Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Road to St George - Week 4

The end of the first four weeks and I feel like I am beginning to hit my stride although there are still some key workouts that seem to not be happening.  Not a problem as this 'prep phase' was about establishing some semblance of a routine and working out which days will work for certain workouts.  Not as easy for someone whose hours are not set like a regular job but still I probably have a little more flexibility in my day than most so things kind of balance out in the end.  Whenever I have worked in jobs with consistent working hours I have always found my training to be more effective and my schedule to be easier to follow, your training windows are somewhat forced upon you.

The training week in summary:
  • Swim: I actually managed to again swim three times this past week, all three workouts in a SCM pool.  I prefer swimming in meters pools, it is what I grew up swimming in and I like making fewer turns for a given workout.  The highlight was Tuesday, the crazy snow day!  I felt like Peter Reid in the movie 'What it Takes', I showed up to no lifeguards, one receptionist and the maintenance manager.  None of my swimmers showed for their scheduled workout (swim4tri is every Tuesday/Thursday at 6:45am) and so after making the journey from Newcastle to Bellevue I was determined that I would not miss out on my swim (I usually swim after my class) so I managed to persuade the staff at Samena to let me sneak in a quick session.  I managed to get in 2100m and felt good about it!  My other two sessions were both around 3000m and included a decent amount of work at or around my CSS (critical swim speed).
  • Bike: Not the week I wanted here as no ride over 75 minutes in duration.  Not going to build the necessary IM bike fitness with hour long rides no matter how many of them I do!  I got in four decent sessions, most of which included an element of tempo and/or LT work.  There were also a couple of NM type sets included.  Not the end of the world so will look forward to building volume on the bike through December.
  • Run: A much better week than the previous two.  I managed a double run day on Tuesday with a 5 mile and 11 mile session.  Both of these were at E pace (for me right now about 7:30/mile), so 2 hours for the day.  I finally reaquainted myself with Cougar Mtn this week and got in two decent sessions, one with Ethan, Erin and Cindy on Thanksgiving in the snow (with yaktraks of course) which was a ton of fun and a second with Gerry, Eddie, and Ethan on Sunday.  I was amazed by the young guns, they are making leaps and bounds in their fitness.  Ethan schooled us out there but I think I still managed to keep them honest on the climb up the Wilderness Cliffs trail ;).  My forth run was a short commute from Samena to the Performance Center on Saturday, felt remarkably good which was nice. I usually hate running immediately after a hard pool session (and hence avoid it) but today instead of legs feeling empty because all the blood is pooled in my upper body I felt great. A four and half hour run week has to be considered a success.
  • TRX/Core: Three decent sessions completed.  Going to make this more of a focus going forward and am now at a stage where I am ready for some more dynamic, power based functional movements.  Great article in Lava Magazine featuring TRX this month written by Matt Dixon, you should all check it out.
Total volume for the week was (Swim 2:40, Bike 4:30, Run 4:30, TRX/Core 2:00) 13:40 so pretty solid and I am happy with the overall breakdown.  The trend is in the right direction.  Not going to do my usual diet summary this week, it was a holiday after all right and everyone tells me its 'okay to indulge a little' at Thanksgiving ;).  I am instead going to talk a little about dietary supplementation defined by Wikipedia as -

"A dietary supplement, also known as food supplement or nutritional supplement, is a preparation intended to supplement the diet and provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, that may be missing or may not be consumed in sufficient quantities in a person's diet. Some countries define dietary supplements as foods, while in others they are defined as drugs or natural health products."

So what does the typical triathlete with a full time job, family and demanding training schedule need to add to their normal diet to ensure they are not going short on any key nutrients that may then hinder their recovery, and/or effect them in any other way that might prevent them being able to execute on their workouts, be productive in their job and be involved with their family?  I am not qualified to give that answer/advice although what I can do is give you an idea as to what I do and how I feel my health and performance are aided by what I take.

