What Being a “Fat Adapted” Athlete Really Means

April 25th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Cricket Howard, Triathlete

Of course we all want to burn that fat to be lean, but there are dozens of reasons that being a better butter burner will make you a better athlete. Ever have GI distress (bloating, vomiting, bonking, etc. ) three fourths through your marathon? Are you filling your pockets with gels and bars to  go ride for a couple of hours?

gu runner

Contrary to what most of us have learned, these pouches of sugar, called “Gu” or “gels”, are not necessary or even healthy for athletes.

“Efficiency” is usually thought of as doing something well with little amount of effort. In endurance sports nutrition, this boils down to being able to burn more fat and less carbohydrate for energy. Why would we want to do this? Because at any given time, most trained athletes are carrying about 1,500 – 2,000 calories of carbohydrates and 80,000-plus calories of fat. Yep, even speedy little Meb has that much fat in storage. The trick is teaching the body to love to run on fat and use it at higher intensities. This is done through metabolic efficiency training to build a stockpile of fat-burning enzymes- the “machinery” to make it work. Voilà – the ultrarunner, cyclist or triathlete, becomes much less dependent on consuming mass amounts of carbohydrates during the race and has reduced risk of GI distress.

Just how do you ignite this fat fire?

The single most important contributor to improve your ability to use fat as fuel is diet. A diet low in refined foods, specifically carbohydrates, moderate in protein and fiber as well as higher in fat is key to priming metabolic efficiency . Yep, fats! Not the artificial, industrially produced partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, like corn, safflower, sunflower, or canola. Not crisco or margarine. Those are examples of the “bad” when we speak of bad fats. You can safely enjoy the real fats. Fats, included in meats, avocado, ghee (oh so good for cooking!), macadamia nuts, etc. Add these delicious fats and proteins into your diet and you will be satiated enough to stop thinking about your next meal. Stay away from “low fat” products and read your labels. Carbohydrate translates to sugar. Even those “healthy” organic dressings and snacks have the bad stuff. Take Newman’s Own balsamic dressing… healthy, right? Look closely at the label Vegetable oil (soybean and/or canola oil). Stick to the real oils, like olive and avocado. The food industry has learned to trick those who want to be healthy. But athletes, fats and protein are your friend. The real fats. Yes, even animal fats.

Give your gut a break. Lengthy fasts are not necessary, but giving your gut a break and laying off the mid meal snacks can tell your metabolism to use the fuel we all have plenty of… fat! If you’re hungry before mealtime,  choose a small nutrient dense snack that can get you to you the next meal. Some great small snacks that stop the growling are:

  • Boiled eggs
  • Macadamia nuts, walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts
  • Celery with almond butter
  • Hard cheeses

Get enough sleep. Your body does a lot of work at rest. You aren’t digesting and the gut can rest. Getting sufficient sleep lets you stay in a fasted state where your body is using fat stores rather than carbohydrates from your last meal. Waking up without having to immediately get a meal is a good sign you are functioning on fat stores.

fat graphYou can also train your body to use fat stores through training! Before we get fast, we have to lay the groundwork. Being a metabolically efficient athlete means we have the foundation of which speed is built upon. To find out where you are as a fat burner you will need the help of my friends at Athletic Mentors to perform a metabolic efficiency assessment. You can do this as a runner or cyclist, whichever area you want to become more efficient in. By doing this assessment you will learn what are the most fuel efficient heart rate zone for you. Athletic Mentors can teach you how to build your foundation and reach your full potential. They are currently offering group classes to teach you how to use your own data. They will teach you how to fuel and train for metabolic efficiency. The next Metabolic Efficiency Class will be held May 11th, at 6pm.

100 miler

Zach Bitter, world record holder as the fastest 100 miler on a track, is known for his fat fueled success.

You are meant to burn fats. The average American diet has allowed us to become dependent on carbohydrates to get us through the day, our workouts and races. Take a day to learn about your metabolism, and what you can do to stay healthy and burn the fuel that your body was meant to use. Metabolic efficiency training can help you stabilize your blood sugars, give you steady energy, lose body fat and allow you to run faster at a lower heart rate. All great results, so think about incorporating ME training into your base training. All you really need to start your ME training once you get the test, is your running shoes, a heart rate monitor and your body fat.

If you have questions, or want to schedule a test check out the website at www.athleticmentors.com or contact erin@athleticmentors.com with any questions about metabolic efficiency testing.

