Friday, June 30, 2006

Thursday's Training

Since yesterday's workout was pretty intense, today was a "light" day: 30 minutes of roadwork with shadowboxing mixed in.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Jeff's Photos Are Now Online

My friend Jeff Gilbert has posted a link to the photos from his recent boxing match in Seattle, WA. Check them out here. Congratulations, Jeff! It looks like you did great in your bout.

Jeff was also kind enough to link to my blog. Thanks, Jeff. Hey, buddy, when is your next match? Keep us posted! :-)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wednesday at the Gym

Woohoo! I made it to practice today. I was late, and I didn't attend as much of it as I would have liked, but I was there and I worked hard. Here's the recap.
  • 25 minutes of roadwork
  • 3 regular rounds on the pads with Bernard
  • 1 "round from hell" on the pads with Bernard (I'll explain this below)
  • 3 rounds of shadowboxing
  • 2 rounds on the heavy bag
  • 1 round on the uppercut bag
  • 1 rounds of situps
  • 1 round of stretching
That makes 12 rounds plus the roadwork. That's not too bad, considering that I was only at practice for about 45 minutes and had to race to get there. Because I was working out on very limited time, I increased the intensity as much as I could. Also, in the summer it's hot in our gym, so that made the workout seem more intense.

The "round from hell" (Bernard's friendly name for it) was aptly named. It was a full 3 minutes of nonstop punching, with no pauses to explain combinations and no short breaks for Bernard to tell me what the next moves would be. It was all action. I started by throwing alternating series of 10 left and right hooks, followed by 10 left and right uppercuts. They had to be fast and they had to be thrown with good form. That lasted for about the first minute.

During the second minute, I had the pleasure of ducking Bernard's left hook and countering with a left hook of my own. Immediately after that, Bernard threw a right hook at my head and I had to duck it and counter with my own right hook. That continued--ducking and countering alternating left and right hooks--for about the next 60 seconds. Since bending the knees is required to duck the hook properly, this was a helpful exercise for the legs and a good opportunity to practice balance. Done correctly, the boxer should be on his toes all the time, keep his balance, keep his elbows in to protect the sides of his body, and keep his hands up to protect his head. For the most part, I thought I used good technique during this drill.

Finally, for the last minute of the round, we practiced reaction counterpunching with quick combinations. The idea here is fairly simple: keep a good stance and block all of your opponent's punches. As soon as your opponent's glove makes contact with any part of your body, you immediately counterattack him with a combination, leading from the side of the body where he hits you. It's really much easier than it sounds. Let me explain how it works in practice.

Bernard throws his left hook either at my head or to my body. Since I have a good stance with a good built-in defensive posture, I readily block the punch wherever he throws it. As soon as he makes contact and I'm confident I have blocked his punch, I immediately counter with a straight right cross to the chin (to the pad, really), followed by a left hook and another straight right.

Just to keep things interesting, Bernard may throw another left hook at me, or he may toss a right hook to my head or body. If he throws the latter punch, again, I block it and immediately counterpunch, this time with a left hook, followed by a hard straight right and then another left hook.

That "round from hell" was a fun, challenging, and tiring round. We picked up the intensity and it was really hard work, but I like pushing myself like that sometimes. It helps to build my confidence knowing that I can work at that pace for a full 3 minutes. In a competitive bout, the rounds would be only 2 minutes, and it is somewhat unlikely that all the rounds would be at that pace. One has to be prepared for it, but in an actual bout both boxers are moving a lot more, trying to fake the opponent out, adjust their strategy, and move as well as punch, so it is hard to maintain that kind of punching output. In any event, though, it's certainly nice to know I can do it if I have to. :-)

We had a great turnout at practice tonight. In addition to Bernard and I, the following guys were there: Kevin, Jack, Rich, Matt (our newest boxer), and Mike B. Andrew (back from two weeks of vacation) stopped by at the end of the workout, but he was too late to work with Bernard so he just did some cardio work on his own. Tim is back in town but did not get to the practice. He'll be back next week and I'll probably meet with him on Saturday to do some training. Finally, Ted, another new guy, e-mailed me and said he will be joining us the week after next (he's on vacation next week). So our boxing team is increasing its numbers as well as building a more solid attendance at our weekly workouts.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tuesday's Routine

I feel like I am making a comeback. Even though I missed practice today, I am working to be consistent. I did 32 minutes of roadwork with shadowboxing breaks mixed in. I am happy with the speed my multiple left jabs are acquiring. I am hoping I can punch that fast in sparring. We'll see.

