Tuesday, October 07, 2008

It’s about time!

OK…..it's been 6 months since I've last added to my blog, but now is the time to get my act in gear and update some stuff.

Several athletes have finished their seasons with some great results. To name a few? Sherry Dowdy at Worlds Long Course in the Netherlands – great PR for her; Ryan Strohl competing at 70.3 World Championships in November, and also representing the DC Tri Club at Nationals in Las Vegas later this month; Amy McKee placing top 10 overall in major Triathlon competitions in 08, invited to represent DC Tri Club at Nationals; Rob Falk dropping 20 min on his OLY Times at the DC Triathlon; Mary Mooney learning how to swim, and then finish the season as one of the fastest 50+ women in the state of VA; Daryl Chesley – again one of the top Clydesdale Triathletes in VA in the 39 + Under; Ruth Olson, Vicky Jasparro, Deb Durocher setting some PR's in several road races; Jack Morrison consistently placing in the top 10 in road races at the ripe old age of 49; Bill Rysanek tearing up the trails, and encouraging Runner/Triathlete Ed Sabo to do the same; Wendy Taylor dropping over an hour in her marathon time at Toronto…….the list goes on and on!

Let's bring on the rest of the season!

Most of us will all be finished with our races by the middle of November. Once that happens we take a short break, but then we continue to embrace our fitness so that we may continue to build on tradition!

On to Business

Core training . I can't say enough about how much this will help benefit your training, your performance, and also your prevention of injuries.

What is core training? It is anything that helps to strengthen your body between the shoulders and the hip flexors.

Where can you get core training? Pilates, Yoga, and other sources available! I highly recommend one-on-one Pilates to help you to LEARN how to access your core, so that when you are doing core exercises you are actually accessing the appropriate muscle recruitment, etc.

Here are some webs and blogs that will help you out:




http://www.ptonthenet.com/clientcontent.aspx?m=69822 (my core program)



Even spending only 10 minutes a day will allow you to be stronger, faster, and more likely to stay injury free!

So let's get to work!

(from www.coreperformance.com) "The next challenge in our office workout series is the front pillar bridge. The front bridge challenges the stability of your hips, torso, and shoulders, making it an essential bodyweight movement in Core Performance training programs. Best of all, anyone can do it.

When performed in a group, holding the pillar bridge for time becomes as much of a mental test as a physical one, which is why it's a tremendous workout challenge for your office.

Plan an office challenge for the last Friday of the month and use this 3-week plan to improve your ability to hold the front pillar bridge for time. The Core Performance staff will be competing in this challenge and following this plan with you. So let us know how you're doing.

Step 1: Put your pillar to the test.
Time how long you can hold a front bridge, according to the coaching keys below. Or watch this video to see a demonstration. Your time determines your training level for this movement, which will in turn affect your training plan.


  • To start, lie on your stomach with your forearms on the floor under your chest. Prop your body up so just your forearms and toes are touching the floor. Your upper arm and forearm should form a right angle, with your elbows directly beneath your shoulders.
  • Keeping your head in line with your spine and your belly button drawn in, hold this position. There should be a straight line from your ears to ankles.

How to time yourself
Start a stop watch or have a partner time you. Stop the clock if your back begins to arch, your hips sag (on either side), or your shoulder blades are winged and protruding from your shirt.

How did you do?
Less than 45 seconds: Training Level 1
45–90 seconds: Training Level 2
More than 90 seconds: Training Level 3

Step 2: Start training.
Improve the stability of your shoulders and core, as well as your rotary stability—that is, your ability to resist rotational forces through your torso—with our 3-week training plan. Simply add these three exercises, or movements, to your current training program as prescribed below. Combined, they'll help you boost your front bridge.

1. Pushup Plus
How to do it: Just like a classic pushup, but at the top of the move (when your arms are straightened) focus on pushing your shoulder blades away from each other (your upper back shoulder round). Next, squeeze your shoulder blades together, as if pinching a pencil between your scapula, before lowering your body to the floor. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions twice a week. Perform this move before an upper body pushing movement, such as the bench press.

Level 1: Perform the standard pushup plus.
Level 2: Do the movement wearing a 10-pound weighted vest.
Level 3: Complete the movement with a 20-pound weighted vest and perform up to 15 repetitions.

2. Quadruped - Opposite Hold
How to do it: Get on all fours, on the floor or on a Power Plate, and keep your belly button drawn in toward your spine. Lift your right arm and leg until they're parallel to the ground and hold them there for the prescribe time (below). Return to the starting position and switch sides.

Perform this movement during your movement prep routine. If you don't have access to a vibration platform, perform the move on the floor or with stability trainers placed beneath your knee and hand to decrease your stability, thus increasing the challenge to your core.

Complete 3 sets of 20-second holds on each side, two to three times a week.

