Going Long – Healthy Lifestyle

29 01 2010

While healthy eating may or may not make you faster, it will certainly make you faster longer – as in longer life. So today I’m going to share some ideas I’ve come up with over the years to improve my diet.

To understand where I’m coming from you have to know as a younger man, I was a hamburger eating machine. I’m not fond of vegetables and some would say I’m a picky eater, but I would just say, I have (or had) a limited diet. I feel like the things I’m sharing can easily be implemented into anyone’s life. I would love to hear any of your strategies!

More and more research suggests the advantages of frequent eating as opposed to three big meals.1 I started bringing healthy snacks to work that I think has increased the quality of my diet. When I get hungry between breakfast and lunch, I go snooping around my shelf where my goodies are kept. If all you have on-hand is healthy stuff; that’s all you’ll eat. It seems I start my snacking almost as soon as I get to work and I continue on and off until I swim. Then I’m REALLY hungry for lunch. After lunch, I have another snack or two before I head out the door for more training.

snacks i keep at work
Almonds – do a Google search as to their nutritional benefit if you don’t already know. They are great because you can grab a small handful whenever you want and have good fat to fuel your long workouts.

Jelly Belly brand Fruit Snacks – these are made supposedly with real fruit juices but are basically just sugar. Each little bag is 80 calories and seems to satisfy my need for something sweet during the day. I also keep a few packets in my workout bag to have right after a swim, bike, or run.

Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal – this takes a little preparation but is sweet and healthy.

Snapple – If you’ve not tried Snapple, please do yourself a favor and buy a six pack of Peach flavor. If you’re chicken, you can sometimes find a vending machine where you can purchase one bottle. Be sure to get the peach flavor. As for the nutritional benefit – Snapple is made primarily from green and black tea. Now you have to know, there is no tea flavor to this product at all. It tastes like a wonderful sweet drink and goes down much better than Coke. The bottles have screw-on caps which allow you to take a sip to wash down your almonds and then put it back in the refrigerator for later consumption.

V8 Vegetable Drink – I wasn’t crazy about the taste of this at first, but I would chug one everyday before my lunch. I’ve actually gotten to the point where I kind of like it. It seems like an easy way to get vegetables in the diet.

snacks at home

Peanut Butter and Jelly wraps – I found this great wrap at our grocery store that has whole grains and 12 grams of fiber. The brand is “LaToritilla Factory” and at some stores they are located next to the Power Bars, not with the other wraps.

Wrap Peanut
Jelly Total
Calories 80 190 100 370 Kcal
Fat 3 16 0 19 grams
Fiber 12 2 0 14 grams
Protein 8 7 0 15 grams
Carb 18 6 26 50 grams

14 Grams of Fiber!
Almost a perfect (for a recovery meal) 4:1 ratio between protein and carbs.

Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats – Whole grains and 6 grams of fiber make this a healthy little snack. I grab a handful when I need something sweet.

What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Eating frequency
Weight loss

Lower cholesterol


February swim workouts

27 01 2010

build your swim fitness in preparation for the 2010 race season

I’ll post a new set of workouts each month, each progressing toward olympic distance race readiness. We’ll assume racing will begin at the end of May or early June.

I have two sets of workouts: “lunchtime” and “weekend.” Lunchtime workouts are shorter and attempt to get the maximum results in the shortest amount of time. Weekend workouts take a bit more time, allowing for work on stroke technique and longer sets. I’m posting four lunchtime workouts today. Tomorrow, I’ll post some longer, weekend workouts.

