Friday, December 11, 2015

consultations coming in!

Our Amp program is growing every day, its so exciting to see athletes really starting to take advantage of the included resources!

Here is an example of one of the athletes and what types of questions and feedback we help them with, included in the 59.00 a month price -

TBC,

I'm 36, I've been "dabbling" in triathlon since 2007. My overall goal is continuous improvement with my focus being on the general fitness the training provides. 

I completed IM CDA with a 16:19 time, IM Florida with a 16:18 time. I competed in the Rev3 Cedar Point in but had to pull out after 70 miles on the bike due to a knee injury. I ran IM AZ, finishing in 15:20. 

I ran IM UK but had not been training well and missed the time cutoff at mile 90 on the bike. This year I ran IM France, my training was improved but still not adequate, especially for the challenging bike route and I missed the time cut off at mile 80. 

I've signed up for IM France again next year (June 5th) and I'm considering IM Wales or IM Dublin 70.3 as well but I need to get my training on track before making that call. My goal for IM France is to break 14 hours.

As you can tell from my results I'm a mediocre age group athlete. This is primarily due to inconsistency in my training. I've been listening to the TBC podcast for a while now to help with my motivation and decided to join the AMP to get a little more guidance, motivation and accountability in my training in order to achieve that consistency.

I currently live in England and my work schedule is quite hectic with changing hours week to week and frequent trips. I can train an hour each week day and 3-4 hours most Saturdays and Sundays. 

I have a small indoor pool to swim in, not big enough for laps so I have a tether to hook myself to the wall. I have a treadmill and Computrainer as well. Necessities as the English winter sets in.

So that's a little bit about me. 


Thanks again for the help,

AMP member

Friday, November 20, 2015

Are you working hard at hardly working?

As triathletes we are used to working hard and overcoming problems. It’s usually an object of pride. If our FTP needs work, we work hard to get it up. If we need to get our pace down on the run or swim, not a problem, we work hard and try to make it happen.

When it comes to the weight room, we either skip that workout all together but if we do go, we want to win at that too. The issue is we start to incorporate muscles to help us keep up with what we think we should be able to do and in our defense, our bodies try to do it without our even knowing most of the time.

When our bodies try to help us by over compensating, this is how injuries start to creep in. This is what I have been learning over the past year.

I have had to recently get PRP in both my Achilles tendons. This stems from having calcification in both my Achilles tendons. The reason I have the calcification is because I have bone spurs on the back of my heel which rubs against my Achilles. The reason I have that… tight calves.

I’m sorry if that seemed confusing, but the point is just like the song says: “the thigh bone really IS connected to the shin bone.” When we get caught trying to do the best we can sometimes we can accidentally or on purpose avoid the process that needs to take place to make us better.  

Here is another example. My Achilles hurt for several years off and on. I would spend time getting them worked on so they would not hurt as bad. I eventually figured out that the calves being tight were what put added strain on the Achilles tendons. What I was not aware of was why my CALVES were tight! I was not using my glutes to run. I had become a calf runner. I was compensating with other muscles, over working them like my back, hip flexors, etc. All these issues were making my calves do more work than they are made to do.

I am lucky enough this past year to meet Gina, she owns Achieve Athletics, and Garrett who owns Champion Sports Advantage. As I rehab my PRP we are using this as an opportunity to work on areas that I need to get to fire. It isn’t even so much of a strength issue. I simply haven’t been activating the right muscles in the right sequence.

Below are some videos at how terrible I am doing this work with proper form. The task was to be able to activate my glute only to raise my foot towards the ceiling. I could do all I could do to just activate my glute! In a world where a lot of endurance athletes run to things like “Crossfit” because they want to work hard to get fit hoping they will get faster from the fitness, trying to talk them into this is a hard sale! This is why I have hired Garrett to work with all my athletes this year. Everyone can benefit from this.
video
video

Thankfully Garrett was able to demonstrate the proper form.

If you are interested in learning what you need to work on to get faster and avoid injury, contact us today. We will try to get you sorted out. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Never too old to learn


This year I turned 40 which unless you are my friends who like to tease me, really isn’t that old. However, I have been doing triathlon in some way shape or form since late 1980’s. So in that respect I am getting pretty long in the tooth with endurance sports.

