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.
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:
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 ~
In my ongoing series of looking back at old issues of Triathlete magazine, I found a column on this new technology called “The Seat Leash”. It provided leverage by keeping the cyclist from sliding backwards on the seat.Apparently the Italians used a similar design at World Championships for cycling.
I believe the technology was nixed because the governing body for Cycling, UCI, deemed it an unfair advantage and triathlon followed suit. Anyone with more information on that ruling?
In just one week from today, the opening ceremonies will be held for the Olympic Games. To make it easier for you to know what is happening with your favorite athletes and sport, I've done some research for you. Below is a list of helpful links:
Homepage for the Olympic Games - Opening Ceremonies are 8-8-08.
Complete schedule by sport. Once you are on this page, you can select the sport in the left column and get more detail.
I've done a good deal of browsing on the NBC Olympic site and I have to say they've done a great job. There are athlete profiles, videos and stories for all sports. They've included athletes from several countries as well.
Within the NBC site, you can find out the broadcast schedule for your specific location. You can also sign up for cell phone alerts or email alerts for a menu of options.
I did have a look at the transition video for triathlon and I'm not sure who put it together, but near the end of the video the commentator says something to the effect of, "Do it wrong and pay the price." The video scene is of Susan Williams crashing into the barrier on her bike.
The commentator is completely off base, relating the barrier crash to doing transitions "wrong" - but if Susan did it wrong and the price to pay was a Bronze medal...well seems like a nice price.
There are just a few important races left to score the all-important points that determine which countries get three, two, one or no athletes on the start line for the Olympic Games.
The first important race occurs this weekend and is the 2008 Lisbon ETU Triathlon European Championships. This race is considered a Continental Championship race, earning more points than a World Cup event, less than a World Championship event. For the points breakdown, look here.
There will be no USA athletes at this race, because it is a Continental Championship event. The Continental Championship event for the USA was the 2008 Mazatlan PATCO Triathlon Pan American Championship event, held the same weekend as the Tuscaloosa trials race. Our top-ranked athletes (sans Shoemaker, who already has his Olympic slot) were all at the Tuscaloosa trials race. While the trials race was exciting, there were no ITU points awarded for this event. Points are critical, especially now, as you know.
Jesse, you noticed that Polyansky popped past the USA and we lost our third men's slot. Not only did he step past the USA, he also stepped past Switerland's Olivier Marceau. Now Switzerland becomes the country we need to beat out to be the last country to secure three slots.
Unfortunately for the USA, Switzerland and Russia will have the opportunity to score points this weekend, while the USA (Hunter Kemper, Matt Reed) and Australia (Brendan Sexton) will not.
Dmitri Polyansky (RUS - three country slots): 2500
Olivier Marceau (SUI - three country slots): 2452
Hunter Kemper (USA- two country slots): 2359
Matt Reed (USA): 2305
More than likely, Polyansky and Marceau will both pass Sexton this weekend for accumulated points at this weekend's race.
Polyansky is working from a base of thirteen races, only nine of which count in the total, so his lowest scoring race will be dropped. Marceau is working from a base of only five races, so any points he accumulates will count in his total.
The next race that counts is Madrid. All of the men discussed above are on the start list for that race. As discussed previously, watch for all of the countries discussed above to be positioning their bubble-points person (or people) for a maximum points score. For us, Friman (World Rank = 72), Fretta (WR = 114) and Seymour (WR = 181) should all be working for Kemper and Reed to help them get that third country slot.
Recall, athletes must be ranked in the top 125 in the ranking to be eligible for the Games.
The final race that counts is the World Championships in Vancouver on June 8th. All of the contenders will be there as well.
After the European Championships, I can give you a better guess at what needs to happen for the USA to get that third slot back.
If we do not get the third men's slot back by the end of the World Championships race (the cut off for Olympic ranking points), Big Matty Reed loses his Olympic slot. The final slot will be determined at the Des Moines race. Carefully read the USAT's Amended Selection Criteria at this link to see the selection process in print.
You can watch the European Champs as well as the Madrid race live on the ITU website, Tricast Live.
I received an email asking me what I thought the odds are that the USA men will lose a starting line position for triathlon at the Olympics.
In yesterday's blog I outlined the current issue. Let me give you more information today.
I think there is a high likelihood that the USA will indeed lose that third men's slot this weekend. The big question is by how much.
I don't know what the Russian Olympic qualifying process entails, so there might be some intersquad rivalries that I'm unaware of, but if I were coaching that Russian team, I would make my team strategy to do whatever it takes to get Polyansky the most points possible. Yes, this means all of his country men setting him up in anyway possible for a win - or as close to that as possible. No one from Russia ought to cross the line ahead of him. Every Russian male athlete should be working for Polyanksy - and they should be rewarded within the country system for doing so.
Does the country system reward such team work in Russia? I don't know.
