Monday, December 7, 2009

150.00 waived!!

Per Joe's blog:

Looking for a present for the athlete in your life? How about 3 months of coaching? This is something nearly every athlete would love to receive as a gift to help them get ready for the 2010 season. Notify us before Christmas and TrainingBible will even give you a gift - we will waive our normal $150-250 Start Up Fee (with 3 months paid in advance). This offer is good for any of our coaching services. For a list of services and fees go to To take advantage of this offer please email our Director of Coaching, Adam Zucco ( before December 25, 2009.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Practice makes perfect?

It is often said “practice makes perfect”. Does it? It might.

I was doing some research and came across an interesting study of ice skaters. Each ice skater was given 1 hour to practice their craft. One skater was an Olympic caliber skater, one was a very solid up and comer, and the final was a beginner.

The Olympic skater spent their time practicing moves they have not yet perfected. The Up and comer spent their time practicing moves they have already perfected. Finally the beginner spent a lot of time talking with friends, and in general reluctant to do much.

All three skaters practiced the same amount of time, however each used the time extremely differently. The basic premise of the study was practice alone does not make perfect, however DELIBERATE practice does.

I send a lot of time with my athletes trying to get them to understand this, especially with weaknesses. Joe Friel used to use the example about golf when speaking with me. He would point out for a new golfer the worst thing they could do was spend hours a day hacking away. The same golfer would do much better to do several shorter practice sessions refining skill.

Self coached athletes will get better with “time in” for sure. The same athlete with a general plan will do even better yet. The athlete with a coach will on average do the best because deliberate practice is forced. It usually does not come naturally to work deliberately on the things you do not like to do.

Coaches will often encourage athletes to invest in devices such as power meters and or speed distance watches for this exact reason, it helps us refine the practice even more.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Kona 09

my friend's Polar watch said it was 105 degrees today at teh bottom of Hawi, and it did not get below 100 until we finally reached the airport at mile 100ish.


Thanks for all the support. I really never write race reports, but Ill give you the down and dirty.

Very hard swim. Got knocked around a ton. Saw a girl about 20 yards ahead of our group should out to catch her, took me several min. I finally did, followed her blindly, but for some reason half way back she swam off course, and by the time we got back on course we were back with the group. 

I went pretty well the entire way. Went through half way in like 2:27ish. It was so windy and hot coming back I just chose to shut it down and save it for the run. I gave back 15 min on the back half, but it paid off.


Just ran steady. Ran first 10 miles conservative, walked Palani Hill which is like almost half mile steep hill, then tried to run harder. Was able to get it down to 7:15-7:30 pace several times, but then would hit one of the never ending up hills. The hills here are like Campton hills, over and over. Not steep but always on one and they go FOREVER. So I kept getting relegated to 8:30ish pace.

Walked a couple aide stations, and a couple really steep sections, but all in all ran consistent.

10:04, PR for here, by far the hardest Ironman I have ever done with heat and wind. Crowie (male winner ran 2:48! 6 min slower then last year, Macca ran 2:55 and several of the top pros were around 3 hours) It was a very hard day today.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New uniforms!

As I am finishing up some of my long rides and runs I am observing more and more soccer and football games forming with kids and parents getting everything out for these games and events.

It has brought back so many memories for me. I can remember getting assigned to my team and receiving my uniform! I would wear that thing first thing in the am with intense anticipation for the game to come later. Armed in my uniform I would watch Saturday morning cartoons (remember when that alone was an event?) and then anxiously pace around the yard with the sporting equipment I would need for my game.

My coach at the time represented such a figure of authority and I would live to impress him at my practices and games. I was absolutely convinced that the World would stop and take notice when the game I played was taking place. We would do feverish battle until halftime when all we hoped was for someone’s mom to have brought “cool” snacks. Capri Suns, twinkies, fruit roll ups, these were the food of the athletes of the day. Who the hell wanted orange slices anyway!?

What I started to realize is I never grew up in this regard. Here I am in excited anticipation for my next event. For me this happens to be IM Wisconsin then Hawaii. I cant wait for the final ride to take place so I can finally clean my bike and put the race wheels on, set out the transition bags, and eagerly set out my nutrition for the race (still not going to use the orange slices).

I want to impress my coach, my family, and of course prove to myself the work I have put in is for something. At the end of the day though, my results are my results. The person holding final judgment is I, just as when I was a kid. Just as today I sit and watch my kids do their sport and my ONLY hope is they have fun. I base my excitement or criticisms based solely on their own reactions. I suspect the people who love us and care about us will still do that even now.

So as you come into your final races for the season or if yours are over and it’s time to review please be as passionate as that little kid waiting with the soccer uniform on for days before the event, but realize just as then, more defines you then that one game.

