Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Making Strides In Your Running Time

When training the first thing on my mind is how can I become faster? 

I’m going to take a wild guess here and say that this is probably one of your goals, too. Running the same route everyday just doesn’t cut it, so where do we go from here? To help get our gears in overdrive, here are some training exercises to help improve your race times.

Start to Stop – Accelerations

One simple trick to help boost speed is after your normal training routine, find a flat straight path. Start running and accelerate to your top speed, almost like a roller coaster that goes from 0 to 60. Once you reach your top speed, slow down to a stop. This will help give an extra push during race time and will help you focus on proper running form. Repeat this exercise 4 times before throwing in the towel for the day.

Conversational Running

Sometimes speed training isn’t about the speed during training, but what the training will do to effect your speed. It may seem counter-intuitive but running at a slow pace can help with your speed. For this workout, your pace shouldn’t be so slow that you can belt out your favorite radio hits, but it should be slow enough to where you can talk to somebody while you run. The dubbed “easy” run will help build endurance for your longer races and gives you time to focus on your running form. Maybe your posture has been lacking, or you realize you are forgetting to breathe. This pace will help you fix the little things so you can stress about the bigger issues.

picture courtesy of running.competitor.com

The Long Battle                 

Not every race is going to be an easy trail. Changing up your workout to include moderate hills not only helps build strength and power in your legs, but it also helps your body get acclimated to some uphill battles you face on race day. Find a moderate hill, too steep and you’ll overdo it and too small of an incline won’t be enough of a challenge. Run up the hill and then fast walk or lightly jog down the hill and repeat.

The Dreaded Track

Although I like to run with scenery, track training is important. Running intervals is a good way to replenish your body and train for a little burst of speed during the race. This tip comes from my P.E. teachers back in the day: Race the straight parts of the track and fast walk the curves. It’s important to fast walk, so your heart rate doesn’t slow down when you go back to full speed. A track isn’t necessary for this but it’s the best way to keep track of equal distances. If there isn’t a track in the area, do what my sister

does, race to mail boxes or trees. While they may not be equal distance, setting up an interval of every five mailboxes (tweak the numbers depending on your area) has the desired effect of this workout.

Drilling in the Speed

Drill workouts are a great way to build strength while helping your speed. There are many different drills you can do, but here are some of our favorites: 
To do the Karaoke Run, turn your body sideways as if getting ready to sidestep. For this example I’m going to be running to my right. Take your right leg and side step, but instead of tapping with your left leg, cross your left leg in front of your right. Side step again, but this time cross your left leg behind your right leg. It’s a simple side traveling motion that turns your body slightly and works out the leg that is making the strides. Be sure to alternate legs to work both sides evenly. High knees are fairly simple. In place, bring your right knee up to your waist and then alternate right and left as if you were running in place. This builds your thigh muscle giving you more power.
Hamstring Extensions are when you slowly extend your right leg straight in front of you and bring your left arm to touch the toe of your right leg. Then repeat on the other leg switching arms as well. This helps strengthen your hamstrings in a controlled stretch.
Running backwards is always a fun little way to strengthen your hamstrings and train your legs and it can break the monotony of any workout. Be sure to look over your shoulder to avoid running into anything and remember to have fun.

Owner SLS3

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mastering Triathlon Transitions.

The Time Trials of Transitions

Training for a triathlon is tough and after all your hard training hours, the last place you’d want to lose time is your transitions on race day, which is why we’ve provided a guide to help make your transitions a breeze on the big day.

Where’d my bike go?

It’s easy to lose your bike in the sea of other bicycles, but don’t stress the small stuff. The easiest way to spot your bike on race day is to tie a balloon to your bike, sure it’s a little cheesy, but you’ll be able to spot it in no time after racing out of the water. If a balloon isn’t your style, try a bright neon color towel of your choosing and place it on the seat of your bike, not as in your face, but still easily noticeable.
Lastly, walk from the swim exit to your bike and count bike racks to create a mind map for where your bike is located. Do this a couple of times if necessary.

Changing room

It’s best to wear an outfit (i.e. Triathlon shorts, Triathlon Suit) that can fit smoothly underneath your wetsuit, so you don’t have to change in the bike area and your outfit is on right when you take off your wetsuit. To make putting on your gear easier, leave your helmet face up on your bike seat, so that your sunglasses can fit in your helmet. At some races, you’ll see people bring buckets of dish soap and water next to their bikes; we recommend you skip this step unless the water portion takes place in the ocean. If you just ran on the beach to get to your bike, dunking your feet in the soap water will quickly get off the stubborn sand, otherwise the bucket is just another thing to eat up time and valuable space.

