Last week we had a brief look at how you might go about Determining you Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax), and then using a predictive equation for calculating your VO2max.

In todays post I would like to look at a few of the ways you can use this information to:

  1. Set up your running Heart rate zones (HRzones)
  2. Understand what the training effect on your fitness will be by working in the zones
There are many recommended methods to set up your HRzones, and as you will find out for yourself, each one will give you different numbers.

I have chosen 3 different approaches for days post, and each one has a slightly different approach to getting the numbers.

Polar:

This is a good starting point because they were, after all, the creators of the Heart Rate monitor.

First off, they work with a predicted HRmax, and depending on your level of conditioning and your sex, requires a different equation to determine it:

Female Athlete: 211-(0.5 x Age) Male Athlete: 205-(0.5 x Age)
Sedentary Female: 209-(0.7 x Age) Sedentary Male: 214-(0.8xAge)

This value (let's call it your Predicted Heart Rate maximum [PHRmax]), is then multiplied by the %Intensity(50%,60%...), to get all your Zones:

Polar have 5 training zones:

ZONE 1: Active recovery Zone 50%-60%
: Used for days after heavy or long training sessions, where the body needs assistance recovering from the work, but does not need to overloaded.

ZONE 2: Aerobic Endurance 60%-70%: This target zone is used for endurance training build a base for higher intensity training. The warm-up and cool down are done in this target zone as well all long slow distance workouts. It is usually grouped together with the active recovery target zone as the training effect in both is very similar.

ZONE 3: Aerobic Stamina 70%-80%
:This target zone is used for aerobic or long intervals ranging from 5 min to 30 min. Recovery is to 60% or for a period of up to 3 min. This target zone is important to lay the foundation for higher intensity workouts.

ZONE 4: Lactate Tolerance 80%-90%
:An important target zone to improve performance. Short or LT intervals range from 1 min to 5 min with a recovery to 50%. Fatigue and the risk of injuries is greatly increased at these high intensities. Training in this target zone should only be done once a base has been built at lower intensities.

ZONE 5: Maximal effort 90%-100%
: For endurance sports, training is normally not recommended in this target zone. It is uncertain if the benefits outweigh the damage done.

Joe Friel:

Joe uses 7 zones and requires you to have had your Lactate Threshold tested and determined, as his training zones are calculated as a % of Lactate Threshold.

I work with this system, and have had a good results with those I train, and with my own training.

ZONE 1: Recovery: 65%-81%:
ZONE 2: Aerobic conditioning: 82%-88%:
ZONE 3: Tempo: 89-93%:
ZONE 4: Sub Threshold: 94%-100%
ZONE 5A: 101%-102%
ZONE 5B: 103%-105%
ZONE 5C: 106% - Maximum

Each training zone delivers a number of adaptations that are specific the that training intensity, for example, training in ZONE 2 and ZONE 3 will:
  • Help delay the onset of fatigue
  • Improve the bodies ability to metabolize fats as the primary energy source (Lipolysis).
  • Improve movement economy
Whereas training in Z5C will:
  • Increase the muscles ability to generate power.
  • Develop top end speed (sprinting speed)
  • Assist with short speed pickups during racing (up hill or to overtake).
Peter Jansen:

My third and final source that I will be using is a MD called Peter Jansen, and he works directly off the Heart Rate Reserve (HRR) method.

Calculating your HRR:
  1. Determing your Maximum Heart Rate from your HRmax test /HRmax= 220-Age
  2. Calculate you Resting Heart rate (HRrest):Taken on 3 different days, add together and divide by 3 to get the average
  3. Calculate your HRR=HRmax-HRrest
  4. Determine your Training Zones.
Peter uses 5 training zones working off HRR and HRmax:

ZONE 1: Recovery: HRR: 50%-60% HRmax: 68%-73%
ZONE 2: Light Aerobic: HRR: 60%-70% HRmax: 73%-80%
ZONE 3: Intensive Aerobic: HRR: 70%-80% HRmax: 80%-87%
ZONE 4:Anaerobic Effort: HRR: 80%-90% HRmax: 87%-93%
ZONE 5: Maximum Effort: HRR: 90%-100% HRmax: 93%-100%

As you can see, there are many different methods of setting your Heart Rate training zones, and as I already eluded to, the numbers you get will be slightly different for each one.

To get the best improvements in your performance using your Heart rate monitor, keep the following in mind:
  1. Be consistent with your training
  2. Stick to your training zones - they might feel to easy (or hard), but persevere.
  3. Train throughout the range of training zones - that is what they are there for.
  4. Heart Rate is not 100% accurate and infallible - there are many external factors that can affect it - use it a guide to training intensity.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.

We are not talking about your threshold to pain (although pain can come into the equation). We are talking Lactate Threshold (LT), also known as Anaerobic Threshold (AT).

Your AT in very simple terms, is the point where Anaerobic energy metabolism (Glycolysis) begins to exceed the bodies ability to produce energy via Aerobic metabolic pathways.

The result is an increase in the production of Lactic Acid and Hydrogen ions (as a result of increased Anaerobic Glycolysis), which ultimately has a negative impact on performance.
It is important to note that the AT is not a point where there is a sudden onset of fatigue and other factors associated with increased concentrations of Lactic Acid [LA]. In fact, it is barely noticeable, because all that happens is a change in the % contribution from the Aerobic Pathways compared to the Anearobic Pathways.

Example:
Long Slow Distance ride:
When you are doing a 200km Long Slow Distance (LSD) ride, you are getting a majority of your energy from the Aerobic Lipolytic (Fat) and Glycolytic (Carbohydrate) pathways (90%), with a small contribution coming from the Anaerobic Glycolytic pathway (10%).

Criterium race:
A Criterium race would require more energy, at a faster rate to generate the Power outputs required during racing, which means that Anaerobic Glycolysis would be the dominant energy provider (50%-70%), with the Aerobic Glycolytic pathway still contributing to the bodies overall demand, but to a lesser extent (30%-50%).

Your Threshold is the point where Anaerobic Glycolysis contributes about 51% of the energy to your bodies total energy demand and your Aerobic pathway contributes 49% to the total demand.

So you can see that knowing where this Threshold point is located could have a large impact on you performance, because spending to much training time working above your Threshold can have dire consequences not only to your performance but to your health.

