A few months ago we caught up with one of our ambassadors, triathlete, nurse and mum of two Ash. Since then life's been full on with relocating the family, settling into a new job and getting to grips with training and racing in a new area. We recently caught up with her and how she's been getting on with her StrengthForEnduranceKIT....
AM: Life has started to finally settle down, work/ life balance is sorted and my race season has come to an end. I was getting really tired and fatigued towards the end so I’m glad it’s finally here.
SFE: When you first started using the StrengthForEnduranceKIT and program, did you notice any key areas you needed to work on?
AM: The very first thing I noticed was I was a whole lot weaker on my left side, this was evident straight away when I started doing one legged squats. My core is another huge area of weakness for me. After having two big babies and abdominal separation my core has nothing, it desperately needs it’s own dedicated days hahaha!
SFE: And do you feel like these have improved?
AM: My leg strength - yes. I have big legs so i've been getting stuck into leg work and a lot of riding to try and increase my strength. The bike is where I’m going to make up the most time in triathlon so it’s a huge focus for me.
Starting to notice the difference on the bike.
SFE: How often have you been doing your SFE training each week? (Be honest!)
AM: I started off using my kit about 4 times per week but as time got closer to moving/ big races/ Christmas etc, something had to give. I still kept up the strength work about twice a week, it just meant I had to work harder in those sessions and make the most of the time I gave it. I actually felt like I got more out of myself that way. But now that racing is over, I really want to build on my strength again.
SFE: Giving people a simple, convenient and consistent training option is one of our biggest goals. Do you think the StrengthForEnduranceKIT and program achieves this?
AM: Absolutely, I keep mine in its little case so it is either hung on the door handle for a quick set up at home or when we went camping at Xmas for 6 weeks, it was packed into the caravan. It's also handy when I’m racing away from home to just grab and go.
SFE: What are the main benefits you have noticed from including strength training in your program?
AM: The main benefits are that it's made me recognise my weaknesses and what really needs attention.
SFE: What do you feel you need to keep working on?
AM: From here, core work!!! That’s my big thing at the moment. From strong core will come strong posture and more power into my ride and run. Amazing abs are always an added bonus too!
We'll catch up with Ash again soon and find out how she's getting on with her core work! Follow her training and racing progress on Instagram at @teammcnulty and @trimumsaus.
You may think training and racing in cooler temperatures like the UK gives you a pass card for having to worry about a hydration plan. This is one of the many myths that could be compromising your training and race day performance. In preparation for their visit to us in Bath, we caught up with Jonny from Precision Hydration who was happy to answer a few questions we had regarding sweating and replenishing what's been lost.
SFE: I only race and train in the UK which doesn’t get very hot, do I still need to worry about hydration?
PH: Hydration might not feel as important in the UK weather but it's still a crucial aspect of your performance in colder weather.
Your sweat rate might be lower than in hotter climates, but the amount of sodium you lose in that sweat is largely genetically determined (rather than being overly influenced by things like diet and acclimation to a new climate). This can vary massively from athlete to athlete, from as little as 200mg of sodium per litre of sweat to as much as 2,000mg/l! And so, even in colder weather, it can still be a challenge to adequately replace what you're losing in your sweat.
Adequately replacing the sodium lost in your sweat helps you maintain your blood plasma volume, which in turn can reduce cardiovascular strain and fatigue. This will help you perform at your best for longer and also help you avoid cramp.
A personalised hydration strategy is definitely going to be more beneficial if you're racing in the heat/humidity of Bali but that doesn't mean it's not going to pay dividends in Bath...
SFE: I don’t class myself as a heavy sweater, does this mean I don’t lose very much salt?
PH: It depends! There are two variables to consider when thinking about your net sodium losses during a race; your sweat rate and how much sodium you lose in that sweat. We all tend to have an idea of how sweaty we are, but it's harder to know how much sodium you're losing in each drop. This varies widely from athlete to athlete, from as little as 200mg of sodium per litre of sweat to as much as 2,000mg/l! The average person loses around 950mg of sodium per litre of sweat (which is 2-3x more than traditional sports drinks contain!)
This means that someone with a low sweat rate but very salty sweat could actually be losing more sodium over the course of a race than someone next to them who's sweating buckets but only has a small amount of sodium in their sweat.
How much sodium you lose in your sweat is largely genetically determined rather than being overly influenced by diet and acclimation to a new climate, so you only need one sweat test and you've got an important part of the hydration equation sussed for life!
Adequately replacing the sodium lost in your sweat helps you maintain your blood plasma volume, which reduces cardiovascular strain and fatigue. This can help you perform at your best for longer.
