Friday, December 14, 2012

Performance Tests

I have been working with Robbie Ventura and Vision quest over the past year. We have been helping each other and our athletes and while some see us as completion, I guess Robbie and I just don’t see it that way. Both of us run successful coaching businesses in the Chicago land area and both have a passion for helping athletes anyway we can. So if we share information, and even help each other’s athletes we see that as an overall win for everyone.
In that spirit I have recently asked Robbie for some help with my own cycling. I have felt in the past 12-18 months my cycling has hit a stagnation period in which some of the same tactics were yielding fewer results. I needed a new set of eyes on the situation and advice. I trust Robbie’s opinion as he has had a lot of success helping both cyclists as well as triathletes.

A great example of the above two points. I coach John Naab, who is also a VQ member. The relationship works quite well as he benefits from both influences. In the last year I have helped him shave MASSIVE time off his overall Ironman and 70.3 race times putting together the complete plan, however with VQ’s help he is also one of the sports best cyclists. Chris Mewes is another VQ athlete who can simply rip the legs off any triathlete I know.

I wanted to get some of the same advice these ubercyclists were getting – so I went right to the source.
I decided to do the full performance testing package to let RV really get into my cycling background and physiology. I went to VQ Highland Park . When I walked in the place was quite, Robbie sat in his office like the Wizard of Oz waiting for the next Tinman to come in asking for a new heart. Unfortunately I was the Tinman this day. HA!

We started with all the basics. Questionnaires which included sleep patterns, blood pressure, weight, diet, self-evaluation, and embarrassingly even body fat composition. After lots of explaining that I was in my off season, he finished all those measurements. Lucky for him I was giving him a lot of low hanging fruit to point out. LOL!
We then went into the gym which I wasn’t entirely ready for. I should have had a clue when I came out in my cycling gear and he told me to grab my running shoes. He did several strength evaluations, flexibility, and range of motion tests. What was even better was while he was testing me he took the time to explain to me why those tests were specific to cycling, holding aero position, and producing power.

Once finished with all of these items we moved to where the real work began. I got on my bike ready for the test. While I was ready to impress, RV wouldn’t start the test until he just did a look over of my fit, how I sit on the bike, cleat position, and everything he felt effected performance. Not only would he check these things, but he also did a great job explaining to me why he was looking at each thing, and how minor adjustments would affect how I feel on the bike, and issues to look out for and in the event I experience any of these things, how to adjust.
Lucky for me, my fit was pretty good. What I think is cool is I fit this road bike mainly on feel and when he actually put a tape measure to it, I was within .2cm of my seat height. It’s always amazing to me how in tune with your bike athletes are.

When the test started we did the blood lactate test which included steps up in wattage while tracking my RPE and blood lactate. Without boring you with the actual protocol we established my LT right now and more importantly my weaknesses. He gave me some advice I thought was in valuable for things I could incorporate into my schedule to significantly not only increase my cycling performances, but also my runs off the bike.

What I liked was it wasn’t just “you should ride easier” answer. In fact he thinks most triathletes do not ride hard enough! That is very dependent on ability and you need to make sure it applies to you. We talked about high end training, ways to give myself more range, and eventually push my power to weight ratio up. All good stuff.

I will spend some time now talking with Ryan Bolton, my coach for 2013 and see how we can best fit RV’s advice into the running, swimming, weights, etc. When we start coming up with some strategies, I will try to post what we do or talk about them on our podcast.

I would say this however. Whenever you get what seems like good advice, if you are like me, and most type A personalities, all you want to do is go implement all the new ideas! Make sure you incorporate things at a measurable rate. This circles back to why I think VQ and TBC work well together for triathletes. I have multiple smart people looking at the situation for a few angles. Together I feel confident that the plan will be good.

For a few hundred dollars I think getting a performance test with VisionQuest is well worth it. If you decide you want to do this, here is the link. I believe so much in it that if you get this done, we will give new athletes 100.00 off coaching with TBC with a copy of your results.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Poem

My mother is a personal trainer in Georiga and does a piece in the loacl paper somewhat as a "Dear Abby". She goes by Fannie Fit for this. I thought her poem was clever!

Send your questions or requests for training to

                                                 Fannie's annual Christmas poem

                                                           Twas' the month of December

and all through the gym,

members feared tis' the season

when no one stays slim!

With the best of intentions

you spring from your bed,

while visions of partying

dance in your head.

"This year will be different"

you say to yourself.

"Those great bakery treats,

I'll just leave on the shelf!".

"I'll exercise daily

 no reason for stopping,

except… when I have

to go holiday shopping!"

Then suddenly at your door

there arose such a clatter.

Oh no! it's your neighbor

with her famous fudge platter!

The first of six parties

will take place tonight.

"I'll just use restraint,

sample food with one bite."

