Saturday, February 27, 2010

Back In The Groove...Almost

Today finished off my first week of full training since my knee injury 6 weeks ago. I've been able to swim and run (short distances) since the injury, but wasn't able to put together a full week of swimming, biking and running. So after my run this morning, it seems as if everything is back to normal. I felt a little weak on the run, but that could be due to the massive hills that I was climbing (see elevation chart below).

My training plan called for this to be just under an 11 hour week. After it was all said and done, I put in 9 hours and 30 minutes. I lost about an hour on the bike yesterday morning due to an unexpected event (you know who you are!). But overall I'm very happy with the work I put in this week and the results. Volume steps up again next week...fingers and toes are crossed!

1 hour on the bike listening to the Pure Fit Radio podcast...go stuff.
AVG HR = 133
MAX HR = 147
30 minutes in the pool. A few drills, but mainly just a comfortable swim. Covered 0.81 miles

11.07 mile run with lots of hills. Time was 1:30:27 (8:10 min/mile). This isn't blazing fast, but my legs felt heavy from the start and this course had constant rolling hills with some monster climbs mixed in. Check out the profile:

Disregard the speed blip in the middle. RunKeeper lost it's GPS signal for a minute and thought that I ran incredible fast!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

How Do We Stop This Trend?!

During the past 20 or so years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States. If you are more than 30 pounds overweight, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers you obese.
In 2008, only one state (Colorado) had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%! Thirty-two states had a prevalence equal to or greater than 25%; six of these states (Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia ) had a prevalence of obesity equal to or greater than 30%. That's one in every 3 obese!

Look at this map from 1985:

Now compare that to this map from 2008:

This is not good. There are lots of things to blame, but the important thing to note is that being obese increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, metabolic disorders, etc. If you are lucky enough to live through all of these medical issues, it's also been proven that being obese takes 7-10 years off of your life. Think about that.

Reversing this trend obviously has to start with the next generation. So encourage children to eat healthy and be active...and maybe we'll start seeing more blue on this map in a few years!

Ran 8.41 miles in 1:06:12 (7:52 min/mile pace)
Back to my Zone 2 (154-162) Endurance building workouts. I maintained an average heart rate of 155 over the entire run with a max of 164. It's encouraging that I was able to keep my HR in my endurance building zone and still run under 8 minute miles. Maybe it won't take as long as I thought to get my fitness back!

2 hours on the bike. 10 minute warm-up, 45 minute spin class with lots of hills, then 65 minutes of riding in Zone 2 (125-137). Average HR was 133 with a max of 152. I still don't have the fitness back on the bike, but it's getting there.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Who Has the Healthiest French Fries?

According to Men's Health Magazine, the worst fries in America belong to Five Guys Burger & Fries.

Five Guys Fries
1,464 calories
71 g fat (14 g saturated)
213 mg sodium

For those of you living in Louisville, Five Guys Burgers and Fries recently opened its first restaurant here at The Summit shopping center...just don't get the fries!!!

Who has the healthiest fries? My dad will be happy to know this...

McDonald’s Small French Fries
230 calories
11 g fat (1.5 g saturated)
160 mg sodium

I'm not Lovin It, but it's better than the alternative!

Run -
1/2 mile repeats
1 mile warm-up at 8 min/mile pace
3 minutes of drills
6 half-mile intervals around the track with a 1 minute rest between each, 1/2 mile times:
5 minute cool-down followed by 10 minutes of weights (legs)
Total Workout: 5.0 miles in 44:24
I wanted to do 8 repeats, but the tape on my knee kept coming loose and I didn't want to risk running without it. So I decided to call it quits after 6. It would have taken me too long to quit running, go back to the locker room, wash my leg off, let it dry and then reapply the tape. Plus, I was already sweating at this point and I doubt the tape would have stuck very well anyway.

Swim -
8 lengths of warm-up. I worked on breathing every 4th stroke, which was easy to do during warm-ups, but becomes impossible for me when I start exerting effort.
1 mile in 33:41
I was running short on time, so I limited my cool-down to 2 laps...which isn't enough!
Total Workout: 2064 yd (1.17 mi) in 38:47

Monday, February 22, 2010

Nutrition Info on Menus

Would you read nutritional info on menus at restaurants? Over a dozen states have laws on the books that will require restaurants to post this info on menus or menu boards. Part of one of the versions of the national healthcare bill would require restaurants with 20 or more locations to post nutrition information, along with guidelines on how to interpret the information in the context of an average daily diet. So people say that even if this bill doesn't pass, federal legislation on menu labeling eventually will.

