triathlon training

Treadmill Workouts to heat you up this Winter!

NY Trail Run 1.jpg

 

1.       Hill Sprints: Warm up 10-15 min with 4-6 x :20 sec strides integrated in, then right into workout performing each “sprint”  @5k effort and 5-6% incline

:30 sec up-  1 min recovery @ 1%

:45 sec up – 1 min recovery @ 1%

1 min up – :90 sec recovery @ 1%

:90 sec up – 2 min recovery

Repeat 2-3 sets. Cool down 5-10 min jog/walk.

 

2.       Tempo Hill Pyramid: Warm up 5-10 min easy jog then right into workout, each effort performed at Tempo Pace (pace that is HARD for 10 miles, or slightly slower then 10k effort) with 2 min easy jog recovery after EACH.  ** Beginners can cut the mileage by just completing the pyramid down.

1 mile @ 2%  

¾ mile @ 3 %

½ mile @ 4 %

¼ mile @ 5 %

½ Mile @ 3 %

¾ mile @ 3%

1 mile @ 2 %

 

3.       Keep it Simple Hills:  Warm up 10 min with 4-6 x :20 sec striders

Complete 6-10 reps of :90 sec sprints @ 4% incline- 2 min recovery @ 1%

 2 @ 10k effort /2 @ 5k effort

 

4.       Tempo- Fast Intervals:  Warmup 5 min easy running, right into workout.

5 min Tempo – 3 min recovery easy pace

4 min Tempo into 1 min FAST – 3 min recovery

3 min Tempo into 2 min FAST – 3 min recovery

2 min Tempo into 3 min FAST – 3 min recovery

5 min best effort – 5-10  min recovery /cool down

*advanced, or those training for longer distances may perform this 2-3x through

 

5.       Speed Pyramid: Warm up 10 min as needed, right into workout

4 min @ Tempo pace (slightly slower then 10k)- 2 min recovery

2x 2 min @ 10k pace – 1:30 recovery

2 x 1 min @ 5k pace – 1 min recovery

4 min @ Tempo pace – 2 min recovery

2x 2 min @ 5k pace – 1:30 recovery

4x 1 min @ FAST – 2 min recovery after each

Cool down 5-10 min

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite things... SWEET POTATOES!

3 Variations of sweet potatoes I eat...all organic, and cut in wedges for easy snacking! I typically always buy them from Whole Foods.

3 Variations of sweet potatoes I eat...all organic, and cut in wedges for easy snacking! I typically always buy them from Whole Foods.

I am often asked about my diet, what I eat, what I don't eat and why. Its always a funny conversation because many people have thought I must not eat any carbohydrates or fats, and I have to laugh. I think they assume this  because of the "leaner" body composition I've adapted from the training I do, and they associate that physique to be due to a diet low in fat and carbohydrates. That however, is FAR from the truth!!! which brings me to why I am writing a blog about one of my favorites staples in my diet, sweet potatoes!!

As triathlete and lover of everything health and fitness, its no surprise I follow a very clean, regiment diet that fuels my body in the best way possible. I eat a whole, nutritious foods that's come from their natural state, nothing processed or packaged with ingredients you have never heard of. This includes unlimited amounts of vegetables, fruit, legumes, fish, small amounts of poultry, and good fats from avocados, nuts and oils. The only foods I do not eat are red meat, pork and dairy. By eating a "clean" diet, you reduce the bodies need to have to waste energy trying to digest and eliminate and foreign ingredients , such as those in packaged foods.

Why Sweet Potatoes?

Our bodies number one fuel source is carbohydrates, so its no surprise that a majority of athletes diets are heavier on the carbohydrates than those who are sedentary. This includes your fruits, vegetables (especially starchy) ,whole  grains, breads, legumes, pastas etc. One of the most highly consumed carbohydrate for athletes, is sweet potatoes! Not only are they an excellent source of carbs, loaded with nutrients such as beta-carotene and Vitamin A, loaded with fiber and have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Sweet potatoes are complex carbohydrates, which digest slower and have a better effect on blood sugar then other carbohydrates.  This makes them great for fueling a big day of training, as well as a great post workout recovery food.

My favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes are sliced up and roasted as seen above. No need for any oil , I just cut them into wedges and bake on a sheet pan so they don't ooze all over my oven. This makes them great for grab and go snacking and easy portions. There are also many varieties of sweet potatoes, the most common orange, white, purple, or Japanese which have purple skin and white flesh.  I love all varieties, especially the all purple ones, which contain even more antioxidants then the others due to its deep, dark purple color. They are great just baked whole with some cinnamon, cut up and roasted, steamed and mashed, or diced up into chili or soups. I eat mine for breakfast, lunch, snacking and dinner!! Enjoy!!

"Side dish" Workout

Pictured above: how to hold kettlebell/weight for goblet squats. In this circuit I added a overhead press .

I like to think of my workouts as being comprised of a main or "key" workout that is my goal to get done for the day, and everything else should compliment that workout. For example, my main workout is typically a swim, bike, run or two of those. I may have a hard interval run on tabs for the day, which I will follow up with a 30-40 min core oriented strength workout.  These "side" workouts are to compliment the main...just as your side dishes compliment your main entrée! Below are examples of what I mean:

Main : Long Swim     Side: 30 min light run + 30 min Core

Main: Interval Run     Side: 30-40 min bike pre- run + 30 min Core/strength post run

Main: Brick (Bike followed by run)    Side: 1500yd post brickswim

Main: Long Run                  Side: 60 min Full Body Strength

Main: Hard Swim             Side : 45 min bike + 30 min HIIT

 

Today I did a long, hilly run outside, which I followed up with a quick 20-30 min full body workout.  See below!

5 rounds of the following:

  • Burpees (10/15/20/25/30)
  • Goblet squat w/press (20)  then without press (20)
  • Straight arm Scaption with band (10)
  • Standing hip adduction with band (30)
  • Decline Pushup (10-15) into Diagonal mountain climbers (30)
  • Reverse crunch + Windshield wipers (20 each)

This was a good workout to tack on to a run as it challenged my anaerobic system and muscle groups that I didn't utilize running. I typically always like to do a good core workout after most of my swim, bike, runs as a strong core is the powerhouse to everything else I do, and can be challenged most every day!

 

Endurance Eats: Banana Oat "Cookies"

**This batch was made with the addition of peanut butter and peanuts to top!

 

   Looking for a healthy treat to satisfy a sweet tooth? or a good pre- workout fuel that isn't full of additives, sugar,  artificial sweeteners or preservatives? Try these simple and nutritious cookies made with just 4 ingredients: Bananas, oats, egg whites and cinnamon. They may be shaped like a cookie, but certainly are better for your body as they are filled with fiber, natural sugar from the bananas, protein from the egg whites and a blood stabilizing affects from the cinnamon.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 mashed bananas
  • 3 cups gluten free quick cook oats
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. melted coconut oil (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mash bananas in a large boil, add in egg whites and mix well. Add in oats and cinnamon , and optional coconut oil for added fats.
  3. lightly grease a baking sheet and spoon out mixture into 1 1/2 inch rounds . Bake for 10-12 minutes.

These "cookies" are perfect for endurance athletes looking for something natural and healthy to fuel their next workout, as they are great to have as a quick energy source before, during and of course after!! You could also swap the bananas with sweet potato if you want to try something new , or if you don't love the taste of bananas. The options are endless. Try adding in any of the following combinations:

  • raisins + walnuts
  • chunky natural peanut butter, topped with peanuts and/or choc chips
  • mix in protein powder of choice into batter (id suggest a chocolate or plain)
  • mix in chocolate peanut butter powder and top with peanut
  • cranberries + pecans (or nut of choice)

 

 

 

Swim of the Day: October 26

Picture taken at the Westchester Triathlon September 2016

Picture taken at the Westchester Triathlon September 2016

I've been on a kick the past couple of weeks about sharing my swim workouts. I enjoy creating new sets to try. It beats just getting in the pool with no "plan" and certainly helps the laps go by faster (literally!). Here is what I did today, I will break it down a little better for you!

