Ironman Training Day 1: Hard to Swim With No Goggles

Preseason
Week 1
Day 1: Swim

So I took time this weekend to analyze the preseason workout that will help me establish some numbers to use as goal setting and planning. I went through and shifted certain days around to make it work better for me. I went through and studies various videos about technique work for swimming and the drills I would be incorporating.

I was prepared.

Or so I thought.

I took my Advocare Catalyst and Rehydrate before leaving for the Y. I double checked for my Y card and my towel and my workout card I wrote up.

I was ready.

Or so I thought.

I pull up to the Y and grab my things and then at that moment I realized I had no goggles. I overlooked the most essential swimming piece of equipment.

I had to figure out what to do as I had on some slip on shoes. I was not going to go home and return. I was not going to go home and run and no way am I ready to jump on the bike.

Instead I made the most of the situation. Friday was to be my rest day or a day to lift. I decided to lift today and use Friday as one of my swim days instead.

I hit up some weights for chest, shoulders, arms, lats, and core. I was in and out in about 25 minutes. No messing around.

My first day did not go quite as planned. This was just a small test. One test of about a thousand that will come my way.

I will be trying again tomorrow morning for the run. I won’t forget my shoes!

One a side note I did weigh myself in. Surprisingly I have lost a few pounds since a week or so ago. I have put on some weight. I then went back and checked the records and one month ago I was weighing the same. One year ago I was 8 lbs less. Crazy to think that a year ago I was weighing less than my triathlon training days. This just goes to show that my eating habits have not improved which is the main focus to my return.

I locked in the weight on my data sheet. I snapped a few pictures of my body(gross) and will forward to the progress. I did this with my triathlon training. It was amazing to compare pictures because I don’t notice things as I live in the body, but to view images each month you can see the progress.

Tomorrow I have a nice slow easy level 2 run for 40 minutes. If anyone is up for a run let me know otherwise I will be running solo with my iPod.

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Racing Weight – Reading Reflections: Chapter 3

Chapter 3 deals with Tracking Your Progress

One of the key things that I thought was essential was the idea of keeping a food journal. He shares one study that shows that overweight people who kept a food journal lost 2x as much weight opposed to when they did not log.

It is amazing how much tracking your food helps you stay focuses. It is amazing how many times I casually grazed by the food pantry or snack sitting out at school and grabbed a little of this or that. That all adds up. I am keeping a food log for P90X. I am not counting calories so to speak(I could, but I am not). Instead I am tracking portions. P90X has you eating a lot of food which is good. This is a lifestyle changer. I am not dieting. Instead I am changing my approach to what I eat. Snacks are the hardest part for me. The time period from 6:00 – 9:00 at night is so hard because I am so used to grabbing food and sitting and reading or watching college basketball. I cannot do that now. I slipped up on Day 2 and ate a Sundae and it instantly made me sick to my stomach. I am already adapting(slowly), but my body will soon no longer crave my bad habits.

There are three variable relevant to reaching my goals
1. Body weight and composition
2. Calories consumed
3. Calories consumed

There was some interesting reading about weighing yourself. It is suggested to only weigh yourself once a week. I weigh in every morning after my morning workout, but I do that to gauge my workout and how thing are progressing. The key here is not to get obsessed with day to day influx of the numbers. You should be more concerned about every week or even every 4 weeks. Don’t get obsessed with the numbers.

A couple of tips for weighing yourself
1. Measure same time of day using same location and scale
2. Stay well hydrated
3. Use the bathroom before weighing in
4. moisten a towel for conductivity to check body fat %

As mentioned before I am not going to calculate calories. I am using the portion approach of P90X which has you go through some more calculations. It determined that I am the highest level (three) so I need 3000 calories a day. The crazy thing is that it does not really matter what method I use because I used the number crunching in Racing Weight to determine my calories need in a day and it came out to 3022. I am right on target for both my Racing Weight and P90X.

1. The first thing I had to go was determine my BMR or Basal Metabolic rate which is calories burned at rest. I went to www.bmi-calculator.net to determine that my BMR is 2222.72

2. I then had to calculate my calories burned through activities. I wore a pedometer for day to see what this would come out to. I did wear my pedometer during my basketball practice as this is something that I typically don’t do outside of the short season. I wore it from 7 to 2:30. I took 7,000 steps and burned 300 calories according to my pedometer.

