Being totally immersed

Last weekend, I had the great pleasure of attending a three-day Swim Camp with five  #StartlineCoaching athletes in St. Petersburg, Florida. The swim camp, hosted by my long time coach, mentor, and friend Coach Earl Walton of #TailwindEndurance was an incredible experience.


Apart from the joys of swimming outside in February, each of us came away with substantial improvement in swim form and speed that we can focus on as the training season progresses. Nothing beats being totally immersed in a single sport for an entire weekend. So much progress can be made. A number of the athletes came away with 10+ secs/100 improvements in their swim time trial pace, which is huge.

It was great meet and work with skilled swim coaches Roderick Sewell, & Rudy Garcia-Tolson, both highly accomplished Para Swimmers. An absolute inspiration to swim with and to be coached by.

Two major takeaways from the Tailwind swim camp that I would like to share as you work on your swimming:

  1. Body Position – Nothing affects swim performance more than poor alignment and body position.  As your lead hand enters the water, ensure that it follows the line of your shoulder, through to your hip and feet. Stretch out fully, maintaining that line as you rotate your body during the stroke. Here are some tips for doing so:
    • Be sure you can see your hand as it stretches forward. Your body follows your hands so be sure you know where they are.
    • Open your armpit to maximize the length of your stroke. Be patient and extend as your body rotates.
    • Let your hips drive the rotation, and stretch. Extend your stroke as your hip rotates. The rotation is about your hips, not your arms. Let the hips lead.
  2. Capturing momentum – ‘Capturing momentum’ is about enabling your body to streamline while it has momentum, capturing that momentum, and applying it the next stroke before you lose the momentum by over gliding. It is much harder to build momentum than maintain it. Here are some tips for doing so:
    • Stretch past the point of entry with your hand, armpit, and hips.
    • Allow the bubbles to scrub off your fingertips before beginning the catch phase of your stroke. This will maximize the use of your streamline.
    • Commence the catch only when the recovering hand has passed your head and is in line with the elbow of the lead hand. This enables proper catch & rotation timing.
    • Anchor your hand and forearm in the water, and then drive yourself past the anchor, using your hips. Think of trying to gather a pile of marbles. You want to apply sufficient pressure to gather the marbles (aka the water) toward you, but not so much that the marbles slip away.
    • Let hip rotation create the power –  not the strength of your shoulders and arms

Hope you find these insights helpful!

Coach Peter


2019 Open Sky Training camp calendar

Prepare for your A race with a multi-day triathlon training camp experience.

ost-logoOpen Sky Training camps offer extensive coach contact, 12-56 mile open road rides with specific workout prescriptions aimed at race events, small group swim skills development at Bard College pool, open water lake swims, and sport specific clinics. Run & ride beautiful vistas, combine routes to go any distance, and enjoy delicious food in the company of fellow athletes.

The camp fee includes accommodation, coaching, and all meals (the food is outstanding). A 10% discount is available to Startline Coaching athletes on any camp date.

2019 camp schedule:

  • May 10-12 – Led by Startline Coaching – Coach Peter
  • June 7-9
  • June 22-23 – Led by Startline Coaching – Coach Peter
  • August 9-11




2019 spring season training program kicks off – 1/12/19

Aimed at developing experienced athletes, this group training program is designed for an athlete to peak for a June Half Ironman or Olympic. Get your training and racing off to a good start with some structure, camaraderie, and enjoy the beauty of the park in the winter.

Athletes are streamed (basic, intermediate, advanced) based upon current fitness and athletic progression. Focus is on skills mastery, functional strength, race strategy and pacing, and aerobic development. Athletes meet twice a week for group training sessions. Solo workouts are prescribed throughout the remainder of the week.

This USAT sanctioned program will develop your fitness, skills, and knowledge of the sport so that you compete at a new level of proficiency.

Details & registration materials can be found here: 2019 spring triathlon training Any questions contact Coach Peter.

Kickoff & registration for the Start Line Coaching “2019 spring triathlon training program” is at 7:30 am on 1/12/19 @Connecticut Muffin, Corner of Prospect Park West & 15 St in Brooklyn.

Please bring your completed paperwork or register on site. Workout begins at 8:00 am sharpish!


Follow Coach Peter on twitter @startlinecoach


Become Strong like Bull

Strong Like Bull

Strong Like Bull is a 9 day long bicycle/triathlon training camp in the mountains of Spain modeled in the style of professional European pro team spring training camps.

The trip brings together athletes to explore the quiet and mountainous regions of south central Spain. The Spanish sun and challenging mountainous terrain will reawaken, strengthen and warm you. The unbelievable riding, amazing scenery, great food, and great people will be an experience you won’t easily forget. With much better weather than February and March in the states, and a dedicated 7 days to training, you’re sure to get stronger and faster and have fun in the process.

There are 2 camps of 9 days each:

  • Camp 1: Friday 2/22/2019 – Saturday 3/2/2019 (**Plan to fly from USA 2/21/19**)
  • Camp 2: Saturday 3/2/2019 – Sunday 3/10/2019 (**Plan to fly from USA 3/1/19**)

On staff are a masseuse, nutritionist, 2 coaches, driver and bike mechanic. The camp features daily yoga, 3-6 hour training rides in the mountains with follow car, athlete friendly nutritionist designed meals, all conducted within the context of a stunningly beautiful and culturally unique setting.