Feel free to comment or ask questions.

lunchtime workout #1

Running total Running total
500 swim Warm-up 500 10 min
4 x 100 on 1:45 Make sure you are getting between 15 – 30 sec rest, otherwise adjust interval 900 18 min
300 pull Keep elbows high – like you’re swimming over a barrel 1200 24 min
4 x 50 on 1:00 Make sure you are getting at least 10 sec rest, otherwise adjust interval 1400 19 min
200 Warm down – easy 1600 24 min

lunchtime workout #2

Running total Running total
500 swim Warm-up 500 10 min
8 x 50 on 1:00 Every other one HARD 900 19 min
6 x 50 kick 15 sec rest 1200 27 min
200 swim Build speed – swim each 50 a little faster – last 50 finish like racing 1400 31 min
200 Warm down – easy 1600 35 min

lunchtime workout #3

Running total Running total
400 swim Warm-up 400 8 min
200 pull Warm-up 600 12 min
200 kick Warm-up 800 17 min
4 x 100 on 1:50 1200 25 min
Rest 1 min 26 min
4 x 100 on 1:40 1600 34 min
400 Warm down – mix in some backstroke 2000 42 min

lunchtime workout #4

Running total Running total
400 swim Warm-up 400 8 min
200 pull Warm-up 600 12 min
200 kick Warm-up 800 17 min
400 swim @ Olympic distance race pace 1200 25 min
6 x 50 on 1:00 Descend 1-3 (moderate, fast, fastest) & 4-6 (moderate, fast, fastest) 1500 32 min
200 pull 1700 36 min
300 Warm down – mix in some backstroke 2000 42 min

DeSoto Water Rover Wetsuit Test

21 01 2010

The Water Rover is the latest wetsuit offering from DeSoto. The suit uses varying thickness of neoprene in each panel with the goal of maximizing floatation, comfort, fit, and most of all – speed. The thigh area and arms are a whopping 10mm and the chest is a much thinner and flexible, 3mm. When asked why the arms are made so thick, Emilio DeSoto explained that it was an attempt to make the swimmer’s arms bigger round, providing more surface area to push water.

first impressions

The first thing I noticed when I jumped into the pool with the Water Rover for the first time, was how much floatation the leges have; So much in fact, it’s almost hard to tread water and stay vertical. The suit wants to bring the legs to the surface putting the body horizontal. When swimming, I felt the hips riding much, much higher than usual which made me feel like I was truly swimming downhill.

the test

I did three “all out” 400 yard time trials in the course of two days at my local indoor pool which keeps a water temperature at 79 degrees. Time trial number one was done in the morning of day one, wearing only a square cut, “endurance” Speedo swim suit. The second time trial was completed that same afternoon wearing a 2005 vintage 2XU full wetsuit. That evening I swam yet again at a tough masters swim team practice. The next afternoon, I did the final 400 trial wearing the Water Rover. Keep in mind, I was very motivated to go all out for all the tests and by the time I got to day-two (fourth hard swim in two days), I was getting a bit tired but still had the fastest time.


400 yard timed swim
Speedo            6:05
2XU                 5:35
DeSoto             5:25


By my figuring, for me the Water Rover is around 10 seconds per 400, or 30 seconds faster than my 2XU wetsuit for a 1600 yard swim (approximately 1500M).

How do you sqeeze your workouts in your day?

13 01 2010

some very random tips that can save time so there is more time to workout

  • Use elastic shoe laces on your training shoes – save up to a minute every time you go for a run. This could add useful years to your life : )
  • Do you swim during your lunch break? Then your time is really short! Try this to get in and out of the locker room just that little bit quicker: When undressing, unbutton only enough buttons to get your shirt over your head. If you’re wearing a sweater or tie – leave them on the shirt and pull them all off at once. This will net you valuable extra time in the pool each day. Buy slip-on dress shoes.
  • And if you swim at lunch time, do you really need to have that morning shower? Maybe instead, you could squeeze in a short run before work and have your daily shower after your swim. You’ll be fine. You wanna be fast or immaculately clean every minute of the day?
  • Have to drop off your car for service? Run home – no workout missed. Have to miss your Saturday bike ride because of a day trip to visit relatives? Leave early on your bike and meet the spouse there or part way there.
  • Shave at night before bed to speed up your morning workout run or routine.

some ways to simplify your real life

  • Throw away ALL your dress socks and buy a dozen pair of comfortable BLACK socks that are all exactly the same. Come laundry time, kiss sock sorting goodbye. Also, getting dressed in the morning will be a tad faster as you won’t have to figure out if those dark socks are blue or black.
  • Re-wear your running clothes before washing. I used to wear running clothes only once before they went into the dirty clothes. When I switched to daily running, it created a bunch of extra work trying to keep clean clothes ready to wear. Now I hang up my shorts, running pants and top on a hook on the inside of my closet after each morning run and re-wear them every day for the week.

