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For all those doing the 12-week JOD process, I received a good question and thought it was worth posting the Q&A:


Q. Gale, I have written my resolutions, and have begun writing my perfect day. I am still a little confused to the over outline of the project. I guess I am a little type A and am looking for a little more information as to where the journal is going. Also, about the tweets - serving of steamed vegetables, a handful of nuts, do aerobic exercise 20-30 min, do one thing for career knowledge, etc. Are we supposed to be writing these down in the journal as completed or not completed?

Just want to make sure that I am following what you intend the journal to be. Thanks, L.


A. Great question. The short of it is that journaling helps people clarify what they want. I believe it is the simple act of writing things down that has the most power. Once you are aware of what you want, it is easier to sort out opportunities. Not only new opportunities that come your way to help you move toward something you want - but - the clarity to say "no thank you" to opportunities that waste your time and energy.

At some point you can set the journal aside and review it only occasionally. Or, you can write in the journal on a regular basis - clarifying goals and accomplishments.

For the daily tweets - I try to make them a mix of all the items I think it takes to live a healthy and productive lifestyle. The JOD posts are only the tip of the iceberg - but because the iceberg is overwhelming, just one small step or doing something for just one day moves people in the right direction.

In addition to the description in the previous paragraph, I believe that if we think of things differently or do something we don't normally do - that it triggers our brains to open up to new possibilities. Perhaps there is a different way to solve a problem that is ailing us? Maybe we were so focused on doing things one way, we ignored another, better choice.


You could easily assign yourself these tweet-tasks, but people seldom do. Also, I believe there is power in belonging to a group where everyone is attempting to do the same thing – make positive change.

I know it might sound hoaky, but I think it is worth giving the journaling process a shot. And for what it's worth - I'm definitely classified as type-A-analytical person. So this process isn't as cut-and-dried scientific as my BS degree prefers, but I know it works.

Hope this helps.



For today’s JOD task, write down one thing you will do tomorrow to move you closer to one of your goals. Write down one more thing you will do before the end of the week.


For the journal itself, we are finished with the major tasks. I like to keep two journals, the “annual review” journal that we’ve just worked on and a journal that I write in some 1-3 times per week. Others prefer to do the annual review journaling in the same book as all daily journal comments for the year. It’s up to you what you think works best.


Sneak peek: By the end of week three, some of you will be seeing progress toward your goals. Others, it will take up to six weeks – but you should see progress. We’ll start sharing some successes in about a week.

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I’ve written about Navy SEALs before. I have a tremendous amount of respect for what they do and the training it takes to become a SEAL.


This week, The Today Show has been doing a series on what it takes to become a SEAL. What perked my attention was the mental toughness aspect. Turns out the SEALs are doing a good amount of research into the mental side of the sport and even helping Olympians with this research.


On today’s broadcast, Captain Adam Curtis commented that the best SEAL candidates come from sports that have “a high training hardness factor” – and it’s not football. His list included water polo, triathlon, rugby, lacrosse, boxing and wrestling. Later in the program, swimmers are also mentioned as potential recruits due to their mental toughness profiling.


Yep, triathletes are tough.

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I never get tired of receiving notes from successful athletes. If you need a bit of inspiration, check out the note below.


Before you read, know that I think he’s mistaken. I believe it is 60-years young.



From: Iron Bob
Sent: Saturday, January 23, 2010 3:23 PM
To: Active Trainer Support
Subject: event

Gale, Yes we did it!!! Thank you so much. Ironman Florida was great for me! With your help, I have progressed from Olympic distance to Ironman. All four trainings worked well for me.(Olympic, Half-Iron, Beginning Ironman, and 13 weeks to 13 hour Ironman) Next stop is Ironman France June 2010,and yes I will be using your training. 60 years old and ready for an Ironman. Thanks again,  Iron Bob



Greetings Iron Bob ~


Thanks so much for dropping me a note. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to know my plans help athletes achieve their dreams and goal events.


A huge congratulations to you!


I’m going to post this great note on my blog. (I’ll keep your e-mail address off for privacy purposes.)


You are certainly an inspiration to others that might have any hesitations about just going for it.


Keep me posted on how France goes for you.


All the best ~


Gale Bernhardt

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For those of you that are following along on the Just One Day series, by now you have a big list of items that you want. For the next assignment you will need a bit more time working with your journal. Some of you will get all of the items described in the blog completed in one, 30-minute session. Others will need a few sessions spread throughout the week. Do what works for you.


