Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Race Recap: Charleston Sprint #4 - Adjustments

Squeezing one more post in for July! As I've mention in a couple posts ago, racing for workouts is huge. Charleston was another planned "workout" race following Muncie and I couldn't be more pumped about the result or how I felt out there last Sunday. Recovery has been absolutely fantastic since Muncie Half IM, not something a triathlete can always say. I believe changes in my nutrition and programming have impacted things immensely. That said here are some quick suggestions on when/how to switch things up in training...

  • Personal records and benchmarks aren't improving (in races, on your lifts or in conditioning) 
  • You feel fatigued, beat up and tired headed into workouts or races 
  • Work life increases and amount of sleep decreases
  • Epic GI issues happen in a race 
  • ONE adjustment at a time. Let me say it again one adjustment at a time. If you try to change more than one variable at once you'll be testing too much at once. We need to understand what one adjustment does to the system. If it's positive continue. If its negative move on. Adjust something else. Make sure to give everything a fair shot. 
  • FATIGUE is a sign that you're under recovering. Don't be a super hero and muster thru your workouts half assed. A training regiment in my mind, (it took a while to get here) has to do with the QUALITY of your workouts verses the quantity. 
  • When I start with a remote coaching athlete or a personal training client the first thing I want to know is what they do for a living. Being on your feet all day verses a desk job is a significant difference. How can you provide a proper prescription for someone else or YOURSELF if you don't take into account what you do 8-10hours on a typical day?  The amount of sleep is the next biggest factor because that' the second biggest chunk of time in an athlete's day. Some can folks can operate on 6 hours, but others may need closer to 8hour mark. As these factors change you need to make on the fly adjustments to your training. Don't ever feel like you "HAVE" to do a workout. Resting heart rate and oxygen saturation levels are two others ways to monitor things.
  • Train all you want, but if the nutrition isn't right on race day or throughout your program you're screwed. Going hung over into a workout won't get you anywhere nor will being hungry. I've made the most adjustments in my nutrition over the last 3months and have seen big differences not only day to day, but IN RACE. Charleston included the same breakfast as Muncie and same protocol in race. The biggest recommendation on the nutrition that I can make for you is look at the TIMING of when you're eating.
Race: Charleston Sprint #4
Place: James Island, Charleston, SC 
Date: 730AM, Sunday 7 - 28 - 13  
Distance: SPRINT Triathlon
Participants: 195

Best Race Highlights - Two for this one! First off, having Lindsay's support again. It's so cool having her come and watch. I'm passionate and will show up to any race solo, but what's interesting is that every race she comes to I PR in one way or another. She'll def be at Cozumel come December.

The second best race highlight,  Knowing that I ran a 10K tempo run the day before and then PR'd my run off the bike (on the Charleston Race course) good enough to beat the whole field by 2 minutes. Felt strong the whole way. Mile 1 - 5:50, Mile 2 - 6:00, Mile 3 - 5:40 with too much left in the tank.

Learning Experiences - Time to look into a Swim Coach. I'm not bad compared to the field, but to be elite age group I'll need to get someone on me. Technique needs to be cleaned up.

Secondly, My emphasis still must remain on the Bike. I've seen progress and I am getting stronger, but it doesn't happen overnight. The more I can get out and ride with others and increase my interval paces the better off I'll be. It's mostly muscle memory since I have only been on a Bike for close to two years.

600m Swim Exit - 30th overall out of the water

Bike Transition - 33rd overall Bike Split

Run finish - 1st overall Run Split (17:50)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

SD Wall: Elements Part III - Checking out Challenges and Strengths

Sorry it's been a couple weeks, but traveling for races and not being home on the weekend can throw a wrinkle into anyones life. Anyways, we're getting deeper and deeper into our SD Element Series and as I mentioned each of these videos builds on the previous one. If you watch them all, the Outcome = A Rock Star vision for not only your training, but your life.

This Sunday I want you to check out those nasty challenges. After that, give yourself credit for the things your doing well within your life. I am totally sold that when a person harnesses their strengths and creates a plan ANY challenge can be overcome...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Balancing Act

Now that I am off on my own (working out of CFHH), I have the opportunity to work with all varieties of people. Its exciting. Its challenging. Its fun. When you're a full-time coach all I think about is how can I make my clients better. How can I help them achieve their goals? You'll also have to think about one more thing. How can I still make sure they're achieving their goals and having fun? Its quite the balancing act.

