Friday, August 18, 2023

2 min. per 100 Barrier

Averaging 2 min. per 100 (yards or meters) in the pool, or open water seems to be a barrier for many age group triathletes. It's like the 4 min mile in running or the Mendoza line in baseball ( 200 batting average). I'm not sure how much of this is physical and how much is mental. I have my own thoughts on this.

To swim an average speed faster than 2 min/ 100, you need to have decent body position, stroke race, and muscle endurance all at the same time. Many can isolate them individually, but putting it all together over the duration of the swim leg is the challenge. 

My goal is to create a plan/ system to break thru this barrier over the winter with the athletes I coach who fall into this category. Here are some of the things we will work on:

1. Flip turns- Not having a break at the wall will help build endurance and maintain momentum.

2. Ankle band swimming- Nothing corrects flaws like ankle band swimming. You need to create force, stroke rate, and body position all at the same time. if you get to the other side of the pool, you are doing something right. Start with 25's with plenty of rest and build from there.

3. Fins and paddles- This is a great way to create force and speed. it also raises the HR to feel like a race effort. fins and paddles create a full-body workout

4. Butterfly- One of the best ways to create a powerful pull is by doing butterfly. Start with 4 -8 strokes off the wall. fins help create lift from the legs. Triathletes hate this stroke, but it will help make you a stronger open-water swimmer.

5. Base intervals- create short rest with a specific send-off time. this ensures the athlete is swimming at the desired pace and not dropping off. A good way to determine  threshold pace is to do 10x100 with 10-sec rest. time the entire set, and subtract 90 seconds ( total time of rest intervals) to get swim time. 

As I begin to execute this plan. I will periodically report back findings, and what has worked and what has not.

Happy swimming!


Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Cycling Junkie


If you want to be a better cycling or triathlete, you need to love the bike. I remember when I began training for triathlons, I read Scott Molina saying to be good in triathlon you had to be a cycling junkie. I began putting in lots of bike miles. I still believe it.

In general,50% of your weekly training time should be spent cycling. If you are indoors during the winter, that may decrease since the quality is higher. I relearn this every summer when my cycling frequency and volume bumps up for 10 weeks. I have found it also helps improve running.

As we get older, and run volume decreases to keep from getting injured, we can get on the bike more to maintain fitness. The other benefit is that as we age, we do not tend to see a decrease in cycling performance as long as we continue to include some quality each week. 

Here are some tips to keep your bike miles fresh and interesting.

- Explore new roads and routes on a regular basis. Exploring can be fun.

- get on the trails or dirt roads to boost power and handling skills

_ use the bike trainer once a week for hard / controlled intervals

- don't ride the same routs more than once a week

Although I no longer have the time for 250+ mile weeks in the saddle, The more miles I ride, the better I feel. The hardest part is getting out the door.


Saturday, July 15, 2023

3 Ways to Keep Sweat Off the Headset

 There is nothing worse than a corroded headset. Sweat is very destructive and the heat and humidity we face for 7 months of the year in Florida can destroy the bike's front end. The headset, and bolts for the handlebars and aero bars are especially at risk. 

As a heavy sweater, I've come up with 3 simple ways to attempt to control the damage. 

1. Headband- using a headband under your helmet will help keep sweat off the bike and your sunglasses. I find it takes about 45-60 min for it to get saturated. A quick stop to wring it out and off you.

2. Facecloth- Place a face cloth in your back pocket to wipe off your face and under your glasses. They are small and very absorbent. 

3. The sweat shield- As a coach, I solve problems. The constant drop of sweat on the headset was a yearly problem. I tried all kinds of solutions. A plastic sheet with channels made with a heat gun keeps the sweat off everything and allows me a clear view of the computer. It is helped with Velcro so can easily be removed and cleaned.

So now you have 3 easy solutions to preserve your bike and control sweat on the road or on the trainer.

Happy Training!

Coach Tim

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Running Through Injury- The run Load Continuum

 Typically when a runner suffers an injury, they back off their running volume and intensity until the injury subsides, or worse, they stop altogether, and when the injury heals jump back in risking further injury. Both methods don't lend themselves to consistency and long-term development.  Then they begin to add in more miles gradually until they reach the previous levels before introducing intensity. This could take several weeks to months to bring you back to pre-injured levels.

