Thoughts on Barefoot Running by Coach Spartacus Brian Patterson – TriCoachGeorgia

Thoughts on barefoot running by Coach Spartacus – Brian Patterson.

I received a question the other day about barefoot running and it’s best answered here as I know others may be thinking about it. I’ve mentored and coached endurance athletes for a number of years and it seems each new year and new roster has someone eager to shed their running shoes and take off barefoot in search of speed and efficiency. And I was one of those who eagerly shed my shoes then ran right into a cast so a barefoot running induced metatarsal fracture could heal. I’ll briefly discuss barefoot running benefits, why one wants to run in a minimalist style, running form and a high level plan on how to transition to barefoot running. The information presented is my opinion and is not a recommendation to begin an exercise program or to begin running barefoot or in a shoe that does not offer protection and support. Before starting any exercise program or aggressively changing your program, please consult your personal healthcare provider to ensure you are fit and ready to begin.

While there are definite benefits gained from freeing one’s foot from the confines of a shoe, the risk versus reward is considerably skewed away from reward. We live in a highly advanced culture with social norms that dictate wearing shoes a majority of our day with signs often posted on storefronts denying service to anyone without shoes. Shoes are part of our first world society and most all of us grew up wearing them. It’s this lifetime of support and subsequent weakening of structures in the foot and ankle that make the risk of injury from running barefoot far higher than the reward of improved efficiency. My logical brain asks why would anyone want to run barefoot and why did I? A successful and injury free transition to barefoot running is possible as long as the transition is thought out and done with patience.

As soon as I hear someone wants to start running sans shoes, I first ask why. I ask a lot of why’s until the real reason is revealed and the most common reason is people want to get faster and are searching for the secret sauce. The one thing that will set them apart and give them the edge. I know the secret sauce. I have it’s recipe, it’s delicious and that’s another blog.

Barefoot running has definite advantages such as efficiency, stronger feet, ankles and lower legs, lower impact stress, lessened knee and back pain as well as improved proprioception and are all valid reasons to do some type of training in a minimalist shoe or even barefoot. The transition to barefoot running should be slow and deliberate to avoid setbacks. It’s possible to get there and it’s not for everyone.. It’s my opinion and personal experience that all the same benefits and efficiencies will be obtained on the path to running barefoot without ever removing your shoes.

Proper running form is one reason that is given to support a barefoot running style. Just as there are many different body types there are as many or more running styles. Running form is also a very broad topic and contains many talking points such as foot strike, lean angle, head position, stride length, cadence, rear kick and arm swing. For this barefoot running article, proper running form equals foot strike and stride length (as stride length relates to overstriding). Experts agree that a midfoot strike is most efficient because the foot has been designed with the longitudinal arch and supporting bones to absorb the energy of impact of the foot strike then contract and recoil the foot back into the stride.

Many novice barefoot runners become interested in minimalist running to overcome a heel strike. Unless a running gait analysis has been done, be wary of self diagnosing a heel strike. There is a lot of controversy about heel strike versus midfoot strike and many of us fall asleep thinking how we can eliminate our own heel strike. I think heel strike is less problematic than is widely believed with most of our running issues being due to overstriding. Heel striking in and of itself is not much of an issue. Heel striking in the presence of overstriding is problematic and this is because significant body weight impacts the ground at the heel causing sudden deceleration. The heel is subjected to all of the energy of impact and has no where to transfer it except through the long bones of the legs into the lower back and spine. An overstride with heel strike is a common reason people complain of knee and back pain from running. Barefoot running will almost immediately correct heel striking because the subconscious knows it will hurt to strike an unprotected heal. If one’s subconscious doesn’t know that it will hurt, the conscious mind will learn it very quickly. Do not strip off your shoes and run barefoot to correct a heel strike! Foot impact position first needs to be determined then a proper drills and conditioning program be implemented to correct the bad technique.

Here’s how I would suggest transitioning to barefoot running. First, put on your favorite pair of running shoes and run. Then keep running in those shoes every workout until the tread is worn off and then run some more until they no longer stay on your feet. Running shoe makers claim runners need to be replaced at around 500 miles because all of the support has been lost through wear. If they’re right, then you’ll automatically transition to a minimalist shoe. Now while that may seem facetious the point is that as the support and integrity leave the shoe, your tissues will strengthen. This is progressive resistance on a very small scale.

The second step, and this is done simultaneously while running your old shoes off of your feet, is to correct overstriding by shortening the stride length and increasing cadence. Focus less on eliminating heel strike and more on impacting the ground when your foot is directly under your hip.

