3 High Octane Treadmill Workouts

The dreadmill, hamster wheel, torture device or whatever your pet name, the treadmill is a necessity that you love to hate and that you simply cannot get away from.  Whether you have been hit with bad weather, are short on time, or don’t like running in the dark, here are three workouts that will take the monotony out of your next treadmill run and supercharge your results at the same time!

Threshold Throwdown

5 minutesWarmup
2 minutesPerceived exertion 7/10
2 minutesPerceived exertion 8/10
2 minutePerceived exertion 9/10
3 minutesRecovery
1 minutesPerceived exertion 7/10
2 minutesPerceived exertion 8/10
2 minutePerceived exertion 9/10
3 minutesRecovery
2 minutesPerceived exertion 7/10
2 minutesPerceived exertion 8/10
1 minutePerceived exertion 9/10
3 minutesRecovery
2 minutesPerceived exertion 7/10
1 minutesPerceived exertion 8/10
1 minutePerceived exertion 9/10
5 minuteCooldown

Total time: 39 minutes

VO2 Vortex

7 minuteWarmup
3 x 1 minute w/1minute RBI9/10
3 minuterecovery
3 x 2 minute w/1minute RBI9/10
3 minuterecovery
3 x 3 minute w/2minute RBI9/10
7 minutescooldown

Total Time: 43 minutes

Tempo for days

5 minuteWarmup
3 minute8/10
1 minuterecovery
4 minute8/10
2 minuterecovery
5 minute8/10
3 minuterecovery
6 minute8/10
4 minuterecovery
6 minute8/10
7 minutecooldown

Total time: 47 minutes

Effort levels defined:

Recovery: Either a walk or jog.  This is a conversational pace.

7/10: This is a moderate effort.  Breathing will be moderate but a sentence should be able to be said at a time.

8/10: This is a hard effort near or at Threshold.  Breathing should be heavy but 2-3 words should be able to be said in between breaths

9/10: This is a very hard effort but not quite maximal.  Breathing should be labored and words should be hard to say

Cold Sweats Would be Better Than Sweaty and Cold

Winter is coming and the temperatures are falling. In today’s blog, Coach Brady offers his tips on how to select the right attire for every degree.

Every year, it takes a few workouts to realize what all I need to wear for each temperature range.  Sometimes it is the sudden shift in temperatures, the fear of being cold or the simple fact that sometimes I can’t remember what I did yesterday (let alone the last time it was cold.) All I know is that I always end up cold one way or another. I bet you’ve had this same issue as the seasons change. Let me help you by providing a starting guide that you can consult and modify for you and your climate.  

CYCLING:

60-65 degrees: Arm warmers, vest is optional as it gets closer to 60 degrees

50-60 degrees: Arm warmers, knee warmers/leg warmers, short sleeve base layer, wind front gloves & vest

40-50 degrees: Arm warmers, knee warmers/leg warmers, short sleeve base layer, wind front gloves, toe/shoe covers & vest or long sleeve jersey

<40 degrees: Arm warmers, knee warmers/leg warmers, short sleeve base layer, windproof thermal gloves, wind front briefs, shoe covers, wool socks & wind front long sleeve jersey

RUNNING:
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60-65 degrees: Shorts and shirt

50-60 degrees: Shorts and shirt

40-50 degrees: Shorts, shirt, light glove & arm warmers

<40 degrees: Tights, shirt, lightly insulated glove & arm warmers (as it gets below freezing thermal tights are a great option)

Unsure about tights? I hear you — I try to maintain my ability to adapt to changing weather and, because of this, you will notice that I rarely use tights or anything similar.  A 5 degree swing in temperature can mean you’re either too hot or too cold. Arm and knee/leg warmers allow for quick modulation vs. tights and long sleeve tops.  If you use the above tips as a starting point, you will quickly find a combination that works for you no matter the temperature.

Don’t Fear the Field Test

Many athletes have GPS devices, heart rate monitors and power meters collecting data for them continually.  It is now easier than ever, with auto sync features, to upload your files to Garmin Connect, Strava or, our favorite coaching tool, TrainingPeaks.  With the copious amounts of data that are being flung at the internet on a daily basis, it is apparent to us that many athletes do not know what any of the information being recorded means or how they can best utilize it.

Speaking with athletes at races, events, on group rides and in passing, we have found that there is one key reason many athletes do not use the data from their devices more.  FEAR.  Yep, they are afraid to field test and get ranges that would improve the overall results that training could provide.  Why is this?  People are afraid to know what their data is telling them in regards to their threshold numbers. They are afraid it will be lower than where they feel it should be, afraid of being compared to others, afraid of being judged for what they feel is a lack of fitness or even afraid of going all out to get the right data.  

