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Trimarni is place where athletes and fitness enthusiasts receive motivation, inspiration, education, counseling and coaching in the areas of nutrition, fitness, health, sport nutrition, training and life.

We emphasize a real food diet and our coaching philosophy is simple: Train hard, recover harder. No junk miles but instead, respect for your amazing body. Every time you move your body you do so with a purpose. Our services are designed with your goals in mind so that you can live an active and healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Trimarni Blog

A blog dedicated to exercise, nutrition and my life

Filtering by Category: "swimming"

Kona prep mind over matter: Train the brain

Marni Sumbal




Well, it's finally official. 
MARNI SUMBAL (30-34 age group): BIB NUMBER 1933



With this week being my last week of Ironman training before an active recovery week followed by race week taper, my body feels amazing. With our approach to Ironman training being enhanced every year, I really feel Karel and I nailed my training for my 7th Ironman and 3rd Ironman World Championship. Every go-around we reflect on what didn't work and then we stretch the boundaries on how much I can get my body to adapt with the least amount of training stress. With this "less is more, train hard, recover harder approach" I have experienced bitter sweet feelings before my last three Ironmans. Absolutely I am ready to taper and rejuvenate from all this Ironman Kona specific training and I am excited to experience the normal "hunger" I experience on race week to get out there and let my body do it's thing. But my body and mind feel healthy. They feel strong and confident and it saddens me that this training is coming to an end. I still do not dread any workout and I continue to look forward to what my body can do with every workout I am given from Karel (and oh boy does he push me!). What's even more amazing is that instead of experiencing burnout (which I never get - ready for the season to end, sure, but never a loss of motivation), I continue to see big performance gains. I have off workouts but not as often as the great workouts. Although I pushed my body to a whole new level to qualify for Kona at 2013 Ironman Lake Placid, I challenged myself to training my brain just as much as training my body - with the help of Gloria, my mental coach (who will also be my roomie in Kona).



                                  
                                                                           SOURCE

One thing I have learned with my journey as an endurance age group athlete, is that the mind must be as strong as the body. You can put in all the hours and miles as you want to make it look good on paper that you did the work but if you want your body to perform, your brain must be tough and ready for the challenge.

Training the brain is not easy. And this is why I rely on Gloria to help me for when I experience doubt, I know she has a toolkit to guide me in the right direction.

For example, whenever you start a training plan, for most people the first 3-4 weeks seem to fly by. Endorphins are flowing, the body feels great and everything goes as planned. But then there are the moments here and there were workouts are challenging and the doubt comes about. Looking ahead 4,8,12 weeks down the road, you think to yourself how will I ever be able to finish the race with my goals accomplished. Then, suddenly, with a balanced approach to training. Everything suddenly comes together. The puzzle pieces make more sense and although it doesn't necessarily get easy, the mind knows that race day is coming. So no more excuses, what if's or doubts but instead, confidence that the body CAN do what it was trained to do. However, for many people, the excuses, doubts and what if's continue until race day and that can be very draining and negative for a body that is primed to perform.

This week has been tough. Putting in those final workouts to my Ironman puzzle has been time-consuming and challenging. But, what's keeping me positive is that my body and mind are strong. I do not doubt my fitness and I feel very confident about my race (3rd time is the charm as they say :) Of course, knowing that I just did an IM about 12 weeks ago, I do not fear the distance and I have trust in myself that I can race smart in Kona with the notorious wind/heat race day conditions (among 1500 of the best IM athletes around the world). More than anything, I am not focusing on getting faster but instead, building confidence for race day. Learning how to overcome obstacles that occur in training is just as important as nailing a fueling plan or having several long workouts in the bank.

This morning I had a tough brick.
First off - 4500 swim.
Then a 6 mile run.

On paper, my physically trained Ironman body was ready for the distance but it was the sets that challenged my mental strength.

4500 swim:
2 x 1700 swim w/ 1:30 rest in between
1100 swim
All Ironman "steady" pace



With the pieces coming together very nicely, this set allowed my mind to wander. I had plenty of time to think about anything and everything but I was forced to stay in the moment. In an Ironman, it's very easy to think about mile 20-26 of the run.....when you are at mile 1 of the swim. But with 140.6 miles to cover, what's the point of thinking ahead when you can stay in the moment. Why direct your thoughts to something that has not happened yet when you can direct all your energy to what's occurring at that moment in time.

Although good on paper, I struggled mentally with this swim because it felt easy....but on my watch it didn't look fast (relative to me). But I felt SO good in the water. It was just a mental mess going on this morning in the pool and only I could figure my way out of it. So I had two choices - be grateful that it feels easy now and it once did not feel easy 8 weeks ago (because I wasn't "trained" yet for this set) OR get frustrated and upset and throw in the towel.

I choose the first option.

I finished the swim feeling happy and confident. Confident that I did the work in the pool, happy that I still love to swim. I will not bash my body for not giving me faster times for I put in the necessary work and this was all that my body could tolerate alongside my bike and run training...and balancing life, sleep, diet, traveling, etc. I am excited to start the Kona swim with a body that loves to swim.

Next up - 6 miles of running.




I remember back in June that my endurance was not where it is today. I was getting my body back into shape after 90 days of no running and running just wasn't fun for me. I was not able to push and let my mind be my only limiter. With an amazing 10 weeks of injury-free training behind me and a great foundation from recovering so well from IM Lake Placid, I have enjoyed every run and I constantly thank my body (and continue to do all my hip/core/back exercises and stretching/foam rolling/110% Play harder icing, epson salt baths, massages 1-2 times a month).

So today, I put another workout in the Kona bank that brings me confidence for my mental tool kit.

6 x 1 miles with 30 sec walk in between.
Odd steady, even "faster" (I don't have a lot of speed in my body so I am not pushing my boundaries with my current lactic threshold).
48:48 time
6.11 miles
Average pace 7:59 (including walks)
Mile 1: 8:17 min/mile, 182 HR (rush of blood)
30 sec walk: 122 HR
Mile 2: 7:25 min/mile, 161 HR
30 sec walk 132 HR
Mile 3: 7:55 min/mile, 141 HR
30 sec walk 131 HR
Mile 4: 7:06 min/mile, 150 HR
30 sec walk, 151 HR (body was speaking to me)
Mile 5: 7:57 min/mile, 146 HR
30 sec walk 143 HR
Mile 6: 7:05 min/mile, 156 HR

What made this so hard? Once again - it all came down to mind over matter. As I ran the first hard interval, my brain instantly thought "There's no way you will be able to run the last one hard." Here I am not even finished with the first interval and despite my legs speaking to me, my mind was already trying to convince me that there was no way I could do 3 sets of these. But after the recovery walk and a steady interval (which was surprisingly "fast" compared to the "fast" interval), I decided to just give it a go and instead of making excuses, just make things happen. After the 2nd interval, viola. Just one more fast to go. Although it did get tough as the lactic acid was accumulating in my oxygen deprived body, never did my body tell me that I couldn't do it.

