12/17/14

strength and conditioning for triathletes and runners 3

This is my 3rd video highlighting some routines for strength and conditioning for runners and triathletes that will help you race faster and prevent injury.  This video is brought to you by the following companies:

Duro-Last Roofing – A company located in Saginaw, MI that manufactures products for flat roofing.  Dedicated to being the very best in the world.  They use local contractors to install their product.  To find a contractor near you, go to www.duro-last.com

BSX Athletics – BSXinsight uses revolutionary technology that allows you to see inside your muscle, measuring your lactate threshold and generating personalized training zones. Stop trying to “feel” whether you’re pushing too hard or leaving too much in the tank and let the science of your body speak to you.  Use coupon code MAVMIKE to save $40 on the multisport unit.

Maverick Multisport – A team comprised of 6 elite athletes, a youth/junior team, and an Age Group team working to promote the sport of triathlon and companies within the sport.

12/15/14
seahawk_logo

slow down and get faster

You know that old sayings: “Work smarter, not harder” and “changing is hard”?  I think these saying ring especially true in the winter season for triathletes.  I think that most triathletes would agree that changing is hard and would like to work smarter not harder, but unfortunately I don’t think many triathletes believe it enough to influence their actions/training in the off season.

Humans are creatures of habit.  We love getting into our routine and getting comfortable.  Triathletes take that to the extreme by making certain days of the week swim days, or bike days, or cross training days.  Or, even worse, triathletes get stuck doing the same old workouts day after day, week after week, and year after year, and then expect better results.  Aimlessly logging miles for the sake of logging miles (which I think the club challenge by USAT triathlon over the winter months encourages to do.  Ironically, at the same time, USAT sends out several emails to work on form, strength/conditioning etc. over the winter season).  This is not only asking for injuries, but it also the definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results).  So, I’m challenging all my readers to stop repeating the same routine as years past, but slow down and get faster this winter, like the Lakeside Seahawks have done with me last month.

seahawk_logo

About a month ago, the coaches at Lakeside Seahawks Senior group (Nate, Gord, and Lee) stopped us from doing 100’s and 200’s for about 30 minutes and worked with us on form.  The drill they had us do was to body balance in the water and then hang our arms at the elbows over the lane lines then pull the water to bring our body to the other side of the lane.  Sounds silly, right?  I thought so too.  But at this point, I’ve learned to trust that everything we do in practice (whether I know why we are doing it or not) has a good reason behind it.  That drill… that simple drill, finally made things click that we have done in several over drills in the last year I’ve swam with them.  Everything clicked and I was instantly faster because I slowed down, worked on technique and listened to the coach’s advice and guidance.

Then just last week, they were doing underwater video taping for kids.  The kids were doing starts from the block and analyzing their entry into the water and efficiency of their dolphin kick.  I approached Nate and asked him to video my stroke from under water at the end of practice and give me a couple pointers.  I waited around for about 15 minutes, and then it was my turn.

Nate saw things I would have never seen to improve my stroke even more.  He told me I was over rotating in the hips and shoulders.  He told me the hips should only rock back and forth every so slightly like in running (he has found that comparing things to running for me helps me understand better) and that my shoulder rotation should only be about 30 degrees.  This would allow everything from the shoulders down the core and into the hips to act as one and provide a lot more power.

The next swim I completed I had to do on my own because I couldn’t make it to swim practice with the Seahawks due to plans that evening.  I focused on what Nate told me to work on.  Swimming slow at first getting the feel for the change.  Then slowly increasing the effort.  I eventually worked down to what felt like race pace and did several 100’s.  Just a few months ago, I would average about 1:18-1:19/100 meters. Now, with a little tweak in my stroke, I’m holding 1:15/100 meters at the same effort.  Those 3-4 seconds will really add up over the course of a 1.2 or 2.4 mile swim.  Plus with drafting off faster guys in open water, I could probably hold 1:12-1:13.

I’m really looking forward the 2015 season.  This change will definitely make a different.  I think this will be a game changer not only for the swim, but also for the bike.  I will now be able to get out of the water with the faster swimmers and bikers and be able to pace off them.

 

12/11/14

Strength and conditioning for runners & triathletes 2

Another video to help get stronger core and hips/legs.  Use these videos that I’ll be uploading throughout the next few weeks and do these 2-3 times a week to prevent injury and run faster in the upcoming season.

