I read a lot of health magazine articles and a topic that always seems to arise is the importance of good hydration. The consensus seems to be that we should drink about 8 cups of water a day on a typical day. With spring and summer knocking on our doors and our eagerness to get outside and train, hydration is a very important aspect of training not to overlook. Not making the proper adjustments during warmer conditions can be detrimental in keeping our bodies performing at a high level while racing or training. When we sweat, we don’t just lose water, we lose essential vitamins and minerals. If you’re training over long periods of time, it might be necessary to switch to electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade, or GU products, just to name a couple. Below are some tips to follow in dealing with proper hydration:
· How much am I sweating while I am training?
- The level of perspiration definitely varies from individual to individual. As you go through a training session, pay close attention to your level and rate of perspiration and gauge/assess your needs based on that day’s workout and gather patterns for the next time you train in those same conditions.
· What are the conditions I am training in? Is it cold, hot?
- Conditions play a major role in how much you will sweat. Obviously, if it is scorching hot outside you will be sweating like crazy. But also don’t forget that in cold conditions, when you are all bundled up for that run, you are still sweating, and the level of perspiration could be deceptively high.
· How long am I going to be training?
- How long you are being active will dictate the volume of fluids you should be drinking. A rule of thumb is that you should drink a full water bottle for every hour of training. So make sure you pack enough water or hydration drink to last for your entire workout or race.
· Your workout environment’s effect on perspiration?
- If you are in a controlled environment, such as a gym with poor air circulation, you will tend to feel like you are sweating more. In contrast, when you exercise outdoors, you receive the benefit of cool breezes to help cool you down. Don’t let this fool you, though, because this doesn’t mean you are sweating less or more, just that you might be more comfortable. Visually you might not be able to see the perspiration on mild/windy day but you are still sweating so remain vigilant and committed to your hydration plan.
· When to hydrate?
- We should be hydrating constantly. It’s just as important to hydrate properly before and after a workout or race as it is during the activity. Don’t neglect your body, give it what it needs to perform.
· Side effects of improper hydration
- Poor performance or lack of peak performance
- Dehydration - Dizziness, goosebumps (on hot days), disoriented
- Cramping of Muscles
- Imbalance of essential vitamins
Could Potentially BONK!!!
ROAD TRAINING SAFETY TIPS
With spring knocking on our doorstep and race/training season fast approaching, I wanted to remind everyone of some safety precautions as we make our way outside to start on-the-road training. There is nothing like training outside in the spring and the effect it has on our senses and overall state of mind while we’re training. It is literally sensory overload at times, but in a good way. We get to smell all the early blooming flowers, we feel the invigorating cool breeze (nature’s air conditioner to our overheated bodies), we see the trees starting to bloom, and we can hear the early morning birds awakening us to the dawn of a new day. With the energy of being outside pumping through our veins, we must not lose focus of all the hazards around us as we hit the pavement either cycling or running. Here are some tips to remember as you enter the roadways this spring:
1) We should never assume a driver sees us. When we come upon an intersection, and there is a car waiting to cross, make sure they acknowledge you before you proceed through the intersection. Also, we always have to make sure we look both ways before crossing. Use caution around turns and over hills/mountains.
2) When running, always run against the flow of traffic and as far over on the shoulder as possible. When cycling, ride with the flow of traffic and again stay as far over on the shoulder as possible.
3) Always carry a cell phone with you in case you get into trouble, you get lost, or your workout takes longer than expected. With that being said, always let someone know where you are headed, how long it should take, and when you plan to finish.
4) Be familiar with the route you are taking. Either pre-ride the course in your car or take your workout easy when handling turns and hills (mainly for cycling). I had a bad experience and misjudged a tight turn, went right over my handlebars, and cracked the frame on my bike. Very expensive repair!!
5) Always pay attention to what is happening ahead of you. Look for pot holes, road debris, vehicle, potential hazards, and dogs/animals.
6) Always be prepared for the disgruntled motorist because they are out there. When they pass you while yelling or honking - remain calm, don’t retaliate, just wave and smile.
Enjoy the fresh air and the freedom of not having to be bundled up. While enjoying this freedom out there on the road, be safe and train smart.
HAPPY SAFE TRAINING!!
