Swimming was the bane of my existence when I entered the world of triathlon.  I can recall my first 'training' days where I would go to the gym, jump in the pool and swim a few laps with lots of water swallowed and exhaustion setting in after 25 yards.  Swimming was what I had to do to complete a triathlon but I had really wished it was just bike, run and left the swimming for somebody else.  Over the past three years I have made a weakness into what can conceivably be a strength for me. I have been swimming 4 times per week since I started with Maria and John and when we entered build phase and the number of swims would decrease I can say that I was a little upset.  I have been enjoying my time swimming and seeing the improvements that I have been making.  Of course getting in the water as often as possible has been a huge help to my form and ability to swim faster but so are the functional strength exercises that Maria has been putting into Training Peaks. I decided that I wanted to provide you with my 5 favorite strength workouts that have an impact on my swimming ability and hopefully they will help you out as well.

Strength Exercises That Benefit Your Swimming Ability

  1. [caption id="attachment_7773" align="alignright" width="209"]swimming - triathlon - strength training - dumbbell kickback - muscles Dumbbell Kickback

    Dumbbell Kickback

    • How:
      • Lean on a weight bench with a dumbbell in the opposite arm from the leg on the bench.
      • Keep back straight and head in a neutral position.
      • From here raise the dumbbell back toward your feet until straight and then return to a 90* angle to your body.
    • Tips:
      • Focusing on good form is important because you can try to use a weight where you are just throwing it back and not using the triceps to generate the force to move the weight.
      • Use a weight that will allow you to take a 2 or 3 count to kickback and a 2 or 3 count to return.
    • Why:
      • This is a simple exercise that works your triceps which is important on the final phase of your stroke.
  2. Upright Row
    • How:
      • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and holding a barbell in front of you.
      • Pull weight up toward your chin and focus on keeping your elbows high and feeling the weight in your shoulders.
      • Lower weight back down and repeat.
    • Tips:
      • Use a weight that you can handle multiple reps on until the end of a 12 rep set.
      • Weights do not need to be heavy and just provide enough resistance to know that you are working.
    • Why:
      • Strong shoulders mean strong pull.
      • Strong shoulders mean less fatigue during recovery phase of the stroke.
  3. Push Up
    • How:
      • Do I need to explain how to do a push up?
      • Get on floor and PUSH YOUR BODY UP then lower and repeat.
    • Tip:
      • You can make the exercise different by moving hands closer together or further apart.
      • You can work the chest in a different manner by using a medicine ball under one hand and then switch.
    • Why:
      • The push up strengthens both the chest and the triceps which are key muscle groups to creating greater endurance and power.
  4. [caption id="attachment_7772" align="alignright" width="280"]swimming - triathlon - strength training - flutter kick - muscles Flutter Kick
    Source: Worlds Fittest[/caption] Flutter Kick
    • How:
      • Lay on your back with toes pointed and arms down by your sides.
      • Lift your shoulders and hands slight off the ground so that you can feel your core working.
      • Raise feet up about 1 foot and then kick as if you were swimming
    • Why:
      • Help improve ankle flexibility which is needed with all the run training triathletes do.
      • Helps muscle memory for foot position which will aid the kicking during the freestyle stroke.
  5. Standing Straight Arm Pull Down
    • How:
      • With a straight back facing a pulley machine grab the bar.
      • Lower the bar in an arching motion with elbows flexed a bit until palms reach upper thighs.
      • Return bar to top of machine, slowly.
    • Why:
      • The starting of this exercise mimics the initial pull phase of a freestyle stroke.
      • Mimics the swim stroke to the point that all muscles used in freestyle are used.
I have advocated strength training for triathletes since I started in the sport and my belief that is an aid has not diminished.  As we get older we need to strengthen our tendons to avoid injury and allow us to keep participating in the sport we love.  Should you always strength train?  No, there are times when it is more important than others.  When you are in your build phase or in your off-season then strength training is imperative.  When you are in your build phase then strength training plays a less important role as you are going to be swimming, biking and running longer and harder. Please also keep in mind that when you are strength training that you are not looking to become the winner of the next body building championship.  You are working on muscles that will help you in your swimming, biking and running which are your main focus.  You will also be doing all three sports which are going to help develop the muscles so the resistance training does not need to be done with heavy weights. Swimming is a sport that most triathletes are not happy about seeing on their training plan.  With these strength exercises your form and ability to swim will improve and make swimming a favorite among the three sports.

