Learning to rest!

As a person that has struggled with alcohol, I know I have quite an addictive nature. I know that when I get stuck on to something it takes quite a bit to stop doing it. By Friday on the first week I was waking up constantly each night often with a decent sweat going on

Posted on June 23, 2019 .

Waking up with a NASTY case of CBF!!!

That was me this morning.

I had it bad. The biggest case of CBF I’ve had this entire program. For 15 weeks I’ve woken up ready and raring to go chomping at the bit to rip in for the workout planned on my program. But today with just over a week to go until biggest race on my calendar for the year, I woke up looking for excuses. Thinking I couldn’t be F@#ked.

I woke up at a good time. No alarm with Garmin telling me I got just over 8 hours sleep. Nothing wrong there. It was cold, not Canberra or Canada cold. But for Newcastle it was really chilly. I took my 2 dogs down the beach for their daily walk and the cold wind just re-enforced my I don’t want to get in a pool today feeling.

There is 1 week left on my program before the big dance and I was almost prepared to let this session go. Things like I swam yesterday and swam really well, went through my mind. I won’t lose any condition just missing one session.  Maybe it will even do me good if I miss it. I was ready to settle.

I ended up thinking to myself. What did I set out to do here? What was the corner stone of this program? It was consistency and no excuses. So far in the program I had started every workout and completed all but one due to a niggle in my dodgy arm that 3.5 km into the swim turned in to pain that needed to be looked in to. So today would be no different. Turn up, start the workout and see how the body feels as I go.

So I got in the pool and started swimming. WOW is about all I can say as once I started swimming my body came alive. All thoughts of not finishing this workout were quickly forgotten and those thoughts were replaced with thoughts of the task at hand and seeing what my body had performance wise for the day.

After the warmup was finished, I soon found out that I was on for a good swim with times faster than normal and for the final effort I actually posted a lifetime PB.

When I look back and think to myself now in the afternoon. What would happen if I settled? What would happen if I said nah let’s stay at home and watch Netflix? Maybe nothing or maybe I stay home again, then again and then you look back at my next big event and realise I missed quite a few workouts. Every time you don’t show up it becomes easier to do it again next time. Even if you feel like crap. Turn up, commit to trying and giving it the best you have on the night.

A podcast I recently listened to explained it like this. Most of your workouts are in the 80% bracket. Meaning you feel normal. Not awesome, not tired, just like it’s a normal day. 10% of the time you feel like crap. You are either sick, tired or have a case of the CBF’s. Then the days we dream about as athletes, the 10% Awesome days, These are the days where you feel like you are floating, going hard seems easy and you feel like you could go on forever. These days are literally that. Possibly 10% of the time maybe even a little less realistically.

It’s the 80% that we live in most days. So even though you may feel a little down or lay aim to get going and have one of the 80% days. Because those are the days that make up most of your training and where you will get fitter, stronger, leaner and become a better athlete.  

I was super happy that I did go to the pool today and do my workout. To tell you the truth the part I am happiest about though is the way I went about getting there. I never once berated myself or shamed myself. Getting there came by recalling the reasons I do it in the first place and thinking back to my goals.

So often in the past negative self-talk is what kept me going or got me to workout. Somewhere along this path I have found my why and I couldn’t be happier about it.

So remember next time you have doubts about your training, know that we all have them and it’s ok to have them. But stay true to your goals and just turn up and see what happens. You never know. The workout just may turn out to be the session that defines you and takes you to the next level.

 

Mick.

Remember

Exercise is a privilege, not a punishment.  

Posted on May 31, 2019 and filed under 70.3, Ironman.

Change the input to change the outcome.

What the hell is that meant to mean? I hear you say. Well we’ve all heard the Einstein saying the definition of insanity is doing the same thing a thousand times and expecting a different result. Well that about sums it up. If you want something to change. You MUST do something DIFFERENT!

Now don’t get me wrong. It is completely different than working towards a goal and the current outcome is part of the process. This means being honest in your self-assessment and making changes when you have clearly either stopped progressing or have not improved.

For instance, with myself and my Ironman racing I have been writing all the programs for myself since I got back into the sport in Early 2017. I told myself I am a qualified coach. I have all the tools to coach me. I don’t need to pay for a program or someone to tell me what to do. I know enough. Well after Ironman Bussleton in 2017 I learnt a lot about myself and what I was lacking and changes that I needed to make to my training program. Big problem was that I didn’t really make any changes. I did the same training for Port Macquarie Ironman 5 months later as I did for Bussleton. I had a much better race but I believe most of that was due to more favourable weather conditions and just sheer time being training in the sport by that stage.

