Blog posts of '2014' 'December'

Holiday Training Survival Tips

1) Get up early and get 'er done.
It is easy for the day to get away from you when spending precious time with family; I know it's hard for me to excuse myself to go train as I don't get to see my family too often. One foolproof way I have found to be sure that I get my training done amidst holiday family time is to set my alarm for earlier than anyone else will be awake! If I can get out the door and get my training done early, I can be home and done by the time the rest of the family is just getting its day started.

2) Involve the family.
Even better than sneaking out solo in the dark is making a workout a family event! To me this is the best-case scenario. I've realized that even while most of the extended family isn't too interested in workouts that are as long as the ones I enjoy, I can pull people in for bits of my training sessions and help them get in a good workout as well. For example, over thanksgiving, I made my 16-mile run a 3-lap affair, during which I ran past home base after each loop to swap out run partners--from cousins, to sister, to husband. It was awesome! There really is no family bonding that compares with that which occurs during a little family smashfest.

3) Make it fun!
I love to plan and to assign for my athletes "special" holiday training sessions, as I find that when we have something epic on tap for these occasions, it is a lot easier to get excited about the training amidst the holiday madness. I love to celebrate holidays with 10K swims or long adventure runs. Last week I combined suggestions 2&3 for an epic Christmas Eve run with my little sister Cameron as run partner and Dad driving SAG. We ran a very hilly 21-mile loop that circumnavigates our hometown and is typically only done by bike (I also celebrated my wedding day 3 years ago with friends by running this loop that morning), while dad enjoyed his morning cigar and coffee from the car :). Fun for the whole family.

4) Give yourself a break.
In reality, unless you are racing in the first couple months of the year, missing a workout here or there over the winter holidays is not the end of the world. If ever there is a time to be lenient with yourself, this is it. I am not suggesting taking this time completely off or abandoning your training entirely, just that you don't beat yourself up too much for missing a workout or two.


Hillary Biscay

Treading Water with Chris McDonald

So after spending the weekend watching at Ironman Florida it became very apparent to me that with the rough water conditions people were genuinely scared of the water. I know a lot of people do not get the opportunity to swim open water but you can get very comfortable with the water even in a pool environment.

Below are a couple good swim sets that I think every person should be able to complete with comfort and ease before they attempt an Ironman:

Warm Up:

300, every 3rd 25 backstroke.
400 easy as 4 x (25 R arm only, 25 L Arm only, 25 Catch-up f/s, 25 backstroke).

Main set:

1With paddles and buoy – pull 800, every 4th 25 fast. Go moderate here, not hard.
2) Easy 100 f/s
3) 12 x 100 alternating 100f/s on 1:40 15 sec rest and 100IM on 20 sec rest
4) With Fins – 12 x 50 alternating 50fly, 50 f/s all on the 60.
5) Easy 100 f/s
6) 10 x 150 f/s on t20 sec rest 1 moderate, 1 steady. Try to make the steady about 3-4 seconds faster than the moderate.
7) Kick 300 every 4th 25 Brst kick.


Warm up:
300m easy then,
20 X 25m as three fast, one easy on 15 sec rest.
Main set:
Go into 2400m, the first 800m is paddles/bouy/band then next 800m is paddles bouy then the last 800m just a bouy. Make the changes very quick to try to kepp the swim continues .
Then go into six X 200m fast on 40-seconds rest.
Cool down:
200m easy cool down

Triple Ks Swim
Goal of the entire workout is to swim each 1,000 faster than the first.
Warm up:
400m easy and relaxed on 15s rest
4 X 75m steady, with the middle 25-metres fast on 10-seconds rest
200m alternating 50m steady, with 50m mod-hard on 15-seconds rest
100m easy
Main set:
1,000m start easy and build to steady effort (note time),
4 X 50m easy and relaxed,
1,000m swim faster than the first one (note change in effort required to swim faster),
4 X 50m easy and relaxed,
1,000m swim slightly faster than the second
Cool Down
200m easy cool down

- Chris Mcdonald, Ironman Champion

Is There Really an Offseason?

After Kona, Ironman Arizona and Challenge Bahrain, there have understandably been an increasing number of social media posts about how professionals and age groupers are going into their offseason. This is the time where Type A triathletes can ‘let loose’ a little bit and rest their weary bones. Some athletes will gain some extra weight with zero exercise only to start the training process all over again in January or February to work hard to get back into shape. They might indulge a little in sweets, alcohol, and processed foods (gasp!) but it is all justified because it is the offseason. Other athletes will cut down their volume and enjoy the holiday season. Different training regimens work for different people and everyone has their tried and true methods for how they spend their time away from the sport.

