Kansas City Triathlon 2019

First race of the year for most of us is fast approaching – below are pointers I get asked about most frequently.  Mostly, though, remember that you belong at the race – no matter what facebook may have you believe, no one has this sport mastered :).  If you need help, ask!  Race day rarely goes perfectly for anyone – how you handle those curve balls is what matters.  You got this – find that inner warrior and press on.  Hustle, get gritty, give high fives, push the envelop, smile, get uncomfortable, say thanks, and be awesome 🙂

Unknown.png

Race Day – Keep it Simple & Stick to YOUR plan

  1. Race Day Packing List – writing a list helps make sure you get what you need and leave what you don’t.  No need to rely on frantic race day brain to make sure you remember your goggles!
  2. Write out a Race Day Timeline – Race day can be much more relaxing (i.e. save energy for racing not worrying) if you know you’re on schedule instead of frantically hoping you make it on time.
  3. Keep it Simplestick with what you know and what you’ve been practicing.  Resist that pesky temptation to second guess everything you’ve been doing when you show up and see what other athletes are doing (we’ve all been there – resist!!). Stick to YOUR plan.
  4. Give yourself a bit of extra time race morning – why not?  If you arrive early you can sit in the (warm) car and drink coffee a hydrating beverage of your choice.
  5. Take warm stuff for race morning (including the feet) – why use race energy trying to stay warm?
  6. Transition Area – Don’t be THAT GUY (or gal) with the sprawling tri gear – keep your area tidy – be a good triathlete neighbor :).  Put your transition gear either under your bike or just to the side and only items you will use during the race.
  7. Bike EtiquetteOn the course, stay to the right (to allow others to pass if needed).  If you are the one passing, notify the other cyclist by yelling “ON YOUR LEFT” so they know you are coming. This frequently gets overlooked on race day, but no one wants to crash so do your part.   #saferacing #saferiding

 

Managing Cold Water*

While we never know for sure until race day, the water this year might be chilly.  For most, it’s when cold water hits the face that we have the strongest reaction. It may *feel* like it’s taking your breath away and you may need a few moments to manage this.  It’s extremely important to submerge the face and get control of your breath before you start to swim.  If you either haven’t swam in cold water before or know that it’s something you struggle with, make it a priority to get control of your breath before you start to swim (even during the race).  You may have to hang for a minute or two and focus on this – but your body will adjust and those extra few minutes can make a huge difference to the rest of your swimming and your race.

*We will have a pre-race briefing at 5:00 on Saturday before the race and will be touching on this topic if that’s of interest.

Should I do the warm up swim race morning (if there is one)?

There is no right answer to this – some athletes prefer to do a run warm up if the water and/or air temps are going to be extra chilly.  Remember your goal is to get blood flowing to those muscles and help them prepare to race – do what works for you.  Just have those warm clothes ready to put on when you get done warming up.

Pacing: Race to your Training

Pacing can be a tricky one – but aim to set expectations for the race based on the training you’ve been doing.  Set that darn ego aside and think about what your body is ready to do – if you’ve been training hard, it might be time to push it!  If life has gotten in the way of training, set those pacing goals accordingly.  Avoid the temptation to ‘move your goal post’ or change your goals upon arriving on site race day.  yikes.  Stick with your plan that’s based on what you’ve been doing in training.

Have fun out there & stay safe.  We’ll be rooting for you!

for weebly

The Reds Triathlon Team 

#grit #hustle #teamwork

 

Getting to the Pointy End

Reds > a lot of you probably already know that my dearest pea hubster, Casey Kershner raced Galveston 70.3 this weekend – he’s 43 years old, been doing triathlon for ~a decade and still keeps getting better (eik!) > > > why is this relevant to the rest of us??

Casey grew up a basketball player – he played through college & is still as obsessed with the sport. When he started triathlon, he wore basketball shorts to his knees (hell no he wasn’t wearing SPANDEX!) and couldn’t swim 1 lap of the pool. HE WAS JUST LIKE THE REST OF US WHEN WE START – no idea what he was doing or how to get better.

