Sunday, September 1, 2013

Week 12 Update: September 1st, 2013 - The first week of a new 15-week training cycle (2nd post of the day)

Week 12 Update: Sep 01, 2013

First week back from that less than restful rest week. Here are some quick updates.

  • It was great to get back to my routine even if I returned to a more complicated life with work and working out combined. Yes, the semester started this week and I had to weave in my workouts with teaching.
  • Teaching is stressful - perhaps as stressful as working out at times. I felt more tired than usual and a bit more stressed because of the time crunch.
  • I can't wait until our masters swim team starts on Sunday (today). It seems as if we were disbanded for a year. I miss my swim mates.

Workout Progress

I am back to running and boy does it feel great. Running puts more stress on my body but I really enjoy going out for a run. Cycling indoors and training on the elliptical gets boring - even if I can multi-task with email and movies. Running never bores me. I slowly introduced a bit more running into my training schedule and I plan to moderate my runs to no more than 45 minutes - at least for the next few weeks. As you can see from the figure below, I kept up my swimming and slowly you will see the rest of the exercises creeping up the 1.5 hour mark to match my swimming. Don't expect that shift for the next month or so. I'm back to base training for the first few weeks of this new 15-week cycle. I plan to do more zone 2 (125-135 bpm heart rate) training to develop a more robust base before I start to increase intensity.

plot of chunk WeekEx

The figure below is getting harder and harder to discern the most recent week but I intend to change my training to make it easier to interpret. From this point forward, I intend to spread the workload out according to my available time. Tuesday and Thursdays are too busy - due to teaching - so I will concentrate more of my training on Sunday, Monday, Friday and Saturday. Hopefully, the shift will not put too much strain on my body and will allow me to recover from Tuesday through Thursday. We shall see.

plot of chunk DailyWL

I eclipsed 200 hours! Next milestone….300 hours. Why? I have no clue. They are just round numbers I guess. Also, these numbers give me something to look forward to passing.

plot of chunk CumWL

Weekly Summary

I felt great this week working out but stressed by the increased demands introduced by teaching. Despite the change in my work schedule, I still managed to sleep well and recover from my workouts. The week also allowed me to slowly work back into the teaching routine because it was a relatively light workload.


I am trying new ways to increase my productivity. Writing and reading are easy but the day-to-day tasks of responding to email and setting up my courses remains a challenge. Also, I introduced IHT (see below) into my training routine and I think those exercises really tax my cognitive faculties. More on that later.

plot of chunk Mood

Hypoxic Training

I started IHT this week. Yes, every evening, I sit with the family to watch a movie (last week of summer) and I put on my hypoxic mask - alternating 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off for the duration of the movie. The hypoxic generator strips the oxygen from the air and I sit for 5 minutes at 20,000+ feet and then sea level for 5 minutes. I did not check my spO2 during these initial sessions because I wanted to see how they felt. Needless to say, I felt some strange sensations. The strange sensations were not during the 5 minute hypoxic bouts but during the first 30 seconds after each one. I felt a tingling in my toes and feet. Kathy and Patrick experienced a strange sensation too. They had to endure my watch timer going off every 5 minutes during the movies. I love my family…even if they don't love my antics throughout these training sessions.

Something noteworthy from the figure below…check out the spO2 values and my resting HR. I believe I am really taking to the high altitude. At the same altitude (9000 feet), my resting heart rate is back down to 45 and my O2 saturation is back up into the mid to high 90% range. I even slept a few nights as high as 12,000 feet while Kathy was traveling and I had the same readings as I observed at 9,000 feet. Before you question the actual altitude readings, I assure you that the O2 percent at these levels are accurate and well-calibrated to those percentages observed at the respective altitude. I have a oxygen meter that measures the percent O2 in the air from the hypoxic generator. In fact, I checked the device about every 5 days since I started using it to make sure there were no problems. Everything seems perfectly calibrated. Once again, I cannot thank Brian Oestrike enough for his help throughout these first few months.

plot of chunk Hypoxia

Updates for the week

My updates…

  1. The last week was my last week of solo swimming without my George Mason Patriot Masters (GMUP) team. I can't wait to get back into the water with the team. We will miss Chris and Ali but they moved on to bigger and better things. Hopefully they come back to swim with us on their vacations.

  2. I am tapering off the hypoxic training (i.e., training with the hypoxic mask) during the next few weeks. My reasonsing is that these hypoxic workouts reduce the physical workload and reduce the training effect. I want to focus my efforts over the next six weeks on building a substantial base before I introduce interval training and then later hypoxic training. For the next few weeks, however, I plan to do IHT - the 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off - to keep up with my hypoxia preparation. One thing that concerns me is the effects on my cognitive ability. I plan to start monitoring my ability starting next week as a pre-post measure for every IHT session. Expect more figures showing how my brain is holding up at 20,000+ feet.

  3. I have three more posts for the blog that address…

  4. My day of climbing with Patrick and Dan. I have pictures and other details that add more color than what I posted in my previous weekly update.

  5. The results of my pulmonary function test and why I even care about these things.

  6. An answer to a simple question….why climb Everest? I was asked this question several times and I have a fairly long-winded answer to that simple question.

Stay tuned and have a great week.

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