Thursday, 20 October 2016 00:47

Recovering From Brazos Bend 100 Pacing

Having just completed pacing at Brazos Bend 100 where everything was flat and I had to adjust to using the same muscles repeatedly, I’m starting to think about recovery and how I can best prepare for my next set of races. The Bandera 100k (pacing a superb athlete), and Rocky Raccoon 100 (shooting for sub 19 hours) are are going to be extreme iwith varying terrain and lots of speed, and they get me thinking about how I want to avoid past mistakes I’ve made in my recovery.

 

I was 10 days post Ironman Louisville and I may have made one mistake on my way to being properly recovered. What was that mistake? Deciding to ride 40 miles on the Saturday after the race was not a big deal. Was the problem that I rode my CX bike, which has knobby tires, so pushing the pedals takes a bit more energy? Nope, it was going out to run trails the next day. I thought I was running 5-6 miles, but wound up at 8 and on a humid day. That was not smart. When you combine those two items you end up with a body that isn’t fully recovered.

 

Fortunately for me, I was smart enough to have recognized that problem and did nothing other than sleep in, swim, and jumped on the trainer to allow my legs to spin as I recovered. To that end, I was asked about preparing and recovering from an Ironman race or even a 100-mile ultra trail run. These are my tips.

 

Nutrition:

The focus on nutrition is a key for me regardless of race prep or not, but during the week before and two weeks after a race, my focus on nutrition is on high alert. I focus on lean proteins such as eggs, tofu and tempeh. I try to get those into every meal so that I am healing my body from the inside out, repairing muscle tissue that has been crushed during the race.I also add in lots of healthy fats in the form of nuts, beans, avocado, and of course the previously mentioned eggs. When I do this, I notice that my body repairs quickly.

 

When it comes to spicing up my food, I add turmeric and cinnamon as much as possible.

 

Inactivity / Rest:

Of course, I started by saying I made a mistake by getting too much in too soon, but the key to recovery and taper is inactivity. It is hard for athletes to sit around and just enjoy life, but I find that when I do that, I am healing my body heading into the race, as well as healing it coming out of the race. This rest also gives me an opportunity to do things that are not swimming, biking, and running. I get closer to family and friends, but it also allows me to not get burned out.

 

Sleep:

This should go without saying. Sleep is a key to relaxing the body and mind. It is during sleep that our body resets itself, and leading into the race, it may be difficult to get enough. However, when you come out of the race, sleeping in for an extra hour or two, plus naps, is essential. Without a structured training plan, sleeping in until 8a or 9a is golden. You can still get a 1 hour workout in and still be done by 12pm so that you have the whole day ahead off.

 

When it comes to sleep after the race, I pay a lot of attention to my sleep environment. Not only does having a comfortable mattress help with my recovery, but I make sure to turn mine because I like to have a 'fresh' mattress to sleep on. I also make the room very cold and dark. Lastly, I do not want to be distracted, so I turn the phone to Do Not Disturb and let the world go.

Published in Train
Friday, 14 March 2014 14:52

Sleep: The Most Valuable Free Item Ever?

