Mental Fitness and the 4 F’s (Not the 4-Letter F-Word)

[Note: The content of this post was part of a presentation I gave during the DT&N training camp in Lake Placid, on June 5, 2015. I’ve reworked the presentation notes to share here.]

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” ~Henry David Thoreau

This sentiment reflects my experience over the past several years – as I’ve moved through various goals, from my first sprint to my first double ironman. Working toward each of my goals (and all of the ones in between) has been a journey worth taking. What I have become (I hope) is a person who is braver, stronger, smarter and happier.

This picture was taken about 30 seconds after I crossed the finish line. I have been chasing this feeling ever since.

Hello, Teeth! This picture was taken about 30 seconds after I crossed the finish line of my first Ironman in 2010. Every time I see this picture, I weep happily for the woman I was becoming.

The journey to cross that first Ironman finish line is one that I will never forget. I learned how to be an athlete (again). I learned how incredibly extraordinary the body can be, but even more so, I learned the mind is the MOST powerful and important tool we can have as endurance athletes. Achieving our goals is as much dependent on mental fitness, as it is physical fitness.

I define mental fitness as a strong belief in your ability, which allows you to push beyond your perceived limits, to counter negative thoughts, to be stubborn and steadfast in your quest to achieve your goals, and to possess a healthy confidence that, with hard work and grit, you can achieve those goals.

In sum, mental fitness means you DON’T STOP BELIEVING even at – especially at – your lowest points.

But, belief doesn’t just come to you – you have to train the brain to believe. I taught myself to believe that with hard work, I could go from the back of the pack to a Kona slot. As you might imagine, that was not an easy sell at the start.

I think it’s worth mentioning, to further support the point I’m trying to make about mental fitness, I am not a naturally gifted athlete. In fact, I’m really average physically. I lack coordination. I’m clumsy. My body type is not exactly what you see among the most elite athletes in the world. I’m not some super fast freak of nature – but, sure, I am some type of a freak.

My secret? I define and articulate realistic but challenging goals. I work like a dog to achieve them. And, I’ve taught myself to BELIEVE, working my mental fitness just as much as my physical.

With respect to mental fitness and goal setting, I’ve learned a few things that might be of use to you. I call them the four “F’s”: Fear, Focus, Facts, Fun.  Read the rest of this entry »

What I Learned From a Return to Sprint Triathlon

comfort zone

This magnet and collection of Yogi tea sayings is on our refrigerator.

I like to talk a big game about “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable” and “the magic happens outside of your comfort zone” and all the related platitudes of that ilk.

But, do I walk that talk?

While I won’t say I’ve completely mastered being comfortable with the discomfort of endurance pain, I know I can take a long course licking and keep on ticking. My nickname isn’t Midget Tank for no reason.

What I’m not very good at – not good even a little bit – is anything at or even near my threshold. The so-called “red-line.” No, I much prefer the green line, the so-what-if-my-muscles-feel-like-someone-is-sticking-ice-picks-in-them-I-can-still-breathe-so-I’m-fine line.

In the last several years of training, I’ve done very few efforts at or near the threshold, especially in running. Just to make sure I wasn’t telling you all pork pies, I looked at my Training Peaks charts for the past few years.

Last year, my time in running HR zones were as follows (percentages are rounded):

  • 50% in Zone 1/Easy
  • 40% in Zone 2/Steady
  • 7% in Zone 3/Mod-hard
  • 2% in Zone 4/Hard
  • Not even a full percentage point in Zone 5/Very Hard.

Cycling is a little bit better, but as with running, the lion’s share of time is spent in zone 1 and zone 2 (45% and 29% respectively).

As you can see from the chart below, if I expand this analysis out to the past three years, the percentages stay roughly the same across the two sports.

Training Peaks Charts

Here’s a screen shot of my time spent in zones from May 2012 until May 2015. The chart on the left is running, the one on the right is cycling. The zones go from easy to hard, left to right.

So, it’s safe to say I’ve become comfortable – and I would argue too comfortable – with the long distance ache. So, what to do to shake things up?

Go short and hard, of course. So, I signed up for a local sprint triathlon (Hammonton Sprint Triathlon, May 23, 2015), and prepared myself to get really uncomfortable. I find it much easier to push hard in a race context, so I saw this race as an opportunity to re-introduce myself to threshold work.

