2016 Ironman Miami 70.3

2016 Ironman Miami 70.3

I went to the 2016 Ironman Miami 70.3 cautiously optimistic and was satisfied by my result.  I was sixth in a heavy field with a nearly pain-free run for 21 straight kilometers.  For me, this is a huge breakthrough so I am absolutely stoked to know I can finally run the distance.  Now, to get faster!  ?

This race is so fun.  The overall vibe racing with 3000 athletes in downtown Miami in electric.  The strong Latin influence makes the race different.  Many athletes from South and Central America make the trip so it is an international affair.

The race

A variety of things about this race wouldn’t be my first choice including a pancake flat bike course, three hour time change, and very long travel to get there.  Things that turned out to be excellent about this race were the convenience of the hotels downtown to the race site, the incredible organization, and the hordes of fans out cheering.  I absolutely LOVED this race and would go back for sure!

 

2016 Ironman Miami pro women before swim
Figuring out the swim course – you can’t see the strong current from the dock 🙂

Overall execution

Continue reading “2016 Ironman Miami 70.3”

Stepping back in the ring at Augusta

I raced my first IM 70.3 event of 2016 at IM 70.3 Augusta in Georgia last weekend.

Like a pop quiz, going to IM 70.3 Augusta could result in four outcomes that answer the question:  Where is my fitness/rehabilitation at right now? They included:

a) A small miracle has happened and I get a podium finish my first race back.

b) I struggle a bit from lack of run fitness but still finish relatively strong, so I know I am ahead of schedule.

c) I struggle a bit more, have a tough day, but finish knowing I am healthy but need more work.

d) I am unable to finish.  DNF.  Not healthy, not healed, not ready.

Ironman race gear at augusta 70.3Ready to race my first race of the season in Augusta. Continue reading “Stepping back in the ring at Augusta”

Comparing Road Triathlon to Off Road Triathlon Gear

Triathlon Gear List: Off Road vs On Road

What gear do I need to race off road triathlon?

 

In this article I compare road triathlon to off-road triathlon gear.  Athletes trying off-road triathlon (or ‘cross triathlon’ as the discipline is now defined) for the first time often find they need some new gear to start competing.

This is the typical pre-race gear organization photo for an Ironman event:

Here I am with my stuff before the World Champs in Maui:

Melanie McQuaid compares road triathlon with offroad triathlon equipment XTERRA Maui 2014
This is me with all of my pre race gear before XTERRA Maui 2014

You can see that racing an Ironman road event and racing an XTERRA off-road event requires very different gear.  I made this list so athletes coming from any distance of road triathlon can figure out what they need to get to start racing in the dirt.  Continue reading “Comparing Road Triathlon to Off Road Triathlon Gear”

Broken Ankle Healing Using RICE and MEAT Therapy

Promoting Broken Ankle Healing Using the RICE and MEAT Therapy Protocols

RICE is an acronym for REST, ICE, COMPRESSION and ELEVATION.  This mnemonic dates back to the 1970s when a doctor came up with this prescription for healing that became the standard protocol to treat acute injuries.

RICE is an acronym for REST, ICE, COMPRESSION and ELEVATION and MEAT is an acronym for MOVEMENT, EXERCISE, ANALGESICS and THERAPY

More recent medical opinions suggest that both rest and ice can delay healing rather than promote it.  Icing can reduce inflammation, and rest can promote joint rigidity, so movement without ice is suggested. The MEAT (MOVEMENT, EXERCISE, ANALGESICS and THERAPY) approach is considered particularly beneficial for ligament and tendon injuries.  This all gets confusing when you deal with a trimalleolar fracture that compromises both bones and ligaments.  What is the best approach if you have a combination of issues to resolve? Continue reading “Broken Ankle Healing Using RICE and MEAT Therapy”

Triathlon Cross Training With a Broken Ankle

A Broken Ankle Doesn’t Have To Prevent Triathlon Improvements

My triathlon cross training the first three weeks after surgery.

Using hand cycling to crosstrain with a broken ankleCross training for triathlon with a broken ankle still includes plenty of options if swimming, biking and running are off limits.  I discovered there were ways to not only maintain fitness, but also improve, despite my current limitations in a “not weight-bearing” state.

Training injured, in the strictest sense, is NO DIFFERENT than training while healthy.  A great training program focuses on all you can do at that moment so, injured or healthy, you focus on doing everything that you can THAT DAY.

Training injured, in the strictest sense, is NO DIFFERENT than training while healthy.  A great training program focuses on all you can do at that moment to get better.

When I am healthy, if my legs are super tired from running, I might take a break and ride or swim.  If my shoulders are maxed out from a lot of swimming, I might run a bit more and focus strength work on lower body.  The key is to focus on what you CAN IMPROVE while your body is in repair mode or fatigued.  Even while in the critical stages after ORIF surgery, there were ways for me to train and allow my body to heal.

So what did I do when I got injured and was told not swim/bike/run AT ALL (even swimming *sigh) for the first three and a half weeks?   I focused on three areas where I could actively make improvement. Continue reading “Triathlon Cross Training With a Broken Ankle”

The First Two Weeks With a Broken Ankle

My two week update after a broken ankle

Unfortunately, I crashed my bike and broke my ankle a bit over two weeks ago.  My primary objective for 2016 is to win a full Ironman; a goal I will maintain this season.