Fast forward to the end of last year for Western Sydney ½ Ironman a race that I stated was a major race goal for the year, still nothing in my training was any different to the previous races. The result was an uninspiring swim, an ok bike and a nasty injury in the run to bring the end of 2018 to an insipid lacklustre finish. It was then I sat down and decided to at least get on to a program that I hadn’t written and something that I would commit to following from start to finish, no excuses.

Fast forward 14 of the 16 weeks. My swim which I always thought of as my strength is substantially better, my endurance on the bike is to the point at the end of 5 hours I feel better than I used to at the end of 3 and my running has progressed to where my easy running is nearly as quick as my fast efforts were 6 months ago.

Now I thought I trained hard and smart last year for both my Ironman and the ½ Ironman’s I competed in. I set lofty goals and wanted great improvements at each of them. But through it all when I look back over my training during those times not much changed.

I had to look at what I was doing, what I was saying and ask was it working? The short answer. Not really. I was training to complete the events. Which is an awesome feet in itself. But I wanted to be a competitor and the training I was doing didn’t line up with that. So the ego had to get left at the door and I purchased a generic 16 week Ironman program from a well know Triathlon coach. Many would say you should get a coach if you want to do it right and I would agree with you. But at this stage in my life that is unfortunately not a viable option so the generic program was the way I went.

Now will I get the goal time and result I crave?  It is possible. But maybe not. What I do know though is that the changes that I made, made significant changes to my fitness levels and if I hadn’t made them, I would be going into my next event like it was Ground Hog Day. The changes that I have made will continue to grow my fitness base and I feel I will get faster again over the next program, because that is a part of the progression of fitness and the way this program builds on itself.

 

So, what does this mean for you? The everyday person that trains 3 - 5 hours a week most weeks and says you want to get stronger, drop body fat, run a marathon lift more than your body weight of the ground? It means how long have you been saying that? How long have you been talking about making the changes you need to make to achieve your goals? It means are you being totally honest with yourself about why you haven’t reached your goals? It is a hard thing to do. It often bruises your ego, it often means staring the fact that you have been kidding yourself about just how hard you have been trying, I know I had to. I’ll give you an example. In the 12 weeks leading up to Port Macquarie Ironman in 2018 I averaged 12 hours a week of training. Sounds ok right. But it was a hodge podge of mix and match training with no consistency, some 20-hour weeks and some 8-hour weeks with no actual reason behind it. Now in 2019 in the 12 weeks leading up to Cairns Ironman, I have averaged a tad over 17 hours a week of training and when I look over the weekly hour distribution, they are nice and steady and only have drop offs in easy weeks after the races I have done during the preparation. Again, this doesn’t guarantee a successful day, but I am going into the race knowing that I made significant changes and I have done all I can to give me a shot of achieving my goals.

So, if you want to get stronger, put on some muscle.  Lift heavy weights and eat a healthy diet with good quality protein and do it minimum 3 days a week more often than not. If you want to lose body fat then eat a healthy diet and train 4 – 5 times a week and stop making excuses as to why you aren’t losing the body fat.

If you want to change the way you are. You have to change what you do and act. No if, buts or maybes. If you keep doing what you have been doing to get you in the shape you aren’t happy with, you will either stay the same or even progressively get even worse as you age and your body starts to slow down. Start being honest with yourself, start being consistent with your training and start changing the input to your body.

People that think exercise is either a punishment for being bad or eating rubbish invariably never get where they want to go because the relationship with exercise has started as a negative. Nobody likes to be punished for very long. Hence why they quit more often sooner rather than later. Start by appreciating the process and learning why you are doing what you are doing. You may not love it to start with. But as you begin to understand it is easier to buy in and commit to the journey that is health and fitness.

 

As always if you have any questions about this article or any others that I have written don’t hesitate to contact me here at Total Performance Centre. I truly believe our strength program and our fitness training program will help you achieve just about any goal you have on the horizon.

 

Remember Exercise is a privilege, not a punishment.

Mick

Posted on May 28, 2019 .

Taking control of Plantar Fascia pain!

If you read my last Blog you would already know that I managed to tear my Plantar Fascia during the Western Sydney 1/2 Ironman in November last year. I have also in the past had trouble with the opposite foot with Plantar Fascitis. So for me Plantar heal pain has been a chronic problem on and off for the last 3 years or so. I have tried all manner of treatments with varying success. The most effective to date of treating the inflammation and pain has been Quanta Resonant Frequency Therapy. This treatment helped me heal my Fascial tear quickly and it has also helped greatly dealing with the opposite foot plantar fascitis and keeping inflammation under control.

