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Blog posts of '2015' 'February'

New Year, New Recovery?

It is now early 2015 and the Northern Hemisphere ‘offseason’ for triathlon should be a time when athletes reevaluate what they did right and wrong the previous year. It should also be a period of reflection in order to keep improving to ultimately reach their triathlon goals. Did your coach steer you in the right direction? Did you listen to your coach? What discipline can you improve on? Do you need help with transitions? Were you properly recovered before big races or training sessions? There are always aspects of your triathlon to improve upon so I usually take one or two items and concentrate my efforts to make those incremental positive developments. Trying to master three disciplines can be overwhelming so take it one step at a time to not drown in the details.

My recovery method has evolved through the years and as my age has increased. It is a natural progression that your body requires more recovery as your intensity goes up and you get older; I am certainly not 25 anymore! The women are getting faster and faster in the professional and age group ranks so recovery is that much more important for all athletes. There were a few techniques and supplements I added to my recovery routine throughout 2014 that helped with consistency. There is no magic formula and everyone is different so try different techniques from trusted individuals and figure out what works specifically for you. For example, at the end of the year, I added Vector450 (http://www.meredithkessler.com/sponsors/vector450/) to my repertoire to improve recovery times and optimize my immune system. These small tweaks can make the difference between showing up at a race close to 100% and just showing up.

When I look at 2015, there are two important recovery innovations that I am excited about using with more frequency to benefit training and racing. The spectacular fact is the tools are from one of my longest partners of recovery tools – Recovery Pump! I started using the new RPX device late in 2014 and it was ‘aha’ moment for my recovery. I was completely satisfied using the older RPS system but I had no idea the small improvements that could be made to make it so much better for active athletes!

First of all, it is extremely light so traveling with the device is a snap. Those precious fifty pounds in your airline baggage just got easier to come under; with all the triathlon gear, you need all the extra pounds you can get. Even though it weighs less, it is just as powerful. There is an integrated hose system making setup very easy and the device also comes with a rechargeable battery so if there is no power source, you still can use the Recovery Boots!

The next innovation from RP is the new active compression garment called the Recovery Core. This gives you compression coverage of the upper leg, hips, hamstrings, and lower back; these are all muscle groups that can cause triathletes much grief. Although I have just started using the garment, I can tell already that it will be an integral part of my recovery process. The sequential compression cycles get blood flowing through all those tough to reach areas and body parts that can become extremely tight without a proper massage. These added improvements to the Recovery Pump lineup make it easy to continue to happily use and discuss their products!

Good luck with your training and racing in 2015! It’s a new year and new opportunity to reach your triathlon goals!

- Meredith B Kessler

MBK: www.meredithkessler.com 

www.lifeoftriathlete.com

Planning a Race Season

It’s that time of year; the holidays are long over, and while you hopefully enjoyed some much needed time away from the swim-bike-run regimen, it’s probably time to get back to it; that is if you intend to compete this season. I’m often asked, ‘how do you plan your race season’? While this is predominantly a highly individualized process, I thought I would walk you through how I plan a race season, in hopes that it may give you some insight and perhaps a few ideas when planning your own.

First, I will nail down the highest priority race(s) and work around them. In my case (for 2015), this race will be Ironman Texas, May 16. So I will put this down on the calendar, and then see what other races can effectively prepare me for this event. I know that Texas 70.3 (Galveston) is a good prep race just 3 weeks prior, so I put that in the schedule. And San Juan 70.3 moved back to its original March date; so seeing that it is one of my favorite events, I figured that one would also work well timing-wise. This line of thinking can work for anyone, professional or not; see if there are a few races leading up to your ‘goal event’ that will allow have a few practice rounds before the big show. It is good to remember as well, earlier season races are a great way to boost your fitness for the main event. It is ok to choose events that you have done before, or alternatively seek out entirely new ones; put together a plan that gets you excited.

Once I have a sketch of what looks good, I’ll then calculate what kind of expenses the events will entail. This becomes a layout of checks and balances; what will the main expenses cost (flights to race, accommodations, etc.) as well as what the potential payout is with the prize purse. Again, this is specific to professionals but similarly for anyone planning an event, it’s wise to look at these numbers well before you go into full planning mode. I’ve looked at some races that look great until I research flights; and if we’re looking at over $1000 to get somewhere, I either nix it or think hard as to if it is worth it. What airline will you fly? What are their bike policies? I’ve always been loyal to Southwest, as they charge $75 for a bike regardless of size (used to be $50 but even the $75 is far cheaper than most). Be prepared for these charges; they are written on the websites. When I can see that the planned races ‘make sense’, then I make them final and begin planning for each one individually. As a professional, since we are doing this to make a living, various other things come into play, such as prize money offered and a check and balance on expenses (such as, I will have to spend ‘x’ amount to get there and the potential earnings are ‘y’). But similar to anyone racing, we all have to balance a budget to get to races; so this aspect is something that we all can relate to in some facet.

