Archive for ‘Training’

November 28th, 2012

Post-Season Blues

I’m finally getting over my post-season “blues”… That transition time right after a big event, when, after months of training, there is no race ahead (and shouldn’t be to allow sufficient time to recover physically and mentally), and you are working through that inner conflict as you cut back on weekly exercise.  Don’t get me wrong, the added free time and sleeping in on weekends is nice, but, it takes time to re-adjust your caloric intake and figure out how much exercise you can do to stay fit while allowing your body to recover.

It’s been over two months since the Ironman and I’m pretty sure I lost most of the endurance conditioning I built up … I finally accepted the fact that it’s okay; in fact, it’s best to take a step back before diving back into training.  For starters, I don’t want to burn out.  And, I can use this winter season to build muscle and start thinking about my goals for next year.

I’m realistic and know I need to focus on indoor exercises during midwest winters.  This holiday season, my workout routine will include Fusion classes, spin classes, and shorter sprint intervals/fartleks/tempo runs.  [For treadmill workout ideas, see Runner’s World and Active.com.]  As noted in my prior post, it’s important to work on all three muscle types (Type I, Type IIa, Type IIb); so, I plan to squeeze in fusion cardio classes (i.e., classes that incorporate plyometric moves to hit those fast twitch muscles) and add heavier weights to my weekly workouts (e.g., Mark Allen Triathlon Strength Training).

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September 10th, 2012

5.5 days until 140.6!

I’m still alive!! From starting a new job to becoming a fitness instructor at Fusion Fitness (I’ll stand by my prior post that it’s the best group fitness in KC!) and the 17-22 hours/week of training for my first Ironman, I haven’t had much free time to dedicate to SociallyFit.  But with the Grand Columbian Ironman around the corner, my load is about to lighten significantly …  In 5 1/2 days, I will attempt to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles (with 4,000 ft ascent) and run 26.1 miles.

via trifind.net

Training has been a little rough lately … a friend’s bachelorette the night before my last 100 mile bike ride – a California Whooper and vanilla shake at 1:30 a.m. for fuel worked surprisingly well; squeezing in a 20 mile run before teaching a fitness class; adding spin classes to work in pre-work rides (when it’s too dark to ride outside) … and now it’s time for final pre-race details.

Taper: I went with a shorter 2-week taper.  Today is off; Mon: 45 min swim & 75-90 min bike; Tues: 45 min run (maybe a 35 min swim); Wed: 60 min. bike & 30 min recovery run; Thurs: off/brisk walk; Friday 20 min swim, 30 min bike and 20 min run.  I’m trying to cut back on calories and stick to a very clean diet — I always have a hard time eating less after being used to taking in so much during training, so we’ll see if that actually happens.

Race Fuel:  My main goal is to finish.  I really think the only factor that could stand between me and that finish line is insufficient fueling. I particularly need to focus on my bike fuel.  I’m shooting for 150-200 calories per hour, totaling around 975-1,300 calories on the bike and about 600-800 calories during the run.

  • Infinit.  I started using Infinit after the Muncie 70.3 (which was cut in half due to the heat), and it seems to work well for me.  You can customize your mixture online to vary flavor, calorie and sodium/potassium content depending on taste preference, size (male/female), how much you sweat, etc.  I bought the premixed tub they sold at the 70.3.  One serving is 280 calories and provides 66g carbs, 4g protein, 379mg sodium and 110mg potassium.
  • Hammer Gel.  I’m relying on the mixture for the entire race and I’ll have a caffeinated Hammer gel to take at mile 20 of the run.
  • Pure Bar.  I’ll also stick a gel and a Pure Bar (all natural bar w/ 190 calories, 7g fat, 27g carb and 6g protein) in my bike pouch in the event I feel the need to switch it up.  [N: I might put the gel and bar in my special needs bag as I expect to stick to the drink and it’s stupid to carry anything I don’t need.]

