Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday Musings: Back at it


I know some of you enjoyed reading about my weekly workouts so I'm bringing Monday Musings back for my build up to my two 70.3 races this year.  It's definitely going to be an interesting year given that my two big races are 5 weeks apart.  We'll see how this old bod of mine holds up to that.

This past week was my first really solid week of training since the beginning of the year.  I'm feeling pretty good save for my low back, specifically my right side around my SI joint.   It seems to get stuck and irritated and I'm still trying to figure out why.  Some of it is core control for sure but I also feel that my lack of rotation in my T-spine doesn't help.  So I'm slowly working on fixing that.  Thankfully it's not preventing me from working out but there are days that I feel it and it bothers me.

This was my first week of experimenting with 10 day hard / easy format to see how I feel and how my body reacts.  After 10 days I'll probably take a rest day, just to play it "safe" even if I am feeling ok.  Sometimes I find taking a rest day a mental necessity vs a physical necessity.  I'm being much more "intuitive" with my training right now.  By intuitive, I mean if I feel good physically and mentally on my scheduled rest day, instead of taking the day off completely, I'll do an easy activity, usually a swim or yoga.  Something that isn't overly taxing.   I'm also using HRV4Training which monitors my heart rate variability to let me know whether or not I'm fully recovered and can proceed as planned or if I need to limit my intensity for the day.  It hasn't steered me wrong yet and I've been using it for a year now.

So, on to the fun stuff.  What did I get up to this week?

Monday:  Upper body strength workout

Tuesday:  13km long run

Wednesday:  2300m swim in the am, and a 1 hour endurance ride, short upper body workout in the p.m.

Thursday:  40 minute zone 2 run and a 1 hour mostly lower body workout - I actually did most of the workout I was teaching, which was a blast.

Friday:  1900m swim with sprints, 1 hour sweet spot ride.  My legs were feeling pretty sore from my strength class, ha ha.

Saturday:  2 hour mostly endurance based ride.  I had planned on doing lower body work afterwards but my body decided it needed a nap.  So I slept for about 40 minutes and then wasn't motivated to do anything else afterwards, ha ha.

Sunday:  2650m swim.  I had a 35 minute run on the schedule and put it off until after my Strength clinic.  Big mistake,  because once I got back from that, I had no desire to get my running stuff and go out for a run.  LOL.  So much for the Lululemon 40/80 challenge badge on Strava.

Totals for the week:

Swimming:  6,850m 
Cycling:  4h 13 minutes
Running:  20.6 km 

Total time:  10h 22 minutes 

That's slightly higher than normal volume for me this time of year but I'm building my time up for when I get to Florida.  I know I'll probably be between 12-14 hours / week of training if it's anything like last year.  When you have the opportunity to ride outside for two months in the winter, you take full advantage of it.

How was your week of training?  Who else is chasing some big goals this year?

~ Coach PK

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

What I've Tried: Fascial Stretch Therapy

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I am a big proponent of self care, from regular foam rolling, to mobility work to massage, it's all an integral part of being a healthy injury free athlete.

Sometimes, you get to a point where these modalities may not be enough to help you feel or move better.  That was where I was at the end of last year.  I was having nagging SI joint issues, so I started working on engaging my core.  I also noticed that the range of motion in my legs had changed.  I felt like my hips and hamstrings were so tight that I couldn't stride efficiently.  Massage helped a little bit but within a few days I would be right back to where I was before my massage.  Something was up.

I read about fascia a few years ago as more and more research was being done on it's function and role it plays in mobility in the body.  Fascia is essentially a web that runs around our muscles.  It is a band of connective tissue that is found beneath the skin and it attaches, stabilizes, encloses and separates muscles and internal organs.

Fascia will thicken and shorten when any of your tissues are under stress, whether that be from poor posture, injury, surgery or long term exercise.   Shortened fascia can result in limited range of motion.  And limited range of motion can cause a host of other issues in your body.  It's a domino affect.

