Push, But Not Too Hard on the Bike

November 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness, News, Prevention & Safety

Coach Lora Erickson
Ironman All-World Athlete
Certified Triathlon & Running Coach
BlondeRunner.com

Push, But Not Too Hard

By Lora Erickson, BlondeRunner.com

Cycling and traveling for me usually also involves swimming and running since I am a triathlete. Earlier this year I traveled to Boulder Colorado to attend a coaching summit as well as compete in the Ironman Boulder 70.3 event.  What’s interesting about triathlon racing is trying to go hard but not too hard on the bike.  It’s often a trade-off, if you go too hard on the bike you will most likely suffer on the run but if you push the bike and still can run okay in the end your overall time and placement is better even with a little slower pace on the run.  That is what I choose to do in Boulder.  I came into the race tired from racing an Olympic Distance event one- week before, traveled and had 4 days of mind numbing classes.  I rode efficient with a higher cadence and clean pedal strokes patiently keeping an eye on my heart rate and power numbers and taking my nutrition as planned.  I decided to push it to my higher numbers and see if I could hold it.  I was the last wave of swimmers in the water and knew if I could finish the ride sooner I would have less time in the heat on the run so that is what I did.  My legs struggled a bit on the run but overall not bad all things considered.  This was a training race for me as I have the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September.   It worked.  My run time was a bit slower but my ride time made up for it and more.  I knew the effort on the bike yielded more benefit than that same increased effort on the run.  I find this same principle of knowing when to push and when not to can be a struggle for many athletes.  Some athletes simple push every workout every day and get frustrated when they get injured or don’t see progress.  Just like in my race, some portions of workouts or races are things we can push, other times we need to lay off the throttle and allow some easy coasting.  Evaluate what is best for your effort for the most wanted outcome.  As we are coming into winter it’s important to keep this in mind. Simply, flowers do not bloom all year.  It’s good to scale back training and allow rest so when the race season comes you are fresh for it.

About the Author: Coach Lora Erickson is an Ironman All-World athlete and USAT certified triathlon coach.  She is also a certified Slow Twitch Triathlon Cycling Coach with many years of experience coaching beginner to intermediate athletes. She offers on-line as well as in-person custom coaching.  To learn more visit BlondeRunner.com or contact her directly at theblonderunner@gmail.com  

Aging: Changes That Impact Performance

October 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness, Health Classes, News, Nutrition, Prevention & Safety

Aging Athlete Coach Lora Erickson Blonde RunnerAging: Changes that Impact Performance

There is no question that age has an impact on performance. If you compare the Boston Marathon Qualification times for an athlete in their 20’s and an athlete in their late 40’s you will see a 20 minute difference meaning that an athlete over 45 can qualify with a time 20 minutes slower than an athlete in their 20’s. That is a significant difference. As an athlete over 45 years of age that has competed for over 30’s years I can tell you that I have seen the effects of aging on my training.  Just this year my body has showed signs of early menopause.  The symptoms have had a big impact on my training and it has shown in my under-par performances.  For instance, hot flashes and night sweats have disrupted my sleep, weight gain has made the impact of running more difficult to recover from and the change in hormones have resulted in moods swings and hampered my ability to focus.  I often have to stop in the middle of a workout, because my heart is racing or a headache becomes too much to push through.  I know I am not alone and many women who are also athletes have been coping with these symptoms.  It is difficult to know that these changes often take many years before periods go away (the only good thing about menopause) but there are some things we can do to help.

Men also are impacted by changes with age. With a decrease in growth hormone and testosterone they often experience loss of muscle & strength and weight gain. The body can undergo vision, hearing and digestion changes.  The bodies’ ability to adapt to temperature changes and stay hydrated is also affected. A lack of focus is also reported in men.  As I have coached athletes of all ages over the years there are many things I do differently with older athletes.  The fact is, we are all aging and we need to be mindful as our bodies’ needs change.  Here are some suggestions to help cope with aging changes:

  • Allow more time for warming-up before exercise. Many of my more youthful athletes can skip a warm-up all together and not be affected too much, however older athletes need the warm-up. As we age our muscles lose elasticity and can be torn more easily, the joints are stiffer and the body needs time to prepare of exercise. I recommend older athletes warm-up 10-20 minutes on the elliptical before a run, weight training or ride. Or use the rowing machine before swimming.
  • Incorporate yoga into your exercise routine. Because the muscles do lose some elasticity as we age, it’s important to maintain flexibility and balance. I recommend adding yoga to your exercise routine 1-2 times a week.
  • Do weight training weekly. With the decrease in muscle tissue that accompanies aging I suggest doing more weight training. This will also promote bone density and prevent osteoporosis. Gaining muscle can also help keep the metabolism up and control weight gain. I recommend weight training 2-3 times a week.
  • Be mindful of your eating. Most people gain weight as they age due to hormone changes so it becomes more important to be mindful of what goes into your mouth. I recommend using the MyFitnessPal app to track your food and assist with making better food choices.
  • Take time for meditation. As we are older we have more experiences to reflect on. Take the time to allow for meaningful meditation and reflection. This can help keep us centered and cope with the mood swings. Meditation before bed can also help with sleep.
  • Exercise regularly. With the increased challenges aging poses it often becomes more difficult to keep up a good routine but exercise can help us cope with symptoms. Even 10-20 minutes of exercise counts on difficult days.
  • Allow more time for recovery from races and hard workouts. This has probably been the most difficult thing for me this race season. But my body simply doesn’t recover as quickly from hard workouts and races as it used to. How much time you need to recover really depends on your background and experience but I suggest listening to your body. Don’t be afraid to change a hard workout into an easy one if the body says so. It’s best to stay injury-free.
  • Be gentle with yourself. As a competitive athlete I know how difficult it can be to let go of slow performances. I try to remind myself that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone and I have years of race results to illustrate my hard work over the years. A friend reminded me recently that not all flowers bloom all of the time; it’s okay to just finish a race having done your best for that day because that is what the body will allow. I have recognized things get harder as we age and I have even more respect for older athletes. It reminds me to do the best I can for me. Wishing you healthy and happy training. Coach Lora Erickson

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Coach Lora Erickson is an Ironman All-World athlete (top 5% in the world in her division) that recently competed in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. She is a long-time running and triathlon coach offering in-person as well as online coaching programs and community classes. She loves to work with beginners. To learn more contact her at theblonderunner@gmail.com or visit BlondeRunner.com

Read More:

The Aging Body

Menopause Symptoms

The Real Reason Old Olympians are Still Fit

Video Footage of Lora Erickson at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships

October 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness, News, Prevention & Safety, Product Reviews, Races

This was the coolest experience to participant in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.  Check out this footage.  I am sure you will be able to tell, I really get excited at the finish!

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

Beetroot Pro Discount Code

This stuff is great! Give Beetroot Pro a try, you’ll love it!

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

How to Pick Good Running Shoes

September 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness, News, Prevention & Safety, Product Reviews

A little while ago I put together this video clip about running shoes.  Give it a listen and be sure and get good shoes.  In my area I recommend Wasatch Running Center (they have a store in Centerville & Sandy).  Discounts are offered for my athletes, just tell them I sent you in.

Happy Running,

Coach Lora Erickson

theblonderunner@gmail.com

Need help with training? Contact me, I would love to help!  Individual consultation and/or in-person or on-line coaching available.

Race Report: Ironman 70.3 World Championships, Chattanooga, Tennessee – Saturday Sept. 9, 2017

It seems surreal to me to have experienced a competition along-side some of the best triathletes in the world. What an honor it was to participate in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Tennessee this past Saturday. It was a difficult race and I was thrilled to be able to check off another state towards my 50 states goal (Read More:Journey to Race in All 50 States). I arrived a few days early allowing me to attend the welcome banquet and have a day to put my bike back together, check-in and get acquainted with the race venue. Tennessee is a beautiful state and the humidity breeds ample foliage. The winding roads were surrounded by trees and greenery and I was excited to know that these would be the roads we would be riding and running on! I love nature!

My body was a little stiff and tired from the flight and travel but they managed to loosen up on a run. I had some physical limitations this year that have dampened my training efforts but overall my body felt pretty good, all things considered, and I was excited to be there.

