Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A little R & R

Every 4th week during the Base and Build phases of my training is reserved for rest and recovery. It's desperitly needed after the fatigue accumulated over the three previuos weeks. Without this regular rest, my fitness won't progress as required. The idea is to let the muscles recover and for my body to feel rested come the end of the week, but still maintain the endurance that I've built up until now.

Total training hours for this week is only 7 (compared to 10, 12 and 13.5 over the last three weeks). This worked out nicely since I'm only working intermittently this week; I can get me workouts in early and be back home before Kate wakes up. Lots of good and needed family time this week!

Ran 7.11 miles in 56:23 (7:55 min.mile pace). I'm still doing attempting to do all workouts in heart rate Zone 2. I say attempting, because it's getting harder for me to not drop down in to Zone 1...especially the first few miles of my runs. This means that my aerobic endurance is improving, but I'm going to have to speed it up to stay in Zone 2. Maybe a longer warm-up period is needed. Not sure.
Avg HR was 152 (Zone 2 is from 154-162)
Max HR was 160

Swam for 18 minutes. Did a few laps to warm-up, then 10 minutes at a comfortable pace, followed by some speed work:
4 x 48 (2 lengths) intervals:
(1) - 42.5
(2) - 41.3
(3) - 40.9
(4) - 41.6
Finally a few laps to cool down.

Ran some Ladder Intervals.
1 mile warm-up
5 minutes of drills
Ladder intervals consisted of 2, 4, 6, 8 & 10 laps around the track
I don't have my new watch completely figured out yet, so I don' t have my split times for the intervals - sorry, I know everyone is going to be real upset by this. I'll get it figured out by next week. 
1/2 mile cool down
Total run time was 36:40

Weights - 30 minutes of shoulders and abs

Monday, December 28, 2009

Pure Fit Radio

A little over a month ago, I was asked if I would be interested in becoming a reporter for Pure Fit Radio. It is a national radio/podcast program all about endurance sports. The Pure Fit Radio website, found here, contains lists of events (road races, triathlons, etc.), a great list of links (running, cycling, triathlon, nutrition websites), as well as podcasts (a weekly show and state reports). The weekly state reports is where I come in. This is the opportunity for individuals in Kentucky to listen to my recommendations on events and happenings that effect those in the running, swimming, cycling and multi-sport community.

I am now the official Endurance State Reporter (ESR) for the state of Kentucky. Each week I will record a 2 minute segment describing some upcoming events in the state and telling people where to go to register. I recorded my first report last week and it began airing yesterday. 

The first weekly show is now also available for listening. Craig Alexander (back-to-back Ironman World Champion) is on the show, as well as Diana Bertch from Kona and Kerry Gilia, who is stationed in Afghanistan and is a heavy marathoner. Plus, reports from Physical Therapist Terence Reuben, Ben Pickel, who speaks about workout tracking technology, and award winning author and Chief Running Officer of Runner's World Magazine, Bart Yasso! Check out the show here.

I'm really excited to be part of Pure Fit Radio and although it's just in it's infancy, I know that it will become huge! Bookmark the website and check back weekly for new shows and my new report!

1hr 15min on the bike in Zone 2
Avg HR 138
Max HR 146
30 minutes of weights (chest, arms, abs)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

New shoe smell

Anyone else LOVE the smell of new shoes? As I pulled mine out of the box this morning, I took a good long sniff...mmmmm. If I'm alone on this one, so be it. I'm not ashamed. Some people love to smell coffee in the mornings to get them going, I think that new shoe smell is my new morning pick-me-up. Think I can find a car air freshener in this scent??

I think the new shoe sniffing got my adrenaline going becuase I felt really good on my run this morning. I went for a little bit flatter course this morning. Total climb was still 427 ft. (compared to 571 ft. on Thursday). Legs were feeling pretty strong and I got into a good rhythm after a few miles.
Covered 11.36 miles in 1:31:31 (8:03 min/mile pace).
Here's my splits:

Note that mile 6 was pretty slow. I attribute this to me trying to eat some raisins. I normally take a gel pack on longer runs, but I'm out of them, so I threw some raisins in a baggie. FYI - it's not easy to eat raisins out of a baggie and run at the same time. It takes two hands and a decent amount of concentration to get the raisins from the bag to your mouth. Not to mention that my fingers were half frozen. Either way, take that slow mile out and I'm probably just under 8 minute miles for the run. This is my fastest zone 2 run yet.
Average HR was 153 bpm (this is actually about 4-5 bpm lower than I want)
Max HR was 164
If nothing else, this proves that I'm successfully building my aerobic engine. During my first Base Phase, Zone 2 Run 4 weeks ago, my pace was 8:21 min/mile on a flat route.

