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…
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.
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…
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…
One of the things I love about triathlon is that you can be constantly learning new things and techniques. The sport is relatively young and very complex, so it provides for a wealth of new discoveries. I love taking new techniques, trying them out and putting them to the test. Every once-in-a-while you pick up a little “nugget” that really makes a huge difference. One past example for me was when I discovered Chirunning, which took me from struggling to run 3 miles to efficiently running 6-7 over a very short time period. I still utilize these techniques and they have forever changed my performance for the positive.
Well, yesterday I think stumbled upon another one. I know that strength training is import, but I struggle every year to maintain a consistent program through the season. I had the gym that I go to create a program for me for triathlon, which consistent of a few functional movement exercises and a bunch of traditional “body building” style muscle isolation exercises . While the functional movements were a nice addition, there was no explanation what they did or why I should do them. As I move through other isolation-style exercises(ie. db chest press, cable rows, leg extensions, cable curls and pushdowns), I struggled in my head to understand how they apply. I knew there has to be somthing better.
Sometime last year I stumbled upon a workshop in November called the “Ultimate Off-Season Strength Training Workshop” by Todd Wiley and Fernando Paredes in nearby Doylestown, PA. I thought this may be the perfect thing I need to get on track in the off-season. Unfortunately the workshop was rescheduled for January 10th, so I struggled along with my previous workout until the date finally arrived.
On January 10th I drove down to the Fusion Fitness Studio near Doylestown, bright and early to attend the full day seminar. I met Todd and Fernando when I arrived. The “gym” or studio was quite different than I expected. There were no racks of free weights and dumbells lining the walls. Instead there were lots of bands, a large tractor tire, and a few cable-type machines I had never seen before. I was the first to arrive and eventually others sauntered in before we started.
Todd Wiley, who is a former pro triathlete and currently well-known coach, gave some of his background and explained how Fernando’s techniques had basically revived his worn-out body after 25 years of training. He had basically given up training until going through this program. Fernando took over and went on to explain the theory behind what he does and why it works. He used great analogies too, to really help you understand the concepts. I was all ears. I instantly knew this was that different program what I was looking for.
One of the example Fernando used that really hit home was when he asked, “Would you use a football, golf, basketball or body-building strength training program for Triathlon?” Obviously we all replied “No”, but he pointed out that we were doing just that. Hmmm? He also went on to explain that we need to train the body as a full system how everything is connected. Therefore we need to train it that way. He stated that by making our body more efficient, we could than perform at the maximum performance we are all capable of. It all made a lot of sense.
We then moved on to each of us(about 20-25 of us) performing 3 parts of a Functional Movement Screening(FMS) test. The tests consisted of a deep squat while holding a bar above our head, holding our arms out and pulling each arm behind our backs and measuring the distance between our hands, and lying on our backs raising each leg individually up as far as we could. These three tests would be rated on a scale of 1-3, 3 being good, to indicate where are muscular deficiencies and imbalances were. The first step is to correct these items so that the rest of the body did not need to compensate. As I figured, my shoulders were my biggest imbalance(L-1,R-2) due to my past injuries. My hips also showed up as weak(1’s) which is also affected by the shoulder issues.
Next, Fernando split us up into groups based on how we scored on the test. Each group had a different corrective exercise to do to resolve their weak area. The shoulder group were also given the hip exercises to do since they related. These basic looking exercises were actually quite challenging to do when done correctly. Fernando explained that by doing these each day we can correct our weakness and imbalances and bring the whole body into a more harmonious system.
The remainder of the morning we moved on to his core Restoration & Fitness routines for overall body strength. These are the typical routines you would do a few times a week as your strength training all season long. Fernando also pointed out that the word “core”, that seems to be thrown around quite profusely these days, is more than just your abdominal area. It is your whole upper torso or upper core and your legs or lower core too. It is all one big connected system. The exercises we did were so atypical from the traditional strength exercises we normally do. There was a lot of band and plain body only style movements. An open mind is surely required for those old-school weightlifters. But, I could tell that this stuff is effective by how it involved many different parts of your body and also your brain too. It is a very “Whole-istic” program. I also found myself thinking that all of this stuff can easily be done in the comfort of my own my home and I could probably save a few dollars on the gym membership. We were even given set of bands to take home as part of the workshop.
