I have been racing endurance events for a long time. Last week I was trying to remember the date of my first race, I think it was a duathlon in Columbus Ohio way back when Pyro pedals were the hot equipment. Late 80’s or early 90’s I think, I really cannot remember which. The only hard clues I have is some finisher plaques from the Muncie Endurathon dating back to 1991. So it has been a while.
First of all, I hope that 2014 was a successful year for you – whether it was doing races or just staying fit! What follows is an emphasis on not wasting the experiences you’ve had (and hopefully learned from) and I’ll offer some suggestions on what you can do to get ready for 2013
I know that sounds like an obvious statement, but it is still hard to do in everyday life. Even when things are a bit chaotic, most of us seem to under estimate the effects of stress on the body. As athletes we look at our training, equipment, and nutrition in hopes of a faster race and improving our fitness level. However, the majority of us never consider our stress levels. As an athlete stress can hurt your performance in many ways including an increased heart rate and oxygen consumption. It can also harm your exercise efficiency and cause a workout or race to feel tougher than it actually should. Increased muscle tension and reduced leg turnover are also contributed to stress.
For most endurance athletes, there comes a time each year when they are evaluating what is next on their calendar. Many athletes choose to just continue down the path of race, race, race, race, then the weather gets cold, so they do marathons, half marathons, and more race, race, race. At some point, the body is going to start to reject this mentality and regiment. Overtraining can cause a deep level of fatigue that only rest and time away from the sport can cure. This is where “offseason” comes into play.
Sweat Rate Testing. Most athletes this time of year find themselves measuring and analyzing things like VO2 Max, Lactic Threshold, etc. On the hydration side of this is Sweat Rate testing. Understanding the amount of fluids your body uses and loses on a per hour basis can give you a much better understanding of how many ounces of fluids you need to be replacing each of activity. Below is a great way to find what your sweat rate is.
Trying to use food + drinks + gels is a complicated proposition ESPECIALLY when I am racing. If I have to think about more than one thing, I am going to probably going to mess it up. Multiple tasks are a sure recipe for failure and possible DNF. I may have food in my pocket…but I certainly ROCKS in my head.
INFINIT Sponsored Athlete Brittany Warly Helps Her Team Win the 2015 USAT Collegiate Nationals. It has been years of playing the balancing act between school and sport. Going into my junior year of mechanical engineering, I definitely underestimated the rigors of my classes and the time that would need to be invested in my academics. It ended up being about 60 hours a week, and training had to take it's place on the back burner for a while.
The newest fad being touted as the “secret to success” for endurance training is to train and eat to become “metabolically efficient”. What exactly does this mean? The term efficiency combined with metabolism sounds like an athlete’s dream, especially to an endurance athlete. After all, efficiency means to “save energy without waste or unnecessary effort.” Well, this surely must be the key to success for endurance performance; go as long as possible and waste as little energy as possible. Unfortunately, this new fad is just that, a FAD! “Metabolic efficiency” training or fueling to enhance performance will come at a cost, a big cost which happens to be your performance.
After you have made some strength gains in the gym, the time is ideal to build sport specific power. The goal is for the strength gained in the gym to translate into added swim, bike, and run power. Here are some high resistance intervals you can do in the pool and on the roads to build strength and power for each of the three sports. As these intervals involve explosive movements, you should be warmed up before beginning them to reduce the risk of injury. The first time, just do one interval toward the end of your workout. Assess your body’s response to the first interval to determine how many you will do the next time, and gradually increase the number of intervals.