Step Up and Tri – January 2012

Welcome to the first Step up and Tri for 2012, albeit rather late.

The end of 2011 was a tough one for me and for quite a few of those near to me: my father, Franklin, and my partner’s sister, Amy, passed away, one of my clients also lost her father, and many of us lost our very special companion animals. Bailey left Jan and I, and Scooter, Scooby, and now sweet Lulu have left Scott and Melissa (who helps me write this blog).

So I dedicate this blog to those we have lost and remind us all that we can find them in our hearts, along the trail as we run, when we see a squadron of pelicans surf the air just above the waves as we ride our bikes down A1A, or when some stunning element of nature takes our breath away.

Weight training and cardio- which comes first?
Chris Carmichael’s Q and A in the Jan/Feb issue of Bicycling Magazine dealt with the following question:

Q. Sometimes I ride and lift weights on the same day. Which activity should I do first?
A. Carmichael: Start with the higher-intensity workout. If you’re doing intervals, you’ll want to ride first but you might choose to lift before an endurance-paced ride. If you’re trying to maximize your cycling performance in the fewest number of hours, I recommend strength training no more than twice a week after rides or on days when you’re not riding.
A. TriCoachDara: do the workout that matters most first. In the off-season that will be strength training, but as the season gets going, the cardio will matter most and by that time you should have progressed passed the really hard weight training sessions and be on the strength maintenance wagon.

A Goal without a plan is just a dream. (Thank you for that, Dad.)
It’s the end of January. Have you set your athletic goals for 2012?

Planning and goal-setting are closely intertwined: you decide on the goals and then you plan for the best way to meet them.

First, decide on your goals for the year and that will help you determine the objectives you need to hit in order to achieve those goals. Do you want to finish your first Ironman 70.3 in July? Then certain mileage targets need to be laid out. Do you want an age-group podium at Kona in October? Then a progression of race simulation test- sets at specific paces are required, among other things. Workouts need to simulate the terrain, race conditions, and performance intensities once the base training has been done.

Next you will decide on the races that will both serve as training and as the ultimate target. For example, I am doing Ironman St. George, in Utah in May, so a good training race is the Clermont half in April.

Your goals can be as simple or as complex as you want, but if you don’t feel fired up and motivated thinking about them, you are probably looking in the wrong direction. Effective goal setting must ultimately lead you back to the present moment – the place from which you begin; an end goal of competing in an Ironman will have many process goals to get you there, whether it be pacing benchmarks, targeting threshold or hill workouts, or a certain number of miles you want to hit by a certain date. But you have to start where you are, and take small bites out of the larger goal. Every 4-6 weeks, evaluate how training is going and check that your training is heading in the right direction.

Below are a few goal-setting questions I always ask my athletes when we first start working together:

•What are your most important goals this year? (Example: “I want to do St. Anthony’s in under 3 hours”, “I want to break 3:30 on my next marathon,” “I want to improve my functional threshold power –FTP- by 15% on the bike”.)

•What are the races that you want to have your best performances at? There should only be 2 or 3 at the very most of these A priority races. Even the pros can’t manage to peak more than 3 times a year. Twice a year, at least 6 months apart is best.

•What are your specific goals for these A priority races? Use smart goals: 1. specific, 2. measurable, 3. attainable, 4. relevant, 5. timely.

1.Specific: I want to improve my FTP by 15% so that I can bring my bike time down to 2:30 hours for the A race half ironman.

2. Measureable: I want to run a 1:50 half marathon.

3. Attainable: it should be based on where your abilities are currently. My IM time is 14:30 on a flat course, so it is unlikely that I will qualify for Kona at St. George. BUT, I might be able to swim a 1:20 there.

4. Relevant: the goals should get you where you are going. If I want to qualify for Kona, then competing in a kayak race in 2 hours is not relevant.

5. Timely: set dates for each of the goals. I want to improve my FTP by 5% by March 20th, another 5 % by June 6th, so that ideally I am at 15% by August 19th for my second half IM of the year and I can hit 2:20 on the bike.

•What other races are you doing? You will use these as training races, or just for fun as long as they fit with your overarching goals.