Thanks Spalding University for coming up with this routine and Primal Sport Mud for aiding in recovery.  Go to my sponsors and scroll down to find coupon codes for Primal Sport Mud and my other sponsors as well.

12/10/14
spalding

Work the core in the off season

About a month ago, I started running with Spalding University Cross Country and Track team located in Louisville, KY.  Although running is my strongest of the three disciplines, I thought I should even make it better and run with runners.  However, I realized I needed more than just running with runners.  I needed to hit the gym with runners.

spalding

The assistant coach, Bradley not only joins in on the morning runs written by the head coach, Kevin, but he prescribes the strength and conditioning workouts following the runs.  None of them require much more than your body, a medicine ball, and a swiss ball.  However, I’ve noticed my hips being a little sore the day following these routines.  I know that I’ve neglected doing this stuff for a long time and think that maybe this stuff may be the key to bring my running to the next level.

I decided to record the workouts and make them available to you so that you can become a stronger runner/triathlete and prevent injury.  Bare with me as I learn the ins and outs of this video making… hope you enjoy it.

10/16/14

2014 triathlon season in review

My first attempt at a video blog.  Hope you all enjoy it.  Thanks to everyone that had a part to play in this last season… already looking forward to 2015!

Save money when shopping with my sponsors with these codes:
Cobb Cycling – MAVMIKE saves you 5% and free shipping
Infinit Nutrition – MAVERICK saves you 10%
Energy Bits – MIKE502BITS saves you 20%

10/7/14

Turn, Turn, Turn – Enve Wheels

Since I first started in triathlons about 10 years ago, I have ridden several different wheelsets for both training and racing.  Wheelsets such as Mavic, Spinergy, Blackwell Design, Zipp, and most recently Enve Composites.  All these wheels were ridden at different points in my progression in the sport from amateur to professional.  And almost every season, I had a different pair than the year before, hoping that I could gain some sort of advantage from the newest model.  Or perhaps, I used a different brand for training and racing.  But, I finally found a wheelset that can handle all my training rides and races:  Enve Wheels.  Anything I could throw at these wheels, they handled tremendously.

While thinking about this, I realized that for every type of riding I did this year (group rides, hilly races, windy races, etc.), Enve wheels kept turning as if nothing bothered them.  Turn, Turn, Turn… over and over again, never wanting to slow down, slicing the air, staying stiff while climbing and cornering, and, probably most importantly, staying true (no wobbling from side to side from a bent rim/spoke).  Over the course of this last season, I put thousands of miles on my wheels.  I hit some pretty nasty things along the way, but the wheels stayed true and never cracked.

I also did a lot of training with some roadies from the Louisville area.  One of them is well known in the region and does really well in races all over the country.  The wheels were super responsive and stiff with the accelerations that roadies do in training and racing.  I managed to hang with the group, and did my fair share of pulling them around the country roads surrounding Louisville, many of which are full of curves, fast descents and fast climbs.

Racing with the 8.9’s, was no different.  The triathlons I did over the course of the year had some that lay at each end of the spectrum of hilly, windy, technical, etc.  The first race I did this year was New Orleans 70.3.  I managed to pull out a PR that day with really windy conditions.  The wheels handled the crosswinds fantastic.  The next race(s) I did was the Triple T in southern Ohio.  These courses are the most technical someone could find for an on-road triathlon.  Several switchbacks, steep climbing, sharp cornering going down hill… my wheels did great all weekend here.  And I managed to be at the top of the fastest bike splits for all of the 4 races over the weekend.  Then, in my last race of the season, IM Louisville, I got another PR on the bike (and a course PR as well).  Louisville is a very unique course… not too technical (maybe a turn or two on the entire course), lots of hills, and a couple steep climbs.  Just a little bit of everything.  The Enve wheels kept turning for those 112-miles and helped set me up fora 4th male pro finish!

I’m not the only one that thinks Enve Wheels are the best out there.  Triathlete Magazine named Enve Wheels the Best in Class for 2014 for wheel choice!

Enve wheels are your wheel of choice for everything out there. Not just this season, or next season.  Not just this ride, or a the group ride.  Every ride… every season… every course.  Unlike the song by the Byrds, Turn Turn Turn… Enve wheels are your choice wheelset for every time!

09/14/14

Ending sooner than later

Things don’t always go as planned.  But the way our lives go always has a purpose and reason to it.  My plans for getting one more race in before the end of the 2014 season ended 5 steps after crossing the finish line at Ironman Louisville.

