Sunday, November 28, 2010

Week 4 Training Summary...The Battle with Misty Hyman

As I had planned week 4 was a big training week for me. I had 20 workouts and my total training time was right at 24 hours. For the week I biked all 7 days for a total of 180 miles, ran 6 days for a total of 45 miles, and swam 4 days for a total of 16,100 yards. In addition to those I also lifted weights 3 times, did speed drills, strides, lunges, and push-ups all three times, core work 8 times, and plyometrics twice. It felt great to get in such a solid week, by far my biggest since surgery last April. I burned through a lot of GU Energy products this week to keep me fueled. It is really helpful for me to make sure I have them with me on the long swim workouts with the high school and also on my long run on Sundays. I went 76 minutes this week for my longest run since surgery. I'll keep building that slowly with a plan of getting to 2 hrs. 15 minutes by mid-April. I saw Dr. Kaminski for ART treatment on Tuesday and then ran the Turkey Trot 5 miler on Thanksgiving morning as hard as I could. I was having a little bit of discomfort in the back of my knee where my calf muscle meets my hamstring before this race. It hadn't hurt to run but I could feel it when I did a full squat. I warmed up and it felt good enough to race on so I ran the 5 miles hard and finished 7 seconds faster than last year in 28:32. It is a pretty tough course which is mostly uphill for the first half of the race before coming back downhill the 2nd half. I was excited to be able to do this race 7 seconds faster than last year despite missing the majority of 5 months running. This was my first benchmark race of the year and it tells me I'm right on schedule for big things. It was also much colder this year for the race as the temperature was around 25 degrees at race time. My wife Jen won the women's race at the Turkey Trot. She ran great and came in at 30:40. It was her last race of the year and she had an amazing season especially considering she gave birth to Owen in March. I haven't kept exact track but I think she won about 19 races this year. Way to work Super Mom!! I had a massage from Laurel Darren on Friday and it helped tremendously in getting rid of my knee pain and preparing me for a huge weekend of training. I was able to get in 4 hrs. 40 minutes of training on Friday after the massage and then follow that up on Sunday with another 4 hr. 20 minute training day. Those were my first two days this year over 4 hours in a single day. I know from past years that I recover better after each 4 hour day and once 4 hours isn't very taxing I'll move my long day to 5 hours...and then beyond. Going into Ironman St. George on May 7th I'll be relying more on my cumulative volume of training more than I will rely on single long days since all the training leading up to this race will be while I'm still working full-time. My fall Ironman at Rev 3 will be more on big single days that I have more time for in the summer. I will probably only have a handfull of 100 mile rides going into St. George while I'll have many more over the summer.
My favorite workout this week was a battle with a swim set named after Olympic female swimmer Misty Hyman. It was a set that I did with the high school team on Friday and Coach Tweedy warned us that the set would challenge us much more mentally than physically. The set consists of a 50 yard swim every 90 seconds but the catch is that the first 25 is an underwater kick with no breaths and no strokes to be taken. Once you hit the wall completely gasping for air you then turn and sprint back down the pool as fast as you can. Every 90 seconds you begin another one so if the kick and swim takes you 50 seconds you have 40 seconds to take in oxygen before beginning the next. Coach Tweedy was exactly right about the set challenging me mentally. The first one wasn't too bad but it burnt up a lot of my oxygen stores and on #2 I felt like I was going to pass out. Each time someone on the team came up early he added on one. There were actually a lot of kids that couldn't make it down the pool without a breath so we ended up doing 10 of them before he called it a set. I made it down the pool kicking with no breaths for all of them but I only wish I could say I beat Misty Hyman. She got the better of me because after the first one I started swimming back down the pool easy so that I could recover for the next one. It was so tough not to take a breath on the kick part that I didn't think I could make the next one if I sprinted back. For that reason I will chalk this one up for the opposition. I loved the set because with each one there was a little bit of doubt that crept into my mind as I would think I needed a breath and looked up to see I was still 10 yards from the wall. I managed to make it in but by not sprinting back down I can't say I won. I know the Ironman will be very similar. There will come a point in the race when I begin to wonder if I can continue on at 9:10 pace (my goal for St. George). If I ease up hoping to save energy for later I'll be doomed. The goal will never be met. I've got to learn through sets like this that it can be done. The body is phyically capable of so much more than the mind wants one to realize. I'm already looking forward to the next time we are challened with Misty Hyman 50's. I will make the underwater kick and then sprint back as fast as I can knowing full well that my body is capable of doing it. If you're at the pool and are bored try one out and you'll find how mentally challenging they are.
