Monday, February 1, 2016

Marilyn Chychota

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.

Following a Wheel

Coach Marilyn Chychota describes how to follow a wheel in a paceline.

Hill Strides with Drill

Coach Marilyn Chychota's demo of hill strides with a butt flick drill to increase power and refine proper form

The Impact of Your Swim Fitness on Race Day

The approach to the swim for triathletes usually comes from one of two perspectives:

  1. I come from a swim background and it's my weapon.
  2. It is just something I'm trying to survive so I can get on with my race.

Either way, the impact the swim has on the total race is commonly overlooked.

Thoughts on Recovery

Recovery is one of the most important pieces to endurance sports success but it's also frequently misunderstood. What does true recovery really entail?

The 20-Minute Challenge

In December I proposed a challenge to my squad to add 20 minutes of walking or jogging each day in addition to their normal training through the holiday season. As a coach I wanted to see who would commit to a challenge to give me some insight on where my athletes were motivation-wise.

What to Work on in Early Winter

I often write about pacing your year. At this point in the Northern Hemisphere, your race season is months away. If you start doing high intensity or race specific work now a couple things will likely happen: you'll either come into form too early or you'll fall apart physically because the preparation work to do race specific efforts isn't there yet. Your performance by the time race season rolls around is either going to go backwards or will come to a halt.

Stacking Races

With so many races to choose from and the example set by professionals racing more often, many age group athletes are also trying out the approach of racing more frequently in long course triathlon.

If you're considering stringing together more races next season, I'll offer a few thoughts for you to consider before choosing events.

History and Reflection

History and reflection are how we learn and move forward to bigger and better things. Keep record of patterns, habits and thoughts to look back on as you progress through each season so you can learn what works and what needs improvement.

Common Traits of World Class Athletes

I've had several athletes qualify for a world championships every year for over five years now, across Ironman, 70.3 and duathlon. While some of the details of their training have been different, they all share common traits in their approach to achieving qualification.

Our Favorite Workouts: Late Season Running Quickness

If you are still racing and heading to some of the fall events you still have some work to do. You've likely been racing for a number of months now and dragging out more long miles may only leave you flat. The months of racing, tapering and long sessions can see you losing some strength by this point in the year.

I recommend focusing your energy on quality for your event and keeping strength and power up. You want to prevent the feeling of "getting slow" from the year worth of long training and hard racing.

Big Unit Body Composition

Triathlon is a unique sport in that people from all different backgrounds and at all different levels and ages get involved. It's an endurance sport of many different shapes and sizes.

There is a good percentage of men doing the sport who are what we at EC refer to as " Big Units" -- men over 170 pounds. Endurance sport is generally geared towards people who are small as when going the distance it's attractive to carry less. One of the great things about long distance triathlon such as 70.3 and IM racing is being strong and bigger can play an advantage. Unlike pure marathon, triathlon over the long distance can suit a big unit athlete when guided right. The strength and power can see them go very fast, especially on the swim and bike.


Coach Marilyn Chychota McDonald's brief clinic on descending

Controlling Pre-Race Anxiety

I’ve found that many of the mistakes athletes make during race week are driven by anxiety -- that’s not surprising, the last few days before a race can be nerve wracking.

To prevent pre-race nerves from getting the better of you, here are some of my top tips.

Getting Used to the Heat

The first true day of summer is just around the corner and hot weather racing is becoming the norm for most of North America.

Here, we're revisiting some hot weather training and racing tips from Coach Marilyn Chychota McDonald.

Coping with Falling Short

There is an old expression: "Confidence lost, everything lost."

As athletes, we put ourselves out there in a black and white situation where we are judged based on goals we've set and seeing if we can meet our goals by stepping on the start line. It takes a lot of guts to do that. Setting a goal and seeing it through can be a lesson in self growth far beyond what we imagined.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Race season has started. As you head into your race it's key to have a clear view of your plan. Things can happen on race day out of your control and you just have to roll with that, adjust and adapt. For the things you can influence, it's important to take control and set yourself up for the best day possible.