So what's your thought on this? Are people not smart enough to know what is healthy and what isn't? Will people even bother looking at the info? Will they know what it means? Is this the first step to stopping this trend?

Ran 3.05 miles in 21:12 (6:57 min/mile pace)
I wanted to do a short run before getting back into my training program this week. I decided to go a 3 mile run at a fast pace with a little kick at the end. This was kind of a test for the Anthem 5K in two weeks. It was fun to just do a quick little run, but now it's time to get back into the long, slow endurance runs!

2:00 hours on the bike. It's been a long time since I could type that! The ride felt good and I only started to feel my knee at the very end. I did a 10 minute warm-up, 45 minute spin class with several long hills, 55 minutes in zone 2, then a 10 minute cool-down followed by icing and stretching. Overall workout was 2:00 hours and I'd guess I covered around 34 miles.
Warm-up HR Avg = 115 bpm
Workout HR Avg = 128 bpm (Zone 2 = 125-137)
Cool-down HR Avg = 105 bpm

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dynamic Stretching / Warm-Up

I used to just lace up my shoes and go. I didn't stretch or warm-up at all before my runs...then I turned 30. Not that becoming a year older made it necessary for me to warm-up, but I could tell that my muscles needed more time to warm-up than they used to. So now before every run, I do a little warm-up routine to get my blood flowing and get my muscles and joints ready to run. Here's what it consists of:

Toe jogging - pretty simple, jog on your toes...little, short steps

Front grabs - walk forward lifting your forward moving leg up high to your chest. Grab the front of your lower leg and pull your knee up to your chest. Alternate legs.

Skips - think back to when you were 8...yeah, it's the same thing

Butt kicks - Jog with your heal hitting your butt with each stride

Leg kicks - Walk with your legs straight, raising each up parallel with the ground as you walk

These will get everything loose and ready to roll. I try to do 4 or 5 streches after each run...I'll talk about those some other time.

Swim: 5 minute warm-up
1.2 miles (2112 yds) in 39:45 (33:07 min/mile pace)
5 minute cool-down

20 minute of weights (shoulders, traps)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lance Armstrong vs. Chris Lieto

Everyone knows who Lance is. Chris Lieto is someone that you are probably not familiar with unless you follow the sport of professional triathlon. I could tell you all about him, but I'll spare you and just say that he's the fastest cyclist on the pro circuit. You can learn more about him here.

Anyway, both Lance and Chris are in Hawaii training...because that's your life when you are a professional athlete! Lance apparently saw Chris out on the famous Queen Kaahumanu Highway on Tuesday and wrote on Twitter that he wanted to challenge Chris to a little race yesterday morning. They talked some trash back and forth via their Twitter accounts and set it up.

The 14 mile race actually drew a pretty big crowd of people. Lance's time was 18:35 and Chris came in at 18:50, so Lance won by 15 seconds. The most impressive part is how fast these guys were going. Look at the times...14 miles in under 19 minutes!! That's an average pace of 35 mph...on a bike! I'm happy if I get in the 21-22 mph range during a triathlon. I wish I could say that their bikes are just that much better, but let's face it, these guys are the some of the best riders in the world.

Check out the video below:

Another test on the bike this morning and it's all systems go! I put in 55 minutes this morning (5 minute warm-up, 45 minute spin class, 5 minute cool-down).
I taped up the knee and went at it about 80% during the class. Had some good hills and speed intervals and felt no pain in the knee. Bad news is that my heart rate was through the roof! I struggled to keep it under 150 on the intervals...I couldn't get it up to 140 a month ago. Oh well, back to work...the fitness will return with time.
30 minutes of weights (legs) and stretching after the ride.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Winter Triathlon?

I saw a story on a triathlon website about the ITU Winter Triathlon World Championships. Who knew that they was such a thing? The race was held in Norway, were the temperature at the race start was 17F!
So what exactly is a winter triathlon? They start with a 6K run (on trails covered in snow), then a 10K mountain bike ride on they same snow covered trails, and finish with 9K of cross-country skiing.

Sounds fun, huh?

One hour of weights only. Chest, back, arms and abs.

