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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

FTP vs Time Off Results

Endurance athletes are a special kind of sick minded people, I include myself in this.  I say that because we train 8 to 9 months a year for a 2 to 3 months racing season.  But if you look at sports that wouldn't qualify as endurance sports like hockey, the guy practically don't train at all on the ice during the off season.  They might hit the gym, but few of them actually skate unless its a short training camp.

Years after years I have train to get better and maybe took 1 week of between season and was taught it was enough, but few years ago thing came clear, I needed more time.  Time to rest, heel, and time for my head to want to go through this sort of pain again.  So last year I took 2 weeks off but because I really didn't have a busy summer due to injury and surgery I pretty much spent the entire summer resting so 2 weeks seems to be the right time off.

But this year, after #Ironman Arizona, I decided to take a complete 3 weeks off, absolutely no training or physical activity what so ever.  Woke up, went to work, came home, be a dad and went to bed.  That s it.  3 weeks later I had the hitch to train, in fact after one week I felt like I needed to do something, but held on to the plan.

On my very first training session I planned to perform an *FTP test.  So that morning I got up, 0400hrs had a coffee and a shake, the a weight test and body composition measurement, I was slightly dehydrated, but nothing alarming and I had gain about 5 pounds.  Not bad for a 3 weeks off.  Well to my surprise, the test was above and far beyond expectation.  During my last test about a month and a half ago, my FTP was 301 but that morning my numbers had gone upright to 334, the best number I ever had.  The test was done on the same bike, same trainer, and even the pressure in my tires were the same.  I was really excited.


So basically what I'm saying is, the time off paid, now for the next 2 months my plan is to test my FTP every 2 weeks, then following those 2 months, I will do the test once a months and see if this stabilize, going up or down.  Fingers cross!

For appreciation for the number, look at my need training zone for the next few weeks.

ZonePower (W)Description
10 - 184Active Recovery
2187 - 251Endurance
3254 - 301Tempo
3a304 - 351Lactate Threshold
3354 - 401V02 Max
4404 - 501Anaerobic Capacity
5504 +Neuromuscular Power

In my next article, will be my season review.

*FTP - Functional threshold power or pace (FTP) is the highest mean average power or pace you can maintain for one hour. That’s quite precise, clear and logical. It even fits nicely with what we know about AT, LT, and VT. When you are in good shape these various measures of intensity can be maintained for about an hour.  - Joe Friel

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Ironman Arizona Retrospect Analysis

On Sunday, 17 November 2013 in Tempe Arizona I participated in my very first full Ironman race.  An Ironman race consists of a 3.9 km open water swim, a 180 km bike and a 42.2 km run; all that without stopping (hopefully)!  Through many years of competing in swimming and triathlon races, I have gained extensive knowledge and the ability to be prepared physically and mentally for this race, but truly nothing can resemble the actually race.  In preparation for Ironman Arizona, this year I competed in 4 half Ironman and 3 Olympic distance triathlons; and in my career as a triathlete, I  have participated in over 100 races since I was 13 yrs old, which include Sprint, Olympic and Half Ironman Distance races.

A Year Of Prep – I trained for over 1,600 hrs in the pass year, in swimming, biking, running, Crossfit, mobility training, yoga and cross country skiing.  I have participated in two high performance training camp and spent countless amounts of money on equipment, training, specific foods, trips, physical therapy and races.

Many people have been part of the team that helped me reaching my goals.  My coach Patricia Careau from LEAP High Performance has spent countless hours planning and helping me through the year, I have no idea how she managed to do anything else sometimes.  Ted Correa, from TED’s Road & Triathlon Bike Shop has been my bike mechanic; he has changed my perception of bike stores and what we should expect from them.  1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment and 21 Electronic Warfare Regiment, have allowed me time for training and races.  The Personnel Support Programs (PSP) organization added financial support and training facilities, and of course, my family, friends and training partners.

The Race Week – I left on Wednesday after work from Syracuse International Airport to catch a flight for Arizona, on Thursday at zero dark thirty.  After a long flight and many unexpected financial expenses I finally made it to the hotel and shortly after to the race site for the athletes Check-In.  Three days prior to the race, thousands of dedicated volunteers were already working to facilitate this event.  I was awed by the organization; I had never seen so many people working so well together and I was treated like a king every step of the way.

The next two days were pretty easy, I did some physical activation which consists of a short low intensity workout to test my body and put myself in the environment.  Everything felt good, like I was going to have the performance expected.  I was ready.

The Race Morning – Being my first Full Ironman, I didn’t know what to expect, so I planned to arrive early.  Up at 0400, I ate a great breakfast, did my mobility exercises and organized the last prep.  Then I left for the race site, arriving at 0530 with plenty of time to do everything I needed to do with spare time, so I thought.  But three thousand racers and their families make for a very crowded place.  I needed the whole hour and a half to get ready, turn in my “Special Needs Bags”, warm up and get dressed in my wetsuit.

The Race – The starting gun sounded, and the racers were off.  The first kilometre was a true battle, fighting to stay on top of the water and most important in the front, people were pulling, pushing and hitting.  That was nothing unusual for me so I shook them off and swam away; my plan was to stay in control and take it easy.  As a strong swimmer I was able to pace myself ending up with a great swim time of 58 minutes.  I climbed out of the water and up the stairs and ran to the first transition area where volunteers were ready with my bike bag and after a few short minutes for a change I started off my bike journey.

