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!

    Go Against the Norm In Your Training

    Posted on 04 November 2014 | No Comments »

    Square Peg in a Round HoleIt seems every day, week and year there is a new guaranteed success training program for your fastest marathon, Ironman training program, ulramarathon, etc. Books come out continuously with the newest technology tools and programs with tag lines such as “Finish your Ironman on training of only 7 hours a week”.

    Evaluate all the various programs and tools and be your own judge as there is not a “best” training program for everyone.   I have seen athletes from the Cross Fit world finish 100 mile running races on no more than 10 miles as their long run.  This might be the exception as there are so many factors with regards to mental strength and overall fitness levels but the all the old rules should be reviewed and customized.

    Another interesting one is the training regime for athletes competing in RAAM (Race Across America bike race).   The old school mentality is that you have to bike 10,000 miles leading up to the race.   Sure, getting on the bike is imperative with long rides but a balance and even against the norm has worked for many athletes not set in doing it the same way.

    As you evaluate this past season racing consider writing out what went right and what went wrong and most important what will you change in the upcoming year. Common themes I always here include:

    1. I need to get faster.
    2. Maybe I raced too much and never targeted a few key events.
    3. Work, family, travel stress impacted my year.
    4. My training program is not fitting my goals.
    5. Should I consider more long slow workouts or completely switch to this new world of HIT, (High intensity training).
    6. I need to improve on my weaknesses.
    7. I wish I had more time to train
    8. I must get stronger in the offseason, what programs are best for my specific sport.
    9. I need a new challenge for the upcoming year.

    Now is the time to start writing down your goals for the upcoming season and evaluating what tweaks you will add or eliminate from your schedule.    If you need assistance with your goals and a guaranteed way to ensure you’re accountable check out the tools on

    A Different Approach to the Long Distance Race Taper

    Posted on 30 September 2014 | No Comments »

    Over the last 28 years, I have experimented with many race taper suggestions and programs. What I have learned is that there is definitely no 100% guaranteed way to ensure your legs are not flat come race day with the taper.

    The normal theories center around significant reduction in mileage and incorporating some shorter sprints or “pick ups” to keep the legs from getting the sluggish feeling from just slow short very easy running or biking.   Everyone is different to his or her own approach but the following is a tapering strategy to consider for your racing that I have used year after year.   I advise practicing this taper strategy for a less important race just to see if it works for you.

    race taper

    This tapering approach is specific to ultra distance triathlons, running or cycling races (not short races).    The key is not to drop the overall volume more than 25-30% than your normal high volume weeks (So a 25 hour training week will drop in the 18 range).  Also, the speed or hill workouts will be reduced to very short but harder efforts (ex:  hill repeats drop 50-60% in volume but increase intensity 10%).   Also, train right up to the day before the event – no day off just to stay fresh and remove the nervous energy.   Consider a 30-minute swim, 20-30 minute run and/or 45-minute bike for an ultra distance triathlon.

    I have found for ultra distance events the long tape has a detrimental effect early on in a multi day event.  My legs feel ok but a bit flat for the first day but then just don’t have the same snap on the following couple days until they get back in the groove.    Taking into account long travel, time changes, stress, etc. will have an effect as well in addition to abnormally long taper.

    The challenge is with a long taper, the body has the risk of going into a recovery state and that “flat” feeling.   For those of you who have done events lasting many days, the middle days you will get into your groove and if your race strategy is dialed in, your legs will be in full gear when it counts most – the last 25% of total time in the event.     Your race success is determined by how you perform when it’s the worst, the last 25% of the event.

    Normally, my taper is just one week, event for a 10-day event.   Weeks of tapering just don’t work for many athletes competing in multi day events.   Sleep is the most important but watch dropping your training volume too much the last week.   Also, incorporate daily mindfulness into your last week of taper to calm the mind a bit.

    Tapering is not an exact science for any athlete, but get into a routine that works based upon your event importance and length.