 

 

The post What Being a “Fat Adapted” Athlete Really Means appeared first on Team Athletic Mentors.


What Being a ‘Fat Adapted’ Athlete Really Means

April 24th, 2017 by Erin

By Erin Young

Of course, we all want to burn that fat to be lean, but there are dozens of reasons that being a better butter burner will make you a better athlete. Ever have GI distress (bloating, vomiting, bonking, etc. ) three-fourths through your marathon? Are you filling your pockets with gels and bars to go ride for a couple of hours?

Contrary to what most of us have learned, these pouches of sugar, called “Gu” or “gels”, are not necessary or even healthy for athletes.

Contrary to what most of us have learned, these pouches of sugar, called “Gu” or “gels”, are not necessary or even healthy for athletes.

 

“Efficiency” is usually thought of as doing something well with little amount of effort. In endurance sports nutrition, this boils down to being able to use more fat for energy while using less carbohydrate for energy. Why would we want to do this? Because at any given time, most trained athletes are carrying about 1,500 – 2,000 calories of carbohydrates and 80,000-plus calories of fat. Yep, even speedy little Meb has that much fat in storage. Yes, we need carbohydrates to activate fat-burning enzymes to burn fat for energy, but think of it this way: One fat-burning enzyme burns a little fat; a bunch of fat-burning enzymes ignites a bonfire. Metabolic efficiency training builds a stockpile of fat-burning enzymes. Voilà – the ultrarunner, cyclist or triathlete, becomes much less dependant on consuming mass amounts of carbohydrates during the race and has less chance of GI distress. 

Zach Bitter, world record holder as the fastest 100 miler on a track, is known for his fat fueled success.

Zach Bitter, world record holder as the fastest 100 miler on a track, is known for his fat fueled success.

 

Just how do you ignite this fat fire?

 

The single most important contributor to improve your ability to use fat as fuel is diet. A diet low in refined foods, specifically carbohydrates, moderate in protein and fiber as well as higher in fat is key to priming metabolic efficiency . Yep, fats! Not the artificial, industrially produced partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, like corn, safflower, sunflower, or canola. Not crisco or margarine. Those are examples of the “bad” when we speak of bad fats. You can safely enjoy the real fats. Fats, included in meats, avocado, ghee (oh so good for cooking!), macadamia nuts, etc. Add these delicious fats and proteins into your diet and you will be satiated enough to stop thinking about your next meal. Stay away from “low fat” products and read your labels. Carbohydrate translates to sugar. Even those “healthy” organic dressings and snacks have the bad stuff. Take Newman’s Own balsamic dressing… healthy, right? Look closely at the label Vegetable oil (soybean and/or canola oil). Stick to the real oils, like olive and avocado. The food industry has learned to trick those who want to be healthy. But athletes, fats and protein are your friend. The real fats. Yes, even animal fats. Read the rest of this entry »


Tips for Early Morning Workouts

April 18th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Elaine Sheikh, Triathlete

Most of us endurance athletes are beyond time-crunched – balancing work, family, social obligations and often training 10+ hours a week. Most of us don’t look forward to the alarm clock going off at 4:00am for that morning workout. Here’s some of my tips for making those workouts as pleasant as possible:

1) Prep your breakfast in advance! I avoid doing more than a few fasted workouts every week. Usually a banana or toast with nut butter or a larabar are enough to get me going for the workout. I’m a dedicated user of one of our team sponsors, Infinit. Often I can go fasted into a workout and still have plenty of energy with a bottle or two of one of my customized blends during the workout. However, when the workout is done and you have to fly through the shower and get to work, it’s important to have breakfast pre-made so you have time to eat something wholesome and don’t find yourself craving a donut on the way to work.

- I will often scramble a couple of eggs with nutritional yeast (those of you who tolerate dairy could use cheese instead) and sautéed veggies. That plus a cup of cooked rice and some coconut oil will elaine runningstill be surprisingly palatable after being refrigerated overnight.

- Another go-to is overnight oats. Use quick cooking oats and a milk or milk substitute of your choice in a 1-1 ratio. I add a scoop of green powder, nuts, fruits, cinnamon, and honey in whatever proportions I’m feeling. Put in the refrigerator overnight and it’ll be perfect to eat cold the next morning.

- One of my morning-of breakfasts is a simple protein shake. Milk or milk substitute, frozen fruit, nut butter, greens, and protein powder will keep you full until lunch and takes 2 minutes to throw together in the morning.

