Category Archives: triathlon

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.

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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.

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.

8 Tips to Overcome New Triathlete Race Day Nerves

You trained  for months and put in your sweat, tears and more sweat. Race day of your triathlon is finally here, but you have some concerns. Below are eight concerns I hear most often from first time triathletes, and some tips to overcome those concerns.

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1. “Oh S#!1, I forgot my (insert item)”

Pack everything the night before, and double check your bag. If you wait until race morning, you will be too amped up to concentrate, and something will get left behind. Be sure to include anything you might need that day, gear, bike, nutrition, lucky socks. A transition area freak out, when you find out you left your running shoes, is no fun.

2. Always be early

Finding parking and logistics of race morning for most triathlons can be time consuming. Get there as early as possible. You will be less stressed, find a better spot on the transition rack, and have time to get ready to race. I once did not follow this advice, and arrived to the race with ten minutes to spare. I frantically set up my transition, threw on my wetsuit, and dove in for the swim. I was still stressed the entire race, and struggled mightily.

3. ” How do I set up my transition area?”

Don’t wait until race morning to figure out how to set up your transition area. A quick practice run through your set up will help out greatly on race morning. During one of your brick sessions, layout all of your gear like you would during the race. Figure out what works best for you.  For your reference here’s USAT Rules for Transition Setup. If you are unsure if you are set up correctly on race morning, just ask fellow athlete for some help.

4. “What if I take a wrong turn, and get lost?”

When possible preview the course before the race. Most courses are well marked, but it the participant’s responsibility to know the course. If packet pick up is close to the bike course, do a quick drive through. Mental note the turns, and any hills, or tricky areas.

5. “I’m freaked out about the swim”

It’s race day, you did your swim training, now it time show your skills. Familiarize yourself with the swim course, and run through the course in your mind. If you are a bit nervous that’s ok. At least 80% of the other first timers out there feel the exact same way. The ingredients of a great swim are to breath and relax. If you start to tense up , just breath and relax. If you get contacted by another athlete, just breath and relax. If anything goes wrong, just breath and relax. See the pattern here?

How to build swim confidence

6. Know your limits on the bike.

A triathlon bike course is fairly chaotic. There are riders passing and being passed, and cars whizzing by. The course could include uphills, down hills, and sharp turns to negotiate. When you add too much speed to this situation, it can be precarious. Stay within your limits in situations that require bike handling. When you get on a straight section of roads hammer away.

7. Build into the run

When you start running after the bike, it will feel slow. You might not be running slow, but the difference in your perception of speed will make it feel like you are crawling. Be mindful of your effort, and try not to start off too fast and blow up. It is a better strategy to hold back a bit and build your pace into the run.

8. Smile and enjoy the finish

You only get to finish your first triathlon once. Enjoy the heck out of it. Pat you self on the back for all of the training and hard work it took to get to the finish. Be grateful for all of the people that supported you. Just enjoy the moment, and bask in your own greatness.

If you have any others concerns, please leave a note in the comments.

Happy racing, and go and crush it.

.

For more new triathlete tips, check out 10 Definitive Tips for New Triathletes.

Motivation Monday – Excuses the Enemy of Excellence

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.

Excuses

This sounds like one of those hard core quotes you see with some huge dude flexing in the background. If you stop and think about how we use excuses, the quote rings true. We will not accomplish anything meaningful or difficult by using excuses. Excuses are how we trick ourselves into doing the easy thing, instead of taking the necessary steps toward our goal. A life of progress and propose is not filled with excuses.

I’m certainly not immune to making excuses. After I make an excuse, I rarely feel good about it, but I do it anyway. I see excuses like an ice cream sundae to someone on a diet. If they have that sundae, it will make them feel pleasure now, but it is in direct conflict with the goal of losing weight. I only mention this because I love ice cream, and have faced this dilemma myself. The mind is always going to seek pleasure, and avoid pain. If we want to make meaningful progress toward your goal, we need to put more pleasure in seeking your ultimate goal, that in the easy path offered now.

Excuses slow the learning process of excellence. We will all fail at something along our path. Failure is a lesson, until you make an excuse. The excuse will get you off the hook in the short term, but if the problem isn’t corrected, the same mistake will be made again.

