Posts tagged ‘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]  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).

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.


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!!


August 2nd, 2012

Istanbul by Foot … First Class Tour of a First Class City

Blue Mosque

True to my Staying on Track on Vacation post, I enjoyed a few long runs while on a recent trip to Turkey (ah-mazing!).  An early morning run is a great way to sneak a peak at the locals’ everyday life, and – bonus! – you can experience cultural sights without the huge crowds.

I started my run in the shaded Taksim square.  I then headed towards a less touristic area – lots of stray cats and dogs in these parts; I’ll admit one stray worried me slightly when he started following me with a vicious bark.

After my glimpse at an ordinary Turkish weekday morning (and surviving the strays), I ventured across the Golden Horn, ran past the Spice Market, the Grand Bazar, the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii), Hagia Sophia, Dolmabahçe Palace and the Galata Tower.

Talk about speed-touring!  And I had a delicious post-run meal to look forward to:

Doner Kebap

I’m a little concerned about the implications this fantastic vacation will have on my Ironman training.  My family thought I was crazy for running 1-2 hours most days; little do they realize I should be putting in twice (or more) the hours!  I hope to get back on track fast as 9/15 is right around the corner!

Taksim square

Galata Tower

We have cow statutes ... they have fish!

June 14th, 2012

Compression Socks: Fashion or Fitness?

I’d like to think both!  I’ve been using compression gear for recovery, training and races … and, I’ll admit it, I like their neon color options.  Do they work?  “Compression socks were created to help diabetics improve their circulation, and now they’ve become popular with runners and triathletes looking to boost blood flow and run faster.” (Feel the Squeeze, by Peter Segal in Runner’s World).  Joel Friel (a triathlon guru) reports that top Ironman competitors boast the following about compression gear:

  • improving venous return to the heart,
  • preventing muscles from moving unnecessarily as with excess vibration meaning less fatigue, and
  • speeding recovery.

After analyzing research on compression gear, Mr. Friel concluded that compression socks appear to lead to a speedier recovery.  He then noted that until further research is conducted on healthy athletes, we will just have to rely on experienced athletes who have used them.  That’s good enough for me!



Compression Socks During 26.2 and for Recovery is running a discount of 50% on procompression marathon socks (; discount code: Active50).  I’ve only used CEP gear, but at 50%, it might be worth giving these bad boys a try!

June 8th, 2012

Carbo-Loading (and more) to Rock the 26.1!!

I’m not a sports nutritionist, but I’ve participated in enough endurance events to pick up a few nutrition tips.  One of the most important factors for a successful race is testing and finalizing your nutrition plan before the event.  I’m still playing around with race fuel for my upcoming IM, but I already have certain things ironed out.  For example, I know I can’t handle chomps/chews on a run — K, on the other hand, loves them.  Prepping for a race nutritionally starts weeks before the event, but we’ll focus on the week leading up to the event for now.

Travel Fuel Bag

Here are the general dietary guidelines I am following the week before the marathon:
  1. Daily caloric intake does not change, only the % of carbs.
  2. Aim for 70% carbs three days before the race.  Look for healthy carbs and avoid high-fiber options (fiber uses water storage to process the food and may give you that full feeling which will deter your ability/willingness to take in more carbs).
  3. Continue to take Whey Protein Isolate to help muscles recovery.
  4. Consider a 3-minute high intensity workout on Saturday morning to promote glycogen supercompensation.  [I just read this, so I’m not certain I’ll add this to my pre-race plan]
  5. Drink LOTS of water.
  6. Vitamin C to keep healthy, especially while traveling.
Race Morning:
  1. I’ll aim for a carb-heavy breakfast two hours before start-time.  I usually go with a peanut butter and banana sandwich (love them!!), but since I’m out of town I might settle for a Cliffs Bar (which I also love).
  2. I’m considering coconut water for its purported high electrolyte content.  [I drank a little at a recent triathlon and really liked it.]
  3. Lots of water up until 45-60 minutes pre-race.
  4. Spark for energy.
Race Fuel:
  1. Water at every station.  [Tip: squeeze the top of the cup to make a smaller drink hole to avoid spilling the entire cup.]
  2. Gel – one/hour; a caffeinated gel for the last 45-60 minutes.
  3. Hammer Perpetuum – I’ll take this tab about 15 minutes before race time.
Post-Race Fuel:
  1. Whatever they have at the finish line – anything high in carbs, sodium and protein – and lots of water.
  2. Protein powder.


