Weekly Update for August 25, 2014

Race Results
Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens
5:28:52 Mike Hartman

Anthem Reverse Triathlon
Congratulations to our youth TriKids team who excelled at Anthem. Sarah Plant was 1st overall in the youth division and Connor Berntgen and Evan Barrick won their divisions in the adult race.
23:54 Sarah Plant (1st Overall)
26:54 Emily Plant (2nd Overall Female)
26:55 Colorado Stanley
28:34 Jayda Price
28:42 Sophia Kosednar

1:15:48 Connor Berntgen (1st AG M10-14)
1:20:45 Evan Barrick (1st AG F10-14)

Saturday Workout
This Saturday will be a ride to the town of Sunflower from Fountain Hills. This is a 60ish mile out and back with a good amount of elevation change for those who like to get high. There is a wide shoulder for most of the route. Bring an extra tube and CO2 for puncture repair. There are no services on this route so I will be providing Support And Gear. It is recommended that you bring three bottles of fluid for this route. If your plan call for more or less than 60 miles then you may turn around early for a shorter ride or ride longer after you get back to Fountain Hills. Meet At Peaks Athletic Club to start riding a 5:30AM. Peaks is located at 12545 N Saguaro Blvd.

Coaching Tips
Gravity is a natural law and runners can use gravity to their advantage not only with downhill running but with running on the flats. With a slight lean from the hips (center of mass) one can use gravity to assist them in their forward propulsion. The lean must be from toe to head as if the runner is falling forward towards the ground. The runner should not lean from the shoulders and counter balance the fall with the legs. The runner should always feel as if he/she is falling to the ground. Keep the body erect and use the body’s center of mass for the forward lean. For inexperienced runners this can be an out of control feeling. As one practices they will get more comfortable with the lean and allowing gravity to increase his or her speed.

So much of the inefficiency with running comes from bouncing or vertical movement. While it is impossible to eliminate all vertical movement a person can minimize it with a good forward lean. Less vertical movement and more horizontal power translates to faster speeds. Using gravity by leaning forward gives the runner “free speed” because gravity is always there to pull the runner to the ground.

Practicing downhill running will help with the forward falling feeling. The hill must be steep enough to pull the runner down but not so steep that is forces the runner to slap his/her feet. Doing downhill repeats also allows the legs to move fast without too much exertion. Runners often express that they need to do more speed work at the track to get faster. Track workouts are a great way to develop speed but at the expense of increased intensity. If a runner wants to work on speed without the exertion of the track then downhill repeats are the key. It is good to choose routes that are hilly so that the undulation helps work different muscle groups and gives the runner an opportunity to work on speed without much exertion.

If after a downhill workout the runner’s quadriceps muscles (front of legs) are tight and sore then the runner was over striding or reaching out too far to prevent the out of control feeling. In simple terms overstriding creates impact forces on the quadriceps muscle group and slows the runner down. It is the body’s natural reaction to over stride on the down hill to maintain balance but if this happens the runner is putting on the brakes and fighting gravity. Be aware of this and consciously focus on keeping the feet underneath the body’s center of mass. Do not fight gravity. Think “free speed.” Heel striking is usually the result of over striding but one can over stride without striking the heels. Sore quads are a good indication that over striding occurred and the runner needs to emphasize taking quicker steps, especially on downhill sections.

Quick feet and short strides are essential to good downhill running. Knees should be high, which will require strong and efficient hip flexors. High knees allow more force to drive the feet into the ground. A quick step reduces impact time and time to next stride.

Practice these skills while downhill running to be a more efficient runner overall.

Weekly Report for August 11th

Race Results
Congratulations to the Durapulse athletes who raced at the National Championship events over the weekend. What a great opportunity it is to compete at that level and be a part of such a fantastic sport.
USAT Age Group National Championships
1:57:17 Shane Arters (2nd AG M45-49)
2:09:01 Bryan Dunn
2:17:06 Shawn Bernardi
2:25:18 Lowry Barfield
2:38:19 Jim Dawson
2:41:38 Joan Sommerlad
1:16:01 Tyler Barfield
1:16:06 Lowry Barfield

Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race
9:49:56 Stephen Sanderson

Saturday Workout
Tribe is hosting an open water swim clinic at Saguaro Lake this Saturday. Meet at Butcher Jones Cove off Bush Highway at 8:30AM. 2XU will have demo wetsuits available. Please RSVP to me if you will be attending.

