Tag Archives: training for a 5k

Why Tri?

Hey there RYPEness!!

It’s always fun for me to look back over my triathlon career and marvel at how far I have come, and how funny training was in the very beginning. Actually…I find myself in the midst of some pretty funny shiggity in my current training season. HA! So I went back through some of my notes, and found a very old blog (from spring 2008) when I was training for my very first 70.3 race. I found it hilarious…so I thought I would share:

Twas an Epic Weekend

Well…the end is almost near…White Lake Half Ironman Triathlon is only three weeks away. I can hardly believe it myself.

On Saturday a good portion of the Western Carolina Team In Training teams participated in Charlotte Racefest. Those training for shorter distance events did the 10k run, the rest of us did the half marathon. At this point, I have never run farther than 9 miles.

 “That’s OK…” my coach said. Umm-hmm.

Miles 1 -3, just getting the legs stretched…easing into the stride…chit-chatting with the pack around me…having a good ole time. Got to mile 4…still feeling awesome…my buddy and I did about a 60 second walk…then picked the pace back up. Feelin’ good. Mile 8…lawd, lawd….not feeling good anymore, but not feeling bad either. Mile 9ish…HILL!…thank you little two year old, whoever you are!…that cute little cheer got me up to the top. Seriously y’all…she was adorable! Mile 10…HILL! Are you kidding me? Mile 11…HILL! Please. Help.

All in all, it was great. I was extremely proud of myself. I have always dreaded running and have never run in a half marathon before. So crossing that finish line – not last – felt so incredibly good. I felt like I could lay back and bask in my accomplishment…

…NOT! Why? Cause we have another training event on Sunday! What you ask? We are going on a 60 mile bike ride…starting at Crowder Mountain…MOUNTAIN!

So I wake up Sunday morning. My legs feel like 100 pound weights. I step out of bed…almost fall because the 100 pound weights immediately turn to wet noodles. At this point I really think that the best option is to take a couple of Advils and return to the fetal position. But noooooo….I decide to brave the ride.

I arrive at the meeting location…legs tight as I don’t know what. I ask one of the coaches about the course…his response “oh….its hilly!”


But he tries to console me with, “But!!!…if you can do this then the White Lake course is a piece of cake!”

Yeah. OK.

So we start the ride…immediately out the park there is an uphill. Get up it, no problem (fresh legs). So we are going through rolling terrain…moderately hilly (as the course was described)….no big issue. One of the ladies riding beside me says “my coach said the worst hills are in the first mile.”

GREAT! Lets ride…I am sure we have gone a mile already!!!

So I am riding along…meet a new friend, Suzanne. She has been here in Charlotte since the 80’s…originally from Buffalo…lives in the suburbs…you know, just great “gettin’ ta know ya” chit-chat on a beautiful 60 degree, sunny afternoon in the Carolina’s. For miles and miles, through the back roads of North and South Carolina, the terrain is mostly FLAT!

Man…this is great! We get close to the first rest stop…we are in a little over 20 miles. I get my first fall as a result of the clipless pedals. At the stop sign…over I go. No  biggie…it was bound to happen. And who cares…THE TERRAIN IS FLAT! So we get some needed water, grab a banana, clean my “knee vs. gravel” battle wound and off we go.

Then we make a turn. Something inside of me felt funny when we made that turn. Like danger lurked ahead. It was a dark, uncomfortable feeling…but I didn’t listen to that inner voice…I just road…like a woman on a mission…down this poorly paved road…shaded by rows and rows of magnificent trees.

Down hill…flat….down hill….flat.

This is just too good.

Down hill…curve….what?

Suzanne, “Shelly, you see this hill?”

Shelly, “Damn”

So we get some momentum…and before you know it, we are at the top! No biggie.

Then another curve…What?

Another hill. Bigger and more daunting then the first.

Then another! AND ANOTHER!

Are you freakin’ kidding me???

We climbed ALL THE WAY UP into Kings Mountain National Park.

I think then can just bury me here. Cuz I’m DUN!

