Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Losing weight and VO2 Max

Well tonight at the Lansing Marathon clinic I was expressing to Owen my belief that at my age and desire to put in training hours, that my biggest weapon in gaining speed in competitive endurance events was to simply lose weight. I could spend thousands of dollars on an expensive wheel set for a triathlon...or I could lose weight. Immediately he said,
     "Well of course you're right. What two things happen when you lose weight to increase your competitiveness?" he asked me.
I didn't really have an answer but I was thinking that losing weight is good because when you don't have as much weight to cart around over 140.6 miles you'll go faster. I didn't really say that because I wasn't prepared for his question anyway. That is what I've thought of since the encounter. He answered:
     "First of all your running economy will be better", (kind've what I was getting at initially).
     "And secondly what?" He asked.
So I really didn't know. I said nothing. He said,
      "Your VO2 Max goes up. Not absolute, but relative VO2 Max."
I've actually done VO2 Max tests on my cross country teams in the past and thought about the merits of doing that kind of thing so I actually knew a little about what he was saying. I guess being a coach you don't always care about the why of things if you know they work, but it really is nice to have the why of things explained once in awhile. What it comes down to is: it's been a long time since I've had a coach and I'm looking forward to running this marathon with my daughter.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hill Training and "The Bounce"

Every Wednesday rolls around and I'm so happy to go to this Lansing Marthon running clinic hosted by Owen (Anderson). Probably part of it is I get to run by him some of the things I've picked up along the way about running and have them challenged by someone who is so respectful. Every teacher and coach says things "as if they were truth" when in reality they can actually be things that are wrong or not as correct as they could be. One thing that I learned about running in a cross country camp from my high school days was the idea of "running tall". Basically the concept is one of running economy. Should you lean a bit or be straight up and down right above your legs. The whole "Good Form Running" plus all the other various incarnations of this movement seem to indicate that there should be a lean. I was taught and consequently teach that people should run tall keeping their bodies squarely over their power plant...their legs. Also that they should run evenly    and not waste energy moving up and down too much. In contrast, Owen talks about taking advantage of elastic energy when running and he says to bounce a bit in your stride. I was resisting the bounce. However he went on to explain that it takes advantage of energy that involves your muscles contracting and expanding naturally during running as opposed to willing your muscles to do the same thing which would interfere with economy. In the end, accepting that the bounce was a good thing versus a suspect thing was one item I came away with from tonight and I feel blessed to have such a kind coach. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Snowboarding as "cross-training"

photo by Linda
Well I don't know how triathlon specific snowboarding is but pretty much that's what I have been doing this winter as I have been for several years chaperoning for my kid's school ski/snowboard club. I'd say I do it to stay in shape but really I just do it because I like snowboarding and it affords me a chance to be around my kids in a non-intrusive way. This picture is from the season-end trip to Crystal Mountain Resort. Very fun this year in light of the freaky weather in Michigan where, on one hand you had "no snow" and the other..."emergency conditions". Some of the BEST snowboarding of my life this past weekend. Note the homage to Roald Amundson with the Norwegian Flag sticker on my snowboard.
Northern Michigan is beautiful! photo by Linda