We are all awesome; we are competitors each of us on our own levels.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Great things all around

I just spent the last week with Simon Thompson. He is an amazing athlete but more importantly an awesome guy. He has become a life coach and was telling me the tremendous satisfaction he gets from helping people balance triathlon with family, jobs, and other pressures and still perform well.

What he was saying rang so true. How many of you have ever been on a workout torn because you felt needed somewhere else therefore you could not really “engage” in your session? We all have. Simon is not a counselor but specializes in helping us put into perspective the things in our life that pull at us the most. VERY interesting. It is also rare to have an athlete still competing at the highest level willing and able to work with you who directly understands the demands of the sport.

I also spoke with Ryan Bolton last week. He has not raced in years, as he has been focusing on his coaching. He was not only an 2000 Olympic athlete, but also coaches Kenyans for running currently. He decided to jump into a half marathon and ran 1:05:08!!!


Well done Ryan.

This week I am hosting one of my athletes Kristin Lie from Norway. She hopes to podium at Wisconsin this year, and she is looking pretty fit!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Pig Gig

I just did Pigman Triathlon. It is an awesome race. It is reasonably priced, very well organized, tons of volunteers and aid stations, and even has an Elite wave that age groupers can do, as well as a time trial start for all others.

I am in the middle of my Ironman training right now as well as playing a bit of catch up with my knee as I had suffered an injury which just started to feel better a couple weeks ago.

Even though I felt a but off it was awesome to race for the main reason I looked up the last time I did the race which was 2000. My swim was about the same my bike was 2:31ish and my run was 1:43 for a 4:43 total time. That was 2000. This year I went sameish on the swim, 2:16 on the bike in a massive rain storm, and 1:32 on the run for a total time of 4:20.

It was fun to compete and remember vividly the last time I was on the course, who I used to look up to, where I was with my fitness, what I felt were good performances for me, etc. All of those things have changed but I can remember I felt I was pretty good back then and very close to my peak performances I would ever achieve. This is exactly what I try to enforce in my athletes.

What you think now is not what you will be thinking later. ANYONE can get faster do better, reach further, and set new goals. Please note in the example it was 9 years ago! You have to be patient I invested in good coaching, and have started to reap the rewards it has brought.

Pigman this years was insane. When we started it was raining and it was getting progressively more and more windier.

I took the swim out very quick knowing David Thompson would be the guy to watch. After a couple minutes I felt I was still in the lead. I saw Thompson start to come around me on the right hand side but about 10 yards away. I was sprinting as hard as I could to try to get on his feet. I worked myself into some bubbles but was not quite on yet. To my left I say a couple more swimmers. When I sighted I noticed David and I were pretty far off course. I decided to head back to course and gave up chase. That was a mistake as from that point on he just got further and further ahead. I was able to stay very comfortable in the chase pack and we came out about 90 seconds behind.

The bike was the single most insane bike ride I have ever done. It was raining so hard I wasn’t sure if the glasses would work so I left them behind. The rain was coming down so hard though and the wind was blowing so hard it HRURT to look forward. I caught an edge a couple times because I couldn’t see where I was going.

I had two riders in front of me that were riding pretty strong. I usually like to average about 300 watts for my half races and I was well over that trying to keep pace. After a few miles I was able to drop into second place but was clearly even matched with that athlete. We were able to maintain a pretty good average trading leads which was mentally helpful as at times I had to go 450 watts just to go 15 mph into the wind and quickly ran out of gears and was going 46 mph with wind at our back!

Coming into T2 I was 3rd, felt solid but no “snap”. Did the best I could to run solid but it simply was not happening that day. That is Ok too as I have to keep building up fitness on my knee.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Camps down under

Thinking forward to 2010 is a hard thing to do when 2009 is not finished. Unfortunately most of us have to as we are forced to do early registration on so many of our races.

One of the things I like to do is a camp with athletes in Feb-March time of year. Most of us cannot train all year outside and it is a nice thing to get out of the bad weather and off the trainer.

This year I have been talking t Ben Gathercole. Ben was the Australian Coach of the year for Olympic distance TWICE. He and I are looking to put a camp together in the February time frame in Australia!

Check back for more details as we draw closer and finalize details.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Southern Living

I have spent the last week at my parent’s house in North Georgia. The riding here has been awesome. Here is a picture of the top of my climb today, on this descent I hit 50mph feathering brakes! Some of the kids I run into in the gas stations look at me in my outfits as if I were from another planet! It has been so funny.

This would be such an awesome place for a TBC camp.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Simon Thompson

For those of you who havent met Simon yet, here is a brief interview:

Monday, June 15, 2009


Was going to do a race report until BREAKING NEWS occurred today. My daughter lost her first front tooth. Does a race report stand up to news like this? No way! J

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009

St. Croix

St. Croix was everything I was told it would be. There was not a cloud in the sky, it was close to 90 degrees, and of course windy. Let’s be honest though, that what we came for right!? I mean how upset would we all be (and internally relieved) if they had to circumvent the Beast because of road construction?

