Another conversation with Rich Roll as we prepare for Ötillö

Preparing for the upcoming Ötillö Swimrun World Championships, my race partner and Ultraman Rich Roll and I did some training up in Lake Tahoe. Afterwards, we sat down and had a state-of-the-union on our race preparation.

Specific subjects discussed include:

  • the impact of altitude training & training camps
  • the benefits of accountability partners
  • the primacy of patience for maximum success in sport
  • the perils of overtraining
  • the importance of injury prevention

You can listen to this podcast on iTunes or download it from Rich’s website.

Conversation with Rich Roll on Smart Endurance Training

I recently appeared on The Rich Roll Podcast, where Rich and I discussed a number of fitness, training and overall wellness subjects that included:

  • Chris & Rich’s preparation for Ötillö
  • Getting Rich ‘race fit’ at 50 after a 5-year break
  • Training into your 50’s & 60’s
  • Chris’ training & racing philosophy
  • Pros & cons of external monitors/trackers
  • Fitness versus racing
  • Chris’ three pillars for peak performance
  • Training smart vs. training hard
  • The primacy of process over results & enjoyment over obsession
  • Strategies for optimizing recovery 

You can listen to this podcast on iTunes or download it from Rich’s website.

Patriot Perfection: What the New England Patriots can teach Triathletes

A timely re-posting of an article I wrote in 2007:

Patriot Perfection: What the New England Patriots can teach Triathletes

By Chris Hauth

I watch a lot of sports. Many would be of the opinion too much sports. I love college football; enjoy the NFL, baseball and anything that ESPN seems to get excited about. I listen to sports talk radio and check the websites for the latest information. I am actually watching football as I write this. Anyways, you might have heard about this incredible season the New England Patriots are putting together. Tonight they are looking to go to 13-0, all while completely destroying their opposition. They have been favored in the past weeks by the 2nd biggest margin of victory ever according to the Vegas ‘line’. How are these guys so good? How does this relate in ANY way to triathlon?

Flawless execution and experience.

Flawless Execution

The common theme that most ‘experts’, former coaches, radio hosts and Monday morning quarterbacks seem to agree upon is that football is a game of execution and nobody is currently executing their offense better than the New England Patriots. I argue that all sports are about execution. We practice for only one reason: to execute better on game or race day. Of course fitness ties into this equation. You cannot execute a great race in triathlon (or any sport) without having the fitness to execute your plans late in the bike or run. But I have observed that most triathletes are ‘fit’ enough to have the result they desire on race day. So, therefore we are back to how we execute on ‘game day’.

Flawless execution begins in training & practice. We all know that in order to be fit enough on race day we need to swim, bike and run plenty of miles. We do this by combining a number of base miles with tempo & speed miles and the outcome should be the fitness needed on race day. Once again, all football teams practice, and I doubt they vary too much in what they practice. But I have a feeling they vary greatly in how they practice. Sure, you can go out and bike 100 miles and run 15 after. But how are you doing these miles? Are you focused on race day nutrition and hydration or just stopping at the local bakery and shops for a pastry or Snickers? Are you simulating long sections in the aero position or sitting up? Are you transitioning quickly from the bike to the run or hanging around socializing with friends? Are there numerous stops on your ride or are you focused on staying steady on the bike?

On average we train about 16-20 weeks in prep for an Ironman or 70.3. This gives us 12-16 weekends where we can truly simulate all our race day needs. Whether it is the race day breakfast, the dinner prior to a long training day, bike & run nutrition or what we plan to drink. Plenty of weekends to make changes, adjust and fine-tune our strategy on race day in order to execute flawlessly. Plenty of practice opportunities for transitions, wetsuit removal or even eating from a Gel holder while running. Practice, practice, practice until we execute our ‘game day’ flawlessly.

The latest research and studies conclude that what I describe above is called “deliberate practice”. The best people in almost any field are those who devote the most hours to this kind of training. It is activity that’s sole purpose is to improve performance, that reaches just beyond one’s current level of competence and – very important – involves high levels of repetition all while understanding the feedback the results are giving you.

Simply riding a 100 miles and running a few miles after is not deliberate practice. Simply hitting a bucket of balls is not deliberate, nor is quarterback Tom Brady just throwing 50 footballs down field. Riding 80 miles within your prescribed HR zone or wattage, in the aero position, holding a preset cadence, while monitoring hydration and nutrition, as well as how this affects your run after, is deliberate practice. Coming back a week or two later and making adjustments based on your observations and riding that 80 miles again with the goal of improved performance – ever so slightly – is deliberate practice. It’s like hitting an eight-iron 300 times with a goal of leaving the ball within 20 feet of the pin 80% of the time, continually observing results and making adjustments.

The more of this deliberate practice, the more flawless execution becomes.

I hound many of my athletes continuously during the season to practice everything from race day in order to ‘control the things they can control’, because on race day there are always plenty of things out of our control. Flawless execution can only be achieved by having practiced it deliberately numerous times, leaving race day to be very similar to race simulation: just catered!


The New England Patriots are a team of veterans: free agents bought for their experience, skill and understanding of the game. This skill and understanding of the game allows for even more focus in preparation for the games. Having experience allows for an extra level of calmness on the field when events can cause confusion. It’s the classic ‘don’t panic’ approach that the veterans apply differently and therefore remain focused on their assignments, execution and then, the outcome of the game. Experienced athletes like the Patriots actually become more focused and deliberate when they are challenged or their backs are against the wall. This is evidenced by the past few weekends, the Eagles, the Ravens and the Steelers were all out to ‘dethrone’ the perfect Patriots. This changed their mindset going into the game and, despite being challenged, still prevailed.

In triathlon this experience is also crucial to successful race day results. It would be easy to point out that we need to know how Ironman works before being able to deliberately train for it. But experience means so much more. There is a reason why Tim DeBoom and Chris McCormack have had their best Hawaii results after 5-6 attempts: experience and with it the ability to understand what the day brings: don’t panic. For these guys it means staying focused on your own race despite others riding off the front or the swim having not been as good as planned. It means allowing for 26.2 miles to reach the finish line first, not by mile 10 and then fold (DNF). It means remaining calm but focused and concentrating at the task at hand even more.

For those of us that have not won Ironman Hawaii, it means remaining within our day. Experience allows us to understand the highs and lows we all experience during the event – even expecting these highs and lows and shrugging them off. It is knowing that we will reach a point on the bike we no longer want to turn the pedals or eat another morsel, no matter how fit we are or how many times we did this in training! Experience is knowing we hit a lull on the run and need to move to coke as of this point. All of us have our own observations from race day, and despite the best planning & preparation, we also need to display the experience of having been here before and knowing what we will do to get through it and finish!

Once again, control the aspects of race day we can control via deliberate practice and outstanding fitness. But experience allows us to embrace the aspects we can’t control by focusing & concentrating even more on improvingthis performance and its desired outcome.

The conclusions currently being published throughout sports psychology show that we all have a chance to be great. Mainly because we can be great with work, and high-level performances can be achieved with practice and experience.

Now tell that to the other 13 NFL teams that have lost to the New England Patriots….

Original article can be found on

Conversation with Rich Roll

I was recently a guest on author and ultra-endurance athlete Rich Roll’s podcast. It was a great chance to talk in depth about integrating the mental game with physical training, and about training as not just race preparation but as the training lifestyle. Have a listen!

#TBT – Endurance Fueling

An older article I wrote for a European Triathlon Magazine, but worth the read.  Not only for those of you as a reminder – but for many of you new to my coaching and consulting.

Endurance racing comes down to a simple ingredient called carbohydrates.  Yes – carbs, those evil calories that the rest of the world seems to hate – we need desperately in endurance events to fuel our brains and allow us to push our effort in many sections of any endurance race.

We all know we have plenty of fat in our body to run 100s of miles, cycling 100s of miles and swim…well, that’s different – but you get the point.  But as many of you have heard me say – we only have about 20 miles of running in us based off the carbs stored in our liver and muscles.  That’s apporx. 2000 cals.  Figure most ‘endurance events’ are more than 8-10 hrs, and those require a minimum of 7000-8000 cals.

Now throw in this annoying fact that you have also heard me say: we can only absorb max 350 cals per hour in carbs.  Most of the time its way less than that…closer to 250 cals per hour.  Yet – as many of you have seen on your power meters or garmin watches, that your burn rate on endurance races is way higher – like 600-1000 cals per hour!  Simple math shows you that we are running at a deficit of about 300-600 cals PER HOUR!  Now, most of you know from testing, that if the pace is relatively slow, or if you have developed a good fat burning engine, one where you can hold about 80% of T2 (LT, AeT) without activating your anaerobic energy system, then you COULD get half your energy from stored fat, half from carbs…So – doing that math again, its brings us quite close to equal balanced energy BURN and energy FUEL needed.  Even sum game that allows for steady pace/effort/output for quite a long time!  This can be trained very effectively by developing a fantastic aerobic energy system.

Mess around with this balance too much and things get complicated.  Surges in effort, standing while pushing over a roller, running uphill too hard, swimming too fast for a bit, anything where the HR/effort jumps quickly, then Carbs become the dominant fuel, and because of ancient adrenal system functions, this causes your fat burning ability to slow way down for…..hours!  Even if you slow down, or dial back the HR dramatically, because of the adrenal response, the body will not return to ‘par’ for a while.  (Have you ever ridden harder in a group ride, seeing watts way higher than you ever train…and feel really good?  And want to just keep riding like that – and you can??!  That is all carb pushing through you – and a few hrs later you are dozing off on the couch….instead of running a marathon…)

As you can see – your harder effort too early in the day – in ANY endurance event (over 5 hrs) means that your fuel source will run out.  Your harder effort comes at the cost of burning through those carbs way too quickly without being able to replace/replenish them.  By going too hard – even for shorter periods only – you are shutting down your fat burning as a fuel source…and that means at some point in your later stages of your event, the deficit of output to input will be too big…and you are walking, hiking, stopping or slowing down considerably.

Keep this in mind when racing your endurance event in the future.  Can you go faster?  Sure.  But at some point your run out of fuel, literally…and you slow down.  Instead, as many of you have also heard me say/preach:  go as FAST as you can, using the LEAST amount of energy…Energy being burn rate of fuel…

Day 17: BOR day

There are days – where you just go out and ride…long.  Why?  We had done solid quality the day before (4.5 hrs at race pace or faster) and today a 6 hr ride was scheduled.  All was going to be a day just like last week in Park City – 3 hrs out – long chill stop – and a long ride back…throw in that today was also over a beautiful landscape with McKenzie pass on the agenda.  Flat roads into Sisters – then a nice 15 mile gradual climb into Lava fields and spectacular vistas.  Then the plan was to descend down the other side, flip a b*tch, back home we go.

Why not ride focused?  Why just a big ole ride?  Why turn the brain off?  When we just ride, we again listen to our body and tend to ride smarter.  There are days to push – watch the watts, HR, pace etc.  Where we want to grind out the work, keep the technique sound while being very focused on keeping up the intended workload. This days require mental and physical engagement…and therefore they are quite taxing for both – brain & body…And while we often feel ok enough to come back and do it again the next day, it often is not as effective as taking a day to focus on aerobic training, relaxed riding, good circles, good breathing – allowing the body to create the fatigue based off the distance (100+ miles) vs. the effort.  The load stacks well for a few reasons:  first, because the brain and body need a break from the efforts/focus the day before, secondly if you look at the energy burned (kj) and training stress, 6 hrs easy, on feel, burns the same energy and stresses the body the same as 3-4 on intervals and focused numbers.  So – at the end of the day the body still had the same energy load, but the brain and body got a break from pushing it to the edge again.

Plus – when we just ride on a big ole ride, its seems less easy those last few hours since the body is tired anyways…so the brain and body get to a similar point just on time alone.  Mitochondria is nicely stimulated in this the of ride, and often that means one needs to ride easier than you think!!

The constant triathlete mantra SHOULD be – but is often forgotten:  train hard on focused interval and speed days, train easy on easy days.  It allows your peaks (stimulus) to kick in stronger, since your valleys (active recovery/rest days) are well absorbed.  Too many do the good ole triathlete misstep:  train a tick too hard on easy days, and not hard/focused enough on the hard days…  IF you stack it right – the body will respond better and better to the stimulus…and that is our entire goal right?

So often coaches (like me) look at the athletes training plan and we wonder why the athlete can’t execute the training as written (data/testing/races all provide the validation that the intervals SHOULD be doable), but because the easy days were not quite easy enough..the body was just not ready/available..OR the athlete get sick/injured after a few weeks of this “just a tick too hard” on easy days…because the fatigue causes a crack in the armor…and gradually the body breaks…all because of that incremental “tick too hard”…

If you wonder if you are going easy enough….go easier…then you are getting close…and watch the fast days crank up!

Great day today: a little over 100 miles, 6500ft of climbing, good company, and steady, relaxed, aerobic legs all day.  Never went over the wattage I held yesterday for 77 miles…despite climbing 15 miles today…all low watts.

For me..tomorrow quality again – 20 min intervals climbing, strength work, and a 45 min race pace run.


Day 9 – Moving Day: PC to OAK to Marin

Waking up at 4:30 this morning was sort of uneventful.  Quick drive to SLC airport and a flight home to Oakland.  Took a while to get bag, so drive home was rushed in order to get to swim practice on time.  Long – stretched out – relaxed 3700 yards back home in sunny Marin.  Settled in at home by 11am and a full day of work to dig into.  A full recovery day with only a swim.

As is important for any recovery day in big training phases…I eat…all…day…long.  Yoghurt and granola, fruit, 2 ham sandwiches on wheat, quinoa chips, more fruit, salad and pasta for dinner with Udo’s Oil and lemons. Some sea salt dark chocolate for dessert and now I’m ready to hit the hay.  Oh, and 2 beers, Little Sumtin and a Summer Solstice…

Tomorrow is quality and power:  90 min class with some longer build intervals (2×25 min with the last 5 min of the interval at tempo) – 10 mile speed run with 2×2 miles built in at 6.30 pace – Stretch Cordz, Core and jump rope in the afternoon.  I am confident a good night sleep – and some rest today will set up a strong day tomorrow.


Day 8: Looks doable …but sucked

Ouch!  Early rise again in order to be in SLC for meetings and office time.  Late night with early rise after a 30 hr training week hurts!  But once the coffee went down the hatch and the shower kicked in – it felt ok.  Only a banana for breakfast as I was looking to just get some energy until later in the morning, then the plan was to rehydrate and fuel for a 2 hr trail run…up in PC again.  Well, meetings lasted longer, lunch was smaller – and while driving back up to PC I was busy with calls, no food/hydration either…the problem becomes aware to me 30 min into a 15 mile trail run in….the…middle…of…nowhere.  no water, food, shelter or even dwellings out here.  while beautiful and perfect for a focused trail run….not idea on a light/empty stomach…But I committed to a) doing this run aerobic with a focus on light – relaxed form – light feet – quick & light turnover…b) I own my mistakes for the lead up to this run – so I will focus on making it through while still getting the training effect.  15 miles in 2 hrs (1 bottle of water – thats it – stupid!).  Positive split by 2 min.  Not the run I wanted, but I will return to this canyon and execute the run right, strong, and smarter some time between today and Kona…

Observations – I do NOT like running in the afternoon.  Actually – I don’t like training in the afternoon.  One feels lethargic, sleepy, hot, slow and flat.  While there are plenty days where this is just unavoidable…I still can say I don’t like it…Running on a big open trail run – when tired – make everything feel longer.  When you can see the trail on the horizon, knowing you need to run there – ugh…and when tired the legs – work – form really require some focus as they just want to plod.  Lastly – dunking your head in a cool creek and getting soaking wet is a saving grace, but don’t let your mind wander to drinking that water (as I was contemplating) – as the 4 weeks of ghiardhia following the run would be awful.

Quick trip to Whole Foods to get protein drink, and a big sandwich…refuel and rehydrate…back to normal and able to join a fun close out BBQ with friends before an early 6am flight back home to the Bay area.  Park City is truly heaven to train, love the area, love the town, love the vibe, and love my friends there…surely not my last visit over the next few months.

Home: off to swim a quick 4000 yds and take the dogs on a nice chill 45 min trail run – no watch – no HR – no pace…


IM CDA Race and nutrition plan

IMCDAPre days (as of Thursday) – arrive midday Thursday (early rise on Thursday AM – but then well hydrated and good eats while driving) – upon arrival get settled/organized in order to register and go to store for food, fuel and hydration for the next 3 days. Food will be bland – but lots of it.

Friday – logistics day – swim in the morning – finalize anything needed for race, work through details – be done by noon with logistics/registration etc. Lots of hydration and clean foods today.

Pre race day Saturday– simple breakfast – then snacking lightly until big afternoon meal around 3-4pm. Sweet Potatoes, some salad, brown rice, pasta & chicken are all part of the selection. A combo of all along with good bread. Also add some Udo’s Oil (travel with it). Another snack, more simple bland foods around 7pm. To bed early but might be watching a movie, reading, watching TV. 9pm lights out usually.

Race day Sunday– Wake at 4am. Coffee – choices are bagel with butter and jam – bagel or whole wheat waffles with almond butter and banana – pancakes with jam or also some almond butter. Can also eat oatmeal with peanut butter, honey and bananas. All successfully tested choices.
Sip water – then electrolytes – then water again – all while going to race and transition etc. If hungry – eat small bites of simple white bread bagel
Depending on conditions expected – Osmo PreLoad.
Before swim have choices of a chew – some bar – or some simple drink.

Swim – no food or drink. Simple 2 loops course. Long and strong first loop after a fast start, then maintain energy and feel for stroke 2nd loop. Be alert for exit and entry after 1st loop to keep HR in balance – not go too hard or exert myself too much to elevate HR while running. Once HR goes up like that, takes too long swimming to allow it to recover.

Bike – wattages will be determined by temps and weather. If hot it might require earlier push in watts, then backing off to a solid floor number. If cool, then holding a steady wattage might be the strategy. Rolling course – will require balanced energy output: on ups keeping it controlled, but on the quick downs also keeping wattage up. This will burn legs differently – FYI.

  • Drink: water first bottle – start flushing mouth after swim and then finishing bottle 1 by 1 hour. Then alternating GU Roctane and water at a steady rate of 20-24oz per hour. If hotter then 24-30oz per hour (total cals in drink 400 but I count as 50%-200cals) – NO GATORADE ENDURANCE FOR ME
  • Fuel: no food until 30 min in: then 225-250 per hour. ClifBars to begin (250 per bar): carry 2 on bike and 2 in special needs (as well as extra different flavors) – on course are chomps and gels so no need to carry. Typical IM total kJ burned is 4400-4600, so I look to replenish 30% minimum, but closer to 1500 cals (vs. 1350 at 30%). Bars + Chomps + Gels (in that order) = 1300 cals + drink 200 cals.
  • No Salt on bike – plenty in Roctane
  • Special needs bag has back ups of all: Roctane, food and chews.

Run – off bike and relaxed, see what legs settle in at. Course is very familiar – so the goal is first to get out of neighborhoods and out onto Coeur D’Alene Lake Drive. The start paying attention to pace and turnover out on Lake Dr and back (6.8 miles). Once back into town and neighborhoods, the goal is managing body and fuel to get back out onto Lake Drive. Then 11 miles to go – push out and back. 4 sections total.

  • Drink – water every aid station, occasional splash of Gatorade but try to avoid. Depending on weather might run with own drink bottle, as well as grab a special needs. Water bottle (throw away) out of T2 in order to be topped off, flushed out and hydrated.
  • Fuel – hopefully smart calories on bike, then gel at miles 3-6-9-12-16-20 with Coke as needed mixed in at times. Always have back up of Gels I like in special needs for change in flavor etc.
  • Run is all set up by drink and fuel on bike. If good on bike then run can extend out cals and drink a bit. If not, then manage drink and food early to settle into an effective second half of run…

GEAR for the ride:

  • Swim – full wetsuit – one cap.
  • Bike – Disc with a bladed Xentis front wheel. Powermeter/Garmin
  • Run – no pace, no HR, just stop watch. Will know splits and pace based off mileage in my head

2014 Rocky Raccoon Race Report

“…in this age, which believes that there is a short cut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest”

Henry Miller

I’ve never done a 100 miler…I tried once – but I went about my training wrong. I pushed too hard, racked up the miles too quickly. Sure enough, about 5 weeks prior to Leadville a few years back, I pulled out of ultrarunning since I could feel the stress fracture in my foot coming along. It might have already been there – but when I broke my collarbone a few weeks later at Escape from Alcatraz triathlon, I got 6 weeks of forced rest anyways! So – this time I went about it differently. I had two primary goals with my prep for Rocky Raccoon.

First – I was going to build up to a healthy avg. weekly running volume and hold that – it would be my base. Secondly – within that weekly volume I would build up one long run per week. What did this look like in practice? First – I gradually built my running volume from 40-45 miles per week in early October to 70ish miles per week, although my avg for most of December and early January was 65 miles per week. Then, once absorbing a decent weekly volume (55-65 miles), I started inserting a longer run into that standard base week. That means in addition to that 55 miles I ran a 4, then 5, then 6, then 7 hour run 1x that week. Of course this kicked up my weekly totals, but my ‘fall back’ week was always the trending avg weekly miles. Finally – over New Years it was time to test the big volume: I ran 24miles on the 30th next morning (New Years eve) I ran 44 miles, and finally the next morning (Happy New Year!) ran another 25 miles. That gave me approx. 93 miles in 48 hrs. If I can do that – hopefully I can do 100 rested…in 16-18 hrs…and while I knew my training was going well (felt great at NorthFace 50 miler although DNF’ed at mile 44) 100 miles felt quite daunting. 8 hrs of running is different than 16-20 hrs! In hindsight, I probably could have been more rested. Riding a Coast Ride to San Diego (550 miles in 5 days), albeit easy, still left me somewhat flat. I was hoping to feel better on my final 50k prep run the Friday, 8 days prior to the race. Add to that a calf tightening during that run, I was thinking “this could be a really long day”…

Rocky Raccoon also served another purpose. I still had a bitter taste in my mouth from DNFing in Tahoe. I was looking for something hard, monotonous and mentally challenging: 5×20 mile loops should be just the ticket. Not punishment, instead an opportunity to develop a stronger mind for racing. So there it is: 5×20 mile loops, 6am start – rolling course – nothing too steep at any point, see it in the dark, sunrise, during the day, and then see only a headlamp tunnel for the following evenings’ darkness.


The first loop was OK. Didn’t feel as easy, fresh, natural, quick as I wanted (see tired and flat above!). Was actually already sort of laborious. But kept shutting off the mind and listened to podcasts as I knew I would need the mind later on. Approx 3:08 – I made a commitment that I would not rush my 20 mile aid stations, so I always used that for my crew stop. Food, drink, logistics, updates etc.

Second loop – here we go – now I know the course, know where I am each step of the way. Podcasts go to music. Eating a bit too little, drinking plenty. Perfect weather for me: overcast, 60s, humid. Approx 3:08 again. Was actually hoping the first loop would be quicker on ‘free speed’ – but know that in ultrarunning (for me at least) there is one…speed..all …the time…

Third loop – just focus on getting to half way. At 43 I start feeling not so good – the remaining distance seems daunting given I have been running for 7 hours so far. I start thinking how I am now moving into the longest run I have done this season…and start drifting mentally. Luckily, having prepared for this, I was ready to slog through these miles. Not because they were hard physically, but because it is such a dead space in terms of 100 miles..Not getting to 50miles quick enough, and feeling the slowness of the day in the brain, since I can now project how long the second 50 miles might take! But luckily as of mile 52 I snap out of it – grab some ibuprofen – and move on to 60 miles where I now can run with friends as pacers. But that part of the 20 mile loop seems to have an effect on me – it is the longest piece without aid, as well as closed course – so nobody there…3rd eat whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, turkey and bunch of pretzels. Also have some Roctane gels, and a 5hrs energy drink shot.

Fourth loop! Over half way… and no longer running solo. I am ready to talk someone’s ear off! While saying 4th more miles! I tell the crew, let’s figure 8 more hours and get this done before midnight! JINXED! 3 miles into the 4th are screaming, with the occasional cold numbing shooting pain down my left leg with it…The type that if you recruit wrong, you buckle, and catch yourself from falling. Walking – fast walking, quickly try to engage..nada…couple jogging shuffle steps, cold pain…walking…darn darn darn..40 miles of WALKING?? Are you kidding me…this will be booooring. It will be done – but boring and..heck, load up the iPod and I’ll watch a movie while walking…3 to 4 to 5 miles walking – stretch occasionally..nada. But, I do apply Ironman knowledge here: am I doing EVERYTHING now, so that if I can run again later on, I am ready…hydrated? Check….Food? Check…Clothing, gear, rest of body? Check..just waiting (better said, walking) – I reengage at mile 70..the shuffle can be held longer. I know a flat section, with no roots or anything is coming…(a dam trail) and sure enough can shuffle it…shuffle it up to aid station at mile 72..4 ibuprofen, and within 90 sec I am running, feel good and drop my pacer…Pick up new Pacer at mile 75 aid station, off I go to 80 mile crew stop…4:30 (approx.)…ugh but 2 things: curiously enough the pain was in the same section as my previous loops dead zone…and secondly…if out of a 100, I walk, hike 7 miles, I’ll take it.

Final loop! Don’t want to stop long, since anything tightening up might mean walking again…Some calories, some more ibuprofen and some clothes in case its cold. The 4th loop was already half in the dark, so all I am doing now is staring at a 4 ft x 4ft light window in front of me on the trails. That’s my world. The roots, trail, branches and dirt of that window of light is all I see. It’s the last loop – all good. Each step is the loop in 3:27..lose about 20 minutes in that difficult ‘place’…I sit – last time I’ll be doing this loop, but its so vague because in the dark it doesn’t matter. I might as well be in Marin, some forest in Europe, or on the Appalachian trail (which is what staring into that light reminded me of – different story…). Aid at 83, cool….aid at 85, more ibuprofen….6 miles death zone? bring it…aid at mile 92, ibuprofen (!)…aid at 95…ibuprofen…feeling good – steady – actually have a great conversation with my pacer, AIMP athlete # 2 btw…, and the loop sorta flies by.

5th loop is easier then 3rd. Mile 98…ugh, ready for this to be over, my legs are getting tired…100 miles – done! Approx 3:50. Total time 18:24. Yes, I got passed by 1st honestly, that felt good because a) I didn’t even know there was an AG race/ranking… 2) my sole purpose for this race was to finish feeling good. Which, ironically, this 99th was the ONLY mile I felt awful… It was fun. Yes, fun. Trail running is different – and while the next 100 miler (?!) might not be as fun, since now I have a number in my mind and how I would train, and what I would do differently yada yada yada…this one was good ole 1st with friends. You get to eat and drink and be merry at any aid station…You only do one thing…for a lot of hours..! And although the sport has changed over the years since it has become more technical and some agro folks are rolling over from triathlon, it still has a very different vibe.

Did I get out of it what I was looking for? Not sure yet. Stronger mind? Won’t know until IM Texas. Better runner? Doubt that since running 10s doesn’t relate to running 7s in my stride. Was it challenging? Yes. Was I more anxious than it turned out I needed to be? Yes – but that was the fun part of this 100 miler. The unknown, the curiosity, the challenge. Did I ever hit that deep, lost, ‘

had to search my soul’ place? No…not even close. Maybe next time….yes. I’ll do another. Those Belt Buckles are cool…


2x Clif Bar – 1x PowerBar – 9/10 Gels (mix of Roctane and Salty Caramel) – 1 PBJ on

white – 1x bagel Turkey CC – 1x whole wheat PBJ – 250 cal pretzels – 2x 5hr energy –

25-30 pb filled pretzels – bits of banana/M&M/

Approx 4000cal (220/hr)

4x Osmo – 2x Preload – 16x water (20oz) – 12 oz Gatorade – sip of coke.

Approx 24 oz of fluid per hr.

Issues: 7 mile walk was hip flexor and quad attachment. No calf issue until mile 95.

Switch 3 pairs of shoes: mile 40 and mile 80. Shoes switch good – no blisters, same

socks for 100 miles.

Coach’s Word Mindfulness – 01.31.14

Hi all. I know it has been a while, but nothing like a plane flight to get some uninterrupted writing time.

Mindfulness: the skill of racing and training right here, right now.

In my prep for this upcoming 100 mile run, I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks, podcasts and the occasional music playlist. One article by Maria Gonzalez I listened to stuck with me. It talked of mindful leadership and how we can decrease stress by controlling not only our mind, but also the multiple circumstances that arise daily where we can use better judgment.

As a coach, I wondered how we can apply these management practices and observations to endurance training & racing – and how it can benefit all of us.

As many of you have heard me often say: a lot can go wrong on race day, so we want to focus on the things we CAN control vs. those that are out of our control. Especially given that our events are anywhere from 2-24 hours, that leaves a LOT of room for things to go wrong! Even in shorter events – a minor circumstance can quickly mean minutes!

Surely outstanding fitness helps us deal with the circumstances of race day, but training the skill of mindfulness will magnify that benefit of outstanding fitness.

Dealing with the stress of race day…

First off we want to focus simplifying the stress: as we go into the race, we want to decrease stress, not just manage it. This will help us be better prepared for the situations that WILL come up that are somewhat unexpected. I say somewhat since many of the situations that arise on race day are not unfamiliar – we just don’t prepare or want to realize they can happen to us!

