Strength And Preparing For Our Games

As multi-sport and endurance athletes, most of us understand the important role that strength plays in our performance.  It is intriguing though, how many multi-sport and endurance athletes take a haphazard approach or laissez-faire attitude toward something that can make or break a season; something that can assist in preventing an injury.  The time spent with coaches, or to meticulously read and plan and plot the training,  usurps any consideration for strength.  If we as athletes spent one-third of the time focusing on our strength that we do planning and developing the other aspects of our sport, we might just see different results.  For some reason, strength is considered cross-training, and is left to videos, random fitness classes, or some protocol snatched from the pages of a magazine.  This is such a contradiction to a population that is so meticulous about food, clothing and gear.  Why are we leaving our strength to chance?

For our purposes, I am not referring to the strength and physique that is obtained and meticulously developed by body builders or fitness models.    Women in sport need to recognize that their body will develop in response to the training that is done.  As an endurance athlete, it is unlikely that one would get BIG or develop the muscular size that is observed in other sports.  It is more challenging if the athlete is female.  The athlete will acquire muscular definition; but that is more related to body fat and not size.  AND one can be strong without being big.  The athlete needs to train for the sport she is undertaking.

Strength, like recovery, needs to be written right into the program.  In the off-season, when you are developing and increasing endurance, one can spend a great deal of time developing and improving strength.  Once the season and racing schedule begins, time becomes more valuable, and less available.  Putting the strength or athletic development protocols right in the program ensures the continuation of strength development throughout the season. It leaves nothing to chance.  Recognize that your exercises can be done at home, included in a warm-up, or a warm-down.  Many of these can be body weight movements, and all of them will assist in keeping you healthy throughout the entire season.   If you are not doing any strength once your training or competitive season opens, you are losing strength, and making yourself susceptible to injury.   Strength helps with movement and improves fitness for sport.  Overall, movement and multi-joint activities are key.  Medicine balls, dumbbells, mini-bands (or ankle bands), suspension equipment (TRX or other), or even the jungle gym at the park can assist in your strength protocols.

As an athletic development coach, I look at the needs and demands of the sport as well as the specific needs and demands of the athlete.  There are several things that are consistent for all athletes that participate in all or one of the three components of triathlon.   Because of body postures on the bike, during the swim and throughout the run, athletes who participate in tris have very similar needs.

  •   Leg Strength:  Athletes should be performing squats, single-leg get-ups or squats, dead lifts as well as single leg dead lifts.  Leg strength is best developed with feet on the ground, as running occurs by driving our feet to the ground and reacting to the ground forces.
  • Remedial Leg Strength: The runner and cyclist spend a great deal of time in one plane of movement.  As this happens, there is little demand on the muscles for other planes of movement.  Using a mini-band, for remedial walks, traveling forward, backward, side steps, and monster walks, helps target the muscles that are sometimes neglected, yet critical to overall performance and injury prevention.
  • Rows, and back strength:  More rows and pulls, less pushes.   The work in the triathlon is a result of movement to the front of us.  Arm positions, and pulls in swimming place a demand on the pectoral muscles.  This can cause over development of the pecs, and underdevelopment of the rhomboids, lats, and traps.  Balance it out…. pull, and row.  The pulls should be done single arms.  Change the range of motion– incline pull-up, one-arm row at chest level, one arm-pull down.
  • Core strength:  For our purposes today, core will refer to the strength that is necessary for movement to be generated through the pelvic girdle.  In running, the core assists in the transfer of the ground force from one leg to the other leg, to generate movement.  In cycling a similar action occurs, but there is no ground force, and the pelvis stabilizes while the legs move through the phases of the pedal stroke.  In swimming, the core stabilizes, and the hips actually do lift upward, or towards the head, as the hands catch, as if gently climbing a ladder.  What happens through the pelvic girdle influences overall movement.  To train, reactive rotations, med ball throws and catches, some plank work to accommodate the postures in swimming and cycling, as well as reaches and lunges.  The core is involved in and responsible for all movement, so it is not necessary to train just the core.
  • Shoulder girdle strength:  The infamous rotator cuff, which is comprised of four muscles…. supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis.  Like the plantar fascia of the feet, if these muscles are not happy,  the athlete is not happy.  These muscles are responsible for keeping the humeral head in the glenoid fossa (shoulder joint) while permitting and controlling movement.  To develop strength and prepare the swimmer for the posture and movements start in a push-up plank position, and then move to a forearm plank, without changing posture (flat-back) and without putting your knees on the ground.  These are ups and downs.  One can also put a step or phone book or 25# plate (weight) on the floor and walk hands onto the step and back down.  In the forearm plank position, perform push-ups, or roll through the shoulder girdle.  In push-up positions, walk your hands all the way to the left, and then all the way to the right.  When that is easy, walk to the left with hands and feet.  Repeat to the right.
  • Crawling:  From spider mans, to bear crawls (on hands and feet, changing reaches and postures), crawling is a great strength tool to be included in a warm-up.  It is non-traditional in terms of strength, but it is an amazing warm-up component.  This movement helps the brain prepare for the movement to be encountered in running.