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.
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!
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!!].
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!!
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!!
* 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 7th, 2012

Belgium Badasses ~ Race Review: 70.3 IM New Orleans

Belgium Badasses

I just participated in the Ochsner 70.3 Ironman in New Orleans on April 22, 2012.  The main downside with this 70.3 is that the event took place 10-15 miles outside the city.  It would have been much more exciting to end in the French Quarter with a hand grenade in hand.  Nonetheless, I would recommend this event: (1) it’s a flat course, (2) two-loop run is, in my opinion, better than three, (3) out and back bike is more enjoyable than loops, (4) great volunteers, and (5) you can visit most of New Orleans in 4 days.

The swim was cancelled due to high winds, which obviously meant terribly windy conditions on the bike.  For those just tuning in, my youngest sister and I did the 70.3 as a relay.  I was to do the swim and bike, and she the 13.1 run.  I’ll be honest, I was not too disappointed when I heard the 1.2 mile swim was replaced with a 2 mile run.

2 Mile Run:  I started us off with a decedent run thanks to the 60+ year old woman that kicked my butt. When I do these events, I often see participants and think, “okay, I should be able to beat this person without a problem” only to be blown away by their physical abilities.  This was a prime example of such thinking.  [Note:  my watch clocked in at slightly more than 2 miles, just saying.]

52 Mile Bike:  A 70.3 bike is generally 56 miles, but they had a last minute change of course that chopped off 4 miles.  This was okay with me.  I am not exaggerating when I say at least 40 miles of the ride had side- or head-winds.  To make matters worse, I rented a bike and man was I hurting.  If I ever rent again, I am definitely packing my own saddle!

It’s both motivating and discouraging when you’re doing a relay 70.3 and you see non-relay participants fly by knowing they still have a 13.1 run after the bike while I can go enjoy a frosty beverage.

Cam kicking butt

13.1 Mile Run:  It was an impressive performance for Camille’s first 13.1.  It’s much harder to do a 13.1 in a relay 70.3 setting – you start at different times, it’s warmer out because you’re starting later in the day, and there are people of all pace-levels around you at all times (cf. 13.1 event, where the fast racers start first or eventually make their way to the front).  And, being from Oregon, the New Orleans warmer weather packed on an added challenge.  I am very proud of my younger sister!

I really enjoyed doing this race as a relay.  If you’re thinking about starting triathlons, I recommend doing a relay to get a taste of the experience!!  The energy at these events is catching and you get to see some pretty amazing world-class athletes.

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!

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 11th, 2012

Coming Up: Staying on Track on Vacation

Image via Northwest Oregon Tours

K and I planned a last minute trip to Portland this weekend.  I’m so excited to explore the city and its surroundings, experience the microbrews and see my family.  Staying on track on vacation can be challenging – eating out, touring, sleeping in, drinking, eating some more … all things that can get in the way of eating smart and staying fit.

I always try to squeeze in workout time while on vacation so I can enjoy the food and drinks without getting way off track.  Since K and I are both training for the 26.2 in June, we’re aiming for at least one long run and a few shorter runs.  I might be in the minority, but I like having a training schedule to keep me working out on vacation.  And, running is such a great way to explore a city, so I’m actually really looking forward to the long run!

Potential issues: bad weather, no easy access to a swimming pool or road bike (for my relay 70.3 training), no hotel gym, bad hotel gym, overindulging in the local brews, eateries, and wine.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

What are your tricks and tips for staying on track on vacation?