Monday, December 30, 2013

Re-post... Stress + Rest = Progress

With the sun setting on 2013 this week, many people will be setting New Year's resolutions.  In the health and fitness industry, we see a huge surge at the gym.  Masters swim programs, running and cycling groups all see an increase in activity and workout participation.  So, I thought it would be a good time to share the post form earlier in the year as a reminder to keep the balance with your training.  This will hopefully allow you to stay healthy which leads to consistency in training which leads to you reaching your goals for the 2014 year.

One of my favorite authors, Matthew Kelly has a saying he calls “carefree timelessness”, such a simple yet powerful statement.  I drew the inspiration for this article on a training break as I spent the morning lazily wandering along a river taking pictures of my friends fly-fishing.  The landscape was stunning and as the morning progressed, large billowy clouds slowly formed on the mountaintops surrounding the valley.  The sound of the leaves rustling in the gentle breeze was both soothing and cooling and the thought of a nap crossed my mind on more than once occasion. 

From an athletic standpoint, we call this a recovery day or in some cases a recovery week.  It is just as important to schedule rest and recovery days, as it is the hard training days.  Rest is when the training adaptations occur and too much training without taking into account recovery, can lead to injury and burnout. Stress is the combination of workouts that challenge both your body and mind.  Rest comes in the form of easy training days or complete days off from exercise.  Progress is made when you have the optimum balance of stress and rest. This balance will be different for every individual.

When setting up a training plan for an athlete, balancing the stress and rest of training is a top priority.  First and foremost is the age of the athlete.  Let’s face it; we just don’t bounce back like we did when we were kids.  That said the adult athlete can still perform at a very high levels of intensity, but is just takes longer to recovery from those efforts.  Other things to be considered are current level of fitness, number of years in the sport, past or present injuries, demands of job, family obligations and how much can they train versus how much they are willing to train.

But, what if you’re not training for an event?  What can you do to add a little rest and recovery into your day?  Try taking time to check in with yourself, hitting the reset button and putting the fast paced world on hold.  It does not have to be a long period of time by any means even five minutes will do.   Some people find mornings are best to check in and set your intentions before beginning the day.  Others may find a mid-day break is just what they need before diving back into the afternoon to do list. Or maybe you prefer some quiet time in the evening to unwind and decompress from it all. 

Really it can be pretty much anytime that works for you.  One of my colleagues, Cris Dobrosielski, has a saying that I really like, “small consistent change, over a significant period of time, leads to monumental results”.  Five minutes may not seem like a lot, but it can have a big impact over time if you are consistent.  So, keep searching to find your optimum balance, not only sport, but in everything you do in life.

Best of luck in all you set out to do in 2014 and Happy New Year!

Coach Eric

Friday, December 20, 2013

2013...almost history. The future... a mystery!

The end of the calendar year is often a time to look back and reflect on what has transpired the past 365 days.   So, before the year comes to an end in 8 days,  I challenge you to set a side a little time to reflect back on what 2013 has meant to you and answer this one question before getting too carried away with thinking ahead to 2014.

Do you know why you do what you do?

If you know the why, then the how you do it and what you do will take care of themselves.  This could be applied to many aspects of one's waking life such as work, school & sport to name a few. 

If 2013 was a year you considered successful, then keep building on that momentum.  If the year had some bumpy patches, try to learn from those experiences and bring that new knowledge forward into 2014.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Coach Eric 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Run... The hour of Power

Thought I would take advantage of the layover in Singapore to share this great 1 hour run workout I love to do while on travel. 

Really quite simple, and can be done on any type of surface: road, trail, snow, treadmill and terrain: flat, rolling or hilly route.

9 min easy/1 min hard
8 min easy/1 min hard 
7 min easy/1 min hard
6 min easy/1 min hard
5 min easy/1 min hard
4 min easy/1 min hard
3 min easy/1 min hard
2 min easy/1 min hard
1 min easy/1 min hard
1 min what ever you have left in the tank

Finish up with 5 min cool down and you have 60 minutes on the nose.

So, you end up getting some speed in as well as a progression type workout as the rest time between efforts gradually decreases. 

Make it a great week!

Coach Eric 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Catching up with Kyle in Cottesloe, Australia

Warm up time.... 50M pool at Scocth School

Kyle in action!

