Archive for October, 2010

Goals for the season to come

October 23, 2010

Enjoying this part of the year is critical, you should be having fun doing what ever your favorite endurance activity is. Running, cycling, or even some cross training into that other sport you may not always have time for. Mentally this part of the season is about finishing up any last-minute goals and starting to plan for the future.

Planning for the season ahead is really more complicated than some may think. At this point of the season you have to be thinking about what did you like or not like about the past season, what events suited you well (and those that didn’t) and how this will factor into the season ahead. Is there a new team? How do I want to improve? What event is it that I could do best at next year? Setting these goals are of high priority for the season ahead.

The biggest mistake I have found in working with athletes is the statement of “I want win (or do x place) at this event.” There is one glaring mistake in this logic. You can not control what other people are doing. What if John lost his job and decided to just ride all the time instead? (while ridiculous, you get the idea…) Placing emphasis is in performance goals is a very hard thing to unwire.

Instead look at it from a more logical and easier way to understand why you got “x” place at the event from last year. For example: In one of my bike races this past year, I got dropped on a hill during a short criterium. Looking back at the race it is very easy for me to say why did I get dropped, and why did I not get 15th place or better? Breaking this race down shows a much better way of understanding it. It was an hour-long race and the race crossed this hill roughly 38 times. I made it through 35 mins, So I was able to do roughly 17 laps. This particular hill was about :50 sec long. and the average pace was about  22 mph or 450 watts for :50 sec, 38 times. Looking at this means, that if this was my goal race for next year I need to improve my ability to perform the workload from 17 times, to 38 times. This is a trainable goal that is possible to quantify. Here is more or less numeric proof, that if I can obtain this goal, I will have a much better shot at then placing in some “x” place.

Here is another example dealing with cycling, but is very applicable to any endurance sport.

My goal this year is this:

To go to Green Mountain Stage Race, My unicorn race and lay down 4 very good days of racing. This 4 days will have this goal attached with them based of the previous years field.

day 1 =  14 mins @ 420 watts

day 2 = being able to complete a 3.5 hour race at about 2600 kj’s with minimal fatigue in my legs

day 3 = being able to climb two big mountains at 350+ watts for 20-30 mins

day 4 = being able to perform about 35 laps with 35 hill repeats at 500+ watts.

By doing these four things, I know my chances at GMSR are likely very good.

Quantifying your goals into some tangible amount of data is likely to be more motivating as well. You will have to perform “x” by this certain date. And by another date you will have to perform “x” again. This is setting up miniature goals that break down the big “I want to win” into smaller more obtainable daily goals. And this works with any sport be it running, triathlon, swimming, everything. It can all be broken down into some form of pace or ability to repeat a measured performance.

So, here is the challenge: Instead of having a performance goal this year, think of what amount of performance will likely place you well in the race for next year. Right this goal down and hang it somewhere you can see it. Look at it every day, and always remember every workout is helping in some way to reach that ATTAINABLE goal.

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan

Next week: how to break down a goal to start thinking about how to best train

for more information about coaching and how to achieve these goals go to: Achieve Coaching


An interesting work out (and lesson)

October 18, 2010

Here is a little story form my ride yesterday, that I feel may be of help in some form or another (or at least a fun story…)

I went out with my buddy to train in umstead park. He just got a new cyclos-cross bike and I had to borrow his mountain bike. Needless to say the mountain bike (mtb) is fair bit slower than the cross bike he had. In the first 15 mins or so, we just got in to the rythm of the ride and were having fun. On the first climb I felt ok, and tried pushing it on the climb. I lead and he followed no problem at all.

As the lap on umstead progressed, I felt progressively worse, each mile was getting longer and more taxing and my buddy was able to float up the climbs like pantani. On the last climb of the lap, I died… badly! Its one of the wroes feelings to see some one just float away and not being able to answer in any sort of manner.

After I was recovering on the flats, I started feeling better. I was keeping up with my friend, and even starting to contest the climb as well. The lap was getting more fun, and I was feeling better with every pedal stroke! The final climb came and I was able to gas it and finish the climb stronger than perhaps any time before.

Generally I say to not continue when you are feeling bad. It usually is a sign to not keep going. However sometimes you just need to keep pushing and eek out that last little bit. In this case staying with the workout taught me to keep pushing, the body goes through its ups and downs. On this ride it was both mental and physical. In your next workouts, if it isn’t feeling great, just try a few mins longer. Hopefully it turns around and you can use this as a future tool to know when you need to hang back a bit in your next event.

