Recently I discovered Bicycletutor.com

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This is a great website with very useful information about bikes. The site has each instruction in writing and on video. You can download the video to your PC. You can also chat live with other people, access a forum and make requests.

You can learn anything you want about fixing, cleaning and lubricating any type of bicycle. You can see videos and read about how to Adjust a Threadless Headset, how to Tune up your bike, and much more.

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imageIf you would like to have your own customized tri clothing you should check out winskins printing.

You can have any piece of running or tri clothes custom printed for you.

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The website shows you the spots that you can customize on each garment.

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The prices are not cheap but reasonable.

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Matt Fitzgerald wrote an article for active.com about cycling like Lance Armstrong. He talks about 4 aspects of Lance training that has helped him ride like he does (that hopefully can make you a better cyclist too):

1. Aerobic Development

His trainer says: "Aerobic development—that is, increasing Lance’s ability to transport oxygen to his working muscles—takes up 95 percent of our focus in training,"

"I see a lot of triathletes focusing on getting their lactate threshold up as high as possible," he says. "But there’s a point of diminishing returns. If your lactate threshold is 85 to 90 percent of your VO2 capacity, it’s just not going to get any higher. So what you’ve got to do now is go back and build a bigger engine, which means you’ve got to grow your VO2."

2. Pedal Cadence

There are only two ways to cycle faster: by pushing higher gears and by pedaling faster.

3. Consistency

Armstrong has said, "I never miss a workout. Ever."

4. Stretching

Armstrong stretched an hour a day in preparation for the 2001 Tour using a program designed by Jeff Spencer, a former Olympic cyclist himself and now a Scottsdale, Arizona-based chiropractor.

Armstrong publicly credited the stretching with taking his cycling performance to a new level by increasing his power output and pedaling efficiency, reducing muscle recovery time, and keeping injuries at bay.

From my experience, being consistent in training (and in everything we do in life) is key to success. Hopefully this can inspire you (and me).

Stretching is probably the biggest challenge I face. I don’t like to stretch, and stretching for an hour a day?

Read the whole article here and hopefully these tips will help you.

I found a good article on how to determine the right size for a bike frame.

The article can be found here. The following chart can help you make sense of your measurements.

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There are also some tips in this article. This second article is not a step-by-step instruction, but it can give you a good guide on how to measure a bike frame and find the right size.

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It’s strange to find a joke that makes reference to triathlon, but here is one:

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Source.

In April, the Usa Triathlon (usatriathlon.org), published a study about multisports athletes. The results are very interesting and show a growth in the sports in the USA. An article on the study can be found here.

I liked a graph that shows the attitudes the respondents have toward triathlon.

As the top attitude, athletes participate for the personal challenge. This is very true for me and for most people I know. Specially considering the information on table 22 where the average age of the participants in triathlons is around 38.
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I am surprised at the responses of two attitudes:

1. Where i finish relative to others is important to me is very low from what I expected.  I thought this attitude would be high, considering that most of triathletes I know are very competitive with others and with themselves.

2. I spend a good portion of my leisure time with Triathletes is also very low. Do most athletes avoid other triathletes or they don’t have enough networking opportunities to meet other triathletes?

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A summary of the report is available here.

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If you are looking to buy or compare prices of  bike gear or bike apparel, your best bet would be  to use Qbike.

Qbike is not an online store but a site that compares prices from about 35 online bike stores.

At Qbike you can find almost anything for your bike and you can compare prices or find very good deals.

The site is very simple to use and once you select an item, like bike shoes, it takes you to a page like this:

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Were you see the price, the site, the product and the update.

You can order the items by price.

If you choose something like Bikes you’ll see a menu like this:

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Which is very useful since you have all the options you need to find a bike.

There are two thing I don’t like about Qbike (they seem to happen only on real cheap or on sale items):

  1. Sometimes the results might be misleading. For example you can find road shoes for $30 but when you click on the item, they are only available in either very large or small sizes.
  2. Sometimes if you click on an item it takes you to the web site were you can buy it but not to the real product.

But in general the site is very good to find bargains, to compare prices and to buy all your bike gears and apparel.

imageIf you are like me, you don’t have it all figured out, and it’s very useful to ask and to seek advice from other people.

So I would like to recommend some forums that are worth looking into. If you are afraid to ask, don’t be. Most people on forums are very nice and can give you very good advice, encouragement and their opinion on whatever you ask.

If you have a Google account, you can setup google reader as your RSS reader so you can subscribe to some of these forums and you get all the new questions delivered on your browser at (reader.google.com).

As I suggested in part I of this post, I suggest you keep a simple log of your workouts to track your progress and how you are training. When I mean simple I don’t mean something sloppy, I mean something easy to fill out every day after every workout, because if it is too complicated to fill, you will not input the information on a daily basis. So my advice is to invest initially in a good log that will be easy to fill out and then just update it every day (even on your rest days)

I will use my training log (for 1/2 ironman) and you can adapt your from my example.

The sheets I have setup are as follows:

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The Plan and By Week sheets are explained in part I.

Sheet 3: Schedule

This sheet also could use a better name. I use this sheet to get an overview of the day in all the sports:

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I use it also to write any comments, like “feeling sick”, “bad night”, “knee pain”, etc.

So on the first column I have dates (sat and Sunday are gray). Then I have a column for each sport (Bike, Run, Swim, Core and Rest). I don’t write on this sheet, except on the rest column and on the comments.

This sheets pulls the information from all the other sheets, with a very simple formula.

