Jun 042012
 

On Saturday, it was such a beautiful day that I decided to head down to the vintage motorcycle and scooter rally. Every year, there is a rally in Cincinnati where all the vintage motorcycle riders get together and ride to different locations, have some food and fun, and then show their bikes off. I didn’t do the ride, and I just had time to check out some of the bikes before everyone headed downtown to the MOTR pub for dinner, drinks and music. I’ve been riding motorcycles since the age of 12, and I get excited about anything that has two wheels. I thought it would be fun to check out some of the bikes of my youth, and I wasn’t disappointed.

 

There was a small park filled with bikes. A lot of enthusiasts came to look, which is why the streets are lined with bikes.

 

 

It was fun to look at the bikes, but it was just as fun to people watch:

I’m a Triumph and Norton fan, but these BMW’s look like fun!

 

I hope you had a fun weekend, and your training was good. Back to the electronics tomorrow!

For now,

Happy training!

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May 172012
 


 Hello all – As we hope you have noticed, “Fitness Electronics Reviews” is neck deep in reviews and we are loving it! We have been spending a good bit of time on the Polar H7 Heart Rate Monitor Strap and corresponding apps, we just finished a review of the Garmin 210 and are working away on reviews of other products. Today, however, I took a break from the GPS watch, software, and electronics reviews and put in a great cross training workout with my brother.

 It is funny how life happens, but all of the sudden you’ll look up and you live in Ohio, and your brother lives in California…at least that’s what happened when I “looked up.” Although from New Mexico, my brother and I both went to college in California. Our schools were about an hour apart so we got some great time together during our three-year overlap (I was one year ahead of him). My brother, Aaron, met his amazing wife while they were in school. After getting married, they stayed in California.

 The distance between us is less than ideal, but we make the absolute most of our time together – today was no exception.

Aaron and Michele got into town last night. This morning we got in a great cross training/strength workout at “Elmntl” fitness in Cincinnati. If you life in the area and want to feel like a kid again with your workout, and do so in a place that is a true “gym alternative,” please check them out (http://www.facebook.com/#!/elmntl). Kevin, the owner and trainer is awesome and he will push you! The entire workout is centered around a Parcours trail, where you run with logs, swing on monkey-bars, squat with rocks…anything there is fair game! I love it.

Aaron, James and Kevin warming up on the balance beam

James carrying a big rock between the workout stations (active recovery)

Aaron getting a good workout doing resistance jumps

One of the two FEB doodles. This is “Oliver”

As much as I love the workout at Elmntl, doing it with my brother made it that much more special. As funny as it is how life “works out,” it is just as funny how, when you are so close to someone, reconnecting after months apart is so easy – and doing so while carrying a huge rock around an “obstacle course” only makes it that much easier. Today has been a very good day. I hope it has been equally as good for each of you!

Aaron, Kevin and James

Happy training, everyone!

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May 042012
 


Trail running shoes
> Dress shoes.

 


Running Shorts & singlet
> dress clothes and cap & gown.

 This weekend closes a challenging and rewarding chapter of my life – law school.

Other challenges, namely the bar exam in late July, loom overhead, but this weekend will be one of celebration!

I started the festivities with a “hilly” trail run this morning, and I was fortunate to have a good friend join me. Cincinnati has been getting rain like I have never seen here, and this made for a wet and muddy run. I could also tell today that final exams, papers, etc. had taken a toll on my fitness. When I started the run, my legs were heavy and my breathing was hard. But, trail runs are one of my greatest joys and once I opened up the legs and the lungs a bit, I was loving it.

The run also triggered some of my “high intensity training,” as I found myself at my max heart rate often.  I can tell you that the run wasn’t extremely fast; and I would assume it wasn’t all that pretty looking, but feeling my legs and lungs burn was just what I needed. Enjoying it in the outdoors, on a trail, and with a good friend = all added perks.

My buddy and I finished our run with a “negative split” (which means that the second half of our run was quicker than our first). We met our wives at one of our favorite breakfast spots afterwards and rewarded ourselves with some great food & great coffee, and I enjoyed it all with great company.

Had a delicious breakfast sandwich @ Annabel’s in Cincinnati!

 

This evening my parents arrive from New Mexico. They will be here for graduation weekend and I am extremely excited to see them. The weekend will be busy – filled with a lot of fun times with many of my favorite people.

Despite the fun-packed weekend I’ll be sneaking in a few runs here and there to add to my upcoming Garmin 210 review.

Enjoy your weekend.

Happy training!

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Apr 272012
 

A few weeks ago I posted my first blog in a series on “high intensity training.” This is my second installment. Consider it part review of a great article in “Inside Triathlon,” about an uber-age-grouper, Sami Inkinen, who went sub 9-hours at Kona despite only 12-hours of training/week; and part “update” on my attempts to transition into a high intensity training cycle.

