Ask Coach Zoe

Over the years I’ve had athlete’s ask me all sorts of questions. Here are some of the most common as well as the topics I feel should have specific attention.  If you have additional questions, click the “Submit a question” button below and I will be sure to answer it, to the fullest of my knowledge.

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Nutrition (2)

What is my Daily Protein Requirement?

To figure out your protein requirement take your body weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2 to convert your weight to kilograms.  Then, multiply you kilograms by your protein range found below.

Protein Intake Guidelines:

For Sedentary Individuals: .80-1.0 g/kg/BW
Recreational Athletes: .8-1.0 g/kg/BW
Early Phase Resistance Training: 1.5-1.7 g/kg/BW
Endurance Athletes: 1.2-1.6 g/kg/BW
Adolescent Athletes:  1.5-2.0 g/kg/BW

For female athletes 15% less protein than male athletes.

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What is my protein requirement during exercise?

Protein Requirement: and Need During Exercise


By Zoë G Nance

There is a lot of information available about protein.  Sources will both be similar and contradictory and having someone interpret the data and incorporate it into performance is extremely beneficial.   There are contradictions with daily protein intake requirements and recommendations.  There is also varying data in support to supplementation during exercise.

There are both incomplete and complete proteins.  Incomplete proteins are common in non-animal sources:  examples are beans and corn.  However, when beans are combined with rice or corn with lime they become a complete protein.  It is a good idea to have vegetable and animal sources of protein in a well balanced diet.  Non-animal sources are considered, beans, corn, nuts, and legumes, an average serving is ¼ cup.  Animal sources are meat, eggs and dairy, such as yogurt, milk, ice cream and cheese.  A serving of yogurt and milk is one cup while the cheese serving size is 1 oz.  One serving of protein is generally 7 g.   While typically we should ingest over 20 grams of protein per meal.   That would be at least 3 oz meat, 3 eggs or alternate for 21 g of protein at each meal, or 3 times per day.

The RDA for protein is .8-1.2 g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.  The RDA for an endurance/strength athlete is 1.2-1.5 g of protein per kilogram of body weight.  So, take your body weight and divide that by 2.2 to convert pounds to kilograms.  After the conversion take the number and multiply it by the numbers appropriate for your activity level.  If you then, divide by three you will have a better number to gauge your protein per meal.

Protein is critical for the regulation of human metabolism.  Insulin, hemoglobin and the oxidative enzymes in the mitochondria are all proteins that have important roles in regulating metabolism.  Protein is important in the maintenance of water balance, acid-base balance, and prevention of infection.  Proteins are also carriers for nutrients to the blood, such as free fatty acids (FFA) and lipoproteins and help transport nutrients into the body’s cell.  Excess dietary protein can be converted to carbohydrate and fat and then enter the metabolic pathway for energy production or storage.

In most exercise tasks protein accounts for less than 5 percent of total energy cost. In the latter stages of longer endurance events protein could contribute to 15 percent of total energy costs.  Even a brief session of exercise lowers the rate of protein synthesis and speeds up protein break down.  The oxidation of leucine increases during exercise and the by-products eventually combine with pyruvate in the muscle cell; which eventually breaks down and part gets sent back to the liver for a conversion to glucose, at which point it can also be used as an energy source or excreted as urea.

Exercise causes an increase in protein in the urine with the potential of it also being lost through sweat.  Protein content in sweat can be 1 gram per liter, which is a relatively small amount.  And depending on individual sweat losses can be 2-4 grams of protein.  The changes in protein synthesis that occur with training can also serve as a means to preserve carbohydrate stores when supply is short.

Ammonia is formed in the muscle from amino groups’; removal of the amino groups by alanine or glutamine may help to decrease ammonia production and delay the onset of fatigue.  In the early stages of training a condition called sports anemia can develop and be prevented by an increase of protein intake during the early stages of training.  Protein deficiency may also contribute to the onset of amenorrhea.

Fueling for an event

Some people support decreasing carbohydrates 2-4 weeks before an event and then add carbohydrates back into the diet 3 days before an event.  There are consequences in attempting a low carbohydrate diet prior to a major event: excess fatigue, improper recovery, and moodiness are likely to occur.  And research shows that there are no benefits of doing carbohydrate depletion.

All sources recommend eating 3-4 hours prior to an event.  Ned Overend suggests light meals including fruit, oatmeal, yogurt and bagels.  Chris Charmichael has 24 hour pre- race meal plan that looks like this:

Breakfast: 2 cups of multigrain cereal with one cup of skim milk, a banana, two eggs, 2 slices of whole wheat toast, coffee and OJ.

