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Top 14 Life Lessons from My 14 Ironman Triathlon Journey – Part I

Wow, the end of 2018. As I was going through my blogs from the last 3 years, I wanted to pull out some of the most popular but as I saw my “Life Lessons” from each race and I realized I was 4 lessons behind.

So, this week, I present to you my “First Seven Life Lessons from my First Seven Ironman Triathlons.”

1.Your First Ironman will ALWAYS be your favorite– Ironman Wisconsin -2002

  1. Everything is SO NEW and so WONDERFUL heading into race day.
  2. HOLY CRAP… I am doing an Ironman! You trained for it. You swam, bike and ran your heart out for a year of training.
  3. You get the IM shirt, socks, hat, bag, etc. You get the finisher shirt, hat, socks, bag, vest, etc.
  4. The people, the volunteers, the support on the race course were SO AWESOME.
  5. Your family and friends were cheering you near and far and you cross that finish line and you hear, “Jennifer Fritzsching, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”2. Travel the World by doing an Ironman Triathlon – Ironman Brazil – 2004
  • You are doing an Ironman in a different country!
  • You still trained your heart out for another Ironman.
  • You are a bit tired heading into this one. You know what to expect.
  • Wait, you are doing an Ironman in another country. How do we ship the bikes? Luggage? You don’t speak the language. UGH!
  • You are in BRAZIL. The beautiful country. The amazing food. The ocean. The beach. You cross that finish line and you think you hear, “Jennifer Fritzsching, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”

3. Racing a flat Ironman course is as hard as racing an Ironman hilly course. – Ironman Florida – 2004

  • What were you thinking, 2nd Ironman in one year…this one is flat. You will be fine. Think again.
  • Heading out for a 5:30 training ride, pulled over at 1 hour and started crying. Called my coach, turned around and went home.
  • You drive to Florida. It’s only 12 hours. You can load up the car with all your stuff and off you go.
  • Racing a flat course is much harder than racing a hilly course. You are in your aero bars for 90% of the time and there is no “free” spin going down hills.
  • You set an Ironman PR. It still hurts. You still cross that finish line and hear, “Jennifer Fritzsching, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”

4. If you plan on doing this for a while, find a spouse, partner, boyfriend or girlfriend, who also does Ironmans and gets this crazy world.– Ironman Western Australia -2005

  • Chris and I got married in April 2005 and we delayed our Honeymoon to Australia by doing an Ironman together AND travel the country after the IM.
  • We met AMAZING people in Australia, triathletes and locals. The support for triathletes was everywhere. It seemed the town of Busselton was out cheering us on.
  • We didn’t see any deer on the side of the road instead we saw Kangaroos while we were racing.
  • We swam in the Indian Ocean. We had to be prepared for anything as far as weather in Australia. Delayed the race due to weather (lighting and thunder). Windy and cool on bike. Hot as all get out on the run.
  • You were sick as a dog heading into the race. You still cross that finish line and heard, “Jennifer RULON, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”

8 year Sabbatical from Ironman Triathlons and started lifting…continue, please…

5. Be Comfortable in your Clothing.– Ironman Florida – 2013

  • Utilize the race tents to change out of your clothes. BE COMFORTABLE! Wear a swimsuit if you want then change into a top and cycling shorts. Then change into running shorts.
  • If you are trying to qualify for Kona, don’t change. I was chafing SO BAD on my cycling shorts at FL, thank GOD; I had my running shorts in my T2 bag.
  • After an 8 year sabbatical from Ironman Triathlon training, it was good to be back. Long swims. Long bikes. Long runs. #Kona2015
  • Body doesn’t recover as well as it used to be…8 years ago.
  • You set an Ironman PR. It still hurts. You still cross that finish line and hear, “Jennifer Rulon, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.” 8 years old and 15 minutes faster!

Ironman Triathlon Strength Coach

6. Doing a marathon AFTER a 2.4-mile swim and 112 mile bike…it will hurt regardless.– Ironman Coeur d’Alene – 2014

  • Cooler racing temps coming from Texas are so much nicer. Race morning, a bit chilly.
  • Sometimes you need to tell yourself to #HTFU when you are racing. Freaked out in the swim.
  • Be mindful that the water may be cold but you will warm up quick out on the bike. Better to underdress than overdress.
  • A marathon on flats or on hills after you swam and bike will hurt regardless. It is easier to run up and down the hills. If you keep running, you PR, your Ironman Marathon time!
  • Your family and friends were cheering you near and far and you cross that finish line and you hear, “Jennifer Rulon, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”

