Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tis the Season of Stress, Darkness and Maintenance

December may be the toughest month to be a triathlete in the Upper Midwest. The first local outdoor triathlon is almost 5 months away, there's less than 9 hours of daylight, and we've had some single digit temps (for highs). Throw in the additional social, work and family obligations combined with the dietary minefield of tins of cookies, eggnog, and parties and pretty soon you start to feel like your 2010 goals are slipping away.

There's one word to get you through the next 2 weeks - maintenance. It doesn't take a lot of exercise to maintain a given fitness level (or at least minimize loss). You might not have time for that 1-3 hour spin on your bike. A 30 minute ride with some intense intervals will help you stay in shape, burn off some of those cookies and provide a positive stress relief. You can apply the same principles to running or swimming. Shorter intense workouts will allow you to fulfill your seasonal obligations without major fitness setbacks.

Your family and coworkers will appreciate the additional energy and happiness you get from taking some time for yourself. Now get out there, get your workout in, you've got parties to attend or shopping to do or . . .

Monday, December 14, 2009

Make your 2010 New Year's Resolution Stick

Almost 50% of adults make New Year's resolutions. 1 in 4 don't last a week and 1 in 2 don't make it six months.

So you want 2010 to be the year that you really do get healthy, lose weight, get more fit, or get faster?

Tri something new! (pun intended, I mean look at the name of our company). If you've never done a triathlon go to Active or Trifind. Find a local race this summer and sign up. If you have done a triathlon, try (enough of the puns) a new distance. Find an Olympic, Half Iron or Iron distance race and register.

Now what have you gotten yourself into? You're not sure you can finish that race. PERFECT! Fear can be a great motivator. The second week in February when you're tempted to blow off that workout, or have that 3rd piece of pizza and a 2nd beer to wash it down, you might stop and think. "I can't do that I'm training for X and I'm not even sure I can do X."

You will find that there is a difference between working out and training. When you're working out it can be very easy to skip or short change a workout. (What's one spin class, or weight set, or run going to matter?) When you're training you're following a plan and in reality one workout won't matter, but it feels like it does and you won't be as tempted to cheat yourself.

Not coincidentally, if you're not sure you know how to get from January 1 to the finish line, Tri For It! Coaching is here to help. We also know that budgets are tight so we're offering a Resolution Sale - 15% off the monthly fees posted at

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ask Coach Rich

The Tri For It! Coaching blog is letting you take charge.

Have you got a burning tri related question? Send it to

If your question appears on the TFI blog you'll get a free Tri For It! Coaching running cap. Be sure to include your full name and address in the email if you want a cap. Also include a pseudonym if you don't want us to use your real name (e.g. Lost in Transition).

TFI will not use or share any of your personal information (other than to send you the cap). You don't need to be a TFI athlete - anyone is eligible.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ironman World Championship 2009 Promo Video

Check out the Ironman World Championship 2009 Promo video. NBC is carrying the replay on December 19 at 3:30 p.m. Central (check your local listings to confirm). Be sure to record it, too. It's great to watch while spinning on your trainer.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Races

We had 5 TFI athletes running races yesterday. What better way to start Thanksgiving than to pre-burn your calories?

RT was running a 12k race to Hoover Dam outside of Las Vegas. It was a hilly course on gravel roads which presented a new challenge for RT. Because of the hills and numerous tunnels (how cool is that) he had no gps for pacing. He used heart rate and rpe (rate of perceived exertion) to set his pace. He finished strong picking off runners all the way to the finish line.

As previously blogged, OB and Ang were both running an 8 mile Turkey Trot in Dallas. OB used the race to test our LT calculation. When we did his test we tried to be conservative in calculating his LT to avoid running too hard and potentially getting injured. The race results reflected this as he was able to run at LT and then kick it in for the last mile well above LT. Great job OB!

Ang was using the 8 miler as a tuneup prior to the Rock n Roll 1/2 in Las Vegas, December 6. It went as planned and she is now recovering and tapering in preparation for the big race.

BK and Coach Rich ran the Fast Before the Feast 10k in White Bear Lake, Mn. BK stuck to his plan and finished strong (passing Coach Rich with just under 2 miles to go). Add the 1 hour massage BK won in the raffle and he had a superb morning. Coach Rich knew his training had fallen off and had backed off his pace goal. Even the revised goal turned out to be too ambitious as his knees started complaining and he had to shut it down at mile 4; finishing a couple minutes back. Sometimes life gets in the way for all of us.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Value of a Priority C Race

First things first. What's a C Priority Race? It's a race you do while training for a more important race. Typically, you do not adjust your training leading up to the race (i.e. no taper). The reasons for doing such a race are many: already signed up for it, breaks up the training regimen, racing is fun.

