Northern Training and an Easy Breakfast

Training Update
So thus far this winter training has been going really well. I have been training between 18 and 22 hours a week but have utilized a much different training philosophy from previous seasons. In the past I have done a lot of long easy training and short fast work which has given me decent speed on a short distance but not enough base strenght to maintain this speed.

However, what I have been doing thus far this year is using a mix of longer intervals with half iron race pace work thrown in and shorter Olympic distance intervals. This longer work is building aerobic strenght, while incorporating the half iron race pace intervals is teaching my body to create power while fatigued. For example my Saturday bike ride this week was 3 hours Z2 with 2 by 30 min Z3 intervals at 1 and 2 hour marks and my run Sunday was 1:40 with 5km at the end at half iron run pace. Furthermore, it is allowing me to gain the physical and mental strenght to close out the ends of my races. This is an area I have struggled in the past. For example at the Sudbury Rocks Half Marathon last May I went out in 17 mid and closed in 19. Besides a lack of tactics, this also showed a lack of strenght.

As the season develops these workouts will progress into much more race specific work with the duration and intensities based on if I have either an Olympic or half iron distance race coming up.

These longer efforts are also giving me the opportunity to test out nutrition: both during workouts and after. In the past I have been very casual about this, eating when I am hungry, drinking water once in a while and this I feel has been one of the big factors in post workout fatigue and hunger binges. I have been trying to take in 200-300 calories per hour and 500-750ml of water on the bike. On my long runs in my Sketcher Go Run Ride/Run I have never previously taken in nutrition. Thus I have been building slowly in terms of how much I take in. I began a month ago with a 1.5 hour run drinking 300ml of liquid. Meanwhile on my 1:40 run this Sunday I took in 500ml of liquid and 1.5 gels.

I have also been making sure to take in a post workout recovery drink after every workout that is longer then 1 hour in length.

This is where my new sponsor, GU Nutrition comes into play. For somebody like me, who struggles with taking in nutrition using a proper gel, electrolyte powder and recovery drink that tastes good is key. This will encourage me to take in enough calories on the bike due to the good taste while also drinking my recovery drink. I will be posting a report on my new product when it comes in in a couple of weeks.

My New Favourite Breakfast

This is my new favourite breakfast after a hard workout. It gets me in carbs, protein, electrolytes and tastes amazing! It incorporates 2 parts, a smoothie and protein pancakes

Smoothie

- 1 tablespoon flax seed powder (can use any ground seed)

- 1 cup of milk/almond milk

- 3/4 cup fruit

- you can also add in yogourt or peanut butter but I do not stock these items as I tend to binge eat on them. In terms of the fruit you can adjust the amount you use depending on how thick you want it.

- blend 20s or until all ingredients and mixed in

Banana Protein Pancakes (makes 2 pancakes)

- blend:

- 2 eggs

- 3/4 of a scoop of protein powder (I prefer vanilla)

- 1/2 banana

- once this is all blender put half in a medium to large frying pan for 2 minutes per side ensuring the frying pan is hot enough. If it is not cooked enough once this is done give the pancake 30s more on each side.

- then simply remove the pancake and serve with your favourite topping. I either eat them plain or with a natural, pure fruit jam.

protein pancake

*cook 2 minutes per side (just like regular pancakes)

*only put the batter on when pan is hot enough for water to dance across it)

Barefoot Science Footbed Review

For those of you that do not know from mid july until the end up September I battled strong heel pain that would run up the arch. During this period I tried everything that I could to treat/cure this. Some of the things I tried included, icing, physiotherapy, chiropractor, acupuncture and strengthening as outlined in “Dealing with Arch/Heel Pain From an Athletes Perspective”.

From mid-september to the end of October I continued treatment seeing a chiropractor twice a week and icing regularly and saw improvements but they were gradual and I still had foot pain while running 20 minutes on October 21st. It was at this point that my coach suggested that I try the Barefoot Science Foot Strengthening System

First I will describe the system and then I will give an outline with how it worked for me. I used the 3/4 length active length (as shown in the images below) in my running shoes, as they have non-removable footbeds and then the full length active in my walking and biking shoes. I would recommend having 2 pairs though as it helps you adapt quicker to them.

