Triathletes: The Secret to Avoiding Injury This Season

IPF

In theory, making the move from a single sport to three adds variety to your exercise regimen and will reduce injuries, right?

Well, the reality is a bit different, thanks to the “compound effect” of doing three activities: “What we have to compare it to other sports is the injury rate, and triathletes have one of the highest incidence rates of any sport,” Dr. Joshua Burns, a researcher and podiatrist at the University of Sydney in Australia, who has studied the nature of triathletes’ injuries told The New York Times in this article.

The bad news? Triathletes, in particular, are susceptible because they not only engage in a highly-repetitive stress activity, but also only move in one plane of motion (and likely sit all day at work), which contributes to limited range of motion in the mid-back and hips. The good news, though? With the right approach to strength training, you can correct imbalances, resolve weaknesses and vastly improve performance.

That’s where my friend Al Painter of INTEGRATE Performance Fitness comes in. Not only has he been teaching endurance athletes how to dodge the injury bullet for years, but he also knows. his. stuff. As you can see below, there’s a reason why he’s been named “Best Bay Area Personal Trainer” by CitySports Magazine, so I always love picking his brain about the latest workout crazes and geeking out together over the greatest fitness gadgets.

As training seasons begin to ramp up, I thought it’d be fun to sit down with him and talk about the not-so-secret secret for avoiding injury when it comes to multi-sport endeavors.

1. Triathlon is in endurance sport, so why is strength training important for triathletes? It helps to reset the body from the repetitive stress nature of training in one plane of motion. It can also keep the hips strong, which goes a long way for happy low backs and knees.

2. How much about it is preventing injury versus being able to perform better (i.e. faster!)? Yes to both! I think one leads to the other. Keep the muscles balanced, and you can reduce your chances of getting hurt and improve your chances of performing well.

3. If body weight is the only thing being “lifted” during a triathlon, why do triathletes need a training program that uses free weights, machines or other equipment? It can lead to more speed in the pool, more power on the bike and more efficiency running.

4. How does strength training for triathletes differ from programs used by bodybuilders, powerlifters and the general public? Triathlon training should emphasize split-stance and single-leg lower body moves while incorporating single and alternate arm patterns to work on diagonal loading of the hips and shoulders working through the core. I’ll definitely get into more of what endurance athlete specific strength training should like the night of the talk.

5. What do you think is the biggest misconception about triathletes and strength training? That it will slow them down, add bulk and take away from swimming, riding and running.

6. So is it enough to go lift weights at the gym a few times a week? No, there needs to be a program dialed in to address what endurance athletes need: solid mid-back, shoulder and hip mobility. It has to have a plan, a purpose and specific outcome as the goal. Plus, if there is a performance gap in the pool, on the bike or on the run, strength training can help to close it.

7. What’s the biggest mistake you see most triathletes make with their current strength training routine? Not enough emphasis on the back half of the body which is the powerhouse for performance and proper posture.

8. If there’s one exercise triathletes absolutely cannot afford to skip, what is it? I don’t know if it’s an exercise as much as it is a movement: Learning the hip hinge is critical to opening the front half of the body and strengthening the back half to help with both injury prevention and performance improvement.

9. Should triathletes adjust their program when training for different distances? How? My stance on this is that the longer the distance, the more hip dominant movements (hinges, bridges, etc.) they should do. It should be the majority of the lower body work to keep the glutes as “online” as possible. Once they shut down, the whole operation can go south.

10. Say someone’s deep into training and short on time; is there a minimum amount of strength training they should be doing each week? Two days a week for at least 30 minutes using compound movements. Exercises combining hinging + pulling and squatting + pressing work really well. Especially using a split stance with single or alternate arm exercises.

Thanks, Al — great info, as always! 

Attention Bay Area friends: Al’s doing a *free* triathlete-specific strength training workshop at Sunnyvale Sports Basement from 6:30-8:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 11. Swing by, say hi, and pick up some of his tips on the best kinds of strength training exercises to help you race stronger, recover faster and reduce the chance of getting injured this season. 

Click here for details on the event, and visit INTEGRATE Performance Fitness to learn more.

Triathletes, is strength work part of your regular training regimen?

