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.

How can I cycle and run faster? Swim!

How can I cycle and run faster? Swim!

The majority of  European long distance races this season are now behind us, and I have asked many athletes how they went. The most common answer: ‘it was ok but I somehow have to be able to cycle and run a lot faster.’

Every athlete wants to finish a race faster than the one before, or faster than last year etc, but only few athletes succeed. People often start to analyse and wonder… my cycling and running should be a lot better;  I was faster in the shorter distances and during the marathon last fall; I was quicker during all of the long Sunday rides with my friends.

After thorough consideration some athletes decide to invest more money in a new bike and to train longer and harder. This can often be the wrong approach.

One reason why most triathletes competing in long distance races are dissatisfied with their cycling and running performances actually has to do with their swim.

What is apparent is that swimming is often underestimated in triathlon.
Do I have to swim more? Or, I already swim three or more times a week!! – are frequent reactions.
No, perhaps you don’t need to swim more however it might be a good idea to work on your swimming technique – adopt a style that fits you individually.


Kristin attributes her recent improvement to changes in her approach to swim training. Photo Credit: Jose Lois Hourcade

Kristin Lie from Norway is a great example of someone who invested time and effort into redefining her swim technique and has since seen the rewards. She recently detailed the changes in her approach in her Blog after her success at IM 70.3 Haugesund:

After the IM 70.3 in Haugesund I received numerous enquiries and comments or I was asked directly about my swimming performance. Here is my answer:

During the last past years I spent a lot of time in the water. I trained with many different swimming coaches and tried everything possible to increase my speed in the water.
The result: lots of frustration for all of the effort!!!! In May I took part in a Trisutto Camp in Mallorca. Brett Sutton and Dirk Neumann found a swimming style that was good for me.. We adjusted two small things. My breathing rhythm was changed and my swimming style was simplified considerably. Place Press Push makes my swim goes whoosh….

Result: I am out of the water faster, and more importantly I save energy. Before it felt like I needed 20 Calories and now only 1 Calorie. I immediately have power on the bike and can deliver my performance. I might offend some swim coaches now but pure swim training has nothing to do with swim training for a triathlon. This also applies to cycling and running. Which both also were changed during the camp.“

We cannot describe it better!

How can you simplify your swim; how can you get out of the water faster and more relaxed; how can you achieve faster splits on the bike and during the run, or how can you increase the overall fun and enjoyment of triathlon…, all of these these aspects are discussed and practiced at our Trisutto Camps and I invite you to join me in Mallorca in October or next Spring to learn more.

 Dirk Neumann is a Trisutto Coach based out of Frankfurt Germany. Earlier in 2017 he coached his first camps on the beautiful island of Mallorca. Dirk will be coaching the Trisutto philosophy and Total Body Force Methods at camps in Mallorca this coming October with more camps available in 2018. Check here for camp dates and details.

 

Don’t make the race a misery!

Don’t make the race a misery!

As we head to the business end of the season, I want to address a big problem for not only age group athletes, but also pros. Putting unbearable pressure on oneself to perform before the race even starts.

Many who join our squad are more than a little surprised that as we enter our race preparation for the big days, how laid back and not revved up they are. Our results on getting it right on the big day are formidable! Thus, athletes looking for the big motivational speeches are duly disappointed!

We keep it calm, controlled and clinical!

As mentioned in previous blogs, we shun the word ‘win’. It has no meaning in itself. It can’t positively effect the outcome where one person or a team can beat another. That outcome only manifests itself if the preparation has been carried out in the best possible way, and on race day the focus is on the process.

We at Trisutto have had huge success with many athletes who before joining us, did not get their job done to the best of their abilities on the day they wanted. As a coach just as an athlete, I do have my process. That is about diffusing expectations and honing the athletes thoughts on having a clear head, to be able to then execute a planned strategy.

Here is a taste of what I try to achieve:

1) I emphasize that thinking of winning is a detriment to performance. We must have the self discipline to concentrate in the ‘now’ and to be able to execute certain skills and actions.

2) The strategy or actions have been laid out, discussed, and agreed well before race week. So it is rehearsed and completely understood as second nature.

3) Have check lists. This is so important, to take any last minute error that can provide extra pressure.

  • Check list for travel
  • Check list for race gear
  • Check list for strategy
  • Check list of how to think on the day

Why lists?
How many times have I seen athletes been destabilized because they left something at home! That creates anxiety.
How many times has a piece of race kit been left at the race hotel! That creates anxiety.

Check lists for strategy – when the nerves come (and they do), having something to remind the athlete of their procedure that is physical makes an enormous difference.
Check lists or some written word about how you should view competition is very important.

Quite a bit was made about what I gave Chrissie to settle her down at races – a copy of the poem ‘IF‘ by Rudyard Kipling hit the spot. Nicola Spirig has a different type of list, but it all has the ability to do one thing. The similar job as the other lists. The most important thing you can do as an athlete or coach, is to plan to diffuse anxiety! This is easier said than done. But if you follow the blueprint above, you will be amazed how it can clear your mind to have a positive outcome to your big races.

I wish the best mechanical luck to all Trisutto followers, athletes and coaches. For those who aren’t, we are about the best person on the day winning – it doesn’t have to be us!  That is the honour of sport.

It still lives at Trisutto.

 

 Join Trisutto Head Coach Brett Sutton at one of his remaining training camps in 2017 in LanzaroteCyprus or Gran Canaria.