Excessive Training above the Anaerobic Threshold can result in:

  • Increased Acidosis which in turn leads to a reduction in your Aerobic Endurance capacity: This value remains reduced for a couple of days after the session.
  • High intensity training damages the muscles cell wall: This causes leaking from the cell into the blood, and many abnormal enzymatic values can e detected.
  • Muscle damage: Acidosis is the culprit for micro-ruptures in muscle fibers, and if there is not sufficient recovery time allowed, more sever muscle damage can occur.
  • During training, elevated [LA] leads to impaired Aerobic Lipolysis: Which means that the body no longer has the option of using Fats as an energy source, but becomes reliant on limited Carbohydrate stores.
Not quite as dramatic, spending to much time training below your Threshold will see your performance start to stagnate, and improvements becoming harder to achieve.

The key is find a good balance between Volume and the Intensity. Knowing where your Anaerobic Threshold is, is the first step to seeing improvements in performances.

In last weeks post, Where is your cycling fitness at right now?, I briefly touched on a few tests available to you, to help you set a baseline for future assessment.

AT testing is probably one test that will give you the most benefit and the most applications for your training and training program.

Next weeks posting will attempt to answer the following questions:
  1. How do you determine your AT?
  2. Can it determined without a lab test?
  3. How do you apply the results to your training and your program?

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.

With the Christmas period, comes a shut down of most group based training - Masters swimming is no different.

So with that in mind, many swimmers are asking their coaches for sessions to do while the group is not running, and if you have forgotten to ask for a few sessions, you might be left wondering what to do in the pool.

Well I have some good news for you (and for me too).

In my daily recon around the World Wide Web, I stumbled upon a pretty amazing resource I would like to share with you all.

The West Side Swim club is a Swim club based out of Sudbury, Massachusetts, and one of the cool resources they have on their site is a Workout Database.

This database has almost 1 200 (yes 1 200) workouts for everything that is swimming, from the books of one of their Coaches, Nate McBride.

The kicker - the database is FREE.

http://www.swimwestside.com/workouts/wsscworkoutssearch.html

Just follow the prompts, and get an almost custom made swimming workout - every time
(or at least 1 134 of them).

Get yourself a few swim sessions, and hold onto that hard earned fitness over the festive season.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.


The goal of increasing muscle strength was to develop the highest amount of force production by the muscle as possible. Combine Strength with this Endurance, and you have what all Endurance athletes spend hours upon hours training to achieve - Muscle Endurance.

Muscle Endurance is the ability to perform a high number of repetitive movements against a resistance, for an extended period of time, without undue fatigue.

So that is what we are looking for. Now, how do we get it?

It is not as difficult as you might think - perform a very high number of repetitions, non-stop, against a light resistance.

Here a are a few guidelines on what your training should look like:

  • 2-3 times per week
  • 30-40% of 1 Repetition Maximum (Resistance is very light to mimic pushing against a pedal, pulling through water etc)
  • A circuit style of training is great for this type of session - 1-2 minutes per exercise.
  • 4-6 exercises (back to back with no recovery between exercises)
  • Repeat circuit 2-4 times
  • Movement Cadence: CON: 2 sec HOLD: 1 sec ECC: 2 sec
  • 2-6 sets
  • 1 minute of recovery between circuits (allowing time for partial muscle to recover).
We are not aiming to achieve high muscular force generation in these workouts, but a continuous flow of muscle activity that will tax the Aerobic metabolism.

Here is a sample circuit: (60 seconds per station)

1: Body weight squats
2: Body weight Push ups
3: Side Plank - Left arm (30 seconds), Right arm (30 seconds)
4: Lateral Lunge (to the left)
5: Rubber Tubing / Band Rows
6: Lateral Lunge (to the right)
7: Swiss Ball Roll outs

Allow for 1 minute of recovery before repeating the circuit.

A very limited period of recovery is the key here, because you do not want to muscle / body to be able to fully recover before commencing with the next circuit.

Obviously the number of repetitions and number of times the circuit is completed, is totally dependent on your needs and your level of conditioning.

After a few weeks, you will notice your time to fatigue decreasing, and the number of repetitions you can squeeze out on the rise - a definite sign that your Muscle Endurance is increasing.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.

After spending some time putting yourself through the paces using our Maximal Heart Rate test for swimming, you now should be armed with 2 pieces of valuable information:

  1. Your Heart rate training zones
  2. Your approximate swimming split times for various swimming distances.
The question now arises what do you do with them?

Well, here is a sample session, perfect for the Winter period of training (Pre-season), that will challenge you, but not over-extend you at this time of the year.

It not only shows you how the interaction of Heart rate and swimming velocity can be inter-twined, but what a Base conditioning session might look like. Obviously this volume of work would be for an individual who has been swimming through the fall.

WARM UP: 400m

4X100m
100m Freestyle @ 50% HRmax @ 2:10
100m Drilling @ 50% HRmax
100m Backstroke @ 50-60% HRmax @ 2:20
100m Drilling @ 50%Hrmax

The goal here is to steadily increase the Heart rate and the respiration rate to allow the body to prepare for the main body of the session.

50% HRmax - is the heart rate intensity you should strive to swim at
@ 2:10 - means you should be swimming at a speed fast enough to complete the set in under 2 minutes 10 seconds.

Let us say you finish the 100m in 1 minute 55 seconds, you will have a 15 second rest before beginning the drilling sequence.

If you find you are not achieving the time set for yourself, make the time a little longer to allow for some recovery time.

MAIN SET: 2 800m

2 X 200m
200m Pulling with pool buoy @ 60% HRmax @ 4:10-4:20
  • Really use this set to work on your stroke efficiency - apply the drills your worked on in the warm up, into this 200m repetition.
200m Freestyle with increasing speed for each 50m @ 60%, 65%, 70%, 70% HRmax @ 4:00
  • Hold your speed for the final 50m.
20 X 100m
5X100m @ 70% HRmax @ 2:00-2:10
5X100m @ 75% HRmax @ 2:00-2:10
5X100m @ 75% HRmax @ 2:05-2:15
5X100m @ 80% HRmax @ 2:10-2:20
  • By the final 5X100m, you might notice that your Heart rate begins to increase, without you actually being able to increase the velocity at which you are swimming. This is a result of Cardiac Drift is a totally normal occurrence.
2 X 200m
200m Freestyle with increasing speed for each 50m @ 60%, 65%, 70%, 70% HRmax @ 4:00
  • Hold your speed for the final 50m.
200m Pulling with pool buoy @ 60% HRmax @ 4:10-4:20
  • Really use this set to work on your stroke efficiency - apply the drills your worked on in the warm up, into this 200m repetition.
COOL DOWN: 400m

50m breast stroke (HR Not Applicable), 50m Backstroke (HR Not Applicable).
100m Freestyle @ 50%-60% @ 1:10 X 2
100m swim down (HR NA)

TOTAL DISTANCE: 3 600m

* Remember to end the swim with 5 - 10 minutes of stretching *

I hope this gives you a better idea of how to incorporate your test data results into your program.