Finally, an important thing to remember when planning a race season is be flexible; expect the unexpected, and don’t be afraid to adapt. You may even have a few ‘back up races’ in the works just in case. Things rarely go precisely according to plan. Late last January, coming off of a good half marathon, I slid on our stairs and landed on my sacrum. It sidelined me from activity for many days, and from running for a few weeks. A previously planned trip to Panama City, Panama (3 weeks away) had to be taken off the schedule. Additionally, when I book flights for significant cost (usually over about $500-$600), I almost always get the insurance; in this case, we used it, and got all of our money back from the tickets. While it was a bummer to pull the first race of the season off the schedule, there are always other races…don’t let a mishap entirely derail you and your attitude towards the season. Take it in stride, create a new strategy, get healthy (if an injury sidelined you) and re-focus on the new plan ahead. Often times you’ll look back and realize what seemed catastrophic at the time may have turned out to be the best thing in the long run.

With that said, enjoy looking at the race calendars (don’t forget to check them all! Ironman events, Challenge/Rev 3, Lifetime, local races, 5k’s, etc…there are many out there, if you get creative!) and creating your plan for 2015. See you out on the race course!

- Kelly Williamson 
kellyhwilliamson.com
@khwilliamson

One on One with Record-holding Canadian Marathon Runner, Lanni Marchant

"Hi my name is Lanni Marchant. I’m a Canadian marathoner and a pre-med offense attorney down here in Tennessee. I am the Canadian record holder in the marathon, half marathon and the 30K. So I kind of have a bit of a double life going on down here." 

What is a typical day like for Lanni Marchant?
"If it’s a day that I’m not in court and I’m just going to work from home or stop by the office, I’m up around 6:30- 7. I get in some activation exercises in the morning and then do my morning training session. Which could be anywhere from an hour or two. Then I have a break where I can stretch or recover. Then I go do a strength session also around lunch and then my afternoon is pretty much research or working at the office. Then I train again in the evenings. I do a short run in the evening and repeat it all again." 

What are your thoughts on Recovery?
"I definitely think recovery is probably the most important part of my training. Probably more importantly than the mileage I’m putting in. Recovery helps me to sleep well, eat well and then repair the damage I’ve done to my body throughout training. That’s where using Recovery Pump is key." 

Prior to using Recovery Pump, How did you recover?
Before I received Recovery Pump, about a month ago I received it. I was primarily foam rolling, which I think a lot of athletes do. Only problem with that when you are busy you can’t multi task while foam rolling and in my double life that I have is kind of difficult to do. The first thing I would cut out would be the foam rolling. Whereas now I can use Recovery Pump and eat my breakfast before I have to go to court or have the legs on while I do research at home.

What is your protocol for using Recovery Pump?
"I use Recovery pump 2x a day. I use it typically after my morning session and in between my running and strength session or I'll wait to do it after my strength session and then I will use it again in the evenings after my second run. I typically have it set at 75-85 and sit in my legs for about 45 minutes." 

What kind of results are you getting with Recovery Pump?
"I definitely notice using my Recovery Pump that my 2nd run of the day is a lot less of a death march. I definitely feel the junk from the previous training especially if I’ve been doing squats and lounges. The junk is out of my legs in my evening run. It’s still at a recovery pace and recovery run but putting the boots on helps me definitely to pump out a lot of the garbage that has been built up in there. My schedule year to year is just about the same, so using the Recovery Pump this year I was able to directly compare to running a 10k championship, flying home the same day and running 22 miles the next day. This year like I said, having used the Recovery Pump before and after the race I was able to feel pretty good on my 22 mile run the next day. I threw the legs on again after the 22 miles and something like that where I would have felt it for 3 to 4 days after. Now, I was fine that following Monday and felt pretty good at my track session on Tuesday."

What is it like to travel with your Recovery Pump?
"I was a bit concerned just going through airport security seeing that they always want to tear apart your bags and it scanned through and they didn’t even pull me to do a secondary search on my bag. The legs compress pretty well and fold up pretty well into my carrying roll bag and I kept the generator part separate just for some extra space in my backpack. So Yeah, I have no issues with it. It’s really light weight. I’m a little person so I don’t want anything to heavy."

 
Would you recommend Recovery Pump to other athletes?
"I definitely would recommend the Recovery Pump to other athletes. I’ve added it into my recovery system. I’ve definitely noticed a change. I definitely think a lot of athletes could benefit from it. Like I said I think rest and recovery is the key and the benefit of Recovery Pump is that it gives you that feeling. It works the junk out of your legs for you and if you’re gonna sit and watch an episode of your favorite show on TV, then why not put your legs on and Recover the right way!"

- Lanni Marchant, Marathoner