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:
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...
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 16:9 – The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverbs 19:21 – Many 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 119:11 – I have stored up your...
Not too long ago, we arrived at the beach for a short fall vacation. We checked into our condo around 4 PM and decided to walk down to the beach to check it out. The beaches we have visited before on the Atlantic coast were flat and great for running. That appeared to be the case this time. Paula was planning to run two hours and fifteen minutes. I was planning to run but didn’t have anything specific in mind. I had been nursing a hamstring issue, so I scaled back listening to my body (get to the starting line healthy).
We went back to the condo and began getting ready to run. We both realized that night was approaching, and we may be finishing in the dark. What could go wrong?
We both headed south on the beach into the head wind. Starting “into the head wind” is a good rule of thumb to not turn around miles down the beach and realize how strong the wind will be on the return.
Paula and I run at different...
Recently, Paula and I traveled from Kentucky to Atlanta for a church event. We arrived late on Friday night and slept in on Saturday morning. When we awoke, we decided to squeeze in a run before heading out for brunch and then to the church. Since we were pressed for time, I shortened my normal warmup routine. I also realized I left my roller and rollerball at home.
"But hey, I’m just doing a short easy run. It will be okay."
I pulled up Google Maps and searched for “greenway”. When out of town, this has been a helpful way to find places to run. It is surprising sometimes how close a path may be.
We walked out of the hotel and put our masks in our car (for those reading this in the future, we are living through COVID-19). Then we took off on our run.
If you are not familiar with the Atlanta area, you may be surprised at how hilly it is. Immediately out of the hotel parking lot in the direction of the...
Isn’t it great to be able to wake up in the morning and know that you can head to the pool, hop on and ride Zwift, or hit the road for a run? Every day we can do what we love is a blessing from God. But sometimes, we get sidelined due to an injury. It is still important to thank God for his many blessings – most of all, Jesus paying for our sins on the cross. When I’m injured, I keep in mind all the fun times I had when I wasn’t injured and that brightens my outlook.
So, what to do when you are hurting?
Paula and I are not doctors, therapists, psychologists, etc. We have no formal training related to any field of medicine. But we have been treated by specialists and we will share what we have experienced.
Some of the leg injuries we have experienced have been attributed to tightness higher up the body. It could be the neck, the back, the glutes, etc. A physical therapist may offer dry needling and exercises to...
In working with our athletes, we design workouts that will address building fitness holistically. Our goal is to increase aerobic threshold, lactate threshold, and VO2 max (AKA aerobic capacity). If you are a coached athlete, you won’t necessarily need to know how to build fitness in a variety of areas, as your coach will put together plans that address all areas. However, if you are self-coached, you’ll need to understand the type of workouts needed to improve all areas and how to put together a plan that finds the right balance between improving and not over-fatiguing the body’s systems.
One area in which athletes gain fitness and performance is by improving aerobic capacity or VO2 max. VO2 max refers to the maximum volume of oxygen the body can deliver to working muscles per minute. It is measured in millimeters of oxygen consumed in one minute per kilogram of body weight (mL/kg/min). There are some fitness clubs and...
Many athletes are super type A. If there is a workout on the schedule, no matter what, they complete the activity. So much discipline! For some reason, that same discipline does NOT always carry forward into daily nutrition. Proper nutrition is of equal value to proper training, yet this aspect of training is often overlooked. But, why?
Many adults who begin training, do so to lose weight. The first few months, the plan seems to work. As the adult becomes more active, more calories are burned. The body begins to shed a few unwanted pounds. After a few weeks, the weight loss plateaus, and the athlete becomes frustrated. Often, when an adult begins swimming, biking, or running, over time he or she inadvertently begins increasing caloric intake. I’ve actually heard runners and triathletes say, “I do this so I can eat what I want.” While to some degree caloric intake should increase while training,...
If you compete in short distance races - 5K, 10K, or sprint triathlons, you could race several times per month. But if you go long, you will only do a few per year. In either case, every day and every race is a learning opportunity.
Paula and I not only encourage our athletes to build a race plan before a big race, but also a post-race journal to document the experience.
For a race plan template, click here.
The post-race journal should include how well your race plan worked on race day. Be sure to answer these type questions:
In addition to the technical details you can use to improve next time, we recommend you capture those special moments that are memorable.
When I competed in the Ironman World Championship, I...
Last weekend, I went for an 18-mile run with 8 miles near the end at marathon pace. Some people would say, “Great job!” Other people would say, "You're crazy." But I love being outside, staying fit, and getting faster. On this run, I saw a friend who I cross paths with occasionally. Normally, either he or I are focused on what we are doing and don’t think to change direction and run together. The first 8 miles of my long run were at an easy pace. So, I had no reason to be in a hurry.
This was a great time to catch up with my friend. We picked up a conversation we started a year ago which led to some personal issues he was having. We talked and looked for hope in his situation. Then I brought up something difficult going on in my life that I asked him to pray for. It was great to run with him and the time passed quickly.
Not only are endurance activities great for fitness, but they can also be very social and emotionally energizing. Before I jumped into...