My right leg seized up so bad, I couldn’t walk for 24 hours.  I was in a wheelchair until about noon the day after the race.  And I was in the worst pain of my life for about 36 hours.  I barely slept, I didn’t have an appetite, and almost had to use PTO time at work because I could barely walk on my own (safely) to make visits at patient’s homes, but I was determined to get one more race in before the end of the season.  I had made plans (but no plane ticket purchased yet) to go to Challenge Rancho Cordova for the 70.3 outside of Sacramento, CA.  In order to try to make the plan work, I visited Occupational Kinetics about 3 times a week for 3 weeks to get treatment and massages.  Every time I made a trip to them, I noticed an immediate improvement.  I can’t thank them enough for all the treatments they gave with the ultrasound and massage therapy, etc.  I know that I healed much faster with them.  The crew there is absolutely amazing.

I told myself that if I made a full improvement by this weekend, I would try to go out to CA and race.  However, I’m not quite there yet and have decided to throw in the towel a bit early this year.  But, oddly, I’m really okay with it.  I have a lot on my plate right now.  The biggest thing is getting the house I was living in before getting married that has since been rented out, ready to sell.  I know that I would have done what was needed to get it on the market by early October whether going to CA or not to race, but I would have been training and doing the house improvements half heartedly.  I hate doing things like that.  I’m either all in or not at all.  With the injury happening, I was able to find some really good deals on things like tile and granite counter tops at places that sell remnant peices… some of which had EXACTLY the correct amount of product for what I wanted to do… that just doesn’t happen by coincidence!  I hope by getting it on the market a little sooner will save us from paying a mortgage on an empty home. 

Also, I had promised to get my wife a dog after the season was over, so I surprised her by taking her to the Kentucky Humane Society last week and found  a great dog.  A puppy that behaves like an older dog… no chewing on everything in site, house trained after about 4 days, and really cute.  So getting a 3 month old like that is like one in a million… so I’m glad that we were blessed with that dog (he was in the human society for less than 8 hours when we got him).

I also have more time to spend with my loving and supporting wife and enjoy the nice fall like weather s (that started the week after IM Louisville – figures!). 

All these things have helped me realize that God let this happen for a reason… to shift my focus what is more important: family, promises, and work.

Thanks to everyone that supported me this season.  I made some huge improvements this year and can’t wait to get started up again when the timing is right for the 2015 season!

 

08/27/14

Keep Our Pros part 2

So my original plan to get signatures for #KeepOurPros the day of the race at Ironman Louisville and at the awards ceremony didn’t really work out.  Not because of lack of interest in the cause, but because I sustained an injury that severely limited my mobility.  So it was time to figure out a Plan B:

I started an online petition to collect signatures from people that want to continue seeing professional triathletes at all of the Ironman branded races that will be loosing their pro prize purses in 2015.  9 full distance and 11 half distance races will be loosing their money and professional field.  Here is a few reasons why it is bad for the sport:

1. This will make it much more difficult for pros to get the exposure they need for sponsorships.

2. It will make the top 20-30 triathletes in the world very profitable and leave the others at a severe disadvantage when trying to compete with them.

3. Having races with smaller prize purses allows new pros to get some recognition and move up the ranks.

4. Having age groupers now being able to say they are an Ironman Champion lessens the accomplishment of any pro being able to say they won an Ironman.

5. Less foreign athletes will spend time in the USA in the summer because of the lack of races with prize purses and could spend their summers in Europe instead where all the races kept their prize purses.

6. Pro triathletes at events inspire people to get involved in the sport and bring value/legitimacy to the sport. No other sport in the world allows pros and amateurs to race together on the same course under the same conditions.

 

Several things will be different when IM Louisville rolls around next year in October:  No returning champions to be interviewed on the news, no pro panels, no racing down to the final 100 meters of the race to claim the win (McDonald edged out Gerlach by 17 seconds after 140.6 mile journey), no one will care who will win, etc.

Please sign the petition to Keep Our Pros and share it on your facebook page and Twitter handle.  Share it to your local triathlon club, cycling club, running club, etc.  Spread the word and be sure to hashtag it with #KeepOurPros!

Our goal is 10,000 signatures by Kona, which is October 11, 2014.  We have about 6 weeks… so spread the word and sign the petition!

 

08/26/14

Ironman Louisville 2014 Race Report

It’s not very often a professional triathlete can sleep in their own bed just 10 miles from the race venue… but Ironman Louisville allowed me to experience this luxury one last time.