So how do you stretch fascia?  Doesn't regular passive stretching help with stretching your fascia?  It can help a little bit if done correctly but most of us stretch too deeply, usually to the point where were feel a bit of pain.  Your muscle will respond to that by tightening up, thus defeating the purpose of stretching in the first place.  And since fascia is deep within the muscle, it's very difficult to target it effectively without some assistance.

Enter Fascial Stretch Therapy, or FST for short.

What exactly is fascial stretch therapy?

The simple explanation is that it is assisted stretching, performed on a table, using stabilization straps to hold limbs in place.  Traction is a major component of the therapy.  This is the description from Performance Bodywork:  The therapist will apply gentle traction to the joint being targeted, opening up the joint and creating space for increased range of motion before taking the limb through the movement pattern, paying attention to the fascia restrictions that may need to be addressed.  

I have to say I've never experienced anything quite like it.  It is not meant to be painful and if I felt pain, I had to let my therapist know.  There were points where it was uncomfortable but if I managed my breathing, it helped with the discomfort.  I was twisted into all sorts of positions that I wouldn't have been able to get into myself.  After the treatment, I felt looser and lighter.  When I went for a run the next day, I felt like an entirely new person.  All of the restriction I had been feeling was GONE.  Even my SI joint pain felt better.   This was a game changer for me.

Why is it so effective?

FST targets fascia at the deepest level, which is around your joint capsule.  This forces the muscles around your joint capsules to relax.  If your joints start to get restricted, your mobility becomes compromised.  Compromised mobility leads to a feeling of stiffness and you'll notice decreases in performance.  As we age, we also begin to lose flexibility.  All of this can create a recipe for injury.

Currently, FST isn't covered under most extended benefit plans unless it is performed by an RMT (registered massage therapist).  Many personal / athletic trainers offer it as a service and several pilates studios also have practitioners.  I went to Body Harmonics, which is a pilates studio, for my treatment.  You can find your closest practitioner on the Stretch to Win website.  There are different levels and types of practitioners from level 1 to level 3, fitness specialists, which are usually athletic trainers, or medical specialists, which are usually RMTs, kinesiologists or physiotherapists.  I saw a level 3 fitness specialist.  She was amazing.  The higher the experience generally the more expensive the therapist, at least at Body Harmonics.  A level 3 practitioner is $115 for an hour and a level 2 practitioner is $105 an hour.  It was worth every penny.  That being said in future I may try to find a registered RMT so I can claim it through my extended benefit plan because if you're in rough shape, like I am, it's going to take more than one treatment to sort everything out.

I feel like FST has given my body a re-set.  As someone who has struggled with mobility issues and nagging injuries over the last couple of years, I feel like I am getting close to being back to where I was 5 years ago in terms of my mobility level.  I'm starting to feel like I'm physically ready to rise to the challenges I've set for myself in 2018.

Has anyone else tried FST?  Was it a game changer for you? 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2018: The Year of Purpose

Happy New Year!

Alright, I'm a bit late to the party but I was seriously enjoying my down time over the last few days.  New Year's Day was spent in my lounge clothes, watching movies and making pretty things for my new side hustle.  G took Tuesday off so we got a ride in, took the Christmas Tree down and then tackled the storage cupboard under the stairs in the basement.  It was filled with SO. MUCH.  CRAP. that we haven't touched since we moved in so we did a huge purge.  Now there's room to actually hang some coats and put away our winter boots.

There's something about a good closet cleaning that just makes you feel lighter.  Less tethered to shit. I am always amazed at how much crap we accumulate.  It feels good to get rid of all the unnecessary stuff.

Which brings me to the reason behind this post.  Over the years I've seen people talk about setting intentions for the New Year vs. resolutions or goals.  One of the ways to set intentions is to choose a word that will guide you throughout the year.  That really resonated with me this year so I thought about it for a while.  I always have goals but they are usually only athletically oriented.  I wanted something that was a bit more all encompassing.  So, I asked myself, how did I want to live in 2018?

My answer:  with purpose

So I chose PURPOSE as my word for the year.  I chose it because of its duality.  It is both a noun and a verb.  You can have purpose and you can be purposeful.

noun:  the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists

verb:  have as one's intention or objective

Last year was an exploratory year - it was about creating a path.  The path has been created, now it's time to move forward with purpose. 

