Sharing your passions with your kids.

5 Jun

Finally I’m back writing my blog. I’m sorry to all my wonderful followers that I’ve been away but life has been nuts!

This week I have something special to write about and that is the joy I share getting to train and race with my 14 year old daughter Bella.

Having the same passions as your kid and getting to share these moments together is simply heartwarming and amazing! I just spent the weekend training with Bella as we prepare her for her first Triathlon of 2017 and dad’s first as well.

This coming weekend is Trinona Triathlon and Bella and I will be down south racing the sprint distance in what we call the daddy vs. daughter showdown!

Bella has been racing Triathlon since she was 7-8 years old and until last year she was just in youth/kids distance races like the Iron-Kids series. 2016 as she was 13 turning 14 she finally aged up to enter into sprint distance races (adult ones) which meant her and I could start training together more, and racing together!

One of the best moments of this training season was a week ago taking Bella out on a 26 mile bike ride with a group of women I coach and having her keep up and even push the pace on them! Sharing moments like this with your kid, simply put a huge smile on my face! Sure we have our moments out there because we are both a little stubborn and it can be hard to be dad and coach at the same time. But overall we have a blast together and we learn from each other!

So this weekend in Winona Bella and I have a small bet on who will win. Sure we have to create a bit of an equalizer time standard. But Bella is a way faster swimmer than I am, she bikes pretty strong and she can run. So it shall be an interesting race against the clock and each other. We both have just a bit of competitive nature in us. Ha

For me as dad it will just be so awesome to be in transition with her, and walk to the lake for that swim start together! Hopefully I can catch her on the course and give her a cheer! And when we both cross the finish line get our medals and are able to hug each other well that is going to be priceless.

Find things you can do with your kids like this, introduce them to your passions and you might find out they have a passion for it also! Because sharing moments like this with your kids is simply the best!

Bella and I have a full summer of racing together including USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in August in Omaha NE.  So it’s going to be an amazing summer, a fun one filled with a lot of heart and guts but one we both will remember forever! As we push each other to our limits!

 

Best of luck this weekend to all the athletes doing Trinona!

 

Cheers

Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.comMB and BB Freewheel 2017 

Let go of the past, focus on the future!

12 Feb

As athletes especially competitive athletes who set goals and chase goals we often times get lost in the past chasing our success of yesteryear. This can be OK if we keep the right mindset but it can also be mentally draining and have negative effect on us.

This thought got brewing in my mind this morning on a run, reflecting back over data of several years of racing and training and asking that question inside ourselves “why can’t I get my times back to where they were three years ago?”

So that question has many different answers and paths, and it’s not that even as we age that we can’t get back to our youthful days of performance it’s how we do things, how we believe in ourselves mentally (confidence) and how we progress and keep moving.

As a coach I meet a lot of athletes without a lot of years of experience in racing or training for endurance events like marathon or a Triathlon. So as I meet these athletes and coach them and train them in a proper way to make improvements they make these massive gains and improvements over the course of the next 3-5 years and it builds all sorts of confidence in them which is wonderful. But as time goes by as an athlete gets faster and faster the rate of gain becomes smaller, now instead of every race being a PR time, it’s every few races or maybe one race per year and the others are still solid strong performances but just not at that rate of gain like they had in the early years of a focused training plan.  I have found with age group athletes and this equates to myself as well. That for many years we do this leisure way of training we just sort of workout at one level of intensity, we do things as we like with no true plan or understanding how to push our limits and get better. Then we decide to take things to another level, we hire a coach we begin to read some and learn and change our patterns for training. We now do interval sessions, we cross train, we increase mileage, we do slow recovery efforts and so on. As we make this shift we see these rapid changes within ourselves we watch race times quickly make huge leaps and get faster and faster and we are glowing with confidence and happiness/excitement. 

But as time goes and that PR in a marathon goes from 10 minutes shaved time to 10 seconds we start to have doubt in ourselves, doubt in our ways of doing things and methods. It can mentally drain us and make us feel down and less confident. This is that negative effect that can only be fixed with a shift within our mind. A new approach to things and believing in ourselves.

As athletes we have to understand that in the early years we will see massive gains in time drops but as we get faster and stronger those gains become smaller because the athlete is performing at such a high level all ready. We can’t take this as a negative but yet stay focused and positive and understand it.  Many of us age group athletes like myself had some really fast good times for the marathon etc… in our late 20’s and early 30’s but as we keep going and get into our 40’s then 50’s things change our bodies are a little different and we don’t quite have some of the speed like we use to. (This is not to say that past 40 you are done because I know a lot of wicked fast 40 and 50 year olds out there people who keep on getting faster and can stick it to the young kids) So don’t think you are past your prime and past setting personal best times because you are not. You just have to sometimes say it won’t happen as often, you need to be even more focused about your training, your sleep, your diet all the little things. Things that we could skip and short change a little in our younger days but as we get older we can’t.

