The DECA – Fearless Exploration through 1,406 miles, New Book Highlights

    Posted on 10 February 2016 | No Comments »

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    The DECA Ironman more than any of the 300+ endurance races I have competed has a “mystical draw” again and again.  Finishing 4 DECA’s along with the Triple DECA (9,842 miles overall) has offered so many memories but more importantly, absolute cross-over benefits to my family, my business and helping others.

    The DECA characteristics include: DECA mindfulness, peace, persistency, courage, improvisation, curiosity, patience, stamina and a bond very different than other events around the world (especially with the quirkiness with the multi loop course formats).

    I want to give you fair warning, the DECA is extremely hard and for those who have finished it you know what I am talking about.    The race is suffering beyond, physically and mentally. For athletes that want to join in this very select and small group to finish the event, you will need to get through very deep troughs.  In most cases, you have never experienced this continuous up and down feeling in any other race 10 days or longer.

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    Many athletes come into the DECA time and again with grand expectations of not only finishing, but breaking world records, targeted goals, personal interests, and because of such a limited number of DECA’s –(normally only one held per year or every other year), it’s one and done for many athletes.    When I hear about a DECA being organized, it’s always on my radar – you getthe picture – this race is a personal passion!

    My number one goal of this book as a DECA Authority (hopefully at this point) is to get you to the finish line. It’s that plain and simple – if there is ever a Wayne Kurtz legacy to leave about the sport of ultra-triathlon’s, it’s to inspire, educate (sorry I can’t motivate you) and make you accountable to do this amazing event.  I can promise you one thing, the race will change your life if you embrace everything that happens and capture the essence of DECA Grit and Grinding!   We will cover the aspects of the race that will always be in the memory bank forever and reflection of the Mindfulness sections of this race.

    Even if you have done 50 Ironman’s, Double &Triple Iron’s, 100/200/500 mile running races, 10 day or longer running events, RAAM, that’s great, but guarantees nothing in this race to finish.   I will not compare events, which race is harder, the books focus is purely on the DECA and finishing – plain and simple.

    I will take you on the journey of everything I have learned about the race, specific training plans of both continuous and 1per day DECA’s and why athletes continue to not finish again and again (amazing athletes – way better than I could ever be, don’t make it to the glory of the finish line).    This book will highlight a bit of the Deca history, but it’s purely from my experience of the event and watching the race unfold during the most amazing unexpected weather conditions: heat, wind, hurricanes, rain beyond, hypothermia, altitude, air quality, cold water and of course Hail storms!

    As a coach, I have worked with athletes with different goals and objectives and ultimately more than anything it’s always clear –“not finishing is not an option mindset” is imperative. I have my own DECA language (I will define through out the book).

    A point of clarification, the DECA is a race, not an adventure journey like other adventures.   There are athletes racing for places and athletes racing against themselves to see keep on grinding through continuous adversity.

    Book Highlights:

     

    1.  Injuries – techniques for prevention and cures and the common DECA Shin, saddle sores.
    2.  How to guarantee a finish and how to guarantee not to finish
    3. Training plans in detail (both formats) – training for the specific loop course mentality
    4. Train the stomach to be able to handle anything.
    5. How to get through being sick – it happens to approximately 60% of the athletes (flu, cold, bronchitis,)
    6. Personal stories of racing these events – race mindset along with quirky things such as my best music playlist for the run.   The story of the one song I played over-and-over again for 4 a hour-push within the last 6 hours of running 262 miles when a great athlete was closing hard.
    7. The grocery lists and foods that are consumed during the entire events and what to try.
    8. Checklists of what to take, what types of bike, common bike problems.
    9. Details of why the 1 X 10 DECA is more difficult than the classic – continuous DECA.
    10. How to deal with the mindset of being present and breathing during the absolute worst times of the event.
    11. There are only a handful of qualified coaches who have actually done this event both formats and understand how to get an athlete to finish and it’s so much more than some standard spreadsheets of a training plan – I am here to coach you through the book.
    12. Top mistakes athletes make, shipping bikes, nutrition products, and “waste of energy mistakes”.
    13. Cost analysis – Budgets (with crew or without)
    14. Mental race strategies – yes not matter what everyone has a competitive gene and wants to push to the maximum against other fellow athletes.
    15. Cheaters – cutting courses.
    16. Crewing – The do’s and don’ts and stories of a lifetime watching crews while racing and crewing for others.   You can do the race without a crew.
    17. Why Suffering must be embraced in this event.
    18. The Final Lap -Stories of the final lap of the race – the emotions, memories and mental check in to capture it which will transform into future life, business, relationships and how to help others.
    19. What to expect to feel, look like when it’s over.
    20. A common theme of Beyond The Iron – “It’s all about the Run”.   Bottom line if you love to bike and your weakness is running – you better learn how to run long – it’s a simple as that – massive mistake time and again, the bike training should never compromise the pounding and mental fortitude required of running.
    21. The DECA Godfather and great friend to every ultra triathlete, Guy Rossi will provide thoughts about his favorite race and will include the personal learning lessons I have acquired from this legend of the Deca.
    22. So you want to break the world record – what times do you need?
    23. Time management(in training time and time management during the race) – Including social media posts, Twitter and you social media followers – outsource it or do prior to the race!
    24. The Roller Coaster of Emotions of how to embrace them not being a hindrance – how do you talk to yourself – my personal examples to spur ideas.
    25. Go Into the race with no expectations (almost blind) can lead to success.
    26. Dedicated team – Sincere gratitude stories to the 3 people who are my champions as they have been instrumental to my success in this race more than anything else:  Rick Freeman, Jan (my wife) and my mom.