3. Last I had calculate my calories burned during workouts. I workout at least 5 days a week and this will pick up to six days here soon. I took an average of my running(not the long runs) and weightlifting and came up with 500

You throw these numbers together and you have 3022. This is a rough figure and give or take depending on my day and my workout, but it places me right on track with my current plan of attack to get to my OPW.

You never know what is possible until you try

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Racing Weight – Reading Reflections: Chapter 2

Chapter 2 was the big chapter for me so far. It was my A-HA moment where I am able to establish some goals and calculate the numbers I should be aiming for. The title is “How To Determine Your Optimal Weight”. I will tell you upfront that I was going into thinking that it was going to tell me to drop 20-30 lbs and be something so extreme that I would have no chance in heck of ever achieving. I finished the chapter excited and motivated with support to prove that my goals are realistic and smart.

To start with I should define Optimal Performance Weight – weigh associated with your highest athletic performance level. When I completed the Chicago Urbanathlon in October I was at 215 lbs. I was in the best shape of my life. I had more in my tank when finishing and still ran way faster than my goal time. I remember how great I felt at that level and that was at a time when I was training hard and just eating smartly based on some light reading.

With body weight you have to be careful because body composition is just as important as body weight. Dieting to cut weight may get you to the desired wight, but at what cost? Is your body undernourished because you are cutting calories way back? Do you have higher body fat because of cutting calories back so far that the body begins to store fat because food is not coming in enough? Is your diet something that you can continue with forever. Is it a life habit? Don’t get caught up with just cutting weight. In the later chapters there is emphasis on goals. Your goals should be your main priority and losing weight just a natural result from the handwork.

Another very important thing to remember is that Optimal Performance Weight cannot be determined perfectly. It is not a definitive calculation. It provides you with a ballpark figure. You will never really know your OPW until you have achieved it.

Using BMI is not ideal. I am so glad to read this. I hate BMI. According to BMI I am overweight. If you know me you know I am not overweight by any means. To prove the error of BMI the Normal Range of an 5’5” person can be anywhere from 114 lbs to 150 lbs? Is that not nuts. There is a major difference in 114 compare to 150.

A rhetorical question that crept up in my mind while reading holds so true in so many ways, “Why is it that about everyone you know and ask know exactly  what weight they WANT to be, but have no knowledge as to why that weight is good and healthy?”


There was a study shared that showed that 64% of body fat % is inherited and 36% comes from our lifestyles. May or may not be surprising to you, but for you to have a 36% affect on your body fat is huge because we all know we come in a variety of shapes and sizes that we have no control over. However, our actions do play an important role.

You never know what is possible until you try. I read this and decided to keep this as my motto for the year so get used to this one showing up all the time.

You won’t know your OPW until you have achieved it. This backs up my motto from above. You will never know what you are capable of until you try. I never thought I could run 13 miles a year ago, but as I set out for smaller goals I realized that I could do it and I did it well.

As you track yourself it is important to track both body weight and body fat %. You will also need to perform Performance Tests to gauge yourself and your results. For me it is running so I need to perform a performance test of 10 km to gauge my time, weight, and fat %. I need to perform at 95% of my maximum effort. I will do this first test on Saturday when I have time and weather permitting as I will have to go outside. I will continue to test every 4 weeks.

To determine my OPW I had to weight myself. My scale does weight, body fat %, and water weight. Based on the chart in the book for my age group(30-39) my weight of 223.8 and 22.5 % body fat(my original weight for P90X was 224.4 but I lost some weight in a couple days) placed me at the bottom 30th percentile meaning that my body fat % is only better than 30% of people in my age group. Now he does state that the people who volunteered for the study are in better shape than the average American, but this still ticked me off. This was my eye opener and further motivation to move up these charts. Because I was so low I had to set a goal of only moving up 5 levels(which frustrated me). So my goal is to get my body fat % to 18.2% placing me at the 55%tile category.

Next was to determine my weight. I have the fat % figured out and now the weight. I had to find my current lean body mass which was 173.445. You figure this out by taking current body weight and multiplying by lean body mass % (223.8 x .775(100 – 22.5)) = 173.445

Once you figure that out then you take your lean body mass and divide by optimal lean body mass percentage.

