Entries Tagged as 'Alcatraz'

Cross-Training Does a Body Good

Alcatraz , Training Tips , Tri-California Ambassadors 1 Comment »

By: Abra Cranford

When I lace up my Airmax’s, puffs of dust rise into the sunshine. I double knot them and take off running. I run to the Edgewood Park trailhead from my house and start up the mountain. A guy passes me while heading up the trail when I’m pulled over to adjust my ponytail. Not to be discouraged, I chase him up the hill for a while. I catch him at the halfway-up point where he is catching his breath. I feel very pleased with myself as I run past him and continue up toward the summit…that is until I see him bypassing the switchbacks I’m on and launching himself straight up the spine of the hill. I make a mental note to try that sometime. On my way down, I see a high school (or college? They all look so young to me now) track team take off down a different trail. I know I’m in the right place to train for a race.

To train for Alcatraz, I decided to focus on cross training and running. There are just not enough hours in the day for me to swim, bike, run plus, cross train. For me, the run portion is the most difficult part of a tri since my legs feel like bricks and I’m tired, so very, very tired. If I can just get those running legs up to par, maybe the last few miles will come a little easier? (Please?) The funny thing is, I’ve been running at Edgewood Park for 2 years now, and I’ve only just recently been able to continuously run the grueling 2 miles of uphill. For this I thank my cross training. Thank you cross-training!!

For the last few weeks my schedule has gone something like this:

Monday: Run or if I raced Sunday, rest. Or maybe still run. Depends on how hard the race was. I should not have admitted that.
Tuesday: Sculpt class. I think I should explain this class. It sounds like a lot of ladies with 1lb weights and yoga mats but be warned, there has been more than one occasion I’ve been close to tears in this class, but I was sweating so hard, no one would have noticed anyway.
Wednesday: TRX Boot Camp. Excellent interval training. It’s a strength set followed by cardio, strength, cardio, strength, cardio. You get the picture.
Thursday: Run
Friday: Swim then run.
Saturday: Long bike ride (or rest if I have a race)
Sunday: Rest or Race Day


So you can see my swimming/biking is a little lax these days while I dedicate two days to strength training. I do bike an easy 10 miles to work sometimes so my legs don’t forget how to ride but thanks to my cross training, my legs are the strongest they’ve ever been and my arms/shoulders are not too shabby either. Let’s hope they get me through the bay, over those hills and up that sand ladder (eek)!

I always used to think it was stupid to skip a run in favor of squats, lunges and push ups. If I wanted to be better at running, the only way to get there is to run more, right? Wrong. Turns out my running strength (and biking too) has drastically improved, even though I only run a couple days a week. Being able to charge up a mountain that I used to have to power hike is proof enough for me!

When I signed up for the Alcatraz triathlon, I knew it was going to require me to be stronger, mentally and physically, than any other race to date. Race Day is approaching fast and if I’m not prepared, it will be my own darn fault. So I lace up my Airmax’s in a puff of dust and take off.

Gear Up for the Triathlon at Alcatraz!

Alcatraz , Training Tips , Tri-California Ambassadors No Comments »

By: David Sinclair

The Triathlon season is full tilt now. Some of us have already completed some "A" races and there is still a load of top-notch races this summer. Tri-Cal still has the meat and potatoes of the race season coming up. If you haven't competed at one of the Alcatraz races, Pacific Grove or Tinley's there is still slots for these great races.

To prepare for these events Tri- Cal will be supporting a free training Clinic in Cayucos CA. on August 14th. This event will be the Inaugural Cayucos-Multisport Olympic Distance training Clinic. This Clinic will entail two swim loops around the Cayucos pier and a 26-mile out and back bike course to Cambria and a 10k run up Cayucos Canyon and finish at the Beach pier. For those training for a sprint distance you can cut the distances in half. There will be added challenges in the transitions and the course will be supported with all the great nutrition and hydration products that are on all the Tri-Cal race courses.

The swim support will be provided by local surf shop GOODCLEANFUNUSA.COM. Go to their web site for the up to date weather and surf reports. If your training for a longer distance, on Saturday the 13th, there will be an open, self-supported 80 mile bike ride up Highway 1 to Ragged Point—one of the most beautiful routes anywhere. Be sure to sign up early as these events will fill up quickly.

