Lately I have had a few people ask me how I am able to get up at 4:15 am every morning to complete my workout(s). I realize getting up early is difficult for most people and I would agree…it can be very difficult if you don’t plan accordingly. I would pose a similar question to those that are not early risers…How can you possibly stay up until 10 pm??? 😉
Because I get up at 4:15 am, I am always in bed no later than 9 pm; however, staying up that late is a very rare instance. I typically go to bed at about 8 pm, read for a few minutes and shut out the light. Going to bed early enough to get a good night’s sleep is critical if you want to be an early riser. I make sure that I get 7 hours of sleep minimum, but most nights it is much closer to a solid 8 hours.
What motivates me to get up in the morning and get my workout done before most people even consider getting out of bed?
I prefer to get out of bed in the morning and complete my workouts before my brain can kick in and tell my body to procrastinate. I feel so much better throughout the day knowing my workout (or at least one of them) is done.
Exercising in the morning is a great way to boost my energy and mood going into the day ahead. I am more focused and alert throughout the day and generally much happier. 🙂
I am motivated by my goal of having a much better race at IMWI 2014 than I had in 2011.
I have other people coming to our house to ride bikes 3 mornings a week…I have to get up and moving when others are “counting” on me.
When my alarm clock lights up (instead of an annoying buzzing noise or a radio) I immediately put my feet to the floor. Once my feet are on the floor, I start moving and don’t let my head fall back to the pillow.
I think about what I want most, instead of what I want now. 🙂
The Iron Hippie keeps the same schedule, so it is easier to get out of bed early when your spouse is too.
I have a Training Peaks account and I HATE to see my workout show up as red…not completed.
If I complete my scheduled workout, I earn a $1…that is motivation to complete all my workouts 😉
I commit to a morning workout the night before, set out my workout attire, get all of my hydration ready the night before, so there are no excuses in the morning.
Getting into the habit of waking up early is a bit challenging, but after the first week, my body settled in and decided this was the new normal. To make waking up early a habit, you need to make a decision that this IS what you want to do, make adjustments to your schedule so you can get the necessary sleep and then force yourself to put your feet on the floor and get moving when the alarm clock goes off. It will get easier…you just have to be stronger than the person telling you to hit the snooze button. Waking up at 4:15 am has officially become a habit in our household. Even on the weekends I find myself waking up on my own (without the alarm clock) at about 4 am.
My legs are burning, my heart is beating out of my chest, my lungs are working overtime and there is enough sweat dripping off my face to put out a small fire…I am suffering. Physically this is REALLY challenging…mentally I am focused…physically my legs are shot…mentally I am strong…physically my legs want to take a break and stop moving…mentally I will push through…physically my legs have turned to jello…mentally I will finish strong.
I know that success on race day comes from all of the challenges I will face and overcome in all of the days leading up to the race. So…what was the workout that made me suffer the most this week??? A trainer ride with zone 4 intervals…
The Iron Hippie and I eat our grapefruit VERY differently, but we aren’t the only ones. We actually had a conversation with 3 of our closest friends to see how they eat their grapefruit…lo and behold…we all eat our grapefruit differently.
The Iron Hippie peels the whole grapefruit and eats each segment separately.
M peels the whole grapefruit and eats it in quarter sections.
A buys the grapefruit already peeled, segmented and stored in grapefruit juice.
K cuts the grapefruit in half and uses a grapefruit spoon to segment each piece out.
I cut the grapefruit in half, use a knife to cut around the inside of each segment and scoop each piece out with a spoon. I then squeeze all the juice out of each half of the grapefruit into my bowl and drink the juice. YUMMY!!
So, what’s my point??? That’s easy…how you eat your grapefruit is symbolic of training and racing and here are my reasons why:
The variety of gear (wetsuits, goggles, bikes, helmets, bike shoes, apparel, running shoes, etc.) available to athletes allow them to be comfortable (or as comfortable as possible) while training and racing.
There are many different training plans and coaches that individuals use to help them arrive at the start line happy and healthy.
Everyone has their own unique journey.
All athletes are at different fitness levels, so a workout that pushes one person may be very easy for another or vice versa.
Individuals have different mental capacities…some THINK they CAN’T, some THINK they CAN and others KNOW they CAN.
Methods of recovery can vary from person to person…ice baths, foam rollers, massages, stretching, yoga, naps, amino recovery tablets, protein shakes, etc.
People have different plans for race day execution…different pre-race routines, different nutrition plans, different race strategies, different mental focus, etc.
Race day goals are different for everyone…some just want to finish and others have time goals.
Since we are all unique individuals, we may eat grapefruit our grapefruit very differently, and have many different ways to cross the finish line of whatever race we choose to take part in. The ultimate outcome is hopefully the same for everyone…eat grapefruit and cross the finish line.
Poor nutrition can hinder a great training session, so remember this tip before your workout. “Plan your recovery meals ahead of time. Prepare your food before you head out for that long, hard workout so that you don’t eat everything in sight when you return. Proper recovery starts with nutrition.” -Coach Liz with Zoom Performance
The Iron Hippie and I have spent some time recently stocking our freezer with homemade yummy goodness…healthy snack options, nutritious soups, curries and browned ground bison (ready to dump into a pasta sauce, put on a pizza, or mix with squash).
When we get done with a tough workout, we don’t want to have to spend time making recovery fuel…we just want to inhale it!! It is nice to have food already made, so all we have to do is heat it up and inhale. 🙂 Soups, curry, muffins and nutritious bars are just a few of the foods we made to stock our freezer with. What foods do you make to stock your freezer with so you can quickly and nutritiously refuel after a tough workout?
The Iron Hippie and I renovated our back yard…regrading the slope of land, installing a new fence, putting in a fire pit with a small patio around it and seeding the lawn. We still have some work to do, but the yard already looks 100% better than when we bought the house.
I was blessed to spend time with family (both immediate and extended) when we celebrated Grandpa’s life.
Indianapolis Marathon, October 19: I ran my 2nd fastest marathon to date and finished in 3:56.42. While I didn’t qualify for Boston like I originally hoped, I did execute a near perfect race given the circumstances of the day.
I was blessed to create MANY amazing memories with family and friends in 2013!!
Finished off they year happy, healthy and ready to start IRONMAN training 🙂
The inspiration for this post came from watching the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Since I was home most of last week with strep throat, a severe sinus infection and the beginning stages of pneumonia, I had plenty of time to lay around and watch movies and reminisce about my first triathlon.
I decided to write a “How to” guide…How to Prepare for Your First Triathlon:
If you really want to complete your first triathlon, you must make training a priority. This will help you remain injury free and properly prepare you to toe the start line.
Set aside time for your training…make an appointment with yourself. You should spend a minimum of 30 minutes a week on swimming, cycling and running…that is only 1.5 hours a week. (Training each discipline twice a week for a minimum of 30 minutes each is ideal.) If you don’t think you have that much time to commit to training, take a look at how much time you spend watching television, surfing the internet, reading a book, etc. I bet you can find more time to train for a triathlon than you thought.
Determine your goals for your first triathlon. Pick a distance that is realistic for the amount of time you plan to spend training on a weekly basis and how many weeks you have until race day. I would not recommend picking an IRONMAN as your first triathlon 😉
Build a solid base…if you have not been active or have little to no experience with one (or more) of the disciplines of triathlon, you may find it REALLY challenging (and risk injury) if you go out and swim a 1/2 mile, cycle 12 miles and run 3 miles (these are the rough distances for a sprint triathlon). To help you successfully toe the start line of your first triathlon, you should research training plans, find a triathlon community, and/or hire a knowledgable coach to write a training plan for you.
Incorporate strength training into your workout routine. Strength training helps prevent injury, builds bone density, strengthens the joints, tones the body, and allows you to be strong and healthy on race day.
Proper recovery is important…make sure to have days and weeks built into your training plan that are not as taxing on your body. Recovery days and weeks will allow your body to repair itself stronger than it was before you broke it down with the tough training sessions.
Practice, practice, practice…open water is different than pool swimming, swimming in a pack of people is different than swimming in open water, swimming in a wetsuit is different than swimming without one, transitioning from the bike to run often gives people jello legs, consuming fluids and nutrition on the bike and run are different than consuming nothing…anything that is new and different from what you have ever experienced should be practiced, so you have an idea of what to expect on race day.
Find a triathlon community…it is great to have a community of people who will help hold you accountable to complete your workouts, people you can train with (especially for open water swimming and riding on the roads), people you can ask questions of, people you can talk to about what you are experiencing in training and racing, people you can talk with about gear, nutrition, safe riding and running routes, etc.
Remember to have fun…your journey to the start line may be challenging at times, but it should almost always be fun and rewarding!!
The Iron Hippie and I have two black labs…Mya is 4 years old and Basil is 15 months old. I have strep throat and have been home sick, hoping to get better before winter break. Being sick, I am unable to workout, clean house, etc. So what does one do when they are sick??? Well…write a blog post. 🙂 I’ve spent some time studying the girls these last two days and it got me thinking about how their actions translate to triathlon. These are the 10 lessons that I have learned from Mya and Basil and what these lessons can teach you about triathlon:
Have fun…Basil LOVES to play ball, go for a run, swim, tug on Mya and just have fun. It is important for triathletes to ALWAYS remember to have fun. If it ever becomes unenjoyable, it may be time to reevaluate why you are doing what you do. Fun should be a #1 priority for triathletes!!
Get lots of rest…Both Basil and Mya get lots of sleep. They typically nap multiple hours a day. Sleep is an integral component for proper recovery both for dogs and triathletes!!