What is it you want to accomplish this season, and how are you going to get there? Could you write it down, or explain it to a friend? As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else. If you need help setting your goals for this year, I’d be happy to help. Just shoot me an email or give me a call.
Some items taken from Lava magazine, December/January 2012

Now that’s fast!
25.99 miles per hour…American Chris Lieto’s average bike speed at the Hawaii Ironman. His 4:18:31 split was only eight seconds shy of Normann Stadler’s bike course record. Lieto was first off the bike but struggled on the run and finished 29th among the pro men.

Interesting Factoid:
60% increase in post-exercise muscle repair among study subjects who ate protein right after working out, compared with when they ingested it over 3.5 hours.
Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Mental Skills Training
Part three of the series in six techniques for better mental power –This month we’re going to focus on the element of mental skills training that the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) has found to be important for consistent, optimal performance: Pre-performance routines.

Pre-performance Routines
At the elite level, where athletes possess similar sport-specific and physical abilities, the way athletes engage their thoughts and emotions before a competition could make the difference between winning and losing. But it is not just the elites that need to develop effective pre-race routines- we all do. When athletes think about negative things and get down on themselves, they usually perform poorly. On the flip side, those who keep themselves thinking productively, and who find ways to feel good end up having better performances. One of the most important factors contributing to top performances is the ability to generate and maintain optimal readiness before competition (Burton, Naylor, & Holliday, 2001; Gould, Dieffenbach, & Mofett, 2002; Orlick & Partington, 1988; Taylor, 1995). One method to improve physical, mental, and emotional readiness is through the use of pre-performance routines.

Pre-performance routines typically consist of cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and energizing components.

*The cognitive components include concentration cues, positive thoughts, and self-talk.
*Behavioral components include walk-throughs and individual rituals.
*Emotional components can consist of making confidence-enhancing affirmations, dealing in a positive, pre-planned way with parking frustrations and negative feelings or anxiety, and using a social-support network (if that works for you).
*Energizing components include adequate rest, recovery activities, proper nutrition, and hydration (Beauchamp, Bray, & Albinson, 2002; Orlick, 2000; Weinberg & Comar, 1994). You should look back atprevious races and evaluate your level of arousal: when were you too aroused? What did that feel like?

When was your level of arousal too low or just right? How did that feel? Try to mimic the appropriate level of arousal each time.

What follows is a list of items you should incorporate into your pre-race plan. Make it rote behavior for every race and you will eliminate stress, stay positive and set yourself up for a great race.

•Decide, based on past experience, what is most needed as part of your race preparation at various time intervals: 48 hours before race time, 24 hours before, the morning of the race, two hours before the start of the race, one hour before, and at race time.
•Establish a schedule for pre-practice and pre-race activities: meals, dressing, transition area set up, body marking, porta potty, etc.
•Set aside some time before practice and race starts to work on your mental preparation (to control your level of arousal, to do some visualization, breathing exercises, whatever works for you). Mental preparation can include use of imagery, repetition of mantra, listening to a play list, etc.
•Establish specific warm-up activities to ensure effective execution. How long are they and what do they consist of).
•Review your goals for workouts and races before you begin.

Upcoming Races:
*There is a gang of us doing the Half Mary in Miami on January 29th: Bonnie, Franny, Sue and Dara and a ton of the WEBE training group too. It will be fun!
*Mark and Jim are doing the Bill Bone race on Feb 4th!
Go get em everyone!

Featured Athlete:
This month, we’re going to learn more about Jeff Dell:

Past history of sports participation:
I grew up in Southern California primarily doing board sports (skateboard, surf and snowboard). When I went to college at Arizona State University I got very involved in running and mountain biking. I ended up racing almost every weekend doing either running, mountain biking, or off-road duathlon. After college I moved to Florida and felt really discouraged with the trails here, so I primarily ran doing a couple of marathons and a few shorter distant races, but not nearly as serious as work took over and exercise was put on the back burner.
What was your first tri & what made you do it:
My first tri was a sprint on Key Biscayne in 2009. A few friends and I were drinking beer trying to figure out how we could get into shape for the summer. Someone said “Hey a triathlon sounds like fun”. I had swam only a few laps in my life and I didn’t own a road bike, but a few months later we did one as a team. I did the bike leg and it was hilarious how clueless we were, but I was hooked. A month later I did a sprint as an individual and I haven’t stopped training since.
Favorite training or racing experiences:
My favorite racing experience was getting under 4 hours on the marathon @ Ironman Arizona 2011. My previous PR was 4:42 on an open marathon in college and ever since then I said I wanted to break 4 hours someday in a marathon. I think I was more excited about this accomplishment then completing the Ironman. It topped off a perfect day.
Races/events completed last season:
Last year I did 3 events. Florida 70.3 where I broke my old PR by 45 minutes, REV3 Portland which was a really nice location and was a very solid event, but I had huge GI distress and Ironman Arizona, where I had an amazing experience.
Favorite race/s (all-time):
My favorite race of all time was Hawaii 70.3. Having the opportunity to race on the Queen K was a lifelong dream. Seeing Tim DeBoom (two-time Ironman World Champion) fly down from Hawi while I was riding up to Hawi was a memory I will never forget. The water was also incredibly clear and the run was pure torture in the lava fields.
Athletic achievement/s you are most proud of:
Completing an Ironman is something I dreamed of from when I was a kid watching ABC Wide World of Sports in the 80’s and seeing Mark and Dave race in Hawaii. I never thought I would ever have the opportunity to do one and to do it in Arizona made it really special because I did so much training over the years on this course. My primary goal of the day was to finish strong and I had the most amazing day. Thanks to all the training Dara put me through, I had such an amazing experience and crushed every goal for the day with an 11:18 time.
Goals for the 2012 season:
To get under 5 hours in a 70.3 race. This is a bit of a stretch as I have to knock off 30 minutes from my PR, but if goals were easy, they wouldn’t be as exciting.
Favorite running trail and/or bike route:
My favorite running trail is the Deschutes Trail in Bend, Oregon. It is one of the most scenic and fun trails I have been on. You are inches from a flowing river and the nice rolling hills add a bit of diversity.
Favorite racing and/or training tip (what would you tell a newbie, and not necessarily something Dara told you!):
Don’t look at each training session as an individual effort. Everything you do from the first day of the season to race day effects your outcome. The next time you push really hard because it feels good, remember that tomorrow might suffer because of your actions today.
A favorite “Dara-ism”:
Dara has a way of motivating me in such an amazing way. It really helped me excel in all of my goals. Having her by my side through the training process was invaluable. She knew how to push me to the edge and has helped me accomplish something I never knew was possible. One of my favorite was “You, my man, are ready for race day!!! Whoo hooooo!!!”

Monthly Recipe:
Vegetarian Potstickers
It’s hard not to love a good potsticker. What a yummy treat when it’s a bit chilly outside.

•1 red onion , sliced
•1 tablespoon minced ginger
•1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom
•1 cup white cabbage , shredded
•1 cup carrot , shredded
•1 cup chopped garlic sprouts or 1 cup chives
•1 teaspoon white pepper
•1 teaspoon sesame oil
•1/4 cup chopped cilantro
•1 package wonton skins , also called gyoza
•canola oil

1. In a wok or large saute pan, add a little oil and saute onions and ginger.
2. Add the mushrooms and stir.
3. Add the cabbage, carrots and chives.
4. Season.
5. When mixture is soft, place in colander to drain.
6. Add the sesame oil and cilantro when mixture is cooled.
7. Check for seasoning.
8. Using the gyoza skins, make half moon dumplings keeping the bottom flat.
9. In a hot non-stick pan, coat with oil and place dumplings.
10. When bottom gets brown, add 1/4 cup of water and immediately cover.
11. This will steam the dumplings.
12. Carefully watch the dumplings and completely evaporate the water so that the bottom gets crispy again and sticks to the pot.
13. Serve hot with soy sauce and vinegar for dipping.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes

Post-Ironman “Blues” – Seriously.



About TriCoachDara

I have been a multi-sport coach since 2001 and during that time I have trained hundreds of athletes for whom triathlon, running, biking, fitness and health must fit into very busy lives. My clientele includes lawyers, doctors, full time mothers, office workers, school teachers, nurses, and entrepreneurs – and every one of them has a jam packed schedule. My goal is to help each athlete strike a balance between training to their maximum potential and balancing the various other aspects of their lives, as well as to provide all the information they need to perform at their best and stay healthy and injury free.
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