Weekly Update for September 15, 2014

Race Results
Spartan Beast Temecula, California
3:38:44 Mike Sanchez (1st AG M50-54)
2:30:00 Eric Kimble (3rd AG M30-34)

Upcoming Races
Over the next two weekends the following Durapulse athletes will be racing around the world in their respective events. Best wishes to Laurel Sroufe as she will be representing Tribe/Durapulse at the XTERRA National Championships in Utah.
Laurel Sroufe, XTERRA National Championships, Ogden, Utah
Ryan Ferreira, Ironman Maryland
Marvin Malkowski Jr., Maui Marathon
Joan Sommerlad, Maui Half Marathon
Lowry Barfield, Ironman Mallorca, Spain

The following are some of the local races on the calendar.
Tempe Triathlon, September 21, 2014
JCC Triathlon, September 28, 2014
XTERRA Trail Run-Estrella Mountain, October 5, 2014
Bartlett Triathlon, October 5, 2014
XTERRA Rock Hopper, October 12, 2014
SOMA Triathlon, October 19, 2014
TriFamily Gilbert Triathlon, October 19, 2014
Mesa Halloween Triathlon, October 26, 2014
Thanksgiving Triathlon, November 27, 2014

Upcoming Clinics
Mark your calendars and reserve the following dates.
October 11, 2014 Tri Clinic at Roosevelt or Saguaro Lake
November 8, 2014 Open Water Swim at Saguaro Lake

Coaching Tips
Bicycle Pedal Stroke
The pedal stroke in a spin cycle is one complete revolution or 360 degrees from one point in the pedal stroke back to that same point. A bicycle revolution is measured in RPM’s or revolutions per minute and is often referred to as “bicycle cadence.” There are four major phases in a complete revolution of the pedal stroke; the down stroke, the up stroke, and the very top and very bottom of the pedal stroke. The downstroke is the phase where the rider moves his/her foot from “top dead center” to “bottom dead center.” This phase requires the rider to push and the force of this phase can be increased by using the rider’s weight by standing on the pedals. The downward force required to move through this phase is inherent to all riders. This is the phase that all riders used to learn how to ride a bike. “Pushing” is a natural movement to all riders, young or old, weak or strong.

The upstroke is the phase where the rider moves his/her foot from “bottom dead center” to “top dead center.” This phase requires the rider to pull up. The muscles used for pulling are not as strong as the muscles used for pulling so there is usually a loss of power during this phase of the pedal stroke. The very top and bottom of the pedal stroke are considered “dead spots” because of a riders lack of strength and/or coordination to transition from pushing to pulling or pulling to pushing.

To be an efficient cyclist one must learn to use all phases of the pedal stroke or keep constant pressure on the pedals. Rather than limiting the muscles groups being used by only pushing, a rider should use multiple muscles groups in all phases of the revolution. This will increase the time to fatigue in the cyclist’s legs and prolong endurance. Greater strength and endurance are every cyclist’s desire and by dedicating some focus to all the phases of the pedal stroke one can become a more efficient rider.

Every rider knows how to push so the focus should be more on pulling and overcoming the dead spots at the top and bottom of the circle. Contrary to popular thought, good pedaling mechanics do not result from pulling the pedal upon the upstroke. What probably happens is that the rider attempts to “unweight” the pedal, giving the opposite leg less resistance. To overcome the dead spot at the top of the pedal stroke a rider must drive his/her knee towards the handle bars as if they were kicking a ball. Then they must transition to the push phase.

To overcome the dead spot at the bottom of the pedal stroke a rider needs to engage muscles required for pulling, pulling back and pulling up. Greg Lemond related this motion to “scraping mud off the bottom of your shoe.” Imagine you have mud on the bottom of your shoe and how you would scrape the mud off. Use the same motion while riding to overcome the dead spot at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

A great exercise to work on your pedal stroke is one-legged drills. While riding on the trainer, or a hill with a slight incline, you will unclip one leg and pedal for 30-60 seconds with a focus of keeping constant pressure on the pedals. Repeat with the other leg. You should not whip your leg around and use angular momentum to accomplish the one legged exercises but focus on engaging the weaker “pull” muscles. It will take some practice but in time you will develop the strength to ride with one leg comfortably without any dead spots and the endurance to ride for a great distance with both legs.