Ran 7.43 miles in 59:21 (7:59 min/mile pace)
Due to all of the time off, I'm still in the Base Phase of my training, which means that all of my runs (with the exception of intervals) and rides are supposed to take place in heart rate zone 2. With all of the time off recently nursing my knee injury, I've lost a lot of the fitness that I developed. Because of this, my heart rate is higher than it used to be when I run. I need to focus on keeping my HR in zone 2 (152-164 bpm) when I run to try and build my aerobic fitness back up to where it was a month ago.
During my run this morning, my HR was hanging out around 165 for the first 2 miles. Even though I didn't feel like I was pushing it, I made the effort to slow down...and my HR responded. As you can see in the chart below, my mile times took a hit, but my HR dropped back to where it should be, around 158 for the remainder of the run.

It's frustrating to have to slow myself down when I know that I can run faster, but endurance is the key...and the best way to increase my endurance is to train in zone 2 right now...even if the pace suffers.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Back In The Saddle

My last training on the bike was Monday, January 18th (4 weeks ago). After riding through pain that morning, I knew that I needed to take some time off from the bike to let me knee heal. This morning I taped up my knee and climbed back on the saddle for a "test the waters" ride.

Good news is that my knee felt fine. I didn't push it and just did 30 minutes at a comfortable pace. I'll try again on Thursday - maybe a full 45 minute spin class if all goes well.

I plan on taking it easy with the running and biking this week and if all goes well, I'll try and get back into my training plan next week. Only problem is that, counting this week, I'm 6 weeks behind! The plan is to cut a week out of each of the two Build Phases and cut a week out of the Peak Phase. This leaves me 4 weeks (assuming I can start next week) in the Base Phase to get my fitness back before getting into the Build Phases...time will tell!

Ran 5.97 miles in 44:56 (7:31 min/mile pace).
I taped up my knee with some KT Tape and it felt great the whole run. My heart rate was a little higher than I would like, but it will get back down as I get my aerobic fitness back.
AVG HR = 163 bpm
MAX HR = 172 bpm

Rode for 30 minutes on the bike with my knee taped. Kept a pretty stead pace, probably only covered around 8 miles or so.
Swam 1050 yd in 23:03
5 minutes of warm-up, then 5 minutes of drills
Swam 400 yd at sprint race pace in 6:55 (30:25 min/mile pace)
5 minute cool down practicing sighting

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Importance of Weight Training

Since the time I was 12 or 13, I've lifted weights of some sort. My Dad had a nice little set up in our basement and he would let us come down and lift some light weights once in a while. I've maintained a steady weight lifting routine ever since then, including a "weight lifting class" in high school (it was the only one of the only electives that fit my schedule). Over the years I've lifted with various goals in mind. Sometimes it was to get stronger, once or twice it was to get "swole". Yes, that's a word.

When I started training for triathlons, I still maintained my weight lifting, although it went from being the focus of my workout to being a small part of it. When I decided a few months ago to train for a half-ironman distance, the required volume of training went up so much that I had to eliminate the weight lifting altogether. I figured that my muscles (especially my legs) were getting stronger based on my training...I should have known better!

Turns out that weak leg muscles contributed to my recent knee injury. Weakness of the quadriceps muscles and hip abductors were the culprits. Quadricep muscles play a significant role in patellar (knee cap) movement. Hip, hamstring, calf and iliotibial band (IT Band) stretching is also important. So over the last few weeks, I've been doing lots of strengthening and stretching....which will continue even when my knee is back to normal.

The moral of the story is to make weight training part of your routine. Even if you run 30-40 miles a still need to strengthen your leg muscles.

Swim - 11 minutes of warm-up and drills
Followed by 89 lengths (1869 yd = 1.06 miles) in 37:29
5 minute cool down
Total workout: 2352 yd in 55:51

I feel like I should explain the reason I swam 89 lengths. A few minutes into my swim I decided that instead of swimming a mile, I would do 1.2 miles (the distance of the swim portion of a half-ironman). So while swimming, I started trying to do the math in my head and figure out how many lengths 1.2 miles would be. I knew that a mile was 74 lengths, so I figured if I added 20% to that, it would be 1.2 miles....which works out to be 88.8 lengths. Problem is, a mile is 84 lengths, not 74! Not sure why I goofed this up, but I quickly realized that I didn't swim 1.2 miles when I saw my time was around 37 minutes.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Louisville's First Triathlon Store!

