Friday, January 29, 2010

Suck it up!

I'm not sure if those are the exact words, but my Dad used to tell me this or something similar when I was younger. Maybe I had just missed a big shot in a basketball game, struck out with runners on base, or dropped a wide open touchdown pass...wait...none of that ever happened, did it?

Either way, the saying holds true. "Suck it up" and move on.

I found a little post on a triathlon website about early season setbacks (including injuries). The website is, and I visit it once in a while for training tips and articles on triathlons. I hadn't been there in several weeks, so I really feel like it was no coincidence that I clicked on the bookmark for the site the morning after I wrote this.

Here's what the post said:

“Avoiding early season setbacks” is a common theme on triathlon, cycling, running, etc. publications/websites at this time of year. While it is only the last week in January, some of you might still be receiving this advice a little too late. Additionally, many people follow all the rules and do all the right things only to find themselves in the exact same place.

Ok, so here you are. You made all these fantastic plans for this upcoming season. You were going to eat right, train hard, recover better and, most importantly, go faster. Then all of a sudden you get sick, you get injured, you get overworked, or just generally get off track. At any rate, your idea of a perfect season has slowly drifted away. If, and when, this occurs, you should do your best to keep the following in mind:

1. The perfect season does not exist. When you sat down to write out your season plans and goals you might have forgotten that no season in the past has gone perfectly according to plan. No matter how well we plan or how hard we try, we will never be granted a perfect season simply because life does not work in a vacuum. “Perfection” is ultimately subjected to our reactions to life’s curve balls. Always doing our best, in every given scenario, is all we can ask ourselves.

2. Stay in the moment. If you find yourself recovering from an illness, injury, or some other life circumstance, it is important to stay in the moment. Do not get caught up in missed opportunities and be wary of trying to ‘force fitness’ with constant ‘make-up sessions.’ Instead, consider what got you here in the first place and make the appropriate decisions that will help you get back on top of your game.

3. Success, in racing or otherwise, happens in spite of bad things occurring. “Bad things occurring” mean this: people who succeed don’t have better ‘luck’ than you or me. This is somewhat of a continuation of my first point, but I think it deserves some extra emphasis. Every time I have let my ‘bad luck’ get the best of me I have lost the race before the gun even went off. My bad attitude would not even allow me the chance of having any level of success. Do not let the same thing happen to you; as I said before: do your best no matter what.

When life challenges you, just smile and get back out there. As trite as it may sound, we cannot control what happens to us; we can only control our reaction(s).

After reading this, I've been able to put my knee injury in perspective. It's a minor injury that I can correct with adequate time off and strength training. I will still be able to compete in my races and there are people out there dealing with a lot bigger setbacks that what I have. So I'm going to "suck it up" and keep following the PT's orders until the knee is back to 100%.

45 minutes of weights (chest, arms, abs)
Swim: 8 minutes of warm-up and drills (catch-up, fist swimming and skating). Followed by a mile swim in 35:40.
Total workout: 43:50 covering 2,100 yd (1.19 miles)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

How much is this time off hurting me?

So I'm officially 13 weeks into my training plan for 2010. I'm in the middle of my Base building phase, where I increase my aerobic capacity by doing long workouts in my aerobic heart rate zone. Up until two weeks ago, things were progressing well. My volume (mileage) was increasing at a steady pace while my heart rate remained fairly constant. I was also able to get my pace back to just under 8 minute miles running while keeping my heart rate low.

Then came the knee injury. It's been almost two weeks since I did a long bike ride and 11 days since I even sat on a bike. I've also drastically cut back on my running. My training plan called for me to run for 5 hours last week...I did 57 minutes! This week was supposed to be a recovery week with only 3hr 45min on the bike and 2hr 30min running. I'll get zero on the bike and if the weather holds up, maybe I can log another hour of running on Saturday and get in the planned amount.