What Strength Training Exercises Do You Do?

Does Your Strength Training Focus On Swimming, Biking Or Running?

Published in Train
Yoga and swimming are now a pair just like peanut butter and jelly or chocolate and peanut butter are a pair.  Why are yoga and swimming such a terrific combination you may ask and I am here to tell you why but a little background information first. When I lived in New York I attended a yoga class on a weekly basis that was taught by Tao who was an 87-year-old woman who could do just amazing things.  Being the 'fit' guy I thought I was I tried to get into positions that she would be warming up in and they hurt.  After 2 years I was able to do a lot of the exercises that she was doing and then I moved to Dallas.  Yoga went away as well and then I found triathlon. With all the swimming, biking and running I was doing yoga just didn't seem to have a fit in my schedule even though I wanted to get back to it.  This past December when I switched coaches I made it clear how important yoga was to me and how I wanted to fit it in somehow, some way.  Maria and John were great about this and we put it in as an active recovery day on Friday's.  So in mid-December I began attending Bikram Yoga because Bikram was highly recommended by Michelle and Beth. Once again being the 'fit' guy I figured I could do everything.  In case you don't know Bikram Yoga is done in a studio that is 105* and you do 26 poses in a flowing series.  So needless to say I was bending the way a twig would bend which is to say not so much.  At that same time I was swimming on a 'hard-set' at 1:55/100.  When I did my 800y TT back then my zones were configured so that easy was 2:01-2:05 per 100 yards.  Molasses!!!!! Through the course of the past two months yoga and swimming have been going hand in hand on the progress front.  I am now able to do an entire series of stretches where I am actually touching toes, legs are flat on the ground and I can get in and out of camel's pose with relative ease.  Swimming at the same time has seen times drop to the point where my easy swims are in the area of 1:50 per 100 yards and I am getting upset with swimming :46 per 50 as an easy swim. [caption id="attachment_7393" align="alignright" width="300"]yoga and swimming - triathlon - ironman - balance Source: Eat Breathe Blog[/caption]

Why Do I Think There Is A Direct Correlation Between Yoga And Swimming?

  • Yoga and swimming both require patience and discipline.  You cannot jump into the poses and expect to look like Gumby on Day 1.  Similarly swimming takes time and patience, as evidenced by the 4x per week to the pool totaling approximately 10,000y per week.
  • Yoga and Swimming are both form based movements.  If you have poor form in yoga you will fall over.  With swimming with poor form you will sink.  Working on both will allow you to touch your toes in yoga and swim more streamlined in the water.
  • Yoga and Swimming focus on breathing.  To get deeper into your stretches you need to breathe and losing that focus will cause the body to not react the way we would like.  In swimming the biggest fear is lack of breath/oxygen.  A simple twist of the head and you will take in oxygen and be back to breathing.
  • Yoga has poses the force you to back bend and get the spine engaged.  In swimming if you spine is not engaged then your legs will drop and thus an anchor will form and the slower you will go.
I will be swimming an 800y TT on Tuesday February 19th so my theory will be put to the test but I have the feeling that yoga and swimming practice will prove invaluable partners. This article in Outside Magazine provides you with what they think are the 4 best yoga poses for swimmers.  Also, here are the key areas that yoga and swimming will work together as provided by Yoga Journal: Shoulder Blades: In  various positions your instructor may tell you that the shoulder blades need to drop down the back. The same applies in swimming, where the shoulders create the biggest problems. Rotator cuff injuries or shoulder tendonitis occur when the rhomboids are not held in place when the arm is raised in freestyle stroke. Hips: In Bound Angle Pose, the soles of the feet are touching together and the outsides of the knees lay flat on the floor, and this demonstrates a healthy external rotation of the hip. For many, the hips remain locked and stiff and for swimming, this congestion can manifest in a faulty breaststroke kick. Ankles: In all of yoga's standing poses, it's important to place the foot on the ground in order to get full extension, and flexible ankles allow the foot to rest solidly on the ground. Similarly, swimmers use the ankles as the foundation of movement—propelling the body forward with a kick. The top of the foot should hit the water as if in hero pose—at 180 degrees.