You can always count on the best produced and race proven events.

If you think “that’s probably too hard for me”, immediately sign up

Alcatraz , Training Tips , Tri-California Ambassadors No Comments »

By: Abra Cranford

Hi, my name is Abra and I am a race junkie.

Since this spring, I’ve already participated in 9 events varying from Bay to Breakers (yes I run, obviously in costume) to Wildflower to the Tough Mudder. I have 6 more on the agenda as of today and that will probably increase as I hear about fun* (definition below) events. I can’t help it. I love race day.

This has not always been the case. I used to exercise as a way to stay in shape (read: not gain too much weight after working at my desk job all day) and have always enjoyed trail runs, alone with my ipod. I would categorize myself as a runner. I did my first triathlon last year mostly to prove to myself I could do one. It was terrifying and hard. I had never really planned on doing another. But then I did another. And then I was hooked.

When people ask why, my response is always “It’s FUN!” then I generally encounter a look that is a mix of disgust, skepticism with a touch of “you have mental problems”. As it turns out, fun to an athlete has a completely different meaning. It’s the thrill of asking my body to do something difficult and have it perform. It’s knowing my arms will pull me through the water, my legs will propel my bicycle and then leap off and carry me down the road. Ok, not always leap. Sometimes hobble. Ok, always hobble. It’s being surrounded by dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people that are all there doing something they love. It’s that feeling of accomplishment as I cross the finish line and realize I’ve done it and earned that delicious beer (if you don’t partake in the post race beer, I HIGHLY recommend it) and mid afternoon nap.

But I’m not just hooked on triathlons, I’m hooked on all kinds of races. Road races, trail runs, obstacle races. I started doing whatever I could get my hands on (and afford...some girls shop, I race). I don’t train in your typical way.

My training method is to continually sign up for events that I think are slightly out of my league. This way, I always have some terrifying event I’m training for in the near future. Not comfortable on my bike for long periods of time? That’s ok, I’ll sign up for a 120k bike ride over some mountains. Have to make sure I survive, right? Better start riding! (I survived but was definitely ready to be off my bicycle by the end) Want upper body strength? Sign up for a 10 mile obstacle race that requires me to haul my butt over walls & up half pipes. Better start with those push-ups!

Sometimes it works out for me. Sometimes it doesn’t. When it does, I now know the new limits of where I can push my body. And next time I can push it harder and farther. When it doesn’t work out, I learn what I need to work on. I would have never learned what I could convince my body to do if I didn’t try something that was over my head. I would still be running on my trail, humming to my ipod, not gearing up to swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco.

So here I am, over my head again. I’m a nervous wreck tiny bit nervous for what I’m going to learn from the Alcatraz triathlon but I’m excited to push myself to the limits.

I’ve learned that you don’t just train for races. Your races train you. Every single event I’ve participated in has taught me something new about myself. Mostly that I’m a little nuts but that’s ok, so is everyone racing with me. I’m not the fastest or the best but I’m there, I’m smiling, and you can bet I’ll finish. Eventually. And I’m never too tired to smile and fist pump at the finish line!

Women of Alcatraz Summer Training Series

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Considering your first triathlon? Gearing up for your second but want a little more guidance this time around? Sports Basement has designed this series of lectures, clinics and workouts for women just like you! You’ll be ready for the SF Triathlon at Alcatraz, which is on August 21, before you know it!

All of these events are free and open to the public. You can attend all of the events in the series or just the ones you want. All events take place at Sports Basement Presidio unless otherwise specified. No RSVP is necessary, but you can email questions to pprislin@sportsbasement.com.

Women of Alcatraz Summer Training Series

Wednesday, June 8, 6:30 pm: Meet Your Every Day Female Triathlete

Want to do a triathlon but wondering what exactly you are getting yourself into? A panel of every day women will cover what every beginning triathlete should know. What kind of time commitment does it take to train for a triathlon? What about financial commitment? Can I train in the pool for an open water swim? Come with questions, and they’ll bring answers. This lecture is geared toward women, though both men and women are welcome.

Sunday, June 12, 9 am: Fix a Flat Clinic and Bike the Course

Our experts will lead a basic bike repair clinic before you ride the course of the SF Triathlon at Alcatraz. Bring your bike, a helmet and questions! Don’t have a bike yet? Arrive early to rent one from Sports Basement. Meet at Sports Basement at 9 am.