Once overstriding is reduced and a higher cadence is achieved, the third part of the plan is begin running short, easy runs in a minimalist shoe or barefoot on a very soft surface as part of the warm up to regular runs. Start out on flat surfaces such as football, baseball or soccer fields. Flat grassy surfaces are best. After several weeks of very short easy runs these can be slowly increased to 400 – 800 meter runs. After several more weeks of easy middle distance runs, the runs can be progressed to 1600 – 2400 meters. One may consider buying some minimalist runners to protect the feet from stones, glass, debris etc. Although one reason to run barefoot is to look all BA so wearing a minimal shoe defeats that purpose, right? The next progression would be to running barefoot at the golf course. This is a great running spot because there is varied terrain. Be sure to clear it with the Proshop and be sure it’s after hours as not to disturb a golfer or risk getting hit. I like to play a late afternoon nine then run the course once it’s closed.

The regular long runs should still be occurring in the same worn out runners and one should continue to run in these worn out shoes until they no longer stay on the feet. At the point the shoes finally fall off of the feet one might be ready to go completely barefoot.

Barefoot and minimalist shoe running has it’s pros and cons. There are definite advantages to strength and efficiency if one has run barefoot all their life or if one slowly and properly transitions from shoes to barefoot/minimal shoes. The first and most important first step before coming out of a running shoe is to ensure running technique is sound, then if the proper time and training is spent on correcting the technique, the efficiency and speed sought from barefoot running might have already been attained before the first grass stain is noticed.

Pull the Plug: Top 10 Triathlon Coaching or Self-Coaching Guidelines – TriCoachGeorgia


As a triathlete you need every edge to achieve a goal, for that personal record, and to beat your competition. You probably read everything that looks vaguely appealing from media and social media about training, talk to your friends and acquaintances that have had some success, and try some of the suggestions out. Some of you even reach out for team membership or coaching from the good ones at!

What is Most Important

Quality coaching and your best performance depends on a lot of things. As I wrote before here in this blog and here in this blog, the former is often more dependent on the tight relationship between the coach and athlete then on the nuts and bolts, which, although important, are simply not enough for the vast majority of coached athletes. Thus, improved performance for most coached athletes is dependent on good reciprocal communication.

How it Works

Using a program such as, athletes receive their training schedules ahead of time, execute or fail to execute their training session and then they upload their workout data for their coach. In addition to the data, the coach, also can get a narrative to help describe the session and what went well and what failed. Was pace, power, or heart rate too high, did they have to cut it short due to family or work obligations, did they go out too hard too early and suffer later, etc.? These are some of the bits of information that can help the coach understand how to adjust future training accordingly to get the most our of the athlete.

Communication is Key

As I live or train near many of my athletes, I don’t always have to rely on a narrative. However, many of my athletes are located in distant locations like Oklahoma, New York, and Florida. Therefore, I have to keep open lines of communication and be on the ready to help them adjust on the fly and due to physical and practical issues that have arisen. They can text, private message, email, or call me and I try to get their questions answered in a jiffy. I make the adjustments necessary asap. But I worry that they need to be more independently driven in cases when I can’t be reached immediately. And that is why I wrote this blog.

Yes, I am a worrier. My athletes’ success reflects on our process. I worry about athletes who I have less contact with and who I have ample contact with but don’t communicate well to me what is going on with their mind and body. It is the nature of the beast of online coaching. However, there needs to be some basic guidelines about what to do when things are going wrong.

These are my top 10 communication guidelines to my athletes that will ensure you greatest success:

Top 10 Triathlon Coaching or Self-Coaching Guidelines

  1. Think ahead Use a calendar program, app, or book to stay ahead of the game about what you are doing when and what needs purchasing, service, etc. Don’t blow training because you didn’t take care of something ahead of time.
  2. Keep me posted in advance of all your plans in work, family, travel, last minute race etc. Put it on the calendar so I can adjust and accommodate your needs to maximize your progress.
  3. Review the plans I provided you two weeks in advance so that you know the terminology, flow, and expectations of each session. Question me ahead of time so you will not be left in the lurch if I can’t answer immediately.
  4. Do your job and execute!
  5. Pull the plug if you feel quality is being compromised by fatigue or stress. Live to fight another day and enjoy the extra rest, but don’t overdo it because you are worried about being weak.
  6. Pull the plug if something doesn’t feel right. Don’t compound soreness or an injury. Being tough is being dumb.
  7. Be kind to yourself if things didn’t go as planned. Also, be realistic about your potential. Your returns will diminish over time.
  8. Have a long view of success and recognize that with endurance we are cooking more of a crock pot juicy meal than a quick microwave dried out meal. Anything that compromises consistency is the enemy.
  9. Keep me informed along the way as well as you can about your sense of mental and physical progress.
  10. Finally, remember this is our process. It is your journey. Everyone has opinions to listen to but ultimately in our collaboration the decisions are ours.