Running in place

Once you are ready to start the bike portion of your race, you might want to rethink mounting your bike. A huge time saver is to have your bike shoes already clipped onto the bike and then run with your bike to the mount line and hop on. If the mount line is on a hill or immediately going to go into a hill, mount your bike at the top of the hill. Practice safely running with your bike and putting your feet in the shoes while you are pedaling on the bike before race day to avoid injuries.

A head start

Leave your bike in an easy gear so you don’t have to pedal as hard in the beginning. If you followed our tip above by having your bike shoes already attached, the easier gear will also make the bike more stable when putting on your shoes, plus it’s a good warm up.

Hit the road

The speed lives in the transition from biking to running. Have your hat with sunglasses in it, you might want to change from your biking ones, sunscreen and race belt. Put on the sunscreen and go. The other gear can be put on while you run. It’s faster to put your hat and belt on while running then it is standing still.

Practice Makes Perfect

As the saying goes the more you practice the closer to perfection you will be. It may take a few races to find out what really works for you. Practice your swim to bike transitions and then practice your bike to run transitions during training. It’s best to know how you will transition before the clock is ticking, so adding a day or two of transition practice to your training schedule will not only help with the transition portion, but also help your body get used to switching from swimming to biking and biking to running. Lastly, envision how your set up will be on race day and how you will transition. Running your transitions through your head before your race will help you remember the fastest steps and help you remind yourself what you need on race day.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Washing your Lycra containing garments

Handle with Care

You’ve spent your hard earned money on your exercise gear like triathlon shorts or compression socks and now it’s time to put it to the test. After a grueling workout, you and your Lycra® containing gear are ready for a bath. By the way, Spandex is the generic Lycra® version. Lycra® is a brand name trademarked by DuPont.

After Your Workout

As much as we hate it, we’re all drenched in sweat after a good workout, which means our clothes are, too. If you don’t have time to wash your clothes right after your workout, or you’re too tired like me, then hang dry your workout clothes, making sure there are no wrinkle or overlaps. This prevents your gear from turning into a mildew breeding ground. Gross! It also helps prevent weird stenches from staying trapped inside your clothes.

Getting the Stink Out

The best method for remedying smelly gym clothes is to give them a prewash. Soak your Lycra® outfits in one part vinegar, and four parts water for at least 30 minutes before hand washing, or throwing them into the washing machine. Rinse your clothes thoroughly before washing them to get rid of any vinegar.

Some Dont’s to Remember

Do not mix vinegar and bleach ever! If your detergent contains bleach rinse out your vinegar soaked clothes before throwing them in the washer. Do not use vinegar in the rinse cycle of your washer if your detergent contains bleach.

Do not use heat for any of your Lycra® garments. Heat will destroy the elastic properties aka the Lycra® fibers of your outfits. Avoid the dryer, ironing and the sun. Remember: Heat is bad.

Do not use chlorine or bleach. This will destroy the fibers of the fabric and you will get “bag and sag” syndrome.

Do not use Fabric Softener. These are used to soften clothes and will make sure your expensive garment will never retain its shape. Avoid the fabric softener.

In the Wash They Go

Although it is said that hand washing is always the way to go, most of us don’t have time for that. Don’t fret though! It is safe for your Lycra® garments to go into the washing machine following these steps. First, make sure that all of your zippered garments are zipped all the way up to prevent the zipper track from snagging onto other fabric during the washing cycle. Turn your clothes inside out. Put delicate items into a mesh laundry bag, lingerie bag, or pillowcase to protect them (Definitely do this for Bib Shorts).

                                                                       picture courtesy of instagram

The Set-Up

If you are worried that a pre-soak just won’t cut it for getting all the smells out, you can put some vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser of your washer. This will make sure your washer will dispense vinegar in the rinse cycle. Always use cold water when washing your Lycra® garments. Heat will destroy them. Set your washer on the “Delicates” setting to prevent damage of your clothes.

Less is More?

Use less detergent than you normally would for your Lycra® clothes. While detergent cleans your clothes, you definitely don’t want a build up of it on your workout clothes. A build up of detergent will trap in dead skin cells and trap bacteria into the fabric. If you want to make sure your clothes last, try a detergent designed for washing workout clothes.  

Finishing Touches

After the washing cycle has been finished, hang your clothes up, or lay them down flat to dry. Never put them in the dryer. Remember heat is not friendly to Lycra® clothes. Lycra® is a fast drying fiber so your clothes should not take too long to air dry.