Sunday, August 19, 2018

Peaking and Racing

This is the time of the season when most people are peaking for a big event. Most likely, one you have been training for all season, or maybe even multiple seasons.

its a time a lot of anxiety and second guessing can take place, trust me I know. I have been there many times.

Think back to what it is you wanted to accomplish this season and why. Take a second to remember that while this season is important, hopefully it fits into a bigger picture. For example, I usually think in about 3 year increments for my athletes. The significance of this is only that the mission of the season should hopefully be to leave you as an athlete in better place then the year started.

So how do you do that?

Back in the beginning of the year I challenged everyone to create the “avatar”. This avatar can do everything you want to do. We want to create a list at the start of each season that identifies what we need to do to get on the same page as the avatar. The race is an opportunity to check progress. Hopefully if you hit them all, it will show. If you missed something, or did something wrong, you can fix it.

Please do not get me wrong. I am NOT telling everyone to not be a competitor. In fact, jsut the opposite. Im trying to get you to relax so you can get a true picture of where you actually stand.

I just watched on a flight to Chicago a documentary called “Strokes of Genius”. It was a story about Federer and Nadal’s rivalry. I know most of us have a rivalry with someone, even with just the clock. Without spoiling the movie what was amazing was each competitor’s internal drive to improve and excel.

At one point one of them facing defeat during a rain delay made the decision that win or lose, he would rise to the challenge. That his competitor may beat him, but he would not “lose”. How awesome is that?

Its no secret at one point Federer did lose. After winning 5 Wimbledon titles - lost. He was of course crushed. Then he realized, he needed to change his game. It needed to evolve. THAT is the chess match I have always liked. It doesn’t mean you cannot get frustrated. It just means there is something bigger than just the next race.

Check in with your training log. Check in with your coach. Ask yourself - “what do I need to do to evolve?” You may know your weakness, but it may take a few cracks at the code to break it. You should not turn that into a negative.

The other thing Nadal’s coach always told him was “good face”. He firmly believed if you are in a bad mood, you are not in a mental state to improve.

So get out there with a good face, and get ready to check in!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Save up to 10 sec per mile without training!

Save up to 10 sec per mile without training! 

How hard would would you have to train to take 10 sec per mile off your half marathon PR!? What would be the difference if you saved that on your run, or your transitions?

The spread of transition times can range from seconds to SEVERAL MINUTES. 

Outside of these issues, mistakes in transitions are usually outside of the prior stated. 

Setup -
  • Trying to make things too complex. Decide what you want in transition, leave the rest out. 

  • Be clean and tidy. Try to take the space you need, but only the space you need. Be respectful of people around you and realize everyone there is trying to do the same thing. If you need more space consider the depth for position of things, not just side to side.  Tuck away any straps or loose ends that could be caught in moving parts. 

  • I recommend not putting the helmet and glasses on the handlebars unless you are told to. My reasoning behind this is that we tell every athlete we coach to expect the unexpected.  Surely at some point your helmet and or glasses will be knocked off and you could be left looking for them. athletes running by with wetsuits and bikes is a bad place to leave thing gingerly hanging out int he open. 

Instead I always put my towel down, then my number belt, then my run shoes on top of the belt, then my helmet upside down, straps out with my glasses inside them. 

As I pull my wetsuit or skin suit down I gram my helmet and put it on as I step out of my suit. No time lost, and no risk. 

  • make sure your garmin is sync’d with all your power devices BEFORE you get to transition. Also I make sure the auto off feature is turned off. There are times, after sitting idle for a long time, the power meter will lose connection with the garmin. I usually recognize it right away when riding. Just power off and then back on, it seems to work each time

  • Be decisive and quick, but not panicked. If you try to rush, you will make mistakes, fumble with things end up taking more time then just being clear and deliberate. 

  • I recommend first learning how to take your feet out of your shoes coming into T2. Once you master that skill, you can then start working on coming out of T1 and putting your feet into the shoes while riding. 

*As a side note- When learning to put your feet INTO your shoes. I have always used the step over the top tube method. Meaning I know flying rocket mounts look kind of cool, but they are more dangerous and when you  are racing long course, a few seconds is not worth the downside to looking like a jackass in front of everyone if you get it wrong. 

Additionally, you need to be aware of when you will need to have your feet in the shoes, or wait until you should try based on the terrain coming out of T1. 

Coming out of T2

Look, if you need to go to the bathroom, or fix an issue in transitions - DO SO! I would never tell an athlete to try to “hold it”, or not fix an issue. Ignoring these, could in fact cost you more time then the time you feel you may save skipping it. Address these issues, and move on though. 

  • once you take care of what you need, the key is making forward progress. If you can put your number belt on while walking, do it. If you can adjust your hat, your jersey, eat your gel, whatever - do that. No need to stand still

  • once you start your run, I recommend starting with slightly smaller steps then you would normally take. This will help your legs transition

Be safe and thank a volunteer!!

Monday, June 25, 2018

CP30 Testing - What and Why

There is a general rule of thumb - what you can do on your own in training, will predict what you are capable of in a race. I believe this to be true. If I am honest, I haven’t tried to test a 6 hour run race at the 3 hour pace I gritted through in training a few times, but I think up to reasonable distances, and especially around FTP and threshold testing, this is a fair statement.

So if we know:
  • "CP" Stands for Critical Power or Critical Pace. In other words "The best effort you can do for" and the number is the minutes. So CP30 = "The best effort you can do for 30 min".  CP60 would be the "best effort you can do for 60 min." and so on.
  • what you do on your own you can do for 2x the duration in a race. 
Then consider this too

Anytime you DOUBLE duration, you can predict a 5% drop off in output. 

