Sarah Sellers New York City Marathon

November 2, 2018 by  
Filed under News, Product Reviews, Races

I love what Sarah Sellers says about mindset, losing her fears and feeling like she belongs up there too!  She rocked it to second place in the Boston Marathon. Amazing!  She focuses on being healthy and then being fast!  Smart girl! I can’t wait to see how she does at the New York City Marathon. Enjoy this video clip from Runner’s World.

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

Beginner Triathletes Guide to the Off Season

It’s that time of year when you have completed your final and/or big race for the season and are ready to “take a break”. To some beginner triathletes this may seem like I am saying to “do nothing” but really it means doing something different or mixing-it-up. As a coach, I have learned that this “off season training” is vital to the success of an athlete’s next season so it’s important to understand what to do. Here’s what you can expect to learn from this article:
– Why triathletes need an off season
– Track and measure your food consumption
– Have on-the-go portable nutrition handy
– Hydration is key
– Planning for the upcoming triathlon season

Why Triathletes Need an Off Season

The important thing to remember for the off-season is that you don’t want to completely get out-of-shape, lose muscle or gain fat tissue. But you do want to allow time for your muscles to fully recover as well as your mind. The day-after-day training grind can cause burn-out over time, so a yearly off season is important for athletes to keep them fresh and ready to compete the next season. It is still important to maintain some fitness and muscle tissue by continuing with daily exercise and eating regularly. Usually after the last big race of the year I take about 6-8 weeks “off” from traditional swim-bike-run type training and do “easy” training. These are not hardcore workouts, but more of a loose structure, like “what do I feel like doing today?” This is the time of year not to worry about pacing, speed or pushing yourself. It’s about just enjoying movement. I encourage my athletes to do other sports they enjoy most days of the week (5 to 6 days, 45 – 60 minutes each day). What they do usually includes things that can’t normally fit in during the race season while doing specific triathlon training; Possibilities may include rock climbing/bouldering, soccer, hiking, karate, pickle ball, Zumba, aerobics class, shooting hoops or just go for a nice walk or an easy jog. Yoga is also a great thing to do a lot of in the off season and helps aide recovery and maintain flexibility. Mix-it-up and have fun! It’s important to enjoy what you are doing.

Track and Measure Your Food Consumption

As mentioned, it’s important to maintain lean muscle tissue. This can be done through continued movement, basic core strength training and watching what you eat. Proper nutrition is actually a really big focus for me in the off season since I am not exercising as much or as long (no 3-plus hour Ironman workouts). It helps me to track my food consumption and eat nutrient dense foods which help my body recover. If you follow me on Instagram (@theblonderunner  or @coachloraerickson) you will see I recently posted info about a food tracking app which can keep you accountable. Proper nutrition is often neglected by athletes because they already look “thin” and “fit” but the body will breakdown without consumption and absorption of proper nutrients and this will eventually hinder performance.

A common mistake made by triathletes in the off season is to simply eat too much, especially empty carbohydrates. With lower exercise volume, calories need to be reduced, but many triathletes continue to eat the same amount. It’s time to start reading labels and break out the measuring tools. This way you can ensure you have the information to eat the proper amounts and make healthier choices. It also helps you identify hidden sugars and unhealthy foods. Many of my athletes are often surprised to see high levels of sugar or fat in foods they consume regularly. Another thing that can help is to start your day with a fruit or vegetable and make sure you incorporate 6-8 serving in each day. Those fruits and vegetables will give you the nutrients needed to repair muscle tissue and help your body get ready for the upcoming season.

Have On-the-Go Portable Nutrition Handy

While my race season is super busy with training, working, family and traveling; my off season is just as busy getting caught up on things I missed and prepping for the upcoming season so I find I am on-the-go a lot. This on-the-go life is often where athletes get into trouble and end up eating fast-food or other junk, so it’s important to have portable foods handy.
Some time ago I did several book reviews and I just fell in love with the nutrition concepts in these books, The Feedzone Cookbook for Athletes and Feed Zone Portables. The author simply nailed my thoughts on hydration and absorption as well as eating real foods or quick products made from real foods. The book teaches you how to make your own “portable foods”. Realistically I didn’t make as many of the recipes as I planned to but that even made me more excited when I learned about the meal bars they came out with. I have found it a good idea to pack foods to take with me on busy days. These bars are easy to stash in a gym bag or purse. They are also great to take on hikes and are super soft and moist as well as nutritious. Many are gluten free as well. My recent favorite is the savory miso. It’s so good! They also have other tasty flavors.

