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Jessi Stensland - Adventures in Endurance Performance

5 Posts tagged with the cycling tag

In December 2003 I quit the sport of triathlon because my body couldn't handle it.  In January 2004, Athletes' Performance took me under their wings and introduced me to movement-based training.  By April 2004 I had the race of my life at the US Olympic Trials.  The rest of the year was a dream.

 

Before that year, all of my racing seasons had come to close only once my performance had taken a dive, a sure sign that my season was over.  Not the most fun way to end a season.  Alas, that's how it went.

 

Until 2004.

 

It was thanks to Athletes' Performance's methodology that integrates all aspects of performance into one complete training program, that I began to truly understand the concept of training with a purpose.  Completely gone were the moments of misery and exhaustion, the disregard for sleep and recovery and the lack of confidence in my training and racing.

 

I have learned so many things over the years.  I've gotten to experience first hand, with my own body, what many only get to read about in scientific studies.  One particular example comes to mind.  I was reminded of it after reading yet another twitter from a professional triathlete that mentioned: "It's simple.  Train more and you'll go faster." This certainly has truth to it.  However, assuming he means swim/bike/run more miles and minutes, then one major drawback is: there's no insurance policy against injuries, which can kill anyone's season, including top pros who have their career and major $$ on the line. A few examples, all from this past season: Terenzo Bozzone, Paula Findlay, Michael Raelert.  The key here is, although volume works, it's not the only, nor the most efficient, and in my opinion, not the best, way to go about it.

 

Another mentioned to me this summer, in preparation for a triathlon that included a 40-45 minute climb on the bike:  "You need to ride 2.5-3 hours consistently to prepare for that climb."  Wait what?  Why wouldn't I just do what it takes to ride 40 minutes faster and faster?  My power output over a 2.5-3+ hour ride would never train my body to generate the amount of force required to maximize my power potential over a 40-minute climb.  That's like saying you could squat with 100lbs for 3 hours and that would prepare you to squat with 300lbs for 40 minutes. Really?  On the contrary, the opposite is what works quite well.  If you train to handle 10 x 300lb squats it makes 30 squats with only 100lbs easy.  Seems simple to me. No doubt, before I started movement-based training I was riding a lot, and I was fast on the bike, but I was also often on the verge of injury.  Training wasn't always fun, and it didn't always make sense.

 

Here's the story that comes to mind...


In 2004, I had a stellar year.  Unlike previous years I was still fresh as ever come November, so on a whim I decided to tack on one final race:  Half-Ironman Mexico.  It would be my first race at that distance. I considered it more like a vacation with a race at the end as it was in beautiful Huatulco, Mexico, and the race organizers were going to cover our accomodations and food all week.  All we had to do was get ourselves down there.

 

Greg Welch had some great advice for me, which included not changing much from my current Olympic distance training load, including doing nothing longer than 2.5 hour bike rides.

 

I found myself at Athletes' Performance prior to the race, doing their typical training schedule which includes 4 days per week of 90 minutes of movement, 90 minutes of strength and 30-40 minutes of cardio system development (usually consisting of intervals on the bike or treadmill.)  When it came time for an ESD workout on the bike one day, I remember asking them if, due to this longer race I had coming up, they would keep me on the bike a little longer: 60 minutes total instead of 30 or 40.  I suggested I could warm up for 10 minutes instead of 5 and warm down for 5 minutes instead of 2. I asked if they could increase my interval work a just a bit: instead of 20 minutes total maybe 30-40 minutes.  Metabolic Specialist Paul Robbins nodded his head and off I went.  At some point in the workout I was completely crushing it, my heart, lungs, legs, everything felt like it was about to burst and I remember asking how long it had been.  The answer I got:  6 minutes [of work.] When the workout was over I'd done a total of 9 minutes of work in a handful of intervals.  I was never happier to get off that bike.  They didn't have to tell me, I knew it:  I was better.  Once my heartrate came down I wasn't miserable, exhausted, unable to move, as was often the case after a hard group ride.  I was fresh and confident in my work.  It was obvious that my effort caused a positive change on a cellular level.  Tomorrow I would be able to do more work.  It was consistent workouts like that which inspired one of my favorite quotes: "Today's 100% is tomorrow's 99."

 

It was a fantastic lesson and one I've never forgotten. I like to create change fast.  Sure I may have adapted over miles and miles, weeks and months, and gotten stronger, but I prefer to make those adaptations in the least amount of time.  Another key factor:  time efficient workouts like that allow for plenty of time to work on movement efficiency, strength and recovery to get ready to do it all again. 

 

The result?

 

In the race I got off the bike with a 25 minute lead over the other pro women and easily won my first attempt at the 70.3 distance. A short race report is here.

 

I was sold.

 

A perfect end to a perfect season. And a perfect beginning to what's proving to be a fantastic rest of my life in endurance performance.

 

Enjoy the effort.  Challenge your 100% daily.

 

Go get after it in 2012!!

1,209 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: training, cycling, triathlon, endurance, jessi_stensland

It wasn't hard to come up with this year's list.  The smarter the world is getting in the world of human performance, the more options that are being created to facilitate all the right stuff! More options has made for quite a long list. Enjoy!

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Get IT | SLEEP!

 

Before hydration, nutrition and movement strategies should come great sleep strategies. My favorite definition: "The suspension of consciousness when the powers of the body are restored."

 

Gear to go for: The Zeo Sleep Manager


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What gets measured gets improved.  Think of it as a power meter for your  recovery.   Like a power meter for the bike, the tool itself it won't make you sleep more or better, but by having quantitative data to measure, track and analyze, you can get to know more about your sleep habits and implement strategies to make quantitative improvements in your sleep and ultimately your performance.

 

 

I first heard about the Zeo Sleep Manager from Dr. Allen Lim who was using it as a training tool with the riders he was working with.  He spoke about how on  any given day, the squad might have an A, B or C ride (differing in  distance and intensity.) Which ride the riders were allowed to do on a particular day was dependent on their quality of sleep the night before as indicated by their Zeo Sleep Score.   Something else he mentioned that stood out: if one gets one more hour  of sleep per day in the week before a race, they will perform better in the race.   How great is that.  Sleep to perform better? I love learning things like this.

 

Zeo Sleep Manager has both a bedside unit (above) and the new mobile version (below right.) On the left is a sample of a graph you'll get every morning of your sleep patterns along with an overall sleep score.  My PR is 155! I love sleep.

 

 

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Work IT | Happy, strong feet!


The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering + a work of art. - Leo da Vinci


So true IF you let them be themselves.

 

"Phalangeal Freedom + Phalangeal Fitness = Phalangeal Fun"


...says Mark Verstegen of Athletes' Performance.

 

Gear to go for: Vibram 5 Finger Shoes


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Forget about running in them for a moment.  Forget about fashion and think function. There are so many  things your foot, all of it, would love to do with you:  walk, strength train, skip, hike.  There are numerous muscles of the foot and they want to be loved and put to work.  Most shoes force the foot into an unnatural shape (similar to a cast.)  They can limit mobility of the certain joints necessary for natural motion and they often soften the forces the foot has to withstand during activities thereby allowing some muscles to weaken and others to have to compensate, often unhappily.  Just like bigger muscles you can see and feel like glutes, quads, biceps and triceps, the muscles of the foot must be strengthed gradually to handle increased loads.  Depending on your level of phalangeal fitness, Vibram Five Fingers may be an even better option than simply going barefoot as they also help spread the toes.

 

I'm amazed I have seen only one, ONE, other person doing their movement/strength training in my local gym in Five Fingers.  Running shoes, cycling shoes, casual shoes more the norm.  Let's move it!

 

Your feet are a huge part of your performance.  You wouldn't wear mitts when swinging a bat, club or racket would you?  Have fun with them this year.

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Get IT | Smooth, supple muscles.


How?  By hydrating, eating right, massaging tight tissues and activating, strengthening and stabilizing other muscles.

 

Gear to go for:  Self-Massage Tools

 

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Self-massage tools should be just that: tools. Not crutches. Trigger Point Performance has lead the way with their tools and concurrent education.  I go no where without my GRID, Quadballer and Massage Ball.

 

A new kid on the block that I immediately put to use and is now a permanent addition to my gear bag is the Myorope.  Although I maintain my movement so well I rarely need to spend much time with the tools, they are an important part of my pre-covery and recovery strategies.

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Move IT | Whenever, wherever.


Wherever you are, be there.


Gear to go for:  Gaiam's Travel Yoga Mat


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Why I love it: It takes up virtually no space.  Great for adding to a gear bag so you don't have an additional item to carry.  Also perfect for the frequent traveler who doesn't mind others turning their heads while he or she indulges in some pre-flight movement preparation (or post-flight when waiting for a ride while everyone else is in line at Dunkin' Donuts OR when one misses a flight and has to spend a night in the airport in which case it pairs well with the TP Therapy GRID as a head rest.)

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Reduce and Reuse IT | For yum on the run.


Gear to go for:  To-Go Ware RePEat Utensil Set


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I have saved the lives of more plastic forks, spoons, knives and even chopsticks than I can count since I started carrying these with me.  Not only great for the environment but for convenience as well.  They are incredibly handy, wash easily and are just plain bamboo cool.

 

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Create IT | Au Natural Beauty


If you wouldn't want to eat it, why would want to smear it on your face?"


...says Supermodel Sunny Griffin in this video from The Cool Vegetarian.


Gear to go for:  Organic Body Care Recipes


Organic Body Care Recipes

 

Stephanie Tourles offers a better solution to  everyone frustrated with  the endless cycle of expensive, synthetic,  famous-name cosmetics that  often fall short of expectations. With Organic Body Care Recipes you  can take control of beauty treatments  with homemade products that use  safe, nourishing ingredients to pamper  the body and soothe the senses. Click on the book to read more about  Organic Body Care Recipes.

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Prepare IT | Athlete Food Fast


"Skills in the kitchen, rather than skills on the bike,  were such a limiting factor for so many of the athletes I was working  with.” - Biju Thomas


Gear to go for: The Feed Zone by Allen Lim and Biju Thomas


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I'm a huge fan of Biju and Allen's work.

 

Get a glimpse of their genius in the videos below:

 

Dr. Allen Lim's Beet Juice

 

Dr. Allen Lim's Rice Cakes

 

 

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Get After IT | Be great. Train great. Race great.


Get after it with...


A week of individualized performance training + nutrition with Jessi

 

A week of training at Athletes' Performance in PHX, Dallas, LA or Gulf Breeze

 

A race entry

 

A mountain bike skills clinic

 

A Functional Movement Screen

 

A massage

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WHATEVER YOU DO...GO GET AFTER IT.


BE YOUR BEST YOU!!!

 

Jessi Stensland | Elite Multisport Athlete | MovementU

1,255 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: running, cycling, swimming, triathlon, nutrition, endurance, performance, multisport, holiday, jessi_stensland, jessi, stensland, functional_training, movement, self-massage

Yesterday I twittered:

 

"Killer  wrkout @ gym incl cardio system developmnt on treadmil. HR in 190s.  Hadnt committed 2 that n a while. Felt gr8! #bustinguphomeostasis."

 

kristmjo replied:

 

@JessiStensland what is cardio system development? Sounds awesome...

 

I  tried my best to respond in 140 characters but it was impossible to nail  the scope of it so I decided a blog post, even if brief, was a good  idea.

 

"Energy System Development (ESD) is the cardiovascular component of Core Performance training programs" says CorePerformance.com. I tend to call it Cardio  System Development in public because it gives people a better idea of  what I am referring to.  In the rest of this post I will refer to it as  ESD.