[caption id="attachment_9521" align="alignright" width="255"]sleep - endurance sports - training - taper Source: Psyholawlogy.com[/caption] Sleep is so valuable yet so abused.  There seems to be some sort of award for staying up late working and getting up early with few hours of sleep in between.  I was caught up in this rat race until I realized that sleep helps me be a functional human being.  From being able to get my workouts in and not have them feel sluggish to being productive at work.  Of course, all of the things I do (eating right, working out, laughing, sleeping) all go together to create this scenario but sleep is the one item that I overlooked for so long that I didn't realize it had such an impact. For over 6 years I worked from home.  I was able to stop what I was doing and take a mid-day nap.  It was glorious.  The best 30 minutes of my day.  I would wake up refreshed and crush work.  Now that I work at a desk in the middle of an office surrounded by other people and not just Ginga, taking a nap is somewhat frowned upon.  Until I am able to perfect the open-eyed nap at my desk I will have to rely on sleep at night taking care of my body.  At first this process was a tad difficult as I thought I could do it all but as days pressed on I came to the conclusion that getting in bed early meant I was going to sleep early which yielded positive results. A few months ago at the DMN Top 100 Workplaces luncheon the guest speaker mentioned that the optimal amount of sleep is 7 hours and 10 minutes per night.  Ever since that presentation I have set a goal for myself to do exactly that.  I get into bed around 9pm after doing 5-10 minutes of stretching and 5-10 minutes of core work.  I am typically turning the TV off at 9:30pm and waking up at 4:30am.  That is a 7 hour sleep pattern and it has been a noticeable change.  The days (like Wed and Thurs of this week) where I do not get that amount of sleep I can feel it.  I find myself lethargic and looking all over for coffee and sugar.  I yearn for the moment to lean back in my chair and fall asleep for 10 minutes. [caption id="attachment_9520" align="alignright" width="300"]sleep - endurance sports - training - taper Source Gymnordic Tumblr[/caption] In actuality, I hope to be more like my dog.  Every morning she wakes up and heads downstairs with me as I fill her bowl with food.  She will drink some water and than head out the door to go use the outdoor facilities.  Once done she comes back in and does a couple of tours of the kitchen as I prepare my breakfast and then I see her scooting up the stairs.  When I finally head up the stairs she is in her crate and laying down getting ready to go back to bed.  She knows how much time she needs to sleep.  Unfortunately, we as humans do not.  We think we can multi-task and accomplish a lot but the reality is that we are doing a half-assed job at it.  If we were to sleep more and take care of items better and not with one eye on something else then our lives would be more efficient and successful. This week is the first week of taper for the Lake Martin 100 race and probably not the best time to have a lack of sleep.  Yesterday I ran 5 miles and my heart rate started sky-high before eventually coming down to a mid Z1 level.  This morning I went out and put in 4.5 miles and while my heart rate did not start out very high it did climb throughout the run.  All indications that I need more sleep to aid in my recovery.  Tomorrow is a 16 mile trail run that I will start at 7am.  Going to bed around 10am I should get 9 hours but I also plan on getting a nap in mid-day as well.  Sleep will be my best friend this weekend and for the next two weeks after that as the body repairs itself. Yesterday (3/13)
Today (3/14)
Click View Details to see heart rate information.

How Much Sleep Do You Get Per Night?

Published in Uncategorized
Monday, 17 February 2014 08:48

Ironman Training Recap - Week 15

Ironman training is a beat down.  All the mornings of waking up before the sun and chickens and sometimes getting done with a workout after the sun has settled in for the night.  It is repetitive.  It is exhausting.  It is soul crushing.  It is awesome.  When you realize that these things are not going to kill you then you begin to embrace them.  You look forward to the wake-up call.  You look forward to meeting your tri-buddies at the crack of dawn to ride your bike for 3-4 hours or run 1-2 hours.  You relish that trip to the diner or cafe for the post-workout meal and to laugh despite the pain and smell that emanates from your body.  This is Ironman training.  This is a recap of Week 15 for IMTN training for KC and I.

KC's Week 15 - Ironman Training Recap

ironman training - IMTN - triathlonTime is of the essence lately it seems. Prioritizing is the key to weeks like this and that's exactly what I did. Lots of work but despite that minor inconvenience, I was able to fit in the training. This week I opted to end my biking a century streak. So it ended at 6 centuries in a row to start the year off right. I thought I'd be a little bummed about it but I'm not. While my foot healed, I got a good boost on the bike, so all was not lost. Speaking of my foot, the left one to be exact, the one that had given me issues recently, acted up again earlier in the week. Upon inspection, I realized there was something dark lodged deep in the skin right near my big toe ...and it HURT! I waited until I got home from work to mess with it. As you know, I am a WebMD doctor, so I pull out all of my surgical tools, sterilize them and get to performing surgery right away. It hurt but I ended up digging something dark out of the abyss I had just created. Not sure I got it all but that's all I could handle without making myself pass out. I bandaged it all up and left it alone for a few days. It does feel better but I don't think surgery was complete, so I may need to go back in. I was able to run the last 3 days in a row and not to shabby a pace either, so I'm hopeful that I got most of whatever it was that was causing the foot pain.
These last few weeks have felt like limbo. I'm dying to get back to the pool already. I may disobey the piercer's orders and hit the pool in week 5. I love my running, biking and Xfit but I need my swim back. There is something calming and peaceful about it and I think that's what I miss the most. I need it back now more than ever. Bring on week 16 ...
Upward and Onward!
ironman training - priorities - triathlon

