Chattanooga Waterfront

Swim, Bike, Bake 

I picked Chattanooga Waterfront as my first Olympic for a number of reasons, mainly being that the swim was down river. A mostly flat bike and run were also fairly enticing. This turned out to be a good decision with one caveat, summertime racing in the south is brutal. 

After my first race I felt a great sense of relief preparing for waterfront. I was more familiar with how transition worked as well as what to expect on race day. My training was pretty consistent and I felt like I was in a good flow. I continued to keep a strong focus on cycling with a few more long runs here and there. Even managed to get some long course swims in an outdoor pool. 

On to the race 

Meg and I arrived at check in after traveling through quite a storm. Perfect racing weather. After debating about leaving my bike for the overnight check in I realized that if people with P5s and Speed Concepts were fine leaving theirs outside in the rain I had nothing to worry about. 

After dinner I double checked my race bag and attempted to call it an early night. After the surprise fireworks show I drifted off into dream land and actually slept pretty well. My alarm rang at 4:45 and I was up and ready to go. 

I used a small coffee cup to cook my oats in the hotel microwave. This ended up becoming a poorly done elementary school science project volcano as the oats overflowed from the cup. Nicely done Pat, off to a great start. 

Downstairs I was greeted by a familiar face in the lobby of the hotel, Ashley Powell. She would later dominate the female sprint and take first overall. 

I had everything set up and ready to go a little after 6. I double checked that I had a good mix of Skratch in preparation for the heat. Also made sure to have my Cliff blocks ready as this was really my first race where fueling would start to play a role. Meg met up with me to take my bag and keep me company before heading off to the swim start. I was very honest with my swim speed so I was starting well towards the end of the line with a bib number of 597. 

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The water was a welcome reprieve after baking on the UTC practice field waiting to start. I felt very comfortable swimming which was quite surprising. I kept a smooth cadence and sighting was easy with the buoys, kayaks, and bridges. This was my longest open water swim so I had a welcome surprise from my Garmin, vibration alerts every 500! I felt great in the swim and was very surprised at how smoothly I was moving. After a left at the orange pyramid buoy I was out of the water in 29:07. Still slow but under my goal of 30 minutes and my expectation of 35. 

I was excited to get on the bike as this is my favorite leg. I struggled less with my shoes this time but had a long run around transition to get to the mount line. The course started with a slight uphill but after that It was smooth sailing. I settled into my aero position and kept my power and speed right where I wanted. After the turn around there was a slight head wind but I kept my cadence consistent and worked through it. Another lap and I was back and feeling pretty good. I held the speed I wanted and just barely missed my goal by one minute putting me around 1:16. I let up a little on the tail end of the race reminding myself that I had a run ahead of me. 

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The run did not go so well. I felt great for the first mile but then the heat set in and I quickly slowed down. Of all the races and events that I’ve done this run was by far the hardest. My legs weren't that tired I just couldn’t pick up the pace. My heart rate was pinned and the sun was relentless. I took advantage of all the rest stops and the few hints of shade that were available. I was hoping for a surge of motivation at the turn around but that didn’t happen. It was nice to see familiar faces out on the course as this kept me going. I crossed the finish line dazed and confused looking for a cold beverage and shade. 

Overall I’m happy to have my first Olympic race done. I didn’t hit my time goal but I shouldn’t really have even had cone considering this is still something so new to me. I’m proud of my swim as I only started swimming this year. I’m proud of my bike as I held good speed and felt confident heading into the run. I’m glad I finished the run but definitely know what I need to work on moving forward. 

Big thanks to everyone who gave words of encouragement out on the course, the volunteers with cold towels, Podium for letting me take runs and look professional in a speed suit, and most importantly my family and girlfriend Meg for traveling with me to Chattanooga. 

On to the next one.  

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Lost In Transition Podcast

Last week I sat down with Chris Gerard, Lana Burl, and Derek Tingle for an episode of The Lost in Transition podcast. 

We discussed strength training, my introduction to triathlon, and a few of the things I do at Podium. You can check out the episode below or follow the link to their website here

I had a great time recording the episode and only had a few long pauses. I was honored to be asked on the show as previous guests range from professional cyclists to doctors. 

