Corona Virus Updates

by The Coaches on March 24, 2020

Moments of Corona…

Every now and then we need perspective…Mine came today after a week of “Trying to teach online”, staying in, social distancing, staying positive in a terrible situation, etc…I burst out the door after school, jumped on bike and let off some steam! I thought I was letting off steam by riding, but that is often when the brain works best, therefore it was RACING faster than the bike:(

THEN, as frustration raised in the my body again, I was HIT with PERSPECTIVE. While riding the beautiful roads of our area, I saw a young boy of 7-8 years old, who, seemingly had muscular dystrophy (or something similar) running, to the best of his ability across the yard in the sunshine with the biggest GRIN on his FACE:) …And there it was in front of me, PERSPECTIVE.

Stay safe, ride solo, run solo, GAIN PERSPECTIVE:)


Stroke Rate in Swimming/Pool

by The Coaches on February 13, 2020

Stroke Rate: Why You Should Mix It up in the Pool

Susan LackeAug 29, 2019
Change up your stroke rate to crush open water swimming. Here’s how.

Swim coach Frank Sole refers to the local lap pool as a petri dish (but not in a gross way): “It is a perfect environment: Same length, no waves, no sun, no wind, you can see the bottom, and generally the water is crystal clear.” In these conditions, an athlete can swim long, relaxed, and undeterred, which is great—but also not so great.

“On race day, you are now in the water with a couple thousand of your closest friends. Your wave is packed solid with athletes,” Sole explains. “You can’t always take those long and relaxed swim strokes. You’ll need to swim with a short stroke until you find clean water again.”

This concept illustrates what is known as stroke rate, or the amount of strokes an athlete takes in a certain duration, usually one minute, where one left arm pull counts as one stroke, one right arm pull counts as two, and so on. One swimmer’s rate may be 64 strokes per minute (SPM), that is, they take 64 single arm strokes per minute, while another’s might be 75 SPM. Whatever the number, it’s important to know that this isn’t something that’s set in stone. A swimmer should have an arsenal of stroke rates for various conditions, Sole says.

“Whether you’re in a crowded swim start, swimming around another athlete, or swimming around a turn buoy, you will have to adjust your stroke rate,” he says. “If there is a tide or current, this can and will have an adverse effect if your stroke rate is too slow.”

In other words, trying to maintain your standard relaxed pool stroke rate in non-pool environments is the equivalent of trying to take long running strides around corners or up hills. Being able to maintain a higher stroke rate gives you the ability to own your environment. For example, you might need to up your stroke rate in choppy conditions in order to punch through the water and not lose speed.

But it’s not always as simple as speeding up your arms when the need arises. “Remember a higher stroke rate will demand more oxygen, stressing the energy system, and using muscular strength and general mobility,” Sole says. “Technique can fall apart if you’re not careful.”

That’s why athletes should practice a higher rate in the pool on a regular basis—but only after the fundamentals have been mastered. “Early on with newbies, I tell athletes to give the stroke the necessary time to improve, along with your energy system. In time, we can incorporate tools like the tempo trainer [a metronome for swimmers] to set you on the path to a higher effective and efficient stroke rate.”

Stroke Rate: The Sweet Spot
Is there such a thing as a “perfect” SPM? Yes and no, says Sole: “In my experience, I have seen athletes in all distances from sprint to Ironman holding a stroke rate of approximately 48-60 strokes per minute.” That’s a wide range, and athletes shouldn’t be discouraged if their stroke rate is on the lower end.

Sole says athletes should be more concerned about keeping technique intact—an improvement in rate often follows naturally. In time, you can shoot for 72. “When I can get an athlete to hold 72 strokes per minute and do it without compromising the integrity of their technique, I consider that the ‘sweet spot.’”


Your Season Review in 7 Questions

by The Coaches on December 17, 2019

DECEMBER 12, 2019 · BY LAURA MARCOUX USAT Level II Certified Coach

It can be tempting to start your next season before fully processing your last one, but taking a moment to reflect can give you valuable lessons.