But we made it. Actually…I cut my ride short about 3 miles. There was a little footnote on the route sheet:

In case of emergency, there is a short-cut…”

All I needed to hear. My thighs actually having a voice of their own to scream obscenities at me classifies as an emergency to me.

The alternate route cut the ride by about 3 miles and E-LI-MI-NA-TED a very challenging hill (you like that term huh?…I took it from our coaches…they think they can say that and trick us…like we don’t know that means KILLER BEAST OF A – YOUR QUADS WILL EXPLODE – CLIMB!). So I take the short-cut… that unfortunately was not short on hills!

I’m ready y’all. I am ready for whatever White Lake has to throw at me. I made it through Epic Weekend! And you know what? I am very proud of my accomplishment!


So…Why Tri? Because…it’s totally worth it to have stories like this to tell!!

Stay RYPE!


Runners for Boston

Good morning RYPEness

Today I am going to one of our local run stores (Run For Your Life) and participating in “Runners for Boston” memorial run. “Runners for Boston” is a free, casual run that will take place all over the U.S. starting at 6:30PM tonight (April 22nd).  Runners are encouraged to wear the Boston Marathon’s signature blue and yellow colors, or any Boston Marathon apparel.

Last Monday was a horrible day in the US, and unfortunately one that is among too many that have occurred over the last year. We find ourselves living in a time that most of us never fathomed. It can, if you let it, paralyze you from fear of what could happen next. We cannot allow that to happen. We have to pay tribute to those who have been affected by these horrible acts by continuing to live our lives with joy and love in our hearts; prayerful that the abundance of these two things beaming from within us will choke out the few bad who do these evil things. We have to. The alternative is not an option.

I hope you can join in this run today. Find a group or go it alone….but just go. Be it a run or walk, at 6:30 tonight let’s run united for peace.


Faster! Faster!!!

Hey there RYPEness!!

Happy Thursday to ya! Who out there really feels like a snail when riding with certain groups? If you are like me, there is nothing more intimidating than to join up with a few cycling enthusiast to take on a nice morning ride, and at mile 5 you are so out of breath because you can’t seem to keep up with that 18mph pace! And its not like its something you dont want to do…you just CANT! Well, the only way to get better is to train better. I was reading my digest from Active.com and they listed some really good tips for boosting your average MPH, so I thought I would share….and maybe you can hold me accountable for actually executing these on a regular basis!

Keep Pedaling

You may not have noticed that you coast a lot. Some riders get into the habit of coasting for a good percentage of any ride. If you’re spending a lot of time coasting, you’re not building the fitness necessary to keep high average speeds for low metabolic cost.

As an experiment, ride a mostly flat course that has no stop signs and very little traffic. Aim to put power to the pedals continuously for 30 minutes. Keep the pressure on the pedals light so your effort remains aerobic; but keep your legs moving and feel that you are generating power with each pedal stroke. If 30 minutes is easy, aim for 60 minutes.

I suspect some of you will find that you are spending more time coasting and not generating any power than you realize.

Ride a Rolling Course

After practicing the skill of keeping pressure on the pedals on a flat course, it’s time to take that skill to the hills. Find a rolling course that has few stops and distractions. After your warmup, ride for 30 to 60 minutes at a steady, aerobic effort, keeping force on the pedals all the time.

This workout requires that you play with the gears on your bike to figure out what gear combination allows you to keep force on the pedals 100 percent of the time. Yes, that means on the downhill portions too.

Hill Repeats

For this workout you’ll need a heart rate monitor. Find a hill that takes you some 3 to 5 minutes to climb. Note a start and stop line for hill repeats. The goal of the workout is to find the gear combination that gives you the fastest time on the hill climb without exceeding the top of the aerobic zone (Zone 2) on your heart rate monitor. Get full recovery between each climb, spinning easy for some 3 to 5 minutes before beginning the next climb.

Isolated Leg Training (ILT) Indoors

Many cyclists do ILT work in the winter and on an indoor trainer. The workout helps reduce or eliminate any dead spots out of your pedal stroke. One common workout example is to do a warm-up, then with light resistance on an indoor trainer, do 100 percent of the work with one leg while the other leg is resting on a stool.