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Tri it out Vol. 2

Tri it out Vol. 2 

In volume one of this two part series I talked about by descent/ascent into endurance sports. Today we have my first official race report. After reading, editing, and posting many others for the Podium Sports Medicine p/b Visit Knoxville Racing Team I’m excited to share my own experience. 

Hammer Sprint Triathlon 

The day had finally come for me to toe the line and swim out to the odd greenish yellow colored buoy. 

The day before the race I got everything prepared and ready to go. My bag was packed, my wetsuit folded, and my bike cleaned with all components in good working condition. I ventured out to the race site for early packet pick up. I wanted to get an idea of what the transition area looked like as well as drive the bike course. 

With the scouting done and my newly acquired bib and swim cap I headed to my house. I opted to stay at my mom’s house as she lives closer to the race, giving me valuable extra minutes of sleep. I slept well but kept waking up wanting to check the race results only to remember that the crisp water of Lake Tellico was still anxiously awaiting my arrival. 

The alarm went off and my carefully planned race day had begun. Shower, coffee, breakfast and in the words of Derek Tingle, paper work. 

I got to the race site around 6:30 am, eager to set up my transition area and get settled. I picked a spot next to the nice bikes hoping a little speed would rub off on me. I was also close to Renee so I trusted it was a good spot. It was comforting being around so many people I knew and had seen race before. The only difference being that today I was joining in the madness. With everything set up I jogged in a circle because I saw other people doing the same. As a trainer I should have a practiced dynamic warm up but unfortunately I typically just go. After a light warm up, a chat with Meg and some more paper work I dawned my wetsuit and made my way towards the lake. The water was not nearly as cold as I had anticipated and I felt very comfortable, this would soon change. 

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This being my first open water race I decided to let most of the field jump the barrier and take off for the swim in an effort to not get caught in the pack. Instead I swam way too fast out of the gate and found myself right in the thick of it at the first turn. I anticipated a few kicks and contact but this was different. I was getting knocked down, losing my rhythm, and struggling to find clean water. I panicked and my heart rate skyrocketed. I struggled to get my breath under control and ended up swimming the middle segment with my head out of the water, inefficient but necessary. After the second turn I settled in for the last 200m back to shore and ended up putting in a swim well below my goal time. 

Goal 1: Don’t Drown ✔️

On to the bike. 

I slid out of my wetsuit just like I practiced... actually I almost fell over and knocked over the nice bikes around me. I regained my composure only to climb aboard the struggle bus once again as I tried to tighten my bike shoes. Once I was past the mount line and on the bike I felt comfortable, the worst part was over and I enjoy biking the most. I turned on to the main road and settled into my cadence. I took the bike segment in three parts.

1. Don’t go too fast, 

2. There’s a hill so don’t go too fast and crack yourself  

3. Put your head down and go fast 

I worked my way past several people and kept my distance from the other riders sticking to the no drafting rule. I felt good after the first turn of the course and decided to abandon my middle segment strategy and put in a good effort on the incline. The course made a sharp left and turned uphill and I decided to give it a go from there on out. I passed the small group I had been around for the first bit and settled into a somewhat foreign TT position. The goal was to keep my power around 95% which was a success and I found myself back at transition right around my goal time. 

Goal 2: Sub 52 min bike split ✔️

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I was pretty proud of my second transition for a newbie and was out and running in no time. I started off fast but my legs quickly put an end to that. The first mile was an adjustment but I kept a good pace. At the beginning of mile 2 the course turned down the levy and this is when I fell into a nice groove. The sun was shining, the lake was glistening, and I was cruising. Everyone running the opposite of me was encouraging and I felt great heading towards the turn around. Running back up the levy it started to settle in that I wouldn’t have another first experience like this. I had been meticulous in my planning and knew what I was capable of but now I was doing it and I was honestly surprised. All of the numbers and thresholds aside it all comes down to race day and I was pleasantly surprised with how it was going. I made the last turn and headed towards the finish line.