I started training and competing in triathlons about a year and a half ago. Ever since then, I've thought that Louisville needed a triathlon specific store. Not that I mind going to a separate running store, bike shop and swim store, but this city hosts one of only 25 worldwide official Ironman doesn't seem right that there wasn't a store devoted to the sport. I even mentioned to my wife that if I had the capital to invest, I would open a store myself. I knew the market was there; apparently, so did someone else!

VO2 Multisport opened in Louisville on December 30, 2009. Here's their slogan:

"VO2 is a retail store, training center and repair shop combined. Three different focuses, one mission — to help multisport athletes get the most out of every breath."

I went over last week and checked the place out. Spent some time talking to Rick, who is very knowledgeable when it comes to bikes! It's a pretty cool store (hope they offer gift cards - my birthday is only 2 months away!). Not only do they have all the gear you might need, they also have a pretty extensive list of services. Such as bike fitting (one of only two certified bike fitters in the city), bike repairs/adjustments, spin classes where you can bring your bike and do the class on a trainer, computrainer sessions, coaching, etc. 

If you live in or near Louisville and are interested in triathlons, go check the place out. I plan on getting into one of the spin classes once my knee gives me the notice to proceed!

6" of snow on the ground when I woke up. The plan was to go for a run this morning...which obviously didn't happen! I shoveled some of the driveway and I'll do it again later. I guess that counts for a little cardio.

Monday, February 8, 2010

That Boy Sure Is A Swimmin' Fool

If the old man in the barbershop from "Forrest Gump" was at the gym in the mornings, he would probably see me walk in and say "That boy sure is a swimmin' fool". I feel like that's all I've done the last few weeks. With the knee still healing (hopefully), I've been off the bike and cutting the runs back...but in the interest of getting something out of the time I would normally be riding, I've added significant time to my swim training. I'm averaging almost 3 hours a week over the last three weeks, and apparently it's helped.

I swam a mile this morning in 33:55, which is one of my fastest times. But the important part is that I wasn't pushing it. I swam at a nice, comfortable pace...which I felt I could have continued for another mile if I needed to. I've done a mile under 34 minutes before, but I was huffing and puffing when I finished...not so today.

As you can tell, I'm looking for a silver lining on this storm cloud known as my right knee. I'm going to get some KT Tape (which is what the PT used when he taped my knee up) today and use that from now on while running.

The cheap tape that I thought would work comes loose after about a mile or so. Still not planning on getting back on the saddle this week, but I might up the mileage on my runs if the knee feels ok afterward.

5 minutes of warm-up and drills
1 mile in 33:55
5 minutes of sighting drills
5 minute cool-down
Total workout: 2,268 yd (1.28 mi) in 50:27

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Confirmed: More Exercise = Better Health

I don't make a habit of reading the San Francisco Chronicle, but I saw a link to this story on a triathlon website, so I thought I would share it.

You can read the whole article, but here's the gist: The results of a study show that the more miles people run, the less likely they are to develop heart disease or have strokes. The health improvements continue up to 50 miles a week! The health improvements don't just apply to runners - any sort of regular aerobic activity helps, and the more hours people put in, the more benefits they'll see.

Uhh...I think we all knew this already.
1 mile warm-up at an easy pace
5 minutes of drills
9 x 1/4 mile intervals at 5K race pace with 1/4 mile jog in between each (I meant to do 10 intervals, but I lost count - it was only 9 once I looked at my watch when I was done)

1/4 mile splits:
1:40 - HR = 158 bpm
1:38 - 162 bpm
1:39 - 163 bpm
1:39 - 167 bpm
1:41 - 165 bpm
1:38 - 167 bpm
1:40 - 168 bpm
1:41 - 168 bpm
1:25 - 171 bpm

1/2 mile cool-down

Total workout =6.15 miles in 50:46

I think I might have messed up doing this workout today. My knee was feeling near 90% the last 3-4 days, but now it's tightened up again as the day's gone on. I'll ice it tonight and see how it feels tomorrow...Saturday morning's run just got scrapped!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Swim Intervals

One if the keys to getting last in any sport is to do some speed work. So I mixed it up today and did some swim intervals. As I revealed on a previous post, the pool lengths are a little off, so that explains the weird distances:

5 minute warm-up

5 x 210 yard (10 pool lengths) intervals with 30 seconds of rest between
1) 3:44 (31:17 min/mile pace)
2) 3:52
3) 3:49
4) 3:48
5) 3:49