Each step and misstep informs us how to get us where you are going. Trust me and keep working hard. Whether you are coached or self-coached, it’s ok to pull the plug on a session. It’s fine to honor your body and mind when they need a rest. Just get back on track as soon as you can because consistency is the name of the game as regards endurance athletics.

Thanks for reading and hope this helps you to understand my thinking process with my athletes who have enjoyed some measure of success. Contact me with any questions.

7 Helpful Triathlon Tips for Beginner Triathletes by Coach LDubb – TriCoachGeorgia


If only I had known then what I know now! My first experience at triathlon was in May 2011 at Clemson University. It was a sprint distance race consisting of a 750 meter swim, 11 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run. I had trained for months doing what I “thought” would get me prepared for Clemson with no particular structure, borrowed a bike which I had never ridden until one week before race day and had never swam in open water in a race like atmosphere with surrounding athletes! Race day was upon me and nerves were out the roof. Hmm, wonder why? I was so nervous that I did not eat before the race. First mistake! I set up transition based on what I had learned off YouTube videos and felt good about my setup. I started with the novice group instead of age groupers. Smart move! Surprised myself with a solid swim and came in 4th in about 20 novices. Next… holy transition! What a disaster! Will get to this later, but always a good idea to know what general direction your bike is based on which side you are coming into transition. After about 2 minutes, I finally found my bike and got my ride on. I had a good ride with no major catastrophes. Proceeded to transition 2 where I was to get off my bike and precede the run. What? You’re supposed to practice bike to run transitions? Also, still haven’t eaten all day…. Couldn’t feel my legs until about mile 2 but was able to finish out the run and become a first time triathlon finisher. Fast forward to 2016 – dozens of triathlons under the belt, 2x Ironman Finisher and Coach for Tri Coach Georgia and I have learned a thing or two and would like to share Coach L Dubb‘s top tips that I hope you will find beneficial before taking on your first triathlon.

  • Tip #1 – Be a spectator at a triathlon prior to racing your own.

    You gain so much knowledge watching and observing athletes. You will get to see the “big picture” including how the race starts, progression through transitions, mount and dismount lines, equipment you may need etc. You will feel better having done this before your race. If you are swimming in a lake, practice open water swims as often as you can! I wish I had!

  • Tip #2 – Equipment to bring to race day.

    This doesn’t mean you need the latest and greatest equipment out there. Basics to get started. Swim – Swim cap, goggles, anti-fog spray, ankle strap that holds chip, wetsuit if temps permit. Bike – Bike, helmet, cleats, sunglasses, bike computer (if you want to measure mileage, speed), water bottles, pump, spare tires, CO2 cartridges, spare kit with tools (sold at all bike stores), gear bag that goes under seat to carry spares and spare kit. Run – running shoes with lace locks (lace locks allow you to not have to tie your laces), bib holder race belt. Clothing – A tri suit or kit is usually made of moisture wicking material that you swim, bike AND run in, visor, sunglasses, and socks. Accessories – YOU HAVE TO PUT ON LUBE to avoid any chaffing or burns from the friction of your clothing. If you’ve never been chaffed before, you DON’T WANT TO GO THERE!

  • Tip #3 – Transitions – practice them!

    Actually stand out in your driveway and lay everything out as you would on race day and practice over and over again. This, for me, involves a small towel that I lay everything on and I put my articles in the order in which I will be retrieving them each time I transition. You want transitions to be quick and smooth so do what needs to be done to make sure all is organized.

  • Tip #4 – Practice “Bricks”

    What is a brick? A brick consists of riding your bike for whatever mileage then getting off and immediately beginning your run. It doesn’t have to be a long run, 15-20 min to start with. Triathlon is not isolated events. It is transitioning from one event to the other while changing up different muscles groups and energy systems. Practicing brick sessions allow your body to better adapt to race day demands.

  • Tip # 5 – Nutrition

    There is no one set way to tell someone how to eat prior to a race. However, not eating at all is not an option. My advice would be to eat a well-balanced breakfast a few hours prior to the event, make sure you have enough hydration with electrolytes before and during the event and to practice whatever nutrition methods work for you in your training so that there will be no surprises come race day. Clearly, the longer the distance of the race, the more critical your nutrition becomes. Find what works for you and PRACTICE!