I will do the same for Cycling and Running later this week.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.

Why are city cycle routes never straight?

Posted by James Greenwood | 11:29 AM | | View Comments

If you are a bicycle commuter, and have ever spent time wondering why there is seldom a direct route to your destination, I have discovered the answer.

It is the topic of todays very educational and science based posting, so get your brains ready, and let's break it down........









I hope you have a great weekend, and are winding down to Christmas.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.


After spending some time yesterday looking at a few of the performance assessment tests available to cyclists. It is woth keeping in mind while reading the post that most of these tests are also available to runners (with the exception of a couple).

Today I am going to break down a testing protocol used by Dr Tim Noakes and the crew at Cape Town Sport Science Institute for determining VO2max.

We will be using this test to predict VO2max and determine what your Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax) is, to be used to set up your training zones for Heart Rate monitored training.

This is a little more accurate than the old 220-age equation to determine your HRmax, but not the most accurate method either. Remember, this is a Field Test.

It is also important to keep the following in mind:
  1. You must be medically fit to complete this test as it is a test to maximal exhaustion.
  2. You must be experienced in running on a treadmill t high speeds.
You will require the following equipment:
  • Treadmill
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Someone to help you record the relevant information.
The week leading up to taking this test, measure you Hear Rate at rest (HRrest) upon waking for days in a row, and then get the average of the three.

This will be your HRrest value.

Warm up:
  • 10-15 minutes at speeds of between (walking) at 3 mph and (running) at 7mph.
  • Keep the gradient at 0% for the entire test.
  • Allow 5 minutes for a Dynamic Warm up before commencing with the test.
The Test:
  • Start at a speed of 7.5mph - run for 1 minute
  • Increase speed by 0.3mph - run for 30 seconds
  • Continue to increase speed bu 0.3mph every 30 seconds till exhaustion
  • Record Heart Rate values at the end of every stage.
  • Keeping running until you are unable to keep up with the speed of the treadmill.
Heart Rate Recovery:
  • Sit down and record you your drop in Heart rate after 30 seconds, 1 minute, 3 minutes and 5 minutes.
  • This is not a true reflection of what is going on inside your body (Physiologically), because your Lactic Acid levels will still be elevated.
Active recovery:
  • spend a few minutes walking on the treadmill to help remove Lactic Acid and aid the body with recovery.
What can we calculate from the acquired data:

1: Predicted VO2max: You can use this simple equation to predict your VO2max:

Treadmill VO2 (ml/kg/min) - 2.209 +{3.163 X v)

v - Velocity - fastest speed achieved on the treadmill in Km/h (not mph) (multiply your score by 1.6 to convert miles per hour to kilometers per hour)
2: Heart rate training zones:

Making use of your Tested HRmax, your HRrest and the Karvonen formula, we are able to set up you Heart Rate zones.

Here is the equation you will need:

HRmax-HRrest (% intensity (50%, 60% etc) + HRrest.

Here is a brief example: If you HRmax=198b/min, your HRrest=55b/min, then

198-55(0.60%)+55 = 141b/min

Just change the % Intensity each time, and this will give all the Training intensities you will need for application in your training program.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.


So keeping in line with Mondays swimming post on how to:
  1. determine your HRmax
  2. set up your Heart Rate training zones
  3. set up your swimming interval times
I have decided to continue on this tack, and have a look at some of the cycling specific tests that are out there.

Let's begin by differentiating between Field tests and Laboratory tests.

Field tests
are tests that are performed outside of a controlled laboratory environment, and are generally inexpensive, easy to administer and do not require to much equipment (if any at all), and do not require the person administering the test to be highly qualified to do so.

Lab tests on the other hand are performed in the highly controlled laboratory environment, often do require expensive equipment and a qualified tester to administer the test, and can be very costly.

The next area that needs to be discussed involves 2 very important terms associated with research and testing - Validity and Reliability.

Validity
is whether a test actually measures what it is supposed to measure. For example, if a student required a good comprehension of English to pass a Math test, then the Math test is not a Valid test of that individuals abilities in Mathematics.

Reliability is more concerned with whether the test, if repeated at another time in the very near future, if administered by another tester, will get the same result and the results sre free form error.

Now the question needs to be answered: I am not en Elite athlete - What is the purpose of doing testing?

Here are a few of the more important reasons to get regular testing in one form or another:
  1. It identifies and quantifies your strengths and weaknesses. If you are always being beaten in the sprint for the finish line, the 30 second Wingate Test will be able to tell us what your ability to maintain a Peak Power Output (PPO) is, ad how quickly you fatigue once you reach your PPO.
  2. Developing a Training program. The Training program should be developed around improving the athletes' areas of weakness, and maintaining their areas of Strength.
  3. Was the Training program effective? A program of testing provides feedback on the effectiveness of the Intervention (training program), whether the areas of Weakness were effectively addressed and whether the areas of Strength were maintained or improved upon.
  4. Monitoring Athlete Health status.This is important for all athletes who train regularly and want to perform at their best. Overtraining and Overreaching, illness and various other health affecting issues can often be nipped in the bud early thanks to having a regular testing program in place.
  5. Improved Athlete education: The educational benefit is huge, because athletes learn to understand how and why there bodies respond to training, and this understanding improves levels of trust in Coaches and Trainers.
Let us now have a look at a few of the more well known tests cyclists can use to evaluate their fitness and their performance.

Laboratory tests:
  • VO2max test:
    • This test is used to assess Aerobic capacity i.e. the athletes Peak Oxygen (O2) uptake.
    • By comparing the volume of inspired O2 to the volume of expired CO2, we are able to determine how much O2 the 1kg of wet muscle is able to take up and use in 1minute.

