PROGRAM OBJECTIVE: A focused and fun to intense weekend of pre-season training and informative presentations to prepare triathletes for successful racing in 2016 @ IMLP or other venues. Schedule is adaptable to individual needs.

PRESENTERS /TRAINING GROUP LEADERS: Mickey Cassu and guests. USAT certified coach and multiple IMUSA finishes.

WHERE:Training and activities will take place on the Ironman USA (Lake Placid) course. “Camp Cassu” is serenely located on the run course (near mile marker 5) about 4 miles from downtown Lake Placid. With ample parking and gear storage provide a unique immersion environment where you have access to all amenities, your peers and coaches throughout the weekend.

PROGRAM COST: $285 per athlete. $100 deposit due to hold spot and remainder due by May 1, 2016.(Add $50.00 after Jan 1) This includes all group training activities, group discussions, nutrition, goodies, support, lodging(for single beds/shared rooms*) and all meals.

PARTICIPANTS**: Accommodation is limited and spaces are envisioned to fill quickly. A first-come basis will be adopted so please sign up quickly to insure your spot. Once accommodation has been filled, we will accept training only participants though you will need to arrange your own lodging.

Cancellation Policy – Cancellations 30 days or more prior to the camp/clinic start date will be refunded by 50% of the registration fee paid. No refunds for cancellations less than 30 days prior to the camp/clinic start date. No transfers. No exceptions.


Why Triathletes Should Go Trail Running

by The Coaches on January 9, 2016

Hit the trails! Try trail running for better balance, power and fun

Republished with permission of VeloPress from “Trailhead: The Dirt on All Things Trail Running” by Lisa Jhung with illustrations by Charlie Layton. For more, visit

Why: Your Body
Running on trails does a body good. Thanks to varied terrain and softer natural surfaces underfoot, running on trails can both improve your overall fitness and be more forgiving to your body than road running.

Nice bod
A fit physique may not be your main reason to head out for a run on trails, but it’s not a bad side effect. Running on variable surfaces, such as trails riddled with rocks or roots — or even on smooth, twisty singletrack — forces your body to use stabilizing muscles (hello, core) and strengthen connective tissues (ligaments and tendons) that don’t normally get recruited on road runs. And running hilly terrain on trails builds leg strength — working quads, calves and gluteal muscles more than running on flats.

Plus, research shows that trail running can burn up to 10 percent more calories than running on a road or track for the same time or distance.

Better balance
The varied terrain of trails engages small, intrinsic muscles situated deep within our bodies for balance, improving coordination by teaching us proprioception.

proprioception \’prō-prē-uh-’sep-shun\ n. 1. Awareness of the position of one’s body, helpful to runners and all other living creatures.

Running trails has multiple benefits. Science says so!

Studies show that walking on uneven terrain requires more energy than walking on smooth ground, engaging more muscle activity and metabolic expenditure. If this applies to walking, just think how it applies to running.
Running trails — unstable ground, uphill/downhill, altitude — often strengthens balancing muscles, such as core muscles and small stabilizing muscles, normally not engaged in road running.
Trail surfaces are softer than pavement and thus create lower overall impact and reduced pain while running.
Running trails improves bone density that may help combat osteoporosis.
“Mechanically, trail running challenges athletes in all three planes of motion: sagittal (front/back), frontal (side/side) and transverse (rotational). This means there’s a high degree of muscle control and strength, plus coordination and proprioception, required to trail run.” — Charlie Merrill, licensed physical therapist and competitive trail runner

Soft landing
Trails compress, or dampen, to varying degrees with every step. That means that each time your foot hits the ground on trail, the impact is less harsh than on pavement or concrete. This minimizes wear and tear on your body — the same kind of wear and tear caused by the repetitive motion of running on a hard surface, which can lead to a multitude of overuse injuries. And the softer the surface, the more energy your body expends to rebound during your stride — a good thing. Running on very soft surfaces (such as deep sand) increases muscular strength and overall stamina.

