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.

    Reading for endurance racing 2015

    Posted on 11 December 2014 | No Comments »

    What are the 10 Books you consider reading as you go in the 2015?


    Happy reading!

    10 Books to Consider For Your Endurance Athlete’s Christmas List

    Posted on 09 December 2014 | No Comments »

    How much do you read per year (deep dive reading mentality) in your specific sport disciplines?   As the famous Outliers book quoted years ago the “10,000 hours rule” to become an expert in the specific area – reading and learning are part of the “experience” process.

    Working with so many athletes year after year and hearing from some that they are failing to meet their goals, it’s time to consider some changes in 2015 and maybe learn something new.   After evaluating why an athlete did not compete as well as expected, in many cases it comes down to the same thing – Not putting in the required “race specific “training time.

    For example, one question I receive all the time is sleep deprivation training. If you are a new ultra distance athlete that has never competed in an event for 24 hours straight and use a coach who trains most of their athletes in shorter ultra distances (Ironman and Ultraman, marathons, 50 mile running races, etc.), who has never actually done a race of thespecific length of your target race, then ask them what are they going to suggest you do in your training to simulate race conditions. For example, doing an Ironman, Ultraman stage race, multi day running race per day with sleep will not fully prepare you for the sleep deprivation requirements of a race lasting 24-60 hours with a Double/Triple Ironman, 100/200 mile running race, 48 hour bike event, etc.   It’s a completely different event and make sure you know the training must incorporate sleep deprivation to race at your highest level.  I speak to this extensively in Beyond The Iron and the workouts might seem crazy, but there is a methodology behind them – 10,000 hours!

    book christmas tree

    Learn some new things for 2015 and pick up a book and not just skim it, implement one or two ideas and see what happens.  You have nothing to lose:

    1. Beyond Training:  Mastering Endurance and Health
    2. 80/20 Running
    3. Get Fast! A Complete Guide to Gaining Speed Wherever Your Ride
    4. The Well-Built Triathlete:  Turning Potential into Performance
    5. How To Climb Hills
    6. Racing Weight Cookbook
    7. Stronger Than Iron (of course we must have this one on the list!)
    8. The Running Revolution
    9. The 50 Best Tips Ever For Triathlon
    10.  The Champions Mind

    Voracious reading + implementation of ideas in training = Success! Need specific “out of the box” training assistance for 2015 race season email me at

    The Excitement of the Race Start Never Gets Old

    Posted on 23 November 2014 | No Comments »

    Over the last 27 years and hundreds of endurance race starting lines, I still get a nervous feeling at the start of every event no matter how big or small. There are so many different reasons individuals keep coming back to attempt new challenges but one thing we all share in common is the anticipation and anxiousness that comes when we arrive at the starting line.


    Is there anything better than the feeling of a dark, humid early morning as you walk through the damp, dew soaked grass to the start of a triathlon? The normal pre-race ritual that all triathletes have done so many times to attempt to calm down include:  bike check-in, pumping tires, continuously moving every single item a inch to the left or right to ensure the quickest transition time, body marking, lubing up and struggling into the wetsuit, reviewing everything in the mind again and again that’s what makes us keep coming back.

    The music surrounding the venue, listening to the race director over the loud speaker again and again counting down time constraints just adds to the anxiety for so many athletes. Of course those final words, “time to start working your way down to the water for the start, please head to the beach now”. At this point the checking and re-checking of the transition area finally leaves the mind and on to the “last walk” to the water for the start of the race.

    After a ceremonial national anthem of the host country, the Goosebumps and nerves are usually at an all time high. This is the best time for your last mental visualization while slowing down the mind to the present with a series of deep breathing exercises. There is nothing better and it will offer a calming feeling and keep the mind focused toward the task at hand.

    We all enter the water and the next thing is to have a “final pee” when we enter, yes we all do it!    Next thing up during this incredible buildup to the race start is the positioning of where to line up for the swim. Of course everyone has their own opinions of where to lineup, from the outside and sprint like crazy or start on the inside and hope for the best, etc. A few final words, a cheer from the athletes and the countdown begins, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and it’s show time.

    There are so many methodologies on how to handle the stress and nervousness of the beginning of a race, one thing that always works for me – Smile. Yes, no matter what happens, the easiest way to eliminate just a bit of the race morning nervousness is to just smile and I occasionally will laugh during the swim section. Keep it simple: few deep breaths clear your mind to the present and Smile – it works! If you need ideas to create a mental training plan for your upcoming season to ensure your can handle the pre-race nerves, email me at  Happy Racing!