Friday, May 28, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
We had fun running around and practicing transitions in Butler Park after last Sundays shop ride. The chance to try things on grass helped hugely to work out how to cut valuable time, good luck to everyone doing CapTex Tri on Monday, I'll be there to yell at you if you are taking too long ;-)
My key point is simply this. If I told you I could cut 2-minutes from your swim time with just an hour’s practise, you’d bite my hand off, how many people have ever spent a whole our practising transitions though ?
Back in 2001, I was fortunate enough to be able to take part in the ITU Triathlon World Championships. I was a mediocre swimmer, an overweight cyclist and a poor runner. What was a boy to do? Make sure I gained as much time as possible with a fast transition.
Since that event I’ve honed my skills in transition to the point where I’m disappointed if I’m not in the top-10 for T1 and T2 at a race, including the pro's/elites. So, how do you do it?
Wetsuit – yes, they do make you more buoyant; many wear them because everyone else does. Does the time it takes you to get it off outweigh the benefit? If you don’t have to wear it, think, really, honestly, do you need it? If you do, practise getting it off. The best place to do this isn’t in T1, strip to the waist while running to T1, then find somewhere on the side of a path where you can safely step out of the legs before you get to your transition spot.
- Put bike in easy gear
- Mount the shoes in the pedals· Make sure the pedals/shoes are parallel to the ground, left food forward
- Loop a small elastic band through the rear heel tab on your shoes. If you don't have a rear heel tab you can either buy much longer bands and hook them under Look cleats or find some other place to connect the band to the shoe
- Fasten the other end of the band for the left shoe around the downtube, probably on the front gear mech.
- Fasten the right shoe to the rear gear mech. or around the lug on the rear stays etc.)
- When you arrive in transition, helmet on, number belt on, grab the bike and run on the left side of the bike holding the saddle with your right hand - to make this easier I always rack my bike by the bars and NOT the saddle. Many smaller bikes, and bikes with front-mounted aero bottles can't be mounted by the bars.
- When you are past the mount line get your stride ready and in one swift move place your left hand on the bars and your left foot on the front pedal
- A fraction of a second later swing your right leg around the back wheel and saddle and onto the right pedal, releasing your right hand from the saddle and grasp the bars(see the picture in blog entry from April, my right hand is still on the saddle for control when the right leg is already on its way around to the pedal)
- Once your foot is on the right pedal start pedaling.... the bands will snap - you need to do this fast enough so you don't wobble and fall off!
- Pedal down the road until you get to at least 16MPH, at a safe point reach down put your left foot in the shoe
- Pedal again to regain momentum
- When safe reach down and put your right foot in and you are done.
Coming back in is basically the opposite....
- Well before the dismount line, remove your right foot from the shoe, keep pedalling with the right foot on top of the shoe
- Remove your left foot from the shoe
- Pedal to the dismount line and just before getting there swing your right foot over the crossbar
- Standing on your left foot and gliding in with your right foot tucked behind your left...
- When you get to the dismount line, drop your right foot, then your left
- Let go of the bars with your right hand, grab the saddle
- Let go with your left hand and run holding the saddle...
Friday, May 21, 2010
Also, mention this blog post and get 20% off all Accelerade Products!!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Suzanne Bertin is certified by USA Triathlon as a Level 1 Coach, and has been a multi-sport athlete for many years, having completed numerous events from sprint distance to half-ironman, 5k to marathon, bike commuting to multi-day, century-plus bike rides. It all started with a daily bike commute to and from work back in the early 90s and grew from there.
