Tag: Triathlete

Electrolytes – What They Are & Why You Need Them

You know it’s important to drink lots of water before, during, and after a workout, but you might be forgetting something! During exercise, your body also loses electrolytes, and you need to replenish them for proper organ and cellular function. Common electrolytes include sodium, potassium chloride, and bicarbonate.

Sodium regulates the total amount of water in the body and the transmission of sodium into and out of individual cells also plays a role in critical body functions. Many processes in the body, especially in the brain, nervous system, and muscles, require electrical signals for communication. The movement of sodium is critical in generation of these electrical signals.

The proper level of potassium is essential for normal cell function. Among the many functions of potassium in the body are regulation of the heartbeat and the function of the muscles.

Chloride is the major anion (negatively charged ion) found in the fluid outside of cells and in the blood. Chloride also plays a role in helping the body maintain a normal balance of fluids.

The bicarbonate ion acts as a buffer to maintain the normal levels of acidity (pH) in blood and other fluids in the body. Bicarbonate levels are measured to monitor the acidity of the blood and body fluids. The acidity is affected by foods or medications that we ingest and the function of the kidneys and lungs.

It is especially important to replenish electrolytes after exercise, because many electrolytes are lost in sweat. You can replenish your electrolytes by consuming sports drinks, juice, milk, and many fruits and vegetables. Perhaps the most common and efficient way to replenish electrolytes is through sport drinks like Gatorade and PowerAde. These drinks offer a good source and adequate amounts of carbohydrates and electrolytes to replenish your body. So remember, next time you plan your workout, don’t forget to include a way to properly recover and nourish your body!

Hawaii 70.3 Triathlon – SAC Athlete Results

On Saturday, June 4th Seattle Athletic Club was represented in Kona, Hawaii at the Hawaii 70.3 triathlon. The course consisted of a 1.2 mile ocean swim, a 56 mile bike ride on the Ironman championship course with the winds and heat delivering as always, and a 13.1 mile run through the Mauna Lani golf course with a spectacular view of the ocean.

Each athlete trained and worked hard utilizing the coaches, the swim conditioning, cycle class, pilates lessons, and massage therapist at the SAC. Congrats to the following members/employees:

  • Bridget Jones – 5:05 and 5th in her division qualifying her for the Vegas World 70.3 championships.
  • Mark Webb – 4:46 for his fastest 70.3 to date and a great lead-up to Ironman CDA in just a few short weeks.
  • Tom Camp – 6:11. So much stronger with more experience going into the race this year!
  • Amanda Camp – Had an amazing performance dropping time in all three disciples from the previous year and landing herself a finish time of 6:38.
  • Kirsten Nesholm – Broke 6 hours with fantastic overall performance with a finish time of 5:50.
  • Bri Cooper – Stayed strong and positive after switching out 3 flats in the heat of Hawaii. Way to finish proudly! 6:48 (and with 42 minutes of flat tires).
  • Karissa Lackey- Had an amazingly quick swim and bike! Finishing in 6:11.

If you are interested in training with a team or individual coaching please contact Teresa Nelson for more information.

Multisport and Running Season Kicks Off!

As the weather finally (at least we think…) starts to take a turn for the better, the local multisport and running race season commences! The first weekend in May brought the first multisport race of the season for many athletes racing in the PNW, as well as half marathon and marathon mania! It was a jam packed race weekend as SAC members participated in events from Vancouver Canada all the way down to California! With plenty of races came plenty of stellar SAC member performances!

Check out the what and where your fellow SAC friends have been racing!!!

4/30: Wildlfower Long course Triathlon, CA
A tough and challenging half iron distance course (1.2mile swim/56mile bike/13.1mile) with lots of hills and trail running thrown into the mix! Not only that, but what makes this race so unique is the fact that participants have to camp pre-race because it is nestelled in the middle of now where!!! What can we say, it adds to the “charm” and comraderie of the race!

  • Mark Webb – (OA: 5:15:35; 31:40swim/2:55:36bike/1:44:42run) A super race preping for Ironman Couer D’Alene!
  • Genevieve Priebe – (OA: 7:32:38; 41:32swim/3:51:39bike/2:46:52run) Her first triathlon ever and tackled a half iron!