Snack: vegetable protein; like hummus, grain and one cup veggies

Lunch: 3 oz turkey, 2 servings of whole grain, piles of veggies one and ½ cups of brown or wild rice and a salad

Snack: Bar, a piece of fruit, coffee

Dinner: 3 oz of meat, 2 cups of pasta and one cup of vegetables

Pre Race Breakfast:  One cup whole grain cereal, most experts suggest oatmeal, Carmichael suggests adding walnuts and raisins, I prefer raisins, honey and cinnamon.  My cereal choice is brown rice, two eggs, I like mine with 1/4 TBSP cream cheese, two slices of whole wheat toast with two tablespoons peanut butter plus coffee and orange juice.

Most sources actually recommend a very similar plan.

All sources suggest that within 45 minutes of a race start ingesting a high carbohydrate gel or sugar, I always like brown rice syrup mixed with a little espresso and chocolate syrup.  During exercise caloric replacement is vital for preventing the catabolic breakdown of muscle or using muscle as an energy source.  Carbohydrate ingestion alone will prevent this.  The human body will actually choose to breakdown muscle versus fat in the absence of carbohydrate because the breakdown of protein is easier.  Carbohydrate ingestion every 45 minutes will keep you fueled for your event.  It is recommended to ingest protein every two hours in an endurance event for the reasons listed above.

Sources: Sports Nutrition: a guide for the professional working with active people; second edition, Dan Benardot, PhD, RD.

Mountain Bike like a Champion; Ned Overend

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Cycling (3)

What tires should I use on my bike?

Great Question!

And there is not one answer.

1st you have to look at; what kind of bike?

Then, you have to look at the terrrain, and what kind of conditions you will be riding!

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What is the best way to treat a saddle sore?


There are some simple steps that you can take to help prevent saddles sores.

*1)  Good Personal Hygiene.  Keeping the body clean prior to riding will help tremendously.  If you are not able to bathe immediately after a ride, you can use alcohol wipes to disinfect the area prone to saddle sores or keep bottom wipes with witch hazel with your riding clothes.

**2) Wear shorts or pants to the trail, or bike ride.  This will keep your bottom away from your cycling shorts and chamois for a longer period of time.  You can slip your cycling shorts on in the car when you get there, it only takes a second to slip them on and will keep your bottom feeling fresher longer.

**3) Change out of your cycling shorts immediately after your ride.  This will eliminate a car ride home in a sweaty chamois.

*4) I always like to take a shower, especially before I do an endurance or ultra-endurance  cycling event or long training ride.  This will kill any bacteria that would be present otherwise, giving you a fresh start to a long day on the saddle.

If a shower isn’t available, I keep rear end wipes with witch hazel, to clean the chamois area prior to racing, plain alcohol swabs to clean the less sensitive areas.

On over night trips, especially ultra-endurance events, it’ good to have alcohol swabs in your bike bag.  They’re good to have for cleaning disc brakes, cuts and scrapes, and unexposed areas of your rear end.

Reducing friction is imperative in the prevention of saddle sores.  Making sure your cycling shorts have a tight fit on your body will keep the material from folding around and rubbing/pinching your skin. 

Stiff saddles are another great way to reduce the friction on your lower quadrant.

***I think, the best and most effective way to prevent Saddle Sores is to replace your cycling shorts frequently.  I rotate 3-4 pairs within a 6 month period of time, making sure I get at least 2 fresh pair twice a year. 

This with good personal hygiene seems to be the best  for prevention.

There are great chamois cremes available that have natural bacteria fighting ingredients.  These are helpful especially if there may already be an infection.  Generally speaking, I have switched  to a more natural blend of skin oils, not specific for cycling.  Sometimes, as needed, Assos chamois creme or a little bit of Noxemia or similar product do a great job of decreasing bacteria in the area.

Once a saddle sore is present, there are a couple of different approaches worth trying.  Although alcohol swabs can be uncomfortable on the open sore, it’s the best way to dry it out and kill the bacteria.  Applying it frequently.  Lubricating the area is beneficial, lotion will, counter-intuitively draw the oils out of the sore.  It will also keep it more comfortable in your daily activities of life, as well as protecting it from outside moisture.

Boiling water and soaking a wash cloth with hot water on the area will also help draw out the oils.

Along with shifting your body weight frequently on your saddle, the prevention steps above are the best way to treat a saddle sore.

* It’s been years since I have experienced saddle sores, I credit rotating my cycling shorts, and changing in out of my cycling shorts at my riding site the most.

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What should I bring to a race?

