Holiday Performance Testing Package

Struggling to decide what to get your Endurance Athlete for the holidays? Give the gift of better performance and smarter training with a VO2 Test.

TriAttic is offering a Christmas Discount - get 10% off Performance Testing.

*All you have to do is call and schedule your appointment before Friday, December 23 at 5:00 pm.

What is a VO2 Test?

A VO2 test measures the amount of oxygen your body uses at different exertion levels while you exercise on a bike or treadmill. The data is recorded as you breathe through a mask during a short workout. The recorded information is then used to calculate your personal Target Intensity Zones.

What are Target Intensity Zones?

Exercising at different intensity will meet different fitness goals. Some intensities burn more fat, some increase endurance, and some focus on strengthening your heart so you can go faster. Target Intensity Zones pinpoint your specific target heart rates required for you to exercise at each level.

What you get from the test:

*Peak oxygen consumption
*Calories burned at different heart rates
*Aerobic and Anaerobic threshold
*Target Intensity Zones

Whether you are looking to get the most out of your workout, decrease fatigue and injury or burn more fat – having a VO2 test will help you accomplish your goals.
Call Coach Sandy at (850)661-2852 or send and email to

The Mental Game

Everyone wants to perform their best in competition. In order to have that performance not only do you have to have the physical abilities to do it, you need the mental capabilities in order to achieve success.

The coined term 'being in the zone' is easier said than done. To be 'in the zone' that means you (the athlete) has total control without having to be in control. Hard effort feels effortless, goals are clear, confidence is high, the inner voice saying no is absent, nothing matters but the competition. Having this mindset is the key to performing to full potential.

In order to achieve this state of mind, it is important to know how to handle the stresses of competition. To do that you need to CONCENTRATE, BE CONFIDENT, STAY COMPOSED, and COMMIT.

Concentration - staying focused on the task at hand. Don't let distractions from anxiety or fatigue disrupt your concentration. Be aware of any distractions and keep them out with positive self-talk, imagery and relaxation.

Confidence - Believe in yourself and your skills. Being confident has a lot to do with a positive attitude but it also means you know how to react to the doubts and worries by understanding how those doubts and worries can be handeled effectively. Stay confident by knowing you competition plan, positive reinforcement, and constructive criticism.

Composure - Be in control of your emotions. Know that you can not always control what happens to you during competition but know that you can control how you handel it. Be aware and mindful of your emotions.

Commitment - Endurance sports requires considerable amount of commitment to achieve success. Make sure you are in this sport for reasons that are meaningful to you. Wether it is a dream, desire or motivation know you are commited and you chose and want to do this. Remind yourself!

This weekend 3 TriAttic Athletes will be testing their physical and mental strengths. Laura Register and Karen Munoz will be running the St. Augustine 1/2 Marathon and I (Coach Sandy) will be running the Marathon.

The race starts at 6:15 am on Sunday morning. The start and finish is located downtown near the Castillo de San Marcos Fort. The course is said to be scenic and flat. Saturday forecast calls for a low of 62 and Sunday is forecast to be party sunny with a high around 76.

Best of luck to everyone racing this weekend. Be strong and confident. Everyone has done the physical preperation to achieve your goals now concentrate on the mental game. "GET IN THE ZONE"

For more information on the St. Augustine Marathon visit:

Offseason Training and Looking to Next Year

Triathlon racing season is coming to a close. Many wonder how to train, prepare and get geared up for the following season.
Some key topics to think about during the offseason are:

  • Review your entire 2011 season

  • Focus on your weaknesses

  • Plan next seasons races and events

  • Set your long term, short term, and time goals for next year

  • Pay attention to diet and nutrition

When reviewing your season and looking at your current fitness it is important to look at your results and times according to what you had set out to achieve.
Did you hit your goal time for the run portion of a sprint triathlon?
Were you consistent with your training?
Did you finish the race you were training for?

Once you have assessed your current fitness level, weakness become more apparent and setting goals for the next season become easier.

When approaching the off season remember - what you work on should directly benefit your performance next year.

Areas to focus on are strength training, conditioning, flexibility and biomechanics.
Strengthening your stabilizing muscles during the offseason will help reduce the risk of injury to supporting muscles during next season. Also strengthening you major muscles will help to improve your power on the bike and decrease fatigue when swimming and running. Pilates and yoga are a great way to help or improve flexibility. Form work and drills in all three sports will help with biomechanics.
Injury prevention can come from improving muscle balance, strength, flexibility and biomechanics.

