Archive for the ‘Training Related’ Category

Brick Workout To Consider Without Biking

Posted: April 18, 2012 by TriFREAKS Endurance Sports in Training Related

Most triathletes are familiar with one of the most important workouts to be included in the training plan – the brick workout.   The “normal” brick for triathlete’s would consist of a ride followed immediately by the run.   However, as time constraints sometimes make it difficult to include these brick sessions there is another effective alternative.   This workout can be a good tool to add to your training during your busy work seasons.  For example, just think of professionals in the tax preparation industry or other intensive seasonal businesses and they are limited by time.   As you know getting the bike ready, helmet, shoes, checking tire pressure, etc. is more time consuming to get out the door as compared to running.

The solution is to add a workout with the similar benefits of the brick workout into your next weekly long run.   The goal is to incorporate a series of functional body weight exercises – specifically a squat within the workout.   It’s highly effective and will build significant power and strength to the legs, abs, back, glute’s and the fatigue feeling in the quad’s so common with the normal brick workout.  Also, an added benefit is the mental strength that is a result of finishing this workout.   I promise you the first time you attempt the workout you will feel it the next morning!

The workout will focus on your long run for the week.  However, it can be incorporated into a shorter run, but I would suggest that the minimum time be 60 minutes for the run.

Workout:

Start with 50-100 Squats.   These can be standard body weight squats but it’s recommended to use Hindu Squats.   Check out this link for a Hindu Squat demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPSVpo4mzNI

Immediately start your long run (preferably on trails) and get into your target heart rate range 75-80%.    

Every 15 minutes during the run – stop and do 100 Hindu Squats.   Focus on the goal of 100 and pace yourself.

After finishing the run, do a max set of Hindu Squats.  These will be very difficult and push for 125-150.

Immediately replenish with your balanced recovery drink.  Some light stretching will help the soreness the following day.

The workout is perfect for runs of 2-3 hours and you will feel the burn in the quads just like the normal bike/run brick.   It’s important to pace yourself and not run to hard as the goal is to maintain the same running pace as your legs fatigue with the combination of running and Hindu Squats.

If you are planning on a 2-hour run, focus on building over time to a total of 1,000 Hindu Squats.

Have fun and happy training!

By Wayne Kurtz

Wayne Kurtz is founder of RaceTwitch.com and Endurance Racing Report,  he has a lifelong passion for racing in various endurance sport races throughout the world. He is also the author of: ‘Beyond the Iron, a training guide for ultra-distance triathlons.’

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Consider Snowshoeing

Posted: December 28, 2011 by court1980 in Equipment Related, Training Related

Snowshoeing

I have been snowshoeing for several years and just like the growth trend in all endurance activities (running, biking, triathlons,) snowshoeing is booming. It continues to receive a lot of press by all the various magazine and Internet sources. There are significant benefits to enhance overall body fitness and strength to complement your cycling and running.

Considerations for selecting a running snowshoe

1. Look for a lightweight snowshoe that offers stability (check the racer models)
2. Consider a snowshoe comparable for all conditions (heavy powder – breaking trail and hard pack/ice trails)
3. If possible test a few of the different models at a resort that offers snowshoes – also many of the snowshoe races allow model testing
4. Here are a few companies to check out their racing snowshoes (there are plenty of others):

a. Havlick Snowshoe Company (personally I love their snowshoes) www.havlicksnowshoe.com
b. Dion Snowshoes (I use their racing snowshoe for hardpack races) www.dionsnowshoes.com
c. Redfeather – www.redfeather.com
d. Atlas – www.atlassnowshoe.com
e. Crescent Moon Snowshoes – www.crescentmoonsnowshoes.com
f. Northern Lites – www.nothernlites.com
g. Tubbs Snowshoes – www.tubbssnowshoes.com
h. TSL Outdoors – www.tsloutdoor.com

