Tag Archives: #Bostonmarathon

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 

 

 

 

You either want it, or you don’t! You either make excuses or you don’t!

3 Dec

Happy Saturday, I just finished my long run for the week as many runners most likely did as well. I’m in a base building phase right now before my serious training begins in a few weeks.

The run went very well and I’m feeling quite strong and good right now.

But my run today is not what my blog is about or the message today the message today is something I think about when I’m out running. Most Saturday’s a group of athletes I coach gather with me and we run together motivate each other and push each other. It’s really a special time of my day and hopefully their day.

Anyway back to my message; you either want it, or you don’t! You either make excuses or you don’t!  I think of this because as a coach and just as an athlete a person who talks to lots of people who talk the talk but so often don’t walk the walk.

It’s really a simple question; do you want it? If you talk about doing something and it can be anything it can be a 5k or a marathon it could even be something non-athletic related. If you can go through the motions of signing up for the event, or talking about how you want to do an event etc…; but then when it really comes down to having to do the work like “training” so many just sort of get lost and don’t follow through with things. This brings up the other part of this blog post. You either make excuses, or you don’t! I hear so many excuses all the time from people it drives me crazy! Because if the person truly wanted it they would not have any excuses they would simply do what they need to do in order to prepare for the goal they have committed to. So if you can make excuses and skip workouts and not commit to your training then do you really want it? I would say NOT because you simply are not showing the passion, commitment, and motivation one needs in order to achieve success and actually complete what they say they want.

Like my friend Stu says you need to replace saying “I can’t” with “I won’t” because really you can but you choose not to. And that’s OK nobody ever says you have to do anything but I’m a believer that if you say you’re going to do something, if you say you want something, and if you commit (like sign up for a race) then you damn well better do it and get committed and focused and not quit. Because at one time you said I can and I want but then when you found out just how hard it is to do you made the excuses to back out and quit. That’s not a good example for anyone and really what does it do for you?

I’m very much wired in this way and many of the people I surround myself are wired this way also. I’m passionate, I’m focused, and I’m dedicated! When I commit to something I go in 110% and I don’t give up ever! I always find my focus and motivation and I always push my limits. I don’t believe in doing things half way so I can always answer the question with “I want it” and I never make excuses. I respect all the people out there who think and act this way and they are the people who achieve goals and inspire and motivate others. They are the ones making a difference in this world.

Being an athlete a person who chases goals is not always easy but if you have the right mind set mental strength and the commitment it’s always easy to make the right choices and live with no excuses and no regrets and simply just get after it!

So how do you answer those questions?

Do you want it? Will you make excuses, or not?

Don’t say you can’t because you can, just say I won’t and I don’t want it. Then nobody will think anything of it and all is good. But if you say “You want it” and I can then don’t make excuses and don’t quit. Stay strong focused and passionate and chase that goal!

Anyone can accomplish anything if they truly want it and are willing to do the work. Never set limits on yourself and always believe in yourself!

Go be amazing! And train with passion!

Cheers

Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.com 

Emotions… How they can affect performance.

28 Oct

Emotions are part of being human emotions can be positive and they can be negative the can enhance our performance and decrease it. Emotions come in many different forms emotions are our feelings and reactions to things that happen to us.

When we have negative, sad emotions things that are building up inside of us from some outside frustrations maybe how a person has treated us, maybe that sadness of a fight/argument with a friend or family member. Those types of emotions that come from that will decrease your performance it will suck energy you need to perform and make you feel tired and strain during the workout or race. I love running for letting go of emotions like this but I also know during this time my performance lacks. I run and all of us run for various reasons and one of those reasons I think a lot of people use running for is to let go of some emotions of the sad variety and just clear their head. Running is a wonderful tool for this just be warned that all that extra energy used being emotional inside about what is troubling you will decrease performance and make the workout feel hard.

The goal and key is to hopefully eliminate these types of emotions around race days when you need your max energy and focus for the race.

Using Emotions as fuel can be powerful. Anger and that internal fire to prove someone wrong can be huge in motivating an athlete to push through pain and really perform at a high level.  The emotion can start out as a negative maybe a coach or a outside source is making you feel a little bad and not believing in you that you can rise to the challenge and so you take that emotion and turn it into fuel into a positive of angry energy to push through the race and come out with another kind of emotion Smiles and sense of confidence and a little I told you so.

