Doing More With Less Since 1972

Category: Rugby (Page 1 of 2)

2021 Six Gap Training – Fat Shaming Myself For Better Results

This post is part of a series where I’m overthinking my approach to training for the 2021 Six Gap Century ride in North Georgia. All time spent thinking and writing probably would have been better spent on the bike

Here’s a tough realization I’ve had to come to terms with: The biggest bang for my buck for speed and efficiency on the bike comes from not doing something. That something is shoving food into my face. I knew it was going to come to this. It’s just simple math. I can increase my strength and power, but there are limits there. The easiest way to improve my watts/kilogram is to decrease the denominator.

I have a complicated relationship with food. Actually, it’s not that complicated. My love for food is right up there with rugby, jiu jitsu, and, uh…other stuff. It’s a tough place for me to have the discipline to deny myself.

Weight loss has to happen for me to hit my goals, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. I’ve been at different weights over the last 30 years, depending on what activities I’m focused on. Playing rugby in college I was ~190 pounds and trying hard to gain weight. I was 215-220 as a reasonably fit men’s club rugby player, a step or two slower at 230, but I ran a marathon at that weight.

I tried to stay just over 200 pounds when I was doing triathlons pretty regularly, and that was a comfortable weight for that activity. Well, it was 10 years ago.

A couple of years ago when I was training BJJ heavily, my walking around weight was in the low 190s, and I could make 185 pounds without having to do any kind of weight cut–just a few days of being careful with the diet. I’m pretty trim at 185, so I think that’s a decent target weight for Six Gap. I’m currently floating between 200 pounds at my heaviest time of the day to 192 pounds right after a tough ride. I’m using 200 pounds as my baseline, just to be safe. Anything below 190 would be pretty good on pain day.

The Keto Reset Diet

That covers the “what”. For the “how”, I’m following Mark Sisson’s book, The Keto Reset Diet. The “when” is mid-September, the “who” should be obvious, and the “where” is all places known to man.

I’ve flirted with a ketogenic diet before, and I’m already wheat free, mostly grain free (tortilla chips are the devil), and careful about my sugar intake. This seems like the easiest path from where I am currently, and the more I learn about keto, the more sense it makes from a biological standpoint.

When I really started digging in and running my numbers using the formulas in Mark’s book , I realized that I’ve really been overdoing it with the protein. I was really shocked at the amount of fat I need to be consuming, and that’s going to be tough to accomplish.

I ran the numbers to get from 200 to 190 pounds in the next 60 days, and then I’ll assess where I am. Based on my activity level, my target daily calorie intake should be around 3,277. The macros break down like this:

  • Fat: 227g (2046 calories)
  • Protein: 112g (448 calories)
  • Carb: 50g (200 calories)

Keto gets me where I need to be, quickly. And this isn’t a cosmetic thing…your photo doesn’t go down in the record book, just your time. I fully expect I’ll be back to my fluffy self by Christmas. Well, maybe not…we’ll see what comes up after Six Gap!

I Hate New Year Resolutions

If you think about it, it’s a little strange to decide to make major changes based on some arbitrary time when a number changes on a piece of paper.

Still, we’re human, and I guess we need these imaginary lines to psychologically break up time; this year more than any other in our lifetimes.

But I’m not making resolutions. I mean, I’m definitely making some changes that coincide with the calendar change, but they aren’t really resolutions. The timing is merely a coincidence. So…listed in no particular order:

Blogging

When we moved from FL to Las Vegas a few years ago, I cut back on blogging a lot. I’ll write later about the reasons why, all the other changes that happened, etc. But I do plan on updating things here much more often. Not because anything I have to say needs to be read, but because it helps me to write it.

Going past actually writing, I think there’s something therapeutic/cathartic about putting it out in the world to be seen, even if it’s not widely read. It feels weird to make yourself a little vulnerable and realize that you’re still ok.

This one is really important because it’s my outlet to talk about everything else on this list.

