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


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 or visit

Read More:

The Aging Body

Menopause Symptoms

The Real Reason Old Olympians are Still Fit

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

Intermountain Healthcare Clinic’s Annual Wellness Fun Run -July 29, 2017, Salt Lake City

I love to see local community events that encourage people to be fit. What is even better is when they offer the race for free.  The community is invited to participate in the IHC Annual Wellness Fun Run held at Sugar House Park on July 29, 2017 at 8 a.m.  Come join the fun and bring your whole family to “live the healthiest lives possible.”

It’s free but please register here so they can plan accordingly. You can also learn more about the event


Join us for the Salt Lake Region Fun Run! Bring your families and run, walk, skip, scooter, skate, or cartwheel. Our goal is for you to get out and move and have fun.

Length: 5k (3.1 Miles)

Where: Sugar House Park

When: Saturday, July 29 7:30 am Registration 8:00 am Start

Cost: FREE!

Race Shirts: Race shirts are available to adults on a first come, first serve basis in adult sizes only. Please RSVP and add your adult shirt size (Men’s or Women’s XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL). We only have a limited amount of shirts available so you are not guaranteed one. Shirts will be sent via inter-company mail before the race.

Prize drawing after the race!

Learn more


Getting Started: Stretching For Runners

Hello.  Stretching is important to stay limber and prevent injury.  Here’s a short video to help you learn some essential stretches.

Coach Lora Erickson

Learn more about Running Form Analysis

Women’s Beginner Cycling Clinic

June 16, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Prevention & Safety

As requested I am offering a Women’s Beginner Cycling Clinic on Thursday July 13 from 6-7:30 p.m. I will be teaching participants how to change their tire, maintain the bicycle to keep it riding smooth as well as reviewing good cycling technique (gearing, handling, race tips etc…) .  This is perfect for beginner to intermediate athletes looking to get started or improve.  Class Fee:  $25, pre-payment required.  Limited spots.  The class will be offered in Davis County.  Let me know if you’d like to reserve a spot.

Coach Lora Erickson

USAT Certified Coach

Slow Twitch Certified Triathlon Cycling Coach

Who is Blonde Runner?

2016 Blonde Runner Race Season Review

November 16, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Product Reviews, Races

coach lora 2nd place soldier marathonThis has been a busy year with races and travel starting with the 1st place division win at the March Madness Half Marathon followed by a memorable Oceanside 70.3 Ironman event in April (Read the Oceanside Race Report). That was a tough race beginning with a difficult choppy ocean swim leading to salt-water consumption that affected my race causing GI issues during the ride and ultimately lead to a slow run with more bathroom breaks than I care to admit. Needless to say it was a huge disappointment as I had trained hard for this event and was prepared to have a strong performance.  It is hard to start out the triathlon season with a bad race but I was determined to prove to myself how strong my running was so in May I took on the Ogden Half Marathon completing it in a time of 1:34 taking the 1st Overall Masters spot in a major downpour and chilly conditions.  While that eased the blow of the Oceanside bomb it was still a difficult race to “get over.”  I resolved to learn from it and tackle my swim aversion, cycling fears and cope better with past injury; unexpectedly winning a trip to Hawaii to train with Dave Scott and compete in the Honu 70.3 Ironman event really helped.  It made me face an open water salty ocean swim head-on again.  I ended up having a strong swim in Hawaii (the clear warm ocean water was awesome!) and subsequently I placed 9th in my division with a strong bike and run. I was pleased with the performance and will always cherish the memories I made there with Dave Scott and the BioAstin community.  What an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience!  I moved forward with my plans on doing the Boulder 70.3 Ironman the following weekend since I had already signed-up.  I knew it was going to be tough with extra travel and jetlag.  My body would be tired from racing a 70.3 only 7 days before. The back-to-back 70.3 was tougher than I expected leading to severe leg and feet cramping starting on the ride and worsening on the run so it was a victory just to finish.  I was still glad I did it and have a lot more sympathy for those that deal with cramping regularly.  That has never happened to me before. After this event I started building my miles for the Vineman Ironman in July. This was my main focus for the year.  As always Ironman training is time consuming and you put a lot into one race so it was upsetting to be struck by another cyclist during a training century ride just three-weeks before the event in a freak accident.  Up to that point my injured knee was able to handle 18 miles without much pain which was great progress.  Last year while training for the Maryland Ironman I was experiencing pain at mile 11, so I was running stronger this year.  I was also riding and swimming strong in training so the hit to the knee left me not knowing how my knee would hold up in the race.  Unfortunately the hilly cycling course proved too much for my knee and my ride and run was severely compromised foiling my attempts of qualifying for Kona but I didn’t let that bring me down.  It was on my 44th birthday and I was please to finish my 2nd Ironman despite a slow performance.  After some time off I was determined to get my knee stronger to tolerate more miles so I built my volume slowly and finished out the season with a 2nd place division win at the Soldier Marathon in November in Georgia to honor my Samantha and other loved ones (  I am happy to report my knee held up really well and only started to bother me at mile 22, so that was more progress!  I was also pleased to be able to mark-off three states towards my 50-states goal this year:  Alabama, Georgia & Hawaii.  Learn more: A Journey To Race in All 50-states

I am pleased to report that I will be recognized as an Ironman All-World Silver athlete (top 5% in my division in the world) during the 2016 season.

Over all it was a busy season with lots of training, travel and learning opportunities, in total I completed; two 100-mile century rides, two ½ marathons, three 70.3 Half Ironman events, one Ironman & one marathon this year. It was a full race schedule!  As always I appreciate the opportunity to compete and do what I love.  Thank you to my family, friends and sponsor support.  I couldn’t do it without you!  I am looking forward to a successful 2017 season.

Happy Training,

Coach Lora Erickson

Need help with training? Contact Coach Lora directly at

See more race results & learn more about Coach Lora Who is Blonde Runner?

Salt Lake City Marathon Discount Code

Ok peeps. The Salt Lake races are just a few days away. I did the half last year and it was seriously one of the most organized races I’ve done with timing clocks on route, pacers and a great expo. It’s not too late to sign-up and they have other events besides the Full/half marathon available like the bike tour, 5K, skate etc. Check it out and use the code blonderunnerslc16 to save $5

Such a great event!

Salt Lake Half collage 4.14.2016


Coach Lora Erickson – USA Triathlon All-American

April 9, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Prevention & Safety, Product Reviews, Races

USAT All American 3.2016“Congratulations for earning the distinguished title of USA Triathlon All-American. Your hard work, determination and outstanding performances over the course of the year placed you at the very top of your age group, top 10% of USAT National Ranking…your name will be listed in the Spring 2016 issue of the USA Triathlon Magazine.”

Yay, I just got this in the mail today unexpectedly, I guess I should pay more attention to rankings. Yay for hard work!

@usatriathlon @ironmantri #nationalranking @coachloraerickson #blonderunner #ldsathlete #health @intermountain @champsys @wasatchrunning @bountifulbicycle #elete @xterrawetsuits @_malibu_c @top_triathletes #ironman #70point3 #triharder

Learn more about Coach Lora

Race Report: Ironman Oceanside 70.3

April 8, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Product Reviews, Races

12916811_1084824571559221_2367628579360505807_oTo be honest this was a difficult report to write. While I am grateful to have participated and finished the Ironman Oceanside 70.3 event it was a bitter-sweet experience.  It was a disappointing race performance for me, far below my potential.  It is simply something I didn’t want to re-live through a race report, but if I was going to learn from it and maybe hope to help somebody else through my experiences I thought I had better do it.