Where I let myself down though was by not looking further in to fixing the problem for good. By fixing the problem for good. I mean strengthening the tissue and the supporting tissue around it. Well after the Plantar Fascia tear I started to look more seriously in to how to stop this from coming back and also to try and see if I could actually help my running at the same time.

I went online as we all do these days to search out you-tube video clips, searched many different rehab websites and didn’t really find out anything new other than standard advice going around. I ended up finding out some really good information on a podcast call Restoring Human Movement. It is hosted by a Canadian Chiropractor and he was interviewing Dr Tom Michaud a foot and ankle expert in the States and also a specialist in dealing with runners.

So what did I find out from the podcast? Dr Michaud quoted peer review studies by a couple of researchers and stated the following.

  • The amount of pronation in the foot had no correlation to heal pain.

  • Foot orthotics were not very effective in managing plantar heal pain

  • The main contributing factors of Plantar heal pain were: Ankle Dorsi Flexion ( calf flexibility), Level of strength of the toe flexors ( Flexor digitorum brevis and longus and Flexor Halucis longus and brevis) and Peroneus Longus strength.

So I have embarked on a corrective exercise regime that so far has been extremely effective.

Here is the link to the video I made showing the exercises.

https://youtu.be/JCDNz5NXBTo

From around 30 years of age, you start losing between 0.5 and 1% of your muscle mass each year. At 50 that accelerates greatly and nearly 50% of your muscle fibres disappearing between the ages of 50 and 82. With reduced muscle mass brings reduced strength, which in turn greatly effects run speed and for the elderly the risk of falling.

Dr Michaud also stated that strengthening exercises for the toes should be done with the toes in the extended position yielded much better strength gains over having the toes curl over or even be int he mid contracted position.

So with all this new information I started doing my foot exercises and all I can say is wow. I am as of this blog 5 days I am already noticing that my walking gait is changing and I can feel the big toe engaging with the ground better and in the runs that I have done I have felt a little more spring in my toe off. But for me the biggest deal is that after only 5 days I woke up this morning and didn’t have that ache running through the feet that Plantar Fascitis sufferers all know about. I will continue to use my Quanta Therapy Patches to keep inflammation low and also to help keep my weakened muscles activated and I will monitor my progress over the coming weeks but so far it looks promising.

So until next time remember.

Exercise is a privilege. Not a punishment .

Mick Rand

Posted on February 1, 2019 .

Dealing with what you perceive as failure!!!

Just what does that mean?

For me it was failing to attain what I wrote on the gym goal board. This is why writing down a goal takes courage and trying to attain it takes commitment.

So what has prompted this Blog? The first from me in a while. Well here are Total Performance Centre I wrote a goal on the board at the beginning of this year to get Top 5 in my age group at Western Sydney Half Ironman. After looking at last years times and what I believe I, on the perfect day could be capable of I thought that this was a stretch goal but it was achievable.

That was a hell of a goal and it set high expectations for me and as I wrote in a previous blog it was a big audacious goal. Did I achieve that goal. No I didn’t. I got nowhere near it. I left the Western Sydney 70.3 Ironman feeling deflated and like a failure. Let me be clear I am always very hard on myself post race anyway but after this race my head was not in a good place. Crossing the line I refused to wear the towel and refused to have the medal put around my neck. Let me be clear this is ridiculous behaviour and if anyone that I coached did this they would be scalded like an petulant child.

What led to this behaviour was a series of events that built over the series of a few weeks. We got back from Kona towards the end of October and I was motivated as I have ever been. Being around so many amazing athletes and watching how awesome my wife did in Kona really fuelled my training fire and had me feeling positive in the final 5 weeks leading in to Western Sydney. Then 3 weeks out I got a niggle in the heel. I went to work on it looking at possible causes and treated it quickly and effectively. But I didn’t rest it. The pressure of my own goals and expectations still had me running 3 days a week and then triaging the foot each day post running. Again, if a client did this with me I would tell them I can’t help them and stop treating them until they agreed to stop running on the injury.

