Friday, September 16, 2016

WADA and TUE Leaks

Hackers this week have released data on athletes, from Olympic stars to elite cyclists, and more are coming.

For clarity purposes, WADA stands for the World Anti-Doping Association. TUE stands for Therapuetic Use Exemption, which means an athlete has filed the proper paperwork with a doctor, to get to use a certain substance, which meets a personal need they have, such as asthma, where an inhaler might be needed. TUE's are the official approval of WADA for the athlete to use the substance, for a given time and for a given need only.

These WADA leaks about prominent athletes having TUE's, is simply a smear campaign. Filing for a TUE, and having it granted is NOT cheating or doping. It is actually playing by the rules and being honest and open about your individual needs and conditions. Now, is this TUE policy being abused? Absolutely, by some I have no doubt. But a TUE is not proof of cheating, in fact, it is the opposite, these athletes are following the rules and being honest about what they're taking. (If you don't like TUE's, well that's another argument in itself. Although, I would be hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn't take some type of medicine if their doctor prescribed it to them, and it was a serious ailment for their daily living and career).

WADA is a world governing body, not a national, so these athletes aren't being sheltered or protected by their national governing bodies from the rest of the world. This is the authority.

Is there corruption within WADA? I believe at times, yes. Is there abuse of the system to gain an edge? Certainly. I've written on this blog about athletes and coaches who do that, specifically. I am not a fan of this, and certainly think the number of TUE's which can be granted to an athlete should be limited. Maybe the TUE's length of time it is granted needs to be discussed or debated, but in the end, we do rely on an honor system to a degree.

Now, if this hack and leak begins to expose positive tests which WADA has swept under the rug, that is an entirely different story, and all bets are off. However, testing positive for a substance which you have a TUE filed for and is current, is not against the rules, and isn't hiding a positive test, or sweeping it under the rug.

So before you read headlines and make quick judgements on athletes, be sure to understand the system, and read the facts.

Coach Vance

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Guest on IM Talk - Run With Power

I was a guest this week on IM Talk, the most popular Ironman Triathlon podcast there is. I was discussing my new book, Run With Power. You can check out the interview here.

Have a listen, and let me know your thoughts!

Coach Vance

Friday, June 24, 2016

Run With Power E-Book Now Available

Many of you have been asking, and it is now out and available. Should help many of the international athletes on here who have been waiting. You can find it here:

And I am always appreciative of a review on Amazon or other online retailers for the book. I want honest feedback, as the planning for a 2nd version, or a more in-depth sequel will begin soon.

Thanks, and good luck!

Coach Vance

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What a triathlete can learn from US Soccer in Copa America?

Tonight, (Tuesday, June 21st, 2016), I watched the US lose to the #1 team in the world, Argentina, in the COPA America Centario Semi-Final, which is one of the most prestigious soccer tournaments in the world. (I know many may say the UEFA Cup is better, but the US can't play in that, since they are not in Europe.) Tonight the US lost 0-4, to a team which was flat out better than they were. There is no shame in losing to a team that's better than you. But it is an opportunity to review.

As the game went on and I was frustrated to watch as a fan, I realized so many of the feelings and things I was saying out loud at the TV were things I see in triathletes, and frustrations I have with many of them, from elites to age groupers to elite juniors. I can make it very clear in 2 simple concepts, which if you are a triathlete, you need to seriously consider if you value your performances in the sport.

Lesson #1 - Fundamentals are Key
Passing a soccer ball isn't cool on the playground. Scoring is cool. Being the best passer on the field isn't cool. Saving shots from the goalie position are cool. Headers into goals are cool. Passing isn't cool, that is, until you see a team that has such a basic fundamental skill down so well, they make it beautiful. Argentina passed the ball like it was effortless, while the US passed like they didn't know where it was going. It was such a clear depiction of what the difference of what the best do and what the US does, that I had to write about it, in relation to triathlon. It's a fundamental skill.

What are fundamentals in triathlon? They are bike fit, proper run shoes, basic swim skills, pacing skills, basic aerobic conditioning, injury prevention and therapy, race nutrition, equipment maintenance and its preparation for race day, proper rest and recovery, and of course, consistency of training.