- A leftover baked sweet potato with a generous serving of nut butter or coconut oil, is another great breakfast. Depending on your caloric needs you may want to supplement with a shake or an egg or two.

2) Prep your workout gear the night before
-If I’m going to bike, the trainer is already set up with my kit and heart rate monitor next to it and my laptop and speakers set up the night before. If I’m running or swimming my gear is gathered and sitting next to the door. Nothing is more frustrating than getting to the pool at 5 am and realizing you don’t have your goggles!

3) Prioritize your sleep
- Nothing sets you up for failure like staying up until midnight and still expecting to wake up at 4 am refreshed and ready to train. As simple as it sounds, make sure you are streamlining your evenings so that you are able to sleep and be fresh in the morning. The night before is just as important as the morning of in determining your training success.

I hope this was helpful. Happy training!

The post Tips for Early Morning Workouts appeared first on Team Athletic Mentors.


Life Lessons from Running and Triathlons

April 10th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

-By Brian Reynolds, Team Athletic Mentors triathlete

Over the past 16 years of being a runner and triathlete I have learned many life lessons.  I would like to share the 5 key life lessons I’ve learned.

  • Overcoming adversity – Throughout our life we will always have to deal with challenges whether they’re big or small.  When training for a marathon or Ironman event there were always winter run brianchallenges to overcome.  There were days when I had to run in snowy 5 deg F weather even though it was freezing and uncomfortable.  I had days when I didn’t feel like training due to fatigue or just not being in the mood but I still did the workout anyways. There were very challenging workouts that made anxious before even doing it.  I had injuries that forced me to limit my training.  However, I made the necessary adjustments to my training to help me stay on track for the racing season.  My determination and passion to achieve my goals help motivate me to overcome this adversity.

 

  • Patience – Sometimes we have to wait a long time before accomplishing our biggest dreams.  For example, my dream was to win a marathon.  In 2011, I entered the Kalamazoo marathon which was my first and I won it!  Some people will say beginners luck; however, I was a runner for 10 years prior to the marathon which made me no beginner.  During those 10 years I’ve accumulated over 15,000 miles and raced distances from the 5k to the half marathon.  I wouldn’t have won the Kalamazoo marathon if I just started running the year before.  I needed those 10 years to improve as a runner to help prepare me for that moment in Kalamazoo.  The tiny improvements I made day to day added up to accomplishing my dream because I gave myself the time to develop. Patience will always payoff in the end.

 

  • Setting SMART goals – Setting goals for the season are very important.  I always try to set challenging BUT attainable goals.  Goals can be a great motivation tool and gives an athlete accountability.  However, setting an unrealistic short term goal will not help you have a better season.  Instead, an unrealistic goal can sabotage a season by causing an athlete to overtrain and/or be disappointed because their goal was not met.  These unrealistic goals are best saved for long term goals because given time and persistence they may be attainable.

When I was training for the 2014 Kalamazoo Marathon my goal was to run a 2:30 which would be a 4 minute PR.  As the season progressed, I was having good workouts so I thought a 2:28 goal was doable.  Later in the season I started to overreach a bit by pushing myself a little too hard in workouts.  I went into the race in a more fatigued state and paced it too fast.  As a result I didn’t have my best race.  Looking back I wish I had a coach to help me set a realistic goal and monitor my progress to make sure I was on track for achieving my goal.

  • Brian en route to his Kalamazoo Marathon victory

    Brian en route to his Kalamazoo Marathon victory

    Work ethic – This is the #1 attribute that I learned while being a runner and triathlete.  All of my achievements were due to the hard work and dedication I put into my training. The more work I put in training the faster I got.  To help myself stay dedicated during High School Cross Country and Track I started a consecutive running streak which meant I ran at least 1 mile everyday.  My running streak is still strong going to this day.  If it’s one thing that I’ve learned when it comes to running or triathlons an athlete cannot get lucky and have a great race without putting in the work.  The work you put in is a direct result of how well you perform in the races!

  • Talent does not determine success – My favorite Steve Prefontaine quote is “Success isn’t how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.”  Steve is known as one of the greatest US distance runners in history.  Even though Steve was a very talented runner his quote suggests that success should be based on a athlete’s growth and improvement.  For instance, an athlete’s success should not be based on their 5k time but rather the improvements they’ve made from where they started.  We shouldn’t try to compare ourselves with others because it really doesn’t matter.  What really matters is how far you’ve come as an athlete and person. Don’t get me wrong I’m guilty of sometimes comparing myself to other ‘fast’ athletes.  These ‘fast’ athletes do give me inspiration and motivation to become better.  However, my measuring stick for success is the progress I’ve made over the past 16 years.