Upon entering the home

filled with holiday cheer,

 the next thing you know

someone hands you a beer!

You now spot the "lair"

where the food has been set.

OMG! it looks awesome,

 as your palms start to sweat.

Recognizable dishes

many known for their fame,

set your pulse rate to quiver

as you call them by name.

There's glazed ham, candied yam,

homemade rolls, "oh good grief".

Pecan pies fill your eyes

and "ah yes", that roast beef!

This is just too much pressure

 you're beginning to cave,

while the "foodies" around you

smack their lips and just rave.

As you sit in the corner

with buffet plate on knees,

your hostess approaches

"Try my brownies, oh please!"

The guests start to leave

as they 'waddle' about.

But you did it! Hooray!

You didn't pig out!

With a smile on your face,

you reflect on the night.

You've enjoyed smaller portions,

so the scale won't cause fright.

Food is now everywhere,

after all, tis' the season.

But you'll be just fine

if you eat within reason!


       Happy holidays! Love,


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cozumel Recap

Finally getting to where I feel well enough to write a blog entry.
I talk about  my experience at IMCOZ on our podcast that we just sent out today if you are looking for more details, but in a few words – the entire trip was bad. I got sick on the plane ride over, could literally feel it coming on. I barely made it through dinner on Thursday night before the race then slept about 13-14 hours that night, followed by 2 naps the next day. It was awful. I was trying to get cold and flu remedies in Mexico without any idea how to communicate to the pharmacists what I needed.

Starting the race I felt OK, but by 50 miles into the bike I could tell my body was just still not altogether. I tried to back off the last couple hours but it was no use. I hit T2 somewhat in shambles and the run was instantly bad. I decided to finish though with some encouragements from friends and families, and I am glad I did.

Lindsay said she was sorry for me having a bad experience but ironically I was OK with it. Sure I was disappointed, but you know what? I did everything I could to get myself as ready as possible for the race. I got sick and it wasn’t my day. Sucks but that is out of my control and I am not going to beat myself up about it.
I do feel like the new stuff I tried this season just wasn’t that good for me. I mixed it up in training and even though I would question the methods at times felt I needed to give them time to set it to see the effect. It wasn’t that the training plan was bad by any means, just never clicked for me.  I am going to make some adjustments to that and get things more in line with what I feel I need.

I would love to become a better runner so will target an early spring half marathon and give that a solid go. I like doing the half because it translates in many directions. Endurance needs to be good, but so does speed and strength. Additionally it doesn’t require the down time a hard marathon does.
Going to be working on my run with Ryan Bolton this winter and I am super excited to learn from such a great running coach.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Death Valley Camp 2013

Brief Description

Camp Overview: This camp is designed to be a season base building and technique camp. Athletes will fly into Vegas and drive to Death Valley (approximately 2 hours). Furnace Creek Ranch is located in the National Park and stands alone in the middle of some of the best ridding in the US and is also located at the base of Dante’s Peak, a Mt. Lemmon type ride and recognized as one of the best climbs in the country.

Day one in Furnace Creek Tentative Schedule

TENTATIVE CAMP SCHEDULE:- Tuesday Feb 5th Arrive, Short ride run and or swim as time allows

Day 2 tentative schedule

- Wednesday Feb 6th Swim: Technique session in am and workout Bike: Dante’s Peak 30 mile climb from -500 ft. to over 5000ft!!!! plus optional additional ridding Afternoon run and drill session 75-90 min or your choice.

Day 3 Tentative Schedule

- Thursday Feb 7th Swim: Workout participant’s choice Bike: Artist Loop 1-2 times for a 3 hour ride Run: 75-90 min

Day 4

- Friday Feb 8th Swim: Workout participant’s choice Bike: Ride to Scottie’s Castle Century with about 2000 ft. of climbing.

Day 5

- Saturday Feb 9th Swim: solid workout Bike: Team TT TRAVEL TO LAS VEGAS OPTIONAL RUN IN VEGAS on Sunday