The bike course was unexpectedly challenging.  A few days earlier, a woman told me that the way out of the loop was up hill into the wind and had the potential to be very hard, but as an athlete from Ontario, I am familiar with hills.  Actually in my previous posting in Petawawa, you can’t go anywhere unless you ride hills, so I laughed a lot and walked away, but little did I knew she was right.  The hill was more of a false flat and the wind was around 12 knots, it was a hard and long 30 km on the way out compare to the way back.   I was averaging 30 to 35 kph and on the way back it was more like 45 to 55 kph,   so I had to modify my plan on the fly.  In only 20 km I had move up to the second spot overall.  At this point, riding fast was easy because there wasn’t anybody around, but on the second and third loop, everyone was on the race course, three thousand to be exact.  In a triathlon you can get penalized if you are caught drafting so occasionally I had to slow down in order to find space to pass.  I finally completed the 180 km in 5h05min.  I was happy with this time, but expected better.  With the traffic and trying to conserve energy, it was still a great time.

Then there was the run.  After racing over 184 km, you would think that 42.2 km wouldn’t be so bad, but in fact this was almost a nightmare.  With a temperature of over 30 degree Celsius, the first 5 km was atrocious.  I had to walk most of it having issues with my core temperature, and hydration level.  At every aid station I drank 4 or 5 Gatorade cups and ate bananas.  Once I regained control, I picked up the pace and by the halfway point I was happy with my progression.  Then it went from bad to worse.  I hadn’t eaten enough calories to maintain my body so my performance started to decline.  My running pace went from 10min per mile to 11min/11min45s, before I faltered completely I had the strength to force myself to eat some gel.  Something that needs to be understood is throughout the race the only thing you have to eat are power bars, energy gels and energy jujubes so as you go along, eventually your entire system gets sick of the taste and the textured so the mistake racers make is to stop eating.  Well I did it too.  So finally after I ate the gel, my energy levels got right back on track, my speed started getting faster and faster, at one point I was running 9min30s to 9min45s.  I was catching up and passing some people; it was unreal.  I completed the marathon in 4h29mins for a great total of 10h38min.

Post-Race – Once I crossed the finish line, a race official approached me to see if I was interested in  participating in the Ironman Los-Cabos in Mexico, based on my swim/bike performance, he mention that “they rarely see an athlete of my size doing so well and to top it off, on his first kick at the cat.”  I was very happy to hear that, because I had missed the Professional Standard Timing by 38mins and I was thinking of what I could do to perhaps get that time.

In conclusion – This race was full of surprises, and unexpected series of events.  I now know exactly how a full ironman feels, both physically and mentally.  I know what I have to do to get ready, and how to plan my race better.  Small details needed to be considered such as, course reconnaissance, follow the nutritional plan even if I don’t “feel like it” and possibly increase the Foundation Miles in order to build stamina.

Next Year – My race year looks to be busy, with an early race season start with Ironman Los Cabos at the end of March followed by Ironman 70.3 Syracuse mid June, Half Ironman Peterborough first week of July, Long Distance Triathlon of K-Town in August, Ironman 70.3 Timberman mid Aug, Ironman 70.3 Muskoka in early Sept, and finally Ironman Cozumel at the end of Nov.  This year my races are more spread out but that means the training season will be shorter.  It the first time I go with this kind of plan and I’m looking forward to see my results.

 – RACE HARD, TRAIN HARDER! –

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Swimming Methods


Just like for running, swimming has many different technique methods and schools.  In running for example, you have Pose Running, Chi Running, Mind-Body Running and many more.  In swimming you have just as many.  The one I’m writing about is called Total Immersion (TI).  Essentially TI is a good idea, but as an International Level Swimmer and a Level 3 swim coach, this technique has flaws and is not made for every swimmer.  



Total Immersion Swimming’s Headline says “Where Human Learn to Swim Like Fish:  well as much as I would love to swim like a fish, the human body is completely different then a fish.  The unique approach of TI is to evolve swimmers and triathletes to become more comfortable in the water and swim with less effort.  I support this approach but I believe that this is not methods fits all.  You need to consider the distance in which you are racing, if you are in pool or open water, what equipment you are using, etc.

That being said, if you are a swimmer who as no desire to compete and only want to be comfortable in the pool, this method is for you.

The reason why I decided to write this article is because so many triathletes, lifeguard and masters competitors come to me after they read about TI and paid for video or books.  They have issue getting the technique or simply have it all wrong.

Some of the things that stick to swimmers mind is, I DON’T NEED TO KICK MUCH ANYMORE.  I would say, you are wrong, in fact, you need to have a much more powerful kick now, since you don’t kick as much.  Kicking is the only way you get your hips to the surface, if you kick less, what do you think will happen, therefore you need to have a strong kick…

Another reason why TI is not for everyone, as an athlete, master swim competition or triathlon, lets all agree that we compete to be as fast as possible, no one like to finish last.  And in many triathlon races, there is a swim cut off, plus no one wants to be in the water longer then they have too.

If you are a sprint event swimming, anywhere between 50m to 400m freestyle, the fastest technique will have you being as high as possible on the water to create less drag in the water, turning you body from side to side to get the most hydrodynamic position and the strongest pull for each arm.  Personally if I swim a 50m all out using TI, my time will fluctuate around 30sec from the wall, but if I adopt the sprint position I describe, I can easily swim sub 28sec, which is you think about it on a 400m is more then a quarter of a minute without even work on your cardio.

As a coach I find that one of the most difficult technique to master for older swimming is to rotate the shoulder, it is a simple move if you think about if, but is demands a great sense of timing, coordination, strength and mobility.  If you have a hard time mastering the best shoulder rotation, TI would demand a great deal of effort for you to pull your arms out of the water which could potentially create should and neck pain and injuries.

My next reason is about the water condition.  If you are in a crowded pool, the other swimming create turbulence and waves, splash that could make it very hard for you to breath without getting water in your mouth while your face is facing up the way TI is showing you to do.  And this is just in the perfect condition.  So for triathlon who almost never racing a perfect water condition, you have to potential to breath in water and make you swim experience a complete disaster.

Finally, the swim equipment, specially the wetsuit, while most triathletes swim indoor most of the season, almost none of them bring their wetsuit in the pool, and why would you, right?  Its bad for the neoprene and a little harder on your shoulder.  Well as you know the wetsuit is great for two reasons, it will keep you warm and for its buoyancy.  The wetsuit essentially, makes you float regardless if you call yourself a rock.  This makes TI a technique impossible to do in open water swimming.  So my question to you is, why working on having the best TI technique if you wont use it when comes race day?

