Stunning Swimming Sculpture is Carved From a Single Piece of Wood

t may be hard to believe, but this stunning sculpture was carved from a single piece of wood. Artist Stefanie Rocknak, who you may remember as the creator of that ghostly Edgar Allan Poe sculpture, is behind this fascinating figurative work. Slightly larger than life-size, the sculpture, called The Swimmer, was part of a three piece commission under the project The Triathlete. The other two pieces are called The Biker and The Runner. Each of them show a sense of movement. As Rocknak tells us, “These days, I am not very interested in sculpted figures, or real people, that ‘strike a pose.’ I am much more intrigued by folks who are on their way to or from somewhere. They seem more genuine to me.”

Love how Rocknak captures the moment in time when a swimmer comes up for a breath. Notice the incredible details like the splashes of water and the lines on the hand.

From Stefanie Rocknak’s website

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THE COOPER TEST, AN ENDURANCE TEST OF 12 MINUTES OF RUNNING.

The Cooper test is a test of physical fitness that was designed by Kenneth H. Cooper in 1968 for use by the US military. Its execution is very simple. You have to run (or walk) for 12 minutes, attempting to cover the largest possible distance. Before trying this, it would be a good idea for you to consult a doctor, since it is an exhausting test when executed correctly. Also, remember to do a decent warm-up. For the optimal calculation you will want to do the test on a 400-meter running track (0.25 miles). Record holder is Kenenisa Bekele, who ran a distance of 3 miles (4750 meters) in 12 minutes.

MAXIMAL OXYGEN CONSUMPTION VO2MAX
We use the term VO2Max to refer to the maximal amount of oxygen that the body can consume during strenuous exercise, which determines the highest boundary at which an endurance exercise can be performed. Essentially, the Maximal Oxygen Consumption refers to the maximal cardiorespiratory function and it can largely predict the maximal aerobic capacity and endurance. For a precise calculation of the VO2Max, you should go to an exercise physiology lab. However, there is also an amateur technique to calculate it based on your Cooper test results:
(The distance you ran in meters – 504.9) / 44.73
For example, at this test I ran 3200 meters.
3200 – 504.9 = 2695.1
2695.1 / 44.73 = 60.25 mls/kg/min
No matter how much of an amateur technique this is, I would like to point out that for the last 5-6 years I have been going to an exercise physiology lab twice a year to calculate my VO2Max and it always ranges between 57-61 mls/kg/min, depending on the training period.

Cooper test results evaluation

Age group Sex Very good Good Average Bad Very bad
13-14 year Male >2700 m 2400 – 2700 m 2200 – 2400 m 2100 – 2200 m <2100 m
Female >2000 m 1900 – 2000 m 1600 – 1900 m 1500 – 1600 m <1500 m
15-16 year Male >2800 m 2500 – 2800 m 2300 – 2500 m 2200 – 2300 m <2200 m
Female >2100 m 2000 – 2100 m 1700 – 2000 m 1600 – 1700 m <1600 m
17-20 year Male >3000 m 2700 – 3000 m 2500 – 2700 m 2300 – 2500 m <2300 m
Female >2300 m 2100 – 2300 m 1800 – 2100 m 1700 – 1800 m <1700 m
20-29 year Male >2800 m 2400 – 2800 m 2200 – 2400 m 1600 – 2200 m <1600 m
Female >2700 m 2200 – 2700 m 1800 – 2200 m 1500 – 1800 m <1500 m
30-39 year Male >2700 m 2300 – 2700 m 1900 – 2300 m 1500 – 1900 m <1500 m
Female >2500 m 2000 – 2500 m 1700 – 2000 m 1400 – 1700 m <1400 m
40-49 year Male >2500 m 2100 – 2500 m 1700 – 2100 m 1400 – 1700 m <1400 m
Female >2300 m 1900 – 2300 m 1500 – 1900 m 1200 – 1500 m <1200 m
>50 year Male >2400 m 2000 – 2400 m 1600 – 2000 m 1300 – 1600 m <1300 m
Female >2200 m 1700 – 2200 m 1400 – 1700 m 1100 – 1400 m <1100 m

For experienced athletes

Sex Very good Good Average Bad Very bad
Male >3700 m 3400 – 3700 m 3100 – 3400 m 2800 – 3100 m <2800 m
Female >3000 m 2700 – 3000 m 2400 – 2700 m 2100 – 2400 m <2100  m

This article is a chapter of the book I have written: Triathlon: Loving it is easy.

Nutrition During Endurance Competition

Glycogen is the form in which carbohydrates are stored in our bodies and can be found in the liver and muscles.