Cycling

I was really into cycling on Trainer Road a few years ago. It looks like I’m going to be transitioning over to Zwift, and I plan on talking about why along with tracking some of the technical stuff around it.

There’s a whole other aspect to this beyond training–lots of emotions tied up in it. Again, lots to say later, but the passing of my friend Bill this year ultimately led to a fire being lit under my behind.

Running

Religion? Therapy? I don’t know. It will take a lot of long runs to figure this out, but it’s something I’ve brought back into my life more this year. I didn’t know how much I was missing it. I have a lot to say about how my feelings around running have changed and this new need I feel to protect it.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Holy moly do I miss BJJ. I can’t wait to go back, and the end is in sight. Taking all this time off has given me a chance to reflect on how bjj plays into my physical and mental health. Like running, it’s something I need to protect. Both are activities I don’t want to risk being sidelined from.

Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF

Wow. There’s a switch in topics. I’ve spent the last year reading and studying a lot. Again, lots to say here, but all of it can wait until after I take my last exam and have a certification that can’t be rescinded.

Rugby

Greatest game ever. As years pass, I’m increasingly amazed at the breadth and depth of impact rugby has had on my life.

I wish I could have just one more season in a 28 year old body.

Coronavirus

The Missus and I have spent a lot of time this year thinking and talking about this. Shocking, right? Some about the specifics around the actual virus, but a lot more about it’s implications for our family and society going forward. I think our experience and journey through this has been really healthy, but it has made me look at our culture/society a little differently.

Other Stuff

As I’ve gotten older, I’m subscribing less and less to “isms”. I think that’s because I’ve realized I don’t really have any answers and neither does anyone else. There are so many nuances to everything. Oh to have just one more day of being young and knowing everything (or anything). I’ve shied away from writing about politically charged stuff for years, but I think it may be easier for me now that I have more questions than answers.

Besides that, I’ve been listening to great music, reading some cool books, and reading some trendy books. I should share, or at least leave some thoughts I can refer to later.

I’ve gotten hooked on some really interesting stuff on YouTube. And while I haven’t been posting here, I’ve written quite a bit as well. Mostly on Twitter (lol), but also done some gratitude journaling (how trendy), and even had to get up in the middle of the night to get a poem out of my head.

Yeah…not really ready to share that yet.

Things I want to learn more about

Spanish, literature, music theory, economics, etc. This list is ever-expanding, and I’ve come to the realization I think a lot of people come to–I’m running out of time to cram all this in.

I’m not editing this. I’m just hitting publish.

Best Training Partner Ever

I got a Twitter DM from a great and old friend one morning last week. “I’ll be in Orlando Jan 9-13. When are we rolling?” I immediately sent him back a message letting him know what our class schedule is.

Dedicated readers of this blog (basically, just me) are aware that I’m currently obsessed with BJJ. Dedicated followers of @svandyke will know that he’s a newly minted blue belt who was a couple of years ahead of me in discovering how awsum BJJ is.

When I started playing rugby in college, Shawn was already there. Going forward, he was there a lot more than I was. My dedication was a roller coaster, but he was one of the most dedicated attendees at our Tuesday/Thursday training sessions. He never let his rigorous school schedule, faith-based objections to our general behavior, or the fact that he was an understudy to an All-American for much of his career stop him from being a loyal and reliable part of the team. We suffered a lot together during those days (“YOU’RE NOT TIRED! YOU JUST THINK YOU ARE!”), although it may not be fair to say we were “partners” since he never had to carry my big boo-hind up the hill at Fulton Bottoms.

After college I started taking rugby a lot more seriously while Shawn eased off the rugby gas a little. He moved away for a while, but when he came back and started being involved in the men’s club more, he was my preferred choice as a weight lifting partner. I’d had intermittent stints with other partners who would either flake out routinely (Space Monkey) or try to convince me that the Shoney’s Breakfast Bar was a better idea than the squat rack (BFR).