Goal 3: Under 1:30 ✔️

I finished in 1:24:01. Below my goal even with the slightly less than 5k run. It was a great experience finishing the race and crossing the line. It was also a pleasant surprise that I was able to put up a semi competitive performance for my first race. I ended up placing second in my age group, and it wasn’t just by default as I was anticipating. Somehow I went out and hit all my goals. I know this won’t happen every time but I’m glad it worked out this time. 

Thanks to everyone who has answered my questions and given support along the way. A special thanks to My mom and girlfriend Meg for coming out and supporting me on Sunday.  

Up next - Chattanooga Waterfront Olympic and maybe the Springbrook Sprint

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Tri it out Vol. 1

Today we'll be stepping away from specific workouts, recovery modalities, and all the other topics you've come to love. Today I am going to discuss my own introduction to the world of triathlon. 

I knew it would be inevitable, working at Podium has drawn me into the sport of triathlon. With each test and movement screen I became more and more interested how these athletes were able to balance work, life, and an impressive training volume. I've always been interested in the physiology of endurance athletes, I just never thought I would be one myself.

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I've always been against steady state cardio training. For years I focused on strength and conditioning with as little cardio as possible. In an effort to try something new and alleviate some of my training bias I signed up for a race, The Man Run 10K for Prostate Cancer in November of 2016. I trained for the race, hit my goal, and had fun. I was shocked that I was able to run 6 miles in under an hour(54:36). The journey continued when my girlfriend challenged me to sign up for the Knoxville Half Marathon. She's way too fast for me, but on occasion slows down to run with me. Again, I trained for the half, hit my goal(1:53:15) and had fun. I was starting to notice a trend. I signed up for a few trail races around town and unfortunately a trio of Spartan races. None of my performances were Podium worthy, unless you count running as a Clydesdale, in which case I topped the podium for the big boys at the Big South Fork 10k trail race. 

I was becoming an average runner. 

On to the next discipline, cycling. In a stroke of luck Dr. Sprouse and I are about the same height and he had an extra bike. I took advantage of the spare Trek and got to spinning. The miles began accumulating quickly as I worked my way to the boulevard and beyond.

In the spirit of expedition I jumped into a masters swim class to see what I could do. The answer, very little. This spurred my decision to join a gym with a pool and to get a few lessons. After scheduling, un-scheduling, and rescheduling lessons I've just been swimming alone. 

Now it's time to put it all together.

I chose to create an Annual Training Plan in Training Peaks. Lana Burl did a great series of talks about Training Peaks secrets that I was lucky enough to easedrop on at the office. This inspired me to bite the bullet and sign up for a premium account so I could geek out on all the numbers. My weeks have been pretty consistent and I have been slowly building fitness across the three disciplines. Unsurprisingly I love seeing how the different metrics CTL, TSS, Form, and fatigue interact as I progress through a training cycle.  I have been cycling the most, working on my swim technique and likely neglecting the proper amount of running. Honesty is key. Its been a joy and a challenge balancing training for three different sports. Luckily I work infront of a treadmill and bike trainer so this certainly helps. I'm also privileged to be surrounded by a supporting culture of encouragement and performance. The members of the Podium racing team, Lana & Chris, and of course Dr. Sprouse have all been great resources for a new multi-sport athlete. It also doesn't hurt that my girlfriend, Megan, just won her first ultra and consistently puts down fast times and big miles on a weekly basis.   

Now it's race week.  

My first race will be the Hammer Sprint Triathlon on May 6th. I know several other athletes competing in this race, which is quite comforting. What isn't comforting is the prospect of very low water temps but luckily I've invested in a wetsuit. Speaking of investments, triathlon comes with quite the large startup cost. Luckily I spread it out over several months and I know I'm not alone when I say I have zero desire to see a full receipt for my multi-sport antics. 

I'm excited about the race but I've come to realize that the biggest part of this sport isn't the actual event. It's everything else.  It's the weekend group rides, the week day solo runs, and the cold pools. It's the thought of shaving your legs to save a few seconds and the practice of packing your bike up as quickly as possible to go run. 

Hopefully everything goes well Sunday, if not this will be my chance to use the "first timer" excuse. 

