Monday, October 29, 2012

Don't Let Sandy Rain on Your Training: A Core Circuit for Rainy Days

I can’t think of an athlete that doesn’t benefit from a strong core.  Let me take that one step further: I can’t think of a living human being that wouldn’t benefit from having a strong core.  Core strength affects everything from your posture to chronic back problems.  For cyclists, triathletes, and runners core strength is crucial to our training.  Many cyclists make the mistake of thinking that riding a bike is an endeavor reserved only for our lower extremities—not so. 

Ever had back, shoulder, or neck pains after a long ride or run?  It could be your core telling you you’ve got some work to do. 

So as I sit here stranded inside waiting out the behemoth that is the FrankenSandyApocolyptic Hurricane of 2012, I am not letting this day indoors ruin my training schedule.  My coach, Michael Gibbons of Walton Endurance, sent me a core workout for today that requires little or no equipment, and will provide a gut/hurricane-busting workout all without having to leave The Weather Channel’s coverage of all the carnage. 

I can't say for sure, but I don't think this is real footage of Sandy.

A perfect remedy for a state-of-emergency induced day indoors, this workout is an advanced one, but can be tempered to fit anyone’s ability level.  Doing any of these exercises without a stability ball makes them easier for beginners, so adjust as you see necessary. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Inside Winter Training with Pro Triathlete Jack Braconnier

Despite popular belief, triathlon is not a summer sport. You may think it is, but it’s not. That is when the races are, what the events are designed for, and all of the equipment made for, but trust me when I say that triathlon is not a summer sport.  

Everyone trains hard during the summer, clocking the miles religiously, rain or shine; never missing a workout or taking a day off because they don’t feel like it. But if you really want to up your triathlon game, you need to start thinking of triathlon as more than just a summer-time sport. Winter is where the gains are to be had.

The last race of your season is not an end to the current campaign, it is the beginning of next year.  If you have found your results plateauing after a season’s worth of dedicated training, a solid off-season training program is how you step up your game. 

Now, when I write, I want to write from a point of expertise.  I don’t want to spit some half-true inkling that I may have overheard from a guy who knows a guy who’s brother knows a guy who knows something. If I am not an expert in the field I am writing about, then I seek out an expert to give me the down and dirty, so that you can trust what you read here.  Unfortunately for my own fitness and race results, I am not an expert in training or fitness. So I called in someone who is: Pro triathlete and Walton Endurance coach, Jack Braconnier.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Why Honesty Has To Be The Only Policy

I didn’t want to do it—I really didn’t.  I’ve tried to avoid this for a while now, tried to keep my eye on the ball, as it were, writing about things I thought were more currently relevant than everyone’s favorite Texan.  It seems unavoidable though.  I had hoped that this issue would pass, like a minor sinus infection.  I wanted to just be able to move on, to get on with the sport I love, but alas I have to look this thing in the face and deal with it.  Here is my obligatory Lance post:

Yeah, we're not happy about it either Lance.  

I have never really been a “Lance guy,” if there is such a thing.  I have a propensity to root for the underdog, making the whole of the Discovery/US Postal gang a little too dominant for my liking.  I decided a long time ago that the circumstantial evidence surrounding the situation meant that it was likely that there was some kind of doping going on. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Building Your Ideal Commuting Machine

I like building things.  More specifically, I like building bikes.  People ask me all the time, “If money were no object, and you were building your dream bike, what would you get?”  The truth of the matter is though, that I don’t think I have one end all dream bike.  If I had endless bike funds—which I don’t—I would build many bikes.  None of them would be $25,000 masterpieces.  I would build bikes that are very well suited to specific things.  I would have one of every category: road, mountain, singlespeed, city bike, retro cruiser, etc.  Each would serve its very own specific purpose, and I would choose every component to perform its job just so.  In this manner I would build the bicycle stable of my dreams. 

Somewhere near the top of that list would be a tailor made commuter bike.  Commuting is one of those areas where having just the right equipment for the situation can be the difference between arriving to work energized and ready to go, or prepared to separate head from body on the first unlucky co-worker who talks to you. 

Not all commutes are created equal, though.  So how do you decide which set-up is best for you?  Well luckily for you, you have someone like me to walk you through it.