His journey to placing top 10 in one of the increasingly hardest age groups (why is it hard? Pros start to retire and re-enter age group racing, unfortunately doping is an issue & drafting in Ironman events is something they still haven’t addressed. Additionally, amateur athletes are increasingly taking advantage of the luxury of quitting their jobs for a spell to ‘training like professionals’ > combine all that and it’s, in my (perhaps biased) opinion, that it’s an absolutely brutal age group).

His journey to “the pointy end” (highly competitive) hasn’t come overnight – he’s had a LOT of hard lessons and things to overcome to get to where he is > JUST LIKE WE ALL DO. What he has done to get where he is is show up everyday and do what needs to be done – he’s as consistent as they come > and layer by layer, year after year he’s gotten a little bit better.

You’d never look now and think he did his first race with his helmet on backwards or that his first 3 Ironmans he LITERALLY made himself sick b/c of anxiety > what we see is the one day where all that work comes together….and doesn’t he make it look easy .

But I’m here to tell you it’s not easy! We gotta work for that shit BUT I’m also here to tell you that what he’s doing is NOT magic – and it’s there for the taking for anyone whose willing to keep their head down, bum up and keep on w/ long term, consistent, smart training!!

Don’t underestimate yourself > go forth and be a force of the awesome! #redstri #consistencyisking #kicka$$

 

do-epic-shit-go-forth-and-be-a-force-of-6901418.png

KC Tri Tips 2018

First race of the year for most of us is fast approaching – below are pointers I get asked about most frequently.  Mostly, though, remember that you belong at the race – no matter what facebook may have you believe, no one has this sport mastered :).  If you need help, ask!  Race day rarely goes perfectly for anyone – how you handle those curve balls is what matters.  You got this – find that inner warrior and press on.  Hustle, get gritty, give high fives, push the envelop, smile, get uncomfortable, say thanks, and be awesome 🙂

Unknown.png

Race Day – Keep it Simple & Stick to YOUR plan

  1. Race Day Packing List – writing a list helps make sure you get what you need and leave what you don’t.  No need to rely on frantic race day brain to make sure you remember your goggles!
  2. Write out a Race Day Timeline – Race day can be much more relaxing (i.e. save energy for racing not worrying) if you know you’re on schedule instead of frantically hoping you make it on time.
  3. Keep it Simplestick with what you know and what you’ve been practicing.  Resist that pesky temptation to second guess everything you’ve been doing when you show up and see what other athletes are doing (we’ve all been there – resist!!). Stick to YOUR plan.
  4. Give yourself a bit of extra time race morning – why not?  If you arrive early you can sit in the (warm) car and drink coffee a hydrating beverage of your choice.
  5. Take warm stuff for race morning (including the feet) – why use race energy trying to stay warm?
  6. Transition Area – Don’t be THAT GUY (or gal) with the sprawling tri gear – keep your area tidy – be a good triathlete neighbor :).  Put your transition gear either under your bike or just to the side and only items you will use during the race.
  7. Bike EtiquetteOn the course, stay to the right (to allow others to pass if needed).  If you are the one passing, notify the other cyclist by yelling “ON YOUR LEFT” so they know you are coming. This frequently gets overlooked on race day, but no one wants to crash so do your part.   #saferacing #saferiding

 

Managing Cold Water*

While we never know for sure until race day, the water this year might be chilly.  For most, it’s when cold water hits the face that we have the strongest reaction. It may *feel* like it’s taking your breath away and you may need a few moments to manage this.  It’s extremely important to submerge the face and get control of your breath before you start to swim.  If you either haven’t swam in cold water before or know that it’s something you struggle with, make it a priority to get control of your breath before you start to swim (even during the race).  You may have to hang for a minute or two and focus on this – but your body will adjust and those extra few minutes can make a huge difference to the rest of your swimming and your race.

*We will have a pre-race briefing at 5:00 on Saturday before the race and will be touching on this topic if that’s of interest.

