Wednesday, January 26, 2011

By George, I think it's working!

Well I've had five ART treatments with my new favourite chiropractor, Melanie Welder, at Active Living Chiropractic, as well as two IMS treatments with my long time favourite physiotherapist, Roy Gillespie, at Pinnacle Sports Physiotherapy and I've actually seen some serious improvement. I can now pull my left knee up to my chest without pain, I can put on my sox and tie my shoes, and do yoga! I've been faithfully doing my stretches and I'm now back to doing my core and strength workouts. I can run without pain (shin, foot, or hip) and I can ride my bike without groin pain. The only thing I haven't added back to the mix is skate skiing but that's going to change when I go up to Salmon Arm on the first weekend of February.

Some interesting things I've learned.

* My back (spondylolistheses) is definitely a central part of this whole thing. I REALLY need to keep my core strong and my weight in check.

* My foot pain that started on my long run two weeks ago, magically disappeared after my last long run on Sunday. Don't know why, don't care, just glad it's gone. OK, actually I do care why - I noticed that it would go away temporarily every time I had a physio or chiro appt so when it was suddenly better last Sunday night, I decided that my 'cure" was directly related to the treatments I've been getting for my hip/quad/groin. Yay!

* I can know, also magically, touch my toes. I've never been able to touch my toes, as long as I can remember. But now I can. Well, I can after a run or bike workout. In the morning, it's back to 4"-6" away from my toes. Melanie says it's my tight glutes that are the problem - my hamstrings are pretty flexible. My back is could also be to blame when it's tight. So, I will continue to stretch my legs/glutes and strengthen my back.

* I haven't had any shin pain for a long time. Or ITB pain for that matter. Maybe they go into hiding when I'm busy with something else. :) I've been building up my long run slowly, and haven't added speed into the mix at all. I'm just trying to build up my endurance for now. This week I have two 45 min runs mid week and a 1:30 long run planned for the weekend. If I feel ok next week, then I'm over the hurdle. Tentative yay!

* My heart rate is being unpredictable. I've had a hard time keeping it below 160 bpm on my last two long runs (going well into zone 3). I'm well rested and fueled - there's no reason to have a high HR. And then I went for a faster run after work on Tuesday, and my HR stayed in zone 2 the entire time. What gives? I'm curious to see what my Avg HR is on my long run this weekend.

* Diet - I lost 2 lbs but plateaued this week. Been eating 50-75% vegetarian and enjoying it. Still dipping into junk food once in awhile and that is once too often if I want to lose a couple more pounds.


Finishing up Base 1 - Week 1

1/21 - Had my 60 min massage. Did not ride trainer as planned.
1/22 - 90 min on the trainer. W00t!
1/23 - 75 min long run - yahoo!!

Base 1 - Week 2

1/24 - rest day - IMS followed by 20 min stretching and yoga, back sore.
1/25 - 45 min planned run. Felt pretty awesome.
1/26 - ART appt, followed by 45 min on the trainer, followed by upper body strength and stretching, a little yoga before bed. Another woot!

Planned for the rest of the week

1/27 - 45 min run, core and yoga
1/28 - 45 min trainer, upper body and yoga
1/29 - 1:30 long run (swim?), core and yoga
1/30 - 90 min trainer (swim?), upper body and yoga

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Base Training

Well, so far so good. I think I have finally gotten into a bit of a training routine and feel like I'm getting my mojo back again. Although the first two weeks of January were technically "prep" weeks, there wasn't a whole lot of training going on, other than running that is, and even my running wasn't without issues, as usual. But this week, as I begin Base 1, I scheduled a workout every single day and so far, I've managed to "get 'er done". Part of my method was to keep it simple and not over do it the first week.

So here's what I actually accomplished over the first 3 weeks of January.

