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Archives for “Shout Out” category

It’s common to see cyclists in the ProTour peloton use power meters to help monitor performance while out on the road, but regular athletes are still unsure if it’s worth the investment.

You can find power meters starting at $200, but it’s not uncommon to see some models top $4,000 — and the power meters used by the pros are obviously top notch.

If you’ve been thinking about investing in a power meter but don’t know the basics, I’d recommend reading this article written by the fine folks at Fit Werx (article originally posted at BeginnerTriathlete).

The power meter doesn’t care about hills, wind, temperature, indoors, outdoors, or any environment you’re riding in. It will always measure the actual power you’re producing on the bike regardless of the conditions. Most power meters will include heart rate straps so you can watch your heart rate response compared to power. Go out and ride at a constant power level for 20 minutes and heart rate can climb nearly the entire time. Harder intervals such as three minute intervals at VO2max power will see heart rate climbing quickly the entire interval and never leveling off.

I find myself dragging people through the wind quite a bit, and I’ve always been curious about wattage and overall power, so a power meter is the ideal tool.  I’m still unsure if I’m willing to spend a few hundred dollars just to see how much harder I’m pedaling than Ted when we’re riding in Coyote Hills — but it could be very interesting to use one of these gadgets some day.

If I could ever learn how to avoid sinking like a rock in the pool, I’d probably be more willing to one day get a time trial bike and attach a power meter.  Until then, I’ll just have to keep dreaming…

Editors note:  That is an engineering marvel!

It’s likely you watched some (or all) of the Tour of California cycling coverage on Versus, but didn’t bother visiting the official Amgen Tour of California website.  It’s understandable if you never thought to visit the site, especially with the commentators being so great at updating us viewers with information.

UnitedHealthcare, which had a strong presence during the race with Rory Sutherland and Marc De Maar constantly in the mix, also offered 12 healthy tips for visitors to the ToC site.

Here’s an introduction to the UnitedHealthcare tips:

Adopting healthy habits in your lifestyle may not always be easy, but we’re here to help. That’s where these tips come in, to give you inspiration and to provide you with some of the basics for healthy living, including important information about health and wellness, exercise, fitness and nutrition. And we gladly support your efforts to reach your health goals by providing tips that can help you live a healthier lifestyle.

Most of the tips are nothing new for athletes, but you’ll find various health tips related to “health and wellness” and “exercise and fitness.”  Even if the tips are fairly basic, you may still pick up some useful tidbits of information.

Mike went to the Berkeley Performance Bicycle store, and was able to pick up some goodies.  He did a fine job.  He came home with Clif mini bars.  The big bars are a bit much for me.  When I go on really long runs or bike rides, the gels alone, don’t cut it.  The big Clif bars are too much for me and hinder me from taking in enough gel.  I really like the minis.

When I am doing a long, slow workout, I like to consume nutrients every 30-60 minutes after the first hour.  It is a nice change to slip an extra bar in at 30 minutes then another gel at 30 minutes later.

He also brought home a flavor mix of GU energy gel.  It comes complete with every flavor of GU including the higher-performance Roctane gels.  If you have not tried the Roctane, I recommend it.  We usually take every flavor at random and return the chocolate and espresso.  We wait for a long 20 mile run to eat the chocolate or espresso because at mile 20, anything tastes good.  I am a fan of the mixed packs of products.  When you randomly pack your fanny pack with gels, you never know what you are going to get.  It is always fun to get something different.

Mike’s Note:  I also prefer Roctane over the normal GU gels, even though when he says “we” in the 20-mile run discussion, he really means “me.”

It may seem odd to mention both GU and Clif in the same shout out but they are both great companies with great people.  Their products work very well together as variation is a big thing for proper nutrition during long training days.  The two companies are located about 3 miles away from each other in Berkeley so we get to meet a lot of the people at the local events.  I have never had a bad experience with anyone from either company.  Both companies offer more support to events than they have to.  I think they do it because they love what they do and they care about us athletes who use their products.

Mike’s Note #2:  Unless you’re sponsored by a specific company, don’t feel like you need to show complete loyalty to a single company.  Experiment. I really like Clif and its environmental views, but I’m not afraid to say I prefer the GU Roctane gels over the Clif gel.  (That isn’t to say the Clif gels are bad, but the Roctane brand just has a great boost in it.)

Brad Ziegler is a relief pitcher for the Oakland A’s baseball team who I follow on Twitter.  Don’t ask me how I started following him as I usually follow less than 20 people and I am no fan of sports.  I am usually busy doing my own thing, such as writing this shout out.  Brad usually lets you know how he feels at the moment he is posting on Twitter.  He sometimes gets into trouble for not being politically correct but I wonder how many of the politically correct complainers spend time in the schools reading to children or go help out at the local hospital.