In conclusion, my suggestion to you is, sit with a swim coach, for 5 to 10 session and get the best technique for what you want to accomplish, most qualified coach know the different methods and will get you where you need to be for the race you want to be part of.  Self teaching a swim technique never worked, for anyone, the main reason is that you can’t see yourself.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tri-mantra

In my world,
The water is cold,
The wind is hard,
And the road never ends.


In my world,
There are no losers.
Only competitors
still on their way,
And spectators
waiting to be inspired.


In my world,
Victory is not weighed in gold,
But in determination and courage.


In my world,
There are no boundaries,
No limits,
There is no end.
Every day is the last day of my life,
And the first.


In my world,
The word "can't" does not exist,
And nothing is impossible.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

ENDURANCE RACE STRATEGY


How to Choose the Right Race Strategy

The two adversaries in Endurance Racing are your competitors and the clock. Your racing tactics depend on which of these adversaries is more important in a specific race.

To beat other competitors of equal ability, you need to race smarter than them. To beat the clock, you simply need to race the fastest time possible, which is almost always accomplished with even pacing.

So, first decide what your objective is for a given race, and then select the tactics to meet that objective. Finally, during training, visualize yourself successfully using those tactics to achieve your objective. 

For the most part, endurance racing, and specifically the sport of triathlon, requires a steady, consistent pace from start to finish. Endurance racing is a balance between energy conservation, expenditure and intake. With the exception of draft legal events, opponent strategy and tactics are largely not a consideration, whereas individual pacing is. There are, however, instances where tactics and strategy can help you defeat an opponent in a close race.

First, you should be in contention for an age group of overall placement. Never waste time attacking an athlete that is not in your category. Secondly, the opponent must be within your performance grasp. If your opponent is significantly ahead of you, opening up a gap, and you are topped out, then you will only waste time and energy attempting to attack. It is only ?game on? when you are closely matched and in competition with one another.

Pacing Strategies

With a Sprint triathlon often taking one to two hours to complete, and Olympic-distance triathlons often lasting two to three and a half hours or more, triathletes have a warped sense of distance, you need to know how to pace the distance properly to ensure a great performance.

So those are things to think about when building your race strategy.  I won’t give you all the answers, but I will make you aware of all the component you need to address in order to effectively build your race strategy.

Smart pacing for top Ironman performance

Here’s data from the 2010 Ironman World Championships (Male Pro finishers):



Not surprising to see that that Chris McCormack, the overall male pro winner, was on average 3.5% slower than the fastest male pro finisher in each discipline (-5.74% swim, -3.25% bike, -1.51% run).  The data seems to support three possible winning Ironman race strategies: 1.) disciplined pacing, 2.) be a fast marathon runner or 3.) a mix of disciplined pacing and fast marathon running.

Smart, disciplined pacing on the swim and bike (don’t try to be the fastest guy out front) will allow for an optimal run performance.  Notice that the top 10 fastest swimmers and cyclist we’re, on average, about 3.6% percent slower than the eventual overall winning time while the top 10 fastest runners were, on average, within 2.3% of the overall winning time.

Nothing exhaustive in this data analysis but it clearly displays the importance of developing the ability to, and pacing for a fast Ironman marathon.  Dropping your swim or bike pace by a few percentage points may pay off on the run.
http://practicaltriathlon.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/smart-pacing-for-top-ironman-performance/


So here it is:

  1. Train for you’re A race of the year, if your important race is an Half Ironman, don’t spend too much time planning your Sprint race.  Train for what is important.
  2. Once you are registered to that important race, do an initial route reconnaissance by map, you can input your race route on many site to find out if there is elevation gain important to consider which should affect you training plan.  Then adjust that plan.
  3. Once you get a little closer to you race, around 1 month away, write down your race strategy on paper, this will aloud you to review, study and modify it as you go.  Some subjects you need to include are:
    1. Tactics vs. competitors (take the name down and follow their performance of the previous years and present);
    2. Route (by map and if possible actually ride it and make notes);
    3. Where to Attacks;
    4. D-2 (2 days prior to the race food, training and rest plan);
    5. D-1 (1 day prior to the race food, training and rest plan);
    6. D day (Timing, food, warm-up, etc);
    7. Race: (Speed/Tempo or pace, Food & liquid intake, others such as sun screen, etc.)
      1. Swim;
      2. T1;
      3. Bike;
      4. T2; and
      5. Run.
    8. First food intake at the finishing line;
    9. C-D;
    10. Stretching / Mobility / Massage therapy etc.;
    11. Evening Meal; and
    12. Hydration.


Know the rules, provincial national and international sanctioned races have rules that you most obliged by or you can get disqualified, something as simple as using an iPod, or the weight of your bike, etc.  Know the rules in advance so you don’t have to do last min changes.

Divide the race in section, not just in discipline, but where you want to push, and where you want to take it easy.  What zone you want to be in.

You strategy/plan should include feeding times, water, electrolyte, glucose, etc.
Once your plan is written, try it while training, some food might not work for you, some speed might be too taxing for you and you might need to be more conservative at some section.  Finally adjust that plan in order to be at your best for your “A” race.

Finally there the 10 most common mistake in Endurance Racing:
1) Over-training;
2) Poor diet choices;
3) No Real plan for your race week;
4) Improper pre-race hydration;
5) Improper race-eve prep;
6) Poor swim strategy;
7) Mistake in transition;
8) Going out waaaay too fast on the bike;
9) Absolutely no run plan; and
10) No eating or drinking plan for the run.

Monday, March 18, 2013

WEEK 24 - WHY TRIATHLETE HAVE TO FLIP-TURN.