5/1: Mt. Rainier Duathlon, Enumclaw WA.
A short course or long course option duathlon of super challenging porportions in the name of a huge climb called Mud Mtn. Dam in which the long course participants had to tackle twice!

Short course: (1.6mile run/14.4mile bike/3.8mile run)

  • Karen Jones – (OA: 1:42:30; 13:38run/52:03bike/32:55run) Getting the first race jitters our before HONU 70.3!
  • Bri Cooper – (OA: 1:39:47; 13:16run/51:14bike/33:13run) Super effort all around!
  • Teresa Engrave – (OA: 1:50:25; 13:37run/56:16bike/36:15run) Nice and solid race!

Long course: (5.1mile run/28.8mile bike/3.8mile run)

  • Vicki Boivin – (OA: 2:34:06; 37:10run/1:29:19bike/25:32run) 2nd overall female!
  • Amanda Camp – (OA: 3:19:35; 47:36run/1:51:32bike/36:15run) Pushed it till the end!
  • Tom Camp – (OA: 3:02:41; 41:13run/1:46:13bike/32:32run) Shaved 8+min off of his time from last year!
  • Ann Sloan – (OA: 3:28:08; 53:20run/1:52:15bike/38:20run) CDA Ironman watch out!
  • Bridget Jones – (OA: 2:36:09; 37:28run/1:29:19bike/27:23run) 3rd overall female!

5/1: Vancouver Half and Full Marathon, Vancouver Canada
A beautiful and scenic half marathon through the city and Stanley Park!


  • David Landers – (1:47:32) A personal best on a “fun” training run, not bad!


  • Patricia Nakamura – (4:05:06) A super effort gearing up for Ironman Canada later this summer.

5/1: Eugene Half Marathon, Eugene OR:
A fast and fun course!

  • Elizabeth Martin – (1:39:42) A fantastic result and a personal best!

5/1: Tacoma City Half Marathon:
A scenic city run with great support and cheer!

  • Chuck Cathey – (1:41:54) A stellar run that landed him 3rd in his division!

If you see any of these athletes roaming around the club feel free to give them a big high-five for their awesome efforts!

If you are interested in learning more about what the SAC has to offer in both multisport racing and running, please contact: Running Coach Bridget Jones-Cressmen

Stretching with the TRX

There are multiple benefits to stretching while using the TRX. You will be able to move through greater range of motion which will deepen the stretch, making it more beneficial. You will also be able to use your own body weight to “lean” into the stretch. This is a great cool down for the end of your workout since you will have to use the muscles that were just worked to assist with the stretching.

Lat Stretch
Facing the TRX anchor point, with your arms straight, reach your hips back keeping the spine straight. Relax and head and neck, allowing the head to drop between the shoulders. Keep your weight in your heels and take a few deep breaths. You will feel this all down the back and underneath the armpits.

Chest Stretch
Turning away from the TRX anchor point, keeping the arms at shoulder height and the palms facing out, walk forward until the stretch is felt in the upper chest muscles. Be sure to keep the upper neck muscles disengaged and the shoulders stay down. Once the stretch is felt you can take a small step backwards and lean your weight in to deepen the stretch. This allows gravity to assist.

Shoulder Stretch
From the chest stretch you can move directly into the shoulder stretch. Keeping the same angle, move the arms up so they are close to your ears. Again, keep the upper neck muscles disengaged and focus on your breathing and relaxing. You can also walk back some to let gravity help pull more.

Hip Flexor
With your arms out wide in the chest stretch, standing up straight, reach one foot far behind you (like a lunge). Ground yourself through the heel of the front foot and move your body forward. The stretch will be felt in the front of the thigh behind you. Keep the spine tall and the chest big.

Side-body/ Intercostal/ TFL/ IT Band/ Lat
Standing with the side of your body facing the anchor point, take the outside leg and place it behind you. Take your hands and put them on top of your head keeping the chest open and elbows pointing out. Maintaining this position, drop the hip out away from the anchor point. Avoid any kind of rotation and allow yourself to deepen into the stretch. This stretch will open up the muscles in between your rips, the muscles of your hip, and the IT band that runs the full length of your leg (GREAT FOR RUNNERS!)