Jason's Ironman Training - Week 15 Recap

ironman training - IMTN - triathlon - training peaks While I did not perform any surgery on myself my body is in pure recovery stage and I have contemplated replacing my IT band with one of those bands that they use on the Bowflex machine.  If you read my Rocky Raccoon 50 Ultra race recap you will remember that I slammed my leg on a root or rock and it sent a jolt up my leg and specifically through my IT Band. While I took Monday and Tuesday off completely I went out Wednesday with the hopes that my legs would feel refreshed, as much as possible, having been off of them for a total of 3 days.  The run started out well but half-way through the 5 miler I felt like I just could not move another inch.  My heart rate was extremely high for a run that as at a 9:30/mi pace.  This told me I was not recovered and when I finished the run I thought about bagging the rest of the week.  Of course that did not happen and I went back out Thursday and while the run felt better and I was able to put in 6 miles at a faster pace I was not fully recovered and took Friday off. Saturday rolled around and a 'heat' wave had hit the area.  I started my 14 mile run and it was slow and again with a high HR.  I was getting frustrated and when the run was over that frustration was now unbearable as walking became a chore.  Aches and pains everywhere.  I woke up Sunday ready to get a run in but also knew that if the pain was there the 12 miler would become a 6 miler or a 3 miler or less.  I am not going to take many chances with this especially with the Lake Martin 100 coming up.  As it turns out the first 3-4 miles of the run were horrible and I considered bagging it when my legs responded.  I was able to run and after 6 miles I opened it up a bit while still maintaining a Z1-Z2 HR and managed to knock off 6 miles with ease.  The rest of the day Sunday was great because I had no pain or issues in my legs.  Success.  Chiropractor visits and stretching are on the agenda and I plan to follow-thru on the stretching this time.
 
Published in Train
[caption id="attachment_6349" align="alignright" width="267"]experience_lessons_ironman_triathlon_endurancesport Source: New Media And Marketing[/caption] Ironman training has taught me a lot, and I am very happy with my decision to do two Ironman races in the same calendar year because of the lessons I have learned.  I am very inquisitive by nature and am always asking questions.  I am also a planner and like to know everything I am doing before I start doing it so that it limits the chance of surprise.  Lastly, I am a person with the ability to forget very quickly. With this combination of traits training for Ironman Texas and Ironman Arizona one right after the other has provided me the opportunity to understand what it takes to train for and race an Ironman, even two within months of each other.  We all see the pros and how they are able to train for 8 hours per day and take 2 hour naps and have their food cooked for them (although I'm not sure that Pro Triathletes have this going for them yet) but for us we have to figure it all out and in a limited amount of time. You see we have families, jobs, friends, and other responsibilities outside of the triathlon world. We will make mistakes during our training and hopefully we are keeping careful tabs on what we are doing so that we can avoid that mistake the next time we tie the laces on our running shoes, or buckle our chin straps on our bike helmet (you are wearing your helmet at ALL TIMES on the bike correct?)  The biggest mistake we make as age group triathletes is to ignore our bodies queues for rest, for food, for proper recovery.  We also ignore our training plans at times.  We have all been there when the plan calls for an 'EASY' 5 mile run and you get going and it feels great so you push it.  Big mistake because while you had a tremendous 5 mile run you have just set yourself up for a potential downfall at the next day's training session. When I started training with Coach C I would look at the schedule and laugh at some of the paces she wanted me to run.  It was practically walking, but today when I see an EZ run and I know it is a 10:00/mi pace I smile wide and love it.  It is those days that allow me to add volume to my training and that is the key to getting stronger and faster.  Volume.  When I was down in Houston last weekend with Jeff during our Triathlon Training camp we talked constantly about the keys to getting faster and we always came back to volume.  It was the ability to change the mindset from doing interval work all the time and running every run at 8:00/mi that has allowed us to get faster.  Jeff proved that by qualifying for Boston in his first attempt at the marathon distance this past February.  For me the proof was in the pudding when I ran a 4:09 marathon at then end of Ironman Texas.  My first stand alone marathon was a 4:29 back in 2009. When I see people posting on Twitter and Facebook about their workouts and it is repeatedly at top speed I wonder how long before they realize that doing that is going to cost them in the long run.  Experience is key in endurance sport, but so is asking questions of those experienced people.  I always email Kevin, Jeff, Jon and Matt about certain training techniques or equipment.  Why is something better than the other?  I have the benefit of being one year behind them (although I am older than all of them so you can teach an old dog new tricks) and I get to learn from them and their successes and failures. This past weekend I was scheduled to ride for 4 hours and 30 minutes.  I was going to start at 12 pm because of Karen's triathlon (race report coming soon) and so I knew that it was going to be extremely hot and that the key would be hydration.  I also got nervous that I would not have enough calories so I ate a lot prior to going out on the ride.  Upon leaving I told Karen that if it took me 4 hour and 15 minutes to do the loop then so be it.  If I rode between 16 mph and 17 mph then so be it.  This was experience taking over and knowing that getting the 72 miles on my legs was more important than doing those miles in 4 hours flat. Unfortunately I did not stick to my normal plan of eating and within 5 minutes of being on the bike I puked.  I knew that it was not from the heat but my concern was how long could this last and how would it affect me.  I kept pedaling and kept throwing up.  It wasn't liquid at all but the food I ate prior to leaving the house.  I could tell that my stomach was bloated and I wasn't dehydrated so I kept on going.  I also kept up with my hydration and nutrition plan of drinking every 15 minutes and a HoneyStinger every two hours.  This was working even though I did keep on puking until about 3 hours and 30 minutes into the ride.  It was at that point I stopped at a gas station (another thing I would not have done prior to this training cycle) and refilled my bottles with 2 liters of water.  I finished the ride about 45 minutes later and did my 30 minutes run and all throughout the run I felt great.  No stomach issues and no  dehydration as I managed to pee on the bike twice and once on the run. The lesson here is that I knew my body.  I knew what it could take and what it couldn't.  I knew that I would have to slow down and just pace myself and not try to set a PR in a training ride, which by the way means nothing even if you do.  The next morning I woke up and went for a 1.5 hour run and throughout the run I felt great but I knew I only wanted to run at an aerobic pace or what would be considered slow for me.  I wound up running a shade over 10 miles in the 1.5 hours and felt great the entire time.  Went to the pool later that morning and swam 3400y and then home for much-needed rest and recovery.  Recovery is not just putting your feet up, but also eating right and timing that eating.  It is also about getting the proper amount of sleep, of which I got plenty of. If you are just getting started in this sport or training for your first Ironman please be sure to ask questions of those that have done one.  Get the lay of the land and what is needed and not needed.  Everybody will have differing opinions on things but the more you ask the more you will be able to make a decision for yourself.  Listen to your body and even if that schedule calls for a swim but you can't just get your head of the pillow.....don't hit snooze reset the alarm and skip the swim at that time.  Maybe later in the day you will feel better and can get it in then. The lesson is to understand your body and listen to it.  I learned the hard way after training for the Las Vegas Marathon that every run cannot be done at projected race pace and still hope to race even better that day. Read this excerpt from this article in Inside Triathlon:  Even though the majority of hard training is below race intensity, it conditions the body, when rested, to sustain super-threshold intensity on race day because the body is more able to clear lactate. When you look at what the best endurance athletes have done historically, and I don’t care if you go back 50 or 100 years, you see a very high fraction of training done at slow and steady efforts, and they have always done more sub-threshold than super-threshold training. Keep this in mind the next time your training calls for an easy run and you want to push the effort.

