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!