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Diet Periodization

Timing Food Intake with Training

Periodization is a very common word for many athletes.  You hear it used throughout the year as training schedules are being built in their varying macro, micro and meso cycles, and you will hear them celebrated when a diligently thought out and designed training plan leads to great improvements in athletic ability and massive success in event day performance. One very large part of this important periodization that is often overlooked is the periodization of your nutrition.  In the coming paragraphs, we will discuss diet periodization and how our training impacts our body’s substrate utilization and how it can change from one training block or from one event to the next.

In the last 20+ years, the importance of carbo-loading and carbohydrate fueling has been pounded into our heads.  Even though the utilization of carbohydrates is very high,increased levels of intensity does not mean that we continually need to be on an IV drip of drink mix or the latest, greatest, snot-consistency, carbohydrate bolus available.

Transition/Base

This is an optimal time to cut weight if you want to do so for the next season, big goal event or simply because.  Unfortunately, this time tends to fall during the holiday season for many athletes and, because of this, many athletes gain weight.

Diet with ExerciseConsider a ketogenic diet during this time phase of your training.  With energy expenditure in workouts low and the intensity levels even lower, this high protein/high fat diet can quickly lead to weight loss because of the calorie deficit that is often associated with the increased satiety levels that higher protein levels can create. Bottom line: you’ll be feeling full longer and over-eating less.

Build/Intensity

During this phase of training an athlete’s intensity level generally increases.  A higher focus is placed on workouts at or above threshold and the body’s demand for carbohydrates increases as well.

This is where the controversy comes in and part of the decision depends upon what your goals are, the type of event you are participating in, and where exactly your training intensity will be.  The majority of our culture in sport, much like the general population, is very carbohydrate centered.  Walk into your local bike shop or running store and look at the number one ingredient on nearly all of the products.  It is some form of sugar.  

The other extreme is a ketogenic based diet.  With any high intensity exercise, the true definition of ketogenic is ingesting a maximum of 60 calories a day from carbohydrates.  Typically, the breakdown of your nutrient intake would look something like this: 5% carbohydrates, 15% protein and 80% fat.  

Shifting your caloric intake to a more carbohydrate dominant focus (50% or greater) during this time to see results as your boost your training into a higher gear.

Taper

Taper is the time period in which you scale back on your training to allow time for your body to recover just before your goal event. Whatever you do right now, do not cut your caloric consumption to go into a caloric deficit/weight loss phase.  It is a common fear of many athletes to gain weight before their big day.  Many athletes panic during this time because the exercise volume can, and, in most cases should, decrease.  If athletes are subject to this frenzy (while it is semi-logical,) caloric intake is cut and puts that athlete into a deficit. This deficit deprives the body of the fuel it needs for the most important event of the year.

To overcome this, you can do several things.  Have a resting metabolic rate test performed to track your resting metabolic rate.  For any weight-conscientious person, this can provide a very accurate baseline of what your body needs daily to sustain life.  With this information, along with the increase in accuracy of heart rate monitors, as well as power meters, you can fine tune caloric intake for each day based on actual workloads.

Your main takeaway for taper nutrition should be this: maintain a similar percentage of carbohydrate, fat and protein consumption, but decrease caloric intake to account for decrease in training load expenditure.

Race

The big day has arrived and our advice is pretty straight forward. “Do not change anything on race day!”  You should have practiced your pre-, during and post-race nutrition time and time again for the event.  After weeks and months of training, you should know what works for you, what your body is able to digest effectively, and the amount of calories and fluid you need to intake for a successful day.  Deviation from this could, and should, only be altered if elements are so incredibly different from what was expected what you trained in.

 

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What is Periodized Training?

It is that time of the year, our favorite time of the year! No, not hunting season… event selection season! You have come up with so many different ideas and narrowed it down to high A and B priority races and maybe a training event here and there. Your training is about to get into full swing, and that means it’s time to consider periodization. As athletes, you may have never heard of a periodized training plan.

Many times we hear about the more common phases of training.

Transition – During this time period, many athletes take time off of their main Training Plan for Runnerssport(s), shift focus or even take time completely off from exercising.  This break can last anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months but is helpful in regenerating excitement to train, pick the direction of the next training block and even allow many to catch up on the things that were neglected around the house while hours of training were being logged in the evenings and on weekends.

Build/Intensity – Dependent upon the time available from training inception to event date, this could be broken down into two separate categories or could be lumped into one portion.  This is where volume and/or intensity will increase to improve your fitness and strengthen your weak spots.