 

There is a comprehensive article on the Core Performance website here and I recommend the read.  For the purpose of this post I will relate  ESD, its relevance and application, specifically to endurance  performance.

 

Think  of it this way. Cardio capacity (including cardio strength, endurance  and power) is only ONE component of swim, bike and run performance.   Other components include: muscular strength, stability, joint mobility,  flexibility, elasticity, nutrition, sleep and mindset to name a few  (major ones.)  In purposeful performance training then, the idea would  be to maximize your body's ability to perform each and every one of  those elements and then coordinate them into a movement pattern that is  your sport.  For example: the ability to stabilize the spine in the  neutral zone and maintain pelvic neutral requires core, or PILLAR,  strength and stability.  Every minute of life, save for sleep maybe,  requires it (to stay free of chronic pain and to be able to perform any  action you want.)  Every individual movement, including the incredibly  dynamic action of running (which is simply a series of coordinated  movements) requires spinal stabilization and strength in order to be  properly performed, let alone produce power when and as needed.   Training your ability to do that, as many people have experience who've  done some sort of core training, is easier maximized by doing movements  that focus specifically on that element of performance, allowing us to  bring that strength and stability and posture to our daily life and  sport.  Said another way, its hard to work on, and certainly near  impossible to maximize, core strength while running, no matter how hard  you try.

 

Cardio capacity can be considered in much the same way.

 

Swim,  bike and run are all very different movements, though all requiring the  same strong spinal stabilization and strength.  Similarly they also  require similar cardio strength, cardio endurance and cardio power.  The  only major difference between sports is the dynamic movements required  to do that activity.  Additionally, it is also important that one's  cardio capacity is able to withstand, and complement, the demands of the  leg speeds, leg power and core power that each sport requires.

 

If you  only ever do swim, bike and run training for the sake of putting in  miles and minutes as many endurance programs do, without regard to the  precision and efficiency of each element going into the performance, it  is quite impossible to maximize each element they require in order to  reach true performance potential.  For example, you can get much better  elastic qualities of the muscles in specific plyometric movements (squat  jumps, hops, bounds and particular running drills, for example) than  you will in just running.  Training muscles and movements to be elastic  as a component of a training program is key to being able to bring that  elastic component to running. Ideally, one would then train their  movements in order to be able to also control that elasticity where/when  and as needed throughout a dynamic action such as running.

 

Similarly,  our cardio system needs to be maximized.  VERY VERY often I'm finding  now, athletes training for endurance are far from maximizing their  cardio system development.  They tend to hover around that threshold and  never bust through it.  Busting through that threshold (think sprint  interval training) - serves to INCREASE one's anaerobic threshold (AT)  thereby allowing an athlete to do more work at the same effort.  Sure  one's threshold will increase somewhat over time with some basic  endurance training and increased fitness level, but not often pushed to  its maximum potential. Simply stated when you go harder, over your  threshold, especially WAY over your threshold, your muscles are  screaming for more oxygen carrying blood and your body WILL respond to  that request immediately.  Muscles will develop to  be able handle those  demands, and over time it won't be so "hard" for you to get the  required blood flow and oxygen to those muscles.  Your body will soon be  able to do it quicker and more efficiently.

 

Think  of it this way.  Wouldn't you rather your heart beat at 180bpm than  160bpm for the same amount of effort...getting that much more blood and  oxygen transported to your muscles helping them do more work?  Energy  system development aims to do just that with purpose-driven sprint  interval training:  bust through that threshold often, thereby  INCREASING IT, and maximizing your performance potential.  Similar to  the elasticity example mentioned above, in which you may end up with  more elasticity than is needed for a sport or distance, you can then  choose how much of it you use instead of never having enough. The same  goes for cardio capacity.  If you increase your threshold to 180bpm from  160bpm (I say this because that is what I did in 2004 over a 3 week  period,) running at 160bpm feels quite a lot easier.  That is where  sprint interval training with the purpose of increasing cardio capacity  and anaerobic threshold can make a positive impact during a longer  endurance race, say a half marathon or marathon distance.  Incorporating  this type of training has the potential to play a major role in  maximizing efficiency and overall performance.

