Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Heros!

We all have them.  When I was in grade school, my favorite super hero was Captain America. He didn't really have a "super power", but he did have a shield and a motor cycle - pretty cool super powers to an 8 year old.

Today my hero's super power is "character"!. Meet my friend Jamie Twedt. This past weekend, Jamie shared her story about her road to the Ironman World Championship this October.  I won't do it justice to try to summarize it in the blog - you simply have to listen to Episode 75 of MHE.

Jame spoke very personally about her sister (Dawn) who recently lost her battle with ovarian cancer. Jamie and Dawn never finish a conversation about whether or not Jamie should pursue an Ironman Foundation slot to Kona.  If you've listened to the interview, you know how that conversation ended.


We were joined by pro triathlete Rachel Joyce, who is on the Board of Advisers for Women For Tri.  Rachel joined us to celebrate and support Jamie's journey to Kona and explain the mission, strategy and the growth of the organization.


SPOILER ALERT - Jamie is going to Kona!  She has partnered up with Women For Tri and is asking you to help her raise $40,000.

Health IQ has offered to help Jamie by making a donation to Jamie's charity up to $200.


Take the Triathlon Quiz! 
This Quiz was developed by over a dozen professional triathletes and coaches.  Check your knowledge with questions from Siri Lindley, Bek Keat, Terry Laughlin and more!



Sunday, April 9, 2017

USE YOUR HEAD! The "Neural Pathway" to Faster and Safer Endurance Performance Gains



The Neural Pathway to Endurance Performance Gains

Last weekend I had the best swim training sessions I can recall in more than twelve years of swimming.  It wasn't the longest swim workout.  It wasn't the most intense swim session.  It wasn't a well designed Masters workout and it wasn't with my friends that I enjoy swimming with.  In fact, I wouldn't have any data to analyze because my GPS watch battery died the moment I pressed the "start" button.  While frustrating, not paying attention to my watch was part of the success  What made this the best swim training session in more than a decade?  Hold onto that question and read on.

Mile High Endurance Podcast is dedicated to helping listeners accelerate their learning of the endurance sports. Along with co-hosts Khem Suthiwan and Bill Plock, we want to connect you to experts to learn how to improve and get faster.  A number of exerts over recent months have pointed us to the potential of "neural development" and I've become increasingly curious about the brain's role in our pursuit of improving performance in in triathlon and other endurance sports. 

Training for endurance sports like swimming, cycling and running has historically been defined in terms of fitness, strength and economy of motion.  Endurance sport training is traditionally concerned with adaptations though a combination of aerobic and anaerobic training at varying duration and intensities.  These adaptations are achieved through important considerations and accurately applying concepts like periodization, acute training load, chronic training load, and recovery.  These are essential aspects of physiological development.




Experts in a variety of endurance sport disciplines are advocating neural development as an importance of aspect of endurance training.  In the article 
What is Neural Training and Why Do It? by Terry Laughlin, founder of Total Immersion, writes "Neural Training. In this form of training, you target adaptations to brain and nervous system. As you do, aerobic training still occurs, but is precisely matched to the demands of the task to which your brain and nervous system are adapted."  

In his article, The Science Behind How We Learn New Skills, Thorin Klososwski writes "Every time you learn something new, your brain changes in a pretty substantial way. In turn, this makes other parts of your life easier because the benefits of learning stretch further than just being good at something". 


What is Learning?

What is learning?  Early in our lives we learn some basic things such as how to walk and talk.  As we grow older and our brains develop we learn logic, language and music.  We also take walking to the next level and learn to swim, bike and run, among other sports.  True learning and long term retention allows us to build a base of knowledge that we continue to build on as we refine our understanding and gain new insights. Whether we are learning to swim or learning an algebraic equation, we are learning. While learning to swim happens in a different part of our brains (swimming in the motor cortex) than the part of the brain that helps us learn statistics (using the frontal lobe).  Learning is learning.

In the book, "Make It Stick - The Science of Successful Learning", authors Peter Brown, Henry Roediger, and Mark McDaniel help us to understand what contemporary research tells us about how we learn successfully with retention.  The brain is plastic and malleable through changing neural connections.  These authors explain how effective learning occurs, they reveal misconceptions about previously believed effective methods of learning, and explain what methods truly result in faster and longer memory.  

