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Perseverance, Patience and Performance

Perseverance, Patience and Performance

Martin Barner qualifies for the Ironman World Championships in Kona with a superb race in Zurich!

This past Sunday at Ironman Zurich in Switzerland, Danish athlete, and Swiss resident Martin Barner was on the hunt for a Kona slot. By putting together a very balanced effort and intelligent execution together, he crossed the line in 9h39, to finish 42nd overall, and 4th in the 40-44 AG, arguably the most competitive group, to score a well deserved, and hard earned Kona slot! Martin set a great example for his kids, by setting a goal, committing to it, putting a good team of people around him and reaching it! He will now be joining his coach on the big island this October – where they will meet for the first time 🙂

Race Recap from Coach Mirjam Weerd:

A birthday PB for Jenni in Zurich 🙂

Jenni Paglia participated at the 5150 olympic distance race in Zurich last weekend. Jenni keeps on chipping time of her previous finishes. This weekend was no different. Jenni ran across the finishline with a 7 minute personal best time! Most important was that her family and friends were waiting for her with a yummie cake for her birthday! Sounds like a weldeserved celebration weekend! Happy birthday Jenni and congrats on another personal best time!

The spectacular swim at Alpe d’Huez! Photo Credit: Laurent Salino

At the Alpe d’Huez long distance triathlon Rebecca Joslin rewarded her hard work with a 30 minute faster time then last year. Even though her swim was not the best, she enjoyed the bike even when the famous Alpe d’Huez climb made her suffer. She didnt think she could run after such a hard bike but Rebecca surprised herself to be able to get her running shoes on and just go. With a third place in her agegroup Rebecca can be proud of her achievement as it is such a hard course which really tests you. Well done!

Race Recap from Coach Carson Christen:

Bronze for Isabelle!

Over the past two weeks, Isabelle Boberg competed in the DeafLympics. This is an accredited and recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the official Olympic Games for hearing impaired athletes. Some bad luck in three events were all brought to the light when Isabelle scored a Bronze Medal in the Points Race Criterium on the last day! Isabelle showed determination and perseverance over the 3 previous events to stay mentally strong and finish on a high note. Massive congratulations for your Olympic Bronze Medal, Isabelle!!!

It was a sub 10 for Jan in his first ever Ironman!

Jan Tscuhdy completed his first long-distance race this weekend at Ironman Zurich. Not only did he complete it, but produced a magnificent first attempt at the distance in a hometown race. Jan stuck to his nutrition and pacing guidelines all day, and produced a sub-10 hour race! Jan had the 25th fastest bike time of the day, and backed it up with a steady marathon to seal the deal, finishing 11th in the 30-35 Age Group! What a season peak, Jan! Way to go.

Congratulations Marko!

Marko Glassner finished off his main season at the Erlangen Mittledistanz race in Germany. Having left one job, had an injury, started a new job requiring much travel across Europe, and having focused on short-course racing this year, Marko was able to produce a very solid race in the heat of Erlangen. Out of the water in the front group, and solid bike/runs allowed him to finish 3rd place in the Men 40-44 age group! It was great to be there in person to watch, congrats Marko!

A great day for Juergen and Coach Carson!

Juergen Braun completed his FIRST ever triathlon this weekend at the Erlangen Mittledistanz. With the short distance filled up, he out of the blue told me he just signed up for the Mittledistanz. We had only trained for a possible short course race, so with only 5 weeks or so of training, Juergen was unbelievable in the result he produced. Over the 2k swim, 80km bike, and 20k run, Juergen produced perfect pacing and came to the finish line in 5:38! With having only trained for swim / bike / run since October, and really being new to everything about triathlon, it was a pleasure to watch Juergen complete his race in such a great manner! Great job, Juergen!

PB for Cory in Bogata.

Cory Giesselman traveled on a little holiday to Bogata, Columbia this weekend. We were a little unsure about what he could get in for training. So I got a message on Sunday that Cory had stumbled upon the Bogata Half-Marathon, which has 45,000 entrants! Cory is from Curacao, which is sea-level, and Bogata is 2700m high. So arriving the day before, and entering a half-marathon out of the blue, he set a 4.5min PB at the half-marathon distance, all while breathing out of a straw with a 1:43 overall time!

Race Recap from Coach Mateo Mercur:

Kyle, running strong on the spectacular and challenging course.

Kyle Garder raced his second Ironman this weekend at IM Whistler. Kyle crushed his swim time goal, breaking 1hour convincingly. He had no anxiety or problems in the water and swam up to the ability that I’ve seen in his training. He nailed his time goal for the bike on what is known to be a very hilly and demanding course. Kyle ran strong and came within minutes of his time goal for the marathon. In this coach’s opinion, Kyle put it all together for a great race at IM Whistler. Next phase for Kyle is a focused run block to get that marathon down to Kona qualifying territory. Excellent race Kyle!

