Tri Season: It’s time!

Leaves are on the trees and it’s getting warmer—that means it’s time to start focusing on tri-specific training. Over the winter I’ve focused more on lifting, partially because I don’t like running and cycling indoors, but also to build strength for the season.

I had previously stated on here that I was planning on doing a week dedicated to each; swim, bike, run to kick off the season. I’ve decided this was a bad idea because it meant two weeks of not training other areas. Instead, I’m gradually reducing strength training and replacing it with cardio. This means the time I do spend in the gym needs to be focused on efficient full-body moves vs specific days dedicated to arms, legs, abs etc.

One thing I want to do more of this year is more interval training in all three disciplines. Last year I did with running and it paid off. This should really help in the short course, sprint, races that I compete in. The great thing about interval training is it takes less time will still being a very effective workout training fast-twitch muscles and learning how to pace yourself.

On another note, I’ve decided to try a paleo-ish diet with the hopes that it will help with lean muscle-mass. I say “-ish” because I like carbs way too much and intense cardio training requires carbs. Basically I’m trying to focus my diet on lean meats, fruits, nuts and vegetables along with limited whole-grain carbs, mainly in the first half of the day.

Healthy Dinner - blueberry greek yogurt, banana smoothie + organic kahl/baby spinach/chard, carrots, dried cranberries and chicken salad
Healthy Dinner – blueberry greek yogurt, banana smoothie + organic kahl/baby spinach/chard, carrots, dried cranberries and chicken salad (no dressing)

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Travel & training

I just returned from a business trip to Vegas. I had full intent to do a normal workout every day. I even packed pre-measured zip lock bags with supplements  But it just didn’t happen as much as I thought.

Vegas, April 2013
Vegas, April 2013

When I arrived on Sunday I went for a run. It was awesome running in shorts for a change. Turns out I ended up in the Vegas gheto but had no issues. It was a good run however I felt a bit dehydrated. On Tuesday, I forked up $15 to use the hotel spa which had a gym. That was actually a “twilight special” as it’s normally $22 per use! Even with the limited equipment I got a good workout in. Aside from that, I did some hotel room exercises without equipment (crunches, pushups, squats etc.) on the other days.

The lack of sleep, bad nutrition and minimal exercise has taken a toll on me. I’m feeling a little sick now that I’m home. Ready to get back to normal in terms of fitness and nutrition! I do miss the warm weather tough…

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Rest, a challenge

I’ve been having lower abdominal pains this past few weeks and my doctor told me to take it easy for a while. Although that sounds like a reasonable request, when you’re accustomed to training six days a week, it’s easier said than done. And at first I thought he meant to sit on the couch for a while, but he clarified that I can still workout, just at a lower intensity as long as it doesn’t irritate the problem.

As I’ve mentioned before, working out is like a drug. It’s something that becomes a (positive) addiction over time. A few years ago I had a minor surgery that completely kept me from training for a week. I watched way more daytime tv than I ever could have imagined and after about a day, all I wanted to do was get up and work up a sweat.

Last weekend I didn’t completely obey the doctors orders. The weather was so nice (see below), I couldn’t resist the urge to run outside. Normally on a Saturday I would do a brick workout (I.e run+bike) and I kept it to just running—so I sort of took it easy.

Maybe taking it easy for while will be a good body reset before “in-season” training. I’m finishing this post (which I started a week ago!) at the airport as I wait for a flight to Las Vegas to attend a trade show for work. Although I don’t plan to take a break from training, maybe some variation from my normal workouts will be good as well.

Edgewater Piers
Edgewater Piers

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March 2013 training update

As I write, I’m still in “winter training mode.” That is, a balance of strength + cardio. To be honest, I haven’t been running or cycling as much as I should. I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym this winter trying to build strength for the season. Hopefully it will pay off in speed once I get back into each sport.

Today I went to the gym and worked on chest+back for about 60 min, then swam for 30 min.

Practically had the gym to myself today
Practically had the gym to myself today

Still going to Masters swim once a week. It’s really paying off. My form is much improved which has helped speed. I feel like I’m actually swimming (almost) like a real swimmer now.

I plan to kick-off the race season by focusing on each sport (swim, bike, run) almost exclusively for a week each starting April 14. More details on that training plan to come, but generally I’ll pack each week with sport specific training + one strength workout per week for maintenance.

I’m also starting to really get sick of the cold weather. I can’t wait for summer to come. I’ll be in Vegas in a couple weeks for work and I’m looking forward to some warm-weather runs outside! This time of year it’s generally 70-80s, which is perfect.

I got a GoPro HERO3 Black Edition recently to start making some videos. Here’s one from my run yesterday at Edgewater Park. It’s a little shaky, so probably won’t be running with it much.

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Review: GAIN Fitness Cross Trainer

Gain Fitness Cross Trainer is an iOS fitness app. You tell it what your goal is, where you are (home, gym or on the go), how much time you have and what you want to focus on. Within the settings, you also tell it what equipment you have access to so that it doesn’t suggest exercises involving equipment that you don’t. There’s also a setting for fitness level (beginner, novice, intermediate, advanced or expert) which also gets taken into account.

GAIN: Build new workout

Overall, I like the app a lot. It keeps things fresh, keeps you on-task and logs your progress. It comes with good database of exercises for free and expansion packs are available through in-app purchase. If you don’t know how to do a particular exercise, there is an animated photo + instructions. It also does a good job tracking your sets, reps & weight lifted. You can link it with RunKeeper’s Health Graph which puts your strength training data in the same place as your cardio fitness log. Here’s the brief workout I did at home today.

That said, I wish they would add an undo feature. I’ve often mistakenly checked off a set that I didn’t complete yet or forgot to input the weight. Along with that, the ability to modify the workout after you complete would be nice. One other annoyance using it today was that it lost the link with Runkeeper and changed my fitness level setting. I believe a recent app update is to blame.

The ability to input your max lifting weight for each exercise and then have suggestions for each set would be nice. Even better, it could just remember and calculate suggestions as you go. It would also be nice to not have to keep inputing your body weight for sets where “body weight” is indicated. It does ask you for your weight in your profile upon setup.

Another feature allows you to build a 4-week plan. I played with this today mainly just to see what it was and created one. Now I can’t figure out how to modify or cancel it (it’s going to bug me every Monday/Wednesday now!). So again, just a little more control over things would be nice. That said, it’s good for someone who needs a little push to get going.

Overall, it’s a good app and I’d recommend it to someone looking for workout suggestions at any level. It could be a great app with a few improvements.

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