In one cited experiment, they describe two groups of children to assess which of two learning approaches would result in effective learning. The goal of the groups was to toss a ball into a basket from a distance of three feet.  Group A was only able to practice the ball toss from three feet from the basket.  Group B was only able to practice the toss from two and four feet from the basket - never from three feet.  What do you think they learned about how Groups A and B compared in their accuracy when tested more than a week after the practice phase?  Group B outperformed A by a significant margin.  Why?  While there are many dynamics at play here, the basic explanation was because Group B had the benefit of learning the difference in effort and motion between two and four feet causing their brains to work harder during the learning process.  Each time the subject had to try to learn it takes this much effort with this motion to hit the basket from two feet and that much effort for four feet. It's that concentration and recall that causes the neural pathways to form.  


The authors use an analogy of a grassy field to represent the tapestry of the brain's neural connections.  If we walk lightly across a grassy field once, we may leave a slight trace of our footsteps.  Walk that same path lightly many times and you may start to see the effect  of deepening traces from repeated light footsteps.  Drag or stomp your feet as you make your way across the field and you're likely to leave deeper impressions. Forcing the brain to work in the form of recalling knowledge or concentration on coordinated muscle movements results in learning.


Learning physical skills like swimming, biking and running cause these same brain changes to make the execution of movements easier. When I see professional athletes demonstrate perfect form, I say to myself "I wish I could learn to swim like Amanda Stevens, or bike like Andrew Starkowitz, or run like Marinda Carfrae. What does that mean to learn to do that? Okay, I may not have the genetics for the VO2 max or composition of slow and fast twitch muscles as these athletes. However, I can learn form and skill. 


There are gaps between Rinny's any my running performance. I can however study and learn the elements of good running economy and performance and learn them through focused learning session. Think of them as training sessions, but the goal is to learn. Yes there will be physiology adaptations that come along for the ride, but I want to maximize learning.  I have a run workout that is only 30 minutes and it's sole purpose is to focus on cadence and ground contact time. I don't think about anything else, but those two things and using my mind to figure out what coordinated muscle contractions and alignments result in higher cadence and lower contact time.

What Makes a Great Training Session?

I began this article proclaiming one of my best swim training sessions in more than a decade.  What made that training session so good?  I mentioned that I had been emailing a Researcher at Halo Neuroscience to additional instruction on how to design my training sessions to get the best learning outcome.  My question was about how to design my training to best leverage the Halo Sport, but the response from Alex is useful to understand what made my swim last week so effective.

"The beauty of Halo Sport is that because it targets the brain, it allows it to be applicable to a number 

of different applications and adaptable to the athlete's needs.  The double edged sword is that all movements are better encoded, not just the "better" ones.  Therefore the best type of training to pair with Halo Sport is less about what exercises and more about the attitude.  You want to pair Halo Sport with periods of deep practice, ensuring that the best repetitions are what are being better encoded and transferred into the central pattern generators we talked about."  

He also shared an article on on the Halo Neuroscience website on  Swim Training.  From the article, "Swimming is not the primary mode of locomotion for humans, so the motor cortex plays a larger role in coordinating swimming patterns than in, say, walking or running. Mastering CPG coordination is a perfect task for the motor cortex, as this area is specifically geared towards using motor skill learning to pinpoint the appropriate motor output."


Learning Session Approach

I started last week's swim in the weightroom of the recreation center that also houses my pool. The entire training session can be broken down in to thee sections:
  1. Core and Warm Up - 20 minutes
  2. Shoulder and Back Strength, Imagery and Form - 30 minutes
  3. Swim Skill Drills  - 30 minutes
While I will overlay the application of the Halo Sport as I describe each of the three sections of the workout, the approach, techniques and elapsed time are the same.


Core and Warm Up

I like to start every strength session with 20 minutes of core work.  I do three strength sessions per week and each session has a different mix.  In my pre-swim core workout this day, I had three core exercises. They were 2 and 1 Arm Supermans, Scissor Kicks, and V-Ups. I did these as a circuit of 1 minute 2 & 1-Arm Superman, 1 minute rest, 1 minutes Scissor Kicks, 1 minute rest and so on.

