Race Review: Bradley Indoor Triathlon

Review Wednesday has a new installment this week.

I have faced the challenge of a triathlon before.  In fact I faced the task of a 70.3 Race in heat over 100 degrees just last June.  But this weekend I attempted a new type of triathlon that is hard to prepare for.  I did my first indoor triathlon at Bradley University this Saturday.  Although indoor triathlons do not include the long miles found in outdoor triathlons, it does include very intense workouts meant to have you push yourself constantly for the entire time.

I got to the rec center on campus that morning around 7:20am (my swim wave was at 8:40am) prepared for what I thought would be a fun and exciting new adventure but I was in for a surprise.  I got prepared and got into the pool and started my day full of intensity, at a level I have not practiced at in a long time.

Bradley Indoor Triathlon-In the Pool

Swim Review:
Bradley’s pool is only 6 lanes of 25 yards each in a room with one wall of windows.  The sun outside made the room bright and the pool warmer than usual.  The swim wave consisted of 12 people so we were sharing lanes and I was stuck on the half lane closest to the wall.  I only hoped to not hit the top of the wall during one of my strokes (luckily this nightmare did not occur).

As the initial whistle blew I told myself to calm down and take it nice and slow.  The swim was for 10 minutes and my goal was to go 500 yards, or 10 full laps of the pool.  I got the first couple of laps completed I realized I felt good and was ahead of my pace. I continued to push the pace but as I did I realized something was wrong.  I broke my nose in high school and since then I have had issues with water getting into my nose.  With that issue I wear a nose piece when I swim but in the middle of a lap at Bradley it fell off.  The crazy part was, I kept going with basically no issue afterwards.  I finished the session with 575 yards completed, blowing away my goal of 500 yards.

Bike Review: 
After the swim we had a quick turn around to get to the bikes.  The bikes were set up along a wall on their indoor soccer/hockey court.  They were very comfortable bikes and I was most impressed with the handlebars and how comfortable they were.  The bikes had bike computers on them so we could constantly see our RPMs and distance as we pedaled.  Above us we could see the track and the runners from the earlier heat.  Also there was plenty of music playing to keep your mind off the business at hand.

I began with a high resistance and an average cadence (95 RPMs) but soon realized it would be better to have a lower resistance and a higher RPM.  I lower the resistance until I could maintain around 105 RPMs.  I kept this until the last 5 minutes when I continued to increase the resistance during the final push.  My goal for the bike was around 8 miles, but it is tough to judge this goal because each indoor bike measures a little differently.  I ended up going 8.2 miles which I am a little disappointed with after seeing the other results.  I believe the bike is where I need to work the most in order to accomplish my goals.

Bradley Indoor Triathlon-On the Bike

Not the best posture, but I am putting in the miles!

Run Review: 
After the bike my legs felt pretty good and I was going into my best event.  I have been a runner for years now and I am confident in myself to push through the pain and to keep running.  My goal was to run 2 miles in the 15 minutes allotted, which was 16 laps of the track.  I started off at a conservative pace knowing I needed to get my legs back before I pushed too hard.  Soon I was up at the pace I felt comfortable with and was on my way.  As the time ticked by my legs began to ache from the previous cycling and running efforts.  I pushed through and at the 2 minutes left mark I was only one lap away from 2 miles.  I completed the lap and a little more, eventually clocking in with a 7:22 min/mi pace for the 15 minutes.

FINISH: 
I was happy with my performance and beat all of my pre-race goals.  After my work was calculated they estimated my spring triathlon finish time to be 1:05:42, enough for 30 place out of 90 competitors.  I am happy with my placing and it shows my training is paying off.  I do not consider myself one of the faster people, in fact I have always thought of myself as an endurance person before I was a speed demon but this shows that with practice I can get faster.  This provided me with some confidence that I can use for motivation for my longer distances in the summer and fall.

The biggest news of the weekend is by participating in this triathlon, I have qualified for the NCAA Triathlon Collegiate Championships in Clemson, SC in April! Excited, and cannot wait to participate.