What Lessons Have You Learned From Your Training For Endurance Sports?

Published in Train
Friday, 03 August 2012 16:30

Recovery, Recovery, Recovery

[caption id="attachment_6299" align="alignright" width="225"]recovery_snacks_meals_athletes_carbohydrates_protein Source: w8fit[/caption] Recovery, just like location in real estate, in my mind is the most important aspect to endurance training.  I have stressed this since I started in this world and maybe it's because of my age and I'm not getting any younger.  Maybe it's because I just love to eat.  Regardless of reason my emphasis on recovery is what I attribute my ability to have gotten through 2+ years of long course training with no injuries, very few (maybe 5 total) skipped workouts over that time and the ability to have not gotten sick during this time either. I believe that recovery is not just making sure that you are eating properly after a workout, but also throughout the day.  I also believe that making sure that your workouts are spaced out far enough to allow your body to recover provides a tremendous benefit as well.  If you are stacking workouts on top of workouts on top of your day job then you are creating a recipe for disaster.  The disaster may not hit this month or in this training cycle but eventually it will get to you.  You may burn out quicker because of the stress that you are putting your mind and body through, but either way your recovery has to be emphasized. How do I recover?  I recover with a 3:1 Carb:Protein shake within 30-45 minutes of my workout that lasts longer than 1.5 hours or is of high intensity (think 800m repeats or hill repeats).  2 hours after that workout I will have another meal that is carb focused.  If I don't have the opportunity to cook that meal, which is usually pancakes or waffles and sometimes a nut butter and jelly sandwich then I will make sure that I have another shake at that time.  Doing this allows me to restore my glycogen levels from the carbs and repair the muscle tears that I created during that workout with the protein.  I avoid fats as much as I possibly can in this window because I have not read anything that says that healthy fats will aid in my recovery.  That could be wrong and if it is please tell me. In regards to the timing of my workouts I do this by getting up before the sun and starting my workouts between 430am and 530am each time.  There are circumstances in which I will have to push my start time back such as bike only days so I start when the sun is starting to come up (I don't trust drivers) or when Karen is running and I start my long bike days later in the morning.  This isn't ideal as it gets very hot here in Dallas as the day moves on, but at the same time it preps me for Ironman race days since I will be on the bike in the middle of the afternoon and I can gauge my calorie/hydration/nutrition intake. By doing my workouts at the same time of the day I provide my body with what I believe to be optimal rest of nearly 24 hours.  Allowing the carbs and protein to work their magic over this time and given me the ability to get stronger and faster.  This also allows me to control my diet since I am not spending time having to worry about getting recovery meals into my body later in the day when there might be a craving for something else.  I know not everybody has the ability to do this during the week but if you can make it work my suggestion is to do that.  It is not easy getting up when you first start but after a couple of weeks it becomes second nature and you no longer have to worry about it. Check out this video from Sage Roundtree about recovery:
 
I also posted my recipe to Recovery Waffles here as well as have a few recipes for recovery shakes that use the Herbalife24 Rebuild Strength and Rebuild Endurance.  If you are interested in recipes for any of the shakes I make let me know through the Contact Me form and I will get them over to you.

