Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What's YOUR Plan?

Many athletes are great about planning their day/week/month/season, but what about planning their off season? ... or maybe next season?


Most individuals find that without planning, things do not happen. This is most likely due to how busy our lives are. While it's great to have some unstructured time post "A" race, it's important to only let that period last 2-3 weeks and to have a plan for what lays ahead after that time is up.

Here is what I recommend, assuming you don't have anything else on your calendar.

- 2 weeks off of training. Yes OFF. You can exercise if you WANT to, but in my experience the athletes who skip this, end up regretting it 6 weeks later. YOU NEED A BREAK.

- 2 weeks of exercise. This is unstructured, but a good plan of attack is to shoot for some endurance exercise on most days, even if for only 30minutes.

- 2 weeks of aerobic re-introduction. A lot of athletes want to get back into intervals and training hard. While the mind might be ready, the body is not. Spend 2 weeks just going through the motions and keep the intensities easy.

After the above 6 weeks, THEN it's a great time to get into your off season goals and focuses.


My recommendations for the off season is to focus on your biggest weakness as an athlete. This is the time when you can afford to have a little imbalance within your training plan to improve your weakness.

Take a look back at your races and training sessions; what were you lacking and what do you need to do to improve? I will write on single sport focus later this fall, but this time is a great opportunity to make gains in these areas.

Cross-training and fun. This is a great time to make sure to have some fun. Cyclocross, XC skiing and some destination run races are great motivating factors that can contribute to overall fitness gains.


Many athletes don't want to think about next season right now, especially if racing an Ironman. However, what if you finish your big race and are faced with registration the next morning. You have to register or you lose the chance. Don't try to sort this out the night after doing a race, have a plan ahead of time and STICK TO IT!

If you are volunteering or spectating, it's equally important to have a plan. It's easy to get wrapped up in an over-enthusiastic friend who is going to race next year. Before you know it, you'll be registered, even if you really didn't want to.


I see it a lot, athletes wanting help for their upcoming races in January, March, June, even August. As a coach, I do the best I can with the time available, but when faced with 12 weeks to prepare an athlete for a race, how much can I actually do? The answer is not much more than race specific training and focus. What about improving weakness or doing an appropriate progression of training? Remember that each season builds on the previous one and that each season is different depending on the athlete, goals and races.

Remember to choose a coach who fits your needs as an athlete. If you are someone who needs and likes communication, make sure your coach is strong in that area. If you want a lot of technical data to look at, choose a coach who provides that. If you are a someone who likes perfect grammar and spelling, then you probably shouldn't choose myself ;)

In all seriousness, remember that you are a team with your coach and it should be easy to work together. It will sometimes it takes a month or so to get in sync, but you should feel like a team after that point.

Do yourself a big favor and give yourself a full year to prepare for next season. Remember that coaching is most effective over the long term.

I hope the above advice helps all of you make your best decisions regarding the off season and 2014!

Have a great week.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ironman Wisconsin Racing & Training Update

Well, it's been a long time since I have blogged and that is mostly due to being very busy. While I am a Professional Triathlete, I also consider myself a full-time coach, since that is what I spend the majority of my time doing. I tracked the hours for a while and it came out to around 35hrs of coaching per week versus about 20-25hrs of training. If you combine that with recovery, sleep and some fun here and there; it's easy to see why I have let the blog side.

That doesn't matter here, because I am posting an update. The summer has been great!

I raced at Muncie 70.3 in July and accomplished my goal for the day, which was to make the front swim pack. This has left me fairly confident in my ability to do so again, since doing it at both Ironman Brasil in May and at Muncie in July.

Post Muncie, it was all about getting two spastic bengal kitties (Gizmo and Calvin), as well as supporting my athletes at a number of events and races around the state, as well as running a camp for 25 athletes from around the country and Canada. It was by far the largest camp I have run...AND the most fun. With all that fun came a lot of work and I wore myself too thin. At the time I was training quite well, pushing hard and ended up getting sick a few days post camp (beginning of August).

Saturday Swim Start - Ironman Camp
While I thought it would be a quick turnaround on the sickness, it was not in the cards and a cough lingered for weeks. Despite the sickness I only missed a few days of training, but did have to go slightly easier on a number of key sessions. What I have found out is that this has not been a bad thing for the most part. I typically push a bit too hard in training and therefore have had trouble absorbing the work. So there lays the silver lining.

We are now 13 days out from Ironman Wisconsin and things have come full circle and fitness timing for this races feels near perfect. Here are the highlights as we get ready to race in 2 weeks.

- I have been running A LOT.  Most of this stems from the fact that I believe in most Ironman races you bike for show and run for dough. Most "on" weeks have hovered at 65-80 miles, with much of it being quality. I have had some combo's of 45miles in 3 days and 30miles in 2 days, all averaging out to just faster than Ironman pace. This is a nice step up from last year.

- On the cycling side I have had a few longer quality rides and a shorter hard ride each week, with volume right at about 15hrs. This last week I hit what would have been just under 6w/kg for 5minutes on the last one of my vo2 intervals which has shown me that the bike fitness is also here.

- Lastly, I am entering this race 8lbs lighter than last year. While weight loss can sometimes be unhealthy if done too quickly, this has been a gradual process and I am strong.

Like everyone who races, I can't control what anyone else brings on the day. The start list on the men's side is impressive to say the least and if some of the guys are "on," they could have a day like Ben Hoffman did last year. However, I am also at my best and ready to lay down a race on my home turf (I literally live ON the bike course) that will be very difficult to beat. If it happens, then hats off to those who do it.

Thank you to everyone who has gotten me ready to rock and roll for this race including the Trek Stores of Madison, Blue Seventy and PowerBar. I also want to thank all of my athletes who have been as much of a support to me, as I have been to them.

I am looking forward to seeing all of you out there whether you are racing, cheering or volunteering!


On the coaching side, I am proud to say that everyone who embarked on the Ironman Wisconsin journey and has wanted to race, has made it to the start line ready to give 100% on the day. As a coach, this is always a something to be proud of. You are all ready to have one of the best days of your life out there, so enjoy every minute of it.

Some of the BBMC Ironman Crew

BBMC Pardeviller's 

Wednesday Night Hill Repeats

I likely won't blog again before the race, so thanks for reading. I hope everyone is having a great end to their summer.

I'll leave you with one last picture of the new additions to the house. Note that this is one of their calm moments which don't seem to exist much any more!

The Bengal Brothers - Gizmo (white) & Calvin