3/30/17

Swim smart in the open water and be seen with New Wave Swim Buoy


My favorite open water swim location - Lake W├Ârthersee in Klagenfurt, Austria. Picture taken before I finally broke 1 hour in an Ironman swim after 10 attemps (IM Austria 2016 - 2.4 miles in 57.04). 

In case you missed it in our latest newsletter, we dedicated issue eleven to swimming smart and swimming safe.

With the warm temps (almost) here, triathletes all over the globe are getting ready for the upcoming race season. This means triathletes are not only biking and running outside more often, but are getting closer to swimming in open water.
For many triathletes, the thought of swimming in the open water can bring a lot of anxiety and nerves, which may discourage you from signing up for a triathlon event or you may find yourself with extreme panic on race day morning.

If you feel intimidated by the thought of swimming in a pack of athletes, in a large body of water, I encourage you to check out our latest newsletter to read about some of my tips and tricks to help you conquer your fears and build confidence in the open water.


Also in our newsletter, we featured the New Wave Swim Buoy, which we have been using for the past year. New Wave Swim Buoy is a 2017 Trimarni sponsor and all Trimarni campers receive a New Wave Swim Buoy at our group training camps. We love this product for many reasons.

Anytime you are swimming in open water, it is important that you are visible and safe. Because the open water is an unpredictable environment and the shore is not always just a few strokes away, the New Wave Swim Buoy is an affordable and practical way to swim with confidence in the open water. Just strap the product around your waist and get swimming. You won't even know you have a brightly colored buoy behind you but you will clearly stand out in open water. 


New Wave Open Water Swim Buoy Provides:

  1. Visibility in Open Water. The brightly-colored New Wave Swim Buoy is exceptionally noticeable to boaters, jet skis, paddlers, surfers and other swimmers. Since swimmers are virtually invisible in the open water from a distance, the New Wave Swim Buoy will make you easy to spot for miles away. 
     
  2. Safe Place to Float and Rest. Because of the natural buoyancy, the New Wave Swim buoy can be used as a flotation device. You have reassurance that just in case you cramp up, feel tired, want to enjoy the view or simply need to rest, you are able to grab the float and take a breather without needing to tread water. 
     
  3. Very light for swimming - The New Wave Swim Buoy is very lightweight which makes it easy for traveling and you won't notice it floating behind you as you swim. 
     
  4. Storage of Personal Items. The New Wave Swim Buoy is useful in point to point swims or when you swim alone. The New Wave Swim Buoy has a storage compartment that is separate from the Inflatable Air Chamber, which can be used for sunglasses, sunscreen, body glide, extra cap and goggles, running shoes, socks and clothes, diving mask, snorkel, camera, water shoes, iPod, book, snacks, water, gels, cash, credit cards, medicine, first-aid medical kit, and this list can go on. What would you take with you on a water-journey? 
     
  5. Improved Monitoring of Athletes. For coaches and large group practice swims, it is important to be able to see all of your athletes. The New Wave Swim Buoy makes it easy to count your athletes and not lose track of anyone.
To purchase your New Wave Swim Buoy, use Amazon promo code MarniTri at checkout for 10% off any New Wave Swim Buoy
Use the following link when ordering with your Trimarni discount code: Click here.

3/29/17

Train smarter with a new approach to triathlon periodization



For many triathletes, training looks similar to this above model.
 Base, build, peak, taper, race, recover. 
But what happens after race day? Can the athlete who is racing in May continue on with training and still improve and peak again? Is the athlete strong enough to withstand another 6 months of training and racing? What if an athlete races in November - can the athlete start training in May and still achieve peak fitness in November?
Want to learn more? Read on. 
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When you think about training for a triathlon, it may appear to be a complicated sport - Swim, bike and run.
Training for a triathlon is much more than simply checking off swim, bike and run workouts because the sport of triathlon is one sport - SWIMBIKERUN and this sport requires great skills, endurance, resilience and strength, as you transition your body from swimming to biking to running.