Shawn showed up. Every morning. And he showed up to work.  We rotated who led each session, and when his turn landed on a shoulder day there was hell to pay.  We even made it to yoga classes together. We were among the first dudes to figure out that everyone else in the class was going to be female, and would crack each other up by doing pushups as punishment conditioning opportunities for falling out of balance poses. Our yoga teacher was the first to use, “this is not a competition” in that setting.

Almost everything was a competition. Competition–pissing contest–whatever. And when it wasn’t, it wasn’t.

I don’t remember the last day Shawn and I lifted, but I do remember the day after that. Both of us showed up to the gym on time and sat on the couch to enjoy our first cup of coffee. We ended up talking for about an hour instead of working out, then decided that we were done. We weren’t going to do this any more. I haven’t lifted with any real dedication since.

Not long after we stopped lifting, I decided I was going to run a marathon. The problem with running a marathon is that it takes a lot of discipline and dedication early in the morning. I’ve gotten much better since, but at the time I was standing on shaky ground with both discipline and dedication. But I’m smart about this kind of stuff, so I called Shawn and floated the idea to him. Getting him on board to do the race was the key for me to train and finish. I knew he’d be there to meet me every single day to run. No doubt about this guy. And I didn’t want to let him down, so I was always there too.

I don’t think he missed a single run until he got hurt. He had to bail on the last half of the training program because of an injury, but still showed up and did the race. When he was training, we were on the same pace, but there was no way he was going to be able to do that pace on race day, so we didn’t get to run together. I remember seeing an ambulance go by during the race and thinking of him, hoping they weren’t going to pick him up. I knew he wouldn’t quit. He’d either finish or they would carry him off for medical care.

As expected, he finished.

I can’t wait to train with Shawn. Seriously…I can’t wait! This is one more in a long line of things I get to train with Shawn. One more way we get to grow together. When I look back on the majority of my athletic endeavors since the Fall of 1993, Shawn has been an almost constant staple.

Races–Gotta Get Something On The Schedule

I’ve hit a rut.

I’m working out consistently…well, running at least, somewhat consistently…but not having an immediate purpose if starting to take its toll.

My spring so far has sort of been built around rugby. I’ve already played one March tournament in Savannah, and I have another one coming up in NOLA in April. The plan was to make it out to rugby training with The Red Eyes once a week, maybe make a B-side match to help fill out numbers here and there, and get all my other fitness through running and some cycling on the off days.

The problem is that even rugby training jacks my back up. Bad. And the tournament I played a couple of weeks ago left me unable to run for about a week. I’m still going to make it to the NOLA tournament, but nothing in between now and then rugby-wise.

But I’m not amping up my SBR for some reason. I’m chalking up some of that to work travel and spring tasks around the house, but I’m running out of excuses.

Luckily, my Fall schedule is loaded with races–a couple of big Oly distance tris and a couple of 13.1 races right after that. So I’m going to have to start buckling down soon whether I like it or not.

Did I mention I’d like to come into serious tri training this season with a 5k PR?

Yeah…I’d better get on that.

I’ve Been Gilloolied!

My theory is that a conspiracy took place to have someone hit me in the back with a pipe while I was skating training sleeping.

Either that, or I’m just getting older. This is the way my back used to feel for a couple of days after playing 80 minutes of rugby at 2nd row. That was one of the major factors in stopping–mostly because I was not much value to any team at any place other than 2nd row.

Now this is the way my back feels for 5 days after playing rugby in general.

The Missus says I need to focus on engaging my core and pushing my hips forward before coming into contact. So…a head’s up…

The next time we are about to collide, don’t be surprised if I ask you to hold up a second while I transition from tree, to down dog, then slowly roll my spine into the correct position and get centered.

Then you can run over me and it won’t hurt quite as bad.

A Different Kind Of Schedule For Me

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I was going to focus on fast instead of far for this year. I took some time off after the Tour of Sufferlandria (a whole week off the bike) to recharge and get ready for some new stuff.

Lots of new stuff actually.

This spring I’m committed to (gasp) rugby for the for first time in a long time. Well…not too committed, I’m only going to practice once a week. But there’s an Old Boys tournament in NOLA this April, and I want to show up not only fit, but also with at least some of the strength and rugby mobility I’ve lost over the past couple of years.