My primary goal is to eat fresh, organic, non processed food where I can.  I know that when I succeed in doing this on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis then I typically (regardless of stress and training load) stay healthy and avoid any prolonged illness and/or injury.  However there are times when I for whatever reason - convenience, laziness, time constraints, travel, etc am not able to do this.  When this is the case and/or during periods of hampered recovery due to lack of sleep, rushing from training sessions to meetings or simply a much higher than normal training load (training camp for example) then I need to include some dietary supplements to help me keep on top of this.  Here are my favored supplements:
  • Vitamin C: The king of antioxidants.  Lots of research has been conducted on Vitamin C supplementation and much of it concludes that supplementation can help counteract the damage caused by free radicals produced by training and racing triathlons.  It is also associated with immune system function and I can definitely say that when I feel like I am on the edge a big hit of Vitamin C often brings me back.  I have been known to ingest upto 5g of Vitamin C in a day, not something I recommend but it has worked for me in the past.
  • L-Glutamine: Essential for protein synthesis.  Lots of research to support its use to help promote recovery (cell damage) at times of prolonged stress.  Although a non-essential amino acid (the body can produce it) it is now considered 'conditionally essential'.  Needless to say with the training load we are typically under as atheltes it is a smart addition to your diet through supplementation.  I add it in free form to my recovery smoothies and when I feel like I need it.
  • Quercetin: I take this for its anti-inflammatory and anti oxidant properties.  It is abundant in the multi vitamins I take by the inclusion of Green Tea, Broccoli, and a host of other ingredients.  Again simply a ton of good research on the benefits and I swear by it.
  • Omega 3's - I supplement with a couple of oils rich in Omega 3 (DHA and EPA).  There is strong evidence to suggest a diet rich in Omega 3's leads to a lower incidence of Coronary Heart Disease, boosts immune system function and reduces inflammation amongst other positive benefits.  I take it in the form of Udo's Plant Based 3-6-9 Blend and also Barleans Fresh Catch Fish Oil
So that is about it for what I consider dietary supplements.  I shall cover off 'Performance' supplements next time.  I think we have to accept that with the best will in the world there are times when through diet alone we simply can't get the quantity and quality of nutrients that we need.  I believe it is prudent for the performance athlete to consider additional supplements to help ensure they stay healthy, injury free and able to absorb the stresses we place our bodies under when training for endurance sports.

Thanks for reading.  Next time I will detail my ATP in the lead up to St George and what races, training camps etc I have planned to help me get there in the best shape I can.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Road to St George - Week 3

Is it poignant that St George is the Patron Saint of England, my country of birth.  St George has been pictured as a soldier since the 7th century, coincidentally I very nearly took that route myself and was one small step away from RMA Sandhurst.  How vastly different my life would have likely been had I committed to that decision.  I am a patriotic person and love my country, in some respects I feel I owe it to 'St George' to knock it out the park come May 7th, it provides a little added motivation.  Sorry for the side story but I think some of you might see its relevance.  Back to the training......