Since the muscles have a greater overall surface area than the liver, a larger amount of glycogen (referred to as muscle cell glycogen) is stored there. Specifically, adults have about 2.6-3.5 ounces (75-100 grams) of carbohydrates stored in their liver glycogen and 10.6-14 ounces (300-400 grams) in their muscle cell glycogen. One of the processes taking place in the body of an athlete during an endurance race is that the stored amount of muscle cell glycogen can become twice as high as that of people who do not do sports.

In competitions that last over an hour, such as a marathon or triathlon, the glycogen reserve becomes exhausted, making nutrition during the competition an important factor. The stored glycogen (polysaccharides) is constantly broken down and converted into glucose (monosaccharides), which enters the bloodstream to produce energy.

For endurance competitions, the preservation of glucose levels in the blood is of the utmost importance. It is worth mentioning that the brain exclusively uses glucose as fuel, whereas the rest of the body can also count on fatty ac-ids and even proteins. Any kind of disturbance of these levels in the blood results in a decrease in brain function, with symptoms such as dizziness, moving difficulties, reeling, concentration problems, and even collapsing.

Remember the shocking finish of the supreme Swiss ATHLETE (the use of capital letters is for emphasis) Gabrielle Andersen in the marathon for women at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, which is a characteristic example of hypoglycemia.

I will not go further into the field of biology and the processes that take place in the human body during workouts.

However, there are a couple of basic things that every endurance athlete should know and put into practice, in order to avoid hypoglycemia and, by extension, speed reduction or failure to finish an event.

1. Apart from the glucose that originates from the muscle cell glycogen and liver glycogen, isotonic drinks should be another important source of energy during endurance competitions of over one hour. These drinks contain not only carbohydrates in a fluid form, but also electrolytes, which the body loses upon sweating and which therefore have to be replenished. The ideal amount of carbohydrates in these drinks is 6-8%. Less than that is insufficient, while in a higher concentration they are absorbed more slowly, which can lead to stomach trouble. By means of training and participating in competitions of little importance, each athlete should experiment with these drinks and find the one that makes him tick. In my case, for example, during triathlons and half marathons, it works to drink half a glass of isotonic drinks every 20 minutes and one glass 15-20 minutes before the beginning of the competition.

2. Moreover, as I already mentioned, during long-distance com-petitions, the human body does not only use glycogen, but also fat and proteins for the production of energy; albeit in smaller amounts, especially towards the end of the race. Our bodies prefer the energy production from carbohydrates, since it is more efficient than that from fat (which is stored in our bodies more plentifully than carbohydrates). Apart from storing more glycogen, an endurance athlete’s body should be able to mobilize and utilize fat reserves more efficiently. In order to train your body to burn fat, you should add a weekly long-duration and low-intensity run (over 1:30 h) to your training schedule. This kind of training makes the energy production process more reliant on fat than on carbohydrates.

3. Another important factor is: as a rule, endurance athletes should have determined their tactic and the speed at which they will per-form during each race, based on their training experience. They should stick to their plan, and under no circumstances should they get carried away by faster athletes or a sense of overconfidence and increase their speed. Generally, you pay a big price for that kind of cockiness during a race, since he glycogen reserve is exhausted much faster that way. It is better to finish a race according to plan; there will be many other competitions in the future where you can go faster, if you plan it.

4. Endurance athletes have to make sure that their glycogen levels are at maximum levels on the day of he race. In order to do so, they should not tap into these reserves
during the last three days before the competition by training for hours. Their nutrition should have an increased amount of carbohydrates.

This article is a chapter of the book I have written: Triathlon: Loving it is easy.

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What Parents Should Say as Their Kids Perform

By Tim Elmore

In my work at Growing Leaders, we enjoy the privilege of serving numerous NCAA and professional sports teams each year. After meeting with hundreds of coaches and athletes, I noticed an issue kept surfacing in our conversations. Both the student-athlete and the coach were trying to solve the same problem.  What was that problem?

The parents of the student-athletes.

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You may or may not believe this, but even in Division One athletics, parents stay engaged with their child’s sport, often at the same level they did through their growing up years. Moms will call coaches and advise them on how to encourage their daughter or son. Dads will call coaches and ask why their kid isn’t getting more playing time. Parents will call strength and conditioning coaches and inquire what they’re doing about their child’s torn ligament. Each of these calls is understandable. After all, no one has more at stake than the parent of a performer. They love their child, they’ve invested in their child and they want to see a “return on their investment.” Some athletes refer to their mom as their P.A. (personal assistant) or their agent. I know a mother who watches her collegiate daughter’s gymnastics practice behind the glass, all the while, calling and leaving voicemails for the coach on what should be done for her little girl. I even know sets of parents who moved into a condo across the street from their freshman athlete’s university. They didn’t want to miss a thing, and they certainly didn’t want to neglect to provide direction. I understand this. I am a father of two kids myself.

