Triathlon Training Blog

How Technology Can Improve Your Workout

Guest post by Sara Upton:

magellan-echo-smart-watch-femalePeople have developed all kinds of rituals for getting the most out of their workouts throughout the years. From specific diets including specialized sports foods and vitamin/mineral supplements, to getting pumped up by being slapped before a game, everyone has their own way of getting the job done. What many people don’t consider for their training regimen, however, is how technology can greatly assist them in achieving their goals. People have trained themselves to find their pulse and count their heart rate out and plan their routes in advance to keep track of their mileage, but technology can easily do all of this for us and more.

Modern smartphones are being developed with built-in heart rate sensors now, and there are dozens of free apps that can assist people with workouts. For the competitive, apps like Strava help you track your running or cycling outings, and compete with other people in the area who work out on the same tracks. Apps like Interval Timer make it easier to keep track of time without constantly looking at a watch. There are also apps that can use phones to instantly measure your heart rate, no more needing to stop and count to figure out where you’re at.

Of course, using these apps used to require people to keep their smartphone with them at all times and be constantly checking on it while they work out. However, smartphone technology is being ported more and more to other devices, and “wearable tech” is becoming more popular around the world. An article by Verizon Wireless explains that smartwatches can do it all: “…see important notifications, as well as take phone calls, shoot photos and video, and even count your steps. It also passes information to your smartphone, creating a seamless experience between the two. “

smartwatch_concept_contentWith the ability to put all sorts of useful fitness apps on a smartwatch, it is quickly becoming possible to track all the information you could dream of by simply wearing a smartwatch. In addition to tracking your heart rate and distance, these watches will soon serve to enable you to listen to music, take phone calls, or even shoot pictures and video quickly and easily. Smartwatches have an ever-increasing capacity to integrate user created apps, and they will be able to perform anything developers can dream of, even as far as automatically incorporating weather tracking.

Of course, for those of us training for triathlons, wearing bits of technology into the pool might seem like a disaster waiting to happen. Luckily, these devices have been created with this in mind from the beginning, and waterproof smartwatches are already becoming a common occurrence. The technology improves every year, and there are even watches being designed to recharge with the energy they get from your movement. While your smartphone might need to be plugged in nearly every night to keep on going, your smartwatch might last weeks or even months.

It might not always be easy to jump into the technology industry when it comes to things like fitness. Once you get into a routine, it might not feel worthwhile to try something new, especially if that something comes with a hefty price tag. However, smartwatches are becoming more affordable (and more fashionable) every year and it is never too late to give them a try. They might help your fitness routine more than you realize.

Sara Upton loves exploring the great outdoors and sharing her experiences with the world. When she is not enjoying the beauty of nature, Sarah enjoys wrestling with her dogs, trying new foods, and hanging out with friends.  

 

 

Posted in >Running

Mountain Bike Adventures = super funsies and ouchies

Mountain Bike is the funnest thing ever.     And I am fortunate enough to live close to some really great mountain bike trails.     My favorite riding grounds are Carolina North Forest and Lake Crabtree County Park.

When I am riding trails I feel like a little kid playing in the woods.    Part of the fun is that I am learning new skills - trying to figure out how to navigate obstacles on trails.   It’s a great family activity, too.

The downside is that I am having so much fun that I forget that I am 51 years old, and perhaps take too many risks.   I don’t take huge risks like doing jumps that put me airborne.  No way.   But I do take small risks like trying to hop over a log, or descending tricky or steep section of trail.    Taking risks means that I sometimes wipe out and get injured.

Here are some photos of some recent mountain bike adventures.

All packed up to go

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Ouchie: Here is what happened when I got lost in the woods for two hours. I was tired, running out of daylight hours and so was trying to ride fast.   It takes a great deal of mental energy to navigate trails and physical stamina to ride fast.   And when that all begins to wane, the risk of taking a spill increases.     This wipe-out happened when my front tire hit a rock, which knocked my steering wheel into a small tree.   That was just enough to knock me off my bike.  I’m not even sure what my leg hit – my chainring perhaps??    While this was just a flesh wound,  it still hurt alot, and I still had to ride 45 minutes to find my way back out!    I had a big knot in the muscle of my shin that lasted a few weeks.     I had to stop running to let it heal.