Suzanne’s goal is to inspire others to get out and get active, in spite of their already busy lives. As a working, age-group triathlete who is also a mother of twins, Suzanne can appreciate the quest for the elusive work-life balance. It can be done, and Suzanne will show you how! Follow @placidathlete on the IronMonth Challenge!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Remember, in order to master these skills you must now practice them! Don’t avoid hills, seek them out and challenge yourself to be better. If there is a component of climbing or descending that gives you anxiety, break it down and practice it in a less intimidating environment. For example, we noticed many riders were not comfortable riding in the drops of their handlebars while descending. As discussed, this is THE SAFEST way to descend a hill. Not only are you lowering your center of mass, which creates greater stability and better handling of the bicycle, you are also protecting yourself from your hands flying off the handlebars in the event that you do hit a bump in the road. If this is you, start practicing riding in the drops while on a flat section of road until it becomes more comfortable, then move on to small descents, and eventually the bigger ones. If this is not physically comfortable for you, chances are you need an adjustment to your bike fit, so drop in and see the fit experts at the shop! Safety and stability on your bicycle is priceless. Just as you wouldn’t dream of riding without a helmet, don’t ride on an ill-fitting bike. When you do, you compromise not only your own safety, but that of those around you.
Thanks to all who attended this clinic. We had a blast interacting with all of you. It was a diverse group this week, with some doing one repeat, having never before conquered a hill such as Lost Creek, and some taking on three repeats on this long, challenging climb before we headed back to the shop. Well done to one and all! In addition to Coach Tammy Metzger, three members of Team Tempo Multisport were on-hand to provide feedback and encouragement to clinic attendees; Shane Carbonneau, Laura Carbonneau, and Kim Barnett! Thanks again, and we’ll see you at the next clinic.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
May 8th @ 1pm - Tire changing clinic with Grease Monkey Wipes @ Jack & Adam's (free)
May 9th - The Rookie Tri
During packet pickup at Jack & Adam's Bicycles on Saturday, May 15th, the Skeese Greets Women's Tri has arranged for a series of info sessions which are free and open to the public. Here is the lineup so far:
Transition Clinic: 1PM with TriZones Training
Tire Changing Clinic: 2PM with Grease Monkey Wipes
Talk to the Doc: Women's Health & Fitness Seminar with OB JEN at 2:30
May 16th - Skeese Greets Women's Tri
May 17-21st - National Bike Week
May 18th - Splash & Dash
May 20th - Austin Duathletes Pub Run
May 22 - Tour de Cure
May 22 - Open Water Swim Clinic, Lake Pflugerville
May 31 - CapTex Tri
For even more events in the month of May, be sure to check the Events Calendar HERE on the J&A website. If you have an upcoming event, such as a ride, run or tri, list it there for free.
We'll see you out there!
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
One of my favorite storyteller-athletes is Kelly Williamson. Her stories always have a level of drama. (And by drama I don't mean the "oh-no-you-di-int!" drama, but high drama, like in Shakespeare and Lord of the Rings.") I've included one of her race reports with this post; but you can read more fascinating and informative accounts of life as a pro triathlete on her blog. If you see her in the shop, you can also ask her really nicely to tell you a story from her many adventures, (like I do).
When you live in Texas, any race within driving distance (especially a 70.3 event) is a must-do, seeing it takes a minimum of 3 hours to get out of the state itself (8 if you are going west). Lonestar 70.3 in Galveston happened to be the Professional National Championships this year, so I figured despite it being a pancake flat course, it would be a good challenge and of course it had the the added bonus that Derick (my husband) and I can pack up the car, drive 4 hours south and be back home the evening of the race.
I viewed this event as a big one, one which I wanted to do well at. While I did not go into it on a 'full rest' since Coeur d'Alene is my focus, I did allow myself a few days of recovery to go into this event feeling strong. We drove down on Friday afternoon, settled into our hotel on the 'Seawall' and later that night, about 1:00 AM, were welcomed to Galveston by 75 mph winds and what appeared to me (being from Indiana) to be a hurricane. The next morning things were still quite windy, but I made it out for a quick 30 min spin and a 15 min run, only to later find out that these winds were only weaker than Hurricane Ike's winds by 10 mph; so this was not a 'normal' occurrence for Galveston. Luckily, Sunday was predicted to be sunny and calm. I got my workouts done, threw on my Zoot compression socks, put my legs up and proceeded to lounge around our hotel room watching bad TV until the 3:30 pro meeting. We had a nice early dinner with Richie Cunningham and his girlfriend Melissa and were back to our room by 7:00 or so. I shut the blinds and acted like it was not a beautiful evening outside; just helps my body start to think about sleeping a bit, unwind and get ready for the 4 am wake up call.