I say all this to bring up the fact that I'm now getting worried that I'm losing all of the aerobic fitness that I worked so hard to build over the last 3 months. The plan is to stay off of the bike another week and tape up my knee for all my runs. If the knee still hurts come this time next week...I'm going to start getting real anxious! Any additional time off and I'm going to have to drastically edit my training plan, which means having less fitness on race day than I had originally hoped for. :(

Ran 7.03 miles in 54:30 (7:45 min/mile)
Avg HR - 161 bpm
Max HR - 170 bpm
Followed up the run with 30 minutes of stretching and some light weights (legs and abs)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sunny and 75!

So after a few days here in Orlando, I was finally able to get out for a quick run this morning. I'm not sure if it was the fact that I haven't run in 7 days or that I was up late partying at Universal CityWalk until midnight, but this wasn't the easy run I thought it would be. I didn't bring my watch or heart rate monitor, so the idea was just to get in a few miles and enjoy the weather...doesn't look like I would have been running this morning in Louisville anyway!

I took a little run around SeaWorld that ended up being 3.68 miles. Total time as 28:39 for a pace of 7:47 min/mile. Pretty cool map of my route from RunKeeper:

Knee is still not 100%, but I'm going to stay off the bike this week and tape it for my runs. I'll reevaluate at the end of the week. Now back to and snow!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

So my knee pain is what is known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome.

Patellofemoral refers to the joint that includes the knee cap or the patella and the thigh bone or the femur. It can result from malalignment of the patella on the femur, weakness of the quadriceps muscles, or tight structures on the lateral aspect of the knee.

Pain may be felt behind or around the knee cap, grinding noises may be heard during bending or straightening the leg, the knee may feel like it gives-way without any particular reason, or some mild swelling may be noted around the knee.

Many times conservative treatment of pain relief, strengthening, and stretching may relieve symptoms. The primary goals of rehabilitation are to re-establish motion, power, and stability to the joint.

If you really want to know more about the injury, click here.

So I've been instructed to stay off the bike for a week or two and limit my runs to 5-7 miles. I'm not happy about this, but an injury now is something that I can recover from and still be in good shape for my long-distance triathlons. If I don't heal up properly, this will be a nagging injury for months.

I've incorporated some stretching and strength building (especially my hip abductors) into my routine and will be doing some weights on days that I normally bike. I also see a lot more swimming coming in the next few weeks!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My 2010 Race Calendar

Several of the races that I plan to compete in this year have set official dates and opened up registration. For the most part, they are right when I anticipated...which is good since I've based my training plan around these dates!

Orange = date set and I'm already registered
Red = date not yet confirmed

3/6/10 - Anthem 5K (Run)
3/28/10 - Shelbyville Triathlon (Sprint Triathlon)
4/3/10 - Papa John's 10 Miler (Run)
4/24/10 - miniMarathon (Half-Marathon)
5/15/10 - Taylorsville Triathlon (Half-Ironman Triathlon)
7/17/10 - Cardinal Harbour Triathlon (Half-Ironman Triathlon)
8/15/10 - TriIndy (Olympic Triathlon)
9/12/10 - BoilerMan Triathlon (Olympic Triathlon)
10/17/10 - Louisville Marathon (Full Marathon)

This is the plan...we'll see how things shake out. Some of these are first time events for me and others are ones that I've done in the past and the goal will be to set a new PR.

My knee was hurting this morning so I decided to put the planned run on the shelf and head over to the Mary T. Meagher pool for some laps. To my disappointment, the full 50 meter lanes were cut in half. They had the dividers up because there were a few high school swim teams practicing and they needed the 25 yard distance. After a quick warm-up, I decided to swim for an hour straight. Felt pretty good and managed to cover approximately 2,700 meters (1.68 miles) in 1:00:33 - for a pace of 36:05 min/mile.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sounds Like I Need a Wetsuit

So I've registered for the "Score Clinic Triathlon" in Taylorsville on May 15th. It's a 1.2 mile swim, followed by a 56 mile bike and a half-marathon (13.1 mile) run. The swim is a two lap rectangle in Taylorsville Lake. The bike course is "challenging but scenic" on rural roads passing through several small communities. The run course is an out and back with several challenging hills. Sounds fun, huh?