I find that snowshoeing in heavy powder complements cycling and running as it uses the quads and lower abdominals to drive the legs through the snow. If the conditions are hard packed powder or ice/granular your running pace will increase because of the lack of resistance compared to heavy powder. Depending on conditions snowshoes may provide better overall traction without the slippage that sometimes occurs with the various types of running cleat systems (Yaktrax, Stableicers, or screws attached to the bottom of running shoes). An idea for a tougher workout is to add the use of poles for an overall upper/lower body workout. If you are using a heart rate monitor the increase in overall average heart rate can be dramatic especially with the addition of poles. Personally, my heart rate average for a longer (2 hours or more) snowshoe will be about 25% higher than without poles. The legs will feel heavy the first few times out in the powder but like all the other sports, gradually you will get the heart rate under control especially when running hills. You may want to consider using poles to replicate your hard running (interval) workout and for a more aerobic heart rate zone eliminate the poles. Snowshoe in the evening with a headlamp on trails is just priceless!

A good tip is to shorten the running stride similar to trail running. When running downhill’s focus landing with a midfoot strike (which will come more naturally than normal running) and it will allow the cleats to dig into the snow and will enable you to fly on the downhill’s. Downhill snowshoe running is a blast and provides a good complement to the “time gaining” advantage of downhill trail running. As many of us know with trail running races, it’s so important to learn how to run the downhill’s hard later into a race when the quads are crushed. It’s a great way to gain time against other competitors. Also, snowshoeing provides a great complement without the same impact of running hard dirt trails because of the benefits of the fluffy snow.

Looking for a challenge, try a snowshoe race and here are a few websites to check out for races and calendars:

1. www.peak.com (great tough snowshoe marathon!)
2. www.runwmac.com (snowshoe race series)
3. www.snowshoeracing.com (calendar)
4. www.perkinstownsnowshoerace.com
5. www.fingerlakesrunners.org/races/forms/Snowshoe.html
6. www.snowshoemag.com (calendar)

Have Fun!

Training Through Sickness

Posted: December 20, 2011 by court1980 in Training Related

By Wayne Kurtz

We all face it, the flu, cold, virus, etc. and how much can we train through the misery. Questions such as do we just stop training and wait for full recovery or just train through it. It’s the time of the year of the flu season so be prepared and the main goal is to get your body back as quickly as possible to regular training but not regressing into the sickness again.

Training while Sick

I have found through the years, especially after an intensive or key event (my immune system is low) that I get sick. We all have higher than normal pain thresholds and sometimes-just push “through it”. It’s important to evaluate how you feel and in most cases you can continue training through the cold, sore throat, or flu like symptoms. However, your energy levels will be reduced thus allowing for a shorter less intense workout. If your facing a fever, no training! General cold like symptoms can be miserable but many times running outside can clear your head and offer a cleansing feeling. You might feel excessive fatigue (which tells me you might of pushed to hard or went to long) after training with a sickness. Focus on immediate replenishment of electrolytes and calories as you may become dehydrated quicker (especially if your taking some medication). I have found that cycling on an indoor trainer or slow jogging on the treadmill work very well to get the workout in but keep the effects of the environment out of the equation.

The common cold and minor flu like symptoms are the easiest to continue training. In many cases, if I experience just a cold I will continue along with normal intensity workouts. If you are facing significant sickness issues then reduce or eliminate all training until your feel your energy back on track. Yes common sense prevails but for minor sickness test it and go by your own feel of training vs. energy. Remember, the key is not to get a setback, which can just lengthen the time to be back to 100%.

The “Dreaded” Swim

Posted: November 22, 2011 by court1980 in Training Related

by Wayne Kurtz

Many athletes who consider coming over to the side of triathlon from their normal disciplines of running and cycling dread learning how to swim. As we all know it’s much harder to learn appropriate swimming technique when you learn as an adult vs. a child. It’s just easier to learn how to run and bike. I have conversations all the time with runners who want to attempt a triathlon but get intimidated with learning how to swim and the magnitude of swimming in a sea of bodies in the open water during a race.

