Archive for the ‘From the Source’ Category

Richard Ussher Wins NZ AR Championships

Friday, June 11th, 2010

rollos10prestartIt may come as no surprise to those following the adventure racing world, but when Richard and Elina Ussher enter a race, competitors beware. This past weekend, along with fellow AR friends Nathan Fa’avae and Fleur Lattimore, Team Subway stood on top of the box after 15 hours of racing in what could only be described as less than ideal conditions to claim the New Zealand Adventure Racing National Championship. Congratulations to Team Subway and Restwise athlete Richard Ussher for putting both another race win in their books and in ours. To read the full story cruise on over to Sportzhub or to Richard and Elina’s website for more information. Richard also wrote a personal account of the race here.

Cheers

RW

Teva Mountain Games + Restwise = Podium

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
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courtesy of Franklin Henry

Vail, CO is an outdoor mecca for athletes of all types and a natural choice for a competition like the Teva Mountain Games. With events for both professionals and amateurs, as well as music and art, it is more than just a weekend stop on a racing schedule. On Saturday both the women’s and men’s races were hotly contested and packed with Restwise athletes. On the men’s side, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski took top honors and added to his impressive resume which includes 14 National Championships.

courtesy of Franklin Henry

courtesy of Franklin Henry

The women’s race was full of the usual suspects. Georgia Gould, Amy Dombroksi, and Heather Irmiger all rounded out the top five placings, with Gould taking the win. All in all it was a amazing weekend for the athletes and Restwise as a whole. Seeing so many athletes using our product with success is awesome. Check out Georgia Gould’s interview about using Restwise and how her season has been shaping up.

For a full race report and photos, please visit Cyclingnews.com

Cheers

RW

Vern Neville: Sailor and Sports Scientist

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

sailing_fitness2As a long time rugby coach, America’s Cup sailor, and Performance Training Centre owner, Vern Neville has famously worked with some of the best athletes in the world to help them reach the pinnacle of their sport, as well as training to succeed himself. Vern’s main area of expertise is in developing high performance athletes by combining innovative training methods with optimum athlete support structures. When contacted to help develop Restwise, there was no hesitation and he came aboard to help develop the science behind the product. Having Vern on our side is an invaluable resource and we look forward to learning both from him and with him as we continue to develop the Restwise product. His blog excerpt covers many valid points and shows us the importance of quantifying the recovery state.

As athletes we are all aware that performance enhancement is the result of a balance between training load and recovery. But when to rest and how much recovery is needed is difficult to determine. The science of training/coaching has advanced massively over the past few years as has recovery protocols, but no one really understands how much or when rest is required for optimal performance, and as a result many of us end up over-trained or injurred.

sailing_fitness22The signs and symptoms of fatigue, stress and over-reaching in athletes are well documented, and despite the hundreds of studies and publications on identifying markers of fatigue and over-reaching, as yet no single reliable marker has been determined (although numerous have shown empirical evidence in specific circumstances or cohorts). In addition, there are few (if any) reliable diagnostic tools available. With this in mind, a diagnostic tool which has a combination of markers is likely to increase the accuracy of identifying an athlete’s state of recovery.

Restwise is the first tool to combine a number of evidence based signs, symptoms and markers of fatigue, stress and over-reaching into an on-line daily assessment tool.

1. Changes in resting heart rate
2. Sleep duration and quality
3. Changes in body mass
4. Blood oxygen saturation
5. Urine color
6. Appetite
7. Muscle soreness
8. Illness or well being
9. Subjective energy levels
10. Subjective mood state
11. Subjective rating of training performance

Friday Interview: Georgia Gould

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Resting, Racing Tips, and Chocolate Chip Cookies

courtesy of Dave McElwaine

courtesy of Dave McElwaine

For those of you who haven’t seen Team Luna Chix team member Georgia Gould race her mountain bike, you are truly missing out. The current National Champion in Short Track took some time out of her busy World Cup travel schedule to talk to us about her resting, her training, and most importantly her baking skills from her Colorado home. So sit back, drink the morning coffee, and do a mental check of your pantry, because you will probably be pre-heating the oven and getting your bike ready for a ride after this Q&A session!

RW: Where are you now, and what is your next big event?

GG: Right now I am at home (Fort Collins, CO).  My next big race is a World Cup in Offenburg, Germany on May 23rd.

RW: Since beginning using Restwise, how have you noticed differences in your training regimen? No need to give away secrets, but has your training volume changed?

GG: No, my training volume hasn’t changed, but I have become much more aware of the factors that affect my recovery.

RW: What other “resting” techniques do you incorporate into your training? Nutrition, massage etc?

