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