The Aussies love their swimming.  With over 60 (50M) meter pools in the Perth area alone, no wonder there are so many good swimmers down under.  Water sports are a big part of the Aussie culture.  Head to the ocean and you will find surf lifesaving clubs are scattered up and down the coast from Cottesloe Beach. 
Last week, I dropped in on a swim squad that Kyle trains with from time to time and snapped a few pics from his last long session (a little over 7K) before IM Western Australia.  This particular squad is in preparation for the biggest open water swim in this part of Western Australia, the Rottnest Channel Swim next February.  After the session, we sat down and chatted more about his training.

What got you into triathlons?  
Kyle - It was a slow progression in 2010 when I did the bike leg for a relay team in a 1/2 IM and that inspired me to try a 1/2 IM on my own in 2011.  In addition to the 1/2 IM that year,  I competed in a number of sprint and olympic distance events.  I have a good good support group of friends to train and race with and in 2013, a few committed to going "the full hog" and signed up for the Western Australia IM in Busselton Dec 8th, 2013

Why do you want to do an Ironman?  
Kyle - Looking for a bigger challenge and it seemed like a natural progression after completing the 1/2 IM distance.

How do you feel your Army training has helped you prepare for the IM?  
Kyle - For starters, it has gotten me used to sleep deprivation, but more importantly, the discipline and mental toughness that the Army training has instilled in me has been a great asset.  The flip side is the IM training has allowed me to better develop my endurance.  Only being 23, in the past I have been too aggressive in my training so, taking on the IM distance has taught me how to be patient with a better long term approach to my overall fitness.

How do you keep the balance with school, work, girlfriend, family and training? 
Kyle - I sometimes tread a fine line between too much training and too little study.  Better planning of my days and cutting out unnecessary tasks is the key.  The bottom line, it comes down to one word: efficiency.  My girlfriend has been very supportive of the training and I look forward to the time we spend together away from our studies and work; often taking the option of a stroll along the beach or at a park to unwind.

What is your favorite recovery meal?  
Kyle - For sure a smoothie post ride or run taste great.  Coach has been showing me how to "really eat" after a tough training session.  My new favorite smoothie is chocolate milk, with bananas, a few ice cubes and scoop of protein powder.

What is he saying to that gel?
Lots of gear to choose from

Just like this pic!

Anything else you would like to add? 
Kyle - Don't under estimate the logistics of training and the time commitment of Ironman and endurance sports.  A good way to be efficient with my cycling training was commuting to Uni.  Sometimes as a recovery from a workout, other times serving as a warm up for a workout.  Set up your training groups to help you stay on task and motivated in the training.  We usually have a large group that heads down for the 1/2 IM every year now and a little healthy competition can be a great motivator.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Training and racing abroad

So, you want to travel to a foreign country, see some sites, stay fit and maybe even race.  Training and racing abroad is a great experience and with a little bit of planning, you can make the most of your time abroad.  Here are a few things to consider before you depart, during travel and once you have arrived.

Pre trip – Make a list!  Sounds simple, but is most helpful.  Take a few moments before you depart to educate yourself a little bit more about where you are traveling too.  Paper maps are quite helpful to keep handy in case Google maps or the Garmin is not working.   Make extra (Paper) copies of passport, credit cards, travel itinerary and any contact info in case you loose anything or your smart phone gets stolen/lost or won’t charge.   Notify your credit card company of the dates you plan to travel to avoid delays making any purchases.  Arrange for transportation to your accommodations ahead of time instead of trying to figure it out when you arrive and are tired. 

Travel – Allow enough time to not have to rush.  Check in, baggage, customs, all take a little more time than domestic travel.  Have a small amount of local currency when you arrive to cover anything that may arise.   Wear comfortable and functional clothes/shoes for travel.   Sometimes you have a lot of walking to do along with baggage and possibly a bike box.

Food & Hydration - Drink plenty of water on the plane and during the travel day.  Pack a few snacks in case you have delays or not feeling like eating the airline food.   However, be aware of any food restrictions of your destination country, as you may have to declare items you are brining into country on your customs forms.  Some countries you cannot bring certain foods in at all so, don’t bother bringing it along unless you plan to consume it on the plane or on any layovers.  

Time change – Give you body a few days to adjust from the travel.  Best thing I have found to help this is upon arrival get some kind of easy workout in.  You are an athlete after all.  Helps the body loosen up from the flight/train and starts getting your reset on local time.   Set an alarm to get up the following morning on local time as well and keep drinking water!

