Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Gordo’s Guide to Altitude Training and Racing

With our Boulder Camp coming up, I thought that I’d share the most common questions I receive about altitude.

Early Retirement

I can’t help but laugh when I hear age group athletes announce their retirement from triathlon. I won’t be announcing my retirement from my hobby anytime soon. Or work for that matter. My journey requires me to work my body and my mind. Without either, I am lost.

Achilles Rehab

Coach Marilyn Chychota's rehab protocol for addressing Achilles tendon issues

Creating Your Kona Magic

Sue asked me for an abridged version of Qualifying For Kona. Given that’s she’s qualified more recently than me, I hope she shares her keys to the magic kingdom.

Focus on three things: Schedule, Joy and One-Thousand Days.

Heart Rate Variability - Part 3: Available Tools

Now that we’ve covered what heart rate variability (HRV) is and how to interpret it, let’s take a look at some of the hardware and software tools that are available to help you make use of HRV data.

Discussing Hot Weather Racing with IMTalk

Most racers sign up for races based on proximity, destination venue or time in the season, but for hot weather events, many often don't consider the impact of the temperature until right before race day. Having raced successfully in the heat for a number of years, I've learned a lot about what works and what doesn't in terms of race preparation and hot weather racing.

Further or Faster - The Midseason Dilemma

With the spring season starting up, many athletes will begin to wonder, “How much base training is enough?” or “When is the right time to start some faster workouts?” In terms of the Annual Training Plan, athletes may wonder if they should continue the Base phase or enter the Build phase of training.

Heart Rate Variability - Part 2: Application in Endurance Sports

In previous columns I wrote about resting heart rate and heart rate recovery and more recently about the basics of heart rate variability (HRV), where we developed some basic definitions and terminology. This column looks specifically at the use of HRV in endurance training. I’ll share how and when to measure HRV and how HRV might be used to help guide your training.

Three Parts of Swimming Faster

One of the questions I most frequently get asked is, “How can I become a faster swimmer?” My answer is always to look at three parts when trying to become faster:

1. Swim technique
2. Swim frequency
3. Workout execution and specificity

What Type of Athlete Are You?

“It takes Different Strokes to rule the world” – Different Strokes theme

While I had to confess my complete lack of qualification in talking on last month’s subject of time management, things have come full circle this month to a topic that I am intimately familiar with: the relationship between training load and top performance.

Ironman 70.3 Puerto Rico

Our course profile for Ironman 70.3 Puerto Rico in San Juan, PR, provided by Justin Daerr.

Three Common Mistakes with Teaching Kids to Swim

In January my daughter had her first swim meet. It was low-key with three events of 25 yards each (Free, Back and Fly). I’m not sure anybody kept score, and that’s a good thing as young people don’t have the ability to separate themselves from their performances.

Today, I’ll share what I’ve learned about teaching her to swim.

Hip Opening Stretch for Running

With all the time most triathletes spend on their bikes, the hip area is frequently very tight. Combine that with a common office desk job, and odds are inflexibility may limit your ability to run well. This stretch progression from Coach Marilyn Chychota can help open up your hip to set you up for strong running form.

Progressive Training Camp Load

Quite often I’ll emphasize to athletes about consistency of training and patience for large parts of the year and within a long term planning structure. In the end it is still the backbone of improvement as an athlete, but every once in a while we need something to try and speed up the process.

Ironman Los Cabos

Our course profile for Ironman Los Cabos in Los Cabos, Mexico, as provided by Brady DeHoust.

Ironman 70.3 Texas (Galveston)

Our course profile for Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston, as provided by Justin Daerr.

A Case for Masters Swimming

I am a swimmer at heart. It is what helped me be the athlete I am today. It is what I go to when I need to get my mojo.

Race Specific Training Sessions with IMTalk

Many athletes aren't sure what type of focused training they should be doing to prepare for their big races. I recently sat down with Jon and Bevan from IMTalk to discuss race specific sessions before your first race of the year.

Pace Yourself

Always sad to see middle age athletes fall away from sport. The greatest challenges to health & fitness come in the later yrs. #PaceYourself
-Alan Couzens (@Alan_Couzens)

Alan’s tweet got me thinking about how we lose people from sport, and the health benefits that flow from an active lifestyle.

Heart Rate Variability - The Basics

In a previous column, I wrote about the resting heart rate and heart rate recovery and how they can be used as indicators for monitoring athletes’ training status. At least two other heart rate-related indicators are also used for that purpose. I’ll leave the discussion about exercise heart rate to Alan Couzens, our resident Endurance Corner physiologist, but I wanted to introduce the concept of heart rate variability (HRV).

Training Camp: The New Normal

At last count, I have attended seven training camps in my triathlon career. These camps can range anywhere from a three day race simulation to a seven day cycling focused camp, like Endurance Corner’s most recent Tucson camp. During my camps I can expect my training volume to increase anywhere from 30% to 200%.

At each camp, the campers ask each other about changes they notice in their bodies. How do I manage those changes?

Absorbing a Training Camp

Training camps can be an incredibly useful weapon in your training arsenal. When compared to the regular training block, they can be thought of as akin to the difference between a semi-automatic rifle and a musket. While both fire a single bullet with comparable effect, the difference in load time between the two means you can get a lot more done in a given time with the semi-auto.

Training Camp Recovery

With our annual Tucson camp wrapping up this past weekend, Endurance Corner has another successful camp under our belts as a team. These camps are so helpful in the development of an athlete-coach relationship. I get to spend the week with many of my squad members, where personality comes through, approach to sessions comes out, weakness and strengths are revealed and I can see where an athlete is in his or her progression.

Tips for Active Parents

One of the better parenting tips I have received is to never compare my inside life with someone’s outer appearance. However, in looking at my family’s outside, I’d say they’re doing well. With three kids under six, we must be doing something right.

Six things that have helped me maintain my athletic sanity follow.

Purposeful Eating

Over the past 10 years, the eating habits I’ve adopted have come in very small pieces. If I think about how I ate 10 years ago versus how I eat now, the major difference would be the purpose of the food I’m putting in my mouth.

Following a Wheel

Coach Marilyn Chychota describes how to follow a wheel in a paceline.

Decluttering for Camp

I think of training camps as our opportunity to declutter, reduce the bloat and do the work. As you approach camp, the week or two before camp is the perfect time to enjoy the reduced training time and reduce your bloat.

Big Steel Challenge 2014

This is the fifth winter where I’ve had a month dedicated to lifting as many pounds as possible. I want to encourage you to give it a shot because there is a material health and wellness benefit from the simple strategy of lift-often and lift-a-lot.

Ten Things I Wish I Knew About Triathlon Swimming

In business, I have learned when I need a skill I don’t have, like programming, the best course of action for me is to outsource it to someone great. In triathlon, I wish I could outsource my swimming to someone who swims well... or even someone who swims only okay.

Seven years into the sport and I am still working hard on being a better swimmer. Here are my tips I wish I had known when I started long course training.