Todays Swim Workout : 4400yds Total

Warm up

1500 Straight as 1200 free 300 as 50 back/breast 50 free repeated 3x

Main Set #1

  • 50 on :45
  • 100 on 1:30
  • 150 on 2:10
  • 200 on 3 min

Main Set #2

  • 9x 100 on 1:30 (2 swim, 1 IM)

This was a fun workout that flew by. I often like to get in and just swim straight 1000+ as a warmup...I think it shows why I love to swim so much because I feel like I can just get in and go forever, on cruise control, just me and my thoughts. Its a constant counting of laps, strokes and a jumble of many thoughts, and I find being surrounded by water to makes it so peaceful. Today I was feeling a bit ehhhh, but still wanted to get the yardage in. I did the first two rounds of main set 1 all freestyle, focusing on increasing my pace as the distance shortened. Then the last two rounds I did pull, which I always find much "easier" then just swimming... The last 9x 100s were a good way to work on tired arms, and good practice for triathlon when you should be more upper body dominant , and getting used to swimming after that added resistance. The IM was just a killer add on :)  Enjoy!

 

 

 

Todays Swim Workout

I've decided to post some of my swim workouts for you! I always find it helpful and enjoy hearing about how others train, and what some of there go to workouts are. I often find people will do the SAME workouts on repeat week to week (and even day to day which blows my mind!), and although there is a positive to doing the same workout every once in awhile to track progress and build on , its nice to change things up! Especially in the pool. So, here is my workout from today! This is a great "meat and potatoes" type of workout, especially good for triathletes! :)

Swim Workout 4000yds

(today was short course yards, can adjust interval to meters by + 15sec/100)

  • 2000 swim nice and strong, progressing pace on the 30min
  • 500on the 7:30
  • 5x 100 FASTon the 1:30
  • 500 pull (paddles and buoy) on the 7:15/20
  • 5x 100 pull (paddles and buoy) on the 1:30
  • Cool down 300 mix stroke/free

Give it a go! I like this one because you get in and have to go straight 2000 from the start, which mimics a triathlon swim, which sometimes you don't even get a chance to warm up for. Your pace should increase for the 500 and even more for the 100's. If you are unsure of what interval to go on, swim 3x 100yds at a comfortable pace, take the average of those times and add 10-15 sec to it. Round up slightly or down to the nearest "whole" number.

 

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian- Veggie Packed Chili

  Fall certainly has hit the east coast, leaving me craving warm and hearty meals in the evenings when the cooler temperatures roll in. Today I decided to make a vegetable chili! Growing up my mom would always make a beef and bean packed chili with a side of corn bread and lots of cheddar cheese for topping. This was always a staple dish come winter months, and often one making you leave the table feeling 10 pounds heavier! My vegetarian veggie packed chili can also be boosted by adding lean ground turkey or chicken, however today I made this as a meatless Monday meal!

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 1 large carrot (or 1/2 cup) cut up into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup diced red and green bell peppers (any color variety is great!)
  • 1 medium organic sweet potato cut into small cubes
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup crumbled cauliflower florets
  • 1 large 28oz can of diced or whole plum tomatoes (san marzano are great, can mash up the whole tomatoes if you buy that variety)
  • 1 can bean of choice, rinsed (I used no salt added Kidney beans)
  • 1/2 cup dried red lentils
  • 1 cup spinach cut up (about 2 large handfuls)
  • 1 fresh corn off the cob
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • Optional: Ground lean turkey or chicken

1. In large pot with lid, heat up the olive oil over medium- high heat. Add the onion, carrot and peppers for about 3-5 min. Then add in the sweet potato, cauliflower and garlic. Cook this down for about 5-10 min on medium heat with lid.