Day 6

- SUNDAY Feb 10th Swim: Solid workout Run: The Las Vegas 70.3 course

Additional Information

We will spend Tuesday – Friday night in Death Valley and then travel to Las Vegas Saturday night. We can add a night out if campers want but will wake up and run the Las Vegas 70.3 run course and have a swim. The entire camp will be SAG supported and we will have a mechanic on hand every day. There will also be TrainingBible Coaches on had daily to run workouts as well as answer your questions and provide personal instruction, all this plus many more additional benefits listed below. Camp includes:- Adam Zucco and other TBC Coach on hand for all questions- Running drill sessions- Swim Drill sessions- 1 BBQ dinner in the Death Valley - Coached swim workouts and instruction- SAG support on all the rides with water and nutrition provided if needed- Mechanic on hand for the entire camp for (assembling and packing) bikes and issues during camp- Clif Products Accommodations: HOTELS: (All campers will make their own accommodations) In Death Valley you need to make a reservation at FURNACE CREEK RANCH. ALL CAMP ACTIVITIES WILL START AND FINISH HERE. Cost for the Rooms are $135-$219 / night phone - 1-866-315-2980 THERE REALLY IS NO OTHER PLACE TO STAY. SO DO NOT DELAY REGISTRATION. In Las Vegas the group will be staying on Saturday night at: GREEN VALLEY RANCH RESORT | 2300 PASEO VERDE PARKWAY HENDERSON, NV 89052 | HOTEL RESERVATIONS: 702-617-7777 | BOOK ONLINE Room rates from $320-360 or book a surrounding hotel. There are a few there to choose from. Green Valley is located on the Vegas run course and next a nice community pool. TENITIVE CAMP SCHEDULE:- Tuesday Feb 5th Arrive, Short ride run and or swim as time allows- Wednesday Feb 6th Swim: Technique session in am and workout Bike: Dante’s Peak 30 mile climb from -500 ft. to over 5000ft!!!! plus optional additional riding Afternoon run and drill session 75-90 min or your choice.- Thursday Feb 7th Swim: Workout participant’s choice Bike: Artist Loop 1-2 times for a 3 hour ride Run: 75-90 min - Friday Feb 8th Swim: Workout participant’s choice ike: Ride to Scottie’s Castle Century with about 2000 ft. of climbing. - Saturday Feb 9th Swim: solid workout Bike: Team TT TRAVEL TO LAS VEGAS OPTIONAL RUN IN VEGAS on Sunday- SUNDAY Feb 10th Swim: Solid workout Run: The Las Vegas 70.3 course

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pic from of Kona 2012

This is the kind of stuff I am talking about. It is so hard to compete against people willing to do this. If you are coming up on a group like this, which I did, the effort to pass them is huge as you have to pass them all, but then to stay in front for long enough to get away can kill your race.

Ive seen some say they were happy to take the penalty for the added benefit, I personally dont get it. If this is how you want to race, there is something called ITU, or Bike racing - Enjoy. As a profesional coach I feel we have an added responsibility to try to race as clean as possible, and encourage our athletes to do the same.

In 2009 Scott Iott was 8th in the AG with 9:30. that would put you in about 25-40th place now. Cyclists willing to dope, people willing to draft, its all cheating. It really is too bad.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hawaii Recap 2012

The last year few years at Kona have been a lot more mild than normal, I think this year made the score a bit more even. This was one of the hardest years I have seen in Kona having been there 8 years in a row (6 to race). I know the temp according to my Garmin was 96 degrees, I am not sure about the wind speed, but I remember laughing in the car the day before when they were warning drivers about high winds on the highways. It was windy.

Pre-race stuff was pretty awesome this year thanks to Mark and Sue D. They provided us with a place to stay less than a mile away from the King Kam Hotel in a gated community, right on the ocean, yet out of the craziness that is ground zero on Alii Drive.  I will always be grateful for them providing us that opportunity.

 The swim this year was by far the worst start I have ever had in Kona. I should have realized I was in a bad spot when a jelly fish the size of a volleyball was floating in front of us. The guards on the surfboards were trying to lasso it with their safety vest safely out of the way before we started. The actual start of the race was chaotic in that the cannon never went off, and at some point we heard Mike Rilely yelling GO! GO! GO! Half of us were looking around like WTF, half were swimming, and combined with my inability to sprint, next thing I knew I was underwater struggling to get to the surface. It was actually pretty scary. It felt as if I was swimming in air, meaning  my arms felt as if they were simply not grabbing anything but air, even underwater. Before I knew it, I was spit out the right side, on the buoy line which pissed me off as I knew that meant I had to have just swam 100-125 meters to the side. Once in clear water I started to move up which did for the rest of the swim. Sounds great but it meant I was faster than the people I was with and I totally missed a group. I still have yet to figure out the trick to Kona swim starts I have to say. I ended up swimming 59 min which is a few min off my best there. I told myself, not to panic, it is what it is and not try to over compensate for the loss on the bike.

 The bike this year was a bit unusual as well. Because of the bad swim, I had a lot more people than normal out in front of me and it was very hard to not panic and try to move up quickly. 2011 I wanted to bike aggressively and I paid for it on the last 40 miles in to town, as well as the marathon. I wanted to move back to a more conservative approach like I executed in 2010 when I went 9:16. That plan was to ride steadier throughout and make a move on the climb to Hawi, as well as be strong in the last 40 miles. I averaged 238 watts for the first 2:35 with a 270 watt climb up to Hawi. That was not as strong as I rode the last two years but because the conditions were so much harder than previous recent years and I didn’t want to limp in again, I thought I would be smart by staying even on a tough day. The packs out there were large and very hard to deal with. Trying to pass 15 people just to have them 1 at a time re pass every time you would go to the front left you with only two choices:

1.       You could go way beyond your plan to pass then make it super hard from them to cling on


2.       Drop all the way back and off the back or risk being a drafter, which is something I never want to intentionally do.

