Latest Article Published by Clifton Roadrunners Club

CRRC February 2015 Newsletter (1)_Page_12

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Posted in Fitness, Motivation, Run

Things to Work on for My Swim


Ever wonder what the life-guards are thinking when you are doing your early morning swim workout?  I always did. Well…

Today I found out and it wasn’t pretty. I trust this kid, he is a lean 25 year old grad who is a lifeguard at the gym I work out at. He also happens to be a swimming coach, spinning instructor, and a triathlete (and he mentioned something about Nationals). After talking shop for a while he asked if he could critique my swimming stroke. The results are in and besides my entire swim everything is 100% perfect…. I’m not discouraged, I have a few months to work on these weaknesses and come back stronger this year for my second triathlon season. Here is what he said.


  • Reduce splashing
  • Smoother swim

Cross Over

  • Avoid passing centerline
  • May be result of my kick-board grip

Pull Mechanics

  • Pint fingertips towards bottom of pool

Bi-Lateral Breathing

  • More rhythmic/consistent
  • Switch sides every three strokes

Catch & Finish

  • Improve Technique
  • Poor catch
  • Follow through another 8” at final part of stroke

Vary Intensity of Workouts

  • Do not do a workout at the same speed
  • Swim at various speeds

Other than that, everything is great.

PS In my own defense he was critiquing me after I worked out 5 days straight logging 20+ miles running and 50+ miles biking, but that’s no excuse. I’m humbled and determined to try harder!

Stay tuned for an update soon (if I don’t drown in my self wallowing).

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Posted in Swim

Run Faster & Longer By Running Less


The best way to become a better runner is to run….of course.

Accumulating lots of miles (volume) will certainly help you become a better athlete.

With increased volume there is also an increased potential for injury or burnout.  The experts say to increase weekly volume (for up to three weeks) no more than 10% of the previous week, recovering every fourth week with fewer miles before slowly increasing mileage again.

The progressive volume of running may look something like this:

  • Week 1 = 20 miles
  • Week 2 = 22 miles
  • Week 3 = 23 miles
  • Week 4 = 17 miles (Recovery)
  • Week 5 = 23 miles
  • Week 6 = 25 miles
  • Week 7 = 27 miles
  • Week 8 = 20 miles (Recovery)


Build-Rest and then Build Back Up – Repeat.

This seems to be the best bet (according to the experts) to give yourself a good pre-season base as well as increase volume for a longer race.

What else can you do to increase (or maintain) fitness without risking overuse and over fatigue of your muscles (mental and physical ones)?

Consider adding some cross-training to your weekly workout routine.  Mix it up.  Here are some potential benefits I have experienced:

  • Stay fresh, less miles = more productive runs
  • Longer recovery period between runs = quicker speed workouts
  • Mixing up your workouts will keep you motivated and break the monotony that comes with increased running volume
  • Avoid overuse of your “running” muscles while developing other “muscles” — swimming increases your “lung” muscles and improves breathing patterns; cycling (or spinning) increases your “cadence” (turn over) muscles with lower impact (to joints; ankles, knees, hips, etc.)

If you choose to cross-training…. Start slowly.  If you train 4 days a week, try swimming, cycling or cross-fitness strength training one of those days.  Your legs (and feet) will thank you for it.

Once you acclimate your body to cross training you can even try to mix up your workout with multiple activities (often referred to as BRICKS, by triathletes), where you swim/bike, bike/run, run/bike, bike/swim, run/swim, etc., with little or no rest between each set.  These are called BRICKS because you are stacking workouts (like bricks in a wall), they make you tough like a brick wall, and because your legs will feel like a “ton of bricks” in the beginning of the second session, especially bike to run.

This should keep things interesting and fun.  If you try it, please let me know how it went (good or bad).  I would love your feedback.

PS I am currently training for a 50K using this “marathon” plan by Hal Higgons (only with added swimming and cycling volume) compared to last year where I logged 50-60 miles during my peak weeks.  I will report back and let you know if the cross-training helped improved my performance from last year’s 50K.