The days leading up to the race were full of fun meeting sponsors, being on 3 pro panels and reuniting with Maverick Multisport teammates Clay and Molly who also drove on to race Louisville on Sunday.

Molly, me, and Clay (left to right) swimming at the most awesome pool in the country… The Lakeside Quarry. Home of the top 10 swim club, the Lakeside Seahawks.

Race day finally arrived and I was prepared to give it my all.  I had my usual breakfast before an Ironman race – oatmeal, 2 hard boiled eggs, slice of bread with peanut butter and half banana, and 2 servings of ENERGY BITS (MIKE502BITS saves you 20%).

My training leading up to the race had been great and I felt I had a shot to win the race and claim the final professional victory from Ironman Louisville.  I set my goals lofty this year and wasn’t going to let the competition intimidate me.  I lined up in the water with about 15 other professional men.  The gun went off and I took off… and found myself in a very unusual situation… ahead of the chase pack that included Chris McDonald and about 5 other guys.  I was probably just on the edge of getting any help from Guy Crawford’s draft in the swim, I did my best to stay on his feet.  However, when I lifted my head up a bit to sight, I saw him look over his shoulder while taking a breath.  He put in a surge and dropped me.  I focused on the things I’ve learned while swimming with the Lakeside Seahawks to keep my form as efficient as possible.  I knew this was crucial since I was now swimming on my own upstream with a pretty good current due to all the rain leading up to the race.  I managed to hold off the chase pack and only about a minute behind Guy Crawford when exiting the swim.  I had my best swim to date (thanks to TYR SPORT and LAKESIDE SEAHAWKS for a fantastic swim)!

I ran carefully through T1 since I knew I had just gotten over some IT band pain located in my right knee.  I felt it twinge a couple times, but nothing that slowed me down any.  I left T1 still in second place and was feeling good.

Primal Sport Mud banners in the background. Primal is a great sponsor of mine and was happy to see them getting some major attention for their great product! MAVERICKPRIMAL14 saves you 40% on your first order!

Before the race started, I had a goal wattage to average for the bike of 280 watts.  Last year, I did 258 (if I remember correctly)… so about 20 watts more.  I big jump, obviously.  But thanks to Brain Grasky for the coaching guidance and the advantage of the Q-rings from Rotor, I felt confident about the goal.  For the first 1.5 hours I averaged 300 watts, knowing that I had to stay within touch of the lead guys.  After sustaining those watts for that amount of time I decided it was time to back it down a little to leave something for the run. I completed the first lap of the bike and stopped briefly at bike special needs to get a refill on Infinit and NAPALM.  However, I was in such a rush, I forgot my flask of NAPALM in the special needs bag.  I grabbed a gel along the way at one of the aid stations to make up for some of the calories I left behind and figured it would be enough since I had more NAPALM in the last flask than what I needed (use MAVERICK to save 10% on Infinit’s products).

great shot of all my sponsors for the bike leg – Rotor bike components, Enve Composites, Vitorria Tires, Argon 18, Infinit Nutrition, Cobb Cycling, Champion System (Bottle Rocket, can’t see it between my arms, but it’s holding my bottle from the front and back)

I rolled into T2 in 6th place… and was ready to run my heart out to get as far up in placement as I could.

My wife, Leslie, made a sign for me at Ironman Louisville. A little inside joke from the previous year when I came in 6th.

I managed to hold 286 watts for the 112 miles!

I started the run with a lot of space between me and 5th place, about 5 minutes from what I was told by my dad as I passed him (see picture below).  I felt pretty smooth while finding my legs during the first mile of the run.  I waited to look at my pace until I felt like I had found a rhythm.  6:20 pace after the first 3 miles.  Right on target.  I passed the first 4 aid stations looking for things to cool me off.  No ice or cold sponges.  Seriously!?!  Is the race director trying to make a point here that the race moving to October is because a sponge manufacturing shortage?  I felt myself starting to overheat and my pace slowed dramatically.  It wasn’t until almost the 6th mile before any aid station had cold sponges… but by that time the damage had been done.  Cooling myself down would be very difficult at this point.

