If you want a training plan (or a variety of new workouts) to help you achieve your 2010 goals, I have designed several resources to help you. Know that I wrote my first easy-to-follow training plan and subsequent first book because that is exactly what I wanted as a self-coached athlete.
Just give me a plan to follow so I can do the workouts when it fits my personal schedule and so I can make modifications to a plan to fit my personal needs.
Also know that all training plan are designs are based on the same foundation principles that help elite athletes reach their goals; then, modified to meet the needs and time constraints of non-paid athletes. The plans range from comfortably completing events to gunning for a personal record (PR) performance.
The plans are available in a couple of different formats – electronic, book and possible combinations. Depending on what you need, one format may work better than another. First, there are several plans available on Active Trainer. This format makes it easy to move workouts around and modify them to fit your personal needs. There is some device download capability and there is data analysis to help you evaluate your training accomplishments. Be sure to take a look at all of the free downloads available on that page.
I have written several books to help self-coached athletes succeed. Some of the individual training plans are available in the electronic format on Active Trainer referenced in a previous paragraph and in hard copy within a chapter of one of these books:
Training Plans for Multisport Athletes – A book containing 14 detailed training plans for triathlon, duathlon and X-Terra events. There are plans for sprint triathlons, Olympic triathlons, half-ironman distance triathlons and ironman-distance triathlons. In addition to shorter plans, this great training resource contains three, six-month plans and a year-long plan.
Training Plans for Cyclists - This book was written based on the large number of requests I received from road and mountain bike riders, who were familiar with Training Plans for Multisport Athletes. They too wanted a book laid out for reaching new endurance goals, maintaining foundation fitness and racing. This book contains 16 such training plans. The book is written so you can mix and match various training plans. Advice is giving within the book on how to mix and match, as well as how to modify individual plans if you are self-coached. There are ride plans for 30-, 50- and 100-mile (century rides) events. There are five touring event plans and five mountain bike plans. For the off-season, there are two foundation fitness (base training) plans. Explanations are given for Level I riders and Level II riders.
Triathlon Training Basics – This book contains four detailed training plans to help first-time triathletes prepare for a sprint triathlon or an Olympic distance triathlon. Two plans are designed for already-fit beginners and two plans are for currently-unfit beginners. There are also four plans per sport (swimming, cycling and running) for individuals wanting to train for a triathlon as a single-sport team member. The plans can be used in succession, helping you progress from a triathlon team member to a triathlete. The book contains strength training, stretching and bike fit photos to help you get started on the right track. (None of the plans are the same as those found in Training Plans for Multisport Athletes.)
Bicycling for Women – Great chapters “for women only” and five training plans to help you complete a 50-mile bike ride, a century, a 40-kilometer time trial or faster group riding, a multiday tour or improve your hill climbing skills. This book is written on the premise that women can, and do, ride fast. (None of the plans are the same as those found in Training Plans for Cyclists.)
Workouts in a Binder® – I created “Workouts in a Binder®” product and co-authored the first edition of swim workouts for triathletes, which quickly sold out four printings. These handy workout cards help athletes and coaches optimize workouts and are waterproof to prevent destruction from water, sweat and dirt. This product is so popular, the series has expanded and will continue to grow:
To help you celebrate Thankgiving, here are a few tidbits from History.com:
The menu likely included items like cod, eel, clams, lobster, venison, wild turkey, crane, swan, partridge and eagle. It did not include ham, potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.
A tradition of celebrating the bounty of the fall harvest existed for years before Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday in 1941. In 1621 Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast, acknowledged as one of the first “Thanksgiving” celebrations; however Native American groups (Pueblo, Cherokee, Creek and others) gave thanks for the harvest for centuries prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America.
Pilgrims didn’t use forks. They ate with spoons, knives and their fingers.
At the meal, people were not served individually. Foods were served onto the table and people took food from the table and ate it. The best food was placed next to the most important people.
Meat was the mainstay of the meal.
There were no ovens, so no baked goods were available.
In spirit with giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops, I’m thankful for a good sized list of things. High on the list is good health and fitness.
Recently my friend Ed looked at flying to Texas. He looked at flying United and Southwest Airlines. When he looked at flying the friendly(?) skies of United, he found they wanted to charge him $175, each way, to take his bicycle with him. Yes, that’s a $350 total trip cost for his bicycle.
He wrote a note to United and told them he thought it was ridiculous that it cost more to fly his bicycle than it cost to fly himself to Texas. They wrote back and told him that bicycles are difficult to handle and it takes extra people to put that bike into and out of the cargo space. (I guess each time a bicycle comes to the ramp, an extra person is called in?!)
