Monday, November 30, 2015


Two Stories, Two Endings

by Larry Creswell, M.D.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) may be the most significant chronic medical problem in the United States. More than 13 million Americans are affected and nearly one person dies every minute in this country from this condition. Importantly for the readers here, CAD is the most common cause of sudden death in athletes over the age of 40.

So what can you do about it?

Workout of the Month: VO2max Intervals for Power and Speed - Running

by Marilyn McDonald

Earlier this week I talked about VO2 sessions for the bike. In this piece I'm going to give a couple examples for incorporating some of this work on the run. While you need to be careful when adding this type of work to your cycling, it is even more important to be extra careful when you add these sessions to your run training. Like I mentioned before, it truly is the icing on the cake and very little of this type of work is needed for the long course triathlete. Often only very fit, very mechanically sound and very experienced athlete's should add VO2 work to their run training.

Greek Chicken

Vince’s latest healthy kitchen masterpiece for a summer meal: Greek Chicken –- easy to prepare, and even easier to eat.

Anatomical Considerations in Bike Fit: Fitting the Machine to the Athlete - Part III

by Alan Couzens, MS (Sports Science)

In my last article on Anatomical Considerations in Bike Fit, I outlined the process of measuring your body -- both your dimensions and your flexibility constraints -- so that you can optimally fit your bike to you.

In this article we’re going to complete the process by solving that one remaining (variable) aspect of the equation -- your bike’s dimensions. In this piece I’m going to follow my philosophy that a good TT or tri position begins with a good road position by setting you up with the most comfortable, neutral road position for your body geometry. In the fourth and final piece in the series I’ll go into how to adapt that for tri/TT fits.

Workout of the Month: VO2max Intervals for Power and Speed - Cycling

by Marilyn McDonald

By this time of the year most of us are pretty fit and strong. You've had a good chunk of your season to really dial in the long training and your level of strength endurance is probably high.

If you're getting the long sessions, maintaining strength and recovering well week in and week out, the next step in your race season might be to include some good solid speed work.

Man Camp

by Gordo Byrn

Far and away, the best times that I’ve had in sport have been at training camps. Camps are where I’ve met most of my adult friends. There is something about doing big miles with a good group of people that brings everyone together.

Anatomical Considerations in Bike Fit: Fitting the Machine to the Athlete - Part II

by Alan Couzens, MS (Sports Science)

In the first article on anatomical considerations in bike fit, I highlighted the importance of setting up your bike position so that you put your muscles in the most powerful and most comfortable position -- at or very slightly beyond each joint’s resting length.

In this article I’m going to delve into the nitty gritty of how to go about doing that, how to measure both your body dimensions and range of motion capabilities to come up with the ideal bike position for someone with your unique body dimensions and flex-ability.

So, how do we measure you up?

Ask the Experts: John Cobb - Part IV

John Cobb, bike fit and aerodynamics expert, recently took the time to answer Endurance Corner team member questions. We're sharing his responses as part of a series throughout the summer. In this installment, John answers some more questions about position and cleat placement.

Ride More

by Gordo Byrn

For most of June and July, I was experiencing a persistent calling to “ride more.” The strange thing is that my training load has been far above what I need to be healthy/happy.

I shared this feeling with Monica and she asked me what “more” was. I replied, “five rides a week, 5/4/3/2/1 by hours.” She smiled, noted that was an elite triathlete training plan and suggested that I ride long the following day.

So I headed out and ripped 65 miles at a solid pace -- about halfway through that ride, I found myself wondering if I really wanted to do 15 hours of that sort of riding every single week, for the rest of my life...

When “more” doesn’t seem to be the answer that I thought it would be, I look deeper at my true motivations.

BBQ Tomato Basil Shrimp

Vince Matteo, EC team member, shares another of his excellent recipes: BBQ Tomato Basil Shrimp with Vegetables -- perfect for a summer evening dinner.

Different Perspectives: Handling the Heat

In case you didn't notice, it's "Heat Month" here at Endurance Corner. While our columnists have shared a lot of information about how to train and race in the heat, our team still has a few more tips to share.

