Tri Coach Tuesday: Flexibility & Stretching

By Neal Mclaughlin, Mile High Multisport Coach

Not to be indelicate, but none of us is getting any younger, and flexibility tends to decrease with age. As we age flexibility becomes increasingly important for us to be able to continue to pursue the activities we enjoy. For example, orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, and physical therapists all agree that most foot, ankle, and lower leg injuries (like plantar fasciitis) are caused by lack of flexibility. Their remedy…stretch your calf muscles – often.

Stretching is a critical part of any fitness program, but it is important to understand when to stretch and which muscle groups to address. Generally speaking, stretching before a run, ride, swim, or group exercise class is a waste of time. When you stretch, you are effectively switching your muscles off, and telling them “the workout is over”. Also, cold muscles tend to be resistant to stretching. Instead, a dynamic warm up which uses movement to activate the muscles, gets the synovial fluid flowing in the joints, raise core temperature, increase heart rate and respiration rate is a more effective way to start a workout.

It is much more effective to stretch at the end of a workout, when muscles are warm, relaxed, and a bit fatigued. As you perform static stretches, you will hold the stretches for 15 to 30 seconds, and it is important to breathe deeply as you stretch. To assist in mitigating muscular imbalances, it is important to keep in mind that our muscles should be strengthened and stretched in opposition. If you stretch the quadriceps, you also need to stretch the hamstrings.

Depending on the activities you engage in, the following are important muscle groups (and tendons) that require attention:

      Calf muscles (both Gastrocnemius and Soleus)
      Quadriceps 
      Hamstrings
      Glutes
      Iliotibial Band 
      Hip Flexors 
      Back muscles
      Chest
      Shoulders
      Neck

Yoga and Pilates are two very helpful modalities for improving flexibility and balance, and there are many options for both. See your coach to help you learn how to stretch properly.

 

Original article here

Tri Coach Tuesday – Hormones, Muscles, and T Cells

by Coach Cindy Dallow, 2 Doc Tri Coaching

 

Most of you know that you need some kind of recovery drink or snack after a hard workout. However, you may not know why it’s necessary and/or what to eat or drink.

To better understand the need for recovery nutrition, let’s take a look at three things that occur inside your body during vigorous exercise:

Hormones Gone Wild

During high intensity exercise, levels of cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and glucagon surge in a grand effort to supply energy to the working muscle. As blood glucose levels drop, these hormones work together to stimulate glucose production by the liver. Cortisol levels, in particular, stay elevated for 30 to 60 minutes after we stop exercising and continue to catabolize protein and carbs even though we no longer need them for energy. Consuming a recovery drink or snack during this period of time will lessen the degree of protein degradation and depletion of glycogen stores.

Fire in the Muscle

During a hard run or ride, our muscles utilize three “branched-chain amino acids” (BCAA’s) to off-set the protein degradation and damage that naturally occurs with hard exercise. These BCAA’s are broken down in the muscle cell and used to generate ATP, which unbeknownst to most people, continues after exercise stops. To keep your body from having to breakdown more protein to get BCAA’s, you need to take in some “exogenous” protein in the form of food or beverage (aka recovery snack). Taking BCAA’s in supplement form is not as effective as getting them in food with “intact proteins”.

T-Cell Turmoil

Ever run a marathon and then gotten sick afterwards?  That’s because all that running (or any kind of hard exercise) temporarily lowers immune function which increases your susceptibility to infections. This occurs because cortisol and epinephrine suppress type 1 T-cell cytokine production which is vital for a strong immune system. Lowered immune function has been reported in exercise that lasts longer than 1.5 hours that is performed without nutritional intake during and after the exercise bout.

Nutrition can have a big impact on our immune system. For instance, a low intake of macro-nutrients (fat, carbohydrate, protein) or a low intake of specific micronutrients (zinc, selenium, iron, copper) can lower our resistance to infection. Aequate intakes of vitamins A, C, E, and B-6; and folic acid, zinc, iron, and copper help strengthen our ability to fight off illness or infection. These nutrients are found in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, meat, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

So, what is a good recovery snack or beverage?  Anything with a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein from nutrient-dense foods (see below for examples). The carbs will replace the glycogen you just used up and the protein will lessen the need for BCAA’s and help promote muscle synthesis.

Complete original post from 2 Doc Tri Coaching here

Tri Coach Tuesday: Race More

by Billy Edwards

Over the past few years, I have noticed a trend to get hyper-focused on training specifically for one event. To a fault, coaches get hired with the intent or goal of a season ending event like an ironman, half ironman or national or regional championship. Travel time and expenses of the event coupled with the pressure to produce a result by the athlete and sometimes the coach become the focus. The end-state or goal becomes singularly a place or a qualification or a time.