How I (Swim, Bike &) Run: Ironman triathlete Barbara Perkins

Courtesy of Barbara Perkins

There’s only one thing you need to know about Barbara Perkins: Some girls chase boys. She passes them. As in, if you’re racing against her, you better be prepared to get your butt kicked.

“Tenacious” doesn’t even begin to describe this lady; not only is she a fellow member of the 2016 Coeur Sports team, but I was blown away when I heard about her racing resume and plans for this year.

She started her Ironman journey back in 2012, preparing to race IM Lake Tahoe in 2013 with a group of friends from Team in Training. All she knew is that she wanted to finish. But when she crossed the finish line in 4th place and missed a Kona world championship slot by a mere eight minutes, she was hooked.

At IM New Zealand in 2014, she managed to shave an hour and a half off her previous time, was the first amateur female out of the water in the swim and ran a best time of 3:47 in the marathon — yet still fell short of the coveted Kona slots amid stiff competition. Undeterred, Barbara set her sights on IM Lake Tahoe only to have the race cancelled three minutes before the starting gun went off.

Not one to back down from a challenge, IM Coeur d’Alene in 2015 became Plan B. The season started off better than ever, with an age group win at IM New Orleans 70.3, but then things took a turn for the worse. Last May at Challenge Knoxville, she took a spill on the course and lacerated her liver.

Barbara’s Plan C is now IM Texas in May, which has a reputation for being flat, fast and sometimes unbearably hot. It’s only a few months away, yet she’s determined to do everything in her power to make this THE race in which she once again tempts fate and makes a bid for her spot at Kona.

1. What’s your favorite route or workout? My favorite workout of the week would probably be my long runs with Team Brilliant on Sunday mornings. These people are the definition of endorphin junkies. Most of them are triathletes, but there are also quite a few ultra marathoners and people who just enjoy running.

On the first day I went to a group run, three of them were planning on doing a marathon the following weekend, hadn’t trained at all and were going for a casual 20-mile run. One of them ended up qualifying for Boston. That tells you what kind of people these guys are.

As far as bike rides, there is a route in Bloomington on the Old 37 that goes out to the Morgan Monroe State Forest. No matter what time of year it is, this ride is always breathtaking and inspiring. It is also secretly very hilly and a great training ride.

2. What shoes do you wear — both on the bike and on the roads? For the run, I just switched over to Brooks Glycerin 13’s. I used to swear by Mizunos, but they changed their design so I have been searching for a new pair. I am very happy with these new kicks so far!

On the bike, I wear Louis Garneau Women’s Tri X-Speed shoes. These trusty bike shoes have been with me since the beginning of clipping in. They are so easy to use with just one strap and make for speedy transitions.

BP2

3. What other training gear can’t you live without? Swim gear: Finis Agility Paddles. I love pulling and doing drills with these bad boys.

Bike gear: I am so in love with my bright, neon pink Rudy Project helmet. I finally got one this past year. Also, my Coeur little black tri shorts are an absolute necessity. With all the riding I do, gotta have #noangrykitty.

Run gear: Trucker hat. I have fallen in love with running with a trucker hat on. This year I was sporting my #5Q hat. Also, Smith Optic sunglasses. They are so clear and also come in bright pink!

4. What’s your best time-saver or “workout-hack?” This one is tough. Probably doing rides indoors on my trainer and catching up on Netflix. Killing two birds with one stone!

5. What part of each discipline (swim/bike/run) are you better at than anyone else? Swim: Well I grew up as a swimmer, so this comes a bit more naturally to me than other triathletes. I sort of took it for granted when I first started racing triathlons, but have embraced my background again.

Bike: This is usually my weakest discipline, but I would have to say that I overcome it with my tenacity. When things get tough, I dig deep into the pain cave and am willing to go where others cannot.

Run: Can I say that one of my favorite things is chicking guys? Because people tend to pass me on the bike, I usually make up the time on the run. But really, I love encouraging people who look like they’re having a hard time. Just giving them a high five or saying a couple words goes a long way.

BP4

6. What do you listen to while training? My favorite Pandora station I listen to while working out is Krewella. Sometimes I’ll mix it up with 80’s rock or Jason Derulo. I love dance music with a fast tempo. It helps me stay motivated and I try to match the beat of the music.

