Fantastic Finish Foto Friday – First Time Triathlete Michelle

Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s photo is from Michelle Carroll, (Bolton, Lancashire)

 

Michelle Caroll FTT

Michelle:

Despite the elements being against me, on Sunday, I competed in my very first triathlon! With the rain and wind at their best, I tackled the hills of Rossendale to successfully complete a 400m swim, a 14 mile bike ride and a 5km run! Despite all my worries, I enjoyed almost every minute of it and now I have definitely got the triathlon ‘bug’. If anyone ever thinks they would like to compete in something like this but feels they couldn’t – go for it!! Honestly, I felt exactly the same, but it’s amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it. I don’t really swim and I had to borrow a bike as the nearest I’ve ever got to bike riding is doing a spin class at the gym, but it was all worth it!!

Great work Michelle! Way to preserve through the conditions and finish. You didn’t let not having a bike hold you back and you borrowed one. That is a great idea for first timers. Don’t throw down a bunch of cash on a bike. Borrow a bike and see how you like the sport.

Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish. It doesn’t have to be from a triathlon, just any race that has special meaning to you. If you are interested in sharing, please send a message to firsttimetri@gmail.com.

 

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Workout Wednesday – Cycling Overspins

Welcome to  Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (kidding)

Bike trainer

This week workout is Cycling Overspins.

This is a fun workout.  Overspins are essentially sprinting with a light gear. The benefits are better pedaling efficiency and higher cadence. This workout forces you to increase your cadence beyond your normal range. Working at a higher cadence will strengthen those fast switch muscles that smooth out your pedal stroke.

During the workout focus on making good circles with your legs. Push and pull all the way through the stroke. If you are doing it correctly your upper body will be relatively still and your legs will be spinning fast. Imagine you are a duck swimming on a lake, calm on the top, and swimming away under water.

This workout should be performed on a spin bike or trainer. Aim for 20-30 RPMS faster than your normal cadence. If you normal cadence is 80 RPMS try to maintain 100-110. Set the resistance light, just enough to keep your speed under control.

This workout is not very taxing to your legs or cardio. It can be done at the end of another workout or on a scheduled easy bike day. I suggest putting on your favorite loud fast tunes and enjoying the workout.

Overspin Workout

  • Warm up 5 min
  • 3 X 1 min @ 60%/30 secs rest
  • 5 X 30 secs @(+20 RPMS)/ 30 secs spin easy
  • 4 min steady @ 60% effort
  • 3 X 1 min @(+20 RPMS)/ 30 secs spin easy
  • 4 mins steady @ 60 % effort
  • 5 X 30 secs @(+20-30 RPMS)/ 30 sec spin easy
  • 10 min cool down

Here’s great video explaining the basics of pedaling mechanics.

 

Top Ten Ways to Tell if You are a Triathlete

 

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In honor of Letterman retiring from late night TV, here’s our own triathlete top ten list.

Top Ten Ways to Tell if You are a Triathlete

10. Your bed time is 8:30pm

9. You put more miles on your bike than car this year.

8. Your social media posts include a picture and a finish time

7. All family vacations are planned around a race

6. Your casual wardrobe consists of race T shirts

5. Your most expensive watch is a Garmin

4. Your dishwasher is filled with sticky water bottles

3. Your weekend is spend mostly in Lycra

2. Can’t do flip turns

And the #1 way to tell if you are a triathlete…

1. Weird tan lines

I hope I made you smile at least. If you have your own top ten list item, leave a comment.

Now get out there and work on those weird tan lines!

Sign Up to Crush Your Next Tri

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I starting the FTT email newsletter. Subscribe if you are a new triathlete or even a seasoned athlete looking to be motivated and improve. I know your time and email inbox are precious, so I’ll keep it short, entertaining, and of course no spam. You will have access to me and other triathletes for the support to improve in the sport we love. There is a steep learning curve when learning to race triathlons. I want to help you flatten out that curve, and get you faster while having fun.

If you know a new triathlete that would be interested, please share the post.

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Workout Wednesday – 30 Seconds to Improve Your Aerobic Capacity

Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (kidding)

Exhausted runner

Have you ever started a easy run and were completely out of breath in the first half mile? I know I have. You are not an out of shape slob, your body is just not ready to breath that deeply. If you spend your days crunched up at a desk in front of the computer all day, you are most likely breathing shallow. When you go to exercise your body has to open up those lungs to get ready to use that extra lung capacity.