  • Tip # 6 – Hire a Coach

    Having a coach not only prepares you for race day through testing and detailed, athlete specific training plans, but is there for you before, during and after the race for support, accountability, questions! Most people don’t just stop at one triathlon – they keep going forward and striving for that next goal, that next race. A coach makes sure you do that the correct way while properly training and holding you accountable while also preventing injury.


    As Coach Slayer reminds us often – 3 goals for every race:

    1. Finish.
    2. Do your best.
    3. Have fun.

Common terms and abbreviations that make the first timer say, huh?

Age groupers – Division in triathlon that is categorized by gender and age such as Male 35-40. There are also divisions such as novice, Athena’s, Clydesdales, open.
Body Marking – There will be a body marking station where volunteers will write with a magic marker your race number on both upper arms, lower calf and usually both top thighs.
On your left – Means someone behind you is about to pass on your left, most commonly heard on the bike. When this happens, move to the right and let them pass.
T1 and T2 – These are the transitions areas that we talked about previously. T1 is the first transition from the swim to bike. T2 is the second transition from the bike to run.
Aero Bars – attach to handle bars or stem of bike that allow you to rest your elbows and forearms on the pads and remaining in the aero position.
Sprint Distance Tri – 250-750 meter swim, 10-15 mile bike and 3.1 mile or less run
Olympic Distance Tri – 0.93 miles or 1600 yard swim, 22-26 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
Half Distance Tri 70.3 – 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run
Full Distance Tri 140.6 – 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run
Mass Start – All athletes tread water and begin at the same time instead of in waves.
Wave Start – Athletes are separated in waves based on divisions and male vs. female.
OTB – Off the bike. Commonly used in training when referring to a run OTB in regards to a brick.
Buoy – Floating buoys that are colored that allow swimmers to see where they are going in a race and when to turn. Usually red, yellow or orange.
Timing Chip – The chip that times your whole race and attaches to your ankle strap. To be worn from start to finish.

Free Speed – Tips to Increase your Triathlon Bike Results – TriCoachGeorgia

Race season is coming quickly or here and many of us like to dust off the cobwebs with some early season Sprints and/or Olympic triathlon races like the awesome Georgia Endurance series we sponsor. Theoretically these race distances are all about going fast and hard from the start. One aspect that provides some benefit to speed is being as light as possible. Another is unobstructed aerodynamics. Supplementary free speed is what we’re looking for here. Let’s talk about your gear.

As I – Coach B.A.M.F. – like to state in the beginning, the opinions expressed within this blog are just that but usually informed by my research and learning. To a large degree, how fast you are is dependent on how hard you work for it. It’s the engine that drives the vehicle. Nothing trumps the work you put in. That said, there are some places where you can find opportunities to help increase it.

Free Speed – Tips to Increase your Triathlon Bike Results


This blog is not referring to fitness here, although that is most vital. One of the most important pieces of cycling is being properly fit on your bike to maximize aero and power positions. If you haven’t done this I highly recommend you seek out a quality local bike fitter in your area like Micah Morlock at Georgia Cycle Sports in Athens and have it done. This doesn’t matter if you’re riding a standard road or TT bike. Getting fit can make a huge difference. There are a wide variety of fitters, costs, and fitting machines in use these days. In addition, if you’ve had fitting on your bike and it’s been a few years, it’s never a bad idea to schedule a refit to check things out. You could even go to the wind tunnel like ORR Carbon Wheels did in this blog, if you are trying to find seconds and minutes.

Fits should be done during the off-season/pre-season so you have plenty of time to adjust and acclimate to the new changes. If you do decide to get a fitting close to race season make sure they aren’t huge changes in your positioning that will cause you to adapt and leave you susceptible to injury or soreness.


One thing that makes me cringe when I walk into a Sprint or Olympic race rack transition area is seeing a bike with 4+ bottles in bottle holders and a picnic basket mounted on the top tube. Or all of that, along with an entire bike mechanic shop bag with tires, multiple tubes and CO2’s, and tools attached to the rear of the seat. That’s adding several pounds of extra weight to your rig. Get out your trusty allen wrench multi-tool and strip it down for short course races. You only need the bare minimum for these races. It’s not a half or full Ironman!


Do yourself a favor. Stand in front of your bike, squat down, and look at it. Then ask yourself, “What does the wind see?” Does your bike have a mass of cables and housings from your brakes and shifters crisscrossing all over the front? All of that is just added drag on your bike. Most of the newer super bikes are going to more of an integrated front fork that houses all of the cables where you cannot see them. If that’s what you have, great! But if you don’t, consider cleaning it up a bit. You may not be able to get rid of all of the cables, but there are safe ways to tie them together. Ask your local bike shop to assist you with doing this to makes sure you don’t mess up any gear shifting or brake tension.