Decreasing stress also means we can assess the situation and seeing what stress we can eliminate. Weather? Temperature? Course? Competitors? Nothing we can do to change those, so instead we focus on how better to deal with them: taking action.

Next we want a constant theme for the day: control the mind vs. letting it control you. When the mind controls us, emotions and judgment are in play. When we control the mind, we can start dealing with that stress, that circumstance. It’s about not wasting energy on how to change the circumstance, instead on how to deal with it, accept it. When something is going wrong in a race and you get upset/stressed (no water at an aid station, you dropped your food on the bike, powermeter/garmin not working, feeling flat watching competitors whiz by you) – you are in your head! You are judging that situation (while it may be correct!) vs. applying clarity, awareness of surroundings, and being right here, right now. Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down with feelings/emotions of the circumstance; instead we want a state of being present – aware – conscious…Mindfulness!

Mindfulness is a skill that can be learned. It is training the mind to be secular. Training the mind on how it CAN deal with stress. Being in the moment, being present (right here – right now) ties into three interlocking components:

1) Concentration.
2) Clarity
3) Equanimity

• Concentration is a skill learned to stay in the moment, be present for as long as you wish.
• Clarity comes with that concentration: clarity of thought, good judgment, seeing things for what they are vs. our own judgment that clouds situations.
• Equanimity – this one I find most important since it allows us to truly control our stress and mindfulness: it means going with the flow. Asking yourself; “can I change this situation, circumstance”? If I can’t alter, therefore I won’t let myself be swept away by the moment since it alters my judgment. Instead I am taking action. Practice acceptance, not anxiety!

Mindfulness is the skill of being fully present and fully aware – not looking to change the circumstance (react) – instead being aware of what is…simply what is…balance.

As with any skill – there are ways to practice this skill of mindfulness. Some of you have heard me talk of a system check, a check in with our body during the race. Part of this means we take a deep breath and ready ourselves for the task ahead. In all my pre-race talks I mention that moment in T2 where you just want to sit for a moment – inhale, exhale and check in with yourself. To be right here, right now, to get yourself ready to concentrate on the run ahead, with clarity & acceptance. In my 100 miler this weekend I plan to do this every 20 miles (5×20 mile loops!) – a sort of mini meditation. The author of the article talks of the para-sympathic nervous system being activated, which has an immediate calming impact. I’d like to get better at it – maybe at each aid station during the Ironman bike? Every aid station on the run? The more we can be in the state of mindfulness for our event – the better! A psychological mechanism to create calmness? I’ll take it.

In order to be better prepared for race day (its called coaching right?), we all can use triggers that come up multiple times in our training days – but especially on long race simulation days. A trigger to do a check in with yourself, to find that place of clarity, concentration and being present in the moment. For me a good trigger has been when I eat. These are frequent enough moments for me to take a breath – do a systems check, remain focused on the task at hand for the training and why I am doing it (execution to the best of our abilities). 

Our mind gets agitated with too much noise. Instead, we can control our mind, moment by moment and with it decrease blood pressure, control our heart rate and work towards having our day.

Understanding the 2014 PreSeason

Here we are again – the Fall.  An easy time of year to chill out – relax, drink – eat and be merry.  We trained well, we sacrificed a lot, now its time to chill out a bit and do all those things we wanted to do many of those weekends while out training.  Some of you might have accomplished some great goals, some of you might still have an A race ahead, but in general the Fall is typically known as the off season in these here parts of the country.  Temperatures do not dictate this time of year (although they sure facilitate taking a break), the race calendar does.  While in the past there were very few races from Thanksgiving until Easter, the sport has grown to allow for a decent racing season even in the winter.  But, the majority of you race between April and November, so now is what many call the off season.

Many of you know I call this time of year the PreSeason.  I wanted to follow up with all of you on why:

This sport continues to mature.  Gone are the days that participating in this sport allows you to achieve some remarkable results.  It has grown in numbers, it has some incredible depth to it – meaning that your result in the AG gradually falls off if you remain doing the same times:  more participants and faster times = more competitive fields, with many more fast, gifted athletes squeezed into those competitive time ranges.

You could look at any other sport, but marathons give us some comparable insight.  Back when the marathon participation craze began (jogging/Nike?), everyone was stoked to complete a marathon.  Then the sport began to mature and times got faster, more competitive.  Qualifying standards were added to Boston in the 1980s and just recently this standard became even more competitive with qualification times being readjusted in 2011.  Today you are stoked to just qualify for Boston, let alone participate (that is its own logistical nightmare due to speed of that marathon filling up).

Similar in triathlon participants were stoked to finish an Ironman in the beginning.  The sport matured to the point that the Kona Ironman needed qualifying slots, and those now have become crazy competitive:  more participants, more depth of incredibly talented athletes flowing into the sport…and LESS slots due to more races being added around the world (although I believe this will soon change to Age Group rankings).

The World Championships are truly becoming a World Championship.  While this might spur a lot of debate on Slowtwitch and other triathlon forums, it’s a normal (and healthy) progression for a sport.  With the marathon example, none of us look to take part in the IAAF World Championships, nor the IAAF World Marathon Cup, or if we are over 35 (!), the World Masters Athletics Championships….yet Ironman Hawaii carries this cache that anything is possible.

What am I trying to say?  That the typical focus in this sport on qualifying for Kona is no longer just achieved by walking in and giving it a whirl.  It takes a methodical, focused, multi year plan to make an attempt at qualifying.  As in other sports (running, biking, swimming, team sports, heck, ANY sport) it requires continuous progression and building ability, fitness, technique, strength 12 months out of the year.  While I am not willing to say 10k hours like many coaches in developing younger athletes claim, it is surely something in between taking an OFF season, and those 10,000hrs.

If Kona is your goal – then we need to sit down and have serious planning session and discussion.  Can we – how will we – when can we expect this to unfold.  And what do the years in between look like?

For many of you Kona or an Ironman might not be the goal.  But you have goals of progress, improvement and results that mean something to you.  If you were not attached to some sort of achievement, some goal, some finish line, you would not be receiving this, since you would not be coached by me.  You took that step to work with me so that we can achieve something together.  To feel that finish line today, and every day in your training.  Finishing is what you define it to be – the emotions you want to feel at that point in time: marathon, Half marathon, Olympic distance, 100 miler, 50k, Ironman, Half Ironman, Ultraman, open water swims…all of them have a finish line.  Those finish lines are always filled with emotions.  What do you want to feel?  Pride or questions?  Satisfaction, a deep sense of accomplishment, or wondering what you could have done?

This is not about hours of training.  This is not about how hard or easy you train.  The emotions of the finish line are yours, and they are defined by your every days actions towards that finish line.  As I have recently written:  did you do your best today to feel the desired emotions of your finish line?  This is an applicable question to all of you:  since our life circumstances, our families, career, health and progression are YOUR best…not someone else’s definition in hours trained per week etc.  YOUR best is given your life, your circumstances, your abilities in the now.  And it is YOUR finish line:  your finish line explains what that means: winning?  Time?  Percentage in the age group?  YOUR personal best? Finishing? You define both input and result.

Now that we have defined this value, lets take a closer look at the concept of an off season.  A time to take off from training and focus on other things?  A time to just exercise, not really train?  A time to be unstructured and train on feel?

How does any of this help you achieve your finish line?  Every year, the majority of participants in this sport take time off, then spend 12-16 weeks to get back the fitness they let go of for this ‘off season’:  they let go of feeling incredibly fit.  They let go of truly feeling fitness which allows you to identify where the shortcomings might be – what needs to be worked on, the blind spots, the technique, the missing strength/core/stability work.  Take 8 weeks off, spend 12 weeks getting that fitness & feel back, now how many weeks remain to get stronger, fitter, better prepared for your next goal, for that progression. We have yet worked on race specific fitness and new, uncharted phases of your training.  And trust me: there is always a progression….

How does the marathon World Record fall?  How did Michael Phelps get faster?  Many of you ask what makes the Elite in our sport so different?  Not as much the training as it is the attention to detail and the daily focus on progression towards their long term (!) goal.  How many future Olympic swimmers are now prepping for a goal almost 3 years away?  Progression towards a long term goal – THAT is the key ingredient – to stay focused today on what you want to achieve many tomorrows from now.  That is what creates the 10k hours theory, that is what sets a really talented athlete apart from other talented athletes: the willingness to focus now on what will make them a better athlete many months, even years from now.  Long term vision.  Often this means slowing your progression, but you know where you are going and why.  That is athletic maturity and wisdom: the ability to see your results in the future in your training today!

So, as you approach this concept of ‘off season’, understand that no matter your goals, there is always something long term to look at, to train for, to invest yourself into.  It might not be a finish line or result, it might also be health, well being and the ability to do things later in life you never thought possible – that too takes an investment today!  I am a big believer in being prepared, fit and healthy for life’s future endeavors.  You might not even know what they are yet – but it is sure good to know you can take them on, that you are never far away with your fitness, health and ability to consider these exciting opportunities.

In my coaching I often get inquiries on what I am doing, how I am approaching training phases or prep for A races.  What am I focusing on this PreSeason? Since I just recently raced an Ironman, it allows for a crisp and specific plan:

  • My mental approach to the sport: I seem to have lost something that allows me to push myself in racing.  Physically everything points to a solid performance, but my mind is getting in the way.
  • Running: while my running is still my strength, I want to improve maintaining race pace later into the IM run, especially miles 14-20.
  • Strength training: my body has some gaping blind spots in strength.  Not only for injury prevention, but to use the strength I have more effectively – especially on the bike.
  • Technical details: for racing I need to improve nutrition.  Not as much what I am eating, but how much.  Racing at my size and my output/speed will requires more energy/calories. I need to spend time testing this in training and racing – which also means more racing.  My gear is also in need for upgrades.

My next race is not until next season, most likely some time in May or June – but I am already working on all 4 of these points.  Training, reading, planning, experimenting etc.  All this requires time, observation, preparation as well as repeated trial & error.  There is no off season for this.  This requires fitness to properly test, apply and incorporate.

I took 2 weeks off since Ironman Lake Tahoe.  The 2014 season has begun.  Are you ready for your 2014 PreSeason?  I’d be glad to sit down with any of you to determine your PreSeason plan.  We all have one.

IM Lake Tahoe Race Report 2013

Many of you have asked about my race in Tahoe – at IM Lake Tahoe.  Its been over 2 weeks and I always tell my athletes that they should create some space from the emotions of the race before writing up their race reports.  These can either be crazy high emotions (signing up right away for more IM’s) – or some serious lows (beating themselves up about the race or the DNF etc.).  Returning to our daily lives, the routine, our family, work and the void we left by training for this IM often helps give us a better perspective on looking back on a very meaningful & powerful day for most of us.

I have been coaching triathlon for 14 years.  I really enjoy coaching the lessons that this sport carries with it.  The incredible sacrifices of time in order to train.  Discipline to get the training done.  Communication and balance to have family, friends and loved ones still support you but also carry the slack in that void you created.  I could go on and on with this list, because it remains very current with me.  I respect the work my athletes do so much, the time they find to train, the kids activities they still attend, the families they still nurture and the jobs they still carry – travel – responsibility; today most are so overworked, overstressed – adding this sport into that mix can make this stress even worse.  I hope though in some ways this sport makes it easier for you…that exhale, the invigorating rides, that beautiful run leaving you feeling like you can run forever, that swim where you finally feel some synch with your stroke…all this hopefully allows you to be a better father, co worker, leader, husband, boss or friend.  That time to yourself, that journey ventured, that challenge of a training session accepted.

All of this no longer applies to me – and I have been recognizing this in my training.  As many of you say, its less about the race, its about the journey to the race.  Well, if you didn’t have that journey, would you enjoy the race the same way?  Would you even race?  If Ironman were not about sacrifice, would you still do it?  If there were not physical or mental aspects to overcome – would Ironman still be as appealing?  Unfortunately that is what has come to my attention this summer.

I no longer need to sacrifice time to train; I no longer have anybody I need to balance this sport with.  My work does not cause stress; actually much of the training for an IM is partially my work.  I observe and apply a lot of the concepts of my coaching while out training.  Physically there is little in the training that challenges me, nor am I really looking to take things to the ‘next’ level since I have already been there – not only in this sport, but another sport.  Mentally the challenges of race day are no longer a mystery, the mind games to get through a race are no longer working.  I know what to train, I know how to feel prior to a race, I know what numbers or pace or times I need to see in order to have a solid day.  The fire within to do well is no longer burning as hot, I have flipped the switch in the wrong way:  I understand that life on the other side of these races goes on, that your result has nothing to do with that life, and that Ironman is just another athletic event.  Sure, the congratulatory emails ‘feel’ good, but they are not what impacts your day to day once back into that rhythm of life on the other side of an Ironman day.

I said the other day that I knew Ironman was not going to be the right place for me as I go through divorce.  Many people have used this event as a getaway, something to fill your time with, escape, an outlet to channel emotions from the every day punch in the gut that divorce is – For me this escape was not going to be applicable – since it was already what I did as a partial profession the past years:  some may argue that Triathlon is what drives divorce – this sport is so ‘selfish” and requires such a commitment.  I vehemently disagree, but that is a different topic.

Yes – I have been injured – and I had already worked my mind around not racing IM Lake Tahoe back in late July when visiting some close friends.  I could not get into what was causing my injury, and re-engaging into running left me timid.  But with some help from physical therapists and some rest (all of July) I was gradually getting better – and while it was still showing up occasionally – it was better – it was good enough for 26.2, most likely with some pain or suffering the last 6-10 miles.  But IM marathons always have some pain and suffering.

So what happened?  In my swimming days we used to say “my performance is a perfect mirror of my self image” – We used this statement back then for positive affirmation – to create a mental link between positive self image and performance.  I have come to realize it is a key ingredient in any athletic performance – good or bad.

I started taking IM racing – actually, all racing – for granted.  I figured I could just ‘do’ an IM, just ‘participate’ and be fine – have a good enough result that I can feel decent about.  I actually already felt this at IM Los Cabos this past March: decent.  But decent is not enough to enjoy this sport.  Decent actually leaves you feeling empty, quite unsatisfied.  And it surely doesn’t motivate you to train – properly – progressively.  No – just participating is not good enough.  I have been incredibly fortunate that my talent has allowed me to do quite well at IM Triathlon.  But this past 18 months also showed me everything I am trying to teach my kids:  resting your accolades on talent alone is not good enough, nor very rewarding.  Combine talent with hard work, focus and discipline; that leads to world-class results. Every – EVERY sport is littered with talented athletes that could not handle the hard work & discipline needed to bring that world-class talent up to a world class, elite level.   And here I am – doing exactly that.  Sure – many can argue:  why?  You have done plenty – you have nothing left to prove.  I am 43 years old, single dad with two awesome kids.  I have totally deserved to just participate, to enjoy all the years of focused training and soak up the pure fun of endurance racing.  THAT is exactly the excuse that creates this internal dilemma: if I was looking to prove anything (!), then I was in sports for the wrong reason anyways.  Athletics are not to prove anything (and a bigger topic on what is wrong with athletics and all sport these days) – it’s about personal excellence, an internal belief system of commitment, follow-through and to ALWAYS do your best.  And there is what happened:  IM Lake Tahoe I did not do my best.  I did not prepare like that, I did not race like that.  I did not have the mind set for excellence.  I went through the motions thinking that the finish line will be rewarding enough.  I believe that is why I truly DNF’ed: because I realized on the course that this approach is not good enough.  That going through the motions is not good enough.  That accepting a decent, mediocre performance is not worth a finish, a result. No excuses, finishing an Ironman is about more than I was doing.

It was a mirror of my current self-image: decent, average, not doing my best.  Good enough to not be disappointed, not good enough to be happy.

Therefore it is time to challenge myself into a new avenue of this sport.  It’s time to give back, to race for a bigger cause, something I am not personally accountable for, but instead representing for either those that can’t, or raising awareness for those that can!  I have some ideas for this; have been speaking to some of you how this might unfold.

Health, fitness and the privilege of doing these events are something to be thankful for.  The training, the time, the ability, and the financial flexibility: all of it is not something to be taken for granted.  In my years of coaching I have come across plenty of athletes that just want to see what a marathon or Iron distance triathlon is like.  Once they finish, they check that box of completion and move on.  But then there are those that stick to this sport and see the lifestyle it creates.  Health, fitness, spiritual balance and mental strength that permeates throughout our daily lives.  And yes – this lifestyle is a very sharp blade:  take it too serious and it cuts through every aspect of your life, leaving you with nothing but yourself.  Take it too lightly and the fulfillment of this lifestyle gently dulls.

How do I sharpen my blade again?  It comes with an understanding that it cannot be taken for granted, not for me as an individual, and surely not for a greater purpose, cause, support group.  Its time to challenge my own process and to work toward a shared vision, not just my own.

Willpower, discipline and resolve are about mastering the tension of not getting what you want in the moment….


AIMP Camps Updates

Hi all –

I am trying to gauge interest in the 2 remaining camps this season. As you can imagine, this allows for better planning & smarter logistics. PLEASE email if you plan to attend! Also feel free to share with anyone you know that might benefit from these camps for their race season.

TAHOE CAMP: August 18-25

Our usual weeklong camp (year 12!) with plenty of swimming, trail runs and lots of cycling NOT on IM Lake Tahoe course. This camp is free of cost again, with only tips for any SAG Monkey services that might be needed. Here is the typical breakdown and plenty of you might need some adjustment:

SUN: arrival day. easy 3 hr bike, short run off bike.
MON: swim + bigger bike up around Gold Lakes & Sierraville + short run off bike
TUES: swim + longer trail run
WED: Long bike around Lake Tahoe
THURS: swim + trail run
FRI: Medium bike + ez run around Donner Lake
SAT: Swim
SUN: Lake Tahoe Half IM race

PALM SPRINGS Fall Camp: October 17-20

This is a new camp for IM FL, IM AZ, IM Cozumel, IM West. Australia folks, as well as HITS series. Great weather, great pools, track, cycling routes and we’ll include some fun dining etc. This camp is Thursday to early Sunday, allowing for Sunday return home. Due to the logistics of the location, this camp will cost some $$ and depends on numbers: house rental or hotels. The plan would be to rent a bigger house in order to have all meals & recovery time in one location. $$ would cover house, meals, SAG and possible bike transport if needed. ARRIVAL would be Wednesday evening.

THURS: Bigger bike + short Trun
FRI: Swim + Run
SAT: long bike + afternoon stretch out swim
SUN: Short swim + longer run

Thank you!

Coach’s Weekly Word: Building Trust

Building Trust.

One major problem many athletes face is trusting a coach – one who they are willing to grow a relationship with, in order to then, in turn, get even better individual coaching.  There are many examples for why athletes don’t trust their coaches – and by trust I mean opening up, sharing, providing the insight needed in order for the coach to have a real opportunity to effectively….coach.  As many of my athletes have heard me say:  A good coach ‘coaches’ the person, and only ‘trains’ them for their event.  There is a big difference between coaching and training.

There is a persistent image out there that having a coach will lead to instant success (gratification).  This is simply not true.  In order to effectively reach your potential, it takes time.  Any coach that promises quick success or that has quick results (making it look easy) eventually fades away.  Since we all know that coaching is about your ability to train effectively enough to stimulate the appropriate adaptation.  The appropriate adaptation takes time in learning who you are, what is the appropriate adaptation for you…and through time and training – seeing if the adaptation is taking place.

There are plenty of success stories in coaching, all sports, where one would quickly point to great coaching for the athlete to have such quick success.  Well, again, the change in approach and coaches might have stimulated the appropriate short term adaptation.  But unless that coach can repeat success with you for many seasons (progress), then it was just that: ” a change in scenery”.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about how to better trust your coach in order to build that successful relationship as well as provide your coach with the ‘color’ and insight needed to bring forth the appropriate adaptation via your training plan.  How to analyze them in order for you to extend that trust?

1) What would their motivation be to not have a good result with coaching me?

If you can think of any reason why your coach would not want the best possible result from you, to help you achieve all your goals, then that is a big red flag.  Other athletes more important?  Not on board with your goals?  Plans?  Understand why.  Then communicate that without this trust, it’s hard to provide the insight that he/she needs for your successful training plan and coaching.

2) What risks are you taking in trusting your coach?

Extending trust makes you vulnerable.  Vulnerability is not a bad thing however.  In most coaching cases, vulnerability is necessary in order to achieve what you want or need to succeed.  Having your coach understand you, what makes you tick, what you care about, and how much your goals mean to you is a good thing.  Now it is on your coach to help you achieve them – with you.

3) What are the possible outcomes from this coaching relationship?

Your trust is a valuable thing, so treat it like that.  If you are completely trusting in your coaching relationship and not getting the individualized return, then you may want to reconsider the relationship.  Your coaching relationship, along with your trust, should yield a return called success.

4) How credible is the Coach I am trusting?

Credibility is key in any coaching relationship.  Know your coach, their story, their approach.  If you don’t, ask…since you want to be cautious with that trust you are extending.  It also takes energy switching coaches, re-starting, and rebuilding a good coaching relationship, so do the necessary prep work prior to diving in too far.

5) How accountable is your coach?

Accountable people always follow through on their commitments.  If problems arise – they figure out a new path – approach.  It is really that simple.  Accountable coaches are also quite busy with athletes: they are in demand – since accountable people are easy to work with.  Be certain your coach carries accountability and takes ownership of YOUR results.  *Disclaimer* – if you are not following the plan that the coach is giving you – then this point is mute.

Building a trusting relationship with your coach is a key ingredient in your success.  You put a lot of time and energy into your training, racing and gear.  All of this can be tempered by a coaching relationship that is not really ‘coaching’, instead only training for events….


Feedback // Review Of November Rail Wheels

Feedback // Review Of November Rail 52 Carbon Clincher wheels:

Recently I rode the California Coast on some brand new November Bikes Rail 52 Carbon Clincher wheels.  They were sent for me to test.  By coincidence I was doing a Coast Ride with 20 clients from San Francisco to Santa Monica CA.  The is 470 miles of cycling in 4 days, starting with 135 miles the first day, then 125 miles, 117 miles and finally, 95 miles into Santa Monica.  The terrain varies anywhere from pancake flat through the strawberry fields of central California to the constant climbing and descending along the spectacular Big Sur coast.  Basically, the ideal spot to test some new wheels.  Wind, terrain, temperatures and road types:  all different and all offered.
To describe the wheels?  Compared in the wind tunnel to the Zipp 404s (which I have owned for years, 3 different versions) these are very similar in design.  The profile gets wider like the Firecrest, and almost hides the 23, even 25 tires, within the carbon of where the tire & carbon connect.  This means when riding you often look down to your tire and barely see a tire!  I experienced the same with both the Zipp 101s as well as the 404s.   All black with a great looking logo makes these wheels look fast and garners some curious looks as they look covert.  Black hubs – black spokes – black tires.  So, first of all they look plain cool!


How did they ride?  Besides looking cool we also want them to ride pretty darn good.  Well these wheels ride pretty darn good!  Immediately they felt stiff when I pushed off from Mill Vally CA.  I rode them with my Pinarello Paris – which with different wheels can actually feel soft.  But these wheels immediately made my bike stiffer and therefore more responsive.  Solid acceleration, great momentum can be maintained.  Steady spin the first day through the strawberry fields to Monterey.  Plenty of tailwind, great zip in these wheels.  By the second day I was already a fan, but throw in 7800 ft of climbing in the first 76 miles down the Big Sur coast, I was truly in awe.  Great response to climbing, standing.  Great descending around some tight coastal hairpin turns with only a stone wall between you and the ocean 600 ft below.  They hugged the road within my bike frame – no problem.  And as the winds shifted in and out of theses deep ravines and coastal coves, crosswinds had little effect on these deeper wheels.  They remained very stable, very solid, whether sudden gusts or a constant crossing wind.  Sure, you have to pay attention, but nothing that would make a rider nervous or catch them off guard.  Add in some super smooth pavement – great momentum.  Even as we rode on some chip-seal for 30-40 miles, with plenty of deeper gravel and rivets in the road – these wheels, while stiff, were still somewhat forgiving.  Part 2, they ride great too!
By the way – you might wonder if it is the bike or the wheels that provide a lot of the feedback I mention above.  I road the exact same Coast Ride with a different set of clients just 3 weeks earlier.  Same bike, same tires, just different wheels.  Its the wheels that were clearly different.  I could feel it.  Sure, carbon vs my usual Mavic training wheels, but it still gives a good comparison.
Why a good comparison?  Because these wheels, as good as they are, cost about as much as a set of training wheels!!  This is the final piece that makes this such a great set of wheels.  Sure, when comparing to Zipp and Hed and all the other big name wheel builders out there, they might be hard to distinguish.  I’m not sure if I can tell in a blind test which wheels are which.  BUT, at half the price of the Zipps…this is an easy choice.  Easy.  Part 3, great pricing…

Coach Chris Hauth : Weekly Word 5/22

Riding down the Coast for days, one has many hours to think & plan. But more importantly as a coach, you have time to observe – many hours – a handful of athletes. This got me thinking about an article I recently read. It talked about what motivates people in different business environments. Observing the different athletes on the coast, having some longer discussions with them, combined with knowing how they race, left me with the following:

Do you race to win? Or not to lose? 

This might seem like a loaded question (and it is) – many may think one approach is better than the other. Instead think of it this as a question that revolves around motivation, and understanding how there are two types of motivation.

Motivation is defined in many circles as approaching pleasure and avoiding pain. If you look at motivation like this, what type of motivation works for you?

The first type is the one we are most familiar with: Charging opportunities. With this it is about the pleasure of making progress, advancing, making significant gains. The pain lies in the failure to do these things: failure to advance – remain stagnant – no progress.

The second type of motivation (and one we often overlook) is maintaining a satisfactory state, one that we are ok & pleased with. The pleasure here revolves around the peace of mind & security this creates, the satisfaction. The pain lies in a failure to remain here – or to make mistakes, to lose this state of satisfaction/peace of mind, being at peace.

Therefore – back to the question: do you race to win (charge opportunities, push the envelope) or do you race NOT to lose…the placing you hold, the gains you’ve made in training and past racing.

Your athletic motivation type might be very different from your work one, or your family/personal life one…Do you know what you feel most ocomfortable with in racing? Understanding this motivation allows you to prepare for a better outcome. How do we together approach the pleasure of racing and avoid the pain in racing…? Knowing this helps us manage your race day a lot more effectively.

I can use myself as a good example. As a swimmer off the front in most races, and specializing in long distance events, it is ALL about preventing my day, my result that I have envisioned and prepared for in my mind, from slipping away. So I race not to lose since I am off the front. To maintain where I am, to be at peace with a solid effort, but not risk too much, maintain my day, and allow fitness and experience to play out. As I get fitter, the time at the end of this ‘maintaining day’ also got faster. I prevented things from going wrong. Or, as so many of you have heard me write and say: I didn’t slow down.

I coach plenty of athletes that are not like this. They enjoy throwing caution to the wind a bit, to charge oppportunities, like the risk they take to blow up because it might just be enough to get them an unknown new result, gain, progress & accomplishment. They are willing to risk a lot to gain a lot.

Are you avoiding losses? Or looking to make gains? 

Both have the same PERSONAL result. A race is successful as YOU define it. Having raced well, not made mistakes, is often all you need to have an amazing PR. Many of you have heard me say you have a certain time ‘in you’ by just racing steady, and this time is often a LOT faster than you have been racing…. Others have heard me say its about breaking though to the other side, to suffer and push, to find out what you are capable of. A PR is also waiting for you because you went after it, charged the course when it called for it, risked a lot and broke through to a new PR…

Both results feel the same: you achieved your goals either by avoiding errors, or by charging ahead. Both feel good because success is defined by reaching your goals.

We all have a more dominant type of motivation in us. Therefore the coaching question becomes are you not risking ENOUGH or are your risking TOO MUCH? Being too preventative (not losing) might not be fast enough. Being too promotive (Charging opportunities) might cause unnecessary risks. Balancing these two motivations according to YOUR needs is part of this thought process.

Do you race to win? Or not to lose?

Qualifier: We all know that coaching masters athletes (most of you) is different than coaching grade school, high school or college athletes (they all must attend or are told to train). It is surely different than coaching professionals! Therefore when talking about motivation (and most of my coaching approach), I try to relate everything I observe to the masters athlete: The athlete that competes & participates in this sport by choice, for lifestyle and health purposes. The masters athlete, while still very serious (sometimes too serious!) and motivated, still has another career, family or life responsibilities to deal with other than sports. AND the masters athlete has often not had dramatic athletic success earlier in their lives. Therefore my approach and discussions come from a different perspective than those doing this for a living, or those that are required to participate.