Breathing and blinking are the only two systems in the body that are both involuntary and voluntary. Breathing, of course,  is the more powerful one. Your breathing regulates your heart rate, stress and your mood. By doing some simple breathing exercises you can increase your lung capacity, and feel great in the process.

Here’s the workout:

  • Breathe in for a count of 4
  • Hold it for a count of 2
  • Breathe out for a count of 4
  • Repeat 5 times

During in the inhale breathe deeply and fully from your diaphragm. During the exhale forcefully breathe out as much as possible. imagine filling up a balloon completely, and then letting out all of the air. This exercise takes about 30 seconds, and you can do it anywhere. For best results try this exercise 5-6 times through out your day. Its really great to do before a workout to get you lungs ready to work.

Monday Motivation – True measure of excellence

Merry Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

Continuous effort not strength or intelligence is the key to unlocking our potential. – Churchill

How do you feel when you finish a race or workout, and know you have given it your 100% effort? Fanastic, most likely. How about when you miss a goal time by a few minutes? Probably not so good. We look for ways we could have gone a bit faster, and have some regrets. If you gave that race your 100% effort, then you have no doubts or regrets. It was the best effort you give on that particular day.

The universal is always placing obstacles between us and our goals. In triathlon, it could be wind, rain, heat, illness, flats, insects, flooded roads, inconsiderate drivers, inconsiderate racers, overzealous moto refs, pot holes the size of a trash can or any host of issues. (Sorry for the long list, I was listing things that the universe has thrown at me). These forces are beyond our control, and conspire to take away our PR. When the race gets difficult the only thing we can control is our effort. When you cross the finish, forget the clock, and know you pushed as hard as possible. Only you know, if you gave 100%, don’t cheat yourself.

Too Fat to Tri?

Me at said 5k This is a personal post. I want to share my thoughts and experiences, as others may relate or benefit from them.

At a 5k a couple of weeks ago, I had a good race and came in 11th overall. After catching my breath, and staving off the dry heaving, I found my family. My wife said to me, “It looks like you had a good race, you were the fastest bigger guy out there.” My heart sunk, and I was not happy with my performance anymore. She said it to be encouraging, and I wasn’t upset with her, but it struck a nerve. I am a bigger endurance athlete, and I struggle with that. Don’t get me wrong as I am big for an endurance athlete, but otherwise very active and healthy.

I train really hard, keep my diet mostly clean, but I can’t achieve the body type of an elite endurance athlete. My issue is most likely a combo of appetite and genetics. Everyone on my father’s side of the family is large framed, and quick to put on weight. I can have a perfectly clean diet for a month and lose three pounds. If I slip and have a bad week I will gain four pounds back. It’s frankly frustrating and pisses me off. It is completely frustrating to watch every calorie, train your ass off, and not see any result.

I should probably choose a different sport that better suits my body type, but I love endurance sports. I train everyday, not out of a sense of obligation, but because I love it. My workouts are my favorite parts of my day. I don’t feel well physically or mentally, if I go too many days without working out. My accomplishments in running and triathlon are some of my proudest moments. I am most alive when I am pushing myself to the limit, and pushing past what I thought was possible.

My size isn’t going to keep me from competing, because racing is what I really enjoy. There is always this nagging voice in my head telling my size is holding me back. I guess it’s insecurity, but when I am racing and all of the other athletes around me are 40-50 pounds lighter, I feel like a cargo ship in a pack of speed boats. I’ve shown up to group workouts, and been the biggest person there by 30 pounds. At that point I feel like, I’m fat Albert, and the rest are the gang. Am I just an impostor in a world of ectomorphs?

My results have steadily improved over the past few years, even though I have stayed the same size. This is a result of consistency and experience, of which I am very proud. Every so often my frustration with my weight and progress makes me want to quit. Or least go and train in solitude, where I am my only frame of reference. These thoughts of quitting only last a couple of days. I’ll find a race I want to do, sign up, and be motivated again.

I’m sharing my thoughts, not just to have a pity party, but because I’m sure others feel the same way. Society already has a bias against larger people. That pressure is even more magnified in the endurance community filled with super fit competitive people. In endurance sports your standing is determined by speed. When light = fast, this can be a losing battle.

