Summer Nutrition

So... it’s hot... it’s really freaking hot!

Athletes come to me everyday in need of *at times totally bitching:) about the temps and then the real problem- they can’t seem to stomach much because it’s 100+ outside and nothing sits well. Here are a couple, no it is not the complete guide, but very easy items to grab at your local grocery. 

HYDRATION/ LIQUIDS-
 These simple guidelines will help your entire system absorb and utilize fuel more efficiently.
 1. Water- increase to 6-8oz every hour, outside of the workouts

2. NUUN or another form of calorie-free electrolyte drink/drops- 1x in the AM & 1x at PM

3. Incorporate Tart Cherry Juice - suggest 6-8oz daily, personally enjoy ‘cutting the acidity’ by adding at least 8oz of water = roughly 16oz fluid total

4. Bone Broth- 8oz daily

5. Turmeric, Ginger, Honey, Lemon Tea to reduce inflammation- 1tbsp each: turmeric, ginger, honey, & 1/4lemon in 3cups of boiling water, let it steep for 15’, strain and knock it back

FOOD/FUEL-
Selecting foods that are naturally rich in vitamins/ minerals are essential in feeling your best.

1. Include as many foods with high water content: watermelon, cucumber, tomato, celery, romaine lettuce, spinach, broccoli

2. Decrease processed foods to less than 400cal/day: breads, pastas, tortillas, sweets, and yes even your protein powders- we want our ‘machines’ running on pure and natural foods. “The closer to the ground, the better.”

3. Select foods that are naturally rich in vitamins/ minerals are essential in feeling your best:
   A. Potassium- Sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, avocado, bananas, kiwis, oranges, cantaloupe
   B. Magnesium- Spinach, seeds (squash/pumpkin), brown rice, almonds, dark chocolate, avocado, bananas
   C. Calcium- Collard greens, broccoli, kale, edamame, figs, oranges, salmon, sardines, white beans, okra, almonds

4. Lastly, grab some lean protein sources, such as- grass-fed beef, freshwater fish high in Omegas (salmon, tuna, sardines), free range chicken just to name a few.

Here’s to ‘stuffing’ our faces this summer!

Coach Amari's summer approach to Acclimating and Training

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Our research shows that it takes roughly 10-14days to acclimate to the blazing heat and humidity this time of year. Instead of simply throwing your body through the ringer, read up on Coach Amari's easy strategy to safely and effectively adjust as well as continue to nail those new limits, regardless of the temps!  

SHORT ON TIME: GO AHEAD AND JUMP DOWN TO THE ACCLIMATING STRATEGIES FOR THE NITTY-GRITTY IF YOU WISH.

The goal: slowly introduce your body to the added stress and fatigue of the increased temperatures and humidity. An outside factor to consider, how much recovery does your schedule allow?  Meaning if your lifestyle only allows a 5min cool down after each workout, you might consider the more conservative adaption route than the athlete who can include a solid 15-20min foam rolling/ stretching routine or compression boots/ massage throughout each week.  Again, the recovery tools simply help flush that excessive fatigue both mentally and physically- if we are not recovered between sessions, we risk injury due to the a. a rapid breakdown that the heat causes b.reduced mental and physical focus c. poor response, form, and mechanics.

So, let's get down to the meat of how to acclimate over the course of 4-6weeks.

1. Notice at most, we will only build to roughly 80% of your training time to be spent outside. Why? Have you ever heard the 'golden rule' of it is better to be 20% under-trained rather than 2% over-trained??? Let's keep this same philosophy with the environmental demands. (example: if you have 10hr of bike and running for the week, consider at most, at complete acclimation, doing ~8hr outside & 2hr inside).

2. In the beginning of this transition to outdoor training, keep the of your majority intensity sessions (Race Pace efforts or Harder/ Zone 4+) inside.

Rather, focus on your easier aerobic sessions (<Training Pace-Training Pace/ Zone 1-3) to build your 'base' during heat acclimation. 

3. You will also notice, you will never fully be completing your week's total training time (neither aerobically or anaerobically) outside. 

4Ideally you would have at least 24hrs between each outdoor workout.  NOTE- I said 'ideally'- this is not always doable,  but it is preferred.

5. Bonus ways to acclimate: do outdoor chores in the afternoon/evening, walk the dog... casually tackling life outside under low-moderate stress helps the body to quickly adapt to the conditions.

 


STRATEGY ONE

***FOR THE ATHLETE WHO: recovers rapidly b/w sessions, has good consistent sleep quality, focuses on available modes of recovery, regularly maintains a nutrient-dense diet and optimal hydration levels...

WEEK ONE

OUTSIDE- up to 30% total time- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 70%

WEEK TWO

OUTSIDE- up to 50% total time- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 50%

WEEK THREE

OUTSIDE- up to 65% total time- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 35%

WEEK FOUR

OUTSIDE- up to 80% total time- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 20%

 


STRATEGY TWO

***FOR THE ATHLETE WHO: less time to recover b/w sessions, low sleep quality, cannot or will not get: massage/rolling/stretching, maintains less than optimal daily nutrition/hydration, also consider age here- I like athletes above the age of 50 to more conservative in this build up...

Also there is reduced total time outdoor to encourage less breakdown and increased recovery...

WEEK ONE

OUTSIDE- up to 20% total time,- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 80%

WEEK TWO

OUTSIDE- up to 30%- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 70%

WEEK THREE

OUTSIDE- up to 40%- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 60%

WEEK FOUR

OUTSIDE- up to 50%- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 50%

WEEK FIVE

OUTSIDE- up to 60%- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 40%

WEEK SIX

OUTSIDE- up to 70%- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 30%


Happy Training!

~Coach Amari

See Coach Amari's profile

Swim Equipment Checklist

Swimming is more than just jumping into a pool and staring at a black line. There are several tools and equipment every swimmer needs to be successful!


Here is our recommended swim equipment checklist:

 

Goggles:

1.     Brand new googles have anti-fog in them that lasts 6 weeks

2.     Once the anti-fog stops working I recommend foggles that lasts 1 week

3.     The longer you go without rubbing your goggles with your finger the longer your goggles will last

4.     Depending on the condition of your goggles you should probably replace them every 4-6 months


Speed suit:

1.     Allowed in non-wetsuit triathlons

2.     Provides aerodynamic resistance

3.     Eliminates drag

4.     You just feel FAST!


Wetsuit:

1.     USAT rules states that competitors may wear a wetsuit if the water temperature is 78 degrees or lower.

2.     USAT rules also states that if the water temperature is between 78.1-83.9, competitors may wear wetsuits but will not be eligible for awards.

3.     Full sleeve option and a sleeveless option (recommend trying both and deciding on the one you feel more comfortable in)

4.     The buoyant neoprene in a wetsuit will help the swimmer swim higher in the water, decreasing drag and increase swim speed.


More Pool Equipment to get faster and have some fun!

1.     Paddles- helps strengthen arm muscles and correct hand placement

2.     Fins- helps with floatation, speed and strengthen legs

3.     Pull buoy- helps with flotation and allows you to focus solely on your pull

4.     Snorkel- helps with freestyle form by taking the breath stroke out of it

5.     New Wave buoy- open water swimming flotation device for safety

6.     Ear plugs- helps prevent swimmers ear

7.     Nose clips- helps keep water from getting in your nose (great when using a snorkel)

8.     Swim Cap- helps keep hair out of your face (highly recommend silicone…very soft)


Playtri has everything you need to swim, bike and run! Shop online or visit any of our Dallas-Ft. Worth locations.

We now carry the Huub swim and triathlon line:

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Happy training!!

Making Cycling Safer

It’s warming up and everyone is happy to be out and about. So an increased number of drivers and cyclists are getting out on the road.