2. Once veggies have cooked down a bit, add the large can of tomatoes with its juice, can of  low sodium beans , dried lentils, corn , spinach and all the spices. Let this cook over medium heat with lid on until it starts bubbling. Then turn heat to low and let simmer for 1-2 hrs.

** IF you want to add the ground meat to this, add it in to the veggie mix BEFORE you get to step 2 (before added the tomatoes etc.). Let the meat cook til its 75% cooked through then add in the rest and let it cook entirely with everything else when it simmers.

I serve this with homemade corn bread as well as plain greek yogurt and (optional) cheddar cheese for topping!  Enjoy!

Irecently contributed three 8-week training plans for 5k, 10k and half marathon distances to beSelf Magazines March Issue ( found here http://www.self.com/fitness/2016/02/run-a-half-marathon-the-ultimate-8-week-training-plan/ with 5k and 10k plans on top of page), and while reading through the article, I came upon the above blurb of mine. As I re-read what I said, I thought of how much more this quote meant, and that maybe it deserved some extra explaining! So, here you go…and excuse me for any rambling!

Race season is just around the corner, and for many it has already begun….which means training is in full swing and runners and triathletes are looking forward to testing out their fitness at their first race! Some may be hoping to just run a whole marathon without walking, finish their first 5k, and others may be looking to break a certain time, or finish top 3 overall.  Regardless of the goal, everyone gets to the race having had different training plans or no training plan, different lifestyles, and different mindsets.  No matter if you are an elite athlete or total newbie to running or triathlon, I’m pretty sure we all have a little anxiety before toeing that start line, and many similar thoughts as we go through a race. How we deal with these thoughts, and deal with the uncontrolled factors during a race, is often a big detriment of how we do!  In the years I have spent training and racing, I have met and trained with many different people, all with different mindsets and tactics for getting through a race.  This may be getting a bit off track from the quote above that I will get into shortly…but it all relates to what I said.

I believe a big part of racing and training is directly affected by my mentality, pain tolerance and ability to push myself (also my extreme competitive nature…).  These are factors that are a bit harder to measure and compare, but that have a huge impact on your performance. I won’t get to scientific here, but obviously our mind is what controls our body…whether it is our brain signaling our arms to move during a swim workout, or telling you “ you didn’t make that first run interval so no need to continue” or “ugh that first place girl is too far ahead to catch up to, so need to push harder” ….these are negative thoughts, thoughts that could likely come into your mind at times, which can take over and hinder what we truly are capable of if we let it. There have been many times that my training has been sub-par to the past, but I will go out with a running buddy, or swim with a friend who is in top shape, and be able to keep up with them simply because I am telling myself to! I may be way more winded, and less efficient, however it is my mentality that is allowing me to push myself and perform outside my comfort zone/ or what I would typically think I was able to do.  Granted, having someone next to you to push you, is also a big factor here….and that competitiveness is often what drives me to exceed what I think I am capable of!