Taper – The taper period can be as few as several days or many weeks.  An athlete’s training load decreases during this time to allow for optimal freshness and peak performance come event day.

Race – It’s show time!  Need we say more?

The less often discussed phases are the cycles of training and they include the microcycle, macrocycle and mesocycle. These cycles break your training down into small portions to better specify and customize your goals.

A microcycle can be as short as a day or workout or as long as a week.  Each of these workouts or training weeks have their own specific goal or outcome that might change (within reason) from one day to the next.  

A macrocycle is created from multiple microcycles. Think weeks of training (micro) considered over the period of a month or the entirety of your training (macro). Each of the individual workouts might be different, but the accumulation of the microcycles is striving to meet one common goal.   

A mesocycle is the big, big picture. Mesocycle is the largest phase of training and is typically a minimum of a year.  These are comprised of many macrocycles and might lead up to one key event or have several events in the time period where the shift or focus of the Mesocycles changes.

This style of training can help you see beyond just one event, and consider how your training throughout the year will help you reach your goals in the year (or years) to come. Many of the training plans you might find from a quick Google search will show you just stock meso and macro cycles. Investing in coaching can help you make a truly custom plan that considers the mesocycle too, designed by a coach who wants to help you achieve your goals well into the future.

Skip printing out that freebie plan for that one event — have a free consultation with one of our coaches to learn how you can keep achieving for many events and mesocycles to come!

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New year, know you

Game planning for a successful year

With a new year quickly approaching, plans are being made for fun parties, copious amounts of sweets, amazing dinners, time with family and friends, as well as where we want the new year to lead us.  With the winding down of the holidays comes the realization that you binge watched your favorite shows and ate an entire pumpkin pie in one sitting — which has led to your jeans now fitting like a pair of yoga pants or your once comfortable shirt now fitting like a smedium.  What’s next?  The new year and what we, at Science of Speed, dread the most:, New Year’s Resolutions.  This year we want to help you be successful with these key factors to consider as you decide what goals to set..

Track Record

Science of Speed Goal SettingLook at past years three years and make an honest assessment of what you have or have not completed.  Don’t base this solely off of one year alone.  What were your major goals in the last three years? Have you completed them? Whether you have or have not, use the next tip below to gauge if the reason behind your success or lack thereof.

Make it Quantifiable

Creating a goal that can be tracked is very important.  Saying “I want to exercise more” is very vague and leaves you with an easy out when it is cold, your bed feels very comfortable or you had a rough day at work.  Don’t just use your words, use your numbers. Changing this simple statement to something more defined like, “I am going to exercise three days a week for 30 minutes” or, “I will do my first 5k run in May.”  The other addition you will notice with statement is that it is not a desire –“I want.”  We have solidified the desire with the simple words, “I am going to,” and, “will.”

Incremental adjustments

Many goals that we set are not the kind that can be resolved overnight.  If your goal is long term and will take a fair amount of time to meet,have mini goals or benchmarks along the way that you will strive for.  For example:  if you want to lose 15 lbs, you know that you will not or should not lose this in one week. So, set a goal that you will lose 1lb a week,that you will weigh 8 lbs less by March 1st, and that by May 1st you will have met your goal..

Why?

One of the most important parts of setting a goal is understanding the motivations behind it. Internal drive can be a large determiner  of yours success.  By nature, people want to be liked and want to please others. We often do things that we do not enjoy or even want to do to gain approval.  Now is not the time to make your goals based on what others want for you.  Consider if your goal for the New Year is truly a personal desire, or if it  might be something that has been brought on by someone else.Ultimately, it is you that will put in the work and make the sacrifices. Make it it something you want!

If your New Year’s resolution involves getting fit, taking on an athletic event, improving your performance in your favorite endurance sport, or simply beginning to uncover the athlete that lives within you, we’d love to help you on your journey. Check out our coaching packages and training plans. Not ready to commit? Get inspired and get acquainted with our philosophy, by following us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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First Time on a New Group Ride

Many people begin a hobby because of the social environment.  Golf, tennis, running and cycling are great examples of this.  Riding is a social atmosphere that many people 11391190_10102376943233671_1550331009674647919_ninitially get into because of a friend, family member or colleague, but availability and ability levels can change and the need to search out others to ride with becomes a necessity.  If you have found yourself in this situation, here are three key steps in joining in on group rides.

Vet Your Ride

It sounds silly, but this is the most important part of selecting a group ride.  There are riders of so many ability levels that you could find yourself with a group that is too fast, too slow, or, even worse, on a ride distance that is above your current capability.  Trust us, nothing can make for a rougher day than being in shape for a 3 hour riding and finding out you chose a 6 hour loop with no shortcuts and with a fast group.  So, find out what the distance is, the average speed of the group, the course (in case you get separated), the tempo of the ride (steady effort vs. high intensity w/slow points), how many people usually ride (the fewer people the more work you will usually end up doing), and if the group stop or do you need to have everything on hand for the entirety.

15 minutes As a Fly on the Wall

Take the first 15 minutes of the ride to ride near the back and observe.  This will give you the opportunity to see what the group dynamic is, what pace the group sets, and the handling competency of the riders.

It may seem tedious or cautious, but a quick way to upset cyclists and a new potential group of friends is to go to the front of their relaxed Sunday morning ride and drill the pace.

Make a Friend(s)

Yes, you might be joining to make new friends, but this is a different kind of friend.  This is the one that will help you navigate the route.  It’s so simple, but a little heads up on a turn, a dog that normally chases the pack, the occasional heads up on a pothole or even the guys/gals we you definitely do not want to follow unless you like the taste of asphalt is nice to have.

Okay, so you have vetted the ride, been a fly on the wall and made at least one new friend — now, there is only one thing to do: Have some fun!

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Tour de France Rest Day

We are now 16 stages in to the 2016 Tour de France.  It has been a year of surprises.  Chris Froome punched a fan in the face, attacked the field on a downhill putting sizable time into his fellow contenders, crash caused by fans with one rider hitting the back of a support motorcycle, and even the yellow jersey slipping off the front in a breakaway.

Uncommon events have made this year’s TdF an exciting one to say the least!  One thing that never seems terribly exciting as a fan are the rest days.  We are now on the second rest day and many individuals do not understand the preparation and focus that takes place on these important days away from racing.

We often think of our own rest days as just that.  It is a day off from training, to spend time on little more than relaxing, but, for the pros, there is no day off the bike.  With 17 days of straight riding, with many of them being extremely high intensity, a day off the bike would mean certain disaster for the start of stage 17.

RESTDAY!Most riders will do a minimum of two hours in the saddle.  Yep, you read that correctly, two hours of riding, which for many of us would be a workout in itself!

For these men getting on the bike is a way to loosen the legs up, increase blood flow throughout the body and aid in flushing wastes out of the tissues.  Intensity is kept light, but, remember, they are not striving for gains. They are in search of what little snap is left in their legs when they depart from Bern, Switzerland tomorrow.

Along with two hours on a bike, athletes are spending the day focusing on other modalities of recovery which can include but are not limited to: self-stretching, assisted stretching, tools such as foam rollers and getting massages.  Keeping limber is very important and, after many days of hard riding, aches and pains begin to creep up that must continually be managed properly.

Nutrition, as you can imagine, is a large part of a rest day.  Athletes do not decrease their caloric intake from the previous race days.  They continue to be eating machines and, with the luxury of not being to far from the hotel, dietitians are able to get timing of specific nutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) dialed in more accurately to help expedite the recovery processes and protect the body from breaking down muscle tissue.

Just like your lazy Sundays, athletes are able to sleep in a bit later and also take a short nap in the afternoon.  A proper night’s sleep can help to refresh the mind and give the body much needed downtime.  The afternoon nap gives the body a much needed bump of testosterone and other hormones that can help aid in and expedite recovery processes.  Team Sky has even taken it a step further for the past several years and carries athlete’s beds with them throughout the race.  Wouldn’t you like to sleep in your own bed every night before you had a big event?

If you’ve ever wondered how you could train and recover more efficiently, we’d love to chat with you. Email us for a consultation.

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Whatcha Got? Physical Self Awareness

Each day, we wake up to a new opportunity.  With every sunrise, we have the chance to make the day what we, as individuals, are willing to create.  Much of our daily accomplishments are based off of our mood, task lists, emotions, friends and family, and our motivation.  As athletes, our drive is based off of our event or personal goals, competitive nature and what our training plan or coach has on tap for us that day.  Too often I see athletes view their training plan as something on their “to do” list and not as a means of improving fitness and health.  I challenge you to increase your self awareness in two key areas each morning and, with each workout, look for the increases in your performances and overall feel.

We will focus on the hardest thing first and begin with the mental and emotional side of training. I had a very close friend and mentor who was known for saying, “It is 90% mental and 10% physical.”  I could not agree more with this, and see it over and over in field tests, races and workouts for many athletes (Yep, your power meters don’t lie!)