New this year! Head Coach Peter Helling from Startline coaching will be joining the Strong like Bull team from 3/2/2019 to 3/10/2019 for Camp #2.

To register go to:

Excellent preparation for the Ironman.

Get your bike on!

Coach Peter.

Get stronger, faster, durable, more skilled this fall….

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.

Good examples are:

  1. Improve your run speed potential – Complete a focused run program with speed work aimed at a short higher intensity race such as a 5k or 10K. You have to run faster to run fast.
  2. Lack force development on the bike – Complete a focused progression of strength development including anatomical adaptation, maximum strength, and power development phases, before returning back to a strength maintenance routine.
  3. Want to improve your FTP – Complete a focused program of higher intensity intervals on the bike that drive up your lactate threshold and V02Max, before returning back to longer endurance work.
  4. Lack flexibility and constantly plagued by niggles & injuries that slow down your season progress – Get off the couch, focus on strength development & stretching to improve your durability and range of motion.
  5. Not comfortable on your bike at high speed or in a group – Complete a bike skills workshop & then integrate the skills practice into your weekly routine.

The key to year over year improvement is to use the early part of the season to close a gap in your athletic capabilities. Focus on 1 gap not 5. We all have 5 things we want to fix. Try fixing 1. You will be amazed what a difference it will make and how you will release new performances in the next year.

The successful and improving athletes are the ones who are disciplined and look to improve one aspect of their overall performance each year. Do this now when the stakes are lower, and then you can integrate this progress into your regular training progression in the new year. Trying to do this when the weather is warmer and races are upcoming is too late.

Not sure what to do. Speak to a coach. A detailed discussion about your strengths and opportunities is a place to start followed by commitment to a few smaller goals during the tail end of the year.

See you out there….


2018 off season program registration opens!

Startline 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 2019 training progression and race calendar.


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

Interested? Training begins November 3, 2018.  Look here for details

Recover right!

Tired AthleteTraining creates stress impulses, and these stress impulses create adaptive responses in the body.  This adaptation can be either functional or non-functional. As athletes, we always aim for functional adaptations that improve performance.

Humans are adaptive machines, but we cannot always predict the ways in which our bodies will react. One workout sequence may develop your performance perfectly well for one training cycle and yet in another have a totally different effect. The way we influence the body to adapt functionally is through progressive increases in training load and also through recovery!

Athletes spend a lot of time adapting to an increasing training load. However, what is often left out is the other component of the equation, which is recovery.

Training + Recovery = Optimal (functional) adaptation = performance

The key is to optimize both components of the equation to achieve optimal adaptation and thus performance.

Everyone pretty much agrees that 1) a 3-4 week cycle of progressive increases in training load including a week of decreased training load; and 2) specific days off are very important to ensure adequate recovery. What is often missed or neglected is an intentional approach to recovery between workouts. Having an intentional recovery protocol between training bouts prepares the athlete more quickly for the next session and maximizes the opportunity to improve quickly.

Not being intentional and implementing a recovery protocol means athletes leave huge opportunities for performance gains on the table. They cannot train as hard, as long, or as often. Here are some key thoughts to take way.

Before workouts:

  1. Eat & Drink – Ensure you have a pre workout meal and enter the workout well hydrated. Do not force the body into energy or hydration deficit before workouts.
  2. Warm up – Perform a complete warm up before executing a hard workout. Dynamic stretching, a slow jog/ride, and drills are excellent. This will maximize blood flow to the tissues, stimulate neuromuscular pathways, increase performance, and reduce injury risk.

During workouts:

  1. Eat & Drink – Ensure you walk into each workout with an appropriate nutrition & hydration plan for the intensity & duration of the workout. Execute the plan.

After workout recovery:

  1. Cool down – Perform an adequate cool down after a hard workout. Walk it out. Return muscles from a state of high tension to relaxation.
  2. Stretch – Always stretch and do it while still warm to ensure your muscles stay flexible.
  3. Eat & Drink – Eat your post workout recovery meal within 30 minutes of the workout including both protein (non soy) & carbohydrates to maximize the opportunity muscle resynthesis and to restore glycogen stores. This is especially important for women. Restore fluids lost through exercise.
  4. Ice – Ice joints and sore tendons after workouts.
  5. Rest/Nap – Put your feet up & get a cat nap. Nothing good comes from executing a hard workout and then standing on your feet all day.

Every day:

  1. Eat – Ensure your diet is healthy & you are not in a low energy state. Eat fruit, nuts, seeds, vegetables, lean protein (non soy), and lean dairy throughout the day – 5 times a day to manage energy stores and blood sugar levels. Ensure you have the nutritional components to build muscle in response to training demand
  2. Massage – Roll your muscles to maintain flexibility & eliminate tightness
  3. Sleep –  Human Growth hormone, essential to muscle repair & growth, is released as you sleep (typically in the 2-3rd hour of sleep). You get stronger when you sleep not when you are awake. So get to bed at a reasonable time & sleep.

Like training, where consistency is king, recovery benefits from a consistent approach as well.

Be intentional. Recovery is training.