This week in summary:
  • Swim - Yeah finally three sessions this week and a total of 9200 yards.  Felt good about this and knocked out a couple of good quality sessions with some work at LT and a pure technique session.  Amazing what a difference the third swim makes from a 'feel' perspective.
  • Bike - Solid week for me here.  Monday became an impromptu FTP (Functional Threshold Power) test.  I was really not sure how it would go although obviously had a range of numbers in mind.  It went better than expected and I averaged 298w for an FTP of 282w.  Three other rides left me with about six hours of ride time, all on the CT.
  • Run - Poor poor week here.  I really feel my running has gone backwards since the return to 'tri' training.  I am sure the reality does not match the perception as I know a couple of low volume run weeks won't ruin all the hard work I did this year preparing for the White River 50.  Regardless though I am still disappointed with my run week.  Three sessions, two of six miles and one of four miles for a measly total of 16 miles and about 2 hours of run time.
  • TRX/Core - Another solid week here with three good workouts, two TRX sessions and a core workout at home on the rug again!  Feel strong and fluid on the TRX now, time to add some progressions!
The weekly total came to 12.5 hours and a well rounded week.  The only real disappointment for me from a training sense was the low run volume/frequency.  No need to panic though, time to move that in the right direction.  So how is the diet going I hear you all ask???  Well not such a great week really, not a disaster but a couple of poor decisions here and there that hopefully won't be repeated this week.  The wine consumption crept up a little, oops!  Last week we reduced to four bottle from seven, this week it went back up to five!!!  The one success was the two nights of just a single glass, big deal I hear you say however the will power to leave half a bottle of good red for the following night was impressive in my mind ;).  A quick breakdown:
  • Breakfast - no change here, the usual oatmeal, banana, almond butter and Udo's 3-6-9 washed down with two cups of coffee and plenty of water.  Oh, I did start taking a vitamin c supplement this week at breakfast.
  • Mid Morning - If I swam early then I had second breakfast of  two eggs, half an avocado in a sandwich of Dave's Killer bread.   I only ate this one morning this week as on Thursday a meeting followed my swim and on Saturday I was straight to the PC after my early swim.
  • Lunch - My usual sandwich, no real variation here although I think I ran out of sun dried tomatoes and on one day had no avocado in my sandwich.
  • Dinner - Bad week by my standards.  A late Tuesday led to the convenience of CPK Frozen Pizza with a salad, boooo.  Sunday night ended up being a Pagliacci night, much better Pizza but much more of it!!!  Two nights were pasta nights (wholewheat of course) with a simple sauce (not really a sauce, the ingredients are olive oil, fresh garlic, olives, green onions, sun dried tomatoes, and regular tomatoes preferably heirloom).  I also add some protein, this week it was Aidell's Chicken and Apple Sausage one night and an organic skinless chicken breast on the other.  Other meals were Couscous with lots of veggies and Wild Sockeye Salmon and Aidell's Sausage with Yam Mash and Broccolini.
  • Snacks etc - Some of Cindy's protein bars and cookies (don't want to disclose numbers here ;)), various fruit, protein shakes after key workouts, and a little dark chocolate.
So as you can see not the best of weeks.  Having said that Monday morning (voided) weight was the same as last week 154lbs so no regression there which is nice.  Other things of note to report from the week:
  • Signed up for the Western States 100 lottery.  I got goaded into this by Amber Montforte who I spent some time running with during the White River 50 (we finished together).  Amber is an awesome athlete (Xterra Amateur World Champ) and her post on my FB wall spurred me into action.  I may of course not be successful but it sure means I will have no choice but to run more if I am lucky (maybe unlucky is the right term) enough to get picked!
  • A great week at the Performance Center, things are moving in the right direction and business is solid.  Worked on the new class schedule and am excited to roll out TRX to all our members free of charge, a huge benefit for everyone.  Exciting news to announce soon about a couple of very special guests who will be visiting in the New Year for some clinics, Q&A's etc, very cool!
  • Cold...brrrr the snow is here.  Made me think more about supplementation, I will talk more on this next week.
I will try and keep the format for these blog posts similar week to week however if there is anything you guys and girls following would like me to include (relevant of course) then please post a comment and I shall do my best to oblige.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Road to ST George - Week 2

A summary of the week from a training perspective:
  • Swim - Two decent sessions this week, both over 3000 yards so progress on last week.  Heading into week three I will make one out of my two proposed masters session (fingers crossed) to add an additional session.  I do feel solid in the water, 1:15-20/100 feels comfortably hard.
  • Bike - No outdoor ride, Tuesday was my planned day but it rained all day and I was land locked without the car to get to the PC.  I rode 25 miles on the CT on Monday, 40 miles on Wednesday and about 20 miles on Thursday.  The first two sessions were at/around IM power and the Thursday ride had some work at LT.  No weekend ride.
  • Run - Well the calves have calmed down a lot, I know what caused it and have made the necessary changes.  I was concerned at one stage that I had torn something in the right calf but plenty of trauma oil and some self massage as well as sensible stretching (and a light run week) have worked wonders.  Four runs two t-runs (of three and four miles), one E pace run of eight miles and a E pace -20s six mile run to finish off the week.
  • Core/TRX - A great week for core and I am excited to continue to build my functional strength with the TRX.  Feel strong.  Three sessions this week, two on the TRX one on the living room rug!  Stretching post workout has been very thorough this week and this trend will continue.  Also added some theraband work focusing on abduction and lateral stability.
Total volume this week was around 10.5, a decent week and feeling good to build things next week.  A big improvement this week was diet.  I know you are all waiting to here how the wine consumption was this week and the good news is it was much improved, meaning instead of seven bottles it went down to four, a move in the right direction for sure!  I have eaten very consistently and weighed in this morning (11/15) at 152.8lbs down from just over 155lbs two weeks ago, here is an overview:
  • Breakfast - Every morning the same - Oatmeal, Banana, Teaspoon of Almond Butter, Tablespoon of Udo's 3-6-9 blend, two cups of coffee with half n half (eliminated vanilla creamer, yeah!), at least a liter of water.
  • Mid Morning Snack (Only Tuesday/Thursday after my swim workouts) - Dave's Killer Bread with two eggs, and half an avacado.  Liter of water.
  • Lunch - Every day the same (I am nothing if not consistent) - Dave's Killer Bread Sandwich with Hormel Turkey (three slices), Spinach, Avocado (half/quarter) and Sun Dried Tomatoes.  Piece of fruit or two.  Liter of water.
  • Afternoon snack - Water with nuun, no calories
  • Dinner - Monday: Wild Salmon, Yam Mash and Salad, Tuesday: Couscous with lots of veggies and chicken/apple sausage, Wednesday: Wholewheat Pasta, lots of veggies and prosciutto, Thursday: Pagliacci Pizza, Friday: Wild Salmon, Salad, Yam Mash, Saturday: NZ Grass fed Lamb Steak, Yam Mash, and Broccolini, Sunday: Salad and Morning Star Veggie Burger
  • Other - A couple of protein shakes after key workouts (Arbonne Figure 8, Almond Milk, Water, Ice, Almond Butter, Udo's, L-Glutamine).  Some chocolate (dark).  A couple of TJ's vegan choc chip cookies.  Various nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews), fruits (bananas, pears, oranges, raspberries) and the occasional Dilettante chocolate ;)
Training nutrition is minimal right now, I use nuun in my water for sessions of about an hour in duration and don't consume calories unless the workout is over an hour with some intensity.  When I do it is GU Chomps and/or GU Roctane.  I think many athletes consume too many calories during workouts that they simply don't need.  When training load is light and/or our workouts are just one a day our bodies glycogen stores should be well stocked, provided there is not a second workout within close proximity then good post workout nutrition and a healthy diet should take care of replenishing these stores ready for the next days workout.

