USAT Level 2 Endurance Certification

PrintNov 22 2017 – Start Line Coaching is pleased to announce that Head Coach Peter Helling is a certified USAT Level 2 Endurance coach, joining the approximately 50 other coaches nationally who hold this certification.

USAT Level 2 Endurance certification, targeted specifically toward coaching higher level long course Half Ironman & Full Ironman athletes, complements Peter’s 10+ years of experience coaching at all distances: Sprint through Full Ironman.

This new certification adds to Coach Peter’s existing accreditation as a USAC Level 2 cycling coach w/ distinction.

Please contact Coach Peter if you are interested in a coaching program to develop your run, bike, swim or overall triathlon performance. Located in Brooklyn NY, Start line coaching offers group & individual training programs for triathletes, runners, and cyclists.

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Why athletes should be unstable

airex_balance_beam_square1Endurance athletes spend way too much time in a single plane of motion. This plane is directly forward (known as the Sagittal plane). The result is incredible development in the one plane of motion but under development of the stabilizing muscles. The result is often niggling or recurring injuries – plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, patellofemoral syndrome, Iliotibial band syndrome, etc.

We all know the list of common chronic injuries. These injuries often stem from muscles being asked to perform work to compensate for weaknesses elsewhere. The solution is to place the body in positions where the stabilizers are activated and developed. In doing so, the athlete will be increasingly resilient to break down & injury.

In the off season & throughout your training progression, be sure to not only execute core and hip extension strength exercises like planks, rows, squats, and deadlifts, but do so in progressively more challenging balance position. For injury resistance, consider stability development a priority over force development. Body weight exercises are sufficient.

  • Stretch cord pulls extended on one leg
  • Single leg romanian deadlifts
  • Single leg squats on a block extending the suspended leg in different directions – behind, in front, or to the side. Add complexity by standing on an unstable surface
  • Planks with one leg up or moving, plank jumpers (moving from legs closed to open), plank on an exercise ball, and side plank rotating to push up & return, etc.
  • Woodchoppers on a bosu ball

There are many variants to the basic strength exercises we all do. The key is to challenge the body to find balance and stability progressively. Start simple and add complexity every 2-3 weeks.

Develop your strength & get stable. Have fun and train safe.

Off Season Kickoff 10/28/17

Alarm-Clock-1Kickoff & registration for the Start Line Coaching “2017 Brooklyn off season training program” is at 7:30 am @Connecticut Muffin, Corner of Prospect Park West & 15 St in Brooklyn. Please bring your completed paperwork or register on site.

  1. Program details
  2. Coaching Agreement
  3. USAT Event Waiver – Event #244119 – 2017 Brooklyn Off Season Training Progression

Workout begins at 8:00 am sharpish!

The kickoff workout will be strength & running. Overdress and be sure to bring gloves. Expect to be in the push up/plank position.

A good season starts with developing a strong core!

Observations from Kona

IMG_0944.jpgI just spent the week in Kona, Hawaii, attending a USAT Level 2 Endurance coaching certification clinic with my friend and coaching colleague Molly Balfe.

3 1/2 days of solid work. We attended with 10 other soon to be Level 2 Endurance coaches from around the country.

We were also joined by a number of athletes & coaches from Portland who train and work with Molly. Some were here to complete Level I coaching certification as well.

All of us stayed the rest of the week to watch the IM World Championship & enjoy many Mai Tai’s.

Level 2 Coaching Clinic:

I was so impressed with the other level 2 aspiring coaches around the country. Everyone brought almost a decade of experience as coaches. It was an intense few days, integrating new ideas and refreshing older well known concepts. The presenters were terrific.

  • Jesse Kropelnicki, MS – USAT Level III, ACSM CpT,  NSCA CSCS
  • Ian Murray – USAT Level III, ITU & USAC Level II, Bike Fit Instructor: Cannondale’s Guru Academy & Dan Empfield’s Fit Institute Slowtwitch,  USAC Certified Race Mechanic
  • Karen Allen Turner, USAT level II, 2016 Team USA Coach

The final presentations by all the attending coaches showed how detailed our approaches have become. Each coach presentation brought out innovative problem solving strategies for a diverse range of coaching challenges. The presentations were the highlight of the week.

As is always the case when attending formal accreditation classes, I walked away a stronger coach with new ideas and approaches that will strengthen the start line coaching squad in 2018. More on the clinic here:

Kona Ironman world championship:

I have been to Kona few times. Always for pleasure rather than to race. I have had the opportunity to ride, run, and swim parts of the course on a few occasions. However, nothing quite prepares you for the actual race environment. This is a very well prepared group of athletes.

The tendency is for the race to be described as epic with athletes out until midnight and shots of athlete collapse. While this might be good TV, the race is actually full of extraordinarily well trained athletes that finish well before dark. The sport has moved to a point where Ironman preparation is quite sophisticated and that reflects itself in the strength of the performances of the athletes. The environment at Kona is hot, humid, and very exposed. Kudos to the athletes. It is no mean feat. When you go to Kona expect to race.