Find a Strength Program that Works for You

The gym can be icing on the cake or it can be a critical part of your program. Either way, gym conditioning has a positive impact on endurance sports performance, especially in triathlon where strength endurance is such a huge factor for the event.

Some people have concerns such as time limitations or building too much mass. That's why it's important that you choose a strength program that fits you. Even two sessions per week throughout the year right up to the last 12 weeks of your A race can have a material benefit.

Staying On Track During the Winter

Through this period of the winter we usually see two things: people either being overzealous with their training and not understanding pacing the season, or completely unfocused because they are in the thick of winter and they feel like it will be forever before they get to race.

I've found that a few things work to keep you on track for your season goals.

Leveraging Your Strengths

When you identify yourself as a triathlete you are often asked, "What is your strength? What background did you come from?"

For some it's obvious -- swim, bike or run. For others it's less obvious -- strong stomach, ability to endure tough conditions, mental capacity, durability or ability to absorb high training/racing load without injury or illness. And then there are those who are well-rounded as triathletes with no particular discipline as a specific strength, but the strength itself is that all three events are strong and balanced.

Considering Your Winter Training

There are many different ways athletes approach their overall annual plans, but most have similarities they follow when thinking of their upcoming year. Terms like "prioritization" and "repeatable week" are all commonly used in endurance sport. Most know there needs to be an element of pacing the year and ramping up to specific work as the main event approaches.

With 2013 training kicking off for everyone, it's time to consider how you approach the winter.

Common Traits of Consistently Improving Athletes

I have the pleasure of asking several athletes in different points in their development across a number of sports a lot of questions. A few things are consistent in the ones who continue to improve and do well.

Overcoming Weaknesses

The first step to overcoming any weakness is having the ability to recognize it. Most of us are pretty tough on ourselves so we can create a huge list of things we want to improve. An actual weakness is slightly different, and it's sometimes hard to identify exactly what it is.

Winter Power Gym Session

Fall and winter are the time of year to really start to focus in the gym. Building strength, power and new dynamic movement can really improve you for the next year's season. This is especially important for older athletes, injury prone athletes, lighter framed athletes and almost all female athletes.

Planning for Next Season Begins Now

Most everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is closing out their race seasons (or already has). Now is the time to consider an off season. The definition of "off season" may vary from athlete to athlete, but the basic gist for almost everyone is that the next "season" is many months away and your current motivation is changing.

Sport and Life

We bring sport into our lives and it has an impact on everything we are. The entire package: asking our work, our families and our friends to be a part of our new found love. It effects our outlook, our decision making and our way of life.

I think it's important to first acknowledge that this lifestyle most likely isn't going to "go away." It is likely not a "phase" you are going through. It is a lifestyle of habits, choices, friends and how you as a person have chosen to live your life. It impacts everything.

Race Week Taper Options

There are a lot of different ways to approach your A race taper. But whichever way you choose to lead in to the race, your number one goal in the final week should be to feel rested, focused, excited to race and organized.

I'm going to lay out two different example of taper weeks going into a race that you might consider applying to your own approach.

Getting Started: Where to Focus

While many people who read this site have some background in triathlon already, we're always getting visitors who are just starting out -- either as new entrants to iron-distance racing or those who are completely new to triathlon. I want to share some tips as a sort of primer for the inexperienced and as a reminder for experienced triathlete. Even if you've been at this a while, you might have drifted away from a basic principle.

Returning from Injury

If you are an athlete with a permanent injury that hinders your ability to run but you still have the love and desire to do triathlon, then this column is for you!

Most will tell you that your time is up and you should quit. I don't believe in that! I think it's the easiest and weakest way out for the person telling you to call it quits. The fact is, they just don't know what to do.

Tips for Planning Your Race

We train to race. This is the reason we do set after set, day in and day out. The race is the big day, the test, the party. It's where we get to head out and truly see where we are.

A lot of factors come into putting a race together: physical, mental, experience, equipment, conditions, courses, goals. You need to consider all of those factors when planning your race.