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