Your address will show here +12 34 56 78
Blog, Journey

With all the hype and excitement prior to this big event I made sure to arrive a few days ahead of the race to give myself enough time to prepare and join in on some of the pre-events that the race has to offer. I was in Roth as a spectator last year so I knew how crazy it will get come race day.

Training wise I had cut down a lot on volume and intensity in the last 3 weeks leading into the race. Learning from last year’s Ironman where I felt a little bit tired and not 100% fresh on race day. This year I wanted to be 100% fresh and race ready, trusting in my hard work that I have put in the months before.

The days before the race I felt very relaxed and comfortable but at the same time I was also very focused and determine. My biggest worry was the weather forecast to be honest. It was predicted to be a very hot day and I know that racing in heat can be a big limiter. But rather than worrying too much I tried to focus on the things that I can control such as my pacing strategy and the fuelling. I had put down a plan for that so I said to myself there is nothing to worry about. On my 5-hour drive to Roth the days before I was listening to some of the podcasts from Matt where he discussed how to race in the heat and how to manage the terrain. That gave me some more confidence going into the race. I was well prepared.

To make sure I didn’t fall into a lethargic state prior to race day I kept the body active by doing an open water swim to check out the swim course, rode some of challenging parts of the bike course and went on two more runs. Nothing crazy really. The body felt good and that removed the worries. I was ready for it and probably in the best fitness and readiness shape that I have ever been so far.

 

Race Morning

I arrived very early on race morning to give myself a lot of time to set everything up and spend some more time with my friends and family who joined me in the morning. Everything went smooth and by the time I finished setting up T1 I had more than 1 hour to go before my wave went off. The place around T1 was filling up quickly with spectators and I have never seen so many people lining up to watch the swim start of a race. It was brilliant and the atmosphere was electric.

The warmup area didn’t really allow to do a proper warmup, so I did a few mobility drills to loosen up my shoulder joints and some breathing exercises to calm down the nerves and get focused. In the warmup area, there were also all the pros getting ready so it gave the feeling that we are all in this together as we must go through the same.

You could tell that the tension was building up and everyone was ready to race. The place by this time was pumping. Thousands of people lined up along the canal and on the bridge and it gave me some goose pumps when I entered the water to start the swim. I have never seen such a big crowd in a race before.

The Swim

Once the gun went off for my wave I let the fast guys take off and then I settled into my own rhythm. It was a big group with a lot of guys so the first few hundred meters were a bit hectic. I didn’t let myself get distracted and just focused on my own swimming. Finding a rhythm wasn’t that easy but after a few hundred meters I got into it and started to swim smooth and very controlled. Knowing that it will be a long and hot day out there I was swimming at a comfortable place. The rest of the swim was pretty un event full. It was an almost straight-line swim with 2 turns. By the time I was making my way back to the swim start I thought that it was a slower swim than usual. On the last few hundred meters you could hear the noise of all the spectators. Every now and then I took a glimpse on the side and there were just people everywhere. It was unreal!

When I exited the water, and ran into T1 I just had a look at my watch and too my surprise it showed a time of 59 minutes. That was a 1 minute quicker than my last Ironman swim. Happy with that I flew through T1 and by the big applause of all the spectators I got onto my bike and off I went for lap one of the 2 lap bike course.

The Bike

My plan for the bike was to not go out too hard on the first 15km and stick to my power. I was surprised how quickly I got into a good rhythm so it was hard to hold back and not get too excited. I managed the first 2 inclines on the first 20km well and my legs felt good. The road to the first longer climb in Greding was mostly flat. I put my head down and settled into a strong but sustainable effort. I was passing a lot of riders on the first 50km. Prior to the race I rode the Kalvarienberg climb so I knew what to expect. On the day, it was filled with a lot of spectators who were pushing you up the hill. I sticked to my plan and didn’t go overboard on this one. Controlled and strong, lower cadence, higher power, getting out of the saddle and pushing over the top of the hill. Easy stuff I thought, it felt good and the climb didn’t do much damage. From there onwards the ride continued to be smooth. I managed the technical downhill sections not too bad this time. Listening a couple of times to Matt’s and Paul’s talk about managing terrain helped 😉 Riding downhill is still a weakness where I lose time, so more practice needed. The road conditions were perfect and there were not too many riders on the road, so I kept some good momentum on the downhill parts.

