Category Archives: Crosstraining

Grumpy old men.

Pool day. After 1000 meters of grudge I did some lengths under water, thinking happy thoughts.

My foot is acting up. I stepped too hard on a rock while wearing my Evo running shoes this weekend. The whole outside of the right foot is swollen. I think that’s where the grumpiness comes from: I want to run… The good news is there is no recurring stiffness in my left Achilles tendon, so in a week or two I’ll be hitting the trails north of Copenhagen for a nice winter safari.

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A foggy day

Langelinie photographed by Oliver Burger

Insanely beautiful run today. The fog was so thick I could only see a few meters out from the pier. I heard a tanker sailing by, but I could barely make out the shape of it, I just saw something huge and dark. The old fort from the looked like something out of The Seven Samurais. Also I think I have a new favourite route. Map here.

Followed by a trip to the pool of course.


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It takes me 43 seconds to swim 50m. Aqua-jogging is still fun. Bagels taste good. This may not really belong in a training blog, but I feel I need to record any physical activity I do, no matter how small.

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Lazy end of the pool.

Another easy day at the pool. Did a bit of fast crawl but nothing serious.

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Recreation is such a beautiful word, and a beautiful feeling too. 45 minutes of swimming today, and all just for fun. I can swim 25m in 22 sec. Want to record my 50m next time.

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The Frenzel Maneuver

Jaques Mayol in a good mood. Still from Le grand bleu.

The Frenzel Maneuver is not a novel my Robert Ludlum, but a better way to equalize the pressure in your ears when diving. The Valsalva Maneuver, also known as pich-your-nose-and-blow, is more widely known, and easier to grasp the first time you try. The Frenzel Maneuver however, saves some precious energy, and reduces the risk of damaging your ears or blood vessels. After you learn it properly, it is also easier. There is a longer explanation on My explanation is short: I simply pinch my nose, close my mouth and try to say K, without involving the muscles in my bowel. There should then be a faint popping sound in your ears. This way the diaphragm does not have to work, but the pressure is simply created by my adam’s apple and toungue moving upwards. If I focus too much on what’s actually going on in my mouth I am unable to do it. For me the “K-method” was the key.

When I started diving in the pool last winter, I couldn’t even get to the bottom at 5m without pain in my ears, and I seriously thought I could not learn to dive deeper. For some time I was not able to do the Valsalva. My usual method when I encounter any problem is to google it and I found a lot of resources on this, also the link above. Wikipedia has articles on it as well.

Today, after swimming 1500m and doing some push-ups and sit-ups, I managed for the first time to do the maneuver without pinching my nose. I discovered by accident, that blowing slightly through my nose against the rubber in my goggles was enough. I have read about this, but I seriously thought it was a freediving myth, reserved for those who believe in the sacred power of the Dolphin. This is good news, as it means I can keep swimming while equalizing the pressure in my ears. I also swam 45m under water (horizontally), my old record was 38m. Part of the reason might be my new technique. When I reach 50m I’ll treat myself to a pair of fins. Nice motivation to do my breath-holding exercises.

As I wrote in an earlier post, being in bad shape has the enormous advantage, that every exercise is a new personal best!

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1000m crawl

I am in the lucky situation that I haven’t really exercised since  the nineties. So every time I do something, it’s my personal record. Today I crawled 1000 meters, which I haven’t done before. Feels great!

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Aqua Jogging

This does not look cool. But it actually felt great!

I usually swim breast stroke with a bit of crawl, but today I tried to crawl all the way. Also trying to get a slower, more relaxed crawl. Afterwards I tried something that usually is reserved for people in rehabilitation: Aqua Jogging. I guess my running abstinences are getting bad. It felt really great, and built up plenty of lactose acid in my legs. Will it make me a better runner? Who knows…

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2000 meters.

Today I doubled the distance and swam 2000 meters. I sometimes feel bored when swimming  in a pool, especially if there are a lot of people. But after the first 20 laps i fell into the sort of meditative zone, and time just flew. It took me 42 minutes. Every fourth lane was crawl.

The problem with swimming is, I don’t get the kick I get out of running. I’m thinking I need to improve my crawl, and get the adrenaline pumping a bit more.

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Another trip to the pool today. Swam 1000m and did some diving. I’m resting my calves, but I’m longing to go for a run. I see now how people get addicted.

Overheard this conversation in the sauna today between a father and his five year old son. The dad was asking his son how his day had been:

– Did you go for a run today?
– Yes.
– What shoes did you wear?
– Rubberboots.
– But isn’t it hard to run in rubberboots?
– No everybody had rubberboots on. And everybody fell.

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I see the pool from this angle.

I went for a short swim in the pool today. For me the best cross-training is swimming. I also swim laps under water which builds a lot of lactose acid in my muscles. I feel like it must have some benefit for long distance running, but mostly I do it for fun.

Running with the ladies.

I sometimes join my girlfriend and all the pregnant and elderly ladies for an Aerobics session in the park. I feel completely un-manly, but basically it’s a great warm-up for a run. I still need a lot more strength in my quads and ankles, so any bouncy and jumpy activity is a stepping stone to a better half marathon.

Also, while jumping around to old dance hits in the park, it strikes me that one of the reasons women live longer than men may be because they excercise. A lot. Most men either excel at sports or watch sports from their sofa. I think somewhere in that middle ground you find a lot of healthy women who excercise just about the right amount. And they keep at it for longer. At least for me, it has taken some psychological strength to run slower than before. I used to be able to run 3 to 5 km and then I was completely dead. Now I regularly run more than 10 km and when I’m done I feel like I could have continued. I even want to. I don’t strive to be the fastest, but to enjoy the ride.

All in all, I regard women as my real competitors in a race. The way they run light inspires me. How they can outrun me using half the power.

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