While there are health and environmental benefits to cycling, the road can be a very dangerous place when it’s not shared responsibly. According to The U.S. Department of Transportation, there’s been a steady increase in bicyclist fatalities since 1991, with 2016 reported bicycle deaths (840 fatalities) increased by 1.3 percent.

It’s critical that both cyclists and drivers take necessary actions in order to keep themselves and each other safe. Cyclists need to defend themselves with preventative measures and strategic ways of riding. Drivers, on the other hand, need to be extra vigilant and respectful of the additional cyclists that are inhabiting the lanes. Here are some tips to keep in mind when sharing the road.

CYCLISTS

Protect Yourself Before You Ride

  • First and foremost, always wear a helmet. While wearing a helmet is not a cure-all, it’s one of the easiest ways to prevent major injuries. But it’s equally important that you ensure a proper fit and wear a helmet properly so your helmet can best protect you. Any of our Playtri staff can help access and advise on bike helmet fit.
  • Make sure to keep your bicycle in riding condition with correct air pressure and working gears to avoid equipment failures as much as possible. 
  • Tuck and tie your shoelaces and pant legs so they don’t get caught in your bike chain.
  • Plan your route—if driving as a vehicle on the road, choose routes with less traffic and slower speeds. Your safest route may be away from traffic altogether, in a bike lane or on a bike path.
  • Don’t go onto the roads if you don’t feel confident with your riding abilities. We suggest joining a group ride to get started or to take classes to learn about new advances in cycling safety.

Make Yourself Visible

While it might seem obvious, it’s critical to remember that you’re more in danger as a cyclist on the road because drivers may not see you.

Best tips:

  • Be extremely visible by using bright flashing lights along with reflective tape anytime but especially important for dawn and dusk riding. Consider newer technology to alert cyclists when a vehicle approaches from behind:
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  • Wear bright colors and reflective gear:
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  • Ride with others in a group when possible: 

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  • “I didn’t see the cyclist” is, unfortunately, a common statement in cases involving motorists and cyclists.  That’s never an excuse, but it’s imperative that you, the cyclist, make yourself as noticeable as possible.

Ride Predictably and Responsibly

Many communities post signs that cyclists have the right to share the road. Often, the safest thing to do on a road that is below 35 miles per hour is to take a whole lane. Because the side of the road can get pretty dirty, you’re better off riding predictably in a straight line in the middle of a lane than making sudden movements to get around puddles or debris on the shoulder.

It is recommended that cyclists avoid riding on the sidewalk so that pedestrians are also safe.

Cyclists follow the rules of the road at all times. While it’s tempting to ride through a stop sign, it is imperative to your safety that cyclists come to a full stop.

Use bike signals with your arms for turns and stops or simply point to where you are turning ~ it's okay to over-communicate your intentions to other cyclists and drivers on the road.

DRIVERS

Be Mindful of Intersections

Intersections are one of the most dangerous places for a cyclist.

One of the most common situations that lead to cyclist injuries on the road is when a cyclist is going straight and gets hit by a car making a right turn by crossing over the cyclist’s path of travel.

Drivers need to signal early and cyclists who are traveling straight through an intersection need to be sure to not pass cars on the right if the cars have their right-turn signal on or appear to be veering right to make a turn. Bikes should pass on the left in these instances.

Pass With Care

Cyclists should always try to ride as predictably as possible. There are circumstances that force a sudden movement by a cyclist. It’s important for drivers to keep this in mind while passing bicycles on the road. The law in most states dictates that a driver must give a cyclist three feet space while passing.

It’s a good idea to be extra cautious when passing a cyclist — by driving slowly and giving sufficient distance — you never know when a cyclist might need to veer unexpectedly.

Be Patient

Getting stuck behind a cyclist may slow a driver down a few minutes, but the reality is that cyclists have virtually the same rights as motorists in nearly every state and need to be treated that way. Getting road rage behind a cyclist is a recipe for disaster for all involved.

The safe course of action for both cyclists and drivers is to be patient and respectful of each other’s existance and right to the road.

Ride happy and stay safe.

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Find cycle gear and accessories at any of our Playtri locations.

Find a group ride within your community. Playtri offers weekly rides at many locations: playtri.com/playtri-club/

 

Overcoming the Fear of Swim with Coach Raina

If there’s one thing that I hear over and over again when it comes to triathlon, it’s negativity about the swim portion of the race.

“I’m going to be the last person out of the water.”

“I’m not a great swimmer, it’s my worst part.”

“I just need to get the swim done so I can get to the bike.”

“I’m just hoping I don’t drown!”

Let me start off by saying that I also hope you don’t drown - Good grief, that’s not a great race plan!! As a triathlete and coach with a competitive swimming background, it was difficult hearing this over and over as I began coaching newcomers and age-groupers. “Swimming is like breathing to me” I’d tell them, and my lack of understanding of their fears, quite simply, left me puzzled. So as a coach that tries to bring hard science and education to athletes, I knew I had to look for commonalities and solutions.

After countless swim analysis sessions with athletes of all skills and levels, it’s surprising how alike we all really are. I find myself repeating much of the same principles and tactics to athletes that are not only struggling with the swim, but also fine-tuning their swim!! In the end, it all boils down to a few key, foundational techniques, and then it’s like anything else – it takes practice! Here’s what I’ve found helps athlete’s step out of fear, and into the water:

Get a swim analysis.

Youtube is NOT the way to learn how to swim (I’m still so shocked that I hear this on the regular!). Having a coach that can look at your technique one on one, and give you instant feedback, is a great way to learn how to adjust your swim to get more efficient. Video recording of your actual swim, mirrors in the water (such as in the Playtri endless pool), and taking pictures are some of the ways that athletes can see what the coach sees, and can immediately address during a session. Getting efficient in technique will help strengthen your balance in the water and make you more comfortable in the water.

Understand and plan for your swim.

Do you have something specific you’re shooting for? When you have a clear focus point, it can help keep you moving in the right direction. If you’re training for a race, know what the swim portion will consist of: How far is the swim? Will it be in a pool or open water? How long is the pool?  All too often, many athlete’s end up underprepared for the swim because they didn’t spend enough time training for race conditions. Using a pool to practice for open water, wrong pool size, not practicing with a wetsuit, and even the wrong lens color for the conditions of the day can create anxiety. Knowing what to expect on race day will help give you time to practice more of what you need. Visualizing your swim, joining coached open water swims, practicing your race day gear will make you more comfortable and more at ease come race day.

Remember you’re not alone, so keep moving!

Swimming is by far the most difficult portion for most triathletes, whether physically or mentally, so knowing that most of the people around you are feeling the same can help put you at ease - We all start out in “unfamiliar waters”. Keep your focus on what you’re doing in the moment, (trying to minimize the starting/stopping cycle so it will be more efficient and faster) and you won’t allow yourself the time to focus on anything else but your swim!

Before you know it, you’ll be through the water and back on land!!

Find a swim coach and training sessions with Playtri at playtri.com/personaltraining/

Running Tips from Coach Chuck

Running Tips to Get You Started:

·      If you are a beginner, don’t worry about how many miles to run, begin by running for time, not distance. 

·      When you decide to start running, purchase a good pair of running shoes designed for your arch and stride type. If you're not sure which type of shoe you need, visit a Playtri Store to get fitted properly. Good socks are as important as good shoes. Look for socks that are seam-free, and ones that manage moisture so you won't get blisters.  You can get those at Playtri too!

·      Before you start a run, you need a good warm-up routine, which includes dynamic stretching to get the blood flowing. Leave the static stretching for the post-run routine. Dynamic stretching includes walking lunges, butt kicks, high knees and toy soldiers—straight-leg kicks that stretch the hamstrings. Dynamic stretching will increase your flexibility and help prevent injuries by strengthening your muscles and joints. After doing some dynamic stretching, walk briskly for five minutes, then speed up to a comfortable jogging or running pace.  Check out Playtri TV for examples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48-xuaY9RxA

·      When you finish your first run, don't stop suddenly. Instead, walk for another five minutes to cool down gradually.  