Most people know me for having an expertise in weight-loss (e.i. health coaching) so I continue to work with about fifty percent of individuals in that arena; however its now with a CrossFit spin. Currently, my private coaching business is picking up. I'm having many more opportunities to work with not only CrossFitters who have endurance goals, but athletes who come from the "traditional" endurance training side of things. Like I said its an exciting. Its challenging. Its fun. 

What do you think is the tough part about working with a traditional endurance athlete? Well there's a lot of psychology involved. We're programmed to think run more to improve our times or go longer. To this day many runners base their success off how many miles that did. I love How good does it feel when all those "mile graph bars" are thru the roof? It feels great. I don't think this is a challenge though. Yes its an area that's measurable for the traditional endurance athlete, but is that the real reason that it's so difficult to decrease duration? Not at all. Its because "we" flat out like to run. Running is enjoyable. It makes you feel frigging awesome when you're done. You can't get it from anything else. It relieves stress. Allows the opportunity to push. Achieve. Drive. Relax. Unwind. This may not be the case for everyone, but for runners this is how we feel. Notice I've included "we" in every statement. 

I was just reading a great article written by Matt Fitzgerald on competitor called "Making the Case for Runners to Cross-Train." Solid read. Interestingly enough, Matt wrote a book back in 2003 (inspired by his own personal experience with cross training) called the Runners World Guide to Cross-Training. He mentioned it tanked. Matt's a pretty renowned write too so what's the deal? Its pretty much what I just mentioned. Runners like to run. "We" would rather do all our training running, but is that what will help us reach our goals the quickest? Unfortunately no. 

If you read the article you'll see that Elite runners are including up to 20 different cross-training exercises per week. It's prevalent in some of the most prestigious coaching camps including the Nike Oregon Portland project and Mammoth Track Club (Heard of Ryan Hall?). 

All I'm getting at here is that runners we love to run. Let's think about how we balance that. Here's a great Case Study... 

Runner "A" comes to me with a profile that looks like this... 
- Running 6 days a week (couple days speed work) 
- Strength Training 1 Day 
- Loves to run after a long stressful day of work and on the weekends 
- Hasn't PRd in a year 
- Feels under recovered and tired most weeks 
- Achilles Tendinitis 

Now the balancing the Act with Runner "A"...
- Drop running to 4 days a week (each with a purpose) For example, 1 Day of running that is "Fun" either after a stressful day at work or on the weekends
- Bump strength training up to 3-4 days a week (include running in some of the conditioning) 
- Add 1 day of swimming (get a same great feeling when you're done) 
- Add 1 day of Running skill work 
- Feels recovered and ready for each run 
- No more big five injuries (cleaned up technique, decreased volume) 
- Result = New PR 

Back to why working with so many varieties of people is just awesome. Can't you tell? As a coach, I have to balance so many different factors and with different people it's so much more intriguing. You the athlete need to do your own balancing act if you don't currently have a Coach. Understand yourself, but also understand the evidence behind including cross-training. 

Life is a balancing act in itself. We have to balance keeping up with our friends, family, significant others, jobs, responsibilities, hobbies, faith and having FUN. It's a lot. What's important is that none of what we do should takeaway from the other. We must recover. Have fun. Share memories. Above all make others around us better. Treat others how we would want to be treated. Quite a spin on this blog post huh? 

Work on your Balancing Act. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ironman Recap: Muncie Funcie

Who would have thought, Muncie Indiana? Can you even imagine taking a full out trip to go to Muncie? At least seventy-five percent of you probably haven't even heard of the small town. Muncie is home of the Ball State Cardinals, a small division one school where my girlfriend happened to play division one soccer. Pretty cool. They're known for their studies in exercise science, architecture and also being straight up Funcie. I'd have to agree because this was one of those races where my game plan was absolutely performed to perfection. What's not Funcie about that?

What I've learned racing Ironman distance is that the two most important things come down to pacing and nutrition. How fast are you going to be able to go without combusting and what is your gut going to be able to handle? This past weekend's race can be rated at a 10 out 10 because the pacing and the nutrition was right in line with the game plan. My swim and bike times actually ended up being faster than predicted so no complaints there. CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance training are considered evidence based fitness so check out the progression from about a year and half ago. Yes, I did not race 70.3 in 2012, but a 25minute PR over 1.5 years isn't too bad...

