Thursday, September 17, 2009

Getting back into the ring

As some of you know I took a break from serious training this summer. It was kind of unplanned but with nagging injuries and no real goal in sight I just took my sweet time with training.Well....... it's that time to get moving again. Here is how I went about getting motivated to actually train again.The first thing is, I found a goal. For me and many other people training without a goal is very difficult. If there is no light at the end of the tunnel then why am I in the tunnel in the first place? So I found my goal. I plan on racing a 50k trial race in January. So the goal is set. Now I need a plan.

Once I figured I needed a plan I started getting a little excited about training again. With that excitement came some motivation and with the motivation came me actually writing myself a training plan for this race. I took in the factors of how long I needed, what other races would help me reach my goal and that fact that I am out of shape. I first started with writing out a weekly training program for myself. It includes plenty of running but I first have get back into shape. Just running isn't going to help me as much as I would like it to. So I scheduled 2 Corefit sessions a week, a spin class and some actual swimming. Thank goodness T3 has all of this or I would be a mess right now. Next I found a couple of races that would help me prepare for my goal race. The Dirty Du @ Rocky Hill Ranch is @ a perfect time and the Double Decker is a hilly race where I can test my overall fitness. It's like training for an IM and doing a 1/2 IM about 45 days away from the big event.

Once I have my training schedule done and my training races in place I add in my personal time. Like working Longhorn and my annual trip back to Maine in November. With that done I start to feel confident that if my body holds up I can actually do this race.

The final touch is dragging my butt out of bed and doing the training. Right now it's a bit tough because I haven't been getting up all that early but when motivation is on your side the early mornings aren't so early. I am also a bit out of shape so I scheduled my actual race training to start in Oct so it would give me about 3 weeks to get my legs and lungs into working order.

So with all this said..... having a plan for any training is a smart idea. It'll pay benefits down the line and it's keeps you motivated until race day. One very cool thing about getting to race is the post race..... "what do I do now?" The answer is start a plan for another race and keep chugging along.

Hope this helps.

Coach Logan

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hits the trails....

A few weeks after I got back from CDA I started to run on the greenbelt to help with my recovery and to change things up. I quickly realized how good trail running is for my form, my fitness and my mental state. It’s defiantly a great addition to your weekly routine to add some variety to your workouts.

I start at the entrance by Taco Deli and run for about an hour, thirty minutes out and back. There are so many trees that the shade helps keep it cooler than running on the road or even town lake trail. I find that I can run at 5pm without much of a problem.

There are a lot of benefits with trail running. One is that trails are much softer than paved roads and sidewalks, your feet and legs will take less pounding. This is great if you are looking for a recovery run or if you are coming back after an injury. If you wanted too, you could do your long runs on a trail, your body won’t take the wear and tear and you are able to recovery a little more quickly.

Trails are great for improving ankle strength. Since, most trails have an uneven surface they force the tendons around your leg to “stabilize” during foot fall. This is also good with your form. You are almost forced to run on the balls of your feet. Or I should say you quickly learn to run on the balls of your feet to avoid twisting your ankle; which I have on a couple of occasions. You will also need to pay very close attention to where your foot lands to make sure you do not trip on a rock, branch, or something else on the trail.

One of the things I like is that since the trail in uneven you don’t get into a steady pace. You speed up, slow down, I even walk around boulders, which I think is great for your conditioning and it works a lot more of your muscles.

I would make sure you get a supportive shoe. Race flats are not a good ides. The rocks, holes, branches, and crawly things your feet come in contact with you need a little extra support and help protect your feet and ankles. Cross trainers are good, but you really need a trail running shoe.

I would take a couple of precautions. First, make sure you carry water; there is no place on the greenbelt to drink. Secondly, look a map and don’t get lost! Unfortunately, there are not a lot of people on the greenbelt so if you run, don’t run alone. There have been several women over the years attacked. So be careful and use common sense, i.e. no iPods, etc…

So take a break from your normal routine and enjoy the beauty of running in the woods. It’s peaceful and it’s a great benefit to you.

Coach C.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Say 'hello' to my little friend

One of the many things that can be said about Austin, TX is that there is no short supply of great hills to run and ride. You have Wilke, Jester, Spicewood Springs, Cat Mountain, Mt Bonnell and countless others. Well, I visited one of my old workouts last week and it took me to Ladera Norte. It's not one of the more famous ones but this badboy does not disappoint.
Ladera Norte (or as I like to call it La Sacre a Norte) is located off of Far West. Just take Mopac to Far West and go as far as Far West will take you. Take a right at the very end and you'll drive up this hill that doesn't seem to end. Once at the top, park you car, say a prayer or 2 and easily make your way down the hill. You are now going down what you will be climbing back up.
Take notice that this hill really doesn't offer any recovery through it's .64 mile distance and when you think it's bad it gets worse. Much worse because the last 100 yards is a 20% plus grade uphill to the top. But don't let that scare you. Be more concerned with why it's taking you more time to go down the hill than run up! The grade at that point is so steep and long that you actually have to walk some of the downhill or you're going to end up doing a nose dive. I actually jog backwards on parts of the downhill so that I can save my quads.
Just to give you an idea of what you are getting into.
Wilke: .19 miles with about 700 feet of climbing. That's short and steep.
Ladera Norte: .62 miles with just over 1000 feet of climbing.
This hill has beaten me many times but I keep coming back because hills build power in your legs and power will build speed. Avoiding hills does nothing to help your run so go out and find some nasty hills and make yourself work. I am always glad when I do this run because I know it has beaten me many times but each time I come out a stronger runner.
btw..... The most I have ever done was 5 repeats last fall and my fastest one was 6:05.
Last Thursday I did 3 with my fastest being 6:30...... oh and it was about 103 outside. :)

Happy running!!!!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

You are a runner! Especially, an endurance runner!

Have you ever thought about what it takes to run? I do not think most people realize how much of their body is designed just for running. We have a lot of muscles, tendons, and bones that are not needed for walking but are essential for running. Some of those are leg and foot tendons and ligaments that act like springs, foot and toe structure that allows efficient use of the feet to push off, shoulders that rotate independently of the head and neck to allow better balance, and skeletal and muscle features that make the human body stronger, more stable and able to run more efficiently without overheating. It was not until about two or three million years ago before we started developing those muscles, ligaments, bones and the body structure that makes us one of the best endurance species on the planet.

We have some key features that help us in running. We have a ligament that runs from the back of the skull and neck down to the thoracic vertebrae; this ligament acts as a shock absorber and helps the arms and shoulders counterbalance the head during running. The low and wide shoulders of modern humans are almost disconnected from our skulls. This allows us to run more efficiently, but has nothing to do with walking. Our short forearms make it easier for the upper body to counterbalance the lower body during running. They also reduce the amount of muscle power needed to keep the arms flexed when running.

Our vertebrae and disks are larger in diameter relative to body mass than those in other animals. So are the surfaces areas of our hips, knee and ankle joints. These larger bones allow for improved shock absorption during running by spreading out the force of when a runner makes contact with the ground.