7. What are you currently training for? Next year, I have my sights on grabbing a coveted Kona spot. First I’ll try at IM Texas. And if that doesn’t work out, then I will try at IM Lake Placid. Two very different and difficult courses, in very different ways.

8. What are your recovery and sleep routines like? I love having chocolate milk right after a work out!

By nature, I am a night owl, but this sort of contradicts the lifestyle of being a swim coach and getting up at 5:00 am. It’s still a work in progress but I try to be in bed by 10 and take naps when I can.

9. What’s the best athletic advice you’ve ever received? Before one of my races, my coach Craig Paiement told me, “To those of you who have prepared properly, I wish you good fortune. To those who haven’t…I wish you good luck.”

I didn’t know what it meant, so I asked one of my other friends I was with. It means, that if you have done the work and put in the time, then all you need on race day is good fortune. If you haven’t trained as much as you should have, then you need “good luck.” Trusting myself and knowing that I have done everything I could in order to have a successful race has helped me immensely.

BP3

10. What’s your favorite racing-related memory? Probably one of the most meaningful race memories I have had was this past year at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. On the day of the race, I knew it wasn’t going to be exactly the race I had imagined.

I was still suffering from a lacerated liver due to a bike crash earlier in the year. Because of that, I had no expectations. Before the race, I was so relaxed and just wanted to have a fun race. Other people were freaking out, and I was having a blast.

When I came up to the finishing chute, I saw my mom and just lost it. It had been an incredibly hard race, with a lot of climbing on the bike. On the run, I was in so much pain and had to keep stopping. It was a very hot day on top of that, which didn’t help.

But I made it to the finish and was just so happy to be there in that moment. I’ve never cried at a finish line before. It was all very emotional.

11. Fill in the blank: I’d love to grab a workout with _________. Do I have to pick just one?? Paula Newby-Frasier, Chrissie Wellington, Mirinda Carfrae and Julie Moss. All of the Ironwomen greats.

12. Anything else you’d like to add? If I have learned anything over the past couple years in my journey, it is to just be grateful to be able to do something I love so much. Health, money and ability are not a given. I feel lucky every day I get to train!

Thanks, Barbara! Your perseverance is beyond inspiring; I’m excited to watch you crush IM Texas this year and finally conquer Kona. 

Fit friends, please give me a shout (info (at) kineticfix.com) if you’d like to be featured!

How I (Swim, Bike &) Run: Ironman athlete Erin Klegstad

Courtesy of Erin Klegstad

Courtesy of Erin Klegstad

Meet Erin Klegstad, triathlete, yogi, lover of life, happiness, espresso, the outdoors, vizslas and the ocean. She believes that bike rides make every day better and that kindness can change the world.

Here’s a fun fact: We have yet to meet in person, but we connected through social media and follow along on each other’s adventures via our blogs (find her at sweetsweatlife, and I highly recommend it!); I feel like I know her, and I especially appreciate the thoughtfulness, kindness and sense of purpose with which she approaches life. We’ve also been teammates for Coeur Sports (she’s one of the elite racers) for the past few years so I figured it was high time to get to know her even better here on the blog.

Another fun fact? She’s also an amazing athlete. So much so that she placed second in her age group at Ironman Wisconsin this year, which meant she nabbed a spot at the World Championships in Kona for 2016. It couldn’t have happened to someone more hard-working, deserving and supportive person, and I’m even more excited to root her along as she prepares throughout the next few months.

In the meantime, here’s an insider look at her approach to training, along with what else will be powering this fantastic lady on her quest for Kona!

Erin4

1. What’s your favorite route or workout? During the week, I run the same out-and-back route over and over and over (definition of insanity?! Ha!) because it’s there and out my front door and I don’t have to worry about planning out a different route everyday. But, for long runs, my favorite route is the 8.5-mile Ford-Franklin bridge loop along the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and Saint Paul. A running path on both sides with plenty of water fountains and porta potties!

A favorite bike route is a 100-mile loop from our house and along the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi that full of great climbing, wind and a halfway pit stop for Mexi Coke in Red Wing (of Red Wing boots!).

2. What shoes do you wear — both on the bike and on the roads? I’ve been running in Hoka Cliftons for nearly two years and won’t run in anything else! On the bike – love my Sidi tri shoes. I have my eye on a pair of hot pink ones that Sidi debuted at Interbike this year. 🙂

3. What other training gear can’t you live without? Swim gear I can’t live without: baby shampoo. It keeps my goggles fog-free every single swim!