My focus while performing each of these core exercises is to be thoughtful about the application to swimming through visualization.  I will close my eyes while doing the Superman, for example.  Face down on a mat with my pelvis pressed firmly into the ground I extend both arms and imagine myself as I extending in a push off the wall of the pool. My shoulders, arms and fingers stretch for the bottom corner of pool wall ahead of me, while my legs, feet and toes are extended and pointing to the pool wall behind me. After holding that pose for 10 seconds, I bring my right hand back to my side with left hand extended, I point my right leg and toes in a counter balancing move while engaging my core.  After ten seconds with left hand forward and right foot extended, I switch sides as I think through the gliding motion, extension and core engagement.

I continue though Scissor Kicks and V-Ups with the same mindful, swim focused imagery equivalents and then progress to Back and shoulder strength training.

Halo Sport Application: at the beginning of my core work, I turn on the Halo Sport and start the 20 minute Neural Priming session.  I set the intensity and just go through the core workout as normal while I listen to music and get primed.  At the the end of the priming session, my Neural Cortex is in a state of hyper plasticity for 60 more minutes and I proceeded to work on back and shoulder functional strength training.


Back and Shoulder

Important Note: anyone starting any of these exercises should seek a certified personal trainer or physical therapist for instruction on proper form and injury avoidance.

I do 30 minutes of back and should strength training with specific functional movements to replicate the various functional movements of swimming arm recovery the exercises performed in this session were 3 x each of the following functional movement (and it's paired strength exercise):

  1. Swim Motion  - Rotating shoulder forward (Single Side Dumbbell Shoulder Shrug)
  2. Swim Motion  - High elbow/lead with elbow (High Elbow Standing Shoulder Fly)
  3. Swim Motion - Hop N Slot (Shoulder Press)
  4. Swim Motion -  Catch and Pull (Pull Ups)

In the Pool

With the strength training session complete, I jump in the pool for a 30 minute swimming training session that is focused solely on skill drills.  Borrowing skills from Total Immersion Effortless Self-Coaching 1.0 Course.  With each of the skills below, I used a snorkel to take breathing out of the motor coordination equation.  The skills were done as 100 x each and cycled though.three times. 
  1. Superman (1 & 2 Arm)
  2. Recovery Elbow Swing
  3. Hop N Slot
  4. Full bi-lateral swim
I've been practicing these skills for several weeks, but I am still am occasionally clumsy with them. On this day, my proprioception was high and the motions came smoothly with intentional effort. By the time I was executing the third round of drills and putting it altogether with what felt like perfect timing and balance - I was giddy with excitement. 

It is exciting to have breakthrough training sessions. When we are younger and newer to the sport, it's reaching those new levels of speed and distance. Today, the excitement of "cracking the code" and developing neural pathways toward perfecting my swim stroke.

In Summary

This swim training session is just one example of how I have paired functional movement visualization with strength training and skill practice.  In this session, my primary focus was arm recovery and keeping a strong core.  You can imagine the number of possibilities for applying neural training to different skills related to swimming, cycling and running.

I'll take on examples of pairing functional strength training with specific functional movements of cycling and running in future articles.  Keep in mind, these will not be the "going-through-the motions" article. This will be an article focused on how to keep your head in the game and learn how to be faster and more efficient.

Rich Soares

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Neuro Halo Sport - Out of the Box Experience

Experiencing the Neuro Halo Sport

Background

What is it?

Halo Sport is a training device that accelerates gains in skill, strength, explosiveness and endurance when paired with athletic training. Halo Sport stimulates the brain's motor cortex, resulting in stronger, more optimized signals from the brain to the muscles. Similar to a pre-workout meal that primes the body for a productive training session, Halo Sport primes the brain to prepare you for your most effective workout.

How does it work?

Halo Sport works through a process called Neuropriming. Athletes wear Halo Sport before or during training, and the device's soft foam Primers deliver electrical stimulation to the brain’s motor cortex. This increases neuroplasticity, which accelerates the optimization of neuromuscular circuitry through training. Improved neuromuscular output leads to more precise, coordinated, and/or explosive movement — whichever the athlete targets during training.

Why am I talking about it?

I have been fascinated with this topic of neural plasticity for some time. There is a book that I read a couple of years ago that really shifted the way I think about learning.  The book was titled "Make It Stick, The Science of Success Learning" by Peter Brown. Part of what I took away from this book was that it takes effort to learn.  