So many triathletes are chasing the highest goals against the stiffest of competition, and don't bother making these fundamentals a focus. They are more concerned with hours of training or their FTP. And it's no surprise when many don't reach their potential or even close to their goals when they haven't addressed the fundamentals! I've literally had athletes supremely prepared and ready to perform exceptionally, only to get in an Ironman and realize they didn't charge the battery of the Di2, and they can't shift! There's no training plan or world renowned coach who can overcome that basic fundamental of making sure your equipment is ready for race day!

There are no nutritional plans which can overcome poor pacing. If it could, then whoever ate the most would win! You can't run your first few miles off the bike at 10K pace in a long course triathlon! There's no way I can help you with training to perform at a high level if you don't have a proper bike fit, giving up effective watts. I can't help you if you treat the swim and transitions as times for photo opps with the family or warm-ups for bike and run, instead of opportunities to close the gap on the best in your Age Group.

There is no training plan a coach can write, or workouts you can do, which can make up for a lack of consistency in your training. You must be committed, and you must put in the work, EVERYDAY.

These are the fundamentals of triathlon, which too often get overlooked. They aren't sexy, like a power file, or bike split, or even passing in a major soccer game, but as Argentina proved, the best in the world are masters of fundamentals.

Lesson #2 - It doesn't matter how good or bad your competition is, if you are your own worst enemy

This concept is related to Lesson #1, but it needs to be stated by itself. If you're ignoring the fundamentals, you are your own worst enemy. If you think you can brush over the fundamentals, as though they are just fodder for a blog, then you will be exposed, especially as your goals get higher, and you face stiffer competition.

There's no way around it, you need to address the fundamentals. If you don't know what they are, or feel like you're never racing to a level which is indicative of your performance potential, then you need a coach, and they should address the fundamentals with you. You can even watch the best, and notice they have the fundamentals down. They don't screw up the basics, they are well beyond them.

I'm pissed off to see a US Men's National Team perform so poorly on the biggest stage, against the best in the world, in a way which shows they lack the fundamentals. I would be embarrassed as a coach of a triathlete if they did the same.

In the postgame, Alexi Lalas stated, "The number of times the US lost the ball, clear unforced errors which have nothing to with the fact you're playing Argentina..." What he was saying is it doesn't matter if they are more talented than you if you give them the victory anyway. Think about that. How much are you giving your competition just because you are not addressing or doing the things which are basic?

Address your fundamentals, stop being your own worst enemy.

Coach Vance

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Run Power Based Training Plans Now Available on TrainingPeaks

If you've picked up my new book, Run With Power, or are using a power meter for your run training, and are looking to use it with TrainingPeaks, I have run power-based training plans now available in TrainingPeaks. 

These plans are from the book, and are in Appendix B, so they are available there, but if you'd like them pre-loaded into your TrainingPeaks account, this offers you the chance to do that.

The current plans are all 14 weeks long, and are for the specific phase, where the workouts are designed to simulate the demands of the race, not a base training phase. The plans are:

Sub 16 min 5K
Sub 18 min 5K
Sub 32 min 10K
Sub 40 min 10K
Sub 1:20 Half-Marathon
Sub 1:40 Half-Marathon
Sub 2:30 Marathon
Sub 3:30 Marathon

All these plans can be found here:

Hopefully you'll have a great experience in using one or many of these plans, and your running power meter!

Coach Vance

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Efficiency Index Apps - Garmin & Suunto

If you've picked up Run With Power, or been listening to me on podcasts, you know that speed per watt is the key metric for running power meters, or what I call, Efficiency Index, or EI for short. Chapter 5 in the book is devoted to this topic entirely, and I discuss how a rolling 30 second average of your speed per watt in a race or workout can give you a good idea of how efficiently you're running, or the speed you're getting for the watts you're producing.

In this technology age, we can create these metrics to monitor during a run on our watches or head units, and I have a couple of fans of the book who created the Rolling EI for Garmin and Suunto users. The Suunto apps were created by Toni Cumplido, (twitter: @tonicumpli), so thank you Toni for these! I hope to have more Garmin IQ apps coming.

Here are the links for each, if you're using these products and want to see...

Efficiency Index by itself, of the entire session
Garmin IQ App

Suunto Moves Count App for Ambit

Rolling Efficiency Index, just the previous 30 seconds within the session
Suunto Moves Count App for Ambit

Power Training Zones
Suunto Moves Count App for Ambit - Allows you to see what zone you are in while training, based on your rFTPw.