Patrick

 

Friday Recap

SPRING

We hope you're been enjoying the arrival of Spring and the start of racing season. For bike fans we were treated to Paris - Roubaix, for the Ironman faithful Oceanside kicked off for the pros, for runners the Boston Marathon is Monday, and with team sports we've left March madness for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, NBA Playoffs and Baseball season. Good Times. 

Aside from sports, the dark and dim days of winter have hopefully left, giving us opportunity to take in some vitamin D with much needed sunshine and fresh air. We're taking full advantage of the changing seasons with a busy weekend. 

Saturday

This Saturday is the Oak Ridge Velo Road race presented by Podium Sports Medicine. Many of our Multi-Sport athletes are stripping off their aero bars to test themselves in the pack with pure cyclists. If you're in Knoxville or surrounding counties this will be a great race that also needs Volunteers. You can check out details of the event here 

Sunday

Sunday marks the start of the Podium Grand Prix with the Trideltathon. This is a great early season race with several of our athletes competing.   

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The granddaddy of them all is back for its 34th year. The TriDeltathon, the oldest running pool triathlon in the country, will again be the regular swim/bike/run format in 2018. As always, a 400 meter pool swim will be followed by a 6 mile tour of the UT campus & Neyland Drive, capped off by a 3 mile campus run passing Neyland Stadium and Thompson Boling Arena.

All Weekend

The Podium staff will be out and about as well. Dr. Sprouse will be at Ragnar Trail Atlanta running through the woods and through the night. On Saturday Stacy and Myself will be out at the Oak Ridge Velo with Podium swag and unwavering support. Then on Sunday Stacy will be out at the Trideltahon cheering on Jeff while I accompany my girlfriend, Megan, to her first Ultra at the Fonta Flora 50K! 

Enjoy your weekend! 

Back to the Basics

Welcome Back 

Its been a while since we posted a workout of the week but I'm excited to get back into the swing of things. 

I have taken a step back from my own movement practices and reincorporated something I had begun to neglect, Foundation Training

Foundation training was developed by Dr. Eric Goodman as a way to alleviate low back pain and other movement decencies exacerbated by modern lifestyles. In his newest book, True to Form, Dr. Goodman reinforces the importance of foundation training in a world of seated screen users. 

This year Foundation Training launched a promotion, #DoAFounder 

In the spirit of hashtags and marketing, I started working the founder back into my morning and pre ride routine. By incorporating this and other movements I was reminded the benefits of developing global core strength and proper functioning along posterior chain. Needless to say I've been keeping up with my founder a day. 

For this week's workout demonstration I'll let Dr. Eric Goodman take you through the workout himself. These can be worked into almost any part of your daily routine, morning practice, or pre ride ritual. 

More information on Foundation Training, Dr. Goodman, and online training can be found here

Patrick 

 

Sleep

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Sleep has become one of the hottest topics in sports performance. The name of the game is no longer dependent on who can spend the most time in the pain cave but instead who can recover the quickest.  We've talked about its importance before but today I set out to create a compensatory list of ways to improve your sleep and therefore improve your recovery. 

In Elloitts most recent blog he discussed the importance of sleep. Sleep is the most important time for your body to repair itself. While some may say laying in bed is a waste of time, your body would disagree. 

There has been an influx of products that may or may not improve sleep. from sleep tracking devices, blue light blocking glasses, sleep aids, supplements, smart mattresses, white noise machines...the list goes on. Today we will explore an optimized sleep environment, review a a few ways to improve your sleep as well as discuss a few of the products listed above. 

Sleep Hygiene

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When we think about sleep hygiene does not typically come to mind. Aside from brushing your teeth and hopefully having clean sheets, it seems like hygienic practices wouldn't apply to sleep or sleep quality. This is where many are mistaken. There are tons of gadgets and "hacks" to improve sleep but trying to use every trick in the book can actually be counterproductive. You become stressed about using your re-timer glasses and sipping the proper temperature chamomile tea, all while being hypnotized. Some of these tools are great but you always want to start with the basics. 

Let's focus on a few key practices to improve your sleep quality. 