What are  your tricks and tips for squeezing more workout time into your day?

Run Frequency

6 01 2010

There is a growing trend in triathlon coaching circles to increase the run frequency of their athletes.  Traditional workout schedules for age-group athletes call for no more than three or four runs per week. Typically one of those is a long run, with a couple more faster paced runs make up the core of the weekly routine.

For well over a year now, I have increased my run frequency from four-times to seven-times per week. That’s right: every single, stinking day. Or like General Patton replied after being asked if he prayed; “every damn day,” he said.

why I started running everyday

The cartilage on my talus bone (the bone on the foot that connects to the leg) is very worn out and is on the verge of ending my running career at any time. My podiatrist (a cyclist and triathlete) is amazed I can still run and is doubly amazed I can compete competitively. My kneecap seems to have a similar issue, so until cartilage graph surgery is perfected for this type of injury, I have to be very thankful for any running at all. So after reading some articles about increasing run frequency, I decided to give it a try.

my experience from 7-day per week running

I’m running 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 miles each morning at about 8:30 – 8:45 per mile pace. One day a week I run around 5 miles and do 2 miles of it at tempo effort. I’m doing virtually no track workouts and no long runs, so the only “quality” running I’m doing is the tempo run and occasional races.

At 52 years old, I don’t have any dreams of personal records, but I can say I have run better as measured from road race times and triathlon splits, than I have for 4 or 5 years. Even with these slow, short runs, I’ve been able to race at 6:10 pace for an open 5 mile road race and 6:40 pace for a 10K triathlon split consistently this past season.

I’ve always been lean but I lost about eight pounds in the first six months and two inches from my waist size after my switch to 7 day a week running. I am 6′ and weigh about 150 lbs.  The weight loss is not explained by an increase mileage because my runs now are so short, the total weekly volume is about the same (25-28 miles per week). The extra calories being burned I believe can be accounted for by the raising of my core temperature and metabolism, more often. Scientific studies clearly indicate that more calories are burned by doing more frequent workouts instead of fewer, but bigger workouts.

My positive experience with 7-days per week running, in terms of the improved running times, might be explained away by pointing out the benefit I am surely getting from 26 years of running in my legs. I’m inclined to agree with this theory but in the end, the reason doesn’t really matter. What matters is 7-day a week running works well from a competition standpoint and from a health standpoint. It’s easier on my body and I’ve found a great way to fit it in each day.

The bottom line is, 7-day per week run training, at least how I’m doing it, is much easier than the training I used to do. It’s much less stressful on my legs and my body and yet I’m racing better than I have in several years. I believe this strategy can work well for other experienced masters competitors. I believe you can expect to lose weight, experience less trauma to your body, and even run faster than last season.

how to fit in 7 runs a week?

Here’s how I fit in 7 runs every week. It’s pretty simple – I get up 30 minutes earlier than I used to and get out the door – no matter the weather. For me, that means the alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m. This still leaves me with my lunch break and evenings for a couple more workouts each day – swimming, biking and in the winter – weights, yoga classes, and tennis (yes, I’ve been goofing around with indoor tennis).

In a future post, I plan to share tips in streamlining little pieces of your  life to maximize training time.

Good luck, and be sure to share your experience.

Hello world!

6 01 2010

I’m starting this blog to share my thoughts and experience gathered after 26 years of triathlon training and racing.

I have lots of random nuggets of wisdom in my head from how do train smarter to how to live healthier and extend ones athletic career and I’m hoping this forum will be a method for organizing these thoughts and writing them down. Hopefully readers who stumble upon this blog will find something useful.

Emphasis will be on Olympic distance triathlon racing and training but most topics will be general enough in nature to be of value to any serious triathlete.  See you at the starting line!