Advice For Older Athletes, By An Older Athlete

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June 24, 2013 on 10:20 am | In Uncategorized | 7 Comments

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Advice For Older Athletes, By An Older Athlete

Finding My Inner Athlete

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June 17, 2013 on 9:43 am | In Uncategorized | 5 Comments

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Finding My Inner Athlete

Stay Cool, Stay Hydrated.

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June 11, 2013 on 1:12 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments

This refreshing hydration blog was written for us by TriSports Team member Nicole Truxes.

It’s heating up here in the desert, as I’m sure it is for much of the country.  Summer time BBQs filled with burgers, watermelons, and margaritas are just around the corner!  Everyone loves summer, with more hours of sunlight, less clothing, great tan lines – especially us triathletes 😉 – and (for most) no school!  Even with all we have to look forward to in the summer, all the sweating during those hard miles does take a toll on your body, one that you may not be used to coming out of your winter training.

Staying hydrated is one of the most important parts of our training, and it’s one of the easiest ones to forget.  First thing in the morning, aside from the hunger I’m sure many of you experience, you should be thinking about a glass of water.  You don’t have to over do it, especially if you have a workout shortly after you rise (gotta beat the heat!), one 4-8 oz glass is fine depending on what you can handle and the duration of your workout.

If you think about it, the adult body is made up of about 60% water; wouldn’t it make sense to make it a key ingredient in our daily nutrition regimen?  Many of the metabolic processes necessary for training and recovery require the proper amount of water to happen, so why wouldn’t you supply your body with this integral piece of training equipment?

Another important thing to consider is the amount of electrolytes you’re getting.  This word is thrown around a lot, but do you know what all of the electrolytes are and how to figure out if you’re low on any of them?

  • Sodium- the most common, most demonized, but very necessary electrolyte.  Sodium gets a bad rap because of all the high blood pressure and heart disease we have in this country; however, as an endurance athlete you need to be very aware of how much sodium you get because you may not be getting enough!  If you often get confused, or dazed when doing a hard workout (particularly one where you sweat a lot), you’re covered in white, and your skin tastes like salt—you might be in need of some sodium, pronto!  This confusion you’re experiencing is one of the first signs of hyponatremia, which can be very serious if you do not take care of it. When your sodium levels drop in your blood and you do nothing to bring them back up it can cause you to go from confusion to vomiting to more serious things such as cardiac arrest, pulmonary edema, or even death.  This has happened in many of the major marathon events and can even be caused by having too much plain water and not enough electrolyte supplementation.
  • Potassium- just eat some bananas, right?! For the most part, yes.  Potassium is much different than sodium in that when your blood levels first drop, it is difficult to tell that they are low.  It is not until real problems begin and your muscles are already cramping that you know you are very low in potassium.  This can also cause GI distress (mainly constipation) along with the muscle cramps, so be sure to eat your ‘nanners.
  • Calcium- Stress fracture fighter no. 1! It may come as a surprise that some of the most avid runners have some of the lowest calcium and therefore weakest bones.  But running is weight bearing? Yes, running is a weight bearing exercise, but sometimes runners (particularly female) have such low hormone levels that it causes their calcium to go down and therefore their bones become weak and brittle, allowing for stress fractures to happen much more easily.  Calcium can be taken in a supplement daily to help raise these levels and prevent against stress fractures; however, vitamin D is very important to take along with it to help boost absorption into your blood!
  • Magnesium- Seldom talked about, but very important!  Magnesium is a mineral we don’t generally hear a ton about.  However, it is very important to carbohydrate metabolism and muscle strength (two very important things for an endurance athlete).  Magnesium deficiency can decrease endurance by fatiguing muscles and decreasing the efficiency of carbohydrate metabolism.  The symptoms of low magnesium are difficult to distinguish from those of potassium or sodium, so it is important to supplement magnesium along with the other electrolytes!
  • Phosphate- Generally phosphate is not a problem for athletes.  It is very common in our diet and usually not lost in mass quantities when exercising.  The only time this electrolyte is a problem is when an athlete has an eating disorder or other severe disease of some kind, in which case they should seek medical attention anyway.