When he checked with Southwest Airlines, he found the airfare to get himself to Texas was slightly better than United’s rates. When he asked about flying his bicycle, Southwest told him it would be $50 per leg of the trip or $100 total trip cost for his bicycle.
Ed flew to Texas with his bicycle on Southwest Airlines and had a great trip. No flight or luggage issues whatsoever.
Athletes should shop around for airlines that want their business. Each airline has slightly different baggage policies and you might find that there are some airlines that want your business at a fair rate, while others that want a rate that is worth another passenger seat on the flight.
In the last month I received three requests for a listing of the columns I've written, by category. I figured three requests was some sort of signal that people needed information in a way that I wasn't providing, so I went to work. Below, you'll find a listing of most of the columns I've written for the Active Network organized by category and title to make it easier for you to find the information you need. Every few months I'll update this blog with new links. I believe if you are a column subscriber you should get notice when the blog is updated.
Athletes ~ Thanks for reading and thanks for asking ~
Before telling you the results, first I have to let you know the type of riding that I do and what is important to me for performance. The trail I ride most often is “Devil’s Backbone” located just at the western edge of town. It has loose sections, multiple rock gardens, smooth trail, some small drops (I don’t think anything is over a couple of feet), a short steep climb (Heart Attack Hill) and a few sections I find perfectly walkable. My suspension gets a workout on this trail.
Though “bump sensitivity” is important to me, the key races I do include sections where I want to be able to lock the fork and shock out. I won’t sacrifice this feature for more bump sensitivity.
When I went out on ride #1, post-PUSH, I found that many of the bumpy sections where I’d get tossed around some, were now smooth. The fork and shock took all of the bumps and I have to say the ride was remarkably smoother and it was easier to navigate the rock gardens. Yahoo!
I did find on my first ride out that when I went down one of the drops I used nearly all of the front fork and had a feeling of nearly going over the bars. Unfortunately, I did not bring my shock pump with me and couldn’t play with the air pressure while I was on the ride. (Rookie move.)
Prior to ride #2, I added 5 psi to the fork and did the same to the rear shock (still within the pressure ranges PUSH recommended). I didn’t feel like I lost any of the plush ride on the bumps, due to the increased pressure. On this ride, there is a long, steep service road climb and descent. (The Towers Road at Horsetooth… fyi to locals.) I was able to descend at a decent rate of speed without using the brakes due to chatter and the bike feeling like it would slide out from under me. In fact, I could have gone faster if the road wouldn’t have been a little wet, tossing mud and sand into my glasses and eyes. The bike felt stable underneath me. Sweet!
I am still able to lock the fork and the shock out for riding on pavement and hard dirt surfaces. Seems like the custom blend they did is perfect for me. I would never have guessed that customizing the suspension would have made such a difference, but it does.
Now I’m hoping the snow melts quickly and the trails dry so I can get out and play some more. Darren tells me it takes some 4 to 6 hours to fully break in the new parts (I’ve got about 4.5 hours on it now) and I will need to make minor adjustments when the weather gets warmer (the last two rides have been in the mid to high 30s).
(BTW - notice the link at the end of the column. PUSH will be offering December specials.)
Plenty of things strike me as funny. In general, I find life to be pretty entertaining. Seriously, I think there is something to laugh at nearly every day. On a recent trip to Mexico one of my traveling companions, Jeff Donaldson, and I got into an unrestrained fit of laughter. When I read his blog this morning telling about the incident, I was reminded of more incidents during the trip.
Jeff (bike mechanic for the team), Diana Palmer (team physio) and I typically have several opportunities to be in at least one entertaining transportation situation on any given trip. Some people might be angry or frustrated by these situations, but luckily, we all find humor in them.
The first transportation adventure began at the Huatulco Airport, with a green-light, red-light appetizer. Those of you that have traveled to Mexico know that when you arrive and are clearing airport security, there is a button to push at the final clearance point. If a green light is displayed, you get to walk straight through. If a red light is displayed, your bags get thoroughly and carefully inspected.
Seems that in our past travels together, I get the green light and Jeff gets the red light. This trip was no exception. I peered through the mesh barrier outside of the inspection area, giving Jeff words of comfort and encouragement while the inspector went through all of his personal bags and all of his traveling bike shop bags. This was the beginning of our situational laughing for the trip.
