Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Stay Focused On Your Health Through The Holidays!

It's that time of year when its hard to stay motivated to workout.  If you race during the year it's likely during the next few months not a lot is going on and you may not have any races.  While it's nice not to have a strict training schedule you should have some off-season goals and focus on those.   It's a great time to get in an extra day of strength/functional training.  It's sometimes hard to find time for your strength workouts during a heavier load of training.  This is a great time to build some strength for your upcoming season.  Another thing I like to do is focus on my recovery by doing yoga.  I like to do this all year around but during my heavy training I don't get as much in as I 'd like to.  During these next few months I try and go a little more often.  Maybe swimming is something you struggle at.  Join a masters group or take a few lessons from a coach and add an extra day of swimming to your weekly plan.  These don't have to be long sessions but do a lot of stroke work to help improve your form going into the next season.

If you're not a competitive athlete it still may be hard to get to the gym regularly during this time of year.  If you can't get to the gym at least head outside for a quick walk before heading to that holiday party.  Doing a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day is great and a 30 minute walk is easy to do if you can't make it to the gym.  One class that will burn the most calories at the gym is a spin class.  Spin classes are great if you have a big party to go to and know you're going to indulge a little.  If you can't fit in a class but want a high calorie burner then try the stairmaster.  When you do the stairmaster do alternating intervals hard/easy each interval should last 1-3 minutes.

Here is a quick workout you can do just about anywhere:

Circuit 1:
15 squats 24 walking lunges 24 step ups 1 minute rest Perform as many times in 7 minutes 
Circuit 2: 
10 burpees, 24 weighted step up, 15 medicine ball squat and press, 1 minute rest repeat as many times as you can in 7 minutes

You may be busier this time of year but don't neglect your health because it's no fun going into the New Year feeling out of shape and overweight!  Make time NOW for yourself and you will start the New Year feeling better! 

Gift Ideas For The Health Enthusiast

If you're like me every year you are looking for the latest and greatest thing to buy for your fitness minded friends.  Gift certificates are always great but if you want to put a little more thought into something here are some suggestions.  

Here are 10 gifts you can give the health conscious person.
  • Hydroflask - these are great to carry your water so you can make sure you stay hydrated. Hydroflask Website
  • Fitness tracker - There are so many varieties of these gadgets. They are great motivation for the person who needs it. Heres a link to one site that reviews a few of them 5 best fitness trackers
  • Essential oil diffuser - these are great to have in the house and provide a healthy natural aroma. Make sure you buy high quality essential oils when you diffuse.
  • The Miracle Body Buffer - I personally have one of these and I love it! It's great for people who are active and can be used to warm up the body before a workout or used to help recover and massage sore legs after a workout. Body Buffer
  • High tech foam roller - they made all kinds of foam rollers now. They even make ones that vibrate as you roll - as if rolling isn't painful enough:) Best Foam Rollers
  • Wireless headphones - these are great and some popular brands are Apple, Bose, and Jaybird but there are many others out there.
  • An infusion pitcher - these will encourage hydration with a light fruity taste added to water. Infusion pitcher
  • Touchscreen ready running gloves - Gloves
  • Smart scale - there are many scales that will track your weight, fat %, hydration, visceral fat, muscle mass and BMI. Scale
  • Motivational jewelry - there are so many cute sayings out there on necklaces and bracelets. Heres just one example - Necklace

I didn't include them in the ten but don't forget about my Recovery Salts.  They are great for muscle soreness, relaxation, sleep, and inflammation just to name a few things.  During the holidays I make the in nice jars with scoops and they would make great gift!  

Monday, November 5, 2018

Your Race Season Is Over So Now What?

As the season comes to an end many athletes reflect on what went really great and areas they can improve upon.  Going into the year the races I had planned were the Boston Marathon, Ironman Maryland, and Mountain Man Half and Olympic distance triathlons.  I wanted to do a marathon in January but I wanted to do it with my dogs so it wasn't something I was doing for time just for fun.  My A races were Boston and IM Maryland.  I did end up doing a few local Olympic distance triathlons as well.  I don't like to over schedule races because I think it can lead to stress and too much pressure and  its important  to remember that we do this for FUN!  