 

Update on my “High Intensity Training…”

As a caveat that I hate to give: my schedule has been so hectic these last few weeks that even shorter
durations of high intensity training have seemed impossible to fit into my schedule with consistency.
The exciting news, however, is that I just completed a lifelong goal and finished law school! The weeks
preceding its completion were grueling, though. As such, this “update” will be minimal – which likely
reflects my fitness progress. But, expect a proper update in the next couple weeks as my schedule
allows a more consistent workout routine.

My high intensity workouts thus far have consisted of multiple max effort spin classes at Studio S in
Cincinnati, OH – a truly amazing boutique style gym with top notch trainers (check them out: http://
www.studioscincinnati.com/), hill workouts, sprint work, and high heart rate trail runs around beautify
Cincinnati. In the coming week I plan to take my training to the track and do more speed work, threshold
work on the bike, as well as more race paced fartlek runs.

My initial observations are simple: I was losing top end speed, strength, and endurance when at my
highest (and ideally race) levels of exertion and speed. As such, I found myself frustrated with the lack of
speed I currently have. It wasn’t long ago that I could complete the Cooper test (3×6-minute miles), the
beep test, and repeat-300-meter shuttle runs (more soccer specific training) with the best of them. Now,
however, holding a 6:45 pace seems nearly impossible.

That said, despite a lackluster beginning to my “high intensity training” I am confident that it has a

place in my workout regimen. The feeling after pushing my body in a high-intensity 50-mile ride mirrors
race-day in a way that cannot be duplicated with a slow-paced 100-miler. Also, despite my lackluster
beginning, I came to notice that each subsequent effort at a faster pace (run or bike) felt better:
stronger, smoother, more natural.

Again, it is my personal observation that I can’t “race” at 6:45 miles, if I cannot even bring my body to
move that fast on a training day. The more I do it, the more natural it becomes.

Inside Triathlon’s “the natural”:

Source: http://triathlon.competitor.com/2012/04/news/preview-the-u-s-olympic-trials-with-inside-
triathlon_51584/attachment/it_fc_0506-indd I highly recommend picking up a copy

Shortly after my first post on high intensity training, Inside Triathlon’s May/June Edition read “RACE
FASTER BY TRAINING LESS” across the cover, inside was an article entitled: “the natural.” This very well-
written article by Courtney Baird chronicled Sami Inkinen a Finnish-age-grouper, and serial entrepreneur
who went under nine hours in Kona. The relevance of his success to this series is that he did it on 12
hours of training per week! The article also had me believing that this series is relevant.

One take-away from the article that serves to preface all of it was Baird’s conclusion that “it is possible

to go under nine hours in one of the toughest Ironmans on Earth [Kona], beating 23 pros in the process
off of 12 hours of training per week – if you are blessed with the genetics of Sami Inkinen.”

The importance of that sentence cannot be overstated.

My goal in this series is not to dissuade you from working out in whatever manner you feel necessary to
get the results you seek. Nor is it to suggest that 12-hours/week will lead to sub 9 ironman results.

To propose either would be irresponsible and unrealistic. Inkinen has genetics that we as age-group
triathletes, marathoners & weekend warriors dream of, but he works hard to keep that motor turning
over quickly. Therein lies the purpose of this series – do what you need to do to “keep your motor
turning,” maybe realize that “high intensity training” can do just that, and find some enjoyment as I
chronicle my training adjustment.

Inkinen finds success because he trains with “lots of intensity, maniacal attention to detail and number
crunching, and a fanatical insistence on recovery.” Add that to stellar genetics, and you have an age-
grouper who could turn pro if I wanted to.

Recurring themes in the article were Inkinen’s dedication to recovery & consistency in his workouts.
Inkinen listens to his body and trains to improve. In the article he says, “What I’ve been super-conscious
about this year is the idea that if I don’t improve in almost every single workout, it’s not because I
haven’t trained, but because I haven’t rested.” Baird goes on to say that “[Inkinen] rejects the notion
that you have to train through months of hard, exhausting workouts to improve…Instead he followed
the principle that he should literally get stronger and faster every week, if not every day, and that his
numbers should improve during every intense workout.”

Inkinen’s workouts are short in duration, but they push him beyond his “race day max.” For example,
Baird explains that “when Inkinen gets into the weeks leading up to an Ironman, he might do a workout
where he warms up for 30 minutes and then rides for 20 minutes just under Ironman intensity, then 20
minutes just at Ironman intensity, and then 20 minutes just above Ironman intensity.” That means that
in the weeks where a typical Ironman may be putting in his 100+ miler, Inkinen is on the bike for under
2-hours!

On his blog, Inkinen shared a typical training week:

Monday: Rest (or 30-minute easy swim*)

Tuesday: Bike intervals on trainer (60-90 minute)

Wednesday: Run intervals on trail (60-70 minutes)

Thursday: Bike intervals on trainer (60-90 minutes)

Friday: Rest Day: swim (20-50 minutes; easy run if time

Saturday: Bike “long” (4 to 5 hours with no intervals; social time with wife, friends)**

Sunday: Run “long” (80 to 90 minutes with intervals); swim if time

*Inkinen almost always finishes a swim with two to three “super fast sprints,” even on a rest day. He
does at least one intense swim per week.

