Success is sweaty. And it takes a plan. A training plan.
I can't live without mine. Coach Shane chose the plan I'm currently using as I prepare for World Champs and it makes life simple. I know I'm doing the right sessions and right recovery to get me to my goal; my only job is doing the work well.
My first plan was a paper one; how gratifying it was to cross off each session as I completed it. Then Coach moved me to Training Peaks (www.trainingpeaks.com) he can monitor my progress and tweak my training. Both Training Peaks and Garmin offer plans that work with the Garmin watch I have; but Training Peaks currently has a larger library of plans.
If you've never used a plan, I can't recommend one enough. When you search for a plan, consider the event you're training for, the level that you're at, how much time realistically you have per week to train and check if the plan's philosophy matches yours. For example, some offer higher intensity with lesser overall miles while others build upon longer distances. Some plans are designed for athletes over 40 (My Pro Coach just introduced one that looks good); some plans focus on heart rate only while others integrate power and pace.
When I first started doing triathlons, I printed out and used free plans. Let's face it: triathlon is an expensive sport - and I wasn't sure what I needed. There are free plans at https://www.triradar.com/training-plans/ . I have even checked out books at the library that contain training plans. But as I've progressed, I'm now willing to buy a plan because I know I'm going to spend a lot of my time and energy following it. I also find it handy to have my plan on my phone, via the Training Peaks app, so I have access to it anywhere. I've used plans by Matt Fitzgerald (author of "80/20 Running") and have been using plans by Phil Mosley (My Pro Coach) for the past year and a half. Because frankly, if I'm going to try this hard and sweat this much, I want to see results.
After a long run or ride, I'm too tired to think about what to eat, never mind fix it and eat it within 30 minutes. As you may know, there's that magical 30-minute window after a workout where your muscles are like sponges. They'll replenish their glycogen stores quickly if you feed them - and that sets you up for tomorrow's training. But if you're like me, and prefer to have real food instead of recovery drinks, it takes a bit of forethought. And a couple of pieces of toast.
Sports dietitians recommend 1.2g - 1.5g of high glycemic carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight and 20 - 40g quality protein within 30minutes for optimum recovery. Just to give you a feel for what it would take to hit those numbers, I've included some nutritional values below. While it would be interesting, I haven't measured and calculated what I eat.
My philosophy is to eat food that has both carbs and protein; and to let my hunger dictate the quantity. I have noticed that if I consume gels/sports drinks during my workout, my performance is better and my post-workout hunger is tempered. So I don't need as big of a recovery snack. Likewise, if I'm starving after a workout and eat a decent recovery snack, I won't be eating everything in sight (and I mean everything!) at dinner time. Between us, I'm starting to wonder if my body demands the same overall amount of food in a day, it's just a question of how I distribute it during the day that makes a difference to my performance and recovery.
Okay, philosophy aside. Here are some of my quick after-workout snacks. Top toast with:
1. Ricotta cheese, berries and honey.
2. Melted cheddar cheese and mango chutney.
3. Peanut (or almond) butter, banana slices and maple syrup.
4. Goat cheese, chopped nuts and honey.
5. Cream cheese, prosciutto ham and rocket (arugula)
6. Mashed avocado with feta cheese
7. Hummus, grated carrot and sliced cucumbers
8. Peanut (or almond) butter and chocolate chips.
If you're interested in the math, here are some approximate nutritional values to ponder:
If you'd like to read more, here are a couple of articles to check out:
-I'm sick. But smiling because the sun's on my shoulders and I'm riding my bike. Should I train when I have a cold? That depends on how I feel.
If I have no energy, no. I stay in bed. If I feel sorta okay, I'll hop on my bike for a easy recovery ride. I just seem to get better quicker if I do something. And there's some scientific validity to this.
As many of us know, the high levels of endorphins released during an intense session or race can weaken immune system. But some endorphins from lower intensity exercise can help our immune system. So keeping the intensity down is key to recovering from a cold. In addition, when your heart is pumping, it helps white blood cells circulate, oxygenate your muscles and raise your temperature slightly - all of which also help you get better. So a little bit of easy to moderate training has lots of benefits.
Perhaps the hardest part is knowing when you shouldn't do anything at all. Coach Phil Mosley who has written for numerous endurance magazines wrote an excellent blog at https://www.myprocoach.net/blog/should-you-train-when-youre-sick/ . While I typically prefer more scientific-based articles, like Coach Mosley's, I did find this Shape magazine article ( https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/how-get-rid-cold-lighting-fast) interesting because it gave a day-by-day account on how to treat your cold. I do think zinc helps but I haven't tried the other suggestions; let me know if they work for you.
