triathlon and family can mix

Posts tagged “treadmill

Runch, Time, and Birthdays

As a triathlete you know what “two-a-days” are.


Swim – 3:00:00 – 9600m
Bike – 2:28:47 – 86.7km
Run – 1:30:24 – 18.0km
Strength – 0:45:00

Total – 7:44:11

Not only do you know what they are, but you live and breathe them in the winter season. Well, at least I have since November. The only problem I have with training in the morning and again at lunch is the time; it takes a lot out of my day. A 45 minute run at lunch, or “runch” as we call it, can take almost double that time to walk to the gym, change, run, shower, change, and walk back to the office. Not the most efficient use of time.

To increase my efficiency, I have opted for a mini-brick after my swim sessions on Monday/Friday, hitting the treadmill right after I get out of the pool. Sure after a session of sprints it can be tough but I chalk it up to training my body to run on tired legs. I still split my workouts on Wednesday so I can get a long run in on fresh legs. Once I get in the thick of things in spring, I will drop my swim on Wednesday and push the run even longer.

Speaking of the treadmill, I have been reserved to running indoors over the past week as the temperature in Calgary has been a balmy -25 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees with the wind). Now I am no wimp, but when the wind picks up and I can freeze my skin in less time than I spend in T1, time to hit the treadmill.


I cut my run short on Monday because my left shin was starting to hurt about 12 minutes in. I cursed the treadmill, walked it loose, and headed for the showers. Why does it hurt indoors but no issue outside? I always set the treadmill on an incline (1-1.5 percent) to keep the noise to a minimum. Not that I am loud when I run, quite the opposite, but with repeated beatings the treadmills at the local YMCA have seen better days. If I leave it a 0 the screws and bolts sound like they are gonna bail at any moment.

So the same thing started to happen on Friday, pain in my left shin. As an experiment, I lowered the incline to 0.5 percent and after a couple of minutes, wouldn’t you know it, the pain went away and I enjoyed a decent 35 minute run.

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It my my daughters birthday on Wednesday. That kid is getting old, fast, and I don’t like it.

To make the day special I am going to play hookie from swim club on cook her favourite breakfast, pannekoek. Dutch pancakes are the house favourite and when asked the question “what do you want for breakfast?” her answer is always pancakes. I am going to try and wake up early, sneak downstairs, and have everything ready for her when she wakes up. Seeing as I am as graceful as a bull in a china shop, I am gonna need all the luck I can get.

Wish me luck.

Question: Have you started introducing ‘bricks’ into your training yet?


Recap – Week 49

Holy crap it is cold.


Swim – 2:00:00 – 4800m
Bike – 0:59:43 – 27.9km
Run – 1:25:16 – 17.54km
Strength – 1:30:00

Total – 5:54:59

This week was a impromptu rest week. I woke up on Monday morning feeling roasted, I think that is a technical (air quotes) term, and decided that for the next couple of days I would take it a little easier. In true triathlete fashion I didn’t hit the couch, rather skipped a couple of workouts and slept till 0630 instead.


I had to sneak in a quick run on Saturday evening as we were heading out Sunday morning to visit family for Christmas; 3.5 hour drive. Taking the advice of Joe Friel, a freaking genius by the way, instead of a long slow run I hit intervals instead. Here is what they looked like:

45min Steady State Run – 4x3min (2min RBI)
15min warmup – 4:45-5:00/km
20min SSR intervals – 4:30/km
10min cool down – 4:45/km

Now I haven’t tested myself for a while, but based on the latest data, my SSR should be in the range of 4:22-4:40/km. I was able to finish each interval at just over 4:30/km and with the exception of the third rest period I hit each time interval perfectly. My treadmill is weird and cycles between elapsed time, pace, and incline. So sometimes, I have to wait for 30 seconds to confirm what the exact time is. No matter for a 45 minute run, but 3 minutes intervals can be challenging to time just right.

My workouts were inside this week. I am not a wuss when it comes to cold temperatures and workouts; I have always said I am like and old Chevy, I run hot. With windchill’s into the -40 degrees I figured no matter how tough I pretend to be, there was no way I was heading outdoors. I do not like the treadmill, I can run 20k outside with no issues, but on the treadmill after 4k my knees are hurting and I want to stop.

Hopefully the weather smartens up this week and I can get outside for some fresh, albeit crisp, air.

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It is well known that rest is beneficial, if not critical, to any training plan. I have tried many different schedules including ones published by Chris Carmichael and Joe Friel with varied success. “Listen to your body” they say, “take rest when you need it” they say. Well, it aient that easy.