The week leading in to Western Sydney was a challenging week. From seven days out there were some emotionally draining events that lead to a lack of sleep and complete lacklustre effort during the week and even come race day my usual race day excitement was just not there. Exactly seven days before Western Sydney I also landed heavily on the heal of the injured foot and bruised it further in a local club triathlon. Actually causing me to cease all running up until race day in a hope of getting it better for race day. So come race day instead of altering my goals I just went ahead and raced full gas and in the run I paid the price. A torn Plantar Fascia. I ended running around 17 km with the injury in itself is sheer madness, but the inner turmoil that I was going through would not allow any other outcome other than crossing the finish line.

Given a month of perspective and many hours of rehab I have come to realise it was a failure. Not with the outcome of the race. It was again my ego and pig headedness and lack of self respect for my body and my well-being on race day. The race on the other hand and how I finished it is again if you take out the self harm aspect, given that I ran the way I did even though every step felt like I was stepping on a rusty nail, I believe in the future I will be able to draw on that strength and endure the pain of running hard.

As with the Yin/Yan symbol there is a light and dark side of everything. You just need to search it out and learn from it.

Did I reach my 2018 goals? Nope!! Was the year a failure? HELL NO!!! I have learnt valuable lessons and banked another year of training in my body that will serve me well going forward.

What does 2019 bring? Will I be a bit more conservative with my goals? Hell no. This year my goals is as big and as audacious, in-fact probably bigger.

This years goals. Top 10 in my age group at Ironman Cairns on June 9. Why this goal? If I do achieve it there is a very real possibility that I will qualify for the Hawaiian Ironman in Kona in October. Will I achieve this goal? Don’t know, but if I don’t give it my all and do my very best to achieve it I know I will regret that even more than not attaining my goal.

For now thanks for reading and as usual if you have any questions about this don’t hesitate to comment or email.

And remember Exercise is not a punishment it is a privilege.

Mick Rand.

Posted on January 16, 2019 .

Wasting away

Wasting away as we age.

From the day you are born through till around somewhere in your 30’s your muscles tend to grow larger. But at some point, in your 30’s something shifts. You start losing muscle mass. This condition is completely natural and eventually unavoidable, it is called sarcopenia, or age-related sarcopenia. 

People that are inactive can lose as much as 3 – 5% of their muscle mass per decade after the age of 30. Even if you are moderately active you can lose some muscle mass. I’ll give you an example. Say you are an 80 kg man. Your body fat% is 18%. Take out bone mass rough guess 3 kg. Organs 3 kg again very rough. That gives you approximately 60 kg of lean muscle mass. Take 5% of that 60 kg and you are left with 57kg. So, think to yourself are you over the age of 40? Are you active? Are you losing weight or putting weight on? Because if you aren’t very active and are putting weight on that literally means that you are replacing muscle mass with fat. Imagine you have put on 5 kg on between your 30th and 40th birthday and you lost 5% of your muscle mass because you have made a big push in your career and done next to no exercise. You haven’t put 1 kg of fat on you have put 8 kg of fat on and lost 3 kg of muscle. Quite sobering isn’t it, even scary. As we age it becomes more and more easy to put fat on because as a generalisation we become less active.

Remember also that muscle is the most metabolic tissue in the body. That means it burns more calories, so if you are losing muscle mass your calorie needs are dropping, which also means that if you are eating the same number of calories where as in your 30’s you may not have put weight on but now due the decrease in muscle mass and activity levels you will start to put on weight and an ever-increasing amount.

What is the cause? There are many. A couple of the bigger ones are: a drop in natural testosterone and growth hormone, lower levels of insulin like growth factors a decrease in the bodies ability to convert protein in to energy and as previously stated a general decrease in activity levels as life priorities start to shift.

How do we stop Sarcopenia?

Well eventually you can’t. 75 years old seams to be the magic number where it seems to accelerate and can become a major problem. When you put it with another age related degenerative disease Osteopenia it is a major reason that falls for the aged population are often a terminal problem due to a lack of muscle and bone density and the person just never heals.

The good news though is that by starting a good structured strength program you can arrest the loss of muscle and bone density and even reverse it in most cases.  Weight training in as little as 2 weeks can increase the bodies ability to convert protein in to energy. It also causes the body to release testosterone and growth hormone.

It has been an alarming trend in recent years for people to use testosterone supplements whether through a doctor with Hormone replacement therapy or over the counter supplements at a supplement shop to try to keep levels higher. This can get very expensive very quickly and especially with the supplement route there is little to no evidence that they help in any way shape or form. To help naturally get good quality sleep, Get plenty of Vitamin D ( preferably through natural sunlight), Get plenty of quality Omega 3 oils, Cruciferous Vegetables (they help detox excess estrogen from the body), Garlic (this helps lower cortisol which in turn allows the body to release testosterone as a recovery hormone). Reduce your overall carbohydrate and sugar intake.

