Who was the long winded girl that was all fired up last week - oh wait! That's right! It was me :) ha!
Before I get to that.. Training pictures from this weekend at Top Gear - Jeremy and Jocelyn - or the Dynamic Duo as I call them!
We had thirteen people come out on Saturday morning! It was hot and sweaty but so fun!!
Well, before I stray onto some other topic that may come to mind. I had better finish this thing. Honestly, I'm doing it as much to remind myself of what seems to work well and help the training go "more" smoothly, as much as I am writing to you fine folks who read the blog! You're very sweet with the comments by the way!! I appreciate them and most of all, I just hope maybe someone can take one thing that may help them and use it this 2011 season! So, without further ado.. the finishing touches...
You've heard it over and over again... just getting the time in - in the lane, on the seat, or bounding down your favorite trail. There are times when no matter how hard you seem to try, this particular aspect is going to seem elusive. You'll struggle, and work will try to kick your butt, and you will get sick, and then you will have to travel and things will be all screwed up with your normal routine. These things are inevitable. The key is to do you absolute best and then move on and not beat yourself up over it. There are times when I really work to make sure I am prepared to travel to some random city and I call local YMCA's to find out their policies, I look for nearby running groups or trails etc. etc. These times are not usually in January. However, come Feb / March through October, I'm a planning chica!! That is for sure. There are some things that you can do to improve your consistency for sure (taking out the excuses like the last post), or sometimes you just need to improvise and cut out the fluff (a.k.a. the easy run, the easy spin). When faced with what I have time to do in a week, the first thing I always worry about is the quality sessions. These are the sessions that involve intensity or strength, then it's my long stuff on the weekends - that my friends, is a MUST, next it's the weight lifting / strength / core work and then finally, it's the easy time on the seat/running sessions. If something has to go, I cut those first. We would all love to have 15-20 hours per week to devote to training, but that just isn't life sometimes. So look for what you can do to make it work (cut the fluff OR even shorten the duration of some workouts) and do your best. I've said it before, it's the days the build into weeks, the weeks that build into months and the months that make for solid progression as athletes.
I was told today during my second hour of spinning while doing some strength work that I was "crazy" (not in a mean way - just in a joking, but yes I really think you are in fact - crazy)! All I could think of was:
"August races are won, because of the hard work put into February / March / April." Not that the rest of the year isn't important, but you must lay the foundation for being able to start racing like a fiend. You're body can't handle all that racing in May-October as well if you haven't laid the proper foundation of strength and endurance. Those are my thoughts - and that's just me.
Yep.. I believe that.
Doing the Little Things
Listen, I know sometimes we all hate the little things. I'm talking about the core work, the stretching, the eating at the right time right after a workout, the strengthening of certain stabilization muscles that do a lot of work but don't often get the time and attention they need, the getting the right equipment etc. etc. The problem is when you stop doing the little things for large periods of time, they become these huge colossal things that end up causing us a lot of grief and strive and generally make us want to swear and get really mad! Listen, I'm the first one to start cutting these things too when times get tough. The key is really listening to your body and adding these things back in just as soon as you can. In addition, think strategically about when you can feasibly do these things that won't mess up your current schedule / life. Can you use the roller while you and the fam are watching TV? Can you do self massage or strengthen your piraformis while you're talking to your Mom on the phone? For me, a time I really try to add the stretching in is after my pool workout but before the next workout in the AM. I go into the steam room, give myself 7-10 minutes and do the big muscle groups when I am already warmed up and the extra heat allows me to really get these groups limber. I TRY to do this 3 times per week (don't always make it). Just remember, the little things are what keep us going late into the season and help prevent injury while helping us to recover faster and in turn train longer and harder tomorrow. So, don't forget about them if you can!!