This system includes 2 footbeds (3/4 or full length depending on if you have a removable footbed) along with 6 different arch inserts per foot. These inserts gradually increase the height and stiffness of the arch increasing strenght, adjusting posture and aiding with proprioception (these are the benefits I saw). The user manual says that about every 7-10 days you should upgrade to the next level of insert. This is incredibly simple as all you have to do is pop 1 out and place the new one in. However what I found is that unless you are no longer noticing them you should not move up to the next level or your feet will cramp up and blister may occur due to more of your arch being in contact with the shoe then normal. Furthermore if I have a hard run I will move to a lower level of insert so that the arch does not get aggravated by the increased stress on it.

I saw benefits from my barefoot science footbeds within 2 weeks of walking and doing easy runs in them I was able to run pain free and within a month I was once again able to do tempo efforts. This is a process that I believe would have taken me 2 months to achieve without the footbeds. 2 months later I am still doing all my runs in the footbeds and will continue to train in them as I find they give me a better feel of the ground. This is as they are not a rigid orthodic but rather more of a hard cushion under the arch that flexes. This allows the foot to still flex naturally while activating many underused foot muscles.

Happy 2014 to everybody and best of luck in the upcoming season.

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Inserts that go in footbeds. Level 6 is the most advanced.

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Underside of footbed without insert in it

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Underside of footbed with level 5 insert

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Top of footbed

2013-2014 Race Schedule

Really excited to move up to the half ironman distance this year.

April 13 – Yonge Street 10km

May 11 – Sudbury Rocks Half Marathon

June 8 – Tremblanc 5150

June 16 – 2013 – Barrie Half Marathon

July 7 – Challenge Saint Andrews

July 13 –  Timmins Triathlon

July 27 – Bala Falls Triathlon (after go up to welland/niagra and train the course)

August 17 – Golden Trail Festival Half Marathon Timmins (Or Saint Joseph Island Triathlon – Olympic/Sprint)

August 24 – Cornwall Triathlon (Olympic) 

September 8 – Ramsey Tour Half Marathon (run it at goal race pace)

September 21 – Niagra Half Iron

October 27 2014 – Niagra Falls Half Marathon

Dealing with Heel/Arch Pain From an Athletes Perspective

So for those of you that do not know for the last 3 months I have been dealing with heel pain that runs into the arch.

It started at the end of July right before the Multisport Canada Belwood Triathlon. However at this point it was more of a minor pain and I decided to ignore it thinking it was a simple muscle pain or strain. However this small pain got worse and worse as more speed work was added into my training. This was a huge mistake as something that could have been fixed quickly and not affected my preparation for U23 Duathlon World Championships or the Age Group Amateur World Championships ended up causing some minor disruptions and over  a month to properly recover.

So now I will discuss the treatment options that have been presented to me by a chiropractor, physiotherapist as well as through my own research. From my experience, my recommendation would be the second that you feel your heel hurting, go see a professional. However there are things that can help prevent injury of the foot as well as treat it.

PREVENTION

#1: Fill up a normal plastic 500ml water bottle and place it in your freezer. Then every day roll up and down each foot slowly concentrating on rolling back and forth gently on any trouble spots. This will help release tension on the foot as well as reducing inflammation.

#2: Get a box of marbles. Then empty these marbles on the floor and pick them up placing them back in the bucket. This will help strengthen the muscles in the arch.

#3: Balance on 1 leg then do 2 sets of 10 calf raises trying to get as tall as possible. Do these nice and slowly so as to not risk damaging any muscles.

#4: After this do some gentle stretches for the feet. One of the ones I find works really well is to stretch one foot straight out in front of your body when sitting on the floor and then put a strap over the ball of the foot. You then pull on the strap until you feel a gentle stretch in the foot. Another stretch that works is to stand on the edge of a staircase on one foot and then let your foot gently drop. This will stretch out both the foot and the calves. If your calves get too tight it will pull on the muscles in the foot which can cause pain.

TREATMENT

#1: Roll your foot out gently with the frozen water bottle. Try not to keep too much pressure on it but do each foot for 10 minutes. Do both feet at least once but try to roll the injured foot multiple times.

#2: At night wear something on the injured foot called the Strassburg Sock. This will keep your foot at tension during the night and has really helped me. The key though is to keep your foot out from under the blankets.

#3: Use a foam roller on your calves focusing on the injured one. Then follow this by stretching the calves.

