Virgin Olympic Distance Triathlon Voyage: S’later Takes St. Anthony’s Tri – TriCoachGeorgia

Introduction

TriCoachGeorgia is quite a diverse group. People of all backgrounds populate the team. There are also people of different shapes and sizes. Many think that the team is one of giants; however, there are many smaller sized athletes as well. No matter the background, shape, size, or color, the athletes share one thing in common. They just won’t quit! Indeed, #NoQuit has become a popular hashtag for them.

S’later for See Ya Later!

One of the team’s hardest working athletes is Missy Dobbins Hatchett aka S’later. She also goes by MissFitness, as she is a certified personal trainer in Northeast Georgia. She and her husband Tommy headed down to St. Petersburg, Florida for the iconic and stacked St. Anthony’s Triathlon. Not only was this her first Olympic distance triathlon, it was her first open water race as well. We thought her race report would give you a little insight the mindset of a successful first timer.  Here is her report in her words:

St. Anthony’s Apr. 24, 2016

“Never say Never…and overcoming many fears would be a good theme. A few years ago when asked if I “do triathlons” my immediate response was “No. Never. I don’t want to swim in icky waters with people kicking me in the face”.

Well…there you have it. A runner of many races in my “comfort zone”, I finally stepped outside and did it. And I must say, the results were not too bad for my first attempt. This was my first olympic distance triathlon race and my first open water ocean swim. It was also my first time on a bike for racing purposes.

I had prepared diligently for the event. I swam, bike, and ran more than I ever thought possible. Above and beyond triathlon training, I took good care of my body. I stayed true to regular Myofascial Release weekly and Chiropractic adjustments/muscle work/stretching (Thank you Todd & Dr. Kevin). As regards to the training plan, I never strayed unless I insisted on some extra rowing or plyometrics. (He might not admit it but Coach Slayer hates it!)

Pre-Race

On the days leading up to the event, what helped most was having a solid support system. My husband was with me and participating. He has been the biggest support through all of this.  My close friend Noelle whom I started running with 16 years ago (she’s now an USAT All American and 4-time Ironman) was by my side up until the gun. My coach was there to chat the night before the race. I should note that I also got a practice swim the day before with my crew which calmed also my nerves and set aside some fears I had.

As the morning started, I was nervous and anxiety ridden just like any other race. I had to take multiple pre-race trips to the potty, but I was brave and lined up, ready to go. I thought of all my training and support.

Race Starts!

The swim went surprisingly well and the water was calm. I made my way around the buoys and easily transitioned to the bike. I was prepared for the bike but took it down a notch due to the heat/sun and my own newness at the distance. Coach was there to help shout at me on the early stage of the run and reminded me to pace myself and gave me a pat on the back, which was awesome. I ran strong with some of my best 10k pacing ever.

As I came through the finish line, I took time to quickly review my race. I reflected that I was indeed prepared. I was so prepared that I enjoyed the entire event, even some minor noob foul ups. I even smiled the whole way. I was gracious, and I thanked the cops, volunteers, and spectators. I was humble and felt blessed every step of the way.

I also want to note that four years ago, I almost lost my foot. I fought and after 3 surgeries, 2 grafts, 3 months of hyperbaric chambers and a year in a boot, I vowed to never give up, fight back and not slow down. I don’t forget that and say the Shechechiyanu (a Jewish prayer thanking G-D) every transition to keep me grounded.

Finished Strong

So, it ended. I finished smiling, happy and proud. Throughout the entire event, I felt pretty darn good. I budgeted my energy sources well and stuck to the plan. I did not let anxiety overcome me. I challenged myself yet also listened to my body & my coach. My friends, family and team were shouting me out online and in person. But, of course, I was wondering how I placed like everyone does.

It turned out that I was minutes away from 1st place in The Novice Division that I transferred out of at the last minute to race as a regular age grouper. But, I didn’t need an award that day. I was victorious in so many ways.