Hamstring and Calf
Standing straight, facing the anchor point, place one foot forward with the heel down and toes up. Keeping the spine tall reach the hips back and lower down. You can also point the toe (like a ballet dancer) which will stretch more of the belly of the hamstring. If your hamstrings are fairly flexible, this stretch may not be felt as intensely as the other stretches.

Standing up straight facing the anchor point, pick up one leg and place the ankle on the thigh of the opposite leg. Keeping the spine tall, reach the hips back. The stretch will be felt through the hips of the bent leg. Avoid any kind of forward bend.

Strength Training for Endurance Athletes

Endurance training works one of two physiological energy production systems in our body; the aerobic cardio respiratory system, while resistance or strength training works our anaerobic energy system. Energy is used primarily in the muscle fibers, often referred to as the slow twitch and fast twitch fibers. The aerobic system trains our type I muscle fibers, which are more densely packed with mitochondria which utilize oxygen to make ATP. Meanwhile, the type II resistance fibers create ATP in the absence of oxygen by splitting molecules. Since many sports and other events rely more heavily on one type of fiber more than the other, athletes and the general public often train for that specificity. Most the population is composed of each fiber type by a 50:50 split, but specificity in training can shift the ratio of fibers either way slightly.

What happens when an endurance runner trains not just for their endurance abilities but also for strength simultaneously?

There have been multiple studies on this topic, with some studies suggesting that training simultaneously with both strength and endurance takes away from the optimal performance of one to improve the other, meaning you can be highly trained for endurance or just moderately trained for both strength and endurance, or vice versa. However, in opposition to many of those studies, others have tweaked the study method in finding how both can be trained for the benefit of improving upon an already trained ability. That is to say, if a runner was to train aerobically and then perform strength exercises used in running, would they improve? In the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, one of many studies was conducted on well trained endurance runners on how the addition of strength training to endurance training would affect stride ability. Groups were assigned to a periodized sport specific strength conditioning program with endurance (strength exercises changed each week), a consistent sport specific strength conditioning program with endurance (same workout), and an endurance only group. They found that the combination of periodized strength conditioning program with endurance training greatly resisted fatigue in overall strides than both the other groups. The exercises were sport specific to running, including squats, calf raises, hamstrings, and others. Many studies done on cyclists, soccer players, and rowers suggest the same findings.

There are several things to note on how this training would optimize performance. Strength was done at sub maximal weights and moderate repetitions – never to fatigue. This type of training will train the muscles for more endurance prolonged use, while enhancing strength. In the case of the runners the addition of strength increases the threshold of fatigue that the muscles endure by improving power. More muscular strength in the leg muscles contribute to greater power in each stride the runner takes. With that said, the studies in which competitors improved both modes of exercise were all trained with sport specific muscle groups. For instance a competing runner would not want to bulk their upper body like a rower might; it would only take away from their running ability. Studies among the general population show that those who want to improve health should train both modes for better overall conditioning. Strength and endurance training does not seem to negate one or the other for improving health and rehabilitation, but for those with an athletic specific goal, remaining sport specific is key.

Maximizing Your Swim Workouts – Learning the Coach’s Lingo

Understanding swim lingo can be a challenge. In some cases it’s similar to learning a new language. Instead of spending your quality workout time with your feet on the pool floor we’ve assembled a “user manual” to help guide you to more swimming and less interpreting of a written workout that may be posted.