After talking with a few people that competed in this triathlon last year, sounds like the water is still pretty cold in May and everyone wears a wetsuit on the swim. I've discussed my view of wetsuits in the past. The rules state that if the water is at or under 78F, then wetsuits are legal. My beef with this is that 78F is warm water. The idea behind the wetsuit is to protect your body from hypothermia in cold water. Wetsuits not only keep you warm, but are also very helpful when it comes to swimming faster. This is why people wear them even when the water is comfortable (i.e. 78F).

At this point, I'm going to assume that I'll need a wetsuit come May. So which type of wetsuit is best? There are full sleeve wetsuits and sleeveless wetsuits. The sleeveless variety will offer greater shoulder flexibility, but your shoulders and arms may get cold without the added protection. You will be kept the warmest in a full sleeve wetsuit. Then there's the issue of cost. How much am I willing to dish out for a suit I might only wear a few times????

2:25 on the bike. Pretty steady pace throughout. I didn't push it too hard considering I felt a little twinge in my knee with every pedal rotation. I completed the workout, but I paid for it the rest of the day. My knee was pretty sore once it stiffened up...looks like the bike workouts might be on hold for a while!

Even though my knee was still a little sore this morning, I decided to go on a run anyway. The duration was cut in half at the advice of the PT. Had a good 7.40 mile run in 0:57:15 for a pace of 7:44 min/mile. My knee felt good after about a mile or so. However, once I quit running, it tightened up pretty quick. I'm starting to see a lot of swimming in my future until the knee heals up!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dealing with an injury

I've been very fortunate in the injury department. I've been training exclusively for triathlons for a little over 13 months now and I've yet to have any major injuries. A shin splint and a sore shoulder are all I've dealt with and neither kept me out (running for the shin and swimming for the shoulder) for more than two weeks. This recent knee issue appears to be nothing major.
I went to see my buddy Kevin at the Rudy J. Ellis Sports Medicine Center yesterday and he checked my knee out. Looks like there's no damage to the knee itself, it's just a little stressed from the added mileage. After getting the knee warmed up, he worked it a little bit and then did a quick tape job to help support the patella (knee nap).

Most likely this recent knee pain is caused by weaker hip abduction strength than I need for running the amount of miles I've been logging. He gave me some exercises to strengthen my hip abductors and told me to try a long run with this tape on my knee and see how it felt. See results of this morning's run below...

Plan was to get in 2hr 15min on the bike. After only 7 minutes of warmup I realized that the knee was not going to make it. I could have ridden through the pain, but since I still wasn't sure what was going on, I decided not to take a chance on turning a minor injury into a major one.
I had to improvise and after doing 45 minutes of weights (chest, arms, abs), I took out my frustration on the pool!
I swam 1.0 mile in 32:27 (my fastest time ever). I felt good and didn't really push it until the last few laps. I was pretty pleased with my time.

I'm a little annoyed that my iPhone battery died before I finished my run. This means that my RunKeeper data was all jacked up. This is why I still wear a watch! I had to go old school and map my route once I got back using
Ran 14.12 miles in 1:52:15 (7:56 min/mile). I'm real happy with this time considering there were lots of hills. As a side knee pain whatsoever!
Avg HR - 154 BPM
Max HR - 167 BPM

Thursday, January 14, 2010


So after my 10 mile run on Tuesday morning I noticed some slight pain in my right knee. I felt fine during and immediately after the was only when I got to work that it began hurting. I went on with my day and put ice on it for about 10 minutes that night. It was a little tight when I woke up yesterday so I was sure to do a good warm-up before running my intervals. Knee loosened up and I was pain free during my run and swim. Started hurting again during the day yesterday, so I iced it again last night. This morning it was worse...and it hurt for the entire 135 minutes I was on the bike.
The only part that hurt is my knee cap. No pain on either side of my knee and it especially hurts when I bend it (thus the pain on the bike). So do I have a serious injury or is it something that I can work through? I plan on stopping in to see my PT buddy tomorrow to find out!