I'm four weeks in now. Each week I have added on volume and this week will be time to rest and recover while my body adapts to the demands I have placed on it the first 4 weeks. I'll still work out of course but my volume will be much lower so I can get ready for another build up through December. I already have some big weeks planned for the end of December while I'm on winter break. I can feel my body changing. I'm losing weight, getting stronger, and my confidence has grown leaps and bounds since I began training for 2011. That may be the greatest result of the training. I'm beginning to feel like a podium finish in St. George is going to happen. I had doubts 4 weeks ago as to whether or not my achilles was really ready to hold up through the demands I place on it in training. Those doubts have been completely erased. I hope all of you had an awesome Thanksgiving! It's a great time to set goals and begin working towards them. Each day...each week...and each month you will see progression. Work hard and know that nothing is impossible! Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Racing Weight Notes

I must admit I've been slacking on my reading lately so I really don't have anything new to report on what I've learned from the book. However, since it is the eve of the day where more food in the United States is consumed than on any other day of the year I will post a few quick reminders of things that may help you avoid putting on too many extra pounds over the Thanksgiving holiday. Author Matt Fitzgerald writes in his book that weight gain is typically not a gradual thing. Many people in the U.S. believe they are bound to gain 5 lbs. a year as they age. They believe it is something that very gradually creeps up on them. Fitzgerald believes that weight gain is typically something that occurs quickly when overeating takes place followed by no change in exericse habits. He cites Thanksgiving to New Year's as the time when most people gain all the weight they gain in a year. Remember, if you overeat tomorrow, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll carry the extra weight into the race season if you recognize that you gained weight and modify eating/exercise habits to make up for it.
One trick Fitzgerald gives in the book to avoid overeating is to eat slowly. Try it out for Thanksgiving dinner and see if it makes a difference in how much you eat. He also suggests drinking a glass of water or milk before eating anything. That will start filling the stomach before the bad calories begin. Lastly, he suggests eating an appetizer and waiting at least 10 minutes before eating anything else. It takes the body about 10 minutes to realize how full it is; thus the reason why people who eat fast often overeat. Another thing to remember tomorrow is that it is okay to not fill the plate. Most Americans feel the need to finish everything on their plate even if they are already full. It leads to overeating. If you don't read this until after Thanksgiving and you feel guilty about how much you ate just remember if you pick up the workouts and are careful for the next week you'll more than likely lose what you gained.
Thanksgiving has never been a tough one for me to avoid overeating. For some reason I've never liked much of the traditional Thanksgiving food. I don't like Turkey. I despise mashed potatoes. I don't like pumpkin pie, green bean casserole, or cranberry at all. I will eat stuffing but it's not something I love. Fresh vegetables without all the garbage in them I like but I've never needed to worry much about overeating on Thanksgiving. As for my own update on getting to race weight I was 165 lbs. this morning which is 6 less than where I started 3 and a half weeks ago.
