4/10/15

Trimarni training camp - GREENVILLE, SC!!!



Can you believe you can find this much nature in downtown Greenville?
Are you looking for a fun and challenging way to maximize your fitness while training for a long distance triathlon?
The 4-day Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition Greenville training camp (JUNE 25-28) is a great opportunity for endurance-focused triathletes to accumulate a lot of training stress over a short period of time in order to build confidence, skills and fitness.
As a dedicated age-group, elite or professional athlete, we know you love to put in hard work in order take your training to the next level but we know that sometimes training can become a little boring in the same environment.....all season long. Also, we know you balance a lot in life and we understand that work/life doesn’t always give you ample time to recover properly, get restful sleep, eat a balanced diet and keep your mind focused on your training.
Our camp goal is to add some fun into your current triathlon training routine and take you out of your comfort zone as we test you on your pacing, endurance fitness, climbing, gearing, cadence, sport nutrition, daily nutrition, recovery and open water swimming.
We could not be more excited to welcome you to beautiful Greenville! Our bike-friendly, active community will not disappoint you as train on the perfect terrain to improve your swimming, cycling and running skills.
REGISTER TODAY!! Camp is limited to 12 athletes. 
(This was originally advertised as an advanced training camp geared for strong cyclists. However, if you are interested in this camp because you are training for an Ironman and feel this camp will be beneficial for your cycling skills and fitness, please send me an email to inquire about a tentative less-advanced option for this camp. 


TENTATIVE CAMP ITINERARY 
(TBD based on weather)
THURSDAY
AM: 3  hour bike ride - opportunity for coaches to see athletes on bikes, specific to bike skills and riding ability. Followed by a 30-60 min run – track or trail
Break for recovery/refuel
Afternoon: Lectures
PM – 90 minute swim at Westside aquatic center

FRIDAY
AM: 5 hour endurance ride, rolling terrain, beautiful scenery! 
Run off the bike - 30-45 minutes (track, trail or swamp rabbit trail)
Break for recovery/refuel
PM: 90 minute endurance swim at Westside aquatic center
Team dinner in downtown Greenville

SATURDAY
AM: 1 hour (or 2 mile) open water swim at Lake Jocassee. Followed by a long run (up to 2:20  hours or 16 miles, whichever comes first).
Late AM: Picnic/play time at Lake Jocassee
Depart lake in early afternoon.
Recover/refuel
PM: 2 hour recovery spin

SUNDAY
AM: 3-4 hour rolling hills ride. Following by a 90 min run.
Early afternoon – depart camp

(RETUL FITS ARE AVAILABLE either before or after camp. Please request a reservation). 


Here's what you get to enjoy while training in our beautiful, active and bike-friendly city of Greenville, SC. 


Westside aquatic center - plenty of lanes for happy swimmers!


What goes up, must come down 


Enjoy the view after your 6 mile climb to the top of Ceaser's Head. 


Mountain views no matter where you ride. 


Just riding along - you never know what you will see!


Our beautiful Falls Park in downtown Greenville. 


So much to enjoy in downtown Greenville. Over 100 restaurants for the foodies.



Farm life for miles and miles. 


You never know who you will ride into....hello George Hincapie, 17-time Tour de France finisher and owner of Hotel Domestique. 


So many country roads to enjoy and not a car in sight! 


Enjoy a peaceful run on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Over 20 miles of trail!!


In the valley - my favorite part of riding over mountains. 


Can you imagine swimming here? You get to at our camp! 


And you get to meet Mr. Lama!! He loves cyclists (and selfies). 


The best experience - lake AND mountain views. 


Liberty bridge in downtown Greenville. 


Do you love to climb? Let's head to the mountains! 


We love our rolling hills. 


So many picture-taking moments. We are so excited to welcome you to Greenville!!


4/7/15

Are you race ready?



First baby, first new house, first job in a new state, first international travel, first time driving.

Think about all the firsts that we encounter in life and how "so not ready" we feel with every new opportunity. 