    • This number is represented as either an Absolute value, in Liters per minute
      (L/min),
      or a Relative value, in milliliters per kilogram per minute (ml/kg/min).
    • The more O2 the muscle can take up and use for Aerobic energy metabolism, the higher the score will be.
    • Values can range from: 2-6L/min or 30 - 95ml/kg/min. The higher the score the better conditioned the athlete.
    • This test was once considered the GOLD STANDARD for predicting individuals Endurance potential, but has lost some of its gleam, as there are other factors that have been shown to be of greater importance to good Endurance performances (Anaerobic threshold and movement Economy).
  • Anaerobic (Lactate) Threshold test (AT or LT):
    • There are many terms used interchangeably to name this test, but the bottom line is this test is one of the most important tests for determining Endurance potential.
    • The testing protocol involves an Incremental test to exhaustion to be used, and is invasive in nature (requires blood sampling).

    • Unfortunately there is very little agreement about how to best identify this threshold, some testers use a set 4mmol Lactic Acid concentration [LA], some use the first point of exponential increase in [LA] to designate the AT.
    • The Threshold being looked for is the point where Anaerobic energy metabolism begins to exceed Aerobic metabolism, and this results in an increase in the production of Lactic Acid and Hydrogen ions (as a result of increased reliance on Anaerobic Glycolysis), which can ultimately have a negative impact on performance.
    • The longer this "shift" can be delayed for, the better the individuals' performance will potentially be.
    • By having a Heart rate and a Power output from which to work, we can work out training intensity zones for application into the training program.
  • Cycling economy test:
    • This is another extremely important measure of Endurance performance.
    • The test requires the individual to work at various % of PPO (60% - 90%) and measures the energy cost of doing work at these intensities.
    • This can also be used to look at pedaling economies.
    • During each test increment, certain physiological parameters, such as Respiration rate and Resipratory Exchange Ratio become affected, and we can observe a decrease in economy.
    • We can determine at what Heart rate and Power output this decrease occurs, and this will help us to see what the limiting factor is in the individuals performance, and use this to develop their training program.
  • Anaerobic Power test:
    • Most cyclists have heard of this test, not many have done it.
    • It is a 30 second, Anaerobic Power test that requires a 110% effort, in an attempt to generate the highest a wattage possible on a stationary cycle ergometer.

    • Over the 30 second test, we then look to see what wattage the cyclist can maintain.
    • From this we can determine what their Peak Power Output is, and what their Fatigue Index (FI) is (What % of their PPO they lose over the 30 seconds).
    • Cyclists have achieved values over 2000 Watts, and when we talk about FI, we want to see values of below 40% (maintaining a wattage over 1200W for the test if their PPO was 2000W)
Those are a few of the more important Lab tests we use. Field tests are a lot more simple and much easier to implement.
  • Time Trial:
    • This is a very easy test to administer, and a great source of information on performance ability.
    • This test can be done indoors, or on an outdoor course.
    • Measure or set up a flat course (20km - 40km), and ride it as fast as possible.
    • Be sure to spend 5-10 minutes warming up thoroughly before starting the test.
    • Record your time, average and maximum heart rate, average and maximum power output (if you have a device that measure wattage), Average cadence and your Caloric expenditure.
    • After 6-8 weeks of training, redo the test, an compare your scores to see how much improvement was achieved.
    • Perform this test in your UNLOAD week of training, or during a phase of your training when you are not excessively fatigued.

  • CTS Field test:
    • You will need to measure out a flat 4.8km course - try to keep it as staright as possible.
    • This test requires you to be well rested.
    • Ensure you have warmed up thoroughly before starting this test.
    • Complete the 4.8km course 2 times, allowing a 10 minute active recovery between efforts.
    • Record your time, average and maximum heart rate, average and maximum power output (if you have a device that measure wattage), Average cadence and your Caloric expenditure.
    • Repeat this test every 6-8 weeks to track your progress and your improvement as you move through your training program.

    There are any number of tests out there, some give useful and relevant data, other do not.


    When deciding whether a test is suitable for you or not, remember to determine what relevant information the test is giving you and how is that information going to help you to improve your performance.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.



Being able to quantify your swimming sessions in terms of time and / or heart rate will certainly maximize the productivity and the benefits gained from that session.

Unfortunately quantifying intensity / velocity and recovery is not always that easy. How do I know if I am going to fast or not fast enough? What intensity should I be swimming a 400m interval at versus a 100m interval?

This simple Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax) test will not only allow you to set your Heart rate zones for your swimming sessions more accurately than using the old 220-age formula, but will also give you a better idea of the swimming velocities you should be aiming to swim at for different Interval distances.

You will require the following to complete the test:
  • Heart rate monitor (with a stop watch)
  • Stop watch
  • 50m pool (ideally)
  • A volunteer to record your information
The Testing Protocol :

Use the Freestyle stroke for this test as this is the stroke to be used in Triathlon.Be sure to have your heart belt tightly secured to ensure it does not slide down when you push off the wall.

Warm up:
  • 200m swim - you choose the stroke - Swim on the 3:30 (meaning if you finish the 200m in 2:49, you have 41 seconds of recovery time).
  • 200m - Freestyle - Swim on the 3:00
  • 200m - Individual medley - Swim on the 3:30 (if you can only swim one or two other strokes over and above Freestyle i.e. breast and back, then cycle through them).
  • 200m - 50m kick + 50m swim X 2
  • 100m - increasing your speed over the 100m - Swim on the 1:45
  • 2X50m - 15m hard and 35m focus on increasing the Distance Per Stroke (DPS).
The Test:
  • 100m build through the 100m to fastest speed by the end of the 100m.
  • Recovery Interval - 15 seconds
  • Record time and Heart rate upon completion of each of the 100m.
  • Repeat X 2
  • 100m Race Pace for full 100m
  • Recovery Interval- 15 seconds
  • Record time and Heart rate upon completion of each of the 100m.
  • Repeat X 3
  • 50m Race Pace
  • Recovery Interval - 10 seconds
  • Record time and Heart rate upon completion of each of the 100m.
  • Repeat X 4
  • This protocol is aimed at producing a maximum heart rate response toward the end of the test.
Cool down:
  • 400m swim down, allowing the bodies various physiological systems to return to normal levels.
Information analysis:



Resting Heart rate:

Calculation of your resting (waking) Heart rate (HRrest) will require you to take your heart rate as soon as you wake up, on 3 consecutive mornings.

Add the 3 scores together and divide by 3 to get the average. This is your HRrest.

