Friday, April 30, 2010

Improve Your Bike Splits Talk at Hi-Tech Bikes May 12, 2010

I'll be doing this talk as part of the Tri Club of San Diego's Bring Your Own Chair lecture series, (BYOC). Hope you can make it, but if you can't it will be available as a recorded talk in the Coach Vance store.

Are you struggling to improve your cycling? Stuck in a rut? Do you want to become a more efficient and faster cyclist? Then this talk by Elite TrainingBible Coach Jim Vance will be one you won’t want to miss!

Topics to be discussed:
Generating more power!
What is power? What is a power meter?

When: Wednesday, May 12th, 6:30-7:45 PM
Where: Hi-Tech Bikes, 7638 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. San Diego 92111
Cost: FREE! Food and drinks provided!
Who: Anyone who wants to get faster on their bike
RSVP: Please RSVP to Orlanda Vance - ovance at trainingbible dot com

Food and drinks will be provided, and Hi-Tech will be running all sorts of specials on PowerTaps, Easton wheelsets and tons of other products!

You will not want to miss this great event! Hope to see you there!

Coach Vance

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Improve Your Run Cadence with this Simple Trick!

Your run cadence is one of the biggest determining factors of your run speed and ability. Most athletes give it lip service, not realizing that a slow cadence means slow pace. If you want to improve your run cadence, (keeping it ideally in the 90's), then you should use some simple technology which may already have.

If you have a Garmin, or some type of speed-distance device with a foot-pod, (Suunto, Polar, etc), like the one in this image below, you have all you need to improve your cadence in only a matter of a few weeks!

Simply take your watch, and set the screen so the only thing you see on it is your cadence. It helps to take away your pre-conceived notions about pace and intensity, and let's you simply focus on ONE, SINGLE ASPECT of your running technique.

Checking your cadence by counting every few minutes won't do as well as this, because when you are counting your steps you will likely cheat and focus on it more, even if you don't mean to. The point is to make it a natural habit, not just when you focus on it.

One of my athletes came up with this idea, as we have been working on his cadence, and it has done wonders for him. If you have a GPS or foot-pod compatible watch, invest in the foot-pod and do this a few times per week. You'll be impressed with the difference a few weeks of focusing on cadence can do for you!

Coach Vance

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Cognitive Component of Training

One the hottest topics in the world of endurance sports and training is barefoot running. It’s amazing how much people are embracing the idea of when they run without shoes, they are suddenly forced to land properly on their feet, mid to forefoot, instead of heel striking.

There are companies latching onto this idea and craze, and creating shoes which they claim will help the athlete accomplish this barefoot running style, which is a more natural and efficient way to run.

I’m not going to debate the claims of the research or these products, or even a lack of products with barefoot running, but instead point out another perspective many athletes are not seeing.

Do I believe in the idea of running more mid-foot to forefoot? Absolutely! But the belief that removing shoes or changing shoes will suddenly replace the need for an athlete to think about their form and technique is flawed. It is the same belief and concept of a magic pill, where we are allowed to be lazy.

Athletes can wear regular shoes and still accomplish good running form, plenty of great runners have proven this. They just need to maintain the cognitive component of training, where they focus on technique, foot-strike, pacing, relaxation, strategies, nutrition and hydration needs, etc.

When an athlete hits the tougher portions of a race, such as the run in an Ironman or later miles of a marathon, their ability to focus on the things which will determine their performance will be a key skill. Shoes or no shoes will not be the difference.

Some call this mental skill “mental toughness”. Coach Vern Gambetta calls it, “mental discipline”, which I like a lot.

There is no room for laziness when it comes to performance. The higher level of performance you crave, the more important mental discipline becomes, and therefore needs to be a bigger part of your training regimen.

Cognitive training means knowing and understanding what technical and logistical goals an athlete has, and making sure these are met, along with the fitness goals.

If you’re running with these products, or barefoot, that’s fine, but don’t let it make you lazy about your form, technique and other important elements which you need to be mentally in tune with. Be sure to pay attention to the “Cognitive Component of Training!”

Coach Vance

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dance with the Water - Part 5, Coordination Building

This is the latest article in my series called, "Dance with the Water", for

Dance With the Water–Part 5: Coordination Building

In this "Dance with the Water" article series, we continue discussing the idea that an athlete must listen to the signals the water gives, like a dancer following the lead of their partner. Move to your own beat, and not in rhythm with the water, and you're bound to struggle.

