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