HRrest = 45b/min

Calculation of Heart rate training zones:

We will make use of the Karvonen Formula to determine your training zones. It will require you to use the following equation:

HRmax-HRrest(% of max)+HRrest

Example:

Your tested HRmax = 200b/min
Your measure HRrest = 49b/min

50%: HRmax-HRrest (0.50)+HRrest = 200-49(0.50)=49 = 124.5b/min
60%: HRmax-HRrest (0.60)+HRrest = 200-49(0.60)=49 =139.6b/min
70%: HRmax-HRrest (0.70)+HRrest = 200-49(0.70)=49 =154.7b/min
80%: HRmax-HRrest (0.80)+HRrest = 200-49(0.80)=49 =169.8b/min
90%: HRmax-HRrest (0.90)+HRrest = 200-49(0.90)=49 =184b/min
100%: HRmax-HRrest (1+HRrest = 200-49(1)=49 =200b/min

Calculation of swimming velocities using time:

From the recorded times for your final 100m and 50m interval, you can now estimate what your times and recoveries can be for various sets.

Example:

Let us assume that the time you swam for your last 100m was 1:50, and the time you swam for your last 50m, was 52 seconds.

You can work off the following times in your training session (keep in mind there is a certain margin of error dependent on the number of sets and reps you do in the session):

50m - Swim on the 50sec - 60sec
100m - Swim on the 1:55 - 2:05
200m - Swim on the 4:00 - 4:10
400m - Swim on the 8:10 - 8:20

These numbers are merely extrapolations from the times you achieved during the test.

The purpose of this test is set a baseline of data for you to compare you progress against.As you improve your swimming fitness and swimming economy, you will start to see:
  • your interval times coming down
  • you will be able to work at a higher Heart rate, for longer, with less fatigue
  • your energy expenditure during a training session will be less because your body has become economical.
In 12 weeks, after implementing your training plan, redo the test (keep everything exactly the same: Same day, same time, eat + drink the same things before etc).

This is where the fun really begins, because you can compare Test 1 to Test 2 and see the improvement.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.

Bravo Inside Triathlon!

Posted by James Greenwood | 9:35 AM | , , | View Comments

This week’s featured Posting is not from a Blog posting, but a magazine to which I have had a subscription for almost 3 years, and I am happy to say has completely re-invented itself.

As an avid follower of everything and anything related to Triathlon, from the extreme science of the sport, to reading about other athletes experiences in races, magazines satisfied my craving for reading material and education – at the same time.

Problem is, after subscribing to the same magazines month after month, year after year, the content can become a little stale, and certain articles seem to become very familiar.

This was how I was beginning to feel about my monthly read of Inside Triathlon.

In fact, I was almost ready to end my subscription with them (as I did a well known running and cycling publication). That all changed when I got my dirty little paws on the January / February issue – the Ironman issue.

The publication is now being distributed every second month as opposed to monthly, and this allows for the changes they have implemented.

I literally blasted through the entire 96 pages in one evening. The articles were informative and fresh – there seem to be fewer of them, each a little longer in length and way more insightful than before.

And the pictures... well you could cut them out and hang them on your wall. High quality, bright colours and unbelievable motivating - as they should be.

All in all, I give the new Inside Triathlon a 10/10.

The article by Matt Fitzgerald – 20 years in 12 hours was a great piece – insightful and super educational.

I highly recommend you go out and pick up a copy, and experience the new Inside triathlon for yourself.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.

In yesterdays post I went into a little bit of detail about what Periodization entails and how a Periodized year might look.

Today I want to try to help you better understand how to set up your running plan, from a Microcycle perspective.

Remember that the Periodized training year is broken down into different cycles, to make the planning process a little easier.

The Macrocycle is the entire year. The Mesocycle is a block of time within the year (the Macrocycle), in which training a certain parameter takes place (Base conditioning Phase). It Can last from 4 - 16 weeks.

Finally, we have the Microcycle, which breaks down the week to week training sessions, ensuring there is sufficient stimulus on the bodies' systems to illicit an improvement, but not too much, that would result in breakdown.

Let us break things down a little more. This program is for an individual training for a Half marathon who can commit 5 hours to running every week, and wants to do 2 sessions of Resistance training every week.

What follows contains a lot of information, and there might be differences in opinion, so feel free to let me know if you have any thoughts on what follows - I would appreciate it.

MESOCYCLE A: Preparation:
Mesocycle 1: General preparation phase

Monday: Recovery run:
20 minutes @ Z1 Heart rate & spend 10-15 minutes stretching and rolling out the bodies muscles.
Tuesday: Base Conditioning Run 1:
1H30 @ Z2-Z3 Heart rate
Wednesday: Resistance Training
Thursday: Tempo Run & Speed Pickups:
1 hour steady state @ Anaerobic Threshold (Z4-Z5B)
10X30 second Speed Pick ups 1 minute recovery between each Pickup.
Friday: Resistance training
Saturday: Active Recovery day:
10-15 minutes stretching and rolling out the bodies muscles.
Sunday: Base Conditioning Run 2:
2H00 @ Z2-Z3 Heart rate

MESOCYCLE A: Preparation:
Mesocycle 2: Specific preparation phase: Base 1:

Monday: Recovery run:
20 minutes @ Z1 Heart rate & spend 10-15 minutes stretching and rolling out the bodies muscles.
Tuesday: Base Conditioning Run 1 & Speed Pick ups:
15 minutes @ Z3 Heart rate - can be used as
10 X 60 seconds w/2 minute recovery between each Pickup
15 minutes @ Z3 Heart rate
Wednesday: Resistance Training
Thursday: Tempo Run:
1H15 steady state @ Anaerobic Threshold (Z4-Z5B)
10X30 second Speed Pick ups 1 minute recovery between each Pickup.
Friday: Resistance training
Saturday: Active Recovery day:
10-15 minutes stretching and rolling out the bodies muscles.
Sunday: Base Conditioning Run 2:
2H30 @ Z2-Z3 Heart rate

The following adjustments were made in this phase:

  • A slight reduction in time committed to Base Conditioning.
  • A small increase in time spent on Speed Pick ups.
  • Longer Tempo run - including some Pickups.
MESOCYCLE A: Preparation:
Mesocycle 2: Specific preparation phase: Build 1:

Monday: Recovery run:
20 minutes @ Z1 Heart rate
10-15 minutes stretching and rolling out the bodies muscles.
Tuesday: Track Intervals:
3 minutes @ Z5B w/6mins recovery @ Z4 X 7
10 second sprints w/100 seconds recovery X 6
Wednesday: Resistance Training
Thursday: Tempo Run:
4 X 20minutes steady state @ Anaerobic Threshold (Z5A-Z5B)
2.5 minutes active recovery between intervals
Friday: Resistance training
Saturday: Active Recovery day:
Spend 10-15 minutes stretching and rolling out the bodies muscles.
Sunday: Base Conditioning Run 2:
60 minutes @ Z2-Z3 Heart rate
5 x 1 min Speed Pick ups w/2 mins recovery between Pickups.
60 minutes @ Z2-Z3 Heart rate