This year has been one of my toughest years I have had, I have been battling injuries in my lower legs for several years, and this year they have really come to a head. I have calcification in both achillies tendons and something called Haglund’s deformity. It’s like a bone spur on the back of your heel that then rubs and irritates the achillies so much in defense the achillies build up calcium (bone) in the tendon and it hurts. BTW it’s really brought on from tight calves so as a side note, keep stretching!

I have had an amazing team around me trying to help keep me in the game but there just hasn’t been the opportunities to train at the level I usually do on the run in regards to intensity at all this year and it’s showed. I kept telling myself that it didn’t matter so much because at IM I didn’t need to run fast, I needed to run strong. That’s true in the race but I think my economy and motivation were really impacted. I think this was for several reasons.

At first I was pretty disappointed on how my season was unfolding. Last year I was ranked #1 in the World for the AWA rankings for 70.3 (although I would argue I was top 5 actually) I was at the top. This year, it was a battle all year. You race long enough, everyone will have an off time. This was my time. That being said, I really tried to take inventory of WHY and learn what I could so I could learn as a coach. I learned a few very important lessons this year.

First, I walked a lot in my marathons this year. A lot. I have often told my athletes who plan for this you have to plan for the walk, but I now fully feel the impact of having to walk. You HAVE to build walk fitness if you think you are going to walk. You have to. The muscles you use are very different. The only thing I could relate it to is it was like trying to ride a bike with a new fit on race day. Even if it’s a better fit, you aren’t going to be used to it and are going to be quite sore.

My father is a 14+ hour finisher. I would have him cut grass, work around the house, and then go start his run training for the day. I wanted him to practice being active all day. I still think that is a good way to get ready but please build some walking into your training. If nothing else if you are fit to walk you can walk 2-4 min faster per mile then someone who hasn’t! it doesn’t seem like a big deal but if you are going to walk 10+ miles its almost an hour faster.

The second thing I think I really learned is I have been too focused on Ironman for too long and the distance while very hard, isn’t providing the stimulus I need to keep getting better. It’s hard to go backwards in distance which is why short course guys coming across our way have it better, but I think I am getting to the point I need to rebuild shorter fitness (even if I do an ironman next year I want to explore that. I also think that why my body is breaking down. I have done 10 Ironman races in the past 5 years and that doesn’t even include all the training I have done.

In general, you tend to work a program until it doesn’t, then you have to make a change. That is the power of having an attentive coach. I have always been low maintenance, I don’t ask for a lot from people who are helping me, but I will now for a while. I want to look into how I respond to different things and what changes I need to make and trust some new processes.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Leadville


I’ve always wanted to the Leadville 100 MTB race. I’d wondered if the race would suit my skill set. It’s a long course, it includes a lot of sustained climbs and it isn’t very technical relative to other MTB races. These factors would play to my strengths and to the type of training I usually do.

An opportunity to do Leadville presented itself. I was invited to enter this past weekend’s event with a several clients and friends. I jumped at the chance to go! But I wouldn’t be racing at Leadville; I wouldn’t even being riding my own ride. Instead, I was hired to help these five friends through the grueling course.

My instructions for the day were to keep all five of them together and feeling relatively good until the base of Power Line, where they would walk their bikes up or ride at their own pace. Upon the return, I would get them back to Powerline, where each would descend at his own pace. Due to the variability in their skill sets, both athletically and technically, everyone would take the last 15 miles (mainly downhill) at his own pace and we would all regroup at the finish line.

This event was a first for me in more ways than one. I had never before served such a diverse group of athletes and on a course where I was unsure of my own abilities. I understood the demands of the Leadville course; I have coached athletes through great Leadville finishes in the past. While I was confident I knew what had to be done, I personally had never really mountain biked longer than 50 miles in my life – and those rides were all on bike paths.

As it turned out, I could have ridden much harder at Leadville had I been on my own. But I wasn’t there to race. Instead, I was there to help five guys get through most of the course and, according their wish, to get through as much of the course together. This was a difficult task, given the diversity in the group. Most of the guys had “coached themselves” and it showed in how quickly they fatigued. Even the one guy in the group that I usually coach, a small business owner who just didn’t have the time this year to put in the preparation, was struggling.