After a lunch break, we went through some of the more advanced “Performance” routines that we could eventually progress to over time. Todd then spoke about bringing it all together and implementing this in with our overall triathlon training program and some other assorted tips.
Dr. John K Marino, a certified sports physician and Ironman, and his assistant Nikky spoke for a bit on injury prevention using foam rollers and lacrosse balls, which I personally do fairly regularly. He kind of lost me though when he dismissed Chirunning over Pose and other running programs, because it was too “out there” and “up on the toes.” It was pretty obvious he was not very familiar with Chirunning since it heavily stresses a midfoot strike and not being “up on the toes” as he stated. But whatever, not everyone can know everything about everything.
Finally, we wrapped up with a highly motivational and tear-jerking story by Derek Fitzgerald. If you haven’t heard of Derek, he had battled and survived cancer, suffered from extreme heart-failure, actually dying twice, received a new heart transplant and ended finishing Ironman Lake Placid 2013 only two years later. It is an amazing story. I had heard about him myself right after I had completed my first Ironman Lake Placid that same year. Derek, with the help of Fernando, has basically rebuilt his body from all the surgies and entrophy he had undertaken and is now a endurance machine that fully honors that person who donated their heart to him. He also has a plethora of endurance events planned for this year culminating in a bike across the USA, from LA to Atlantic City, to raise awareness of Cancer and Heart Disease. Check out his website at http://www.recycledman.com for more details and how to help him out.
After a quick Q&A session we wrapped up the workshop promptly at 5:30pm. It was a long day, but I felt I had a full toolbox to take with me. I think that these routines, done on a consistent basis, will give me a little more to eeke out some more performance improvements in my racing. Anything that will get me closer to that sub 12 hour Ironman I am all in. So, I hope to start implementing this immediately and I will try to touch on any improvement I see in my weekly updates heading to Ironman Coueur d’Alene. I will also be attending a Toddy Wiley Lake Placid camp this year which I think Ferndando will also be participating in too. So hopefully we will get some more information as we go.
I had finally completed my 2-week recovery and was back in the pool this past week. It felt good to swim again because I felt like something was missing. I started up the strength training with specific focus on core work. I can really feel that this area is lacking with all the soreness. Did some shorter speed work on the track at my works’ fitness center. The track is pretty small, but still better than the treadmill. With the days getting so short, it is hard to get outside anymore. I was able to get a 2 hour bike ride on Saturday and then a 40 min “fasting” run on Sunday.
Lat Pulldowns 1×14-16
Pushups 1×25 or failure
Calve Raises 1×20
Triceps Extensions 1×16
Dumbell/Hammer curls 1×16
Step-ups 1×20 each leg
Side Planks 1x20sec per side
I am trying to follow Matt Fitzgeralds’ Racing Weight Quick Start program for getting down to my “racing weight.” One of the things he recommends is a fasting workout where you do an endurance workout on an empty stomach. My run went fairly well but I was really tired the rest of the day. Not sure if it was from that or if it was just playing hockey or the workouts earlier in the week.
On Thursday I played my first ice hockey game of the season. My team had played about 6 games already, so I was a little behind the there. I played defense for 2/3 of the game which I thought would ease the transition a bit, but the next morning I felt like I was hit by a Mack truck. Saturday and Sunday were even worse. It is hard to believe that I can get that sore after being in triathlon shape, but hockey is just so different. I think it is good cross-training for the winter and really develops some explosive leg power. I can really feel it when I get on the bike. My legs feel powerful for the first hour of a ride. We also won our hockey game 7-2, so that is off to a good start.
Diet-wise things are not going anywhere fast. I am actually up three pounds despite keeping my caloric intake around 2500 calories. I may have to drop down to 2000/day if things don’t start moving. During the week I do see some progress, but the weekends seem to creep back again. This is surprising since I usually get more exercise in to counteract that.
Next week is Thanksgiving so a short week of work will be nice. Hopefully the weather will be good to get out for some rides and runs during the day.