Ever heard the saying "Be pissed off for greatness"? What does that really mean?
I would like to share a real life athlete example of that. We will call this athlete "Athlete X".
Notes about Athlete X:
- has been an endurance athlete for many years
- has raced many distances in running, cycling and multisport
- currently is not finishing in the desired placing/time in multisport events
- strengths are running and cycling
- weaknesses are swimming, mobility, core strength and mental aptitude
Athlete X aspires to become better at swimming so that they can close down the gap that is limiting their overall performance in multisport racing.
Once this was shared with their coach they had 1 of 2 options.
Option 1: Double down on their current strengths to close the gap. "Doing what's comfortable"
Option 2: Commit to the swim and put in the hard yards to gain more fitness. "Doing what's necessary"
Athlete X chose option 2. They committed to a masters swim program where they were not the strongest and mid-pack, at best, so that they are forced to work hard. They committed to touching the water 6 days per week.
2017 - 136:xx Hours - 5.62% of training volume
2018 - 158:xx Hours - 8.84% of training volume
2019 - 205:xx Hours - 13.5% of training volume (To date of this post)
What can be learned from this?
Athlete X is a great example of what being "Pissed off for greatness" is and should be. When faced with a limiter they chose to lean into it, get very uncomfortable and grow.
Often times, athletes like to lean back and relax a bit more, resting on whatever their strengths are to try to mask their weaknesses. In reality, if they chose the right time to really focus in on their weaknesses they would also be enhancing their strengths as well.
Your weakness may not be swimming. It could be proper rest/recovery modalities, running, mobility or nutrition. Whatever it is, seek it out and attack it.
Athlete X devoted the time and focus into getting better, getting uncomfortable and ultimately being vulnerable. You will find Athlete X on a podium near you in 2020!
Keep working hard!
- Coach Jeremy
It's that time of year again for my athletes!
AeT runs are returning! Cooler weather and major races out of the way, it is time to get aerobic AF.
These are crucial for athletes of all types, not just people doing long endurance racing. They can be very frustrating but when you start to nail them and the body adapts, watch your run times go down!
Looking at these 3 graphs here is what is noted:
The first athlete is very aerobically developed (not looking at pace other than to reference how much they had to run/walk) but that same athlete shows some fatigue late in the run. This is indicative of some post race fatigue from their last 70.3 (I have the gift of knowing they went deep in the well at this one) The aerobic decoupling is obvious at the end of it. This athlete is planning for a PR attempt at IMTX in 2020 so these runs are very important for that goal.
The next athlete shows a little bit of aerobic development but required some slowing to keep HR locked in where we needed it. They show no fatigue (decoupling) late run which is evidence that they are mostly recovered from their recent 70.3.
This athlete is looking to attempt their first 140.6 in 2020 so this work will be vital to their success in the build (injury prevention) and late in the marathon
The last athlete really struggles with this run. This athlete also did the same 70.3 as the previous 2 but was very inconsistent with training and newer to endurance sports. They will make huge gains if they continue to execute the AeT runs when they show up.
This athlete is preparing to attempt their first 140.6 at IMTX in 2020 so they will have a steady diet of these runs
You can see that we are not all created equal but we can all develop towards the common goal of aerobic development and the ability to do more awesome shit, longer :)
So while these are frustrating, they are HUGE for your endurance development and ultimately your success at whatever you decide to do!
- Coach Jeremy
Minutes. Hours. Days. Weeks. Months. Years.
That is what you are willing to invest in getting to your goal race or event. Invest being the key word here. It is an expense that you understand and are willing to pay.
Would you be willing to make that same investment if I told you that halfway through the process you would hit a setback. You would lose some of that hard earned "money".
Would you still eagerly pour that "money" into the account? I doubt most of you reading this would.
Let's take it a step further. What if I told you it would be your fault that would lose that money. Would you be a little more cautious with your steps and processes? I would be willing to bet that you would. You work too hard for that "money" to just throw it away.
So why do so many athletes neglect self care? Why do you allow yourself to get dehydrated? Under-fueled? No focus on sleep? Not using the tools you have like a foam roller? Not making regular visits to a professional body expert like a chiro and massage? You take your bike to a shop when it's acting up or need tune up yet you do not take care of your body the same way. Why?
