Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rouge Orleans 2011

FitBirds start thinking about Rouge Orleans 2012! It is an incredible ultramarathon race and a life changing adventure! There may be multiple FitBird teams organizing this year, so start twittering with each other!! This is a synopsis of 2011 and our video entry for an attempt to win a team entry for 2012.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Youth Paratriathletes Media Blitz!

The FitBird Falcons Youth Tri Camp has received a lot of media attention, especially in regards to our paratriathlete division. Thanks to all of the Falcon-Teers, sponsors, and community for supporting and encouraging both staff and athletes! What a rewarding experience!

And last week's media spot on the same group of athletes... FitBird Falcons prep for Paratriathlon/WGMB Fox 44. We have received incredible coverage and hope that race day will be embraced by the media so the youth will have some fame when they complete what they've set out to do!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Santa Rosa Training Camp Promo Video 2011


Time is running out! Register soon for Training Camp in Santa Rosa, Florida! This is great race preparation for the Santa Rosa Tri on October 1st, which just happens to fall on Coach Anne's birthday! (another reason to celebrate). Santa Rosa Triathlon consists of a 600 yard swim in the Gulf, an 18 mile bike along the beachfront, and a 3.1 mile run through some lovely neighborhoods. The swag is great, the food excellent, the setting serene, and the after party is, well... you have to see it to believe it.

Even if your season's goals do not include the Santa Rosa Tri, this camp will help build your base, teach you to swim in open water, improve your technique, and make your stomach hurt from laughing. If you've never experienced this kind of focused training, don't let it intimidate you. It is open to beginners and advanced athletes alike. Come challenge yourself, see how far you've come, and push beyond your perceived boundaries. There is no limit to what you can do!

For more information, or to register, contact Anne at 225.246.1731.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Preparing For the Athleta Iron Girl New Orleans Triathlon!

It's not too late to commit to a great sprint distance triathlon, coming up on May 22, 2011 in New Orleans! This all female event consists of a 1/4 mile swim in Lake Ponchartrain near the UNO Research Center, a 12 mile out and back bike along Elysian Fields, and a 3.1 mile run along Lakeshore Drive. 

FitBird Fitness shares a similar mission with the creators of the Athleta Iron Girl events which, among other things, is to empower women toward a healthy lifestyle!

For many of you who are about to complete their first Rocketchix race, this is a great race to follow up with! Both races are sprint distance and the Athleta Iron Girl New Orleans Triathlon progresses you into racing the swim course in open water. The temperature of Lake Ponchartrain right now is comfortably in the 70's and the swim area is along the beach near dry land.

We will be offering some opportunities for open water swim training between now and the race so there is plenty of time to get comfortable in the water. Grab some friends and head to New Orleans for an opportunity to race either solo or on a relay with other women in a supportive and fun setting!

Click to register and at checkout enter code: CCIGFBTRII to receive $15 off your registration.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Open Water Swim Clinics Coming to Lake Ponchartrain!

False River Open Water Swim
It's that time of year! Tri Season has begun and the water is getting to the point where even a wet-suit may feel too warm soon! There will be a number of Open Water Swim Clinics coming up over the following weeks to help you get prepared for your races this season. Whether you are new to open water or you are an experienced triathlete, you will benefit from the practice of a coached open water swim.

Santa Rosa Open Water Training
Coach Shawhan will instruct you on how to adapt your stroke technique from what you are used to using in the pool setting to an open water setting, as things like chop and current can affect your swim.
Clinics will include special drills for open water swimming and sighting, skills training for swimming with large groups of racers, tips on positioning yourself within your wave, turning efficiently around at the buoys, reading the currents, and getting in and out of your wetsuit quickly.

If you have never participated in one of these clinics, now is the time!

Swim clinics that are held in New Orleans are typically held in the "swim hole" of Lake Ponchartrain, on Lakeshore Drive.

Dates for upcoming clinics will be posted soon!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Learning the art of breathing is one of those things that is often forgotten in training.  We spend so much time refining our running technique with a never ending mantra of "relax the shoulders, quick feet, hands up, look forward,"... that we forget what is going on with our breathing.  Most times in the early conditioning stages of running, it’s not muscle fatigue that is slowing us down, it’s the tight pain in our lungs and the heart beating out of our chest that makes us question taking another step.

I was out running with a triathlete the other day and some light bulbs were going off in my head about her perceived exertion in aerobic training runs versus anaerobic runs.  During a 5km test run of mile repeats I listened to her start off breathing: in, two, three, four, out, two, three, four, and by the middle of the repeat her breathing became shallow and panicky. It dawned on me that she never fell into an anaerobic breathing pattern.  Instead, she stayed shallow, which in turn restricted oxygen to her muscles and then jacked up her heart rate which told her brain to slow down.  This is the perpetual pattern that many athletes face in their training and is often a breaking point in the mind.

In our daily lives while sitting at work in front of a computer or at home on the couch, we typically breathe shallow because we are unaware and very relaxed.  Once activity is introduced, learning to breathe with a deep diaphragmatic breath will condition the lungs and heart for endurance.  Take a moment and pay attention to how you are breathing just now as you read this article.  You are probably taking very short breaths in and out through your nose.  Now sit up tall, put your hands on your rib cage and take a deep breath in through your nose and let it out.  You probably felt your ribcage expand and your chest puff up.  Now, keep your hands on your ribcage and take a deep breath in through your nose, but don’t let your ribcage expand or chest puff up, but rather your abdomen ~ and then let out the breath through your mouth.  This time you should have felt your diaphragm engage with the breath in and the exhale released with force out.  This is diaphragmatic breathing.

When running at a low aerobic level, it is easy (for most) to remain in control of the breathing patterns.  The level of exertion is typically nice and relaxed.  When the pace picks up and we start recruiting more muscle, our breathing becomes labored as the need for oxygen to the muscles has increased.  This is the anaerobic threshold.  For most of us when this happens, our level of anxiety increases and it may put us in the beginning stages of hyperventilating if we don’t know how to control it.  At this point if we can’t calm the breathing back down we enter into an internal battle with our brain that is screaming for us to stop….and it usually wins and we end up walking.

Learning to run relaxed and to keep our minds composed during the change is a skill refined over time.  Think of your body as a train and it’s about to go up a hill.  The engine will be working really hard and thus needs coal (oxygen) to fuel the fire (muscles).  The better you are at diaphragmatic breathing, the more oxygen will travel to the muscles.  This will allow the train (your body) to not lose speed.

The bulk of our conditioning phase in running is done in the low aerobic zone.  As we enter into the strength and speed work phase our level of intensity must increase, pushing into the anaerobic zones (i.e. fartleks, hills, race pace, etc.). As beginner triathletes our mentality for the run portion of a race is just to run the whole leg and not walk.  As we progress over time completing a race is no longer the goal.  We want to race against the clock, our best times, for an age-group win, or for no other reason than to push ourselves as hard as we can!

During a race have you ever listened to those around you?  Are people talking, are they following a breathing pattern?  Are they relaxed? Are they labored?  Make a mental note to listen not only to the people in front or coming from behind but also to those going the opposite direction.  Have you listened to the pros go by? They are huffing it all the way!

* spelling is an inside joke….most of you know it ;)

Coach Anne Shawhan