Tag Archive | "race performance"

Wayne’s Top Two Strength Training Workouts

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As outlined in Beyond The Iron book, www.beyondtheiron.com

Here are two cross training strength workouts that will help with overall body strength and explosive power.   I suggest doing each workout every week during your base-building period.    Have fun!

Cross Training Strength Test (Approximately 45 minutes)

  1. 5 minutes very easy spinning on the indoor bike
  2. 10 minutes hard resistance gear while seated (no standing)
  3. Immediately jump off the bike and do 100 Hindu Squats while holding a medium weight or medicine ball (look online for technique)
  4. After Squats jump rope for 5 minutes straight (preferably on a mat)
  5. Jump back to the bike (switch to biking shoes) and stand for 10 minutes on the trainer big gear – focus on power
  6. Immediately jump off the bike and do 125 Hindu Squats (no weight)
  7. 5 minutes of jumping rope
  8. 50 pushups

The goal with this workout is to increase the number of reps and overall power output (watts) on the bike over time.

Strength Training Workout

Two Super Sets

  1. 8 Squat jumps, working on a maximum height.  “Coil up” at a moderate speed, then explode up.  Can hold a dumbbell between legs
  2. 12 push-up to side plank.  Controlled down, then explode the arms up and into a side plank (six to each side, alternating)
  3. 60 second rest from first set to the second set

Two Super Sets

  1. 20 single leg step-ups on a bench.  Keep heel down and press through the toes at end of the leg extension.   Jump up and land on the other foot and repeat.
  2. 12 back extensions on a fit ball.   Mimic a dolphin swim, 60 second rest between sets

Two Super Sets

  1. 50 thrust squats, come down as far as your leg bends during a pedaling motion, allow arms to raise in front of you as you squat then lower, controlled not “jerky”.
  2. 60 bicycle kicks – 30 to each side.
  3. 60 second rest between sets

Two Super Sets

  1. 100 Hindu squats
  2. Plank – total time 1:30 or as long as you can hold it
  3. 60 second rest between sets
  4. Cool down stretching



Are you considering hiring a running or triathlon coach?

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It’s amazing how the coaching profession has taken off for endurance athletes over the last 25 years. I remember when starting out in triathlons we just trained and raced hard week in and week out. Off-season just meant cutting back the miles slightly but never a full recovery. There was limited science, technology and nutrition so we focused on training with the goal of more is better. Today, there are many options for athletes to work with a coach in various specific endurance sport disciplines.

5 benefits of hiring a coach:

  1. Provide some additional motivation
  2. Structure a year round training program
  3. Offer advice with respect to new techniques
  4. Offer assistance to improve form and technique
  5. A coach will keep you accountable for the workouts.

When evaluating coaches it’s important to ask some key questions:

  1. Is the coach available regularly – voicemail or email. Many online coaches will only provide access via email and separate fees for regular calls.
  2. You should evaluate coaches locally as well as outside of your area (online) and determine what will be best based upon your objectives.
  3. Ask the coach how they will adjust your program “on the fly” in the event you get sick, injured, business constraints. The original spreadsheet of workouts might need to be completely overhauled. Ask them what flexibility they have in making the changes and of courses the cost.
  4. Experience – Find out details of length of time coaching, do they still race (important), get not only testimonials but have a few phone conversations with clients.
  5. How often will you receive the workouts, weekly monthly, etc.
  6. Pricing options, flexibility, pricing discounts for a longer commitment.
  7. Ask what is their main sport background along with specific types of athletes they coach and accomplishments achieved by their athletes.

Of course it’s a personal choice to consider hiring a coach and the financial requirement is only one key consideration to determine if it’s right for you. Using a coach can provide a “sounding board” to bounce ideas off of him/her.