Now that its the end of the season is a great time to work on building some strength and maybe doing strength training if you've been neglecting it.  If your a triathlete its a great time to work on improving the discipline that you might struggle in.  If you're a bad swimmer then in the off season I'm sure the last thing you want to do is swim.  Guess what........you should be in the pool in the off season!  Here are some tips to prepare now for next year:  

  • Take a few weeks off or take it very easy and don't follow a schedule. 
  • Think about what races you plan to do next year.  I am very particular in planning my season.  I pick 1 or 2 big races and work around those.  I don't like to randomly throw in races at the last minute.  I'm not saying I don't do that but I always have a specific plan that focuses around those big races.  
  • When planning your season be realistic and give serious thought to your personal life and how your training will fit in.  Don't be over zealous because this can lead to burnout and disappointment.  
  • If you're a triathlete use the off season to focus on your weakness.
  • Incorporate an extra day of strength training, functional training or yoga in the off season when you have more time. 
  • Set realistic goals for the season and for each planned race.
  • Discuss your planned races with your family to make sure they are on board with your decisions and the time you'll need to commit to training.  


Running a marathon with my dog Pacer was so much fun she's simply amazing!  Finishing my 13th Ironman was a pretty cool accomplishment.   

Monday, October 1, 2018

Ironman Maryland Race Report - 3 time not always a charm!

I decided to go back to Ironman Maryland for a 3rd time this year. I wanted to do it again because the first time I had my best race of any Ironman I've done, the second time the swim was canceled and it was horrible conditions with a flooded bike and run course.  I was hoping to repeat the great experience I had the first time and finish with an 11 hour Ironman.  I finished with a respectable time of 12:10 but not even close to the 11 hour race I would have liked. The swim was pretty uneventful other than getting kicked in the leg at the end.   I hobbled out of the water and had to shake that off because I had 112 miles to ride.  The swim is not an easy swim because the water is a bit choppy hence the Choptank River.  I came out of the water in 1:11 which is almost the exact time that I did it in 2014. The funny thing is back in 2014 I was in the best swim shape of my life clocking my fastest times in the pool and swimming 4 days a week.  I typically only swim 3 days a week and thats what I did leading up to this Ironman.  I can't say going into this race I felt super fast in the water but I knew I could do the distance. I have to wonder if being that fast and fit in the pool translates to being that fast in the open water since my times were just about the same.  This was my 13th Ironman and I have to say Ironman Maryland is one of my favorite courses.

I prefer the flat courses not necessarily because they are easier (they have their challenges trust me).  Flat courses suit me better just like warmer races suit me better.  It's not easy riding 112 miles on a totally flat course because that means you NEVER get a break from pedaling.  There is no downhill sections you can coast for a few minutes and come up out of aero for a break. You have to maintain your aero position for the entire race, if you want to go fast.  I see so many people on these flat courses coming out of aero for a break and on a flat course it will slow you down significantly.  Another challenge with a flat course can be the wind.  Almost every flat Ironman I've done has been windy as heck.  Ironman Cozumel (geez I wanted to quit so many times the wind was horrible), Ironman Texas, and Ironman Arizona.  I've done many of those twice and at least one of the years for each was pretty windy.  The wind predicted this year at Maryland didn't seem like it was going to be too bad.  The second half of the bike course the wind picked up and slowed me down a bit.  My bike time for the first year that I did it was 5 hours and 11 minutes.  This year I did it in 5 hours and 30 minutes.  Going into the run I felt really great up until mile 15 then I started to feel really nauseous.  I've never really had problems with nutrition or nausea during a race and it certainly slowed me down for the last 11 miles.  I couldn't take in any nutrition for the last half of the marathon............no water, gatorade, coke, nada.  I was trying to get to the finish on empty.  It was tough but I forged through to the finish and got my 13th medal and finishers shirt.  I'm glad I did it and I always love the feeling of accomplishing something of that magnitude.  People sometimes underestimate the dedication it takes to finish an Ironman.  No matter the course its still a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run.  

Train Hard. Have Fun. Recover Well.  

