Saturday, September 29, 2012

9 Tools For Boosting Mental Toughness

9 Tools For Boosting Mental Toughness

I am learning that the mental part of racing is probably just as important as the physical. Train for those difficult moments!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Importance of Weight Training

Things have been really busy for me since I completed my first two half marathons early this year. I have worked a lot of overtime and there have been a lot of family things going on as well. Recently I have started marathon training too. Running with my friends and pushing my running during the week has been great for my running! I just finished the Toughest 10K Kemah which is four bridge repeats in 1:09:25, which I am really happy with. Since then I have also run a whole hour with no walk break, something I thought I would never do.

I have also bee eating about 80% on the Paleo Diet, dropped a pants size, and got under 200 lbs! Most days anyway.

BUT... I have not been lifting. I know from past experience this is not good for my body... and in my race photos from Kemah I could actually see the difference. Check this out.

Lucky Trails Half Marathon - March 2012
Toughest 10K Kemah - Sept 2012

Call me crazy, but I look better and fitter in the old picture where I was heavier. The difference? I was lifting before the older picture, but not before the newer one.

After seeing my race pictures, I headed back to the gym this week. First up: Squats of course! I started with 95 lbs... which I thought would be easy since my warmup weight back at the beginning of the year was 135, then I'd work up to 185. By the 4th set my hamstrings were cramping so much I had to call it a workout.

So, lesson learned! Don't quit lifting! Running is no substitute. Lifting is even MORE important during times of weight loss, not to lose muscle mass.

My plan is to keep running, training for the marathon but re-introduce lifting at least twice a week. Three times if I can fit it in. The added strength is only going to help carry my through the marathon!



Just a quick post on something I have found useful. For the last few years I have practiced balancing on one leg to do things such as get dressed and put on shoes and socks. I don't always do it for shoes, but enough that I can still get by. I should work on that more. I found that if you make it part of your daily routine, after a while you don't need to hold onto things to do it. I see several benefits in this:
  • It build the stabilizer muscles in the legs, and the neural pathways to control them. This at least theoretically could help you to not fall in a tripping situation, etc.
  • It allows you to get dressed at the gym without touching the benches, at least until you have your pants on. :)
  • In a triathlon, you can transition without sitting down. Yankz on your run shows make this super easy.
To do it, just practice crossing the lifted leg across the knee of the other leg. Then you can bend and reach it. You'll probably need something to hold onto to start with, but not after a while.

It's part of hacking me by integrating something useful into your daily life. :)


Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Little Science Behind Propulsion

A Little Science Behind Propulsion

Interesting article on how propulsion is just as important as minimizing drag. Complete with a graph for us data geeks! Its interesting that slower movement is less efficient, even for fish. But that makes sense to me, I have noticed it is easier to move in the water when pushing hard, it just requires more swim fitness. So, swimming harder should be in the plan, not trying to make it feel 'effortless'.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Patience Is a (Training) Virtue

Patience Is a (Training) Virtue by

This is a pretty cool article on training. It really steps back and puts things in perspective. It's what I keep telling me daughter over and over when she says she is not good at something... practice and you will get better.

Here's an excerpt:
One of the best training analogies I’ve ever read is by Mike Boyle. He said training is like farming. You do all these things today that you can’t see producing a result in the hope of a future payoff. You plant the seeds, water and fertilize, and scare away the birds, all in the hope that one day some little green shoots will pop through the soil.

And another interesting one:
Lance Armstrong has a saying that if you’re training over seventy percent you’re not building yourself up, you’re breaking yourself down. It’s like putting money in the bank. Each session done right builds your fitness bank account up - slowly accruing fitness session-by-session, day-by-day. Go too hard too often and you wind up having to use your credit card. The only problem with using your credit card all the time is sooner or later you wind up in debt. The problem becomes that in training terms “debt” means injury, illness, and burn out. You can’t deficit spend on fitness.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hacking the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine

The Kurt Kinetic Road Machine is a fantastic bike trainer. Donna uses it for club "mad spin" classes during the winter, and I do the occasional Spinervals workout. She also takes it to work to get in lunchtime workouts. In the spring we put the kid's bike adapter on it for Cassie, and she gets to use it as part of our club's "Next Gen" youth development program. Fantastic!

BUT, there is one thing that makes this a pain in the butt to transport. When you fold it up, the resistance device contacts the frame. This scratches the frame and rattles as the car goes over bumps. Not cool!

The spring doesn't have any limiter to keep the resistance unit from moving in to touch the frame.

Enter the hacker.... 15 minutes and a piece of scrap PVC later... This will let you tighten the resistance unit down so it won't rattle or contact the frame.

 I had to smush the PVC a little in the vise to make it fit into the slot in the resistance unit.

I cut out a notch to fit around the slot where the end of the threaded rod goes.

No more contact!

Tightened down and read for non-rattling transport.

Next, we will be trying this with Trainer Road, which will provide estimated power while you are using it. For the fellow techno-geeks, Kurt publishes the power curve here. I'm sure this is a general estimate, maybe one day I can borrow a power meter and compare it to see how close it gets. Anyway I am sure it is better than nothing!