Email # 3: May Coast Ride 2013

Hi all –

This is the FINAL group email.  Most of you that have said you are interested in joining have already signed up – so we are almost there.  Just wanted to let you all know that there will no more bigger email going out other than to the participants.
So far we are 13 riders with about 8 on the fence.  We have all levels, so no worries of being intimidated.  We also have a few riders that will be taking advantage of SAG since they are recovering from injury or need to watch their mileage.
There have been some inquiries about riding on to LA/Santa Monica – we can do this too based on your demand/needs.  I can help you with the route this last day, and possibly join you.  This does NOT change that the main SAG Monkey bus is driving home on Sunday afternoon to get most of you home.
SO, please email if you plan to join (if you haven’t already).  We want to start organizing hotels for you, meals and some fun gear…

Email # 2: May Coast Ride 2013

Hi all –

We have a solid group heading down the Coast for 3 days on May 17, 18, 19.  Here is another email reminder/check in to join us if you like.  All the details are below in either this email or previous posted email.
DEPART: Friday morning, May 17 from SF/Southern Marin.  130 miles to Marina, CA, just outside of Monterey.
DAY 2: Marina to Morro Bay….125 miles of beauty along the Big Sur coast.
Day 3: Morro Bay to Santa Barbara…120 miles of clean up to close out a good coast ride.
Day 3 PM – we head home: Sunday pm, May 19, we are back in the Bay Area.  For your planning:  we are usually done around 3:30 on this 3rd day.
Dinner is provided on night 1 and 2 (Natural Cafe on way home night 3).  SAG Monkey will be providing support on the rides and during our chill recovery time.
Bikes can be transported back for you.  We are also providing the return trip in the pricing as the Monkey 2 has room for 16.
Pricing is about $175 per day which includes SAG support, food and trip home.  As many of you know I break out the costs if you are not needing a trip home, or joining partial days etc.
We are capping this ride at 14 riders.  There will be some transition runs too for those interested.  Lastly – for those coming into town:  I can organize a swim on Friday morning, as well as Thursday pm.
Let me know if you are in.

2013 Ironman Cabo San Lucas Race Report

…“Sometimes you know the story. Sometimes you make it up as you go along and have
no idea how it will come out”….E. Hemingway

That is the perfect description of IM Los Cabos this past weekend. Some may think
Ironman becomes a routine, especially after determining just this week it was my 29 th. I
was even asked just this morning what keeps me motivated, focused… Its exactly that
no Ironman is ever the same. The challenges come from different angles every time.
Whether external (weather or conditions) – internal (mind and sprit) – physical (injury
or a healthy body) – the distance is just too far to have a control number (sample sizing)
in order to gauge fitness, prep and overall race readiness. Sure, there is an outcome I
can project, but that is not worth training or racing for. I race for the challenge of not
knowing what the day will bring. The challenge of unadorned suffering and living on my
personal edge. I read just the other day that a man rediscovers & fine-tunes his purpose
either in solitude or in challenging situations. Well – last Sunday was a solid personal

Of course I was somewhat fit and prepared to race. But I also observed over the past few
weeks (3) that my cycling legs were gone. Missing. Not available. How do I determine
this? Besides that the wattages riding were off, I couldn’t even stay comfortable in my
seat. There was zero rhythm to my cycling, no smooth cadence and everything was
forced or tight. Of course we become more aware with a race approaching, but having
done 28 other IMs, I would like to say I know what it should feel like.

But this is where we enter the challenge situation. Swimming was good, running was
good (although this piece you never really know until 14ish miles into an IM marathon).
How will the day go given a big piece missing in the middle of a triathlon. Add to this
equation a course that caught me off guard (as well as my athletes as I might not have
been well informed about the course!) – it was hillier and harder (potential winds and
temps) that I had planned for. Throw in that it is March, and I have never done an IM
this early in the year.

For those of you around me pre IM, I don’t get nervous. So the days prior and the
morning of are quite fun, I actually enjoy helping my athletes or others in keeping the
mood light. We do this because we enjoy this sport, remember? Seeing soo many
worried, fearful faces makes me wonder at times. Morning check in – and off we go to
the swim start.

Beach Start! How fun. The gun goes off and approx. 1300 competitors surge towards
the Sea of Cortez. A guy does a full face plant next to me. Bummer! Off I go – the
usual 400-500 yrds faster to break from the group – carry a few folks with me – then
lengthen out and settle in. I swim with one guy on my feet the entire way – he enjoyed
the rhythm of tapping my toes apparently. We get out together, 52 min swim. Pretty
decent for March. Through T1 and out on the road I go – amongst some lady pros that
started 17 minutes prior (y’all need to get some swim lessons).

We are always curious what those first few pedal strokes bring in an IM – is there some
magical feeling that just takes over and all the cycling concerns just disappear? It can
happen..but not today. Quickly the watts start dropping off and I am pedaling into a
headwind, and shifting all over my seat. Ugh – long day ahead – I just hit mile 5.

…”Sometimes you make it up as you go along”…No bike legs and a solid course. By
solid I mean headwind, rollers, hills, heat and very few momentum sections. Its all work
(maybe that is a March sensation?). OK, I commit to working harder than I feel like
until 10am – 2hrs. It feels completely unnatural. 263 avg – 257 avg – 253 avg watts –
gradually falling. Ok, so be it – no reason to force this – relax, stay out of the wind, and
click off some miles.

My challenge is that since I started this Ironman ‘thing’, I have 1300-2300 athletes
chasing me. So, it gets a little weird, when you have no other result for your bike leg
other than staying 1st, or getting passed. I knew I wasn’t staying 1st today….and here
they come.

Next I focus on the second loop. I can tell the first loop has been a doozy. I catch Hillary
Biscay and we briefly exchange profanity about how long this bike leg will take today.
I actually spent the next 5 miles smiling on how she easily out-cussed me. Just when
I begin to get serious again (thinking I am going to try and catch my watts for a decent
2nd loop) – one of my athletes catches up to me – gives me a little pinch – and smiles
from ear to ear. Sweet! If I am not going to have a great day, this is the best possible
alternative: and it helps wake me up – since now I have someone to focus on (and he
says with some pity “come on coach, let’s go ride”) – it helps that second loop go by way
quicker, less pity party for me, and more focus on a run that I was planning to nail.

Bike: 5:19 – avg: 240watts (while pedaling squares) – 2 ProBars – 1 Odwalla Bar – 1
ClifBar – 5 gels – 3×20 oz Osmo Active hydration 5×20 oz water. 1750 cals./approx.
300/hr – which is slightly more than usual (March – winter layer?)

Rich and I roll into T2 and off we go through the chute. Well organized transitions for
a new race. Yes, the rules apply to me too: “I aint from Russia – so don’t be rushin’
through transition” – quote from my daughter that always gets me.

Out on the run I go – Feel like I can run right away and now we are back in the comfort
zone. 2 goals for the run: Start off a bit hotter than usual since I have no idea where
fitness will carry me as of mile 16 (longest training run was 16) and to beat certain
someone who bet me she can run a faster IM marathon than me (my AG should give me
a few minutes handicap). Feel great right away, work my way through the first 8.75 mile
loop efficiently but with plenty of energy to spare. 2nd loops feels decent (given it is 13+
miles into an IM marathon) – and although there was some walking, stretching, shuffling
for about 3 miles, things settled in for a decent marathon day.

Run: 3:11 – out in 1:33, back in 1:37…although the Gel Gut bomb was my own fault. 5
gels on the run, which was a no no for me (back to Chomps or Bloks for me) but goal
fitness was there. As to the 2nd goal…I lost that by 76 seconds.

Which brings me back to the day itself. Racing with uncertainty prepares you for the
days ahead where things might click a lot better. I am NOT saying I didn’t try, but I had
to quickly shift my race strategy to a different day. When you are having a good day,
having the race maturity of past “not so good” races allows you to reach even further into
your potential epic day/result/time. No experience or observation is ever wasted when
doing an ultra-endurance event like this.

Lastly – there is another observation from last Sunday. It is that no matter how you feel
on the bike, Age Group Ironman racing comes down to the run. Plenty of guys and gals
were faster than me on the bike, and while my swim does help me, it’s a balanced attack
to the entire day that gets you to the finish line with a decent result. Unless they change
the rules, there is nothing at T2 to win. That marathon shows your strategy, patience
and diligence better than any swim or bike leg can…oh, and that if you are not paying
attention, you can get chicked.

Weekly Word: Coaching with Color

Another good week of input and observations. As some of you have been doing, send me questions or topics you might want to see addressed in the Word.

This week a topic that is a constant in the coaching profession, but my communicating this to you, the athlete, hopefully makes a difference for some of you.

Coaching has become lost in all the technology from today. With all the gadgets out there – from Garmin to Powermeters, to swimming watches, the ability to LOG information is easy, but that is not very important for coaching. As a coach, I don’t care that you ran a certain pace, averaged a certain mph or even swam on a certain interval. As any good coach will tell you – THAT is all noise. Tell me how it felt, what you observed, what you learned, how it went relative to last time you did this set. Tell me abut your breathing, your mechanics, your form & feel, your technique. Tell me how hard that running pace felt vs. what the running pace was. Tell me what cadence you rode up that hill, and how confortable you were on your bike vs. how quickly you did it. Tell me that your distance per stroke feels better or that you had a great feel for the water today while holding a certain sendoff – tell me it felt light, fast, effortless. Don’t tell that you rode today’s ride 3 minutes faster than 2 weeks ago, or that your run turnaround was 100 ft further, or that you got the swim workout completed in 1:15 instead of 1:20.

Being coached is not an excuse to be lazy. Sure, its nice not thinking about what the training is, but you DO need to pay attention once you ARE doing the workout. Being coached is a responsibility to communicate effectively with your coach. If you can’t explain your sensations, then you are ‘uncoachable’. It doesn’t mean you can’t still have a great result, but it is not truly being coached: its being told what to do and I am willing to argue that you can’t reach your full potential…No Garmin or Powermeter or swimwatch will help you with that. Strava, TrainingPeaks, heck, a training binder…All won’t help if you reach that potential if you are just recording data vs. observations.

Coaching is already difficult enough. Many of you might roll your eyes – but it is a profession that is a lose/lose equation. If you, the athlete does well, it was your hard work, tenacity and grit. If the athlete does not perform, it is the coach’s fault.

I go through athletes every month, throughout the year, that quit coaching because they upload huge amounts of data into the logs, whether TrainingPeaks, Workoutlog or even Strava – but yet do not write more than 3 words when describing the workout. As soon as I hold them accountable, ask them for more color to their data, they balk. “But I uploaded all the data and interval times and and and”…..Dont tell me WHAT you did – tell me how it felt!

I wrote the workout – I don’t really need to know THAT you did it (its your finish line, you ought to be doing the training…otherwise you are overpaying for coaching) or how fast you did it (usually not a good thing that you did it faster) or what you did for the intervals (again – I wrote the workout)…tell me how it FELT, what you observed, why you think you felt good, what felt different week over week…

Don’t get me wrong: there is a need for data. There is a time for data. But those field tests, race simulations or key workouts all mean very little without the continuous color the athlete provides along the way OR during/after that key workout. Great, your field test shows you held higher watts on the bike: but if that was at a 53 cadence, and a ridiculous cost, is it really an improvement? Was that mile repeat faster but with flailing form and smoked legs for the next 3-5 days? Everything is relative, but your color paints a better picture of what is going.

Athletes seem to think Coaches can just read minds on how the athlete is feeling. The coaching profession is based upon false expectations that we are sitting on a sideline, pool deck or riding alongside your activity. That is what we all know from watching TV or how we grew up with a coaching understanding. But the rates for that are a wee bit higher…

I know this sounds like a rant in what I need as the coach. “Make it work coach, that is what we pay you for”. But that is not coaching: that is called giving you a plan that a coach feels MIGHT work well for you and hoping for the best. Sure – you can validate this with testing and races along the way – but then how does the plan progress? Or – how does this plan work if the athlete cannot fulfill the plan as written? Or, more importantly, would you not like to hold your coach accountable for the information provided? If you have not only provided data AND color, then what can a coach do with your potential?

Have a great week logging workouts!

Quick Word: Nutrition for Endurance Sports

In reading this publication I was again reminded that we must keep it simple and that you all need to have this individual nutrition and hydration plan worked out – with with me or without – but know what you are doing. And it underlines some KEY CONCEPTS and things you have all heard me say before:

1) Your fitness & race strategy can carry you through the race but your hydration & nutrition are your BIGGEST limiters on race day to achieve YOUR goals.

2) No reason to Carbo Load any more – that ended in the 1990s


3) GI issues arise from too caloric/carb drink (CARBO PRO!! or Super Bottles!!) and no need for PROTEIN DURING!! Keep it simple and I can discuss with you PLENTY…

Re-engaging. A brief Word


Often we overlook a very valuable training method called re-engaging. What is re-engaging? It is puling back from the current effort, speed, pace in order to re-engage with the body in a clean, efficient, effective motion focused on good technique. Once we feel the proper technique and form, we gradually dial up the speed, pace, cadence again in order to return to the effort we were previously holding. The key though is that we are now doing it more efficiently, relaxed and usually faster!

Re-engaging take practice and patience. The ability to smoothly correct your form or technique, or to activate a certain muscle groups is not easily done. Therefore it takes practice in order to transition gradually from pace to form back to pace. It also requires a lot of patience. Why? Because you are giving up speed, pace, momentum now in order for you to have more of it later in your workout. You are giving up speed & pace now in order to swim, ride or run more effectively later on down the road (pool). This takes patience and practice.

Lastly, know that this is extremely effective for racing. In racing we often need to re-engage in different ways, but also with technique, form and efficiency. Investing in a slow down at mile 5 on the run in order to run the remainder of the race faster, cleaner and more efficiently is worth practicing and understanding re-engaging. Slowing down in order to drink or eat something more effectively (absorbing) and then re-engaging to the pace/effort carries obvious enormous benefits. Backing off the power on the bike to ensure you are in a relaxed, efficient and maintainable aero position is vital to having not only a good bike split, but being prepared for a solid run.

Re-engaging. It’s a choice you make to invest in your finish line, not your current speed, effort or placing. Practice it and realize you actually give up nothing in speed or pace come the end of your workout or the finish line.

Coach’s Weekly Word 2.10.13

Wow – I received a lot of topics this last week from all of you – good ones. Let’s not waste words or time. This week in the Word:

1) Work Travel and how to adjust training
2) Running after swimming
3) Fast vs. Hard

Many of us travel for work. Whether weekly or the occasional bigger trip, it always disrupts training plans as well as routines. And, as a dad, lets not overlook those days where life, kids or responsibilities just got in the way. It feels awful – but these days happen. We all have it in our mind how we want the travel days to go, but then things go completely sideways. Meetings take longer, meals are not ideal for training, or even the travel itself left us with no opportunity to train. Bottom line is that it is stressful, we get frustrated and short tempered. I know, been there, lived it and still do. What to do?
1) We go back to the first rule of training: a little something every day. If that is 30 minutes – great. If that is 20 minutes, ok. The point is to get something in to exhale – to let the legs stretch themselves. 20 minutes is enough to stimulate enough, fire all the neuromuscular signals and loosen up the joints & more. This does not mean hard, it means a ‘go on feel’, relaxing, exhale window of exercise.
2) That 20 minutes has also passed? Relax – nothing to do. Can’t get back past time: instead – drink some water – eat well, go to bed earlier – get a good nights sleep and train the next day. NOT making up what was on the plan the previous day: jump right back into the proper schedule. I tell many of my clients: When on the road it is a great time to catch up on sleep, relax, not overthink the training. We do THAT plenty at home in the routine. Sleep and good nutrition on the road can make a huge difference. Again – what am I doing today to help prepare me for the best possible string of upcoming workouts? In this case it might just be rest, sleep and good nutrition.
3) Overworked AND on a trip AND no training? If you can’t do anything and you are working crazy hours (or your child is sick and at home all day with you…) please relax. THIS is why we train year round. THIS is why we are fit and focused year round. THIS is why I push you to remain with the training when life is more flexible. We can always catch up to the fitness. Now just focus on getting though this stretch. You have all heard me say: the training and sport should not be an additional stressor in our already busy lives. Instead, push through this time, know that we’ll get fit and focused soon again, and relax to a point where you can focus on the work or challenges in the NOW, vs. also stressing about the missed training. AIMP has always meant outstanding fitness. With outstanding fitness comes the ability to withstand these curveballs that life’s schedule throws at you.
Bottom line here is to choose your battles with life’s schedule carefully: we all have gone pro in something other than triathlon. So, choose your windows of opportunity well. Send me an email when things are too tight, but ALSO send me that email when things open up a bit to add some training load….stress-free, relaxed and in focused, good spirits! Then you’ll really absorb the training….as well as be ready for another trip!

Many wonder why I am such a fan of runs post swimming. Swimming is a full body exercise that requires not only muscular power throughout, but hypoxic power (limited, timed breathing). Combining these two makes swimming one of the best workouts there is. Even better is that swimming is in water which has limited wear and tear on the legs (unless you are doing something totally crazy) and also most of the body. The principle here is that 3-4k into your swimming, 1-1.5 hrs into your training, you have spared you legs but are still equally fatigued, maybe even more. So add a 60-90 min run post a swim (5-10 minutes after) and you have a similar effect on the energy systems of your body like a 2-3+ hr workout without the pounding on pavement for all of it. For ex. a 1:15 swim and then a 90 min run with some speed built in, translates closely to 2.5 hr-3 hr run but without losing form and focus that last hour where we are often just slugging away to get in ‘volume’ or the distance. The goal? further into your training adaptation with less wear & tear on your body. You can remain focused on technique and footwork but feel equally tired. Bingo.

Finally – there is always some confusion with my terms FAST vs. HARD. When we increase our pace or effort, too often we lose technique, tighten up and force it. Going fast means we are relaxed, powerful, on top of our technique and in complete control of the effort we are putting forth. Hard means forced effort, no rhythm, bad form, and also not absorbing the work! The challenge of interval training is the gradual yet intentional movement in and out of the designated effort…Forcing ourselves into a number, pace or speed no only limits potential, it’s also a waste of time. Next time – when you are doing an interval – observe how relaxed you are, how ‘in control’ your motions are, how well you are breathing, how in-synch you are with your bodies signals and movements…THAT is fast…not hard…Let’s take the word hard (negative) out of the vocabulary for training. Fast = positive.

Have a great week!

May Coast Ride!

Hi all –

Just an FYI – SAG Monkey and I are planning another Coast Ride – this May 17-19 only to Santa Barbara.  Hold the date?
DATES:  Friday May 17th until Sunday May 19th.
DAYS: Depart FRIDAY morning from Mill Valley/SF – arrive Sunday afternoon in Santa Barbara.  Return home THAT evening Sunday night.
DISTANCES: avg is 125 miles per day.
WHO: Anybody and please feel free to share with other athletes or coaches or TriClubs
HOW:  SAG Monkey and AIMP will be hosting, cooking, and organizing all the details.
WHY?  Great for IM Lake Placid, IM Mt Treblanc, IM Whistler, IM Lou…mid summer IM?  This is the ideal timing.
Questions?  Email me:
If you KNOW you are in, email me.  Otherwise no hurry yet.
Thank you.

2013 Begins!

Hi all –

I am back from a week vacation with close friends and my kids.  Sorry to be off the grid somewhat last week as well as the week prior – first Xmas solo.
That said – I am back excited for a new beginning in 2013 working with all of you on the best possible fitness, results, progression and achieving all your goals.  That starts with individual plans for all of you.  But that also means more narrative in all your training plans and more explanation of what I am looking for.  My goal for 2013 is staying focused on the core principles of my AIMP Coaching for you:
1) That I am doing the same training as you.  I also train the workouts you do – make the same observations and – race with all of you.  Whether triathlons, marathons or ultras – I do them all and continue to coach based on myself ‘doing it too’. With that it is my responsibility to educate and explain to you what the training means.
2) Your coaching is individual:  in order for you to get the best possible individual coaching, I need to understand you – with that I need feedback from you on what you observe in the training, not WHAT you did – but HOW it felt and what progression you are observing.  Our communication, teamwork and growth with this exchange of information, will hopefully continuously show you that you made a good coaching choice.  If we are only going one way (me delivering you workouts and you NOT giving me daily training feedback) – then we are not tapping into what I believe we can do together – nor are you getting all out of the coaching you are paying for.
3) Continue to deliver good coaching at a decent price.  I know my coaching is a lot cheaper than most elite coaches out there.  Very few other coaches have been out coaching as long as I have, while remaining solo (no assistant coaches or staff) and delivering the results:  whether at the Elite level (97 athletes to Kona in 10 years, 47 first timers) or many ultra finishers, marathon PRs, first time finishes in all distances of triathlon, ultra running, ultra triathlons like Ultraman or Triple Ironman, ultra-swimming etc. Of course I could charge more, but I want the value of my coaching to always exceed the price you pay.
I look forward to a great year with all of you.
Chris Hauth
AIMP Coaching Services
Twitter: AIMPCoach

Training Through the Holidays

Holiday training focus – Minimize the damage.

As we enter this final Holiday season push, I wanted to go over the mindset that might be helpful in your training during these harder weeks. Harder means in motivation, temptations to not work out, or even from a weight/nutrition perspective. The Holiday cookies, eggnog, boiled custard, all that good home cooked food, heavy beers and red wine can be tempting.

The goal as an athlete to get through a window of time like this is simple: to kick out on the other side with a decent amount of fitness in order to train effectively again. Whether the Holidays, a big push at work, life’s schedule or even being limited due to a injury, the goal should never be to fight the limited training time. Instead, map out a strategy that allows you to kick out the other side of this stretch with some remaining fitness. No, you won’t at a peak fitness level. No – you won’t be a lean training machine. But you won’t out of shape! You are able to go through the 3-5 disciplines of our sport (I am including some strength/core work and stretch cordz/jump rope etc. as the extra disciplines) without getting too sore or tired. You can ride effectively, run somewhat light, and swim decently. I often say this: if you come out of the holidays fit enough to be 2 good training weeks away from feeling normal and prepared for training again, great!

Its all about the platform I talk to you all about. We want to have a platform of fitness we can work from. From that platform we can dial it up and still absorb the bigger training effectively. We can also dial it back from that platform and go with the flow for 2-3 weeks without losing too much. In both aspects we don’t go over board. We don’t up the training from this platform by too much in order to be shelled for 2 weeks, nor do we completely slow down too dramatically to fall out of shape. Its all a gentle adjustment. No matter what the scenario, I guarantee a level of training in the future where you will have completely forgotten about feeling out of shape or unfit – whether 10 days prior or 4 weeks prior. So be smart now, don’t burn the bridges (you all know what I am talking about!) and keep the platform somewhat within reach.

Or to write it out differently? Chill out! Go with the Holiday flow! Ask yourself, how do I get through these next 2-3 weeks without giving up too much but not stressing out about training and diet during a fun, chill and harmonious time of year. Don’t be THAT person that sits in the corner without any Holiday sweets, drinking water and passing on all the hors d’oeuvres because you are worried how you’ll look in a swimsuit coming back to swim practice …If you think that way, you ARE the athlete in those Ironman YouTube parodies. Or Zumba vs. Crossfit etc. and then you need to go to bed anyways for your morning long bike ride….

How do I get through these next 2-3 weeks without my family thinking I am a dud, and my friends vowing to never go out with me for beers and bourbon again? Get in some training, get in the work you CAN get in without adding stress to an already busy and stressful time of year. If that means cutting the swim short or running instead because you don’t need to drive to a pool, great! If that means taking a 1 hr spin class with some espresso doped instructor at your in-laws local ‘club’, so be it. You are doing a little something every day. Ideally 60-90 minutes per day, but minimum 45-60 minutes. If you are in a scenario where you can train more, awesome. Or if there is an occasional longer training window on a given day, sweet. Otherwise, minimize the damage that these 2-3 weeks can do…

That is the key. Don’t think of this time as getting fitter, think of it as holding on to some fitness. And if life gets in the way, minimize the damage. Kick out the other side knowing you are 10-14 days of consistent training away from feeling 100% healthy and fit again. Then you can drink your wheatgrass detox smoothie while snacking on rice cakes all you want. But for now – just go with the flow, and plan to get your life back in 2-3 weeks. Your family & friends will thank you!

2013 Coast Ride Update!

Hi all –

We are getting close to the final emails!  As usual – all the emails I have sent out so far are attached below – this way all the info remains on this email.
In 5 weeks we will be leaving down the Coast.  I have heard from MOST of you on confirmation as well as return plans etc.  There are still A LOT of you I have not heard from.
We are 65 people so far that have said they want to join.  We are 38 confirmed on their return plans.
1) I need to know if you are riding to Santa Barbara or Santa Monica. Those of you NOT CONFIRMED or that have not told me where they are riding to are listed below: Your name means I don’t know if you are coming.
2) Deposits are due Jan 4th.  $100 per head.  Simple.  PayPal me ( but be certain that it is a private transaction, otherwise I will charge you for the fees they charge.  Check in the mail (250 Camoni Alto – Suite 140 – Mill Valley CA 949410 – give me $$ when you see me…no credit card for the deposit…You can pay the balance of the Coast Ride after with CC for sure, but not deposits (too many fees)..

3) Many of you are flying in:  we are coordinating some airport runs.  Try to be midday or normal arrival hours for this.  Otherwise there is an easy airporter from SFO to Mill Valley ($20) – You can ship your bike to our local bike shop(s) or our office – address is listed with the check address above.
4) I will organize a group dinner for Friday pm, 6pm, in Mill Valley for all of us.  Join by sending me an email.

Matt Minton
Chris Brodeur
Pia Scaroni – Eric?
Nancy Vallance
Gary Willey
Nick Johanson
Falk Gottlob
Steve Dark
Darren Wald
Rachel Main
Laura Vartain
Phil Maskiewicz
Will Arnot
Eric Connell
Kenny King
Meghan Newcomer
Taylor Dudley
Matt Campbell
George Suter
Roger Friedman
Dora Jih
Ted Neu
Chris Hauth
AIMP Coaching Services

Lactate Buffering

I wanted to follow up with all of you on why we did that test set this morning in class.  Understanding why would do a workout like that will hopefully motivate you to want to see that improvement in 6 weeks.
We did a few things this morning:
We rode 5×5 minutes at 120% of aerobic threshold.  Which in many cases is your Lactate threshold.
We did not rest – instead we rode at 80% – this is a significant difference.
We rode it in the small chain ring and in a VERY hot room.
So, why this set.  Of course, it is challenging and we want to see how much we can improve upon this workload in the next 6 weeks.  Will it be easier?  Will my threshold go up by the next time we do this set again.  Either way – both results are a great sign of FUNCTIONAL fitness for cycling.  Your ability to withstand a specific workload, repeat with limited rest, is all part of a fitness profile we all want to build.  We also want to improve our lactate buffering.  For most of us in triathlon, whether short course, long course or Ironman, would like the ability to surge away from the drafting packs, smoothly pedal over hills or dial up a higher power/effort for a few minutes when the course profile allows.  Lactate buffering allows us to do this while still being able to fall back to our race pace/wattage/target heart rate.  Spending some time over threshold is only helpful if you can absorb/handle it, and then settle right back into YOUR race.  Having the fitness to pop these surges is a huge confidence builder as well as great sign of progression.
You also suffered through a very hot, humid and difficult environment.  These temperatures in class elevate heart rate dramatically and usually require a significant reduction in power.  5 minutes allowed us to remain right on that edge but also avoided our core from crossing over into the overheated state.  Once overheated, it will take more than the remainder of class to return to regular power numbers.  But this hot room affects blood volume, and cardiovascular efficiency, all in order to prep you for a better race day.
Why no complete rest?  If we are buffering lactate, the purpose is to settle back into a more sustainable/realistic pace.  Full rest would not help in that preparation.  Yet falling back into 90% or T1 compromises the 120% intervals and the recovery too much.  We want to execute the interval AND recover effectively.  Full rest would call for ‘max’ intervals at 130+%.
The small chain rings sets up a harder pedal stroke.  While the resistance remains the same on the rear tire, the lbs per sq. inch are harder to push without any momentum – you can see this on the speed of the CT:  22-28mph vs 14-18 feels and is different.  The resistance has more force to slow down your momentum at a slower speed.  So, again.  Good work and requires a higher cadence.
Lastly – 5×5′ at those numbers help your mental toughness too.  Its just long enough to require letting go of the pain, to settle into the unknown of what could happen (blow up?) later in the set.  That focus of staying within the interval, within the moment, mile, time, zone is great to build on – given our training towards staying within your day and within your race throughout all distances.
Next steps and out comes:  If the class was too easy – it might be time to test.  It should have been quite challenging, but nothing crazy (unachievable) hard.  Otherwise over the next few weeks we are moving from pre-season work to longer lactate buffering sets in order to prep for that early February 5×5′ test.  By then we have either tested and moved that LT up significantly or it will feel a lot easier because you are ‘buffering’ lactate much more efficiently.  Of course a cooler room would change all these sensations, so we will need to recreate that – which is quite easy in that classroom.  Ideally you make a few notes on what you felt today, what you observed, note the HRs and wattages.  That way your next test you have some subjective and objective data to compare to.
Hope all this helps – you knowing why will – WILL – make you a better athlete.
For those of you that didn’t do that test set this morning.  Let me know if you want to do – I can apply on the road, solo trainers, HR etc.
See you soon in classes.