Again, thanks for the help, and I hope you're enjoying Run With Power, and these metrics for training.

Coach Vance

Friday, May 6, 2016

Article from Competitor on Power for Running

Here's an article from Competitor on power meters for running, (written by Brian Metzler), which I contributed quotes for.

Since the 1950s, distance runners have trained by following structured programs and workouts backed by physiological testing and years and years of positive results.
Beginning in the late 1980s, heart-rate monitors added a new dimension to training, allowing for the advent of workouts based on specific heart-rate zones. Both methods have helped runners and triathletes of all levels improve their performance. By the early 2000s, GPS-enabled smartwatches made it easy to monitor pace, distance, elevation and other types of data.
As the modern age of wearable tech has started to unfold, a new measurement technology has the ability to revolutionize training for runners: the power meter.
Cyclists have used power meters since the 1990s to accurately measure how much power they’re outputting and how that effort corresponds with their physiology. Power is the primary metric for cyclists, although, granted, it’s a much simpler metric to understand on the bike—essentially a function of how much force is being exerted on the pedals, crank arms or rear hub to make it move.
Power meters for runners—and the corresponding training protocols based on power output—have only become available recently, so the art and science of using power for run training are still very much in their infancy. But those closest to the new technology—including pioneering coaches and elite athletes who are already incorporating power into their training—believe it can be a very important metric for running.

Read the rest of the article at

Coach Vance

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Free Copies of Run With Power with Power Meter Purchases

If you're interested in running power meters, there are some great limited time offers from the two power meters on the market, Stryd and RPM2, which come with FREE copies of my book, Run With Power, to help you get started on understanding how to use the tools.

RPM2 is offering $100 off their insole power meter, and an autographed copy of Run With Power. You can get the details here.

Stryd is offering a free copy of Run With Power with the purchase of one of their power meters, or packages. You can get the details at:

Keep following my blog to find out more and learn more about using power meters for running, and other cool offers!

Coach Vance

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Interview on Triathlete Training Podcast

I was recently invited to be a guest on another top triathlon podcast, Triathlete Training Podcast, conducted by Eric Schwartz. Eric does great work, and it was a great conversation, from my swim coaching to the books I am releasing this year, and a few laughs even!

You can listen to the podcast here:

You can also download the interview from the site:

If you read this blog, I know you'll love Triathlon 2.0 - Data Driven Performance Training, as it takes what I talk about on here to another level, and completes the picture. As of the date of this post, there are 7 reviews on Amazon, with 6 being 5-star, one being 4-star. You can order a copy here.

Enjoy, and please feel free to reach out to me on social media, via Twitter, @jimvance, and Instagram, @coachjimvance.

Coach Vance

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

IM Talk Podcast - Triathlon 2.0

I had the privilege of being on another one of the top Ironman podcasts, IM Talk, which is based out of New Zealand. The topic was my new book, Triathlon 2.0, but we also just dipped into Run With Power, which they discussed having me come back on the show to chat about in the future as well.

If you're a long course triathlete, this is a podcast you certainly know. They are on episode 513!

Thanks and enjoy! The interview starts at about 44:00.

Coach Vance

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Reasons to Get a Power Meter for Running

This post comes from the website from my new book, Run With Power. 

