And other top myths and truths about running in the cold.
Winter running breeds some interesting misconceptions, so we decided to get the straight story. We enlisted the help of one of the key scientists studying cold-weather workouts: John Castellani, Ph.D., research physiologist at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Mass. See if you can separate the truths from the lies below—and stay warm and fit all winter.
Winter running burns more calories. True or False. Sorry, put the French fries down. Unless you’re running through snow or mud, you’re not burning any more calories than when you run in any other season. Sure, research shows that shivering and very heavy clothes do cause you to burn more calories. But by “heavy clothes,” researchers are talking about army boots and hiking gear, not your winter shell with titanium thermo-regulating technology.
Cold makes you pee more, so you’re more likely to get dehydrated.True or false. Well, the first half is true: Cold can create what researchers call cold-induced diuresis (CID), meaning you pee more when your body meets cold air or water. When your skin gets cold, blood is shunted away from your skin and redirected to your core. “With more blood in the thorax, the heart says, ‘I have too much fluid on board and need to get rid of some of it,’” says Castellani. But exercise, even at a moderate intensity, prevents CID.
Moving the blood to the core also makes your body think you have enough fluids on board. You need to be smart about replacing what you’re losing, but don’t go crazy: Unless you’re overdressed, you won’t need as much water as you would on a 90-degree day with 80 percent humidity.
The fitness mantra, you must ‘use it or lose it!’ might be a bit of a cliché, but it turns out that this saying perfectly sums up one of the key principles of fitness and exercise – reversibility. At a time of year when it’s tempting to leave the bike in the shed, it’s even more important to maintain fitness.
So long as you train, you can maintain and (hopefully) build your fitness levels. However, stop training and your fitness levels will steadily decline.
The obvious question that you might therefore ask is, “How much fitness will I lose if I decide to take a break, or if I’m forced to stop training because of injury or illness? And how rapidly will this fitness loss occur?” To answer this, it’s important to understand that there are several different components of fitness, including muscular strength, muscular endurance and cardiovascular – heart, lung and circulatory – endurance.
Stop training and the performance decline in each of these components will take place at different rates. So let’s take an imaginary well-trained cyclist and observe what happens to their body over a period of six months following the complete cessation of training.
Day 0 This is your last training day for the next six months. After today’s ride, you store your bike away, hang up your cycling shoes and join the bulk of Britons who do no regular vigorous exercise whatsoever!
Day 3 After three days of inactivity, you might expect that your fitness has already begun to decline. In reality, however, the losses at this stage are very small. If you had been training hard prior to day 0, after three days of rest, your cycling fitness is now probably enhanced.
That’s because in those three days, your muscles have had time to fully recover; muscle carbohydrate stores (glycogen) have been topped up, muscle fibres damaged during hard training have been fully repaired, and favourable metabolic changes in the muscles have had time to occur.
Indeed, this peak in performance after a few days of rest is exactly the reason why tapering works, and why you shouldn’t train right up to the day of a big event.
Day 7 (Week 1) After a week’s complete inactivity, changes begin to occur in the body that result in fitness losses. For example, after three days, your blood volume can be reduced by five to 12 per cent. This means a decrease in the amount of blood your heart can pump – both in terms of amount of blood pumped per beat and total blood volume per minute.
As winter approaches in the Northern Hemisphere some athletes will spend most of their cycling time indoors. Often indoor cycling workouts turn into hammer sessions where athletes push themselves so hard that they forget about the importance of technique and form.
Here are my top 5 tips to ensure that you’re making the most of your indoor sessions.
Last winter I was on a long base training ride, and I felt generally awful. At first, I blamed my much higher-than-normal heart rate on fatigue, or perhaps a dying HRM battery. But after a couple of days off the bike, and more closely monitoring my heart rate in general, I decided something still didn’t seem right.
A visit to my primary car doctor and a quick EKG resulted in a speedy referral to a cardiologist. Long story short, the diagnosis was Persistent Lone (or Idiopathic) Atrial Fibrillation or AFib. “Persistent” meaning my heart was in a state of AFib all the time; “Lone” or “Idiopathic” meaning that (with no commonly recognized risk factors) the cause was unknown.
