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The weather is starting to turn frigid and Thanksgiving it is going be well below freezing for Turkey Trots in much of the northern latitudes of the US.

There is nothing more exhilarating than being outside in the cold, feeling the clear air and bright sun on your cheeks all while feeling toasty warm in your outfit. The key is of course how to stay toasty warm.

Here are some basic guidelines for exercising in the cold:

  1. Head – Much of your body heat is lost through the head, so a quick way to minimize the loss is through a head protection – Hat or balaclava on very cold days. If you are working hard & over heating, the quickest way to vent that heat is to rip off your hat & stuff it in your pocket. Bring a dry second hat for after workout so as you cool down, you can put it on and stay warm.
  2. Hands – Gloves always – As you cool, blood is drawn away from the periphery to warm the core. Your hands are quite sensitive to cooling, and don’t retain heat well. On very cold days with high wind, the risk of frost nip is high. Keep them covered even if you are shedding layers elsewhere. On the bike, gloves must be wind-proof.
  3. Base layers – A high quality base layer that is snug against the core of the body is essential. Never use cotton. There are many technical long sleeve garments for the cold, but basic camping long underwear tops are cheaper and quite serviceable for running as well. Still have & still use them after all these years.
  4. Tights – For the run, mid weight & for the bike windproof and heavier weight.
  5. Mid layer – Personally, I am a fan of fleece vests. They allow venting from the pits while focusing on retaining heat near the core. Keep the core warm and blood to the periphery. Unless you are running hard, I would wear a mid layer always even if it feels a bit hot. Too hot is uncomfortable. Too cold is miserable.
  6. Outerwear – Priority #1 is something windproof. From there, there are two considerations: 1) Outerwear for the run must allow substantial venting; and 2) Outerwear for the bike is best when it traps the heat more effectively.
  7. Shoes: It goes without saying running shoes are what you need to run. Your choice is based upon terrain and type of runner you are. For the bike, good quality fully windproof booties to cover your bike shoes will deliver good service until the temperatures drop below freezing. When it gets really cold, I wear a full cycling boot.
Coach Peter’s winter run kit
  • Castelli Skull Cap and/or Sugoi balaclava and/or Running Buff
  • Craft Base Layer or SwartWool base layer or REI camping base layer
  • Generic Fleece vest
  • Pearl Izumi – running jacket with detachable arms
  • Sugoi Midzero running tights
  • Coach Peter’s winter cycling kit
Coach Peter’s winter cycling kit
  • Castelli Skull Cap and/or Sugoi balaclava and/or Running Buff
  • Craft Base Layer or SwartWool base layer or REI camping base layer
  • Castelli Long Sleeve Cycling Jersey (Optional)
  • Castelli Pro Cycling Jacket
  • Showers Pass Crosspoint Wind Glove (late fall)
  • Pearl Izumi PRO AmFib lobster glove (winter)
  • Pearl Izumi Amfib Cycling Tights
  • Castelli Bib Shorts
  • Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB MTB Shoe Cover (late fall)
  • Lake MXZ 303 Winter Boot (winter)

Comment back with any suggestions you might have on fall/winter gear. Would love to hear your suggestions.

Keep running & riding. Go to spectacular places! Be like this Startline athlete and go above the snow line.

Photo Credit: Larry Rosa photographyStrong like bull camp 2018

This weekend’s NYC Marathon was quite windy and blustery. The impact of the wind is easy to under estimate. Studies have shown that the energy cost differential of running outside (even on a still day) vs. indoors on the treadmill is significant. This is because you are developing a headwind outdoors vs. running in still air on the treadmill. This leads to the scientifically supported recommendation from coaches to increase the treadmill to a 1% incline to simulate outdoor running.

That said, if you have a blustery day like yesterday the impact is even more significant. At points, runners would have faced 8+ mph winds, add in an average pace of 6-7 mph and everyone is pushing into a 14 mph headwind. If your day yesterday was tough, this may be a very good reason. The energy cost differential, while perceived as sustainable early in the race, will cost you dearly toward the end of the race unless you account for it in your race strategy.

All cyclists know the advantages of slippery bike shapes, deep section wheels, and reduction of frontal surface area on race performance and cycling economy. Moreover, at higher speeds the wind resistance impact curve gets steeper and steeper. It is not a linear relationship. Finally, a vertical runner in loose running clothing is far from an optimized aerodynamic shape.