In this column, I'll highlight the need to build coordination and movement efficiency in the water.

Ask a swimmer or triathlete how their swim session went, and you'll probably get an answer which tells how far they swam. If they are a more advanced swimmer, they'll probably also tell you a key set they did, on a send-off interval, or holding a certain average time.

This is good, because the athlete understands the fact that there are different aspects to training besides volume. Volume is simply how much swimming you're doing, while giving a speed and time interval helps to define the intensity.

Put another way, volume helps to show aerobic fitness, because an athlete must have some basic aerobic fitness to be able to swim a distance. Intensity will show the muscular fitness of an athlete, because the athlete must have a certain amount of muscular power and fitness to complete the intervals on a set time.

Read the rest of the article here at

Coach Vance

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New workouts in the Exercise Libraries

If you use TrainingPeaks as your online training log, you probably know there is a store in the software for purchasing training plans for events. However, there is also a store for Exercise Libraries, which is simply a collection of workouts, designed by the author.

If you're a self-coached athlete, looking for some new workouts to use and utilize in your training, then you might like some of the Exercise Libraries I have added:

Marathon Goal Pace Workouts - This is a series of 9 workouts, built in a ladder, designed to help athletes who are preparing for a marathon. These are simple and progressive, yet effective workouts for nearly ALL levels of runners, from beginner to advance.

Goal Mile Run Workouts - This series of 15 workouts, built ladder style of 1/wk, has an athlete attempt to run 1 mile on a track at a selected goal time come the 15th week, are designed to improve economy and speed. This is an ADVANCED level workout structure and system.

Advanced 70.3 Bike Workouts - These 6 workouts are wattage-based, for the athlete who is COMPETITIVE in Half-Ironman, looking to make a jump in bike performance. These workouts are tough, and have been used by age-group winners, Kona qualifiers and elites.

Advanced Ironman Bike Workouts - These 5 workouts are wattage-based, for the athlete who is COMPETITIVE in Ironman, looking to make a jump in bike performance. These workouts are tough, and have been used by age-group winners, Kona qualifiers and elites.

If you're looking to spice-up your training or to step-up your training, these workouts will allow you to do so, based on your goals. They are specific for the races they list, and will help with any athlete to periodize their training and have a successful race. Look for more exercise libraries from me in the coming weeks.

Coach Vance

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mallorca, Spain Triathlon Camp 2010

I've been back for a few weeks now from the triathlon camp I conducted with Joe Friel, in Mallorca, Spain. It was an incredible experience, and I will most certainly continue to hold camps in epic places around the world, of that I am convinced.

If you missed this camp, then you most certainly missed out, if the above image doesn't tell you that already! This was a typical view on a ride, and the rides consisted of the tightest switch-backs and hairpins I've ever ridden! The climbs weren't especially long, but they were always there, and the views were always gorgeous, even when it was into the clouds!

We had 19 athletes at this camp, staying at Pollentia Resort, which was housing nearly all cyclists and triathletes. It was a great venue, and the athletes were a lot of fun to work with. It was a much longer camp than our San Luis Obispo one, as this lasted 7 days, compared to 4. This made the camp not as intense, as the training stress was spread out over 7 days, instead of cramming 4 good days together.

At this camp we swam three open-water interval workouts in the Mediterranean, including an aquathlon to finish off the camp with some of the athletes, (great fun!) See the photo below:

Each day had a classroom session, which had either myself or Joe Friel teaching, as well as Q&A, so the athletes could engage in discussion with the coaching staff. Everyone stayed at the same resort, which provided two meals a day for us, so everyone ate together each day and got to know one another better, and enjoy more friendly conversations about training, life outside of triathlon, and sharing many cultural differences. We had athletes from the UK, Norway, Spain and the US, so we had lots of great cultural experiences!

Athletes had underwater video of their swim strokes, complete with individual analysis, run technique sessions, runs along the sea, rides with coffee stops, transition work and a transition competition, a tough 25K time trial competition up a mountain to a monastery, and countless rides on mountain roads with tunnels, countless switchbacks, and great descending!

There was so much to say and write about this camp, I can't begin to do it justice, other than to say I will do it again, and you can join me! Stayed tuned to the blog, as I'll be announcing more of these in the coming weeks and months. (I will be doing another camp in Tuscany, Italy in September, but it is sold out.)