It’s important to understand for all athletes that the race is never won in the swim; however it’s imperative that energy needs to be consumed to some degree for the cycling and running disciplines of the triathlon. As we all know, joining a Master’s swim program or individual instruction from an experienced coach or training camp is a start to perfecting your swim technique. More than cycling and running, swimming technique and getting a “feel” for the water is what is necessary for strong performances. Since I started into triathlons from a swimming background it’s sometimes difficult to be objective with respect to the concern and sometimes terror I hear from other athletes concerned about the swim. However, like anything else in life it’s important to spend time on your weaknesses and for athletes with no swimming background (and of course not as fun as their main sports of running and cycling) there is a tendency to not spend much time in the water.

7 items to consider improving you’re swimming and preparing for a triathlon:

  1. Don’t just swim in the pool. If the triathlon swim is open water, spend 1 day a week minimum with another partner (not alone) with open water swimming. Very different without lane lines to follow.
  2. Practice “sighting” with your head out of the water so you can simulate looking for buoys in the distance. Practice this in the pool as well by doing several laps with your head out of the water.
  3. Practice swimming with fogged goggles – yes it can happen race day and be prepared and it will eliminate panicking.
  4. Practice how to efficiently turn around a buoy, which can cost a lot of time in a long swim such as an Ironman. It’s important to set yourself up to come around the buoy and not lose much momentum if it’s a 180-degree turn.
  5. Learn how to swim in open water without goggles. You may lose your goggles in a crowded swim and get hit with an elbow or hand. If it happens in a race you will be prepared and not panicked. Yes, you will get hit in the head at some point during a race!
  6. Experiment with different types of goggles that fit well and you can use for longer swims without eye socket pain.
  7. Practice quick transitions to remover your wetsuit. Use Pam cooking spray around your angles (it works best – better than Body Glide and petroleum based products) so the wetsuit easily slides off the most difficult section – your ankles.

Don’t get overwhelmed and intimidated by the swim. Get the necessary instruction and make a personal commitment to improve over a period of time through gradual progression. It’s the offseason so no better time to learn how to swim!

International Destination Race | Part 2

Posted: October 19, 2011 by TriFREAKS Endurance Sports in Training Related

Not all international events are created equal.  Variables in overall cost, vacation or holiday time off from work (for those who work), are different; but I promise that an international destination race will provide a lifetime of memories and of course, a few need friends.

Here are 6 items to remember to enhance your international travels to a specific destination race:

  1. Always arrive two to three days early to eliminate stress from unexpected problems such as lost luggage.   It also gives you time to adjust to the new time zone and reduce jetlag.
  2. Check with local officials to determine if there are any issues by bringing specific race-day energy through customs.
  3. Get a complete understanding of the electrolyte drinks, food items, etc. that will be served during the race.
  4. At the pre-race meeting if you have a question,just ask the race-director team.  It always amazes me how many times athletes just don’t ask for whatever reason.
  5. Adjust to the local cuisine gradually prior to the race.  I have seen many athletes who have experienced sour stomachs by not sticking to basic food items prior to the race.  Experiment after the race – and of course, celebrate your great memories and race performance!
  6. Make sure you check to ensure you have the write electrical converters for charging your electronic equipment.

Don’t overanalyze every detail when traveling to an international race.  If things don’t go according to plans just keep your cool and things always work out.   Embrace the food, culture, people and most
of all smile and make some new lifelong friends.  Also, it’s a learning process and the more your travel it may become something to add to your regular goal list – add an international race.   Remember to smile as they are free and of course the best things in life are free!

By Wayne Kurtz

Wayne Kurtz is founder of RaceTwitch.com and Endurance Racing Report,  he has a lifelong passion for racing in various endurance sport races throughout the world. He is also the author of: ‘Beyond the Iron, a training guide for ultra-distance triathlons.’