Hydration is Key

Hydration is the key to staying healthy and recovering in the off season. Often during the offseason triathletes don’t think about staying hydrated, but they need to consume water regularly to keep up with the body’s demands. We lose most of our moisture from breathing and winter air can be dry, sapping moisture from our bodies. A good rule of thumb for water consumption is half your body weight in ounces (about 8 cups for most people is a good rule of thumb). Depending on your exercise level and body composition you may need more. Sadly, on average, many people don’t consume enough and experience signs of dehydration like; nausea, dizziness, cramps, achiness, soreness, general sluggishness, sleepiness, etc . It’s important to get enough water and electrolytes, so you might consider tracking that as well.

I particularly like the light flavor of the Skratch portable sports drink mix (read my product review) is well balanced and makes boring water palatable. Recently I am getting creative and have loved mixing flavors like lemon & limes with oranges or strawberries with mango. #mixitup

One thing you might have noticed is the color. It’s not heavily pigmented, they simple use natural products, no fake colors. Plus they are low calorie to help keep things in check.

Planning For the Upcoming Triathlon Season

The off season is a good time to start mapping out what races you want to do for the upcoming season and evaluate how the previous training worked for you and how closely you met your goals. Identify areas that you would like to see more improvement in and set new goals. It is important to reevaluate progress and review your goals regularly through the season. Get your mind ready to start your training again with a base phase if you like to periodize your training. You may even want to set a “start” date, when you will start implementing more structured training. Training Peaks is a great tool for this. If you are not sure how to do this, you can hire a coach to help (let me know if I can help, I’d love to work with you) You will also want to check over your gear and make sure everything is in working order. Replace old, outdated equipment and upgrade things as necessary to set yourself up for a great upcoming season.
In conclusion, it’s important to focus on rest and recovery but still remain active in the off season mixing in new activities as well as eat properly with on-the-go nutrition handy and plan for the upcoming season and setting new goals.

Happy Training,
Coach Lora Erickson
BlondeRunner.com

Coach Lora is a certified running and triathlon coach and top-level AWA triathlete recently competing in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Africa. She works will all level of athletes. To learn more visit BlondeRunner.com or contact her directly at theblonderunner@gmail.com
Who is Blonde Runner? 

Win a Spot in the Thanksgiving Day Races

October 23, 2018 by  
Filed under Fitness, News, Races

I just love local races.  Check out this local family favorite and enter to win a free spot. Let me know if you need help with training.

Coach Lora Erickson

Race Report: Ironman 70.3 World Championships – Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018

September 8, 2018 by  
Filed under News, Nutrition, Prevention & Safety, Product Reviews, Races

What an amazing experience it was to travel across the world to take part in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship event in South Africa. It was great to experience another culture as well as see and interact with animals in the wild. I am in awe of these amazing creatures. My favorite part of the experience however was the race.

I loved being able to ride a portion of the route earlier in the week with fellow athletes and hear different languages and ride on the opposite side of the road. It was so nice that the WTC offered an escorted ride with police officers for the first 11K. It felt great to get my legs moving after many hours of catching planes, long lay-overs and lots of sitting. They did announce at our race briefing that we would be riding on the right side of the road as usual for American races, which I was surprised but glad about.