You comments are always welcome, feel free to email me at wayne.kurtz@racetwitch.com



Improve Cardio Fitness with TABATA

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This is a guest post by RaceTwitch ProTeam member Kata Gémes

Tabata protocol is an effective, evidenced based aerobic workout to improve cardio fitness. The scientist, Izumi Tabata compared the effect of two training protocols on cycle ergometer. One was a moderate, constant intensity endurance protocol, the other was a high intensity interval training which contained 7-8 sets of 20s high intensity (170% VO2) exercises 10s rest between them. They found that the high intensity interval training improved both aerobic and anaerobic capacity while the moderate intensity aerobic protocol improved only the aerobic capacity of the athletes.

This 7-8 sets of 20s very high intensity endurance training with 10s rest between each bouts became known as the Tabata protocol.

Tabata protocols is not only used for cycling but several other type of aerobic exercises like running, swimming, skiing etc.

Tabata-like training can even contain some strengthening exercises which can elevate heart rate for the 85-95% of maximum heart rate.

For Your safety, use Tabata method only if you have some basic endurance ability and have no cardiological problems!

Tabata is not a method for beginners! It is recommended to use the original Tabata protocol, which contains only endurance activity. If you combine some strengthening exercises you should prefer body weight exercises like plymoterics instead of weight exercises!

Here is an example of Tabata protocol for runners:

  • 5-10 minutes easy warm up
  • 20 minutes maximum speed!! running, 10 minutes very easy jogging, walking or standing, which can let your heart rate decrease fast
  • A few minutes cool down and/or stretching.

One of the biggest advantage of this protocol is that it takes just a few minutes, you can do a full endurance training in 30 minutes! However, it makes great demands on the body and should be used a maximum of 3 times a week with a rest or low-moderate -endurance training at the following day!!


Don’t Listen to all the Hype

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How many times have you read an article about an upcoming movie and the author’s reviews are horrible.  They mention everything wrong with the movie and for many it will be a deciding factor of potentially not going to the movie. I hope some of you make your own decision and not be influenced by the reviewer and go to the movie!  It’s just one person’s opinion. The same holds true in listening to all the advice, with respect to training for your key race, along with specific products that guarantee almost everything including setting a personal record.

There is so much information available in the marketplace on how to perform at your peak level come race day.   The best shoes to use (of course the minimalist shoe revolution), must-have compression tights that will make your quads not feel as fatigued (yes I tried them and my quads felt the same after a long run as “normal” running tights), compression socks, coaches who don’t even race but are great marketers, aero bikes, carbon fiber must have bike, aerodynamic hand held water bottles (this is crazy!), aero bars, aero helmets, GPS must have watches, the fastest swimming or wetsuit, etc.   All of this hype to sell products and services is just like the movie reviewer stating that the follow up to the first movie is bad – for example “Hangover 2” movie. I actually liked the second movie!

With the explosive growth of endurance sports, I still marvel at races with all the “stuff” and walking testimonials of coaches promoting the new breakthrough training approaches.   In most cases it’s just marketing and nothing concrete to prove the theories.  I am not advocating completely against testing various new training methods or products; however sometimes consider just going with your own decisions.  Does it now mean that a heavier shoe won’t be effective and that if you heel strike during running that you can’t run fast and will be injured continuously – non-sense to me.

I can’t wait till the next break through training or product idea. Who knows it might be a few years from now that  minimalist shoes are not for everyone and the manufacturers will be promoting some new heavy shoe. Make your own decisions and one thing that will never fail – training consistently over time.  It will provide the best opportunity for a personal record not the shoes you are wearing or bike composition you are riding.

Glycemic Load

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Glycemic index alone cannot refer to the exact blood sugar response of the consumed food. If you consume a small amount of a high GI food, like one small glass of cola or you eat one big plate of brown rice, the effect on blood sugar can be the same. Of course you feel more satisfied after the plate of rice then the small, 2dl cola. Glycemic load (GL) gives you the possibility to compare an amount of food according to their actual effects on blood sugar.

The formula of GL is the following:

GI*  the amount of total carbohydrate in the food (what you can read on he label of some pre-packaged food). It can give you a helpful tool which helps you to design your diet around a moderate carbohydrate load giving the effect of the exact proportion of food on blood glucose level. It helps avoiding high blood sugar peak, which can cause dizziness, fatigue and other health effects an hour later.