When setting goals it is very important to look at the amount of time needed to reach or achieve the goals you have set out. The less time and higher improvement you set on yourself has a greater risk for injury. Make sure to give yourself enough time and an appropriate percentage improvement to insure you get to that goal safely. Improvements are dependent upon amount of training time, genetics, recovery, nutrition and planning or training.

During the offseason training loads are down. You will spend less time training and won’t have many (if any) high intensity workouts. During this time the need for sports nutrition products and carbohydrate for fuel is low. It is a great time to work on metabolic efficiency and train your body to use fat for fuel. As the demands on your body increase during the season than those nutrients become important. Trying to shed pounds now is the time to do so. You want to go into next season without worrying about losing a few. Make smart and healthy choices!

Ironman Florida

"Ford Ironman Florida is one of the most well known races on the Ironman circuit having been around for over 10 years. Utilizing the stunning beaches of Panama City Beach, Ford Ironman Florida offers a great opportunity for athletes to get "their feet wet" in Ironman events." WTC

Ironman Florida 2009 was when my brother Mike (CEO of TriAttic) and I decided to give the Ironman distance a go. (Pictured above after finishing IMFL 2009) We loved it so much and had such an amazing experience we came back for a second time in 2010. Only this time we had an addition of Assistant Coach Charlie.

This year Charlie, Mike and myself will be volunteering with hopes of grabbing slots for Ironman Florida 2012.

Registration for Ironman WTC races is a hot topic...... Slots fill fast and are hard to get. Who would think so many people would want to pay so much money to try what some people call, the "hardest single day sporting event in the world". When you finish your first Ironman you will understand.

Training for an Ironman takes time, courage, determination, focus, and strength.

As a 4 time finisher at the Ironman distance and certified USA Triathlon coach, I have what it takes to train you, prepare you and help you get to the finish line. Whether your goal is to make cut off before midnight, have a PR, or qualify for Kona - TriAttic will work hard to help you achieve your goals.

So, if you are thinking about signing up for an Ironman, this weekend is your chance to get registered and then start your journey to the finish. For information on Ironman Florida 2012 registration see:

We hope you will join our team in the journey to becoming an Ironman.

I want to wish the best of luck to the Tallahassee Crew headed over this weekend. All of you have put in the time, distance, and dedication. Making it to the starting line is one of the hardest parts when training for Ironman. Congratulations on getting there and enjoy YOUR day on the course. We will be cheering you all on from the sidelines!

Soon you will hear Mike Riley say, "__________ YOU ARE AN IRONMAN".

I've attached two videos of our journey to the finish........thanks Mike for making these!

Ironman Augusta 70.3 Race Recap

Hey everyone! Well, another successful day of racing in Augusta, Georgia (and the countryside of South Carolina) has passed. It all happened on Sunday, September 25, 2011. It was the third year of the Ironman Augusta 70.3.

The Savannah River provides a beautiful setting for the start of the race. The start is located at the edge of downtown Augusta, GA and looks across the river to the banks of South Carolina. This year was a sellout field of over 3,000 competitors. The weather started off cloudy, let some sun break through and then got rainy. Temperatures rose into the 80s at times, so it made for some tough conditions to run in.


On Saturday, TriAttic led a prerace warmup for race day. We got in a short test swim in the river so the racers had a feel for where the current was running fastest and what the most direct angle might be. A 30 minute bike then followed where we rode part of the course with a few 30 second pickups to get the blood flowing. And we finished with a ten minute jog to get the legs moving off of the bike. It was a great group and good company.


Staying in the host hotel, the Marriott, is the way to go. It is literally walking distance to the race start and race finish. This makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable versus staying out past the Masters golf course and having to drive to the race and deal with the parking situation. If you plan to attend next year, be sure to start looking into reservations soon as the hotel fills up very quickly. The cost is a bit more, but the location is unbeatable and the convenience makes all the difference.

The swim conditions were pretty much the same as last year. It is nice to know that in a point to point swim like this, the distance doesn’t change year to year (i.e. Beach Blast!) The bike splits seemed a bit faster as the athletes didn’t have the heavy rain and slick roads to contend with like last year. If you look at run splits, it is almost across the board where times dropped off quite a bit (pros and age groupers) on the second half of the run. This just goes to show how tough the weather was in the run portion.

As always, the river helped push most athletes to their fastest swim ever. As for the pros, I was able to jog down to T1 and see the male leader exit the water at 19 minutes for a 1:00 pace per 100 meters. Not bad, eh. He was soon followed by the rest of the pack. The women’s lead swimmer, Svetlana Blazevic, came out in a blazing 21:51 for a 1:09 pace per 100 meters.

