Many of you are working from home because of Covid. You are finding it hard to take brakes with all the Zoom meetings. Now your back, shoulders and other parts of your body you didn’t know exists are hurting. Here are the questions I ask: is your home setup is the same as your ergonomic office setup at work? Are you taking brakes especially lunch? Are you sitting at a desk, table or kitchen counter? What is your chair, a desk chair or dining room chair? Now you see where I’m going but another question is do you stretch a couple times a day? There is more to it than you think. If you own a stand up desk, great but you still need to stretch and move around. Go to https://gearupforfitness.com/videos/ which have a couple videos of stretches and foam rolling. The stretches on the bike are great for sitting in front of computer as well the foam rolling. Latter this week, I will post another video of stretching and foam rolling. Try to take breaks and stretch, your body will be happy you did it. Stay healthy and safe!
As we approach Valentine’s Day, we as athletes and coaches need to respect and thanks our significant other by being cupid. My boyfriend, Mark, is so supportive of me being a coach, runner and triathlete. We see each other on the weekends but that is when most long training workouts happen. When I’m training, Mark will do errands for us, be handyman, make a meal for us or catch up with some work. Never complains, even when my clients call or text. So this Valentine’s Day, tell your cupid how much you love and thank them by surprising them with a meal, flowers or card expressing how much you appreciate their support. Just do something, they would love you more and continue to support you. Now, I know Valentine’s Day is one day a year but is is always good show how much you appreciate them all year long because they will be their at the finish line. Happy Valentine’s Day! Be safe and healthy!
The pull back week, either triathletes/runners love it or hate it. Me I love it because I know my body needs it. But many athletes don’t understand why they need it. When athletes training for endurance events (half marathons/Olympic distance triathlon to longer distances), coaches use periodization training. Periodization training uses micro cycles of 2-3 weeks of heavy volume to build the endurance then 1 pull back week of lighter volume to recover. That pull back week allows you the athlete to continue to build your endurance. Many athletes say they feel good and don’t need to recover or don’t need a rest day, which leads to injury. Use that recovery week to catch up with life, family! Pull back week volume is reduced but not all the speed workouts are removed. Just know that it is part of the process to be ready for your big event day.
As a coach, we are always learning new tools, apps, techie gadgets, and new training methods. So many coaches stick what they learned in class but don’t change with the latest. We are constantly learning from the science of pro athletes; what works and doesn’t work in training for today’s athlete. And training older athletes. Science keeps changes which makes learning new stuff interesting. Now as an athlete, we are constantly learning about ourselves; our bodies adapting to the training; and how we should be productive with the training. Being productive is listening to our bodies on how it reacts the workouts, mentally aware of the environment, and scheduling the workouts within our life (family and work). Science is an evolution as an athlete’s body! Don’t stop learning or you will miss the boat!
Running/triathlon coaches and aerobic instructors see heart rate training differently which it is a battle for the athlete. Spin/aerobic instructors say if your recovery is fast for intervals then your cardio is good. Also, they believe you can do a couple interval workouts a week. Majority of spin instructors don’t even own or bike outside. Now running/triathlon coaches see this is a problem with their athletes because it creates confusion from their side. Running/triathlon coaches use Zones (1-5) for the heart rate training by using the heart rate monitors and RPE (rate of perceived exertion). Depending on what events you are training for that can determine what heart zones you will be most of your training. Half marathon/marathon and half Ironman/full Ironman, you will be training mostly in Zone 1 (easy/recovery) and Zone 2 (endurance). 10K and Olympic training will Zone 1, Zone 2 and some workouts Zone 3 (lactate threshold). 5K and Sprint triathlons are Zone 1, Zone 2 and some workouts Zone 4/5 (above lactate threshold). Now you ask, how are these heart rate zones determine, most common test is FTP test on the bike or lactate threshold test on the treadmill. I have a client that has been struggling to keep her running and biking in Zones 1-2 because most of her training before was done in spin classes. Today, she had a break through with a 70 min ride mostly in Zone 2. At the end of the ride, she felt she could keep on going and felt good. Took her a couple months to understand this, now she gets why Zone 1 and 2 are so important for triathlon training. She sticks to the plan, she will see improvements in a couple months. Be safe and healthy!