The proverbial journey should outweigh the destination. As a coach and athlete, I have seen the pitfalls of this kind of thinking. There ends up being so much pressure to produce that if the one event does not have achievement, the season is seen as failure. Development of the athlete as a whole should be the focus; results are a nice bonus and achievable if the proper development occurs.

I would implore both coaches and athletes to look to the local race calendar as a supplement to not only the training and skill development but also to have fun along the way. Quite often an athlete and coach get worried about how an additional race can take-away from focused training. However, when scheduled properly, even a local Dash N’ Dine 5k or Stroke n’ Stride can be shuffled into the overall development equation. These kinds of gatherings to be with like-minded people are the best part of our sport.

Goals can be shifted to individual sport effort, pacing, and skill development. A weekend local triathlon does not need to be done on rented race wheels or at peak condition. The athlete and coach can establish individual sport and skill goals that work to develop the athlete as a whole.

-Did the athlete best navigate the swim course?
-Given racing inspires better bike position- is a current fit comfortable?
-Did the athlete stay aero through particularly technical section of course?
-Were run race flats comfortable (without socks)? Was bike nutrition found to be sufficient for a good run?

Note that none of these focuses involved time or place and can be at least qualitatively measured. Plus, they are important for future events and overall athlete development.

Now, that I have made these recommendations, go look at the 303 Race Calendar and sign up for an upcoming triathlon or even swim or aquathon event and get it incorporated into the fun development journey of our sport.

Billy Edwards lives in Niwot and coaches the Collegiate National Champions, US Naval Academy Triathlon Team. Billy focuses on having performance development in sport complement life. USAT Level II and Youth and Junior Elite Coach, USAC Level II @billythekidtri or billy.edwards.mdot@gmail.com or billythekidtriathlete.com

Tri Coach Tuesday: Core & Hip Stability

Getting to the “Core” of the matter is essential to be a durable, faster, injury free athlete.

by Simon Bennett, APEX Coaching

 

As endurance athletes we put in many long hours training for our goal events and one of the biggest concerns is that an injury will pop up or linger impacting our ability to compete. How do most injuries happen? The simple answer is, muscle imbalances! Where do most of these muscle imbalances originate? Our body’s core, which is comprised of many central muscles including transversus abdominus, multifidus, the diaphragm and the pelvic floor.

The core muscles provide your spinal and central muscle systems with stability and also coordinate movement to your extremities. Without a strong core, we will not be able to keep the body standing or moving in the correct aligned position which will put the spine, arms and legs out of position and in a vulnerable stability pattern for movement and the possibility of injury.

A muscle imbalance, which is undetectable with the naked eye, can become a more serious problem causing another muscle group to compensate and leading to injury over time. Injury prevention is not the only benefit of a strong core, it also creates the right pathways for the muscles to fire in the correct patterns and improved core strength and proper muscle firing patterns produce faster training and racing times. One of the biggest benefits to your training and racing will be that the stronger your core, the longer you can hold proper technique and form.

Below are a listing of some of the ideal core and hip stability exercises that every endurance athlete should incorporate into their training at least twice a week for a faster, injury free racing season and beyond. Remember while executing these exercises to remain tall, shoulder down and back, pull your belly button towards your spin and tuck your tailbone under you.

 

Glute Bridge

How to Perform:

  1. Lie on your back on an exercise mat or on the floor, legs bent at the knee with feet flat on the floor.
  2. Raise your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line.
  3. Hold your bridge position for 30-60 seconds

 

Theraband Side Steps

How to Perform:

  1. While standing with feet shoulder width apart, loop theraband around both legs resting at mid calf.
  2. Bend at your knees slightly while stepping out to the side until the band is taut. Repeat with other leg.
  3. Perform 10 steps to the left, before changing direction and performing 10 steps to the right.

 

Side Plank

How to Perform:

  1. Lie on your side with legs out straight and feet together. Position elbow and forearm directly below shoulder.
  2. Raise hips until your body is in a straight line from head to toe while resting top arm on your hip.
  3. Hold your side plank for 15-30 seconds.

Theraband Monster Walk

How to Perform:

  1. While standing with feet shoulder width apart in a partial squat position, loop theraband around both ankles.
  2. In one motion step forward and then out to the side until the band is taut. Repeat with other leg.
  3. Perform a total of 12 steps before repeating.

 

Thera-Band Squat

How to Perform:

  1. While standing with feet shoulder width apart loop theraband around legs and position just above knees.
  2. Bend at the knees while keeping your torso as upright as possible, as if you were going to sit on a chair.
  3. As you lower keep the theraband taut, until thighs are almost parallel to floor. Complete 15.

