In this first video clip, Dave Scott talks about some of the physiological changes that result from a hard day of training, where the body is overloaded from intense exercise. Why is light exercise perhaps the most beneficial way to recover? Click on the video to find out:
However, some athletes do fall prey to over-training. Here is what happens in the body when an athletes trains too much, often requiring a recovery period of several months.
"The term over-reaching was adopted by exercise scientists to describe the short-term overload that can be managed within a few days. However, over-reaching can develop into over-training (from which it can be more difficult to recover) if the athlete does not mitigate the factors that caused the over-reaching or fails to allocate proper recovery time."
In this video, Dave explains just what occurs in the body when an athlete is over-reaching:
Here, Dave explains how to recognize over-reaching and how to combat it:
In this week's podcast, Dave answers three questions sent to him from you, the readers.
After unforeseen circumstances caused Rebecca to miss a marathon, she wonders what it will take to be adequately prepared for another one just a month away. Dave explains how she should train from four weeks out following a brief downtime, and examines the training and tapering relationship as the event draws near.
Veteran triathlete Rich has been experiencing some oblique soreness while cycling. The three doctors he visited didn't seem to help, so Dave offers some advice on easing the pain, what supplement to take, and a few exercises and stretches that will lead to stronger, healthier oblique muscles.
Thomas has been having trouble avoiding the bonk during his 70.3 races. His doctor told him it might be the stevia found in his nutritional supplements. For this problem, Dave does the math on Thomas' caloric intake and finds some deficiencies. He also gives his advice on searching for a fluid replacement drink that is right for the individual.
Click on the image below to listen to the podcast:
Dave Scott shares his final thoughts on the championship efforts of Craig Alexander and Chrissie Wellington. He spoke with Alexander after the race to find out just how much the run leg took out of him. Plus, Andy Potts's impressive debut, how well could Chrissie have done without that flat tire, and Dave becomes a believer in the high socks fad.
Also in this podcast, Dave talks about recovering after an Ironman. When should you start running again? And what should you do on race day or the day after? (You may not want to hear this.)
On one of the foggiest days to hit Kona in a long time, Dave Scott calls in with his men's and women's race previews. After checking up on Normann Stadler and Faris al-Sultan (they're both feeling good), Dave runs down the list of 2008 contenders.
Click below to find out who he thinks can make a run at Ironman glory, and be sure to check back tomorrow for updates from the course.
After attending the VIP party to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Ironman, Dave Scott calls in to talk about his 45-mile morning bike ride and the oft-asked question of how many calories an athlete should take in during the race.
Dave's answer includes figs, 10 bananas on the bike leg and the single biggest problem amateurs tend to have with nutrition. Click below to find out more...
Active Expert and 6-time Ironman champion Dave Scott calls in his first podcast from the Big Island. After arriving, Dave heads to the pool where he meets one of the Big Four, Scott Molina. Dave also runs into Mark Allen and Craig Alexander, who "looks like a convict."
Click on the graphic below to find out who people are picking as a favorite for the women's race. And Dave brings in an expert to explain just what the heck "vog" is.
Did you feel sluggish in your most recent 140.6-distance race, or did you hit the taper right on the mark? If you fell flatmuscles felt heavy, breathing was a bit labored, and you didn't meet your expectationsthen you most likely over-looked several components of a proper taper.
So starts Dave Scott's article +Countdown to an Ironman: Dave Scott's 21-day Tapering Plan+. With the 2008 Ironman World Championships only nine days away, those athletes competing on the Big Island have already started their taper. But for those of you with full-distance races in the near futureIM Florida, IM Arizona, Silvermannow is the time to begin thinking about how you'll prepare yourself for race day.
Additionally, here are a few more Dave Scott articles to help you on your quest for peak triathlon performance:
I was just watching a couple of "gorillas" in the gym who seemingly were admiring their torsos while performing shoulder flys. I was tempted to offer my two cents in perfecting their form -- wisely I didn't. A well balanced shoulder routine should include exercises that strengthen the "back" side of the shoulders. These include the rotator muscles of the shoulder, rhomboids and mid-trapezious muscles; keeping your back more erect -- a non-slouching position with your shoulders back.