I grew up as a swimmer/triathlete so I never had any problem to perform a flip-turn, I could do then pretty much all day long, but some triathlete gets very intimidated by them.  There is truly no reasons why.  Lots of questions and need of practice for sure and also maybe a lot of statement suggesting that you don't need them to become a fast swimmer, but I will break that myth.

A flip-turn is a necessity, its basically one of the first things your kids will learn once they are capable to swim.  They will learn to tumble unassisted.  So why if your kids have no problem learning them, should you?  If you practice your turns every day or swim practice, you will be able to perform a flip-turn within one week or two.  Then it might take you few more to be good at them and by the end of the season you will be great.  So good you wont have to think about it anymore.  But to accomplish that you need to stick to it and apply yourself.


There is some excuses I often hear from the same people that tell me they wish they could swim as fast as me.  Lets address them; I get out of breath or its a good time to rest and take a breath. With practice the flip-turn will become very easy, use less energy and be way more efficient, if you feel that you need to improve your breathing, perhaps have you heard of Hypoxic training?  If you did, well great, in your case a flip-turn could be your progression of that training, you will train your lungs to push them self and you will improve your overall triathlon performances.  Perhaps you think that you have few second to look at the clock and see your pace?  Well if you were running or biking up hill, you wouldn't stop to look at your watch or bike cpu, you would push until you crest the hill, pick up the pace and gain your momentum back.  Plus think about this, a flip-turn is like a continuous move that utilize your speed and bounce back from the wall, you use almost no energy what so ever to make them.  But if you do an open turn, its like doing a full range squats.  There is 20 turns in 500 m, multiple that to what ever distance you do in a practice, you will see how many squats your do in that practice, then go on the side line and to them consecutively and feel them to see how hard it is.


Next; I get water in my nose.  That one is easy, buy a nose plug, learn to make bubble or simply deal with it, your in water, you will get water everywhere.

Finally; I am scared to bump my head or heels.  Well let me tell you, i got hit my a car while riding before, i'm scared of being hit again but it doesn't stop me from riding, would you?

Some triathlete often suggest that they don't need to have a flip-turn because there is no walls in the race, but they still look to get better in the water.  Well I tell them that if do had a flip-turn they would be able to swim more in every practice.  SO WHAT?  They say, well if you can only swim 2 km in a practice, and you learn to do a flip-turn, since its faster, now you can swim 2,5 km per.  Now let's say you swim 3 times a week for a full season of 48 weeks.  Well its a 72 km more at the end of the year which is the equivalent of 12 weeks the way they do it.

Some of them bring back the; well now they slow me down.  I always ask them if they plan to die this summer because if they didn't, that means they could compete in triathlon for the next 50 to 60 years.
My suggestion to you, find a master swim team  you will definitely have help or more lifeguard knows how to flip-turn, ask them.  If that's not an option, then look online and find some video to help you out.  Or check out this video!
video



So here it is, Flip-Turn in 5 steps
Step 1: Swim into the wall with one arm stretched out.
Step 2: Tuck your chin to your chest.
Step 3: Pull the outstretched arm to your hip.
Step 4: Throw your legs over your head.
Step 5: Plant feet on the wall and push off.


WEEK 24 - NEW PARTNERSHIP
This week, Rival-us and I are now working, they help me with product and I represent there company, if you have questions, let me know.

This week's training...
Mon 11 March
0515-0530 Hips mobility
0530-0630 Spin "Thom"
0645-0800 Crossfit OVS trg
0900-1000 2k Swim sprint from mid pool trg
1500-1600 Mobility trg & Stretching

Tues 12 March
0800-0900 3k Swim Active Recovery
0900-1000 Core Trg
1445-1630 Run "Peterson's Ghost"

Wed 13 March
0530-0630 Spin 4xTabata trg
0630-0700 Roller work to lower body
0800-0900 3k Swim mid distance intensity trg
0900-1000 Mobility WOD
1545-1700 Crossfit WOD

Thurs 14 March
0800-0900 2k Swim Active Recovery (Drills & IM tech)
0900-0930 Short Core trg
1500-1600 8k Run Active Recovery

Fri 15 March
0530-0630 Spin Seated/Standing climb trg
0800-0900 3k Swim T23 = 1725m
1500-1600 Crossfit WOD

Sat 16 March
0630-0700 Mobility WOD/Stretching
0700-0900 Spin "Good things comes in 3's"
0915-1045 14k Run Dist Tempo trg
1100-1145 Mobility WOD shoudler & legs
1600-1700 2k Swim

Sun 17 March
OFF

Monday, March 11, 2013

WEEK 22 & 23 HOME SWEET HOME



There truly is no place like home. 

  No matter how many times you leave, no matter how old you are, there's nothing like going back home. After few months away, I finally  return home for awhile I hope and enjoy the company of my family and training buddies. 

  For me, when I'm home to Petawawa, I can spend time with my family and go back to a regular training schedule, as you know the military love to make us busy and make us spend all the time we have waiting around for something to happen.

  Well the course I just came back from as the perfect example of what the military is all about.  A bunch of cliche like; hurry up and wait, on the bus off the bus, etc.  Most of the time spent pulling your hair out, and when you have none left, you pull your roommate's.

  But finally, here I am, home!  Home to my beautiful daughter and wife, my great dog, and toys and training facilities and partners I like so much.

The last week in Gagetown was a true test of my internal chi, practicing breathing techniques and perhaps meditation to help keep my nerves in check.  Training suffered greatly as we were left behind or forgotten, do this to me once, I can respectfully take apologies, but do it twice and I get mad, I mean really mad and in order to keep peace, its better for me to hold my tongue which take a lot of energy and self talk.

First Monday back home I get to have a nice little pees test, lovely.  Followed my a good week of fitness challenges.  Swimming and crossfit.  Tough week to say the least.