But somehow...we survive. It may not be flawless and we are bound to make mistakes but somehow we make it happen. 

With every first comes an opportunity to learn, to experience, to grow and to develop. You gain new skills, new tools and new knowledge for the next time. Sometimes, we don't have a next time and it's a one-and-done opportunity. But I think in most cases, life presents multiple opportunities for repeat experiences and that is true in the case of sporting events, like triathlons and running. 

This is the time of the year when athletes from all over are experiencing a lot of mindful dialogue about feeling or not feeling "race ready."

I think it's great when an athlete is scared, nervous or anxious for a race because it's a time to be brave. How often in life can you do something amazing with your body and feel scared when you start but totally awesome when you finish?
What an incredible experience!

If you have recently found yourself asking yourself if you are "race ready", here are a few of my thoughts to help you believe in yourself, that you are race ready. 

FIRST TIME EXPERIENCE
Your worries are understandable. Doing something for the very first time is scary. If you have never completed the distance(s) of your upcoming race or you've been removed from your sport for more than a year, you may be feeling unready as it relates to the physical component of training. Or if this is a new course for you, it can be worrisome to test your skills on race day.
What will your body feel like after mile 20 in a marathon or how will you feel on mile 4 of the run after you swam 1.2 miles and biked 56 miles for the very first time or how will you feel at in the last mile of a 10K when your longest run was 4 miles?
All of these questions that you are asking yourself are normal but the beautiful thing is that you don't have to have all the answers. That's what race day is all about - showing yourself that anything is possible and you are ready for the challenge.
Your entire training journey has been built-on firsts. Your first long ride, your first long brick, your first long run and your first long swim. Then came the next longest workout and the next.
What you do not have is experience so accept that some things may not go as planned. But just like in training, you will push through and learn for the next time.
What you can think about is everything that you can control. That includes how to change a flat tire to your nutrition as well as how you will pace your race and what mantra you will use when you have a low moment and everything in between.
Enjoy this first opportunity because it will never happen again. Don't forget to thank your body because your upcoming adventure is something that no one else can do for you and it only happens once. 

FEELING THE PRESSURE
Watts, paces, places.
You feel an enormous amount of pressure to perform and this is causing you to question your readiness. You ask yourself "should I have done more or could I have done more." And when you are really stressed out, you get mad and say "I should have done more!"
You may even find yourself doing fear-based workouts to prove to yourself that you can do the distance or pace....I strongly don't advise this method.
Save your best performance for race day.
It's perfectly fine to feel emotionally dedicated to your upcoming race but if you are unable to change the past, why stress over it? You did what you could with the time you had and now you must believe in yourself. Believe that you are ready.
Athletes who place an incredible amount of pressure on themselves can be so obsessed with the end result that they do not race smart. Racing smart means adjusting your plan to staying strong, being flexible and keeping an open mind. You can certainly go into your race with a goal but if your only way to feel success at the finish line is to reach that goal, it's best to take a moment and remember that readiness is not simply determined by a personal best time or overall placing.
Find a way to reduce the pressure that you put on yourself so that you discover a greater meaning to racing than by being so overly focused on the end result. You can still dream big and have lofty goals but the only way you will reach them is by trust your plan and racing your own race.  