The struggle up Columbine was real for them. While most people walk the incline, with my Achilles injury, walking was gong to be an issue for me. So, I asked the guys if it would be okay for me to ride up and then meet them at the aid station on the descent. With their approval, I took off. For the first time in that day, I was working REALLY hard, working at my level.

I must have passed 400 people in the two miles up Columbine, and I found myself riding up stuff that I would have believed was impossible to do – but I was doing it! I hit the turn-around at the top and was bombing down before I knew it. I had been descending almost seven minutes before I saw the guys still on their way up. Despite a crash, I still managed to put 35 minutes on them over a very short amount of course. That was a rush!

After they showed up to the aid station and refueled, I paced them on to the next aid station. It took them about 80 minutes to get there and they were pretty wrecked when they did. They were struggling big time. So, we came up with our next plan: I was to pace them to the bottom of Power Line climb, which they thought they would end up walking, and then my job would be done.

 

All the way to the bottom of Power Line, they were doing the math to see whether they could finish in the 12 hour “belt buckle” time limit. When we reached the bottom of Power Line, we were about 80 miles into the course, and at 8:27 of total ride time. It could be cutting it close for some, but from here on out, it would be every man for himself.

My job done, I took off like a shot out of a cannon! “On your left!” “Center line!” “Can I have the line please?!” I was shouting left and right as I rode as much of the climb as I could. I heard, “Rider coming! Rider Coming Through!” as spectators yelled at the participants walking their bikes to try to get them out of my way. It was so motivating to hear their cheers. Even though I felt like I was going to die, I dug deep into a level even I wasn’t sure I had and rode most of that climb.

I had to get off a few times as there was simply no way around the walkers, but I pushed the bike as fast as I could around them and got right back on. I was having a blast! Halfway up power line, I decided to catch the two guys in our group who had ridden ahead. Now I had my own race going!

At the top of the climb, when I thought I had about 15 miles left (In reality, I had 19, because the course is actually 104 miles!), I started to think of what I might accomplish How awesome would it be if I made the jump from the breaking-12-hours finisher group time to the breaking-10-hours group – and within only 20 miles of the finish! Game ON!

After Power Line, there is one more climb. I knew I was going to have to reach the top of that climb at 9:30 or under if I had any chance of breaking 10-hours. I hit the top in 9:34, so knew that breaking 10 hours was not going to happen, but I was okay with that. 10:15 became the new goal and I was just as excited!

It turns out that I did break 10:15 for 100 miles, but it turns out that the Leadville 100 MTB race actually covers 104 miles. I finished that in 10:21. It was so fun to FLY past all the people who had passed me so early on in the day. And I did end up catching our entire group; I caught the last guy just 2 miles from the finish.

Our whole group did fantastic. All five guys – six, if you include me – finished under the 12-hour “belt buckle” time limit. The two guys who went ahead finished in about 10:30 and 10:55, and the two guys I stuck with most of the day went 11:27. (Later, they told me that they couldn’t have finished without my help. Giving them food, letting them drink from my bottles and pacing them into the wind helped them to finish – and finish under 12 hours.) Then, our final guy ended up being the third to last official finisher. He did an awesome job getting in just seconds before the clock struck 12! Celebrating that victory was the highlight of our day.

Going into the race, the guys said that they just wanted to have fun. For them, sticking together for as much of the race as they could was integral in that. They insisted that they didn’t care about their finishing time, but were in it more for the experience, the views and eventually reaching the finish line. Sitting around breakfast the morning after the race, with everyone rehashing the day and their experiences, it became clear to me that each man had given his all out there. It was also clear just how much fun they had. Their mission was a success.

 

 

Monday, August 17, 2015

What is possible? My best races


Last weekend I had a chance to race Leadville 100 MTB race with clients. As I was hired to ride the crew I was with to the base of Power Line climb inbound, I was forced to go out at a very conservative pace for the first 80 miles to include even waiting at an aide station for 40 min while the crew regrouped after the Columbine descent.

