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

Monday, June 10, 2013

Faster swimming

I could not come up with a good picture for this article, so I decided to go with something that might make you laugh or smile.  Someone new to swimming might feel like a fish out of water or like this cat.... get me out of here!!!!  But learning to swim and get faster is really not that bad.

Most people who compete in triathlons or swimming events want to get faster.  Masters practice and private lessons have gotten you so far, but you still are questing for more speed.  Someone asked me the other day if there was one thing they could work on in the water, what would it be.  I replied, "avoid the single speed arm pull and try to accelerate your hand/arm along with hips as you move through the water"  Sounds simple right?  Well, it can be if you just put a little practice time in.  Try initiating the hip opposite the pulling arm.  What this means is if you are pulling with your right, a fraction of second before you start the pull, try rotating (pushing) your left hip down since you will be stretched out on your right side.  This may help you to fully engage and take advantage of your core muscles more, thus delivering more power/speed to your stroke.    To help simplify even more: once you start the pull phase of the stroke, keep accelerating you hands/arm all the way through the stroke matching your hip/core speed.

Think about  these sports for a moment:
a golf swing
a baseball player hitting a ball
a pitcher throwing
a volleyball player hitting
All of the above are using their whole body to generate as much arm speed as possible.
Now try picturing these athletes just using their arm and trying to hit and throw?  Not very effective and certainly not as much power/speed.

Now, you may be thinking, this is too much, but I would imagine that many of you are already doing this, but do not realize it.  Simple test to find out.  Next time your in the water swimming freestyle, try pulling your arms without your hips/core rotating at all.  It will feel very awkward for sure.  Now try again and let the natural rotation of your body assist you as you pull.  Once you have the timing down at slower speeds, then try increasing the speed of your hips/core and that will hopefully get your hand/arm moving faster to stay connected.

Good luck trying this out on your next swim.  For more information on swimming technique or how I can help you with your swimming and triathlon goals, please contact me at

Make it a great week,
Coach Eric

Monday, June 3, 2013


Triathletes are faced with the challenge of balancing the training for 3 different sports.  Now we all know that by focussing on your limiters, (the sport you are least efficient in of the 3) you increase your chances for improvement.  But what else can one do when the training time in the 3 sports has been maximized?  Below are a few things to consider if not already doing so that may help you take your training to the next level.

Pre and post exercise routine - Better known as a warm up and cool down.  The warm up allows you to gradually bring your body online and prepare for the up coming workout.  Also, it allows you time to asses your body for any areas of soreness or tightness that may benefit from some more specific range of motion exercises as you continue to warm up.  The cool down allows the heart rate to gradual return to normal levels and a good time for some static stretching.

Balanced nutrition - For daily eating, I like to try and keep this as simple as possible.  Think 80/20 where 80% of the time you are being mindful of what you are putting in the engine and 20% of the time, you cut yourself a little slack.  For Nutrition on longer sessions, there are so many products to choose from in addition to regular food.  Bottom line, find what works best for you both in training and in racing.

Adequate rest/recovery - This is just not how much sleep you are getting, but making sure to build in easy days/weeks of training as you progress through your year.  Remember stress + rest = Progress (Blog post 3/4/13)

Mental training - Take time to visualize your race and how you want it to unfold.  Many athletes will have a positive mantra or two that they like to refer to when things get tough.  Along the mental side of things, focus on what you can control aka, your attitude.

Technique/Drills - Great any time of the year, helping reduce injury potential and easily incorporated into your workout as part of warm up/cool down or the main part of the training session.

Top end speed - Short (10-30 seconds of fast but relaxed controlled movements in all three sports. Helps with neuromuscular efficiency so your ability to move quickly is not your limiter.

Core/strength training - A critical component for an athlete of any age/ability.  Certain times of the year you may spend 3 days a week doing this type of training.  Want to improve and keep injury potential down, tap into your core and balance out the asymmetries that your body presents. After speaking with a local physical therapist he believes and I concur that "this is the missing piece for injury prevention and performance and will be the future as the body of knowledge is growing".  More on this topic in a future blog.

Have a great week, doing what you do,
Coach Eric