As usual with Ironman brand events the race was well organized. There were some differences that I really liked here verses the races I have done in the States. For instance, I loved how the racks were on the ground in transition; we didn’t hang the bike, so even though it got windy after the bikes were checked they were not swaying around hitting each other and getting damaged. They were also easy to remove from the rack during the race speeding up the transition. I also really liked how we hung our transition bags. For this race there were two transitions. It was so easy to find the bags hung in number order and run through transition quickly. 
After racking my bike and hanging my bags Friday night it was time to relax before the big event. I made sure and put RockTape on my knee and neck to help prevent neck chafing and give knee support. This stuff really sticks and helps, I love it!
The next morning came quickly and before I knew it I was waiting anxiously in my swim wave corral. Unfortunately my age division was the last wave (12 of 12) and this is when the time seemed to go by slowly! I choose to wear my sleeveless XterraWetsuit (use the code CO-BLONDE to save 60%) since it’s better for my shoulder and I am used to cold water. It was in the low 60’s, so not bad. Most people were in long-sleeve wetsuits however I made the right choice for me. Finally 8:58 a.m. came and we were organized into groups of ten leaving every 5 seconds. I was in the third set of this beach start. Soon the horn sounded and I was off digging my toes deep in the sand every push off until I hit deeper water. The swim starts we had practiced earlier in the week became useful now and I had a decent and cautious start swimming over the waves and quickly became accustom to the salt water in my mouth. I worked to sight the first yellow buoy and it seemed to come quickly. As I continued pushing through the blue water I noticed the waves becoming more choppy, the further I got from the shore, making it more difficult to site the bouys. I stopped a few times to get my bearings to make sure I could swim as straight as possible. As I rounded the last turn I could see the scuba divers under the water (I found out later they were there to keep the sharks away). Soon I was approaching the shore hoping to catch a big wave to ride in on but no such luck. I hurried through transition grabbing my bag and after getting my gear on I quickly made my way to my bike.
I was happy to get going on the bike and experience the whole ride; especially the parts by the ocean. What a beautiful ride! I learned from the practice ride that the roads were bumpy and there was potential for wind. After all, Port Elizabeth is know as the “The Windy City,” as implied, it was windy on race day. Wind always makes me nervous so I slowed down on many occasions during the race. Safety first! There were some climbs but mostly the winds caused the slow downs. Overall I was passing quite a few ladies and many in other divisions so I knew I have made up some ground from the swim. As I continued along the course I managed to get my nutrition as needed and take advantage of uphills and downhills passing many athletes as I pedaled my way to the next transition. My legs still felt a bit stiff and my hamstrings were tight from sitting so much on the long flights. As I came into T2 (the second transition) I was excited to experience this out-and-back run by the ocean. I love these type of routes! It allows for a lot of camaraderie with other athletes. I felt pretty good at first and tried to stay loose but as I ran along my hamstrings really tightening up more and became pretty painful. I had been nursing a strain so wanted to be careful not to push too hard. I tried to take one mile at a time and stay positive although I wasn’t hitting the pacing I had planned for. Thank goodness I was wearing my new Hoka Bondi 6’s which offers superior cushioning and undoubtedly helped me through the run much better. I was able to manage my nutrition well and was thrilled to be able to take water bags/satchets with me as needed. The water bags were new to me and I loved them! Ultimately it helped me to get more water and keep moving. They also had the usual sports drink (High 5 brand), gels, bars, Coke, RedBull etc… but no ice. At the start of the race it was mid-50’s as it was the first day of Spring in Africa so no need for ice. Also everything in Africa was in Kilometers. The speed signs for driving, and the race signs. I liked it because I always think of the half marathon in terms of 4 x 5K’s (I was a 5,000 meter runner in college) plus 1 mile so it was easy to know my splits. I pushed through each mile and was delighted to see the finish carpet and joyfully run to the finish strong completing my second 70.3 World Championships event.
There is so much to learn from each race I do; overall it was a great race and amazing experience. There is something about competing against the best in the world that really makes a person determined to continue to improve and get stronger and better. I am so grateful to those that made this race possible for me and it wouldn’t have been complete without a safari or two (more pictures below). Thank you to all those who support me!
See more pictures:
Instagram: TheBlondeRunner
Facebook: BlondeRunnerLoraErickson

Sincerely,
Lora Erickson

Race Results: 6:04:04, Division Placing: 105th/186, OA Placing 882 of 1,374

There were some other highlights outside of racing I wanted to mention. I loved petting a Cheetah as well as riding an elephant and seeing so many animals on safari.

Don’t Miss A Utah Race Discount

July 11, 2018 by  
Filed under News, Races

I love to be involved in local races and we have some great ones here in Utah.  Be sure to check out this BLONDE RUNNER DISCOUNT LIST and Join the fun!  It’s updated often so check back!  If you need help with training don’t hesitate to contact me!  I love to see people reach their goals!

 

