Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Product Review 19 - Finis Forearm Fulcrum

The Finis Forearm Fulcrum (price $15 - $20) is a figure eight shaped device, or infinity symbol shaped, that fits between the wrist and forearm. To use this device I first had to go to the Finis website and watch the short how-to-use video. I think watching the video for the Forearm Fulcrum (www.finisinc.com/P-10502850/Forearm+Fulcrum+Sr) is a must. The purpose of the Forearm Fulcrum is to keep the arm position correct during the stroke, both in and out of the water. The Forearm Fulcrum aids in keep the elbows high out of the water and at the proper angle as you sweep through underwater. Finis claims the benefit of this device over the paddle is that it does not cause undue stress on the shoulder and arm during use and does a better job of maintaining form. I always think of the paddle as strength building aid that if used incorrectly, poor stroke form, results in pain. I would not consider the Forearm Fulcrum a strength building aid, but a form aid. I used the forearm fulcrum a number of times and swam with it for different distances. I found it somewhat awkward to swim with and this might be due to the fact that it is correcting some fault in my stroke. More than likely, it is correcting some fault in my far from perfect stroke. In my opinion, one of the drawbacks of the Forearm Fulcrum is that it does not allow full movement of the wrist and this hinders the finish of the stroke by the hip, when you giving the finishing push as you take your hand out of the water. A number of people looking at the Forearm Fulcrum noted that about it and a friend, who is a very good swimmer with a great swim stroke, noted that when using the device. I think the Forearm Fulcrum can be a very useful training aid for maintaining the correct arm position in and out of the water, with knowledge of the potential drawbacks

Update 4/1 - From Tundra Transistion Zone - https://tundrat-zone.blogspot.com/2010/03/whats-catch.html

He has his take on some swim equipment including the Forearm Fulcrum

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gear West Duathlon Clinic

Yesterday, Saturday morning, Kevin O'Connor (2009 USAT Amateur Duathlete of the Year, http://www.gearwestbike.com/) and Jason Digman (Multisport Coach, http://www.digittri.com/) put on a clinic about Duathlon racing and training at Gear West Bike and Triathlon. Jason discussed some of the history of duathlon and its significance in multisport history. It was interesting to hear that in the early 90s/late 80s Coors Light sponsered a duathlon series with some pretty good prize money. The clinic consisted of a general discussion of duathlon specific racing and training, with some specific examples referenced. Kevin discussed a few key workouts that he uses.
The key workout he presented, at least the one I took away from the clinic, starts with a 10 minute warm-up on the bike with some pick-ups. After the bike warm-up an immediate transition to running shoes and run approximately 1 mile at 90% effort. Do this run in a loop so you end up back at the bike. Immediately get back on the bike with 10x30 seconds on as hard as you can and 30 seconds easy after each hard. As soon as you finish the last 30 seconds hard, get off the bike and run 1 mile at 5K race pace. Repeat the bike/run interval two more times.
I didn't take notes when I was at the clinic, but they did handout some slides and here are some points from the slides.......

Specific Performance Topics:
  • Run and cycling fitness individually are huge
  • Racing duathlons is quite helpful - if you want to race well, race often
  • Repeat bricks
  • Run to bike and bike to run sessions

General Pacing Guidlines:

  • You have a set amount of fitness on a given day, use it wisely
  • Successful racing is not connected to indiretct outcomes, i.e. where you finish in the field, it is about taking care of what you can control and doing it with excellence
  • Realism is critical

Go Fast, the whole race, not just the first run:

  • What makes a good run split breakdown? (one take away from this was people go out to fast, make a plan to pace yourself and stick with it)
  • Starting the bike, how hard is too hard?
  • The 2nd run, ugh! It hurts but that doesn't mean you are not going fast.
  • Duathlon transistions, keep it simple.
I think that Kevin and Jason did a great job with the clinic. It was both humorous and informative, which is what all presentations should aspire to. I have had a tendency in the past to run the first run at my "normal" 5K pace, which is not the best way to start your duathlon. Better to back off a little and save some for the bike and the last run. With my stress fracture, going out too hard this year will not be an isssue, but this gives me something to think about in the future when I have healed.
Steve Stenzel was at the clinic also and it looks like he was taking notes. At some point he may have something to add on his blog (www.iwannagetphysical.blogspot.com) that might be more detailed than what I have put out here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Product Reviews 17 and 18 - Speedo BioFuse and Finis Zoomer Z2 fins