  • S: Swim-Typically most swimmers resort to “freestyle” or “crawl” stroke during this, but swim truly means swim, just move through the water.
  • P: Pull-arms only (add a pull bouy in between your legs, paddles are used here too IF written in th workout)
  • K: Kick-legs only (with a kick board, with fins, with zoomers, without kick board, so many options)
  • OTF: Other than freestyle
  • DPS: Distance per stroke: getting as much “length” with each arm stroke
  • Drill: There are lots of drills to choose from, choose the ones that would benefit your stroke the best. Just think of the crazy movements your coach has you do all the time.
  • I.M.: Individual Medley: This consists of all four strokes in the order of fly, back, breast, and freestyle.
  • F: fly
  • B: backstroke
  • BR: breaststroke
  • FR: freestyle
  • Descend: Get faster on each one
  • Descend within the distance: Get faster within
  • Bilateral Breathing: Alternating sides that the breath is taken on. This would mean taking a breath on “odd” numbers of strokes. Three, five and seven are most common.
  • Length of a pool: Pools are typically 25 yards, 25 meters, or 50 meters (SAC is 20 yards).
  • Length: One way down, ending up on the opposite end of where you started.
  • Lap: Down and back in the pool, ending up where you started
  • How many laps for a mile: 1650 yards (66 lengths OR 33 laps in a 25 yard pool); 1500 meters (60 lengths OR 30 laps in a 25 meter pool); 1500 meters (30 lengths OR 15 laps in a 50 meter pool). Seattle Athletic Club Downtown is a 20 yard pool. One mile: 1650 yards (just shy of 82 lengths OR 41 laps).

Swim sets defined:
10X50 “on” 1:00
Defined: You start a 50 every minute and repeat 10 times. This includes your REST period.
If you swim the 50 in :45 seconds you get :15 seconds rest.
If you swim the 50 in :55 seconds you get 5 seconds rest.

10X50 with :10 seconds rest
Defined: You swim 50 yards and take :10 seconds to rest and then do it again. Repeat this 10 times.

Descending sets:
5X100 descend :10 sec rest
Defined: Get faster on “each” 100.
Ie: First 100 1:45,
Second 100: 1:40
3rd 100 1:35
4th 100 1:30
5th 100 1:25
*all with 10 second rest after each one
*This is an example of descending by 5 second per 100.
*The first on is slow and the last one is fast.

5X100 descend within the 100 with :10 sec rest
Defined: Getting faster “within” each 100. The first 25 yards is slow, the middle two get progressively faster and the last 25 is FAST. There is 10 seconds rest after each 100.

5X75 going 25 drill/50 swim with :10 sec rest
Defined: The first 25 of each 75 is a “drill” of your choice unless specified, the last 50 is regular swim. There is a :10 sec rest period after each 75.

If you have any questions on your swim workouts or need some variety in your training or even a lesson. Please contact Aquatic Director/Multisport Coach Teresa Nelson.

Overtraining: Know When to Say “When”

Most SAC members new to exercise may think that their biggest issue to becoming more fit will be getting the motivation to work out more and become more active in general; but in reality a more common problem is the exact opposite… overtraining. Overtraining is when the volume, load, or repetition causes the negative effects (chronic soreness, joint ailments, etc) of exercise to outweigh the positives. This occurs whenever quality of motion is not the priority.

For some reason most gym goers have a set weight, mileage, rep number, or time that they MUST get to achieve their fitness goals. Focusing on such things and disregarding your quality of motion will eventually catch up to you. No matter if it is weight lifting, running, or yoga, too many movements without competent form will have a negative effect on your musculoskeletal system. Executing any movement without biomechanical efficiency will cause one muscle group, or more, to do way more work that it was designed to. If your back is rounded under a barbell back squat your low back will take the brunt of the movement. If you are not landing softly when you run, the bones and muscles in the feet and ankle will pay the price. This will initially cause some soreness from the overworked muscle. Sore muscles are muscles that are dehydrated and unable to lengthen and contract in a flowing manner. Continuing to stress these sore muscles not only promotes improper mechanics but also invites injury. Whatever calorie burn or muscle pump you achieve in that particular workout will be overshadowed by the damage you do to your body.

The brutal irony is that an over trained individual is bound and determined to improve their overall health and they are in fact speeding up the aging process. One of the first images that come to mind when the word “old” is mentioned is a hunched over, stiff and shuffling figure. Unfortunately age isn’t the only contributing factor to this type of appearance. Faulty movements such as poor running and lifting mechanics can “age” the human body past its years. So all the hours spent in the gym in hopes to slow down the hands of time can actually be speeding them up.