The Achilles tendon acts like springs that stores and releases mechanical energy during running. These tough, strong bands of tissue anchor our calf muscles to the heel bone. We also have an enlarged heel bone for better shock absorption, as well as shorter toes and a big toe that is fully drawn in toward the other toes. This arrangement of bones in the foot creates a stable or stiff arch that makes the whole foot more rigid, so the runner can push off the ground more efficiently. During a run, all of these tendons and bones work together to contract then uncoil to help push a runner ahead.

When it comes to sprinting, compared to other species on the planet, we are horrible. So if we stretch out that distance a little bit then we do a lot better. Horses, for example, are a lot faster than humans in short distances, but in foot-to-hoof competitions, humans usually catch horses between the 20 and 25 mile mark, particularly in warm weather. Dogs are excellent distance runners when it’s cold, but run with Fido in July and he doesn’t do that well. Evan a chimp can out sprint us for a very short distance.

Our skull has features that help prevent overheating during running. As sweat evaporates from the scalp, forehead and face, the evaporation cools blood draining from the head. Veins carrying that cooled blood pass near the carotid arteries, thus helping cool blood flowing through the carotids to the brain. Our lengthy human body—with a narrow trunk, waist and pelvis—creates more skin surface for our size, permitting greater cooling during running. The fact we are not covered with a fur coat also helps in the summer heat.

All of these characteristics make it so when you shift from a modest walk to a modest run; you can double your speed with only a 40 percent increase in energy output. Even our brains release endorphins that make us feel good when we run, ‘runner’s high’. All this is just to remind you that you can run, you should run, millions of years of evolution has made that way.

Coach C

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

First Time TRI

This year's CapTex race brought back so many memories for me -- mostly doing CapTex as my very first triathlon in 2001! It was really fun to think back about where I started and how far I've come since that first race. For some reason, I've noticed that I've been asked about this story a lot lately, so I thought I'd share it with you below. Don't laugh!! (ok, you can laugh, but keep in mind I was only 19 and didn't know a single thing about triathlons..)

I was home from college during the summer of 2001, coaching the neighborhood swim team as my summer job. One of the dad's was telling me that he was training for a triathon and went on and on about how fun it was. I was like, "what's a triathlon??" He told me that it involved swimming, biking and running -- all in a row. At that point, I was playing water polo on the UT Club Team, had just finished running competitively in high school, and everyone can ride a bike -- so why not try it! While I was home for the summer, my friends and I would always do these super long workouts together for fun, always a combo of riding bikes, rollerblading (again, don't laugh!), swimming, lifting weights, tennis, running, etc. We would go for hours, although not super serious and always incorporating snow cones or something fun. Anyway, I decided that I should try out this "triathlon thing" and started to incorporate more swimming, biking and running into my fun workouts. I looked online that week and found a race called Capital of Texas in Austin. The Olympic distance looked like something I could handle (not sure why I didn't start with a sprint?!?) and signed up right away. I found a training plan in some book and set up some loose guidelines for all three sports. For training, I don't think I ever did a long ride, more like just riding for an hour around the neighborhood on my mountain bike. Swimming I could handle - I think I did workouts ~2000m at the local rec center. And running I just continued to run ~4-6 miles around the neighborhood. I continued to "train" for about 6 weeks and then headed to Austin (with my parents) for my first race!

At the time, Capital of Texas was held up in Georgetown rather than downtown. The swim was in Lake Georgetown and the course was actually fairly hilly. I showed up that morning with a big water jug (the kind you used at soccer games growing up), my school backpack, and (get this) animal crackers to eat in the transition area. My attire included a speedo for the swim, bike shorts to put on over my speedo for the bike, and (stop laughing) wind shorts to put over my speedo for the run. Why not!?! I didn't have a clue what I was doing, and I didn't know anyone at the race except my parents who came to cheer.

The race itself actually went pretty well, except for the fact that the bike portion took me 2.5 hours -- about what it takes NOW for me to finish the whole race! I remember people just flying by me on the bike like I was sitting still, even though I was pedaling so hard that I couldn't feel anything below the waist. I guess a mountain bike in the hills was not the most efficient equipment -- I thought I might fall over at mile 12! The swim was actually good, despite swimming waaay off course. And the run came together pretty well -- I guess my rollerblading/weight lifting bricks had paid off :) After the race, I don't think I could move for about 4 days, and I think I slept the whole way back to Houston with my parents. Not sure if I had ever been THAT tired before.

After that, I was HOOKED. Luckily, being young, my dad bought me a bike after that race (my purple trek tri bike, the only tri bike in Clear Lake small enough to fit me) and the rest is history! I did a few more races that summer and then slowly learned (very slowly actually) what to wear, what to eat, how to train, etc.

It is really fun for me to look back now and see how far I've come. How many friends I've made along the way. How much my training has improved. How it has shaped my life and my lifestyle. And how much FUN this sport can be! So if you are a rookie triathlete now or a beginner with more questions than you can imagine, take comfort in the fact that we all have to start somewhere! And if it makes you feel better, I'm sure you are 10 steps ahead of where I started with animal crackers in the transition area. Stick with it and get ready to LOVE the journey ahead!

Coach Suzanne

Monday, June 29, 2009

Taking a trip for tri’s.

So here I sit thinking about my next tri and it got me thinking about how I always forget something when I travel for a triathlon. No matter how many lists I make and how many times I check over what I have packed I always forget something. I then end up buying one at an expo or if I am lucky, at a local bike shop.
Sometimes it’s not even part of the race that holds me up. Coming back from IMCDA last week I found out the hard way that my Texas state ID was expired……. By over 6 months!! That just caused more of a delay and all I wanted to do was get home and sleep in my own bed. But I did learn that you can fly with an expired ID as long as it’s not over 1 year expired. Or you can go the Chrissie and Joe route and use your Costco ID. Not sure how that was considered a federal ID but hey…. it worked.
I also learned yesterday that if you’re lucky and take your bike on the plane with you in a bike box and the person at the counter is not paying attention then not only do they not charge you for the bike on the way out that you also get the bike brought back for free because the ticket counter person is totally not paying attention. Wow…. I think this the longest sentence ever!
So here are some basic tips to make your tri travels a little less worrisome.
- Have a plan before you take off. Don’t fly by the seat of your pants.
- Don’t pack your helmet in your luggage. Put it in your carry on.
- Don’t forget the little things. Tubes, chamois butter, sun block, park tool and other such things.
- Stay hydrated. Airplanes such the hydration right out of you.
- Try and stay away from the bad food at the airport and stay clear of the beers before the race. After the race is a different story.
- Don’t forget your USAT card.

Have safe travels.

Friday, June 12, 2009

"A" race what???