Bex, ready to set a huge PR on the swim.

Bex Fink raced IM Whistler as well, and swam a huge personal best and then nailed the bike right on plan. Unfortunately, Bex encountered major digestive issues on the run which required her to withdraw from the race at 18 miles. Bex showed mental toughness even when her body shut down and hung in until she was on the side of the road getting pulled by medical personnel. Every race isn’t a personal best, but they can all be learning experiences. Bex found deep strength in this one, and is one step closer to having her nutrition dialed. Down for the day, but certainly not out. Bex will be back with a vengeance

Race Recap from Coach Vassilis Krommidas:

Congratulations Wendy on a great day!

Wendy Casterton competed in the sprint distance at the Wales Triathlon in Fishguard on Saturday 29 July, finishing as 2nd over female, as well as in the Senior age group category. Her highlight was her swim, as she was first female out of the water and overall posted the 5th best time of the day.

Race Recap from Coach Irene Coletto:

Mariasole Ghidini raced the olympic distance of Zurigo. She finished the race in 3:00.11 with solid performances in all three legs. She had a great training race!! Well done Mariasole!

Alex Luraschi at IRONMAN Zurich, Switzerland

Alex Luraschi raced at  IRONMAN 70.3 Zurigo  full distance on Sunday. We started to work together laa few months ago; his dream was to overcome the finish line of his first full distance.
You did it!!! Alex finished the race well and we are proud of his finisher medal!

Alessadra Reati at Aronamen_ 2nd in her category

Alessandra Reati: she swam 40 mins, she rode 2:53 and she ran 1:41:47 over 1.9-90-21km triathlon. She placed 2th in her category F35-40 in 5:21.37. Congrats Alessandra! Good job

Race Recap from Coach Christian Nitschke:

Last weekend was once again a huge weekend of racing. Four of my athletes where racing their “homerace” the Ironman in Zürich. A race that is for sure one of the best organized Ironmans in the world which provides a tough and challenging but most of all fair race course. The conditions were once again very tough with good over 30°C on the run.

Distel Pipe, Florian Blumenthal and Marc Haller were doing their first Ironman in Zürich last Sunday and all could show great first time performances.
Marco Schönmann has been racing Ironman Zürich before. Marco could improve by almost one hour compared to his last start in Zürich. Very consistent training enabled him to stay strong for the entire day. Especially his swim was once again surprisingly strong. He exited the water after 62min despite some issues with his hand that kept him from swimming for some weeks in april. He then showed a very solid bike and run and could enjoy the wonderful finishline after 10:48hrs, almost exactly 60min faster than 2 years ago.

A great first up IM for Distel in Zurich

Distel did also start the day with a very good 63min swim. Once again the key for a good Ironman performance was to hold him a bit back on the bike to leave something in the tank for a good run. This time it was not hard to convince him for a conservative pacing because he already had a lot of self confidence from the half marathon run during the 70.3 races earlier this year. We did also work a lot on his nutrition plan because he had stomach issues in both 70.3 races earlier this year. It worked out very well this time. Due to a very well executed pacing strategy Distel could finish his first Ironman in 10:10hrs with a 17th place in is agegroup. He will move up to the 45-49 Agegroup next year and there is still improvement to come, that´s for sure.

Congratulations Florian on a great race.

The performance of Florian Blumenthal really surprised me and I was especially happy for him. He was dreaming of an Ironman finish since 20 years with the Ironman Zürich right at his doorstep. I also emphasized a couple of times that the challenge was “just” to get Florian to the startline without an injury. We had a talk in April that really showed how bad he wanted to do an Ironman, but he was also scared to get injured again before the big day. I could fortunately convince him to give it a try and promised to myself to give my best to get him healthy to the start of the race, to enable him to make his dream come true. He did not only finish the race, he could show a great performance as well. A 63min swim, 5:20hrs bike ride and a strong 3:44 Marathon gave him a finishing time of 10:16hrs and a 20´s place in his age group

Finishers Chute for Marc in Zurich.

Marc Haller is very happy with his performance as well. After 70.3 Rapperswil which was his first 70.3 race we had to decide when he will do his first Ironman. The main goal is still Challenge Roth next year, but I could convince Marc to already race Ironman Zürich as a learning experience. I was very happy that he had a very good performance and could finish the race with a smile after 11:15hrs. Marc can be very proud of his finish. It is a great base to build on for next season.