The bike produced some lightning fast times, too. The route snakes through the countryside of South Carolina and has a nice mix of topography. Training around Tallahassee really does emulate the topography of the Augusta bike course. In the men’s field, Kyle Leto, who also had the fastest swim, put down the day’s quickest bike in 2:06:40 for a pace of 26.53 mph. By that speed you would think his last name should have an “i” in it and his first name should be Chris. The top woman in the bike portion was Heather Jackson with a 2:22:58 for a pace of 23.50 mph. Wow.

When the pros reached the run, the real race began. Emma-Kate Lidbury, who had held onto second place hammered home to win the race with the day’s best run of 1:27:49, a pace of 6:42 per mile. Her overall time was a blistering 4:19:31. In the men’s race, Leto had pushed too hard on the bike and looked to be fading badly on the run. He would end up holding on for fifth overall. Victor Zyemtsev, who was 4th in 2009 and 3rd in 2010, finally brought home the bacon. He put down a ridiculous run time of 1:13:20, a pace of 5:35 per mile. He was followed by fellow Ukranian Maxim Kriat, who was the prior “victor” in 2010.

Gulf Winds Triathlon Club members were very well represented. I can’t even begin to name off everyone, but it was great to see the family of Jeff, Karen and Colby Allen out there. The vets of this race included Bryan Desloge, Jay Townsend, Andrea Stephens, Karen Munoz, Jason Hand, Mike Boll, Steve Padilla and many others. Jamie Harris put down a super fast time of 5:22 dropping over 45 minutes from last year’s time. Alan Cox and Alex Steverson continued their battle for the trophy both racing here for the first time.

TriAttic’s own Bryan Desloge put in a solid race. After recently summiting Denali, he is back at it with the sport of triathlon. He is already looking towards his next race, Ironman Austin 70.3, which he will race with Jay. I’m starting to wonder if Bryan’s last bucket list item is to actually do an Ironman ON a mountain!

And we must give a special shout out to Sandy’s best friend Ashley Roman for attempting and completing her first half Ironman. Congratulations Ashley!

It was also great to see the ever youthful couple of Bob and Stacia Keller. They always know how to brighten a place with their presence. These are the role models we can all strive to be like.

To find all the information you could want and more regarding this race, you can go to and/or

And looking ahead, we hope many of you will be at the Tri the Rez or the Pine Run. We’ll be watching the Rez this year. And in early November, get ready to cheer on those racing in Ironman Florida on the 5th. It is always a good time.

Beach Blast Triathlon Post Race Report

It was a calm brisk morning at Mexico Beach, FL. The air was cool, gulf was flat, and only a light breeze to contend with from the north. Perfect conditions for a race day.

Charlie Johnson was first to start at Mexico Beach. He was defending his title in the Olympic distance Triathlon from the fall 2010 race. It was a mass start of all Olympic swimmers. They had two .35 mile loops to complete. After the second loop Charlie exited the water in 4th place with a time of 20:57.

30 minutes after the Olympic distance swimmers hit the water, two waves of sprint athletes were sent off to complete one .35 mile loop. The women started three minutes after the men. Laura Register, Kate Blankemeyer and myself were ready to hit the water. The horn sounded and we were off. This was Kate's first sprint triathlon. Her and Laura managed to dodge the jellies and make it back to shore ready to take on the bike. Despite my overwhelming nervousness from the jelly fish, flipping to my back so I didn't have to see them and completely loosing form from being scared I managed to be the first woman out of the water in 12:13.

Out onto the bike it was a fast and flat course with one bridge to go over twice. Charlie had 25 miles to complete and us ladies had 15 miles. Charlie had the second fasted bike split of the day, he averaged 24.3 mph, that was fast enough to put him in the lead starting his strength, the run. I too had the second fastest female bike split of the day, my swim lead was enough to keep me out front while heading into the run.

Charlie never looked back from the the first step of the run. He let his true strength shine posting the fastest 6.2 mile run split of the day in a time of 34:43 for a 5:35/mile average. This was Charlie's fastest 10K split in a triathlon to date. Charlie successfully defended his title winning Beach Blast Olympic Triathlon in a time of 1:58:39.

After the 15 mile bike the sprint athletes had to run a 3.1 mile course which seems to be the longest 3.1 miles I have done. Note about course......garmin puts this course at 3.3 miles. This run proved to me that all my run training is paying off. I was lucky enough to have the fastest female run split and the 6th fastest run split of the sprint field. I finished 7th overall and was the female overall winner for the sprint distance in a time of 1:19:24. Laura Register had a PR bike and run time. Both Kate and Laura finished 2nd in the Age Groups. Congratulations to both!