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a heart condition characterized by an irregular and often rapid heart rate. It’s not lethal on its own, but it can increase your risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. The American Heart Association estimates that at least 2.7 million Americans are living with the disorder. Traditional risk factors include what most would expect for heart conditions: congenital defects, age, heart disease, excessive stress, and stimulant use. However recent evidence suggests that long-term endurance sports training might also be a significant factor.
I am not a doctor, and my intent is not to contribute to the debate around AFib and endurance athletes. The purpose of this article is instead to raise awareness, and to provide some lessons learned through my firsthand experience with AFib, in hopes of helping athletes better-identify and deal with the issue if it arises.
Know What’s Normal
In my case, the doctors cited my quick identification of a potential problem (and seeking of medical attention) as critical factors in what would ultimately be a successful correction procedure. Like many athletes, I have a good understanding of what I “should“ be seeing with my heart rate relative to power and perceived effort, and was able to quickly identify that something was wrong. For performance, monitoring HR is becoming less prevalent, but there is a lot of value in consistently using it for insights into your overall health. (Here’s how to get started with a Heart Rate Monitor).
It’s not the first time that Tim Don has been written off!
After we (and indeed, Tim himself), assumed that his attempt to qualify for the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii was over after his DNF at Sunday’s IRONMAN Copenhagen left him just outside the automatic qualifying slots in the Kona Pro Rankings (KPR), news here from Tim himself that the dream is still alive.
The past weekend represented the final weekend of qualifying, and from Tim’s Instagram post (below), with athletes ahead of him not taking up their option, he has indeed earned his place on the start line at Dig Me Beach on Saturday 13th October.
We expect the full details of the final Kona start list will be published relatively soon.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon and the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) have partnered to host the first-ever paratriathlon camp in Colorado Springs dedicated to athletes with visual impairments. Ten triathletes and ten guides from across the U.S. will travel to the U.S. Olympic Training Center to participate in the three-day camp, set for Thursday, August 23, through Saturday, August 25.
The camp will focus on the para-specific dynamics of swimming, biking and running, as well as other aspects of triathlon performance (basic nutrition, transitions, goal-setting, etc.). Coaches will include seven-time ITU Paratriathlon World Champion Aaron Scheidies (Seattle, Wash.), 2017 USA Paratriathlon Coach of the Year and Paralympic Head Coach for Team USA, Mark Sortino (Boise, Idaho), and USA Triathlon certified coach, tandem pilot and triathlete Amanda Leibovitz (Bellingham, Wash.).
Visual impairment is one of six paratriathlon categories recognized by the International Paralympic Committee and includes athletes who are totally blind and athletes who are partially sighted but legally blind. Triathletes with visual impairments compete alongside a guide. During the swim, the guide and athlete are tethered together — usually at the thigh or hip. The athlete then rides behind his or her guide, or pilot, on a tandem bike before finishing the race on foot with a tether connecting athlete and guide.
The following athletes, among others, will be available for media interviews:
Lindsay Ball (Benton, Maine)represented the U.S. at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in alpine skiing. She is a two-time U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing national champion and was the 2012 Winter Park IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup bronze medalist. Ball completed her first triathlon in 2010, and is now beginning to pursue the sport competitively.
Kyle Coon (Carbondale, Colo.) has been a triathlete since 2015. He has completed three long-course (IRONMAN 70.3) and two ultra-distance (IRONMAN) triathlons, in addition to several sprint and Olympic-distance events. Coon’s best long-course finish came at IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder last year, when he won the men’s physically challenged division covering the 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run in 5 hours, 11 minutes, 9 seconds.
Michael Somsan (Gilbert, Ariz.) is a retired U.S. Army First Lieutenant who lost his vision to a gunshot wound in 1995. Somsan was the top finisher in the men’s physically changed division at the 2016 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. He has also completed IRONMAN Arizona (2015), IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside (2016) and several sprint and Olympic-distance triathlons.
MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES: Media representatives are invited to capture coverage of the camp and/or conduct interviews with participants to help raise awareness about the sporting opportunities available to individuals who are blind and visually impaired, and how these athletes’ lives are being positively impacted through sport.
