Tuesday, September 6, 2016

It's time

So I've had this blog site for quite a long time... I have not, however utilized it as of resent. I have gone through a lot of changes in the past few years and now my focus and future are coming back into clear view. What's different?

  1. My current venture as the Managing Partner of RunAbout Sports Roanoke is doing great and we are growing and gaining traction within the Valley more and more with every passing month.
  2. I have an absolutely beautiful fiancee' that I adore and love... I enjoy doing everything with her. She is my rock and is so encouraging that I find strength in her love of me daily. 
  3. After some time away my training has become structured, consistent, and hyper-focused on attaining the goals I have set before me for the remainder of this year and beyond. 

So with all of that I believe it is time for me to once again reflect on the things that are going on in my life... mainly in one of the three categories listed above in future posts.

Hopefully you already know what RunAbout Sports is and made your way out to visit me, Patrick Woodford, or one of the other employees that work there. We all work very hard to make sure that you leave with the best pair of shoes you've ever had for your feet chosen to meet your specific running needs. We are passionate about running and we geek out about it so you don't have to :) Working with Tyler Bowersock as my business partner has been crazy at times and a blast at others. We are like two brothers wrestling with each other and giving each other wedgies while all the time trying to play nice when others (James our other partner @ RunAbout Blacksburg) aren't looking. It has been and will be a worthwhile ride!

Then there is this girl... you will probably get tired of me mentioning her. This is Christy Lilly. My fiancee', my training partner, my biggest cheerleader, and the love of my life. We do everything together and that is just the way we like it. I have had a blast so far between the Blue Ridge Half Marathon, trips to SnowShoe WV, the Boston Marathon, Salsa Dancing at Valhalla Vineyards, the training runs/swims, the walks downtown, finding hidden gems in Roanoke, the kayaking/fishing/hiking/camping trips, and all of the other things we have done this summer. I could not have asked for someone so loving and full of grace to spend my life with. She is absolutely beautiful inside and out. She works just as hard in training as I do and keeps pushing herself to always get better. I love how competitive she is with me about everything... from fighting me to do the dishes, racing me to open the car door for her, and even on all of our runs. Her heart is huge and my heart is full <3 

You all know that I truly enjoy the process of training for an event. Not just training, but training hard and with a purpose. I have had a lot of ups and downs in my success over the past 2-3 years but now I feel I am back on track and am very excited about what the future holds here. I am currently training for IronMan Louisville and even though this is not something that is a big goal for me it is definitely something that is getting me back on track. I have two Half Iron distance races, The Patriots Half and Richmond Rox Half, prior to the IMLOU to get me dialed in before hand so be on the lookout for race reports on these. 

Stay tuned for more reflections, reviews, and reports in the weeks and months to come! Have a great week and #DoWork! 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Periodization Training- Base Phase

It's still cold outside for most of us, but now is the time to stop preparing to train and get to the task of making it happen. By now, you should know what races you are planning on doing and which ones you want to be at your best for. It is time to start increasing the amount of time (volume) you train while beginning to establish the fundamentals of intensity, which include working on speed, force, and overall endurance. This is known as the Base Phase.

The Base Phase can last 8-12 weeks for most athletes on their way to their first peak. In this phase there are three different parts:

  • Base 1- Increasing an athletes workload volume
  • Base 2- Increasing an athletes workload volume and introducing intensity
  • Base 3- Max workload volume with low priority races and/ or priority race specific intensity

Each part of the Base Phase plays a key role in your overall growth and development as you work towards getting ready and being totally prepared for that key race you want to focus on in the months ahead. Without a good solid base, you will struggle with getting the most out of yourself as the levels of intensity increase later on. 

In each Base phase you take two to three weeks to increase the amount of workout time a little each week, usually about a 10% increase, from the week before and follow it up with a week of half of the last week to allow for recovery. Remember the Periodization Training Chart...

An example would be as follows:

  1. Week One- Total hours = 9 hours
  2. Week Two- Total hours = 10.5 hours
  3. Week Three- Total hours = 12 hours
  4. Week Four- Total hours = 6 hours
  5. Week Five- Total hours = 9.5 hours
  6. Week Six- Total hours = 11.5 hours
  7. Week Seven- Total hours = 12.5 hours
  8. Week Eight- Total hours = 6 hours
  9. Week Nine- Total hours = 10 hours
  10. Week Ten- Total hours = 12 hours
  11. Week Eleven- Total hours = 13 hours
  12. Week Twelve- Total hours = 6 hours

In this phase you are going to spend the most time training, but it is necessary to help increase your ability to ramp up your intensity in the next phase. The volume here will help you avoid the risk of injury and maximize your ability to recovery after the harder workouts later on. This for most athletes is the hardest part of their training phase because even though the intensity is still fairly low, the risk of feeling "overtrained" is always present. That is also why it is very important to follow the rule of not increasing the workload by more than 10% from week to week. 

To keep the feeling of being "overtrained" at bay it is critical to obey the recovery weeks. I have several athletes that get to these weeks and all of a sudden feel great again and are anxious to do more that the allotted time. This is a crucial mistake. Remember you feel good during the recovery weeks for a reason and to not rest when it is need will definitely send them over the edge. That is where it is my job as a coach to tell them NO!

If you don't yet have a coach, it is your job to be disciplined and trust your training plan. I promise you will be better off in the long run even if it doesn't feel that way in the moment. The most important thing you can do as an athlete is have a plan and then do your best to stick to the plan.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What is Periodization Training?

So it's January and you are starting to look at the upcoming races and even start putting a few on your calendar as targets to do for the year. You know you want to do well in them so you start thinking about the things you did in the past to get ready, what others have told you they did to get ready, and heck you have even Googled it! But if you are like most weekend warriors you just begin running, biking, and swimming whenever you can for as long as you can and hope for the best on race day.

There is a better way...

That way is Periodization Training. What is this you ask? Well, just like the title states, it is a process of structuring you training into sets of defined periods. All of us train but some us train smarter, not just harder and in Periodization Training the year is divided into periods with each period having a specific focus of what and how to improve certain aspects of fitness while maintaining the gains made in previous periods. It has become the standard among the serious athletes- from the hardcore weekend warrior, the age-grouper, and  all the way to the elite.

In the weeks and months to come I will begin discussing the separate periods within this form of training which include the following-

  • Prep Phase- Endurance training that gets the body used to a daily workload
  • Base 1- The first phase of increasing an athletes workload volume
  • Base 2- The second phase of increasing an athletes workload volume
  • Base 3- Last phase of workload volume 
  • Build 1- Race specific intensity training and focusing on personal limiters.
  • Build 2- Races added in this area to prepare for target races
  • Peak Phase- The workload volume drops in order to achieve maximum recovery 
  • Race- It is now time to put all of your hard work into action!

So right now almost all of my athletes are in the Prep Phase of their training. In this time they are working on getting used to "training." They are to concentrate solely on improving the endurance aspects of their cardiovascular system (heart, blood, lungs) and build up tolerance for training (time in the saddle, time on feet, and non-drowning). There is still Cross-training taking place in this phase including core exercise workouts and even weight training to develop muscle recruitment. Here, everyone is very excited and my main task at this point is to keep everyone calm and patient because the workload is coming and then the intensity. If your not sure how to eat an elephant, just ask a Roanoke Valley Coaching athlete and they can tell you ;)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What Are You Planning For?

The holidays are over and it is now time to kick your training into gear. It's time to throw the tree out the door and replace it with your treadmill or bike trainer and get after it!

By now you already have an idea of what you are looking forward to in 2015 and put it on your training calendar. Go ahead and register for these events if you haven't already because most big races are already excepting registration and the rates will go up soon! By committing to your goal now, you make it official that this is what you are planning for.

So once you have registered, you need to get your plan together on how you are going to work towards your goal. There are several online training plans to help get you started but if you are looking to get a more personalized training plan, look into finding a private coach to help you effectively achieve your goal.

You now have your goal, you have registered for your key race(s), and you even have a coach and/or a training plan to help you achieve your goal! Now it's time to get to work!! As I tell my athletes "The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time" so be patient with your training and little by little you will see progress over time. Make this year a great one by getting it started in the right direction to take your training and racing to the next level and you will be celebrating at the Finish Line before you know it! Happy New Year and good luck!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Jefferson College 5K Race Report- DNF

This weekend I was in action at the Jefferson College 5K and after the previous weekends success I was excited to give it another go. I knew I would be going head to head with my Roanoke Valley Elite teammate, Andrew Parkins. I knew he was going very well and even though I wouldn't beat him I knew I would get a workout in trying to hold onto him for as long as I could.

The beginning of the race... all is well.

