All Posts by Coach Beth

Here’s to New Adventures

I decided to for the month of January to go raw. As with all great things in my life this wasn’t something I woke up and decided to do, but rather a friend made the suggestion and of course I jumped in with both feet, not really looking to see where I would land. I’m truly blessed to have such great friends in my life that lead me on all sorts of adventures.

When my friend suggested going raw for a month my first question was, when do we start. Not because I was super excited, but because she asked me right before Christmas, and I had already decided to pig out within moderation at Christmas. When she said I could start in January, I was on board.

Then December started slipping away and January was looming just ahead and I went into full panic mode. I started eating everything in sight. I made special trips to the grocery store just to buy “sugar”… you know, my favorite sugary drinks, and chips, and candy all things that I’d never be able to eat again. My friend quickly set me straight. “The point you’re missing when thinking about Raw is that you get to eat whenever, and however much you want. If you’re hungry just eat some food.” What a novel idea.

But I grew up with the idea of eating three square meals a day with snacks in between. How would this new idea of raw fit into my lifestyle? When I finally wrapped my head around the fact that I wasn’t going to starve to death I bought a couple Raw Cookbooks for my Kindle and started perusing them. This was thanks to another little gem my friend laid on me, ”when your stressed out about something you don’t eat sugar, you do research.” Huh! For those interested these are the cookbooks I purchased: Raw and Simple: Eat Well and Live Radiantly with 100 truly Quick and Easy Recipes for the Raw Food Lifestyle by Judita Wignall and The Raw Deal Cookbooks: Over 100 Truly Simple Plant-Based Recipes for the Real World by Emily Monaco

So on New Year’s Eve day, I hit the grocery store with my list of ingredients I’d need for my new adventure. I bought a lot of similar things as normal; fruits, vegetables, nuts, but just in a greater variety, and larger quantities. And I bypassed a lot of things too; bread, granola bars, eggs.

I have to say with the right seasoning the meals have turned out a lot better than I thought. I definitely don’t feel deprived and this has probably been the easiest eating change I’ve made in my life to adapt to. It’s been fun learning how different foods pair together to change the overall texture and flavor. I’ve enjoyed making my own protein bar snacks, and venturing out into new foods to try – parsnips and turnips – not too bad.

Now I’m not going to say when my husband made Pasta Fagioli soup my mouth didn’t water a ton. And when I was at my brother’s house eating with his family and they were enjoying Baked Ziti I really did want to have a big plate also. But what I haven’t missed is that overfull feeling and the food sleepies after a big meal. I love having more energy and freedom from past food choices.

The adventure will continue. Share your new adventure of 2018!

Six Steps to New Year’s Resolution Success

As the year draws to an end and the New Year begins we are often in a place of reflection and hope. This is the perfect time to bring about the best you possible with New Year’s Resolutions. The following six steps will help you keep those resolutions.

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    1.Set “SMART” Goals. Make sure your goals are; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Instead of saying I want to get stronger on the bike, try instead, I will increase my FTP by 10 watts over 3 months by training on the bike 3 times per week for 1 hour per session.
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    2. Plan ahead. Nothing derails a resolution faster than not being prepared. If your goal is to increase your bike power, make sure you have workouts designed to for this purpose, sign up for a spin class with great instructors whom are on board with helping you reach your goals.
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    3. Keep it positive. There’s going to be a time when it just doesn’t happen. A deadline at work keeps you late and you miss your favorite spin class. These things happen. One slip up doesn’t mean your whole resolution is shot and you should just give up; it only means you are human. Remind yourself of all the times you have been successful, they will far out way one minor slip up.
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    4. Pick a start date. A lot of resolutions are made with a January 1st start date. But in actuality you want to pick a date that is right for you. Make sure it’s a day that you feel well rested, are enthusiastic about your goal, and are surrounded by positive people. You also want to have all the tools in place to make your first day successful. So instead of the 1st, make your start date the day the first spin class is offered.
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    5. Go for it. Be 100% committed to your resolution. If you’re wishy-washy about the goal then failure won’t be far behind. Instead of a chore to complete think of it as an adventure. The first step to a new you. Visualize yourself faster and stronger on the bike and be enthusiastic about the steps that will get you there.
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    6. Plan rewards. Nothing helps more than positive reinforcement. It may be something as simple as enjoying a magazine, going to a movie, or spending an afternoon with a friend. The main thing to remember is to congratulate yourself along the way. Start with daily congratulations, then move on to weekly, monthly, and then annual anniversaries. Before you know it your resolution will be part of your healthy habits making the best you possible.