Coaching Tips
Recently I was interviewed about designing and implementing a training plan for the triathletes I train, especially those who are new to me. I want to share pieces of this interview with my team. Here is a rare opportunity to dive into my coaching mind.

When you get a new client, how do go about finding out where they are now and where they want to be? My probing questions ask them specifics to their past training volume, speeds and times for various distances in training, and race results. I use this information and compare it to the athlete’s goals as well as the results of the average and elite standards for the specific events. Their goals are very important. They must be defined and achievable. My role is to assess their goals and do everything in my power to get them there. They must have end goals and other goals leading up to the end goal. Without something to motivate them in the short term the end goal may seem too unachievable.
What are the tools you use to measure current levels as well as improvements along the way? I have each of my athletes undergo some baseline tests. Having a physiology background and the equipment, I require each of my athletes to do a VO2 max test and repeat the test frequently throughout the training cycle. With the VO2 test data I can monitor the athlete’s progress with each workout by looking at heart rate, speed, pace, and power data. I also have my athletes perform various field tests in their training cycle as ways to measure progress. These tests include specific swim sets, bike time trials, and run trials. The tests differ for each athlete and what events they are training for. It is necessary that training is measurable and repeatable. Otherwise there would be no way to define progress and improvement.

How much of the measurement is scientific vs. gut feeling? I assess my athlete’s progress with objective data (heart rate, speed/pace/power, race results) and subjective data (perceived effort and goals). The ratio is probably 75% objective and 25% subjective. Having been a professional coach for 10 years and been around competitive sports all my life I have a good ability to discern (gut feeling) if a person really wants their goals or if there are other motives for hiring coach. Unless a person has a burning desire to achieve their goals and trust in the coach’s plan then they will not find the success they are seeking. I can read my athletes well and with a gut feeling know if they truly did push themselves to their true potential. Hard objective data is not always the clear indicator of what an athlete can truly do. The mind is a powerful thing and places the most limitations on our abilities.

If the timeline for completion of a race is extremely aggressive, does that factor into the training plan that is provided to the athlete? It is in the initial interview that the goals, and timeline to reach the goals, are determined. The athlete will have to have met certain time standards leading up to the interview and then beyond to determine if the goals are achievable for the target event. The timeline for completion of an event is most certainly a factor for designing a training plan to meet the athlete’s goals.

How do you adjust the plan to allow for any setbacks along the way, understanding that the race date does not change? All persons have the ability to be great and achieve their goals but that greatness cannot always be met in certain time restrictions. The body does not always adapt and progress as the plan is laid out. There is no single way to reach a goal because each person is unique and requires a different stimulus to stress and build strength, power, speed, and endurance. The person has to flexible, and patient, with how their body adapts. Much of the training is figuring out what kind of stress the person needs at that time in their training. It is different for each person, each event, and even time of year or time in their life. Some athlete’s need more endurance work while others need more intensity and these elements of work will periodically change for each person.

The plan is always being adjusted to the needs of the athlete. Communication is a key part of the process so that the coach knows intimately how the athlete’s body, and mind, are responding to the plan. The psychology of coaching is tricky. Training is simple, do work and get better, but getting the athlete to do the right kind of work for them can be challenging. Even with strong determination there are psychological breaking points in a person’s training that may set them back. To be competitive one must have a very strong mind. This is the ability to overcome any doubts and discouragements that will surely come in training and racing.

How do you provide feedback to your athletes? I know you are a great coach and always look for the positive in your athletes, but what about those times when the feedback you have to give is not so good? Failure is part of achieving success. Without failure we would not know what success is or feels like. When a person trains their body to be more athletic, and then mix in competition with others, failure will most certainly happen. Sport is all about overcoming our failures to reach success. As a coach, I teach my athletes to understand this. It is a necessary part of training and competition. Sometimes I will design workouts or subject them to events that I know they will experience some kind of failure. They are like tests. I want to know how they will psychologically respond to the failed task. If they give up then I need to coach them to be stronger mentally If they ask to do it again without making excuses then I know that they have it in them to turn that failure to a success. I will have them repeat the task in either an identical or similar format and very often they turn the failure into a success. It is our ability to overcome these set backs that makes us stronger athletes and human beings.

When a person does not reach their goals I try to find the good in what happened, even if that good is looking at the failure as a stepping stone to something better. One’s perception of training and racing outcome is critical and giving the athlete a positive perspective helps them overcome their physical and mental doubts. It is important to teach my athletes that they can still accomplish their goals, it just might take a little bit longer.