Rules of the road, local customs – Here in Australia, when you ride a bike, you must wear a helmet otherwise be subject to a fine.  Also, vehicles travel on the other side of the road compared to the states, so when you step off the curb, or merge into traffic look right first.  Speed limit signs are in KMH not MPH.    Dining out in some countries the tip is already include in the bill. 

Check out the course – Course knowledge is always helpful so plan on driving or riding part of the course before race day to get more familiar.   Pay attention to road surfaces, wind conditions and what parts of the course are and are not open to traffic on race day.  Great to get in the water at the swim finish area so you can get some land based objects to site on for the end of your swim.

Where are you going to travel next?  Don't forget the camera!

Make it a great week,
Coach Eric

Monday, November 11, 2013

What happened to common sense... if your exhausted... REST!

Aristotle, who is the first person known to have discussed "common sense". He was describing the ability with which animals (including humans) process sense perceptions, memories and imagination (phronein) in order to reach many types of basic judgments. But only humans have real reasoned thinking (noein).

I think endurance athletes are loosing touch with things a bit in particular their common sense.  Often times I hear athletes say they were exhausted and wonder to myself, "why are they going to attempt a workout today".  Now I know sometimes one can become tired from training and you need to stress the body from time to time to gain some improvement.  But, if you had just raced an IM a little over 3 weeks ago and I am hearing you say you're are exhausted, don't ya think it might be better to take the day off instead of creating more fatigue which continues to delay the full recovery process.

People, when are you going to get it?  Do you need to be sick, fevered and injured before you stop training or take a much deserved break?  I am seeing this more and more with age group athletes who train like professional athletes, while working a full time job.  Sure you can train like them in a physical way, but there is no way you are going to recover like they do because you just don't have that much free time for naps, weekly massages and general downtime to rejuvenate.  Some age group athletes eventually gets to the point of being so run down from lack of adequate rest, combined with pushing their training limits, that even a 3 week taper is not going to bring them to race day fully prepared.  Always better to be 10% undertrained than 1% over trained when going into your priority races for the season.

Take the runners from Kenya, when they are done for the season, they are done.  Some will not run for 2 or 3 weeks some not even for a month.  They just take a complete break, no cross training, just total downtime.  I belief this downtime allows them to maintain the focus and intensity when they are training.  Most elite Kenyan runners run 2 times a day and some 3 times a day.  They usually start with a morning run around 6am, after that return to bed to rest for the main session around 10am. Lunch and more rest and some will run again in the afternoon.  Now I know this is the elite, but my point is by having the real downtime, it allows them to hit a very high level focussed bit of training when called for.

In the western world, 2-3 weeks of downtime is going to drive the type A athlete and those around him/her completely NUTS!  I have written about this before and will continue to do so in future posts, TRAINING IS RECOVERY BASED!  Easy means easy, hard means hard, day off means, day off.  Combine that with some common sense and you may just reach your next goal healthy and happy.  Pay attention to your self talk.  Are you saying "I have to workout" vs "I want to workout"  When the have to's start becoming the norm,  overtraining, burnout and injury are getting bigger in the rear view mirror for sure.

If you need help, get it.  There are plenty of great coaches out there who can help you balance the training load with all your other activities.  Don't be afraid to do a little less especially if this is supposed to be your off season.

Make it a great week!

Coach Eric

Monday, November 4, 2013

You are what you eat!

The foods we eat help nourish our body/mind for optimal health.  But, not all foods are created equally. 
There is debate whether organic foods are better from a nutritional standpoint than non-organic foods.  But the bigger picture I think lies in the use of pesticides on non-organic foods.  

Switching to an all organic diet can be more expensive, especially if you live where growing your own produce is challenging.  One thing you can do however is to try eating organic on what the Environmental Working Group calls "The Dirty Dozen".  Some research suggests that by going organic when purchasing these foods, you may be able to eliminate up to 80% of the pesticides in your diet. 

"The Dirty Dozen"
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Hot Peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach/Kale
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Bell Peppers 
So, try making your local farmers markets and the organic produce section a frequent place to shop for your fruits and veggies.

Make it a great week!

Coach Eric

Sunday, October 27, 2013

You can make a difference!