Here's to a happy, healthy and purpose-FULL 2018

Have you ever chosen a word of the year to live by?  If so, what was it?  What is your word this year?

~ Coach PK 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017: You Were a Good One

Happy New Year!

I'm still alive!  I know I've been M.I.A these last couple of months but I haven't felt like I've had much to share and truth be told, I've been busy focusing on building my coaching business and working on a bit of side hustle as well (more on that down the road).  I've been spending more time on Instagram, telling snippets of stories there.  But I will come back to blogging in 2018.

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas.   Ours was pretty low key, especially since G was sick.  That meant I went to my parents on my own.  He's starting to feel better but it's been a pretty slow process.  I'm crossing my fingers I don't get it.  I've dialled back the workouts these last two weeks just to balance out all the other activities.  I find this time of year we can really stretch ourselves far too thin and then we try to cram in training and we inevitably get sick.  I didn't want that to happen this year so I skipped a few swims, did some easier effort rides vs anything too hard and made sure I got adequate amounts of sleep.  A "few" swims turned into two weeks out of the pool but I will get back there soon.  😁  Especially since I've got a big ass goal for 2018.  I put it out on Instagram a couple of weeks ago and I'm putting it out there again.  It scares the crap outta me but I want it.  And you HAVE to WANT it, especially if it's a longer distance race and you know you're going to have to put in the time in less than ideal training conditions.

So what is the big ass goal?  I want to qualify for the 2019 70.3 World Championships.  I have chosen Muskoka as my A-race, which means I need to put in a lot of time in the HILLS this year because I want to absolutely crush that bike.  My run needs to improve a fair bit as well.  I am currently working out the kinks in my body to help provide a much more stable core for when I start to add regular speed work.  I've seen some glimmers of my old running self so I have high hopes that I will be able to find some of that lost speed.  I just have to make sure I remain healthy.  That is KEY.

The fact that I made it through a very successful season of racing with no major issues was huge, especially after my disappointing 2016 season.   As I said on Instagram, 2017 was fan-fucking-tastic.  It exceeded my expectations many times over.  My main goal was to get to the start line of Tremblant 70.3 healthy and ready to race.  Everything else was just a bonus.

My 2017 instagram #bestnine 
Professionally, this has certainly been a year of growth.   I have to pinch myself sometimes because I can't believe I'm finally doing my own thing.  People keep asking me if I miss my old job and the resounding answer is NO.  I miss the people but I do not miss the business at all.  I am still finding my way and figuring out what works and what doesn't in terms of running a business.  It's taken me a long time to get into a groove and I'm still working on developing a solid routine.

I am thrilled with how well this first year has gone and I'm SO thankful to all the athletes that have trusted me with their training this year.   It hasn't been all sunshine and roses however.  There has been some self doubt.  Things have seemed daunting at times.  But as the saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day and I have learned to plan accordingly.

I'm looking forward to planning some fun events for 2018, in addition to the two I've already got on the calendar:  The Limitless Tri / PKPC  Fun in the Sun training camp in March and a beginner's swim clinic with Coach Jason from Tri-Train on January 20th.  Today's first annual Fun Run was awesome and my crew has given me some excellent ideas for 2018 events.  They may or may not involve beer and running.  😃

A handful of the PKPC crew!
Thanks so much to everyone that has read my ramblings this past year.  I know I have been a very sporadic blogger this year but I am aiming to change that in 2018.

Here's to a happy, healthy and KICK ASS 2018.

~ Coach PK

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Root of the Problem

I'm still here! I've been struggling with my focus lately.  I feel like I've got too many irons in the fire and I'm not sure which one to pull out first.  I also haven't really had the time to sit down an properly WRITE.  So I've decided to put myself on a weekly schedule where I allocate ONE full day a week to writing.  Hopefully that will breathe some life back into this space!