The optimal cadence speed is 90 revolutions per minute. At 85-95 rpm’s the right ratio of muscle groups are being used for greater endurance. A cyclist may have more strength and power at a lower cadence but his/her endurance will be compromised. Low cadence riding is good for extra power needed for hill climbing and sprints but not for steady and long efforts. Time trialing and triathlon racing requires long steady efforts. Riding at the optimal cadence of 85-95 rpm’s while training and racing will ensure the rider has the endurance to complete the ride at a fast pace and have the ability to run well off the bike. The complaint I often hear of having “heavy legs” while running off the bike has to do with the rider’s bike cadence being too low. Because the optimal run cadence is 90-100 rpm’s then to run well off the bike a triathlete must keep his/her bike cadence at 90 rpm’s to prepare his/her legs for a run off the bike with a high leg turn over.

Weekly Update for September 8, 2014

Race Results
Congratulations to the amazing Shane Arters for his astounding performance at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Canada. Shane set a personal record for himself at the distance and finished in third place in the men’s 45-49 age group. THAT’S 3RD IN THE WORLD!! The top 5 men in that age group all finished within minutes of each other. It was true race at the world level. Shane has had an amazing year and finished 2014 with a very fine performance.

Jason Sexauer also competed in the 70.3 championships in Canada. To reach that level of racing requires great commitment to the sport, hard work following a specialized training plan, and perfect execution in the races. Congratulations Jason.

A special shout to the Durapulse TriKids for their success in the sport. Coach Joe and I are very proud of our kid’s team for their hard work every practice and determination on race day to do their very best. Sarah and Emily Plant got to experience their first rough water ocean triathlon in California and despite the challenging course conquered the race.

Ironman 70.3 World Championships
4:15:26 Shane Arters (3rd AG M45-49)
4:47:28 Jason Sexauer

Pacific Coast Super Sprint Triathlon
44:27 Sarah Plant (2nd AG F11-13)
53:18 Emily Plant

TriFamily Peoria
45:22 Connor Berntgen (2nd Overall)
58:23 Sophia Kosednar (3rd AG F15-19)
59:37 Mark Potts
19:12 Jayda Price (2nd AG F11-12)
19:56 Colorado Stanley (2nd AG M9-10)
24:22 Kaiya Price (1st AG F8 and under)

Jerome Hill Climb
46:53 Mike Sanchez

Disney Half Marathon
1:38:00 Marvin Malkowski Jr.

Saturday Workout
Group ride to Saguaro Lake. Meet at the DC Ranch Village at 5:45AM. The Village is near the intersection of Thompson Peak and Bell Rd in North Scottsdale. The route will be to Saguaro Lake and back with a 30 min open water swim at Butcher Jones Cove. I will carry everyone’s swim gear and provide any other support needed. This is a 60 mile out and back course. Some people have a longer ride on their plan and will be riding into Mesa beyond the lake after the swim. A route map has been uploaded into your Training Peaks account.

Coaching Tips
Recently I was driving along a popular cycling route and witnessed numerous cyclists, including members of the Durapulse team, ride through an intersection without stopping at a clearly marked STOP sign. Cyclists are not only required to obey every law that a vehicle must follow but these laws are to protect us and keep us safe. Cyclists get a bad reputation from motorists and it is because of acts like this. Please follow the rules of the road even if it is a little inconvenient. The laws are to protect us so that we can enjoy our hobbies. Remind other cyclists by setting a good example of safely riding on the streets and following the rules of the road.

