Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Coach Jo Curry Experience at the National Training Center

I attended an Athlete Skills Camp this past February in Clermont, FL at the National Training Center. The camp was put on by Tri Endurance Solutions. USAT Level III Coach Shelly Obrien. She is the head coach and presenter. Being a USAT Level 1 Coach I was able to assist and learn from her during this clinic.

Here is a snapshot of my 2 day training camp.

Day 1 Morning- Run Test and Video

1 hour run workout with evaluation of run mechanics. Strength training and conditioning exercises geared to triathletes

Swim Test and Video
2 hour workout in swimming pool with video-taping of stroke mechanics and evaluation.

Sports Psychology
During this discussion Shelly spoke about what Mental Skills Training consists of and the purpose of Mental Skills Training for Triathletes. We assessed our selves using the Psychological Performance Inventory (PPI) Mental Toughness for Sports, By Jim Loehr (see link below)

Athletes need to have a good mental plan. This plan must contain the following components:

Personal Assessment- refer to the PPI, athletes should take this assessment to see which areas need special attention or has room for improvement.

Competition Goals & Targets- What do you want to accomplish? Are the goals valid? Is your motivation intrinsic (task oriented or performance related) extrinsic (Ego oriented or outcome related)

Imagery/Visualization Proper Environment, Clearing and Relaxation Drills, Effective Script, Ensure Success and Realism, Utilize all Senses, Repetition=Habit, Practice in real time, Remain inside your body, Experience race feel and Trust and enjoy the process.

Self Talk Awareness/Internal Dialogue -Focus on the now not the past or future. Look for something positive, focus on strengths, there will be uncontrollable factors and do not demand perfection of yourself. Have an internal script and mental map of race at hand.

Energy Management Finding the balance between your best and worst performances. Focusing on your Muscle Tension, Heart Rate, Breathing and Anxiety. Rate these from Low to High. When was it too high and how did I feel? When was it too low and how did I feel? What would feel just right & how would I bring that about?

Competition Strategies ABC’s A activating event, B belief about the event, C Consequences of that belief. 

For example,
Hot and humid=I suck in the heat=Poor Performance Or
Hot and Humid= I have trained in the heat and can manage it=Good Performance 

Assessment of Process Effectiveness  During your best performance evaluate yourself and answer these questions: What did you do before and during it? How did you feel before and during it? What did your sense tell you? What was in your mind’s eye? What are you thinking?

Afternoon -Run Video Review
Reviewed video of all athletes and provided excellent evaluations for each person.

Run Specific Strength and Skill Work
2 hours of strength training and skill work. The exercises were demonstrated and then performed by the athletes.

Day 2 Nutritional Strategies

Main focus was on the importance of water. 75% of people in America are chronically dehydrated. Water should be preferably cold—it is absorbed into the system more quickly than warm water and some evidence suggests that drinking cold water actually helps burn calories. Here is a formula to know how much water you should be drinking daily.  

Take you body weight, divide by 2 and that is the number of ounces of water you should drink daily (1once equals 2 tablespoons).

During exercise 4-6oz/20min with 400ml of sodium. Objectives covered during nutrition were: Metabolic Efficiency, Stabilize Blood Sugar, Minimize GI distress and to maximize windows of opportunity for nutrient and energy absorption.  See Race Day Meal Guidelines below.

Swim Video Review
Reviewed video of all athletes and provided excellent evaluations for each person.

Swim Training
2 hours of swim drills. The drills used were focused on breathing and body position in the water.

Exercise Physiology
Karl Riecken USAT Level II Coach talked to us about exercise physiology and took us on a tour of the National Training Center.

Triathlon Specific Strength Training
2 hours of exercises for triathlon strength training. Some of the exercises we did were:  Head rolls, Hip rotations, Leg swing and lateral, Calf stretch, and Runners lunge.

I truly enjoyed working with Shelly Obrien at this camp. She shared some valuable insights as a USAT Level III Coach.  I would recommend this camp to anyone wanting to improve and be able to race at his or her true potential.

* Pre-Race Day Meal Guidelines*
Competition Challenges of the High Performance TriathletesMonique Ryan, MS, RD

Competition Nutrition for Sprint and Olympic Distance Triathlon

Sprint Distance
  • Taper and consume adequate carbohydrates 24 hours before the race
  • Hydrate continually 48 hours before the race
  • Consume a high carbohydrate pre-race meal 2 to 3 hours prior to start time
  • Consume fluids from a sports drink leading up to the race
  • Drink 20 to 32 ounces of fluid every hour on the bike
  • Keep up with fluid needs as much as possible during the run
Olympic Distance
  • Tape and consume adequate carbohydrates 48 hours prior to the race
  • Hydrate continually 48 hours prior to the race
  • Consume a high carbohydrate pre-race meal providing 1 gm of carbohydrate per pound of weight 2 to 3 hours before start time
  • Increase salt intake 48 hours prior to the race if it will take place in hot and humid conditions
  • Consume fluids such as a sports drink in the hours leading up to the race
  • Consume 20 to 32 ounces of fluid every hour on the bike and consume carbohydrate gels with water if desired
  • Stop at aid stations for water to maintain fluid intake and minimize fluid losses