If you eat a bagel from white wheat which is 50gr you can calculate it’s GL like the following:

The GI of white bread is 90, the carbohydrate content is around 50% of its weight (reading from its label), so 50gr in 100gr. The glycemic load of this bagel is calculated like this: 0.5 * 50* 0.9 =22.5

The diet advice is to keep the GL of one meal in the medium category: 10-20, and for a day is no more then 120 if you train less then one hour in that day. Use a meal over 20 only as a carbohydrate load meal after training or during high volume endurance activity, but not in everyday diet.

Some help for GL of some food available here, if you do not want to count, but be careful GL always refer to an exact amount of food. If the GL of 100gr sweet corn is 10, the GL of 500gr is 50!!!: http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htmű


Holiday Workouts

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There’s nothing like running through the holiday season and reflecting on the year while dreaming/visioning a great racing season for 2011.  For many of us, it’s a bit sluggish at this time of the year for these few weeks because of all the running around seeing friends/family and not eating the best calories.  It’s the off-season and base building time – consider one of these workouts to keep the calorie burn high and keeping the legs fresh.

  1. Snowshoe Running – if your in a cold climate with access to snow, this is a must. Plenty of places to rent the snowshoes and the calorie burn will be significantly higher than running on the roads or trails.  You will be amazed on the cross-over effect when you do your next run on the roads.
  2. 45 minute time trial run – It’s a good time to see where your fitness is and use to compare future time-trials as you move further into your training schedule.   Focus on keeping your heart rate zone in the 75-80% range and see how far you can run in the allotted time (record your statistics, HR average, distance, time, weather)
  3. Hill Repeats – Even if your getting ready for a flat “warm” early season marathon – add some intensity sessions with a series of hill repeats on the road or trails.  Make sure you learn to “lean” into the hill and drive your arms to provide additional momentum.   Keep your heals down as you climb to eliminate achilles tendon issues!
  4. Bike/Swim Brick Workout – Head out for a steady tempo run and finish at your local fitness club and even if your not a swimmer – get into the water and focus on recovery with a swim interval set.  For those of you who are not swimmers, grab a kick-board and kick 1000 meters.

High 5 Thursday with Joe Donahue

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Today is  RaceTwitch(RT)  High 5 Thursday where we highlight a specific endurance sports athlete and profile their background, specific race performances, and offer insights on training idea’s, specific sport discipline expertise. 


This week’s High 5 featured athlete is accomplished triathlete, Joe Donahue, from the Jersey Shore!   Congratulations to Joe for  a great race performance in the Ironman World Championships, Kona — October 2010! Joe Donahue shares with RaceTwitch his background, race performances, training, and  offers his insight:

RT:  Tell us a little about yourself, where do you live and train?

JD: My name is Joe Donahue, I’m 45 years old and live and train out of Point Pleasant NJ. which is a great place to live and train, I have plenty of top notch athletes to train with, I’m married to my wife Liz and have two children, Emily 16 and Joe 13.

RT:  What do you do for a living?  and what is your average training hours per week

JD:  I work on the ramp at American Airlines at Newark Liberty Airport, I’ve been there 27 years!! My shift starts at 4am which means I get up at 2am every day for work, getting up that early presents some challenges on some of the longer weekday workouts. On average I would say I train anywhere from 10 hours a week for 70.3 training and 18 hours a week for Ironman.

RT:  Give us an example of one of your favorite workouts?

JD: My favorite workout for 70.3 is a track workout: 2 mile warmup then 3×3200 start @ 6min pace and work down to 5:45 -5:50 pace on 2 mins recovery, 2mile warmdown.  When I nail that workout I know I will have a good 70.3 run


RT:  What do you enjoy the most with racing and training in endurance sports?

JD: I enjoy the social aspects of training and racing the most, I’ve met and became friends with tons of really cool people!! I also enjoy traveling to races it’s always fun to experience new locations.