Successfully clearing bag inspection, we got into the van with two other passengers. By this time it was about 7:00 pm CST. Jeff and Diana had been up and traveling since some ridiculous time like 2:00 am PST. The driver, certainly sensing our fatigue and eagerness to get to the hotel, drove fast – very fast – on the dark, narrow road. Any time we got behind another vehicle, he would pop to the left to see if he could pass.
I’m certain he felt perfectly under control. We, on the other hand, felt a complete lack of control and kept looking at each other with glances of “I wish I was wearing a seat belt, shoulder harness and a crash helmet.” It wouldn’t be the last time we’d feel like this on the trip.
A couple of days before the race, the three of us got a taxi to get to the race venue. The taxi driver apparently thought we needed to get there in a hurry, because he was driving like it was a medical emergency. With her excellent Spanish skills, Diana politely asked him to slow down. He did. A lot.
We all looked at each other, trying not to laugh out loud, as the taxi crept along at a snail’s pace. I guess you get what you ask for.
The day we were to travel home, a van was scheduled to pick up five passengers at the hotel and take us to the airport, departing at 9:00am. After waiting near 10 minutes past the departure time for the two other passengers to show up, the van driver decided to leave and take us to the airport.
The trip to the airport is some 25-30 minutes. After we had been on the road for 10 minutes, the van driver got a call and he began slowing down and pulling to the side of the road. When he completed the call, it looked like he was going to turn the van around. He explained that the call was from the hotel asking him to return for the other, late, passengers.
We looked at our watches and told him he could not turn around. The late people could take a taxi from the hotel or we were prepared to exit the van and hail a taxi. He took this to mean we were in a hurry to get to the airport.
He told us he could have us at the airport in 16 minutes and hit the gas. In my opinion, there are good reasons that vans should not be driven at speeds reserved for sports cars. Clear evidence supporting my opinion was the van tires screeching around corners and the feeling as though it was tipping onto two wheels.
Diana, Jeff and I looked at each other and someone said, “I guess we asked for this.” I know you get what you ask for, but did we ask for this?
Luckily, it wasn’t long after the screeching corner incident that we got behind some slower traffic and the van driver was unable to pass. We all looked at each other and smiled. Thankfully, all of us made it safely to the airport and home as well.
Now that I’m at the end of the blog, I remembered another incident where we were in a van driving along sidewalks followed by careening along a backroads route because the main roads were closed for the age group race. Details will be saved for another blog.
Enjoy your weekend. Be careful what you ask for, you might get it. Then laugh and enjoy the moment.
A few weeks ago I wrote a column to help self-coached athletes. One of the training options I wrote about was placing a swim workout after a hard run to improve recovery. While I believed improved recovery to be the case, I didn’t have scientific proof – until now.
A recent study using nine well-trained triathletes had them do two high intensity interval running sessions, followed ten hours later by either a swim-recovery session or a passive-recovery (doing no exercise) session. The final test was a “time to fatigue” run completed 24 hours after the last interval session.
The results came in with the swim-recovery group posting significantly longer run time on the time to fatigue test. The swim-recovery group ran for 830 seconds (+/- 198 seconds) vs. the passive-recovery group at 728 seconds (+/- 183 seconds).
Additionally there was a significant difference in venous blood levels of circulating C-Reactive Protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, between the swim recovery group vs. the passive-recovery group. The swim-recovery group posted a 23-percent decrease of CRP levels 24 hours after the interval session, while the passive-recovery group’s CRP levels only decreased by 5 percent.
While the study concluded that the hydrostatic properties (fluid pressures) of water were a key influence, I suspect it was a combination of factors including the cool temperature of the water, the water pressure on the legs (helping to move waste products away from the legs), and doing some kind of exercise (rather than no exercise) that helped the swim group.
Lum, E., Landers G., Peeling P., “Effects of a Recovery Swim on Subsequent Running Performance “, The University of Western Australia, School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, Crawley, Australia; Western Australian Institute of Sport, Mt. Claremont, Australia
Before diving into information about the race, first I’ll tell you a bit about Huatulco [hwa·TOOL·co]. Prior to the trip, I had not heard of Huatulco, located within the state of Oaxaca [wah·HAH·cah]. Huatulco is approximately 150 miles north of the Guatemala border.
Huatulco is one of those coastal cities that have the ocean as a front yard and the mountains in the immediate back yard. It is worth noting that some of best surf waves in Mexico are in this area. Additionally, the Huatulco National Park contains the “most important coral communities of the Mexican Pacific”.