I will continue to race and train for triathlon, because I love it. I want to help and encourage others who want to start in triathlon, no matter his/her size. I’m just as inspired to see the elite athletes fly through the course, as I am the person who had to make a major lifestyle change to finish. These athletes may not race at the same speed, but they both had to put in the same dedication and effort.

Will I ever find a diet/training plan that will yield the results I want? Will my body type keep me from reaching my true potential? I’m not sure, but I continue to train hard and work with the cards I am dealt.

Have you had a similar experience? If so, please share your story in the comments.

Monday Motivation – Showing up for yourself

Have a Marvelous Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

“Show up for your own life, if you don’t no one else will” – Henriquez

I came across this quote and it really made me think. To me, it means be an active participant in your own life. Make your own decisions, and set your own course. No one else is going to do it for you. Societal pressures may try and steer you one way, but the your path is decided by you. It is sometimes easier to go with the flow, and let others make decisions for you, but will that make you happy. Take an active role in who you want to be, and what you want to do.

Workout Wednesday – Progressive Brick

Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (kidding)

Brick Workout

Today’s Workout – Progressive Brick

A quick intro: A BRICK is a bike to run workout. The purpose of these workouts is to work on your transitions from the bike to run. It’s a good idea to fit in a few of these sessions to your triathlon training cycle. Don’t get carried away, and think you have to do these workouts all of the time. It is better to work on biking and running individually, and sprinkle in some bricks.

BRICK workouts are also a great chance to practice your transitions. Set up a mini transition area in your driveway, and treat the workout like a race simulation.

Here’s the workout:

Bike – 30 mins

  • 5 min warm up
  • 3 X 5 min race effort (80%)/ 2 min easy spin.
  • 4 min moderate effort (60%) – Work on quick pedal strokes

Then immediately after transition to run.

Run – 10 mins

  • 2 min 70% of race effort – Work on quick turnover/ Control your effort.
  • 4 min 80% of race effort
  • 4 min full race effort.

Some points of emphasis for this workout:

  1. This workout should be moderately difficult. Don’t kill yourself with effort. The idea is to control your effort and heart rate.
  2. Work on quick pedal strokes ~80-90 RPM on the last set before the transition. This will get your legs primed to run.
  3. Resist the urge to go out too fast on the start of the run. When you start running after the bike, you will feel slow, but it is just your brain tricking you.
  4. Many athletes start the run too fast and blow up. The run portion of this workout builds in intensity to race effort. Focus on controlling your effort. On race day you will have better control of your effort for a more even and faster run.

Fantastic Finish Photo Friday – Son & Father 1st Tri

Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s photo is from  Eric Quiroz:

FTT Eric

Eric:

On Sunday April 26, 2015 I competed in my first Triathlon ever, and not only that, I had the great honor of doing it with my Dad. We both completed the event which consisted of running 5K, biking 11 miles, and swimming 150m. Before this I have never even ran a 5K. I had been wanting to do something like this for a long time and up until the moment I signed up I always had a reason why I couldn’t do it. But when the opportunity arose for me to sign up for this is event I suddenly became sick of my own excuses. I couldn’t bear to hear one more reason why I couldn’t do it and in the moment that I committed I was free! I was free to be and do what ever it took to compete in this event and do my absolute best. This is an interesting way to look at it, that in my commitment I experienced freedom. 

I am so grateful I had the opportunity to do this with my Dad, Earl. He is an absolute gift in my life and I feel very fortunate to have this experience with him. The preparation, tuning the bikes the night before the race, spending the night together, waking up race day and driving down to the event. I absolutely loved ever detail that we got to share together. This was a big first for the both of us and a special bonding moment for our relationship.  

I am very proud of my 1:22:48 time.

Fantastic race and photo Eric. Also, congrats to your dad for finishing his first race. Conquering a new challenge is even sweeter when you have good company.

Do you have a friend or family member that will train and race with you? A partner will help with accountability and motivation. Triathlon is an individual sport, but doesn’t have to be done alone.

Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish. It doesn’t have to be from a triathlon, just any race that has special meaning to you. If you are interested in sharing, please send a message to firsttimetri@gmail.com.