Bike components can a little bit complicated to understand. (Don’t even get me started on front derailleurs!). There are lots of different models, materials, lengths, sizes, number of teeth, ratios. This is interesting if you’re into it, but not a lot of people are. One component I feel is often overlooked by the component novice is the rear cassette. Sure, it looks intricate and complex with all of its individual rings and teeth, but I’ve actually found it’s pretty easy to understand and deal with.

If someone asked you what size is the rear cassette on your bike, would you know? A better question would be, is your rear cassette right for the terrain you’re training and racing on? Most of your off-the-rack bikes are going to come with a standard 12-25, or maybe 11-25 rear cassette. Basically, the first is how many teeth are on the smallest ring of the cassette furthest away from the wheel hub. The second is the number of teeth on the largest ring, closest to the wheel hub.

If you find it difficult to climb steep hills you may want to check your cassette and possible look into getting one that will increase your spin rate. Such as an 11-28 or larger in your rear derailleur is compatible. If you train and race on mostly flat terrain, switching to a smaller cassette such as an 11-23 could provide some additional speed to hammer those flats. Solid rear cassettes are relatively inexpensive. It may be worth investing in a few to have for different terrains. (*If you’re not knowledgeable with changing them out most bike shops will do it for you as a walk-in, as long as they aren’t busy)


Your workload will correlate with your results, so continue focusing your efforts on becoming a strong cyclist through training. Ride more, solo, in groups, hard, moderate, easy, off the bike, etc. That said, hopefully there are some ideas here that could help you assess your current gear and set-ups to find some additional speed during your upcoming races. The only other place to lighten it up is body weight. If you’d like to review some thoughts on that you can read about that here: Going Against The Grain.

Tifosi Optics Welcomed as Proud New Sponsor of TriCoachGeorgia

Triathletes Earn and Spend

TriCoachGeorgia is composed of a nice cross section of triathletes given their affordable full service coaching model and volunteer youth coaching efforts. They spend a lot of money on gear like most triathletes.

It is well documented that triathletes are by and large wealthy and are notorious for their purchases. However, there is a nice section of triathletes that are working and middle class and get by with whatever they can buy used or on the lower end of the market. Regardless, most triathletes want the best names on their gear at the best prices. They want to look snazzy while they do their jobs in training and racing.

Sometimes there is a gap in the market place that gets recognized. For the longest while, sunglasses were very widely disparate in cost and value. You would either get a name brand or a cheaper no name brand. The triathletes who purchased the higher end models would rave about the quality and those who purchased the lower end would brag about the value. Nobody was really able to establish if either the higher end or the lower end was faster and it was really a moot point.

Along Came Tifosi Optics

Right in the back yard of several of the coaches (Coaches Slayer, BigBad, TaxSlayer, and LongMan) and many of the athletes on the team in the Athens, Ga – area of Georgia, Tifosi Optics began in 2003 in Watkinsville, GA with the goal of creating an eyewear brand for cycling, running, golf or any outdoor activity.  They created a brand that provides high quality, style and functionality.  They did all of that and at an exceptional value for their customers. Finally, someone had married value, style, and quality!

Thir offerings initially were modest and affordable but now they have a huge selection of lens, frames, styles, sizes, etc. while maintaining the controlled price points. Tifosi’s top end newer models were brilliant and allowed multiple permutations of the same set of frames and glasses for no more than the lowest end of the major manufacturers. They soon took over a huge market share of the triathletes, cyclists, and runners sunglasses purchases because of the value, quality, sharp colors and styles, and name recognition.

TriCoachGeorgia and TriKidsGeorgia a Natural Affiliate for Tifosi

Tri Coach Georgia and their free youth coached team, TriKidsGeorgia, had the opportunity to become one of the few sponsored Tifosi team several months ago and jumped at the opportunity to affiliate with one of the leading eyewear manufacturers. Many of the team’s athletes and coaches have chosen to wear Tifosi at their races and while out training. Tifosi even recognized Coach Slayer for wearing the new Pro Escalate Frame SFH when he qualified for Ironman Kona World Championships in 2016 at Ironman Maryland in 2015.


Like when you purchase Tifosi sunglasses, joining the Reapers via the coached or team member option, you can’t go wrong with high quality at a good price point. Indeed, all TriCoachGeorgia team members, coached athletes, and coaches get exceptional pricing on a wide variety of sunglasses, lenses and parts.

