This is a great article from First Endurance Nutrition. So often when training and racing hard, athletes lean towards low-glycemic foods, simply because it’s thought to be a healthier option. But when getting energy to working muscles is the primary concern, going with simple sugars is the way to go.
Endurance nutrition is often the difference between a great race and a DNF. Below are five of the most popular questions we get at First Endurance.
If you have any questions that are not answered here, just drop us a note at research@firstendurance, use our twitter feed or the First Endurance facebook page.
1. Is there an optimal percentage to shoot for of calories consumed vs. calories burned during a workout?
Trying to consume the calories you burn during a workout is something that is often misunderstood. During a workout you only need to focus on replacing the glycogen you burn. Glycogen is your stored carbohydrates and typically an athlete will have approximately 2-2.5 hours of stored glycogen in their muscles and liver. Regardless of what you consume, your body will transform it into working glucose-which is your working energy. In other words, if you consume maltodextrin OR protein while exercising, your body will convert it into glucose. While exercising you burn a combination of carbohydrates and fat. At a slow pace it’s mostly fat and at a pace near or above your aerobic threshold it’s mostly carbohydrates. By knowing this, you can ‘guestimate’ how much you need to replace. If you want to know exactly how much you need to replace you can undergo a substrate utilization test.
Continue reading When racing or training hard – High-glycemic is good, low-glycemic is bad
The title of this tip pretty much says it all. When out training, don’t get caught up on needing to feel good all the time. As athletes we always want to feel like we’re superstars in the pool, on the bike, or out running. But the truth is, in order to see improvement we have to generate enough fatigue that we end up having some pretty awful workouts. Pushing through these uncomfortable workouts is often what generates the biggest gains in the end. Not to mention the mental satisfaction you’ll receive from finishing that workout when at first you thought sitting on the couch would be a better option.
The main thing is to at least give the workout a try. Do not skip a planned training session prior to at least getting out the door. Get out there, give the workout 100% of your attention and see how much of it you can accomplish. It really does come down to making that mental switch from; “Wow, this workout isn’t going to happen.” To; “Alright, lets see if I can do this.”
Even though we’re lucky enough to escape the snow during winter, we still enjoy getting on the treadmills and trainers once in awhile. Here’s a couple of our favourite workouts that make time FLY!
Treadmill Workout: 55-60 minutes, but very easy to add or decrease the time. We always set the treadmill at at least 1% incline.
–9 x 5 minutes, increasing the speed by 0.5 MPH every 5 minutes. This ends up being a total increase of 4 MPH over 45 minutes. Start slow! For Trevor it looks like:
5 min @ 7.5MPH
5 min @ 8.0MPH
5 min @ 8.5MPH
5 min @ 9.0MPH
5 min @ 9.5MPH
5 min @ 10.0MPH
5 min @ 10.5MPH
5 min @ 11.0MPH
5 min @ 11.5MPH
Some days the last 5 minutes is extremely hard, so we’ll drop the incline to 0 for the last interval. Or, every minute, increase the speed by 0.1 instead of a full 0.5 for the entire interval.
After the last interval, go straight into:
10 x 1 min at slow pace and 0% incline (Trevor at 8.0 MPH), increasing gradient by 1% every minute. The last 3 minutes of this end up being uncomfortable: Example: 8.0MPH at 9% for last minute.
Cool down as desired.
Continue reading Treadmill and Trainer workouts to make time fly
Here’s a few quick tips to help get the most from your pool time this winter.
Bring a workout:
Having a workout printed out on a piece of paper (in a baggie to keep it dry) helps insure you’ll get the planned workout done. Simply going to the pool with the intention of swimming doesn’t cut it. Write it down and get it done! That said, your swim workout doesn’t need to be so complicated that you waste time standing at the end of the pool trying to figure it all out.
Swim long and swim lots:
4000-6000 yards? Yep, you are, after all, training for an Ironman…or maybe not. Understandably not everyone is going to have the time to swim that much, 5 or 6 times per week. But do your best to get a length of swim that is longer than your planned distance at least once per week.
Use the clock:
Continue reading Get the most out of your pool time
The quick and dirty answer for triathletes is – NO.
Racing yourself into shape sounds easy enough, but as triathletes it’s a very hard thing to accomplish. Cyclists can race themselves into shape very effectively, simply by racing multi-day races, racing both days of the weekend – week after week, or by doing weekday evening criteriums and time-trials. Triathletes simply do not have the luxury of tackling that many races back to back, which is essentially what’s required for this strategy to work effectively. For the most part we’re restricted to one-day races, typically only on the weekends. By trying to race too much, say every week or even every couple weeks, you’ll never (rarely) be able to properly commit to a block of consistent training.
Continue reading Is racing yourself into shape an effective strategy?