One of the highlights was definitely Solar Hill. When I took the last turn before the climb I couldn’t believe what I saw (or didn’t see haha). There were just spectators everywhere. Thousands of them and it was almost impossible to see the road as it was just packed with people. I had no one in front of me riding when I started my Solar Hill climb and the crowd just went ballistic. I had a big smile on my face as I was climbing up the hill. Amongst the big crowd I spotted my family and friends which was awesome. I could tell they had as much fun as I did. I soaked up the energy I got from the crowd and it felt great. The last 20km of the first lap went by way too quick and I couldn’t believe that I was already on my second lap. This was too easy, right?

After the first lap, I did a quick check how I was progressing. My average power was spot on where expected it to be and I was also happy with my average speed knowing that I haven’t overcooked the first lap and still have plenty of energy left for lap two. I continued my second lap and pretty much executed it the same way as the first one. After the race, I checked my data and my second lap was only 20 seconds slower than the first one. I thought that was pretty good.

The first time I noticed a little bit of fatigue in my legs was on the last 10km into T2. It was expected but looking back I think I paced the ride well. Here are some data stats from my ride

Avg.Power: 182 Watts (FTP: ~250 Watts)
IF: 0.728
TSS: 267
Avg. Pace: 35.2km/h
Avg.HR: 145 bpm

Nutrition wise I stuck to my plan. I just drank a little bit more water than usual but calorie wise I stuck to the plan. There were no signs of any gastro issues and my energy level was normal. One change I made from my last Ironman was to use more fluid nutrition rather than solid food. I had 1 Clif Bar and the rest was liquid calories and 2 gels using my trusted source of fuelling from Hammer Nutrition. Added to that I had my electrolytes and plenty of water (Maybe a bit too much water, as I had a to take a toilette stop before I started the run to release some of the pressure that was building up at the end of the ride)

The Run

Before the race I put big hopes into my run performance as I have developed some good resilience and run fitness in the last couple of months. Looking back at my first Ironman experience last year, I experienced firsthand what it’s like to run a marathon in an Ironman. So, I was prepared to suffer and struggle but trusted in all the work that I have done.

It took me 2-3 km until I found a good rhythm. First, I experienced some pain in my left food sole which just dissolved and never returned during the race. I took on some nutrition at the start of the run and my plan was to stick with Gel + Water as long as possible. The first 10km went by pretty quickly and I felt really good holding my target race pace of 4:45min/km. I was confident to maintain that pace as the heat was not as bad as initially thought.

The new run course in Roth has its new challenges. In the 2 lap course there are longer inclines that are quite challenging. Once I passed km 15 I started to notice a level of fatigue and heaviness in my legs building up. At this stage I wasn’t overly worried and kept pushing. As the run went on it was harder and harder to maintain a good rhythm and pace. The up and downhill running made it difficult to maintain a good pace and I started to struggle. My pace dropped to about 5:00-5:10 min/km and it was a battle to hold it. After the first two laps (km22) my energy levels dropped again and I knew that very soon I need to get more sugar into my body to stay alert and focused. The temperature started to raise as well and at the km 25 mark the pain was real and the mental game was full on. The great support and the massive crowds on the run course helped me a lot to get through this part of the race. Knowing I still had to run out to Büchenbach on the last lap was hard to swallow (that is a long incline), especially as you run past the finish a couple of times during the race. I had to put my act together at this point. I took walk breaks at every aid station to take in nutrition. Coke and water on the last 1hr of the run. I cooled down the body as much as possible to avoid overheating. The legs were in limbo state and very stiff and heavy. Turning the legs over became a real struggle but I said to myself, it’s only 1 hr to go. Other runners on the course, the atmosphere and the thought of the pre-race food and massage lifted my spirit. I pushed through the pain and fatigue and was even able to pick up the pace again on the last few km.

The last 2km to the finish line were awesome. You run through the city centre where thousands of people are celebrating and cheering you on. It was such a good moment in my triathlon career. I really enjoyed that part the most, knowing I am so close to home and delivered a good race. I was just happy and satisfied. On the last few hundred meters I saw my parents and friends, I hugged them and everyone was just happy and proud as well. Passing the finish line in Roth was a moment in my life I will always remember. Crossing the finish line in the biggest and most spectacular triathlon in the world, was a good reminder why I love this sport so much.

 

Some after thoughts

At the end of the day everyone participating in such a race has their own reasons. I think you need to have a strong “WHY” to be successful in this sport in your own terms. I realised that when I watched the last finisher crossing the line and the emotions, celebrations and feelings that go along with that. It’s not about winning or setting PBs that make you a great athlete, it’s about what you create for yourself and other people around you. I was inspired by people who didn’t race to win, I was inspired by the impact they can have on other people. We are very privileged to be able to do this sport and I think to give back some of that inspiration and positivity to other people is very important. At least for me and I hope that my journey in this sport can inspire and influence as many people as possible so that they can find their own path to live a more passionate, fulfilling and happy life!