The Hammonton Sprint was my very first triathlon 6 years ago, at a time when I had NO IDEA what my triathlon journey was to become. I was on a used bike, that was about 2 sizes too big for me. I wore $20 bike shorts (can you say OUCH?!), and I was grossly unprepared for the open water swim–with people. Within 30 seconds of the start, I had been kicked in the face, panicked and wound up swimming the entire race with my face out of the water. True story. Read the rest of this entry »

Asking questions, seeking answers

After three years of working toward a slot at the Ironman World Championships, the goal became a part of my identity, my decision making, my lifestyle. Now, the race is long done and dusted and the mysteries have been revealed.

So, what’s next?

My interest in the 140.6 distance has all but disappeared, while my desire to participate more in the ultra world (both triathlon and running) continues to grow. Even so, I haven’t settled on “THEE” goal that drives me. On the one hand, I’m totally okay with that. I’m having a low-stress, fun year of racing and training so far.

On the other hand, I feel like I’ve lost my best friend–the KQ dreamer. As one of my readers Wes commented on my IMCdA race report, “This race was so close for you, on one hand, I wanted you to get the Kona spot and on the other, I wanted the drama to carry on like a good novel you don’t want to finish.”

stopped believing

While I certainly didn’t want to go another race without grabbing a slot, I absolutely know what Wes means. The drama was pretty exciting, right? Who am I if I’m not “the smalltown girl” who doesn’t stop believing, trying to make it to Kona?

Obviously the sum of who I am is not simply my journey to get a slot to Kona–even if almost all of the posts for the past 3 years came back to that theme.  The thought of doing another 140.6 right now leaves me wholly uninterested. That’s how I know it is time to move on and write new chapters, explore new adventures, dream new dreams.

The trouble stems from the way my new dreams are just in snippets right now. You know when you wake up and you remember 3 interesting but seemingly unrelated details from a dream, and you can’t quite figure out how they all fit together? That’s how I feel about my endurance goals. I’ve got some interesting details, but I haven’t quite put them all together just yet.

I’m still believing – I’m not 100% sure in what just yet.

In the midst of this soul searching about who I want to be when I grow up, I received an email from a reader (who I’ll call Joe), asking me some provocative questions about my motivation. While a part of me didn’t want to acknowledge my struggle with a stranger, the process of answering the questions was very helpful for me.

Here’s a screen shot of the email I received (note: While Joe allowed me to post parts of our discussion, I want to protect his privacy. Therefore, I’ve deleted references to his name and email address):

Screen shot 2015-05-15 at 2.27.47 PM

Read the rest of this entry »

Boiling Frogs and Gradual Adaptation

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/purpleslog/2881603057/.

Photo labeled for reuse. Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/purpleslog/2881603057/.

Every new distance seems impossible when you first begin to wrap your head around it.

Think about the first race you ever signed up for that you thought was really long.  Before you started the training, the race distance probably seemed almost insurmountable, right?

I mean, how could anyone go X miles?

The very first distance I ran that made me think: whoa, this is going to be LONG was a 6 mile run I did during a high school crew practice, circa 1989. We ran daily, but never that far. But, we had gotten in trouble, so we were punished by running 6 miles, while holding our oars. I don’t remember what we did to deserve that punishment, but I do remember the run.

liked it.

At some point during high school – maybe even during that run – I decided that I wanted to run a marathon “someday.” But, when I set that goal, it seemed very far off, and possibly not even likely.

I mean, how could anyone ever run 26.2 miles?!

I remained a runner from those early crew years, but it took me some time to come back around to my “someday” goal. Flash forward to my early 30s. I finally decided I would run that marathon – but the thought of running 26.2 miles seemed slightly insane and overwhelming – yet really exciting.

I broke down the training into little milestones (see what I did there?) that would allow for gradual adaptation. My first 10 mile run. My first half-marathon. My first 16 mile run, then 18, and finally to 20 miles. I didn’t go from 10 miles to 20 miles in one week, it was a gradual and consistent process of adding more time, a little bit at a time, week by week. It was 4 months of training to go from 10 miles to marathon-ready.

