Monday, January 25, 2010

1st Day - 2010 Triathlon Season

There is snow on the ground.  It's only about 27 degrees out.  But still, today is special.  I can almost feel the sunshine on my face, the water around my wetsuit, and the wind pushing against me on the bike.  That's because today is the first day of my 2010 season! 

The off season was great.  I accomplished everything I wanted, I got some rest, I recharged, and now I'm ready to go! 

On the agenda for today is a light strength workout and a 5 mile run.  It actually isn't that much different than a typical off season day, but it feels different.  Today is the first day of the season, and what I'm doing now is going to help me finish at steelhead and make me fast at Tri-Shark!

My Fitness Assessment - On being a lab rat

Last week I got to have a fitness assesment done at the Illinois State University School of Kinesiology and Recreation.  My goal was to get some more precise data on the calories I burn during exercise, my RMR, my VO2max, and my body composition. 

I'd recommend doing this to any serious athlete.  It was extremely informative.  Here are the tests they ran:

  • Blood Pressure, Health Risk Appraisals
  • BC: BodPod, BIA
  • Body Gem RMR
  • FUEL test (Exercise Metabolic rate analysis)
  • CV: VO2max test (run or cycle)
  • MSEF: TriFit

I learned so much about the current state of my fitness doing these tests.  First the good news:

  • My VO2max on the bike is about 65ml/kg/min, which is awesome!
  • On the bike it looks like my FTP is around 240 Watts, which is also higher than expected.
  • My body fat was measured at 8.1%, putting me in the category of "very lean" which is recommended for, I'm done loosing weight!!!!!!!!!
And I also learned some information that will help me optimize my training a bit more:

  • My RMR is only 1790 KCals.  According to Harris-Benedict it should be 1855.  So, I burn about 65 calories less than estimated just sitting around.  Bleh, but at least I know.
  • I have serious problems with muscular endurance.  When I topped out on the bike my leg muscles gave out while my heart was only 155 BPM.   I need to build some muscular endurance.  This is exactly the news I received from Ryan, who is helping me on my run. 
So, based on this new information I'm going to modify my training as follows:

Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes

  • I need to work on muscular endurance and anarobic strength, especially in regards to my hamstrings and quads, which are both weaker than they need to be. I think the ways to do that at this point include:
    • More rides in power zone 3
    • Big gear intervals once a week
    • Hill Sprints on the run, lots of hill sprints
    • Kettlebell lunges as sport specific weight training

I'm so grateful Laura and her awesome crew at ISU.  I feel much better equipped to start the season correctly and optimize my training time investment.  If you're an endurance athlete in central Illinois, you should do this!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Strength Training for Endurance...

As triathletes, we know we should be strength training.  We can all benefit from additional strength and flexability.  That being said, time is our most valuable resource and when I'm short on time strength training is the first thing to go.

With that being said, I need a strength routine that is fast, holistic, and sport specific.  What I've come up with a routine I can do at home to support swimming, biking and running.  It's also based on the kettlebell.  If you haven't heard of or used kettlebells, thats okay, they're a pretty new thing.  According to a coworker they look like "Fred Flinstone Weights."  They do their job though!

So, here is my "quick strength training for triathletes" routine.

Stability Ball Crunches w/Twists
Kettlebell Lunges
Kettlebell Swings (I do two arms, then alternating arms, then two arms again)
Kettlebell Clean
Kettlebell Presses
Kettlebell Snatches (I'm still working up to doing more than about two of these...)
Pushups (sometimes...sigh...)

Thats it.  It can be done in about 20 minutes, and it is fairly holistic.  The cleans, presses and snatches get most of the major upper body muscles we use.  The lunges and swings address my quads and hamstrings, which are weaker than they should be after my weight loss.  The core exercises are the most important, as a strong core is key for swimming, biking, and running. 

I'm not a personal trainer or a strenght training expert, but it's better than nothing!