Hopefully these steps will help you achieve resolution success!

Leave a comment about your New Year's Resolution!

It’s the Off Season, Now What?!

The off season is a time to allow not only your body to recover but your mind also. Striving and training can take a toll on your over-all being and it’s okay to take a break. This doesn’t mean you should hit the couch and binge watch all the seasons of Lost, Stranger Things, and Grey’s Anatomy, while munching away on multiple bags of chips and cookies.

 But it’s necessary to give your mind and body a break from triathlon. This is the time to participate in activities that have nothing to do with swim, bike and run. In the colder climates there are many options: skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating. In warmer climates it’s tempting to train all year because you have the temperate weather to be able. But you can still get out and do some hiking or roller blading or take to the water and try paddle boarding or kayaking. Focus on trying activities that get you out of the sagittal plane of motion and into the transverse or frontal plane. We spend so much time swimming, biking, and running in the forward motion that we need to allow our bodies to move in different ways to avoid overuse injuries.

The off season is a time to get back into the gym and do some strength training, or join a fitness group and try out a P90X, TRX, or Core de Force class. Join a local yoga studio and help your body recover from the long strenuous season. The added benefit of doing something other than the three disciplines of triathlon will give your mind a chance to recover also. Don’t focus on pacing and power outputs, let those numbers rest for the time. The numbers will be there when base season starts. But taking the time to recover will actually help you be a stronger, more focused athlete.

Many athletes worry that they’ll lose fitness if they take time off. And yes your numbers will tail off from where they were at the end of the season. But if you were following your plan during the season your starting point at the start of the next season should be higher than the last season, especially if you take the time to recover. If you continue to pound and make every workout every day the hardest workout you can do, your body will eventually break down and injury will be close to follow. Then you’ll have a major set-back that will put your starting point much lower than your starting point of the last season, or even the season before.

 The key to a successful off season is to enjoy yourself, stay active, and not over indulge in relaxing.

Mindset: Choosing to Not Give Up

I was last out of the water at Rocketman. How far behind was I? Well the mass of my wave had already exited and I was alone in the water. Before the race started as we were all waiting to enter the swim start an athlete in my age group informed me there were five in our age group. Well now I know, I need first place to qualify for Nationals. I looked around, butterflies in my stomach. Everyone seemed so much fitter than me. We entered the water and I put my nerves aside. All I could do was my best. I had trained and I was ready.

So I’m last out of the water. But I’m okay because I love the bike portion of triathlons. So I get on my bike and start checking the calves of everyone I pass on the bike. I made a mental note of each athlete I passed in my age group. Meanwhile I thought about Rinny Carfrae at Ironman World Championships 2014. She came from behind off the bike and had to make up a bunch of time on the run to take first place. So my mantra of the day became “If Rinny can do it so can I.” I counted down five people in my age group. When I passed the last person she was still right behind me. And it didn’t take long for her to pass me again. I sat back on the bike, maintaining my cadence and power. She was still just ahead of me when I saw her sitting up and stretching her back. I picked up my speed a little to start to close the gap. Again I saw her sit up and stretch. That’s when I pounced. I kicked up my power and passed her. But I didn’t want to just pass, I wanted to put enough gap that she would find it crushing to even try to bridge the gap. I put myself in the pain cave long enough that there would be no coming back for her. I never saw her again during the race.