Should I do the warm up swim race morning (if there is one)?

There is no right answer to this – some athletes prefer to do a run warm up if the water and/or air temps are going to be extra chilly.  Remember your goal is to get blood flowing to those muscles and help them prepare to race – do what works for you.  Just have those warm clothes ready to put on when you get done warming up.

Pacing: Race to your Training

Pacing can be a tricky one – but aim to set expectations for the race based on the training you’ve been doing.  Set that darn ego aside and think about what your body is ready to do – if you’ve been training hard, it might be time to push it!  If life has gotten in the way of training, set those pacing goals accordingly.  Avoid the temptation to ‘move your goal post’ or change your goals upon arriving on site race day.  yikes.  Stick with your plan that’s based on what you’ve been doing in training.

Have fun out there & stay safe.  We’ll be rooting for you!

for weebly

The Reds Triathlon Team 

#grit #hustle #teamwork

 

 

 

The Revolution will Not be Televised (or posted on Facebook)

In another life I did humanitarian work and wrote a piece once about ‘the invisible moments of activism’ – all those moments you’re in the trenches doing the work that matters but GEEZE does progress feel slow.  You question if you’re making progress (you are), if it all matters (it does), if it will ever make a difference (it will)!? Last week, as I was reflecting on the peaks and valleys athletes experienced this 2017 season, I came across that article and it struck a familiar cord.  Though totally different circumstances, the message resonates loud and clear – progress comes in those invisible lonely moments where you choose Grit & Hustle over the easy way.

I get questions a lot from athletes about how it is that other athletes get better – presumably they, too, want to improve – how does she do it (she does her workouts every single day for years), why is his secret (there is no secret, only hard work), I wish I could do that (you can).  What is often missing in that conversation is the understanding of what athletes who are getting better are doing – what their lives look like on a daily basis.

If I could sum it up in a word: Everyday.

We all have things that come up – but athletes who are improving are training just about everyday all year long.  They train smart with a long term focus.  What their specific training looks like depends on their athletic age (how long they’ve been in the sport), chronological age, event of choice, goals, etc – but rest assured they are working everyday year round.

These aren’t athletes who sub in gardening for their weight training on a nice spring day (I know gardening is hard – but it’s not the same), or who sometimes count water polo as their swim workout, or who go too hard at the start of their track workout and then die at the end, or who let their long ride on the weekends be determined by who they are riding with instead of what their body needs.

They are athletes who simply do what needs to be done – the way it’s suppose to be done – everyday.  They don’t over train, they don’t under train, they don’t rant about their stats or gear – and honestly most of them don’t post their daily feats on Facebook.  The ones getting it done are doing it quietly, everyday in invisible moments; getting it done when no one is watching.  They live the Grit & Hustle knowing nothing worth doing is ever easy.

Getting better is hard, it’s long term, and it’s daily.  But what makes it absolutely awesome is that we all have access to this “magic” – whatever your age or goals or history, all of this is here, waiting for you, to come find out just how awesome you are.

It’s Not About the Shiny Bits

Julyl 2017 – Door County 70.3
We aren’t in this sport or in life to sit on the sidelines – and every time we get out there, we put ourselves on the line not knowing what the result will be.  Some days are tough and Door County 70.3 gave us waves fit for a storm in that swim – but every single one of our athletes standing at that start line looked out over that water and did an absolutely amazing job of keeping it together.  There was no complaining – we knew it would be tough – we knew we had no way of practicing in Kansas for the conditions we faced – and there were lots of butterflies & swallowing of nerves – but the waves & the nerves were no match for the hugs, support, and encouraging words you all gave to each other.
Racing is a risk.  And it’s especially a risk on a day like Sunday.  But triathlon isn’t about the shiny bits.  It’s not about the gear or the days that go as planned or the Facebook pictures that give the (false) impression of triathlon perfection.  Triathlon is about what we saw on Sunday – it’s raw and risky and gritty – it’s the moments that are hard and often lonely – where you are digging for every step – and it’s nothing like the shiny bits promised in the pictures.  These moments are what test and build character – I have never been more proud than I was on Sunday seeing every single one of our athletes put one foot in front of the other and take the risk.  Put yourself out there when there was nothing easy about it….and in the absence of the shiny bits, we were left with the medal underneath every. single. one. of you shined even brighter than before.  You all are amazing humans and you inspire the rest of us to take risks, to stay strong, and to keep going.  HUGE congratulations ❤
2c6f352cd8e8fdc9c3c1e80cd55224d0--be-a-badass-woman-badass-mom-quotes.jpg