A lot of times, it only takes a little bit of time or effort to make someone’s life a little better and we often let the opportunity slip by.

Brad Ziegler is the first role model for Alameda Runners.  The following section is a list of quotes from bradziegler on Twitter.  I have arranged some of the paragraphs together as they get posted on Twitter out of order.  I don’t have a journalistic handbook but I assume it is proper to put quotes around the whole page and call it good.

“But first, going w/ a couple other guys to visit some oncology & rehab patients at Oakland Children’s Hospital – can’t WAIT to see the kids!  Around 20 guys showed up today for Oakland Children’s Hospital visit…and, man, did those kids touch our lives… Appendix-removal patient, Jocelin – with (R to L) me, Powell, Cahill, and Anderson, Dallas: brain surgery patientGerald – 15 months old

Ziegler winds up for Pastime for Patriots

Reading to 170 4th and 5th graders at Lydiksen Elementary in Pleasanton

Not that I’m looking ahead at all, but just a reminder: Saturday we have a 1:00 game against the Rays and it is our Armed Forces Day.  The A’s are graciously letting me use that day to officially launch Pastime For Patriots (PFP). I’m SO excited! Hope you can come out and help me get PFP off to a great start! There will be a couple donation tables on the concourse, and all donations would be appreciated no matter how big or how small. & spreading the word would be appreciated, too! It’s also Andrew Bailey bobblehead day! So more incentive!! Read more… »

Shout Out: Team Timex Blog

The ability to connect with professional athletes to learn about their training methods and habits can be extremely beneficial.  Ultrarunner Josh Cox is well known on Twitter and Facebook, as he maintains a very strong Web 2.0 following that includes thousands of endurance athletes.

For all triathletes out there, I’d recommend stopping by the official Team Timex Blog, which can be found here.  The company invites readers to briefly enter the lives of professional triathletes who blog about race preparation, workouts, post-race reports, and other interesting reading material.  (Recent race reports include Tim Hola’s Wildflower Double and Bruce Gennari’s St. Anthony’s Tri report.)

I think it’s great to see pro athletes share their experiences, as very few people know what it’s like to compete at their level.  It’s also neat to see what kind of training they do before events, so we can borrow certain workout ideas and techniques.


Base training and P90X

As you regulars know, I am well into my base training routine right now doing multiple workouts each day, 2-3 days a week and one long day per week.  These double workout days build strength that help prepare my body for the hard workouts expected this summer.  The long day builds endurance to prepare my body for a long exerted effort of a triathlon.

I ease into these hard base training weeks as they can be very painful.  I don’t have enough ice packs to cover all of my sore muscles.  When you get to be as old as me, a lot of pain means the edge of injury.  I don’t want to get injured so I go into things slowly.

One of the ways I ease into strength training is by using P90X.  The P90X routines generally run 60 minutes with 15 minutes of warmup and cool down.  That leaves you with a 45 minute workout in addition to your 30-60 minute daily run.  If you want to lose weight, try my schedule using P90X for core and plyometrics.  It is not likely that you will make it through a whole routine the first few times you try.  That is fine, you just need to do your best every time you do it.  You will get better with time.

The routines that I do in the order of quantity:
Core – synergestics, My favorite workout of them all.  A real calorie burner.
Plyometrics – Plyometrics is a new word for pain.  It builds leg strength and makes you sweat!
Cardio X – A great low impact workout when you want to take it easy.
Kempo X – The most fun workout that I do.  You get to kick and punch like a nut.
Yoga X – We all need yoga.  Don’t be shy, just do it.
Ab Ripper X – 16 minutes of pure hell.  They make it look easy, but it is not.
X stretch – I never stretch enough.  I know I should but I don’t.

I schedule core and plyometrics one day a week.  The other workouts, I slip in when I can.  I also go to the weight room one day a week.  You can use P90X to your benefit but you have to do it.  You don’t have to do all of the workouts.  They have a 90 day plan to get you ripped.  I am not on a 90-day plan but I am a firm believer of variety.  These workouts work.  I am sure there are other videos that work well.  This is just the best one that I have tried.

The website sells the DVD set (13 DVD’s) for $139 plus $20 for shipping and handling.  They break the payments up into “3 easy payments” of $39.95 (Typical infomercial).  I did not want to pay 3 easy payments so I went to one of those “As seen on TV” stores and picked it up for $100.  I also saw it on eBay for around $100.  I chatted with one of the reps on Twitter but I lost his account information.  Maybe he will see this and send a link.  He was very nice and said I could order without sending “3 easy payments”.