Totals for Base Phase 1, Week 4:
Swim - 1:24 (2.4 miles)
Bike - 6:55 (119 miles)
Run - 4:28 (30.46 miles)
TOTAL - 12:51 (151.86 miles)
The goal for the week was 13.5 hours of training. I came up a little short on that, but with Christmas thrown in, I'll consider this good enough!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I must have been a good boy...

because Santa brought me lots of good gear! My beautiful wife must have sent Santa the specs because he brought me the exact watch that what I wanted. It's the Timex Ironman Race Trainer/Digital Heart Rate Monitor. Isn't it beautiful?

Just a Few of the Watch Features
  • 10 Workout Memory - Automatically saves latest workout; lock past workouts to prevent deletion
  • Target Heart Rate Zones
  • Time in Zone - Amount of time spent within one of six selected heart rate target zones
  • %-of-Max Heart Rate Display
  • Calories Burned
  • Five Linked Interval Timers - Each interval can be assigned its own target zone 
  • Recovery Heart Rate Timer - Measures your heart rate after a timed recovery during or after your workout
  • 5 Variable intensity interval timers
  • 100-hour chronograph with lap and split, either in large or small digits
  • 50-lap memory for each workout with average, min and max heart rate per lap
  • Polyurethane integrated chest strap
  • Water-resistant 100m
  • Activate INDIGLO night-light with the press of any button using NIGHT-MODE feature 
For those keeping track, now I don't have to wear a heart rate monitor AND a watch, this one does both...with more features that I even know how to use!

Santa (aka my Mother-in-law) also bought me some new running shoes, which I can't wait to hit the pavement with...and some more cold-weather Under Armour (from Mom & Dad). Overall it was a great Christmas and I received way more than I deserve. I am truly blessed!

2hr 10min on the bike in Zone 2. Thanks to my new watch I can now tell you the following info about my heart rate during this workout:
Avg. HR during 5 minute warm-up = 105 bpm
Avg. HR during 2 hour ride = 130 (right in the middle of Zone 2, perfect!)
Avg. HR during 5 minute cool-down = 98
Max HR during workout = 143
After all the Christmas treats I had over the last few days (Mom's famous no-bake cookies, cherry delight, banana pudding, pineapple upside-down cake and even a cinnamon roll for breakfast yesterday), I was eager to get in a good workout. The 130 minutes on the bike flew by!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Will Santa bring new shoes?

Headed out around 7:15 this morning for a long run with lots of hills. It was a great morning for a run, upper 30's with very little wind. It rained over night, but the precip held off long enough for me to get in 13.1 miles. There were actually more hills than flats. Check out the profile:

Some rolling hills and then some monster inclines/declines.  Held my HR in zone 2 for the most part, although it ramped up to 165 or so during some of the long climbs. Total time for 13.1 miles was 1:52:09 (8:33 min/mile).
Here's my splits. Check out the climb column!

Note that on the flat miles (2 & 6), I was able to keep a pace of around 8:00/mile while staying in zone 2. Then on the miles with the large hills (5, 7, 8, 10, 11), the pace was in the upper 8's, closer to 9:00/mile. It's amazing what a difference hills make. Running at the same effort (based on heart rate), but going a lot slower! I also noticed some aches (not pain) in my knees and hips during the run. This, combined with the fact that I have now logged 346 miles on my current pair of shoes, can only mean one thing - Santa needs to bring me a gift card to Swag's. New shoes are needed ASAP!!

Headed back to the gym and did a mile in the pool at an easy pace. Time was 34:09.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Kona 09 Review/Run Bonk

I finally found the time last night to sit down and watch the NBC coverage of the Ironman World Championships that aired last Saturday. As always, NBC did a great job. Good interviews and stories on athletes and pretty decent coverage of the actual race...of course, I watched live coverage of the race on when it was happening back in October. Even knowing the outcome, it was still fun and exciting to watch.

