Category Archives: Training

Training-related information

Off-Season Update and Some Swag Nov 9 2015

Just a little update here on how things are going during the “off”-season. The rebuilding process is being established and I have been laying the groundwork for a solid foundation for the upcoming season.

Miracle Mornings…

After recently reading the book, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, I have miraculously turned into a “morning person.” I have tried many times before, but it just never stuck. But by using the techniques in this book it is becoming a reality for me. I have now been waking up early every day for over a month now, including weekends. I believe that by focusing on the things that are really important to me as the reasons to get up early has made a difference. If you are interested in getting up earlier and being more productive with your days, I would highly recommend this book.

Pump!…You Up!!

So what am I doing with all the time I have during these early mornings? Strength training! If you have followed my training updates in the past, you know how strength work typically gets bumped first. Which is common in endurance athletes. Well, I have been working with Fernando Paredes from Fusion Fitness & Performance Studio to develop a solid functional strength program. So I have been fully committed to making this a regular part of my training and it is the top priority of my “Miracle Mornings.”

This new habit is becoming even more ??? since I am really starting to feel the impact it is making in my training. My run times are dropping and I am feeling more solid from the core when I run. I really believe this will be making a difference in my performance for the upcoming season.

The Pain Cave

Over the last 6-months I have been working on getting my “Pain Cave” in my basement up to snuff so I have a good place to train during the Winter months. I happy to report that things have come along quite a bit lately. I have recently had some Radon Remediation done in the basement so that I am not sucking down radon all Winter long. I just got the post-remediation test results back and they were < 0.3 pCi/L for a week long test (anything under 0.5 is considered fresh air), so that is good news. I also picked up a 43″ 1080p flat panel TV for my Zwift bike trainer rides which really puts you in the drivers seat. I moved my smaller flat panel over the treadmill, so now I have dedicated TV’s for each or I can watch a TV show on one while doing the Zwift ride on the other. Pretty sweet!

Pain Cave November 2015

Pain Cave November 2015

Ommmm

One other aspect that I have been working on is developing my mental fitness. A strong mind is essential in endurance activities. I have also been establishing a daily meditation habit with the help of the Headspace iOS app. Meditation seems to be quite the buzzword these days, but I hear more and more endurance athletes attributing a lot of their success to it. Through my early mornings, I now have been able to establish it as a new daily habit. I have to say it is pretty relaxing, but shutting my busy mind off is no easy feat some days.

I have also been reading Matt Fitzgeralds’ new book “How Bad Do You Want It?” which delves into the mental coping mechanisms that endurance athletes utilize to command amazing performances. It has been a pretty interesting read so far and I hope to post a review on it shortly as I wind down the last couple chapters here.

iThlete HRV Guest Post

I recently did another guest post on the iThlete HRV blog about my off-season and how my Heart Rate Variability has correlated with what I have been doing lately. Be sure to check that out. iThlete is also having a 15% off all sale on all HR sensors this month, so you may want to check that out too. I highly recommend the Finger Sensor for easily checking your HRV in the morning. They are also planning on releasing some new features to the iThlete Pro App this month which I am looking forward to as well.

Weight Loss in Endurance Sports

Runner’s world recently posted this article on How Weight Loss Affects your Running Speed?  In it they claim that you can drop 20 secs/mile for every 10 lbs you lose. Multiply that by 26.2 and you got a nice PR on your hands. Add that reduction to your watts/kg rating for a 112 mile bike and you just smashed your leg PR and probably an Ironman PR as well. Really provides a good motivation to drop those excess pounds during the off-season.

Unfortunately, this is one area that my “Miracle Mornings” have not provided too much help too. I have been trying to keep my net calories around 2100, but I am still hovering around the same weight. Unfortunately, I may have to cut that net figure down a few more hundred to see anything significant without increasing training load too much. What will make this more difficult is the holiday eating season is coming up too. Should be challenging.

So, since we are on the topic of weight loss affects to endurance activity, I dug up a few more articles on the topic that I thought were helpful….