After we pre-ran the course and chatted with some others at the start line it was time to go. The gun fired and we were off! I immediately tucked in behind Andrew with the first quarter of a mile on a downhill, we were cruising. We took a left over the Memorial Bridge which was a slight uphill and I was still holding on just fine. As we crested the bridge and headed down the other side, Andrew turned up the pace a bit and I was able to sit tight making our way to the turns leading onto the Greenway. Through the first right turn off the bridge I was good, but as we made the second turn I felt a pop in my left hip that sent a shooting pain up my body! I tried to shake it off going into the left turn on the Greenway and it popped again and this time it continued to hurt! I saw my pace slowly deteriorating and Andrew started moving ahead of me. He started yelling for me to pick it up, but I couldn't. I was broken...

The guy behind me caught up to me as I now was a minute slower than before and I tried to hang on to him just to stay in the top three but the pain became unbearable so I had to stop. Eric Fonville came rolling by and asked me how I was doing... I let him know I was OK and cheered him on. He eventually finished up third overall! Way to go Eric! I continued to walk the course as the rest of the runners came by and cheer them on. I had a lot of friends do really well in the race so I was very happy for them so it was still an awesome day to be out there.

I have had trouble with piriformis syndrome in my hip in the past and I knew that I had just jacked it up pretty good again. Now, I have to take some time off from running to let this calm down and hopefully limit my down time since I am planning on doing the Seashore 50K in mid December. I am still able to bike and swim so we shall see how it goes. I have the Star City Half Marathon in a couple of weeks, but depending on my recovery this may just need to be a large group run. Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Greenway Memory Miler Race Report

Yesterday was my first race back after being away from it for five months. I have gotten my training back on track and was ready to see where my fitness was as I prepare for the Seashore 50K in December.

There weather was a brisk sub 40 degree start and as I lined up I didn't know what to expect. My only goal was to treat the race as a tempo run and try to push a consistent pace. It was great to be lined up again and I was reunited with a lot of friends I had not seen all summer. It was a mass start for both the 4 and 10 mile distances and as we started, my Roanoke Valley Elite teammate, Andrew Parkins, immediately set pace at the front with Ed Dickinson hot on his heels. I knew both of them were running the 4 mile race so I let them go and just worked on keeping to my goal.

Andrew Parkins leading us out!

Settling into a comfortable pace.

So as I settled in I was just under my goal pace for the first mile and at the 4 mile race turn around, to my surprise, I was in the lead! Andrew was blistering to the finish of the 4 mile race, which he won, and cheered me on as we passed each other. I continued to keep my pace right at or below my goal all the way to the 10 mile turn around and as I looked for the second placed runner, I passed Eric Fonville well over a quarter mile behind. I passed another group of two runners a little bit behind him so I kept my pace going. At mile seven I saw Andrew cooling down and asked him if he could see anyone behind me. He said I was all alone so I turned my pace down a bit and cruised it in.

A mile to go and headed in for the Win!
It was a great day for Roanoke Valley Elite, with Andrew and I both winning our races. I am very happy with my unexpected result after such a long time off. The next two months will see me in action almost every weekend (see my training/racing calendar below) leading up to the 50K and then I will get started with my preparations for the 2015 season. With such a long time away, it feels good to be back in my element and I hope to have some more successes in the races to come!

First Place Overall!

Andrew and I pull off the
 RV Elite sweep.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Getting to the Core of the Issue

So October is coming to an end and most of us are looking forward to some well earned rest after a season of racing.  The next two months are a time to relax and do some of the things that you have put off... whether it is chores you have put off, activities on your to do list, or spending time doing nothing at all. No matter how you like to recharge mentally and physically it is important to also not forget that there is another race season coming too.

Now is the time to not only evaluate how this year has gone- did you achieve the goals you set for yourself, were there obstacles that you did not see coming or where not able to plan for, or did you do the consistent work needed to be able to do all that you had set out to do. It is also a time to begin looking forward and starting to preparing for next year- what events do I want to do, what type of training do I need to do to prepare, what obstacles will I have to plan around. All of these things are important to begin evaluating in your mind and within the next couple of months really start developing a plan for success. The good news is that it is still very early so you have time to think it through with no pressure.

Now is also the time that you can begin to get a head start on your competition as you transition into a more low key lifestyle during the winter. That head start begins at the core... your core. I can't preach enough on the importance of putting in the work to developing a strong core! As I have said in previous blogs, your core is where your overall body strength is utilized or lost once the real work begins. Below is a simple list of exercises that can be done in sets of 3-5 with reps between 20-50 each set. These can be done on alternating days this winter and as you get stronger you can do more and be well on your way to get 2015 off to a great start!

Core workout #1

Core workout #2- with equipment

These are exercises that I do and have my circuit classes do in some variation as well. You can also go to http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/workout/exercise.html and scroll down to Find Exercises by Body Part and select abs or lower back for even more, complete with descriptions and videos to help you out.