• Do you recover like a pro?

    Part 1    Sleep, Hydration and Nutrition   1. Sleep is king Sleep is the most effective  way to improve recovery. Adequate levels of sleep help to promote mental health,

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Ironman Texas 2017

I was in an interesting place going into Ironman Texas this year. My last 2 ironmans(Malaysia and Western Austrailia) didn’t go very well and I have a long painful history with Ironman Texas(DNF the last 2 years). So combine those things with an all time high level of fitness, improvements in aerodymnamics, bio-mechanics and muscle balance(if you have been following along you will no I have been working VERY hard to overcome some major muscular imbalances), and I was left feeling very confident but desperately in need of a solid performance. So I made the decision that I would bike at my own controlled pace(something I have never done in an IM), with the hopes of running around 2:50 for the marathon. On other courses this might be a good way to compete for a top finish, turns out it was not the best tactical decision on this day.

Swim-55:20-29th out of the water

I feel like every swim race report goes exactly the same, so here goes. The cannon went off and I felt great for about 500 meters at which point I found myself slowing down and eventually yo-yoing off the back of a large group of guys. The water in Lake Woodlands was warm and murky, not the kind of water you want to be drinking(and yes I am sure I drank my share). I swam solo for a while but was surprised when I actually caught back up with the group that had dropped me(they must have slowed down). I swam the rest of the way at the back of that group and felt surprisingly comfortable coming out of the water.

Bike-4:23:53-18th off the bike

I came out of the water at the back of what turned out to be the 3rd big pack of guys. I made my way quickly through transition, hopped on my bike and it was on! Several of the guys around me immediately put the pedal to the metal and for about 10 minutes I followed along well above what I told myself would be a smart pace. I am actually extremely proud that I eventually backed off and let those guys ride away(even if it was a tactical error). Self control while on my bike isn’t really a strength of mine so the fact that I put my head down focused on getting aero, being efficient and getting my nutrition in was a minor victory in and of itself. As I mentioned before, my conservative plan on the bike would give me the best chance at a solid day and a good run. Turns out a flat windy bike course with a large field of strong bikers is not the best time to go it alone and that is all I will say about that! For the first time ever in and ironman I experienced no major implosion toward the end of the bike(all though the last 35 miles were into a strong head wind which made for a long slow slog home). My hydration and nutrition were perfect(thanks Infinit Nutrition for that), and I can honestly say I have never felt that good coming off the bike.

 

Run 2:56:09      Finish 8:21:3-14th Overall

Starting the run I knew I had alot of time to make up and I was mentally ready for alot of pain. The cool temps made for fast running conditions although I was hoping it would be hot, VERY hot. Being a smaller guy from Tucson I was prepared for the worst Texas had to offer, but sadly it was 75 degrees and cloudly, a huge relief to anyone who might have ridden to hard I’m sure. The miles ticked away and slowly the good feeling I had in my legs early on began to fade. My Infinit Custom Run mix and their new Tripwired(lots of electrolytes) were the only things I consumed on the run(other than water). My energy never faded and my stomach felt amazing(all things considered) all the way to the finish. While the last miles were not easy, this was definitely the best I have ever felt from start to finish in and ironman(there must be something to that whole pacing thing). While this kind of performance did serve a much needed purpose, I didin’t show up to finish 14th. My confidence is growing along with my fitness and the many other facets that make for a truly amazing future performance are falling nicely into place. I will be lining up at IM Cairns in 7 weeks ready to lay it all on the line for a top finish. Thank you to my amazing partner Luise, our awesome homestay in Texas(Bob, Eve and Sandra), my team Maverick Multispot and all of our amazing sponsors! Congratulation to everyone who raced honestly and finished! 

If only I new then what I know now

If I could go back in time this is the advice I would give myself when I was new to triathlon.

1. Get a coach! You don’t know what you don’t know and a small amount of knowledge can be dangerous. Early on I made many mistakes-trained too hard all of the time and didn’t focus on building a strong foundation that fitness could be built upon. A good coach can help you navigate the many pitfalls that await you when you are new to triathlon.

2. Get a good bike fit. Your position on a bicycle is in many ways img_9551more important than the bike itself. A bad position can lead to muscular imbalances which
ultimately will leave you vulnerable to injury and will likely be a limiting factor when it comes to proper bio-mechanics, form and technique. Finding a position that offers the perfect balance of comfort, aerodynamics and power production is VERY difficult and in my opinion is one of the most important investments you will make in this sport.

3 Do strength work religiously. One of the main causes of injuries in triathlon is muscular imbalances. Triathletes tend to have strong quads and week hamstrings and glutes as well as strong chest and weak upper back muscles. We all naturally have imbalancesstrength and riding a bicycle(especially a triathlon bike) is likely to make them worse. Also, there are big performance gains to be made with strength training especially as the distance you are racing gets longer. For me personally I had a very aggressive position on my first tri bike and I was not centered on the saddle which caused me to develop my right quad more than my left and my left glute more than my right. These imbalances have caused me an INCREDIBLE amount of problems over the last ten years. Being balanced muscularly from left to right and front to back is one of the main foundational keys to injury prevention, endurance, efficiency, speed and ultimately reaching your athletic potential.

 

4. Get a road bike. Even though you won’t ever race on it there are many benefits to riding a road bike. The biggest benefit in my opinion is that riding a road bike is going to help you to strengthen your glutes. When properly positioned on a r14445966_1296463187052997_600613481463524506_noad bike you sit much further back behind the crank set and pedals, this position is much more likely to engage your glutes than a typical(aggressive) triathlon position in which the saddle is moved forward in order to open up the hip angle and allow the torso to drop lower(more aerodynamic). This forward saddle position is very quad dominant and can leave the glutes under used or even turned off completely. A road bike is also
much more comfortable when climbing or if you are riding with a group and is easier to control because you are in a more balanced position(more centered over the pedals not so far forward).

 

5. Get regular massage, foam roll stretch and massage yourself. I knowmassage massage is expensive, but just think about what you paid for your bike or the price of that last race/trip. Understanding your muscles, knowing their names/functions and knowing  when they are tight and how to get them to loosen will MASSIVLY improve the amount of stress/training you can handle and help prevent injuries. I get a massage once a week and when training is full on I spend around 30 minutes every night foam rolling, stretching and self massaging myself.

 

6. Sleep as much as you can. Of all the things you can do to recover nothing beats a good nights sleep. I try to sleep at least 8 hours every night and when training hard I usually get between 10-12 hours. I am not the best at napping but I try to nap when ever possible, even if it is only 5-10 minutes I find it really helps. Stay tuned. My next blog will be on sleep and recovery tips/advice. 

7. Patience and consistency are the key. We want it all and we want it right now, but anything worth having takes time. Triathlon is very complicated and it is very difficult to reach your FULL potential. Even if you are the most naturally gifted athlete in the history of the sport it will take years of dedication and hard work to reach that point. Make good decisions, have intelligent and experienced advisers, focus on you weaknesses while maintaining you strengths. Improvement takes time and dedication so don’t think it will happen over night.

8. Have fun. The triathlon journey can be incredibly fun if you don’t get to caught up in the parts of it yDCIM100GOPROGOPR3209.ou can’t control. It is easy to get obsessed with results and it can take all of the fun out of the entire process. Remember life happens now not in the future. It’s ok to want to improve but not if it prevents you from experiencing the joy,  excitement and fun that the sport has to offer. You only live once so try to enjoy the ride!