Sometimes I have used this approach in coaching I have tried to anger the athlete in a touch of a way that it motivates them and fires them up to go kick ass and really perform strong. Now one must be careful with this approach as depending on the person you are trying this with it could backfire.

I love to race and push on emotions on the powerful passionate confident angry type of emotions that become good fuel and don’t drain my energy. Those days when you feel your back is against the wall and everyone is rooting against you and hoping you fail that is sometimes when I really shine and I’ve seen a lot of athletes really shine here! There is something to be said for performing with a chip on your shoulder so to speak.

The emotions of arrogance and feeling over confident these are very tricky. We all need to feel confident and believe in ourselves in our ability to perform and reach goal. But we also can become quite lazy and maybe not give that 100% effort when we have our emotions going so much in this direction. These types of emotions don’t per say drain your energy level but more don’t use all your energy and typically leave you saying ugh I had more in the tank and I failed because I did not prepare myself for this event because I thought it would be easy because I’m so good. I’ve seen this as a coach often times athletes that have a lot of success and are truly talented that they don’t always get up for each event and then when another athlete comes in riding that crazy emotion of anger and the chip on their shoulder the athlete with that emotion of arrogance gets beat. So be cautious if you fall into this zone be confident as you need that but never under estimate your competition and think you can slack off cause you have the race won.

So as humans as people who have hearts, and many different emotions that flow through us and rapidly change assess what emotions are happening inside of you, think about how you can try and control your emotions and either ignore the negative sad ones that drain so much energy from you that it becomes a struggle to move your legs, or how you can take the anger focused, driven type of emotions and turn them into fire to kick some butt and perform at a high level reaching goals.

The goal is to find out how you can take your emotions and turns them into positive fuel not have them suck your energy away.

Make sense?

 

Go be great! And run high on emotions!!

Cheers

Coach MB

 

Sometimes you fall before you rise.

21 Oct

Today’s blog and message is inspired by song, by lyrics from a song on the new Alter Bridge record “The Last Hero”  I’m a huge Alter Bridge fan and love this song and it’s message!

“Sometimes you fall before you rise
Sometimes you lose it all to find
You’ve gotta keep fighting
And get back up again
My champion
Oh, my champion

You’ve lost so many times it hurts
But failures made are lessons learned
Cause in the end what you are will be much more
Than you were”    ~  Myles Kennedy Alter Bridge

Those are some of the lyrics in the song. Now let’s apply this to multi sport and athletes and how so many times we fall and fail and just flat out under perform.

A passionate athlete will fall more times than they will rise. Now I’m talking about people who truly are runners, truly are Triathlete not just the bucket list seasonal athlete that says hey i want to do a Triathlon or a marathon they do one then retire and hang up the shoes.

I’m talking to those of us who live for sport, those of us who day in and day out grind and fight and enjoy our passions. Those of us who set goals and chase them; you don’t have to be elite you can be that 5 hour marathon runner or the Ironman finisher who sneaks in before the midnight hour. But you do have to have the passion, fight and will to keep doing this stuff year in and year out.

So think about the lyrics, “Sometimes you fall before you rise” as passionate athletes we fall during training, we fall during races we miss our goals and have all sorts of frustrating failures along the way. The key is you keep rising you keep learning from those failures and you keep fighting. Every time you fall you must get back up again and say bring it let’s do this! I’m going to win eventually I’m going to reach my goal eventually. I can say I have fallen many times. I had two key races in my 2016 season that I fell hard and if I let those keep me down and discouraged then I would not have had the success I ended up having this season because I would have quit. But I fell and I kept rising I kept getting up and fighting and I learned a lot from my failures.

Boston marathon 2016 was a disaster for me, it was the first time ever at the Boston marathon I did not break 3 hours. I tried to run smart on that warm-humid day but by the 18th mile I was having some breathing issues, heart/chest pain etc… and from that moment on it became a grind. I finished in like 3:28 or something awful for me and it crushed me. I went out that night sad but I knew I had to quickly shrug this failure and get focused on my real 2016 goal and that was USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships in June!