Swim - 37:10 
Bike - 2:48:06
Run - 1:44:47
Total - 5:12:20

Swim - 33:50
Bike - 2:38:38
Run - 1:30:49
Total - 4:47:17

The terrains were quite different for both courses, but not to where this isn't a huge jump. One thing continues to stick out is that I've got to get on the bike. It's going to take at least a 2:20 bike split to get closer to my goal of getting to the Kona Ironman one day. At this point in my triathlon career there is only one things that now stands out and that's patience.

When you start CrossFit or any sport for that matter you lack patience. It's typically lacking in slowly learning the technique and comes with a side of wanting to always bit off more than you can chew. The challenge here is it's not your fault. Competitors struggle with patience. Anyone who wants to make something of themselves will have difficulty with this one. Those who are goal setters or people driven by a sense of accomplishment are inherently impatient. This sticks out more than ever in my own training because I know its going to take time. Not only a refocus on training, but just time. Time is scary. It means you have to wait or there is a deadline.  Both are outcomes we rarely like to have out in front. It's very difficult to be patient when time is involved. Make sense?

I think the message here today is that patience is a skill. One which we have to continue to refine, refocus, and revamp. This isn't just about your training, but has to do with learning patience in your every day life. With your spouse or loved ones, how about in your career or certain annoying household tasks? Patience runs full circle with everything that we do. Take a step back this week and understand that everything happens in due time. Be okay with it. Don't press the issue or force a result. Put the time in. Do the planning. Understand you'll get frustrated along the way, but that's what makes achieving a goal so sweet.

Recap: IRONMAN Muncie 70.3
Date: July 13th, 2012
Place: 100th/1600 Overall, 11th Age Group
Distance: 1.2mi/56mi/13.1mi
Times: above

BEST Race Highlight 
Not being past on the run. Two instances on the run portion were straight up awesome. In most of my Ironman events, I have been completely out there on my own finishing the finally leg. Typically no one around the same pace. Mentally its great to have someone there. Anyways, I went off the bike hard (as usual) and caught ground with a fellow age group athlete. We ran for about the first 4miles together and then he had to fall back due to the pace I was pressing. My goal was to stay below 7min/miles the entire half marathon portion. I then caught up to a bunch of other athletes and one dude asked "What pace you trying to run?" I quickly blurted out the 7min average and he was like "Can I hang with you?" I was like heck yeah. He did quite well and hung with me for about 2miles (9 and 10 to be exact). It feels good not to be passed, but its also nice to help push a few fellow athletes along. Mentally we're all out there for the same reason anyways. All and all, felt good on the run. I think you sometimes get in your head and expect your pace to drop off, but no sir not this time with the solid pacing and nutrition plan.

SIDE Race Highlight 
- I wouldn't have even been up in Muncie if it wasn't for one of my past clients Kevin. This is a guy who successfully lost 80 +lbs. and was now taking on a half ironman! Although, Kevin didn't finish the run portion having to stop after 4miles he finished the swim and bike. He'll admittedly tell you that he wasn't prepared for the race and work stood in the way of his training. I fully believe he'll only be stronger the next go around. We learn every day training/racing and that's the coolest part. Kevin did an incredible job out there taking on that challenge. The next time he'll finish strong no questions asked. I'm thinking he may even enlist a coach? :)) Kevin's an incredible guy someone who I'd tell anything to. I totally believe patience is something he learned up in Muncie. It's something we all have to learn. You're on your way to being an Ironman buddy.

WORST Race Highlight 
- Not applicable. Spent the race with an incredible girl. Step up to the start line with a really good client/friend and had an absolute blast leading up to the race, in race, and post race up in Indianapolis with Lindsay's friends. I'm super grateful for this experience.

Charleston Sprint Triathlon next Sunday. Stay tuned! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

SD Wall: Elements Part II - Exploring the Gap and Confidence

Last Sunday, we dove into our first discussion of the key elements of a successful vision. When you take the time to identify these elements you'll be more successful at reaching your dream. Each of the videos build on one another and my hope is that by the end of this thing these talks shed some perspective on things you have maybe never thought about or failed to identify over the years.