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Posted in Fitness, Run, Ultra

Why This Year is My Year


1) Experience 

  • Older and a bit wiser, I’m no longer a Triathlete (swimming/cyclist) newbie
  • Train smarter, not harder
  • Understanding/improving my strengths and weaknesses


2) Packs

  • Learn from the experience of my running and cycling groups
  • Join another running group that pushes my running comfort boundaries
  • Enjoy the camaraderie, unified suffering


3) Diversity

  • Find new challenges
  • Discover new places to train and compete
  • Break through the monotony by trying new activities to strengthen my body and sharpen my mind


4) Specificity

  • Not overtraining for the sake of training
  • Not only focus more on speed and volume alone, also focus on the specific race day course
  • Work on my reflexes and my mental stamina – intensity factor for each planned race course

Womens 4x100m Free Relay Finals

5) Older but Faster

  • Work on speed workouts (patiently building up anaerobic threshold)
  • Strength my swim, bike, runs by doing intervals
  • Enjoy – Recovery, mentally and physically


6) Encourage Others

  • Work as a team
  • Encourage my kids and their friends (advantage of S/B/R conditioning on their team sports)
  • Promote the sport


7) Fun

  • Continue to have fun doing what I love
  • Challenge myself to find new places to swim, bike, run
  • This doesn’t mean I’m not going to suffer, just means I will enjoy the scenery


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Posted in Cycling, Fitness, Motivation, Run, Swim, Triathlon

Ring in the New Year with a Run

This year I started the new year with a 5K run – my third one so far!


SRC Members

It’s a friendly run/race hosted by my running club, the Sparta Runners Club.

But I figure if I’m going I’m going to go for it.


Ready Set Go!


Garmin is Set, I’m Ready!


This year I finished a bit slower than last year (2015 time: 21:24) (2014 time: 21:06), but it was still a fun day.

I love spending the first day of the new year with my running club, who inspire me and motivate me to run throughout the year.

The best part was that my wife and kids made it to the race this year :-)


Still trying to break 20-minute 5K!

Will this be the year?

Have a happy and successful new year…


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Posted in 5K, Fitness, Motivation, Run

Proper Pacing Will Make You a Better Runner

Practice Different Paces

“A lot of people understand only two levels of pacing: Running as fast as they can or easy jogging,” North says. To get a sense of what different paces feel like, try this short workout: Warm up easy for 10 to 15 minutes. Then run one mile at marathon pace, four minutes at half-marathon pace, three minutes at 10-K pace, and two one-minute segments at 5-K pace, with 90 seconds of recovery jogging in between each interval.

Runners with a goal race should do workouts at their goal pace, says Boston-based coach Jeff Gaudette, so they’ll know what to expect on race day. For instance, three to four weeks before a half or full marathon, do five to 10 one-mile repeats at goal pace with one minute recovery in between. Three weeks before a 5-K or 10-K, do 12 x 400 at goal pace with 30-second jogs in between. Your body will learn that the pace naturally feels easier early in the workout or race.

Try it….

A half or full marathon race

(5 – 10) x one-mile repeats at goal pace with 1-minute rest

5-K or 10-K race

(12) x 400 at goal pace with 30-second jogs in between.

Read the original article

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Posted in Fitness, Run

Paceline Drafting – Riding in a Pack

In order to become a better triathlete I train with a running club and a cycling club so I am always running with the best runners and cycling withe best cyclists (still looking for a Masters swim program/group to join).  Focusing on the cycling part for this post — To keep up with the group I am learning the proper etiquette of riding in a group (they call it a pack).  Here are some great tips from the experts:
Soft pedaling
Drafting is the essence of group cycling, but many riders don’t do it as well as they could. Here’s a technique that’ll help change that.
Ride with two or more friends at a moderate pace on a safe road. Form a paceline with you in the middle, about three feet behind a rear wheel.

After you get comfortable, move closer. At two feet you’ll feel a stronger slipstream. At one foot, stronger yet. That’s the idea. Closer is better for energy savings. But it also requires more concentration.
The instinctive reaction is to grab the brakes when you see the gap closing to mere inches. But that’s the wrong way. Braking should be the last resort in a paceline or anytime someone is close behind. It slows you too abruptly and might cause them to do what you’re trying to avoid — hitting a rear wheel.

The solution: Soft pedal.
This is the art of continuing to turn the crank but slowly enough so you aren’t applying power. You’re coasting but it doesn’t look like it. This should reduce your speed just enough. As soon as you drift back to your comfortable distance, begin reapplying pedal pressure to maintain the gap.
Soft pedaling makes you much smoother than alternating coasting and pedaling. Suddenly stopping and starting is a sure way to annoy your riding partners, too. When everyone in a paceline is always turning their cranks, it’s a beautiful thing.

Two other non-braking tips:
Sit up. As you soft pedal, this helps you catch more air to reduce speed.
Move slightly left or right. This slows you quicker by putting you slightly out of the slipstream, and it makes sure wheels won’t touch. Do it smoothly and minimally for the safety of riders behind. Then flow back in line as you switch from soft pedaling to normal pedaling.
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Posted in Cycling, Fitness, Triathlon

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