A Category win and 4th place overall for Pavel in Moscow!

Pavel Blagikh did the Ironstar Olympic distance in Moscow last weekend. It was just meant to be a good training session before 70.3 Otepää next weekend and Ironman Kalmar. There is still a lot of potential in the swim, but the second fastest bikesplit of the day got him moving through the field. More importantly he could show a very strong run off the bike even though it was 37°C hot. He lost third place overall just before the finish line, but finished strong in 4th place overall and could win his agegroup. Next stop is 70.3 Otepää next weekend, another training race in the built up to Kalmar.

Borris Jung was racing the Heidelbergman in Germany last weekend. This race is for sure one of the hardest Olympic distance races you can find. Just the swim is flat. Bike and run are either uphill or downhill with in total over 1000m of elevation. Borris had by far the best swim performance in a race so far. This was so important because in the bike and run he already is a very good agegroup athlete and always lost way too much time in the water for a result according to his abilities. This time he struggled a bit on the bike. But it was just a training race in the 70.3 Zell am See built up.

Cornelia Stähli did the Sprint race in Zürich on Saturday and had a solid performance finishing 6th overall and 4th in her agegroup. Also for her it was a good out of training effort on her way to Zell am See.

Race Recap from Coach Mathias Hecht:

Enjoying the climb  – a great race by Domenico in Zurich.

Domenico Finoccherio had a rough winter and spring and had the flu not just once and for several weeks. He also has a longtime achilles problem which makes it very challenging for the coach to get the mix right. Even more proud I am of him racing so well. We didnt do any long runs in his preperation and sticked to 2- max 3 run days. but we started dong triple run days the last 8 weeks of his prep. which seemed to work out really well for him as his run was much better then we expected. A strong 103rd place overall and 20th in his age group. and a very well deserved break from triathlon now so his wife gets her turn at it again.

Congratulations Bettina on finishing your first ever Ironman!

Bettina Steiger is new to the triathlon scene and did her first triathlon in 2016. since then we have been on a very succesful journey and she collected many age group wins. With a background as a mountain runner and as an orienteering national team member, she def has her run as her weapon. but of course we didnt know how she will go over a such long and cruel race that Ironman is. her race started really good and her 1:08h swim was putting a smile on my face…I remembered how I saw her swimming about 1.5 years ago and she could hardly make it over 100m without stopping at the wall. She has a lot of determination and she is a training machine. so everything went after plan until about 20k into the run, still running on number 1 spot in her age group at that time, 14th overall women, and running towards the Kona qualification , but then things started to fall apart. Her bad knee flared up and she started to limp and slow down a lot. her target marathon time of 3h15 – 3h20min suddenly was starting to fall out of reach and it was more about making it to that finishline so she could finish her first ever Ironman. walking or not. it didnt matter anymore. so I am very proud of her mental performance at that stage of the race. because I know well enough myself, its “easy” when things go well and you run at front , but when you have a bad day, the struggle in your head is much different.  Well done Bettina. you will have more bike miles in your legs soon and getting stronger for that second part of the marathon. up and forward from here !!!

Strong running by Georgina at the 5150.

Georgina finished 3rd in her Age Group and 19th overall in a time of 2h22min. A very good time for her just  3 weeks after her Top 10 overall race in Roth. Its always a challenge to do a shorter distance race out of Ironman training , even more if it is just short after the actual long distance race. Georgina will do St.Moritz Triathlon next and then focus on 2 half distance races in september. Focusing on her Ironman 2018 campaign.

Daniel Schaller raced AronaMen Triathlon in Italy (Half Distance). He finished a very solid 7th in his age group 30-45. he did this race as part of his Ironman preperation. Swim: 33 Min. He didnt have the best start. we have to work on his speed a bit to get him onto some fast legs.  Bike: 2.25 Std  AronaMen has a hilly course with 900m of climbing in it. Daniel pushed 269 Watt average on that course, which is a very good number for him. and shows his ready for the Ironman pace in a few weeks.  Run 1.33 Std or 4.26 min/km pace is rock solid and a perfect run off a hard bike. Daniel will race a short distance race next weekend and then Ironman Copenhagen on August 30 which is his main goal for this season.

Race Recap from Coach Ed Rechnitzer:

Christian and Annabel in action in Zurich – IM newbies no more!

Big congrats to my two first time IM finishers – Annabel Cowper and Christian Bachli, at IM Zurich. Annabel finished in 12.27 and 14th in her AG.  In her own words – “what an awesome, awesome day!!! Loved every minute”. Christian cracked off a brilliant swim and bike, then some nutritional issues came to haunt on the run but he gutted it out to the end still finishing in a solid 11.34. I could not be happier with this first outcome at the IM distance. Welcome to the IM club!