The bottom of the stroke is similar to the motion of scraping mud off the bottom of your shoe. The top of the stroke can be improved by driving your toes and knees forward. In all positions, keep your toes relaxed. Do not allow them to curl up and clinch the bottom of your shoe. The aim is to be smooth and keep power applied during as much of each revolution as possible.

Begin with 20 or 30 seconds per leg and build up to 60 seconds per leg. After doing one set with each leg, spin with both legs for some 2 to 4 minutes before starting the ILT work again.

Start with a cumulative time of 3 to 5 minutes on each leg within the workout and build time as you become stronger. Be sure to stop pedaling and change legs or spin with both legs when your form becomes sloppy or jerky. Do not worry about achieving any particular heart rate–smooth pedaling form is most important.

Once you’re efficiently making smooth circles on the trainer in a normal setup, you can put blocks under your front wheel to simulate hill climbing. Build the time you are able to complete ILT drills on hills.

ILT Work Outdoors

After achieving good form doing ILT work on an indoor trainer, move outdoors to a flat course. One method of doing ILT work outdoors is by relaxing and unweighting one leg while the other leg does 90 percent of the work. (The unweighted leg stays clipped in.)

A second method is to pull the non-working leg out of the pedal and allow it to hang about 6 to 12 inches away from the bike. In either case, use a gear combination that allows you to keep force on the pedal for the majority of the pedal stroke.

Be sure to change legs when fatigue sets in, or set a specific time interval to prevent excess fatigue. Again, correct form is most important. Similar to doing the drill indoors, work your way up to an interval of 30 to 60 seconds per leg. After doing a work segment with each leg, spin easy with both legs for a minute or two and then return to single leg work.

Finally, when you’ve achieved what you consider to be a good skill level at ILT work on a flat course, try the drill on a slight uphill. Of course it is most challenging when the non-working leg is removed from the pedal.

Why Do ILT Work on Hills?

At least one study concluded that cycling uphill decreases gross efficiency and is associated with changes in pedaling technique. If you train your legs to be as efficient as possible going uphill, of course it only helps your cause of increasing speed.

By practicing good pedaling technique and making a conscious effort to keep power to the pedals, I’m willing to bet your overall cycling speed will begin to increase. With foundation skills nailed, you can begin adjusting volume and intensity to make even more gains.


So there ya have it! My goal is to get in a hill repeat workout at least once a week. My challenge is going to be getting on my trainer for those isolated leg trainings….YUK. But hey, you have to do what you have to do to get where you want to be, right? Right!

Oh…on last thing: Do NOT forget to moisturize. Crossing the finish line with ashy lips is a no-no!


Hyped 2b RYPE!!



Why Tri?

Because there are some really cool races in some really cool places! I saw an article on Active.com and had to share it. Maybe its just me, but I love the idea of picking  a race in a vacation destination. It kind of gives purpose to the vacation, know what I mean? You show up, you get prepared, you race…..then you chill! Basking in the after-glow of your accomplishment.



So if you find yourself in a slump and needing that little extra kick to get you going, then Tri vacation! I have my eye on that Chicago Triathlon…there is nothing more fun than Chicago in the summer time! Get up, race, hit up some of the finest restaurants in the world…then go listen to some good ole Chicago House Music!I know, I know…sounds the bomb right?!

Tri Vacations are an easy way to stay motivated AND convince your BFF’s to Tri with you!

Happy training RYPEness!

Article: http://www.active.com/triathlon/Articles/Vacation-Destination-Triathlons.htm?cmp=306&memberid=147438380&lyrisid=40513537&email=mlgrady1126@gmail.com

Good morning RYPEness,

The horror that took place yesterday is unimaginable. The innocent lives lost and the number of spectators injured brings a sadness to my heart that is heavy. As an endurance event athlete, I cannot imagine. So today, please take a moment to say a prayer. Pray for the families of the lives that were lost. Pray for the recovery of those who are injured. Pray for healing of those who witnessed the aftermath. Pray for our society…pray that evil is removed from it, and that fear does not morph us into a country that is unrecognizable.