Refresh, Rejuvenate, Recover
This time of year can be a crossroads for most athletes. We’re about a month into our New Year’s Resolutions or we are starting to gear up for the beginning of our race season. The excitement of re-entering the training cycle has worn off and the reward of race season hasn’t begun yet. I am sure you did your research on what your workouts should entail, what your nutrition plan should look like, and what you need to have in regards to equipment and apparel to ensure you are comfortable while you are training and racing. One particular aspect many athletes and especially newbies overlook is the power of sleep. Sleep plays a critical role in the way we perform. The effects are huge both mentally and physically and sleep will allow your body to push through the doldrums of pre-season boredom.
With proper sleep it allows us to stay sharp and ready to go for each workout. If we start to lack sleep we start to feel sluggish and lethargic. With these feelings, it becomes very tempting for us to skip workouts and if we do choose to workout, lack of sleep will pressure us into slacking off and not putting in a good effort. You can almost think of the old adage of the devil and the angel on your shoulder. Lack of sleep will be that temptation voice saying “my body just isn’t up for it today”. Whereas the angelic state of a full night’s rest will encourage your body and mind to give it everything you have each and every time you train.” We don’t want to get in the habit of skipping workouts, each time we do this it becomes easier and easier to put it on the back burner.
From a physical standpoint, sleep is the time when our body repairs itself. This time is critical as our body prepares itself for the next day of workouts and our daily routines. We need to make sure we are allowing our body the time it needs to fully recover. Making sure we are fully rested also helps keep us healthy. Keeping our body fresh and energized helps keep our immune system strong, which in affect will allow us to stay healthy and produce better results in our training. It is all about balance and once we start to feel drained from all the hustle and bustle of the world around us, we need to take a step back and make our adjustments. Start with making your rest a priority and you will reap the benefits. Sleep works wonders for your body so take advantage of the easiest thing we can do – SLEEP. Sweet Dreams!
When training in the snow wether it is running or biking you need to take extra precautions. We all now the dangers of the cold tmperatures, so we need to make sure we dress warm enough to get through our workouts. Besides dressing warm enough you need to look a little deeper into the workout and into the conditions outsides. You want to make sure you keep your eyes ahead of you surveying your running surface but especially watching the vehicles you might be sharing the roadway with (remember to run towards traffic and not with it). If the temperatures are below freezing watch for icy patches, these are spots in your workout were you can easily get injured if you are not paying attention. Treat every wet spot on the roadway as black ice or an icy patch. Take your time and run under control over these areas. If there is a vehicle around you when approaching a questionable area stop, and let the car pass you then proceed with care.
When biking in cold conditions, it is very important to dress warm, don't forget to take wind chill into consideration when dressing to bike. Can get very chilly. Brrr!! So dress warm, very warm. If roadways are wet and is close to freezing Do Not go out. You do not want to risk wrecking your bike and potentially really hurting yourself from skidding on an ice patch. Pretty straight forward. One other major obstacle you might encounter while biking in the winter is road cinders and road debris. When it snows road crews hit our roads with salt and cinders. As the snow melts and cars use the roads the salt and cinders make their way to the shoulder of the road (our biking lane). These small pieces of road debris act as marbles, making it very hard to control your bike when trying to handle a corner/turn. So take your time and be aware of any areas that might present a problem. Constantly survey the road surface in front of you, to prepare yourself for what you might encounter.
Train hard but be smart and know when to be patient!! Enjoy the these winter training months!!
Now that New Year's is here and gone, I know a lot of people are really AMPED UP to start training again or get started for the first time. Some advice: Take your time and ease into it. You do not want to throw your body into fits by over doing it the first day or even first week. Take it easy and take your time, you won't get in the prime shape of your life the first day but you can definitely hurt yourself. Try and relax!! Concentrate your time on proper form and technique not on how much weight you are lifting, how many reps you might be pumping out, or how fast your legs are moving on the treadmill. Proper form and technique now will save you from injury later. .
5 Easy Tips when starting out:
- Focus on Technique
- Focus on Form
- Keep a workout log
- Make sure you are getting a good night sleep
- Stretch, Stretch and then Stretch one more time
Stay AMPED UP but make sure you funnel your time and energy into the right areas of your workout from the very start.
SET YOUR GOAL THEN GO AFTER!!
I have discovered throughout my life how important it is to have goals and how essential they are for one to succeed. I started noticing, though, how many of us have goals (which is wonderful) but sometimes we don’t put a solid foundation down as to how these goals will eventually be attained. As we head into the New Year, I want to help you in reaching your goals for 2013. Listed below are my favorite goal setting tools designed to help build that strong foundation that will ultimately result in success. My latest goal is to race triathlons professionally and from my experiences throughout my life and from racing, I have put together a strategy outline that you can use to achieve any goal you can think up. These steps have helped me immensely and I hope they will do the same for you.
