Tag: review

Running with Power: A Crash Course

I’ve been running with a power meter for several months now. My first impressions were great, but I never went “all in” on training with it… until now.

It’s “off season” which means taking a break from the normal  structure of training, but not from exercise all together. I did take a bit of a break, but a Thanksgiving day Half Marathon is calling my name! For 6 weeks I thought it would be a good idea to train with running power alone and not even look at pace on my training runs. I’ll let you know how it goes after Thanksgiving, but for now, let’s get a bit of a crash course on training with running power.

1. Running Power is not measured same as Cycling Power

This is the first thing you need to understand. Cycling power is now a very mature technology. Almost all power meters for cycling measure direct force (the amount of force you are directly putting into the pedals/crank/rear hub). A Running power meter, however, is a different animal. Most running power meters measure movement or force in a 3 dimensional plane. In other words, not all of your running power is used to propel yourself forward. Side-to-side, up-and-down, and forward motion all add to running power.

This can help us see that as our pace goes down but we go up a hill, there is less forward progress, but we can still measure our work consistently (see next point).  It also tells us that as we bounce or wobble we are using power but not going any faster (see third point!)

2. Running with Power keeps your effort consistent

Many times we get a workout that prescribes running at X pace for X minutes. That is great, but what about going over a hill? What if the course we are running is rolling? Our effort going up the hill will need to increase to keep the same pace, and it will decrease when we are going down the other side. Multiply that by numerous hills on course and you many be spending half the prescribed amount of time in the prescribed zone.

Running power can help us stay on track when we are going over hills. Slow down going up and speed up going down. Too many people slow down running down hill and that only is wasting energy, fighting gravity, and trashing your quads!

3. Running with Power puts more emphasis on form

Form is so vitally important. The goal of a triathlon is not to get from point A to point B as fast as possible. It is to get from point A to point B as efficiently as possible. Efficiency not only makes you faster, but it also helps you go further, faster. As a race progresses, running form usually goes out the window. This is true in straight running races too!

My first run with a power meter opened my eyes to this more than ever before! The longer the run was, the slower I got and the more watts I was putting out. Both bad things!

One workout I found online was a form run where you hold a set wattage and try to up the pace through weeks in form. Something you couldn’t quantitatively measure before without a power meter!

So that is a simple explanation of running with power. A crash course if you will. Obviously pace and great rate are still very important metrics, and running power is still in it’s infancy, but it is a game changer for sure! I’ll be running solely off power until Thanksgiving, and I’ll pace my Half Marathon solely on power. Stay tuned for the results and my thoughts along the way!

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OBX Triathlon Race Report (2017 Half) Part 2- Vacation

Racecation! There is nothing better than combining a vacation to an awesome destination with a race weekend! This is the second year in a row I’ve come to the Outer Banks Triathlon for a racecation. The Outer banks are a great place to vacation, and Outer Banks Sporting Events puts on a great race.

This is part 2 of my “racecation” report. See part 1 for all the details of the race portion of the racecation. Here in part 2, I’ll go over some of the things you should look at when planning a racecation and how things went for us this year!

Timing

This year we decided to arrive a day earlier than we did last year. For a Saturday race we got in to town on Thursday afternoon to give us a half a day to get settled and then a morning to relax and enjoy the beach before focusing on pre-race activities like packet pick-up, naps, dinner, etc. we also back loaded the trip with a few extra days to enjoy the beach and the sights before we had to head back. We prefer back loading the trip instead of front loading it so that we can enjoy time off as a family instead of spending most of the trip thinking about the race that is coming up.

Accommodations 

This year we went with a VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) instead of a hotel. This was the right move. First of all, sharing a hotel room with small children is a nightmare for sleep. Second, being able to cook your own food is a must. I don’t think I’ll do it any other way for a race ever again (I know I know… never say never!) The rule of thumb for a race is to be as comfortable as possible and keep to as close to a normal routine as possible. Being in a house instead of a hotel made a world of difference in that department!