This week I want you to look at where you're today and establish a realistic timeline for your vision. After that assess your confidence, do you believe that you can even get there?

"With confidence you'll win before you even start."

Saturday, July 6, 2013

CFHH Race Recaps: BB Triathlon and Firecracker 5K

One of the most special moments for any Coach is to witness their athletes achieve their goals. This is literally the essence of coaching. To give a person every tool in the coach's box to be successful. Early on in my career,  I never would of thought that coaching would become my identity. I thought that becoming a Fitness Director was all I ever wanted to be. Now that I think back, I believe I'm so into coaching others to be at their best because my Dad did this for me growing up. Every single baseball game from age 6years old onto middle school my Dad was my coach. Although he didn't coach my hockey team, he drove me to the numerous rinks and attended almost every game. He was there for me when I wrecked my Mom's car 30days into having my license and he'd always be at the last hole of my golf tournaments. I think it's fair to say we all have different coaches in life. We sometimes don't realize it. We don't understand how people affect us. It seems we really understand though when it leads to something great.

Another reasons coaching is one of the most exciting things in life is when you're a coach you have expectations for your athletes, but you "don't have expectations." This means you want to see them succeed and you'll do everything in your power, but being their whether they knock their goal out of the park or strike out looking, you're still proud of them. Saying I will is the first step. What's interesting is the more I become a Coach, it seems the less I care about my times or goals. You can get wrapped up in this stuff! It's not a bad thing, but being a good Coach involves many factors. Walking the talk, role modeling the behaviors and resting when appropriate is important.This go around our Endurance Team had pretty legit expectations. Here's a rundown!

Race: On On Tri Beach Bum Triathlon
Distance: 400m O. Swim, 6M Bike, 5K Run  
Place: Coligny Beach, Hilton Head Island, SC
Day: June 29th 2013 8am
CFHH Athletes:(5)Becky, Anne, Jason, Lynn,Me
Total: 180 athletes

If you're thinking about trying your first Sprint Triathlon this is the one to jump into because the swim and the bike are shortened. You're also welcomed to use a beach cruiser, which is nice. No fancy equipment needed. Awesome. Anyways, the day went well! For the majority of our athletes this was their first one. Minus the rough current and intense wind in the face on the bike temperatures were quite cool and manageable. The entire lead pack of swimmers ended up swimming in the wrong direction because a buoy got loose. The water was wicked choppy and the current was going in all directions. So how did everyone fair?

Lynn, probably our most nervous athlete absolutely knocked it out. Lynn is one of our assistant coaches and has been training with CFHH Endurance group since its inception, but the swim was a little bit intimidating going into the day. Given the fact that she's roughly ninety pounds and super lean could have something to do with it. A lot tougher to swim. You know the waves sort of toss around a person that size.  Anyways, she knocked it out. With a goal of finishing she rocked thru the finish line in a time of 1:19:12. It was great to see her make it thru as she put the effort into practicing the swim was even fearful entering into the water on race day, but stayed calm to get on  the bike and transition to her strength on the run! 

Anne, super sad story to tell, but she showed as what being a team member is all about. Like Lynn, Anne was a little nervous about the swim, but with ease she made it the 400 meter distance. As she ran up to to transition one, she found one of her tires to have a flat! Can you believe it? What's wild is Anne road her bike to Coligny that morning and it was totally fine. I felt so bad and wish I had known because nobody wants a situation like this to happen. So yes it SUCKED, but did that stop Anne from supporting the team? Not one bit.

When Becky came into transition two, Anne decided to run the 5K with her. I think if we were to ask Becky, which sport she enjoys the least it would be the run. Anyhow, this shows you what type of person Anne is. To keep her head up, support a fellow team member and still be positive at the end of everything was incredible. Becky finished in a time of 1:24:03 and is looking to do another Triathlon in the fall. A little bit longer on the distances too! Anne you were a big part of her finish and I know Becky was so appreciative of you being with her on that run.

We can't forget about Jason, one of our more experienced Beach Bum Triathletes. A guy who works as hard as anyone I know in life and when he is training. He was quite busy this training cycle and always managed to keep up with the workouts outside of class. J picked up a respectable PR last Saturday and finished 10th overall 1:01:07 in the under 40 category. Yep that's good for a coconut!!

