Skip navigation

The last couple of days I've been working on questions from a publisher in Germany. This publisher is translating two of my books, "Training Plans for Multisport Athletes" and "Workouts in a Binder for Triathletes" into German for the foreign market. This is pretty exciting for me.


Seems this year is going to be a big book year. I didn't really plan it that way, it just happened. A few weeks ago I finished working on edits for the second edition of my first book, "The Female Cyclist". The next step in the process there is to review the final assembled book in raw format before it goes to the printer. I'm not sure of the date it will be available on bookshelves, I suspect fall.


Cyclists have been hounding me for years to produce a cycling version of "Training Plans for Multisport Athletes". By the end of this year, you will have your book, "Training Plans for Cyclists." As some of you know, my early coaching success began with cyclists rather than triathletes, as most people assume. My early coaching success was with roadies and mountain bike racers. My first trip to the Olympic Games was to Sydney in 2000 to support Nicole Freedman, a road racer I coached.



If you've been following columns and blogs, you'll know that I've personally fallen, in more ways than one, for mountain biking in recent years. I love riding and running on mountain trails.



The current plan is to include 16 training plans in the new book. Not all of the plans are in final form, so that's why I say "current plan." Similar to the multisport book, there are beginner plans, short-distance event plans and long distance event plans. There are plans for touring riders, roadies, mountain bikers and some ultra-distance sprinkled in. I'm well over the half-way mark and that feels good. I'll have the lion's share of the work completed in the next two months, then it goes to editing.



After initial editing, it's back to me for final edit. The editors do the final, final edit before it goes off to printing. A long process indeed.



There is still a good chunk of work to be done on my end, and that makes me a little anxious. I've felt like this before and some how, some way, it always gets done on time. We're (VeloPress and I) aiming to have the book for you for before Christmas of this year. I know, it seems like a long time away-but producing a book is quite a process.



I'll keep you posted on all four projects.



Have a great weekend ~



972 Views 0 Comments Permalink

Bailout Option

Posted by Gale Bernhardt Jan 21, 2008


With a growing case of cabin fever, I decided I was going to mountain bike ride on Sunday and I welcomed company.



On Saturday I sent a note out to my cycling group to let them know that I had done a short run on the trail west of the city on Thursday and the trail was dry in most places. It was freeze-dried (read: like riding on concrete), but dry nonetheless. Some parts of the trail still had ice with a thin layer of dirt on top of it, disguising it as trail, so caution was needed.



I decided to ride to the trail from my house, which is about 25 minutes away. I decided if I got too cold, I'd just turn around at the trailhead and ride back home. When conditions are dicey, I will often have a bailout option. It's a way to get myself out the door to take a look at the situation. If the conditions are bleek, I've agreed to just go home. If I'm lucky and conditions are good, I have a plan as well.



When I rolled away from the house on Sunday morning at 10:30 am, it was 20 degrees Fahrenheit. My self-prescribed lower limit is 23, but I thought I'd give it a try. When it takes as much time to get dressed for a ride as it does to do the ride, you have to wonder if it's worth it. For cabin fever relief, yes. 



When I got to the trailhead there was only one other soul, Eric Houck. I guess the email about ice and Meeka falling on Thursday, even equipped with four-paw drive, didn't encourage many participants.



As we rolled onto the trail, we were surprised to find conditions much better than either of us had anticipated. There was more dirt on top of the ice and the dirt was sticking to the surface. This made the ice sections rideable, with caution.



The longer we rode, the more we were encouraged about the conditions. It turned out to be a great day on the trail.



The experience just reminded me that sometimes I have to just get out the door and give it a shot. I need to have a bailout option, in case of poor conditions, but sometimes I get lucky and don't need to bail.



1,117 Views 0 Comments Permalink

I have had encounters with people that expect the worst from others. They expect people to lie, cheat and steal. They expect to be treated bad by others and oddly it happens. It seems they attract bad treatment by expecting to be treated badly.


