Mid Winter Update: Triathlon Training

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post. As the winter has decided to actually show up this year compared to years previous, I thought it would be a great opportunity to take a break from training intensely and let my body rest. I took about three weeks off completely in December, got more sleep, continued stretching and didn’t care what I ate. Granted my eating considerations are different from the majority of people out there. I’m usually more concerned with making sure that I get enough calories and that I’m balancing out my diet with fruits and veggies. My focus on my break was to let any planning go and rest my mind too. If I’m being honest my guilty pleasure is Taco Bell. The value combo and upgrade the fries to a Fries Supreme is the best $5.65 CAD that I’ll ever spend and I kept going back. I can’t help it.

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My First Half Marathon: Stouffville – Angus Glen

I completed my first half marathon. Or should I say that I joined a large group of people for an organized run together. People from all over the area came to run at the same time through the same path. A community if you will and a community of like minded people doing the same thing as me. My training is done alone, early in the morning and I decided to run a half marathon which 5 years ago was not an option at all… I simply could not have run that distance.

I entered it a little last minute but was very glad that I did. It was minus 4 Celsius and sunny. It warmed up slightly as the day went on and was great to run in. The event was well organized but could have used a little more direction once inside the race kit pick up area.

I hadn’t run 21k in over a year but had done a number of 10k runs and also a bunch of 8k marches with a 65lbs pack on my back which usually take about an hour and a half. I figured that with being on my feet with the pack for the same duration as the race and also running shorter distances that I would be prepared. Well, I was right.

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Rest Week and Evaluation – Duathlon and Triathlon Training

JTF2 PreFit Pic

I’ve done four solid weeks of the JTF2 pre-selection fitness manual and it was exhausting. It’s basically a heavy duty short distance triathlon training plan.  Sub out some runs or marches for some bikes and voila… a triathlon manual with some weights. I’ve mainly stuck to the manual’s prescription. Week one was a fitness check and in week six it’s a rest week and evaluation week. As demanding as it has been my body has adapted and the volume of training doesn’t seem new anymore. In the beginning I was tired a fair bit and noticed that my recoveries took a long time. As the training progressed my recovery got shorter and my energy level started to increase and handle the new workload I put it under. Psychologically there was also an adjustment. Two-a-days aren’t easy and that is definitely true in this case when there will often be an 8k run in the morning followed by some plyometrics, sprint sets and a full upper body circuit in the afternoon. By the end of the four weeks I was feeling pretty burnt out and was physically and mentally looking for a break. Since this is week six I get a bit of a rest and a chance to see my progress. Well without further adieu here’s the progress I’ve made: Continue reading

Free Training Plans

I am developing a page for free training plans and have posted my first customizable training plan.  Here’s the link:  http://5amfitness.ca/plans/

More to come…

Happy Training

The Introvert Triathlete

I have a feeling that a lot of Triathletes are introverts. Correct me if I’m wrong but it’s a lonely sport and let’s face it, no one wants to hear about how you did the 10k at the same pace but at a lower heart rate. How about spending 90 minutes by yourself in the dark working out before everyone wakes up because I’m a “Triathlete”.

As goes with the territory I tend to reflect inwards before I’m comfortable projecting outwards. This happens a lot in times of stress and hardship. I found out that I failed a major exam that I can only take once per year and spent six months preparing for. That was July. September I got laid off. I work in the stock markets and my area, despite doing well, decided that they needed to cut costs and the method of cost cutting happened to be employee overhead. They let a number of good people go and my name happened to be one of them. This is the way that jobs go these days. I was told to never feel entitled when I first started working and always had that mindset. If you’ve read The World is Flat by Thomas Freidman then you’ll have a pretty good idea that this is the direction of companies where they want to do more with less. I won’t debate that aspect now but let’s assume that it is what’s happening.

Lucky for me, my clients, family and friends have been incredibly supportive and was lucky to have a solid lead on a job two weeks after getting laid off. Immediately after getting laid off I thanked my coworkers for the good times and experiences we shared. They notified my clients and about half of the 20 clients offered references and support. I made a list of what I wanted to accomplish the next day and the day after that. The list comprised of house chores, fixing my résumé, returning phone calls, emails, booking meetings, Facebook and LinkedIn from all the people that reached out to me. It was an extremely busy first week. Plus I was still dealing with the emotional side of getting turfed. Lets face it, it happens so the only thing you can do is come up with a positive spin and look forward. Then run like hell with everything you have inside you and work as hard as you can.

My biggest pet peeve is when people work extremely hard for their employer but let their personal lives go through the sewers. My motto is to work as hard for myself as I do for other people… And I work incredibly hard for others. I was determined to do everything I could. I ended up sending out three resumes and getting five interviews. I credit the special people around me for helping me out but I also have to believe that if I wasn’t a good employee or a good person that they wouldn’t have helped me so much.

I managed this all quietly while staying in contact. Meaning that I kept positive on the outside an confided the doubt internally and to my wife so that she knew what I was going through. I didn’t find that I was able to blog and I was barely able to journal. Journalling daily tasks kept me motivated and kept track to make sure I wasn’t slowing down. If I felt like I was unproductive that day I could look back through my journal to see how much I had actually done.

In keeping busy I felt that it was important for me to keep my schedule and that meant 5amfitness… Up at 5am and still doing my workouts. No skipping a beat, no slacking. Just because I wasn’t going to my usual place of work didn’t mean that there wasn’t work to be done. So up I got up and to work, for myself, I went.