Race Day Check List for Triathlon and Cycling:
This check list is designed to help you think through every item you could possibly need. Print it and check over it before leaving home just for good measure!
For Triathlons
___ at least 2 pair of goggles, I have actually used my 3rd pair.
___ swim suit or tri suit
___ swim cap
___ wet suit if needed.
___ other cold weather triathlon gear: neoprene head cover, feet booties, extra swim cap
___ running shoes
___ transition towel
___ sunglasses
___ run cap/visor
___ body glide
___ Bike
___ Bike lock
___ CHAIN LUBE (Wet lube and dry)
___ Shock Pump
___ Tire Pump
Bike Repair Kit
___ spare tubes
___ tire levers
___ mini-pump
___ CO2
___ mini-tool
___ patch kit
Spare Bike Parts
___ Brake Pads (Always take a set of severe weather pads)
___Deraileur Hangers
___Deraileurs (Front and Rear)
___ Tires
___ Wheels
___ Skewers
___ Seat Post
___ Cables/Housing
___ Brakes
___ Saddle
___ Shifter/BrakePods
___ Chains
___ Disc Brake Fluid
___ Pedals
___ Lights Hanldebar and Helmet (if you’ve got them)
___ Red blinky (Some races require it)
___ Helmet
___ Sunglasses
___ Gloves
___ BIKING PANTS/ Jersey/ SOCKS/ SHOES (2-4 pair each)
___ Chamois Butter/Body Glide
___ extra cleats
___ Lots and lots of water and fluids
___ Energy bars
___ Energy Gels
___ Water bottles
___ Recovery Drink/Mix
___ During exercise Drink/Mix
___ Post-race food and water
___ CamelBak
___ Beer
___ Soda
___ Plates
___ Paper Towels
___ Utensils (Have at least one set of non plastic
Misc. Gear
___ First-aid kit
___ Camera or Camcorder
___ Towels
___ Sun Tan Lotion
___ Baby wipes
___ Soap/Shampoo/Toothbrush Toothpaste (You are really gonna want to brush your teeth)
___ Chairs
___ Umbrellas
___ Flashlight

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Running (3)

Zoefitness posted this article on Zoefitness FB Page: and it facilitated this question: What if your glutes are firing as they should and you still have itb “tightness” or knee pain or whatever you wanna call it?

Great Question! And I am so glad you asked!

This is a perfect example of how the “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work.

And wow, what a multifaceted answer and approach I should take. I call it a “loaded question”.

First is my disclaimer; athletes are great compensaters. I know how fit you are, and are we possibly skewing the test?

That being said, if you’re not doing this exercise, and similar exercises, I recommend starting to.

What if it’s not the Glute Medius? I would 1st start thinking about treating the symptom. In my practice, I may focus on strengthening the glutes and doing abduction, I would also focus on adduction, and the lengthening of the IT band. I do this by 1st doing two sets of, in this example, adduction, to one set of abduction in the middle of the 2. Why? Because people want to feel better!

In multisport, with most sports, everything we do is in the frontal plane, and we often times forget about working in the other planes. This is what traditionally leads to overuse, injury,and pain. And although MAT works specifically with strengthening the ‘weak’ or ‘tight’ muscles, I think, we are doing a disservice by not treating the symptom and alleviating the pain. So why not include working the area in both directions, by also strengthening the adductors, which therefore, ‘stretches’ the IT band?

If it’s not glute related then, why wouldn’t we look further down, or up the kinetic chain?

What I mean by this, is why wouldn’t we address the muscles below the knee, an imbalance below the knee, in the lower leg or foot? A weakness or an imbalance in this area could be causing a shift in the knee, and the hip, perhaps, leading to malfunction in the IT band. Address the hips, simply by noticing if one hip is higher than the other, causing a shift in the pelvis, and undo strain on the IT band. I am able to practice this myself by putting my hands on my hips in the mirror and doing dynamic running exercises, high knee into hip extension, one side at a time. This could be glute related but perhaps, it may be related to something further up in the kinetic chain. Perhaps, the abdominal area, or even as high up in the mid/upper back, and shoulder area?

I seem to recall an imbalance right versus left in the back and shoulder area, possibly as a result of unilateral breathing in the pool. And perhaps, in training you have adopted a bilateral breathing technique in the pool. If not, could this be related? Possibly. There’s no rule book on where pain and symptoms will surface, and MAT is the best road map we have on trying to figure out what came first the chicken or the egg.

In the realm of ultra-running through my experiences I have adopted a saying, “Keep Moving Forward, Even if it’s Backwards” because when you run for 50k or 50 miles or even 20, that’s a lot of movement in that one plane. When I am running for distance I have to do small sessions where I do lateral movements, and backwards walking in order to keep the pain at bay so that I am able to cover the distance comfortably.

While training for my 50 miler, I learned a lot.

I learned if I always run trail, I hurt, while others just running on the road, it hurts. I since adopted a plan of running on varying surfaces. I find that if I run any one type of surface for any large amount of time I start to hurt. I have been able to alleviate that by running road and trail, and often times combining the two in the same run. Running trail works everything differently. It’s like doing exercise on a bosu ball. Our bodies strive to find that balance. And is the best strength workout for running I know.

In the pool, I would make sure you have your coach double check your freestyle kick. You’re a helluva a swimmer, but many swimmers, especially Triathletes do what I call “running in the pool” kick. They’re freestyle kick is with bent knee. I would say, that creates a lot of drag in the water (and yes, I know plenty of running kickers that can kick my ass with a kick board) but wouldn’t that be too closely mimicking that which we are doing on the pavement? Maybe you’re already doing this, I would suggest doing different kicks in the pool, of course dolphin kick, reverse dolphin kick, and I like to do the breast stroke kick because of the movement of the legs and hips. It’s a different plane, and it feels so good to work abduction and adduction in the water!