Darkness

Sleeping in a dark atmosphere is key. Darkness signals our bodies to wind down and go to bed. Modern society has created two issues on this front. First, there is an abundance of unnatural light in our world. Street lights, blinking LEDs on TVs, alarm clocks and other minuscule light can be disruptive. Try and minimize this light by keeping your TV in the living room and using dark curtains or blinds to block outside light. You can even take it a step further by either unplugging devices or covering small lights with black electrical tape. Most disruptive of all is our increased screen time from phones, tablets or computers. It is best to limit screen time before bed, try and give yourself around an hour of screen free time before going to sleep. This means setting your alarm and checking your email before you begin your evening routine. There are a few companies out there who have created glasses that can be worn to limit blue light exposure from screens. Glasses like these or apps like flux can be useful but are no substitute for cellular abstinence. This is one of the hardest practices to be consistent with but it makes a world of difference. Staying off your device also helps keep you calm so you don't go to bed fresh off a Facebook argument about fake news. 

Daytime Light Exposure

In contrast to our last point, light exposure is also important for sleep quality. A morning walk with the dog or coffee on the patio is a great way to start your day. This allows you to be fully awake for work and will help you get a restful nights sleep. If you're trapped in an office, try and take advantage of your lunch break,  get out and walk or go for a run. Try and always find a little time to spend outside, this will help your body maintain a proper sleep cycle. 

Temperature

While the thermostat control can be a hot topic in any household its better to cool things off in the evening. The sweet spot for a sleeping temperature is around 64 degrees Fahrenheit but a range of 60-67 can be a good compromise. This is also a practice that can get expensive. New mattresses, pillows and sheets advertise themselves as cooling. Myself and Dr. Sprouse have both tested out SHEEX performance sheet sets, and while it may be placebo they are quite nice.  Aside from a new mattress, a little bump in your electrical bill is much cheaper than other recovery methods that prove less effective than proper sleep. 

Caffeine and other Stimulants 

"I can drink coffee and sleep fine" - Lots of people 

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While you might be able to fall asleep after a late espresso this may be compromising your sleep quality. There is no set time to cut off your stimulant intake but avoiding overconsumption of stimulants in the afternoon will improve your sleep and energy in the long run. The 2:30 feeling is more than just a marketing strategy by 5 hour energy. However, other cultures deal with this feeling in a much different way than we do. Afternoon siestas and Country wide nap time may be impossible for the busy American but if possible, give it a try. Another clever trick comes from our mates over the pond. Tea, without excess caffeine, is an effective way to trick yourself into staying alert. There is typically a drop in body temperature in the mid-early afternoon hours that leads to drowsiness. A warm tea can help trick your body into keeping the temperature up thus negating some of the afternoon drowsiness. I credit Matt Dixon of purple patch fitness for filling me in on this little trick. It may be rough to cut caffeine for the first week or so but as your sleep improves so will your energy thus relieving you of the caffeine cravings. 

Evening Meals

It is best to skip the pre bed feast on most occasions. This does not mean neglecting post workout fueling or sacrificing nutrition. Refuel with what is necessary but avoid overfeeding in the evening hours. This is easy to do while watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram providing you even more reason to limit screen time during the evening. One thing that can be useful is a small bedtime snack. For people completing a moderate - vigorous exercise program bedtime protein ingestion can be a useful aid in recovery. A recent study review performed by the School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism(NUTRIM) noted many studies supporting pre bedtime protein ingestion. You can read the full study here. They suggest using a casein based protein supplement before bed but there are other options you can explore. 

Supplements

I listed supplements last because you should develop a good practice of sleep hygiene before supplementing your routine with various products. In certain situations, such as traveling, it is difficult to maximize your hygiene so supplements can be useful. 

- Melatonin - Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain to regulate your sleep-wake cycles. Low doses of 1-3mg can be useful on occasion to help with sleep. It is best to reserve this for times when you are unable to practice other previously discussed methods. 

- Magnesium - Taking magnesium can help relax muscles and reduce stress allowing you to have more restful sleep. Products like calm are a great option for an evening magnesium supplement. The Thorne multivitamin also contains magnesium in its evening blend. If you are taking magnesium before bed be sure you do not ingest it alongside any dairy products as this will block its absorption in the body. 

