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!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Swimming and the Crossfit Games

Swimming and the CrossFit Games: Why Is It Everyone's Weak Link?

Good to know I am not the only one with a  not so wonderful view of swimming. LOL

But  Shana Alverson puts it very well here:

    I think, based on my experience, I've done all the wrong things by avoiding an unpleasant goat. I am going to have to quit being such a whiney little bitch and really have to resolutely attack it, just like any other weakness, this year. And I guess I would suggest that to anyone in the same boat.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hacking Me: Bruce Lee Style!

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”- Bruce Lee

I think Bruce Lee would approve of my "Hacking Me" approach.To me, that is really what he is saying here... figure out what works for you.

Bruce didn't just find a great style martial art, master it, and stop there. He looked at other styles and incorporated elements to make a style all his own. His base style Wing Chun was pretty damn kick ass on its own to begin with!

Wing Chun has an interesting story you can go read at that link. Since it was designed for a woman to protect herself against a man, there are no high kicks... the women at the time wore long skirts. So Bruce Lee adapted his famous kicks from another style. 

So does this have anything to do with training for triathlon/running/cycling/whatever? Sure it does! You hear a lot of opinions on what the best way to train is... much of it is 'bro science' based on gym heresay. So I say follow Bruce Lee's advice... try it for yourself and then "adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own."


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

Intervals Vs. No Intervals

I was talking to my buddy about the marathon training the other day about running intervals. He only runs without walk breaks, I was trying to convince him otherwise. He says he feels like he has given up if he stops to walk. OK, we'll see how long that works for him...

Anyway, per my usual engineering mentality I did a little test of my own. Disclaimer: this is only two data points under not exact conditions so yeah it may not always produce the same results. There are lots of variables. But its a start.

Run 1: Saturday 8/4 8:52 PM No Walk Breaks 44:31 3.80 mi 11:42 min/mi
Run 2: Monday 8/6 8:32 PM With Walk Breaks 44:48 3.89 mi 11:31 min/mi

So, not that much different in time... slightly better with the breaks. Mentally I was thinking I could run harder since I had the break coming up on Run 2. I was always trying to conserve on Run 1, but that is also the furthest I have run with no walk breaks... so there is lack of experience there.

Anyway, I plan on keeping the breaks for the most part and just extending them longer... to say one mile. It would be nice to just run between the water stations in a race.


Saturday, August 4, 2012


My buddy Tom was a cross country runner in high school. He rarely runs now, but once in a while we do a 5K together. Of course he still beats me. He IS several years younger and probably 50 lbs lighter too though. LOL

So out of the blue the other day he says he wants to do a marathon. He even looks up a training program online, which really surprises me. He doesn't spend much time on the internet. And as the father of two boys under 10, it isn't like he has a ton of free time these days.

I had really never thought about doing a marathon. But since I managed to do my first half marathon this year, I don't consider it outside the realm of possibility. Yes, I have been wishy-washy about what kind of racing I want to do, but running is something I know I like doing. So why not? One more thing I can do and say I have done!

Is it a 'hell yeah!'? The race itself, probably not. But I see it as a means to propel me further toward my 'hell yeah!' goal as long as I do it right! :)


Hacking Me: Hell Yeah!

I'm a hacker by nature. I can look at just about anything and start thinking about how I could make it better, or use it for some other purpose. I guess it is natural that I turned out to be an engineer. Even though I am an electrical engineer and do software development now in my day job now, I still have an interest in the mechanical stuff too. I have lots of ideas for projects, though I rarely have time to apply the ideas.

Take my major project for example, I have a completely stripped 1970 Mach 1 in my garage that I am doing major rust repair on. Major being probably half the metal on the car unibody shell itself will be replaced before I am done. If I ever get done... no time... no money... etc!

Then there's my new bike Venom... can I just go out and buy a bike? Nooooo, I gotta buy a frame, parts, and put it all together myself! (update coming soon)

One of my favorite web sites is Lifehacker. Recently they had an article that I really liked about how we say 'yes' to things that we really don't want to do. I know I am really bad about that. Check out the article here. Basically we need to get better about not saying 'yes' unless we can say 'hell yeah!' This has really started me to rethink about my venture into triahtlon. I have never been able to definitely say why I want to do triathlon. Is the next race a 'hell yeah'? No, not usually. So why? Why do it?

Then I read Donna's view on the same article... maybe that hits it closer, I just have not been hungry for it.

Enter Lifehacker again with a post about mind mapping. Wait, what? Mind mapping? Now THAT got me thinking! Maybe the brain is hackable too. At least taking the time to see how something ticks is the first part of modifying it. :) I ended up not liking the software from the post, but it at least got me thinking and that is good. What are my goals? What are my reasons? What makes me tick?

Then something finally came to me... it isn't so much the race itself that flips the 'on' switch in my brain... it's things like seeing improvements in my body, feeling my clothes get looser, feeling that sense of accomplishment when I do finish a race, seeing my distances get longer in my training logs, and seeing my times drop for old distances. Maybe that is why I have not fully enjoyed most of the races I have entered, I always felt pressure that I wasn't quite 'ready'. Maybe I was just looking for the wrong feeling.

So, moving forward I need to focus on the things that give me the good feelings and avoid the negative pressure feelings about 'must get ready for race'. Life is the race, nothing else really matters. Don't laugh but this reminds me of one of my daughter's favorite Hannah Montana songs: The Climb.

Now I am thinking about the athlete I want to be... not just a runner, not just a triathlete, not just a weightlifter, not just a cyclist... but a hacked creation all my own. HELL YEAH! (a much more Darren-like song!)

What's your 'hell yeah'?