I also find with athletes that struggle in this area of comparing times and fitness too years past is that most the time they still have it in them and they still have all that speed to get faster but because they trained so hard for those early years they get to the end of a season take a mental break and some time off (which I think all athletes no matter what level they are need these breaks at the end of the season) but they extend those breaks they say I’ll take one month relaxed and easy and not focused, one more turns into two and then into three and next thing they know their friends started training and getting focused a month or two ago and now they are lagging behind trying to catch up and mentally this bogs them down and makes them lose confidence. This is the point the athlete needs to let go and start pushing their limits, less thinking and just stay within themselves, keep training hard with passion and focus and in due time they will catch up to the others and then pass the others because deep inside them is all the speed and strength they just have to dig it out again. So these “end of season time offs” can be a good thing and a bad thing if not managed properly.  So when you take a break take a week or two off then enter back into building fitness with moderate workouts but if you have goals the next season and want to get back to work you can only allow these breaks to last so long before you get back into a routine otherwise you play catch up half the year and will set yourself back from continuing to grow and set personal bests. The movie American Flyers had a great line a quote at the training center. “Once you got it up, keep it up” I live by that and love it.  As an athlete myself I allow mental breaks, but fitness breaks I don’t allow much of that I just find a new way to do things to keep myself engaged and staying fit. Try this approach to make sure you don’t lose too much fitness and spend months or trying to get in shape again before your training cycle kicks in and that race approaches that you want to excel in.

But at the end of the day, no matter our age, our years of training and racing, our experience level all of it. We can still chase dreams, we can still get faster and stronger, and we can still set personal bests. Because the root to continued success lies within us, within our mind! It’s all about mental toughness! It’s all about how bad do you want it, how hard are you willing to work, how much pain are you willing to endure? When the workout is hard, the intervals are fast are you going to keep pushing your limits and fighting? Or are you going to make an excuse and back off and quit? At the end of the day the answer to any growth and success is all about your mental toughness, and How Bad do you want it! How much are you willing to work for that success because the success the growth the PR times don’t come with half hearted efforts, and just thinking about it, thinking it will come easy. They will only come if you have passion, desire, fire, and a relentless forward motion and positive attitude to push even when you think you can’t push anymore.

 

Go be great! Never stop believing! Never think your days are over and you can’ grow!

Because it’s all crap! No matter your age or fitness level you can always grow, always get faster and always keep having success chasing dreams and goals!

 

Cheers

Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.com 

Just because you are down, does not mean its over!

6 Feb

This past Sunday I saw two incredible displays of never giving up even when you are down and it seems like things are over. Sport is an amazing display of pushing limits, challenging yourself and learning a lot about what you are made of.

 

Sunday morning I was watching college wrestling (I’m a Iowa Hawkeye) and they were wrestling Minnesota. Iowa’s 125 pounder and #1 ranked wrestler Thomas Gillman was flat out getting his butt kicked! In the first period the Gopher wrestler got a take-down then back points and was soon up 8-0 then he rode Gillman the entire 2nd period racking up over 3 minutes of ride time. I would say most of his though not good Gillman is going down. But never once did Thomas give up and quit wrestling, He kept fighting, he kept after it and taking his shots. Soon Gillman was on his offense got momentum shifted his direction and next thing you know he pins the Gopher wrestler and wins the match! It was a crazy amazing turn of events and one of the best wrestling matches I have ever seen.

Then came Sunday night and the Super Bowl! Now I know all most all of you watched this and were stunned when the game ended. If you watched the first three quarters you saw Atlanta Falcons pretty much dominate the Patriots and take a 28-3 lead with 2 minutes left in the third.

But Tom Brady and those Patriots did not stop believing and they did not stop playing. Most teams or athletes would have folded and quit assuming no way we can overcome this many points with just 15 minutes to play. But the Patriots showed an amazing never die, never quit attitude and stayed the course stuck to what they do and just kept chipping away at the Falcons as the Falcons kept making mistakes and wilting. Next thing you know the game is headed to overtime and the Patriots won the game! Simply an amazing comeback!

Both of those events showed such strength, such mental toughness and fight to keep going even when all the odds everything in the world said quit! And well that sums up how an endurance athlete needs to respond and act and think as well.