You can use a C race for different purposes. TFI has 2 athletes, OB and Ang, running a Thanksgiving Day 8 mile Turkey Trot down in Dallas. Ang is using the run as a supported (think gatorade stops) run 10 days before she runs the Vegas Rock n Roll Half Marathon. She's going to test her morning routine including breakfast, attire and her pacing.

OB on the other hand doesn't have another upcoming race until April. He's going to use the race to validate the LT we calculated for him earlier this month. He's going to go out at a pace that will be at his LT and hold it for the race. It should be a tough effort, but he should be able to hold it for the whole race. If he can hold it, but barely, we'll know we hit the LT.

Other TFI athletes racing on Thanksgiving include Coach Rich and BK running in the Fast Before the Feast 10k in White Bear Lake, Minnesota and RT running the Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam in Vegas. Look for photos and reports here sometime on Black Friday.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Calculating Lactate Threshold

This past weekend was a test for one of our TFI athletes. OB is taking a test to determine his lactate threshold (LT). What's an LT you say?

Physiologically it is the approximate point where your muscles start using an anaerobic process to create energy. The anaerobic process creates a lot of waste products including a hydrogen ion that causes the burning sensation in your legs at the end of a race. You can maintain an effort at this pace for around 60-90 minutes. (Aren't you glad you asked!)

We thought we would take this opportunity to talk about an easy way to figure out your running lactate threshold.

For an experienced runner, run a 5k. There's your answer. Of course it's not quite that simple.

Run a race that will take you between 20 and 30 minutes. For many people a 5k will fit the bill. The average heart rate that you maintain over the course of the race will be approximately 104% of your lactate threshold. It's important to maintain a steady effort or run negative splits in the race. You can't go out and blow up in the second mile and use your average.

OB had a great race and maintained a heart rate between 169 and 170. We conservatively put his LT at 162. We'll use this figure to set goal heart rates in all of his run workouts. In a few weeks he'll run another 5k and we'll compare both the heart rate and pace to see how he is improving.

What you will probably find if you do this test is that you have been running your long runs too fast and your speedwork too slow (unless you are already a TFI athlete). Armed with your LT you can stay aerobic on long and foundation runs and hit either your threshold or anaerobic goals on your fast days.

If only they gave out t-shirts at all your tests.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Congrats BK on TCM!

BK finished his first marathon this past weekend at the Twin Cities Marathon. Here he is pointing to his adoring fans.It wasn't easy, but he reached his goal of the finish line and is already talking about doing another one. How he'll fit it in with his plan to do at least 2 Half Ironman distance races we're not sure.

Way to go BK!

Friday, October 2, 2009

TCM Marathon

Tri For It! athlete BK is preparing to cap off a year of firsts on Sunday. In 2009 BK has completed his first Half Marathon and his first Sprint Tri. On Sunday he attempts his first full Marathon at the Twin Cities Marathon.

His training has gone superbly and he's reached the start line healthy. No small feat for us larger athletes.

Best of Luck BK - Coach Rich will be following you online while attending the USAT Coaching Clinic in Seattle.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Big Weekend at Tri For It! Coaching

This weekend at Tri For It! we had two athletes competing. AP raced her first duathlon at the Aflac Irongirl Duathlon in Bloomington, MN. At the same time OB was finishing up his 2009 season with an Olympic distance race in Dallas, TX.

AP was more than ready for the event, even after the course was changed to include a 1/2 mile climb (twice). She finished in the top 25% overall. She was a strong biker to begin with and has gotten stronger. Her running has REALLY improved - she almost even likes it now. Ok, that was a stretch.

Here's AP showing off her race bling after a job welldone. Congrats AP! We'll make a TRI athlete out of you yet.

OB finished his race on a hilly and windy course that really challenged him. We knew going into it that he wasn't as well trained as we'd like (due to life circumstances). We put together a plan for the race that we thought would allow him to challenge himself and feel good about his performance.

OB pushed a little too hard on the bike and early in the run and suffered for it on the last 2 miles of the run. It will serve as a reminder of the importance of pacing that hopefully he will carry with him next year at Ironman Wisconsin.

In Tri For It! news, we are pushing ahead with the new logo and website design. Watch for more announcements in the near future.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Stay Tuned

At Tri For It! we are committed to your success in multisport - however you define it.