Friday, May 30, 2008

Welcome Summer

I hope everyone gets outside this summer, no matter where you are, to get active and moving. There is so much to do when you have all the outdoors to enjoy.

No one should be too busy to play at least a few times each week, shoot, in my opinion, no one should be too busy to get out and do something active every day.

So, get out, get active, get moving, get physical, get happy, get healthy and... always


Josh Courage

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Learning to Calm - Jiu-Jitsu

For the past three months, almost on a regular basis, I have been practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It has become an outlet, a relaxer and so far, almost as humbling as baseball was. The thing about it is, it is helping me use my body and think in ways I have never really thought I could.

So far, a 2 inch circular bruise on my arm, a 4-5 inch bruise on the inside if my knee, 2 bloody lips, cracked cartilage in my ear, a ripped big toe and a 5 inch long, deep cut along the side of my neck have been the only wounds I have received, which, honestly, I think I'm pretty lucky so far. Every class I leave exhausted, drained and sore. My hands won't close fully and I pretty much always feel a little light headed. But, the best part? As I walk out the door, I always have a big smile on my face and know that I have just learned something new, bonded with a bunch of buddies and got a damn good workout. This is something I will do for a long time.

When you're on the mat rolling with someone, you immediately find that the majority of your natural learned instincts are, in fact, wrong. Strength isn't the primary factor, but neither is quickness; someone with great endurance does not automatically submit someone who might be in less cardiovascular shape. It is a combination of all tools your body comes equipped with, and if you choose to, or have trained yourself to over the years, use just one or two of these aspects, you will find yourself tapping out in no time. It's a chess game where you have to be on the defensive AND the offensive at all times, attacking weakness, adapting to attack and constantly moving to see where you or your opponent will go.

But the best thing I have found as I enter into the middle of my third month (it feels like a year now, I have learned so much) is the fact that the sport is not about what everything else in America is about. All other sports are about defeating your opponent, about hurting, demoralizing and knocking him or her out. It's always kill or be killed, cause as much damage as possible to the other guys so that you can walk away a winner. In Jiu-Jitsu though, it's different. It's about submission. It's about working with your opponent, outsmarting him or her, using his or her strengths and weaknesses against them and forcing them to give in to your superior ability. It is an amazingly respectful and humbling sport that has no room for trash talking and showboating. Toughness helps, strength helps, mobility helps, but it's not about having one or the other, it's about having it all.

I strongly recommend trying a class if you ever get a chance and if anyone is interested in joining me at my class it would be a blast. My instructor, Cesar is in the process of opening his personal website up and when it is up and running, I will have a link of it up on my site and my blog. I can't wait to get back into town next week and back into class. For now, it's Vermont and marathon number 6.

Never Stop, GET FIT

Josh Courage

Friday, May 9, 2008

Changing It Up Again

Well folks, running has officially moved down on my list of major goals. I still have pretty specific goals, like get 5 more marathons in the next six months, but it's the mentality I will be taking towards my training that is changing the most. You see, after a while I get bored with the monotony of training for one type of goal. Running has brought me great joy, and has positively effected me in more ways then I thought was imaginable. But there is more out there that I want to try out.

This summer my training will be focused about 85% on speed and power. The other 15% will be endurance. As always, stability, flexibility and strength will be worked throughout as they should be staples in any workout no matter what the goal.

Also, I'm pursuing some new athletic endevours besides endurance running:
Jujitsu - I've been practicing this pretty regularly for about two months now and have fallen in love. The focus on body control and leverage attracted me and I have found it to be quite a learning experience to have someone half my size move me around so easily. I strongly suggest anyone who thinks they are tough, go roll for a couple minutes and you'll be humbled on the spot.
Biking - I've always been into biking, but know the idea of triathlon is appealing and I am slowly getting into taking it a bit more seriously.
Swimming - This is tough for me. I can run 50 miles, rep out 20 pull ups and deadlift 400+, but I can barely make two laps without stopping for a rest. It'll be a great learning experience getting into this.
Climbing - I've never actually done this seriously, more of just, going out to Great Falls and stupidly risking life and limb by bouldering the toughest rocks I can find. Now it's about time I get my own gear and take this up for real.

I'll be talking about all those things in future posts, so for now, let's just focus on the training schedule and the lifting.

Thanks to a friend I have learned some great rules of squats, cleans, jerks and high pulls. Soon enough I'll be working on perfecting the snatch, and deadlift. I will be lifting three days a week, focusing on building up in weight and speed through the Olympic lifts (cleans, jerks and snatches), and weight on the power lifts (deadlifts, squats). I also will be focusing on some body control moves like handstands, pull ups, pistol squats, push ups and the planche. I also will be focusing almost all my running on speed work; intervals and sprints. Weekends will be set aside for a nice, good run, I can't just stop doing that. Jujitsu will be practiced at least three times a week while biking and swimming will be scheduled in whenever I can fit. Eventually I will probably incorporate the biking and swimming a little more structured, but for now, the lifting and sprint work are key to me. As ,y clients and friends know about me, it's all about goal setting, so, here are mine for the summer:

Body Control -
5 full handstand push ups with feet on wall
8+ second still handstand
1 one-arm pull up
10 one-arm push ups
L-seat to handstand
Muscle up with no jump

Running -
Sub 6 minute mile
5 more marathons (already 2 scheduled for Oct.)
1 more ultra (already scheduled 50k in Sept.)

Lifting -
425 lbs deadlift
400 lbs squat
225 lbs clean and jerk
185 lbs snatch

Speed/Power -
30+ inch vertical leap
Dunk a basketball
4.8 second 40 yard dash

So, for now, that's what I got. I have a few other goals that I'm putting together and working on and I will let everyone know about those as I get into them. I will also post up progress reports as I go, but from here on out, I'll be posting more posts on ideas and such that I hope can raise some discussion out there.

So, until next time - Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage