My GEAR - 2013: Brooks Shoes

Posted by [email protected] on April 25, 2013 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

-Having been racing now since 2010 several people use me as a resource for all kinds of information. Honestly, that’s one reason I love this sport. Even though we are all competing against each other on race day, we still train together, share information and help the Tri-Community out as a whole. The “community” aspect doesn’t change from the most entry level beginner up through the world champions. We’re all in this together.

-As a way to get more of my knowledge out there I’ve decided to write a mini-series on my racing equipment. I’m not being paid by any of the companies. These are just my raw thoughts and experiences. Additionally, in the Photos section of my website you’ll be able to view corresponding pictures with each post. This series isn’t going to flow in the race order (swim-bike-run), it’s going to happen in the order that I’ve purchased things from the start. That being said, having been a runner before triathlete we’ll begin with the shoes.

-For this season I’ve decided to jockey between three pairs of shoes. All three are from Brooks: Racer ST #5, Vapor 10, and the Cascadia. The Racer 5 is going to be used for racing (and one prerace track session). While not advertised as a minimalist shoe, it comes very close. The platform is completely neutral and the heel to toe drop is practically nonexistent. Last season I raced and trained with this shoe. Around the mid season point I could really tell this was not a great shoe for me to rack up high mileage. Due to its minimalist characteristics I could feel the pounding from training. Conversely, while racing I could barely feel them. Having raced in Mizuno and Asics before, this shoe works the best for me.

-Having learned from the pain of last season I decided to have a dedicated pair of training shoes. Not only does this give me a more supported shoe for the long hours and miles of training, it also extends the life of my racing shoes. There is a noticeable increase in the heel to toe drop vs the Racer 5’s, but it is still much better than many heel-blocked running shoes. Another great thing about these shoes is the lace pattern mirroring that of the Racer 5’s. So far the bulk of my running has been on a treadmill (I’m ready for consistently warm and dry weather), which typically is very rough on shoes to the exact repetition of the foot strike. There is absolutely no sign of wear inside or outside of this shoe. As things get warmer I have high expectations for the Vapor 10 on the track. All-in-all the Racer 5 and Vapor 10 complement each other very well.

-One radical change to my training plan has been the incorporation of regular trail runs. I started this back in the fall and it’s been a very nice change of pace and scenery. To conquer the trails I opted for the Cascadia. It has very deep treads for better traction and a slanted lace pattern to ease the pressure on hills. Despite the great treads, during the winter when there was 6” or more snow or any ice I added Yaktrax Pro for added safety. This is a heavy shoe so I’ll opt for one of the other two when I race Xterra, but for training purposes I love the added weight.

-In years past I’ve always gone through multiple shoes throughout the season. I’m hoping with this rotation I’ll be able to get by without needed to buy any more. But if I do, all three of these models are very affordable which is an added bonus. As always, leave any questions here or on Facebook.


Personalizing Workouts

Posted by [email protected] on December 6, 2012 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

-Premade plans and cookie cutter programs are great. They are easy to follow and generally speaking, more affordable than a custom designed or coached program. I know some people who begin these plans and follow them to the T. That’s great and results will follow. One thing these individuals don’t always account for are their individual needs. Needs can be dictated by injuries, types of events (short vs long course vs Xterra…) or general fitness vs sport specific. This post details how I took a general fitness program and tailored it to the needs of a triathlete.

-As mentioned in a previous post, I like to spend the first three months of the “off season” rebuilding muscle with P90-X. This is a great program and I’ve never known anybody who followed the plan and didn’t get great results. P90 is not sport specific, but more of an extreme “general fitness” program. It combines strength, conditioning, and flexibility to keep the muscles from the dreaded plateau. If you’re looking to shed some pounds and bulk or tone up, this is a great program. For triathletes (or any endurance athlete) it’s not perfect. Here’s how I’ve personalized it for my sporting needs.

-First off, I no longer follow the DVD’s. This is my third or fourth time using P90 so I know what the moves and lifts are. To keep myself organized I print off the lift sheets from http://www.decidetostayfit.com/blog/p90x-workout-sheets . These sheets are listed in the order that Tony (creator and guide) uses and they have spaces for reps and weight (I highly recommend using these vs just a note book). I do all my lifting at the Delaware YMCA for a wider range of weights and for their indoor track. My warm up includes 100-200 reps with a jump rope and two laps around the track while performing different agility drills like shuffle, high knees, butt kicks, etc. Once that’s done I get down to business. Another reason I don’t use the DVD’s is because Tony takes breaks and talks. Once I begin I do all of set one going straight from one lift to the next without a break. That’s because in triathlon there are no breaks and I want the muscles conditioned as such. After set one is complete I do two more laps of agility drills and then on to set number two, again, no breaks. Each workout is to be done in two sets. I always use the first set as for endurance by lifting 10-15 reps. The second is for power with reps of 4-6. In the endurance world we need BOTH stamina and power to perform at our highest.

-I also don’t perform the workouts in order. I begin the week with Legs & Back and finish with Chest. I’ve noticed a big drop-off in leg power after completing P90 the last two years. To fix that I’ve created my own leg routines; One for phase I (P1) and another for phase II ([email protected] {send me a message if you’d like a copy}. I perform one back to two leg lifts and it’s already paying huge dividends as my power has really increased. Ab Ripper X is supposed to be done at the end of every Mon, Wed, Fri workout for all three phases. I do it at the beginning and for P1 only on Mon and Fri. On Wed I do 7 minutes of planks (front, sides, extended, and back). In P2, I do 10 and 12 minute planks on Mon and Fri and Ab Ripper on Wed. This variation allows me to work the complete core in a much better way than just Ab Ripper. Because of all my riding, running, and plyometrics on Tues and Thur I don’t follow the P90 conditioning program.

-So far this tailored P90 has proven to be much more effective for my needs than the standard version. If you like the traditional program and it works for you, great! If not consider some of these changes or make your own. Every premade plan has room for improvement; don’t be afraid to make some changes. If you have any questions, comments or would like a copy of my leg routine send me a message here or on Facebook.