One thing I have learned with training for sports and racing is that you can never count yourself out OR think you have it in the bag until you cross the finish line (or finish a workout). When it comes to endurance racing, the best way to succeed is to slow down the least amount possible. In other words, you don't have to be fast, you don't have to be the best at everything and you don't have to get upset if things aren't going as planned at a certain moment. What you have to do is stay in the moment. The only way to get yourself to the next interval, mile or set is to be sure your mind is just as strong as your body.


Next time that you doubt yourself, give it a go. Don't fear the hard for it will get easier. And when it does, you will likely find yourself craving another challenge of seeing where you can take your body and mind. For me, I love everything that comes with training for an endurance event for my body doesn't have to let me do what I ask for it to do when I train it. I am so incredibly grateful to my body no matter how the workout unfolds.

Thank you body....and mind.

Ironman Lake Placid RR: 2.4 mile swim

Marni Sumbal

2.4 mile swim



Back in Feb 2013, I traveled to Utah with Oakley Women for a product testing trip on the beautiful snowy mountains at Snowbird resort. 


As a swimmer all my life, I would consider myself more of a fish than a snow bunny but I am all about trying new things. I have had the opportunity to snowboard several times in my life and I always love the challenge of strapping in my feet and gliding down a mountain. But if I were to race in snowboarding, I wouldn't do very well and probably would be too scared to start. I could probably improve my skills if I snowboarded more often, worked with an experienced instructor and developed a passion for snow more than water, but I will be honest and say that I am not a great snowboarder and I am just happy with my ability to have fun and get down a mountain in one piece (although sometimes with a sore butt afterwards). 

In life, we have many opportunities to step outside of our comfort zone but like most people, we often get really comfortable in our comfort zone. Sometimes we have no choice but to step outside of our normal but I am sure that most would agree that doing something that you don't normally do is not the best feeling in the world....at least when you do it for the first time and aren't very good at it. 

As most people know, my husband Karel decided to move from Cat 1 cyclist to triathlete this past June (2012). 



Karel loves to push like most competitive athletes and for him, running came naturally. Suffering in cycling races transferred really well to running....push hard and suffer and run faster. 

But for Karel, he was often very frustrated by swimming. He found it so discouraging that he couldn't just push in the water. He could push on the bike, push on the run but in the water, pushing meant gasping for air, feeling like he was getting no where in the water and experiencing extreme fatigue. 


Even if something is hard, uncomfortable, scary or new, the most important thing is that you recognize that everything that you are feeling is normal. For if you only did things in life that were easy, simple and effortless, you likely wouldn't get anywhere in life. You have likely achieved things in life because you were willing to step beyond what is comfortable and embrace something that is not easy. But the defining point is knowing that you are not going to give up until you get to where you want to be. Perhaps you can't define where it is that you want to be and when but the most important thing is making sure that you are having fun along the way and seeing yourself grow. You are moving forward for you and for no one else. If you don't like something at first, don't give up. But you have to have the right motivation, passion and commitment ensure that you are doing things for the right reason. 

Every athlete has a a weakness. You can't be good at everything if you want to get better at what you do. There is always a way and reason to be better than you were yesterday but you have to really want it and the work that comes when you get there. 

I don't think I'm ever going to race in a snowboarding event but I know that I will never stop the opportunity to snowboard. I will always be a little scared but I will figure out a way to get to the bottom and get back up again when I fall. For now, I will continue to work hard for my triathlon goals and enjoy every journey that my body and mind gives to me during training and racing. I am willing to be patient as I better understand endurance triathlons and the skills required to race strong and consistent and I will always be sure to have fun along the way. 


Once I entered the water, I felt good. I felt comfortable, smooth and confident. This was my comfort zone and I knew what I wanted......
1:07, 1:06, 1:04, 1:02, 1:08....I've been chasing that 1 hour swim time for 2.4 miles for the past 8 years. It's something that drives me to push in the pool, even though I have been pushing in the water since I started swimming around the age of 11. I love dreaming big and having goals helps me jump out of bed, get out the door and see what I am capable of achieving for the day. 

As I made my way to the outside of the crowd of swimmers in Mirror Lake, I found myself with clean water. Knowing that the cable running under the water (visible to the eye) is directing the fastest swimmers (all trying to swim like Andy Potts) on a straight course, I was still spotting the 1-9 numbered buoys ahead of me but really focusing on my catch in the water.

As I neared buoy #4, I felt good. My plan for the two loop swim was to swim the first loop feeling "good". I never wanted to feel exhausted in the first loop and depending on my perceived effort in relation to my time after 1.2 miles, I would decide if I could take a risk or two in loop two. Realizing that swimming is a strength of mine, I always give myself the opportunity to deviate from my race day plan just a tiny bit if I am feeling good in the water. There's something about chasing a time that excites me and at the end of the day, I am 100% responsible for my actions when I race. I can blame nobody but myself and I am willing for the consequences if I let my ego + dreams get the best to me. But then again, how do I ever know if my thoughts will fail me if I don't give things a risky try. 

I was very tempted to look at my Garmin 910XT (outside of my wetsuit) before the right hand turn at buoy #9 but I didn't. I saved that surprise for when I made a slight turn to the right on this very narrow out and back rectangle loop. I took a look at my watch as I started heading back to the start/finish and it said something around 14 minutes. I am pretty sure I smiled in the water not only because I was really excited about my 6th Ironman in Lake Placid (especially since I went from extremely nervous to very calm and relaxed) but I felt like this was the day I could release my inner nemo. 

As I swam back to shore I was careful to not go too hard. The water was smooth and I continued to stay to the outside of the buoys to get cleaner water. I still wanted to draft off other swimmers but I was careful to not get too close to the cable under water as I knew that battling flying arms would only get me out of my rhythm with my stroke. 