WEEK 22
Monday 25 Feb
0515-0600 Crossfit Power clean/burpees
1600-1700 3k Swim medley trg / Active Recovery

Tuesday 26 Feb
0515-0600 Crossfit Endurance
1900-2000 Spin Standing Climb trg

Wednesday 27 Feb
1830-2000 10k Run w Drill & Tempo trg

Thursday 28 Feb
0515-0600 Crossfit 

Friday 1 Mar
Drive home (13hrs)

Sat 2 & Sun 3 Mar - OFF

WEEK 23
Monday 4 Mar
1200-1300 3k Swim Active Recovery
1600-1730 Spin Z3 trg

Olympian Bear (Sports Challenges)

Tuesday 5 Mar
0900-1000 Crossfit WOD Challenge
1400-1600 Bike/run (first outdoor ride of the year)

Wednesday 6 Mar
0530-0630 Spin Z3 trg Modify min of hell
1000-1030 / 1300-1330 Swim Competition
1400-1500 Crossfit WOD Challenge

Thursday 7 Mar
0900-1000 Crossfit WOD Challenge
1000-1100 Swim Competition

Friday 8 Mar
0530-0630 Spin HST88
0800-0900 Crossfit WOD Challenge

Sat 9 & Sun 10 Mar - OFF

Sunday, February 24, 2013

WEEK 21 - THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING IN SPORTS

This week I decided to talk to you about the strong Power of Positive Thinking in Sports, in fact you can apply this to an every day situation.  This idea came up to me on Friday, while I was going to get assessed as part of a career course I am on now.  A lot of very important people were gonna be present, although I don't usually get nervous over things like that, I wasn't set for this level of scrutinizing as I was ready to get tested on a complete different weapon range and last minute it got changed.  I had to reorganize myself in one day.  Not a problem, got it done, but no one like to have 2 or 3 big wigs looking over your shoulders to see if you do every step right. 

So on Friday morning when I walked through the front door of the shake, I told myself my peers that: "today will be a great day, things are going to go well and I will have fun".  As I was walking toward the truck to bus on and move to the ranges, a staff on my course told me, "MCpl Prud'homme, finally what is going to happen... you will get to the range, run your range as we assest you and we will get out of there before those VIP shows up, thecandidates from the other course will take care of the VIPs".  So all the sun, the pressure dropped, go to do my test, did well, came back to the shake and out of my uniform in 2 hrs flat.  By 9h15 am I was in civilian clothing, ready to carrion with my week-end.



THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING IN SPORTS


You've heard about this theory before: If your mind can conceive it, and you believe it, you can achieve it.  Positive people are more successful than negative people because they are, well, more positive. Kind of obvious when you think about it.  Elite athletes are able to recover from failure without nagging guilt or destructive self-blame. "People who are exceptional have developed that skill of positive thinking. It goes beyond confidence." - Judy McDonald, Researcher at Ottawa University 

video


So if Michael misses the big shot right at the buzzer, he's not fazed for long. The next night he's eager to make the big plays again. One miss doesn't dint his armor or self-confidence. It doesn't brand him as a failure in his mind. Some guys are afraid to go for the big play again after they miss, but not superstars like Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky. They want to be right in the middle of all the action when stress is highest because they thrive on it. They love the stress. 

It has been researched and proven that Olympic and Professional Athletes, share the following skills: 

  1. A powerful ability to visualize a coming event, mentally rehearsing it in super detail again and again;
  2. An ability to focus intensely on a goal, shutting out all distractions; and
  3. A high level of commitment and near- obsessive dedication to their sport. 

A training programs should be developed to boost the mental readiness.  Athletes can apply the mental aptitude to achieving their goals. Remember, "Believe enough and it'll come true" - Leanda Cave, Female Triathlete of the Year 2012

Some aspect of your training to take in consideration are:

  1. Stress Management Training (SMT): In an SMT session, you should point out the positive as an integral piece of that session.  If Positive Thinking is about being positive, SMT should not mean denial of the reality if something went truly wrong, but on the opposite allow yourself to take a personalize approach to those difficulties and unpleasant series of event that lead you to the unwanted results with a more productive attitude.  Using a rationalized method over an emotional approach.   Emotion will drive you further down and rationalize will let you resurface with an action plan with a positive output on the event.
  2. Self-talk session: (organized) "The human mind is bombarded with an endless stream of conscious and subconscious thoughts each day that are called self-talk.  While much of the chatter is based on logical thinking, many of the thoughts are rooted in preconceptions and misconceptions. Ideas learned in childhood often represent a good portion of the notions held as fact." - livestrong.com     
    During a self-talk session, you don't need to let anyone know, you don't
     need to talk to yourself out loud, its just you and your internal voice having a quick little chat.  The important is to stay on track almost like when you present a school project, you have a q-card to help you guiding yourself, well in a self-talk session, you should have a format, ie first I will talk about the hole situation, second about what I did that need improvement, then what I did good, next would be about those things that I had no power over such as the weather or a crash in front of you and finally what you must do to improve and what you must continue because you are doing it right.     
    It is also very important to make this a routine, for good or bad days/events.  You should also practice this in training so you know what works for you and improve your technique just like any other skills.


Everyone has a bad day now and then. Not everyone hits a homerun every single time they’re up to bat, and excellent grades aren't just handed out without hard work and studying.Sometimes, you can end up beating yourself down when things go wrong, or saying something you’ll later regret to friends and family when they make mistakes. This is negativity, and as I just mentioned, it’s actually worse than the thing that made you feel bad in the first place.