The process of becoming a better athlete and improving ourselves via the sport of triathlon is most often best supported by the setting and achieving of goals. Most of us do this on a regular basis -- setting race goals, training goals, nutrition goals, mental goals -- the list can be long; specific; general; and dynamic.  The most important thing, in my opinion, is that it is "never-ending". 

The setting and achieving of goals should be an on-going process. One that evolves depending on what you've achieved in the past, what is going on in the current, and where you would like to see yourself in the future. If you have a "stale" goal will most likely be reflected in your training and day-to-day. 

One of the biggest hurdles comes after completing an "A" race. You've put hours and hours of focus into one race for months. You race the race...and then the question becomes "now what?". This can be a sticky spot. Most of us can feel tired and ready for a break after an A-race...because so much effort and focus was put into it. So, if we don't make an effort to look beyond, we will find ourselves sitting on the couch for weeks after the race and we'll wake up a month later and wish we hadn't let that much time slip! 

Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't take a break. Enjoy some time off from training after completing your "A" race -- it is important for the longevity of your triathlon lifestyle. BUT -- have a good idea of when the "time off" should come to an end or when you want to start building back into things. Have a game plan. Set these post-race goals. (and my advice...set these post A-race goals before your A-race. I know...I know...we've got to focus on the task at hand and not be distracted by what comes after it. But, at the same time, having an idea or a sense of what will come after your race can be empowering and calming as you head into your race). 

Some suggestions on how to incorporate rest and variety into post A-race life...while holding onto the great fitness that you spent so much time and energy building:
  • Take a full week or two off. You won't get "out of shape" that quickly!
  • Switch the focus from feeling like you have to achieve certain times or paces at your workouts to focusing completely on technique and skill. Take some of the 'pressure' off.
  • Spend a majority of your workouts training your favorite sport. OR, conversely, spend the time training your worst sport. For example: my worst sport out of the three is the I would run 4-5 short runs each week and then just bike or swim when I feel like it. 
  • Add some "non-triathlon" training into your weekly routine -- yoga, rock climbing, weight lifting, kayaking -- try some other things that will still allow you to stay fit!
  • Have a 2-week cycle -- spend 2 weeks working on swimming; 2 weeks working on cycling; 2 weeks working on running. -- this sort of variety will seem very refreshing and allow for a simple focus.
And, at the end of the day, my goal for all my athletes is that they embrace triathlon as a "lifestyle"....not just something they do so they can finish a race. You will get the most out of what triathlon has to offer if you think of it this way.

Happy Training!
~Coach Chrissie

Friday, May 29, 2009

“I'd rather be 10 percent undertrained then 1 perent overtrained.”— Michellie Jones

A lot of races are coming up and a few athletes may have the desire to do a few extra workouts, push themselves a little bit harder, or try to make up missed practices in hope of becoming the fastest they can be on race day. Unfortunately, all they are doing is undermining their training and setting their selves up for disaster. When athletes disregard their training plans and do an extra workout each week, or push their body past their endurance, strength, and speed limits, they increase the chances of injury, illness, burnout and overtraining.

I know with the desire to do well, it will lead to temptations to do more or work harder. You think about that swim practice you slept in or the day you missed a track practice because of work/happy hour/etc… and the day you only rode 60 instead of 110 because the rain and lighting prevented you from finishing it and you think I need do more to catch up. Well, you can’t! Missing that workout or cutting it short will not have any effect on your performance. Trying to make up for it could have an affect, but not in a good way.

Basically, when an athlete tries too hard to improve their performance and train beyond the body's ability to recover it is known as Overtraining.

Symptoms of Overtraining are:
Problems with sleep
Weakened immune system
Elevated resting Heart Rate
Inability to relax, twitchy, fidgety
Not meeting your workout goals

The intelligent athlete trains within the body’s limits and only pushes their threshold during their scheduled workouts. They follow their training plan and trust that it will get them in the best possible position for their ‘A’ race. I know that everyone has heard the tern ‘no pain, no gain’, but each workout has a purpose and not every workout needs to be max effort or max intensity.

When a workout becomes very hard, your speed decreases noticeably, or your technique changes, it is time to call it a day. If you’re unsure about it, ask a coach and let them know how you feel and what’s going on. It’s a coach’s job not only to motivate you, but to keep you from overtraining. The better you do at a race, the better you make us look.
Coach C.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Core & More

Everyone knows the value of maintaining a strong CORE. We do crunches, plank, squats, lunges, jump rope, push-ups, hamstring curls and any other exercises that we can think of to increase our strength. Keeping up with these exercises provides huge benefits during the training season, including helping with injury prevention, balance and stability. This we know.

However, one thing that athletes sometimes fail to understand is how much load these core exercises can put on their muscles (especially leg exercises like lunges & squats). Below are a few important points to consider:

FIRST: You want to be especially careful with your core workout during the taper phase of your training. It is important to head into race day with muscles that are fresh and rested. I found last year that many athletes were still attending core class the week before their big race. They would cut their swim/bike/run mileage or intensity, but they were still pounding out the lunges and squats just a few days before race day.

My plan of attack leading up to an "A" race is to cut out my "intense" core work for at least two weeks before the race. It is ok to do some light core exercises (ex. crunches or plank), but I steer clear of leg exercises or anything that is going to load my muscles (a.k.a. make them sore). If I am heading into a "training race" that is lined up on my schedule, I will still meet my core hours for the week but may decrease the intensity to 70-80%. The overall benefits of completing the core class are more important for my training, but I still want to limit soreness going into a race.

SECOND: An extra yoga class is a good way to supplement your core workout for the few weeks leading up to your "A" race. This is a great way to incorporate light core work into your training without putting too much stress on the muscles. It also forces you to stretch more than you probably would...which of course if ALWAYS helpful!

NEXT: Don't try to "cram" in all of the core workouts you missed along the way. Ideally you want to keep up with your workouts throughout the season. However, if you don't...three weeks before your big race is not the time to start doing 100 pushups per day. Try to incorporate some light core work into your schedule, but don't ramp up the intensity at the last minute.

FINALLY: Leading up to race-day, you will also want to steer clear of trying any NEW core exercises. In other words, you don't want to start doing yoga the week before a race if you have never been to a yoga class before. If your body is not used to certain exercises, you will most likely feel some sort of soreness or stiffness after that workout. The last thing you want to do is pull something or injure yourself trying something new right before the race. Just like they say, "don't try something new on race day." The same applies for the week before the race!

If you have any questions about core exercises, feel free to ask! Happy training!

-Coach Suzanne

Monday, May 11, 2009

Are you mental????