Another non-diet related method is a daily meditation routine. Meditation helps reduce cortisol which again allows the body to release more testosterone.

 

What can you do about it?

Well even if you are over 75 years of age, it is not too late. If your heart is beating, then you can do some sort of strength training. Whether it be with resistance bands or lifting weights. If you are in your 30’s or 40’s then this is the time to beat back the ravages of age related problems. Getting 2 moderate weight sessions a week and 2 – 3 moderate to high intensity cardio sessions a week will allow you to keep muscle mass and even put some on if you try. Loading the skeleton will maintain bone density and can also help reverse osteopenia.

Exercise, especially weight training is like your bodies superannuation. Make your body strong and muscular in your working life and it will give you more to draw off as you get older. Because if you do have a little more muscle on the body now you can maintain a good quality of life for much longer in life.

Ask yourself. How do you want to age? Do you want to still be vibrant and living large will in to your 70’s and 80’s? Did you answer year to those questions? Do you train at the moment? Do you invest any time in to yourself currently to make this happen? If not. Why not? Do you pull out the all too common I don’t have time card. If so I call BULLSHIT!!!!! There is always time you just need to set it aside and make it one of your bigger priorities. There are no excuses because in the end it is your body, it is your job to keep it in some sort of shape, it is your job to be capable of doing your job and being the best version of yourself, you can be.

Now is the time to act! Get active, do some strength training and get your body moving and under some load. It may take some time and you will end up a little sore and most likely get some niggles and little injuries as well a long the way. But if you address them and get them fixed as they arise there is no limits to what you can achieve. You just need to make it a priority and make the time to do it.

 

As a 47-year-old male I can tell you that strength training is a big part of my life and along with my triathlon training I hope to be doing it well in to my 70’s and 80’s. I feel fitter now than I did I my late 20’s and early 30’s. I plan on still doing long course triathlons in to my 60’s and hopefully 70’s. I see no reason why I shouldn’t be able to do it. In fact I see it more as an obligation to myself to continue to do it.

At Total Performance Centre we specialise in helping everyday people be the best version of themselves and we pride ourselves in specialising in helping people over the age of 40 be better than they thought they ever could be.

As usual team.

If you have any questions please contact us either on the Facebook page or via email.

Mick Rand

Posted on June 14, 2018 .

Go big or go home!

That carrot on the end of the stick that has the power to get you out of bed at 5 am in the rain to chase after something that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand when you think about it, it has the ability to keep you going when everyone else and everything in your life is saying "It's too hard, why bother, just quit". 

Posted on May 25, 2018 .

Having a day out in Port Macquarie

Sunday 6th of May was the day I finally felt that I could call myself and Ironman. 

For me this Ironman was about trying to quiet that little voice inside my head saying you haven’t really done one have you. It was about trusting myself and the training I had been doing and it was about learning to be patient when I feel great and dig deep when I felt like crap.

The week leading up to Ironman is all about your mind. People say it as about tapering. But that is only part of it. As an Ironman triathlete you are used to pushing out as much as 20 hours a week in training. You are used to feeling at least a little tired and or leg weary every day of the week. In the week leading up to an Ironman the volume drops way back. You have a whole lot more time on your hands than you’re used to. Suddenly you have time to think. Think about have you done enough? Should I get one more interval session in? Maybe one more run before the weekend. All week the only thing I could say to myself was I am not going to get any fitter in a week.

The next thing going through your mind all day is the weather. What is the long-range forecast saying? Is there going to be wind or rain? Is it going to be hot and humid? On our day we were blessed. There was a little breeze blowing and it was a beautiful mid north coast classic autumn day.

Friday night we drove up to Port Macquarie straight after our Friday night Raise the Bar class at Total Performance Centre. The 2 hour 40 minute drive was nice and easy and getting in to our hotel at 9pm ish allowed a good nights sleep and a good early rise. Wendy and I made our way in to Port Mac to do the organized swim on the course that Ironman had organized and after that I went for a 30 minute ride and 10 minute run over part of the course. It was nice to be out and about and finally getting a feel for what the last 5 months of training had been about. After that I went and checked in and grabbed my race numbers and sticker and bag kit and headed back to the hotel to set everything up. To anyone reading this that has done an Ironman I can almost see you nodding in agreement when I say that when you are setting up your transition bags and going through them at least 5 times.  When you drop them in to transition area you are still sure that you have left something out. You see you have to have it all checked in the night before, your bike your run and bike kit all put away in a tent on your race number and not allowed to be touched until you come get it on the next day when you are racing.