The following adjustments were made in this phase:
  • Another reduction in the Volume of the Base Conditioning run.
  • Intervals were introduced to bring in a little more Intensity to the proram - Speed, Power and threshold Intervals
MESOCYCLE B: Competition:
Mesocycle 3:
Peaking Phase:

Monday: Recovery run:
20 minutes @ Z1 Heart rate
10-15 minutes stretching and rolling out the bodies muscles.
Tuesday: Track Intervals:
6 minutes @ Z5B w/8 mins recovery @ Z4 X 6
10 second sprints w/100 seconds recovery X 6
Wednesday: Resistance Training
Thursday: Tempo Run:
3 X 30minutes steady state @ Anaerobic Threshold (Z4-Z5A)
3 minutes Active recovery between each Interval
Friday: Resistance training
Saturday: Active Recovery day:
Spend 10-15 minutes stretching and rolling out the bodies muscles.
Sunday: Base Conditioning Run 2:
20 minutes @ Z2-Z3 Heart rate
10 X 2 minutes @ Z5A w/4 minutes recovery @ Z3
20 minutes @ Z2-Z3 Heart rate

The following adjustments were made in this phase:
  • Further reduction in Base Conditioning volume
  • Increase in the Volume of work done at and above Anaerobic Threshold.
Mesocycle 4: Competition Phase:

Monday: Recovery run:
20 minutes @ Z1 Heart rate
10-15 minutes stretching and rolling out the bodies muscles.
Tuesday: Track Intervals:
6 minutes @ Z5B w/8 mins recovery @ Z4 X 6
10 second sprints w/100 seconds recovery X 6
Wednesday: Resistance Training
Thursday: Tempo Run:
3 X 20minutes steady state @ Anaerobic Threshold (Z4-Z5A)
3 minutes Active recovery between each Interval
Friday: Resistance training
Saturday: Active Recovery day:
20 minutes @ Z1 Heart rate
10-15 minutes stretching and rolling out the bodies muscles.
Sunday: Race Day:
2 hours @ Race Pace

The following adjustments were made in this phase:
  • The primary goal during the Race Season is to maintain your conditioning by following a program that has a good balance between the training intensities.
  • Racing is still one of the best ways to get that edge on your conditioning.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.

Using exercise as part of your weight loss strategy, is always strongly recommended, and as long the nutritional component of the equation is correctly addressed, there should be no reason why a reduction in mass should not follow.

However, there are certain misconceptions and beliefs that one method of exercising to accelerate weight loss is superior to the other.

Professionals have advocated two approaches to training: the high intensity approach - just burn as many calories as possible, and the "slower is better" approach, that had us spending hours and hours exercising at a low intensity to shed the fat.

The one common denominator in all the approaches is the phrase Training Intensity.

Without going into to much detail, training intensity is basically how hard you are exercising.

So how do you know how hard you are pushing yourself? Am I pushing myself hard enough, or should I back off the Intensity just a bit?

These questions can be answered using one of these 2 approaches:

Heart rate monitor (HR monitor) - a device that quantifies how hard you are pushing your body, by getting a real time reading from your heart (in beats per minute). The higher the heart rate, the harder you are exerting yourself.



Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale - this scale uses each individuals perception of how hard they are exerting themselves, to quantify their training intensity.



And as you might have noticed, the harder you push yourself, the more calories you expend - which is a good thing, right?

Not always.

You see, the intensity at which you train, will pull energy from different energy pathways that the body has developed to meet the requirements placed on it.

For example, there is a pathway that allows us run a marathon. Another pathway allows us to pull ourselves up and over a wall, while yet another pathway allows us to lift weights.

Each one of these pathways produces energy in a different way, and gets the fuel needed to produce that energy from a different energy molecule (substrate).

Fat is the most energy dense molecule available, and is generally available in fairly large quantities. However, it is not the bodies first pick because it is a very difficult molecule to withdraw energy from.

Carbohydrates on the other hand,are the bodies preferred energy source Unfortunately, we only have about 60 minutes worth of Carbohydrate energy stored (Glycogen is the term for stored Carbs) in the muscle and the liver.

So you might be wondering where this talk about intensity and energy substrates is going?

Well, fat requires the following circumstances to be most effectively pulled and used for energy:
  1. A good supply of Oxygen that can take part in the reaction needed to remove the energy from the fat molecule.
  2. Very little Lactic Acid in the body, as this shuts down the Lipolytic process (Fat burning).
It is that simple.

To meet #1, we need to ensure the breathing rate is not elevated to the point that you feel like you are gasping for air. This will ensure each breath fills the lungs completely, and there is sufficient Oxygen diffused into the blood stream, and whisked off to the muscle.

To meet the requirements of #2, the training Intensity must be kept under control.

Work at a heart rate intensity of about 55% - 65% of you Maximum Heart rate(HRmax)

Please check out our FREE Heart Rate monitor video resource for more information on Heart rate monitors, using them and setting them up.

This Polar Heart Rate prediction chart will help you better understand the Training zone concept.



If you are using the Rating of Rating of Perceived Exertion scale, then working at a rating of between 9 & 13, will correlate very closely to 55% - 65% of HRmax.

If your intensity is higher, your body will reduce the amount of fat it metabolizes and increase the amount of Carbs it burns. The reason for this change is that as training intensity increases, the body requires energy to be delivered more rapidly and in larger quantities.

The Fat burning system (Lipolytic pathway), cannot meet this demand, so the reliance on Carbohydrates increases, and you Caloric expenditure shifts.

However you choose to workout, it's important to remember that exercise contributes to our overall sense of well being, and our vigor and mobility later in life.

But always keep this in the forefront of your mind: when it comes to weight loss, what you put into your mouth, and when it goes in, really forms the basis of your weight loss success.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.

Now that you have selected your 2009 "A", "B" and "C" events, the fun really begins, because we now need to spend a little bit of time setting up your training plan overview that will be used to direct your training actions toward the achievement of your goals.

We use a technique known as Periodization, which is a planned, long term variation of training volume and intensity, specifically designed to:

  • Improve performance
  • Reduce the risk of injury
  • Limit the chances of Over-Training occurring.
The key words to take not of are: Volume and Intensity, because by manipulating these 2 components in a logical and scientifically sound manner, a noticeable improvement will follow.