I tested both pairs of fins kicking only, with and without a kickboard, and swimming freestyle. I do not swim with fins very often, so this gave me an excuse to use fins frequently. The Speedo (www.speedousa.com) Biofuse fins (price $26-$35) look like a good quality solid fin. The Speedo fins fit tight, almost too tight. The silicon material stretches and fits around the foot. There is a tab at the front of the foot opening and the back of the foot opening to hold onto while putting the fin on your foot. The Finis (www.finisinc.com/P-23500270/Z2-Zoomer) Z2 Zoomer ($27-$40) fins fit looser than the Speedo fins. The Speedo fins have a more traditional look to them, while the Finis fins have an unusual shape compared to other fins. The Finis fins have a very rectangular shape to them, with two ribs on the bottom and one on the top. This is what the Finis website had to say about the fins, “The new Zoomer Z2 swim fins are specially designed to improve the effectiveness of one's swim workouts by creating an easier kicking movement. The channel on the bottom of the Zoomer Z2 captures water to provide ideal propulsion for longer distances, while the back ridges strengthen the hamstrings and glutes. Like the original Zoomer fins, the Zoomer Z2 fins are shorter in length than standard swim fins. They utilize a patented angle and quick response technology to promote a shorter, faster kick that makes the legs work harder while reducing the occurrence of burnout.” This is what the Speedo website had to say about their fins, “[BioFuse] Fin offers a perfect blend of hard and soft silicone to enhance performance and provide unparalleled comfort. Stiff blade for maximum power and strength building. 100% silicone and latex free. “

After swimming with both fins, I can honestly say I have no real preference between the two of them. They both fit differently, but still comfortably. They both are very effective fins. I choose to purchase the Speedo fins because I liked the look and the fit a little more than that of the Finis fins.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Workouts for the Week of 3/15 Through 3/21

Monday (3/15) - Bare foot aquajogging/pool running in the warm pool. As usual, I mixed in some swimming. About 40 minutes of jogging in the pool and 5x200 plus a 100 at the end, about 18 minutes. Workout felt ok.

Tuesday (3/16) - 20 minutes on the exercise bike at LA Fitness. Not my favorite place to ride. I don't really care for the exercise bike. They hurt my ass. Once off the bike I did PT and strength work. Did my usual PT exercises, plus 4x10 woodchop on each side with the 6lbs medicine ball, 5x10 squats with 30 sec hold after each, and 3x80 crunches.

Wednesday (3/17) - Here is the Masters swim group workout. Fast with a lot of rest.
200 fr
100 pull
100 nf
4x50 drill
100 kick
12x50 fast 40 sr
200 ez pull
8x50 fast 30 sr
200 ez pull
4x50 fast 20 sr
300 ch cool
Total Yards = 2600 (about 60 minutes)

Thursday (3/18) - 75 minute bike workout. Looked a little something like this
6x2 minute in a big gear with 60 sec ez between
6x90 seconds in a bigger gear with 30 sec ez between
6x30 seconds in a even bigger gear with 60 sec ez between
Cool down

Friday (3/19) - Friday's Master's Workout
200 fr
150 dr
4x30 second vertical kick hard while holding onto the wall. After each 30 second do a 50ez
4x50 pull
6x225, after each 225 get out of the pool and jog the two pools. Fun Fun
2x100 kick ez
2x100 pull
50 ez
Total Yards = 2550 (Time about 60 minutes)

