The Grand Daddy of The Ultra Triathlon World The DECA – A comprehensive training book/resource

    Posted on 26 March 2015 | No Comments »

    I remember the first time I heard about the DECA in the early 1990’s and thought, that sounds brutal, a 24-mile swim, 1120-mile bike and then 10 marathons! As I was scanning Tri-Athlete magazine back then, there was a tiny article about this unique event.

    74196 Xman Logo CMYK

    As we hear so often in racing conversations, time will eventually catch up with you.  We all will get slower, but the good thing is that we all have the ability to go longer.    Those Ironman times will plateau at some point.

    Personally, I still remember the conversation with a great friend in the ultra triathlon space – Michael Gaertner (former IUTA president) when he told me that I should jump from the Double Iron event to the DECA and “there is no event like it”.  Trying to fathom the length of the event was mind-boggling until I actually broke down the specific training regime into a manageable timeframe. Yes, it’s very manageable and with a specific training program it’s not an overwhelming time commitment that many athletes think when they first hear of the DECA.

    As ultra running races have continued to grow exponentially on a global basis, the ultra triathlon scene has been a slower progress. One key differential is that it’s just harder for many athletes to do all three events vs. one with these extreme distances.  Therefore participation numbers will always be lower than just one-sport events, like running.  However, the progression of the DECA as the premier ultra triathlon achievement has started to become a bit more of a known conversation in the triathlon world.   Of course there are many who think it’s beyond crazy, not healthy, and all the same issues that happen with new ultra distance events.

    The DECA has become the signature event for athletes in this small global space of ultra triathlons – however it’s slowly starting to become known with the help of social media and new race opportunities in Europe, Mexico and the US. In the last several years, the DECA has grown through word of mouth with events occurring in Italy and several locations in Mexico.

    In my mind (yes I am a bit biased) there is no other event like the DECA.  The highs and lows competing every day for over a week in the multi disciplines of a triathlon for such long time frames is the attraction. For many, they think it’s insane but just like everything else in life we all have our specific preferences.

    Over the past several years, I have heard from so many athletes inquiring about the DECA and how to actually train for it. There are two different approaches to the training depending on which format (1 Iron per day for 10 days or continuous version).

    So after consolidating all my learning experiences of 3 DECA’s and the Triple DECA, I will be writing a book specific to this unique event. The book will include comprehensive mental and physical training programs specific to each version of the DECA to prepare athletes for this unique event (similar format to Beyond The Iron).   Also, included will be a history of the event along with personal stories from many athletes around the world.  Also, all DECA finishers and respective times will be listed to remember all those individuals who toed the line.

    The DECA will be coming to the US in 2016 with the DECAMANUSA in California,


    Mastering Your Training Habits – Top 10 Habits to Form or Eliminate

    Posted on 25 March 2015 | No Comments »

    As we face so many various time constraints in our busy lives, how do you install specific habits to your training/racing and health It’s interesting evaluating everyone’s technique with building consistent habits.


    There are plenty of good habits and bad habits with respect to endurance racing and training. Everyone used different techniques to build and overcome habits.

    Recent studies by University College London have shown that an individual needs on average 36 days to form a habit. So a bit longer than the often quoted 21 days to form a habit. As I wrote in Never Say “I Wish I Had” 30 Days to Becoming Your Own Chief Goals Officer, 30 days is a good target to build a new habit.

    Here are 10 Habits to Form or Eliminate that will enhance your overall training and racing experiences.

    1. Eat and drink healthfully. As basic as it sounds, if you want to feel light and have energy for your morning workouts focus on eating high nutritious and “light” calories. Consider a fast for a day or so and monitor how you feel to cleanse your system. Keep a food journal for 3 days to actually get a handle on what you are eating.
    2. Sleep goal of 6-7 hours minimally. The impact on sleep and performance is impactful.  Consider going to bet at 9:30-10:00PM every night for one week and wake up at 4AM or 5AM. Some are night owls and this might be difficult, but there is a reason Ben Franklin stated the famous quote, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
    3. Schedule 5-minute meditation session to free your mind first thing in the morning.
    4. Eliminate alcohol as much as possible.
    5. Simplify your life with a basic scheduling process. It will eliminate procrastination to do that abs workout your dread or
    6. Stand during the day as much as possible if you have a desk job. Standing as we know is the new health craze.
    7. Get your racing finances in order and do a budget. Very few do it and it’s important to get a handle on what exactly an event will cost for everything.
    8. Engage more deeply in relationships and spend less time in the car.
    9. Train consistently, 30-day blocks with no missing workouts. This will have the biggest impact on your overall fitness and race performance.
    10.  Stop procrastinating and get an accountability partner or coach.

    If you have questions related to training and habit forming/goals please email me at

    Shaking Out the Rust –First Race of the Year

    Posted on 16 March 2015 | No Comments »

    For many athletes, especially those who were subjected to one of the worst winters in a long while (East coast of US) made accumulating an adequate mileage base especially on the bike a bit difficult. However, the cross training benefits of snowshoeing and cross country skiing should have your aerobic engine ready for the first races of the year (if you put in the time outside in the snow).


    The challenge with the first event of the season is ramping up the intensity and pacing for an extended period of time with the added element of competitors. It’s just not the same in training and simulating the exact early season racing environment is difficult.

