Archive for June, 2010


Understanding the run injury protocol

June 30, 2010

I raised one eye brow (yeah, like I can do that) as I downloaded the Garmin from my run. It’s my second land run. Everything went fine. It’s been about 5 weeks I believe. But something is different. My typical pace for an endurance run is 8:30-8:40. (as a reference my tempo pace is then about 7:15-7:20). The data was there from the run, endurance run average pace of 8:09.

Someone attributed it to the cooler weather, my muscles being looser…….  the last time I ran the temps were the same, and with the extra bike volume there ain’t looseness going on here.

I am not going to get excited until I have a 60 minute run under my belt but…. the run injury protocol….. it works. The Wizard has several examples, he could rattle them off to you all day long. But I am understanding that it does work, and that perhaps it’s not something to ignore. Should following a week of the protocol when you are not injured be part of recovery? something to think about.

The Wizard is very public about his protocol, but I have gotten a lot of questions about what it is, so let’s break it down.

The article I am referencing can be found right here.

The whole premise of the protocol is this:

The basic concept is that a triathlete’s gluts, hamstrings, and quads get adequate stress on a daily basis from bike training. The only major movement (relative to running) that is neglected is hip flexion. Another less significantly neglected area would be the calf (soleus and gastroc), although this does get some stress through cycling. These identifications make it intuitively obvious that if you are not running and would like to stay in “run” shape, you must keep these areas engaged and fit.”

Now additionally as this all relates to Ironman,

The other major piece of information that we have to use to our advantage related to IM racing, is that bike durability plays a significant role in being able to run well off the bike. The simple way to say this is you want to be trained such that you get off the bike as fresh as possible as if you were just toeing the line of a marathon. Wait a minute, you are!! It amazes me how many people forget that very simple fact.”

Think about that for a minute. How well do you run off the bike? What’s your half marathon time? I will use one of my athletes, Alexa as an example. Her stand alone half marathon time in April was a 1:50. This past weekend she competed in the Tupper lake 1/2 Ironman. Her previous best 1/2 Ironman was a 5:40. At Tupper she ripped off a 5:16 with a half marathon time of: 1:50. THAT is a well paced bike, and THAT is evidence of how good her bike fitness is right now.

If the run split is too far off the stand alone 1/2 marathon time, then that is an indication of poor bike fitness / poor bike execution.

I use that example to demonstrate just how important bike fitness is. Not speed, but endurance, remember that speed actually comes from a very deep aerobic base. This means riding slower on the slow days. If you average 22-23 miles per hour on race day you likely should be hanging back around 16-18 in training. But this is an entirely separate post. We certainly don’t dictate training on a bike by mph. DUH!

Working the run injury protocol helps that bike fitness become even stronger because in an Ironman it’s ultimately what you need to run the marathon. If you can run a marathon off the bike that’s within 10 min of your stand alone marathon time, you’ve done your bike homework then. Most people fall into the trap, if they see this gap, of thinking they need to run more.

Back to the protocol.

Here are what Jesse outlines to be the key components for the protocol (with some comments inserted by me)

1) Take half of your planned run volume and add that time to your bike mileage. This will improve your bike durability a huge amount and therefore help you run better, or arrive at the marathon start fresher.

If you currently bike 6 hours a week and run 3 hours a week, you would take 1.5 hours of running and add it to your weekly bike volume, which would then equal 7.5 hours of biking. Now we still have 1.5 hours of running to cover….

2) Take the other half of your planned run mileage and add that to devoted time of engaged hip flexor work. This can come in the form of water running, Power Cranks on the bike, or kicking in the  Of those, I’d have at least half be pool running. While pool running, execute the workouts just as you would have if you were real running except note that pool HR zones are typically about 10% lower than on-land run zones. This is due to the venous return you get from the water pressure in the pool (like wearing a giant compression sock). Your body just doesn’t have to beat as much to move around the same amount of blood.