What’s my Optimal Racing Weight? | TrainingPeaks

Why is Weight So Important in Cycling? Part 1 | TrainingPeaks

Why is Weight So Important in Cycling? Part 2 | TrainingPeaks

Trainer Season…

As we are now heading into Trainer Season, DC Rainmaker just published his 2015-16 Trainer Recommendations. I would highly recommend reading this if you are in the market for a trainer this year. I will probably be saving myself over $200 this season just from reading this and getting a new controlled trainer sooner than I planned to. Worth a look.

Some Macca Drama

Looks like there is a bit of drama going on with Chris McCormack over some accusations being made from surf legend, Sunny Garcia. I first heard about this over a week ago on the TRS Radio Podcast during the beginning of episode 62 with Gordon Ramsay & Lew Hollander. But I haven’t heard anything new since then until I saw this post on Slowtwitch today. Sounds like some pretty serious allegations so we will see how that plays out.

Well, that is all I got for now. Hope everyone is enjoying the off-season and renewing their motivations for the upcoming season. Take care and happy training!

 

 

Swag Bag-October 26, 2015

Training Wisely

Some good words of wisdom from Joe Friel on Training Risk. You cannot train at high intensity all the time and if you are in zone 2 all the time you will never improve. Finding the right balance of intensity without overtraining or injury is the key to improving performance effectively. Note: The background image on this page makes this really hard to read. I would suggest copy and pasting the text to a text editor for reading.

Universal Sports Gone

Universal Sports Gone

No More Free Rides…

So my favorite virtual reality game-like training riding app, Zwift, will no longer be free. 🙁 They will be starting their subscription model on October 29th, just in time for the Winter training season. If you don’t sign up you will get a 30-day free trial at first, but then you have to pay up. Pricing is $10/month.

One new addition is a new workout mode which should give TrainerRoad a run for their money. Although from what I can see so far, TrainerRoad should be fine for sometime. DC Rainmaker did a nice review of the workout mode here which you should check out if your are interested.

No More Universal Sports Network

I have been bugging my cable provider for ages to get this channel which broadcasted many athletic endurance events. Well, I guess they are off the hook now. Bummer for those who were able to get this channel.

Carb Up!

Despite all the recent low-carb fad BS, this recent study provides additional evidence to further back up our need to for carbohydrates for performance. Check out the tables for key guidelines and formulas for calculating your carb needs.
Carbohydrates for training and competition

Not all Fats & Carbs are Created Equal

There has been a lot of BS in the media about how butter and animal fats are supposed to be good for us. Most of the study’s that these ideas were based on were severely flawed. Well, here is more sensible article on some of the fats that really are good for us. Hint, butter is not one of them. Also, a nice explanation about glycemic index which is a good inidicator of the carbs we should eat and the ones we should save for the aid stations during an Ironman.

On Not Finding Your Passion…

Funny but interesting dose of reality if you are seeking out “your passion” from Mark Manson.

I Won’t Say It. But I …

I can’t pass this one up! The World Health Organization announced today that processed meats are on the same cancer-causing level as cigarettes and formaldehyde. Yeah, not to mention that they are the biggest cause of climate change and an extremely inefficient use of resources. I would highly urge you to also check out Cowspiracy movie which is now available on Netflix.

Well, that’s all for this week. Things kind of went in a nutritional slant this week, but hope to balance things out a bit here, but that was just what I came across this week. Enjoy!

 

 

New Weekly “Swag Bag”-October 19 2015

So I am trying a little something new here. I am going to start to put together a regular weekly post containing some tips, websites, ideas, or anything I found interesting in the previous week. Hopefully, others may find these useful as well and  also it also forces me to develop a more regular posting habit. If you like this and get some benefit out of it let me know in the comments. I may play around with the day of the week it comes out, but for now I am shooting for Mondays.