At 8:27 into the race I was free to ride the last 25 miles on my own. I was RIPPING past people. My first instinct was can I still break 10 hours which would be tough considering I was pacing a group of 4 to just break 12 hours until so late in the game.

I was FLYING past people. I didn’t break 10 hours in part because I started to go too late, and I didn’t realize it was actually 104 miles. I finished in 10:21 but more importantly I finished very strong and it left me wondering what actually IS possible?

In contrast I think of races I have started too fast and instead have finished thinking WHY am I doing this at all? I have paced friends for the first part of marathons, and have had the same result. The first break through I have had at an Ironman was in Kona, and it was because I started very conservatively and built a head a steam throughout the day.

My first marathon I ever ran was a day before decision and while I had been training to run and do triathlons, I had not been doing ANY marathon training. I made the choice the night before I would just go easy and see how far I could go before I had to walk. I ran 3:30 on a tough Kansas City course, and am happy to report I didn’t walk one time! I tried to “PR” the following month at Dallas White Rock Marathon and blew up impressively.
Now, none of these event are any of my standing “PR” races except Leadville I guess as it was my only attempt. However, ALL of these experiences had left me wondering “WHAT WAS POSSIBLE?” They were some of my best race experiences. They left me excited to take on the next challenge.
Science will tell you most if not all PR’s over a sprint are set with a negative or even split. You have to decide how you want to race though. Speaking with Pros such as Crowie about how he ran Alii Dr. worked more on the mental impact it had on competitors vs. his ability to run the fasted overall split he could.

My point is this. Take inventory of your goals, and what you want your experience to be. No coach can answer that for you, in fact very good ones will not even try. That’s for you to decide and commit to. I will say though, it’s worth noting how each approach can possibly leave you feeling.  I’m pretty excited to go back to Leadville someday and have a legit crack at it. I suspect there is a perfect balance in the two for everyone.
 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My first Ironman breakthrough


I was thinking about this on the trip I was just on while I was running on the treadmill on a cruise ship. I was thinking about this because I was thinking about all the times I had sacrificed and done work in hotels, or on vacations, cruise ships, etc. this time I was running staring at a treadmill. No music, no TV and when you are staring out the ocean it’s pretty boring. I didn’t have an I pod so I was just left with my thoughts.

I had so many years when I had experienced such subpar performances for my long course racing and despite trying so many things I could never get the results I felt I had always sacrificed for. It was so frustrating. I knew in my heart though that I had another level in me I could achieve. I would have been totally content if my potential was where I was, but I always was left with a feeling of being robbed on race day.

I really don’t really keep trophies or medals. I have very few. I had a chance to go to Hawaii Ironman though on a sponsorship entry someone had gifted me and I was ready and excited as always. I remember sitting at the pre-race ceremony and they were doing all the typical build up, etc. They went into a long explanation of the first Ironman trophy that was ever given and it was literally a few pieces of metal that someone had constructed and was to signify an “Ironman”. I of course had known about this being the big tri “Geek” but it was cool to hear about it again on the island. What I wasn’t prepared for was that if you finished the race that year – YOU GOT ONE! I remember sitting there thinking to myself no matter what, I was going to go home with the trophy.

I bring this up because I wanted to explain to people that this in large part was the changing of A LOT of my race results. Here is why:

All my bad races seemed to come down to bad G.I. Issues. I was never really able to simulate this in training because it would seem to really happen much after the 7 hour mark in racing. Once I would start to throw up it was a massive downward spiral. I have since figure out that problem with the help of a lot of people and combining a lot of different nutritionists and techniques which I can discuss my experiences with this later.

I didn’t have time to figure that out 1-2 days out from Kona but what I did have the ability to do was make the choice that no matter what I was going to do that day I would remain in control of my race. This meant I would plan to do it easier then I had ever done before. I told myself if I always felt good, there should never be any issues.