That night myself, Wendy my good mate and awesome Ironman triathlete himself Anthony Corcoran and Mr. Air Relax Troy Lowery went out for dinner at Hog’s Breath. It is a funny little tradition I have started the night before most of my most important races. I have a big steak some sweet potato and as may veggies as I can get my hands on. Then off to bed and hopeful of a better sleep than I got the night before Bussleton December last year.

My day started at 12 am Sunday morning. I woke for no apparent reason, looked at the time and realised my alarm was about to go off anyway to drink my pre-race supplement Prep’d. This is a modified Starch drink that helps increase hydration by up to 30%. I drank it down went back to bed hoping to get a couple more hours sleep before the next alarm to go of at 4.30 am.

I think I may have gotten another 90 minutes of sleep but at that stage the nerves were starting to kick in and excitement was already building. At 4.30 am the final preparation started with breakfast. I had my normal 2 egg omelet and a banana and started applying some bio-energy patches to my lower back and hamstrings to help combat a little lower back pain I had been having recently. My rationale was to keep the inflammation down for as long as I could to give me a better chance of executing a reasonable race.

At 5.40 am we started the 1 km walk down to transition area to do the final preparations for the morning, pumping up the tires, putting my special needs nutrition and hydration in the vans and starting some swim warm ups and finally putting my wetsuit on and making my way to the swim start.

The main race started a little after 7 am with the pro men and women taking off. I was going to position myself up near the front to get a good start and hopefully out on to the road nice and early to get some clean road. I remember giving Wendy a kiss and her saying something to me just before I made my way down to the swim start but not much else. The next 10 minutes are a bit of a blur with the national anthem being the only real thing I can clearly remember hearing.

I find the best way to a good triathlon swim is to hold myself back and take it relatively easy at the start. It is so easy to get swept up in the moment and take off fast. Every time I have done that though I have blown up and had to slow right down to get going again. During the swim it is a funny sort of emotion going on. It is the only one of the three disciplines where you can’t really get any feedback as to your actual pace and position. Some say they can, but I haven’t managed to do it as yet. For one hour you swim along following other swimmers and the turn at the directional buoys with not much else going on other than trying to hold good stroke mechanics and swim straight. Believe me that is quite a challenge especially at the back end of the swim (it was for me anyway) where strength imbalances start to become even more apparent and it is very easy to go off course and add precious distance to your swim. My swim seemed to go for a long time. I steeled myself for the slower of my estimated times. I thought it must have been significantly over the 1 hour mark. As I stood up and run through the arch and hit lap on the trusty Garmin I looked up on the stop watch above and it had my split as 59 minutes and 12 seconds. I was shocked.  Blown away actually. The day was off to a cracker of a start.

Out on to the bike the conditions seemed fast. Wind was light weather was mild and I felt really, Really fresh. The words from my wife and various podcasts I have listened to recently rang in my head incessantly. Patience, Patience, when you feel good go easy, when you feel crap push hard. It is a really hard thing to do on that first lap to watch a whole heap of people go past you. Just let them ride up the road and ignore them. But I did just that and kept to my power and heart rate figures that I had worked with.  With only a few minor mishaps like losing my salt tablets and dropping some of my nutrition I made it back to transition in 5:33:00.  My only real drama on the bike was at about 25 km to go I started cramping in the adductors. It wasn’t too bad, but bad enough that I had to use a smaller gear get out of the aero position and drop the power down. Once I hit the hills nearing town though the hills and disruption to the pedalling action the cramping subsided until about 2 km to go.