Large portions of the Huatulco resort area are located within an "ecological zone". Good portions of the area is protected from future development and is serviced by modern water and sewage treatment plants so that no waste goes into the pristine bays. Huatulco has been awarded the Green Globe certification, and it is the only resort in Mexico to receive this prestigious award. (Green Globe is the worldwide benchmarking and certification system for the travel and tourism industry across the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental management).
Beautiful beaches and mountains translated to a tough, hilly, technical bike course for elite racers. Most racers were happy that the race organizers planned a relatively flat run. The course was a two-loop swim, eight-loop bike ride and a four-lap run. The women’s race went off at 8:oo am and the men’s race at 10:45. As you can imagine, as the day went on, the temperature went up.
Short videos of the women’s and men’s races can be found on the ITU website.
I traveled to the race to help support the ITU Sport Development Team. The Sport Development program is rooted in Olympic Solidarity. My role is to help athletes with questions on issues such as pacing, nutrition recommendations, pre-race strategies for dealing with the heat and generally giving support to individual athlete goals. The athletes were:
- Place top 10 to remain on their home country’s funding program
- Place better than at any previous World Cup events
- Podium place
On race day, I am usually found arriving early at the transition area with the rest of the support team (Libby Burrell team leader, Jeff Donaldson bike mechanic and Diana Palmer athletic trainer/medical). I help with all pre-race issues and watch the swim start.
After the swim start I made my way to the hill on the bike course. I’m not sure how long the entire hill was, but the grade on the lower section where I stood had to be at least 15 to 18 percent. (It is similar to the steepest section of Old Stage Hill for those that have done Boulder Peak triathlon.) From that section, the course levels some before it kicks up again to the turn-around island. In the sweeping downhill section, riders were easily going in excess of 50mph. Do this eight times.
It was the hill that took the toll on racers. Athletes running a 39 x 25 had to be out of the saddle and powering up this hill to keep in contact with the pack. If the uphill isn’t enough to crush you, the high speeds on the winding downhill section would. I saw several athletes grabbing brake on that section of the course. Only those with good bike handling skills and a dare-devil need for speed were able to benefit on the downhill.
The women’s lead pack stayed mostly together. It was a different story for the men as Matt Charbot from the U.S.A. made a gutsy move about midway through the bike ride. Other riders tried to make a break, but his stuck. Ruedi Wild from Switzerland saw that the pack was not responding to Charbot’s move, so he broke too. By lap 7 of the bike, Charbot had built his lead to 3 full minutes on the main pack and 2 minutes ahead of Wild.
Equally as impressive, both Charbot and Wild held their leads on the oppressively hot run.
Congratulations to all the athletes that achieved their goals.
What I do as race support is but a small part in the overall scheme of this excellent ITU program. The ITU is coordinating a world-wide effort to grow the sport on multiple levels. This is an enormous task; but it is producing results – measureable results. Kudos to the ITU Sport Development program that is enriching a number of International Federations, their respective athletes and coaches around the world.
1) Athletes in the swimming pool at the Las Brisas resort
2) Athletes waiting for the pre-race briefing, left to right: Min Ho Heo, Emma Davis, Fabianne St. Louis, David Bardi (coach), Mehdi Essadiq, Leonardo Chacon, Michel Gonzalez
3) Libby Burrell, ITU Sport Development Director in the foreground with incredible Huatulco shoreline in the background.
On Sunday night I watched the DVD Bicycle Dreams, a documentary about RAAM (Race Across America). The film follows the 2005 race, an unusually challenging year for the event. I instantly fell in love with the song on the main page of the link, which is featured in the film as well.
While I’ve never been inspired to do RAAM myself, I’ve had a certain amazement and curiosity about the athletes that do this remarkable race. The multiple-award winning film does an excellent job of educating viewers about the race and allowing us to meet several of the racers up close and personal.
What I mean by “up close and personal” is that the film makers allow us to see what makes a RAAM racer tick, including plenty of moments with their support crews. Racers reveal their thoughts, what they fear and how they feel before the race. The cameras then capture the race itself, including the assumed - and unimaginable - hardships.
One of the things I really liked is that the film makers were able to draw out of these racers what I think, to some extent, lies in the heads, hearts and souls of all endurance athletes.
To race across America, over 3000 miles, from coast-to-coast on a bicycle in a goal time of 10 days is beyond my imagination of the possible, normal, reasonable, rational. In the trailer, one rider’s crew commented that in the last 23 hours, the rider had been off the bike a total of 8 minutes. I can’t imagine what it feels like to be on a bike for that long. While I don't want to do RAAM, I will say the film was really inspiring.
If these people (humans, just like you) can do RAAM, you can find a way to reach your first, or next, endurance goal.