1) Goal Identification:
a) Figure out what it is that you want to accomplish. Develop benchmarks to keep you on track or to use along the way to gauge your progress. Set a specific long-term goal and adapt your benchmarks as short- term goals that you can check off on your way to your long-term goal.
2) Motivating Factors – definition: to act as the motive for; the causative factor of; instigate, induce
a) This is the reason, the force, which drives us or will drive us to attain our goals. It could be in the form of a reward, to prove to yourself or to others that you can do something, the inspiration you receive from others, or possibly just the satisfaction of completing the task. Motivating factors will help you push through the tough times. I encourage you to re-visit these factors throughout your journey to remind yourself of what your inspirations mean to you.
3) Perseverance – definition: to continue striving in spite of discouragements
a) This is the ability to push through diversity or difficult times in order to achieve your goal. At times your perseverance will be tested to its limits but will be necessary to break down the roadblocks you face in order to fulfill the ultimate prize. These next three items: Fear of Failure, Doubters, and I CAN’T – are the topics I feel are the ones most commonly associated with not attaining your goal. Your ability to overcome these issues will be critical in your overall accomplishment of your goal. I want to delve a little further into these subjects below.
i. Fear of Failure - Failure in our society has become a very negative word and I am not exactly sure why. Instead of treating it as a negative word, reverse the perception and use it to your advantage. So when you come up short don’t be afraid of it, embrace it. Failure will happen - it is inevitable. It’s not the failure portion that will make or break your quest to reaching your goal; it’s what happens after and how you react to it. Are you willing to put the extra effort in to make sure the same outcome won’t happen again or are you going to do everything the same to ensure the same negative outcome? I urge you to change your approach and look at it from a fresh perspective. That is where the answer lies. Don’t take failure as a negative, use it as a positive and learn from your experience and change your approach. You didn’t fail, you ruled out one way that is not going to get you to where you want to go and you’re discovering the correct path.
ii. Doubters: These people will be all around you. Unfortunately, you will always have people telling you “you can’t do it”, “you’re not good enough”, or “you’re wasting your time.” My point of view is, why not at least make an attempt and see for yourself. Don’t let someone else’s comment deter you, especially since they haven’t done the homework like you did. You have to live life on your own terms - not on someone else’s. You don’t want to have any regrets when you’re taking your journey towards your goal.
iii. CAN’T: Remove this word from your vocabulary! This is a self confidence, or as some believe, a laziness issue. Never think that you can’t, anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I do not believe the issue comes down to the fact that you can’t do something, I think what happens is that if the approach to the situation is off, you might be attacking the situation wrong. Try it from a different direction. Be creative, don’t let a can’t deter you. Turn your can’t into a can.
4)Support System – Who are you going to have in place to help you attain your goal
a) Your support system are the people you will surround yourself with to help you achieve your goal. This group of individuals will help you through the toughest of times and help get you pointed in the right direction when things don’t seem to be going as planned. These individuals can be your parents, siblings, teachers, pastors, coaches, friends and people you might never expect.
One motto I have lived by is: “Surround yourself with great people and great things will happen”
It’s the truth. Embrace this group of people when they want to help and ensure that they feel included and a part of the process. Continually thank them for their support.
Goal setting is critical when trying to attain all different levels of success throughout your life. Setting up the proper goal setting outline will allow you to achieve your goals easier than just saying I want to do this or that. Don’t get discouraged, no matter what road blocks are thrown at you during your journey, pull from everything you have put in place to help you through and keep moving forward. You will get there. You can do it. Put your mind to it and it is amazing what one can accomplish. Also, lead by example. Help inspire others to reach their goals, be part of their support system (sometimes it is just as gratifying to see someone else reach their goal as it is to reach your own), help motivate them, and help them persevere through the rough patches.
DREAM BIG and then GO CAPTURE IT.
When trying to start to improve your overall health or begin a more active lifestyle, be patient. The first couple of weeks might get you feeling tired, sore, and out of sorts. That is normal, completely normal. It will take a few weeks to a couple months for your body to catch up to your new schedule. Make sure you keep your workouts fresh, try different things so you can see what really works for what your goals are. Talk to others to see what has helped them through this part of training (My Two Cents: make sure you stretch and train with someone who knows what they are doing, you don't want to start bad workout habits). Make small goals to accomplish at the beginning to help you along your way. Once you make it through about 2 months of training you will be surprised that your body and mind will be wanting you to workout. So give it time, keep it fresh, and keep an open mind and you will surprise yourself at what your next workout goal will be.
