Archive for the ‘Training Information’ Category

There are plenty of choices you can make every day of the year that will help you be a better athlete. None of us are perfect and some days will be better than others. However, if you consistently make more good choices than poor choices, you will consistently perform better than worse. This advice holds true no matter what walk of life we’re talking about. From an endurance athlete standpoint, here are ten points (no particular order) to consider as you start the new year. May it be your best yet!

  1. Go to sleep early and sleep eight hours or close to it each night. Turn off the TV, the random internet surfing, the mindless dithering – just pack it in and hit the sack. You need sleep to perform well, stay sharp, and feel good.
  2. Train with partners and friends. Nothing motivates us like avoiding the disapproving phone call we might receive after missing a session with a buddy. Friends are also more fun to talk to than the voices in your head.
  3. Choose better meals. Some of you have a great breadth of knowledge when it comes to nutrition; others don’t have a clue about micronutrients and good vs bad fats. A little education goes a long way here, but in general if you are eating out, choose lean meat (chicken, fish) over fatty meats (burgers), healthier sides (steamed veggies or sweet potato fries) over less healthy sides (french fries, buttery mashed potatoes).
  4. Train on a set schedule. A ten day periodized plan is fine for a professional athlete, but most of us need to adhere to a realistic seven day program. The easiest way to stay on track is to create a mostly set plan that repeats each week (the intensity and duration can change). Re: Monday swim, Tuesday run, Wednesday ride, and so on.
  5. Choose your races to suit your strengths. If you hate hills, don’t make a hilly race your big event for the season. That is setting yourself up for failure.
  6. Pick at least one key workout each week where you will really put some hard work in. For you younger than ~35 YO pick two or three. (If you are starting from zero, do at least a month or two of easy-moderate training before starting higher intensity.)
  7. Keep up with your strength training and core conditioning. This will help you avoid injury, and in your later years will help maintain power (pedal stroke, swim pull, and run pushoff).
  8. Keep up with your physical therapy exercises and stretching in general. If you have been diagnosed by a PT or Ortho-doc with some imbalances or other localized weakness, it means you need to do these exercises forever to eliminate the weakness.
  9. Hire a good coach for a consult or ongoing coaching. A good coach is both a taskmaster and an educator.
  10. Prioritize your races within your life. If racing is just a way for you to stay fit and have fun, don’t spend too much time worrying about race results. If you want to be competitive, you need to move the training and racing up a notch in your order of importance.

You can read more in-depth thoughts on most of these topics on the article page at www.osbmultisport.com.

Marty Gaal, CSCS, has been coaching endurance athletes for eleven seasons. He is the co-founder of One Step Beyond.

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Many triathletes are all really hard on themselves.  This is endemic to our somewhat OCD / Type-A sport.  It is a demanding and unforgiving sport when you boil things down, with lots of techniques, disciplines, and gear, and you are surrounded by equally motivated and self-demanding/achieving types.  There is nothing wrong with this.  However, your self-criticism must be balanced with a recognition of what you have done & continue to do well in, and what you excel in.

Not every race (or workout) is going to go perfectly, especially if it is not your big “A” race of the season.  You will probably be under-rested and a little beat up in most circumstances.  Take a moment to view your race day performances in terms of what went well first as well as what could be improved second.  Some of you view this in reverse – what went poorly with a negative self-assessment, followed by an after-thought of what went well, sometimes with prompting from outside.

Of course, as coaches want to know where you feel you could improve.  That is part of the racing and training process.

A positive attitude really makes a difference in how you view racing and training, and in my biased view it should be holistic – applicable across all aspects of sport. It is OK to be critical but it has to be balanced by a realistic view of your successful achievements in any given endeavor.

Bri and I have both raced at reasonably competitive levels, and personally nothing annoys me more than to have a person who finished ahead of me (or improved a lot, or won their division) start droning on about how they felt lousy or didn’t run well or missed a turn or whatever.  Give me and you a break.  Save it and revel in your victory or personal success.  Relax and enjoy the moment for Pete’s sake.  It is OK to enjoy personal success!

No matter where you are in your personal quest for fitness and competitive success, there is someone who is working very hard to get to where you are right now.  You can always look up and work to go up, but don’t forget to look down and back sometimes.  Some of you couldn’t swim a lick a year or two ago, or never rode a bike.  Now where are you?

Sometimes races will not go well, period, no matter your attitude or training. The great philosopher Forrest Gump sums it up well. (Warning: mild-bad language)

As coaches we work to create realistic training plans, adjusting things as situations change, as well as help you develop mental toughness and positive attitudes, which are big parts of race & workout performance.  Negative feedback loops quickly detract from performance, as quickly as dehydration or poor pacing can.

What I am trying to write is to stop and smell the roses once in a while.

Just not during the race. 🙂

Marty Gaal, CSCS, is a USA Triathlon and USA Track and Field certified coach and owner of OSB Multisport Coaching

Le Hilly An-Amháin
(A Very Hilly One)

A bit different that the one we did last April and about a mile longer! Cue sheets will be available.
Lystra, Bynum Ridge, Gum Springs, HWY 42 East, Ball Road

Date: Saturday June 11, 2011
(Move to Sunday if it’s raining on Saturday)
Time: 9 AM – Clip in and ready roll
Start: The Bicycle Chain in Apex
Distance: 102 miles
Pace: 17-18 MPH
Planned Store Stops @ 45 and 79 Miles

Route Details:
View the Route Map
Cue Sheet To Come…

IMPORTANT NOTE
THIS IS NOT A SUPPORTED RIDE. THERE WILL BE NO SAG VEHICLES.
PLEASE COME PREPARED WITH FOOD, DRINKS, EXTRA TUBES, TIRES, TOOLS, AND A CELL PHONE.
BRING CASH WITH YOU FOR THE STORE STOPS.