The most disconcerting thing about overtraining is an over trained individual is hardly aware of their condition. Here are some clear cut signs that someone is over trained…

1) Chronic Soreness
This is a huge red flag that your posture and movements leave a lot to be desired. “No pain, no gain” holds absolutely no water. Soreness means you lacked the skill and strength to perform your movements competently. Soreness is expected when you switch activities, increase load, or mileage. This shouldn’t be a constant condition.

2) Decrease in Performance
Are your mile times getting slower? Is your bench press going down in weight? The point of training is to increase performance. If you are not progressing in your activity you are just abusing your body. If your performance is lacking continuing to train in the same manner will only worsen the matter.

3) Lack of Energy
Are you plodding through your runs? Do your arms feel like lead when you try and lift your weights? Do you feel wiped out after each workout? If you answered “yes” to any of the above consider yourself over trained.

So before you throw in the towel and quit the gym, take a deep breath and relax. There is hope. Avoiding overtraining is a rather straight forward process. Just follow these three simple rules to recover from and avoid overtraining.

Every mode of exercise deserves respect. There is a reason there are Yoga and Pilates instructors and weight lifting and running coaches. These professionals don’t get credentials for merely participating in their craft for “x” amount of time. They know each movement they teach inside and out. In addition they are capable of transferring that knowledge to a wide variety of clientele. If you aren’t getting the desired effect from your current activities get professional help. A trainer or instructor can make adjustments to technique and programming that can often dig you out of your current training rut.

Do not just add more weight to your squat just to lift more weight. Add weight only when the current weight you are lifting can be performed with meticulous form. Don’t just add miles to your running route. Only add mileage when you can finish your current distance with some speed and grace. Exercise isn’t about loading up the weight or running farther; it is about mastering your movements and becoming a more efficient moving human being. If the load your lifting compromises your form or if your feel like you are plodding through you current mileage STOP!!! Only advance when you have earned it with skill, poise and power.

The body needs time to recuperate. Though this amount of time will differ from athlete to athlete it is always a must. If you are feeling tired and lethargic take a day or two off. Take that time to foam roll, stretch, get some down time and relax. A fully recovered body can perform at peak levels. Coming back strong in the gym far outweighs plodding through seven days a week of mediocre workouts.

When it comes to our health, most of us would do anything to keep it. Sometimes this creates a drive to do as much as possible all the time, creating an over-trained body feeling chronic soreness, with decreased performance and energy levels. Take a step back and look at your current exercise regime, if you see any or all of these happening try getting a coached, master your form before increasing the load and make sure you give your body ample time to rest and repair itself. If you have any questions please feel free to contact any of the Seattle Athletic Club’s Fitness staff or contact the Fitness Director Jacob Galloway.

What Exactly is V02 Max?

Many of you may have heard the term “V02 max” thrown around when talking about your cardiorespiratory endurance and aerobic fitness, but I’m sure many of you are all wondering the same thing…What exactly is V02 Max and should I get mine tested?

VO2 max is the maximal oxygen uptake or the maximum volume of oxygen that can be utilized in one minute during maximal or exhaustive exercise. It is measured as milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight. VO2 max is one factor that can determine a person’s capacity to perform sustained exercise and is linked to aerobic endurance. It is generally considered the best fitness assessment tool available to accurately identify the appropriate training intensities specific to your fitness needs/goals.

Determining your V02 Max involves a graded exercise test on a treadmill. The test begins at a light intensity and gets slightly harder each minute until you reach near maximum exertion. The subject wears a mask and the volume of air expired along with the percentages of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the expired air are measured. From this, we can determine the following:
■ Peak oxygen consumption
■ Calories burned during exercise at different heart rates
■ Aerobic and Anaerobic Thresholds
■ Target intensity zones

VO2 testing is the best way to measure your cardio fitness and maximize your workout. Each person has a unique optimal training zone. Exercising at different levels of intensity will meet different fitness goals. Some intensities burn more fat, some increase endurance, and some focus on strengthening your heart. As you may know, the calories burned calculated on cardio machines are not known for their accuracy. Some machines are even known to bump up the calorie readout by almost 25%! Furthermore, machines do not always take into consideration all the factors in individual fitness levels and the specificity of the exercise, so relying on these machines to give you an accurate calorie and heart rate count can hold you back from attaining your goals if your not careful. Also, many of the charts you see on exercise equipment displays target heart rate based only on age. V02 max testing measures your precise target heart rate, then calculates your personal target intensity zones and how many calories you burn in each zone. These zones give you the precise heart rates necessary to optimize each level of exercise and maximize your results, so you workout smarter, not harder.