Team Mazur – before ……and after, no worse for the wear.

More congrats to be offered over at IM Canada Whistler. Loreen Mazur scored a hat trick crossing the finish line with a 30min PB, first time under 12hrs (by a solid margin) and placing 9th in her AG (first time cracking top10!). Husband Jan also finished the race with a new bike and IM PB despite not having the day he had expected. But always a trooper to the end whatever the conditions, whatever the course.

Jeremy Breach came to me 11 weeks ago looking for a turn around in his IM performance. We worked hard on his swim,  entrenched the notion that a well paced bike – even if slower than he is capable of in isolation – will  translate to a better run, and indeed it did resulting in a 55min run course PB! Overall Jeremy cut  ~54min from his previous IMC time. Well done guys. Onwards and upwards.

Race Recap from Coach Lisbeth Kristensen:

Bettina stomping up the hills in Alpe d’Huez!

Bettina Strehl started the party in Alpe d’Huez with the medium distance. She won her age group by 3 mins and enjoyed a good day of racinghis great race! And a very good little warm up for IM Hamburg coming up in a few weeks.

Camille on her bike in 5150 Zürich.

On Saturday, I had Camille Nieto racing the 5150 in Zürich. Unfortunately, Camille got sick 2 days before the race and she was not fully recovered still taking the start. Camille toughed it out and still made it to the finish line and in 5th place in her age group. Well done, Camille, nowi t’s all about recovering from sickness and racing!

Another podium performance by Melanie, this time in Prague.

Melanie Baumann also raced on Saturday, she raced Challenge Prague, a half ironman distance. Melanie once again got a PB in the swim! She rode very well too and finish off with a very acceptable run! Melanie raced in 4:46 and came 2nd in her age group (35-39)

Yves persevered through a tough day in Zurich.

On Sunday, I had 2 athletes competing in IM Zürich. Yves Salzmann has been training really well for this one and he got in a really good shape. Unfortunately, he hurt his back only a couple of weeks prior to the race. Yves healed pretty quickly but on race day, the pain was back! So what should have been a great day of racing turned into a long day racing with back pain. Yves still managed to race in 10:34 but he was looking for more.

Way to go Victor, what a great day of racing!

I also had Victor Manrique racing. Victor had a great, great race! This is what he said after the race: The race went really well for a total time of 10:18:24 🙂 that’s 1hr better than my previous PB. I had a PB bike with 5hr15min and a PB run with 3hr49min. The swim was 1hr06min not far from my PB of 1hr02min and on top of that I finished the swim totally fresh which was my goal. It was such a great race and amazing progress! I’m extremely happy!

Race Recap from Coach Rafal Medak:

Top step for Madina! – Congratulations.

After a few weeks of working together Madina Umbetova raced a 70.3 distance triathlon in Astana. It turn out to be a great beginning of the journey with the win in her division and coming 3rd women overall!  Madina has a great work ethic and it’s already paying dividends. She completed the distance in PB time with PB  in across the board – swim, bike and run. Madina started with the fastest women swim overall! Very well done! It was a great weekend but now we turn focus on next goal. There is a lot more to come which I’m very excited for Madina!

Steve Lyons travelled to Zurich to compete in Ironman. It turned to be a very hot day while such days rarely comes to UK! After a strong swim and bike sections, Steve faced some challenges with cramps. However, he is an example of true „ironman” who always does everything to overcome adversity. This race was not different, Steve finished the race. However the time was not the factor, the finish was the reward. Well done hanging tough Steve!

Race Recap from Coach Edith Niederfriniger:

Jana, running well at 5150 Zuerich

Jana Perrone (F25-29) raced this olympic distance race coming out of a tough time at work, but although she remained concentrated and could bring home an excellent result: 2:45.44 which means improving her time from 2 years ago by 30minutes! Very well done Jana, one step forward for sure. Now participating in the trisutto camp at St. Moritz will for sure be a great experience!