For now, I am going to enjoy 2 easy weeks of no structured training before I get all my energy focused again for the last built for Ironman Italy End of September.

Race Splits

Swim: 00:59:17
T1: 00:02:29
Bike: 05:03:59
T2: 00:03:12
Run: 03:27:41

Overal: 09:36:36

Overal Rank: 147 of 3456
Division Rank: 34 of 437
3rd Best Austrian of 98

0

Breakfast, Nutrition

This scrambled tofu reminds me of the classic scrambled eggs, it’s rich in aromas and herbs and a perfect breakfast or “hangover snack” 😉 I am usually not a big fan of tofu and don’t use it much but I have come along a really good local organic fermented soy product which tastes excellent in this combination. 

The recipe idea comes from one of my favourite cook books – The plantpower way. I like the simplicty of it and at the same time the richness in taste and flavour. 

Preparation:

  1. Prepare the secret tomato sauce. Heat the cherry tomatoes in a hot pan for a few minutes and then throw all the incredients into a high speed blender and blend for 1 minute on high

  2. Heat garlic with olive oil in a hot pan just until garlic starts to turn brown. Use your hands to put in small pieces of the tofu

  3. Stir it well and let it cook for 1-2 minutes

  4. Add secret tomato sauce, basil and tamarin sauce and let it cook for anotgher 3 minutes.

  5. Add nutrional yeast and water and let it cook for another minute

  6. At the end sprinkle some cherry tomatoes and basil on top

 

 

0

Nutrition, Smoothies

Smoothies are apparently very trendy these days and everyone talks about it. I have to admit, I bought into it for a good reason- the nutrional and health benefits they deliver if you follow some basic guidelines that I want to share with you.

Hardly a day goes by where I don’t have a smoothie. If I am in the middle of a hard training block, I even have one before and after training as a pre and post workout snack. For me a smoothie is a complete meal but there are a few things to consider before you start throwing random things in your blender.

As a general rule I don’t think there is a golden recipe for the “perfect smoothie”, I think it always depends on what you want to achieve and when you consume your drink. Say someone who is interested in losing weight might need other ingredients as someone who trains and burns a lot of calories.

Let me share some of my  basic guidelines that you can follow to get started.

The right equipment

997c7f92-ddaa-4876-b1e2-43e069e8e7ab.jpg.w480Ok one thing upfront. If you want to get serious with making smoothies, you have to invest in a good blender and hands down, they are usually quite expensive. But if you are like me who use the blender every day, it is definitely worth the investment.

I personally can recommend two blenders that I have used over the last 2 years. The Vitamix 5200 Standard and the Froothie Optimum 9400. They are top notch quality and come with a great warranty and support. The Vitamix is the top end one but slightly more expensive than the Optimum. There are different models but I would rather stick with the standard model.
The price usually ranges between €400 – €600.

 

The ingredients: Follow a layer principal

I have a rule of thumb when it comes to what I throw into my smoothie. I follow a layer principal. The base layer is the core of each smoothie and should always consist of leafy green vegetables and wild herbs. I put them in first and then top them up with a little bit of filtered water and fresh squeezed lemon juice.

My greens usually vary, depending on what’s available and in season at the moment. I always prefer to use local produce or greens and herbs that we grow in the garden.

Here are my personal favourite choices:

  • Green cabbage (Grühnkohl)
  • Spinach
  • Silverbeet (Mangold)
  • Beetroot leaves (Rote Beete Blätter)
  • Wild herbs such as: Mint (Minze), ground elder (Girsch), dandeloin (Löwenzahn),
    checkweed (Vogelmire), lady’s mantles (Frauenmantel), cress (Kresse), berry leaves (Beerenblätter), stinging nettle ( Brennessel)

IMG_7955

 

Optionally I sometimes add some more vegetables to it such as

  • Beetroot
  • Avocado
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Ginger

Note: If you like your smoothie to be creamier opt for the avocado. A small or half an avocado will do it.

The Middle Layer

That where your fruits go. The amount of fruits I put into my smoothie varies. A general rule of thumb is to use 1-2 pieces. In the morning I prefer only a little amount of fruits or no fruits at all (1 piece) and use more vegetables instead. If I have a smoothie after my training, I add more fruits (2-3 pieces) to help refilling my depleted glycogen stores.