-Runner

 

Training Tuesday: Feb 8-Feb 14

Feb 8:
-Swim Session: Lap Swimming (2,250 yds, 43:08; 1:55 min/100 yd.)
-Strength Training: Shoulders (45 minutes)

Feb 9:

-BRIC Cycling Session: 1 Hour Spin (28.2 mi; 28.2 mph)
-BRIC Running Session: 1.25 Mile Run (9:42 min; 7:46 min/mi)

Feb 10:
-Run Session: 2 Mile Warm-Up for Indoor Soccer (15:22; 7:41 min/mi)
-Indoor Soccer and Basketball: 1 hour 15 minutes
-Strength Session: Legs (40 minutes)

Feb 11:
-Run Session: 4 Mile Half Marathon Tempo Run (30:38; 7:39 min/mi)
-Swim Session: 650 yd (11:47; 1:49 min/100 yd; practice with a friend for Bradley Indoor Tri)

Feb 12:
-Off Day! (Travel for Bradley Indoor Triathlon)

Feb 13: Bradley Indoor Triathlon
-Swim Session: 10 Minutes (575 yd; 1:44 min/100 yd)
-Cycling Session: 20 Minutes (8.70 mi; 26.1 mph)
-Run Session: 15 Minutes (2.03 mi; 7:22 min/mi)

Feb 14:
-Off Day to Celebrate Valentines Day!

This was a very rewarding week.  I really began to focus on getting in some serious workouts to mark the beginning of my building up towards my half distance triathlon in May.  The week included multiple long and hard workouts in the beginning and ended with an Indoor Triathlon at Bradley University in Peoria, IL.  By competing I qualified for the NCAA Triathlon Championships at Clemson University in April!

This week I have a fun and unique goal.  The Rec Center here on campus is having a three week long “Indoor Ironman” competition where during those three weeks you are asked to complete 2.4 miles worth of swimming, 112 miles on the bike and a 26.2 mile run.  I thought it would be fun to try to get all those distances in one week.  I began yesterday and will work through Sunday in order to get the required distances.  What a week!

-Runner

Baby Shower

Happy Valentine’s Day! It is snowing here in Carbondale. I’m busy studying for finals but I wanted to quickly share with you our fun last weekend. Runner’s brother and his lovely wife are expecting a precious little girl this March. Last weekend we headed up to Bethalto, Illinois to celebrate the baby shower.

This was my Pinterest-inspired gift:

wagon

A welcome wagon!! The fact that you can find a mini-wagon on Amazon and have it shipped to your home is so freakin adorable! To fill the wagon, I bought some Spot the dog books and a toy, a baby cell phone and a hanging turtle. One of my favorite hobbies is scrapbook making, so I made one for Mom and baby. It was “How I Met Your Mother” themed.

The party was held at The Weeping Willow Tea Room. MaryJo worked there many years ago. It is currently open just for breakfast and lunch, serving soups and sandwiches. It was such a cute place. Our party was in the downstairs area but I got a secret tour of the top floor which had a beautiful old stage and hardwood floors.

Baby girl has about 1 month left to bake, due March 13ish. I’ll keep you updated!

 

Training Tuesday: Feb 1-Feb 7

Feb 1:

-Strength Training: Body Weight (45 minutes)

Feb 2:

-BRIC Cycling Session: 45 Minutes Spin (14 mi; 18.1 mph)
-BRIC Running Session: 5K Run (24:58 min; 8:04 min/mi)
-Strength Training: Legs (50 minutes)

Feb 3:
-Indoor Soccer and Basketball: 1 hour 15 minutes

Feb 4:
-Swim Session: 1,500 yds (Long Sets-700 yd with a short cool down; 28:22 min; 1:53 min/100yds)

Feb 5:
-Run Session: 5 mile run (40 min; 8 min/mi)

Feb 6: 
-Off Day

Feb 7:
-Off Day

This was my last easy week before my training really picks this week in preparation for my triathlons starting in April.  This weekend I was out of town to spend time with my brother and my family for his baby shower that took place on Sunday.  I planned on running while there but the weather did not hold up and I was not able to get any miles in.