What in the hell are you doing? You are screwing up. That's the only answer I need to hear.
You are willing to invest literally thousands into your races, bikes, training, coaching, nutrition, travel, etc, yet you neglect the actual machine? What about that seems to make sense?
I didn't even mention the family time sacrificed, social life and all that other stuff that comes as a by product of dream chasing.
So I ask you again. Just what in the hell are you doing?
Screw your head on straight, work hard but RECOVER harder. THAT is the secret you seek in making gains and doing awesome things.
Plain and simple. Recover and win, cheat it and waste your "money"
- Coach Jeremy
What will help you achieve the most success when working with a coach? YOU. You are the number one key component in the process. Allow me to explain why...
I think that the majority of athletes do not value themselves as a key part of the process to get to their goals. Some athletes believe that when they hire a coach they are assured a PR or gains. That could not be the farthest thing from the truth.
Yes, it is the coach's job (when hired) to fully understand your goals (both the spoken and unspoken ones) and to create the foundation and the path to assist you in getting there.
The work must be done by the athlete.
The honest sharing of goals and proper goal setting is on the athlete.
The accountability is on the athlete (yes there is an appreciated value of having a coach and it helping an athlete be more accountable).
The active and continuous communication is on the athlete (and coach)
One thing that I feel goes undervalued is the athlete's appreciation for what it is they really want and need. I mean being truly and brutally honest with yourself. Are you after more "kudos/likes/atta boys"? Are you wanting more "just fucking get it done" type of coach? These are crucial things that you must fully accept about yourself prior to hiring a coach. While coaches are dynamic, they have their strengths and weaknesses. A good coach knows them and appreciates them.
Coaching should be a democracy, not a dictatorship so own your part of the process and earn your results!
Hopefully in the past 3 blogs you have gained a little more insight into what coaching is. You will see that so much of coaching and the "magic" is derived from the proper selection of a coach and the initial establishment of trust and the relationship.
Choose wisely and work hard!
- Coach Jeremy
The views and opinions in this series are my own. They are not a reflection of Mind Right Endurance, the coaching team or coaches across the world. Mine and mine alone.
What are the fundamental pieces of coaching and why would that matter to you, an athlete?
I have said it before and I will repeat it. Coaching isn't magic. There are no hats with rabbits in them, there are no magic sets and there is nothing but smoke and mirrors there if someone tells you otherwise.
Coaching is derived from 2 key components. Art and science.
Science is obvious and can be learned/taught to anyone who wants to learn. I don't want to oversimplify this but it can be acquired and expanded upon, if the desire is there.
Art. Now this is where it gets a bit hairy. This is where my opinion gets a bit stronger. I believe you either have it, or you don't. It's that simple. From my perspective it's like a MLB pitcher who has a lame duck curveball. He can make it through the minors but when he gets to the majors, it will be open season on his curveball.
What does that mean? Well let's look at my definition of the "Art". It is a personality trait and skill that you develop (or don't) through your walk in life. It is the ability to effectively communicate, lead, motivate and have empathy for others. So you either have it, or you don't. It takes years to develop this, unlike the science (which is always a work in progress) where you can learn a lot in a little amount of time.
So this is the point where you ask me "What in the hell does this have to do with coaching and why should I care?".
In the last blog post I told you to interview the potential coaches. This is a key part of that process. Understanding what the 2 key tools are for a coach will help you identify the best candidates that you would like to consider further for a coach.
Seem harder than it should be/ Remember, YOU are looking for someone to entrust with your dreams and goals. It should be taken seriously if you are serious about your goals!
In the next blog I will cover what YOU need to know to select the right coach for you!
Thank you for reading!
- Coach Jeremy
Coaching. It's magic or something, right?
Well yes. Actually no. Not even close.
In this little blog series I will break it down, tell you all the dirty secrets I have learned in the past 7 years of coaching and help you dispel some of the myths or misunderstood things about the art and science of coaching.
Let's start at the beginning. How do you choose a potential coach? This is the fun and possibly stressful part. Let's get in to it (in no particular order or priority)
There are so many pieces to this but I will leave it at that for now. Remember, YOU are the one CHOOSING a coach! Take part in the process and enjoy it!
Part 2 will be about the foundational pieces of coaching
Thank you for reading!
