Before and After

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The week before

The week before a race is always the hardest! It is a combination of lack of physical activity and nerves.  Aaron my coach calls it “Taper Madness” Athletes go thru this all the time.  Your mind plays tricks on you; minor aches and pains become more noticeable you become more irritable.   My wife and family do well putting up with me.  This weekend we will be going traveling to Austin to race the Longhorn 70.3 Ironman, this is a race that I have been training for since May.  Your body gets used to training 7 days a week and then all of a sudden the level drops and you are not sure quite how to handle it.  You would think that after 7 years you would get used to it, but every time it is the same. This last weekend I took the downtime to check out my new wet suit, I got an Xterra Vector Pro.  I wanted to get a swim in with it before race day.  Henry heard me talking about getting in the pool and wanted to come too.  I really did not think that he would put his suit on and then feel the water and not go through with it.  While I was working up the courage to get in I heard him yell from behind me “Cannonball” and away he went.  He popped right back up from the water eyes as wide as saucers and I just knew that he was done, but little did I know he only wanted his goggles.  I could not let him show me up so after a little more stalling I dove in and we swam together for a little bit and then I made him get out and he was not very happy about it, I just felt the water was a little too cold.

My Coach Aaron also took this time to do some testing, we did a Lactic Acid test and a Vo2 Max test.

 Lactate threshold (LT) 

is the best indicator of performance known in endurance athletics. Scientifically, a working definition of LT is the point during training or racing at which blood lactate begins to accumulate above resting levels, where lactate clearance is no longer able to keep up with lactate production. For our purposes, LT is the upper limit of your forever zone. As mentioned above, this is the pace that you could maintain all day (theoretically) if nutrition and hydration were kept at a steady state. You will conduct field tests to determine your LT and then work backwards to create training zones that maximize training time and push the upper limits of your LT.
 What tests can I use to determine my lactate threshold? The best tests for LT are conducted in a laboratory or at least with equipment that literally measures the blood lactate levels by drawing blood. This can be cumbersome, expensive, and not readily available for many of us. In the place of these scientific tests, you will conduct field tests using time trials on the bike and run. Swimming can be more difficult to gauge, so it must be handled differently. The objective of these tests is to determine your heart rate training zones as a measure of LT.  By taking field measurements you can determine the exertion level at which you reach lactate threshold and thus identify your ideal training zones.

 What is VO2 max? 

It’s basically the maximum amount of oxygen that can be used by the body for maximal sustained power output (exercise). Since the body uses oxygen to convert food into energy (ATP), the more oxygen you can consume, the more energy, power, or speed you can produce. VO2max defines an endurance athlete’s performance ceiling, or the size of his or her “engine.” Research has shown that VO2max significantly determines performance in endurance-based events such as cycling, triathlon, running, and Nordic skiing.

 This weekend I will be racing with some friends one of them Drew will be doing a 70.3 for the very first time.  Please keep us in your prayers as we travel and race.  I look forward to giving a race recap afterwards.  Good luck to everyone out there racing this weekend.

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