Thursday, December 18, 2014

Triple Threat Resolutions: From the Beach

Next up in our series on 2015 goals is David Fernandez, representing Florida on our national team. He may practically live on the beach, but don't let that fool you... this guy is putting in the work!

I had a pretty successful 2014 season (my second full triathlon season). I completed my first full Ironman distance race (actually, I completed 2 in 2014) and finished one of them just over 10 hours despite a bike crash. I also broke 5 hours on my Half Ironman Distance, won my AG in my only Olympic distance race of the year, and made solid improvements in my swimming, biking, and running times.

However, I am still far away from where I want to be. Despite these accomplishments, there are many areas that I need to improve on in order to have a successful 2015 season.

2015 Race Schedule

  • March 1st: Bayfront Challenge (Oly) – Homestead, FL
  • April 12th: 70.3 Florida
  • May 17th: 70.3 Chattanooga
  • August 2nd: IM Boulder
  • October 11th: IM Louisville

2015 Goals

1. Recovery / Strength Training

Last year, I ramped up swimming, biking, and running volume to prepare for my IMs. I neglected strength training completely and recovery was an afterthought other than making sure I slept enough hours and wore compression gear. This approach led to some minor, but nagging, injuries (calf, foot, knee, etc.) that prevented me from being more consistent with my training, from being able to hit key sessions, and definitively to peak for 3 of my races.

This year I am going to incorporate strength training as part of my weekly volume (2 sessions per week minimum). I believe that a stronger and more balanced body will not only be able to handle training and racing demands better, but also it will be key to avoid injury.

I will also include recovery in my training program. Time off, sleep time, recovery sessions, massages, stretching, compression, ice baths, etc. Training hard is worthless if my body does not adapt to the stress, and proper recovery plays a key role in this.

2. Swimming

Swimming is, by far, my weakest sport. Despite being the discipline that takes the least time of the 3 sports in a triathlon and the general thought that investing training time in biking and/or running will pay more dividends in the overall race time, I believe that becoming a better swimmer will make me a better triathlete. Not only will I save some time on my swim, but I will also be fresher out of the water and in a better race position.

Last year I swam 3 times a week, sometimes 4, and between 8,000 to 12,000 yards per week. In 2015 I will be swimming, at least, 4 times a week and 12,000 - 16,000 yards per week.

3. Interval Training

In 2014, most of my bike and run training consisted on zone 2 training. I wanted to increase my engine and make sure I was able to finish a full IM distance race. I was able to finish them; I had the endurance, but I felt I was lacking speed.

I wanted to focus the early part of the 2015 season on speed work, but a knee injury has me sidelined for 6-8 weeks (see point 1). As soon as I recover, I will ease back into running and work on my engine again, but make sure I don’t neglect speed work. In 2015, I will be including a lot more interval/speed sessions (2 per week on the bike and 1 on the run, maybe more during the early season).

One thing I've learned from triathlon is that I am a very determined person. I have no doubt that I will do whatever it takes to meet these goals, which will make me a better triathlete and help me have an awesome season!

Related Posts:
Triple Threat Resolutions: From the Big City

Monday, December 15, 2014

Suunto Ambit3 Review

Triple Threat team member Dave Fisher (Connecticut) recently had the opportunity to test drive the innovative Ambit3 from Finland-based Suunto. Keep reading for his detailed product review, including a highlight of pros & cons and direct comparisons to Garmin.

The Suunto Ambit 3 is a beast of a watch, and is now very happily my primary training data device for triathlon. There. You short winded readers can fall off and leave the rest of the review to the voracious readers out there.

Still here? Wonderful, let's get started...  (continue reading here).

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Triple Threat Resolutions: From the Big City

Over the past two weeks we've heard from two Triple Threat team members on the subject of 2015 goals... one from the deserts of Arizona and another jokingly "from the igloo." Next up is Sean McLean, representing Pennsylvania on our national team and residing in the metro Philadelphia area.

2015 Resolutions – Sayonara to the BOP*

As the resident Slow Dude™ on the team, with just a few triathlons under my belt – my goals for 2015 are pretty clear – get faster. Same goal as everyone else, right? I’m going with a two-pronged approach this year, both driven by consistency.

Training Consistency

Swimming: I can swim for a long time, really slowly. I’m finally going to bite the proverbial bullet and pay attention to swim training advice – as soon as I can decipher the workouts and learn how to use a pace clock! More intervals, more sets, and swimming more than twice a week. I’ll be spending lots of quality time at the pool with my new ROKA Sim suit this winter. 
I’m planning to pick up a wetsuit from ROKA as well, so I can stop giving up ‘free’ time. I'm also hoping to have a chance to do some open water swimming during the spring, and avoid having my first open water swim of the year be during a race.

Cycling: Before I took up running, riding a bike was the only athletic thing I was quasi-good at (take that with a giant grain of relativity). Trouble with applying that to triathlon for me was two things: 1. Sporadic event-specific training, and 2. Being afraid to over-bike a segment, which might net me a few minutes but hurt my already sub-par running. I’m starting structured indoor bike training now in order to have a solid base when the weather warms up again. I also bought a bike computer so I can see how fast I’m going, keeping me honest during my workouts when I can get back outside.

Running: I only started running a few years ago, so naturally I’ve got tons of room to improve. I have made some significant strides since I first started running, but year after year the progress I’ve made into the fall has vanished over the winter as I neglected the sport out of my loathesome relationship with treadmills and cold air. Not this year. I’ve invested in some proper cold-weather running gear, and I’m determined to start the spring running season in shape, rather than just starting up again. I’ve also finally invested in a ‘serious’ triathlon watch – the Suunto Ambit3. I'm looking forward to more structured workouts and making sure I’m keeping within the pace and HR parameters that will help me improve.