It also helps to have held a ball recently.

This actually fits in pretty well with my efforts to try and get a little faster. I’m focusing a lot more on fast twitch in my non-rugby days with intervals. You could make the case that I’m more committed than the average rugby player because I’m going to training once a week and actually doing something on the other days. 😉

And then there’s that mobility issue–back to yoga.

The Missus has a YogaGlo subscription, and when I started checking out their offerings for endurance athletes, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m getting in a couple of short sessions each week focusing on hammies and hips, but also getting some arm and shoulder work in.

The missing piece to my whole plan is swimming. I’m not going to get in nearly enough. Saturday morning Masters is one tough workout a week, but that’s my only access to a pool. I’m hoping I’ll be able to squeeze in at least one day of OWS, but that sort of depends on the availability of partners.

The hope is I can make it to the end of April without any injuries, a little more speed, a little more strength, a little more mobility, and ready to switch things up a little.

Here’s the general schedule:

  • Mondays: moderate bike + stretch yoga
  • Tuesdays: run intervals + stretch yoga
  • Wednesdays: easy bike + long yoga
  • Thursdays: tempo run + rugby
  • Fridays: long slow bike + stretch yoga
  • Saturdays: masters swim + hard run
  • Sundays: long run

[image credit]

The Unplanned Off Season

Dang it the money. It happened to me.

I was really happy with the way I kept up the fitness momentum throughout the holidays–the beginning of the “off season”. The plan was that there really wasn’t going to be an off season. I didn’t feel burned out at all, and I wanted to keep in the flow.

Between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day I was able to pull off a full marathon and a self-supported 50k.

But in the last couple of weeks the wheels have fallen off. Well, not horribly–it’s not as if I’m not working out. But the volume has definitely fallen off.

Do I get some kind of reprieve for the fact that the intensity has picked up? I’ve been riding Sufferfest videos on Trainerroad in between rest days…does that count?

My run volume is definitely down as well, but I’m not throwing many junk miles in when I am out running. Intervals and higher paced (for me) long runs are showing up on the schedule regularly.

The fact that the schedule is a little bare right now definitely plays in. Other than the Tour of Sufferlandria, which starts next week, I don’t have much set in stone for 2014 except for an Old Boys Rugby Tournament in April.

So training is changing up a little bit for the next couple of months. I’m going to try to focus on bike improvement, run maintenance, and rugby whoop-ass. The only swimming I have planned for right now is a 1 mile OWS on Thursday nights before rugby practice. If the rugby thing falls through (what is it with these guys being able to commit?), I’ll join my local masters swim club and get some Saturday workouts in too.

Oh yeah…this year’s Bridge to Bridge is closer than it seems! Tick. Tock.

I Need A Pissing Contest – Why I’m Going To Get Coaching

acme_thunder_coach_whistle

I’m pulling the trigger and getting some coaching this year.

I’ve been quasi-diagnosed with ODD by some lesser-known psychologists, but I’m actually pretty coachable. The way I look at it, if I’m paying someone (or committing my time even) for coaching, I’m going to be all-in and do what they ask of me. Even if that’s at odds with the way I’m used to doing things.

People who know me may read that and think I’m delusional for saying it, but I’m a slave to a training schedule. I do what it says. Most of the time anyway. And I trust it–sometimes to a fault. That’s what it means to be coachable–trusting the coach and doing what they say to do. No questions.

But I can read the research and follow a schedule on my own. That’s part of the reason I’ve never sought out any coaching for triathlon. Well, that, and I’m cheap.

I don’t need a coach to motivate me to do something I love, right? And I’m pretty hard on myself during training. I know how to dig down deep and get more from my body than it wants to give.

I’m a “pusher”.

At least I thought I was before last year. But 2012’s results have me a little worried that is no longer the case.

Let me back up…

When I first started training to run distance in 2003, I’d been playing rugby pretty much continually for 10 years. A lot of rugby training translates to endurance sports, so it was really easy transition for me. I already had pretty good endurance and strength base, with an especially strong core.

