Very excited to hear about the November 2nd, 2013 Patagonia Lake Olympic distance triathlon right down here in my backyard. I hope this event grows year by year. Go to active.com to learn more about this event and pre-register. I believe Patagonia Lake is going to grow into one of the best venues for triathlon racing in the years to come.
I was interviewed by Diane Peters for this article. Diane did an excellent job summarizing my views on balancing training with life. I have been interviewed and/or quoted occassionally by various magazines and bloggers concerning my article "Divorce by Triathlon". I wrote that article to bring attention to the fact that many of us lose sight of what is really important when trying to achieve athletic excellence. Ironically, the harder we try, the further away we drift from reaching our goals due to over training and the stress that it can cause with not only our physical well being, but also our emotional health and interpesonal relationships. Having a coach help an athlete develop goals, train smarter, and implement proven training techiques can spare many athletes from falling victim to overtraining and many of the pitfalls that come along with it.
For some endurance athletes it may be a good idea to reduce the race distances from Ironman to Olympic or Sprint distance. Some might be able to get the same or better results with more scientific based training plans and coaching methods. Then there are also genetic physiological differences among individuals which may dictate those events you are best suited for. Objectively looking at all factors helps one decide which event or sport to pursue.
I am excited and happy to announce that Balanced Training Solutions (BTS) is now a sponsored coach by Trisports.com. This means all BTS coached athletes receive a 15% discount on items (excluding bikes) purchased at the store or online. Also, 10% discount on bikes purchased. Please contact Pete for your discount code. Also, be sure to check out Trisports.com's annual "TRIFEST" event which is a great way to start off your training year. If you attend TRIFEST 2013 be sure to let me know so I can do some serious pre-season training with you. Climb 9,000 + feet up Mt. Lemmon....or ascend Washington Camp on your mountain bike to over 6,000 feet. There is nothing like training in Southern Arizona.
Hello everyone, I just wanted to let you know about some changes you may notice as you log off your trainingpeaks.com account. If you click the "log off" button on your upper right drop down box you will be redirected to my blog/website. I think it is beneficial for you guys to know that I am doing my best, just like you, to complete my scheduled routine....even though things get in the way for all of us.....I draw a great deal of inspiration and motivation from my fellow athletes. I know you guys are gutting it out on Friday night to get in that interval session when you could be sitting back on the couch having a beer....well we do that sometimes too :))) but more often then not, I believe those that are serious enough to have a coach are serious enough to lay it down most of the time...so my hats off to you. Please follow my blog and my lifestyle as I present to you in the coming months. Enjoy the holidays and don't hesitate to contact me with questions or to re-start your training program for this coming season.
Just wanted to write a reminder about the off season. The off-season is a good time to spend a little more time on building stability, strength, and power. This is done in stages and like all training builds upon itself in a pyramid fashion, with the most time spent on stability movements early on,,,,then strength, and then power. Each phase you will spend less and less time in the weight room as you move towards the next season. Right now is the best time to be working on stability movements. We are only talking about 30-45 minutes of work and you don't even need a weight room.
Here is a good stability workout which can be accomplished in under 45 minutes if you get down to business:
Prior to all warm-ups be sure to foam roll major muscle groups.
Stretch lightly (Very Lightly)
Activate Muscles Prior to Warm-Up. (Push-ups/Planks/Chin-ups)
10-15 minutes cardio (jog, rowing, spinning)
I like rowing since it is the opposite movement most endurance athletes perform. In the gym it is important to train those muscles not used in your sport. This will keep you healthy, mobile, athletic,,,,with less liklihood of injury.
1) Complete 2 sets of 3-5 reps (per leg) of single squats into a chair.
2) Complete 2 sets of 10-15 chin-ups (Assisted if need be.)
3) Complete 2 x 30 lateral side steps with resistance (exercise tube/old bicycle innertube)
4) Complete 2 x 15 push-ups.
5) Complete 2 x 15 Back Bridges
5) Complete 2 x 10-15 sets of your favorite upper body movement (curls, tricept pull-downs, ect.)
Be sure to rest adequately between sets but do not allow body to cool down too much on the rest interval.
Other movements to consider when developing your own routine are: Side Lunges/Forward & Backward Lunges/Bulgarian Split-Squats/Side Planks.
Spend most of your time in the stability phase which can last 8-10 weeks before progressing to your strength phase which can last 4-6 weeks....with the power phase lasting 2-4 weeks as you transition into your respective sport. The idea is to transfer those strength gains over and into your sport of choice when the off-season turns into the on-season.
Just wanted to share my experience I had down in Sonora Mexico this past summer at the Copa de Verano. This was a short (25 mile circuit race) along the amazingly beautiful Sea of Cortez in a small port city of Guaymas, Sonora which sits about 5 miles south of San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico, a popular beach resort town.
I entered this race on a lark. I was in pretty good shape from competing in the 12 Horas Salvando Vidas race in San Carlos approximately a month earlier and I was coming off a very successful performance at the Thunder Road TT which is a local time trial just south of Tucson.