It became very frustrating. Many people had no problem just drafting and continuously looking over their shoulder to see if draft marshals were coming. To me, it isn’t the intent of the race, that’s my choice and I am OK with the results of my decision. My power the last two hours was just under 225. Part of this was strategic; some was because I had to go to the bathroom several times which required me to stop pedaling to complete the task.

Additionally I had a slow leak on my front tire so it became harder to maintain speed on the bike, but was still better than stopping to change the tire I think.

 Transitions- Looking back, I gave up about 5 min in transitions I think, but the severity the day brought combined with my pre planned strategy to take T2 easier would pay dividends on the run. I still think it did.

 I wanted to control my run. This was how I was defining success internally going in. This is also the reason I biked conservatively. I wanted to prove to myself I could be a solid consistent runner at Ironman. My thoughts were if I could continue to put 3:20 runs in or better I could then continue to stretch bikes. I ran 3:26 on a day everyone seemed to run 10-15 min slower so I was very happy with the run. I went 1:41 for the first half, and 1:45 for the second half. I almost even split the marathon which I believe is very hard to do, especially in Hawaii.

 I ran steady for the first 2:30 picking up the pace actually from the top of Palani to the energy lab. Once in the lab I tried to regroup and come out stronger. Fact is, I didn’t. I stayed steady until about 23 miles then really started to fade but was able to hang on till the end. I was able to run Palani as well as then hill out of the Energy Lab fully (less the aide stations) which is a sign to me that I paced the day well.

 Looking back, I think I was a bit conservative, especially on the bike. It was a conscious choice however and one I will have to revisit it to decide if I want to do that again or not. I have nothing to complain about because I was able to execute my plan, right or wrong, and how fit I was in order to execute. If you are able to do those things then what is there to be upset with? I had not cramping, nausea, diarrhea,  etc. I was able to go for it however I decided to that day and to me that is what it is all about.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vegas Baby!

Vegas 70.3 this year was one of the toughest races I think I have ever done, and all in the last 60 min of the race. Wow, that was tough.

I have been trying to take some next steps this season, which is always tough. The plan was to try to see if I could improve my running, which ironically is the thing that I seem to be struggling with the most, even more than in years past. It is a tough situation because when you want to try to improve something you my definition are going to have to do things differently then you have before.

As I said in my last post, I think Mat and I am changing some good things, but like swimming, just takes time to see adjustments.  The obvious fear is the stuff we are changing isn’t the right stuff and that I am actually not getting better. This is actually OK too, as you simply make another adjustment and move on. The tough part is waiting to find out which the answer is. I am seeing enough stuff in training however to think we are making mainly good changes.

Last year I was too run down all the time. Tired, probably close to over training and by the end of the season was not having my best performances. This year, we wanted to try to hold fitness off a bit until later, and then be fresher for bigger races like Vegas, Kona, and IMCOZ. Then you throw into it things like 105+ degrees with humidity at Vegas, and it’s very hard to tell where you stand. This is the frustrating part to me.

On to the race.

I wanted to swim pretty conservatively. As I said in my last post I think Steelhead I just went too hard in the swim, and it cost me the rest of the race. I didn’t want this to happen in Vegas and I just trusted I was going to have a good split even if just cruising. I started even let some guy lead, but decided after about 400-500 it was too slow, and I went around pretty easily. 27 min swim, looking back very good in the AG, nothing to really report here except I could have gone harder, but decided not too and think it was overall the right call.  

On the Bike the plan this time was to hold back slightly and like the swim know that I was probably going to have a competitive bike, even if not trying to do so. This was a HUGE leap of faith, and a plan I agreed to try. I waited until about an hour in before I turned it up a little bit, boy was that tough to hold back. I actually had a couple guys pass me in the first hour which is not something I am used too and had to hold my ego in check, and let it happen. I got them all back by the end, but still decided to chill every time I was over 30mph and remind myself they measure times and velocity not power numbers.

To be honest I knew 2:20 was a going to be a top ag bike split, and I was about right on with that. Watching myself drop off that was tough but I stuck to the agreed plan. At the very end of the bike I caught Tim Hola, which was shocking. I have so much respect for Tim. By far one of the best people in the sport as a person, but also one of the most consistent competitors. I knew I had 10 min on him as he started 2 waves in front of me. So I felt pretty good with how I was feeling that he would out run me, but he wouldn’t out run me by 10 min with how I was feeling coming off. SoI chilled in T2 (the difference here actually cost me about 4-5 spots at the end of the day, but at the time, it was part of the plan. We knew it was going  to be hot, the redbull I wanted was like 150 degrees and I got a cup with ice and drank it before taking off.