A tentative list of opportunities is outlined below. Training sessions may be altered depending on weather and scheduling. Please contact Caryn Maconi (USA Triathlon) or Courtney Patterson (USABA) if you would like to attend any of the training sessions.
Thursday, Aug. 23:
4-6 p.m. Run Session (Roads TBD)
Friday, Aug. 24:
8-11 a.m. Bike Skills/Ride (Roads TBD)
1-3 p.m. Swim Session – Outdoor Pool at U.S. Olympic Training Center*
Saturday, Aug. 25:
8-11 a.m. Bike Skills/Ride (Roads TBD)
1-3 p.m. Swim Session – Outdoor Pool at U.S. Olympic Training Center*
3-4 p.m. Transition Skills (Roads/OTC)
Boulder, Colorado USA: Rachel Joyce, professional triathlete; 2017 IRONMAN Boulder Champion, and Dana Platin, leadership coach and founder of The Warmi Project, are collaborating on an innovative local workshop series. Each workshop offers a unique blend of practical triathlon skills and mental tools designed to have an immediate benefit on performance. The series will take place at the University of Colorado, Boulder Recreation Center and single workshop registration is available:
Swim Braver Workshop: Sunday May 20 10:00am-3:00pm
Bike Bolder Workshop: Sunday June 3 10:00am-3:00pm
Run Stronger Workshop: Sunday June 24 10:00am-3:00pm
The Swim Braver session will develop the ability to squash the inner critic and lead with a BRAVER self-mentor both on and off the race course. The Bike Bolder session will progress the courage needed to push the comfort zone in order to fear less, take calculated risks, and move BOLDER through life. The Run Stronger session will explore the top three strategies to crush
goals to run STRONGER in life.
“Since transitioning from the corporate world to professional triathlon in 2005, I have learned a huge amount about swimming, biking and running,” said Rachel Joyce. “I understand how the development of everyday skills are essential to truly showcase fitness in the triathlon arena. I am excited to share my experiences through the Braver Bolder Stronger workshops and to be partnering with Dana Platin. Dana’s depth of knowledge and women’s leadership portfolio emphasizes the relevance of mental tools, which is often the missing piece of the jigsaw.”
“Human Interest Group is proud to support this engaging workshop series,” said Heather Nocickis, “Rachel and Dana have created a relevant, effective content program based on their respective paths to success. The result of their vision for women’s leadership is a blueprint that builds confidence and drives change, empowering others to break through barriers – in sport or in the corporate arena.”
“As a passionate, avid athlete, I use my participation in triathlons, cycling, and mountaineering as a way to set personal goals that push my limits beyond what I thought was possible,” says Dana Platin. “Personal triumphs and setbacks have taught me about gratitude, grit, and grace. My 20-years in leadership development, training, and program management are lessons learned for other women aspiring to crush their fear to accomplish their goals. I am thrilled to
partner with Rachel Joyce on this powerful experience that uses the journey of triathlon to tap into that braver, bolder, stronger version of ourselves.”
Each workshop will kick off with a challenging physical component. The swim/bike/run training sessions will be coached by Rachel, instructing on technique and key skills specific to triathlon, such as open water sighting and adapting swim strokes for different conditions; climbing and descending proficiency on the bike; and, finishing with a strong run in the final leg of a triathlon.
This will be followed by lunch and refreshments. Dana will advance discussion during the afternoon sessions, further examining potential barriers to empowerment and those tools and choices that contribute to success and define what braver, bolder, stronger means for women’s leadership and participation.
About Braver Bolder Stronger: Braver Bolder Stronger Workshops is a partnership between Rachel Joyce, Dana Platin and The Human Interest Group. For more details and event registration, click HERE.
Parking for Workshops
The workshops will take place at CU Student Recreation Center, located at 1855 Pleasant Street in Boulder, CO. We recommend parking at Lot 169 (free parking on weekends) or the Folsom Field Parking Garage (paid parking) as shown here.
Reverse the negative effects of exercise with this protocol even a 5-year-old could follow.
by Susan Kitchen
Endurance athletes such as runners and triathletes are the first to tout the benefits of exercise, or “training,” as the more serious among us call it. Surely, the purpose of training is to improve aerobic endurance, muscle adaptation, and strength, resulting not only in performance gains, but general health and well-being as well.