14 Ways a Power Meter Can Make You a Faster Runner

Adapted with permission of VeloPress from RUN WITH POWER by Jim Vance. Media may republish this article without prior permission in its entirety (2,056 words) including the book cover image and a link to this website. Contact VeloPress with questions or for additional content.
Do you have high goals?
Are you trying to qualify for an event or place high at a certain race?
Perhaps you simply want to run a faster time than you’ve run before. The higher you set your goals and the better you become, the more commitment you’ll need to reach your next level, however you define it. And as your goals become more challenging, the margin for error in your training and performance will become ever smaller. Many of your competitors are just as good as you are, and some of them are better. It’s crucial that you get your training right.
Training is stressful on the body. It has to be, because fitness is really just the ability of your body to tolerate a level of stress. The faster you go, the more stress you put on your body for a given level of fitness. But for as long as runners have been training, our ability to measure the amount of stress we put into our bodies has been quite limited.
We can track volume easily—we don’t need anything more sophisticated than a training diary to record how long and how far we train each day. But volume is not a very accurate way to measure stress. Workout intensity is the real key to fitness, but the usual ways we measure intensity, such as a scale of perceived exertion, are subjective. Heart rate (HR) is a tool we’ve used to infer intensity in the past, but it’s flawed, too. In addition to the fact that heart rate does not measure intensity directly, it can also be affected by factors unrelated to training, such as diet, temperature, and stress. Pace may seem as straightforward as training volume at first, but in fact it is hard to quantify; varying terrain and elevation can markedly affect pace. Windy, hot, or cold conditions can also affect pace negatively or positively, adding to the challenge of quantifying the intensity.
All of these tools are helpful in creating a snapshot to measure fitness, and yet none of them give us an impartial way to monitor training intensity with repeatable precision. But when we measure stress incorrectly, our training suffers. We become more vulnerable to injury. We may suffer from a lack of recovery. We may get intensity wrong. Any one of those setbacks can derail a training plan. What we need, clearly, is a better way to measure the stress we are inflicting in our daily training routines. And that’s exactly what the power meter provides, and it is why the power meter has the potential to revolutionize your run training.
With a power meter, you can measure your performance and training stress more precisely than ever before, and take control of your training and racing to improve every aspect of your running career. No longer will you wonder whether you are meeting the intensity, recovery, pace, and volume goals of your training plan. Instead, you will erase any doubts about your training, and you will be able to monitor changes and improvements in every aspect of your running fitness.
Why Run with a Power Meter?
 If you’re a triathlete, a bicycle racer, or a fan of either pro sport, you are probably already familiar with the use of power meters in cycling. The power meter transformed training and racing in the cycling world. It has surpassed every other training tool because it delivers an objective and repeatable assessment of overall fitness without any of the drawbacks of previous measurement methods, such as heart rate, speed, and perceived exertion. In fact, the advantages of the cycling power meter are so great—and the margin of error so small in the world of competitive cycling and triathlon—that to ignore the information and the advantage from a power meter would be to concede victory before the race had started.
In the running world, we have recently seen a surge in the popularity of GPS units, and we’ve seen these units get smaller and smaller as usage has grown. The increased adoption of GPS shows that the running world, like the cycling world, is open to embracing technology and its benefits.
While the GPS unit is a useful tool, its contribution to training pales in comparison with the advantages the power meter can provide. The leap in technology is something like the difference between using a typewriter and a computer. In the history of running technology, a stopwatch is probably equivalent to using a typewriter—pretty good at its job, but severely limited in scope. Running’s step up to heart rate monitors was a revelation, but in retrospect, it was like moving from the typewriter to what we would now regard as an old, heavy, slow desktop computer. Today’s GPS wrist units are like the first cellphones, much like a flip-phone. The portable power meter for running is the next step, equivalent to the laptop, tablet, and smartphone coming into existence all at once. And while you can still accomplish a lot with a desktop computer, you likely will be much more effective in many ways if you add the laptop, tablet, and smartphone to your arsenal. This is what the power meter brings to the world of training and racing for competitive running.
I am sure you are wondering what makes this technology so great...
You can read the rest here.

Coach Vance

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Best New Cycling Power Meter

Many people ask me what power meter they should get. That depends on a number of factors, including budget, but also transferability, ease of installation, and user friendliness.

Probably the best new power meter on the market, in my opinion, is the new Power Tap Pedal power meter.
These pedals are very user friendly in the install, and also provide the ability to swap from bike to bike, as well as come from a company which has been doing power meters for a long time!

You can find the pedals here:

I must state, I am NOT sponsored or endorsed by PowerTap in any manner. I simply use their products.

If you're using these pedals, please share your review here. I am excited to learn how others are enjoying using them!

Coach Vance

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Observations and Experiences at 2016 US Olympic Marathon Trials

I attended the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles, this past Saturday. It was an incredible event, and as much as I have been critical of USATF in the past, this is one event they do very well, and do it right. They are to be commended on their venue, sponsors, course, and coverage via TV, internet and media.

As I watched the event, and especially post-race, there were some things which really stood out to me that every athlete should take away, whether racing at the Olympic Trials, or simply going after a PR or some other major goal for themselves personally.

Watching the race on TV, or just reviewing it through the media, you'd think it was all celebrations and happiness. You saw the heartache of the 4th place finishers, and felt bad for them, I'm sure. But you walk away seeing 3 happy people and only 1 sad or disappointed athlete per gender. But that's not really what happens when you're there.