If you follow me on Instagram stories, you will have seen an underlying theme for the last few weeks.  I have not been myself.  I have not felt like myself.  I don't know how else to explain it other than I felt "off" both in body and in mind.   The fact that my body has felt off has kept me from moving the way I would like to.  I have not been able to do much without some kind of pain afterwards, whether it be in my knees, my shoulders or my lower back.  My plan was to get back to lifting weights but I couldn't even manage to do that without pain.  I was starting to get incredibly frustrated and very discouraged.   When things you love to do start causing you pain, you start to feel a bit lost.

I went to see my osteopath and sure enough my pelvis was slightly twisted.  That was causing me to compensate elsewhere.  My osteo helped fix things and get me back to my normal but I knew there was still work to be done.   I needed to figure out what the root of the problem was.

Enter my friend Lauren, The Running Physio.   I needed someone that could assess things and give me the tools to get back to normal.   Given my complaints and my symptoms, she suspected that things were stemming from my lack of core activation.  The fact that I have had two abdominal laparoscopies also comes into play (I had endometriosis).  There was never any sort of rehab after those surgeries because they were considered "minor".  I would beg to differ given how long it took me to recover after my first one.  I never gave those surgeries a second thought.  They solved one problem but probably created another.

So in addition to the mobility work that I have been doing, I am now doing physio work.  I'm really trying to focus on the mind / muscle connection.  I know that probably sounds kinda hokey but it's really SO important.  Muscle activation is controlled by the brain and our nerves.  When a muscle contracts, that's your brain sending a spark through your neural pathways.  Generally we can feel a muscle when it's working, especially our larger muscles.   But sometimes we can't.  In those instances, I've found that putting pressure on the muscle itself will help trigger it to start firing.  I do this a lot with my left glute when I'm trying to activate it in a single leg stance.  I used to get a lot of funny looks when I did this at the gym, ha ha.  I didn't care, I was going to do whatever it took to get that sucker firing!

My current self care arsenal...

The physio work I'm doing is targeting my deep core muscles.  I'm not doing crunches or leg lifts.  Nope.  The movements are so much more subtle.  They have to be in order to re-program my body.  That's essentially what this is.  A giant reboot from inside out, ha ha.  In the week and a bit I've been doing these exercises I'm feeling much better all around.  I'm running better and I'm actually swimming better.  Amazingly I'm starting to be able to rotate in the water, which was a problem for me previously.

So here's to doing all the little things that will hopefully add up to a stronger and healthier me in 2018.  Cause I've got some goals to crush next year.  More on that in another post down the road.  Right now, I'm here:

What little things are you doing to make you stronger?  

~ Coach PK

Monday, October 23, 2017

Go to Training Gear

A few weeks ago I put a call out on IG stories to see what people would like me to write about on the blog.  I covered one topic last week.  This week I'm going to talk about gear that I love and use.  This is NOT a sponsored post, these are products I've bought with my own dollars.

Let's start from the ground up.


I spent most of the last year running in On running shoes.  Specifically the Cloud Flow and the Cloud Surfer.  I much prefer the Cloud Flow, it's a very sleek, light and responsive low profile shoe and it was my go to racing and training shoe this year.  The Cloud Surfer is also quite responsive but I found it to be much bulkier.  I put over 500km on the Cloud Flows and I think I could probably squeeze out another 100km or so before I have to say goodbye to them.

I've also been running in the Hoka Clifton 3's.  I like the fact that they reduce impact but I'm not totally in love with them for anything longer than about 12km.  After that my feet start to hurt.


I am SO picky about socks.  My go to for training runs or running races especially longer races, are Ijinji's.  Yup, the toe socks.  They keep my feet blister free.  For triathlon racing, I have been loving Swiftwick socks.  The longer ones offer a little bit of compression which is great over a longer distance ride and run.  Why do I wear two different kinds of socks for similar events?  Simple.  It's all about the ease of getting them on.  Injinji's are not pull on and go type socks, because you have to make sure the sock is pulled up over each toe.  So I have a back up in the Swiftwick.