Yes,there are muscles under there.

In that 10 years, I’d never let my fitness go either, and I was used to a rigorous training schedule. There were off-seasons in rugby, but that was a lot like recovery periods for endurance training, and I always kept up my maintenance training during those times as well.

I’m not claiming I was ever the fittest guy on the team, but I was often the fittest guy over 200 pounds.

But more importantly, I had built up a gritty mentality. All of our squad training and most of my training outside was done with the same group of guys or a subset of them. That meant you always had someone watching, even if there wasn’t a coach around. There was always someone there to see you quit. There was always someone who would know if you were bagging it during a sprint. There was always a guy in the weight room who could lift more and would push you to lift more. Everyone had little injuries and hurts at all times, and there was always someone hurt worse than you who was still playing.

It made for a very testosterone driven atmosphere. That was a good thing. I’m not saying that it motivated everyone to push themselves to their limits, and I’m not claiming I always did either. I had my share of lazy days. But that atmosphere and the fact that not everyone was lazy on the same days kept the bar set at a pretty high level at all times. You knew the days you didn’t reach that expectation, just like you knew which guys didn’t care if they ever reached it.

And some of us never wanted to be “that guy”.

So you pushed. You didn’t have a choice.

That was the mentality I had when I started training for endurance sports, and for the next 3 years. Even when I went through periods of what I like to call “taper-training“, where I was really lazy, I could always show up on race day and find some push.

Fast-forward to January 2012. I decided to get back into training for long distances. I decided to kick it off with a 70.3, but I wasn’t really happy with those results. So I decided to do a marathon to try to fix what was ailing my run. And I wasn’t happy with those results either.

I stuck with the schedule for both of these events, and I was really happy with my effort level during training. So why didn’t I get the results I wanted?

I’m not one to beat myself up over that kind of stuff for long. But I have realized there’s a problem that goes beyond the fact that I’m getting older. Injuries and heat aren’t going to cut it for long term excuses either–those are just a fact of racing that everyone has to deal with. So the last few weeks I’ve been doing some reflection, and I think I know what may have happened. It all began at the beginning.

Here’s what my starting point looked like in 2012:

I hadn’t done anything more than an Olympic distance tri since 2006. 10k was the furthest I’d run. I was living in a house with 4 women. Granted, three of them were under 5 years old, but still, it’s pretty much a testosterone-free zone.

I was living in a new town, not actively playing rugby. So I didn’t have an expectation there to meet, and I didn’t even have the peer pressure of being around guys I used to train with and the pissing contests that were involved in everything they do (rugby, running, lifting, eating, drinking, skirt-chasing, etc.).

That, I think, is the real problem in a nutshell...I haven’t been living in a perpetual pissing contest.

And I like pissing contests. I need pissing contests.

I wasn’t coming into training in couch-potato shape or anything like that. I don’t think fitness is the problem at all. I think I may have forgotten what it’s like to push. I mean really push. I think it’s something I may have unlearned. I mean, I think I’m pushing during training, but how can I tell if I really am?

So that’s where coaching comes in. A coach can see what you’re doing from the outside and test you, make you run that one extra interval. A coach can throw you a surprise workout that an 18 week schedule can’t. A coach can disrupt everything. A good coach will do all of these things.

Hopefully, a coach can help me reset my definition of what “push” means.

So I’m starting a triathlon specific swim clinic at the gym on Tuesday. I’m hoping everything about my swim gets torn apart and rebuilt. I’m in a good situation to do that–my cardio is fine, so I can handle long workouts, but I haven’t been swimming enough lately to have my horrible habits burned into my muscle memory in the way they would have been if I was coming off a training plan.

I’m planning on a running coach for February and beyond too. I’m hoping to maybe fix some mechanics, and definitely fix my head.

If I’m completely wrong, and I don’t get pushed that much, at least I’ll get some information I didn’t have before, meet some training partners, get some new workouts, and a new source of accountability.