As always the post race party was great. Free beer, shrimp, pizza, and tons of fun. Tallahassee represented very well in this race. Congratulations to all finishers! For complete results of Beach Blast Olympic and Sprint:

Update: Labor Day Transition Clinic postponed to Sunday, September 18.

Transition Clinic and Brick Intervals rescheduled for Sunday, September 18th at 8:00 am.

Any level of athlete welcome to attend. This is a free clinic open to anyone looking for help with transition and wanting a fun workout.

Information about event can be found at under the events tab.

Space is limited to 20 participants. If interested please RSVP in the event, and send an email to or call (850) 661-2852.

Motivation - Goal Setting

Last Friday, TriAttic posted a discussion concerning motivation and goal setting on the Facebook page:

"Don't show up to prove. Show up to improve."
We all have heard sayings like this, and it is very easy to agree with the philosophy. Putting it into practice is entirely different. Pursuing personal goals is a one effective method. Finding and setting personal goals can be hard, and it is even more difficult to make them attainable. Please share your thoughts on how to set personal goals and achieve them!

I wanted to share my philosophy for setting goals.

Regardless of the level of competitiveness among different athletes, the commitment required to achieve success is very high for the sport of triathlon.

Goal setting is one way of staying committed to the sport. Their are three different goal sets to develop; Long-term goals, Daily training goals, and Competition goals.

Long-term Goals:
When setting the long-term goal, it is important to remind yourself why you enjoy this sport. Long-term goal setting needs to have both intrinsic and extrinsic elements, but long-term goals without the intrinsic components makes goals hard to achieve.

Example questions to ask yourselves:
- What do you enjoy about the sport?
- What is your dream goal, what do you want to achieve?
- What do you need to do in order to achieve your dream goal?
- Which athletic abilities do you need to improve in order to achieve this goal?
- How committed are you to this goal?
- What is your overall goal for the season?

Daily training goals:
After the long-term goal is set, focus on setting daily training goals that will lead to achieving your dream or end of season goal.

When setting daily training goals be SMART about it.

S – Is it Specific?
M – Is it Measurable?
A – Is it Agreeable?
R – Is it Realistic?
T – Is it Time Limited?

When you are setting SMART daily training goals this helps guide behavior and attention and it helps foster confidence.

Competition goals:
Just like training goals, each competition needs goals. Setting different goals for competition can include outcome goals, performance goals, and process goals.

Outcome goals can involve your placement in the race (winning the race, finishing top 3). These goals are great for your long term motivation but can cause pre-performance distractions and anxiety. Performance goals (running a sub-30 minute 5K) and process goals (maintaining form on the run) help to achieve proper focus in competition. Process goals can be set for each discipline and help to keep your mind from wondering to distractions.

Join in the descussion: share your goals, your failures..........

GVT Race Report and Marathon Training Update

Last Saturday at Georgia Veterans Triathlon in Cordele, GA - Laura Register, Charlie Johnson and I represented TriAttic well and had a lot of fun along the way.

The swim: 400 yds

This swim was held in Lake Blackshear, it was a rectangular shaped swim with a turn about 150 yd into the swim. Needless to say the first turn was quite crowded. Charlie Johnson was second out of the water in his wave. He passed the lead male in T1 and never looked back. I had one of my best swims to date in a triathlon. I have been swimming with two different maters groups 2-3 times a week. The intensity I hit during maters swims prepared me for starting fast during the swim. I was 3rd out of the water and passed one girl in T1.

The bike: 13.6 miles

The bike course was very flat for what I expected to get in GA. The route bordered Lake Blackshear for 6 miles or so before heading up County Roads back to the park. The road winding around the lake had a lot of hair pin turns but beautiful views. Charlie had an open course with no one in sight the entire time. His blistering bike split of 32:23 for a 25.2 mph average. This was Charlie's fastest bike split to date!! For Laura and I, we started behind the entire men's field, it was hard to pass on some of those windy roads by the lake but it opened up once onto the county road. I was lucky enough to have the second fastest women's bike split of 36:47 for a 22.2 mph average. I was still in second place getting off of the bike. Leaving T2 I saw the leader and I was on a mission....


The run: 3.1 miles

August 13 in the south, nothing more to say was HOT! There were two well needed aid stations on the run. Again Charlie let his true colors shine, posting the third fasted 5k time in the race of 17:29 for a 5:38/mile average. Little did Charlie know (due to wave starts) he had someone on his tail. The second place male finished 4 seconds behind Charlie but because of the different waves there was no sprint to the finish between the two. From the first few steps into the run I knew I had to give it all I had if I wanted any shot at winning this race. I could see the women's leader ahead and found myself catching her faster than I thought. Within 1/2 mile I was on her heals. Knowing who she was from prior races and knowing my 5k PR (23:06) I thought to myself, "slow down".......but then thought....."why"??? So I went for it, I went around the leader and pushed ahead. I could see at certain turn arounds on the course that I was gaining a lead. This was the first time I chose to run without a watch or HR monitor. To say it was liberating is an understatement! I am very happy to say I had the second fastest 5k time for women and a new 5k PR of 21:41 for a 6:59/mile pace!


Congratulations to all finishers!!

My marathon training update (Base 1 - complete):

Week 1: 28 miles
Week 2: 37 miles
Week 3: 41 miles
Week 4: 44 miles
Week 5: 24 miles - recovery and race week

I have made it through the first part of my marathon training plan. Last weekend at GVT I had my first test since I started run training. I was nervous for the Triathlon simply because I had shifted my training focus and was only riding once per week but I was looking forward to the run. This race couldn't have gone better and I came out with a new 5k PR and a boost of confidence for my run training.

Over the past month I have put in more running miles than I ever have even when I was was preparing for Ironman. The groups and training partners have made the time and miles go by with ease. Thank you to Chuck Davis and his weekly group sessions. I have joining his group at Leon track on Tuesday afternoons for intervals and running Wednesday mornings with his group at Betton hills. On the weekend I have joined in with the Imitation Adults for varying distances, I've gone on a jaunt through the woods with Brian Corbin and even had the pleasure of being escorted by a 2 year old lab in Grady County.

I have enjoyed every step of this training and can't wait to add more on.

Georgia Veterans Sprint Triathlon

This Saturday, August 13, 2011 two TRIATTIC members and me (the coach....) will be competeing in the Georgia Veterans Triathlon in Cordele, GA, along with family and friends from Gulf Winds Triathlon Club.

The race is held at Lake Blackshear Resort and is known to be a fast and flat course.

Race information:
1/4 mile swim / 13.6 mile bike / 3.1 mile run


1. Make sure to hydrate very well, as it takes only hours to dehydrate but days to rehydrate. Drink plenty of water and minimize caffeine.

2. It does not really matter how well you sleep the night before the race but it does matter how you sleep on two nights before - so make sure this night you sleep well.

3. Make sure you bike is working 100%, check it over before you leave for the race venue.

4. Make sure that you are 100% understanding of the transition setup. This, as always, can save you seconds to minutes off your time. On race morning make sure you have found the best route to getting in and out of transition.

5. Remember to be flexible where needed dependent upon conditions on race morning. Do not let anything fluster you - remain focused. If it is raining, be prepared for it. 

6. Finally, remember that where people most fall apart is loss of focus. When you are getting fatigued or tired FOCUS on technique and form - this will not only occupy your mind but also increase your efficiency.

Best of Luck to TRIATTIC members Laura Register, her daughter Anna Register, and Charlie Johnson.


The Shift from Triathlon Training to Run Training

For the past 7 years I have been a triathlete. The only run training I did was the minimum required to bring me to the finish line after swimming and biking. I finished my fourth Ironman still unhappy with my marathon running ability. My short distance running has made huge advances in the past 3 years but my long distance i.e. marathon running has not.

2005 Tri PR 5km time: (first year racing - no run races only tri's)
Tri: 31:36
2006 Tri PR 5km and 6.6 mile (longest distance ever run) and Run PR 5km times:
Tri: 29:31 / 1:21:23 Run: 29:37
2007 Tri 5km / 10km / 13.1mile and Run 5km / 20km
Tri: 27:44 / 1:10:45 / 2:39:31 Run: 28:22 / 2:14:05
2008 Tri 5km / 10km / 13.1mile and Run 5km / 5 mile / 10km  / X-Marathon
Tri: 27:52 / 1:13:29 / 2:41:53 Run: 30:13 / 43:13 / 55:43 / 5:12:37

***Highlighted times are after my 1st marathon. I didn't change anything about how I ran. The only thing I realized after running/walking a marathon was how short and easy 5km was. I broke a mental barrier.

2009 Tri 5km / 10km / 13.1 / 26.2 and Run 5km / 8km / 10km / 15km / 20km / 13.1 and 26.2
Tri: 25:52 / 52:53 / 2:03:56 / 4:45:23 and Run: 24:12 / 41:14 / 50:12 / 1:20:10 / 1:55:22 / 4:15:18
2010 Tri 5km / 10km / 13.1 / 26.2 and Run 1 mile / 5km / 10km / 13.1
Tri: 24:01 / 50:35 / 1:50:25 / 4:26:55 and Run: 6:26 / 22:06 / 46:14 / 1:46:09
2011 Tri 5km / 10km / 26.2 and Run 5km / 10km
Tri: 23:06 / 47:56 / 4:43:24 and Run: 21:45 / 45:39

2009 is when I joined Gulf Winds Track and Tri club. 2010 and the beginning of 2011 is when I had a Tri coach: Ian Briggs of Tri3Sports.      