I was watching the race and seeing athletes who were DNF's, limping, crying, sitting alone with their heads down, before the races were even finished. I saw athletes cross the finish line in tears, realizing they hadn't run very fast in terms of time, which had a lot to do with the course and conditions. But they also hadn't been where they thought they might be.

I saw family members of athletes needed to be consoled. I stood with Luke Puskedra's mom at the finish line, who was holding his daughter, while she stressed about the fact her son was in 4th and trying to grab that last Olympic spot toward the finish from Jared Ward. It didn't happen for him.

There were 211 men qualified, and 246 women. You saw 3 finish and make the team. Think about that for a second. Over 450 athletes who qualified for the event, trying to live their dream and accomplish their likely life-long goal, didn't achieve it. Only 6 did. But if you watched TV, it was all about the fulfillment of an Olympic dream, as though each athlete was going to have that happen. But it doesn't.

Sometimes you don't get what you want. There are plenty of tears, plenty of upset athletes, but we highlight the few happy ones on TV. The truth is we call it competition for a reason. Someone loses, and usually more people lose than win.

You can do all the work and not reach your goal. You can do everything perfectly, and it can still not be good enough. This is hard for athletes to comprehend and understand some times but it is a reality of competing. And of course, it is very rare we do everything right in preparation and training, as well as execute a perfect race.

One can and should be happy to make the Olympic Trials, but telling these athletes that is like telling you good job after you fell short of a dream result at your key race. I'm sure it is little consolation if you really committed and cared about the result.

So what is my point? My point is that when you decide to take this performance journey, you aren't promised anything. You likely should be promised that you won't be successful, especially as the goals begin to reach elite levels. You might come close, but you aren't deserving of the result you want just because you work hard and are dedicated. Winning and high performance is about a combination of ability, fitness, coaching, strategy, health, commitment, race execution, and even luck. Many athletes think because they have some ability and commitment, they should see the results. But that's only a part of the high performance puzzle.

I'm not trying to push you away from trying, but I am trying to get you to not focus on the result. The process of going after your goal is the real rewarding aspect of sport.

Be patient, and don't expect anything. Have confidence in your preparation that you have the opportunity to perform at the level you want, or the goals you want, but to expect these to happen just because you worked hard isn't realistic. Yes, you likely aren't going for an Olympic team spot, so you're not competing against the elites, but you likely are competing against a much larger population base than the Olympic Trials athletes were. There's probably more than 200+ athletes in your category, or chasing the championship level you are.

You will have set-backs. You will fail and get beat at certain races. You might even hate the people who beat you, but it will happen. Does this mean you wasted your time? ABSOLUTELY NOT. You will learn more about yourself in the losses than the accomplishments.

Just keep in mind, it isn't all Olympic berths for everyone, or happy endings. You're taking on this challenge of sport because it isn't easy. So don't expect easy, promised results. But this also makes the great results you do have, that much more rewarding.

Coach Vance

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Babbittville Radio Interview - Triathlon 2.0

Bob Babbitt this past weekend invited me to go on his radio show live and discuss a number of topics, from my new books, Triathlon 2.0 and Run With Power, to Triathlon at the Olympic Games, high school development of runners and triathletes, as well as USAT's approach to athlete development. Take a listen, as I think if any of these topics interest you, you'll enjoy the show.

Coach Vance

Monday, February 15, 2016

W/kg at FTP of Elite Ironman Triathletes

A few years ago, I asked myself, "Just what type of rider has it historically taken to be a top level long course triathlete?" When I sat down to find the answer, it lead me on a journey that ultimately lead to writing the book, Triathlon 2.0: Data Driven Performance Training. The goal was to see what the data says the performance requirements are to be at the highest level. This eventually led me to wondering what the different levels of performance requirements were for different genders, ages and goals, thus the book.

The elites I gathered information on, I wanted to know what their FTP was on the bike, (bFTP), and what their w/kg @ FTP was. I even took some non-long course triathletes to see how they compared. I always wondered if there was a power profile for triathletes, that could be created, like Coggan had created for cyclists. It became clear it wasn't that simple, as the population of triathletes is much more diverse than cyclists in terms of strengths/weaknesses, but that w/kg @ FTP still matters. So I am going to share some of the items from my book in the coming posts, which help show what the level of the sport is for Ironman triathletes, from age group males and females to elites.