Have You Adopted Yoga Into Your Training Routine?

How Do You Think Yoga Has Helped Your Training?

Published in Train
Thursday, 24 January 2013 15:56

Swimming: It's What I'm Doing

[caption id="attachment_7157" align="alignright" width="300"]swimming - efficiency - triathlon - ironman Swim start at Ironman Arizona 2012[/caption] Swimming is on my training schedule 4 times per week and I will say when I first saw that I was not thrilled.  I know that swimming is my weakness but to go to the pool 4 times in a week was daunting.  Then something happened along the way and I am falling in 'like' with swimming.  The sets that I am doing are not what I have been doing for the past two years and variety is the spice of life.  For example, today I had a short recovery swim but inside of it there were a couple of descending sets.  In the past descending would have been 4x100 with each 100 getting faster.  The sets today were 6x50 and 6x100 descending every 2 which means that I have to control my pace for 2 sets before getting faster.  I have learned so much about my swimming ability in the past 7 weeks and it has been awesome. Of course when you start something new you begin to notice it everywhere.  With my new 'love' of swimming I began to notice articles and posts from bloggers and in online publications discussing different swimming sets and drills.  They seemed to be popping up everywhere, and it makes sense since this is the winter and logging outdoor bike miles is tough for much of the country.  With that free time pack your bag and head to the pool would be the theory and it is working for me. Maria and John (and I) have an aggressive goal for Ironman Texas and when it was first written down it was daunting.  Taking 15 minutes off of your bike time isn't as imposing because you have 112 miles and when you break that down that is feasible.  Even if it were the run it would be feasible but when it came off the swim the finishing time staring me in the face frightened me.  How in the world am I going to knock of 15 minutes from my swim time?  Swimming is just the warm-up right?  The race doesn't start until the bike right?  Wrong.  As I said about being a triathlete......the race starts when the canon goes off and that means swimming is part of the race. So when I read this article in Active.com yesterday it all came together and made sense.  I AM going to knock those minutes off of my finisher's time by swimming 15 minutes faster to start.  Here is the list of the article and how my training mimics the points presented: ====================

Less is More

This is great news for those who would rather be out there biking and running. If swimming is your weakest of the three disciplines, it doesn't pay off to spend several hours each week in the pool and neglecting your other workouts in the process. I am swimming more frequently but not swimming more distance or total time in the pool and that is great for my psyche.  In the past I would regularly have 2-3 days of 3000-4000y swims.  That was exhausting especially because a lot of that was drills and drills take time.  Now the swims are 2000-4000y and all mixed up with little to no rest.  Constant movement makes the time in the pool fly by and the constant change of sets makes it as if you are doing something new every time you go swimming.  For example, this week I had a 1500y continuous swim sandwiched in between much shorter sets.  When that 1500 yards was done I was on the back end of the mountain getting ready to get out of the pool.  It was perfect and made for a great day in the water, even if my overall time on that 1500 yards was a tad slower than I wanted.

Strength and Flexibility

This isn't a brand new strategy. However, it has become more important as workouts and training shift from quantity to quality. With the right strength training program, and a little yoga mixed in, it is much easier to skip the occasional pool workout altogether than it used to be. Strength training is two times per week for me and each day is only 40 minutes and that has 15 minutes of core work intertwined.  I am also doing Bikram Yoga every Friday.  When the core work was added (by the way have you joined our 30 Day Ab Challenge-Core Work on Facebook?) I could immediately see a difference in my swimming.  With the core being stronger my body is more streamlined which means a more efficient body position and that means faster swimming.  The strength is focused on the muscles that we use the most in triathlon BUT each day always has lat pull downs and seated rows.  Why?  To develop stronger back muscles which are your power muscles for swimming.