There are many methods of learning that lead to more successful learning, but essentially it is the effort of questioning and recall without assistance that forces us to really effort to learn.  That effort actually assists in the creation neural pathways for learning to take place.  The author equates thinking through a learning objective to walking across a grass field.  If walking across the field represents the process of thinking through a subject.  The more we cross the field, the more worn a path becomes.  Such is the case with the effort of thinking and recall, it eventually blazes a worn path of neural pathways.

My curiosity compelled me to contact Halo Neuroscience and seeing if I could get an interview with their marketing team.  The team an Halo Neuroscience connected me with their Chief Marketing Offier, Mark Mastalir, In the interview Mark helped us to understand the background, science, design and application of the Halo Neuro Sport headset. Stay tuned for upcoming Blog publications in the near future on the science, design and application of the Halo Sport.  

Mark graciously provided a Halo Sport for me to evaluate and share my experience with the MHE audience.  
Before I can talk about my experience with the Halo Sport, we have to take the unit out of the box. The "out of the box" experience with technology is one of life's true joys if designed well.

Out of the Box Experience

The "out of the box" experience is something that can set a product apart and Halo Neuroscience gets
it. The first thing I noticed picking lifting the box to my dining room table was the heft of the box - I knew the contents had substance. After carefully using a pair of kitchen scissors to slice the packing tape on the outside of the 12"x 12"x 9" standard brown box, I pulled back the flaps and knew I was in for a good "out of the box" experience.  The kind of out-of-the-box experience people describe when they open an Apple product, for example.

Opening the brown flaps of the packing box, I noticed the black product box suspended with black foam pads to protect the contents. Pulling the black box out, I had a heightened expectation about the pending discovery.  There is a slick marketing cardboard wrap around the quality box containing the unit.  Removing the lid, the contents were revealed including:

Headset
Quick Dry Case
Box of Primers
Charger and USB Cable
Audio Cord
Water Spray Bottle

Simplicity is the key. The instruction manual included with the Halo Sport was about the size of a playing card, which essentially leads you to installing the App and follow instructions for setup therin. The steps to pair the headset with the app and start a neuro priming session is easier than setting up an iPhone.

The application connects to the device via Bluetooth. It was straight forward and done within the app (no need to go to your phones Settings menu). If you want to listen to music, use the included flat  cord, included and wrapped carefully with a Velcro band.

Stay tuned for more blog publications on:

  • First impressions from use
  • Rich's testing protocol
  • Progress reports




Sunday, January 15, 2017

Touring New TrainingPeaks ATP and Workout Builder Features

Touring Annual Training Plan and Workout Builder with TSS

Background

Before I get into the content of this article, I want to share my personal inspirations for writing on the topic.  A few months ago I decided to upgrade from the athlete to the coaches addition of TrainingPeaks.  I have been creating my own workouts and Annual Training Plan (ATP) as an athlete, but recently had an opportunity to work with an athlete and needed to create an ATP and workouts for someone other than myself.  When I upgraded, I was contacted by TrainingPeaks customer support and was offered a one on one orientation session.  I accepted and shortly after had my 45 minute overview via Skype.  

The orientation was useful and I learned a number of new things that I've found useful and want to share with other athlete and coach TrainingPeaks users.  Before I do, let me complete the thought on the inspiration.  Tony, from TrainingPeaks, was walking me through how to create an Annual Training Plan.  While he demonstrated the options for ATP, the thought was occurring to me that I was going to be creating an ATP for someone else in the near future.  The pending task of data entry and calculations to design and build the ATP to give my athlete the appropriate training load and ramp up was at the front of mind.  My specific thought in that moment was "it would be great if you could just enter the target Training Stress Score (TSS) or Chronic Training Load (CTL) and have that automatically produce an ATP volume required to prepare an athlete for the demand of their A Race. 

It seemed like a reasonable question, so I asked Tony.  He chuckled a bit, and I expected to hear Tony follow the chuckle with a "it's right there in front of you", Instead, Tony explained that the functionality did not exist yet, but was actually scheduled in an upcoming release.  It's one thing to have a new feature in a software product come out that is useful, but that you didn't necessarily need.  Sometimes those features surprise us and reveal needs we didn't know we had.  It is quite another to have a specific need or problem you want to solve (in this case, hours of data entry and calculations) and the feature comes right as you needed.

Now this is probably not very interesting to most people, but I am a software Product Manager in my day job.  My job is to understand the needs of my users and convey these needs based on value to our software development teams.  It's always gratifying when someone comes to me with a need and it's something we already have in development and know that what we are building is in demand.  Until now, I had never been on the receiving end of that experience.