So let’s say you devote 30 minutes per week to hip flexor work, eccentric calf raises, and possibly powercrank work (using 30 as a round number). Then you’d use the additional 60 minutes to run in the pool. Pool running is tricky. We used to really emphasize emulating running form in the pool. Most athletes don’t do it, they do a form of treading water. Think about marching in the pool (deep water). Bring the knees up, press the heel down. Engage the hip flexors is what we are trying to accomplish. Stop trying to move from one side of the pool to the other so fast, covering 25 yards pool running does not equate to minute per miles of running.

3) Spend three days a week doing Calf raises and hip flexor exercises. Just 3 sets of each on each day is sufficient for these.

I think there is a tendency to want to do more, so try to limit it to three days a week. Get yourself some cuffed tubing, the cuffs go around your ankles and march. Calf raises, eccentric. On a step. The criteria the Wizard used for me was that I had to be able to complete 3 sets of 12 without pain. We waited until then.

Jesse’s got several examples of this protocol working. I am hoping that I am one of them. Was the 8:09 a fluke? I will believe it when I see a few more runs at that pace. What I am really focused on now is returning to the roads safely. This week it is 3 X road runs separated by a day of pool running. I am very sure I could run a good 1/2 marathon at the Mussel next week off the bike, but I know again, the right thing to do is the Aquabike. Steelhead is right around the corner, so I have to be patient. I write that more for me than for you. Have to keep myself honest!

So the run injury protocol is a way you can keep your training moving forward. Just because you can’t run at the moment doesn’t mean your game is over. And it certainly does not mean that you still can’t run your best.

Still not sure? Hang around for a bit, let’s find out.


Holding on

June 29, 2010

This next month is a wild ride. I’m race announcing at a Tri in the Buff. I am aquabiking, coaching  and involved with all of the Musselman festivities, we’ve got a big team racing at IMLP and a mini camp of training to do that weekend and then Steelhead. I don’t want this month to fly by. I want to soak up every second of it and squeeze the juice out of every single minute.

Musselman is a very special race to me for a lot of different reasons. Good and horrible things have happened to me on this course. Last year out of a strange situation I was introduced to a giant group of amazing folks from Syracuse, many of whom I consider my close friends. One of those chicks is Kristen Roe, who I affectionately refer to as K-Roe. She reached out to me after that race and we were able to meet up in Clearwater and we are going to do Ironman Florida as well.

Yesterday we declared that we’d be doing some long riding together for IMFL. After Placid hits things die out in terms of riding partners around here. While she lives in Syracuse I told her we are going to take turns driving to one another’s city and train. “We will work together” she said.

This is the kind of stuff I live for. Let’s get together and work together. Let’s take on this race like we know we can. K-Roe qualified for Kona a few years back and subsequently shattered her pelvis, preventing her from racing. I would love nothing more than to see her qualify again. She’s done a damn 10:08 here I believe so we know she can. I am excited to have the opportunity to race with a friend. (and they don’t know it yet, but I am dragging Jo-Chaf and P-Dawg with us. Maybe even Corona if he’s lucky. I have a rapper name for everyone).

That’s what musselman will be like. The finest class of ladies I have raced with in a long time. I thought long and hard about just jumping into the run……. but we know it’s not the right thing to do. It will be hard but the aquabike is the right choice. We have 2 more 70.3 races and an Ironman. I won’t even set up my running shoes in transition.

Today brings 2:30 on the bike, 20 min running off the bike and a 1:00 swim. All outside. We are still transitioning my run to the roads and the Wizard is being very cautious about it. I worked the hell out of the run injury protocol and we are still following it. The transition involves pool running and running on land every other day this week, with a longest run on land of 35 minutes. If I can tolerate that we get right back to business.

I think I appreciate my health more than most people do, I am likely more protective of it than most people are. It’s because of what I have been through. I have written about a lot of it, there are some things I don’t write about, but when you lose your health you appreciate it more. No one can ever put a timeline on your recovery, only you can.

All right, it’s time to get to work here. There is a lot to accomplish today. And today I pick out that new car!


The new car

June 27, 2010

“I found the perfect car for you.” My husband told me a few months ago. “It’s so you!”. He caught my attention. For some background I am 36 years old and I have only had 2 cars. A Toyota Camry station wagon and a Toyota Rav 4, which I presently drive.