GG: I eat a healthy diet- lots of fruits and veggies (but I allow myself treats too- important for mental happiness!).  I try to drink a recovery drink and if possible eat a meal, right after any hard training days or races.  When I am at races I get daily massages, and when I am at home I try to get a few massages a month.  I also try to stay well-hydrated and get plenty of sleep (at least 8hrs a night).  I also have a daily 35minute yoga regimen that I have been doing for the past 6 months or so.  Sometimes it’s a pain and I don’t feel like it, but I always feel better when I am done, and I’ve noticed a huge increase in my core strength and flexibility.

RW: What are your goals for this season?

GG: My goal is to win a World Cup race.  I would also like to win the National Championships and the World Championships.  Ok… I want to win every race I enter!

RW: Being part of a large women’s team and network of riders, including a impressive list of sponsors, do you feel Restwise is a tool that everyone can take advantage of?

GG: Absolutely.  I think that Restwise is a great tool that offers an objective way for athletes of all levels to gauge recovery.  Elite athletes usually don’t have a problem pushing themselves- that’s why they are successful- but pushing yourself too hard can be damaging and can result in overtraining and a drop in performance.  Restwise can be an objective voice saying “it’s ok to take an easy day.”  Untrained athletes, on the other hand, might not be as familiar with the physical and mental effects of training, and Restwise can help them to make sense of what is “normal.”  Restwise creates a climate where all users become more aware of the biggest factors that affect their recovery.

RW: I believe your teammate Amy Dombroski is using Restwise as well, have you had a chance to talk about both of your experiences with the software etc?

GG: We’ve chatted about it briefly. I think we both agree that the system is useful, and most of all EASY:  I have NEVER kept track of my morning heart rate (it always seemed like such a chore), but the Restwise pulse-oximeter is so easy, I’ve been doing it every day for months now.

20091031_BlueSkyCup_0020RW: Have you had some fun seeing your rest scores and adapting your training to fit?

GG: Yes.  It’s been interesting to see how the scores correlate to how I am feeling.  I have been racing a long time, and I like to think that I am pretty tuned in to how well I am recovering, but the Restwise system has made me more aware of other factors that affect recovery. Mood, energy level, resting heart rate, quality of sleep- these are all factors that affect recovery, and once you start keeping track of these things daily, you begin to see patterns.  Once you know what is “normal” for you, you can quickly spot changes and adjust your training accordingly.

RW: Are you working with a coach? If so how have they reacted to the Restwise knowledge you have gained?

GG: My coach agrees that proper recovery is crucial to becoming a successful athlete.  Restwise is one more tool (in addition to heart rate, power, and good communication) we can use to get the most out of each training session.

RW: For the average racer, say sport level, what would you say are some tips that they can use to reach the elite level? Training time? Equipment?

GG: It sounds simple, but the best advice I have is:

  1. Quality over quantity.

It’s not about mileage or hours per-se, it’s what you are DOING with your time.  If you have a full time job and a personal life, you need to make the most of your available training time.

  1. Go hard on your hard days and easy on your easy days.

On my easy days, I ride at “sitting-on-the-couch-watching-tv” pace- and I keep it pretty short, no more than 45mins-1hr (unless I am trying to “get the junk out” after a day of travel in which case I might ride for 1.5-2hrs).

  1. Get a coach.

A good one.  Look around, talk to your friends and talk to potential coaches to find out about his/her philosophy and coaching style.  This was the first thing I did when I decided to get my Pro license.  If you are serious about getting to the next level, get a coach.

RW: And what is this about your cookies I hear so much about!?

GG: I can’t say they will make you faster, but they will make you happier!

Here’s the recipe:

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (when only the real deal will do…):

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
14 tbsp (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao)

preheat oven to 375, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, whisk together flour and baking soda, set aside

melt 10 tbsp butter in a nonstick skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat, and continue to cook until the butter is golden brown and smells delicious and nutty (this step is what makes these cookies so good, so let the butter get good and brown)

pour melted butter into a bowl and add the other 4 tbsp butter

when butter is melted, add both sugars, salt and vanilla  and mix well

add egg and yolk and whisk well for a couple of minutes, making sure there are no lumps and mixture is smooth

stir in flour just until combined, then stir in chocolate chips (don’t overmix at this point)

place dough in rounded, 3 tbsp portions on cookie sheets (8 scoops per sheet)

bake sheets one at a time (they will cook more evenly that way) for 10-14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through cooking

cookies should be golden and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, transfer cookies to cooling rack

Try not to eat them all at once.