So that is what I did I let go of Boston marathon 2016 I came home and that failure fueled me it made me hungry to focus and chase after my #1 goal for the 2016 season and that was win a National title in the sport of Duathlon. I had some races along the way that went well like Buffalo Triathlon Olympic distance being over all Master’s winner and win my age group and with a pretty solid time of like 2:04. Then came Duathlon National Championships and I had my mind and body ready and I reached that goal! Once I reached that goal I felt a huge weight lifted from me because of the pressure I had on myself to perform at that event. My next goal was Toughman 70.3 distance Triathlon and this turned out to be failure number 2 of the 2016 season. So once again I fell hard during the run portion of this race and failed to meet my goal. However like I’ve done many times before I just picked myself back up learned from it and made adjustments in how I raced my nutrition etc… and got myself ready for the next events in my 2016 season. USA Triathlon National Championships were next and they went much better and all though my times were flat, my swim was donkey I competed with guts and with smarts.

I ended my season a couple weeks ago with Twin Cities marathon and all though this was not a PR marathon for me and not even a top 5 fastest marathon times for me it was a good solid race and was about exactly what I planned to go out and do. 2016 started out rough it started out with an awful race and if I had let that keep me down and give up I would not have continued on my journey to reach all the success I ended up having in 2016.

So as the song says “Sometimes you have to fall before you rise, Sometimes you lose it all to find, you have to keep fighting and get back up again”

So when you fall when you fail and miss those goals and struggle and think about giving up, quitting whatever enters your head when that happens. You need to look at yourself except that failure, learn from it and march forward with a positive attitude and a passion and fire to succeed and reach those goals you failed to achieve.

Anyone can be a champion they just have to be willing to work hard, and when they get knocked down get back up again and keep fighting to gain that success they had dreamed of.

 

Happy Training, Happy Racing! Live in the moment! And be a champion!

Cheers

Coach MB

Under Pressure, because you care… but learn how to Relax!

16 Oct

When you keep your eyes and ears open you learn. When you have an open mind and progressive thinking you can take things that seem like they would not apply to you but yet when you really think about it they do.

Today’s world is not really that much different than the past but it seems more and more there is such a heightened pressure put on us and we put on ourselves. I read an article yesterday about the 2016 Chicago Cubs (which by the way I’m a huge Cubs fan!) and Joe Madden talked about pressure and expectations and how the 2016 Cubs have had so much pressure and expectations put on them to break the curses of old and make the World Series. Joe talked about how that is positive and a good thing in his mind but you have to know how you embrace that pressure and use it. Like manager Madden said do you want to enter the season being picked to be 5th and no expectations no real goals for the team? Or do you want to enter the season with goals, with some expectations that you are good enough to perform and succeed.

I see this type of pressure a lot with athletes I coach and with high school athletes. (the high school part comes from my daughter running high school cross country and the massive amounts of pressure put on these young girls to perform I also coach some younger athletes and see this same type of pressure) As a coach working with adults mostly I have many people want to train and qualify for Boston marathon. They work hard, they train hard, they do all they can to prepare for that goal. The pressure of chasing that goal and the obsession and focus that comes with it can be good that it makes them stay dedicated and focused. However come race day that pressure can be a bit of a negative if they don’t know how to handle it properly.

That pressure can bring on a sense of nerves, and a lot of extra mental energy that does not need to be wasted. The athlete can focus so much on not screwing up that they forget to relax and just go run, just go believe in them and perform as they are capable of. This is where the “pressure” the “Expectations” becomes a negative because that energy is not channeled properly by the athlete.  Now not everyone is wired this way. I can say from my own experience that I put pressure on myself to perform, I put expectations on my season and expect to perform at a certain level and I can handle this just fine because I can still roll into a race and be relaxed, be focused and go do my job and perform with the guts I need to chase that goal and succeed.

Setting expectations for yourself is much easier when you have confidence and believe in yourself you believe you belong and can compete with those around you. And when you have that level of confidence and belief in yourself then the pressure that comes with those expectations is much easier to handle and the athlete often times can focus, stay calm and go out and perform at a high level as expected of them.  But if the athlete lacks that confidence that believe in themselves (even if they are very much capable of performing at a high level and coaches and parents around them pump them up and tell them they are strong and capable and prepared to reach those goals and success) if the athlete does not buy into that then a massive negative affect can happen and the pressure put on that athlete to perform at a certain level can end up in disaster and having that athlete perform way below expectations.