It can also help you avoid cramp. If you suffer with cramp, struggle in the heat or have symptoms like nausea and headaches towards the end of your races, then a personalised approach to hydration really is well worth considering.
Want to find out more about a hydration plan for you? Join us for a Free Hydration Workshop and Sweat Testing in Bath Saturday 7th April 12.30pm. Book your place by sending an email to email@example.com
The power of one’s personal experience can be inspiring for another’s.
Rather than sing my own praises, I would like to present a more humble and accurate picture of how I incorporate consistent training around my busy lifestyle.
As some of you may already know, I am a Mother to three little people, Ella (7 years), Hadley (5 years) and Archer (2 years). Raising children is both rewarding and very demanding. I pour so much of myself daily into ensuring they feel safe and cared for. Secondly, running the household, meal planning/ prepping, washing, cleaning and all things in-between.
My Husband David works full time. When he is not working, he is excelling as a part time athlete. He follows an intense training regime. He rolls out of bed at 4 am to train before going to work and he trains directly after work before coming home; to then slip into the role of being a parent and a supportive Partner.
I’m very grateful to have such a supportive network around me, as most days are a juggle and naturally involve a lot of compromising. In summary you may gather there is only a small window of opportunity to focus on my own ambitions and training.
So how do I do it?
Firstly I create a foundation. I function on routine and always plan ahead.
I know what my training sessions look like in advance to performing them. It’s an efficient way of going into your training session prepared. In short words of advice “if you are not prepared, be prepared to fail.” I apply these same principles with my nutrition.
As I see it, the process can be as hard or as easy as you make it for yourself. This is where the convenience of the SFE Kit comes in.
The sessions are there. They are structured, safe and versatile. The program caters for a variety of fitness levels and abilities and that’s what makes it sustainable. SFE works for me because I am time poor. I need a training session that gives me the most effective results in the shortest period of time and can be applied from home.
Back to the word “foundation.”
I set long term goals for my competitive races but more so I set short term goals. Some daily and some weekly, Why?
Well to be realistic, workouts and training sessions for me are not without their distractions. “MUM, I’m hungry, Hadley kicked me, Archie took my car, Ella’s being mean…..” There are days where it’s hard not to feel defeated when your training session didn’t work out the way you intended it too. And as much as it is frustrating it’s important to keep a positive mind frame. So when I say daily goals, it’s a small win if I can complete a full work out without having to stop part of the way through and SFE provides that flexibility for me.
Let’s talk about accountability. Feeling accountable can be beneficial if you struggle with motivation. But for me it’s knowing that someone is counting on me to give 100% and that’s where I find my motivation. I can’t suggest enough to find yourself someone that you can be accountable for. I have a running partner for my Sunday Long Runs and I love it.
Why do you do it?
It’s the second most asked question when it comes to how active I am. In all honesty any physical activity for me, whether it be running, strength training, HIIT or Yoga it’s all accompanied by an invaluable source of positive energising vibes. That’s why I do it. It’s something that I can control, it’s my stress relief and I always feel at my best mentally, emotionally and physically when I am consistent with this. If something feels good, you’re going to do it over and over again.
But there is something even greater that I have learnt through all of these experiences. Without it, the rest cannot happen. It’s called Self Care. We cannot pour from an empty cup. A lesson I had to learn the hard way. I fell hard with Chronic Fatigue and it has been a long recovery. So be mindful of the juggle and make time for yourself. Train smart, hydrate and listen to your body. If you follow the SFE principles you will be covering those key areas.
My aim is to emphasise that although we are living in a very fast paced society, you can find more balance to juggle strength and fitness with your daily hustle and bustle. We have a grounded, supportive network and an inspiring community within Strength For Endurance. It’s not just about obtaining new knowledge but implementing new techniques and creating new habits.
Self confessed Triathlon "WAG", running enthusiast and Strength For Endurance Team Member Katie Crosby lives with her husband David and their three children in Lennox Head, NSW (Australia).
She hopes to inspire others by sharing her stories of maintaining a happy balance between running a household, supporting an aspiring athlete and finding her own time to train.
We all draw on motivation from somewhere. Something that drives us when the alarm clock goes off at 5am, pushes us through that ‘impossible’ last set in training or gives us a proverbial ‘slap in the face’ if we want to pull the pin mid race.
For Strength For Endurance Ambassador Daniel Bodilly the fire in his belly burns even brighter after the devastating loss of his biggest role model and earlier this year.
With his dreams set on one day racing in Kona, this popular young athlete from Melbourne is first aiming for the top step in his Age Group on the Gold Coast next September.