As endurance athletes we endure all types of things, things that kick us down take us off our game out of the race and make us want to quit. The lessons we need to learn is that if you’re a fighter, if you believe in yourself and you have passion and desire then no way you should ever let something try and slow you down and take you off your game.

It’s like a marathon runner who has been running a great race nailing all their splits staying tough and then mile 20 comes along legs turn to concrete the mind starts to say “Hey wait this does not feel good let’s quit” You slow for a mile maybe two and things appear like you will do the death march to the finish line, but since you’re a fighter and a positive thinker you keep pushing, pushing your limits, pushing through the pain and no quitting not giving in and you cross that finish line maybe still with that goal time, or place on the podium you wanted or maybe not but you are a lot closer to that goal time and with a finisher medal because you never quit! Had you given into the pain accepted defeat when those miles slowed you might have had a crap time, maybe not even finish as you walked along the final miles depressed and with a bad attitude. But when you keep that relentless forward motion and just keep fighting its amazing what can happen!

The same thing goes when you are an elite competitive racer and you are fighting for a top finish a podium spot and you fall back right away to your competitors and they look strong do you make excuses? Quit and drop back and say guess I just can’t beat them today or do you fight and dig your way back into the race from the hole you’re in? If you’re an athlete like Thomas Gillman you keep fighting and pushing and believing in yourself! Because you never know what can happen if you stay strong, stay focused and never give up!

So this season as you train remember these words, think of these examples of athletes being kicked and beaten and down that it appears they have not shot to bounce back, but then all the sudden they overcome the odds and they succeed!

When you have passion, desire, and a positive attitude! When you have confidence and believe in yourself magical things can happen! So don’t let anyone or anything kick you down just keep fighting and have that success go for the win!

 

Happy Training, Racing and being inspiring!

Cheers

Coach MB

 

You have to Fight for it.

30 Jan

In life you set goals, you have dreams and things you want to achieve. These goals and dreams and success you want never comes easy and if it does come easy then we want to set a new challenge one that is much harder and makes us work that much more for it. Because the harder the challenge the happier we are when we reach it! the more pride we have the more confidence.

 

Now it is easy to set goals and it’s easy to talk and dream and say we want things. But when it really comes down to it we have to want it! And we have to be willing to fight for it. I had a run last week when this thought process starting building in my head. It was windy out and I was a touch tired but my workout called for me to hit some paces and have some periods of harder efforts. As I ran my miles solo down the winter roads and fighting the elements I kept telling myself you want it so you have to fight for it. The mind was trying to tell my body to quit and slow down and give in, then the other side of my mind would fight back and say no you must fight for it and earn it. Now I might not have hit all the paces I wanted to that day but I had a mental break through in that my effort was there. My effort was such that it felt like I was working harder than if I had actually hit my goal paces and that never give up quit I had that day was positive for me and gave me the confidence I need and want during a training cycle.

Every day we get up we have to fight for things, maybe it’s a promotion at work; it’s a fitness goal whatever it is we won’t have that success unless we fight and push our limits and earn it.

I meet people all the time that can talk a big game but when they get into the workout and the pain sets in things get hard they can easily back off the pedal and give up not push that wall back and make progress toward the success they dream and speak of. These are those big moments when as an athlete you have to fight for it. When you dig deep inside yourself and you push as hard as you can go that day and you stay mentally engaged and strong and chase that success you dream of.

In a race I’ve seen it so many times, one athlete gets out front and then sort of goes on cruise control, but then another athlete from the pack surges forward takes the lead and goes on to win the race. Now maybe that athlete who had the lead really try and had nothing left to match the other athlete, but I would bet more times than not the intensity of that race got so high that the one athlete was willing to fight for it more than the other and endure that pain and therefore win the race.  It’s all such a mental battle and telling yourself things like “fight for I” “how bad do you want it” etc… questions that you can ask yourself and use as motivation are key in truly reaching your success.  So stay positive and keep fighting! Don’t give up or back down when things get hard, embrace the pain and feel that sense of pride when you complete it!

The same type of mantra fight for it applies to those who can easily skip a workout, make an excuse of why they can’t wake up, why they can’t squeeze in their workout even if they have to cut it short because of time or something. When something matters to you then you will always find away to make it happen and fight for it. So on those days during those times when you can make lame excuses and not follow through and fight for it and you skip your workout ask yourself does it matter to you. Do you want it? And is it worth fighting for!?

 

Be inspired, stay inspired, stay motivated and remember you are motivating and others are watching so fight for it!

 

Cheers

Coach MB

Gotta Have Heart Training

 

 

 

Setting Goals! Chasing Goals!

19 Jan

Any competitive athlete or any athlete or person for that matter needs to be goal driven. Setting goals is ways to help keep you focused keep you on task and committed.

When it comes to setting goals as an athlete; and thinking about your race season, thinking about a goal within a certain race here is how I do things and maybe some tips to help you.

 

Every year about December or January I start thinking about the upcoming race season I think about the races I want to do and which races are my “A” races the ones I have goals for and what races are my “B” races that I just train through and take a little light hearted.

As an athlete you can really only peak a few times a year and you can really only look at having a few big races that you focus you’re training on and chase within a year.  But many of us like to race a lot as its fun! So we must look at many of our races as having fun no expectations and just train right through on our way to the big picture goal of the season.

But your goals might not be a certain race or time at the race or even place? They might be about weight loss or just finishing the distance or whatever you choose.

The Steps you need to follow to reach goals and have success.

Commitment! You must be committed to what you are doing, what you are chasing. You can’t be a person who talks but struggles to follow through. If you want to have success you must wake up each morning with a positive attitude and you must chase it!

Passion; you need to have passion for what you are doing as this passion will help you stay focused and on the path to reach your goal. This passion helps you stay committed.

Consistency; this is a huge one! Be consistent with your training, your diet all of it. You can’t cheat and skip workouts, you can’ change things around all the time. If you are training for a marathon you have no choice but to run the miles or reaching that goal won’t happen!

Set the plan and follow it; this goes with consistency. You need to design a training plan, hire a coach who does his for you something along these lines. You need to have a clear plan in place and then you need to follow it with consistency. How are you going to achieve that goal?

No Excuses; OK this one comes with an (astric)  because yes things can happen. Not that they are excuses but sure we get sick, we get injured, work, family things can come up and mess with us but overall we can’t make excuses we just have to get up and put the work in!

Adapt and change along the way; Life tosses us curveballs all the time and when I race I always have a few different goals my A,B,C goals. This way if weather is bad and I have to dial back the pace I can adjust my goal on the fly and still find the positive in the race. If an injury occurs during training, or some other outside factor you did not see coming and it gets you off course step back adjust and move forward with a new goal in mind. Be willing to always adapt to things and do it with a good positive attitude.

 

Setting goals makes life fun! Chasing goals makes life even more fun! To me it’s the journey it’s the hard work I put in each day to make myself better! I love to compete to get on that start line push my limits and see what happens. So my life is all about the various goals I want to chase and how I’m going to get there. The goals help me with my consistency, my commitment and staying focused!  My passion and desire for sport is what keep me motivated and setting new goals and always pushing my limits.

Find what you love, what makes you smile and get out of bed and keep doing it!

Don’t be afraid to get out of the comfort zone, don’t be sacred of hard things and accept a hard challenge and do your best in taking on that challenge!

 

Be inspiring, be amazing! Stay positive! And see you on the race course!

Cheers

Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.com 

You just never know? Stay in the moment! Believe!

16 Jan

My inspiration today for my blog post comes from two different people with two different outcomes that happened over the weekend with their races.

 

I’ll start with my friend Julie an athlete that I coach. Julie is an inspiring mom of three a very focused and dedicated athlete who for the last several months has been training for the Houston marathon. She had been working so hard putting in the time, the miles she even changed her diet to get healthier and shed a few pounds. Julie was fit and was ready and focused! But what happened this weekend in Texas was not her fault and it was something she could not control mother nature choose to be rude to marathon runners and brought in warm temps in the 70’s and 96% humidity and if you run you know that is absolute death to overcome! The race had sent participants and email on Friday before the Sunday race warning people of the warm weather and to slow down. What I loved about Julie was she said screw that I’m fit and I’m bad ass!! Let’s run! She was going to plan hydration and nutrition a little different to deal with the elements but pace strategy was staying the same she was going to attack that course and push her limits as planned and hold on as long as she could. Julie ran a strong race through 13 miles but by that point the temps, the humidity all of it just took its toll and she had to slow down. The next 13 miles of that marathon became what I call a death march. But Julie finished, she earned that finisher medal and she did herself proud! And Coach and her teammates on Gotta Have Heart Training are so proud and inspired by her. Now the point of this is people that we can train for months we can do things right be in amazing shape have our mental game all dialed in and then something like weather something that is out of our control can mess it all up. So what I say is we just need to focus on the things we can control, and let go of the things we can’t control. Weather is a huge factor in racing that can make or break our success. Now Julie did no PR or even come close to her PR marathon time. But what she did do is not quit! She stayed strong, she stayed tough and she kept a POSITIVE attitude and a relentless forward motion and she crossed that finish line! Sure as competitive athletes we might have some disappointment the next day trust me I have been here many times. But the success lies within us for pushing through the pain the torture of bad elements and chasing that finish line! I never regret finishing a race even when my time stinks and I miss my goal. I had one DNF once in a marathon because of a bad hamstring and that day haunts me all the time that now I push and push until I cross that line. And even on the worst of days when my mind tells me to quit a 100 times out there I don’t and I keep pushing until I finish. That is exactly what Julie did Sunday and you know what it will make her stronger and better and she will learn from this! So to all of you when adversity kicks you, when things out of your control slow you down and get you off your game adjust and stay positive and focused and never quit. Then reflect back learn and move onto the next day, the next race!