Weekly Update for August 4th, 2014

Race Results
Congratulations to Elliot Kawaoka for winning the male 25-29 age group at Ironman Canada last weekend. Elliot has worked incredibly hard for this victory and will be returning to the Big Island of Hawaii for the second time to race at the Ironman World Championships. The link to his race report is below. Get your popcorn ready!

Congratulations to Jason Sexauer for his results at Ironman 70.3 Calgary and placing 10th in his AG to earn a spot to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Canada in September.

The entire Durapulse team continues to have great results at the races. It is because of your hard work and perseverance that you are the top athletes in Arizona. I am very pleased with your results and proud to be your coach.

Ironman Canada
9:43:59 Elliot Kawaoka (1st AG M25-29)
11:15:58 John Argue
11:35:21 Stacey Gibson
13:39:37 Jenna Farguson

Ironman 70.3 Calgary
4:34:21 Jason Sexauer

Silver Islet Triple Crown
Silver Islet, Canada is nestled on the shore of Lake Superior. The local camper’s association sponsors a “Triple Crown” with a long distance running race that is quite competitive, a triathlon- roughly a 400y lake swim/3-4 mile bike/2 mile run, and a long distance swim. Tyler Barfield, age 14, won all three events and is the first person ever in the history of the festival to win all three events. Great racing Tyler!!

Lowry’s words (Tyler’s dad), “Apparently, it was a helluva swimming race. He has a girl cousin who is 2 years older and swims competitively in Milwaukee, super-fast, state meets–the whole deal. Tyler broke into the lead early and she settled in drafting off of him. Anyone else and he might have given them a little kick or two but he would never do that to Campbell. She drafted him for about 80% of the race, the two of them separating from the rest of the crowd by about 5M to 10M. Then, she popped out and tried to drop him in a sprint to the finish. Apparently, he hit the jets and they both raced full throttle to a little floating dock in the swimming hole that is the finish. It was apparently a bang bang finish with the official leaning over the edge to see who got the touch. I’m told Tyler tapped her out by about 2 feet and they both basically crashed into this dock at full throttle. Way cool. That’s Durapulse tough pulling that one out of the bag! So, keep in mind there are probably 80-100 people that do this race, almost all of them older than Tyler and Campbell and probably 200+ people at the swimming lake watching the race. I am told the crowd loved the final sprint.?

Upcoming Races
Best wishes to those racing this weekend.
USAT Age Group Nationals
Shane Arters
Lowry Barfield
Tyler Barfield
Jim Dawson
Bryan Dunn
Joan Sommerlad

Leadville 100
Stephen Sanderson

Mountain Man Half and Olympic

Saturday Workout
Meet at Peaks Athletic Club-CrossFit Fountain Hills at 6AM for a ride through Rio Verde and into north Scottsdale. Everyone has different distances on their plan but we will all start together from Fountain Hills. Peaks is located at 12545 N Saguaro Blvd at the corner of Saguaro and El Lago near the Fountain Park.

Coaching Tips
Elliot’s race report is well written and we can all learn a lot about racing from this champion.

Weekly Update for July 21, 2014

Race Results
Congratulations to Laurel Sroufe and Mike Sanchez for their outstanding performances over the weekend. Laurel raced at the XTERRA Mountain Championships in Beaver Creek, CO and qualified for the XTERRA World Championships in Hawaii in October. Mike race in the Duathlon National Championships and qualified for the Duathlon World Championships in Australia.

XTERRA Mountain Championships
3:23:06 Laurel Sroufe (3rd AG F30-34)

Duathlon National Championships
1:43:21 Mike Sanchez

Challenge Roth
14:50:29 Scott Sherman

Chino Valley Sprint Triathlon
36:49 Sarah Plant (2nd Overall)
41:44 Emily Plant (2nd AG F19 and under)
42:17 Sophia Kosednar (3rd AG F19 and under)

Upcoming Races
This Sunday Jenna Farguson, Stacey Gibson, Elliot Kawaoka, and John Argue will be representing Durapulse and racing at Ironman Canada. We wish you four the best as your go for personal records and world championship qualifications.

Saturday Practice
There will be no team practice on Saturday. Follow your respective training plans.

Coaching Tips
Train for an Ironman Mentality
By Gale Bernhardt
In the final weeks before an Ironman, athletes begin to decrease training volume, add pre-race segments to workouts, and consume fuels to fill muscles with glycogen.

