Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Road to Kona


It's hard to believe that it's already September, and time to put the final touches on the Kona preparations. We are about 4.5 weeks out, and I thought I would walk you through how the past few weeks have looked and what the next few weeks entail, on my end.

Early August: Derick (my husband and coach) and I headed out to Salida, Colorado (a small town at 7k feet of elevation) as we usually do in the summer for three weeks. We do this to get out of the intense heat of Austin (most days it is 100 and even the mornings are uncomfortable, mid-70s with very high humidity) but also so I can put in some good training at altitude, escape the heat and enjoy some different terrain (ie: long climbs). This block went right as we had planned; I put in a couple of 100-115 mile rides, some long runs (either 3 hrs or 18-23 miles), as well as some interval work on the hills both cycling and running. The swimming is always tough here, because it is pretty difficult to breathe with the altitude so my paces slip a bit. Unfortunately I find that my top end speed suffers in the pool, but I think the gains on the bike and run are worth this small setback. 

Final Race, Hyvee 5150: We headed home to Austin on August 22, and about a week later we were off to Des Moines, Iowa for the Olympic Distance Championships, HyVee 5150. I've done this race the past two years, and I really enjoy it. The organization is nothing short of top notch, and the course is a always well set up (free and clear of all traffic), with incredible competition to match. This year didn't disappoint, though my performance was a bit lacking...I lost the leaders in the swim which put me in a less than stellar position, and I just never seemed to find my bike legs, losing more ground. Frustrating to say the least, but I tried to stay positive and do all I could, as I managed a solid run to bring myself back a few places. All in all, I know this race is not specifically what I've been training for, so while it wasn't what I had hoped, I tried to use the 'maturity as an athlete' card and remember this race served it's purpose to blow the legs out and give me one last short race before Kona. (Some asked why I didn't do 70.3 Worlds, and truthfully having done two Ironmans this year, and very little 70.3s, I knew my confidence was not in that distance and I also wanted to respect the toll the Ironmans can take; I figured that HyVee was a smarter and a bit safer option, and while the performance was not what I had hoped, I am still glad I made this decision). 


Sept into Early October: Which brings us up to now, the final few weeks. I came back from HyVee, took a few days of recovery and the following weekend we got back to some pretty good volume for Hawaii. It is also nice to get back to the heat; while it is still rather draining, it makes Kona feel pretty comfortable by comparison. We will use some of the preparations I took into Ironman Texas as a 'guide', but we have learned that it is always essential to truly listen to your body. For example, we had a schedule built for this week but after a 2.5 hr run on Sunday, I immediately said "I need two days of recovery." So things were adjusted this week accordingly. We have aimed to pull in a few key workouts that I feel help me a lot; including things such as a 2.4 mile Open Water swim nonstop (which we do in Lake Austin), a couple of very long rides (in the 120 mile range), and some 2k run intervals. But all in all, one thing I've been extremely diligent about is recovery; it is still pretty hot in Austin, which I feel can delay recovery at times; even while doing all the small things (including ice baths, rolling andsitting in my Recovery Pump boots). We will head out to the big island on September 28, a few days earlier than in the past, and it will be nice to get in some extra time on the course; especially riding in the winds and swimming in the swells of the bay.

So there you have it! The one point I'll emphasize as is so often the case is, there is no magic bullet; right now it is about hitting some good key workouts, being smart about recovery, and staying on top of the nutrition and rest outside of training. Truly taking care of the body, but as is always my motto, also relishing in the small things that make me happy; that being some time with good friends, a good IPA at the end of most training days, and overall just enjoying the process, being grateful for the opportunities that lie ahead.

-Kelly Williamson, @khwilliamson, Ironman Champion

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

3 Steps to Adjust to the HEAT:

As Most of us are likely training year round, we do not have the ability to escape the summer heat and we all recognize that it is harder to train when it is HOT!  The Perceived effort is greater and race and training times typically suffer accordingly. Why does this happen? What happens to the body at a physiological level?  Most important, how should we adjust workouts and race expectations to best weather the weather?

There are many studies out there that  generally recognized that for every 10-degree increase in air temperature above 55 degrees, there's a 1.5 percent to 3 percent increase in average finishing time for a marathon.  For an Ironman athlete looking to run a 3:30 marathon that is 3-6 min. This is compounding even more in my eyes for in triathlon as a lot of us are starting the Marathon in a more dehydrated state and I believe it is more like 8-12 min.  The  slow down occurs because heat impacts athletes at a physiological level through a few different means, including dehydration, increased heart rate and reduced blood flow  to the muscles used for running.

