Tuesday, February 26, 2008
"A lot people run a race to see who's the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts." - Steve Prefontaine
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Almost 20 years ago, I had lost 2 people in my life one of them who made me the Athlete I am today! His name is Arne. Arne and I were so very close he had taken me under his wing and taught me to be a faster runner, a hurdler and a better high jumper. My Birthday is coming up and way, way, way, back when I was in High School I remember being in the gym on my B-day with Arne; we were practicing High Jumping. Arne was pushing me to Jump 5'2 I was so scared, he would stand on the side of the mat and tell me to run in a half moon and jump in the middle of the bar. Arne would jump this height for practice jumps and he would show me over and over how to do it and Findley I did it! I jump 5'2!!! We practice this all the time, he would tell me your going to get the record for this keep it up. Track season came and I jumped 5'2 I did it I win that event and the School record. Arne was there with me after my jump, I jumped up gave him a huge hug. I can see that whole race over and over in my head and him smiling at me, telling me "great job, I knew you could do it". When Arne died I stopped track, I didn't want to High Jump, do Hurdles, Run in track races any more I gave up on those events. He wasn't there to push me to watch me and kick butt. The metal I won at that race I had put it in his coffin. The year Arne died he had also won the High Jump event and received a metal for it. I was there for that race - I'm so lucky to have that metal to make sure he is with me I put it on my bike where I can see it- Arne will always be with me when I race and practice not only in spirit. I thank god for those moments in my life just like so many other ones. I'm so grateful for everything I have.
Remember you only have one life live it!
I heard this song on TV and it just makes you think of those special people in your life that you have lost.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
By Edmund R. Burke, Ph.D. Active.com
Over the past decade it has become increasingly apparent that an efficient aerodynamic riding position when time trialing is crucial to performance, whether you are a road cyclist or a triathlete.
The advent of various types of aero handlebars has been one of the most significant developments in this area, and riders and equipment manufacturers have been flocking to wind tunnel facilities in order to discover the best ways to use this new equipment.
I have observed some of these tests, and it has become obvious that riders using clip-on or other types of aero bars can achieve a much more aerodynamic position by moving their arms closer together, thereby cutting airflow to the chest.
But although such a position is easy to adopt in the static conditions of a wind tunnel test, incorporating it into the real world of competition is another story.
Wind tunnel air-drag data have also shown the need to flatten the back so as not to ride with a mid-back "hump." Jeff Broker, biomechanist at the Olympic Training Center, states that a cyclist can achieve this flat-back position by training to ride with the pelvis rotated more forward, or horizontally, until the hump is eliminated. This technique should also help alleviate any shoulder strain when trying to accomplish a narrow-arm position.
As noted, it can take time to adapt one's body so that it performs well while riding in an efficient aerodynamic position. We know that when time-trialists try to stretch their backs while riding or suffer shoulder tension during time trialing, they lose aerodynamic and pedaling efficiency, and power output goes down.
I am often asked if there are any exercises that can help one achieve an aero riding position more quickly and which will also alleviate the post-ride residual soreness riders often experience while they are trying to adapt to the new position.
The answer is yes. A few years ago while working at the Olympic Training Center I had a chance to work with Lance Armstrong on trying to improve his aero bike position. I invited my riding partner, Bob Anderson, who is also the author of the book Stretching, to give Lance some suggestions on stretches that would help him achieve his new aero position more quickly and also allow him to maintain the correct position longer while time trialing.
Anderson agreed to help, and we developed this series of stretches for Lance. By incorporating this routine into your own training program, you should be able to alleviate most muscle soreness and obtain a more comfortable position while riding with clip-on or aero bars.
It should take about eight to 10 minutes to complete the set of six stretches. I recommend that you complete one set before and after working out on the days you will be spending a lot of time in the aero position.
1. Cat stretch
Kneeling on your knees with your arms stretched out ahead of you and your legs bent under you, let your lower back sink toward the floor, creating a concave arch in the lower back. Next, reverse the curve in your back (think angry cat) while in the same kneeling position.
Also, in order to stretch each side of your lower back, reach forward with one arm and grab the end of the mat and pull back with your arm straight while pressing down slightly with your hand. Do likewise with the other arm. Hold stretch for 20 seconds. Stretch each side. Don't strain. You should feel the stretch in your shoulders, arms, sides, upper back, or even in your lower back.
2. Standing back extension
Standing with knees slightly bent, place your palms against your lower back just above the hips, fingers pointing downward. Gently push your palms forward to create an extension in the lower back. Hold comfortable pressure for 10 to 12 seconds. Repeat twice. Use this stretch after sitting for an extended period of time.
3. Double "Reach for the Sky" stretch
In a standing or sitting position, interlace your fingers above your head. Now, with your palms facing upward, push your arms slightly back and up. Feel the stretch in arms, shoulders and upper back. Hold stretch for 15 seconds. Do not hold your breath. This stretch is good to do anywhere, anytime. Excellent for slumping shoulders.
4. Upper-body stretch
A stretch for the arms, shoulders, and back. Place your arms against a wall, shoulder-width apart, directly in front of you. Slowly begin to move your chest downward while keeping your feet remaining directly under your hips and your knees slightly bent. Hold this stretch 30 seconds. This is a good stretch to do anywhere, at anytime. Remember to always keep your knees bent when coming out of this stretch.
5. Sitting hamstring stretch
Sit on the floor and straighten your right leg. The sole of your left foot will be resting next to the inside of your straightened leg. Lean slightly forward from the hips and stretch the hamstrings of your right leg.