** Inkinen did one six-hour ride before Kona last year

I find it amazing that Inkinen has achieved the results he has with this being his “typical” week.

My goal is to mirror this workout for 2-weeks and report back to you. As a side note, I am testing the
Garmin Forerunner 210, a GPS and heart-rate enabled watch that is proving extremely useful in my high-
intensity pursuits. Expect an in-depth review of that watch soon as well.

Happy training!

James

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Feb 162012
 
The weather in Cincinnati has been amazing (if you like warm) this year. The lunchtime run today was my perfect run temperature; 40 degrees and sunny. This means shorts and a short sleeve shirt, with no freezing or overheating. I’ll be happy if spring is warm, with no cold weather after March. Speaking of March, March Madness is just around the corner, which, if you know me, is my second favorite sports time of year (July Tour is 1st).

Training is going well. My run distance is on schedule. Saturday is the first club ride. The ride is called the Brass Monkey, and it’s up to 75 miles. I don’t know how the ride got its name; I let you know after Saturday. I think I’m in; just not sure how far I’ll ride, depending on legs and weather. Current Saturday ride forecast is mid to upper 30′s, with some rain. This year, I’m riding and racing for Studio S. They are definitely a great group of people. If you want to check them out, just click their logo in the right column of this page.

Stay tuned for the second part of Heart Rate Training Decoded by Jennifer. It will be posting soon.

BTW – We received more fitness hardware to test, so you will be seeing more reviews and information soon.

I’ve also been working on the site to make it a little cleaner and more readable. Lots of good stuff in the works.

I’m going to leave you today with two funny (at least I thought they were funny) videos that are circulating around the web. If your a triathlete or ultra runner, I think you’ll enjoy:

Ultra Runner vs Ironman

 

First Ironman

John

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Feb 072012
 

I’m headed to Toronto today, which is something I do about once a month for a few days. Half of my design team resides there, so I need some face time every three or four weeks. It’s a great city to visit, and there is plenty to do. Multisport is alive and well there.  So today, I’m just going to throw together some quick ‘happenins’ that have been circulating as I sit in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport. Yes, for those of you who didn’t know, Cincinnati’s airport is actually in Kentucky.

So, by now most of you have heard that Alberto Contador has been stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title, and he has been retroactively banned from cycling for 2 years. My question is “What does everyone think about it?” Here is Andy Schleck’s thoughts, who is now the winner of TdF 2010. It seems that many individuals think that cycling goes a bit overboard when it comes to banned substances. Hard to say. This is the third time the title has been stripped due to this issue. I’ll leave it up to people smarter than me.

I was sitting here scanning the web, and found that Geeky Gadgets had an internal picture of the new Nike+ FuelBand. Being the geek that I am, I had to venture over to the FCC site and check out the guts of this watch. When you file for equipment authorization, you need to provide schematics, users manual, and a working unit to an FCC test facility. Some of this information, like schematics and theory of operation, can remain confidential. Other items, like pics and manual, are public after a certain period of time. Anyway, here are some images of the internals of the watch:

From the product design point of view, very cool!

We have friends in Denver, and I wish we would have seen some of the snow that they had dumped on them. It feels like spring around here, with temps around 50 degrees everyday. We have only had a dusting. What is going on?

On the other side of things, hopefully there will be good weather in Toronto so I can squeeze in a run, and if time permits,  a strength workout. I need to learn how to eat better when I’m traveling. I’m trying to shed a few pounds, but between the steaks, seafood, desserts, and vino every night, it’s tough. Well, they’re starting to board, so I gotta go……………..

John

 

 

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Dec 232011
 

Well, I am now done with work for the rest of the year. With some free time ahead of me, I’m starting to think about race season. My race season ended in October, and I have been cruising through the last few months with the minimum number of workouts. It’s time to start getting serious about training. It’s time to put the plan together, start to schedule the races for the year, and start to drool over the new equipment that I think I absolutely need to make me improve my race times. Normally, I start hitting it hard towards the end of November, but every time I do that, I seem to burn out in late summer. This year, I’m trying to delay the start of more serious training until late December. This means that I’m at a little higher weight than usual this time of year. This may also have something to do with enjoying all of the the holiday lunches and parties more than usual, if you know what I mean. My usual winter training plan usually focuses more on the run and swim over the winter months, with indoor spinning no longer than 1:30. Our season around here starts with sprints in mid April, which includes indoor swims. These are fun, and it’s good to see all the locals at the races. May and early June are the Olympics, and June and July are the local 1/2 Ironman and full Ironman races. This year, I’m trying to get more weight lifting in to build strength, and more yoga and Pilates in to build core strength and flexibility. My wife and daughter both teach Pilates, so I’m taking advantage of this when I can. If you are ever in the Cincinnati area and want to get an awesome Pilates workout in, check out the Pilates Center of Cincinnati. If you have a great training plan you would like to share, send it to me and I will publish it. I hope you all have an enjoyable holiday season. Have fun with friends and family, celebrate, and get a few workouts in.

Well, I’m off to the gym to suffer. Gotta love it!

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