So what does this mean? Hide in the lee of the pack as much as possible to reduce the impact of a windy day and get used to running closer to others in training. Channel the cyclist in you and be tactical about where you are in the group throughout your race. Hide behind the tall runners, make moves when the wind is with you and not against you and preserve your energy for when you most need it, which is at the end of the race. It’s fun and engages your mind throughout the race as well.

Run fast, run smart.

Coach Peter

Such a fun day for the first group training session. Weather was cool, sun was out. The key focus early in training is to strengthen connective tissue, build muscle, and do some aerobic conditioning.

The aerobic system can be developed fundamentally by time on your feet. This can be done very effectively at 60% of HR Max. To maintain & develop your aerobic engine, the bulk of your training plan should be relatively easy in effort. In addition, at easy levels of effort, the strain on your connectivity tissue is reduced and recovery is substantially easier, which reduces overall injury risk.

Squats, lunges, planks & bridges introduce load to the musculature and connective tissue. Over a course of 4-6 weeks, consistent body weight strength work will make you a stronger and injury resistant athlete.

Combine 4 short, 10-min runs with multiple sets of strength work and now you have a formidable, time-efficient workout that works everything you need to begin to set your running base and improve your durability as an athlete.

Be efficient with your time, stay out of the gym at least for now, and enjoy the fall weather. Bask in the glory of being outside during the changing seasons with your friends.

I had the pleasure of meeting & listening to the legendary running coach Dr. Jack Daniels PhD at the #BrooklynRunCo this morning. It was particularly fitting on the eve of the #NYCMarathon.

As endurance athletes, we must meter out the energy we have, specifically glycogen, across the entire duration of the race. The energy consumption curve at higher paces/intensities is significantly steeper and grows steeper as we increase pace. The result is that all too often marathoners burn out in the later miles, struggle to complete, and positive split.

Dr. Daniels’s sage advice is to hold back in the early miles no matter how good you feel. Conserve your energy reserves, and reduce the fatigue impact of the race. This strategy sets you up for a strong close and negative split even when the back of the race has more challenging terrain. The world’s best marathoners all negative split because, even at the ferocious paces that they run, they are all going out easier than they can run and intend to run.

Race well marathoners!

Coach Peter

Photo credit: dailymail.co.uk

It’s happening – 4 days to go. Get your shoes on and laces tied for the off season run/strength program. The team will meet at Connecticut Muffin on the corner of Prospect Park West & 15 St. in Brooklyn. On site registration is at 7:30 am or register now so you can sleep in a bit more.

Workout begins at 8:00 am! First work out is 30-40 mins of EZ running interspersed with body weight strength exercises. Come and have some fun in the park!

In general, you need to repeat a skill at least six times before new nuero-muscular connections are developed and reinforced. Often adaptation results in a bit of regression and discomfort, but with patience, feedback, iteration, and focus you can break an old habit and form a new one that can improve your swimming.

Too often, we avoid this process and revert to old patterns or habits, which is why improvement in swimming can be such a devil. Break that cycle now!

Startline Coaching has introduced a small group (12) Triathlete swim program specifically focused on form improvement. This program is specifically designed to a) provide individual feedback to every athlete and b) get athletes to focus with sufficient iteration to adapt to a cleaner swim form that will result in a more relaxed, efficient and better paced triathlon swim.

This program kicks off on Nov 7 and is closing fast with only 4 seats left. Move quickly and register today!

Off Season training begins in 3 weeks! After a few weeks off from structured training and some well earned rest, it is time to get off the couch and get moving again so not all of your fitness gains from last season are lost.

The fall is a wonderful time of year… The temperatures are cooler and you can introduce focus blocks into your training to improve on personal limiters. During the race season, the focus is on race specific preparation, but the fall allows you to step back, be disciplined and address gaps when you don’t have so many competing priorities.

This year, Startline coaching is offering two off season programs:

11 Week Run/Strength program:

  • Improve your run speed potential – Complete a focused run program with speed work aimed at a higher intensity 10M or 10K. You have to run faster to run fast.
  • Lack flexibility and constantly plagued by niggles & injuries that slow down your season progress. The program focuses on strength development & stretching to improve your durability and range of motion.

11 Week Triathlon Swim program:

  • Struggling with your swim form – Complete a swim progression focused on technique, endurance, & pacing control. Increase both the frequency & yardage that you swim, and receive specific form correction from a coach in a small group setting. Hold your best form for longer!
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