Ironman Florida 2010, Do's and Don'ts  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

I met a fellow athlete at Masters last night who is headed to Panama City Beach on Monday. He told me he ran across my blog, and searched out my report from 2006 Florida.

So it got me in a Ironman Florida kinda mood, and I decided to reflect a little, and think about race day, and as a result I came up with a short list of what I thought I did right, and what I would do different next time.

What I think I did right

1. Clean dry socks in my run special needs bag.

A good move and really made a difference, even though I still ended up with bad blisters. I also changed at the beginning of the run.

2. Solid Nutrition and hydration plan.

Every 15 minutes. ½ bottle sports drink, ½ bar with ½ bottle water, ½ bottle sports drink, gel with ½ bottle water. The only drawback was after 6.5 hours on the bike, I was sick of powerbars and Gatorade. See number 4 below.

3. Walk the aid stations.

Stop and hydrate. Worked very well. I managed 10 minute miles including the stop for the first 4 miles.

4. Solid food on the run for first 10k. Watered down Gatorade for the send 20k. Chicken Broth for the last 10k.

This goes hand in hand with the last item. Walking lets your Heart rate drop, and allows you to handle food better.

5. 10 minute miles until the blisters forced me to walk more than I wanted.

6. Enjoy the scenery.

Anyone matching my pace will be entering the park at about sunset on the first loop of the run. It is awesome.

7. Find some chick with a nice ass who is running about your pace, and stay behind her as long as you can.

Don’t try to be a macho man and waste energy by showing off and racing by her at the next aid station. You may use more energy than you can afford AND you may be disappointed by the view of the front. What can I say. I am a guy, and It’s Ironman. Everything goes.

What I’d do different

1. Ditch the speed laces.

Excessive movement inside my shoe was the number one cause of my blisters. I was thinking the elastic would help with foot swelling over the course of the run, but I miscalculated. Next time, I’ll tie em down.

2. Get a bike fit.

A little late for anyone doing this years race, but in the future, remember, you have to be comfortable. I like my position now on my Slice, as well as my profile air stryke tri saddle, but it would be worth at least having an experienced coach look at my position and see if there is room for improvement.

3. Wear a good pair of cycling shorts, take the time to change into them in the tent.

I saw guys strip right down to nothing and put on a pair of bib shorts. At Ironman Newfoundland 70.3 I tried slipping a pair of bike shorts over my tri shorts, but I think it would be better to have a high quality chamois next to my skin if I am going to be in the saddle for 5 to 7 hours.

4. Bring some of my own food.

Don’t underestimate the power of variety. Like I said above, after 7 hours of Gatorade and powerbars, you are ready to up-chuck. Some ideas, salted baked potato slices, bread or bagels, potatoe or corn chips, even a different flavour of Gatorade.

5. Make sure I have water and gels available for T1.

I forgot mine on race morning. I knew there would be lots on the course, but I was wrong to assume there would be lots at transition before the race. I couldn’t even get a bottle of water. I would have been better off going back to the hotel and getting what I had prepared.

6. Check chain, gears, and set computer in transition.

I didn’t. my chain came off in transition, and I had to fool around with resetting my computer. I have never made that mistake since.

To all heading to Panama City Beach, Good luck Wish I were going. Have fun.

Improve Your Running Stride  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in , ,

OK It’s been a rough week, and I think I milked my congratulatory post for Charisa for all I can. It’s now time to get on with some other thoughts and musings.

Feast your eyes on this article from by Matt Fitzgerald. The article is entitled Improve Your Stride Without Trying. The article is not about running in your red long underwear. It is meant to be a recommendation on how you can easily and effectively improve your running economy, but it starts out as a rant against two of the popular running methods out there, Chi Running and the Pose method.

Fitz claims that there is no scientific proof that these running methods represent the best way to increase stride power and efficiency and reduce the stride anomalies that cause injuries in most runners. In fact, he states quite the opposite, and backs it up with the results of 2 studies.

One of the studies on 16 elite triathletes yielded negative results, and a second conducted at the University of Cape Town, South Africa was haulted because of reported calf injuries.

I have 2 problems with his criticisms. The first is that the University of Cape Town study reported a common issue with the POSE method, that being calf strains. I experienced them too when I first started working on changing my stride, but I don’t anymore. I also experienced shoulder soreness when my masters swim coach started working on my catch and stroke. Eventually my body became more accustom to the new movement and I didn't feel discomfort.

The second problem I have is that the 2005 study was done on high level athletes who most likely already had fairly good running strides. This would be akin to trying to teach Michael Phelps Total Immersion. What’s the point.