·      Recovering after a run is one of the most important aspects of training. Running makes your legs strong, toned and, unfortunately, tight. Stretching not only increases flexibility but can also be a vital way to avoid injury. Stretch your major muscle groups with focus on the quadriceps, hamstrings, IT band, upper and lower back, groin and hip flexors. Slowly ease your way into each stretch and hold it for 30 to 45 seconds.  

·      Running can also deplete the body's muscle glycogen stores, which is the primary fuel source for running. Replenishing muscle glycogen after a run within 30 minutes is important, and can be as easy as drinking chocolate milk, which is full of carbohydrates and contains protein. 

·      Beginning runners that want total body strength should include core workouts in their routine. Core work can also be done on days you do not run. You can have a great core workout without going to a gym or needing any equipment. Focus on body-weight exercises such as push-ups, plank and abs exercises, back extensions, and body weight squats.  

Running form is unique to the individual, but can be improved upon. Some general form tips:

-       Run tall without a pronounced forward lean

-       Don't look at your shoes as you run; look toward the horizon

-       You can run faster by increasing your stride turnover, not by overreaching with each stride

-       On uphills, shorten your stride, and drive more with your arms. Try to maintain an even effort, not pace

-       When running downhill, let gravity work for you by leaning slightly forward

At Playtri we can provide run form analysis, shoe fitting, coaching, and group training.  Stop by a Playtri location or contact Chuck at selcuk@playtri.com for questions or to get started.

Recommended Replacement ~ Bike Equipment

Training your body to stay in tip-top shape is only half the work!  Be sure your equipment is performing for you too.  

Here is a guide for how often you should update your cycling equipment to ensure safety and quality performance.

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Meet James

Our in-house bike guru and race team member gives his recommendations on how often to replace your bike gear & equipment


Bicycle Equipment replacement guide:

Cycling shorts - Once a season

Cycling helmet - Every 5 years (from date of manufacture)

Cycling gloves - Every 18 months

Cycling jersey - Every 18 months

Cycling eyewear - Every 2 years

Cycling socks - Once a season

Cycling shoes - Every 2-3 years

 

Bicycle parts replacement guide:

Cables and Housing - Once a season

Chain - Twice a season

Cassette - Once a season

Chain Rings - Every 2-3 years

Tires - Once to twice a season (depends on riding conditions)

Handlebar tape - Once a season

Shifter hoods - Every 2 years

Pedals - Every 3 years

Saddle - Every 1-3 years

Shifters - Every 3-5 years

Tubes - As needed

Carbon wheels - Every 3-4 years

Aluminum wheels - Every 3-4 years

 

Get the service you need at: playtri.com/service/
 

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James Kennedy
Playtri Store Manager - Plano

Hello Recovery Workout! Why training less than TP is beneficial

If science shows us that we should spend NO MORE than 30% (at the very most) in anaerobic training on a YEARLY basis- then logically, you can understand the stress (albeit good stress) that it puts on the body and mind. 

On the flip side of the coin- that means our body DEMANDS recovery...

How do we in Playtri define recovery (not aerobic effort but true recovery efforts)= <TP OR <ZONE 1/2...  what, when, why, how is <TP beneficial???

QUESTIONS I GET:

1- "Why the HELL am I/ are you wasting my time doing this easy of a workout?"

We are looking to increase mental, metabolic, and muscular recovery.

There is plenty of research that has shown that easy sessions will increase performance/ quality of harder/longer workouts + stimulate fat efficiency (esp digestive health, which as we have previously discussed equates to IMMUNE FUNCTION- huge as we age!) + relaxes the body to maintain balance and psychological well being.

2. "If it is about recovery, why am I just not taking the entire day off- Aren't these just crap miles?"

Easiest visualization of the body= IT IS ONE MASSIVE PUMP- blood flow, oxygen/ carbon dioxide exchange, digestive tract....

It craves and operates at its HEALTHIEST when it is PUMPING consistently and for the most part steadily.

That said- active recovery workouts at the very least= increase blood flow and pushes "FRESH" oxygen throughout the entire body.

The athlete that likes to ride the line RIGHT UNDER where their aerobic efforts begin (TP or mid Zone 2)- these are the athletes are the ones who later in the year start to breakdown and many times lead to injury, lower immune function/ illness, or lack of motivation to get even a short workout in...

In other words, not worth it in in the long run!!!

3. "But is there a time when taking off an entire day might be more productive?"

FOR SURE!!! More bc we need or crave just a day... if you are like me I need to run errands, go to brunch, sleep in, family/ friend fun, travel :)...

We need to keep a balance, This is why I have recently / strongly encouraged athletes to give me specific day(s) of the week that they would like to have off when doing their schedules.  Ideally we would see 5-6days/ week of consistent training, dependent upon the individuals goals and commitments (even if it means only 30min/day- my job= maximize your time and energy so that you may live a healthy and active lifestyle).

Again, workouts should be A PART of a fun and fulfilling life!

4- "What does EASY really mean- how fast should I go?"
Bike: <TP/ < Zone 1-2= both heart rate (the effort you put into the workout) AND power (the efficiency your effort- reminder, low heart rate but high power/ fast pace means you are either recovered OR your fitness has elevated- these are simple internal factors. 

Yes, you may need to be in your easiest gear- GREAT work easy gear/ high cadence- this is a recovery workout!

Run: <TP/ <Zone 1-2 heart rate AND at least 2min SLOWER than your threshold pace.

Ex: 7min pace on 10k at 160bpm, EASY= at least 30bpm below TP heart rate AND no faster than 9min pace

(Hr rates discrepancy may vary based on testing)

(***Also could also vary based on different terrain, lower winds, more shade, lower temps... tons of outside factors. Partly why pace and hr rate are used)

Yes, you may have to walk- GREAT work form and staying relaxed- this is a recovery workout!

5. "But I can go faster than this and it seems too easy!"

Consider these:

A. Check with your coach/ consider retesting- they/ you should absolutely be able to review multiple files that will reveal whether or not this is necessary.

B. Think BEYOND today / look beyond your nose- if you or your coach has scheduled an easy day- most likely, a harder day is around the corner.

C. No one cares how fast you can go on your EASY DAYS. Let everyone comment on how slow you were going, you will show them when it counts :)

D. Again, consider the goal of the workout- you should simply feel and be completely REFRESHED after this type of workout!!!

Here's to staying healthy both in mind and body through the easy days~

Happy Training!!!

Metabolic Testing and the Bonk

Metabolic Testing and the Bonk

As many of you know, I spend a few hours every day getting to interact with retail customers at the Playtri Store. It’s a great experience for me as a coach, because I get to hear and consider all the questions that athletes have regarding the sport. It often leads to quality conversations that hopefully have a positive impact on the athlete’s training and racing.

A common question prior to every big Ironman race is “I’m trying to figure out my nutrition – what should I do/use?” I always hope athletes are asking for a race months down the line, but more often than not, they’re asking for a race in a week or two.

First, know that nutrition is king in Ironman. It isn’t a last minute consideration. All the quality training in the world can fall apart in a blink on race day with the wrong nutrition strategy (I’m not even going to get into hydration here – see the last email article on hydration and electrolytes).

Let me explain. Athletes who have been training or racing long course have likely all experienced “the bonk” – that dreaded sensation of suddenly hitting a point where either the muscles stop firing, the brain stops thinking, or, you know, both. It will quite literally stop you in your tracks. It happens reasonably often in triathlon, and exponentially more at the Ironman distance. Note that bonking is NOT the same as cramping (another evil villain of endurance sports), though they can definitely happen concurrently!