Tentative Pre-Race Plan:

  • Spark.  For the caffeine I need for the early morning wake up (thankfully, WA is 2 hrs behind, so 4:00 a.m. won’t be nearly as rough).
  • Banana.  Packed with Potassium (380mg) and provide extra carbs (29g).
  • Core Warrior Meal (around 500 calories).  An all-natural bar I had before a long workout.  It provides a good amount of fat (17g), carb (32g) and protein (17g), and some Sodium 28mg.
  • Water
  • One gel or perpetuum tab right before the swim (about 100 calories).
  • I might throw in a gatorade/powerade, but I’ll be sure to cut back on liquids 1 hour before start.

[I say tentative because I’ve seen a lot of recommendations to get the bulk of calories in 3-4 hours before race start; i.e., 2:45-3:45 a.m.  So, I might drink an ensure around 3:00 a.m., go back to bed, and then have my banana, Spark and nut butter and toast when I get up at 4:00 a.m.  Ahhhh, I should totally have this figured out by now.  Regardless, it’s more important that I get fuel in during the event.]

I’m excited and nervous … I’ll check back in following the event!!

via trifreaks.com

May 29th, 2012

Ready to Rock That 26.2! … Maybe?? Hopefully!

I anticipate either feeling awesome on race day (i.e., no shin pains with well-rested legs) and beating my 3:45 goal* or feeling like crap and adding time to my prior 3:59 marathon.
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via Blog of San Diego
I ran my last 20 miler two and a half weeks ago.  I was in Brussels for the week, so I decided to run in the Sonian Forest.  It was all off-road terrain with many hills.  A rather enjoyable run; however, my shins were killing me on every run that followed that week, including the 6.2 mile run in my first Olympic Tri.  I later learned that two causes of shin splints include switching up terrain and downhill running.  The recommended shin splint treatment includes: (1) rest, (2) ice, (3) ibuprofen, and (4) more rest …  ice and ibuprofen, I can do.  Rest?  Two weeks before the marathon?!?!  I know I need to taper, but no running is definitely not in the cards!
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Shin Splint Recovery Game Plan:  I took three days (Mon-Wed) off running last week, focusing on weight training and cross cardio exercises (Spin class and swimming).  Thursday, a 5-mile easy run on a trail.  No pains!!  Friday was a rest day; I swam with focus on pull drills (i.e., only arms).  A 4 miles on Saturday – No pains!!  8 miles on Sunday – No pains!!  I took Memorial Day off and ran a pace 3 mile run today.  I felt great.  I’m not getting ahead of myself – in fact, I’m still fully expecting to start running on Sunday with my shins throbbing [Note to self: need to think positive!!].
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Pre-Marathon Week Game Plan: I will ice my shins, take ibuprofen, stretch, use the foam roller and – most importantly – I’ll take it easy on my remaining runs: 4 miles tomorrow; rest Thursday and Friday (I will probably do an easy swim one day and core work the other); easy 2 miles to stay loose on Saturday; marathon on Sunday!!
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Pre-Marathon Nutrition Game Plan:  Since getting injured, I’ve been focusing more on nutrition.  In particular, I switched to a Whey Protein Isolate (purer form of protein with higher % of protein, and lower fat and carbs than Whey Protein Concentrate) and I have been taking 60 grams of this protein each day.  I am hoping the added protein will help my muscles recover fully before the 26.2.  After all, isn’t that what tapering is all about?  I also cut out alcohol for two weeks leading up to the marathon – with the exception of a couple drinks over Memorial Day weekend.  More to come on Whey Protein Isolate and whether it’s worth the added cost (and on nutrition, generally) as I get further into my Ironman training!!
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* What I really want is a 3:35 to qualify for Boston.  But, I suffered a few hiccups in my last 1.5 months of training and I’l be happy with a sub 3:45.
May 3rd, 2012

Dangers of Working Out: Wear Sunscreen

black and blue elbow

If you workout consistently, there’s always the risk of injury — this is not an excuse not to exercise!  Injuries range from torn ACLs to minor scrapes.  I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid any major injuries (knock on wood), with my worst battle wounds being 11 stitches in a game of dodgeball and bruised heels after going off a ski jump.  The latter required crutches; I think would have rather broken my foot and been on crutches than having to repeatedly explain that, no, nothing is broken, just badly bruised.  Anyway, I’ve had my fair share of bruises and scrapes – still have a nice scar from learning how to use my clip-ons.

the dodgeball incident - it wasn't pretty

My most recent injuries: badly bruised elbow from doing elbow planks and suicides on concrete floor (note to self: yoga mat is not thick enough for concrete) and a bad burn (with accompanying lovely tan lines) … bruises, I can deal with; a sunburn, however, is avoidable and plain stupid. Wear Sunscreen!