So my goal for this week is 12 hours split s3/b5/r4 excluding core/trx which will total approx 2 hours.  Nutritionally I will continue the trend of reducing wine intake and eliminate one or two of the treats that I got a little greedy with this last week.  I also want to focus on using my time more effectively to ensure a better chance of more quality rest between work and training.

Just to conclude this post, I am in my 'preparation phase' right now with the goal of establishing a routine that will stick.  I am also simply trying to reintroduce the swimming/cycling and core training that I have not been doing this year safely so as not to unduly stress my body.  As I get older I have to be more patient and a little smarter with what I do.  There is no real focus on data right now although I am logging my training in RaceDay to give me a general idea as to progression and fatigue cost of workouts that I am completing.  I am not collecting power data as such right now although am using power on the compu-trainer and will be using my Quarq Power Meter when it arrives!

Until next week, thanks for reading.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Road To St George - Week 1

Well an interesting first week back to triathlon training.  Some positives and some negatives.  Before I go into detail though I should explain the above photo.  It was taken in April 2009 at our Coeur d'Alene training camp and signifies a change in priorities for me.  I get more joy from helping support my athletes than I do from own racing ambitions nowadays, that does not mean I don't want to still train and compete because I do and will always want to, it just signifies a change in mind state when circumstances ensure I don't manage to get a workout done that is on my schedule.  In the past I would beat myself up and get upset if I failed to get a prescribed workout completed, nowadays I give thanks to the sessions I do manage to get done and don't beat myself up to much (just a little bit ;)).

A review of the week then:
  • Swim - Manged to get two sessions in, one of just over 3000m (just under an hour) and another of 1500m (ran out of time, had to get the car to Cindy, the challenges of being a one car family!).  My goal is to swim four times a week with two lunch time masters sessions at BAC but it's only week one and I figure I have time to build back to four sessions!
  • Bike - Three rides achieved, one as planned (a two hour L2 outdoor ride), and two CT rides the first went well (3x3m 85%, 2m 95%, 1m 105%) yet the second was a wash mainly due to a crazy busy day and not having the desire to be on the bike any longer than an hour.
  • Run - Been suffering this week with very very tight calves, beyond anything I have experienced before, ever!  I attribute it to starting to ride again and running a rolling 12 miles last Sunday at 'M' pace (average 6:48/mile).  It has been very frustrating and definitely curtailed my running a little.  Having said that I still ran three times, one run of 16 miles (6:59 avg), one very painful run of 8 miles on a rolling route at E pace (7:30 avg), and a 10 mile treadmill session with 2x2 miles at M pace inserted into some E pace running.  I shall evaluate the calves this week and get some treatment, I hope it is nothing too serious although they are crazy tight.  I have been self treating with ice, compression, arnica, and a little gentle self massage.
  • Core/TRX - Two solid sessions here, would have liked to get a couple more in but time was simply not on my side this week.  Still, felt strong and starting to work some more dynamic exercises into my routine.
Overall volume (Mon-Sun) was in the region of 10 hours so not a bad week really.  I find athletes tend to focus on the workouts that don't get done and don't give the necessary credit to the ones that are accomplished.  I have tried to be positive about actually getting in a somewhat balanced week and provided I can get my calves sorted out see no barriers in following my week a little closer to 'my plan' going forward.