173.5/.818 = 212 lbs

So there you have it. My goal is to get down to 212(three lbs less than my last race) and a body fat of 18.2%

I think this P90X workout will be a good start to shed some weight and fat and when I crank up my running in March I think I will be at my OPW for my races.

This is long post, but this was a huge chapter. By now you should be considering your goals and plans to accomplish them. If I can crank out these numbers, you can obtain your goals.

You never know what is possible until you try

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Racing Weight – Reading Reflections: Chapter 1

I am reading way ahead and not posting my reflections fast enough. A few days ago I posted my learning from the introduction. This post will cover chapter 1.

To start with I was reminded that form and function are closely related. For example, body weight, lean muscle mass, body fat %, body mass distribution, and body fat distribution all affect performance. There is more to performance than just cutting weight. There are many factors and changes that need to occur correctly for it to be successful.

This chapter also discusses the different body types of endurance athletes. It was very obvious that my genes are not designed to be an endurance athlete except maybe being a rower which I have never done in my life. The last time I checked I am not 5’7” weighing in at 130 lbs to be cyclist. I just have to laugh at this because that was my size in like 5th grade.

Another important fact that I took away was that a body weight increase of 5% reduces performance 5% in a 12 minute test run. I know there is truth to that when I ran 3 miles yesterday. My heart rate was pushing 180+ for about half the run and I was not moving that fast. With the help of some great people on Twitter I know that my target heart rate zone for a good workout is 85% of my maximum heart rate. I had to do so more math(this book has me crunching all types of numbers)

Thanks to Courtney0037 on Twitter I know that to calculate my max hr I need to take 220 and subtract my age (30) which gives me the number 190….I know I am so good at math. Do I get a sticker?

85% of 190 is 161.5. I was really pushing things yesterday. I state all this because I have gained quite a bit of weight since my final race in October. I gained more than 5% and I am feeling the effects big time(plus I am way out of shape)

Another positive to shedding fat is that athletes can go faster with overheating.  Hence the reason those little people who weigh around 100 lbs with no fat whatsoever can just run and run and run and run and run……

I am loving all this learning. It is helping to really understand what I am doing in my training and nutrition. I am becoming aware of things that I never even considered.

Until the next chapter reflection what are you doing to help yourself learn more about obtaining your goals that you have set for yourself?

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Racing Weight – Reading Reflections: Introduction

I have finally started to read Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald  after blogging about this book for a long time now. I  am already into a few chapters, but thought I would post my thoughts piece by piece to help me reflect on my reading and to not burden you with super long posts.

This post will focus on the introduction

Early on it asks the question about setting out to run with less weight. I have been there. Last year I dropped some weight (final weigh in was 215) and it was amazing how much easier the running was as I shed some unwanted weight. It is such a relief to the joints and I felt like I had a little spring to my step. I need to get back to that point and this book will help.

Endurance athletes struggle with body weight just like the average Joe. We all have our own weight issues and it is just different for each person based on their goals and expectations, but in the end we all want what is best. Some go about it the right way and some don’t.

I was blown away by the following fact and this fact alone is what prompted me to buy the book. A runner weighing 160 lbs uses 6.5% more energy to run the same pace as a 150 lb man. That is such a great fact. It is important for me to find my proper weight and get there in a healthy manner. Eating is everything I am learning as I have worked to improve my diet for the P90X training. It is expensive to eat healthy, but hopefully in the end it is worth it.

Our modern lifestyle has created laziness and an excess of caloric intake. Just take a look at how easy it is to get food and how large portion sizes have become. Quite disgusting(in my opinion) if you actually take time to think about it. We don’t work hard for food and we don’t move that much anymore.

Low carb diets are bad for endurance athletes. You need the energy to keep striving for goals. It is important to learn what to eat and when.

The key is to line up training, nutrition, and lifestyle habits to send body consistent message.


As I continue to read this book and start my training with P90X and some base running I will work on the 5 Step Plan provided in this book and track my results here on the blog.

5 Step Plan
1. Improve my diet quality
2. Balance Energy Sources
3. Time my nutrition
4. Manage my appetite
5. Train right.

Until next time………

Make your plans and goals. Start small and work towards the big picture.



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