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan

Time to pump the iron!

October 15, 2010

lets back up a second and think about a physics lesson (stay with me, there is a point!) What makes you be able to move? wether it be running, swimming, cycling you need power to move. Moving through the air, through the water. It takes power! From a physics stand point power is an amount of force in a certain amount of time. So we can think of this as how fast your muscle can push on the pedals, ground or what ever that gets you moving.

Both aspects of force and the amount of time can be trained.

Today I will talk about the force part. In general the most effective way to increase muscle force is to apply some resistance on them. The muscles will then train themselves to overcome this load. Eventually your arms, legs will get pretty used to your weight and increasing time of the excercise can only do so much.

So short of purposely gaining weight, it is time to use the weight room to help aid you in building your muscle strength.

Weight training is beneficial for endurance athletes for a multitude of reasons. Bearing a weight and having a full body program can help even out muscle imbalances, retrain proper muscle patterns, help build bone density (swimmers and cyclist!) help prevent random injuries from moving to quickly or lifting a heavy object. The list can go far beyond this. Whats most interesting from my stand point is back to the concept of creating more power. Power can be increased in two ways; either generate more force in the same amount of time, or move the same force in a quicker time period.

Weight training will help you ba able to create more force. For the endurance athlete weight training programs will have a different paradigm than a weight lifters program. Endurance athletes will maintain repetitions of weights at 8 or more. Frequently I will recommend 15-20 reps for most of the weight lifting phase. This creates two desirable training effects. The first is that as your program progresses, the idea is to continually putting more weight on for 15-20 reps. (think increasing force in same amount of time). Second is the muscular endurance training effect. In one 2-3 hour bike or running race, your legs will generate a force thousands of time. Lifting weights in the 15 to even 25 or 30 range will help you maintain this muscular endurance.

Creating a weight lifting program is heavily based on your sport and your specific body build. I can help with this, or talk to any GOOD certified personal trainer (GOOD = find someone whom has trained in the same manner you have, and lots of experience)

If you are done with your race season, now is the time to get back in the weight room. This will serve as a good period to help you get adjusted before volume work resumes.

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan

P.S. the other half of the power equation will come at a later date… Also a follow-up for sport specific weight training will be up next week!

Work out for cyclo-cross

October 9, 2010

Here is a cool workout for cross.

15 minute warm up

repeat the following 4 to 5  times

:30 seconds @ zone 6

2:00 minutes threshold pace @ zone 4

:30 seconds @ zone 6

1:00 minute threshold pace @ zone 4

:15 sec all out sprint

4 to 5 minutes rest. After ther rest period go back and repeat the whole interval the prescribed 4 to 5 times.

15 Cool down

This is designed to work on teaching the body to maintain a hard pace even after a short and hard effort. This is a great work out for mid week to get you ready for the weekend.

Ride Hard!

Coach Jordan

For more information go to

The mistake everyone makes…

October 6, 2010

Lets all admit it, we are addicted to training. I know from experience I am. I love the rush of riding, charging uphill, riding back down, feeling my body being alive. Perhaps the hardest part is being able to know when it is ok to look out and observe the nice day instead of participating.

Whether your a cyclist, runner, adventure racer, or what ever the most critical part of your program is when you rest.

Most people I start to work with or talk with inevitably had or is going through the period of “I must train or I will loose every shred of fitness I have” This is not true it takes 2 weeks of being completely sedentary before a noticeable change in fitness happens. This means a day off to stop and smell the roses is more than ok, even a few times a month! This is the most important concept to grasp = You only get faster when you rest! Your body will inly respond to an overload in fatigue or stress. In the case of physical fitness, this load or stress is from performing in your chosen activity. After the load or stress is applied, you must allow time to recover and repair any damage from the stress. Interestingly enough your body will over compensate for this stress and come back stronger than before. By resting you are actually making your self stronger.

I recently have had the chance to work with a runner whom also participates in weight lifting as well. This runner is not a competitive, simply one that uses an intense program to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Recently she has been grappling with recovering from a few hard days, and thinks that she is going to loose fitness if she takes a few days off. This is simply not true, taking the few days and allowing yourself to rest will only help you. Even though she is currently sick, this will even occur after a few days of hard training. I have ben working with her to mentally understand the concept of resting will only help her progress.

Its hard to mentally let go of your routine from each and every day, but it is a jump that must be made. You probably have heard the saying “Train smarter, not harder” This is very true and especially extends to knowing that it is ok to rest!

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan

For more information please go to

%d bloggers like this: