Sunday, March 21, 2010

Triathlon training plan is back on track!

I've been tweaking my training plan again. For me, a good triathlon training plan has more runs than bikes and swims, and more swims than bike sessions. I do this because I love running much more than the other sports, and I'm just more comfortable lacing up the shoes and heading out at any time of day rather than planning a trip the pool or a bike ride. However, if you need more work in a particular area, the smart athlete will give that area of weakness more focus so that they will become a better, more well rounded triathlete.

The updated plan has less swims than bike efforts though. I need work on the bike and I want to at least be faster than I was when I was training back in Houston with my cycling buddies. To do that I needed to put 3 cycling sessions into the weekly plan.

My well rounded triathlon plan now has me running 4 times, biking 3 times, and swimming 2 times. I also tucked a couple of weight training sessions into the new plan for good measure.

I'm looking forward to getting started on the new focused plan. If you are putting together a plan and don't have a coach to force you to train on the sport that you hate the most, you need to be accountable to yourself and get it done. At least that is what I'm telling myself. Sounds good.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My wife makes me a better runner... and dresser.

I truly believe my wife makes me a better runner. I don't have a coach right now who I am accountable to, nor do I have a running group to keep me on track. My work hours tend to keep me away from the group runs around the area so I am accountable only to myself.

After a 12 hour day at work it is sometimes tough to force myself to lace up my shoes and get out on the road. However, thanks to my wife, I have a secondary voice of encouragement telling me all the reasons why I should go run instead of sitting on the couch watching The Biggest Loser and feeling like I suck for ditching my run.

Tonight was no different. I got home from work around 7pm, exhausted and looking to get out of my suit and onto the couch. Thankfully my wife was there to remind me that I really do love running, and I love how it makes me feel. Sometimes the mental aspect of consistent training is too much to handle. It is good to have someone you respect to tell you to, "Snap out of it", "Pull yourself together", or even "Quit being a slacker."

So, my wife got me out on the streets to get my run in. In that way she has made me a better runner by keeping me true to my training. She also made me a better dresser because I almost started the run in my boxers (see picture). Did I mention I was exhausted?


Monday, March 15, 2010

You don't need a DVD to get a hardcore CORE workout!!!

I thought I would use today as a rest day, but after I got home I was feeling restless and decided to give myself about 20-30 minutes of core exercise with a minor dose of cardio. My wife has all sorts of gear from her kickboxing workouts so I grabbed her jump rope and 15lb kettle bell and got busy.

Here is the quick workout I came up with. This will work for you if you have 6 minutes or 30 minutes. The shorter the time, the more intense you should make the workout. By more intense I mean... speed up, go faster, don't be a slacker!

The Workout:
Total Time for 1 Round: 6 Minutes
3 minutes - High Knees Jump Rope.
Alternate jumping rope under your left and right feet while running in place. Be sure to keep your knees coming higher than a normal running stride to work the hips and abs. If you don't have a jump rope, just run in place for 3 minutes keeping your knees coming up to waist level (or as close as you can get). Keep good form and posture. This is a good workout on the legs too!

3 Minutes - Alternating: 20 Push-ups, 20 Crunches, 20 Kettle Bell lifts
After jumping rope, drop down and do 20 good form push-ups as quickly as you can. Then do 20 crunches again at a high rate. After you do those, jump back up and complete 20 kettle bell lifts. If you don't have a kettle bell, just do 20 good form squats. If you have any time remaining of the 3 minutes, start back at the push-ups and repeat until the 3 minutes have expired.

Repeat as many rounds as desired. Each round will be 6 minutes so to get a 30 minute core workout you just do this 5 times. That's it. Not too complicated.

I'm going to keep doing this little workout over the next month to see if I get any faster in the pool or on the run. You should try it to!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Swimming can make you a better runner? Maybe.

Back when I was swimming a lot more than I am now I noticed that there were some benefits that swimming offered running. Strange to say, especially since one includes a jarring amount of gravity against the body while the other leaves the athlete defying gravity and floating along the water.

Here is one of the best benefits I have found that swimming can offer running. This is a positive impact that I have personally encountered in my running that I have gotten from swimming. It might not be there for everyone, but I'm sure there is some sort of benefit for all!

Here is 1 reason why I think swimming helps runners:
Swimming requires breathing control. Running also requires breathing, but you might not have thought of breathing control before in relation to running. As in swimming, a runner should also be able to control their breathing throughout their run. This is likely one of the best benefits for runners I have seen from swimming.

Rhythmically taking in oxygen while swimming without choking to death is a good thing. Being able to take in oxygen without hyperventilating while pushing up a hill, or picking up the pace to pass an opponent and then settling into your natural stride with good efficient breathing rhythm is a great asset to any runner.

Swimming can help you get more efficient in your breathing. In turn, your efficient breathing will make you a stronger runner. Here's how I think this works. When you swim, you breath every 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc.. stroke. As you become a better swimmer, you are able to breath rhythmically after every 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc... stroke while maintaining your speed and strength.

After you begin to master the controlled breathing in the pool, it easy translates to your running. For example, as you are running through a flat portion of land, you might inhale for 3 or 4 steps and then exhale for 3 to 4 steps. This rhythmic breathing can help you control your oxygen intake so that you are more efficiently transferring oxygen to your muscles and not just sucking air.

Now this is certainly not the only benefit that swimming can give a runner. Strength, stamina, injury prevention, and many others come to mind. However, I like this one because you are forced to breath with coordination to be a good swimmer and if you force yourself to breath with coordination as a runner, the benefits could mean a personal record at your next race, or just beating your running partner to the finish line of your next training run.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Food Poisoning: To Run or Not To Run - I Ran

Last night I had what I would consider a light bought with food poisoning. I ate at 8:00pm was in bed by 11:00pm and puking by 2:00am. After some fluids and Pepto Bismol I was back asleep by 3:00am and ready for my run a few hours later.