 

Story two of my weekend inspiration comes from my 14 year old daughter Bella. This weekend was a huge and very competitive swim meet at the University of Minnesota. The weekend started out rough as Friday night she swam the 500 freestyle and well she might have kept her time the same as she was seeded with it was way short of her goal and she had a bad swim and was very upset. The frustration was in her and we still had two more days of swimming. Saturday was a new day and she swam 3 more events and posted best times in 2 of the 3 events so things were showing some progress. But then came Sunday morning and a very cranky wake up from a 14 year old girl who was not feeling well and was thinking about scratching and not even swimming that day. After an intense morning at home her mom and I convinced her go swim give it a go and hey if you aren’t feeling well we can scratch your last event the 200 butterfly that you don’t like swimming anyway. So we were kind of thinking she might not even swim the 200 fly that day but just crank out her 200IM and 50 free see what happens and go home. The first two events went OK but she did not really improve time and just sort of stayed the same. She decided hey I’m going to swim this 200 fly as coach would not like me to skip it. Well she got on those blocks dove in and cranked out a best time in the 200 fly and made finals that night!! Her mom sent me a message because I had to leave early and miss that event for work. We were both in shock that she made finals but what we had now was a little girl smiling, happy and full of confidence! Now that evening we needed to go back to the pool late so she could swim in the finals of the 200 butterfly and what did she do but drop another 3 seconds on her time and move up the overall rankings from where she started finals. Another smile and happy 14 year old girl! It was a great way to end a long weekend a weekend full of ups and downs. The point to this story is sometimes we might not want to do something we might not feel so well and we might be scared but if we just go out give it a go and try our best with no expectations just let go and swim, bike, run whatever it is who knows what can happen! I know some days we just don’t feel well some days it seems like our head is not in the game but we have this race we signed up for on the calendar and we don’t want to let ourselves down, our coaches down whoever so we try and rally ourselves to get up for the challenge! And I know even on days when I’m sick and lacking energy the moment I get into the race or workout something clicks and you pull some performance out of your butt that leaves you scratching your head. So don’t ever quit or give up on yourself and when you have those bad races like Bella did on Friday night that left her frustrated you need to quickly turn things around find your positive energy and your groove and just get back out there and go for it!

 

We all fail more times than we win, there are always things out of our control that want to mess with us and get us off our game.  What you need to do in these moments is let go and focus on what you can control and a major thing you can always control is your attitude! You can control believing in yourself and having confidence and when you bring the right positive attitude a level of confidence to any race and any workout well you have now set yourself up for success!!

 

So stay in the game! And you just never know what might happen? So never quit, never give up!

Keep a relentless forward motion going and be proud of just finishing sometimes!

 

Cheers

Coach MB

 

FYI: all the athletes I coach and train with inspire and motivate me so much! And I thank them for that. I just happen to write about Julie and Bella today as my inspiration because they raced this weekend.

Attitude is the key to a happy life!

3 Jan

Enjoying life is all about attitude, being an endurance athlete and going after success is all about attitude. Life is hard, training is hard, racing is hard we have curveballs constantly tossed at us we deal with adversity all the time, but if we have the right attitude about things a positive attitude then we can overcome these things we can improve and make life a whole lot better.

I write today about attitude because as a coach I always hear athletes sort of complain, sort of show that less than excited emotion sometimes based on what the workout might be. Like maybe a Triathlete is not a great swimmer (that would be me also) so we see that swim workout in the schedule and think ugh do we really want to swim? And during the workout as we struggle and maybe get humbled by the faster swimmers around us it’s easy to sort of let our attitude and positive feelings for swimming and the great benefits of it fall apart and we show more frowns than smiles.