Wetsuit Technology has Improved

Most of the major wetsuit manufacturers today—Orca, Blue Seventy, 2XU, Zone 3, Speedo and Quintana Roo—offer specialized forearm panels that actually help swimmers produce a stronger pull. Well this doesn't affect me now nor will it during my two Spring races in Puerto Rico an Texas but it is not just wetsuit technology that has improved.  Swim skin technology has improved as well and when I put it on this year having a stronger core will be evident as the swim skin will have an opportunity to do a better job and result in those 15 minutes coming off the board when I exit the water of Lake Woodlands. ==================== I hope these rules of swimming will help remove any fear that you may have as you head into your spring races whether they be a first time sprint or Ironman or your 15th Ironman.  Taking advantage of new techniques will only help you get faster.  

How Often Are You Swimming?

What Tips Can You Share That Can Lead To Faster Swim Times?

Published in Train
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 17:20

Open Water Swimming

[caption id="attachment_6694" align="alignright" width="300"]openwaterswimming_ironman_triathlon_training Source: Triathlon.com / Photo: Erik Isakson[/caption] Open water swimming would seem to be coming to an end as the triathlon season is winding down but in my best kid voice:  I don't want to stop open water swimming.  Since mid-June I have been doing an open water swim at the lake near my house and it has been every Friday since August 7th that I have done the swim thanks to an invitation from Michelle.  Ever since that glorious day in the lake I have consistently swam 2 miles every Friday and it has done wonders not only for my swim technique and sighting in the open water but also for relaxing my mind and body. When I put on that swim cap and goggles and head out for this swim I forget about the entire week of lactate threshold running and hill repeats on the bike.  This 1+ hour of training is my peace of mind and I l do not want to stop doing it.  The weather here in Texas is around 50* at 7:00am and that is when I plunk my body into the lake and while the water temp is cool it is warmer than 50*.  I submerge my body and go and it is wonderful. When the temperatures continue to creep downward will I have the motivation to submerge myself into that cold water?  My answer as of today is yes.  Maybe I don't swim 2 miles but I will continue to swim.  I want to continue to open water swim so that when March and 70.3 Puerto Rico comes around I am ready to go and don't have to start all over again.  Let's not forget that Ironman Texas is in May and I want to have a drastic improvement on my 1:36 from that race. Swimming is not my strongest sport and any type of improvement here is going to help my overall race.  I have gotten out of the water thinking that I swam a certain time only to be disappointed at what I see.  I am not looking for leaps and bounds improvement but if I can knock that 1:36 at the 2.4 mile distance down to 1:25 (without wetsuit) and 1:20 (with wetsuit) then we are looking at an 11 minute improvement at Ironman Texas in 2013.  That would set me up for a tremendous race and the only way to do that is to continue to get better at open water swimming. Another way to get better at open water swimming is going to be in going to the pool consistently during the off-season.  Working on drills and sets and streamlining and technique and repeating until I am so tired of the pool that I never want to go back.  I need to embrace my inner Nemo during the winter at both the pool, but especially in the open water since 70.3 and 140.6 distance races don't take place in a pool. While searching for different tips and tricks on the internet I came across this article for pool swimming that would seem to be a good change of pace to what I have been doing in terms of drills.  This article also provides a couple of swim sets to help test out how the consistent and hard swimming is working.  I know in the past year I have seen an improvement and I am thrilled to see it but I also know there is more to be done. See You In The Lake!

Do You Swim In The Open Water In The Offseason?

How Have You Improved Your Swim?