But before I share the age-group power profiles, I will share the elite profiles. Some of these are from publicly available information, such as power files, blogs, websites, and more. Some of these are estimates, but based on many known variables, so I am confident they are very close. (Even those that are estimated are only a few.) This table is a few years old, but I haven't shared it until now, so it could have some changes, especially in the accomplishments category. It's also possible athletes could have lost or gained more mass, and even raised or lowered their FTP. For example, it is quite possible and believable based on Tim O'Donnell's 2015 performances that his numbers on this chart have improved. This was really just a snapshot in time, but a good picture of what it takes to perform at the highest levels.

The Power Profile Ranking would be where the athlete would rank on Coggan's power profile as a cyclist. I didn't list each athlete's ranking, just highlighted a few thresholds where the categories changed or were most important. You'll notice I also included women, highlighted in blue, and some of them have better w/kg values than the men. This shows how some of the top women are very competitive, sometimes even against the men.

(Click on image to enlarge)

What does this chart mean for you? If you're looking to compare yourself against the best, you now have a barometer to measure against. 

Is it all about w/kg @ FTP? Not necessarily, as it depends on the course. If the course is flat to rolling, maximal FTP relative to aerodynamic drag matters most, but this drag value won't vary significantly would be my guess, making max FTP the most important. If the course is extremely hilly, w/kg matters much more. 

But notice the amount of wins, podiums, etc, and the prestige of the accomplishments are concentrated near the top. Want to get better? Raise your w/kg @ FTP. 

Anyway, the point was to share this type of information and data with the triathlon community. If this is the type of stuff you love, to measure yourself and use data, I am pretty sure you'll love my book

Enjoy, and good luck in your training and racing!

Coach Vance

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Opinion: I Can't Celebrate Galen Rupp's Win at US Olympic Marathon Trials

In a continued theme of sharing my opinion on controversial topics of endurance sports, I will share my thoughts after attending The US Olympic Marathon Trials at Los Angeles this past weekend.

If you have read my blog recently, you know my feelings on *Ryan Hall. I understand and appreciate the commitment to performance at the highest level of sport. But once you cross into an area where you are trying to find loopholes in the doping regulations, you are becoming a doper yourself. If you can't sustain a level of training without medication designed solely and specifically to help you sustain it, you're cheating. It's doping. 

In the 2012 London Olympics, the men's 10,000 meter run was probably one of the most exciting races for an American I have watched in distance running in my entire lifetime. Galen Rupp, like *Ryan's great performances, had me in awe, excited about the future of the sport of distance running in this country.

But then the truth began to come out. And it is no surprise that Galen Rupp, like *Ryan Hall, is in the same category, training under Alberto Salazar and his Nike Oregon Project, (NOP), and has been a part of not just thyroid medication, but is accused and being investigated for a series of anti-doping violations, including testosterone treatments.

So I will now refer to *Galen Rupp with an asterisk as well, (as well as *Alberto Salazar), from this point forward. But even worse, as I watched a great race unfold in LA, I saw a winner of a race celebrated, as though there is no fire where there is smoke.

(Full disclosure: Meb is my friend, and I have known him for 21 years, since we were both 18, training some together in college, and racing each other a lot. I was obviously cheering for him, but he is on the Olympic Team, and that was the main goal, whether winning the race or getting 3rd).

Even worse, in what I can only describe as disgusting and disillusioned, is the response of much of the running community, toward those who are speaking out. One quick look to the YouTube video comments on Kara Goucher's post-race comments, and LetsRun threads on her comments, and you would think she was a doper, based on how they treat her. (It's one of the reasons I don't contribute to message boards like that.) To sum it up, they are burning her on the cross for even making the allegations, despite the fact she is supported in her statements by her own experience, other individuals and a lot of evidence. It's like Lance Armstrong, Part 2. To shoot them down is to treat them like Greg Lemond was treated, or Paul Kimmage, or others who tried to speak out but their careers were ruined because people didn't want to believe something so good could be so wrong. *Galen and *Salazar may be winning races, but they are not above the rules. And they are not above answering to the evidence. They are innocent until proven guilty, but let's not act like strong suspicions shouldn't be considered, when the evidence is mounting.

One can argue the timing looks bad, because she got 4th and it is at a major event. I think the timing is exactly the right time, when the sport is in the public's eye, and she can show she did things the right way and was still successful, while the ones we believe are cheating won.