The main theme here is that as an athlete as a person you have to be confident and you must believe in yourself! If you don’t believe in yourself if you are not willing to let go relax and go out and push your limits then no matter how fit you are, not matter how much coach or someone else tells you that you are strong and ready and tries to fire you up you must likely will underperform and thus fail.  Every person is different and some people look at others around them being positive and telling them they can perform a certain way and telling them go out and kick butt today you can do it! That athlete might look at that kind of encouragement as pressure! And then in the heat of competition clam up and in essence quit when things get tough because they don’t run relaxed and loose with a free spirit so to speak.

When I have athletes like this I try and calm them, tell them to stop thinking and just look at the race like it’s a workout. I mean the athlete can go out in practice and crush it run, bike, swim the paces they need to in order to perform at that high level but come race day they just flat out clam up and because of the pressure and expectations they can’t perform.  Another thing that happens when an athlete can’t handle pressure is they can’t eat, they can’t fuel their body properly and this becomes a huge issues also because even if they try to relax and just get into the heat of competition that day and give a effort they can’t because the body is not fueled properly and thus the body revolts on them and just runs out of energy leaving the athlete performing below expectations again.

There will always be pressure and expectations put on you, athletes will always have that demand to perform and chase and reach goals. The question to you is “How will you handle that pressure” how will you respond to the expectations put on and that you put on yourself. Because it is a positive and a good thing to have those expectations put on you, it is a good thing to have coaches, friends, family believe in you and set those expectations because the expectations mean that you are good you can very capable of obtaining those goals and having that success. You as the athlete just have to learn how to deal with the pressure that comes with that and how to stay calm, relaxed and go perform with no nerves just pure excitement and love of sport.

So which type of person are you going to be? One with confidence and believe in themselves and can except the pressures and expectations that come with being an athlete and yet rise above the nerves and fears and still perform at goal level.

Or will you be the athlete that lacks confidence, does not believe they belong, lets the pressure mount so much that they clam up that they don’t fuel their body properly and thus leaves them always performing way below potential never reaching those goals and always feeling sad and unfulfilled.

Confidence is everything! And all an athlete needs is one good moment, one good race to break that lack of confidence that fear to make them believe in themselves again and then propel to many great performances and success!

So find your confidence, just breathe, relax and chill out. Act like no expectations you are just going for a workout and get lose on race day. and try to shrug off the extra weight that comes when you have expectations. You do that most likely you will find that you have the race of your life!

I tell runners you just have to glide, to float run free enjoy the moment. Sure when you are racing and pushing limits for these goals you will hurt, you will have pain and you will suffer so just welcome those feelings push through them and always BELIEVE!! That pain you feel during the race will only last for a short time, but the glory and feeling you will have if you push through it and succeed will last forever! So think long term! J

Happy Racing! Happy training and build that confidence!

 

Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.com 

Hard work and consistency and some patience will pay off!

15 Oct

That title is what I tell all the athletes I coach; they are words I have lived by throughout my endurance sport and even professional career.

I’ll talk a bit about my story to hopefully give you all some hope if you’re struggling to show you that those words in the title are true.

I fell in love with running back in high school my at the time basketball coach was the cross country coach and since I was a skinny little dude who did not play football he made me run cross country to get in shape for basketball. So I did and I quickly found out I had some talent and so did coach. But my high school career was actually quite a mess and I have many regrets from that time in my life. I did have talent but I never truly used that talent. I would come to practice and typically goof off and not always run the workouts as hard as I should etc… I mean sometimes I did but more times than not I was just a goof off. Then the meets would come around and I was very competitive so I would want to race hard and could. I found myself as a young runner always floating between JV and Varsity. If I ran the JV meet I would either win the race or finish in the top 5 overall always. If I ran the Varsity race I would do well and could score for my time but never be that front runner like in a JV race. This would frustrate my coach because he knew I had so much talent but I was not applying myself in practice. I never raced scared or nervous I always had confidence and was quite lose during and before meets but my lack of performance in the Varsity races was from my lack of focused training. During high school I also ran track and to this day I’m part of my high school 4 x800 meter relay team that owns the school record. As you can see I had some talent and passion for running at a young age I just did not use it properly.

 

Years went by and my commitment to running floated away as I played music in a rock band, and then started working in the music industry and promoting concerts touring with bands etc…

I would still run but just the 5k-10k distance and race the fun races of that distance occasionally. But during this time I had gained a lot of weight and was not so healthy.