- Reishi Mushroom Blend - Companies like Four Sigmatic and Host Defense have created products containing a blend of mushrooms that claim a variety of health benefits. One spore that is suggested to help with stress relief and calming is Reishi. Four Sigmatic has a hot cider reishi that is a nice way to wind down at the end of the day. 

- CBD - CBD oil was recently removed from WADA's banned substance list and its prevalence has increased 10 fold in health stores around the country. CBD oils are synthesized from industrialized hemp and tout a variety of health benefits. These oils are completely legal and are available to purchase in most health stores. The product has attracted Pro cyclists and other investors into the market as the total benefits seem abundant, and it is believed there are many to still be discovered. One of the earliest companies to release a CBD Product is Charlottes Web. These supplements can be taken at any time but show value as a sleep aid. 

Tracking Sleep

Wearable devices often offer some sort of sleep tracking feature that can be useful and also worthless. The same can be said for various phone apps and other devices including smart mattresses. I personally like the feature on my Garmin 935, it tracks movement and HR to estimate deep and light sleep. Other devices like the Whoop band delve a little further into sleep metrics. The Whoop tracks body temperature, heart rate, as well as heart rate variability and movement. It then gives you a sleep score each morning. Scores from wearables can be useful but always check in with yourself before you check your device. Subjectively measuring your sleep by recording it in an app like Training Peaks can also be useful. This may seem like too much but consistently declining sleep quality or length can be a good indicator it is time to change something up with your routine whether it be training or your pre bed routine. 

Sleep Studys

Soyou've tried it all and still wake up feeling tired day in and day out. You still have options before you go for the strong pharmaceutical sleep aids. One of these options is doing a sleep in study at a sleep center near you. These centers track a large variety of metrics and can help discover the underlying causes of your sleep problems. Many people struggle to sleep because of undiagnosed conditions such as sleep apnea. These centers are typically easy to find, while its not cheap, it's a worthy investment in your, and potentially our significant others, health and sanity. 

One last note

Don't try everything at once. It can be overwhelming trying to create a bedtime routine that optimizes sleep so its best to take things one step at a time. Start with limiting your screen time or dropping the temperature in your house. Slowly add new routines in as the others become habit. Don't overwhelm yourself, the last thing you want is to lay in bed worrying whether it's 65 or 63 degrees. 

 

Workout of The Week

This week we're working legs


As we get deeper into the season and closer to target races it becomes increasingly difficult to find days to focus on lower body strength training. You begin prioritizing long rides and fast intervals so you need fresh legs. Elliott has a few weeks before his next target race so we're taking advantage of this time to do strengthening and pre-hab exercises.

Elliott's program is focused on balancing his leg strength. As a mountain biker Elliott faces different demands than a triathlete or typical cyclist.  When riding off road you spend more time out of the saddle balancing on the pedals while you pump through downhills or work through technical single track. Because of these unique demands much of Elliott's program is done in a split stance or unilaterally. 

Another benefit to single leg work is the mobility required to perform an exercise. For example, Bulgarian or Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats require proper hip mobility to be performed efficiently. Adding load to this position also helps increase your body's ability to adapt to the new movement. Strength exercises that require full ROM and hip mobility are great for endurance athletes, you kill two birds at once by loading positions and working into their full progression. 

On to the Workout 

RFESS/ Bulgarian Split Squat - 4 x 8, 8, 6, 6

For Split Squats I have athlete's start with a kettlebell in the goblet position as this reinforces good technique and forces you to keep the chest up and hips square. As they progress in strength I have them switch to holding two dumbbells and eventually on to an olympic bar on the back. 

Single Leg Deadlift 4 x 6-8

This exercises is a staple in most of my programs. It is a great way to work on balance, hip stability and strength all at the same time. Many endurance athletes also have issues with low back fatigue from long days so it is better to be smart with programing conventional deadlifts for athletes putting in high mileage weeks. The offseason is a great time to work conventional and straight leg deadlifts into the program to help fight low back issues. 

