"When you build a thing you cannot merely build that thing in isolation, but must also repair the world about it, and within it"
Christopher Alexander

The biggest challenge in triathlon for most of us is time management. The average day is pretty full with family, loved ones, work, chores, volunteering, and separating the recycling among other things - and now we are going to find time to train? Sure we are. That constricted schedule makes every workout all the more critical, and forces us to make each and every workout count.

Many struggle to get quality out of back-to-back workouts. This is magnified on the weekends when we often have to dedicate one weekend day to a long run and the other weekend day to a long ride. Whichever workout comes on Sunday will be of lesser value, due to the intensity or duration of prior workout.


Here are some key pieces to keeping the quality in your schedule:

> Designate only one "key workout" for each discipline each week. Separate those key days so they are not on top of one another. For example, if Saturday is the key ride day because that day provides you with the most available time, then don't put the key run on Sunday. Make Sunday a recovery run or swim, and place the key run on Tuesday morning. To that end, place the key swim separate from the key run and key ride, so that a priority workout is not followed by a priority workout.

> Mix up the weekend. This is true especially for folks going long (half or Iron distance). If one Saturday contains a long ride, then the next weekend's Saturday should be a long run. Alternate the focus so freshness is awarded to a different activity each week.

> Take an antioxidant. Stress (emotional, physical, any kind) causes free radicals that can jeopardize the strength of cells in the body. Antioxidants can help reduce free radicals, thereby speeding recovery and bolstering the immune system.

> MOST IMPORTANTLY: Eat in the window. I have read at least a dozen articles on this subject, and I have experimented with their varying suggestions. My recommendations are thus: Within 20-30 minutes after a workout, eat some foods with a high glycemic value (if you wait past forty minutes, you've missed the recovery window). These are foods that enter the blood stream quickly as "sugar", and cause a surge in insulin. In contrast to what your mother may have told you, as an athlete, this is a good thing. Insulin is responsible for replacing glycogen in the muscle cells and helping them to repair. Foods that are high on the glycemic index are: Corn flakes, carrots, parsnips, honey, Rice Chex, white rice, Grapenuts flakes, molasses, French bread, baked potatoes, and more. Then, sometime between 45 and 60 minutes after this workout, have a snack consisting of two things: Lower glycemic foods (lentils, barley, beans {kidney, soy, black, lima, pinto, baked}, tomato soup, pasta, apples, apple sauce, kiwi, and more) and complete protein. Only animal based proteins are complete (complete means containing all of the essential amino acids). Some complete proteins are loaded with unwanted items like cholesterol and fats, so choose a clean and complete protein like skinless chicken breasts, nonfat cottage cheese, mahi mahi and egg whites. If you are a vegetarian (and good for you if you are) then supplement those vegetable proteins with essential amino acids.