My Miracle Mornings…

So, I have never been an early morning riser. I have always wanted to be and tried a few times, but it never lasted. One the rare occasions that I do get up early(usually for a race) I do feel much more productive for the rest of the day. I don’t want to jinx myself here, but I think I found my solution in the book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. So far I have been up early for 6 of the last 7 days now and I am pretty confident that it is going to stick. If you have a desire to get up earlier and make your days a little more productive by attacking those things that always seem to get put off first thing in the morning, then I would highly recommend this book.

In keeping with that theme, I also came across these other posts that also provides some tips for making the most of your morning routines…

Create A Lasting Morning Routine by Making Two Changes
Why Your Morning Routine Isn’t Working, and How to Fix it

Oh Bananas…

I haven’t tried this yet, but here is an article about eating the entire banana peels along with the bananas. We eat a ton of bananas at home and our compost bin is full of them. This article shows you how you can utilize the whole thing and gain some added nutrition from them too. The B12 part kind of caught my attention since I supplement that daily.

People around the world are eating banana peels because they know something that Westerners do not

 

Time for Reflection…

Now that most triathletes’ seasons are winding down for the year, it is a good time to start looking back on what went well and what you need to work on for next season. Here is a nice article from Training Peaks that provides a brief outline on how to go about that in a SMART way…

Three Steps to Take Now to Plan Your Next Triathlon Season

Building the Foundations…

So, as we are reflecting on the past season and starting to turn our focus on the upcoming season, it is important to start laying down a foundation for all those long workouts. One of the ways I am doing that is to develop a very consistent strength routine during this off-season. I taking advantage of that extra time during my “Miracle Mornings” to lay the groundwork for a stronger foundation via strength training. While I am fortunate to have a great strength coach in Fernando Paredes at Fusion Fitness, there are a lot of good resources out there on strength training for endurance athletes. Here are few articles I came across that I thought were pretty good…

7 Hip and Core Exercises for Endurance Athletes

The Best Strength Exercises for Cyclists

One-Hour Workout: The Pros’ Strength Session

That’s all for this week and I hope you found something of use from these tips.

Thanks

 

 

Why I Decided to Try Ironman University

When the Ironman/WTC folks announced their new “Ironman University” coaching program there was a ton of negative comments posted all over the web and social media. The program was slated as a 14-day online program that would make you a coach, capable of training athletes to complete an Ironman event. With no prerequisites required either. So, basically anybody off the street could plop down $600(now $700), complete the course and become an Ironman-certified coach.

I have to admit, I am as cynical of WTC as many others are since they are just a corporation mainly out to make money for shareholders. Many of the negative comments were things similar to what Coach Brett Sutton had stated: “14 hours of online study does not make you a coach, and it sure as hell shouldn’t qualify you to take on athletes preparing for the biggest endurance test of their lives.” Yeah, no shit Sherlock! Obviously you are not going to become a Brett Sutton or Matt Dixon after completing 14 hours of online training. But what is really necessary to help someone reach their Ironman goals? Many people succeed with no coaching whatsoever.

I would hope that any person looking to hire a coach for an Ironman event would consider their other qualifications besides just completing the Ironman University curriculum. But, there are many peopIe out there coaching with probably less training than that. It also depends on what the athletes’ goals and their budget are. Not everyone can afford to hire Brett Sutton if all they want to do is cross the finish line in 16 hours and 59 minutes. On the other hand, I really think that WTC should have some type of requirement as to IU attendees having finished at least an Ironman or two to show they have at least have some experience and been through the rigors of completing the event.

I decided to try to take a more positive look at this course. I have been coaching myself for the past couple years after having been coached for a few years before that. My coach had passed along much his knowledge to me and I read everything I can get my hands on to build as much knowledge as I can about the sport. I have attended workshops on things like ChiRunning and functional strength training to expand on that knowledge. I would love to be able to coach other people in triathlon someday. This would be a great way to give back to the sport that has done so much for me personally. For now I just want to accumulate as much knowledge and experience as I can about the sport. Much of the knowledge I gain I put into practice myself to determine what really works and what does not.