Having your head on straight is a key element to any distance triathlon. It doesn’t matter if it’s a super sprint or an ultraman, you need to have your wits about you.
The biggest things I think I can stress to you all is that your need to trust your training. Doing the work will work better for you than say going out and buying a new crank, fancy wheels or a pointy helmet. The training is what gets you to the start line and then the finish line.
Mental focus throughout your training is HUGE!!!! Staying focused at the task at hand has done me wonders when I am trying to push through whatever obstacle I am have thrown at me at that time. This weekend on the long ride there were a few times where I was letting my mind wander and I caught myself thinking of other things other than the ride. Not only does focusing on the task @ hand keep you safe but I believe it will get you to the finish line faster. If I start to think of the Red Sox game the night before my cadence falls off and then the speed decreases. Not good!! Throughout my rides and runs I go through my mental checklist to make sure I am still focusing on what I am doing. If it’s the bike I am focusing on my cadence, foot position, my shoulders and of course…. am I drinking enough water? My run I focus on my foot strike, my knees, my back and of course….am I drinking enough water?
The last few weeks (when I have been healthy) I have been doing a lot of my workouts solo or with one other person so that I don’t get caught up in the social aspect of the workout. It’s just me out there and no one else. I have really seen improvements in my mental strength during workouts because of the lack of distractions. My mental focus is sharper and I am having better rides, runs and even swims.
In closing……again trust your training. It’s what is going to get you where you want to be.
Stay focused
Stay sharp
Stay on top of YOUR game

Coach Logan

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A bad day...

This past weekend I ran the Oklahoma Memorial Marathon in Oklahoma City. I was living in Oklahoma when the bombing happen so this marathon and the meaning behind it had a special place for me. It was also going to be nice to run around my old neighborhoods and in front of my old friends. My long runs have been going well and I could tell from my track workouts that my speed was still good. I made sure the week leading up that my nutrition was right, I was hydrating, backing off a few workouts and trying to get some rest leading up to the race. I bring this up because by all accounts I should have had a good race, maybe even a PR.

My body did not care that it was a memorial race; It did not care that I was running in my old neighborhoods; It did not care that I wanted to do well. My body just decided, that on this day, to breakdown and not perform the way it should. Maybe it was the heat, the humidity, the stress building up from work, life and training, but whatever it was, it decided at mile 8 that it has had enough. I had no energy, my legs left heavy, and my body started cramping. By the time I hit the halfway point I was walking. Thirteen miles from the finish I knew my race was over and the thought of struggling and limping in was not a pleasant picture. I continued to struggle mentally and physically, but I kept telling myself that I was okay and I wasn't doing that bad. It’s hard to believe that when your running as fast as you can and you see the pace groups pass you by. First it was the 3:20 group, than the 3:30, 3:40 and eventually you see the 4:15 group run pass you like you were standing still. By the time the 4:15 group passed me I may have been standing still, I could barely walk by mile 20. My calf would tighten up ever time I picked my pace up, walking was all I could do.

I stopped at a med tent around mile 21 to see if they could help me. I got a banana and a Gatorade while the medical personal tried to massage my legs. The longer I stayed there the colder I got and the more my legs cramped. One of the other runners was waiting for the sag wagon to take him to the finish and they asked me if I wanted to quit. The thought crossed my mind and at that moment I wanted to quit. I have often said that you can’t control the weather, the other runners, the course, or even your own body, the one thing you can control is quitting. I knew at that moment my words had come to slap me in the face and now it was my time to make that choice, I could continue or quit, so I continued. I started walking again and tried to run when I could, but I walked about 6 of the last 7 miles to the finish. On a day where everything should have been great, it turned out to be a personal worst in a marathon.

People have asked what happened and I really don’t know. I have a lot of theories but that is all they are. What I do know is that no matter how bad I felt or how bad I wanted to quit, I did not, and that is something I can take from this race and feel pretty good about it.

Coach C.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Time to Get Organized!

My goal for the last four or five weekends has been to clean my apartment. Each weekend I have really good intentions of getting this done after the long ride on Saturday, and then each weekend I put it off. I get home from the long ride feeling tired and hungry, so (of course) cleaning is the last thing that I want to do. I am not talking about normal everyday cleaning that needs to get done, but random tasks that stack up over time - cleaning the fan blades, hand washing my delicate shirts, dusting shelves, cleaning the shower, etc. And it's not just cleaning - it's making time to mail a birthday card, to call my grandparents, to respond to personal emails, to pay bills, to create a budget, to cook a healthy dinner, etc. Then you add the training tasks to the mix - washing water bottles, washing clothes, unloading your car, packing bags, unpacking bags, cleaning bikes, buying training nutrition. And the list keeps going!

I bring this up because I would consider myself an organized person...but all bets are off during a long training season! I've noticed that the longer my training hours get, the more disorganized that I start to feel. I have less time for myself and less time to get things done. Some of you are veteran triathletes and have already created systems to keep up with everything that training has to throw at you. But some of you are new to the sport and may find yourself falling into the same trap. Below are a few tips that I found helpful as I started to increase my training hours - I hope they will help you to stay organized!

Keep it in Your Car: Rather than keeping your gear in your house/apartment and remembering to pack it for every workout, keep it in your car. The best trick I found is to keep a bin or box in the back of your car for all your gear - bike shoes, running shoes, nutrition, extra water bottles, extra socks, extra tubes, etc. This method keeps everything organized in one place and really cuts down on your chances of forgetting anything.

Buy in Bulk & Get a Bowl: When I first started training, I would go to the store each week and buy enough gels, bars, etc. for that week of training. Half the time it would be Friday night and I would realize that I only had two gels left for the morning ride. My remedy for this was to start buying in bulk. I have a big bowl in my kitchen where I keep ALL of my nurition products (sort of like a trick-or-treating bowl for triathletes!). This way I never run out, I can easily see when my supply is getting low, and I can quickly grab and go.

Packing & Unpacking: As triathletes, we are constantly packing workout bags in the morning and unpacking them at night. I don't know of a great way to get around this process, but I have found that it is helpful to have one bag that you use all the time. I keep all the essentials in that one bag (brush, shampoo, towel, extra contacts, extra t-shirt, etc). This way I always know that regardless of what I may forget, I have the essentials with me (either in my bag or in my car). It also cuts down on the "Oh man, I left that in my other bag" syndrome. Making sure to unpack your bag as soon as you get home helps too, otherwise you will end up with five half-packed bags and won't be able to find any of your gear (umm, this one I can speak from experience).

Store in One Place & Buy Extras: The best examples I have for this are water bottles and socks. At one point, I was operating on a few good pairs of socks during the week. I was scrambling to find two that matched as I ran out the door and would end up all flustered over socks! Although it sounds (super) simple, I went to Target and bought a bulk bag of athletic socks. I put them all in one drawer and now I never run out...and I don't have to spend 10 minutes searching for a match because they are all the same! Same goes for water bottles. I bought a bin to keep under my sink for the bottles and a bowl for the caps. We all have what seems like a million bottles and caps, so this keeps them organized and easy to access.

Keep it Simple & Keep Perspective: The most important thing to remember is that you only have so much time during training season. Try to put these tasks into perspective and tackle them one at a time. Would I like to clean my fan blades on Saturday afternoon...yes. Does it really Set one goal for the day and focus on getting that done. There is always something more that you can do, but don't let that get you down. Keep it simple!