The buoys were going by really quickly and all I could remember was the breakthrough big swim set I did in prep for the IM, alongside putting all those individual workouts together for this one very special day. #4, #5, #6....the first loop was almost complete and as I spotted ahead of me, I could see spectators and the dock. #7, #8....I was so tempted to look at my watch and I gave myself permission after #9.....

But I resisted. Just stay steady, I kept thinking to myself. 

I made my way out of the water and ran onto the shore as I cleared my goggles with my fingers. It felt really great to stand up and get some air into my lungs and when I saw 29 minutes on my watch, I got super excited. So excited that I sprinted through the start banner and dove into the water for my 2nd loop. 

Did I really just swim 1.2 miles in 29 minutes and I made it feel easy? 

The 2nd loop was a bit more congested compared to the first due to the seeded start but I didn't let it get to me because I knew I could still have a good swim to start my journey of 140.6 miles. As much as I wanted to pick up the pace, I kept reminding myself that this was a very long day and I can't win anything in the swim. 

I found several pink caps around me which was comforting knowing that I was swimming strong and around similar fitness abilities. As I neared buoy #9, I couldn't believe that I was making my last two right hand turns to finish my 6th IM swim!

I looked at my watch again and I think it was around 46 minutes. I was starting to battle swimmers who were on their first lap but I didn't get frustrated. I coach newbie triathletes, my hubby is competing in his first tri and I know I was not always a great cyclist when I started. We must always respect those who are learning new skills for we have all been there, done that in some way or another.

As I found a few open patches, I looked at my watch one last time. I can't remember what buoy I was at but my watch said 56 minutes. I didn't get frustrated but instead, I gave myself permission to go for it. I picked up the pace, careful to not waste any energy in my legs that I needed for 112 miles of cycling and 26.2 miles of running but I found myself catching the water a little stronger and really focusing on getting to where I wanted to be...as fast as possible.

I started swimming toward the shore and I tried to stand up when I saw others standing....ok, 5 feet tall Marni has a ways to go. I kept on swimming and looked at my watch as I tried to stand again.

1 hour. 

YIPPEE!! But of course, there was a few steps to the arch to stop my timing chip and my final time read 1:01:02. 

Oh well. I'll take it as I felt amazing and I was super excited to get on my bike and anxiously await Karel zooming past me somewhere on the bike to tell him about my swim and to hear about his swim. 

As I ran toward the strippers, I took my arm sleeve over my Garmin and then unzipped my wetsuit and removed the sleeves and pulled it down to my waist. I had my Trimarni kit (cycling shorts and zipper jersey), HR monitor and CEP calf sleeves under my wetsuit and slathered in body glide spray and my timer chip on my ankle (with a safety pin to secure), my body marked body was revealed as I laid on the ground with my feet up for the strippers to pull off my wetsuit. 

I said thank you to the volunteers and ran down a long carpeted chute to the transition area.....it didn't seem very long because the spectators were lined along the chute and cheering loudly for all of us swimmers. 

I noticed that many people had rain coats on and all of a sudden it occurred to me that it was raining! Oh boy, this is going to be an interesting start to the race....just stay calm and focused. 

I ran toward the transition bags and grabbed my T1 bag w/ my cycling gear. 
-helmet (not aero helmet but my regular training helmet which I love)
-Oakley Commit sunglasses
-Pill container (back up pills, electrolytes, endurance aminos, tums)
-Pill packets (electrolytes and aminos) in a baggie
-Gel flask (300 calories of Hammer heed espresso)
-Socks
-Cycling shoes

As I ran to the transition area, there were a few women in the tent (age groupers and pros) and two volunteers dumped out my bag which included separate large zip lock bags for my gear items. As usual, the volunteers were amazing and as I put on  my socks and shoes, one volunteer put my nutrition in my pockets (gel flask in right pocket and pills in left - I asked her to do this and she did it perfectly) and the other put my helmet on my head. Done! What a quick transition and it was exactly as I had visualized. 

I said thank you and ran out of the tent to the end of the transition area and to my bike. 
Transition time: 4:36

A volunteer handed me my bike, I said thank you and powered my Garmin 500 (turned it on) and ran toward the mount line.

I couldn't believe that I was mounting my bike with two professional women around me but I bottled in those thoughts as I felt like this day was going so great....I hadn't even raced more than 2.4 miles and with 112+ 26.2 miles to go, I really didn't want the day to end. As I always say, all that training just for a one day event.

My bike was wet but that was fine. Karel put great bar tape on my bike which made me feel good considering the technical descends and turns heading out of transition. 

And before I knew it, I was on my bike and excited to see if all that bike training, sitting on Karel's wheel, had paid off......

112 miles...here I come!



A little about Karel's race, he felt really good and had no major issues in the first loop. He found the 2nd loop to be a bit busy for him but he stayed calm. Karel said his biggest mistake was having trouble getting off his wetsuit, especially the arms over his Garmin. He said he was really frustrated by the wetsuit but he was able to move on quickly and remind himself that his major goal during the swim was to just swim efficient so he could get on the bike and have 5+ hours to be in his comfort zone. Karel's transition was 6:59 due to the added time from the strippers and him struggling with his wetsuit so although a rookie mistake, Karel still had a great swim considering that he just learned to train for swimming just 13 months ago.
Karel ended up swimming 1:10.20 which I find so funny considering that I swam 1:01.02!! Crazy to just move around the numbers and we swam the same time!!

Here is a great video of the swim start that I found on the internet:




Overcoming open water swimming fears: TIPS

Marni Sumbal

A few pictures taken by my official photographer (Dad) at the 2011 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. 





A few weeks ago I was approached by Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point (via Erin D from Twitter) who was looking for a triathlon coach for her very first half Ironman. Gotta love social media for connecting passionate athletes who share similar lifestyles. I'm excited that another coach-athlete relationship was born!

Since I am filled with one-on-one coaching athletes for the year due to the time it takes to review training files, modify workouts on Training Peaks and get my athletes race ready with race/nutrition plans, Caitlin is using one of my pre-built 12-week Half Ironman plans (a new service that I have not yet promoted via my website) where I can help her with determining training zones and providing feedback on a monthly basis, along with tips along the way.