Step Ups - 3 x 8

Step ups are a great way to isolate each leg and also work on hip extension. I have athletes step onto the box and fully stand up for each rep. This gets the athlete into a position with a fully flexed hip to start which is a position seen often in cycling. 

Single Leg Eccentric Hamstring Curls 3 x 6 w/ 3s negative

Eccentric training is excellent for both strengthening and injury prevention. The hamstrings especially are prone to little strains from time to time so working them in this way ideally helps prevent these issues from occurring. These can be done with TRX straps or with furniture sliders as I prefer. 

Step Downs 3 x 8 w/ 3s negative  

Step downs again focus on the eccentric part of the motion. These are effective at strengthening the VMO which is the muscle above the knee on the inside of the leg. This is a common place for fatigue in cyclists. The eccentric motion also helps strengthen the patellar tendon helping to prevent tendonitis issues. 

Single Leg elevated glute bridge 3 x 8 w/ 8s pause on final rep. 

These are performed with your feet elevated while holding a small ball or yoga block between your knees. This helps increase activation in the adductors which are often neglected while we work abduction with band walks and clamshells. The pause at the end is to focus on the isometric contraction of the adductors while also maintaining full hip extension. 

Each of these exercises can easily be scaled up or down depending on your strength. Whether that means adding or increasing weight or adjusting your positioning is up to you or your trainer. With Elliott I like to add in extra challenges by using an Airex pad or queuing his position with mini bands around the knees. 


For this week's bike workout we're keeping our focus on strength with low cadence work. 

We'll make it easy and give you the workout files first before Elliott explains the rationale behind these workouts. 

The interval set for this week is going to include low cadence work at sub-threshold/tempo power ranges. Working just underneath our threshold gives us the best "bang for your buck" in terms of sustainability and power output. This workout is perfect for early season to help build your aerobic engine. The low cadence aspect of this workout (combined with the high power) applies a heavy force to the legs and requires you to focus your pedaling technique and utilize the entire pedal stroke. This will work on efficiency and help to improve any weak areas in your pedal stroke. 

Appropriately warm up for 10 to 15 minutes. Then complete 3 x 15 minute intervals at 95% of FTP (Sub-Threshold/Tempo) with 3 minute recovery in between. After that interval set recovery for about 10 minutes then complete 5 x 1 minute intervals at 110% of FTP (Anaerobic Power) with 2 minutes of recovery in between. 

 

 

 

To Lift or not to Lift

Few would argue against the benefit of strength training for performance across all athletic disciplines. Unfortunately, many endurance athletes skip the weights for fear of bulk or lack of time. By better understanding the science of strength development and the respective stimuli created by endurance training we can create safer more efficient programs for athletes. 

Balancing 10-20 hour weeks of cycling, running, swimming and even all three is a tough task for any athlete. Toss in the life stressors of work, family, travel or social engagements and you find yourself picking and choosing between workouts. Unfortunately, most endurance athletes choose more miles over more weights( or sleep but more on that in a different post). Athletes skip the weights for fear of weight gain, lack of time, or lack of structure. 

In this post we will cover the science of training strength and endurance together, otherwise known as concurrent training. We’ll take a look at research done on this topic that can help us better understand how and when to program strength sessions as well as when to not. 

Concurrent training has been covered in numerous studies but one of the earliest was done in 1980 by R. C. Hickson. Hickson constructed a study with 18 participants split into three groups, Strength(S), Endurance(E), and Concurrent (S&E). Strength participants exercised 5 days a week, endurance 6, and Concurrent followed both protocols. After a 10 week period the participants we’re retested to see if there was any change in performance. Both the Strength and concurrent group gained strength and leg mass while the endurance group did not. The endurance and concurrent group both witnessed gains in their VO2max while the strength group did not. This study showed that you can gain both strength and endurance at the same time, however it also showed an interesting trend at around 7 weeks. While the strength group continued to gain strength the concurrent group slowly plateued. This gives us insight into programing strategies for concurrent programs. 

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A more recent study also helps us better understand this trait as well as creates more insight into timing and frequency of workouts. Keith Baar Ph. D of UC Berkley conducted a study titled Using Molecular Biology to Maximize Concurrent Training. While we won't get too in-depth about your physiological responses well cover a few things briefly. Strength training seems to have a fairly straight forward physiologic response with mTOR protein signaling while endurance is anything but straight forward. It is also significant to note the duration of response for each activity. 

