Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Exercise Induced Muscle Cramps

Welcome to the "World of Exercise"......................

Believe it or not when we exercise we start to realise that we may have just more than 1 or 2 muscles in our body.  But when we exert ourselves a little harder then normal we discover the agonising pain of Cramps.

Cramps are a frustrating problem to us in the sports and physical activity world and commonly occur even in the fittest of athletes.  They mostly come during the height of competition, immediately after (whilst driving home in the car) or even at night in deep sleep.  There is no definite cause of cramp and there are a lot of reasons that can cause cramping, as well as there be little known prevention to cramping.  On a more serious not muscle cramping can be the result of rare medical conditions, however more are exercise-induced or associated.

Types of Exercise Associated Muscle Cramps EAMC

  • Fatigue Associated Cramp
    • Biological process- excitation of the muscle spindle & inhibition of the Golgi tendon organ. 
    • Localized to the over worked muscle
    • Risks factors
      • Age
      • Poor Stretching habits
      • Cramping History
      • Excessive exercise intensity & duration
    • Treatment
      • Rest
      • Passive Stretching of the effected muscle/group
      • Holding the muscle in a stretched position until muscle activation is relieved
  • Exercise Associated Cramp
    • Electrolyte deficits
      • When the athlete has been sweating extensively and have significant sodium and chloride disturbances
      • This usually starts in a small localized muscle and leads to muscle spasms, mainly starting in the legs at first.
    • Treatment 
      •  Ingestion of high-salt solution (3g in 500ml of sodium electrolyte beverage every 5-10min), this is after exercise measurements
      • Massage
      • Ice application can help to reduce swelling of effected muscle and relieve pain
      • Re-hydration 
  • To prevent EAMC's
    • Athlete to be well conditioned, to reduce muscle fatigue
    • Regularly stretch the muscle groups prone to cramp
    • Maintain hydration and electrolyte levels, carb stores before/after and during exercise that is  over 1hr
    • Reduce the intensity of exercise and duration if necessary  Key factor to training****

*****  Having the right Training program, balanced to your ability and also the time of the season or timing to you Target event.  At Paradise Tri we manage and plan your training to target this and eliminate  risks of injury (Cramps) and train your body to be ready for that start line.*********

CONTACT US ................

Friday, 27 April 2012

Improving your Freestyle

Over the past 6 months I have come across many varied different strokes of "Freestyle" "Frontcrawl".  I have worked with and coached different level ability of swimmers from "Learn 2 Swim" all the way up to Regional County Swimmers.  However no matter what the level is of the swimmer, everyone could do with working on Technique and Drills to improve their efficiency.

Here is what I have dubbed as "Select Six"
  1. Kick, Kick, Kick !!!        The world's best freestylers are some of the world's best kickers.
  2. Pacing                              
      • Work on even pacing for endurance training, or even having a faster 2nd half on training repeats.  
  3. Technique
      • ALWAYS important.  However tired you may be, remember swimming is a resistance sport .... the less you create the faster you will be.
        • Body Position        Maintain a streamlined body position for as long as possible, keep it tight and "Long & Strong"
        • High Elbow Recovery    Keep a high elbow, this will allow you fully extend into the front of your stroke and to position your hand correctly for entry between the line of the head and the shoulder.
        • Drive Phase     Through the Drive Phase of the arm action, keep the hands under the body, trying to use the forearm a s much as possible as an extension of the hand.
        • Head in line      Look to keep the head in line with the spine in a neutral position throughout the stroke.  Even on the breath stroke keep the rotation in line with the spine.
        • Breathing         Breath air out when face is in the water so that when you turn the head to breath you can use the time solely for taking more air in   
        • Kick     A constant leg kick will provide the body with great balance for  more powerful stroke.
  4. Stroke Count
        • Count per length to keep track of how efficient you are.  Over time see if you can reduce the number of strokes you do each lap down, whilst maintaining or improving your time.
  5. Maximise the walls
        • When swimming laps in a pool, try to come off the wall quickly and streamlined.  Throughout your lap there is no other time that you are more streamlined than when pushing off from the wall.  So touch the wall and turn as quick as possible, not to break your breathing rhythm up and stop.  Once pushed off from the wall hold a good streamlined position and start to kick then as you surface the water do not take your first breath till you have done at least 2 strokes.
  6. Breath Both Sides
        • Whilst racing many swimmers have a "favourite" side on which to breathe, in training it is a good to breathe to both sides in order to keep your stroke balanced.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Taking part in Triathlons, HAVE A TRAINING PLAN

I have now been involved in Triathlons for 20 yrs now and seen and met a lot of different aged and ability athletes out, however one thing in common for all athletes is having structure to their training. I've seen far too many athletes trying to complete their first triathlon or improve their performance by simply following an 'ad hoc' approach to their training.  