I leaned forward…. eager to hear about what he had found.

“The cube.” He exclaimed. “The Nissan Cube!” I waited for him to laugh. Then I realized, holy sh*t he’s serious. The CUBE? Oh dear lord. The CUBE.

First things first: it’s ugly. But I don’t even care about what the car looks like. Okay, in this case I do. This is ugly. secondly it’s front wheel drive. Have you ever seen my driveway> It’s a downhill driveway, so ridiculous to get out of in the winter that I can’t even hire a plow to plow it for me. How the hell am I going to get this box out of it? Thirdly I am a triathlete. My car is my locker room. This isn’t a candidate for a locker room.

However…. because he was so excited about it, and more importantly because he was willing to endure the headache of test driving, the hassle of dealing with the salesperson, the paperwork…. ugh. I hate that aspect of car buying so much that if he was willing to go do it for me…… then I’d shut up and be grateful.

And drive the damn driveable rubix cube. Maybe I could even get it custom painted.

See, I am not ready for a new car. My Rav 4 only has 174,000 miles on it. If you are a Toyota driver you are well aware that this baby isn’t considered old till it crests 200,000. What went on my old Toyota was the body, never the engine.

This past fall so oddly enough the transmission went. On a Toyota! I know! Nothing is better than just finishing walking through the line at Ironman Arizona as Curt resigned up for 2010, and having the tranny place call to tell you they can rebuild it for a lot of K.

We rebuilt it. I know , but I was in such shock that the transmission went that…. I did it.

Since…. well there have been some issues. It shakes under 30 miles an hour. We call it the shaker car. The brakes are dying. The check engine light is on. The rear brake light is out. But it’s my car, it’s my baby. It might be able to make a trip to Buffalo but its trips to Lake Placid are gone.

I have to get a new car by Saturday. My inspection expires. It’s time. No more waiting. This one is going to go a little early.

Forgive me but I got a little choked up when I drove her to work yesterday. There is history in this car. I got her right before 9/11. I remember sitting in the front seat, Luc was just months old, crying. It’s where my world changed.

On my rear view mirror are the flowers from Kona. The seashells from my first Clearwater. The beads from New Orleans. There are two stickers, one that says huggs and one that says believe. In those moments of doubt before that first Ironman I’d look at those two words. They gave me strength.

I have the care from my Grandfather’s funeral in the visor thing that flips down to block the sun. It’s my way of keeping him with me.

These are just things. They come with me. But if the interior of this car could talk. It’s been all over the country. I have slept in this car in Lake Placid. I have laughed here. I have cried here. I have dreamt here. I have wondered here. It’s been my locker room, carried my bikes. Traveled to Ironmans, listened to me grieve.

Don’t forget about the time there was a MOUSE in my car!

When i sustained my head injury in 2008…. and the subsequent aftermath  I wasn’t allowed to drive for a bit. I remember getting behind the wheel again and being afraid that I wasn’t ready to live again.

 If these seats could talk.

Luc has grown up in this car and I feel like the older Luc gets….. the more I keep giving pieces of his childhood away. And I am not ready for that yet.

It’s just a car, I know. If I feel this way about a car, you can only imagine how I feel about a bike. Perhaps that might explain to poor Adam who about passed out when he witnessed ….. the bikes…… of our house a few weeks ago.

I will have a new car on Friday. In fact I did some research and I talked my husband out of the Cube (big sigh of relief) and I will be getting another Rav 4. I meet with Ronnie on Tuesday. Which means I have to begin the clean out effort. Oh boy.

It’s just life moving on. I think I am just afraid that the next time I need a new car Luc will be finished with high school. These 9 years have gone by too fast and I honestly dread the next nine passing equally as quickly. Some people can’t wait for their kids to grow up and get out. I want it to slow down.

So this is a big week, in more ways than one. A new car, a new chapter. I hope this new car is ready, because it needs to be tough. It needs to be durable. We have a lot of miles to cover and we have a lot of dreams to be had behind the wheel. There are skies to see while adventures are had. There are sunsets to be seen dropping behind billboards.

