breaking away....

Friday, April 29, 2011

Antibiotics and Tendon Ruptures in Athletes

As a coach it is important to know when someone is sick. They should be reducing their volume and going easy only. They should increase their rest time and respect the bodies need for recovery. It they have been to the doctor and perscribed an antibiotic, they have now crossed over into an area where "Shit is going to happen!"

Firstly the doctor perscribing the medicine when asked by the athlete if they should do anything different while on the drug should be informed of its potential to devestate the body, this is usually not discussed. Then the pharmacy should cover the issues as well. The athlete should speak up and say they are "an athlete". This is usually a problem as most people who train for an event like Triathlon think athletes are people who win triathlons, not so, you are an athlete, you train for an event, it is your right to be called an athlete and it also allows your doctor and pharmacist to correctly handle your needs, chances are they will miss this as well.

So now you are handed a sheet of paper which you look at and fold up for in case your throat closes later you can look up the side effects. This is a bad approach, most people who have taken drugs before figure no problem it is the same stuff. Take time to look after your health, you need to be proactive, your life is in your hands, your Doctor, your Pharmacist, your Coach are there to assist you to make choices, ultimately you make the choice in the end that you have to live with, so take the time to inform yourself.

I looked up Cipro on line to see what it has and under side effects, it doesn't mention tendonitis or tendon rupture, you would think it would be there. They have a different page called warning, if you need to provide a warning the information should also be under side effects, it is caused by the drug it should be there as well. The warning is meant to be the highest priority, but some people go straight to side effects and miss the important warning.

WARNING: This medication may rarely cause tendon damage (e.g., tendonitis, tendon rupture) during or after treatment. Your risk for tendon problems is greater if you are over 60 years of age, if you are taking corticosteroids (such as prednisone), or if you have a kidney, heart or lung transplant. Stop exercising, rest, and seek immediate medical attention if you develop joint/muscle/tendon pain or swelling.

This warning was just copy and pasted off of if you want more information on the drug, please refer to this site. There are as always in the US class action suits going on for damages, there are a few regarding this issue, and I am afraid their claim of over 60 year of age is incorrect, it can happen to you.

The drug softens the tissue of people who take it. Add athletics to that and someone who is training regularly, this is a recipe for disaster. The idea of tendon rupture means surgery. Tendonitis and tears happen as well. This is one of the things that can happen, but it is specific to athletes, so it bears mentioning, do not race on antibiotics, do not do hard training, or maybe give up the training and resume light duties for 10 days after the drug is no longer being taken, you may take many weeks for your body to restore from the drugs effects.

Here are some links on the warnings.

If you aren't on antibiotics, keep up the swimming, biking and running!

My First official Total Immersion lesson is complete!

I wanted to get this lesson done as quickly after finishing the clinic as I could. I wanted to be able to be fresh with the ideas presented and still have the perspective from all the coaches I learned from clear in my mind. Keeping things clear is difficult when you are trying to describe swimming, as you demonstrate in positions they aren't swimming in, they do not translate as well once in the water. Having ideas people relate to may be helpful, but I think it is like testing someones armour, fire the directions at them over and over and one day it gets through.

I capped the class at 8 people, I rented 3 lanes, shallow and moderately cool pool at the beginning, absolutely frigid pool about 45 minutes in, just like Total Immersion Coaches clinic.

Covering superman, hmmmmm. Body awareness may be the lesson here. When you stand in front of someone and have them mirror what they see. They still don't realize that the minor differences between what you model and what they model, make all the difference, except they can't see the difference. So in lesson one, you pretty much have to keep repeating it and remodeling it to allow the person to pick up each small difference as they get closer to the goal. Superman is also a core move and can be described as such, for those who sink to the back with their heads down, I have started seeing a sway back. Their idea of relax is to relax the core, not the muscles, you need active streamlining, this requires the body to be held in superman posistion, the core exercise is a great way to impress this, but with no real gravity in the water, the backs scoop again.