Bike gear I can’t live without: no way could I get through a 112-mile ride without my Coeur Sports shorts. Seamless chamois FTW! Seriously, that chamois is a game changer. Zero chafe ever.

Run gear I can’t live without: I’m a lululemon speeds shorts junkie (I won’t tell you how many pairs I own); love my Feetures socks… blister free always; and, I can’t run without a trucker hat (they keep my hair out of my face)!

Erin1

4. What’s your best time-saver or “workout-hack?” Hmm… definitely using Garmin Express to sync my 920 and Edge 500 simultaneously to TrainingPeaks, Garmin Connect and Strava. And, then immediately logging those workouts with comments across the board and in my spreadsheet. I’m quite meticulous about logging my data every single day. 🙂

5. What part of each discipline (swim/bike/run) are you better at than anyone else? Swim: Who are we kidding, the swim is definitely not my strength… ha! It’s a work-in-progress, but I’m making strides every year by doing the work, even on those cold winter days when swimming’s the last thing I want to do! I’m always tempted to sit in the sauna instead… 🙂

Bike: Living in Minnesota, I spend a good chunk of the year on my bike trainer (even during the summer, I’m on the trainer… that itself is a great time saver, and it’s safer than the road). There’s something really satisfying about trainer workouts… intense focus and staying in control of your watts. Anyway, I’d have to say focus… I have no problem turning off my brain to truly stay in the moment during a trainer workout. I think that’s one reason I love triathlon so much… it keeps me present and enjoying and embracing each second – even when it’s painful.

Run: Pacing is my specialty! Tell me to run x-pace over x-number of miles, and I’ll run ‘em almost on the nose every single time.

Erin6

6. What do you listen to while training? The only thing I listen to while running are my footfalls and my breath. I haven’t ran with music since 2008, the year they banned MP3 players during marathons. I was training for my first (and only) open 26.2 and ditched it since I wouldn’t be able to race with it. There’s nothing better than the quiet of running… I love being able to hear myself think (and not mess with annoying ear buds!).

But, when I’m doing hard bike intervals on the trainer (never ride with headphones outside, people!), I almost always listen to Girl Talk’s All Day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to this mix. It keeps me focused, and the rhythm is tops!

7. What are you currently training for? The Ironman World Championship! It still hasn’t hit me that I get to race in Kona next year!

8. What are your recovery and sleep routines like? I’m fairly good at recovery. I do legs up the wall daily, take a lavender Epsom soak weekly and am quite lazy after training (think sofa city!). My sleep routine is a work-in-progress, but thanks to the sleep tracker on the Garmin 920, it’s improved. Tracking my sleep each night is a good motivator to get to bed when I get sucked into HGTV or reading!

Erin3

9. What’s the best athletic advice you’ve ever received? A friend said to me before Ironman Wisconsin in 2014: never give up, even when it hurts because everyone else is hurting, too. I think of that during every single race, especially near the end when sitting down would feel amazing. It reminds me to dig deep and to continue giving it my all, all the way to the finish line. Another goodie is: remember to smile! It makes the hurt a bit more bearable… plus, we’re so lucky that we *get* to do this!

10. What’s your favorite racing-related memory? Ahhh… this is a tough one! I’m grateful to cross any finish line, but I think my favorite is Ironman Wisconsin this year. There were a couple mishaps during the race, but overcoming those to run down a few people in my AG for a second place finish and a Kona spot – with my entire family there cheering me on – made the finish line downtown Madison so much sweeter.

Erin5

11. Fill in the blank: I’d love to grab a workout with _________. Can all my Coeur Sports teammates move to one place so we can swim, bike, run all day together?! That would be a dream!

Thanks, Erin! I’m stoked to see what 2016 will bring, and we’ll be cheering you along every step of the way as you prepare for Kona. 

Fit friends, please give me a shout (info (at) kineticfix.com) if you’d like to be featured!

June Goal Check-In

IMG_6838

Giving Mary, leader of NoPo Run Club, a Team LUNA Chix Portland Run sandwich!