So that is a quick and dirty breakdown of the electrolytes.  Check yourself every once in a while, monitor your electrolyte intake and determine if you have any of the beginning stages of any of these electrolyte deficiencies.  Not only will this increase your performance, but it could save your life! Stay hydrated everyone!!

Fight the Sun

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June 4, 2013 on 3:03 pm | In Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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Fight the Sun

How to Travel to a Race

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May 29, 2013 on 1:13 pm | In Nutrition Tips, Races, Sponsorship, Training, Training | No Comments

This post was written by TriSports Triathlon Team member Zara Guinard.

So you just signed up for a race that is not within 20 miles of your house; hotel, flight, and rental car are all booked. The next question is, “how do you ensure you arrive at your destination (relatively) stress free, prepared, and ready to race?” You must plan. I mean REALLY plan. First you have Plan A, and then you have Plan B, Plan C, and maybe even a Plan D.

It is my experience in the past few years of traveling to races that things will always go wrong, but you can minimize your stress by arriving well prepared. I always do a little research on the area where I’m staying and find out the projected weather conditions for my time there, a layout of the area such as restaurants near the hotel, and distances to the expo and the airport.

Now that you know what the conditions and weather will most likely be on race day, it’s time to pack. I have a list that I print out (packing list at the end of the article) every time I go to a race. I only cross off an item once it is packed away. Sometimes I don’t need all the items for where I’m traveling, but its comprehensiveness ensures that I won’t absent-mindedly forget something.

I travel with a Rüster Sports Hen House, my wheel bag, and a backpack.

In my bike bag I put everything that I need to race: wetsuit, race suit, bike and run shoes, goggles, nutrition, bike tools, etc. Then in the wheel bag I pack all the rest of my clothes and toiletries. My backpack is my carry on and where I usually keep all my expensive electronic items such as my iPod and Garmin 910 XT.

Okay your bags are packed and you’re ready to go! Wait, what about nutrition?! Traveling to a race can be stressful on your body; you may be switching to a different time zone or your flight may be at an odd hour of the day. So how do you ensure that you are fueling properly to have a great race? That’s right! You plan. When traveling to a race in Florida where I knew that I would be going pretty much all day nonstop, this is what I packed for food:

I made sure to have my dinner food (the brown rice and avocado) with me. That way when I arrived at my destination I could focus on building my bike, and getting to bed, since my race was the following morning.

Okay, so you have your clothes, gear and food. After flying and driving for what seemed like centuries, you have finally made it to the hotel and now you can …rebuild your bike!!! For those who travel often, it is more economical to be able to pack and rebuild your bike on your own. If you have the means, there are often companies that will break down, ship and rebuild your bike for you. I happen to be very protective of my bikes and, as taught to me by my coach Trista Francis of iTz Multisport, I won’t let anyone touch my bike in the break down or re-build process. Only I know exactly how it is supposed to be for race day. Even after multiple assembly processes I still find it helpful to take pictures just in case in that frustrated, foggy, post-travel phase, you accidentally put your fork in backwards…not that I’ve ever done that of course.

Congratulations! You arrived at your destination with everything you need, a functioning bike, and either food for dinner or a contingency plan for the closest restaurant. Now it’s time to relax, hydrate, and enjoy a race outside of your own backyard!