Dynamic Exercises is another way to kick the IT band habit. I do them while I am walking the dogs, before most runs, not all runs, and sometimes post run. I prefer to do them at a much slower pace then what Bobby McGee recommends. I do straight leg, high knee, (like 100 ups, but without the intensity), lateral movements, grapevines, backwards walking and monster walks. It’s a great way to make sure everything is firing before we get running, but also a great way to help make the pain go away on the long stuff.

I know you’re like me, you’re a shoe junkie. Albeit, I’m certainly not to the same degree, and I hate bringing up the old barefoot, vs shod debate. I have become so adapted at running in a minimalist shoe that when I try a new shoe, even if it has a 0 raise depending on the height of the sole, I end up with pain. My 50k trail run was done in Mizouno’s Wave Universe 5k racer, and my 50 miler was done on the New Balance Minimus.…/sport…/hiking/trail-running/ I find I do best with a little bit of drop and a smaller sole. I recently tried this shoe, thinking it would be the best of both world’s 0 drop, but funky sole = pain.…/minimus…/WT00-V2.html…. I have tried other types of minimalist shoes and ended up with shearing knee pain. I used this shoe to rehab my broken toe which was at the base which continually was rebreaking, and it’s a 10mm drop. It’s my bulky shoe, but the way the sole is designed gives me no trouble, that being said, it’s still only 5.4 ounces, and is still neutral, and still considered a minimalist shoe. Shoes are trouble. They either hold our foot in a unnatural position, or if they’re bulky after the 1st wear, the begin to wear, into our old movement patterns without correcting the actual problem of running biomechanics.

It was almost 2 years, because of my foot, I went without running, I worked primarily on my biomechanics through dynamic ex’s and hiking, and I have come better (not as fast as I would like) but faster than I have been in my adult life. I know you can do it too! I hope by sharing my insights, I have been able to get the wheels turning, and perhaps, shed a new light on a problem that exists for so many athletes.

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Swimming (1)

What are some good Swimming Drills to help me improve my technique?



Compilation of Swimming Drills Sourced From:

USA Swimming

USMS: Master Swim

Go Swim

Videos are available on-line at above linked websites if you have any questions on form, or instruction.

This is small sample of drills that can be done; many drills can be created to help you perfect your swim technique.  Simply think; what do I want to improve or fix?  And get creative!!


1 Arm: Drill

Arms no kick

Kicking on Back Hands Down: Focus Fast Feet, limits knee bend

3 Right Arm/Streamline Kick/3 Left Arm


Push Off; 3 Full Strokes, no breath, Glide into EZ Free:

Series 2 Full Strokes è3 Full Strokes

Fly Arms, Free Kick

4 Kick Rotation

8 Kick Rotation

Jumping in Rainbow

Add Glide

Add Pull

West Side Fly Progression

Weighted Dolphin Kick

Vertical Fly

Perp Drill

Soft Hands

Side Breathing

Dolphin Kick Initiation

Second Kick



Butterfly 3-3-3

Dolphin Kick: Arms Up, on your back

Single Arm Extended

Outside-in Kick

Lower Back Dolphin Kick/Underwater Dolphin Kick

Reverse Dolphin Kick

Underwater Dolphin Kick with Pull Buoy

360 degree Dolphin Rotation Underwater

4 Kick => 1 Swim

Back Stroke:


Break Arms down

Reverse Kick

Kick Streamline/ Finger Tips Point Up

2-2-2 Drill

3-2-1 Drills

L Drill

Puck Balance for Head position

Good Rotation Drills: Exit Thumbs Up; enter pinkie 1st

Double Arm Controlled

Dumbbell Drill

Bobble Head Drill

Quarter Arm Lift Drill

Free/Back Combo Drill

Med. Ball Kick

Shoulder Recovery

Goggle Under Back Kick

Learning Spin Drill

Working on Catch

The Wave

Pulling on Lane Line

Nose Plugs

Learning Partner Pusher

Kick Extend Swim

Pull Buoy Flutter Kick

Hand Entry Width

Not too Soft Hand Entry

Opposite Shoulder Single Arm

Backwards Board Kick

Marching Soldier

Spin Drill

Double Arm

Steady Kick

“Topher” Drill

Thumb Back Stroke

Bull Buoy Swimming

Timing Your Turns

Quick Draw

Shoulder Pop

“Wave” Recovery

Breast Stroke:

Kick with buoy

45 degree head

With Kickboard


2 Kick- 1 Pull

3 Strokes Up/3 Strokes Under

Breast Pull with Free Kick

Breast Pull with Dolphin Kick

Breast with Paddles, not straps

3-2-1 Stretch

Heel Touch Kick

Flipturns with no Push Offs

Sneaky Extension Practice

Back Throw Extension

Sweep into Air

Kick with Board

4-stroke Free, Breast

Playing with Rate

Upside Down with Recovery Focus

Resistance Wall Kick

Long Stroke

Band Kick

Pull Buoy Kick

Mini Pull

High Heels Kick

Kick with Fins

Body Dolphin Straight Arms

Forced Hand Sweep

Thumb Lock Extension

The Last Stroke

Wall Wave

Head Position

Eggbeater Warm Up

Shadow Outsweeps

Single Stroke Streamline

Under Lance

Breathe Every Stroke

Davo Hand

3 Fly – 3 Breast

Timing Underwater Dolphin

High Hands Freestyle

High Heels Recovery

Time Your Breath

Front Skull Pull

Skulling at Wall

Breath Control

Separation Drill

Narrow Kick


Flow with Fins

Double Under Water Pull

Pull Down And Arm Recover

Shark Fin Kick

Wall Pull

Building Rhythm

Snorkel Pull

Early Catch: Hands

Streamline Push

Butt Heat

Break Out

Single Leg Kick

Head Down Pull

Elbow Hit

Tempo Trainer Kick on Your Back

Fast Skull

3 Down, 2 Up

Wide Pull

Head Lead Kick Under Water

Head Lead Kick on Your Back

Head Lead Kick on Your Stomach

Pulling with Paddles

Upside Down



1-Arm Drill

Catch Up

Fiddle Faddle

3-5 Switch

6 Kick Switch

6 Kick Catch Up

4 Kick Switch

4 Kick Catch Up

2 Kick Switch

2 Kick Catch Up

  • Above 6 drills can be done single arm or both arms

1 Mississippi, don’t pull for one second

Dr Pepper/Shark


Wide Y skulling

Windshield Wipers

Hip Skull; face down/Face Up

Feet First

Pull Drills: fist/tick tock 6 o’clock/Longhorns/Sooners

High Elbow

Finger Tip Drag

Kick in Catch

Demont 4R

Kicking on Side = Wrap Arm

Catch up with Pipes

Bow and Arrow

Freestyle Front Quadrant

Use of Rubber Flexi Balls

Tap your Head Drill

Next Drills can be done with or without Pull Buoy:

Fist Stroke


TX Longhorns

Catch Up

Slow Arm Recovery with Hesitation

Quick Catch

High Swingers

EVF (Early Vertical Forearm)

Kicking on Side

Kicks 1,2,3,4 breathe to side

Zipper Drill (6 Kicks)

Normal Free Style Tempo

Single Arm

Reduced Stroke

Disappear Behind Your Hand

Double Band Kick

Fin Sprint

Developing Narrow Flutter Kick

Position 11 Surge

Eyes Catch Up

Lope Kick

Playing with Surface Area

Kickboard Extension

Synchro Swim Drill

Sliced Hand Exit

The Finish

The New Hypoxic

Waterfall Flips

Deep Catch

Resistance Catch Training

Open Water Rabbit

Inner Elbow Extension

Flutter Kick Fix

Power Elbow

Ankle Pull Buoy

Sneaking Up on Air

Reach, Ride, Grab

Heavy Hand with Side Kick

Underwater Free

High Hips

Board Power Pull

Avoiding the Fall

Donut Catch

Ball Catch

Connection Variation

Flutter Wall Kick

Bent Arm Extension

Single Paddle

Catch Up Catch

Shoulder Breath

Above Speed Catch

Flutter Kick X

1st Breath

10 Kick Flutter Variation

Active Gliding

Eyes Up Catch

Flutter Kick Basics

Doggie Dig with 2 Beat Kick

Stretch Cord Speed

Band Kick

Timing Kick

Wrist Drag

Freestyle/Backstroke – Tempo Training Kick

Egyptian Crawl

Loper Drill

Balanced Swim/Kick

Head Play

Vary Your Breathing

Stun Gun

Limit Legs

Shoulder Throw

Shoulder Rotation

Floating Paddle Drill

Head Up Swimming

Snorkel Swimming

No Breathers

Hand Play

Freestyle Arms with Dolphin Kick

Broken Wrist

Click and Go

Tight Tuck on Flip Turn


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Triathlon (1)

What should I bring to a race?