They don't call it the fourth discipline for nothing. I hate to beat the horse on this or the drum... especially since all of you know I am a dietitian, but honestly, it DOES make a difference. You put garbage in, you will get garbage out, that's the breaks. I'm not suggesting the everyone eats this Organic raw foods diet that takes thousands of hours to prepare and costs a small fortune. I'm just suggesting that making sure you have enough protein to repair and build muscles, at the right time can do you a lot of good. In addition, making sure you get your needed fruit and vegetable consumption can help with everything from antioxidants to help repair all those free radials we produce as athletes, to helping us meet our needed fiber intake, as well as provide the necessary micronutrients (vitamins & minerals) necessary for training. I'm not a saint. I don't always eat the perfect thing. However, I do have some habits that are good and keep me going in the right direction. Some are preparing food on the weekends to heat up during the week, others are eating a spinach salad with tomatoes, walnuts and feta cheese with a light poppyseed dressing EVERY single night to help with my vegetable intake. Yep, I'm a creature of habit. I do what I have to do.. I put it in, and I also pay attention to the timing of nutrients / calories and when will be the best / most important for my body. I also make sure I get enough healthy fats including mono & poly unsaturated and omega-3's, even if I have to take them in the form of supplements. So, don't forget this important side of things - it could make all the difference!
I don't know why I choose hot races when I have one of the highest sweat rates of anyone I have ever encountered. I'm the girl in the back of the spin class with sweat running down her arms and into the giant puddle of grossness that has to RING her clothes out in the swimsuit spinner when she is done from class. It's yucky, but it is what it is!! I can't help it! However, choosing races like St. Croix, Cozumel and Kona when you live in PA and have to train in 20-60 degrees most of the year doesn't exactly prepare you for heat and humidity while you are attempting to push your body beyond all possible limitations. What you can do - physically and mentally prepare to the best of your ability.
I took this principal NOT seriously before St. Croix 2008, and we all know what happened there (or if not, it involved a long crawl to the finish), somewhat seriously before Kona of 2008 and then really, really seriously before Cozumel 2010. I was NOT messing around last year. I had put in tons of training time, but I knew the heat would be pretty intense, and it would really separate the competition when it came to November 28th when most of the world had been dealing with temperatures in the mid-30's-60's for quite some time. Liz wrote a great article on heat training for Rev 3 entitled "Training for Heat in Cold Weather" that you can check out. She asked some of us for advice and one of the tricks I used was sitting in the steam room for a specified period each week. I took it on like training. At first I sat in there for 5 minutes (always well-hydrated and even drinking while I was in there), then 10 minutes, then 15 minutes. I worked up over a period of weeks and sometimes even took a break and then went back in. Please consult your doctor before trying something like this that you haven't done before, but do I think it probably helped.. yes, it was as steamy and way hotter than Coz. I did this very consistently for the four weeks leading to the race. In the mean time, I sat in front of my heater at the office, wearing a sweater and sweating my bagguettes off. Yes, I had pit stains.. were those pit stains worth it? You're dang right they were... every last second of them! When I got off the bike in COZ the heat was sweltering - knock em down, want to crawl out of your own skin, jump into a full ice bath so your head doesn't explode from the heat, skin crawling hot. I watched people suffer, and then walk. I suffered too.. but no walking for me thanks.. I got ice, put it down my top and under my hat, gritted my teeth and moved on..
Don't underestimate the value of preparing your body both physically, and mentally for the heat. It was hot racing last year, and it will be again. Give yourself 3-4 weeks to adapt (at least) and take it on like another element of training.
So, those are my biggies! I hope they helped you a smidgen!! So sorry this got long again!
Happy Training my friend! Make 2011 your best and most successful training year yet!!!!
Hey - I don't presume to know it all (or even a little really) so if you have some great tips on how you get it in and get it done every day - PLEASE SHARE! I would love to hear from you!!When the roads in PA look like this.. You better be prepared my friends. These actually worked beautifully for my long run this weekend. What did not work so beautifully was me eating way to much food before I left and wanting to puke the whole time.. o well.. you win some, you loose some!
In case you didn't know, PA was hit with a huge ice storm just to make things a little more interesting for me to travel to the Super Bowl this week. Awesome. Ice is pretty, just not on the road while you are driving :)
On the good new front - My Aunt Dena is out of the hospital after her extreme battle with cancer and seriously crazy treatment of Chemo and Radiation all month and at home where she belongs! We did it folks - we prayed her home!! THANK YOU!