Ironman Pre-Race Nutrition Strategies: The Week Before the Race

Timing                                               Nutrition Strategies
2 to 7 days prior to competition    * Consume your regular training diet or decrease portions                                                                     slightly to compensate for training taper
                                                          * Maintain at least 3 gm carbohydrate per pound of weight
                                                          * Adequate intake of fluids
                                                          * Increase intake of salt and salty foods

48 hours prior to competition         * Load with 4 to 5 gm of carbohydrates per pound of weight
                                                          * Emphasize low-fiber foods and carbohydrate containing
                                                          * Consume adequate amounts fluid and sodium

Night Before                                    * Emphasize low fiber carbohydrates
                                                          * Consume easily digested protein as desired
                                                          * Avoid high fiber foods
                                                          * Consume an evening snack if desired
                                                          * Drink plenty of fluids

Morning of Race                             *  2-3 hours prior consume 1 gm carbohydrate per pound                                                                      weight
                                                          * Have easily digested carbohydrates
                                                          * Consume carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage for                                                                                 carbohydrate and fluids

Saturday, March 29, 2014

2014 Racing Season is Upon Us

Triattic has been to a number of running races, a chilly sprint triathlon and one duathlon already this year but 2014 is about to launch!

The team season opener is at Red Hills Triathlon next Saturday, April 5th at Maclay Gardens State Park. Rumor has it Coach Charlie Johnson will be blazin (come see to find out what that means)!

Red Hills Triathlon Website
Race Information
April 5th, 2014 at 7:30am

Maclay Gardens State Park
3540 Thomasville Road
Tallahassee, FL 32309
Swim 0.33mi
Bike 16 mi
Run 3.1 mi
Here are some key pointers to remember when heading into Red Hills for the first timers to the experienced athletes.

Planning for Red Hills

-          Planning is the key to success in Triathlon
-          The more you plan the less you need to do and figure out during the race
-          Simplicity is crucial in planning transition for a sprint triathlon
-          Make a list of equipment you need
-          Mark all equipment with permanent marker

Equipment setup

-          Plan the arrangement of your equipment in order of use

Equipment selection

-          Choose goggles designed for outdoor use
-          Know whether or not swimming into morning sun, choose tinted goggles for those conditions, if it is overcast or dark water choose clear lenses
-          Ensure to have a proper fitting wetsuit
-          Use plastic bags to help get wetsuits on
-          Lube around ankles, neck, and wrist - for long sleeve
-          For rough swims or worry of loosing goggles – place goggles under cap
-          Triathlon clothing should be worn for all three disciplines, choose something that is comfortable, non-chafing, and can be worn from start to finish without discomfort
-          Safety pin ankle strap with timing chip to prevent from loosing in swim

-          Triathlon specific shoes are most helpful (one or two Velcro straps)
-          Select a good fitting, approved helmet that can be buckled easily
-          Buckle your helmet before touching the bike
-          Keep helmet fastened during entire duration of bike until it is remounted in transition
-          Make sure to have bike set in an easy gear (leaving the parking lot is uphill)
-          Reset and have bike computer turned on

-          Replace shoelaces with elastic laces or lace locks for quickness on slipping on
-          Running hat or visor may be helpful
-          Race belt

The Transition Spot

-          Each race venue is different
-          Know the different specifics of each race you plan to do in terms of transition
-          After finding spot, become familiar with finish of swim, entrance to T1, bike-out, bike-in to T2, and      run out. Do a pre-race walk through of T1 & T2
-          If spots are not pre-assigned choose a spot that minimizes congestion and overall distance of travel within transition
-          Take as little as space as possible for courtesy to others
-          Use bright colored towel to help find spot
-          Know location of mount and dismount line
-          Athletes must mount after crossing the mount line
-          Athletes must dismount before crossing the dismount like

Specific Tips

-          Beginners Athletes: Have a fun, comfortable, and safe race. Don’t stress about speeding through transition. That may mean putting on a pair or socks or walking transition.
-          Intermediate Athletes: Weigh the pros and cons between comfort and speed and luxury and necessity.
-          Advances Athletes: Rid yourselves of all but the most essential and fast equipment



   Bike pump
   Warm-up clothes
   Extra bottle fluid (water, Gatorade, etc…)
   Light snack (banana, GU, etc…)
   Toilet paper
   USAT membership card
   Watch (make sure to have it charged)


   Swim suit or Tri gear
   Swim Cap (provided by race)
   Extra goggles
   Body Glide
   Wetsuit (if needed)
   Plastic bags (for getting wetsuit on)
   Baby Shampoo (anti-fog for goggles)
   Towel (for transition set up) 


   Bike shoes
   Bike Bottles (water, Gatorade, etc)
   Repair kit (spare tube, CO2, tire levers)


   Running shoes
   Race Belt

Post Race:

   Change of clothes
   Recovery snack
   Folding Chairs
   Extra Towel
   Cooler J

Just in Case (Extras):

   Rain gear
   Tools for bike
   Safety Pins

***Don’t try anything new (equipment/technique/nutrition) for the first time on race day!