The "Father of Periodization" was a Russian scientist by the name of Matveyev, who developed a model that defined the optimal relationship between training Volume and training Intensity.

His most well know models are:

1: Volume-Intensity relationship - Novice athlete (Traditional - Linear)


2: Volume-Intensity relationship - Advanced athlete (Undulating - Non-Linear)
Both of these have many differences, but one important commonality is that each shows an progressive increase in Intensity and a decrease in Volume, over time.

Another way of phrasing this is that at the start of a new training year and a new training program, the focus of the training should be general in nature (Base conditioning), and as you move toward the racing season, the focus changes to training the specifics required by the sport (increasing sprinting speed).

So armed with a basic, and hopefully better, understanding of Periodization let's have a look at what a training year overview could look like. Many of the terms that I am going to use are interchangeable with other authors terms, and each author has his / her own take on certain aspects of Periodization.

I like the Tudor Bompa / Joe Friel take on the subject:

Macrocycle: 12 month program (or 4 year program for Olympians).
Mesocycle: A block of time within the year (Macrocycle), in which training a certain parameter takes place (Base conditioning Phase). Can last from 4 - 16 weeks.
Microcycle: 1 week of the training program.

Here is how the phases of a 12 month program might look:

MESOCYCLE A: Preparation:
Mesocycle 1: General preparation phase
  • 8 weeks
  • November + December (for the Northern Hemisphere)
  • Low Intensity training with a High Volume
  • Non-Specific focus
  • Divided into:
  • 2 weeks: Preparation
  • 6 weeks: Base Conditioning
Mesocycle 2: Specific preparation phase
  • Building phase
  • 32 weeks
  • January - August
  • Increasing Intensity and Decreasing Volume
  • Starting to develop cycling specific skills and fitness components.
  • Might be divided into:
  • Power development
  • Speed development
  • Hill climbing and sprinting skill development
MESOCYCLE B: Competition:
Mesocycle 3:
Pre-Competition
  • 2 weeks out from your "A" race.
  • June/July/August - depends on when your race is.
  • Peaking for the race season or specific event.
  • Intensity should be at its highest, with the Volume being reduced, but at a level sufficient enough to keep the engine strong.
  • Specific skills are the focal point here.
Mesocycle 4: Competition:
  • The duration of this is dependent on your schedule.
  • If you have a 4 month season, you might have to develop a "mini' periodized progression within the main program to facilitate the length of your competitive season.
  • Race season is all about maintaining the fitness you have developed through the year, remaining injury free and honing your racing skills and fitness.
  • Racing will result in you becoming "racing fit".
MESOCYCLE C: Transition phase:
  • 4 - 6 weeks
  • Post racing season.
  • A time for regeneration and restoration.
  • Cut both the Volume and Intensity down noticeably.
  • Focus on maintaining a good body weight, doing activities other than cycling (perhaps some mountain biking or Hiking).
  • If you have injuries or other issues, this is the time to deal with them, before moving back into the Preparation Mesocycle.
The next step is to take your race schedule, put it into a calendar, and then work backwards to today.

This will help you break down how much time you have to work with within each training phase, and ensure you are able to get the level of conditioning you want to achieve your goals.

Set this up, and next week we will have a look at some of the specifics of developing the Microcycles of the program.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.

Last Tuesdays post was committed to giving you an overview of what Muscle Endurance (ME) training entailed.

This week I would like to spend some time discussing how to move from training ME to developing MS.

The goal here is to develop the highest amount of force production by the muscle as possible.

A combination of Strength and Endurance gives us Muscle Endurance, which is the ability to perform a high number of repetitive movements against a resistance, for an extended period of time (Activities involving Cyclic movements such as pedaling).

Clearly an important requirement for Endurance sports of all kinds.

With the Aerobic energy system dominating energy metabolism, the need to be able to produce force without fatigue is essential.

Let's have a quick look at a few adaptations that might occur as a result of Strength focused training:

  • Increases the force production capacity of the muscle.
  • Increases the strength of the Contractile Proteins: Actin and Myosin
  • Further increases the strength and resiliance of the bodies connective tissues: Tendons and Fascia.
  • Improved ability to apply forces as a result of Nervous system adaptations.
  • Possibly a hypertrophic response of the Slow Twitch Fibers to the Medium resistance - High volume training paradigm.
  • Improves co-ordination and synchronization of muscle groups during activity.
Obviously there will be some interference with the gains in ME when in the MS phase of training, but keep the big picture in mind: we are working toward increasing our Muscle Endurance and the Force production capacity of the muscle during our sport.

Sounds good, but how would one go about developing a plan to increase MS? Here is the low down. Keep in mind there are many opinions, these guidelines are from the NSCA:
  • 3-4 times per week
  • >=85% of 1 Repetition Maximum (you are not lifting the heaviest loads possible)
  • <= 6 repetitions
  • 2-6 sets
  • 2-3 minutes of recovery between sets (allowing time for the muscle to recover).
  • Movement Cadence: CON: 2 sec HOLD: 1 sec ECC: 3 sec
There are many ways to arrange the exercises selected in the program (we will go into more detail in later posts):
  • Power movement exercises - Core exercise - Assistance exercise
  • Upper - Lower body arrangement
  • Push - Pull arrangement / Agonist - Antagonist arrangement
This phase of training should be applied in January and through February.

This 8 week training cycle will allow you gain the improvements associated with Strength training, and prepare the body for the next Phase - developing Muscle Endurance for Long duration activities.

We will have a closer look at this Phase of training next Tuesday.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.

My Monday postings have been dedicated to the art of swimming and hopefully you have got a lot out of them.

Today I am going to look at the Beginner swimmer (absolute Beginner and the swimmer with a small amount of experience), and talk a little bit about how to get the most out of your training time.

