|Running in Las Vegas at the beautiful Red Rock!|
I know many of you have been waiting for my top training secrets revealed so here they are just for you!
- Fuel your body like a pro! So many people think because they train so much they can eat whatever they want. You need to fuel your body with the right food. Junk food will not improve your performance. Non-processed real food will fuel you to win. Quit eating protein bars and drinking protein shakes and eat real food. I am not saying I don’t ever eat a bar or drink a shake but keep them to a minimum. Eat foods such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, and get plenty of protein to help your muscles recover. Keep fat to a minimum and use only healthy fats.
- Get out of your comfort zone and mix up your training all year long. Some people think in the off-season they don’t have to do any interval work or speed work. Sure there are times you will do more of it than others however I incorporate some harder intervals in most of my workouts all year long. There are those days I go easy for the entire ride, run or swim however every week I have some harder workouts that take me out of my comfort zone!
- Get enough sleep. You thought my training secrets were all about training. This one is about recovering and getting enough quality sleep. When you are training for a longer event such as a half or full Ironman 8-9 hours of quality sleep is essential. This is when you will recover and without it you will not have the performance you hope for. Don’t try to make up sleep, get enough every night. If you are having trouble sleeping address it right away. Try natural supplements to help sleep or reduce your cortisol levels. When you train a lot your body can produce excess cortisol, which can cause you to have a restless nights sleep.
- Take care of your body with massage, stretching, foam rolling, and ice baths. Don’t wait until something hurts to start stretching. Stretch and foam roll on a regular basis. Get massages a few times a month. After long workouts ice baths are the best way to recover and prepare you for your next workout.
- Train with others that will push you. I am a person who prefers to train alone or with my dogs but I even know the importance of training with others. When I train with other people I definitely work harder. I prefer to mix it up and train half the time alone and half with others. Find people that will motivate you to work harder and not miss a workout. Being accountable to a friend can make a difference. You might miss less workouts and work harder.
- Treat yourself – some of my best workouts are done when I get something new to wear or equipment to try. A new pair of shoes, a new Lululemon workout outfit, new equipment or even a new playlist will always make me look forward to the next workout. Instead of indulging with food after a great week of training treat yourself to something new that you can use during training.
- Plan your day and your diet around your workouts! This can get tricky with a busy training and work schedule. If you have to do two workouts you need to plan your diet for the day. If your second workout is after work you don’t want to eat a lunch that is too heavy. If you know your day might go long you should consider getting it all done before work. Always have food with you so you don’t eat badly because that will have an impact on your second workout for the day. It could affect how you feel the next day. Proper planning or your workouts and diet will be key in your success. You should know what your day will look like before you begin it. You should know what you are going to eat, when you’re going to eat and the same goes for exercise.
- Maintain a healthy weight and body fat percentage all year long. This is important especially when training for triathlons. You should keep the same weight and body fat all year without having large swings in your weight or body fat. Any extra weight that you have to carry on the run or bike is going to impact your race performance. If you are the type of person that gains some extra pounds in the off -season only to lose it before race season then try and maintain a healthy weight all year long. The lighter and leaner you are the faster you will go. Eating healthy is a lifestyle so you should do it all year long.
- Train with a heart rate monitor and computer. I use Garmin 910XT. It tells me all the information I need on my run, bike and swim. It gives me averages, pace, HR, cadence, distance and much more. Using a tool such as this can help you track and monitor your training. While I think it is important to use perceived exertion as a guide, a tool like a Garmin can help your training. You should eventually get to a point where you can tell by feel what your heart rate is or at least be pretty close.
- Don’t try to make up your workouts. If you miss a workout let it go and move on. You could get caught up in a vicious cycle trying to make things up. Once in a while you may miss something although not great, let it go. If you have to miss a workout try not to miss a KEY workout. Key workouts may be different for everyone but if you are a weak runner and strong cyclist I would not miss a run workout.
- Primal Bar and coffee. This is my breakfast everyday and sometimes I eat it before a second workout. I get the primal bars at Trader Joe’s in the bread section. I toast them and put peanut butter and honey on them. The perfect pre-workout food for me.
- Have a good supplement regimen. I take key supplements that will help me with my performance and aide in recovery. When you train you deplete your body of many nutrients through heavy sweating. You also increase inflammation and need additional antioxidants that may be hard to get from your diet alone.
- Keeping your body well hydrated throughout the day and during training will improve your performance and recovery. Everyone will need different amounts of water throughout the day depending on your training load and how much you sweat. Most athletes will need to take in a minimum of a gallon a day. On heavy training days I consume 1.5 to 2 gallons of fluids. This is a combination of water and electrolyte drinks.
- I take one rest day each week. Rest and recovery will make you stronger for your next workout.
Well those are some of my secrets (not all of them). What are some of your training secrets?