I have a personal really life experience that prove just that.
In 2006 at the World Lifesaving Championship, I made it in the final seeded first, next to me was the world most known lifesaving athlete, Lutz Heimann, the best Lifesaving Athlete according to anyone who knows about the sport.  Well that morning I was faster then him and my PR was also faster the his, some my moral was high.  I was read.  That evening I race 100m Manikin Carry with fins, I got to the wall first, but struggled with the manikin and gave an opening to Luts which he took it and got few meters in front of me, I worked super hard and closed with but just not enough and Luts won the race, I was devastated, upset, I did not like to lose ever.  I let that go to my head instead to enjoy my second places finish.  The next day was the 100m Manikin Tow with fins, the same situation occur to make it in the finales.  And again Luts won over me, I was furious  so upset I was outrage, I tossed my goggles and my fins, and said some bad words to myself.  An official heard the comments and reported to the chef of competition who had a talk with my mission officer about athletes conduct and that I was out of line.  My action almost got the entire Canadian National Team suspended from the Championship.  I then realized what I had done, let that thinking go from bad to worst, and everything went south and this got out of control for other athletes.  I decided to publicly apologies which saved the team opportunity to compete.  But the official remembered my name and in every race in this championship, I was scrutinized by everyone, which lead to being disqualify in every other races I took place in for technicality.  That championship, I won 2 silver medals, but I lost so much more.  And this could have been prevented only by Positive Thinking.

I will leave you with this quote and my idea of its meaning...
“We can’t escape pain; we can’t escape the essential nature of our lives. But we do have a choice. We can give in and relent, or we can fight, persevere, and create a life worth living, a noble life. Pain is a fact; our evaluation of it is a choice.” - Jacob Held, Male Triathlete of the Year 2012

This can be related to sports, when you are in a race, your heart is beating so hard it feels like it will rip out of your chest.  Your arms and legs are full of lactic acid and your feeling of pain is so strong that you start doubting yourself in your capabilities to continue   Remember that everyone else feel the exact same way, its up to you to make peace with the pain, and carrion.  The best way to make this happen is the think positively, think on what you got to do, not what is happening.




Ref: The Power of Positive Thinking for Athletes in Sports & Bodybuilding by www.fitflew.com
The Power Of Positive Thinking & Stress by www.livestrong.com

WEEK 21 - TRAINING OF THE WEEK

MONDAY 18 FEB 2013

0530-0615 Crossfit Endurance upper body centric

1600-1715 3k Swim hypoxic trg
1930-2030 8k Run Tempo (half)

TUESDAY 19 FEB 2013

0515-0600 Crossfit 15min AMRAP

1400-1500 Spin Z2 trg
1600-1700 3k Swim IM trg
1845-1945 Mobility WOD & Core trg

WEDNESDAY 20 FEB 2013

0515-0600 Crossfit Strength Legs

1600-1700 3k Swim Mid distance trg
1900-2000 6k Run Drill/Accel & Endurance Sprints repeats

THURSDAY 21 FEB 2013

0515-0600 Crossfit Strength Upper body

1445-1545 Spin Seated Climb trg
1600-1700 3k Swim Active Recovery

Evening to rest (lower back not doing too great)

FRIDAY 22 FEB 2013

Morning off as I am a little worried about my back.

1400-1500 6k Run low intensity trg - active recovery
1600-1700 3k Swim Mid distance trg

SATURDAY 23 FEB 2013

0800-1000 6k Swim Intensity trg
1000-1100 Crossfit Endurance in memory of fallen soldier US Amry Spec Adam Hamilton from Kent, Ohio

1500-1700 2hrs Spin/Run Bricks

SUNDAY 24 FEB 2013

1400-1600 Mobility WOD & Core trg

Next week is a well deserve active recovery week.  Time to heel, and finally go home after 6 weeks away.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

WEEK 20 - MENTAL TRAINING

As you know, I have been sent to CFB Gagetown in NB for a career course.  Usually when you go on course you expect to learn something, but this course its more about being assest on things you already have learned to see it your ready to move to the next level.  So without any issue I will come home with this new qualification which feel pretty much like a big waste of time, that being said I would be able to get promoted without it.  The reason why I am telling you this is because I am bored here and it affect my training.  Waking up tired without any desire to do anything, resemble very much like being over train or maybe being burned out.

So I had to do something about it.  Change the way I do things.  In my swimming career I have practice Mental Imagery, Mental Preparation and alot more techniques that I have been taking for granted lately because when you are on a high, and everything is going your way, you usually dont take the time to think of this very important aspect of training and/or competing.  While in experience plays a huges part of your total preparation and also to maintain sight on your goals.  Imagine you have goal that are many years away and you do not practice mental training, this is the best way to lose yourself or to get side tracked by everything and everyone around you.

So I have prepared some idea to consider but do not stop there, mental training is different to everyone and you should read more about it.

MENTAL TRAINING

There is Nine Mental Skills which play an important part in an athlete's training/racing capabilitie to become a successful athlete, here they are:

  1. Choose and maintain a positive attitude;
  2. Maintain a high level of self-motivation;
  3. Set high but realistic goals
  4. Deal effectively with people or other athletes;
  5. Use positive self-talk;
  6. Use positive mental imagery;
  7. Manage anxiety effectively;
  8. Manage their emotion effectively; and
  9. Maintain concentration.
In order to improve those 9 skills, you should work/train yourself in groups, if you try to work on those 9 at the same time you might have a hard time, but few at a time is a recipes for success.

When comes to setting goal, I have a way that always made me successful.  First you most write them done in the right order, start by writing down your long term goal, long term will very in reference to how long you are planning to compete or what is your ultimate goal, for example, a teenager who's goal is to go to the Olympics, this could be his long term goal.  Second, write your mid term goal and finally your short term goal which should be those things that you would like to accomplish within the year.

Always make sure you have some doable goals and maybe some that could be a little harder  This will make sure you have something to strike through and something to reach.

Then write down the list of what you need to do everyday in order to accomplish those goals

Finally post that list somewhere you can see it as often as possible, you accomplish a goal, keep it there, strike it through and mark the date, this will remains you how far you've come and make you realize that even if your on a plateau, you are still on track.