In exchange, Caitlin is using her social media outlets to provide information to other newbie athletes in all areas of her prep as she gears up for Ironman 70.3 Miami. I absolutely love helping newbie athletes learn the proper skills, nutrition and tips training for a triathlon or running event so I am so excited for the next few months to share several of my tips from nutrition to training (and everything in between).

Caitlin had several athletes recently ask her about open water swimming so she sent along some questions to me for me to answer and viola! She put together a fabulous blog post with my responses and a few great pictures to inspire us all.

OWS (Open Water Swimming) can be a combination of mental fears as well as physically being unable to swim efficiently in open water. It’s important to recognize that the only way to be a better OWS swimmer is to practice and to address both strengths and weaknesses.

To read more, check out the entire blog post and feel free to email me or leave a comment on Caitlin's blog for future blog posts.
Ask the tri coach: overcoming open water fears


How to race a triathlon....swim efficiently, pace yourself on the bike and run smart to your finish line!

Pear-berry oatmeal, IM-prep swim set, Trimarni "summer" checklist

Marni Sumbal


Pear-berry oatmeal

1/2 cup oats (dry)
1/2 small pear (chopped)
1/2 cup blueberries
1 tbsp ground flax or chia seeds
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp (about) red currants (or raisins)
~10g protein powder (optional: whey, vegan, soy -to help slow down digestion and to promote satisfaction for a few hours)
Water or milk to meet consistency needs

1. Mix ingredients together in large tall bowl (Recommend a tall bowl as oppose to a wide bowl which will help prevent spilling over, although watch for rising oatmeal).
2. Add water/milk (liquid) to almost cover the dry ingredients (leave about an inch or so not covered. if not using protein powder, cover 3/4ths dry ingredients)
3.Stir well with a spoon (especially if adding protein powder)
4. Microwave (uncovered) for 1 minute, then stir.
5. Continue to microwave in 45 second intervals until oatmeal meets your consistency needs (it may get more thick the longer you microwave. I like my creamy so I typically microwave around 2:15). 


This morning swim set was the perfect way to start my day before working at the hospital. I followed swim with hip strength which I do 3x's a week (Mon, Wed and Fri) as well as hip work daily (ex. clams, bridges, hip hikes, McKenzie moves). 
This set was exactly what I needed for mind and body to finish another GREAT week of training (can't wait for the weekend!).
 I always feel a boost in swim confidence when I do repeating 100's on a cycle and I have always incorporated them into my IM training for the last 8 weeks or so of my peak training (typically on a Friday either as a short "intense" set or within a longer distance set.
Doing repeating 100's is a great way to increase your anaerobic threshold without compromising form so long as you take advantage of recovery. Depending on your comfort in the water, you may need to lessen the number of 100's that you do. For example, rather than doing 4 x 100's on a cycle like I did, try 2 x 100's trying to keep the same cycle. Then work your way up to 3 and then 4. The key is to make sure you are only resting "just enough" so that you compromise your respiratory system just a bit to raise that threshold. You don't want to fatigue too early in the set so be sure you pace yourself. With this set, you are able to be more consistent as the workout goes on without letting fatigue destroy your form or exhaust you from finishing the set if you were to just swim "fast" for a 2000 or to swim steady and not make progress to getting faster in the water.  In an Ironman you do not have to be "fast", you have to be efficient so if you are new to swimming or uncomfortable in the water, keep on working on your form and endurance and limit the speed work to once a week and within a "short" workout. 

5100 yard IM-prep workout
4 x 500's warm-up (odd swim, even pull w/ paddles - try to be steady on these)
100 backstroke recovery
Main set: 20 x 100's
Perform the main set like this: 4 x 100's with 10 seconds rest (keep the same cycle - for ex. I did these on 1:30 and was holding ~1:18-1:19 per 100), then do 1 x 100 EZ backstroke recovery (take a total of 3 minutes rest OR double your interval for the fast).
Repeat this cycle of 4 x 100's fast, 1 x 100 EZ for four times for a total of 20 x 100's. 
Optional: 500 pull  w/ paddles - work on stretching out the stroke
Optional: 400 choice
100 cool down


Training, exercising or racing this weekend? 


Don't forget your Trimarni checklist for outdoor activities in the heat: 
-Water
-Electrolytes
-Sport drinks w/ carbohydrates (for workouts/exercising over an hour)
-Sunscreen (SPF 30+, broad sp...ectrum)
-Sunglasses
-Wicking clothing 
-Visor/hat
-Recovery drink/food
-Towel
-A smart game plan (adjust intensity as needed)
-Recovery compression/ice


Endurance swim set and tofu pistachio stir-fry

Marni Sumbal



What a beautiful meal to fuel my body last night!

For the tofu, spritz your pan on medium heat with olive or sunflower oil. Cube firm tofu and cook until golden brown, tossing lightly occasionally to prevent sticking. Season with turmeric and rosemary and a pinch of salt.

My meal creation also included arugula, mixed greens, red bell pepper, tomatoes, pistachios and brown rice.

To make this your own creation:
Choose your leafy greens
Choose 2-4 types of veggies (or fruit/veggie)
Choose your type of protein ~20 grams (you can have a mix of protein)
Choose your type of whole grain or starch (ex. potatoes, noodles)
Choose your type of nut/seed
Top with your choice of dressing, oil or salsa


 
 
Ironman-focused Endurance set:
1650 warm-up - nice and steady.
150 backstroke - EZ/recovery
Pre-set: 10 x 100's w/ paddles and buoy w/ 10 seconds rest (I did them on 1:35) - 80% effort, focus on reaching and catching the water.
150 backstroke - EZ/recovery
Main set: 5 x 300's broken
(150 @ IM pace, rest 5 seconds. 150 @ half IM pace - the focus is on pacing yourself) w/ 30 sec rest ( I did these on ~4:50)
500 with paddles - breathing every 3 strokes, nice and steady.
50 cool down backstroke
Total: 5000 yards

Endurance swim workout, beets and sport nutrition articles

Marni Sumbal


It's not hard to get me in a pool at 6am in the morning. I have been "a swimmer" for almost 20 years and I don't think I have gone more than 2 weeks without swimming in the past 20 years. I love being in the water - it's my comfort zone. Sure, I have my ups and downs with swimming and some weeks I am ON and have great workouts and others, I'm just happy I am in the water and still enjoying swimming. But, I'm sure you will agree that a new swimming accessory makes it easy to get excited for a workout.

Thanks Nootca for sending me and Karel new swim caps. I absolutely love silicone swim caps because they fit well and don't break like the other "racing" caps out there. This cap fits my head perfectly so I think if you have a larger head, this cap may be a bit tight or won't fit around your ears properly. However, I feel this cap will fit most people and you will really like it.

The swim set was great today at Master Swimming - just what I needed. Lots of variety and yards. 

1000 warm-up - stretch it out

Main set 2x's:
(rest as needed)
Kick:
200 EZ
150 moderate
100 fast
50 all out

Pull:
200 EZ
150 moderate
100 fast
50 all out

Swim:
200 EZ
150 moderate
100 fast
50 all out

100 cool-dowtn. (I did an extra 400 as I was having one of those days and wasn't ready to get out to start my strength training). 

Total yards above: 4100
(if you are a new swimmer or training for shorter distance, I recommend 500 warm-up and do only 1 round of main set for a 2100 main set)

I have a few articles published that I wanted to share with you for your reading pleasure. As always - send an email if you have any questions on a topic or individual concern to Trimarnicoaching@gmail.com:

Inside Scoop on Sport Nutrition

Triathlete's Kitchen - BEETS (my new monthly column on Ironman.com)

(in case you missed it - my beet smoothie recipe.)

Train Smarter to Reach Success Faster




Lastly.....I am SO excited about this!!!

Are you in the Southern California, Boulder, or Dallas area and interested in becoming an Oakley Women Brand Ambassador? Oakley is giving 200 lucky winners the opportunity to attend an exclusive VIP Oakley Progression Session, in which they will be on the search for our newest ambassadors.

Visit Shape.com/Oakley for details on the Oakley Progression Session events in these areas and to enter for your chance to win! 

I look forward to seeing you there and having you take part in my nutrition seminar, along with an awesome yoga session with the amazing Lacey Calvert and Cari Shoemate to lead you in an awesome boot camp class. I am so lucky to be an ambassador with the other inspiration Oakley Women ambassadors and I hope you can be one too!

Endurance swim, pasta creation and upcoming talk

Marni Sumbal

Looking forward to a busy day tomorrow (FRI). Swim, strength, work at the hospital and then speaking at the Jacksonville Running Company (Tapestry Park) along with Heartland Rehab, about maintenance and recovery at 6:30-7:30pm. I will be speaking with 110% Play Harder to talk about how I value recovery after training and how recovery gear (like 110% and compression) has  made a big impact in my success (and health) as a competitive athlete. Karel is racing on his road bike this weekend - 4 races in two days! I won't be going to watch so I will be awaiting anxiously (like always) for his call that all went well and he enjoyed his suffering :)

Wednesday was a tough swim! The pool was packed and I found myself stuck between too lanes...not quite fast enough to keep up with the fast guys but still wanted to be pushed. I had a great workout and the main set was exhausting!

Main set 2x's:
4 x 200's steady pace (on 3 minutes)
800 steady
50 EZ
Then repeat

With a main set of 3300 yards, our 4000 yard workout went by rather quickly. I was a little tired after swim for my plyometrics but surprisingly, I had a good strength training session. I walked a little slow out of the gym but recovery quickly with a yummy smoothie when I got home.

Last night's dinner was exactly what my belly needed....YUM!

Time to throw away the off-limit food list and learn how to prepare balanced, portioned controlled meals. Tonight's yummy creation: Roasted chunky veggies (eggplant, mushrooms and zucchini w/ garlic) to fill my dinner bowl. All topped with marinara and 1 cup pasta noodles and a little shredded cheese. Instead of having pasta w/ veggies, try a plant-strong meal of veggies topped with pasta. Same flavors but a belly that feels satisfied after eating a portioned controlled meal.


Pasta noodles
Eggplant
Zucchini
Mushrooms
1-2 cloves garlic
Marinara
Spices/herbs to your taste
Shredded cheese
1. Grill the veggies either in the oven (cut in thick slices, tossed in a little olive oil - be careful, eggplant loves to soak up olive oil!) at 425 degrees or stove top on medium heat in skillet until golden brown. Chop garlic and serve raw for more intense flavor. 
2. Cook pasta, drain water and portion 1 cup serving per person (give or take 1/4-1/3 cup). 
3. In a shallow bowl, serve a large portion of veggies, top with serving of pasta and spoon in a little marinara and cheese and toss. 


No need to go into a meal starving when you can make an appetizer salad in less than 5 minutes. This is helpful not only when you one home from work hungry but also to help with portion/craving control when eating outside the home. 20-40 min before your meal enjoy a nutrient dense appetizer: mixed greens, leeks, pre-sliced carrots, strawberries, baby tomatoes, raisins and pumpkin seeds.



Triathlete swim advice & Kiefer backpack product review

Marni Sumbal

If you are currently training for a triathlon event and wanting to improve your swimming, the most important thing you can do right now is to get into the water.

Depending on where you live (weather), pool times and accessibly and overall motivation to jump into water, only to swim the exact same distance, over and over again for x-amount of time, it's likely that many of you will put off swimming until you start to freak out that it is time to start working on your swimming.

As a coach, I call this fear-based-training and it isn't limited to the triathlete who is not comfortable in the water. Fear based training also applies to individuals who do an excessive amount of mileage or volume on the weeks leading up to a race because of the fear of not feeling prepared and thus, the need to "test" themselves that they are physically prepared for race day. Sadly, they end up wasting their best performance in training and end up feeling overtrained, on the verge of injury and inefficient with race day pacing all because of overlook key opportunities to work on skills, drills and efficiency.

I personally couldn't imagine my life without swimming. It is my favorite thing to do to clear my mind and to zone out and I feel very natural in the water. This was not the case when I started riding my first triathlon bike as it took many years to learn how to feel "one" with my bike.

If you are a new swimmer or someone who constantly feels sloppy in the water (regardless of swim speed/pace), it's important to not rush the process of drills and skills. Rather than testing yourself with speed sets and trying to get in x-yardage per workout, focus on time-based swimming whether it is 20 minutes or an hour. There's nothing wrong with doing a main set but don't let your focus on yards interfere with the priority of swimming with good form. The most productive workout you can do in the water right now is to focus on smooth, steady swimming. Rest as much as you need on the wall as no one will penalize you for catching your breath. Frequency is better than long distance if this works with your schedule. Rather than wasting 90 minutes, two times a week on long distance swimming or speed sets, the newbie or uncomfortable swimmer should be in the water as often as possible. As I tell several of my athletes "float" and "play" once a week in the water. This takes the pressure off of distance and time and instead, relaxes their brain as to a specific workout ahead that they may be hesitant to do due to lack of confidence, energy or motivation. Like any physical activity, once you get going, you are happy you did it. Use this time to focus on your catch, kick (from the hips), roll, bilateral breathing, hand entry and head position. Yes - so much to think about but it's much easier to dedicate 4-6 weeks NOW to skill focused swimming than to try to create the perfect stroke along with learning how to be efficient in the water (in order to bike and run strong afterward) along with trying to build intensity and volume at the same time 4-6 weeks before your key race.

As we all know, new gear brings new motivation.

Recently, I was contacted by Kiefer (not the yogurt) about reviewing one of their products. The first thing that came to mind was a swim bag! It's been a long time since I have had a dedicated "swim bag" and not a "gym" or "transition" bag. This instantly took me back to me back to my College swimming days and I couldn't wait to receive the backpack.

Kiefer Team Backpack

One of my favorite things about bags is all the compartments and this bag has no shortage of them. The bag isn't super large so it fits well in a locker at the Y when I swim. Also, since I do end up using the bag for multi-sports, it is nice to have mesh pockets, inside and outside small pockets and the large opening in the middle. This keeps me organized since I tend to be on-the-go a lot for swim, bike and run. The bag is comfortable (which is really important on the back - especially before/after swimming) and the quality of the bag is great as I expect it to withhold my very active lifestyle.

Another great thing..the bag is on sale!
Thank you Kiefer for providing me with this free backpack for me to try and use throughout my upcoming season.

A few other swim-related products in my collection:

TYR Women's Thin Strap Reversible Swimsuit: Black/Red


Depending on where you swim, how often you swim and the quality of your swim material, keeping a swim suit for more than a few months is likely impossible. They stretch, fade and lose color very quickly. Karel purchased this suit for me in early summer and surprisingly, it is still holding up in great condition. It has not stretched or faded and I love that it is reversible.

NOOTCA 207


Before Branson 70.3 I wrote about my new Nootca goggles that I loved instantly! Here's my review on them.


If you are currently training for a triathlon event and wanting to improve your swimming, the most important thing you can do right now is to get into the water.

Depending on where you live (weather), pool times and accessibly and overall motivation to jump into water, only to swim the exact same distance, over and over again for x-amount of time, it's likely that many of you will put off swimming until you start to freak out that it is time to start working on your swimming.

As a coach, I call this fear-based-training and it isn't limited to the triathlete who is not comfortable in the water. Fear based training also applies to individuals who do an excessive amount of mileage or volume on the weeks leading up to a race because of the fear of not feeling prepared and thus, the need to "test" themselves that they are physically prepared for race day. Sadly, they end up wasting their best performance in training and end up feeling overtrained, on the verge of injury and inefficient with race day pacing all because of overlook key opportunities to work on skills, drills and efficiency.

I personally couldn't imagine my life without swimming. It is my favorite thing to do to clear my mind and to zone out and I feel very natural in the water. This was not the case when I started riding my first triathlon bike as it took many years to learn how to feel "one" with my bike.

If you are a new swimmer or someone who constantly feels sloppy in the water (regardless of swim speed/pace), it's important to not rush the process of drills and skills. Rather than testing yourself with speed sets and trying to get in x-yardage per workout, focus on time-based swimming whether it is 20 minutes or an hour. There's nothing wrong with doing a main set but don't let your focus on yards interfere with the priority of swimming with good form. The most productive workout you can do in the water right now is to focus on smooth, steady swimming. Rest as much as you need on the wall as no one will penalize you for catching your breath. Frequency is better than long distance if this works with your schedule. Rather than wasting 90 minutes, two times a week on long distance swimming or speed sets, the newbie or uncomfortable swimmer should be in the water as often as possible. As I tell several of my athletes "float" and "play" once a week in the water. This takes the pressure off of distance and time and instead, relaxes their brain as to a specific workout ahead that they may be hesitant to do due to lack of confidence, energy or motivation. Like any physical activity, once you get going, you are happy you did it. Use this time to focus on your catch, kick (from the hips), roll, bilateral breathing, hand entry and head position. Yes - so much to think about but it's much easier to dedicate 4-6 weeks NOW to skill focused swimming than to try to create the perfect stroke along with learning how to be efficient in the water (in order to bike and run strong afterward) along with trying to build intensity and volume at the same time 4-6 weeks before your key race.

As we all know, new gear brings new motivation.

Recently, I was contacted by Kiefer (not the yogurt) about reviewing one of their products. The first thing that came to mind was a swim bag! It's been a long time since I have had a dedicated "swim bag" and not a "gym" or "transition" bag. This instantly took me back to me back to my College swimming days and I couldn't wait to receive the backpack.

Kiefer Team Backpack

One of my favorite things about bags is all the compartments and this bag has no shortage of them. The bag isn't super large so it fits well in a locker at the Y when I swim. Also, since I do end up using the bag for multi-sports, it is nice to have mesh pockets, inside and outside small pockets and the large opening in the middle. This keeps me organized since I tend to be on-the-go a lot for swim, bike and run. The bag is comfortable (which is really important on the back - especially before/after swimming) and the quality of the bag is great as I expect it to withhold my very active lifestyle.

Another great thing..the bag is on sale!
Thank you Kiefer for providing me with this free backpack for me to try and use throughout my upcoming season.

A few other swim-related products in my collection:

TYR Women's Thin Strap Reversible Swimsuit: Black/Red


Depending on where you swim, how often you swim and the quality of your swim material, keeping a swim suit for more than a few months is likely impossible. They stretch, fade and lose color very quickly. Karel purchased this suit for me in early summer and surprisingly, it is still holding up in great condition. It has not stretched or faded and I love that it is reversible.

NOOTCA 207


Before Branson 70.3 I wrote about my new Nootca goggles that I loved instantly! Here's my review on them.


If you are currently training for a triathlon event and wanting to improve your swimming, the most important thing you can do right now is to get into the water.