Here is a list of my favourite fruits

  • Berries (my #1 choice)
  • Apple
  • Lemon (squeeze in half a lemon on top of your greens)
  • Dates
  • Cherries or Cherry concentrate (a perfect choice after a hard workout)

IMG_7957

The Top Layer

This is where I add all my healthy fats and proteins, using mainly nuts and seeds. Here is a list of my favourite choices

  • Buckwheat groats
  • Flax seeds (the king for Omega 3)
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds (great protein source)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cacao nibs
  • Plant based protein powder

IMG_7953

Recommendation: Make sure you soak and sprout your nuts and seeds. This makes a huge difference in terms of digestion and nutritional value. For the protein powder I can recommend to use a high quality plant based product. I personally use SUN WARRIOR, which is made of sprouted and fermented brown rice.

Last but not least you need to add water. I always try to stick with clear water, preferable filtered water. This is important! If possible try to get high quality filtered water.

Sometimes I add some almond milk to it as well but this is not really necessary. If you want to, try to make your own almond milk. Here is the recipe that I posted previously.

Things to avoid

I always try to stick with “natural” whole food ingredients and avoid the following things.

  • Any dairy products (milk, yoghurt, etc.)
  • Fruit juices
  • Refined sugars or other artificial sweeteners (this includes agave and stevia)
  • Vegan milks packed with artificial ingredients (unless I make my own)

Conclusion

I would recommend anyone who starts out with making smoothies to don’t over complicate things. Don’t worry too much about superfoods or any other fancy incredients. Your main incredients should always be LEAFY GREENS, HERBS, a FRUIT and WATER. Greens trump over Fruits! Nuts, seeds and protein powder are a nice addition but not necessary to get started. It also doesn’t matter too much if you don’t have certain incredients at home. Just stick to what you have available. Also make sure to use products that are in season. Rather than buying spinach from overseas use something that’s locally available. Your incredients might vary depending on the season and what’s currently available.

Also I want to point out that a smoothie is an additional meal. It can replace your breakfast e.g. but don’t make the mistake to just drink smoothies and forget to eat “real solid meals”. Also take your time when you drink your smoothie. Rather than drinking it down in one go, chew it first in your mouth. Remember, digestion starts in the mouth. When consuming a smoothie, swish it around your mouth and get your digestive juices flowing.

When it comes to training, a smoothie is a great pre and post workout snack as it’s easy on your digestion and provides you instantly with energy. After the training it’s important to refill your glycogen stores and fight of the free radicals in your body. That’s when you want something that is easy to digest and limits the stress on your body. 

Go out and experience, don’t limit yourself and have some fun. Take your time and don’t give up to quickly. At the beginning it might take some time for your taste buds to adjust. This will easy up and after a while you will become accustom and start graving it! I wasn’t a big fan at the start, as I couldn’t stand the bitter taste but I got used to it pretty quickly. Now I can’t go without it. 

0

Blog, Training

In the first part of this serie I talked about the concept behind Foundation Training and why it’s useful in particular for triathletes. If you haven’t read the article please go ahead and check it out first before you continue reading – Founadtion Training for triathletes – Part 1

In this part I would like to talk about how I personally use Foundation Training in my daily routine. I am a big fan of daily routines and the Foundation Training excercises are great as a morning kick start routine. I keep the excercises short, as I don’t want them to consume too much of my time in the morning. 

The reason why I’d like to do these excercises in the morning after I wake up is to loosen up those muscles in my lower back. It’s also a breathing excercise at the same time, so I can combine some muscle strengthing and activation with some deep breathing. 

It’s important before you begin doing the excercises to properly study and learn them. They are not difficult but it needs a bit of training first to make sure you do them correctly. The right posture is very important to get the most out of the excerise. 

I have purchased the Foundation Training Videos from their website. You can download them for $59 from hereThey teach you every single excercise in a very simple and easy to understand way. If you don’t want to purchase the videos I recommend to check out some youtube videos or visit the website www.vancesimpson.com where you’ll find good introduction materials.

My morning routine

To keep things simple, I basically run the following 6 sequences in the morning. Each sequence takes about 1-2 minutes. I stay in each position for 3 slow deep breaths. 

After I finished the sequences I usually engage in some more deep breathing excercises and some medidation. I find these excercises to be really helpful in strenghtening my back, in particular the lumbar area. I noticed some improvements already after doing the excercises for a few weeks.