I hadn’t qualified to be there so I didn’t feel any pressure to perform and I wasn’t sure, just like I am never sure even now on my 9th trip that I would ever get the chance to be there again, so I wanted to enjoy the day. I told myself (I had no power meter or even HR that day) that if I even had to ask myself if I was going too hard, I would back off. My friend who had got me into the race was there volunteering and said he would be at the finish line until 11:00 (on the race clock) and he hoped to see me then. I told him that would be nice but I had never been baster then 11:50 and I wasn’t going to put the pressure on myself to break the 11 hour mark because that would obviously be counterproductive to the plan.

We started the swim. I stayed back from the front line and slowly got into my own tempo. I made it a point to stay relaxed and smooth. It was pretty uneventful and actually looking back I think I swam right at 1:00 which really isn’t that darn bad. I even came out of the water with triathlon legend Julie Moss, so that was pretty cool.

We got to the bike and I looked forward to one thing, I wanted to see all the professionals coming back from Hawi that I would always have to wait until magazines or NBC coverage would show me something months later. Today, I was going to get to see the race (at least in part) live and I was as much a fan that day as a participant.

I got off my bike 3 times to stretch and rub my feet. I often had foot issues so I decided since I was going to go as easy as Ai felt I needed to, I would take an extra few min throughout the bike and get off take my feet out o the shoes and give them a quick stretch. I rode a road bike with bar extensions, and while it may seem like blasphemy now, no aero helmet. J

I ended up riding 5:45 give or take which again, really isn’t a bad split at all. I felt like I was in a college crash course on how to effectively pace an ironman and I was acing the class. It became fun to see how easy I could go and still hit times I had previously worked so hard to hit. I remember riding back into town the last few miles, I saw people I knew and the only thing I wanted to let them know is I DID’NT FEEL BAD! To me that was more important than feeling good because in previous racing the wheels had already shown signs of falling off, not today. Today I was about to be 26.2 miles away from the first trophy I ever REALLY wanted.

I started the run and was grinning ear to ear. I had just tried to do IM Wisconsin a short 5-6 weeks prior and once again despite trying new stuff, was forced to drop out again from stomach issues. Today seemed like if all went well, I could avoid said issues. I remember I had made a choice to run with a fuel belt so I could carry my version of salt tabs in my drink solution. I had done testing at the Gatorade labs and they had given me “gatorlytes” which at the time were not available to the public and I was trying to use them to add about 1000mg of sodium every 60-90 min to my nutrition. To this point they had made me feel pretty bloated, but all in all I felt pretty good so made the decision to take the belt with me on the run.

Learning from the swim and the bike I quickly made a bet with myself. I wanted to see if I could instead of survive the run, would I actually be able to pull off a negative split??? It didn’t have to be an impressive one, just a negative split. I of course bet on myself and hedged the bet with telling myself to go out as easy as I could to help ensure the goal. I think I went through the half way point in about 2 hours. While it wasn’t the running I had always hoped I would be doing, I was in fact still running and feeling good. The bloat feeling had become quite annoying so I had decided to stop drinking so much sodium which I think actually helped me a lot. At half way I started to pick it up and actually found a good rhythm. I ran all the way to mile 15-16 where you turn into the energy lab and I thought to myself, that as I was going so well at this point I should take in a bunch of the sodium that I had been carrying. So I did and about 30 second later puked it up all over myself!

I remember feeling like I had done it to myself and that if I hadn’t just drank that I would probably had been fine. Considering it was now all over my shoes, I decide, let’s not do that again and I just started to run. I ran, I walked aid stations, always doing the math in my head if I was going to be able to negative split. I remember vividly telling myself that if I could only just keep running miles I had so often used as warm up and cool downs I would actually be able to pull it off.

Once I was within a mile of the finish I knew I had it! The finish line was awesome and I ran a sub 4 hour marathon, yes negative split, for the first time in my life and Was able to see my friend as I had finished in like 10:56! It was almost an hour PR! To make it better, I got that damn trophy and to this day it remains one of my only triathlon or any sport recognitions I keep. Ironically, It is one that everyone got that day. I have won awards that I guess seem harder to achieve but to me, that was the hardest. Nobody would understand the years of hard work and problem solving I had to do in order to get that damn piece of metal on a block of wood, but I did, and I still do.

