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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 01-09-2006, 08:39 PM   #1
Cassi Nesmith
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Hi All

Last year this time I was a non-exerciser. After a friend challenged me to a sprint distance tri I trained for that, and the week after that Brian and I made a pilgrimage to HQ.

So, I really liked the tri and want to do one again. (Even though most of the WODS are just as challenging as the 2 1/2 hour event - I liked all the people there working out, the semi-competitive vibe, all the giveaway stuff in the bags.) How would you recommend I go about getting ready for it? Do I add the running/swimming/biking in addition to my modified WODs?

I remember dude from last year placing third with only Crossfit but I am not that kind of athlete.
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Old 01-10-2006, 01:44 AM   #2
Lynne Pitts
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Moving to Fitness. There are a few threads on this topic; give the search a try and particularly look for Eugene Allen's posts. He's the guru!
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Old 01-10-2006, 10:24 AM   #3
Eugene R. Allen
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Cassie - Welcome to the fold, triathlons are a great athletic expression. That 2 1/2 time must be for a sprint...fantastic time if it was for an Olympic distance race. I will assume your race format is for a sprint distance race with a 600 to 800 meter swim, 13 mile bike and 3 mile run. Since you already did one I will assume you have all the equipment you need, know how to get into and out of a wetsuit and you can swim.

The basic tri training protocol is 3 workouts per event per week. If you really stink at one of the events...let's put that the other way, if you are a terrific runner but your swimming isn't where you want it to be, replace a run with another swim. You will swim at less than 2 miles per hour but may bike at 16 or 17 mph. Imagine the advantage a person has with just a few minutes lead out of the water and is on the bike while you are still in the water...that lead takes a long time to make up. At a race called Black Hills a friend of mine started in a heat in front of my and I was in the water 4 minutes later. I made up 3 minutes of that time so he had a minute lead out of the water. I bike faster than he does and passed him, but it wasn't till mile 13 of a 30 mile ride before I went by. That's how critical your swim is to a good finish time.

You are not a fish. You are a biped designed to motate about upright on land. Swimming fast is about swimming efficiently, not powerfully. Go to a Total Immersion swim camp if you can, it will completely retrain your stroke. The three keys to efficient fish-like swimming is to swim long (always have a hand out in front of you), swim balanced (head down in the water to keep your feet in line with your body) and swim on your side. Drill - drill - drill. Swimming is about practice, not training, a neurological skill more than muscular development. Look up www.totalimmersion.net.

The 13 mile TT (Time Trial) is a hammerfest. That short of a ride is a head down, full on aero, tip of the saddle, lactate threshold challenge. Your bike quality is important of course, but even more important is bike fit. Aerobars and a forward seat position and a practiced aero position will make you much faster on your ride. Pedal in circles. Use clipless pedals or Pyro platforms. Learn to get your shoes out of your pedals as you roll into T2. Check out wwww.spinervals.com.

T1 is slow, T2 is fast. You hop off at the dismount line in your stocking or bare feet, run your bike to your rack position, unclip your helmet and toss it on your pile-o-stuff, slide on your shoes, pull the speed laces tight and take of for your run. Pose running rocks, take a look at www.posetech.com.

I do CF MWF and swim TuTh. I do easy runs or bikes on MWF and harder runs and/or bikes on TuTh. Then on Saturday I do a long run and on Sunday a long bike. Focus on your swimming and biking, the running will take care of itself with the WODs. Be efficient when you swim and aero when you run. You don't need to eat much at this race length and one water bottle should be enough.

Feel free to ask more specific questions if you have them.


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Old 01-10-2006, 07:05 PM   #4
Cassi Nesmith
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Eugene-
So you don't have any rest days at all?!?!
Cassi
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Old 01-10-2006, 11:22 PM   #5
Eugene R. Allen
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My rest days tend to appear with once a week regularity because of overtime jobs, callouts, river trips or family stuff. Interestingly during a KB workout this evening some of my much bigger and stronger SWAT bretheren familiar with the frequency and intensity of my workouts told me that I would be much bigger if I would just rest more and eat more. I told them I didn't want to be bigger and stumbled on why what I am doing is working for me. The frequency and design of my workouts is keeping me from gaining much in the way of muscular size which suits me just fine for my racing.

Anyway, if my morning HR is 6 to 8 beats more than my baseline I take the day off. If I feel smoked, really smoked...I take the day off. Other than that I train.
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Old 01-11-2006, 06:08 PM   #6
Cassi Nesmith
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Well, I am impressed. I am also the chick who watches you finish as she's in T2.

Last year I borrowed a bike three weeks before (I used a stationary before that) had never swam in open water before and couldn't run a mile without stopping. (I did the Pleasanton Tri-For-Fun, so I actually was in better shape than some of the other people there.)