On Tuesday I will meet with Ronnie, do the dirty work that I hate. But it’s time. I can’t procrastinate this any longer. It has to happen and it has to happen this week.

There is more life to be lived.


Cross Fit and Triathlon

June 26, 2010

Keep the questions coming! Next week we will talk heart rate training, wheels, powermeters, running, and more. My email is at the right.

We review the Ironman Lake Placid course this week in our free webinar! Click here for details.

I love to read blogs. If you have a great blog and want on my blogroll…. send it to me! Don’t be shy!

Cross Fit. Everyone is doing it. Everyone wants to know if it’s “good”. Everyone wants to know if it will help them become a better triathlete. The answer is not simple, yes and no.

Let me start at the beginning because this post will involve some controversy.

When I go to a Cross Fit Certified Instructor I assume that they come with a level of expertise. Just like when you come to me as a USAT Triathlon Coach, or better yet…. as a Registered Nurse. I trust that my Oncologist knows his field as an expert. My dentist knows teeth better than I ever could. and my Massage Therapist is an expert in her field as well. I trust that when you earn a certain credential you have met certain qualifications, and to me that also mens you hold a very high level of professionalism.

There has been some chatter around here with the folks that do Cross fit. Apparently their Cross Fit instructor has educated them to the fact that …. and I paraphrase……a long run and or a long bike can be replaced with a Cross Fit session and you will be faster. And any coach who doesn’t agree with that doesn’t know what they are doing.

The first time I heard that I dismissed it, owing it up to the fact that the person just heard the Cross Fit instructor wrong. But then I heard the same thing from 7 different people.

Sigh. Eye roll. Deep breath.

Let me start with the obvious. Any coach or instructor worth anything would never break the number one rule of professionalism. Never, ever make a statement about another fitness professional that you A. Don’t know, B. Have never spoken to. The fact that this instructor apparently told several people that their coach didn’t know what they were doing if they didn’t believe a long run or long bike could be replaced with Cross fit says volumes about that instructor and negates my theory and belief that those who go through the certification process for their chosen field have a certain level of expertise.

I won’t even engage in a debate with someone like that.

Secondly let’s be realistic. Cross Fit will not help you become a faster swimmer, cyclist, or runner. Weight training will not help you become a faster swimmer, cyclist or runner. To become a faster swimmer, cyclist or runner you have to…… swim, bike and run.

In reality, weight training will do more to slow you down.

Would I replace a long bike with a Cross fit class? Would I ride 100 miles to bench press 400 pounds?

No silly. Our sports require specificity. Plain and simple.

Now, with that being said let me back up. There are certain things we need to think about when it comes to weight training and endurance sports. There is a place for weight training. Absolutely. Is there a place for Cross Fit? definitely.

I believe that weight training becomes an insurance policy for muscles. Many of us have certain postural imbalances. If we add a force to those imbalances, over time we can sustain cause injury. Many of us have muscular imbalances. Over time if we add force to those imbalances we can sustain injury.

Weight training should first address postural and muscular imbalances early in the season. Most general strength training programs will take care of this.

Next we want to build strength. The purpose of building strength is not so you can run hills faster or swim your 100 yard repeat in sub 1 minute. Running hills will help you run hills faster. Swimming to target a sub 1:00 100 will help you achieve that.

Weight training is going to help strengthen the muscle to prevent injury, protect the joints and to help us become more durable.

So which modality is the best? Is it Cross fit? P-90X?

I think they are all good. I think they all address the needs that we are looking to be met. I think they are all fun. We have to keep things high on the fun-o-meter to encourage adherence.

If you are using Cross fit through the season I would recommend dialing it back a notch. The cool thing about Cross fit is that you up the ante all on your own with each session. If you can focus on performing the movements without destroying yourself and trying to hit the next target all of the time, I think it can be a great complement to triathlon training.