Level 1: Set the power plate to 30 hertz, low setting.
Level 2: Set the power plate to 35 hertz, low setting.
Level 3: Set the power plate to 40 hertz, low setting.

3. Pillar Bridge Front
Perform the front bridge two to three times a week at anytime during your training session, or anytime during the day for that matter.

Level 1: Aim for two sets of 30-second holds. Too hard? Try the move with your knees on the floor.
Level 2: Do two sets of 30-second holds wearing a 10-pound weighted vest.
Level 3: Do two sets of 30- to 60-second holds wearing a 10- to 20-pound weighted vest.

Get your pillar bridge training plan for week 2 and week 3 here."


Until next post!



Friday, April 04, 2008

DAY 1 – USAT Level 2 Clinic

So what did I learn today?

First speaker of the day was Bobby McGee for both the mental aspects of the athlete and then for running form technique. Lot's of old stuff that I already knew, but it was a great refresher. The new stuff is what is really going to help with running form technique issues that some runners have.

  1. Lean will determine cadence. Trick is to make sure that the athlete is leaning from the right position so that the hips stay over the feet and the shoulders are inline with the hips. In other words – lean from the ankles. Which is where ankle flexibility and calf flexibility is important. Quick test – feet shoulder width apart, now sit down on your haunches without raising your heels. If heels lift off the ground chances are you have Achilles issues, PF issues, and also will not be able to actively use the feet for adequate 'rebound' for the run. So practice sitting on your haunches.
  2. Another way to teach lean, especially with women is to take two mountainbike tubes and a piece of a smaller tube, have the athlete put one tube on as if it was a jacket (behind your head, arms, and in front of the stomach. Next in back tie the tube together with the other small bit of tube (about 10 inches worth). Now put the other tube into that area and pull back on the athlete – forcing the athlete to lean into the tube and try to run away from you.
  3. Or stand in front of athlete – hands on their shoulders/chest and have them lean into your body (keeping things inline) and push – it's a way for them to see how important body position is for a stronger push off the foot (or rebound).
  4. Hands stay inside the elbows.
  5. Imagine you have a pierced hole in your ear that has a string running through it – grab that string and (forms a triangle with the arms) and swing from the elbows.
  6. Muscles can only pull…they can't push – so don't actively push off the feet.
  7. If your feet splay outwards while running? Imagine that your KNEE going through a straight line.
  8. Lean from the ankles
  9. If you lay down and your feet turn out quickly (splayed) – then you have week glutes.
  10. If you do the side plank and the thing that hurts first is the top hip (not the core side you are working on that is at the bottom) then your glutes (med/minimus) are weak.
  11. How to strengthen them? Side Plank, Tubing around both knees – bend at knees/hips and ankle – feet a bit more than shoulder width apart and take tiny steps to the side.
  12. Quiet and Quick are what you want for your running.
  13. Drills – pony step, running on thin ice (pitter patter), fall forward, push the road.

The Body does not determine the limitations….the Mind does!

Then we talked all about creating mentally effective athletes.

More on that later!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Swim workouts 3/31-4/6

Got a busy week planned ahead! Leave on Thursday to attend the USAT Level 2 Coaches Certification Seminar down in Chapel Hill. So hopefully I'll be learning some new and exciting things that I can give my clients. One of the guest speakers is Bobby McGee (author of 'Magical Running') so I'm looking forward to meeting him and picking his brains.

Everyone had a great weekend of racing – couldn't be happier!

Group A

Group B

Description/Rest Interval

Distance (a/b)

6 x 100

3 x 100

25 swim, 25 kick on side, 25 drill, 25 swim – RI is 15 Sec


5 x 200

5 x 100

Good steady effort – free w/30 SR


10 x 100

10 x 50

Odds Free fast, evens choice stroke – no free please – w/30 SR




Pull w/paddles – long strokes, and focus on control and rotation of the hips




Cool down by drilling




Workout #2

Group A

Group B

Description/Rest Interval

Distance (a/b)

10 x 50

6 x 50

25 swim, 25 drill (see below) w/10 SR


3 x 1000

3 x 500

As follows: #1 – every 4th 25 is backstroke, #2 – every 4th 25 is FAST free, #3 is for A group – 500 IM by 25's (100IM+100IM…etc), then 500 free quick . B group is 250 backstroke/250 freestyle quick – all with 1 MR between


8 x 50

8 x 25

FAST FREE w/30 SR – blast it




Cool down drills



Drill of the week – Catch up freestyle with undulation (no real free kick) – start off by undulating off the wall (think dead man float with dolphin kick – in other words you will be ON TOP OF THE WATER). For undulation focus on pressing the chest down each time your hand enters the water (hands in, chest down, hips up). Both arms are in front in superman position (remember to look for criminals at the bottom of the pool) – press chest, stroke with one arm, breath to the side, hand recovers back to superman, now do the same with the other arm!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Swim workouts 3/24 to 3/30