Although you may feel overwhelmed with the thought of training for a triathlon, it is important to not make triathlon training too overwhelming. Understanding that a huge component of triathlon success is development, it's important to not overcomplicate the sport in the first few years of triathlon training as this can lead to burnout, health issues and/or injuries.

For all triathletes, swimbikerun training should fit in your life. You should find yourself gradually improving your fitness and skills throughout the season and improving, season after season. Unlike a single sport, we can not look for fitness gains to happen quickly as each sport brings a different stressor to the body. Ultimately, consistency as a triathlete will allow you to gain great confidence and fitness, with less setbacks due to injury, health issues and overtraining.

Creating a smart training plan can be challenging as there is no one periodized approach that will work for every athlete. Every athlete lives a different life, with a different physiology, mental capacity, health status and fitness abilities. Simply put, a periodized triathlon training plan should be based on the current emotional, physical and mental state of an athlete, with a well-designed strategy to help the athlete develop throughout the season, without major setbacks, in order to be emotionally, physically and mentally prepared for race day.

Once upon a time, periodized training was all about volume and intensity. These two things have not gone away but we no longer focus on slowly building an endurance base and then slowly increasing intensity throughout the season in order to get faster. As it relates to endurance triathletes, what we now know is that triathletes need to be very strong in order to adapt well to training stress. And a strong body will best achieve results on race day because it can handle the training demands that occur in swimbikerun. By creating a very durable foundation with the body, while establishing basic skills and retraining skills and movements before advancing volume and intensity, a triathlete will find that this periodized approach best suits endurance triathlon training and racing. Ultimately, this approach places training stress on the body all season long but, the physical stress is manageable, even in the biggest training load, simply because the body was trained to be strong. In other words, starting off the season with high volume or intense training will load the body with too much stress and this overload may risk injury, burnout or health issues. Furthermore, as mentioned above, a huge component to smart racing is smart training and when it comes down to executing well on race day, triathletes need great open water, bike handling and running skills and strength, in order to manage the terrain and obstacles that occur on race day.

Hopefully, by now, endurance triathletes recognize that being lean and fast are not primary goals of a periodized approach to training. Yet far too many endurance triathletes are chasing these variables and risking injury, health issues and burnout.

An important component to periodized training is understanding that you are accumulating fitness throughout an entire season. Thus, you can only reach peak fitness but just once or twice, maybe three times in a year. Therefore, your training needs to be designed in a way that you are gradually overloading the body throughout an entire season, with sessions of rebuilding and recovery so that you can continue to experience a higher level of fitness than when you started.

With too much intensity or volume early season, especially with a fragile/weak body, there's a good chance that your body won't be able to handle training as the volume/intensity becomes more race specific.

To learn more about a (somewhat) new approach to periodization, I was interviewed by the Daily Burn on my take on periodized triathlon training. Below is the article to help you learn more about breaking down your triathlon season to achieve peak fitness on race day.

Train Smarter with this 6-month periodization plan
Please note that I was asked to provide a 6-month periodized plan for an Olympic distance triathlete so I don't feel this strategy, of training 6 months, is ideal for an endurance triathlete but hopefully, the article will help you make sense of periodized training, regardless of race distance. 

If you are interested in a Trimarni 20-week olympic distance, half ironman or ironman training plan or joining our educational team, check out our plans on our website here. 
Any questions, just send us an email via the contact form on our website.

3/28/17

Requirements for athletic success


Most athletes want to be successful on race day but success is all relative to the person, in his/her individual journey. Regardless of your definition of success, whether it is to complete a race, to arrive healthy and injury free to the start line, to podium, win the race, have a personal best performance or qualify for a World Championship event, very few athletes truly grasp what it takes to be successful.

The reason for this lack of understanding of "success" is because life is never a smooth path. Many athletes have this idea (in the head) of what it requires to be successful on race day and when life detours in a different direction, it's easy to feel frustrated, with an immediate loss of motivation. In other words, if success isn't easy to achieve, it's easy to quit and give up.