Bonking occurs due to a lack of carbohydrates available to brain and/or muscles. Why does this happen? Without going too deep into the science, carbohydrates and fats are both potential energy sources for the creation of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), a chain of three molecules that split to create the energy that causes muscles to contract (allowing us to swim, bike, run, etc.). Of the two potential energy sources (fat and carbs), carbohydrates are easier for the body to access for the process of creating ATP, so the harder we work (swimming, biking or running faster/harder), the more our body moves towards relying on carbs instead of fat. This would be great, except that, while our bodies have massive stores of fat (that’s not a comment on the reader’s weight – even the leanest athlete has enough stored fat for days at any given time), our carbohydrate stores are much more limited – perhaps 500g (2000 kcals), give or take 100g.

This is where we run into a problem. Some athletes may burn through 1000 kcals or more of carbohydrates in an hour at high intensities, meaning they could easily burn through their stores before their event is completed (fun fact – the average Ironman finish time is 12:35:00 – significantly longer than 2 hours, which is approximately how fast you’ll burn through your carbs at 1000 kcals per hour). You likely have two questions for me now:

1. Can’t I just replace the carbs I’m burning? Isn’t that what gels are for?

Yes, thank goodness. The challenge is that, on average, women can only absorb 100-200 kcals of carbs an hour, and men can only absorb 200-300 kcals an hour, at moderate intensity (yes – the faster you go, the more carbs you burn, and the harder it is to absorb carbs that you are consuming!) So if you’re burning 1000 kcals of carbs an hour, and can only replace 200 kcals – you do the math, but you’re still not making it to 12 hours and 35 minutes before you bonk.

2. If I burn through all my carb stores, won’t my body just slow me down and start using fat stores instead?

Unfortunately it isn’t that simple – aerobic metabolism requires some carbohydrates, even at very low activity levels, so if the carb tank is empty, you’re probably not going anywhere, slow or otherwise.

3. But the pros are going super-fast – aren’t they burning through 1000’s of carbs on the bike?

Yes, the pros are going super-fast – but we have to remember that our super-fast is their moderate. It isn’t that their bodies just have more carbs to burn, they just maintain higher power/speed at lower heart rates.

Many athletes take the trial and error approach – while doing progressively longer workouts, they test different nutrition strategies and track successes and failures, hopefully narrowing it down to something that works. Of course, that means if you don’t have many successful experiments before race day, you may or may not have a solid plan going into your event. There’s definitely a “hope for the best” element to this strategy that isn’t my preference, but has certainly worked for plenty of athletes, so I won’t knock it.

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However, at Playtri we utilize a form of performance testing that takes a good deal of the guesswork out of nutrition strategy for Ironman, which we call “Caloric Expenditure Testing,” or “Metabolic Testing.”

 I just about require all of my 70.3 and IM clients to complete this 15-20 minute test, which gives me a data chart that looks something like this:

Athlete Name: Edna Example

Test Date: May, 2017

Test: Bike

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Let’s say this chart was completed for the athlete on the bike. If the athlete wanted to do her IM bike in 6 hours, and could average 19 mph on the bike on race day at 130 bpm, she could take 100 kcals of carbs an hour and come off the with carb stores essentially intact. So let’s say she isn’t quite that strong, and her heart rate will be at 145 for her to maintain that pace – taking 100 kcals of carbs an hour would now mean that she burned through 900 kcals of carbs prior to starting the run. Well, if she had 2000 kcals in the tank to start, that means she may have 1100 left for her run (not counting kcals burned during the swim), which, if she has the same chart for her run calorie expenditure, it could then be determined if that was enough to achieve her goal for the day.

For many athletes, doing the test and understanding how much they burn at different heart rates is enough – they or their coach can take the information, and formulate effective plans for training and racing.

However, what if the chart looked like this:

Athlete Name: Edna Example

Test Date: May, 2017

Test: Bike

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Even if the athlete can hold 19 mph at 130 bpm, and absorb 100 kcals of carbs an hour, she would still burn through 1800 kcals of carbs during the bike, leaving her with next to nothing to run her marathon on. Assuming she has done this test some months prior to her race, she has three options:

1. Change her goal (go slower than 6 hours on the bike)

2. Improve her ability to utilize fat instead of carbs at 130 bpm

3. Improve her power/speed at a lower HR

If she is doing the test a week before her race, she has one option:

1. Change her goal

This is why we recommend doing this test twice during long course training – once at the beginning of training to assess the situation, and help the athlete or coach effectively plan their focus for the coming training block (instead of just hoping for decent numbers prior to race day), and then once right before the race, to re-check numbers going into the event, and finalize the nutrition strategy.

Hopefully, this gets your gear spinning on long course nutrition. Of course, it isn’t just a numbers game. Other considerations, like what type of nutrition to take in, how to time it with hydration, what you personally are able to absorb, etc., are also part of the planning process. The most important thing is to start planning nutrition NOW, and make sure you have as much data as possible to do it efficiently. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to me, or any of the other Playtri coaches.

Learn more about Performance Testing at: playtri.com/testing/

 

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Running Equipment Checklist

How To Choose Running Shoes

 Photo credit: Saucony

Photo credit: Saucony

There is no “best” or “great shoe” that will make every runner happy.  Every major running brand manufactures all different types of running shoes (cushioning, stability, minimalist, racing, trail, among others).  Therefore, you will have a good pair of running shoes and a lot of not-good ones from any brand.  What determines a good running shoe for a runner is to know the running form.  Also, distance or surface will determine the type of the shoe. It’s recommended to get help from a “fitter”, preferably after knowing the running form.  The shoe “consultant” should be able to match the perfect shoe based on the runner’s form.  A pair of running shoes which was a miracle for a particular runner may be the cause for injury for another one. 

Why Do We Need to Replace Running Shoes?

While most of the visible wear to a shoe occurs on the upper fabric and the “outsole,” the hard rubber bottom of a running shoe, the wear that most affects biomechanics (and thus, the wear most likely to have an effect on injury risk) occurs inside the midsole.

While EVA foam is quite resilient, research shows that it still breaks down over the course of thousands of foot-strikes.  The wear will be more if the athlete is running every day versus every other day, so we recommend having two pairs for everyday runners.  Also, the surface (concrete vs. dirt), weight of the runner, and running gait (over-striding will wear the shoes) are some of the other factors that determine wear and tear.  As a guidance, it is recommended to switch to new running shoes after 500 miles (250 miles for racing shoes).

What to consider when buying a running shoe:

 Photo credit: Hoka One One

Photo credit: Hoka One One

 

Outsole Characteristics

The outsole is the bottom of the running shoe. A quality running shoe will have two types of rubber on the outsole: carbon rubber and blown rubber. Carbon rubber is a stiff and heavy material, while blown rubber is lighter-weight, cushioned and flexible.

Good running shoes have flex grooves and a split heel. Flex grooves are cut horizontally across the forefront of the outsole. They allow your foot to flex at the ball and roll more naturally when you are running. A split heel creates an outer and inner piece of the outsole. The split heel makes heel-to-toe running more efficient.

Midsole Characteristics

The midsole is the shock-absorbent material between the outsole and the upper shoe. This is an important part of a running shoe because the construction and materials impact cushioning and support of the shoe. There are usually two types of cushioning found in good running shoes. EVA is a lightweight cushion with limited stability and durability. Polyurethane is more dense and stable, making it heavier. Try shoes with the different types of midsoles so you have a better idea of how they feel.

When looking for overall stability in a running shoe, look for stiff materials used in the midsole. These materials are in the inner or medial part of the shoe in order to prevention excessive inward rolling. Heavier-dense materials may also be in the medial part of the shoe to increase stability. This could be a big plus if you choose a running shoe with EVA cushioning. If you’re not sure what materials are in the running shoes, ask a salesperson.

