Getting in Cardio

Usually, my day starts by taking a run with my dog, River. Sadly, she’s injured her left front leg so she has to rehab and walk. So, we started with a long walk, no chasing squirrels, no playing with her friends, and pretty much a leisurely pace. Tomorrow she may have to wait for me while I run.

Between morning and afternoon archery practice I got my cardio in by cycling. The temperatures are no longer frigid and despite a brisk wind the bike ride as usual was wonderful.

Lately, I’ve been riding on a steel frame Peugeot. Steel feels great compared to carbon fiber or aluminum. This bike was built about 15 years ago and set up retro. It has down tube shifters, an old Shimano 105 crank, Ultegra derailleurs, and 105 brakes. It does have a carbon fork. For those that ride, the chain rings on the bike are 55 and 48 and the rear cassette is 11-18 (only eight sprockets). With a tailwind this bike flies.

Rudy Project is my archery eye wear sponsor. They also make excellent helmets. That’s one of my Rudy Project helmets on the handlebars.

The wind, being sort of bad, I nearly decided to ride one of my triathlon bikes that allow me to cut into the wind. But, there’s just such a nice feel to that steel frame that I decided to leave the Cervelo and Cannondale Slice hanging.

No rain today, we’re expecting it tonight and tomorrow

I’ll admit, when it comes to cardio workouts, for me, nothing beats a bike ride. I did get that tailwind on the ride home.

Fishing

One more day off and back to the range.  Brenda and I spent the day fishing with her dad.

Fishing wasn’t as productive as we’d hoped.  Only three stripers and we threw one back.  It was too small. The other two were big enough to provide use with a couple of meals.

It was cold on the water.  We spent seven hours doing our best to find fish.

Oh well, like my father-in-law said, if we alway came back with a lot of fish they’d call it “catching” rather than “fishing.”

Oh, and time to start running, again.

 

River Shares a Treat With Coco

If you’ve been following this site you know I run with my dog, River. On our morning runs we’re joined, almost without fail, by Coco who is also a Labrador Retriever. Other dogs join and I am often times running with a pack of dogs. But, River and Coco are the ringleaders and seem to be amazingly good friends.

I don’t understand how dog friendships are developed or evaluated. I can only observe what seems to be an extremely playful and happy response by River and Coco when they see one another and how they interact. Today, I watched River do something I can’t explain in dog terms but it appeared to be sharing.

When I run I never carry dog treats. If dogs make it back to my house they are given treats. But, typically all the dogs, Coco included, turn back a few hundred yards away from my front door. They used to come all the way to the house. That doesn’t happen any longer.

Three years ago we bought a wirehaired dachshund, Nixie. She’s a great dog around people and River. But, she has no tolerance for vagrant animals and chases all others away. She’s a lot smaller, an 18 pounder, than any of the other dogs, but she is aggressive toward them and the bigger animals don’t want to deal with her.

Today I did bring dog treats on the run. Only Coco and one other dog showed up for the outing. On the way home I remembered the treats in my jacket pocket. With about a third of a mile left to run  I stopped and gave River and Coco a treat.

The treats are nothing special, they’re Milk Bone MaroSnacks. River and Nixie seem to really like them. Well, I handed one to River and she took it. Then I handed one to Coco, she too took the Milk Bone.

When Coco finished gulping hers down River faced Coco nearly nose to nose. Then, River bowed her head and dropped her unmolested Milk Bone on the road. Next, River looked at Coco, eye to eye.

I was shocked; River always eats a treat. Still, here it was, a Milk Bone on the road in front of Coco’s paws. Coco seemed to understand, bent head down, took the treat and ate it. Both dogs then wagged at each other and ran away through water filled ditch.

I tried it again with the treats to see what would happen. This time River ate her treat, as did Coco. I’m not sure what it was I had witnessed with the first treat. By human standards it appeared to be sharing. Once home River got a bath and another treat.

Dumbness at the Gym

Some folks just don’t have any ‘gym’ sense. In fact, some are just stupid when it come to the equipment. Let me provide you an example of stupidity.