I would like to wish all the readers a very enjoyable Thanksgiving. If you're traveling drive safely. I have lots to be thankful awesome wife and two great kids, a great job, great health, sponsors that believe in my abilities...and so much more. I was reminded in 2010 how lucky I am to be able to go out and train 20+ hours a week. Have an awesome Thanksgiving!! DREAM BIG!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week 3 Training Summary

Week 3 of training was my best week since last March before I started having problems with my achilles tendon that ultimately led to surgery and an end to the 2010 season. For the week I had a total of 17 workouts that added up to 19.5 hours of training time. I ran 41 miles (my most since pre-surgery), biked 100 miles, and swam, 17,500 yards over 3 swimming workouts. I also lifted weights, did lunges, speed drills, and strides all three times, core work 7 times, and plyometrics twice. I'm really beginning to feel like I'm getting back into solid shape. I have settled into a pretty good training routine which makes the total time not feel bad at all because it is well organized throughout the week. I think it is important to lay out a weekly schedule for when you can do workouts. It helps to give you a "roadmap" that will allow you to get where you want to be. For me this "roadmap" is laid out every week. Jen and I communicate with the things we have going on so I can make necessary adjustments but for the most part I'm running 6 days, with a day off on Tuesday. I'm swimming on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, lifting weights on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and riding whatever 5-6 days the schedule allows. I take the day or two off biking when I feel I need the extra recovery. My hardest run day is typically on Wednesday when I do some sort of intervals. I also do a tempo run typically on Friday and my long run is almost always on Sunday morning. The 19.5 hours did not feel overwhelming in any way because I was well organized. I still have quite a bit of potential workout time so I'll be able to increase my load as I get in better shape. This week I only work 2.5 days with the Thanksgiving holiday week so I'm planning to bump things up for the week with a recovery week to follow next. The recovery week will still be training every day but it will be considerably less volume since I will be coming off 4 straight weeks of building up. It is important to have easy weeks in training just as it is to have easy days.
My hardest running workout of the week was a hill interval workout on Wednesday. I'm hoping to get in a solid hill workout every couple weeks to help prepare myself mentally and physically for the hilly course that Ironman St. George will be. I ran 8x 400 meter hills with a jog down recovery. I also increased my tempo run this week to 4 miles. I call this workout a progressive tempo run because I get progressively faster each mile of the workout. My mile splits over the tempo period were 6:14, 6:07, 5:53, and 5:37. I like to gradually cut down and finish the last mile at about 10k race pace. My total time for the 4 miles of tempo running was 23:52 and the pace never felt too stressful.
My favorite workouts of the week were definitely my swims with the high school team. On Tuesday we got out of practice a little bit early and the yardage totaled 4,100 which was my most of the year so far. Thursday the workout was 6,200 yards and I wondered at times if my arms were going to fall off. After the first of 3 rounds through the main set Coach Tweedy moved me to the fastest lane and I got absolutely drilled by those guys. I was struggling just to make it through the workout but it was great because it forced me to focus on keeping my technique together when I was really worn down. The 6,200 yards missed my most ever in a single workout by 100 yards. This total was completely obliterated on Saturday when I joined them for a 2 hr. 10 minute practice in which I totaled 7,200 yards of swimming. I was back down to my regular lane and led the lane through the entire workout so I never had a chance to recover by drafting which I regularly do. I've really enjoyed working with these guys. It amazes me that in addition to the workouts after school they practice every morning at 5:30 a.m. I know my technique has come a long way over the past year. I am rotating my body through the water much better than a year ago when I made that a major focus. The other thing I spent lots of time on over the past year is on getting my elbow higher out of the water. Coach Tweedy has given me great feedback on my stroke and wants me to begin thinking about the "catch" phase in my stroke.