2013 AIMP Spring Training Camp

Hi all –

its that time of year again to start thinking and planning for the Tucson Training Camp.  As many of you are familiar with – we spend Presidents Day every year in warm & sunny Tucson.  It sets up ideally for the spring racing season, and it refreshes & recharges the body after a cold long winter for most of us.
WHY is Tucson such a valuable trip?  It allows for a change in scenery with great rides, outdoor swimming and some fun running.  It also gives you the first opportunity to have a big training week geared towards triathlon in 2013.
WHEN?  We arrive Thursday PM.  For many this means they can either just work half day on the West Coast, as well as many on the East Coast if you dial in your flights.  Monday is a Holiday for most, as Presidents Day.  That means with a Thursday PM arrival you have 4 great days of training in the desert.  (Feb 14-Feb 19)
HOW?  Depending on numbers this year, we might rent a large – VERY large house instead.  It worked really well last year in Utah for the St. George Camp.  It allowed for community and home cooked SAG Monkey meals as well as a better start to our training days.  As you can imagine this goes away with more than 10-12 people.  If not we will stay in our usual group hotel, the Towne Place Suites.
SCHEDULE:  We typically swim and ride long on day 1.  Day 2 we ride very long and add a short run.  Day 3 we swim long and add a longer run, and Day 4 we climb Mt. Lemmon with morning swim.  As you can see – we focus on cycling and swimming in the warmer environment as the running is easier in the colder, wetter climates.
NEXT?  Please send me your interest.  If you feel or plan on coming, please let me know.  If this is something you are not even contemplating, then no need to respond.  Given the interest levels I will be able to dial in the housing more effectively.

Coach’s Weekly Word 11.30.12

Weekly Word 11/30

Bad weather training
Training Hard days
Coaching referrals

As a solid winter storm passes through the Bay area I have gotten the first emails of the winter asking for alternative training and how/if to ride in the rain. It all depends on what your goals are for 2013 and when they are. For most of us the racing season does not begin in earnest until mid spring, with most A races in early or mid summer. This does not mean we are not fully engaged in our training now. As I mentioned a few weeks past, if you want to take a step forward in 2013, not just get back to par, you need to train through your past breaks and come into the season with a better platform to work from. What this time of year means is flexibility. If the weather means you need to run more, swim more and work on the other aspects of training (core, stability, strength, stretch cordz, jump rope etc.), then shifting things around in the schedule makes total sense. If you fall somewhat short on your cycling hours on bad weather weeks, so be it – we have time to catch up on those miles when the weather is friendlier and the roads are safer. Ask me to help you shift the training focus in your log. You can now see why accurate logs become key. Your weekly totals in each discipline help me look at what is needed going forward. I won’t remember that the weather was bad, but I can see that we may need more cycling miles based on past volume (and that the running volume is clearly getting good!).

If you have an upcoming A race or focus, well then we need to get through it. Of course the occasional day and shifting can work, but not weeks of missing the necessary adaptations. These days the clothing and gear allows for some of the most extreme training conditions, enjoy!

When looking at the training, think of good combinations. A 90 minute indoor class with a 3 hr ride after works great. It means you are only exposed to the elements for 3 hrs – but that 4.5 hrs of training will have done quite the trick for adaptation. Again, ask me for alternatives.

I have also been reading on some blogs lately about how hard to train and that suffering is necessary in prep for racing. I want to make sure all of you know what my thoughts are to this: I am a big believer in training not only some serious volume at times, but also digging deep and suffering when it is prescribed/needed. That does not mean it needs to be part of a regular training routine. One thing I want you all to avoid is going through the motions. If you are not absorbing the training, there is not really that much sense in training! I know many of you might be confused by this: as many times we are quite tired in training and I throw in a 16 mile run late on a weekend. BUT, as many of you know, there is a big difference to just going through the motions vs. getting late into a week via aerobic accumulation. The reason I have many of you train tired at the end of the week is because you 1) accumulated that fatigue gradually throughout the week 2) Need to hit a healthy fatigued state in order to run or even bike at a “go all day” pace – that sensation helps you for ultra endurance events. How else can we prepare for Ultra endurance without actually racing/training the event distances themselves?

How does this tie into the “suffering” topic I mention? Don’t just train to train – go through the motions. If you are not absorbing the training, benefitting, hitting the numbers and targets – there is no point to go into a suffering state just to do it. Instead, either back off your day and reengage another day (might just be ‘off’ that day) or stop altogether and rest. I WELCOME the emails from you that say you are flat, tired and need rest. That would be great – then we are onto something. The concepts we apply are still achievable in a few days, vs. just going through bad, negative, draining training. This is why I am now a big believer in training windows of 3-5 days. Again, if not absorbing, why not rest in order to quickly progress to absorbing/adapting again?

When is suffering good? When you are a good ways into an interval and it calls for an extra gear but you body is screaming no…THEN suffer. When you have nailed a great training week and you only need to get through a run or a swim or a bike to close it out…THEN suffer as we did not get this far into the week to let the body fall off or waste the effective training accumulation.

When is it bad to suffer? Weekend group rides where you know you are riding too hard. When you are looking to post a new Strava time that helps you NOTHING in a race. When you are swimming in a masters workout lane that is too fast for you and your send off is too short and your stroke is too awful. When you are running at the track and keeping up times and speeds that you know have nothing to do with the workout but you want to suffer. And, finally, when you are too tired! Too tired = going through the motions. Don’t do it!

Alright – plenty of writing for now. As always – send me any questions or thoughts on these topics.

Lastly – I wanted to remind all of you of the referral plan I work by. Some of you have mentioned you were not aware. If you refer me a client, I discount your coaching by $25/month. It goes as low as $200/month for coaching. Its basically like a month free in the yearly plan. And please send me referrals, I’d like to keep my roster full of athletes YOU feel are a good match vs. those that are brand new to me and my ‘challenging & stubborn’ coaching style. I am not easy on anybody, much less myself. Thats why we all race together!


Coach’s Weekly Word 10.30.12

Hi all –

As we enter the ‘darker months’ of training, I wanted to go over something.

Do not overlook the continuity of our training. Many of you have big goals in triathlon – whether to improve by a fair amount in time – or to qualify for a world championship. Keep in mind, as many of you have heard me say plenty of times before, in no other sport is there an off season where there are world championships as a focus. If you were to look at any amateur sport, at the elite level, there is no off time. Swimming, cycling, running – I don’t see too many swimmers taking 3 months off in order to make nationals – or olympic trials the next season. Cycling? 2 weeks after World Champs they have team training camps to reacquaint the riders and work on team building as well as base miles. Running? Sure – a few weeks of lighter running, but not 2-3 months ‘doing other things’. Bottom line – if you want to be Elite – there is no off season. No – don’t think qualifying for Kona, or Vegas, or Nationals, or anything is getting easier. But your goals remain the same…Curious as to how that will happen if in January you decide to add structure again.

So, what should we be doing at this time? Building our race plans for 2013. Reviewing what worked and what didn’t work in our training from 2012. Understanding what our strength in the sport are (can we utilize them better?) and identifying our blind spots or weaknesses (can they be improved in 2013?). With this, its a question of strength of our body: core? strength? flexibility? Are we setting it up better for the full rigors of the upcoming season? Will we start the heavier training healthy and injury free? And what is it sport specific I can do now to ensure that. All three sports have some great challenges that can be added at this time of year. Through all this though, we need to train. Imagine entering 2013 with a platform, a healthy & fit platform, to do the Coast Ride not only to GET in shape, but to absorb that and catapult you to a new level of fitness? Imagine starting your 2013 season as fit as you were 3 weeks out of your A race this past season? I received an email yesterday from an athletes: his goal from now until the race season begins is to start next season at the highest T1 (aerobic threshold) that he has ever had – at any point in the past season. Why? Because if the heavy training season begins, and he is already at his goal number – he knows the specific training will only help him start from an new – higher – fitter – stronger plateau. Or entering 2013 swimming faster than you do in the MIDDLE of your season. Or having the endurance to run 2-3 hrs on trails coming into 2013, so that the 1.5hr tempo run with some pacing instructions feels strong, controlled and ready to be absorbed..

What are your goal for ENTERING 2013…? If you have serious goals in this evolved sport, you need to train like the sport it now is: a fully grown amateur sport where the competition is only getting stronger and faster, where the elite results are only getting more competitive, and there is no longer an opportunity to participate at the world championship level unless you train like a world class elite athlete. Its really become THAT in THIS sport.

Let me know if you want me to help you determine some clear, measurable & achievable goals going INTO 2013 or FOR 2013.

Some quick hit items for this this weeks Word:

PowerBeams for sale. One of my athletes has a few indoor trainers available that measure power. Simpler than the Computrainer. Wireless. He has an indoor cycling studio, but the wireless was causing too much interference when you put 20 of them in a small room, so he had to sell most of them. They retail around $1200 (look em up if you like at – under trainers – he has em for about $625. Its what I use in my garage…

AutoPay options. Many of you are already using this, but for those of you whose cards are charged manually every month, PayPal has an auto pay function. You set it up on the specific day every month you would like to be charged and it saves you any fees that PayPal charges me for Merchant Credit Card fees. Let me know if you want to set up this option.

Also – lately as the groups have spread out a bit, let me know if you would like me to connect all the AIMP athletes doing a specific A race. It might be helpful in your training to know who is doing and you can plan better training weekends etc. For example: IM Los Cabos will have a few of us prepping together through the wet, cold, dark winter months. Including me (and five others so far…)

As an FYI for any of you, here are some AIMP Dates for 2013:::

Coast Ride: MLK Weekend, January 19-23 from SF to Santa Monica.

Tucson Spring training camp will again be Presidents Day weekend 2013, February 15-19.

April we’ll have another shorter Spring Training Camp down at Wildflower. Dates TBD (weather and logistics)

June. July and August will each have mini camps in Tahoe in prep for IM Lake Tahoe – these are short, 2.5 day mini camps training specifically for the Tahoe race but also good all around training in prep for Whistler IM Canada.

July I will also host another IM Louisville mini camp (in LOU) as well as the 5 day Brewery Tour in Norther California that we just previewed last month.

Late August I am planning another Coast Ride – for those of you racing into September, October and November.

Thanks and I’ll talk to you in November. Good luck to those racing IM FL and La Ruta this weekend, and especially those running NYC Marathon!

Coast Ride 2013 – Hold the date!

Hi all –

Just a simple heads up and check in:  Coast Ride 2013 is coming up soon.  Most of you are quite familiar with one of the most beautiful, exciting and challenging events we do all year.  But the memories last all the way until the next Coast Ride.
DATES:  January 19-22.
DAYS:  Depart Saturday January 19, return either Monday night, Jan 21 (MLK Holiday) from Santa Barbara – or Jan 22 from Santa Monica.
DISTANCES:  avg. is 125 miles per day.  Last day is a wee bit shorter.
WHO:  anybody and please pass on to friends etc if you think they might enjoy.
HOW:  SAG Monkey and moi.  Enough said.
HOW: Catered, supported and simple:  you ride, we take care of you.
More to follow – but this is just for so many of you who have emailed wondering…when we ride again.
If you KNOW you are in, go ahead an email me.
Otherwise no hurry…yet.

Ironman Louisville 2012 Race Report

Become fully engaged In whatever it is you’re doing, whenever you’re doing it. You will find value in this experience…

Given what this summer has been, I was not sure if racing an Ironman was such a good idea.  I left Honu feeling good about my training for a Half, but taking on an IM is always a different story.  As most of you know, riding 2-3 hrs vs riding 4-6 hrs makes a big difference on the life schedule.  Throw in the longer runs and the additional swimming needed for an Ironman, it takes a toll.  Not a toll as much on the body as it is towards the summer schedule with kids out of school.  Add to this that being a single dad for the first time, well, you get the idea:  Ironman might not be in the cards.

Gradually the summer started presenting itself to me.  Mini camps, training camps and some fun weekends (Occidental training camp at SAG Monkey World Headquarters!) started to fill the calendar, and the math of volume with recovery looked pretty good.  The kids, when I did have them, presented a great recovery window – no training.  Next step: 6 weeks of focused work.  Not just figuring it out, but either training or no training.  Either the switch is on, or it is off.

The one things I was going to commit to from the days after Honu:  aerobic miles were going to be easier than past years.  I am not going to carry fatigue into spending time with my children, so the volume might be high, but the aerobic miles were going back to being easier.  How easy?  cycling miles @ 60% of LT.  1x quality session per week on the bike and in the pool.  No running quality at all.

I have been coaching for 13 years now, and I have worked with many athletes that were going through some personal turmoil.  Ironman seemed like a good way to focus on personal health, growth and time for these athletes.  Well, in my personal turmoil, I knew that Ironman would NOT be this for me.  It’s been my job in the past, its my daily work now, it doesn’t carry that escape for me.  I was also not looking for that.  I have always enjoyed the training, the fear and discovery it creates – towards the next race or the next training plan for my athletes.  The nice part of training for Ironman this summer:  it validates that I can trust who I am.  I don’t need to justify my love for family, friends and life.  You can either receive, understand and appreciate that, or not.  Whatever path we take, its our path, and it is just as meaningful of a path than any other path out there: the main thing is to have a path, and feel confident & good about taking it.  It doesn’t matter what other people think about your path, still your path.  And if I change paths, or turn around, its still my path.

Become fully engaged In whatever it is you’re doing, whenever you’re doing it. You will find value in this experience…

Final Race prep observations:

  • Lead up to the race race continued in the new format:  due to the divorce and the kids time with it, I remained on 3ish big days of training, then 2 days ish off or just swim or just a cycling class etc.  With all the turmoil trading kids time for training time was not an option.
  • training hours were decent.  Nothing crazy, plenty of bigger weeks but nothing too big besides the Tahoe Training Camp.  Even that week started on a Wednesday and therefore didn’t get as big as past years.
  • Swimming: volume was good with Masters and the frequency was there.  I lacked the bigger swims in Tahoe, but it was plenty as is.  Felt the speed of masters, but not the steady state.  Included stretch cordz as I built to 300ish but not frequently enough to build up to the usual 500-600 prior to a solid swim workout.
  • Cycling: decent volume, actually had a 1000 mile month in July, that always creates the platform.  Felt fresh in training, good balance between low HR/watts and intensity in class.  Did notice that low HR built a healthier platform, but curious if a second class per week for ‘work’ would have provided a better top end.
  • Running:  hard to track the volume and training as I just went out and ran. Little planning or thought, went more by repeating weekly schedule.  But this did not have an impact on race as speed was there.
  • IM Lou mini camp was incredibly helpful for fitness & race day knowledge.  Again validates that Mini Camps on race site are a huge ingredient for success on race day.
  • Hardest workout:  90/9.  Barely survived that.  But it was a kick in the ass 3 weeks out of race day.
  • Taper felt fine, 2-3 weeks out was still pretty big, but all possible with lack of run quality as well as limited cycling quality.

Once in Louisville: chill days, plenty of sleep, simple and fun.  Arrived early enough, made it even lower stress.  Decent meals, went bland as possible/realiity 24hrs, but for sure 18hrs. out.  race dinner was bland pasta and bread, no meat or veggies. Lunch was huge salad, sweet potatoes, brown rice, chicken, and plenty of salt.  Osmo PRELOAD the night before with cranberry juice.

Race morning: woke up at 4, oatmeal with pb at 4:30am, some coffee, kashi 7 grain waffles with pb.  Powerbar right before start.  30oz water. 1x preload serving with water.  With the unusual TT start in Louisville, the logistics were a bit different, but actually turned out very relaxed and fun.  Thanks to some funny Dynamo Multisport athletes that we stood in line with, the time passed quickly.

Swim: decent 51+. Started off fast with a gradual drop off.  Again, different with no huge pack/gun start – so you just drift into your pace and swim.  Basically stayed a tick faster than aerobic, included one section of effort, but nothing dramatic.  Didn’t want to overheat or work too hard in 84+ degree water.  2nd out behind Matt Rose who swam 40 sec faster, and should since he is one of my athletes…!

T1 just not paying attention, missed bike, running all around. Slow & goofin around too much if it were a serious day.  All good with supplies and needs, just forgot to wear race belt (oops).

Bike: cooler temps and decent legs the first 90 minutes so the goal was to push a bit at this time of day.  Not much there to force and legs actually felt tired, but I also never challenged them or opened them up.  Would have been interesting to find out, but also was committed to going quite easy all day.  Ended up with a lot of 250-270w time early but as of 2hrs into bike shut it down to mainly riding on feel.  That made it quickly look like at lot of 220s, late a lot of 200s.  Lowest watts of any IM ever done with watts, but went totally on feel and easy based on wanting to run.  Avg wattage early was 256, then 246, ended with 240. Loops were dead on planned time – felt good for most of this ride besides a lull from mile 45-60, but then recovered and felt quite relaxed the remainder of ride with no pressure of watts or effort.  It was awesome from having done mini camp knowing exactly where to be a the time checks on the course.

Food: Probar, 2xClifbar, 1x Powerbar, 6 chomps pieces,  2x Osmo, 2xroctane drink lightened = approx 1450cals, 300/hr

T2: slow as I took my time to cool off a ton.  Totally wet and relaxed, waited and got situated.

Run: felt great from the first step.  No lethargy, no aches, nothing, felt great, hard to keep it controlled since I knew the hard miles were coming.  Felt great until mile 8/9, then gradually got heavier and felt pavement.  Bored yet observant until mile 12, then some hard miles 12-15.  Grabbed Advil at special needs and roctane.  Took Advil and stopped, doused with 20 cups of water and drank a fair amount at once.  Felt ok running for about a mile, quickly regained feet and speed, thought the Advil was doing its trick, but then side stitch punched me, stopped, tried to stretch a few times, worked it out very gradually, but took some small steps miles and slight hunch to keep contained. Duh on drinking a few big gulps at once a mile back!  Then gradually went away and could regain form focus.  Form was not light, but back to tired, form focus that allowed usual tired stride.  Had to apologize to Bree for leaving her for 3 miles, she said she was ‘ok’ with it.  Good timing as it was time for her to take a rabbit and go win her first IM.  Went to coke once side stitch happened so late in the run now was feeling low on energy.  Half was 1:31, return was 1:39, but that included walking so I think when running was always in low 7s.  Overall ran completely on aerobic, ‘what legs give me’ feel.  But was also pushing carefully.  Never out of control, always based on what my legs gave me and carried me.  Hence why run fitness was good or bike effort dead on since I ran 26 miles on aerobic pacing.  Not easy, but also not hard. 3:10

Had I known I was 20 sec. from 4th place things would have shaken out differently, but 11 minutes (pro start was 10 minutes prior to TT start, then I started about a minute after the gun) was hard to see on the course, so somewhat bummed to not have found 20 sec.  Also – not having done IM this year and Kona being a walk for a lot of the miles, I was weary to run strategically: its been a long time since I was in good enough shape or feeling in control enough during the marathon to actually let ‘er rip.

Food: roctane at 1-5-8-11 then coke after 2 Advil.  One sip of perform. 2 salt early in run

Ran first 10 miles with FuelBelt. Felt good to have water to wash down go when I wanted it.  Mentos holder was perfect for salt and advil.

1st AG, 1st overal amateur, 5th overall.  9:21

Become fully engaged In whatever it is you’re doing, whenever you’re doing it. You will find value in this experience… I did…and hence no Kona this year.  I would compromise being a dad, being a coach, being an athlete by continuing on with training & racing into Kona.  6 weeks into training for IM I knew there would be no Kona.  I knew I could carry fitness, fun and experience into another 6 weeks, but not another 13 weeks. Either the switch is on, or off.

Now I need to find a bike sponsor.

Bikes & Brews: Biketoberfest

Hi all –

I wanted to invite you all to a weekend of fun that ties into everything I enjoy:  Ride my bike and drink some good beers.
In honor of the 2012 Oktoberfest in Munich (the official wooden keg tapping at noon, Sept. 22nd, until Oct. 7th – when the traditional gun salute closes the ‘festivities’) – I was planning to ride to a few local breweries and taste the beers.
When:  Sept. 28th in the afternoon until Sunday, Sept. 30th midday.  Smack dab in the middle of the 2 weeks Oktoberfest festivities.
Where:  Day 1 we head to Lagunitas, Day 2 we head via the Hopmonk Biergarten to Russian River Brewing Co., Day 3 on to Bear Republic in Healdsburg.
How:  We ride our bike to each brewery.  Hotels/accommodations will be organized but you will book/pay.  SAG support and bike tech support with us all the way.  Hotels will depend on the size of our group.  Smaller will be inns and B&Bs, larger group will require a hotel.
Who:  ANYBODY can join.  I just need numbers soon in order to organize tasting rooms (when available) and tables for dinners etc.  Please forward if you like!
Why:  no need to answer this.
How will this really work?:
Day 1 – we meet in the early afternoon at Lucas Valley Parking lot.  Bags and needs are dropped with SAG Monkey for transport.  We ride via Cheese Factory to Petaluma and to the wonderful Lagunitas Brewery.  Here we enjoy our evening.  Bags are delivered to the local hotel, and all support/SAG is along the way for us.  Approx 40 miles.
Day 2 – we ride via Hopmonk to Santa Rosa with our final destination of Russian River Brewery.  This ride will be via the beautiful Bodega Highway, Valley Ford, Freestone, Occidental and into Sebastopol for our Biergarten visit.  Again – SAG support, bag transfer – full bike tech support etc.  That evening a good meal and some quality beer at Russian River Brewing Co.  Approx 45 miles
Day 3 – we ride to Healdsburg, with a few different route options based on your interest of riding, what time you awake, and how your morning goes.  We have a lunch appointment at the Bear Republic Brewery in Healdsburg. Post lunch we will have rides & transport organized for all to be returned to their cars or homes that afternoon.  Approx 30-60 miles however your morning ‘flows’.
Cost:  besides you paying your own food, beverage and hotel, not really anything.  SAG support and bag transfer will avg to about $50 per day per person (avg. because this number depends on number of people participating) – since we need cover gas, mileage and SAG support time.
Seriously – anybody can join. If you have friends that might enjoy this – please pass on.  This is all about fun, friends, meeting new people and enjoying some fun beers and good food!  The cycling is not hard – and not that far as we have plenty of time and support.  

Coach’s Weekly Word- 07.12.12

The ‘not so’ Weekly Word:

Hi all – it has been a few weeks since my last Word. We can catch up on many open items listed below. I appreciate your patience with many delays on multiple items these past few weeks. I am still getting used to the new schedule of my life.

This week Word:
Aerobic pacing
Technique takes priority over endurance
Swim clinic
Run pacing

Quick hits:
Post IM Coaching strategy
FRS discount code
Intervals and Swims on
Austin 70.3 group race and bike transport

Aerobic pacing – as many of you are hitting the heart of the season, keep in mind what got you this fit – steady aerobic work. Often times with races approaching we start pressing for the workouts to tell us something about what our race form is. This compromises not only your training, it compromises your upcoming race! How does this unfold? We push a bit too hard in the workout……”The watts feel good, how about I push just a bit more? Still feels manageable but I am pround of my effort to push a few watts higher – I am getting fitter!” Training is about being in control of your effort, output. In most workouts you could go faster, harder, more powerful…but that is not the stimulus we are looking for. It is more about how well you are absorbing the good training, recovering effectively, and able to repeat it! Stringing together 6-7, even 10 good workouts has more impact on your fitness and racing than the occasional fast training day. Everybody’s aerobic pacing is different of course – but the common theme is your ability to maintain control of your effort, knowing you have plenty of extra gears to push. An example may be riding 3ish hours whereby you hold steady upper Z2/low Z3 effort. Sure, you can creep higher into Z3, and it might even feel better there, but you don’t: instead good cadence, a good pedal stroke, relaxed position, and the ability to stay at this effort level uninterrupted for the majority of your ride. Now, you get off the bike, and while you could pop 7’/miles, instead you run 7.15’s longer, cleaner and more confidently – focusing on the form aspects you specifically might need to work on. Aerobic pacing: Not about what you CAN do…its about what you SHOULD be doing.

Which brings me to my next point: technique in training takes priority over endurance. If you can’t do it clean, effectively, with good form and technique – you are not ‘really’ doing it…sure we can keep riding while pedaling squares. We can keep running with heavy feet and hips falling on each step..or even swim with rubber arms, no real pull through. But if you can maintain form and technique WHILE going fast, while holding watts, pace or an interval, you know it feels right and you are getting stronger, fitter as well as building a capacity to maintain longer in races. Now, this does not mean break off workouts these next few weeks as soon as your form falls apart. The ability to know when form & technique fall off, and to re-engage a few times in your workout, will have a huge impact. Over the next few weeks try to notice when this happens and try to stick to technique first, not endurance, watts, speed, or an interval. You are better off stopping the interval or shortening until the next one if the form and technique fall off too dramatically. But you first need to be aware and feel this!

Swim Clinic – On July 22 I have the IVC pool rented for 4 hrs. Not only will we have our usual solid swim workout for all, but I would like to spend time with anyone of you going over technique. I will limit the ‘clinic’ spots to 10 participants. This will include stretch cord instruction, video taping, wetsuit tips and strategy, open water technique and more. We will start with a swim workout, and then swim clinic participants stay the additional time for us to work on your swimming. Lastly we will go to lunch after to go over any other items and questions for swimming in triathlon that you may have. Pricing will be $75 for all 4 hrs for AIMPers, $100 for non-coached atheltes that may want to join.

Run Pacing: I often read notes of athletes running too hard off the bike or even early on in their solo runs. I wonder why these athletes run 7:15s off the bike but are 1:45 Half IM runners. Or some even hit low 6’s yet do not crack the 1:30 mark for a Half. As mentioned above: if technique and form, as well as effort are in control, and we are still clicking out that pace, then you are racing too slow! But otherwise, try to run at a pace that is slightly faster than your GOAL RACE PACE (neg. split later on in the run is FINE!!). If you plan to break 1:40 at your next 70.3 run, then practice pacing a tight 7.20-7.40 pace, not 6.50s! Save the free speed for the races! Understand how it feels with all your body signals: tired, fresh, off the bike, stand alone. You start clicking slightly faster than goal pace at ANY time – then you will be able to confidently go into a race knowing you have prepped for all scenarios.

Quick hits:

Many of you wonder why I wait 1-2 weeks after your IM race to review your race write ups. IM is a very time consuming sport, we invest a lot of emotion, we sacrifice a lot of time. Therefore, how we feel immediately after an A race is not an accurate assessment of our race day. I like to always give you 10-14 days off, reflect on the day, your training and performance relative to each other, what the next steps might be according to your observations. It’s not that I am ignoring you!
FRS has sent us a generous discount code. Please use TriFrs30 for 30% off and free shipping.
Please remember if you need a swim practice or intervals for your own training – I post weekly on the website. Under the athletes tab.
Kits: you have all seen them on Facebook. We finally have AIMP jerseys, vests and arm warmers. For now this is all I plan to do. I would like to get a good feel for how it went. Then we’ll look into race tops and more items. I did not do bibs because they are so specific in comfort and design to so many people. Please email Yi for any order questions, orders, sizing etc.
Austin 70.3 – so far we have 12 AIMPers racing. I would like to turn this into a season ending AIMP race. Nick and I will bring your bikes, and I will race too. I think it will be fun to have so many of us at a race, late in the season. A great town, a good race and plenty of fun to be had after our morning race!

Have a great week – hope to check in later next week again with some observations and lessons from the AIMP Mini Camp here in the Lou!

Ironman Hawaii 70.3 Race Report

Ironman Hawaii/Honu 70.3

Chris Hauth Race Report

June 2nd, 2012

Coming into Honu 2012 I was uncertain as to where my fitness would be.  I have had a spring of inconsistent training – but some of this might have been planned.  As I mentioned in a previous update/RR, Kona 2011 left me flat – not from the race, but I entered the race flat emotionally and physically.  Emotionally there were some personal weight I was carrying, and physically as I carried of training & peaking too early into October.  I made a commitment back in the fall to do less training and try to focus more on my personal matters.  But as I run a coaching business, I also knew that I have a solid safety net of training in my everyday life:  whether indoor cycling classes 1-2x a week, the weekly swim practice at 5:45am, and the mandatory running with my dogs on the trails of Mt. Tam.  While this is not nearly the volume I load in the late winter/early spring, those 8-10hrs per week of training kept me in decent enough shape to do my training camps:  starting with Tucson in February, then Utah in March, a Coast Ride in April… you can see the bigger picture:  sprinkle the occasional big volume week in with minimum training hours.  All the while using the training shell of 8-10hrs per week as high quality when I can and the body permits.  This means if the run with the dog does not permit quality, oh well.  If an indoor cycling class is cancelled due to lack of numbers, oh well.  Or if life/family didn’t allow for the 5:45am swim, oh well again.

I knew I was ‘in shape’ – but I was not confident.  Although the last 4-6 weeks all my training runs and the Coast Ride gave me the right indicators, swimming was the only discipline I was confident in.  Weekly swimming volume of 12-13k will have an impact for me – combined with re-introducing stretch cordz – I was confident that Honu would be a good swim.  But the cycling: I haven’t ridden much more than 90 minutes indoors, let alone only 3x over 2 hrs outside since the Coast Ride in April.  Mix in that my running might be good, but nothing consistently over 10 miles (which I insisted was always tempo, speed play or progression).   So – there the state of affairs coming into Honu…physically.

My personal affairs are not resolved, and therefore this was the bigger question for me come race day:  would I be able to compartmentalize and focus on the task at hand to race well.  Honu carries a lot of meaning for me:  my first 70.3 overall win, an epic race vs. Macca in 2006, and some very deep emotional scars from an athlete of mine being in a life threatening, and to this day, life altering medical situation at that race.  So – this race, the Island and how life somehow converges timing and placement to open the door to new challenges, all factored into the starting line on Saturday morning.