In this sense, the preparation for new distances is like boiling frogs. We turn the heat up on ourselves, gradually almost without notice until there we are – working through the distance that – at one point – seemed nearly insurmountable.

gradual adaptation

John and I crossing the finish line of our first-ever 26.2 miles at the Atlantic City Marathon. I can still remember how delicious that day felt, and how excited I was to do another one the second I crossed that finish line.

I’ve been thinking about this process of gradual adaptation quite a bit after training for and completing the Double Anvil. Others have said to me: “I couldn’t go that long!” “You raced for 25 hours?! How can you do that?” “A 12 hour trainer ride? What on earth?!” And of course, the well known: “I don’t even want to drive that far!”

My answer to that last one? I don’t want to drive that far either. That’s why I swim, bike and run through the distance.

When I saw John training for the Double last year, I thought these very same thoughts. I said these very same things.

I remember his longest trainer ride of 10 hours. I remember thinking there had to be something wrong with him. One Ironman is plenty long enough – how on earth could I do two? More importantly: why do I want to?

But, after crewing that race in 2014, I knew I wanted to do it. The training and the race were seemingly impossible, but that was part of the appeal.

My training for the Double officially began somewhere around Thanksgiving, 2014, with a 6 hour ride. I remember thinking to myself: Hmmm. The shortest “long” ride I will do for this double is my longest long ride for a single. 

The poor little frog starts getting an idea of what’s happening, but still isn’t sure. It feels warm, but it’s okay.

Next up on the schedule was an 8 hour ride, which was probably the worst one of the entire training cycle. I remember feeling a bit of despair that the longest ride I would do would be an additional 4 hours.

Boy, it’s getting hot in here, isn’t it? 

I did another 8 ride and got used to that as a “base” ride. I was getting used to the water by then. That ride was followed by a 9 hour ride, which gave way to a 10 hour ride, and so it went until one day I found myself riding for 12 hours.

Oddly enough, that 12 hour ride was one of the best rides I had throughout the entire training cycle. The last 90 minutes were a little rough–the water was pretty dang hot. I was boiling, but I managed to get to the end of that training cycling without cooking myself.

After that volume, I rode another 8 hour ride – but this time at a harder effort than race projections. And, unlike the very first 8 hour ride, I felt strong – mentally and physically. I knew I could handle the heat.

So, what’s this got to do with you?

If you are like most athletes that I know, you probably have a seemingly impossible goal you’ve toyed around with – maybe for years, as I did with that first marathon.

Maybe you allow yourself to think about it in brief snippets, but then push it away because you have uncertainty about whether you can go that far (or that fast), how you can find the time, or whether you have the mental stamina to keep the heat on for the training and the race. If you are having a hard time taking that first step and committing, I recommend that you stop thinking about the reasons why you can’t go after your goal, and start focusing on all of the reasons why you can, why you want to, and why you should

And, when you start your journey, remember: you don’t need to jump right into the boiling water. Turn the heat up slowly, gradually, consistently. Have a plan for yourself that will allow your body to adapt both physically and mentally to the stresses of training–even if that means you are a few years out from the ultimate prize.

Be consistent. Be methodical. Be patient. Analyze your progress. Follow the principle of gradual adaptation. Before you know it, you’ll be able to take the heat, and the triumph of achieving your goal will leave you with a sweet, warm glow.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

What seemingly impossible goal do you want to meet? Have a similar experience? Share it!

Force of Nature, Power of Experience: Running Rim to Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” 

~Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

I gingerly peered over the side of the North Kaibab trail, which runs from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon down (about 5,600 feet down) to the Colorado River.

As I looked down, I saw the Grand Canyon jig and jag from millions of years of evolutionary change. I looked up and saw the cliffs reach upward to the sky, as if praising the sun and the clouds. And, there I was somewhere in the middle of this expanse, nothing but a molecular speck, clinging to the side of the rock wall, hundreds and probably thousands of feet from the craggy bottom.

Rim to Rim to Rim

A view from the North Kaibob Trail. If you look closely, you can see the trail as it snakes around the canyon, heading down, down, down (or up, up, up depending on your direction). This was taken as we descending back down from the North Rim.

In that moment, I contemplated the incredible force of nature, the unavoidable force of change, and the beauty that can come from opening oneself to evolution.

John, our friends Vince and Tom, and I found ourselves in this moment as we ran from the South Rim to the North Rim and back to the South Rim of the Grand Mother-Nature-Loving Canyon.

rim to rim to rim

The crew taking a quick photo before we start. From left: Tom, Vince, me, John (in the front).