This sudden knee pain got me to thinking about treating injuries. What injuries should you ice and what injuries should you apply heat to?
The rule of thumb is to apply ice an acute injury and heat a chronic injury. Ice constricts blood flow to muscles. As the muscle cools, the amount of blood in the muscle diminishes as the constriction process pushes it out. This is great to help reduce bruising, swelling and discomfort. As the muscle warms and the blood vessels expand, new blood comes rushing in and cleans the debris left behind from the injury and stimulates the healing process. It is recommended that ice is only applied for 10 minutes every hour. The more often the cycle is allowed to transition, the faster one’s body can recover from an acute muscle injury (injury having severe onset and a short course).
Moist heat is a great treatment tool for chronic muscle injuries (injuries persisting for a long time). Moist heat applied to the injury site opens up the blood vessels allowing blood to flow more freely. So next time you are dealing with an injury...make sure you are treating in a way that will get you back on the road!

2h15m on the bike. Nothing fancy, just a good, long aerobic ride in zone 2.
Avg HR = 127 bpm
Max Hr = 145 bpm

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Running Intervals

Run- Did some pyramid intervals at the track in the gym. I call this workout "Twin Peaks"...for obvious reasons. Lap count was 2,4,6,8,6,4,2,4,6,8,6,4,2 with a minute rest between each interval. Here's a chart of my distance and pace.

While I try to maintain the same pace whether I'm going 2 laps or 8, you can see from the graph that I slow down on the longer intervals. Total time including warm-up and cool down was 1:04; total distance was 5.85 miles.

Swim- Did 50:08 without resting. Most of the workout was done at an easy pace. I worked on sighting and technique during most of the swim. I also counted strokes per lap (this helps pass the time). I was right at 22-23 strokes per pool length (24yd). A typical age-group triathlete may have a stroke length that allows them to complete 50yd in about 38 - 52 strokes (I'm at 46 strokes per 50yd), and a stroke rate of 54 - 64spm (strokes per minute). Compare this to an elite swimmer, i.e. Ian Thorpe - who would typically swim with a stroke count of 27 - 32 strokes per 50yd and a stroke rate of 72 to 76spm, and its easy to see how a swimmer like this moves faster through the water than I do.
Total distance for today's workout was around 2,328 yards (1.32 miles) - pace was 37:54 min/mile.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

More on Sports Drinks

So yesterday I narrowed down my sports drink selection to the four that had what I was looking for in both sodium content and carbohydrates. I took a few quick minutes to do a price check on those four.
Prices are per, but I priced them elsewhere and there wasn't much difference.

Gatorade Powder - Makes 1 gal of gatorade per package, 40 packages per case = 200, 24 oz. servings: $58.94 ($0.29 per serving)

Gatorade Endurance Drink Mix - Makes 29, 24 oz. servings: $21.20 ($0.73 per serving)

PowerBar Endurance Drink Mix - Makes 17, 24 oz. servings: $21.95 ($1.29 per serving)

PowerAde ION4 - ??? I can't find pricing on this anywhere online. Maybe I'll check and see next time I'm at Walmart.

So clearly, buying "standard" Gatorade powder and mixing up my own drinks is the cheapest way to go. All I need is a 1 gallon container to keep in the fridge to fill my 24 oz. bottle from each morning. Any suggestions on flavor?

Run - 10.10 miles in 1:21:15 (8:02 min/mile pace)
Still trying to get these workouts in zone 2, but I'm having trouble keeping my heart rate high enough. I've sent an email to Joe Friel about this problem...we'll see what he says.
Avg HR = 151 bpm
Max HR = 161 bpm

Swim - 5 minute warm-up followed by 15 minutes of drills. I did some typical drills (catch-ups, fist swimming, one arms, etc.), but I also practiced some sighting. This will be crucial to a good swim time in open water. Good thing I practiced! I took in some water the first few times, but got in a good rhythm of sighting every 3-4 strokes. I'll continue to incorporate these sighting drills into my workouts. Finished off with 3 x 50 sprints.
1) 41.34 sec.
2) 40.21
3) 38.97

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sports Drinks vs. Water Only

The topic of sports drinks came up between myself and a few other people that were still on the bikes after Spin Class this morning. I only had my bottle of water while others were drinking PowerAde. They wanted to know why I didn't have a sports drink with me if I planned on riding for over 2 hours. I hadn't really thought about it. I used to drink a Gatorade (orange is my favorite) after every workout as part of breakfast. As part of my plan to cut out all most unnatural sugars a few years ago I did away with the Gatorade and moved strictly to water. So this got me thinking...should I be drinking something other than water during long workouts?
The answer is one that I already knew...YES!
According to Joe Friel in his book "The Triathlete's Training Bible", for an hour or less of training, water is all you need. For longer workouts you also need carbohydrates (somewhere between 120 calories and 500 calories). These carbohydrates should be mostly in the form of liquids from a high-glycemic-index source. The best choice is your favorite sports drink. You could also use gels, chased immediately by lots of water.

So now that I know I need to start packing along a sports drink, I need to decide which one is best of my needs. A little research tells me what I need: Sodium (110 - 220 mg per 8 fl. oz) and Carbohydrates (14.2 - 18.9 grams per 8 fl. oz). So what are my options?

Gatorade – The original sports drink provides 14 g of carbs and 110 mg of sodium per 8-oz. serving.
G2 – Gatorade’s low-calorie offering contains only 25 calories per 8-oz serving while retaining the sodium content (110 mg) of the original Gatorade. But it's lacking in Carbs (only 5 g)
Gatorade Endurance – Gatorade Endurance is Gatorade with extra sodium (170 mg) and 13 g of Carbs.

PowerAde – Coca-Cola’s primary sports drink offering has more carbs (17 g), but less sodium (55 mg) than its main competitor, Gatorade.
PowerAde Zero – Zero calories means zero energy, so don’t expect this product to perform any better than water, although you may find it tastes better.
PowerAde ION4 - This is the new Advanced Electrolyte System by Powerade. 100 mg of Sodium and 14 g of Carbs.

PowerBar Endurance – contains a special “C2 Max” blend of carbohydrates that has been proven to be more effective than single-carbohydrate sports drinks. Total cards (17 g), Sodium (190 mg)

Accelerade Hydro – Research has shown that Accelerade Hydro, thanks to its 4:1 carb-protein ratio, is as effective as a regular sports drink with 30 percent fewer calories. (180 mg Sodium; 10 g of Carbs)

Propel – Marketed as a “fitness water” rather than a sports drink, Propel contains only 3 g of carbs per 8-ounce serving.

So here's the contenders:
  • Original Gatorade
  • Gatorade Endurance - this is a powder which would require mixing prior to my workouts
  • PowerAde ION4
  • PowerBar Endurance - also a powder
Tomorrow I will explore the cost of each of these...

2:15 on the bike in zone 2. A few small hills today, nothing too bad. Despite coming in off a rest day, my legs felt tired. I struggled through, but hopefully this isn't a precurser to the whole week!
Avg. HR = 126 bpm
Max HR = 148 bpm

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Running in a Winter Wonderland

Even though a lot of the roads are still covered in snow and ice, I decided to head out on a early morning run today. Left the house around 6:40am and it was very peaceful. The snow kind of makes things quieter and there weren't a whole lot of people out that early, so for the majority of my run, it was just me and mother nature...covered in snow...lit only by the light of the moon. Sounds nice, huh? It was!

I covered 9.39 miles in 1:17:39 (8:16 min/mile pace).The route was almost all hills, so this is a pretty good pace. My splits were obviously very dependant on how big the hills were...and how gingerly I had to run over some snowy patches, check it out:

Average heart rate was 154, max was 167. Good Zone 2 workout!

This was the last workout for week 1 of Base Phase 2.
Totals for the week:
SWIM - Plan (1:06 hours), Actual (1:05) - 1.8 miles
BIKE - Plan (5:45), Actual (5:50) - 106 miles
RUN - Plan (3:30), Actual (3:22) - 23.2 miles
TOTAL - Plan (10:21), Actual (10:17) - Close enough!

Next week's plan bumps up to 12:15 hours...woo hoo!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Are Vitamins Necessary?