Want More

I am humble, but I strive for more. My schedule now includes more short course triathlons and then my A race, Steelhead 70.3 in August. Steelhead, I’m coming for you! I hope to be lucky enough to have all of the same gifts I had at St. Anthony’s triathlon including calm water, great weather, and a stellar support network. I hope I can keep my body well-trained and my head mentally prepared.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading. As for me, I have to get right back to work. I have a 10 mile run & 2000 yard swim in the early morning. Wish me luck, and I will do the same for you. Hollar if you see me on course or out training. If you are looking for a good team or coaches, I’d love to see you on our private forum and/or at the the races! #DoYourJob!”

Reapers Go Roka – Proud New Sponsor of TriCoachGeorgia

Introduction

When Tri Coach Georgia was approached by Roka Sports to become a sponsored team, the team jumped at the chance to affiliate with one of the leading manufacturers of wetsuits, swim suits, goggles and Sim Shorts.  Like the Reapers, Roka is taking the world by storm with a full cadre of professional athletes including our favorite, and world champion, Melissa Hauschildt and many others like her.

Roka Sports and TCGa share similar views of athletes.  Both firms work to empower athletes to be the best they can be and work with all levels of athletic abilities. Both have a strong social media presence and rely on innovation and quality.

More On Roka Sports

Roka Sports began after the founders trained and competed in their first half ironman distance race.  The co founders tested many wetsuits on the market and they agreed that each one of the wetsuits had a flaw in it. Ultimately, they decided they wanted to create a wetsuit that provided the best body position, range of motion, rotation and buoyancy for triathletes.  They believed the other wetsuits on the market caused them to work too hard during the swim and burn too much energy as they entered T1.

After extensive research and design, Roka Sports released the Maverick Pro. Roka Sports believes the Maverick Pro is the fastest wetsuit on the market. They have a lot of agreement within the world of triathlon.

With the success of the Maverick Pro, Roka Sports looked at other areas of swimming where they feel they can add value to the swimmer.  They introduced the Sim Short for pool training and the Viper swim skin for non wetsuit legal triathlons. Finally, Roka Sports introduced swim goggles in 2015 and now a full line of cycling clothing that is simply amazing!

Roka Sports wants athletes to get the most out of their swim training. They believe athletes will achieve the greatest success if the swimwear the swimmer chooses is flexible, comfortable and provides for fluid movement while providing the best fit possible.

Reap What You Sow

Like when you purchase your Roka Sports swimwear, joining the Reapers of Tri Coach Georgia via coached or team member option, you can’t go wrong with the high quality items at a good price. As part of TCGa, our athletes, team members and coaches get great pricing on Roka Sports items among many other types of gear, fuel, supplements and the like.

Conclusion

The entire team at TCGa is excited to continue to show support for Roka Sports as they enter the water for races and ride outside. Check out Roka Sports online to see the products they offer and check us out for great camaraderie, coaching, support, and results!

Reapers Perform Better with Base Performance – TriCoachGeorgia

Introduction

TriCoachGeorgia is on fire. The Reapers have increasingly attracted new coaches, athletes, and team members. The growth has been phenomenal and unprecedented. Many factors have contributed to this growth. One of the main factors has been the success of its training camps in association with the half-ironman 70.3 races in Augusta and Chattanooga, and the Ironman 140.6 (whoops 144.6) at the latter.

The camps are exciting and fun, demanding and thorough, and athletes are introduced to the course and some special products and lectures. One of the frequent contributors to the camps has been BASE  Performance. They have even sent the noted blogger and new BASE staff member, Miss Susie Kelly, to the last CampChoo. With her advanced medical background, Susie gave wonderful input about the correct and proper way to successfully use the products.

