How do you know if you are improving? Perhaps you can tell you don't get tired as easily or the duration of your workouts is longer. One of the best ways to measure your improvement is by using Benchmark Workouts (BW). BW are also excellent for testing new equipment or changes in your technique as well.
But first what are BW? They are workouts that are repeatable under similar conditions so you can compare results and measure improvement. There are several reasons to incorporate BW: measuring improvement, motivation, testing equipment as well as technique changes, race predictions, establishing race paces, adjusting training schedules and setting training parameters.
There are an unlimited number of BW you can create for yourself; it really depends on the purpose of your test. Mainly, I would suggest you test in a couple of ways: aerobic BW, Maximum Sustained Pace (MSP), and testing for training zones such as heart rate, paces, of...
How to Choose a Wetsuit
The new triathlete can easily be overwhelmed when it comes to choosing their first wetsuit. After a bit of research, it can often seem like, “They all seem the same, so why don’t I just get the least expensive suit?” Let’s explore the topic in depth and help you choose the best suit for you. Full disclosure: after selling my running & triathlon retail store I went to work for blueseventy wetsuits which is why I am using the blueseventy wetsuits in the blog.
There are several key factors to take into account including:
All wetsuits are not created equally, that is for sure! One thing to keep in mind is that every brand has a size chart that is unique to itself. Let’s dive deeper into the key factors.
If you are a...
RUN Workout - Threshold Progression Series
This is one of my favorite run workouts for improving running economy at Threshold. Make sure to include a Warm Up and Cool Down.
Warm Up: 15 min total
10 min Easy build to Moderate effort
5 x 30 sec Accelerations (aka Strides) with 30 sec Easy recovery jog
10 – 15 min Easy
Each week the Main set of the workout gets progressively harder.
Week 1 Main Set - 1 to 4 sets of:
4 min Moderately Hard to Hard, Between Half Marathon and 10k pace/effort
1 min Hard, 5k pace/effort
90 sec Walk Recovery
30 sec Moderate, Aerobic pace/effort
Week 2 Main Set - 1 to 4 sets of:
3 min Moderately Hard to Hard, Between Half Marathon and 10k pace/effort
2 min Hard, 5k pace/effort
90 sec Walk Recovery
30 sec Moderate, Aerobic pace/effort
Week 3 Main Set - 1 to 4 sets of:
2:30 min Moderately Hard to Hard, Between Half Marathon and 10k pace/effort
2:30 min Hard, 5k...
A very common question from Ironman athletes is, “What should I put in my special needs bags?”
It depends. There are several factors that influence what one should put in their Bike and Run Special Needs bags. If you find yourself asking this very question let’s dive deeper.
Are you racing or are you more concerned with finishing? If you are racing you may want to contemplate skipping the use of the Special Needs all together. You can still put some emergency items in there and choose to not pick up your bag. The reason for this is that for those athletes racing the Special Needs area can eat up valuable time. If you are more concerned about finishing then an extra five or fifteen minutes spent here may not bother you. Some friends and I did Ironman Cozumel the very first year of the race in 2009 and the Bike Special Needs was a cluster. When I got there, they could not find my bag and after a minute or so I just rode...
C.H.A.M.P. Consistency, the secret ingredient.
A few months back someone asked me what my coaching philosophy was. I don’t remember the answer I gave but I remember thinking it wasn’t as thorough of an answer as I would have liked. This caused me to do some deeper thinking on the subject. I spent some time doing some brain-storming and journaling. Eventually I condensed my philosophy into five key factors: Motivation, Health, Consistency, Accountability, and a (Training) Plan. The Scrabble player in me began to rearrange the letters when I noticed they spelled CHAMP. Seemed rather fitting!
Consistency is critical. The number one concern I hear athletes express is worrying about having the perfect plan tailored just for them. As I wrote in my first book, “Six-Word Lessons for Successful Triathletes: 100 Lessons for Essential Training and Racing” Lesson 9:
It’s the work, not the plan
Have you ever noticed when you ask yourself an open ended question your mind goes to work and brings forth answers? Sometimes the answers come immediately, sometimes they come to you while you are sleeping, sometimes they materialize in the world in the form of a coincidence.
Let me give you some examples. I've talked with many people who say to me, "I could never do a triathlon; I can't swim." Their brain receives that message loud and clear and turns its attention to something else. Compare this to the person who says, "A triathlon? Well, I don't know how to swim. I wonder if I could do a triathlon and if I could learn how to swim?" Now their brain begins to recognize opportunities to learn how to swim. Maybe it's a flyer posted on a wall for swimming lessons, maybe its at a party and someone is talking about their first triathlon and the person initiates a conversation inquiring how this other person did their first triathlon....
Oh me! Oh life! by Walt Whitman
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
One of my favorite movies of all time is Dead Poet's Society where I was first introduced to this poem written by Walt Whitman. Robin Williams' character brings poetry to life and the movie does a brilliant job of helping the audience feel poetry and by extension, life....
I'd love to encourage you and invite you to take a moment and think about what you can celebrate in or about your life right now?
People often focus on only grand accomplishments or moments to celebrate and miss the tiny, though extremely meaningful moments of everyday life. Sometimes the seemingly small celebrations, little joys here and there, the accumulation of micro-moments lead to incredible changes and a powerful perspective about your enjoyment of life. Perhaps you do have something monumental to celebrate and perhaps it's something seemingly small; either way take the time to celebrate it!
If you want to deepen your experience, do a little journaling. Write down the question, "What can I celebrate in my life today?" Then spend time writing down your answers. This will deepen your connection to the experience.
While you are either thinking or writing about what you can celebrate notice how you feel? Does the weight of the world feel a little less heavy? Does your mood...
This past weekend I completed Victoria 70.3 triathlon. In the week leading up to the race several people asked me if I was ready. While I was ready to finish I wasn’t ready to race; to push myself to my threshold. For a short time I even considered not doing the race and asked myself, “Why do I do this to myself?”
As I thought about my answers and my motivations for training and racing I realized that my fitness at this point is stronger because I had committed to the race several months earlier. If not for the race I would certainly have skipped several of the longer, harder workouts.
It dawned on me that regardless of my race performance I had already won.
Lesson #6 in my first book, Six Word Lessons for Successful Triathletes: 100 Lessons for Essential Training and Racing, is “Train to race, race to train.” Like most people I struggle with motivation and if left to my own devices I slide towards the...
Beginner Swimmers: Don’t Make This Mistake
Learning to swim well can be quite challenging as it is a technical skill. To a certain extent with other sports such as cycling and running improvements can be made simply by exerting more effort. But this approach backfires when applied to swimming. To swim more efficiently is not a matter of trying harder. Instead, swimming more efficiently (faster and with less effort) is about reducing the natural resistance of moving through the water. It takes technique.
The number one mistake beginner swimmers make is to swim “X” number of laps or for “Y” amount of time. The mindset around this type of training is understandable. You're concerned about maximizing your time in the water. Unfortunately, there are more drawbacks to this type of training than there are benefits.
Should the athlete be able to complete the distance of their intended race prior to race day? Of course!...