My go to gear for tri shorts for years has been Zoot.  Specifically the Zoot Ultra series.  The design of the chamois is perfect for me.  There is no seam underneath the chamois which means there is no chance of any sort of rubbing on your girly bits unless your shorts are too big and they start bunching.    Many other brands place the chamois ON TOP of a seam, which for me, is a recipe for major angry kitty and some kind of chafing.  Coeur is another company that makes their tri shorts the same way (they coined the slogan "no angry kitty", ha ha).  This year I finally embraced the one piece tri suit and I loved it.  It's not the easiest thing when you have to go to the washroom but for racing, it's extremely comfortable.   It doesn't ride up, you're never pulling your top down, nothing.

For running, I actually run in my older Zoot tri shorts a lot because I like the functionality of them.  They have built in, easy to access pockets so it's easy for me to stash a couple of gels and my keys.  I'm also a fan of the Oiselle "Roga" shorts.  They fit well, don't ride up too much and the waistband is fantastic.  For tights, I'm a big fan of Oiselle.  I have two pairs of their tights, the Portman tight and the KC tights, which they no longer make.  They are comfortable, functional and stylish.  In fact, I've worn both as leggings with tunics and boots!  That's a win / win for me!

Oiselle KC tights

Sports Bras / Tops:

Most of the time when I'm working out, I prefer to wear tank tops with built in bras so over the years I've worn a lot of Zoot tanks.  Now that I've put on some weight and my breasts have come back with a vengeance, I only wear tanks with built in bras when I'm on the trainer or working out in the gym so I don't have to worry about any bounce.  Even when I was leaner, I still wasn't that small.  More like I was a small in the back, big in the front kinda gal.   That's why I was thrilled when Moving Comfort started making bras that were based on bra sizing vs. just small, medium, large.  I review one here.   The range of bras available now is amazing.  Manufacturers like Brooks and Lole are taking into account band and cup sizes and are making sports bras that are functional, supportive AND cute.  No need to hide them under a tank top any more!   I'm currently in the market for some new sports bras so when find something I like, I'll either update this post or do a separate review.

So, there you have it.  Most of my go to gear from the bottom up.

What are your favourite go to pieces?  Any new companies you're really loving?  

~ Coach PK

Friday, October 13, 2017

Maintaining Fitness in the Off Season

For many beginner triathletes, the off season is a funny place. What does off season mean?  Do you stop training?  How much rest is too much?  How do I structure my training?  These are some of the questions I've gotten as a coach and I will do my best to tackle them in this post.

I know when I started out in triathlon, after my last race of the season, I stopped training completely for at least a month, probably longer.  I had no fall races planned and I thought because I was relatively fit, I could stop all activity and pick up where I left off.  HA.  Was I ever wrong.  You know that saying Use it or Lose it?  That's exactly what happened to me.  I didn't have a big fitness base at the time so taking over a month off resulted in some serious deconditioning.  I would stay that when I got back to regular activity that I was starting from square one but it was pretty close.  It usually takes about 7-14 days for endurance to start to decline so bear that in mind when taking time off.  The theory is the bigger the base of fitness you have, the longer it will take you to become deconditioned.   So seasoned athletes can afford to take a bit more time off without losing too much fitness.  Beginner athletes shouldn't take too much time off if they want to maintain a good measure of fitness.

How much time is enough? 

How much time "off" depends on the length and intensity of the last race of your season.  The shorter the race, generally the faster you recover.   If you've done a summer of sprint racing, then I'd suggest a week to 10 days off any structured swimming, biking or running for you to relax and regroup.  That may not be necessary for you to fully recover physically but you may need to mentally recharge as well.  If that means sitting on the couch for a week binge watching Game of Thrones, then so be it.  After that getting back to some kind of regular activity is key to maintaining your fitness over the winter.

For myself, I always like to take at least 5-7 days off completely after a major event like a marathon or a half ironman.  That doesn't mean I'm sitting around on the couch.  I still like to move my body so I will go for a walk or do some gentle yoga.  If I've run a marathon, I find one of the best things for my legs is swimming.  Recovery varies by individual.  Some people take longer to recover, others take less time.  Men tend to recover faster than women and the younger you are, the faster you recover.  So us old broads really need to learn to listen to our bodies, ha ha.

