Training does not always have to feel good

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 [...]

Get the most out of your pool time

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:

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Is racing yourself into shape an effective strategy?

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.

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How long should your off-season be?

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 [...]

Strides on a treadmill

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! :)

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The rules of the road(ie)

 

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.

RULE 28:
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.

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Slanted roads

For safety reasons, so you can see cyclists and motorists coming your way, it is generally smart to run against traffic. However, most roads have some off camber slant to the shoulder and over the course of many miles and training runs day after day, this camber can put [...]

Remember to hydrate when it's cold

It’s the time of the year when a lot of us are doing runs and rides in cooler conditions.  You may not be losing much fluid through perspiration, but cold, dry air can still dehydrate you very quickly.  Depending on how cold the weather is, it can be quite uncomfortable to try and drink from a water-bottle.  Your fingers may even be too cold to squeeze the bottle effectively.  In cases like that, it is very important to drink more than you would like before and after the workout.

If you’re extremely hard-core and ride in temperatures where your water bottle actually freezes, the best thing to do is mix a slightly stronger than normal drink – First Endurance EFS, for example.  The sugars and electrolytes will not only help keep you hydrated and topped up calorically, but the solution will keep the fluid drinkable.  Then again, they make some pretty darn good indoor trainers nowadays!

So, the next time you’re out riding or running in cold weather and you start feeling a little lethargic, think about the fluids you’ve taken in; it’s possible you could be running on empty.  Your body needs to be hydrated in order to function at its optimal level. If there isn’t enough liquid in your body, essential functions like circulation don’t go as smoothly as they should.  Proper hydration will also help regulate body temperature and keep you in a good mood. If you haven’t been drinking enough water, you can feel tired, cranky, or irritable. You might even imagine that you’re hungry, when your body is actually craving is water.

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Easy is EASY, hard is HARD

The subject line sums up this tip perfectly.  Essentially, make your easy days easy so that you can make your hard days very hard.  By avoiding the big ring on your easy ride days, keeping power caps, and staying below certain HR’s or paces on your easy run days, [...]

Pre Race Mental Prep

The last week of before a big race can be one of the hardest for a triathlete to bare. You’ve done all the work, your training volume is way down and you may feel lethargic and antsy all at the same time. This is a perfect time to sit down and spend some time writing mental training notes for your big day. Sometimes we are super prepared on every other front, but we forget to have a concrete set of form cues and positive affirmations ingrained in our brains for easy access on race day. Writing things down in a journal before each race can help calm you down and give you concrete focus points. It is also great to go back and look over what you’ve written post race to see where you may have missed something or where you really succeeded mentally/strategically now that your performance is in the books.

Here are some suggestions for things to write about:
- put down realistic goal times for each discipline e.x.: I will swim 1:05, I have trained well in the pool, my form is improving all the time, remember that last time trial, this is totally within my reach
- write key words for each discipline that help you remember essential form cues or things that make you smile to get thru hard times. e.x. for swimming: “long an strong”, “catch”, “fishy”, riding: “pull up”, “patience”, “I rule”; running: “light”, “quick”, “chest up”, “Kenyans move over” etc… whatever works for you and makes you remember important things.
- don’t write passively, use powerful positive language: I will succeed, I will focus on my form and this will enable me to maintain my speed, my body is infinitely more powerful than I know I just need to be in the moment and free myself to excel, if I feel bad I may just need more electrolytes – do a body scan, I will get through hard times…
- write a newspaper headline about yourself “upcoming age-group athlete sets new bike course record”, “Mother of two conquers her demons”, “Irongeezer takes the day”…

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