Staying Comfortable on the Bike

Posted: November 9, 2011 by court1980 in Equipment Related
BIke Comfort on the Incline from Hell - Diabloman Triathlon

BIke Comfort on the Incline from Hell - Diabloman Triathlon

As you begin to attempt longer bike rides in preparation for events or tours, it’s imperative to focus on overall comfort on the bike.     Make sure you are fitted for you bike frame appropriately.   I see the riding positions of so many triathletes and the bikes are incorrectly sized for their specific height.   Bike fit is definitely important but there are other items to consider when you start moving up the distance on the bike to ensure you stay on the bike as long as possible.

Here are 9 areas to consider changing if experience significant fatigue, soreness, and overall reduction in comfort.

  1. Seat Type – Believe it or not a firm saddle in most cases is better for handling long distance cycling vs. all the various gel saddles and new gimmicks on the marketplace.   Personal preference of course is the most important; try several saddles at your bike store just to sit on to get an overall feel
  2. Seat Height – Along with appropriate bike fitting, seat height is crucial to ensure you don’t get additional stress on the lower back.   How many times have you seen an individual coming off the bike and they are experiencing lower back pain.    Many potential causes of lower back pain, but seat height are normally on the list.
  3. Cycling Shorts – Make sure your cycling shorts have a wicking pad along with good fit.   Any bunching can easily lead to saddle sores – trust me on this one!
  4. Cycling Shoes – Fit of cycling shoes is crucial to eliminate the common occurrence of “hot spots”.   When riding in hotter weather your feet will swell so for a long distance event in the summer you may consider a ½ size bigger shoe.
  5. Pedals – Longer events can cause foot pain and numbness.   See how your respond to using a popular Speed Play pedal vs. a large flat plated pedal.   Many athletes convert to a flat plate pedal vs. all the
  6. Helmet – Aero helmets are effective when you in the aero position only.  They are an inhibitor when riding in an upright position.
  7. Aero Bar comfort – Handle bar and aero bar height similar to saddle height can cause significant neck pain along with fingertip pain when not adjusted appropriately.   Having a bit higher position on the aero bar will
  8. Good cycling gloves – Buy a correctly fitted glove and expect numbness in the fingertips for extremely long rides over 200 miles.   It just happens!
  9. Bento Box or (food holder) – Consider using a food box on your top-tube to eliminate reaching back into your shirt pocket for food, etc.   It becomes very difficult later into a long event

Comfort on the bike is crucial to great race or event performances.  The off-season is a perfect time to experiment with some alternatives.

Top 10 Off Season Workouts

Posted: November 3, 2011 by court1980 in Uncategorized

Top 10 Off-Season Workout Options

What are you going to add to your off-season workouts to improve a weakness area? There are many to consider that will provide crossover benefits to your specific sport discipline. Here is a list to consider taking into account that you have access to snow and/or the mountains in your respective area.

These are in no specific order of ranking just for consideration purposes:

  • Cross Country Skiing – Aerobic Engine work!
  • Snow Shoe Running – Power, Aerobic and Anaerobic
  • Cross Fit/strength training – Intensive strength and Anaerobic Workouts
  • Cyclo Cross – Cycling Technique, Anaerobic
  • Mountain Biking if it’s not your specific sport – bike handling skills development
  • P90X or Insanity DVD programs – Power, speed
  • Alpine hiking (mountains) – Long Distance training within aerobic zone
  • Mixed Martial Arts – You might think this is crazy but an amazing workout – Power and strength building of course with some pain involved!
  • Stair Climbing (Racing as well) – Quad Burn and Lung Burn workouts!
  • Speed Skating – Long distance or interval workouts – Aerobic engine workout along with amazing lactic acid quad burn.

This is just a list for considerations and there are plenty of other workouts to add to your normal routine. There are various benefits to each of the workouts or sport disciplines above and find one that will provide additional benefits to you main endurance sport. Time to embrace the off-season and get ready to build in areas for improvement for 2012! Have fun.

How Did Your Race Season Turn Out?

Posted: October 24, 2011 by court1980 in Uncategorized

How Did Your Race Season Turn Out?

It’s that time of the year again as the racing season is winding down to consider what went well or not according to plan with your season.    Late fall is the perfect time to not only reflect on the season but to focus on all the great memories, new experiences in addition to the race performance.

I think we all face the minor post race depression after the “big event” of the year.   All the training, juggling schedules, sickness, injury, and other factors comes to a finality at the finish line of the key event of the year and for many the mind starts to focus on the next season.   Consider stepping back and spending time writing down (not just reviewing in your mind) all the highlights and challenges of the season.    The value of writing on paper is to look back at the journey of the season.  Remember, in many cases it’s the journey that is most important not always the finality of the race.

Consider writing down the following:

  1. Top 3 races of the season.
  2. Top 3 epic workouts.
  3. Top 3 new training ideas.
  4. Top 3 new relationships that were built over the season.
  5. What 3 areas will you focus on to improve your race performances?
  6. What were your 3 biggest weaknesses and how will you improve in 2012?
  7. What are your 3 strengths in your specific racing discipline?
  8. How many hours per week did your train?
  9. How many hours will your increase or decrease per week in 2012?
  10. Why do your race?

 

After evaluating the above questions and your season of personal reflection it’s time to look at your schedule and determine some new goals for the 2012 season.  For many it might not be a race but a personal journey to do a non-event challenge.  For example, a point-to-point run, hiking a classic trail, touring a new destination in the mountains in a foreign country, long distance ride, etc.    Consider learning some new skills, as being a lifetime learner is important in the changing world of new training ideas in endurance sports.    Finally consider mentoring a new athlete and spread the word of the passion of endurance sports.

Remember it’s about the memories and journey and not always a specific race!

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.’

Don’t Ever Forget the Jump Rope

Posted: September 28, 2011 by TriFREAKS Endurance Sports in Training Related

Yes, there are so many training tools from years ago.   Remember the Nordic Track cross-country ski machine, how about the abdominal wheel, of course there are many others.   One that I continue to use regularly every week of the year is the jump rope.

Jumping rope and learning the various techniques improves so many areas’ that have cross over benefits for endurance-based sports.  Yes, even for ultra distance events!   Jumping rope improves overall body strength and speed/turnover.  If you travel on business, it’s great to throw in the luggage. It’s a great tool to use for warming up or combining with other workouts.

For example, add to hill repeats (running) and at the bottom of the hill after your recovery grab the rope for 2 minutes of quick jumping and then climb the hill (repeat several sets).  Do this workout
weekly and you will notice strength improvements in the calves along with an increase of your turnover when climbing the hill.   Not easy, but huge benefits!

Combine jumping rope with bike intervals as well and build over time to several minutes.   I highly recommend adding to your routine and the more you jump consistently the better you will become on
technique and speed.   Using a jump rope regularly will help to provide cross over benefits of quick turnover running along with high RPM’s on the bike.

If you want a quality jump rope, check out Buddy Lee Jump Ropes.   He is amazing and makes a great jump rope. http://www.buddyleejumpropes.com.    If possible, I recommend jumping on a cushioned mat and start out slow and build over time.   It’s imperative to start out slow (maybe 1 or 2 days a week) and build over time to eliminate potential shin splints.

Add jump roping to your weekly training routine and experience the significant strength and speed benefits.  Have fun, it works!

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.’