It is imperative that strength is incorporated in year-round training for the triathlete.  This training needs to be written into the program.  It can be incorporated in the warm-up or warm-down.  It does not need to be lengthy in time.  When strength is included, it can be the difference in the overall finish of a season.

Take Action

With today’s overwhelming availability of nutrition and fitness information,  the sharing of data, video, audio, there is no shortage of available knowledge; knowledge equaling potential change, potential weight loss, potential fitness. Still it’s potential. You need to take Action.

ACTION involves consistent follow through of a program,  that ensures your ultimate outcome. Implementing what you have learned. Do you do it? Or do you read, concur that was a great idea and then move on without taking action.

In order to move towards what we do want with our health and fitness and away from what we don’t, it requires knowledge followed by consistent follow through until that goal is achieved. In order to stay consistent, try implementing a few of these tips to help you get on track and stay on target.

Create a mental image of what you want. Then focus on this image with positive intent (not with a fearful tone of “how the heck am I going to get there”) upon waking and going to sleep each night.

Tackle one workout at a time. Often accomplishing smaller goals will simultaneously lead to the accomplishment of your BIGGER goal along with the additional smaller ones. This thought process often keeps overwhelm at bay.

Act upon intuition. Even if you feel like you aren’t ready or aren’t prepared or aren’t good enough…DONT let that stop you. What are your options, to try it and know for sure, or never know cause you did not try.

Even if you feel like you will never make it or you are just too tired, keep going. Little by little, day by day, you will be building momentum that will carry you when necessary as long as you start.

There are no magic diets or fitness plans. When you have the passion to seek out the knowledge and accountability you will each your goal.

So don’t be intimidated by the amount of information available and whether or not you will be able to keep up, just keep it simple…decide, envision, act then act again and again and again and again until you get to where you wish to be.

Email me if you have questions.

Making The Most Of Your Off Season

When I develop an annual training plan – measuring out the duration of periods, base, build, taper, peak, off, transition, and preparation periods – I start with the off season. The fall and winter is a time most athletes wrap up their race season, take some time off, and let their body recuperate from the rigors of high-intensity training and racing. Some take as much as four weeks off, and their off season includes their transition season.

For me, off means off. No swim, bike, run, weights – nothing that will stress my heart, lungs, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The duration of my “off” season is typically a week or two. It may be shorter or longer, depending on my current and future fitness goals. I typically take time off after the last event of the season. During this time, I reflect on what I accomplished. I try to get more sleep, rest and relaxation. While some struggle taking time off, I have learned to take seasonal rest seriously, as it allows me to race much better the next season. Trying to maintain peak fitness will not be beneficial to your results next year. I tried to maintain my fitness 12 months a year back in the 90s when I started training for triathlon. It did not enhance my performance, it only led to injury, illness and overtraining.

