Chat with us, powered by LiveChat
The Importance of Recovery

The Importance of Recovery

Over the years I have been very misunderstood by many pundits who have not even taken the time to visit our coaching camps to see what we actually do. However I have talked with and visited many great coaches who have that most important feature that makes them superior coaches – and that is curiosity.

They look at my results and ask why?

So when I say to you the most important principle of my success in Triathlon is my true understanding of recovery, it is ridiculed by the mass of naivety that passes for Triathlon experts.

So let us begin with the founding statements I had drilled into me by my farther some 45+ years ago. The statements that kept me at the top of international level coaching of any sport I took on

STRESS  +  RECOVERY   =  ADAPTION   =   HIGH PERFORMANCE

Verses

STRESS    +    STRESS   =    DETRAINING   =   POOR PERFORMANCE

Which one do you want for your athletes? That my friends is profound  “science”!
So let’s be very clear.  I believe that if there is no recovery, then there can be no progress.

In this sport of 3 elements (and 5 for Ironman), recovery is a very complicated undertaking. So one needs to know the sport. Can recovery happen in one facet, while working hard on another? My thoughts are a very definite YES! Can recovery happen when one is tired? YES!

The puzzle for the individual to work out is how much stress is enough to stimulate performance, and the amount of rest needed for that to occur. Here is where it is complicated, as it changes with three things:

  1. fitness of the athlete
  2. age of the athlete
  3. mental capacity of the athlete

Get one of them wrong and you hinder your ability to perform at your highest level.


Recovery Run

A coach needs to adjust for each individual, and also over the course of their career. Adaptions made over time can mean that an athlete who worked best on a lighter load, will after 3 years cope with and require additional work to perform at a higher level. If the athlete is with you long enough, you will then see that as they get older they may do better and keep improving by adjusting their work load to once again do less.

When one reads this, you may think I’m trying to confuse, however it is this complicated. Thus why there are only a few master coaches in a sea of mediocrity. It is a fact that every athlete has a different stress level, and this fluctuates. A great coach finds this, and then manipulates it. Recovery is his/her tool to control it.

The next job for the coach is once finding the level is to persuade the athlete that this is best for them. What is best physically might not match up at all with the psychological abilities / requirements some athletes have. I have witnessed many athletes who did great things only because they were dragged kicking and screaming to their results. Not by pushing them harder, but by using recovery they don’t want, to save them from themselves.

As noted in my previous blog, my biggest problem, is athletes not knowing their threshold levels to stress even after showing them with great performances. Their paranoia is such that the more is better syndrome lives extremely close to their pillows, and it takes only one word or performance from a competitor, to start their alarm bells ringing, “i gotta do so much more “. We use some recovery every day in our work outs.

Here are three examples of programs I just sent  to serial winners only 5 minutes before I sat down to write this

  • I want you to go to the pool. Run 20 minutes from there, then swim 200m and 15 minute spa.
  • I want you to ride your city bike to the pool. If you are bored do an extra 20 minutes on the city bike, then swim 400m easy. Have a spa and ride home.
  • Coach I can’t do nothing. It drives me crazy! One workout a day doesn’t do it for me. Then ok, ‘What about a run day. 3 runs what do you think?’  Coach that sounds fantastic, how do they look? ‘20 minutes before brekky.  20 minutes max before lunch. If you still feel the need then 20 minutes max before dinner.’

These are actual workouts, and will help all three be better athletes.

Recovery is everything. Your job as an athlete is to embrace it.  The Coaches job is to work out how much. If you give some too much recovery they become bored; and as such I’m a master of camouflage, to give athletes recovery while they think they training.

When discussing ‘stress’, people tend to look for the red line. We don’t. The red line is for anaerobic events. Triathlon (excluding the new team format) is aerobic after the start. Thus we look to find the white line. And that to me is B.A.P. – Best Aerobic Pace. With stress that’s what I’m looking for. We do a lot of B.A.P. when our body is ready. Our recovery we have done previously allows for this.