Stay hydrated…The girls drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water enhances athlete performance by increasing blood volume and lowering body temperature during exercise. As triathletes, we need to remember to stay properly hydrated, not just during a workout, but leading up to the workout and post workout to improve training and racing performance.
Proper nutrition is key…Mya and Basil LOVE to eat!! We feed our girls a highly recommended dog food. Nutrition is what I refer to as the 5th discipline of triathlon and it is very important for us to remember to eat clean and healthy foods. Proper nutrition will help us achieve our goals and dreams!!
Salt is a necessity…After the girls exercise (often times with us), they always lick us for salt replacement. As triathletes, we need to remember to not only stay properly hydrated, but also make sure we have proper amounts of electrolytes in our systems. After having experienced hyponatremia first hand during my first IRONMAN race, I can definitely speak to the importance of electrolytes during training and racing.
Massages are AWESOME…what dog doesn’t love a good massage??? Most professional triathletes know the benefits of massages and frequently incorporate them into their training for proper recovery. If massages are good enough for professional triathletes and dogs, why shouldn’t we get them too???
Learn from your mistakes…When Basil is scolded for something she shouldn’t do (such as chewing up a puzzle piece, moving a slipper, etc.), she often learns not to do it again. As triathletes, we need to learn from our mistakes and not make them again. Failure is success if we learn from it and make changes so the same mistakes don’t happen over and over again.
Don’t Quit…Mya and Basil would swim and/or play ball ALL DAY LONG if we let them. They don’t know when to quit!! As triathletes, it is important for us to focus on our goals and dreams and work hard to achieve them. We can’t get the results we want by making excuses for the work we don’t do 🙂
Determination goes a long way…When Basil wants something, she is VERY DETERMINED to get it. For example, she will continuously ring the decorative bell on the door knob when she wants outside (something we trained her to do as a young puppy). Mental training is what I refer to as the 4th discipline of triathlon. According to Veronica Roth (Divergent), “What good is a prepared body if you have a scattered mind?” There is so much truth in that question. Remember…Just Believe 🙂
Listen to your body…When dogs need a nap, they sleep…When dogs are thirsty, they drink…When they have a full bladder, they relieve themselves. If we listen to our bodies, we can help prevent injuries, help prevent overtraining, remain properly hydrated and stay happy and healthy.
Moral of this story…as triathletes, we can learn a lot from a dog!!
When I complete a workout and enter my data into my Training Peaks account, it shows up green (or yellow if I go over or under by a significant time difference compared to what was planned). If I miss a workout, it remains red. I have been in quite a funk lately with my training…since July to be exact. The last time I had an entire week that showed up green in Training Peaks was the week of July 22-28, 2013…19 weeks has gone by since then, so apparently Kermit the Frog was right when he sang the song, “It’s not easy being green.”
This last week I set a goal of completing every scheduled workout…through pure determination and some creative adjustments to my schedule, I completed that goal 🙂
Since my most recent post was about excuses for not completing workouts, I decided the next step is to be more uplifting and motivating. With the Holidays and fewer hours of daylight upon us, I feel as though November should really be Nomotivationember and December should be Didnotgetoffthecouchember. Stress levels are typically higher and motivation is typically diminished…sometimes obsolete. Runner’s World recently posted their top “101 Kicks in the Butt” to motivate a person. The following are things that I do to help motivate me:
Sign up for races and set goals…I find that when I have signed up for my “A race” and set challenging, yet achievable goals, I do a much better job of completing my scheduled workouts.
Blogging…I enjoy sharing my journey with others. The highs, the lows and everything in between. Knowledge is power…I enjoy learning from others and if others can learn from me, we are all empowered.
Social Media…to stay motivated through the Holidays, I posted on Facebook that, “I will not miss a scheduled workout between Thanksgiving and Christmas.” By the time Christmas comes around, I’ll be back into a routine and ready to start training for IRONMAN Wisconsin again. This means early morning workouts as well as workouts after work most days of the week. Getting back into this routine now will be a good launching point for IRONMAN training 🙂
Posting motivational photos and quotes around the house…I’m not sure what the Iron Hippie thinks of this when he wakes up and sees one posted on the bathroom mirror or refrigerator, but I change them out weekly to mix things up and keep us motivated.
Books…I enjoy reading books about triathlon, running, mental training, personal autobiographies as they relate to training and racing, etc. They are inspirational, motivational and help keep me focused (both during training and racing).
Motivational Money Jar…My husband and I each have a motivational money jar. How does it work? If I complete my scheduled workouts for the day, I put a dollar in my jar for each scheduled workout I complete (extra workouts don’t count). If I miss a workout, the dollar that was supposed to go in my jar goes into the Iron Hippie’s jar. I would much rather pay myself than him, so let’s get that workout done!!