“In the same way you go to the gym to get strong, running on changing terrain makes muscles, tendons and ligaments stronger. Compliant surfaces are great for muscles and joints because they store and return your energy. Running in the sand, which has a lot of dampening, works foot and calf muscles and burns a lot of energy. And running on uneven terrain makes your heart rate and overall energy cost go up.” — Daniel Ferris, Ph.D., professor, School of Kinesiology, University of Michigan

Easy does it
Doing too much too soon can shock your body and cause injuries. With any training program, easing into things is important. With trail running, gradually building up to more technical terrain will give your muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons time to adjust and prepare them to become stronger than ever.

Be a Better You
Your body has a lot to gain from trail running.

If you’re a road runner …
You have: Cardiovascular stamina, leg strength, good bone density
You’ll gain: Core strength, intrinsic muscle strength, balance, agility

If you’re a road cyclist …
You have: Cardiovascular stamina, leg strength (singular plane/circular)
You’ll gain: Core strength, dynamic leg strength, increased cardiovascular strength (your legs keep moving downhill), increased bone density from the impact of running, increased balance, increased agility

If you’re a mountain biker …
You have: Cardiovascular stamina, leg strength (singular plane/circular), some core strength
You’ll gain: Increased core strength, dynamic leg strength, increased cardiovascular strength (your legs keep moving downhill), increased bone density from the impact of running, increased balance, increased agility, another perspective of the trails you love (and access to some you can’t ride)

If you’re a swimmer …
You have: Cardiovascular stamina, core strength, upper body strength
You’ll gain: Improved cardiovascular stamina, leg strength, increased core strength, increased bone density from the impact of running, balance, agility, a change of scenery from the bottom of the pool

Republished with permission of VeloPress from “Trailhead: The Dirt on All Things Trail Running” by Lisa Jhung with illustrations by Charlie Layton. For more, visit


Fundamentals of Strength Training for Endurance Athletes

by The Coaches on December 20, 2015

Good Points by fellow USAT coach TONY ZAMORA

With the cooler and shorter days among us, now is the perfect time to head indoors and focus on strength training. Triathletes live busy schedules and have to find the time to train for three sports. Adding in a fourth of weight training always seems to get complicated, and the gym is usually the first to be forgotten when time gets crunched. But the gym should be prioritized into your training schedule to help reduce injuries and build strength, which will ultimately transfer over to speed come spring racing.

kettlebellLast year I wrote about the importance of building a strong base and addressing any nagging injuries. The good news is that you can combine some mobility exercises to address those injuries into your warm-up and cooldown during your gym sessions, thus knocking out two birds at once.

Here’s a sample warm-up, main set and cooldown that can be personalized based on your mobility needs. Just be sure to not skip the warm-up and cooldown. The main set should take anywhere between 20-30 minutes as I believe in efficiency, full body movements and generally getting the most bang for your training time!

Warm-up: 10-15 minutes
Start off with some foam rolling and general mobility movements. Body weight lunges, push-ups and pull-ups are also great additions.

Main set: 20-30 minutes
I like to combine 2 sets of exercises into one set, or supersets. This helps with the time efficiency aspect and also helps get a great sweat on with minimal breaks. Do the same lettered sets back to back then take 1-minute rest between sets. Start off with 3 sets of each exercise and see how that feels. You should lift heavy enough weight where your form stays true, but you feel a strong burn by the last rep.
Set A1
Single Leg Squats, 8-10 reps (each leg)
Stand facing away from a weight lifting bench, place the top of your right foot back on the bench while holding a pair of dumbbells in both hands; then squat down with your left leg keeping your torso straight and tall. Do 8-10 reps, then repeat on other side.

Set A2
One-armed bench rows, 8 reps (each arm)
Using the same bench you are at, place your right hand and right knee on the bench. With your left hand grab one of the dumbbells and pull the weight toward your chest. Do 8 reps, then repeat on other side.

Set A3
Dumbbell bench press, 8 reps
This time lay flat on the bench facing up holding dumbbells in both hands. Press the weight straight up, keeping your abs tight and the weight under control — don’t let it wobble everywhere.