Structuring Your Training

As I mentioned in this post, this is the time of year where you focus on improving your weakest link in the sport.  A typical training week in season looks something like this:  Swim 3x a week, run 3x week bike 3x a week.  In off season for me, it looks more like this:  Swim 4x a week, bike 3-4x a week run 2x a week.  Running is hardest on my body so I prefer to do less of it.  That is just enough to maintain a decent amount of running specific fitness, especially if one of the runs is a long run.  Swimming is my weakest link so I'm adding a 4th swim that is all technique and drill focused vs. volume.   And it's now cyclocross season so I will be doing one ride a week like that and then ideally 2-3 more easy rides.

Off season isn't the time for high volume or a lot of high intensity.   My training volume in the off season is about 1/2 to 2/3 of what it would be during my race season.

Integrating Strength Training

This time of year is the best time of year to bring regular strength training back into your training as well.  You don't need to spend hours in the gym.  Two 30-45 minute sessions a week is great.  If you can do three times a week that's even better.  Start by working on muscular endurance with lighter weights and higher reps, and build to working on strength and power with heavier weights and lower reps or some plyometric work.  In the off season I like to do my weight workouts after a short run or ride.  The cardio element can be your warm up so you are ready to tackle your weight workout.  I have some weights in my basement along side my indoor trainer so when I'm done my ride, I can start my weight workout.  It's the most effective use of my time.

Staying Motivated

Over the years I've managed to become fairly self motivated in terms of my cycling and running.  Swimming is where I have a hard time.  Knowing that, I joined a Masters swim club.  If there is any sport that you have a tough time getting done on your own because you either 1) don't enjoy pushing yourself in that sport or 2) you're not sure what kind of workouts to do, then I'd highly recommend you join a training group.  The Toronto Triathlon Club offers coached swim sessions across the city and there are various Masters groups as well.  If the thought of spending solo hours on the trainer isn't appealing, there are plenty of places to ride inside with other people.  There's Watts Up in the West End, Dig Deep Cycling Fitness uptown and The X3 Lab in the east end.   If none of those are convenient, there's always ZWIFT. which is social in it's own way.

Alternatively, you could always hire a coach to help you take the guesswork out of your off season planning and to help you make the improvements you're looking for leading into your next season of racing.

On that note, I do have a couple of openings for coaching as of November 1st so if you're interested head on over to my coaching site and take a look around.  Shoot me a note if you have any questions!

Thanks to all the folks that responded to my IG stories question in regards to posts they'd like to see.  This was the first one and I'll be putting together more over the coming weeks!

Happy Friday!

~ Coach PK

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Who Wants to Go to Camp? Florida Training Camp 2018

Winter Training Camp with coaches Eric D’Arcy (Limitless Coaching) & Phaedra Kennedy (PK Performance Coaching) March 10th-18 in Clermont, Florida

Join us for a week of swimming, biking and running in the sun!

Clermont is Florida’s triathlon hub.  It is situated in Lake County, 40 minutes from Orlando. 

Get in some early-season open water swimming in Lake Minneola and get the opportunity to train at the world class National Training Centre (NTC).

Ride outside in the sunshine on quiet country roads and paved cycling trails with a surprising number of hills. Yes, this part of Florida is actually hilly! 

 Run along the Waterfront Trail and on the beautiful Orange Grove clay trail.

We will wrap up camp, with a local race:  The Great Clermont Triathlon on Sunday March 18th.   There will be a discount code available to those that are interested in racing.  The amount of discount will depend on the number of people that are going to participate.

As we would like to keep the coach: athlete ratio small, allowing everyone to get a proper amount of attention, camp will be limited to 10 participants.

Camp Accommodation:

Shared accommodation is available. We have a large house with a pool and hot tub, in a gated community (just outside of Clermont) in Groveland, Florida, that can accommodate 10 athletes.

$300 CDN per person for the week’s accommodation.  Breakfast is included.

Camp Pricing: 

Early bird pricing before December 1st : $700 CDN per person
After December 1st: $800 CDN per person
All prices are subject to HST.

