Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Swim Stroke - Phelps

Watch Phelp's stroke in the last 25 meters of this race video. If you've been to my swim clinics or talks before, you'll know what I'm talking about, because you've heard me preach it...

If you can't see the video, click here.

Coach Vance

Coaching Changes

I watched the Beijing Olympics, and as a coach who has met and study Clyde Hart, and his coaching styles and beliefs, I couldn't agree more with Wariner and his decision to go back to Clyde Hart. I have a lot of respect for Hart, and love to stop and read his work, and listen to him speak. His coaching style is intelligent, hands on, and his past successes gain the confidence of his athletes.


Wariner does an about face

When Jeremy Wariner was beaten by LaShawn Merritt in the 400m at the Olympic Trials, he was asked asked by members of the media if he thought his decision to leave Clyde Hart, the coach who guided him through his college career at Baylor and to Olympic gold in Athens, for Michael Ford affected his training and performance.

Wariner bristled at the question.

When Wariner was beaten soundly by Merritt again in the Beijing Olympic final, NBC’s Bob Neumeier asked Wariner again if the coaching change contributed to a lackluster showing. Wariner’s responded angrily, saying, “No, I’m not talking about it. It had nothing to do with it. That’s enough.”

He then walked away from the interview (watch video).

But Wariner has apparently now come to the same conclusion that anyone on Earth could have told him last season : If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

During his press conference at the adidas Track Classic on Saturday night (watch video), Wariner revealed that he has decided to resume training with Hart this year in the hope of regaining his standing as the world’s premier quarter-miler.

“I had been thinking about it for a little while, and felt it was the right thing to do,” Wariner said of going back to Hart. “Coach Hart is a great fit for me. Coach Ford is a tremendous coach. The experience is what made me want to go back to Coach Hart.”

There are sometimes risks in taking on athletes, especially after such a successful career, and now one might even think Coach Ford is not qualified, but there are so many factors to performance, including maturity, a right amount of confidence, and desire, that sometimes athletes don't truly understand until they've left a great situation.

This year has seen many high profile triathletes leave their coaches, and we will see what happens. There is a risk for the new coaches, because if it doesn't work out, they don't look good. In fact, it becomes a very public, poor showing of them if things do not go well.

And then you have the other end of the spectrum, where an athlete feels they have reached a plateau, and need to move on to a new coach to create the next breakthrough. There is nothing wrong with making this choice, especially when they are not at the peak of the sporting world, (like Wariner was), and are seeking new motivation, new structure and even new goals.


New coach for Ritz

Beijing Olympic marathoner Dathan Ritzenhein has made a coaching change.

On Sunday, Ritzenhein’s former coach Brad Hudson posted a release on his Facebook page confirming that the two are parting company.

“Coach Brad Hudson and athlete Dathan Ritzenhein have parted ways after 4 quality years together,” the post read. “Dathan’s success under Brad included the top American performance in the 2008 Olympic Marathon, two National Titles in Cross Country, as well as personal bests in the 2 mile, 3K, 5K, 10k, Half Marathon, and Marathon. It was a pleasure to coach Dathan, we’ve been through a lot together. I have enjoyed getting to know him and his family. I wish him continued success in his running career.”

Those are two good examples of when it's time to make a coaching change, and when it perhaps isn't. If you're thinking about changing coaches, consider both of these examples, and see which one applies to you, so you can make the right decision for yourself.

Coach Vance

Monday, May 18, 2009

Running to ride well?

I'm noticing some interesting trends in some of my athletes, and I'm excited about it. Many of my long course athletes were at a point where we needed to step back and focus on higher intensities, and build up their other energy systems, in order to help stimulate a big jump in their endurance/oxidative energy systems. They've been so stuck on longer distance, high volume training, their performances had plateaued.

The surprising thing I've seen in a lot of them has been how much their cycling has improved without really doing higher-end intensity on the bike, as much as doing that for the run.

The more I've thought about this, the more sense it makes, as the weight bearing intensity of the running will make riding at much higher intensities that much easier, because of the lack of weight bearing required during cycling.