The main hurdles (for me) with wearing sunscreen while working out are (1) face sunscreen often runs resulting in watery eyes, (2) I’m often rushing from the office to a group ride and remembering my padded shorts is a higher priority than grabbing the sunscreen, and (3) lengthier bike rides require re-application, but I hate carrying excess anything on my bike and re-applying while sweaty is a mess.

Lame excuses aside, taking the time to add that spf is definitely worth it; as reported in SkinCancerNet: “When you perspire, you are even more susceptible to a burn, and with continued exposure, to wrinkles, age spots, and maybe even skin cancer.”  Further, a study comparing runners to non-runners, revealed that the “runners had more atypical moles, age spots, and other lesions that increase the risk of developing skin cancer.”  (See SkinCancerNet article, Athletes Face Tough Opponent: Skin Cancer).  I’ll be sure to take the time to lather on sunscreen this season.

April 20th, 2012

NOLA 70.3: Go Belgian Badasses! (or should I say, don’t get blown away!?)

hoping this isn't me on the bike image via Whittle's Tri World

K and I are heading out the door for another weekend trip.  This time, we’re meeting my sister Camille in New Orleans for the relay half ironman!!  I’m pumped, but also slightly concerned.  I’ve been getting cautionary e-mails regarding upcoming weather conditions in NOLA.  Apparently, we can expect extreme winds.  Great.  They already re-mapped the swim and indicated it might be turned into a duathlon (i.e., bike and run).  I guess my sister Celine should be happy she dropped out of the swim as it would have been rather disappointing to train and travel down only to have your leg of the race cancelled.

I’m renting a bike for the event … not so sure how this will turn out as the bike shop owner keeps reiterating the fact that “I have not said I am reserving road bikes for the event for anyone; instead I merely holding them for race participants.”  Whatever that means.  I just hope I don’t end up with a tandem bike or mountain bike.  With my lack of training and the expected winds, I really don’t need the extra challenge.

Colors of the Belgium flag

Team Belgian Badasses has some great neon gear along with this pretty awesome nail polish to represent the Belgium flag.  (Yes, those are also Belgium’s colors; I didn’t mistaken the order and flip the German flag.)

Even if the race is somehow altered, we have some serious touring and eating ahead of us in New Orleans!

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April 18th, 2012

Staying Motivated With Post-Run Feasts (not recommended, but hey!)

I would never endorse rewarding yourself with food, but I tend to make the occasional exceptions for post-long runs/workouts (I’m talking over 2 hours).  Why?  After burning over 1,000 calories, I think it’s okay to veer slightly off-track.  Note that I still have a recovery shake promptly after such intense workouts because my muscles need immediate TLC.

K and I picked our top restaurants/meals to “celebrate” long training runs.  [For those new to the site, we’re training for the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on June 3rd.]  After a recent 19 mile run, we enjoyed KC’s own Minsky’s Pizza and Boulevard Beer.  We’re saving the really exciting meals for the 20 milers … K has his heart (or should I say gut?) set on a Churrascaria (Brazilian Steakhouse with endless service of various meats) and Cheesecake Factory cookie dough cheesecake.  (We recently made the mistake of looking up the calorie content of one of those bad boys; it’s not pretty!)  I am looking forward to finally trying KC’s burger joint BRGR (I love Blanc (another KC burger restaurant), but I have to see what the fuss is about); also on my list: Oklahoma Joe’s pulled pork, Salmon Egg Benedict, a giant serving of gelato and a big bag of yogurt covered pretzels.