Excuses lead to procrastination. We make excuses instead of doing what we really want in life. I’ll take on that big goal, after I have more time, money, experience. The problem is that time, money, experience, may never come. The enemy of excuse is action. Instead of making an excuse, take the next step toward your goal. It doesn’t matter how small the step, just make progress. When we put together enough of these small steps, excellence will be on the horizon.

What excuses can you overcome, and take that next step forward?

Do it today, and see how it feels to move toward excellence.

Monday Motivation – Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done

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.

Exhausted runner

“From great struggle comes great reward”

When was the last time to said to yourself, “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done”? How did you feel as you were saying it? Did you have a smile on your face? Most of those super hard things we encounter are not that difficult, it just seemed impossible before you began. It was so difficult because your inner voice was convincing you, it was beyond your capabilities. Keep pushing the limit of what is your “hardest thing”, and you will grow as a person immensely.

Keep the measure of your hardest thing relative your your own capabilities and progress. Don’t get wrapped up in comparing yourself with the achievement of others. We all have to set the bar for ourselves. Each person is just in a different place on the path.  Keep making forward progress on your own path, and keep reaching for that next hardest thing.

What is your next hardest thing?

Race your first Triathlon :)?

Run a PR 5k?

Give a speech?

Whatever it is, put in your full effort, and know you are making a break through.

Monday Motivation – Full Effort

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.

“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.” – Gandhi

For the past mile and half my legs were on the verge of seizing. My quads screamed from the previous 23 mile effort. I was a mile from my 6th marathon finish, and my goal time was in sight. All I needed to do was run the last mile without slowing down. My body was screaming at me to slow down and walk. My face was a picture of pain, and it felt like someone was punching me in the gut. I made the final turn, and could see the finish. I picked up the pace slightly, and my legs protested. Now my body and my mind were telling me to quit, just walk, it will ok. I would not relent. This was not just the finish of the race, but a finish of four months of training and sacrifice. As I crossed the line, I raised my hands in gratitude for being able to run such a distance.

I finished one minute over my original goal. It was still a huge PR, but most importantly, I knew I had given full effort. There is nothing worse than the feeling of doubt, knowing you could have done more. I know from experience. That voice in my head telling me to slow down has a won on some occasions. I only have my self to blame for my lack of effort.

When you fight through the resistance and push through the pain, there is no sweeter feeling. You are in full control of your life and actions. Instead of comparing your times and efforts to others, your only measure should be your own full effort. If you are giving all you have it is a victory, no matter what the result.

FTT 8 Week Sprint Training Plan is Here!

FTT Sprint Training Plan face book banner

FTT Sprint Training Plan

Are you ready take on a new life changing challenge, and race your first sprint triathlon? Or, have you signed up for a sprint triathlon and you are looking for the perfect plan? Check out the FTT 8 Week Sprint Training plan. In 8 weeks with about 5 hours a week you will arrive to the start line of your first sprint triathlon ready to go. Continue reading FTT 8 Week Sprint Training Plan is Here!

Monday Mantra – What’s the Purpose?

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.

Purpose Road Sign

“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will the help others.” Albert Schweitzer

My local YMCA this weekend, hosted an Indoor Triathlon. I wasn’t able to participate, but on the way out from my workout, I was able to see the first participants. I was truly inspired by what I saw. People of all different abilities, body types, and experience having fun and competing. 40% of the participants were first time triathletes. It truly moved me to see people being active, and trying new something new.

How does this tie into the quote above about purpose? Watching the inspiring people compete in that event, reminded me why I started this blog. The purpose of this blog is to support and inspire others who want to become triathletes. My purpose is to provide any support I can to get new triathletes to the finish line. One of the best feelings in my life is crossing the finish of a race I wasn’t sure I could finish before started training. Finishing your first triathlon or a new distance is making the impossible, possible. That’s the feeling I want to help others achieve.

For the last couple of months, I have been considering whether to keep this blog going. The traffic and stats aren’t growing as I would like. It’s difficult to come up with quality relevant content. As of this weekend, I decided all of that stuff doesn’t matter. What matters is being a service to others. If I can help 100,000 people or only 5, it’s worth it. I feel it is my purpose to help others improve their life, by completing their first triathlon.