Workout #1

Group A: 400 warm up, then do 5 x (500 free at quick pace + 100 Drill + 50 sprint free + 50 non-free) – 30-45 sec rest between all, cool down 100

Group B: 300 warm up, then do 4 x (500 free at quick pace + 100 Drill + 50 sprint free + 50 non-free) – 30-45 sec rest between all, cool down 100

Group C: 200 warm up, then do 3 x (500 free at quick pace + 100 Drill + 50 sprint free + 50 non-free) – 30-45 sec rest between all, cool down 100

Distance: A=4000, B=3200, C=2400 (if you normally do workout B, do C this week)

Drill of day: 4 Stage Freestyle, and Zipper drill (25 both side) – kick on side, hand is leading. With free hand that is on hip you will pretend you have a zipper up to your ribcage (zip, then unzip). Breath between zips (breath, head back down, zip up, unzip, breath….etc)


Workout #2

Group A: 3 x 200 (swim, kick, pull) warm up. 3 x (10 x 100) as follows: Set #1 is at moderate pace (L3) w/15 SR, Set #2 is at (L4) w/ 30 SR, and set #3 is 50 back/50 free w/15 SR, 400 cool down easy

Group B: 3 x 150 (swim, kick, pull) warm up. 3 x (7 x 100) as follows: Set #1 is at moderate pace (L3) w/15 SR, Set #2 is at (L4) w/ 30 SR, and set #3 is 50 back/50 free w/15 SR, 300 cool down easy

Group C: 3 x 100 (swim, kick, pull) warm up. 3 x (4 x 100) as follows: Set #1 is at moderate pace (L3) w/15 SR, Set #2 is at harder pace(L4) w/ 30 SR, and set #3 is 50 back/50 free w/15 SR, 200 cool down easy

Distance: A=4000, B=2850, C=1700

Friday, March 21, 2008

Back to running?

Back to some slight running this week. Due to all the pain being gone now, I finally ventured out and ran 10 min on the track on Wednesday. How did it feel? Well, the foot was fine, but the rest of the body was like "WHOA"! You forget what it feels like to begin again after running for so many years.

My last break was back in 1996-97 when I tore my plantar fascia a bit at the Richmond 8k. With that I took off a few weeks, tried to run again, aggravated things, and then went off of it once and for all for about 6 weeks. With that injury I learned all about active isolated stretching and reflexology, and that for every injury there is a cause. To heal an injury you need to figure out what has caused it.

I found out that most doctors treat the symptom. They truly don't the time to figure out what caused the problem, and for some doctors I'm sure they really don't care as long as you pay them. Why? Because most people just want a quick fix, and that's what doctors have learned. They might have wanted to find the cause, but have since discovered that most people don't care. They just want to be fixed…..NOW. And our society and it's commercialization is to blame. But I kind of get off track.

That last injury was caused by doing too much racing and training, not enough stretching (and I'm sure core strength), and my calves were getting tighter and tighter. So my foot injury was caused by my dereliction to duty, and my poor calves had no recourse but to engage some of the foot muscles to the point where they also said 'no more please!'

Our body is one big kinetic chain of events. I can compare it to a classroom with happy kids. The teacher walks in, but she's in a grouchy mood, and before you know it her angst has infected the otherwise happy classroom. Now everyone is grumpy and acting up. Just like the unhappy human body. When you abuse one part of it, sooner or later the rest of the body will react, and not in a positive manner.

So what caused my stress fracture? It's a long story, but I believe it has to do with a purchase of a pair of shoes back in April of 2007.

The Newtons (you can almost hear Seinfeld – "Newman")

The latest and greatest invention to help you become a more efficient runner (read faster here). Concept is good, but what if you are already efficient? Anyway, I wore the shoes, and as the weeks went by my feet started to get tighter and tighter in the forefoot area. I massage my own feet, and get my good friend (chiropractor by trade) to loosen the joints. This helped.

I race. I race a lot. Did I stretch? Did I work on my core during this period? Nope. I just raced and trained a lot.

In July I am at a race when all of a sudden I feel my left calve muscle getting tight. Finish the race (no problems), and then I spend the next week working on stretching and rehabilitating the leg. And then I race on it again. Everything is great until one mile to go on the run when it really starts to tighten up. I finish the race strong, cool down on the bike, and the next thing I know I can hardly walk. My Achilles is talking in a VERY LOUD WAY.

So….2 plus weeks off of not running later, and it's at a time I'm supposed to be in full blown IM training. Well, at least I can still bike and swim.

I fix this injury (90% of it at least), and continue to train, and then finish my 'A' race in November. No real issues, but then again there is still that little nagging soreness down at the Achilles to remind me that things still aren't quite kosher in Israel.