Nutritional Consistency

I'm really good at losing weight. I’m equally good at gaining weight. Coupled with not taking this winter ‘off’, I’m really going to focus on the nutritional side of things, and see if I can keep my weight chart from looking like a sine wave in 2015.

2015 Race Plans (so far)

TriRock Philadelphia (Sprint)
New York City (Olympic)
Atlantic City (International)

Road Races
Broad Street Run (10mi)
Philadelphia Half Marathon
Handful of Local 5/10Ks 

Tough Mudder? (would be #3 for me)

*For those unfamiliar with the BOP acronym, Sean is referring to "Back of the Pack"

Related Posts:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Should You Train When You're Sick??

Thanksgiving was great this year, with family coming in from the east coast and Texas for a nice gathering. Especially this time of year, when you pack a lot of people under one roof, the chance of germs spreading like wildfire increases dramatically. What seemed to start with my daughter soon was passed to me, my wife, dad, and brother-in-law. It was just your run-of-the-mill cold… sore throat turning to leaky faucet nose turning to cough, but I was feeling pretty run-down for a few days. From a training perspective the timing was good, as it was a planned recovery week for me anyways. However, I once again was faced with the age old question:

Should you or shouldn’t you train when you’re sick??

In a nutshell, I think the answer is “listen to your body.” When I feel a cold coming on, I almost always cut back volume and/or intensity, but it often helps me feel a lot better to get in a modified workout. This is of course on both a physical and psychological level. For example, I went for an easy ride last Wed, a group Thanksgiving Day run, and played a little basketball on Fri. I could tell that I wasn’t 100%, but it felt great to work up a sweat.

Listening to your body also means knowing when to pull the plug. Saturday for example I had wanted to get in a short bike and/or run, but I was feeling completely wiped out. The thought of powering through a workout sounded terrible, and all I wanted to do was lay down. In those situations you have to be disciplined enough to let it go and rest up.

In addition to my experiences, I did a little research on the subject and found the following general info & guidelines:

  • First of all, good news: fit people recover more quickly and experience milder symptoms than more sedentary folks according to various studies, yet another benefit of exercise
  • If you feel as if you're coming down with a typical cold you can still exercise without significant limitations
  • That said, obviously cut back if you feel worse after your workout. Take a few days off or reduce your effort to 50%.
  • Remember the “above-the-neck” rule: if your symptoms include a runny nose, dry cough or sneezing you should be fine to exercise. Rest if your symptoms are below the neck, such a chest congestion, muscle aches, upset stomach, etc.
  • Stay home if you have a fever, stomach symptoms or the flu
  • If you're wiped out with fatigue there's no reason to work out. Also remember you're contagious the first 5-7 days.
  • Rest allows your immune system to recover
  • The basics: get plenty of sleep, fluids, and use OTC medications to help with symptoms
  • Don't go 100% the first three or four days back. Start at 75% and increase gradually for the first week or so.

Happy (and healthy) training this Holiday Season!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Triple Threat Resolutions: From the Igloo

Arizona and Alaska may be polar opposites in terms of climate, yet the power of setting goals in this sport is the same no matter where you live. Whereas Kristen Lodge drew her 2015 goals in desert sands last week, here Joleen White chisels her own in Anchorage ice.

2015 Goals & Plan

I turned 40 in 2014- and everything I have been told about training, injuries, nutrition, etc. is all coming to fruition and not in the best way! The past couple of years I have considered my goals but not written them down. I believe my lack of follow through has taken me on a repetitious cycle, one that I would like to change! So I am writing my goals as a focal point for myself- and to keep my eye on the prize…

My 2015 race plan:

1. Get more 5k races in throughout the year, as well as TT’s & Hill climb bike races (May-September)
2. May- Gold nugget sprint triathlon
3. June- Eagle river sprint triathlon, Boise 70.3
4. July- ??
5. August- Lake Stevens 70.3

I would like to get two Ironman 70.3 races in this summer; Lake Stevens is easy to get to from Alaska and a beautiful course, and Boise is our team’s “Western Regional” event for 2015… I have also had Leadman on my calendar for 3 years but never made it, maybe this year??

  • Get my 500 swim time down to a 6’30  (editor’s note: daaaamnnn, girl!)
  • Get my Sprint tri time between 1’00-1’10 finish time
  • Break 5’20 Half Ironman*
*This means I need to get my half marathon time down to a 1’45. I am a strong runner, but tend to get into a rhythm and have a hard time keeping the tempo up.
  • Average 20+ MPH on my bike TT

The next 6 months is about:
  • Continue swim focus, communicate with coach
  • The gym: lifting and working core- keep a strong back this year
  • Keep focus on bike trainer throughout winter months
  • Getting my running mileage up and keeping it there
  • Getting lighter- which means less cheeseburgers and pizza (my weakness)
  • Staying injury free- listening to my body
  • Finding balance between training and family

I am training to my own schedule, so I hope that I am keen enough to meet these goals. More than anything, I am tired of feeling defeated. When I look at the end of each season I see what I intended to do and what I really did. I want more than anything to look back at my goals and see that I did the work- because I know if I do I could have one heck of a season!

Related Posts:

Triple Threat Resolutions: From the Desert

TTT Profile: Joleen "The Ice Queen" White

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving... Treat Yo Self

Just a quick post today to say Happy Thanksgiving. I'm giving all readers the benefit of the doubt ;) in saying that you've been training hard! Treat yourself to some of the good stuff and enjoy your time with friends and family.