Sunday, June 30, 2013

SD Wall: Elements Series P1 - Values and Motivators

Almost all of us our guilty of forgetting our personal values and what we value within our lives. Often times these thoughts get lost in the shuffle of every day life. To be successful and to make changes in your life you won't only need to set a powerful vision, but you have to identify the key elements that make your vision so important to you. Check out part one of my elements series as we discuss values and motivators. Dial in on the pure motivators and you'll make progress quickly!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Just Begin

In less than 24hours now, our CFHH Endurance athletes will tackle the Hilton Head Island Beach Bum Triathlon. For many this will be their first experience in multi-sport and a few will be looking for a new PR. Whether your just beginning or racing your first triathlon being nervous is completely normal.

We all have to "BEGIN" somewhere...

Learn from "DEFEAT" ... 

And stay "STRONG" to... 

Achieve our "DREAMS".

Take that first step to just begin and its a pretty straight forward formula.  Have confidence and go after your goals athletes... You'll be great! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Racing for Workouts

I'm someone who rarely watches. You can usually bet that if I'm at a race I'll nine times out of ten be partaking. Two weeks ago at the first summer track series event sponsored by Palmetto Running Company was a prime example. I had been working all day (on my feet training clients), had hit a tough couplet WOD designed by yours truly and I road my bike to the HHI High School Track. The game plan was originally to support Nahuel (one of my star athletes) and the Bluffton cross country team, but it seemed I just couldn't sit this one out.

Being around the community and seeing the other runners gearing up made it tough for me to hold back, I had to jump in. I'm glad I did because running in that atmosphere with so many great runners even in a fatigued state allowed me the opportunity to rattle off my fastest mile and 800 meter splits that I've ever hit in my short running career.

"Racing" for workouts is something every athlete should be doing. Same if you're a CrossFit competitor because its an atmosphere that elicits a completely different response. Added push. My example above isn't great because it was entirely unplanned, but having planned races looked at as workouts is critical...

Allows you to work at a high intensity - Doug Katona drilled this message at this past weekend's CFE Seminar. The fact is you simply work harder with others in the ring with you. The level of push and training response is something entirely different. Training only on your own is difficult (I understand this because most of my workouts are on my own). When you train with similar level athletes you push further than you would go by yourself. Plain and simple. I think our CrossFit Endurance Team is a great example of this comraderie.

It's "A" Race Practice - Planning in a few races should be viewed as "Testers" for the greater goal. How are you going to know how you feel and perform on race day is you don't test? I race so much in the summer months its sickening. I'm sure people get sick of all my FaceBook and Twitter updates. By doing a race every other weekend, I know I'll be prepared for the make or break one. Racing for workouts allows you the opportunity to understand your feelings mentally and how your gut will react physically. 

Intelligent Fun - Timed tests serve as benchmarks so you can measure your progress. The biggest reason I race for workouts is that it's so much fun. I'm compettive. Humans are made that way. However, its more competition against myself. I think its fair to say when your passionate about something you always want to see if you can be better. I'd probably race every weekend if I could. Dean Karnazes? Man, I wish I had thought to run 50marathons in 50days. The fact of the matter is that I can still have fun at these races and get a ton of data from them. 

Start racing for your workouts, it won't only allow you to work at a higher intensity, but you'll gain confidence before that next "A" Race and still have enough fun that it doesn't interfere with your longer term goals. Achieving a PR comes down to confidence. It comes down to believing you can do it and taking the necessary steps to get there. Working hard, practicing and finding intelligent fun within your training will lead to success.

Where you'll find our team and my personal scheduled racing in the coming months. Muncie is closing in I can't believe it...