How Do You Recover?

Published in Train
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 11:14

Protein Powders

[caption id="attachment_4754" align="alignright" width="240" caption="In Triathlete Magazine for one of the top recovery products along with HoneyMilk"]herbalife_24_protein_powder_athlete[/caption] As many of my followers know I am sponsored by Carla and Eddie Weber of Nutrition Addiction and Herbalife.  Herbalife makes protein powders so that people can make shakes.  There are those out there that will say that you don't need to have a powder and you can get plenty of protein from food and I don't disagree one bit.  The problem for me is that during heavy training days I don't have the opportunity to cook all day and go to work while trying to recover properly. The line of product I use is Herbalife24 and is manufactured for the athlete so there are more carbohydrates in this line than their typical product line and it works very well for me.  My recovery has been short and effective since I've used these products.  I also know that because I want to get some nutrition in my body before I begin my workout at 5am I need to consume calories around 3am so that the nutrients have an opportunity to actually help me out during my training. Yesterday while going through my inbox I noticed an email from Competitor.com that focused on active recovery, zone diet and cool pools.  At the very bottom was a tiny link to an article titled Powder Power: The Importance Of Dietary Protein.  I was intrigued because I believe, as per this post, that protein is the most over-sold macronutrient on the planet.  Whenever you read about recovery, fuel, losing weight, gaining weight, vegetarianism the subject inevitably comes back to protein. Yes, protein is important but for me it is the 'least' important of the macronutrients.  A perfect day of eating right for me is 55%-60% carbohydrates, 25%-30% fats and 10%-15% Protein.  I know when I am at or near these numbers my body feels amazing.  I have energy to burn so to speak.  I see bars claiming that they have 22g of protein in them or even sports drinks with labels touting 30g of protein.  I found a calculator that would calculate the amount of protein a person my height 5'6" tall with a medium frame and very active needs 99g of protein per day.  If I had 4 bars and nothing else I would be fine, or maybe 3 or those drinks and ate nothing I would be golden but unfortunately I enjoy eating so this doesn't work for me. As I said I use the shakes to help me get those early morning calories in, and then I use it for recovery after a workout that is 2 hours or longer.  Anything under that and I don't consume protein powders.  This article from Competitor.com showcased 5 protein powders along with some description of them and how much protein was in a particular serving.

Whey

Protein per 30g serving: 17–25g The epitome of protein powders is widely available, digests quickly and contains an abundance of amino acids, including leucine—needed to encourage post-exercise muscle recovery, particularly when paired with carbohydrates. Find unflavored versions to avoid added sugars and artificial sweeteners.

Hemp

Protein per 30g serving: 11–21g Most plant proteins are labeled “incomplete” because they lack essential amino acids. “Hemp protein, however, contains a full complement of essential amino acids, making it a great raw vegetarian option,” says Forsythe. It contains good amounts of fiber and heart-healthy omega fats. It tastes, well, earthy, so you’ll want to blend it with plenty of sweet-tasting fruit.

Soy

Protein per 30g serving: 23–26g Similar to hemp, soy protein is considered a high-quality, complete vegetarian protein. A recent study reported that soy is just as good as milk protein in stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Look for “isolated” soy protein, which contains very little gas-producing oligosaccharides.

Egg

Protein per 30g serving: 16–20g Egg protein powder is derived from egg whites and is fat-free. “It’s the standard by which all other protein powders are measured because it’s the highest quality protein,” says Forsythe. It’s packed with amino acids that are very effective at repairing and building muscle, but unfortunately, it tends to be pricey and not everyone is crazy about the taste.

Casein

Protein per 30g serving: 20–25g Like whey, casein protein is derived from dairy. However, it’s much slower to digest and therefore should be consumed before bedtime or anytime there might be a prolonged gap between eating to keep a steady flow of amino acids going to the muscles.   What I found most interesting is the vast difference in the amount of protein by each type in a 30g serving.  I would have guessed that they would be closer to each other.  To see that the egg protein is the standard by which others are measured and yet Soy and Casein have more surprised me. I enjoy my morning smoothies, although some mornings I'm not sure if I actually tasted it as I'm ready to go back to bed but I do keep a watchful eye on the number of shakes I make.  My rule is to have one before I workout.  A second shake immediately after a rigorous workout of two hours or more and then a complete meal within two hours of completing that workout.  After that I do not consume a shake as it is no longer necessary for me to sneak in proteins as I have all day to cook.

