Startline Coaching

It goes without saying that much has changed in the past 2 weeks. Life is topsy turvy, with movement restricted, social connection broken, and much of life’s normal ebb & flow disturbed. It is all very disorienting and stress inducing.

For some, we have loved ones at risk either as essential workers or simply prone to the worst of outcomes of COVID-19. Others are taking on the challenge of working remotely in a sub optimal environment, working with unfamiliar technology, or losing their employment altogether. Simply going to get groceries is stress inducing with either fear of coming in contact with the virus or of being the agent of passing it around.

As athletes we are all driven to prepare for races and much of this feels like it has all gone up in smoke. Races are cancelled, pools and gyms are shuttered, and even a solo run in the park can feel congested. Combine this with all the other real life stress around you and it is easy to get into a bit of a death spiral of low motivation, watching the news a little too much, and just overall working yourself up into a state. Finally, I hate to say it, fear of not living up to your coach’s expectations of performance and diligence also adds stress.

It is time for a little self care and to let go of some of your should’s an ought’s. First, I suggest you ask less of yourself. Scale back on output and focus on a bit more sleep, showing love for others, and simply moving a little vs. a lot. Some thoughts:

  • Sleep a lot – The body repairs and the mind works through the stresses of the day when you sleep. Get off those screens and get to bed early.
  • Love more – Showing care and love will make you feel so much better. Take a little time to care for others. When working, spend some time making sure you listen more and engage and show you care. Less content and more connection.
  • Move a little – Exercise should be a joy. I do it because it make me feel like a kid – when life was about bombing around and not about the workout. Reconnect to your joyful reason. Too often athletes feel they much complete the entire workout or not do it all. Just do as much as feels fun right now. The simple act of moving will make you feel better and motivate you for next time.

These 3 simple steps will boost the release of the key neurotransmitters Serotonin, Dopamine, and Norepinephrine, boosting your mood, motivation, energy, and concentration and building your resilience in this stressful time.

Let me know how it goes. Your coach wants you healthy, and happy first.

I’m off for a short walk in the sun with my love (while maintaining social distance of course).

Coach Peter

Looking for a breakthrough on the bike? Looking to get away from the northern winter? Come to southern Spain this coming Feb-March. The views are breathtaking, rides are challenging, food is outstanding, and camaraderie will leave you with memories and friends for a lifetime. Last year, I had the pleasure of joining 4 Startline Coaching athletes at Strong Like Bull. We were all blown away by the experience.

Operating for over 14 years, Strong Like Bull camps give cyclists the ultimate multi-day tour experience.

The team of John Hirsch & Sean Langford bring you to the peaks of Pico de Veleta (Sierra Nevada) and El Torcal de Antequerra (Sierra del Torcal) among many others.

Every ride is a guided non drop ride with multiple pace groups. No ride is repeated and every ride brings with it substantial climbing and 60-70 miles of riding. A SAG wagon supports every ride should you feel you need to take a break but the views and riding variety have a way of just pushing you on.

Kerstin Barr of Soulshine Kitchen provides delicious food that caters to the dietary and fueling needs of all campers.

Campers stay in a farm house together with many bedrooms, and space to spread out. Campers can expect to share rooms with another camper. The farmhouse also has a lovely pool that is wonderfully therapeutic after a day in the saddle.

Larry Rosa of Larry Rosa photography captures every athlete at their absolute best, and drives the SAG wagon.

Triathletes looking to get in a run or two or a swim will be able to do so as well. The local pool (Piscina Cubierta) is a wonderful facility 8 * 25 m facility. Catch a swim in the morning before heading out on the bike or take a run right out of the door of the farmhouse.

To cap it all off, each camp includes a one day trip to a historical site. Last year’s camps visited world heritage sites, the Alhambra Granada and the Mezquita Cordoba, plus a day in town to shop, see the sites and enjoy a night on the town together.

In sum, Strong Like Bull camps are shouldn’t be missed experience for any cyclist. Come away transformed.

Coach Peter

Photo Credit: Larry Rosa photography

I am often asked by athletes about breathing technique for running. I’d like to address this with a three part answer:

  1. Principally breathe in and out through your mouth. During exercise, we are most concerned with Oxygen delivery to the lungs and blood stream and Carbon Dioxide expulsion from the lung and blood stream. Your nose can certainly participate, but the most effective method is to enable the biggest airway. Solely nose breathing is restrictive and decreases O2/C02 exchange. You have a big hole in the front of your head to draw in & expel air, you should use it!
  2. Belly Breathe. Chest breathing is also restrictive and does not make full use of the capacity of your lungs. Breathe in and out using your diaphragm vs. top of your chest. Your belly will expand along with your lungs enabling greater lung capacity.
  3. Adopt a 2-2 breath pattern. Most runners seek to achieve 180 steps/minute cadence as they run. A 2 steps inhale 2 steps exhale pattern has the benefit of enabling the greatest amount of O2/CO2 exchange and works well for paces up from EZ/Endurance runs to 10k/5K. Only during the finishing kick would you find yourself breathing with the more extreme 2-1 or 1-2 breath pattern. Note: For long EZ/Endurance runs, you should also periodically try a 3-3 breath pattern. This is not because a 3-3 breath is optimal, but because if you cannot hold a 3-3 pattern you are running too hard for the purpose of an EZ/Endurance workout.

Enjoy your running and check in on your breath as you run. I personally advocate running without music or other distractions. Yes! I can hear the whining and complaining from here, but this approach will allow you to stay in tune with your body and its physiological responses to exercise stress, and also toughen you mentally for racing. Your breath is a key physiological indicator and guide for pacing control. Listen to your breath and don’t shut it out. Your breath is a fully redundant pacing feedback system and, if you are in touch with it, it will no longer matter if your Garmin malfunctions or the battery dies – not that this ever happens.

Coach Peter.

Last year, 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 a 10+ secs/100 yd improvement in their swim time trial pace, which is huge.

This year, Tailwind Endurance together with Startline Coaching is offering a February swim camp in Florida once again.

Come join us & transform your swim!

Camp Details

Price:

$450*

Location & Dates:

  • Location: North Shore Aquatics Complex – 901 North Shore Dr NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
  • Start: Jan 31, 2020, Arrive by 3 PM on Friday
  • End: Feb 2, 2020, Camp closes at 12 Noon on Sunday
    • Fri Evening Swim and group dinner
    • Sat Morning and Late afternoon Swims
    • Sun Morning Swim

Program:

  • Dry land training
  • Low coach to athlete ratio
  • Underwater video analysis & individualized feedback
  • Basic and advanced workouts
  • Open water (should temperatures allow)

*Early bird pricing. Price increases on Dec 15th! Price does not include travel and accommodation.

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.

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!

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