I am still picking up some additional classes at the PC while Cindy continues her rehab following her accident and this Sunday marked the first of a three part swim clinic that I am running out of Samena.  Combine that with a couple of unplanned meetings, some busy days at the Performance Center and a couple of new coaching clients starting with me this week and it has been a busy but productive work week that has eaten up a little planned training time.  Work comes first and I expect this to be a somewhat common occurrence as we move into our busy season.  My plan is to find a 'business manager' for the Performance Center, so if anyone out there knows of a suitable candidate do let me know, oh they have to be content with good perks but low wages ;).

Other notes - Not been sleeping great over the past week or so, definitely impacts my recovery and general energy levels.  Nutrition in general has been good although Cindy had an Arbonne party at the house on Friday and has been 'baking' this week.  Being the glutton that I am if there are baked goods around then I eat them, all of them!!!  For me it is simply best not to have them in the house, I don't crave them but if they are there they will get eaten.  A big goal for me this week is to reduce red wine consumption!  Now some of you may laugh but Cindy and I literally drink a bottle of red wine every night, I can't actually remember the last night we went without.  Okay its 'only' two classes each but I believe it is impacting my recovery, my body composition and my sleeping patterns so this week (you heard it here first) it goes down to two nights out of seven!!!!!  Don't worry Thursday night is still Pagliacci night.......

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Road to St George!

After a year of not competing in triathlons to focus more attention on developing my coaching business and getting Vo2 Performance Center established it is time to jump back into the sport I love.  I was not completely idle in 2010, in fact I set myself the goal of running the White River 50 trail race (race report on blog) in an attempt to help address my limited run endurance without the distraction and fatigue cost of swimming and cycling.  I actually raced three ultra's in 2010 one of which I won, a second where I got lost, and the White River event which was a success.  I still cycled and swam a little, more as a way to spend time with my athletes than with any real conviction and I continued to lead rides at the Performance Center which helped me hold on to a little bike fitness.

My goal is to write a weekly (yeah fat chance) short blog detailing my training and preparation for Ironman St George along with the trials and tribulations of managing my own business and trying to keep everything else in my life in order.  I realize that some of you out there face many more time constraints than I but I think by providing some insight into how I coach myself, decisions I make around what workouts happen and don't happen and how that fits with training commitments that might not necessarily fit with my own plan will provide learning opportunities for you all.

A quick snap shot of where I am starting from with my training, body comp, etc is below:
  • Age 37, height 5'9", weight 155lbs (goal race weight 150lbs)
  • Swim - Averaged probably one swim a week this year (maybe), recent workout in a SCY pool was 2x(300s 30s rest, 2x150 rest 15s, 3x100 rest 10s) all at LT, times - 3:50, 1:58, 1:15-18
  • Bike - Averaged two rides a week this year of approx 1 hour in duration.  My guess as to where my FTP is right now is 265-270w (last year when preparing for Kona it was 290-295)
  • Run - Strong right now, averaged four to five a runs a week this year.  Recent 10km with my new found 'slow' ultramarathon legs was 37:26 at Salmon Days.  Will run Rock n Roll AZ with the goal of going under 3 hours (never run an open marathon before ;)) on January 16th.
Follow me on my journey as I try and train smart, work smart and keep everything else in my life in harmony.  St George is considered a tough course so my only real goal is to execute a race that does my fitness justice on race day whatever level that fitness may be.  As my friend and fellow coach Scott Jones says "train with joy or not at all".   Before I sign off I want to say a huge thank you to my wife Cindy who has been by my side all year and even put her own triathlon racing on hold to join me in my quest to run the White River 50 (she also completed the event with her customary smile on her face).  She has also been instrumental in the success of the Performance Center as we head into our second year and I know supports me as I endeavor to get ready for another Ironman.  Her turn will come as once I am done with St George, she will start preparation in earnest for Ironman Canada and a little comeback of her own!