Ironman is a different set of operational tools. The pain is not pain, it is lingering discomfort. There is plenty of gain to be had, if training is done right, without pain. The key is consistency. Not how hard you go. In fact i think going too hard actually limits Ironman performance.

I’ll finish just as I started

Stress + recovery = adaption

Stress + stress = DETRAINING and thus poor performance

 

Join Trisutto Head Coach Brett Sutton and his squad at training Camp in St.Moritz and Sursee July/August, 2018.

 

Feature Photo: Tahni Brown

Recovery – the Trisutto Way

Recovery – the Trisutto Way

Our personal Trisutto camp is in full swing in St Moritz. We have my coaching nirvana, athletes from very beginners, to Olympic and Kona champions all side by side in our pool, and the coach is loving it.  Ability and speed is no barrier to being in our camp. We have two full time coaches in Susie and Robbie, plus myself, all trying our best to help people live their sporting dream in the most beautiful surroundings in the world.

However we also have other Trisutto coaches visiting too, to take advantage of the facilities, but also the sharing of coaching information. So camp to me looks more like “Tri-fest 2018” as coaches meet and talk about their specific problems in getting the message across. This message is that 90% of all triathlon information disseminated is not best practice for Triathlon. One theme that all coaches seem to struggle to get across to their athletes is recovery and rest needs to be built in to the program on a daily basis.

 

It’s not just my group that has been totally brainwashed that I must work hard every day. To the astonishment of all who visit, they see the best in the world doing 800m swim sessions. They see 20 minute runs implemented regularly. They are often gob smacked when they are told 45 minutes ride. As they watch the best do that, they also see my dismay with athletes arguing and debating for more work. They see the strong discussions I have with the best athletes in the world, who after they have had brilliant success, are still opposing my advice nearly every day, about what has made them great!

Our coaches see it, and they say ‘that’s our biggest problem too’. Athletes just can’t believe they don’t have to go longer, faster, harder every day to be better. Being in this group environment of over achievers just escalates the obvious misunderstanding of how performance is achieved. Not only built but maintained for a full season. Just as the misunderstanding of breaks from training. How different they are, and why some athletes get them, and some don’t! One of our long time supporters wrote in with a very respectful e-mail about what is a real break. He asked ‘When we read your blogs, they can mean so many different things, but giving Daniela Ryf a 3 month break has me totally confused.’

So to add to those things, many including the coaches find it difficult to understand. I preach that doubt is the poison of performance, and that as coaches they must work with athletes that buy in 100% to what we are trying to achieve and why. Without finding the harmony between coach and athlete success is nearly impossible to find.  When the athlete mind is turned by other coaching thoughts, or doesn’t believe what they are doing is right for them, then the coaches need to understand that their best outcome is for the athletes to find another coach that espouses the philosophy that the athlete believes in.

So I am going to write a blog as a 3 part series. So everyone understands that I believe one of the stupidest cliches that doesn’t work in our sport is – ‘No pain. No gain’. This is firmly etched in my mind every time I set a task.  Just as one of the most important cliches that works great for Triathlon – ‘If you don’t use it, you will lose it!’.

With those two thoughts I hope ringing in your mind, here are the three headings for our 3 part series to be published over the next month –

  1. The importance of recovery
  2. Breaks from training, and why you must have them
  3. Harmony of coach athlete relations

 

Join Trisutto Head Coach Brett Sutton and his squad at training Camp in St.Moritz and Sursee July/August, 2018.

The Art of Continuous Improvement

The Art of Continuous Improvement

The art of continuous improvement – how we develop the best training system in the world for everyone, not just the pros.

When I’m asked about certain changes in our athlete training protocol or techniques, I point out that our Trisutto Total Body Force method (TBF) is always open to be improved.