Weekly Update for August 25, 2014

Race Results
Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens
5:28:52 Mike Hartman

Anthem Reverse Triathlon
Congratulations to our youth TriKids team who excelled at Anthem. Sarah Plant was 1st overall in the youth division and Connor Berntgen and Evan Barrick won their divisions in the adult race.
23:54 Sarah Plant (1st Overall)
26:54 Emily Plant (2nd Overall Female)
26:55 Colorado Stanley
28:34 Jayda Price
28:42 Sophia Kosednar

1:15:48 Connor Berntgen (1st AG M10-14)
1:20:45 Evan Barrick (1st AG F10-14)

Saturday Workout
This Saturday will be a ride to the town of Sunflower from Fountain Hills. This is a 60ish mile out and back with a good amount of elevation change for those who like to get high. There is a wide shoulder for most of the route. Bring an extra tube and CO2 for puncture repair. There are no services on this route so I will be providing Support And Gear. It is recommended that you bring three bottles of fluid for this route. If your plan call for more or less than 60 miles then you may turn around early for a shorter ride or ride longer after you get back to Fountain Hills. Meet At Peaks Athletic Club to start riding a 5:30AM. Peaks is located at 12545 N Saguaro Blvd.

Coaching Tips
Gravity is a natural law and runners can use gravity to their advantage not only with downhill running but with running on the flats. With a slight lean from the hips (center of mass) one can use gravity to assist them in their forward propulsion. The lean must be from toe to head as if the runner is falling forward towards the ground. The runner should not lean from the shoulders and counter balance the fall with the legs. The runner should always feel as if he/she is falling to the ground. Keep the body erect and use the body’s center of mass for the forward lean. For inexperienced runners this can be an out of control feeling. As one practices they will get more comfortable with the lean and allowing gravity to increase his or her speed.

So much of the inefficiency with running comes from bouncing or vertical movement. While it is impossible to eliminate all vertical movement a person can minimize it with a good forward lean. Less vertical movement and more horizontal power translates to faster speeds. Using gravity by leaning forward gives the runner “free speed” because gravity is always there to pull the runner to the ground.

Practicing downhill running will help with the forward falling feeling. The hill must be steep enough to pull the runner down but not so steep that is forces the runner to slap his/her feet. Doing downhill repeats also allows the legs to move fast without too much exertion. Runners often express that they need to do more speed work at the track to get faster. Track workouts are a great way to develop speed but at the expense of increased intensity. If a runner wants to work on speed without the exertion of the track then downhill repeats are the key. It is good to choose routes that are hilly so that the undulation helps work different muscle groups and gives the runner an opportunity to work on speed without much exertion.

If after a downhill workout the runner’s quadriceps muscles (front of legs) are tight and sore then the runner was over striding or reaching out too far to prevent the out of control feeling. In simple terms overstriding creates impact forces on the quadriceps muscle group and slows the runner down. It is the body’s natural reaction to over stride on the down hill to maintain balance but if this happens the runner is putting on the brakes and fighting gravity. Be aware of this and consciously focus on keeping the feet underneath the body’s center of mass. Do not fight gravity. Think “free speed.” Heel striking is usually the result of over striding but one can over stride without striking the heels. Sore quads are a good indication that over striding occurred and the runner needs to emphasize taking quicker steps, especially on downhill sections.

Quick feet and short strides are essential to good downhill running. Knees should be high, which will require strong and efficient hip flexors. High knees allow more force to drive the feet into the ground. A quick step reduces impact time and time to next stride.

Practice these skills while downhill running to be a more efficient runner overall.

Weekly Report for August 11th

Race Results
Congratulations to the Durapulse athletes who raced at the National Championship events over the weekend. What a great opportunity it is to compete at that level and be a part of such a fantastic sport.
USAT Age Group National Championships
1:57:17 Shane Arters (2nd AG M45-49)
2:09:01 Bryan Dunn
2:17:06 Shawn Bernardi
2:25:18 Lowry Barfield
2:38:19 Jim Dawson
2:41:38 Joan Sommerlad
1:16:01 Tyler Barfield
1:16:06 Lowry Barfield

Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race
9:49:56 Stephen Sanderson

Saturday Workout
Tribe is hosting an open water swim clinic at Saguaro Lake this Saturday. Meet at Butcher Jones Cove off Bush Highway at 8:30AM. 2XU will have demo wetsuits available. Please RSVP to me if you will be attending.