Week One - Jan 3-9 - Prep

1/3 - Yin Yoga Class - 60 min
1/4 - Chiro appt - 2nd ART/Graston treatment, 20 min stretching
1/5 - 30 min run, 20 min stretching
1/6 - 30 min stretching
1/7 - 45 min run, 3rd ART appt, 60 min stretching
1/8 - skate ski - 2 hours, 20 min stretching
1/9 - 1 long run 60 min, on solid ice wearing trail shoes and gripons. Bottom of left foot started to hurt halfway thru the run

Ate really healthy all week, no meat until steak on Friday night. A bit too much crap on the weekend though.

Week Two - Jan 10 - 16 - Prep

1/10 - foot sore, 30 minutes of stretching
1/11 - 4th ART appointment, no real progress yet
1/12 - foot too sore to run, stretching only
1/13 - foot still sore, stretching only
1/14 - easy cautious run, 30 minutes. felt ok, but not perfect.
1/15 - 50 LT test on trainer, 20 minutes of strength work. LTHR 174.
1/16 - long run, on the road, foot noticeable but ok. Sore later tho.

Ate really healthy for another week and was more cautious on the weekend as well this time. Lost one pound.

Week Three - Jan 17 - 23 - Base 1

1/17 - physio appt today, IMS on low back, adductors and glutes. Supposed to complement the ART treaments. We shall see. More next Monday.
1/18 - elliptical 45 minfoot sore so went to gym
1/19 - 5th ART appt, seeing improvement. 30 min strength training and stretching at home.
1/20 - 50 min slow run, foot ok but not perfect. Then 60 minutes of yoga, strength, and stretching.

Scheduled for the rest of this week

1/21 - 60 minutes massage, hopefully 45 min trainer ride later (maybe), yoga
1/22 - long run 60-75 min I hope. Maybe hit pool for first time today or Sunday - undecided.
1/23 - trainer 60-90 min zone 2 and drills


So I'm torn about when I want to head back to the pool. I'm probably going to go swim sometime in the next week or so and see where I'm at and then I'll decide how much swimming I need to do.

This may not be the best training method but I've made one decision. I'm going to swim less this season. Last year, I followed a very careful plan, with lots of specific workouts to improve my swimming but I showed very little gain for the huge time commitment. I've determined that, at least for me, investing a lot of time in swimming is not worth the reward. I'd much prefer to put that time in on the bike and see a 5-15 minute improvement in my bike time instead of a 30-60 second improvement in my swim time. I think that's what makes sense to me.

Maybe some of you might think it's only because I'd do anything to avoid dragging my ass down to the H20 Centre and jumping into a freaking cold pool but my justification does make sense, doesn't it?? ;)

So for now, I'm going to follow the Half Iron plan in my new book (see my last post) but only do 2 swims per week, and I may not even start up the swimming for a few more weeks, we'll see.

Goals this week

- lose another pound (I'm down 2 lbs since Jan 1st)
- Run without foot pain
- Get this stupid groin thing under control between the chiro and the physiotherapist.
- Keep eating healthy meals - I've been mostly going meatless all week and only eating meat on weekends. And even that amount has been cut in half. During the week, I eat lots of fruit and veggies, whole grains and beans, cottage cheese, some eggs, and yogurt. As you can see, dairy is still in there - please don't email me and tell me to cut out dairy cuz I won't do it. :)
- get back on the trainer on a regular basis.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Your Best Triathlon" by Joe Friel

I just bought Joe Friel's latest book, "Your Best Triathlon: Advanced Training for Serious Triathletes", and I LOVE it!

As the subtitle suggests, it is intended for experienced triathletes who are looking to improve past performances and PR that next "A" race. The book is an excellent companion to The Triathlete's Training Bible, which he refers to often, but in my opinion, it could also be used alone.

Your Best Triathlon is well organized and easy to read. I especially like the highlighting of important points and the coloured icons for the various kinds of workouts.

It contains new, updated information, in the ever-changing science of endurance training, but is still built on the basic tenets of periodization. It is definitely a book for an experienced athlete however, and I think that unless you are a experienced endurance athlete of some kind, a first timer would find most of the workouts and training schedules too demanding.