Contact either Eric or Phaedra to reserve your spot!

Friday, September 29, 2017

When Life Gives You Lemons

I've been really enjoying my down time but I had planned on getting back into the swing of things this weekend.  That was until my body had other plans.  

Last Friday I emailed my chiro / ART guy to fill him in on how Lake Placid went and to say Thank You.  I said something like "Since I won't need to come in and see you any time soon...." yada yada yada.   The following Monday, I was back in his office.  Yup.  I totally jinxed myself.  

What did I do?  Well preliminary results say that I have ischiogluteal bursitis.  What the heck is that?  

A bursa is a fluid filled sac that is situated between the tendon and the bone and it helps to reduce friction between the two.  When a bursa is subjected to repeated stress it will swell and get inflamed.   Ischiogluteal means that this bursa is in my glute situated near the ischial tuberosity, which are essentially your sit bones.  Your hamstring muscles originate at the ischial tuberosity.  This is where I tore my hamstring last year.  Not fun.  The hamstring tendon, also originates at the ischial tuberosity.  The bursa in question is located in between the tendon, my pelvic bone and three small muscles in my glute:  the piriformis, the obturator interns and the gemellus superior.

As you can see, there are a lot of things around this bursa that when they get overworked, can cause the bursa to become inflamed.   Truthfully I'm not surprised this happened.  I've put a lot of stress on my glutes recently, especially with the addition of teaching a lower body conditioning class.   It was getting ready for that class that actually brought me back into my Chiro's office.  It was a very simple move, I was bent forward with my legs split, like I was getting ready to do a split squat and I was trying to find comfortable footing for a standing bent over row.  I found it and then pushed off to stand up again and that's when I felt my glute spasm.  It hurt so much I couldn't put any pressure on it.  I could walk but it was awkward.  I definitely couldn't go up stairs.  So that afternoon I found myself back at Pivot.  I was instructed to not do anything, except to get an ultrasound, ice, rest and take some anti inflammatories,  until we had a better idea of what was going on.  

So, what to do with all my non workout spare time?  Well let's see:

*  SLEEP IN!  

*  Stay up later than normal reading because I don't have to get up at stupid O'clock.  I managed to finally finish "How Bad Do You Want It" which is amazing considering I started it a month ago.  Lately it's taken me almost 6 months to read one book!  I've now started this.

*  Spend my mornings cooking.  Well, I did that one morning.  I made sweet potato breakfast cookies AND french toast.  

*  Go out with girlfriends you haven't seen in ages and have ice cream

*  Focus on my mobility work.

*  Spend more time focusing on building my business and working on my blog.

*  Be grateful that this happened AFTER my last race of the season.  

I was originally told I'd need to take 2-3 weeks off everything except swimming and pool running.  I took most of the week off with the exception of swimming this morning .  I'm seeing my Chiro again today at lunch and we'll figure out a game plan for my rehab.  At least I know by the time I get back to regular activity, I will definitely be very well rested! 

Life may have just handed me a lemon, but I'm making some pretty awesome lemonade.

Happy Friday!

~ Coach PK 

Friday, September 22, 2017

What's Next?

I am officially in "off season".  Or as badass coach Jen Rulon calls it: "the Season of Improvement".  I think that's a better way to look at the down time between the last race of your season and the time you start to build for the following season.  Off season kind of implies that you're taking time off.  That being said, I suppose you could say you're taking time off from structured training i.e focusing on hitting certain paces or power numbers.  This is the season to re-charge mentally and physically and not put a bunch of pressure on yourself to tick all the green boxes in your Training Peaks account.  In fact, ideally there are LESS boxes in your Training Peaks account.  This is not the time to be concerned about volume.  You want to do enough to maintain a good base of fitness.

This is the perfect time to focus on your limiters.  The things that need improvement.  If it's your swim, then maybe you drop a run workout and replace it with an extra swim workout that is technique focused.  This is also the time to bring strength training back into your life.  You don't have the heavy training load, you don't need to worry about DOMS affecting your ability to hit certain paces or numbers.  There couldn't be a better time to start working on your strength.