2005: 1st Triathlon - Mad Dog
2011: Red Hills Triathlon

I am into my third week of training for a Marathon as a runner. This approach is brand new to me since I have always been a triathlete who was forced to run in order to finish the race. 

Three weeks in and I already have a much better appreciation for runners. Before, my max runs a week would be 4. Most time I only ran 2-3 times per week. I have had two weeks now with a 5 and a 6 times a week run.....and I LOVE IT. It feels easier to get up and run each day. Let me explain why I think this is:
For the triathletes: you know when you miss a few swims or you haven't been in the pool for a few days, that first day back is always hard. You feel dead, your form feels off, it takes a while to get into the rhythm.

That is how I used to feel about running. The difference now, with every run I feel more and more comfortable. I feel I am finding my pace, my stride, and my form better. 

I look forward to the challenges ahead and I am excited to face this new obstacle. I will keep blogging about my training and keep you all posted on my progress. Till then, see you all on the trails but I am still going to hold on to the pool and road, just not as often. Happy Running!

What makes the swim so challenging?

St. Anthony's Triathlon M30-34 2008

Swimming is the first discipline during a triathlon. Distances can vary from ¼ of a mile for a sprint to 2.4 miles for a full Ironman. Swimming locations can vary from a pool, to open water. Open water swims tend to cause the most fear and dislike for many triathletes. In open water (lakes, rivers, and oceans) conditions can vary from calm or choppy water with waves and swells, to still water or water with currents, the water can be warm or cold. Environmental factors play a big role in the reason why athletes are scared of the swim. Other factors are the pure nature of the swim; it can be the most violent part of the race. Many swims take place in small areas with heavy bodily contact between participants making it very hard to concentrate and think about the correct swimming technique. Oh and we can’t forget about wildlife interactions. Every level of swimmer can work on different aspects of their swimming to make open water swims more enjoyable and less challenging. For beginning swimmers being comfortable in the water is the biggest goal, for intermediate swimmers improving technique and increasing strength for faster swim times and for the advanced swimmer strategy and drafting skills can be taught to improve their race results.

Ironman Florida 2009

Being comfortable in the water, improving technique and learning strategy is very important and can make the swim not as challenging. In order to do that, there are several important parts of the freestyle stroke that all swimmers should know and understand how to perform.

Breaking Down Freestyle Swimming Technique

Breathing and body position:
-         Swimmers should NOT hold their breath. A constant exhale through the nose and mouth should be visible while the swimmer has their face in the water.
-         Bi-lateral breathing (breathing on both side of the body) is very critical in open water. It helps maintain a straight line and also helps to not overdevelop one side. During ocean swims, being able to breath on both sides can be important because of waves, swells and chop.
-         Neutral buoyancy is the key to maintaining a streamline position.
-         Core strength drives body position
-         Maximum rotation is about 45 degrees to each side

Arm motion:
Recovery: Phase when the arm exits the water
-         Keep the arm relaxed during recovery
-         Elbow remains high and drives the forearm forward
-         Keep the fingers relaxed and pointed down to the water
-         Drop the arm into the water almost fully extended in front of your shoulder

Catch: The phase after the arm enters the water
-         Starts with an upward sweep of the hand
-         Drop the forearm
-         Keep the elbow high
-         Fingers should point to the bottom of the pool

-         The overall pattern should look like a question mark
-         Do NOT cross the center line of the body during the pull
-         Fingertips should remain pointed down
-         Elbow remains high
-         Fingers should be relaxed not stiff
-         Finish with a full push through to the mid-thigh

-         Maintain a well balanced kick
-         Do NOT overpower the body
-         Keep the kick aligned with the body
-         Only allow the heels of your feet to break the surface
-         Make sure your kick is originated from the hip with a relaxed knee and pointed toes.

Here is a great video that emphasises all the phases of correct swimming technique.

Look for future posts on Freestyle Drills and Swim Training to help your swimming technique. For further information or information about swimming lessons please contact or follow TriAttic on Facebook and Twitter.


While I attend USAT Level 1 Coaching Clinic, I took a class taught by Bob Seebohar in Metabolic Efficiency Training: Teaching the body to burn more fat.

