Work Life Balance

lessons learned planning Mar 03, 2021

As endurance athletes, we invest a lot in our hobby.  Not only financially -  on shoes, bikes, subscriptions, health club memberships, coaching, entry fees, physical therapy, and more.  But, we also invest a lot of time.  Endurance sports imply exercising for a long duration.  In addition to the actual workouts, we also do conditioning, stretching, icing, foam rolling and more to prevent injuries or prepare our bodies to increase either speed, distance, or both. 

 To say the least, endurance sports takes a commitment of time.

 How do you balance endurance sports with all of your other life commitments?

 Paula and I have found ways throughout our marriage to balance training and racing with our careers and family.

Early in our marriage, Paula and I worked hard to start our careers and start raising a family.  During those early years, our exercise was limited and squeezed in when possible.  I would wake up before the kids and...

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Is Variety the Spice of Life?

training Feb 24, 2021

Many of our readers know that I (Paula) consider myself an "adult starter" when it comes to playing the violin.  I took violin lessons when I was nine years old for about nine months.  As the fourth of five children, you can only imagine the ribbing I received from my siblings as I tried to squeak through the pieces in Suzuki Book One.  I didn't stick with it long, but at age thirteen, my dad brought home my very own violin. I messed around on it some, and then stowed it away.  The violin remained in its case until my daughter, Bethanie, began playing in the school orchestra in the 5th grade. 

This past year (February of 2020), I decide I wanted to learn to play.  At first, I found tutorials in YouTube, and while I was learning some, there seemed to be no logical progression in my learning.  I decide to hire a violin teacher, and it's made all the difference.  I am finally getting better!

The past few weeks I've been frustrated that I have...

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Tubes and Tires - So Many Choices

cycling Feb 17, 2021

When I first started cycling, I was told to pump my tires to 100 psi.  That is a nice round number and easy to remember.  For years that is what I did.  As I was training to Kona qualify, I looked for every opportunity to finish faster.

The bike portion of an Ironman offers the greatest opportunity for time savings because of the duration and the vast array of gear options to gain speed.  I started asking questions about tires, tire pressure, and tubes. 

There are a lot of choices in tires for a lot of good reasons.  Finding the right tire for your race could make a significant difference in your finish time.  The three main factors for deciding on tires include: goals, road conditions, and weather.

If your goal is to finish or to have the most comfortable ride possible, you are not really concerned with speed.  But if your goal is to "shock the world", you are looking for the fastest tires for the road and expected weather.

What makes one...

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The Excitement of the Tour de France

cycling Feb 10, 2021

All endurance sports are exciting to watch - marathons, triathlons, cycling, swimming, cross country skiing, etc.  Hopefully this year, the Tokyo Olympics occur and we will have hours of exciting competition to watch.

One of my favorite competitions to watch each year is the Tour de France.  The cycling season is set to kick off in Australia in a few weeks.  And the Tour will start on June 26th, one week earlier than normal to not interfere with the Olympics.  If it is as exciting as last year, I can't wait.

For those unfamiliar with pro cycling or the Tour, here's a brief tutorial that will hopefully allow you to enjoy and appreciate the sport.

The Tour de France is the world’s largest annual sporting event. It consists of 22 teams of 9 riders totaling 198 cyclists.  Riders cover roughly 2200 miles over 21 stages in the span of 23 days.  The race creates excitement around the world.  Estimates are that 3.5 billon television viewers and over...

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Triathlon Swim Basics

swimming Feb 03, 2021

Swimming is a great way to exercise with little risk of injury.  Anyone can learn to swim once they get over the fear of the water.  For many triathletes, swimming is the most challenging of the three sports.  But swimming doesn’t have to frighten or be frustrating.  Investing time, practicing fundamentals, and having patience can make you a competent swimmer.

At RyR Endurance Team, we work with our athletes to help them reach their swimming goals.  Following are some of the basics to become a fan of swimming.

Gear

  • A tight-fitting swimsuit to reduce drag. This is common for ladies.  For men, choose a jammer or Speedo suit.  A baggy bathing suit catches a lot of water and hampers your ability to swim laps.