Published in Train
Monday, 04 June 2012 11:44

Ironman Arizona - Here We Go

[caption id="attachment_5997" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Ironman Arizona: Let's Get It On!"]ironmanarizona_imaz_triathlon_training[/caption] Ironman Arizona is in 168 days or 24 weeks.  What does that mean for me?  It means that training for this race starts today.  I am very excited to get the training going for this race because there are so many people out there that are training right now and I felt out of the loop for two weeks while I recovered. I have set up my spreadsheet to track my mileage for IMAZ and to compare it to IMTX.  I would think that the mileage would be similar but I do think that there will be more swimming mileage.  I have found an open water swim practice hosted by the Frisco Tri Club on Wednesday evenings and I will be attending this practice as often as I can.  Based on the 1:34 I put up at IMTX I could surely use the practice. There will be a few changes going on during this training cycle:
  • My aerobic bike rides will be done at 140 bpm.  My goal will be to race IMAZ at that heart rate so in order to understand how that feels I need to train there. I will still be doing a lot of my work on the trainer during the week in the garage and with extra layers.  I found that this helped me to understand how much liquid to take in.  While it should be somewhat cooler in Arizona in November if I train at a hotter 'climate' then the cooler weather will benefit me on race day.
  • I have picked up a new bike computer.  I will be training with the Garmin Edge 500 so that I can track all my trainer work properly as well as when I head out on the bike.  This will allow me to upload my bike data for Coach so that she can truly adjust any bike sessions she has scheduled.
  • As mentioned above, I will be heading to the lake more often so that I can get the open water swim practice.  The beauty of this is that the summer will be with no wetsuit but IMAZ will most certainly be a wetsuit event.
  • My aerobic runs will be done at 155 bpm.  I raced IMTX in 4:09 which equates to a 9:31/mi pace.  I had some data before my watch died and it showed a 140 bpm during that first 41 minutes.  I ran that first loop in 8:27/mi and the 2nd and 3rd loops at 10:06/mi and 10:04/mi so I don't think my heart rate ever elevated above the 140 bpm which is not bad but I also know that I can run the marathon at a sub-4:00 pace.
  • My diet is going to be dialed in from day one.  I have been on a routine lately that has helped me keep my post-IMTX weight right near race weight.  In addition to that my body fat% is at 6% and that is an improvement from early April.  That being said Summer Bailey and I are going to be comparing the cost of training for an Ironman being a vegetarian versus being a carnivore.  This should be interesting and my spending will be chronicled through 'Feeding An Ironman'
Here are my numbers from  Ironman Texas and we can certainly compare them to Ironman Arizona as the training goes on.  
Swim Bike Run
Miles 110.8 2858.6 633.6

I would be ignorant to think that I will get through this on my own so I want to thank my sponsors for helping me out, but first thank you to Karen.  Ready to rock and roll this training?

  • Herbalife 24 - nutrition to help me start, keep going and recover.
  • Boundless Nutrition - when you want great tasting cookies you come to these guys.
  • Grapevine Grains - for the best oats and flours to make healthy dishes go to them. (CTER code gets you a 10% discount)
  • TriSwim / TriSlide - TriSwim removes that chlorine smell, while TriSlide protects against chafing and sores but also removes your wetsuit fast.
  • Sonix Studio - my partnership with Chad in this web design and internet marketing company that allows me the freedom to train and race.
  • Core Power - recovery milk that goes great in an Herbalife 24 smoothie.
And certainly last but not least.....thank you Coach.  Claudia Spooner of iRuniTri Mutlisport has gotten me to the start and finish of IMTX and will now have the task of doing the same at IMAZ.  Be prepared for lots of questions and suggestions Coach.

Thank you for reading and as they say in boxing:  Let's Get It On

Published in Train
Tuesday, 06 March 2012 19:24

Ironman Texas Training - Week 11?