In my opinion to be valid, a study should be done on a group of athletes with poor running form, who typically are heel strikers, and who may suffer from common hip and knee impact injuries, and follow them for a full year to see if they show signs of improvements in running mechanics, and a reduction in these impact injuries.

For me, the point has already been made. I have read The POSE, and I am part way through CHI. About 10 years ago was a heel striker, and suffered shin splints while training for the TELY 10. I completed the race in about 100 minutes. 2 years later, after transforming my stride using the POSE method, I finished the same race in 75 minutes, injury free.

And if you can get past the article introduction, there are some recommendations for improving stride economy.

Interesting stuff in this post.

Congrations Charisa

Matt Fitzgerald

Improve Your Stride Without Trying

ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running

KONA Congratulations to Charisa and Company  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

Sincere congratulations to anyone who competed in KONA the weekend before last. Especially to Charisa, who I understand, not only finished the race, but snagged fifth in her age group. In fact, you can see the engraving on the bowl, “FIFTH PLACE 30-34 FEMALE”

I have a lot of respect for Charisa because she occasionally drops by my piece of bloggy world, and leaves nice comments, but also because she seems to be really excited about doing well at KONA.

I know a few elite athletes, and I know their aloof attitude is probably brimming self confidence, but sometimes, to me it comes across as condescending. I work my butt off just to place 7th out of 10 in my agegroup, and JOE COOL TRI GEEK with the new P4Carbon, can’t make it 5 steps from the podium before whipping off his first place medal.

But Charisa seems to be genuinely happy, and isn’t scared to show it. So Congrats, and display that salad bowl proudly young lasse. And anyone else, drop by her blog and have a gander at some pretty cool pics!

Musical Monday, Victory Day  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

A week late, but better late than never. This goes out to fellow Newton shoe geek, and 2 time champion at KONA.

Congratulations Craig Alexander.

Friday Funnies. SCOTT'S SPIN  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

I subscribe to a cycling newsletter called every week I get a newletter emailed to me with tons of interesting tidbits, stories, training advice etc.

This week featured the following musings by Scott Martin.

Check it out. We’ve all been there, and doesn’t it make you feel special?

Working Class Heroes

Sure, pro bike racers can do things we only dream of: Sprint 40 mph after 6 hours in the saddle, average 450 watts on a 30-minute climb, take a "nature break" while still on the bike.

But none of them can match what we working stiffs do every day. I'll bet Alberto Contador's resume doesn't include:
• Ability to discreetly change into Lycra shorts while stopped in rush-hour traffic on way to post-work group ride. Watch out for that emergency brake!

• Ability to do 5 a.m. interval workout and stay awake through almost entire 4:30 p.m. PowerPoint presentation by Irv in Accounts Receivable.

• Ability to squeeze 45-minute ride into 30-minute lunch break. Warm-up? We don't need no stinkin' warm-up.

• Ability to fit bicycle into your Dumpster-size office cubicle and never get chain marks on pants or skirt. Except on the day of your performance evaluation.

• Ability to convince giggling co-workers that helmet hair is in fact the latest must-have Hollywood 'do.

• Ability to access hidden stash of chocolate-brownie energy bars (in filing cabinet, under 'S' for Snacks) without arousing suspicion of nosy, chocoholic officemate.

• Ability to bathe in janitorial closet sink. (Tip: When soap is in eyes, don't reach for shampoo and accidentally grab bottle of Mop 'N Glo.)

• Ability to keep straight face when telling boss that you've been late the past 4 beautiful autumn mornings because of flat tires.

• Ability to grin and bear it when company newsletter notes that you "peddle a 10-speed to work rain or shine." Headline: "Lance Beware!"

OFF The Rails  


This was supposed to be a great weekend. Canadian Thanksgiving, long weekend, copious amounts of turkey, new season of masters kicked off, Ironman weekend, with lots to chat about. Yes it was supposed to be a great weekend.

Then by Sunday, I felt stuffy, and had a little cough. By Monday, I had a sore throat, and no energy. I cooked dinner, but by the time it was on the table, I didn’t even feel like eating. Not even the Tortuga Rum Cake our neighbors brought back from Florida.

Come Tuesday, I felt like crappy enough that I decided it was better to stay home from work.

Come Wednesday, I felt like I swallowed broken glass, and made a visit to my local clinic, got diagnosed with an infection, and prescribed Antibiotics.

So, I am back at work today determined to feel better enough to go to WINE FEST tomorrow. But it sucks because I now have to work this weekend to catch up on a couple of projects. Is “better enough” good English?

So how clever is that to turn a couple of sick days into a blog post!

Funny Friday KONA Tribute  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

In hounour of the big race, and in keeping with Friday Funny tradition, I present Peter Reid and Roch Frey from the movie "What it Takes" citing the underpants oath.