Repeat, practice, repeat, practice. Lesson one we got the initial video, we covered superman and I had all of the people get involved in this. When you have 8 people they each have a partner. I decided to make them responsible for each others feedback. I had them watch the corrections and understand what to look for, I had them help each other, if they saw the person do it wrong, correct and verbally explain. I thought I would test this theory out. In the follow up I had one of the fellows say, he was overwhelmed being asked to look and help when he didn't know what he was supposed to do. But it helped him learn quicker what to look for and do. So my guess was right, mental training is as effective as physical training, as a teacher you must say what you see and then explain what they were supposed to do. If a student is doing this the drills sink in quicker as they have more responsibility to understanding them, than just pushing off in the moment.

We covered skate, I have to say that the people who come to Total Immersion probably learned from a book like myself, Terry's first book, the amazing yellow one. Skate was not there so much as the side balance at 90. The biggest challenge of skate is to have a person understand when enough is enough and any further is going to cause balance problems. Keeping the body in line during this is a good learning lesson, alot of people would over roll the shoulders and under roll the hips, once that was corrected you could see them relax. This was covered in lesson 2.

Lesson 3, we reviewed superman, skate. We added a little travel into it, a small amount of kick for propulsion and just stand up instead of trying to breath.

Lesson 4, we covered interrupted breathing, trying to trust your balance to keep your body in laser lead so that you could rotate to air and come back down to complete the drill. We added swing.

Lesson 5, we covered swing switch and how to elbow lead. This was a little trying as the people who hadn't perfected superman had heads up and bodies out of balance. We did a video update here to show people where we needed to focus.

Lesson 6, we started reviewing the drills adding some whole stroke, working on swing switch bringing it up slowly to whole stroke.

Lesson 7, we reviewed it all again and covered breathing. This was a request which I agreed with, everyone was getting their stroke fine, but hadn't addressed the breathing issues they brough with them. We all got to work at relaxing the head into the breathing and the heads came down.

Lesson 8, final lesson, quickly through the drills, then tempo trainer and some swim focus to try to get the strokes longer and the body in streamline, try to get timing into the stroke. Final video time.

Review of the lessons. I had suggestions that practice cards would be a great help to give at the end of each lesson and what to practice in between lessons. The paired concept was a hit. The video was where everyone seemed to place a lot of value. The class size was just bigger! Individual time with each person was still limited in a class this big. Demonstrations could be done at the beginning of the class while the students are still on deck. If the lesson is for breathing, demonstrate breathing in swim, explain what is going on in the breath and what issues people have.

After the mid point video it is important to give feedback, I used a voice over description of their swim. Not everyone watched it, so I think a written evaluation may have been helpful as well. I will include the individual finish video's of those people who agree. The changes made were really great, ingrained old habits are the hardest thing to break, so keeping up with drills and focused swimming is the best way to keep swimming after the lessons are complete. I think the format I used was successful and could use some polishing of course, but 8 lessons seems to be a long enough lesson to cover most of the bases.

You will keep trying to improve your swim for the rest of your life, this is help along the way. Tuning in to what your body is doing is the quickest way to changing the outcome.

Keep swimming, I will post videos of swimmers soon.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nutrition during racing and training

Okay so here we are heading outside and most of us are still trying to get to race weight and thinking this is going to be a great strategy burn it off doing long workouts. You should instead be thinking of practicing your nutrition strategy for racing during your training. You need to practice many times to test to see if it works, because everyone knows, you can swim, bike and run really well, right up until you are throwing up, cramping or bonking, this is the part that most people forget to train, we are speaking nutrition.

Nutrition for Training:
Using foods you may want to race with during your training, will provide ample training runs with these foods to test them at racing heart rate. You would be surprised at how quickly it all changes when the heart rate goes up, the stomach goes on pause.

Using the basic premise of eating 5 - 6 meals per day, you will notice that workouts fit neatly in between snacks and meals. The snack or meal could actually be the recovery meal if eaten within 30 minutes of finishing your workout.

Why 30 minutes? Your body replenishes its glycogen stores quite rapidly once exercise is ceased, after that 30 minutes window, the food you eat takes longer to replenish you glycogen stores and you will begin to feel less recovered for your next workout, until you have had a longer break. Because we do multiple workouts per day and some are morning, some are evening, you must always provide a recovery snack after you workout within 30 minutes so that you are ready for your next workout, and your body is fully charged.