As an athlete, it is important that you are persistent but also see training for an event as more than simply the physical preparation of completing workouts in order to gain fitness. Every athlete needs skills to be successful on race day and many times, we gain valuable skills in our darkest moments, worst setbacks and most frustrating failures.

If you have a race approaching and you find yourself with waves of excitement, anxiety and nerves, I encourage you to search deep inside you to explore your inner WHY. Why are you so passionate about your sport? Why did you get started in the first place? Why are you so invested in doing something amazing with your body that you have never done before? Why this sport?

Commitment to training does not happen by simply registering for an event. You can't buy motivation. If you are ready, willing and itching to go after your goals and dreams, then you must have a clear purpose (a WHY) as to what is driving you each and every day.

I believe that every athlete CAN experience success on race day IF you do not forget your why during obstacles and setbacks. No journey is without adversity and your commitment, persistence and dedication will be tested daily. As an athlete, a requirement for athletic success is expecting your journey to be challenging and sometimes difficult.

If you are an athlete who is not absolutely in love with training and racing, there's probably a chance that you struggle to find motivation to train and maybe even hesitate to register for races. Do you absolutely, without a doubt, love what you get to do with your body as an athlete? Sure, we are all, at times, busy, stressed and overwhelmed but a sport is a hobby, or even better, an outlet to make us happier, healthy and more at ease with life. The more you enjoy what you get to do with your body through training and racing, the easier it will be to put in the time to succeed at your sport.

While your self-identity may be tied to being an athlete, let me remind you that it is ok to take a break from your sport but not from physical activity. While every human being should exercise to reduce risk for disease and to keep yourself in good health, your athletic hobby should be something that you really want to, every day when you wake up in the morning and/or after a long day of work. If your passion in life is shifting, find a physical activity that you are excited about and pursue the activity that makes you happy.

Understanding that every athlete will hit a plateau in fitness gains, will struggle with motivation, will question the time, money and energy needed to improve and will experience adversity, you must trust your training and have a lot of patience in your journey. Embrace the process of success and broaden your definition of success.

Winning is not everything. Sport helps you grow as a person. If your mindset is in the right place, sport can make you feel successful in all areas of your life. As an athlete, remind yourself that you are making a positive impact on others, your kids/family looks up to you, your coworkers envy you and you have the opportunity to inspire everyone that comes into your life.

Above all, it's a privilege to do what you can with your body so don't waste a day in life.


3/27/17

Performing high quality workouts - weekend training wrap-up



Like most competitive athletes, Karel and I are extremely dedicated to our training but unlike many, we are highly competitive triathletes who are not too obsessive with the sport. We give a lot of our energy to training but training provides us with more than race day performances as we gain good health, enjoyment, socializing, being outside and pushing our boundaries thanks to training. We can also clear our minds and de-stress. I like to say that we have the ability to turn on and off our training lightswitch very easily so that the light only comes on when we train and then it's back to normal life so that the light never burns out.

One thing that Karel and I do not focus on as it relates to performance improvements, is marginal gains. While we do focus on all of the areas in our life, from diet, to fueling, to strength and mobility, to mental strength, sleep, gear and training in order to gain the competitive edge, we focus on optimizing the areas in our life that have direct performance improvements and don't waste our energy on anything else. In other words, when it comes to our body composition, we don't intentionally try to change the way that we look through diet and exercise. We eat to perform and we train to perform.  

This leads me to the topic of body composition, which is a very popular topic among the athletic world. In a recent article that I wrote for Ironman.com, I talked about making peace with your weight, all season long. 

Far too many endurance triathletes put way too much energy into reducing body fat in order to achieve a specific race weight (or to be lean) for performance improvements. Understanding that changing your body composition will only offer a performance advantage if the goals and methods are suited to individual needs, it should be assumed that if you organize your diet to meet your daily energy/macronutrient and vitamin/mineral needs and you fuel and hydrate smart before, during and after workouts, then you will be able to perform high quality training sessions with your body. Consistent high quality training sessions will maximize your fitness and you may unintentionally see a positive change in body composition. But trying to change the way that you look may not make you any faster, fitter or stronger, if you can't perform high quality training sessions. 