I left this class with a completely new view on daily and training nutrition.

Before attending Bob's class, I was the typical "carb junky". I ate cereal for breakfast, snacked on crackers and sports bars throughout the day, ate sandwiches for lunch and normally had some pasta or pizza for dinner. I did this because I thought I had to replenish my carbohydrate stores from high intensity training while preparing for Ironman.

What if I were to tell you, that is unnecessary? You are probably thinking, she's crazy. And that was my initial response to Bob. But over the last two weeks I have started on Bob's idea of metabolic efficiency and I have noticed changes in my body composition, my energy, my attitude, and soon I hope to see these results in my training and racing.

Just like preparing a periodization plan for racing, a nutrition periodization plan is just as important. Without this your best training plan can fail, you can have bonking issues, not be properly prepare for before, during and after exercise, and also experience GI distress (this was my BIG issue!) It is important to understand what nutrients are needed during the different phases of training.

The purpose of Metabolic Efficiency Training is to teach your body to use carbohydrates and fats more efficiently. To do this it is very important to train your body to use fat as fuel.

How do you train your body to use fat as fuel? The best time to do this is during the preparatory or early season base building while exercises are done at a lower intensity.

  1. Start with daily nutrition. Minimize the amount of carbohydrates you take in by concentrating on eating lean protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, and minimal "healthy" carbs (whole grains).
  2. Before, during and after exercise do not use any sports nutrition products that contain calories when exercise is less than 2-3 hours. Consume only water and electrolytes (if needed) during exercise. This will train and improve your body to oxidize fat.
  3. It is not important to "eat" for recovery during most training sessions during this cycle. Rehydrating with water and electrolytes can be done and a healthy lite snack of lean protein and fruits and veggies is okay. Avoid sports nutrition products and high carb rich foods.
Once you have trained your body to become metabolically efficient you will not crave large amounts of food post workout. Having the right amount and sources of protein, fiber, and fat you will maintain fullness longer lasting for about 3 to 4 hours. If you haven't achieved this in 2-4 weeks your nutrition may have been a bit off.

Again this step is only to become metabolically efficient. As your training plan changes and you move into more intense and higher volume workouts your nutrition changes. But there are ways to make sure you are still staying metabolically efficient.

Here is a link to Bob's website:
and his blog:

You can also contact me, Coach Sandy at for more information.

5K Run Test

One of the most effective ways to gage your current 5K ability is to do a 5K run test. This test should be done on a measured track and performed on 'fresh' legs, recording heart rate during the test (without looking at it or using it as a guide) can also be very beneficial.

5K run test:
4 X 1600 with :90 seconds of rest in between each mile.

The average pace for all 4 X 1600 is used to determine 5K pace.

Doing field tests are a great way to identify strengths and weaknesses, set realistic goals, and adapt training plans to achieve optimal performance. Swim/bike/run field test should be performed on a 4-6 week basis.

I performed this test on Charlie at Leon Track on Monday. His results were much better than he expected. I took a side shot video of his running stride to help him improve on running form. We can pan through freeze frames and analyse his, foot strike, body lean, arm swing, etc. Form, technique, and learning proper bio-mechanics will help Charlie improve his run without gaining any physical ability.

If you have any questions about swim/bike/run testing please contact me.

New Beginnings

Let go of the past and go for the future. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.  - Henry David Thoreau

Today is the first step to changing my future to a dream I have imagined. It all starts with a drive north to Memphis, TN. I will be participating in a weekend clinic to get my certification as a USAT Level I Coach.

During the past seven years I have grown as an athlete, I have learned countless tips from fellow friends, family, and athletes. Over that time, I have developed a true love and passion for the sport of Triathlon.

My first race was Madeira Beach Triathlon in 2005, this race was also my first open water swim and my first 5K. From the moment I crossed the finish line, I was hooked. The next semester at FSU I signed up for a Triathlon P.E. elective and spent the Fall semester learning the rules of the sport, learning what it takes to train and how much dedication it takes to succeed.

From then on, it turned into a new challenge each season. From sprint races, to trying an Olympic, to getting up the nerve to doing a half iron (which was a big deal, I had never run 13.1 in my life before that day), next came a marathon, and then tackling the infamous Ironman.

I've learned so much from so many amazing people I've met along the way. Chuck Davis was the first person in Tallahassee to take me under his wing, show me the ropes, introduce me to many of my now dear friends. George Palmer and Bob Keller have been a true inspiration to watch and learn from, Mike Boll and the FL Ironman 2009 crew all played a part in bringing me to the finish line of my first Ironman. The list goes on and on with who has touched my life, influenced my love for the sport, and taught me what I know about the sport. Along with GWTC and all of the wonderful people apart of it, my family and Charlie Johnson deserve a BIG thanks too! I couldn't not have done all of this without the help and support from my family. My brother Mike got me into triathlons and I am in debt to him forever for that! Charlie has been my backbone, training partner, daily motivator, and support through what is only the beginning.