 Starting the run I felt very controlled. The new form was clicking great and with all the turnarounds I saw I was like 2:30 behind Tim (so actually 7:30 up on him) and Sami was like 6:30 up. I thought he went in the first wave too so I figured I was leading at that point. It turns out he went in the 2nd wave, so he was only 5 min, not 10 difference in my start time.

Plan was to chill the first loop then gradually build. I saw with the “Chill first loop I was holding those guys steady, so decided on the 2nd loop to just stay that pace and hold the same spot. That went pretty well (went through 6.4 in 45 min) until the end of the loop. There was an aid station at the end of it or about mile 7.5 I’d say, but then not another for almost 2 miles. In that period of time I got SO hot I thought I was in serious trouble. I needed water but the water they were handing out was warm, and it didn’t help at all. You had to dig your own ice out of a bucket, which I tried to do but the ice was so large it was pretty worthless. Around mile 9-9.5 my vision started to get blurry and dark and it became hard to breathe, I had to stop and walk, or I literally thought I was going to pass out. I lost several min on that last 1.5 uphill or whatever it was and that was pretty much the end of my race.

So am I happy? Yes and no. I got my butt kicked by the first two guys, they had amazing races and they just were better that day. Well done to those guys! 3-13th I feel like I could have been in any of those spots, and I was close to all of them. Like less than 4 min off 4th I think, 90 sec from 8th. Those guys beat me fair and square on the same course, in the same conditions but I was in the mix and could have gone either way. Those guys are all good and I am happy with that company at the end of a day.

 The tough part is I don’t ever remember feeling bad on my run. I went from “feeling fine, to I think I am going to die” – literally. There wasn’t a time where I had to think about how to pace differently, or anything like that. So it becomes super hard to figure out if the plan was a good one to hold back on the bike, or if I had biked harder would I have ran about the same. I can never tell. I can say my watts were about 30 less than last year so I know I could have biked harder, but could have meant I felt the heat sooner, or not. This is the main frustration. I am OK with having a bad plan, and knowing how to adjust, what’s tough is just not knowing.

Well, I have to get ready for Kona now. I am going to stick with the same game plans Mat and I have been discussing and try it through Hawaii. I think I need to finish the plan through and then make adjustments if needed. I hope it works, I think it will. If not, we will adjust and move on. Eventually getting better and learning as a coach the entire process.

Off to train.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Figuring some stuff out

I was able to get out to Boulder for 10 days of training with Mat Steinmetz, and Craig Alexander. To be honest I didn’t want to go after Steelhead. I had put in some large training going into Steelhead and didn’t expect to have the best race, but did want to feel strong, even if not fast. Well, I didn’t feel that great, and then tried to push hard through it and paid pretty handsomely on the run. Feeling pretty discouraged the last thing I wanted to do was go to Boulder and altitude and get schooled by some of the World’s best triathletes. (Here is a pic of me riding with Crowie, Cam Brown, and Tim Odonell, among others - WOW. All cool guys!)

I decided to pull up my skirt though and go. I'm glad I did. It allowed me to have a sit down with Mat and talk to him about some of the stuff we have been trying, what I think has been working, and what I think I needed to get back to. I have had reasonable success in the past, and while everyone wants to get faster, it is tough to find a balance of what changes need to be made, and what needs to be left alone. What is even tougher is sometimes you are making the right changes, just not seeing the effect yet. It is a very tough balance.  
 What was awesome about this trip however was Mat’s willingness to work with me 1-1. We went out for some rides and runs together and narrowed it down to a few things.

1 – Most importantly is controlling emotions and not over pacing or getting aggressive too fast. My argument has always been that I race best when I am “on” and just go with it. I still think that is true, but need to harness some of the emotions as well.

What gets tough, especially in the AG race, is you never really know where you are. You have to guess that everyone else is probably going a bit faster than you are and keep pushing at all times just beyond what you should. It works at times, but other times, just really doesn’t and causes huge blow ups. In the pro race, with some of the younger guys I coach I am able to tell them to “Sit in” and save energy. If the pace is slow, they know it; they can physically see the competition and see what the minimum amount of effort is they have to do to stay at the front. At Steelhead for example, I assumed my bike split was slow. So I pushed hard to stay in contact with what I thought would be competitive, later I found out I was 2nd fastest off the bike. Had I been able to see those guys biking, I would have known I was OK. Same goes for the swim. I battled another great swimmer the entire swim. I know the smart move is to draft but I didn’t want to think about if I got behind him, he would slow down once I relinquished and we would be losing time to other AG racers we couldn’t see. In the front pack, you see the swimmers; you know where you are at.

