New Year! Big Goals!

planning Jan 06, 2021

Heading into a new year is a great time to begin mapping out a training calendar.  This is the time of year many begin thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and start thinking seriously about getting fit for the upcoming race season or starting a healthy habit.

There are so many Bible verses relevant to planning.

Proverbs 16:9The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 19:21Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

I love these verses because it calls Christians to action.  We are called to make plans and these plans are made using our hearts and minds.  Therefore, it is critical to align our hearts and minds with Christ.  How do we do this?  We spend time with Him through the study of His word – the Bible.  We praise and worship Him.  We spend time praying and seeking His will for our lives.

Psalm 119:11I have stored up your...

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Lost on the Beach

lessons learned Dec 30, 2020

Not too long ago, we arrived at the beach for a short fall vacation.  We checked into our condo around 4 PM and decided to walk down to the beach to check it out.  The beaches we have visited before on the Atlantic coast were flat and great for running.  That appeared to be the case this time.  Paula was planning to run two hours and fifteen minutes.  I was planning to run but didn’t have anything specific in mind.  I had been nursing a hamstring issue, so I scaled back listening to my body (get to the starting line healthy).

We went back to the condo and began getting ready to run.  We both realized that night was approaching, and we may be finishing in the dark.  What could go wrong?

We both headed south on the beach into the head wind.  Starting “into the head wind” is a good rule of thumb to not turn around miles down the beach and realize how strong the wind will be on the return.

Paula and I run at different...

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Traveling and Training

lessons learned Dec 23, 2020

Recently, Paula and I traveled from Kentucky to Atlanta for a church event.  We arrived late on Friday night and slept in on Saturday morning.  When we awoke, we decided to squeeze in a run before heading out for brunch and then to the church.  Since we were pressed for time, I shortened my normal warmup routine.  I also realized I left my roller and rollerball at home. 

"But hey, I’m just doing a short easy run.  It will be okay." 

I pulled up Google Maps and searched for “greenway”.  When out of town, this has been a helpful way to find places to run.  It is surprising sometimes how close a path may be.

We walked out of the hotel and put our masks in our car (for those reading this in the future, we are living through COVID-19).  Then we took off on our run.

If you are not familiar with the Atlanta area, you may be surprised at how hilly it is.  Immediately out of the hotel parking lot in the direction of the...

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What To Do When You Are Injured

injuries Dec 16, 2020

Isn’t it great to be able to wake up in the morning and know that you can head to the pool, hop on and ride Zwift, or hit the road for a run?  Every day we can do what we love is a blessing from God.  But sometimes, we get sidelined due to an injury.  It is still important to thank God for his many blessings – most of all, Jesus paying for our sins on the cross.  When I’m injured, I keep in mind all the fun times I had when I wasn’t injured and that brightens my outlook.

So, what to do when you are hurting?

Paula and I are not doctors, therapists, psychologists, etc.  We have no formal training related to any field of medicine.  But we have been treated by specialists and we will share what we have experienced.

Some of the leg injuries we have experienced have been attributed to tightness higher up the body.  It could be the neck, the back, the glutes, etc.  A physical therapist may offer dry needling and exercises to...

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Building Endurance Fitness

training Dec 09, 2020

In working with our athletes, we design workouts that will address building fitness holistically.  Our goal is to increase aerobic threshold, lactate threshold, and VO2 max (AKA aerobic capacity).  If you are a coached athlete, you won’t necessarily need to know how to build fitness in a variety of areas, as your coach will put together plans that address all areas.  However, if you are self-coached, you’ll need to understand the type of workouts needed to improve all areas and how to put together a plan that finds the right balance between improving and not over-fatiguing the body’s systems.

VO2 max

One area in which athletes gain fitness and performance is by improving aerobic capacity or VO2 max.  VO2 max refers to the maximum volume of oxygen the body can deliver to working muscles per minute.  It is measured in millimeters of oxygen consumed in one minute per kilogram of body weight (mL/kg/min).  There are some fitness clubs and...