Upper Characteristics

The upper is the outer body of the running shoe. The materials that make up these running shoes are lightweight mesh, which provide stability, comfort and a snug fit.

A last is the shape of the running shoe. Running shoes will come in three different shapes: straight, semi-curved and curved. These different shapes will vary in comfort depending on how they conform to your particular foot. The toe box is the front part of the shoe that should allow your foot to flex. Never wear running shoes with a too-small toe box, which can cause pain and cramping. Allow about an inch (or a thumb’s width) space between your longest toe and the front of the shoe. Heel counters are a material that reinforces the heel and promotes stability. They may come in different degrees of stability and stiffness.
 

Let's Talk Socks

 Photo credit: @Swiftwicksocks

Photo credit: @Swiftwicksocks

Every runner should have a good pair of them. Running socks are specifically designed with synthetic fibers in order to help give you the added comfort and support you need. Running socks also help to protect your feet. They can reduce your risk of developing painful calluses and blisters. One of the most important features is “wicking” which means the running sock literally pulls the moisture away from your feet and transfers it to the outside of your shoe. The fit is also important, the sock should be snug, comfortable and supportive on the arch and Achilles areas.

Compression Sleeves/Socks

Compression technology has been provided to limit swelling, especially in the calves, where a substantial amount of blood volume can pool while running.  Good compression product should help better circulation, hence oxygenation and recovery.  But what’s equally beneficial about compression is the fact that they reduce muscle vibration, which results in muscle fatigue.

Increased blood flow is going to help improve your performance and decrease the rate of fatigue of your muscles. It will also help you to recover quicker, meaning that you will be ready for your next workout, so you can train harder.

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Shop Playtri for all your running needs ~ our expert sales staff will set you up with the right gear to achieve your running goals!

Consistency is Key

Coaches and athletes,

I wanted to take a moment of your day to highlight an athlete and topic that I am extremely passionate about.

The athlete is Amber Motsney - many of you know Amber already, and that she is a mom of three with a full-time job, and a husband (Mike) who also has a full-time job. In 2017, Amber completed the Galveston 70.3, and she told me 2018 would be her year to do Ironman (she had selected IMTX for her race due to travel logistics), and we began an individual coaching relationship in November, giving us six months to build to IM. I'll get back to Amber in a moment.

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The topic is consistency. Consistency creates cumulative load, which is something I often talk about in reference to athletes. In my mind, there are essentially two types of load: short-term (load from a single workout) and cumulative (load built over weeks, months, years, etc.)

Athletes tend to enjoy focusing on the short-term load - that super hard, super long or super fast workout that they did that they're really proud of. It looks cool on social media and sounds cool when they tell their friends/training buddies about it. These workouts can be great, but only if they are a part of a larger process, meaning that the athlete can:

  • Successfully complete the workout as planned (the one exception here is workouts at the end of key load workout chunks - 2 to 3 days - when athletes may struggle to get HR up)
  • Successfully recover from it (i.e. not get injured or sick, and still able to successfully complete the rest of the workouts/load planned for that week/month)

Cumulative load, on the other hand, is what actually results in improved fitness. Cumulative load results from day in day out getting the workout done as planned (consistency) - this can (and usually should) include faster/harder sessions, but it also includes long/slow and short/easy sessions. There are a few key components to being successful in maintaining consistency and thus building an athlete's cumulative load, aka fitness:

  • Workouts that fit the athlete's schedule (i.e. that will not be impossible to do due to work, family or other commitments)
  • Workouts that push the athlete, but not beyond their current abilities (i.e. that will not be impossible to do because they are demanding something that athlete is incapable of)
  • RECOVERY RECOVERY RECOVERY (the unsung hero of elite and high level age group athletes) - going to the chiropractor, getting massage, rolling with the foam roller/ball, eating and timing nutrient intake properly, hydrating properly, getting sufficient sleep (7+ hours/night), taking advantage of compression and cryo therapies, etc.
  • Communication between Coach and athlete about how athlete is handling workouts, so adjustments can be made before the athlete digs a hole that results in one really great, hard workout (or one week, or one month of really great, had workouts), but prevents workouts for the foreseeable future, which are crucial to cumulative load built over time.
  • A little luck - I won't lie, ideal training conditions require a little luck at times, but there is so much the athlete and the coach can do to control outcomes that this is not something I feel it is very useful to focus on, though we do have to acknowledge it.

So, getting back to Amber - Amber is one where we have really gotten to see the "magic" of cumulative load. She has been extremely consistent in communicating availability so realistic workouts can be assigned, and then doing the workouts she has committed to doing (or asking for substitutions if things go sideways the day of the workout). She has communicated when areas are unusually tight or sore, or when she is feeling fatigued so we could make minor (and sometimes major) adjustments that allowed us to still get the overall load we needed, without digging a hole (we once rescheduled a key workout weekend based solely on her feedback that likely would have derailed her training if she had tried to "push through"). She has taken advantage of compression boots, chiro and massage to keep her body mobile and activated following hard sessions. All of this has required a lot of discipline and focus from Amber, but the magic has been in the improvements we have seen over 5 months of training.

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Amber is now one of the most fat efficient athletes I have ever coached. She will be able to replace every calorie of carbohydrate she burns off during the bike on race day by eating 1.5 gels an hour. We have almost zero concerns about bonking on the run.

 

  • Her power in Training Pace (Zone 2-3) has likely gone up by 30-40 watts (unfortunately we did not have power when we started, but based on speed we were estimating she was around 100-120 in this zone, and she is now comfortably holding 140-160 in low TP (Zone 2).
  • Amber was recovering from a long-term run injury when we started, which she has now not only overcome, but has really crushed as she is now running 3-5 hours a week at faster speeds than she had previously.

As we can see - this isn't actually "magic," but it feels pretty magical when everything is finally coming together!

Great work, Amber, and to everyone - consistency is king! Take care of your body, keep your focus, and stay the course!

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Learn more about Playtri's various coaching options at: playtri.com/coachinghome/

Unlock the Open Water Swim: 5 Keys to Success

Don't just survive your next open water swim. Here's how to nail your swim when it takes you outside the (chlorinated) box.

Transitioning from the pool to the open water is one of the toughest—and most important—lessons a triathlete must learn. Swimming back and forth in the pool, alone or with your fellow Masters swimmers, simply isn’t the same as toeing the line in a full field of competitors. Whether the race features a mass or wave start, the outdoor environment brings unexpected anxiety and requires different skills. The good news is that knowing what to expect can help you remain calm and cool in the great washing machine. 

Austin-based Playtri head coach Ahmed Zaher is an eight-time IRONMAN World Championship finisher with a 52-minute Kona PR swim. Zaher developed these five keys to open-water swimming in 2000 and has been perfecting their execution with clients for the last 18 years. Hop on board and watch your lake/ocean/river time get faster than ever.

Key 1: Warm-up and visualization

Research shows that athletes will not perform to their potential, and are even more likely to panic in the water, if they don't warm up properly. Warming up allows your body to get used to the water temperature, get a feel for the water and get your core muscles nice and loose and ready to move. 

Studies also show that visualization enhances your performance greatly. Be sure to take a look at the course map before the race, then spend a significant amount of time in the days leading up to the race visualizing yourself swimming the course and executing your strategy.

Key 2: Start position

Zaher always says that where you start on the swim won't help you win the race, but it can make you lose. One of the most important things he teaches triathletes in regards to the start position is to stay away from the "washing machine," or area where all of the athletes are on top of one another. This is usually the spot athletes think is the shortest distance to the buoy. The best thing to do is to start up front on the outside of the start line, on the opposite side of where you breathe. Doing this will allow you to take advantage of the other swimmers, but stay clear of the chaos.