This topic was suggested by my boyfriend Mark. Mark knows I like to do long distance races and training. Distance is all relative to the person or athlete. Long distance is a mental game, being present in the moment compare to shorter/sprint distances. Usually, I train for 2 Half marathons a year but COVID still happening and is still having an impact on races being virtual, postpone or canceled. And living in New England, winter can make it tough for running outside with snow and ice. So far, it has been good weather but that can still change. Not sure I want to do another virtual half marathon race this spring. So I decided to focus on shorter distances 5K-10K for the spring, and improve on cadence, speed, strength and flexibility. When winter happens, biking indoors on trainers is easier with Zwift. After getting vaccination, which I hope soon, then start swimming in a local indoor pool building endurance. When coaches create training plans, distance is measure by time (biking/running) and/or distance (run/swimming) by slowly incrementing the distance/time through periodization plan to peak you for the big race day. So going the distance can be measured by time, miles, kilometers, meters or yards but it is how you train for the big race day and be ready to go the distance. Be safe and healthy!.
Winning and losing is a big part of sports and other parts of our lives. You can use this as positive part of your life. Most age group athletes compete in sports (running and triathlons) as a way to lose weight, get in shape or stay fit, have fun, meet their friends or inspire their children. Some do compete to win races or win their age group which can be good or bad. It is how you approach the race mentally: confident or arrogant. Going into the race being confident is good because you trained in all weather conditions, completed the training as scheduled, practiced the course and you know the competition. But then something happens race day like a curve ball: a change in the course because of weather or a newbie that no one knows is hard to beat. You know your training got you ready and confident about the outcome will be good. The confident one wins no matter how he places in the race because he shows sportsmanship. I like to look at my race results to see how I can improved my times. I know I am a competitor but like to compete against myself. See if I improved or what I have to work on. When I win or place top 3 of my age group, I see that as a bonus. It is how you train physically and mentally creates confidence to be ready for the big race. When you lose congratulate the winners then go back to your plan to see how you can improve for the next race. Don’t dwell, don’t look back, look forward to the next big one!
2020 is the year of virtual racing from 5Ks to Marathons to Ironman events. Many athletes are nervous, wondering if any races will be happening or what race events will be like in 2021. Now that there is a vaccine for COVID, I see races happening. but might not happen till June and will look different. Staggered starts, no spectators, and smaller number of athletes. Bikers, runners and triathletes just want to race at the events and see their friends. Race directors want you back to race live too! 2021calendar is starting to fill up with events which some athletes are starting to sign up. I’m being cautious but want my athletes be excited again about racing. Start planning your race schedule but also be flexible with the new norm. Stay healthy and safe!
Saturday, I completed Run MA Challenge. That is run/walk 645 miles and raised around $900 for Pettengill House. Pettengill House helps local families and kids with food, pay rent and other ways of support, especially with pandemic. It is good to have physical goals but it is also good to take a break and rest. Right now, I am enjoying my recovery, strength, and workout without a training schedule. Just do what I feel like! Athletes are so program to train all the time which can lead to overtraining or injuries. I like December to rest/recovery as it is the best time to do this because of the holidays. I have not registered for any 2021 races. But with the Covid vaccinations, legit races probably won’t happen till June here. I will decide in January what is next. Just enjoy your holidays! Stay safe and healthy!
Slowly getting to the end of the Run MA Challenge (645 miles). Started the challenge July 1st, since then ran a couple virtual 5Ks, 10Ks, and 2 Half marathons. Completed 9 badges of the challenge with 1 more to go. Each badge helps the runner/walker keep the distance manageable. This is not the year I originally planned for racing but 2020 has been different everybody. I am lucky not to have not suffered as many are during the pandemic which is why I raised money for the Pettengill House. Pettengill House helps families and kids in the local communities with food, paying rent and other service. I can see the finish line with this challenge but also the vaccinations know there will be an end to the pandemic. To get there, we all need to be “Patient with the Process”. This is Angela Naeth’s mantra for endurance racing but also we need to remember it for the Covid pandemic. Stay safe and healthy!