Strength For Endurance are proud to be supporting him in his journey along the way and Strength & Performance Coach Kriss Hendy explains how he will go about building a strong, fast and resilient body ready to tackle any distance.
SFE: You are still young, did you grow up playing any other sports or has it always been triathlon?
DB: I’m 17 and started triathlon in 2012 when I was 12. I’ve always played heaps of different sports from Aussie Rules, Soccer, Netball, Basketball, Gymnastics and Water Polo, until I discovered triathlon. I spent a couple of years sharing my time between this and other sports, but now it’s my main focus.
SFE: Describe your weekly routine?
DB: I usually hit two or three training sessions a day. Add a session of Pilates and couple of yoga classes in a week and that’s the training done. Generally I work about 25 hours a week and have a bit of a gig coaching a local competitive swim squad. I’m doing my Triathlon Coaching Course so I will add a bit of coaching into the mix.
“I’ve got to admit it takes a whole team behind you to do triathlon, especially when you’re young.”
I’m mega lucky that my parents so supportive. I’m too young to drive and most of my squad sessions are about 40 minutes away so they spend a lot of time driving me around, sitting waiting in the car especially for those early morning sessions. I’ve also got some great friends who let me hang out at there place and catch a few Zz’s in between training and work, so I can cut down a bit on commuting time. I’ve got to admit it takes a whole team behind you to do triathlon, especially when you’re young.
SFE: Who is your biggest role model in and outside of triathlon and why?
DB: Ryan Bourke is by biggest idol. Both inside and outside tri. He was my coach, mentor, he was like a brother. I lost him in September.
SFE: Give us a brief run down on any injuries you’ve had.
DB: I’ve been really lucky I haven’t copped any sports injuries apart from cracking a couple of teeth at soccer and breaking my elbow in May after coming off the bike.
SFE: Have you done much Strength Training before?
DB: I’ve always had regular Physio just to keep on top of things especially while I’m still growing. So often I’ve had regular exercises to do depending on what’s been found in the sessions.
I hit up Pilates once a week and I’ve just started yoga with a mate, so we try and hit up a few classes every week.
“I love training in a group, so if I’m lacking motivation I’ll always look for those groups to train with.”
SFE: Your favourite and least favourite thing about doing Triathlon
DB: My least favourite thing has to be the early mornings! I don’t think I’ll ever get use of them. I’ve got to admit when the alarm goes off I just have to get straight out of bed, if I say just five more minutes I know I’ll miss the session.
My favourite thing is pushing watts on the bike, and racing - I’d race every weekend if I could.
SFE: What tips and tricks do you use when your motivation is low?
DB: Hahaha, I’ve had to do this a lot in the last couple of months. Some things that work for me:
- Sometimes I just don’t think about it, I get out and get the session done.
- I love training in a group, so if I’m lacking motivation I’ll always look for those groups to train with.
- Being honest with the coach (Dan trains with i4 Coaching) and ‘nutting it out’ together with a bit of a chat.
- Just remembering what the dream is, and that the journey is going to be tough some days, but worth it.
SFE: Your two biggest goals in 2018 are Olympic distance and Aquathon World Championships. What is your plan to get yourself there?
DB: The plan is to do as many qualifying races as I can for the Olympic distance. I’ve already done two races and have top points for both and I’m registered for Mooloolaba in March, which is a double points. I’ll do Canberra and Melbourne and see what happens. They only take your top three results so another win would be awesome.
With the Aquabike it’s an application process. I think that’s harder to do than having qualifying races.
This was mine and Ryans’ goal for the 2017/2018 season, so reaching my goal would definitely be bitter sweet. I know it would make him proud.
SFE: Kona is also a future goal of yours and you are lucky enough to be able to watch and learn from amazing athletes. What are some of the lessons you have learnt that you will take with you when the time comes to go longer?
DB: I’ve learnt so much already from these athletes. I’d love to get over and just experience the race, the heat and the course for myself before actually racing in Kona. (So if anyone wants to share a room next year let me know!!) I’ve also learnt lots of things like you need to race your own race, nutrition plans have to be 100% and no matter what the outcome, the experience is the ultimate prize.
Coach Kriss Says…..
As Daniel mentions, he has a great network around him that continue to support and nurture his triathlon training. It is fantastic to see that a man of his young age is already aware of the importance of having a regular movement practice. Including Pilates and yoga sessions into his training is going to continue to minimize his likelihood of injury.
It is important now at his age that he starts to focus on developing his full body strength and to train his body to respond to the “external stresses” and intensities that he expects of himself. At this point it is important that Daniel and his coaches monitor his levels of exertion carefully, especially if he wants to be doing it for many years to come. I often get asked about junior athletes and strength training and whilst he is likely coming to the end of his main ‘growing’ years his body is still changing and developing.