The post Life Lessons from Running and Triathlons appeared first on Team Athletic Mentors.


Team Athletic Mentors Ready to Triumph with Greenware Multisport Sponsorship

March 24th, 2017 by Team AM OAM
Watch for Team Athletic Mentors new look at a Multisport race near you this year.

Watch for Team Athletic Mentors new look at a Multisport race near you this year.

Athletic Mentors — the training and team management company responsible for getting Michigan triathletes known across the region as “podium performers” — is delighted to launch its newest team partnership catering to Michigan multisport events and active living.

The team core of Michigan amateur triathletes, cyclists, runners and Nordic skiers will be suiting up with presenter-level support from Greenware for the 2017 season. It’s the beginning of a partnership that promises to ‘keep it green’ in Michigan.

“Greenware is in it for the long haul and so are we. It’s a perfect pairing with a forward-thinking brand designed to preserve earth’s resources while providing on-the-go packaging,” said team Manger Cheryl Sherwood of Athletic Mentors.

Greenware is a registered trademark of FabriKal, a Kalamazoo packaging company that caters to restaurant, event and entertainment service with an exclusive line of annually renewable drink cups, lids, portion containers and on-the-go boxes made entirely from plants. FabriKal is privately held and home to more than 800 employees.

For 2017, Athletic Mentors has elected to be the title sponsor for the team in keeping with the expansion of its Richland training facility, which now serves both elite athletes as well as regular active lifestyle seekers. With the expansion, AM now offers adult fitness programs, classes, metabolic testing and sporting camps. Previously, Athletic Mentors has managed the award-winning Bissell cycling team, the Priority Health Team and OAM-Now.

“Athletic Mentors is in a growth phase, and there’s no better way to show people what we do than titling the team – the proof is on the podium, so to speak,” Sherwood said.  The new Athletic Mentors-Greenware Team will feature the same core of talent as prior iterations such as OAM and Priority Health teams.

“With the support of Greenware, we will take this organization to the next level in multisport performance. Our goal is to motivate Michiganders to get off the couch and hit the road or trail.”

Headed by John Kittredge, Greenware’s company ethos includes active living in Michigan’s environmentally preserved trails and natural resources.

“Anything we can do to promote active, healthy lifestyles in Michigan fits with our company mission to act responsibly as corporate citizens and contribute to both the well-being of our communities and the environment overall,” says Kittredge, himself a competitive cyclist.

“Our family has been innovative in environmental stewardship and alternate transportation, and we’d love to help motivate our employees and neighbors toward healthy lifestyles that indirectly impact both sectors. Learning to value the environment does not come from sitting on the couch,” Kittredge said.

In addition to team registration at numerous multisport events across Michigan this year, from Barry Roubaix to Michigan Titanium, the two companies also look forward to community outreach through appearances at schools, community events and athletic clinics.

For more information on Team events, opportunities or appearances, visit http://www.teamathleticmentors.com.

For a media interview or speaker scheduling, contact
Cheryl Sherwood, Co-Owner
Athletic Mentors
269.664.6912
or email: Cheryl@athleticmentors.com

 

Athletic Mentors LLC, is a west Michigan-based athletic training and sports management company that offers individual training, team training programs, clinics, elite hockey programs and sports management services.  For more information about Athletic Mentors or becoming a supporter, visit www.AthleticMentors.com.

Greenware believes that life is about sharing moments and Greenware® cups help make that time special. Whether you’re planning a party or anytime you gather at home, our stylish disposable cups make every day more convenient and beautiful. We have fresh, fashionable designs to fit your every season and celebration. Unlike traditional plastic cups, Greenware® is 100% made from annually renewable plants, not petroleum. They are the responsible disposable cups you’ll want to show off. Visit http://www.fabri-kal.com/product-solutions/greenware/ to learn more.

The post Team Athletic Mentors Ready to Triumph with Greenware Multisport Sponsorship appeared first on Team Athletic Mentors.


Team Athletic Mentors Ready to Triumph with Greenware Multisport Sponsorship

March 24th, 2017 by Athletic Mentors

multisport team and training Athletic Mentors and Greenware logos

Athletic Mentors — the training and team management company responsible for getting Michigan triathletes known across the region as “podium performers” — is delighted to launch its newest team partnership catering to Michigan multisport events and active living.