Decreasing training volume frees up time normally spent doing physical training. While this extra time is good for your body, it can be tough on your head.

Sometimes the mind strays toward thoughts of uncertainty. This thinking may include doubts about preparation, the amount of money spent on the sport, the time sacrificed to training, and the simple uncertainty that surrounds a pending race day. These thoughts can conjure up overall feelings of self-doubt, fear, anxiety and pressure.

For athletes, patterns of thought and self-talk are major influences on performance. Negative patterns can defeat an otherwise physically prepared athlete. The patterns that begin in the days prior to race day are typically repeated during the race. A race is easily ruined if these patterns are self-defeating.

The good news is you can change negative thought patterns and improve your mental game. Top athletes continuously work on mental toughness–and you should too. This column covers three tools to help you improve your mental assets. Think of it as training your brain to complement your physical training. While the column is focused on mental toughness in training and racing, these tools are directly applicable as life skills.


Take notice of your self-talk when you begin to feel the mental and physical strain of self-doubt, fear, anxiety and pressure. Recognizing the thoughts that drive these negative feelings is a critical first step toward eliminating them.

Below are a few examples of self-talk that drive strong, negative emotions just prior to and during a race:
* The swim course looks really, really long. I can’t swim that far.
* What if I have stomach problems? What if I can’t keep food or fluids down? My day is ruined.
* What was I thinking, I’m no athlete. I’m not an Ironman/Ironwoman.
* I should have done more training to prepare for this. I didn’t do enough.

Once you take notice of self-talk that makes you feel bad, ask yourself if those doubting, self-defeating statements are really true. Are they exaggerations or are the statements just plain false?

Can you replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk?

For example:
* The course looks long due to the situation. Something like an optical illusion. I’ve swum this distance before, in training and in previous races. I know I can do it. I will be fine.
* If I have nutritional problems, I will adjust. Everyone has tough challenges on race day; I am no different.
* I am an athlete and I’ve done the work to get here. I deserve to be an Ironman/Ironwoman as much as anyone else. Why not me?
* I did the best training I could manage, given my other commitments. I know others train more and some train less. The best times are not always achieved by the athletes who trained the most. Athletes must be smart about training and racing. I am smart.

Do Something About the Here and Now

Many mental meltdowns are due to thoughts and worries about something that has already happened or something you fear is about to happen.

In the case of things that have already happened, you must tell yourself nothing can be done about the past. Take the past and learn from it in order not to repeat the same mistakes in the future. Continually learning from past mistakes and making changes that improve your chances of future success is how you gain mental strength. Like physical training, mental training is a continuous improvement process and not a one-step-to-success program.

As for worrying about the future, the big question is: what actions can you take right here, right now that will have the biggest chance of positively affecting your future?

For example, some athletes worry about the training that other people have completed. Remember, on race day there is only one athlete’s training that you can influence–your own. You can do little to nothing about the consequences of someone else’s training. When you begin to worry about the past, recognize this self-defeating problem and bring yourself into the present.

Ask yourself “What do I have control over, here and now? What can I do to help me get closer to my goal?

During the swim, set goals of reaching individual buoys, perhaps doing it while overtaking at least one person or remaining in the draft of the fast swimmer ahead of you. When you reach that buoy, set a similar goal for the next one. On the bike, set goals to reach objects in the distance without dropping below a certain speed.

By breaking the race down into smaller segments, you can experience success every few minutes. These small successes are forms of self-reinforcement and can add up to a successful race day.

Keep the End in Mind

When you are evaluating the options of what to do in the here and now, keep the end goal stored in the back of your mind. This will help you make the best decision in the moment of battle.

For example, if you happen to drop your hydration bottle during the race, you might be tempted to keep going and not stop to pick it up. You reason that not stopping will keep your average speed high during the bike portion.

If you get behind in nutrition or hydration later in the race, however, you may be forced to slow down or stop for a while in order to recover. Taking a short-term action that negatively affects your overall goal is not a wise choice. Before taking action here and now, consider any potential negative consequences to your end goal.

Problem Solvers

These three tips are merely a start on mental-toughness training. The best athletes have multiple mental skills in their toolboxes. They are constantly improving on those tools while adding new ones. They view themselves as top problem solvers and love the process of overcoming potential performance obstacles by just thinking them through.

If you welcome the challenge of overcoming obstacles, you have an edge on athletes who fear problems.