Here are the major problems I've witnessed first hand that you will need to overcome:
1.  Despite your best intentions, you may lose the motivation to train and never start that first triathlon, let alone finish it.
2.  You will struggle to fit your training into your already busy life.  Job, family and other commitments all compete with your valuable free time and 99% of the time it will be your training session that will be sacrificed.
3.  You will under-train for your weakest event.  Everyone has a weak link and human nature dictates that if left to make the decision of "what type of training should I do today" more often than not you will train for the event you enjoy.
4.  You will overtrain.  I mean two things by this.  First you may literally overtrain - that is, not give your body enough time to recover, burn yourself out or injure yourself.  But second, and equally dangerous in my opinion, is that you will spend more time training than you are required to.  You must do the precise amount of training that will improve your performance and not a minute more.  Anything more than this is simply wasting your time; time which could be spent with your family or friends.
A Structured Training Plan Will Help You go from being a COMPLETER to a COMPETER  
Following a training plan has been proven time and again to dramatically reduce these dangers.
More importantly, you are committed to "Training Smart".
Set Your Goals and Commit to Them
The first thing to ask yourself is what are you trying to achieve?  This will obviously depend to an extent where you currently are in terms of physical fitness. It's better to start small (with, for example, a Sprint Triathlon or an 'easy' Olympic distance) and your goal should be both challenging and realistic.
You must be passionate about your goal - without the passion you will not be willing to push yourself that extra mile in training or get out of bed to train when its still dark outside.  Write your goal down.  Once you have your goal you have a target to focus your training plan design on. 

PARADISE TRIATHLON TRAINING can help you set out these Targets / Goals and make sure your on the right track to be safe and injury free.  Contact us...........

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Paradise Tri Newsletter

Paradise Triathlon Training, What have we been upto and What is New !!!

Newsletter 2011

Paradise Tri has been in operation for a Year now,  developing Triathlon in the UK and also Indian Ocean Region.  Providing the opportunity to train in Paradise, Swim Video Analysis PackagesTraining days for Mauritius and Reunion Atheltes in Seychelles, during the first International Seychelles Triathlon  As a result of feedback and also athlete demands we have been able to improve our service and introduce new exciting ones.  With the sport of Triathlon still growing world wide, super fast, Triathletes are wanting to challenge themselves with new distances and locations to race, aswell as structure their training to not only to be a completor of the distances but also a competitor.

One of our major improvements is in the Paradise Triathlon Holidays, now rather than just a Triathlon Training Camp, we are now providing the option for non-training partner to travel with athletes creating a Triathlon Training Holiday.  You are still able to focus on your Swim, Bike and Run with our coaching staff, but also tie in rest and relaxation for you and your partner.  Our main accommodation facility is now based at the Chalets d'Anse Forbans , a beautiful self-catering, beah villa accommodation.  We are still providing a full coaching service and the opportunity to include a Day trip to the beautiful Saint Marie National Marine Park, to swim/snorkel and luncheon beach BBQ.  Read more below on how you can Train in Paradise.

Paradise Tri Coaching Blog

Are you Training too hard ?

Overloading, Overtraining & Intensity, how does this effect your performance.
How to recognise symptoms before you get sidelinned...............

Check our Coaching Blog, if there is anything topic you wish to be covered contact us.

Paradise Triathlon Holiday 2012

4 MAY – 13 MAY 2012

Paradise Swim Tour Holiday
In an exciting new development, Paradise Triathlon will be working with Active Outdoor Sport Ltd to provide Paradise Swim Safari holidays. These will be 10-day open water swim tours in early December around the beautiful paradise islands of the Seychelles.  Active Outdoor Sport is an experienced provider of open water swimming leisure breaks, events and training days.  Bookings for these holidays can be made via

ECO Healing Seychelles Marathon 

26 February 2012, Ever thought of runnning a martahon in Paradise, and then spending a few days holiday in Paradise. We will arange your race entry, accommodation to suit you budget and desire and also reccommend airline flights to suit arrival and departure. 