FEELING SOOOOOO READY!!!
Don't you love this athlete? You can't help but smile and feel envious because either you've been that athlete or know this athlete.
Excitement is sky-high for this athlete and you just want to bottle that positive energy. It's almost hard to be around this person because you just don't understand how this athlete can carry around so much confidence!?!
But in all honesty, it's simply wonderful to see athletes who believe, trust and feel ready. Regardless of what happened in the past, they accept that they can only race with their current level of fitness. They are simply grateful for the opportunity to race.
This athlete may have executed extremely well in all workouts for a few months, probably without even a setback, so we can understand why this athlete feels so ready to race.
Although this may seem like the ideal scenario to be in, the only downfall of feeling so ready is not considering that things may not go as planned and that you should never count yourself out during the race. For some athletes, it's very easy to adjust. But I've seen it many times before that if the weather isn't perfect, the course is changed or something unknown happens on race day, it is very easy for this athlete to quickly check-out of the race on all levels (emotionally and physically) and feel as if they wasted so much time, energy and money. In a hot second, feeling so ready can turn into frustration. I hope this doesn't happen to you but I've been in this situation before where I felt so ready for a personal best race at Kona in 2011. I spent all my energy feeling positive and confident for the race but I didn't consider what I would do if my tummy was upset (because it never happened before).  I swallowed too much salt water and on the run I was in the potty at mile 2 and I told Karel on the sidelines I was unable to finish. He told me to keep going but I was just so frustrated that I couldn't execute my "perfect" race. I managed to keep myself going and now I consider it one of my best performances because of what I was able to accomplish.
My suggestion for the athlete who is feeling super duper ready, try to put yourself into different "oh no" scenarios so that you can use that awesome fitness, skills and past experiences to be prepared for anything that comes your way. No need to waste all that awesomeness because you ARE ready!


4/6/15

The fueling game - less is not best


It's a universal belief that by eating less, you will lose weight. 
It's not that simple. 

So is this why athletes are constantly trying to eat less to weigh less in order to be faster?
Why is it for so many that eating is a chore, an issue, a disorder or a nasty conversation that is centered around what not to eat? 
This needs to stop. 

I've discussed this topic many times in the past on my blog and in articles but I don't feel the message is clear enough so I will say it again...and again and again. 

If you are an athlete that has a drive for success, your methods for changing your body composition should not be counterproductive to your performance goals.
Training for a race is not a weight-loss method! 

There is a huge issue these days with body integrity and this affects how athletes eat and fuel. For the average individual who is just exercising, the consequences are not as extreme if the body goes into a workout underfueled or slightly dehydrated. But when an athlete is willing to push to uncomfortable zones/paces in order to improve, this is when the athlete risks major health and performance issues. 

If you have recently felt vulnerable to your body composition and feel as if losing weight will help you be a better athlete (or look the part), let me remind you that your physical limitations like speed, power and endurance are a direct result of your training stress.
If your body is underfueled, you can't perform.
And your body weight on race day does not determine your ability to perform. You perform based on how well you trained smart and met your metabolic and health needs. 

Let me put this in two different perspectives to be more clear. 

If you feel that losing weight will make you fitter/stronger/faster, with a safe and practical approach, you may improve performance.
So, let's say you want to be able to do a pull-up. You have to be strong to do a pull-up. Losing 5 or 10 or 20 lbs may be less weight to carry and absolutely, you have a valid point as to making the effort easier or more efficient of you weighed less. But losing the weight does not guarantee that you will be able to do even a single pull-up. You must train to be able to consistently execute in each one of your specific workouts to be able to successfully do a pull-up. How much you weigh is not your limiter to being able to not do a pull-up so just because you lose weight, you still have to have a healthy and strong body to pull yourself up. 

If you feel that "fat burning" or working out in a fasted state or not fueling during workouts will help you perform better in endurance sports or improve your body composition because you will be fat-adapted, let me remind you that endurance athletes still have to consume fuel to perform on race day. You can not expect to perform well on race day without fluids, electrolytes and carbohydrates. Not only is it risky to not fuel during long distance activity but it is extremely dangerous to your organs, tissues, muscles and brain.
Never should you believe that fat burning will improve performance because the research does not support that. To say that fat burning or eating a low carb/high fat diet is the best method for endurance athletes is like saying that all athletes who want to get fast should only do speed workouts. Yes, I know that speed workouts can make me fast but they also come with risks like injury and I can't be consistent in training if I am constantly sore from speed workouts. 

I would like you to use the same analogy to your training. Intentionally underfueling is an extreme, unhealthy and irresponsible method of trying to get faster or stronger. Not only are you hurting your health but you are sabotaging your performance and you may be increasing the risk for an eating disorder by constantly working out, underfueled, in an effort to weigh less. 