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~Russel Baker

Portland’s summer has not only arrived early (I’d been warned to expect rain off and on until the 4th of July), it’s also already kicked into high gear and promises to be one for the record books. In fact, rumor has it that this heat wave is likely to last well into early July and may end up breaking records for longevity, as well.

For example, last Saturday morning’s low at Portland International Airport was 71 degrees. This is the first time PDX has ever recorded a low in the 70s in the month of June.

Not that I’m complaining; I actually like the heat, and I’m thanking my lucky stars that my first year in Oregon has been a mild one when it comes to lack of rain. But it does make outdoor workouts a bit more tricky, so early mornings and advance planning have been key when it comes to sticking to my 2015 goals.

Wondering what this is all about? Read more on the five goals toward which I’m working this year.

Here’s the latest on my progress:

1. Seeking Balance

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, summer in Oregon means one thing: BERRIES! And taking into consideration the amount I’ve consumed thus far, I’m quite shocked I haven’t pulled a Violet Beauregard and morphed into a giant blueberry.

If there’s a second thing I’ve learned, it’s that summer in Oregon also means another thing: ALLERGIES. Spending an afternoon in the strawberry patch on Sauvie Island was totally worth it, even if I had to take Zyrtec for the next two weeks to keep from being a puffy, wheezy mess.

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

And although I’ve started to hear the all-too-familiar siren song of fall marathon training, I’m trying to ignore it and stay focused on the present: Bouncing back from injury and enjoying that process before I sign up for my next major undertaking.

Luckily, Ben’s on board with this plan and has made it his mission to keep challenging us with weekend hikes that are as breathtaking in scenery as they are in elevation.

IMG_6908

2. Training Smarter

The biggest revelation — and relief — this month came from finally solving the mystery of my SI joint pain!!! I happened to overhear one of my trainer’s other clients complaining of similar symptoms and that his PT said kettlebell swings were the likely culprit. A-ha!

IMG_6843 (1)

Since he’s not a runner and the only common denominator in our workouts is kettlebell work, I decided to back off from swings to keep from jarring my pelvis. It’s been almost a month, and I’m happy to report that the pain has all but subsided during runs, so consider this my PSA if you’re having a similar issue!

3. Facing Fears

Swimming. My 2015 nemesis.

As I sit down to reflect and write my recap each month, I always cringe when it comes to this part. Yes, I’ve been in the pool a few times since my last update; no, I haven’t taken any of the steps needed to actually improve my technique and comfort level.

But that may have changed this past weekend. I was so inspired by watching Ben and friends in the Pacific Crest long course triathlon that I decided to re-commit to getting my ass to the pool.

IMG_7339

And Mary Anne, the swimmer from the women’s relay team (who kicked butt, by the way, and is training for a 5K swim later this season), graciously offered to get in the water with us and give Ben and me some pointers, so we’re going to set some dates and get moving on this.

Baby steps, right?!

4. Pushing Myself

My proudest moment this month came in the form of work: namely, launching my new company, Pulse Creative. After spending the past few years part-time for a start-up with freelance gigs on the side, I finally decided to make it official and fully align my passion (health, fitness and wellness) with my livelihood (helping people tell stories through PR, marketing and social media).

Just as coaches recognize potential and guide athletes to greatness, my goal is to work directly with small business owners to define challenges, recognize opportunities and help them develop the critical skills to be competitive and relevant in their respective market.

So if you happen to hear of anyone looking for help, I’d really appreciate it if you’d send them my way 🙂

5. Giving Back

Last but certainly not least comes Team LUNA Chix Portland Run. An extremely close second in terms of proud moments this month came in the form of being nominated for the Foot Traffic Women’s Hall of Fame for encouraging women to get active and providing a non-competitive environment in which to do so.

IMG_6983

Not only am I humbled at being included in the group they assembled — seriously, there were some pretty amazing competitors, coaches and local legends in there — but it also makes my heart happy to be able to contribute to the women’s running community here in Oregon.

And great timing, too, as we’ve been seeing some terrific attendance and momentum at our weekly workouts, so please come out and join us if you’re in the Portland area. We meet at 6:30 p.m. at the Duniway Park track — and all levels are welcome, both walkers and runners.

IMG_7224 (1)

Check out our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for more info!

How are your 2015 goals coming along? 