The idea behind the run load continuum is that during an injury, you maintain the same running volume in minutes but decreased the amount of stress being placed on the body by manipulating the amount of load/stress that are occurring during the run. This will allow you to maintain fitness as you gradually increase stress to rebuild the affected area. 

There are several ways we can manipulate the loading, and these can be used in combination to manage the mechanical stress placed on the body. This can also be used to bump up the volume in preparing for longer races. One way I used to do this in preparing athletes for marathons, was to do a long run and then get in the water right after and do 20 to 30 minutes of a deep water running. This would allow for a bit more volume in active recovery. I'll outline this process and then give me some examples of how you can use it.


1. Keep running volume ( minutes) the same as you had for the past 4 weeks.

2. Don't run back-to-back days to allow your body to recover from the stress of the workout.

3. Gradually increase the load by adjusting the type of activity in the amount of minutes you are doing.

Run load continuum (from least stressful to more stressful)

A. Deep water running

B. Walking 

C. Waist-deep water running

D. Incline walking on a treadmill

E. Treadmill running (cushioned deck)

D. Outside running

Here is an example of how you can use this format. 

You're coming off of an injury and your run is usually 45 minutes. Run for 20 minutes before the pain starts, stop at 20 minutes, and do the remaining 25 minutes in waist-deep water. Gradually shift the minutes on the road and lessen the waist-deep running provided you are progressing and adapting properly.

Run training does not need to be all or nothing, by having a pool and treadmill access you can keep a running volume the same interest and manipulate the stress to help you recover quicker while maintaining run fitness. A water running belt is always good to have in your tool box.

Monday, July 3, 2023

Training Metrics- What you view during workouts matter

 The data you view during a workout has an impact on how you execute, adjust, and mentally interpret the training session. Not all data is the same. Some are very useful and others can be distracting and do not give an accurate picture of the effort or work being done. Here are my recommendations on what data you should be viewing during training sessions.

Bike- for indoor rides on a trainer key metrics should be:



heart rate

If you are using a platform such as Trainer Road or Zwift, you will have plenty of data to view.

For outdoor rides 


heart rate


power or core temperature

Average speed is not a good indicator of training effort, since wind humidity, and terrain can all have a big impact. Cadence may be more important than power since how the power is generated is important.

In the absence of power, core temperature is a good metric since overheating will drop your FTP (functional threshold power) leaving all of your current power zones suspect.


I find viewing 3 data fields to be optimal. Four fields make the numbers a little bit small and can be distracting by having too much information. Here are my suggested data fields:


heart rate


core temperature (if available)

If run power is available, viewing that in real time is unnecessary as it will fluctuate rather quickly. The only exception may be if you're doing a tempo run in order to learn pacing based upon cadence heart rate and power.

Running pace is not a great metric to use as it may entice you to race to work out. Running pace will be affected greatly by temperature humidity as well as rising core temperature and elevation. 

These are my recommendations. Additional data and information will be downloaded after the workout but these are the ones I suggest you have in view while you're doing your workout. As always these are subject to debate and fine-tuning based on the individual. 

Happy training!

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Bike shoe tension


There is a simple way to keep your feet comfortable while improving your pedaling efficiency at the same time. By loosening the straps on your shoes you may find yourself pedaling more efficiently than ever before. Here are some thoughts/ideas and how this can be achieved.

Too often people buy bike shoes that are very narrow and tighten them as if they are wearing hockey skates. This can cut off circulation and squeeze the bones of a foot together causing any number or foot injuries'  or at least numb feet. A simple suggestion is to buy bike shoes a half size larger and search for ones that have a wide enough toe box.  If you live in a warm climate your feet are going to swell during longer rides so a larger size is warranted, and if you live in a colder climate you need to make sure you allow for extra room for thicker or warmer socks during the cooler/colder winter months. Make sure to adjust tension every hour of riding to accommodate for swelling. Bike shoes are often narrow so a simple shoe stretcher could be used to widen out the toe box if needed.