You know, that really big ditch in Arizona? Yup. That one.

In case you’ve never heard of this particular adventure, the rim to rim to rim (R2R2R) is a 46-48ish-mile, 11,000 feet of elevation adventure. It’s an experience that stretches the body, mind and spirit.

We started the adventure from the South Rim, taking the Bright Angel Trail to the Colorado River, which is approximately 10 miles. Once we crossed the river, we picked up the North Kaibab Trail, which goes for about 14 miles to the top of the North Rim.

We’ve seen varying estimates for how long this route is and most of them fall between 46-48 miles. Our menagerie of Garmins registered between 48 to 54 miles. Regardless of the exact distance, it was farther than anyone you tell about this excursion would want to drive.

Counting all stops for wondrous amazement, photo taking, and breath-catching, we took 16 hours total time from start to finish. Moving time was about 13 hours. Yeah, we took our time, making sure to stop as much as was feasible to enjoy the moment.

We wanted to be in the Canyon. Feel the flow of the Canyon. Be the Ditch. Love the Ditch. Don’t fall in the Ditch. Read the rest of this entry »

On Role Models, Possibilities, and Equality

Outside of my endurance sport life, I’m a professor of Communication Studies at Rowan University, in Glassboro, NJ. (Read: Nerd.) In my research and teaching, I examine how communication creates meaning about “things” – people, places, objects, events, ideas.

I know what you are probably thinking: things exist, that can’t be changed no matter how we communicate or think about them. Of course people, places, and objects exist, and events happen. But, how we communicate about these things affects our interpretation of them–regardless of their tangible properties.

So, let’s say we’ve got this thing that is a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run. How we think and talk about a triathlon affects the meaning we have for it, which in turn affects our behavior.

It begins with the name. Do we call it an ultra or full distance triathlon, an Ironman, or a really long day?

50womentokona

In 2012, a key goal for my performance at the Rev3 (now Challenge) Quassy 70.3 was to finish early enough that I could meet Mirinda Carfrae – one of my favorite professional triathletes. Mission Accomplished! I have an inch on her with the Don King-style hair.

If we define an Ironman as crazy or impossible, we won’t attempt it. Alternatively, we might define an Ironman as empowering or fun. Each interpretation will lead to a different decision about whether we quit before we start, or we dream big and go for it.

So what gives with the theory lesson? Well, like all good theories, the theory of Symbolic Interaction (which I’ve been laying out generally here) helps explain stuff. For the purposes of this post, I want to talk about role models and their value in sport.

Role models help us construct meaning about things, like a triathlon. We observe what they do; we listen to what they say. Through this communication, we shape the realm of the possible for ourselves.

Our role models give meaning to the mantra that anything is possible if we believe it and we work for it. Role models don’t promise us that making our dreams come true will be easy – far from it. They show us, with their hard work, determination and grit, that the extraordinary can be ours if we step out of our ordinary routines and go for that extra. 

Through the years that I’ve done triathlons, various people–some strangers, some friends–have helped shape my ideas about what is possible, by encouraging me to set big goals and to give everything I’ve got in the pursuit of those goals.

While I didn’t necessarily realize it at the time, my seemingly impossible dream about a slot on the big island began to take shape In October, 2009. I watched the stream of the Ironman World Championships as a petite professional triathlete ran her way into second place with one of the most amazing runs I had ever seen. It was her first Ironman ever, and her first marathon ever.

I was immediately in awe.

While Mirinda Carfrae’s run was kinetic beauty, she has inspired me beyond that. Through the years, I’ve felt somewhat shadowed (pun intended) by the taller female competitors. But, “Rinny” has shown me – year after year after year – that little bits can play too; little bits can be fierce scrappers.

When Rinny set the course record in 2013, a person, let’s call her Sally, said to me, “Until I saw Carfrae cross that finish line as tiny but as fast as she is, I didn’t think you could beat the bigger women in your age group.” Read the rest of this entry »

Wrapping Your Mind Around This Thing: 2015 Florida Double Anvil

“Perseverance is not a long race. It is many short races one after the other.”

~Walter Elliot

“So, do you have your mind wrapped around this thing?” John asked me a few days before the 2015 Florida Double Anvil (double iron-distance triathlon), which was held on March 6-7 in Tampa, Florida.

