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Eat. Train. Race. Travel.

Welcome to Athlete Food - our continuous adventure to seek out healthy food around the globe and at our own dinner tables. Hope you are inspired to get on a plane or get out the plates and cook a healthy dinner tonight!

Festive 50k: How I Took Up a Challenge to Stay Active After the Holidays

Festive 50k: How I Took Up a Challenge to Stay Active After the Holidays

After a long triathlon season that involved doing FOUR iron distance races and countless consecutive days of hard training, I really made the most of my off-season break.

That meant putting in quality relaxing time, spending time with family time, and I even caught up on my social life. I think there was one stretch in early December where I went to a different event or party every night of the week. That's unheard of for a professional triathlete, by the way.  Anyway, it was at one of these events, at the Rapha Cycle Club in Soho, where I learned of the Festive 500. This is a challenge where cyclist ride 500k between Christmas and New Year's Day. Outside.

While I knew that particular challenge wasn't for me (New York City in late December is frigid!), I was intrigued by the idea of doing a challenge to jumpstart my fitness for the 2018 triathlon season. So I came up with the idea to SWIM 50k from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day, or an average of approximately 5500 yards a day.  

Even for lifelong swimmer, that's a lot of yardage. Especially over the busy holiday season. BUT, I was determined to meet the challenge. The first few days felt great, but with about 3 days to go, the wheels started to fall off a little. I hit a low point of only 2,000 yards on December 29th. But with the help of some motivating training partners, I bounced back and finished strong with my fastest swimming of the challenge coming on the final day. 

When I posted about this on Instagram, many of you wanted to know more about what got me through this challenge and some of the workouts it included, so I thought I’d share. The workouts are at the end of the post.


Alert Caffeine Gum: this is caffeinated chewing gum for adults that provides a boost when you need it (which I may have needed a few times mid-set!!). One piece of Alert provides 40mg of caffeine, or about the same as half a cup of coffee. I can fit a pack of gum in my mesh swim bag and bring to the pool deck, an espresso machine, not so much! You can learn more about this gum here or pick some up from Amazon or Walmart and try it for yourself.

Good Googles: no leaks, yes! I like the blueseventy NR2. 

A pool that stayed open throughout the Holidays: thank you for that Asphalt Green. 

A new bathing suit: nothing like a new gear to motivate you, especially a suit covered with emojis! This is also from blueseventy. 

Good Company: Thank you to everyone who hopped in and joined me for a few (or a few thousand) yards. Couldn't have done it without you!!


Now that my yards have all been tallied, I can honestly recommend signing up for a challenge to anyone who wants to get a jump on their fitness. Be sure to choose something that is going to be a stretch, but not impossible. Also, make sure to rally some friends to join you!

Have fun and let me know if you need some company!


PS - I will NOT be at the pool tomorrow.  

 Favorite Workout

1500 warmup 

2x500 0n 6:00

2x1000 pull on 12

4x250 full buoy 

5x50 pace on :40

Final Workout - New Year's Day

Warm up: 18x100 (3 swim, 3 pull, 3 kick, 3 drill, 3 swim, 3 IM)

Pre-Set: 20x25 as 5 sets of 4 variable speed. Sets 1,3,5 free. Sets 2,4 kick.

Main Set: 10x50 best average swim on :60. Must swim 31 or under to count. 

                200 regroup

                10x50 best average KICK on 1:30, 200 regroup after.

Pull Set: 4x125 pull + paddles cruise on 2:00

              500 p+p FAST (I swam 5:25!!!!!)

Cool down: 24x25 swim :18 seconds on each. :25 interval



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