Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Triathlon Body

There are a few athletes whom I work with that struggle occasionally with feeling the need to be at a certain weight or look a certain way. Usually this is a weight that they have previously achieved in a past season early on in the sport. Sometimes an athlete equates being 'fit' with this low number on the scale and sometimes an athlete who struggles with hitting this number, feels the constant need to work harder and harder.

This can be something that is draining both physically and mentally on an athlete. If the athlete feels the need to work harder and harder, they soon compromise recovery and their bodies start to break down physically. After an extended period of time without seeing progress, the athlete can become frustrated mentally, which can cause a negative body image and the loss of believe in their ability to perform in sport.

If this sounds like you, remember this. When most people enter the sport of triathlon, they don't have much background in swimming, cycling or running. This means that they do not have much sport specific muscle developed. So an athlete starts training hard, eating well and loses a lot of weight. This usually keeps up for the first few seasons of racing. The athlete gets leaner and faster at the same time. This can instill the idea of leaner = faster/better.

Here is the problem. Usually after about 2 seasons, an athlete will start to develop a significant amount of muscle in either their upper body, lower body, or both. When this starts to happen, they can actually be leaner then they ever have before, but still heavier on the scale. If the athlete isn't able to see that this extra muscle is beneficial, it can be very frustrating.

In an attempt to get back to where they were, athletes will try to train more and eat less, which usually results in even more frustration. Our bodies become use to being in calorie deficit and go into a mode where they hold on to what they have.

So what can you do? Well, first cut yourself a little slack. Most people become so critical of themselves to a point far beyond what anyone else would see. Train as hard as you can, within the constraints of your life while still being able to recover. Eat healthy....what does this mean...everything in moderation. Base your diet on lean protein, fruit, veggies and natural carbohydrates. Avoid large amounts of sugar and processed foods. Drink lots of water and listen to your body, it has a funny way of telling you what it needs ;) Do this consistently for a season, stay healthy and I think you will be happy with what it yields!

Blake

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Catching You Up To Speed....

It has only been a few weeks since my last post, which is pretty good for me lately, but I do have a lot to catch you up on.


#1 Participation

This last weekend I "participated" in the Badger State Winter Games, I did not compete for anything besides being able to take in enough oxygen.

Before the race on Friday, I was a torch bearer for the opening ceremonies. Though there were only a few hundred people there, I just closed my eyes and envisioned I was in Vancouver...it didn't really work, but was still fun! I want to thank Bontrager and Trek for the clothing that kept me warm. I didn't let you down though and scored a television spot on channel 7 and picture in paper. After the ceremony I hung out with the interns for Wisconsin Sports Development Corporation, which is also the company that works with Ironman in town. Fun times when you put an open bar, interns and athletes in the same room.

The next morning I participated in the 21km Freestyle Ski Event. Let me see, I was sore, tired, waxed incorrectly and oh yes, I hadn't skied in about a month before the event, so needless to say it was H-A-R-D. :) But I did have a great time, saw friends and got in a great workout...for 30minutes!

Thank you to everyone at Wisconsin Sports Development Corporation and the Badger State Winter Games for their help and support! I look forward to working with you at the summer games in June!

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Rockin' Out In February -

Early season triathlon training is rockin' right now. I have been rolling for about 4 weeks and the body is feeling great. I had a few questions this year as to where my fitness would be when I started back up again and how long my fitness would take to come back. But those questions have been answered rather quickly with a "pretty good" and "not very long."

I attribute this to a few things:

#1 Staying consistent with my low volume training. Even though I only completed a few sessions in each sport, each week, I did it every week without extended breaks in training. I use masters swimming twice per week, 2 bikes and 2-3 runs to keep me moving.

#2 Cross Training. I skied a bit more this year(before January 10th:) and though I never got "fit" on the hippie stix, I was able to get a good dose of steady state training in most weeks. This helped me out immensely and eliminated the need to sit on the trainer for more than 90minutes.

#3 Not placing excess pressure on myself to hit certain numbers or paces makes a world of difference. I complete the sessions with targets and goals, but don't sweat it if I dont make them...if I am training like a donkey, then hee-haw.


What's Next?

Well, whatever it is, it will not be anything outside. We just got done with our 160th snowstorm for the year and riding outside is going to have to wait for these 2+ feet of snow to melt. For now I have great training partners, masters to make me swim and my mojo, which is also known as motivation. Actually my motivation is higher this year, than it has been since 2007. I am really looking forward to racing.


Coaching, Camps and Events:

I have 5 spots left for personal coaching this season. I am guessing they will fill before April, so if you are interested, please drop me a line.

Check out my camps and clinic's page over on www.blakebecker.com I am running 3 training camps this summer for athletes ranging in ability to first timer, to elite.

Make sure to tune into 100.5 FM ESPN Madison/Milwaukee for regular segments on training, racing and events.

Tomorrow:

Come to Trek Bicycle Stores Eastside location at 6:30pm for the Speed Concept night. There will be free beer, food and a few prototypes of the new Speed Concept Time Trial bike that will be available for 2011.


OK, that's all for now! Keep on keepin' on....it's almost spring, just don't listen to the groundhog!!!