Training (or Chilling) with Music: What Moves You? By: Kelly Williamson

May 21st, 2015 - Posted by
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Music has the power to inspire. While people and events clearly serve as inspiration, something as simple as songs inspire me daily. Music works as a conversation starter; it gives you deeper insight into who people are; it can even spark a bond between two people. I’ll never forget when I met my husband Derick. I was 24 at the time, likely ruminating about some triathlon related event in my life which I am sure was “massive” at the time but in the big scheme, a small bump in the road. (He was working for a coaching company at the time). I said to him over one of our earlier conversations, “You have to laugh at yourself, because you’d cry your eyes out if you didn’t.” This dude was good. Without missing a beat, he replies, “You’re an Indigo Girls fan, huh.” Well, he sure knew how to win a girl over… a GUY who knew this line from a song? Spark. Bam. Done. Here we are, some 13 years later!

 

Every evening when Derick and I make dinner, we turn on a Pandora station and catch up on our day with some good tunes in the background. Some of the frequent Pandora stations you’ll find in the Williamson household include the likes of Robert Earl Keen, John Fullbright, Jason Isbell, Ray Wylie Hubbard; Brandi Carlile, the Highwaymen radio. Clearly, pretty mellow stuff for the evenings. The wonderful thing about music that you can always find something to suit your mood; and on that same note, music also has the ability to change your mood. I can find myself enjoying a beer, making dinner, my mind running through events from the day, stressing out; then I find myself singing along with a song and it seems worries can melt away. It can allow us to shift our focus often to a more relaxed state without even consciously realizing it.  

 

Seeing that I love music and a good many hours of my days are spent training solo, it gives me massive time to spend with my good friend, Kelly’s Ipod. While I love good company for a long bike ride, I also get excited as I prep for a 5-6 hour solo ride, getting the bike ready, the nutrition set up, rolling out the door, and putting my music in my ear (right ear only of course). While I can appreciate solitude and silence, it makes some of that alone time a bit more pleasant when I can cruise through the Texas hill country being serenaded by some of my favorites. Likewise, when I have to crank out a tough set on the bike or on the trails, I turn it over to those who can get me in the mood to shut off the pain and dig as deep as possible. It seems there’s always a song for the occasion, be it a mellow 5 hours or a hard as hell 6 minutes. There is something about focusing on song lyrics and averting your attention directly from your effort that can allow you dig a bit deeper and enjoy the experience a little more.

 

On that note, I wanted to share some of my top song choices; broken down into two categories. Long endurance workout favorites, and hard session choices. Of course these lists are frequently changing, but some are tried and true staples. Maybe you can find a new song or two in here. But ultimately, find what moves your mood and go with it!

 

Long Mellow Sessions
I Like Birds (Eels)
Follow Your Arrow (Kacey Musgraves)
Whim of Iron (Slaid Cleaves)
Happy (John Fullbright)
People are Crazy (Billy Currington)
Old Before Your Time (Ray LaMontagne)
Gone Again (Indigo Girls)
My Hometown (Charlie Robison)
Enjoy Yourself (Todd Snider)

 

Hard Sessions
Back in Black (AC/DC)
GDFR (Flo Rida)
No Church in the Wild (JAY Z & Kanye West)
Glory & Consequence (Ben Harper)
In the End (Linkin Park)
We Can’t Stop (Miley Cyrus)
Dani California (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Ni**as in Paris (JAY Z & Kanye West)
Lonely Boy (The Black Keys)
Mainstream Kid (Brandi Carlile)
Dark Horse (Katy Perry)

 

-Kelly Williamson
@khwilliamson

5 Training Tips to Spring into Shape!

May 11th, 2015 - Posted by

It’s time to spring into shape and begin a fresh training schedule with new ideas to get you stronger and ready to race.

Add a little spring into your step with these 5 training tips:

1)   Set Goals

Set one big goal for the spring season training, something to look forward to. It could be training for your first 5k, racing a half or full marathon you have always wanted to do, or reaching a personal best by the end of the season. Keep it simple and stick to what inspires you! Write it down and gain confidence in that goal.

Set mini milestone goals to motivate you to achieve that one big goal you set for your spring season. Milestone goals can be as simple as eat more greens, get 8 hours of sleep a night, take a few minutes out of the day to stretch & strengthen or finish a run a little faster than normal. It is important to be consistent with your goals and reward yourself!

2)   Track Your Progress 

Write down your weekly training in a training journal. Map it out and watch the progression. Write down weekly miles, hours of sleep, and how you felt in each workout. This allows organization to your training and a method to track what works and doesn’t work. It is also nice to backtrack and see what you did days, months, even years ago.

 3)  Mix Things Up

Workouts- A variety in your training can strengthen different muscles in the body and create an overall balance.