I look forward to the challenges ahead.

Ironman Texas - Post Race Report

Ironman Texas - May 21, 2011

Any Ironman finish is one to be proud of. This one takes the cake on that saying.

The swim in Lake Woodlands:
To say the lake was dark, would be an understatement. The water temperature was 77-79 degrees, non wetsuit legal. The professional athletes got the usual 10 minute lead on the course at 6:50am. The age group start was set for 7:00am. Officials started allowing AG athletes into the water at 6:40am. Charlie and I were near the front of the line waiting to enter the water. We got in found our spot and treaded water while waiting for the gun shot. Kayaks were being used for people to hang on to, there was plenty of kicking and bumping just waiting for the start. Before I knew it the gun shot and we were off. The start and almost the entire duration of the swim was congested. This was a very small lake for 2200 athletes and very hard to see. I followed the crowd trying my best not to get knocked out or hurt too badly. The final stretch of the swim was down a small canal to the exit. Spectators lined the canal and cheered everyone in.

Swim time: 1:09:28 I was happy with this time given it was a non wetsuit, lake swim with lots of contact.

Bike course - rural farm roads and national forest.

The bike was my favorite part of this race. It reminded me so much of riding through Leon and Jefferson Counties. Rolling hills, canopied roads, and windy paths were all around on the course. You were always challenged with a small climb and change in wind direction and beautiful farm lands to look at. This course was exciting, fun, and ever changing. Towards the end of the bike the clouds began to break and the heat began to rise. Nutrition stops were placed every 10 miles on the bike course with water, Powerbar Perfom, gus, bars, and bananas. The only thing I wanted was water. I would grab a bottle and dump it over me to cool myself off. This helped for the distance of the aid station and that was it because the water bottle was to big to fit in my frame. Towards the last 5 miles of the bike I was caught by one of the biggest packs I've seen in Ironman racing. They just kept coming and coming, this was very discouraging to watch. We all spend so much time preparing and to see all those people cheating and catching a "break" puts a sour taste in my mouth. I let them pass and watched them get further and further away till I hit T2.

Bike time: 5:44:00 This was a PR 112 miles for me. I felt great and in my element the entire time.

From the first step off my bike I knew it was going to be a run for survival. The temperature had seemed to jump 20 degrees and the sun was shinning in full force. I took my time in T2, I drank some cold water, used the bathroom, and got lathered up by the sunscreen volunteers.

Run Course - Flat and ALL concrete, but it had the most energetic spectators I've ever seen.

This was a run for survival. Water stops were stationed every mile on the course and if not for this I would not have made it to the finish line. The stops were filled with ice, cold sponges, water, Perform, cola, cookies, chips, gus, anything you could think of they had and plenty of it. At the first stop I realized their was no sense in trying to keep my shoes and socks dry so I dumped ice into my shorts and stuffed a cold sponge down my back. My goal was to have a marathon PR and break 4 hours (still have yet to accomplish), from step one I knew if I wanted to FINISH that was not an option. I slowed my pace tried to stay as comfortable as possible and keep going from water stop to water stop. A portion of the run was on both sides of a river walk running through the heart of The Woodland Mall. The river walk was lined with restaurants, bars, and cheering fans at each location, this was another major part of what brought me to that finish line. One mile after the next, they ticked by. And before I knew it I was almost done and proud and happy to run through the finishers shoot. For the first time, I slowed took my time and high fived the spectators on my way down, while listening to Mike Riley announce Sandy Holt, you are an Ironman! And that makes it all worth while!

Run time: 4:43:23

Again, I couldn't have done this without the support of my family. My Mom has come to every Ironman and cheered me to the finish. Her love and support will never go unnoticed. Thanks Mom!

My right hand man through it all has been Charlie. He has been with me through all four Ironman training blocks and has crossed the line with me three times. His support and dedication has kept me going, forced me to push harder, dig deeper, and strive for something more. Congratulations on another amazing performance!! CJ time: 10:06:50

My brother Mike showed true grit and put together the best performance of the day. He came out of one of the toughest conditions day with a new Ironman PR and a new sense of pride. He worked so hard through this training season and it showed. Congratulations on a stellar performance! You earned this one fore sure. Mike time: 12:49:03

Result Book:

Till next time!