Check this out, this is a short from of my goal list:

Goals:
Long-term: Ironman World Championship
Mid-term: First page finish at full Ironman competition
Short-term: Dropping body weight below 200lbs

Daily need to do:
  1. Always train with a purpose
  2. Train smart
  3. Train Hard
  4. Stay concentrated throughout the trg session
  5. Follow the plan
  6. Make compromises
  7. Never forget who is supporting you the most "Family"
  8. PAIN does not exist.

MENTAL PREPARATION ROUTINE

Hopefully now you are convinced of the important of mental training, I would like to talk about your routine, or as I like to call it, Mental Prep Routine.  It is critical to consider the benefits of developing your personal mental prep routine and use it consistently to your advantage, change it, tweek it and improve it as you go.

Your mental prep routine, can start few minutes or few days before your race, some peoples cant be in it for more then few minute/hours at a time otherwise they go crazy, they need distration, and other absolutly need alot of time in their head getting ready.  This may include:
  1. Meals pre-race (one to three days prior;
  2. Race kit routine;
  3. Relaxation & mediation;
  4. Short training session the days before and stretching / mobility trg;
  5. Bed time routine;
  6. Feeding & hydration pre-race; and 
  7. Warm-up.
You can have more or less this is you mental prep routine, so make it your own.

Other subject to think about:
How will you attain your ideal mental zone?
How will you reach a high self-confidence toward your race?
How will you control your mental energy?
How focus do you need to be or should you need some distraction?
Etc..


WEEK 20 - TAPER & TIME TRIAL WEEK

MONDAY 11 FEB 2013

1830-1930 Crossfit WOD

TUESDAY 12 FEB 2013

1400-1530 Run 7k Tabata Run (long w-u/c-d)

WEDNESDAY 13 FEB 2013 (OFF @ the Range all day till late)

THURSDAY 14 FEB 2013 (5k Time Trial Day)

0930-1100 Long w-u w drills / acceleration etc. 5k time 19m44s

FRIDAY 15 FEB 2013

1600-1700 Swim 4k distance work
1900-2000 Spin Active Recovery

SATURDAY 16 FEB 2013

0800-1000 Swim 6k kick work/long intensity trg
1000-1130 -Mobility WOD
                  -Crossfit WOD (HOPE for Kenya)
1500-1630 Spin(1hr)/Run(15min)

SUNDAY 17 FEB 2013

1000-1130 Mobility & Core trg

Sunday, February 10, 2013

WEEK 19 - HIGHS & LOWS

First and foremost, GOOD JOB RAVENS!!!  Someone ask me who I was for in the Super Bowl and I said without hesitation, RAVENS.  Their immediate reaction was !!WHY!! with that, what a weird dude, look on his face.  So I explain that the stats are pretty much the same and that the 49ers really never lost once when they get to the bowl so the only thing that can happen is them losing.  Otherwise it would be almost like a merical and I don't believe in those.  So the only other option is for the Ravens to win.  So the answer was, your crazy go sit in that corner...  Well guess what...  Thats right, I was right and he was wrong and I made a point to tell him that CRAZY GUY!!!

So the week started pretty easy, we got told Sunday afternoon that they're wouldnt be any PT Monday morning, so that open the door for me to perform my personal training and not be bothered which happen as planned.

MONDAY 04 FEB 2013

0530-0615 6k Run (Z2 to bottom Z3)
1900-2000 Spin 3x (4mins Z2/4min Z3/4min Z4) in the bottom of each Zone

Both trg session were good, other then the collision with an idiot who didnt look before crossing the track.  I say idiot as I am trying to stay polite as he made sure I was aware that he was an officer after swearing at me the way he did.  So I had to tape my ankle all day to help with the pain.

TUESDAY 05 FEB 2013

Another morning to do PT on my own, great!!  Then in the freezing -30 all day.  Thanks to unissued kit I was warm the hole day.

0530-0615 Crossfit WOD

1830-2000 -Mobility WOD
                  -Core Trg  spending lots of time on the GHR machine

WEDNESDAY 06 FEB 2013

Today is not as fun, the crse had to go back to crse PT doing the same old and boring thing, BUT SURPRISE! SURPRISE! Would one of the staff read my blog??  The 100 pushups/100situps/15lap & 20 pullups has changed.  Now its 50pushups/50situps/50dips/15laps/20pullups, so basically same shit.  Lots of imagination.

0530-0615 Circuit trg

1900-2000 Spin - Minute of Hell - I love that one, it hurts but it doesnt last long and repeat.

THURSDAY 07 FEB 2013

SAME OLD CIRCUIT TRG IN THE MORNING i dont know how to tell an full of himself staff that he has no idea how to run PT.  So I tell myself, only 3 weeks left of that then I can go back to where I belong.

0530-0615 Circuit trg

1800-1900 Tabata Run 6k total including w-u/m-s/c-d
1900-1930 core trg

FRIDAY 08 FEB 2013

0530-0615 Crossfit WOD

1400-1515 Spin HST 88
The day finished early so lots of time to relax and meet some friends for a coffee.

SATURDAY 09 FEB 2013



Like most of us living in Ontario/Quebec/ and on toward the maritime, I got woken up by gushing wind whistling in the cracks of the window.  Wind surpassing the 75kph.  Last time I saw that it was in Norway during a FTX in the mountain above the tree line.  We had to build an emergency snow cave to get shelter from the blizzard storm out there and we were stuck in there for days.



Then I get up for a swim practice with the local team, to find out that they have cancelled the practice in prevision for the storm.  Who cancel a swim practice while its done inside.  There is no snow or wind in that pool trust me.  So I show up, wait and wait again, no one showed.  But thats ok, I had a plan.

0800-0930   -6k Run (drills.accekeration etc)
                    -Muscle ups progression
                    -Core trg

1400-1500 Spin

SUNDAY 10 FEB 2013

Nice sleep in morning followed by an easy active recovery workout

1000-1130 Light jog & Mobility WOD

Than i'm done for the day, time to study for the test first thing in the morning monday.