Today I was able to watch the finish of Ironman Arizone online and it was awesome. The field was completely loaded as 3 guys went under the previous course record. I was really inspired by 3rd place finisher Tom Lowe's race. He exited the water 8 and a half minutes behind the leaders but used huge bike and run legs to move all the way up to a 3rd place finish. This inspires and motivates me because I know I'll be giving up big chunks of time to the leaders over a 2.4 mile swim that the Ironman requires. I will need to get myself into phenomenal bike and run shape so I can move my way to a podium finish in St. George. In fact 3 of the top 7 finishers today came out of the water anywhere from 8.5 to 10 minutes behind the leaders. The most inspring performance of the day definitely came from Britain's phenom female Chrissy Wellington. Wellington has never lost an Ironman race and she is a 3x Hawaii world champion but had to miss last month's race due to an illness. She decided to race in Arizona shortly afterwards and today she set the world record Ironman time for a female! Not only did she win the female race by almost 30 minutes but she only lost to 7 guys! She was only 3 minutes behind 2008 Olympic triathlete Matty Reed. She finished with her famous smile and then gave credit to the fans on the course for her amazing performance. She set the world record by 11 minutes! Congrats to all the finishers at Ironman Arizona. It was very inspiring. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Racing Weight Notes

I will continue my notes on Matt Fitzgerald's book, Racing Weight; How to get lean for Peak Performance with a few more things I have learned.

1. Last week I mentioned that people tend to eat until they feel full. Look for foods that contain lots of water and fiber. Both of these ingredients add volume without adding calories.

2. Carbohydrates are the least filling of the 3 sources of calories (fat, protein, carbohydrates). This fact is what spurned the super fad Atkins Diet earlier this decade. This diet is definitely not the way for endurance athletes to go as carbohydrates are the main source of fuel. I knew this diet was bogus back in 2003 when I was working a 2nd job at Rudy's Tacos in Rock Island, IL to save money for my first triathlon race bike. There was a guy who came in and ordered 3 beef enchiladas with triple extra cheese. He told me he didn't want the lettuce and tomatoes because they would add unnecessary carbs and he was on the Atkins Diet. Something didn't quite add up...level 3 extra cheese (the most extra cheese we allowed) but no lettuce and tomatoes. I didn't need to read any books to realize this diet was nuts. What endurance athletes need to do is make sure they mix carbs with healthy fats and protein so they can get a balanced meal and still feel full.
3. Keeping a food journal is a good way to track where unnecessary calories are being put into the body. I've done this in times when I think I'm struggling to get to racing weight. All this involves is writing down what you eat. It isn't absolutely necessary to count up the calories, although that strategy can be helpful. By writing things down you realize how much you are really eating and it also makes you think twice before you eat 6 cookies in one setting because you have to write them all down.
4. When you consume food it takes the body about 10 minutes to feel the effects of fullness of what you are eating. This is the reason that all nutritionists say to eat slowly. When you eat slowly you will feel full before you overeat. I believe one of the big reasons we have more and more obese people in the United States is because of the fast paced lifestyle we live. People devour food quickly at meals and by doing so they don't realize they are full until well after the food has been eaten. People often overeat when the eat out at restaurants. I'm certainly guilty of this on multiple occasions. There are a couple reasons for this. First off, restaurants NEVER want people to leave hungry so they have increased portion sizes dramatically over the last 10 years. People are more likely to overeat with a large plate in front of them because they don't want any food to go to waste. The 2nd reason people overeat when they go to restaurants is that they eat quickly by habit. If you're like me you've been to a restaurant before and eaten your meal and it doesn't seem like you ate too much until 5-10 minutes after the meal is over. Within 5 minutes of finishing the meal you feel like your stomach is about to burst. Eating too fast is what caused the problem.
5. When you eat your metabolism is increased for a short period of time because of the work it has to do to digest the food. This is the reason I've been eating smaller meals more frequently during the day. Although this "thermic effect" of eating always takes place when you eat, Fitzgerald suggests that the effect of speeding up metabolism is even greater when you eat after a workout. He suggests that the sooner you can eat after a workout the better. This is because the body is craving the energy that comes from foods and it processes the energy much better within one hour of working out.