Do You Use Protein Powders?

Why Do You Use Them?  What Brand Do You Use?

Published in Train
Sunday, 18 September 2011 10:00

Sleepy Foods?

I read and hear from people how they don't sleep well the night before a race or how they are unable to sleep at all.  I don't have any problems going to sleep.  As soon as the TV is off and my head hits the pillows the Zzzzzz's start rolling, even on race night. [caption id="attachment_4159" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Large meal with alcohol will not be good for sleep"]alcohol_carbohydrate_pasta_sleep_deterrent[/caption] As I have previously written sleep is vital to recovery.  As you sleep your body is repairing your muscles from the day's activities and also preparing them for the next days workout.  I always wonder if my ability to sleep, and others ability not to sleep is based on what they ate and also when.  Did they drink a food heavy in carbohydrates?  Did I eat a lot of sugar?  So many different scenarios and a little research led me to Competitor magazine. The article in Competitor magazine provided sleep helpers and sleep deterrents.  The sleep helper consisted of tryptophan, which many of you will automatically link to Thanksgiving (the greatest holiday in all the land) and people falling asleep on the couch watching football. Foods rich in this natural chemical include poultry, eggs and dairy. Research shows that eating a tryptophan-containing food in moderation as part of an evening meal may help induce sleep faster and lead to a better quality of sleep. Carbohydrates in foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains initiate an insulin response that helps tryptophan reach and act upon the brain. However, avoid sugary, starchy carbohydrates, which can lead to disturbed sleep. Selective herbal teas such as chamomile, peppermint or valerian root might help some people sleep better. The warm, comforting drink along with relaxing herbs can promote sleep. (Just make sure you buy a non-caffeinated kind.) The perfect meal would be 1 egg on whole grain bread with a cup of tea approximately 1 to 2 hours prior to sleep. [caption id="attachment_4158" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Sugary Drinks and a heavy meal will not help with your sleep"]food_sleep_deterrent_soda[/caption] The deterrents included the obvious in coffee, caffeinated teas, energy drinks, alcohol in excess, and hyper-hydration.  It also pointed out when to eat food, but not to be too heavy in protein and fats or spicy. These foods are harder to digest, and although large meals might make you sleepy immediately, slow or difficult digestion means disturbed and lower-quality sleep. But don’t go to bed overly hungry—a growling stomach and hunger pains do not make for a restful night. If you really need a snack after dinner, eat something small and preferably containing tryptophan, such as a warm glass of milk. (Grandma may have been right after all.)  

How do you sleep? What do you do to help you sleep?

 

To read the full article click [HERE]
Published in Train
Monday, 12 September 2011 12:55

Recovery.....I am loving it!

Yesterday I went for a 3 hour 30 minute ride followed by a 40 minute run brick.  When I started the ride it was about 83* but by the time I got finished it was closer to 98*.  I felt great throughout the ride and run but that temperature increase takes a toll on your body.  I was hydrating throughout the ride according to my race plan and never had the feeling of dehydration. Even after I flatted out at mile 51 my heart rate spiked and my body underwent a change.  I rode on a flat tire for the next 6 miles and when that was done I got the opportunity to run for 35 minutes and I felt strong throughout the run.  I started to think about why I felt so strong considering that I had run 16.5 miles on Saturday in 2 hours and 15 minutes.  That was the farthest I had run since early in the year during training for Oceanside 70.3. [caption id="attachment_3953" align="alignright" width="197" caption="Herbalife and HoneyMilk Smoothie Featured in Competitor Magazine"]herbalife_honeymilk_recovery_smoothie[/caption] During the ride and run I figured out why I was feeling great.  Yesterday after the run I had a recovery shake that consisted of HoneyMilk, Herbalife Rebuild Endurance, Strawberries and Bananas.  I got my 4 to 1 carb to protein ratio.  I then ate throughout the day a smart and balanced diet that included quinoa stuffed peppers and sweet potato fries that was accompanied by another Herbalife smoothie. I also spent the entire day in compression sleeves and then at the end of the night I put on compression pants.  A little, and I mean a little, stretching (I need to do more of this) and my legs were fresh for today's brick.  How fresh?  If not for a flat tire my 56 mile bike time would have been sub 3 hours based on my last 30 minutes of riding pace.  I also laid down a 35 minute run in a 8:43/mile pace off the bike.  I felt great, but wanted to see if there were other tips and tricks to recovery. As I always do I went to a few different sites to find some information and came across the video below on Competitor magazine.  I tried what the video described and while I'm not sure it would help me recover I did feel better.  Watch the video and let me know your thoughts:
If video doesn't play click link [HERE]
 This morning I had a core/strength session followed by a 3,250 yard swim.  The swim was terrific as both a workout that tested my ability to go fast in the water, but also an active recovery set.  The pressure of the water can act like compression on your legs and since you are not pounding your legs you are getting the metabolic waste to move around without the jolting. For me swimming is the perfect exercise for recovery.  I get the opportunity to work on my technique and always free great afterwards.  I am back in my compression pants and will grab the stick for rolling my legs all day and might look to use the TENS machine this evening.  TENS machine, for those of you that don't know, stands for Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.  I use the TENS machine as a way to increase the blood circulation in the area of general soreness.  This aids in my recovery and typically speeds it up.