Unfortunately in my experience, athletes are not good at dialing it back. I have a few athletes who do Cross fit and they will write something in their training log to this effect on Tuesday:

“Man, GREAT Cross fit Class! I finally mastered burpees. I did all of the sets and added the jump at the end. I worked really really hard.”

Then subsequently Thursdays run log will look like this:

Totally died on the run today. did the hill repeats but felt horrible. I must need to gain more strength in my legs.”

No. Back up. What trashed your run was likely what you did on Tuesday. The proper way to execute Tuesday would have been to perhaps not work quite so hard in Cross Fit Class. Focus on the form, not on the intensity.

100% of the time however it doesn’t happen that way.

A final thing we need to think about where weight training is concerned is that as we age we begin to lose muscle mass. For all of us the magic number at which this happens is different. 35-45…. who knows. So we try to preserve what we’ve got with weight-bearing exercise. Weight training, and yes Cross Fit is a good way to do that.

In conclusion:

1. If your Cross Fit instructor tells you that a long run and or long bike can be replaced with a Cross Fit Class, I would think carefully before I took that advice. If your Cross Fit instructor tells you that your swim, bike, run or triathlon coach does not understand Cross fit if they don’t agree….. ask your coach. Do they know anything? No one ever asked me what I know (turns out I know it well). And consider this: in your chosen field would you make that statement about a professional that you don’t know? Then make your choice.

2. Cross fit has a place in multisport. It’s a good program. It’s fun. It works the right muscle groups and it is functional strength training at it’s best. Discuss with your coach about why you are doing it. Let them help guide you into how to tweak it to fit your current phase of training. AND LISTEN TO THAT ADVICE.

3. Remember: to become a faster swimmer, cyclist and runner you need to swim bike and run.

4. Remember the goals of weight training are to protect the muscle and the joint, correct imbalances and to help create a more durable muscle. If you want to become a stronger cyclist then cycle through a strength on the bike cycle. Don’t add more leg presses.

In case I have not said it before: the key to faster swimming, cycling and running is to swim bike and run.

The key to bench pressing 300 pounds….. does not lie in riding 100 miles to prepare.


Finishing up in Hershey

June 25, 2010

There has to be a protocol for this two days in Hershey Adventure. Not only am I on the equator, but there are a lot of hills. A lot of miles. I even had to bring salt tablets. My legs ache. I feel trashed. I don’t think I can set another foot in the park. We’ve ridden everything.

Curt is the rollercoaster master. All eleven. The Fahrenheit twice. I bow down!

Here is the pool we have been swimming in, this is what I call a score of a pool!

I get to swim in in one more time before we head home.

This morning I hopped on my bike and took a little ride around the town of Hershey. Are the streets brown or is it me? I ran into a few cyclists and hung with them for a bit. It’s amazing….. you just kind of fall into the group. Like being a cyclist means you are part of an unsaid unknown group.

Our big agenda this morning before we head to the pool for one last swim is a tour of the Chocolate Factory, Luc gets to be a worker. We make our own chocolate bar, get our picture on a bottle of Hershey syrup and then we shall head home.

Thanks for joining our sweet adventure. Now if someone could just turn down the sun a notch I’d highly appreciate it!


Rollercoaster Master

June 24, 2010

I ran this morning! I ran this morning! My legs are completely trashed from hours running around Hershey but my Achilles did not hurt. And it does not hurt now. It will be Monday before we can really asess this, my legs have to recover from this adventure! But it all looks promising!

There are 11 rollercoasters in Hershey. So far Curt has ridden 9 of them. And I have ridden one. I know. I know. Last week a beer and a motorcycle. This week a rollercoaster. I rode the thrilling and frightening Trailblazer. I did not threaten the lives of 2 12 year old girls when they promised me it wasn’t scary. I was worried they were lying.

 Here is a video, please, don’t have anything to eat 20 minutes before watching.

Curt is handling the epic rollercoaster mission well. However the start of the Storm Runner did frighten him a bit. It made me sh*t myself and I was on the ground. instead of the slow crawl up the hill, this starts you with a freaking LAUNCH at the bottom. Think Zero to SIXTY. When Curt rode it, it was dark!

Today it’s the Fahrenheit. A year in the making for Curt.