As a runner maybe its hill training day and a hard workout with hill repeats and we know it will hurt it will be a struggle. The goal is to come to the workout with a smile a positive attitude and tackle it as best you can. Give that 100% effort that day and embrace the challenge embrace your weakness with the right attitude and work on making that weakness more of strength.

Maybe we are in a race having great success and then all the sudden someone blazes past us, or the pain of the hard effort your kicking out kicks in and starts telling your mind this hurts slow down. You’re chasing a time goal in the marathon clicking off mile after mile at goal race pace then all the sudden you have a bad mile lose pace and start to get negative start getting that feeling of ugh this is hard I can’t obtain my goal so you really dial it back make excuses and basically quit on yourself.  When things like this happen and believe me they will! When those humbling moments come along that want to make you negative and get you off your game that is when having the right positive attitude, the mental toughness and strength to keep a smile, to be happy and keep pushing with relentless forward motion is so crucial! The word gratitude comes to mind in moments like this. I’ve been there so many times leading a race feeling good then all the sudden someone catches me passes me and my mind goes into that negative place my attitude switches from excitement and confidence to I suck and frustration.  Those are the feelings we must block out because even when that person surges on us and we are in so much pain and pushing at our limits to hang on with them if we keep a positive attitude about us work on recovering maybe we can battle back into that race and catch them again. But if we quickly go into the bad attitude negative feelings then we for sure have no chance.

So when your coach gives you that workout you don’t like say cross training if you’re a runner, strength work, a hard hill effort etc… don’t have a bad attitude about it and no excitement but rather go into with a positive attitude go into it ready to embrace and make the most of it. Same goes for during that race when things start to fall apart, don’t get negative on yourself, don’t quit just fire up that grateful happy attitude and say I got this, I can overcome this feeling fight through the pain whatever you need to do and keep pushing for that finish line and those goals you have set for yourself.

 

Just remember attitude is everything and will make life so much better if you carry a positive happy attitude even when adversity kicks you in the face!

 

Cheers

Coach MB

Effort and intensity workouts, it’s a fine line.

30 Dec

Today blog education is inspired by the words of Alan Culpepper from his book “Run like a Champion”

Alan has a chapter about effort and intensity; the line I’ll take from the book then elaborate in my own theory about this which will agree with what Alan writes also.

“There may be a fine line between a hard effort and an intense effort, but they are distinctly different concepts in running. A hard effort typically describes the physical output of a workout, or run, while an intense effort relates to the mental or psychological approach.”

 

I really like that because endurance sports, running, swimming, cycling all of it are so much about the mental toughness of an athlete and how an athlete can handle and adapt to things with mental strength. But as athletes we have those hard effort workouts the physical kind that has us breathless and about to puke sometimes.  I would say most people look for or relate to hard efforts more than intense efforts because it’s easy for them to say that was a tough workout that was hard and kicked my butt. A hard effort workout leaves your body exhausted, sore, and grasping for a rest day.

But an intense workout I think is the money workout, when an athlete can tell the difference and understand they are in an intense workout one that challenges them mentally; to me these are the break through workouts! We all have those off days, those days we struggle and the mental game starts talking to us and trying to derail us. But as an athlete when we recognize this intense effort, this mentally tough workout and we power through we dig deep and we get mentally tough, stay positive and succeed the outcome from that can be huge in our growing and moving on to chasing those goals we set for ourselves.

Crossing the line from “hard” effort to “intense” effort is all in your mental approach all in how you think about the workout and attack the workout. To have an intense workout one that will prepare you for race day, you have to let go a little and be very positive! I coach athletes that are far away, but also athletes that are local near me and we train as a group often. The group and team aspect of doing your workouts with training partners can quickly take your hard effort to an intense effort and make the run painful. The workout it’s self could be a challenging tough physical one, but then you mix in that little bit of competitiveness of having a training partner with you and it can become intense and mentally taxing also. By nature we want to keep up or beat our training partners and this type of competition within a training environment has positive and negative effects. I think a person needs to be very strong mentally and very positive upbeat person that can handle adversity, can be patient, and if they are humbled will be OK with that.