Goal setting for an upcoming season is one of the most exciting times of the year. Everyone has a blank slate; the possibilities are endless, and dreams are unfettered.

If you didn’t quite reach your goals from the previous season, you may want to put that behind you and move on as quickly as possible. If you did achieve some milestones, you may prefer to capitalize on the momentum, rather than reviewing and dissecting. But if your priorities are longevity, sustainability, and growth in your sport, then executing an honest post-season review can set you up to achieve even more.

Below are 7 questions to use as a guide to understanding your results, uncovering where you may have more agency, and warding off even well-earned complacency. As you work your way through the review process, make sure that you address each topic through as many lenses as possible. That means not just swim, bike, and run, but also strength, resilience, mental training, focus, confidence, nutrition, hydration, sleep and other recovery modalities.

What goals did you achieve that you can build upon, and what didn’t go well despite the success?
Where did you fail or come up short this year? How do your failures reflect your courage and enthusiasm? If you didn’t fail, is it because you didn’t set your goals high enough?

Did you have any areas of training (swim, bike, run, strength, nutrition, mental, etc) that you became inconsistent with as the season progressed? What are your thoughts on what you could have done to stay more consistent?

Did you get flat towards the back end of the season? Or did you continue to build throughout?
What strengths have you uncovered that you can build upon moving forward?

What important lessons did you learn this season and how did they help you grow as an athlete and as a person?

How did triathlon fit into your life this season? Were you able to maintain balance between training, family, work, etc?

Notice that these questions don’t contain action items. That comes next, along with setting more focused and intentional goals. As tempting as it may be to forge ahead to this step, pausing and taking the time for stillness and reflection will promote fulfillment and long-term success over short-term satisfaction.


#DecemberMAN #SantaMAN

November 30, 2019

DECEMBER CHALLENGE…Here it is: #DecemberMAN, #SantaMAN (or whatever creative name you can come up with). The total goal for month of December (1st through 31st) is to swim or row 2 hours, ride 10 hours and run 5 hours. This brings us to our historic 17 hour cut-off for the Ironman. Now if you do [...]

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November 29, 2019

A DECEMBER CHALLENGE…Coming soon…Who is in??? Will you commit without knowing??? Happy day after Thanksgiving!

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4 Ways Triathletes Should Train in the Off-Season

November 5, 2019

OCTOBER 22, 2019 · BY CONRAD GOERINGER Use the off-season as an opportunity to address aspects of training that are often ignored, such as overall strength, resiliency, and limiters. As the racing season wraps up for most triathletes in the northern hemisphere, many are wondering what to do with themselves over the next few months. [...]

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At the races in August…

August 8, 2019

Well, the dog days of August are upon us:) We have been blessed with some very warm weather as of late here in the mid-atlantic!!! The beginning of August saw Hillary Hertler crush her old PR at the Lake Logan Aquavelo and land on the podium! Start-tri alum Patty MacNaught and Jen Palombo crushed the [...]

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Training in the heat…

July 21, 2019

It’s uncomfortable, but science says training in the heat is worth the trouble: Hot-weather workouts teach your body to sweat more (which keeps you cool), increase your blood-plasma volume (which benefits cardiovascular fitness), and lower your core body temp—all adaptations that help you perform better in any weather. But how hot is too hot? “I [...]

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Learn how Gwen Jorgensen (our first Triathlon gold medalist) got her start

March 7, 2019

In 2009, Gwen Jorgensen didn’t even know triathlon was in the Olympics. Now she is one of the best triathletes in the world; Olympic Gold Medalist, two-time World Champion and holds a record 17 career ITU World Triathlon Series gold medals. Here’s how the driven and talented athlete made her way to Olympic Gold Medalist. [...]

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New Challenges…

January 22, 2019

Well, we are three weeks into the NEW YEAR…Have you kept your resolutions? Did you make any? Do you need any? These are all timely questions and good questions for triathletes. As an athlete (and coach) I like to set some challenges for the NEW YEAR. They vary from year to year depending on my [...]

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