    We can all expect to be quite sore after the first event of the season. It takes a few events to get the body and mind race ready. No matter how many speed sessions, track sessions, hill repeats, it’s just not like the race.

    If you are gearing up for your spring marathon, triathlon or bike race make sure you focus on just using it as a stepping-stone to the season. Keep your expectations under control in the event your training was not 100% on target. It’s early in the season and there are plenty of other events. Write out a few goals for your first event – best case and worst-case scenarios. However, if you have been racing for months to remain race ready, then you are ready to let it rip.

    Focus on building for the season and your key races after finishing your first event of the season. Make sure you recover fully especially from the severe soreness that can occur in the quads, calves and in many cases the neck muscles and back from racing early season triathlons.

    For your first race, consider going out well below your overall race pace for the first quarter of the event and then build faster pace for each of the next three quarters. Your results should be significantly better by following this strategy than if you start out like a shotgun with the excitement of the first race.  Start slow, finish strong and have a great season!

    Life and Re-Tooling Your Race Calendar

    Posted on 04 February 2015 | No Comments »

    How many times over the years have you had to cancel races either months before the event or a few days because of all the various factors of “life” that just seem to happen at the worst times. The normal things such as, sickness, family/friend deaths, plane delays, financial/work issues, travel schedules, injuries, lack of motivation, etc.  I would love to know the actual amount of money lost by athletes that is spent every year on race fees when a cancellation occurs – partial refund or no refund policies.


    Its just part of the racing experience, stuff happens! Recently, I had to cancel my key race for the 2015 season after already being registered – RAAM bike race because of the news of a family members wedding (just happened to be planned in the middle of the event). The result becomes a re-tooling of the race calendar, which in many cases becomes the difficult part when looking at the year ahead.

    The benefit today vs. 25 years ago is there is always the following year to participate in the event or another race. So many races now occur year after year and the race cancellations that were so prevalent years ago just don’t occur as often today. I remember before the Internet, when we all waited anxiously for the next Triathlete magazine to arrive with the calendar of events then trying to find one within a close proximity to the home city. Today, its’ so much easier to rebuild a race calendar when life takes priority over a race.

    Something to consider as you look to filling your race calendar, build from a large list and keep a backup group. For many athletes who love to race, it’s not uncommon to race one time per month during the peak-racing season.   The benefits of racing regularly can be substantial to get the “feel” of going hard in a competitive environment and making the athlete “race ready”.   Start with a few races on your list for each month and then categorize them in terms of rankings, A, B, C and then classify the objective of the event. This will give you a large list of potential events so that you can easily slot a race into your schedule when life issues require cancellations.

    5 Steps to Race Calendar Planning

    1. Examine best weekends per month in your calendar – use your IPhone, Outlook, etc. and block them off in your online calendar.
    2. Research time – go to the host of online race calendars specific to your sport and match up a list of events with locations and start adding a large list into your notes tool/Evernote or just include into your calendar.
    3. Select the events and rank A, B, C – type and key objective of the race.
    4. Examine the budget – total costs for the specific event including everything, travel, hotels, entry fees, food, etc.
    5. Add the events to the permanent calendar and sign up online so you commit.

    By planning your race schedule with a backup plan of potential races will ease some of the stress of having to cancel a key race. Remember there is always another race!

    Don’t Be Afraid to Ride Rollers vs. Turbo Trainer

    Posted on 23 December 2014 | No Comments »

    For years, many athletes have feared riding rollers after watching YouTube videos of individuals being launched over the side of the bike and crashing into everything surrounding the rollers. They are not dangerous and offer a unique addition to your offseason indoor riding plan when the outside weather is not the best.

    I have been riding rollers for over 25 years and they were my first indoor training device for the bike. They are a basic design but have improved dramatically over the years with the use of smaller drums and much improved bearings. The smaller drums are much easier to get started on and also offer less distance for the upcoming fall. Yes, you will fall a bit when starting out! Personally I have crashed many times, but no injuries, as most were just a fall to the side.  The key is to make sure you don’t have a bunch of equipment, furniture or objects surrounding the rollers.

    The benefits of riding rollers – you will notice improvements to your balance and bike handling skills.   How many times have you been in a race and the athlete in front of you can’t hold a straight line.   You might be the same – ask your riding friends to see how you look on the road by observing you from behind.


    How about during a triathlon when an athlete attempts to retrieve a bottle out of it’s cage and they are all over the road!   A solution is to riding rollers regularly. After weeks of riding, a cyclist can relax and ride no hands.   You will gain confidence in your overall riding ability by using rollers.

    Another benefit is that you become more efficient in the pedal stroke. You will start to eliminate the dead spots at the top and bottom of the stroke.   Also, when riding rollers you will need to concentrate, not like the turbo trainer.

    Although rollers don’t offer resistance with most models there are several now that incorporate fan attachments.

    The keys to starting riding on rollers:

    1. Start next to a wall so you can use it for support to get on the bike along with some stability when you begin to ride. Make sure your wheels are in the middle of the rollers in a low gear and start pedaling easy, keeping one hand on the wall until you get the feel of the rollers.
    2. Look straight ahead not at the front wheel.   As soon as you look down at the front wheel when starting out, you will fall.
    3. Concentrate on your riding technique and pedal stroke. No watching TV or reading books.

    Over time you will get more confidence and riding on the rollers will be a breeze.   Consider supplementing some of your indoor riding with rollers and you will see a definite benefit when out on the road.