Ironman University Curriculum Menu

Ironman University Curriculum Menu

I have also been investigating what I would need to do become a certified coach. USA Triathlon is the typical standard certification that most coaches mention in addition to their experience.  Well, in order to attend a level 1 USA Triathon coaching clinic, One requirement is that you have to have a reference from someone that you have already coached. Huh? So, basically you have to have already coached someone with NO Qualification before attending level 1? Wouldn’t it be better to provide some education before certification?  Why isn’t anyone complaining about that? So how do I learn the things I need to learn in order to coach someone so that I can get certified?

The USA Triathlon certification is also ~$550 plus it requires you to travel to a major city and pay for lodging for at couple nights. Surely an investment of over $1000. If I do consider pursing this coaching thing going forward, I would still look to complete this, but I obviously have to have some kind of education and experience in coaching first. I don’t see USAT providing any education before certification.

The Ironman course seems pretty expensive at $600, but I considered what I would pay for a coach at around $150/month for one season for 6 months…$900. You also have a curriculum put together by 5 of THE BEST coaches in the business and access to their knowledge. Even if I am only using this knowledge for myself, why wouldn’t I do this just for coaching myself?

I also frequently help guide friends who are training for Ironman or other triathlons. Having a good base knowledge of triathlon coaching in addition to my personal experience would highly benefit them as well. Some friends are just downloading random training plans off the web, so I would think my little bit of knowledge that can be customized for an individual would be better than that.

The convenience of the online medium for the Ironman course is also bonus. I can complete this course on my schedule at my pace and not have to fly somewhere to attend in person. I don’t know where the “14 day” piece comes in, since you have 90 days to complete the course work. Perhaps they are referring to the 12 modules included in the course, plus maybe a couple extra days? Not sure really.

Despite all the negativity about Ironman University on the web, I have decided to pursue this. Even if I gain some valuble knowledge for only coaching myself, it will be well worth the $600. If it also provides me with the ability to help some friends get through their first race and get me a Level 1 USAT certification down the road, than even better. What is wrong with learning, especially if you can learn from some of the best in the business. You have to start somewhere and I think that this is a good opportunity to do that.

First Impressions

The Ironman University course was opened up for use late in August and I have been using the tool for a few weeks now. It is obviously, full of Ironman propaganda, but it so far chock full of well laid out information. It also has good exercises along the way to demonstrate and further reinforce the concepts it teaches. There are also handouts for each section, with sample questions and area to make notes.

I have to say I am pretty impressed with it. Technically it works pretty well too. The only bug I ran into was when I had to exit the course in the middle of section and then tried to come back to that point later. It just showed a blank white window, so I had to start the section over again. Not a bid deal since it was probably good to reinforce that again.

Some of the areas that I am curious to see about is about teaching topics like swimming technique and nutrition. Swimming is a complex beast and I would not feel comfortable teaching someone who was not a good swimmer(like I was in 2008) to become one. This is something that should be left to someone more highly qualified for sure. I am also curious to see if they try injecting their sponsors, like Chocolate Milk, into the nutrition curriculum. I have seen enough evidence about dairy and especially milk, to know that this is NOT a food that belongs in a healthy diet. That goes double when pour a bunch of sugary chocolate syrup in it too. Stay tuned for future posts about the program as I make my way through the course.

 

 

 

IMCdA 2015 Training Log-Week#24(June 8-14)-Taper Week 1

Ahhh the old love-hate relationship with tapering continues. While greatly anticipated, this break in training and the general feeling of malaise that comes along with it I did not. I guess you can’t have everything.

The Ironman Lawn…

I was finally able to get my lawn looking somewhat manicured with some extra time on my hands now. I had been cutting the front mostly so that it at least looked well kept from the street. The back was another story. I had cut a few sections so the dog could go do his thing, but most of it had grown so high it was going to seed. When my dog ventured into that territory I would see him occasionally jump high into the air as of the long strands brush up against his belly. Kind of entertaining.

Training-wise things were actually going pretty well. The somewhat shortened workouts had high intensity and I felt good while I was doing them. I had one of my best tempo run workouts of the season on Wednesday with a solid 7:50 pace in Zone 3.

