Asking the Right Questions: Be a Student of Your Sport

John and I were pretty clueless when we first started in endurance sport. How do we train for a triathlon or marathon? What type of fueling works best, what gear do we need? And that list of questions went on and on and on. We aren’t the type of people who like to revel in ignorance, so we asked questions of more experienced people. A lot of them. We bought books, subscribed to magazines, scoured the web, went to seminars, hired coaches, eventually became coaches ourselves – everything we could do to learn as much as we could to prepare ourselves for …

So you want to qualify for Kona? Consider these 5 key principles

For many triathletes, the Ironman World Championship race in Kailua-Kona represents the crown jewel, the mecca, the peak, the main event, the…–oh let’s face it, it’s perceived as the ultimate set of bee’s knees for long course triathletes. While not everyone wants to race there, most long-course athletes will speak wistfully of what it would be like (or what it was like) to race K. O. N. A. Four years ago, I announced on this blog that I wanted to qualify for Kona. At that time, I had a very vague (and quite naive) idea of what it would take to find …

Post-Race Analysis: Next Time I’ll Be Bulletproof

The final 10k of Ironman Lake Placid 2013 haunts me. After almost a year, I finally did the type of post-race analysis that I recommend for my athletes. Sadly, I confirmed what I had guessed to be true for the past year: if I had I stayed on the pace I ran for the first 18 miles of the marathon, I would have run from 11th place off the bike into 4th place in the final mile or two, and the Kona slot would have been mine. Instead, I finished in 6th place, and a little under 5 minutes from the glory spot. …

Preparation Rituals: Ironman Race Week Tips

Ironman race week is here. The training is done. All that remains are the final, don’t-mess-this-up-now preparations. It can be quite easy to get off track in the final days leading into an Ironman: there’s so much excitement, new places to explore, people to chat up, gear bags to pack, bikes to drop off, athlete dinners to attend, expos to walk through. All of this excitement seems cruel at a time when you need to relax, rest and reserve energy. It can be very easy to go off the rails and make decisions that could affect you on race day. …

The *other* 4 letter word: ITBS

Okay, okay: technically ITBS is not a word. But, I can use a four letter word to describe how completely frustrating this condition is. In the past several weeks, I’ve talked with quite a few people on Twitter, Facebook and in the flesh about their trials with ITBS – otherwise known as iliotibial band syndrome. The sad fact is that if you are a runner, you are very likely to get at least a minor bout of ITBS at some point in your running career. In fact, ITBS is one of the leading causes of lateral knee pain among runners. I had …

Balance your body to prevent (and recover from) injuries

Most of us have some type of muscular imbalance–even if we don’t know it yet. Unfortunately, these imbalances usually make themselves known in the form of an injury. But, we can assess and address muscular imbalance before we find ourselves on the DL. If you are already dealing with an injury from a tough season, well, this post can help you too. During the USAT Level 1 coaching clinic that John and I attended in October, we heard quite a bit about muscular imbalances that are typical for runners and triathletes. And, a year of battling with ITBS has taught …

How can we fit it all in?

If you are going to train for an endurance event, you need time. No shocker there, right? Preparation for distance events, such as marathons and triathlons, can require anywhere from 10 to 25 hours a week. With family, friends, work, household chores and so on, it is challenging to find that “extra” time for focused training. Even more daunting still are the hidden time costs that come from doing extra laundry, preparing food, traveling to races or group training sessions, ensuring proper recovery, and of course, blogging and logging training milestones. While I wrote about time management last year, an …

Fartlek Freestylin’: Muscular Endurance Rides on the CompuTrainer

Effective endurance training must incorporate sessions that work on muscular endurance, which Joe Friel and Gordo Byrn (2009) define as the point “where force meets endurance [which] allows the athlete to apply a fairly large force for a fairly long time and is essential for cycling” (p. 27). In a little more than three weeks, muscular endurance will power me up Whiteface Mountain, and help me push through those relentless rolling hills that make the Ironman Lake Placid course so challenging. In the early base phase of training (January and February), most of my workouts focused simply on re-establishing and …

CompuTrainer’s Coaching Software versus 3D Software: Assessing value for interval training

The CompuTrainer comes with three software options for loading rides: 3D software, Coaching Software, and the Real Course Video. Each of these packages has advantages and disadvantages for the particular type of workout you want to complete on the CompuTrainer. My “everyday” training is done using either the 3D software or the Coaching Software, saving my Lake Placid RCV for “special” occasions :). So, I thought I’d offer up my thoughts about the relative advantages of the two packages, specifically with respect to interval training. Until last week, I followed the prescription in the Performance Improvement Gurantee (PIG) program, and …

You spin my wheel *the right way* round: Using the Spin Scan Analyzer

In my maybe-not-so-humble opinion, I’ve had a successful 7 weeks of cycling, both on the CompuTrainer (CT) and on the Road. I’ve steadily increased my average watts across all types of rides. During my first three weeks with the CompuTrainer, from February 19-March 13, I averaged 159.9 watts on all of my rides combined. During the past four weeks (March 14-April 9), that average has risen to 170.7 watts (2.9 watts/kilogram). After the Boston Marathon (April 18th), I plan to do another FTP test to mark improvement in my power threshold. Stay posted for that number coming soon! I’ve taken …