Baby's First Triathlon

by Mimi Winsberg, M.D.

Pumping milk in the front seat of her car is not Tina Pretre’s typical pre-race routine. But as the new mom prepared to dive into the 58-degree San Francisco Bay waters to race in an olympic distance triathlon, she found herself doing exactly that. To her surprise, she was not alone. A competitor next to her was also breastfeeding her baby.

Despite the unusual warm-up, Pretre went on to place fourth in her age group. Her daughter was among the spectators at the finish line. She was eight weeks old.

Race Different

by Gordo Byrn

It’s been a strange summer for me. I have a goal of being “fast” in October/November so have not put a lot of pressure on myself in training or nutrition. Like my buddy Slater, my main goal is to hit each sport at least once every three days.

That said, I’ve noticed that my fitness is quite good and was thinking that I might as well “use” some of it outside of my masters swim workouts! Dropping $1000 (entry, hotel, airtix, car rental) to race a marquee event away from home seems like a waste of time and money.

So what to do?

Race different.

Do-it-yourself Aquathons

Gordo shares ideas on building your own aquathons.

What is Your Blood Telling You?

by Larry Creswell, M.D.

One topic of discussion that comes up frequently among my athlete friends is the issue of laboratory testing -- specifically, blood testing -- for seemingly healthy athletes. This is an area where there are conflicting opinions among sports medicine and other physicians who care for athletes, but I thought I’d share some of my thoughts. I’ll try to keep things practical.

Going Negative

by Bob Albright, D.O.

Not to worry, elections are still two years away… I still plan to give you all my usual upbeat, perhaps overly glib effort.

Today’s subject is one most all of us have encountered, chronic tendon injuries and whether eccentric exercises are a major part of the solution. I hope to also discuss their effectiveness and perhaps how they may work.

Loosely defined, a tendon injury which goes on for months (or years -- anyone?) with associated tenderness, limitation to range of motion and overall function may be determined to be a tendinosis. Tendinosis implies the tendon is no longer actively inflamed, but instead its tissue has entered a static phase characterized by fibrous tissue replacing healthy tendon. The situation may even be made worse by anti-inflammatory medications.

Anatomical Considerations in Bike Fit: Fitting the Machine to the Athlete - Part I

by Alan Couzens, MS (Sports Science)

In a previous article, I went through a brief case study concerning some of the steps I go through in troubleshooting a painful or uncomfortable bike position. In this series I’m going to expand on that by taking you, the rider, through the process of measuring yourself up and selecting an appropriate ride for your dimensions and range of motion limitations. In my opinion, this process of fitting the machine to the man is far preferable to the standard process of fitting the man to the machine, that is, selecting a stock frame that looks cool or weighs in as the lightest on the market then attempting to contort your body to "make it work."

Heat Wave: Crisis Management

by Sue Aquila

This has been the summer of business crisis management-- actually, it’s been more like the summer of how not to manage a crisis! We have had Toyota blaming crashes on floor mats, BP leaving every trace in the Gulf, and Apple instructing us how to hold our cell phones.

In triathlon, our crisis management is often weather related. Usually our concerns revolve around how hot it will be during the race. Lately, it seems like every race is “damn hot” and ridiculously humid. In the beginning of my triathlon career, I had a horrible time learning how to overcome the crisis of weather. Over time, I have learned to “adapt and improvise!”

Going Fast

by Gordo Byrn

Reading between the lines last week, you might have picked up my point that you’ve got what you’ve got when it comes to training time. In a limited time situation there will always be the temptation to do every session as fast as you can.

The trouble with this strategy is understanding the specific speed requirements for our event

Eccentric Exercises to Increase Run Durability

I've written in the past regarding the benefits of eccentric exercises for rehabilitation of a variety of overuse injuries. I also feel strongly that eccentric leg exercises are very valuable in strength training for runners who may have biomechanical limitations in regard to training volume.

