Why we train: Putting it together

Firstly, YOU all deserve a BIG high-five, and a thank-you. This winter we hunkered down and came together as a team to get the work done and make it to spring.   Your energy and support these past few months has been phenomenal. This bunch of athletes really is something special. 

The beginning of the year we focused our time and attention on “base”
building. We spent workouts focusing on our swim, bike and run technique.
We slowly built back our fitness. We do this so we can go farther, faster
later in the season. Base building is critical and forms the foundation
upon which all subsequent training is built. Effective base training
prepares you to achieve higher performance peaks and greatly reduces the
risk of injury during higher intensity training to come.

Incorporating all the drills we do trains the nervous system to
swim/bike/run even more effectively and efficiently. Training your body to
maximize every ounce of expended energy will help you race your best once
fitness has peaked.

Combine this practice with a solid mental game and we’ve got a winning
combination. I am a firm believer in mantras, hippy-dippy as it might
sound. When in the middle of a crazy hard effort you don’t want just any
old thoughts popping into your head. You want fast ones, strong ones. You
want to hold on to words that push you and keep your eye on the prize.

Check out how a couple of team mates took their winter technique training into a couple of the first spring power tests and CRUSHED.


Putting all her hours of practice in the barn this winter to use, with a
thought out and perfectly executed plan, Deb V. ran her
first outdoor timed mile at the track as FAST as she did mid-summer last
season (tip-top shape!). Her secret? Repeating…”High knees, high knees, hips up, hips up, and go!”
the entire 4 laps. How cool is that?!

Putting the puzzle together is what its all about.
Following his plan to break the bike time trial up into 3 bite-sized
pieces, and focusing on cadance and pedal stroke, Shawn K.’s FTP went up
20% from his last effort. Amazing!

Let your technique training guide you through the season to reach your goals of going further and faster.


Reading: Strategies to Reach Your Goals

I found this to be a very helpful article and interesting read. I’m inspired. Not so inspired to try this terrible thing called a Triple Deca, but, more ready to put my best self forward this race season.

It has taken me a couple months into 2016 to actually get clear about what I aim to accomplish this year. If you are still wrestling with sorting out your goals, read Goal Getting 101. Then scribble down a bunch of ideas and see which ones call to you. Take these and move forward. (You can always rewrite.)

At our group training sessions, whether in the pool, on the bike, or track, we always make sure the objectives of the workout are well explained and relevant to your goals. Each session has a purpose to move you forward in fitness and performance.

One of the cool things about using a system like Training Peaks is that you can make workout notes before and after you complete them. I also like to use good old fashion pen and paper to record how I feel about my efforts on a big desk calendar.

From here I can see what’s going well, and what needs work. I’ve recently noticed that my Tuesday morning bike rides have been a struggle both physically and mentally because of my long, jam packed, triple workday Mondays. So, in order to get the most out of my time on the bike I have to decide to switch things around some.

I hope you are feeling excited about your own goals and enjoy the process of reaching them – it’s not going to be easy, but it’s undoubtable worth the effort.

Here’s to running in the rain!

Athlete and Coach,


8 Strategies to Realize Your Race Goals

Heading into the new season is a good time to review some of the goal-achieving techniques by Wayne Kurtz, author, speaker and master of the ultra-triathlon scene. Wayne put on a demonstration of his psychological skills when he and a handful of others finished the largely-impossible-to-imagine Triple Deca Iron race–30 IRONMAN-length triathlons in 30 days.”It was a death march,” is how Kurtz described the Triple Deca. “The weather turned cold and rainy. There were 40-mile-per-hour winds.” Yet Kurtz was able to hang on for a finish in a time of 453 hours and 7 minutes, earning him 6th place. His best IRONMAN of the 30? 13 hours and 18 minutes. (There was an incentive to finish as fast as possible not only for overall time concerns, but the sooner you wrapped up the day’s race, the more time you had to recover, eat, sleep and fix your bike. On bad days, when an IRONMAN took 17 hours or more, a competitor faced the unworldly prospect of getting only an hour or two of sleep (or none at all) before it was time to report again to the merciless starting line).In addition to his consulting business, Kurtz is also a coach, and we asked what advice he might have for fellow athletes of all stripes on the subjects of setting goals and, something he’s clearly good at, sticking to them.

“In my 27 years of racing experience I think the biggest asset of what separates winners and those who never meet their goals is mental toughness,” Kurtz says.Establish clear race goals. 

For your key races, mark down the dates of each race in your 2014 training log. This is your starting point.

Make every workout count.

Kurtz advises that you have a clear and precise goal for each workout. “I have a written goal for each, prior to getting started.”

Conduct Workout and Race Postmortems.

