Sunday, January 31, 2010

Moonlight hikes are amazing

Last night Jaime and I experienced a very cool and new way to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Colorado. We went to our friends house in Boulder for some dinner and a moonlight hike. In case you didn't know, Friday night was supposed to be brightest full moon of the whole year. We went for a nice short hike Saturday night into some open space at the foot of the flatirons in Boulder. The moon was brilliant and looked so cool coming through the trees. It was really cool to see the city lights stretched out below, with the flatirons behind us. We came back to an excellent dinner of dungeness crab, asparagus, Waldorf salad and chardonnay. All in all a great night! Enjoy the pics!

We had planned to go skiing today, but decided there were too many other things to be done for the clinic. Not to mention that we didn't make it home until midnight last night, so a little extra sleep was in order. I did lay out Jaime's and my training plans for the year. The first Xterra right now is looking like Xterra 4 Corners the first weekend in June. I'd like to do on earlier, such as the West Cup in Vegas, so we'll have to see if it can be done.

Next weekend is the Sedona half. I'm feeling good about it, as I've put in the training, now it is just time to suffer for 95 minutes and make my body do what it should do. I'll have a race report shortly after that.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

2 weeks and counting

It is 2 weeks from today that a bunch of us will be gathered in Sedona, AZ for the 1/2 marathon. I'm really looking forward to a fun road trip, hanging out with friends, checking out a new part of the country, and hopefully throwing (trowing if you are from St. Bonaventure) down a new PR in the half. The road trip part of the whole weekend is a part that a lot of people probably hate, but I never cease to be amazed when I travel out here at the expanse of emptiness that you can find. We'll be going through one of those parts in western New Mexico/north eastern AZ.

The weather here was just starting to be warm enough to have all of the snow melted, and now it is looking like the possibility of some snow next week. We were so close to having the mountain bike trails clear. We would still have to ride early while they are frozen, so that we don't tear them up, but having some clear trails to ride would have been nice. Oh well, more time in the pain cave I guess. The weather is good for some hearty winter soups though, which is just what Jaime and I made this week. Actually she made it while I did the riding in the spare room. What a great wife huh? Here is the recipe if anyone wants to try it. It is easy and tasty. I would suggest adding more stock than it calls for though. This will make about 9 bowls of soup as it is listed, but obviously more if you add more stock.

This week's training went pretty well and looked like this:
2 swims so far, plus one more tomorrow - all 2,000 yards.
#1 had 6x200 at race pace intervals w/:30 recoveries as the main set
#2 had 400,300,200,3x100, all pull at endurance pace as main set.
#3 (tomorrow) has 5x100 sprint w/1:00 recovery, 400 easy, 6x50 sprint w/:30 recovery

4 bike sessions on the trainer.
#1 45 mins with 2x6:00 threshold intervals
#2 1:15 at endurance pace (thank god for criminal minds marathons on TV)
#3 60 mins with 6x:30 VO2 intervals with cadence over 110, rest at endurance pace
#4 60 mins at endurance pace

4 runs
#1 easy 2 miles
#2 easy 2 miles
#3 10 miles with 5x1 mile at 5K pace / 1/2 mile recovery jog
#4 11 miles at endurance pace.

2 strength training sessions.
#1 heavy weights (this is relative, as the weights I'm moving these days are certainly not heavy) 5 sets of 5 reps, full body.
#2 (tomorrow after swim) 300 workout. Check it out at I totally have to reduce the weight in the bench press and have to substitute for the floor sweepers and kettle ball stuff because we don't have the equipment/room at the gym for it. If you want to get completely worked over in a lifting session, try this one out. It doesn't sound all that hard until you do it, and start trying to bring your total time to complete the workout down each time. I promise, when you are done, your whole body will be shaking but you will feel awesome.

If you haven't fallen asleep reading by now, you are at least well on your way to becoming a "mentally strong" endurance athlete. Seriously, though, thanks for reading.

Happy training,


Friday, January 15, 2010

New computer & tips for beginners

Sorry, it has been awhile. I was fully intending to update the blog shortly after my last post, but last week our computer completely died. So, we had to go through the whole hard drive recovery with geek squad and set up the new computer. It is nice to be on a laptop now though. Our old computer was legitimately a POS. It was about 5 years old and had maybe 50MB of space left on it. I guess it was time.