The book is written in sections, (Prep, Base 1, 2, & 3, Build 1 & 2, Peak), each with suggested training plans for all four race distances (Sprint, Olympic, Half Iron, and Full Iron). Each period has a Training Week plan (which you would repeat several times), as well as a Rest and Test Week plan. Joe outlines detailed workouts for each training cycle, some of which I have not seen in his previous books, and he also offers lots of hints and suggestions for athletes who are either older or younger than the norm.

I think this is another reason why the book is more suited to experienced triathletes - you need to have a good understanding of your own body and what it can do, in order to adjust the training schedules to suit your own unique needs. The training times suggested for each plan are pretty heavy from my point of view - even the sprint program relies on 8-10 hours of training per week at the minimum - but that's to be expected if you want to race "Your Best Triathlon".

I think this is one of the best books I've seen so far, for the experienced, self-coached triathlete. And no, Joe isn't paying me to sell his books for him - I wish! Hey Joe - how about a little free coaching for all the good press I give you! ;)

Anyway - I have included Your Best Triathlon in my "recommended books list" at the or links on the side --->, but I'm sure you can also buy them at your local book store as well.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

No Pain, No Gain?

ART anyone? Active Release Technique is the latest physiotherapy treatment I am trying. I've heard good things about it from just about everyone I've spoken to, and it was recommended to me by my RMT as well. So finally, I bit the bullet and made an appointment. I wasn't really looking forward to it because I'd also heard it is REALLY painful, but I thought it was worth a try.

If you read my post a few weeks ago about my first attempts at skate skiing, you'll know that my chronic groin pain from old scar tissue, has been flaring up to the point of limiting movement in certain activities. My RMT thought that not only was my quad involved, but I also had tight psoas and adductors. She suggested I try ART to release the psoas and see if that would help the problem. She thought that a chiropractor trained in ART should be able to get rid of the scar tissue and hopefully, the pain.

At my first appointment with the chriopractor, she listened to my story and did a few movements tests to see where the problems arose and she told me that the scar tissue is at the spot where the Pectineous attaches to the hip bone.

But she also says that Psoas and Adductors are very tight and so that is what she worked on. I snagged these photos from an awesome website called Get Body Smart, where you can look at, and learn about, all of the various muscles in your body.

She had me lay on my side with my lower leg straight and my sore upper leg bent half way at the knee, and then she dug into my side, close to the hip bone in order to find and isolate the psoas muscle. She "pinned" the muscle down, had me bring my knee closer to my chest to make sure she had it, and then I had to slowly straighten my leg and bring it back behind me while she held the muscle in place. This was nothing short of excrutiating.

After, she pinned the muscle again, slightly further down and we went through the procedure again. She did this about 5-6 times, inching her way down the muscle. It hurt. A lot. I had to hang onto the table and swear and by the time she was finished, I was sweating like crazy. The good news is that the pain stopped when she let go.

Then she did a similar thing with the adductor, holding the muscle in place while she had me move my leg through a series of motions. It hurt too, but not nearly as much as the psoas.

Since there was still a lot of scar tissue and the muscle was quite "ripply", she took out her medieval torture.... er... I mean "Graston" tools, and proceeded to rub them up and down my stretched adductor and pectineus muscles. This was also a little uncomfortable, in a burning muscle kind of way. And then, 15 minutes after we started, she was done.

She said I'd likely be bruised for a few days (I was only slightly), and that I could do all of my normal activities, so long as nothing hurt and I found I was able to run, ride, and ski as normal. I still couldn't do the regular yoga though, at least not the stuff that stretches that hip.

Between sessions, I was to do 3 stretches, 3 times a day, and hold each one for a full minute. (Psoas, adductor, and quad stretches).

I came back for more, about 4 days later, expecting it to be a little less painful because I was better now, but each time she dug a little deeper. Ugh. This time, she had to bring in her assistant to move my leg because I was unable to do it myself (it hurt too much).