I weighed in at 169 lbs. this week. Part of me wanted to leave the fact that I gained one pound off this post but I know it is important to report that 1 lb. gain. I have no doubts that in the long run I'll continue dropping weight but I want people to know it is not out of the ordinary to fluxuate slightly from week to week. I ate extremely well last week and had great workouts. I also know from tracking my past 2 year's weight loss that I typically don't lose much weight until my second month of training. I believe this is because while I'm losing fat I'm also adding muscle to my frame. I'm getting much stronger from swimming, lifting weights, and doing exercises like lunges, plyometrics, and push-ups. The extra muscle I put on now will help me to lose weight down the road however because of how many calories muscle burns at rest. I know from the way my clothes are fitting that I'm losing bad weight and gaining good weight. I'll continue to update on this book with a mid-week post until I finish it. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Week 2 Training Summary

Week 2 was a great one for me. As always seems to be the case when I begin training, I noticed a huge difference by the end of this second week in how I feel. I can tell my body is beginning to adapt to the training. The amount of time it is taking me to recover between workouts has begun to drop way down. For example, on Sunday morning I did my longest run of the week at 9.5 miles (about 67 minutes). My legs were pretty tired over the last 3 miles. I could tell it was my longest run in months (since before my achilles tendon surgery in April). After the run I drove to the fitness center for a short 50 minute swim workout consisting of mostly drill and technique work before enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner with my family. By about 3 p.m. I could no longer tell I had done a long run. My legs had fully recovered and I felt like I could have done the run again. A week ago my long run left me feeling stiff and tired for about a full 24 hours. The quicker recovery is one of many signs that the training is beginning to take effect. I also felt the benfits of getting in to Dr. Kaminski from Kaminski Pain and Performance Care for an ART session on Tuesday. That really helped loosen me up for the rest of the week.
For week 2 my total training time was up a bit from last week to 16.5 hours. I ran 36 miles, biked 75, swam 9,200 yards, lifted weights three times, did speed drills, strides, push-ups, and lunges all three times, and core work 10 times. I'll update my current body weight in my mid-week post that centers around the book Racing Weight which addresses that very topic. I can tell that I am losing as I have been very strict about applying the things I'm learning from the book to my diet.
I had two favorite workouts this week. The first was a swim on Thursday with our high school swim team. The new coach is a former swimmer at the University of Iowa. He has really been stressing form and technique to the team. This was their first week of practice and nearly all the time was spent on dryland/core exercises and swimming technique. Although the yardage was not high and the swims were not hard the emphasis on technique is exactly what I need right now. I've spent the last few years trying to correct my technique knowing that swimming speed is more directly influenced by how you swim than what kind of shape you are in. Being 6 months from an Ironman I know this is the perfect time for me to really focus on improving my technique. I had so much fun and felt I learned so much that I switched my workout schedule around a bit so that I can swim with them 3 days instead of the 2 I had originally planned.
My other favorite workout was a tempo run on Friday. The reason it was my favorite was because I did the workout with a student of mine. All the teachers at our school pick one student through the year that we want to help in whatever particular aspect we decide on. It is basically a mentoring program although our school chooses to call it an intervention plan. The student I selected is a great athlete and I targeted his fall fitness testing scores from PE and set a goal of helping him improve all of them by the spring testing period. We work out together about twice a week during the last period of the day when I don't have class. He has been working really hard. Friday I was planning to do a tempo run alone not thinking he would come down. I had planned to do 3/4 of a mile warm up, 3.5 miles of tempo running at 6 min./mile pace followed by a 3/4th mile cool down. Just before I headed out the door to begin my student showed up ready to work out. I told him I was going to do a tempo run. He had no idea what that consisted of so I told him he should try it with me. I said I would cut the tempo period from 3.5 to 2.5 miles. We warmed up the first bit and then started into the tempo period. We went through the first mile in 6:12. I could tell we were slowly increasing the pace and mile 2 was 6:05. He continued speeding up over the last 1/2 mile to the tune of 2:49 for the last 800 meters! His total time was 15:06 which I was completely in awe of! He ran 6:02 pace! I knew he was a great runner as he showed with his fall mile test where he ran 5:24 but to do a tempo run at 6:02 blew me away. I could tell afterwards he surprised the heck out of himself. He proved something to himself on Friday afternoon. He did something he didn't think he was capable of doing. That is what working out and setting goals is all about. Set a big goal for something you didn't think could ever be done. Gain confidence through workouts leading up to it and by the time the goal date arrives you'll have no doubts that this thing you once thought was impossible now isn't. That is what I'm planning to do leading up to Ironman St. George on May 7. Gain confidence through workouts each and every week and have no doubts when that date comes.