Next I assembled my bike to find a mechanical problem that I remedied (or did the best I could, not being a bike mechanic). Then it was off to the grocery store for food. I always like to make my own stuff as much as I can so I can eat foods my body is used to. I also needed to pick up some Co2 cartridges for emergency tire changes since they are not allowed on the plane.

Then I checked in and picked up my packet and began assembling my bags and getting organized. I always feel so much better when everything is ready. This was a “clean transition” which means nothing more than bikes where allowed in the transition area. The bikes were packed tight with little space around them. Bags would be used for the ride and run and to be dropped off along with the bike Friday night before the race. This means I had to have everything ready in advance and as the race progresses each athlete picks up their bag, goes through a changing area and then moves to the next discipline. It would add a little bit of time to my overall time but everyone had to do it so I became familiar with all of that before dinner. 

The Welcome Banquet was spectacular gathering nearly 4,000 participants from all over the world (91 countries) who had qualified for this event in one big room. There was live music and a nice southern dinner with many choices including; pulled pork, chicken, slaw, green beans, corn muffins, green salad, fruit, chocolate brownies and pecan pie. We listened to many speakers welcome us with encouraging words. The highlight for me was when they introduced the youngest (18 years) and oldest athletes. The oldest man was 86! His finish would mark the oldest man to have ever completed the 70.3 WC event. So cool! What an inspiration and testament to triathlon being a life-long sport.

Race morning the transition was packed with excited athletes chattering about previous race experiences; the nervous energy was nearly palatable. I quickly double checked my bike and set up my nutrition then re-acquainted myself with all the transition ins-and-outs. Soon the women pro’s started. It was fun to see them run through their transition and cheer for them. Then finally it was time for me to head to the swim start.

After waiting for what seemed like an eternity we were taken down the corrals to the swim dock (nearly one hour and 40 minutes after the first women were in the water). Then we were off, as soon as I jumped in I could feel the current working against me. It was a difficult swim heading up-river which increased my anxiety but I tried to stay calm and focused. It seemed to take forever to get to each sight buoy and the sun was in my eyes. Finally it was over and a quick glance at my watch confirming my extremely slow swim time; certainly not a good representation of my ability however I quickly put it behind me and focused on the task at hand; there was no use dwelling on it. It is what it is!

I moved through transition smoothly grabbing my bike bag and switching to cycling gear; I stuffed my wetsuit in the bag and handed it to a volunteer and darted for transition. Sadly my bike was situated on the far side so there was a long run with my bike to the other side of the large transition area then I would finally be able to get on my bike. I kept moving and mounted quickly determined to make up some ground on the ride. I knew I could cycle strong. There was only a short distance before the long Lookout Mountain climb so I tried to get some nutrition in as soon as I could. I swallowed some river water but it didn’t seem to have the effect saltwater has on me so I was OK.

The climb seemed to come with no hesitation and soon I was spinning in my easiest gear and watching my heart rate climb. I tried to keep it in check and passed many women who were struggling and some who decided to walk their bike. It was a long leg-numbing climb similar to Snow Canyon in Utah with just some more twists and turns. After the main climb the route continued to be a series of inclines and descents with many turns, and I did drop my chain once. It seemed I spent much of my time in either the hardest gear descending quick then back into the easiest gear to climb so my legs were being put to the test. The route also teased with many false flats and a head wind the last 45 minutes.

Being the last wave of ladies in the water the women were spread out so it was difficult for me to really get into race mode since there were so few women around me and large gaps between racers. I worked on catching up to anyone I could see in the distance. A few times I was disappointed to catch a man doing a warm up ride (the men were competing the next day). Honestly, the ride was a little lonely with a few riders dotting the road. It was a welcome sight to see my “support crew” cheering for me at the half way mark. That really lifted my spirits. I tried to stay focused and ride strong getting all my planned nutrition in. It was not an easy course and to compound the problem my quads and back muscles were starting to spasm and I was getting odd pains in my hips. My muscles didn’t seem to be functioning properly. This was unusual. I later found out that my bike saddle had dropped over 1/2 inch over the course of 56 miles due to a problem with my saddle stem bolt/wedge system that keeps it in place. That explains all the odd pains I was having! My legs felt different but I pushed forward and was pleased to reach T2 without getting a flat tire.