    The book is expected to be out in 2016!

    Listen to the accompanying Audio recording here!

    Athletes Mindfulness Practice – Increase Performance For The Next Race

    Posted on 03 February 2016 | No Comments »

    As athletes, how often do we hear the same old adage, “sport is 90% mental.” I wonder who came up with this statement as its difficult to clearly measure mental vs. physical percentages with respect to a race? For athletes who compete in the longer endurance races, thereis always a requirement of significant mental strength to get to the finish line. As I outlined in Stronger Than Iron the average mental vs. physical survey results from the 8 finishers of the Triple DECA Ironman in 2013, was 60% mental and 40% physical.

    We tend to spend money on new equipment, technical training and in many cases forget about the benefits of “free” mental training. Performance results may come faster by implementing a regular mental or mindfulness training session into the overall plan. However, without consistency in both components, just like everything else in life, results with suffer (mental and physical training).

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    Racing any type of ultra-endurance event – ultra triathlons, ultra-marathons, ultra cycling events and multi day races require the following in almost every race:

    1. Making good decisions
    2. Solving problems
    3. Maintaining perspective and focus

    If one of these items is not in alignment, then a stress response will increase along with anxiety and it will have an impact on the race performance. There is now research that (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23527522) indicates the benefits of mindfulness and resulting lowering resting cortisol levels.

    One strategy to consider is a test for 30 days of consistent mindfulness practice every morning for 10-20 minutes. There are plenty of resources available on the process of staying in the present and focusing on breath. My recommendation for Type A obsessive-compulsive athletes is to download the Headspace app for free for 10 days to kick-start the habit of daily mindfulness. Personally, I have found it to be a great tool and easy to get started with mindfulness.

    Personal 30 days Test – January 2016 (10 minutes a day) of Mindfulness resulted in 3 immediate benefits:

    1. Clearly it helped me get through very hard bike intervals by keeping the mind on the present.
    2. I noticed during the bike intervals that the lactic acid and pain of just getting air into the lungs was more manageable to hold each one because the mind stopped wandering. Power ranges increased each week – this is adaptation to physical conditioning as well.
    3. Helped with my internal subconscious message during training sessions and non-training time. My message is: PISC – Patience, Improvise, Stamina, and Curiosity. When I focus on these words – these are race specific for my goal race of the 4,400 mile Trans Am Bike Race and actually provided a calming and most importantly it lowered stress by continuously checking in and being present.

    It’s still an emerging field of the actual benefits of consistent mindfulness practice and physical performance. There is no downside to staying in the present more often in all aspects of life and will make the mind more resilient especially under times of increase stress which we all know will happened during race day.

     

    What’s Your Return on Investment (ROI) with Your Training Plan?

    Posted on 28 January 2016 | No Comments »

    How often do you think about your return on investment (ROI) with respect to your training plan and goals? We may know our return on investment from college tuition spend, mutual fund portfolio, non-financial time with a favorite non-profit organization, mentoring a child, but consider evaluating your training plan for your given sport with respect to ROI may be impactful to change/shift for better results.

    I have coached and consulted with athletes for over 25 years with regards to training for specific endurance events and in many cases an over-riding question is “what can I adjust to improve my personal performances”.   There are always the key questions related to the overall plan, periodization, MAF training (maximum aerobic function – Dr. Phil Maffetone), LSD, intervals, peak weeks, taper, on and on!

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    Consider looking at your training plan no matter what phase or season you are in and just focus on the 1 to 2 key workouts above anything else on the weekly calendar. With my coaching clients, we always adhere to a pattern of two KEY objectives for the week, which always has a positive impact on the training ROI:

    1.  Complete 80% of all workouts for the week (stuff happens in life and for most individuals, completing 80% will enhance success of the target goal).

    2.  Complete the 2 most important workouts for the week even if you miss several other daily workouts. This is not always the long run or the long bike – it might be a strength session, short aerobic run, short brick session, long interval, etc.

    So many times, we all have unrealistic expectations – training 20-25 hours a week for an extended period of time is extremely difficult to balance especially if it’s not our profession! Consider the potential benefit of not always having the most important workout of the week being the long slow run or bike. Even if the Long, slow distance training incorporates a set of fatigued intervals or increased pace it may not provide the best ROI to your goals.