Saturday (3/20) - Got up and went to Gear West. Just me and Curt spinning. He put in the video "What it Takes". We watched the "spin" version, which is basically a cut down version of the documentary to music. That was about 50 minutes of constant medium paced spinning. Then did one of the Spinervals, I think it might have been Spinervals 29, it was about 35 minutes long. It consisted mainly of doing two 6x1 minute sets, where you spun 10 seconds as hard as possible and 50 seconds ez. So, did a total of 85 minutes at Gear West. In the afternoon I then did another 90 minutes at a constant medium to medium hard pace with a cool down at the end. On Saturday did a total 175 minutes and it felt pretty good. This is the most time I have put in on the bike on a day in about 16 month

Sunday (3/21) - Did the usual Fartleks around Lake of the Isles with Jackie. We alternated 3 lightposts at a jog and 2 lightposts at walk. I felt ok. It took about 35 minutes.

Swim Yardage for the week: 6150 yards
Swim Time for the week: 2.25 hours
Bike Time for the week: 4.5 hours
Run (jog) Time for the week: 0.58 hours
Aquajog Time for the week: 0.67 hours
PT and Strength Time for the week: 0.42 hours
Total Time of the week: 8.42 hours

Went over 8 hours for the week, and almost 8.5. Put in 4.5 hours on the bike for the week, which has to be the most I have put in very long time.
My only concern this week, I am writing this on Tuesday the 23rd, is that there is some ache in my left leg, which I have had before. The ache is general. Some pain by the ankle and some up around the knee. There is also some occasional pain around the stress fracture area, not associated with anything in particular, just pops up now and then. I am not going to jog until later in the week and only if there is no pain. See what this week brings.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Workouts for the Week of 3/8 through 3/14

Monday (3/8) - Same as last Monday morning, except a little more aquajogging than last week. 41 minutes of aquajogging in the "hot" pool. I would do 200s every 10 minutes or so and a 100 pull at the end for a total of 900 yards in about 18 minutes. Total workout time for the day was 59 minutes.

Tuesday (3/9) - The usual Tuesday workout. Did 27 minutes of PT and strength work. PT exercises focus on core strength and lower body, and improve my mechanics for running. Then did some strength work. Strength work was 4x80 crunches, some planks (also part of PT), Did 4x10 squats with about 20 second hold in squat position between each set. Added some lunges, no weight, just lunging.
Before PT and strength, got on the bike for about 37 minutes. Tried to hold pace about 90+rpm and go steady.

Wednesday (3/10) - Master's swim workout, goes a little something like this (like last Wednesday, it was kind of an ass kicker):
200 fr
100 dr

100 k
6x50, build odd, even ch
1500 broken with a jog around both pools after each, time includes jog time.

Broken down like this:
500@10:00 with jog finished about 8:00
400@8:00 with jog about 6:45
300@6:30 with jog about 5:45
200@4:15 with jog about 4:00
100@2:45 with jog about 2:25
200 pull cool
Total yards = 2400 (about 50 minutes)
I was pretty tired after this workout

Thursday (3/11) - 70 minute bike workout. Broken down like this:

3x30 sec 42x15 gear @ 30sr
4x20 sec hard 53x15 gear @ 40sr
1 min ez spin
10x1 killer minutes, hard effort (90-100%) in gear of choice. @ 1 min rest
2 min ez spin
10 min steady tempo keep at 100rpm or more
2 min ez spin
6x20 sec sprint with 53x15 gear @ 40sr
cool down

Friday (3/12) - Master's swim:

2x25 scull
2x50 build
2x25 tarzan
2x30 second vertical kick
Dan had a square drawn on board with 12 different options, wanted us to pick tic-tac-toe from the workouts. Pick across, down, etc. Basically, build your own workout. The order of mine went like this: 400, 250, 500, 125, 75, 50 25, 175, 100, 225, 150, 25ez. Ends in "0" smooth, if ends in "5" fast
Total Yards = 2600 (Time about 60 minutes)

Saturday (3/13) - Gear West Spin Group. Curt put in Spinervals 33, "Cave of Pain" or "Pain Cave". Did the Spinerval DVD plus a little in the beginning and a little at the end for a total of about 70 minutes. After the spin I went for a short and easy jog in the area of Gear West and that lasted about 23 minutes. After that, when I got back to Jackies, we went for about a 3mi walk around Lake of the Isles. I did not include the walk in my workout. It was just a nice and easy walk around the lake. Beautiful weather.