I respect Kara Goucher. I respect her husband Adam. They were a part of Salazar's NOP crew, and left because they knew what was happening was wrong. Adam decided to walk away from the sport and keep his conscience. I wish I could say the same about others. I have heard some say they both did the things within the NOP, so they are guilty too. The difference is they left because of it. They spoke out against it. They didn't wait until it became news and then suddenly were against it. They've never once tried to defend it, or hide any of it. They didn't get caught and then have to apologize. They've spoken out from the beginning.

I hope this is completed and settled before the Olympics for *Galen and *Alberto, so if they are innocent, some can celebrate them. I won't be able to do so, nor remove the asterisks though, because they are just like *Ryan, trying to loophole the anti-doping regulations. To me that is doping. But if they are guilty of even more, I would rather have the clean athletes representing my country.

Coach Vance

Friday, February 12, 2016

TBC Podcast on Running Power Meters

If you're looking to learn more about running power meters, the boys from TrainingBible Coaching, Scott and Adam, had me on their show to discuss the new book coming out in May on this new technology. You can listen to it here:

Title: Part 3 Running Power Meters

It was a great interview, where I begin to explain some of the cool features, as well as complexities of this new technology. The book will help answer more questions in depth, in terms of the application of how to use your running power meter to train more effectively. I even discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the different products out there currently.

You can pre-order the book, Run With Power, here:

I will be sharing more info on the technology and how to use it, at the TrainingPeaks blog, the blog, and here at this one as well. If you have specific questions you would like me to address or discuss, please comment here, or email me at j vance at training bible dot com.

Coach Vance

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Triathlon 2.0 - Data Driven Performance Training Now Available

I am happy to announce that a book I have been working on for almost 4 years has finally come to fruition. Triathlon 2.0 - Data Driven Performance Training is a book for those athletes who want to use numbers, data and technology to maximize performance. If you use a power meter for cycling, and a GPS for running, this will help you maximize it.

The idea of this book is not to be a numbers drone, training without creativity. In fact, it's the exact opposite. This book is about identifying what metrics are most important to you, as an individual athlete, based on your strengths and weaknesses, and then following those metrics to see how you are responding to the training plan you create. This book will also help you set up some goal thresholds to meet, and ways to assess how you're racing, what your training might need to address.

There's never been a book like this. It doesn't have training plans, it lets you be the coach and learn to be better at coaching, whether coaching other athletes or yourself. I am sure you will enjoy this book, and learn at least a few things you can use and learn to better examine your power and run data. The better you train, the more confident and fitter you are at the start line. 

You can order the book by clicking on the image, or going to this link:

Good luck! 

Coach Vance

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Opinion: Ryan Hall Retirement

One of the things I have tried in the past to stay away from have been controversial topics and opinions, but I think the time has come where that needs to change. I will now occasionally use this blog to share opinions on things, because I need to be honest with athletes if I am truly a figurehead in the endurance sports world. Which leads me to the first topic....

Ryan Hall announced his retirement this week. At 33 years of age, a number of injuries and other setbacks, it seems we've all been a bit bummed that he couldn't return to the form he showed at Boston in 2011, and London in 2008, where he broke 2:07 at both. Boston was the fastest time any American had ever covered the marathon distance, at 2:04:58. It was amazing, in a word. But it was also not a World Record, as the course was point to point, with net downhill. And that asterisk on that performance is a metaphor for Ryan's career.

I watched Ryan grow through the sport, with some amazing races, going back to high school in Big Bear. At Stanford, racing Dathan Ritzenhein at the NCAA XC Champs, and then onto the track beyond that. His sub 1-hour half marathon is probably one of the most amazing American performances I will see in my lifetime. He has worked harder than most athletes, much less people, will ever know. He has sacrificed and made commitments, risked his health in training, and hoped for things to work out. But, there will always be an asterisk in mind.

When Ryan* became part of an investigation into a doctor, and Alberto Salazar, in regard to thyroid medication, I had to step back and reconsider my thoughts on Ryan*. I had to put an asterisk on everything he had done. (Sadly, for a publication like the NYT, I am disappointed they didn't even discuss the topic in the article, it's a critical piece of the full story.)