Through strength training, regardless of age, we are simply looking to “organize our bodies” better and this is exactly what we want for Daniel. By performing his program on a regular basis he will be bringing strength and stability to the key joint structures in the ankle, knee, hip and shoulder and most importantly balance throughout his whole body. Adding load, although important for progression, cannot be our focus until we have built adequate foundations.
By following his Strength For Endurance training program he will be focusing on improving his technique and control with key exercises that target common areas of weakness such as glutes, core and increasing strength in lower and upper back. We want to compliment his passion and ambition and make sure that he continues on his increasing trajectory into 2018.
Dan getting to grips with his StrengthForEnduranceKIT
For those of you who haven’t been to Noosa (Australia) there’s a somewhat infectious triathlon culture that encompasses the popular beachside town. Like many others, Strength For Endurance Ambassador Chloe Kay, was quickly bitten by the "bug" and swimming, cycling and running soon became her way of life.
As a previous party animal (although we’re not sure this has gone too far astray!) she swapped social engagements for swim sessions and hasn’t looked back since. Now working and living 5 hours inland in the rural town of Alpha, Chloe continues to pursue her love of triathlon.
Similar to many of our Strength For Endurance athletes Chloe’s rural working life means a sustainable gym routine is neither available nor realistic. So with her eyes set on a pretty huge goal next year, we want to help her stay on track and ensure she gets to the start (and finish) line in one piece.
SFE: Did you grow up playing sport?
CK: I swam and did ballet as a child until I was about 12. I wasn't great at either and didn't really enjoy them, I did love playing ocean girl and dolphin boy with my brother in our pool though - that is one of my best childhood memories. Mum also loves to share the story of how she had to push me off the blocks into the pool on club swimming nights!
From High School to Uni I avoided exercise as best I could. I played water polo at Uni but mainly for the social aspect.
SFE: So you were a latecomer to Triathlon, what did you do in your spare time before you caught the triathlon 'bug’?
CK: Before moving to Noosa at the end of 2013 I lived (and loved) the party lifestyle. If you've ever been to Darwin you'll know how easy that would be. The weather is hot, the beers are cold and everyone's friendly!
While I was studying full time, working part time and babysitting a lot I didn't really notice how sedentary my life was. But midway through my first year as a pharmacist I realised there had to be more than eat, drink, work, repeat. That's when I started to dabble in triathlon, but for the first year I read more tri magazines than I did train. Once I moved to Noosa I got really into the sport and turned from exercise being a chore to part of my lifestyle.
"Turning up to a 10 hour day mentally and physically exhausted from a 2 hour run before work is neither smart nor sustainable."
SFE: What do you do for work?
CK: I'm a Pharmacist, at the moment in a little country town called Alpha in Central Western Queensland. My current job is pretty low stress however it still requires standing up all day and full mental alertness. This is something I've had to work with my coach on and give him feedback. Turning up to a 10 hour day mentally and physically exhausted from a 2 hour run before work is neither smart nor sustainable. So I've been lucky to have a coach that strongly believes we are in this sport for the long haul and adapts my program accordingly.
SFE: Have you had many injuries since taking up the sport?
CK: For the first couple of years I just swam, rode and ran without many issues. Then I increased the training volume exponentially (especially considering my lack of exercise for the first 26 years of my life!) which I think led to my injuries.
From that point I had a myriad of complications; Plantar Fasciitis tear, Piriformis Syndrome and most recently a TFL tear - all stemming from weak core and hips. Only very recently have I realised that strength work isn't an optional extra on the training program, it's an imperative part.
"Only very recently have I realised that strength work isn't an optional extra on the training program, it's an imperative part."
SFE: Do you have much strength training experience?
CK: No, no previous experience apart from Physio exercises. When I started being coached by my current coach he did an assessment on me at the gym and gave me a list of about 8-10 exercises to do once or twice a week. I'm not going to lie I found them difficult and complicated so it lasted for about two weeks and I stopped. The last two months I've been pretty diligent with my strength exercises from the Physio to get my glutes active again and strengthen the weakness in my hips.
I live in rural Queensland so have no access to gym equipment or classes, which is why Strength For Endurance was of interest to me. I have learnt the hard way about the implications of weak muscles in triathlon/endurance sports, so if I am going to be able to run 84km in Ultraman (and increased volumes in training) then it’s imperative that I strengthen my weaknesses.
SFE: What's your favourite and least favourite thing about triathlon?