Plan for the worst 

Nothing new on race day is always the biggest rule for an A race. Practice everything! I had everything down and practiced, but I wanted to make doubly sure, so I went for a bike ride in my race gear the day before the race. I’m so glad I did! Somewhere in transit between the bike shop and the beach, one of my tires started to run AND I had a bit of brake rub too! I spent a good 30 to 45 minutes getting that all worked out and went for my ride. On the ride, my power meter was going haywire! Dropping to 0 and then never really getting over 200. S bit of troubleshooting that afternoon and I decided the best thing was to replace the batteries. I didn’t bring any so I went to the grocery store and bought the LAST PACKAGE OF BATTERIES they had that fit my power meter. Altering replacing those and recalibration etc. things were as good as new.

Lessons learned… bring extra batteries (and change them before a big race even if you think you don’t need to). Also, check everything and bring extras. I had a back up plan if my power meter was shot, but it would not have been fun at all. Thankfully I was able to get it all worked out without taking it to the local bike shop. But that’s another lesson: know where the LBS is before you go on your trip!

Unwinding

Like I said, we backloaded our trip with real vacation days after the race. The OBX is a great place for a family to visit! I’ve been going there since I was a little boy and now I get to take my family and keep that tradition alive!

We spent most of our time beaching it up… so basically… spending a hour getting all the kids changed and sunscreen on, loading the car, driving a block to the public beach access, and setting up on the beach. Then we spent about 1 1/2 to 2 hours trying to keep the little ones happy and especially keep the littlest one from eating any sand. It’s great fun!

In all seriousness, we love the beach and even the slight hassle of taking small children to the beach is worth the memories.

We also hit up some of the local restaurants like Sugar Creek Seafood. This one of our favorites… you have got to try the Shrimp and grits! It also have an awesome sunset view over the sound! We also found a sweet little coffee shop that we took a couple of trips to over the weekend. It’s called the Front Porch Cafe and it is wonderful! They roast all the coffee locally and have a wonderful environment to just hand out including a little play area for the kids! Score!!

Obviously the Outer Banks is known for 2 main things: Lighthouses and the Wright Memorial/ Jockey’s Ridge. We spent one afternoon seeing lighthouses and another flying kites at Jockey’s Ridge. Pro tip: park at Kitty Hawk Kites and walk across the road to the park. It’s a long walk if you park at the actual state park parking area. Plus, you can also buy a kite right there if you need it!

Final Thoughts

We had a great trip with the family all around. There is just nothing like going to the beach and enjoying time together, and to add in a race and the fact that it was not peak beach season makes things even better! I hope you have been able to pick up some pointers on planning a racecation and that I’ve inspired you to plan your own. The OBX Triathlon is a great place to start, but any destination race would be awesome to bring your family along and enjoy time together after a successful race!

What are you favorite places to “racecation.” I’d love to hear about it! Hit my up in the comments below or on Twitter!

HotShot Review

Every once in a while, someone in story looks at an age old problem and comes up with an brilliantly unique solution. Example, increased aerodynamics through ditching the traditional double diamond frame shape like Dimond or Ventum bikes. Obviously, only time will tell if these ideas will work out in the long run. Questions abound from the stability, stiffness, and recently even the safety of such designs. There is a reason traditional designers have stood the test of time!

But on the nutritional side of things, the age old dilemma that has plagued about every athlete at one time or another is that of cramping! The team behind HotShot is looking to be that radical solution that challenges the traditional approach to cramping.  Continue reading

Review- Hammer Nutrition Fully Charged

Nutrition is a vital part of any athletic experience. Go to any high school sports practice and see how many athletes will dare chug a soda in front of their coach before practice. I remember my coach telling me to lay off the soft drinks for the entirety of baseball season. Whether we listened or not, that is another story.

But the foundation of all of this is that what you put in your body affects how you perform. do you want to get the best results you possibly can? Then you need to make sure you are fueling your body with the highest quality fuel! And if you want to get your body going before that big race or workout, you may want to try priming the pump. That is where Hammer Nutrition’s Fully Charged Pre-Igniter comes into the picture.  Continue reading

Review- Balega socks

Socks… not something many triathletes spend time thinking about unless it’s under the topic of transition time. Usually the thought is either to wear socks or not to wear socks, and not usually which socks to wear. As must long distance runner know, and triathletes making the jump to long distance find out quickly, your socks matter. That thin layer of fabric separating your shoes and your feet can make or break a long run.