What we parents may not recognize is the pressure and angst this kind of involvement applies. May I tell you what student-athletes are telling me?

  1. I love my mom, but when she does this, I get the feeling she doesn’t trust me.
  2. My parents are great, but I feel like I have multiple coaches telling me what to do and I get stressed out over it.
  3. I’m getting blackballed by my teammates because my mother keeps texting me and my coach, to give suggestions. I wish she would chill.
  4. I feel like I’m never quite good enough; I can never fully please my parents.

Moving From Supervisor to Consultant

According to years of research on athletes, I believe parents have a more productive impact on their kids by making a change in their style. When our kids were younger, we played the role of supervisor. We were right there on top of the issues. And we should be—they were young and needed our support. As they age, parents must move to the role of consultant. We’re still involved, still supportive, but we allow our kids to grow up and self-regulate. When we fail to do this—we can actually stunt their growth. It’s a bit like teaching our kids to ride a bike. Remember this process?  First, we gave them a tricycle. The three wheels made it almost impossible for them to fall off, and they got used to peddling a vehicle. Then, they moved to a bicycle. It was bigger and had only two wheels. A little more scary. So we initiated them on that bike with training wheels. That prevented bad accidents. Eventually, however, we took the training wheels off, and our involvement became a tender balance of two ingredients: support and letting go. Did you catch that? Support and letting go.

What We Should Say When Our Kids Perform

The most liberating words parents can speak to their student-athletes are quite simple. Based on psychological research, the three healthiest statements moms and dads can make as they perform are:

Before the Competition:                                    After the competition:

  1. Have fun.                                                    1. Did you have fun?
  2. Play hard.                                                    2. I’m proud of you.
  3. I love you.                                                    3. I love you.

Six Simple Words…

For years, I wondered what the student-athlete would say about this issue. After decades of work with athletes, Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller found out. They suggest six simple words parents can express that produce the most positive results in their performing children. After interacting with students, they report:

College athletes were asked what their parents said that made them feel great, that amplified their joy during and after a ballgame. Their overwhelming response:

“I love to watch you play.”

That’s it. Those six words. How interesting. How liberating to the parent. How empowering to the student-athlete. No pressure. No correction. No judgment. (That’s the coach’s job). Just pure love of their child using their gift in competition.

When I learned this, I reflected on the years my own kids competed in sports, recitals, theatrical plays, and practices. Far too often, I wanted to play a role that added more stress to their life. Instead, I now realize—I just need to love them. And to love watching them play.

From a parent’s view—this is the best way to cultivate an emotionally healthy kid

– See more at: http://growingleaders.com/blog/what-parents-should-say-as-their-kids-perform/#sthash.R2u0etVy.dpuf

The Evolution of Swimming

By Gary Sr.

Much has changed in swimming over the past 30 years. I will summarize the most important changes in two categories; swim training and swimming technique. Both are critical to fast swimming.

Much has changed in the sport of swimming over the past 30 years. I will summarize the most important changes in two categories; swim training and swimming technique. Both are critical to fast swimming.

Swim Training:

  • Swim yardage in practice is less overall, but much more intense on the hard days, with more training closer to race pace. Swimmers train smarter, not harder.
  • Recovery days have been appreciated as being as important as the intense training days.
  • Training cycles, changing the type of training in a season, have become much more appreciated and utilized.
  • Training in all five disciplines (swimming, strength, mental, nutrition and recovery) have become essential to maximize swimming performance.
  • Much more equipment and technology are used today to train. Once a kickboard and pull buoy were the only required equipment. Today, a large mesh bag is needed to hold all of the equipment such as fins, paddles, snorkel, bands, tempo trainer, resistance bands etc.
  • More emphasis on kicking as a critical component of fast swimming, particularly the dolphin kick.

Swimming Technique:

  • Much greater awareness today of the adverse consequences of frontal drag, with more emphasis on technique that reduces drag.
  • An appreciation of the need to develop different techniques for different distances and different skill sets. One size does not fit all in swimming.
  • Clearer understanding of the two basic different freestyle strokes, hip-driven and shoulder-driven, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • More emphasis on developing sustained tighter kicking and kicking in both directions.
  • Learning to pull in freestyle with more of a straight path backward and a high elbow rather than the big S-shaped pull with a deeper drop.
  • Using the body rotation more in freestyle and backstroke to increase power and distance per stroke

We will never have all of the answers in swimming, but we seem to get a better understanding each year of the complex movements and training required to reach one’s potential. As soon as we think we have it all figured out, though, a swimmer comes along that proves we still don’t know enough. That is what keeps this sport interesting. At The Race Club, we just keep learning.

For a better understanding of how to implement the most recent training methods and improve your technique, please come to one of our Race Club camps or visit us privately. We are here to get you faster.