The entire team is very excited to show support for Tifosi Optics as they cross the finish lines across the United States in 2016 and beyond. Check out these fine sunglasses in your local shops or online and see how nice they truly are.

The On-Going Deliberation of Cadence by Coach BAMF – TriCoachGeorgia

“What should my cadence be” is a question and topic that seems to surface quite often as we start to get into the beginning of the triathlon season. I’ve read many articles in the past that discuss cadence and how it plays into our cycling as triathletes. I get questions periodically from athletes I work with. The topic even came up this weekend on a group ride, which made me want to do a quick blog on the topic. Before we begin I want to make it clear that the opinions expressed in this blog are just that. I will touch on both sides of the debate and provide links to articles you can read yourself. At the end of the day there is no clear cut answer to this question.


This is a tough one. You will hear quite a range of answers to the question. Part of optimal cadence is having the “feel of the pedal.” Most of us do not come from a highly competitive cycling background and have learned the ability to use high cadence effectively. So if you’ve not been riding for years, 5-6 days a week, logging hundreds of miles you’re probably not going to develop that skill. But there will always be exceptions. The optimal cadence I hear tossed around in conversation most consistently is 90rpm. I have been told that as an athlete from a coach, as well as told my own athletes that as an up and coming USAT coach who is still learning. But my views as a coach have evolved over time on this topic and I feel like cadence is specific to the athlete as an individual vs. a whole. To borrow a quote, “What works for the individual is what is right.” So let’s dig into the good and bad of it all


Most coaches and coaching firms still use the “90rpm” as the most beneficial cadence target for cycling. Some of the benefits listed for this is it allows the riding to use less force during the pedal stroke. Power is a combo of cadence and force. If you can spin higher and produce less force you can meet your power target without fatiguing the legs as quickly. Another benefit of higher cadence is the ability to adjust to rapidly changing environments, such as hills and corners. Turning corners in big gears makes it much more difficult to get back up to speed. Spinning a smaller gear on hills allows you to maintain power output and reduce muscle fatigue. So what are the downsides of high cadence? A very common one is it taxes your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. A occurrence during most studies done on high cadence was an increase in heart rate. Performance of the test subjects started to diminish as their heart rates rose due to higher cadence rates.


Using a low cadence is not a recommendation you hear very often from coaches. Only a few out there I know of who believe in it and recommend for the average triathlete. There are, however some professional triathletes who have been quite successful using low cadence riding such as Chrissy Wellington and Daniella Ryf. That said, there are some benefits for amateur triathlete to gain from riding at a lower cadence. More power is produced and is more sustainable at a lower RPM. In addition to this heart rate stayed lower as well. Results from studies have shown efficiency and economy were higher at lower cadences. Riding at an elevated heart rate close to anaerobic threshold during a half or full Ironman is not advisable if you want to have a great run off the bike. All that said, pushing bigger gears will tax your skeletal muscles. Most specifically your quads. You have apply more force to turn the cranks. But if you have big, powerful legs it might work for you!


Even though most experts in the field of cadence still lean towards higher RPM’s being the most beneficial, there could be a few race courses out there where using a lower cadence makes sense. Consider Ironman Florida and Arizona. Both have very little elevation gain, with long stretches of flat open roads. By getting your bike up to speed and shifting into a harder gear and lowering the RPM’s you can hold it there without adding large amounts of additional power.


The more I read and research it, the more I feel that cadence is an individual thing you have to figure out on your own. I always like to use feel when it comes to my own swim stroke rate, run cadence, and bike RPM’s. What “feels” good and right to me. And, how does that relate to things like my avg 100y pace in the pool, my avg pace per mile compared to my heart rate, or my FTP compared to my heart rate. I know athletes who can push 100+ RPM’s all day long and their heart stays very low. I also know athletes who can ride at 75-80rpm and smash a half marathon or marathon off the bike. It all comes down to what works for the individual is right.


Benefits of High-Gear, Lower Cadence Cycling in Flat Triathlons

The Bike Cadence Debate

The Bike Cadence Debate Continued

High Cadence vs. Low Cadence Cycling

Going the Extra Mile – by Coach TaxSlayer – TriCoachGeorgia

Seth Waltman aka Coach TaxSlayer, who is a current coaching client of Coach Slayer aka Harvey Gayer, recently ran a marathon and wanted to put down some key observations. He thought it was important to give a shout out for an assist on race day (and not for him) and to explain why it was earned, not deserved.