IAAF Certified Course Seychelles ECO Healing Marathon, 2012
Marathon, 1/2 marathon, 10km or 5km your choice on which event

Not sure what training or how to prepare for the event, contact Coach Simon for guidance and training plan packages.
Copyright © *|2011|* *|Paradise Triathlon Training|*, All rights reserved.
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Monday, 7 November 2011

Overtraining, Overloading & Intensity

Overtraining is a physical, behavioral, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual's exercise exceeds their recovery capacity. They cease making progress, and can even begin to lose strength and fitness. Overtraining is a common problem in weight training, but it can also be experienced by runners and other athletes.  Overtraining may be accompanied by one or more of the follow symptoms;
  • ·      Persistent muscle soreness
  • ·      Persistent fatigue
  • ·      Elevated resting heart rate
  • ·      Reduced heart rate variability
  • ·      Increased susceptibility to infections
  • ·      Increased incidence of injuries
  • ·      Irritability
  • ·      Depressions
  • ·      Mental breakdown

 Test for Overtraining (Orthostatic Test)
·      Wearing a HR monitor, lie down for 10min.  check HR and then stand up. At 15sec after standing up check HR again
·      Check again at 2min

Studies have shown that the standing HR at 2min is elevated when overtrained.

·      A simpler test is to check your HR when you wake up in the morning, before getting up.  An increase in Resting HR in the morning over a few days recording can be a sign of Overtraining.


·      Wear a HR monitor whilst sleeping and record average HR for this period, a bit uncomfortable, an increase in average sleeping HR will show signs of Overtraining.

Overloading simply means going over the load you performed prior. "Load" typically refers to weight. It can, however, be one of any number of training parameters.
·      Load
·      Time under tension/Tempo
·      Repetitions
·      Sets
·      Range of Motion
·      Leverage

With us being involved in Endurance a lot of this Overloading will be more to do with Cardio Training;
·      Distance
·      Time
·      Elevation
·      Terrain
·      Pace

As a result of these imposed “overloading” session the body will start to react, increasing its ability to cope with these loads.  However “adaptation” occurs during the recovery period, after the training session is completed.  So on this note I will raise a statement of misconception :-

“exercise stress does not create fitness,
Exercise creates the potential for fitness”

Fitness is not realized until you rest following exercise.  The best type of rest is sleep , during sleep the body releases growth hormone to build a more fit body.  What exercise does it creates fatigue and we view fatigue as something we need to defeat and be removed, that will never happen.  Fatigue is there to stop yourself from doing too much damage to your body.  Without it you would exercise yourself to the point of tearing muscles, fracturing bones, and even killing yourself.

Short-term fatigue can take place over a period of a training session, however long-term fatigue is an effect over a number of weeks of training sessions (2/3 weeks).  This long-term fatigue is not totally understood, but may be as simple as low levels of glycogen, or as complex as neuromuscular or hormonal shift.  The way to avoid this is to follow the principals of hard-easy training cycles.

Hard Training days, high HR zones or long-duration workouts in low HR Zones – should be followed by easy days (Zone 1 or complete rest)

A balance between Volume and Intensity is the wise approach to create the stress I training program. A little fatigue on the body is a good thing, to allow fitness to occur sooner.  What happens too often in athletes is that they decide to do more, the fatigue becomes insidious.  So the athlete continues to push hard, ignoring the need for rest, overtraining sets in. 
Do not take Overtraining lightly

It’s about the Quality, Not Quantity
Intensity and Volume are something that needs to be looked at subject to the athlete, there is a correct blend and a lot of it is through trial and error where it fits for you.  To understand Intensity you are going to need to grasp the concept of Lactate Threshold LT.

Intensity Zones, how hard am I working, how hard should I be working ? 
Hear Rate, Power, Speed, Time, Increased Resistance, these are the main forms of  increasing or decreasing Intensity.  HR and Power can be linked linearly with each other, so training within the Lactate Threshold Zone.  The point at which Lactate starts to build up, the longer you can exercise within this zone the better.  However we want  to increase this level and we do this by pushing over the top of the LT on intervals/set/reps and then recover between them, and then REST after the session.

This is just an initial insight into Overtraining, Overloading and Intensity,  I feel there is a big connection between these 3.  As a result of this we do need to listen to our body, act and respond to what we are feeling.  Everyone is different, aiming for different distances, goals, times and just remember that it is not only the physical effects but also psychological effects.  Commitments from outside of training, family, work, studies etc

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Nutrition for Distance Runners

Nutrition for Distance Runners

Running sessions will vary from longer runs designed to develop aerobic endurance, on the other hand, intense runs and interval work designed to improve anaerobic system and speed. Your training nutrition will need to take all this into account and be flexible enough to be adapted to any level.

When training for a marathon can require a combination of 5km training and 10km training into the schedule, however you still require to maintain the nutritional side to your training.

An Underfed runner does not produce his or her best performance, be sensible on you weight loss. If you have a certain amount of body fat that you wish to lose, lose it early in season, well ahead of your important race dates. If it is a little amount of body fat to lose, eat a balanced diet and let the body let quality training lose it for you.