I have a 4th appointment tomorrow and one more booked for Thursday. Hopefully by then I'll be all fixed up. I'd like to say I'm already feeling better but to be honest, my range of motion in that hip still hasn't improved. I'll know I'm better when I bring my foot up to tie my shoes without pain.

That's all for now folks. :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well it's another new year and I'm beginning my 4th year blogging. It's really amazing to see the transformation I've made since November 2007 when I first started this blog. Every year I set goals and then do my best to achieve them. You can too!

Here are some of the races I am considering for 2011. I have not registered for any of them yet - I usually don't bother until closer to race date, unless they fill up quickly. You never know what's going to happen over the course of the year.

March 27 - Campus to Campus Half Marathon in Kelowna (fun, training run/race)

May 5 - Oliver Sprint Triathlon (warm up to the half)

June 5 - Oliver Half Iron

June 12 - Women's 5k race in Kelowna

June 25 - Scorched Sole 25km trail race in Kelowna

July 10 - Midsummer 8k road race in Kelowna

July 31 - San Francisco First Half Marathon

August 21 - Apple Sprint Triathlon (Qualifier for World Championships in Auckland 2012)

October 9 - Okanagan Full Marathon


The Plan

I am really LOVING planning out my training schedule again. I do enjoy being coached and appreciate all that it does for me, but I so miss the strategizing and planning and scheduling of my own training. I've decided that this season, I'm going to take back the reins and see if I've learned anything from both Coach Brian and Coach Jeff Kline who have helped me in the past.

I roughed out a plan using my Triathlete's Training Bible periodization tables. For now, it looks something like this (see below) although much will depend on how things go week to week and adaptations will surely be made. The minutes are referring to possible long run times each week up until my half marathon in March. In brackets refer the the types of Joe Friel's workouts I will be doing during each segment - taken from Appendix of Triathlete's Training Bible. I know I need to do rest weeks more frequently than the average younger person, so I tend to cut back a little every 2-3 weeks, depending on how I feel.

Prep (Endurance, Speed Skills)

Jan 2 50 min (done)

Jan 3-9 60 min

Jan 10-16 60+ min

Base 1 (Longer Endurance, more Speed Skills)

Jan 17-23 75 min

Jan 24-30 90 min

Feb 31-6 (R&R) 60 min

Base 2 (Endurance, Force, Speed, Muscular Endurance)

Feb 7-13 90 min

Feb 14-20 105 min

Feb 21-27 (R&R) 75 min

Base 3 (Endurance, Force, Speed, Muscular Endurance)

Mar 28-6 105 min

Mar 7-13 120 min

Mar 14-20 60 min

Mar 21-27 Half Marathon

Build 1 (Endurance, Muscular Endurance. Force for Run/Bike, Anaerobic Endurance for Swim)

Mar 28-3

Apr 4-12

Apr 11-17

Apr 18-24 (R&R)

Build 2 (Endurance, Muscular Endurance. Force for Run/Bike, Anaerobic Endurance for Swim)

Apr 25-1

May 2-8 (Oliver Sprint Triathlon)

May 9-15

May 16-21 (R&R)


May 22-29

May 30-4

Race - June 5


Diet - AKA healthy eating plan and losing weight

Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, January 4:

The plan - 1600 calories per day 60% carbs 15-25% each of fat and protein

More - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, water

Less - meat, saturated fat, processed foods, sugar, white flour/starches

In moderation - yogurt, low fat cheese, whole grain bread, one small piece of chocolate per day, 1-2 glasses of wine on the weekend.

I plan to cook more vegetarian meals and replace meat with beans/rice/grains whenever possible. As I find new recipes, I will post them on my recipe blog (link on the right).

I will also take my supplements - calcium/magnesium, Omega 3, Vitamin C and possibly a few others.

OK, I have more to say but will post again tomorrow.