How much improvement have I seen in my athletes? Well, with the ones who have been collecting data for the past few seasons, their CP6 watts are all higher than they've ever been, with many of their 10 best performances EVER, coming in the last few months. The performances haven't been limited to just CP6 to CP30 values, but this is the most dramatic difference I've seen in all the charts. Also, we haven't begun to focus on the race specific intensities of a fall Ironman yet.

While this may not seem like a big deal, it actually is. So many athletes think the only way to get better at riding is to ride more. This data is showing me that just is not the case sometimes. Much data has been presented in studies to show that intensity is the key to fitness, not volume. This supports that, but more specifically that running can help cycling, if done properly.

It is important to state that simply changing the training stress to a weak area for most of them may simply be the case, but seeing it across the board like this is not what I expected.

Something to consider, and which I will keep an eye on.

Coach Vance

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Open water swim clinic on Saturday, May 9th

Are you doing well in the pool, but having issues with your open water swimming? Want to make a big leap in your race performance? Come to the TrainingBible Open Water Swim Clinic presented by Jim Vance to learn the skills he used to win 2 Amateur World Titles, and now races professionally with, including 3rd overall at the 2006 Ironman Florida . After this simple clinic, Jim ASSURES you will know the skills to be faster in the open water for your next race, without any more effort than you’re already giving! No matter what your swim ability, fast or novice, this clinic will help you!

Topics Covered:

  • Basic Swim concepts and techniques
  • Breathing
  • Surf Entry
  • Surf Exits
  • Dolphining
  • Sighting
  • Swimming straight in the open water!
  • Currents
  • Turning at buoys
  • Transitioning quickly - out of wetsuits, goggles, etc.
  • Drafting
  • Pack swimming – dealing with crowds
  • Dealing with choppy water, big waves
  • Small tricks of the trade to help you swim FASTER!

COME PREPARED TO SWIM!!! (Bring wetsuit)

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

1:00 PM to 2:30 PM. (Clinic begins at 1 PM!)

Where: Ventura Cove at Mission Bay . Click here for directions: http://tinyurl. com/crm5vh

It's right next to the Bahia Hotel, north side of the road. Bring everything to swim in, wetsuit, goggles, etc. Don't forget your chaffing cream, as this will be a workout as well!

Cost: $50 per person, ($40 for TCSD members!)

Reserve your spot by registering at: com/page/ Event_Details. htm?event_ id=1743963&assetId=a214fb84- 7a66-4cb3- a9ae-f97474cea03 e

Hope to see you there!

Coach Vance

Free talk at B+L on Swimming on Monday

Are you struggling with your swimming? Not seeing improvement despite the yards you put in? Do you understand what the coaches are trying to tell you? Do you not have a coach on deck and need more help?

Come to my free talk at B+L Bikes in Solana Beach, on Monday, May 11th, from 6:15-7:30 PM...

Swimming – Learning and Understanding the 3 Most Important Technical Aspects

TrainingBible Coach Jim Vance will discuss the three most important technical aspects of swimming. If you are struggling in the water, and don’t understand what to do, this will simplify and explain it to you in a manner which will make sense to you, and give you the tools to be faster in the water! There will be video to help describe and illustrate the concepts as well. Bring a notebook and your questions!

I did this lecture as a BYOC event for the Tri Club of San Diego, and the response was incredible! One individual told me he improved one 1 minute on a 300 yard swim alone!

Please RSVP to me by email, (jvance at trainingbible dot com), so I know how many attendees to expect.

Hope to see you there!

Coach Vance

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New athlete

I have a new athlete, my third racing in Kona this October, and below is his story. Pretty excited about working with Matt, and look forward to all this opportunity has to offer!

Matt Hoover: From Biggest Loser to Ironman

Matt Hoover: From Biggest Loser to Ironman

Originally posted 05/05/2009 08:00AM

Once Matt Hoover sets a goal, nothing can stop him from achieving it. Such determination led Hoover to a whopping 157-pound weight loss and the title of Biggest Loser in 2005.

But after gaining back some of his weight in the years since, Hoover, 33, has a new goal for both regaining a leaner athletic body and teaching fans to achieve their dreams: Hoover will compete in the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, in October.

"I am super excited about it," Hoover tells PEOPLE.

Read more here at

Matt will be on the 700 Club tomorrow morning, so tune in to see what else he has going on with this adventure!

Coach Vance