Ironman Texas training is 11 weeks down.....I think!  I can't keep track but I think that is the right number.  Last week was a huge week and break through week for me. Training last week took up a total of 17.5 hours of my life and I loved every minute of it.  I am thankful that the zombie apocalypse did not happen until Monday when I could barely move my legs because of the 92 mile ride followed by 30 minute lactate threshold run I did the day before.  That ride was the longest ride of my 'career' and I smiled the entire time.  I was on a large portion of the Ironman Texas course and it is no longer as daunting as it once seemed.  I managed to ride the course at a 19.5 mph clip and felt strong.  My hydration and nutrition were spot on with 95% (guesstimate) liquid nutrition and 5% (Thank You HoneyStinger) coming from solid foods. When I got home though is when the zombie hit.  I had to drive back from Conroe, Texas after that ride and it took me nearly 3 hours and when I landed I packed up my gear for the Monday workout so when 830p hit I was done.  Cooked.  There was no moving.  It was to the point that Karen practically dragged me into bed. Monday rolled around and getting in the water for what I figured would be a recovery swim was not true.  That was a session of yard after yard after yard of race pace swimming.  If you have heard it before I am going to say it again:  Ironman training is hard work. There are rewards though.  Like knowing you can ride 92 miles at 19.5 mph.  Like knowing that you can throw down a 30 minute run right after that and cover 3.7 miles at an 8:00/mi pace.  Like knowing that the next day when you get in the water you can still hit your race pace times.  That is what Ironman training has done for me.  My confidence is sky-high right now and I need to bring myself back to earth as there is this 'little' race called 70.3 Ironman San Juan in two weeks that I need to be focused on. The numbers to date are: Weekly:
  • Swim - 5.5 miles
  • Bike - 164.3 miles
  • Run - 30.5 miles
  • Swim - 23.2 miles
  • Bike - 476.7 miles
  • Run - 83.0 miles
Ironman Texas Training:
  • Swim - 56.7 miles
  • Bike - 1278.3 miles
  • Run - 296.7 miles
Thank you for watching.
Published in Train
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 15:11

Ironman Texas Training Video Blog

Ironman Texas training has clearly entered into the 'man this is hard' world.  The workouts have increased in duration.  The workouts have increased in intensity.  The workouts have pushed and pulled me to areas I never thought were imaginable. Let's take the last three days (not including today) as an example:
  • Saturday:  100.2 miles on the bike followed by 3.5 miles of running (5 hours 51 minutes)
  • Sunday: 17.75 miles of running (2 hours 45 minutes)
  • Monday: 3300 yards of swimming (1 hour 6 minutes)
  • Monday: 15.36 miles of running (2 hour 30 minutes)
  • Total:  1.88 miles of swimming, 100.2 miles of biking, 36.6 miles of running (12 hours 9 minutes)
So today when I originally thought my training was a 1 hour trainer ride at aerobic capacity followed by 1 hour of running at lactate threshold I held my breath.  When I woke up and checked my training to see that it was 2 hours of riding at aerobic capacity I was happy.  The thought of running for an hour after running nearly 37 miles scared the living you know what out of me.  Now that I had today to not push myself I am prepared to do this run tomorrow.  I am actually looking forward to it as my legs will have had the opportunity to recover. Also, in regards to training I am also doing the weekend workouts at times that are reflective of where I should be on the course when that sport comes up.  So on Saturday I started my ride at 8am and rode through that part of the day to see how I would react to the temperatures and to practice my nutrition and hydration plan.  I will say that it worked perfectly as I was never hungry and only peed on the bike once. My 2 hour and 30 minute run on Monday was in the height of the Texas heat.  It gave me an idea of how fatigued my legs would feel at that time of the day and to again practice my hydration and nutrition plan.  I have decided to incorporate HoneyStinger waffles every two hours along with Herbalife 24 Prolong and First Endurance Liquid Shot (Kona-Mocha is their newest flavor).  These three products have served me very well in the last three days.  Of course I will also take water off the course on the bike and the run. Lastly, my plan to walk 30-45 steps every mile of the run was practiced yesterday and it worked great.  My splits did slow down but not as considerably as I would have thought had I tried to run the entire time.  Here are the splits from the run yesterday:
  • Mile1: 9:15; 130bpm; Max: 146bpm
  • Mile2: 9:07; 139bpm; Max: 148bpm
  • Mile3: 9:30; 142bpm; Max: 149bpm
  • Mile4: 9:48; 149bpm; Max: 155bpm
  • Mile5: 9:28; 147bpm; Max: 153bpm
  • Mile6: 9:02; 148bpm; Max: 154bpm
  • Mile7: 9:12; 150bpm; Max: 155bpm
  • Mile8: 9:06; 144bpm; Max: 151bpm
  • Mile9: 9:43; 149bpm; Max: 158bpm
  • Mile10: 9:47; 143bpm; Max: 149bpm
  • Mile11: 9:41; 144bpm; Max: 151bpm
  • Mile12: 10:03; 141bpm; Max: 150bpm
  • Mile13: 11:23; 141bpm; Max: 153bpm (treated this mile as the special needs bag and did not stop my watch for the consumption of water)
  • Mile14: 10:21; 142bpm; Max: 149bpm
  • Mile15: 10:38; 141bpm; Max: 150bpm
  • .327mi: 3:38; 145bpm; Max: 151bpm
You can clearly see where I was running uphill with these splits but overall I was quite happy to be running these splits with that simple walk break in it. Now onto the data that all you TriGeeks love to look at and crunch: Overall Training for Ironman Texas:
  • Swim: 76.8 miles
  • Bike: 1847.0 miles
  • Run: 441.8 miles
Weeks 15 and 16 combined:
  • Swim: 7.3 miles (not a lot of swimming due to taking nearly a week off because of the bike crash - wound are healing very well.)
  • Bike: 317.8 miles
  • Run: 50.9 miles
Published in Train
Tuesday, 27 March 2012 12:44