  1. Get a coach: A friend or family member is not ideal as you will more than likely pick up on some of their bad habits. Ensure your coach is certified, has CPR and First aid certifications.
  2. Practice on your own: Perfect practice make perfect. Take some time between Coach led practices to work on improving the new skills you have learned.
  3. Count your strokes: A very simple way to determine how your swimming is coming along, simply count how many strokes you take per 50m, and keep this number in mind every time you swim. The goal is reduce the number of strokes you take per length.
  4. Engage the core stabilizers: I have discussed the Core and its importance during physical activity in previous posts, and by ensuring you are engaging these muscle groups, you are helping to maintain a good body position.
  5. Swim less, drill more: Repetition of poor form, reinforces the poor form, so by swimming 2 000m straight, every training session (if you are not a well conditioned and efficient swimmer), will lead to form breakdown and bad swimming habits creeping in. So do less mileage, and work more on your technical game. Here is one of my favorite drilling sequences:
    • Zip Ups
    • Stutter strokes
    • Finger glides
    • Catchup
    • 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + Stroke counting.
These 5 pointers are not only for beginner swimmers, but can, and should, be kept in mind by anyone serious about improving their swimming abilities.

The next stop is to have a look at how we apply this into a sample swimming session.

This session is not for absolute beginners, but aimed more at those who can swim, but are still working hard on improving. (BkS - Back Stroke, BrS - Breast Stroke, Fs - Freestyle)

Warm up:



Freestyle
50m
Easy swimming - gettting the body and mind
ready for the session.
Backstroke
50m
If you are unable to swim BkS , you can
swim BrS.

Main set:




Drilling
2 X 50m
Prepares the Neuro-Muscular system
(co-ordination, Spatial awareness and
co-ordination) for the session.
Kicking
1 X 50m
Use no kickboard for this set - the goal here
is to keep your head down, you hips up and
your legs active.
Stroke counting
2 X 50m
This requires you to swim each 50m with the
goal of keeping the stroke count at a certain
number for both 50's. Your score will depend
on your level of economy.
Kicking
1 X 50m
Use a kickboard and try to stay away from
using fins as much as possible.


Cool down:


Repeat X 2



Breaststroke
50m
If you are unable to swim BrS, you can
swim BkS.
Freestyle
50m
Finish with an easy swim down.

Total Distance:


800m



Drilling should generally be done at a slow velocity, and must be, technically, as close to perfect as possible.

If at all possible, avoid using kickboards, fins and paddles - get accustomed to your body in the water - without any apparatus attached to it.

Finally - challenge yourself to become proficient in other strokes. Breast and Back stroke are great additions to your training plan, and can play a major part in helping to prevent overuse injury, and make you a stronger all round swimmer.

If you have any pointers or ideas on how to make swimming a little easier and enjoyable, feel free to post a comment on the COMMENTS page.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.

As you know Friday is dedicated to those writers that I follow and postings I have enjoyed and found interesting over the last 7 days.

The first is not really a posting, but more an amazing display of sheer power and efficiency by Michael Phelps in the water.

This clip has Micheal swimming against Anderson Cooper from 60 minutes.




The second was a posting from a Blog that I really enjoy because of its short, bite size postings on everything endurance. This posting is about an awesome triathlon held amongst the Mayan ruins in Guatemala.

Check out the full story here.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.



Yesterdays posting looked at how to line up your events and races up for the coming year, andhow and why we need "A","B" and "C" events to ensure we are at best on the big day.

Today I would like to look at running and 2009.

Since my arrival in Vancouver 4 years, I have been fortunate to work for a company whose primary reason for existing is to challenge each and every one of their customers to direct their training efforts toward some event, race or active destination. And believe me when I say it is a highly effective approach to training and remaining fit and healthy.

This concept is a very unique one, and uses what we call destinations (anything that requires a planned and progressive approach to training, to ensure success), or in Innovative Fitness's words: Challenge, Adversity, Victory.

As a company, they assist hundreds of individuals train for, and reach the goals and destinations they have set for themselves.

Running is a popular category and has seen trips to many exotic and exciting destinations in a bid to keep healthy, fit and find a little time to get some traveling in.

It is Destination Fitness at its best.

The key is that it is not really about the race, but about the journey to get to the starting line.

Working closely with Team Average Jo and MyPypeline, the world has become a little bit smaller for many an entrepid runner.

What I am trying to say is, look beyond your usual Half Marathon or Marathon. There are so many amazing places on our planet, with so much to offer us as Runners.

Here are a few that Team Average Jo has been too in the last 2 years:
You too are more than welcome to join Team Average Jo on a destination, or set up a Destination of your own using Team Average Jo.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.


2008 is almost a thing of the past, and 2009 looms large. With under one month until the new year rolls around, now is the perfect time to look at your clean calendar, along with your regional list of events, start planning your eventing year.

Having a good idea of what events you want to participate in is the starting point for developing a sound training program.

The event selection will allow you to:
  1. Develop a general overview of what your long term training plan will look like
  2. Give you a better idea of what sort of time frames you have to work with to implement your training plan.
  3. Determine and budget for the financial commitment associated with training and racing for events.
Let us say that you are wanting to do a road cycling event. You took part in a few this past season, and feel you are ready to raise the bar.

An awesome cycling event held in Washington State is the Seattle to Portland event. This event is a single or 2 day event and covers 200 miles. Just what you had in mind.

This would be considered your "A" race for the year, and all your efforts and training would be directed at this specific event. Ideally, this would be the event that you would be in peak fitness for.

You also need to select some "B" races / events, that might include a couple of century rides in your area. Not only will these events keep your training interesting, and challenge you to take your cycling fitness to the competition. Furthermore, they will also ensure that you have the confidence and skills to ride in larger groups (Pelotons).

Consider these events as training races - a time to see where your conditioning and fitness levels are at. Select events that are easy to get to, that are in line with your training program, and that will assist you to identify areas in your training that are not where they should be.

"C" races could be a regularly scheduled event such as a weekly Criterium series, or perhaps a local time trial series you enjoy doing. They should not be too serious, but should still play an important role in improving your cycling fitness and cycling specific skills.

Perhaps a mountain biking race, or a triathlon, to mix things up a little bit?



These should be built into your training program and considered to be training days. Ensure that these sessions have a specific purpose and a specific goal.

At all times remember that everything you do is directed at your "A" event.

By now you are probably wondering where you will be able to get more information on races and events in your neighborhood?
  1. Start with your local bicycle store, they are always friendly and in-the-know.
  2. Join a cycling club (your National Cycling governing body should have a list of clubs registered in your area).
  3. Use Cycling forums online - I especially like Bike Forums.
  4. Set up your own "Big cycling adventure" - check out Team Average Jo. These guys are leaders in taking eventing to a whole other level.
So now that you have a few events selected and placed into your training calendar, we can start to develop the plan that will get you to your "A" race in the best shape possible - and injury free of course.

Join me next week as I have a look at how to set up your Long term and Periodized training program

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.