Stop worrying and start training!  Let’s get past this fear.  By not taking these actions to find your training ranges, you are only limiting yourself, but also perpetuating the cycle of fear.  Whether you run or cycle, a field test is necessary to get the correct ranges to increase your training efficiency.  The numbers mean absolutely nothing unless you have a gauge to base them all off off.  So, get out there and perform your cycling field test and/or your running field test.

Are you unsure of what to do with the data once it is collected?  Let us know.  We will help you take the information and turn it into something of value to you!

Underinformed or Misinformed on Lactate

While watching a video on Dean Karnazes, the SoS team noticed a quote that, without the knowledge of lactic acid, would lead many viewers astray.

For those of you that are unaware of who Dean is, you should know that he is an extraordinary athlete and an incredibly accomplished ultra runner. Physiologically, he is an elite level athlete. Biomechanically, he is incredibly efficient. Mentally, he is very tough. If you have seen some of the stunts he has pulled off, you will also know he is a bit of a showman. However, unless he is one of the very few who has a condition called Lactate Dehydrogenase Syndrome, Dean most certainly does produce lactate during exercise. With all of the confusion that is out there on this topic, let’s take a few minutes to clear up some details.

First and foremost, let’s straighten out some terminology and facts so we are on the same page. Lactic acid and lactate are two different things that are often confused. Even though they are very similar structurally, the body produces and uses lactate, not lactic acid. Lactate is produced under all levels of exertion, but in quantities equivalent to the level of exertion. This means, even when you are sitting on the couch eating Bon Bons, your body is producing low levels of lactate. The part that surprises many people is that lactate is also used as a fuel source by skeletal muscle, as well as the heart, brain, kidneys and liver. I know some readers might ask about the hydrogen ion associated with lactate, and we can discuss this in more detail in a later blog post. Instead of getting into the weeds on the science that governs the body, let’s get some perspective on Dean’s accomplishments and the gravity of the athletic challenges he’s taken on.

Dean is capable of doing 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days, finishing the last one with a 3 hour flat marathon time. Let that sink in… Give it one more minute… We are not talking about a casual weekend warrior or Average Joe.Dean is running super fast, but he is still working at an intensity level below lactate threshold. While many might be struggling to hold a 13 minute pace to stay below threshold, Dean is strolling along at a 6:52 min/mile not stressing about holding pace. Do not let the text in the video fool you –, he does produce lactate and he does have muscle fatigue. He is able to run at these paces and for these distance because he is a well trained athlete, not because his body is absent of this substance.


Wondering about your lactate threshold and how you can train your body to work harder, longer? Testing and analysis services, along with custom coaching, can bring your athleticism to a whole new level.

Running economy

For those of you who were “Friends” watchers you might remember one episode where Phoebe Buffay was trying to get Rachel Green to run like a child through the park and stop worrying about how she looked. No? Well here’s a quick reminder/laugh  Hopefully there aren’t any of you that are out there running with quite the child like style that these two perfected but no matter your caliber level there are always several small things that can help your running economy.

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Running is something that many people don’t think about as being an issue because nearly everyone can run and has run at some point in their life.  Ultimately this means that very few athletes have ever been taught to run.  I know it sounds weird, huh?  But Google “running” and you will see what I am talking about in the paragraphs to come.

A great deal of runners out there are what many would consider heel strikers.  Now for me personally this was my running form years ago because that was emphasized by a high school coach.  With the knowledge that I now have of biomechanics and physiology this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever!  With every heel strike your body is decelerating and the shock/force that is being place on your bones, muscles and tendons is very high.  This not only increases the amount of fatigue that is placed on your body but also increases your risk of injury because all of that force is being transfered from your feet into the rest of your body.

In the past several years there has been a large spike in the popularity of barefoot running and shoes which I think was made popular by the Nike Free early on and then amplified in theory and simplicity by Vibram Five Fingers.  However for many these simply force you to become a midfoot runner and don’t necessarily make you focus on it which in turn can lead to additional risk of injury because we are forcing something that is not yet natural.

With all of this in mind the next step is how to change and what to think or look for in order to increase your running economy.  One of the key things that can help you to decrease the amount of the slowing phase(heel strike) of your running stride is to increase your lean angle.  A good example of proper lean angle is to stand with your feet flat on the ground and lean forward from your ankles.  At the point where you begin to lose balance and fall you will place your foot in front of you.  Think of this as overcoming static inertia and by leaning all you are doing is placing one foot in front of the other in order to keep from falling over.  This one little tip helps many people to lessen their heel strike and can often increase your running pace without increasing your perceived exertion.  Just like many old habits you will find that your running ones will die hard, even after several minutes.  If you need to stop and start over with the lean angle you can.  Just like barefoot running you will want to start off with minimal time 5-10 minute runs and then build your time from there once you feel you have maintained proper form for the entireity of the run.