Key 3: Sighting

Your first sighting target is right next to you: other swimmers beside you. Sighting off a swimmer next to you allows you to maintain the natural, in-line, swim position and minimizes the amount of sighting you'll have to do to the front. Sighting from the front forces your core and hamstrings to engage as you try to maintain your body position, which can negatively impact your bike and run.

If you cannot sight off of another swimmer, then sight off a bigger object behind the buoy markers, such as a tree or building. If you cannot sight off another swimmer or landmark, sight off the buoy marker.

Key 4: Continuous swim

Even if you bump into an athlete or a buoy, keep going and do not stop. You might have to adjust your stroke a little, but definitely avoid stopping. At a recent Playtri swim clinic, athletes reported saving anywhere from two to four minutes in a 700 meter swim by maintaining a continuous stroke during their race.

Key 5: Drafting

Drafting can be a huge advantage during the swim. The general rule is to position yourself behind the feet of another swimmer in clear water. In water where visibility is low, the best position is to the side, off the swimmer’s hip. When you are drafting, you don't have to waste energy sighting, which allows you to maintain a streamlined, efficient position in the water.

Zaher says an average triathlete can save several minutes off his/her swim time by following these five pillars. However, at the end of the day, practice is the most important tool in your arsenal.


Playtri hosts Open Water Swims at Lake Lewisville throughout the warmer months...get info to sign up at: https://www.facebook.com/events/182722515836704/

Get more tips from Playtri Coaches by following us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
 

Mental & Metabolic Component of Interval Training

As we begin to increase fitness this year = longer intervals, higher intensity, and/or both- I want to point out a small trick that I feel is/has significantly helped me in conquering new goals in my power and paces.

When you look each morning at your training document to see the Rx'ed workout- review the strategy by calculating the total minutes of actual effort. 

Use both the science and mental component to dial in the true goal of the workout rather than potentially being overwhelmed or dreading if you can actually "hit" workout. 

Example Workout: 1hr Bike with 9x3min @ your Olympic distance power, pace, or heart rate (threshold) with 2min very easy recovery between each hard interval.

BIG PICTURE- after the warm up and cool down, this truly is only 27min of effort (less that half an hour)...

You have 33min of active recovery, below both zone 2/ active recovery hr rate and power! 


Another trick I like to play when the interval seems overwhelming I like to compare the interval length to something completely out of the sport.

If we use the same 9x3min @ threshold example- I like to imagine that my next interval will take me LESS time that unloading my dishwasher at home.

Ok, so your mind trick and comparison may be better than mine- but try it- I can tell you, I personally love tackling an interval more than doing my dishes!

When you look at the workout like this, it seems far more manageable mentally and metabolically to recover.

You are only going to need roughly 150cal of carb to recover fully from these efforts. (ex: banana + piece of toast or 1/2c milk in your coffee- that's not much at all!).

Play games/ tricks in training- it is fun to test the waters and stretch your body and mind- guess what, if you have to stop mid point on an interval bc you aren't quite nailing it- that's ok, jump back in and try again, training is about the accumulation of effort not perfection.

Just like in life, you gotta go for it, OVER AND OVER!

Happy Training!

GALVESTON 70.3 HALF IRONMAN ~ COUNT DOWN!!!

GALVESTON 70.3 HALF IRONMAN

COUNT DOWN!!!

 

SWIM-

Purchase 2sets of new goggles (preferably two different types of tinted lens)

Practice 2 x 15-20min in wetsuit / speed suit (if you own it)

-Reminder: Rinse out suit, hang up to dry-inside out, and do not leave it in your car-

BIKE-

Get bike tuned up at least 10 days out from race day

Practice rides in race shoes and sunglasses

Practice 2-3 ride in helmet

Practice Transitions

Pack Transition Contents:

In a zip lock / solutions bag- Vasoline and Tums

In zip lock / nutrition bag- nutrition and electrolytes

Extra PBJ and water bottle for emergency only- made at destination

RUN-

Buy race shoes at least 15 days out from race day- if new: do at least 3x30min walks in them

Practice 3x 20-30min in race shoes, compression sleeves/socks, sunglasses, and visor/hat

Pack Transition #2 Contents:

In a zip lock / solutions bag- Vasoline and Tums

In zip lock / nutrition bag- nutrition and electrolytes

Extra PBJ and water bottle for emergency only- made at destination

SLEEP-

8-9hr/night- try to not set an alarm the last 4 days prior to race day

RECOVERY-

Chiro, massage- 1x/week

Compression up to 4hr/day

Ice Bath / Cyrosauna- 2x/wk

Foam Rolling / Stretching- 5min / day

Elevate Legs as much as possible

HYDRATION-

Don’t force hydration but make sure your pee is light yellow always 

Consider drinking a Nuun 1x/day (split it in half morning and mid day)

NUTRITION-

Pre Race Breakfast throughout race week a couple times

Main meal – Lunch: 400-500cal

Small snacks throughout the day- 100-200cal, every 90min

Carry snacks to the Expo and throughout the bike drop off

Smaller Dinner – no later than 5pm Wednesday-Saturday of race week

If needed small snack at 7pm- last 2nights before race day

 

Look back at all your workouts you've done to prepare for the race.

You got it!! You put in the work and now it's time for the fun part....SMILE AND RACE!  

Maximizing Your Efforts

A quality that we can all truly appreciate is when a person / program is dedicated to not wasting time and energy. 

I have watched athletes thrive on the Playtri concept that maximizes every minute an athlete has in and outside of their health and fitness goals/workouts.

I want to highlight on one aspect of getting the absolute most out of your efforts and workouts: THE WARM UP AND COOL DOWN!

Who wouldn't want to take advantage of the warm up/cool down, if I could promise - NOT ADDING A SINGLE MINUTE INTO YOUR WORKOUT-

I could teach your body and mind to be more efficient muscularly (both in technique and speed), metabolically (more fat efficient), and mentally (prepped as well as increasing the recovery rate between workouts)...  you would be crazy to not implement these quick and easy modifications to your workouts.


SWIM

WARM UP-

3min Dry Land (this is also a really fantastic way to train the mind/ body year round for those races that do not allow an in water warm up)

25 easy jumping jacks or jog in place to increase heart range and range of motion

15 reverse big arm circles/side to open the chest and shoulders

15 torso twists/ side to wake up the core and hips

10 reach down/ squat down to initiate hamstrings

10 calf stretches / side to lengthen the calfs

10 side and runners lunges

25 jumping jacks this time a little faster than at the beginning of the warm up

Within your normal warmup: after the initial 200 or so yards/meters, simply add 8-10strokes that gently picks up the pace to begin to increase heart rate and response. 

You can also do this within your warm up kick set.  Add 5-10sec of just a bit faster kick and then return back to your normal warm up pace. 

Again this is simply to wake the body up- not looking to set any new records!

Note to Self: this a great warm up pre race as well that can both be done in pool and open water races.

COOL DOWN

Put on your snorkel during the cool down. 

Every swim should have at least 150-200yd/meters of a cool down. We are all very tired at the end of our swims.  By putting on the snorkel, you are able to easily remind / train your body through fatigue to stay on top of the water through a continuous kick and consistent stroke.  This is a huge advantage in open water toward the last few hundred meters.


BIKE

WARM UP

Regardless if the workout is a training pace (zone 2-3) or race pace+ (zone 4-5), your warm up should be at least 5-10minutes long.  Research has shown us that in the older athlete or an athlete who is increasing their load count on a week to week basis should allow their body a longer warm up with a few exercises to stimulate and prepped the body for the main sets effort.