I was talking with a friend of mine last night who is a professional triathlete and it was comforting to learn that she experiences the same struggles wtih organization during training. We are busy people with rigorous schedules, so it is important to find a system that works for you. I hope these tips will help you to stay organized - I know they helped me!

Coach Suzanne

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Heart Health

Hey folks…..

Here is something that isn’t all about triathlons but it does have something to do with healthy living.
Last week I lost 2 friends due to heart attacks. Both men were about my age. One was pretty active and the other not so much but that doesn’t seem to matter much now. Both guys will be missed by friends and families and it makes me think about all of you out there training your butts off for your next event.
The point of this blog post is that it really doesn’t matter who you are, what you do or your health status, a heart attack can happen to almost anyone. I am letting you know this because you should all make sure you are in good heart health and you do this by seeing your doctor.
Personally, I am in great health and I exercise very regularly but believe it or not I have high cholesterol. I eat very well but that still doesn’t do the trick and I have to take meds to keep it under control.

In closing….. we are all rock stars but there are some things we can’t control without the help of your doctor. Make sure you get regular check ups, exercise regularly and eat healthy.

Coach Logan

Monday, March 23, 2009

You can accomplish a lot by doing nothing.

Swimming, biking and running. Anyone doing triathlons knows about these three disciplines. Ask a tri-athlete about their workouts and you going hear about the many hours spent in the pool, countless miles on the bike and the fact they have run the trail so many times they can almost do it with their eyes closed. You will hear how they follow their training plan to almost perfection and have guilt for days if they are forced to miss a workout. They know that to get better, you must train at each discipline and put their bodies through many vigorous workouts. They even figure out that nutrition is extremely important to their performance and they will study and experiment until they find the exact plan that works for them. The one discipline that tri-athletes sometimes forget about, which is unfortunate because it is just as important to their performance, is Rest.

For an athlete to reach the peak levels of their performance, they will need to discover a balance between training and rest. Rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen. Without the proper rest your body does not have enough time to recover and you will not be able to perform at your top ability. If you continue to train without rest you body can actually start to break down and you will become weaker, your performance will suffer, and you could even get injured. Allocating rest in your training program gives your body a chance to adapt to the stress of exercise, repair muscle damage, and allows your body time to replenish fluid and nutrients lost during the workout. The training doesn’t making you stronger, rest does!

A huge part of rest is sleep. There are many studies that show that Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is produced naturally during the later stages of night sleep. If you reduce sleeping time to five or six hours instead of eight or nine you are cheating your body out of a natural performance enhancer. HGH is the body natural way of fighting the aging process and helps repair damage cells. It also helps in lowing body fat, increasing muscle mass, bone density, improved immune system all the while increasing your energy levels. Sleeping eight hours a night should be a requirement for every athlete.

The next time you’re looking at your training plan and you see a rest day, don’t think of it as a wasted day, think of it as a workout where you don’t do anything. If you take a rest day each week and get eight hours of sleep a night, you should always be at the top of your game.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Swim Jargon

We receive a lot of questions during swim practice about how to read the workout -- what do all these letters and numbers mean (DPS, TPR, 6-3-6), how many sets am I supposed to do, does the interval include rest, do I stop in between sets, etc. Below is my attempt to tackle some of these questions for you guys...with a few general tips at the end!

Quick Drill Review:
DPS - Distance per Stroke (take as few strokes as possible, lengthen out and finish your stroke)
TPR - Touch Pull Roll (touch both hands at top - catch/pull - roll hips & shoulders)
BA - Bow & Arrow (work on rotation and pausing on each side - like pulling a bow & arrow)
Fist - Swim with Fists (working on your catch, feel the water with forearm)
Zipper - Drag thumbs through mid-section/up your side (work on rotation and high elbows)
10-10 Side Kick (10 kicks on each side, work on keeping hips and shoulders square)
10-10 ABS - Arms by Side (same as 10-10 side but arms are by your side - more resistance)
6-3-6 - Six kicks on one side, three strokes, six kicks on the other side (kicks same as 10-10 side)

Here are some examples of workout sets:

1 x 300 Swim (100 @ 85%/100 DPS/100 @ 90%)
This set is a 300 total (1 repetition of 300). Within the 300, you are going to change it up every 100 -- but it is still a continuous 300 (no stopping after every 100).

4 x 100 Swim (10 sec. rest)
Odd: DPS
Even: Swim at 90%
This set means that you are going to do a total of four 100's. The first and third 100's will be DPS, the second and fourth will be swimming at 90% effort. You will take 10 seconds rest in between each 100 (or go on the interval set by the coach). This set is sometimes confused with doing the whole set four times through (total 16 100's) -- remember that the first number (4) shows the total number of repetitions.

4 x 100 Swim (10 sec. rest)
#1 & #3: DPS
#2 & #4: Swim at 90%

The above set could also be written like this. This will end in the same result -- swimming 4 100's with the first and third as DPS and the second and fourth swimming at 90%.

4 x 100 Swim (10 sec. rest)
Odd: (50 DPS/50 TPR)
Even: (50 Swim 90%/50 6-3-6)

To make it even more confusing, we can also structure the set with different drills or pacing within each 100. This set is the same as the above -- 4 100's with 10 sec. rest in between -- but this time you are switching it up within each 100. So you will still be doing a continuous 100, but you will be doing something different for every 50 within the 100.

6 x 100 Pull (on interval - 20 seconds rest)
This set shows a total of 6 100's pulling (buoy & paddles) on a time interval. When you receive an interval from the coach, it DOES include your rest time. If you receive a 2:00 interval on this set, that means that you will leave every time the clock hits 2:00. The coach is going to set the interval based on the estimated 100m time for the lane -- in this case would be 1:40 to allow for 20 seconds rest. If you leave when the clock hand hits 60, then you will leave on the 60 every time you start another 100. Also, if you come in on the 1:35, you will get a little more rest. If you come in on the 1:45, you will get a little less rest. You will still need to leave on the 60 (or 2:00 interval) every time. The coaches will set the intervals based on the ability of the entire lane, so everyone does not always get the same amount of rest (should be close). Also, the coaches may set a faster interval to push the lane for that set, or a slower interval when more rest is your coaches :)

Swim Etiquette
Since not everyone has the same speeds for swimming, pulling and fins, there will definitely be times when you are in a lane and need to pass or be passed. It is a good idea for everyone to learn the basics about swim etiquette so that practice can run smoothly. Here are a few tips:

*Try to pass at the wall rather than mid-lane (if you see someone approaching you from behind or consistently swimming on your feet, stop at the next wall and let them through)
*Wait 5 seconds between each swimmer in the lane when starting a set (try not to start right on someone's feet)
*As sets get longer, the likelihood of needing to pass or get passed increases. If you are one of the slower swimmers in the lane, be courteous and try to finish up when the rest of the lane finishes. Ex. If you are doing a 400 swim and the rest of your lane is finished with the set, stop with the group and make-up the missed mileage (probably 50m) at the end (if time permits).
*If you are swimming with a faster lane and have trouble keeping up on longer sets (200+), you can always modify the set so that you can stay on pace with the lane. Ex. For a set of 6x200 Swim, you might want to do 2x200, 1x150, 2x200, 1x150. This way you can still push the effort with the group, but you have some limited rest within the set. You can always make up any missed mileage at the end if time permits.
*Most importantly, be considerate of your teammates -- let people by if needed and ask to move ahead if you are swimming on someone's feet. This will help the flow of the lane so that everyone gets the best workout possible!