Of course there is a lot of posturing and deflection when one is not as confident.  Coming into my first race of 2012, after getting thoroughly whooped in October, combined with lack familiar fitness, add a dash of missing self confidence, the spoken race plan was: “we’ll see – I am just going to relax, have fun, let the day take me to however I am feeling”….

The gun went off for the Pros that started 3 minutes earlier (another Lance effect?) – and as I was floating in the water waiting to start, I made up my mind to swim all out – not just to the first buoy, but through the turn and surely back the long straightaway into an expected windy chop.  Don’t you dare get comfortable – swim – and keep kicking and pulling.  The gun goes off with no heads up – leaving about 25% of the field surprised – and I had clear sailing off the front and tight on the inside.  A Kayaker had just told me the current would pull us out on the return leg, so this means I will swim high until the first buoy.  Within 5-7 minutes, I am in the womens pro field, kicking hard, pulling hard, and working my way through.  Turn the first buoy and head further out to sea – right onto the feet of some slower pro guys.  We turn the second buoy, and bingo: into the sun, full wind chop – no visibility.  I decide to swim with the pro guy next to me (I could read his kit said Smith) and let him lead me: why?  He had a SUPaddler with him..and he was going to show me my line.  Bummer is my strategy didn’t work as well as planned:  he started pulling away (the SUPaddler) and he was wearing red…same color as the buoys..all of them.  So I am fighting to see him, or a buoy and they all look the same.  Finally round the far buoy on the course, and punch it.  No chop, you can see the bottom (therefore line up your swim line perfectly) and I accelerate to the rocks – I know Justin Smith remains on my feet – I round the bouy that turns you in, kick it into the beach, get out…only to find a race marshall stopping me: “You skipped a buoy, you need to get back in and go swim around it”…What?  Umm no, I had a paddler with me AND you are letting the Pro (Justin) through…Seriously?  Luckily the race director, Diana Bertsch is right there “Diana – seriously?  What are you doing?  Chris, we have everyone missing buoys, did you swim around the far buoy?… Diana, I have done this race for 7 years, I know the course, I had a paddler with me…and you KNOW I can swim…!  OK, go – but we’ll check your time….”  Wow…now I am upset!  I have been in this situation before, but I knew 100% I hit the far buoy, 100% that Justin did too.  I had also stopped enough, looked around, and never lost view of the Paddler nor the red buoy.  So, instead of getting out and heading to my bike, here I get stopped, accused of cutting the course and sorta embarrassed…I run up to my bike shaking my head – what was THAT all about…why would she accuse me of that??!!  I find out later that behind me there was mayhem – buoys had floated off, swimmers couldn’t see the course, and paddlers didn’t lead them/corral them – instead just watched swimmers make the wrong turns.  What a bummer.

Well, being pissed off did one thing: it snapped my head out of any funk, and cleared into pure focus:  If you are going to accuse me of cheating, I am going to win this race by more than enough of a margin to make any swim time irrelevant.  Easier said than done, but I was at least not going to let up..I ride my bike harder than planned.  I was looking to ride conservative originally, and then try to lay down a solid run time.  But now I was off, irritated, and throwing caution somewhat to the wind.  Ride feels good…windy, challenging at times with some crazy cross winds..but overall few lulls.  Of course – a few lulls – wanting to back off – but luckily I was able to practice what I preach:  stay in the moment, focus on the process, not the result – keep turning ’em over and wait a few minutes to come out of this mental valley…BIKE: avg watts: 296, cad. 91 – Food: 1x ClifBar, 2x Roctane, 1/2 Chomp serving, 2x bottles of Scratch, 1x bottle of water.  700 cals.

I got passed on the bike by an awesome AGer.  He looked super powerful and really smooth on the bike.  I saw him coming, but knew he was working.  I got off the bike knowing I was about 3 minutes down.  Into tent – calf sleeves take 30 sec longer – and off I go,  I feel pretty good running right away.  I know I had a good bike, and I was not feeling any heavy legs in the last few miles of the bike.  I set out on the run with no HR monitor, no watch, my plan was to just run.  SImple.  A watch will not tell me to run faster, if so, then I was running the incorrect strategy anyways.  Just run – fast, good form focus – drive with the knees – keep the arms engaged but loose…and when you get tired, fall more and more into your stride.  I quickly catch up to Lindsey Corbin, we exchange a few brief pleasantries, and I am off: hunting.  I am looking for my rabbit.  I finally find him at mile 2.5 – one of the many fingers on this course.  I back off a bit: I will control my effort, I know there is a lot of real estate and running the back six is important on this course.  And – I can see the trees blowing sideways ahead.  I pass through 3.5, he knows I am coming – and a decide to relax into a brutal headwind:  I lose my hat, I can’t hear myself think with the wind blowing in my face.  I feel guilt dropping water cups as they blow out into no mans land immediately.  Aid stations are a mess – so much wind is blowing over the cups that were pre-poured…ugh.  Relax into the headwind, drill it with a tailwind…

By mile 6 I take over the lead, by mile 9 I am looking forward to the pit – not because I am enjoying – but because it is the last hard section.  Headwind down, tailwind out…phew:  other way around would have been awful.  Push it home and cross the line with a fire in my belly.  Luckily Greg Welch had the microphone off, and he was able to quickly distract my conversation to the bike and run.  The race director is waiting for me at the finish line:  uh oh – here we go again.  Instead, a very sweet, and genuine conversation, apology explaining the confusion, and that we (us AGers) all looked the same under the cap and goggles.  We clear the air, I now feel sorta bad that I was so irritated the entire day – how could she know who was coming out of the water?  She was just doing her job and being fair.  Well, maybe no need to say “Chris, we’ll check your time..”

Run was 3x Roctane, plenty of water, some Perform and just an overall light stomach.

8th Overall / 1st Amateur.  23:36 – 2:23 – 1:23 = 4:16

Coach’s Weekly Word – 5.21.12

Good afternoon all – its been a few weeks since my last word, sorry for this gap – a lot has been going on, including IM St. G, a Coast Ride, the Wildflower Training Camp and now IM Texas this past weekend. But here we go:

This weeks topics:

1) Rest Days
2) Nutrition / 18hr food rule
3) Upcoming Camps
4) AIMP discount code and kits
5) Eating in Transitions
6) Swimming with a wetsuit clinic.

Many of you struggle with rest days. All of you know the benefits, this is not about that. It’s about how to manage them. Rest days often leave you grumpy and irritated. Recognize the factors playing into this: fatigue often shows in our mood, and being grumpy or short tempered is the perfect example for this. It’s totally normal, but the key is to accept it. It is NOT because you are not working out, it is because how much you have been working out. Rest days usually come on the back end of some good work, so do not mistake this with thinking you didn’t get a chance to blow off steam that day or have a mental escape. This might be the case after a week off, but not one day! Also, rest days need to be managed well. Take the 1-3 hrs that you usually work out and consider getting the errands done you have to set aside on other days. One of my clients has a grocery, dry cleaning, errands list built up that she can knock out on those rest days. Its a routine for her that she now looks forward to and likes to relieve the pressure on the family by slotting that day to get this done: they know that it will get done that day and she is getting crazy efficient on what she needs to get done that day.
For some of you I have recommended a personal day – after work or during your day – spend that training time on YOU time: massage, sauna, steam room, hot tub, stretching, yoga, manicure etc. It feels really good to return the favor to your body that is busy delivering for you on the other days of the week. Deposits & withdrawals! Same with family and loved ones! Recovery days and weeks are great to plan something with the family/kids/wife/significant others – they go through a lot for this sport. Just a life observation….

One of our biggest challenges in triathlon remains nutrition. This remains the holy grail in the sport and a constantly evolving science & approach. While I do not pretend to have the answers to most of this, I do know that there is a LOT of confusion out there. One thing you constantly hear me saying and commenting on is that we should drink our hydration, and eat our calories. I saw a lot of this again this past weekend at a hot IM Texas. Attached you find Allen Lim’s You Tube example to prove this point. He sorta knows what he is talking about – way more than me. Also keep in mind that ONLY triathlon has created this industry of drinking calories. No other sport does this – for sure no other ultra sport – combines calories into super bottles and different concoctions. Whether Pro Cyclist that ride longer stages than we do, to ultra runners, to marathon runners, to ultra swimmers, to anything!! If you have stomach issues during a race, it is often something else going on and adding this stress to the equation does not help. Our stomachs like it simple – help it.

Camps: I have 2 camps that are on the immediate schedule. Depending on our group and its needs, there might be another one later in the summer in prep for Kona. For now we have IM LOUISVILLE & NYC camp in Louisville July 12-15 and our 11th annual summer Tahoe Training week (July 28-August 5). LOU and NYC camp is in Louisville in order to prep both racers for the intense heat and conditions of an August race on the East Coast. This will be in mini camp format and means we train Fri/Sat/Sun on site. If you are given the chance to race in cooler temps on IM day, you will be pleasantly surprised how much easier than mini camp your race was! Tahoe training week is our usual format with the added twist this year: the SAG Monkey will join us. I will again rent a house for base camp that any of you can join in too. We will massage and BBQ/stage out of their every day – but you can do your own housing of course and just join every day. As usual – join for a few days, all days – whatever fits your schedule. We will just divide up whatever you did and joined and took part in equally for the time you were there, by the people that were there. If you plan on LOUISVILLE, please let me know ASAP as we are prepping again with Matt Rose and his Dynamo group for a fun weekend.

AIMP discounts: I am often getting questions on what we as AIMPers get discounts on. Well, we got a GREAT discount code from TYR, for 40% off everything and multiple use! So order away at with the code I’ll send you if you are looking to order. We also get GU Sport discounts, FRS discounts and FuelBelt. Again – please email me if you are looking to order some product. And yes – after 12 years of doing this coaching thing we have kits coming. So far I only plan jerseys and vests, possibly arm warmers (need to test them) – but as an FYI to y’all. I am think ing we will have them by mid summer. After 12 years I figure there is no urgency. BUT I also felt you all want to do your own shorts/bibs etc, so I was not planning on designing/ordering them. This can obviously change based on your feedback (or if you like the kits!)

Quick hits – some short notes and comments on observations from emails this past week(s)

Eating in transitions: please only do this when MOVING. for any of you to use that hectic time to get down some calories is crazy. Eat while rolling on the bike or while jogging the first mile or so of the run. Stopping at any point during a race is not ideal, and to do it when alternatively you could be moving closer to the finish line is not the best use of your hard work leading up to the race.

18 hour food rule: go bland – very bland – on your food 18 hours prior to you event. While this is critical for IM, it is helpful at a Half IM and less too. At higher intensities the stomach burns differently anyways, so keep this in mind. Going bland allows your stomach to go neutral and for you to clear out anything that can add to the stress of race day. 18hrs seems to be a really good cutoff for all to be digested. And when I say bland – I mean REALLY bland.

SAG Monkey Bike transport – some of you had the opportunity to experience his service for IM SG. Not only delivered to your hotel/house/stay at the race site, but also personal pickup, tuning, and a clean & shiny bike when you got home! No more nasty bike returns or something not working! Next events are IM CDA and IM AZ. We might throw some events in there based on demand. Remember to please share this with any of your Bay Area friends as Nick continues to grow that business!

Swimming in a wetsuit – I am planning a clinic on this in the next few weeks for those of you local. For those of you not local, I will have the short clinic recorded and posted on the aimpcoaching site. I have read too many race reports and gotten too many question about this. There are some easy pointers to really help. Any other ideas?

Thanks and have a great week!

Swim workouts

Hi All-

Swim workouts are not posted for AIMP Athletes.

On that note, there will be a swim this Sunday from 9am -11am at IVC.


Coach’s Weekly Word 3.28.12

AIMP Coaching weekly update on training observations, training log notes, and general rumblings in our training group.

In this ‘Word’:
1) Cold, wet weather training
2) Rest day focus
3) Swimming smarter
4) Live your own lessons!

As wet winter weather has finally settled into Norther California in the past few weeks, I wanted to highlight some observations from the training logs. For those of you that have been riding outside, you might have noticed the caloric needs are dramatically different vs. warmer, moderate weather. Your body is not only working for the load of training that you are doing, but also to keep you warm. Therefore your burn rate in calories is higher and you need to feed it more – significantly more – like up to 30% more. You might also notice that it requires a lot more energy to train in this colder, wetter weather too. Your post-training sensations might be more fatigue that usual. Again – your body needs to work harder in this weather in order to keep warm while still delivering performance in training. Eat and dress warm and you will find your body will bounce back quicker.

I have also noticed that some of you don’t really know how to ‘rest’ properly. A rest day is still ‘training’, since you are resting to get ready for the next training load. For some this is extra sleep: maybe an extra 60-90 minutes in the morning, or going to bed earlier that evening. For others it might mean body work or just a focused ‘me’ hour or two. This could be an afternoon nap, some yoga or meditation, etc. I used to enjoy going to the club I belonged to, spending time on helping my body rebuild: steam room, hot tub but having the jets gently work on my tight IT bands. In the summer months I would just go to the infield of the local track, sit in the sun and stretch. Rest days are about recovery and using the time to help rebuild you for the coming load. Many coaches want you to square away work or errands that you usually don’t have time for – I disagree, since then you are just as exhausted that evening. Spend some time on yourself on recovery days, even if just an hour or two.

Swimming Masters this morning I noticed that triathletes are not very good at understanding pacing. They spend all the $$ in the world on training tools to help them pace their ride and runs better, yet their ability to evenly pace a swim is awful. Next time you have a big set in swim practice, one where you go 2-3 rounds of 800-1500 yrds, try starting behind some swimmers that you usually swim ahead of. Nothing dramatic, but one lane mate back, or even a lane down. Then, lead the lane on the second round, or move up at least. Watching swimmers implode in swim practice just highlights their implosion on loop 2 of the IM swim or the back half of the 1.2 mile swim. If you usually swim alone, be certain that you swim a 1000-1200 yard set faster later in a workout 1x a week. Most of my workouts have this, if not, add an 800 late in a swim practice. Having that strength available after practicing for 6-8 weeks will show itself dramatically on race day!

And finally – I read an article/blog this morning about how less is more, about how scaling back can be beneficial, how we need to rationalize our training volume with life’s demands. I could not disagree more. While you all have sought out my coaching as a way to help you maximize your training, plan out your season, help you determine what training needs to be implemented at what phase of your training etc., I firmly believe that we are all different in our circumstances, our past, our genetics, our ability, our talent, our determination and focus, our background and our current life situation. So – with that – I feel we should all find out for ourselves what we are capable of. Don’t let others tell you what you can’t do – within the realm of reason & sanity! Especially in ultra endurance events like IM triathlon, it is important to make your own mistakes. I have made plenty – and it has made me a better coach, but surely a better athlete. Sure – I will want to help you avoid them, but I also can only guide you…YOU need to make your own decisions and fail at times. Only then can we progress to knowing what DOESN’T work. Combine this with the fact we are all in different chapters of our life. Maybe you have more time than most? Maybe you have years of endurance training in you? Maybe you are the type of person that loves to test personal limits? In any circumstance – enjoy the process! Half the fun with doing ultra endurance events, whether IM triathlon, marathons, ultra marathons etc. is to venture down YOUR own path – and the adventure of the unknown for you. To find out that running 30 miles on a Sunday morning is possible…that riding 3 days of 120+ miles per day down the coast is possible…that swimming twice the length of Lake Tahoe (44 miles) is possible..Live it! Find out! You all have an adventure within you that is an incredible accomplishment. Don’t let anyone tell you ‘less is more’ – or that they trained to a PR on 1 hr of training per day…Boring! The point in sport is to push limits – and you are all athletes in sport! Want to play it safe? Read on the internet or in books/magazines for guidance on how to do it…without excitement – adventure – vanilla! Half the fun on the fitness I am trying to build for you all is being able to get lost on a bike ride and find a climb you have never done…to take a trail you have never run…or – like a group of my athletes did last year: all just decide one weekend to run Rim 2 Rim in the Grand Canyon – just on Ironman triathlon fitness – nothing else! Plenty of my athletes have asked me over the years to add more – do more. And while I might add my opinion of health, injury and performance, I also believe that your goals are YOUR goals – and I should help you achieve them. Good communication, good coaching and good athlete engagement will allow for anything to be achieved!

Am I saying that we shouldn’t follow the training plan? No, the training plan is based on the goals YOU gave me. But as we build this fitness and feel alive from the training, maybe new goals and adventures need to be added/adjusted? But even within the training plan there are adventures to be lived. Epic rides with friends, big training weekends, travel etc. Just don’t ask me why less is more! Unless you are recovering or resting for a race…let’s push YOUR limits.

April Coast Ride Update

Hi all –

We are 6 weeks out of the April Coast Ride.  I wanted to start finalizing the size of the group, not down to a number or two, but if we will be 15 or 30!
Please remember to make your hotel reservations:
Hotels:  Night 1 in Marina – Holiday Inn Express // Night 2 in Morro Bay – Ascott Suites // Night 3 in Goleta/Santa Barbara – Pacific Suites 
We are on the road a 4th day into Santa Monica, so please know you need a reservation on night 3.
DATES:  Push off the morning of April 26, return back to Bay Area on Sunday evening April 29.
We will again have minivans rented for the ride home from SM – since that 4th day is shorter, we will be home early Sunday evening.  Bikes go in the SAG Monkey trailer.
Again:  SAG Monkey will be supporting us, so food is covered on the 3 afternoons/evenings on the road.  They will also have mechanics and supplies along.  All we do is divide the expenses of SAG and group expenses by the number of riders – and done!
I will surely be riding this Cost Ride if you are curious.
All of you on this email are familiar with the Coast Ride, so details are not needed to the group.  Please email me with any questions.
For now:  PLEASE let me know if you are still locked in for attendance.

Coach’s Weekly Word 03.12.12

Hi all –

Before I head out to Utah St. George Mini Camp – just some input from last weeks training, logs and general observations.

Some of you have asked for a good example out Workoutlog on what I am looking for in the comments section. Here is an example from last week:

The Workout:
1) 3x 5-minute hard tempo/Z3-Z4 efforts – at 80, 90, 95-100 rpms respectively -with 3-minute recovery and
2) 5x 2-minute intervals where you alternate between 10-seconds HARD fast spinning and 10-seconds easy with 2-minutes easy between intervals

The Comments:
Good bike workout.Z2 the first 30 minutes – The three by 5min Z3-Z4 were good. As my cadence went up, I noticed I had to drop the wattage by 10w… 80rpm I was at 300… by 100rpm I was down to 270ish or 280ish..The 10sec spinups were hard as shit… but I attacked and went as fast as I could… I hit 160 a few times. By the end, I was pretty tired. – Spun out the last 12…

What does this tell me? 1) he did the workout correctly as these are the right sensations…he added some insight on what he observed….he gave me corresponding data….he showed me how the cadence had his watts drop off….he properly attacked the spin ups….he was worked by the end which helps me read how he bounces back (or not) the next workout.

The key on comments in the logs are what you observed, how they felt. Your observations show me you engaged in the workout – that you were paying attention, not just going through the motions. How you felt shows me where you are with your training – too hard? Absorbing? Doable? Impossible? Too easy? Fun? All these adjectives help me see what the outcome of the workout was and how you are responding to the ‘load’…

Some of you “just don’t have the time” to fill out your log. I call BS on that. NONE of you are training less than 12 hrs a week, and yet you can’t carve out another 10 minutes every few days to fill out your log? But – here is an example of a great summary…although not a log, its better than nothing AND this athlete actually checks in with me on text.

“So looking at next week…

* Sim Brick on Sat…hold 7s, leave on 7’30
* Sunday: Do the 13.1 or not? I moved that from this past week to Sunday. Your call. I will do anything at this point because it’s WORKING!

This Week…

* Summary -> Great week…swim is best it’s been in 2 years / bike is best it’s ever been / run is in a good, stable place
* 23+ hours mostly coming from the 130 mile extravaganza on Saturday…
* HIM @ 30’ was able to “comfortably” hold 6’25s…it’s clean and requires focus but doable
* Have noticed my HR start to drop at mid z2ish intensities on the PB…220-230w is actually starting to FEEL like 190-200 used to feel. It’s nice and comfy.
* In my head, I’m starting to approach 280-290w as the “new 260″…mental approach to being able to go these outputs at z3

Again – this tells me he is looking ahead on how to execute a good week. No questions, just planning and THINKING. His training is going well, limited negative observations (which is NOT good since we tend to forget the ugly moments when we just write a summary), Key workouts and observations there on each sport. He basically is telling me which markers he is hitting, which, now allows me to start writing more detailed workouts for him: Swimming I can push him further, Running I see what pace I can work around progressions or speedwork, and cycling he gave me HR data and/combined with Power data. If I can’t write good plan for him – then I should not be a coach!

Lastly – some of you are starting to see – and many of you are still going to see – my AEIOU write up requests…I have started to request a short writeup on key workouts from you. I am basically asking you to grade yourself and the workout. As we repeat many of our workouts, it allows you and I to look back on your grading and see where you have improved and what areas remain to be worked on. We used to do this in swimming, every 4th year in prep for the ‘big show’ season. Its a very valuable exercise in understanding why you train the way you do.

A= attitude – how was it for my training session?
E= effort – was I honest in my efforts to execute the training and intervals correctly?
I = Interest – was I engaged – focused – did I understand what I wanted to accomplish and did I?
O = Opportunity – did I use the workout as an opportunity to learn, improve, become more aware of my ability or lack thereof?
U = Urgency – one day closer to MY finish line, MY result, MY success…did I embrace it?

I know – it’s a lot – but as we go through some key workouts – try it – let me know. Remember, I am a coach…here to help you succeed.

Have a great week!

Wildflower Training Camp Update

Hi all –

I wanted to get a sense who is looking to join me in the Wildflower Training weekend.
When?  I will arrive April 12, Thursday – for some afternoon training & to set up camp.  I will depart Monday midday.  5 potential good days of training.
What?  Daily swims in lake, some sweet, epic bike rides that are crazy challenging but sorta fun.  And tons of trail running and a little pavement running too.
Why?  Good WF prep 3 weeks out.  Great IM St G prep 3 weeks out (last bigger weekend).  Great Texas training for maximum suffering.  And to find any remaining Easter eggs from the previous weekend.
How?  We can camp – we can stay in hotels – we can do whatever the group would like.  SAG Monkey can help us with our meals and support.  Just gotta know how many are playing.
Cost?  Again – none.  I gotta stop being like this.  We divide expenses of food, SAG – that’s it.  BBQ’s galore!
Just an FYI.  So, please let me know if you plan to attend.  I will be there  ANYWAYS for a swim clinic for Silicon Valley Tri Club, sponsored by TYR.  So we can demo a few suits too!

Coach’s Weekly Word 03.07.12

Weekly Word – 3/1

I read a really good quote this week:….”it’s not the daily increase but the daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential”…. Bruce Lee.

I really think this applies really well to our training. Many of you like to add training time, or insert some extra disciplines (TRX, Core, Pilates, Yoga, etc.) and while it looks good on paper, are we sure this is the best use of your limited time? Smarter training is all about doing the training to the best of your ability, and then allowing your body and mind to recover properly for the next workout. Adding other activities surely limit your recovery, most often sleep, and other stresses come up (workload, family, social life, personal life). So we need to make real smart choices: what is the best use of my limited training time? And – often more importantly: is this extra activity necessary for maintaining a good balance with my training and the rest of my daily life? For me? I know Yoga and more strength training would be helpful – actually beneficial, but given my time and my daily commitments to other things in my life, I can’t make it work. Sure – could I run around constantly trying to fit something in? Yes. But then my stress levels and anxiety increase elsewhere: my time with family, coaching and social life becomes compromised with mediocracy. “Its not the daily increase, but the daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential”.

Why am I bringing up a ‘deep’ topic like this? Because many of you voice your concerns on how to get it all in. Yet I read in your logs and hear in other ways how much other stuff you are adding into your training life. Part of being a serious athlete is knowing how to tune out the noise and distractions and focus on a given task (the workouts) really well. If you do all the training – and only the training, as prescribed – you will be fit and prepared for your best performance. Start adding to the mix – and not only will I not know how to balance your training load effectively, but your training performance will begin to suffer. If you think you are on of those people that CAN fit it ALL in, then it is usually too late: something is being compromised, you just don’t know it yet.

Train smarter – not more. Many of you know the big training weeks still lie ahead, so your additions and extras now burn into valuable family, work, and social goodwill balances. Invest now, in order to ask for the extra time when we need it. It’s coming, don’t burn through that balance in March!

“It’s not the daily increase but the daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential” – the best part I hear at training camps – and I heard again in Tucson a few weeks ago – is that athletes love the training without any distractions and just the single focus of training during the camp. This CAN be replicated at home – mainly because we don’t train those hours at home like at a training camp – but also by planning and thinking through how we want to execute the workouts. Come into the workouts prepared, with a good, positive mindset, and nail ’em. Then – quickly take care of your post training routine and re-integrate into your daily life. Embrace the training/life balance. But then also be fair to yourself to not fill it with too much extra ‘noise’ and ‘stuff’.

If you are just too busy to make it work, then we need to re-position, realign your goals. As you have heard me say before – that is totally fine, let’s have realistic goals and ones that are achievable in your current life scenario. One thing I am looking to avoid with ALL of you: pro, elite, beginner, runner only, swimmers, ultra runners…it is slogging through training to just get to the start line, and then, even worse, finish feeling awful, flat, depleted and unhappy. This is a choice, a lifestyle and it should excite you and keep you motivated. You ALL sacrifice too much to not get the enjoyment from this that you deserve!

Have a great week!

FYI- testing – if its been 3 months since your last test, then it’s time to schedule again.

Sharing A Good Read

A few of you have sent this to me, so I figured I’d share with all.

I wouldn’t say ‘outstanding’, but some solid points.  I will share this opinion though:  Not every athlete needs a Peak:  many athletes can have their BEST performance just off a build and then some rest.  A peak brings about a lot of risk factors that endurance events might not need.  This is individual to all.  I’d rather you build a huge diesel engine and keep it motoring vs. constantly shifting the “2 Fast 2 Furious”  Honda Civic and run out of RPM’s!

Have a great hump day!

Coach’s Weekly Word 03.06.12

Hi all –

Below are 2x YouTube videos for swimming illustration.  I know the first is animated – but it highlights the 10 things I work on with swimming.  I hope it is helpful to describe what I yap about Sundays at the pool.

The second is Ian Thorpe:  It is to show you that the things are applied in the real world – notice head position (not down) – notice feet kicking only up and down – notice the DOWN pressure in the front of his stroke (why we do head up drills) – notice the extensions just below the water surface (for untouched, bubbleless water) – notice the semi-circle side angle pull through (albeit shorter for him) – NOTICE his hips are low too (why do triathletes want to LIFT their hips all the time?) – Notice he is DONE with his stroke at the hips (all front quadrant!) – notice his breathing looking somewhat ahead – notice his hand adjustments to the current post entry.

Enjoy your homework!

1) Hand enters (the mailbox) – extends to untouched water – wrist anchors the pull – and the pull through is a semi circle I so often talk about. 

2) Hip rotation as they mention is great – but notice the feet are pointed and the entire kicking motion is based on counteracting the hip rotation WHILE propelling forward too. 

3) Feet are always pointed – but trying to kick DOWN, never to the side. 

4) Notice the head position:  he is looking somewhat forward – 3-5 yards – softball between chest and chin.  Water never fully flows over his head

5) His pull through ends at the hip – then he is just pulling out.   AND the hand from ANCHOR – to Pull out is all about pushing water back.  

6) Notice the semi circle of the pull – from entry it goes down and half circle all the way to the pull through. – NOT a straight line like so many of you are trying for.

7) Hand enters away from head – not directly at 12 o’clock above it.

8)  Pull through is deep and never crosses under the body (too much….) – feet are always kicking down!

9) 11 and 1 o’clock alignment of entry:  shoulder width!

10) He balances his pull through with adjusting thumb or pinky lead!

Let me know of questions!

Oceanside 70.3 & IM St. George Bike Transport!

Hi all –

As you all know SAG Monkey and his incredible service in the meantime, Nick has also agreed to bring bikes to Oceanside and IM St. George (instead of me!).  With both events he will also be offering Valet service, meaning he will drop off at your location in Oceanside area or St. George area respectively.  If you are staying in a hotel, house or with friends – SAG Monkey will drop off at any location at the race location.  He will also be offering pick up/drop off here in the Bay Area if you so desire.
1) Bike transport for either event is $175.  This includes NO WAIT time drop off or pick up:  both Oceanside and St. George:  drop off your bike 72 hrs prior to event!  SAG Monkey will coordinate YOUR specific  bike drop off spot prior to the event so it is convenient for you.
2) Valet service is an additional $60 (total for both pickup & drop off) – availability is based on pick up location (in Bay Area), but most any option is available at race site.
3) AIMP athletes & friends of AIMP and ‘early adopters’ get free bag transport.  Which means everyone on this email!
4) Race site tune up and pre race tune ups available.  Please just send note saying you want this service.  Depending on need, either $60 or $95.
5) Forward this email to ANY of your friends, triclubs, indoor cycling members etc.  Cheaper, faster and better than any other transport company out there.  And NO NEED for ANY changes to bike!
6)  Anyone using this email or initial update gets this rate, so no worries on saving this email.  Just email Nick or I…
7) If you are a tri club manager or know of a larger team:  email Nick or I for a package/group rate as well as a group pickup/drop off etc.
Feel free to send us any questions!