FTP Test Gone Bad…

I had a 3 hour bike planned for Saturday, but I decided to break it up into a 1 hour FTP test on the trainer followed by a two hour easy ride on the road.  I wanted to get an accurate assessment of FTP before my race. I felt it was also a good time between resting a bit and race to do it. I was hoping for a little improvement over last year(253 watts), but what I got at the end was nothing like I could have expected.

TrainerRoad 20 minute FTP Test Result

TrainerRoad 20 minute FTP Test Result

Obviously a bug in the TrainerRoad iPad app. Despite this issue I was able to calculate my FTP to be around 248 watts based on this test. A little depressing that I lost 5 watts, but really 5 watts isn’t that big a deal really. Perhaps it will help me to chill a bit on the bike. The main reason I wanted to do the FTP test was so I could plug in accurate number on Best Bike Split and get an idea of my race plan for the bike leg. It looks like it will be just a smidge slower than my bike leg last year at Lake Placid. You can check it out here if you are interested…

Bon Voyagey Bike…

On Sunday I had to take my bike down to Keswick Cycle in Glenside to drop it off for the TriBike Transport pickup on Tuesday. I finished up some last minute maintenance, did a final cleaning and removed the pedals. I also ordered the additional gear bag option too, so I loaded a duffle bag with my wetsuit, aero helmet, spare tubs and some tools. The TBT website said only pack aero helmet if in a hard case, so I put it in a cardboard box with some extra packaging materials too. Hopefull that should be ok. I filled out a couple forms at the shop and handed my bike over to the guy at the shop. Bon Voyagey! See you in Coeur d’Alene!

Endurance Sports, Race, Sports, Triathlon, bag, duffel, gear, multisport, tri

Gear bag packed up for TriBikeTransport. Aero helmet in box, wetsuit, tools, bike bag & tools, tubes

I stopped at a nearby Chipotle for lunch before heading to Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting for our monthly stock-up on organic, frozen fruit. WF was rather crowded, so I was happy to get out of there.

I still needed to do a 1-2 hour run when I got home. It was brutally hot & humid and I was really not into it, so I decided to just run on the treadmill. I tried to load up this FitTrip app on my iPad which shows point-of-view(POV) trail running videos coordinated to your heart rate. Well it didn’t work so well. Downloading the videos took forever and then when they finished it would pop up a message saying it failed! WTF! I eventually got one to download successfully and then it would not connect to my HRM using the ANT+ dongle. Ugh!

I finally gave up and just watched some similar videos on YouTube which worked fine. I had unfortunately wasted a bunch of time trying to get that working. I ended with only about a 7 mile easy run, but I figured that was good enough.

Geekin’ Out on Training

Training volume this week was basically chopped in half. Still managed to miss one of my 3 strength training workouts though. No sense is cramming now right?!

Training Peaks Training Calendar IMCDA Week 24

Training Peaks Training Calendar IMCDA Week 24

Training Peaks TSS-Volume IMCDA Week 24

Training Peaks TSS-Volume IMCDA Week 24

A few red marks on the old HRV training guide this week. Body is recovering a bit so this is expected. Hopefully next week things will pick up a bit.

iThlete HRV Training Guide IMCDA Week 24

iThlete HRV Training Guide IMCDA Week 24

The PMC chart shows the plan for the taper. The pink line dropping is the fatigue withering away with the form(yellow) increasing. Fitness(CTL in blue) declines a little bit, but it will be worth it.

Training Peaks PMC Chart IMCDA Week 24

Training Peaks PMC Chart IMCDA Week 24

The HRV timeline took a bit of a nose dive during this first week of taper. It make sense since I felt a little crappy. Things ended on a high note on Monday AM so it looks like recovery/taper is working. Hope that continues until race day.

iThlete HRV Timeline IMCDA Week 24

iThlete HRV Timeline IMCDA Week 24

That’s all for this week. Next week things should get easier and hopefull start feeling great again.