Misc. Notes & Tips:
*PULL always means paddles and buoy -- we will specify if you only need one or the other (ex. swim with paddles (no buoy) or buoy only (no paddles))
*Swim Interval from coaches DOES include rest
*If the workout just says KICK, you can choose between (mix & match) any of the kick drills -- 10-10 side, 10-10 ABS, 6-3-6, kick on back, kick with board
*If the workout just says DRILL, you can choose between (mix & match) any of the drills -- DPS, TPR, Bow & Arrow, Zipper, Fist
*If you are choosing your own kick or drill, try to choose something that you need to work on (rather than just doing your favorite one every time...)

And as always, feel free to ask the coach at practice if you have any additional questions not covered! See you guys at swim practice!

Coach Suzanne

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Be Inspired & Take Action

I've been searching for the right words for this post. I could feel what I wanted to say...but the words to match didn't come out.

So, instead, I'm going to let some others' famous words do the talking -- in the hopes that it will help you become more inspired and take action.

...what can I say...I'm a sucker for a good quote! ;-)

"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going" ~Beverly Sills

"Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny."

"Don't wait. The time will never be just right" ~Napoleon Hill

"You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight" ~Jim Rohn

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bike cleaning 101

“A clean bike is a fast bike.”
Paul Terranova

I can’t stress enough the effects a clean bike has on performance. If your bike is dirty and gunky then it’s more likely to perform poorly than it would if it were clean.

When to clean your bike: Really you should do some sort of cleaning to your bike after every ride. Sometimes a simple wipe down will do when other times require more detailed work. A simple wipe down can be done after a spin class where Chrissie has just killed you and there is sweat all over your bike. Especially the front end (brake caliper, fork and stem). A more detailed cleaning needs to be done after a wet ride. Even if you just went through a puddle of water you should clean your entire bike.

Where to clean your bike: The garage is always a great place to start. Sometimes we don’t have the garage option so find a place that you don’t mind getting a little dirty…. porch, driveway, patio or bathroom. That’s right, I said bathroom. I have used the b-room more than once to clean my bike. I just stuck my bike in the bath tub and used the moveable shower head to get it sparkly clean.

Why: Explained above. Plus it could save you some costly repairs down the road.

Who: That who is you!!!! Why you? Simple, because the more times you clean your bike the more familiar you are with how it works. After cleaning your bike a few times you’ll realize things you didn’t know before and if something goes wrong on a ride you have a better chance of figuring it out with the basic knowledge you have of your bike. Seriously… I learn something new each weekend when I clean people’s bikes. It’s interesting and it’s saved my butt more than once on the road.

How: How I do it is I start with the front wheel and work backwards. I clean the front wheel and inspect the tire and make sure there is no wobble to the wheel. I then move onto the fork and front brake caliper. Next would be the front stem and handle bar set I have. Using a q-tip to get into the hard to reach places. Moving along, I head to the top tube, seat/ seat post and down tube. Next, I’ll remove and clean the rear tire. While I have it off I’ll clean the rear brake caliper and inspect the tire/wheel. Now comes the fun part… the derailleur. The easiest way to clean this is to just spray the entire thing down with Simple Green and then do your best to clean off all the dirt, grease and dead animals. Put your tires back on and clean the pedals and chain. The chain can be cleaned with Simple Green and using some elbow grease you can make your chain last a lot longer. Once you are done with that lube your chain and take your bike for a short spin running it through all the gears making sure that it’s still all in sync.

This should take you a little less than 1 hour. You’ll need some rags, Simple Green or another cleaner and some chain lube. A good rule of thumb is to clean and lube your chain every 4 rides or every 150 miles.
Coach Logan

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hills Hills Hills

If you’re going to ride a bike in Austin, you’re going to ride hills. Learning how to ride them will help make your ride a lot more enjoyable. Personally, I love riding hills. Something about reaching the top of a steep climb gives me this sense of achievement that I do not get when riding flats. I even use hills to help determine my fitness level. When I do the Bee Caves loop, the numbers of times I need to get out of the saddle to get up a hill helps me determine where I am in my cycling fitness.

But I digress. I want to spend a few minutes to give advice on how to help anyone become a good hill climber. In my opinion there are three key areas to better climbing, 1) technique and gears, 2) leg strength, and a 3) mental attitude.

Techniques include body movement and placement, gearing, cadence, breathing and heart rate (effort). Your upper body should be relaxed and rock slightly with each peddle stroke. Your hands should be relaxed and almost resting on the handle bars; you should not be griping the handlebars with a lot of strength. Too much movement or too much tension in the upper body wastes energy. Your shoulders should be back and ‘open’; it allows your chest to breathe efficiently. Sitting back in the saddle during the climb gains you a leverage advantage on the pedals.

When starting a hill, pick a gear so that your cadence is relatively high. As you progress up the hill, shift to higher gears as your cadence drops; always try to keep the cadence above 75-80. Keeping your cadence high helps to prevent muscles from fatiguing early in the climb and keeps your legs from producing large quantities of lactic acid. It is also easier on the knees and back. If you find that can’t keep your cadence above 70 in your easiest gear, you may need to have a higher gear installed. Normally I ride a 12-25 on a hilly course and I’m thinking about using a 12-27 for my Canada race later this year (you have to save those legs for the run).

You should always climb in YOUR comfort zone. It doesn’t matter if someone is passing you at the beginning of the hill, they may blow up towards the top and you don't want to spiked your HR to keep up. Your goal is to keep your breathing deep and comfortable; your heart rate should stay below your threshold level. I try to find a rhythm to where I can keep the same effort for the entire length of the hill.

I like to hear to listen to people debate about standing versus sitting in riding hills. They see the pros standing in the Tour de France as they attack a hill and think they can do that. First of all, they are pros. And secondly, they don’t have to run after the race. TdF riders get a massage and relax after their ride. Its better for tri athletes to sit in the saddle and keep their efforts constant for the entire ride and not to the surge attacks up the hill. Another reason to stay in the saddle is to help keep your heart rate down. The general rule of thumb is your heart rate increase 5 to 10 beats per minute compared to sitting at the same speed. And you have to use your upper body muscles to keep you in control. It’s okay to stand up to stretch and to give your cadence a little jump, but sit down as quickly as possible.