 

Front Plank 

How to Perform:

  1. Position yourself face down on elbows and knees.
  2. Keep elbows under shoulders with hands clasped together, press up on toes while extending legs out straight. 3. Lower hips until head, shoulders, hips and feet are in a straight line. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

 

Side Plank with Bent Leg

How to Perform:

  1. Lie on your with knees touching and top leg out straight and bottom leg bent at 90 degrees.
  2. Positions elbow and forearm directly over shoulder, raise hips keeping head, hips and knees aligned.
  3. While keeping your body in this raised position, lift your top leg 45 degrees. Hold for 20-30 seconds.

 

Backwards Lunges

How to Perform:

  1. While standing tall with feet side by side, step backwards with one leg keeping torso upright.
  2. With hands on hips, bend back leg at the knee, allowing front leg to follow. Front knee not to extend over toes.
  3. Back knee will almost touch the floor. Repeat by lunge by alternating legs. Complete 15 on each side.

 

Opposite Arm & Leg Raise

How to Perform:

  1. Position yourself on your hands and knees at 90 degrees under your body. your back straight.
  2. While keeping head, shoulders, hips aligned raise your right arm and left leg out straight.
  3. Hold each arm and leg raise for 10 seconds. Repeat with opposite arm and leg. Complete 15 on each side.

 

Thera-Band Hip Clams

How to Perform:

  1. Lie down on your side with knees together and wrap theraband around both legs just above knees.
  2. With knees bent to both feet together with your lower leg remaining on the floor.
  3. Raise upper leg at the knee until the band is taut. Hold each for 5 seconds. Complete 12 on each side.

 

Complete original post here

Tri Coach Tuesday: Sneaky Little Sports Drinks

by Cindy Dallow, 2 Doc Tri Coaching

 

There’s a plethora of sports drinks on the market, and you’d have to be living under a rock not to know it. But are they really necessary? Do they deliver on what they promise? And is it possible to make your own sports drink for a lot less money?

Let’s take those questions one at a time. Are sports drinks necessary? For endurance athletes, yes.

For example, after prolonged exercise (longer than 60 minutes), sports drinks can help replenish electrolytes that the body loses through sweat. The predominant electrolyte we lose when we sweat is sodium, with its anion chloride coming in a close second. Sodium and chloride regulate the amount of fluids throughout your body, which affects blood pressure, blood volume, and cellular function. Thus, sodium chloride or “salt” is the most important ingredient in a sports drink.

If you’re a “salty sweater” – that is, someone with a high sweat rate – it’s especially important that you replenish sodium during and after intense activity. Fortunately, this is fairly easy to do with food as there are many sodium-containing foods in the typical American diet. However, it’s a bit harder to replace sodium while running because it’s hard to eat real food while running.  This is where sport drinks come in handy as it’s easier to drink than eat and for events less than two hours, most athletes can get all the sodium they need from a good sports drink. For longer events, a combination of different products can be utilized to replace the sodium lost in sweat.

It’s also important to make sure the product contains sodium chloride, as chloride is essential for regulating fluid balance. Interestingly, there’s a product on the market called Nuun Active that touts itself as having the “optimal blend of electrolytes for athletic performance”, but upon closer inspection, one finds that Nuun Active contains a combination of sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate that react with citrate to form sodium citrate (instead of sodium chloride). Why is that a problem? Because the primary side effect of sodium citrate is “tetany” or intense muscle spasms. Who needs that during a race? Why not just use sodium chloride since chloride plays a major role in fluid regulation?

So, what about potassium, calcium, and magnesium? Losses of these electrolytes in sweat are negligible so they really don’t need replacing during exercise. But many sport drinks contain them anyway – probably to make you think that you need them – but adding them only drives up the cost of the product.

 

Complete article here and a recipe for your own sports drink here

 

About Coach Cindy 

Cindy came from a running background as well. After finishing her 12th marathon, she realized that she needed some cross-training. At the age of 45, she learned how to swim in a pool and then a few years later, she took the plunge into open water swimming. Fast forward 8 years and she has completed dozens of sprint, Olympic, and 70.3 races, and 4 full Ironman races.

Cindy is a Registered Dietitian with a PhD in nutrition from Colorado State University. She is also a certified USAT triathlon coach and a certified intuitive eating counselor.

Tri Coach Tuesday: Self-Trust and Triathlon

BY Ross Hartley, USAT Coach

The person you talk to the most is not your significant other, not your son or daughter, not your best friend or even your dog — it’s yourself. This self-talk is fueled by your thoughts which then creates your attitude, and your attitude then influences your actions.

Self-Talk, Attitude, Actions.

This is a never-ending cycle that determines how you view the world and the events around you. This self-talk reveals one’s self-trust. Self-trust is belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations, also known as self-confidence and self-efficacy. Self-trust is the secret ingredient that can make or break one’s performance in a variety of situations, including triathlon.