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Taming the Fork

nutrition Dec 07, 2020

Many athletes are super type A.  If there is a workout on the schedule, no matter what, they complete the activity.  So much discipline!  For some reason, that same discipline does NOT always carry forward into daily nutrition.  Proper nutrition is of equal value to proper training, yet this aspect of training is often overlooked.  But, why?

Many adults who begin training, do so to lose weight.  The first few months, the plan seems to work.  As the adult becomes more active, more calories are burned.  The body begins to shed a few unwanted pounds.  After a few weeks, the weight loss plateaus, and the athlete becomes frustrated.  Often, when an adult begins swimming, biking, or running, over time he or she inadvertently begins increasing caloric intake.  I’ve actually heard runners and triathletes say, “I do this so I can eat what I want.”  While to some degree caloric intake should increase while training,...

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Value of Post-Race Reflection

lessons learned Dec 01, 2020

If you compete in short distance races - 5K, 10K, or sprint triathlons, you could race several times per month. But if you go long, you will only do a few per year. In either case, every day and every race is a learning opportunity.

Paula and I not only encourage our athletes to build a race plan before a big race, but also a post-race journal to document the experience.

For a race plan template, click here.

The post-race journal should include how well your race plan worked on race day. Be sure to answer these type questions:

  • Did your nutrition work?
  • Did your pacing work?
  • Did your training prepare you for the weather and course conditions?
  • What went well?
  • What didn’t go well?
  • Who supported you?
  • Who also raced?
  • What did you learn?
  • Etc.

In addition to the technical details you can use to improve next time, we recommend you capture those special moments that are memorable.

Memories from the Ironman World Championship 2016

When I competed in the Ironman World Championship, I...

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Why Do We Do This?

lessons learned Nov 25, 2020

Last weekend, I went for an 18-mile run with 8 miles near the end at marathon pace. Some people would say, “Great job!” Other people would say, "You're crazy."   But I love being outside, staying fit, and getting faster. On this run, I saw a friend who I cross paths with occasionally. Normally, either he or I are focused on what we are doing and don’t think to change direction and run together. The first 8 miles of my long run were at an easy pace. So, I had no reason to be in a hurry.

This was a great time to catch up with my friend. We picked up a conversation we started a year ago which led to some personal issues he was having. We talked and looked for hope in his situation. Then I brought up something difficult going on in my life that I asked him to pray for. It was great to run with him and the time passed quickly.

Not only are endurance activities great for fitness, but they can also be very social and emotionally energizing. Before I jumped into...

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Efficiency in Reaching Your Destination

lessons learned Nov 18, 2020

Growing up, my Mom and Dad were co-pastors of a small church and often opened our home for people to come for counseling. Often, these guests were from out of town. I still chuckle today at this memory:

My mom received a call from Carolyn. I could hear the lady on the other end of the phone. “Barb, this is Carolyn. I’m in Owensboro. How do I get to your house?” For all our younger readers, this was in the early 80s, prior to navigation systems! My Mom laughed and replied, “I can’t give you directions unless a know your current location.”

My sister, Stephanie, who is seven years older than me, had difficulty navigating our small town when she first learned to drive. Don’t get me wrong, she always successfully made it from point A to point B, but with little to no efficiency. She had lived in our town all 16 years, but only knew how to get from our house (point A) to her destination (point B). The problem occurred when she had more than one...

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Race Day Nutrition

nutrition Nov 11, 2020

When Dean completed his first Ironman race in 2013, he was having his perfect race... until he wasn’t. He was on pace to Kona Qualify until the proverbial 16th mile of the marathon. At that point he bonked. I was a bit shocked, as I’ve been watching him race since middle school. This guy is always prepared and always implements his race plan with precision.

As with any good wife , I congratulated him and celebrated at the finish line. But as a coach, I had questions. After letting him bask in the glory of completing his first Ironman and giving him a day or two to recover and self-reflect, I could wait no longer. “So, Babe, typically when an athlete bonks, it’s related to execution. Have you thought about a root cause?” Over bike? No. Bike nutrition? Executed to a T. Pace too aggressive at beginning of run? No. Run nutrition? “I wasn’t hungry on the run...”. Wait. What?

Lesson Learned

Ironman is quite the long endurance event, so...

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