6/27 PRC Summer Track Series - 1mile/800m - Bluffton, SC
6/29 Beach Bum Triathlon - Sprint - Hilton Head Island, SC
7/10 PRC Summer Track Series - 1mile/800m - Hilton Head, SC
7/13 Ironman Muncie - 70.3 Half Iron - Muncie, IN *A EVENT
7/18 PRC Summer Track Series - 1mile/800m - Bluffton, SC
7/28 Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series - Race #4 - Charleston, SC
8/11 Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series - Race #5 - Charleston, SC 
8/17 Bobcat Scorcher - 5K Run - Bluffton, SC
8/31 Run for RET - 5K Run - Hilton Head Island, SC *CFHH Endurance Event
9/6 Blue Ridge Relay - 206mile Team Relay - VA and Asheville, NC *CFHH Endurance Event
9/29 The Dam Tri - International - Lexington, SC
10/13 REV 3 Anderson - 70.3 Half Iron - 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Two Minute Tuesdays: Relax those Feet

Struggling to get away from that heel strike? Athletes having difficulty relaxing their feet when working on their run mechanics has been a common theme at recent CFE seminars. Check out a quick way to help relax the feet even when your off the endurance clock...

By the way, athlete Suzan takes on her first 5K where she will run the WHOLE THING next Thursday at the Fourth of July Firecracker. Stay tuned for some awesome team updates as our summer "A events" near.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

New Singlet Shwag

It was like an early Christmas at CrossFit Hilton Head this week! I couldn't have been more ecstatic this week when we got our shipment of our 2013 team singlets in via FedEx. Nothing better than getting that new wod shirt or singlet shwag right? Watch out for the CFHH Endurance Team next Saturday as many of our athletes take on their first Beach Bum Triathlon put on by On On Tri at Coligny Beach!

Our newest Triathlete crosses the line of his first triathlon today. Congrats Christopher and nice shwag!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Race Day Nutrition: Plan It - DATTs Cool

So I just arrived for another CrossFit Endurance Seminar this weekend in my hometown of Newburyport, Massachusetts. It’s sort of odd going home for this reason, but can’t thank CFE enough for a free trip to see the family and teach motivated athletes. Solid weekend combination to say the least.

Anyways, I’m sitting in the airport right now and it pains me to see the nutritional environment. Literally (an apparently) healthy dude just sat down next to me and is crushing one of those 2,000+ calorie Cinnabun. Now I don’t judge anyone on their nutritional choices; however 7am really? Seriously being in the weight-loss field for so long how could I be one to judge. I’m no super human either. I like to enjoy a nice serving of ice cream once in a while. What’s tough about the world is that you’ll continue to have to go out of your way to be healthy and keep the processed foods away. Eating "clean" isn't easy, but there’s a reason nutrition is at the base of the CrossFit pyramid. The endurance athlete needs to be especially cautious as there are so many considerations that need to be made before race day.
In roughly three weeks, I’ll be up in Muncie, Indiana so nothing but nutrition has been on my mind in these closing weeks. Take this with you … If you don’t PLAN it, PREPARE it and PROCEED with it you’ll be in trouble. Performance is going to suffer.

PLAN IT (this will be our focus today)
Separate your fueling into three sources; nutrition, water and electrolytes. Now the question comes down to what are the considerations for each? As some of you know, I just started working with the local Bluffton cross country team, I bring this up because there’s this kid that always responds to me and says “DATT’s cool Coach Jeff” when obviously he means “That’s cool,” this is how I want you athletes to think about the planning part of nutrition. Planning “DATT’s cool” comes down to Determinants, Amount, Types and Timing.
Know the determining factors for each performance source, from there you’ll be able to decide on the proper amounts. Once you’ve identified the first two then test the types and practice the timing. Now “DATT’s” cool planning…

Determinants – distance of the event, your Gut 
Amounts – How many calories per hour? *body can only process 200-600calories remember that.
Types – 3Fuel, Gels, Bars, Dried fruit etc.
Timing – Did you choose protein/fat or sugar?

Knowing these factors are key. Nutrition is like religion it’s so frigging personal it’s scary and you'll get in an argument over it. Just make sure to go thru these steps and you’ll be fine. Western States (100mile run) Tim Olson ran the entire race  setting the course record fueling as a low carb athlete. Sugar is “quick fuel” and requires more timing and once you start you can’t stop.The key is testing, which we've talked about before.