This posture is the optimal position for almost all sports, except curling and a few others. If you are participating in triathlons, you don't want to be internally rotated with tight abs during the swim, bike or run. Even though your elbows are drawn inwards in the aero position on the bike, you'll end up losing power on the downward part of your pedal stroke if you aren't long through your torso and midsection -- again strength through the upper and mid-back is needed to hold this position. When I teach people to sit properly on their bike, I have them put their hands on the stem and then draw a line from their hands to their naval, folding at this point.
One simple way to work the mid-traps is to use a stretch-cord row from a standing position. Loop the stretch cord around a bar so you are holding a handle in each hand. With the handle height at about your lower rib cage, start by gently retracting your shoulder blades so your shoulders are slightly drawn back. When the stretch cord goes forward, make sure you aren't internally rotating your shoulders. You don't want to have the rounded shoulder position at all throughout the whole exercise.
As your arms go forward, stop them with about a 160 degree bend in the elbow. They aren't fully extended. Keep the light tension between your shoulder blades. As you row toward your body and increase the tension on the cord, your arm flexion at your elbows is about 90 degrees with your elbows close to your side. You can "pulse" it there as if you're sawing a log, six to ten times. Concentrate on squeezing the muscles between your shoulder blades not using your posterior deltoids.
You can also an another element by bending over at your naval -- similar to your position on the bike -- while keeping your back straight. Do the rows with your thumbs up to start, rotating to palms up when you finish. You'll really feel this in your mid-back. For each exercise, complete 10-15 reps.
These simple exercises are a perfect addition for all athletes -- endurance and power. Are these the only two? Absolutely not. However, they will give you a start to enhancing your posture and mid-back strength.
Working out in the gym during the off-season and continuing through the season is extremely important. If you haven't been in the gym for at least six weeks, start with the smaller muscles groups. Triathletes who have been dormant as far their strength work should initially address the support muscles around the hips, glutes, abs, low back and the rotator cuff.
Jumping in to squats right off the bat to strengthen the hips and glutes should be secondary to strengthening the smaller muscles, preferring exercises that first enhance the stability of the joint, followed by increasing balance and then strength. Stability and balance form the foundation of this platform.
The first exercise I recommend is a lateral dog lift (it kind of looks like a dog next to a fire hydrant). Get down on all fours, keep your arms straight and lift one leg out to the side. Make sure your foot isn't tucked behind you, but that the angle of your knee is 90 degrees and the angle at your hip is 90 degrees. Bring the leg back down but don't touch your knee to the ground. You're supporting your weight on your arms and other leg. Keep your back straight. Do eight to 12 repetitions with one leg, then switch.
What happens is you end up working that leg's glute as well as stabilizing the other leg's glute. You'll begin to feel it more in the leg that isn't moving once you get up to 10 or 12 reps.
Start with a couple of sets and then go up to three after three weeks. To make it harder, once you have one leg in the up position, pulse it up and down for about six reps. Just move it in a very short range of about five or six inches. That will heighten the muscle stimulation.
Athletes will be dumbfounded how weak they feel after doing this, because as soon as they take their leg out of the plane where they run and ride and they move it out laterally, they'll realize that those muscles are weak. Again, the support muscles are invigorated in the multiple planes.
For athletes who are a little more fit, you can do a sequence for each side. After performing two to three sets of the lateral dog lifts, do a lateral swing. In the same motion, lift your leg up to the fire hydrant, then extend it straight out to the side. From there, swing your leg forward on a lateral plane. Your legs are about 18 inches off the ground--about the height of your back. See if you can swing it as far as your hands. Then swing it back on that same lateral plane.
You're working your hip flexor a little bit, but also your abdominals, primarily the obliques. The order is right leg, left leg, or you can do it in sequence: 12 reps of dog lifts on one leg then 12 reps of the lateral swing with the same leg--switch to the other leg and repeat two to three times.
To further challenge yourself, on the lateral swing, rather than bring your leg all the way forward, stop at about 45 degrees with your leg out to the side. Then move it up and down, bringing the instep of your foot down to the ground before raising it up. Do eight to twelve reps. By changing the angle just a little bit, you're starting to work the whole hip/glute complex.
The next exercise is what I call a mule kick. In the same position, draw your knee under your chest. Then you just kick it straight back without arching your back. When your leg is in that back position, bend your knee and elevate your heel so it goes straight up--your knee is at a 90 degree angle. That's the mule kick. Repeat the pattern.
Another variation is to make a big circle with your leg straight behind you. Do eight to twelve reps of clockwise and then eight to twelve counterclockwise. Emphasize the up and out movement of the rotations. This will really work your hips.
This is an excellent series to start with. You're in a stable position and by doing it in sequenceall right leg then all left legyou activate those muscles that are dormant. It's great to do before a ride or run to warm up the glutes and hips.
A second series of exercises can be performed with a stretch cord. Tie it together so you have a loop opening about a foot in diameter. Step inside the loop and put it around your ankles. Spread your feet apart about shoulder width so that the stretch cord has some tension. Bend your knees slightly so you look like a sumo wrestler.
You're basically doing a sideways walk. I usually take 20 to 30 steps to the left then 20 to 30 steps to the right. This works the external rotators of the hips and also "fires" the muscle on the inside of the knee--Vastus Medialus.
There are a lot of other variations of this. You can also try to walk forward, as if you had wet pants. Bring your knees up a little higher and that will engage your glutes and hip flexors. You can walk on your tiptoes forward, and then walk backwards the same way. Give these exercises a try--three times per week. They will help your running and cycling.
My next blog will address exercises for the shoulder area.
The storms last week left 14 inches of snow at my house. Training outdoors can be tough during the winter, but Boulder is pretty lucky with about 300 days of sunshine a year.
Throw in a low humidity level here in Colorado, and once the storm ends, the main arteries usually clear up by the next day. This means people can run or ride their bikes--though you have to be a pretty hardy athlete to do it.
Each Wednesday my running group meets for 60 to 75 minutes. I coach--they run! This week, it was nine degrees out when I left my house. (Another runner mentioned it had "warmed up" to 13 degrees at the track, however.) When I reached the track, it had a foot of snow on it. A bit challenging, so we opted for Plan B.
The group decided to run up to the long, winding roads that lead up to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). I usually like breaking the snow on trails, but an ankle "issue" kept me from wanting to test it.
The road to the NCAR includes three separate hills and finishes with a mile and a half climb up to the Center. Our total was about nine miles (with approximately 5 miles of climbing).
After that, I headed over to the athletic club in town where my sister and I both coach at an outdoor pool. The pool deck was covered in ice, so I got in the hot tub first to get my core temperature up. Then, in just my swimsuit and bare feet, I ran over to the pool and jumped in with the rest of the crew.
There were 24 people there. I swam in a lane with Simon Lessing and his wife. He pummels me when he's in the water with me. Because of the cold temps, most of the swimmers don't like me going off on long jokes or stories. And we don't do any long or extensive stroke work either. Just keep swimming. But we did get in over 4,000 meters.
Following that, I headed upstairs at the club to hop on a bike. I told myself that this coming year I'm going to try to ride more, and so I need to be consistent on the bike in the winter. However, all the spinning bikes were busy so I jumped on the Lifecycle instead. My level of exertion was pretty low after the hard run and swim. I think I felt a light bead of sweat on my forehead, but that's about it!
With the holidays coming up, it can be hard to stick to your training. The number one thing I can advise is: Be consistent. That's kind of become my mantra.
I used to do more "all or nothing" kind of stuff, but have learned that doing even the minimum consistently is significantly better for your overall training. If all else fails, do at least 20 minutes; 40 to 50 minutes would be ideal for people in a crunch. Just try and get out there everyday.
Even if an athlete feels like they ate too much or whatever, once they get out there and elevate their heart rate, they'll get an endorphin boost and everything in "life" seems a bit calmer. If you need to, go hard, then back off, then go hard again.
People often get hung up when they skip a workout and don't have an alternative. If a holiday party causes you to miss your usual 6:30 a.m. run, try to plan a make-up for later that day. You don't need to make a huge commitment or time block, but the benefits of getting that alternative workout in are enormous.
Adhere to your schedule as much as possible. It will give you a way to work off stress and you'll feel a lot less guilty about over indulging.