The team core of Michigan amateur triathletes, cyclists, runners and Nordic skiers will be suiting up with presenter-level support from Greenware for the 2017 season. It’s the beginning of a partnership that promises to ‘keep it green’ in Michigan.

“Greenware is in it for the long haul and so are we. It’s a perfect pairing with a forward-thinking brand designed to preserve earth’s resources while providing on-the-go packaging,” said team Manger Cheryl Sherwood of Athletic Mentors.

Greenware is a registered trademark of FabriKal, a Kalamazoo packaging company that caters to restaurant, event and entertainment service with an exclusive line of annually renewable drink cups, lids, portion containers and on-the-go boxes made entirely from plants. FabriKal is privately held and home to more than 800 employees.

For 2017, Athletic Mentors has elected to be the title sponsor for the team in keeping with the expansion of its Richland training facility, which now serves both elite athletes as well as regular active lifestyle seekers. With the expansion, AM now offers adult fitness programs, classes, metabolic testing and sporting camps. Previously, Athletic Mentors has managed the award-winning Bissell cycling team, the Priority Health Team and OAM-Now.

“Athletic Mentors is in a growth phase, and there’s no better way to show people what we do than titling the team – the proof is on the podium, so to speak,” Sherwood said.  The new Athletic Mentors-Greenware Team will feature the same core of talent as prior iterations such as OAM and Priority Health teams.

“With the support of Greenware, we will take this organization to the next level in multisport performance. Our goal is to motivate Michiganders to get off the couch and hit the road or trail.”

Headed by John Kittredge, Greenware’s company ethos includes active living in Michigan’s environmentally preserved trails and natural resources.

“Anything we can do to promote active, healthy lifestyles in Michigan fits with our company mission to act responsibly as corporate citizens and contribute to both the well-being of our communities and the environment overall,” says Kittredge, himself a competitive cyclist.

“Our family has been innovative in environmental stewardship and alternate transportation, and we’d love to help motivate our employees and neighbors toward healthy lifestyles that indirectly impact both sectors. Learning to value the environment does not come from sitting on the couch,” Kittredge said.

In addition to team registration at numerous multisport events across Michigan this year, from Barry Roubaix to Michigan Titanium, the two companies also look forward to community outreach through appearances at schools, community events and athletic clinics.

For more information on Team events, opportunities or appearances, visit http://www.teamathleticmentors.com.

For a media interview or speaker scheduling, contact
Cheryl Sherwood, Co-Owner
Athletic Mentors
269.664.6912
or email: Cheryl@athleticmentors.com

 

Athletic Mentors LLC, is a west Michigan-based athletic training and sports management company that offers individual training, team training programs, clinics, elite hockey programs and sports management services.  For more information about Athletic Mentors or becoming a supporter, visit www.AthleticMentors.com.

Greenware believes that life is about sharing moments and Greenware® cups help make that time special. Whether you’re planning a party or anytime you gather at home, our stylish disposable cups make every day more convenient and beautiful. We have fresh, fashionable designs to fit your every season and celebration. Unlike traditional plastic cups, Greenware® is 100% made from annually renewable plants, not petroleum. They are the responsible disposable cups you’ll want to show off. Visit http://www.fabri-kal.com/product-solutions/greenware/ to learn more.


Pressing the Reset Button

March 2nd, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

By Kaitlyn Patterson, Team Athletic Mentors Cyclist

An off-season has been a foreign concept for me for the past several years. The rollerskis (or real skis) would come out just after Iceman and ski race season would be in full force as soon after. And by the time the last xc ski race was over in March, it was already cycling season. I’m still not sure how I managed to avoid getting totally burnt out pulling this off several consecutive years, but I am very thankful for my string of healthy seasons. But with the move to Ann Arbor and school demands, I can manage being a cyclist but not a skier. And after a fall of balancing the first semester of medical school with mountain bike racing and then the Zwift Academy competition, I was pretty toasted and ready for a break.

I took some time totally off the bike and got in some skiing in December before the big January thaw. I didn’t do anything structured or hard, nor did I want to.  I did have a few things I wanted to accomplish off the bike. My first goal was to put myself back together so I could do real runs. I injured my IT band at the GR Tri in 2015 and haven’t been able to tolerate much running since. It didn’t bother me on the bike so I admittedly put it on the backburner and just didn’t run. It didn’t get worse but also didn’t get better. Some concentrated rehab on my hip flexor flexibility and abductor strength the past few months has been very successful and I’ve been able to build up to 6-8 miles every other day.

It feels great to be running again and pretty nostalgic since I’m back in Ann Arbor.  I’ve been running variations on the same well-traveled routes from my collegiate running career, albeit not quite as

Flashbacks of my previous life

Flashbacks of my previous life

fast or not quite as long. It has definitely helped to fill the void of not being able to ski or ride outside much.

I’ve also spent more committed time in the weight room since strength is definitely my weakness. I am slow twitch through and through. I’ve historically not been a fan of lifting because I haven’t seen it translate to improvements but I also haven’t previously committed enough to see results. This time is more enjoyable and it helps that I have a readily accessible gym and it has helped me get back running already. I think strength training can be a hard thing for a lot of cyclists and multisport athletes to commit to, but it really does translate to being more injury resistant and keeping control and form on the bike.

The remainder of my training time is spent on Zwift. I actually don’t mind the trainer and my cold tolerance for riding outside is pretty wimpy.  The trainer also has the added benefit of allowing me to listen to lectures and material while I ride.

I definitely miss cross country ski racing and the ski community but it has been nice to have some time to not have to be on top of my game all the time.  Sometimes a reset button is necessary and even enjoyable. And by the time spring rolls around, I’m going to be itching to race!

The post Pressing the Reset Button appeared first on Team Athletic Mentors.


Pressing the Reset Button

March 2nd, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

By Kaitlyn Patterson, Team Athletic Mentors Cyclist

An off-season has been a foreign concept for me for the past several years. The rollerskis (or real skis) would come out just after Iceman and ski race season would be in full force as soon after. And by the time the last xc ski race was over in March, it was already cycling season. I’m still not sure how I managed to avoid getting totally burnt out pulling this off several consecutive years, but I am very thankful for my string of healthy seasons. But with the move to Ann Arbor and school demands, I can manage being a cyclist but not a skier. And after a fall of balancing the first semester of medical school with mountain bike racing and then the Zwift Academy competition, I was pretty toasted and ready for a break.

I took some time totally off the bike and got in some skiing in December before the big January thaw. I didn’t do anything structured or hard, nor did I want to.  I did have a few things I wanted to accomplish off the bike. My first goal was to put myself back together so I could do real runs. I injured my IT band at the GR Tri in 2015 and haven’t been able to tolerate much running since. It didn’t bother me on the bike so I admittedly put it on the backburner and just didn’t run. It didn’t get worse but also didn’t get better. Some concentrated rehab on my hip flexor flexibility and abductor strength the past few months has been very successful and I’ve been able to build up to 6-8 miles every other day.

It feels great to be running again and pretty nostalgic since I’m back in Ann Arbor.  I’ve been running variations on the same well-traveled routes from my collegiate running career, albeit not quite as

Flashbacks of my previous life

Flashbacks of my previous life

fast or not quite as long. It has definitely helped to fill the void of not being able to ski or ride outside much.

I’ve also spent more committed time in the weight room since strength is definitely my weakness. I am slow twitch through and through. I’ve historically not been a fan of lifting because I haven’t seen it translate to improvements but I also haven’t previously committed enough to see results. This time is more enjoyable and it helps that I have a readily accessible gym and it has helped me get back running already. I think strength training can be a hard thing for a lot of cyclists and multisport athletes to commit to, but it really does translate to being more injury resistant and keeping control and form on the bike.

The remainder of my training time is spent on Zwift. I actually don’t mind the trainer and my cold tolerance for riding outside is pretty wimpy.  The trainer also has the added benefit of allowing me to listen to lectures and material while I ride.

I definitely miss cross country ski racing and the ski community but it has been nice to have some time to not have to be on top of my game all the time.  Sometimes a reset button is necessary and even enjoyable. And by the time spring rolls around, I’m going to be itching to race!

The post Pressing the Reset Button appeared first on Team Athletic Mentors.


Dubai IRONMAN 70.3 2017

February 11th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Raquel Torres, Triathlete

Making the decisión to race

Since I did not participate in many events in 2016, I  was hungry to keep finding race to challenge me. After my last event in Africa in December, I spent some time thinking about my 2017 goals. There is the commitment to make decisions about what races to sign up for, to work for me and for my sponsors.  But this is difficult living in Michigan, where the winter is very cold and long and there are not many events. I did a few half marathons with very good results achieving my goals. This and the other reasons motivated me to look for a new objective early in 2017.

PRO or Age Group category?