Determinants – Temps, Sweat Rate Protocol, You (I know a guy who goes out on our group runs and it may be just a 30minut run, but he comes back absolute
Amounts – How many ounces? Typically 16-20 per hour
Types – Aquahydrate, Smart water, Course water etc.
Timing – Every 20minutes

You can go weeks without food, but only days without water. Dehydration comes on as early as 3percent water loss and will effect performance. This is the most important of the three.

Determinants – Temps, Sweat Rate, YOU
Amounts – How man mg per hour magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium?  Typically 500-2000mg.
Types – Saltstick, Hammer Enduralytes, Banana, Emergen-C, Nuun, etc.
Timing – Every hour

Electrolytes are the glue. They allow your body to retain the needed hydration. I had first hand experience of this one during Boston 2012. When race distances get over four hours and the shift is from glucose to fat electrolytes play an even greater role. Have the separate plan. Do the calculations.

We spent most of our time today on planning, but we’ll talk more about the preparation part of fueling real soon. Hope this was helpful to all you endurance athletes out there. Regardless of your selections go thru the planning process even if is just a 5K. What do you typically eat before? How much water do you need to drink? Have you tested it? My worst fear is training hard and everything going to crap on race day just because I failed to plan, prepare and proceed with my nutrition.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Two Minute Tuesday: Fall Forward

Gravity is the most powerful force on this planet. As a runner you're going to want gravity as your best friend. When you can get your body in the proper posture and fall forward, running feels so much easier. Tonight's two minute Tuesday shares a quick partner drill to try next time you happen to hook up with a friend. Be conscious of the hips (don't break at the hips) and makes sure to go with that lean. Get comfortable!

Monday, June 17, 2013

I CAN 2013

This past weekend we wrapped up the 2nd Annual I CAN GAMES (Results Here). It was busy, but a blast to have another opportunity to host on our hometown island. We had many of our own athletes compete on both Saturday and Sunday. They all performed quite well and represented fittingly for CrossFit Hilton Head. It's always tough when your not the one out their competing, but sometimes its needed to sit back. Sitting back allows you the opportunity to peer in on others goals without losing site of your own. When you're racing or competing it's difficult to really see what's going on, you miss things.

Becoming a volunteer or a spectator is a different opportunity. I feel as though its an opportunity to be inspired by a bunch of different people with different goals, but people with similar intentions. Typically to be better. Our Owners Craig and Dayna inspired me the most these past two days. They literally put their hearts and soles into this event and like every other event they organize it was phenomenal. I continually take notice in their hard work, the countless hours of sleep that they miss and the sacrifices they make for our athletes day in and day out. A lot of things inspired me this past weekend ...
  • the Beginners for stepping up to compete for the first time
  • RX males and females for being on straight up beast mode in every event
  • Judges for calling NO REP when it was appropriate 
  • Volunteers for their many hours in the sun
  • Aram and Robin for running the "Box Grill" hours on end goal being to keep folks nutritionally optimal - inspiring paleo cookies no lie
  • the Teams for their endless positive support of one another 
  • J. Mayoh for crushing camera duty as usual 
  • All the many CFHH athletes who I know took it to a new level entering a new division or tackling weights they thought might just be too heavy in the WODs 
Great stuff this past weekend, feel free to check out the highlights... 

Lindsay and Karla banging out Burpees! 

Mike and Merrick flexing their Skills and Strength!

Ashley getting underneath quick!

Jason T handling #225 on the clean like it was nothing!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Race Recap: Greenwood Olympic Triathlon

Is it crazy to drive close to six hours for an Olympic or sprint distance triathlon? Not if this is a way of life for you. It had been along time coming since last Tri season to put out a good race. This was my second race of the season, but I consider it my first triathlon of 2013 because at the Charleston Sprint back in April my bike time was well over an hour. Wondering why? Well for about the top 20 of us we went off course and ended up biking close to 24miles on the day. By the time, I got back to transition the race was pretty much wrapping up. It wasn't our fault as the "turn around professional" (maybe professional isn't the correct word) didn't make it out to the course on time. It's a shame because I felt like I came out of the water quick and was having a pretty solid bike. Anyways, Greenwood felt like redemption!!

