The (Virtual) 2021 Endurance Exchange – Coach Wicked Shares Her Highlights
Like Coach Longman and Coach Slayer in 2019 in Tempe, Az, Coaches Wicked and Angel K attended the three day Endurance Exchange virtual conference hosted by USAT last week. Our coaches at TriCoachGeorgia are always learning and growing as coaches and athletes. Coach Wicked wanted to give us a quick summary to satisfy our curiosity about the program. Here it is:
The conference was made virtual this year due to the dreaded Covid 19. Many think of virtual learning opportunities as boring or dry, and some are. However, this one was neither. I was grateful for the virtual opportunity and to be able to have strong and live video presentations by some of the industry’s top professionals, doctors and athletes. Many thanks to @USAT for this opportunity to connect with peers and learn from each other.
Topics at the conference varied from business, nutrition and gender differences in sports nutrition, medical struggles, strength and conditioning, impact of sleep on performance. Special guests Tommy and Katie Zaferes discussed Olympic prep Katie’s comeback from her crash and how she deals with mental struggles. The list of speakers and topics goes on and on. It was comprehensive and very impressive to say the least. We were even blessed with the voice of Ironman @Mike Reilly, himself introducing some of the presentations!
My favorite take away of the conference besides ALL OF IT was the presentation provided by Dr. John Ratey, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ratey discussed exercise and brain function. This topic certainly comes to us at a good time given our past year as athletes and as we are looking at a new race year with possibly more cancellations. It spoke to the fact that triathlon and endurance sports are not all about racing, and how exercise in general is the best thing you can do for yourself, especially right now.
The effects from Ratey’s study showed how three neurotransmitters in our brains are boosted by exercise, how exercise can reduce ADHD symptoms and enhance learning, how it fights off depression and stabilizes your mood, curbs anxiety, and boosts levels of a protein in your brain called BDNF(brain derived neurotrophic factor), which builds and maintains neuronal pathways. We all figured that but studies confirm that exercise boosts brain function and, thus, the physical and mental benefits of physical activity and fitness are limitless.
The Ratey talk was, yes, very “sciencey” but it all made perfect sense and was beyond fascinating. So much so I have ordered Dr. Ratey’s book, Spark, so I can continue to read the benefits and more of the study. A one hour talk was not enough on this fascinating subject. Again, this was a very pertinent ode to the times we are in now and reinforces how no one should toss in the towel on fitness because the race is cancelled. Those benefits of that exercise and that training may help curb the effects of Alzheimers down the road and will also keep you ready to #DoYourJob at the races, which will be back with us in no time.
You can still access the lectures via the Endurance Exchance website so browse and choose. They are worthy of the time spent on the topics that interest you. They are good for athletes and for coaches. Our athletes and coaching staff at TCGA takes these learning opportunities with conferences, webinars, zoom meetings, certifications etc. very serious The more we all learn about the things we have in common, the more we can advance in the sport and as a community. -Coach Wicked