I passed the 5th place guy before the first turn around.  However, the runners behind us looked to be in hot pursuit.  I was convinced they were going to catch me and take me out of the money.  By mile 10 the dark thoughts started creeping into my head. “Quit now.  It’s too hot out here.  Those guys are going to catch you anyways.”  I almost listened to them.  I saw my family at the corner of  Chestnut and 3rd street.  It gave me the boost I needed.  My dad told me that 4th place was just 5 minutes ahead of me and looked to be in pretty bad shape.  With that information, the motivation to keep going was renewed.  I caught 4th place just a couple miles later.

Thanks to the companies that helped me run the marathon leg of the Ironman – Swiftwick Socks, Champion System, Infinit Nutrition, and Smith Optics.

I made it to the final turn around and could tell that unless something crazy happened in front of me, I would be placing 4th at best.  With that final turn, I knew that I only had 10K to go.  10K to go and 5th and 6th place were not far behind… and they appeared to be feeling better than me.   I began running scared.  I constantly was looking over my shoulder to see if he was gaining on me.  I couldn’t tell.  Sometimes I thought he closed the gap, other times I thought he was fading.  I made the final turn and saw the finish line.  As I entered the finisher shoot, I looked over my shoulder one last time to see where 5th place was… I didn’t see him.  With that bit of information, I scanned the crowd for my wife.  I found her on the left and stopped ever so briefly to kiss her and then made the final 100 feet to the finish line.

A PR on the toughest race conditions I’ve experienced.

Shortly after crossing the finish line my legs gave out and I was wheeled to the medical tent.  4 of the top 5 men went to the medical tent.  Thanks so much for the nurses and doctors that helped get fluids back in me and lifted all 160 lbs of dead body weight from the wheel chair to the stretcher.

My family supported me during the entire day… thanks so much!

My dad helped me walk since my right leg had completely stopped working.

A day after the race, I couldn’t walk. My wife pushed my onto the stage in a wheel chair to accept my award!

 

All 4 of the top men are sponsored by Cobb Cycling. Use code MAVMIKE to save 5% on your order and support Mike at the same time!

A huge shout out to all my sponsors… none of this would be possible without you.  (Thanks to Maverick Multisport for putting all these wonderful sponsors together for the team).  Thanks to Vibra Health Care for supporting me financially to chase my dreams.

An even bigger shout out to my wife who believes in me even more than I do sometimes.  Her support has been unwavering the entire time.  To my parents that supported me when I first started racing triathlons at 17 years old after an eating disorder.  To know where I was 12 to 13 years ago at 115 lbs and just under 6 foot with a 1.3% body fat is a testament to God’s goodness and how he puts us through trials and tough times to bring glory to his name.   I am truly blessed.

08/23/14

Keep Our Pros

This week has been very bittersweet for me.  Ironman Louisville will be running its last pro race in just a few hours from now.  And, because of that, it will be the last time I participate in my race… my hometown race.  The decision by WTC to cut the prize money from half of the full distance triathlons they host in the USA has literally hit home!

Over the course of the week, I was on 3 different pro panels.  Every time someone in the audience asked the question what we thought of the decision.  Of course, all the pros thought it was a horrible decision for several reason.  But here are just a few:

1.  New pros will have a harder time getting recognition from sponsors (and therefore money).

2.  Foreign professional triathletes used to come to the USA for the summer because of the abundance of races to choose from.  With that not being the case anymore, these pros may stay in Europe for the summer.

3.  More traveling costs to get to races since only one might be within driving distance now.

 

I started thinking about how we (as pros) could come together and make a movement against WTC.  Something needed to be done, because if we just sit back and take it, WTC will keep throwing their weight around.  I had an idea to use social media to start a movement that will hopefully spill over from IM Louisville into IM Wisconsin, IM Lake Tahoe, and IM Florida:

#KeepOurPros

Myself and two of my teammates will have a petition to sign at this event at Makers Mark located at 4th Street Live right by the IM Louisville finish line.  (For some reason, I can’t insert a hyperlink, so copy and paste this to your browser: https://www.facebook.com/events/266504916873694/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming)

We will also be going around at the awards ceremony collecting signatures.  We will then publicly deliver the petition to Ironman with your signatures… age groupers, spectators, pros, family, friends, anyone that feels the need to keep the pros at EVERY Ironman race to help keep the race special.  What other sport out there can you participate in right along side some of the best athletes in the world… none!

Also, I would challenge you that if you don’t agree with the decision by WTC to cut the races with pro prize purse, don’t sign up for WTC races.  Choose other ones like Challenge Family.  Every time you sign up for a race by WTC you are casting a vote… a vote that agrees with what they are doing.