I was at a small, informal meeting of Ryan* and some high school runners here in San Diego a few years ago, and I had promised not to say or mention the thyroid medication at the event, as I was a guest of a friend, a local coach. Why did I go? I was hopeful he would speak to some of the decisions he had made, times in his life where even though it maybe wasn't "illegal" to take thyroid medication, he knew the difference between right and wrong. He had a chance to teach these young minds that performance is great, but being a great person is better. He didn't. No mention of it.

I'm not saying Ryan Hall* is a bad person, I don't know him. He probably treats the people in his life with much love and appreciation, as he interviews well, and sounds very humble. He probably gives a lot to his community. (But of course, Lance gave a lot to his community too). He is clearly a God-fearing man, but I wonder how he convinced himself that using a medication that was clearly suspect in its ethical use and promoted to him as a way to perform better, was ok. I wonder if he would stand in front of his church, or a group of students, or even his own kids, and say, "If you can find a short-cut in life, take it! If it's questionably ethical, who cares? If it's not illegal, do it!"

That's what Ryan* did. He took a shortcut, because Salazar and those around him told him it was ok, and he chose to be a sheep, rather than thinking for himself. He knew better. I've read his tweets and interviews for years, where he talks and preaches about being a good Christian man, and yet he can't find the difference between right and wrong when it matters the most to his passion and career? If he made a mistake, ok, then admit it and use it to better the world. Explain the challenges of being under pressure, trying to live as a professional athlete against the best in the world. But he didn't do that. He denied it was unethical. Claimed his thyroid just wasn't working right, so it wasn't cheating. This is like saying my adrenal glands don't work right when I am training 40+ hours per week, so I need testosterone treatments to help it. Sorry man, doesn't work that way. (Ironically, the NYT article link discusses this exactly above, as that has been his argument, which only disappoints me more, based on the hypocrisy of the original choice to use the thyroid meds. He knows right and wrong.) And is it any real surprise that after the thyroid medication exposure, in late 2012, he never achieved the same level as 2011? Maybe it was a performance enhancer after all? Newsflash: endurance athletes who train extensively affect their hormone levels. Those who want to off-set the negative effects of training take substances to off-set them. They're called DOPERS. They use testosterone or thyroid, or insert whatever drug here _____.

He and his wife Sarah have 4 adopted kids, and I have no reason to think they aren't great, loving parents, but I hope he uses this experience as a teachable moment for them. He has failed so far in doing that with the rest of the world.

So, sorry to say I am not celebrating Ryan Hall's* retirement. I am instead somber about a great talent and person who was tainted by the lure of the shortcut, of drugs in our sports. Some, (or perhaps many), will disagree, as he has accomplished a number of incredible things in running. But once credibility is lost, what can we really trust was truly accomplished by Ryan*, and not the drugs?

Ryan Hall* will always be the way I think of him. The asterisk being the symbol of an athlete who chose the shortcut. Please choose differently if you find yourself in similar situations.

Coach Vance

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Finding Your Run FTP & Setting Up in TrainingPeaks

The first of many writings on running power meters, this one posted at TrainingPeaks....

Running With Power: How to Find Your Run FTP

If you are now currently using a power meter for running, like the new Stryd or RPM2 products, you likely are wondering how you can utilize the tool to maximize the benefit of the technology in your training and racing. Power meters for running are a very new technology, and there is still a lot to learn ahead. However, to begin using it effectively to learn about your training and training response, you should begin as you would if you were using a cycling power meter.

Collecting Data

The first thing you should be doing is simply performing your normal training and observe the data as you train. Track the data and see how the numbers fluctuate or correlate with different intensities, different inclines or declines, and more. Don’t try to control your training based on the power numbers, as you don’t have a baseline for what they truly mean yet. At first, collect the data from your normal training and see how the numbers are trending.


When you feel you are ready, you can then test for your run Functional Threshold Power (FTP). Now, if you’re a triathlete who uses power on the bike, this number will not likely be the same as on the bike for you. In fact, it is likely larger than your cycling FTP. So don’t try to use that value. Be specific and set your run functional threshold for power, or what I call, rFTPw. If you’re a runner, you likely already use threshold pace in TrainingPeaks, or what I call rFTPa. I use these terms so not to confuse them with cycling, and especially not to confuse both pace and power when comparing or discussing FTP.
You can read the rest here:

You can also find more info on my book on power meters for running, at

Coach Vance