But I’m pretty sure I’m right about the pushing thing.

Circle of Death Workout

This is a dang good ‘un. Also known as “The Vicious Cycle”, I learned this one back in the late 90s from a sadistic South African rugby coach. For any former teammates who are reading this, let me apologize in advance for the nightmares you’ll have tonight. I know you’ve done your best to repress any memory of being put through this.

The only equipment you need is a place to do pull-ups and a little bit of space. Think of your pull-up station as the backstop of a baseball diamond. That’s where you start. The rest of the stations are arranged just like the bases on the baseball diamond. Home plate = push-ups, First base = sit-ups, Second base = burpees, Third base = jackknives*. Here’s a diagram if you’re confused. I like to arrange the distance between the “bases” at about the distance between bases on a t-ball field. You can make them further apart if you want…that distance isn’t the key to this workout.

Start by doing a single pull-up. Then you run the bases, stopping at each one to do one repetition of the exercise at that station (1 push-up, 1 sit-up, 1 burpee, 1 jackknife). Then it’s back to the pull-up station for the second round. This time, you do two reps of everything. The next lap is 3 reps, and so on. Starting with one rep and ending with six reps is a good way to start. I did it that way yesterday at the halfway point of a four mile run, and it absolutely destroyed my pace and heart rate on the 2nd half of the run. As my fitness improves, I work my way up to ten laps/reps.

And that’s when things start to get really interesting.

Once you can comfortably do the ten lap incarnation of this exercise, try doing it in reverse instead…starting with ten reps and working your way down to one. It sounds like it would take the same effort level to do go in reverse, but it’s actually much harder for a couple of reasons. First of all, unless you are a pull-up machine, the quality of your pull-ups will probably tend to decrease the more reps you have to do. There’s no shame in using a spotter or “self-spotting” by flailing your legs to get pull-ups in, but if you have to do 10 pull-ups on your first set instead of your last, you’ll probably do those 10 better. And at the end, it’s easy to do 3 good pull-ups, so you’ll make the extra effort.

Secondly, you’ll probably find that the sit-ups and jackknives almost feel like a rest in this workout since they give you the opportunity to lie down on the ground. The only problem is, you have to get up off the ground. Starting with ten reps and working your way down to one means that at the end of the workout, when you want to rest the most, you get less and less rest. As soon as you get on the ground to do 3 sit ups, you have to pick yourself back up and run to do burpees.

I consider this a “toughness” workout as much as it is a fitness workout. There really isn’t much of a reprieve at any point of this workout. It’s one that makes you feel like you can’t wait to get to the next thing, only to detest where you are as soon as you get there. You’ll have to hunker down mentally to push to the end.

Then finish it up with a 2-3 mile run and see if you can ever regain control of your heart rate.

* If you aren’t familiar with jackknives, you lie flat on your back with your arms stretched out above your head, then you simultaneously raise your hands and feet, basically folding yourself in half, and (attempt to) touch your toes.

UT’s Rugby Coach Retiring

Thanks to the KNS for covering Butch Robertson’s retirement and 750+ career wins.

Rugby was just one of the many things he taught. I learned countless lessons from him from 1993-1996, not the least of which was that the way to make a real impact is by showing up every day ready to do work for decades.

The guy never got a dime for his efforts either. In fact, it probably cost him quite a bit of money to come out in bad weather twice a week for all those years and deal with the jetsam of high school soccer, football, and wrestling.

Thanks Butch, for all you’ve done for so many young men!

Push/Pull Workouts — So That’s What It’s Called

I’ve been substituting my regular run scheduled for Thursday evenings with 7s rugby practice for the summer. Thursdays aren’t really long runs, so I figure I can go out and burn more calories playing rugby while having fun and getting a good run in. It’s good cross training because it works every muscle, especially core muscles. I end up spiking and recovering my heart rate instead of keeping it steady like a would in a normal training run too. It’s just fun to mix it up, and I love playing rugby.

Plus there is beer afterward.

