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I received a request to do an interview with a writer from WebMD, Saylnn Boyles. The issue she was investigating was decreased genital sensation among women due to riding a bike. A research paper indicated that genital neuropathies and erectile dysfunction in males is commonly discussed and a well accepted concern for male cyclists; but what about the women? Do women have neurological injuries due to riding a bike and can those be solved by simply raising the handle bars?


Saylnn sent me the research paper, “The Bar Sinister: DoesHandlebar Level Damage the Pelvic Floor in Female Cyclists?”  The paper looked at 48 cyclists and compared their genital sensations with those of 22 runners.


Early in my conversation with Saylnn, she commented that her impression was that the topic of genital numbness was a common topic of conversation among female riders.


Before I let you know the full range of my comments on her assumption and the research paper, I want to hear from you. Is this an issue? Do you experience genital numbness after a bike ride?


Ladies, let me know if you experience this problem or not.


You’ll need to post your comments on my Facebook page, since comments are blocked here on Active due to spammers.

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In 2000, a few of us training for Ironman Utah, and one guy training for the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike, race decided to do a spring century ride. Unlike this year, the spring weather in Colorado is often snowy, wet and chilly. Since misery loves company, the small group of about half dozen of us rode a torturous, windy 100 miles.


The result of the torture was we all achieved the fitness bonus we were looking for.


In the years since, that spring century ride turned into the annual tradition of the VE100 – or Vernal Equinox 100-mile ride. This spring century is both a training goal and a training boost. What does that mean?


The first goal is to have at least one 50- to 60-mile ride under our collective belts in February. In some winters, this is not an easy accomplishment. This accomplishment is best done in a single ride, though it can be split between two days.


If you’ve accomplished 50- to 100-percent of the estimated ride distance (in this case a century) or estimated ride time (best used for mountain bike events), within a single ride or two consecutive days, in the two to four weeks prior to your “event” then you will have the endurance to complete your event. Generally, the higher the percentage you’re able to complete before the event, the faster, more comfortable or both you’ll be during the event.


The previous paragraph is important. I use the 50- to 100-percent rule for much of the endurance training I design for athletes.


Aiming for the VE100 gives all of us a spring target or goal event.


Everyone finds that a few weeks after the VE100, overall endurance fitness is boosted. This boost can then be used to the athlete’s advantage.


Out of the twelve people that successfully completed the VE100, none of them have identical race schedules. But, all of them will benefit from the ride.


It doesn’t matter whether you target a sponsored event or if you design your own, training for a century ride can, and will, make a positive impact on your fitness.


VE100 Edited.jpg

                    2012 VE100 crew before the ride began

               Photo credit - Dave Newman, rider on the far right.

                              2012 VE100 Route

482 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: 100, training_for_a_century_ride, vernal_equinox

Q. I’m using your advanced level 100-mile mountain bike training plan in Training Plans for Cyclists. I want to run two days per week. How can I add running into the plan?


A. If you’re not strength training, I suggest moving the day off to Monday and run Tuesday and Thursday. (Substituting one run for strength training and the second run for form work or speed skills on the bike.) If you’re strength training and need a day off, I’d put a short run before strength training and substitute the second run for the form or speed workout on the bike. If you’re strength training and don’t need a day off, substitute the running days for the workouts shown on Tuesday and Thursday.

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What do you need to go fast?




I just reviewed recent test/baseline results with an Ironman athlete. He improved his 5k time from 23:23 to 21:49 (a 6.7% improvement). This performance predicts a half-marathon improvement of 33 seconds per mile. I have no doubt he'll get it.


We’ve worked together just short of a year.


It takes time to:

  • improve pace, recover and go to the next level.
  • increase endurance without losing too much speed.
  • work on nutrition strategies that fit a lifestyle and racing.
  • have the self-control to go easy so that when it’s time to go fast - you can.


All the same training principles I used with this fellow are in my training plans.

498 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: half-marathon, 5k, speed, triathlon_improvement

There is an interval workout assigned for today. You’re not sure if you should do it or not because you’re just not feeling like your regular self. Should you quit being such a wimp and toughen up cupcake – or – is your body telling you to take it easy?


Here’s what I tell my athletes:

  • If you have symptoms (aches, sore throat, runny nose, headache, etc.) and just don’t feel up to the workout, skip it. One day of rest might keep something more serious from settling in.
  • If you just feel “off,” go ahead and warm up. After the warm-up, try two of the intervals (if they are less than five minutes long). If you don’t feel better during the second interval, just call it quits. Cool down and head home. Sometimes, many times, you’ll feel better as the intervals progress. If this is the case, you’re just shaking out some cobwebs.
  • If you are within seven to 10 days of the onset of a cold or flu, forget any intervals that drive your heart rate high for over 30 seconds or so. If you do decide to do some short intervals, make the recovery time high – some four to 10 minutes.


The goal of an interval session is to improve your fitness. Anything that might set you back should be avoided.

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In addition to thousands of emaails about athletes using the training plans in my books to help them meet fitness and race goals, I’ve gotten loads of compliments on the cover of my book, Training Plans for Multisport Athletes,second edition. After people tell me how much they like the cover, they often ask “Who is the runner?”




My answer, until a couple of weeks ago, was “I don’t know.”


