Health and Lifestyle Information, tips, and fun facts!
I have been dealing with a hip issue for a few weeks now and it has taken me on one roller coaster of a ride of emotion. So many tears shed. And for what? A really painful hip and IT Band that has robbed me of my ability to do what I love.
I think part of the reason why I feel this way, robbed, is that it happened so out of the blue on an otherwise ok run. Typically injuries are either due to a sudden trauma, i.e. falling, crashing,etc. or they are due to ignoring a slowly growing niggle or pain. Something that starts out by speaking quietly to you for a while and the longer you ignore it the louder the voice roars until it is a full blown screaming injury.
In my case neither of those things happened. I was held up at gunpoint and robbed in a flash, left standing there with nothing but a look of shock on my face asking myself "What just happened?!" Ok, well really I was running along when all of a sudden my left hip felt like someone had taken a searing hot poker to it and stabbed me, grating the tendon across my hip. I was clearly surprised and wondered what on earth happened. I ended up walking a bit home, and over the course of the next few days did not feel much relief. Oh no, I am INJURED!
I was able to get into the Physical Therapist the following Monday morning and since then I have been working on regaining strength, reducing the tendinitis, and building my glutes. The short of the long of it is that I am on the road to recovery. And apparently while I have not had hip issues per say, I have had some pretty bad tight back issues and wouldn't you know it they stem from the same thing, Dumb Butt Syndrome. Go ahead and laugh, I know that I did! My glutes have been trained out and every other part of me has been picking up the slack for a few years. Annnnnd here we are.
The other part of the reason I have been on this roller coaster is that I am in the final training block for IMFL. This has effectively taken me out of my plan and really thrown a wrench in my goals. ROBBED of my Ironman goals. So that is not ideal.
What I was first taking as being robbed of my ability to do what I love I now see was really a gift, one that I did not want but one that I, in reality, needed.
Being that my chronic tight back and acute hip tendinitis have a common root I now see that this injury did not rob me, it did not take anything away from me that was serving me. Instead it is a gift to allow myself to repair, rebuild, and to ultimately become strong AF both mentally and physically. I am now forced to be more in tune with my body - a gift. I am now forced to now listen to what it is saying to me - a gift. I am now forced to take the time to stretch, to weight train, and to be smart about my recovery - a gift. I am now forced to think about my running form and correct it - a huge gift.
This injury is not a burden thrust upon me robbing me of my ability to do what I love, it is providing a PURPOSE to the things that I have been ignoring because I never saw the need. I see the need now, that is for sure.
"Injury is not just a process of recovery, it's a process of discovery"
What does this mean for Ironman Florida?
When I was getting frustrated, scared, and upset to the point of tears in Physical Therapy my PT asked me what is the WORST thing that will happen if you are not better by Florida? My answer was a DNF. There is truly no consequence. I get to leave there with my husband and return to our home and furry kids. The only difference is if I come home with a medal and new jacket or not.
After my first ever triathlon DNF at IMTexas I felt gutted so the thought of the same happening at IMFL was just adding fuel to that frustration fire. I guess the real worst things that could happen would be that I do something stupid like pushing through bad pain and cause an even worse injury to myself, but we are going to stick with a DNF because I am smarter than that.
In reality no one cares if I finish or not as much as I care so why put so much fear behind it?
Later that day I had an amazing chat with fellow coach and friend BK Kissinger from the Wolfpack Tri Club and Brave Soul Coaching, and she helped me to fully turn the corner in my thinking. I no longer fear the DNF, I am embracing the possibility of it. Finish or not either way I am better for the attempt. When you stop fearing something and tackle it head on, you find out that the obstacle was always much less than we imagine it to be.
Ironman is 1 day of my life and I will have many more 1 days ahead of me, in fact I have 2 more IMs on the plan for 2020 so I really need to be smart. I have already finished an Ironman Florida and while my desire was to finish this specific one as well, it was more important to me because this time I would have my sister-in-law and brother-in-law on the course with me racing as they were both there cheering me on at my first IMFL finish in 2012 so it would be sort of special in that "full circle" way. I now know that that may not happen and I am ok with that. I can still cheer them on at the finish of their race, or better yet I may be able to see them at the finish line of my race if I am able to make cut offs. I have a purpose bigger than this 1 day.
I know that I am now in the situation of chasing a clock, so not ideal, but I am not giving up by any means. I am also not saying that there is no way that I can finish. I truly believe that the right outcome will happen and as they say Anything is Possible, this is Ironman after all.
Have you had a situation come up that you at first thought was robbing you of something but later realized that it was giving you so much more? Share your story below and let's celebrate our gifts together!
There tends to be two types of training mindsets that I have seen. First you have the "put in time every day at the go pace" - these are the people that crank out hours and hours of work at the same effort,on the same routes, same distances, same result. Then there are the people who train by purpose of the workout and are versed in terms like threshold, tempo, long and steady, speedwork/fartlek, cadence/turnover and drill focused efforts.