A group of three was working out together. It was a boy and two girls. Not a man and two women as that might imply they were adults. Their actions gave the impression they were little children at the gym playing on things.

Here’s the complaint: They were trying to do curls. They appeared to believe the entire gym was their’s and curling was an exercise done during their social mixer. All of their gear, water supplies, and energy bars were laid on and at the equipment surrounding them. It wasn’t just at the bench being used for curls, it included the bench next to them, the floor and the apparatus used for dips. Very bad behavior and rudeness.

Their bench is in the upper right of the photo. The apparatus for dips – notice the water bottle on the plate where one stands, and there’s the gym bag and water bottle on the floor. Out of this photo is another smaller gym bag where they kept their energy bars. Lord knows one needs extra calories for a 30 minute workout.

Needing the equipment they were using for their valet I stood next to it looking at their little campsite hoping they’d pick up on the hint. When that failed I picked their gear up and moved it. It seemed for a second the boy might say something. He didn’t.

A Typical Training Day

This is how it rolls:

Up at 0600. Cook or prepare breakfast. Today it was prepare (not a hot meal). The first meal of this November day was yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, maple syrup, coffee and orange juice. That eaten it is outside to run with River.

The first range time begins at 0730. This morning the practice is focused on paper targets shooting from 20 to 40 yards.

At 0930 it is time to leave for the YMCA. The workout there begins at 1000. That session begins with a swim, followed by weight lifting and running on the treadmill.

Home by 1230 and time for lunch. After lunch there’s a short nap from 1300 to 1335.

From 1335 until 1430 check emails. Let sponsors know I am still interested and will complete their paperwork soon.

Afternoon archery practice session number two begins at 1430 and runs until 1600.  The paper distance was 35 to 55 yards then shift to 3D. It ended early because it started to rain. Usually I shoot until it is too dark to see during the fall and winter months.

Finally, on the bike and ride the Computrainer – 1630 until 1730.

Dinner, news, write some for this webpage, watch a couple of episodes of some Netflix show, hit the hay, read (Moneyball by Michael Lewis), fall asleep around 2230.

And that’s a day.

All Day Training

It was cold enough this morning, 36° F, and windy enough to run me into my shed to practice 18-meters. The space heater inside the shed makes a significant difference and being blocked from wind is a bonus. But, this practice was just part of a long day.

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This space heater on the wall is excellent on cold days.

I shot for about an hour before heading into Elizabeth City for my fitness training. At the Y the first order of business was swimming. For whatever reason the Y here keeps their locker room at meat storage temperature. It’s bad preparing to get into pool; it is awful during the return trip. Being wet walking into that locker room is painful. Not as bad as sitting in a tub of ice, but bad enough.

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I moved the Tower of Targets to face the shed. Typically it sits closer to that leaning pine tree.
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The view from inside my shed toward the target (prior to moving it forward)

There is no break here in the locker room. A quick shower and change for weights. Weight lifting is a Monday, Wednesday, Friday activity. Afternoon archer practice following those mornings can be a challenge. Before getting to that challenge and after weights there was time spent on a treadmill.

Some folks can run on treadmills all day. I have a friend that routinely spends two hours exercising like a human version of a hamster. Six miles is the maximum I every gone on treadmill. If I plan to run far, I prefer doing it outdoors.

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Preparing to ride inside

With the treadmill behind me, it was home for lunch and more archery. Yes, as I thought, my arms let me know I’d been to the gym. While I didn’t shoot any worse or better than par for me, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday archery practice is less of a muscular marathon.

Writing now, I am on a break. Next on the plan is time on a bike. Why all the exercise, well it is good for me and good for archery.

EPO-Boost®

Training for all sports takes a lot of time. In archery, training for me is more than just shooting arrows all day – even though I shoot a lot of arrows all day.

Jerry Rice is the greatest wide receiver of all time and possibly the greatest all round football player ever. He was not the fastest or the biggest to play his position. He was the best at running patterns and he stayed healthy for nearly his entire career. Part of his success in football can be attributed to his off-season training.

All athletes have sports ability. One of the key abilities is “availability” – being healthy enough to train and showing up for training. At the London Olympics 7% of all athletes suffered an illness while at the Games. A sick or hurt athlete won’t perform at their maximum.