Exercise has been a way of life for me since middle school and it is as natural to me as brushing my teeth. After our last race of 2014 at the wonderful Challenge Bahrain, it was back to normal the next week running easy on the treadmill, 'MBK' style swimming in the pool, strength sessions with Kato, biking indoors to move blood and using my Recovery Pump boots for proper healing of swelled muscles. These outlets are second nature to me, especially as my career, and once again, it is a part of my lifestyle whether it is December or June. This is not to say my offseason is better than others - AT ALL; it is just what works for me. There are an abundance of successful athletes who can take months or weeks at a time completely off and jump back on the horse refreshed, which is great and that works for them. For me, the most refreshed I feel is when we continue on a balanced approach to activity, exercise and of course, training - in order to capitalize on weaknesses in the non-racing month(s).

We view the entire year as one continuous progression with small blips being the races. After every event, you want to analyze, make changes to get better, and then continue on that path to achieve your goals in the sport of triathlon. The objective is to be on a constant upward trajectory with improvements in your time and overall racing. Our 'offseason' consists of evaluating all facets of our business whether it is coaching, nutrition, recovery, training regimen etc…and see what needs to be changed in effort to get better. For instance, my transitions are absolutely awful so I intend to work on this piece of my triathlon racing which can only help down the road. Lebron James doesn’t sit around in the offseason (not comparing myself to Lebron at all - just using him as an example); he works on his game to keep getting better and staying relevant. This year he lost a lot of weight since he wouldn’t be banging around in the paint as much. He adapted his game to his new team.

Although we continue to train during the 'offseason', this is not to say that we can continue with the constant pounding all the way through until the 1st race of 2015. One does need to properly recover - the body isn't always bulletproof as we all know! The body does need to rest and reset itself, and it does need to heal before another full season of racing. Recovery Boots will accompany me to Ohio for the holidays, like they do every year. Even though you are sitting around with family and friends, you can still proactively help your body recover through the holiday season. Our first race of 2015 will be in January so there is a small window to capitalize on proper recalibration of the body and mind. Thus, we are going to maximize that window as much as possible and hopefully hit the ground running for another exciting year!

Wishing you and your families a very happy, safe and enriching holiday season!
- Meredith Kessler


It's the Off-season, and This is Why You Should be Swimming

I'm putting on my coach's hat to share a few thoughts about the most overlooked of our three disciplines.

• If you aren't a natural swimmer, you need the work.

If you are serious about improving as a triathlete, "off-season" is not necessarily synonymous with "fun." But, the two aren't necessarily mutually-exclusive, either--see below.

• If you are a natural swimmer, you can afford the work.

The body does need some "downtime" of sorts at this time of year, but for those of us who grew gills during our childhoods, swimming lots through the winter is a low-impact way we can maintain some aerobic fitness. Even if you are using your off-season to do a bike or run focus, for us swimmers, we can still do plenty of swimming without it detracting from that.

• It's not just about the swim.

True, even over an ironman distance, the time gains one can make in the swim itself are relatively small. What is important to know is that the real time gains that come from improving your swim fitness happen after the swim. If you can emerge from a strong, fast swim feeling fresh and able to hit the bike hard, that's where your whole race can change.

• The more you swim, the more you will want to swim.

I promise :) The more competent you become in the water, the less often you will need that list of excuses about why you should be spending your time somewhere besides the pool. In other words, more swimming does eventually = more fun.

Hillary Biscay

The Perfect Present

I have a couple of family members who use Recovery Pump. They are not just important in the sporting world, but also in day to day life.

I gave a pair to my father-in-law for Christmas and my wife recently got this text from him after he returned from a vacation:

"Hey Mel. My knees were killing me after all my scuba and the plane ride last night. This morning I could barely walk but after one hour in the recovery boots I am much better. Thanks so much!"

My sister also has a pair and uses them all the time. She runs a cafe back in Australia and works on her feet constantly. She updates Facebook all the time about using the boots. This is her latest comment:

"Completely stuffed after pulling a nearly 18 hour day in the stinking hot kitchen at the cafe.