10-15min warm up routine

5min: easy spin

2min-5min: 20sec single leg drill/ 20sec single leg drill/ 20sec easy pedal- focus on a smooth pedal stroke, reducing all 'dead spots' while ensuring you are pulling the pedal through the back half of the stroke

3min-5min: 15-20sec high cadence/ 40-45sec easy pedal- to wake up lungs and prep legs for some work

COOL DOWN

Every workout must end with 5-10min easy.  Instead of just pedaling, go into a very easy gear and keep a 90+rpm. 

Metabolically- increases fat efficiency

Muscularly- increases circulation and is the simplest/ cheapest form of recovery

Mentally- allows the body to relax after a hard workout= the body will be less resistant to the next workouts' stress as you have "tricked" it and it will recall the ease of the cool down over the previous effort


RUN

WARM UP

Those that grew up running already know the advantages of an easy jog, followed by drills, and finishing up with some strides or pick ups prior to their main workout.  Watch the runners prior to their big events- they don't simply jump into the race- they allow the body to ease into the day, while daily revisiting drills and technique, and finishing up with some pick ups that initiate the effort in a controlled manner. 

10-15min warm up routine

5min EASY jog (at least 90sec-2min slower than your workout pace)

3min-5min: 20sec single leg drill/ 20sec single leg drill/ 20sec easy jog

2min-5min: 15-20sec pick up/ 40-45sec easy jog

COOL DOWN
Just like the bike, instead of pedaling, walk it out for at least 5 minutes!


Increase your body's natural ability to burn fat and recovery rate while encouraging the body to recover quickly so that tomorrow you can jump into your next session without hesitation!

Notice- I did not add a single minute into your daily training.  Our goal for you - stay healthy and consistent while maximizing your time and efforts!


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Why FTP should not be your only focus

In the first part of this 5 part series, I discussed the limitations and restrictions of using only the FTP as the sole evaluation of current fitness.

When calculating performance ability, we want to see both our capability through both field testing (ex: FTP 20 min Time Trial) as well as how our bodies respond to stress, removing the mental aspect of load (Blood Lactate Testing).  Without both, you are possibly missing out on optimal training opportunities. 

Why else should FTP (Functional Threshold Power) not be your only focus in establishing current fitness-

#2- How efficient is the athlete in controlling their power at different cadences AND different positions in and out of the saddle?

It is one thing to hit your FTP on the trainer, in perfectly flat / calm conditions, at a controlled cadence.

We want and need options in controlling our power, while maintaining the same effort (heart rate), regardless of circumstances or terrain. 

Just a reminder, we use heart rate as a reference to evaluate how hard the athlete is actually working to produce a certain power.  It is very important to evaluate this, as the athlete is getting more fit, that heart rate (effort into the interval) will drop.  In other words, as the athlete becomes more fit, the effort gets easier and takes less toll on the athlete metabolically and muscularly.

Now back to my point of needing more than simply FTP to know if the athlete is getting more fit and/or on track to reaching their goals.

I not only want my clients to be able to hit their FTP / Race Pace power numbers, but I want them to be able to repeatedly sustain this threshold at cadences and positions in the saddle that mimic complicated race-like conditions, specifically wind and hills.  Most athletes average 80-90rpm on the flats but typically climb at 65-75rpm, depending upon the grade and length of the climb.  Many athletes struggle to maintain and not overshoot power on the climbs and in windy conditions, power is harder control and can conditions may be erratic and unpredictable. 

So when looking at an athlete's file, I want to see that Client X is first able to sustain their FTP for at least 2x20min, at the normal 80-90rpm, in a seated neutral position on the saddle.

From there, I will to challenge the athlete to sustain the same FTP at 50, 60, 70, and even 100rpms. 

Not only am I gauging their power, I am also referencing heart rate to see the discrepancy between their normal cadence interval (80-90rpm) compared to the "climbing and decent" rpms. Again, the heart rate will be lower (less distress muscularly and metabolically over time) the more fit / comfortable the athlete is, at their specific FTP.

As soon as the client has mastered this, I challenge the athlete to maintain that same FTP, while utilizing the four different positions in the saddle: mid saddle, tip of the nose of the saddle with a higher rpm, back of the saddle utilizing a slower more 'paddle boat' like pedal stroke, and lastly standing out of the saddle. 

Ideally, as a coach you could throw the typical FTP interval of 2 x 20minutes at a client and within that 20minutes, you could have the athlete alternating different positions in and out of the saddle AND at different cadences and see if the athlete can control their watts within a 20watt range, while maintaining their heart rate within 3-5beats .  Once the athlete has accomplished this, then we know the client is proficient in utilizing their Functional Threshold Power. 

As an athlete and a coach, I want options in maximizing potential.  Utilizing FTP, while simulating complicated and ever changing race conditions is key!

Look forward to sharing the next installment, #3/5 of reasons why FTP should not be your only focus, within the next couple of weeks.

Happy training! 

Indoor Training

Good Morning & Happy New Year!

With these temps, comes a lot of indoor training.

Here is the upside= QUALITY QUALITY QUALITY!!!

Wanted to send you a few reminders that you need to consider when moving the majority of your training indoors.

 

SWIM-

1- Maintain as much of a consistent body temp as possible in and out of the pool. (wear warm clothing in and ensure you quickly dry off post workout/ warm clothes prior to leaving)

2- Drink water consistently throughout the session.

 

BIKE-

1- Wipe down your bike after every workout.

2- Clean your chain at least 1x/week.

3- Use a trainer tire.

4- Warm up and cool down adequately in every session. 

Your body temp is lower and your response to stimulus will be slightly delayed bc of the colder weather= make sure you stay well below TP (zone 2) BOTH power and hr rate.

Consider including either short drills or pick ups to prepare the body for the sessions longer efforts.

5- Drink at least 1bottle / hour of plain water.

6- Make sure you have a fan or good ventilation to the training area to keep the body temp regulated.

7- Pump tire to at least 105-115psi every workout prior to tightening the trainer to the wheel.

8- Make sure to either completely remove the bike or stress on the tire from the trainer after every workout.

9- Hills= unless otherwise said= climb for 1min at 65-75rpm and recover for 1min at 80+rpm

 

RUN-

1- Warm Up and Cool Down

Again, your body temp is lower and your response to stimulus will be slightly delayed bc of the colder weather= make sure you stay well below TP (zone 2) hr rate & at least 90sec/mile SLOWER than your main sets determined efforts.

Consider including either short drills or pick ups to prepare the body for the sessions longer efforts.

2- Drink at least 1bottle / hour of plain water.

3- Make sure you have a fan or good ventilation to the training area to keep the body temp regulated.

4- Warm up and cool down at 0%

5- Main set of TP or intervals, set treadmill at 1%

6- Hills= no higher than 4% and unless otherwise said= climb for 1min up to 4% and recover for 1min at 0%

 

HEALTH-

Most people assume that they get sick bc getting out in the cold weather- they forget the reality that when it is cold, EVERYONE avoids the outdoors like the plague= all germs and gross gunk literally sits in the air, ready to pounce on your immune system.

Not to mention your immune system is compromised for multiple reasons but to name a few= alcohol, sugar, travel, lack of sleep, whatever your poison, the holidays do a number on us!

Through the winter, I STRONGLY recommend:

1- Vitamin D

2- Turmeric

3- Probiotic

4- Vitamin A

5- Apple Cider Vinegar: 1Tbsp / 8oz water in am & pm, if you have a sensitive stomach start with 1/2Tbsp / 8-12oz water

 

Also, if you happen to get sick (esp the chest crap that is going around)- DO NOT get an antibiotic... WHY???

In short, antibiotics severely disable the immune system and its function.

Immune system= 80% of it is in the digestive system and regulated by the "gut flora," microbes.

Being broad= you have roughly 85% "good microbes" to 15% "bad microbes" in the gut.