Sunday, June 19, 9 am: Open Water Swimming Lecture and Swim at Aquatic

Open water swimming is often the most intimidating part of the race for first time and seasoned triathletes alike. Shannon Boughn, owner and trainer with Urban Endurance, will talk you through the art of open water swimming with a swim practice following at Aquatic Park. Need a wetsuit? You can rent one ahead of time from Sports Basement. Meet at Aquatic Park at 9 am.

Sunday, July 10, 9 am: Your First Brick Workout

At this point, you’re probably starting to feel more comfortable with your run and bike workouts. It’s time for your first brick workout! We’ll ride the course and run part of the course to help you get used to doing multiple workouts back to back. Meet at Sports Basement at 9 am.

Wednesday, July 27, 6:30 pm: Transition Lecture at Sports Basement

Sure, you can swim, ride and run at this point – but what about going from one to the other? Enter the often dreaded transition. Shannon Boughn, owner and trainer with Urban Endurance, will teach you how to transition with ease. A transition practice clinic will follow on Sunday, August 7 at Aquatic Park.

Sunday, August 7, 9 am: Transition Clinic at Aquatic Park

Put the skills you learned at our Transition lecture into practice at this transition clinic. You’ll leave this practice feeling prepared for the SF Triathlon at Alcatraz! Meet at Aquatic Park at 9 am.

Challenge Yourself: Swim Alcatraz!

Alcatraz , Training Tips No Comments »

By: Gary Emich
USA Triathlon Coach – Level 1
ASCA Coach – Level 2

Not sure whether you’re up for a swim from Alcatraz?

The following offers some guidance and a basic training plan.

Each week you should swim one long distance at a slower than race pace and at least one to two shorter distance / fast paced interval workouts such as those conducted at US Masters Swimming workouts.

The following represents a suggested distance for this once-a-week longer slower paced swim.

Weeks Prior to Your Alcatraz Crossing:

  • Week 12 – 1200 yards 
  • Week 11 – 1500 yards 
  • Week 10 – 1800 yards
  • Week 9 - 2100 yards
  • Week 8 – 2400 yards
  • Week 7 – 2700 yards
  • Week 6 – 3000 yards
  • Week 5 – 3300 yards 
  • Week 4 – 3600 yards 
  • Week 3 – 3900 yards 
  • Week 2 – 4200 yards
  • Week 1 – 1800 yard

To keep this long swim from becoming stale and boring, consider the following training ideas to keep things fresh:

Practice your bilateral breathing for several lengths each session. This will pay off tremendously in open water especially if the wind is blowing from one side – and that’s the side you normally breathe on.

Practice your sighting skills for several lengths each session – pick an object on the far wall of the pool. Every couple of strokes, lift you head, see how quickly you can spot the object, then put your head back in the water. Also practice lifting your head only enough so that your eyes are out of the water.

Time your swim and calculate your pace for 100 yards. Then compare that as the weekly distance swims get longer to see if you’re able to maintain your speed.

If the week’s distance seems overwhelming, break it into segments, stop and have a drink at the end of each one (hydration will be very important during your Alcatraz swim so start incorporating it into your workouts) and continue on to the next segment.

If possible (and highly recommended), do your long distance swims in the open water. A mile in the open water goes by so much quicker than does a mile in the pool. And, you do want to have some prior experience in swimming without a black lane at the bottom and without a wall to hold on to before you attempt Alcatraz.

As with any exercise program, if you’re new to open water swimming get a medical examination to make sure you’re sufficiently fit for this somewhat challenging outing. Even if you are a competent swimmer, this may be a good time to have your doctor check you out if it’s been a while since your last medical exam.

For more practice, the "Open Water" swim clinic is now on-line at: http://www.tricalifornia.com/index.cfm/open_water_swim_clinic.htm
Registration is now open for the first 25 participants or until May 13 at Noon, whichever comes first.

An athlete that is navigating our site can also find this information by clicking on 'Training Clinics" through any of the following events.

The Alcatraz Challenge : http://www.tricalifornia.com/index.cfm/ALChal2011-training_clinics.htm

The San Francisco Triathlon at Alcatraz : http://www.tricalifornia.com/index.cfm/Alcatraz2011-training_clinics.htm