Interested in having your form analyzed?  Contact SoS to schedule a run form analysis session today!

Athlete Spotlight: Ashley Maxwell

No matter what level of experience or skill you have in your favorite sport, it can be hard to believe you might be ready for a professional coach. That word professional can be intimidating, but you don’t need to be a pro athlete to get pro advice. Meet SoS Athlete, Ashley. We sat down with her to find out why she sought out a coach and what her experience has been like working with Science of Speed’s team.

SOS: WHAT WAS YOUR ATHLETIC LIFE LIKE BEFORE YOU HAD A COACH?

Ashley: I grew up playing soccer from the age of 5, I ran cross country in middle school, and I danced in high school.  When I got to college, I focused more on school but would play a pick-up game of soccer every now and then but no running and no dancing.  I felt pretty proficient in soccer, but when I decided to start running again, I sort of made it up as I went.  If and when I felt like running, I did, and when I felt like racing, I did.  It wasn’t until I realized how much I loved and missed running (which was about six months after I started running again) that I decided to be more serious about it and enlist the help of a coach.

SOS: WHAT WAS THE INITIAL GOAL OR MOTIVATION TO SEEK OUT A COACH?

Ashley: My initial goal was to complete the Tallahassee Marathon and I knew I was going to need some professional guidance to achieve that.  I actually attended a lecture about training for marathons at Capital City Runners one night when Brady was there and I didn’t look anywhere else!  In fact, I believe I emailed him just a few days later and thus began my relationship with Science of Speed.

SOS: WHEN YOU FOUND SOS, WHAT STOOD OUT TO YOU?

Ashley: What stood out was the apparent dedication to the community.  I thought it was great that the owner himself showed up to help with the lecture.  It also really impressed me that Brady called me within a couple days of emailing him to actually have a verbal conversation about goals and where I was at in my running career to help me decide on the right coaching service.

SOS: DESCRIBE YOUR COACH AND YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM.

Ashley: Alex is always there to help me.  We connect at least once a week to talk about how the week was, where I’m having concerns, where I’m excelling, and where I need improvement.  We have a great relationship and I feel I can really trust him and his advice with not only running, but with nutrition and recovery as well.  I like that he takes the time out of his busy schedule to accommodate my busy schedule. I work nights and sometimes have to arrange phone calls at odd hours and he’s never had a problem with that. He will talk to me until I feel I’ve said and asked everything I need to.

SOS: WHAT’S BEEN THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY TRAINING?

Ashley: The biggest difference is probably that I run more days of the week.  I’ve also made major adjustments to how I recover after long runs and my diet as well.

SOS: WHAT’S BEEN THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU’VE SEEN IN YOUR BODY?

Ashley: The biggest change I’ve noticed is the strength I have in my legs and arms.  I actually have visible muscles in both legs and arms which is really nice since summer is coming up!

SOS: WHAT’S BEEN THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU’VE NOTICED MENTALLY?

Ashley: Mentally, I’m much less stressed and have way less anxiety.  I’m a lot more confident in competition and have actually become quite competitive.

SOS: WHAT GOALS HAS COACHING HELPED YOU ACHIEVE — OR EVEN HELPED YOU ALTER?

Ashley: Coaching has helped me be realistic about my goals.  I got injured in November after running a half marathon for the first time.  Alex really helped me maintain my endurance in a low impact way and altered my marathon goals to accommodate the delay in my training.

SOS: WHAT’S YOUR UPCOMING GOAL AND HOW WILL YOUR COACH HELP YOU GET THERE?

Ashley: My upcoming goal is a marathon at the end of April.  He’s really helped me recover post Tallahassee half marathon and I’m feeling confident going forward with training.  He posts my training schedule in training peaks and is 100% understanding if there is a day when I just can’t muster up the energy to run.  He always tells me to listen to my body and I’ve been trying harder to do that.

SOS: WHEN PEOPLE SAY, “DO I REALLY NEED A COACH?” WHAT WOULD YOUR ANSWER BE?

Ashley: If you are really serious about and really love the sport you’re considering getting a coach in, then yes absolutely.  I never would have been able to reach the level of athleticism I’m currently at without Alex and Science of Speed.

Ready to start your journey as an SoS Athlete like Ashley? Contact us today.