The part of the race that looks on paper my worst part of the race was for me the proudest part of my race. I am not a good runner. I have to work very hard at it and even then am not fast. I did however have a plan to do the best I thought I could on the day and try to acquit myself well. The plan was to walk the up and down hill of the one substantial hill on course and walk for 100 meters at each aid station approximately every 2 km. I wasn’t sure if physically I would be able to do it. The mental scars from Bussleton last year were fresh in my mind. But I was determined to give it a shot and see what happened. It was funny getting off the bike after 180 km cramping substantially and getting in to transition area I had an anti-cramping drink called Pickle Juice instantaneously I felt the cramping in my legs disappear and as I ran out of the tent I actually felt fresh and ready to run. The sense of euphoria as you begin the run with hundreds of people cheering you on is quite uplifting and also quite dangerous for the unsuspecting. It is very easy to take off way too fast and ruin your whole race in the first 2 - 5 km of the marathon run. But for me I managed to stick to the plan I came up with a plan that I thought was my best shot at completing the marathon well and stuck to it for the entire run. The time in this case was irrelevant as this was the first time I had managed do it in such a way. The time as I said set no world records it didn’t see me racing through the field. But it was over 90 minutes quicker than 5 months ago and in much better spirits. My biggest over riding goal for me on this day was to not be so negative like I was in Bussleton last year. My wife said to me that every-time she saw me, I was smiling. That for me was more important than any-time that I might post.

I can see where I need to and can improve. I plan on doing just that over the next 13 months when at that point I am going to enter Cairns Ironman and attempt to go under the ten hour bracket. In between now and then though I have 2 more ½ Ironman’s this year and 2 early next year before then to keep the motivation high.

I love training and I love racing. It makes me feel good, good about myself and my life. So I can’t see me not doing either in the near future.

Until next time.

Stay safe, Stay healthy, Live your dreams chase your goals.

 

Mick

Posted on May 17, 2018 .

Challenge Melbourne Done and Dusted.

Challenge Melbourne this year was about seeing if my training was working. It was about seeing if I needed to tweak anything going forward. I knew it would be too late for Port Macquarie Ironman that is in two weeks time but at this stage everything is about seeing if the training I am doing is working. 

One of my big stumbling blocks that I have encountered in previous half ironmans was my hydration and nutrition strategy and due to that subsequent energy level drop offs. Some of that could be explained away as lack of endurance but my heavy sweat rate and sodium loss is also a big, big factor in this. This was a major stressor and trying to figure it out was causing quite a few headaches. 

If Sunday is anything to go off I feel that I am well on my way to solving that part of the performance puzzle.

This race was what I consider possibly the best race I have ever executed. A Personal Best across all three disciplines. With big improvements in both the bike (12 minute PB) and the run (13 minute PB). My training has been some of the most consistent and best quality training I have ever put together that I can remember, but for me I always struggle on second half of the run with both fatigue and cramping always causing a big percentage drop in performance.  

The weekend just gone was completely different. I felt very strong from the outset on the bike sitting at high powers but feeling well with in myself. Last 30 km of the ride I felt little to no fatigue and was having to tell myself to hold back as there was still a half marathon to come. Out onto the run was surreal asI found a good rhythm quickly and again had to real myself in as I was sitting on 5 min km pace which I haven't trained at so I knew I could not sustain that for 21 km. At the turnaround my Garmin read 52:50. I felt stronger than normal but in the last kilometer or so I noticed my pace had dropped from 5:15 pace to 5:25 and heart rate had lifted from 138 bpm to 145 bpm. Memories from Bussleton and Mooloolabah crept in where I spent the run trying to minimise cramping as best as possible. 

But the pace drop off stopped and heart rate steadied and stayed mice and even until the last 4 kilometers or so where I started believing that this was actually going to happen. The slowest my pace dropped to all run was 5:30 km pace the heart rate over the last 2 km went up in to the 150's which is what it should do. I crossed the line 4 hours 44 min 50 seconds. A full 26 minutes quicker than I have ever gone over that distance. 

What had changed from previous races. Well I now have 2 full Ironman training blocks in my legs so you would expect that over a half ironman distance I should be able to hold it together better. I have now been training for nearly 12 month at triathlons so again you would expect an improvement also. But this race was the first race I have implemented a proper hydration and nutrition strategy. I seperated my hydration intake from my calorie intake. My drinks during the race were a carb free electrolyte drink and all calories were from the Freedom Fuel from the "Natural Nutritionist Steph Lowe". I also took on extra sodium in the final hour on the bike and at the 10 and 15 km mark on the run. 

The other big win for me was the addition of Prep'd hydration. It is a modified starch drink that has shown to be effective in increasing your ability to hydrate during exercise by up to 30%. The beauty of this is that you drink it the night before and it then is working when you are racing the day after. This is great because by the time you are racing you are not having to digest another product causing possible gastric upset. On race day it is already working and you just use your normal hydration strategy. The only difference is that it is able to work better because you absorb even more of it, thus staying better hydrated and should be able to perform better for longer. 