So in my last post I said that I would put out some tips for beginners, or for people who are jumping up to a longer distance in triathlon. Either way, I'm pumped up for you and wish you the best of luck. So, without further adieu, here are some of my tips and lessons learned.

1. Get your bike fitted by a pro. You should probably be spending around 50% of your training time on your bike (depends on the distance...more on that later also). A professional bike fit goes something like this; either through video imaging and analysis of your pedal stroke or by taking manual measurements of the majority of your body and watching you ride your bike on a trainer, the fitter will adjust your pedal placement on your cleat, your seat height & fore/aft adjustment, your handlebars and possibly stem and headset. This is a back and forth process and may require different parts being swapped our. It could easily take 1-2 hours. This will go a long way toward preventing injury.

2. If you are new to the sport or have not trained consistently for awhile, do NOT increase your volume by more than 10% per week. Volume is best measured in time for the bike and run and by yards/meters for the swim. The reason that time is used instead of distance is that depending on the profile of where you bike/run and how it may change from day to day or week to week, your mileage could conceivably be very different even if you trained the same amount of time.

3. Get the Triathletes training bible by Joe Friel. This is somewhat involved reading as you do get into physiology a bit, but it helps you understand the theory behind periodized training. Then, if you don't want to design your own training plan, you can pick up a book of plans already designed. You will have the background to know what the books are saying when they say "bike 1.5 hours with 3x10 mins in zone 4 with 5 min recoveries".

4. If you get new shoes, ease into them. Don't just change shoes and go out and put in 20 or 30 miles in your new shoes. Shoes are slightly different from pair to pair, so it is best to easy your way into new shoes over a few weeks. I believe part of the reason I had an IT band injury last year may have been that I got new shoes right in my high volume weeks of the base period and started track work at the same time.

5. Get a watch with a heart rate monitor. Heart rate isn't the best measurement to train by, but it certainly beats nothing at all. Ideally you would train with power on the bike through a power meter (around $900), a garmin on the run (real time pace - anywhere from $150-$500), and pace in the swim.

6. Practice transitions. This is free time saved. It doesn't take hard workouts that make you want to puke. It takes perhaps looking a little foolish as you run out of your shower in your wetsuit and out into the yard to practice T1, but trust me, it is worth it. On a similar note, figure out if you can go sock less or not. Personally I go sock less on the bike and the run and I haven't had any problems. It helps to use tri-slide inside your shoes very liberally. On that note....

7. Use tri slide from your elbows down to your wrists, on your shoulders and neck, and from just below your knee down to your ankles, and even on your feet. This really helps the wetsuit go on and come off much easier and prevent chafing during the swim.

8. Practice open water swimming in your wetsuit before the race. Even if you are an experienced triathlete it always helps to get open water swims in throughout the season. Practice sighting on a tree in the distance and swimming in a straight line. If you have friends as crazy as you, get them in the water with you and swim in a pack to get the feeling of being kicked, elbowed, splashed, pulled, etc because that is how the swim will be until around the first buoy.

9. Make sure you can change a flat quickly. Burden yourself with a few extra ounces by carrying more than one tube and more than one CO2. You never think that a brand new tube will have a small leak, but it can happen. In fact, I would suggest that you keep a race flat kit separate from your everyday kit that goes in your saddle bag. If you keep a tube folded up it weakens it. Not to mention when it is in your saddle bag it is constantly rubbing against your tire irons, CO2's, emergency $20, multitool and chainbreaker, powerlink, cell phone, and whatever else may be in there (this was 2 tips in one, since you now know what you should have in your saddle bag at a minimum).

10. Have fun and don't forget to enjoy the view from wherever you are training. The great part about triathlon is that most of your training will take place outside. Soak it all in and you'll almost forget you are "training".

I hope you find this post useful. If you have any questions at all, just reply to the post and I'll try to address them in future posts. I'm by no means an expert, but I've got a couple of fairly successful seasons under my belt, so I may be able to shed some light on things for you.

Take care and train hard,