Make sure your recovery snack has protein and carbs, protein goes towards rebuilding the muscles you break down during the workout, and carbs replenish the dwindling glycogen stores.

Back to back workouts, or longer workouts. After a swim, heading onto your next workout, you may want a fruit or snack, even a gel, as you are depleting your glycogen you need to keep adding fuel to multiple workout blocks, to be able to maintain the intensity of the workouts and prevent bonking.

I built the Saturday Bootcamp around the idea, you must fuel to preform. Most people do not realize that working out for 2.5 hours in a row is not just endurance, but nutrition. Getting this routine built in early provides us with an outline on how to complete our 5 hour bikes, or 3 hour runs and our longer brick workouts.

You must always fuel your training, this allows your body to have the energy to complete the work required, by withholding fuel during training, to say lose a pound, is a bad idea. You can hit higher intensities with fuel than you can depleted. Higher intensity will burn more calories than you actually supplement for the exercise. Taking in the right amount of calories during your training session will also prevent over eating afterwards due to your body going into a deficit. By eating less later, you will be able to focus on race weight. Once you get hungry, your body will be scavenging for a couple days trying to replace those calories you robbed it of during training.

So how many calories do you require for training, if you think it is race intensity training, use race intensity fueling which is found below. If you are completing long slow, or lower intensity workouts, try to think 100 calories every 30 - 45 minutes, remember these calories are not the same calories you are about to consume as a recovery meal after the work is done, they are consumed during the workout.

In a 2.5 hour bootcamp, you should be eating before bootcamp, at least 1 .5 hours before class if it takes a lot to digest. Once you begin class, you can think of a starting your nutrition plan at the beginning of class and every 30 - 45 minutes through the class to keep the pace high, or begin your nutrition 30 - 45 minutes into the class to allow you to just finish the class without a low energy output at the end.

For the Run/ Bootcamp begin your nutrition at home with a meal before you come, at least one gel during the run and a recovery snack that will digest quickly before we begin the bike, then proceed with gels every 30 - 45 minutes to maintain. AS we increase our intensity throughout the session you will need to increase the frequency of the nutrition as you will get closer to race nutrition requirements.

Nutrition During Taper:

During Taper there is a carb depletion and carb load that can be used for super loading.

6 days out from your event do training with 200 calories less carbs per day, this can be restraining on gels during training, do this for 3 days in a row. Make sure all workouts mimic race pace.

3 days out from your event add back those 200 calories on top of your original calorie load, this means you will get 400 calories from Carbs more than the 3 previous days. Make sure your workouts mimic race pace. This makes the body super load those calories as it was in deficit. This is a more accurate carb load and will not result in huge weight gain prior to race day. Do not eat strange meals at carb load dinners they can negatively impact race day.

24 hours before your race.

Make sure the day before the race you stay hydrated take on a few electrolyte tablets with extra water to make sure you start race day hydrated.

Race Day: Choose a breakfast you are used to, consider taking a sport drink 30 minutes before the event and a gel 10 minutes before the start of the event. Try to consume 200 calories per hour from the hour you wake, to the beginning of your race, this pays off for the run.
During the race, make sure you take a drink every 10 minutes,
1 to 2 electrolyte tablet every ½ hour
1 gel every 20 - 30 minutes.

If you choose something other than water for on your bike make sure you are not getting sick as a result of the dilution being to strong. IF you start to feel sick grab water at your next stop and switch to water, gel and electrolyte tabs.

Your body burns, more calories, loses more fluid and electrolytes than it can absorb in 1 hour. Supplementation should be done at a rate the body can absorb, not the rate it is actually losing it.

Your basic recipe for success in nutrition is to make sure you:

1. Supplement Carbs for energy requirements

Weight in kg _______ X 4 = ________Cal/hr

Do not exceed 300 calories per hour.
5 hours of racing can require 1000 to 1500 cals

2. Supplement electrolytes for absorption of fluid

Suggested dose of Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes
3 - 6 / hour with 4 being the most commonly used dose.
300 – 600 mg sodium chloride

3. Supplement fluid for proper bodily functioning.

500 – 830 mls of fluid/ hour

4. Supplement branched chain amino acids (protein) to assist brain function during long bouts of exercise.

Ration of carbs to protein is 4:1
So if your carbs = 300, your protein to add to this is 75 cals per hour.