The reason I bring this up is because I think everyone needs to find the thing that is going to motivate them to take a leap of faith and try something new. While it seems simplistic to look back on and read now it was a lot of pressure to decide I wasn’t going to keep up with my friends, or try to do something crazy that I had never done before time wise, or take any outside pressure in from external influences and trust my own internal voice which told me to: relax, stay controlled, slow down and you’ll actually go faster.

I have since struggled to break 10 hours since then, then finally broke through to low 9:00’s several times and have had other obstacles and struggles come up that I have had to work to overcome. I wouldn’t have been able to do those however if I had never gotten this particular trophy and earned it with reasoning behind it I rarely express to anyone.

I love trying to help athletes now figure out what leaps they can take to get the most out of their next evolution of training. If you had to think of something you could try, what types of things could we help you with?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Racine 70.3 Swim thoughts


When I have raced Racine 70.3 I have found a few things to look for that may help you. In general it is a pretty straight forward course. It’s labeled a “flat” race, but that’s not entirely accurate it relatively is, however the wind can play a big role as can the water temp and the weather. I have raced there in 60’s and rain as well at 105 degrees and brutally hot, which for me that day resulted in a DNF. I learned a lot that day though.

I thought I would put down some of my race tips in our Athlete Membership Program for athletes to use.

Pre swim- you have to be prepared to walk a mile down to the start of the race in the sand. There is a sidewalk up on the road or even the beach walk path I would recommend using as it’s a more stable surface, and a lot less crowded for a while. So you can get their quicker and save yourself some time. Its also a good thing to wear some disposable shoes for the walk you can throw out in a trash bin when you get there.

If the water temp is very cold wait till the last few min to get warmed up. Otherwise you’ll be standing around cold waiting for your wave to start. If the water is very cold, I have raced there with the water temps in the very low 50’s I would notice that it was very hard to hold my face and head in the water for the first fee min of the event. This process is going to really slow you down if you haven’t figured out a way to deal with this. Here are my suggestions on how to deal with very cold water.

-        You can wear the neopreame head cap if you want. That isn’t a big deal. If the water is a bit warmer it’s not like you’ll hate having it on. Just make sure you are OK with the strap under your neck. If not, you’ll be in cold water and have the new sensation of the neck strap.


-        I would really encourage you to NOT wear the booties. I really think it will slow you down. Take some old running shoes to the pool and try to swim with em on. It’s a terrible feeling.


-        I try to warm up on dryland. Gt blood going to the muscles without getting cold.


-        You’re face, hands and feet WILL ADJUST after about 5 min. then they will just go numb. Try to get that feeling over with 2-3 waves in front of yours. So I usually go knee deep and bend down and just put my hands face and feet in and try to keep the rest of my wetsuit dry. That keeps me feeling warm but also allows me to feet my bare skin used to the cold water.


-        Once the race starts line up wide if you are unsure of where you stack up. If you line up deeper into the wave you may find people reluctant to start swimming who haven’t done a proper warm up as you have.


-        Once you get in the water keep our head down, control your breathing and stay under control.

Swim – the swim course is pretty strait forward but you want to watch the previous waves to see how far they can run out. That can vary greatly. You may not be able to feel your feet great so watch your step.

The first turn buoy comes about 150-200 meters out so it can still be quite thick through the turn so start to set up your turn before you get to the buoy. Once around I usually like to head back to shore slightly and swim just inside the buoys as it tends to be a lot less congested. Just be aware the swimmers you do run into there will usually be a lot less experienced.

I site off four things on this course. Most of them are the same as every course but I look first for the people in front of me, then for the buoys. If I cannot see them very quick, there has traditionally been a tower that lines up nicely with the last turn buoy. The last things I can use on some years are the sand patterns. The waves leave ripples in the sand and I try to maintain the same angle on those ripples once I know I going straight. That will at least let me skip a few breath cycles which can help your overall swim time.

When swimming in I look for the archway. You can usually catch a few waves coming in which is nice but in preparation for the long run with some of my last strokes Ill reach towards my neck and pull down on it allowing water to come into my suit which lets the suit slip off much easier. The run is so long in the last foot of water I will usually take my suit off there and run with it.