Going ahead a few pages, perhaps page 7, at the top of the page write, “My Perfect Day”. Then just write a description of how your day would unfold if it was absolutely perfect. (Again, don’t judge and don’t worry that this description may not currently be reality. Let your mind wander and just write.) Every day of your future life may not look like this one, but if you could describe the perfect day it would look like this…


The next step in the journal process is to estimate how long it might take for you to accomplish each item on your list. If you are currently doing the item, but want to keep doing it forever, there is symbol for that. In the left margin of your list, assign one of the following timeframes to each item:



Pick four items from your list, one from each of the categories listed above. Go forward in your journal to at least page 9. Write each item you selected again and then after the item, write why you want it.  This is an important step to turning pipe dreams into reality. Why do you want it?


Finally, go forward in your journal a couple of pages again. Write down just one thing that you can do in the next 24 hours that will take you closer to your goal. Any goal.

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It happens to all of us at one time or another. We push the envelope of training volume, intensity, the combination of the two, or we simply try to jam entirely too much into life. Even if you follow a training plan to manage athletic training and recovery, sometimes you need to break the plan and take a rest day or even a rest week. Most often the culprit is trying to over-pack your waking hours with activity (workouts, overtime at work, family, friends, volunteer time, etc…) which can take its toll.


When you have dug the hole too deep, then you end up ill or injured. If you pay close attention, there are a good number of warning signs that tell you danger is pending and if you heed, perhaps illness, injury and a major break in training can be avoided.


In no particular order, here are some signs you might need a rest week…

  • Friends and family comment that you are grumpy.
  • You feel crabby.
  • You feel tired, but try to keep rolling with caffeine.
  • Once in bed you have trouble sleeping and your mind won’t shut off.
  • You have trouble concentrating.
  • Body parts begin to get aches and pains for no reason.
  • Your heart rate runs much higher or much lower than normal for a given pace.
  • Wounds are slower to heal. (Cuts, scrapes, Scratches, acne, etc.)
  • A cold sore hatches.
  • You get dull headaches or have a dry-eye feeling though you are well hydrated.
  • Normally excited to workout, you don’t feel up to getting out the door.
  • You’re abnormally clumsy.


When the warning signs appear, take it easy, take the day off or cut all training back for a week. With some rest, you’ll soon be back to your old self.


Do you have any warning signs not on the list? Share them below.

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As promised, we are beginning a 12-week series of “Just One Day” (JOD). The official start day is tomorrow (January 18), but I thought I’d give you a bit of a head start on the first task. If you need to catch up on some background, please see the January 5 post. You can really start the process at any time (your friends and family can join in at any point), just begin with today’s instructions first.


The journal tasks are key to your success and they are sequential, so all of those will be posted on this blog. They typically require more detail than the 140 characters of Twitter. The Twitter posts will be tagged with #JOD so people can search them and find past posts. The majority of the remaining JOD posts are not sequential, making it easy for people to join any time.  (Though the intention is that the short posts compliment your dreams/wants/goals as well.)


The first thing I want you to do is to set aside just 30 minutes for yourself any time between now and Tuesday when you read the next JOD posting. You can have music playing, but no other people around and no television. Begin by labeling the top of page 3 of your journal “Dreams to Reality, My Goals”.


Leave a small margin (0.5 to 1 inch) for the left margin and begin writing on the first or second line.


The next step is the most difficult thing you’ll do during the entire process, if you do it correctly.


Begin brainstorming a list of things you’d like to do, have, be…etc. The kicker is that you may put NO restrictions on the list of items, no matter how ridiculous your adult mind thinks the ideas may be. For example, if you want to have a giraffe in your back yard, write it down. If you want to meet a rock star, put it down. If you want to make a significant contribution, even with no current means of doing so, write it down. If you want to complete an endurance event, list it.


Include maintaining items you already consider key to your success. For example, “Continue exercising three or four times per week.”


Write as much as you can. Penmanship doesn’t matter and neither does spelling. Write.


If you think you’re finished and 20 minutes isn’t up, sit and wait. If nothing else comes to mind, go forward 2 to 4 pages and write these bold-faced categories down:


(Can take a copy of this cheat sheet with you.)


Health (Overall health, fitness, nutrition, etc.)

Relationships (Good, Tense, Family, Friends)


Spirituality (This is your belief system. How you govern your life. How you treat people.)




Contributions (Making a difference – paid and volunteer)


Then, write more items on your list.


If you can’t think of more to write, just sit and let your mind wander until at least 30 minutes is up. (More time is okay.)


Number your dreams/goals/wants, leaving a bit of space to the left side of the number.