We’re willing to bet that one of the biggest differences between an athlete that sees improvement every year, and one that struggles to hit new goals the following season, is the length of time they take for the off-season. And by off-season, we mean not doing any triathlon training at all. So, how long is an appropriate recovery from the year spent racing and training? Look for about 2 weeks of ‘doing whatever’ before getting back into some form of structured training. Two weeks may not seem like a long time, but when you factor in the number of times you’ve tapered and recovered through the year, those days of recovery really start to add up.
Look at a typical Ironman taper and recovery – for us as professionals it’s two weeks on either side. Two week taper where we continue to train, but at about half the volume of our big training weeks. Then the recovery, in general we give it two weeks of easy ‘get out and move’ type training before getting back into the swing of things, building up to normal volume. After our last big race of the year we’ll use that two weeks recovery period as our off-season (no tri training required). For a Half Iron distance race the taper and recovery is even shorter – maybe a 4 day limited taper and a few days easy recovery training post race. So, if you were to do 2 Ironman races in a year – that’s already 2 MONTHS of easy training. Pretty hard to justify a long off season with that sort of downtime already incorporated into the year – at least if you’re serious about improving.
If you train consistently throughout the year, your body won’t NEED the extended off season.
This ‘tip’ comes to us from an Elite and Age Group coach, Paulo Sousa.
In Greek mythology, sirens were bird-women, portrayed as seductresses, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island.
In endurance circles, we have our version of the sirens. Their song tells us there is an easier, faster way to be successful. You can train less, recover more and be more successful than your peers. You can have balance in your life and still be on top of those that relentlessly pursue the same goals you have.
Especially sensible to the song are those that are looking for the shortcut, those that think there is a secret, easier way to achieve their goals. Those that constantly doubt themselves and their path and look for clues to achieve success. “This is hard, there HAS to be an easier way!”
Invariably, these athletes end up shipwrecked, by simply lacking the necessary consistency in training to be successful. Invariably, these athletes are beaten by those that have kept their head down, stayed on the path and went through the process. Invariably, listening to the song of the sirens gets you further away from your goals.
Continue reading Song of the sirens
First off, we use the term “stride” to mean a short build to faster than race pace for approximately 15-20 seconds with a walking rest of about 1 minute. It’s not a max effort sprint (but not too far off either). Strides are primarily done after a run, to trigger some fast twitch muscles and work on proper run form.
So, if you’re running on a treadmill and have strides on tap, how do you go about doing them? Changing the speed for a 15-20 second stride on a treadmill can be mighty annoying if you’re constantly trying to push buttons. Instead of worrying about changing the speed at all, simply set the treadmill to the pace you’d like to do your interval. When you’re done with y0u’re 15-20 second effort simply jump off and walk around the gym a bit to recover. When it’s time to go again, jump back on and you’ll already be at full speed. Note: Use of the handrails for a couple seconds is strongly advised!
Continue reading Strides on a treadmill
Despite using an 11/23 rear cassette with 39/53 front chain rings for many years, our favorite gearing for racing and training has shifted to an 11/26 rear cassette and 39/53 front chain rings. This set up allows you to keep a higher cadence on hills and prevent that excessive leg burn that can be so detrimental to finishing your race with a strong run leg. On extremely hilly, long-distance courses such as IM St. George, we’ll even use a 12/28 rear cassette. A general rule of thumb is that if there is any question at all – go with the easier gearing.
Long, steep climbs aside, having the larger gears in back can also help save you from that oh-so-annoying shift to the small chain ring when you hit some small rollers or false flat sections. Having the ability to stay in your 53 front ring and get into the 23 cog on the back without crossing the chain over too far can be nice advantage.
One small disadvantage to having a cassette like a 12/28 is that you lose the ability to pedal hard at over 40 miles per hour. I.e. when you’re going downhill. In our opinion that little bit of lost speed on fast downhill sections is more than made up for on the rest of the hilly course.
Continue reading What gears should I use?
RULE 60: Pre-race, you must be tranquilo, resting on your top tube thusly. This may also be extended to any time one is aboard the bike, but not riding it, such as at stop lights or while waiting for riding partners
As triathlete we often bear the brunt of many jokes coming from die-hard road cyclists – AKA: Roadies. Quite honestly, many of these jokes are well deserved! Here’s a collection of rules put together by the Velominati, we suggest you read them and learn. As comical as they are, there is an element of seriousness to all of them.
Here’s a quick sample before going over to read the list in it’s entirety, which by having read this far you are required to do.
Socks can be any damn colour you like. White is old school cool. Black is good, but once again were given a bad image by a Texan whose were too long. DeFeet Wool-E-Ators rule.
Continue reading The rules of the road(ie)