Depending on where you live (weather), pool times and accessibly and overall motivation to jump into water, only to swim the exact same distance, over and over again for x-amount of time, it's likely that many of you will put off swimming until you start to freak out that it is time to start working on your swimming.

As a coach, I call this fear-based-training and it isn't limited to the triathlete who is not comfortable in the water. Fear based training also applies to individuals who do an excessive amount of mileage or volume on the weeks leading up to a race because of the fear of not feeling prepared and thus, the need to "test" themselves that they are physically prepared for race day. Sadly, they end up wasting their best performance in training and end up feeling overtrained, on the verge of injury and inefficient with race day pacing all because of overlook key opportunities to work on skills, drills and efficiency.

I personally couldn't imagine my life without swimming. It is my favorite thing to do to clear my mind and to zone out and I feel very natural in the water. This was not the case when I started riding my first triathlon bike as it took many years to learn how to feel "one" with my bike.

If you are a new swimmer or someone who constantly feels sloppy in the water (regardless of swim speed/pace), it's important to not rush the process of drills and skills. Rather than testing yourself with speed sets and trying to get in x-yardage per workout, focus on time-based swimming whether it is 20 minutes or an hour. There's nothing wrong with doing a main set but don't let your focus on yards interfere with the priority of swimming with good form. The most productive workout you can do in the water right now is to focus on smooth, steady swimming. Rest as much as you need on the wall as no one will penalize you for catching your breath. Frequency is better than long distance if this works with your schedule. Rather than wasting 90 minutes, two times a week on long distance swimming or speed sets, the newbie or uncomfortable swimmer should be in the water as often as possible. As I tell several of my athletes "float" and "play" once a week in the water. This takes the pressure off of distance and time and instead, relaxes their brain as to a specific workout ahead that they may be hesitant to do due to lack of confidence, energy or motivation. Like any physical activity, once you get going, you are happy you did it. Use this time to focus on your catch, kick (from the hips), roll, bilateral breathing, hand entry and head position. Yes - so much to think about but it's much easier to dedicate 4-6 weeks NOW to skill focused swimming than to try to create the perfect stroke along with learning how to be efficient in the water (in order to bike and run strong afterward) along with trying to build intensity and volume at the same time 4-6 weeks before your key race.

As we all know, new gear brings new motivation.

Recently, I was contacted by Kiefer (not the yogurt) about reviewing one of their products. The first thing that came to mind was a swim bag! It's been a long time since I have had a dedicated "swim bag" and not a "gym" or "transition" bag. This instantly took me back to me back to my College swimming days and I couldn't wait to receive the backpack.

Kiefer Team Backpack

One of my favorite things about bags is all the compartments and this bag has no shortage of them. The bag isn't super large so it fits well in a locker at the Y when I swim. Also, since I do end up using the bag for multi-sports, it is nice to have mesh pockets, inside and outside small pockets and the large opening in the middle. This keeps me organized since I tend to be on-the-go a lot for swim, bike and run. The bag is comfortable (which is really important on the back - especially before/after swimming) and the quality of the bag is great as I expect it to withhold my very active lifestyle.

Another great thing..the bag is on sale!
Thank you Kiefer for providing me with this free backpack for me to try and use throughout my upcoming season.

A few other swim-related products in my collection:

TYR Women's Thin Strap Reversible Swimsuit: Black/Red


Depending on where you swim, how often you swim and the quality of your swim material, keeping a swim suit for more than a few months is likely impossible. They stretch, fade and lose color very quickly. Karel purchased this suit for me in early summer and surprisingly, it is still holding up in great condition. It has not stretched or faded and I love that it is reversible.

NOOTCA 207


Before Branson 70.3 I wrote about my new Nootca goggles that I loved instantly! Here's my review on them.

Sporti Power Swim Paddles





I believe paddles are a must for triathletes. They help with your catch in the water and developing stronger arms in the water. I don't use fins with my training and don't own a pair but certainly I used them all throughout my competitive swimming career. I don't feel as if they are bad to have or that you are "cheating" with them on. Keep in mind that the focus of swimming is FORM. If you are using fins just to kick faster to cover more yards in a certain amount of time, hopefully the form is not on the bottom of the list for the goals for the workout. These paddles are super cheap and I have had them for a few years and they haven't broke in the straps. 

Attitude Solid Latex Cap


Every swimmer needs a fun swim cap. I do believe that men and women triathletes should be wearing caps in the pool. Not to protect the hair but to get comfortable wearing a cap WITH goggles to prepare for race day. This is my favorite swim cap that I wear all the time. It's super comfortable and the latex will not (or should not) rip apart.

Any other swim-related questions? Just send me an email. 




2.5 mile Open Water Swim - Race report

Marni Sumbal



As athletes, it is easy to always want more. I was reminded of this at the 2012 Olympic Games when hearing reports (and pics) of athletes who appeared disappointed for 2nd place (silver medal). I'm sure for us "normal" people, we would be elated for a medal at the olympics - heck, even just the chance to watch would be a winning moment for myself

But oddly enough, I think we can all identify with the feeling of putting it the work with only one goal in mind. For that goal is the driving factor for every training session - the great ones where you wish the race was tomorrow and the ones when the mind and body were arguing like a bad relationship.

But for us, we aren't going for a gold medal but rather a personal best, a finish line or overcoming the odds. Although we may not be as athletically gifted as an Olympian, if it wasn't for "wanting more" perhaps we would just settle and call it quits.

I think we can all learn something from athletes who can express their feelings in a way that it is both inspiring and motivating. For the athlete who is "dissapointed" with second place is thinking to her/himself - "How can I get better, stronger and faster for the next time?"

Knowing that many athletes are grateful for the opportunity to be able to do what they do (whether it is a 5K, Ironman or an Olympic performance), we must remember that with ever great performance and with every not-so-great performance comes the ability to reflect, move on and do it all over again....but even better.

How many times have you finished a race and have been disappointed in the results? Whether you hoped to be faster, place better or if you are comparing it to old times/results, athletes can put so much pressure on themselves to forget about where they once where but also, where they can be in the future. Knowing that many athletes will put in the work, it is with this thinking that no matter the place, result or experience, you can reflect on more positives than negatives in order to learn and move on to something greater than you ever thought was possible.