The Voice of The Ratchet has got to GO.

As Casey and I were stretching out after our run last weekend, we were discussing how unfortunate it is that, still, after many years in triathlon and many (many) reminders on the importance of stretching neither of us can touch our knees, I mean (or do I) toes.

In our discussion on the merits of stretching somehow we got onto the Sit & Reach….in case you’ve forgotten (or blocked it out):

Unknown-2.jpeg

We took a little trip down memory lane discussing Elementary School Fitness Tests  … eeeeiiikkkkk….by the end of the conversation I was wondering how any of us escaped with any self esteem in tact??

 

bf3371b452f9a2fd60e80fb490d7afa7.jpg

(ps There are some bad words at the end of this blog. You’ve been warned; abort if needed)

I’m not sure which one of these Fitness Tests to credit as my favorite.  They were all so pleasant.

Fat pinch plier test (I think the politically correct term for that was the ‘skin fold’ test but let’s just call it what it is).  I can still feel my self esteem rising just thinking about Nurse Ratchet applying the big squeeze.

The mile run (‘run’).  It’s hard to imagine why it took me 20 years after elementary school to want run again.

High jump or the bar jump or whatever it was. Eh, hem ooookay kids, this is our annual jump really high day.  To show our support, we’re going to put a metal pole out that’s right about the height of yer head.  We’ll all be staring at you. Good luck.

Really, though, I think some of my best moments had to be on the pull up & the rope climb.  THAT wasn’t embarrassing at all. (I still can’t do an unassisted pull up despite swimming through college).

I must have had a hunch this was a racket b/c I usually got caught hiding on testing days.  In 5th grade, after trying to avoid the jump high test, I was given a special chance to show the whole class it’s not a good idea to skip “skills lessons”.  Boy, did I prove to them it’s not a good idea to make Liz run really fast toward a mental pole (to this day, my vertical is still 3 inches on a good day.  I was never going to make it over that bar.)

As Casey and I discussed these ‘fitness tests’ I got remnants of the same pit in my stomach I used to get back in Elementary school.   eeeiikkkk how I dreaded test days….

Given that Casey (who is a natural and bada** athlete) also had the same reaction, it made me think there must be a fair number people who weren’t inspired to athletic greatness by the Sit & Reach.  And it, in fact, made me suspect that some might greatly underestimate what they can do today based on experiences like running into a metal pole in front of their class mates or the pinch of Mrs. Ratchet’s fat pliers.

It might be part of why athletes who don’t view themselves as “fast enough” or as “looking like an athlete” suggest to me that they “aren’t really athletes”.  I’m willing to bet the voice of The Ratchet still lurks in the subconscious of a lot of athletes – as a coach, I call these brain trolls and they erode self esteem and confidence – and for some even the willingness to try (no pun intended) b/c they don’t feel like they have a place in sports.

For those that struggle to define yourselves as ‘athletes’ despite all the training you do, let’s just go ahead and take a minute to call that what it is:

images-4.jpegUnknown-7.jpegUnknown-8.jpegUnknown-3.jpegimages-2.jpeg

Nurse Ratchet and her pliers have no place here. There’s no ‘legitimate athlete’ patrol.   Carry on with yer goals and yer struggles and yer victories and with being yer badarse selves.  Anyone who says otherwise is full of bull.