I've been known to cry like a baby when watching movies. Call me a wuss, sissy, whatever you want...I can't help it. I'm also not ashamed to admit that I had to fight back tears a few times while watching the Ironman Championship. Some of the things that people have gone through just to get to there are amazing.

Check out a short clip here.

Something else that grabbed my attention was the Professional Traithlete's hitting a wall on the run. They showed clips of 2 or 3 pros that had to walk portions of the marathon. These are people that have no other job than to train for triathlons...and sometimes their bodies still can't do it come race day. Makes you think.

2hr20min on the bike in heart rate Zone 2. No spin class today, so it was just me and the bike for 140 minutes. Legs responded pretty good and other getting tired of staring at the wall, it was a good ride.
I might try to get back to the pool this afternoon for a quick swim.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fast Swimmer = Slow Triathlete

I'm not saying that if you are a fast swimmer, you will suck as a triathlete. I'm saying that if you train for speed in the pool, your overall triathlon times will likely decrease. You simply won't have the energy required coming out of the water to succeed on the bike and run.

Occasional speed work, which does consist of hard swimming, is necessary and beneficial to overall improvement. But, the majority of the swim workouts for a triathlete should be long, comfortable, and relatively easy, in your aerobic training zone (just like the bike and run). Therein lies the difference between the swimmer and the triathlete training for the swim.

If you exit the water and your heart rate is high, you will most likely perform the cycling leg with a heart rate considerably higher than the rate at which you typically train on the bike. A physiological factor that can negatively affect the upcoming run and overall racing performance.

I say all of this to help explain my swim workout today...see below:

Run - 1/2 mile repeats with 1 min. rest in between
10 minute warm-up followed by 5 minutes of drills, then 9 repeats
1/2 miles:
1) 3:41
2) 3:49
3) 3:42
4) 3:45
5) 3:38
6) 3:40
7) 3:38
8) 3:40
9) 3:37
10 minute cool-down
Overall run workout was 6.0 miles in 1:05:12

Swim - 50 minutes of swimming at an easy pace. This is the longest swim that I've done in a pool. It did get a little boring, but it gave me some time to think about what I wanted to buy my little one for Christmas. After showering I immediately went to Toys 'R' Us and made my purchases!
Total swim = 2400 yards (1.36 miles) in 50:03 (36:41 min/mile pace)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Training alone

Due to when I train (early morning) and how I train (following a pretty strict plan), I train alone. I've been on rides and runs with other people before and it's a nice change of pace, but I actually prefer to train alone. Some triathlete's have training partners or groups that they run and ride with several times a week. I always wonder when training with others, am I keeping up with their pace, or are they keeping up with mine? It's really impossible to tell.

For the most part triathlons are race's against the clock and the elements, not often are you toe to toe with another athlete (especially in long races). Pacing thus becomes the most important issue. I find that the best way to learn pace is by training alone. Training alone forces you to look within to find the right pace and it also forces you to concentrate. These are two aspects that will come in handy on race day.

Training alone can be boring; especially on 4 hour rides, 2 hour runs, or 1 hour swims. But if you can master this aspect of training and live to tell about it you will be very tough mentally. It truly is a case of mind over matter.

2h25min on the bike. Exactly 12 hours after completing my 12+ mile run on hills I was in the saddle for 145 minutes of Zone 2 riding. My legs were tired and it showed. It was really about 30 minutes into the ride before my legs felt good...then the last 45 minutes or so, keeping a good enough pace to stay in Zone 2 was a struggle! Probably covered around 40-45 miles.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Base Phase week 2 complete

It took me an extra day, but the weather finally cleared up and I was able to get in a long run today to complete Base Phase 1, Week 2. I ran lots of good hills today and was able to stay in Zone 2 for most of the run. I actually had a problem keeping my heart rate high enough towards the end of my run. My zone 2 is from 154-162 beats per minute. Several times, I looked down and noticed my HR dipping into the high 140's. I was slowing down, not because I was out of juice, but my legs were just tired! I can definitely tell that I'm getting a stronger aerobic engine, I'm having trouble running a fast enough pace to keep my HR in Zone 2!

Check out the hills!

Here's my split times for each mile (also courtesy of RunKeeper):

Total distance was 12.16 miles in 1:42:01 (8:23 min/mile pace). I'm happy with this pace considering the changes in elevation.