The strength of our training program is built on daily on deck workouts we do with the best athletes in the world, plus our ability to pass on positive improvements we see being made by athletes that are challenged by improvements in their weakest disciplines.

What does that really mean?

The best squad of pro athletes in the world are always carrying out experiments in all three disciplines. When we see a better way, or a positive outcome from these athletes, we pass this information on to our coaches, and hence on to our Trisutto athletes.

This is not the usual theoretical ‘let’s run a study on 6 age groupers’ that you read on a weekly basis on forums and in magazines. Instead, where we have athletes not seeing the improvements we believe is possible for them, then we experiment with training in specific areas. We search for innovative ways to overcome the ‘road block’ and to find a solution. If we find an improvement with that particular athlete, we try it out over a period of time with another athlete that may be struggling with the same impediment to improvement. If again we have another success story, we still don’t pass the information on, but try another athlete. If this is also successful, then we incorporate this knowledge into our training system, and pass the information on to our coaches to implement should they wish to do so.

This allows all of our athletes to be at the forefront of experiments that we conduct with our pro squad in all disciplines.


‘Our strength, and our consistent results are founded on 28 years of trial and error with the best athletes in the world.’

To give an example. Nicola Spirig has just undergone a 4 month (yes 4 month, not 4 day, not 4 week) experimental swimming technique change. During that time, some of the findings have seen two of our other pros switched to the same swim technique protocol, along with two of our coaches how have also unwittingly become Guinea Pigs.

All five have shown improvements in training. Three of the five have raced and also shown improvements. These are tests that are performed in a race situation, not in a lab. These findings are now already passed on to our coaches, and hence to athletes attending Trisutto training camps.

Our strength, and our consistent results are founded on 28 years of trial and error with the best athletes in the world. This has enabled us to develop our Trisutto TBF athlete training methodology, so we can pass on our best knowledge to athletes;  and also develop our Trisutto Academy to train aspiring coaches. Athletes and coaches can learn from our experience to get an edge in Triathlon.

We strive to be better than everyone else.  We strive to share our information, and do so only once I believe it can help enhance the performance of our athletes.

The Kaizen method of continuous improvement is an originally Japanese management concept for gradual / continuous change (improvement). Kaizen is actually a way of life philosophy, assuming that every aspect of our life deserves to be constantly improved.

If you have been advised to try a new development, whether that be swim, bike or run, then be assured that it is no new theory from a University class room, or a late night brain storm by a coach desperately ‘looking for clues’. Instead be assured it’s been road tested by not one, but a bunch of the best athletes in the world, well before it reaches your ears.

 

Join Trisutto Head Coach Brett Sutton and his squad at training Camp in Cyprus in April, and St.Moritz in June/July, 2018.

Article Photo Credits: James Mitchell Photography

Exceptional performance craves repetition

Exceptional performance craves repetition

In 2018 I have returned to coaching a group of age group athletes as well as a team of new pros. The last 4 years had seen me back off and run some educational camps, and a group of predominantly Swiss athletes. However now I’m immersed again in squad training, one observation intrigues me no end.  The biggest hurdle I have to deal with for new athletes, both pro and age group, is their despair of doing a similar training program for more than one week!  It is astounding that they almost demand that I change what I believe to be our programs greatest strength.

Now I know it’s the greatest differential to many other programs. We replicate, we repeat, we love the word repetition, actually I’m obsessed with repetition. Exceptional performance craves it. Yet it’s the aspect I must continually combat, explain, cajole and educate on:

Repetition of weekly cycles.
Repetition of monthly cycles.
Repetition of 3 monthly cycles.
Repetition of yearly cycles.
And last but not least repetition of workouts.

We have had athletes visit our workouts that were old squad family, and they pass on in some form of astonishment to the new family – ‘we did this same workout 20 years ago’.
To which I add ‘if it ain’t broke, we don’t fix it!’.

