Monday, February 1, 2016

Columnists

Managing Coach/Athlete Disagreement

I sometimes hear talk of athletes having a hard time with their coaches. They say things like their coaches don’t listen to them, or are scheduling training that doesn’t fit in their schedules or they’re setting workouts that don’t address their training and racing goals. When it comes to athlete/coach disagreements, I know I don’t have all the answers, but I do understand my approach to the balance between a healthy dialogue and too much conflict.

Lights, Helmet, Action!

Would you change your behavior if I told you there was an easy way to cut your risk of cycling injury in half?

Despite the blanket coverage of the latest disaster on my favorite news channel, I know cycling is the most dangerous thing I do.

However, put cycling against my family medical history of diabetes and heart disease, it’s probably a risk worth taking. In terms of what kills us, cycling is far down the list.

Willing to Fail

by Sue Aquila

For the last 18 years, I have met with another business owner to discuss business and life. My fellow CEO became my best friend and my sister. We agreed that our meetings were a safe place to talk about everything. I think we spend the most time talking about areas we have paid “tuition.” We don’t discuss failures but rather the opportunities to learn how to be better: better CEOs, better wives, better parents and better friends.

Build and Descend with Purpose

I have been very fortunate over the years to share the lane (or at least share the pool) with some incredibly strong swimmers and triathletes. One thing I found very interesting when I first started swimming alongside these athletes was the huge range they had in their swim pacing. A great way to work on developing your own range is to incorporate "build" and "descend" sets into your training.

Nutrition: Eating for the Right Tool

When I show up to race long, my team prepares a top 10 list of my competition and they expect me to memorize their numbers. I smile every time someone on my top 10 list shows up too buff… like bodybuilding competition buff. The are lean and stripped. Usually these incredible bodies lack the ability to finish strong.

Becoming a Swimmer, Not Just a Triathlete

When I started swimming at 29 years old, I did not have the years of experience and feel in the water of many lifetime swimmers. At the same time, I learned quite a few successful swimmers and triathletes, including many elites, were also “adult” swimmers. So how do you develop speed and efficiency in the water as someone who began swimming later in life?

Heart Questions from the EC Campers

I had the opportunity to attend the recent Endurance Corner training camp in Tucson. For me, one of the highlights of the week was the chance to give an after-dinner presentation one evening on triathletes and heart health. I shared stories from the past year that had caught my attention and illustrated some important points.

Some Workouts to Kick LoMo

I have an affinity for the East Coast, particularly Massachusetts. So it is for all you East Coasters that I write this article. Getting hit with snowstorm after snowstorm and even something called “thundersnow” -- I can only imagine it may make for some LoMo (low motivation). Here are a few workouts to give you something new as you continue to hit the treadmills and trainers.

Countering Bad Advice About Exercise

The extreme exercise debate has popped up again with a Danish study noting that strenuous exercisers might not have a mortality rate statistically different than the sedentary people. I think the statistics of their argument are weak but the headline certainly got my attention.

Treadmill Hill Workouts

I always prefer to run outdoors, but sometimes the weather or other circumstances prevents a solid workout from happening. Over the years, I have come to embrace the treadmill and take advantage of what it has to offer. A lot of athletes like that a treadmill allows you to lock into a pace without having to think about it, but I actually prefer the treadmill for another reason: controlling the incline.

A Comeback Case Study

One of my favorite quotes is from "Rocky Balboa" about life. Rocky tells his son how, "Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life." He goes on to say, "But it ain't how hard you can hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward..."

You could say life gave me a nasty upper cut right to the chin a couple years ago, that resulted in losing my fitness and gaining lots of fat. Then I lost the itch to train and race.

How to Choose a Power Meter

If you are thinking about starting to use a power meter you will have to choose the right one for your needs and budgets. Over the last five years the market for power meters has exploded and we now have a large -- sometimes bewildering -- range of options, all with their own advantages and disadvantages.

How to Lose Fat with Core Nutrition

Recently, the New York Times wrote about the best time of day to train for fat loss. I’ll save you searching the article and let you know that it’s the morning on an empty stomach.

These sorts of articles have wide appeal to the common fallacy that ideal body composition is a result of optimizing our depletion strategy.

A far more effective approach is to look at the quality of your Core Nutrition.

Swim Challenge Follow Up

For over five years, Endurance Corner has put together a swim challenge for our athletes and for the last two years, we have posted daily workouts on our site to help encourage a broader participation level. If you are interested in seeing the workouts we posted this year, you can find them here.

Two New Things

Each winter I try to find a couple of new things to try in the upcoming year. We had our Boulder Coaches Clinic last month and I found my two tweaks for 2015.