 

In a  lecture I attended last week, a study was referenced in which it was  found that 2.5 hours of sprint interval training produces biochemical  changes in the muscle equivalent to 10.5 hours of endurance training,  when looking at the markers related to endurance performance.  I  experienced the immediate and positive impact that purpose-driven  cardio system training can have when i was introduced to it within  the Core Perforamance methodology back in 2004 while training for the  Olympic Trials in triathlon.

 

Consequently  doing this type of training also allowed me to have much more time to  work on my strength, movement, recovery, things that most endurance  athletes don't think they have time for since they spend all the time  they have swimming, cycling and running many minutes and miles, often  with little purpose other than because that's what their training  program said and that's what everyone else is doing.

 

Side note:  ESD also involves download periods of recovery sessions as well.

 

There are any number of types of methods, intervals, times, etc. that can be used in cardio system development.

 

Yesterday my set was simply:

 

3 x [ 4 x (1min @ 10mph + 1min @ 6mph) ]

 

I  chose 10mph hoping I'd be able to hold that for all of the 1 minute  intervals, and I was.  My heartrate was getting up in to my "red" zone:   185-192bpm.   ESD has only 3 zones:  easy, hard, hardest. Red =  hardest.  I was recovering down to 155bpm during the 1 minute recovery  at 6mph.  I was way over my threshold on those 1 minute intervals.  My  goal is to be able to run 10mph at threshold as my race pace (5-10km.)   In other words: my goal is to be able to do the same amount of work for  much less effort.  A few more weeks of consistent ESD and that'll be no  problem.

 

Here's another example of ESD which I did on a client that gives some more insight into the power of  pushing through the 'threshold' of mind and body when it comes to  maximizing cardio capacity in endurance performance.

 

One  final note.  Notice in that twitter mentioned above I finished with the  phrase:  busting up homeostasis.  That I quoted from Nick Winkelman  during his brilliant lecture on periodization last week at Athletes' Performance's Phase 4 Mentorship. He mentioned, quite emphatically, that a goal of performance training is to bust up homeostasis.

 

According to Wikipedia, homeostasis is from Greek: ὅμοιος, hómoios, "similar"; and στάσις, stásis, "standing still".

 

Busting  up homeostasis therefore means to me the opposite of staying the same.   Creating change.  In performance training that would mean making an  improvement. I have seen DAILY improvements in my training, in one  element or another and often more than one at a time. I aim for daily  improvements in my strength, stability, coordination and cardio capacity  to name a few.  In that sense then, my threshold of today is higher  than my threshold of yesterday. Said another way: today's 100% is  tomorrow's 99, which means I can, and will, go harder and do more work  for my 100% effort than I did the day before.  It's a simple concept  that I hope will be more widespread in mainstream endurance training  programming sooner than later.

Much more where that came from, but there you go.

 

Go bust up homeostasis!!

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Introducing MovementU

Posted by Jessi Stensland Oct 31, 2009

Created to combat mediocre mechanics that more often than not lead to chronic injuries or at the very least prevent athletes from reaching their true performance potential, MovementU aims to enhance the understanding of the body and what it requires to perform injury-free, energy efficiently and powerfully in life and in sport.

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INTRODUCTION TO MOVEMENTU


MOVEMENTU IN ACTION!

 

I was inspired to create the aptly named MovementU after seeing a need in the world of human performance.


“Mediocre movement has become epidemic, and even worse, acceptable.  Not coincidentally so has poor health, sub-par performance standards and chronic pain and injury in life and in sport. It became obvious to me that the problem was not the availability of solutions or the motivation to achieve.  Instead, it was in the inability to choose and/or implement the proper and most efficient day to day solutions for optimal health and sports performance, due to a lack of a basic level of knowledge about the body and what it requires to, quite literally, run.