CF: My least favourite thing would probably be fatigued legs at work! Sometimes if I have done a hard ride or run in the morning my legs ache and I just feel like I want to lay down with my legs in the air and let the lactate drain away.
My favourite thing is definitely the people, hands down. I love all the wonderful friends I have made in triathlon. But considering I do a lot of my training out here alone now I’ll give you a second favourite….the way it makes me feel. The post training endorphins, the sense of achievement, the hope, excitement and anticipation racing, then the finish line feels. It’s pretty cool to blow your own damn mind sometimes. What can I say, triathlon makes my soul happy.
SFE: What motivational tips and tricks do you use when you're struggling to get out and train?
CK: I am pretty lucky that I do enjoy and look forward to most training sessions, but no matter how much you love the sport you’re not going to feel like doing it every single day.
So having a friend to meet or squad that you’ve committed to is a really good way of getting out the door. You don’t want to leave your friend stranded or continually make up excuses as to why you don’t go.
Getting all your gear ready the night before also helps, for me I do this for wind trainer sessions (indoor riding), which is probably my least favorite session. So if the bike is set up and ready to go, all I need to do is get dressed, put the coffee pot on and go. I usually have my coffee during the easy spin warm up too, that helps!
Just making it part of your routine is what I would recommend the most; you don’t get up and ask yourself "Do I feel like having a shower today? Do I feel like going to work? or will I just pull a sickie?" You get up and go. That’s what I do with training, it rarely crosses my mind whether I will train, and I just do it.
SFE: Tell us about your first Ironman race
CK: My first Ironman was in Mexico and I signed up for that right after my first 70.3. I was already going to America and saw it was on, I was like "you know what, crossing that finish line was the best feeling of my life....I am going to do an Ironman!". So 10 weeks later I did. I finished in about 13 hours, so not terrible considering the short lead up time and after that decided "Ok, next is Cairns - but I am going to train properly and hard for this one". And that’s how the love for endurance racing really began (and escalated). So these flippant and crazy ideas aren’t a rare occurrence for me!
SFE: So you’re training for Ultraman Australia 2018. Tell us a little bit about your decision to enter and what your plan is for training and preparation?
CK: So Ultraman Australia is a 3 day race, competitors have 12 hours to complete each day.
Day 1: Swim 10km, Ride 160km
Day 2: Ride 280km
Day 3: Run 84km (so a double marathon)
My decision to enter was a bit of a last minute thing, my friend sent me the link saying entries close tonight! And I was like "eeekk this is it, should I or shouldn’t I?"….so I did! But it has been at the back of my mind for a while. It’s held in Noosa (where I am from) so I have watched it each year and spoken to athletes who have come into the pharmacy before and after the race. And friends, particularly the first year female winner Pip Holland - she planted the seed and has inspired me from day one.
Probably what’s held me back in the past is the thought of running 84km on legs that are already exhausted from the other days, so I never really thought I would enter. But this year I had recently moved to Outback Queensland, I had a lot of spare time on my hands and was feeling a bit under stimulated by potential races.
My plan for training and preparation is really to leave it up to the Coach. We have discussed a bit about how it will unfold but not in huge detail. I have just put 100% of my trust into him doing the research/planning and to program what’s best for me. He understands what I can handle as well as my limitations so I’m confident in leaving it up to him. At the moment we are just getting a nice base built and will build slowly and smartly from here.
And obviously it’s not just the swim, bike, run and having enough hours in the week to fit in them all, it’s also strength training, adequate recovery and as work 5.5 days a week too, I'm sure it will be a full on 6 months.
Coach Kriss says……
With Chloe our first priority will be to get on top of her niggles and injuries, we will need to make sure she is treating them appropriately, working with her coach and physio to ensure she is following the right program.
With regards to her strength program, we have 6 months before she embarks on the Ultraman, which is a good chunk of time to work with. There will be races in the lead up which are great markers for us as part of her team to measure her progress, performance and level of conditioning.
Establishing new habits and including strength training into her current program is essential, so I have suggested to Chloe that she sets up her StrengthForEnduranceKit in a particular area of the house, where she will just be able to walk in and start performing her program. Forming new habits are said to take up to 21 days (3 weeks) to become routine, so we have to find a number of ways to prevent ‘excuses’ from filtering in, and having the kit out and ready is one of my favourites.
The program she will be following to start with will be focusing on improving the three main areas of performance, her Mobility, Actvation and Strength. This will be achieved through a couple of key exercises that relate specifically to her needs and focus on her weaknesses. This will amount to a 30-45minute session that she will be performing seperately to her swim, bike, run sessions making sure she has complete focus and energy levels for a safe and effective strength session.