Part of my training for archery does include cardio work and weight lifting. My training also includes rest and diet.

I make an effort to hit the bed at the same time every night and awake at the same time everyday. I’d like to sleep more at night but 7.5 hours is all I can handle. I do take a short nap every day, about 30 minutes, after lunch between training sessions.

When it comes to diet one of the top priorities on my list is not eating at restaurants. There are times when that is impossible. Food that my wife or I haven’t prepared is always questionable. It’s not that we worry about germs; we are more concerned with the quality of the food.

My wife, also an athlete, and I eat well. We don’t follow any specific diet, like vegan, and eat what we enjoy. However, we eat food we’ve cooked and we don’t overeat. We consume very little processed food.

Neither of us drinks a lot of soft drinks or alcohol. She has a small glass of wine everyday. I made have a couple shots of whiskey (the good stuff) once every week to 10 days. If either of us has a beer, it is rare. Not that we don’t enjoy an occasional beer, it’s simple we don’t drink often.

Nutritional supplements also are low on our list of dietary intake. I take a multiple vitamin, but I doubt it does much to support health. I will add iron when I’ve been training really hard, say for a long road race or triathlon. I occasionally experience exercise-induced anemia and an over the counter iron supplement gets me back on track.

The only other supplement I take is a product from BRL Sports Nutrition. The product is EPO-Boost®. Before I added EPO-Boost® to my diet I studied it. In that study I first checked to be certain it was not a banned substance – it is not banned. Then, I turned to the scientific data on the primary active ingredient Echinacea purpurea.

Echinacea purpurea comes from a North American plant and was used in Native American medicine. There is research to support that it reduces colds and may shorten recovery time.

What I found is that while taking EPO-Boost®, I was able to train, race the Ironman 70.3 New Orleans, a few weeks later race the Ironman Eagleman 70.3 and a week later race the Mt. Evans Ascent in Colorado. The very next day I raced a 5K in Boulder. What I am saying is that my recovery time seemed enhanced. It didn’t dawn how much the association with the EPO-Boost® may have helped until I reviewed my training and race notes. After that I published two papers on that association of EPO-Boost and performance.

What I find as important is that since I began taking it in 2012 I have not been ill. To be fair, I rarely ever got an illness. But, occasionally, I would catch a cold. I have not had a cold in four years and I do not take flu shots.

How does this help me in archery – availability and recover. Staying healthy means I have more time available to train. Having a fast recovery means I can take a greater advantage of the time I have available.

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Disclaimer: My comments are purely anecdotal. BRL Sports Nutrition is one of my sponsors. They did not ask me to write this post. They do provide me with TriFuel® and EPO- Boost®. TriFuel® is their sports drink. (Sports drinks are an important consideration during long tournaments and training)

Weight Lifting and Archery

This is not a post about which exercises are best for archery. It’s about a heavy day in the gym followed by trying to hit a decent shot afterwards.

It is important for people in sports lift weights.  All sports seem to gain a benefit from lifting.  It is also a good way to protect from the loss of muscle mass as we age.

Today was a long one in the gym.  It felt good and the YMCA where I lift in Elizabeth City was quieter than usual.  Taking advantage of a basically empty weight room I skipped swimming and spent extra time lifting.

Back home, after lunch and a break, it was time to pick up my bow for afternoon practice.  Not for the first time following a heavy workout I shot poorly.  Shooting around 100 arrows at a 3-spot I hit three 8s.  Hitting 10s was more frequent but the winner of the scores where the nines.

Compared to weights in the gym the Elite bow in my hand felt light.  Even so, there was a bit of a post workout tremble somewhat like a muscle vibration during many of the shots.

Tomorrow things will be better and  time in the gym pays off in many ways.

A Rare Day Without Wind

There was no wind. Not even a puff of it. That usually only happens when it is about 100°F. Not today, the temperature this morning was around 70°F. An ideal temperature for running three miles. The lack of wind made it perfect for shooting.

