Archive for the ‘swimming’ Category

Getting ready for a big event.

May 21, 2011

By now it is that time of the year where most people are gearing up for some sort of a big event. In this part of the series I am going to talk about what to physiologically to get ready.

At this point in your season, you want to start honing in on race or event specific challenges. For instance, if your race is a criterium, then adding a good dose of very hard back to back efforts are going to be critical. If your event is a longer ride or race over varying terrain, you would want to be sure your ready to take on that challenging terrain. This is not the time to crash train by realizing you have 3 or 4 weeks to go and ride / run / swim like made to get ready.

A sudden bump in volume is the very opposite of what you want to do. Instead this is the time to start cutting training volume and do specific intervals. I can not say how many times I have seen someone start training huge amounts of hours right before an event. A well planned but shorter workout week will make for more bang for the buck then just going out there and doing a bunch.

Here is a slice of how my progression has gone by comparing a week from about 6 weeks ago to a current week.

6 weeks ago                                                     Current

Mon:               off                                                                     off

Tues:      2 hours w/ 2x15min steady state                      1.5 hours, 3 sets of 5 sprints at zone 6 to 7

Wed      1 hour easy                                                               1 hour easy

Thurs:   2 hours with high cadence sprints                   1 hour easy

Fri:  2 hours with 4 x 5min hill repeats   Z5                  1.5 hours with  10 x 5min hill repeats zone 5

Sat  2 -3 hours, with at least 1 hour zone 3                   1 hour easy

Sun:  3-4 hours. 3x 20min at Steady state                     3-4 hours, 2x15min Zone 4, then 5x 2-3min hard hills or flat.

As you can see the over volume decreased but the intensity is way up. This is the pattern your training should start  to follow 3 to 5 weeks before a big event. Tweaks are needed depending on the goal, but the basic concept remains the same.

All endurance sports will follow a similar pattern, the one above relates to cycling but the same paradigm is used for running, swimming, triathlon and adventure racing. The concept is to increase your bodies tolerance to hard efforts and teaching it to recover quickly.

Also when you are starting to decrease volume, be sure your diet reflects the loss of calories burned over all. Another thing to keep in mind this is not the time to add more stuff in other areas of your life. For these few weeks try to remain rested and stress free as you can.

Next part will be addressing the mental side,

Till then, Ride hard

Coach Jordan


Training camps and stints

March 26, 2011

*Note, while written in the context of cycling, this article applies to endurance athletes of all walk or swims of life.

Everyone I know usually looks forward to some sort of spring training ritual. I know in the past mine was a training week in the mountains with fellow team mates. We would binge on miles, climbing, and hard efforts. This sudden jump is something that most cyclist use to kick start the season. In a matter of a few short weeks I will be doing a three day stint in the mountains and logging more time in the saddle in three days then I have most weeks so far.

This sudden binge must not just be hacked job at riding lots and lots of miles. Doing a training camp or a training binge has some great benefits, but must be monitored closely. Here are a few things to think about for this training binge (also referred to as crash training)

1) Do try and get away from the home. Even if for part of the week, it is beneficial to just focus on your training for this week or a few days period.

2) have a clear goal to what the purpose of the training camp. Is it for threshold development? power development? or even just team cohesiveness? At this time in the season I would argue a training binge should be about three things. One mainly to develop endurance. Now is the time to tackle some big longer rides back to back. Be sure to not over do the first few days to save up for a longer ride later in the week or period. Two would be to work on threshold development, spending times in the steady state to threshold on big climbs or on longer rides would be ideal to help create some intensity other than just endurance. Last would be for team bonding and development if applicable.

3) Take the extra time away from daily duties to be sure to stretch and properly fuel between each days rides. A sudden volume spike can increase chance of injury. Counter this with stretching beforeand after a ride as well as later in the evening before bed time.

4) While not all training camps have to be a large team affair. Do try and bring along friends of like ability levels to help push one another through longer rides and to give some challenges. The few team camps I have been part of would always culminate in some friendly competition to help elevate everyones fitness level.

5) use the extra time to think about goals of the season. You don’t have to go to work, so use the time to focus on other things that are important to training.

6) You MUST rest properly after the hard effort. Any gains will not be realized until after your body fully rests from the effort. This period can range from just a day or two for 2-3 day training binge. Or up to w full week after a very intense and long week of crash training.

7) Stick to the goals of the training camp. I don’t know how many times I have seen or heard about a training camp that deteriorates into a mileage fest or week long stage race between friends and team mates. Everyone will have a bit of a different pace. This is ok! I know i said bring them along for SOME friendly competition, not every single mile of riding. Also remember at the end of day quality still beats shear quantity. Yes you will ride more, you just don’t need to ride a century every single day.

Planning a training camp or binge can be tricky, just use the general guidelines I have outlined above and chances are you will have a positive outcome from your sudden training boost.

Ride hard,

Coach Jordan

For more information or for comments go to or      email me at

Swimming and running testing.

December 20, 2010

While cyclist enjoy a plethora of tests and information, runners and swimmer are far less privileged when it comes to testing for the sport. Cycling is blessed by the fact that the athlete stays in one constant position even if the machine is moving. Also because of a bikes mechanical bits, power observations can be made. Swimming this is near impossible and running is no small feat to even contemplate this.

There fore the best testing for running and swimming are pretty much direct field testing; often done at a competition. First lets cover the logistics for running.

The most accurate version of testing for runners is a VO2 max metabolic cart, performed in a lab. This machine monitors the composition of O2 and CO2 entering and leaving the athletes body. From these pieces of data VO2 max and lactic acid threshold can be deduced. VO2 max and lactic acid threshold is the most important training reference points for a runner. I know that there are a few places in the Raleigh (triangle) area that will perform the testing. Testing is usually about $175 to $300 to have done. We here at achieve coaching can help you interpret these results further.

Luckily there is a short cut for the runner whom does not have the $300 or so lying around. The appropriate field test fur runners is to run a 5k. Running a 5k will approximate the runners threshold hear rate with in +/- 3%. This data can be taken on as regular basis as the coach and athlete deem necessary. From the 5K pace the runners shorter and longer race heart rate goals can be calculated.

Swimmers are in a whole different boat for testing (well ok not on a boat…) Often times the best testing for swimming is to swim a race or time trial to obtain some basic data such as time elapsed. Other parameters such as hear rate and anything else is very hard to accurately measure especially due to the conditions of being in a pool or lake full of water. The best method I have seen for testing is to find the elapsed time for the athlete to swim their goal distance. From this elapsed time the distance can be broken down to into smaller segments for the athlete to obtain in an accordingly shorter time. This produces a set of intervals to help train the athlete for the event.

Another perhaps more important form if testing for a swimmer is to have their stroke and technique analyzed. This is not so much as test as a analysis of efficiency. Swimming is unique in the fact its one of the only sports where a human body is being pushed through a substance that is several hundred times thicker than air. Efficiency rains supreme in swimming and can be the decider in races. I know I have seen this come true many many times over. Swimming efficiency can be video taped both above and below water for the coach to go over with the athlete. This is a type of thing achieve coaching can help with as well.

For more information feel free to contact us at or visit

Coach Jordan

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