Science of Speed at the Tallahassee Marathon

The 2017 Tallahassee Marathon was a big event for Science of Speed.  We were proud to partner with the marathon, and offer athletes many options to improve their performance which included talks, training plans and custom coaching to help improve the overall enjoyment and performance of each racer.  Not only did Science of Speed choose to partner with this amazing event, but we had many SoS athletes participate. Even coach Brady got out there for another year to mix it up.  For some, this was their first ½ or full marathon, but for all it was a great experience!

We saw many amazing results from our athletes and some PR’s as well!

Mary Brosnan – 2:04:30

Ashley Maxwell – 2:00:32

Robert Palmer – 2:37:43

Aaron Guyer – 1:38:12 – 1st ½ marathon

Chuck Rolling – 2:46:43 – PR’d by 2 minutes

Margie Rolling – 2:46:41

Janelle Irwin – 5:24:07 – First Marathon – PR’d half marathon time

Terry McIlvain – 5:24:06 – First Marathon

Brady Irwin – 1:28:28 – 4min 40sec PR from 2016
Are you looking to improve your next running performance?  Having a Science of Speed coach will not only increase your confidence, but will also help your results!

Diet Periodization

Timing Food Intake with Training

Periodization is a very common word for many athletes.  You hear it used throughout the year as training schedules are being built in their varying macro, micro and meso cycles, and you will hear them celebrated when a diligently thought out and designed training plan leads to great improvements in athletic ability and massive success in event day performance. One very large part of this important periodization that is often overlooked is the periodization of your nutrition.  In the coming paragraphs, we will discuss diet periodization and how our training impacts our body’s substrate utilization and how it can change from one training block or from one event to the next.

In the last 20+ years, the importance of carbo-loading and carbohydrate fueling has been pounded into our heads.  Even though the utilization of carbohydrates is very high,increased levels of intensity does not mean that we continually need to be on an IV drip of drink mix or the latest, greatest, snot-consistency, carbohydrate bolus available.

Transition/Base

This is an optimal time to cut weight if you want to do so for the next season, big goal event or simply because.  Unfortunately, this time tends to fall during the holiday season for many athletes and, because of this, many athletes gain weight.

Diet with Exercise

Consider a ketogenic diet during this time phase of your training.  With energy expenditure in workouts low and the intensity levels even lower, this high protein/high fat diet can quickly lead to weight loss because of the calorie deficit that is often associated with the increased satiety levels that higher protein levels can create. Bottom line: you’ll be feeling full longer and over-eating less.

Build/Intensity

During this phase of training an athlete’s intensity level generally increases.  A higher focus is placed on workouts at or above threshold and the body’s demand for carbohydrates increases as well.

This is where the controversy comes in and part of the decision depends upon what your goals are, the type of event you are participating in, and where exactly your training intensity will be.  The majority of our culture in sport, much like the general population, is very carbohydrate centered.  Walk into your local bike shop or running store and look at the number one ingredient on nearly all of the products.  It is some form of sugar.  

The other extreme is a ketogenic based diet.  With any high intensity exercise, the true definition of ketogenic is ingesting a maximum of 60 calories a day from carbohydrates.  Typically, the breakdown of your nutrient intake would look something like this: 5% carbohydrates, 15% protein and 80% fat.  

Shifting your caloric intake to a more carbohydrate dominant focus (50% or greater) during this time to see results as your boost your training into a higher gear.

Taper

Taper is the time period in which you scale back on your training to allow time for your body to recover just before your goal event. Whatever you do right now, do not cut your caloric consumption to go into a caloric deficit/weight loss phase.  It is a common fear of many athletes to gain weight before their big day.  Many athletes panic during this time because the exercise volume can, and, in most cases should, decrease.  If athletes are subject to this frenzy (while it is semi-logical,) caloric intake is cut and puts that athlete into a deficit. This deficit deprives the body of the fuel it needs for the most important event of the year.

To overcome this, you can do several things.  Have a resting metabolic rate test performed to track your resting metabolic rate.  For any weight-conscientious person, this can provide a very accurate baseline of what your body needs daily to sustain life.  With this information, along with the increase in accuracy of heart rate monitors, as well as power meters, you can fine tune caloric intake for each day based on actual workloads.

Your main takeaway for taper nutrition should be this: maintain a similar percentage of carbohydrate, fat and protein consumption, but decrease caloric intake to account for decrease in training load expenditure.