Like Coach Cube from TriCoachFlorida before him in this blog and Coach Taz of TriCoachGeorgia in this blog, Coach TaxSlayer thought it really helpful to him to see and experience this support (not just for him but for a fellow teammate). Read up on what he had to say:

Going the Extra Mile – by Coach TaxSlayer

As an athlete, I have been racing triathlon and road running races for several years, and with TriCoachGeorgia the past 3+ years. On race day, I generally focus on completing the race at hand and following my plan, but I also notice things while I race. I wanted to jot something down while it was fresh in my mind.

This past weekend, while racing the Albany, GA Snickers Marathon, I noticed several of the same people at different locations around the course. My guess is that they were coaches or support personnel for athletes running the full or half marathon. I am sure the athletes appreciated the support from their coaches while running the race.

My coach was there too. He was there to support several athletes including one other and me. However, the way he supported us was different then what I observed the other coaches doing. The reason it was different was that he chose to be on a bike for the entire marathon.

When the race started, I found myself running with the 3:35 pace group. At about mile 4 was the first time I remember seeing him. He rode up to me and did not say a word. He just waited for me to talk and listened to what I had to say. He gave me some advice and turned back to check on my other teammate. We were running about 2-3 minutes per mile pace different so our gap was widening.

I saw him again about 5 miles later. Again he waited for me to talk and gave me more advice. At this point, he told me if I did not need anything else he was going to make sure my teammate was doing her job. He did not think he could make it back to see me again because of the course and where I would be versus my teammate. I told him I was fine and that he needed to be with her.

Coach Slayer left me and at some point found her again. He stayed in her vicinity for the rest of her race. If I had to guess, she was about 6 miles into the race when he found her. He was readily available for support, advice, and encouragement. She continued to move toward the finish of the marathon at nearly 67 years of age and he was there for her. She finished the race in a great time and placed second in her age group.

I awaited her finish. The look on her face as the results showed her place in her age group was amazing to see. It brought tears to many of our eyes. She may not have met a time goal on Saturday, but she met a personal goal and performed admirably. Indeed, my teammate was very thankful to Coach Slayer post-race, but more importantly, she felt redemption from a difficult prior marathon.

As I begin my coaching career, I plan to show my athletes support like this because I know how important I will be for them. Racing endurance events can be extremely difficult, especially as you age, but with a supportive and available coach (before, during, and after) and team, not only will the race be a little easier, you will find the extra push, and it will be even more rewarding for you. Thank you to all you Coaches out there who are passionate and on point. Thank you Coach Slayer and my fellow TriCoachGeorgia coaches for all you do for me and the team.

When you behave in a manner that shows you care, your team reflects athletes who care and won’t quit when the times inevitably get tough. We are growing because of our coaches’ passion. I only hope you can experience this positive feeling and join with us. Good luck in 2016 and beyond!

Coaching: Don’t Rush Into It! – TriCoachGeorgia

HOSS aka Bradley Odom, a former long term TriCoachGeorgia team member, joined another coach and team briefly and recently asked to return to the team of Reapers. As part of his request, he wrote this blog to help others that are in a predicament where they are in a hurry to achieve goals. Here, he writes about his learning process. We hope that something can be gained from Hoss’ experience and that the takeaway is not that something was wrong with who coached him or the other squad. We hope you see how important goodness of fit and the coaching alliance is. Read up on his process:

Coaching by definition is the following:

Coaching is training or development in which a person called a coach supports a learner in achieving a specific personal or professional goal. The learner is sometimes called a coachee. Occasionally, coaching may mean an informal relationship between two people, of whom one has more experience and expertise than the other and offers advice and guidance as the latter learns; but coaching differs from mentoring in focusing on specific tasks or objectives, as opposed to general goals or overall development.

I grew up as a sports loving and playing kid. My coaches were, and still are some of my greatest role models. They’ve help to mold me into the person I am today. I was fortunate to play on a state championship basketball team and coached by a legend named Jimmy Hires. He was one hard ass SOB, but he loved all of us and we loved him as well. If he asked us to try and run through a brick wall, well then that’s what we would do. After graduating high school, I enrolled at Georgia Southern University to become a teacher and coach. I coached basketball for 6 years and loved it, but the entrepreneur in me decided to start my own businesses (Reflections Property Works and the now sold Swim Bike Run Boro). I still love and miss coaching basketball, but I’m able to coach my son Grant in recreation ball and someday I aspire to coach triathlon.