After I take time off, then I’m ready to start moving again, and my transition season consists of two to eight weeks transitioning into activity. I don’t do sprints, speed work, climbing, hill repeats or other intense training, so my body continues to get a good rest and can repair itself fully. When I am ready to start moving again, I follow these guidelines:

1.    I don’t plan workouts. I do what I feel like when I feel like doing it, and I don’t train, I exercise.

2.    I don’t have restrictions on what I do, just guidelines.

3.    My weekend to-do list includes taking naps instead training.

4.    I do reduce training and intensity while maintaining a level of fitness.

5.    I don’t indulge (eat whatever, whenever “forbidden foods”) or try diet when it comes to nutrition. I like to keep my nutrition under control 365 days a year.

6.    I do think about goals and events for next year.

7.    I don’t get post-training race blues because I prepare for this time of year to happen: (I will link this to my plan article).

8.    I do plan my preparation and base period:

9.    I don’t gain more then eight pounds.

1. I do enjoy my transition period.

When it is time to start training again, and focus on building my base fitness not just exercising, I go through a preparation period of 8 weeks.  During this time, I do some general strength training, preparing tendons, bones, ligaments and my mind to start base training and getting into a training routine.

Building your Base

I describe the base phase as the time you start to train. Most athletes start building their base sometime during the months of January to March. The base phase should last between 12 weeks, depending on how much time you have to train. I increase the volume of my training, but keep the intensity low and aerobic. My base period starts about 16-20 weeks before my A race for next season. The first four weeks of base training I simply perform low-level aerobic work.

The second four-week block I begin to work on technique, skill, and efficiency, with primary workouts to perfect my spin, stride, and stroke so that I do not reinforce bad habits. Efficiency is a huge component of becoming a faster athlete. I have a library with a variety of drills to increase cadence, efficiency, leg speed, and coordination.

During the third and forth block I start to increase overall volume while adding some higher aerobic end intensity. I perform the majority of my weight work in the base period.

Your base training builds the foundation for higher intensity and sport specificity, a phase that often comes in the spring or summer. It may last 8-12 weeks, depending on the race date.

Competitive Season -Building your Sport Specific Intensity

Once you build your foundation give yourself about 8 weeks to add sport specific intensity. This is the phase you add more tempo and threshold workouts and slightly decrease your training volume while adding Intensity. Examples of workouts would be to train on a course that simulates your race, train at an intensity higher or at least that same as your race pace. Practice bricks, swim to bike, and bike to run workouts. I will go into more details on competitive, taper and peak seasons in my next article

Conclusion

The details when it comes to frequency, intensity and duration during your off, transition, preparation and base training phases depend on your goals, experience, and, to a certain extent, trial and error. Learn from what works and what does not for yourself, not what works for someone else. Seek advice from coaches and other experienced athletes and then find what works for you.

Optimal Arousal

Athletes who do not effectively cope with stress may not perform at their best and suffer mental or physical distress. Your optimal arousal level is where you have the most advantageous levels of physical and psychological activation (arousal). In addition to being aware of the location of your optimal level, you also need to be skilled at regulating your arousal up or down toward your best level.  The most common problem in sport is over-arousal and is often described as feeling ‘too amped up’, hyper, jacked, excited, or nervous. As a direct or indirect result of our over-arousal, we make performance errors (like starting a race too fast or forgetting equipment) that impede our progress.  Less frequently, we are under-aroused and have difficulty being up for practice, training, or a competition.

The first step in regulating arousal is becoming aware of where your current arousal level is. How do you feel right now physically? Emotionally? Psychologically? Write these descriptions down in a training journal (you do have a training journal don’t you?).  Describe and record your arousal level before and after each workout for 1-2 weeks alongside your training activities. At the end of that time look back at your journal and compare your better performance days with the noted arousal levels. Try making a mash-up of these experiences and write down a description of what appears as your optimal arousal level.

Continue recording your arousal level and re-writing your description every two weeks for a couple of months and watch how your description begins to zoom in on your own optimal arousal level. After 3-4 months of steady monitoring you should begin to have a pretty good idea of where you want your arousal level at just prior to training and performance.  Write this refined description of your optimal arousal level down and post it where you can see it regularly (locker, above a desk, back of office door). This activity will help you become more familiar with assessing arousal and how it relates to your optimal level. Once you understand where your current arousal, you can perform mental exercises to align it with your optimal level.