This past weekend I had the opportunity to run a local Halloween 5K here in Fort Collins that the CSU Triathlon team was hosting.  The morning weather was crisp, and the skies crystal clear making for a perfect running day with the fall colors in full bloom.  This would be a different race experience for me as I would be pushing an athlete for Athletes in Tandem.  During my life, I have been fortunate to work with all kinds of athletes in the water, on the bike or run and on the ski hill, that have have been challenged in one way or another.  But this day was different.  My athlete James was counting on me 100% so he could feel the warmth of the sun on his body and the wind in his face as we zoomed around the CSU campus.

Warming up and learning how to steer properly

We lined up at the start line and once the gun went off settled into a good pace.  James was very vocal during the run and when we passed people along the course he was always raising his hands and just genuinely fired up.  He is a competitor for sure.  A couple of the other Athletes in Tandem athletes passed us during the race and when this happened, he would look up and stare at me for about 5-6 seconds.  If I was reading his mind correctly I think he was telling me "could ya move a little bit faster"
The 5K went by very quick and we made it to the finish line along with all the other athletes.  *Note even on a cool morning, running in a full tiger costume can get quite warm, but worth every drop of sweat!

Post race

Sometimes we take for granted all the choices we have for our own health and wellness.  Today was a humble reminder that not everyone has those choices.  So, I leave you with this challenge to do these 2 things as often as you can.  
1.  Keep making the most out of everyday as no one is promised tomorrow. 
2. Take the time to make someone else's day, just a little bit better.

Make it a great week!

Coach Eric

Monday, October 21, 2013

Happy Shoulders... Happy Swimmer

Dog paddle is a great drill!

In order to train consistently for swimming or any other sport, one needs to remain healthy.  Deliberate, focussed practice must be implemented in all training sessions.  That combined with consistency in your training will give you the best chance to progress.

Check out this video "Prevent swimmers shoulders...Injury prehab program" that the folks at Vasa Inc made back in 2010.  Simple, effective, sport specific exercises that will keep your shoulders healthy and swimming through the winter months.

Make it a great week of training,
Coach Eric

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall Fitness

The long days of summer are fading, but that does not mean your health and fitness needs to fade as well.   From an exercise standpoint, there are plenty of things you can continue doing this fall to maintain your summer fitness gains.  In addition to exercise, two other things play an equally important role in maintaining optimal fitness and they are balanced nutrition and adequate sleep.   Just imagine if we could do just those three things consistently how much better we would feel every day. 

#1 Regular Exercise – The benefits of exercise are to numerous to list. There are so many great ways to get exercise especially living along the Front Range.  I would encourage you to have a variety of activities to choose from.  Variety is the spice of life and participating in different forms of exercise is a great way to cross train and help keep overuse injuries down.  With the weather changing, you may need to take some of your exercise indoors, or just get some better gear to handle the cooler weather.  Either way, you need to keep moving regardless of the temperature.  Exercise is probably one of the best ways to change your mood.  Think about it, when was the last time you finished a workout and felt depressed, or grumpy?  Yes, you may be tired, but it is a good tired that in turn may help you with #3 below.  Whether you exercise by yourself or with a group just be consistent in trying to get some movement each and every day.

#2 Balanced Nutrition – Similar to sleep, everyone is going to have their own specific needs depending on age, level of activity or trying to lose, maintain or gain weight.  A balanced diet of foods is fuel for optimal mental and physical energy.  Here is a simple thing to do that just requires a little bit of discipline.  Find out what you are really eating every day by keeping a food journal.    Try the journal for three days and write down everything you eat & drink.  This can be a big eye opener for a lot of people in terms of how much or little they are eating as well as the quality in food choices.  Often times, just the act of keeping a food journal will help you make better food choices.   From this you will have a better idea on what foods you may need to add to your diet as well as those that may need to be consumed in more moderation or eliminated to maintain a healthy body composition.

#3 Adequate Sleep – Our own personal energy level could be one of our most valuable resources and sleep plays a big role in this.  With adequate sleep you have a much better chance of success with #1 and #2 above, so make it a priority.  People have different sleep requirements, so the key is finding out what yours are and then doing your best to get those zzz’s.  Some people do fine on 6-7 hours a night, others need 8+ and teenagers can never seem to get enough.  Proper sleep allows our bodies to rejuvenate and recover from the day’s activities

We all have 24 hours each day, no more, no less.  Make the choice to get a little exercise each and every day.  This combined with balanced nutrition and adequate sleep is a great recipe for maintaining a healthy mind & body! 

Make it a great week of training,
Coach Eric

Monday, October 7, 2013

Run drills then hit the trails!

Fall color along I-70 Vail, CO

Fall is a great time of year to get out on the trails for more XC running.  This also means that if you have been running mostly on the roads with flat, level surfaces, your ankles and muscles of the lower leg may need a little tuning up. Here are some basic running drills that you can incorporate into any run as part of warm up, during the run or cool down.

Have a GREAT Monday and hope you're making the most of your day.

Coach Eric

Monday, September 30, 2013

Have a plan... Race your race

On October 12th, athletes from around the world will be stepping up to race at the IM World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.  For some it will be a return to the Big Island of Hawaii, others there first attempt on the course that Julie Moss put on the map back in 1982 (See the video )

But what makes this race and the days leading up to it just a bit different from any other IM?  Well there are a number of things but two stick out in my mind, the competition and the course.

Competition - You have the best of the best in 2013 bringing their "A" game ready to challenge their bodies and minds.  As athletes start rolling into town (well flying), the energy starts to build.  The morning swims down at the pier get more crowded as swimmers start getting used to the ocean conditions and race week there usually is a boat serving coffee about 400M off the pier.  Out on the Queen K athletes are putting in their final miles/km doing, tempo work, seeing how the bike handles in gusty cross winds, headwinds, tailwinds and making sure all systems are in working order after being put back together.  Along Ali' Drive runners scurry about and make new friends while striking up a conversation at the aid stations put out for training.  It is easy to get psyched out as so many fit and fast bodies are zooming all over the place and you feel the urge to push a little hard.  Now is not the time for that.  Stick to your plan and don't go chasing down some uber cyclist, or keep pace with someone on Ali'i.  Save it for race day!

#2 The course itself.  Ocean swim...This may seem trivial to some, but can freak others out who have never swam in a body of water where you can see everything and the current or swells are moving your body all over the place.  One minute you're headed for the Royal Kona, the next out to sea towards Maui.  For 8 years I lived, trained and coached in Kona and was fortunate to race their 3 x with a PR of 10:06 in 2010.  I have seen some pretty windy days out on the bike and that combined with the heat and humidity can humble even the most hardened athlete.  That is why you have to have a plan to manage not only the race, but particularly the bike segment (50+% of your day) and stick to that plan.  Should the winds decide to crank it up aka headwind from Kawaihae or Waikoloa all the way back to town, you must let go of any pre conceived notion of a time you are trying to achieve, otherwise you will bury yourself for the run.  Accept the fact that you can be riding in the single digits when going up any of the rollers if Madame Pele is blowing hard.  The Run is tough in any IM distance race, but running on a paved road in the middle of a lava field during the second 1/2 of the run will really test your limits both mentally and physically.

Kona is a special place to race no question about it.  Whether your racing Kona or doing your first triathlon, Have a plan... Race your race!

Make it a great week of training.
Coach Eric

Monday, September 23, 2013

Wanna get faster...."Take a Walk"

Calling ALL athletes.... Do your Easy... EASY and your Hard... HARD!

So simple, yet so effective.  Some of my best ideas have come while walking, (this post and others) because it allows me to slow down and get in tune with what I need for my mind & body.   But how is walking going to help me get faster?

At work, a short, 3- 5 minute walk to get up from the computer or just stretch the legs out is a great way to get refocused.  This length of walk is also a great way to start and finish a run or any workout in the gym.  Try using walks in the 20-30 minute range on a day of no swim, bike, run, core strength, etc... as a way to just loosen up a bit, aid in the recovery process and quite your mind because you are not working out in your chosen sport(s)

Remember training is recovery based.  Can't tell you how many athletes I have seen over the years that are stuck in the middle with performance and often injury prone.  Active rest, recovery workouts, zone 1, whatever name you want to give it, it must be EASY! Otherwise, when it is time for endurance, tempo, threshold, VO2, Zone 5ab or C, Anaerobic, etc... you will be compromised in these sessions and struggle to meet the training objectives of the workout.  Allow yourself the time to go easy when called for, so you can maximize your training time and adapt to the harder training sessions.

Finally, Taking a walk allows me the time to reflect on what I have accomplished both personally and professionally.  A time to set my intensions & desires for what I want to accomplish in the future.  A time to just practice present moment awareness and embrace where I am at right now!

If you have questions on setting up structured rest and specific training plans, please contact me at

Make it a great week of training and try taking a walk if you do not already incorporate that into your day!