Like most people who get into triathlon, I was looking for a fun way to get back into better shape. What I found was a life changing sport that has been one of the best things to happen to me. As kid, I was never a standout talent, but I could hold my own in all sports which is perfect for triathlon. It takes a well rounded athlete to reach your ultimate performance. Since 2011, I’ve been a self coached athlete with advice from friends and lots of self research. I relied heavily on my friends with TriCoachGeorgia for support. With all of this said, I have had a good deal of success these last 5 years winning many local or smaller regional category races, but 2016 was and is designed to be different.

For 2016, I’ve sent a lofty goal of qualifying for the 2017 world championships 70.3 being held in Chattanooga. I’ve had some very close qualifying times in earlier races, but none of those matter now. I know it’s going to take a lot of work to get there, and I’m not just speaking in regards to training. I am and will always be a bigger guy (6’2″ and 216 lbs. right now), but I know I can drop some weight while keeping my power. This aspect of achieving my goal is by far the toughest part for me. I’ve made great progress since rooming with Coach Slayer aka Harvey at a race in Elberton back in 2012 where we discussed Bob Seebohar’s Metabolic Efficiency Training approach. We both follow a low carb higher fat nutritional plan, and I can say it works well for me. However at some point, the amount of calories you consume does make a difference. I’m trying to find the balance with what’s actually needed each day to drop weight but keep power. Enough about my past, let me get back on topic.

With a such a big goal, I decided to take the plunge and become a “coached athlete”. I knew Coach Slayer and trusted that he was my man and I was hoping it would help me get to that next “elite” level and into the world championship like he’s done with several of his athletes. However, after a couple failed attempts to fit the pieces together with Coach Slayer’s approach, we decided that I was not a good fit for his program (and possibly coaching outright) that worked so well for the others. Then, I started some research into which coach may work for me but I didn’t do enough, nor did I look hard at myself and what I truly need. I decided to try a different coach and team, which triggered a lot of other changes, which I can’t say I felt very comfortable with looking back.

After unsuccessfully trying out a new coach and team, which I have now resigned from, I now know that it takes a lot more effort and time to make the best decision. You need to question everything, everyone, and even more before making that final commitment. Be honest and ask yourself if you’re that high maintenance athlete that likes lots of feedback and constant communication. If so, be sure to ask each coach on your list how they handle communication and feedback. Coaching is so much more than sending workouts to an athlete and doing the periodic tests to gauge fitness improvements. I’m the first to admit that I’m one of those athletes who loves to talk with my tri friends and possible coach multiple times a day. Bouncing ideas off each other is what contributes to making triathlon so fun to me.  This may not be a requirement for many people, but if it’s for you then make sure your coach has the same view. In life, everyone will have different styles and personalities. When deciding who you’re going to pay your hard earned money to, dig deep into all aspects of coaching like Coach Slayer wrote about in his blog here.

To wrap this blog up, I’ve been a part of TCGA for a few years as a friend and contributor to the team via forums, pages, and weight loss group. This team has been unbelievably good to me, and I consider a lot of them extended family. Coach Slayer and I have spent so much time together either with messages, phone, races, and training. We have a lot of things in common and we’re both hard driving and hard headed guys. I’ve looked up to him for years and I feel we’ve helped each other immensely. This hardheadedness made my coaching choice situation a lot more difficult than I wanted. Miscommunication on my part caused me to lose focus and I decided to choose a coach outside of the TCGA family. I didn’t fully understand how much it means to be a part of the team even without being a coached athlete.

What people don’t realize is that more than coaching, the team of misfits or reapers is so much more than anyone can imagine without experiencing it. Not taking anything away from the coach I chose, as he is very knowledgeable and mentored under someone I admire. Indeed, I’ve seen solid improvements in fitness while being coached by him. However as I stated earlier, coaching is more than just getting faster. I could tell after a couple months that our personalities weren’t meshing like I was hoping they would. I gave it another month to see if it was just the newness, but I could tell it just wasn’t what I wanted or needed and decided to end the professional relationship. I was upfront and honest with him and he understood and appreciated the way I handled things.

I guess I learned that I just have to have someone who can deal with my needs. I’ve been told that I may be one of those non coachable athletes, but I know that’s not the case. I’ve always done exactly what my previous coaches instructed and will continue to do the same. I just want and need someone who can handle my passion, eagerness, and drive. I have chosen a new Coach who I think will fit me much better after a lot of deliberation.

Hopefully, by putting my recent experiences down in words, I can help others make their best decision even if it’s not to join TCGA. Like Coach Slayer said in the blog, you need to take special care before making a commitment and assess your situation regularly to make sure you are doing what’s best for you. Hopefully, you can save yourself the heartache I caused myself and others close to me. I’d be glad to help out if you ever find yourself in a situation like mine. Now go #DOYOURJOB!