What ta eat???


I hope everyone is ready for a great weekend!! You know we like to talk about food on Fridays, and I found an article that I thought was very important to share. Us triathletes have to understand that there are four disciplines to our sport: swim, bike, run, NUTRITION! Eating right is key, more so than your training. If you arent putting the right things into the machine, you simple will not get optimal performance out of the machine. Its a rather basic equation really. Here are five very important things to remember:

1. Reduce Consumption of Refined Foods

Refined foods do not provide the necessary energy levels that are required for triathlon competitions. This is because refined foods contain sugar alcohols that the body absorbs rapidly, and they are of no value in terms of nutrition per calorie. In addition, the processed foods tend to stimulate blood-sugar levels, and this can be detrimental to an athlete’s health. Refined foods also tend to cause inflammation of the muscles and joints, especially processed oils such as hydrogenated vegetable oils. Natural, unrefined foods that contain whole grain ingredients may be the best choices for triathlon athletes as they are rich in nutrients.

2. Eat Early and Often

Reliable research shows that foods that are consumed early in the morning are more likely to become heat energy rather than stored fats. Skipping breakfast tends to cause people to overeat in the evening, which is a practice that leads to the storage of fats, because the body will not need the calories that are consumed immediately. Eating frequently and in small quantities is ideal for triathlon nutrition, as it tends to provide the necessary energy that is required at any particular time. Moreover, frequent eating constantly supplies the body with the energy that is required for training and workout sessions.

3. Eat a Balanced Diet

A triathlon athlete needs to incorporate a balanced diet in all of his or her meals at all times. While preparing for a triathlon competition, there is no room for compromise. Consumption of “junk” food is not encouraged. Triathlon athletes need to consume more proteins and carbohydrates, as these foods contain calories that are essential for the production of energy.

4. Include More Fruits and Vegetables in Your Diet

Fruits and vegetables contain fibers that are necessary for the normal functioning of the body. They also contain nutrients that are effective in helping the body maintain fitness levels. However, you should avoid taking fruit juices, because they contain too much sugar and less fiber. Eating fruits and vegetables also helps in body recovery, especially after a training session.

5. Drink More Water

Water is also important in triathlon nutrition, as it enhances exercise performance during workout sessions. It increases blood volume and lowers body temperature through hydration, and therefore, it improves performance. Sport drinks are often better than plain water since they contain additional contents that are more absorbable and have a better retention rate.

So remember when you are heading to that snack room to raid the vending machine that the action will derail any progress you are making. Opt for fresh fruits…’tis the season to find yummy selections at your local market. Also, keep a glass of water with you at all times….and flavor it if need be! I add slices of cucumbers, oranges, strawberries, even apples with cinnamon sticks to make the water taste super yummy! You have added some flavor while maintaining the integrity of the water!


Happy training RYPE-er! And have a MAGNIFICENT weekend!!


Hey there RYPEness!!

I have asked this question before, but I will ask it again….Why Tri? Because there is absolutely no reason for you not to! It’s amazing how sources of inspiration or reasons why I should have NO excuses show themselves just at the right time! As I ran this morning, with a buddy of mine who is much faster than me, I kept this story in the forefront of my mind. I know that I want to get faster…I also know that trying to get faster is PAINFUL for me! HA! However, if you want what you want, you have to do what you gotta do!

Check out this article: http://www.runnersworld.com/races/mike-fremont-91-finishes-knoxville-half-marathon-304

91year old

91 and still running half marathons? Seriously? Do you know what that says to me every time I want to just be a couch potato? Or when I want to stop running and walk? Or when I simply want to cry when climbing a hill on my bike? It says, “SHUT UP AND GET OVER IT! Mike Fremont gets it in…so can you!!”

So think about this man…this VERY inspirational man…when your mind throws doubt and laziness in the mix. Because barring some injury, there is no excuse for you not to just Tri.

Happy Hump Day RYPE-er!

FUN in your RUN

Good morning RYPEness!