Looking ahead now to Madrid, requires some looking back in time. First know that Hunter does not have the maximum number of races that go into this year's rankings. This is a good thing and means it is easier for Hunter to make a points gap than it is for Polyansky to make a gap at this point. Any points Hunter scores adds to his total. Polyansky needs to place higher and score more points than in a previous race, to build his points gap. You can see this by looking at the Olympic Rankings chart.
When they have raced at the same race, only twice in recent past, Hunter has gotten the nod. Kemper/Polyansky at Des Moines 2007 and Beijing 2007: 172 to 92 and 201 to 117 respectively. On paper, Kemper is the faster athlete.
In Madrid, ignoring any individual goals, the USA is sending four men and Russia is sending three. It is in the best interest of each country to sacrifice any individual goals to get Kemper or Polyansky in the best positions possible.
While the battle above is going on, don't turn a blind eye to Australia and Switerland. As I mentioned before, the four countries are close in points.
If I was a betting gal, I'd bet the USA will lose the position at the Richard's Bay World Cup; but get it back in Madrid and keep it through World Championships. Of course, I'm assuming no crashes, injuries, etc. for Kemper.
Do you plan to watch the South African Richard's Bay World Cup online at the ITU website this weekend? Perhaps you should?
In the world of getting Olympic slots for your country, recall from my column about the qualification process that only eight countries will get three men and three women on the start line at the Olympic Games.
Which countries can send three athletes per gender is determined by the "2008 Olympic Qualification" document found on this page. Just select that document to read all of the gory details.
What it boils down to, is Hunter Kemper is currently our third place, USA ranked male and his ranking points total 2359. Complete rankings can be found by selecting the "2008 Beijing Olympic Qualification Rankings" document, found here. Know that the USA is currently the last country to qualify three men on the start line for the Olympic Games.
The country closest to taking that spot away at this weekend's Richard's Bay World Cup race is Russia, specifically Dmitri Polyansky. His current Olympic rank puts him a mere 53 points away from Hunter Kemper. Looking at the scores he's accumulated in his recent races (419, 379, 293, 252, 238, 221, 167, 126, 126) you can see it is completely possible for him to replace his lowest score with a good performance in Richard's Bay.
I have not tried to do the math to figure out what place he needs to get to score that 53 points, but the race point system can be found here by selecting "ITU Points Critera".
If the USA men lose that third slot, the only way to get it back is by Hunter having a solid race at Madrid World Cup. That start list can be found here or the ITU BG Vancouver World Championships June 8th. World Championships is the cut-off date for the Olympic qualification process.
The last country to earn thee starts at the Olympic Games, for the men, depends on the following gentlemen racing for their respective countries. They are all separated by a couple hundred points, as of 4/26/08:
Brendan Sexton - Australia (2507)
Oliver Marceau - Switzerland (2452)
Hunter Kemper - USA (2359)
Dmitri Polyansky - Russia (2306)
Know that all of these guys are on the start list for the Madrid World Cup, found here.
Unless Kemper can perform well, and keep his points higher than the men listed above, we won't need to worry about qualifying a third man to the Olympics at the Des Moines World Cup race.
Q: I have a niece that I think could cut the mustard as a triathlete for the next Olympic Games. I don't know how she does on the bike, but she seems to have a lot of horse power. In high school, she ran a 5:18 mile as a freshman and a 12:25 (indoor) 2 mile as a sophomore. She swims a 5:20, 500yd freestyle event.
I'm wondering if she should be involved in some athlete training program that can help her development?
A: Your niece definitely has potential. The time standards for Junior Elite Squad athletes associated with a program sponsored by USAT include a 12:30 for two miles and 5:35 for short course yards. She is within the time standards.
You can find the time standards on this link on the USA Triathlon website. Select the link titled, "Junior Elite Squad Criteria".
Know that a there are a couple of different classifications to help athletes get prepared to be an Elite Olympian. The first is a "Junior" and that is an athlete between the ages of 16 and 19. The second is called U23 (Under 23). There is some potential crossover between the Junior, U23 and Elite age ranges.
One example of crossover is Portugal's Vanessa Fernandes. Vanessa ended 2007 ranked number one in the World, at the age of 22. Her first World Cup win, racing as an Elite, came in Madrid in 2003 at age 18. She has won an incredible 19 World Cup races as an Elite, won World Championships and been on the podium numerous times. You can find a summary of her results here. Select "Athlete", then enter her last name.
Back to your niece and what can you do to help? If you can help her have some fun in short, local triathlons that is the first step. Help her fall in love with the joy of the sport. If she's having fun going fast, take it from there.
Welcome to my blog. Many of you may be familiar with my columns or training plans on the Active Network. Those tools will continue to exist.
What you will see in the blog is a variety of current-event oriented topics. That means a mix of my personal adventures, training information I find useful for the athletes I coach, answers about how to modify pre-built triathlon training plans or cycling training plans to meet personal needs, advanced-athlete topics and more.
I look forward to traveling the blog journey with you.