Coach Lora Erickson

theblonderunner@gmail.com

BlondeRunner.com

Race Report: Beaverhead Marathon

What a fun adventure it was at the Beaverhead Marathon in Montana over this last weekend. There was mud, head winds (mostly the whole time), with rain the night before, we had some mud   🌧 too.  The temps ranged from 37-49 from start to end of this marathon. ostriches, road kill, mountains, a bison statue, ducks, creek, gravel, cows, birds, clouds, a river, bridges, mile markers, hills, friends, trails, porta potties 😊, hay, horses, barns, parks etc…
It really was an adventure! I love races like this with so much great scenery and terrain change. This year it was extra challenging starting at 8 am at 39° and 20 mph winds. In addition to this it was high altitude as Dillon Montana is about 5200-5500 feet.  I am used to high altitude but I know a few participants weren’t.
This was a first year event so it wasn’t very big but they really did so many things right! There was free camping in the starting area but they bussed us to the start from the park near the finish as this was a point to point route. I loved the old-fashioned black power Musket gun shot start and the well marked route. They had green buckets each mile marking the full marathon on this point to point course. (photo credit: Jeremy Crawford)
Yellow for the half marathon. They had great photography on the route as well as great support with a cyclist “rabbit” leading the race as well as many of the organizers in vehicles checking up on runners.
There were many cool landmarks, including;
  • The Beaverhead River, which is a blue ribbon trout stream and famous all over the world (should have brought my fishing pole! I love to fish!)
  • Around mile three we passed the 45th parallel at Clark Canyon Reservoir.
  • Pipe Organ Rock – this massive rock formation looks just like the pipes of an organ! It was fun to stop at a hydration station here.
I was happy to place 2nd in my age group, even with tired legs from Ironman Texas just two weeks before! It was fun to celebrate a friend’s birthday with a race. If you are looking for a doing a marathon in all 50 states, this would be one to look into. Check it out! As always, if you need help with training don’t hesitate to contact me.
Train Happy,
Coach Lora Erickson
theblonderunner@gmail.com
BlondeRunner.com 
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Help Blonde Runner get to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Africa

May 10, 2018 by  
Filed under News, Races

Wow, just wow!  I do not want to pass up this opportunity to participate in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Port Elizabeth, Africa! The race is just over 12 weeks away and the cost is a major concern but I am willing to work for it. I am looking for sponsors/supporters to help get me there. If you are able and willing to donate I would be deeply grateful. Any amount helps. I also offer online coaching services and will be selling triathlon gear etc…Interested? Please message me. Any international travel tips would also be greatly appreciated .

#helpmegettoafrica #swimbikerun #trilove #gratitude #triathlete #triharder #ironman #70point3 #worldchampionships #NelsonMandelaBay #africa #donate #helpneeded #onlinecoaching #triathlontraining @theblonderunner @coachloraerickson

Donations can be made directly here:

Thank you so much!!

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

 

Update (Sept. 10, 2018)

I just wanted to thank all of you that donated to help me get to Africa!  It was an amazing and unforgettable experience!  Please read the race report 

I have also posted a lot of pictures to my social media channels.  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Coach Lora

Race Report Ironman Texas – April 28, 2018

May 6, 2018 by  
Filed under News, Product Reviews, Races

Words can not describe the feeling of finishing an Ironman event! It is an exciting and exhilarating experience no matter the performance results. Nothing can take away from the joy you feel while running down the finish chute of a race knowing you will accomplish a difficult goal you set out to complete. All the many months of training and long grueling day of swim, cycling and running 140.6 miles lead you to this amazing moment of completion and feeling of accomplishment as you cross the finish line and hearing your name over the intercom announced, “You are an Ironman.” If you are considering doing an Ironman, I highly suggest it (let me know if I can help, I would LOVE to coach you!). It is an amazing journey and accomplishment that no one can ever take away from you. Once you are an Ironman you are always and Ironman! I am grateful I have had the privilege to complete three of them now.
For me leading up to this race my focus was not just about finishing but finishing strong and meeting my current potential. Although I didn’t meet my goals fully, there were some true successes that came from this race.
I have come to the realization that rarely does my race swim time reflect my true ability, due to arm damage I don’t swim straight (believe me I have tried lol). I felt really good during the swim and had a strong swim according to my watch, sadly I swam many extra yards! I’ve had this problem ever since I had shoulder surgery ten years ago; these seemingly slow times used to really bother me but now I’ve learn to laugh about it imagining what I look like from a birds eye perspective swimming all over the place 😂. I always hope to make it up on the bike. I still get nervous around traffic on the bike so I was so happy to have a mostly closed course. I was able to complete it in over a 20 mph averaged which was good and I felt strong.
Just over 3 years ago I was struck by a truck while riding my bicycle resulting in knee surgery. Since then it has been a struggle to find the balance between volume and intensity for running. I believe this year has been the most successful with striking that balance and I have had many strong half marathon performances leading up to the race including two 1:33/1:34 half’s pacing just over 7 min miles. One being just one week before the Ironman event. Despite holding back my hamstrings didn’t seem to tolerate as well as they should. Unfortunately this left me having to dig even deeper to push through the Ironman marathon with issues starting at mile two. Obviously this slowed my time immensely but I learned that I can push through pain and disappointment for over four hours and not give up. So in a way I did “finishing strong,” just not the way I originally had in mind. They took good care of me in the medical tent after the race. Despite the struggles I managed to place 13 in my division with an overall time of 11:29:38 There are many “What if’s” I have contemplated but that just gets me down so I want to focus on what I did right. Here’s what I came up with:
  1. I prepared myself well for the event with good consistent training.
  2. I took care of details like RockTape on my knee for support and my neck to prevent chafing (works like a charm). Running in my Hoka’s, use Chamois Butt’r and taking along a GoStik to reapply during the run under my arms to minimize chafing (check out my product review).
  3. I left the slow swim time behind me. I literally laughed about it on the bike and let it go.
  4. I had a strong bike leg and was able to stay focused on nutrition despite some nausea.
  5. I pushed myself on the run and dug deep to finish as fast as my body would allow for the day. I kept going even when it was physically & mentally hard.
  6. I finished with a smile on my face and gratitude in my heart. It’s fun to check another state off my 50 states goal.
Not all races, if any, go as planned. Results can be difficult to swallow but there is always some thing to learn. You always seem to learn more when you struggle more. I can’t say I wanted to do another Ironman right away, like my first one, but I do now. I still have things I want to accomplish with this distance. So until the next one I will continue to learn, grow and progress. There is much yet to accomplish! Get a feel for this amazing Ironman experience in the clip below. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or comments.
Happy Training,
Coach Lora Erickson
TheBlondeRunner@gmail.com