Sunday morning was beautiful relative to the previous morning, and we arrived to Moody Gardens with more enough time than necessary on race morning; logistics were great for this event. It was seamless to get into the parking lot and the layout was simple, thanks to the Jack and Adams crew and Keith Jordan and his clan organizing the event. I got my transition set up and meandered over to the swim start, which was off of a pier into Galveston Bay (yes, the one Robert Earl Keen sings of).
We were off right at 7:03 AM, 3 minutes behind the pro men. It was non-wetsuit as the water temperature was 72.8, and it was actually pretty balmy. I usually love non-wetsuit swims, however today turned out to be different. I really struggled out there; this coming right on the heels of having a great swim in California only a month prior. I do not swim well in chop, and this surprisingly was extremely choppy. I knew by the first turn that I had lost the first pack, but I tried to focus on swimming strong nonetheless. Every time I looked up, it seemed I was greeted by a firm slap in the face by an oncoming wave. I was shocked out there! We were in a 'bay', wasn't it supposed to be calm? I thought to myself how tough this swim was going to be for weaker swimmers, as I am a strong swimmer and was really struggling out there (hence the wetsuit comment). I carried on, tried not to worry about the fact that the small lead women's pack was slowly fading into the distance and kept plugging away. The 'Swim Finish' banner could not come soon enough for me.
I do not get my splits as I like to mostly race by feel, but I glanced down at my watch and noticed I was clipping off a few 5:45 to 5:50 miles right off the bat. I was pretty surprised, knowing how much I had left on the bike, but I tried to just relax and settle into a rhythm. It was so awesome being here in Galveston, because I was hearing so many people cheering for me and yelling my name! I guess that I know more people in Austin and Houston that I realized! It really got me fired up and I cannot tell ya'll how much it helped. I slowly put time on the leaders, moving from 5th to 4th to 3rd, which was where I would settle. I started to feel the race by about mile 9, at which point it started to get 'hard'. I tried to stay relaxed and make it look like I was not hurting; which Derick confirmed, he said I never made it 'look' hard. I think this helps you mentally if you can try to mask the pain. Unfortunately, I ran out of real estate, as I crossed the line only 36 seconds out of 2nd place, however I later found out that I had run a 1:18.18, which for me was a phenomenal run time and nothing to be upset about. I celebrated a bit going into the finishing chute, knowing that I had laid it ALL out there and when you do that, there is absolutely nothing to be unhappy about. I pushed my body to its limits, as I feel I always do when I compete. I was 3rd overall in a strong womens field, and I have to commend all of the other women in the race today as they all raced well and made me work hard for the finish.
I have to give a HUGE THANKS to my sponsors. PowerBar nutrition and gels have become a staple for my races and training, and I know that when I stick with PowerGels in a race, I will make it from start to finish feeling strong and my stomach feeling happy. Quintana Roo, a new sponsor for 2010 has been amazing; not only do I love the CD0.1 for it's comfort and my ability to produce good power on it, but QR has great people working there and they have been nothing but supportive. I feel like this bike was made for me! I have been with Zoot Sports for a few years now, and their clothing and racing shoes are second to none; the shoes always keep my feet happy both during the race and after. Additionally, Jack and Adams, Xcis Software, Advanced Rehabilitation, 3 Cosas Massage, Hill Country Running and Go with the Flo Accupuncture have all been nothing but supportive and I thank you all for that. Finally Chris McCrary at Katalyst Multisport, thank you for believing in me. And of course my parents and my husband Derick, words cannot describe how much your endless support means to me.
To wrap it up...I never really race for 3rd, I am always racing for 1st. Sure, I may or may not get it but that is always the goal; why shouldn't it be? Just as my blog title says, I live by the motto 'Aim High'. That said, when you know that you get up and give something all you've got, there is no reason to hang your head down. Don't ever be afraid to try something; whether you do or do not achieve it, I guarantee that you'll come out better, stronger and knowing a lot more about yourself after the fact than had you of never tried. It's not easy, but it's not supposed to be easy. That's the beauty of these things; they make make you see what you're truly capable of, whether you realize it or not. Thanks for reading, and see you out on the race course, I hope!