Ironman Texas Training - Weeks 13 and 14

Ironman Texas training has entered some zone but I'm not sure what zone.  These past two weeks have been filled with races and hardly any taper or recovery.....it has been bananas, and I have eaten my fair share of bananas.  I may have to track my banana consumption alone to see how much it really is because I know it is at least one per day. So where do we start with Ironman Texas training?  Oh, how about words from my Coach after 70.3 San Juan.  This is not verbatim but I think you will get the point:
  • I have aggressive goals for you for Ironman Texas.  You will be ready for that day without a doubt.
After a big swallow of air when the phone hung up I said to myself:   What would be aggressive goals?  The next thought was that is awesome.  Let her think about those goals and take it away from me.  When I setup my own goals I am fairly aggressive but having somebody else set them up and I will chase them down with reckless abandon.  I am excited to see what she has up her sleeve.
I am also very excited about my newest sponsor.  Last week I came to an agreement with Grapevine Grains.  They are a local company here in Grapevine, Texas and  provide the freshest granola, muesli, trail mix, and fresh stone ground cookie, muffins, pancake and corn bread mixes.  All of their products are made with fresh organic stone flours and rolled oats.  As a person who does a lot of baking in the house as well as eating oatmeal, granola and muesli this sponsorship couldn't have been a better match.  Be on the lookout for a more formal announcement along with a coupon code so that you can get the freshest quality ingredients delivered to you doorstep.
Now onto the numbers:
Week 13
  • Swim: 3.84 miles
  • Bike: 93.8 miles
  • Run: 26.6 miles
Week 14
  • Swim: 5.57 miles
  • Bike: 78.5 miles
  • Run: 30.8 miles
  • Swim: 69.5 miles
  • Bike: 1,529.2 miles
  • Run: 390.9 miles
Thank You For Watching!
Published in Train
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 11:44

Ironman Texas Training - Week #3 VLOG

So it is Tuesday which means it is Day #2 of Week #4 of training.  Right now all my faculties are in place and I have yet to hit Zombie land like this fellow triathlete and blogger [Click Here].  Secretly and not so secretly I hope to never have that Zombie look but I also am realistic to know that the day is going to come when nothing goes right and the body wants to crap out on me and I will need to have some superior mental strength to get through it all. One thing I know for sure is that on my aero runs I am going to be treating them like the half-marathon in the race and run the first couple of miles at a slightly slower pace than my goal pace, then hit my goal pace for the middle miles and then pick up the pace.  I want to do this for a few reasons.
  1. I want to practice not going out to hard and blowing up on the run.  I know what my goal is and at 70.3 Cali and 70.3 Austin I have yet to hit that goal and I am going to do my best to get there at 70.3 Puerto Rico and pacing is going to be the key.
  2. I want to teach my body to pull on its reserves and run harder when it's tired.  I need to be able to embrace the suck as those miles pile up and still be able to hold/maintain a pace.
  3. I know how I want to treat the marathon of Ironman Texas and practicing the pacing and nutrition will allow me to not be surprised come marathon time in mid-May in The Woodlands where temps can be high and the humidity even higher.  I have been running with 3-4 shirts on plus a sweatshirt to mimic the sweat rate loss that I am likely to face and thus practicing pacing and nutrition simultaneously.
Thank you for watching.  Recommendations for the next head-gear are welcomed and I'm starting to feel like Lee Corso a little bit.
Published in CTER TV
Saturday, 14 January 2012 15:40