This week I plan on ramping up my training in preparation for my April Olympic at the Collegiate National Triathlon and the two half Ironmans that I have this summer.  This training is all about building a great base for me to use for increasing my endurance and strength in order to not only complete the full in October, but to also perform well.

-Runner

Gear Review: Strength Training for Triathletes

I have a confession to make….I am a reader!!!

I believe that reading about exercises, training plans/programs and the stories of the great endurance athletes of the past and present has allowed me to become a better athlete than just training would allow.  Being a law student doesn’t give me much time to read, but I always squeeze in time to read my own books everyday, even if it just before bed.

One of the most beneficial books that I have read regarding triathlon training is “Strength Training for Triathletes” by Patrick Hagerman and printed by Velo Press.  The book is not big, and it is not a good door stop but instead it is a quick read that you can keep around and use every day when you are training, and every day during the off season.  The book goes through all aspects of how to incorporate strength training, why it is so important for any athlete.

The most useful part of the book are the pages and pages that it devotes to showing you exercises specifically targeting the muscle groups used most in each of the three disciplines of triathlon (it also has a section of core workouts).  It covers both arm and leg workouts for each discipline and provides pictures and explanations.

I keep this book in my gym bag, almost all the time.  I will look at it before I go to the gym to get an idea of what exercises to do today, and will even be that guy who pulls it out at the gym to get some more ideas. If you are looking to improve your times, improve your fitness or improve your physique I would recommend doing strength training and I cannot recommend a better book to start with!

Training Review: Jan 25-Jan 31

Jan 25: 
-Run Session: 3.1 miles (25:59; 8:23 min/mi)

Jan 26:
-Strength Training: Legs/body weight (1 hour)

Jan 27:
-Run Session: 2 Mile Tempo Run (15:53; 7:57 min/mi)
-Strength Training: Arms, Shoulders & Core (1 hour 15 minutes)

Jan 28:
-Swim Session: 1,250 yds (Long Sets-500 yd; 24:08; 1:56 min/100yd)
-Run Session: Post School 4 mile Run (4.42 mi; 37:08, 8:24 min/mi)

Jan 29:
OFF DAY!

Jan 30: Indoor Sprint Triathlon Mirror Workout
-Cycling Session: 21.33 mile OUTSIDE ride! (1 hour 20 minutes; 15.5 mph)

Jan 31:
-Run Session: Mile PR (More on this later in the week!)
-Strength Training: Arms/Core (1 hour, 10 minutes)

This week overall was a pretty easy week.  I did not have any long sessions but instead focused on building power. Plus I got distracted by the unseasonably warm weather and had to workout outside a few days!  My Saturday ride was during the windiest part of the day and I tried a lot of leg exercises during the ride (a lot of one leg pedaling) to build up the necessary strength that I believe I am lacking in order to get faster and better.

This week I will hopefully put in some more long miles with some long rides and runs.  The training will begin to ramp up now leading into the height of my spring season.  So far my training is going well, but in the weeks to come it will become more structured as I go from the base phase into the race specific training.

-Runner

Gear Review: 2XU Hyoptik Tights

Disclaimer: I received a pair of 2XU Hyoptik Tights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Well its Wednesday so it must be time for anther gear review. (Working on making it a weekly topic)

Every year being a runner a triathlete becomes harder when the weather turns and the morning move from being crisp to being cold!  I think its safe to say that the majority of runners, like myself, prefer to run outside rather than inside, either on a treadmill or a track.  I am constantly looking for anything that can make running during those cold winter days any easier.  I am looking to find any product that might keep my warm while still allowing my body to breathe after it gets warmed up after a mile or two.

I have not found many products that have impressed me as much as the Hyoptik tights from 2XU.  These compression tights are meant to help you not just run better but also run warmer! I usually am one of those runners that just runs in the cold with shorts and short sleeves with some arm warmers and gloves.  One the really cold days I might put on a sock hat.  Something that I never wore before was pants or tights. The 2XU tights changed that.

2XU Hyoptik TightsI never wore tights before because when I had they did not make my run any better. They were uncomfortable, made my legs warmer and wear out faster.  2XU has designed these tights with that problem in mind.  These tights keep your legs warm in during those early, windy, cold miles but gives your legs plenty of opportunity to breathe and remain cool.

