You’re logging 10+ hours per week of training, intervals, long endurance efforts, strength training, you name it. You’re doing it all, yet the scale won’t creep downwards and here’s why.
It’s the First Saturday in May and that can only mean two things: you’re neck deep in your race prep training block and it’s Kentucky Derby Day! For as long as I can remember, the Derby was also circled on the calendar, the schedule cleared, and party plans made. As I’ve grown into the sport of triathlon, I can say the same thing about my A-race each season. Circled, cleared, and scheduled.
Believe it or not the similarities don’t stop at my personal priorities. Oh no, there’s plenty you too can learn from the Run for the Roses and how it also applies to your upcoming Ironman.
Here are five things Ironman triathletes can learn from the Kentucky Derby:
Miles seven through 12 felt like an eternity for some reason. I was still holding a solid pace below 8:00/mile, but I wasn’t spotting any of the mile markers along the course. They weren’t very noticeable. Black signs off to the side with white lettering. Around half way I got a bump of energy knowing I was halfway done. It lasted until Mile 15 when everything went south.
These two simple and effective core routines won’t take up too much of your time, will help earn those washboard abs we all covet, and will most importantly improve your stability. Everyday is #legday for triathletes, but without the necessary stability in your core you’re leaving several minutes out on the course. Let’s change that starting right now!
Because the swim makes up the shortest part of the race and training volume, it’s often the most overlooked piece of the puzzle. How many times have you heard it (or even said it yourself), “I’ll just survive the swim” or “So long as I don’t drown in the swim I’ll be fine.” Yeah, it’s said tongue-in-cheek but there’s always some truth to those comments. Chances are it’s because the swim training was often skipped, unfocused, or haphazard and didn’t prepare the athlete for what to expect on race day.
Compared to a typical person of similar sex, age, height, and weight my metabolic rate is 19% faster. That simply means I burn more calories than normal. Obviously the opposite is true too. Slow metabolisms burn fewer calories. Most people need to eat below their total metabolic rate to lose weight. There’s that calories in versus calories out research again!
To determine daily caloric expenditure, I used the hour-by-hour BMR calculations. Here are the calculations used:
162 lbs, converted to kilograms, 162 divided by 2.2, 73.5 kg. When multiplied by the lean factor of 1 for 10% body fat, and then multiplied by 24 for total BMR, we arrived at 1,766 calories at rest per day. Break that down by 24 hours, dividing 1,766 by 24 for each hour in the day, I expend 73.5 calories per hour at rest.
Each macronutrient (fat, carbohydrate, protein) plays an important role in health and performance. For example, different carbohydrate will affect energy and performance depending on nutrient timing and type of carbohydrate a triathlete eats. Fats are the most calorically dense macronutrient and if over consumed can negatively affect body composition. Protein during and after workouts, for example, will be used for energy and repair, respectively.
Different types of fat will affect energy and performance depending on nutrient timing and quality of the fat. Fats are the most calorically dense macronutrient and if over consumed can negatively affect body composition.
Dietary fats should generally come in the lower end of your macronutrient breakdown, especially if you’re properly focusing on carbohydrates and protein. This will leave an athlete with fats making up roughly 20% of their daily caloric intake, generally.
This is the first article in a five week series where we discuss proper nutrition for triathletes. The first week focuses on basic nutrition practices for general health. Moving forward we’ll explain the importance of fat, protein, and carbohydrate as well as share strategies to calculate your daily caloric expenditure and the proper macronutrient breakdown to improve your athletic performance.
Basic nutrition practices for general health
The evidence of poor nutrition is rampant. You don’t need to look further than your friends, family, and coworkers for proof. It’s an unfortunate reality, but there’s no sense in sugarcoating everything just because they do.
I was reminded of this fact on Saturday morning when my alarm went off at 4:00 AM (yes, on a Saturday) and it was 17F degrees outside. I had a 90 minute bike ride with an hour at or near threshold followed by a 20 minute brick run. My pain cave is the uninsulated garage and I forget to get the propane heater refilled. Alas, I was left to battle the workout plus the frozen temperatures. Good mental training, right?
We are in the midst of a crisis. Our sport has lost its sense of community. What was once an open society of health-conscious athletes has divulged into a social media pissing contest and non-Ironman finishers need not apply.
Tattoo to celebrate a 70.3? Idiot.
Full Ironman without training? Disrespectful.
Setting out to complete 50 Ironmans in 50 days and failing? Immediate lifetime ban.
Something needs to change.
Food can mean different things to different people. For a marathon runner it means fuel, recovery, and a little bit of freedom. SENS Fitness Endurance Team member Todd Stevens is training for the New Jersey Marathon in April. It’ll be his first marathon. He’s given himself the goal of finishing in under four hours. Todd is set to begin his ninth week of training for the 26.2 mile run. We’re looking at a few days of nutrition to see if there are areas to improve.
On Saturday the bug got me. Bad. My alarm was set for 4:30 a.m. and I planned on being on the trainer by 5:00 a.m. for a 90 minute ride, which included five 10 minute intervals just below threshold followed by a short, but snappy 10 minute brick run. So when I awoke at 3:15 a.m. with unspeakable pain in my stomach and a splitting headache I knew that as I raced to the bathroom that would be the only running I’d be doing that day.
Training plan templates make a hell of a lot of assumptions. Those silly PDFs and app icons assume we have unlimited time to train, zero friends, are unemployed, and that our lives revolve around triathlon. Perhaps that’s you in a nutshell. Though, more than likely it’s probably not. You have to ask yourself…
You wake up to the morning sun shining through the bedroom window and the sweet sound of birds chirping just beyond the glass. It’s the first nice day of the year (for us Upstaters this happens in late April most likely) and you’re eager to throw down some watts on the open road! Just before you clip in you do a check to make sure you have all the essentials to be seen by driver, to repair a flat, to pay for some unforeseen item a.k.a f*ck you money, and enough nutrition to get you back home safely. So what does all of that look like?
Training tools are all well and good by themselves but unless you know how to use them effectively, they’re meaningless. With (hopefully) a renewed sense of focus on my swimming, here are the most essential training tools, aside from your cap and goggles, for triathletes to improve their form and get faster in the water.