Ironman Triathlon Training Jen Rulon

7. Write down your nutrition before the race and DO NOT CHANGE it unless absolutely necessary. – Ironman Florida – 2014

  • What were you thinking, 2nd Ironman in one year…this one is flat. You will be fine. Think again.
  • Everything was written out on paper for your food. Generation UCAN is set. Wait, let’s throw a bar in there…you get hungry sometimes.
  • DON’T FORGET TO CHARGE YOUR GARMIN! #rookiemistake
  • Swim was canceled. Riptides were terrible. Wind gust up to 30 mph’s. You ate that bar on your bike, which you NEVER TRIED during racing. You get on the run. You dry heave. You throw up that bar. You were walking, crying, and hating life. Once again, you decided to #HTFU.
  • Your family and friends were cheering you near and far and you cross that finish line and you hear, “Jennifer Rulon, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”

Next week, I will finish off the “Last Seven Life Lessons from my Last Seven Ironman Triathlons.”

Do you have any Life Lessons that you learned from your races? Please comment below!

 

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Best HIIT Workouts for Triathletes 🏋🏽‍♀️

Triathletes are lazy! What? Yes, we tend to get in the grind of long, slow distance workouts, and tend not to get into our phosphagen energy (i.e.: anaerobic) system, which is engaged when doing maximum intensity for 3-30 seconds. I was just talking with a coach at The Tribe about how triathletes tend not to go into the high intensity systems but CrossFit athletes tend not to go in the aerobic system. It is definitely a balance but what a great way system to tap into during the “Season of Improvement!”

Why should triathletes get into the phosphagen energy system if we are running in the aerobic system?  Triathletes need to get in that system occasionally. We want YOU to have a better kick at the end of your race, or surging past someone during the run at an Ironman, or applying more force to the pedals on a hill in a race.  Especially as an Ironman triathlete, we want you to tap into the phosphagen energy system.

How do we train the phosphagen energy system? By applying high intensity efforts, either during the swim, bike, and run, or in the gym. Remember, these efforts don’t have to be long because you are tapping into the oxidative system (your aerobic system), which you do on a 30 minute run or a 6 hour bike.

Rulon Rules: Best HIIT Workouts for Triathletes

1. EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute)

  • Purpose of an EMOM is interval work. No more than 12 minutes for this workout.
  • You would do a “couple” of exercises all within a minute. If you get done with your exercises in 40 seconds, you have a 20 second rest. If you get done with your exercises in 50 seconds you have 10 seconds rest. I would like to see at least a 10-20 second rest within that minute.  You push yourself within that minute, knowing that you will have a little bit of rest.
  • At Home Workout: 8 Burpees/10 Air Squats for 10:00 minutes
  • At Gym Workout: Beginner: 5 Front Squats/5 Burpees for 10:00 minutes. Advanced: 5 Power Cleans/5 Box Jumps for 10:00 minutes

2. Helen (CrossFit workout) 

  • It is FANTASTIC, and you should keep this under 12 minutes. You have cardio, bodyweight, strength, and power.
  • 3 Rounds for Time: 400 meter Run/21 KBS (Kettle Bell Swings) (24 kg for men/16 kg for women)/12 Push-Ups
  • I use this workout as a Benchmark or a “test” to see where I am throughout the year.
  • What if I can’t do pull-ups? Quite all right; do ring rows or pull-ups with a band. Remember to adjust for YOU!

3. Tabata Intervals 

  • Tabata intervals can work with swimming, cycling, running, and body weight exercises (burpees, sit-ups, air squats, push-ups, etc.)
  • 8 minutes of work: :20 seconds on/:10 seconds rest
  • The purpose of Tabata is to go max effort for 20 seconds and rest the 10. You should NOT be able to do numerous Tabata intervals in your workout. One and done.
  • Check out this article from Active.com.

4. Bodyweight Workouts

  • You can do these at home. I have gathered a variety of workouts, and put them together for triathletes.
  • 150 Sit-Ups for Time (Under 10 minutes): Every 1 minute, including the first minute, you have to do 3 Burpees
  • 5-8 Rounds for Time (RFT): 10-15 Sit-Ups/10-15 Air Squats/10-15 Burpees or Push-Ups
  • 3 RFT: 7 Burpees/ 14 Sit-Ups/28 Walking Lunges (EACH LEG)

5.  At Gym Workouts (Global Gym/Home Gym or CrossFit Gym)  

  • Some of these exercises are a little advanced BUT through proper instruction and understanding the movements, it can be done
  • 3 RFT: 400 meter Row/ 10 Push Press (85 lb men/65 lb women) (Adjust as needed)/10 Box Jumps
  • 21/15/9 (You do 21 back squats, 21 push press, then 15, 15, etc). Back Squats and Push Press (Same bar, so weight has to be what you can do for push press).
  • 8-10 Rounds for Time: 3 Power Cleans/6 Box Jumps/9 Burpees

There are so many combinations for triathletes for bodyweight workouts and gym workouts as well. I try to think about what is needed for triathletes, which would be posterior chain movements, a push and pull movement, and something that spikes their heart rate in the phosphagen energy system.