Baar reaches 4 conclusions based on his research and reviews of Concurrent training. 

  1. High intensity endurance training sessions should be performed early in the day 
  2. Resistance exercise should be supported by leucine rich protein sources to maximize uptake 
  3. Fully refuel between the morning high-intensity endurance training session and the afternoon strength session. 
  4. You can improve endurance response to lower-intensity endurance training by performing strength sessions after a non depleting endurance session. 

While he notes that these suggestions are in no way absolute they still give us a supported rationale towards structuring a program. 

Conveniently, the offseason and pre season contain more base training. Base training can be categorized into his suggestion regarding strength session timing. After a long slow bike or ride perhaps you could incorporate 30-45 minutes of focused strength work. 

His suggestions also support practices that many athletes already follow, wake up and get your ride done and then get a strength session in during the evening. This will give you ample time to refuel through out the day, 

A note on pre season training as well. 

Most programs follow linear progression. This means you move towards performing more race style efforts as the event draws near. I like to think of strength training as following a reverse periodization schedule. During the off season and early pre season you have more intensity during your strength sessions. AS the race draws  near you move towards more base workouts that keep everything strong and balanced but doesn’t over tax the body.

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So what's the take away? 

From the literature we can see that you can develop strength and endurance simultaneously though maybe not to the same extent as strength alone. We can take what we have learned so far and develop more intelligent program design that allows your body time to recover and avoid competing with itself. Increasing your focus on timing and nutritional support can help block the antagonistic affects of long term concurrent training. This will lead to strength gains alongside your endurance training which can aid in performance as well as injury prevention. 

Don't over do it but don't under do it. Find your happy medium and know that you you're not being counterproductive by spending a little extra time in the weifghtroom... unless you're sacrificing sleep, don't do that. We'll talk about sleep next week. 

- Patrick  

Workout of the Week

This week we have another workout from Baring Performance Management. 

Elliott is offering a great deal on coaching while he works with us at Podium. You can learn more about Elliott, his background and coaching packages here

Now that we have our shameless plug out of the way lets get to the workout. 

After a series of ramps Elliott has me working in the anaerobic range with this week's "Tempo Surges." 

I completed this workout yesterday and, to my surprise, enjoyed the 130% FTP surges during the finishing block of intervals. I have noticed a definite improvement in my pedal stroke as well as my power numbers. Chances are I set the bar too low to start but the past few weeks have been chalk full of new power thresholds, hooray newbie gains. I have the graph of my workout below. When you give this one a shot beware, Elliott sneaks in one extra interval on the second set. 

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As for the workout we have both the text description along with formatted links for Garmin devices as well as Zwift. 

Warm up

o   5 min @ 45 % of FTP

Interval 1

o   1:30 @ 85 % of FTP

Active

o   2 min @ 75 % of FTP

Interval 2

o   1 min @ 95 % of FTP

Active

o   2 min @ 75 % of FTP

Interval 3

o   1 min @ 105 % of FTP

Active

o   5 min @ 75 % of FTP

Interval Set 1

o   12 min 30 sec @ 90 % of FTP 

o   Every 2 min, complete a :30 second surge to 105% of FTP (x5)

Recovery

o   5 min @ 55 % of FTP

Interval Set 2

o   14 min @ 90% of FTP 

o   Every 2 min complete a :30 second surge to 105% of FTP (x6) 

Recovery

o   5 min @ 55 % of FTP

Interval 4

o   1 min @ 130 % of FTP

Active

o   2 min @ 75 % of FTP

Interval 5

o   1 min @ 130 % of FTP

Active

o   2 min @ 75 % of FTP

Interval 6

o   1 min @ 130 % of FTP

Active

o   2 min @ 75 % of FTP

Interval 7

o   1 min @ 130 % of FTP

Active

o   2 min @ 75 % of FTP

Interval 8

o   1 min @ 130 % of FTP

Cool Down

o   5 min @ 45 % of FTP