Begin with your intended result in mind


Enough of the inspiration, let's get into my exploration of the new Annual Training Plan and Workout Builder.  Before we talk about these features, it's important that you have foundation of some of the terms and concepts that make these features so valuable.  I'm assuming that you are reading this article and using TrainingPeaks as a tool to help you train yourself or someone else for a race or endurance event.  That race of event is going to demand physical effort or work that you, or your athlete, needs to be able to perform on that day.  What you need is a plan to get there.  How do you assess or define the work required for that event and apply training stress to the body over the coming days, weeks and months to be ready for that demand.  Before we explore the application, I recommend you read Why Planning With Training Stress Score Is The Most Accurate Way To Plan Your Season by Alan Couzens and Jim Vance. 

Annual Training Plan 

Assuming you have a foundation understanding of what TSS your race(s) or event(s) will require, we can start building your Annual Training Plan (ATP).  Log in to TrainingPeaks and click on page menu item ATP at the top center of landing page.  The folks at TrainingPeaks have made this an easy step-by-step process and the first step is to choose the methodology.  This is where the addition of TSS is introduced as a new feature in the ATP and the focus of this article.  To understand the value of the feature, I'll go through all three of the methodologies briefly.

Weekly Hours

In Step 1 "Choosing Your Training Methodology", select "Weekly Hours" and then note the UI changes below, past Step 2 "Enter Details", to Step 3 "Determine Your Training Volume". Weekly Hours is the original methodology and assumes you are using weekly training volume as metric to gauge the demand of work required for training.   Here you can enter the values for the easiest, average, and hardest weeks in terms of hours of total training. 

Weekly TSS

Change the selection in Step 1 "Choosing Your Training Methodology", select "TSS (Weekly TSS)". Note the data entry fields below in Step 3 change to enter target TSS values.  Having an understanding of TSS and the TSS targets for race preparation are another subject and covered in the aforementioned Couzens and Vance article.  Again, you are entering the easiest, average and hardest week's TSS values appropriate for your physical goal.

TSS (Event Fitness/CTL)

Again, change the selection in Step 1, but this time to "TSS (Event Fitness/CTL).  Notice the changes that occur Step 3 Determine Training Volume and Step 4 Add Events.  In Step 3 you are now presented with your starting CTL, and in Step 4 your Events now have a data entry field for the target Chronic Training Load - again, refer to the Couzens/Vance article. This allows you to enter the CTL required for the demand of the race.  This is exactly what I was asking Tony for in my orientation. With your starting and goal CTL, you can create an ATP that is tailored for that change in CTL.


Other Aspects of ATP

The focus of the article is on the addition of TSS to the ATP Methodology and it's related changes to other components of ATP (eg, Training Volume and Events).  I skipped a tour of Step 2 "Enter Details" which includes naming your plan, defining the date range, periodization, current fitness, and recovery cycle.  For more on creating an ATP, read How to Create Your Annual Training Plan on the TrainingPeaks Blog.

The last thing I want to mention before I wrap up on the ATP discussion, is to say this should get you
started on using TSS and CTL to build your ATP.  You can now edit your ATP using the graphical controls or the data entry table.  The screen will present "ramp up" warnings if the CTL in the ATP is too aggressive.  You can adjust the CTL up or down by hovering your cursor over the top of the bar of the bar graph until you get the double-arrow cursor, left-click and then adjust up or down. Likewise, you can click your cursor in the table below and update the TSS.

Once you have your weekly TSS targets set, now it's time to build your workouts.  Start with your each weekly TSS target and break it down into the daily training TSS targets to reach that weekly target.  Based on yours or your athletes work schedule and lifestyle, you'll decide how much TSS to apply on which days (eg, a working age-grouper in a standard Mon-Fri work week is likely going to have time for higher TSS on the weekends).


Workout Builder

From the Calendar view, either click on Workout Library or create a new workout by clicking on the
plus sign on the day you are adding a workout.  Once you have selected they type of workout, you are presented the normal data entry screen, except for the addition of the not-so-new icon in the top-center of the screen. When you click on the Workout Builder icon, you are presented with some parameter choices like Distance or Duration, and how you plan to assess intensity (eg, Percent of Max Heart Rate).  

