Hills, Switching, and Working Hard (or A Crazy Week At Orangetheory)

This past week at Orangetheory was a pretty amazing and intense week for me. It was a a tough week because it was a 4 workout week, but I also think the workouts this week were exceptionally good and they were different compared to what I’m used to. Having things be different is good since I know you need to mix things up. And having things mixed up in class led to some great opportunities for me to test myself on a bunch of different things and I think in the end I really benefitted from that.

Monday’s class was a 3 group class because of the holiday (they tend to only have morning classes on holidays so they are all 3 group classes) and it was a strength day. But instead of the standard 3G classes that we have, this was very different and I really had to work hard on focusing what to do. With 3G classes you have a group on the treadmill, a group on the rower, and a group on the floor. And we technically did have that, but we didn’t stay that way. We had 6 blocks in the workout and they were all 6 minutes each. We all started on one part of the room, but as we did the workout we moved from station to station within the block. We didn’t have to stick with the same number on the floor, rower, and treadmill. We just had to go over to any place that was free.

It was tough with us all moving around all the time, but I think we managed ok as a class. On the treadmill, it was the same thing each time. It was supposed to be a .25 miles run, but if you run under 5mph you were supposed to do half the distance and at 4% incline (because you needed to be done with the treadmill fast enough to make it to all 3 stations). So each of the 6 treadmill times for me, I was doing .125 miles at 4% incline and I ran all of it. Running at 4% incline is tougher than a flat treadmill, but 4% is something I’m slightly more comfortable with. It was a good challenge to do, and since it was done pretty quickly it wasn’t too overwhelming. On the rower, we always had a 400 meter row. And on the floor, it was mixed up but we always had 2 different things to do.

We were supposed to see if we could complete and entire lap around the room plus possibly more. I struggled to make it through all the stations for many of the blocks. But somehow with the blocks were I started on the floor I was able to get through it all, so I did make the entire lap twice in class. But even though I didn’t do everything every single round, I know I got an incredible workout done and felt amazing for knowing I pushed myself and succeeded.

Wednesday’s workout was a strength day that was also a run/row, so I was pretty excited for that. But it was a run/row like we’ve never had before. Usually with run/row days, we don’t switch between blocks and we work on the run/row for about 20 minutes before moving on to the floor. I’m used to that and comfortable with that. But this time, there were 4 run/row blocks and 4 floor blocks and we switched each time. The blocks were all about 4.5 minutes long so we were switching a lot and often. The run/row was between .25-.1 miles at 3% to start. 3% feels pretty comfortable with me, but doing .25 miles at that incline felt so long and much steeper than it was. After doing the run, we did 100-250 meters of rowing and then went back to the treadmill to do the same distance again but at 6%. I only completed┬áthe second round on the 4th block (when the treadmill and rower distance was the shortest), but I was usually able to make it back to the treadmill each block.

On the floor, we had 3 blocks that each had 2 things. It was good that we only had 2 things to do each block because 4.5 minutes goes by pretty quickly. We had a lot of variety in the floor work with lunges, bicep curls, front raises, and mountain climbers. And with our 4th block, we had timed work (usually for 30 seconds) that was mainly on the straps. When we have timed work, I try to not take breaks. But sometimes 30 seconds straight doing something feels so difficult and you just have to rest.

This workout was one of the harder ones I think I’ve done. It was a combination of how fast we were switching, the running on inclines, and the feeling like I wanted to get through everything so I was rushing a bit. I was so tired after this workout (and not necessarily in the good tired way), but even though I was exhausted I was proud of myself for getting through the workout. On tough days like this one, I have to think back to where I was when I started. My very first Orangetheory workout was so tough that I was struggling to walk the next day. This workout would have killed me back then. I know that I’m so much stronger than I was before and knowing that helps me get through days that get to me.

After that crazy workout on Wednesday, I’m glad that Friday’s workout was a bit easier. It was a power day and we switched between blocks. I was grateful that we wouldn’t have hills during the workout and I was excited to get to focus on my running a bit more. Our blocks were between 5-7 minutes and since I knew we’d be switching I did push myself a bit more on the treadmill than I would have if we weren’t going to switch. Each of the treadmill blocks started with a 90 second push and then we had a bunch of push to all out paces (with walking recovery between one all out to another). A lot of the push to all outs were pretty fast, but we did have one that was 2 1/2 minutes total. Running faster than normal for that long is tough, but since I’ve been working hard on my endurance it was nice to get to work on my speed. My only regret with the treadmill time on this workout is that now that I know my endurance is pretty decent I want to start doing a bit of running during the base paces. This workout could have been ideal to test that out, but I didn’t do it.

Between each of the treadmill blocks, we had floor and rowing work. All of the rows were timed rows, which were a nice change from distance rows. We had 30 second, 45 second, and 1 minute rows and I was pushing myself like crazy for each of them. It’s a bit easier for me to push myself on a timed row because I can count down how much longer I have to work (unlike distance rows where I’m not totally sure how long it will take me). I think that my wattage on each row was higher than I ever had thanks to some work I’ve been doing on my rowing technique. I’m going a bit slower with my pulls on the rower, but I can get my wattage up higher when I have a good rhythm. After the timed rows, we had floor work which included weighted squats, plank work, and burpees.

And I got my 4th workout in this week (no blackout to deal with this time!) on Saturday. I’ve switched the time I go on Saturdays recently because I realized that I can go to a class a bit earlier than I thought I could after work. And now that I’m going a bit earlier, I’m usually in a 3G workout on Saturdays. And this Saturday was no different. I like the 3G format because it gives me time to work on my rowing (which isn’t in every workout) plus it’s a bit less treadmill time which is a nice break. I don’t care as much about having less treadmill time now that I’m working on running (somehow running on the treadmill is less stressful on my hips than walking), but I’m still happy to have a change from the norm.

This class was a switch day and also a strength day. So more hills for me on the treadmill and I knew it would be a tough day with hills. On the first block, I did most of the hills running. I was able to do a minute at 3%, a minute at 5%, and about 30 seconds at 7%. I couldn’t do more than that at 7% so I did some walking after that. We also had shorter bursts on the hills that I was able to do as a run as well. But when I got back to the treadmill for the second block, I just couldn’t run anymore. I really wanted to try, but I also knew that I had a big week of workouts and it was ok to take it a bit easy at the end.

When I was on the rower, the first block was rowing plus lunges and the second block was rowing plus squats. My rowing wasn’t as strong as it was earlier in the week, but again I took into consideration that I was probably a bit tired from all my workouts. And on the floor, we had a pretty good all over workout with arms, back, and core work. The floor was probably my strongest part of the workout because there were a couple of things that were either laying on the weight bench or laying on the floor to do core work. That felt like a nice break.

I’m really trying to do more 4 workout weeks now. I know that I have a workout goal for the year, and since I will need to take time off after surgery I want to get in extra workouts while I can. Doing that will help to keep my total number of workouts for the year near where it should be. I’m hoping I’ll only need a few weeks off from working out, but I also know there is a chance I might need a few months off (I’m really hoping that won’t happen). I’m also looking at right now as my time to train for surgery, so all the workouts I can do are working toward that goal. This week was only a 4 workout week, but with all the work I did it felt a lot tougher than that!

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