Coach Cyndee

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Training For Ironman Maryland

This year I decided to sign up for Ironman Maryland for the third time.  I had a great race the first time and the second time I did it the swim was canceled, bike course was shortened and weather was horrendous.  Needless to say I'm hoping the third time is a charm!  I decided to do a few shorter races leading up to the Ironman in September.  Last weekend we did a half ironman in Flagstaff, AZ.  I've done this race before and the month prior we did an Olympic distance on the same course.  It's a beautiful place to race and great to get out of the heat in Vegas during the summer months.  We packed up the pups and drove up on Friday for the race that was on Sunday.  Anytime I do a race as a training day its really great because I don't put any pressure on myself.  I just go out and plan on a good training day.  The prior month doing the Olympic I must have started too fast in the swim.  A combination of that and the higher altitude made my arms feel like cement blocks and I felt awful for at least half of the swim.  This time I planned to go out comfortable and once I felt good I would pick up the pace.  That made for an average swim time for me of 36 minutes.  There was lot's of fog which made sighting hard and we started an hour later than planned.  This made it tough for the end of the run because by that time it was getting hot outside.  They changed the bike course from the previous years and it was much harder.  Before it was a pretty easy course but now it had lot's of climbing.  I had a a bike time of 2:59.  That's not great for me but I also don't feel my bike fitness is at its best right now.  When I did this race several years ago I had a very bad cramp in my side on the run.  I had to walk a lot of the run course so I was hoping to have a better run.  I started out ok and felt pretty good for the run. I wasn't super fast but didn't feel the need to walk and felt pretty good considering the bike course was pretty tough.  My boyfriends wave went off 5 minutes ahead of mine so I knew he was ahead of me and I was hoping to catch him on the run.  I saw him at one of the turnarounds at mile 3 and he was about a half of a mile ahead of me.  Then about mile 8 I could see him right ahead of me.  I caught up to him, we had 5 miles to go and I could tell he was suffering.  This was a training race not a race for me to try and break any records.  I decided to finish with him and try to get him to the finish without walking too much the last 5 miles.  We did some walking and a slow run but we finished together.  

My award for the Olympic Distance Race I did in July. I won
the overall Female Masters (over 40)

I have three big training  weeks to go before Ironman Maryland.  I feel pretty fit and conditioned but not as fast as I have been in previous races.  I think it is a combination of a few things and one is my work schedule is much harder now and I'm doing a lot more massage since I am a massage therapist as well as a coach/trainer.  I'm not missing many workouts I just don't have the intensity that I should for some of my shorter workouts. Previously I was doing more biking mostly because I had the time and a coach.  Ironman Maryland will be my 14th time starting  of an Ironman and my 13 time finishing one (if I finish:).  I DNF'd one year at Ironman Arizona back when it was in April and 100 degrees.  I did Ironman Maryland about 4 years ago and I finished in 11 hours, which was one of my best Ironman finish times. .  I would love to do that however being less fit I don't foresee that happening.  Even after racing for so many years I still learn things each race and I still mess up things each race.  It rarely goes as I plan it in my head, sometimes it goes much better, and other times it goes much worse.  After racing for so long I don't take it as seriously as I used to and just try to have fun and stay fit.  Its nice not to put so much pressure on yourself going into a race and to enjoy it a little.  I loved the beautiful race course in Flagstaff.......the hills not so much!  

Train Hard.  Have Fun.  Recover Well.  

Coach Cyndee 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Fueling And Racing - It Takes Practice

I wanted to touch on fueling for an event but I am not going to go into detail about how many calories and what type of calories or sports drinks you should be consuming.  There are so many articles out there about what to take and how much to take during a race.  As a coach I always tell my clients to practice what they are going to fuel with during their training leading up to the event.  I give them suggestions and tell them to try a few different sports drinks because each person is different and what works for me may not necessarily work for someone else.  Once I give them a few suggestions I make sure to tell them to practice with what they are using during their long workouts.  I'll ask them how their fueling went during training and often they say great.  Then as we get closer to the race often they tell me they are going to try something else because someone told them about a different product.  I don't suggest anyone change what they are doing close to an event unless its not working for some reason. If something that works well for you and stick with it and I wouldn't recommend changing things up close to any race.  I definitely wouldn't try anything new race day.  The only thing I do different during training is I use a camelback on the bike in the summer.  I only do this because I live in Vegas and in the summer its so hot my fluid doesn't stay cold.  Otherwise I train with the same system and nutrition I do when I race.  Here is my plan:  (keep in mine this works for me maybe not you)