Ursula Grobler: Pulling to the Front

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Ursula Grobler is one of those athletes with a natural ability to excel. The hard minded South African knows a thing or two about overcoming challenges and a quick rise to the top of her sport. During a recent training camp in Bellingham, WA we were able to ask her a bit about her training and integration of the Restwise program.

Ursula Gold HOC picture

RW: For the new reader, can you describe briefly how you became involved with rowing and working with Carlos?

UG: A couple of things, I bought a single and wanted to train hard and keep learning how to row. I heard that there was a coach who just moved from Spain to Seattle who was exceptional. I had a dream to take my rowing to the top and believed I could do it, but needed help. I called Carlos and asked if he would consider coaching me. He first turned me down because I had no money to pay him, very little rowing experience and wanted to achieve Olympic level. However, we worked on a trade system where I painted a wall mural for him in exchange for rowing coaching, and that’s how it all began.

RW: Your rise to the top has been sudden, and I’m sure has brought about some hotly debated topics. What are some of the challenges you face with your critics?

UG: The unbelief in Carlos’s training that has catapulted my results is the biggest critic. Carlos has challenged traditional training systems and tested and refined new training methodologies all on himself and then introduced them to me. Critics are quick to say its my genetics, or blood or physiology, and although there was capacity to build upon, if Carlos did not hit the right training like he has, I would never have unlocked my potential in such a short span.

RW: Since your training is relatively un-orthodox, how do you feel Restwise has helped you produce gains in fitness?

UG: Restwise has helped to monitor our daily progress. It’s like a check and balance of the load done the day before and how to adjust the training for the next day based on the recovery, or non recovery. It’s made training more effective and efficient, and more personalized.

RW: Aside from the benefits of using Restwise, do you feel there are components of this product/software that help you become more educated about your training? If so please explain.

UG: As an athlete, you live so much in your body. It’s your gold, or where you make your money so to say. So working with Restwise has opened up another level of awareness to my body and how the training has affected me, from an outside, objective system.

RW: The value of having a resource like Carlos is immeasurable.  What unique attributes make you two a good pair for the coach/athlete relationship?

UG: Trust and ownership. Carlos has said many times, this is my medal and he can’t make me do anything. It’s my choice. So he trusts that I do my best always, and I trust his coaching with no doubts or excuses. The results keep things sustainable and proof that it’s working.

RW: What other training tools are you incorporating? Nutrition, machines, training philosophies?

ursula

UG: I’m a strong believer in nourishing for training, and follow a Paleo lifestyle, which means I believe not in processed foods, but rather being part of the process of preparing food. I supplement with Hammer Nutrition’s Endurance Fuels as well. As far as machines, we used the Rowperfect Rowing Machine and also the Shuttle System MVP leg press for dynamic power. We used altitude training from Altitude Tech, and also a breathing device called the Spirotiger from FACT Canada.

RW:What are your plans for the immediate future for racing? The Olympics are obviously the goal, but other races in the short term you are focusing on?

UG: We are building towards NSR 2 in Princeton (National Selection Round) next week in the double to qualify for the World Cup 1, 2010 in Bled Slovenia. This race is very important as it dictates which oarsmen and oarswomen are chosen to represent the US. Then we hope to go to New Zealand for the World Championships. I also hope to race the Holland Kings Cup in June.

RW: We wish you the best of luck this season, and can’t wait to see how much faster you continue to get!

Friday Interview: The Queen of Pain

Friday, April 30th, 2010

TourPatagonia_1549

We were lucky enough to catch up with three time world champion Rebecca Rusch this week for a quick Q&A about her training this season. Between trips to Arizona and Australia, she is hanging out at home in Idaho training, and more importantly resting for her next big event.

RW: Where are you now? Racing or training?

Reba: Racing and training, training and racing. I use early season races as training and a good gauge of where my fitness is. My priority races will fall in late summer, so this period of time is a building and training period even though there are races on the calendar. Next up is a 5 day stage race in Australia in mid May!

RW: How has the information gained from training with Restwise helped you accomplish your goals?

Reba: I have been using Restwise for about 2 months and at this point, my priority goals for the season are still down the road.  I can tell you that so far using Restwise has kept me much more focused on my sleeping, nutrition, and all things to do with recovery. It keeps these crucial factors at the forefront of my mind since I am recording them each day.  It has kept me more accountable and has also been able to tell me when I’m headed down the slippery slope of over doing it. My Restwise scores have already fended off a cold and helped me adjust training loads much earlier than I would have before.

RW: Recommendations for aspiring athletes in training?