If you can't touch your toes comfortably, use a towel to help you stretch. Hold for 50 seconds. Do not lock your knee. Your right quadriceps should be soft and relaxed during the stretch. Keep your right foot upright with the ankle and toes relaxed. Repeat for the left leg.
Monday, February 18, 2008
What is perseverance?
Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance.
Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint.
Perseverance is trying again and again.
You show perseverance when you ...
Give up your tv time to spend hours studying
Try a new sport that is very difficult but you don't give up
Have a learning disability but keep studying even when discouraged
Come from a home where there is fighting and unhappiness but you still try your best
Have missed a week of school but you work hard to catch up
Are at the end of a difficult race but you cross the finish line
Save money and make sacrifices to buy something
Spend hours practicing on your music
Study and work hard to raise your grade
Try out for something you weren't successful at the first time
Proverbs and maxims
Failure is the path of least persistence.
All things will come round to him who will but wait. (Longfellow)
Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily.
Work hard and give it your best shot; never be a quitter. (Charley Taylor)
Monday, February 04, 2008
By Matt Fitzgerald Triathlete magazine
What can you possibly accomplish in just four minutes on the bike? A lot, actually. All you have to do is ride as hard as you can. Better yet, instead of riding as hard as you can for four straight minutes, ride at your true maximum power-output level in several short bursts, resting just long enough between bursts to avoid a precipitous decline in power output from one burst to the next.
What will this hellishly challenging four-minute session accomplish? It will boost your aerobic and anaerobic capacity simultaneously, increase your fatigue tolerance and lead directly to improved cycling performance in triathlons.
The session I just described is known as the Tabata protocol. It is named after Izumi Tabata, Ph.D., a former researcher at Japan's National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya, who learned about the workout from the coach of the Japanese national speed-skating team.
Specifically, the session consists of six to eight maximum-intensity sprints lasting 20 seconds apiece, with mere 10-second passive recovery periods between them. The session is so challenging and painful that most of the world-class speed skaters who were lucky enough to be the first to try it were totally exhausted after seven intervals. Only a handful could do eight.
Intensity vs. Duration
Tabata's primary research interest was the effects of exercise intensity on fitness. Through his work he came to believe that exercise intensity was at least as important as, if not more important than, exercise duration. So when he heard about a workout that packed two minutes and 40 seconds of maximum-intensity work into a four-minute period (and that's for those who could do eight intervals), he was intrigued.
To test the effects of this workout, Tabata first transferred it from speed skating to stationary bikes. Then he recruited subjects and had them perform the protocol five times a week for six weeks. At the beginning and again at the end of the study period, Tabata and his team measured the subjects' VO2 max and their anaerobic capacity. To provide a basis for comparison, Tabata conducted a second experiment in which subjects pedaled stationary bikes for one hour at a moderate intensity (70 percent of VO2 max) five days a week for six weeks. Their VO2 max and anaerobic capacity were also measured before and after the intervention.
The results were staggering. Subjects in the moderate-intensity exercise trial improved their VO2 max by a healthy 9.5 percent, while their anaerobic capacity did not change at all. Subjects in the maximum-intensity intervals trial—despite exercising for only 20 minutes per week, compared to five hours per week for the other group—improved their VO2 max by 14 percent and their anaerobic capacity by a whopping 28 percent.
Needless to say, this study got a lot of attention when it was published back in 1996, and coaches and athletes began to adapt the protocol to sports ranging from swimming to boxing. Virtually everyone who tried the Tabata protocol made the same report: It was excruciatingly painful, but it was effective.
I learned about Tabata intervals from Brian MacKenzie, owner of Genetic Potential, a fitness facility in Newport Beach, California. MacKenzie trains a number of triathletes and incorporates stationary-bike and treadmill Tabata sessions into the program of all who are willing to endure the suffering these workouts entail. An ultra-runner himself, MacKenzie credits his own twice-weekly Tabata sessions with enabling him to improve his performance on a training schedule averaging only 6.5 hours per week, and he says his triathlete clients have reported similar benefits.
If you think you have what it takes to survive the Tabata protocol, set up your indoor trainer and warm up with a few minutes of easy spinning followed by a few short (10- to 20-second) efforts at 90 percent of maximum intensity at increasing tension levels. Reset your computer to zero so you can record the total distance covered in the following 20-second intervals alone. You will try to increase this total each time you repeat the workout.
To perform your first interval, simply churn out the highest wattage total or perceived effort you possibly can for 20 seconds. You can stay in the saddle or get out of the saddle and use whatever combination of gear ratio and cadence that works best. After 20 seconds have elapsed, stop pedaling for 10 seconds—and 10 seconds only. Now do your second interval. Do not expect to be able to do more than six intervals in your first attempt. Cool down with just a few minutes of easy spinning.
If you're like a lot of triathletes, you will be tempted to incorporate this session into a longer workout. Don't. If you do more than a warm-up beforehand, you will fall apart completely after just a few intervals, and while you will still be giving a maximum effort, you will not be working at your true maximum output level, and that's what counts. And you simply won't be able to even think about doing anything more than a short cool-down after completing your Tabata intervals.
There are two approaches you can take to incorporating the Tabata protocol into your regular training. One option is to do the session regularly—from once every 10 days to as often as twice a week—during the base-building period of training to quickly and efficiently boost your aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Continue to do the session regularly until your performance (i.e. your maximum total distance covered) within the session stops increasing and levels off, and then turn your focus to more race-specific types of high-intensity workouts. Henceforth just do the session whenever you feel the need for a good blast.
A second option is to use the Tabata protocol primarily as a time-saver. Whenever you're pressed for time but you still want to get the fitness benefits of a solid workout, toss in a Tabata and have it both ways.