Goal for the week was 12 hours of training, I ended up with 11:57...close enough for me!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Swim Drills

I had about 15 minutes of my required swim time for the week left heading into yesterday. I decided to incorporate some drills into my workout. I learned these drills while meeting with swim coaches in the past. Here's a list of the drills that I did and how each one can make you a more efficient swimmer:

Single arm: Keep one arm in front while you stroke with the other. This drill helps you focus on each arm throughout the complete range of a stroke.

Fist: Swim with your fingers closed into a fist. This drill helps promote elbow bending in the beginning of the pull. You use your forearms just as much (if not more) than your hands to pull your body through the water. This drill forces your to pull with your forearms.

Catch-up: This is an alternating single-arm drill. Wait for your hand to meet the other in front before pulling (touch and go) with the other arm. This drill works on your pull and body rotation.

Crossover:Crossover: When your hand enters the water at the beginning of each stroke, you must ensure it doesn't cross your body's imaginary midline running from head to toe. Crossing over puts a tremendous amount of strain on the shoulder joint and makes your body fishtail or swing from side to side, increasing drag. I hold a kick board with one arm and swim with the other...making sure my hand enters the water to the side of the kick board.

2hr on the bike with a 45min swim class sandwiched in the middle. Once again I was in Zone 2 for the majority of the ride.

15min of the above described drills in the pool

2h20m on the bike. No spin class today, so it was just me and the bike...and Pandora radio on my iPhone. 140 minutes on the bike in a room with nothing to look at is a long time. Just to be clear, these workouts in Zone 2 are not easy. Zone 1 is for easy riding. Keeping my heart rate between 125 and 137 takes some effort. I'm breathing heavy and sweating pretty good despite the fact that the spin room is kept the same temperature as a meat locker! It was a long, though workout, but as my man Teddy Roosevelt said "Nothing worth gaining was ever gained without effort."

I have a long run planned for tomorrow morning...forecast calls for 70% chance of rain/snow. Hmmmmm....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Shelbyville Sprint Triathlon Series

Registration opened yesterday for the first Triathlon I plan to participate in during 2010. There are a total of 4 races, all sprint distances. They are held at the Clear Creek Park in Shelbyville, KY. If you are new to triathlon or have thought about doing a race, this would be a great starting point. Swim is indoors in a pool and none of the distances are too daunting (unless you are reading this from your couch...where you've been since Thanksgiving). I'm using this race as part of my training and to practice my transitions. Hoping to destroy last year's time.

Race #1 January 31
3K Run/6 Mile Bike/400 yd Swim

Race #2 February 21
5K Run/12 Mile Bike/400 yd Swim

400 yd Swim/12 Mile Bike/5K Run

Race #4 May 2
400 yd Swim/16 Mile Bike/5K Run

Running intervals, exact same workout as this one. One mile warm-up, 10 minutes of drills, then the intervals. Total time was 57:52 including the rest between each interval.

As you may have noticed, the swim distance for the Shelbyville Tri that I'm racing is only 400 yards. So after a quick warm-up, I wanted to see what my time would be for this distance. I swam 17 lengths (408yd) in 7:25. I did this race last year and my swim time was 8:14. So I'm pleased with the increased speed...and I wasn't even going at 100% like I will on race day. After the 400yd swim, I swam 888yd (1/2 mile) at a steady, comfortable pace. Time for the 1/2 was 16:29

For those keeping track, I've completed 5hr 40min of my planned 12hrs for this week. The week is half far, so good!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


"Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend." - Theophrastus

I'm doing my best to follow the training plan outlined in Joe Friel's "The Triathlete's Training Bible". The plan is for a half-ironman triathlon, which I hope to compete in during 2010. As I've mentioned before, I'm currently in the Base Phase of the training plan. This phase involves high volumes of training at low intensity (HR zone 2). The problem with high volumes is that they take something I can't find more of...time.

As I finished up week 1 on the Base Phase last week I looked at my total training for the week. It was 7h21m. My training plan called for 10 hours...hummm. So looking ahead the next couple of weeks consist of 12 hours (this week) and 13.5 hours (next week). So step 1 is to eliminate the majority of the weight lifting. Step 2 was to plan out my week in a way that would allow me to get two disciplines in almost every day. Step 3 was to create about another 30-45min each day. The only way to do this is to roll back the alarm clock to 4:45am. Knowing how important sleep is, this isn't ideal, but I'm not going to cut into my family time in the evenings...and I can't cut back the hours at work.