Packing List:

Yoga For Triathletes

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May 21, 2013 on 2:14 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments

This is a post by coach Scott Beesley, USAT, RYT that is brought to you by our friends at CoachFitter.com

Let’s be honest – there exists more training and recovery modalities and philosophies than there is time to try them all.  One that is tried and true with my athletes is yoga.  One triathlete credits yoga with her ability to stay in aero for hours on end while a 60-something marathoner I coach has gone so for as to call yoga his “personal fountain of youth.”  There are many reasons to add yoga to your triathlon training plan.  Here are seven:

  1. Pelvic and Shoulder Stability – Yoga builds strength throughout each practice, without the need to dedicate specific time to abdominals, low back and shoulders.  Continued practice brings a greater bodily awareness that helps keep the body in check during other disciplines.
  2. Bike Fit – As a yoga instructor, my biggest referral sources are professional bike fitters who cannot properly fit an athlete because of tight hips and low back.
  3. Aerodynamics – Forget the $2,000 wheel set and fancy bike helmet.  A year of yoga and you’ll add centimeters of drop, reducing drag and making life in the saddle more comfortable.
  4. Run Stride – The faster you get, the important it is to have open hips to allow for a steeper forward lean and longer stride length.
  5. Recovery – Muscles are laid down in our body like row after row of perfectly aligned railroad tracks at a microscopic level.  That soreness you feel the day after a hard workout is tiny tears in the muscle.   We get “knots” in the muscles when they grow back in random order.  By taking a Yin/Restorative, Gentle or Slow Flow class after your hard workout days your muscles stand a better chance to grow back in those nice perfect rows (although perhaps not as effective as that massage you’ve been putting off).
  6. Recovery, Part II – By moving through a gentle yoga progression the evening of or the morning after a hard work out you can help prevent blood from pooling in over-worked muscles.
  7. Dang, it feels good.  Period.

Scott Beesley is a triathlon coach and yoga instructor.  In 2012 his clients landed 18 podium spots and 4 USAT National Championship qualifying spots.  He holds certifications/registrations from USA Triathlon, The Yoga Alliance, and Slowtwitch’s F.I.S.T bike fit school. More free advice at www.solesinspired.com, www.facebook.com/solesinspired, www.youtube.com/solesinspired, and www.coachfitter.com.

Meds and Multisports: OTC Danger

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May 8, 2013 on 10:20 am | In Training, Training | 1 Comment

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Meds and Multisports: OTC Danger

Commuting your way to a faster Ironman

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May 1, 2013 on 9:31 am | In Training, Training | 1 Comment

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Commuting your way to a faster Ironman

Should you train when you’re sick?

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April 1, 2013 on 1:24 pm | In Training | No Comments

This is a guest post by coach Dani Bahnsen brought to you by CoachFitter.com

It’s that time of year when there’s something in the air, and it’s not exactly spring.  There’s a bug that’s been going around.  How do you know when you should push through it and when should you stay home?

Today I have had the rare opportunity of staying home and working on my computer. It’s been a day of doing things I’ve been trying to get to but haven’t had the time. Really, I was forced to stay home because I’m sick.  Yesterday I felt great and had a fabulous high intensity interval workout in the morning. After that I swam, trained clients and then ran errands. It was just another typical day for me. I am proud to say that I am strict with my clients about taking care of themselves – staying hydrated, fueling properly and taking time for recovery.  I do my best to practice what I preach.  No one wants to feel run down and if we don’t look out for number one, we won’t be at our best. We also won’t be able to get the most out of our training or perform at our optimum level.

One of the many great things about exercise is that it boosts immunity. As a coach, I have noticed that my athletes are rarely sick compared to my friends who are not as athletic. Exercising while you have the sniffles can speed up recovery. However, it’s not always the best thing to do if you’ve got something more than the common cold.  Exercising with a viral infection can increase your likelihood of suffering from dehydration and heat stroke.  There’s also a chance that even worse could happen.  As you exercise, your blood is continuously being pumped through your heart.  According to experts, if you have a virus, it might concentrate in your heart muscle, leading to a condition called myocarditis.