Tomorrow looks to be a really busy work day, but I am determined to get to practice!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Monday: The Best Laid Schemes O' Mice and Men

Today has been a hectic day. The day didn't follow my plan for it. Unfortunately, I missed tonight's practice. Oh, well, I have to keep going. I managed to squeeze in just 21 minutes of roadwork and shadowboxing. It's something, but not enough. I'll keep at it.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sunday: More Roadwork and Shadowboxing

30 minutes of roadwork today with intervals of shadowboxing mixed in. I like this; I can feel my hand speed increasing.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Saturday: Roadwork and Shadowboxing

Intervals of roadwork and shadowboxing--1 hour and 5 minutes.

And on the Sixth Day, He Rested

OK, so it's not exactly biblical, but it's close. I took Friday off. I deserve a day off. A day of rest will be followed by a day of activity.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Thursday's Roadwork

44 minutes on the road today. I am hoping eventually to average an hour a day, but I am going for slow, steady progress now.

Wednesday's Training

Today was a good day for training. While it's a bit less than I would have liked, as my grandfather (my Dad's Dad) used to say, "The biggest room in the house is always the room for improvement." He's right. So, regardless of my need (or perceived need) for improvement, here's the report for Wednesday.
  • 46 minutes of roadwork
  • 5 rounds on the pads with Bernard (yeah, including those intense speed drills in the last 30 seconds!)
  • 3 rounds on the heavy bag
  • 2 rounds of shadowboxing
  • 2 rounds on the double-end bag
  • 1 round of situps and stretching
That makes 13 rounds plus the roadwork. We haven't been sparring much lately, but that's because we've had a few of our guys missing. Hopefully, Tim and Andrew will be back next week; it will be good to see them again after their two-week vacations in Europe. Mattt, our new member, couldn't attend because he was delayed returning from a deposition in California (fun, fun, fun!) and my guess is that Ron was traveling again for work. Furthermore, Jack has not been at practice for a few weeks, so I need to check in with him.

Tonight's crew was a small one: just Cory, Mike B., Bernard, and I. The Judge showed up just for a couple of minutes, picked up his bag gloves off the floor, and left. The summer months usually slow down a lot. The period of really nice weather in Chicago is fairly short, so we try to make the most of being outdoors during the summer months. Of course, we Chicagoans also tend to whine about how awful the weather is and even to exaggerate the brevity of the summer. Therefore, if you really want to know about the climate here, you'll be best served by coming here to experience it for yourself. If you'll be in town, feel free to e-mail me and maybe you can join us for one of our workouts.

I am glad that the double-end bag was kinder to me at my workout than it apparently was to my friend Duncan Higgitt, who blogged that he had hurt his finger on the speedball (I think that's another term for the double-end bag). Regardless of the exact piece of equipment, it sounds painful, so get well soon, Duncan! Also, if you haven't visited Duncan's site yet, I recommend it. He is one of my counterparts in the UK and quite a likeable fellow, as I can tell from my friendly e-mail correspondence with him.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tuesday's Training

Just 37 minutes of roadwork today. Yesterday's workout was intense, but I feel fine today. Back to the gym tomorrow!

Monday's Workout

It's warming up here in Chicago--almost 90 degrees today. That means that the temperature inside our gym is in the 3-digit range. Unlike last Monday, I drank a lot of water today. Dehydration is not allowed!

It was a good, intense workout. I'm sure the additional heat and humidity helped to crank up the intensity. Here's the report.
  • 46 minutes of roadwork (quite humid outside, too)
  • 6 rounds on the pads with Bernard
  • 4 rounds of shadowboxing
  • 2 rounds on the double-end bag
  • 3 rounds on the heavy bag
  • 1 round on the uppercut bag
  • 1 round of stretching
The work on the pads was as tiring as ever. Tonight, though, Bernard had us doing speed drills for the last 30 seconds of some of the rounds. During those 30 seconds, he had us throwing nonstop punches--either straight punches, hooks, or uppercuts--with good form, as fast as we could. That is an intense drill, but I like it. It's a real confidence builder.

Attendance was a bit lighter than I had hoped. Rich, Kevin, and I were there. Tim is still in Europe and I think Andrew is still in Ireland. Matt, our new member, will rejoin us on Wednesday. I'll be talking with Marie, our athletic club's membership director, on Tuesday to plan on inviting the "fighting engineers" from Boeing Corporation to one of our workouts. If that goes well, we could realize a few dozen new members.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Saturday's Roadwork

1 hour and 4 minutes today, with some intermittent shadowboxing. It was a great day outside. It's getting hotter here and that's fine by me; I love the summer!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday's Roadwork

I had hoped for a gym session today. However, the day got away from me and I didn't get to the gym. So I opted for more roadwork. I don't believe we can ever have too much good general conditioning, unless it causes our sport-specific training to suffer.

