Friday, September 10, 2010

Training for Power

It's been a long year. This year was HARD! Lots of injuries kept me from training to my full potential. Nearly 6 months without speed work; and what a jinx that is on performance!

Some of you know I had a major back surgery in the spring of 07. My L4-S1 are now for ever fused with titanium rods. Sadly, they are not carbon fiber, as any triathlete would prefer. This has resulted in the loss of mobility/flexibility in the lower back, making my hamstrings prone to tightness and all the fun that goes with that weak link.

I've tried to address this on my own. I purchased a set of Powercranks in 08 and used them faithfully. If you don't know what that is, you should. They force you to pedal each leg independent and pull the crank up/around with your hamstrings. They are beastly! They improved my run times tremendously and made my pedal stroke very smooth on the bike.

In 09, I went to Mercy Sports Rehab. Brent Wesolek did an assessment of my riding and said he had never seen someone pedal so smooth straight out on the Computrainer. I could also keep the watts up pretty decently. The best part was, after suffering nerve damage in my right leg and losing muscle mass-these powercranks worked to even out the difference. There was that and the improved run speed that sold me on them! A smooth pedal stroke is pretty and efficient, but cannot say it made me a much faster rider!

I also religiously practiced exercises/stretches from Karin P.T. at Mercy. She was a God send. She met me more than one occasion at our local health club to go through exercises and always worked for solutions that would really help me move better. This was an area that went beyond triathlon and into my personal life!

So now, the trouble is power/loss of body mass. Last year, my thighs measured 24 inches and I felt strong. This year, 22 inches and FLAT!! I've been eating 125-150 grams of protein per day this year, hoping that with adequate carbs would perk me up. I've lost some body fat, but along with it some valuable muscle. For those of you wondering, currently I'm weighing in at 64 kg. Yep, that is well above the 1.4 gram/kg recommended. I have found I just run better on it. Bonking sucks.

Sateash Berge met with me last Tuesday to discuss a plan to get me back on track. She made it to NPC Jr. Nationals this year and also went to Las Vegas this summer to USA's. For those who don't get that; it is more difficult to get there than Kona for a triathlete! She is awesome. A very positive person and huge in an attractive/feminine way. And very bright to boot!

The goal in working with her here is to improve my weight to power ratio and decrease my risk of injuries. She developed a diet for me that is carb-cycle in nature. After reviewing my diet, she also felt it was important to increase my protein intake significantly. The new goal is 210 grams of protein a day. WOW! The only decrease is on high output days; where it drops back to 150 grams and a higher emphasis on carbs. She promises more sustained energy with this type of diet, because it isn't the yo yo insulin game we often play with carbs.

We will be meeting this next week to work on strength. I look forward to it. She has given me more than a couple of ideas to play with, if only because a bodybuilder's perspective is quite different from our triathlon view. I was a bit hesitant to meet with her initially, because you often get more of the same old same old from trainers. She was not that at all. I will keep you all up to date on my progress!