That is where Balega steps in. I’ve been running in these socks since Balega sent me a couple pairs to try out 2 months ago, and honestly… I haven’t even noticed them. And that’s a good thing. A good pair of socks need to disappear when you put them on. And that’s what these socks do! Continue reading

Review: Honey Stinger Waffle

Starting off the New Year we have a review for you! Today we’re taking a look at the Honey Stinger Waffle!

Waffles have been a big hit recently with a number of companies giving their own variation on this great snack. But to really understand them, you need a little history lesson.

The thin, filled cookie-like waffles have their root in the Stroopwafel of the Netherlands. They were originally a snack developed by some bakers in the town of Gouda (yes.. like the cheese) to make use of scraps they had leftover. They are made of two thin wafers with a layer of syrup between. Their popularity grew and eventually grabbed the attention of cyclists to be used as a quick snack while on the road. Today, these snack have taken off and can be found in coffee shops AND bike shops all over the world. Continue reading

Looking ahead in 2017

I just wanted to get some information out there for you guys to know what to expect here in 2017! We’ve got some exciting things in the pipeline, but January is going to be a crazy month for me, so it may be a bit until things get back to normal around the blog. So here’s what to expect:

   1. Reviews- I’ve got some awesome reviews in the pipeline. You may have noticed on Twitter that I’ve been running in some wonderful new socks from Balega. I also have been testing out a set of elastic shoe laces from Riplaces. Those two reviews will be coming up soon! Also in the pipeline are the new wheelset from Profile Design, nutrition from Honey Stinger, among others 🙂

     2. More Racing- I hope to be racing a bit more this year. With a toddler and a new born, we’ll see how that works out, but I’ve got my eye on a few more races this year with less traveling, so that will be a plus!

     3. A Beginner Sprint Triathlon Training Plan- I’ve been working on a new training plan that will launch soon! Make sure you are signed up for my emails (not the ones through WordPress, but the ones directly from me) so that you can have access as soon as it’s out! Use this link or the form in the sidebar to sign up or update your preferences.

     4. More Coaching Articles- This is going to become a bigger focus of mine. I’ve started with the post on pedaling drills and the technical side of riding with a power meter. But keep your eye here for some more training articles as the season progresses!

What else would you like to see from my this year? I want to write things you’re interested in! Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!

Review- The Triathlete’s Training Bible 4th Ed.

For this edition of Friday Reviews I wanted to drop a quick not on a book I just finished: The Triathlete’s Training Bible 4th Ed.

     The big selling point for this book is that it is totally revamped with the latest in sports science. Joe Friel even states in the preface that some of the things he says in this latest edition CONTRADICTS some of the information in the older editions. He talks about that in-depth in the intro and how readers of his blog would be up in arms about things he would write that contradict older info in his books.

     The basic reason for this is that as sports science gains better information and studies either prove or disprove long held training philosophies then the athletes and coaches training should reflect that to a degree. Fitness is always a moving target and the more we learn about the human body, the better we can hit that target at the right time for our “A Race.”

Continue reading

Trisports University Post: NiteRider Review

I like to let me readers know when something I’ve written is published other places. So here you go!

Over at Trisports University I just got a review posted of the NiteRider Lumina 950 Boost and Sentinel 150 lights. I don’t want to simply paste what I wrote there, but think of this as more of a cliff notes version of the full review.

First of all, let’s explain what these are. The Lumina 950 is NiteRider’s newest bike light for road bikes. It replaces the 800 model. The 950 and the 800 actually stand for the brightness of the light at it’s highest capacity, so obviously the biggest improvement in the 950 is an extra 150 lumens of brightness.

The Sentinel 150 is a tail light with daylight visibility flash for extra daytime visibility. The biggest standout factor of this unit is the laser lanes it can project on either side of your bike. This gives you a virtual lane you can ride in as if there were an actual bike lane on the road.

My conclusion at the end of the review is all great! These lights are bright and durable. You really can’t ask for more than that. Head over to the review at Trisports University to get all the details and my thoughts on the various features in the units. Then buy yourself a set! They are on sale right now, and if you want a 20% off code, just let me know in the comments, on twitter, or using the contact form!

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