Last month I qualified for Hawaii. I knew I wanted to do that this year but was very surprised and extremely excited it came to me in California. Since then I wanted to skip St. Croix, yet was excited to come down with clients. All the way till the gun went off I was having trouble getting mentally “up” for the event. Please understand this is in NO WAY an excuse. In fact there is a lesson there. Mental outlook is so over looked, and clearly plays a large roll in how we approach the training and race itself. There is no doubt it has a tremendous impact on the event. I am going to start talking with Cheryl Hart again to make sure I have my “Game face” leading into my next big race.

My swim was so-so. I was near the front but felt like I was having the race dictated to me from the beginning. I got caught in a pack, which is nice, but they were just fast enough it was a ton of work to get around them, yet not quite fast enough to keep us in touch with what I felt was the front of the group. I literally could not swim up and through the group. Good for them for holding ground, bad for me to not be able to close the deal.

I exited the swim and for some reason felt like my achilles were going to snap. Never had that happened, and it made me lose focus and before I knew it I had ran to the wrong area on transition. My transitions were both lackadaisical. Again I attribute this to motivation and focus. Got my bike here we go.

On the bike, I was doing OK, but never felt “great”. I had one guy I kept trying to go around, and would get in front, but never be able to hold the position which is odd. On the Beast he rode away from me and it took me the better part of 15 min to TT to get back up to him. I felt he was moving well and if I could stay with him, I would at least be OK. My average watts were about 20 lower then California, confirming I just was not “on” for the day.

I came into T2 next to another guy. He was trying to qualify and had forgotten his salt tabs, etc. I rifled through my bag, gave him all of mine and wished him luck. I told him I was going for a jog, I was not a threat. I was SO RELEIVED I had already qualified, but at the same time was questioning what I was going back to Hawaii for with the same conditions.

The run was steady. I was looking for clients walking aide stations, etc. Nothing to report on this.

I had no stomach issues, I had no cramping, I didn’t even feel as if I was “bonking” too badly, just could not get the body to go today. I think the fact my bike and running shoes were lost for almost 3 days and I was not able to workout did not help me as I proved in California a moderate taper works so much better for me. That being said, I have no excuses. Others were just better then me today. I will also tell you this; my hat is off to everyone who had solid efforts today. There is nowhere to hide on this course. I think Wildflower bike might be a bit easier, but I think Wildflower’s run is harder.

On another note, My 15 year old athlete Jenn Holland won the overall women’s title at Trizou this weekend. Lindsay won the overall Rockford Duathlon! My client Debbie got 5th in her AG out here in St. Croix for her second half IM EVER!!! Russell suffered a flat so his result is a bit misleading.

About are from my Garmin from today’s race.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Training a National champion

With the break in the weather finally happening here in Chicago, I was able to get Ben Kaute out for a ride. He plans on defending his title this year at Nationals. I think he will.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Today I did California 70.3 and things went very well. I decided to have Jim Vance coach me this year as it is always a great idea even as a coach to have an objective opinion to training. We really wanted to focus on my run, which is coming together quite nicely.

My swim was 25 min. I felt strong throughout the swim and new I was holding a good tempo. Only thing was they sent my wave off last and we had to swim through so many people. It was a bit crazy.

On the Bike I was feeling very strong. I averaged 285 watts with a normalized power of 305. the hills made for some variations, but also passing and weaving through so many people did not help one bit either. I was very disappointed to see not only drafters which is cheating, but the people who were doing OWN A COACHING company. So much for integrity I guess.

The run went very well as for me a 1:25 was a new PR for an off the bike run. I was able to get 1st in the Age group, Patrick Baldwin was closing quick and was forcing me to run for my life, luckily he was able to get a Kona spot as well as there were two spots in our age group.

We changed things up quite a bit from a traditional taper this go around, and I am very happy with the results.

Jim and I were talking about what to focus on this year and we think we should still do our best at Wisconsin then take Kona as it comes. Jury is still out there but for now it sounds like a good plan.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

first race effort of 2009... done

Today I dropped in a local San Diego race called “Super Seal”. It was a tough go as it really was one of the first race specific efforts I have had for the season. Remarkably the bike let me down a touch here but I tried not to panic. I pedaled more for cadence then I like to and tried not to panic. My plan going in was to run well and attack the first 2 miles and worry about the last 4 later. I did, and was running well, but most of the first 2 miles deep sand which was really tough to run in. By the end of the run I was just a bit out of gas and fell to 5th.

These are times when it is important to not over react. I tell my clients all the time, stay focused on your goals. Super Seal was not a goal of mine this year yet the competitor in me has trouble at times dealing with the results of those efforts.