Oriana (right) together with her friend Naomi at 5150 Zurich

Oriana Heer (F35-39) finished 4th in her age group category in 2:25.24, but we are not completely satisfied with this. It’s less about the place, which is excellent in a strong category, but about Oriana’s feelings during the race: swim was ok, even Oriana values more, bike as always very strong and with 1:04 she had one of the fastest bike splits. Running out of T2 legs felt good and Oriana pushed the pace (maybe a bit too much) and after halfway through the 10km she began to suffer cramps in both legs…so finishing the race became very hard. Oriana, we are training for the 70.3 Worlds at Chattanooga early September, so…this was just a good, strong, fast training session. Also Oriana after the race headed to St. Moritz for the trisutto camp, which will bring only good experiences and positive take home lessons 🙂

Marco De Leo (MM35-39) finished in 2:31.22 and also for him it was not the best day. Marco is a very strong bike rider, who does well on constant bike outputs. But the course in Zuerich is more about riding well corners and pushing strong coming out of them. So, he pushed „only“ the watts which he is able to produce also for the double distance, a half triathlon. During the run Marco suffered stomach issues and therefore had to slow down pace. As we are training for 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga, I expected Marco to not be able to push over-threshold power. We will find out abut the stomach problems and do it right for the Worlds. Let’s move on Marco!

IM Zürich
Tanja Starl (F35-39) was in the shape of her life, the condition was excellent, training sessions went really great and also Tanja’s mindset was the right one to produce something very good. But…unfortunately a cold, which was already there for a few weeks, made it not happen. Before the race we consulted even a doctor twice to be sure it would not harm her and after the consensus we decided to start. Tanja suffered tough coughing during the swim and could not breathe well on the bike, so the only option and of course right decisione, health is the mot important thing, was a DNF. Now it’s all about getting over this disappointment, finding a new race to focus on and later in the year going to NYC for the marathon. Move on Tanja, you are one strong lady!

Aronamen award ceremony: Martina won the race and Irene got 5th overall

Aronamen (half distance race in Italy) – Martina Dogana, after Challenge Roth 3 weeks ago, managed to win the race: 4:42.45 is not her fastest time, but finally Marty could find her run legs again, felling well and running well. Congrats Martina, now it’s all about a great second part of the season 😉

Irene Coletto in 4:52.26 won her category F35-39 and placed 5th overall. But Irene suffered from heavy stomach cramps during the run and therefore could not show her best. Irene is a very motivated athlete, so disappointment first was huge, but in the end it was all about fighting through adversities and Irene did a really great job. Later, after the race she said to me: „Today I’m happy because I didn’t gave up, finishing this race with such a pain made me grow!“ Yes athlete, it’s so true, often we learn more from races with problems, inset sad of the ones where everything goes straight. Proud of you and your time will come 😉

Andrea Cattabiani (M40-44) finished in 5:09.16 and finally showed a good race management, which allowed him to run and finish strong. Thats the way Andrea!

David Galafassi (M35-39) is training for his first Ironman race in September and Arona was just a step forward. Also for him it was hard during the final run part because of stomach issues (sincerely I’m asking myself if there has maybe been something wrong with the water of the lake?). David hang on to finish in 5:06.55, now we continue to work for the big show at IM Cervia.

Diego, focused during the run at Aronamen

Diego Ludovici (M35-39) after racing at Challenge Rome last weekend, for the first time did a back up race. 4:42.04 his time and even if fatigue from last sundays race showed up during the last run km, I’m really happy with Diego’s performance. This was a new experience and we learned a lot of things

Alina, happy after the first experience at swim-run Bologna

Swim-run Bologna (Italy)
Alina Losurdo, for the first time participated in a swim run race. It was all about enjoying this new experience together with friends, having fun and doing a great training sessions Well done Alina!

Race Recap from Coach Perry Agass:

Well done Lucy, gutsing it out in Zurich.

Lucy Francis took on Ironman Zurich this weekend after having a great competition at the London Tri Olympic plus last week, coming 4th in her AG Lucy was looking to improve on previous starts in Zurich. Its always a tough day out in this race and there is nowhere to hide, Lucy came out fighting and started the race well however experienced some issues sighting. On the bike and Lucy went for it, after all the bike is her strength so she was looking to make some gains and getting a PB on this bike course is a good way to start, then into the run and Lucy after the bike she had knew she needed to really dig deep, like everyone Lucy had her good patches and bad but hung in there crossing the line and missing out on that pb she wanted. It’s bad luck and it wasn’t your day for a PB time, but you gave it everything you had and on its own merit you got a PB from that so well done.

Michael Muller took on Zurich Ironman again this year after having a good hit out in 2016, he again like lucy wanted to beat his time from last year. Now for me its even a miracal that Michael got to the start line with the Injury struck season his had so for me before I even start on his race this is a massive well done. It started off really well coming out the water in 1.02 shading a few minutes off last years time, then on the bike which is his strength he really pushed coming into T2 in 4hr 50min but then the run was tough and his body just couldn’t deal with it, but he battled to the finish line. its a shame when it doesn’t work out but this sport isn’t easy. very well done mate fantastic effort.