I take a week off, do some fun training, and then get back into the swing of things a month later. And with this new training I also engage in some fun, explosive, plyometric exercises with my swim team one too many days in a row.

Now I decide to fix this Achilles issue once and for all, so I visit our local ART doctor. He starts to work on the Achilles, and then the next day I feel part of my foot feeling like it is cramping. What happens is sort of like watching an egg roll off of a table. You see it happening, but you don't do anything to stop it.

I keep running, and before you know it that cramping feeling moves over to the middle of my foot and BANG! Now it's swollen at the top of my foot. I research to try and figure out what it means. I find out that all the symptoms suggest that I now have a stress fracture on my second metatarsal (second toe). And this means at least 6-8 weeks off of running. I finally get talked into seeing a doctor to confirm this, and two sets of x-rays and a bone scan later I find that 'yes, Virginia, you have a stress fracture!'.

One boot later, and some ultra-sound treatments daily, and it looks like I'm up and running again. Although 10-15 min isn't much. It's about all I can take right now.

What did I learn from this?

  1. Shoes are not magic, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Although I do like the cushioning of the shoes, I am going to forego buying another pair (I have three by the way)
  2. Plyometrics are good, but only in small doses.
  3. That ask the doctor to use the tuning fork before prescribing a bone scan. Why spend a lot of money when the damn fork will tell you it's stressed out? (this is something I need to ask the doctor about).
  4. It now takes an extra 2-4 weeks for things to heal now than it did back in my late 30's.
  5. I have more patience now than when I was 35. I know I'll run again, and taking this past 9.5 weeks off is probably not a bad thing in the long haul. After all, the most I've taken off in the past 20 years (after Max was born) was 6 weeks.
  6. There are worst things in life than a stress fracture. Seriously, this is a flea bite in the scheme of things.
  7. I am more competitive then ever, and ready to rock and roll! (cross your fingers)

Slow going from here on out, but that's all right! As Roy Rogers sings….."I'm back in the saddle again!"

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Swim Workouts 3/18-3/23 + NCAA’s

Talk about an exciting meet! Saw some really fast swimming this past weekend, probably one of the fastest D2 meets in the last 4-5 years. The University of Missouri (in Columbia) is a pretty nice college town. They have this great rails to trails course where it seems everyone in the community uses it, not to mention all the other parks that connect to it. Plenty of places to run (too bad I still can't run).

Final tally for Max though:

2nd in 1000 free – 10:14

4th in 400 IM – 3:58

5th in 500 Free (.6 separated him from 3rd)

6th in the 1650 – 15:42 (13 sec time drop)

Top scorer for his team, and his team took 3rd Place! Coach paid him $20.00 to carry his teams trophy (big butt piece of work) and not scratch it on the plane, etc today.

Note to self for next year – when working with Fly/Breast turns to make sure that the athlete starts with hands on walls, kick really fast, and perform the turn really fast – good drill

Workout #1

Group A

Group B


Distance (A/B)



Easy swim – throw in drills


5 x (300 + 200 + 100)

5 x (150 + 100 + 50)

Group A: 300 is at LT – free, 30 SR, 200 is 50 swim/50 drill, 30 SR, 100 is all out, 1 MR (repeat set 5 times).



Group B: 150 is moderate effort free, 100 is drill choice, 50 is FAST – all w/30-45 SR




Cool down easy drill or swim



Workout #2

Group A

Group B


Distance (A/B)



Warm up – 25 swim/25 drill choice


5 x 100

3 x 100

25 kick w/board + 50 swim free + 25 kick w/board (you drop the board off at other end of pool at the end of the first 25) – 20 SR


15 x 100

15 x 50

In sets of FIVE (3 x 5) Set one is 50 ez/50 fast, set 2 is 25 ez/75 fast, set 3 is hard effort – all w/20 SR, 1 MR between sets



Group B: Set #1 is easy, Set #2 is 25 ez/25 fast, set #3 is 50 fast – all w/20 SR, 1 mr between sets


3 x 200

1 x 300

Pull w/paddles – breath every 3rd to 5th stroke (alternate)




Cool down easy


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Swim #2 for 3/10-17

Here we go guys! It's probably same temps as in VA today here in Columbia, MO. Max doesn't swim until tonight J

Group A

Group B


Distance (A/B)



Easy swim


8 x 25

6 x 25

FAST swimming – get the lead out – 30 SR


4 x 100

4 x 100

#1 75e/25f, #2 50e/50f, #3 25e/75f, #4 100 F – 30 SR




Easy swim


4 x 100

4 x 100

A – repeat 4 x 100 set, B is pull for 4 x 100 – same rest interval




Easy swim


6 x 100


  1. Pull, breath on 3, 5, 7 w/30 SR (b is done)




Cool down



Get HR up in the 4 x 100 set – for those of you who know your HR zones get up into Zone 4 during these sets.