With an event like the Ultraman, Chloe needs to be strong! To complete such great distances we want her to be able to maintain healthy and strong form for as long as possible. The idea is to train to endure the event and not to just simply hang on! We want her to be able to walk away from the event ecstatic, not broken and unable to do anything for a long time.
Why not follow Chloe and her journey to Ultraman Australia - Instagram @thechloekay
Without sounding too depressing, from around the age of 30 everything begins to slow down - for some at a faster rate than others. Our hormonal function and cellular pathways slow down and we become a lot less efficient with regards to training and more importantly recovery. Whilst recovery is vital aspect of any effective training program, regardless of age, in someone over the age of 30 - this importance grows even more.
Older athletes become well aware that they aren’t as young as they used to be and that they don’t ‘bounce back’ as they once did. Saying this, most are quite happy to turn a blind eye and expect their bodies to train and perform like they just turned 20!
Sport is a great way to improve health and socialise, but make sure you're looking after your health first and foremost.
It must be noted that someone whose body has been conditioned to training and racing for the last 10 years will respond very differently to someone who has decided to do a one-off ‘long-distance’ race to celebrate their 40th birthday. This is most prevalent in professional and top-end amateur athletes who have built a strong base over decades. But this is not to say that the first of these two won’t need to take conscious action - over a certain age you WILL start to notice niggle’s crop up that once upon a time you could get away with.
Before you go off and wallow in self pity, there is plenty you can do to slow these changes down and in turn make yourself as strong and resilient as possible, so that you can train and race for years to come.
A few changes we may experience with age:
· Decreases in muscle mass
· Increased risk of Osteopenia and Osteoporosis (bone density reduces)
· Increased likelihood of weight gain
· Reduced soft tissue elasticity increasing the likelihood of injury
· Reduced enzyme activity
· Less tolerance for heat
· Lower levels of testosterone
Your body is a machine, look after it
HOW CAN STRENGTH TRAINING HELP?
By implementing strength work into our training, we obviously aren’t going to stop the inevitable, but if we continue to demand our bodies to swim, bike, run or perform however we do - the least we can do is help to prevent injury and get the best out of our performance.
Tissue and Bone Health
By strengthening the muscles, tendons and ligaments that surround your hips, knees, ankles and shoulders etc, we can minimise any associated stress on the joint and avoid possible imbalances. Resistance training improves bone density so the combination of stronger bones, connective tissue and muscles results in a more durable body, giving you the ability to withstand the demands of endurance training.
Optimal range of motion will allow us to walk, run and move efficiently, however this movement needs to be controlled by strong, healthy ligaments and tendons alongside activated muscles. For example, making sure our ankles are strong enough to stabilise us when running on uneven terrain (the common cause of an ankle sprain).
Body awareness and balance are also other variables that we lose with age. The stronger and more powerful you are, the more it helps in regards to balance and co-ordination. Strength training gives you the ability ‘feel’ those muscles switch on more than ever.
Old injuries and bad habits can rise to the surface when going through any basic movement assessment. Compensations that have become the ‘norm’, need to be addressed and corrected to progress on as a healthy athlete. And most of the time - with the help of trained eye, this can be achieved.
Utilising a strength training program either at home or in the gym twice a week, with a focus on developing and maintaining your strength will go a long way to slowing down age-related changes. You don’t necessarily need to be doing explosive or max rep efforts but you do need to be addressing areas of mobility, strength and good movement to keep you moving efficiently and avoiding injury.
We all know that training and racing, can be a huge commitment and when thrown into the mix of “life” anyone who can maintain a healthy balance is onto a winner.
Strength For Endurance is designed to help athletes who don’t have time on their side, so when Theatre Nurse and mum of two Ash McNulty sent in her ambassador application we knew she’d fit the mould.
Even though Ash’s husband works away a lot in the army, she prides herself on being consistent with training and isn’t afraid to set her sights on some awesome goals.
Like many others she admits “strength is always on the agenda to do as a home workout, but at the end of a busy day it kind of gets pushed aside as I don't have a set plan or really any idea on what I should be focusing on”.
With her goals for 2018 including qualifying for the Age Group Olympic Distance World Champs on the Gold Coast and then completing her first full Ironman at Busselton next December her main focus now is to build strength on the bike and remain injury free throughout the year.
We caught up with Ash to find out a little more about her life, training and how she manages to cope with fitting everything in. Strength For Endurance Coach Kriss Hendy then shares his thoughts on how Ash can best approach her training.
SFE: Did you grow up playing sport or is this something that has come to you later on?
AM: I grew up always playing sport. I used to play netball both socially and competitively, as well as swimming at a state level.