Start adding these to your workouts and you will see a HUGE difference in your training. If you are a science geek like me, check out this PDF about high intensity training for endurance athletes. Fantastic article!

Interested in more about Strength Training for the Triathlete? Check out my book,  “Rulon Rules: Strength Training & the Triathlete,” in two different outlets:

  • Click HERE. I will Sign, Seal and Deliver the book personally!
  • Click HERE for the Amazon book or ebook!

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Do You Have a Business or a Hobby?

Do You Have a Business or a Hobby?

Online business owners – and even coaches – can easily “open their doors for business” without a firm business plan in place. Some may test the waters to see if they attract any clients and some start out doing this online work as a side gig while working their full time job. So, if this is how you opened your business, do you have a business or a hobby?

A hobby traditionally is an activity that brings you pleasure that you do in your spare time. A business, on the other hand, provides a service or products to clients, has regular business hours, and strives to make a profit. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if you are working a business or a hobby:

  • Do you have firm business hours or are you working sporadic hours as your family or full time job allows?
  • Do you make the most of your business hours or work time, working as efficiently as possible, or do you get distracted with social media or other behind-the-scenes tasks?
  • Do you have a business plan, even for one year, which includes expected profits?
  • Do you make opportunities happen or do you wait for them to come to you?
  • Do you withdraw every penny from your account after clients pay or do you give yourself a pay structure and reinvest some of your profits into software, training, or other business expenses?

You should have an idea now about if your business is truly a business.

Hire a Business Coach to Guide You

Not everyone needs a business degree to start a business; sometimes a unique product idea or a strong desire to offer services is enough to get started. However, hiring a business coach is necessary to set up your company to grow and generate profits. You don’t know what you don’t know and without a business coach, you will make many trial and error mistakes, some of which could cost you substantial money. Instead of closing your eyes and hoping for the best, a business coach will create a business plan with you and will guide you through the next steps of the plan with tried and true business advice and strategies.

A good business coach also serves as your accountability partner, someone who wants to hear from you about your progress and who will call you out when you don’t do as you promised. Oftentimes knowing someone is expecting results is enough to spur people into action because they don’t want to let down the coach.

So, if you want to turn your hobby into a true business, call me to set up a discovery call. Click on the calendar below and let’s chat TODAY!

 


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Triathletes & “Season of Improvement”

Here we are in and it is the beginning of December. You may have started your off season in September. Heck, maybe you even started it two weeks ago after Ironman Arizona. Regardless, every triathlete needs to take some time away from the norm and I think as triathletes, we tend to forget about it. Back in the days, people got ready for Ironman World Championship in October and then everyone had November and December “off” and back to the norm of training in January. Now, this is not the case since we have races through December and starting back up in March. So maybe your “Season of Improvement” is during different months BUT regardless, it needs to happen! 

As we head into the normal “off season” of triathlons have you thought about what you want to do? Improvement Seasons are so crucial to improve the body and the mind. Heck, some triathletes, may need some more downtime than usual, especially if they have done two Ironman Triathlon in one season.

Today, I came up with: 

“Rulon Rules: Five Tips for Your Season of Improvement”

Tip #1: Don’t think, “Off Season.” Start thinking, “Improvement Season.”

  • Look at your triathlon season. And ask yourself these specific questions:
    • How did you do?
    • Did you improve?
    • Did you make things worse?
    • What did you do or didn’t do different?

Make a change for next year NOW and don’t wait until the 2019 season to make a change.

Tip #2: Get YO’ Ass in the Gym!

  • Triathletes tend to have a weak posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, lower back, upper back, etc.). Time to get into the gym and work on these muscles to keep the body in balance. We have strong quadriceps but work those antagonist muscles (hamstring muscles).
  • Check out my “Rulon Rules: Strength Training & the Triathlete,” in two different outlets:
    • Click HERE. I will Sign, Seal and Deliver the book personally!
    • Click HERE for the Amazon book or ebook!

Tip #3: If you want to get faster on the run, DO NOT do a marathon.

  • Let me explain:  if you are doing an Ironman and you feel the need to do a marathon, I understand as it is a mental thing. Let me save your legs, your bank account and your heart….“Running a stand alone marathon will hurt just as bad as a marathon during an Ironman.” ~Coach Jen. Check out my blog about this exact thing!
  • If you want to improve your speed for a 5k/10k and a half marathon, doing a marathon will not help either. You are NOT tapping into your “fast twitch muscle,” you are doing what you have been doing ALL SEASON long. You are working your “slow twitch muscle.”