 

MovementU’s goal?  Motivation through education. The U stands for university and a U-turn back to basics of human form and function.

 

It is important for people to realize that their health and performance is in their own hands.  It’s not about spending more time, but about spending your time efficiently.  Take right now for example. Stand or sit just a little stronger and taller with better posture.  It takes no more time to do that than to slouch.  If you don’t relate your inability to maintain proper posture directly to your day-to-day health and sports performance outcomes including injuries and finishing times, you don’t know enough about the body.  It’s not rocket science, but it can be as powerful.  And once you get it, you get it for life.

 

MovementU provides a practical and interactive education-based resource consisting of a website and workshops focused on communicating to athletes and non-athletes alike the foundational principles about the body and what it requires to perform to its potential in health as well as training and racing.  MovementU is not a training program, methodology or system.   It aims to make simple scientific principles of biomechanics and physiology relevant, relatable and retainable.  As one participant put it, MovementU “gets to the point of the point.”

 

It’s first workshop:  Swim Bike Run: Movement Efficiency and Performance is being held across the US this fall in seven cities at top performance training centers such as Athletes’ Performance in Phoenix, AZ.  It is a full day interactive hands-on experience that discusses the roles and relationships of performance elements such as mobility, stability and strength as well as how they are directly related to one’s ability to move efficiently and powerfully in the sports of swimming, cycling and running.  It is designed to benefit all levels of coaches, trainers and athletes, from beginners wanting to start off on the right foot to seasoned athletes looking to avoid injuries or get an extra edge in their performance.

 

“We all left in awe,” says Keith Cook of Solis Performance in New Jersey who had brought a group of his athletes to MovementU in New Jersey. “We were taught how to go back in time and re-think.  We were provided the tools to re-train our bodies to perform efficiently and injury-free.  It was eye-opening.”

 

Upcoming dates and locations:

 

November 7, 2009 - Lake Forest, CA

November 8, 2009 - Vista, CA

November 14, 2009 - Phoenix, AZ

December 5, 2009 - Dallas, TX

December 6, 2009 - Austin, TX

 

I attribute my knowledge, understanding and ability to communicate performance to a few things.  Certainly my BS in Exercise Science from George Washington University didn't hurt but moreso I attribute it to my own inherent drive and curiousity to continue to understand my own body and push my limits of performance.  This ultimately lead me to Core Performance creator Mark Verstegen in 2004.  Since then I have worked extensively with his team to eliminate my movement inefficiencies in order to stay injury-free and performing powerfully.  It has given me a whole new perspective on my performance potential and that is what I'm driven to empower others with through MovementU.

 

USA Triathlon, USA Cycling and the American Council on Exercise have approved the course for continuing education credits.  A number of additional courses with a variety of focuses will be available in 2010.

 

For more information and details on the upcoming workshops, please visit the website at www.movementu.com or contact me directly at jessi@movementu.com.

 

Come join us and prepare to perform happily, healthfully and to your potential!!

 

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Just arrived in Kona, Hawaii with the team at Active.com!  We're here covering the 2009 Ironman World Championships all week long.  It's my seventh time being in Kona for the event, third time doing video, and it never gets old.  We're going behind the scenes once again to capture the color, culture and craziness that is Ironman Hawaii.  Fashion trends (compression socks), food habits (Lava Java), downtime (very little), parties (schmoozing and showing off stuff), outlandishly outfitted race bikes, Ironman tattoos and on and on.

 

You can find it all on the IRONBLOG!  Tune in daily to keep up with our crew...we're gonna be going non-stop!

 

Keep you posted.

4,293 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: video, running, cycling, swimming, triathlon, ironman, endurance, jessi_stensland, jessi, stensland, ironman_hawaii