Friday, December 9, 2011

Lower Leg Injury Prevention

As we head into winter, and begin building up mileage and fitness, its important to make sure the lower leg muscles keep up with the rest of your training.

One overuse injury that often occurs in masters athletes at inopportune times is a lower leg calf/ soleus strain. I have seen this happen mant times ( as well as prsonally), and have set out to come up with ways of keeping the lower legs healthy and flexible.

here are a few factors/ observations
1. Masters athletes suffer fom this more than younger athles.
2. Cycling, due to the high isometetric aspect as it pertains to the lower leg, tends to create tightness deep in the lower leg, and builds over time until it gets injured.
3. After an lower leg strain, it take 4-6 weeks until the athelete is back to normal training.
4. Ankle mobility needs to be maintained to prevent added stress on the gastocs and soleus.
5. Lower leg range of motion needs to be maintained with simple eccentric calf raises.

after each run do
8-10 eccentric calf raises on each leg
8-10 ankle mobility reps with each leg
15-20 second calf stretch.

Happy Training!
To Learn more about customized Strength plans for endurance athletes, check out

Friday, October 21, 2011

Goals Passion and Discipline

I saw this quote the other day "Discipline naturally follows passion and commitment. Where there's a lack of discipline there's something else in the way: fear.", and it got me thinking.

You see this is the time of year when I spend lots of time reviewing all the data, graphs, charts and race results for the athletes I coach. It's also the time of year when we begin to make plans for 2012.

2011 marks close of my 25th consecutive triathlon season. I ended the season with a sprint race and finishing 6th overall. The discipline to train hard and have the passion to continue is something I try to instill in my athletes.

As I pondered the quote above during a recent long run, I think I came up with the proper sequence to continued progress and athletic success.

Proper goal setting leads to passion for training and racing, which in turn leads to the discipline to do the work required to get a result.

The goal setting piece is a topic onto itself. So begin thinking about what gets you excited to train today when your next race or goal is 4 to 6 months away? Its good to take a few weeks following you final event of the year to set your goals.

That will be the topic for the next installment. Enjoy tha fall training.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Taking up ‘Cross
By Tim Crowley, TC2Coaching

As the fall approaches, and the race calendar begins to thin, you may want to extend your race season another month or two. Consider cyclo-cross if you plan on a single sport focus during this off season.

‘Cross, as it’s commonly called, used to be an obscure version of cycling. In the past five years, the number of races and competitors in most fields have swelled to maximum capacity, attracting mostly roadies and mountain bikers. However, triathletes may be better suited to cross than any other group of athletes.

Cyclo-cross can be defined as a time trial with handling skills and transitions. For any Multisport athletes’ looking to improve their power output, technical skills as well as mounts and dismounts, cross may be your ticket.

Here are some reasons to take up ‘cross this fall.
1. Improved bike handling skills- Racing on dirt, grass, mud and asphalt, shoulder to shoulder with other athletes through tight windy courses, your learning curve to handle your bike becomes steep. It’s said that one season of cross is equal to 2 to 3 years of road racing. Triathletes are notorious for lacking bike skills of mountain bikers or roadies. Cross will make you a safer and more competent rider fast.

2. Normal start times- Cross races range from 30-60 minutes in length,depending on the category you enter. Most start at 9am or later, there are no early morning start times. And since races are no longer that 60 minutes, racing does not require an all day commitment.

3. Transitions- each lap usually has 2-4 natural barriers (steep hill, sand pit etc) or man-made barriers ( 18 inch wooden barrier), requiring riders to dismount at speed and run over a barrier or up a hill with your bike on your shoulder, then a full speed remount. This skill is obvious to triathletes..

4. Increased power output- ‘cross is raced at or above lactate threshold most of the time. With dismounts and run ups, heart rates are usually higher than time trialing. Grinding up hills and through muddy fields requires a large amount of on-bike strength and power, which will lead to improved time trialing abilities.

5. Learn to suffer- Although races are relatively short, the suffering is intense. Learning to race on the edge while slipping through corners develops a high level on focus and concentration. Add to this cold rainy weather, and you become a tougher, more resilient athlete. A good skill set for any triathlete.

6. Winter bike- If you need a bit more convincing, consider that a cross bike with road tires makes the perfect road bike for base/ winter training. If you live in a northern climate, then leave the cross tires on, and you can ride on sandy/ slushy roads all winter without destroying your tri bike. Just hose down and wipe off after a ride. These bikes were made for these conditions.

7. Great spectator event- If your family and friends like watching triathlon, they will love cross. The viewing and action are continuous.

Ifyour next triathlon 4-6 months away it may be too soon to take an extended break from training and racing. Use this time to become a better bike handler and time trialist. Step out of your multi sport comfort zone and become a better athlete. If interested in cross, go watch a race, you will learn a lot, and be eager to get training and racing in the mud..