    Insanity is not just the P90X interval based workout – as we have all heard so often it’s best described by Einstein’s famous quote “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Consider making one change not 50 changes to your training plan that will have a ROI impact.

    For example, a strength session to improve power on the bike with plyometric exercises for an extended period of time (and not missing for example a 2x a week goal) will have positive ROI – short amount of time and increased strength. This could include a set of just the following – 2 sets of 10 each:

    1. Rim Jumps
    2. Standing Broad jumps
    3. Tuck jumps
    4. On-Box Jumps
    5. Ankle jumps

    I love hearing the questions and do my very best to answer them all in a timely manner. Keep them coming and I hope I can offer you some ideas to increase your training ROI!

     

     

    Cycling Caps – For Bald and Non-Bald Cyclists

    Posted on 20 January 2016 | No Comments »

    As you know, I am a bald guy and have had many sun dots over the years on my skull from riding my bike as the small vents and holes on the helmet allow sun to bake the uncovered areas. The challenges I have always experienced with wearing cycling caps (under a helmet) include;comfort (many hats are so tight and leave deep lines and head pain when wearing – even after measuring and sizing), soaking wet cotton misery, and wear and tear after washing.

    During the 1970′s -80’s cotton cycling caps were very popular and many were manufactured in Italy.   At that time, wearing cycling helmets was not a requirement and especially in the Tour De France and throughout the world of cycling many people just wore caps vs. helmets.   As we know helmets are mandatory in most events and it’s very rare to see someone without wearing a helmet. Cycling caps when worn underneath the helmet serve a few purposes: the bill provides a sun shield when the sun drops lower in the spring and fall time-frames and sunglasses just don’t do the trick for severe glare along with, collecting sweat from dripping over the face, etc.

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    As trends change, many things come back in style (just look at fashion) and people are wearing cycling caps similar to what we wore in the 1980′s.

    Wearing a cycling cap offers several bald people benefits:

    1.  Skin cancer is very prevalent – when bald and wearing a helmet only the vents (holes) provide no sun protection and when finishing a long ride my head has a bunch of sunspots from the sun.   It looks ridiculous and of course with long riding could cause skin cancer no question.

    2.  Being bald, or not you know how many times bees, insects, etc. fly into the vents of the cycling helmet and get stung.  This happens all the time to all riders.  The cap protects against it.

    3.  Being bald and if the cyclist is a sweater the sweat just runs continuously as there is not hair to catch it!

    I have evaluated many cap companies and my personal preference is performance wicking materials vs. 100% cotton, as I am a big sweater.   If you are in the market for a performance material cycling cap you might want to check out WaltzCaps (US based company).   They have many styles; performance fabrics and 100% wash durability.In addition to a great customer service team, they offer a highly durable cap.   My original Walz cap from the 2013 Triple DECA Ironman has been through everything and not a seam or wear issue on the cap and with over 20,000 miles!  www.walzcaps.com.

    Be safe and add some fashion with a cycling cap!

    How To You Make Your Training Personally Meaningful –5 Simple Steps

    Posted on 13 January 2016 | No Comments »

    So we have all kicked off the New Year – 2016!   Here we go – a year of expectations (or not), goals, resolutions, dreams, ideas – OR NOT.    For those of you focused on the PRESENT maybe just go with what happens each day.

    Have you thought about your training and health with regards to what it actually means to you?   This is a process I have experimented with over the last quarter of 2015 and it helped especially with time management issues and balancing meaningful training.

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    1. Mindfulness Morning Activity – Just focus on 30-45 minutes of movement in some activity.   Just focused on movement and how the body and breath feel – belly breathing.   If you have a training plan in place, just do a daily workout of lower (or higher intensity) for a minimum set time.    We all know the benefits of a morning workout or activity, but take this time to mindful of the workout – short and in many cases no specific goal.
    2. Afternoon/Evening – Add in a longer workout with a specific focus of race pacing and meaningful to have the best cross over effect to your racing.  If you don’t have time it’s ok.
    3. Helping Out – Assist a friend with their fitness and health this year.  Consider asking them to join your group or club, team.  Offer help/advice andthat’s all that matters.  It’s still surprising how many “closed groups” there are today!
    4. Monthly Solo Journey – 1 time per month go outside and do a personal self- supported journey.   This can be as easy as running to the grocery store with a backpack for small items and run home.   Bike to a destination, camp on your own, etc.    The key is to do an alone-time journey.
    5. Write About It – We all know the power of writing and learning – so consider just writing about what was meaningful and what your grateful about with respect to your training.     It you write about it you will visualize it.

    Consider the words from my PISC formula for your own training meaningfulness:

    1. Patience
    2. Improvise
    3. Stamina
    4. Curiosity

    Wishing you Meaningful Training for 2016!    Let me know how you are doing and feel free to email me with your ideas at wayne@chiefgoalsofficer.com

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