Race Day Check List for Triathlon and Cycling:
This check list is designed to help you think through every item you could possibly need. Print it and check over it before leaving home just for good measure!
For Triathlons
___ at least 2 pair of goggles, I have actually used my 3rd pair.
___ swim suit or tri suit
___ swim cap
___ wet suit if needed.
___ other cold weather triathlon gear: neoprene head cover, feet booties, extra swim cap
___ running shoes
___ transition towel
___ sunglasses
___ run cap/visor
___ body glide
___ Bike
___ Bike lock
___ CHAIN LUBE (Wet lube and dry)
___ Shock Pump
___ Tire Pump
Bike Repair Kit
___ spare tubes
___ tire levers
___ mini-pump
___ CO2
___ mini-tool
___ patch kit
Spare Bike Parts
___ Brake Pads (Always take a set of severe weather pads)
___Deraileur Hangers
___Deraileurs (Front and Rear)
___ Tires
___ Wheels
___ Skewers
___ Seat Post
___ Cables/Housing
___ Brakes
___ Saddle
___ Shifter/BrakePods
___ Chains
___ Disc Brake Fluid
___ Pedals
___ Lights Hanldebar and Helmet (if you’ve got them)
___ Red blinky (Some races require it)
___ Helmet
___ Sunglasses
___ Gloves
___ BIKING PANTS/ Jersey/ SOCKS/ SHOES (2-4 pair each)
___ Chamois Butter/Body Glide
___ extra cleats
___ Lots and lots of water and fluids
___ Energy bars
___ Energy Gels
___ Water bottles
___ Recovery Drink/Mix
___ During exercise Drink/Mix
___ Post-race food and water
___ CamelBak
___ Beer
___ Soda
___ Plates
___ Paper Towels
___ Utensils (Have at least one set of non plastic
Misc. Gear
___ First-aid kit
___ Camera or Camcorder
___ Towels
___ Sun Tan Lotion
___ Baby wipes
___ Soap/Shampoo/Toothbrush Toothpaste (You are really gonna want to brush your teeth)
___ Chairs
___ Umbrellas
___ Flashlight

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General (5)

How can I balance family and training?

Balance: one of the most difficult parts of having a family and being an athlete.   My children are a little older now, 10 and 12 and they are responsible enough to be at the house alone for a couple of hours while I go take care of myself.

While I was juggling; coaching, training, motherhood, I had to remain flexible in my mind set.  I always, always set a schedule.  This is probably the most important part of balance, time management.  I print out a weekly calendar, scheduled all my obligations and then, came back in put in my training.  Its important when doing your schedule that you include the smallest of details: breakfast, lunch, dinner, work, bedtime routine, etc.

My current schedule is flexible so it’s easier to balance my training with my family life, but it hasn’t always been that way.  I have remained flexible over the years and I have always maintained a schedule.  Not every day can we keep to our schedule and that’s where flexibility comes in.  The schedule is a guideline, it’s to keep us on track but in the same token, it’s imperative to not beat yourself up if the schedule changes in the course of the day.  We have some control over what happens to us in our lives, however, we are not in complete control.  We do always have control how we react to situations, and this is also true when it comes to race day.  How do I deal with my workout schedule being derailed, do I make up the workout?  This is when it’s best to have obtained a coach, so I can keep your schedule on track for your goals without overtraining.

One thing that has been consistently true for me over the years, I do not do well working out at night.  I know plenty of people where they do well working out after work.  There are some factors that will play a role in how successful you are scheduling your workouts after work.

Be prepared.  Afternoon cup of coffee, 1-2 snacks available, one being dense protein, and pack your stuff with you so you’re ready for anything.  Prepare yourself mentally, if you’re planning on going home before your workout, there may be some skeletons that come out of the closet to derail you, be prepared.  If you’re typically a night owl then, after work, may be the time that works best for you.  Don’t plan on going to sleep within 2 hours of completing a workout, and it may be upwards to 3 hours.

I’m a morning person.  I have been up as early as 3:30 or 4 am to complete a workout.  It can take anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks for your body to adjust to this early to rise scenario.  As long as my children have been alive, I have gone to bed with them, and occasionally falling asleep during story.

My favorite time is lunch time.  This requires a lot of discipline and planning.  It involves a cooler and going to the grocery store, generally on the weekends and preparing your food ahead of time.  In order to workout at lunch you must eat your lunch at your desk before your break, or find times, during ‘non lunch’ to eat that does not affect your productivity.  I eat between appointments or while I’m working on the computer.  I even have eaten in the car on the way to the trail.  Then, the lunch bell rings, and I’m ready to break free of the desk and go for a ride or a run.

Some employers encourage their employees to work out.  They know that workers who engage in regular physical activity will have less lost days because of illness, and that their health insurance costs will be less for their employees who regularly exercise.  Some insurance companies will actually pay for a percentage of your health club membership, if you use it 2 days per week or more.

Your employer may be more willing to adapt your schedule to improve your productivity by allowing flexibility in your work hours.  For example they may let you come late and stay late, or come early and leave early, I even know companies who will actually grant 2 hour lunches for their employees to work out.  These ‘non traditional hours’ make it easier for employees to commute back and forth to work spending less time in the car and increase employee morale and productivity making it win-win for all parties involved.

Scheduling hasn’t always been easy for my family.  We came up with ways that it would work for both my husband and I.  I have always been active, so we invested money in bicycle trailers, and joggers, and belonged to health clubs with 25 yard or meter pools that had day care providers, and we even enlisted babysitters, when needed.