If I could apply just two or three of your recommendations, what would they be? I looked at the Total Immersion Website and it looked wonderful, but the $250 cost is kind of pricey.

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Old 01-12-2006, 01:21 AM   #7
Eugene R. Allen
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My best Olympic distance time has been a 2:42. I think that will be my focus this year to get my time down below 2:30. That kind of intensity of racing is very CrossFitesque.

San Francisco has a very active Tri-community and you will be able to find and workout with other like minded folks through them. They will have a master's swim program or some other crawl specific swim program you can attend at very low cost. Not sure that Oakland would have anything though. My first recommendation is that you work on your swimming and get more comfortable in the water. Drill, drill, drill. The swim is all about technique.

See if you can find a tri bike to borrow. Find a good fit for you, not a man's bike with the seat down on the top tube, that makes the reach to the handle bars too long for you. Bike fit is hyper critical for a good ride. If you have not, learn to ride for long periods and produce power in the aero position. Let's call get a better bike that fits and get comfortable in the aero position #2.

If running a mile without stopping is an accomplishment, you need to work on your running. It is base time now. You need to simply get some miles under your shoes lady. It's time on the road (or treadmill) that counts now even if you have to stop and walk. Build your aerobic base with some steady runs being careful to fit your form to the POSE running technique I mentioned. You need to swim fast to get to the bike as quickly as possible, you need to motor along as best you can on the bike and then you need to have a good run. I can be more specific as to workouts later but for right now you just need a good running base. That's #3.

One more, transitions. New racers suck at transition because they are disorganized and don't have a plan. They have too much crap in the transition area, they change their clothes and fart around with all sorts of unnecessary crap. Efficiency is key. Have only what you need in your transiton area and no clutter. This is not a place to catch your breath, it is a place to get free time. While your competitors are fussing around changing their shirt you are in and out and putting time on them. Get lace locks for your running shoes and practice getting out of your bike shoes while still on your bike.

The Vineman series of races up in Santa Rosa is fantastic. Look up www.racecenter.com for race information.
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Old 01-12-2006, 08:55 AM   #8
Garrett Smith
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My best Olympic time was ~2:50 in the WildFlower race. Nothing great, nothing to sneeze at either.

I'd say do your CF, work in some interval bike rides and runs, work on your swim efficiency, and remember that unless you want to get really OCD about triathlons, try to remember that it's all just for fun. Nothing wrong with improving *your* time, even though it might be at the end of the pack.

www.TriSports.com is owned by a good friend of mine, it's a good place to get some stuff.

I'm about to put some of my (and my wife's) old tri stuff up for sale on EBay (transition bag, 650c tube, new women's size 5.5, race number belt, ~20 clif shots), if anyone is interested, email me.

Dr. G
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Old 01-12-2006, 02:46 PM   #9
Cassi Nesmith
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Thanks for the info, gentlemen. I'm in better shape now than I was when I did the tri, but if I was runnning a sprint alongside your Olympic, Eugene would have beat me, and I would have narrowly beat Garrett. I bet in fifth grade you would have picked me last for your kickball team, too.

I will check out a master's class. I know there is one at Mills, not far from my home, and my form is terrible (I taught myself to swim at the Officer's Club when I was in the fifth grade... enough said).

P.S. For the record, I can run almost two miles with out walking now.
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Old 01-13-2006, 05:04 PM   #10
Eugene R. Allen
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Cassi, start stretching out your run times by inserting some walks. You don't need to stretch before running, just set out at a walk for a few minutes, then step it up to a light jog for a couple minutes. Put in a mile or so of distance and take a walk for 3 or 4 minutes, pop off another mile or so and then walk some more. Get in another mile and leave the last half mile or so for a walking cool down. Every other run shorten the time you are walking by 30 seconds or a minute. In no time at all you will be up to 3 miles. Work your way up to 5 miles; for sprints that's as much as you need. Keep your hands cupped gently and swing your arms as straight forward and back as you can with elbows close to the body. Don't drag your feet, don't look down at the ground, buy good shoes that match your type of feet. Get speed laces.

Do some of your biking on a trainer and if you can try to get some Spinervals DVD's. Until then do some Tabata sprints on the bike, seated sprints, one leg pedaling, 3 x 5 minute time trials, 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off...lots of variety on the trainer. Don't just ride.

The swim part is the toughest. The master's class is perfect. Swim form is paramount..make swim drills your friend and always include drills in your workouts. Swim long, swim balanced and swim on your side. Rotate your body with the stroke in the same way you would if swinging a baseball bat or a punch, only backwards.

There is lots and lots to get right in transition, plenty of little tricks of the trade that will make your life easier (plastic bags, Super Glide, sunscreen, eating, Pam) and give you a faster race time.

Keep us updated as to your progress.

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