By knowing your V02 Max you will in turn be able to:
■ Burn more fat
■ Maximize your workouts
■ Eliminate training plateaus
■ Decrease fatigue and injury potential

Anyone who is looking to lose weight, maximize the potential towards their workouts, improve performance or most importantly, help make fitness goals attainable. Although many individuals would benefit from knowing their V02 max, it is especially valuable for those involved in sports where endurance is an important component in performance, such as:

■ Cycling
■ Rowing
■ Cross-country skiing
■ Swimming
■ Running

With spring approaching quickly and marathon/swimming/cycling season underway, now is the perfect time to maximize your potential and workout smarter, not harder!

Hans Swim Paddles for the Triathlete and Master Swimmer

Hans Paddles:
The Han’s paddles (the small black ones) are smaller and are a great place to start when first using paddles. Because the Han’s paddle does not have a wrist strap it gives you immediate feedback as to whether you are swimming efficiently. If at any time the paddle is sliding on your hand it is telling you that you are not keeping adequate water resistance on your hand and are not propelling your bodyforward.

These can be worn in three different ways but the most popular is with the boxy end at the top of your fingers and the more curved end at the bottom (as illustrated).

This position teaches the hand, wrist, and elbow order of entry and encourages the downward sweep of the hand and high-elbows positioning in order to continually reach for “new” and “more” water with each stroke.

Strokemaker Paddles:
The Strokemaker paddle (which comes in various sizes and colors) is the bigger paddle that we offer. It increases distance per stroke by preventing you from allowing an early recovery (exiting arm from water). The size allows for strengthening of your swimming-specific muscles and aids in water propulsion. It is imperative that you do not take out the wrist tube in order to ensure proper use and to make sure you finish your stroke. You can use paddles in any stroke but be aware that the larger the paddle the more stress is put on your shoulder joint.

Make sure, if you start using paddles, to start out slowly. Only use them for 200-300 yards for the first few sessions and then build upon that. If you have any shoulder pain, stop. Start with the smaller paddles (ie: the black Han’s paddle or the green Strokemaker paddle) and build up. Most recreational swimmers should not go beyond the yellow Strokemaker paddle as the red (the largest we carry) is designed for elite swimmers or those that have been swimming with paddles for some time.

Training Outdoors in Cold Weather

The time is here for the weather to change with winter rolling in, and the days getting darker faster. Exercisers can still take their workouts outdoors to beat the winter blues, and stay off the couch. Going outdoors and exercising with the proper gear allows you to get moving around, giving the body a chance to adjust to the changing season and get revved up for the day.

Go prepared

  1. Dress in layers- avoid cotton-use polypropylene & fleece
  2. If you have asthma wear a face mask or scarf
  3. Cover your head 30 to 40% of heat is lost through your head
  4. Use sunscreen to protect skin & lip balm – remember wind chill goes right through you
  5. Keep hands & feet dry, use wool to keep feet and hands warm

Getting Started
Now you are motivated and have your layers on, and skin protected; it’s time for the outdoors.

  1. Try to head into the wind – less likely to get chilled on way back from your exercise.
  2. Drinks fluids before, during, and after – you are sweating so watch out for dehydration.
  3. Use a headlamp not just for your own ability to see, but for others to see you most likely you will be in the dark.

Staying motivated during the winter can be fun, rewarding, and good for cabin fever. You have the knowledge, and fortitude to meet your goals, of staying active not sedentary. For many people winter outdoor exercise is great for solitude, and quiet time.