The trip was planned as a family vacation for us because it happened to be at the end of spring break when my kids and husband were out of school. My husband is a teacher.  So we ended up driving from Northern Utah to California a week early.  I secured a hotel close to the transition area so I could walk to the start and wouldn’t have to disturb my sleeping family or need to have my husband drop me off on race day.  I could also get more familiar with the run route since I had not done this race before.  Unfortunately the cycling route traveled through Camp Pendleton and was off-limits and we were not allowed to ride it before the event as I usually like to do before races.  I did know it was a hilly and challenging bike course in which I was prepared for. I was hoping to get a few open water swims in before the event but I learned that swimming in the harbor was also not allowed until the race day and swimming in the Ocean by myself was too risky, so my first open water swim of the season would have to be in the race.


We had a fun-filled and relaxing week and I was able to get out on some runs and rides. Since we were there early I hit packet-pick-up on Thursday to avoid the crowds (I am not a fan of waiting in long lines).  I visited Ironman village and browsed the booths briefly and bumped into a few friends.  It was fun to see where the finish-line was and get excited about participating in just a few short days.  I was careful to limit my sun exposure during the week and really took it easy to make sure my legs were fresh for the race.  I have been looking forward to this race all winter and was very excited to do it and have my family there.

The morning started with cool temperatures at 46 degrees at 5 a.m. It was expected to warm-up, be sunny and reach the high 60’s before the end of the day, so I lathered on the sunscreen.  The water temperature was a cold, 62 degrees, similar to Ironman Maryland I did last October. I choose to wear my sleeveless wetsuit again since it’s better for my damaged shoulder and I am used to cold open water swimming coming from the mountains were our water is melting snow run-off.  After saying hello to some friends and setting up my transition area, I suited up.  I also met another friend, chatted for a minutes and then we headed to our wave start corral.  As we made our way up we were able to see the pro’s finish their swim and run into transition.  What a thrill it was to see the determination and focus on their faces!

oceanside swim

As we entered the water and swam over to the start, we were only there briefly before the race began. No sooner did I hit my Garmin 920xt watch to start my swim time than it was struck by another athlete and I heard an audible beep and felt a vibration from my watch, which indicated that my watch was stopped or would be tracking a transition time.  This means I may not know what my swim time is coming out of the water or have GPS on it.  Since I am a time-goal oriented person I was not happy about this.  But I put my head down and swam.  I am a fairly strong swimmer, not elite or anything, but strong enough and the first part of the race went pretty smooth.  It was as usual with people all over and you just swim while everyone is hitting everyone.  My mindset was good and I pushed through.  The yellow sight buoys were nice since they were fairly close, so it was pretty easy to see where to go.  The course was a narrow “horse-shoe” out-and back type route.  I could tell as we moved our way out we were getting close to the mouth of the harbor as the water became choppy.  On occasion a swell would rise and I would catch it in my mouth and take a hard swallow of very salty ocean water.  Every time this happened I kept telling myself not to swallow the water but it seemed like an automatic reflex.  At this point in the race I started catching the slower swimmers from the previous wave that started 3 minutes before us.  As I sighted I could see many different color caps, so some faster swimmers from the wave behind us were also starting to catch us.  It brought back memories of 2012 AG Nationals where I got hit hard in the back of the head and was nearly knocked out suffering my first concussion.  At this point I just wanted to avoid people, which is impossible in a large race like this.  I also had a headache. It was getting congested to say the least and people were everywhere jockeying for position!  Some were swimming fast over people, others swimming slow doing the backstroke and some were completely stopped.  I just tried to move forward and swim around people.  Sometimes a swell of water would come up just as I was taking a breath and I would swallow a mouth full of salty water, again.  As we turned the final buoy to swim the stretch back, the sun was in my eyes.  I could not see the next buoy and the swells were getting bigger.  It was hard to know which way to go and the continued congestion didn’t help as people were spread wide.  So I stopped to see if I could get my bearings.  I didn’t want to swim extra as I did at Ironman Maryland and it cost me a lot of time.  With my shoulder it is really hard for me to swim straight so I have to sight a lot.  No luck, the bright sun just made it difficult to see, so I just swam with the crowd and stopped on occasion to see if I could figure out if I was going straight.  It seemed to take forever to get the finish dock and I felt a little like a pinball going right until I hit someone and then going left until I was blocked by someone else.  Every time I lifted my head up I could feel my head pounding.  I had a massive headache by now.  I found it hard to get into a rhythm and my timing was off for breathing, resulting in drinking more salt water!  I have no doubt I swam a ton extra despite my efforts to sight frequently (since my watch was hit and was not on GPS anymore I will never know how far I actually swam because I can’t analyze my swim data which drives me nuts.  I know the first part of my swim was good, but wanted to see just how much extra I swam).

With the headache I thought, “Oh, no – not already!” I have dealt with headaches a lot over the last year because of a concussion I suffered as a result of being hit by a truck on my bike so I knew it was going to be a long day but the thought of pulling-out never crossed my mind.  I am not a quitter and am a strong swimmer even though the numbers don’t reflect this. I clearly became too anxious with crowds, swells and the sun in my eyes.  It throws my timing off.  As I exited the water and looked at my watch my suspicions were realized.  My watch was hit and I was in transition mode.  Not only did I not know my swim time but I would need to get the watch into cycling mode so I could see watts on the bike.  As I made my way to my transition, I slowly changing my watch mode to be ready to ride, I asked a spectator the time and they said 8:05. I thought, “Oh, crap!  That is slower than I thought.”  I knew my swim would be slow but considering my wave started at 7:23, this was VERY slow.  I had planned to be on my bike by 8 a.m.  Wow, I had a lot of time to make up and with a pounding headache that was a tall order.  As I started the ride it was congested once again with lots of people around.  There were many turns and a quick steep climb before we entered Camp Pendleton.  It’s on a turn so can sneak up on you, but I had done my homework and made sure I was in the right gear and was on my way to complete the 56 mile one-loop route.

oceanside bike front

Almost immediate on the bike in aero position my nose began to drip excessively. Clearly my sinuses were full of salt water.  I guess I had also breathed it in.  Over the next several hours my nose continued to drain, but the good news is that my head felt better.  I consumed straight water for the first little while to try to dilute the ocean water I drank, it seemed to be helping as the nausea subsided and I could tolerate some food.  At least I knew with the higher humidity I would not need to drink as much I needed in the dry climate I was used to. My stomach didn’t feel normal so it was a challenge to make myself eat.  I was going a slower pace than I had hoped for but I was managing the symptoms well and would rather not blow-up on the hills later.  I tried to stay positive despite my slow swim start and concentrate on what I was doing at the moment.  I was pleased to be passing people the entire ride despite not holding my numbers so I felt good about that.  I was grateful the course was well marked but was still anxious to ride around other riders and the traffic.  I found my legs seem to “lose all power” when I felt crowded or when a noisy vehicle zipped by.  Honestly to be out on the roads in a crowded race was a win for me as I am still dealing with riding anxiety from being hit by a truck on my bike.  It’s still a struggle but I was in California doing what I love to do.  I love to train and race triathlons!

oceanside side bike

As we approached the first major hill around mile 28/29 I was excited to do it. I have been training for hills and there are a lot of them where I live in Utah so I was pretty sure I could handle anything that was thrown at me even though I had only done a handful of outdoor rides since we were still seeing snow in Northern Utah.  I tackled the hill well and passed many people.  It was challenging, but I loved it.  On the decent I tried to continue passing people and keep “pressure on the pedals”.  I get a little nervous at the high speeds but tried to embrace it as I knew that I needed it to increase my average to finish in a decent time.  Even though my stomach wasn’t feeling the best I tried to get some more food down as I knew how important that would be for the run.  I didn’t end up eating as many calories as I had planned but did what my body would tolerate at the time so I felt it was the best I could do.  I continued to try to ride strong but found it difficult to push myself.  Just a few miles from the cycling finish while we were riding around a bumpy section behind some buildings a guy came ripping around the corner, cut me off, lost his water bottle and nearly took me out.  I shouted’ “Hey man!”  There is nothing like a close call to wake you up.  I kept thinking, this isn’t the Olympics people!  Obviously he took the 90 degree turn a little too fast.  Either way I was glad when I rolled into transition unscathed and not having any mechanical issues.