Coaching Tips
Recently I was interviewed about designing and implementing a training plan for the triathletes I train, especially those who are new to me. I want to share pieces of this interview with my team. Here is a rare opportunity to dive into my coaching mind.

When you get a new client, how do go about finding out where they are now and where they want to be? My probing questions ask them specifics to their past training volume, speeds and times for various distances in training, and race results. I use this information and compare it to the athlete’s goals as well as the results of the average and elite standards for the specific events. Their goals are very important. They must be defined and achievable. My role is to assess their goals and do everything in my power to get them there. They must have end goals and other goals leading up to the end goal. Without something to motivate them in the short term the end goal may seem too unachievable.
What are the tools you use to measure current levels as well as improvements along the way? I have each of my athletes undergo some baseline tests. Having a physiology background and the equipment, I require each of my athletes to do a VO2 max test and repeat the test frequently throughout the training cycle. With the VO2 test data I can monitor the athlete’s progress with each workout by looking at heart rate, speed, pace, and power data. I also have my athletes perform various field tests in their training cycle as ways to measure progress. These tests include specific swim sets, bike time trials, and run trials. The tests differ for each athlete and what events they are training for. It is necessary that training is measurable and repeatable. Otherwise there would be no way to define progress and improvement.

How much of the measurement is scientific vs. gut feeling? I assess my athlete’s progress with objective data (heart rate, speed/pace/power, race results) and subjective data (perceived effort and goals). The ratio is probably 75% objective and 25% subjective. Having been a professional coach for 10 years and been around competitive sports all my life I have a good ability to discern (gut feeling) if a person really wants their goals or if there are other motives for hiring coach. Unless a person has a burning desire to achieve their goals and trust in the coach’s plan then they will not find the success they are seeking. I can read my athletes well and with a gut feeling know if they truly did push themselves to their true potential. Hard objective data is not always the clear indicator of what an athlete can truly do. The mind is a powerful thing and places the most limitations on our abilities.

If the timeline for completion of a race is extremely aggressive, does that factor into the training plan that is provided to the athlete? It is in the initial interview that the goals, and timeline to reach the goals, are determined. The athlete will have to have met certain time standards leading up to the interview and then beyond to determine if the goals are achievable for the target event. The timeline for completion of an event is most certainly a factor for designing a training plan to meet the athlete’s goals.

How do you adjust the plan to allow for any setbacks along the way, understanding that the race date does not change? All persons have the ability to be great and achieve their goals but that greatness cannot always be met in certain time restrictions. The body does not always adapt and progress as the plan is laid out. There is no single way to reach a goal because each person is unique and requires a different stimulus to stress and build strength, power, speed, and endurance. The person has to flexible, and patient, with how their body adapts. Much of the training is figuring out what kind of stress the person needs at that time in their training. It is different for each person, each event, and even time of year or time in their life. Some athlete’s need more endurance work while others need more intensity and these elements of work will periodically change for each person.

The plan is always being adjusted to the needs of the athlete. Communication is a key part of the process so that the coach knows intimately how the athlete’s body, and mind, are responding to the plan. The psychology of coaching is tricky. Training is simple, do work and get better, but getting the athlete to do the right kind of work for them can be challenging. Even with strong determination there are psychological breaking points in a person’s training that may set them back. To be competitive one must have a very strong mind. This is the ability to overcome any doubts and discouragements that will surely come in training and racing.