I saw my oldest brother Jason today at our family Thanksgiving for the 1st time since visiting him in the hospital after his accident. He looks great and his attitude about losing an arm is even better! Jason wanted to go with me to Healthy Habits to see what accommodations they could make for him on a bike. Moon was awesome in helping explain they would be able to put all the shifters and brakes on the right side so he can still ride. He is expecting to swim this week and met a prosthetic doctor last week and was given great news that they can make him a prosthetic arm. He said he has adjusted well to life with one arm and you can tell by his attitude that is the case. He's set on competing in the Hy-Vee Triathlon next September as well as a couple others leading up to that. I can't wait to see it! Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Racing Weight Notes

Many triathletes begin the sport with a goal of losing weight. Author Matt Fitzgerald mentions it as one of the top reasons people begin triathlons. Overwhelmingly however after just a year those same people continue to train for and compete in triathlons for entirely different reasons. By being involved in a healthy lifestyle that triathlon provides bad weight will naturally come off. I say bad weight because some triathletes may not lose weight but they become more healthy by reducing body fat and gaining lean muscle. More importantly than losing weight however is that you will gain confidence in yourself with every small obstacle you overcome. With each goal met a new one will be set and you will soon find yourself waking up with more energy, being less stressed out (due to all the great stress relieving workouts completed), and more than likely weighing less than when you began. Some things from this week's updates on Racing Weight which I've now finished 162 pages of...
1. People who compete in triathlons with a sole goal of losing weight actually lose less weight than those who set performance and training goals in triathlon. They also enjoy the sport less because their goals are not related to the sport (less enjoyment is probably why less weight is lost)
2. Set a BIG initial goal so you will have something to work for. This is so important. By focusing on the big goal (which may be reached by having a number of smaller benchmark goals on the way) you will lose weight because you will stay dedicated to working out and eating healthy so you can get to race weight and have a better chance of reaching the goal. For some of you a BIG goal may be to finish your first triathlon. It's a huge accomplishment. To some that means overcoming a fear or doing something they never thought they could until they committed. This reminds me so much of LeeAnn Herrera, a fellow Team Tri-Fit member who joined last year to prepare for her first ever triathlon. She set a big goal of finishing and began that goal last winter. I got to know LeeAnn at some Team Tri-Fit functions and I followed her hilarious blog throughout the entire journey. I was so excited to see her cross the finish line at the Quad City Triathlon. She described that although she began the journey with a goal of losing weight there were so many other things she gained from the experience. She mentioned self confidence as the number one.
3. Exercise is the most effective way to lose weight. The biggest psychological barrier to exercise is self doubt...fear of failure...lack of self-esteem. If you fall into this category, I can tell you the triathlon community loves to help see others through their goals. Triathletes love to hear stories about people overcoming fears in the sport. Watch any recent year of the Ironman Championships. Half of the television programming is devoted to watching athletes who have overcome major obstacles and still been able to finish an Ironman.
4. Most people eat until they are full. At that point they stop...most of the time! This makes it important to find foods that make you feel full without adding lots of calories. The number one factor of feeling full is how much the volume of food you put into the stomach is. It doesn't really matter what the food is, the volume is more important to feeling full. Example: Your stomach feels full after 1.2 pounds of food are put into it. You can get that 1.2 lbs. from whatever source you want. One forth of a water melon would make you just as full as eating two entire cans of Pringles (the old size not the super size they sell now). Think about the calorie difference in this extreme example. It has made me start eating more apples because apples contain high volume but low calories.