First let me give a shout out to the Louisville Cardinals for their National Championship win last night…and Coach Rick Pitino for being the first coach to ever win two National Championships from two different schools!!! That was probably one of the best games ever!! Kudos to the Michigan team because you surely played your hearts out!!

So…remember yesterday I told you to get your race schedule together to build that momentum and motivation needed to be consistent with your training? Well, let’s piggy-back off of that. Include some FUN in your RUN! Look around, its not hard to see that fitness has become a focus in this country (about dang-gone time!). As a result, we are seeing more and more races show up on the scene….more and more creatively FUN races! Do you know how much being surrounded by “fun” energy helps get you through the event? I remember when I did IRONMAN Florida, I looked forward to the aid stations because they were all themed (there was a Christmas themed one, a superheroes one, a medieval themed, etc.) I would get distracted from the fact that I was ONLY on mile 64 out of 112 because I was focused on getting to the next aid station to see what was in store! Endurance events are actually ones that will welcome a distraction…I mean, there is only so much focusing on form I can do when I have to run or bike for hours on end, know what I mean?!

Race schedules are out now…so Google “fun runs” or “fun triathlons” in your area and get those on your schedule. Grab a bunch of your friends to join you! I am sure you have that one friend that swears they “can’t” run or that a triathlon is too much for them. Once you get them to do one, I will bet money they will do another! It’s just so empowering to do your first event, especially when you were your own naysayer, and cross that finish line. It WILL change your life and outlook….forever!

I created a Team RYPE for the Electric Run that is coming here to Charlotte! If you are in this area, come join us! It’s going to be a blast!! But if you aren’t, check the list because this event just might be coming to your city too! And if it’s not, I know there are some cool, fun, different events that you can motivate your friends to participate in with you.

Start a movement near you to “Realize Your Potential Everyday!…to be healthy: mind, body and soul!”

Keep it RYPE!!

Electric Run


Race! Race! Race!…

….it’s what motivates you to train!! In turn, training develops sexy bodies!! And who doesn’t want a sexy body???

Good morning RYPEness!

Today is the day to start developing that race schedule for the year. Whether its your first 5K race, your first triathlon or if you are a seasoned veteran, setting your race schedule is a major source of daily inspiration…sometimes the biggest source. Once you sign up for a race….thus paying your hard earned pennies to enter….the last thing you want to do is fail at your attempt by not completing it OR wasting your money by not participating in it. Know what I’m sayin’?

To help get you started…here is my race schedule thus far:

April 28th – Huntersville Sprint Triathlon

June 15th – Enka Spint Triathlon

August 3rd – Stumpy Creek International Triathlon (tentative still)

September 28th – Charlotte Half Ironman Triathlon

BAM! There it is….keeping about two months between races, and allowing it to be a build up to the ultimate goal of another Half Ironman. This should definitely keep me busy!!

So…there it is, my “motivation schedule”. I put it out there hoping that it will motivate you to create your own.

Have a wonderfully RYPE Monday!


OK…..its POOL time!

Hey there RYPEness!!

I came across a really good article on swim drills for triathletes. However, I think these same drills are good to do even if you are not getting ready for triathlon event.


Swim Drills for Triathletes

By Lisa Wolf

drillsEach time triathletes hit the pool deck, they are ready to challenge themselves and work towards the goal of getting faster and more efficient in the water. To many, this means long distance sets for endurance or speed sets for increased anaerobic development. One of the most overlooked areas in training is the use of swimming drills. Taking the time to “break apart” a stroke (and yes, sometimes that includes strokes OTHER than freestyle) by learning to do something slowly, with specific focus, can reap benefits during a race.

Here are a few swimming drills to spice up a workout to improve technique, as well as to provide a bit of recovery between sets:

Kicking Drills
I concede that kicking during the swim portion of a triathlon should be kept to a minimum to conserve leg strength for the bike and run but that doesn’t mean that you should never kick during practice! These drills work on body position as well as kicking. Remember, a good flutter kick is about 12-16” deep in the water. Only your heels should be popping out on the downward kick. And don’t forget to kick UP and DOWN with flexible ankles. Don’t drive the kick from your thighs — it should be hip driven and snap your toes down with you knee bending slightly. The advantage of a solid kick is that it creates the balance needed to have a good stroke rhythm.