A BIG WELL DONE TO also to all the no-drop riders, especially the first-timers! With thanks to Hugo we got everyone out to Decker Lake and back without incident but with some tired legs! Go Team! - Decker is a great skill learning ride for the no-drop, providing a mix of in-town, traffic, hills and flat roads, it's also further than we'd normally take you, everyone seemed to agree is was a good challenge.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
It’s in our nature, we’re triathletes, we like to run bike and swim, often times we like to do these things fast or hard because it feels like it’s providing us the greatest benefit. During the week we can find ourselves strapped for time and the time we have to train turns into a race effort instead of a well thought through workout. Sure it feels good when you are done but are you really getting the most out of your time and is your fitness really going to improve? Moreover this practice could lead to an overuse injury, staleness or unnecessary fatigue leaving you in a cycle of never training hard enough to really get better because you never really train slow enough to optimally recover. Many triathletes can better prepare themselves for this season by training slower, that’s right I said it, train slower.
Sounds too good to be true, eh? Train easier and get faster, well it’s only part of the equation (but it’s a big part) as by training easier on those recovery days you can then train faster on your hard days. It’s that ability to push harder on your key workout days and then adequately recover, that will push you beyond a plateau and onto a new fitness peak.
Begin to look at your training weeks as a series of overload and recovery days. Overload days are what we consider to be those hard workout days, these are the key workouts that we do such as long runs or rides, hard masters’ sets, tempos, Fartleks, hill repeats, threshold intervals, etc. Even the most elite triathletes can only handle about 2-3 of these type of overload blocks in a week. For the most part, the remainder of the week should be centered around maintenance of volume and recovery, both from the previous workout as well as in preparation for the subsequent workouts. If doing double workouts, try making both of those workouts an overload workout so that the next day can be devoted to a recovery session.
Overload may come in several forms, you may overload the duration such as increasing a tempo run from 2 to 3 miles while maintaining the same pace, the overload may come from intensity such as doing cycling intervals at a power or heart rate higher than before, overload can also come from frequency such as altering the amount of recovery time between intervals or it can be a combination of all of three. The idea is that you always want to be inducing a stress on the body that will create an overload in a progressive nature; this gives your body enough time to make adaptations without getting injured.
Recovery can be classified in several categories active recovery, full recovery and even recovery weeks. Active recovery takes into account those workouts that are done at very low intensities and shorter durations. These workouts are designed to help maintain your training volume while at the same time providing an increased blood flow which delivers oxygen and nutrients to the muscle and facilitates recovery. Active recovery can be done as easy runs, rides, swimming or even as cross training such as XC skiing or aqua jogging. Full recovery, as the name implies, is the day entirely off of training and recovery weeks entail a reduction in intensity and volume through the week.
The reason this concept of overload and recovery goes back to one of the most common mistakes triathletes can make and that is they train to hard on their easy workouts. Thus really make sure to do the recovery sessions at an intensity that truly allows recovery. Do not let yourself spend too much time in the “gray” zone plodding from one workout to the next and never really getting the most out of your training. The best way to keep yourself from getting into this routine is to set up a 7-day training cycle and identify 2 days during the week that are going to be devoted to overload workouts such as intervals or a hard set as well as a long run and ride on the weekend. The other days should be devoted to recovering from these workouts. Give yourself 24-48 hours recovery between the overload days by either cross training or training at low intensities. As a good rule of thumb you should finish a recovery workout feeling better than you did when you started it, if this isn’t the case you were going to long, to hard or both. Often recovery workouts are done at about 60-75% of your heart rate max and they should feel about like a 6 on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being an all out race type effort. The duration of recovery workouts should be between 20-90 minutes of training. Those that have a greater amount of mileage in their legs or are cross training on their recovery days may find they recover well with a workout that is upwards of 90minutes, others will want to begin with shorter durations.
Try incorporating more structured recovery into your training program, it just might let you train slower to that next PR.
To learn more about training programs, check out www.duratatraining.com.