Race Recap from Coach Michelle Barnes:

Quick pre race chat with Brad 🙂

I had 3 athletes race the challenging course in Whistler Canada and I’m super proud of how they are did on one of the more challenging 70.3 and full Ironman’s on the circuit.

First Brad Hale took on the full. Brad is an athlete with a swim that needed ALOT of work! He attended the Camp I put on with Brett in Calgary and again came the Scottsdale the following year and eventually came on board last September. The build up for Brad certainly wasn’t perfect as he’s a busy Rancher husband and father of 3 but we did our best to work around his work/family life to give him his best shot at getting through Ironman Whistler. We nailed his race nutrition after having issues last year in CDA, put a big focus on him swim , big gear on the bike of course and lots of strength runs to be best prepared for the course. Brad has a naturally good run so we didn’t change too much there. Well Brad had the the swim of his life in Whistler with a massive 10 min PB!! He held on for a solid bike, similar to his CDA bike which shows how far his swim has come. Although he still struggled a bit on the 2nd half of the run he still ran 10 min quicker than his race in CDA last year with an overall 20 min faster race in only his 4th Ironman. Brad is no where near his potential but I have to say that is one of the biggest swim improvements I’ve ever seen so well done Brad! Next up for Brad is Worlds in Chattanooga!!!

Melonie all smiles with her best friend Quinn post race 🙂

I also travelled to Whistler to race the 70.3 with my girls Amy Ellet and Melonie MacDonald. After a rough race in Boulder for Melonie dealing with shingles a week before the race the plan was to have a big break and do a race just for fun with no pressure. This is tough to do for a competitive athlete but was absolutely necessary to find the “fun” factor again. It was a bit of a risk choosing a course with 1200m of ascent followed by a hilly 21.1 km run after but that just shows the kind of athlete she is. I know how strong she is and even with very minimal training the past month I knew we couldn’t write off all the work she had done in the year and a half before. Melonie loved every minute of the race, had a fantastic swim for her, never struggled on the bike and ran the whole run with a smile on her face, high fiving & fist pumping the whole way down the finish shoot! This is exactly what she needed. I’m so proud of her to get back on the horse so soon, I don’t know too many who would do that!

Amy having a blast racing in her tutu:-)

Amy Ellet had the same idea as Melonie and this was going to be a race for fun, so fun that she would even race in a Tutu! Amy’s swim training is very minimal due to a chlorine allergy so we just take advantage of any lake swimming when she goes to visit her mom in Kelowna. At best she swims 1 day/ week with the occasional 2 if she had lake access. Amy works a high demand job as a dentist so throwing big volume at Amy right now is not something that would fit with her life but lucky for me she is a very talented and skilled athlete so can get by on much less volume and still do great! Amy had another great swim for her, was happy with her bike considering all the wind and hills and did her usual run and just like Melonie had an absolute blast on the day, who wouldn’t racing in a tutu! Like I’ve said in the past, no where near her potential but she does so great with the work she is able to do in training and never loses sight of the fun factor which I believe should be number 1 for Age Groupers! Looking forward to seeing more from Amy in the future!

Race Recap from Coach Robbie Haywood:

Another impressive podium finish for Andrea in Zurich.

Andrea Rudin set her goal for 2017 on Ironman Switzerland, and had an outstanding preparation. She was rewarded with 11th place overall female, and 3rd in her category. I’m very proud of Andrea, she never makes excuses, loves to train and race. Now for some relaxing time with family and friends, before deciding on the next goals.

Excellent performance by Flora in Zurich.

Flora Colledge also raced in Ironman Switzerland, and also placed an excellent 3rd in her category, and 16th female overall. More importantly she conquered the demon of racing in the heat. Cool wet conditions suit this Viking warrior, however she now knows she can excel in more diverse tough conditions 🙂

Gisela speeds by at the 5150!

Gisela Reichmuth raced in Zurich 5150 and although a little under the weather the days before, enjoyed her home town race with much support, and knowing so many athletes also racing.

Congratulations to all our athletes competing this weekend. online triathlon coaches are available to help improve your performance here...

Starting The Year Properly

How athletes start their year has a significant impact on their overall training consistency, longevity during the season and improvements from race to race. On the other hand, it can be the cause of lack of progress or poor durability.

The process can be very different from athlete to athlete. Based on their past experiences, weaknesses, goals for the season, etc. It’s critical to consider that some athletes train in cold climates at this time of year or are coming back from an off-season break or holidays.

Below are some tips to help those who might have problems putting together a good and complete season due to an improper start.