BASE Performance

For those unfamiliar, BASE Performance was founded by professional triathlete Chris Lieto, who spent 10 years searching for that secret sauce to help optimize his performance. After assembling his team, and many experiments later, BASE Performance products were born. Co-founding BASE alongside Matt Miller, another seasoned triathlete, they traveled the country with tic-tac containers filled with their now famous salt to hand out to athletes to try. Within 3 years the company has gone global and continues to grow through word of mouth as well as their inaugural pro, ambassador, and BASE athlete teams.

This tireless dedication to give athletes optimal performance and recovery through solid nutrition, backed by scientific and experiential data aligns with the TriCoachGeorgia philosophy. On principle, BASE Performance provides an experience for its athletes by staying on course at Ironman events at the lively “Salt Tent” until the last finisher crosses the line and attends training camps to participate side-by-side with athletes. TriCoachGeorgia can stand beside this, which is why the partnership seemed natural. Both firms strive to keep athletes performing and racing their best, finishing strong, with solid rest and recovery to attack the next goal on the list.

Joan Jett’s BASE Performance Experience

Given the fact that Joan Jett aka Carrie Giordano, an active TriCoachGeorgia Athlete, Social Media Dynamo, and Cycling Instructor at Ed Isakson/Alpharetta Family YMCA, uses and espouses these products, we asked her to write a little blog about her experiences with the products. Here they are:

“While sitting in on a bike clinic in spring of 2015, I was confiding in a fellow racing friend about my trepidation on my upcoming 70.3, and also my first. I was warned that the run was hot and the weather here in Atlanta had been frustratingly mild which left little chance for heat training. He pulled out of his pocket a small red vial of “the good stuff” (BASE Performance electrolyte enhanced salt). After a brief bio on the salt, I was intrigued. He told me to keep it and use it at my race.

Gulf Coast Triathlon (GCT) in May each year is notorious for having a hot run. Anyone who has ever experienced Ironman Florida knows the course well. GCT uses one loop of the same course. It was scorching. I had not anticipated how hot it was truly going to be out there.

Directions given to me were one lick of the mini handheld BASE salt canister every mile on the run or as needed. After coming off the bike with a definite deficit in electrolytes and an oncoming headache, I popped a double take of salt. Every 2 miles I did the same along with water intake. It saved my race. I was ready to give up by mile 10 and by mile 11, it was a death march to the finish. I would’ve been in the medic tent had it not been for the salt.

Fast forward to January 2016, I ran the Jacksonville Marathon, I had already been training with BASE salt for 8 months and it was now a solid part of my race and training strategy. The race day was not optimal. It was chilly with nonstop rain that may or may not dissipate as the day went on. By mile 10 the rain ceased but I could feel a cramp coming on. I took one lick of BASE salt but the cramp continued. By mile 13 I was limping.

Determined to power through, I doubled up on my intake every mile. By mile 16 the cramp had evaporated. I knew my nutrition intake was scheduled for mile 17 so I added a sprinkle of salt to it and was reinvigorated! The cramping and limping dissipated and good solid running form resumed. Better still, I finished strong and did not feel trashed with minimal soreness.

More Recent Uses from Jett

I have recently tried their other products and have to say they are similar in quality, and a great addition to my training and race strategy. The Hydro is a great hydration drink, mild enough to be tolerated on a long course but tasty enough to want it. The Aminos are great for activity AND recovery. If you combine the Hydro, Aminos and Salt together you get a delicious combo called “Rocket Fuel” that’s perfect for liquid calories and recovery alike.” Don’t just listen to Jett. Listen to Susie’s Pro Tips for Successful Salt Use :