- Coach Jeremy
Part 3 - Building an Athlete - Will the real key data points, please stand up (thanks for that line Eminem)Read Now
In the last 2 blogs we covered everything you need to know to get you to this point. Now, how to present that to an athlete that isn’t necessarily pleased with their build or race execution. Utilizing the data points that I mentioned in the last post, I will shape it for you in the terms that are easy to understand that we see in the data.
Pretending that the course and conditions are equal (we know they are not but bare with me here) here is what we see:
For IMWI this athlete rode a 5:39 bike on 215w NP. For their previous Ironman, 2018 IMTX, they rode a 4:58 on 196w NP. The one before that, 2017 IMChoo, they rode a 5:33 on 196 NP.
Now basic math tells me more is more. In this case more doesn’t equal faster because of varying conditions and terrain but it shows me that the athlete had more bike fitness than we assumed going into IMWI (goal race power was actually 185-195 NP due to the fact of the big question mark from the training build, issues along the way and the data from 2 key, back to back centuries) We knew we were being a little cautious on the bike but Paul blew that number away with his monster 215 NP for IMWI. Lesson #1 learned for me the coach.
Now onto the more fun/sexy aerobic decoupling (Pw:Hr). To me this is a true metric of progress for a long course athlete. Let’s look at the numbers first:
Pw:Hr data - (from athlete’s device)
2017 IMChoo - 10.45%
2018 IMTX - 9.94%
2019 IMWI - 7.86%
WHOA...hold the phone. You are telling me that this athlete rode more NP than ever before and had an all time low aerobic decoupling?
Yes. That is what I am seeing and saying. How does that happen? Well that is where I am current standing and trying to discover. Obviously there are things that can impact this that are outside of our control. Heat/humidity (I know these were different), 1-2 years more of aerobic development through training, athlete nutritional execution (can partially file this with the heat/humidity topic) and potentially something I still have not learned.
Either way, the final breakdown is while the athlete did not go “faster” on the day, he performed the best he ever has and his body responded better than ever before.
There’s a lot to read here but I hope it helps you to take a step back and re-evaluate the way you judge your performances
Far too often athletes get caught staring at data points that will just leave them down a slippery slope. While at times the data points they like to reference or have a little bit of understanding of can't help them and are of value but often times they can lead you down the wrong path. all of this is said with bated breath because it is definitely a double-edged sword when it comes to data and which parts matter when.
I am going to present to you a very simple way that I look at an athlete's progress based on where he is an athlete and data points that to me, are black and white that are a good example of fitness and/or gains.
For this particular example I used to data points to compare races over time. I utilized normalized power and aerobic decoupling during the race.
In the three races that I sampled, two of them where what most would consider hilly and one of them was what most would consider flat. Ironman Chattanooga features more longer sustain climbs with a little bit of rollers, Ironman Wisconsin has some sustained climbs but is more rollers and Ironman Texas has a few small inclines but is majority flat.
Course Difficulty Rating -
2017 IMChoo -
Swim - River
Bike - 1.5
Run - 3.1
2018 IMTX -
Swim - Lake
Bike - 1.2
Run - 0.4
2019 IMWI -
Swim - Lake
Bike - 2.2
Run - 1.6
Total Bike Elevation (as recorded on his Garmin) -
2017 IMChoo - 4,808 ft gain
2018 IMTX - 1,224
2019 IMWI - 4,120
Bike Split Times - (from athlete’s device)
2017 IMChoo - 5:38 (115 miles)
2018 IMTX - 4:58 (110 miles)
2019 IMWI - 5:39 (112 miles)
The common recurring theme with most athletes is they will look at their bike split time and immediately judge their overall performance for that portion of the race. Often times, they struggle to be able to make fair comparisons of course difficulty, weather conditions (wind, water temps, humidity, air temp) and immediately assume slower is just in fact that, slower.
In all actuality slower is slower, until it is not. Confused yet?
What if an athlete was more aerobically efficient but slower finish time? What if an athlete rode an all time NP PR for a race of that distance and was slower? Are they then still slower? It all depends on your definition of growth and/or success.