Making the Most Out of the Least

The popular saying “build your foundation in the off season” comes from the traditional pyramid training, made popular by coaches who trained high level athletes for very short distances. The reality is that triathletes should build the volume throughout the season. All the while focusing on consistently getting in quality workouts, emphasizing the specifics and mastering various skills. Then doing a higher frequency of workouts, but of shorter durations is a great way to stay healthy and improve quicker.

As a side note, quality workouts does not automatically mean “speed workouts”.

Doing too much volume too soon often leaves athletes tired and demotivated. All the while trying to go faster, later on, while the body has been trained to go slow. This is especially counterproductive for athletes who already have a good foundation, or who lack the ability to sustain a higher speed than their comfort zones allows them too.

An excellent objective as athletes go through the season, is to extend the efforts further, and making them more precise in intensity, as the important races get closer.

Mastering the Micro Adjustments

The start of the year is the best time to adjust your bio-mechanics, improve technical aspects and get new equipment. It will allow the athlete more time to get accustom. This only makes sense to avoid doing these things too close to races, unless of an obvious problem.

In the real world, in and out of sport, when trying out new versions, it requires constant practice all the way to the end of that given process. Absorbing and learning from what has been effective, or not effective in the previous cycle, is key to long term improvements. Using each block or season as a stepping stone, before the next micro adjustments.

Too often, athletes get impatient and fail to master what they have recently been working on. Many have a constant mentality to always be improving. While this might sound logical at first, the tried, tested and trued approaches, require athletes to repeat their small adjustments a lot, master them, before trying to build off of them again.

Modulating the Intensity

Being the best that you can be at the given distance you are preparing for, is not as simple as training as much as you can at your desired race intensity or work rate. It’s imperative to also train below and above your desired race pace.

The intensity can be altered with resistance or when done over challenging terrain. For triathletes, running over hills to engage more muscle groups, cycling with bigger gears to develop a better application of effort and swimming with various swim toys to emphasize certain parts of the stroke. These previous points, will give the much needed support, when doing race pace efforts. It also allows athletes to work with a different range of motion, develop better all-around skills and feel much better when they are moving along without this resistance.

Putting emphasis on speed changes and accelerations, early in the year, will help to develop better economy for the controlled and sustained efforts. There is not one mix for all athlete. But it’s critical that coaches read their athletes, prescribe the appropriate training blend and encourage to them to have the right mind-set, when approaching with new challenges.


The soundest objective for each new season should be to improve on the previous, not try to do everything new. Then, a big priority, not just for athletes, but for most humans, is to stay healthy. A major aspect of it, is to limit the accumulation of excessive training fatigue too early, all the while dealing with day to day stress, coming from typical responsibilities such as: family, work or social life.

Many athletes have early season races, so instead of classifying them as “A, B or C” events, best to divide them into “train through events” and “more sharpening up events” with the goal to always do your best with the given circumstances.

In the end, how you set the theme for the year, and how much room for growth there is, will be the difference, between stagnation or breakthroughs.

Have a great 2017 season!

Mat O’Halloran is a coach available to help improve your performance.

Swimming Towards Faster Bike Splits

Swimming Towards Faster Bike Splits

Coach Mat with the squad in Gran Canaria. 

Transitions from sport to sport is the key feature in triathlon, where the preceding activity will affect the succeeding. As a rule of thumb, the less energy consumed in the previous leg, the more energy you have for the following.

Swimming is arguably the most energy consuming of all 3 sports and since it’s the first event of the race, it’s critical to be properly conditioned, have sustainable bio-mechanics and develop a more efficient energy system. Improving on those 3 basic parameters will delay the on-set of fatigue, keep the blood acidity low and heart rate controlled.

This makes reaching your best bike split not entirely about increased riding fitness or perfecting the infinite details surrounding cycling, but more of a matter of “how fresh” you feel mounting your bike after swimming in open water. Since the competition style of triathlon makes it very difficult to emulate race day in training, working repeatedly on specific principals will make an athlete ready for the stress of real world competition.

It’s important to understand that those who do come from a swimming background, can definitely get away with less swim training and still perform well.

Be serious with your swim training

A lot of triathletes neglect their swim training since it’s the leg that takes the less time in the races, particularly in the longer distances. Those who don’t come from a swimming background are usually the first to neglect it. However, it’s important to be able to swim longer or at higher intensity than the race day distance or you might struggle later in the event, due to compounding fatigue where everything was given on the swim.

Swimming is a sport that can consistently be done safely in higher volume and greater intensity than biking and running, since it causes less impact to the body because we are suspended in water. Then it utilizes more of our cardiovascular system and engages different muscle groups, particularly in our upper body. This also makes swimming a better sport for overall conditioning.

