Friday, January 30, 2015

Speed - The Big Picture

You want to get faster? Who doesn't? So, you need to develop strategies to implement in three "time zones" so to speak. You need long-term strategies, mid-term strategies and those you can leverage in your very next race. Each workout you execute and every drill you do (you do do drills right??) should fall under one of these headings.

With some of the training I do, I know the benefits won't be realized for a number of months. Other workouts will bring me more speed in a matter of weeks or a month or two. Then, there are things I can do tomorrow in the 5K winter race series that I'm doing that can save some seconds. We'll be unpacking some tips that relate to each time category in the days ahead. Think about your next workout. Will it product lower finish time in your very next race, or one you've pegged as your "A" race for this summer?  More to come....

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SPEED - How Do I Get More??

I've been studying "speed" for 35 years...speed moving forward that is. In 99% of my races, the goal has been to complete the distance, long or short, running, biking, swimming or all three together, as fast as I possibly can. Much of what I've learned I've learned the hard way, often just learning from my failures or dumb moves.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing a tip or two per post on how to gain speed so those finish times can be as low as possible. Some tips will be big-picture, long-term advice, some will be medium-term action points and some can be implemented immediately. Application of what I post will need to be individualize since all of us are at different points in our racing journey and at different ages. I'm 57 and trying to hang on to some speed as I feel it slowly slipping away with age. I've set a few PRs (personal records) in the last few years, but, when it comes to running for example, I said bye bye to my PRs a long time ago. Now, I'm just trying to run as fast as I can at 57.
So, start stretching, loosen up, warm up and shake it out cause we'll be shooting for SPEED in the weeks to come!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015 Is Rolling….

I enjoy the month of January every time it rolls around. I’m usually ready to get back to a regular schedule after a few great holiday weeks. It’s the start of a new year and I’m really pumped for this racing season. The primary reason is, it will once again be low-pressure and lots of fun.

I love to do long-term planning and planning the next few years of my tri / racing goals is something that is enjoyable and strategic for me. I plan on doing USA Triathlon National Championships next year, ’16, hopefully qualifying for Team USA and Worlds the following year, ‘17 when I age up to the 60-64 age group. But for now, it’s local and regional races, looking to keep in good shape, try to maintain as much speed as I can as I age and just having a blast.

It’s what I did last season and I learned something important. It’s not rocket science, but the less stressful the season, the better I did. I’ve done really well in recent years at Nationals and Worlds, but last season was care-free, injury-free and no pressure. I did well in every race I entered (but one) and I think it was because I was there to just enjoy the sport. Now there’s an idea!! Enjoy this craziness. So, de-stress your season and even if you have a huge “A” race, just try to chill and enjoy the whole process! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Running With The Coyotes

The word "Coyote" has a number of definitions. There's the Arizona pro hockey team. There's the evil people who illegally bring people into the US across our borders often giving them inhuman conditions and treatment during the journey. There's the Road Runner's nemesis in the cartoon many of us watched growing up and then, there are the actual, real, non-animated animals. We lived in Phoenix almost 9 years and so, on occasion we'd see one or two. 

This morning I got up early for a 45 minute run before catching a plane back to Omaha. Jen and I had enjoyed a nice week with our kids there. About 5:20am, just as it got light outside, I headed out the door in the Cactus and Tatum area. I headed east to a wash that went north/south and headed north. The wash was widened out to about 100 yds. across. I ran on the far right side and as I glanced to my left I spied wait, there's another one...four coyotes. Hold on...there's a fifth one. Cool. I love seeing non-domesticated animals out in nature.

This wasn't quite "in nature" as it was a fairly populated, residential area but as the folks in Phoenix know, that doesn't stop these critters. Two were chasing each other, playing together, they were all basically running north parallel to me about 50 yds. to my left. Cool again. Running with the coyotes. They ran a little faster than I did and disappeared behind a bridge I was running towards. As I went under the street, there they were again continuing north just a bit ahead of me. (You may be totally bored now and if you are that too is cool. You can bail anytime.)

But, I've always loved nature and God's amazing creation. I love the incredible creativity and diversity of all that He's made. So, seeing five coyotes running along beside me was a treat. As I turned back to retrace the same route back, they too turned and started going south. Serious? Double cool. Will they run all the way back with me? They didn't but that's OK. I wondered where they "lived." I assume they'd been out all night on a scavenger hunt looking for food and water. They've been known to easily jump over 7 ft. walls that surround Phoenix homes to drink out of swimming pools and maybe grab small pets for dinner. Yikes.

I've always felt sorry for the coyotes. They look skinny and thirsty. Gaunt and lean. Probably over-populated. I'm sure they do some damage and bad things in areas where folks live, but they're just trying to survive. Here are a few interesting facts about coyotes:

1 - They hunt in packs
2 - They "sing" to their family members to communicate when apart
3 - Both the male and female care for their pups

I try to learn something everyday and as I ran with the coyotes this morning I wondered what I could learn or what the Lord might want to teach me through this little, cool encounter. Here's my best shot at it.

*There's strength in numbers. Since coyotes can run in packs, so I was reminded of how important the positive, encouraging people in my life are to me. I need to hang with them, run in the pack with them (literally and figuratively.)

*It's good to "sing" / communicate with your family. In this day of nano-communication and texting, actually talking and laughing (like what people do when I sing) is SO important.

*If you're a dad, don't bail on the responsibility you have to raise the pups. Strong, engaged, loving fathers are at the core of this nation and the lack thereof is a primary reason for the meltdown of the family.

If you get a chance to run with coyotes, do it. You might learn something like I did. Ok...that's all.