Next time… Regulating Arousal

5 Steps For Personal Success In A Lifelong Love Of Triathlon

I have been reflecting on my history of triathlons, since it has now been 20 years, and you I would like to share my experience with some tips.

We are halfway into the 2017 season. Some of you have completed an Ironman, while others are anticipating your first sprint. Many of you are feeling empowered to make this your best year yet of training and competition.

Here are five steps you can take to create personal success for yourself in triathlons this year – steps to help you become strong, fit and fast while you embark on a lifetime of triathlon to enhance your wellness.

1.  Identify your reasons for racing triathlons.

Why are you doing this? Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What do I most enjoy about triathlon training and racing?
  2. What are the best feelings I get to experience in my triathlon training and racing?
  3. When I first “fell in love” with triathlon, what was it that felt so great?

Your answers to these questions will help you get closer to your core personal reasons for participating in triathlons.  This process can help you discover or remind yourself why you like triathlons and why you are looking to have a great year.

2.  Create or assess your triathlon goals.

Based on your personal reasons for participating in triathlon, you need to create your goals for the season.  A simple summary of good goal setting advice would be to set specific, positive, challenging (but realistic), and personally meaningful goals.  A good coach can help you to clarify your goals or restructure them in ways that make them more appropriate and helpful; but the core of your goals must come from inside of you.  I encourage you to create your goals based on the reasons you have identified as why YOU like to participate in triathlon. Assess your goals to make sure they are in line with your personal reasons for training and racing. Doing so will help to ensure a year you can look back on with a sense of joy and satisfaction.

3.  Train with direction.

From your well-established goals, you need to train in a purposeful manner to help you to reach your them.  Simply “putting in the miles” or mindlessly following the workouts of your friends or local training groups may bring improvement in the short-term, but will lead to a plateau in your abilities rather quickly.  Instead, carefully assess your current abilities and what stands between them and the abilities you need to have to reach your goals.  From there, create a plan of action that will help you to develop as you need to.  If you need help with this, consider reading some of the great books available on triathlon and endurance sports training, or consider working with a triathlon coach who can help to provide this direction for you.

4.  Create health-enhancing lifestyle habits.

Health and performance are two qualities that go hand-in-hand.  The healthier you are, the better you perform. Two major areas that impact your health are your sleep and your nutrition habits.

While improving your nutrition habits, assign yourself a weekly nutrition plan just as you’d plan your training. Your role each week is to execute this task just as you execute your training.  This allows you to gradually create better eating habits.

With regards to sleep, many ambitious triathletes sacrifice sleep to train more, either early in the morning or late in the evening.  Obviously, you need to train to improve, but when the amount of training you are doing is limiting your ability to get enough sleep each night, you are fighting a losing battle.

5.  Rest as eagerly as you train.

If you train without resting adequately, you won’t make any progress. Most triathletes are aware of this, but many ignore it. If you really want to improve this year, I offer the following suggestions for better resting:

  1. Every 3-6 weeks, take a Recovery Week where you train at 50% or less of your training load in your other weeks.
  2. Every week, take at least one Rest Day where you perform no training.
  3. When possible take a Total Rest Day where you perform no training, no work, and no chores. This is often most possible on a weekend day during a Recovery Week.
  4. If you are racing quite a bit, consider a mid-season break somewhere in the summer after a heavy period of racing. Take a week or two away from structured training and triathlon in general. If possible, you can take this break at the same time you take a family vacation. This can recharge your batteries and allow you to continue racing strong in the later summer and fall.

I hope you follow your purposeful progressive training plan based on your experience and goals and continue enjoying the sport for years to come.

Racing On A Budget

Each year, many endurance newbies discover just how cool the tri world is – and how expensive it can be. Between the basic gear (running shoes, a bike, helmet, swimsuit, cap, goggles), without all the bells and whistles (road bike, tri bike, aerobars, aero helmet, wetsuit, and race wheels, to name a few) plus race registrations (generally around $150-$650 vs. $50-$90 for running event) even folks like me who have been doing this for 20 years are opting out of some triathlons for running events to save some money.