Most folks= this ratio is severely skewed in favor of bad microbes, which in turn has the effect of seriously weakening the immune system.
Talking antibiotics= not only are the "bad microbes" killed off, so too are the good microbes= leaves the gut almost completely depleted of beneficial, immune response-regulating gut flora, & consequently a seriously compromised immune system.

 

With this knowledge what is the BEST solution over antibiotics:

1- SLEEP: AT NIGHT! When the sun is down - aim for 8-9hr/night BUT avoid daytime naps as much as possible

2- ELIMINATE: dairy and gluten

3- INCREASE: roughage and berries for antioxidants

4- REDUCE: all sugar and processed foods

5- ELIMINATE: alcohol completely

6- MINIMIZE: caffeine

7- INCREASE: water intake, 4-6oz water/hr outside of training

Keep what you put into your body VERY SIMPLE- if what you are throwing into your body creates more stress and inflammation- CUT IT OUT!

 

Here's to a healthy and fun winter of training!!!!

If you have any further questions, please feel free to email me!

5 Part Series: Why FTP should NOT be your only focus

Many athletes are starting to getting back into the groove - to start the year off, we have our athletes put their bodies through field tests and lactate testing in order to establish new benchmarks. When it comes to the bike, outside of buying new greatest, lightest, most aerodynamic machine one can buy, rumblings of FTP or Functional Threshold Power numbers start to fill the air.  FTP or Functional Threshold Power testing is essentially what maximal sustainable power output an athlete can hold for one hour. 

 

Although FTP is a great predictor of one's endurance performance and ability, it absolutely is not the one only way to evaluate current fitness.

What is athlete's potential metabolically and physically, outside their mental limitations?

FTP testing is done many different ways, but the most well known on FTP test is a 20min time trial.  

There is a reason that the Time Trial Road Race is considered the, "Race of Truth".  If done correctly, it takes almost everything out of you... 

But here is the kicker, maybe counting on a single hand, do the number of athletes in the entire world gain absolute knowledge of their potential in this test.  Why? 

Because our mind is our limitation- when it gets hard, whether we like it or not, we back down- I don't blame you, it is just the way the human body has survived and evolved.  

 

In Playtri coaching, we evaluate three main aspects of a client's fitness: physical, mental, and metabolic factors.

That said, we do Blood Lactate Testing to remove the mental aspect and review only how the athlete handles stress and load metabolically and muscularly.

One of the best things I can do for my athletes is to USE BOTH RESULTS FROM THE LACTATE TESTING AND FTP TESTING... How???

Ex: An athlete completes the 20min TT and finds that their FTP is 280watts, and yet her Blood Lactate Testing exposed that they are capable of sustaining 315watts.

 

This shows, as of that moment, the athlete ALREADY HAS 12.5% MORE PERFORMANCE POTENTIAL TO WORK WITH!  

If you were to rely solely on the FTP, you will miss out on truly knowing where you are and settling for less than your body and training can handle.

 

If you are willing to evaluate your current bike fitness through not just the FTP lens, you will see endless possibilities in your training and racing to stay motivated.

You will continue to improve not just your power output on the trainer but rather make a significant impact on your experience out on the road and/or races!

Mental Training & Motivation

"Ironman is more than just a race to test their bodies, but a culmination to a commitment, made a long time ago!"- Ironman 2017.

I absolutely love everything about this quote.  It is a beautiful reminder that everything great in life, that we decide to thrive in, takes relentless dedication.

When we are willing to establish our goals (because goals do take guts), we are agreeing on a pact or unspoken contract that we are willing to do whatever it takes.
Reality check, goals demand responsibility. 

 

So, what happens when you flinch at the obligation and start to dig your heels in, finding little motivation to do what you said you wanted to do???

Motivation is not something you can fake.  

But let me suggest that instead of getting caught up with your personal resistance, challenge your allegiance and point your attention to what you can do.

 

Check out these 3 aspects and you will find a new gear and a mental edge in your training.

1- DIAL IN YOUR NUTRITION

Any time you are willing to eat better, you will FEEL better.

I could really over complicate this one, but let's keep it super simple:

A. Add greens to every meal. 

B. Pull out from your diet anything that comes from a bag, bottle, or box. 

C. Drop the alcohol. It is no secret, alcohol is a depressant- are you really shocked that drinking one too many suds can mentally take away from your focus???  

Ultimately you control what goes into your body- EAT to feel your BEST!

 

2- CREATE A RALLY ROUTINE

Most of us don't give sleep the credit it deserves.  Watch a toddler who missed his nap or is sick, their last resort is to have an absolute melt down in the grocery store.

Why? Because they don't feel good and they can't find a solution to their frustration... guess what, we too have our own mini-meltdowns when we don't take care of ourselves and this will absolutely impact your consistency and drive. When you are having these moments and are struggling to stick to the commitments of your goal, make sure you have what I call, a rally routine.  

Instead of simply skipping the workout and heading out for happy hour or reaching for the basket of fries, pull together 2-3 recovery methods and prep your body for the task tomorrow.

EX: foam roll for 15min, take a 20min nap, hop in the cryosauna, grab a massage, sit in the sun for 20min, take your dog for a walk... on and on.

This isn't only about the physical strain of training but it greatly reduces the mental stress and will motivate you back to your inward agreement and goal.

 

3- PICK YOUR COMPANY WISELY

My mom used to say, "Surround yourself with people better than yourself... if those around you are 'winning', you too 'will win' one day... "

There is absolutely nothing wrong with removing people, places, and things that bring a negativity or distraction into your life when you are attempting 

to do something you have never done before.  

In the same breath, this is a journey and part of its richness will come from being surrounded by like-minded individuals who demand that you too bring positivity to the table and a special energy to sharpen one another.  

This year, outside our normal Wednesday morning runs, I have started to create small squad workouts within my clients schedules.  They know the accountability to one another, they honor the challenge of pushing one another, and they leave the complaining at the door- they are there to work!

Find your tribe and ditch those that accept or even encourage you to be less than what you can be.

 

Just because you are struggling, and you will have days that you will battle yourself and your goals, focus on what you can do!

This is the mental edge that you won't find in a sports psych office- rather I dare you to redirect your energy and time to what you can control.

"Where your mind can go, your body will follow."

Gift Ideas from Playtri

From newbies to seasoned athletes, we've got the perfect gift ideas for all the athletes in your life (maybe even you). 

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Make this the year for big challenges with the Sprint Bundle - admission to four races and all the necessary (and awesome) SWAG. 

 

Register online by Dec. 20th and pick up SWAG between Dec. 21st - 24th for gift giving.

 

 

Help your athlete CONQUER the SWIM!

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Playtri Swim Bundle offers everything an athlete could need to get the workout they want - speed, strength or just float!  All these great swim tools for just $99.

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Swim don't Sink with 4 - 30 minute coached Endless Pool swim sessions for just $180.  
 

 

CRUSH the BIKE with these Gift Ideas!

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Speed, Comfort and Aero are the best gifts for a cyclist.  Get your cyclist a Retul Bike Fit at Playtri for just $149.

 

Purchase Race Wheels or a Power Meter and get a $50 Playtri Gift Card*.

 

 

*Offer available through Dec. 17th.  Not combinable with other discounts or offers.

Tri a Tri-Cation in Kona, Hawaii

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Enjoy a full week of swimming in the clear blue water of Hawaii, biking on the infamous Queen K and running along the storied Alii Drive.

Build your 2018 base and your tan while training on the Hawaii Ironman World Championship Course.  Just $999 - use code HOLIDAY for $500 off. www.playtri.com/hawaii

 

*Offer available through Dec. 17th.  Not combinable with other discounts or offers.

Playtri Gift Cards Available in any Amount!

 
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