Take a 1-2 minute break, and then repeat A1, A2 & A3 (no breaks between those exercises!) two more times.

Set B1
Squat, 10 reps
Using a dumbbell or kettlebell; grab the weight and hold it close to your chest. Squat down, keeping your torso tall. Lower until your elbows touch the inside of your knees, then slowly stand back up.

Set B2
Push-ups, 10-20 reps
Right where you are performing the squats, you can get down to the floor and knock out some push-ups.

Take a 1-2 minute break, and then repeat B1 & B2 (no breaks between those exercises!) two more times.

Set C1
Kettlebell swing, 20-25 reps
Using a kettlebell perform a set of 20 swings. Stand with feel shoulder width apart, grab the bell and initiating with your hips swing the bell until it is at chest height straight in front of you. With a quick and fluid movement, bring the bell back down to starting position and go right into the next swing. These should not look or feel like a squat. Your heart should be pounding at the end of this exercise.

Set C2
Planks, 30 seconds
Right after the swings, go down into a plank position on your elbows, with the palms of your hands facing down and straight ahead (not touching hands). Squeeze your abs and your glutes during your plank, and pretend you are pulling the floor back toward you with your hands (you’ll actually feel more burn in the abs!).

Take a 1-2 minute break, and then repeat C1 & C2 (no breaks between those exercises!) two more times.

Cooldown: 10-15 minutes
Once you’re done with the workout, perform a little static stretching, some more mobility work and foam rolling.

Tony Zamora is a USA Triathlon Certified Coach who coaches athletes throughout the world as founder and head coach of TZCoaching, based in northern Los Angeles.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the practices of USA Triathlon. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician and/or coach.


Season ending races…

October 19, 2015

Well Autumn is upon us… Congratulations to all of the Start-tri athletes (past and present) that tackled everything from sprint triathlons to Ironman races, 5K runs to marathons and even a ride across the USA! We were at 100% finishes for all athletes that began an Ironman!!! Recent finishes included numerous awards at the Triathlon [...]

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Need some motivation through the hot days (Dog Days of Summer)…

August 31, 2015

Start-tri athlete, Lawrence Writer, is taking on the journey of a lifetime. He is biking from Portland, OR to Portland, ME. Discovering our great country along the way. Be sure to follow his blog (along with some great pictures): Train smart, Race hard, Have fun… The coaches

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Happy Bastille Day!

July 14, 2015

As Le Tour de France heats up and heads into the Pyrenees (home of my paternal side), I continue to be amazed at what these athletes can do! Here on the home front our own Start-Tri athletes have had some very impressive results! At the Flat as a Pancake Tri, the Start-tri Team brought home [...]

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At the races…

May 26, 2015

Racing season has hit the Northeast in the last few weeks!!! After a long winter many Start-tri athletes emerged from hibernation at the Jerseyman Triathlon. Zoli Kemescei, Dave Swezey, Tom Whelan, Matt Starr, Mike Tropea and Coach Mickey tackled the tough course and all had good finishes. This weekend saw racers Tom Whelan, Matt Starr [...]

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End of March Motivation:)

March 28, 2015

We are going to run an age graded mile (together or on your own). You can run this on or off the track. You just have to prove using garmin, polar, strava, other file. I plan to run mine on the track. Once you run your mile, you will plug into calculator below and see [...]

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New Race Kits for 2015

March 5, 2015

Happy Snow Day in March! Many of us are planning/have planned our 2015 schedule…toward that end our Start-tri team, athletes and friends will be racing in their new kits at the opening races of the season Jerseyman Triathlon and Flat as a Pancake Triathlon. We hope you like them:) Train smart, Race smart and Have [...]

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Run Power Calculator

February 9, 2015

This is an entry by Alan Couzens, fellow triathlon coach. Very informative… Run Power Calculator Alan Couzens, MS (Sports Science) You’ll find below a calculator that will give you an equivalent bike power (in watts) for a given running pace. To use it, simply enter your weight (in lbs) in the first white cell then [...]

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