I have maintained that routine except I’ve had the time to do two-a-days now. I’ve been following the JTF2 work-up prefitness program which is incredibly intense but has some serious results. Running, weights, swimming and more running, five days a week, twice a day.

Quietly I went about my days, working hard for myself and loving the freedom. I’ve decided to take some time off before starting work again and will continue my routine of up at 5am, workout, continue on my day, working hard for myself. Having sorted out most of my feelings and found direction for my career, I feel like I can blink now and take some time to reflect and direct some attention to blogging once again.

As blogging seems to be my only extrovert characteristic I feel ready to begin contributing again. I took my time to internalize and sort out my personal life. Now I can branch out again to the non-essential but highly important interests I have. For now it’ll be some home renos, lots of working out and some down time to recoup a bit.

Life may be very difficult at times but tomorrow will come and it’s what you do today that makes a difference for tomorrow…

My First Triathlon – Wasaga Beach Sprint Distance Triathlon 2013

After a thwarted race season I signed up for my first triathlon. I finished writing a MAJOR exam at the beginning of June which took up all spare time and then some during May. After June I was run down and burnt out a bit so I decided to take it easy and slowly started working back in to a full training schedule. My goal was to work my self back in to the shape that I used to be in when I was 18. Okay I’m 31 now but I wanted to try it anyways. The difference is that back then I had good running abilities and I was strong. At the time I was in high school and also in the army reserves doing reconnaissance. I was getting ready for University and I was in the best shape I had ever been in. It didn’t happen over night and it took several years so I figure why not take the same approach.

Fast forward a decade or so and I’ve worked myself back to a decent shape and better than most by a lot of people’s standards but its not good enough for my standards.

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The Morning Birds Sing

The morning birds. We slept with the window open last night because the weather was nicer. I woke up five minutes before my alarm at 5:10am to the sound of the morning birds singing. These were the happy ones (not seagulls) singing some sort of happy song. Well that’s how I heard it anyways. After a few minutes I got out of bed and went down stairs, got dressed and went outside. It was quiet and my neighbourhood wasn’t awake yet. No dog walkers this morning. Just me and slightly warmer weather than I was expecting which was such a nice surprise. I had a short run scheduled and I stuck to the plan.

The run was quiet and I tried to focus on technique: quick turnover, tight lower abs, lean in to the run, slow it down. However the more I ran the less I thought about technique and my mind drifted off in to peacefulness. A sort of calm that makes me feel balanced and a feeling that I can take with me for the rest of the day. 20 minutes Continue reading

Running With Gravity

I want to share what I’ve learned so far when it comes to running. The most important thing I’ve learned is that we don’t spend enough time on technique. Swimming is a HIGHLY technical sport. Cycling is also technical. When it comes to running a lot of us beginners only think of running as a pair of shoes and some miles that we’re supposed to put behind us. That’s okay perhaps on shorter runs for health and leisure say up to 5k twice a week but more than that and your asking for trouble. What kind of trouble? I’m talking about overuse injuries from going to hard too quickly. In my opinion running is the most dangerous of the three triathlon sports. It’s also the one I love the most.

Sharing what I’ve learned is one of the ways that makes me feel good. There are a number of people out there who have a thirst or in my case a strong desire for knowledge. That’s the reason I read a lot of articles, research and stories about people’s experience. Now that I’m focused on triathlon I’ve dedicated my spare time, when I’m not tending to my family, working or studying for the CFA exam in June, to learning about all things triathlon.

My approach to life is simple: Do the hard things first. Find out my weaknesses and improve them. Never accept that what I’m doing is good enough, absolute or right. Never accept that the way I do things is good enough, absolute or right. Never believe that I know everything. When I’ve started something finish it. When it comes close to the end FINISH STRONG!

As I get older I have learned a couple of lessons. One that I learned over the past year was

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Curing Plantar Fasciitis


Has anyone cured Plantar Fasciitis? Please share your story. For me I’ve been dealing with it for 5 months and counting.

It started just after my first ever duathlon last fall. About a month after the race I was still training and training harder than before the race. I was training 6 or 7 mornings a week. I introduced a lot more speed work to my runs such as intervals and hills.

I started to notice a bit of tenderness under my left foot near my arches. It was only a mild discomfort and I thought it might have been how I was resting my feet at work. I thought I was pushing in to the arches and that was causing them to be sore. I decided to wait it out and give it a couple of days to see if it went away. In the mean time I would be conscious of how my feet were at work.

I did a pretty intense hill repeat workout and that’s when the pain really started to happen. I did 30 mins of just hill repeats on a nearby hill that’s about 800m and at a 40 degree grade. During the workout I didn’t experience any discomfort but afterwards

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My (Internal) Engine Overheated

I overheated my engine this morning. Have you ever worked so hard that you vomited? It’s like leaving a car in neutral and on the hottest day let it rev at the red zone for too long until the radiator blows. Well I came very close this morning, my radiator almost blew. It doesn’t happen very often at all. It’s probably been a year since I pushed too hard and felt sick from exercise. I think it starts when the mental doesn’t match the physical. It’s when I thought I could do something but my body just couldn’t keep up. You see I had surgery about 4 weeks ago and was easing back in to the training plan and the workouts. My intension was to take it easy and not overdo it because I know my body is still healing. All the workouts until now have been shorter and lower intensity. It’s worked so far until this morning.

This morning I decided to step up the intensity. As it turned out I did it a bit too much. This morning was supposed to be

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