Training outside during these winter months can be uncomfortable, miserable and down right cold. So what do we do to make it more comfortable during these winter months? We pack on the layers and roll ourselves out the door. So what does this mean? This means decreased mobility, limited range of motion, and potentially lots of extra weight from the excess clothing. For these reasons you have to stay calm as a cucumber and try not to get wrapped up in your pace, finishing times, total miles because they will be skewed. Don't beat yourself up over these results. Main goal for these training sessions in the winter is get your miles logged and try to enjoy them as much as possible. Take in all sights and sounds of the outdoors. Enjoy being outside and let that cold crisp air fill your lungs and turn your cheeks red. Keep wishing for warm weather and when you get one of those spring days in the middle of January strip the layers and pound out a great run.
Training Tip: When dressing for a cold weather workout dress for the middle of workout not the beginning.
For all your winter workout gear visit:
ENDURANCE SPORTS CENTRAL
Why I TRI!
A couple days ago I entered a contest to win a BlueSeventy Triathlon bag from Triathlete Magazine. All I had to do was come up with a Haiku of why I do Triathlons. So after quick thoughts, I posted this as my answer:
Reach Down Deep Into Your Soul.
Find Your Pride Inside.
and Discover Who You Are.
After posting it I thought that was pretty good for only spending about 5 minutes on it. As the day wore on I kept thinking about the haiku and wondered if I was going to win the cool bag or not. Well I didn't win the cool bag but I think I did come up with the main reason I TRI.
I love the journey of a triathlon race, the constant chess match you play with yourself mentally and physically in order to succeed, the condition changes on the course and how you deal with them, and the general ups and downs you have over the course of the race and how I am going to handle it.
So its simple I TRI because I love the challenge: putting forth every once of energy I have, digging as deep as I can possibly go, and ultimately I will be staring at myself with a sense of accomplishment and prove to myself that I am strong, I am capable to push further and harder than I thought possible!!
Endurance Sports Central
WINTER TRAINING TIPS
For endurance athletes living in Pennsylvania, it gets very tough to train, keep yourself motivated, and stay in shape for the winter months. I can’t blame you: the days are shorter, it looks gloomy outside with no leaves on the trees, and not to mention its COLD outside, sometimes hovering in the single digits for weeks. So here are a few training tips to help keep you on point during the cold months and have you prepared for your season to begin in the spring.
1) Use what you learned – Use this time to correct or strengthen everything you learned from your season. Ask yourself the following questions: What parts of my training program will I change from last season? What limiting factors did I encounter during my season/events? What training methods were productive that I would like to carry over to the next season? These questions and their answers will ensure that you hold on to your strengths and correct your weaknesses in your next season.
2) Keep it fresh: EXPERIMENT – This is the time to see how your body will react to new workout techniques and regimens (yoga, a Crossfit class, P90X, or a MMA class). Mix things up to see how your muscles react. Also use the time to try new food/dietary combinations (Paleo Diet, increasing protein in your diet, more veggies, less carbs).
3) Train with others: Hence the old adage – misery loves company. This will allow you to shiver through the cold with someone else and will make your workout a little more bearable. And let’s face it – you won’t get out of bed when it’s thirty degrees outside unless someone’s waiting for you to show up.
4) Strength Training: Start to re-strengthen the supporting muscles that have been neglected during your in-season training. The supporting muscles are just as important as your sport-specific muscles and will be utilized when the other muscles become fatigued in training or on race day. Supporting actors win Oscars – don’t neglect your supporting cast.
5) Get Outside: Always get outside on those rare but awesome unseasonably warm days. Take advantage of these moments and make the most of them. I love training outside and will do almost anything to get out there. There is nothing like fresh crisp air filling those lungs.
6) Schedule: Work on your schedule for next season - this will give you motivation and excitement to keep training and you will have deadlines to make sure you are ready. Additionally, set specific achievements you want to hit next season and write them down for visual accountability.
7) Finally, have FUN!! You have plenty of time in season to be serious. Build a snow fort and challenge the kids or your spouse to a snowball fight. I know they won’t turn down a chance to hit mom or dad with a snowball.
So, keep training, think warm weather and palm trees, and it might make it feel a degree or two warmer and keep that body moving. Hope to see you out on the course!