Startline Coaching

2020 has been a challenging year for endurance athletes, leaving athletes with big questions like what next? and should I even bother? All of the race uncertainty has left many athletes feeling that they don’t want to invest in training if the race turns out not to happen. This can lead to frustration, burn out, and possibly throwing in the towel and de-training altogether.

At Startline Coaching, our recommendation is to think of the summer of 2020 as a unique opportunity to put some space in your life to:

A) Focus on family, new adventures, work, or other passions, but do so in a way where you maintain a productive level of fitness, strength, & mobility so that you can return to training in the fall healthy & motivated. For those you who fall into this bucket, Startline Coaching is offering a brand new ‘strengthen my base’ group training program that will keep you strong & robust while giving you time & flexibility to pursue other areas of interest.

B) Focus on a specific performance limiter. Rarely are we given the gift of time to make concrete progress on a key weakness in a truly dedicated way. The summer of 2020 is a rare opportunity to accelerate your athletic progress in a key discipline, such as biking or running, without the pressure of needing to prepare for a race. For those of you who are in this bucket, Startline Coaching offers individualized custom coaching programs to support you throughout the summer.

Whatever you choose to do, just keep moving! It’s great for the body – and for the spirit, too.

Coach Peter.

A week ago, Startline Coaching athletes ran the Run the Blue Point Brewery 10 miler. This year, 16 athletes completed the race on long Island, NY and celebrated with a morning beer. The Blue Point Brewery always puts on a good show, with great food, a band, a warm tent and, yes, great beer. My thanks to #GLIRC for as always running a great race. This is the 10th year of the race and 6th time Startline Coaching athletes have been to the race.

This race is a team favorite capping off a 12 week run/strength training block before we move into triathlon training. We were 16/16 on completing the race with negative splits and many with significant improvements over the prior year. Developing speed and pacing control was a central theme over these past 12 weeks. You should all feel so pleased with your results.

Way to execute!

Coach Peter

Few things strike fear into the hearts of athletes than the dreaded run time trail that a coach has placed onto athletes training calendar. There is no question that these efforts are really very tough. They are also extremely valuable by providing insight into each athletes speed potential & athletic improvement. It is direct feedback to both coach & athlete on improvement. Moreover, they allow more accurate setting of training zones so training can be targeted more effectively.

This week, Startline athletes face their first Run TT test session of the training year. It is a preliminary test to capture where they stand today so that base training begins on a firm footing. Here is guidance for them and others undertaking these tests.

The test is simple. After a good 20 min warm-up and some pre-race facilitation drills and dynamic stretches, run as quickly as you can for 30 minutes. The goal is to cover as much ground as possible. Here are some key tips:

  1. Time trials are your fastest sustainable effort without injury. This is not the be all and end all run effort you will ever do. No good is ever done by running past your ability to absorb the effort. While the test is to see how fast you can run, it makes little sense to do yourself a mischief.
  2. Go out a little slower than you think you can run. A time trail does not really start to reveal itself in terms of perceived exertion until 4-5 mins into the run. Too often I have seen athletes fade about 4-5 minutes out. It is better to negative split and learn from that for next time. An overly explosive start followed by a fade is much less meaningful. Close hard is my best advice, just as in races.
  3. Use the same time, protocol, and route every time. To create meaningful data that shows progress over time, you need to do your level best to replicate your time trails. Be sure to be fairly well rested. If done in the morning, always do them in the morning. If evening, stick with that. Follow the same warm up routine. I like to use the same routine for races as well. If you intend to race with a wrist based HRM, then use that in the time trail. Finally, run the same route. Of course, there are many variables you cannot control that will vary between TT efforts, but by minimizing variation you will be able to see change in performance more clearly.
  4. You get better at this over time. Just like racing, time trials take practice and, with time, become increasingly manageable. Focus on the process, and understand the relationship between perceived effort, pace and duration vs. the absolute performance. This is especially true if you are new to doing these kinds of tests. Focus on mastery and if you have a bad test, move on. Trust me another test is coming in 4-6 weeks. Over time, you do learn to suffer and as every athlete will tell you, your ability to manage suffering is central to every race effort.
  5. Repeat, repeat, repeat. The old adage that which gets measured improves does apply here. You must continually reassess for two reasons 1) to ensure training zones are reflective of your fitness and performance and 2) to ensure that your training is delivering results. While performance improvement is not linear, a regular TT ensures that both you and your coach have time to reflect and be purposeful about next steps. I like to retest athletes every 4-6 weeks.

For more details on setting heart rate & pace training based upon run time trial efforts checkout this article from Joe Friel at Training Peaks.

Coach Peter

Photo Credit: Larry Rosa photography

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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