Last month I did the Silverman Half in Henderson, Nevada. About a month before, Frank Lowry, the race director, called me up and said "Why don't you do the half? Chris McCormack is doing it." I kept thinking, "OK. I haven't been riding my bike very much this past summer, but maybe I can pull it together." I'd also been having a heel issue, so I haven't been able to run properly. I guess I had a lot of excuses going into it.
The last week before the race, I hadn't been on my bike at all. I decided to train that whole week leading up to the race. Before the gun went off, I was standing right next to Chris and Greg Remaly. It was quite choppy that day. We could see that the wind was kicking up some white water and just beyond the break wall it got really choppy.
I felt pretty good on the swim. The three of us were swimming side by side, then I pulled away. But as soon as we got out to the rough water, they disappeared. I looked back and they were on my feet! I thought, "This isn't fair. You guys should be pulling me." They both are more than twenty years younger than me. I was thinking "By the way, Chris, you just won the Ironman a few weeks ago so you're obviously in pretty good shape."
I ended up pulling them through the whole swim course, and as we got to the shallow waters and were heading to the transition, I was fumbling with my wetsuit (I've always been somewhat of a klutz in the transition area. I marvel at how fast those ITU guys can be.) Chris ran across the swimming plate ahead of me. I figured he should have let me have it for my effort pulling him through the swim leg!
Out of the transition is a long ramp that leads into the feeder road. It's about a 1.2-mile ride up a four percent grade--not so bad. I had a new pair of shoes that I had attached already to my pedals. I figured I'd just slide my feet into my shoes while I was riding. It was an absolute disaster. I couldn't get my feet in and I see Greg taking off on the horizon. My feet would only go halfway and then get stuck. On an uphill course you need momentum. Finally, I had to get off the bike and put my shoes on and by that time I couldn't even see Chris and Greg.
Once on the bike, my legs felt absolutely empty. I just labored on the bike the whole way. By the end people were going by me on this horrific pass where the wind was in your face, it was a tough grade--just a difficult section. At one point, as I was moving past some of the people who were in the full-distance race, I began to catch up to this one guy. As I caught up to him he turned to me and said, "Hey Dave, how ya doin'?" Truthfully, I felt terrible and didn't want to talk.
I thought I had lost him on a climb, but all of a sudden he comes zipping by me at the top and turns and says, "Hey Dave, you're looking good." I replied, "I'm NOT looking good." And then he pulls a little camera out of his pocket and takes a picture of me while we're riding! I can laugh about it now, but it was pretty humiliating. I ended up bringing this guy up to the stage during the awards ceremony the next day.
Back to the race...
It wasn't until I was about four miles into the run that I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I found my rhythm and the last eight miles I ran pretty well.
If I do that race again, I've got to be prepared. It's a wonderful race. They do a magnificent job for the athletesfrom the goodie bag to the check-in to the banquetit's really a first-class race. I learned one thing, however: It's a race where you have to do your homework if you want to be competitive. You can't just go do it.
Later on this month, I'm looking to get an MRI on my heel. This foot issue has been bothering me for some time. We'll see what they say--if it's a ligament, the achilles or what. I'm hoping for the best and then maybe I can start planning 2008.
I'd like to improve my swimming technique. I want to learn to swim faster. Also, every time I am in a triathlon and the gun goes off for the swim I panic. Can you help me or recommend a good training program?
A: Guillermo, your question regarding improving efficiency is multi-faceted. Let's address your "panicky" feeling at the start of the race. First, focus on your breathing during the first 200 meters of the event. Exaggerating the roll of your breathing side, focusing on the sky and not the other athletes or buoys has a "calming" effect. Take slow, deliberate breaths. This will set the stage for your swim.
Regarding a training program, I need to know your fitness level, number of training days per week and activities, times for 1,500 meter pool and open water swim--then I can address some of your training needs. Send me another email!
Q: Dear Dave,
I live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and have just gotten interested in doing triathlons. I'm curious if you could point me to a good training group or contact person in my area or in Atlanta? I would like to be part of a group with some of these shared interests and goals, especially as I get more serious.
Thanks so much,
A: Lisa, There is a master directory of triathlon clubs that USA Triathlon has on their website. Additionally, the local Masters swim programs and running clubs in your area would be a great resource to connect with triathlon training groups. Additionally, Triathlete magazine, Inside Tri and Competitor Magazine all have listings of local clubs.