The warm weather is a great opportunity to take your fitness outside. Water sports, field sports, and general outdoorsy activities (hiking for example) seem to be the craze spring through fall. A lot of athletes I work with are pretty active outside of our training sessions. A fair amount of them either rock climb, play in some kind of sports league, or generally have a life that demands activity and regular movement (i.e. children and dogs). However time and time again, most people take advantage of the warm weather to get after the big three; swimming, biking, or running. And everybody has their favorites. You’ve got the 20-100 mile ride cyclists, the 3-10 mile runners, and then you’re left with the swimmers (the rarest of the group), who swim short distances to long. Some folks train one, others practice two, and a small population train all three. Either way you split it, the warm weather brings out this ‘endurance’ state of mind, lets call it ESOM.
Another occurrence I find fascinating is that spring and summer trigger a lot of different thoughts surrounding our bodies and health. Some examples include, “more skin exposure, hot and sweaty occurrences, more people hearing me breathe.” From this perspective seasons end up driving our desires in health and fitness in unexpected ways. As opposed to the winter seasons, when all of a sudden life can feel more difficult (ie; getting to my car in 3 feet of snow SUCKS). From this viewpoint getting to the gym is an accomplishment in itself. Something about the cold and dark days mixed with Seasonal Affective Disorder changes our training to a more laid back, put your head down, and do work state of mind.
By April the warm weather shifts our training’s focus a bit. It dictates what we do with out bodies next. We’re eager to sweat, excited to get outdoors, and pumped to try new or old sports. It is the time of year to take your fitness outside of the gym walls to see what you can learn, adapt to, and conquer. With sweating and breathing being a key part of training in the heat, it’s time to ask yourselves, “what will I improve this season?” More often than not it makes athletes want to improve their cardio, speed, respiration, and endurance. My hope is that my story will inspire you to reach out and evaluate your mechanics, breathing, and level of fitness when it comes to running, biking, or swimming. Enjoy.
My Tri Training this year
I’ve had an interesting year of training since the winter. I signed up for the BIG George Half-Iron man triathlon with some coworkers at OmNamo back in January. For those of you unfamiliar with the half-Iron distance its a 1.2 mile swim, 56.3 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run. It’s a day for the masses, a great day to celebrate your body by throwing it into a physical challenge! I’ve done triathlons of various distances in the past, ranging from sprint to Olympic, but have done the half-Iron man distance only one other time (back in 2011).
In 2011 I was doing a lot of biking, running, and swimming, with additional weight training. I was only 3 years into CrossFit, and was coming off an endurance kick in college. I workouts consisted of simple plyometrics and moderate load lifting (higher reps, 8-15 reps). Life was sweet and I had all the time in the world. I would swim 4 or 5 days, bike 2 or 3, run 4 or 5, basically my life was train and work. Fast forward to today, and you’ve got a much different training plan than I used back then. Days are busy and time is precious. My biggest hurdle to jump over this season was figuring out how to balance life, work, relationship, and training?
There’s a lot to take into account when changing focus for your body (this is the case when preparing for performance of any kind). You’ve got to figure out how you’ll swim, bike, and run, all the while hoping to see progress where you want it. Another big piece is avoiding injury, over training, and giving yourself time to relax and recover. I had my work cut out for me.
Who Is This For and What’s In It For You
If you’re an athlete that experiences shallow breathing during workouts, weakness in the core, or struggles to keep your heart rate steady when you’re lifting or doing sports, you could be a perfect candidate for stepping up your endurance game. Sometimes it is for your own general fitness of being well rounded, maybe it’s because you want to complete a race one day, or maybe you want to learn a new sport. Either way, strong stamina and endurance are necessities for keeping your heart beating and your blood pumping. From a circulatory standpoint it’s important to understand your mechanics and your breathing before just launching yourself into unknown territory. If you can improve these things, you’ll start to notice an improvement in air flow throughout your body. Having that soundly developed cardiovascular base is crucial for all of us if we want to continue using fitness for our life!
Below I’ve explained my approach to training for the Half-Iron distance. Perfect for the aspiring endurance person and athlete looking to shed some pounds by improving their breathing, shoot me an email to learn how to take your training up a level. I’ve trained myself and others for plenty of endurance races, and can help turn your endurance into a painfree, joyful experience. See the carry over in abdominal strength and lung capacity. Watch your times go time and your recovery go up. Be the key player in building your system in a new way. My knowledge is wide and experience is vast, no matter your goal, I can teach you how to bring cardio conditioning into your life! Those interested will enjoy reading the blog below, and you can email me from there!
My Triathlon Program- 2016
Mid winter I laid out my plan, swim twice a week (distances vary), run 3x, bike once. For me my bookends are strong, and the cycling is the trickiest element for me. You’d think I’d have more biking days, but for me and my schedule, biking has to be one long haul each week. Essentially, you want ‘saddle time,’ which is, time in the saddle. On top of my three “main events”, I practice yoga 3-5 days for general maintenance on my joints and muscles. Recovery is actually the piece I’ve amped up compared to the past training regimens. What I mean is I get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, eat consciously (no processed foods, sugars, basically no crap in my diet), and make time for relaxation just about every day. Sometimes it is a meditation, others its legs up wall breathing, but regardless, each day I have added a ‘wind-down’ activity to my already busy life.
The last ingredient to my tri training? CrossFit, functional movement patterns, stability work, repetition work, isometric holds, you name it I’m doing it. About 2-4x a week I work on my lunges, deadlifts, and squats. As well as my functional glute work (message me to learn about functional glutes), knee tracking work, and general coordination exercises to synchronize my arms and legs. For me, I’ve been running since I was a kid. So I took it upon myself this year to get a coach to help me fine-tune my running mechanics as well as the muscle mechanics in my already developed body. He helped me to highlight weak areas that needed extra attention. Since then, I’ve made the adjustments and have seen vast improvements in how my body integrates and moves as a whole.
So once you add up the work (excluding restorative time), training for this triathlon I put in about, 15-20 hours a week. My goal is to simply go into it and feel ready. If I were trying to compete and place, my training might look different. One of the biggest and hardest parts of any sort of endurance training is carving out the time with your already busy lifestyle. Work, relationship, all those things need to be balanced in order to train sufficiently.
With a month left, most of the work is done. I’m still working to polish my swim, run, bike mechanics, but am really focusing on enjoying the ride. You can’t have expectations in life or for yourself, it sets you up for disappointment. You have to laugh, smile, and keep breathing. Learn from each experience and always take the time to reevaluate where you’re at and what you’re trying to get done. Look at the intention behind what you’re doing, why does it serve you to do things that way or this way?
Three weeks ago I had my bike stolen from my apartment, a brand new Cannondale Caad 10. I had ridden it twice. On a Sunday morning I went down to go ride and it had been taken from my apartment building. Life throws your curveballs like that. I could have pouted, justified I couldn’t race now, whined about how my biking would suffer, blah blah blah. I figured out how to make my training still work. Sure I’m down over a thousand bucks, but c’est la vie (that is life). The best thing I ever did for my mind and body was to let go of controlling them and let them do what they wanted to do. Try to let go of control, and just be in the moment, be in your body, be in the training.
I hope to hear from some of you about any aspirations you have involving endurance race training or general improvements of the mechanics in your body. The best thing you can do is ASK for help. That’s why I’m here, that’s why I do what I do.