The best way to start this process is when you doing workouts on your indoor trainer. Loosen the straps a little bit at a time. If you find your feet moving around inside the shoe then you may not be applying force to the pedal efficiently. With practice, you will learn to relax and unweight the foot on the upstroke you find a better connection to the pedal if you give yourself a bit of time to work with this.

Next, do this during your easier road rides.  Play with different tensions to find one that feels right. Over time you will find the optimal tension to relax the feet given enough room and allow for optimal power transmission.

You just might find your riding better and more comfortable without numb or cramped feet.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Hot Tubs- A Secret Training Weapon

I've always viewed hot tubs as a great great way to relax and recover. When I started my career in the health and fitness industry in the late 80s, I'd end my swims in the hot tub to warm up and recover. It wasn't until a year ago that I decided to get one for home to enhance recovery and improve sleep.

The new type of hot tubs which are called plug and play are fantastic. All you have to do is fill them up and plug them in and they are self-contained, and provide all the features of much more expensive versions.

Once it arrived, i just filled it up and plugged it in. I use it every evening for 10 to 15 minutes as part of my wind-down /sleeper routine. This has worked tremendously, but along the way, I have found some  added benefits which have made this even more valuable to my training and recovery.

My daily hot tub sessions have allowed me to get more benefits out of my time spent in the warm water. These include:

Breath Work- With nowhere to go for 10 to 15 minutes, I work on slow relaxed breathing to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This is a nice relaxing way to end the day.

Stretching- while in the hot tub, I can do a variety of stretches and work on flexibility.

Trigger Point Work- After completing my breathing exercises I can often use my thumb and work on the calfs  or any other areas in my lower leg that seems to be tight.

Meditation- Although I really haven't delved into this as of yet I feel like the hot tub with the sound of the bubbles e is a perfect place to work on meditating.

Hot water immersion is a proven method to heat acclimate. Living in the warm humid weather of Florida, the ability to heat acclimate not only makes life more comfortable but allows me to train and compete at a safer level. Two to three times per week after key run workouts when my core temperature is above  102F, I will immediately jump into the hot tub with a temperature of 105F for 10 to 15 minutes. Unlike my evening routines, this is not so comfortable. I have found after a couple weeks, my heat tolerance in training is enhanced.

I now view my hot tub as an essential part of my training. I hate missing a session due to thunderstorms, as it has become an integral part of my training, recovery,
and sleep routines.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Incline Tempo Runs on Treadmills

 If you want to build muscular endurance and reduce the impact stress on the legs, then incline tempo runs on the treadmill might be your answer. This is a workout format I have recently begun experimenting with. As an expert and contributor on any question, I often love asking questions of other experts I have read and respect. A workout that piqued my interest was an uphill tempo workout that I saw posted by elite running coach Brad Hudson. This workout calls for a 4 to 5-mile uphill tempo effort. Unfortunately, this is not available to most people unless you live in the mountains and have a nice long uphill for 5 miles. But I did like the purpose of the workout and think it would be very valuable for triathletes to develop muscular endurance running off the bike without beating up the legs.

The treadmill became the best place to execute this workout for many reasons. First, it would allow us to lock in the speed and the grade and go for either distance or duration. By locking in a speed we can settle in and work on running economy and relaxing or ticking off the miles. A 3% grade is a good starting point; even going for 10 or 15 minutes provides a great workout. This can be a great workout done right off of the bike as an uphill transition tempo run of 10 to 20 minutes.

Workout variations

decreasing incline- 5 minutes at 5% grade/ 5 minutes at 4% grade/ 5 minutes at 3% grade. As you lower each grade by one percent, increase the speed by .1 – .2 mph.

Increasing incline- in this variation, you will keep the speed constant while increasing the grade 1% every 5 minutes. This tempo section can range from 15 to 30 minutes.

Broken tempo- in this variation, you will use a 4-minute run/1 minute walk or rest to break up the tempo efforts. This allows you to go a bit longer and hold a higher pace.

The goal of these workouts is not to beat yourself up but to provide a stimulus that will work the legs well while keeping your heart rate at or below your threshold pace/heart rate. It provides a good solid workout but minimal recovery center not pounding your legs. 

Happy Training!