I decided to try this whole year as a Pro in the Ironman races, to challenge and to try the Professional category. My coach Mark Olson always says to me “In the Age Group category you would be first.” Although I was scared, the opportunity to register as age group had passed so I signed up as a Pro for the 70.3 in Dubai as it was economically feasible. Even considering the obstacles of the distance, the long trip and going alone, but I felt that it would be worth it as I felt the need to compete.

 

Training Now for 70.3

raquel poolIn terms of the training, comparing the sprint distance (750 meters swim, 20k draft legal bike and 5k run to a 70.3 Half Ironman (1900 meters swim, 90k bike and 21k run) it’s a big step. I did not have a lot of time, but the desire was larger than that. The first step was to connect with my coach Mark, about the goal and to start to work. We started to work, designed the plan, with the objective to race on 27 January so we had 4 weeks. I was very motivated and focused to work harder than ever with lots of emphasis in the details. My attitude was more positive than ever every day. The hard winter in Michigan was spent with days like Christmas and New Year’s Day training like any other day…

I was running outside most of the time with very low temperatures and during a strong snowstorm I made the mistake to run a very long session on the treadmill. The change of surface brought on a minor injury. I was careful and stopped running until I was able to get an appointment with the doctor about 10 days later, after 10 therapy sessions and about 22 days without running, the doctors ordered x-rays and other tests and told me that with rehab and all things normal I could complete the event. I already had the plane ticket and the hotel was reserved, the event registration was done and the hard work and emotion for the long training was done.

One of the advantages of triathlon is that you have options; there are no excuses not to work. I decided to be more positive than ever even with many obstacles. I was psyched up, focused and at the same time a bit scared for the long flights and to try this new distance with these obstacles, I have to admit that some days I thought I was nuts.

The event was getting closer and I was training harder on the bike, swimming and rehab, weight training and nutrition, the things I could control. Aside from the more than 1001 things as a mother and coach. The day was approaching, my foot still hurt, but with my faith first I concentrated on the details and put aside what was not in my control.

Pack, prepare the trip logistics, leave everything in order at home for my daughter, everything methodically and with great attitude enjoying the process and the adventure. Giving 100% with a good attitude.

Race Lead-Up

I have learned that its good during trips to take with me as much food as possible for at least two days. For this trip, I brought my protein, spinach, basic supplements for my shakes, my bread. Some snacks, dehydrated fruits etc. I found a very good deal on a apartment style hotel where I could cook, as it was more affordable, comfortable and I could maintain my nutrition as close to the same as at home.

Arrival day: Set up the bike; go to the supermarket, attention to nutrition. Some mechanical problems, I was able to find a bike shop, where could I ride, where to swim, where to run? Details…raquel dubai

I had to figure out where to ride legally (its not permitted to ride in certain roads), sometimes I felt bad as I was not resting enough and I started to have invasive thoughts but I kept positive and able to focus on what was under my control.

3 Days before race:  I was to run 15 at race pace and my foot was really hurting so I thought My God would I be able to complete the race? I felt horrible, tired, lethargic and with lots of pain. But I focused in God and to keep a positive attitude and my nutrition.

 Race day!

Swim: I started slow, a small group formed, I had an easy pace and it was a really easy swim, some waves. I was able to keep the same pace throughout the swim race.

Bike: On the bike was my plan to keep up with hydration and nutrition, which I was able to do well. I had worked on the watts with coach mark to keep them at ab average of 210 watts and I was able to hold that pace without problems. I was breaking the race in micro-moments, thinking about the now and here.

Run: The initial plan was to keep a pace of 4:20 min/km keeping up with hydration I was concerned to have pain in my foot and it bothered me for the first 5 km only, someone ran in front of me and I fell down but quickly got up and kept running. I cut myself a bit and the first aid people came right away to assist me and I told them I was ok. I had my pace and at 10 km I remembered that I had forgotten to wear my socks! Right then, I had some blisters but I just said “Raquel, excuses are thousands do the best you can!”

raquel dubai bike

 

I admit that I cried with happiness when I crossed that finish line. Just because I was able to complete it, as only God and I know how many obstacles we had to endure. The satisfaction to know that I did my best is priceless. I was able to complete in 4:32 finishing 16th overall in the Pro category. It is an honor for me to represent my flag at the highest level of international triathlons in the long distance. I believe that we all should challenge ourselves in any area we want to grow, and if we have the passion it’s a lot more fun to challenge ourselves, always having fun and with a positive mind.

