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Du Nationals and "race plan"

Posted by topsteptraining@gmail.com on April 8, 2018 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

I got the pleasure of racing duathlon nationals this past weekend (April 7th-8th) and also had TST athlete Dallas Handy participating. Dallas raced the sprint Draft legal (which I also raced) and I raced the second day competing in the non-draft sprint race.

Dallas had limited to no experience in duathlon coming into this race and struggled with some injury the week leading into nationals. He was determined to race and was healthy on race day. We established a race plan for him to follow and he executed perfectly (similarly to how he did in Clermont). He placed 3rd and qualified for the world championships in duathlon. Duathlon nationals was just a small stepping stone as we build toward Bermuda AG draft legal at the end of April. Dallas is also heavily focused on progressing and performing well at the Draft Legal AG world championships this spring.

I wanted to focus this blog on the importance of a race plan and the importance of doing many small things correctly in training/racing that can amount to time and ultimately performance.

I know everyone in multisport or endurance sport has a "race plan" going in to just about any event. However I believe and have seen far too many athletes claim they have a solidified "race plan" and as soon as something doesnt go as they had planned the entire "plan" crumbles and they become dissapointed in race performance.

I believe a good race plan has to be absolutley realistic meaning you have proven to yourself and your coach in workouts that you are capable of a certain race pace. 

After establishing am ideal race pace for each segment of a triathlon, duathlon, cycling event, etc. it is important to then break down the race into manageable portions in which you can execute throughout the race. It is essential to focus on just managebale challenges instead of lumping a race into one entity and looking at it as an entire 10hour ironman or 2hour olympic distance event.

Once you have established these aspects of a race plan there are many more steps that you can take and complete prior to your A race that will help solidify a solid race plan. 

Few athletes take advantage of is self-talk, and imagery. Everyone in endurance sport will tell you that whatever the discipline may be, the event is typically more mental than actually phsyical. If athletes and individuals truly believed this wouldnt they focus more time training the mind than the body? I understand that is not realistic and would result in some poor race results. However that doesnt mean excluding mental training and preparation is a better option. It has proven repeatedly in research that mental imagery and self talk and help improve performance. 

I have a specific process that I go through with my athletes prior to speicifc events that can and has helped my athletes tremendously. I would love to disclose all the details in this blog post but I will keep this process between myself and my athletes.


2017 Endurance Coaching Summit: Boulder CO

Posted by topsteptraining@gmail.com on August 4, 2017 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I have spent the past 4 days at the Endurance Coaching summit in Boulder CO learning from some of the best coaches in the business. Some of the coaches included Joe Friel, Dirk Friel, Dave Scott, Corey Hart, Dr. Paul Laursen to name only a few. It was an eye opening experience for many reasons. First off, I learned an unbelieveable amount of new information from almost all of the coaches that presented. I also had the opportunity to network with some of the best coaches in the business. 

I could talk about each individual piece of information that I learned from every coach but that isn't what I want to write about. 

I am writing about something I began to realise throughout the summit and something that was very clear on the final day. 

The DAVE SCOTT run clinic was attented only by coaches and there about 40 coaches there. We did a slight warm up on the track and then gathered around Dave as he explained in depth some very specific stretching and muscle activation drills. I commonly do glute activation before my runs, but Dave put a LOT more emphasis on it and I learned some new techniques for activating the glutes before ahard run. 

It was interesting to watch at least half the coaches struggle to undertsand the concept and not perform the drills properly, which would be understandable if Dave wasnt walking everyone through each drill specificially.

We then moved on to some running drills where he wanted us to over exaggerate our stride and feel the impact of the heel strike, then in contrast run on our toes, and finally to run more on the midfoot while allowing the heel to touch the ground. When doing these drills at least 15 coaches went to the front and appeared to not listen to Dave at all... or they just wanted the glory of being in the front of a Dave Scott workout???? The same coaches maintained position at the front throughout all the footstrike drills and didnt follow instruction. It felt like a high school gym class where everyone was trying to show up one another. 

This was just the beginning. We then were instructed to run 1x400 on the track at our aerobic pace then another 400 at threshold. It was amaizing to me the amount of coaches who got in the front group on the track and apparently ran 6:15mi pace for their aerobic endurance?! Then on the threshold apparently all of these coaches were able to hold 4:45mi pace for a 10k. I was a bit shocked honestly because after all we werent doing a "real" workout and we were there to learn from one of the greatest triathletes of all time.

I then had a conversation with another established coach later in the day about if we thought a coach could successfully and whole heartedly coach an athlete with an EGO so big? Could these coaches who didnt follow instructions and didn't perform a specified workout be trusted to coach high level athletes who they expect to perform the exact opposite of them? If a coach is also an athlete where do they draw the line when it comes to the importance of their athletes performance and their own performance? I dont have all the asnwers myself and that is why I wrote this blog, because I want to hear from other coaches and athletes what they think about the lower questions.

I will be posing other questions in the next few days in regards to some things I learned or noticed at the Endurance Coahing Summit. 

"Off Season"

Posted by topsteptraining@gmail.com on November 20, 2016 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

What is the “off season”? Do triathletes really have an off season? Yes and no depending on the athlete. My 2016 triathlon season started on March 5th with the first race of the year being Clermont draft legal challenge. My triathlon season just finished on October 15th at Liberty University triathlon conference championships. I had some highs and lows throughout the season but for the most part the majority of my results were satisfying.


I am writing this exactly one week after the “end” of the 2016 triathlon season. I am in the “off” season which sends the message that I am not doing anything. This is somewhat true for 2 weeks following my last race but after that it is back to the drawing board to work on my weaknesses that I have identified in myself.


“Off” season is a time where training stress decreases for most triathletes and the focus is on “base training” and strength as well as functional movement to better prepare for the next season. As a collegiate athlete I take full advantage of time off and try to get ahead on work so when training ramps up again I will have more time to focus on recovery instead of homework. The majority of my teammate however do not follow my example and they tend to slack off during the off time and then are swamped when everything starts back up.


“Off” season is interesting. The first two weeks, which are supposed to be completely off of training are very hard to navigate. Those two weeks of rest are unchartered waters for a triathlete who has been training 20 hours a week for the past year. It is hard to sit still especially in a college environment. Once my homework is done I have nothing else on my agenda and I am not sure what to do with my time. What I notice is the first 2-3 days of rest are awesome, lots of work and lots of netflix. But after the honeymoon phase that lasts 2-3 days I already want to train again. This makes no sense to me because on any given week during the year of training I am exhausted and would kill for time off, but as soon as I get time off all I want to do is train. It is an interesting phenomenon.


I am ashamed to say that I actually raced one week out after my last triathlon. I didn’t really train for one week, I spun on my Cyclocross bike a few times but thats it. I wanted to race a CX race for the first time and the race was only 30minutes away. So I got my roommate to race with me and we killed it. I ended up winning the race?! I was shocked and the taste of victory instantly got me hooked and I am already planning on racing next weekend both days! What is “Off” Season?