And just like talking to a friend - not a doctor or an expert - about your cold, at the end of the day you need to do what is right for you. But hopefully we can all get back to training faster.
Don't laugh: I couldn't grab my water bottles on my TT bike. Me, the girl who competed at the UCI Gran Fondo World Champs. How could this be?!?
About a year ago, I rode with a bunch of women on a @bicycle_network ride and two women in our capable group couldn't ride and drink at the same time. Kate, our fearless leader, guided them through the process by breaking it down:
Given the water bottles on my TT bike were mounted behind me (gotta be aero, baby!), they presented two additional challenges: I couldn't see them and, to pull them out of their cage, I had to pull them up and AWAY from me.
With Kate's words in my head, I practiced pulling out my water bottles with the TT bike mounted on my trainer. The action was unnatural but after twenty+ attempts, I could sip water in my living room.
It was time to add steering to the mix. For that, I headed to my local velodrome but a large empty parking lot would work, too. Once I had a comfortable pace going, I reached back and pulled out a bottle. Feeling cocky, I skipped a couple of Kate's steps, took a good gulp and tried to put it back. Big mistake. I pedalled four laps of the velodrome single-armed, blindly trying to find the slot for my bottle.
Aaaughh. I was tempted to pitch the bottle in the grass; who needs it anyway?!? The problem was: I did. In a couple of weeks I was going to do a half Ironman and being able to hydrate during that 90km bike was crucial. By now, another rider had pulled up alongside of me. "No, it's further back. Go the right," he encouraged me, acting as my eyes. I still couldn't find it and then, suddenly, I did.
I went back to Kate's step-by-step method and, at the end of two hours, I had a 90% success rate. My cute riding socks say "Joy rides" but real Joy is being able to drink while you ride.
âIf cadence helps your power on the bike (it does!), watch this video
âand see what cadence (or strokes per minute) can do for your swim.
Okay, yummmm. I'm calling them recovery food because they're loaded with carbs (dates) and protein (peanut butter). And, well, they're easy to make, grab and go; they're filling and they taste good.
Like most cyclists and triathletes, I'm striving to improve my ride. That means increasing my power, which seemed like a such a fuzzy thing until I saw this:
I sweat; my clothes s.t.i.n.k.
Yes, I wear antiperspirant 😂. Yes, I try to wash my workout clothes the same day I sweat in 'em 😅. But, over time, some of my beloved items have acquired a certain...umm...reek that washing doesn't remove.
The solution: soak them in 1 part white distilled vinegar and 4 parts cold water for 30 minutes before washing 💦. This was just one tip I gleaned from "11 Ways to Get The Sweat Smell Out Of Your Workout Clothes" by Kristin Canning at the Women's Health Magazine website https://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/a27059552/how-to-get-sweat-smell-out-of-gym-clothes/
So I tried it. I mixed 2 cups of vinegar and 8 cups of water in a plastic bucket. It wasn't a lot of liquid (I didn't have any more vinegar on hand) so I soaked my clothes in batches. Then I tossed them in the washing machine. I added two-thirds my usual amount of laundry detergent (less is more when it comes to cleaning workout clothes as Kristin mentioned in another tip) and washed them. And woohoo!🤗 - it worked.
Read her article to learn more about how to clean those high performance fabrics.
When your chest and waist are one size; and your hips (okay…butt 😂) are another, it’s hard to know what size tri suit to order. That was my quandary today because I can't try this one on. In the end, I let the centimeters decide: only 1-2cm off the butt if I went with the smaller size but 5-6cm off my chest and waist if I went for the larger size. The boobs and waist won; I ordered the smaller size.
Why wouldn’t I just go with the larger size? Because I’ve found that if the tri suit is too big, it moves - and that can cause chafe. Owww. In addition, I don’t want to drag around any extra fabric on the swim. Fingers crossed I don’t regret my decision on race day and split a seam! 😂
If you’re going to buy a tri suit, I definitely recommend trying it on - preferably with your sports bra - before buying it. Move around in it. Do some freestyle in the changing room; jog around the store. Besides thinking about the fit and your range of motion in it, check to see if any of the internal seams chafe. I have to use Glide with one of mine for that very reason.
If you’ve never bought a tri suit, the “Women’s tri-suit buyer’s guide” written by Alison Hamlett a couple years ago at www.220triathlon.com/gear/gear-guides/womens-tri-suit-buyers-guide/8603.html has some other points to consider, especially if you think you might need to go to the bathroom on course 😉. (Hint: think two-piece suit and not one)