In today's case, I decided to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation. Therefore, I got out and did 48 minutes of roadwork. Again, while it's not my preference, it is something. Tomorrow and Sunday will probably be more roadwork. However, I feel it has been paying off. I commented about how much faster and stronger my 5-straight-punch combination is getting, so I am happy about that progress.

I tend to be a perfectionist and that's a tendency I am working to change. I can be committed to excellence while easing up on the pressure I place upon myself. I'm not training for a world championship and my recognition of that fact does not mean that I am going to be slacking in my workouts! Now, all I have to do is convince myself of that. :-)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thursday Roadwork

Today is an easy day: 30 minutes of roadwork. It's a nice change of pace from Wednesday's "hard" workout.

Wednesday's Practice

I had a good practice today. Drinking water during the day made a huge difference! The gym session was good. I was focused and used the time well. Here's the breakdown of today's training.
  • 18 minutes of roadwork
  • 8 rounds on the pads with Bernard
  • 6 rounds of practicing my slipping with the "slip rope," while throwing combinations of punches and focusing on staying on my toes as much as possible
  • 3 rounds on the heavy bag
  • 3 rounds on the double-end bag (mostly practicing the left jab-straight right-left jab combination)
  • 2 rounds on the uppercut bag
  • 2 rounds of stretching
  • 1 round of shadowboxing
  • 1 round of situps
In total, that's 26 rounds plus the short roadwork. I like it.

During the pads rounds with Bernard, I felt my 5-straight-punch combinations (left jab-straight right-left jab-straight right-left jab) working better than ever. It was great to experience that progress. I think the improvement was in my footwork and balance for that combination.

We also had a guest at our workout. Matt is a local lawyer and he will probably become a member of our club. He got along well with everyone and it will be great to have him join us. Tonight's other participants were Kevin, Cory, the Judge, and myself. What a great group of guys!

I'm pleased with today's workout. We'll pick up with the sparring again soon and I look forward to that, also.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tuesday's Roadwork

50 minutes of roadwork today. This is the first day this spring when I can really notice the weather getting significantly warmer. That means more sweating...and a need to drink much more...water!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday's Practice

Back at the gym today. Here's the program:
  • 31 minutes of roadwork
  • 4 rounds on the pads with Bernard
  • 3 rounds of shadowboxing
  • 2 rounds on the double-end bag
  • 1 round of situps
  • 1 round of stretching
Not one of my best workouts, but certainly not one of the worst either. I felt really weak today and I think I was a bit dehydrated. While I was drinking water during practice, I later remembered that I had not been drinking much water during the day. Not such a good move!

I used to have the weird idea that dehydration really only matters at the elite level of sports. WRONG! Not drinking enough water can affect anyone's athletic performance. Of course, I know this. I studied and was tested on this when I earned my level 1 amateur boxing coach certification. Hell, I'm the guy who is usually hounding others to drink more water, especially when the weather is warmer as it is now. Duh!

Oh well, it's a learning experience. I'm not going to be too hard on myself, just learn the lesson and move on. So to all my readers: learn from my experience--drink plenty of water when you're working out and competing!

We had a few guys missing from practice. Tim is on his honeymoon for two weeks in England and France. (To Tim and Christine: congratulations again and I hope you're having a great time.) Andrew is in Ireland on vacation.

However, Cory, Rich, and Kevin were there. It's all good. ;-)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Saturday Roadwork

Today's training was a bit short because I attended a birthday party in the afternoon. It was still good: 50 minutes of roadwork.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Good Luck to My Friend Jeff Gilbert!

My friend Jeff Gilbert, who lives in Seattle, Washington, will be boxing on Saturday night, June 10, at 7 p.m. Pacific Time, at Cappy's Gym on Union. Here's Jeff's announcement of his bout. If you're in the greater Seattle area, I recommend that you accept Jeff's friendly invitation to "Come watch!" Jeff has told me about these boxing events. While I have not yet had the pleasure of attending one of them, they sound like they are planned and conducted very well, and the audience gets to see the gym's boxers showing off their talents in probably the most pure form of the sport you are ever going to see.