For as long as I can remember, I've taken vitamins. dad started us out on chewable multivitamins as soon as we had teeth! The Flinstones chewables were great, but I eventually graduated to a more complex adult multivitamin. I've changed brands a few times over the years, but I still take one everyday after I eat my post-workout meal as I drive in to work. I try to eat healthy and get all the nutrients my body needs naturally through food, but the idea behind taking a vitamin is to bridge the gap between the nutrients needed and those I actually get. Plus, Hulk Hogan always said "Train, say your prayers, and eat your!"

However, I've recently seen several studies that show that taking vitamin supplements might be doing more harm than good. What? How is this possible?

The official position of the American Academy of Family Physicians is not to recommend vitamins or other supplements for the general population. They say
"The decision to provide special dietary intervention or nutrient supplementation must be on an individual basis using the family physician’s best judgment based on evidence of benefit as well as lack of harmful effects. Megadoses of certain vitamins and minerals have been proven to be harmful."
The news on antioxidants is even more troubling. These compounds, which include vitamins A, C, and E, selenium, beta carotene, and folate, fight free radicals, unstable compounds thought to damage cells and contribute to aging. But not only do antioxidant supplements fail to protect against heart disease, stroke, and cancer; they actually increase the risk of death, according to a 2007 analysis of research on more than 232,000 people, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, as well as other studies.
There are obviuos benefits to vitamins, but maybe they should only be taken when recommended by a doctor? I'm not sure what to think...

2h10m on the bike. Lots of good hills, but still managed to keep the average heart rate at 130.

1h40m in the bike. No spin class today, so it was just me and 25 empty bikes. I mixed in a few hills, but the main goal was to keep the HR in zone 2. Average HR was 129 with a max of 148. In total, I probably pedeled somewhere around 65 miles in the last two days.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Derby Festival Marathon/miniMarathon course changes

The mini won't start in front of Iroquois Park?!?! That's part of the changes they have made to the course this year to allow for EVEN MORE RUNNERS! I always enjoyed starting at the park and having the option of going into the woods to relieve myself one last time before the race starts, without having to waste time waiting in line at the port-o-pots! Oh well, I guess I'll have to look into running with a diaper.

According to the website, the races, which will begin simultaneously at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 24, will now start near Iroquois Manor Shopping Center and will finish at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville, a 500,000-square-foot entertainment venue located within Waterfront Park. The Marathon course will also include a slightly longer loop in Jeffersonville, Ind., with competitors running alongside the Ohio River. Don't worry, the races still go through the hills of Iroquois Park, so remember to put some hills in your training runs!

Combined entries for both the Derby Festival Marathon and miniMarathon were capped at 12,000 runners for the past two years. In 2010, the number of registrants will cap at 15,000 (my registration is already complete!), setting the stage for the largest annual day of road racing in Kentucky history! The 2009 races attracted runners from all 50 states and 13 foreign countries.

For a map of the new course, click here:

Intervals! Yeah!
1 mile warm-up followed by 5 minutes of running drills (butt-kickers, shuffles, grape-vines), then it was 9 half-mile intervals with 1 minute rest between each. Here's my times followed by my average heart rate for each interval:

1) 3:33 - 154 bpm
2) 3:28 - 157
3) 3:28 - 161
4) 3:26 - 163
5) 3:29 - 166
6) 3:29 - 167
7) 3:30 - 168
8) 3:35 - 166
9) 3:34 - 169

Heart rate steadily increased throughout the workout, which is ideal. The 1 minute rest is not supposed to get you back down to a resting HR, just enough to allow you to breifly recover. I have no doubt that these times would be faster on a larger track...having to slow down to take a corner every 6-7 seconds is no way to keep up a good pace! Finished off with a half mile jog to cool down and then walked for another few laps. Covered 6 miles and the total workout lasted 59:52.