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No white caps today

The next event on my schedule is an 18-meter indoor competition. It starts at 10:00 AM. A 10:00 AM start means shooting through lunch and impacting naptime. You know the first scoring arrows aren’t going off until 10:30 AM. It will take three and a half to four hours to finish shooting. That means by the midpoint of the tournament it is lunchtime. Shortly after lunch is naptime.

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Barely a hint of a breeze

So, I’ve been moving slower in the morning to adjust my body to the cycle of the upcoming shoot. As such, I run a little later. River, my four-legged running partner, doesn’t seem to mind the delay. The issue is that running later means that there is a greater chance the winds will have picked up a bit off the river. Today, at 10:00 AM there was still no wind off the river.

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River is good to run on any schedule or hang out and eat a stick. Either way, no problem.

Not wanting to push my luck I didn’t even change from my running clothes before shooting. There aren’t too many wind-free days here and I enjoyed this one. Once the morning exercise and training were complete I had a nice lunch and took a short nap.   A short 15 to 30 break after eating is a good way to break up a day of training. The break resets the day. Following the break it is time to begin the afternoon training schedule.

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Hurry, hurry, hurry. (I’ve been trail running hence the orange cap.)

At the upcoming competition I will bring a small lunch. The sandwich will be quartered. I’ll eat a quarter every 15 minutes or so starting around 11:30 AM. The idea is not to put a large bolus of food into my gut at once. What that does is shifts blood flow to the stomach to aid digestion and is one of the reasons we might get sleepy after a meal. The tournament judges don’t offer a break for nap time. So, small bites are best.

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Shoot and pull

Once I commented to a judge that we were shooting during naptime. He didn’t respond with a snide remark. He concurred and seemed saddened by the reminder. We both soldiered on.

By shifting my training schedule I hope to get ready to reach peak performance during a specific time of day. There are days where I shoot indoors to best replicate the competitive environment. Travel to and from an indoor range kills about an hour of time that could be otherwise used to train. A day without wind is a pretty good deal when is comes to saving time. Shooting at roughly the same time of a scheduled tournament helps get the body ready to perform at a specific time.

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A problem with running shorts is that the quiver wants to slip down.

As John Kessel of USA Volley said, “The Game Teaches the Game.”

An Eye on Exercise

Archery is not a sport where the athletes involved are going to gain a lot of fitness. ESPN created a method to determine the level whereby sports could be evaluated related to: endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, flexibility, hand-eye coordination, nerve, durability and analytic aptitude. Of the sixty sports measured boxing topped the list of 60. 1 Archery ranked 55th followed by curling, bowling, shooting (non-archery), billiards, and fishing.1 Depending on how you search sports there is some variance in ranking. Archery is never among the most difficult when measuring athletic fitness.

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If you have read the site you may be aware that fitness is a frequent topic. Archers to some degree are not really fit. That is not to suggest that a skilled archer is not a great athlete. It is my opinion that being physically fit is an important adjunct to an archer.

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As a former internationally competitive cyclist and later triathlete I continue to complement archery with the training needed for those sports. In other words, I still run, swim, cycle and lift weights. Occasionally, I log the distances I walk while practicing archery.

Swim Start of the F1 Triathlon in San Diego

On one of those recent occasions I continued to log distances, after running, using my Garmin Forerunner 310XT while I trained against an 18 meter 3-spot. In that session of shooting I walked an additional 1.66 miles.

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Walking less than two miles is not a huge accomplishment. Still not everyone can walk that far. It seems easy, but there a many people who consider 1.66 miles quite a hike. The calories burned per hour, for me, during that session of archery was 238. Obviously, there is more involved with archery than walking, but not much related to physical activity. Without adding archery for the 1.66 miles (walking only) the caloric burn is 203. On average I shoot 4 hours per day and burn 952 calories through archery.

Considering the other exercise I do, I think of it as an adjunct to archery. Being more fit means I can practice longer. It may also help me live longer. Fitness isn’t the sole avenue to longevity but it does help. Fitness and strength training, at least for me, are part of my archery-training program.

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Adding a fitness program to your archery training can be beneficial. If you aren’t already involved in other training systems, it is a good idea to have a physician give you a green light to begin.

Reference: http://www.espn.com/espn/page2/sportSkills