Questions or to be added to the email list: Email 100milerclub@gmail.com

 

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Looking for a solid season of swim training in the Triangle area?  Join the TAC-OSB Cary Masters swim team at the Triangle Aquatic Center (TAC) in Cary, North Carolina.  All workouts take place at TAC.

This is a year-round program open to all 18+ athletes.

Practice times are:

  • Monday 545-715 AM distance
  • Monday 730-845 PM distance
  • Tuesday 545-700 AM core strength and technique
  • Wednesday 545-700 AM mixed stroke
  • Wednesday 730-845 PM mixed stroke
  • New Thursday 600-700 AM distance and mid-distance
  • Friday 6-7AM speed & anaerobic endurance
  • Some Saturdays 7-830 AM coaches choice

The fees:
$52.50 per month for all swim workout times, or $6.50 per session.

Click here for all the details.

One Step Beyond and FS Series present a mid-week summer swim-run series to the Triangle area.

Each Aquathon will take place on the first Wednesday of each month in June, July, and August at 6:30 PM.

Dates and locations:

Season pass sign up by May 29!

June 1 – Harris Lake County Park: 800m swim – 3 mile run

July 6 – Vista Point @ Jordan Lake – 300m swim – 1mile run done 3 times (5 transitions).

August 3 – Harris Lake County Park: 400m swim  – 3 mile run – 400m swim.

These events are low-cost and a great way to check your fitness against your local training partners!  Bring some grub and hang out after.

Entry into all 3 races is $50, or $20 per event.
2-person relays are welcome for $60 for the series or $25 per event.

Read all the details at www.oldschoolaquathon.com.

This high school season I had my athletes practice visualization techniques both as a group and individually.  Visualization is a powerful mental training tool that  enhances an athlete’s ability to overcome obstacles and perform at their highest potential.

Visualization – as far as athletics go – is the practice of imagining your competitive scenario and ‘seeing’ the outcome in the most positive manner for yourself.  It can help improve confidence, improve reactions to adverse conditions, and reduce performance anxiety.

Like every other technique you work on, it takes practice to calm the mind and see this vision from start to finish.  The best time to do this varies.  The key is to approach the visualization process with a quiet, calm mind.

A few quick steps:

  • Find a quiet spot, comfortable position, and focus on your breathing.  Empty your mind.
  • Imagine yourself at the start of your race.  Try to feel your muscles and hear the sounds of the race.  Imagine that you feel fully rested and powerful/strong.
  • Start the race.  You may want to imagine different scenarios, or focus strictly on the best scenario.  Personally I like to run through a best scenario, and in later sessions see a few where I overcome various obstacles (flat tire, slow start, and so on).
  • Feel the effort level during the event.  Imagine everything is working perfectly, smoothly, ‘effortlessly’.
  • Watch your competitors unable to maintain your pace.  You accelerate alone or with only 1-2 still with you.
  • Cross the finish line with a surge and a win.

Savor your mental performance and make it part of your experiences going forward.  The mind is a powerful tool, and the memory of a visualized performance can feel just as real to the mind as the memory of a real physical performance.

Confidence in your own abilities is a huge part of peak performance.  By huge, I mean, gigantic.  It can help to have a coach guide this process.  But after a few sessions you should be able to do it on your own.

You can read more at the following links:

Effect of Mental Imagery on Sports Performance  – A Plessinger
Visualization for Sport Performance  – E. Quinn
Mental Imagery – B. Mac

Marty Gaal, CSCS, is a USA Triathlon and USA Track and Field certified coach and co-owner of OSB Multisport Coaching

As spring and summer quickly approach, it is time to be more serious about hydrating during workouts and rehydrating after.

Quoted from this article on Human Kinetics online:
Fatigue toward the end of a prolonged sporting event may result as much from dehydration as from fuel substrate depletion. Exercise performance is impaired when an individual is dehydrated by as little as 2% of body weight. Losses in excess of 5% of body weight can decrease the capacity for work by about 30% (Armstrong et al. 1985; Craig and Cummings 1966; Maughan 1991; Sawka and Pandolf 1990).

And another initial quote from this abstract on PubMed:
Dehydration refers both to hypohydration (dehydration induced prior to exercise) and to exercise-induced dehydration (dehydration that develops during exercise).

What does all that mean to you as endurance athletes?  It means, simply, that being dehydrated before and during endurance exercise will negatively affect your performance!  

Just a bit of dehydration prior to working out will lead to a less-than-stellar workout.  And you want every workout to count.  Any impairment to your performance could result in a variety of issues, including at a minimum a less-than-great workout, and at worst, an injury.

A few simple tips to keeping yourself hydrated as we enter the hotter part of the year:
•    Have a glass of water when you wake up
•    Have another full glass with breakfast, especially if you are a coffee or caffeinated tea drinker, as caffeine is a diuretic
•    Keep water or sports drink available to sip on during the day
•    Have some more before working out
•    Have some while working out, especially on hot days or if you are training for longer races
•    Drink another full glass or two after every training session
•    Have a full glass with every meal
•    Your urine should be clear most of the time; light yellow = mild dehydration, dark or bright yellow = severe dehydration

For busy people like yourselves, every workout counts.  Don’t let a simple thing like being dehydrated stop you from making the most of every session.

Marty Gaal, CSCS, is a USA Triathlon and USA Track and Field certified coach and co-owner of OSB Multisport