Keep the journal close to you for the next week. As new ideas pop into your head, write them down ASAP – add to your list.


Begin (or continue) your success now ~

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I’ve decided, again, to learn how to skate ski. I used to downhill ski quite a bit; but the more I became interested in endurance sports, the less I was interested in downhill skiing. My first, smug, entrance into skate skiing was a little over 10 years ago. I had all of this experience downhill skiing, how hard could it be to skate ski?


I went to Eldora ski area, rented a pair of skate skis and set about flogging myself. After about 2 hours of what must have looked like a major commotion moving along ever so slowly on skis, an instructor came along and gave me a couple of tips. Wow! Much easier! Go figure, knowing what to do really helps in a technique-intensive sport.


I didn’t skate ski again for about five years. A friend of mine, Cathy, was interested in learning the sport so I told her we had to take lessons. Another friend, Mari, was doing a women’s weekend in Winter Park, so Cathy and I went and took skate ski lessons while everyone else downhill skied. It was a glorious, sunny day with great snow conditions at Devil’s Thumb Resort. With instruction, the day was much more fun and we vowed to ski again that season. It didn’t happen.


A few years passed and a group of friends were heading up to Devil’s Thumb and wanted to know if I was interested in going. Sure! The guys I went with were great skiers and once again, it was a self-flogging on the snow. Funny how one lesson and no further practice for three or more years didn’t allow me to pick up where I left off and just ski.


More years pass.


Last year, Mari again hosted a women’s weekend in Winter Park and the two of us decided to skate ski the first day. Learning from my past mistakes, we did take a lesson and had a great day of skiing. What great fun!


But...because the weekend was in March, my interest in skiing disappeared immediately upon returning to the Front Range.


Note to self: Must skate ski much earlier in the year. How’s January?


Determined to break my pattern of one skate ski per winter season, followed by years of no skiing, I decided I needed to ski earlier this year. But to break my old pattern, I needed a plan – a diabolical plan.


I will recruit other people to join me. I’ll convince as many takers as possible. If I recruit a pile of people to learn to skate ski, then when my Sunday group ride is not possible due to snow we can do a Sunday ski. Also, I’ll have more people interested in skiing and the group of us can keep each other motivated, carpool, minimize time spent indoors on trainers, etc. Yes, that’s how I’ll do it…


I floated the idea of a skate ski lesson a couple of weeks ago and managed to get one taker, plus several “interested, but can’t go this time” responses. Excellent.

Todd Singiser has no idea that he’s part of this master diabolical plan because:

  1. I didn’t tell him.
  2. He doesn’t subscribe to the blog because he figures anything he needs to know, I’ll tell him. Perfect.


Todd and I took a lesson at Eldora a week ago and we’ve already managed to ski again. Twice in one season is a PR for me. (Those experiences deserve their own blog. Succinctly described as OMG: hard, funny, sore muscles, need balance, this could really sky-rocket fitness, I’m spastic, I seemingly have no fitness (how can that be?), others make it look so easy, need to go again…)


I know there are at least six other skate skiers on my Sunday ride list, so there is a core group of people that ski. I will try to recruit a few others to take a lesson.


Need to ski again soon.


Plotting, plotting, plotting…

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To help 100-mile mountain bike racers with some training references, this blog is a good start. Many of the resources can help 100-mile mountain bike racers for any event. Some of the resources are Leadville 100 specific.


First, training plan help.


In my newest book, Training Plans for Cyclists, you will find two foundation fitness training plans. (You can see the table of contents online.) The two foundation fitness plans are designed to help cyclists maintain or improve fitness in the off-season. Often, there are two Levels of training plan presented in the book. Level I is for completion and Level II is more competitive. Level I and Level II descriptions are also relative to event distance. For example, I classify a Level I rider looking at a 100-mile mountain bike race differently than a Level I road rider looking to complete a century. Of course, the event route itself can have a major influence.


The book contains detailed, daily workouts. (Not just general instructions on how to assemble your own plan.) Here are athlete profile descriptions:


Level I Profile (Chapter 19)

The plan in this chapter is designed for a Level I rider. Before beginning the plan, you are riding two or three times per week, indoors or outdoors; but, your workouts are not consistent. It is not a problem for you to ride for an hour, though.


You are looking to build strength, endurance and increase your riding speed. You’d like to begin a weight training program, but don’t know where to begin.


One big issue you have is time. There is never enough time and you don’t have much of it to devote to staying fit. If you can see a training plan that would whip you into shape on three to six hours a week, you’d jump up and down.