I guess we can discuss what happened with Coach Jeff on this day. I managed to roll in for a second place overall finish. Not bad given I did these dynamic effort good mornings and a rough power clean/running workout two days prior. Going into the day my hamstrings felt pretty wrecked, but it's good experience. If you can perform not being 100% and slide in just 27 seconds shy of a 1st place win finishing in 51:33, how can I complain?? I can tell I still need more work on the bike. It'll come. A good word that has come up lately for me is discipline.

Time to move onto the Firecracker results!

Race: Bear Foot Sports Firecracker 5K
Place: Jarvis Creek Park , Hilton Head Island 
Day: July 4th, 2013
Athletes: (8) Nahuel, Ian, Eric, Lindsay, Suzan, Sara, Lynn, Anne
Total: 1600 participants

One of the busiest running days in the country, the fourth of July. Thinking back four years now, I've always been at a run on Independence day. This one was probably the most exciting though. New course and hot weather only breeds a good race :) We've got all different levels of runners and that's what is so cool about the CFHH Endurance Group.5K personal records range from sub 17minutes to sub 45minutes. It not about WHAT the goal is its about do you HAVE a goal.

Let's start with Suzan, I'm just straight up pumped that she felt good and ran almost the entire distance. Suzan was a new runner with us this cycle and she's living proof that cleaning up your technique and dialing in the focus on one goal makes all the difference. Suzan came to me nervous to sign up for our Endurance series. She didn't think her knees would hold up (has serious knee osteoarthritis) and wasn't quite sure if she'd fit the mix of our athletes. I encouraged her to give it a go! If you see her first run mechanics evaluation she is now night and day. My hope is that Suzan gained so much more confidence in this training cycle and I'm excited to see what challenge she takes on next! Finish time of  just under an hour awesome!

Now I have to discuss Sara, what a fighter. She is such a hard worker and someone who completely dialed in on the new technique. Sara and I worked individually to do some corrective stuff before starting the endurance class cycle and she did a great job of picking up on the . Dealing with hamstring tightness the entire time Sara built up her endurance and ran the entire distance of the Firecracker. Check out this video she was so strong coming in. Let's not forget this was her first 5K. How cool. She'll be drawing her attention to train towards the Disney Half Marathon this upcoming February.

Our High School Baseball players, Ian and Eric were taking on their first 5K as well this past Thursday. They crushed the race meeting goal times of sub 24minutes for Ian and under 30minutes for Eric. They're working the endurance program as a supplement to their sport and keep progressing nicely in their training.

Our youngest athlete Nahuel happened to PR his 1 mile (4:50) and 2mile (11:05) in the middle of the 5K Run, but finished with an 18:35 overall 5K good enough for 31st Overall and 3rd in his age group. Over the last 8 weeks, Nahuel has completely revamped his technique and gotten so much stronger. Once he understands pacing he'll be a force to reckoned with. Pacing certainly comes with experience. By the way he is only 15years old. Stay tuned for his progress!

Lead pack finish.

One of the most inspiring showings cam from Anne as she completely rebounded from the uncontrollable flat tire on Beach Bum day. Anne PR'd by over 3minutes running a 26:47 to scoop up 3rd place in her age group. I believe Anne's first 5K was right around 35minutes before starting Endurance. Incredible. Another 5K PR was found by Boston Qualifier Lindsay as she ran 20:12 almost breaking the coveted 20minute mark and placing 1st in her Age Group. Lynn then swooped in with a solid 5K time of 24:01 about 10seconds off her personal PR.This was not a PR course. I mean its July guys! Even with all the turns and the hot climate it's quite impressive to see our athletes meeting these marks so early in the short course season.

Incredible experiences. Lots of great new memories. Its always good to have hard copy evidence of this stuff. Our team is shifting gears now towards the Blue Ridge 206 Mile Relay in September along with a beginner 5K program pushing towards Run for RET. Get excited!

Find out more details about the CFHH Endurance Performance Series HERE. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Two Minute Tuesday: Fix your Hips

Too often runners ACCEPT an inefficient broken running position. This week we're focusing on proper shoulder to hip alignment with a corrective awareness based run drill. Everyone wants to look strong crossing the finish line and good posture is the first step!