He’s totally the man.

One of the things I love most about places like this, is the laughter. As I watch these monster coaster rides I see thrill on the faces of both adults and kids. It’s completely amazing. Great big laughter. families, friends, kids young and old.

The town is all done up chocolate and i haven’t had any yet. I don’t even know why.

They say Hershey smells like chocolate. It does, but only around the factory. The fact that the factory has since essentially moved to Mexico is sad.

Today beings another day in the park. By day’s end Curt will have conquered all 11 coasters!


Training while traveling

June 23, 2010

We made it to Hershey and are on a little break from the park. Did you know that Hershey is located on the sun itself? Yes, it’s true. And the moment we left Rochester, it shook. Earthquake! We don’t get em often but the little ones are always kind of interesting.

I am still answering questions so go ahead and keep sending them! either by comment or by email: maryeggers “at” gmail “dot” com. Strangely at the hotel we are at Gmail is blocked, so my email replies are going to to be sparse for the next few days.

Today’s question appropriately addresses the question of how to fit training in while traveling? I do a lot of traveling that is race related, those trips are on airplanes and I fly my bike with me if I need it. for the smaller trips like the one I am on it just takes a bit of creative scheduling.

1. Talk to your coach. I have always learned the hard way to not attempt to rearrange my schedule myself. If you have a coach remember they plan your week a certain way for a reason. There is a plan. So rearranging just messes everything up. This week we loaded my bigger workouts before and after travel so the ones I have to do on the trip are short.

2. Don’t train on family time. I really make it a priority to train on my own time. We all have our own time of day that is our own, but on a trip we might have to make adjustments. I have located a pool that opens at 5am. I brought my computrainer. Luc is used to the whirl of the trainer while he is sleeping. But he will never be sat at the end of a pool while I am swimming. call me a snob but to each our own. My workouts are done on his sleep time. Curt and I work out a system. I have heard of people who leave their kids under the age of seven in a hotel room, even in their house while they are out riding or running. If I swim, Curt rides the trainer. If Curt runs, i ride the trainer. It is a rarity that we both ride the same size bike and wear the same sized bike shoes. We bring one bike and one trainer.

The opportunity might also present itself where I can head out for a 5am ride. I utilize things like or more recently to help me find a route to ride.  That goes for running also. And I have good running news to share! That’s tomorrow!

3. Be portable. even I travel my aquajogger and my TRX come with me. If I can’t get a road run in, then I pool run. The TRX i can do anywhere, I have a door mount for traveling.

4. Use what your hotel has. do some research, is there a fitness room? What does it have? use it. Not many others do!

Whether or not I was training for an Ironman, I would bring all this stuff along. It takes up no more room in the car than our normal lives. don’t stop training for travel, be creative!

Hershey is going great. There are 11 rollercoasters here and Curt has so far ridden 7 of them. Tonight he has a date with the ferenheit. The biggest baddest rollercoaster in Hershey. Now me, well, that’s sort of another story. I have what you might call avoidance of rollercoaster-itis. We are a family of three, I am “the coat holder.”

I won’t be on it. Hell.No.

This morning I executed my typical round of eccentric calf raises, eagerly awaiting the day when they are pain free. It was still a tightness, not a pain but a tightness. I frowned. I am being incredibly patient. But I feel like a bear in a cage. I miss running terribly.

I worried how walking around Hershey park for hours would cause it to feel. Do I boot it? I decided to give it a go. I wear these shoes, not only because they are high fashion but because they are more supportive than Crocs yet allow the feet the freedom to move on their own. And they are wicked comfortable. Two hours into our adventure I thought to myself, wow is this Achilles feeling really good!

While waiting for the boys to go on a rollercoaster, I did a set of eccentric calf raises it felt awesome. so I did two. WTF? Why does it hurt one minute and not now? That’s the nature of muscles and the nature of injury, and before I get ahead of myself I will ice the craziness out of it tonight and if the morning goes well, I will try my run on land.

Try to get some sleep wondering how it went! of course I will update!

But we have some Hershey to get back to!