Get ready to jump.


(This plan is available in electronic form on TrainingPeaks )


Level II Profile

The plan in this chapter is designed for a Level II cyclist that is riding three or four times per week before beginning the plan. You are currently capable of comfortably completing a two-and-a-half hour ride. Your current long ride is mostly aerobic, but may include a small amount of intensity.


You are looking to build strength, endurance and increase your riding speed for next season. You want a weight training program included in your plan that will deliver on-the-bike speed later.


Your schedule allows you to train six or seven days per week.


(This plan is available in electronic form on TrainingPeaks )


It really doesn’t matter what your season goals are (road vs. mountain) because the foundation fitness plans can be used for preparation for century rides, multi-day tours, short-course mountain bike racing, 24-hour races or 100-mile mountain bike races.


After you have built foundation fitness on your own or used one of the above plans, then you transfer that fitness to a more event-specific plan taking you right up to race day.


Keeping attention focused on just the mountain bike events for now, below are the plan descriptions contained in the book:


Chapter 16, Level I Rider, 100 Mile Mountain Bike Race, 16 Week Plan


Before beginning this plan, you are riding consistently and doing between five and six hours of training each week. Your long ride is around two hours long and it includes some intensity as well as hill riding. At least one other ride during the week contains some intensity. That ride can be an indoor spinning class.


If your current fitness does not meet the description above, begin your training journey in Chapter 19 to build foundation fitness. After the last week of the Chapter 19 training plan, begin with Week 1 of this chapter.


During the week, you are limited to an hour of training on three days. You need two days off for other activities. Additionally, you do not have time to commute to a mountain course, so the training needs to be on an indoor trainer, spin class or a road bike.



Your goal is to comfortably complete a 100-mile mountain bike race. While you want to ride in a time that is as fast as possible, you realize you are restricted for training time. You want the best time, given your limited training time.


(The biggest training week is 13:30. The online version of this race-specific plan is found here.)


Chapter 17, Level II Rider, 100 Mile Mountain Bike Race, 14 Week Plan


Before beginning this plan, you are training approximately nine hours per week. You are riding two long rides each week. One ride is around two hours long and the second one is roughly three hours in length.


You are riding two or three other weekday rides that are an hour each. You may or may not be strength training.


This plan is designed to follow the Level II Foundation Fitness training plan found in Chapter 20. After completing 18 weeks of that plan, you can move directly into the plan in this chapter. That combination provides you with 32 weeks of training.


If you are not using the Chapter 20 training plan, review the last few weeks of that training plan. Before beginning this training plan you should be capable of completing those workouts, or similar workouts, both in time and intensity.


Due to the volume of training necessary to complete this plan you will need to focus on recovery as much as you focus on accomplishing the training. Improved performance is accompanied by recovery techniques and high density nutrition. In summary, in addition to completing the training sessions, you need to get adequate rest and eat nutritious foods that fuel a high performance body. Be sure to read Chapter 3 that covers nutrition.



Your goal is to ride a 100-mile mountain bike race in a personal best time. This competitive goal is more than just completing the event, it is competing at the event. The competition may be for a spot on the podium or to beat a past personal record (PR). You want a new PR.


(The biggest training week is 22:00. The online version of this race plan is found here.)


Now that the training portion is covered, below is more information within columns and blogs:


Description of key points and challenges in the Leadville 100 mountain bike race: (Note that the entry numbers are low compared to 2009 because the column was written in 2005):

Race Across the Sky: The Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race – Part I


Description of key training elements to any 100-mile mountain bike race and a few Leadville specifics:

Race Across the Sky: The Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race – Part II


Two-part training-specific interview with Dave Wiens after he beat Lance Armstrong in the 2008 race:

How to Win the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race, An Interview with Dave Wiens Part I

How to Win the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race, An Interview with Dave Wiens Part II


Acclimatizing to altitude before a race:

Acclimating to Altitude Before a Race Part I

Acclimating to Altitude Before a Race Part II


Altitude training strategies:

Altitude training for athletic success Part I

Altitude training for athletic success Part II


Post-race analysis of items that affected one of my personal races

Snow can be on the course in the weeks pre-race

Wiens and Williams family photos – for fun


A general list of columns that can be used by all endurance athletes.


Found here is my personal training plan, unconventional for a mountain bike racer. I will often post what I’m doing for training on this blog, Twitter and Facebook. I also try to answer as many questions as I can on this blog.

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We are closing the first full week of the New Year and already some New Year’s resolutions to “get fit” are suffering from waning enthusiasm.