I paused.

He has never in all of the history of the things we’ve done asked me that question, which led me to question myself. Wait! Do I have my head wrapped around this “thing”? 

“Um, I…uh, what do you mean? Do I have a race plan?” I asked.

“Not a race plan – I mean have you thought about what this is going to take?”

2015 Florida Double Anvil

I posted this tweet a few days before the race. I had moments when I realized just what exactly was in store for me – only to quickly bury those thoughts deeply lest I lose my nerve.

“I’m going to swim, bike and run until I finish,” I replied, trying to hide my creeping feelings as my brain began to whine with uncertainty.

“Okay, as long as you’ve committed up here,” John pointed to his head, “that’s what you need to do.”

Pre-race pep talk complete.

Yup, fully committed… or committable. I forget which one.

2015 Florida Double Anvil

When you finish any Anvil race, you must strike the anvil as many times as you completed the anvil. So, for a double – that’s two times. The hammer is 3 pounds, so that’s a big ask! (Photo taken by Dan Elliott, and used here with permission, www.danelliott.com. Thanks, Dan!)

While I did my best to imagine various race day scenarios, I wonder how anyone could ever have their mind wrapped fully around this thing. I finished the race, and I’m still not sure I have my mind wrapped around what happened out there.

Pre-race, I had moments of fear, excitement, uncertainty, pleasurable anticipation, nervousness, eagerness. I cycled through the positive and the negative – working to reject the negative voices when they wanted to introduce doubt. Every time I let the idea of 281.2 miles enter my thoughts, I had an instinctive response to immediately STOP thinking about the totality.

To state the obvious: it’s a long race.

The Florida Double Anvil features a 4.8 mile swim done as 76 laps in a 50 meter outdoor pool, a 224 mile bike done as 31 laps (plus several miles of riding between the pool and Flatwoods Park where the bike and run take place), and a 52.4 mile run done as 30 laps. Between each lap on the bike and the run course, you come through “Tent City,” where all of the crews are located. Read the rest of this entry »

Where the @#$%# have I been?

It’s been six weeks since my last post – this silence from the woman who rarely finds herself without something to say! So, where the #$@$%& have I been? Hiding under a rock? Escaped from the country? Cowering from the glare of the social media sphere? Buried under a pile of dirty laundry?

None of the above, except for the dirty laundry part.

I’ve been working my part time “job” – otherwise known as training for the Florida Double Anvil, which is a double-iron distance ultra triathlon to be held March 6-7 in Tampa, Florida. When I first started this training journey, my original intention was to write weekly updates about the training–my observations, insights, and general tomfoolery.

Is that....? Nope, just me, tooling around, neglecting my lady-scaping.

Is that….? Nope, just me, tooling around, neglecting my lady-scaping.

But then the training started in earnest, and the volume piled on top of the volume, as did plates of food on top of plates of food. Needless to say, something had to take a back seat. That “something” included 1) my social life, including even the general nicety to say hello or good night to John, 2) certain bits of self-maintenance such as shaving, and 3) this blog.

It’s not that I haven’t had ideas for blog posts – quite the opposite. One mentally composes many a fantabulous gem in 25-30 hours a week of training. The trick was finding a way to keep my eyes open long enough to actually write and edit those Pulitizer Prize winning babies. The “posts” page of my dashboard is littered with half-started, sleepy-eyed, training-crazed ideas.

There was the post that was to be titled, “Just Wait a Minute,” inspired by the 50k training run I did a two weeks back. This run began in the snow, which turned into rain, and then eventually into sleet. I likened it to the Postal Service equivalent of trail running.

I experienced moments of wondering when the misery would end, if perhaps a hunter in the woods might mistake me for a wounded animal and be done with me. These moments were abruptly juxtaposed to those times when I was be-bopping along, singing to the sounds of my favorite trash music.

Time and again in this training, I’ve been reminded of a very important training adage: If you don’t like how you are feeling, just eat some calories. Drink some water. Wait a few minutes. Voila! Read the rest of this entry »

Patient Aggression: Reflection on the Year of the Plow Horse

Little did I know a year ago, when I dubbed 2014 the “Year of the Plow Horse,” how much I would come to depend on the characteristics of the reliable ol’ plow horse to make it through some of the more challenging races I’ve done.plow horse copy

The plow horse is a strong, sturdy animal. She has a lot of work to do, but she can’t rush through it and burn out. No! The plow horse must be patient as she pursues the goals for the day, the week, the month, the year.