The girls began their adventures while they were still in car seats.  I think I was actually a stronger cyclist when my I was pulling my kids in the bicycle trailer, always developing power.  It’s quite an ordeal to get 2 car seats, snacks, water, and tons of toys in a double Burley, but it’s doable.  It’s important to be flexible during this time, because inevitably, there will be stops because of crying kids.  The different types of equipment that is available to help us parents continue our active lifestyle is amazing.  We even owned a jogger that had 2 inches of travel so I could run and hike on the trails.  This is the type of equipment that is easy to come by either through donation of friends whose kids have out grown them or for purchase of lightly used equipment.

The most helpful part of balance is having a supportive spouse.  It’s also important to know, that you are being active for your health, but also for the health of your relationship and family.  The single most helpful thing that my husband and I have done over the years is to do our workout in shifts.  We decide who is going to have which shift on which day of the weekend.  Whoever gets the morning on Saturday gets the afternoon on Sunday and you have an agreed upon time limit and you get back on time so the other person can then have their time.

Maybe your spouse doesn’t work out, they can still enjoy ‘their alone time’ by going to store by themselves, a true rarity in itself, social gatherings with friends or maybe they have time to get a manicure or a massage.

If your kids are older, that’s when it’s time to begin their active lifestyle.  You can ride bikes together, or run while their riding, go hiking, they can play swim while you’re swimming laps etc.  There’s plenty of ways to get your workouts in, sometimes, it’s a matter of getting creative.

In between car seats and working out with them, or leaving them at home, I would plan my workouts around their scheduled activities.  I would swim while they were in their swim lessons, ride the bike during soccer, or run during tennis.  This is an amazing way to get your kids active and live through example.

Enjoy it while you can because those years go by so quickly!

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Exercising in the Heat: Signs, Symptoms and Prevention:

Although a common myth about losing weight in the summer is the old adage; “Just Sweat it Out”, this is not only untrue, it can have negative health implications.

It is true, that we do lose weight while exercising in the extreme heat, it’s water weight, and with the human body, being made up of between 70-80% water, losing too much is just dangerous.

Losing 1-3% of your body weight during an activity can actually decrease your performance up to 10%.

So staying hydrated before, during and after, an event or race is essential for not only your performance but your health.

Here’s what’s to look out for if you are exercising in the heat.

There are two types of heat exhaustion:

  • Water depletion. Signs include excessive thirst, weakness, headache, and loss of consciousness.
  • Salt depletion. Signs include nausea and vomiting, frequent, muscle cramps, and dizziness

Heat Exhaustion Signs and Symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration)
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Pale skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat

Heat Stroke Signs and Symptoms:

The signature symptom of heat stroke is a core body temperature above 105 degrees Fahrenheit. But fainting may be the first sign.

  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Red, hot, and dry skin
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

When we exercise in the heat we experience something called, Cardiac Drift.  The cardiovascular system is already working harder in the heat, with your heart working 5-10 beats harder per minute than at the same intensity on a cooler day.

There are some suggestions that I recommend while riding.  The main goal is to avoid heat related  illness, and the best way to avoid heat illness, is to keep the internal body temperature cool.

The single best advice I can provide is to ride in the coolest part of the day, the morning.  The coolest part of the day is day break, the time when the sun is just breaking the horizon. We need someone to clear the spider webs off the trail, why not let it be you?    🙂

But not everyone has the gusto to get rolling at such an early hour, nor does their scheduled allow.  So here are some other suggestions to help prevent heat related illness.

Shade:  For Mountain Bikers choosing trails that are in trees, that provide shade,  with the best option being  a trail that is not only shaded but allows for a breeze.

Water:  Drink Plenty of water before, during and after a ride.  The 1st DORBA Fall Race is scheduled on August 18th.  For Zoefitness Clients who are prone to cramping, and eat a diet high in processed foods, and therefore sodium, I generally recommend that they buy a gallon of water 3 days out and drink it in it’s entirety on that day.  I do this for a couple of reason.  The number one reason is to bring up their hydration status, so that the athlete is hydrated for the race and this gives the athlete plenty of time to excrete any excess water before race day.

Making sure you’re hydrated before a race or ride is one of the best preventative tools we can utilize to our advantage.   A general guideline for exercise is 16-20 ounces of water about 2 hours before implementing a training session or race.  This will give your body time to remove any excess water from your system.  And 4-6 ounces about 15 minutes prior starting.

It’s recommended to drink about 4 ounces of water every 15 minutes.  This is the rule of thumb I follow, and generally recommend, but I know athletes who consume closer to 8 ounces every 15 minutes during exercise.  The amount of water that you will need to consume, is based on your sweat rate.  If you’re a heavy sweater than, it’s likely you will need more water then the recommended 4 ounces.

For every 1 pound weight loss during a ride  = 16 ounces of water post ride:

so if you lose 3 pounds you should consume 48 ounces of water to replace what has been lost.