After work at the hospital on Friday, I headed a  mile down the road to the Lifeguard Building to pick up my packet for the Hammer Head Ocean Marathon. Karel told me he wanted to do the 2.5 mile distance (as opposed to the 1.25 mile) for a confidence builder so I signed us both up.

We woke up around 5:15am on Saturday morning and left for the beach around 6:20am.
My only "training" for Saturday was the open water swim since this has been a challenging week and on Friday at swim practice, I could feel my body getting tired. Although I don't believe in "training races", there are very few opportunities for us here in Jacksonville to have a lifeguard supported open water swim so this was a "race" I couldn't miss. No need to taper before the race, however I considered the toll the 2.5 miles in the open water would take on my already-tired body and considered it a perfect way to change up my normal bike+run Saturday workout. I also realized I had nothing to prove to anyone after the race that I could still bike afterwards. Knowing that evey training session comes down to "what can I get out of this?", the swim was all that Karel and I needed that morning. And what a swim it was!

We kept our pre-training/swim sncks simple (oats, PB, milk, banana slices) but made sure to stay hydrated leading up to the start - considering that swimming continuously for over an hour means no hydration and no calories. That's quite a toll on the body.
I took 2 Hammer amino's before the race and 2 hammer endurolytes. I sipped on 1 scoop HEED before we boarded the buses at 7:30 for the point-to-point swim.
I had a FIZZ for post race from Hammer.

After we arrived, we picked up our chips and got ready for the open water swim (Karel's longest distance since the Olympic distance tri of .9 miles and his third ever open water swim).


Not quite a transition area and certainly a lot less stuff -my TYR speed suit, COOLA sunscreen, body glide, vanquisher speedo goggles and swim cap (provided from race packet).


We boarde the buses and Karel seemed cool and collected. I tried to forget the not-so-hot swim from Fri and reminded myself that it's all about what you can give for that day. I finished the workout on Fri w/ a smile and felt like I gave a good effort and certainly, finishing that swim feeling tired (as expected considering the past 2 weeks) was the perfect moment to let Karel know that I will be taking 3 active recovery days next week (Mon - Wed) to allow my body to recover with 5 more week left for Branson 70.3. I believe for my body, I do best with a 2 week "on",1/2 week "off", 1/2 week higher volume training plan rather than the typical 1 week recovery after 3 weeks of building. My body recovers quickly but I also train really hard so I need to make sure that even with my normal Mon of rest, I still need additional recovery after I go hard for 12 out of 14 days.

We traveled 2.5 miles down the road to the swim start. The water was refreshing but a bit on the cooler side for August in Florida. There was a large group doing the 2.5 mile swim and I saw a lot of familiar faces so it was a really relaxed and laid back environment. I suppose that's the style of the true swimmers - a bit too relaxed and comfortable at times.

In picking out those true swimmers, they were ready to show off their swim skills. As I powered up my garmin 910XT and set it to the open water swim option, the announcer was starting the 3 minute countdown. After the airhorn alarm went off, I made a straight shot to the first of only three buoys, made a left turn around the buoy and starting the loooooong straight swim to the pier.

With only 1 buoy on the course, I can only laugh at my garmin file. Nothing close to a straight line.....more like the look of mountain tops from a distance.

There was a mix of being around people to being alone and a lot of mental talk to keep myself distracted from looking at my watch. To make sure I didn't get overwhelmed with the distance, I didn't look at my watch until we reached 1.25 miles and then I hit the lap button: 34 minutes.

I felt good for the first 1.25 miles and decided to pick it up a little bit. I hoped for more of a push with the ocean (wishful thinking) but it seemed like the closer I got to the last buoy, the harder the ocean was to catch the water.

With lots of sighting, I felt like I was getting no where.....I kept thinking to myself "where is that stinkin last buoy!"

I tried to think about my stroke but when I looked at my watch and saw 1 hour, I became concerned as to how much longer I needed to swim until I got to the finish. I wasn't tired but with no 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run ....and no shiny Finisher medal, t-shirt and massage post-race, this was only a swim w/ no Ironman Finisher to boast about. Surely another accomplishment but 2.5 miles is a long way to go and from my Garmin, this was longer than was predicted.

Finally,  I could see the crowd at the beach. YES!!!
Errrr, that stinkin buoy was not in line with where I was swimming so I had to swim against the current to make the left turn around the buoy and then to swim home.

I enjoyed the little push of the waves to bring me to shore and I sprinted in the water to finish the swim and to run up to the mat to stop my chip.

1:13.

Ok - I'll take it. Not a PR but a great swim w/ no Ironman specific training. Plus, like most races - the low moments always seem to pass when I finish and I am always happy that my body let me finish.

After rinsing off my body w/ cold water, discovering many places around my neck where I did not put enough body glide (OUCH!) and re-hydrating, I spotted my friend Susan and her sister and Susan's 3-week newborn to come and cheer me on.

We walked and chatted for about 10 minutes and after they left, I grabbed a banana, Chobani blueberry Greek yogurt with self-serve granola and strawberries from the food tent and waited for Karel.

Worried that he would be exhausted and would not enjoy the long-distance swim experience, I saw Karel sprint up to the finish line (passing 3 guys on the sand - always competitive :) ) and in a finishing time 1:32, Karel said "I felt great!"

With no pressure, Karel just did his own thing and was smooth in the water. He didn't race it and he just focused on what he has been practicing in Master Swim practice for the past 4 months. I was so proud of Karel not only for his effort and great time but also for his attitude and really enjoying the moment and acknowleding where he was and how far he has come with swimming.

As Karel refueled and rehydrated, they started the awards and I received the cutest award for winning the 30-34 age group.  



After downloading our data onto Garmin and TP, Karel ended up swimming 2.75 miles and I swam 2.8 miles.

In thinking back to the beginning part of this post, I have little reason to be frustrated, disappointed or critical of my swim. I had a challenging 3 hour bike + 53 min run (both w/ intervals) today (Sun) and I realized why my season is going so well.

I make every training session count and I keep it focused and balanced. I have my race schedule in mind and with the quality training, I can have great race day performances.

Great athletes know how to train smart but they also know how to race smart. There are no second chances when it comes to making a good impression at a race but with every training sesssion, there is tomorrow.

Every athlete has the ability to be great. You mut know how to hold back or say no when it is necessary and you must know how to be smart and give a great effort when it counts. Don't ever think that you don't have the capability to be great and most importantly, to inspire others with your consistent actions.