This weekend I had an incredibly strong weekend of training. 
Despite all that is keeping us busy in our life, I'm so thankful to my body for staying strong, healthy and injury free. I thank it daily. I haven't been injured in almost 2 years and I haven't been sick in almost 7 years (no cold, flu, stomach bug or virus).
On Saturday I did a 4:45 hr ride in windy conditions with over 4500 feet of climbing. I rode comfortably for the first 2 hours and then my MS was 3 x 20 min mid to upper Z3 (increasing effort by 5 watts each interval) with 4 min EZ in between. Off the bike, an EZ 1 mile run.
On Sunday I did a 13.5 mile long run. Mobility work to start and then 11 miles slow running w/ good form (8:20-8:45 min/mile pace) w/ walk breaks each mile for 30 sec. Then, my MS: 2 miles best effort (7:35/7:36 min/mile) at the end of my long run.
Today, a 4400 long course swim. 

Karel and I are always dialing in our fueling strategy for race day. We deal with no GI issues in training or race day and I owe a lot of that to our daily diet that is rich in fiber, plants, dairy and quality protein but also because we consistently (like every single workout) use sport nutrition products in training and fuel before every workout (yes - we eat before every workout, even the short ones). And we never neglect proper nutrition post workout.
Karel has not been seriously injured since starting triathlons in 2012 and hasn't been sick in about 6 years. No cold, flu, virus or stomach bug. 

So back to the purpose of this blog.
I don't find it cool, awesome or hardcore when I hear athletes bragging about how little they can consume during a long workout. Now, this isn't referencing the athlete who is still learning how to fuel for endurance sports and is likely working his/her way up with the most that is tolerable while the gut is still getting use to consuming liquid calories while exercising (it can take up to 6 weeks to train the gut). I am talking about the athlete who boasts about how they can swim, bike or run with almost or no calories, fluids or electrolytes. 

The problem I see is that this approach (of less is best) is not practical. There is a fine line between what is healthy and not healthy. While some may say that consuming sport  nutrition during workouts or eating carbs before workouts is unhealthy, I find it extremely unhealthy to not fuel before and during workouts and I would highly recommend that if you are considering (or are on) the train that is all about eating less, consuming less and fueling less, it's only a matter of time before you can do less with your amazing body. 

Here is what I consumed around my two long workouts this weekend:
(I have my nutrition pretty dialed in as to what works best for me. Also, I'm not a heavy sweater and I don't ever suffer from cramping in training/racing. )

Long Bike: 
350 calories before the workout (oatmeal, PB, honey, raisins, milk, banana slices and cinnamon) and water/coffee.
4 x 24 ounce bottles each with 300 calories sport drink
1 Clif Bar (270 calories)
1 wafer (170 calories)
Total: 1640 calories during the 4:45 hr workout + 350 calories before = 1990 calories before my first real "meal" of the day.
And not once did I think unhealthy or feel concerned about my weight. I fuel for performance. 

Long Run: 
300 calories before the workout (Rice cake + 5 saltines w/ PB, Jam and banana slices and cinnamon), water/coffee.
3 x 10 ounce flasks (2 flasks on Nathan Fuel belt, refilled first flask at 5 miles) each with 80 calories Clif Hydration.
Total: 240 calories during a 1:50 hr run + 300 calories = 540 calories before my first "meal of the day.
I did not feel sleepy, exhausted, overly sore or fatigued during the run or after and that is a major benefit from fueling properly before/during the workout. 

I'm sure you know a few but many athletes will say they feel just fine and don't eat before long workouts (or any workouts) and don't fuel during and it's working out just fine or maybe they say they feel even better than ever before! 

The big issue here is that we do not know what damage is being done until this approach backfires - which it typically does in the case of a stress fractures, sickness/fatigue, a drop in performance gains or GI issues on race day. 

Listen up athletes - it is cool, awesome and smart to fuel before and during workouts. 

If you want to train hard, fuel smart!