Lessons:  don’t push daylight hours, and get a big bright head light.

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Rock Garden mishap:  Here’s another little spill I took when trying to navigate a tricky rock garden on the Crow Branch Overlook trail at Carolina North Forest.    This one bruised up my elbow for a few weeks.    I get a little better each time I ride this tricky trail, so these little spills are worth it because I learn from my mistakes.

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Super funsies:   Here was a fun outing with my daughter, Mary Beth.   We rode at Carolina North Forest which is really close to her apartment and my house.    yay bike!

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She spotted this curvey bridge on the Neverland Inner Loop that I had never seen.   Super dooper funsies.     I’ll never grow up!

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Big Ouchie: My latest ride was going really great.  I was nailing all the obstacles like a pro.  Until  I tried to bunny hop over a log – instead of my usual log roll move – and failed miserably.   I landed hard on my tailbone and got the wind knocked out of me.   I lay in the leaves for a few minutes, then I had to ride back out – yikes!    My lower back hurt alot on the climbs, so I ended up getting off alot and walking.   When I got back to my car, I noticed my nose hurt.   I guess when my head smacked the dirt, it caused my helmet to push my glasses into my nose.   I had a nasty bruise on my nose all week as if someone had punched me.  And my tailbone still hurts.

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This was the worst fall I’ve had so far.  I think my mistake was hitting my brakes when I realized that my chainring was smacking into the log.  I probably should have tried to go with the flow and grind over it.    But hitting the brakes made me stop suddenly and I tipped over.

Lesson:  don’t freak out and hit breaks.

Also,  29r tires would help me get over those logs easier :(

This sport has a definite negative impact on my triathlon training.   But it’s so fun.  But I don’t like being injured…

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Posted in >Biking

New Saucony Kinvara 5 Running Shoes have arrived!

About a month ago, a publicist contacted me asking if I wanted to try out the new Saucony Kinvara 5 Running Shoes.  I replied that “sure, I’d love to”.  I had heard great things about them from my tri friends, and think they look pretty sweet.  She said she’d mail some out to me as soon as they were released to the public.

I forgot all about this email until a box arrived on my doorstep from Saucony Corporation.   Wow, how cool is that?I opened the package, and pulled out the shoebox.

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Then I opened the box and unwrapped a pair of bright neon yellow running shoes.  The official color name is Citron / ViZiORANGE / Purple.  I’m pretty sure that translates to FAST!

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I absolutely love the way they look.    And they are an extremely lightweight shoe with a flexible sole that encourages forefoot running.  Yet, they still seem to provide a little bit of stability for the overpronator.   I have tried them on two short runs so far, and they really do feel light and fast.

Sizing: True to fit.  These are a size 10 and they fit me well.   The toe box is a little wider than some shoes I have tried, so if your foot is narrow, they may feel too wide for you.  They are great for me.

Usage: Racing and training.   Light enough to race in, yet still solid enough for some decent miles. I’ll report back in terms of how many miles I feel I can run in them after I’ve put them through some more tests.

I’m going to write another blog post after I have done some more running in them.   I’ll test them out sockless, too!

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Stay tuned!   PS: My 20 year old daughter also loves these, so there is a good chance she will steal them from me. lol.

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Posted in >Running

How to fool your swim coach

Stacey Richardson’s Weekly Workout Tip:

Want to pull one over on your swim coach?

Talk the talk. Walk the walk.  “Swim the swim?”

If you are like most triathletes, you think that your swim is “good enough” and chances are that you haven’t made major improvements in a while.   Swim coaches constantly struggle with triathletes and their tendencies to change workouts, swim one speed all the time, skip stroke sets, ignore drills, wear their tri kits to practice,  and opt out of wicked test sets due to other workouts they have scheduled for later that day, etc.

In service to the sport of triathlon and struggling triathlete swimmers, here are some time-tested tips for fooling your swim coach on deck into thinking that you know what you are doing in the pool.