Setup Events is an awesome company and as a result of the professional turn around guys screw up they took $25 bucks off my entry into Greenwood and comped my registration for next year's "Try Charleston Sprint Triathlon" wicked cool. Setup is all over the east coast and their different series allow you the opportunity to see where you stack up in your age group. Long story short, I was stoked for Greewood and ready to rock as I thoroughly enjoyed the course from last year. This year however it was a point to point race therefore the bike course and run were completely different. I like finishing in a different spot than the starting point, but man it's a wicked hassel with the set up in the morning. The great part about triathlon is that you can typically pick up your packet on race day early in the morning verses being there the night before. For this event next year, I'll certainly make sure to set the bike and everything up in advance. Whole number pick up and drop offs had to take upwards to an hour and half on race morning.

Not too much to write about regarding race, but that it was pretty straight forward and executed to my expectations. This brings up a few good points...

- UNDERSTAND your expectations on race morning (or life events for that matter) When I say understand I mean make sure they're appropriate and lead to you gaining more confidence. Often we're never happy with what we put in front of us, but a lot of time its our own damn fault.
- THINK about the worst scenarios first and then right before the race think about the best experiences. I do this because it helps me with point number one. If I think about the worst thing that can happen first then I am able to stay humble and it helps me understand that everything will be okay no matter what happens. Dial in on the best experience possible though. This is the only time I would tell you to get "cocky confident." Keep it in your head of course.
- ACKNOWLEDGE how awesome it is to just be out there. I swear I was crushing the run course this past weekend and that's all I could think about. It was like "I get to compete in triathlon just about every other weekend, how incredible is that?" We're given so many opportunities in life that sometimes we forget about being grateful or just thinking on it some. Probably the biggest acknowledgment of all was that girlfriend was there to root me on and for the first time in my young triathlon career I had a girl there for no other reason, but to support me.

Take this from my blog today, "When you understand your expectations and think about the worst and best case experiences then you'll acknowledge how really frigging lucky you're to be on this planet setting goals with the opportunity to potentially achieve them." 

Race: Greenwood Triathlon (Greenwood, SC) 
Date: Sunday June 9th 2013
Place: 2nd Age Group 25 - 29 15th Overall
Distance: 1500m/24mile/10K
Time: 2:17:38
Swim: 28:35
Bike: 1:09:01
Run: 38:37
4th best run split  

Best Highlight - dropping the hammer with 200m to go to finish 15th overall ... Check it out!

Worst Highlight - losing another pair of goggles. This always happens to me in point to point races. At Try Charleston it was a wetsuit and shoes. Learning from that experience this race I truly took the time to make sure the goggles were in the transition bag - lame that they were still lost. Thankfully enough, my amazing girlfriend bought me a new pair :))

Okay let's break it down, Swim was smooth finding my rythmn early on and got plenty of space after the first 100m. For about the first 400m, I was able to draft pretty well with another dude until he scooted away. What's important about the swim is that you find a groove. The more relaxed you can stay out of the gates and throughout the less inefficiencies you'll have. It's also important to swim all the way until you get to the exit. Literally until your scrapping sand from the bottom of the water. The Swim was the only section of the course that was the same as last year. I shaved about 90seconds off my split from 2012 so no complaints!

Now onto the Bike course I felt pretty good. I didn't taper for this race due to the fact that I race quite often more to use them as "workouts" for the A Race event meaning Muncie and Cozumel this year. It's important that you pick these race in advance. Not only for the fact that it's motivating, but then you can plan out the tune up races to get some baselines and real time experience. Anyways, I kept a solid cadence on the bike averaging around 22mph. There were a lot more hills than last year and one road in particular that was mad bumpy. I always seem to worry about getting a flat. Pretty much a game changer for any race if it is to happen. This race I was testing Ensure and that was all I fueled with along with water and nuun on the run. Everything sat pretty well nutritional with the temps the way they were the only thing I would have done differently was have some salt tabs on hand to help with the cramping.