Sweat is not only water but it is also made up of electrolytes, and minerals.  So it’s imperative that you replace those as well.  Failing to do so can lead to a condition known as hyponatremia, and can be deadly.  Bob Seebohar, one of my mentors, recommends getting upwards to 800 mg of sodium an hour.  This would turn me into a raisin.  As a general rule of thumb, if you are heavy salt sweater, you will have salt or whitish streaks, where you sweat the heaviest.  Salt is not the only mineral we lose in sweat.

I recommend Salt Stick Capsules.  This is my favorite product and has been for  years.  It’s the only product that I know that contains all of the electrolyte/minerals: Calcium, Magnesium, Chloride, Sodium and Potassium.  It also contains, the magic ingredient, Vitamin D3, which aids in the recycling of ATP.

Sports Drinks may or may not be a necessity.  They are an excellent way to replace some of your electrolytes, and are a great tool for replacing carbohydrates during activities lasting longer than an hour.

Cooling vests, and cooling shirts have extensive research supporting their success in cooling the body temperature.  Here are a couple of other ideas to help keep the body cool:  Freeze a water bottle and place this in the back jersey pocket of your shirt.  Freeze your hydration pack about 1/3 to 1/2 full, and make sure you have cold water in a cooler in your car/truck so you can enjoy cold water in between laps, and when you’re finished.

Take Breaks, I take shade breaks, both when I ride on and off road.  Sometimes I will actually stop to allow my body temperature to decrease, but more frequently I will slow my speed, and do a track stand, for a few moments.

Go Slower in the heat.  Since the heat raises your HR considerably, we just have to slow our speed down a little bit, we are going slower at the same heart rate on a cooler day.  You’re still working hard, at least your heart is, so sometimes, it’s okay just to slow your speed down to avoid a trip to the ER.

Ride in the morning, evening, or indoors on rollers or a trainer.  Rollers and stationary trainers are good in the winter but they’re also very good for the summer, when it gets dangerously hot, especially if you are not a morning person.

Use the Buddy System: If you’re riding by yourself, use what I call a “contact person”.  I call one of my buddies, and ask them to be my contact person.  I tell them, what time I am starting, where I will be riding, what my itinerary for riding is, and what time I should finish.  I let them know what time I will call them, and I give them a time, to call the brigades if they haven’t heard from me.  So far to this date, I have never needed my contact person in an emergency, but the best thing we can do is plan, and not need it, then to need it, and not plan.

Carry a phone:  you want to always carry a phone, or have at least one phone in your group.  This way you can call your contact person and let them know you’re going to ride another lap, have a flat, or in the case of an emergency;  you, or even a perfect stranger may have one, that you can assist with.

Listen to your body:  All of the time, not just in the heat.  If you have your internal regulators on you can tell when you’re over doing it, when the heat is getting to you, when you need a shade break, or when you just need to finish your ride.  If you’re on a one way trail and start to feel the onset of something serious, turn it around, and get off the trail, or finish the ride as soon as possible.  Don’t worry that you’re going the wrong direction.  Just get yourself safe.

Once you get to your car, enjoy some ice cold water, and blast the air condition, and don’t worry about driving until your core temperature is back to normal!


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Is it normal for my heart rate to be higher in the heat?

This is a very interesting chart.  It is taken out of the late great Edmund R. Burke, PhD; Serious Cycling, second edition and based on research by Scott Montain and Ed Coyle from the University of Texas

Table 6.5 Heart Rate Heat Stress Index:  Heart Rate Increases After Fluid Loss for Individuals of Various Body Weights

Weight Loss During Exercise

Change in HR based on starting body weight

110lbs 130lbs 155lbs 175lbs 200lbs
1lb 7 bpm 6 bpm 5 bpm 4 bpm 4 bpm
2lbs 14 bpm 12 bpm 10 bpm 9 bpm 8 bpm
3lbs 21 bpm 18 bpm 15 bpm 13 bpm 12 bpm
4.5lbs 38 bpm 43 bpm 20 bpm 18 bpm 16 bpm

If you’re not quite sure what this all means, I’m more than happy to answer any questions you may have.  Please email me!

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Can I benefit from wearing compression?

Compression is great!

When we exercise, simply put, we get inflammation in our bodies and in our muscles.

There is a complex physiological response to the inflammation.  I will be happy to get into the physiological response, just let me know.  But for most of us, what happens at the cellular level really isn’t important, and it will be over our heads.  So we will leave that out for now.

So we exercise, we exercise hard and our bodies do this amazing thing in response to the exercise load and that is; inflammation that causes us to heal from the exercise and get stronger.

So my question to you is why do we want to stop the body’s natural response to exercise and inflammation?

We don’t.

There really hasn’t been any conclusive research, or research at all done on the subject matter.  I have some ideas of how to measure inflammation, which would be pretty invasive, and we would also have to measure performance.

What we do know: compression helps.

Continue reading here:

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Do I need a heart rate monitor or power meter to train?

In order to get faster you don’t need to train with Heart Rate or  Power, although they can both be helpful.  I have had plenty of athletes get faster training only with Rates of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Learn more about RPE here:

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