You can click training blocks from the template at the top of the screen and drag them down to the work area. You can select whatever combination of workout components you want, including a warm up, active, variety of interval styles, cool down and recovery.  Sequence them by clicking and tracking them before or after the corresponding blocks.   

Within a block, you can hover over each and see the duration and intensity displayed in the text.  You will also see the zones dynamically specified for the individual athlete.  You will also see starting time/distance in the hover over text box.  This helps you make sure you have the right training volume to reach your target.  If you want to increase the intensity, you can over the top of the graph bar and you will see the mouse arrow change to a double-arrow.  You can left click and move the intensity up or down.

Likewise, you can adjust the duration by hovering over the side of the graph bar, reveal the double-arrow cursor.  Left click and then drag to be longer or shorter. Note that you can see the projected TSS.  You can relate this workout's TSS to your TSS weekly goal. If the workout should be a higher TSS, you can increase or decrease the number of reps in the set.  You can hover over the block and you will see a +/- on the left side of the block.  You can click on the + to add reps or the - to remove reps.


When you have your desired workout, with the duration and intensity to meet your desired TSS, add your Description and Pre-activity comments to match the design of the workout. Save the workout to your Workout Library with a name that matches the description and goal of the workout.

Wrap Up

I hope you found some value in this tour of the changes to ATP. leveraging TSS and CTL. Combined with Workout Builder and the derived TSS is an excellent pairing of tools to help you design the training you need for a successful season.

I plan to write about the dynamic intensity feature of Workout Builder in the coming weeks, but wanted to get this out as a foundation.

Good luck with your training and training plan this year.  Please be sure to check out the TrainingPeaks Blog for great articles on their features and coaching expertise.

If you have any questions about this article or my thoughts on the subject, feel free to contact me at rich@milehighendurance.com.






Saturday, November 26, 2016

Determining Your Sweat Rate

As you heard in the interview with Bob, race nutrition and GI distress is not limited to the consumption of
grams of fat or carbohydrate.  Hydration and mineral loss is also a factor.  Bob mentioned the simple method of assessing your sweat rate in the interview, but I thought I would take a few minutes to elaborate on this and actually break down the steps that I use, so that you can do likewise to determine your sweat loss.

The basic process is this:
  1. Weigh yourself prior to your workout
  2. Weigh yourself after your workout
  3. Note how much fluid you consumed during
  4. Note (generally how much fluid you lost through peeing)

My spreadsheet has:
  1. Date
  2. Time
  3. Temperature
  4. Activity
  5. Duration (minutes)
  6. Weight Prior
  7. Weight After
  8. Weight Change in pounds: multiply by 16 to convert to ounces
  9. Fluid Consumed
  10. Fluid Excreted
  11. Sweat Rate in ounces: ((H+I)-J))/(E/60)

Tips:
  1. Use a reliable digital scale and make sure it's the same scale before and after
  2. Eliminate as many variables as you can by removing as many articles of clothing as is possible
  3. From the moment of the pre to post, note every ounce consumed or peed (estimate if necessary)
    1. Real life tips for assessing
  4. Be sure to note the average temperature as your sweat rate will vary
  5. I am now logging my pre exercise hydration as an insight to performance.  It should not really affect this calculation other than to increase your pre-exercise weight measurement





News - NYC Marathon:
Six Ways to Run the Five Boroughs On Sunday, November 5, 2017.   You can take part in this world‐class, life‐changing event, by finding your way down one of the these six ways.

1) Sweepstakes - Enter our 2017 TCS New York City Marathon sweepstakes. This is your chance to win one of 70 prizes consisting of one guaranteed, non‐complimentary spot in next year's race and two tickets to the TCS New York City Marathon Eve Dinner. The deadline to enter the sweepstakes is Friday, December 2, and winners will be informed on or before January 13, 2017. Why not take a shot?

2) Drawing - Enter the general drawing. The application opens January 17, 2017 and runs through 11:59 p.m. ET on February 17, 2017. All applicants must be 18 years of age or older on November 5, 2017. Runners will be selected via three drawings—read the details.

3) Team for Kids and Charity Partners

4) Guaranteed Entry - You may have already earned (or be on your way to earning) guaranteed entry to the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon by completing our 9+1 Program - you'll need to apply for the upcoming race during the application window of January 17-February 17, 2017 and pay the required fees. Read more info.