As with all tough budget decisions, you should evaluate and answer the “want” vs. “need” question. I’ve found there are very few “needs” in the tri world, but a whole lot of wants. I also see people spending lots of money to buy themselves speed and weight savings. In some classes of athletes, or for those with the money to burn, this can be justified; but for the average mid- to back-of-the-pack crowd, “investing” time and effort in training, rather than buying the latest, greatest gear can produce results you can be proud of.

There is no shortage of ways to spend money, but there are always alternatives that are good enough or that will work to get you through. This applies to all areas, from equipment to nutrition. Personally, I like to keep it simple and basic and I’ve saved a lot of money and still manage perform at a level I am very happy with.

I suggest examining your gear budget before your race fee and nutrition budget. Between wetsuits, bikes, trainers, heart rate monitors, and all the other stuff you can easily get caught up in the early-adopter/gadget-obsession frenzy and spend a fortune outside of race fees. To save on gear, look for used gear on eBay, Craigslist, and Slowtwitch. Along with off-season specials at your local tri store.

Gear budget: 

When choosing road or tri bike, if you can’t afford both, road is more versatile. No matter what people tell you, you don’t need a bike with a five-figure price tag.

• When looking at a less-expensive aluminum bike vs. a more-expensive carbon bike, both are light, and fit is more important, not the cost of the bike.

• If you really want race wheels, borrow or rent them instead of purchasing them.

• Choose a race with a pool swim over an open water swim if you don’t want to rent or buy a wetsuit.

• Choose a warm-water open water swim vs. a cold-water swim to save on wetsuit rental/purchase.

• Running shoe fit is most important, not the brand of shoe. Remember, pros are sponsored and don’t pay for their shoes, so you don’t need to choose your shoe based on what the pros are wearing.

• Don’t buy specialized clothing you don’t actually need. For things you do need, look to Target or other stores for options that will be “good enough” to do the job.

• If you join a tri club, they may have negotiated discounts you can take advantage of as a member.

• If anyone asks what you want for your birthday, Christmas, your anniversary, etc., ask for tri stuff that you need.

Race fee budget:

• Volunteer at an event. Many times you will earn a free entry.

• Be sure to register early to avoid fee increases closer to race day. Many events increase registration fees in January, March and May.

• Participate in smaller races (Sprint and Olympic distances). Look on trifind.com or active.com to find the local races.

• Look at non-branded races. You can spend $625 a year in advance for one race or spend the same amount to race three events, and wait to register two months before the race if you go to non-branded races.

• Plan your race calendar early and research when fees go up.

• Find a club that puts on “training races.” These are often pretty competitive and are free, or very low cost.

• Doing races closer to home means no airfares, less gas, no hotel costs, and no need to eat out.

 

Nutrition budget: 

• If you are going to use top-name nutrition products, buy in bulk and only use them during training, not as meals or snacks. It gets expensive not on race day, but while you consume these products during training.

• If your workout lasts less than two hours, don’t bother with energy product nutrition. Just eat normally throughout the day and you will have enough fuel to go the distance with no ill-effects.

• Skip the brand-name energy programs and try “real” food. Fig newtons, peanut butter sandwiches, fruit, etc. are cheaper alternatives.

• Try chocolate milk for recovery.

• Consider water+electrolyte tabs for hot/humid days (which tend to be less expensive than bottled drinks).

I also suggest spending some time thinking and evaluating why and what you specifically like most about tris. If it’s being with the people or the training or living the healthy lifestyle, those are things that don’t cost money. If it’s all about the racing and winning for you, you’ll probably spend more money. As a coach, my experience is that most age groupers get a lot more out of their training experiences and the social scene around their club

 

I’m Lovin’ It!