After 10 days of training I'm down from 171 starting weight to 168. I'll continue to update on this book mid-week. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Week 1 Training Summary

This week I realized what I had been missing over the past 6 months. I missed the daily consistency of working out. I really enjoy being able to work out...maybe even more so now that I have had that opportunity taken away from me for quite some time. I don't know exactly how long I'm going to be able to train like I do for triathlons. One of the few most important factors to how long I continue to try to compete as a professional triathlete is whether or not I continue to enjoy the training. If there comes a time when the training isn't fun it will be time for me to find something else to do with that time. For now that is far from the case. For my first week of training I was right at 15 hours of total training time. My achilles tendon felt great through all of it. Dan White, my neighbor and friend who is a physical therapist at Rock Valley had set me up on a rehab plan with a goal of being free of all training limitations on November 1st and I believe the plan was executed perfectly. For the week I ran 30 miles, biked 75 miles, and swam 9,300 yards. It was the first time I had been on a bike or in the pool in nearly a month. That was the longest I had gone without swimming or biking in over two years. In addition to getting those numbers in the 3 disciplines of triathlon I also spent time lifting weights three times, doing lunges three times, plyometrics twice, core work 7 times, and speed drills, strides, and push-ups all three times. I expected to be more sore than I am. I never felt bad through this week. It will take me about one more week before I really start feeling the workouts pay off. The body has to adapt to the training and then the benefits can be felt. I did one track workout this week consisting of 8x 400's with a 1 minute rest after each. I averaged 76 seconds and it felt very easy. I started my first one at 79 and cut down each one to 70 on the last one. I also did a 3 mile tempo run on Friday from our hotel in Nashville, TN as Jen and I were at a friends wedding there over the weekend. Tempo runs on treadmills are one of my favorite workouts and one of the only things I enjoy doing on the treadmill. It is easy to control the pace and I like to run it getting progressively faster throughout. My mile splits were 6:08, 5:56, and 5:43. This week I will continue building the base while increasing my running mileage slightly. I will also begin working out with our high school swim team on Thursdays and Saturdays. They have a new coach who I'm excited to have look at my swim stroke. I know their practices will be really tough but I enjoy getting my butt kicked by kids half my age. My confidence will grow with each workout little by little. I'm anxious to go for week 2. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Racing Weight Notes

So last night Jen sent my to Hy-Vee to pick up the groceries for the week. I think this book doubled the amount of time I spent looking through various items that I pondered buying. It has definitely opened my eyes to what I am putting in my body. If I want to perform at an elite level it is imperitive that I get to my peak performance weight. Early in the book author Matt Fitzgerald gives some ways to identify what that magic number is. I'm probably going by his least scientific suggestion which is to go off a weight I've previously been at. The lowest weight I got to last year was 153 and I knew I had somewhere between 3 and 7 lbs. more to lose so I'm going with a goal weight of 150 by Ironman St. George on May 7. Monday was my first official weigh in. I weigh in weekly which is also recommended in the book. This is something I've always done during training season. Fitzgerald even notes a study result that ties frequency to weighing in to weight loss probably because it makes people more conscious of what they are putting into their bodies on a more regular basis. My first weigh in was 171. That is 3 lbs. more than I began last year but it is also 2 weeks earlier and I missed about a month of running last winter due to my achilles being sore. As I made my way through the grocery store I thought about some of the things the book said. I paid close attention to the carbohydrate food I've been eating. Fitzgerald highly recommends 100% whole grain over anything that is processed. That meant the honey wheat bagels I always thought were great for me would be out in favor of a 100% whole grain bagel. I like the taste of things that are 100% whole grain so that was no big deal. I also noticed the pasta I was buying was not 100% whole grain so I switched that as well. It is true you pay a little more for the good stuff. Hy-Vee uses a NuVal scoring system that Fitzgerald mentions in his book as one way to purchase foods with a high nutritional value. They rate everything from 1 to 99 based on the nutritional value. I was moving the sale tags out of the way to see NuVal scores. I noticed that fresh veggies and fruit were about double the canned stuff, most likely because the veggies and fruit in cans contain unhealthy preservatives. The canned stuff is not bad for you, it's just not as healthy as anything you can get fresh. Here are some other things I got from the book this week...