Now that the New Year's resolution rush had died down, it's easier to think about the issue of expectations as it relates to expectations for the year. I know people that made New Year's resolutions, told me the resolutions and on the heels of the new goals said, "I can never keep my New Year's resolutions."



If these people expect to fail, what do you think will happen?



Do you think athletes that make Olympic and World Championship teams tell themselves they are not good enough to be on the team? Absolutely not.



Right now, you've got to take a hard look at your expectations for yourself. Do you expect to meet your goals for this year? Do you expect to be successful, or do you expect to fall short?



Expecting dreams and goals to come true is an old concept. In Greek times, a sculptor named Pygmalion crafted an ivory statue of his image of the perfect woman. He fell in love with the statue. Greek god Aphrodite took pity on Pygmalion and brought the statue to life.



The concept of expecting dreams to come to life is often called the Pgymalion effect. This notion is found in multiple cultures and modern stories. 



It's not only your personal expectations, but the expectations of others. There was a study conducted by Rosenthal and Jacobsen, where Rosenthal predicted that if teachers were given information that certain students are brighter than others, they may unconsciously behave in ways that facilitate and promote the students' success. Not only were the "certain students" successful, some improved as much as twice that of other students in the class.



Do you expect yourself to be successful?



Do the people around you expect you to be successful?



Do you expect the people that surround you to be successful?









1,235 Views 0 Comments Permalink

Yesterday I realized I was storing all of my stress in my neck, shoulders and face. I bet you're doing it right now.


Mid-morning, I found myself pushing to meet some deadlines. Push, push, push.



I've previously mentioned we're having our kitchen remodeled. Pound, pound, pound. Drill, drill, drill.



Phone calls...ring, ring, ring.



Deliveries at the door...ring, ring, ring, bark, bark, bark.



While tapping on the computer keys, I noticed a crick in my neck. What is that all about?



I'm stressing and I've got to do something about it.



Before relaxing, crunch your forehead with as many worry wrinkles as you can manage. Shrug your shoulders up to your ears and tense your upper back like you do when someone is trying to put an ice cube down the back of your shirt.






Try to remove all stress from your forehead by relaxing it. Allow your eyebrows to drop down as close to your lips as you can manage.



Allow your jaw to relax so much that your teeth cannot touch.



One deep breath, in.....hold....out.



Imagine the back of your neck is pliable like Jell-O.



Allow your shoulders to relax and let gravity gently pull them towards earth.



One deep breath, in.....hold....out.



Roll your shoulders backwards three or four times, forward three or four times.



Allow your shoulders to relax and let gravity gently pull them towards earth.



One deep breath, in.....hold....out.



Were you more tense than you thought?



Gently back to work or take a break and go for a walk.



1,137 Views 0 Comments Permalink

Fluids, Phones, Tunes

Posted by Gale Bernhardt Jan 11, 2008

Check out this waterbottle that has an indentation for carrying misc. stuff, including your phone that can be programmed to play your MP3 files. Watch the short video.

1,207 Views 1 Comments Permalink

How Young is too Young? How Long is too Long?


It is no secret I love endurance sports. I try to recruit people into an endurance event, any event, that is 30 minutes or longer. I must admit, however, that I am cautious about recruiting kids for long distance events.


On occasion I'm asked to talk to junior high and high school kids about endurance sports. I talk about the dedication and mental toughness it takes to be an Olympian. I tell them that being active in sport helps teach valuable lessons about goal setting, winning, losing, dedication, patience, just loving sport and other lessons I've learned along the way.



I don't have kids, so I can't speak from the perspective of a parent. I would think most endurance junkies (EJs) are thrilled when their kids show interest in endurance sports. I would guess most EJ-parents constantly reinforce the kids with positive remarks about running, swimming, riding or the other EJ sport of choice. The kids get attention and love related to sport, and associate parental acceptance with sport, I suspect.