Facing An Injury During a Long Distance Race

Posted: October 15, 2011 by TriFREAKS Endurance Sports in Training Related

We have all faced those rough sections of a race when it’s so hard to push forward.   I recently experienced this situation while racing in an ultra distance triathlon (DECA Iron – 10 Ironmans 10 days in a row).   This situation was unique for me and many of you may have faced it in an
event.

I experienced significant swelling from the top of my foot up through the shin area.    It was something completely new to me and the pain was excruciating.   I was not able to run the marathons on days 5 and 6 and mentally it was a challenge to keep going (8 hour marathons walking).    After consulting with the
professionals, it was not going to do any long-term damage and was caused by irritation of the sheathing covering the shinbone.   Also, probably a minor stress fracture.

We learned from other athletes who were experiencing similar pain and with some new technology we were able to lessen the pain and by the 7th day I was back to running the marathons.   If you have not used Kinesio tape in the past for an injury it’s worth checking out.  Also, for those of you like me who occasionally use running compression sleeves for the lower leg, consider using a complete compression sock.   It was remarkable that with Kinesio taping, a full compression sock that I borrowed from another athlete along with Ibuprofen that the pain and especially the swelling reduced significantly.    It’s something to consider if you ever experience muscle or joint pain during a long race.

There are many different types of Kinesio tape available in the marketplace along with specific books, classes and video resources on how to exactly tape the affected area.    I am still amazed how effective the product worked in combination with the compression full socks.

The key for me was to continue to tell myself to keep moving no matter how slow I was going during the race.   Also, there was no option of not finishing
and had it embedded into my subconscious unless I faced a serious injury, etc.   The key is to have a plan in place on how you will deal with the big challenges of a long race.    Consider different strategies on how to with an injury or painful situation during a race.

By Wayne Kurtz

Wayne Kurtz is founder of RaceTwitch.com and Endurance Racing Report,  he has a lifelong passion for racing in various endurance sport races throughout the world. He is also the author of: ‘Beyond the Iron, a training guide for ultra-distance triathlons.’

Consider An International Destination Race | Part 1

Posted: October 5, 2011 by TriFREAKS Endurance Sports in Training Related

The good news for endurance sports and massive expansion around the globe offers great alternatives to consider for experiencing a destination race.   We can expect the expansion to continue as more athletes globally become involved in the sport – and further exposure in the media and through word of mouth attracts more athletes to join in the challenge.

Athletes who love to travel, especially to some places “off the beaten path,” you can leverage the events being held in so many wonderful countries to do some amazing sightseeing.  I suggest you plan some vacation time in and around the race events held in the various countries to really experience the culture and scenery.  Consider Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia, in Eastern Europe as a nice change.  Many race directors will also plan group excursions or provide advice on must-see attractions and landmarks in specific cities or countries.

Athletes, for whom international travel is not the norm, may feel trepidation and nervousness about leaving the country – especially if they plan to travel solo.   First, if you are new to the sport with no international travel experience, make sure you get a passport.  Now let me assuage any fears you may have.  I know you might be worries about language barriers, cultural differences or even political
problems, but let me be the first to reassure you by experience, it will be fine.   Embrace the traveling experience.  Many times I mention to other athlete’s considering traveling to a destination race that, “ You just have to go with the flow.”   Everything will work out but you need to be open-minded and flexible.

Many race directors take personal responsibility by working with their staff to ensure your safety and comfort.   They will coordinate airport pick up and drop off at the proper venues, including car rental locations and hotels.

These international events build a community of interest and create long-lasting friendships. This family atmosphere is common at almost every event I’ve ever attended – and every athlete is a part of that greater family that includes directors and volunteers.

More information to come with the next post!

By Wayne Kurtz

Wayne Kurtz is founder of RaceTwitch.com and Endurance Racing Report,  he has a lifelong passion for racing in various endurance sport races throughout the world. He is also the author of: ‘Beyond the Iron, a training guide for ultra-distance triathlons.’