Back to that original quote though….I believe it was a bit of a condensed version of what I said, however it still gets the point across. “Do your own thing” and take the race moment by moment mean to not let other aspects, especially uncontrolled aspects, affect how you do in a negative way. During a race, I give most credit to my mind for where I end up crossing the finish line. Moments during a super choppy swim, where I find myself amongst the middle of a pack of thrashing triathletes, where I could easily get panicked and just slow down, or times I get on my bike (my weak leg…) and have no power, watching myself get passed throughout the whole race, but I don’t ever let these uncontrolled moments affect me. Instead I tell myself just to stay composed, I know I can swim strong, so just swim to the outside of the pack and keep a rhythm, everyone is dealing with the same thing right now. On the bike, one might really feel down after seeing almost everyone you beat on that swim fly by you with ease… but in my head I just tell myself to peddle, don’t think about the people ahead or those approaching me, and know that my strength on the run. Once I get off the bike, no matter HOW far behind I might be from the other women, or HOW tired my legs feel, I push.  During a race I always tell myself “you want to end this race with no regrets, no feeling like you could have pushed harder. End this race with wobbly legs and exhaustion.” Now to some that may sound extreme, and maybe a lot of people don’t end a race wanting to feel that way, and that’s fine, everyone has different motives and goals, however this is just to show how I believe my mind has the most impact on my performance. Taking the race minute by minute, not letting a slow previous mile or thought of how many miles you have ahead affect you in a negative way was my advice here, especially for those new to running or triathlons.  Focus on NOW.  I also would like to say that I never race with a watch, now I do have different feelings on this depending on what type of race someone is doing, as many Ironman’s and marathons may require knowledge of pace or heart rate to make sure you don’t overdo it too soon...BUT I don’t like to race with one, because to me I monitor myself by just going hard! And listening to my body, maybe a watch might tell me I need to slow down, that I went out too fast, BUT maybe today my body is capable of keeping that pace! SO go with it!  This however is a topic for another post!

 Now back to what I said on everyone having different mentalities, and this is just one example of how a thought can affect someone negatively… I was once racing with a friend of mine (very good runner) who basically paced me through a recent 10k, which without her I wouldn’t have hit the time I did as I had NOT been training like she had. During the last mile of the race however, she thought we had made a wrong turn (she had done the race before and there was little signage as to go straight or continue left) so we just followed the one man ahead of us, and she said “no that was the wrong way, we can just slow down now… it doesn’t matter” …I couldn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth. Needless to say I continued pushing my pace because, hey even if we did go the wrong way I still want to finish strong. I ended up first place for the women for that race, AND we did go the right way! Now if I had let her negativity affect me then that may not have been the case.  I’d like to also share another example of how the mind can strongly affect someone, kids in this case. While teaching one of my youth fitness classes, I had taken the class to the track for some outdoor running and relays. I had them all begin with a half mile run around the track and then we set up for some relays. During the last leg of the relay, one of the girls got passed by the 3 other classmates to the finish line, so she immediately just came to a walk. Even with all the cheering and positive reinforcement to finish strong, she had felt like she failed and gave up! She let her surroundings affect how SHE did. This has a much bigger meaning, because it means that no matter what the people around you are capable of , and how much faster or stronger they may seem to be, you should never let it affect YOU, especially not in a negative way. Never be down on yourself because you finished last in a race, or that you weren’t able to perform maybe as well as you had wanted. This happens. Maybe all those people in front of you are able to train every day, and don’t work a 10 hour day like you do….maybe they have a coach helping push them in there workouts every day….maybe they don’t have a family to raise like you do! You just never know, and for those reasons, how should always focus on you, focus on what you can control in both your training and racing, and make sure to always think positively and know that your body will mirror those good thoughts!

 

Variety Is The Spice of Life!

Variety certainly is the spice of life, and is definitely one of the spices necessary for a healthy, fit life. This applies to your everyday workouts, nutrition, and overall lifestyle, which I will elaborate on below.  

I am often asked “what are you training for?”, “what sport do you play?” or “why are you doing that exercise?”  I’m always happy to get questions like this because it must mean I am doing something right! Even though my days of college lacrosse are long gone, and I may not be signed up for an upcoming triathlons or road races, I always train with a goal or purpose. I train to be fit and functional, which I believe requires a variety of training methods to accomplish. Yes, getting in your 60 minutes of activity each day is good for your health, no matter what mode of activity you choose, BUT in order to really be FIT and see results, you must challenge yourself. Going out for the same 4 mile run followed by the SAME weight training circuit every day will soon become like brushing your teeth…its good for your health to be moving, and getting in that activity, however your body will adapt to this, results will plateau and more importantly you will be overusing the same muscles each time you workout.

