Sunday, December 02, 2007

What's different this season?

During that thing called off season that most people don't do enough of, I like to take time and reflect on the past season, and drum up some ideas on what I can do the next season to try to get "better". These are the things that will be different this season:

Overall Diet
Inspired by a lengthy conversation with Jeff, and an eye opening book named "The china study", I have made significant changes to my diet. First and foremost, my meat intake has decreased significantly. Where a lot of people eat meat 2-3 times a day, I have decreased my meat intake to about 2-3 times per week (if that). Secondly, I started eating a lot more fruits and vegetables. Finally, I am simply eating less. This will probably change over the course of the season once the overall volume kicks up, but looking back - I was eating a little too much last season. Having said all that, changing my diet about 3 months ago has me starting this season a full 10lbs lighter than last season - even after only doing a handful of workouts during the off season.

I still anticipate doing yoga once a week (hey, its free at my work), but in addition to that, I plan on 15-20 minutes of stretching 5 times a week. I primarily want to focus on my hips and hip flexors, and also opening up my shoulders quite a bit. Why these in particular? Your hip flexors are support muscles for lifting your leg when running. So, the stronger they become - the least likely they will fatigue (which hopefully will help me during the back half of the marathon at IMLP).

My main purpose for all this stretching is to keep it somewhat limber, since my muscles have a tendency to get tight during the course of the season. I also believe this helps in injury prevention, even if there aren't any scientific studies that support this. You can also bet that the foam roller will be in effect for the next 8 months.

Bike positioning

Even though I was fit on my bike by 3 different people last year, something never felt 100% right. Based on my slowtwitch lurkings and general curiosity, I decided to try riding steep - the way Dan Empfield says tri bikes should be ridden. This, in effect, means pushing my saddle farther forward (as my coworker called it - "The attack angle of your arse"), and maybe decreasing the amount of spacers under my stem. Well, I moved my saddle forward about 3 cm's (pretty much all the way to the stop tick on the rails) in the already flipped forward seat post position, and took out one small spacer from underneath my stem so that I only have one big one left underneath.

The results have been fantastic. Although I still think there are some tweaks to be made to the cockpit, I feel significantly more powerful on the bike - both in the high intensity efforts, and easy base building rides. I did my 20K TT last week in this new position, and I think this was part of the reason why it went so went well.

1 comment:

Wingman said...

Just came across your blog - great reason to do IMLP! I hope to tread water with you at the start as I'm also training for it.

I try my new seat angle tonight on my trainer, can't wait to leave work and see what steep feels like.