Perspiration has a cooling effect on the body because it removes excess heat through evaporation. The rate of evaporation–and subsequently how well the body is cooled–changes depending upon humidity. When humidity is low, evaporation increases and we have a great cooling affect when humidity is high, the rate of evaporation decreases and the cooling affect decreases. 


WHAT TO DO?

1) ADJUST YOUR PREPARATION

We can adjust our preparation to become more adjusted to the humid heat by wearing a cap or long sleeves while training

2) ADJUST YOUR EXPECTATIONS.

When you are heading out into a Hot environment adjust our expectations of the work out and be sure to build into the effort so you don't drive your core body temp up to start 

3) ADJUST YOUR MINDSET.

Mind set is a huge thing. If you know it is going to be hot and you don't have the above steps, having a positive mindset to deal with things is huge. 

If you think it is hot running go stand in a port-o-potty for 60 sec. upon exit it will feel cool!  It is all relative :)


See you at the races! 

Chris McDonald, 6x Ironman Champion

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Multitasking 101: Life is Busy, but Recovery is Essential



LIFE: it is a continuous cycle of BUSY for most humans. We get understandably trapped in the daily hustle and bustle of things to do, accomplish, conquer and achieve. Whether you do sport as a lucrative profession, a rewarding hobby or as an occasional participator, you still need to find even a small pocket of time to properly recover.


What does the word ‘Recover’ mean? The true definition is ‘to return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.’ So how can one do this most efficiently and effectively in effort to stay in a happy, comfortable and euphoric state of being? The answer is simple; invest in the Recovery Pump system. It is easy to say that this is just another endorsement by a sponsored athlete because they are under contract but this is far from the truth. Even when I was a struggling age grouper toiling through the ranks, I still made it a point to use Recovery Boots. The system is an essential part of my tool kit to be able to get back on the horse and train or race again quickly. They are completely worth the investment, busy life or not, for the reasons diagrammed below.



One of the great quandaries in this day and age is having enough time to be able to accomplish everything that is important to you. This is the essence of multitasking. Around four times a week, after dinner, I put on my Recovery Boots and do work on my laptop, return emails to family and friends, have quality time with my husband, talk on the phone to my parents or any number of activities while I recover. The beauty of this is I can accomplish many jobs that are important to me while being able to have a steady hour  or two of leg revitalization. I also concentrate on hydration and nutrition while in the boots along with much needed relaxation if need be. If I have a niggle too, it is easy to use cold treatments on the affected area during these Recovery Boot sessions. This is multitasking 101!


Being able to use the system in the car was a game changer for me.  Like many, long airplane and car rides have traditionally wreaked havoc on my legs and they end up being a swollen mess. Now, after a plane flight, I can sit in the passenger seat of the rental car and receive proper recovery driving to the destination. This curbs the affects of traveling on my body so I can bounce back quicker than before. If I am driving the 1.5 hours to Russian River valley from the Bay Area to race or train, I can put the boots on and arrive at the event with fresh legs. One of my favorite phrases is: ‘the little things make the big things happen’ and this is true when it comes to being able to use the Recovery Pump system on a regular basis when traveling. The difference between breaking down in those last few miles on the run or sprinting strong through the finishing shoot could be the amount of time in the boots.


One of my favorite tricks before and after a race is to use the Recovery system. I wake up on race morning, go on an early wake up run, take a shower, make breakfast and get in my Recovery Boots. This gets the juices flowing in the legs, allows me to have a relaxing breakfast, and I can concentrate on the task at hand. Right when I get back to the hotel room after a race, the boots are again working their magic on the legs. This is a preemptive strike to the inevitable swollenness that comes from pushing your legs to the max. Once the race is over, your next race is your most important one so after the excitement dies down, you have to focus on recovery. Those hours are crucial after a race in order to speed up the mending of your body.


If you perform the aforementioned tasks with your Recovery Boots, you are well on your way to returning to a normal, fluffy, invigorated and resilient state of health, mind and strength! Racing is fun; it takes true discipline to recover!

-Meredith Kessler, Ironman Champion

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hillary Biscay's Foolproof Steps for Finding Your Way Out of a Slump:


"At a panel recently I was asked about navigating one's way out of a slump so I thought I would address that topic today. For me, a slump means being out of shape and, well, this is a particularly appropriate topic because that's where I am right now. After an 8-week racing stint and a mid-season break, my body pretty much hates me. It is not a fun place to be, but after 25 years of being a serious athlete I do know how to get out of here.