Coach Eric

Monday, September 16, 2013

Swim Technique 101 & the Vasa Ergometer

Let's see... does anyone want to improve technique, reduce injuries and swim faster?  Try incorporating some of these basic swimming principals in the video below during your next swim.  (Video is about 5 minutes)

These simple focus points can be included in warm up, part of a main set or cool down. By breaking the stroke down into components, it helps you identify not only your strengths, but your weaknesses.  Is my entry to wide, too narrow?  Am I setting a good catch or dropping my elbow?  Is my recovery relaxed? Sometimes just focussing on one of these can help reset your swimming stroke and help you find balance in the water.  Repetition through deliberate practice while training in the pool or on the Vasa Ergometer will help you maximize your time spent training. 

For more questions on how I may be able to hep you with your swimming, please contact me at

Make it a great week of training.
Coach Eric

Monday, September 9, 2013

Re-Post "The Stick before a Run or Ride"

Make the time for a proper warm up before your workouts.  Here is a video I had posted earlier this year on a short, effective warm up for the legs using "The Stick"

Also, starting a 10 Week program this Wednesday designed to improve your running efficiency and run a fast mile in Mid-November.  More info, please contact me at

Make it a great week,
Coach Eric

Monday, September 2, 2013

Work the Core

Photo: Bill Greentree

I was reviewing some articles the other day and came across a good one on "The Core", how it is used when running and some simple exercises you can implement.

When you have a moment, check it out The Core

Happy Labor Day and make it a great week.

Coach Eric

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

ABC's of optimal health

It has been a while since my last post.  This is due to two things: 1) way too much outdoor fun in the Colorado summer and 2) not having any topics that have motivated me to write more on.  So, after some good suggestions from Cortney Martin, you can check her blog out here at and some more reflecting over mexican food the other night I thought I would start real simple.

If you could do just 3 things that would help you improve & maintain optimal health, what would they be?

Adequate sleep - Some are fine on 6-7 hours, others need 8+ Find what your body needs and get to bed!

Balanced nutrition - Keep it simple here 80% of the time be mindful in your food choices, 20% of the time allow yourself some flexibility just don't go nuts.

Consistent exercise - Anything is better than nothing and there are so many ways to get a workout in.  Just try to do something on most days of the week.

So, just like when you were a kid, practice your ABC's

Make it a great week!
Coach Eric

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Just a few benefits of using the Vasa Ergometer

I was going to write about swim training this week, but I came across a great post, first in a 3 part series that Cortney Martin wrote for VASA Inc that I thought you should read.  

Here is the link titled When the pool is not an option

Make it a great week of training,
Coach Eric

Monday, July 22, 2013

Medley Monday add's some variety

The Italian's love their cycling 

When I was swimming, I used to love doing IM workouts on Monday's and coined the phrase: "Medley Monday".  This was followed by "Turbo Tuesday", Wacky Wednesday", Thrasher Thursday", "Fun Friday", and "Super Saturday".  As triathletes we compete using the freestyle stroke, but that does not mean we should ignore the other strokes.  I feel it is important to train all the strokes to enhance ones feel for the water, help with injury prevention and add some variety to the training session.  Now you don't have to be turning out 400 IM's like Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps, but if you do decide to embrace the other strokes, put backstroke at the top of the list.  It is the one stroke that lets you unwind your arms a bit and real easy to work a few strokes in during any race to just loosen up before rolling back onto your stomach.  Plus you can see who has been smacking your feet!

Taking the "Medley Monday" approach a bit further, one can apply it to running and cycling very easily.  Mix up training routes into A) flat, B) rolling, C) hills, or D all of the above.  
Mix up training intensity into A) easy, B) moderate, C) hard, D all of the above
Now, I am not saying you should vary your training all the time, but during different times of the year, you most certainly should include a good mix of both training routes and intensities.     This will enable you to become a more balanced athlete in the 3 disciplines of triathlon and allow you some time to work on your weakest sport while maintaining fitness in you strongest.  

Training for triathlon should never be boring as there are so many different ways to string workouts together and still achieve your training objective for the day.  One of my favorites is a 10 minute session on the Vasa Ergometer working on technique and a few short bursts of power.  Then hit the road on the TT bike for 55-60 minutes that includes 3 x 10 minutes @ tempo pace with 1 minute recovery between and finish up with a 30 minute run mixing in drills to work on foot speed.