Pro Tips for Successful Salt Use

  • Fill vials no more than 1/2 full so the salt doesn’t spill out.
  • Find a good spot on your kit to hold the vials. Learn from the unfortunate experience of others and don’t place in the waistband, as accidental spillage down the shorts is especially devastating (and uncomfortable). Try to use the side pocket on tri shorts. Certain fuel belts also work great. For the bike, Velcro-ing the tube to your aerobars will provide easy handling.
  • Always tote an extra vial! Don’t let your Race Day butterfingers impair your access to the life saving salt. If you don’t end up needing it yourself, you’ll gain a lifelong friend if you give it to a foolish soul who feebly uses poor-absorbing salt pills or worse–fails to use salt at all.
  • While BASE Salt is now available on the run course of IRONMAN events, don’t wait until then to start salting! Enter the run ‘topped off” with electrolytes by taking a few licks in T1 to replenish the losses from the swim. Continue to take 2-3 licks per five miles on the bike to maintain optimal electrolyte balance (and performance).
  • Don’t stop salting after the race! Particularly for full-distance races, you will finish at least mildly dehydrated no matter how hard you try to hydrate. The American College of Sports Medicine, in fact, believe it’s better to finish a bit depleted than risk ‘water intoxication’ and/or ‘exercise associated hyponatremia’ (low sodium). Plus, you need adequate fluids to repair damage to muscles. Using electrolyes for the day post-race enables your body to absorb and utilize plenty of water rather than pee it all out.
  • Those of us that take hydration and electrolyte balance super seriously carry BASE Salt everywhere! You’ll find one in her gym bag, car, and purse. Because hydration occurs outside of training and racing too.
  • Combine with BASE Hydro and BASE Amino to create what we she calls “Rocket Fuel“–the optimal hydration source.

Conclusions

The experts at BASE Performance and the TriCoachGeorgia coaches encourage you to try BASE  Electrolyte Salt and check out their other variety of supplements and vitamins available on their website. With the substantial discount they have offered TriCoachGeorgia athletes, team members, and coaches as well as their full 30-day money back guarantee, they strongly encourage trying their products.

Like many other Ironman athletes, Joan Jett and the Reapers have never been let down, and, in fact, have been saved on more than one occasion. BASE will certainly remain a part of many of the team’s athletes’ training and racing, and the team will always have extra at camps, in training, and on race day. #DoYourJob with the Reapers and BASE products and you can #ReapWhatYouSow!

#BostonStrong: 10 Great Boston Marathon Racing Tips From Coach Slayer – TriCoachGeorgia

Introduction

Many of you have watched, ran, or would love to run the iconic Boston Marathon or another one like it. For Boston, you can get there by qualifying, which gets more difficult annually, running through a charitable organization, or being a bandit. Yes, they even allow bandits to run the race. I’ve qualified three times and run it twice now and would probably need many more to have my best day there as I am a late life “work-in-project” athlete/coach. The good news is I keep learning new lessons and jotting myself notes. The other good news is that there is a better qualifying chance for 2017 because the tough conditions this year will push the cut-off times upwards.

Many of the athletes at Boston self-identify as runners specifically; however there are many that identify as triathletes or Ironman, not to mention the various other types of special athletes that crush the race in wheelchairs and with other challenges. Some of the athletes there have done it many times over, while there is also a lot of first timers. The excitement of most, no matter how experienced, is palpable.

The Boston Marathon is Tough

Like Bostonians who can be brash and direct at first, but super nice as you get to know them, Boston is one of the more difficult courses to master. The difficulty is due to the course profile that lures you into a dreaded positive split with its ever present front-loaded downhills. Wherein most shorter road races, you look forward to descents, here you will learn that downhills are not your friend! Even worse, bigger climbs start past the midpoint when your quads are trashed.

Then there is the varied nature of weather and temperatures, which have ranged from freezing to roasting. Some years you even get a huge shift in temperatures on the same day. This leaves the athlete a lot of variables to plan for, like many races, in order to have his or her best day. I thought it worthwhile to jot some notes down to help others and myself down the line.