For me the bike is my strength and I still had the run. My legs screamed for me to walk, but I said No. I stayed focused. I kept running. With about a mile to go someone passed me with my age on their calf. At that point I knew it was over. I needed to get first place in my age group to qualify for Nationals. But I made the decision to keep running. You have to keep going because you never know what is going to happen in a race. They may have to stop just up ahead. The wheels might fall off on the run. They may have GI issues. You just never know. So I ignored my brain begging me to walk and just kept going. I maintained my pace through to the end of the race, and crossed the finish line spent, in a complete daze. I wandered around in a bit not sure what to do with myself as I waited for the initial standings to be stapled to the results board.

Finally the results were up… and at the top of my age group was my name. Not second, not third, but FIRST. I walked away and then went back to recheck. Still first. I stepped away again, only to go back for a third time to reverify that I was indeed first. I’ve sat through many awards ceremonies, for the sole purpose of waiting to if my name would be called of a door prize (it never was) but this was my first time waiting for my name to be called to stand on the podium.

What would have happened had I let myself go after coming out of the water last? Or not built a gap on the bike when that athlete was stretching (whom came in second place)? What if I had walked during the run? All opportunities to stop, slow down, not win. But I stayed focused and determined to keep going and do the best that I could. This is the mindset you need to reach your goals. What will you do with perseverance?

When Bad Days Happen To Good Athletes

September 2

Goal was to go 17 mph. Just wasn't able to get it to happen. Felt like I was pedaling through molasses. Tough day on the bike. At 4 hours 30 minutes I was at the end of the gateway trail near my car and it took a long time to decide if I should throw my bike into the farmer’s field and call it a season, lay down right there and take a nap, or continue with the last hour and a half. At the end of the ride I felt completely shot. Everything just felt off. It took a long time to decide if I wanted to do the run. I seriously contemplated skipping it. Then I thought about just doing an hour. Decided I better do the whole thing as I'm going to have to do a marathon at the IM.

This is the entry during one of century training rides followed by a long run during my Ironman training. Every athlete is going to have training days like this. The goal is to not give up and push through these days and come out stronger in the end. On these tough days I go back to one of my favorite quotes by Greg Plitt, “Championships aren’t won in the theater of the arena. They are won in the thousands of hours of training and the five a.m. runs in the rain when everyone else is sleeping. That’s where it’s won. The heart of a champion is a light switch that’s always on – it doesn’t go on and off when someone’s watching – it’s constant.”

If you’re quick to give up during a training session what’s going to give you the drive to go through when the going gets tough on race day. Tough days in training are what you need to help you have the confidence to finish tough races. Training days aren’t just about working on your body and your muscles, but about training your brain and mindset. It’s equally important to have a strong mindset and a strong body because it’s your brain that will give up on you long before your body will. 

Here are six steps to help you get through those tough training days and help you start to improve the strength of your mindset:

  • Have one or two positive mantras that you can repeat to yourself when you’re struggling.

This is tough; I’m tougher

I’m not training to be skinny; I’m training to be bad-ass

Kicking my ass today, so I can beat yours tomorrow

  • Check your nutrition. Often times when I find I’m completely depleted and just don’t think I can take another step it’s because I have neglected to stay on top of my nutrition. Try taking on nutrition and see if that helps your energy level. Be sure to record any changes in your mood/energy in your training log.
  • Are you training in the correct zones? If this is a long bike or run session then you should be training in a lower zone. Often times athletes will push too hard during easy sessions and not hard enough during hard sessions. This can lead to burn out and over-training, and will not help an athlete improve.
  • Some days in training are meant to tough and fatiguing. Remember these days are built into you’re training plan and should test your mettle. Remind yourself that of your long-term goals and this is just another step in the recipe to make you successful.
  • If it’s safe to do so during training try listening to upbeat music or motivational speeches. I subscribe to different Youtube channels that are full of motivational messages as well as videos about going after your dreams, being a champion, and never giving up. My favorite is Mateusz M.
  • If you find yourself in a negative downward spiral, take a moment to distract yourself. If you’re outside pay attention to your surroundings. Try to find one positive thing whether it’s an interesting cloud in the sky, or the color of the leaves, or a cool breeze against your cheek. If you can’t find anything then take a moment just to be grateful that you’re able to train at all. Sure it’s hard, but there are much harder things in life than training. Be grateful and give thanks for all the things you are able to do.
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