Protein Bars On-the-Go

On-the-Go Protein Bars

2c Almonds
1/4c Ground Flax Seed
1/2c Dried Fruit (Rasins and or Prunes are good)
1/2c Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1/2c Natural Peanut Butter
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
1/2c Melted Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
1 TB Maple Syrup or Honey
2-3 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Optional:
Coco Powder
Melted Chocolate

Place almonds, flax, fruit, coconut, peanut butter and salt in a food processor. Blend until it is a coarse- however chunky you would like it. Melt coconut oil on the stove, then stir sweetener and vanilla in. Pour into the nut mix and stir well. (Add coco powder if you like, about a 1/3c.) Press into an 8×8 pan and refrigerate for ~1 hour. (Spread melted chocolate on top if you want and refrigerate until hardened.)

After they are hardened cut them into squares and wrap individually with plastic wrap. Freeze or refrigerate.

Use Your Heart Rate To Measure Overtraining

Even though I prefer not to train and coach by heart rate, I have found that using these numbers can be a great tool when it comes to assessing recovery and how the body is adapting to training. Specifically, runners can measure their resting heart rate over time to assess their gains in fitness during long bouts of training without tune-up races and also to track when they might be overtraining or not properly recovered from their last hard workout.

This neat little trick doesn’t even require the use of a heart rate monitor. All you need is to be able to take your pulse and record the numbers. Over the following pages I’ll explain why this strategy works and show you how to identify one of the major signs of overtraining in just one minute a day.

Using Morning Heart Rate To Measure Fitness & Fatigue
Measuring your morning heart rate is pretty simple. All you need is a digital watch, a small notebook and a pen on your nightstand. As soon as you wake up in the morning, find your pulse on your neck, just under your chin, or on your wrist. Using the watch, count the number of times your heart beats for 20 seconds. Multiply this number by three and you have your resting heart rate (RHR) in beats per minute (bpm). Record this number in your notebook next to the day’s date. Now make sure to repeat this process every morning.

With each passing day, you’re creating an accurate record of your morning heart rate that you can reference after challenging workouts to ensure that you’re recovered. You can also look at this data when you think you might be facing a case of overtraining. Before trying to glean any insight from these numbers, however, be sure to record at least three weeks of data.

How to use this data:
Keep an eye on your resting morning heart rate in the two or three days after a hard workout. If it’s significantly elevated from its normal average (7 or more beats per minute), that’s a sign that you’re not fully recovered from the workout. Remember, there is going to be some variability in your daily heart rate regardless of your recovery level, do don’t be concerned if you’re 3 to 4 bpm over your normal average on a given day. In my experience, it takes a reading that’s 7 bpm higher than normal to signify excessive training fatigue.

You can also use this data to identify long-term trends. If you notice your heart rate steadily increasing over a two- or three-week period, it’s quite possible you’re overtraining or not scheduling enough recovery time between workouts. In this circumstance, consider taking a down week and monitor how your body and heart rate respond to the extra recovery.

On the opposite spectrum, if you see your heart rate is slowly declining, it’s usually a good indication that you’re getting fitter! If you haven’t raced in a while, this can be a great boost to your motivation.

While scientific research has not conclusively proven that long-term resting heart rate equates specifically to overtraining, there is data that seems to indicate there is a high probability that an increasing heart rate is associated with training fatigue. Taking a few extra recovery days after a tough workout or a light week of training never hurt anyone. You need to have the courage to rest!

Why Morning Heart Rate Data Works
From a physiological perspective, measuring heart rate data to determine fatigue works because heart rate modulation is determined by the effect of the muscular contractions and nervous signals of both branches of the autonomic nervous system on the myocardium and the sinus node.

Increased parasympathetic nervous activity slows heart rate, whereas increased sympathetic nervous activity accelerates heart rate. The autonomic nervous system also fulfils a pivotal role in stress tolerance. Consequently, negative adaptation to training stress potentially involves the autonomic nervous system, and may result in an altered heart rate.

My aversion to training strictly by heart rate is that I’ve often found the data to be unreliable. When training, you need to factor in weather, stress, stimulant intake (e.g. caffeine consumption), stress, and of course the variability of the monitor itself. However, measuring heart rate at the same time each morning avoids many of these potential pitfalls. While there is still the potential for some variability (like a bad night’s sleep or daily heart rate variation of 2-4 bpm), it is far less so compared to when used every day in training. In short, tracking morning heart rate can provide more reliable data.

Morning heart rate data, if tracked regularly, can be an easy, effective method for monitoring fatigue levels, how well you’re adapting to workouts, and can help prevent long-term overtraining. Considering it takes less than a minute to perform, there’s no excuse for not adding this simple practice to your daily routine to ensure you’re training optimally and recovering well between workouts.

From Triathlete