It’s been an awfully sad, long time since I last posted. Senior year of college with a schedule full of 400 level nutrition classes and 20+ hour/ week training schedule leaves time for two things: eating, and sleeping. No, that list did not include showering, but don’t worry I still rinse off after swimming…usually.
So since I haven’t had time to write a real post I thought I would share with you what I have been doing in my Online English class. A blog!! Guess what it’s about. Triathlon you say? You know me so well.
Here are the first two posts written for the class. My goal with it is to introduce newbies to the sport and hopefully teach veterans something new!
My name is Zara Guinard and I am a triathlete. “A triathlete?” you ask. What exactly is that?
A triathlete performs in a competition know as a triathlon. This is considered a multisport; there are three disciplines, swimming, biking, and running, in that order. The origins of triathlon began in 1974, in Southern California, where swimmers, cyclists, and runners informal training sessions turned into races (Ehritz).
I have known that I wanted to do a triathlon since I was a junior in high school. What I didn’t know was that after the completion of my first triathlon in spring of 2010, was that I would become completely and totally addicted.
For me, being a triathlete is not just a “hobby” it is a lifestyle. It is a sport, in which after the completion of this season, I will begin to race at the professional level. It is my hope that by combining consistent dedicated training and a healthy diet, I will be able to make a career out of what I love doing most.
People often call me crazy, and I’m okay with it. One of my favorite quotes from an anonymous source is:
“Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated.”
With this blog, I hope to give a realistic account of what it really means to be an elite triathlete, and in my case a student triathlete, heavily invested in my major and the nutritional aspect of training and racing. Along the way I hope to get a few giggles as I share some of the quirkier aspects of the sport. To start, I leave you with a link to a YouTube video* done by an employee at the local triathlon gear and apparel store here in Tucson, Trisports.com. Now while many of the inside jokes in the video will seem like a foreign language now, over the next few weeks hopefully you’ll feel welcomed into the triathlon community to where you can fall off your chair laughing with me.
*While the title of the video may appear questionable with regards to the content, I assure you that it is completely PG!
As a full-time student and an athlete, sleep is not always on the top of the priority list, but maybe it should be.
My coach recently sent me an article on sleep and how falling into a sleep debt can hinder performance much more than you think. Sleep is necessary for rebuilding your body. “Growth hormone, which stimulates muscle growth, bone building, recovery and is responsible for the breakdown of fat, is secreted when you sleep (Ryan).” In addition to recovery, during sleep our blood pressure also drops, so a lack of sleep could lead to hypertension and cardiovascular problems. Since when we sleep we break down fat, it is an obvious conclusion that when we do not get enough sleep there is a potential to gain weight. This is because of the hormone leptin which is also greatly affected by the number of ZZZ’s you get each night.
An adult generally need from 7-9 hours, and an athlete especially should be getting more sleep than a normal person. In the study done in the article, it showed that athletes who fell into a sleep debt were hindered in their ability to metabolize glucose. This in turn affects many levels of training such as cortisol production and the ability to reduce stress.
Personally I used to think that I could function and perform just fine on 6-7 hours. Since my coach has increased my training volume to an average of 20hrs/week though, I have found that anything less than 8 and I can’t go as fast or as far in my workouts.
Some good tips to making your room more conducive to sleep are to try to make the bedroom a place for sleeping only. If you live in a dorm, that may not be an option. Instead try to have a comfortable chair and desk where you do your homework, rather that sitting on the bed. Keeping light in the room to a minimum, cooling down the temperature and trying to reduce background noise will all help to ensure that you get the best nights sleep possible. Give it a try and who knows how much better you will feel after an optimal nights rest.
P.S. Last race of the season Toyota U.S. Open Triathlon, Dallas, TX in 19 days! The race butterflies have already begun tryouts…