Example: Let’s say your workout is a mid distance hard tempo run, you’re coach has prescribed certain paces for you to hit but you are with your training partner who might be similar pace as you but for whatever reason they are feeling really good and fit that day and turn the workout into a harder effort a pseudo race maybe. This can even happen if you are alone and set your watch to beep and tell you if you are getting too slow and not hitting your prescribed paces. What happens now is this workout turns into “intense” because mentally you have to get tough, you have to overcome the physical feeling you have to stay pace with your training partner or what the watch is telling you. (The caution for any runner doing a run or workout is not too add so much intensity that you wind up running harder than what is called for.”  As adding too much intensity can physically deplete you and kick your butt so bad that you struggle the next few days to recover from that workout and then it makes your other workouts suffer. So be cautious when entering into this zone.

 

As a coach, as an athlete I do appreciate the intense workouts that make us work mentally. Racing is hard, racing pushes us mentally just as much or more than it does physically. So often people are scared, they are scared to really go for it! They have fear of bonking, or whatever it is that scares them. When things get tough its human nature for us to shut down, slow down and stop fighting because physically it’s so hard and hurts. This is where having some good “intense” workouts that make us mentally stronger and build confidence within us!

And having confidence and belief within you is king!! I see athletes all the time that have loads of physical talent but they are so mentally weak, so crazy in their head that it derails them and leads them to more failure than success. They can easily shut down when things get tough, I also see where being in the group training element can affect them because their training partner is killing it they can’t keep pace so they shut down and come up with an excuse to quit or run slow. These people need more intense workouts and mental strength work to overcome these things and stay positive and keep pushing and moving and embracing the pain.

Then you see some athletes that are just so strong mentally and when surges happen on a training run, or in a race they can dig deep and withstand the pain that sets in physically, they can overcome the mental demons that make them want to back off and quit because physically it’s so hard. These athletes can find the balance in training between a hard effort and an intense one. They embrace intense efforts and use them to grow and become stronger. But these types of athletes also have to be cautious and not do this too often and then physically beat themselves up and leave them hurt or sore all the time.

So as you see it is just such a fine line between the two as Alan states in his book and as an athlete you need to learn to tell the two apart and embrace both.

One last line from Alan’s book that I agree 100% with!

“Perceived effort is becoming a lost art and must be practiced if there is any hope of running at your best on race day.”  In today’s world we have so much technology, so much data we can collect and so many runners get obsessed with this and focused on this data and technology and so often they need to just let go and perform on perceived effort based on what the day, the course gives them. This approach will also help keep the athlete in a more positive state of mind and in many ways can let them grow and become faster/stronger because they might get into that “intense” workout more and push their limits and not hold back trying to focus on a certain pace. So use the technology, its fun to see the data post workout, but during the workout practice some perceived effort levels and see what happens.

 

Happy Training, Happy Racing, train that mind and get mentally tough and positive to withstand any adversity or negative/painful things tossed your way!

 

Cheers

Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.com 

 

 

Making Changes…. sigh it’s good!

28 Dec

So as we wind down 2016 and launch into 2017 soon it’s time to reflect back and think about new goals and maybe some changes?

Change is that scary word and I think about it some, act on it a little but recently I have been forced to make huge changes and as hard as they are I think it will eventually take me down a good path.

Couple weeks ago I woke up early on a Sunday morning with my foot a little swollen around the joint of my second toe. Foot was also little sore when walking and doing the dorsal flex type motion. I did not think a lot of it and sort of went about my day which was a swim workout and swimming felt great. However that night into Monday morning things kept getting worse and by Monday morning my foot was gigantic and throbbing in pain! This continued into Tuesday and so finally I booked an appointment to see my DR. they did X-rays and ruled out any bone stuff so we did blood work and got to talking about things and that lead us down the path of GOUT! They scheduled me to see a specialist on Wednesday someone who could drain the massive amount of fluid built up in my foot and causing me a lot of pain. At this appointment they jammed a needle into that toe joint and withdrew a lot of fluid and inside that fluid was a bunch of tiny crystals floating around that cut like glass! Confirmed I have Gout!

My Grandpa and my dad both had this and it’s hereditary so even being as fit as I am it gave me a good shot of getting it. However my diet does lead down the path of things that really trigger these acute flare ups. With my heavy diet of late; enjoying Red wine, Red meat, and too much sugar. It’s the off season for me right now and I’m just training to maintain so I’ve let myself go in the ways of enjoying some things I don’t eat during racing season much. Like sugar cereals, more candy bars than normal, some soda and so on. The other issue lately is the holidays and lot’s of social events and maybe more wine or beer than normal in my diet.  So with all of this combined it cause this very painful flare up and has brought on many changes for me. And there goes that scary word… Change!