So most days I will have to get up at 4:45am instead of 5:00am or 5:30am. I'll re-evaluate after this week. Hopefully I won't be falling asleep at work!!

1:14:10 of running in Zone 2. Covered 9.06 miles for a pace of 8:11 min/mile. Legs were a little tight for the first 2 miles or so, but then I settled into a nice pace. I never let my HR get above 162, in fact, several times it was getting too low (going into zone 1). When this happened, I just increased the pace a little to get back into my aerobic endurance zone.

3 x 480yd in the pool with 1min rest between
Times were 9:25, 9:34, 9:28 for a total time of 34:25 (including rest)
Felt good to get in the water and loosen the legs up after two days of long rides and runs.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I love water. Most people have a favorite drink (Coke, tea, coffee, kool-aid, beer, etc.)...but my favorite drink is honestly water. I drink it constantly. Not only when working out, but all day long. When I wake up...water. When I work out...water. With meals...water. Before bed...water. You get the point.

I usually drink water that has been filtered to some degree, but plain ol tap water in Louisville doesn't taste bad. I've been to other cities where the water tastes horrible! This report backs me up.

Good to know that our water is actually safe and ranks pretty high in comparison. So drink up!

2h30m on the bike in zone 2. 45m of this was spin class - the rest was just me and my HR monitor chugging along. I stayed in zone 2 most of the time, moving into zone 3 on some intervals and hills. Legs are tired!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Need Another Reason to Not Eat Fat?

Mice fed a lard-based diet over a long period got worse at fighting bacteria in the blood, reveals a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy.

The mice fed the lard-based diet derived 60% of their total calories from fat. They were compared with mice fed a low-fat diet, where no more than 10% of their calories came from fat. As expected, the mice on the high-fat diet got fatter. A more surprising result was that their immune system was less active. The white blood cells got worse at dealing with bacteria in the blood, which could have contributed to many dying of sepsis.

Overweight people are also at a greater risk of acquiring infection, for example in connection with an operation. In mice, the thesis shows that it is fatty food rather than obesity in itself which affects the ability to fight off sepsis caused by bacteria.

Ran 10.02 miles in Zone 2. Included the infamous hills of Iroquois Park and beautiful Southern Parkway. I was able to keep my heart rate in the 155-160 range for the entire run, only moving into the low 160's on the hills. Felt good and my time was great for a Zone 2 run. Total time was 1:19:39 (7:56 min/mile pace)
I was looking forward to posting the chart from RunKeeper, but unfortunately it when haywire and when I got back and looked at my route on the computer, it was completely off...not sure what happened...the changes in elevation would have looked pretty cool. :(

Friday, December 11, 2009

Exercising in the Morning

Getting up early is something that my body has become accustom to over the last 5-6 years. The mornings have become my only option for working out now that there's a little one around. Alarm clock goes off around 5am, and most mornings I hop right up and get going. I feel a little off it I don't workout first thing in the morning. Today was one of the days that it was not easy to get up. I still felt really tired when the alarm went off and I closed my eyes for what felt like 2 minutes (was actually 15 minutes). I ended up running about 20 minutes late. I was still able to get in a good workout, but there are days when I wish I could stay in bed.

Turns out...working out in the morning isn't ideal:

A small group of researchers has studied the question of exercise performance and time of day, even doing studies of heart rates. And not only are performances better in the late afternoon and early evening, but, contrary to what exercise physiologists would predict, heart rates are also higher for the same effort.

One recent study, by the late Thomas Reilly and his colleagues at the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University in England, found that people’s maximum heart rates and sub-maximal heart rates were lower in the morning but that their perception of how hard they were working was the same in the morning as it was later in the day.

Dr. Reilly and his colleague Jim Waterhouse, in a review published this year, also noted that athletes’ best performances, including world records, were typically set in the late afternoon or early evening.

Greg Atkinson, also at Liverpool John Moores University, said that some researchers, noticing that heart rates during exercise were lower in the morning, reasoned that people must be more efficient in the morning. It would mean that exercise was easier in the morning. Not really, Dr. Atkinson said. It actually is harder to exercise in the morning.