 

  • A pool buoy to squeeze between your legs will help with balance and shift focus away from kicking.

  • A swim snorkel will allow for easy breathing while you are working on other aspects of technique such as this one by FINIS
  • A...
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The Evansville YMCA Indoor Triathlon

Bethanie Roberts completed a triathlon training block and competed in the Evansville YMCA Indoor Triathlon. It consisted of a 30 minute swim, 30 minute bike, and a 30 minute run. She worked really hard on the swim and covered more distance than any other female. On the bike, she stayed relaxed and saved up for the run. On the run, she followed her plan of increasing the treadmill speed gradually every few minutes. Her plan worked well because she was completely spent when time ran out.

She finished 2nd among the females. And more importantly, she had a great experience training and competing with her friends Jessica Deckard and Mitzi Howe.

Mitzi finished 3rd overall and Jessica finished 5th overall.

Great job ladies!

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Bike Fit Basics

cycling Jan 27, 2021

You may think that all bikes are the same.  In many ways this is correct.  But, bikes consist of a frame, components, saddle, handlebars/aerobars, gearing, brakes, wheels, and accessories.  The bike frame consists of different materials with different weight, aerodynamics, fueling options, and responsiveness.  Finding the right bike is like picking out a pair of running shoes.  There are so many options to choose from, it is hard to know what to buy.  With shoes, you can buy several pair and often return them if they do not work.  Buying a bike is a commitment and large investment.

Bike Size:

When considering a bike, be sure to purchase a size that works for you.  Bikes are measured based on the height of the top tube measured in centimeters.  Have someone measure from the floor to your crotch while you are barefoot.

For a bike with a level top tube (the bar from the handlebar stem to the seat post), you should have one to two centimeters...

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Setting Expectations

lessons learned Jan 20, 2021

Every athlete has unique aspirations, levels of fitness, and God-given abilities. When working with athletes, it may take a while to communicate and analyze to set a baseline.  Often, athletes set big goals, and that is great.  A big goal for some may not seem big for others.  It is important to understand the starting point when mapping out a target.  Paula and I have learned over the years to set reasonable yet challenging goals for ourselves based on our individual fitness.  Here are some of the big goals we have had for ourselves:

Paula

  • Run a 10-minute mile
  • Run an 8-minute mile – (now she can do a half-marathon in 8 minutes/mile)
  • Break 1:50 in the half marathon – (ran 1:46)
  • Run Boston – (Has now qualified twice and completed the 2020 Boston Virtual)
  • Complete an Ironman (finished Ironman Louisville in 2017)
  • Complete the Abbott World Marathon Challenge – (in progress)


Dean

  • Break 1:20 in the half marathon – (ran 1:17)
  • Break...
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Heat Acclimation

lessons learned Jan 13, 2021

Race preparation is about more than just training.  It includes every aspect of your race day experience.  In a previous story, we talked about race day reconnaissance.  On our website we offer a free race plan template.  In this article, we are going deeper into preparing for racing in hot conditions.

Hot is a relative term.  For the purposes of this article, hot implies hotter than what you are accustomed to where you live and train.  Each person’s concept of hot may be different.  But we all have our comfort zone and there are places and times of the year where the heat index becomes uncomfortable and potentially dangerous.

At the time of this writing, it is cold in Kentucky.  Traveling south for a race introduces hotter conditions that we must be prepared for.

I have learned over the years the importance of preparing for race day heat.  Most of my hot races have been Ironman events.  Ironman Louisville used to be in August...

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New Year! Big Goals!

planning Jan 06, 2021

Heading into a new year is a great time to begin mapping out a training calendar.  This is the time of year many begin thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and start thinking seriously about getting fit for the upcoming race season or starting a healthy habit.

There are so many Bible verses relevant to planning.

Proverbs 16:9The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 19:21Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

I love these verses because it calls Christians to action.  We are called to make plans and these plans are made using our hearts and minds.  Therefore, it is critical to align our hearts and minds with Christ.  How do we do this?  We spend time with Him through the study of His word – the Bible.  We praise and worship Him.  We spend time praying and seeking His will for our lives.

Psalm 119:11I have stored up your...

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