I would enjoy hearing about your favorite go to workout or a creative workout you have done in the past, so please leave a comment below.

Make it a great week of training,
Coach Eric

Monday, July 15, 2013

Stand up to better health

Now we all know that exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle, along with balanced nutrition and adequate sleep.  But recent research is showing that we are spending more and more time sitting on our bum and too much sitting may shorten your life up to 2 years.  So, whether you are exercising 5 hours a week or 15 hours, be mindful of any prolonged time spent in a seated position.  Here are some simple things to incorporate into your workday or any part of the day for that matter to help break up time sitting.

In the office

  • On the phone, stand up from time to time.
  • Instead of sending e-mail to co-worker, if possible walk over and talk to them
  • Set a timer to go off every 30 minutes as a reminder to stand up. The key to this one is placing away from your desk so you have to get up to turn it off and reset it.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator

What to do when you stand up

  • Raise your arms over your head for an easy stretch
  • Roll your neck in counter and counter clockwise direction
  • 5 deep breaths keep shoulders relaxed
  • Balance on 1 leg, then the other
  • Short walk break 30-60 seconds

Anytime during your day

  • Walk, run or ride a bike instead of driving the car for errands close to home
  • Short walk after any meal 
  • Park you car far from the door at the store
  • Walk backwards
  • Swing one arm backward, then the other, then both at the same time
  • Stretch any muscles that may be experiencing tightness
  • Walk in place lifting knees high

I encourage you to incorporate any one of these suggestions during the next 7 days and see if it makes a difference in how you feel both mentally and physically.  Sometimes just the smallest change can have a big impact on your day.

Make it a great week and stand up for your health!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Good notes, smarter training, faster racing!

This morning I had a track session comprised of 200's and 400's after an easy ride to warm up the legs.
Before I hopped on my cruiser bike for the ride to the track, I did something that I have found helpful over the years before starting a workout,  I reviewed my training journal.

I would encourage any athlete to keep a training journal.  Some of you may prefer to write in an actual paper journal, others may find it easier to update one on the computer.  Either is fine, it just depends what works best for you and gets you taking notes on your workouts.

How detailed should the journal/notes be?  Well, that is up to you but here is what I would call my top 10

Type of workout (swim, bike, run, etc...)
Drills/Technique work
Any data you collected (HR, Power, lap splits, etc...)
Nutrition during
Morning resting HR
How much sleep
Energy level both physical and mental
Weather conditions

By reviewing my notes in the journal, I knew what I had done the previous week.  So, the goal this week was to see if I could repeat the performance from the prior week (hold same times) and see if it felt just a little bit easier.  Fortunately, things worked out well and the workout was a success.  One of the things I noted from the previous week was that I had a good warm up that included some drills to finish it off.  This left me feeling good and warmed up, ready to start the main part of the session.

Keeping good notes allows you to see if the training you are doing is helping you to improve.  Also, very helpful if an injury pops up, you can review what you have been doing in previous workouts to see if overtraining is an issue.  

Good notes allow you (and your coach if you have one) to better plan future workouts.  This leads to smarter training and for those that race, going FASTER!

Finally, once you have determined how you will record your training, determine when you are most likely to do so (right after the workout or later in the day) and get in the habit of doing it consistently.

Make it a great week of training,
Coach Eric

Monday, July 1, 2013

Injury prevention = Improved performance

This holds true for all athletes and that area would be "Injuries" 

Recently I had the opportunity to speak about swimming biomechanics at a local triathlon seminar here in Fort Collins.  One of the speakers, Craig Depperschmidt from Rebound Sports and Physical Therapy spoke about injury prevention and I have posted some of the key points from the talk below.

1. Overuse injuries typically have a cause, a biomechanical issue causing abnormal stress elsewhere.  You must resolve the "fire" (the biomechanicaal issue) to turn of the "alarm" (the pain or symptom)

2. Biomechanical problems usually arise from a combination of 3 areas: 
1) Muscle imbalance from working too much in one plane of motion. 
2) Neuromuscular inhibition or over-activation.  Muscles are working not enough, too much, or at the wrong time.
3)  Natural human asymmetry.  Humans are not symmetrical, yet we participate in activities requiring equal amounts of left and right activities.  This often leads to common, predictable patterns of compensation.