#4: Complement this with treatment from a physiotherapist or chiropractor. My chiropractor used ART as well as acupuncture which I found worked really well. However as long as a professional within the local community is seen who is well respected in the running community is seen they should be able to treat it.

#5: Once your foot is feeling better begin the prevention exercises shown above beginning gently and easing into the exercises being careful to not overstretch the bottoms of your feet.

#6: Under the guidance of your coach gradually ease into running beginning on a soft grass surface in a well cushioned show such as the Sketchers Go Run Ride

I really found that the steps above have helped me handle my foot injury and if I had followed my own advice and listened to my body this injury could have been avoided.

Thank for reading

Devin Wittig

Back To The Grind

So, first thing first I GET TO TRAIN AGAIN!!! Before I get into that lets swing back to some of the major events that occurred post London.

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1) Ive decided to train under a different coach for the 2013 season. I did this for a couple of major reasons. First I needed a change of philosophy. After talking to a number of coaches his philosophy of improving my bike and swim to to equal my run, start a transition to 70.3 racing while improving biomechanics with structured strength training mirrored my personal beliefs. Second, he has proven success with multiple athletes who both had successful results this season under his guidance. Third, he believes I can succeed which transfers that belief to myself.

2) Post London I took a 2 week break from all structured training. I’ve never done this before but I truly believe it is for the best. This break is not simply to allow the mind to recharge but there is also research showing that it allows the nervous system to come back stronger. Furthermore, last season my best fitness of the year happened in April where I ran 16:05 off the bike in a simulation triathlon. This was my 2nd best run all year which I feel will be improved with a different periodization.

3) I have begun training with the Laurentian swim team which I much offer huge thanks to Phil Parker for. The combination of the dry land training and swim training should help propel my swim to the next level. Im hoping that by staying away from injury I can get to the point where I can get out of the water and be in the race.

Thanks!

Devin

Magazine article, Muskoka 5150 and a team member making Canada Summer Games (Congrats Aron!)

So since I last updated this I have done the Muskoka 5150 and firecracker 5km.

Muskoka 5150

12
Devin WITTIG Timmins, CAN
1
2:11:49.0
M-Pro
6/6
9/163
00:27:24 01:06:15 00:37:05 0:35 0:32
So all in all I was quite happy with this race. Even though my swim time did not show it I swam really well and simply swam on the wrong side of the river into a strong current. I believe that in a lake this would have been a low 24 swim at least.For the bike I went with a disc wheel (MISTAKE) a ZIPP 404 on the front and my rudy wingspan helmet. Love this helmet as it has a short enough tail that I can climb without it causing too much drag. Then on the bike although I struggled cresting the hills due to a focus on consistent output on the flats in training I was quite happy with how I handled nutrition. I took 400ml of water mixed with 1 scoop of orange EFS from first endurance at 5km, 15km, 25km, 30 and 35km. I then had a vanilla orange carbboom gel at 30km.

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These gels are available at Northern Sports in Timmins and taste/function amazingly well. They are one of the few gels which I can actually stand to take without cringing for 5 minutes afterwards.

Then onto the run I ran the best that I ever have off of the bike. I am not sure what to attribute this to but I feel that it is due to 3 factors:

  •       nutrition on the bike
  •       new sketchers racing flats
  •       superior run fitness

Either way though, 3rd fastest run, on a very difficult course and in my first olympic distance race of the year is something to be proud of. Furthermore, I also wore a sweat band for this run. I really found that this kept me cool between water stations and kept the sweat out of my eyes. For anybody with a high sweat rate I would highly recommend this.

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Sketcher Racing Flat Coming out in the Future

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Cresting a hill on the bike. Working hard…

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Cresting a hill on the run. Beginning to hurt…

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Done after a very satisfying run

So thats Muskoka 5150, now I just need to put the 3 pieces of the puzzle together.

This Monday I also ran a 5km a a course that is flattish with a few false flats and ran a pb of 16:05 so everything is going in the right direction.

I would also like to congratulate Aron Mohamaddi on making the Canada summer games team at only 16. Awesome job and I cant wait to get in some training together soon.

Also here are 2 articles that were recently published, 1 from a magazine and 1 from a paper.

http://www.sudburysportsmag.ca/2013/07/03/double-threat.html

http://www.northernlife.ca/news/sports/2013/07/02-cycling-club-sudbury.aspx