1 minute rest

588 yards (28 lenghts) at an easy pace (21:02)

4 x 42 yard (2 pool lengths) intervals with 30 seconds of rest between
1) 36.26
2) 35.95
3) 35.52
4) 34.75 (24:16 min/mile pace)

5 minute cool-down

Entire workout: 2,034 yards (1.15 miles) in 47:02

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Top 10 Energy Foods

All the fad over the last few years has been low-carb diets. If you run, or do any type of aerobic exercise, you NEED carbohydrates. Limiting the amount of carbs you eat will make you slower and drain your energy faster. The important thing is to eat the right kind of cards. So here's a list of foods that are full of powerful nutrients that will keep you energized:

  • Oatmeal - go for the cooked oats and add in fruit for flavor, the packaged stuff has too many additives and sugar
  • Roasted Chestnuts - must nuts are pretty high in fat (the good kind), but chestnuts give you lots of fiber, vitamin C and folic acid
  • Blueberries - one cup gives you 20 grams of carbs...and only 80 calories
  • Low-fat, plain Yogurt - may be the perfect recovery food for athletes, as it promotes glycogen replenishment and muscle recovery
  • Whole Wheat Pasta - 40 grams of carbohydrates per cup. You can buy it easily in the store and most good restaurants have an option for whole wheat pasta.
  • Sweet Potatoes - a 4 oz. potato contains 28 grams of carbs and only 143 calories. Pick this side instead of fries or a regular potato...and go easy on the butter and brown sugar - these guys are sweet enough on their own. Plus, it's one of the first solid foods recommended for babies, so it's got to be good for you!
Taped up my knee and ran 5.64 miles in 42:15 (7:29 min/mile pace). This is still way less than my training plan calls for, but I'm really trying hard to cut back so that my knee will's not easy to cut my run short when I'm feeling great, but the knee is definitely getting better.
I warmed-up with a few laps around the indoor track before heading out. I also spent about 15 minutes stretching after my run.
Avg HR - 160 bpm
Max HR - 170 bpm

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Favorite Triathlon Related Websites

There are several websites that I use as part of my triathlon training/racing. Here's a few of my favorites:
  • - This is where I log all of my workouts. I upload my training plan for the year via an Excel spreadsheet and then I can pull up the website through their iPhone app and see what my scheduled workout is for the day. I can also access all of my past workouts and categorize them by discipline and or date. Very useful! You can also load in nutritional data to track your eating if you want.
  • - Very good website, even if you are not a beginner. Lots of good articles and training tips/drills. You can track your races and discuss upcoming/past races with other athletes. Reading the race reports from the previous year's race is also a good way to get a feel for a race that you've never done before.
  • - Lots of good posts on triathlon training and gear. Posts are added several times a week, so there are always new ones to read. Or you can check out the archives for specific topics that you want to learn more about (i.e. nutrition, open water swimming, finding the right bike, etc.)
  • - If you read my blog at all, you know how much I love Run Keeper. The iPhone app maps all my runs and bike rides and I can go to the website to look back at any runs and bikes from the past. Rumors are that they are going to incorporate heart rate monitoring into the software. That would be awesome! It also has a cool feature that lets you connect with friends that use the site. You can monitor each others runs and see where and when they run. Kind of sounds like stalking, but it's not.
  • - I used this website a lot more before I found Run Keeper. You can use a map to plan your route before your run or ride. I like to plan out a route before I leave on a long bike ride. It keeps me from getting lost! You can store favorite routes and pull them back up for future use. I also use it once in a while to verify the distances I get from the GPS on my iPhone while using Run Keeper. 
  • - Tons of good info on food and supplements.  I use the categories on the right hand side to find out about specific foods and what I should be eating. There's also meal planning and general news on food. Pretty cool stuff if you are into healthy eating...which I assume you are if you are reading this!
Swim - 5 minute warm-up with drills, then did a mile in 35:14. For my cool-down I did several laps working on sighting. I still don't have my technique down, but I'm getting better. At least it doesn't feel like I come to a complete stop every time I try and look above the water line! Total workout was 2520 yards (1.43 miles) 51:17.
Weights - 40 minutes of legs and abs. Focused on light weights with high reps to try and build strength in my upper legs so that once my knee heals, it won't be a recurring problem!

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