are slow! Wait, this isn’t a sprint? Oh, okay.”
- 0:31 – 1:00 “It sure is a beautiful day out. This can’t be that bad!”
- 1:00 – 1:45 “How much longer is this course? When do I get to sprint?”
- 1:46 – 12:00 “Man, how many yellow cones do I need to run past? How do people find this enjoyable?”
- 12:01 – 12:30 “Wait, this isn’t a loop? We have to go back the same way?! WHAT THE HELL?!”
- 12:31 – 22:00 “Running on cement sucks. Why would somebody voluntarily do this to themselves? Did Andrew just pass me? Screw him. ‘Good work bro!’
- 22:01 – 25:30 “Do I still have calves? ::Checks feet:: Okay, we’re good. Where’s the finish line? I want to sprint already.”
- 25:31 – 25:43 – “THAT’S THE FINISH LINE?! Where was my warning?! To infinity and beyond!”
- 25:44 – 29:00 “Seriously, that sucked. Why do people like running?
- 29:01 – 32:00 “Does anybody want to run hill sprints? (Cameron wants to!) Okay, let’s go run sprints!”
- 32:00 – 37:00 “Finally, some real training.”
- 37:01+ “Who wants to go to Moe’s for Cinco de Moe’s?”
As you can see, I settled for Chipotle. More importantly than that though, the 5k reinforced some ideas that I have about running. I ‘m convinced that enjoying steady state running is a defense mechanism. Seriously, it’s a learned behavior, and we trick ourselves into enjoying it. Why? Go find me a small child that enjoys running at a steady pace in a straight line for an extended period of time. You can’t. These children don’t exist. Real children run in odd patterns, at a variety of speeds, using an assortment of locomotor patterns. They skip, they hop, they gallop, they jump. They don’t run.
Perhaps you can argue that enjoying running is something that comes with time, just as we develop a palette for coffee or wine. A valiant counter, yes, but there is a considerable scope to consider. Would you compare instant coffee to fine fair-trade organic coffee recommended by a Seattle native? Surely not. When paring wine with liver and fava beans, would you choose Franzia or a nice Chianti? Running may require the same palette development, but I hope it draws you to trail runs through the mountains instead of treadmills and asphalt. At least you’ll need to watch your footing and can enjoy nature a bit.
With that being said, I still stand behind an idea I’ve stated before, that you shouldn’t need to train for a 5k. The concept of an aerobic base is bunk; it’s unnecessary for most our activities. If you’re looking for a competitive 5k time, surely incorporate some dedicated training, but the high volume endurance training approach is beaten out by dedicated strength training and carefully planned conditioning.
Unless a large number of friends is planning an upcoming race, or I’m convinced to run the reservoir in Central Park, I’ll keep my running limited sprints in training, and pick up games of whatever sport you wish. I’d rather play 4 hours of Ultimate or football than ponder my 5k pace. I’d also rather squat, and that’s what I’m about to go do. Happy Squaturday!