These are my foolproof steps for finding your way out of a slump:
1) Accept the reality of where you are.
Resist the urge to compare yourself to your fit self. Temporarily accept your unfit state as the new normal so that you can appreciate your progress from there.


2) Do work to be just a little bit better every day.

Once you have accepted your "new normal," keep your mind focused entirely on one simple task: getting a little bit stronger/ faster/ more fit every day.
3) Know this: there is no other way to get through it than to go through it. 
The reality is that training when you are not in great shape is often not that fun. It hurts even to go slow. Delaying the process because of dread of this feeling is only going to make it hurt more. And unfortunately there are no shortcuts, nor can this process cannot be outsourced. It simply has to be suffered through, one day and one workout at a time! But as I have tried and tested this process many times over, I can assure you that you WILL work through it and it will be worth it."


-Hillary Biscay, Ironman Champion & Ultraman World Champion

Friday, June 6, 2014


Compare RecoveryPump to Conventional Recovery

Check out how we stack up against more traditional modes of recovery and we think you'll see that not only is RecoveryPump's active compression system highly effective, it's also the most convenient and portable way to recover, wherever you go.

R.I.C.E Technique

The R.I.C.E technique has been the gold standard treatment of sports injuries and recovery for decades. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Adhering to this method is difficult to do daily for training and in fact not recommended. Why?  Ice is initially a vasodilator but as the blood cools (this takes about 10 minutes), it has the reverse effect and becomes a vasoconstrictor, eventually decreasing blood-flow to the area. This is entirely counter intuitive to our goal with daily muscle recovery, which is to dilate the vascular system, increase circulation and reabsorb waste quickly.  Ice baths take time and are not truly effective for recovery.  Ice can however be effective at reducing pain due to injury, but should only be used if within 6 hours of the injury occurrence.  RecoveryPump is designed for daily use and increases circulation to promote healing and reduce muscle fatigue and swelling.

Contrasting Temperature Therapy

With hot/cold therapy it is hard to get enough contrast to affect deep tissue in the legs. Contrasting Temperature Therapy primarily reaches superficial veins and arteries- it is essential to affect the deep vessels to clear muscles of metabolic waste, so it is rather ineffective as a daily regimen for muscle recovery.  RecoveryPump uses high levels of compression to access the deep vein in the leg, moving significantly more blood, much more efficiently compared to hot/cold contrast therapy.

Light, Low Impact Exercise


Also known as active recovery, light and low impact exercise is the hard way to achieve active compression (through muscular movement)  because it requires more training time and incredible dedication. Because this type of recovery involves exercise, it is relatively poor at respiratory recovery and processing large quantities of CO2 as well as restoring Glucose, amino acid levels and replenishing other essential elements in the muscle.  RecoveryPump simulates active recovery but in a passive format, while you are at rest, allowing for true and complete recovery.

Immobilization


When the body is immobilized there is a very low blood flow rate. Immobilization promotes stiffness and is slow to recover the muscle.  RecoveryPump dilates the vascular system at all levels, helping to increase circulation, reduce swelling and stiffness, all while you rest and relax.

Sleep & Rest

The body's natural recovery tools are essential but slow. Use the RecoveryPump System even during sleep and rest.

Hydrotherapy


Effective, but it's best to stand/walk in a pool for an hour or so. (High pressure – 140 mmHg of pressure at 2m). Again this therapy is effective but requires daily access to a pool and is not convenient for the vast majority of athletes.  RecoveryPump is portable so you can travel with it, use it before and after competition, in the comfort of your own home.

Passive Compression – Garments


Low effectiveness without light exercise/activity to increase venous return.  Compression garments to not apply enough compression to affect deep vessels without physical activity. However, compression garments are an absolute MUST for travel and essential if you must stand or sit for long periods of time at work or play. Great as an adjunct to the Active Compression achieved with the RecoveryPump system.

Massage


Feels Great – don’t give it up. Massage is expensive however and it's hard to get a massage therapist to be available 1-2 times per day, every day, unlike the RecoveryPump system which is available when and where you need it. Additionally it is hard for a therapist to apply enough pressure to affect deep veins as hands tire quickly with the amount of pressure needed to do so. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Think you know Professional Triathlete Richie Cunningham?



If serving in the military, a young love for tennis and working on an ostrich farm doesn't ring a bell, read on.





What other sports did you play when you were younger? Did you ever think you'd be a Professional athlete?


