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.

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!