Mentally as well I have felt a shift. I have trained to make that shift. Racing is hard. It feels hard and hurts when you are going hard. I have started to accept that and realise being able to go to that place where it hurts and staying there even though it hurts is what makes people good athletes. I have lots of work to do on this and I will be starting to work on this even more in the future. It is a little scary but exciting because to go to that place and train it means that I will have lift my game even further. Fun times ahead and frequent trips in to the pain cave in my future. 

2 weeks to go for my next Full Ironman race and although I am nervous and excited. I feel like I have a crucial part of it on the improve and I feel less stressed about it. 

Less stress equals less energy wasted over it, which hopefully leads a better race day outcome. 

 

Mick Rand

Total Performance Centre

Owner and head coach. 

Posted on April 24, 2018 .

Hydration. It's more than just a glass of water!

Did you know that an adult human can go for 3 weeks without food and survive. The longest person on record not having any water is one week. Of that alond you could almost say that water is 3 times more important than food from a survival aspect. Also for every kilogram you weigh that 600 - 750 grams of that weight is water? That's correct 60 - 75% of our bodies make up is water. Water is how you lubricate your joints, help regulate body temperature, aid in digestion, help move waste out of the body and optimize blood pressure. 

Water plays a major role in recovery - from helping digest vital nutrients to repairing muscles damaged during exercise. 

 1. Muscular Repair - Exercise causes muscles to break down they are then rebuilt  by protein synthesis. Protein synthesis, however, requires the muscles to be well hydrated. If you are dehydrated after a workout, protein synthesis will be slowed and recovery from the workout will take longer. 

2. Digestion -After a workout eating fuel to replenish what you used is very important for recovery. Digestion of said food requires an adequate amount of water to assist in that process. 

3. Reduced Fatigue - Reduced blood plasma volume is one of the leading causes of fatigue during exercise. Reduced volume means your heart has to pump harder to get the nutrients in the blood to all the places it needs to go. 

4. Heart Rate Recovery  - A 2012 study of the role of hydration in athletic performance found that hydration had a large impact on recovery. In the experiment, individuals did a 90 minute run on a treadmill under one of two conditions - either they drank during and after the workout or they did not hydrate at all. The experiment found that the individuals who hydrated showed significantly faster heart rate recovery following the workout which indicates that their bodies more quickly recovered from the stress of exercise.

Rehydration after exercise clearly has a large impact on recovery. Particularly during hot weather events - it becomes crucial to develop a post workout hydration protocol that replenishes the liquids, electrolytes and sodium lost during exercise. Focusing on hydration will give you the extra boost you need to recover from a hard workout and get the most out of the next one!  

Although we are talking about recover here. It would be remiss of me not to mention hydration during exercise or event. After all the sports beverage industry is worth billions of dollars so they are going to tell you a lot of stuff to sell you their products. The following is my opinion on guidelines for hydration. 

1. Any exercise lasting 1 hour or less. Stick to water. At any given time you have enough stored glycogen to keep you going at a reasonable rate for up to 2 hours. Using some of those stores is a great way to improve insulin sensitivity.

2. If you are going to train more than once during the day. Still stick to water during and have a good quality carbohydrate source like sweet potato or a banana if the session is quite intense. For the second session again if it is an hour or less. Stick to water again. After get a good quality meal in and keep the water up. 

3. For a longer event. Such as what I am currently training for Ironman and 1/2 Ironman Triathlons a whole lot of factors start to come in to play. But it is a reasonably known fact that most people can consume without too many detrimental effects about 1 - 1.3 litres of water per hour. For longer events refueling and electrolyte replenishment also becomes a factor. Too much water can make you need to urinate constantly or the more sinister version hyponatremia, is where you have too much water in the body and you mess up the sodium levels in your blood and causes you to retain too much water. This can cause cramping, headaches, seizure and even death. For heavy sweaters such as myself, in hot humid conditions you need to ensure that not only are you drinking enough fluid but also taking in enough sodium to maintain blood volume and keep sodium levels as close as possible to their optimum. 

There is a growing trend amongst many athletes to separate their carbohydrate intake and their hydration. Some say this optimises the bodies ability to absorb each one separately rather than trying absorb both the water and carbohydrates at the same time while trying to exercise at a high level. The main factor here is that working muscles require blood flow to make them work efficiently. So does the stomach to absorb nutrients from what we eat and drink.

This type of strategy is on the extreme end of things though due to the length of time and distance to be travelled and the difficulty of the event. For most sessions water is the gold standard and is more than good enough to get you what you need during training. 

 

Posted on February 28, 2018 .