Take what your body will give you each dayBefore each workout, take an inventory of where you are at mentally and emotionally.  What are the status of your levels of stress, anxiety, anger or fear? You might be able to catch this early and alter your mood to improve your workout.  If you are not able to reverse your mood, it is important to determine what the workout is, the level of stress this will place on mental and emotional state and what your ability is to complete the task.  At this point, a decision should be made on what you will do.  For some, a workout is a stress relief. For others, it is a stressor.

Our physical self awareness is a more tangible assessment and often easier to quantify.  Training is a delicate balance of “over reaching” and recovering.  When this falls out of balance is when we become susceptible to illness and injury.  By creating a daily physical assessment of your body regarding injury or pains, as well as a state of fatigue, you can determine what may alter the final outcome of your workout.

Many athletes go with the old High School football mentality of, “push through the pain.”  Occasionally, this is the option to take. However, if the problem is addressed early and adequately, the issue can be more often than not resolved before it becomes a problem and derails your training — or before it risks your long term health and functionality.

Now that you have assessed this data, what do you do with it?  Here are some rules of thumb to consider and then modify for your needs. Remember, everyone functions differently.

  • I’m feeling mentally and emotionally off
    • Get into your warm up and see if your mood is altered
      • If you see an improvement in your mood and you are reinvigorated, then go on with workout
      • If not, consider modifying what your workout is
    • Take a moment to get to a quiet place, sit down and take several deep breaths to clear your head.
    • Stretch. Yes, this is physical, but it can help you to relax as well.
  • I’m feeling physically off.
    • Do you have a physical injury?
      • See a doctor.
      • Rest.
    • Are muscles tight?
      • Stretch a bit.
      • Warm up and see if they begin to loosen.
    • Have you been sick?
      • Rest or take an easy recovery ride/walk dependent upon severity.

Taking stock of this information is not self-sabotaging — it can help you to stabilize your training. It is a way to learn how to take what your body will give you each day and nothing more.  Ultimately, this can help reduce the risk of injury, improve the quality of key workouts and events, and improve your long term health. Look inward, listen to your body, and increase your longevity in sport!

 

If you are unsure of how to best assess your levels of fitness and fatigue consider a Science of Speed coach. Our coaches have years of experience working with all levels of athletes and can help you learn what you are capable of!  Learn more about our coaching options.

 

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Training Insanity: New Season, Same Training Plan as Last Year

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

Albert Einstein

Year after year, person after person, we see many athletes doing the exact same thing.  They log their base miles, begin their steady intensity, join in on the exact same group rides and then slowly build up to an event.  Some athletes participate in the exact same event –which may be a century, a bike race or something as grandiose as an Ironman triathlon.  With the thought of the same course or same type of intensity, we know of some athletes who even utilize the exact same training plan year, after year, after year, after… Modify training for faster resultswell, you get the point!  .

Much like Einstein had his definition for insanity this is ours for training insanity.  In 2016, we want you to challenge your status quo. We want you to test your limits. We want you to reach new goals.  Over the years we have found a rhythm with our coaching, and that rhythm is as ever-developing as our athletes physical abilities. Our approaches to increasing performance and fitness must change and adapt.  The workouts might be similar in philosophy and name, but the timing, frequency and quantity are always modified to help each athlete reach their peak performance in that moment in time.

So, have you just come off of your base training?  Are you looking at an mid season event where you hope to perform well?  What are you doing now to guarantee the best results for that event?  We hope it isn’t the same thing that you did last year!

No matter if you are a triathlete, a cyclist, a runner or a general fitness enthusiast looking to shed a few pounds, we challenge all of you to break that insanity loop and mix your early season training up with one of these workouts:

Run: Threshold Ladder

Warm up: 5 minutes (rpe:5/10)

4×7:30 Run Ladder w/5min RBI: 2min Steady State Run (rpe: 7/10), 2min Tempo Run (rpe: 8/10), 30sec Fartlek Run (rpe: 9/10), 1min Tempo Run (rpe: 8/10), 2min Steady State Run (rpe: 7/10)

Cool down: 10min (rpe:5/10)

Bike: VO2 Intervals

Warm up: 10-15 minutes at Endurance pace(rpe:5/10) with several 30 second Threshold Intervals (rpe:8/10)

Intervals: 8x2minute VO2 intervals (rpe:10/10) w/2min RBI

  • Be sure that these are a maximal effort from the very start. Your legs might fatigue but that is no reason to decrease the intensity.

Cool down: 5-10 minutes

  • Take ample time to allow for heart rate to slow and your core temperature to decrease.