Accel gels have 100 calories = 80 carbs + 20 protein
To time this to get your overall calories you would take
1 accel gel every 16 minutes.

You can reduce the amount you take, but never take more than this amount.

If you supplement with sport drinks you must factor in the calories from carbs that they provide, this is where racers go wrong, they forget that and do their gels on top of the Gatorade and wonder why they have GI issues.

Orange Gatorade
Serving Size: 20 oz bottle; Calories: 122, Total Fat: 0.3, Carbs: 30.3, Protein: 0.1

Gatorade completes your fluid needs for 1 hour and gives you 40 percent of your carbs. You need to add 2 accel gels to complete your needs for carbs, but you won’t reach your protein goals, which may not be of any consequence.

My Plan for Race nutrition:

1 gel every ____ minutes.

How much sport drink per hour? ________________

1 salt tab every ____ minutes. Or 2 salt tabs every ___ minutes.

How much water per hour? _____________________

Solids? _______________________________________

Don’t forget to take a recovery drink at the end of the race, I think chocolate milk is a favourite, it should be consumed within ½ hour of finishing the race, this will help with recovery.

If you take the time to figure this out you have started to plan the strategy you will practice during training. Each time you train keep notes on what you ate before and how you performed, how the nutrition made you feel. Sometimes in a hard fast ride you may find that you aren`t tolerating something and you now know to substitute it.

One of my favorite memories was deciding to eat a powerbar during my first 1/2 Ironman, I was pushing hard and having a hard time breathing and rather than slow down I just started to eat, well the first thing that happened was I started to drool down both cheeks because it was so dry, now I am trying to wipe my face, chew and oh right, you need to breath if you are still sprinting, I was nearly hypoxic when I finished clearing my mouth, because although I was drooling the powerbar was dry enough I needed to drink too, which took up more valuable breathing time, my pace slowed on its own as the lightheadedness took over. I learned a lot about racing and nutrition over the years, but that time, I learned, practice it before you race, if you know how you plan to race it, plan to train it at times to test and make sure everything works.

Keep up the training.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Open Water Introduction

Open water for the first time is sometimes an unexpected results. A really efficient swimmer who is very strong has never had a suit that restricts lung expansion, add to that cold water where the lungs are again struggling for air, now add warm up with a high heart rate and a large need of oxygen and the struggle begins. It can be wheezing, it can be coughing up stuff, it can be clostrophbic reaction to the tight feeling and the lack of vision in the water, whatever it is, it is a reason to slowly get introduced to the water in a different way with less expectation to swim.

Start with everyone getting into their wetsuit, group people into small groups with floating frisbies, start on land to get a small bit of fun and some on land warm up going, get the air going into the lungs without the introduction of cold water and lack of sight. Once the game is underway begin launching the frisbie more and more into the water, each person is wet to the legs and still actively warming up as they introduce themselves to the coldwater, as the frisbie is starting to make its way out into the water, you have more expectation to swim to retrieve it, short distance throws might be head up swim, further throws might be face in swim with sighting. All of this is pertinent to the sport and it a way to divert the attention of the athlete to the game and not into the nerves and once properly warmed up and getting used to the restriction of their suit on land, they are less likely to feel it so constricting once entering the water.

Each person has small amounts of swim for retrieving and are now floating in between where they cool down and get used to being in the water. At this point you can bring everyone into the shore and begin a small group race. Have one person swim out to be a bouy, when they are 100 feet from shore, set your athletes up and let them know what direction to swim in around the bouy from left to right etc so there are no collisions.

After 3 of these are run, get a new volunteer for a bouy, have that person actively move to throw off the swimmers, make them more focused on sighting and manuevering. They have done small bits of swim, they have had some contact in a rather close to shore short burst of adrenaline, once everyone has been out a number of times, it might be a good time to start an out and back swim. New swimmers may still succumb to cold water reaction that cause wheezing and coughing, make sure you are swimming along the shore, not directly out from shore, this allows for warmer water and less nerves for the swimmers.