I did encourage my niece and nephew to participate in sports. It didn't really matter to me which sport it was, but I did encourage them to play sports. I attended as many games as I possibly could. Yes, I gave them attention when they played sports.



If I had kids, I suspect I would encourage them to swim, bike and run. Would I encourage my 11-year-old to do a century ride? How about a 50-mile run? How about an ironman-distance triathlon?



What if the child really, really, really wanted to do it. (Forget that they really, really wanted to eat an entire chocolate cake for dinner two days ago and that rational decision making for an 11-year-old person is often not rational.) Would I let my child, encourage my child, to participate in the long distance sports?



I don't think so. Too young, in my opinion. I would have concerns with burning the kid out on endurance sports at a young age. I'd be concerned about growth plates and over-use injury. I'd be concerned that the child would be so busy "training" that they would miss the social aspects of being a kid and end up the Michael Jackson of endurance sports.



Well then, how about when the kid turns 12? 13? 14? 15? 16? When?



How young is too young to do a century ride? How about a 50-mile run? How about an ironman-distance triathlon?



Do you think there are parents out there that push a child to do long distance events for the wrong reasons? Do you think there are event directors that would support allowing children do long distance events so a new world record could occur at their event? Or, do all parents, race directors and other support people have only the best intentions at heart for the child?



Parents, coaches that specialize in youth sports, endurance junkies-what do you think? How young is too young? How long is too long?



6,919 Views 39 Comments Permalink


Posted by Gale Bernhardt Jan 8, 2008

Over the past several months we've been investigating our options for remodeling our kitchen. The house is vintage '84 and it could use some updating. The short of it is we decided complete overhaul sans appliances because those are relatively new.


We made the decision to do the job and began laying out the cash for cabinets, countertops, flooring and lights about six weeks ago. Around that time we also began the process of cleaning out cabinets. Knowing we had plenty of time, weeks, we took on a couple of cabinets and drawers at a time.



Last Friday we got the call that the contractor could tear our floor out tomorrow. We were excited and had that frantic feeling that the cupboards weren't cleaned out completely. Knowing the cupboard process would follow on the heels of the floor we decided to do push to get it all done over the weekend.



I can't believe how much stuff we had that we hadn't used for years. There were volumes of clutter, items taking space that hadn't been used for years. I'm the saver in the family and my husband is the pitch-it person. If, however, I'm in the right mood I can pitch. Thank goodness I was in a pitch mood (yeah, say that three times fast) over the weekend.



We threw away bags of stuff that was no good to anyone. Really, why did we keep that in the back of the drawer?



We assembled bags of stuff to donate. Someone will get good use of the items and we can feel good about not pitching it.



What remains is dishes, pots, pans, canned goods, sports fuels, etc...all the normal stuff found in many people's kitchen cabinets. It is now on tables in the living room and the dining room. Seems organized for now, but at the same time it is a new kind of clutter. Kitchen guts spread throughout the house is just not normal.



I'll keep you updated on the construction...



1,355 Views 0 Comments Permalink


I'm not sure what is bringing the volume vs intensity debates to the surface right now, but I'm getting lots of questions about what is more valuable, increasing training volume or intensity?



The answer depends on your current fitness and goals.



1) If you don't have the endurance to complete an event, then first you need endurance (volume). Heading into very intense workouts without a fitness base increases your risk for injury.



2) If you already have an endurance base, then whether you add more volume or intensity depends on what you are currently doing and your race goals. Let's consider extremes because the issue is easier to see. If you are currently training 10 hours per week, with your longest workout at three hours and your goal event is two-hours long then strategically adding more intensity will likely bring better results for you than adding more volume. If your goal event is 12-hours long then more volume, particularly focused in your long workouts will do you more good than more intensity.



To say intensity is better than volume (or vice versa) in all circumstances is like saying a table saw is always a better tool than a nail gun when you're building something big. Or, a table saw is the only tool to use when building something big. Makes no sense.



6,762 Views 10 Comments Permalink Tags: intensity, volume, training_intensity, training_volume