SFE: You have a very busy work/family life, what tips and tricks do you use to make sure you stay on track and keep everyone happy?
AM: When I first started Triathlon, I tried to keep everything separate, so I would get in a few good weeks of training and then my husband would go away with work for weeks on end so my training would come to a complete stop. After a few goes of this, it really got me down; having to stop and start all the time. It wasn’t like my life was going to change, so I needed to come up with a way that it worked for everyone. I bought a wind trainer and a double pram. The days I didn’t work, the kids and I would head off in the pram, I could get about 1.5 hours out of them before they started to get bored, so I had to be very prepared. I had food organised the night before, videos on the iPad, colouring pencils and books or if we were running around the river, we would go through the 'enchanted forest' and have to look for fairies etc. I had to be very imaginative. The kids loved our run days, as it would usually end at the pool for a swim afterwards. I trained for my first half ironman with the kids and I’m so glad I did. It makes it much more enjoyable knowing I’m doing it with the kids and not taking time away from them but its also setting them up in the future for a healthy lifestyle. My 5 year old has just started doing Parkrun with me! This makes me very happy! My husband is an ultra trail runner as well so we can’t wait for the day when we can take the kids out running together.
SFE: Have you suffered from many injuries in the past?
AM: Touch wood, I have been injury free. After babies I really need to work more on my core strength. Also, since I’ve had the kids in daycare, they have bought home all the coughs and colds as well, so sometimes that all catches up.
SFE:What jobs have you had in the past and what do you do now?
AM: I was in Property Management straight out of school and then I started working at a Gym whilst I was studying nursing. Currently I work as an Anaesthetic Nurse which means all day on my feet. In a normal day I can clock up to 10,000 plus steps. On the days I work, I find it really hard to go home and go for a run/ride or do a workout. After being on my feet all day and then knowing I still have to do the dinner/bath/bed routine (usually on my own), it’s very hard to find the energy to do anything. I had to set limits for myself which includes on workdays I do a strength session and its only 15/20mins max. That way it is achievable. My job is not only physical it is also mentally draining some days too, so a quick session helps clear the head to start the next part of my day. It also works well for the family too as the kids will usually get their bikes/scooters or jump on the trampoline while I workout. Burns off a bit of energy for them too.
SFE: Do you have any previous strength training experience?
AM: Not really, whilst I worked at the Gym I either did a Les Mills Class, an RPM class or just some of my own free weights.
SFE:Your favourite and least favourite thing about doing Triathlon.
AM: Hands down the Triathlon community. Although it is generally an individual sport, it is very supportive and I have met the most amazing people from Triathlon. Least favourite has to be changing a tyre hahaha!
SFE:Your first goal is to qualify for World Champs on the Gold Coast. What is your plan to get you there?
AM: Plan is to stay consistent! I work with Des Gooda from Des Gooda Coaching and he is amazing. He takes in my circumstances and works a program out around me. The best part, he still realises I need to have a life. It is the perfect balance and he is the best guy for me and my needs.
I have completed one qualifying race in Townsville already and my next one will be in January at Robina and then Coffs Harbour in March. So consistency will be the key over the next few months as we are about to uproot our lives and move to Brisbane for my husbands work. If I achieved my goal, it would be a huge achievement. To show all the mums and other time poor people that you really can do it. You just need to be smart and find a way that works for your family.
My favourite quote is "if your determined, there is a way" ALWAYS!!…..and to wear that green and gold would be a massive privilege.
Coach Kriss says……
Due to being on her feet all day at work along with training, Ash’s strength training needs to be simple and effective, short in duration – focusing on 3 or 4 exercises. This is where her StrengthForEnduranceKIT and Strength Units will come in handy.
Although she isn’t immediately post natal, Ash still needs to focus on good technique and control with every exercise, especially those challenging her core. She has been fortunate not to suffer from too many injuries so her exercises will have a full body focus performing functional movements such as the squat, lunge and row. Completing her first Ironman next year is a great goal and being a year away she has given herself plenty of time to progress at a controllable rate. Her main focus will be building resilience within her body to be able to cope with the longer distances and larger volumes. Like any of my clients we will look to create a great base first through general conditioning, we can then build upon that to create some more power and speed that will translate across to her performance.
Stay tuned as we follow Ash's journey, you can also follow her on Instagram @teammcnulty and @trimumsaus
We recently traded the warmer winter temperatures of Byron Bay and were met by a much cooler, wetter Melbourne. But regardless of the weather we teamed up with several local coaches and triathlon clubs for four fantastic clinics over a period of six days. Other than noting a very positive response and 'want to learn' by the athletes we met, we wanted to share a few takeaways that cropped up during the clinics.