Coach’s Weekly Word 2/14/2012

Happy Valentines Day!

After a busy week last week I am catching up on the weekly word again. Some of the topics I wanted to go over:

1) Supplements
2) Avg. Speed on the bike
3) Swimming tight
4) Log details
5) Nutrition & Hydration during your training

I received a bunch of questions the last 2 weeks about supplements during our training & in our general diet. Let’s not forget, supplements mean exactly that: they are designed to ‘supplement’ our regular diet! They are not some magical power-boosting pill that will make your HR lower and your watts higher (yes – this is what some claim!…) Supplements are designed to fill in a blind spot of your current dietary needs. Remember – a good, well planned and thorough diet requires very little supplementation. This is a general guideline but quite effective and healthy for most of you. Of course, you all need to know your body well enough to know if you are low on any minerals…so if you are wondering, get tested. You will quickly get a good idea from your Dr. if you need to supplement your diet with anything – like iron, vitamin D, selenium etc. If so – then of course you supplement accordingly! Now, if you are getting into your main racing phase, and you want to supplement with some PROVEN ergogenic aids, then please talk to me – I might be able to provide some valuable insight – otherwise, please don’t fall prey to the usual $$ spent on advertising to convince you that product X ‘increases VO2Max and lowers your HR by 17%’…. Wanna supplement? Try some Beet Juice or increase your beta alanine by eating a healthy portion of fish – but then again this is already part of your regular healthy, well though thru diet…right?

Many of you share with me you average speed on the bike. Please know that this is the most arbitrary number in the sport of cycling. It means completely nothing! If your avg speed meant something, try riding 75 miles in Marin County, or Martin County in FL…or in Boulder…or in San Diego…Get my point? Please don’t base any of your training (and surely not racing!) on avg. speed. Terrain, weather, temps, wind, roads..everything mess with that value. Therefore it is not a value. Instead, tell me your HR you were observing, your watts, your cadences and general things you noticed, learned, thought of during your ride.

The past few weekends I have been coaching swim practices again and noticed that many of you are swimming too tight. Swimming is a very relaxed motion…same as in cycling you relax during your pedal stroke at some point, in running your stride loosens…then why would you pull through so tight under water and also stay tight during the recovery..? No wonder some of you are exhausted when swimming – relax! Bring the arms forward in a very relaxed motion: its because your other arm is currently pulling and the dropped shoulder & rotation of that pulling arm is automatically bringing your other arm forward in a relaxed way…right? Plop that hand back into the mailbox, and then begins the powerful pull through…

The log for many of you remains something so hard to embrace. Many of you still just tell me WHAT you trained. I know what you trained…I put it in there! Tell me how it felt! If you all saw how many comments I read that say: “did it”…”done”…or even tell me the intervals were “completed”…well that is nice…but how did the FEEL?

And finally – nutrition and hydration. I know many of you have heard this plenty: don’t fall into the “I gotta eat a lot” trap of the triathlon industry! here some clear points on nutrition and hydration:
YES – you need to eat and drink on the bike. But eat when hungry, drink when thirsty.
YES – this might catch you short or bonky at times – but make note of what you ate and drank and slightly adjust – observe, learn, apply, repeat!
NO – there is no magical formula – it is different for all of you but a good starting point is 150 cals/hour for ladies while training and 200 cals/hour for guys
DRINK – approx 16-20oz of fluids per hour. Water or electrolyte drinks.
EAT your calories – DRINK your fluids…try not to combine. We have been doing that for a couple 100,000 yrs and since we have been born. Why change while training?
WATCH: if you wait until your hungry to eat, most of you can eat solids…or chomps or chews…Why? Cause your hungry…
WATCH: if you eat just to meet some sorta calorie count per hour, i.e. stuff food in your mouth if not hungry yet or because you ‘feel you should be eating’ – you WILL get sick from solids!
WATCH: if you drink when thirsty, you won’t get bloated or burpy. Its sorta cool, but our body knows how to send the right signals!
TELL me what you observe. Train it, observe it, and let’s work through a strategy that works for YOU, and only YOU!
IF it doesn’t work in training, it surely won’t work in racing at higher HR’s.
If you have a powermeter: start at 30% of kJ burned (E for Energy on some meters) – and adjust from that! You’ll be surprised how good that feels!
EAT about 45 minutes after you start your ride. Most of you are working off breaky or food still in that time. If starting on an empty stomach, start a bit earlier, but remember – when hungry!

I leave for Tucson and our AIMP Spring Training Camp tomorrow. Have a great week, I’ll send plenty of updates via Twitter.

Have a great Holiday weekend. As always – send those questions my way!

Coach’s Weekly Word – 2/3/2012

This week I wanted to talk about training when sick. It seems there are a few different bugs out there that have many of you sick. Whether sick, exhausted, under the weather, let’s talk a bit about why training when sick or run down is not effective.

The whole point of us training is to go through a training build, where we increase the load, strain the body, and then do our best to absorb that load. The better we train in the load phase, the greater the demands we can place on our physiology, the more effective our absorption is and therefore, the better the NEXT load phase can be. Strain, absorb, repeat.

This also applies in our day to day training, not just in the bigger picture of phases. Load today, eat and sleep well, reload tomorrow etc. The better we can train the next day, by recovering from today – whether an easy workout or a hard one – the better our training can be. All the individual effective training days add up to a successful macro phase..

Why are there performance enhancing drugs in cycling, running and swimming? Not for race day performance, but for a more effective training phase. Doping, HGH, transfusions are all about the ability to recover quicker and to train better the next day. Keep repeating this cycle and your phases will be enormously effective and your performance gains in racing will be remarkable.

So you can see the concepts at play here. Our goal by NOT cheating is to effectively load, recover, reload etc. Our performance gains will come naturally and in a healthy, uninjured, fair, consistent manner. A well timed diet, good sleep and smart training will set all this up.

IF SICK, not only can you NOT train the individual workout effectively, you can’t recover effectively! The workout itself is compromised as zones are knocked out of whack (HR) and wattages can’t be held effectively (fatigue/exhaustion/

dehydration etc.). The recovery is compromised as your body is not only trying to rebuild from the workout, but also from being sick. Asking a sick body with a weak immune system, to train effectively is not possible. You can’t place a load on a weak body, it just doesn’t work. Instead, you remain sick, training remains ineffective and you become frustrated!

Instead, think about it this way: don’t waste your time training ineffectively. When sick, even going through the motions is not a good use of your time – not even Z2! You mindset should shift to what it takes to recover to 100% health as effectively and quickly as possible. This usually means rest, sleep, healthy eating.

Do the math. If it takes 3 days to get 100% healthy again, you are back on a good load phase within 5ish days. Instead, many choose to train while sick, and therefore carry 75% health for 6-10 days. Therefore we are looking at 12-14 days before jumping back on a good load phase.

I know it is extremely boring and frustrating to do nothing. But it is less frustrating than being ineffective with training for 2-3 weeks! Use this time to clean your bike, get your gear in order and to line up life, work and health for when the training is back ON again…


Mini Camp IM St. George

Hi all –

I will again head to St. George Utah in prep for IM St. George in May.  Although I am not racing it this year – this is my 4th training/racing weekend there – and there is plenty of wisdom to gain from training on the course prior to the race.
WHAT is a mini camp?  You arrive Thursday PM.  We train on the course Friday, Saturday and Half of Sunday.  You fly back mid day Sunday.
HOW:  Friday we will swim and bike the course.  Swim is in a really good local pool, bike we’ll do 2x loops of the main part of the course (70ish miles).  Saturday we swim again briefly (pools are closed on Sundays), ride the course from the swim and 1x loop (60 miles) and run the NEW run course (1 loop of the four).  Sunday morning we will run the course 2-3 loops.  Done by 12 or 1pm.
WHEN: March 16-18.  Arrive the 15th pm, depart the 18th pm – both from Las Vegas I recommend.
COST:  zero – all we do is divide expenses.  You pay plane, hotel, meals etc.  All you pay for is bike transport (I bring your bike for you) and my gas etc. to get it there…and my coaching expenses…
NUMBERS:  Mini camps are small numbers, I don’t want more than 8-10 people there.  It is supposed to be more focused and specific than a regular training camp.
NEXT:  let me know if you are going to be interested.  Then I will line up which hotel we’ll stay at ideal for the training/course.
WHO: For sure anybody doing IMSG. If you have friends, teammates etc. who want to join, great. BUT we will need to limit the mini camp to 10 people. Why smaller numbers? Because this is a very focused weekend with LOTS of communication, strategy, race planning, input and coaching. IF we bring another coach (highly likely), we could expand to 12.

01.25.12- Weekly Word (formerly Coaching Update)

Hi all –

Back in town from a Coast Ride that was fantastic. Just in time to see the Giants go to the SuperBowl.

This week I want to touch on a few things: a new training camp, 3 coaching slots – but mainly your mindset for 2012 and how you will train to succeed.

4 days in a minivan gave me plenty of time to think while watching 48 cyclists ride down the Coast….

As we are now moving in the serious part of the 2012 season, I would like you to keep your 2012 goals in front of you. Basically ask yourself the question: What do I want my 2012 season to look like? When December next year rolls around, what is it in your results, training & progress that will feel good to you about the past season? Once you can identify what it is: a result? A time goal? A qualification? A healthy season of no injuries? A finish? Then start thinking today and EVERY day about what you are doing TODAY to help you achieve that goal? It does not have to be much, and maybe you don’t have time for the entire planned workout, but are you doing something, anything, towards those identified goals/feeling/markers for the 2012 season?

Important in this exercise is the attainability of your goals. Are they realistic? Can you do the training and commit the time/resources to meet that goal? If not, you have 2 choices. Either lengthen the time frame to achieve that goal, or modify the goal to something more attainable. Many of you have big intentions for 2012, but as we get into the day to day training and toiling of monotonous swimming, biking and running, it might not be as realistic as we envisioned. Modifying a goal is NOT giving up. It is taking what you have to work with and taking steps forward. You might not achieve your goals, but you will surely be a LOT closer by making a smart adjustment to what you can be successful in.

For those of you, whose goal it is to qualify for world champs, national champs etc., but even for those of you looking to move into the top 10 of your AG: what are you doing to leapfrog soo many talented and hard working athletes vying for the same spots? What are you doing to leap AHEAD of those athletes that are already in that place/spot/on that podium? It sounds like a daunting task, but the ONLY way to get there is to remain focused on your goal and take one step at a time. Soo many want to climb that ladder to reach that goal, podium, result, yet the only way to get up there is climbing one step at a time. What are you doing TODAY to continue to climb that ladder?

Lastly regarding this mindset for 2012, do not forget to challenge yourselves and recognize the incredible personal growth from that. If you all were already Kona qualifiers, AG winners or even winning Pros, then you would not be working with me. We started this coaching relationship in order for you to IMPROVE, to LEARN, to DEVELOP your talent. I am here to help you with that. If you continue to do things as you have in the past, whether it be train too hard, or not hard enough, or train too little, or too much – let’s get OUT of that fixed mindset and grow: let’s stretch your comfort zone (like try Zone 2 aerobic training?)…let’s get comfortable with the struggle of having to work REALLY focused toward your goals. The reason you are so dedicated to this sport and show such passion, is BECAUSE it is soo hard to be successful! Focus on the process, not the outcome. The outcome is a fixed aspect in the future. Only via the process (training) can you effect the outcome, so focus on the process…. As we start leaving the pre-season behind, and enter into the heart of the season, many of you will have more and more quality training sessions in your plan. It becomes even MORE important to share your training observations in the log with me. We need to keep you healthy, uninjured, and from overreaching, so please be diligent about the log. My BEST coaching can happen if I can see what you observed in the training, where you might grow and become stronger for the next time you do that kind of training. How can I help you become more successful in your training (process) and therefore make you faster (outcome)? – By seeing how well you executed the training & the roadblocks you might have encountered within them. Coaching is ONLY Value Add if I can help you grow and develop your talent.

WILDFLOWER TRAINING CAMP: I also wanted to let you all know about the AIMP Wildflower Training weekend. I will be down there from April 12 to April 16. We will be swimming, biking and running plenty every day. SAG Monkey will be support once again and we will make this a fun weekend of great training, good eats, fun times. Come for a night, 2 nights or all 4 nights. However you want. You can camp, rent a a cabin, or even stay within 25 minutes in town which has a solid hotel and great BBQ restaurant. No cost, just the usual division of expenses for food (SAG Monkey) and SAG Services (SAG Monkey)…Hoping to do the EPIC ride to the Coast and back again after a 5 year hiatus…

3 COACHING SLOTS OPENED UP: Unfortunately 3 clients needed to take a break from AIMP Coaching (no, I didn’t kick anybody out!) – so I have 3 remaining spots. We were full, but not any more. Just an FYI.. Sorry for the longer “word” this week, but January allows for some sports psychology, not just physiology!

Have a wonderful week!

IM CA 70.3 Oceanside Bike Transport

Hi all –

Just wanted to remind/give you a heads up that I will be driving to IM 70.3 California and taking bikes.  As you all have seen, I rent a trailer and will bring your bikes and bags to the race.  I am there coaching, might as well bring your bikes too.
Feel free to pass this along to anybody who you feel might benefit from a faster, more personal service.
Since its a CA race, its only $175 and bags are $25 – no limit on the bags.
I will be on site to deliver bikes in Oceanside – so if you coordinate place, I can bring to hotel/house/condo or transition on Friday morning.
I will return to South Bay, SF, and Marin on return.
You can drop off Wednesday, March (Marin) or morning of Thursday, March 29 (SF – at class).  South Bay can be coordinated that morning for pickup.
Bike will be on site that evening, Thursday, in Oceanside.
Return of bikes will be Monday, April 2 – but South Bay we can coordinate Sunday on my return drive.
Getting bikes back to me after race is wherever we want to coordinate: outside of transition, hotel, etc.  your choice.
Other races Planned this season?  I plan to drive to:
IM CDA – IM St. G – IM Tx – IM AZ
70.3 Worlds – 70.3 Boise – 70.3 Lake Stevens – Rev 3 Portland

Coach’s Weekly 01.10.12

Hi all –

Welcome to 2012. I look forward to such an exciting year in coaching you all towards your goals, as well as being on those race sidelines with you. It’s an Olympic year – which is always special in my world as I only ‘age’ based on the olympiad clock…

Despite us not having a winter here in California (yet?) – we are still in the preseason in most cases. Please remember some important principles in the preseason: form & efficiency.

Form at this time year is so important as we don’t have the time needed once we are getting closer to our events to work on the fine details of form. Whether swimming, biking or running – use this time of year to focus on a few (3) things that you might want to improve upon. These are not necessarily changes, these are subtle adjustments that we know will make us faster or more efficient. Form starts at slower motions and gradually gets incorporated in faster efforts etc.

Suggestions may be in Swimming: reaching further for untouched water, better kick with pointed toes, a faster above-water recovery or even something as simple as learning how to use the pace clock at the pool, NOT YOUR WRISTWATCH…! For Biking: what about those pedal circles and how you are pulling the one leg up vs. pushing the other leg down, or ensuring your toes are relaxed while cycling (not bunched up in the front of your shoes), or how your cadence is climbing, on flats and how to make adjustments to gain speed! For running: light on the feet? What about that footspeed at 88-92? Relaxed shoulders vs. recruiting too much arm swing? Or have you tried ‘falling’ into your running stride – does it make you faster?

So, slow down, and become more aware of what you are doing and how you are moving, recruiting, engaging etc. Can there be some free speed in those easy adjustments? Now that you have found some free speed, try to get more efficient at it – apply at all different speeds, apply in different scenarios and repeat, repeat, repeat. Start with specific time intervals in applying the changes, and increase that time as it becomes easier and your feel better about holding longer.

For many of you the regular season training is quickly approaching. We are only 17 weeks out from IM St. George, 12 weeks from Oceanside, and 19 from IM Texas. So those June IMs are almost within the 20 week window – this is when the training must shift to a more focused, specific and aggressive goal oriented plan. Why is 20 weeks out so important? Because with a 3-4 week cycle build around recovery weeks (individual for most of you) we only have 3-4 rotations to work through – then its time to rest!

Therefore – you should have tested by now. You need that for your indoor trainer workouts, your Z2 work and the 20 week window to go. You should have sent me your 2012 goals by now. Please be specific with them: is your goal measurable? Attainable? Realistic? Time specific? Many of you have heard the SMART criteria at work, it works really well in sports!

NOW is also when the log becomes important – is is always important. But – you just telling me you did the workout is NOT enough. And saying: felt good, did it, complete..that is also not enough. Want good coaching? Fill out the log with some detail and like you care about your performance. My coaching is only as good as your log. Want generic, boring, repetitive workouts? Keep putting into your log “did it, done” or nothing at all. My job of being a coach, as described in the coaching agreement, states I will deliver the workouts, but the ‘unlimited program adjustments and email feedback’ only happens if you fill out a thoughtful and detailed log.

With the Coast Ride this weekend, I wanted to remind you all that there are 2 ‘non-profit’ events on the AIMP training camp calendar each year: The Coast Ride and the Donner Tahoe Training camp. This year again Tahoe will be the first week of August, hopefully just as many can join then as this weeks Coast Ride!

Upcoming AIMP events:
This weekend: Coast Ride 2012
Feb. 16-22 – AIMP Spring Training Camp – Tucson, AZ
March 16-18 – IM St. G Mini Camp – St. George Utah

Lastly: please let me know your progress towards 1000/250. All of you should know how close you are to completing this aerobic platform, too much time and sacrifice towards this training & upcoming season to NOT know where you are at this point. Next comes a really high quality/high intensity/high risk training phase for most of you, so we need to know where we are with a healthy platform.

Thanks! Talk to you all next week – from the Coast Ride.

Tucson Spring Training Camp- Update #2

I wanted to follow up with you all in the new year for the AIMP Spring Training Camp in Tucson.  18 of you have already responded that you would like to attend.  I need to finalize rooms and suites by the 16th of January, so things are moving quickly.
I will open up to non AIMPers in the next few days, but wanted to finalize our coached group first.  I would like to hit 25 people since we have 2-3 coaches, and some more help (many of you will meet Shanks at the Coast Ride and most of you know Ben, if he is willing to help again….:-)
More details to follow on the rooms and singles vs. suites etc. but for now – just let me know if you plan to attend this long weekend of great training, great camaraderie, great food and great fun.
RUNNERS:  yes – there is a running only option (Thanks to Kara) so the runners will have their own van for epic trail runs and some active recovery swim & water running.
Thank you, and as always – questions can be sent my way!

2012 AIMP Spring Training Camp – Tucson, AZ

Hi all –

Before we leave our email and offices for the Holidays, I wanted to give you all a heads up on this years’ Tucson Training Camp. As many of you know – this is a great 5 days in the warm AZ sun in February. I structure it around Presidents Day weekend to save all a vacation day. This will be our 7th annual Spring Training Camp!

What does it entail? Epic riding – from Kitt Peak Observatory to Mt. Lemmon. Throw in our famous Patagonia ride, and we hit close to 300 miles of cycling in 5 days. Sprinkle in some running (3x) and 4 swims in an outdoor sunny pool, it works out to be solid 5 days, 4 nights of training. The focus revolves around swimming and biking. This is for 2 reasons: we can run plenty in the cold and we are often not that fit in February to add some bigger running volume in. We want to take full advantage of our surroundings and that means cycling and swimming in a warmer & fun environment. Also – a nice overload of swimming and cycling in February is very effective and risks little injury.

When? Most arrive Thursday night, and depart Monday or Tuesday night. For most, Monday is a holiday, so they need not take a vacation day. Most take Friday off. 4 days of training for one work day. Thursday February 16th, thru Tuesday, February 21 are the ‘official’ camp dates.

How? Day 1, Friday is a swim and a longer bike (80ish miles) – – Day 2 is a long bike (105 miles & a transition run) – – Day 3 is a swim and a longer run with an afternoon spin (or off) – – Day 4 is Mt. Lemmon 26 miles of climbing and a morning swim. Day 5 is a medium bike (60 miles) after a morning swim.

Price: Most of you are familiar with the format from past years. I am considering pulling the massage out this year as the logistics always confuse our schedule and most of you have a good massage schedule at home. Unless I hear from you that it is critical, I will plan without. Therefore – pricing includes hotel, all the food, pools, and expenses besides plane tickets to get there. Price also includes bike transport to and from the Bay Area as well as ON SITE testing for those of you from outside Bay Area. We pick you up from the airport and provide all SAG during the rides. We also rent 3-4 minivans to get around as well as to go out for our group dinners, hit the coffee shops or ice cream stops. $1195 for all in – 5 days, 4 nights. So $200 less than last year and same pricing as the past 3 years minus massage.

NEXT: Please email me interest in attending. More details to follow on each, but first want to secure the size of the camp. Feel free to add any friends or training partners. This is open to all – but priority to AIMPers and friends of AIMPers. Price for non AIMPers is $1395.

Thank you and as always, please let me know of any questions.

Coach Chris Hauth : Weekly Update 12/14

Hi all –

I am writing you all from a BIG shiny new Apple screen, 27inches of High Def perfect picture quality. Ride files look amazing this big…:-)

THANK YOU – thank you all for your kind gift for my birthday – I really appreciate it. I am quite lucky to have a great coaching group – all of you are very supportive of me as a coach and of each other as athletes. Which brings me to another point: the 2012 AIMP group is full. We have a great group of athletes and I look forward to a great season with all of you. This does not mean to no longer send me athlete referrals. I always have athletes dropping off after their ‘A’ race, and some of those races are early in the season. For now though, the roster is full. Good timing too as my rates go up January 1. $295 per month for new AIMPers, $275 for returnees that have taken time off…Those of you that have remained on the plan continuously remain at $250/month.

How will 2012 be different? We are going to add a LOT more quality and intensity to the training plan for those of you that have been with my coaching for a while. If you have been handling the training I have been prescribing for the past year, then you are ready to add more load, intensity and take more risk. For those of you with more injuries and general fatigue, we will progress slower, but still progress!

Therefore don’t be surprised with some of the training this year: track, lots of Z3 & Z4 intervals, explosive power, hill repeats etc! I know – dangerous but fun! How can you best prepare yourself for that newer, more intense load? 1000 Z2 HR cycling miles and 250 Z2 running HR miles…! Its really that simple. Get those in, and we have a healthy platform to work from. Also – from those base miles we will have a great testing insight as the data post those miles will be very accurate and allow for great specificity in the quality workouts. So, it remains very important to a) ride & run the easy Z2 miles…b) test!

This new focus on quality in the coming season requires a big commitment on your behalf and a lot of trust on my behalf: we must be good about going ez – real ez = on the easy days & in active recovery…because on hard days I will really need you to dig, both physically and mentally. So try to make a New Years triathlon resolution: I will go easy on ez days and hard on hard days. This alone will separate you from most of the triathlon pack: all of them go a bit too hard on EZ days and don’t challenge themselves enough on hard days: don’t be that and you will see great results. Be like the others, and be stuck in a gray area of very little improvement in your results.

Remember – we all don’t want to be January champions…Those are the athletes that are crazy fit early in the year, think they will have a breakthrough season, only to fizzle out early in the summer: too much too early. Too focused, too committed at the wrong time of year. And, often ones that can no longer train th hours in the summer because they burnt their support network too early too!! Stick to your current plan, allow for the balance and we will gradually line things up quite well in order to have a monster 12 week push into your races. Avoid early season fatigue!

Have a great week, please let me know of any questions.


Coach’s Weekly Word 12.07.11

Hi all –

Many things to get to this week. We have a lot of new athletes starting Dec. 1, and a bunch of returnees. It’s great to have you all aboard (again) and I look forward to an exciting 2012 season.

Last week we had some great Marathon results. We had an AIMPer just miss US Olympic qualifying cut by 4 minutes (but he PR’ed by 20, so we didn’t know!) and other drop 30+ minutes from their PR. As I tweeted, a big group of Boston qualified runners this year! By the way – nobody ran more than 18 miles in their prep for the 26.2: no need for that fatigue. Good clean running instead of slogging away for miles.

That brings up some training observations in general: as we look into the 2012 season, know that we want to train with purpose and integrity, not just exercise. Purpose means that IF we train, let’s make it specific, with a outcome in mind. Why is this workout going to help us and what do YOU want to feel like after? What is the intended outcome by me..? Ask me if this is not clear. And integrity means let make the time we train count. If we are going to sacrifice our time that could be spent with family or other personal time, or even work (!), lets do it right – with desire, focus and…again, purpose.

Too many athletes spend their days training for triathlon with the ‘exercising’ mindset – I must train every day! This is not a weight loss program – its a training program – and part of training is knowing rest and its benefits. Besides the mental break to keep hungry for the next good workout, the body must absorb and adapt. Daily training will not allow the body to absorb, and therefore we quickly fall into the hidden fatigue: flat – unexciting – boring – lethargic workouts. This is NOT the time of year to train tired!

Important is to also remember we don’t get ahead of ourselves and the training phase we are in. Many of you might be excited to get going, start a new season and train! But rev the engine too hard now, and it will be tired come the ‘heart’ of the season. Add to that the family & personal stress NOW, then by the time we NEED the big training, your goodwill with family and work and life might be gone. Be good to yourself and those around you at this time of year (duh) but also in this training phase.

So, don’t add training time, don’t look for more – don’t try to come up with some crazy additional training ideas. Just do the work, stay within yourself and the process.

Many of you have heard me say: Big training days are coming, don’t lose the support for them now!

And finally – we all have big plans in 2012. You would not be working with a coach (yup, me!) if you didn’t have serious goals. Big endeavors, big achievements all start small, with specific steps. We will move mountains, but we must move it one small rock at a time – there is no other way to begin!

As always, let me know of any questions. The roster for 2012 is almost set. I’ve had a few on radio silence, so their loss. If you know of anybody who wants/needs coaching – send ’em my way…but remember – no hugs, hand holding or high fives…:-)

Talk to you all next week.


Congrats to AIMPer Falk Gottlob on his PR at the California International Marathon!

this is much faster than i thought i can run.
Here is what happen, turned on my garmin at the start… no battery (no clue why). so i thought i will run based on the splits they give you at the mile marker…. they didn’t show any splits…. i was running totally blind, just by feel and when i saw the clock at the finish i couldn’t believe it.
If I would have had my garmin, i don’t think i would have run that fast. I would have sticked with what I thought is possible and would have finished at my goal time of 2:45.
Thank you Chris for the amazing coaching, thanks to you I took 13 min of my PB!!!

Coach’s Weekly Update 11.30.11

Good morning all – I am writing this on the flight home from Kona. Being there the last few days, riding the course & running on the course, it gave me an opportunity to enjoy the surroundings without the stress and craziness of IM World Championships. It also allowed me to look at the year ahead and how to structure the season that lies ahead. Knowing that the last time I rode my bike on these roads I was having a great IM, running past the spots on the course where I stopped or felt awful, reminded me that it is just one day – I was able to feel good about passing those spots, I had left nothing out there I would question even today. And although that day means a lot to all of us, it is about how we got there, what sacrifices we made, and how we remained honest & true to ourselves that we left nothing on the race course. What are you doing today to feel better about ‘that’ day – whether in Kona or any triathlon goals you have?

Many of you are currently in a pre-season phase which seems off from your usual triathlon routine. I hope you all can understand that these are important steps in your journey to a successful 2012 triathlon season. Your focus is hopefully on the strength & core sessions during the week vs. the swimming, biking and running. We want to use this time to get stronger, set up the body to prevent injury, and improve our muscular movements of cycling, running and swimming. We all know there is plenty of time ahead for some serious training volume, but for now, enjoy a different routine, structure, surrounding (the gym!) and stress level. The endurance hours you put in now, will NOT translate to the season that lies ahead, it will only limit your potential improvement in strength – the goal is to do the current routine as best you can, not partial endurance and partial strength. That is what we are doing today to reach our triathlon goals of 2012. Once we get through this phase, you will not only be stronger & better prepared for the rigors of the triathlon season, you will also be fresher in spirit and physically. Limited hours now keep you hungry for the hard weeks that lie ahead.

I also have had a chance to work through a lot of IM AZ race reports this past week. One thing stood out to me: those athletes that challenged themselves beyond what they are familiar with, the ones that ran into uncertainty, those that focused on avoiding leaving any potential on the course, they had great days. IM is no longer a calculated training day – it is a race. It is about fighting hard for the result you want, and nobody can get in the way of that. The days of “it’s just a long training day” are over, since NONE of you would be pleased with that result. It is just one day, but then make it count – feel good about it, leave nothing on that course. Your day is out there – how badly do you want it?

Coach’s Weekly Update 11.22.11

Hi All –

A great weekend of personal bests in Arizona. A very fast day across the board, but great, consistent and courageous performances by all the AIMP (and former AIMP) athletes.