I’ve discovered Coach Brett over at ZenTriathlon recently, and I’ve really been enjoying his podcasts. There’s some really good stuff in there about triathlon in general, and his style totally vibes with the way I like to train. One of the things he talks about are “Push/Pull Workouts” where he’ll do a 6 mile run, stopping at each mile to do pushups, squats, pullups, etc. I realized that’s exactly the kind of thing I’ve been doing at rugby practice, although the intervals of running are much shorter intervals and at a much higher intensity.

I wore my heart rate monitor for the first hour of practice last night and kept splits just to get an idea of the intensity of the non-contact drills we were doing. I averaged right at 135 bpm for the first hour of practice (that included water breaks and the dynamic stretching warmup), but I spiked it close to 180 during the two most intense periods.  I know it got at least that high later in the practice when we were scrimmaging and I had long sprints.

A bonus in disguise was that I forgot my rugby boots at home, so I trained barefoot. I haven’t been doing much barefoot running at all, and it was probably good for me to get a good two hours of action without shoes. The only part of practice I skipped was the repetitive tackling drill, but I made good use of the time, doing “Jacos” around the field during that period.

Jacos is a fitness drill we used to do in college. Many rugby teams do variations, but we called the drill “Jacos” in honor of the coach who brought it to our club. It’s a not-so-fun way to run laps.

You start in one corner at the goal line, sprint to the halfway, jog to the opposite corner, stop for exercises–pushups/situps/burpees/squats/jackknives/mountain climbers–jog across the field to the opposite corner for a different exercise, and so on. So it’s sprint, jog, exercise, jog, exercise, sprint, jog, exercise, jog, exercise….

You get the idea, right? This is a great rugby fitness drill because it simulates a lot of stuff that’s going on in a game–high intensity bursts with lower intensity recovery runs and “lifting” sprinkled in. Lots of moving your own body weight around and getting up off the ground.

Keeping my triathlon goals of getting a core workout and staying in a training zone in mind, I like to add two exercise stations at the halfway line on either side of the field and substitute the jogs and sprints with a steadier, more intense pace. I got in four laps of that (about a mile) barefoot while the tackling drill was going on. Sounds a lot like a modified Push/Pull Run, huh? That’s what fitness end of rugby training is like for the most part, and why I think it’s a good substitute for at least one of my workouts each week. It also does me a lot of good mentally because it throws a curve into my training and involves something I really love doing.

Rugby As A Positive For At-Risk Girls

Don’t be surprised if you see more stuff like this as school administrators realize that rugby is not only a very affordable sport to promote in comparison with other sports, but it’s also relatively safe and full of positive life lessons:

“There’s a new attitude in the house,” Del Valle said. “The girls are taking ownership. Rugby promotes character, trust, loyalty and honor. You represent your program on and off the pitch.

HT: ScrumhalfConnection and RugbyBuzz

Loss of a Teammate

"I live in a world without corners" --Ian Loope (1987-2010)

I got the horrible news that a former rugby teammate of mine passed away. I knew it would happen at some point in time, but Ian was only 23 years old, so this was a huge surprise. He was a physically gifted player who was also lucky enough to have a mental aptitude for the game. He had an unbelievable amount of grit and fortitude as well. Ian started playing men’s club rugby at the age of 18, and I can’t remember him ever backing down for a second against more experienced and physically mature players. He was called on by our club very early on to contribute on the field in some very tough situations, and he always delivered.

And off the field…well, there has never been and there never will be another “Colonel Kurtz”. Two things were guaranteed when you talked to him: (1) you were going to laugh, and (2) you were going to learn something. He earned the nickname Colonel Kurtz on one of the first road trips he took with the club. After rumbling for an 80 meter try, single handedly demolishing the defense of one of our most bitter rivals, Ian spent the hours following the match waxing philosophical on subjects far beyond the comprehension of most of his audience.

But man, was it entertaining.

Guys like Ian personify the list of reasons I play rugby. His passing is a reminder to ruck the ones you love every chance you get.

Ian Loope–P4L+.

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