Friday, November 18, 2016

5 reasons you are not getting faster

1.) you don’t do your easy rides easy enough 

Somewhere along the line aerobic training and recovery training got thrown together. Too many athletes go out there and just ride/ run by feel. I constantly hear "whatever feels easy" is my recovery pace. But a lot of the time that effort ends up being slightly too hard and inhibits the athletes ability to push on sessions where it actually matters. A good gauge I like to use is <110 heart rate. So pop your bike on the trainer, link up some Netflix and chill.
Jeanni intensely riding 70w. 
2.) you don’t train your gut to take on fluid, salt and carbohydrate 

Carbohydrate, salt and fluid are the name of the game when it comes to racing. Everyone needs some combination of these three in order for race day success. Yet, I am constantly seeing people posting about not performing on race day due to GI distress. And that is likely because they do not train their gut. Your stomach is trainable just like anything else. And not practicing your race day nutrition strategy on a weekly, even daily basis, can leave you wasting precious seconds in the port-o-loo. Many athletes don't take in enough of these sport products during training because they are afraid it will sacrifice their body composition goals. But during your training sessions is NOT the time to skimp on calories. So drink your sports drink and slam a gel. You will be able to execute your session more effectively and you'll be training your gut in the process. 

3.) you don’t care about your body composition

This one is a touchy subject but it is a critical point on this list. Unfortunately, there is an emotional aspect with body weight, body image and food. That is what makes this one difficult. But that does not mean that it should be ignored. Losing body fat will make you faster. A lot faster. In running, I typically see 3-4 seconds PER MILE drop in paces for each pound of body weight lost. Additionally, the lower the body fat, the better ability the athlete has to deal with hot conditions. Getting down to "race weight" is challenging but important. I personally struggle with losing body fat and have tried every trick in the book. My suggestion is to track your calories for 6-8 weeks at the beginning of the season to shed off those holiday lbs and then again 6-8 weeks before your big race.

sushi and wine can be part of the diet plan (but you better track it!) 
4.) you aren’t adaptable 

All triathletes are type-A and there are lot of ways that this personality trait gets in the way of optimal performance. When we get into a training block it is all about routine. Familiar training routes, comfortable eating patterns and adequate amounts of sleep in your own bed. But when you travel halfway across the world for your next race, every piece of that puzzle is thrown up into the air. You don't know the roads, you have no idea what that thing is on your plate and you are sleeping in the middle of the day trying to adjust to the time zone. Some athletes freak out and let it impact their ability to perform during the race. Others can adapt to the situation and not let these circumstances dictate their race day outcome. There is a way to be type-A but still be adaptable. Go in with a flexible mindset. Trust your training and roll with the punches. Remind yourself that as long as you show up at the start line on race morning fit, healthy and ready to race- nothing else matters. 
In China. Seriously jet lagged. Fueled by white rice and mystery meat. I even watched an episode of Shark Tank before the race. But highly caffeinated and ready to race. 
5.) you don’t acclimate for a hot race 

I learned this one the hard way. I constantly would rock up to early and late races fit as a fiddle but walk home with less than expected results. Typically they would come off the back of sub par runs where my body broke down in the heat. I recently learned the benefits of acclimating to the heat while living in a colder climate. For those doing hot races coming from a climate cooler than the race environment, this one is a MUST. One heat session each day somewhere between 17-20 days before your event will do the trick. A "hot session" is a workout were you are increasing your core body temperature and sweating. So ride the trainer and run on the treadmill. And don't be afraid to hop in the sauna pre and post swim session. 
If it works for a #champion, it can work for you too 
And that's it. If you do even one of these five, you will get faster. All 5 and you may just have yourself a PR. That being said, a lot of these tips take some more specific, personal instruction. And that is where a smart coach comes into the picture. If your coach isn't focusing on these things, then ask him or her to start. And if they don't know what to do, you should probably look into getting a new one. 

For those looking for someone to guide them through any of these tips or looking for an individual coach, Jeanni and I will be working together to coach a select group of clients in 2017. Feel free to reach out to us- and 



  1. Number 3 really hit home. Actually putting a number really made me thing about this. 3-4 seconds per mile per pound! That would make 10lbs 30 seconds per mile!

    1. and it really does make a huge difference. let me know if you need some additional help getting a plan sorted out!

    2. Do you have any data for cycling? I struggle with my weight for a number of reasons but your numbers just really hit me. I actually have little signs saying 10 lbs = 30 seconds and 20 lbs = 60 seconds. A whole minute faster!!! I have known this for a long time. My trainer has discussed with me what if I were to carry around a 20 lb dumbbell on my runs.

    3. I post all of my running and cycling training on the website Strava. You can search for my name there and see all of the workouts that I am doing. Shoot me an email if you want to discuss some of your personal weight issues! I am happy to help.

  2. I really like your blog it's really nice. I really enjoy here. & Your article its so unique its amazing. Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep blogging.

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  3. Hello Justin, thank you for the article. I wanted to know what are tips (I don't like to use the word tricks) that I can use to improve my body composition and come down to my racing weight. I still need to lose 6kgs but I really don't want to compromise with my power (FTP) on the bike. Please let me know whenever you have time. I assume it would be related to changes in diet but I'm really keen to know. Cheers buddy.