10 Tips to have your best (Boston) Marathon

  1. Time Goals Can Be Dangerous – You will need to respect the course as everyone gets punished in Boston. Even more reason that you have to be flexible given all the variables. My best races are when I have lower time demands. Lock yourself in and you will struggle with anything that doesn’t go to plan like heat, wind, etc. A better method would be to manage expectations, and plan to finish, have fun, and do your best. Let the results be what they will be by you having the best day you can have managing the various demands that go along with running 26.2 difficult miles.
  2. Compete With Yourself – Likewise, realize that the competition is not with others (even though some folks may attempt to lure you in) but you getting the most out of yourself and your training. Whether it a chick that a dude doesn’t want to get beat by, or a fellow age grouper, don’t get out of your flexible mindset and game plans. Focus on having your best day. Indeed, I was honored to be beat again by plenty of better runners on the day like the classy Kerry Hobbs.
  3. Cover The Course Beforehand – “Heartbreak Hill” is not just a clever nickname and many races have something along those lines. Learn the hills (up and down) and other aspects of the course profile, quiet and loud stretches, and where your cheering crews will be. Don’t waste important time in the Expo shopping for crap you don’t need on legs that need to rest unless you are buying great products like those from my pals at Generation Ucan. Learn spots on the course like when you are nearing the turn at the Fire Station heading towards Heartbreak Hill, where it crests at Boston College, the finish and when you are on a long climb or flat stretch so you can rest mentally and focus on the physical work.
  4. Have A Primary Caregiver Or Sherpa If Possible – Hopefully, you have someone you can trust even if they are very hairy like my sherpa and brand developer Flynn. Not only can they find you the best coffee in the location like that from Render Coffee in Boston (trust me on that one!), they can find you three bottles of the impossible to find KBS Stout from Founders Brewery or whatever you love. They have to be dedicated to helping you have the best race even if it seems demeaning at times. Also, make a good plan about where they are going to be on race day so you can anticipate and find them in the thick crowds.

    Tell Your Sherpa To Listen – When you see this person during the race, make sure they are listening not yelling “Slayer!” at you. You may need to communicate something of importance first for him or her to relay to your other supporters, before they can send you a positive or harsh message, depending on what you respond better to. It’s also wise to set meeting spot(s) for post-race when everything is a jumble and for them to have some warm clothes for you to put right on afterward when you get cold.

  5. Write Your Plan Down AND Have Backup Plans And Gear – Gloves are not just for warmth if you have a bad gut and the port-a-john is out of loo roll. Likewise, it’s good to limit anxiety wherever possible so write down what you will dress in at various temperatures to help with pack and unpacking, what you will eat or drink when, if you will take salt or caffeine tabs and when, etc. Pack and carry backup items to the start just in case. The more you can plan out and think through with contingency plans, the more focused you can be present in the racing moments.
  6. Feed Off The Fans – If you choose/can, stay or hang with great local folks who will feed you well if you can. Likewise, on race day, not only will the local and distant race fans potentially give you energy, they will give you food, oranges, wet wipes, licorice, and water! Some will even give you a Sam Adams beer. Just don’t grab the warm one or the germ-ridden kids’ options on food and drink. There is nothing worse than getting sick during the event or late in the day!
  7. Smile Even If You’re Miserable – No matter how good or bad your race is going, your pictures often look better with a smile. Some psychologists say you have to fake it until you make it. Basically, you trick your mind to some degree by smiling that you are indeed happy. This all goes back to achieving the 2nd race goal of having fun even if many of your cohorts are suffering the same or worse than you.
  8. Prioritize Your Needs (Pre-Race) – You will have a lot of things to do in terms of visits with friends and family, potential tourist items, etc. Remember why you are there and get into your war mindset the sooner the better. 26.2 miles is no joke. 26.2 from Hopkinton to Boston is even worse! You need to focus up and people will adjust to your requests by and large, knowing what you are up against.
  9. Know and Remember The Pain Will EndThere are many reasons not to run a marathon! However, the pain will end. Moreover, you don’t have to run back to Hopkinton, where the race starts, only to Boston, so take care of the task at hand. Leave it all out there on the course in measured form. #NoQuit This point needs emphasized. No matter how ugly it gets, if you quit early, you have that decision to remember forever. It can undermine your confidence moving forward and force you to create an excuse which potentially makes you look bad. 26.2 miles especially in Boston can create a lot of sore spots on the entire body. Expect them and know that you will just endure it until you cross. When you cross, you can relax and heal, and not until then so keep moving as quickly as you can towards the finish line and even if you do stop make it temporary.
  10. Be Tolerant And A Good Sportsman – Karma goes a long way on race day so don’t be afraid to help your fellow athletes if they forgot something, if they are freaking out, if they are needing weather reports, etc.  You will make friends for life during a marathon that you may never meet or talk to again. Final note as it pertains to the Boston Marathon: please try to send hand and verbal signals if you are crossing a fellow runner’s path to get fluids so they don’t trip and fall. Make sure to be understanding if they accidentally cross your path as well. That appeared to be one of the biggest problems on the course.