At a lot of races our entire AG isn’t even in the same pack. Combine that with the fact on these hot summer days we start as far back as 70-90 min later then some of the other fast AGs and it is a different race, and hard to compete against others. While I had the chance to go pro, and considered it, it was for these reasons more than thinking I could compete at the highest level.

Getting back to point 1, I cannot race this way successfully. I need to race within myself and do the best I can at the moment given I have one objective – get to the finish line as fast as I can that day for the conditions I am racing in.

2- Form on the run. I have worked with Vance, McGee, and Steinmetz to work out my run form. I have told Iott on several training runs that I am frustrated because it cannot be a lack of fitness and effort for why guys like him can out run me so badly at times. While this also plays heavily into point one, I have finally (I think) had something click on my form.

 When I was a kid on swim team I could never do butterfly, until one day I could. I finally felt the rhythm and from there was able to do it. I feel like I have had a similar epiphany with my run.  On one of our repeat sessions, I finally asked Mat, “You mean like this?” and it was YES! My pace dropped for less effort and the pics he took were good feedback. I need a lot of miles to work the endurance with the new form as after 3 the muscles I had never felt while running before (glutes, hips) were fatiguing. However I was excited as I have always heard these are the running muscles and while I was able to explain it, never really felt them engaged. Macca used to tell me the same thing, “You aren’t using your glutes” but I never could feel what he was speaking about. I think I have now! SO I am caught in the in between leading into Vegas and Kona with knowing what is right, but not having the endurance, so that should be interesting, but I am generally excited as to the prospects of continuing to figure this out.

3- Taper. I'm simply different then the norm for what it is that works for me. A traditional taper like we tried again for Steelhead is the death of my race. Mat thinks my taper leaves me feeling a little too tired on race day though so we are fudging with that slightly again, erring towards what has worked before. This is getting long, and we are going to podcast tonight about tapers, so if you are more interested in this, tune into Training Bible Coaching Podcast on Itunes.

Some pics from the Wind Tunnel (thanks Jack for letting me borrow your suit :) )

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Late summer update

Last week I did Steelhead 70.3 and honestly just had a bad race. What stinks is the race wasn’t supposed to be a focused race for me but I wanted to feel good and get some feedback from a block of training I had been doing. That didn’t happen which leaves me with a choice of continuing what I had thought I needed to do or make modifications. It’s always tricky because sometimes you can be doing the right things, and simply not have a great day.

I had Reeven Nathan do what I had been doing last year in terms of Philosophy and on his 2nd ever 70.3 the 18 year old went 4:09! This reinforces I had figured out a pretty successful approach previously. T

 Here is the reason I am writing about the experience. It is OK to fail once in a while. Sometimes in order to try to get better, you need to be willing to take risks and try things you hadn’t before. The stuff I figured out to get me to a successful last 2 years are things I had not tried before those times. As a coach I love experimenting with stuff on myself and seeing how I react. It is one of the ways I learn best as a coach how things will work for my athletes. Sometimes, I find things I think will work for some types and not others.

 So if you are trying something new, or you and your coach are trying something new, give  it a chance. I think the one thing you want to do is have an idea of what types of things you want to see before your races, to make sure you are on track. I admittedly got away from that, so have been recently figuring out in races what works and what doesn’t.

 Have a few marker sets you may hit a few times a summer that you can reference.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Racing and hosting a World Champ

It’s been awhile since I have blogged, just have been way too busy. I just tried to do Muncie which was shortened and that was probably for the best regardless. It was pretty hot and while I think I could have gotten through the entire race as I have been training pretty hard, I was glad I didn’t have to. I was able to get the AG win which just keeps becoming harder and harder. Great guys out there, all racing really fast.

Racine I was a ghost. My name wasn’t on the registration list, even after we got that sorted out I didn’t seem to show up on the results either??? Probably for the best as I really didn’t have a good day. In fact I haven’t felt that bad in a race in years. No idea why, I think it was just one of those days. I swam best I can tell around 25 min, rode 2:12, and then brought it home with a mind blowing 1:52 run! LOL – I wanted to quit so bad but the support of all the local athletes standing out and cheering for me I thought I owed them the respect of finishing, so I did. I guess lucky for me my name isn’t showing up for an official finish.

One of the reasons I think I wasn’t in the groove was the double taper from Muncie and Racine. I never taper well, and doing two in a row, I think it was just too much. The other reason is I have been fortunate enough to play host to Crowie and Mat Steinmetz. Bot awesome dudes, but they have a busy schedule and I have been trying to help them get to all the things they need to be at. I will say this though, totally worth it. Craig, is fast of course, but more importantly, really is an awesome dude. I feel fortunate to have gotten to become one of his friends. We go to the wind tunnel tomorrow, then train another week before he heads back to Boulder where I may be able to go do a training block with him as well. Very cool.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Treadmill Workout

This is a workout I wrote with Benny for a fast runner (ITU style) athlete to use. I have modified this to 2 x through for some of my athletes but many started with just 1 x through. Its good for economy and foot speed and thought you may enjoy it.