Most components (strength, power, speed) of athletic performance are worst in the early hours of the morning, ratings of perceived exertion during exercise have generally been found to be highest in the early morning.

Regardless of what these studies show, I will continue to hit the ground running at's my only option!!

1:00 on the bike in Zone 2. Held HR around 135-138 most of the ride, hitting zone 3 a few times on sprints and hills. Probably covered around 18 miles.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

More on Food Labels

I wrote a post about how to read food labels a few months ago (read it here). I read an article the other day stating that the there were going to be some changes made to the label design.

Among the suggested changes to the food label:

1. Put calorie and serving size information in larger type at the top of the label so it’s immediately clear how much you are eating.

2. Make the ingredient list easier to read by printing it in regular type instead of all capital letters. Use bullets to separate ingredients rather than allowing them to all run together. - I really like this one!

3. List minor ingredients and allergens separately from the main ingredient list. Highlight allergy information in red.

4. List similar ingredients together and show the percentage by weight. For instance, sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and grape juice concentrate are all forms of sugar and should be listed in parenthesis under the catchall heading “sugars.”

5. Use red labeling and the word “high” when a product has more than 20 percent of the daily recommendation for fats, sugars, sodium or cholesterol.

6. Make it clear which sugars are added to the product versus those that occur naturally.

7. Display prominently the percentage of whole grains contained in a product.

8. List caffeine content.

Check out a comparison of old vs. new here.

Of course, none of this matters if people don't actually read the labels and make choices of what to eat based on the data. I still think that this country is going in the wrong direction as far as eating habits, but changes like this make it easier on people that do actually care about what they eat.

1:15 on the bike (45 of which was spin class). Riding in HR zone 2 as much as possible. Jumped into zone 3 a few times on some larger hills. Class was completely full this morning...why does cold weather make more people get up and come to the gym at 5:30am? Doesn't make any sense to me.
Went straight from the bike to the pool for a 1 mile swim. Hit my watch at the half-mile mark. First half mile was done in 16:45, second half mile was done in 15:53, for a total mile time of 32:38.
It gets kind of hard to keep track of what lap you are on for 32 minutes, but I'm pretty sure I was close to the 74 lengths required for a mile. I may have been a few off...I kind of zone out sometimes in the pool. Either way, it was good to get a mile in again and my time was very fast for me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009



The National Weather Service in Louisville, KY has issued a HIGH WIND WARNING FOR JEFFERSON CO., KY


To emphasize the strong winds that I ran in this morning, I will type the rest of this blog entry in italic. The wind in actually blowing the letters off the page!

Today was the first run of my Base Phase. The goal is to stay in heart rate zone 2 (154-162) for the entire run, regardless of what pace I am running. I knew that it was going to be windy, but it was brutal...especially when I went west, running right into a head wind of 30-40 mph!!

I ran a total of 7.20 miles in 1:00:04, which is a pace of 8:21 min/mile. This is much slower than I want to run, but as I mentioned before, I have to expect this while I'm building my aerobic endurance. I'll blame a little bit on the wind, but I can't complain too much, it was 54F this morning...and it's December 9th!!!

Here's my run profile of this morning's route from RunKeeper:

A few variations in speed when going up and down hills. It's also obvious that my average speed decreased as I ran...this was necessary to stay in zone 2. I was constantly checking my HR monitor and was in the 158-160 range for the whole run.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Breathing technique

17 months ago I could not swim. If I was on a ship that had just hit an iceberg, I could swim enough to save myself...but this is very different than swimming in a triathlon. When I started training for my first triathlon in July of '08, I quickly realized that swimming with my head above water was not actually swimming. My hips were sinking and I was going nowhere fast. So I took some swim lessons and eventually learned how to swim "properly".

The hardest thing for me to learn was the breathing. I couldn't get a good rhythm going and could only breath to my left. After practicing all last winter and visiting another swim coach this summer, I was able to perfect breathing to both sides.

Most competitive swimmers can breath every 3 or 5 strokes. I can start with doing every 3, but then I feel like I'm holding my breath...waiting for that third stroke so that I can take a breath. After a few lengths of the pool, I quickly switch to breathing every other stroke to one side...alternating which side I breath to with each length of the pool.