Pre-Exercise Hydration & Fueling
Fueling for Training
Be aware of your timing of when you eat before training, running tends to jostle your gastrointestinal system, GI disturbance is a more common problem in running then in other endurance sports. Feeling “light” for training avoiding a sloshing stomach, bloating, cramping and diarrhea.

Prior to a short, relative easy run, what you eat before will be a matter of comfort and fending off hunger or hypoglycemia. If you train early morning, perhaps consider having some fruit juice and a piece of plain toast. Regardless of your tolerances, make sure you drink water or even a sports drink to hydrate. On long morning runs consider taking a bottle or fuel belt with you. Taking on a sports drink will maintain blood glucose levels in the latter part of the run, anything under 60min run it would not be necessary to carry a drink (depends on the temperature)

Consuming regular meals and snacks replenishes liver glycogen stores and also helps maintain steady blood glucose levels throughout the day and during training.

Long runs
You are ideally looking to consume your carbohydrates either the night before or no less than 2 hrs before your training long runs. Ideally take in as much carbs as you can tolerate upto 1gram /pound (2g/kg) of body weight. If you do eat closer to running lower your carb rate to ½ gram/pound (1gram/kg). your choices of food should be kept simple.

Some simple morning meals for example:-
• ½ bagel with 1tsp (8ml) peanut butter + 1tbsp (20ml) jam + 8oz (240ml) juice
• ½ cup instant oatmeal with 4oz soy milk + 1tbsp (20ml) raisins
• 1 medium sized high carb energy bar + 1banana
• Pretzels and hummus with a glass of Orange Juice (OJ)
• Crackers with nut spread + banana
• Smoothie with milk, yoghurt and fruit
• Tortilla with peanut butter and raisins
• Chocolate milk and grapes
• Toasted waffle with syrup and fruit
Coffee, tea or a glass of water can be included with all of these suggestions. Feel free to experiment with pre run food and drinks, also try either taking water or sports drink to consume on the run, to determine which provides the best energy boost within your tolerances.

Hydration and Fluids
Being hydrated through the day even when not training is an advantage to you, but with in an hour of exercise increase the amount of fluid. Try to consume 8-12 ounces every hour when not training. Light colored urine indicates that you are well hydrated. Once again experiment within your training to find out how much more or less you need to drink. Bear in mind that the likes of tea and coffee are dyaretics with the cafein levels so try to lower the amount of consumption of these drinks, as well as being a hot temperature they tend to pass through the body quicker.

Recovery Nutrition
Hard training runs, and particular 2 runs a day session, require great attention to recovery nutrition. Muscle fibers can be damaged by running, which can delay glycogen recovery. Carb intake immediately after training will start the process of muscle glycogen resynthesis and prevent a gradual process of muscle glycogen depletion that can occur over several days’ time or longer. Consume ½ gram (1gram/kg) body weight immediately after exercise and plenty of fluids. You may also take on 10-20 grams of protein, this will aid in muscle repair.

After a morning run you could consider consuming :-
• Cereal, milk and fruit + glass of juice
After evening run:-
• Recovery drink

Also within the 2 hrs consume the same amount of carbs and protein, to continue recovery.

• mid-morning snack (yoghurt, fruit)
• OR a dinner containing carbs from (rice, pasta, potatoes, or some whole grain)
Continue to drink fluids …………

Hot Training climate;
• Smoothies are refreshing and hydrating choice that have lots of carbs + protein
• Frozen fruits, frozen yoghurts & similar cold treats (sorbet, sherbets)

Competition Nutrition
Elite runners look at running 10km (30min) – Marathon (2hrs) and the recreational runners are 1hr – 7hrs even some charity walkers. Hydration is critical for all runners, and fueling during the race is essential for any run over 90min. We have already spoken about pre-training nutrition, if you have been training a system then stick to the same for race day.

Here are some ideas of Meal Plans :- During Base cycle training.

Breakfast; OJ 240ml, French Toast 2 slices, Syrups, Strawberries
Lunch; Low –fat cheese 60g, Bread 2 slices, Tomato, yoghurt with fruit, pear
Snack; Crackers 8 small, Hummus, skim milk
Dinner, Rice, cooked, shrimp, red pepper, broccoli, sesame seed oil
Snack; frozen yoghurt, fruit slices

B; English muffin, cream chesse, jam, grapefruit, egg
L; pinto beans, rice, tortilla, salsa, cheese avocado
S; granola bar, peaches, almonds
D;Pasta, lean beef, marinara sauce, green salad, salad dressing
S; frozen yoghurt, blueberries

B; oatmeal, skim milk, wheat germ, bread, jam, OJ
L; chicken, bread, mayonnaise, rice and bean salad, grapes
S; energy bar, banana, yoghurt with fruit
D; tofu, Asian noodles, vegetables, sesame seed oil