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Three Strength Exercises That Will Change Your Cycling

Three Strength Exercises That Will Change Your Cycling

During the winter months, I often hear triathletes talk about getting in the weight room. Unfortunately, many do ineffective exercises, and don’t make strength training a regular part of their year round training plan.

If you are a master’s athlete, you need to stay strong if you want to maintain or increase strength and speed, while staying injury free. Fast twitch muscle fibers atrophy rapidly if not stimulated. The safest and most efficient way to maintain joint range of motion, tap into the fast twitch fibers, strengthen ligaments and tendons, as well as improve joint stability, is to hit the weights correctly.

Before implementing the exercises below, you should have a good strength base (2 to 3 full body strength sessions for 3-4 weeks). I would also recommend getting some coaching on the exercises outlined her by a qualified strength and conditioning specialist. It is important to find someone who can coach you on the proper technique with these lifts.

Exercise 1- Deadlift
For cycling, the deadlift (DL) gets the nod over the squat, because the bar is held in front of the body. This requires the low back muscles (erector spinae) to stabilize the lumbar spine as you drive the heels into the floor. It is critical that you maintain a neutral spine, and do not round the back.

If you have access to a trap bar, they are very effective in developing good technique.

Exercise 2- Single leg squat on a slide (SLSs)
Probably the single best lower body exercise for triathletes. Single leg exercises require each leg to contribute equally, and forces the core to stabilize during a single leg motion, which is different than executing a double leg exercise. The SLSs also offers dynamic flexibility for the hip flexors, critical for fast efficient running.

If you do not have a slide board, a frisbee on carpet, or a towel on smooth flooring will work just as well. Loading can be provided by holding a stick or bar behind the head or extended above the head, holding dumbbells, or attaching a cable to a waist belt.

Exercise 3- 1 leg good morning (1LGam)
The 1LGam is a hip pulling exercise that targets the hamstrings and glutes while in a single leg stance. It combines the benefits of the DL, along with the advantages of the SLSs. It is important to keep a neutral spine and to move only from the hip while keeping the non working leg straight and inline with the torso.

By pairing up the above exercises with a upper body exercise, you can create a very effective and time efficient training plan. A program may look like this;

Pairing 1 Deadlift 3x8
DB chest press 3x8

Pairing 2 Single leg squat on slide 3x8
Pull up 3x8

Pairing 3 1 leg good morning 3x8
Horizontal cable row 3x8

Here are links on Youtube to the exercises discussed above.
Single leg squat on slide
1 leg good moring

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TRX ReverseWall Press

The reverse wall press is a great shoulder mobility exercise. It is especially beneficial for triathletes who spend lots of time swimming free style and riding on aerobars.

the goal is to maintain constant pressure on the trx handle activating the rear delts, rhomboids and extrernal rotators. Do 2-3 sets of 10 reps as part of your dynamic warm up.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Age Group Draft Legal Racing is Here to Stay!

After a great week in Clermont, where I was able to race draft legal as well as coach 7 Elite athletes ( which included Jarood Shoemaker winning the US Sprint National CHampionship and Alicia Kaye getting 10th in the Womes's race) in 2011 US Season opener.

Race Director Bill Burnett of Streamline Events and Jarrod Put together a historical event which hopefully will develop into another racing option for multisport athletes. For several years we often talked about the disconnect between draft legal and non drafting racing. The most common response is that age groupers drafting is unsafe.

Go to any large age group race, including national championships and world champioships, and you will find rampant drafting. what is really dangerous is drafting on a steep angle bike in the aero position, while some athletes are trying to avoid the draft and others are more than happy to get a free ride. With championships and titles on the line, some can't resist the tempation knowing that there are too few marshalls to properly police the race.

As for those who think a draft legal race is just a run race, ask anyone who was in the race and thay may tell you it was one of the harest events they have competed in. The constant acclerations and max efforts while red lining puts this type of racing into new perspective. In DL racing, the swim and transitions become much more important, since a small gap can lead to several minutes by the end of the bike if you miss a key pack.

The bike if full of hard efforts, all the while ypou are trying to make good tactical decisions and being aware of those around you. In my 25 years of racing triathlons, this was the hardest and most enjoysable short course race I have done.

The fun ended once off the bike as my legs felt all the sprinting and hard efforts of the previous 12 miles. With packs coming off the bike, the run is very competetive. No time to ease off.

All in all, It was a very well run event and safe. I believe draft and non draft racing can co exist amd thrive, much like road clcying , time trialing and cyclo cross all benefit from each other.

Since road bikes are required, it becomes the riders legs and head that makes him fast, not who can spend the most for aero equipment. In my estimation this format will catch on and I can't wait to race more DL races.

Thanks you Bill and Jarrod for allowing me to experience a bit of history last week!

Monday, January 24, 2011