OK. So what does this mean when considering FTP tests on the bike? 

Lets remember true FTP is what you can do for an hour (CP60) in a race. So, if you did a 30 min all out RACE that would tell you your (CP30), which you would then must subtract 5% to predict a CP60.  

However, remember our rule above. What you ALONE predicts what you can do for double the distance in a race. So if you did a solo CP30 effort there would be no need to subtract the 5%. 

This is also why I do not like testing for 20 min. 
  • Most happen in a group environment, so you have outside motivation
  • Its not a clean doubling effect.  So even if you do subtract 5% its still going to leave you a bit high in terms of FTP prediction
  • A lot of people become good at “training for the test”. Therefore, its not a actual indication of their ME (Muscular Endurance)  

Monday, April 23, 2018

Time crunched? Returning from injury? You can still train quite effectively if you remember these three things!

Volume of training is defined by 3 things:

1. Duration
2. Frequency
3. Intensity

Too Often people spend too much anxiety just worrying about duration. Ask just about any athlete how well training is going, they will almost ALWAYS respond with this metric.

The irony, it’s probably the single worst indicator of success, UNLESS you are trying a distance for the first time. It doesn’t matter how fast you can go, if you cannot complete the distance.

Time Crunched:
If you are short on time, bump the intensity, and shorten the total workout. If you are training for a half marathon for example, as your coach for equivalent 5K run paces and change the set.

3 x 15 min @ half marathon goal may not be realistic on a particular day. However you could do 4 x 6 min @ 5K effort and get a great fitness response, just as an example.

Coming back from injury?
Use frequency. Shorten the duration, not only of the total workout but build in more rest intervals, to include even walk breaks to help build duration and increase overall volume. If you use a muscle 5 min or less for aerobic exercise, it's is a lot less likely to have sustained inflammation.

So 3 x 60 min runs may be a bit aggressive to return. Change it up to 4 x 30 min runs with a day between with 4 min run, 1 min walk.

Too often we get stuck in the ruts we are used to. Changing perspective and ideas can really help!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

What to do in the off season

If you want to take racing to the next level next year, you must get the off season right.  

That doesn’t mean you cannot, or should not take a break, but you need to use this precious time to apply some of the thoughts and adjustments you have been thinking about making to see how they affect things, with time to adjust if needed.  

I always love the offseason because I get to workout and work hard, but I don’t always HAVE to if life gets in the way, which it often does mid-season.

Some people like to put on a bunch of weight, allow themselves to eat whatever and not worry too much about – well anything. I get it, and it can be tempting, but even putting performance aside for next year, it's not healthy. You shouldn’t allow yourself to yo-yo so much with your weight. Sure, put on a few extra pounds, but the reality is the work it takes to get them off, the fact that you are effecting metabolic health and function, and let’s be honest, as we age, it's harder to get off later. That extra work to get back to even used to frustrate me. The extra weight when you start to run can be an injury risk as well.

For me, I would put a 10-pound limit on myself. If I got up to that much over then I knew it was time to dial it back for a bit and pay more attention.

In fact, after the holidays I like to do at least 1 – 30 day cleanse with Tanya just to get my metabolism running sharp again and put myself right back to where I need to be to have an awesome year.

You can join our community to get on our live chats to get tips and ideas on how and what workouts may best help you this offseason. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

To Marathon or NOT to Marathon

There is usually a large temptation to do a winter marathon but most triathletes. Sometimes they can be a great idea. You just have to know what the purpose is.

They are a great idea if:
-       You just want to run a marathon
-       You are trying to qualify for Boston
-       Obviously, if Marathoning or distance running is “your thing”
-       You are looking for a new goal
-       Etc.
I always try to get my athletes to reconsider though if they are trying one for these reasons:

-       They want to know they can run the distance for Ironman
-       They want to improve their running
-       Trying to lose weight

Running a marathon is almost a different sport then running a marathon off the bike. I know if you have never done either you will think I am crazy, but please trust me. They almost do not relate to each other. That isn’t to say running off the bike is harder. I have been more sore and tired after standalone marathons than running off the bike!

Running off the bike is going to be on average a lot slower. You will be hitting it with a lot of cumulative fatigue. For and intensities are WAY different, as is nutrition.

Trying to improve your running? It makes complete sense why you think the marathon would help do this, and it absolutely could. The trick is remaining injury free and allowing yourself to train the other sports. If you let your swim and bike go to the side too long, it will not matter how fit you are because you will bring us back to the previous point about cumulative fatigue. How many Ironman athletes do you see already walking at mile 1 or 2 of the marathon in Ironman? It isn’t because they went to too hard for the run, or didn’t do enough run training. It is simply because they lack the fitness and economy in the two previous sports. Consider that when training for the marathon.

Additionally, that hardest thing about triathlon is remaining healthy. With the increased volume (hopefully coupled with intensity at the right times) you open yourself up to more injuries. If you select a HALF marathon, you can do almost the same volume in training (less some long run total distance) but will not have the single day stress from the actual marathon day and must recover from that, allowing you to get back to training sooner.

A lot of athletes race into the fall. If you are trying to back up a marathon after a long season, it may not allow for any downtime.

Weight loss – I have spent time on this, and will again at another point, but trust me. There are a lot of overweight marathon runners. I’m not trying to be judgmental or cruel, just honest. You cannot out run a bad diet. If you really want to lose weight, talk to Tanya, she will help.  Start with what you put in your mouth.