Design artists at VeloPress work on the cover presentation for the book. Since great cover designs tend not to be the forte of authors, most publishers hold the right to design the cover in the book contract. They select photos from in-house photographers or file photos purchased from freelance photographers.


When I presented at the Triathlon America conference, a good looking fellow approached me and said, “I’ve been wanting to meet you. I’m Michael O’Neil and I’m the runner on the cover of your book.”




An interesting triva fact for you is that Michael has been the manager for several professional triathletes including Susan Williams and Sara Groff. His company is named “ethos”and is involved in several ventures.


Great to meet you Michael ~

715 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: velopress, training_plans_for_multisport_athletes, training_plans_for_triathletes

What is success?

Posted by Gale Bernhardt Mar 8, 2012

I think most people look upward and forward to define success. What I mean by that is when athletes look at race results; they typically look at what the fastest people in the age group do. If your aspirations are to be on the podium, place higher in your age group or as a higher percentile of the age group, you look up.


Heck, I do this for the athletes I coach. I look at current race times or training times and then scour the race results to estimate placement – for people that want to place high in their category. After the race there is a debrief time to evaluate how the event went – was it a success?


Some people define success as only placement in an event.Yes, that is one measure.


Consider broadening your definition and consider looking back. I’m working with several people right now that are achieving tremendous success – but I am not measuring race performances. I am looking at:


  • Power production compared to some six weeks to six months ago. In some cases, I’m looking back as far as a year. Can you produce more power now, over any given amount of time, than you were able to do some time ago?
  • Pace for a given heart rate now, compared to the past. If you can produce an eight-minute mile average pace in 30 minutes at a heart rate cost of Zone 2 (description found in free download Training Intensities document) now and six months ago that same workout “cost” you Zone 3 effort, you’ve improved.
  • Is your endurance higher now than it was a few weeks or months ago? Can you swim, ride or run farther than before?
  • Are you healthier now than you were in the past? Less prone to injury, fewer colds?
  • If your meals and snacks are healthier today than they were last week – or even yesterday – that is success.
  • The list can go on and on…


My favorite dictionary definition is, “the favorable outcome of something attempted.”


Though today you might be discouraged because you are spending your time looking upward and forward to what others have achieved, or perhaps what you once were able to achieve, I say look back and see what you’ve accomplished recently.


If you’re injured, I know you want to be up and running today, but you must be patient. Perhaps you couldn’t walk more than five feet last week. Maybe you were water running last month and your injured foot couldn’t bear weight. Maybe the flu bug knocked you down last week. But today…


Either today is already better than you were before – or –you have the opportunity to make it that way. Look back and see what you’ve already accomplished and remove yourself from any pity party. If you’re currently stuck in the pity party, you now – this minute – have the opportunity to attempt something and enjoy a favorable outcome by the end of the day.


Celebrate the seemingly small stuff ~ that is success.

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Sorry to be MIA for a few days. My husband Del had full knee replacement surgery last Tuesday. The doctor told him about 10 years ago that he had arthritis in that knee and at “sometime in the future” he would need a knee replacement surgery.


For the last 10 years he gradually lost the ability to do things. He didn’t really cause much of a fuss because after all, he could still walk and he wasn't keen on a major surgery. The walking he did wasn’t without pain and the pain slowly got more and more frequent over time. Last fall he took a trip to visit his brother Farron in Seattle and the touristy walking really caused him problems.


That pain from his vacation lead to another trip to the doctor and an MRI. Of course the arthritis didn’t go away, and in fact had gotten got worse. He had bone cysts and inflammation of the bone surface due to bone-on-bone contact between the femur and tibia. The doctor told him he could continue to put off knee replacement surgery as long as he could stand the pain.


That was the problem. His ability to tolerate pain for so many years gradually stole his mobility and most importantly the fitness in his bad leg. Now that he is post-surgery the physical therapists are saying that the quadriceps muscles in his bad leg barely fire. Those muscles have limited strength and his range of motion is not good. In short, physical therapy will be longer and more difficult for him than for someone that kept a higher level of fitness before surgery.


The big lesson is not to wait too long before getting a bad knee replaced. The lower the fitness is in your bad leg/knee prior to surgery, the longer and more difficult knee replacement rehabilitation will be for you.


Now for the day 2 photo…


knee surgery day 2.jpg

903 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: rehabilitation, surgery, full_knee_replacement, knee_arthritis

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve had a family member in the hospital. That’s a good thing.


My husband had knee replacement surgery earlier this week and he’sdoing pretty good today. Being the endurance coaching nerd that I am, I take keen interest in all things trauma and surgery related because fast healing is critical for those situations…and…athletics.


Sometimes the nifty things I learn aren’t physical training related, but physical comfort related. I found out yesterday that there is a product available so you can wash your hair without water.


The product is named, conveniently, No-RinseShampoo Cap. “The one-piece No-Rinse Shampoo Cap is latex-free and alcohol-free. It leaves hair fresh and clean and eliminates odor. Cap can be warmed in a microwave for added comfort.”


I don’t know how well the product does on long hair, but it does a pretty good job on short hair.


So, just in case you need to wash your hair with no water available (long flights, camping, etc.), you have at least one possible solution.

434 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: no-rinse_shower_cap, no_water_shower