How I Run: Team LUNA Chix PDX’s Megan Fuetterer

Megan3

In honor of our inaugural Team LUNA Chix Portland Run season, I’ll be introducing my teammates via this interview series throughout the next few months…get to know these impressive ladies, and come join us for a run Monday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm in Portland (click here for details)! 

Have you ever met someone and immediately just hit it off? That was Megan Fuetterer and me over coffee a few months back.

We were introduced by a mutual friend and quickly bonded over a shared love for food and an active lifestyle. Fast-forward to the present, and I’m not only taking weekly spin classes from her at Revocycle, but we’re also running together Monday nights with other LUNA Chix gals.

What I love about Megan, though, is that her awesomeness is outweighed only by her humbleness. Not only has she recently launched a successful company (Zest Nutrition), but she has also made a professional home at OHSU’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital where she enjoys working with kiddos and their families as a pediatric dietitian.

Oh, and did I mention she’s also a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, a certified spin instructor and an Ironman triathlete whose healthy pumpkin pie recipe was featured on the TODAY Show? There’s nothing this lady can’t do, and I’m excited to learn more about smart fueling as we tackle our first LUNA Chix run team season together.

Megan6

1. What’s your favorite route? Forest Park, but when it’s sunny out, there’s nothing quite like running on the PDX waterfront. My morning loop along the waterfront was featured in Runner’s World last year as the Rave Run!

2. What shoes do you wear? I am currently running in Nike Fly Knit Lunar 3s. Prior to these, I wore Newtons for years and loved them! They have lugs under the ball of your foot, which prevents heel striking and ultimately leads to a more efficient stride. They definitely helped improve my form.

3. What other run gear can’t you live without? My iPod shuffle. It clips onto my shorts and is weightless. Good tunes can energize me even on my most unmotivated days.

Megan1

4. What’s your best time-saver or “runhack?” In high school I got in the habit of wearing my running clothes to bed for early morning practices. That way I could literally set my alarm three minutes before I needed to leave the house. I still do this on nights I want to squeeze in as many minutes of sleep as possible.

5. What running-related thing are you better at than anyone else? Listening to my body. If I’m pushing and my body is pushing back, I ease up and honor that. Our body gives us signs for a reason. I think yoga has been the biggest help in teaching me self-awareness.

6. What do you listen to while running? Anything with a good beat and an uplifting message. The key for me is constantly finding new music to keep it fresh.

7. What are you currently training for? For the first time in eight years I can happily say I am not training for anything! Wow! I am getting married in September, and I want to fully embrace the months leading up to the wedding. My fiancé and I still run for fun together in the mornings before work. It actually is a great time to talk about wedding plans.

Megan2

8. What are your recovery & sleep routines like? Sleep, sleep, sleep! I aim for eight hours per night. If waking up early to run means less than seven hours of sleep, I skip the early workout and get the Z’s instead. Recovery, for me, comes in the form of food. I always eat an adequate meal of carbs, protein and fat within 30 minutes of a run, then continue to stay properly fueled and hydrated throughout the day.

9. What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? Smile. Even if it hurts, smiling tricks your brain into having a good time. If you aren’t having fun, what’s the point?

10. What’s your favorite running-related memory? My senior year of high school Track & Field, my 4×4 team made it to the finals at the state meet. Right before the starting gun went off, someone started shooting fireworks off nearby. My last ever lap around the track in an organized meet was with fireworks lighting up the night sky overhead. I ran my fastest split time and my team took 3rd in state. It was unforgettable.

Megan5

11. Fill in the blank: I’d love to go on a run with ________.  Chrissie Wellington.

12. Anything else you want to add? For tips on fueling for fitness and everyday life, visit ZestfulNutrition.com 🙂

Thanks, Megan! I’m hungry (see what I did there?!) for making more memories during our adventures together this season. 

Runner friends, shoot me a note — info (at) kineticfix.com — so I can feature you, too!

February Goal Check-In

fitness-goals

Two months down, 10 to go!

I wrote previously about the five goals toward which I’m working this year, and since this is my little corner of accountability on the Internet, here’s my update on how things are progressing:

1. Seeking Balance. I’m actively restraining myself from signing up for #AllTheRaces this year — which is difficult when you’re in a new state! — so you’ll see that my schedule for 2015 is still very much a work in progress. My strategy is to try to target new events, and I’m trying to mix things up rather than build toward a specific A race this season.

