Alright, you asked, I get to answer!
Sweaty Asked: What’s going in my special needs bags? I know this is on a spreadsheet!
ANSWER: She’s right that I have a spreadsheet with all of this information, yup, slightly OCD. Bike special needs bag will include the following: extra tubes, nutrition (bag of macadamia nuts, PB Harvest Bar, PB orange chews and a packet of almond butter), gum, chamois butter packet, zip ties, nuun, Starbucks double shot coffee (inside another bag with a frozen bottle to keep it cold). Run special needs bag will include the following: extra socks, gum, Imodium and a packet of cola flavored PB chews.
AJH asked: What do you like training for the most? In the water, do you worry about critters and if so, how do you get over it? How do you dress for cold weather riding?
ANSWERS: #1: Depends on the day which sport I enjoy most! I love the way I can always zone out during swimming and I’m not sure I’ve really ever felt like I had a “bad” swim. I love being able to cover crazy distances on the bike! And running, well, I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the sport but lately, everything has been really feeling awesome. I think my favorite thing about running is that there really isn’t another sport (even swimming) where I can really get the “high.”
#2: Critters. Ha! I have never really had a fear of critters, until I did Rev3 Maine in the ocean. However, once I realized that the dark spots on the bottom below me were really just my own shadow I was less fearful. I figured on race day that it was really unlikely that out of the thousands of people out there that I would be the one selected by a critter so that helped my piece of mind. I think if I were solo swimming in the ocean I would worry!
#3: Cold weather riding is something I have never really enjoyed. In fact, until this training cycle I have avoided riding in anything below about 60. BUT it is all about having the right gear. For my birthday my dad purchased me some amazing Pearl Izumi essentials. I now have long fingered gloves, an insulated long sleeve jersey, a waterproof jacket, wool socks and long tights. All of these I have worn in the last few weeks of riding. In addition, I’ve been wearing one or two long sleeve running tops as layers under the jersey and jacket. I’ve considered doubling my socks but haven’t yet. I think if you were going to purchase one essentials I would suggest: long gloves. I think you could get away with wearing a few long sleeve running tops, a running jacket instead of cycling specific stuff and also running tights under or over cycling shorts and you could find non-cycle specific wool socks. However, long fingered padded cycling gloves are a MUST—at least for me, my hands are still chilly but not nearly as bad!
Jamie asked: When you ride your bike on the indoor trainer, do you change gears, stand up out of the saddle, etc?
ANSWER: HECK YES, otherwise I think I’d go completely off my rocker with boredom. My coach, Laura, prescribed specific bike trainer workouts. Most of them are RPM/HR based which means I’m changing my gears a lot to be in the right heart rate with the right RPMs. My favorites so far have been the high cadence intervals, they are HARD and my legs feel like they are on fire but I can get into a mental zone with high cadence much more so than if I’m grinding “up a hill” with low cadence/heavy resistance. There was even one workout that involved getting off the bike and doing squats, talk about a butt buster.
Kristen asked: Are you doing most of your training on heart rate instead of pace? What have you been doing to train your body to be more metabolically efficient?
ANSWERS: #1: Yes, I have been training by HR not pace, that’s not to say I haven’t also used pace for some of my training rides/runs. I did a lot of research on the Maffetone method and highly recommend it. I think if you’re training for something really long building up a good base in your Maf-zone is really the best way to train your body to be efficient at distance. Good sources for information: Fit, Fat, Fast Podcast has done TWO interviews with Phil Maffetone—check those out! There are also a few books by Phil Maffetone himself! Vinnie Tortorich—AngriestTrainer Podcast has also done a few episodes on Zone 2 training. Mark Allen and Rich Roll also subscribe to this method. The list of high profile elite athletes using this method goes on and on.
#2: Metabolic efficiency is a HUGE topic to cover in a few short sentences so this may not be very satisfying. This has been in the works for me for a couple of years now. The premise is to train your body to use its best, most efficient, most abundant and most sustaining fuel source—fat. To do this you really do have to change your eating habits. For me, this meant adopting a low(er) carb/high(er) fat diet. Yes, I still eat fruit and I eat a TON of veggies—these have carbs. As do nuts, which I also eat. What I don’t eat is processed carbs (read: bread, pasta and foods high in sugar). I will occasionally eat a small amount of sweet potato, or rice or quinoa but generally, those are also things I avoid. For fats I get most fat from nuts, seeds, sources like avocados, coconut oil (used for cooking). I do eat a small amount of dairy in the form of heavy cream/half n half in my morning cup o Joe and I also eat full fat PLAIN greek yogurt. While this might sound unsatisfying to not be able to gorge on pasta or eat cookies/brownies…you get to a point, or at least I did when you don’t even want these things anymore. I’m now in a place where if I do want something I don’t normally eat, I eat it. Sometimes it tastes great and I’m satisfied but often times I don’t feel great after I eat it and am reminded why I no longer eat those items. Anyway, for more information I would highly recommend, AGAIN: Fit, Fat, Fast Podcast and Vinnie Tortorich (podcast and his book-fitness confidential).
I find nutrition fascinating and as I have experimented with essentially adopting what Vinnie calls the “NSNG-no sugar no grains” lifestyle, BUT others have had great success adopting vegan diets, fruitarian diets, vegetarian, paleo, etc. Metabolic efficiency means a lot of different things but to me it means finding a way of eating that optimizes how YOUR body burns fuels for performance in racing and every day life.