How do you recover knowing that you have another long workout the next day?

[caption id="attachment_3958" align="aligncenter" width="223" caption="Awesome Recovery Meal"]quinoa_stuffed_peppers_sweet_potato_dinner[/caption]
Published in Train
Monday, 08 August 2011 13:49

Do You Get Enough Recovery?

I am putting up this post from a few months back because today I am dragging and its because I did not get enough recovery.  This weekend was a total whirlwind for me.  Saturday morning up at the crack of dawn (actually before the crack of dawn) to layout water for the Marathon Makeover North Dallas team and then proceeded to run 55 minutes.  I felt great during that run and was putting down some sub-8 minute miles which hasn't happened since we entered Dante's Inferno here in Dallas.  After that run was over I went home and had to pack my bags to head south to Austin which is a 3 hour drive. I sat in traffic for close to an hour trying to get out of Dallas which allowed me to see the temp in the car go from 104* to 125* before I started moving again.  After getting to Austin I promptly stayed up late catching up with a buddy of mine before finally hitting the sack around 1130p-12a.  The alarm was set for 4am as we were going to ride the Longhorn course.  3 hours after riding we did a 30 minute run.  All went great and my projections for 70.3 Longhorn in October are changing.  In the shower and back on the road for a 3 hour ride home and catching up with Karen.  We watched a movie and I was cooked, just to wake up at 3am to get ready to swim.  I dragged my butt to the pool and it was not easy.  As I sat there negotiating with myself half-way through the swim I realized I'm already half-way through the swim so let's get it on.  Finished up strong but now I am posting this and I can feel the weight of the weekend on my eyelids.  Two client meetings, then a 1hr45m trainer recovery ride and some core and it will be nap (read paragraph 2 and see how time changes things) time for me as I need to recover. Here is that post from a while back ====================: Recovery from a hard workout or any workout is necessary.  Your body needs time to heal from the workout/race that you just put it through.  Yes, recovery does include eating a nutritious snack within 30 minutes of exercise as well as a meal within 1.5 hours after that exercise but also rest.  Our bodies need to rest to help it recover from the workout you put it through.  That rest can come in the form of a great night's sleep or in the form of a nap. I am not a napper.  I typically utilize the time when my wife and step-son are napping getting reconnected with myself.  I use that as a time to reflect on life and just shut my mind off.  Of course sometimes I am on the laptop reading blogs and gathering information to help make me a better athlete. Then I stumbled across this beauty.  The Eames lounge chair. This left me thinking about how comfortable it would be to nestle my body into the lounge and stretching my legs onto the ottoman during a recovery nap.  Or even while typing a blog post and sitting back and relaxing.  Would there be a better way to recover from a long day? What really had me thinking was that the chair is permanently tilted at a 15 degree angle.  This had me scratching my head in the fact that there is no way I would write blog posts because I would be sleeping in it.  I started to also wonder if I could set up a training room with a treadmill, my bike trainer, some weights and this chair.  Would I ever leave the room? Trifuel had a post titles Snooze So You Don't Lose posted on July 21, 2010.  The article list the following 6 items as key to endurance athletes performing at their best by getting enough sleep: [caption id="attachment_737" align="alignleft" width="256" caption="He could have used the Eames Lounge Chair"][/caption] How much sleep each athlete needs varies from one individual to another but in general athletes require at least 7 hours of sleep a night. The athlete can increase the likelihood of getting enough quality by practicing habits of good “sleep hygiene”. Good sleep hygiene consists of: 1.) Maintaining a regular bedtime and awakening schedule including weekends. 2.) Establishing a regular, relaxing bedtime routine by adopting such rituals as taking a warm bath or shower, aroma therapy, reading, or listening to soothing music. 3.) Sleeping in a room that is dark, quiet, comfortable, and cool (65 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended). 4.) Finish eating 2-3 hours prior to bedtime 5.) Avoid caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime 6.) Avoid exercise, if possible, for 4 hours prior to bedtime. So my feeling is that I get around 5-6 hours of sleep per night and that having the Herman Miller Lounge and Ottoman will allow me to capture that other 1-2 hours that I need to perform at my best.