Sunday (3/14) - Jackie and I did easy Fartleks around Lake of the Isles (about 3 miles), just like last weekend. We did the walk two lamposts and easy jog two lamposts. The last couple we did faster than jog, closer to a run. Total time around the lakes was the same as last week, about 37 minutes. Felt ok. Later in the day I got on the trainer for about 70 minutes. I was on and off the aerobars and I was trying to maintain a constant pace. Felt pretty good. Weather was beautiful on Sunday.

Swim Yardage for the week: 5900 yards
Swim Time for the week: 2.1 hours
Bike Time for the week: 4.1 hours
Run (jog) Time for the week: 1 hour
Aquajog Time for the week: 0.68 hours
PT and Strength Time for the week: 0.45 hours
Total Time of the week: 8.3 hours

I was able to put in over 8 hours for the week. Hooray!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Workouts for the Week of 3/1 through 3/7

Monday (3/1) - Morning Master's with a twist from Kris. 35 minutes of aquajogging in the "hot" pool. There are two pools, the main pool with 8 lanes that is generally cooler than the pool I aquajogged in, which is 6 lanes. The 8 lane pool is the pool everyone swims in. After 35 minutes of straight aquajogging, I did 100 yards of aquajogging and 200 yard build swim. Did it a total of three 200s in that time and did 100 cool down at the the end. So about 15 minutes of swimming, 700 yards, plus 45 minutes of aquajogging.

After swimming went to see my physical therapist. To start out with, as usual, she tested my hip flexibility which was right where it should be. The only time it was poor was my first appointment, after doing the PT work for a couple weeks and coming back, my flexibility has been just fine. She had me walk down the hall and noticed I strike on the left side of my foot. She suggested trying running shoes with heal stability. She gave me a list of shoes and when I go buy new shoes, hopefully soon, I will try a pair. We then went over all the PT exercises I do to make sure I am doing them correctly. Some I need some tweaking of my positioning. All exercises involve engage my core and using more of my butt muscles and hamstrings. She gave me a couple more new exercises and away I went. I count the PT appoint as about 20 minutes of PT and strength work.

Tuesday (3/2) - Did 30 minutes of PT and strength work. PT exercises focus on core strength and lower body, and improve my mechanics for running. Then did some strength work. Strength work was 3x80 crunches, some planks (also part of PT), Did 3x10 squats with about 20 second hold in squat position between each set. Also did low squat holds, using a broom between a doorway to hold position, as part of PT.

After PT and strength work, got on the bike, on trainer for 35 minutes of medium, medium-easy, easy riding. My trainer is so terrible. Cannot wait for a new one.

Wednesday (3/3) - Master's swim workout, goes a little something like this (it as something of an ass kicker):
150 fr
150 nf
2x25 scull
8x50@1:00 (each one in on about 0:42)
4x100@1:45 (each one in on about 1:28)
6x50@0:55 (each on in on about 0:43)
4x100@1:40 (each on in on about 1:29)
4x50@0:50 (each on in on about 0:45)
300 pull cool
Total yards = 2550 (about 50 minutes)
I was pretty tired after this workout

Thursday (3/4) - 60 minute bike workout, medium to medium-hard pace at times. 10-15 minutes in the middle of the workout doing isolated leg training (ILT), alternating left and right leg pedaling to workout deadspots.

