Monday, February 25, 2013

Think outside the box

This past weekend,  I had the opportunity to attend the North American Handmade Bicycle Show here in Denver, CO.  A fantastic display of bikes that are both functional to ride and creative pieces of beauty to look at.
 Custom TT Bike with Bamboo.
Local company here in Fort Collins called BOO

 "Lefty" notice only 1 fork, saves weight

 Snow Bike kind of like twin tips skis for powder!

Amazing craftsmanship with wood

The show was a great reminder for me to stay in touch with my own creativity on both a personal and professional level.  Relating that to exercise, their are so many things you can do to add variety to your workouts to keep them fun, challenging and still functional.  Here are just a few things you can try on one of your next training sessions.


  • Lie on the bottom of the pool and watch swimmers from underneath (blow ring bubbles too!) and a great way to see technique from another view point.
  • Sculling across the pool feet first
  • Swim IM in reverse order
  • Paddles, fins, snorkels, paddles & fins, paddles & snorkel, fins & snorkel, paddles, fins & snorkel 
  • Circle swim clockwise.  Just make sure your lane mates are on the same page
  • Swim in a different lane at practice.
  • Breathe on your non-dominant side during warm up and cool down
  • Vertical kicking (both flutter and dolphin) in deep water
  • Have someone film you swimming
  • Want to go FASTER? Take a private lesson to work on technique 


  • Stand out of the saddle for 20 minutes because your core is rock solid
  • Do a normal training route in the opposite direction (good for runs too!) 
  • 1 leg hill repeats
  • Find an old "retro jersey" for your next ride
  • Wear funny socks
  • On a flat to slightly rolling route use only 1 gear.  Great for Cadence work
  • Try a new coffee shop
  • Bike to work or use bike for errands instead of driving.
  • When safe & no cars, see how long you can ride right on the white line.
  • Try the above with no hands


  • Walk/run backwards for 1 minute ever mile.
  • Insert drills of your choice in the middle of a run
  • No watches, GPS, ipod, etc... Just Run!
  • Fartlek run but instead of random increases in speed, do random exercises:  push ups, squats, jumping jacks, skipping, etc...
  • Try the walk/run backwards uphill.  Good quad burner.
  • Run 8 laps on the track starting in lane 1 and finishing in lane 8, but see if you can hold the same time for each lap.  Note: start slowly
  • Run with people slower than you for your recovery run
  • Run a new route or find a new off road trail.

So, keep an open mind to new ideas, new people, and keep thinking "outside the box"

Make it a great week,
Coach Eric

Monday, February 18, 2013

Just Run

Photo credit: Josh Brewer

Instead of just another article on running, I thought it might better serve you to select some articles & books that I have found helpful as part of my on going continuing education on running & endurance sports.  Below you will find several links on various topics in the running world.  Some may just be reminders on things you already know, others new knowledge you may wish to implement on your next run.

Running Biomechanics with Bobby McGee (video)

The Importance of Carbohydrates and Glycogen for Athletes

Also, here are a few run specific books I like:

Daniels Running Formula

Advanced Marathoning

Make it a great week of training.  Coach Eric

Monday, February 11, 2013

Nutrition in the kitchen

When life gets busier than we may like, nutrition sometimes get put on the back burner.  So, it is important to have a couple of go to snacks, meals, etc... Here are three simple recipes that you can try incorporating into your meal plan.

Looking for a quick, healthy, energy packed smoothie for breakfast or a snack?  Then try this recipe courtesy of my friend Annette which I have modified slightly.

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
Blend it up and enjoy!
*Time saver... Keep a container of pre-cut frozen banana bits in the freezer.

Next, we have one of my favorite soups that tastes good both warm and cold.

Coach Eric Carrot Soup
32 oz chicken or vegetable broth
2 lbs cut carrots
Bring to boil then simmer until nice and soft
Put in blender when cool and puree
Pour back into pot on low heat for about 5 minutes and stir in:
1/2 cup half & half
smoked paprika, ground chipotle chili peppers & salt to taste
Serve in bowl or cup and top with some nutritional yeast!
*Time saver & one less thing to wash.... use a hand blender and blend in pot.

Lastly from Cortney Martin, wife, mother, AG Triathlete we have a yummy wrap to try.

Healthy Curry Chicken Salad Wrap

  • cooked diced or shredded chicken
  • dried cranberries
  • plain Greek yogurt
  • curry powder
  • baby spinach
  • Flatout or tortilla wrap
Mix together chicken, cranberries, yogurt, and curry powder (plus optional salt) and roll up with fresh spinach in a flat bread or wheat tortilla. 
[Made with 20g cranberries, 2.5 oz chicken, 50g 2% greek yogurt, 1 cup spinach, 1 Flatout == 300 cal, 5 g fat, 27 g carbs, 20g protein]

Make it a great week at whatever you do and let me know if you have any topics you want to know more about!

Coach Eric

Monday, February 4, 2013

Dryland training: Freestyle Catch on Vasa Ergometer

There are many drills to work on the freestyle catch and thru trial and error you will find the best ones for your current functional ROM in the shoulders and level of fitness. The Vasa Ergometer is a great tool for this. Set the Damper Door setting on Level 1 and practice the freestyle pull pattern slowly, focusing on the setting your catch about shoulder width. A good visual cue for this is the pulley's that the paddles run through on each side of the Erg. This may help with your arms crossing over center as well by having an entry point about shoulder width. Keep a firm wrist, fingertips pointing at the floor and a straight line from finger tips to elbow. This needs to occur before applying power and fully engaging your lats. You will notice my heading moves side to side and I find doing this form time to time helps me stay focused setting my "catch" because I am watching my hands/forearms before starting the pull.  

Two additional drills to try:
1) you can isolate arms by doing a single arm drill leaving the non-pulling arm in the extended/forward position.

2) pulling both arms at the same time think butterfly pull or pulling yourself out of the pool. Plus, you can set up the Erg monitor to view/measure your power (Watts) for each arm. 

To transfer to the pool, I have found a very simple drill I got from Marc Evans works great, single arm swimming using a kick board. With your head out of the water, start stroking with one arm while the other arm is fully extended on top of the kick board. This lets you first see the entry point width, before you set the catch and then pull. Trying doing a 25 (1/2 of each arm) then swim a 50 to reinforce the drill. Repeat this sequence 4-6 times as part of warm up or integrate into main set. 
Good Luck!