Conclusion

So there you have it. These are some good general tips to have a better day at your next longer road race or marathon, or possibly even the Boston Marathon. If I can qualify again somewhere (aka “BQ”), I hope to see you there and for you to have your best day.

Of course, like most everyone else at the end of the race, I said I will never race this amazing race again. But, holy cow do we have short memories when it comes to pain! Moreover, how can you not love the folks of Boston and how they pull together for the event? Let me know if you have other good suggestions to add to this blog and get after it! #DoYourJob so you can #ReapWhatYouSow

BIG EARLY SEASON – 2016 Triathlon Results – TriCoachGeorgia

BIG EARLY SEASON

The Reapers of TriCoachGeorgia and TriKidsGeorgia have attacked the early season offerings. They’ve had huge smiles, PR’s (distance and pace), and podiums across the nation from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts and in between. They have crushed races in Oklahoma, California, Tennessee, South and North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, etc. and they continue to go further and faster. Not just racing, but training takes place in a variety of settings (indoors AND outdoors) too. All the while, the team’s genuine friendships and supportive, positive energy flows!

GREAT BLEND

One of the nice things about the squad is the natural blend of youth and adult athletes, and how they push each other to higher heights.  Sponsors like Specialized through great local bike shops like Georgia Cycle Sport, and Tifosi Optics and plenty of great affiliates including ORR Carbon Wheels, Nuun Hydration, Fleet Feet Athens, Infinit Nutrition, Generation Ucan, Fusion Sports USA, and All3Sports are jumping on board because of the work ethic, great relationships, and positive presence of the team. The team keeps growing as well and it has become more difficult to keep up with all the accomplishments out of sheer volume. Regardless of volume, some of these major accomplishments will be detailed in upcoming blogs.

Team member training is getting heavy into specificity, and we’re seeing some excellent results in these early races. All of the work put in during the USAT National Team Challenge competition that they won is paying huge dividends. For example, recent weeks have seen huge results in races at Tybee Island, Heritage Park in Georgia, Daytona Beach Florida, and at Go Race Productions’ LaGrange Sprint Triathlon and Dare to Tri Sprint Triathlon at Fort Gordon. We have hammered the Atlanta Publix Half and Full marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, The Snowflake 10k, Walt Disney World Road Races, a Dirty Spokes Duathlon at Fort Yargo, Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon, Hilton Head 13.1, Pensacola Double Bridge Run, Sweetheart Run, the 2016 Publix Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon & Half Marathon, many organized endurance group rides, and many more races.

This past weekend the team stormed the podiums and finisher chutes at All-American Marathon (#TeamTagg), Early Bird Triathlon, HITS Ocala Olympic Tri, Columbia Downtown Tri, Women’s Publix Half Marathon, Altamont Half Marathon, and Ragnar SoCal.