Many people naturally gravitate toward the more moderate-intensity cardio sessions under the assumption that they’re working hard enough to see results. Gym-goers, runners, cyclists alike tend to find this mid-range effort the sweet spot that they stay in. The truth is that you’re probably not getting the most out of your workout if you’re not monitoring your heart rate and considering your anaerobic threshold (AT) or Lactic Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR), the point at which your body shifts from aerobic to anaerobic activity and starts burning primarily carbs as fuel. As a coach and mentor I like to meet my clients where they are. If they are starting out in their fitness journey then we go for total active time with a focus on consistency. No matter the level of athletic ability and desire, consistency is key for growth and injury prevention. You absolutely can be successful training for an event by focusing on putting in the time however where you spend the time is important.
We want to make every effort count and we do that via identifying your AT and creating your workout zones.
ASSESSMENT OF BASELINE
The most accurate way to determine your AT/LTHR requires a heart-rate monitor and professional assistance (like the assessments available at many health clubs). Lifetime Fitness offers different Aerobic Metabolic Assessments that do this very efficiently and run about $175 out the door for the test and the mask. If that’s not in your budget, then a do-it-yourself method can provide a good estimate — and help you get closer to meeting your fitness goals.
ESTIMATE OF AT/LTHR WITH HEART RATE MONITOR
To find your AT/LTHR, I have my clients use Joe Friel's method by doing an all our time trial. The process is easy even if you have never done anything like this before. You do a 30-minute time trial all by yourself (no training partners and not in a race). It should be done as if it was a race for the entire 30 minutes but at 10 minutes into the test, click the lap button on your heart rate monitor. When done, look to see what your average heart rate was for the last 20 minutes. That number is an approximation of your AT/LTHR.
CALCULATING THE ZONES
In order to determine your training zones, take the % and multiple by your LTHR. The below zones represent different physiological markers for the energy systems and for exercise intensity. It is also key to note that your Zones will be different based on sport so I have included the two most popular types of cardio for reference - standing exercises such as running, skiing and elliptial, and then sitting exercises such as cycling, rowing, etc.
For activities where you are on your feet (running, elliptical, skiing, etc.)
For activities where you are sitting (bike, row machine)
EXPLANATION OF THE ZONES
Zone 1: Recovery Zone (Aerobic Threshold or Lactate Threshold)
Zone 1 is the exercise intensity at which anaerobic energy pathways start to operate. Zone 1 is primarily used for light recovery workouts (increasing blood flow to muscles to improve recovery from previous hard training sessions). It can also be used as a guide while warming up or for cooling down.
Zone 2: Aerobic Base 1
Zone 2 is the primary exercise intensity for long duration events (8-12 hours in duration). Training in Zone 2 increases aerobic capacity, fatty acid oxidation, and recruitment of Type IIa muscle fibers for aerobic function.
Zone 3: Aerobic Base 2
Zone 3 is the primary exercise intensity for events lasting 3-8 hours in duration. The physiological benefits for Zone 3 training is similar to Zone 2 but recovery time is often greater.
Zone 4: Sub-Anaerobic Threshold
For events lasting 1-3 hours in duration Zone 4 is the primary training zone. Training in this zone increases muscular endurance.
Zone 5: Anaerobic Threshold (Lactate Threshold 2)
This is the zone where an athlete will begin to "redline". It will be the primary intensity in events lasting 20-60 minutes in duration. Training volume above this effort level will be limited due to increased acidosis, however will improve the body’s buffering ability and clearance of lactate. This in turn will increase the Anaerobic Threshold
Zone 6: Aerobic Capacity
This zone is primarily trained using intervals (short periods of high intensity typically followed by rest periods of equal or greater length) and is great for increasing VO2 max, the body's ability to uptake oxygen into the bloodstream.
Zone 7: Maximal Anaerobic Capacity
Zone 7 is at or near maximum effort. Like Zone 6 it is trained using intervals and is great for increasing both VO2 max and AT. Because intensity is at or near maximum effort, the duration of intervals at this zone is very short. Here heart rate is not a good indicator of Zone 7 training and your Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is preferred.
TRAINING WITH YOUR ZONES
Each zone has its purpose and place in training however not all zones are to be trained in at all times. A bulk of training should be in the Zones 2 and 3, with the use of Zone 1 for warm ups and recoveries. Going into Zones 5-7 are key for increasing the base line, and should be used with specific purpose and timing based on desired goals and place in the training plan.
Popular High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) programs and classes such as Orange Theory are based around working out in varying zones and are a good model of showing how adding some intensity with purpose can result in major growth in fitness and performance.
But what if I am not ready for intensity? That is fine! You can use knowledge of your AT/LTHR to help you in your "putting the time in" workouts too! A good general rule is to try to stay below your AT/LTHR for 80% of each workout to burn fat, and just above it for 20% of the time to improve fitness.
Retest every six to eight weeks to maintain an accurate measurement. Your AT/LTHR is a highly individualized number; it will decline as you age and change based on your overall fitness level at any given time.
functional nutritionist, transformation coach, and lighter of paths.