Kurtz says to follow each workout and race with time spent jotting down notes in the training log. “Every workout you should evaluate what went right, what went wrong, what challenges you need to work on.”

Know thyself and act accordingly. 

Within your training and racing journal, keep a running spotlight on your three biggest strengths and three biggest weaknesses. “I focus on these every day,” says Kurtz, adding that a long range goal should always be in chipping away toward transforming those weaknesses into weapons.

Be prepared. 

In getting set for a big race, be careful to not simply churn through workouts under ideal conditions. Kurtz employs rehearsal exercises to be prepared for whatever challenges he may face. In his training, he’ll simulate “stomach distress runs,” “severe fatigued-leg runs” and “horrific weather workouts.” So consider the worst-case scenarios that you may plague you on race day and construct suitable conditioning sessions. Says Kurtz, “It may sound barbaric, but learning how to handle these significant challenges in training makes it easier to overcome them in races.”

Stay in the present. 

In extreme endurance events–be it a marathon, an IRONMAN or the Triple DECA– the imagination can easily become overwhelmed by the magnitude what’s involved. This applies even to relatively short events, like the 1500-meter run on the track, where the impending intensity and discomfort is so high that the worse part of the race can be the minutes before the starting gun. “Learn to focus on your breathing,” Kurtz says. Try and reign in any negative thoughts by clearing your mind and taking deep, full breaths. At the Triple DECA, Kurtz constantly worked at connecting his thoughts to the immediate work at hand as opposed to letting them drift toward the future hours, days and weeks of the event.

The Rope Strategy.

During an endurance event like an IRONMAN or a marathon, Kurtz says, use the Rope Strategy to get through lulls in energy and performance. “Visualize a rope tied to the person in front of you in the race and just get the mindset of ‘hanging on,’ repeating those words again and again to let them actually pull you along and not ever losing sight of them.”

Quitting is not an option. 

“More than anything else,” Kurtz says, “I build into the minds of my clients that there is never an option of not finishing a race. Setting this expectation early on and in writing is imperative to a comprehensive mental strength plan.”


TT Warmup Protocol

Bicycle Time Trial Warm Up Protocol

IT-warmup-protocolCompleting an effective warm up is the key to producing your best time
trial performance. The following are examples for a short prologue warmup
(5-15k) and mid-distance (20-40k) time trial warm-up and each is
strategically designed. A proper time trial warm-up should activate the
targeted individual energy systems that will be used during the majority
of the effort. Engaging the correct energy systems during warm up is key
to starting processes of fuel utilization, buffering capacities (lactic
acid), and metabolic activities. By targeting a system that is used for a
time trial, techniques can be used to activate the system metabolically
without overly fatiguing the athlete or depleting carbohydrate stores.

For example, in a prologue, the majority of the time trial is over
threshold, reaching V02 Max, requiring high wattage outputs and large
muscle recruitment. In the warm-up, it is critical to reach the system
that will be utilized without “loading” the legs. High rpm’s can be used
so legs don’t become fatigued but physiological systems are activated.
Structure the warm-up so high zone levels are reached in the middle of the
warm-up with lower rpm’s; then progressing to higher rpm’s at the end of
the warm-up with no leg load (resistance).

In a mid-distance warm-up, similar strategies can aid in targeting the
cardiovascular systems that will be used for the majority of the time
trial. Choose the warmup below that most closely reflects the type of time
trial you will be racing and practice with it until you have refined it to
suit your fitness and riding style.  The more successful you are in
warming your body up the more success you will have in time trials.

*On hot days warmup stay near the lower end of all zones to decrease
dehydration/over-heating*  (stay in shade and hydrate during warmup)


*Stretch as needed*
1 min. at ZONE 3 HR (80% of FTP) @90-100rpm
1 min. at ZONE 1 HR (<55% of FTP)
5 min. at ZONE 3 HR (80%—BUILDING TO–>90% of FTP) @90-100rpm
1 min. at ZONE 1 HR (<55% of FTP)
4 min. at ZONE 4 HR (90%—BUILDING TO—>100% of FTP) @90-100rpm
3 min. at ZONE 2 HR (60-70% of FTP)
2 min. at ZONE 5 HR (100%—BUILDING TO—>110% of FTP) @90-100rpm
5 min. at ZONE 2 HR (60-70% of FTP)
**Go straight to the start line.


After a 20-30min. EASY trainer warm-up
5 min. at Zone 3 HR (80% of FTP) @ 100 rpm
2 min. at Zone 4 HR (100-110% of FTP) @120 rpm
5 min. at Zone 2 HR (60-70% of FTP) @100 rpm
Off trainer & directly to start line!

*Lactate Threshold HR or Perceived Exertion may be substituted for those
not using a power meter.