- Carbo Pro mixed with powdered Gatorade (not a lot of Gatorade mostly to flavor). I also add Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes to this.
- Cliff Kids Z-Bars - I like these because they are just over 100 calories per bar and they are not too chewy or hard to eat and they taste great.
- Fruit Chews - just plain fruit chews or I also like the ProBar fruit blocks because they have caffeine.  I will use both the regular fruit chews you can buy in the store but if I feel like I need caffeine I will use the ProBar ones.

I try and take in most of my calories on the bike for long events.  When I get to the run I take in whatever they offer on the run course in fluids and mostly the fruit chews when needed.  Gels don't work well for me but for some people they work fine.  While on the bike I try and take in 150-200 calories per hour.  I usually do best with the minimal about needed to keep my energy.  I don't seem to do better with more calories.

The bottom line is you should have  your nutrition plan in place months before your race.  You could be in the best shape going into the race and if you don't have a good nutrition plan you may not succeed.  Put time and thought into what you are fueling your body with during training.  This also includes your breakfast.  Don't suddenly decide race morning to eat a lot more because its race day. Breakfast on long training days should be the same breakfast as race day.   This includes your fueling system such as how many bottles on your bike, practice with the area system, and bento box.  Lastly consider how you will get enough nutrition on your bike or consider using the special needs bag for the ironman distance.  For long distance races I do not use a special needs bag, instead I make my original drink extra concentrated.  As I come to aid stations I add water to it my bottle between my bars.  Typically two extra concentrated bottles are enough for me for a full ironman.  Again you need to practice all of this on your long training days.

Train Hard. Have Fun.  Recover Well.
Coach Cyndee

Friday, April 27, 2018

You Want To Do A Race But Do You Have Enough Time To Train?

One of the hardest parts of training for a race is balancing it all.  Balancing training, work and family can sometimes be tough.  I try and make sure people know what they are getting into when they say they want to sign up for a race.  As a coach I want everyone to go into a race as prepared as they can. When people struggle to get all the workouts done I understand its hard but the reality is they signed up for the race.   I try and lay in all out there up front so there is no surprises when they see their training schedule.  Inevitably it becomes hard for many people to manage it all.  Before you sign up for any event ask yourself some questions:

  • How much time can I reasonably dedicate to training per week?  
    • Is that enough time for the event you're signing up for?  If your answer is 7 hours a week then its probably not likely you should sign up for an Ironman. 
  • How well do I want to perform at this event?  Just finish?  Win my age group?  Win overall?  (This answer will be a factor on how much time you need to spend training for this event)
  • Is my family on board with this goal?  Are they ok with me spending less time with them?  
  • Is my work on board with this goal?  If you spend your extra time at work because you can, you may not be able to do this once you begin your training.  
  • Does my schedule allow for 2 a day workouts when they are needed?  
  • Does my schedule allow for one or two days for a very long workout?  If training for an Ironman you will need to get some long rides in that may be 4-6 hours.  Plus you need to factor in the recovery after a ride like that.  Its tough to go to work after doing something like that.
  • Do I have people train with?  This is very important for people who don't like to train alone.  Some people are fine training alone but others need support and without it they tend to miss workouts. 
It's important to remember when you start a training program you may require more sleep and recovery.  This is something else that will require more time.  Eating better is important when you're training hard and meal preparation requires more thought and time.  All of these things should factor into when you decide on a race.  

I love when people do things outside of their comfort zone and accomplish big things.  I also want people to succeed and set attainable  and realistic goals.  Signing up for a race that will leave you feeling overwhelmed is not a fun feeling.  It's so common to get excited in the moment and sign up for a big race and then face reality when the training becomes too much.  Trying to manage and balance training, work and family can be tough.  Many people do it and they typically have a great support system helping them.