Now let’s speed things up to about 2005/2006. I’m working as a Realtor and I meet this amazing couple moving here from Colorado. Dave was into cycling and his fiancé Shannon was into running. Dave got me going on cycling and then began my quest to do a Triathlon and start make changes in my diet to get healthier and start competing in sport again. Shannon was training for a marathon and one day said she was going for a 12 mile training run around the lakes. I said hey can I join you? Sounds fun! That was the turning point of my life.  (Dave and Shannon to this day are still my very dear close friends and I love them to pieces) So off Shannon and I went for this 12 mile run we were cruising along chatting clicking off miles and not at a fast pace by any means but as we could maybe 9-10 miles in I struggled to keep up and she took off ahead we got back to their house and I realized I just got my ass kicked on this 12 mile run! That was the day I said I need to get serious and make some changes. (Thank you Shannon for being my inspiration to start running marathon)

Next sign up for the Twin cities marathon (2007) I have this race posted, medal, my bib and the card with my finish time on it framed and in my home office staring me in the face everyday as a reminder of where I came from. As motivation to always believe in myself and stay consistent and focused.

I started training for this marathon all by myself and just self coaching myself study books and websites etc… I would meet some running groups along the way to do some runs with but mostly I was solo. Now Twin cities marathon 2007 was a wicked hot and humid year a year they almost cancelled the race because of heat index so that was a struggle but none the less I was not so fast and I learned that day you have to respect 26.2 miles!  I ran that day in 3:53 that’s an 8:55 per mile pace. I was hooked on the marathon and after that race my goal was qualify for the Boston marathon!

2008 became a year of more consistency in my training, more focus and dedication and a lot more learning. I continued to slim down and now have gone from my heaviest before 2007 TCM of around 185-190 to now 145 pounds. From waist 34 to a 28inch waist; Becoming leaner certainly helped me run faster paces. I also became a more efficient runner and started to get my stride and form back from when I was in high school. My second marathon ever 2008 TCM I ran a 3:03 and qualified for Boston! In one year I had just taken 50 minutes off my marathon time! Because of dedication, passion, commitment, and consistency!

Boston marathon 2009 my first Boston! I was so excited! This was also the first time I broke 3 hours in the marathon! I believe I ran 2:58 that day in Boston and ever since that day have never looked back stringing together lots of marathons and all sub 3 hour times. (except for two marathons… one where I paced a runner and dear friend I coach NYC 2014, and then Boston 2016 when I blew up with heart issues and other stuff but still finished) other than those two races every marathon I have run since 2009 has been a sub 3 hour. I have now run 8 Boston marathons in a row and 2017 will be Boston 2017. I have done two Ironman distance Triathlon’s with my debut 140.6 in AZ 2012 in time of 10:05, 2016 I won a National title at USA Triathlon Duathlon National championships, I finished the 2016 Duathlon race series ranked #1 in points for male 40-44, in 2013 I raced Duathlon World championships in Canada and won the bronze medal.  My marathon PR was 2012 Chicago marathon in a time of 2:39 and my half marathon PR is a 1:16.  I have many other accolades along the way but this highlights some of my most proud moments.

So the point to all of this gets back to the title of this blog. And how if you are consistent, if you are passionate and focused, dedicated and goal driven with a little bit of competitive fire in you. Anything is possible you just have to believe and you have to be willing to work hard! You have to be willing to put yourself out there make sacrifices and push limits. And most of all you just have to be consistent in what you do! Follow you’re training plan, listen to your coach etc…

Because I have been that way for years, because I respect “sport” respect these distances and races and I stay training and fit 365 days a year I continue to grow as an athlete and now as a very successful coach! Since that 2007 Twin cities marathon I have studied and become certified with USA Track and Field and other organizations as a coach and have built a great and positive coaching business Gotta Have Heart Training that coaches athletes all over the world.

So if you are struggling and running 4 hour marathon time and have a goal of running a 3:30 or the Boston marathon whatever it might be. Stop and think about your training, think about how consistent are you? What is your commitment, passion, and how bad do you want it.

Then go make it happen! You can do it and make all the changes within yourself you want, you can go from that 3:53 marathon time to a 2:39 marathon time just like I have done. You just have to remember a few key words.

Consistency! Believe! Passion! Commitment! Heart! Hard work pays off!

 

Best of Luck

Coach MB

 

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