Minsky's and Boulevard

Stay on Track While Enjoying “Celebratory Meals”:  I should reiterate that even if you are putting in long hours in the gym, rewarding yourself with food is not a good idea.

  • First, your body needs high-quality protein and complex carbohydrate to recover properly.  And, you need to refuel within 60 minutes of your intense workout.  That’s why, even if I have a big meal planned, I still take a recovery shake (I mix Hammer Recoverite with Green Superfood Mix and Chia) right after my long runs/workouts.
  • Second, if you’re trying to get faster, dropping weight is the way to go and eating giant meals after every hard workout can hinder that goal.  Try to limit these celebratory meals to once a week and avoid pigging out — the protein shake will help as you won’t be famished by the time you get to the table.
  • Third, there is a risk you’ll fail to rehydrate properly.  Aim to replenish before hitting the table, where you might forget to drink enough water when concentrating on the food and/or beer/wine/pop.
  • Fourth, alcohol is not your friend when you’re training.  “Celebratory” meals can include alcohol, but try not to overdo it as it adds calories and can affect future training and recovery.

With that being said, you’re burning so many extra calories that you can afford to indulge once a week without guilt.  So, enjoy!

April 10th, 2012

Kansas City by Foot – A Long Run Favorite

One of my favorite things about living in the heart of Kansas City is getting to see so much of the city during my long runs.  It might be hard to believe, but this city really does have some great places to run.  Last Sunday’s run took me through Westport, Mill Creek Park, the Plaza, the Trolley Trail, Brookside, Waldo, the Nelson Atkins Museum, Gillham Park and Martini Corner.

If you are looking to add long run options to your training, this is one of my favorite routes.  For one, you get to see so many great KC sights (see photos below).  It also provides a good mix of hills and flat terrain (the Trolley Trail is a rather flat and soft surface ~ 10 miles down and back).  And, there are water fountains along the Trolley Trail and in Gillham Park.

 

  • Start your run in Westport, where you can find plenty of parking and great local restaurants for a post-run refuel.

Westport

 

  • Head south (downhill!) on Broadway towards the Plaza.  You’ll run by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fountain and through Mill Creek Park.  Take a stroll through the Plaza or head straight for the Trolley Trail (take the southeast exit of Mill Creek Park to reach the trail via Brookside Blvd).

Mill Creek Park & Plaza

 

  • Enjoy a peaceful stroll on the Trolley Trail through Brookside and Waldo.

Brookside Shops

Waldo Eats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Run up to 5 miles on the trail before turning back.  Take a right out of the Trolley Trail on Volker, followed by the first left to cross the creek and run through Frank A. Theis Park.  You’ll then take a right to run pass the Nelson Atkins Museum on Emanuel Clever II Blvd.

Plaza

Nelson Atkins Art Museum

  • Take a left on Campbell to head towards Gillham Park.  Run through Gillham Park, then continue North (and uphill) on Gillham until you reach 31st St.; take a right on 31st to run through Martini Corner.  Head back South on Broadway to return to Westport road.

Gillham Park

New German Restaurant/Beer Garden

March 27th, 2012

The Perfect Masseuse: Strong Hands, No Funky Scents, Silent and Only $2.19

The Perfect Masseuse

I’ve been using my foam roller on a weekly basis in hopes of working out knots from my training.  Although helpful, the roller just can’t target some of those pesky knots/trigger areas.  I know people also use balls – tennis, baseball and lacrosse balls – to target knots.  So, I decided to give this a try.

The tennis ball is a little soft and the baseball and lacrosse balls are rather hard and big.  The perfect in-between?  A bouncy-ball!  That’s right.  I found this one at CVS for $2.19 and it is great.  It provides the right amount of give, its smooth texture won’t give you a weird rash when using it on bare skin, and it’s small enough to target specific trigger areas.

You can use this the same way you’d use a foam roller – check out this Running Times article for tips on using a foam roller.