In ‘The Time Crunched Triathlete’ Chris schedules 2 rest days per week, typically Monday and Friday, over a 8-10 week plan. His plans revolve around high intensity intervals mixed with some lower intensity workouts. I have used his philosophy a sprint and half ironman and enjoyed training for both. I found the mix of high intensity and recovery workouts worked well and timed well with the rest days.

With Joe Friel, you are responsible for writing your own training plan, with his guidance of course. This can be good as not all plans are built for all people, but it can create havoc if you aren’t organized. His philosophy revolves around 4 week training ‘blocks’; 3 weeks building duration/intensity and 1 week of active recovery.

I have learnt many things, among the leaders is I can’t really feel when I am approaching an over-trained state; I can only recognize it once I am already there. It can be tough to take rest when you don’t feel you need it as the loss of fitness is always a threat. Guess I need to get better at that.

Question: How do you plan rest? Any tips?

Treadmill Thoughts

Not sure if a blog post is warranted, but some ideas you just can’t fit into 140 characters.


I like to people watch. Not creepy like, but more trying to figure out why people do what they do, like.

I will tell you why this has popped into my head. I pedaled away on the trainer at my local YMCA at Monday lunch, watching all the people on the treadmill. Some were running, some were jogging, and a couple of people were walking. I had a thought; what if the TV on the treadmill was connected to your effort level? The faster you go, the better the TV gets.

I reckon it would look something like this:

Walking – Basic TV with “Bunny Ears” – You all know what I am talking about, fuzzy, don’t move another inch it is perfect, kind of TV. 3 channels, and all daytime talk shows. Sorry Oprah.

Jogging – Basic Cable – Just enough channels to get by for 30 minutes, as long as you don’t want to watch sports highlights. You gotta run if you want Sports Center.

Running – Full Cable – Now you have your pick, Home and Garden TV or the Comedy Channel. Just be careful, laughing and running can be a dangerous combination.

Sprints/Intervals – Pay per view – Any time, any show you want. Re-run of Breaking Bad Season 1?  You got it sweaty.

If somehow I could convince the YMCA to implement this, I think that you wouldn’t see many walkers or joggers in the gym.

Question: What would you watch if you were sprinting?

Training When Sick

It is that time of the year again.

I have retired my bike to the basement on the trainer until May when I can head out for an hour and not come home with frozen fingers and toes. The winter run clothing has come out of the closet because the treadmill was only invented for temperatures colder than 15 degrees below zero.

It is also the beginning of cold and flu season. Now if you have kids, it seems like the season never ends. My little one is pretty healthy most of the year, but we do encounter kids with the endless dripping nose or that cough that “just won’t go away”. And if you work in an office, come on, re-circulated air can be a killer.

If you are like me, the winter is when most of your training hours are accumulated. I am talking long, slow training sessions building your base fitness for the upcoming season. You are spending time training specific aeras where you identified a limit during racing season. If you also like me, you don’t want to miss out on a training session, or three.

So when you catch a cold or flu, how do you know when it is alright to continue training or if it is best to take a rest day? There is a defining line when it comes to rest or no rest, the neck.

Symptoms Above the Neck – When a head cold is bogging you down, maybe a runny nose or throat a little sore, it is alright to continue with training at a reduced intensity. The key word, reduced intensity. I don’t like to use zones to relate to training as eveyone definition of ‘Zone 2″ is different, but you need to keep intensity below 65% of your max.

Start your workout and gauge how you are feeling. If your effort level is higher than normal for the intensity, then turn around, head home, and get some rest. If you are feeling alright, then keep going and remember, reduced intensity.

I actually feel better if I can hit the road for a one hour road ride, the trick for me is to take my workout outdoors. Fresh air can do nothing but good for you.

Symptoms Below the Neck – When your symptoms extended below the neck, stomach issues among others, it is wise to skip the training all together. There is evidence that training with symptoms below the neck can comprimise the health of your heart, leading to addtional complications. Take a couple of says off to allow for your body to heal, then see how you feel. Don’t go back to training until the symptoms below the neck have cleared up.

There are times when your body is at a higher risk of picking up a cold or flu; no mom, it is not because I head outside without a jacket. After an intense effort, such as a race or high intensity training session, your immune system is surpressed leading to a high chance of catching that cold your cubical partner has. I have read stories of professional trathletes wearing masks on airplanes on the way home after a race to reduce the risk. Going a little far for me, but being a triahtlete is not my job.

The best way to ensure you do not miss a workout due to an illness is to properly protect yourself during cold and flu season. I am no ‘germ a phobe’, but knowing what I know now, I will do my best to avoid any chance of picking up a virus this winter.

Question: What do you do when you get sick during your training season?