Friday (3/5) - Master's swim:
200fr, 100k, 100ch
6x50 build
6x200 at 90% and smooth, after each 200 got out of the pool and jog around both pools. The jog is probably about 100 yards or so. Dan noted I was limping, eventhough I was not in pain. Might have been tight hamstrings, or the fact I am baby and don't like running in barefeet, or something mental to do with my leg.
pull@1:45, did them on about 1:40
Total Yards: 2600 (about 60 minutes)
Doing 200s, getting out of the pool and jogging, and alternating like that is always tiring. There is something satisfying about the workout. Call me crazy

Saturday (3/6) - Gear West Spin Group. Coach Kris lead it. I probably will not get the workout totally correct, but this was about it:
Warm-up, then 15 minute tempo alternating 1 minute in aero-position in 53x15/18 gear and a minute in 53x12 gear. After that, get off bike and do planks. I think we did 5 planks. Hold each one for a minute and then rest 1 minute.
Get back on bike, do some easy, and do a 10 minute tempo. This is where I get fuzzy. I think the 10 minute tempo was, the first part was the same, 1 minute in aero-position in 53x15/18, and I think the next minute was 53x12 out of the saddle.
Get off bike after 10 minute tempo and do wall sits. At least I did wall sits, other guys (there was total of 4 of us, including Kris), did some vertical jumps. I stayed away from the jumps to protect the leg. I did 3x30 second wall sits with 30sr between each. Get on bike and go easy for a little.
Then go 5 minute tempo, do not remember breakdown. After 5 minute tempo there was a short easy, and then final set. Final set was 20 seconds super-spin (about 110rpm), 10 second slow down and shift to 53x12, out of saddle sprint for 30 seconds, 60 second easy, and repeat 5 times total. Then cool down.
As usual, spin group kicks my ass, but feels great. This workout was about 70 minutes long.

Sunday (3/7) - Sunday's workout felt surprisingly good. Especially after having a bunch of people over to my place, having a few drinks, going to bed late, and not sleeping in. Jackie and I went around Lake of the Isles (about 3 miles). We would light jog/jog between two lightposts, and then walk the next two light posts. We did this all the way around the lake. It took about 37 minutes. It was a good workout. No leg pain. It is going to take awhile to get back to actually running, once I can. Just jogging feels so strange.

Swim Yardage for the week: 5850 yards
Swim Time for the week: 2.1 hours
Bike Time for the week: 2.6 hours
Run (jog) Time for the week: 0.61 hours
Aquajog Time for the week: 0.75 hours
PT and Strength Time for the week: 0.67 hours
Total Time of the week: 6.7 hours

Thursday, March 4, 2010

February Update, Year Update, Update Update

I am kind of stealing this from the Tundra Transition Zone blog, the idea of updating my monthly training stats. I looked at his blog and saw it, liked it, now I am going to use it. Isn't that what blogging is all about? I am also going to try and provide weekly workout updates. See if I can take the time on Sundays to summarize the weeks worth of workouts.

I am going to put data in the blog as an image from Excel. Easier that way for now. Until I learn how to embedded a portion of an Excel spreadsheet in the blog.

Obviously, my run time has gone way down, due to the stress fracture. For not running, my total time for the month is pretty good. This time does not include PT and strength training, which is anywhere from 1-4 hours a month. This is a lot more than previous years. I am doing the PT to get my run mechanics improved, hopefully, and the strength to help the weak leg, improve my core, and substitute for running. Swim volume is way, way, up. Which is expected since I have been swimming morning Masters 3 days a week for almost a year now. Bike could be higher, I was out of town the last 2 weekends in Feb and that is usually when I get a good 1-2 hours each weekend.
Nothing in Feb 2007 because I did not start training in 2007 until March. 2006 I kept no training log, it was my first year.

I traveled for work in January so I missed some swimming, otherwise my YTD 2010 swim would be about 25%-30% higher. The grand totals start in March of 2007 and are updated through Feb. This month, March, I am aquajogging on Monday mornings, per Coach Kris's March training plan, with a little swim mixed in. I don't count the aquajogging as running in my log. So my swim yards and time will go down, but I am getting the time in.
So, that is how things total up at the moment. I feel pretty good, in general. Still wish I could run, run. My run now is more of a jog/walk, but that is all I allowed to do, so that is all I do.