The run course was shaded and super fast. No hills, but a gradual incline on the way back. As usual, I got excited getting off the bike and hit a 6:10 split on the 1st mile. Obviously had to be smarter on the pacing so I dialed it back into the 6:20 range and I was able to hold sub 6:35 pace for the entire 10K. Couldn't of asked for a better split as it improved from last year. The kick at the end was the best.

If I want to do ONE thing every race it's to simply to finish strong.

In my next post, I'll announce my race schedule for 2013. We've got some awesome plans for the team and are looking to make our mark in the Southeast!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Playing Catch Up

I feel like every single time I open up Runners World or Triathlete magazine a new article pops up raving about the benefits of strength training for endurance athletes. Like really, that stuff actually works? Your times can get faster? The traditional endurance community seems to be playing catch up with everything we've been discussing...

The article that I came across yesterday was in the July 2013 issue of Triathlete called  "Jump Around." The discussion revolved around a new study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning (pretty solid scholarly journal) where they explored the effects of plyometric training exercises and their impact on running performance. The baseline for the two groups in the study was a 5K Time Trial. If you're an endurance coach you should have this pegged down on all your athletes and yes it should always be improving for one of the three factors of performance are affected - remember sleep, nutrition, programming. Anyways, the study took these two groups and had them on different training protocols. One group did running only and the other group did running and body weight plyometrics, box jumps being one of the primary movements. What they found is that the plyometric group ran 25% less, added the plyometrics and recevied the same results. The end of the article said it all "Give these exercises a shot you may just find that when you DROP your MILEAGE, you also DROP TIME.

Obviously you catch my drift where I am going with this? I do have to take a stab at the traditional path once in a while just because it seems some folks are wearing blinders. I am and will always be under the impression that training is never a one size fits all approach. If I did believe that I wouldn't be a coach. The best coaches know how to read their athletes meaning stop them when their over training and provide confidence coupled with motivation when its needed. By adding strength training different muscle fibers are called on that you just don't get from running. Any time you can recruit in different muscular patterns its a good thing. The body adapts. The goal in training is to not let it get comfortable, but provide enough different senses focused on the athletes weaknesses at the right times. I do have to laugh at one quote from the article though "When you maximize muscle recruitment, you're able to turn your legs over faster (YES) and push off harder (NOT AT ALL). Remember to pull people!!

Two Minute Tuesdays: Warm Up like you Workout

A bit late on the post, but the Youtube video did go up yesterday evening to be fair. Clearly the message here is that anything we do in the warm up should not counter act what you're teaching in the skill sections of class.  I like to hit my athletes intermittently with skill work and dynamic mobility focusing on the hamstrings and hips. Its even a really good idea to get your athletes returning to a couple pieces of skill work post Run WODs. This will ingrain good mechanics beginning to the end.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

SD Wall Round Two

Well, another busy weekend and triathlon in the books, but with all that going on did you think I would forget about round two of our SD talks? Of course not. Before the start of the race today, I was telling Lindsay that I think the number one reason I race triathlons or compete for that matter is that I am able to turn it all off when I'm out on the course. It's an environment when things just change and you have however long the race or competition lasts to be in your own head.What current opportunities do you have to be in your own head? Have you thought about that?

Hope round two of the SD wall gives everyone a few new key points to keep moving forward on developing that vision. Check it out!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Perfecting Pacing

One of the most difficult things in endurance sports and life for that matter has to be pacing. There are only so many repeats in a workout, only so many miles in a race and only so man hours in a day. If you mess it up, it's over. Wait until the next workout, race or day to try again. Think about it like a car filled with premium gasoline. Yes premium, start thinking about yourself as a nice car not a broken down one. Confidence folks. Anyways, one of two bad things can happen when you pace wrong either theres too much left in the tank or you burn up your fuel and combust before getting to your destination - meaning in a 400m workout your third repeat goes from 1:20 to 1:35 or worse. Is it really that important to maintain consistency? Shouldn't you always run as hard as you can?

