The Runner’s World triathlon training program I’m using calls for five different types of running throughout the 12 week schedule: Foundation, Strides, Transition, Tempo, and Threshold Intervals. A rather in depth article about how runners can train for a triathlon preceded the program but it didn’t go into detail about the various types of running (or swimming or biking for that matter) as there are definitions in the sidebar of the program. All of the work-outs made sense to me except for the description of Strides, which happens to be one of the first running work-outs on the schedule. The program defines it as “Run 20 seconds at 5k race pace; jog 40 seconds after each stride” and each run work-out says how many repetitions of this to do.
In my mind, a stride was the forward movement of the leg. I was baffled as to how I was to jog for 40 seconds in just one stride. But I knew what 5k race pace meant, so at first I would just sprint for the designated number of repetitions and not worry about the 40 seconds of jogging. The more I started to read about triathlon training, however, the more the term “strides” came up and the more I wanted to know the true meaning. Continue reading →
At the suggestion of a friend of mine who is an NSPA-certified instructor, I got a Polar heart rate watch last fall to help me train better. I read the Polar user manual and it was obvious the watch does a lot more than what I am ready to do in my training (different alarms for speedwork, a variety of lap settings, etc), and while I haven’t delved into the watch’s many functions, I did set it up to monitor my heart rate. My “own zone” is 65-85% of normal heart rate and I am almost always above the max.
I thought maybe it would be helpful to switch from the percent of heart rate to the actual heart rate setting thinking I would have a better idea of how I’m doing if I knew my actual heart rate. I do like seeing the HR rather than the percent of HR, however, I’m still not clear on what the numbers actually mean. For example, I did a 4.05 mile run with the watch beeping at me almost the entire time. My HR limits were 162/124 and I was only in my zone for 8 minutes of that run. Oddly, the rest of the time I was below my zone with an average HR of 120 despite the fact that my time on this run was the fastest I’ve had yet for that route. How could my HR have been so low when I was actually running faster?
Realizing the number of questions I have, I decided it was time to do some more reading. I turned to Polar’s website as well as an extremely helpful document called Optimal Results, a heart rate training program that was developed in 1994 by Dave Ruff, the National Personal Training Director for TFC Partners and owner of Ruff Fitness. In reading through the training articles on Polar’s website, I learned that I probably should first monitor my resting HR and then set up my own limits based on that number in order to properly conduct heart rate training. Continue reading →
Our tricep push-ups did not look this hard core, but the form is still the same. Photo by Colonel Bob.
When I first started going to spin class I thought for sure I wouldn’t last. I thought I might get bored or never build up a tolerance for the intense work-out it provides at the crack of dawn. Now I’ve already lost track of how many classes I’ve gone to (though I could check it in my Runner’s World training log) and I have come to appreciate the intensity of spinning and I am certainly not bored. Just as no one run is the same, neither as any one spin class and it’s not just because of having different instructors. The class is entirely about what you put into it, how much extra gear you’re willing to add to your bike, and how hard you’ll try to sweat a little more each time.
The variety of spinning is what keeps me coming back and I recently got even more than I bargained for with a fantastic instructor. She called the course SSOB–Spinning Strength Off Bike. Normally the courses run for a full 60 minutes of spinning. According to the triathlon training schedule I’m using I technically only needed a 35-40 minute foundation ride, meaning a ride at a moderate pace. I figure it’s in my favor in the long run if I can already ride longer and at a higher intensity. This course gave me a good 40 minutes of spinning in addition to a strength work-out which I have been somewhat neglecting.
For 20 minutes we did sprints, out of the seat sprints, a seated climb, and a series of 20 second sprints at gear 6 with 20 seconds of rest. Then it was off the bikes and over to the wall. Continue reading →
For the last couple months I’ve been trying to figure out what I would train for next and at first I thought it would be a summer half marathon (and it still might be), but now it is most definitely training for my first triathlon. The first hurdle has been to find a training schedule that makes sense to me, seems realistic with my life schedule, and that will give me a comfortable balance of swimming, biking, and running.
All my running schedules have always been in miles. (I hate to admit that I have yet to train with speedwork, hills, fartlek, etc but that is also in my future if I’m going to do all this the right way.) You slowly increase mileage balanced by some easier or rest days and then taper off closer to the run. I thought for sure that triathlon training would somehow be similar.
Well, wasn’t I shocked when I started to look at a variety of programs that vary from ones that are entirely time/duration based to ones that are a mix of time and distance to ones that focus on heart rate training to others that rely on each work-out being at either foundation, tempo, sprint, or time trial pace. There’s so much to choose from! A comforting line, however, in a Runner’s World article written for runners trying a tri said “it’s ok to experiment.” Continue reading →
A couple years ago my husband and I went to watch his sister and her fiance and some other friends finish the first triathlon in Annapolis. We cheered her on through the finish line at Navy Stadium and I remember clearly being in awe of the hundreds of people who had just done three sports in a row! My sister-in-law and her fiance have competed in a number of triathlons and I feel fortunate that I am continuously meeting and connecting with other triathletes as their multi-sport talents are ever impressive.
In getting to know triathletes, however, I still always positioned myself as a runner forever and ever. No need to also be a biker and a swimmer. But then I took a break from running and started spinning, albeit not the same as road biking, but certainly a good introduction to the work-out. And then a friend of mine signed up for a triathlon in July and we got to talking about swimming. Next thing I knew, I was at the pool trying for a half mile swim with her. Continue reading →
The Summary screen of the RaceNation training log; notice below are the community features for networking, blogging, and sharing photos.
It’s been just a little over a month since I decided to start reviewing training logs. I am definitely one who learns by doing and once I discovered the endless options for tracking my training online, I decided that the best way to decide which system worked best for me would be to try them all out.
RaceNation is the site I’ve been using for the past month. Like many other sites developed for and by athletes it is part community, part networking, part training log, and it is still in a Beta stage with open-minded developers welcoming feedback. Registering for the site was a piece of cake and like many other social networking sites, I was able to create a profile on the site that made me part of the community. I need to qualify this review by making it clear that I registered on RaceNation with the sole purpose of testing out the site’s training log feature and therefore did not take advantage of the site’s multiple networking and content (blogs, photo upload,groups, race calendar) features. Continue reading →
They say that happiness is contagious, that good energy spreads like the best virus possible, and being around people who are happy and positive is highly likely to rub off on others. I firmly believe this. Having just spent a weekend with a group of girls, most of whom I hardly know and some of whom I met for the first time, I truly believe that happiness, positive energy, and active lifestyles are absolutely contagious and I hope to help spread it around even more. Each girl (and really, we’re all women young at heart) was awesome and I could easily spend every weekend with that same group.
At one point we were all sitting around a dinner table and from one end of the table to the other the conversation was centered on being active. We were talking about marathons, training, running for the first time, triathlons, wetsuits, eating well, getting through life’s milestones in healthy ways, trying new things, and rewarding ourselves with travel, good friends, chocolate, and a nice glass of wine. True to how this blog began, everyone has hit their various hurdles and figured out how to move on, and it was inspiring to hear others talk about what they’ve achieved. Continue reading →