Friday, September 26, 2008

MS 150 Bike Tour

Tomorrow is the start of the MS 150 bike tour.
I will ride 100 miles on Saturday, followed by 75 miles on Sunday. (I hope a beer is in there somewhere). The start is in Cherry Hill, NJ and we finish day 1 in Ocean City. It's motivating to be riding towards the shore and I do love Ocean City.
A party Sat. night is planned and as long as the rain holds off- it should be a great time.
Right now I 'm pretty anxious that it's tomorrow, but I know I will love it once I start riding.
What a great way to spend a weekend- and all for an awesome cause.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sodium and athletes

Salt, or sodium, is a required nutrient in the diet. It helps regulate fluid balance and promotes proper muscle function. Unfortunately, most North Americans have developed an appetite for at least three times the sodium they need. The actual sodium need varies slightly from person to person, but a range of 1,800 to 2,400 milligrams, or one teaspoon of salt, is considered to be a healthy daily dose.

Like fluid requirements, daily sodium needs can also vary greatly among athletes. Some athletes have a greater sodium need because they lose more sodium in sweat. The sodium needs amount that is recommended during exercise is dependent on the amount of sweat produced.

For example, let say that you sweat about 1.5 liters per hour, and your sodium losses per liter may be about 750 milligrams. This means that in one hour, you lose 1125 milligrams of sodium. If you train for three hours, your total sodium sweat losses are 3,375 milligrams of sodium. Clearly, on days when you put in even more hours of training, you will increase your total sodium sweat losses further. -Leah Perrier

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lactate Threshold (LT)

From Fitness Cycling by Dede Barry, Michael Barry and Shannon Sovndal. Copyright 2006 by Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc. Excerpted by permission of Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL.

Regardless of the initial energy source—fat, protein, or carbohydrate—your body converts food to adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the body’s energy nugget. It is what your muscles use to fuel their work. When you pedal your bike, the appropriate muscles start to fire and contract. As your exercise intensity increases, more muscle fibers must contract, and as a result you use more ATP. Because your muscles will continue to work only as long as they have an adequate supply of energy, your body uses two primary systems to ensure a constant flow of ATP. During exercise at lower intensity, your body primarily uses oxygen to make ATP. This is called aerobic metabolism. As intensity increases, your body starts to increase ATP production through another system that doesn’t require oxygen: anaerobic metabolism. This is where lactic acid comes into play. Lactic acid is a marker of exercise intensity and anaerobic metabolism. As your exercise intensity increases, lactic acid concentration in your blood increases. Your body continually makes and removes lactic acid at all intensity levels, including getting up from your chair. However, at higher levels of intensity, lactic acid production rises.

The key to performance in sport and exercise is balancing the rate of lactic acid production with the rate of lactic acid absorption. During light and moderate exercise, the body can absorb lactic acid more quickly than the muscle cells produce it, so the concentration of lactic acid in the blood remains low. However, as exercise intensity increases, the body eventually is unable to remove lactic acid at the same rate it produces it. This point is known as the lactate threshold (LT). Once you cross this threshold, excessive lactic acid in the blood interferes with efficient muscle contraction. As a result, high-intensity exercise stops: Your power output drops, pain increases, and you must slow down. Many books, articles, and coaches also use the term anaerobic threshold. Although there are subtle differences, you can think of these two terms as synonyms.

LT represents the highest steady-state exercising intensity you can maintain for more than 30 minutes. Recall the dragster and stock car analogy. The stock car may not have the maximal output that the dragster has, but its engine has better sustained power (lactate threshold) and is able to win over the longer haul. Imagine two cyclists of similar size and condition, Hannah and Jill. If these cyclists were to race over a long mountainous course, the outcome likely would depend on the VO2max and LT of each rider. Let’s assume Jill has a high VO2max and a moderate LT and Hannah has a moderate VO2max and an extremely high LT. Although Jill has a higher maximal effort, Hannah can maintain a higher workload for a longer time, and Hannah would likely find herself on the top of the awards podium.

Most coaches and sport scientists consider LT one of the greatest predictors of endurance performance. It is also useful for determining training zones and monitoring the effectiveness of a training program. If you’re training properly, LT will improve over time.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New beginnings

Hello and welcome to my triathlon blog.
I am a swimmer - turned rower - turned triathlete (I'm nearly exhausted just saying that!)...and I am motivated to become the best athlete I can be in my new sport!

My intentions of blogging are threefold:

1. To share my world-o-sport with the public.
2. To provide a look into the training lifestyle of a serious athlete.
3. To share my success as well as my failures (aka "learning opportunities).