Reba: First and foremost is to get a coach.  Even if it’s an online training program or a short term arrangement with a local coach, it is important to educate yourself first with a professional and get to know your body and your body’s response to training.  Everyone is different and there is so much information.  I have found it much easier to have a training program to keep me on track instead of just going out each day and deciding on the fly what I felt like doing.  Even if you are not a professional athlete and never aspire to be, having a training program will actually minimize the time you spend training and eliminate wasted workouts and keep you from spinning your wheels.

We all have busy lives, and I have learned that training for quality vs. quantity has been much more affective for me.

RW: What have been your biggest training hurdles?

Reba: My biggest training hurdles have been sifting through the sea of information that is out there and available to athletes. There is too much information to absorb and I have found it all very overwhelming.  It has taken years to tailor my training program, learn from mistakes and finally come to a place where I feel I can make educated training decisions.  I would not have been able to reach that point without a coach, heart rate monitor and training tools like Restwise.  Without measuring tools, there is no way to understand your body’s responses to training and racing.  Without measuring tools, you are just guessing.

RW: What do you feel is the greatest benefit from recovery based training?

Reba: The greatest benefit to me is that there is no guesswork when I need a rest day or do not need a rest day.  Instead of arguing in my own mind that I should be working harder or doing more, I can let the recovery score numbers settle the battle going on in my mind.   I also find it much easier to use the Restwise tool to measure RHR instead of trying to count your own heart rate in the morning.  The number is much more accurate and I am way more inclined to take my HR since the process is simplified.  In the past, I would forget to take my HR, or fall back asleep while counting.  I ended up with really inaccurate and missing data all the time.

RW: The beauty of Restwise is that it applies to any sport and for any level of athlete; do you think that this type of philosophy will become more mainstream for coaching purposes?

Reba: Absolutely.  I regularly send my Restwise graph to my coach and he can adapt the training program based on the numbers he sees.  If I’m quite rested, he can increase training load based on my adaptation to the work.  If I have low recovery scores, he can make adjustments for a day or two in the other direction.  This way the training program is customized and simplified for the athlete and the coach.  Instead of the coach and athlete having a long conversation to figure out how the athlete feels, how hard he/she is working, and the affects of training and racing, they can instead look at the recovery scores and relate the graph to the workout and training schedule.  It takes much of the guesswork out of the coach/athlete relationship.

RW: Thanks Rebecca for taking the time out of your schedule to answer these questions about your regimen, best of luck to you in your current season.

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Welcome

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Congratulations, you have landed on the official Restwise blog, a place where users and fans can read and learn about recovery based training and its results. Whether it is musings from races, athlete testimonials, or more scientific evidence and research, you will find it here. As our first foray into the blog world we thought it would be best to give a brief history of how Restwise came to be.

Founders Matthew Weatherley-White and Jeff Hunt are no strangers to competitive endurance sports, but they have to balance training with the demands of jobs, kids, travel, and, well, life in general. So they are always looking for ways to be more effective and intelligent in making training time count. From decades of experience as athletes and coaches, they knew that successful training hinged on striking the right balance between training and recovery. The insight that grew into Restwise was that virtually all of the focus in sport is on the training side of things. Power meters, heart rate monitors, GPS devices, etc. all measure the work component. But work simply prepares the body for fitness gains that occur only during rest, and it is only through adequate rest and proper recovery that optimal gains are made. So Matthew and Jeff keyed in on trying to measure the recovery side of the equation.

However making sense of the many physiological markers associated with rest is difficult, and drawing accurate conclusions from qualitative and quantitative data sets is a challenge. Matthew and Jeff knew that they could make a meaningful contribution to the endurance sports world if they were just smart enough to combine these markers into a simple tool that let athletes quantify their state of recovery.

But they weren’t.  So they pulled out the Rolodex and made their way to Dr. Vern Neville.

Vern Neville provided the primary Restwise scientific expertise. Vern has spent several years studying the science of recovery and advising elite professional teams on how to incorporate optimal recovery protocols into their training plans. He drew from his own experience and research, as well as the considerable body of recovery science to design the Restwise recovery algorithm, making sure it used the correct physiological markers, interpreted them correctly, and weighted them appropriately. The resulting proprietary algorithm allows the athlete to make more informed decisions about their training regimen.

Restwise is extremely happy with the end product and its level of success. Tapping their great network of friends and athletes, Matthew and Jeff were fortunate enough to get quality feedback throughout the development process. The end result is an interesting and potentially revolutionary way to look at training, one that has already made its way into the regimens of several of the best athletes in the world. So follow us on Twitter and check back often. Next week we will be catching up with Restwise athlete, three-time Mountain Bike World Champion Rebecca Rusch to see how her quest for a fourth world title is coming, and how her training regimen has been affected by using Restwise.

Cheers

RW