The plow horse has been uniquely bred with the intention to balance both speed and muscle, giving her the ability to work hard for an extended period of time. Forget cheetahs. They suck. They just can’t hang for the all day deal. Indeed, the endurance sport community should seriously consider adopting the mighty plow horse as our official mascot.

Channeling the strength, the sturdiness, the endurance and the patience of the plow horse is what got me to the finish line in race after race throughout 2014.

First, there was the Florida Intimidator, in Clermont, with its single aid station in the Florida sunshine and heat. No matter – the plow horse trudges on with or without water!

Then, we went to the hills of Pennsylvania for the Lake Raystown Half iron, where the advertised gain for the half distance was 2,000 feet. In reality it was just shy of 5,000 feet. 2,000 feet. 5,000 feet. Whatevs…  It doesn’t matter to the plow horse. Steady she climbs.

By June it was time for Ironman Coeur d’Alene – the “A” race of the season – the race in which I was hoping to finally do it: qualify for Kona. Ah, yes, a plow horse’s dream! Ironman Coeur d’Alene, where the winds blew 25 mph, and the chop in the 60-degree lake slapped you around like your silly Aunt Sally. Ironman Coeur d’Alene – where I almost coulda, shoulda been a contender – but I fell 90 seconds short of the last qualifying slot. Tough break – but the plow horse sees the long game. It’s not over; there is more work to be done.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the content of this post. It's just funny.

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with the content of this post. It’s just funny. And, evidence that my ass is indeed as big as I claim it to be. Not fishing for you to say it’s smaller – I’m proud of my Plow Horse Ass. ;)

So, onward to Ironman Louisville, my last chance for a lost cause. Ironman Lousville, with the temps near 100 degrees, and the sun shining brightly, baking you like sweet potato fries, except not so sweetly or yummily. But, the plow horse knows: she who stays the course and doesn’t give in to the pain (or the inability to breathe) wins the day!

Thanks to IM Lou, I found my way to the Ironman World Championships (and not a moment too soon, my readers say! This blog was becoming a repetitive advertisement for that race.) As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for – you might just get 40 mile an hour winds. But, the plow horse stays the course (or tries to as the wind whips her from one side of the road to the other).

The Year of the Plow Horse – 2014 – was a challenging year, slower year than 2013, but equally rewarding for so many reasons – many of which have not a dang thing to do with Kona (although it helped ;)). I faced conditions and challenges that several years ago would have had me laying on the side of the road in a ditch, praying for a plow horse to come pick me up. Read the rest of this entry »

Trainer Time: 3 bike trainer workouts for triathletes

IMG_3912

Trainer time is romantic time in our household. John and I on a recent long ride in prep for the Florida Double Anvil.

I could blame the colder temperatures for the time I spend on the trainer, but that would be dishonest. I ride (and like to ride) the trainer year-round, and I find for shorter workouts, it can’t be beat for time efficiency – as well as the ability to nail a workout without worrying about stop signs, squirrels, flying saucers or cars.

Even so, John and I are just a little bit crazy with the time we are willing to put into the trainer. We’ve done quite a few 6 hour heat acclimation rides, and we are steadily working up to 12-14 hours in preparation for the Florida Double Anvil, which will be on March 6-7.

Suffice to say, I have plenty of time to think about trainer workouts. In the past few weeks, I’ve developed a few that I really like, and I wanted to share 3 bike trainer workouts for triathletes that I though you all might find helpful.

But, don’t worry: none of these workouts are over 90 minutes (unless you want them to be!). Each session can be adapted to be shorter or longer depending on where you are in your season and the specific needs of the race you are training for.

Cycling Efficiency

It’s always a good time to work on the efficiency of your pedal stroke, which if you are like most triathletes (who aren’t uber cyclists), you probably aren’t giving that much consideration to form. There are several different ways to work on cycling efficiency, including single leg drills, and high cadence drills. I’ve been mixing up these various drills, plus a few more that I’ve found, to create a series of efficiency sessions.

The one I’m sharing with you in this post focuses on highlighting the pull and push phases of the pedal stroke. Read the rest of this entry »

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