oceanside back ride

I was excited to run, it’s my favorite part!  I chose to use regular laces for this race so it took me a bit of time to lace them up but soon I was on my way.  The first mile went by fast and I felt good running close to goal pace.  I had planned to hold a 7:45-7:55 minute per mile pacing which is very doable considering I ran a half marathon conservatively 4 weeks ago at 1:39.  I had also been running strong in training. But through the next few miles I realized my stomach and guts were not going to cooperate with me.  Although I was reluctant to stop I thought I had better make a pit-stop rather than have an “accident” and have chafing issues for a half-marathon.  I felt better and worked my pace back up to goal pace for a short time, then realized I needed to hold back a bit more so maybe my guts would be okay.  At this point my time goals were way out of reach and I just really wanted to go as strong as my guts allowed.  By now I could start feeling some chafing under my arms which burned every arm swing.  I hit the 10K in an okay split, much slower than planned, but still okay.  I continued plugging along taking minimal nutrition as I didn’t want to upset my stomach further.  I took in the scene; all the people, we were running by ocean and I was doing an early season Half Ironman!  This is not your every day event and I found myself looking for friends to cheer on despite my GI issues.  I figured they could benefit from a wave and cheer and it served as a good distraction for me.  I stayed positive.  There are worse things that can happen.  I had to stop and take many more bathroom breaks but I was determined to finish strong and not walk.  I didn’t walk any of it, not even on the short steep sections.  I wanted to have a few little victories in this race.  I remember with a few miles to go my guts feeling the worst they had ever felt before in a race but I knew I could still finish and see my family so I pressed on.  At this point there was so many people walking around me, but there was no way I was going to walk if I didn’t really have to.  I wanted to reach that finish line as soon as I could!  My legs felt strong but the jarring guts didn’t feel so good so I went as fast as I felt my guts would allow.  I have never had this problem ever before on a training run or in a race (well, besides the time I raced a 10K in college with the flu or food poisoning, long story).

finish time

Even though my race didn’t go as planned I was pleased to finish and have my family to share it with. It is disappointing to perform below my potential and not have anything to show for hard training effort, but even if others don’t know what I am capable of, I do.  I ended up with a time of 5:53:48, and placed 33rd in my division, 177 female in and 912 overall and I believe we have around 2,600 athletes.  So not terrific, but not horrible either. I believe many people in my situation may never have tried to do it, so I am pleased with that and will use the race as a learning experience. I am determined to learn how to combat my swimming and cycling anxieties and get better in tough situations.  I am learning and will continue to try to reach my goals.  I have learned that I can still complete an Ironman 70.3 event after drinking half an ocean and having GI issues!  Now that is an accomplishment! As always thank you to family, friends and sponsor support!  You are greatly appreciated.

Coach Lora Erickson

Photo Credit: Bob Erickson

oceanside finishine pictures

March Madness Half Marathon: First Place AG

March 7, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Races, Weight Loss

IG post blonderunner 3.5.2016My last race was Ironman Maryland, then I took some time completely off running to see if I could get my knee to feel better. It looks like to rest has paid off as it felt pretty good today. I was pleased to start my racing season with a solid first place division win at a local half marathon today. It was a training race to dial in my numbers. It was fun to see so many friends today. Up next: Oceanside 70.3 in four weeks. I am super excited about it! ‪#‎triathlon‬ ‪#‎swimbikerun‬ ‪#‎blonderunner‬ ‪#‎athlete‬ ‪#‎halfmarathon‬ ‪#‎trainingrace‬ ‪#‎firstplace‬ ‪#‎running‬ ‪#‎familysupport‬ ‪#‎sponsorsupport‬
@intermountain @champsys @wasatchrunningcenter @drinkcocogo @bountifulbicycle @ironmantri ‪#‎70point3‬ ‪#‎IM703CALI‬ ‪#‎california‬ ‪#‎elete‬ ‪#‎oceanside‬

Happy Training,

Coach Lora Erickson


Next Page »