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December « 2012 « Mary Beth Ellis' Blog

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Archive for December, 2012

Ode to my new favorite training grounds: Cozumel

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Riding along the highway on the east side of CozumelI have been inspired to write this blog after my incredible time training down in Cozumel this November.  Previously I have been to Cancun and Playa del Carmen and wasn’t sure how the training would be in Cozumel. But I was astounded by the magical place that is Cozumel.

The island is a triathlon utopia.  There is light traffic through town but outside this small area out around the island there is little traffic.  In addition, during most of the 68K loop around the island there is an entirely separate highway dedicated solely for use by bikes.  As your riding along this bike highway, you look to your left and see undeveloped natural lands and to your right is an unobstructed view of the beautiful jewel toned Caribbean sea.  Not to mention the brand new pavement on this highway is like butter.

In addition, there is a running track and pool in town open for use by the public almost anytime day or night for free.  Unlike the US or most other countries, these facilites are open and accessible to all without requiring steep fees.  And most importantly, the local community is so warm and supportive.  The locals cheer when you ride and run past during your daily sessions.  This is the only place in all my travels were people actually cheer as you ride or run by while out training.  Unlike in the US or Australia where I have been heckled and yelled out while riding, here the people stop and offer cheer of encouragement as you ride or run past.  It is very special.

Running in Cozumel during the Ironman

Finally, this undiscovered paradise is easy to get to from the US and once you’re there the cost of hotel and food is very affordable.  It has all the benefits of Hawaii or Australia without the cost and all the budget-friendliness of Thailand without the long trip.  This is truly going to be the next triathlon mecca.  In ten years, it won’t be San Diego, Boulder, or Tuscon but Cozumel where the who’s who of our sport want to go for a training trip.

Come to Cozumel for your next training trip and you won’t want to go home!

Training Tip

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

In the winter, there is one tool that I use more than any other.  It is my trusty wind trainer.  This is one of the cheapest investments any triathlete can make.  I would recommend some wind trainer time even if you live in Arizona, California, or Florida where you can ride outside all year long.  The trainer is a great tool and only costs a few hundred dollars; although if you want a fancier model and have more money to invest the trainers with power from Cyclops or Computrainer are amazing tools.  However, the basic wind trainer is not to be overlooked for it’s utility and benefits to any athlete from pro to beginner.

Here are some the reasons I think the bike turbo trainer will help you improve:

  1. Simply there is no coasting or freewheeling.  If you are on the bike then you are putting out power.  This makes it like a flat ride into a headwind, which is also great for training.
  2. There is no risk of traffic.  You can put your head down and hammer away without having to worry about cars, lights, pot holes, glass, and any other obstacles that are on the open road.
  3. It is measureable.  If you are using power or speed, you can do the same session weekly and track your improvements.
  4. You can simulate hills if you live in a flat locale.  Using resistance you can simulate hills and flats to work on improving your strength and working at different cadences to improve your overall cycling.
  5. For an easy ride, you can work on your pedal technique doing one-leg drills or mix up your cadence to work on your weaknesses.

Well, best of luck in your off-season and hope to see you at the races in 2013!