Beyond the obvious advantages that these tights bring on those cold winter days, I have also found they work out great during other workouts.  I wore them while on bike rides and they worked well to keep my legs warm during the cool morning rides. Also I wore them during a couple of gym workouts and the tights did not cause my legs to get any more warm during those indoor workouts.

I cannot recommend these tights enough. If anyone is needing a product to use during those cool runs where you want to remain comfortable at the beginning and throughout, then you should go out and purchase these immediately.

For those who are ready to add a new piece of gear to their closets:
Get 20% off with the discount code “RUN20”

-Runner

Training Week Review: Jan 18-Jan 24

Jan 18: BRIC
-Cycling Session: 1 Hour Spin (27.50 miles)
-Run Session: 2 Mile BRIC Run (Total: 15:23, 7:41 min/mi)

Jan 19:
-Strength Training: Shoulders & Upper Arms (45 minutes)

Jan 20:
-Run Session: Mile For Time (Total: 5:55, 1 Mile)
-Cross-Training: Rowing (Total: 2,500m, 11:48, 2:22 min/500m)
-Run Session: 5K (Total: 24:33, 7:55 min/mi)

Jan 21:
-Swim Session: 1,250yd (Total: 23:21, 1:52 min/100yd)
-Strength Training: Core & Stretching (50 minutes)

Jan 22:
OFF DAY!

Jan 23: Indoor Sprint Triathlon Mirror Workout
-Swim Session: 2,000 yd ladder session (Total: 38:08, 1:54 min/100yd)

Jan 24:
-Cycling Session: 3 hour indoor spin (Total: 46.98 mi, 15.7 mph)

 

This week was the first week that I focused on getting to the gym consistently and completing triathlon specific exercises.  Although my training has not officially started yet, I am completing my training schedule for the year and will begin to follow it officially at the beginning of February.  My primary focus this week was to have good strength training sessions that focused on triathlon specific strength.  I know that with more strength will come more endurance and times.

In the upcoming weeks I will begin to stress swim sessions more than I have been since the swim is not only my weakest discipline, but it is also the one that I believe I can improve the most on.  These sessions will stress endurance with long reps and high yardage in order to build a better performance in the upcoming races.  I will also focus my strength sessions on the muscles that best serve my swimming.

-Runner

Gear Review: Wigwam Ironman® Flash Pro Sock

Taken from Wigwam.com

Taken from Wigwam.com

Christmas is always an exciting time.  No matter how old you get it is always exciting to get a gift.  That fact is especially true when you have a good suspicion that your gift is going to have something to do with either running or triathlons!  Bride knows that my two major hobbies involve a lot of gear, and I am always looking for what my next piece of gear will be so when I saw the two gifts under the tree I had a good idea that they both involved adding to my ever growing collection of gear.  And I was not wrong.

One of those gifts was a pair of Wigwam Ironman Flash Pro socks.  When a lay person lists out the gear that someone would need they to complete a road race or a triathlon they will most likely list socks, but they will gloss over the importance of them during a race.  I have had some pairs of socks that I bought thinking they would be perfect, just to have them end up adding to my misery after a few miles on the road.  I have also had socks that I have relied on for all of my long runs because of the additional support or cushion that they provide.

Low profile on the foot!

Low profile on the foot!

I have had the opportunity to wear these socks for a few runs so far and I am very impressed.  The socks are made of mostly nylon but have a warm smooth feel to them on your feet.  I would describe it as almost a wool feel.  They sit very low on your foot but do not slip down on your heel while running that could lead to some blisters forming on the back of your heel.  I have had socks that did that in the past and a mid run blister has led to some of my worst runs ever.  I could not ask for more of these socks and I am going to get more in the future.  The only downside, and it is a big one, is the price.  The socks regularly sell for $13 a pair on the Wigwam website so if you can find a deal on them they will be well work the price.  They are not my everyday sock (because I do not want to spend the money to but that many pairs) but they are one of my go to socks when I know that I do not want any distractions during my workout.

Highly recommended!

-Runner