Great job to all the team who helped make it a successful day. Up in 5 hours to to do it all again.

With Christmas just around the corner, this is a perfect present for anyone who is active or just suffers from sore, achy legs.

-Richie Cunningham

From Kona to Arizona - Racing 2 Ironmans in 1 Month

As a pro triathlete, racing is your job so recovery is paramount in between events. In my younger years with fresher legs, it was not uncommon to do two Ironman’s in three weeks. This has shifted to one Ironman and one 70.3 in three weeks and now, maybe, two 70.3 races in two weeks. I love to race so the challenge was enjoyable and shooting for multiple paychecks was necessary to continue to enjoy my profession. However, as age creeps in, the need to race smarter and promote quality over quantity enables you to put yourself in a position for better results.

Our philosophy is the next race on the schedule is the most important one. The season is long and wide open thus you can’t get hung up on one result. You take the highs and the lows, put them in your back pocket, learn from them and go onto the next opportunity. Although Kona is our Super Bowl and my Kona result was disappointing, you have to put any race in the rear view mirror to try to move onto bigger and better things. Our next challenge is Ironman Arizona so this is the most important race. The goal is to recover enough to get into peak performance like we were before Kona so, the objective is 2/3 of an Ironman (Kona) bookended by hopefully a full Ironman (Arizona).

Age groupers and professional triathletes alike will have times where they have two races within a month or even two in less than 2 weeks apart. These are referred to as the dirty doubles. The build up to the first race will hopefully put you in peak form to perform to your standards and reach your goals. The next race is tricky because you need to be smart to recover and then maintain your fitness; there is a fine line between healing your body after such a traumatic event on your body and getting it into race ready mode again in a short time period. Obviously, this becomes tougher as you get older but the theories are the same.

After the first race, you need to assess the damage to your body and mind. This will enable you to be smart about your preparation for the next event. If the verdict is general wear and tear of the body from the race and minimal injuries, eat some McDonalds, celebrate with family and friends, use your Recovery Boots, and get a good night’s sleep. I do see each race as a blip in the overall progression of your triathlon goals so it is necessary to briefly relish in the highs, learn from your mistakes and then continue on the path.

The day after a race, I usually do nothing except go back to my regular eating patterns, hydrate, hydrate, lots of protein and use my Recovery Boots as much as possible. Post event is where the body is the most susceptible to sickness; it is in a weakened state so I make sure I take Vitamin C and other antioxidants to help prevent further breakdown and begin the process of rebuilding torn muscles. This has to start the day after the race if you want to get back to your normal training schedule in preparation for another event in the near future. The 2nd day after a race I try to move the muscles with what I call an MBK swim; a long, steady paced workout to get the body in motion, work out the lactic acid and to clear the mind.

My objective is to continue to build the workouts to the point where your body has recovered enough to get back to your regular routine. This could be a week or two weeks depending on the trauma endured during the previous race. There is no replacement for a heavy dose of sleeping combined with 1-2 Recovery Pump sessions per day throughout the recovery process. As I have said before, the objective is to toe the line in your next race as close to 100% as possible and half the battle has been won. I encourage everyone to try the dirty double at least one time in their racing career to push your racing to the limits, find out how fast your body can recover, and show yourself you can do it. This will make racing one race at a time a piece of cake! Good luck with your training and remember that recovery is imperative to get back on that horse again!

-Meredith Kessler, Ironman Champion

...Meredith took 1st place at Ironman Arizona! Way to Go!

Backing Up After a Disaster race in Kona

The weeks leading into Kona Ironman, everything was on track for what I thought was going to be a great race. However, the days leading into race day, I knew something was up when I was feeling sleepy all the time. Race morning I thought things were ok, but once the race started I knew it wasn't going to be a great day. I fought hard to hang on to the lead group in the swim, but it was way harder than it normally was. The rest of the day didn't go any better and I had to pull out early in the run course.

My back up plan was always to race Miami 70.3 two weeks later. During that two weeks, I went to Maui for a friend's wedding and this is when I really discovered the advantage of the new Recovery Pump. With the portable battery-powered unit, it was easy to take it with me anywhere. I even used it by the pool deck in my hotel, which got me a lot of strange looks. Once I got back home to Boulder, I got back into normal training and had a strict regimen of using the boots morning and night. By the time the Miami race rolled around, my legs felt great and fully recovered from Kona. It really paid off as I was able to finish second in Miami and end my race season on a good note. Once again, Recovery Pump saved me. I don't know what I'd do without it.

