Focus, it’s a word that is used a lot in these times. But is it really practised? I feel focus is a basic trait that constantly needs to be worked on. There is long term focus and short term focus. I also feel focus should not be confused with goals. Focus is what is used to achieve goals. Let’s say a path you build in order to get to the destination you want.

With all the outside stimuli bombarding us daily, focus can be lost easily. Setbacks in everyday life also cause us to lose focus. Focus can take many years of constant practice. If you look at successful athletes, business people, and leaders in any field, they have one thing in common and that is long term focus.

Take some time to work on your focus, I’m sure you will be pleased with the results!

Top 10 Reasons to Try Pilates

1. Pilates is a total body workout
Unlike some forms of exercise, Pilates does not over-develop some parts of the body and neglect others. It trains the body as an integrated whole, promoting strength and balanced muscle development.

2. Pilates increases flexibility
Pilates works toward a safe increase in the length and flexibility of the muscles and full range of motion within the joints. And a body that can stretch and bend to meet the needs of everyday movements or a particular sport, is a body that is less likely to be injured.

3. Pilates develops core strength
The core muscles of the body are the deep muscles of the back, abdomen, and pelvic floor. These are the muscles we rely on to support a strong, supple back, good posture, and efficient movement patterns. When the core is strong, the frame of the body is supported, allowing the neck and shoulders to relax, and freeing the rest of the muscles and joints to do their jobs.

4. Pilates promotes flat abs
A nice side benefit of core training is the flat abs we all covet. Pilates strengthens and tones the deepest layer of abdomen muscles, which forms a natural corset around the middle.

5. Pilates is appropriate for many fitness levels and needs
Pilates training can build core strength, develop proper body alignment, and accentuate the mind/body connection in an appropriate and challenging regimen for many fitness levels: from seniors just starting to exercise, to elite athlete, to anywhere in between.

6. Pilates creates strength without bulk
Long, lean muscles are the name of the game here. Pilates builds toned muscles that work efficiently and effectively within the context of the body as a whole and the functional needs of the person.

7. Pilates improves posture
By focusing on proper body alignment supported by a strong core, Pilates trains the body to move with strength and harmony. The result? Beautiful posture.

8. Pilates increases energy
Pilates training focuses on proper breathing technique while exercising, which promotes increased circulation, stimulates the spine and muscles, and floods the body with energy.

9. Pilates creates a long, lean body shape
If you practice Pilates regularly, it will change your body. Known for creating long, strong muscles and a lean look, Pilates improves muscle tone, balances musculature, supports beautiful posture, and teaches you to move with ease and grace.

10. Pilates is fun
After a session of Pilates, you will feel relaxed, focused, and energized.

Ironman and “running”

Running in an Ironman: This is an often overlooked, but vital subject in whether or not you will have a great, good or just plain bad day. Let’s face it, the adrenaline coming off the bike coupled with the feelings/thoughts that you are going to run everybody down does a couple of things:

A) Starts you going in to the run WAY TOO FAST

B) Blows you up halfway in to the run, then you walk part or all the rest of the run.

C) Can cause gastric distress/gut shut down which also can bog your run down.

So the run should be a progress in work. Think of it as “I am executing a solid performance for the day” You will want to run hard, you can and will run hard (at the beginning) but then the spectre of Iron man comes along and starts to erode you.

So what to do you ask? First, come out of T2 at a much slower pace than what you have been training at (:30 seconds to a minute slower per K) This enables you to:

A) * Transition your hips/pelvic area to accommodate the next 40+K ‘s of running

B) * Think a bit about your mechanics coming up (upright body, quick cadence, sunscreen placement, etc.) Just don’t over think it.

C) * Tell yourself that the RACE does not start until 20k to go! That’s right. I said 20k to go. Up until this point, you have been running at slightly less than goal pace, taking in a few gels, electrolytes, water and keeping your core cool. (Ie: putting ice down the front of your shorts, and also putting ice under your cap and letting it melt as you run) Torbjorn Sindballe was a BIG athlete who would have heat issues every year in Kona. But he was so determined to race a good day that he would spend time in the lab with scientists to figure ways to keep his big motor cool. This resulted in him wearing not only special clothing, but a surgical glove on one of his hands. Then he would stuff ice in his glove at the aid stations which would keep his core cooled down.

D) Through training and mentally preparing to RACE the last part of the run, you will be ready for the pain that awaits. I’m not going to sugar coat this. It will hurt, but the reward of a strong, well executed race outweighs the temporary hurt.

So next thing to think about is there is a good chance that you may not run the pace you ran in training. The facts are in training a 2.5 hr. run does not compare to a 9 to 10 hr. day. Plain and simple. The metabolic cost’s involved and the breakdown are just not there in training as in race day. So when you look down at the Garmin and wonder why every time you up to your 10k race pace and flatline, you will know why. (see first sentence of this paragraph)

So one more time, stay in a good frame of mind, be thankful for being able to celebrate good health for the day, and say hi to all the walkers that were out attacking the hills and started way too fast as you pass them. At 20K to go, instead of unravelling, tighten up and bring home the bacon.

The Powers to be

Since the days of Greg LeMond (and before), power meters have been used to propel athletes to new heights of fitness and race records. Basically, a power meter measures the output of energy on a bike in terms of watts. By using various testing protocols, a baseline can be established and different zones are determined to prescribe training. This plays a crucial role in a multitude of events as by analysing post race/training files, a determination can be made for future positive development.

There are many different power meters on the market, and I won’t go in to all of them here. Each one has their Pros and cons and are competitively priced. You hear people talk about how buying a power meter can be pricey, however, they spend so much more money on other “bling” items for the bike (I need that new $4000.00 frame/wheels, etc.). The bottom line is that if you are strapped for training time and really want to make some advances, a power meter may be the answer.

Of course, power is not for everyone. For some people, it turns out to be a expensive cyclocomputer because they do not take the time to learn how to read files and alter training in accordance with the files. (this is where a knowledgeable Coach would come in handy). It also requires patience and a strong desire to work harder. After all, work is what this sport is all about.

So why train with power?

a) To be more efficient with your time (which we never have enough of)

b) It can (and will) change your perspective about training and racing with one of these.

c) You will be able to execute your racing at a more intelligent level.

If you are interested in training and racing with power, yet do not want to spend the money straight away, System Jake has a power tap wheel for hire. You can put this wheel on your bike and train with it. During that time, Jake will give you a small introduction to the benefits of having this form of measurement added to your program.