1.  Do your warm up like a pro.   No need to race it or to count the lengths on your GPS device or your automatic lap counting device , get a split, or win it.  True swimmers know how to eeeeease into their day with minimal effort, beautiful form, and absolutely no rush. In plain talk, sand bag it and stop your warm up when the folks in the fast lane are hanging on the wall talking.

2.  Use your head to count lengths and leave your fancy waterproof GPS watch at home.  The coach will be really impressed that you can count AND your lane-mates will think you have spent your life in the pool.   You can then ponder appropriate send-off intervals or remark on the mathematical pattern of  the workout and total the yardage for extra brilliance points.   Learn to count and stroke.   It may not be that hard after all!

3.  Lose the Drills and Win the Form contest.   Be the slowest sculler and driller in the pool during drill these sets.  Be the poor fool who can hardly make the interval you are thinking so hard about your beautiful stroke.  Be the swimmer obsessed with your feel of the water, the symmetry of your movements, the pitch of your hand, the height of your elbows, the rotation of your torso.  Be a swim NERD and obsess about your swimming economy like your life depends on it.

4.  Learn to FLIP TURN.  You get style points. You get a free streamline stretch off of every wall. You experience the added hypoxic high of breath control, AND you can learn it on u tube in 5 minutes.  Who doesn’t want to see stars and feel a little euphoric during the trials of miles!?

5. Finally, make sure to swim with your swim band in every single practice, as part of your warm up, cool down, or for simple entertainment value.  It’s ok to complain bitterly about it and take 6 months learning not to sink or call to the lifeguard, but it will really, really impress your coach.

You never know.  After all this talk of how to fool your coach, you might just fool yourself into being a better swimmer.   You’d be a fool not to try… 

 

 

Stacey Richardson’s Weekly Workout Tips
©TriStacey Coaching

Posted in Weekly Workout Tips

Popeye was Right: eat your spinach!

spinachI was visiting my brother in San Jose last week.    He’s an avid cyclist and has a copy of Joe Friel’s Cyclist Training Bible.   Of course, I picked up to leaf through the pages.   I’m on this aging athlete kick lately, so I looked that up in the index, and went to the pages to read up.    I found more really great stuff about aging athletes and nutrition:

Popeye was right: eating spinach can make you stronger and more muscular, especially if you’re over age 50. Let me explain.

It’s apparent that as we grow older muscle mass is lost. Although this loss is slowed somewhat by weight lifting and vigorous aerobic exercise, it still happens. Even athletes in their 60s typically demosntrate considerably less muscle than they had in their 40s.

Now there is research that shows why (1). Nitrogen, which is an essential component of muscle protein, is given up by the body at a faster rate than it can be taken in as we get older. This is due to a gradual change in kidney function that comes with aging producing an acidic state in the blood. Essentially, we are peeing off our muscles as we pass the half-century mark in life.

Joe goes on to talk about how

“there is also a natural way of achieving this same result through diet by eating foods that increase the blood’s alkalinity – fruits and vegetables. “

Read full article here.

Find Joe’s books on Amazon.

Here is a nice list of foods that are either alkaline or acidic.  (Note, the food is classified based on how it impacts your blood alkalinity, not the ph of the actual food.  That is why lemons, tho very acidic on their own, are high on the alkalinity list)

Greenopedia alkaline list of foods

I tried making a green smoothie out of kale and oranges.    Not having the right type of blender, it came out kinda chunky.  It was good, tho.    Kale is an amazing vegetable…fry it up and add it to any dish, mix it into your favorite salad, or blend it for a smoothie.

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Some more links:

Dr. Oz talks about how to balance ph in eating in this article:

Tips:

  • Try to eat two alkaline producing foods for each acid food.
  • Drink lemon or lime water with alkaline spices.   Good Idea!

Acid / Alkaline levels of spices.

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You are reading Triathlon Training Blog: my journey from couch potato to triathlete! Are you thinking you'd like to get started in the sport of triathlon, but you don't think you are lean enough, or fast enough, or athletic enough? Think again ...(read more)

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