5) Time Qualifiers

6) International Travel Partners


Still ahead in the month of November are interviews with:
"Sherpa" John Lecroix
Human Potential Endurance
HPRS Race Series; growing sport of Ultra Running, and the necessary efforts to preserve the old school roots of the sport’s culture
Meredith Kessler
Pro and Author
As you heard in the intro, MK is going to join us to talk about her new book and her dominating performance and IM Arizona


Friday, July 22, 2016

Tri Tech

July's episode is a focus on applications that help you to plan, execute and analyze your training and pursuit of your endurance goals.

My original idea of doing a comparative analysis, is going to morph to the mundane.  Instead, I'm going to use this post of the blog to be a reference to the episodes with interviews of experts, and a collection of various screen shots of a couple of applications that may be new to you. 

Firstbeat



Movescount (Suunto)


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Do you need a coach?


Do you need a coach?  

You might expect that the title of this month's episode is a rhetorical question.  You might, assume that it is simply the prelude to a panel of coaches.  Hopefully not, but you may have jumped to the conclusion that the question challenges the value of the profession.  I assure you, that is not the case.

Rather the question "do I need a coach?" is something that I ask myself frequently.  Actually, I don't really ask the question in my head in the same way I express it in writing here.

The questions in my head sounds more like:

"why can't I push to zone 5 this morning?", or

"yesterday was a pretty hard day, this plan is written for the average person, I'll bet it's okay to take it easy today...I think...wish I knew.", or

"oh great, their closing transition - I hope I'm trained and ready for this day..am I?" or,

"am I taking in enough calories for...?" and it goes on, right?

These questions are personal to me.  They are my personal needs, which are derived by a goal that has been set to achieve a result.  That goal could be to lose 40 pounds, lead a healthier lifestyle, or finish an Ironman.

I have my questions and you will have yours.  As you train of the next few weeks, pay attention to the voice in your head and the questions being presented.  As you are doing that introspection, listen to the interviews from experts from different perspectives.  There is no agenda other than to provide you with a rich layering of interviews, discussing the fundamental of triathlon training, development, and racing.  From there, we will talk about the many roles triathlon coaches fill in helping athletes achieve their goals safely. 


The podcast is my way of sharing the lessons I've learned in triathlon with others.  When I lived in my first college apartment, I learned the lesson don't fry bacon naked.  Until today, I have not had an opportunity to share that with anyone.  Of course, the lessons of triathlon rarely give you love handles and skin welts.  No, these are lessons that take the shape of being injured, sick, unmotivated, unimaginative, plateauing performance, DNFs, IV's, and so forth.  Actually, the lessons of triathlon can sometimes be painful.

The Merriam-Webster simple definition of coach is a person who teaches and trains an athlete or performer. Just how hard can it be?  There are plenty of training plans online.  In fact, the information resources available to the self-coached athlete are nearly infinite.  I don't need to tell you that there are plenty of books, websites, forums, specialty services, physiology testing, and let's not forget podcasts!.  

The good news is there is a ton of information out there.  The other good news is that you have tons of time on your hands to research it, right?  No?  Well, assuming you do have a lot of time on your hands,and you can research everything there is to know about nutrition (eg, strength training, endurance training, speed/intensity training, recovery, race strategies, form, technique, etc.), there is more to the role of a coach than technical expertise.   

The roles of a triathlon coach are numerous.  The best collection I've found is from coach Brian Mac's website.  The roles he lists include: Advisor, Assessor, Counselor, Demonstrator, Friend, Facilitator, Fact-finder, Fountain of knowledge, Instructor, Mentor, Motivator, Organizer, Planner, Role Model, and Supporter.  

In this month's theme on coaching, I share my experience as a coached and self-coached athlete and work with my hosts to help you hear the hot topics are for making that decision. My goal at Mile High Tri is to bring you the resources that empower you to achieve your fitness and triathlon goals, and these guests are here for you.


  • Will Murray, mental skills coach at D3 Multisport and co-author of "The Four Pillars of Triathlon"
  • Jim Galanes is a three time Olympian competing in cross country skiing events in each 1976 (Innsbruck), 1980 (Lake Placid), and 1984 (Sarajevo) Olympics.
  • Nicole Odell talks about her role a coach and what it's like coaching coaches. 
  • Carole Sharpless Pro and now coach, Carole talks about the role of coaches in her career and how she applies that in her coaching today.