I’ve now been ‘signed off’ from Mickel Therapy having had my last session last month. I have all the tools to help me stay well but can always ask for help if needed. I still get tired some days but not ‘crappy CFS tired’ where my system starts to shut down and I have no option but to take to my bed. I reckon I am getting tired because I am doing so much more now compared to what I used to (not) do!

I’ve been training 5 days a week, 2 swim, 2 bike, 2 run, doubling up a run with a swim or bike. Not long distances but harder sessions as I can now push myself more and not pay for it afterwards. I’ve had a breakthrough in swimming after telling my cousin (who used to be a swim teacher) that I just wasn’t managing more than a length at a time of front crawl. She told me I was trying to go too fast and to slow it down as much as I could. Result! I can now do 800m (with a few 10-20sec rests), it may not be great technique bit it’s a step forward!

I’ve entered the Jenson Button Trust Triathlon in August which is a supersprint, I love Jenson Button so will be hoping to meet him……..along with 500 other participants 😉  My long suffering other half will be happy to accompany me to this event as he is a motor racing nut. He is very supportive of my madness(!) and a very patient person – he has to be, given  that  am so slow!!

Onwards and upwards 🙂

Paying It Forward In Summer

Hello Everyone,

It’s been very busy times…I suppose it is the big rush for everyone before the vacations kick off:-)

What are your plans for the summer? Any road trips?

I have a few suggestions for you.

Just take a little bit of time, look into yourself and see where you could improve the life of your family and close friends. Your son/daughter did not finish the school year with good results? Take just a few minutes, practice with him/her every day. You will see every single moment can make a change on his/her life.

Try some new things in the kitchen. You never had time to prepare a real dish? Take your afternoon off and check out a cookery book to get some new recipes and surprise your family. Invite your friends over to try the best recipe of the World:-)

You are having a friend who is afraid of cycling but would love to come with you for your Saturday rides? Take some time and practice with her. Teach her and show her,motivate her! Most of the time we just need a few words of encouragement and we are capable of doing things that we never thought we could…

Remember: pay it forward even in summer time. Stay cool, be nice, motivate others and you will get motivated as well!

Happy vacations to all of you!

Be A Dreamer!

Hello Girls,

I hope you had a wonderful summer and you could go to places you’ve never seen before…

This summer has definitely taught me a lot. I learnt a lot about myself, about the mountains in general and the French cuisine. How is this possible? I got lucky enough to climb 5 mythic Alpine passes including Alpe d’Huez, Galibier, Lautaret, Courchevel, Les Menuires and some of them in a great company.

For someone who is a little bit into cycling knows that Alpe d’Huez and the Galibier are climbed basically every second/third year of the Tour de France. These are sub category climbs which means that they are so steep that even the TDF organizers don’t classify them… I felt this was a very special moment in my life – I knew no matter how hard I was training  – these mountains have spirits just like the lava fields in Kona and they either want you to finish your climb or it will be just a huge disappointment…

I arrived into the premises with an Italian friend of mine who has done the climb in 2011 during the Triathlon of Alpe d’Huez – and he immediately started explaining me the strategy of the climb – which is actually quite simple: you need the easiest gear way from the beginning otherwise your chain breaks…I put my favourite music in my ears and my hands started sweating as our bus approached the first hairpin of the climb. I told to myself: it is going to be OK, you’ve always been above average on the climbs, you grew up in the Hungarian mountains, you can do this…you will do this…

And then…there we were…the bus driver put back the gears and I just couldn’t believe my eyes…the first two hairpins are supposed to be the hardest and when I looked upon the road I felt the tears in my eyes. Tears of joy, fear, respect and nostalgy. I promised my parents that I will think about Bela bacsi who was a long lost relative of my father and who won several Hungarian road cycling championships in the 1950’s. He met me a few times when I was a little baby girl, he travelled across entire Budapest just to see me and walk me around for 1-2 hours. I thought about him while I was trying to hide my tears…Did he talk to me about his biking adventures while he was alone with me when I was a baby? Is this the reason why I am the only freak in my family who is crazy about bikes, mountains and sports in general? -) Who knows? He would’ve loved it out there…