Should I have ran or stayed in bed? I felt pretty good when I woke up but my stomach was still churning. I took in more fluids before heading out just for good measure.

The Ugly Truth
The first issue showed up after about the first mile. This is about the moment I thought staying in bed would have been a better idea. My lungs were burning which was new for me. My assumption was the hacking and coughing and acid from my stomach left my lungs a little raw. Disgusting thought, but sounds logical, and since I'm no doctor... I'll go with that.

The next issue was with the cramping in my stomach and in my legs. I think I was still dehydrated, even though I took in fluids. I also didn't replace any electrolytes which might have been a good idea. So, I could feel a leg cramp coming on after about 30 minutes of running. It wasn't really cramping, just twitching a bit like it wanted to seize up and leave me curled up in a ball on the sidewalk whimpering in pain.

The last issue came after I had time to start thinking about all the mounting problems that were falling like dominoes. The mental factor had me developing scenarios that not only included me hurling whatever was left in my stomach out onto the pavement in front of my fellow runners, but also hurling myself into traffic. Either way, not good.

So, I wrapped up my run earlier than expected, went home and started refueling with water, a smoothie, 4 eggs and a bagel. After that, I was good and thinking about heading up to the gym for a swim.

To make a long story short, running after food poisoning is probably not the best idea, but if you're going to do it... shorten your run, hydrate, and don't plan of feeling good.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How to Get a 25 Minute Workout in the Pool

Tonight I got off work a little late and was heading up to the gym trying to think of what I needed to get done to feel like I had actually had a good workout with the limited time I had of less than 30 minutes.

I hate rushing myself through a training session, especially because I usually swim, bike, or run to hard and end up injured or nearly drowning so I pieced together a workout that I thought would give me the benefit of cardio, resistance training, and form training for racing. Based on those factors, I hopped into the pool.

So, with less than 30 minutes to get faster and stronger here is the workout I came up with. This workout was quick and painless, but I think I benefited more by doing it rather than skipping my workout entirely and heading home to eat Girl Scout Cookies and milk while sitting on the couch watching Survivor.

Swim Workout - 25 minutes - 1550yds
Set 1
500yds @ 00:07:30
Rest: 00:00:30

Set 2
400yds @ 00:06:00
Rest: 00:00:30

Set 3
300yds @ 00:04:30
Rest: 00:00:15

Set 4
200yds @ 00:03:00
Rest: 00:00:15

Set 5
100yds @ 00:01:30
Rest: 00:00:15

Set 6
50yds @ 00:00:45

Total Swim Time: 23:15
Total Rest Time: 1:45
Total Time: 25:00

Quick and painless. Give it a shot if you want and let me know what you think!

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

5 Ways to Get Motivated to Swim, Bike and / or Run!

This weekend I had a chance to reflect on the race training I have been doing in Atlanta. My running and swimming efforts have been more effortless than anything and I have found myself sitting on the couch watching The Biggest Loser with my wife rather than lacing up the running shoes or hitting the pool for the training sessions I know my race schedule AND my sanity needs. The picture shows the Groom wearing a pair of cycling socks as his dress socks for the wedding. All the groomsmen were wearing cycling socks as well. Motivation, here we come...

The reflection came as I visited Houston, TX to watch my good friend and racing buddy get married. I hadn't seen him in a while and these days he has his own bike shop and racing team "Shama Cycles". These guys are serious about what they do, and recently they have been sweeping podium finishes around Texas.

Just hanging out with these people can make you feel like a slacker so I came up with 5 things that I think will motivate me to get off the couch and stop being such a loser. You might find these useful too if you find yourself sucking.

1) Visit a place where you were once motivated. This could be a city, state, race venue, or even gym where you pushed yourself once or multiple times to the limits. By being in this place, you will be reminded that at one point in time, you did not suck, you were not a slacker, and you dominated someone else or the clock depending on who you are and why you race.

2) Surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do. By doing this, you will feel like you are a slacker and that will motivate you to get off the couch and go do something with yourself before your training and racing friends make new training and racing friends.

3) Tell people about the races you have scheduled on your calendar. This is a good way to keep yourself accountable. When people ask you how your training is coming along you will either be able to say "I suck and haven't been training" or "I am ready for race day."

4)Look yourself in the mirror and call yourself a Runner, Swimmer, Triathlete, or whatever you are supposed to be. It is easy to lie, and it is easy to tell people that you are awesome and train 2 times a day 5 days a week, but you can't lie to yourself. Look in the mirror and call yourself a triathlete when you haven't been training in 2 months and the next thing out of your mouth will be, "I suck."

5)Write a blog about running. This is always a great way to stay motivated about running. Even when you aren't running, you can still write about running. You can also tell your friends how much you a slacker because you don't run. Again, this is a good public forum for you to put yourself out there and tell the world why you have been awesome and training like a machine, or why you suck and have been wasting perfectly good training time by eating Girl Scout Cookies on the couch while watching The Biggest Loser.

So, having exposed myself to this type of elite athlete element, I was able to kick start my motivation engine into overdrive. My training and racing motivational emotions where on a roller coaster the entire weekend. When I got into town wanted to wake up the next morning and power through an 85 mile bike ride even though I heard people were blowing up the entire way. I wanted to wake up with Trent to do a 3 hour run the day of the wedding even though I knew that would likely prevent me from being able to stand as one of the groomsmen.

It is amazing what being around people who are hyper aggressive about the way they train and race, but it is a great way to keep yourself in check and to quit being such a slacker.

  Sunday run in the rain.