I Will Be Faster In The Water

[caption id="attachment_5083" align="alignright" width="274" caption="Practice Sighting In The Pool"]pool_swimming_practice_triathlon[/caption] In 64 days from today I will be toeing the line in San Juan, Puerto Rico and in order for me to hit the times I have as my goal I will need to be faster in the water no matter how fast I am on the bike or the run.  When I went into 70.3 Austin I felt I could swim the 1.2 miles in 34 minutes and wound up swimming the distance in 40 minutes.  My goal for San Juan is still 34 minutes and I know I can do this because I have been getting faster in the pool.  That is the rub right there.....it is in the pool.  Last month I swam a 1000y TT with a pace of 1:50/100y, and this past week I swam the same distance and improved to 1:45/100y.  The best part of that improvement is that I was not gassed and feel I could have been even faster and can't wait to prove that when the next 1000y TT comes up.  I believe I can be around 1:40/100y at that next time trial.  That pace would set me up for a 35:30 swim at 1.2 miles.  That would shave approximately 5 minutes off of my 1.2 mile time. Here is where I have to improve and continue to work on:  sighting.  In the pool I look up every few strokes to spot an EXIT sign on one end of the pool and a water bottle on the other end.  About halfway through the swim set I stop because it just doesn't seem to make sense to continue to do that because I can look down at the line and be back on track to swimming straight.  In the open water there is no line to follow and so I get frustrated and stop practicing my sighting. Yesterday on Triathlete.com there was an article titles 9 Secrets To Sighting and the tips were for open water swims, which unfortunately won't happen prior to Puerto Rico since it is so cold.  The good news was that there were tips for sighting in the pool and the drills seemed pretty good and changed up how I would go about sighting while doing my swim sets.  On Monday when I hit the pool I will begin to work on sighting and this time throughout the entire set. Here are the tips to practice sighting in the pool: Tarzan: Swim the entire length of the pool with your head out of the water. Use this drill to practice arching your back, kicking extra hard and maintaining a good body position. Where’s Waldo?: Use good sighting technique to locate your coach on the pool deck while swimming a single lap. 3 Right/3 Left/6 Regular: Sight three times while taking a stroke with the right arm and then three times with the left. Take six regular strokes and then repeat. Swim Blind: Find an empty lane at the pool and swim straight down the middle with your eyes closed. Based on which lane line you bump most often, you know which direction to compensate for in open water. Here are the 9 tips for sighting in the open water: 1. Lift your head only as high as necessary. In calm bodies of water, like a lake or river, lift just your eyes out of the water. 2. In wavy ocean conditions, time it so you’re sighting on the top of a wave for the best view of the course. Feel your body rise and fall on the swells and sight accordingly. 3. When conditions are choppy and unpredictable, lift your head extra high but try to minimize the total number of times you sight. Use landmarks and other swimmers when breathing to the side. 4. Do not breathe while looking forward. Separate the two actions by sighting forward and then immediately rolling your head to take a breath to the side. 5. As you prepare to sight, press down with your hand and arm during the catch phase of your stroke. This will slightly lift your upper body and make it easier to raise your head. 6. Arch your back while lifting your head. This will allow your legs and feet to stay near the surface, minimizing drag under the water. 7. Kick extra hard for a moment while you are sighting. This will help maintain forward speed and also keep your feet from dropping. 8. Sight 2–3 times in a row (during every other stroke). Use the first sight to locate the buoy, the second sight to adjust your angle and the third to verify your direction. Swim straight for 20–30 seconds before repeating this system. 9. Practice, practice, practice! Make a point to practice sighting drills in every second or third workout.

When You Hit The Pool Do You Practice Sighting?

Do You Have Any Drills To Practice Sighting In The Pool?

Published in Uncategorized
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