How do you provide feedback to your athletes? I know you are a great coach and always look for the positive in your athletes, but what about those times when the feedback you have to give is not so good? Failure is part of achieving success. Without failure we would not know what success is or feels like. When a person trains their body to be more athletic, and then mix in competition with others, failure will most certainly happen. Sport is all about overcoming our failures to reach success. As a coach, I teach my athletes to understand this. It is a necessary part of training and competition. Sometimes I will design workouts or subject them to events that I know they will experience some kind of failure. They are like tests. I want to know how they will psychologically respond to the failed task. If they give up then I need to coach them to be stronger mentally If they ask to do it again without making excuses then I know that they have it in them to turn that failure to a success. I will have them repeat the task in either an identical or similar format and very often they turn the failure into a success. It is our ability to overcome these set backs that makes us stronger athletes and human beings.

When a person does not reach their goals I try to find the good in what happened, even if that good is looking at the failure as a stepping stone to something better. One’s perception of training and racing outcome is critical and giving the athlete a positive perspective helps them overcome their physical and mental doubts. It is important to teach my athletes that they can still accomplish their goals, it just might take a little bit longer.

Weekly Update for August 4th, 2014

Race Results
Congratulations to Elliot Kawaoka for winning the male 25-29 age group at Ironman Canada last weekend. Elliot has worked incredibly hard for this victory and will be returning to the Big Island of Hawaii for the second time to race at the Ironman World Championships. The link to his race report is below. Get your popcorn ready!

Congratulations to Jason Sexauer for his results at Ironman 70.3 Calgary and placing 10th in his AG to earn a spot to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Canada in September.

The entire Durapulse team continues to have great results at the races. It is because of your hard work and perseverance that you are the top athletes in Arizona. I am very pleased with your results and proud to be your coach.

Ironman Canada
9:43:59 Elliot Kawaoka (1st AG M25-29)
11:15:58 John Argue
11:35:21 Stacey Gibson
13:39:37 Jenna Farguson

Ironman 70.3 Calgary
4:34:21 Jason Sexauer

Silver Islet Triple Crown
Silver Islet, Canada is nestled on the shore of Lake Superior. The local camper’s association sponsors a “Triple Crown” with a long distance running race that is quite competitive, a triathlon- roughly a 400y lake swim/3-4 mile bike/2 mile run, and a long distance swim. Tyler Barfield, age 14, won all three events and is the first person ever in the history of the festival to win all three events. Great racing Tyler!!

Lowry’s words (Tyler’s dad), “Apparently, it was a helluva swimming race. He has a girl cousin who is 2 years older and swims competitively in Milwaukee, super-fast, state meets–the whole deal. Tyler broke into the lead early and she settled in drafting off of him. Anyone else and he might have given them a little kick or two but he would never do that to Campbell. She drafted him for about 80% of the race, the two of them separating from the rest of the crowd by about 5M to 10M. Then, she popped out and tried to drop him in a sprint to the finish. Apparently, he hit the jets and they both raced full throttle to a little floating dock in the swimming hole that is the finish. It was apparently a bang bang finish with the official leaning over the edge to see who got the touch. I’m told Tyler tapped her out by about 2 feet and they both basically crashed into this dock at full throttle. Way cool. That’s Durapulse tough pulling that one out of the bag! So, keep in mind there are probably 80-100 people that do this race, almost all of them older than Tyler and Campbell and probably 200+ people at the swimming lake watching the race. I am told the crowd loved the final sprint.?

Upcoming Races
Best wishes to those racing this weekend.
USAT Age Group Nationals
Shane Arters
Lowry Barfield
Tyler Barfield
Jim Dawson
Bryan Dunn
Joan Sommerlad

Leadville 100
Stephen Sanderson

Mountain Man Half and Olympic

Saturday Workout
Meet at Peaks Athletic Club-CrossFit Fountain Hills at 6AM for a ride through Rio Verde and into north Scottsdale. Everyone has different distances on their plan but we will all start together from Fountain Hills. Peaks is located at 12545 N Saguaro Blvd at the corner of Saguaro and El Lago near the Fountain Park.

Coaching Tips
Elliot’s race report is well written and we can all learn a lot about racing from this champion.