EARLY BIRD SPRINT TRIATHLON

Directed by TriCoachGeorgia’s own team member, Crisp McDonald, this event which follows the challenging Dare to Tri, is a great team kick-off to the season where adults, kids, and collegiate athletes can come together to compete on the beautiful campus of UGA. There was another huge turnout this year which included coaches, team members, and some of our new additions to the Reaper family. TriCoachGeorgia and TriKidsGeorgia red and black was front and center on the podium this weekend.

Congratulations to everyone who participated and placed.  Big shout out to Crisp and his crew at Go Race Productions for putting on another fantastic event!

Early Bird Sprint Triathlon

COLUMBIA DOWNTOWN TRIATHLON

This Set Up Events Sprint Triathlon is held each year on the campus of the University of South Carolina. TriCoachGeorgia was represented by our own YoungBull, aka Jeff Bullock, who did his job and took the second consecutive Clydesdale top spot.

Columbia Downtown Triathlon

HITS OCALA FL

The HITS Triathlon Series is a big list of events across the USA each year. This past weekend they were in Ocala, FL for a full series of all race distances from Sprint to Full Iron Distance over Saturday and Sunday. TriCoachGeorgia’s Wayne Taylor was in attendance and represented the team well with a 3rd Place Age Group podium.

HITS Ocala FL Triathlon

ALTAMONT HALF MARATHON

Upstate Ultra Series was in Greenville, SC this past weekend for the “Ultimate” Altamont. This off-road race covered all standard distances from 5k to full marathon.

TriCoachGeorgia’s Coach LDubb (aka Lauren Dobson White) decided last week to jump in and, as always delivered on race day.  She took the 3rd place Overall Female podium spot in the Half Marathon.

Altamont Half Marathon

PUBLIX SAVANNAH WOMEN’S HALF MARATHON

Held in the historic city of Savannah, Ga, this event covers much of the city’s beauty and history over the 13.1 miles. TriCoachGeorgia’s Firecracker Erica Carter participated in this year’s race and delivered a solid performance. Her huge smile was seen at the finish line and then she and Rocket, aka Chan, headed up to Athens for the team dinner at Buffalo’s and Rocket crushed the Early Bird Triathlon!

Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon

REEBOK RAGNAR SO. CAL

Part of the Ragnar Series held on the “Left” Coast, this relay team event goes from Huntington Beach to San Diego.  TriCoachGeorgia’s Nick Estilow. Nick had to go deep into the hurt locker for this one, staying up for 30hrs, running 15+ miles, and helping to drive the team vehicle another 150 miles. He represented us well.

Reebok Ragnar SoCal

LOOKING FORWARD

Amongst many more offerings, Chattanooga Training Camp with our coaching partner in Tennessee, FX Multisport, is approaching this weekend. Mountains to Main Street Training Camp, with our coaching partner TYB Coaching, follows at the end of the month. There are many more triathlons and road races including the Boston and Nashville Marathons, St. Anthony’s Triathlon, and West Point Triathlon this month. Next month is even more loaded.  The team hopes to see you out there this weekend if not sooner.

Get in touch if you want to join the team that slays for team membership, coaching, training camps or just camaraderie! They would love to have you join the fun and #DoYourJob so you can #ReapWhatYouSow.

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

Introduction

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 TriCoachGeorgia.com!

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 trainingpeaks.com, 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

SO, YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT GIVING IT A “TRI”…..?

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.

  • “TOP TIP OF ALL TIME”

    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

GET FIT

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.

LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD

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!

CLEAN UP THE BIRDS NEST

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.

HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR COMPONENTS? CONSIDER THE RACE TERRAIN

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)

FINAL THOUGHTS

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.

Conclusions

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.

WHAT IS AN OPTIMAL CADENCE?

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

PROS AND CONS OF HIGH CADENCE

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.

PROS AND CONS OF LOW CADENCE

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!

CONSIDER YOUR TERRAIN

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.

CONCLUSIONS

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.

References:

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!