Monday, February 1, 2016


Bridging Ironmans

As the number of Ironman/long distance triathlons increases, it seems that more athletes are doubling (or even tripling) up on these long events in a short time period. Not only are they stacking events, but in some cases they are racing at a high level in all of them.

Persistance Pays

My buddy, Dan, qualified for Kona at Ironman Texas. I wanted to share some highlights from his journey.

Quite often, I’m asked to put together a 9-12 week program for Kona qualification. Dan’s journey with me took 14 years and goes back to when I started coaching.


I am a mom, entrepreneur, wife, long course triathlete and a gay woman. This past year, I accomplished what I once considered the impossible and married the woman of my dreams after a 17 year committed relationship. I also finished the triathlon season as the best performing woman in my age group in the world.

This is not a coincidence.

Sharpening the Saw

Let’s take a look what to do when things “aren’t going right” in your training. Specifically, what about those times when things aren’t quite so evident but there is just a general feeling when athletes are not “getting what they deserve” out of the training that they are putting in?

Focus and Refocus

When we head into a race we assume that with the amount of preparation we've put in things have to go exactly as we want them to: perfect. The reality is something usually comes up that we either have not planned for or is not ideal.

Strength Before Speed

The best advice I can give a new athlete is work before work rate.

Prove that you can “do” before you worry about what you do.

After you’ve proven then you can “do work” the next tip is strength before speed. Put plainly: get your work rate up by moving uphill, rather than focusing on going fast for a long period.

Until your work-rate training is established, the “fast” part of your training should be focused on quickness, rather than velocity.

Here’s one of my favorite work-rate workouts.

Discussing Swimming with IMTalk

A lot of people have questions about the best approach to swim training and racing. I recently chatted with John and Bevan from IMTalk to share some of my thoughts and best tips for IM swimming.

Cresting the Wave

I completed a race in January in the Cayman Islands (70.3 miles) called the Mercuryman Triathlon. We awoke on race morning to the the winds howling and the surf crashing onto the beach. An uncommon occurrence in one of the top open water swim locations in the world.

Our Favorite Workouts: Ironman-Specific Running

During their ironman training most athletes include long runs and short fast runs. Some athletes have time to add in a bit of hill work too. Something that’s missing from a lot of programs is the medium-long run that includes ironman-specific pace work.

The Last Three Weeks Before Race Day

Going into the last three weeks before an iron-distance race you'll probably find yourself very tired. The big question is what do you focus on and what can actually help your fitness now?

Swim Safe in 2014

From a safety perspective, the triathlon swim can be very unforgiving. As we know, there are a few athletes who die each year in the United States during the swim portion of multisport events. That’s really just the tip of the iceberg, though. Many other athletes require rescue because of serious medical problems or just because conditions on race day were too tough to handle.

Early Season Racing is for Early Season Education

As the sport of triathlon has grown it seems the racing season has not only started earlier and lasts longer but it appears many athletes are doing key races early in the year, with many of those athletes having zero racing under their belts.

“Training Through” Races

“The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it” -Arnold Glasgow

Gordo’s Guide to Altitude Training and Racing

With our Boulder Camp coming up, I thought that I’d share the most common questions I receive about altitude.

Early Retirement

I can’t help but laugh when I hear age group athletes announce their retirement from triathlon. I won’t be announcing my retirement from my hobby anytime soon. Or work for that matter. My journey requires me to work my body and my mind. Without either, I am lost.

Creating Your Kona Magic

Sue asked me for an abridged version of Qualifying For Kona. Given that’s she’s qualified more recently than me, I hope she shares her keys to the magic kingdom.

Focus on three things: Schedule, Joy and One-Thousand Days.

Heart Rate Variability - Part 3: Available Tools

Now that we’ve covered what heart rate variability (HRV) is and how to interpret it, let’s take a look at some of the hardware and software tools that are available to help you make use of HRV data.

Discussing Hot Weather Racing with IMTalk

Most racers sign up for races based on proximity, destination venue or time in the season, but for hot weather events, many often don't consider the impact of the temperature until right before race day. Having raced successfully in the heat for a number of years, I've learned a lot about what works and what doesn't in terms of race preparation and hot weather racing.

Further or Faster - The Midseason Dilemma

With the spring season starting up, many athletes will begin to wonder, “How much base training is enough?” or “When is the right time to start some faster workouts?” In terms of the Annual Training Plan, athletes may wonder if they should continue the Base phase or enter the Build phase of training.

Heart Rate Variability - Part 2: Application in Endurance Sports

In previous columns I wrote about resting heart rate and heart rate recovery and more recently about the basics of heart rate variability (HRV), where we developed some basic definitions and terminology. This column looks specifically at the use of HRV in endurance training. I’ll share how and when to measure HRV and how HRV might be used to help guide your training.

Three Parts of Swimming Faster

One of the questions I most frequently get asked is, “How can I become a faster swimmer?” My answer is always to look at three parts when trying to become faster:

1. Swim technique
2. Swim frequency
3. Workout execution and specificity

What Type of Athlete Are You?

“It takes Different Strokes to rule the world” – Different Strokes theme

While I had to confess my complete lack of qualification in talking on last month’s subject of time management, things have come full circle this month to a topic that I am intimately familiar with: the relationship between training load and top performance.

Three Common Mistakes with Teaching Kids to Swim

In January my daughter had her first swim meet. It was low-key with three events of 25 yards each (Free, Back and Fly). I’m not sure anybody kept score, and that’s a good thing as young people don’t have the ability to separate themselves from their performances.

Today, I’ll share what I’ve learned about teaching her to swim.

Progressive Training Camp Load

Quite often I’ll emphasize to athletes about consistency of training and patience for large parts of the year and within a long term planning structure. In the end it is still the backbone of improvement as an athlete, but every once in a while we need something to try and speed up the process.

A Case for Masters Swimming

I am a swimmer at heart. It is what helped me be the athlete I am today. It is what I go to when I need to get my mojo.

Race Specific Training Sessions with IMTalk

Many athletes aren't sure what type of focused training they should be doing to prepare for their big races. I recently sat down with Jon and Bevan from IMTalk to discuss race specific sessions before your first race of the year.

Heart Rate Variability - The Basics

In a previous column, I wrote about the resting heart rate and heart rate recovery and how they can be used as indicators for monitoring athletes’ training status. At least two other heart rate-related indicators are also used for that purpose. I’ll leave the discussion about exercise heart rate to Alan Couzens, our resident Endurance Corner physiologist, but I wanted to introduce the concept of heart rate variability (HRV).

Training Camp: The New Normal

At last count, I have attended seven training camps in my triathlon career. These camps can range anywhere from a three day race simulation to a seven day cycling focused camp, like Endurance Corner’s most recent Tucson camp. During my camps I can expect my training volume to increase anywhere from 30% to 200%.

At each camp, the campers ask each other about changes they notice in their bodies. How do I manage those changes?

Absorbing a Training Camp

Training camps can be an incredibly useful weapon in your training arsenal. When compared to the regular training block, they can be thought of as akin to the difference between a semi-automatic rifle and a musket. While both fire a single bullet with comparable effect, the difference in load time between the two means you can get a lot more done in a given time with the semi-auto.

Training Camp Recovery

With our annual Tucson camp wrapping up this past weekend, Endurance Corner has another successful camp under our belts as a team. These camps are so helpful in the development of an athlete-coach relationship. I get to spend the week with many of my squad members, where personality comes through, approach to sessions comes out, weakness and strengths are revealed and I can see where an athlete is in his or her progression.