OUR CLINIC TAKEAWAYS1. Seeing Your Photo At The End Of The Race
When asking our attending athletes why they chose to come along, this came up a number of times. Have you ever cringed whilst browsing through your race photos? And we don’t mean the standard unflattering ‘gravity’ run shot! Towards the back end of a race, a lot of us fall apart, our form begins to waiver and things generally become pretty ugly!
Whether it’s a big hip drop, a hunched upper body or a lazy footfall, our once tall and efficient form is no longer in view. The result of this may not be too drastic from just one race, but over time, through training and racing poor form will lead to compensations and compensations as we all know predispose to injury.
As we discussed with our athletes at the clinics, by developing things like structural strength and core stability through strength training we are able to withstand the effects of fatigue for longer durations and maintain optimal, efficient form that will ultimately get us to the finish line much quicker and in one piece.
2. The Difference Between Training vs. Exercise
A theme that cropped up in each one of our clinics - most of us will consider ourselves to be 'training' as opposed to 'exercising. The difference? Training has a goal.
A goal doesn’t always have to mean a race, it could be cadence, pace , stroke rate or power output. But regardless of our goal our strength training sessions need to have a purpose. You need to be asking yourself What are my weaknesses? Why do I keep having the same injury? Do I know WHY I’m doing the exercises that are included in my strength program? Are they working to develop my weaknesses?
The point is that you need to try to be more mindful and ‘tuned in’ to your sessions, this way you will learn to understand your body, sessions will be quality not quantity and you are much more likely to achieve your goals.
3. Time Is Precious
A common issue amongst the majority of our attendees was that their time is very limited and the thought of fitting in any strength work seems impossible. This was one of the main reasons ‘Strength For Endurance’ came about, delivering the message that strength training can be simple and done with limited time available. A few guidelines to strength training when time poor.
If you have limited time, focussing on mobility is the most effective use that time. Without adequate mobility, optimal strength cannot be achieved.
Something is better than nothing. Five minutes done a few times a week is much more effective than a 1 hour session every fortnight.
Tag it on to the beginning of your sessions. A few minutes, pre-run, ride or swim is a great use of your time and will activate keys muscles and ensure you have a great session that follows.
Laura Siddall is making quite a name for herself on the triathlon circuit these days. Whether it's her well known 'don't die wondering' motto, her ability to back up big races one after another or her inspiring progression from self-confessed rookie to world class athlete, the British born athlete is fast becoming not only an ambassador for women in sport but a favourite amongst the triathlon community.
We managed to sneak in a quick catch up with Laura following her impressive (but not surprising) 2nd place at Challenge Roth for a look at her strength training routine and getting to grips with her StrengthForEnduranceKit whilst navigating her way through a jam-packed summer of European racing.
How many times do you include strength work in your weekly program?
I aim for two main sessions of strength a week in the program. However I try to do some core and activation work every day.
What do you think is the biggest benefit you get from including strength work into your training?
Strength training helps the body to become functionally strong which leads to better efficiency when swim, bike and running but also helps with recovery and injury prevention.
Do you have anyone who programs your strength work or have you just built up the knowledge over time?
I work with a few strength trainers who help advise me. If I was in one place I'd work with one person specifically as I think it's beneficial to have a coach / trainer with their eyes on you, so to speak. However I'm pretty global so work a little more independently but touch base with experts when I need. I've built up a pretty good knowledge over time, but it's always good to have fresh eyes and ideas added in.
Do you do any "strength work" in the lead up to a race?
In the last week or so before a race my strength work is more mobility, core and activation focused, rather than specific strength exercises.
Favourite exercise with the StrengthForEnduranceKIT Support Straps?
No favourite exercise but the freedom to be able to continue my strength training whilst on the move with perhaps not the access to a gym. The straps are great for this and provide so many options.
Favourite exercise with the StrengthForEnduranceKIT Resistance Bands?
I have a circuit of exercises I go through using the resistance bands - e.g. banded walks, hip extensions, knee rotations.
Best piece of strength training advice you’ve been given?
The Strength For Endurance Network founder Kriss Hendy recently chatted to Bevan and John from the IM TALK podcast. Kriss is the second guest to speak on this particular episode so skip ahead to around the 00:40min mark, but we highly recommend listening to the other guests. Chris Case has some interested information about the heart health of athletes and how you could be needing to slow things down a little. Kriss is then followed by Hawaii Ironman legend Valerie Silk.
CLICK TO LISTEN
Read Full Article
Read for later
Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
Scroll to Top
Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.