I try to explain pacing to my athletes right before every Endurance class when we're deciding on levels. It can be quite difficult to grasp especially when starting out. What I do know is that it takes experience and it takes "feel" from the athlete. I'll continue to express to my athletes that if their going outside the 3 - 5 second window they may as well shut it down. Either the technique is failing or their pacing was screwed up from the first repeat. Shutting down a workout doesn't make you a bad person. It actually means you're running smarter not harder. Learning experiences are key so that you don't repeat the same mistake the next time or worst case on race day. If we draw this back to life isn't it fair to say that people burn themselves out working too much? How about the flip side, those people who never seem to have any sort of drive in life and muddle their way through?

Perfecting pacing is done by...

1 - Practice ... How many times have you done 400m repeats? How about with people or by yourself or in a race?  There's always a difference in the environment whether its the weather or running with different people. When you can practice in all dimensions and constantly vary where and how you do things you can make adjustments. Depending on the athlete the next step would be to dial down the rest periods.

2 - Caring... Do you care that you completed 21 Thrusters and 21 Pullups in the first minute and half of Fran, but ended up with a total time of 8 flat? CrossFit, Life, Running - you name it they're activities that require pacing. To perfect it, you have to not only care, but practice. Recognize why your combusting or holding back. Make a change.

3 - Listening... How's your posture feeling? What about your cadence? Are you breathing heavy? Listen to the signs and symptoms of fatigue or mis-pacing just like you would when you get sick. When your training you're the only person out there whose getting the "real time" feedback. Pay attention as much as you do when that first cough or sniffle comes on. Mis-pacing is just like getting sick.

Isn't it cool that if you're doing these three things within your life you're probably a pretty awesome person too? Pace your workouts as you would anyone you come in contact with on the street. Practice, care and listen. It's that simple...

Great video from B Mack - this one's a classic on pacing!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Two Minute Tuesdays: Cadence is Critical

Growing up your track coaches most likely once said "pump your arms and stride out, stride out" when they wanted you to pick up the pace or go faster. Well it turns out they told you wrong folks. Pumping your arms just wastes energy with no benefit attached. Striding out? Well that'll probably leave you with an overuse injury or better yet, off your feet unable to make it to your starting line. No one wants to be sidelined or inefficient so that's where cadence becomes critical.

This week's two minute run technique video highlights the importance of cadence so that your utilizing maximum muscle elasticity and ground reaction force. There s no need for your muscles to be contracting the way they have been when you get tired! Pick those feet up. Be efficient.

Get that metronome folks. Just about as great of an investment as a lacrosse ball. Big thank you to Athlete Nahuel who debuts on the Less Miles blog tonight. This dude knows how to keep his cadence up! We'll keep you posted on his huge 5K race coming up on the fourth of July.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The SD Wall Begins

Yesterday evening, my girlfriend and I took a trip to Home Depot and scored the coolest paint ever, chalk board paint. Did you even knew that it existed? Ya I'm not kidding, paint a wall and a chalk board is formed. Lindsay has been pretty obsessed with getting some for a while so we finally pulled the trigger. I've been wanting to do some self development quick video with a CrossFit spin for a while and it seems the chalk board paints going to come up clutch because as of this morning the SD Wall is born. Our goal at CFHH and of the less miles blog is to provide perspective for athletes and coaches everywhere in doing so we all become awesomer. 

This weekend and along with the next few we'll be discussing the importance of defining a vision for not only your training, but your life. Too often folks speed thru this world without giving it a second thought. At the end of this three part series, my hope is to motivate each of you to create a compelling vision of who you want to be and why that's important. Realistic and inspiring plans will provide the framework for you to improve your health, training, and life...