3. Do's: 
1) Strengthen and feel glutes. 
2) Make sure muscle strength and activation is symmetrical. 
3) Utilize shoulder exercises that integrate the abdominal musculature and respiration.

4. Dont's 
1) Overstretch hamstrings.  This can lead to pelvic imbalance and instability. 
2) Overwork back muscles.  Back muscles area often overworked in triahtletes and can be "overactive" leading to pain and abnormal muscle firing in the pelvis. 
3) Just stretch.  Our muscles are made to operate in a specific range of motion.  If they are too stretched out they will not work like we want them to during our endurance activities.

5. Self test can be utilized if an athlete is at risk for an overuse injury.  Exercises can then be completed to prevent and minimize risk of injury.

I believe that one can only swim, bike and run so much.  In in addition to rest, one of the keys to improving your performance once you have maximized your training time will be the attention to injury prevention exercises that will best balance your body.

Make it a great week of training.
Coach Eric

Monday, June 24, 2013

Help a Newbie

We all were beginners in the sport of triathlon at one time.  I have learned so much since I started racing in 1986 and grateful for all I have learned from my athletes, friends and training partners over the years.

As kids most of us grew up riding a bike around the neighborhood, we certainly ran everywhere we went. Some even had the opportunity to play in a swimming pool, pond, lake or the ocean.  So, one could say that we were triathletes when we were younger, but just didn't know it at the time. Now as adults, we know pain, fear and are a little less likely to get out of our comfort zone especially when all decked out in spandex.

So, if you know someone new to the sport, reach out and ask them if they have any questions or need any help.  Take a little time out of your training and help/mentor a new athlete in the sport of triathlon.  It does not have to be a lot by any means, but just making the effort will go a long way in helping ease the fears of a new triathlete.  Here are just a few things that newbies typically need help with:

What to wear when swimming, biking and running
Body glide is your friend
Buddy up with a newbie who is learning to swim in the open water
How to get in/out of a wetsuit and not be completely exhausted
How to put on a swim cap 

Get familiar with the rules of the road
Group rides the do's and dont's
How to ride in the aero position
How to climb/descend
How/when to shift gears
How/when to brake
How to change a flat tire and use that CO2 cartridge

What to eat/drink on the bike & run
How to eat/drink on the bike & run
Did I mention Body glide is your friend
How to safely & efficiently navigate T1 & T2
Time saving steps in T1 & T2

Thanks to my mentors: Kerry O'brien, Alan Voisard, Hal Goforth, Kevin McCary, Doug Wood, Luis De La Torre

Make it a great week of training,
Coach Eric

Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer = Smoothies

With the weather getting warmer, that can make fueling up after workouts a bit more challenging because you need more hydration along with calories.  A simple way to accomplish that is to mix up some of your favorite ingredients in the blender, then just sip away.  Not only does the post workout smoothie taste good, but if your workout was a hot one, a cold beverage really hits the spot.  Just watch out for the brain freeze if you drink it too fast!

Here are some smoothie recipes to try after your next workout, for breakfast or lunch or in between meal snack. Ingredient portions to your taste buds liking and how thick or thin you like your smoothie

"The Basic"

Orange Juice
Protein Powder

"Hawaiian Style"

Unsweetened almond milk
Brown rice protein powder, 
Dark cherries (frozen), 
Frozen organic mango chunks 
Apple banana.

"Banana Bliss"

Frozen Banana
Banana Cream pie yogurt
Almond butter
Milk or coconut water

"Taste bud frenzy"

¼ cup chia seeds
1 cup coconut milk
2 Tbs. freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbs. maple syrup (or ¼ tsp. stevia)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
½ an orange, peeled, segmented, and sliced
½ of a green d’Anjou pear, sliced thin
a handful of blueberries
a handful of macadamia nuts, chopped

"Albuquerque Smoothie"

8 -10oz. coconut water
1/2 apple
1/2 avocado
1 scoop Vanilla protein powder
6 - 8 frozen banana bits
1 cup kale/spinach or both
1 Tbsp chia seed
1 Tbsp hemp seed

"Mocha-Madness Recovery Shake"
2 ounces espresso (or very strong coffee)8 ounces low-fat Greek yogurt2 tablespoons sweetened ground chocolate1 banana
5 ice cubes
Last, but certainly not least......

"Old Fashioned"

Heaping scoops of your favorite ice cream
Need I say more

Make it a great week of training,
Coach Eric