RT: Do you have written race goals and keep a training diary and if so, please describe?

JD: I use RaceDay software to track my training, it’s easy to use and has all the features to track your fitness and help achieve your goals.

RT: How long have you been racing in endurance sports?

JD: I have always been active in sports my whole life, I started running straight up running races around 1990, since then I’ve run hundreds of races from 5k’s through marathons. I made the move over to triathlon around 2004 doing the old Sandy Hookers series race as my first triathlon.

RT: What is your specific discipline focus?High 5 Thursday Joe Donahue

JD: My favorite discipline is running, I feel you get the best return on your time investment by getting an extra run workout.

RT: What is your favorite race, location?

JD: Kona for sure!! to qualify and to race here with the best in the world is just awesome. I also like Eagleman 70.3 and Rhode Island 70.3 they are both well organized races within driving distance from NJ.

RT: How many races do you participate in during the year?

JD: I usually do 5 or 6 straight running races early in the season, then 2 or 3 local sprints, 2 or 3 70.3′s and if I qualify for Kona 1 ironman.

RT: How many races do you “peak” for during the year?

JD: I peak for all the 70.3 distance races and Kona the rest of the races are tune ups.

RTWhat was your all time best race performance?

JD: I have a few;  winning my age group at Rhode Island 70.3 this year was my highest finish. I was also 3rd at Eagleman this year.

RT: What are your thoughts regarding mental performance training?

JD: You have to believe in yourself !! You need to break the race down into small manageable parts and draw back to success you’ve had during your training sessions and work your way through it. 

RT: What races are on your dream list?

JD: I’ve been lucky enough to race at Kona and would love to come back again next year!!

RT: Any personal Mantra or famous quote?

JD: When it’s late in the race especially at 70.3 and I’m running hard, I usually tell myself “If this pace is hurting you it is killing them just keep pushing” and I’ll keep repeating that.

RT: What is your most recent  or favorite book that you have read, any subject and  related to endurance sports?

JD: I liked Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, Freakonomics and an older book about Ernest Shackelton’s failed expedition to the South Pole called Endurance.

RT: What magazines/publications related to your sport discipline that you subscribe?

JD: I don’t subscribe to any Triathlon magazines I get most of my info online, however the new Tri magazine Lava looks like a good source.

RT: What is your greatest strength during a race?

JD: Running!

RT: What topics are of greatest interest for you that we might include in a future RaceTwitch Club Meetup, ex: race nutrition, functional training, specific race reviews, etc.

JD: Return on Investment!! This sport takes so much time, lets talk about how to get the most out of every workout!! No more Junk miles. What’s going to give you the best bang for your buck….. VO2 workouts, Threshold workouts, endurance workouts….sure there is a place for all of these. What does everyone think….me personally I believe Threshold type workouts, with some VO2 sprinkled in is the way to go, obviously we need some easy days too. so what does everyone think?

RT:  What training and race nutrition products do you use regularly?

JD: Cytomax, Carbo Pro, EFS gel.

RT: What do you do to maintain your fitness post race season?

JD: Mountain bike, Trail and beach running.

RT: Have you planned your race calendar for next year? If so, what are some of the races and your goals?

JD: I Haven’t planned next season yet I still have Clearwater 70.3 in November…after that I will start planning 2011. My goals for next season is to be top 3 in my age group at all 70.3′s I enter and to qualify for Kona next season.

RT: Any words of wisdom or advice you would offer to improve quality of training and race performance?

JD: You have to believe in yourself !! when someone is racing don’t say “Good Luck” say “Go Fast!” Other than getting a mechanical on the bike there is no luck involved.  Either you did the work or you didn’t if you did the work and trained properly you don’t need luck you just line up and when the gun goes off you “Go Fast”.

RT: How can people get connect with you further? And find out more about your business?

JD: We do track workouts every Wednesday at 5:30pm at Point Boro High School from March through November. We also have open water swims at Bridge ave in Bay Head from June through mid-September, Monday Wednesday Friday at 6am. You can check us out at http://bpctriathlon.com