Soon I was off on the run. No sooner did I start then my right quad completely seized up (only about .3 miles in) and I slowed to a walk. I remember thinking, “Oh no, this is going to be a long day!” I downed some extra electrolytes that I always bring with me just in case and took the time to put on some extra chafing cream under my arms. I then pushed my legs to run again. A fellow athlete I bumped into at the airport warned me that the run would be challenging as it was constantly up and down. I could not agree more: it was a challenge so I needed my legs to cooperate! As the miles wore on my legs felt more and more spent and didn’t seem to want to respond to my taunting so I resolved to focus on enjoying being part of this historic event. I took in the scenery and listened to people cheering. I always appreciate the volunteers that spend all day feeding us at aide stations and keeping us motivated. I thought about my friends and family and the encouraging words they have said to me recently. It was fun to see the community involved as many had lawn chairs out in the front of their houses cheering and my personal favorite; the sprinkler going in the road so we could run in it and cool ourselves down. Go USA! 🇺🇸

The temperatures where not too bad but the humidity made it feel hotter than it was. I looked forward to cheers from my friend and sister who had come to see me race. It was such a boost hearing those cheers by name and seeing familiar faces. They made fun signs for me and I found myself looking for those bright signs every turn; it really kept me going and I can’t thank them enough for their support! It was a long day and as I counted down the last 5K, I was delighted to know that I was going to finish an Ironman 70.3 World Championship that day.

I did it! I made it to the finish with a smile on my face grateful that I am physically able to do hard things and push my body despite my physical struggles this year. I am truly so grateful for my friends, family and sponsor support from near and far. Those kind encouraging words I get throughout the year carry me through the hard workouts and tough challenging courses like this one. You are so appreciated! Thank you!  Here’s to many more adventures together!

Coach Lora Erickson

Go USA! 🇺🇸 @champsys #beyourownbrand #bountifulbicycle #intermountainsportsmed #bountifulbicycle #xterrawetsuits #cocogo #ensoroller #Wasatchrunningcenter #dohardthings #gratitude

Related links:

I did it! IG link to post: https://instagram.com/p/BY1zP8Snzo9/

Number and visor picture on FB

Medal Monday IG post: https://instagram.com/p/BY63v7eHSt7/

Product Review: I love Beetroot Pro, it’s a portable powder!

I LOVE the health benefits of beets. Use the code RUNNER5 for $5 off and free shipping. Check out this awesome portable powder. Learn more 
Coach Lora Erickson
BlondeRunner.com

Win a Spot in the Labor Day Triathlon at the South Davis Recreation Center

August 9, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Prevention & Safety, Races

I just LOVE local races!  This is how I got started in triathlons.  What better way to do a race then getting a free entry.  Check out my Facebook giveaway below.  If you can’t wait to register use the code LABOR2017 for $5 off.  Register Today! Come join the fun!  Can’t race, come volunteer with me!  Message me at theblonderunner@gmail.com if you’d like to help out.

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

Need help with training.  Contact me, I would love to help you kick butt!  I will also be offering a free route preview the Wednesday before for those registered for the race.  Please message me if you’d like to attend.

Xterra Wetsuits August Discount Code Deals

August 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness, Prevention & Safety, Product Reviews

Xterra Wetsuits has so great products I really love.  Check out these deals for August.

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

 

Pit Bull Attack Update

As many of you know that my niece was mauled by two pit bulls on July 21, 2017. Since then she has had a miraculous physical recovery however it will take time for the scars to fade and nightmares/fears to dull. I really love this song my niece Rebecca wrote with her sister Amanda. The song can apply to so many difficulties in our lives. Please take a listen and share if you agree. I just love it!
Aunt Lora

My sister is a single Mom with four girls. If you can make a donation to help that would be great, please share.
Donate to help

If you would like to follow her healing journey please like/follow her page: https://www.facebook.com/healingforAmandaPrichard/

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