2. Training Smarter. Heart rate training went out the window this month in favor of a metric ton of cross-training. I’ve been barre-ing my butt off at PureBarre in an attempt to build more glute and core strength, riding at Revocycle to make sure I’m road-bike ready come spring, and testing out all kinds of other classes via ClassPass (post with details to come). Variety is the spice of life…and fitness, right?!

Ben and I also completed our own version of Whole30 (more like Whole45 since we had two minor cheat weekends with company in town), so nutrition has also been a major focus this month. As much as I used to pride myself on being able to eat whatever I wanted, I’ve got to admit that I feel so much better eating clean, unprocessed food and cutting down on added sugar.

3. Facing Fears. Ok, you got me — there’s not much progress to report on the swimming front. I haven’t been making regular weekly sessions, and although I’ve got a few standing offers for technique guidance, I haven’t had a chance to drag Ben to the pool to take videos of me in action. Hoping to remedy this in March!

4. Pushing Myself. I’m officially registered for my second ultramarathon — a 50K in May. I’m also eyeing a century ride earlier that month, as well as trying to decide between a sprint triathlon or Olympic duathlon in June. Throw in two overnight relays, and it’s looking to be an active summer!

5. Giving Back. We’re still in our pre-season for the Team LUNA Chix Portland Run team, so fundraising hasn’t started quite yet for the Breast Cancer Fund. However, we’ve been so excited to get going that we’ve gotten a jump on things by holding group runs once a month to touch base.

In the meantime, our potential century ride has fundraising component for the American Lung Association, so if we decide to bite the bullet on that event, Ben and I will be hitting up our friends and family to donate for another great cause.

Other than that, we’re looking forward to March coming in like a rainy lion and out like a damp lamb here in the Pacific Northwest…how about you?!

How are your 2015 goals coming along? 

Swim-less in Stumptown

a3c53635ac2e6e6f_Girl-Swimming.xxxlarge_2x

Calling all swimmer/triathlete friends: I need your help.

I figured this might be a good place to crowdsource some knowledge — not just for me, but for anyone else who finds themselves in a similar predicament.

After almost 20 years (yep, dating myself there) of running, I’m mixing things up with more cycling and swimming — thanks, in large part, to the encouragement from my fellow Coeur Sports teammates.

Throughout last season, my #bikelove blossomed — from learning how to clip in to completing an Olympic distance race to long group rides on weekends.

But my #swimlove? Er, not so much.

tumblr_mq8hrlIyH41rujh0jo1_500

See, with running and biking I feel like the mechanics are pretty self-explanatory: one foot in front of the other, one pedal stroke at a time. Sure, we can shave off seconds and prevent injury by fine-tuning form and fitness, but once you have a grasp of the basics, all it takes is time and practice.

Swimming, on the other hand, is not something that feels intuitive. At all. And although I took the obligatory swim lessons as a kid, I had to re-train myself to do laps last year.

I can wrap my head around the movements — stroking, kicking, breathing — and get myself back and forth across the pool for 30-45 minutes, but there’s still something missing. Basically, I feel like I’m not moving smoothly or quickly enough for how much effort I’m putting in.

So my mission for 2015 is to figure this out once and for all, and — aside from knowing that I need some outside help — I’m not sure where to start.

6b8c8ffb74a12bb17f374d0dcbf17efa

That’s where you come in.

Step one is to whip myself into shape in the pool, then step two is to (eventually) translate that to open water. But how?

I know I need someone to watch what I’m doing, tweak my form and help me worth with, rather than against, the water…but I’m stumped on the best approach: instructor vs. coach, personalized assessment vs. lessons from scratch, one-on-one vs. group, etc.

At this point, I’m not looking to get primed for a specific event; I just need to train to be able to train, if that makes sense.

But please don’t tell me to join a local masters program. I tried that in SF and got left in the dust with a group who said they were too slow to train with the actual masters group at that pool. Between getting lapped a gazillion times and dealing with smug looks from a Michael Phelps body-double, I’m not keen to try that again anytime soon.

Runner seeking advice: I’m searching for #swimlove in 2015; can you help?