There are a lot of exercises to build leg strength. The two I like the most are doing hill repeats and stairs. When doing hill repeats, find a hill that has a long steady steep climb that you can do 4 to 6 times. I have two ways of doing the repeats. One is to keep the gear as low as possible and your cadence around 60. These are slow climbs using a lot of strength and your heart rate will probably be above threshold. The other is to just hammer up the hill as fast as you can. When you do hill repeats, they never get easier, you just get faster. Running stairs simulates the peddle stroke and can be a very effective way of building strength. I like to find a parking garage that has about 4 or 5 levels and run to the top as fast as I can, repeat 3 to 5 times.

Greg LeMond said “There’s not much difference in the perceived effort between a 40-minute time trial on the fast flat road and a 40-mintue hard climb. But most riders perceive climbing as harder. You need to adjust your thinking to be a good climber.” So the next time you see a hill, just smile and know that it’s no difference then riding hard on a flat road. This slight mental change will make the hill seam easier and be a lot more fun to ride.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Shin Splints...Sheesh

I don't know about you guys, but I have been plagued with shin splits for as long as I can remember. Even back in middle school and high school, I would leave my basketball or volleyball practices feeling like I couldn't take another step. Let's not even talk about the discomfort of doing any speed work on the track. Shin splints are a pain (literally) and seem to linger on from season to season unless you take very good preventitive care and stay on top of it throughout your training.

Here are a few tips and tricks that have helped me tackle the pain:

1. Warm-Up & Heat - Make sure to get your legs nice and warm before starting any workouts that may cause shin pain. You want to make sure that the muscles that attach to the tibia and fibula have adequate blood flow before you begin your exercise - tight and stiff muscles/tendons risk being stretched beyond their natural range of movement resulting in pain and inflamation. I have found that heating the lower leg (whirl pool or heating pad) seems to really help my legs feel better as I get started with my workout. You can also warm up the muscles in the front of the shin by doing foot circles (circles, up/down, right/left).

2. Strength - It is very important to keep up with your calf and hamstring exercises if you have trouble with shin pain. Calf raises (straight, toes out and toes in) as well as hamstring curls (heels up on the bouncy-ball, shoulders on the ground, hips raised, curl your heels in) are both great exercises to incorporate into your core workout (3 sets of 15, 2-4 times weekly). Maintaining strength in these antagonist muscles will help reduce the tension on the muscles in the front of the shin.

3. Stretching - In addition to strengthening the muscles, you want to stretch very well before and after workouts. Calf and hamstring stretches are important as well as stretching the muscles in the front of the foot/ankle. To get a better stretch for the front muscles in the lower leg, start in the calf stretch position (pushing your arms against the wall, pressing the calves to the ground) and then push your knee slightly forward (your heel coming up in the back).

4. Exercises without Resistance - Making circles or writing the alphabet with your foot is an easy way to strengthen the smaller muscles in the front of the leg or shin area as well as the ankle. The great thing about these exercises is that you can do them easily during the day or while sitting at your desk.

5. Exercises with Resistance - The elastic bands are great for this. Have a friend hold the elastic band on both ends pulling against your foot. Hang your foot over the edge of a bench or ledge and raise your toes back toward your shin (3 sets of 15) - you should feel this in the outside of your lower leg. You can also do this by tying the elastic band in a loop and hooking it around a heavy object like a table. With this method, you should do three different exercises - up and down, center to right and center to left. Make sure that you are only moving your foot(not the knee or leg).

6. Shoes Shoes Shoes - With all the miles that we put on our legs, we should be replacing our shoes about every 400 miles or 3-6 months (most people don't replace their shoes frequently enough, leading to injuries). You also want to make sure you have the right shoes for your foot type and/or running style. Problems with pronation, poor running technique and low arches (flat feet) are all common causes of shin splints. Most running stores can watch you run to determine what shoes will work best for you. Orthodics and inserts can also help tremendously.

7. **ART Therapy** - After years of battling shin splints, I found that ART therapy was the very best thing for my shins. It seemed like a miracle cure, although definitely not a pain free process (funny how those metal tools can be your best friend and enemy at the same time!) Fortunately (or unfortunately), you can do a similar type of therapy on yourself at home. Take the end of a spoon (top end) and run it up and down your shins to break up the adhesions that form along the bone. You can also grind your thumb up and down the shin bone. FUN, I know!

8. Too Much Too Fast - Shin splints often result from overloading your lower leg muscles. Increasing your intensity or duration too quickly as well as running on uneven surfaces or increased "pounding" on concrete/hard surfaces are a few of the most common causes of inflammation in these muscles. Make sure that when beginning a training program you build gradually and incorporate speed work at a moderate pace.

9. Ice - Make sure to ice your shins after every practice. Every practice. You can use ice bags, however running an ice block up and down the shin (or in small circles) is said to be more effective.

10. Rest - If none of these options have worked for you, I hate to say it but you might just need some good old fashioned rest. Triathletes are not good at this in general, but sometimes a day or two off the legs can really help. And don't worry, you aren't going to lose all your fitness in two days....seriously ;)

I hope that these tips will come in helpful! Feel free to ask me if you have any questions.

Coach Suzanne

Friday, January 30, 2009

Building a House

So it is early on in the season and we are faced with a long road ahead. When I speak with people about training for specific races or when talking about this years tri season, the analogy of building a house comes to mind. I tell them that building a strong foundation is important and that will make the house or training much stronger on down the line. I also tend to use this theory in my personal racing and it has brought some success in the past few years. Keeping the big picture in mind and not getting caught up with all the hype of getting in shape fast should be the priority. It is tough to do when comparing with athletes that kept good shape in the Off-Season, so you have to be patient.

I start with the FOUNDATION: When building a house the foundation of course is the part of the building that nobody sees when they drive up but from a structural standpoint, it is the part that holds up the house. In training, the foundation is broken up into two parts... 1) the cardiovascular structure of your body and 2) the technique you use when working out. The foundation is very important and there are some steps that need to be taken to make sure there are no issues on down the line when building a house or when coming of the winter months in training. Foundation problems in a house may not be seen right away and therefor can create some issues with cracks on the walls and problems with the roof. The foundation problems that can occur in training are more with performance issues or with injuries that occur from neglecting this important building process.

1.) The cardiovascular structure of your body is the network of VEINS, ARTERIES and most important CAPILLARIES. The capillaries are the only part of the cardiovascular structure that you have any control over. When working out in a controlled pace, you can build the capillary beds deeper into the muscles, which allow you to feed the muscles better. As you build a base of working out and start to increase your training you have to maintain control in your longer workouts. Increasing your training from zero to getting going a few hours a week is BASE training, not over training to 15+ hours a week. So coming off the few months where you might have lowered your training hours (OFF-SEASON), the base period is the few months where you start picking things up. There can be a good mixture of intensities with slow, medium and fast pacing but the majority of the longer workouts needs to be done at a heart rate in the AEROBIC ONE zone (about 75% of the workouts).