1. When you eat is as important as what you eat. The more often you eat the faster your body learns to burn through calories. If your body thinks it will not eat for 5 or 6 hours it will begin to conserve the food and burn through it at a slower rate. What I've been doing is eating about every 90 minutes to 2 hours this week. The key here is that you can't eat a lot with each meal. I pack a bag of things for school and make sure I eat something pretty consistently to keep my metabolism high.
2. Average body fat% in male professional triathletes are 6-10% range. I was at 12% last year. One of my goals for this year is to get my body fat % to 9 or less.
3. Body fat is insulation so endurance athletes carrying less of it can go faster without overheating. I noticed this last year when I was 153. I've always had an ungodly high sweat rate. I noticed my sweat rate declined big time as I carried less rate. This time of year even with our basement really cold I lose about 1 lb. of sweat in a 30 minute ride on the trainer. That should go down as I get more fit.
4. Of the three types of calories people consume (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) the most filling is protein. It takes the body more time to digest protein so it is the one that keeps the body full the longest. Protein is also the one that the body has to work the hardest to break down thus increasing the metabolic rate (how fast your body burns calories at rest). Fitzgerald recommends adding a whey protein supplement to the diet as a way of getting to peak race weight. I began using whey protein almost two years ago. I was about 6 weeks into this journey of training every day for triathlons and I was not recovering well. I began taking a whey protein supplement after hard workouts and most mornings for breakfast and I noticed a huge difference in how quickly I could recover. I have found a product online that is 5 lbs. for 29.95. If you're intested in what that is send me an e-mail and I'd be happy to send you the website I order from. It tastes good in water or milk which is good because if I'm going to be doing a hard workout I will take a water bottle with just the protein powder and mix water with it after the workout. All studies done on protein consumption agree that the quicker it is ingested after a workout the more benefit to recovery you will get. Most suggest a "1 hour window of opportunity". I try to get the protein in within 10 minutes if it is a hard workout or race. I've noticed I can recover from a very hard effort and feel great the next day. I don't use protein every day but if I'm doing something hard I try to get it in right away afterwards.
5. Cutting calories is not the best way for an endurance athlete to lose weight. Mainstream America thinks that the best way to "diet" is to eat less. This is rarely successful over the long haul. It may help to lose weight but when you cut calories you also slow the bodies metabolic rate and you eventually burn the amount of calories you are putting in. Inevitably you will slow metabolsim so much that you eventually return to the starting weight. For anyone who exercises a lot this can lead to disaster because you can deplete your body of the calories needed for workouts. Calorie restriction sends the message to your body to conserve calories because there may not be enough left for exercise. When your body knows it is going to get plenty of calories it continues to burn through them quickly. I also know that one of the best benefits from strength training is that you will add lean muscle. Adding muscle increases the metabolic rate and contributes to losing weight even when you are sleeping, sitting on the couch watching the Hawkeyes, or reading this blog. Muscle burns 25 times more calories at rest than fat does. It is why I highly recommend strength training to people who want to lose weight. I always tell them they may gain a couple pounds of muscle early on but they should not be worried. That new muscle will soon be helping them lose weight.
This one has gotten long enough. I'll continue posting mid-week to give updates as to how I'm progressing on getting to race weight and also what else I've learned from this book. I knew I wanted to begin reading this just before I started training for the year because it would help motivate me and give me some new information on how I can get lean for Ironman St. George. I know with the hilly bike ride and run on that course it will be one of the biggest factors as to how fast I can race. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!