Growing up I played many sports, from basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, I learned how to train my body specific to the goals I had on the field or court, as well as how important it was to play a variety of sports to make me a better athlete.  In high school, I excelled in lacrosse, but instead of playing on year round premiere teams like most girls did, I chose to play field hockey and basketball in the seasons prior. I believe this kept me from burning out (mentally and physically) and allowed my body to have a change, to use different skills and motions which kept me fresh come lacrosse season. Having gone on to play Division 1 lacrosse in college, I followed my training plans religiously and considered myself in the best shape of my life (at that time!). I had power, strength and speed, which I believe is what led to my success as a runner and triathlete today. All those days sprinting endlessly up and down a 100yd field, hours in the gym lifting and performing agility drills all had a purpose, to make us better players and to push us to our limits which became both physical and mental training. You could never go out and run 5 miles at the same pace every day and expect to be in shape for this sport. You needed hard conditioning days on the track or field, hill sprints, speed and quickness drills, weight lifting, steady recovery runs, and stick skills. Point being, the variety of training and sports, shaped me into the athlete I am today, and continues to be a part of how I train.  

Having taken up triathlons after college, I’ve enjoyed having three sports to perfect! Swimming, biking and running make up the majority of my weekly workouts, but I still get in strength/core training at least 3x a week, and also always make time for other activities such as hiking, beach runs, cross country skiing and even horseback riding. I am definitely one who likes to move and stay active every day, and having a range of options to choose from allows me to do this, without getting burnt out or injured. Not only do I have variety in my weekly workouts, but I always make sure each workout itself is never the same. This means changing the intensity, interval time and distances for my swims, bikes and runs, as well as repetitions, load, speed and range of motion for strength training. Each workout has its purpose. Days following a hard interval run, may include an easy long distance swim to loosen up the muscles and get in the long, steady state endurance that I need for open water swims. Performing the same workout day to day, or trying to workout at the same intensity every day, will get you nowhere if you are serious about your performance.  One big mistake I see people make is trying to workout at same intensity every day, or try to run the same 5 mile run 5x a week. It may feel great when you first do these workouts, but is not sustainable over consecutive days without rest or other forms of cross training. You may be able to go out and do that same 5 mile run, at the same pace you always do, but over time, it won’t give you the same benefit as it did the first time because you have gotten used to it. I am not saying everyone needs to do what I do, but even if you are a runner, choose one other mode of training such as spinning or water running, and always incorporate proper strength and core exercises to keep your muscles balanced. Most importantly, make time for activities that are not structured workouts, such as a hike with friends, rock climbing, paddle boarding or even a game of tennis!

 

Same goes for nutrition. Its importance to get a variety of nutrients into your body, especially if you are working out. This doesn’t mean cycling through eating packaged junk food AND healthy fruits and vegetables! If you know me, I am not an advocate of those inner grocery store aisles. I advise anyone to eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables (including starchy vegetables), lean meats and dairy, whole grains and good fats. No macronutrient is off limits here in my mind unless there is a need to eliminate gluten, dairy or eggs for allergen reasons. Everyone needs carbohydrates, protein and fats…so eliminating a main group such as carbohydrates or fats is not necessary for even the most weight conscious. Fruit and vegetables are carbohydrates people! And if you are an athlete or one who is looking to perform well, you need that prime energy source to train. Fats are needed in order for nutrients to be absorbed properly and for our organs (brain most importantly) to function. A lot of people stay on track by eating the same foods day in and day out, which is fine, but it’s important to cycle through new foods to get different nutrients you need. This may be as simple as eating a different protein source every other day, adding in a new fruit or vegetable weekly, and getting a range of different fats such as using coconut oil instead of olive oil, avocado in your salad or different nuts in your yogurt. Keep in mind that everyone’s body reacts differently to exercise and foods they eat, so what works for your friend may not work for you. Experiment with different ways of training and fueling, and keep variety in mind!