Tip #4: Start tapping into the Phosphagen System at least once a week.

  • Huh? Start getting into that energy system that is SO uncomfortable. This is the system that goes for 30 seconds to 2:00 minutes. It HURTS. This is where you can do a variety of HIIT Workouts.
  • Favorite is EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute). You can go hard for 30 – 45 seconds and rest for 15 – 30 seconds.
  • Tapping in this system will help you get past that person in your age group (it’s only a 30 second surge) and help you pushing up that 30 second hill.
  • Stay tuned as next week, I will give you my top 5 HIIT Workouts that I love for triathletes!

Tip #5: Start surrounding yourself with people who are aligned with your goals.

  • You have choices.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Surround yourself with people who bring you UP and not bring you down.
  • Surround yourself with movers and shakers.
  • Surround yourself with triathletes, runners, cyclists and swimmers that understand your crazy ass passion. It is SO much easier!
  • Surround yourself with a TEAM that will help you during the “off season.”

I absolutely LOVE the “Season of Improvement.” You can really take a lot of your learnings from one season and turn them into a positive for the next season. So, what are you going to do for your “Improvement Season?” Share below…

 

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Mentally Preparing for the Rock n Roll Marathon/Half Marathon

It is Race Week for the San Antonio Rock-n-Roll Marathon/Half Marathon. The training is done. The mileage is put in. Now it is time to rest, do a couple of pick up runs during the week, grab the packet, don’t try anything new on race day from the expo and when that gun goes off on Sunday morning, you run 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles.

Or do you?

Have you ever been in the middle of a race or a training run and think, “What the hell am I doing? I can’t finish this? This is stupid. I am going to be the last runner.”  Yes, self-talk is a very common thing not only as an athlete but in every day and sometimes you hear the positive self- talk, other times, you hear the negative self-talk.

Alright Coach Jen, what the heck are you talking about? Let’s chat about self-talk and how you can change your ways this week heading into your race at the Rock-n-Roll Marathon or Half Marathon…

What is Self-Talk?

Do you know that inner voice that always seems to be going? It is constantly “telling” you what you should do, what you might do, and reflecting on things you have already done. It evaluates what you do while you’re doing it, providing opinions and suggesting possible ramifications and outcomes. This is one type of inner monologue which psychologists have identified, and labeled as, “self-talk.”

To get a better idea of exactly what self-talk is, psychologist Susan Krauss-Whitbourne likens self talk to the “equivalent of sports announcers commenting on a player’s successes or failures on the playing field.” Unlike athletes that never hear a television or radio sports commentator’s voice, you definitely “hear” what your self-talk is telling you.

Unfortunately, this voice you seem to have no control over can be negative sometimes.

Think about the last time you were in a race. You may have experienced self-talk telling you how slow you were or how you are not good enough to be in the race. What happened? Maybe you started walking; maybe you DNF. Your mind was telling you something and you started believing it.

Your inner dialogue can respond in two different ways.

As it turns out, you can respond with negative and positive self-talk to the same situation. It all depends on how you lead your thoughts. For instance, you are in your race. You see a person in your age group, and you can tell yourself one of two things:

I have the strength in my legs to run past this athlete.

or

I am weak and tired. I can’t catch them.

If you tell yourself the positive, then YES, you can run past that athlete and possibly get that top age group finish; or, if you listen to that negative, then NO, you won’t pass them because you started listening to that negative self-talk.

Psychologists believe that consistently driving your self-talk in a positive, constructive direction can train your mind to respond that way. At first you will not find yourself able to redirect your inner voice. It will simply blurt out a subconscious response. However, by continually appraising dysfunctional self-talk and turning it around, you create less stress in your life, boost your self-esteem, and feel good about your inner dialogue.

Moving Forward to Sunday

This weekend, I want you to do something different for yourself. I want you to prepare NOW when you head to the “dark” side of negative self-talk because I can guarantee you will be going to a “dark” side on the race day. So, what do you do?

Very easy…change the negative to a positive NOW and during the race. Yes, I CAN run this half marathon under 2 hours. Yes, I can finish my first marathon. Yes, I will be a 10x Marathon Athlete!

Trust me. We all have self-doubt in the sports arena but also in every day life arena. Be gentle on yourself. You are your worst critic. We got your back…step away from that negative juju in your own damn head and start taking care of yourself on the positive level. You will ONLY become a better athlete and a better person inside and out!

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