One problem is that the resolution to “get fit” leaves too much wiggle room. Exactly what does it mean to “get fit”? How do you know when you’ve accomplished getting fit?


If you haven’t already done so, you need to put a stake in the ground. Register for an event. Commit. It doesn’t matter if it is running, cycling, a triathlon or something else that requires you to be moving for at least 30 minutes at a steady rate. Best would be if you recruit one or more buddies to do the event with you. Or, help someone else gain fitness by offering to do an event with them.


Place one event on your calendar that is about three months out from now, and then find another one that is six to eight months out. While you are busy getting prepared for these events, you will get fit. More than likely you’ll also begin to eat better and lose the extra few pounds that have been hanging around. I am also willing to bet that while you are on a swim, ride or run workout your mind will wander to solve a problem (or problems) you’ve been having.


Working your way to successfully completing an endurance event has a very interesting synergy that yields many more benefits/results than just completing the event.


Don't procrastinate, find something within the next seven days.

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Getting what you want. Turning dreams into accomplishments.


The real question is…what do you want?


If you are a regular blog reader/subscriber, you know that I’m an endurance sport junkie. I love endurance sports. I like to be a participant and I like to help other people succeed in completing or competing at endurance events. In 2010, you will continue to see endurance sports related items in the majority of my blog postings.


For those that found the blog via the “Just One Day” (JOD) experiment at the end of 2009, welcome. Whether you are an endurance junkie or not, I still think you need to exercise. It is good for your body and your head.


When the JOD fans requested that I keep doing “something” in 2010, I wasn’t really sure what to do or how to go about it. During recent workouts I allowed my mind to wander and decided to do a 12-week schtick of JOD, as suggested by Facebook fan Pamela Bennett. But, the twist is that it is more than a random sampling of “try this out”. Some aspects of random tweets will remain in the 12-weeks - and - in addition, there will be more structure. Structure intended to turn your dreams into reality.


I’ll try to help you do that by taking you through parts of the same process I go through each year.The process for me usually happens in January or February, not tied to a particular date. The process has evolved over several years and changes a bit each year. That written, it there are some aspects of the process that never change.


The first thing that never changes is a notebook. Not the computer kind of notebook, but the pen/pencil/paper kind of notebook. If you want to join in on the 12-week JOD challenge, go find a notebook that is some 100-200 pages. If the pages aren’t numbered, then number them. I’ll refer to page numbers as we roll along.


Why a notebook and not a computer? Honestly, it’s because I think there is magic in writing thoughts rather than typing them. Yeah, yeah…I know what you’re thinking. “B.S.” I once thought the same thing, but was willing to give it a try. Now I’m a believer.


Why am I a believer?


At first, I began the process by just “thinking” the answers/dreams/goals/steps. I’ll keep them in my head. A steel vault. I’ll keep all those ideas safe and right behind my eyes in full sight. Riiiiight.


Then I used the computer. It worked marginally.


When I began the writing process, things happened. Big things. Small things too. I’ll give you a few examples of many:


In 1995 I wrote in my notebook, “I want to coach an Olympic athlete.” I also wrote, “I want to go to the Olympic Games.” At the time, I coached zero elite athletes and I didn’t have any idea how I could possibly make those dreams come true. (My first trip to the Olympic Games was to Sydney Australia in 2000 to support my athlete Nicole Freedman, who won Pro Nationals to earn her spot on the Olympic Cycling Team.)


I worked in corporate America for 16 years and faced potential layoffs multiple times. In year 10 of that job, I wrote down, “I want to be self-employed.” At the time I was doing personal coaching as side job for $20 per athlete, per month and didn't think coaching athletes would be my self-employment opportunity. Turns out, I was wrong. (I became full-time self-employed 6 years later, with a two-year self-enforced trial period. The trial period went well, I remain self-employed.)


I’ve written down a number of athletic endurance goals – 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons, triathlons (all distances), trail runs, mountain bike races... Some of the goals are completion oriented, some are time-related. I’ve achieved many of them.


Do my goals change? Yes.


Have I achieved all of the goals that I’ve written down? Not yet.


If you want to travel on the JOD journey for 12 weeks, know that the process begins on January 18. All you need is that notebook I mentioned, a pen you love to write with and an open mind.  Like the last JOD, big instructions happen here on this blog. My goal is for most instructions or JOD tasks to be short so they will be fed via Twitter. (My tweets feed directly to Facebook.)


If you follow along, will your dreams become reality?


Only one way to know.

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