IM AZ reminded me about an important aspect of our season. IM performances are often fast late in the season (or feel good) because the amount of base work build up during the season. It works out to be natural base – where a summer of training and good weather helps build a giant aerobic platform. But many will also note that this can make us tired/fatigued, given the volume and then the additional race prep phase. IMPORTANT for all of us to understand is that the specificity of certain workouts must be understood and followed. A race intensity workout, with lots of steady state – Z3 – tempo intervals, followed with another harder ride or run, will gradually ruin our great natural base. Know that we always try to follow up an intense day with an aerobic, lower HR day. And if the weekend lines up only for certain workouts to be crunched together on Saturday & Sunday, stick to the plan of an easy/off Monday and a gradual progression into our training week. REWARD yourself with an easy/active recovery day after any hard intense day. Absorb the training, don’t force the training.

Some of you are well into the preseason and we are about to move into our next Strength phase. This phase will include the 7 core exercises & jumprope, but now add bench press, squats, dumbbell work, plenty of leg work and shoulder work (rows). Look for the detail in your plan as well as in Athlete section.

Where do we go from there? Some of you have heard me say this in previous seasons, but the aerobic engine on the bike starts with a 1000 miles at Z2. Yes, that simple – give yourself a 1000 Z2 HR (!!) miles on the bike and BASTA, you have your aerobic base for the next test as well as for more intensity. Some of you will get this mileage in one month: Coast Ride plus a bit here and there. Others require 2 months (120-150 miles of cycling per week) – but either way – THAT is the magic number. Running? A different mileage, but similar sweet spot: 250 aerobic Z2 running HR miles. This needs to be a bit more careful as it requires more off days – but trails and the proper spacing between runs helps many of us reach this in 2 months too.

Therefore you can see: If you start this in January, by end of February you will have a great platform to work from. AND it allows you to have fun doing other zones/efforts as those miles won’t count towards your 1000/250. Simple right?

Of course we look to build different physiological concepts into the other workouts, as well as COMBINE aerobic training with some strength, interval, cadence and aerobic capacity work, but overall: if you can keep an eye on your aerobic Z2 1000/250 mileage – you’ll know where we stand!

Have a great Thanksgiving week, hopefully an enjoyable, rested, healthy and ‘somewhat’ fit one!

Talk to you next week from Kona!


Coast Ride 2012

Hi all –

As we approach the Holiday season, I wanted to throw out the perfect way to completely put any fitness lull behind you, as well as any Holiday overeating…The Coast Ride 2012.
As some of you may have heard – we have moved the Coast Ride to a weekend. We will depart the SF Bay area on Saturday morning, January 14th. From there we ride 135 miles to Seaside, CA, just outside of Monterey.  Then next day we ride 125 miles to Morro Bay, CA.  And the final day, Monday, MLK Day – and therefore a Holiday for most – we ride 115 miles to Santa Barbara, CA.  In Santa Barbara we will have minivans organized for any of you looking to drive home that evening and return to work the next morning.  375 miles of fun in 3 days without missing a lick of work!
Besides the date change to a weekend, we will also have a few chase vehicles with luggage & professional SAG.  Our very own Nick Nicastro has started a company called SAG Monkey ( and it will support us as we ride down the Coast.  The trailer will have spare tires, roadside mechanical support and any other supplies needed.  The truck will have our luggage.  Add the minivan we rent for emergencies and smaller support (drink and food) – you will be well supported on the road from SF to Santa Barbara.
Nick is also a former chef and caterer, so we are organizing group catered dinners on the first and second nights.  As most of you that have done the Coast Ride in past years know, the first day is quite challenging, so having a warm meal ready once you arrive will be very nice.  You also know that the food options in Morro Bay leave plenty to be desired, so having a catered meal will make this easier too.
Massage Therapy will also be offered.  Depending on the number of athletes joining, as well as demand for massage, we will 1 or 2 therapists along.  This I will coordinate as well.
Lastly – some of you are interested in coming from further away – like East Coast and that extension called Florida.  3 days might not be worth your time….so we have Ride options to extend this to a 5 day Coast Ride and make it easier for airports.  Day 0 will we ride from Bodega Bay to SF, for an additional 90 miles.  Day 4 will be an additional 108 miles to Manhattan Beach (Shade Hotel).  This will allow you to fly out of LAX on Tuesday PM, or Wednesday AM.  This will make it 575 miles in 5 days.
COST:  There is no fee/price for the Coast Ride. We divide the SAGMonkey expenses, the food, the minivans and extra costs like ride food and hydration up amongst the participants and everyone has their own contribution to the expenses.  You pay your own hotel.  You pay your own massage.  You pay your own flights.  I will coordinate all the other details for everyone.
NEXT steps:  Please email me IF you plan to join.  For now, that will be plenty.  If you need hotel reservation info, please let me know in your response IF attending/joining.
It should be a great time, a great new twist and great memories.  And remember – all you do is ride your bike, from sunrise, to sunset.  Something really simple & fun about that!
As always, please let me know of any questions!

Coach’s Weekly Update 11.14.11

Hi there –

I’ve gotten a fair amount of positive feedback from last weeks update so I am thinking we can continue.

Turkey Day Ride or Run: for those of you local – it would be great to get a big group together and go for a ride (in decent weather) or a run (in crappy weather). Please look for an email with details once the date gets closer.

IM AZ is this weekend. If following online, check out Joel Garza, Caroline Gregory, Felicity Joyce, Erik Svans, Stephen Sanderson, Jen Killian, Chris Kaster and Jason Russell for live tracking.

At this time of year, please remember – small chain ring and higher cadence than usual. Why? If you can spin the easy gears, it will make spinning the bigger gears a lot easier. Do not try to wind up the big gears, flip that approach to spinning the easy gears and gradually work your way towards spinning the 53-11 later this season!

Remember our goal for this time of year: training appropriately to increase our number of mitochondria, oxidative enzymes and capillaries, and improve our ability to preferentially burn fats, re-circulate lactate, buffer and tolerate it better at the muscle cell level/site.

I know – quite scientific, but basically doing above will help us reach our Threshold 1 (aerobic threshold) and Threshold 2 (anaerobic threshold) at higher percentages of our VO2 max. Also, this training will increase our VO2 max itself too!

More to follow – but know this: this time of year is about remaining aerobic – very aerobic…

Have a great week!

Weekly Update 11.08.11

Hi all – I figure we start a weekly update in here – as many of you have said you used to enjoy the weekly Monday Morning Quarterback email I sent out. Most of my commentary and observations go out on Twitter, so be sure to follow there for multiple inputs per week. And, no – I don’t tell you what coffee shop I am at and which scone looks good. I keep it 100% to training, coaching & goal setting.

This week I wanted to bring up some topics.

1) For those of you on strength and core training right now, please know that this is a quickly progressing plan. We will do the core as is currently Rx for only 2-3 weeks, then do a major endurance week, and then move on to a real lifting & power routine. So please do not think this is a similar program to past years. The next phase is 5 weeks and carries us into 2012! It is important to nail these workouts now – and not miss the important progression.

2) Most of you have sent me your goals & races for next year. If you have not already done so, please do since we only have 30 weeks until IM St G, IM Tx, IM Brazil and Hawaii 70.3 are in the past/over/finished/complete! The season is quickly coming.

3) Please check out the mini camps, Tucson and the Coast Ride if you can join. The Coast ride in 2012 will depart SF on Saturday Jan. 14th, and arrive Santa Barbara Monday, Jan 16th in the afternoon. Monday is a Holiday. There WILL be a front end option (Bodega to Tiburon/SF) and back end (Santa Barbara to Manhattan Beach) to make it 515 miles in 5 days. Email me for more details – and yes, Coast Ride remains FREE of charge.

Have a great week and please remember to email, text or call with any questions, input and thoughts.


Strength, Stability & Core Training

Often we think of the fall or end of the racing season as the off season. It is true that we need to give our body some time off, especially after the rigors of an Ironman or multiple Half IM season. But too often we go from training our body to being the fittest it has ever been, to not exercising at all within a few weeks. Not only is this very unhealthy, it also leaves us with trying to play catch up early into the next season. Many of you are planning to improve at your next “A” race and the best race season starts with the smartest preseason.

What is the goal of a successful preseason plan? Here are the key points I consider:

Goals for the next season and what we want to improve on. If we determine that we want to improve the run, then we need to spend some more time running in the preseason but not necessarily a lot of miles, but maintaining a healthy frequency and focusing on improving our technique, efficiency, turnover and form. Similar to cycling and running.
Strengths & limiters. As I just mentioned, we want to use this time of year to improve our limiters, but not turn our strengths into a new limiter! Healthy base & muscle recruitment of each triathlon discipline.
Strength & weights. We are all working athletes, so the strength training often is sacrificed during the main part of the season. That means only this time of year allows for a solid focus on strength. Also, strength training and endurance training are in complete contrast with each other and therefore can’t be effectively “trained” at the same time. The Preseason is an excellent time to work on strength. This does NOT mean heavy lifting. There has been no (none!) scientific proof that strength training benefits the endurance athlete  only the exercise of swimming, cycling and running benefits the endurance athlete. But you will see most of the strength work revolves around balance, core, flexibility, stability and power.
Core & flexibility. Similar to strength, this often gets neglected during the main training phases. At this time of year we can work on re-integrating into our daily/weekly routine and hopefully it will “stick” for the next season in our daily/weekly routine. Core & flexibility are always beneficial in any training plan.
Starting late. Many of you have heard me say this time and time again: starting early allows for flexibility in your training and your lifestyle. If we do the preseason work, the ski weekends, the family trips, the holidays, the reunions and any sickness or injury are no cause for freakout. A well prepared athlete with healthy base of endurance will ensure a better racing season than the athlete that decides to pick up the training again in January. Don’t cram for the test because if you get sick or injured or have to travel for work, all of a sudden your plans for a strong buildup for the triathlon season are compromised. Every year I have plenty of athletes that start too late and then write off their result with  “I couldn’t train that much, work & family wouldn’t allow that”.
Well, consistent training for multiple months does allow that! You just need to know when to start.

The Preseason is built in 3 phases:

1. Phase 1 is designed to prepare the body for the rigors of strength training by improving stabilizing muscles and activating the neuromuscular system. This Phase has little endurance training included, only maintenance. Your goal is not heavy lifting; it is lighter weight and no repetition until failure. You should comfortably complete each exercise set. After 2-3 weeks your body will be better prepared to work harder and to failure. Focus should be on controlled movements throughout each exercise, holding the core tight for the extent of the action.
2. Phase 2 is designed for you to utilize the strength you have by increasing the muscular capacity (repetitions) and neuromuscular function (failure). Remember we are not looking to build strength; we are looking to utilize all the strength we currently already have! Each exercise should be repeated three times (3 sets) and each set should be 8 to 12 repetitions. This should be challenging enough to cause failure between the 8th and 12th repetition. If this is too easy, slow down your movements dramatically.
3. Phase 3 is designed to reintegrate endurance training while maintaining the strength routine. By gradually increasing the volume of training miles and reducing the strength training, we ensure a good transition and application of the strength, stability and core work.
Each phase will typically last 3-4 weeks, but can vary depending on the individual. Once Phase 3 is complete, physiological testing should be scheduled.

ALSO: I will be integrating KEY exercises into our Indoor Cycling routine such as wall squats, lunges, single leg cycling, jumping rope, single leg gluteals and back extensions. Indoor Cycling remains an integral piece of the preseason training since it allows for interval training, intensity & quality as well as a controlled environment for wattage and heart rate training.

Click here to start the preseason strength, stability & core training.

November Update

Hi All:

I look forward to starting with all of you soon for 2012, as it is time to get the preseason work going in order for all of us not to feel rushed into 2012.  Just an idea of what this planning looks like:
22 weeks until California 70.3
27 weeks until IM SG
29 weeks until IM TX
Avg weeks needs in Strength work for maximum results:  8-12 weeks
Avg weeks needed in Base Training (developing endurance while maintaining strength): 6-8 weeks
Avg weeks needed in Competition specific Phase (capitalizing on the strength work and outstanding aerobic capacity): 8-12 weeks
Avg weeks needed to rest, taper and absorb: 3-5 weeks
As you can see, even on the short end of these avg’s, we are looking at approx. 25 weeks!
I hope you are all considering 2 things for 2012:
1) not starting too late in the season as improvements in results come from starting your new season fitter and better than last season, otherwise results stay the same
2) understanding that life circumstance such as health, work, family, and other commitments QUICKLY derail the shorter time windows listed above.
How do you want 2012 to go?
Chris Hauth
AIMP Coaching Services

Coach Chris Hauth : November 1

Hi all –

October is over and I am back from the month-long vacation (or so it felt) – in Hawaii and Mexico. I thank you all for your patience and look forward to starting the 2012 season with you all today. What does that mean? While some of you still have a few A events ahead, many of us are starting our build and progression to 2012 as of today, Nov. 1. Many of you have different goals and events, but the time for a great aerobic platform begins now, with strength work and metabolic efficiency via aerobic training. This season, and how I Rx the coaching protocol will be different than any of the 12 previous years I have been coaching. Not all of you will be doing strength, but all of you will be working off an incredible aerobic capacity as you head into your different A events of 2012. I look forward to next season being our best ever and will be starting your Annual Training Plans this week. If workouts are not updated yet – I will get there throughout this week. Continue to send me your race plans, goals and any other updates needed in the planning of the next 16 weeks.



Ironman Arizona 2011 Bike Transport Details

Bike transport details- Ironman Arizona:

  • $250 per bike.  $25 per bag.  Bike can stay as is.  Only pedals off.  ($50 cheaper than TriBike!)
  • Drop off Wednesday, November 16, or Thursday AM at Breakaway SF……places to be determined based on customer and us making it easy for them.
  • IM AZ Thursday PM as well as Fri AM.  As discussed will bring to customer hotel, house etc.
  • Return via customer coordination
  • Back in Bay Area on Tuesday morning, Nov. 22

Please contact Chris: to reserve or for additional details.

2011 IM Kona Race Report

Kona 2011

It is a different feeling knowing that even a perfect race would not have been a winning time for me. Sure, I can start adding minutes to subtract from my day, but going by a 10 year moving average in Kona results, I think I can accurately place my run time had I not been so restricted due to my intensely painful intercostal muscles. Having that knowledge of realizing a podium (!) finish was not really within reach even on a great day, helps me accept the day, but not the performance.

I was ready. Really felt fit, probably could have rested a bit more as I felt some residual fatigue in my massages leading up to the race. I had done plenty of miles, had plenty of racing in me, felt good about all three disciplines coming into Saturday. We all ‘wonder’ how race day will feel, and once it feels ok, we build confidence throughout raceday. I know it will be a hard day, but nothing the previous 11x in Kona didn’t prepare me for. And for me it is somewhat of a calming feeling that I do not need to go faster than ever before, I just need to go as fast as I used to in order to be contending for the AG win. Little did I know that this would be a record breaking bike year and that the top 5 in the AG will this year go faster than the winning time from last year!! As I have always know about my racing – whether swimming or triathlon – I am never going to win on a fast day, only on a hard day. Saturday was not a hard day, it was one of the fastest Kona races on record: overall record times and numerous AG record times. So, even my goal time around 9:05 would have sent me home ‘off’ the podium…!

I learned a lot from Kona 2011, best of all was that my nutrition and hydration felt a lot more ‘in control’ than ever before. No bloating, no burping, no upset stomach, not even after the race! No lulls, no hunger, no thirst. A lighter breakfast, a lighter plan on race day, a better hydration strategy – and although my run was a disappointment, the energy levels and hydration was just right. I also know that my heat adaptation worked well, I never felt hot or out of my core temperature on race day. Sure, it was not a hard bike, but due to winds, not temperature. I was surely not hot on the run, and while the ice of course felt good, it was not a dire need as in some past Kona years.

My swim was subpar. In all my years in Kona I have never swum slower than a 54. No, I am not getting older that quickly. I swam slow. I was plenty fast off the start but never felt comfortable swimming that fast, questioning my effort level intensity. Sure, I had to stop twice to fix the zipper that had slid open on my suit, but I still know what I felt and that was still not fast enough. The zipper issue still had me catching the same swimmers I was with prior, and so it cost me little time…55 for an IM swim is a disappointment – and hence a disappointing potential/performance/execution on race day. I had the potential for a 53, but did not execute on it.

The bike was good. If you would have told me 6 weeks ago I would ride a 4:52 in Kona, I would have been stoked. Sure, I went through the usual difficulties, the dead legs, the lack of maintaining the easier spin, the feeling of ‘what is going on?’, but I hit all my time checks dead on, and although I knew something was wrong in that we returned back from Hawi in record setting pace, I was still pleased with the effort. My wattage never fell off, – but I did notice I could never get it to go high enough either. Many of you that I coach know we set floors and ceilings for race day. The ceiling was never in reach! But I was pleased that the floor was maintained. The usual troublesome sections felt fine, brain was well engaged and although it was an easier year – it was still within me to go longer & maintain steady work.

Run was where the day unfolded. I was out of T2 in race time 5:54. Once again – you tell me 6 weeks ago I would be out on the run course in 5:54, I would have laughed: a great day. I would not have liked the caveat that 5 others in the AG were out on the run before me.

I’ve had this run issue before, but have never been able to pinpoint what it was. Great legs – easy – springy, good turnover, but from the upper stomach to the throat I was locked up. Like someone had taken a baseball bat and hit me on both sides under my arms. No deep breaths, no being able to open up a run stride. No relaxing the shoulders, no disconnecting the upper body (relaxed, focused breathing) with the lower body (good turnover, power & driving with knees and proper foot placement). I decide to stop, stretch…while doing this – take a moment to cool, hydrate and feel the issue that might be causing this tightness. No pinpointed sharp pain, just entire ribcage is locked.

It never unlocked. It never allowed me to open up my stride. Every aid station became a stop, stretch – move around to loosen area – on to the next one. Occasionally I skipped one, to make it two miles. But overall 18+ aid stations of stopping, ice sponges, little water, cola (which helped somewhat to push for a bit).

I would be lying if as of 10 miles into the race I didn’t start resigning to not having ‘the’ day and accepting the slower finish time. I knew I would finish and I knew my cushion to a decent time was set, but trying to fight for something not there was a battle I was not going to win. So, I kept moving, and accepted my day.

Of course we all look back and want more. Whether it is the result we worked hard for, or the time to validate the training & sacrifice. But ultra-endurance events like Kona don’t line up like that: the work you put in does not always equal the goal. There are so many factors that go into a successful IM day, that for all the pieces to fall into place, it has to be a near perfect day. And yet I also try to be careful to not accept my results too easily. My swimming years taught me this: accept mediocre results and quickly your success in athletics becomes a boring string of average results. Many have heard me say that I do not have many IM’s left in me, let alone fast ones. And while this Kona was surely not a fast one, it still counted against the final tally of only a few remain left in me. But I know I gave it a solid attempt many times out there on Saturday, I can accept that it was not the day I wanted. Kona again has become an unsolved mystery, but I am a step closer. I say ‘again’ because I have solved it before, an 8:56 on that course in 2006 will be as close to solving as ever, but 5 years ago is a long time in racing years.

A step closer is understanding the intercostals, the causes and the prevention. The step closer is feeling good about the heat and prep, but knowing what to tweak and armed with fresh race data. A step closer is understanding the nutrition & hydration better and applying constantly until the next Kona. A step closer is knowing that Kona is the object of focus and a target that demands respect, understanding and patience.

As they say: failure is only postponed success.

Coaching for 2012 and Beyond

With a new season coming upon us, I’d like to outline a few changes to how I will approach my coaching for 2012 and beyond. I have been coaching for 12 years now.  It started in the winter of 2000 with a few friends asking for advice, to it being my full time profession since 2006.  Many of you that have spent some time around me know what kind of a full time job managing a roster of athletes is.  A couple hundred emails per day is not uncommon, nor are the 30-40 texts and phone calls.  It’s awesome!  Why?  Because each time my athletes communicate with me, it shows me they are engaged in a daily process of getting fitter, better, faster and smarter.  It shows me they are holding up their end of the coaching agreement:  providing me with the key data & inputs in order for me, in turn, as their coach, to coach them better and more individually.  Armed with their data, I can coach to them and their needs, not just to a plan on paper….

On that note, due to the constant coach/athlete communication I’d like to promote within my coaching, I’ve learned that I need to assert an athlete limit to my roster. Limiting my athlete roster allows me to:

  • Do my job right.
  • Stay engaged and focused on my individuals.
  • Focus on the input and data.
  • Engage with the athlete in picking my brain regarding my racing & training mistakes, observations, lessons and successes out of me.

When I go over my limit, times occur when I hear the “I wish I could get more time with Chris” comments, which bums me out every time, since picking my brain for what the athlete wants is one of the best aspects of coaching.  Sitting at a mini-camp group dinner and exchanging ideas with the athletes as well as a huge brain dump on training & racing is one of the most rewarding takeaways of being a coach:  giving all that I know!

Therefore I am changing my approach in 2012.  I am going to accept only athletes that will engage in coaching as a relationship.  Coaching is a service based on value and communication. Please do not apply for my coaching services if:

  • There is a question of value in my coaching.
  • There is a question in how well you can communicate with me.
  • There is a question as to whether or not I can help you achieve your 2012 goals.
  • You need a lot of hand holding, hurrahs, and hugs.

If you can understand the type of relationship I’d like to promote with my athletes, then please apply.  I will only accept written/email inquiries for 2012.  These inquiries should include:

  • Your goals for 2012- clear and detailed.
  • What you have done in the past, why you are seeking a coach and why you feel I can help you.

And, most importantly, being open to a relationship that allows me to feel attached to your goals, and for you to feel that I have only your best interests in mind.

Below lists what I am looking for in my applicants/athletes:

  • An athlete that has researched their options and is looking to hire the best possible subject matter expert for the task of achieving triathlon goals in 2012.
  • An athlete that will empower me to develop the best possible analysis (are the goals attainable in 2012?) and action plan in order to reach those goals.
  • An athlete that reviews the plan, questions it to ensure comfort that it is the best possible plan.
  • An athlete that will execute the plan and take responsibility for things under THEIR control.
  • An athlete that will communicate their needs, observations, progress, input and struggles as they execute the plan

My coaching in 2012 will be $295 per month.  If you are a returning athlete from a longer layoff, my coaching will be $275 per month.  Those of you on the current roster remain in your current pricing plan.  Those of you signing up for 2012 prior to Dec. 31, get the 2011 rate: $285 per month.

From what my athletes have communicated with me, I have 5-7 roster spots available for the 2012 season.  I will update those spots available monthly.

I am off to Kona with 8 other AIMPers.  3x first timers, couple of repeaters, and myself.  I hope to bring another great crew next year.  Wanna join?

Offseason Improvement

Off season for those looking to achieve big goals? How is it athletes think that taking months off or with less training, unstructured etc. is preparing them for a better result/performance in the next season? How long does it take YOU to return to YOUR ideal fitness? How does an athlete improve if they get back to ideal fitness weeks/months later? Here is the frustration/observation of a coach: if we constantly return to the ideal fitness (par) at the beginning of the season, 12-16, even 20 weeks prior to the key event(s), and THEN focus/work really hard towards the can the athlete improve? If we are always repeating the same training cycle, not the same training…the same training cycle/rhythm..then how do we expect to make significant improvements upon the Elite of the sport (whether AG or Pro?)…

Athletes prepping for the Olympics typically work 18 months straight into the event. Sure, 2-3 weeks lighter, or more structured rest, or even 5 days off is a different story than 6-8 weeks off or unstructured. I know this sounds like a promo for coaching, but I am also the racer, athlete…and I know that my competitors are not getting slower…I know that to reach NEW plateaus of fitness and improvement, I can’t stop training and making myself better.

What goals do YOU have for 2012? Do you think that re-engaging with them in January is going to make you that much better? Or do you want to start your ‘in season’ with a fitness level that helps you reach NEW levels, new results, new goals and faster times? Do you want to be the one that is treading water in one place or move up on the field while THEY are taking time off? Do you want to leapfrog your competition and reach your goals, or do you want to stay where you are with the same approach and structure as before? You can only move forward, progress, improve, get faster by…..moving forward – staying sharp, focused and executing your plan.

One last thing I always hear: but I need the off season to work on my weaknesses – do drills etc. to improve my form, efficiency. This is VERY true – but how can you work on your cycling strength if you are applying it when you are not 100% fit? Why work on trail running (strength, core, footspeed & strength) if you are not strong and fit enough to absorb that work? How can we expect to drill and focus on swim technique improvements when not strong or fit enough to apply those drills after 2200-2800 yrds when the body NEEDS to feel those improvements?

FIRST you need to be fit, then you can get stronger. Many athletes wonder why their off season work doesn’t translate to the ‘season’…were you fit enough to IMPROVE, vs. just get back to PAR….?

Don’t hit PAR fitness in the preseason…hit it soon and IMPROVE in the preseason. Move UP against the competition!

AIMP’s Steve Fried- from midpack to Kona!


Dude!  I still can’t believe it, from midpack to Kona.  THANKS!
When I signed up with AIMP in August 2008, I knew that you could help me get faster.  As a 12:30 IM and 5:20 1/2  IM guy, there was certainly plenty of room for improvement!  After the 2009 season, we had already made huge progress with 10:52 at IM Switzerland and 10:46 at IMAZ, and I was thrilled.  I never thought I could get that fast.  Even still, if you recall, those times missed KQ by more than an hour!  Even when I started winning hardware (my first ever!) in 2010, I never considered myself one of “those guys” (i.e., the fast people).  I was getting faster, qualified for and had a great race at Clearwater, but there was still a LOOOONG way to go.  As an added bonus, one of my favorite aspects of 2010 was starting to consistently beat my friends at local races, where they had previously crushed me for years.  Of course, some of them have now signed up with AIMP, so I guess I’ve lost my secret advantage…
This year, the run up to Texas has been just about perfect (other than 2 flats at Galveston).  I really enjoyed the Coast Ride, and the training load, while significant, was never unmanageable.  Given my hectic work, life, kids schedule, I appreciate your ability to modify my schedule as often as you did.  Going into IMTX, I felt fit, sharp and focused.  The race plan was great, I followed it to a T, and the result was beyond my wildest expectations.  Mission Accomplished!
So, here’s my lessons learned (so far):
1.       TPFW.  The Plan Works.  The closer I followed the plan, the better I got.  Imagine that!  Making progress helped keep me on track, and having so many other AIMPers qualify for Kona certainly validated (in my mind) the long term payoff.  Again, my early and continuous improvements helped me buy in to the Plan 100%, but it takes some time to get mentally comfortable with such a different training method.  My T1 is how low (150 the first time I tested…)?  You want me to go how easy?  You want me to train how many hours this week?  I don’t get a rest day until when?!?  Looking back, I can see how the training plan builds and how it fits together with the racing plan, but it can certainly be counterintuitive at first.
2.       Patience Pays.  Early on, we talked about a 3 year plan, and guess what, it’s only been 2 years and 9 months!  Over time, you have definitely gotten to know the best way to coach me, and I think I also learned how to get the most out of you as a coach.  I’ve seen how you adjusted my training as I got fitter and as you learned what worked best for me.  At the same time, I learned that you are paying attention, that even if you go radio silent for 5 days, you will chime in when it’s important and that you do care deeply about my success.  That said, I’d still encourage you to think about ways to improve your communication, particularly for athletes away from California, who you don’t see that often.
3.       Planning.  Never tell your wife that you will take the summer off from training if you are on the AIMP plan.  I guess it would have been nice to chill, but Kona prep is WAY BETTER!
Thanks again.  AIMP rocks, the AIMPsters rock and this whole sport rocks.
Finally, my training log is empty….let’s get back on it!  Get me the ringer, chop, chop!  You’re in my AG at Kona so watch out…

IM St. George Observations

IM St. G – Race Observations

I knew it was going to be hot, I knew it was going to be hard.  I have been the one preaching to my athletes:  prepare for a hot St. George.  The average temps there in May is mid 80s.  But, wow, the course really knows how to kick you in the gut!

It started off well.  I felt really good leading up to the race.  Race week was settling in nicely, body was healthy and fitness was surely there.  Pre race dinner at 4:45pm:  1lb of whole wheat pasta, tomato sauce, fresh spinach, broccoli, mushrooms & red peppers.  Lots of sea salt, lots of water.  Another snack at 7:45pm:  whole wheat bagel with lots of turkey.  In bed by 9pm.

3:45am wake up – coffee and started making pancakes for a few of my athletes.  Whole wheat with Flaxseeds.  Sort of an AIMP tradition.  Ate two big pancakes with jam, approx 450 cals.  Had a breakfast bar (140 cals) a bit later on, water, and 2 FRS chews.  Later, in transition I had half a banana.  All is good!  Excited to race.

Swim: after a short warm up splash waiting for gun, off we go.  I am somewhat surprised to jump off the front and notice nobody jump on my feet.  I figure they’ll come.  I take such an aggressive inside line that it sometimes takes a while for the fast group to meet up at the first turn buoy.  But not today – I am all alone – and that also means no kayak, no boats, no paddler – nothing.  Sure, I sorta know the course – but I end up stopping a few times to determine direction, distance to turn buoy, and where everyone is – I actually wonder if I swam off course and nobody noticed!  Swim overall felt good – I have definitely focused a bit more on my swimming again this year and the StretchCordz work has paid off.  Comfortable 50 minutes swim with nobody to push me or rush me through transition.