Race

The big day has arrived and our advice is pretty straight forward. “Do not change anything on race day!”  You should have practiced your pre-, during and post-race nutrition time and time again for the event.  After weeks and months of training, you should know what works for you, what your body is able to digest effectively, and the amount of calories and fluid you need to intake for a successful day.  Deviation from this could, and should, only be altered if elements are so incredibly different from what was expected what you trained in.

First Time on a New Group Ride

Many people begin a hobby because of the social environment.  Golf, tennis, running and cycling are

great examples of this.  Riding is a social atmosphere that many people initially get into because of a friend, family member or colleague, but availability and ability levels can change and the need to search out others to ride with becomes a necessity.  If you have found yourself in this situation, here are three key steps in joining in on group rides.

Vet Your Ride

It sounds silly, but this is the most important part of selecting a group ride.  There are riders of so many ability levels that you could find yourself with a group that is too fast, too slow, or, even worse, on a ride distance that is above your current capability.  Trust us, nothing can make for a rougher day than being in shape for a 3 hour riding and finding out you chose a 6 hour loop with no shortcuts and with a fast group.  So, find out what the distance is, the average speed of the group, the course (in case you get separated), the tempo of the ride (steady effort vs. high intensity w/slow points), how many people usually ride (the fewer people the more work you will usually end up doing), and if the group stop or do you need to have everything on hand for the entirety.

15 minutes As a Fly on the Wall

Take the first 15 minutes of the ride to ride near the back and observe.  This will give you the opportunity to see what the group dynamic is, what pace the group sets, and the handling competency of the riders.

It may seem tedious or cautious, but a quick way to upset cyclists and a new potential group of friends is to go to the front of their relaxed Sunday morning ride and drill the pace.

Make a Friend(s)

Yes, you might be joining to make new friends, but this is a different kind of friend.  This is the one that will help you navigate the route.  It’s so simple, but a little heads up on a turn, a dog that normally chases the pack, the occasional heads up on a pothole or even the guys/gals we you definitely do not want to follow unless you like the taste of asphalt is nice to have.

Okay, so you have vetted the ride, been a fly on the wall and made at least one new friend — now, there is only one thing to do: Have some fun!

CURIOUS ABOUT WHAT ELSE AWAITS YOU IN GROUP RIDES AND WHAT YOU CAN LEARN TO MAKE THOSE FIRST RIDES MORE MANAGEABLE?  READ ON WITH OUR GROUP RIDING 101201 & 301 ARTICLES!

How to Use Your Heart Rate Monitors and Power Meters More Effectively

n my years of running, riding, training, racing and coaching I have had the experience to come across thousands of people who own heart rate monitors and power meters.  As I became more versed in training, physiology and how each device could be best utilized I realized that at best 5% of the people who have these amazing aids are underutilizing the full power of the tools they have at their hands.  The simple question of “What is your power at threshold?” or “What is your heart rate threshold?” has often led to blank stares.  If you have a Garmin or Polar heart rate monitor or one of the many power meters that are out there and you feel that you fall into this stereotype let us help you get started with more accurate training.

Test your Fitness:

Use your HR monitor and Power Meter to their fullest

Without a baseline it is difficult to know where the current fitness level is which helps you know where to begin.  This baseline number is achieved through testing which can be done with a field test or in a lab test, like a lactate threshold test.  At SoS, one of the ways we have our athletes gauge fitness is by performing 2 field test efforts that are 10 minutes in length.  We have found that the numbers these two efforts produce are very accurate.

Create Training Ranges:

Training ranges allow you, as an athlete, to know how to more effectively utilize your training tool.  Based on the numbers that you produce during your testing you can create training ranges.  These numbers are used to help you focus on precise energy systems that the body utilizes during century rides, triathlons or bike races.

Training:

The testing has been done, the ranges have been created and now it is the utilization of those ranges.  Dependent upon what your goals and ambitions are will determine what you do with these ranges.  If you are looking at gaining some fitness but don’t really want to do intervals you can use it on your rides to gauge your intensity effort.  If you are looking for improvements, and fast, this will give you the best gauge of where your intensity needs to be.  Whether it is with the knowledge of a coach or your own knowledge, the amount of time that you need to stay at each intensity level is the other key factor in this equation.

How to Use your HR monitor or Power Meter

Think of these new ranges as a tachometer in a car.  If you are working with a Formula 1 engine and are going off of numbers for a Toyota Corolla you are not stressing the body enough, inversely, if you are working with the Formula 1 numbers and have a Corolla engine things will catastrophically fail.Now, GO, test and train!  If you are not sure of how to do this we can help.  Whether it be our knowledgeable coaching staff or our lab to perform lactate threshold and VO2max testing we can steer you in the direction to improve the usage of your training tools.