Essential Sports Nutrition


Weekend training recap - goodbye snow, hello sun!

Well, Mother Nature did her thing and took us by surprise with a few cold, snowy days earlier this week. But the snow was not worth complaining about as it was beautiful while it lasted and come the weekend, we opened our house windows as it was 60+ degrees! 

Since the snow had melted around our area come Friday evening, we were so excited to venture outside for a few hours of road biking on Saturday morning. Since we ride on very quiet country roads, where we see more farm animals than cars, we had to negotiate a few sections where the snow had not yet melted. Karel has the skills to ride thru anything but I didn't take any risks and I got off my bike and walked through the icy sections. Three hours and 35 minutes later, we covered around 4300 feet of elevation gain and finished the workout with a 25 minute/3.2 mile hilly run (Karel ran 35 minutes - 5 miles). In the evening, I did my typical PM run for added running frequency but this time it was a short treadmill run for only 15 minutes just to shake out the legs. 

After a great night of sleep, I had my pre-workout snack of rye bread (note to self - I need to make more waffles!), PB, jam, banana slices and Greek Yogurt, filled up my hydration belt flasks with 1 scoop of Cranberry in one flask and one scoop Strawberry kiwi in the other flask of  Base Hydro (a product that I am testing out right now). After ten minutes of glute/hip exercises, Karel and I headed out for our run workout. 

We had a specific route planned for this run workout as this was a very specific set that requires a specific "course" for proper execution.

After a few miles of our warm-up to get to the "start" of our main set, we were ready for the "money maker" workout (in other words, a quality training session that builds confidence and fitness).

Main Set: 4x's:
1/4 mile flatish loop around a park
2 minute strong uphill run
1 minute fast uphill run
Immediately turn around to run downhill as "fast" as possible
Stop and rest at the bottom for 2 minutes.

Each interval took me around 8.5 minutes and I covered around 1.1 miles (Karel was covering a little more distance than me uphill but we both finished at the same time and started at the same time). The main set took us around 40 minutes and I covered 4.63 miles, which included our rest breaks. The focus of this workout is all about form, posture and effort and not on pace. 

This main set has a lot of components in it which makes it one quality workout. Form focused running, strong uphill running and strong downhill running are all important components to improving run fitness off the bike - in our opinion, much more so than chasing a pace or settling for easy, long slow running.

After the main set, it was time to finish off our "long run" with a few more miles of running on tired legs. Another reason why this is the money maker run is the strength that is gained from the entire run. Even though our legs were tired and shaky after the main set, we quickly changed the focus and ran with good form for another 4.8 miles (or 38 minutes) to get back home. It would have been easy to run a straight route to and from the park (about 2 miles) but as you can see from the picture above, this is a very specific, hill-focused run workout to build resilience and strength for Ironman run training. And because of where we live, there are no shortage of hills that we include in our warm-up and cool down.

I was really happy to do this workout with Karel because he always keeps me stretching my comfort zone and knows how to get the best out of me, even when I am tired. Because of my love-hate relationship with running, I really appreciated his support during this run because it kept me confident for all four intervals. I felt very strong throughout this run and as my 7th run of the week (4 of those runs were each 10-20 minutes, all off the bike), I am thankful for a healthy and strong body.

To finish off the weekend, we had our 75-minute group swim at Furman which is something I look forward to every week. Even though we arrive exhausted at 5pm on Sunday evening, we somehow have our best swims at this swim practice thanks to the group environment and awesome coaching by Kristen.