Started with around 8 minutes of drills (catch-ups, single arm, fist), then it was time to count 74 laps (1 mile).
1st half mile = 16:13
2nd half mile = 16:57
Mile time of 33:10
This time was surprising quick considering that I was completely wiped out after the running intervals. I was just moving along at a steady pace, focusing on form...maybe that's the trick!
Total workout including warm-up and drills was 2064 yards (1.17mi) in 42:57

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Efficient Running

What makes someone a fast runner? Genetics? Body type? Amount of time they've spent running? Aerobic capacity? All of these are factors, but the secret to running fast is your running economy.

Running economy is basically how efficiently your body uses oxygen.

So how do you improve your economy?

Step 1: FORM
The feet should strike the ground as close to midfoot as possible under a bent knee after the leg has begun to swing back under the body. This means the strike is directly underneath the body (not in front) and the runner's center of gravity should be positioned directly over the foot. Keep your arms back and never let them go anywhere but forward and back, no crossing motions. Chest should be slightly forward.

Here's some elite distances runners with perfect form: head looking forward, slight forward lean, arm angle of 90 degrees or less with emphasis on a powerful back drive and high relaxed recovery, foot contact near midfoot underneath the center of gravity with push off well behind, and all momentum going in the forward direction.

Step 2: POWER
Many people think that you can increase your stride by extending your front foot forward. Actually, you get a longer stride and more power by pushing off with your back foot. You can increase your power by doing some box jumps and split squat leaps (Goggle these exercises if you aren't familiar with them).

I've discussed cadence many times, and it's still something that I struggle with. 90 foot-strikes per minute is the optimal cadence for most elite runners. Trying to maintain this is easier said than done. For more on cadence, look here.

Ran 7.84 miles in Zone 2. Time was 1:04:30 (8:13 min/mile pace). Felt pretty good despite the fact that it was extremely cold this morning (evidence):

It's not the's the WIND!!
I was able to bundle up and keep my heart rate in zone 2 for the entire run. I'm still amazed at how much I sweat when it's 11 degrees outside. I had on three layers and sweat completely through two of them!
Avg HR = 158 bpm
Max HR = 163 bpm

After spending around 10 minutes stripping off layers of clothes, I cooled down with a few laps in the pool. The water was COLD! Remember when your were a youngin and really wanted to swim in the pool, but the water was cold. What did you do? You have to just jump in. So that's what I did. It's a whole lot better than slowly easing into the water. After a quick warmup, I covered 1074 yards (0.61 mi) in 22:07 (36:15 min/mile pace). I wasn't pushing things, just wanted to get in some laps.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Start of Base 2 Phase

Today marks the start of the Base 2 Phase in my training. It's similar to Base 1 in that there will be a focus on volume more so than intensity. I will still be doing most of my work in heart rate zone 2, but will be adding in force training. Some examples of force training are: swimming in a baggy shirt and shorts, biking on hills while trying to staying seated, and running on hills or doing hill repeats for interval workouts. Sounds exciting huh?

On another note, today marked the day that the majority of people start their new year's resolutions to get in shape and head to the gym. It was noticeably more crowded this morning...and you couldn't pay me to be there after work tonight! No will thin out again in a few weeks!

2hr on the bike in Zone 2. Covered around 38-40 miles.
Warm-up avg HR = 111 bpm
Workout avg HR = 134 bpm
Cool down avg HR = 109 bpm

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Look Back at 2009

Thanks to, I have all my workout data from 2009. Check out the stats for the year:

62.26 miles
38 hr 18 min
24,904 calories burned

2,239.44 miles
122 hr 43 min 
89,577 calories burned

632.02 miles
87 hr 35 min 
63,203 calories burned

2,933.73 miles
248hr 36 min
177,684 calories burned

Ran 7.27 miles in 1:00:01 (8:15 min/mile pace) in Zone 2.
Avg HR = 157
Max HR = 168
It was pretty chilly out this morning. Something around 12F with some light snow and wind. I was actually pretty comfortable during the run....despite what it looked like when I was done:

1:24 on the bike in Zone 2
Warm-Up avg HR = 109
Work Out avg HR= 138
Cool Down avg HR = 118

Swam 1776 yards (1.0 mi.) in 35:32 (good steady pace, worked on form)

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