I didn't really know what to expect since the Copa de Verano would be my first road race in Mexico. It was quite interesting to see how different the race was run as well as what kind of competition would show up. Again, I had no idea of what to expect. As the racers began to flow in I was quite surprised to see how many people finally came down for this race. Athletes from Hermosillo, Obregon, Guaymas, and all parts in between seemed to be there. I could tell before the gun went off that this was not going to be an easy 25 miles.
Immediately we went full on in 115 degree plus temperatures with humidity levels in the 80-90% range. I pride myself on how much heat I can handle but this was really a new experience for me. I thought my head was going to explode. We went full out for the first lap and I became unhinged on the first set of hills. (Note to self: start doing 3 x 3 minutes at 300 plus watts). I would get dropped but then climb my way back on to the tail of the peleton. Well this went on for 2-3 laps until I just couldn't hang on during the hill section. The hills were nothing much in terms of steepness or difficulty...they just went so hard it was not possible for me to keep up. I ended up soldiering on and picking off stragglers as a group of 5-8 of us started our own peleton. Lots of guys were dropping out due to the heat and I almost threw the towel in a few times on the back stretch where the sun just would beat you down along with the humidity. I finished with what I guess to be 4th place for my age group and I was quite happy with this....but the biggest surprise would come after the race.
Not sure if I was treated like this because I was the only Gringo at the race or because I was just obviously not from there....anyways, These guys were just simply great. After races in the U.S. you just get in your car and drag your sorry ass home. Not here....I was invited to the awards ceremony where they had free food, music, and drink. The winners (the same guys who place in the top three at the Tour de Tucson) received their awards. In Mexico, you pretty much get thrown in with the pros and it is a great experience to race with guys at that level. It lets you know where you stand and where you need to improve. These guys were cool though....no arrogant attitudes and just all around class acts. The race organizer and promoter was so welcoming and nice. They all treated me like a guest of honor and I had really a great experience there. I highly recommend racing in other countries if you get the opportunity. This was a relatively small and local race but the competition was world class as so was the sportsmanship.
It seems to have been a very busy summer for me this year. Doesn't look like the fall is going to change that that much either. I was lucky enough to have some great performances by many B.T.S. athletes this summer. Bob Burleson just completed a very successful season with consistent finishes in the top three for his age group in some very big and competitive events. Bob increased his FTP on the bike by at least 20 watts from last year and it showed with him taking off as much as 3 minutes on his bike split in a the Savageman sprint race. That is a ton of time and Bob put in a ton of effort starting back in January. He met his weekly TSS goals and improved his overall CTL by 10-15 tss/d from last year.
Another successful B.T.S. athlete is Jeanette Burleson. She has worked exceptionally hard and overcome the nervousness and inexperience of a beginner to win her age group in almost every event she has entered this year. Jeanette is not new to fitness but is new to competing in organized events but you wouldn't know that from her results. Jeanette is another one of those athletes who loggs in every TSS point and we closely monitor her CTL and fitness improvements. It has really been increadible to see her growth and enjoyment. Great work Jeanette!
Yet, another athlete, Pedro Vazquez, has worked hard this year towards completing a recent Olympic distance event in San Diego which included an open water swim. Pedro is extremely busy with family and work yet he consitently completes his workouts and competes at a high level in his age group. Pedro has a great deal of potential and I expect some big things from him in terms of improvement. Pedro wants to complete a half ironman and then ultimately an ironman distance event. No doubt he can do it.
Last but not least are Tim and his brother Pat Kolda. Pat and Tim have been juggling a busy family life with work and competition now for a few years and enjoy bonding during competition. They motivate eachother and me as well. Seeing how they take the time out for family while still consitently training and meeting their fitness goals often helps me get my lazy ass out of bed to complete a workout when I just feel like taking it easy. Tim and Pat still have an event or two still to come this year on the bike. I will keep everyone posted as to their progress and story. Great job Tim and Pat for showing us how to do it and what is really important in life. Thank you.
I would like to congratulate all my athletes for a successful season and lookforward to an even more successful off season. Start thinking about those areas in which you would like to focus on during the off season which will be here soon. Increased FTP on the bike? Improved nutrition? Improved open water swimming? Increased athleticism and lateral movement? Pick one or two areas and we will set out to make you even stronger, faster, happier for next season.
Just wanted to update those interested in my first MTB race in over 16 years and my first bike race since my crash in 2007. I am happy to report that I completed the 12 hours race by riding 2 x 3 hr shifts on a 2 man team. This race took place in Sonora, Mexico and was previously won by Tinker Juarez. The riders in Mexico are extremely competitive and usually place in the top 10 at the Tour de Tucson. The Mexican mtb race seen is just ending for this year so this race tops off their season. For some reason, I always seemed to just be getting started by May/June even though the race season in AZ also tends to finish out by May/June....except for the perrenial Tour de Tucson guys who seem to ride just that one race in November. Most serious racers in AZ begin to compete in Feb/March. Anyways,,,I digress,,,,,
This race was at night and included one technical section where there was a relatively steep drop followed by a steep climb which was pretty soft. I would bomb the drop off section and hold on for my life...then slam the brakes at the bottom,,,,get off and run with my bike up the steep section. This seemed to work very well until all the running caught up with me on my final lap during my last shift which lasted approximately 2 hrs. 15 minutes. I felt the bonk come on half way through my 5th and final lap and it was all I could do to stay on my bike during the last half of this lap.