I am not sure if this is from KONA or not, but I was inspired by Charisa,
who is getting ready to put it on the line tomorrow.

Best of luck, and check out her COSTUME for the run!


Ironman Taper  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

This article comes a little late for the Big Show in Kona. Quite frankly, if you are 4 days away, and are not at the end of a well planned and well executed taper, you are in for a rough day.

But if you are preparing for another late season Ironman race like Florida, here is a sample two week block compliments of Nick White of Carmichael Training Systems. Nick is Craig Alexanders coach, and based this schedule on his preparation for the World Championship last year, and this year.

The full article is here.

T-Minus Two Weeks To Race

Monday: off

Bike: 45 min RecoveryMiles
Swim: 2700 yards total - 400 warm up-mixed strokes/drills, main set: 2x1000 at race pace on 45 sec rest, 4x25 all out on 20 sec rest, 300 cool down

Bike: 1:30 EnduranceMiles
Run: 30 min recovery pace

Run: 1 hour run with 6x10 second Strides
Swim: 3000 yards total - 400 warm up, 20x100, 8x25, 400 cool down

Bike: 30 min RecoveryMiles
Run: 20 min Recovery Run with 4x15 second Strides

Bike: 2 hour EnduranceMiles with 30 min Tempo interval
Swim: 2000 yard endurance swim

Run: 1:15 run with 10 min Steady State interval

Race Week

Monday: Off

Bike: 90 min endurance miles with 2x10 min Tempo.
Swim: EnduranceSwim 2600 yards

Run: 45 min endurance run with 6x15 sec Strides

Bike: 1 hour EnduranceMiles with 2x5 min SteadyState
Run: 30 min recovery run

Friday: off

Swim: 30 min open water swim
Bike: 15 min RecoveryMiles
Run: 20 min Recovery Run with 4x10 sec Strides

Sunday: RACE

Musical Monday, Friday Funny, Two for  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

Since I missed posting a funny on Friday, and also since this is a special day for fans. This is Monty Python's Flying Circus, 40th birthday. I have posted the theme, as well as one of my favorite skits.

What has this to do with triathlon? Absolutely nothing except there are a few of us who need a little chuckle.

P90X Plyometrics and Endurance Running  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

One of the most challenging sessions in the entire P90X program is the Plyometrics session. Hence, Tony Horton's comment, “This is the X in P90X”

He also explains the importance of Plyometrics in multiple sports. In his own words, “If it’s played on a rink, a court, or a field, this is for you.”

BUT what about endurance athletes, and what is the importance of “JUMP TRAINING” for Marathoners, and Triathletes?

In Endurance sports, the body is trained to develop the cardio system. Aerobic effort makes up the bulk of this training, stressing the body to adapt to longer and longer distances. That will get you across the finish line, but to excel at distance, just like in short distance, you have to be fast.

At one time, I assumed that the athlete running a two hour marathon simply ran harder, or put in more effort than the guy running a four hour marathon. But after watching some elite athletes in top races like the Houston Marathon, the Corner Brook at the ITU World Cup Triathlon, and Ironman Newfoundland 70.3 I realized that there is more to the story. Top athletes like Simon Whitfield, and Craig Alexander didn’t just rack up impressive run splits because they were fitter then everyone else, they were faster. A bit of a D’UH moment I know, but this is where the concept gets sketchy for most people.

Before I go further, let me stress that I am not a running coach, and I could be totally off base, but this is the way I understand speed as it relates to endurance athletes and running.

All other things equal, what makes one person faster than someone else, is how quickly their limbs can move from point A to point B. The quicker a runner can complete a running stride as one complete movement, the quicker their time.

So again all things equal, endurance, Aerobic capacity, VO2 max, what makes one runner faster is his ability to move his legs quicker.

Again, I must stress I am not a running coach, but if I am right, then the benefit of a good plyometrics workout is obvious. Training the limbs to move quickly, without expending a whole lot of extra energy will make you a faster runner.

Slogging through a plyometric session is an excellent workout on its own. But for a runner, it can have increased benefits if the movements are done with good running form in mind.

For example, the JUMP double knee tucks can be done by jumping as high as possible and bringing the knees up to the torso, but if you really want to improve running by increasing quickness, you should concentrate on bringing the knees up and down as quickly as possible, with as little gain in height as possible. The head should stay in the same position, or as close to it as possible. Concentrating on moving the legs and feet up and down as quickly as possible is where the maximum benefit will be found. This is similar to running with good form, with a minimal amount of bounce. If you read POSE method, or Chi Running, this bouncing along with heel striking is the cause of a large number of running injuries.

So even if you are training for the New York Marathon, or KONA, do your plyo, think like a cat, land softly, think quick legs, and become fast.