-Richie Cunningham, Ironman Champion

A Ruptured Achillies: The Journey Back

When you think about rupturing your Achilles… Your skin crawls, and you wonder how and why. Same thing that went through my mind the day I ruptured mine.

To give a little background, I was training for my second Ironman in my hometown of Coeur D’ Alene, and I was expecting to conquer the course just like any amateur racer... Attempting to put in the time and miles like my professional triathlete friends that let me draft off them on rides, or pace them on their runs (the only area I can keep up). Putting the much hated time into the pool, spending quality time with my bike, and loving the run! The day I ruptured my Achilles, I had done a solid 2.5 hour ride and right into a 12 mile run and then decided to go play in a men’s league basketball game. I know what you’re thinking…Why do that and then go play a basketball game?!?! Well I thought it would be fun to go run circles around them as a speed workout. Well, I didn’t make it very far. Less than a minute into the game and a few times up and down the court, POP! A slight push off and my game and hopes of racing in June were over. I had no Idea that was just the beginning of a long and emotional journey.

I had surgery to repair the Achilles by one of the best Doctors in the areas that is a local Triathlete as well which was comforting. Recovery went well up until the day they took the cast off to remove stitches. There wasn’t skin there to remove anything…Just a large gaping hole with a white Achilles. The problem was that the incision got infected and the skin died around the sutures. This was the beginning of the nightmare that was the beginning of a 1.5 year recovery.

Without a play by play for the entire year this is an overview of events:

-Incision got infected
-Wound vac for 6 months
-Failed skin graft from my hip, 2nd graft from our friend Bacon :) -2nd infection… Picc line for 12 weeks
-Infection came back stronger than ever before… Met with prostethetic’s doctor 2x to discuss next steps… Yes next step. :(
-After an entire year of struggle they decided to remove the infected Achilles and tissue surrounding nearly 25% of my Achilles -Told to find another passion and be ok with not racing again.

You could imagine the pain and disappointment I felt when that doctor told me that…And it just wasn't one, 9 of 11 of them told me the same thing.
I obviously wasn’t ok with being told this after all the hard work and miles I had put in over the years. I knew I had more to prove.

After having that much of my Achilles taken out, efficiently learning how to run again, and rebuilding muscle after 18 months of atrophy running and competing was a daunting journey.

To put it in perspective:
The day I ruptured my Achilles I rode 50 miles and ran 12 miles… THE ENTIRE TIME since my rupture and recovery which took over a year I didn’t total that many miles… SAD and depressing I know. I don’t know how I found peace and sanity when I had a hard time taking a day off for recovery.
AND that is where Recover Pump comes into this story. (Thank you for listening to me rant on about this… Now the info)


My Doctors recommended compression sleeves and socks for recovery. In my research for the best system, I came across Recovery Pump and their compression system. I instantly asked my doctor about them and they gave me the green light, and said especially in my case, increased blood flow and circulation will speed up recovery.

From the day my doctors gave me the ok to start walking I was using my boots. Started off with lower pressure and shorter amounts of time and slowly but surely I increased the amount of activity and time in my boots along with intensive PT.
I would catch myself sleeping in them for an hour, two, and even 3+ hours. My doctors could see a difference in the color, and swelling once I started using the system, where months prior, the level of swelling and color looked was significantly worse.

I was cleared at the end of February to do “normal” activity and begin my training to get back to normal. Secretly I had signed up for Ironman and told myself I would do it with just over 4 months to go. To be fair I was doing pull-ups and abs until I was blue in the face, and once cleared to bear weight… Lunges and body weight squats 100 at a time, numerous times a day.

Throughout this journey I can say that having a solid support crew, amazing doctors, and technology gave me the best chance to get back in such a way that I could run again, and better yet compete at a level close to where I was prior.

*I came back in my first race, running amongst 54,000 people in Bloomsday 12k. I ran it in just over 45 minutes! Instantly into my boots (2 hours). The next day: long bike/ Run. FELT GREAT *Couer d Alene Marathon: placed 2nd in 25-29 and top ten overall finisher in 3:09. (A quick dip in the 50* lake & a nap in the boots) *My biggest test was IMCDA. I not only finished it within 30 minutes of my best time, but I ran the last splits in a 7 min mile. Thinking the entire time, thank you to the doctors that doubted me and said no… Look at me now!