This race was unique for me in terms of energy expenditure. There were constant excellerations and, unlike, triathlon or century races, you could never really focus solely on ramping up the wattage. There was always a twist, turn, rock, rider, drop, or sand pit that interrupted your momentum. In this situation, rotational wheel weight and bike weight become as important as they do in a very hilly race.
I must admitt that I was happy with my $600.00 Charge Cooker steel fram 29er. It performed flawlessly and even though it is a bit on the heavy side it served me well. I doubled up my tube in the back and even had an extra anti-thorn strip in there. No flats or tears. I had ~ 35 lbs in the rear and ~30 lbs psi in the front. I was able to sharpen my bike handling skills just enough to complete this race without seriously dumping it...however, I did fall 2-3 times and went off course at least 5-6 times. My race light was a 750 Seca which has 750 lumens and it as well performed flawlessly. It got me through. If I were to do this race again I would invest in another 750 seca for the helmet. This is getting up there though in price and would rival what I payed for my bike. Paying as much for your lighting system as for your bike???? I don't know about that...plus my Rosa would not like it either. Anyways, this race rates up there with one of the craziest or stupidest things I have done in a while. Can't decide which one it is yet. Either way, I am in better shape, a better bike handler, and a poorer individual now that it is over. All in all it was a good experience and quite an adventure to say the least.
Please click here to get a very unbiased and accurate review of the Finis Swimsense training device which allows swimmers to accurately record many aspects of their swim performance including TSS. I am on the fence with this device but feel it does give a competitive triathlete an edge if it is used consistently during workouts and races. You can purchase it for ~ $160.00 on Amazon.com. Only downside is that it doesn't compute heart rate...however, when dealing with pace and power, heart rate is secondary. Read on for yourself with the above link to make your own conclusions based on review.
If you want to step up to one device that captures all your swim, bike, and run data then the Garmin 910XT would do that. Here is a review for this device. It will cost you though,,,,coming in at around $400.00. Keep in mind you will still need to buy the powertap hub for your bike which would need to be laced into your high-end rear wheel....or you could just use the cheap Mavic wheel that the hub comes with. The powertap hub is not cheap (~$600.00) but going all out may be cheaper in the long run than piecing everything together and having several different monitors to have to strap to your arm. For example, you would have your heart rate monitor, your power tap monitor for the bike, your garmin for the run and your finis monitor for the swim. You can see how unpractical this becomes.
Spending $1,000.00 on your devices doesn't make sense for the beginner or even those racing for fitness. However, for those attempting to win their age group it is somewhat of an arms race these days in terms of training equipment. I also feel that these devices help motivate already motivated athletes. Being a certified psychologist, I also feel that personality type plays a role in who enjoys these devices and who may be better served without them. If you are a type "A" personality that enjoys measuring and tracking data then these devices can most likely help to improve your performance. On the other hand, if you are a type "B" person who is less concerned with specifics and more concerned with generalities, than you may want to shy away from these devices. There is one thing I can say for sure though, these devices in the hands of a knowledgeable coach who ,1) knows how to use them.... and 2) Takes the time to analyze the data... can be very valuable in terms of athlete performance gains.
May was a very successful month for athletes associated with Balanced Training Solutions. First off, Jeanette Burleson competed in her first triathlon ever and won her age group at Brian's Ride Sprint Triathlon in Slippery Rock, PA. Jeanette almost went under the 1 hour mark which is pretty impressive for her first attempt. Next up is "A Tri In The Buff" at Lake Erie State Park, New York.
Bob Burleson also had a successful May with a personal record at St. Anthony's Olympic Distance Triathlon in Florida. Bob has made great strides on the bike while maintaining his strength in the swim and staying injury free in the run. Bob is in a very competitive age group and is competing at a high level. Bob is capable of further gains as the summer progresses and possibly cracking things wide open at this year's Pittsburgh Olypmic Distance Triathlon in July.
Two more athletes (Tim and Pat Kolda) handily competed and completed this year's Tour de Cure 80 mile event to help fight diabetes while also putting their bike muscular endurance to the test.
Following up was Pedro Vazquez who traveled from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico to Tucson, AZ to compete with the best athletes in the U.S.A. at this year's Duathlon National Championships on April 28th. Pedro is just starting with the Balanced Training Solution's program and has a great deal of potential in endurance sports. He is not afraid to get out there and mix it up with the best of the best.
I am very proud of all my athletes who are putting in the time, effort, and hard work towards improving their health and fitness. Your hard work and spirit are an inspiration to me.