This is a treadmill set. warm up 10 min then at 30 seconds per mile faster than 5k speed and 1% grade perform the following set 1-2 x through with 5 min easy between:

2min  @ 5k - 30 seconds if possible on treadmill (EZ1 min)

increase speed .5mph 4x 45 seconds (EZ 1 min)

increase speed .5mph 4x 30 seconds (EZ 1 min)

 Cool Down 10-15 min

Old Friends

I have done 2 races this year so far and they have been quite fun. The 29th was actually my birthday as well which caused me to really reflect on a few things on my last ride.

Waiting in line for me registration process for Vegas 70.3 at St. Croix, and getting a chance to talk to as many good friends at American TTT really made me think again about how awesome our sport is. I do not get to see everyone very often but when you do at races it is we never miss a beat. I am able to walk up to people and almost not miss sentences in conversations we had been having at the last race. Combine that with Facebook and twitter it makes it pretty easy to all stay connected.

Waiting in line to register and making plans to meet up at following races, or Kona, or Vegas is so cool and so much fun. I think the younger guys are going to do that too and now that the sport is getting bigger I hope to see even more relationships form, but who knows.

I’ve  been racing now for 20 years which is hard to believe and when I started we were a pretty small community. We all do battle together, and then are usually there right away to help each other out on workouts, or training advice, offer up homestays, etc. There are a few bad apples of course in every area of life but those guys seem to be weeded out pretty quickly and I still see a few of them floating around grouchy and or as arrogant as ever. J

If you are just getting into the sport, you will start to notice after a while you can literally travel the World and start to run into people you consider “Friends”. See you out there this summer!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

St. Croix Race Report

I am glad I came and did this race again. I was originally going to try to qualify and since I already have my spot do not need to.  So We made a decision to be in shape for the race and go as fast as I can, btu not to full prepare for it as I had early season previously and it kind of showed up today.

 Weather was raining in the am and it turned out it just kept raining all day long.  For me personally this took a little impetus off my motivation because, well it just did. J That combined with the last time I was here three years ago I got SCHOOLED on the course I decided to play it a bit conservative today.

The swim was pretty uneventful. My speed suit must have been pulled on because I did notice it was open after about 1000K so I rolled over and wrestled that back closed but other than that it was pretty straight forward. Some dude took off at the beginning and was GONE! He outswam Potts by 8 min! I can tell you it was true too because I saw him go and couldn’t believe it.

My transition was slow as I never changed “auto on/off” on my new garmin and I had to mess with that and I didn’t really feel like just running through the mud because I really didn’t think that would matter too much to my overall placing at the end of the day.

I took off somewhat easy and really tried to ease into the bike. Again, I wanted to not have any cramping today and the hills are so far out of what I have been training lately I just needed to feel it out for a bit. Also, there was standing water up to 6 inches deep in several places. I kept thinking how bad crashing would such and with as hard as the course is normally I didn’t see the point in taking risk on descents and corners.

I passed most of the women pro (I was in the 4th wave I think) and by mile 40 was in 19th overall place on the road. The feedback I kept getting was that I was doing all the passing, watts were up whenever I felt like pushing and I thought “hey I must be ridding well, lets just play it cool”. I also was afraid the rain would stop, the sun would come out and would just steam cook us all. So was hedging for that.

With 5 miles or so to go I kept looking back and saw literally nobody.  I relaxed all the way into T2 again, thinking the run is hard enough, pushing the last 5-8 miles would probably take more from that then time gained.  

T2 was again slow. I had put all my running stuff in plastic bags and had to unwrap it all, and wanted to put on socks and not with muddy feet, etc. blah blah blah, my transitions were WAY slow! My fault, but I honestly didn’t mind so much because again, I didn’t think it would matter. – It did, as it always does.

2 guys passed me in T2 -I never saw them again.

 I ran steady for the first 7 miles, then just felt a little “out of shape” and had to slow down a touch the last 5. Not a catastrophic reduction, but I was fading.

In the end, I felt like I biked too conservative but that is usually not an issue, and I feel my base is a little light, but that is by design. So it wasn’t a great race, but it wasn’t a bad one either.  I speant WAY TOO MUCH time in transitions, as they were abotu 6 min added to my bike and run combined, but hey, it was raining! :)

I am happy to get in a solid effort today and get the season started.  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Swim with the stars in St. Croix

In St. Croix, and have been managing to dodge most of the rain showers. This place is so humid right now it really doesn’t matter as I seem to be dripping with sweat as soon as I leave the room regardless.