I’ll admit, I usually try to be ‘tough’ and push through it when I have a cold or I’m not feeling quite right. However, feeling like this, there’s no way I could go for a run today; I have a fever, a red face, and my head is pounding.  There are times when we really need to just stay home, rest and eat chicken soup…and drink a Fluid Recovery Drink. As we all know, this works great for post workout recovery as well as recovering when you’re sick.  For my party-going friends, Fluid has also been known to be a great cure for occasional hang-over.

Here is a simple rule that I like to follow: Don’t shy away from your regular training if you have the sniffles, feel a little tired, or even have a touch of a scratchy throat.  Do stay home and rest when you feel the following symptoms:

Fever

Achy muscles

Chest congestion

G.I. issues

So, if you have a little cold, I would suggest taking it easier on the workout, but there is no need to skip training altogether. If you have something more serious and you do have to skip training, you should get back up to speed gradually. Listen to your body and pay extra attention to your nutrition.  After a week of being symptom free you should be back to giving your training the 100% that it deserves.

While I am busy beating this cold you can learn more about me and my coaching service at www.danibahnsen.com. You can also find me listed in the “Find a Coach” section of CoachFitter.com.

Dani Bahnsen – Natural Running Coach and Personal Trainer

The Secret to a Winning Season: It’s Already Happened

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February 21, 2013 on 9:53 am | In Athlete Profile | No Comments

Here’s a blog entry from Steve Elliott, a member of the 2013 TriSports.com Champions Team.

I ran 11 minutes on a treadmill last week.

Before you snicker, the treadmill was inside the Adult Congenital Cardiology Clinic at Stanford Hospital and it’s designed to be a 10-minute maximal test. After I did this test two years ago, they cut me open and stitched various breakfast meats into my heart.

That, actually, is what got me started in triathlon.

Quick back story: I was born with four strange heart defects including a mostly-blocked pulmonary artery and a hole between the ventricles that allowed unoxygenated blood coming back from my body to go right back out again without ever visiting my lungs. I gasped for breath a lot, turned blue even more, and couldn’t walk across a room without having to stop, rest and catch my breath. A little before my fifth birthday, in 1970, they opened me up and fixed my heart with a nice Dacron patch.

Turns out, you get about 40 years out of that repair and a couple of summers ago, after the treadmill test and a cardiac MRI, they told me I needed my pulmonary valve replaced with a pig valve. While he was at it, the surgeon also used some tissue from a cow heart to repair the original patch, giving me a three-species (plus synthetic) heart. I’d been home from the hospital about five days, still sleeping in a chair because of the pain (rib-splitting hurts!) when I saw a broadcast of Leon’s Triathlon from Indiana and everything changed.

I knew this was a sport my wife and I could do together. I knew it was a sport I’d enjoy. And the timing was perfect – from that moment, I was no longer recovering from open-heart surgery…I was training.

I got online and started learning. I ordered books, read TriSports U articles and started looking for an appropriate first race. Even though I’d be on activity restrictions for another seven weeks, I walked and did what I could do to get some fitness back and I competed in a super-sprint just three months after my surgery, then a late-season traditional sprint a month after that. I wasn’t fast in either race, but my goals were just to compete and finish.

After a full season last year, my goals are higher for 2013. I have swim times I want to hit and a running pace I’m building toward. I want to improve in my home events and hit the podium a few times. I don’t know if it will happen this year, but I want to qualify for the Xterra National Championships and test myself in that race. I look forward to scanning race results, hoping my name is listed toward the top of the page.

That’s why the treadmill test was such a good reminder. Without the surgery, my name could just as easily show up on a heart transplant waiting list or in a coroner’s report. So no matter how my races go this year, I’ve already won.

You have, too. If you do this sport, if you have races on the calendar and a training plan on your desk, you are fitter, faster, healthier, and, I suspect, happier than most people out there. So good luck with your 2013 season and your goals, but my friends, we’ve already won.

Steve Elliott is a member of the 2013 TriSports.com Champions Team. If you like his approach and want to support him – and get 15% off gear for yourself at TriSports.com – enter discount code SELLIOTT during checkout.

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