RC  "I played lots of sports when I was younger, but the first sports I got interested in were tennis and running. My dad started off running and I used to chase him to try and keep up. I also did a lot of waterskiing and Australian football. Early on I wanted to be a pro tennis player. I was a little brat as a kid and I ran away from home once. The police picked me up in the middle of the night on my bike. The officer asked me what I was going to do with my life and I told him I wanted to be a pro tennis player. He laughed at me. I don't think I ever played tennis after that."

Early in your career, how hard was it to start out as a new pro?

RC  "Starting out as a pro was probably about the hardest thing I've had to do. I was in the military for 4-5 years. After leaving a secure job and chasing the dream of being a pro triathlete, the first couple of years was a really big struggle. I spent the first years, like all triathletes in Australia, on unemployment. Even my first couple of trips to Europe were extremely hard. I just managed enough money to get a return ticket for the next year each time. Just as I was about to give up and quit the sport, a friend lent me enough money to get a plane ticket to race ITU cup in Portugal. I managed to podium there, which gave me enough money to do the rest of the series and that pretty much kicked off my career." 

Why were the first few years so hard in triathlon?

RC  "Two reasons. One is that I was a very bad swimmer. It took me a long time to learn how to swim open water. I was fortunate enough to find a swim coach who was willing to help and teach me to swim open water as opposed to pool swimming. The other reason I struggled so much was early in my career I had a broken rib that was rubbing on the nerves at the back of my rib cage. Every time I ran hard, I would get a stitch. This got worse over 3-4 years until I found a doctor in Germany who figured out what it was and removed the rib."

If you could tell a new pro anything, what would it be?

RC  "I'd tell them not to be such spoiled brats. Everyone seems to want a handout these days and expects sponsors to come flowing in as soon as they get a pro card. You have to earn them first."

Other than being a professional triathlete, what is the coolest job you've held?

RC "Shortly after leaving the army I went and worked on a farm and raised ostriches."

What's your secret to longevity in this sport?

RC  "I've been extremely lucky. In 20 years, I've had very few injuries. Other than bike crashes, I don't think I've missed more than a few days due to injuries. RecoveryPump has made a huge difference in helping me recover, especially as I get older.   Also, I think there's two parts to staying healthy and having a long career in triathlon that a lot of athletes don't realize.

1. You have to love the sport and competing 
2. You have to love the lifestyle. A lot of people train hard, but see it as an inconvenience. I see so many people in Boulder who just seem miserable training sometimes. They just want to get training done for the day rather than enjoying the triathlete lifestyle. 

"Also, I'm Benjamin Button. I get younger every year. "


It's no wonder Richie's a legend in the sport of Triathlon.  His hard work and honesty have made him who he is today. We're looking forward to seeing him rack up Kona points at the innagural Ironman Boulder in August and then watch him race in the lava fields for the very first time in his career this October.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Sports Medicine Perspective:
Sporting Kansas City (MLS), Client Review


RecoveryPump has had the pleasure of working with some of the top Sports Medicine professionals and teams in virtually every professional sport throughout the United States. 


With no exception, meet Chet North of Sporting Kansas City (MLS).  After 18 seasons as the Head Athletic Trainer with Kansas City's Major League Soccer franchise ( Wiz, Wizards and now Sporting KC), Chet recently became the Director of Sports Medicine, taking part in the development of one of the world's best training facilities and home to Sporting KC and The United States National Team. 

Here's what Chet had to say when we asked him to share his feedback and experience working with RecoveryPump.

"All businesses are continually approached by merchants with products or services  “That claim they will fulfil all your needs”.  It is our staffs responsibility to discern this information and determine what products or service our organization will choose to use. Does it fit our set criteria ?  First, Does the product or service adhere to the research our staff believe in ?  Second, does the product or service actually do what it claims to do ? And finally, Does the company providing the product or service stand behind it and give excellent customer service. With RECOVERY PUMP the answer is YES on all three accounts.  We believe in the RECOVERY PUMP system and know that wherever we are or the situation they will take care of us in a quick and professional manner. We are extremely pleased and satisfied with our relationship with RECOVERY PUMP."
-  Chet North, Director of Sports Medicine - Sporting Kansas City (MLS)

Our goal as a company is to help athletes optimize training and performance. Working with veterans in the sport such as Chet, RecoveryPump strives to be the leader in the industry, backed by medical research, experience in the field and unparalleled customer service and support.

If you're looking to optimize your athlete's training and performance be sure to visit www.recoverypump.com or call us at 855-732 7867.