Cheers from all of us who went to Kona, albeit not to race (this time!)

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17 Ironmans 1 Table. Many new friends

USAT Level II Endurance coaching clinic rocks!

Such a great clinic! Special thanks to Linda Cleveland, M.S. USAT Coach Development Senior Manager and the clinic presenters:

  • Jesse Kropelnicki, MS – USAT Level III, ACSM CpT,  NSCA CSCS
  • Ian Murray – USAT Level III, ITU & USAC Level II, Bike Fit Instructor: Cannondale’s Guru Academy & Dan Empfield’s Fit Institute Slowtwitch,  USAC Certified Race Mechanic
  • Karen Allen Turner, USAT L2 Coach, 2016 Team USA Coach

The following sessions really resonated with me:

  • Periodization for Long Course
  • Workout Design and Application for Long Course
  • Advanced Nutrition for Long Course
  • Strength Training for Long Course
  • Video Analysis and Application for Long Course
  • Advanced Running for Long Course
  • Psychological Assessment and Application

As a final task, each of us were asked to present an athlete training plan based upon an assigned scenario. Each scenario presented a unique and challenging athlete situation. Topics covered a wide spectrum:

  • Kona qualification
  • Disordered eating
  • Pro performance
  • New Iron distance athletes
  • Iron distance recovery
  • Limited training time
  • Critical training volume
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Mental skills
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2017 USAT Level 2 Endurance clinic coaches (Kona, HI)

The final presentations by all the attending coaches showed how detailed and specific our approaches have become.

Each coach presentation brought out innovative problem solving strategies for a diverse range of coaching challenges.

The presentations were the highlight of the week.

Key insights from the clinic:

  1. Critical Training Volume – What it takes to resist breakdown of performance during racing & key metrics to strive for in athletic development.
  2. Nutrition approaches for the athlete to optimize body composition, training adaptation, and race fueling
  3. Triathlon specific strength development to resist injury and improve form

As is always the case when attending formal accreditation classes, I walked away a stronger coach with new ideas and approaches that will strengthen the start line coaching squad in 2018.

2017 off season group training here we go. Prepare for a great 2018 race season.

Pondering what to do next season….

The fall is a wonderful time of year.. The temperatures cool and ambition grows. Athletes dream about the season to come. Now is the time to reach out to your coach to discuss your plans for next year.

It is tempting to get wrapped up in a season full of “peak bagging” where your schedule is just too full, too long, or is simply a mixed bag of races.  This can result in disappointment in your development as an athlete, over commitment, and burn out.

It is not uncommon to see a triathlete career of only 3 years. The way I think about it is the year of wonder, the year of excitement, followed by the year of work which can result in frustration and burnout. After which, the bike can become a clothes horse in the corner of the apartment. This is very sad for your bike and you can see it weeping quietly if you look carefully.

In your first year, your fitness grows by leaps and bounds & there is so much new information. The sport changes your life and introduces you to new community of friends. You feel invincible.

In your second year, you pack your schedule with races and race race race… You still develop rapidly, and spend a ton of money on your bike. At the end of the season, you are tired but look forward to next season with high ambitions. You are also looking for new challenges, perhaps Ironman,  a marathon or two, perhaps tough mudders…etc.

In your third year, your development needs are much more specific to your personal limiters and much more race specific. Your development curve flattens but your schedule is more complex with a mixed bag of races that often compete with each other for your time. Unless you are a extraordinary athlete, and few of us actually are, your racing is unlikely meet your expectations.

A good example is a marathon in the middle of your Ironman preparation. A well prepared marathoner will run far more, with much more specific run training than an Ironman athlete. I would estimate that a marathon blows a 1 month hole in your Ironman progression between taper & recovery not to mention the lack of focus on the bike & swim during the prior months of marathon training.

The key to getting faster is time & focus. The fast athletes in the field, excluding the genetically gifted, have been training for many years. Although they are older, in many instances they race faster than they ever have. The secret sauce is that they are still at it and they have seasons that are well structured and not beyond what their life & work can manage. Typically, these athletes will peak only a couple of times for key races, and interim races are about supporting their principal focus of the year. Their seasons are also have a transition period that is not too long, but is sufficient to come back into each year with a bounce in their step.

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As you dream about your season ahead, be sure to check in with your coach for advice on your race schedule.

Race well and love your bike.

 

 

2017 off season program registration opens today!

Back again by popular demand. Start Line Coaching is offering a two month “off season” program to work on weaknesses, strength deficits, and add some variety to your training. The “off season” is a period of de-training and essential mental and physical revitalization. But as we all know, it all so often turns to couch surfing and weight gain through the holiday period.

Add some structure to your fall with a group training program. This is also a perfect program for those returning to endurance training after a long lay off. The program is purposely aimed to address the niggles we all feel after a racing season and help those looking to establish a training routine. The goal of the program is to set you up for a successful 2018 training and race calendar.

USAT10SanctionedEvents

The USAT sanctioned program culminates with a running event to baseline your off season fitness.

Interested? Training begins October 28, 2017.  Look here for details