Does it translate to better performance in triathlon? Well I can’t answer this question yet but as I get stronger in my back it has definitelly helped in my cycling where I sometimes experienced some lower back tightness on those longer rides. I feel my overall posture has improved as well. 

As I will continue with Foundation Training I will keep you updated how it goes and provide some more insights in my next post of this serie. 

If you have already used Foundation Training and have some personal impressions, please feel free to share them with me, as I am curious how other people go with this training. 

0

Blog, Training

In this 3 part series I want to talk a little bit about my experience with Foundation Training and how I use it to help me with injury prevention and to increase performance. I just came across the foundation training method while listening to one of Ben Greenfield’s podcasts where he was talking about it and how it can help athletes and everyday people.

Get more grounded and become a more resilient and injury free athlete
Foundation-Training-Athletes-199x300

The main idea behind Foundation Training is to live pain free, restore movement patterns and improve performance if you are an athlete. It’s a safe and effective excercise program to help you change the movement patterns that are hurting you. The excericses are simple and desigend in a way to naturally heal back pain. You do not need any special equipment and it can be easily added to your daily life. What I instantly liked about the concept was that it’s easy and short in duration and can be added to your existing training program. It only takes a few minutes of your time every day, either in the morning, during your work break or before you go out to do your training. I find it as a good addition to Yoga as well. Foundation Training is all about your core, basically anything that connects to your pevlis, including your hamstrings, glutes and adductor muscles. It teaches all those muscles to work together through specific full body movements and breathing patterns. In times like these where a lot of people suffer from back pain issues and sitting all day infront of a desk, this training addresses all these issues and helps you banish back pain and to restore nerve and lower back function to be able to live pain free. It basically trains your shoulders, back, butt and legs – the large posterior chain muscle groups. The creator of this training, Dr. Eric Goodman, explains on his website that the Foundation Training is:

“(an) innovative movement improvement program designed specifically to help you roll back the damage done and, more importantly, to help you become that pain-free and more powerful person we all aspire to be.”

 

A quick briefing on Foundation Training

For a further good introduction to Foundation Training, check out the video below with Dr. Eric Goodman

What’s in for you as a triathlete

We all know that “core” work is important and should be incorporated into your strength training routine. Very often when we think of “the core” we just think about the abs. Yes they are part of it but they are just one of many muscle groups that define the core. For endurance athletes a strong core contributes to better athletic performance and strengthing the muscles that surround the spine needs special attention. The Foundation Training does help here with activating and strengthening of the primary muscle groups that are important for triathletes. In the next part I will share some of the excercise routines that I use before training and in the morning. If you want to learn more in the meantime about Foundation Training, here are some good links for some follow up reading and watching.

 

https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/07/what-is-foundation-training/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZcZenvWBlg&feature=youtu.be

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2014/01/03/updated-foundation-training.aspx

https://www.amazon.de/True-Form-Foundation-Training-Sustained/dp/0062315315/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1470741250&sr=8-1&keywords=foundation+training

0

Nutrition

This home made bread is made without yeast, backing powder and wheat flour. I use soaked or sprouted incredients to increase the nutrional value and to make it easier for digestion.

Preparation:

  1. Mix all the nuts and seeds in the blender
  2. Add all the incredients to a big bowl and mix it with your wet hands until it becomes a solid dough
  3. Use a rectangular form where you can put in the dough
  4. Let it rest in the form for about 2-3 hours
  5. Bake the dough on 190 degrees celcius for about 30 minutes
  6. Remove the bread from the form and bake it for another 30 minutes
  7. Let the bread cool down afterwards
0

Nutrition, Post Workout

Train hard, recover smart! This little post workout snack hits the nail on the head. Packed with a lot of antioxidants to support with cell regeneration after a hard training day. Recommendation: To add extra nutritional value and better digestion, use sprouted ingredients for your seeds and make sure your nuts and dates are soaked. Preparation:

  1. Mix the nuts and seeds in a blender (except the buckwheat)
  2. Add the dates and mix again
  3. Throw all the mixed incredients into a bowl and add the other incredients (use your hands to mix in the blueberries and buckwheat)
  4. Use a spoonful of the mixture to form the balls (you should get about 12 balls out of it)
  5. Store in the fridge for a few days. If you want you can also freeze them for later consumption

I was inspired by the book “The Thrive diet” from Brendan Brazier for this recipe.

0

PREVIOUS POSTSPage 1 of 5NO NEW POSTS
TRI Holistic Free Newsletter
Sign up now to get the latest news delivered to you
We respect your privacy.