Staying Focused on the goal through injurygingerbread broken ankle

I am really fortunate to have Dr. Brent Weatherhead as my orthopedic surgeon.  He is an amazing technical surgeon and did an outstanding job to get my fractured ankle anatomically perfect so now we have a realistic plan and schedule to get me back to running full gas this season.

Eventually, every pro athlete faces some significant adversity. For me, that time is now. I have fractured my ankle crashing my bike. Fortunately I have an amazing surgeon, Dr. Brent Weatherhead, who is at Rebalance MD. I also benefit from having Dr Jamie Grimes and Katie Button, a great rehab team behind me at Synergy Wellness. Thanks to my incredibly supportive sponsors, family and medical team I will make a full recovery and return to racing this season. I will write about recovering on my website and I hope I can offer some support to anyone else who is frustratingly sidelined this season. So far my advice would be to stay positive, do everything you can in that moment and visualize where you want to go. Visit www.racergirl.com for updates 😀🏃💨#injury #adversity #rehabilitation #trimalleolarfracture #brokenankle #triathlontraining #triathlon #running #cycling

A post shared by Melanie MCQUAID (@racergirlmel) on

I know a LOT of pro triathletes who have dealt with and are dealing with injury – so my story is not unique.  Triathletes and runners have different experiences with a broken ankle.  If you found this post searching “exercises you can do with a broken ankle” and “triathlon training after a broken ankle” you are in the same mindset I was in the first two weeks after my crash.  I promise you that it gets better after the first two weeks.  I am posting these recovery updates to help educate you through MY experience and inspire you with what I found helpful and motivating.  It is important to stay positive and focused during your recovery so let’s start with things you can do.

Here are THREE WAYS YOU CAN IMMEDIATELY IMPROVE AS AN ATHLETE with a broken ankle or leg injury  Continue reading “The First Two Weeks With a Broken Ankle”

Indoor Triathlon Sessions To Practice Raceday Nutrition

Practicing Hydration and Nutrition During Indoor sessions – an article which was featured at www.triathlonmagazine.ca

Practicing race nutrition during indoor training sessions

Indoor training sessions designed to practice race-day triathlon nutrition are a great way to help athletes prepare to execute their plan in races – but in easier, more controlled conditions.  The objective of these sessions is to get training benefit from appropriate pacing and to nail your race day hydration and fueling strategy.  Although indoor training is missing some of the elements (literally) encountered in outdoor training, there is a lot of valuable information to be gained indoors where the variables are easier to control.

Lab-monitored “sweat tests” are available that can help you determine how much sweat you lose at effort and what the composition of your sweat is.  A lab test is the most scientific version of the generalized effort I am going to outline.  Knowing the exact composition of your sweat under the lab conditions may be useful but nothing is as valuable as practicing with numerous sessions under a variety of conditions to help gain knowledge on what works best for you.  These tips will be a good starting point to gather information on your own body.

Continue reading “Indoor Triathlon Sessions To Practice Raceday Nutrition”

A Core Activation Exercise Series for Before Training

A Video To Demonstrate a Pre Training Core Activation Routine

This video will show you the exercises that I use to activate and prepare my core muscles for training. Without adequate warmup and activation of the core, your biomechanics will not be optimized in training.

This routine does not take a lot of time so it is very easy for me to do it frequently. This is the first thing I do every morning. I implemented this routine when I was suffering from a hip injury and since then I have had not issues with my hip or low back. However, if I don’t do the routine I am aware that my range of motion through the hips for swimming and running is not as good.

This short, simple set of exercises is EFFECTIVE.

You can do this routine in less than five minutes on the pool deck before swimming so try it at your next training session. You may find that even these simple exercises are somewhat difficult which would indicate your neuromuscular recruitment needs work. Over time you will feel stronger and you will experience better results from training – particularly early morning training. Let me know what you think!

Restarting training after a winter break

I wrote this article for www.triathlonmagazine.ca and thought it would be good for those athletes just starting to lace up their shoes again.  If you have any other questions/queries/requests please ask away at either my Facebook page www.facebook.com/racergirlmel or Tweet away at www.twitter.com/racergirlmel.

How to Restart Your Training After a Winter Break

After the last race of the season, many athletes enjoy a training break.  For anywhere from four to eight weeks, athletes might incorporate complete rest with cross training or unstructured triathlon training.  It is a good idea to take a real break from the sport and allow your body to rest.

Some athletes avoid complete rest as they believe it will be very difficult to get back to their previous level of fitness, but this fear is unfounded.  Taking a break will result in some detraining but aerobic fitness declines slowly.  Underlying fatigue from the previous season is more likely to delay improvement than a break from training.  The number one priority after every season must be rest, particularly for athletes who race Ironman and can accumulate a lot of residual fatigue, low grade injury and general overload.  The minimum post season break should be four weeks and longer if there is injury to resolve.  After that time it is good to get back in action.

Here are five tips to have a strong start to your training build after a break:

Continue reading “Restarting training after a winter break”

2015 Ironman Arizona

Competing at Ironman Arizona in my second attempt racing a full distance Ironman

My second attempt racing a full distance Ironman distance was at Ironman Arizona.  I had the privilege of having my ass handed to me by Meredith Kessler after I finished in 9:14, a time that might have been respectable 5 years ago but was in another time zone behind MBK’s 8:44 (the fastest Ironman performance of 2015-so amazing!).  It is good I was on the course with her that day.  It is invaluable to have that performance to shine a light on where I can improve.  Without comparing apples to apples, you never really know where you stack up and I was good in my second attempt but I still need to improve. Continue reading “2015 Ironman Arizona”