On the flip side, if you are simply trying to "get through" workouts (and life) with an underfueled and undernourished body in order to lose weight, lean up or to burn more fat for fuel, there is a great chance that you are sabotaging your chance of performing high quality training sessions with your body, all in an effort to hope to achieve marginal gains with your diet/exercise approach. 

You see, there is no guarantee that manipulating your diet, getting leaner or avoiding sport nutrition during (or before/after) training will improve performance. There is, however, a great chance that you will not be able to perform high quality training sessions, you may risk health or injury issues and you won't gain confidence for race day by putting too much energy into how you look now and how you want to look on race day. 

Because it is so easy to overlook daily lifestyle habits that can optimizing performance but oh so easy to put a lot of energy into the extreme approach of not fueling properly before, during and after workouts or not structuring the diet to help the body adapt to training stress, I encourage you to take a moment and ask yourself "Am I able to perform high quality workouts with my body, with my current daily diet and fueling methods?"

If the answer is yes, great! Keep doing what you are doing. 

If the answer is no, ask yourself why not? Because many athletes are lead to believe less is more as it relates to how much you eat (or how little) and how much you weigh, your best performance enhancer will come from performing high quality workout with your body - on a daily basis, week after week, month after month. 

As a 11x Ironman finisher, I still have yet to look for marginal gains as it relates to my body composition, like fasted workouts or trying to get to x-weight by race day, to take me to that next level. I have never been on a diet, I don't restrict any foods in my diet, I always eat before workouts, I never workout without sport nutrition and I never ever weigh myself. (neither does Karel). Yet every year, I find myself improving my skills and fitness as a triathlete and somehow, when I get closer to racing season, I see my body changing as I gain fitness. How can this be? 

There are no short cuts to success. It takes time to see results. Put in the work, be kind and respectful to your body, have fun, enjoy the journey, challenge yourself, stretch your comfort zone and focus on the little things in your daily life that can make a big difference and you, my amazing Trimarni follower will also find yourself gaining the competitive edge with your amazing body. 



Saturday training: 
AM - Donaldson center 
BIKE + BRICK RUN
Bike: ~90 minutes - country loop for warm-up

MS 3x's (perimiter loop)
8 minute at slightly stronger than IM effort
3 min smooth endurance
12 min at half IM effort
3 min smooth endurance 
5 min at Olympic distance
5 min EZ

Total: 3:38 hr
Miles: 67.8
Run off the bike:
5 min immediately off the bike, increase effort to half ironman effort
2 min endurance effort
MS:
1 min Z3
2 min endurance
1 min Z3+
2 min endurance
1 min Z4
2 min endurance
1 min Z5
2 min endurance
1 min Z5
2 min endurance
1 min Z4
2 min endurance
1 min Z3+
2 min endurance
1 min Z3
5 min EZ

Total: 35 minutes, 4.75 miles

PM Run: Treadmill50 minutes, 5.36 miles, form focused, EZ running (9:20 min/mile pace)

Sunday AM Long run (treadmill and outside): 15 minute mobility/hip work/dynamic warm-up
20 minute treadmill warm-up
Outside: 40 minutes hilly loop

MS: 
3 x 5 min at half ironman effort w/ 2 min endurance effort (and walk) between
3 x 3 min strong effort w/ 2 min endurance effort  (and walk) between
2 x 5 min half ironman effort w/ 2 min endurance effort  (and walk) between

Cool down

Total: 2.17 miles/20 minutes treadmill
10.5 miles outside/1:35 outside
Combined total: 12.57 miles, 1:55 total

A big thanks to the Trimarnis who I saw out training this weekend in Greenville - Bryan for joining us on the country loop, Thomas for pushing me on the run, Karel for helping me believe in myself and Meredith, for getting out there and working hard for dreams.