Unknown-12.jpeg
Unknown-9.jpeg994711_10201929351089002_644079848_n.jpgsquirrel-superman.jpg1249ce30ae666635757413521d008f61.jpg

WATCH OUT BAD WORD BELOW!

Unknown-11.jpeg

 

6b3f0355a950a81fe1590bd625064097.jpg

 

 

 

 

The Time Clock in swimming isn’t an ‘optional’ toy if you want to improve.

For those of you that are runners and have done speed work, you probably can’t imagine going to the track without a watch.  How would you know your speed or rest interval?  Your speed/effort and rest are what define your workout.

REST: There’s a big difference between doing, say, 15 x 400s at a 5K pace with 1 minute rest vs doing 15 x 400s at 5K pace with 5 minutes rest….that extra rest drastically changes the feel (and impact) of that workout.

In addition to paying attention to your rest – you also probably know your time for each of your 400s.  If your first 400 was 90 seconds (or 2 minutes or 3 minutes – whatever your pace is), you will notice if by the 8th 400, you are holding 95 seconds….

This same concept applies to swimming.  How fast you are swimming and how much rest you take defines your workout – and, to know your pace and your rest in swimming (just like in running) you must use a pace clock.

imgres.jpgTime clock often seen on swimming pool decks.  Garmin devices now make this much easier for many athletes.

(SIDE NOTE: The time clock is most helpful for athletes who are ready to ‘swim hard’ – if you are still learning your stroke, the time clock probably isn’t your priority yet.)

How do you use the Time Clock?

You use a time clock to measure your pace and rest just like running.

First, you have to just get used to watching the clock – after a while it becomes second nature – but at first it’s a pain (especially if you’re gasping for air).  You have watch when you start and when you finish – it doesn’t matter if you’re swimming a 50 or a 300 – you need to be able to figure out your time.

Step 1 – get used to watching the clock.

Step 2 – Learn your 50 time.  Figure out how fast you swim a 50.  Your 50 time will probably be different if your rested vs tired.  Maybe rested you swim 1 minute for a 50.  But when you get tired, maybe you’re at 1:05 or 1:10.  Start with noticing that – you’ll start to see that, just like in a track workout, those seconds make a difference.  If you’re tired there, is a BIG difference between swimming a 50 in 1 minute vs 1:05.

It is in those seconds where your improvement in swimming lies – if you normally swim a 50 in 1:05 when you are tired – push yourself to get under 1:05 – b/c to get better you have to challenge your body.

Step 2 – Learn your 100 time….and then 200….etc.

Step 3 – Notice the impact rest has on your 50 and 100 time and do something about it.  Use the time clock to challenge yourself….more on that on step 5.

Step 4 – Make a habit of holding yourself accountable to the clock.  No mindless swimming.

Step 5 – Intervals.  Intervals can be done in 2 ways – on a certain amount of rest or on a certain time interval. Example:

10 x 100 on 15 seconds rest. With this sort of ‘interval’, no matter how long your 100 takes you to swim, you get 15 seconds rest.  This is ok for learning to use the pace clock – but it’s not for long term improvement….read on.

10 x 100 on 2:15.  This means from the time you leave the wall, you have 2:15 to swim your 100 and leave again.  So, if your 100 takes you 2 minutes, you have 15 seconds to rest.  If your 100 takes you 2:10 you get 5 seconds rest.  This is much more difficult than simply getting 15 seconds of rest no matter how long your 100 took.  This is the kind of hard swimming that’s necessary to get better.

Last point –  there are 2 ways to get better – either improve your speed or extend the amount of time you can maintain a speed.  So, say you swim a ‘hard’ 100 in 2 minutes.  You could either work to improve your 100 time – say try to get it down to 1:55.  Or, you could work to extend the amount of time you can hold your 2 minute pace – eventually could you swim a 200 in 4 minutes?  Both are great ways to get stronger in the water.

Getting faster at swimming requires consistent hard work – you can swim consistently but if you don’t really know how hard you’re working, then it’s hard to know if you’re training effectively.  Learning to use the pace clock is a necessary first step towards really dialing in your swim training.