But like all medicines, training—especially at the level seen in long-course endurance sports—also puts stress on the body. This is knows as oxidative stress, or more colloquially, inflammation.
Inflammation is a bit of a buzz word in health these days, but put simply, it has to do with the effects of stress on the body. Exercise causes micro traumas to our muscles, connective tissue, joints, and bones (which allow our bodies to adapt and our fitness to improve), but also the release of cortisol, the most prominent stress hormone. All of these natural responses have their place, but without the proper recovery, sleep, and nutritional support, the inflammatory response can persist over time and lead to injury or illness.
The market is flooded with tools to combat inflammation, and it’s easy to throw money at the feel-good quick fixes. The most powerful antioxidants can be found right under our noses, however, and don’t cost a fortune. In fact, you probably have some laying around in your kitchen right now.
Grant Ranch will offer swimmers an opportunity to train for their upcoming events or to simply practice their open water skills. There will be two courses available, 1/2 mile triangle or a 1.2 mile loop. Grant Ranch is free of motorized boats, which allows for a very safe environment.
Grant Ranch Address:
7255 West Grant Ranch Boulevard
Lakewood, CO 80123
Open Water Swim Days/Times: May 19th – September 9th
Tuesdays, May 22nd – Sept. 4th – 5:30AM – 7:00AM (Must be out of water by 6:50 AM Thursdays, May 24th – Sept. 6th – 5:30AM – 7:00AM (Must be out of water by 6:50 AM) Saturdays, May 19th – Sept. 8th – 7:00AM – 9:30AM (Must be out of water by 9:20 AM) Sundays, May 20th – Sept. 9th – 5:30AM – 9:30AM (Must be out of water by 9:20 AM)
NO SWIMMING DATES (swim meets at Grant Ranch) – June 9th, July 7th and July 14th
Drop In, Punch Passes and Season Passes are available.
All the details and swim waiver can be found on the SwimLabs websiteHERE
The triathletes mantra is everything aero. We buy aero helmets, aero wheels, aero frames, wear tight clothes because they are aero, many of us even have aero drink bottles. We epitomize the Team Sky Race Director, Sir Dave Brailsfords’ now infamous “Marginal Gains”.
As I rode home the other day, I turned from CO52 onto 95th and got caught by the wind, it was blowing really hard from the west. Ahead of me were a couple of cyclists, you could see they were battling to stay upright as the wind blew across the fields and caught them square on. Before we got to Lookout I’d passed both of them. They both could have helped themselves in the wind by being more aero.
Once on Lookout, heading east, with the wind to my back I could see another cyclist ahead, and soon doing 45MPH, I passed him too, and yes, he too could use some help even though he was going fast. So here are my bike aero do’s and don’ts.
DON’T: Ride with your elbows locked. There is almost never a good reason to ride with your elbows locked. If you do the road vibrations travel straight to your neck and upper back causing fatigue.
DO: Soften your elbows. Bending at the elbows reduces your height, and helps flatten out your back
DON’T: Ride with your palms on the brake hoods.
DO: Ride with your hands back from the hoods, soften your elbows, keep your head up
DON’T: Ride sitting up, elbows locked, just because the wind is at your back!
DO: Use your drops, or if you are comfortable, lean on your handlebars, again soften your elbows, and if you have a traditional long nose bike seat, shift forward.
DON’T: Let your limbs stick out. No matter which way the wind is blowing, or even if there is no wind, let your elbows and knees stick out.
DO: Soften your elbows, keep your arms tucked in, and keep your shoulders narrow.
DON’T: Attack hills from the bottom! There is nothing worse than “blowing-up” two thirds of the way up the hill.
DO: Pace yourself, nobody ever says I could have taken that hill faster! Use your gears wisely, don’t run out straight away.
DON’T: Battle up a hill in the same bike position.
DO: Make use of all the muscle groups. As a triathlete, you have to run off the bike. Again, traditional saddle? Slide back on the saddle, move your hand to the middle of the bars, don’t forget to soften the elbows.
Finally, use those gears. Remember, cycling is about motion, not muscle.