Jeff is close to my age (I think he's 42 or 43) and size, and he has posted photos of some of his previous bouts here. (Mental note to self: I have to post the photos of my own recent bout on this blog!) Jeff and his opponents look like they are doing well and having fun. I don't know who Jeff's (un)lucky opponent will be on Saturday, but I am confident Jeff will box well. Hopefully he will post some photos so we can celebrate his fine efforts even from a distance.

Have a great time, Jeff, and do well, buddy! I hope your bout will be an awesome and fun experience. This is as good as it gets, my man. The only way it could be better is if I were to be the guy in the opposite corner of the ring for your bout. :-)

Take care and let us know how it goes!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Thursday Roadwork

Today I did some short, springy roadwork with some intervals of shadowboxing mixed in. It was a total of 23 minutes. It was a good "easy" day because I am a bit sore from Wednesday's gym workout.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Wednesday's Triumphant Return to Practice

Ah, I finally made it back and how sweet it is. We had a small turnout today. It was Bernard, myself, Rich, and Tim. Tim did another one of his "speed workouts." He could not have been at the gym for more than 15 minutes before he bolted out to head back to his office! On Saturday, he and Christine are leaving on their honeymoon for two weeks. Have a great time, Tim and Christine!

Even with his short workout, Tim looked good working on the pads with Bernard. He still has his power and speed. It will be great to have him back in two weeks, when he says he will be attending our practices regularly again. Also, the Judge stopped by for just a few minutes. I thought he was going to run some laps and return, but when Bernard and I waited for him and then looked around for him, the Judge was not to be found. Oh well, we'll have to work with him next week.

As for me, I had a decent workout. Here's the summary:
  • 32 minutes of roadwork
  • 7 rounds on the pads with Bernard
  • 3 rounds of shadowboxing
  • 3 rounds on the heavy bag
  • 3 rounds on the double-end bag
  • 1 round of stretching
17 rounds in total plus the roadwork. Not too bad considering the rough week I had last week. It's good to be back in action.

Encouraging a Friend and Fellow Athlete

My friend Russell at RussBlog is working hard to improve his fitness and his martial arts training. Here is his most recent blog entry about his tough training regimen. All I can say is that I am sure glad Russ and I are in different sports! He's doing a great job.

Russell was kind enough to mention this blog on his site, so I want to return the favor.

More than that, however, he hopes, "Maybe the two of us can help keep each other motivated." I share that hope. Mr. Newquist has certainly been helping me stay motivated. Indeed, especially over the last few days when things were in a bit of a slump because of work demands, part of my ability to stay focused on the big picture is reading Russell's reports of his own training. It is particularly inspiring to me because he is dealing with a very painful knee injury. His positive attitude reminds me to stay with the program and helps me to remember that I am pursuing fitness over the long haul; there is really no need to get upset or discouraged my temporary and relatively minor setbacks, even though they can sometimes be frustrating.

Thanks, Russell, and keep up the good work. I hope you'll visit his blog and offer him some encouragement. Oh, and stay a while and look around there; he runs an interesting site with a lot of good content. Tell him I sent you. :-)

Tuesday: Keeping the Pace

So far, I am staying on track this week. Today, I did 1 hour and 5 minutes of roadwork with intermittent shadowboxing, so I'm feeling good and getting ready for tomorrow's gym session. The challenge will be actually to keep work under control, stay focused, use my time well, and get to the gym on Wednesday. I can do it. I will do it.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Monday's Workout: Bad News and Good News

The bad news is that I did not get to practice tonight. Work has remained hectic and I'm trying to finish 3 contracts for a new client by the end of this week. As a result, I'll have to wait until Wednesday. Also, Bernard e-mailed me about reducing our group practices to once a week, since attendance has been fairly low. That will probably be just for the summer months. I'll talk to Tim tomorrow and see what he thinks about it.

The good news is that I did 32 minutes of roadwork with some intermittent shadowboxing. The punches and combinations are gaining speed and smoothness. Now, let's see if I can pull this off in sparring!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sunday: Bouncing Back

I did 51 minutes of roadwork today. I am getting back in the groove, I can feel it. On Friday and Saturday, I was feeling awful with an attack of allergies and sinus congestion. However, it's a new week and I'm not looking back! If all goes well, I'll get to practice twice this week (we're on a regular schedule, so even though work caused my absence last week, I think getting back to Monday and Wednesday will help...somehow) and hope to get in 6 days of training this week. One down, five to go!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Missing Practice. Ugh.

Work has been crazy this week. I did not get to practice tonight. All I could do was squeeze in 15 measly minutes of roadwork. That's it. I am going to stay positive, though. These are mere bumps in the road, an overall journey of fitness, so I won't get too frustrated.