I have also used inflatable dingies and pulled them with surgical tubing around my shoulders. THis is a great way for people on shore to know where the group is swimming as well if someone has issues they have a floation device to hang onto that is close by.

We are not yet using kayaks, these would be very helpful for assisting nervous swimmers as well.

Basically if you put a little fun in to divert the new triathletes attention to a game they are a little less likely to go into the water cold, with nothing but body awareness starting to send them nerve wracking messages.

Have fun in the open water, no lines to follow only freedom.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Yamuna Body Rolling for Self Massage

Okay I am not a certified Yamuna instructor, just a Triathlon coach that recognizes a good thing when they do it. Foam rollers have been in the closets of most triathletes and have been doing a great job for ages. Welcome this handy ball and you need less space and get more specific in the areas you treat. With the foam roller your muscles flatten out on the surface, with the Yamuna ball you can do cross fiber and long muscle work. The point of the ball separates the muscles and allows you to get into trigger points as well.

Most of us are using golf balls, tennis balls etc on certain areas where it works. I have yamuna balls and have purchased their foot wakers to test out. I like the approach for someone who is starting to get adhesions and chronic tension. Massage is an expensive option, but coupled with body rolling you can treat yourself between regular massages.

The best way to begin is to take an introductory class of Yamuna, it is very relaxing. As a type A personality myself I find taking Yoga or a Yamuna class mentally hard as I would rather be working out. Knowing that I need the massage and muscle relaxation is the first key to improving how my body works. You can't keep pushing the muscle contraction without allowing for muscle relaxation. The benefits of Yamuna is you may discover that your lack of flexibility can be improved which can assist in your speed and injury prevention. Who doesn't want to show up to the finish line free of injury and a little faster.

Taking a Yamuna class is also beneficial to educate you a little further on your body and how to preserve it. We are always a little to quick to put our body through pain without knowing if it is a good thing or not. Our body has many areas that aren't meant to be tested, your lymph nodes are your bodies defense, your bursa protect your joints. The class based teaching will help you avoid hurting yourself while trying to help yourself.

I have used this on my legs ever since my first class of it. I do it at home and in the gym with a medicine ball (much more painful). I get really good results and it keeps me training.

For every good hard training session you need to focus on a really good muscle relaxation afterwards, head to yoga or yamuna and give your body that break.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Balance in Triathlon and Life

Triathlon is quite a challenge when people start to think of trying the sport. Swim, bike and run, one right after the other, in seemless harmony. Three completely different sports, requiring skill in all three and the ability to balance your training in all three. That is what makes Triathlon the amazing sport it is, it requires more than one focus, it is a balance of focus.

The other part of the equation is life, how do we balance our life, like Triathlon it isn't a single focus, when you add triathlon to your life you are looking for where to fit it all in. Some people may be single and have a job, that leaves them with time after work hours to pursue their goals in Triathlon. Some people have jobs, spouses, children and other commitments with community involvement.

If you are pursuing triathlon and have not yet found balance in your life, triathlon may be the teacher you were looking for. In all equations there are many variable, but in one day there are only 24 hours. You can add as many variables together to get 24, but the more you add then you need to give up a little of the others to make it all work.

If we look at Triathlon as swim, bike, run, transition, nutrition and team.
We have a balanced outlook on the sport. In our lifes, we have health, family, finances, community and spirituality. If any of these things is not balanced with the other the result amounts to stress. Stress reduces the health and there you have it balance requires careful planning.

How do you balance training in triathlon, look at the time each of these takes you to complete in the triathlon and you almost have your answer there. If you swim takes 10 percent of your total time, it is probably okay to say 10 percent of your training for swim, if you are a poor swimmer then you may need to add more time for technique work to get your swim time more in line with your other diciplines. If running takes up 40 percent, then that amount of time is appropriate for running, and same with biking. If you have a poor bike, swim or run that may be the place you put more training to bring it into line with where your other disciplines are. This may take more of the training time, but the payoff is big.

Training for swim, bike and run also require us to look beyond the technique. Get into a pair of shorts, spandex might be the best choice as you will be wearing lots of it, now stand in front of a mirror. This is your motor. This is the unit you are going to be swimming, biking and running with through every training situation. This unit has an energy system which like time is limited. It requires you to be very careful in how you plan your training. You will be training your cardiovascular system, your respiratory system and your muscular system, look further and if you don't see it immediately you should realize it is your neuromuscular system, you mind body connection. What is the fuel for this unit or motor. It relies heavily on oxygen, water and proper nutrition, something else to balance.