Aerobic fitness can be seen in a few different ways but for this race I chose the aerobic decoupling (or Pw:Hr)
(you can learn more about that here: https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/how-to-use-aerobic-decoupling/)
Aerobic decoupling will give you a great snapshot of the athlete’s aerobic fitness as it pertains to long course racing. 0% being even and a delta of 10% or more as a flag of overexertion or lack of aerobic fitness (this can also be indicative of dehydration/nutritional issues, impending sickness and a few other factors)
The other data point I am using for this is Normalized Power (NP). NP is defined as Essentially, normalized power, is a weighted average of the pedaling you have done during a particular ride. This metric gives extra emphasis to high-output efforts and accounts for surges or spikes in power. In other words, a great metric to see the true work being done.
In the next blog post I will show you what I discovered and why it matters more than a finishing time.
The proof is in the pudding...or so the saying goes. I like proof and I like pudding this seems like it would be a good start to a little real talk conversation.
Plain and simple I absolutely love what I do as a coach. What are the biggest struggles that I have is when an athlete does not see what I see is a coach. In my growth as a coach I have learned new ways to use the analytics to help paint the picture for an athlete. Any good politician can spin anything to make it look one way or another. Data is not much different. However there are some points of data that are straight black and white and cannot be spun. I try to seek those out when I'm presenting an athlete with results or progress or regression.
As a coach I have to hold myself accountable for an athlete's progress and also hold the athlete accountable for equal progress. Undoubtedly, there have been times that I have made a mistake and I always try to correct that mistake, admit it and learn from it.Equally, there are times that athletes make mistakes and we work on those and move forward. But that's not what this blog post is about. This blog post is showing you the proof that I have found in the pudding.
How do you address an athlete who is clearly making progress but doesn't see it. That is one of the great mysteries and struggles of coaching but it is one of the things that we should strive for, as coaches, to help unlock the athletes mind.
I present to you, exhibit A, Paul Miller.
Paul Miller is an 8x IM finisher with aspirations of a legacy spot to Kona and, one day, seeing 10:30 on the race clock. In the past 2 years he has had an all time PR and multiple finishes under 12 hours so the progress is definitely there.
In his last build up to Ironman Wisconsin, he admitted that he didn't have a great build because of a couple of very strange issues that we had to take a little bit of time off for, which is very uncommon for him. Leading into the race there was frustration in his perceived Fitness level and part of that is because of a shaky build and perhaps his overall goal setting and appreciation of the variation of course difficulties.
In an attempt to try to settle everything out and figure out just what was going on in if this athlete actually progressing, I just decided to pull a few bike numbers from Ironman Chattanooga in 2017, Ironman Texas in 2018 and his most recent race at Ironman Wisconsin in 2019.
In Part two of this blog series I will lay out which data points I targeted and why. In Part 3, I present the data findings from this athletes performances and what we can learn from them.
Numerous studies have shown that a lack of sleep is extremely detrimental to your health and performance and this seems to be something that a lot of people are pushing aside.
However, unless you pay attention to the amount and quality of sleep you get, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.
Not the training you do, not the food you eat, not the supplements you take, nothing. Sleep is literally the simplest and most effective performance enhancement you can do. Want to lose weight: Sleep. Want to gain muscle: Sleep. Want to go faster: Sleep. Want better cognitive performance: Sleep.
If you look at what professional athletes are doing to improve performance, extend careers and set new records, the number one answer is sleep. They are putting as much work into sleeping more and better as they are in the weight room, on the bike, on the track, ect. Think I’m making this up, check out Instagram and see how many athletes have mattress sponsors. Get on the internet and see how many professional teams have sleep coaches on staff.
Next, remember that sleep is a productive activity. You are recovering, growing, sleep is an anabolic state. After you’ve been asleep for 1 hour your body releases testosterone and HGH. These hormones are integral for muscle and bone growth. For each additional sleep cycle you have at night, you increase the amount of time these key hormones are at an elevated level in your body.
Lastly, your sleep needs to natural. “Sleep” induced by medications like Ambien, or assisted by alcohol is not productive sleep. Ambien puts you into a state of unconsciousness that only resembles sleep on the outside but on the inside, might as well be awake. As for everyone’s favorite drug, alcohol, it is a depressant that disrupts normal sleep cycles and suppresses REM sleep.
I can literally go on for hours with what I’ve learned about sleep from reading “Why We Sleep,” but this seems like a good place to start.
The scary facts:
What can you do to improve your sleep:
- Coach Mike
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