I am a fan of building strength through cross training.  If you pay attention, you can find all sorts of tips on the local news or on YouTube and build your own routines.  If you want to lose weight, add 2 or 3 of these routines into your week and you will losing pounds in no time.  If you keep up the routine of 10-15 hours of exercise per week, you will be drinking weight gainer protein shakes.

Shout Out: SF Marathon and GU

GU recently guest posted a blog entry on the official San Francisco Marathon Blog… and I think it’s worth a read.  The company explains the importance of properly re-fueling during a race, along with what our bodies need when running distance events.

Here is the opening paragraph of the blog:

As you ramp up your training volume here are a few things to keep in mind that the scientific community has learned about endurance nutrition. The team at GU Energy is proud to be the official on-course energy product of the San Francisco Marathon and we have spent nearly 20 years working with professional athletes and leading scientists to formulate and optimize performance energy products for endurance athletes.

The actual blog entry explains calories, carbs, fluids, electrolytess, and the importance of the “Glycogen window.”

I discovered this blog entry after the SF Marathon folks tweeted the link.

Athletes HoneyMilk, a company we recently interviewed, has released its latest online newsletter (which you can view by clicking here).

Specifically, the newsletter discusses how company CEO Tim Doelman recently had a podium finish at the Sea Otter Classic, while Web 2.0 super geek, Michael Don won the Run for the Roses 10K.  The newsletter also has a few recent blogs posted on the Athletes Milk Web site regarding stretching, working vs. working out, and an inspirational story about a runner many people doubted. (Link originally found courtesy of Athletes HoneyMilk Facebook page.)

I am all for sharing similar newsletters, pages, etc., so if you have something news worthy, feel free to get in touch! 🙂

I’m running the Wildcat Half Marathon trail race this Saturday, so my mind continues to wander towards the topic of trail running quite a bit throughout the day.  What’s going to happen on Saturday?  Have I prepared properly? Am I going to suffer more than I expect?

The training is done, so I’ll find out how well prepared I am when it comes down to race time on Saturday.  I’ve learned some tricky little lessons while running in the Coyote Hills and Marin Headlands during training runs leading up to the Oakland Half Marathon — and can’t wait to see how badly my legs explode on Saturday morning.

This recent blog posted on lists the basics of trail racing, why usual pacing speeds can be forgotten about, and how to properly refuel and hydrate during the event.

Certain races are completely unsupported; participants are expected to carry all of their own calories and water or at least arrange their own support crew. At the other end are the bigger ultras, where aid stations look like the Saturday night buffet at a Las Vegas casino… everything from soup to baked potatoes to lasagne.  Most races fall somewhere in between these two extremes, but racers need to be mindful that locating an aid station in a place without access roads or running water can be challenging and amenities may not be available at conventional intervals. Check your race’s website or email the race director for information on the locations of aid on the course.

I plan on carrying my Fuel Belt Sahara (22 oz.) Palm Holder during the race, so I have some water between aid stations.  This is my first trail race, but I’ve learned what it’s like to be thirsty and hungry on long runs — and I’ve also listened to race experiences from Ted and other trail runners.

Regardless of the pain I’ll be in on Saturday, I can’t wait for the experience.

Thanks to @iRunNation for originally posting the link on Twitter.  I highly recommend following @iRunNation and occasionally visiting the Web site, as it has a good amount of useful information.

As athletes and beginner triathletes look to sign up for new events, some people show interest in purchasing a triathlon bike.  For a regular cyclist who has never ridden — or may not have seen triathlon bikes up close — it can be a relatively frightening experience.

(I remember my first ride on a bike built specifically for time trials – and it was a very unique experience, even after years of cycling and mountain biking.)

To hopefully make it easier, here is a short blog posted on Competitor Triathlon that discusses triathlon bike geometry, positioning, and the basic differences between road bikes and triathlon bikes.

Short blurb about some tri-specific geometry:

“Triathlon bikes have a steeper effective seat tube angle than road bikes. This moves the rider further forward relative to the cranks and allows the rider to get low in the front without discomfort in the hips. Tweak the geometry in a few more places to accommodate a lower position and improve stability, slap an aerobar under the rider’s elbow and you have a tri bike.”

The article is short and precise, easy to understand, and is quite informative.  (Kudos to @TriathleteMag for tweeting this great link a few days ago.)