To begin to train for triathlon you should think of beginning with acquiring the skills through neuromuscular training, learning how your body works for each sport and honing its skills. You should be training your cardiovascular system to begin to supply the body with the required blood flow to all areas. You should be training the respiratory system to fuel the body with oxygen. You should train your muscles to perform these activities over and over and train them so that they are balanced. Balancing your muscular strength will help you avoid injury.

You need to fuel the body with the nutrients it uses daily and make sure it is balanced. Balancing your nutritional needs will allow your body to recover fully from the stresses of training. Make sure you get a variety of food, lots of healthy fruits and vegetables for energy and a variety of protein sources to allow your muscles to recover and get stronger.

A sample week of training should take into consideration your goals. If you rank yourself in each sport you will see if you need to work on skill, speed, or endurance. If skill is the primary choice, think many small focused workouts where you are focusing on achieving a skill, if it is swim, keep the workout short and as soon as the brain is no longer able to hold its focus, your swim is done. The brain fatigues well before the body in these exercises.

If speed is your choice, you need to think about keeping your high intensity workouts spaced throughout the week, no back to back days of high intensity training, follow each hard day with an easy day. Try to project what you hope to achieve in the race into your training, if hills are part of your A race make them part of your training.

Endurance is the one we are working on throughout our training, it takes time to build this one up. Running is limited to 10 percent per week increase in distance. Biking and swimming are a little more forgiving on increasing distance over a week. Remember that adaptation requires the body to respond to the training. You must add rest to allow for the recovery and the body to adapt to the most recent stress. One day off per week minimum. Keep your easy workouts easy and your hard workouts hard, in this way you will be allowing your easy days to be active rest and this is enough to build endurance and technique, your hard days hard, will allow you to work on speed and endurance.

If your workouts get stale it means you are missing an important element, you may not be challenging yourself, you may also be suffering from fatigue. Change things up to keep your motivation high and always try new things.

Training with a group can make your workouts fun, but be careful not to overtrain and succumb to the peer pressure, if you are on an easy day remember to keep it easy.

Success in this sport is not the fastest swimmer, it is not the fastest biker, nor the fastest runner. The balanced triathlete can score equally in skill across all 3 sports, place first in the race and yet never get the fastest swim, bike or run. They approached it from the perspective that they needed to work in harmony to produce the outcome.

If you take that knowledge with you and apply it to your training and your life, you will eat healthy and often, it is the fuel you choose to put in your body that produces quality output or not, junk in, junk out. If you fuel your body with highly nutritious food it will perform amazingly. If you make sure that you are getting your rest each day you will awake renewed and rejuvenated. If you do not neglect your job and your family you will reduce your stress. If you approach your training as a way to enrich your life and not just your sport you will start to find balance.

I have a family, 2 kids, my daughter is 15 and my son is 10. I have a husband and he is also a triathlete. We have both got jobs. My job happens to be coaching triathlon and fitness instruction. I chose this job for balance. My previous job was a computer programmer, very stressful. When I began my family I gave up the job to look after my daughter who has special needs and is not independent. My job at computers was too high stress to put together with my already stressful situation at home. My choice to do Triathlon was to get some health back for myself. Without training I am no good to my family, I use it as a stress reliever and as a way to stay healthy. I chose coaching and fitness training so that I could still work and workout and still be available to my family during our family times. The job I chose fit the life I have. I could not have done a 9 - 5 job and kept up the house, the family and my health. If I get too caught up in the sport my stress goes up and I have to back off and get back in balance.

There is no set of rules to follow to do a triathlon, each person has their own choices to make that help them decide what their goals in the sport will be. Those goals should be in line with your other commitments. Your goals are important and should be part of your life, but they should not overshadow your life. Many people become obsessed with one thing and exclude everything else. Remember life is what happens while your busy making other plans, take the bumps in the road as the lessons we are supposed to learn on our journey.

Balance is a better measure of success.

Have a great training day!