  • Body Position Drill #1 – Hands on the end of the kickboard, arms fully extended and kickboard flat on the water. Head should be down between the arms, ears even with the arms and gentle flutter kick. Lift the head up to breath. This reestablishes the correct horizontal plane for minimal drag and combats “uphill” swimming.
  • Body position Drill #2 – Repeat the same drill but move one hand to the middle of the board, the other remains at the side. Kick gently and rotate to breath. Keep the head down (ear at arm) and focus on gentle rotation to breath. See how little of your face you can keep out of the water, maybe only to the point past your nose. Repeat on the other side to promote bilateral breathing comfort. For weak kickers, fins may assist in finding the correct body position.
  • Tombstone drill – Put the kickboard out fully extended in front to look like a tombstone and start     kicking. The goal is to keep the maximum amount of the kickboard in the water you can handle. It is an excellent body awareness and balance drill while stressing the legs.

Stroke Drills
A triathlon swim is all about efficiency and stroke rate. The best way to think of this is that you want to get the maximum distance per stroke with the most efficient stroke rate to maintain “steady state swimming.” It takes practice to find the perfect ratio between the two but working on creating excellent technique will assist in getting the most out of your swim.

  • Fingertip Drag – swim with high elbow recovery and “drag” fingertips forward in the water from your exit to your entry point out in front. Relax your arm and hand in the recovery phase to keep it loose and engage the upper back muscles (traps/lats and rhomboids) to ensure you are not swimming with just your rotator cuff and shoulder muscles.
  • Crossover Drill – Repeat Kickboard Drill #2 but swim with a single arm. If you are crossing over in front of your face during your entry, you will hit the kickboard with your hand. Focus on entry outside the shoulder and away from the board. This will decrease the chances of shoulder impingement/injury. Switch arms to practice both sides.
  • Fist Drill – Swim with fists lightly clenched through the full stroke. Notice the forearm position (high elbow, or “EVF”- early vertical forearm, under water) and feel the water on the forearm. Do not drop elbow. Pull water straight back past the hip with minimal sculling.
  • Breathing Pattern Drill – swim set of 4 x 200, breathing every 3 strokes on odd 25s and every 5 strokes on odd 25s. You must slow down to do this drill correctly and be able to keep the pattern. Don’t forget to exhale slowly underwater so you can grab a full breath on the breathing portion. You most likely will have to hold your breath for a second or two, especially on the 5 strokes.
  • Water Polo Drill #1 – swim 25s (or partial 25s) with your head out of the water looking forward. Do not swing your head from side to side but focus forward. This will help develop the neck/back muscles for open water sighting. Be careful if you have neck or lower back issues and don’t overdo this one.
  • Water Polo Drill #2 – in the deep end of the pool, tread water with breast stroke or eggbeater kick (alternating one legged breast stroke kick) with your hands on your head or above water. This will drill will simulate the treading done at the beginning of an in water start. Build up from 3 x 30 seconds to 3 x 2:00 over time.
  • Buoys and Turns #1 – practice swimming 5 strokes of freestyle and then 3 strokes of breast stroke for several 25s. This allows you to practice slowing down/speeding up if you encounter a crowded area around a turn buoy or have to maneuver around a group in a straightaway.
  • Buoys and Turns #2 – swim 4 strokes of freestyle and cross your arm over your body and swim 3 strokes of backstroke for a 25. Not only is this the beginning of a backstroke flip turn (bonus), it allows you to practice adjusting goggles during a race with ease as well as working on mastering a fast turn around a buoy.

Each and every swim practice should include drills. It allows you to refocus on technique at key sections of the workout. As you tire, technique begins to suffer, so taking a few minutes with any of the drills is a productive use of your valuable time.

Lisa Wolf is a certified coach with USA Triathlon and USA Swimming. Her swimming background also includes a Level II ASCA certification and Level II certification with USMS.


Have a great day RYPEness!