I have athletes that I swear have the shortest memory of anyone. I will receive emails saying they have incredible workouts followed a couple days later by ones that do not go very well at all. The email that follows is usually something like “what is wrong with me, I feel like I am not making progress”. After a short conversation they remember they ARE, and they realize we do not peak for every workout.

All in all it was a great race today to be a part of and it was nice to see some new faces on the race course. Chicago got 5 inches of snow today so if I were home I think things might have been less fun anyway.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring and Power

Spring is finally here and in the Chicago land area it looks like we may actually get one this year! Normally we go from winter to flood season then about 6 weeks of summer then back to winter. Here is hoping for the best.

We had a fantastic camp last week in Arizona. Complete with talks from Joe Friel, underwater analysis from Jim Vance, run technique with Tom Manzi, and Bike handling and other skills from Rob Kelley. All the campers reported learning a tremendous amount of information.

One of the things I still find curious is when we take the time to explain to the participants how to use TrainingPeaks correctly so we can actually grab and analyze their uploaded files correctly how amazed they are with the type of information we can provide them. There are so many cool new things to buy each year as athletes it is easy to get carried away. I believe the best investments you can still make though are power meters and speed distance watches. Every athlete I coach really enjoys seeing the changes they are able to make with these devices. Furthermore, each one that has purchased these has improved hands down.

I just spoke with one of my best friends and training partners yesterday. He wants a new bike but is on the fence about getting a power meter. He currently has but drastically under utilizes a power tap. We spoke about his options for power meters ad I had to spend some time convincing him that he would benefit far more from making every workout count versus having a really cool new bike. It is a tough sale, but I think I got him to come around.

In fact I believe so much in the power devices I have come up with incentives for my athletes that start with me to buy them. In many cases I waive part of my fees so as to free up some of their cash to purchase these. I explain to them we are in this for the long haul together and I am willing to invest in them as athletes if they are. I guess you can say I put my money where mouth is on this subject.

Enjoy your spring training, good luck to everyone starting to race! Be safe out there.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Still Alive.

Wow time seems to fly. I sometimes wonder how people maintain these very detailed blogs, I just can’t seem to find the time to coach the athletes I coach, train, and oh yea be a husband and father.

With life so crazy it becomes so easy to let things pass we don’t “have to do”. One of those things for me is my annual physical I get from my doctor. One of my close friends went in for the “Heart Check”. He is a triathlete, a bit skinny and could use a bit more muscle :) but he is in general good health. 80% blockage! Next day he was in getting a heart procedure. We could not believe it. Needless to say, it inspired me to get checked out. So I am currently running the gauntlet of medical check ups and exams – fun times. It is worth it though. Even with me they have stumbled on something they want to take a closer look at. Most likely nothing extremely serious but Im glad it is being ruled out. Make time to get a baseline physical once a year. It is probably as important as maintaining a blog at least.

We spent the last 4 weeks at Training Bible being trained by Doctors, Sport psychologists, professional bike fitters, Physical Therapists, Joe Friel, Jim Vance, etc. We take a lot of pride in our coaching staff and require them once a year at a min. to come for a training camp which helps them stay up with the latest theories in the coaching industry. That took a lot of work to put together but was well worth it.

I’m in Tucson for work this weekend and am sneaking in some rides and runs. It is so great to be able to ride outside. The swims outside are nice too. I was able to also try out the trails at Catalina State Park for a nice run.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What an awesome clinic we had!

Check out the clinic we just did for athletes. It was a huge success.

Running out of time today so I will stealt Lindsay's handy work for writting about it.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Soledad Mountain

I came out to San Diego to train with Jim Vance and get in some better weather. These are some of the pics I saw today. Awesome view from top of Soledad Mt.

I also got to run on the board walk today by Mission Bay Blvd. I saw many things to include a guy who roller blades in SLOW MOTION. I need that guy to race next to me to make me feel faster.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The charts you can use in WKO are extremely comprehensive as well as motivating. Below is a chart that compares any two date ranges for your mean maximal power output at any given duration. In this graph the yellow line represents the power my athlete was able to achieve a year ago. The dotted line indicates the power she was able achieve over the past 12 mo.! Wow what an improvement.

It is cols as hell in Chicago right now. Next week we can look forward to negative 30 degrees when you factor in wind chill. We are all asking ourselves right now, “Why am I doing this?”

I have to be one of the most motivated athletes around in terms of getting the training done no matter what. On some of my long outside workouts right now I find myself justifying that if I retire from competing now, I can become an even better coach. J

Currently Im looking into flights for the weekend to go train somewhere better, buying snow shoes, considering cross country skiing, whatever. At the end of the day however the best way to keep an athlete motivated is how my friend and one of the best swim coaches in the country (Randy Reese) says to; if you show them improvement, they will be motivated. Hard to argue with that.