So I will just leave these images for you to get the idea of how the camp went, and I'm sure you will get the idea.

Hope to see you at some of our other upcoming camps!

Coach Vance

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New Ironman Training Plans - Only 5 days/wk of Training

There are a growing number of people wanting to be an "Ironman", and yet we all have busy lives, and many demands. It's difficult to find a balance between our commitments in life, work and family, with the training demands of an Ironman.

So one of the things I've been working diligently on has been a "bare-bones" training plan for Ironman. After all, I know probably better than most what it takes to be an Ironman. I've trained myself as an elite to be ready, trained Kona qualifiers, beginners, and even trained a celebrity battling weight issues to missing the cut-off in Kona by less than 4 minutes, and that's one of the toughest Ironman races in the world.

I am pretty excited to announce these new training plans, which require ONLY 5 days of training per week! In the plans, I give every Monday and Friday off for the athlete. (My next set of Ironman plans to be released will have one week day and Sunday's off!)

The plans are:
Ironman Finisher in 16 wks - ONLY 5 days/wk Training - Saturday Race
Ironman Finisher in 16 wks - ONLY 5 days/wk Training - Sunday Race
Ironman Finisher in 20 wks - ONLY 5 days/wk Training - Saturday Race
Ironman Finisher in 20 wks - ONLY 5 days/wk Training - Sunday Race

An obvious question is, "What is the real difference between 16 and 20 weeks?" The answer is the risk which must be taken in training. An extra month of preparation requires less risk in terms of ramping up the volume, in order to adequately prepare the athlete. The reason for offering two different plans is we all have different time frames we work with. The other item to determine is whether the race falls on a Saturday or Sunday, as the race week preparation will be different.

You can view these plans and more descriptions, including a graphical preview of the weekly volume, here at my featured coach page on You can look for more of the same at and Active Trainer in the coming days, if that is your online training log.

Enjoy and best of luck!

Coach Vance

Friday, April 2, 2010

Open Water Swim Clinics for Spring & Summer 2010

One of the most popular clinics I give and sells out nearly every time is the open-water swim clinic. I will be conducting the clinic only three times this year in San Diego, so the opportunities are limited. The dates for the clinics will be:

Saturday, April 17th, 2010
Saturday, May 8th, 2010
Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Each clinic will start at noon, and last up to two hours, at Ventura Cove in Mission Beach.

Each clinic is limited to 16 participants, with no waiting list. You can register by clicking here.

These clinics are very popular, so hurry and register before they sell out! You will learn a lot of valuable information, and see OVERNIGHT improvements in your swim.

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 race professionally with, to become a top level swimmer in the sport,and get 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
Surf Entry
Surf Exits
Swimming straight in the open water!
Turning at buoys
Transitioning quickly - out of wetsuits, goggles, etc.
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)

3 dates to choose from! (Only need to attend one date)
Saturday, April 17th
Saturday, May 8th
Saturday, June 12th

12:00 PM to 2:00 PM. (Clinic begins at 12 PM!)

Where: Ventura Cove at Mission Bay . Click here for directions:

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, ($45 for TCSD members!)

Each clinic will be capped at 16 people to keep instructional quality high. Registration can found at:

Hope to see you there!

Coach Vance

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Run Technology - GPS and Foot-pods at Nytro, Thursday, April 8th

Did you buy a new Garmin, or other GPS/foot-pod device for your running? Do you understand how to use it? Do you know what you're capable of seeing in your training and fitness from it? I will be giving a talk at Nytro next Thursday, April 8th, on how to utilize your Garmin, foot-pod or other speed-distance device for running, in both simple and complex ways to monitor performance, training and other factors.

You spent all that money on the thing, now come learn how to use it!

Cost: FREE! Free pizza and drinks! (Beer and wine!)
When: Thursday, April 8th, 6:30-7:45 PM
Where: Nytro Multisport Shop, Encinitas, CA
Who: Anyone who uses a Garmin, GPS or foot-pod for their run training
Why: Because you want to be faster!
RSVP: Email Orlanda at ovance at trainingbible dot com

Come on out and enjoy the event, the food, the drinks and learn how to use your technology!
The talk will be available for download here after the event, if you are interested, but can not make it. [Edit: The talk is now available for download here.]

Coach Vance