The climb for Marco Pantani lasted for 35 minutes for me…it was 1 hour 15 minutes. You have a climb of 14 km with 1400m of positive denivele…At every single hairpin when you look up the road waiting for you – you don’t actually know if you will manage to reach the next one…and there is 21 hairpins on the way…

After all, it was the hardest climbs I have ever done in my life by bike and by bus as wellJI was glad and extremely proud that I managed. This is something that I want to remember forever in my life – just like the wonderful moments spent with my friends from my triathlon club. Mixing up the French, Italian and Hungarian specialities for dinner and have long deep conversations with a full moon over the French Alps in an apartment that looks over the hardest climb of the World is something unforgettable…

I am lucky. Why? Because after all the struggles I have to face in France I try to look at the positive sides and appreciate what I have. It is not always easy because just like every human being – I also want more and more…But there is moments in our lives when we have to stop for a minute or two look back on what we have achieved and with who – and just be thankful. This year I visited places that I was dreaming about as a child, I did more Ski resorts by bike than by skiJand I can’t wait to continue next year!

As in one of my favorite films teaches us: “Happiness is only real when shared” – so get out on your bikes, collect some friends and discover places that you’ve always dreamed about!

Be safe, be a dreamer!

Self Control

Self Control for Elementary Students at Liberty Common School means “the ability to exercise restraint or control over one’s feelings, emotions, and reactions.” An example that the principal used with the kids was, if someone pushes them, use self control and not push back. Avoid creating controversy that may end up in a fight. Have self control and report to the principal.

I was invited to discuss my life as an Ironman triathlete and how I use self control every day with my training and competition. I would say I am an expert and use self discipline, the “power to discipline one’s own feelings, desires, etc., especially with the intention of improving oneself.” Having competed in swimming since the age of 4 and now into my 20th season of triathlon, I love to train and often practice good nutrition and prioritize my training to excel in my sport.

I gave my presentation to the students on January 31st. Perfect timing, since it was my last day of competing for Athletes in Tandem in the January Tampa Bay IronDistance Challenge, A perfect example of self control that I used was my training/competing during the month of January.

The IronDistance Challenge consisted of accumulating miles of self-logged swimming, biking and running. The person with the highest number of Ironman Distance triathlons in the month of January won money for the charity of their choice. Last year, the overall female completed a little over five Iron Distances. My goal was five and a half.I thought 6 was doable; but I did not want to be training that much this early in the season.

My purpose for entering the challenge, besides winning money was Athletes in Tandem, was to get back into running. I focus on core functional strength training in the “off” season (October-December) and basically did not run more than six miles per week with minimal biking and no swimming during those months (insert a link to my article on off-season training). We reported our mileage on Sundays in January (the 8th, 15th, 22nd and 31st). Each Monday we could see what place we were in.

My drive, self control and competitive nature pushed me past my limits with training. After the first week I logged 8000 swimming meters, 245 miles biking indoors on the trainer, and 45 miles of running, on top of working a 60-hour week. Waking up January 9th to see I was in 2nd place was disappointing. I had to train more???

At the end of week 2, we both had a little over 4 IronDistances, and first place was ahead by 10 miles of running and 2 miles of swimming. Now I had to crank it up in the pool, my least favorite, and ramp up my run miles. I thought 45 per week was going to break me down already; how could I find the time and energy to train more? Sleeping six hours a night helps.

After the third week we both had logged six IronDistances, and I was slightly ahead. I was pretty tired and did not think I would be able to ramp up much more. Like I said, sleep was sacrificed often for time on my indoor trainer at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. every morning when I was not coaching the Rocky Mountain High School swim team. My drive and self discipline proved me wrong. I wanted to win. Unfortunately, 9.3 IronDistances was not enough.

I was disappointed I did not win, but ecstatic that I came out of it with a huge fitness base and no injuries. I proved to myself I can train this time of year and see Ironman St. George

The highlight of my presentation on Self Control at Liberty Elementary centered around the Ironman. Doing what I love and being rewarded for what I do. I displayed all my sponsor swag from Powerbar, Newton and Timex. Kids love gear and swag