As I swam this morning, I kept feeling like I wasn't using the full capacity of my lungs, my exhale under water wasn't emptying them out completely, so I could only take a partial breath when I turned for air. This will be a big problem if I don't get it fixed. An active exhale will fully clear your lungs and they’ll fill effortlessly on the inhale, since God made your lungs like a vacuum. Using the full capacity of your lungs is vital to being able to swim long distanced. Stuck in between breathing every 2 or 3 strokes is where I am right now...

3 x 480yd (20 lengths) intervals with 1:00 rest in between
1 - 9:18 (34:05 mile pace)
2 - 9:28 (34:42)
3 - 9:33 (35:00)
Average pace = 34:45 min/mile
Still trying to build my endurance back up in the water after 3 weeks off. Shoulder feeling fine so far (fingers crossed!)
25 minutes of weights (chest, triceps, abs)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Set your DRV...

For the 19th consecutive year the 2009 Ford Ironman World Championship broadcast will air on NBC, Dec. 19, 2009, from 4:30 - 6 PM ET (check local listings). The telecast will highlight the physical and emotional journey taken by athletes during the renowned 140.6-mile triathlon. Veteran sports commentator and narrator Al Trautwig will provide the voiceover. Why they can't air this live, I have no idea!!

Athletes profiled in the Emmy-award-winning program range from professionals including Great Britain's three-time Ironman world champion Chrissie Wellington to physically challenged athletes, military veterans, retired professionals and weight loss success stories.

Featured athletes include:
*Decorated professional and 2009 top American finisher Chris Lieto, the former surfer and college water polo player with three top-10 finishes at the Ironman World Championship
*Matt Hoover, season two winner of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” who gave it his best to be an official Ironman finisher, but crossed the finish line mere minutes after the midnight cut-off time
*Rudy Garcia-Tolson, a double-amputee with numerous world records, who completed an impressive swim but narrowly missed the cut-off after biking the 112-mile course
*Four-time Lymphoma survivor and heart transplant recipient Kyle Garlett, who was not able to complete the challenging swim within the allotted timeframe
*Mike Adamle, a former professional football running back and well-known national and Chicago-area sportscaster, who tested his strength and drive for the second time in Kailua-Kona

1:45 on the bike
45 minutes of this ride consisted of spin class. Even though the class consisted of lots of intervals, I did my best to keep my heart rate in zone 2. I jumped up into zone 3 a few times, but for the most part I was able to ride in my aerobic endurance zone (125-137 bpm) for the entire 105 minutes. Riding here felt pretty easy, even for this length of time. I just have to keep telling myself that I'm building my aerobic engine and that what I'm doing now will pay off in the long run!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

More on Base Phase

As I mentioned yesterday, the Base Phase of my training starts this coming week. I will focus on building my endurance during this stage. As you've read several times over the last few months, the best way to ensure that I'm working on building endurance is to do my training in the aerobic training zone.

Best way to ensure that I'm in this zone? Anyone know? Come's through my heart rate. This means running, biking and swimming in zone 2...a lot! This will be challenging because it means having to slow things down from my normal training pace to effectively develop my aerobic engine. Keeping a close eye on my heart rate rather than my pace will be tough. It means swimming, cycling and running with my ego checked at the door. But if I'm patient enough to do just that, once my aerobic engine is built, the speedwork during the Build Phase will have a profound positive effect. Remember my bonk on the run portion of the Tri Indy? Building my aerobic engine will keep this from happening again.

1 hour on the bike at the gym (27° F = too cold to ride outside this morning).
Worked in HR Zone 2 for about the first half of the workout, then did intervals for the last half, moving between Zones 3 and 4.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bye, Bye Prep Phase...

Hello Base 1 Phase! Tomorrow is the last day of the Prep Phase of my training. I'm following the phases outlined in Joe Friel's "The Triathlete's Traning Bible". The Prep phase was basically used get my body back into "shape". Over the next 12 weeks, I will be in the Base Phase, which is divided into 3 parts, Base 1, 2 & 3.

According to Joe Friel, training in the Base period has been compared with laying the foundation for the construction of a house. Build a solid foundation and the house will be sound and free of cracked walls and sagging corners. Do a very poor job of constructing the foundation and the house is likely to collapse as it is stressed by harsh conditions.