ENJOY YOUR WEEK.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

RUN / WALK TRACK ETIQUETTE

It is my understanding that most of those athletes who read my blog don’t need my remarks on how to conduct training and specially the sports etiquette, but it is our duty to spread the word because I am sure that I am not the only one who suffers in silence of those issues.  Couple years ago I was talking to a friend who is a Social Worker and she told me, why instead of complaining don’t you do something about it, have a glass of wine and write about it.  At the time I walked away from that discussion thinking I wouldn’t be able to make changes, which nobody would care or help me changing anything.  Well boy was I wrong.  Few weeks ago I have wrote about Lap Swimming Etiquette and my blog post got well over 200 hits and more than one hundred shares.  Someone even made a condensed version and sent it to the local papers.  Now did it make a difference in the pool, maybe, maybe not “YET” but eventually it will.  So thanks for those who got involve and let’s hope this blog post will also spread like wild fire.

So while I was talking to pro runner, competitive athletes and enthusiastic Sunday morning runners we all came up to few rules or guide lines if you will.  Doesn’t matter if its on a local dirt track or a high end Olympic calibrated run track, those are some accepted practices or like I enjoy to call it “Run Track Etiquette”.

video


Here they are:

1.  If you find yourself alone on a track it really doesn’t matter to anyone which direction you’re going, it’s also the perfect time to try turning right for a change.

In the presence of others athletes you should take the following principles in consideration.

2.  Some facilities have dedicated direction for the day of the week, if it is the case, follow that rule, same goes for the designated run/walk lanes.  In CFB Petawawa DunDonald Hall the direction change every day, and the walk/run lanes are marked in the track itself.

3.  Run counter-clockwise, to make it easy for you, you should always turn left. If you decide to run clockwise or turning right, it’s your choice but you should run on the outside lane of the track.  Stay out of the way of runners who are training and running in the accepted direction.

4.  Stay alert and don’t use ear phones or dime down the volume so you can ear if someone is saying something to you while running.  Very often will you know which side a faster runner will pass you by the sounds he make with his foot or plain and simple, he or she will tell you.  Look both ways before entering onto a track. Even the most experienced runner have been caught by surprise.



5.  Bicycles, scooters, roller blades, etc. should not allowed on tracks.  For the most part animals are restricted from tracks. Even if they aren’t, it is wise not to allow them for safety reasons. If you do bring a pet, be sure it is secured away from the running surface and of course clean up after it. Tracks are designed for humans to run and walk on. Just try dodging a straying dog while running full tilt is way easier said than done, plus if we wanted to dodge dogs we would go do our training on the road!  The fact is that even leashes aren’t secure enough nor short enough and as you think your dog is behaving very well, he will give himself some loose and that loose is just what you don’t want while you’re coming by on a full sprint. 

6.  The faster the runner, the more inside the lane reserved for him or her.  Tracks with lanes are numbered from inside (nearest the infield or field house) to the outside (usually near the bleachers or wall). Most commonly they are from 1-4 to 1-8 depending how big is the track.  In the case of a 4 lanes track which is the most common in the Canadian Forces; Lanes 1 & 2 are reserved for runners, lane 1 should be for the fastest ones, lane 2 is for the next faster runners.  Lane 3 & 4 would be joggers and walking.

7.  It’s ok for slower runners to run further inside but be alert to move when faster runners approach from behind. It is far more dangerous for a fast runner to change lanes and pass.  The main idea is, keep your Situation Awareness (SA) up at all time by looking and lessoning of what’s going on around you.  That also go for those who perform sprints, once the distance or interval has been reached and your slowing down quickly, look behind then change lanes if it is require and safe to do so, remember that a runner behind you might already started to adjust his course according to this SA.

8.  If you are the faster runner and you are approaching from behind, give ample notice and call-out (just like with cycling). The traditional phrase to use it “track”.  Which means move over someone faster is coming through.  You can alternatively use “on your left” or “on the inside” to indicate you are coming by on the inside.  Do not go whizzing by an inch from someone’s shoulder as if to non-verbally say “get out of my way”.  This is rude! It can also startle someone who then may in fact move into your path causing a full collision.



9.  If you hear “track” or “on your left” or “on the inside” either move directly off to the infield (in the case of just walking or having just stopped from your run) or move out to lane 2 or 3 or so.  If there are no lanes, move out about 4-6 feet.  But the most important thing to know if you don’t know what to do or simply didn’t understand exactly what was said, stay put or carrion in the same direction.  Keep your SA up before making a radical move.

10.  It’s ok to politely mention to someone on the inside lane that you will be doing a workout in lane 1 and would they mind moving out a lane.  Just stay polite and explain that you will perform intervals, sprint or high tempo training and you just want to make sure no one gets injured. 

11.  If a track team is working out on the track – they take priority over individuals.  If you can workout on the farthest outside lanes without interfering and the coaches allow you, then do so.  Otherwise, come back another time.  This of course is very frustrating.  If you are on a DND facility, you may think that as a CF member that track is there for you to use as you please but in fact if a team has booked the track, they most then likely have paid for it and they own it for the time being, and are liable for everything happening on the track while they use it.

 12.  It is always encouraged for responsible children and parents to come out to train. It’s good parental role modeling for the kids even if they aren’t running or walking.  It’s also something that many single parents have to resort to.  Bring balls and activities to keep them busy.  Often you can even get them to run some laps. However, not all children have the self-control necessary. You know your child best. Please consider all the others on the track and obviously your children, no one want to be the one who injured your kid and they are a the high to take seriously hurt if they get tangled in a runners feet.  

13.  Finally if you are playing sports inside the track, or what we call in the military, the field house, please always look in both directions before exiting that area.  It happens more often than you think that someone gets smoked hard and is off their training for a while because of it.  If you make a mistake which happen to everyone, apologies and leave it as that.  No harm no fowl.

Enjoy your next run and pass to word.