Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hard to do Positive Things with a Negative Focus

I said something the other day to one of my athletes....

"It's hard to accomplish positive things if you are constantly focused on negatives."

So often, athletes ruin any sense of confidence in themselves, by focusing on the negatives of their performances, training, lifestyle or injuries. Many miss the enjoyment of training and improving, and most certainly the rewards of it, when they focus on all the things they can't do, or why they can't win, or do well, or stay healthy.

What is your focus on? The negatives, weaknesses and challenges? Or your approach to getting better, and excitement about improving?

Coach Vance

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Training Doesn't have to be Complicated to be Successful

I hear a lot of athletes and coaches spouting out their knowledge about training, using complex terms, or creating complicated workouts. It really doesn't need to be complicated to be successful though. If I put a list of the most important things, complicated or super-scientific training isn't listed anywhere near the top.

Things that are near the top? Consistency first, then injury prevention, recovery, diet, sleep, and progression of training load are just a few I would rank near the top, or at least well ahead of the complexity of training. I have seen plenty of athletes train in ways which go against common exercise science, but because they are consistent, and do many of these other things, are still able to do fairly well and improve.

If you're going for an Ironman World Championship, Olympic Gold Medal, or ITU WTS Championship, you need to really look at the science behind every decision you make in training and recovery. But that's a very limited group of athletes and coaches, who can control many other variables in their lives, (not having to balance a job, full-time focus on training and recovery), so it doesn't apply to most athletes.

Keep the training simple, and be consistent. Stop making it complicated, and you'll likely be successful if you are consistent in executing it.

Coach Vance

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Simple Steps for Planning Your Season

Here's an article I wrote for TrainingPeaks on how to plan your season, simply and effectively. I think you'll find it helpful if you're looking to find that breakthrough.

Admit it. You’ve seen patterns in your training and racing, and how the results are affected. There’s a time of year you find yourself “killing it” in training and races. There are other parts of the year where you struggle, battle plateaus, mentally struggle, and can’t seem to find the magic on race day that you found in other times of the year.

Phases and Concepts

It’s time to review your planning for those seasons, (or lack of planning), and try to learn from the patterns and plan your training so you can avoid the roller coaster. Ideally, a season shouldn’t have many up and downs, but sometimes a step back at the right time, both mentally and physically, can prevent big peaks and valleys. I prefer to use three phases when planning: Transition (period of recovery between seasons), General Preparation, and Specific Preparation. These will be discussed in more detail below.
In addition to planning out your season in phases, you need to look at a two key concepts that we know about training- variance and specificity. Both are necessary in order to plan your season effectively.
You can read the rest of the article here. I hope you enjoy it!

Coach Vance

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Is it really race nutrition that's the issue?

If you're finding that in an Ironman you always have stomach issues you can't explain? Feeling frustrated that suddenly your nutrition plan fails you? Maybe the problem isn't your nutrition?

There is no nutritional plan on earth which will make up for poor pacing. If you push the bike, you run the risk of the stomach becoming too sensitive to handle what you put in it. Put more in your stomach, and the odds of GI distress is even greater.

If you race at a higher intensity than you train at, and then suffer stomach issues, the issue isn't the nutrition so much as it's the intensity and pacing during your race.

Many athletes think the goal is to shove as many calories in their gut as it can process. The goal should be to simply take in as much as you need to accomplish your goal. Anything more than that, and the risk of GI distress greatly increases, ESPECIALLY if the athlete is racing HARD.

If your training doesn't match your race intensity, and you are having stomach issues, look at your training and race execution, first, and then match your caloric intake and concentrations to that proper intensity.

Coach Vance