This is also an excellent time to go out and do things that you may not have tried during race season.  I'd say that's part and parcel of re-charging mentally.  It's nice to take the focus away from structured training and just do things for fun without worrying about hurting yourself or if the whatever it is you're doing will affect your training.

I've got a few plans for my "Season of Improvement".  Firstly, I'm planning on adding one day of swimming a week that is purely a drill and technique based swim.  It won't be too long, maybe half an hour to 40 minutes max.  I really need to work on the entry and catch phase of my stroke.  When my hands go in the water, they just sort of hang out until they get to my waist and then I feel them pulling the water.  So, I foresee a whole lot of sculling in my future.  Time for me to figure out how to use the drill function on my 920xt.

Next on my list of "things to work on" is my run form.  There are a few small tweaks that I'd like to make.  My cadence is good (anywhere between 176-192 depending on how fast I'm running) but I'm not driving my knees up enough so I feel like I'm missing out on some of the gait cycle.  I also need to work on keeping my shoulders back and up.  I'm still rotating a fair bit at my shoulders and that needs to stop.   I believe that these things are muscle and mobility related so before I can tackle new movement patterns, I need to work on my mobility to allow those movement patterns to happen.  This is something I've started to work on daily.   A few minutes a day of dedicated mobility work with a yoga strap, some bands and a lacrosse ball, usually when I'm watching TV.  Hopefully it pays off when I start to build my mileage again for 2018.

While I'm not a huge fan of riding in the cooler fall temps (which don't seem to be happening right now - YAY!), I do love touring around country roads on two wheels and checking out the foliage.  So there will be a lot of that this fall.  There will also be some time spent working on my skills.  Just because triathletes race generally bikes in straight lines, doesn't mean you can't benefit from bettering your bike handling skills.  It will make you a more confident rider when you're around other people and in traffic.  Bettering your skills means riding outside.  My bike handling skills have improved immensely since riding with Morning Glory but I do think there is some room for improvement.  So, I've bought myself an entry level cyclocross bike and  I'm planning on going to the Midweek Cycling Club Tuesday night races starting in October.  Nothing like learning how to handle a bike on GRASS and dirt.  I'm a little scared, but this year has been all about doing things that scare me.

Speaking of things that scare me, I will be bringing strength training back into my life in the form of TEACHING classes.  Yup.  Scaredy cat me is leading a lower body conditioning class at Pur Energy Wellness Lofts on Thursday mornings at 10:30am.  I will be leading other classes as well once the strength studio opens up.  So, not only am I getting a workout in, but I get to work out with other people AND get paid for it.  I taught my first class yesterday and it was SO AWESOME.  I was super pumped after.  I am pretty sore today.  My Garmin told me it was going to take me 21 hours to recover from that workout so yeah, I kicked my own ass for sure.

My first day greeting! 
I love this time of year because you have usually just finished your triathlon race season and can take the time to reflect on what went well, what you might change and what you need to work on while all of it is still fresh in your mind.  I think reflection is important in your growth as an athlete and this is the best time to do it.  It's also a great time to start thinking about your 2018 goals and looking for someone to help you get there.  As a coach, I've noticed in the last 2 years that October and November have been busy months for me.  I have some athletes wrapping up their racing season with fall races and other athletes (usually triathletes) that want to start working on their base fitness for a build to a big summer race.  If you're looking for either run or triathlon coaching, I will have limited spaces opening up at the beginning of November.  Hit me up if you want details or you can go to my coaching website.

G and I have been taking full advantage of our down time.  I've started volunteering with the Morning Glory Grass Tracks program on Wednesday evenings and we've been out pretty much every night this week at various social gatherings.  We've really dialled our workouts back.  I swam on Wednesday and it was probably one of the best swims I've had in a while.  So the bit of time off we've taken has helped us recover so we perform better.   Come the beginning of October, we'll get back into something a bit more structured.  For now I'm enjoying doing what I want, when I want.

Is your season done or do you have fall races planned?  What do you want to work on in your season of improvement?

TGIF Gang, enjoy your weekend!

~ Coach PK