We all got 1 chance to swim the course so we went down to the swim start Friday at 11am and dove in as a group. I found myself at the front as I am sure the better swimmers waited to get in a bit longer but it was pretty short lived. I saw a couple guys swim by me on the right hand side in between some pick up efforts I was doing, and I decided to go with them.

At the Turn buoy one of the guys stopped to show me a spotted ray right under us. That was cool, but even cooler was the fact he was wearing some black and yellow goggles… Lance… NFW. I do not tend to get overly excited to see particular stars, but it was pretty cool to be out there just chatting about sea life with him. I told him if he pulled the rest of the way in on the swim, I would of the work on the bike. J He smiled and we were off again.

I have to admit at that point I wanted to keep up because I thought, damn, people pay like 10K a crack to ride with the dude, why not go for a swim? I hit his feet a few times, but nothing major and I kept thinking it was cool to be right behind the guy that I watched for so many years, win the Tour and seemed to be a figure kind of like MJ (Im from Chicago) who would always just be that guy on the TV, here I was not hitting his feet and I kept thinking about all the victories those feet have pedaled him too.

I couldn’t figure out who was hanging around on my right shoulder, but he wasn’t giving up any groud and to me, it seemed like we were swimming pretty well. When we finished the guy next to us said “Damn, you swim OK for a cyclist- It was Terenzo Bozzone, another guy who is damn fast and was an honor to swim with.

The coolest part of all was to have all the hard swimming I had been doing this year pay off and to see at least that day I could swim with those guys.

When we climbed up the ladder out of the ocean, I went my way, and he went his. He was mobbed, and I was proud of myself for just playing it cool like I was swimming with just anyone else.

I would post pictures, but I told Lance “no pictures please” J

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Swim. (not speaking about technique)

I have been getting a lot of questions lately about how to get better at swimming. Let me say this right up front.

- YES technique IS important.
- Yes I agree swimming on your side helps
- Yes I think you need to maximize stroke length (more on this in a min)
- Yes I think doing drills are important

If you look back at Memphis in May from the earliest results, you will see I was definitely not that great of a swimmer. Trying to get down to a 20 min 1500k took YEARS for me, and was a huge goal. I think I started about 25-27 min, eventually 23, etc.

I wanted to break 20 min, I also wanted to swim with a lead group when possible.

Look, I worked very hard on my “Stroke” but at the end of the day the sets that helped me the most were not Masters Classes, were not the really fancy sets, etc. They were the roll up your sleeves and do the sets nobody else likes to do. You want to do 10 x 100 on the 1:20??? Great, then try to do them. If you only make 3, then add 5 seconds and finish the set. Keep trying them week after week until you get your goal. Not literally, but you get the idea I hope.

It has to be a realistic goal. If you are swimming 2:00/100 now, then make 1:55 the goal. If you do it on 10 seconds rest, and even 5 seconds, it gets to be too long. This is the problem with masters, the interval is made for the group so if you are getting 5+ sec rest on anything shorter than 200 it’s TOO MUCH REST for trying to identify your pacing strategy for your 1500.

Build endurance. Swim a straight 4-5k every week and vary your freestyle stroke. So for example I will do 500 bilat, 500 weakside, 500 bilat, 500 strong side. And just keep rotating through. Boring? Yep! But if you don’t do these types of sets, you are not going to get faster.

PACE! I do a swim where I see how far can I swim at my goal pace without any breaks. I look during a breath cycle each time I come into the wall if I am on pace or not. If I am teetering by a second, FIGHT FOR ANOTHER 100. It may be 700 meters, it maybe 1200. You don’t know. This is one of the reasons why groups do not work all the time. It would have to be way more structured, or you would catch a draft, or swim too hard, too much rest, etc.

Now I think Masters groups are very beneficial, just not for ALL YOUR swims. Use them to push speed and some breakthrough swims, and technique work, but your blue collar sets need to be solo or with one buddy close to your speed.
Keep things very simple too, if you get too fancy, you can get more fit, but not building specificity.

- 40x50 on 2 sec rest.
- 10x200 @ goal pace on an interval with 5 sec rest.
- 500 at goal pace, then 5 x 100 on goal pace interval, then right into 400 @ gp... all the way down.
- Etc.
- If you start to fall off, use paddles for help.

Open water? Sure practice for a lot of swimmers it isn’t going to help as much UNLESS YOU HAVE A GROUP. This would be a time a group will help to keep you honest. By yourself I think you look around too much, the clock is a non-issue, and you just do not get the same work in.

I hope this helps. It isn’t always the sexiest answer but I promise it will be effective.

We will also go over this on our podcast this month. You can look for that on Itunes “training bible coaching” as search.