For example on the bike column, I have the formula: =IF(Bike!B151>0,Bike!B151,”N/A”).

This means in non-geek terms:  If I trained my bike for that day, post the training I did, if not, then post N/A. As you can also see the days I have any activity in that sport, it changes color from white to yellow.  I do this with conditional formatting in Excel. I have it setup this way:

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Again the idea of this sheet is to get a clear, daily view of what you are doing (again) on a daily basis, so you can track your progress. This is not an input sheet (only comments and rest)

Sheet 4: Bike

This sheet depends a lot on your training and what you want to measure (which is key).

I have the columns Date, Description, Focus, Route, Warm up time, Total Time and Total distance.

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I have it setup this way, because I want to track what I do (my focus), my time and the distance.

From Column P and Q y get the information to display on the Schedule Sheet. On this sheet I have no colors, since it only helps me to input information, not to analyze it that much.

Sheet 5: Run

This sheet is probably the most complicated sheet for me and again it depends a lot on your training and what you want to measure.

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(I have spited the image to show it better)

Column A has date, column B description, columns C Laps for any speed work or track days, D is distance, E is Warm up / Rec is the warm up and recovery distance, F is target Pace.

I guess this is self explanatory. O the 5th of January I did speed work of 10×200 (SI) is my sign for the speed I had to go at. And the pace was 0:45 per 200.

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So on track days, i fill out the columns of each workout (in this example it was 10×200), so I recorded all 10 200 m runs. On Q I added the total time and then on R I setup the average time of my 200 m runs.  S is total distance.

Then I have a column (not shown) of the total time of the workout, this total time and the total distance is what i display on the Schedule worksheet.

Again, the idea is that i only input information from column B to P all else should be calculated automatically so I don’t have to spend too much time on my log.

Sheet 6: Swimming

This sheet is very similar to the running sheet, since I record the laps and the time for each lap.

Sheet 7: Core

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This is very simple, you can list all your core exercises and just enter the sets and the time or times. For example I do the plank 2 times for 40 seconds.

You can read about core exercises here and here.

I hope these two LONG posts can help you start your own training log. From my experience the more complex information I want to fill out, the less I update it, so my best advice would be to keep the input very very simple. Around the input you can automate graphs and sheets that can give you a feedback on how you are training, but keep the input easy.

If you don’t log your training you are missing out on a way to improve your performance.

Logging your miles or Km is very important for your body and your training. Unless you have photographic memory, you probably don’t remember what distance you ran, 2 weeks ago. Even if you remember, it is hard to remember the time you did when you ran (to the second).

A friend once told me, what you cannot measure, you cannot change, which is true in business, in health and other issues in life.

So your log should help you measure your workouts and change them for a better performance.

Once you have a good training log (like the one I hope to explain to you today), it will only take you 2 to 5 min to update it everyday.

A training log is also a great encouragement when you look back. Say you are just starting to ride. Your distance rides might be only 10 miles. In 4 – 6 months your distance rides might be 40-50 miles. You can look back and see how far you’ve come.

Online you can find some free sites to save your log, like Trifuel, Runners World,or Beginner Triathlete. I prefer to do it in Excel (or Google Docs).

So here are the instructions (I believe you can do this with even limited Excel knowledge):

Worksheets:

Determine how many sports and worksheets you will setup.

I have 7 worksheets as follows:

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Sheet 1, PLAN:

The 1st worksheet has my plan. Here I wrote down my complete 4 – 6 month plan (at least what I intended to do).

Here is a screen capture:

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(click on the image)

If there is one page I recommend that you could skip is this one, since setting up this page is more for planning not for logging. You might do your planning differently, and that’s fine.

What I did here is have on top the date the, the days of the week and the workouts for each day. I also wrote how many weeks are left for my big race of the year (at this point it was 21 weeks.)

So you can probably skip this worksheet.

Sheet 2, By Week:

You can probably find a better name for this sheet. What I have here is a big picture of my workout per week.

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(click on the image)

Let me explain this sheet since for me it’s the best part of my log.

For this sheet I use some commands from Excel but are very simple (you can e-mail me if you need help, I would be more than glad to explain how to set them up).

So on line 1 and 2 I have my goals.

So my triathlon distances are, 40Km (bike), 10 Km (run), 1.5 km (swim). Total, 51.5Km. That information is in light yellow.

So what I record to see how I’m doing regarding my triathlon training is this:

On line 17 you’ll see the date (from Monday to Sunday), the week of the year, and then the accumulated time for my bike rides, the accumulated bike distances  for the week and so on for the 3 disciplines.

I have a formula that updates these times and distances from the other sheets, with the following formula:

=SUM(Bike!P85:P91)

If you see on line 17, the Bike distance is light yellow, meaning I exceeded my triathlon bike distance, but not my 1/2 Ironman distance.

This is done automatically with something called conditional formatting under the format menu in excel.

I have this setup for the Bike distance Column:

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So if I ride less than 40 Km per week, the cell stays white. If I ride between 40 and 89.99, it changes to yellow (my triathlon goal) and the if I exceed 90 Km, it changes to light green (my 1/2 Ironman distance goal).

Same is done with all the distances and total distance (column R)

Then on column P, I add the total time, then I convert that to minutes. If I do less than 250 minutes (more than 4 hours) per week, it turns red. This is obviously a bad sign for me.

Then I split in the following columns the % of time devoted to each sport. (Swimming should be about 20% of my time per week, I am not doing that well in that field).

You can read part 2 here.

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