EC Swim Challenge 2015

Every year Endurance Corner puts together a two-week challenge for our athletes to up their swim training during the dead of winter. Like last year, we wanted to expand this challenge beyond our team and encourage anyone who visits the EC site to join us.

2014 Reflections

Towards the end of 2014, I sat back and reflected about what worked in my coaching and what I can improve. I asked myself many questions and I couldn't help but think about each athlete I coached and what they have taught me. I learn so much from each athlete I work with and together we have a relationship that is unique to itself.

Steel Challenge Follow Up

A few days ago Endurance Corner wrapped up the Big Steel Challenge. For one month each winter, we encourage athletes to strength train more than most likely would and log each pound they push, pull, squat, lift, etc. Last year around this time I really felt that strength training was coming to the forefront (more than usual, at least) as a topic in endurance-themed articles. I think that trend is still hanging around.

Millimeters

A few years back, I insisted the production side of our business move to measuring in the metric system. Why? Accuracy. There is a reason drug dealers measure in grams.

Having Priorities

This time of year can be challenging for a lot of age group athletes when it comes to time management of all the holiday commitments or just simply dealing with the balancing act of off season training. Whether athletes have next season's races in stone or they are still attempting to finalize those decisions, this period can leave them “all over the place” with their training and focus.

Year End Reflections

As a coach you feel a lot of the same emotions as your athletes. Everything from elated with success, disappointed with defeat, motivated and driven with new goals as well as frustrated when things seem to not be working. Your season is our season and it is at this time of year that we like to reflect and learn from our successes and our failures.

Mobility, Strength and Power Training for Endurance Athletes

Interested in a winter strength training program? Coach Marilyn has designed a high level strength and conditioning program for triathletes and endurance athletes.

Guess Your Age

Shock and awe.

I don’t know why, but I recently saw my true self in the mirror. Not the every day, I towel my hair dry and I just need to make sure I don’t look like a brunette Billy Idol mirror check. No, for some reason I stood in front of the mirror and saw that I have developed a patch of gray hair. And not the Bonnie Raitt cool patch of gray.

No, this is more like the mature older man’s temple gray. Except I am not mature, nor old and definitely not a man.

What We Learned from Kona this Year

While this year's Kona has already started to fade from most triathletes' memories, if you plan on racing there next year, it's important to start thinking about some of the challenges inherent in such a big event now.

December Steel Challenge

A few years ago, an idea came up on our forum to put together a “Steel Challenge.” The idea was basic enough: track the amount of weight you lift for one month. And while adding up the amount of heavy stuff we picked up and put down may or may not have been the best measurement of work, it was certainly the simplest and easiest tracking method.

So Now What?

by Justin Daerr

In my last article I covered what to do when you take an offseason. Assuming you took a break from the swim, bike, run world, the next question is: So now what? The answer, as with many things is: “It depends.”

First off, if you are in the Northern Hemisphere and just starting to train again, you are going to be confronted by winter. Even when winter doesn’t pose a major weather problem (Florida, Texas, Arizona, etc), it still creates problems with less daylight. You can be highly motivated to throw down some big training, but it becomes a problem when all the sessions before and after work have to be done in the dark. Nevertheless, pacing your season with the length of the days can provide a nice, natural progression. Volume grows as daylight grows.

Given the shorter days and less overall training volume, the next question becomes how to maximize the time that you have. Some popular answers include:

  1. Run a winter marathon. When I first started triathlon, this statement was less metaphorical. What I mean by that is: people would actually set aside a period of time to train for a winter marathon. Today, I take this idea to be more of a metaphor for a swim, bike, or run-specific focus in their training: that is, possibly setting aside a couple of the sports to focus on one. I think this satisfies the notion of trying to get something productive done with the limited time you have. I can understand and respect that, but I generally disagree with it as well. There are cases where an athlete has an unbalanced background (and can afford to set one sport aside), but generally speaking, I believe most triathletes should stay balanced in their approach and continue to train “normally,” albeit with less volume.

Should Triathletes Use Activity Trackers?

After my bike wreck this summer, my first priority was to keep moving. I started walking the morning after my accident. I haven’t stopped walking since my accident.

Coming Back From a Layoff - Part 2: The Long-Term Break

Coming back from a long layoff doesn’t have to be hard, but it is not something that will just happen.

More or Less

Before offering advice, I like to ask:

Are you willing to change?

Now, at the early stage of a relationship, the answer is always YES!

However, the reality is most people are not able to change and that leaves the advisor with one tool… the manipulation of “more or less.”