Monday, February 1, 2016

Gordo Byrn

The Urge to Tinker

Now that summer and the racing season are in full swing, you’re probably feeling pretty good.

If you are not feeling speedy, or if you have a goal to be speedy beyond the end of August, then consider scheduling a deep recovery week somewhere in the next 45 days.

Managing Your Coach

Following up on Sue’s and Marilyn’s recent articles, here are some additional ideas for managing your coach.

Thinking I'm One Behind

As we head into summer and training load increases, you may find your nutrition and training start becoming erratic.

There is nothing quite like a big increase in stress to flush out any weaknesses in our overall approach.

One sign that you’re on edge will be a frequent feeling that you’re “one behind.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

Strength Before Speed - Three Run Workouts

by Gordo Byrn

If your workouts are more impressive than your race splits then this series is for you.

Hills Then Flat - building late-race performance
Aim for 75-90 minutes in rolling hills and follow with 30-45 minutes as flat as possible. I use three variations:

  1. Just Do It - Stay relaxed throughout with a Mod-Hard HR cap on the climbs; the downhills relaxed and smooth; and the flat done no more intensely than Steady HR.

My Top Bike Tips

Over the years, I’ve spent about $75,000 on bike gear. Here's what I’ve learned about bike material, components, wheels, and buying used versus new.

Race Weight for Eaters

Following a high load training protocol while glycogen depleted will trigger health problems. So please remember to never lose the last kilo and arrive at race day fit, fresh and focused.

The most important tactic is to eat when you train and replace what your burn -- you’ll only have a limited number of long days where you can train your body to process calories. Take your key days seriously.

Eat, drink and pace so you can finish strong.

Strength Before Speed - Three Swim Sets

If you’ve ever had the experience of your arms turning to rubber after the first 400 of a swim start then this post is for you.

Open water swimming has more in common with a bike race than a time-trial. There are many rapid changes in pace and you need to be able to recover while continuing to move forward.

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.

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.

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.

Squat Technique

Gordo walks through good squat technique

Dynamic Lunges

Gordo demonstrates dynamic lunges for leg strength and stability and core development

Hip Bridges

Gordo demonstrates the hip bridge for developing glute strength and stability

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.

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.

Pace Yourself

Always sad to see middle age athletes fall away from sport. The greatest challenges to health & fitness come in the later yrs. #PaceYourself
-Alan Couzens (@Alan_Couzens)

Alan’s tweet got me thinking about how we lose people from sport, and the health benefits that flow from an active lifestyle.

Tips for Active Parents

One of the better parenting tips I have received is to never compare my inside life with someone’s outer appearance. However, in looking at my family’s outside, I’d say they’re doing well. With three kids under six, we must be doing something right.

Six things that have helped me maintain my athletic sanity follow.

Big Steel Challenge 2014

This is the fifth winter where I’ve had a month dedicated to lifting as many pounds as possible. I want to encourage you to give it a shot because there is a material health and wellness benefit from the simple strategy of lift-often and lift-a-lot.

What To Do About Amateur Doping

Dr. Larry Creswell's article on amateur triathletes and doping brings to light what I've known for a while. Lots of athletes are using PEDs.

If this is news to you then you're probably in a mixture of shock, denial and anger. I have spent years moving between these emotions.

Planning an Anabolic Cycle

As a coach, I’ve been watching cyclists get busted for bodybuilding drugs and wondering what I was missing.

Why would endurance athletes want to “get big?” Triathletes are always trying to “get small.”

Why are we seeing anabolic agents in ultra-endurance athletics?

Lessons for Coaches

Typically, my end of year piece is about lessons that I learned as a coach that are helpful for athletes. This year, I’ll take a different tack and share lessons that I’ve learned as a coach that are helpful to maintain the passion in our work lives.

Essential Ingredients

Most athletes are at the end of their seasons and many are thinking about how they can break through in 2014. Now is the time of year where we often hear conversations about:

- Race distance focus
- Coaching changes
- Equipment tweaks
- Training protocol breakthroughs
- Data analysis

While these discussions can be interesting, I find them to be a distraction for most athletes seeking a breakthrough.

What really matters?

Kona Threshold Bike Fitness

“Go fast when the race is slow”
- Robbie Ventura

Once you’ve demonstrated a deep understanding of my Principles of Pace, the next step in your development is considering how and where to apply additional effort into your event.

I’m going to share a case study that will help illustrate strategic hammering!

Managing Fatigue Towards Kona

During late spring and early summer, I typically share unconventional tips with my most successful athletes:

Consider your season over.
Make sure you don’t lose any more weight.
Go on holiday and drop some fitness.
Remove structure, head out and have fun.
Perhaps, it is time to train without the data for a bit.
Take some time to improve the non-athletic aspects of your life.