A high level of self-trust is a requirement for success in triathlon. During the conversation one has in their head during training and racing, a belief in one’s self and performance is a necessity. Self-trust can be built, maintained and strengthened through consistent and intentional repetition, otherwise known as purposeful practice. Purposeful practice of self-trust consists of five steps:

1. Begin with the end in mind.

What do you want? To become? To do? Your future first begins as a narrative that your brain tells you. What are you telling yourself? I personally use and advise my athletes to use the goals-targets-outcomes framework. Goals represent items that are completely under your control (I’m going to follow my fueling plan during my IRONMAN). Targets are items that you have a little bit less control over but are directly related to your training and therefore can be predicted very closely (pace and time). Outcomes are items that you have the least control over and are actually an outcome of your goals and targets (qualification and pace).

2. Clarify and define the required process to achieve your previously stated goals.

This could be creating a clearly defined annual training plan that is built around your goals-targets-outcomes. The more clarity with the plan, the more likely they will be achieved. The key being to make the plan unambiguous and right on the edge of your current skills and desired skills — pushing the edge of your current capabilities.

3. Do the required work that your desired outcome requires. 

Quite simply, follow your annual training plan and complete your planned workouts. The not-so-popular secret to success: work as hard as you can for as long as it takes. Every desired outcome in your life has a required response. The bigger the desired outcome, the more difficult and longer it will take to give the required response.

4. Let your success in preparation fuel your self-trust during the race. 

Consistently and repeatedly training to the very best of your ability creates and fuels a courageous mindset. This is called acquired self-confidence. During the race, do what you have repeatedly done — revert back to your training and habits. Don’t prove how good you are, be how good you are.

5. Learn from the race and apply this knowledge for the future. 

The race outcome is feedback on your preparation. If you do not perform how you wanted to, that is the feedback that your preparation was not sufficient. Take this information and begin again more intelligently.

The best way to acquire self-confidence is to do exactly what you are afraid to do. Sometimes you act because you are confident. Your confidence fuels your actions. And sometimes you take action and then build your confidence because you have acted. Confidence is built by action. Both of these require action, you taking the first step to begin the process. Taking action leads to more actions. Opportunities multiply as they are chased.

Original USAT post here

Tri Coach Tuesday: IRONMAN Boulder – 16 Tips for Race Day Success

by Dave Sheanin, D3 Multisport Coach

 

Boulder is the perfect place for an Ironman, of course!  It’s home to some of the fastest professional and age group triathletes in the world, and the 18x collegiate national champion CU Triathlon Team.  Who wouldn’t want to race here? Nobody. Of course, you want to race here. Following is a course preview that includes specific tips I have gleaned from my experience on the course both racing and training.

 

PRE RACE

  • Remember that Boulder is at 5,430 feet above sea level–even higher than Denver, the Mile High City.  The air is thin up here and if you’re coming in from out of town, be sure to stay up on your hydration and don’t forget the sunscreen.

  • A big change for 2018 is going from two separate transition areas–to a single transition area at the Rez.  You’ll still take a bus from the high school to get to the Rez on race morning. This is the only way to get to the race start.  Ironman has a ton of buses and there usually isn’t much of a wait, but my strong recommendation is to arrive at the high school first thing.  Better to have a little extra downtime out at the Rez than be standing at the high school waiting for a bus.

SWIM

  • This is one of the best IM swims on the circuit!  Not because the water is crystal clear (it’s not) and not because it’s an ultra-beautiful venue (we locals think it’s just fine).  No, what makes this an awesome swim is that you swim north, then west, then south–in a single loop. What’s the big deal? Let me remind you that the sun rises in the east.  You’re never swimming into the rising sun.

  • IM uses a rolling start in Boulder so you’ll self-seed by time per the normal procedure.  In the past, this race has been held in August and the Rez typically heats up to or above the wetsuit threshold temp, but in June, I would expect the Rez to be in the mid-60s and wetsuit legal.

  • The course is very well marked and only has two turns (both lefts).  You’ll exit on a boat ramp then make a right to pick up your T1 bag and a U-turn to head into the change tents.

  • Do not skip the sunscreen volunteers as you exit the change tent and head to your bike.  It only takes a couple of seconds to get fully slathered–you’ll want that protection in the Colorado sun.

Complete article here

Tri Coach Tuesday: Get Out the Door, You’ll be Happy You Did

It’s early in the season, but sometimes that motivation just wains.  Coach Alison helps ‘Fire Up Your Motivation’

 

The D3 Triathlon Minute, Episode 107, Fire Up your Motivation from D3 Multisport on Vimeo.

 

Tri Coach Tuesday: Get Ready for your Run

D3Multisport Coach Mike demonstrates three of his favorites exercises for  activating your muscles prior to a run.  This is an important step toward having a smooth, strong run.

Triathlon Minute, Episode 109 – 3 Run Activations from D3 Multisport on Vimeo.