 

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Making It Work

January 19th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Alex Vanias, Nordic Skier and Cyclist

I moved to Ann Arbor around the beginning of August. It isn’t the most optimal place to be a cross country skier, but I’m making it work. It took me about a month to find some convenient roads and trails to roller ski, but unfortunately after the time change in the fall I would get kicked out of said parks at sunset. Apparently downstaters are scared of the dark… Ok, I’ll go play with the cars. So much safer! It took me a few more weeks in November to find new roads with minimal traffic. I ended up finding some great suburbs with minimal traffic and nice pavement. The only annoying part about suburbs is that between 5-8pm after work, everywhere I go smells like dinner and it absolutely kills me when I’m starving a couple hours into a workout.

A quick side story; When I was searching for roller ski training spots, I came across the short track speed skating club in Ann Arbor and absolutely needed to try it out! I actually competed in a short speed skatingtrack race in Midland before ski season. In the image below, I’m the guy in fluorescent green. I’m actually very bad at short track. It is very much a technique sport, and my VO2 helped me very minimally. It may or may not have made my skate skiing more efficient, though!

I knew ski training would be a struggle, so in October I was lucky to find a used Ski Erg. This device has transformed my training and is currently saving my season. It allows me to work my weakness even when the trails are bare, and the roads are icy. It also allows me to train with power. I have done a couple 20min power tests so far with lots of improvement. The picture below is worth a thousand words.

ski erg

In December we got dumped on with snow and all the local trails were groomed and amazing. The Michigan Cup racing kicked off and I won a couple of the season openers. It was great to get that early season lung burn over with! That great snow only lasted 2-3 weeks before a series of unfortunate warmups.

Where did all the snow go?

Where did all the snow go?

speed max

Classic boot with full carbon sole offers superb control of the skis while remaining lightweight!

I was on the fence about going up to SISU Ski Fest the first weekend in January, but not having been on great snow in a couple weeks lead me to sign up for the race a few days before it started. The forecast for the race was a frigid -5F to 0F. It’s tough to go from 50F training all the way down to that, but I have awesome cold skis so I couldn’t turn it down. The drive to Ironwood is about 10hrs in one directions, and of course there were blizzards to drive through. On the way up I stopped my Northbound Outfitters for some wax and Fischer’s new Speedmax Classic boots (These boots are really worth the upgrade!).

The weather for SISU was looking straight forward all week- frigid cold. I planned on using my coldest, softest ski with TB1x grind no matter what. My TG1-1 grind on a stiff ski just happened to be testing the same as my TB1x at the start area. I knew using the TG1-1 was a liability, especially since it was starting to snow, but 10min before the race start I grabbed the risky ski hoping that the snow was packed and the snow would stop. The forecast didn’t call for snow until the afternoon so it was worth a shot.

ski testing

ski testing at -5F

All was going fantastic and I was calm and relaxed following in the draft while I watched Matt Liebsch start opening a gap. I thought “no problem, I’ll let him do some work and then bridge up to him.” I finally got around and opened up a gap on the hills. I felt great- possibly better than last year. Then the snow started getting deep, up to 2-3” in spots. My skis suddenly felt terrible. I know everybody’s skis slowed waaay down, and I’m sure others made a mistake picking skis as well, it’s just that some skis are less slow than others in this situation.  Turns out the skis I planned on using all week would have been the way to go. Lesson learned.

Matt got out of sight, and Joel bridged up and eventually dropped me. I couldn’t drink because my face was frozen. I was on the struggle bus, big time! I was actually doing V1 technique on the flats. V1 is a  technique usually reserved for going uphill but that’s how slow the conditions became. In the last few kilometers I saw Cory coming up behind me. At this point the wind and snow was so bad I couldn’t see the trail in front of me. My eyeballs were so cold and I would try to ski short distances with my eyes closed to warm them up. My left eyelid wasn’t even closing all the way! In the end, I held off Cory for 3rd place. It was a good, tough race. That’s what I drove 20hrs for. There is so much to learn with ski racing which is why you don’t see many young guys at the top of races. Experience and equipment tends to trump everything in difficult snow conditions.

 

sisu ski

Limiting my losses at SISU

Unfortunately the weather is still not cooperating in Ann Arbor to do much on-snow skiing so I’ll have to continue my mix of using the Ski Erg, riding the trainer and running. Training for ski season this year has made me feel more like a fitness enthusiast than a skier!   I’m looking forward to getting some more racing in and my next big test is the Noquemanon Ski Marathon in Marquette the last weekend in January!

 

 

 

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