Hill Repeats- Is there one hill near your home that you despise walking, biking, or running up? Well, here is a great workout for you. One day a week confidently focus on that hill. Start slow doing 3 reps up/and recovery downhill. Eventually, you can increase the hill reps, allowing your muscle fibers to adjust to the alternative terrain. Hill repeats will increase your heart rate, strengthen and tone your glutes, and most importantly your mind and body will naturally adapt to the hills, allowing confidence to overcome every step of the climb.

Intervals- Interval training is a great way to mix up your workouts. Instead of going by distance, go by time. Set your workout to segmented intervals. For example, you can run 1 minute fast, with 1 minute recovery, 2 minutes fast, 2 minutes recovery, 3 minutes fast, 3 minutes recovery, etc. Intervals are a great way to see what pace is right for you. You can decrease the recovery time to see how well you adapt to recovering. Intervals are a great way to get you fit and in that racing mode!

Tempo- Tempo is also known as a lactate threshold run and is a faster paced workout to help you gain endurance. It should be at a faster pace than your normal run pace and a little slower than your race pace. It should be a pace that you can keep for a longer run and should feel comfortably hard. The more training, the higher you can push your threshold. So how do you find your threshold? You can start by adding 30-40 seconds to your average 5k-10k pace. If you average 8:00 per mile in the 5k your threshold pace will be relative to 8:30-8:40 per mile. It should be a hard yet comfortable pace you can do for 15-20 minutes continuously.

Location– Mix it up with the location of your runs. If you run the same route daily it could easily lead to burn out. Try to run on grass or trail for longer runs to reduce the impact, and recover faster.

Find a running friend– A friend running next to you can help keep the pace of the run honest and consistent. A friend to run with is a perfect way to motivate you and create a positive attitude. It is nothing like a good conversation to make a long run go by when you have a friend to talk to and reach out to. A running friend can also critique your form and help improve your stride.

4)   Strength- there is more to it than just running! 

Body mechanics – Work on the little things to strengthen for an overall balanced body. Each day focus on a part of the body to make it stronger!  

YogaStrength is not only important physically but mentally as well. Take a few minutes out of your day to stretch quietly and clear the mind through meditation. It not only relaxes you but freshens the body for your next run!

CoreThe core is the foundation to running. With a strong core your body can move mechanically, creating less tension in the hips, glutes, and legs. Even if it is 5-10 minutes of core while watching television, your abs can still get a nice workout.

5)   Race More, Race Faster       

April racing brings May personal bests! Do you get the nervous jitters at the starting line? Well, the common cure is to race. The more you race the more confident you become and your body gets accustomed to the adrenaline. Believe in your training and know that you are ready for any race!

 

ColoRADo – By: Ben Hoffman

May 1st, 2015 - Posted by

 

When I went to university in 2002, triathlon was not even on my radar. Growing up in Western Colorado, my life was always based around exercise and being outdoors, but I can’t remember a time when I went swimming in anything other than a high alpine lake or the golden, flowing Colorado river to cool off in summer heat.  I did spend some time riding weeklong bike tours in the Colorado mountains with my parents while I was in high school, but the majority of my first 18 years were spent backpacking, camping, rock climbing, and generally exploring the landscapes of Colorado, Utah, and other surrounding states…essentially, “triathlon-free.” 

Some of my favorite memories are the trips we would take to the mountains, fly-fishing, sitting around the campfire, and just soaking in the beautiful landscape that surrounded us. Being outdoors wasn’t necessarily related to any kind of structured exercise, it was simply being out there and moving amongst it.  It was these trips throughout my formative years that laid the groundwork for my choice to live in Montana, then back to Colorado, and Arizona in winters.  In fact, I remember deciding that Missoula would be a good fit for college because it was like a Colorado with fewer people!

The surrounding environment has always had a big impact on my happiness and the structure of my days, especially now that my job is to spend countless hours outdoors on my bike, running, and swimming, I look to the landscape for inspiration and energy, for peace of mind and tranquility. Often it can be as simple as appreciating seasonal changes with wildflowers or snowstorms, spotting some wildlife, or just being thankful for consistent sunny weather. Other times, I use specific features to shape an adventure or training goal: Run up that mountain? Ride a big loop around the same mountain? Sure!

The landscape becomes a useful motivating tool for my workouts, and is constantly providing me with stimulation and inspiration.  Each person has their own vision of beauty, and level of connectedness with nature, but I will always gravitate towards the mountains, deserts, and open spaces that feed my soul. And when I’m not training in these places? Enjoying them in other ways, whether it’s camping, fishing, hiking, climbing, skiing, or just relaxing and watching the day unfold. Get out there and enjoy some fresh air!

-Ben Hoffman