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