How do you recover?  Do you get enough sleep at night?  Do you nap?

Published in Train
Sunday, 10 April 2011 12:32

Recovery: Worse Than Taper

I have been thinking about writing this post since the first day after 70.3 Ironman California.  At first it was going to be a long the lines of enjoying the down time to recover from the race.  Then it was going to be how to recover from the race.  It changed multiple times and I am glad I never wrote it until yesterday morning while sitting on my couch at 4am.  I got up early because Saturday was going to be my first true action back in the training world. [caption id="attachment_1714" align="alignleft" width="302" caption="Lots of discussion and pictures of puking this week"][/caption] The week after the race was a couple of days of doing nothing.  There was a day of riding the spin bike for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  I wound up riding for 30+ miles which I always take 10% off because the spin bike can make you look like Lance Armstrong.  One day I went for a 30 minute run and put in 3.6 miles which was awesome.  It felt great to be out there for that, but truth be told recovery week #1 has meant a lot of inactivity.

AND I HATE IT

This recovery has truly been worse than taper.  With taper I was at least active even if it were for shorter time frames.  I could be intense during taper week for 30 minutes and it felt great.  Now I can sit on the spin bike for 1 hour and 30 minutes and sweat profusely and still feel like I did nothing because I was not pushing myself.  Activity to get my legs back?  Yes.  Activity to get my mind back?  No. My mind has been a wreck this week about getting back out there.  It is fighting itself just about every minute from 3am to 8am.  It is fighting to stay asleep because there is no workout to be done, but it is so used to waking up at that time.  Once awake I think about all the people that are out there training for their next race and I am jealous about it.  I want to be out there, but like a good soldier I follow my Coach's orders.  She puts together a plan, that is hours and days and weeks in the making.  Who am I to put her hard work in the garbage and not pay attention?  There is a reason I work with a coach so that I don't have to think about these things and just do them.  So that is what I do.  I read Training Peaks and it says OFF so I do nothing.  It says 30 minute EZ run and that is what I do. I am coachable in that regard, but I am not a sit back and watch life go by person.  I texted Coach from the transition area and told her that the goal was to run faster after the bike.  That is what I wanted to be a focus.  Who does this?  She told me I was harder on myself than she is on herself and didn't think that was possible.  This past week I sent a Facebook message to her asking when training picks back up for CapTexTri and Austin 70.3, and oh how are we going to fit in qualifying for Boston.  Who does this?  Who doesn't want to sit back and enjoy the couch for a week or two?  Me, that's who (I think I just channeled my inner Dr. Seuss.) [caption id="attachment_1713" align="alignleft" width="225" caption=" Nothing Like Pushing Yourself"][/caption] There is nothing like pushing yourself to achieve, and I don't care what it's at.  Maybe you want to be faster, or maybe a better parent.  Knowing that your boundaries are only mental is what is great about pushing yourself.  Fight that mental glass ceiling and you will be successful. It was around Wednesday night or Thursday morning that I came across this article and this article in Active.com that discussed recovery.  It was very eye opening because it discussed recovery and planning.  How long to recover and what to eat for recovery.  It helped for about 12 hours.  I said to myself why risk injury?  Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.  I have enjoyed those fruits and now I want to get back in the saddle.  I want to feel the open road and the wind in my face.  I want to wear lycra and spandex and not worry about getting laughed at (that was a joke.) In reality triathlon is a lifestyle that I have chosen and embraced.  It is a part of who I am.  It is a love of my life.  I can't imagine not having Karen in my life and I feel the same way about SBR.  I need it and have to have it.  Look, there are worse addictions. Yesterday I finally got my wish.  It was the opportunity to go for a 5 mile walk/run with the participants of Marathon Makeover followed by two hours on the bike.  The pace was leisurely but it was the idea of being on the open road.  Getting back out there.  My schedule next week is a bit more taxing on the body.  I actually get to ride for a while and run too.  Swimming will be out for another week while the tattoo heals but it feels like the training is going to start up again and I am loving it. Recovery is just as important as taper, but for recovery is 100x worse.

Do you enjoy your recovery phase?  If so, what is your favorite part?  The physical recovery or the mental break from the training?  Which is harder for your?  Taper or Recovery?

Published in Train
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