Since this has happened I went on a 9-10 day bender without things I love something that has never happened in my life. No Red wine, No Red meat, and no running (only because I could not, swollen painful foot).  This has been so hard for me but the change in my diet mostly in saying goodbye soda, goodbye junk food has been making me feel pretty good. Less red meat, less meat and more salads and eating lighter meals has been good as well. But I think the best thing for me has been cutting out the sweets, the donuts and those easy to reach for chocolate truffles floating around in my house. But now that I’m three weeks into this I’m back to running (YAY!!) and I’m really feeling pretty good. And as hard as it has been to just say no, it’s getting a lot easier and I’m finding out that once you get through that initial week or two of going without soon you don’t crave those things and it’s all good.

Making changes can be good as an athlete sometimes its simple changes like; more strength work or more cross training. Things to mix it up little, things you don’t like as much as running but know they are good for you and will make you stronger and keep you healthier.  

So as you head into the New Year think about small things you can change that might go a long way in making you feel better and faster and stronger.  Diet things, strength work things and so on.  Once you get through that first few weeks of change and you stay committed to it and make it a habit life gets easier and soon you will forget about those guilty pleasures you use to crave.

 

Best of luck in 2017! Set goals, find your passion and chase those dreams!

Cheers

Coach MB

Training by perceived effort.

5 Dec

In today’s world of technology and gadgets so many people get focused on buying more gear and then focus training, racing and so on around the technical data things like power meters, heart rate monitors, GPS watches and so on produce. Now as a competitive athlete and coach yes of course I love these things and I love data and using the data to coach an athlete and help them improve. But not everyone can afford all of these things and not every athlete likes to wear monitors and gadgets of these sorts and that’s OK.

So as a coach I like to take things back to basics often times and teach athletes to train by perceived effort level. Cycling this can be really crucial because so many own a kinetic trainer which does not go by watts, and they don’t have power meter crank sets etc… so I can’t hardly prescribe them a workout based on FTP and watts. This is where I use a scale for perceived effort for them.

Perceived effort works really well; because it allows the athlete to train based on how they feel on a certain day and to the conditions of the day. When you get so focused on paces, or power outputs it can leave you sometimes either not pushing hard enough, or it can leave you feeling dejected and frustrated because for whatever reason you were not feeling so good that day and it was a struggle to hit your paces or power output. But when you go on a perceived effort scale it allows you to train based on how you feel that given day at that given moment and does not mess with your mental game it keeps you positive because you know you pushed as hard as you were suppose to for that given interval/workout.

Perceived effort also allows you to just run, bike, swim and not stare at a watch or computer. It allows you to free your mind some and focus on body cues not data that your fancy device is kicking out for you to see. I like this a lot for hard effort runs, runs on the track when you want to just open up and see what happens and really push you. Running shorter intervals like a 200 or 400 I really like going by a perceived effort level some days. Same goes with hill running; because hills are typically challenging and make our paces slow down if we focus on what the goal pace is suppose to be we will go nuts on hills and run them too hard and burn too much energy. But if we focus on a effort level scale and run them under control more based on the grade and length of the hill based on how we as an athlete feel it will allow us to stay more under control not burn too much energy and be able to get back into pace easier and recover easier once the road flattens out.

Heart rate is a great tool to use in coaching an athlete and training I do enjoy it but I also find it to be a limiting tool. Heart rate is affected by so many things; sleep, caffeine, heat, and humidity and so on. If the athlete try’s to focus their workout on heart rate they could really limit themselves especially if it’s a hard effort day or race. So again this is another great reason to use perceived effort level as a way to gage things. However I do really like using heart rate on Recovery days for athletes to slow them down and make sure they don’t push too hard and that they truly do perform at an easy low intensity recovery effort.

So if you can’t afford all the fancy tools out there for sale it’s OK you can still find a method to train. Race and accomplish the same types of efforts. Years ago athletes did not have anything but a simple stop watch and perceived effort to push themselves and train by just because the world has evolved and we now have access to a lot of fancy stuff does not mean we can’t remain a little old school now and again. So as much as I love fancy toys and data, and everyone truly does use the perceived effort method to train by until that sugar mama comes along and buys you a power meter and the other fancy tools to record every little piece of data you can.

(I do train very much by watts and power meters with the bike if an athlete has access to those things, I do still like to train athletes by goal paces, and within a running pace structure also, and I do use heart rate with them as well sometimes) So this blog was not supposed to discount those tools but give you an alternative way to think sometimes when training. A more old school method that is still very effective today!

 

Happy training, stay focused and make it happen! No excuses!

Cheers

Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.com