Look at the score board, we are producing the most amazing results year after year, and we do it not with one athlete but with nearly every one that joins our group and buys into the mantra that repetition is good, our body adapts, our body adjusts and goes to a new level.

What astonishes me is that both age group and pro athletes are debating that next week is nearly the same as last week. The next line is:
‘You don’t understand Sutto, I’m used to doing so much more than this’. Even the slowest age groupers, ‘coach, I can do more’

And there in lies the story which is some times more than I can take:
The same people improve massively, and I mean hours not minutes.
Slow age groupers become good age groupers
Good age groupers become podium pros.
Podium pros become champions.

And they all keep saying the same thing, ‘coach we can do much more. If we just trained more, like the others do?’ They don’t understand the reason they have improved, is because I stopped them killing their performance. With more is better when it’s quite clearly not!

The conclusion, repetition, a whole lot of repetition will trump junk miles done all over the place. Believe me. Hard work gets you places. Smart hard work gets you to better places! Repetition is the key to turn you on to hyper performance

Just the way I see it, Just the way we do it
I wish everyone and their family the very best for the festive season.

 

Join Trisutto Head Coach Brett Sutton and his squad at training Camp in Cyprus in April, 2018 for insights into the Trisutto Coaching and Training methodologies.

Welcoming Coach Andrej Vistica

Welcoming Coach Andrej Vistica

Croatia’s champion triathlete Andrej joins the Trisutto Coaching team. Photo Credit: Daniel Comiza

It gives me great pleasure to see Andrej Vistica complete his Trisutto Coaching certification and join our ranks as not just an athlete but a coach as well.

Andrej is a special story 7 years in the making. He doesn’t come from financial privilege or the head start of another sport background. He had a dream to become a professional athlete while living and working in his home country of Croatia. He started out with 10 hour work days, fitting training around it. He built himself up with pure determination then moved to train with Trisutto coach Jo Spindler, and cut his work hours down to 5 hour days.


Welcome to the team Andrej!

The outcome was that coach and pupil did a magnificent job, not only did Andrej gain his dream of being a professional athlete but look at this resume all from no sporting background.

His dedication, attention to detail and passion to be better had me thinking, this is an athlete who could be an excellent coach. This year Andrej has worked with me with the express purpose of me tutoring him as a coach. However his results as an athlete have also been exceptional. So, welcome to our coaching roster Andrej and we look forward to a successful a career in coaching as your having as an Ironman athlete.

Andrej Vistica’s  coaching profile can be viewed here. Andrej is currently taking on athletes of all ability levels. Coach Andrej discusses the running versus running for Triathlon in this informative Coaching Vlog.

 

Join Trisutto Head Coach Brett Sutton and his squad at training Camp in Cyprus in April, 2018 for insights into the Trisutto Coaching and Training methodologies.

Welcoming Coach Declan Doyle

Welcoming Coach Declan Doyle

As our Trisutto family continues to grow, I am very pleased to welcome coach Declan Doyle.

I have known Declan for more than 10 years, and during that time I have been able to observe his outstanding exploits as an athlete, while he continued his career in teaching. As a skilled educator, with athletic and coaching ability, I have asked Declan many times if he was interested in using his skills to help his fellow triathletes. This year Declan graduated from our Trisutto Coaching Certification course and showed to all in the Trisutto administration why I have pushed so hard, to see him join our team.


Coach Declan joins the Trisutto Coaching Team

An expert educator he knows Triathlon from the inside, and has attended training camps long before my Trisutto days. An Irish sense of humor brings to the table a unique set of skills that I believe will enhance every athlete he works with.

If you are considering a coach, getting in contact with Declan will be a far more practical investment in your Triathlon than any tech gadget on the market.

Declan, I wish you the very best in your choice of moving to the other side of the fence. I am truly confident you will make an excellent coach.

 

Join Trisutto Head Coach Brett Sutton and his squad at training Camp in Cyprus in April, 2018 for insights into the Trisutto Coaching and Training methodologies.