Our Favorite Workouts: Race-Specific Long Ride

A key session that should be a staple in your final prep for your key event is the long ride with quality sets. This ride is shorter than your longer, easier distance sets, but the amount of quality work within the ride should be greater.

Horses for Courses - Part II: Are You a Thoroughbred or a Draft Horse?

by Alan Couzens, MS (Sports Science)

Part I - Horses for Courses
Part II - Are You a Thoroughbred or a Draft Horse?
Part III - Race Selection Based on Body Type

In my last article on the benefits of different courses for different size “horses,” I illustrated how different course types may play out for two morphologically very different athletes -- a smaller thoroughbred and a large, powerful, draft horse.

However, as my buddy Alex pointed out, I didn’t really give a good indication of how to go about determining which stable you belong in. In other words, are you a thoroughbred or a draft horse?

Now, don’t be too hasty in judging which group you would prefer to belong to. As I suggested in the last article, for a good portion of an ironman race, you’ll be towing a cart (i.e. your bike) around on the flat. Advantage draft horse!

Anyhow, it doesn’t matter too much what you would prefer to be. As Popeye correctly observed, you is what you is. While I am not even close to falling in line with the pessimistic determinists that abound in ex phys -- choose your parents wisely, etc., etc. -- I must concede that when it comes to your frame (that is, your bone and organ mass) it is a pretty fixed quantity. It is no use aspiring to be Paul Tergat if your bone structure more closely resembles Shaquille O’Neal.

Ask the Experts: John Cobb - Part III

John Cobb, bike fit and aerodynamics expert, recently took the time to answer Endurance Corner team member questions. We're sharing his responses as part of a series throughout the summer. In this installment, John answers some questions about equipment selection.

Fast At Forty

by Gordo Byrn

I was extremely fortunate to spend the last week in Aspen with three very speedy guys (pictured right after an epic run). They've all managed to qualify for Kona this October and will be dueling in the Mens 40-44.

I used to think that my peer group was unique but as I get to know more uber-vets I have realized that there are a lot of triathletes going big! Spending time with the guys reminded me how hard the top athletes in our sport are working towards their goals.

There are lessons that we can learn from watching how the best amateurs organize their lives. Before I get into that, here’s a summary of what we did.

Post-Camp Recovery

by Chuckie V

Training camps provide an opportunity for elevated fitness levels, but the camps themselves aren't what makes us fitter -- that's where diligent recovery comes in.

Excess is a Virtue

by Jonas Colting

They say that diligence is a virtue. I don´t know who coined that expression but he was probably not that great of an athlete.

Any successful endurance athlete knows that, on the contrary, excess is a virtue. And it’s something to prefer... to exaggerate to the point of going overboard.

Horses for Courses - Part I

by Alan Couzens, MS (Sports Science)

Part I
Part II - Are You a Thoroughbred or a Draft Horse?
Part III - Race Selection Based on Body Type

As a follow up to my previous series on race selection and in accordance with this month’s theme of heat training I want to chat a little today about some of the factors that come into play to determine how different athletes will perform on different types of race courses.

Hopefully you will be able to use this information to select race courses that give you (and your body type) the greatest chance of success.

I’ve provided data from two (arguably) equally “fit” athletes below (click the table for a larger view):

I want to chat through how some of the differences in these equally fit athletes may come into play to result in one beating the other depending on the course over which they race.

  • Height and Weight: Clearly, the biggest difference between these two athletes is in their respective frames. Athlete A is 1.9m (6’3”) tall and weighs 85kg (187lbs). Athlete B is 1.75m (5’9”) tall and weighs 65kg (143lbs). Athlete A has a solid/muscular physique with a BMI of 23.5. Athlete B has a bit more of a ‘runners physique’ with a BMI of 21.2.

Racing in the Heat

by Justin Daerr

This article originally appeared in July, 2010.

Last month I offered up a few tips about how you can manage your training when the temperature starts to rise. This month I am going to address the next step: racing in hot conditions.

Different Perspectives: The Day Before Your A Race

There's a lot of excitement and anxious energy building the day before a big race. We asked some of our extended writing and coaching team what they do on race day minus one.