Thank you to the RecoveryPump team and athletes that kept me motivated through education on recovery and provided me with the tools to recover faster and smarter.

You can see my entire journey on Instagram @ Matthew_Mattison
-Matthew Mattison, IM Finisher & Conqueror of doubts

Seein' Red

Hi, my name is Andrew Readinger, I've been affectionately nicknamed "Red" since high school. I've always been an adventurer and experience seeker, so ultra-running fits nicely into this category. I'm absolutely a masochist who finds that challenges test who I am as a person from the inside out.

I’m a self-proclaimed “weekend warrior” who has amassed 96 marathon and ultra-marathon finishes in just over 8 years. I began running on a dare from a college roommate, and fell in love with the challenge and the hurt that I felt before/during/after. This hurt was a feeling of pride that I used my body to do something unthinkable. I'm not a speed demon but purely an endurance “slow and steady” runner who finds significant joy in crossing the finish line and being able to hush the voice in my head that wonders if I can do it. My first marathon was dedicated to my late step mother, Julie who passed of breast cancer in 2006, this marathon was near her hometown and fell the day after her would be 48th birthday. Lots of emotion from the training to the actual race on Aug 10th 2006. After that first marathon, I knew I’d be signing up for more…

Two weekends ago, I planned a work trip up Kansas to run a 50 mile trail marathon, I chose this 50 miler for two reason. First, because I am running the Arkansas Traveler 100 mile trail run on Oct 4th, and needed a training run to get me ready. Secondly, because there was a marathon race two days before the 50 miler in Olathe, KS. Yes, a 26.2 mile ‘training’ run 2 days before a 50 mile trail ‘training’ run. That is basically how I look at every marathon or ultra I sign up for... It’s another long run that is going to get me in condition for the ‘next’ run (race). Recovery wasn’t really in my vocabulary, until about a year ago. I’d push through pain and would be sore but could finish a race soon after I had run a race, even on back to back days.

This is where Recovery Pump has come in to really give me and my body a chance to recover. I use my recovery boots every time after a marathon (or beyond) and almost every day, going on over a year now. It allows me to feel fresh and more rested for these subsequent race events when I am piling on the mileage. After marathons/ultra-events the last thing I want to do is move and moving is the only way to remove the “rust” that sets in your body after constant running for 4 or 8 or even 24+ hours. The Recovery Pump is a pneumatic compression device that is meant to move fluid and “rust” from your muscles. It works and works well. I’m not only a user and frequent one at that; but after year of use I decide to join in the revolution even more. I am now the South Central Sales Rep for the company. It was my great pleasure to be part of such an innovative and cutting edge recovery tool that is being used all over the world.

Going into this running weekend in KS, I was able to train pretty well averaging 25-35 miles a week for a couple months. The game plan was to run the Patriots Run 26.2- nice and easy to minimize the effort and hurt that ensued. Finished this marathon in 4:40 (which is average to slow)... I’d say nice and easy, but there was definite soreness! This is where Recovery Pump steps in and gets my legs back into a state of normalcy… I used the Recovery Pump for about 1.5 hours that evening and my legs felt way better. Then mix in a day on the job driving 4 hours to give a demo to the K-State athletic training staff and then meeting with the KC Chiefs made for sore legs. At 5pm I was off to check in for the Hawk’s 50 mile Trail Marathon in Lawrence, KS. Trail marathons are great, laid back, non-existent to minimal mile markers, tons of obstacles – (hills/rocks/roots), aid stations filled with lots of snacks and good people. The races are typically smaller, so you do have to deal with solitude at times but one of the greatest times to be in the moment and enjoy the day.

Pretty typical pre-race meetings: be sure to follow orange tape and white markers on trees, also be sure to carry enough water. Check, easy peasy. The race organizers had a great dinner spread (I definitely recommend this race) then I was off to pitch my tent and get my Recovery Pump on! The RPX which is Recovery Pump’s newest pump that has a battery was perfect for me to use while camping at the start/finish line of the Hawk 50 Miler! (See pic below)

The race on Saturday went off without a hitch, had a strong day and ended up finishing in 2nd overall place with a time of 8:19:59. Kudos to the race director, volunteers and Recovery Pump! Definitely sore legs but it’s great to have the Recovery Pump on my side!

Thanks for reading, wish me luck on my next adventure – Arkansas Traveler 100 mile!