However you like to think about it, the bottom line is that the Base period is when you construct your season. Everything you do after this period is dependent on what you accomplish now. There are four 'abilities' Joe says that athlete's should strive to improve in the Base period: aerobic endurance, speed skills, muscular force and muscular endurance.

You'll notice a slight change in the type of workouts starting Monday...Base Phase, here I come!

1/2 mile intervals with 1:00 rest in between
First 1/2 mile (warm-up)- 4:07
2 - 3:33
3 - 3:32
4 - 3:34
5 - 3:31
6 - 3:34
7 - 3:33
8 - 3:28
9 - (cool-down) - 4:34
Total workout: 41:30

The track at the gym has a sign telling you to alternate the direction that you run/walk based on what day it is. I'm used to doing my intervals on Tuesday, which is a counter-clockwise day. Today is Friday and was supposed to be a clockwise day, but I ran counter-clockwise without even thinking about it. So my apologizes to anyone that was on the track today and had to run the wrong direction with me. Honestly, if you get upset about something as insignificant as need to re-examine your priorities!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Busy morning

It's days like today that I'm thankful for my gym membership. It was in the low 30's with light way that I could run or bike outside this morning. I made it to the gym in time for the 5:45 spin class. Did a good solid hour on the bike with a few long 3-4 minute hills and some ladder intervals at the end. I kept my HR in the low 140's (zone 3) during the hills and then pushed into the high 150's (zone 5b) during the intervals. Really good workout and legs responded well after yesterdays long-ish run. Covered approximately 20 miles in an hour.

Hopped off the bike and headed to the pool. Fortunately, there were a few other peeps in the water, so I didn't have to worry about sweet talking the girl at the front desk to get a pool key. My shoulder showed no side effects after the short 10 minute swim on Tuesday, so I decided to go for a half mile (or as close as I could get...see here for explanation). I felt good and will probably start upping the volume and adding in some drills again next week...feels good to get back into swimming. I was afraid that my form would go to crap after being stuck on land for 3 weeks, but I actually feel like I'm pretty smooth in the water and my times are pretty good.
Swam 912 yards (38 lengths)/0.518 miles in 17:19 (33:57 min/mile)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How important is sleep?

Even if you don't exercise at all, your body still needs sleep. If you are training for a race and are running/biking/swimming in addition to your normal routine, your body needs MORE sleep. Sleep helps strengthen the immune system, helps the nervous system work properly, and keeps the mind sharp. Too little sleep can leave you drowsy, unable to concentrate, and impairs both memory and physical performance. Sufficient sleep will aid in your body’s ability to properly recover from workouts.

Research shows that 7-8 hours a night is required by active adults...but more than that can help (if you have a baby at home, I hope that you have an awesome wife like I do that allows me to get 6-7 hours most nights).

Athletes who obtain sufficient sleep are more likely to improve their performance, according to research. I follow several professional triathletes through Twitter and their blogs, and most get to take a 1-2 hour nap each day in addition to their 8 hours of sleep at night...must be nice.

One study focused on athletes who maintained their typical sleep-wake patterns for a two-week baseline followed by an extended sleep period in which they obtained extra sleep. The study showed significant improvements in athletic performance, including faster running times an increased endurance in those who obtained extra sleep. Athletes also reported increased energy and improved mood during workouts and races, as well as a decreased level of fatigue. These are all good things! Get your 7-8 hours every night!!

Ran a route from the gym this morning that included a little bit of my normal "mall" route as well as some additional roads that totaled 5.35 miles (according to RunKeeper). Route was pretty flat, so I was able to run at a pretty good pace. Time was 41:38 (7:46 min/mile pace).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Back in the water

For various reasons, it's been 3 weeks since I put on the swimmies and hit the water. I waited around for someone else to get in the pool (see here for explanation), then hopped in for a quick slash. I didn't want to push things too much, so I just did 10 minutes of laps at a pretty good pace. I didn't count my laps, but I probably covered around 20-24 lengths of the pool (576 yards / .323 miles). I'm going to slowly work my way back up to doing at least a mile twice a week with a shorter drill-based workout once a week.

1 hour on the bike at the gym. Lots of good intervals, kept the HR in the upper 130's, moving into the low 150's during the intervals.

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