Everyone is doing the physical training to complete an Ironman, not everyone does the mental training. It’s a long race to be alone with yourself. Train your brain to tackle problems head on and focus on moving forward to your goal.

Weekly Update for July 14, 2014

Race Results
Fantastic racing by the Durapulse Team over the weekend. Your hard work, race execution, and results make me a very very proud coach. Ryan hardy and Shane Arters both qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Canada in September.

Ironman 70.3 Muncie
4:17:00 Ryan Hardy (3rd AG M25-29)

Ironman 70.3 Vineman
4:24:45 Shane Arters (1st AG M45-49)
4:51:21 Hana Sykorova
5:55:53 Grant Hayzlett

Mountain Man Sprint Triathlon
1:01:37 Dmitry Baer (1st Overall)
1:13:27 Lowry Barfield (1st AG M55-59)
1:14:22 Tyler Barfield (2nd AG 14 and under)

Upcoming Races
AP News Wire (Phoenix, January 24, 2014); Sherman Set for Epic Challenge in Roth, Germany in 2014

Two Time Ironman Scott Sherman of Phoenix, Arizona shocked the triathlon and civilized world today when he formally announced that he will compete in “Challenge Roth”, which is the pre-eminent Iron-Distance event in Europe. Rumors have been circulating for months regarding a comeback of the athlete affectionately known as “The Shermanator,” and there have been various unconfirmed reports of Sherman swimming, biking and running throughout Southeast Asia, Alaska and on the moon. Challenge Roth consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike followed by a 26.2 mile run and takes place in the triathlon mecca of Roth, Germany which is located about 30 miles from Nuremburg. The event is world renowned for its community support with crowds of over 200,000 beer filled Germans cheering on the triathletes. The course highlight on the bike is simply known as “The Hill” with an ascent about 1.5 km long and up to 10% incline. The crowds literally part as the athletes climb and are cheered up the Hill in a manner reminiscent of the Tour de France.

Sherman last did an Ironman in 2009. When asked what would possess any sane person to try this again, Sherman responded: “Your answer is in the question….I am NOT sane, but I am crazy for the challenge of triathlon and the journey to get to the start and hopefully the finish of another epic adventure.” Sherman has been training with a new guru, Nick Goodman of Durapulse Performance Company. Under Nick’s secret training methods, Sherman will be ready to rumble (and hopefully not stumble) at Roth. Sherman will also be poised to unveil his newest weapon, the “Red Dragon”, when it arrives from the Trek Factory in February 2014.

What will make this event even more epic is Sherman’s son Zachary, a PhD student at MIT, will be taking a break from his chemical engineering endeavors and cheer his old man on to the finish. When contacted by the AP, Zach said he had the same advice for his Dad as he did before the last Ironman in 2009, “Dad, please don’t die!” Sherman hopes not to disappoint his son as they have further travel plans in Innsbruck, Salzburg and Munich after the race. Sherman commented that “Beer is the recovery drink of choice in Bavaria and I will be in need of a lot of recovery.”

Roth Race Director, Hans Strudel, stated that “Sherman’s addition to Challenge Roth only adds to usual media hype and commitment that Roth draws the greatest and most unusual athletes on the planet. We wish him good training and look forward to seeing him in Germany.” Other spectators expected to watch Sherman in his epic quest are his cousin Heido Wags and CEO of Schuff International Scott Schuff (Sherman’s boss). More spectators are encouraged to see what Two Time Ironman World Champion Chris “Macca” McCormack calls “The greatest race and beer gardens on earth.” Challenge Roth is set for July 20, 2014.

More Information on Challenge Roth can be found at (http://www.challenge-roth.com/en/index.html); on Durapulse Performance Company at (http://www.durapulseperformance.com/). Follow Sherman’s quest at www.dumbasstriathlete.com

Saturday Workout
Tom’s Thumb trail run from Gateway Trailhead. Meet at the Gateway Trailhead at 5AM to start running at 5:10AM. The loop is 12 miles and takes good runners around 2 hours to finish. There are no services on this run, unless you have the survival skills to tap into a Saguaro Cactus for water and sweet berries so bring enough food and water for a 2 hour trail run. The Gateway Trailhead is located north of Bell Rd. on Thompson Peak Parkway. If a trail run is not on your plan and you would like to switch things around then contact me and I will adjust your schedule.

Coaching Tips
“Everything is AWESOME!!” Lego Movie Theme Song