Race & Product Discount Code List

May 3, 2018 by  
Filed under News, Races

There are so many great races and products out there.  Check back often as discounts are updated frequently.

Blonde Runner Discount Code List

Happy Racing,

Coach Lora Erickson

Need help with training?  Message me at theblonderunner@gmail.com

Race Report: Salt Lake City Half Marathon

April 23, 2018 by  
Filed under News, Races

There are many local races that I really enjoy and the Salt Lake Half Marathon is one of them. Not only was the weather perfect this year but the race was organized incredibly well. It’s amazing to me that such a large race can run so smoothly with literally thousands of participants and many different events. They offered a full marathon, half, bike tour, 10K, 5K & Kids K. I opted to sign up for the half marathon since I will be doing Ironman Texas only one week later.
After parking downtown by the finish we used Trax to take us to the start (Olympic Legacy Bridge) using our bib as a ticket to ride. It took about 20 minutes to get there. The starting area was fun, with music, water tables, porta-potties, and lots of runners. It always gets me excited to be around so many other runners that enjoy this sport as much as I do! After dropping off the morning clothes bag we headed to the starting line and lined up in our assigned corral. We were organized into groups based on our expected finish time. I was in Corral B which started 30 sec after the first wave (A). When we started it was nice and not over crowded. Traffic control was great and many roads were closed to traffic which I love, this means no stops to break my rhythm. Aide stations were well stocked with water, gatorade & gels and the volunteers were well trained & educated and cheerful. I also loved the many time clocks on course and each mile was marked accurately. The spectators were plentiful along the course and it was fun to share the first 9 miles with the marathoners and then the final miles with the 10K & 5K participants. Everything was well marked and it was fun to experience the city of Salt Lake on foot surrounded by running friends. Races are fun for me as I was able to say hello to many of my running friends, it’s like a reunion! The finish is always so enjoyable and it always feels good to run down that finish chute and be awarded a medal 🏅around your neck. You know you’ve earned it! The medals were so cool as they double as a bottle opener and sun-catcher with the blue background behind the iconic wasatch mountain range. The fun spin charm was added to celebrate the 15 year anniversary of this race.


As we continued through the athlete finish area they handed us water and had lots of food available for us; chips with guacamole, oranges, banana, Shasta Sparking water, Creamies, drinkable yogurt, granola bars etc…
The bib number also had a unique QR code to scan for immediate results (very cool!). My preliminary results indicated I was first in my division which was exciting!  Check out the athlete IG post @TheBlondeRunner
Final results: 
I was awarded a cool drink coaster age-group award. Check out the coach IG @CoachLoraErickson


A fun bonus to this race was an option to have your name complimentary engraving on your finish medal! They even had massages at the end that I took advantage of.  Overall this was an amazing experience and I highly recommend this race! Watch for my 20% off discount code on my discount code list
If you need help with your training don’t hesitate to contact me. I offer many services to fit any budget. Beginners welcome.
Happy Running,
Coach Lora

theblonderunner@gmail.com

#runthecapital #SLCmarathon @SaltLakeCityMarathon

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