 

Break your training insanity loop and change your training plan design with one of our Static Plans or Custom Coaching Packages!
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Power Meters

Investing in the Efficiency of Your Training

By now, you have probably heard of a cycling power meter.  With the dramatic decrease in average costs of power meters, they are becoming much more mainstream.  What might surprise you is that these devices have been used since the mid-1980’s.  Their first public appearance was at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, SRM Power meter 1980sCanada where the German National team used SRM’s first crank based system.  What then looked more like a medieval torture device (they might still be described as such) was attached to many of the track racers bikes.

Since their early introduction, a great deal has been learned about these devices and how we can better utilize the data that they provide to improve training efficiency.  Here are a handful of the ways you will find a power meter can improve your training if you chose to take the next step.

Accurate tracking of improvement – Unlike heart rate with its wide array of variables, power is much more consistent.  Where heart rate is your body’s response to the work that has been completed (delayed by up to 60 seconds), power is the actual amount of work that is being created.  This work-based response takes factors out of the equation to give more consistent verification of current improvement.

More precise training ranges – For those who have been using heart rate for Cycling Power fileyears, your first workout with a power meter will immediately show you that your workouts just became harder!  Why is that you ask? As mentioned previously, heart rate is a response to the work that has been done.  With cardiac drift as a factor involved with sustained efforts, you will quickly notice that workload stays consistent but heart rate gradually increases.  Remember heart rate is a response to the work you have done — power is the actual work.

Caloric expenditure –  You might be ecstatic that you just went out for a ride and your Garmin paired with your heart rate monitor is telling you that you burned 1100 calories.  Now, it is time to go out and eat that 22oz steak, drink a bottle of wine or guzzle a bunch of amazing craft beer. It’s the perfect moment to eat that 1100 calorie dessert at your local go to restaurant, right?  NOT SO FAST!  Pair that same workout with a power meter and you might find that your Garmin has been calculating your calorie burn inaccurately —  150% inaccurately.  You’ll be dismayed to find out that you only clocked in at 650 calories in reality.  Why the difference?  Power measures work done and uses an equation that provides a more accurate gauge of calorie burn.

Gauging extended efforts – For many endurance events like time trials, triathlons, centuries or the popular gravel grinders, effort is everything! Getting from Point A to Stages power meterPoint B as quickly and effectively as possible is what ultimately results in optimal performance.  With proper training using a cycling power meter, sufficient data can be collected and analyzed to calculate the best effort range for your optimal performance.

Now, the question is what brand do you go with. Our coaches have used many power meters over the years and we feel that several provide great data to help you reach your goals.  Consider a Stages Cycling Power meter, a SRM Power meter, Quarq Power meter, or one of the PowerTap line of power meters.  They each have their own benefits and drawbacks, but each of these will provide you with great data to improve your accuracy.

 

Pair your Science of Speed Coaching with a power meter and receive a discount!  You’ll receive the highest quality training and the top training devices on the market at a great price.

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Presentation: Recovery for triathletes, runners and cyclist

Maintenance is as Important as Training

On Monday evening Coach Brady presented to the Gulf Winds Triathletes, in Tallahassee, Florida, on many of the modalities or methods of recovery.  In this discussion many things were Tallahassee Florida Triathlon coachreviewed from the simple details of sleep and hydration to more uncommon methods such as cryotherapy (more to come later on this) and technological methods of increasing your rate of recovery.

With a room of nearly 60 people in attendance it was a great opportunity for questions to be fielded and a large amount of learning to occur for many athletes who were newer to the sport.  Thank you to Gulf Winds Triathletes for allowing us this opportunity and an even larger thanks to the captive audience!

Do you not live in Tallahassee, Florida and/or were not able to attend?  Sign up here to get the unabridged notes!

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Let’s get Social with Science of Speed on Social Media

Science of Speed loves seeing posts from our athletes on social media. We’re excited that you want to share the story of your training! Want to connect with other SoS athletes and make sure we see your updates? It’s easy! Simply use and search for our hashtags.

Whether you’re snapping a selfie post-ride, posting a picture of the medal you earned this weekend, or tweeting about your training schedule, we invite you to use the following tags.

#SoSAthlete
#SoSinAction
#SoSSelfie
#AthleteInAllOfUs

Science of Speed Tallahassee instagram twitter facebook

Not familiar with hashtags? You can use them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Hashtags are a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic. If you click on a hashtag on social media, you will be able to see more posts about the same thing. Think of it as a way to categorize and organize updates!

The SoS team can’t wait to see your posts and engage with our athletes online. If you use our hashtags, we may feature your posts on our social media channels.

If you aren’t following us already, Science of Speed would love to connect with you on social media.

Twitter   –   Instagram   –   Facebook

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