I work my way through T1 – nothing too fast – but good motions and I am on the bike:  bingo – lost my first ProBar out on the bike.  Ugh – Chris, really?  You still mess around with this stuff on where to put your bars?  On your 26th Ironman?  Well, I have plenty of calories for now, but know I need to get to Special Needs to load up.  Watts come easy – 290-300 is nice and steady, cool temps, and am passing some female pros.  Great fun first 25 miles of this course – it’s different than the rest of the day since the remaining 87 miles are 2 loops.  I drink 20 oz of fluids, sip on some water.

I hit the first loop feeling decent.  It is quickly heating up – and I go by SRM temp since that is also the temp hitting my skin/core/body – that computer and I are both in the same sun, moving at the same speed.  3 hours into the bike it is 87 degrees (11am) and dry.  If you can imagine Moab or Vegas – that is St. George dry.  At aid stations I pour 2 bottles of cold water over me and through my helmet:  dry within 2 miles.  Oh well.  I start making my first mistakes halfway through that 1st loop: I am not keeping up with water and electrolytes.  I am doing ok on calories, but I am not doing the right job on water and drink – I say drink because I mean GuBrew.  I start making some quick decisions on the bike:  I have finished the first loop in 2 hrs, total bike is now 3:02 hours:  I am ahead of my bike goal time and know the second loop will be hotter, harder and SLOWER.  But I want to have a solid run since everyone’s wheels will come off on this run course.  So far I am 3rd amateur, only 2 guys have passed me…I start dialing back my watts – I actually go 100% on feel – good circles – light pedalstroke, good cadence.  I know I am doing the right things because my HR is a very comfortable 130 – in hindsight this is way to conservative and just another sign I should have caught up on drinking IF I am going to back off on the watts!  Yet I still am doing a bad job at drinking and letting the negative sensations of low energy levels (heat and dehydration – duh!) get to me.  But I keep saying to myself:  marathon is where you make your day on this course. Second loop is 1 minutes slower?!?  Good winds but that made it hotter!  Avg. temp on 2nd loop:  94 degrees, although last hour was all above 95.

Bike 5:18 – avg HR 134 – ugh.

Through T2 well – I drink – pour 3 cups of water over me – and start drinking, but as we know – it is too late.  26.2 to go!

I start running and the legs feel good – nothing hard of an effort – just steady uphill.  The challenge on this run is water and electrolytes.  Those little cups never add up to enough water and – at times the water was not cold.  I packed the wrong fuelbelt drink – its warm sportsdrink – not even GUBrew.  I can tell I have not raced an IM in 18 months, let alone one outside of Kona in almost 3 years!  I am making many little mistakes.  I know Half IM’s – those you can suffer through little mistakes:  at an IM you have too much time for things to go dreadfully wrong.  Such a brutal course – never a rhythm, never a flat section to just fall into a pace to hold (suffer steady instead of choppy suffering)…I finish the first loop and stop when I see my family.  The kids are all excited/but nervous to see me – Dixie wonders if I am stopping.  Nah – I just need some water!  I drink 2 cups of water, and go again…And I actually feel myself coming around again.  BUT, I have already made my biggest mistake of the day:  I have backed off the effort, I have let myself be satisfied with my position in the race and stop pressing.  I have allowed the race and conditions to dictate my effort, instead of me staying within my day, remaining focused and sticking to executing a good plan.  I have 2 AGers in front of me – but I justify that they are not my AG and I don’t need to push.  Although I even-split my marathon, I let my day slip away from me.  Sure, I win my AG by almost 20 minutes, but that is not my day:  My goals are to put forth MY day, and MY best effort, what I am capable of, and not allow others’ results and placing to interfere with that.

Many lessons for Kona.  Lots of work to do.  But mainly:

1)    Sticking with my race day execution: its always hard, it sucks for everyone.  But stick to the plan

2)    Hydration & Nutrition:  this needs to be 100% dialed in and NO questions going into it.  As I mention:  26th IM and I am still tinkering?

3)    While being smart at certain points of the day, there comes a time to start going and pushing without fear of blowing up and the suffering that comes with pushing.

4)    Understand the heat even better.  I know it was an early May race with temps none of us Bay Area folks are used to (yet!) – but that was not enough of a reason to back off and race so conservatively.

Overall I know NOT to be a jerk about this and pretend I needed to be that much faster.  Or that I am ‘all that’ and need to nail every race.  I just want to finish a race and know I put forth the effort that corresponds to the training I did.  I also am a big believer in never wasting a race, never blowing off a race: if the race is important for us PRIOR to the gun, you can’t pretend AFTER that it wasn’t worth an fully invested effort!

Lastly – great fun to be back racing alongside AIMP athletes!  Proud of all of them for a SOLID day in St. George.

Race Observations: California 70.3

Rather than bore you all with the usual race report, I thought I would add some insight on what my prep has been for the 2011 campaign so far, and what I observed from the race on Saturday, the Rohto Ironman 70.3 California. These observations are not only from my own race perspective, but as a coach in conjunction to what I observed my athletes doing on race day.

My goals this season are simple: IM Hawaii and to give the AG Champ a run for his money. Not sure who this might be, as the big Texan remains stealth on his plans, but there are plenty of others in the 40-44 AG that are faster than me, so the work and focus remains to improve a great deal. This past Saturday was the first step: a check that all systems are go, that the training is coming along and getting a Kona slot. That said, I am prepping for IM St. George. Ever since coaching there last year, I am fired up to race there. The difficulty of the course combined with the beautiful surroundings and the ease of my family to travel there for race day, made this Ironman the ideal choice to return to IM racing for 2011.

This past Saturdays 70.3 I came in fresh, but not tapered. The goal was to race and recover quickly to hit some big training again for IM St. G in 4 weeks. Being fresh was mainly to recover quicker, not to be crazy fast on Saturday. I have found that when we race too tired, we also recover slower.

Swim: I was in the 2nd AG40-44 wave, which meant I was 3 minutes down to some competitors in my AG. My goal was to close that gap and race like swimmers in triathlon usually do: control the front of the race. I was able to catch the wave and was surprised how good I felt in the water. I typically swim 2-3x a week, 3-3.5k, and while that lets me feel the water, often that does not give me the threshold speed I need for a Half IM. But, after breaking my collarbone last September, I returned to doing StretchCordz or the VasaTrainer weekly PRIOR to swim practice, and this really helped my swimming. Most swimmers hit the open water and are surprised how their fitness doesn’t translate as well as in the pool. A common trend on Saturday was slowing down in the latter half of all three disciplines. In swim practice I address this by ensuring I always swim something faster – committing to a certain pace – late in the practice: swimming fast on tired arms but keeping to stroke efficient and clean.

Lastly – sighting: I give many of my athletes the head up drill in swim practices. This is so important for sighting and front quadrant strength. I noticed some very bad swim lines on Saturday and your ability to swim with your head up for a few strokes, not just one, is key for choosing your line.

Bike: Having worked my way to the front of the field with a good swim, I knew only a few riders were ahead and one of them was my athlete Brian. This is important to me since he is a strong swimmer and can tell me who remains ahead. Once again, control the field if you can as a swimmer. I start the ride, as usual the legs feel a bit awkward, but the watts come easy. Cycling has always been my biggest limiter in triathlon, and my confidence grows only from plenty of cycling miles. Being in my 40s, I don’t quite have the time for the 1000 miles a month goal I set for myself to be in good cycling shape, but I knew I should have decent legs for 56 miles. I push 290-310 watts on the inclines & false flats, roll 270-280 the remainder of the time. This is Ironman effort for me, so I knew I was going to have some strong cyclist roll up on me in the first 20 miles. I also know that this course requires a strong back half, so the plan was to tighten that effort to 290-300 watts late. At approx. mile 12 Gordo Byrn passes me, says good morning, and rolls on. Well, there goes my race plan… I know that he is the class of the field and riding with him will set up the proper position for the run. And, contrary to what any Pro tells you, riding with a group that is about your strength is always easier than the solo AG ride. It might not be faster, but it sure is more fun. And that is surely what last Saturday was: FUN! Sure, Gordo put the hurt on me a few times during that bike ride. Twice I had to pee while riding and he pulled away, so the ride to get back to him was not easy! You might wonder if I am talking about drafting: no way! Pacing is staying legal, but having someone else dictate the effort. We were both riding on power, both have similar riding ability, and although G is way smoother than me, we both rode the course and its rollers similarly. Luckily I was able to hang on and at times even pace him a bit, to keep things fair. In case you care, avg watts: 290, normalized: 302. I weigh 171. FTP: 350. G and I rolled into T2 and he once again showed his ability by coming in 10 sec. behind me, yet rolling out 5 sec. ahead of me! I will tell anyone that I do not focus on fast transitions: I have rushed through too many and forgotten critical things, so these days I work my way through them with a sense of urgency, but not rushed. I always hope to make up those extra 10 sec. on the course vs. turning around!

Run: This is where the race got interesting. Oceanside breaks up nicely as a run course. I tell my athletes to find ‘em, hold ‘em, push ‘em, and survive ‘em. First leg: find the legs – let them carry you. It’s what I call free speed. Often we are surprised by that fast pace with little effort. 2nd leg: hold that pace/effort/leg speed. 3rd leg: push that pace, give it
another go – see what’s left, with the goal to leave nothing on the course. 4th & final leg: survive the effort and pace to bring it home! I find ‘em running alongside Gordo, once we get passed by Miranda I get unsettled though. Too many years of being passed by pro women leaves me wanting to push the pace, but G is right – not my race. We hold ‘em on the way back, but the tailwind makes it seem faster. Once we hit the turnaround, after someone just yelled at us to “break it up you two”, I decided to push ‘em: while the effort was pushing, the splits stayed the same. I’ll take it, as the goal for me when racing is to ‘not slow down’…But on the final leg, it really turned into survive ‘em as the concrete of Oceanside started to burn the legs. Decent run splits but know that I have some work to do for St. G in 4 weeks.

1. I did very little speedwork for this race: I am not good about forcing myself into a pace – I’d rather dial it up: that’s also how I train. Something I learned as a swimmer: if you can hold a faster and faster effort for a long period, you’ll be ok when fresh.

2. Don’t dial up a bike effort you can’t hold on the run. I was REALLY stoked all my AIMP athletes held their placing off the bike into the finish. That shows me all were good about their bike effort. Sure, some of them got passed on the run, but nothing out of proportion to their cycling place & effort. “The race starts out of T2”, just ask Miranda!\

3. You gotta eat: while the industry might want you eating a lot more, you still need to fuel for your run. Which means eating the right amount on the bike. Can you feel hungry? Yes, but have immediate calories available to address that. And, fluids all the time….

4. Carry momentum on the bike: While focusing on your wattage/HR is good, and keeping tight ranges will save you those candles for the run, don’t give up on momentum at the base of climbs! Especially in Oceanside, with all those little biters and some bigger ones: carry the speed and some extra watts up the hill, but then settle into a rhythm
once climbing or over the rollers. A few seconds or even 2-3 minutes above your zones is what we train threshold for, you know you can handle it!

Overall, California 70.3 was a great day. I had a blast racing with Gordo, I had a good systems check that the training is on point, I secured a vacation in Hawaii in October, and my athletes all had a good days. However they want to qualify their ‘good days’, to me they were ALL successful.

Breakfast: 2x Poptarts, no icing (210cals) – 1x Instant Oatmeal with milk (160cals) – 1x cup of coffee – 1x Banana (75cals)
Pre – Water & 1x GURoctane (100cals)
Bike – 1x Pro Bar (360cals) – 1x GU Chomps (180cals) – 1x GUBrew (150cals) – 1x GUTabs (10cals) – 3x GURoctane Gels (300cals) – 2x 16oz water
Run – 2x GURoctane (200 cals) – 1x GUBrew (150cals) broken up into 2x FuelBelt 8oz bottles – 5x cups water

IM Louisville mini camp

For those of you doing IM Louisville or just want a great weekend of training in July, I will be in Louisville for a mini camp July 7-10.  This is our 2nd annual IM Louisville mini camp with last year being a great success.  Matt Rose, coach of Dynamo Multisport will also be coaching.  Matt picked up his Kona slot in LOU last year, so plenty of LOU race course experience between the two coaches.  So far we are 10 athletes from throughout the South.  Plenty of cycling, running and swimming in a pretty unique & fun environment.   For more information, as well as pricing & itinerary, please email or

Utah Mini Camp – LAST CHANCE

Hi all –

Just a last chance heads up for the Utah Mini Camp. If you want to join I need to know ASAP. WHY? Because to make this easy for you all, we are coordinating minivans and flights into Vegas so that you can all drive together etc. I will bring bikes for those of you in SF AND LA as I will be in LA and Newport the days prior.

Here is the final planned weekend:

March 10 – ARRIVAL in PM. Fly into Vegas or roll big into St. George. Dinner 6pm as a group for those on site.

March 11 – morning swim (indoors…pool) – 70 mile bike (from lake to St. George and 1 loop bike) – short 20-30 minute transition run (on Diagonal Rd. just like race day)….evening forum of race plans, strategy and nutrition.

March 12 – double loop bike (85ish miles) – longer transition run (45-60 minutes). Dinner: now that we have seen 99% of course – continued race prep and final training stages overview.

March 13 – swim (indoors – pool) – single loop run – CAMP COMPLETE BY 1pm. Lunch and back to Vegas for flights.

Mini Camp is for ANYONE to also get away: The weather in the Dixie Belt of Utah is WAY better and drier than the NorCal weather pattern. Also not limited to AIMPers.

NO COST! All we do is divide the minivans and any extra expenses by the number of attendees…

Please let me know ASAP….


Ironman St. George Mini Camp, March 10-13

Hi all – Just a short note that I am starting to finalize our Ironman St. George Mini Camp, March 10-13 in St. George, Utah.

WHAT: a mini camp is a short, 2.5 day, camp at the race site. We ride & run the course in prep for IM and become familiar with all aspects of the race. This allows us to be very prepared for the final weeks of training and for race day.

WHEN: we arrive Thursday PM, in order to swim and ride one loop on Friday. We depart Sunday early afternoon after a morning swim & run.

WHO: For sure anybody doing IMSG. If you have friends, teammates etc. who want to join, great. BUT we will need to limit the mini camp to 10 people. Why smaller numbers? Because this is a very focused weekend with LOTS of communication, strategy, race planning, input and coaching. IF we bring another coach (highly likely), we could expand to 12.

HOW: Friday we swim at a local pool, ride the course for a double loop (80ish miles). In the afternoon we review the lake swim course and first 25 miles of the bike. Saturday we ride 1 loop again and run 1 loop of the course. In the PM, since we have now seen the entire course, we review at an early dinner, discuss race strategy – nutrition – weather – and race day logistics. Sunday is a swim and another run loop. I look to be finished by noon.

COST: Free – I only divide our expenses and will look for contributions for our SAG driver and logistics (this is dependent on attendance numbers). I WILL be bringing bikes for anybody in the Bay Area joining.

NEXT: Please let me know if you are interested in attending – an email will suffice. Once I have a good feel for numbers, I will organize hotel OR a home rental (this is dependent on attendance numbers). I will also plan the pool sessions as size effects which pool. I will also start restaurant prep for our group meeting/dinner in a private room.

Thank you! Hope you can join!

AIMP 2011 Camp Selections

AIMP will once again off a variety of training camps in 2011, but this year we add the newer mini camps.

January 17-22 :: AIMP Coast Ride 2011 – 4 days, 565 miles, SF to LA

February 17-22 :: AIMP Tucson Training Camp – 5 days, 4 nights, all inclusive camp in the warmer confines of AZ :: see link to camp above

March 10-13 :: AIMP St. George Mini Camp – 2.5 days, focused, on course training & simulation for IMSG 2011 ::

April 8-10 :: Wildflower sailfish Training Weekend – 3 days, on site prep for Wildflower and big training weekend for IM’s in May & June ::

Only the Lonely

I received some interesting feedback today regarding my coaching approach the last few weeks before the Ironman World Championships in Kona and I thought I would share my response as well as my coaching philosophy for these last big weeks prior to the main event.

We all go into an IM knowing that there will be some very difficult stages – some deep valleys as I call them. Understanding that we will be there alone, lost in our own raw emotions, feelings and resolve is an important crutch to have on race day. These last few weeks of prepping for Kona are the hardest. Our season has been long and the training partners have disappeared. Our body is tired and the days are no longer sunny & eventful. The training is familiar to us and the only remaining piece of this phase in our journey towards Kona is to execute the last big weeks, well.

But they need to be done alone – without much help – without much guidance – without much coddling – without much coaching – without much positive reinforcement from our loved ones etc. These are the weeks and workouts we will fall back upon in those deep valleys on race day. These are the workouts, because they were so hard mentally (not necessarily physically) that will creep into our mind like a slide show on race day. These are the ones that we envision ourselves running or riding while on that lonely strip of black pavement called the Queen K.

It is hard as a coach to let go of your race on race day.  I want to be out there with you – help you execute your plan and achieve your success – but I can’t.  And so these last few weeks are part of that step on sending you all out into that battle with yourself .

Anybody can stay alert, focused, positive and smile when the race is going well, when the body feels strong and the pace is according to plan.  But how have you prepared for those deep valleys?  By having practiced it and felt it in training.  You all know what I talk of – those bad training days where lethargy, self pity, annoyance and short tempers point towards what you might describe as a hard day – a bad day – a depressing result so close to our Big Day…. But most of you  have also heard from me that no all days will feel great, and not all days are designed to be a mental & physical boost.

The ability to execute when its NOT going well is called training.  The ability to get out there – find YOUR place, your rhythm, your unemotional, unattached training day, when it does not feel good – is what will prepare you for the deep valleys on race day…Train your mind and your spirit for those valleys, and may you have that race day that does not ask you to work through too many of them.

Otherwise this would all be called exercise…not training…

There are only the lonely on the Queen K come October 9th.  You might be around 2000 other competitors, but only you can have YOUR day.  Understand that it is coming, and you will already be many steps closer to achieving YOUR result.


AIMP Camps – 2011

Hi all – there will once again be a few larger training camps in 2011, but also a new addition to the offering.  Mini Camps!  After a very successful IM Louisville mini camp with 6 athletes, I will be offering more of these in 2011 – small group – very focused 3 days on site of IM races:  St. George – CDA – Louisville – and Kona!  More to follow.  Until then mark your calendars:

  • Coast Ride 2011 – January 18-21. Four days from SF to LA.
  • AIMP Spring Training Camp – Tucson, AZ – February 11-15.
  • AIMP Summer Training Camp – Lake Tahoe region – July 4th weekend – Donner Lake, CA

More to follow but for now we are lining up some dates!

September 2010 Coast Ride Update

Here some updated information:

The Coast Ride is Thursday Sept. 9 through Saturday Sept. 11.  For Folks racing Kona in October: I can’t stress the importance of getting in these 365 miles in 3 days with 40 minute runs off the bike each day!

There is no cost:  just the hotel rooms you want (or split) – and the van costs for the ride home – and a contribution to the SAG van driver(s)

Hotels are: Holiday Inn Express In Marina, CA – Ascott Inn in Morro Bay – and I will organize a few rooms at the Pacific Suites in Santa Barbara so we can shower up and get home.   MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS NOW – I WILL NOT BE DOING FOR YOU.

I have a few minivans rented for the return trip.  This cost we split by people driving home in vans with bikes of course too.

Massage: if you can convince Paul to give you a massage – more power to you!

SAG: we will have 2 cars driving to the hotels as needed.  Expectations should be clear that we put bags in the vans/cars in the morning at hotel, and see the bags again at night at the hotel.  No plans for little change of clothes or drink or a chocolate chip cookie with milk at mile 90….

We meet and PUSH from Mill Valley at 8am on Thursday, Sept. 9. Rolling by the GGB at 8:45am….and into Pacifica Surf Spot at 9:45am

Bags for SAG need to be dropped off at our office in Mill Valley by Wed. afternoon or if you are flying in let me know so I can make reservations for hotel here in Mill Valley.

Let me know of questions!

Chris Hauth
AIMP Coaching Services
Skype: aimpcoach
Twitter: AIMPCoach

Tahoe 2010 Summer Training Camp Schedule

Sunday, August 1:  4 hour ride with 1 hr transition run – all pre house check in.

Monday, August 2: morning full lake 3 mile swim + easy but paced run around the lake + afternoon spin.

Tuesday, August 3: 45 min lake swim + 4 hr bike + 1.5 hr run off the bike.

Wednesday, August 4: 6 hr bike around Lake Tahoe and 50ish minute transition run

Thursday, August 5: REST DAY:  only a morning 1 hr swim

Friday, August 6: 4.5 hr ride + 1:20 run off the bike

Saturday, August 7th: 45 minute morning swim + 1:45-2hr trail run

Sunday, August 8: 1 hr swim:  Check out at 12 noon.

AIMP at IM Regensburg 2011

Hi all –

As many of you have heard – AIMP is going overseas next year to IM Regensburg 2011(August 2011).  I will be not only organizing all the logistics for this IM, but since this is an IM in the same town as I went to boarding school for 8 years, the ‘amenities’ will be something not available elsewhere…

What does it mean we are going to IM Regensburg 2011?  About 7 of you have already mentioned your interest in doing this.  SO, I will organize most everything over there leading up to and during Ironman.  After – we can discuss what other travel arrangements you might be eyeing.

This means besides entry and flight – we will package transport from Munich airport, a hotel for all of us exclusively, all breakfasts and dinners leading up to the race, all training, SAG and needs prior to the race in the vans with drivers etc.  Obviously a lot more included (massage – sightseeing – etc.).  Basically we (my brothers, friends and I) will take care of most logistics for you in your prep for IM.

Once we know how many are entered and taking part, we can also start coordinating flights and package pricing.

FOR NOW:  please take the following steps:

1) RACE entry is OPEN – please sign up if serious about this as the race will fill once it happens on August 1 of THIS year.
2) Let me know that you are interested (or entered) in the AIMP trip so that I can start reserving the entire Hotel/Inn I have in mind for the race week.

And yes – I will be racing too.

Thanks!  This should be a GREAT trip.

IM Louisville Mini Camp

Hi all –

In case you are in the Louisville area July 21-24, feel free to join us at our Louisville mini camp. We will be riding the course, swimming the river and running Churchill Downs in prep for IM LOU a few weeks later. This is one of my rare race prep weekends as I won’t be able to attend IM LOU – we will go over course strategy, nutrition, race day management, and of course: proper hydration.

I write this knowing a few of you are coming, but in case any of you are there or want to join, more than welcome to join the festivities and ANY OF YOUR FRIENDS or people you may suggest want to stop by?


Tahoe 2010 is almost here!

Hi all –

Tahoe 2010 is almost here. We have two house reserved from August 1-8 with 10+ bedrooms total. This means we check in SUNDAY mid afternoon and check out Sunday MID morning.

How this works? This is not a formal training camp like Tucson, instead a training week of split costs etc. For some of you this might mean some extra coaching and this will roll somewhat into a training camp atmosphere, but overall the costs are quite low. ANYONE can join – this is not just AIMP athletes – but I will reserve the initial spaces in the 2 houses for AIMP athletes first…

HOUSING: Most of you have you own and we coordinate rides and run daily from the swims in the morning. We will be swimming in Donner Lake EVERY morning besides Wednesday, August 4, and Saturday August 7. FOR THOSE OF YOU staying in one of the AIMP rented homes, all we do is divide the nightly cost of the home by the number of occupants…and there is your nightly cost. Please let me know what nights you plan to attend and I will coordinate houses and rooms for you. Yes, you have your own bed, and those of you who just want to keep it simple and crash for a night, we factor that into cheaper housing of course. BUT, THOSE UP FOR THE FULL WEEK HAVE HOUSING PRIORITY.

FOOD: As out LA boys will tell you – you are on your own. Unlike Tucson there are no meals included and you have your kitchens etc. to get in what you need. We will go out for dinner as a group again as usual towards the latter half of the week, but the remainder of the time we keep it simple in prep for our important training the next days and the multiple workouts per day. We do cook together in the houses I rented AND they are next to each other, so we often cook in one house or the other.

TRAINING: Most of you are on a similar plan. This is for safety and group training purposes. Different this year is that I will not be along for all the workouts. I WILL ASSIST in some training as I can help you on rides with some SAG and other support – but as I have Leadville a few weeks after, I am in a different training space. But we swim every day – we ride 4-6 hrs 4 days, run almost every day, and eventually end up training about 32 hrs in 8 days…For those of you CONFIRMED – I am starting to enter the plan into your Workoutlog.

REMAINING TIME: on average we are training about 4-5 hrs a day but some of the days only 1-2. The remainder of the time is spent relaxing and recovering etc. Of course – its Tahoe and there is also plenty of fun to be had.

MASSAGE: It wouldn’t be an AIMP camp without massage. This is also not included like Tucson, and once I have you confirmed, I will coordinate with Paul Whiting for your schedule – meaning Paul will reach out to you. As you can imagine – there will be plenty of demand, but also plenty of down time to catch up with Paul for some body work.

EXTRAS: I will be video taping (swim – bike & run) – going over some run form – working on your cycling motion – during this week. We will coordinate up there for those times and how we want to coordinate with my training. But those of you in want of this – let me know!

Donner TAHOE SWIM: In the past we have messed around with this – but in order for that Saturday to be a decent and SAFE training day – I prefer to get you on the road earlier that day. We will have swum the length of Tahoe by then 2x already and waiting around until 8:30am for this swim to start and paying $50 is not worth it. Many years we have started at 7 and been done by the time the race even starts – yet done the same swim for free!

CONFIRMING: Please email me that you are attending (DATES!) unless you are

The Blancos







Please let me know of ANY questions and logistics…I look forward to seeing you up there and this should be another great week, our 10th ANNUAL!!


AIMP™ was originally launched in 2000 by Chris Hauth for a few triathletes looking to qualify for Hawaii.  With this model Chris has helped qualify 70 athletes for Kona, with a record 17 athletes participating in 2005.  In 2010 Chris once again brought 8 athletes to Kona, with a few podium challengers. While Chris continues to have success in taking a select group of athletes to Kona, he has expanded his coaching to all levels of triathletes.

Today, AIMP fits the triathlete that is looking to advance their training from template form popular in magazines and many online coaching sites, to a personal, customized and proven plan tailored to your individual needs.  Family, work, travel and life all interfere with our training plans, but with detailed individual coaching we can maximize that limited training time & achieve your athletic goals!  Whether amateur or professional, Chris has had proven results in coaching them to their personal bests.

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Indoor Cycling

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Coaching Philosophy

Coaching Philosophy

AIMP Coaching: Advanced Mental and Physical Coaching for the Ultra Endurance athlete

Going long requires outstanding fitness and superior event day execution, combined with a healthy dose of self-control. In seeking to create the optimum training program, there are critical factors within the training plan and part of the coaching philosophy. Combined with an accurate snapshot of your current physiological state (testing), AIMP creates a personal, customized and proven coaching plan tailored to your individual needs.

Whether you’re an elite athlete looking to reach optimal performance or you simply want to finish feeling strong, AIMP will work with you to develop that plan. Here are the critical success factors that outline the coaching philosophy of AIMP:

Outstanding fitness

Ultra Endurance events are different than any other sports:  they require both physical and mental strength.  More can go wrong, and rarely is the fittest athlete the one that crosses the finish line first. This is where outstanding fitness comes into play.  Once we know we can do the distance, have the fitness to complete the event; we can start working on executing better.  Having confidence in how we will execute the day allows the athlete to be mentally engaged as well.  The goal of training is creating outstanding fitness for the ability to maintain control and mental awareness on event day. Outstanding fitness allows for mistakes that can be reeled back in. Outstanding fitness creates a platform for confidence and execution of your strategy come the event. Outstanding fitness means we are not taxing the body and mind unnecessarily, we are prepared.  And, outstanding fitness prevents injuries since the athlete is not trying to push too hard in training and therefore risk overdoing it.

Superior event day execution

Come event day, nothing should be unfamiliar. Not only do you know your effort & intensity, but you have complete confidence in your hydration & nutrition strategy since you have repeatedly practiced, adjusted and modified it. This reinforces the overall focus of any endurance event – stay within ‘your’ day and try to control the things you can control. By continuously training your event strategy, your day is better prepared for the things you can’t control, like weather, course changes, volunteer mishaps, other athletes performances etc. Coaching should help you create, solidify and execute your optimal event day.

Avoiding injuries

All the fitness in the world is useless if an athlete is sick or injured on event day. Coaching is about preparing you for your optimal event day. This includes remaining healthy and injury free during your training. The proper plan will build your season with the end result in mind – to toe the line at your ‘A’ race strong, healthy and with the confidence that all the necessary training and preparation was completed. Communication with your coach and accurate training logs help identify any potential flare-ups, while accurate execution of workouts ensures that the stresses of training can be absorbed.

Recovery & Rest

Many think that an ultra endurance training program requires a constant breakdown of the body in order to prepare you for the physical and mental challenges of that day. While the necessary fitness is required, the ability of the body to recover, adapt and reengage into a new training phase is critical. Constantly being tired and feeling flat is not training, it is overtraining and often the first sign of chronic fatigue. While it does not have to be this extreme, it is definitely a clear indicator you are not getting faster. AIMP coaching believes in continuous training cycles that factor in recovery, adaptation and then taking the training to the next level. That next level could mean faster, better, stronger weeks OR could mean longer, steadier and completing the training weeks at a lower RPE. Training should result in continuous growth and progression in a season, not stagnation.