March 24th, 2012

31 days to 70.3; 73 days to 26.2; 177 days to 140.6

My 2012 race calendar is filling up quickly, maybe a little too quickly …

New Orleans relay 70.3 (swim and bike):  Time sure flies … I’ll be tapering before I start training if I don’t buckle down soon!!  I don’t know if I’m more excited about the hurricanes or the relay 70.3!  Okay, sugary alcoholic drinks aren’t really my thing (IPAs and red wines are an another story) and I enjoy torturing myself with physical challenges, so the answer is the 70.3 relay .  I am super excited to try that New Orleans cuisine, especially since I’ll need to eat twice as much after the race.

there will be little of this in the coming months!

  • Concerns: (1) I probably won’t swim in open water before the event and (2) I haven’t biked outdoors over 20 miles since last September … good weather is coming our way and I foresee a long bike ride to follow!
  • Goal:  include 2 swims per week (2,200-3,800 yards) and 2 bike rides (one spin class and one 2-3 hour ride outside).

San Diego the 26.2: I am more or less on track for the 26.2 – though I know the 16 miler I have scheduled this weekend is going to hurt – and I’m psyched to get some relaxing pre and post race beach time in San Diego!

  • Concern:  Adding the above swim and bike while continuing Hal Higdon’s training plan.
  • Goal:  Suck it up.

Sept. 15 Grand Columbian Ironman:  As crazy it might sound, I’m using these races to get in shape to start training for the ironman (my first full).

  • Concerns:  Not enough post-marathon recovery time.  Oh, and having enough time to train and surviving the event.

I am considering hiring a coach for the ironman training and recently e-mailed with someone from markallenonline.com.  During our conversation, the rep (or coach?) asked if the ironman was my main goal this season.  I replied yes, and revealed my plans to participate in a relay half ironman in April and a marathon on June 3rd.  His response: we usually don’t recommend scheduling a marathon in your training as it takes about three weeks to recover.  Me: *Expletive*

I did some quick research … a New York Times running article notes that, although not well-researched, the general consensus is recovery time = same number of days as mileage you ran – i.e., 26 days.  Hal Higdon agrees, recommending 2-3 weeks off.  Double *Expletive*

stretching, check! ice bath ... not so much

Dropping out is not an option.  This means I need to be extremely cautious in my training:

  • Ice bath.  [Initial reaction: gross and misery.]
  • Foam roller.  [Initial reaction: lucky if I do it once a week.]
  • Stretch.  [Initial reaction: does 30 sec/leg suffice?]
  • Rest.  [Initial reaction: I get really antsy.]
  • Recovery protein shakes.  [Initial reaction: yes please.]

Here goes nothing!

March 20th, 2012

San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

I am excited to announce that K and I just registered for a full marathon – the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll 26.2!!!  I’ve been trying to convince him to give one of these endurance challenges a shot and I was pleasantly surprised when he agreed with little persuading required on my part.  In fact, I even gave him a few outs: there is a 13.1 option and I offered to register for another race.  We’re registered and there is no going back now :0) !!

Course: As with most Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon events, there will be live music at every mile.  The course appears relatively flat and with average June weather in the 60s, this might just be the perfect marathon.

Training Program:  I have used Hal Hidgon’s training program for half and full marathons in the past – he provides free programs for various levels.  I’m going with the advanced, which adds interval and tempo runs.  If you are looking to drop speed and switch things up, I highly recommend including these in your training (or running routine, generally).

KC Training Runs: K and I have been doing our long runs around the plaza and trolley trail.  The hills are predictable and manageable, there are bathrooms and water fountains along the way, and we can end the run with a drink and meal at one of the many plaza restaurants.  For interval training, I’m leading a group run at liberty memorial on Monday evenings – you can find a good mix of hills, stairs, and flat surface resembling a track to vary the intervals from week to week.

Goal:  My primary goal is to complete the marathon without experiencing any pain; in particular, shin pain.  I’m taking the time to stretch and use my foam roller during my training – I sure hope it helps!  Time-wise, I’d like to finish in 3:45, but I’ll be happy with anything under 4 hrs.

With spring around the corner, there are so many great runs, triathlons, bike rides, etc. – what fun events do you have planned?!?