It’s been a while since I’ve written anything and there’s a lot that’s happened since I last blogged. In 2015 I changed some things in terms of my training in order to take a shot at stepping up within the professional ranks of triathlon. I took part in the Magnolia Masters Pro camp last January and dropped 7sec off my repeat 100y time in about 3 weeks. I also started working with David Tilbury-Davis to handle the triathlon coaching. Tim Floyd from Magnolia Masters handled the swim training. This combo has proven success and I was seeing it first hand. Unfortunately, I came into the year with too much chronic fatigue and continued getting sick until finally having to take a step back and take a break from training to get my health on track. One interesting fact is that I had been eating a vegan diet for the previous 2+ years. I’ll get more into this another time, but hind sight is 20/20 and I have learned a lot about training and diet and how to be a more healthy athlete overall.
This year I was looking at where I could get the best opportunity to continue my education as a triathlon coach. When the opportunity came up to spend time with Tim and the Magnolia Masters Pro camp from the deck, I jumped on it. What better way to learn than spending time with the best and observing from an entirely different perspective than what I had the year before in the water. I got in town just in time to drive straight to the the pro practice on a Friday afternoon. The first question Tim asked me as they rolled in one by one was what was my observation on their mood. I know most of the athletes, however it was obvious they were fatigued as most walked in staring at their feet that day. It was also the second swim of the day at the end of two big swim weeks. After watching them warm up he knew he had to back off a bit. Tim had an idea of what he wanted to accomplish in that workout before he got there, but how the looked and performed in the warm up determined what would actually happen. When the goal is to get the most out of an athlete, proper placement of stress is everything. It sounds so simple, yet it takes time to learn your athletes and the how to monitor them well. This is true at any level. The same holds true for the Magnolia Masters age group athletes. Most triathletes do not have a big swim background. It sounds like a disease, but it’s referred to as, adult onset swimming. There are some common issues slowing down adult onset swimmers. The first is immobility in the shoulders, back, hips, and ankles. One way to address this is by warming up right away with fins on. This takes pressure off the shoulders, loosens the hips and ankles and allows for a much better body position without struggling right off the bat. Core stability and body alignment are two of the most important things for any swimmer. Without keeping the core firm and able to transfer power, you are essentially kicking and pulling against a wet noodle. As they say, “you can’t fire a cannon from a canoe”. Muscle firing speed and the neural ability to swim fast with good posture are what every swimmer needs to continually work on. Swimming fast is the best way to address this, but not the only way. Strength training is important as well. While in TX, Tim introduced me Bridge Athletic who I have been using for over a month now and am loving what I’ve seen. Several alldayendurance athletes are now using the program as well, with great feedback. Another thing I was introduced to last year for the first time was USRPT, ultra short raced pace training. This is an interesting concept of hitting very specific times for short repeats with just enough recovery to repeat the time. In a more traditional swim set the intervals are longer and the rest periods are manipulated in order to hit the target effort or system for the set. For some reason USRPT in triathlon is misunderstood. The point is not to swim every workout in USPRT style as it was written, but instead take pieces of the style and place it appropriately in a triathlon swimmers routine. Everything comes back to knowing your athlete and proper placement of stress. The better you are able to monitor your athletes, the more you will get out of them.
There was too much knowledge to take in 4 days. I hope to make the trip back next year and continue the process. As always everyone in the Woodlands, TX is friendly and helpful to out of towners visiting the area. The environment at Magnolia Masters and in the Woodlands, TX is one of the best all around tri communities period. Love it out there, and the beer is pretty good too.