2.) The technique you use when training in the base period of the season is important because you can get your muscles to to get stronger with good technique. Functional training with the sports of swimming, cycling and running with drills is the best way to do this. Also keeping control when muscles start to fatigue in training. You can also allow the body to build the cardio part better if the muscles get stronger, so they do go hand in hand with one another. Muscles endurance is build with proper technique and when neglected, athletes get through the workouts without building strength. Training with bad technique will cause smaller muscles to help out during fatigue and therefor push these smaller muscles to get injured (tendons, ligaments strains are the main ones to go first).

The FRAMEWORK is the next step.... This is the part of building a house that sets the shape and structure of what holds everything up. With this in mind, you need to make CORE and STRETCHING the framework for all your training. You need to keep your muscles in good shape to keep yourself consistent in working out. Once again, when building a house this is something you don't see everyday but it is an internal structure that is very important. You can keep a good maintenance to stretching and core work with just a few hours a week, but can easily be missed if you get caught up in just the training. Listen to your body when working out and make sure that you take care of any issues before they become a bigger problem.

The WALLS and the ROOF of a house is what everyone sees and therefor it is the cosmetic part of building a house... so in training, these are the actual workouts you do from day to day and what everyone sees. You want to make sure that you are CONSISTENT first and that you are getting something special every time you do one. Maximizing your training time is key for busy professionals like yourselves. Plan on having a THEME or PURPOSE to every workout so that you have a stronger reason to get through it and perform well. Technique and Form can be a good theme to some of these workouts. Simply using some workouts as filler hours and having fun may be a great purpose in itself. Also, not putting too much pressure to perform very intensely at every workout is great for getting more out of the training. Sometimes when you have a long day at work or you have mental distraction keeping you from performing strong will make you dread the workout and therefore a great reason to have purpose or theme to training.

As you start your season or your periodization to your specific race, think of it as building a house. The more important you make the FOUNDATION and the FRAMEWORK the more you'll get out of the rest of the building process with less setbacks and bigger success. Some of you are building a beautiful house right now, so we'll be looking forward to seeing the end product in a few months! I'm in the process of building a "lake house" as there are a few of us heading to Ironman Coeur D' Alene... : )

See you at practice!

Coach Maurice

Monday, January 26, 2009

Making a list and checking it twice……. And other ramblings.

I live for lists. I usually have about 5 different post-it notes going at one time and then there is the day planner that I can’t live without. But lists can play a very important role to your tri training. Lists for what to bring on your ride, lists for the grocery and lists for what to do with the rest of the day.
Usually on Friday night I pack my gear for the Saturday’s training. While at work on Friday I try and make a list of things that I will need. Such as… helmet, shoes, bike, change of clothes and food. I have a pretty set standard of what to bring but things do change as the distance of my rides increase.
For example:
If I am doing a long ride of 80 to 100 miles I’ll pack some extra stuff like more Gu’s, water, Cliff bars, sunblock and $$$. I try to not rely on stopping at stores for food. I’ll grab water or a Gatorade but I try and stick with what I brought with me for food.
**** This weekend I did not follow my usual routine and did grab an oatmeal cream pie. I ate about ¼ of it before it’s novelty wore off and I gave the rest to Noah. You may also find this helpful......MGD and an apple danish at the 1/2 point of a long ride does NOT help you no matter how brain damaged you are. I know this from lots of experience.
Another list that I can’t live without is the cold weather list. If it’s cold outside you can bet that my list is twice as long and my J&A’s bag is twice as full. Arm warmers, knee warmers, skull caps and extra socks are a must. I may not need them but it’s better to have them and not need them than not have them and need them. I am a firm believer in over packing. There were many times early in my riding life that I didn’t bring enough clothes and I suffered.

Another thing I was thinking about this weekend was the freezer bag that I can’t seem to throw away. I have a Zip Lock freezer bag that I have been using for 2 years to keep all my mandatory ride stuff in. License, debit card, cash, sunblock, chapstick, extra Chamois butter and my cell phone. This is something that I suggest all riders bring. It fits nicely in my back pouch of my riding jersey and everything stays dry. I ripped a hole in it 2 weeks ago and thought I would have to replace it. I’m kind of attached to it so I patched it with some duct tape and called it good.

Yes….. I have some issues. :)

Coach Logan

Friday, January 16, 2009

NUTRITION: Some of my favorite things!

If you didn't already know, one of my "hobbies" is keeping up-to-date with the latest nutrition information and healthy living. I also love the challenge of finding all the bits and pieces to make my immune system as strong and healthy as possible. With many of you picking up the training and doing it in the middle of cold/flu is really important to make an extra effort to give your body what it needs to stay healthy. (note: I'm definitely not an expert in this area...but these are things that I use on a daily basis and have found to work really well. With all these your research and take what you feel is right for you & your lifestyle).

1.) ACAI JUICE - the best kind that I've found is called "Wild Harvested 100% Pure Acai Juice" by Genesis Today. I take one shot glass of this stuff first thing in the morning. LOTS of benefits, including: supporting energy levels, supports blood sugar levels, digestive function, mental clarity, immune system support, cleansing and detox.

2.) Coromega OMEGA-3 squeeze packets - my favorite flavor is the chocolate organge - YUM! I've always known the benefits of FISH OILs but was scared of tasting "fish" all day after taking the supplement. These little packets are awesome! They contain 2000mg of fish oil and 650mg of the long chain omega-3 fatty acids. And, I don't taste anything fishy! (my sister can't stand the this is going to be a very individual thing). One of the hardest things I find with all these supplements is remembering to take them....and what good are they if you don't take them on a regular basis? That's one of the main reasons I love these...they come in individual packets...and you take 1 in the EASY!! (or easy to stuff in your bag and take at work).

3.) Slice of Life gummy vitamins for adults - these are small gummy-bear-like vitamins -- I recommend the Vit c+ and the B12 +. There are probably better/similar vitamins of these kinds out there...BUT, I like these because of the point I made previoulsy -- I ACTUALLY TAKE THEM on a daily be honest, I crave taking them! Vit C is super important for supporting your immune system and B12 & B6 Vitamins are for energy levels.

4.) Vitamin E supplement - working out intensely creates a stress on our bodies...which many times results in the production of free radicals...Vit E is one of the main supplements to combat these free radicals. Usually the regular multi-vitamin will have vit E in it...but, I think it is important to take an additional supplement. The main thing to note is there are different types of Vit E -- the better type for combating these free radicals is "d-Alpha Tocopherol" (you'll see it listed as the first ingredient. The other type is "dl-Alpha").

5.) MULTI-VITAMIN - this is sort of the overall insurance pill for your immune system. Giving me a "back-up" to all the vitamins and minerals my body needs in case I don't get enough from my foods. I take USANA vitamins...but you can find some really good ones at Whole Foods.

All these supplements are great -- but, at the end of the day, what is most important is eating the right, nutrition-dense foods. But, let's face it, most of us don't eat really balanced meals all the time -- so, it I think it is important to supplement with things like these!

Happy Training!
-Coach Chrissie