Give your legs a break and use the swim toys


There’s a lot of discussion on the difference between a “high beat” and “low beat” kick style of swimming. Evidently, a “high beat” kicker will require more overall energy and raise their heart rate sooner due to a higher consumption of oxygen. Where a “low beat” kicker will save up his leg energy for later on and keep his heart rate lower, as less muscles are engaged.

Using paddles/pull/band equipment in training will allow the athletes to gradually shift into a more economical kicking style that targets the upper body better, then depends less on their legs for propulsion and lift. This is not only for races, but also in training, where more leg energy will be left to be poured into other workouts, thus increasing the quality of all workouts.

Swim toys also help to train for longer durations, add variety and help maintain your range of motion as you fatigue. All the while helping to simulate swimming in a wetsuit.

Let the lactic acid sit and stick

Skip the warm down once per week after a specific and high exertion main set. This will give an extreme sensation of “heavy shoulders” for the rest of the day and will subtly teach athletes on how to deal with this sensation by developing an ease and familiarity with the discomfort.

The effect of not doing a proper warm down after a hard swim will surely be felt for a few hours – just like it does on race day, during the later stages. This is due to a lack of circulation and few over-head movements required. Lactic acid is a very sticky substance and will remain stuck around the bones, so it’s important to be able to deal with it, mentally and physically, as it does affect the fluidity and comfort of our movements.

Don’t spend too much time at the walls

The overall value of workouts are quantified by how much distance is covered in a particular duration. So once per week or every 5 days, do an up-tempo aerobic set, where you slowly decrease the recovery time between efforts. Reduce it through-out the swim workout and eventually maintain those short “send-off” cycles over time.

The length of intervals can be short, medium or long, depending on your ability and distance you’re training for. The ultimate goal is to swim slightly above your race effort, so that your race effort feels more manageable come race day. Then as you become stronger, your system will be more efficient at a lower intensity, increasing your average cruising speed. This will allow the athlete’s body to consume less energy, oxygen and produce less lactic acid at their best aerobic effort than before.

These specific “short rest” sessions at high intensity can be painful and many avoid them by doing drills or speed work with lots of rest, of which won’t train the desired system to improve your top end aerobic capacity.

For those who come from a swim background…

GC Camp Swim7-web

It’s important to train and understand the difference between being in “swim fast” condition or in “swim strong” condition. Former swimmers have the ability to tap into deeper and higher intensity than non-swimmers, thus possibly making their engines “burn too hot”, of which can greatly affect the later stages of a triathlon.

Being in “swim fast” condition is the ability to go at your highest velocity for the given distance, of which will require a lot of energy and risk forcing the athletes to recover in the early stages of the bike. Kind of like a gas guzzling sports car who’s efficiency is overlooked by the numbers of its top end speed. This is developed by focusing on short/intense efforts with ample rest between and having more idealistic bio-mechanics.

Being in “swim strong” condition is the ability to sustain sub maximal velocity, longer, further and under any circumstances. Like an economical diesel engine, who once is up and going, can maintain a speed just below its top velocity, but for an extended duration. This is developed by focusing on longer/steadier effort with reduced rest between and somewhat compromised bio-mechanics.

To conclude:

The bike can also be trained specifically to adapt for a better transition, by doing swim/bike workouts or some bike rides, the emphasis is on getting at it from the first few minutes of pedaling, gradually and consistently tightening the tempo. Then simultaneously focusing on being dynamic on your bike, which will develop some “starting pep” and train your body to get going sooner than later!

In the end, being extra swim fit does not mean a faster swim spilt, but rather a better overall performance across the line. As cliché as it might sound, the mind set needs to be tweaked from swim+bike+run, to triathlon!

Mat O’Halloran is the former Asian Tri Coach of the year. online triathlon coaches are available to help improve your performance here.

Moving With Your Best Two Feet

Moving With Your Best Two Feet

Coach Mat O’Halloran on deck at Gran Canaria this week.

When most athletes think of injuries, they think of shoulders, back, hamstring, etc. However, in the world of triathlon, one of the most important, overused and under-cared parts of our body are our two feet. Even when we are not training, they are at work in our daily lives. The reality is that they can be rudimentary to various pains in the rest of our bodies. They can be the root of a small but significant discomfort and antagonise other injuries due to overcompensation.

Organised foot care goes back thousands of years. There is proof that even Pharaohs in Egypt and noble men in southern Babylonia took care of their feet using golden tools. Beyond the modern aesthetic and part of good grooming (feet, toes and nails) – once upon a time, a small issue with your feet, could quickly escalate into a full blown life threatening problem. Most especially if it compromises one’s ability to hunt or escape danger.

Feet_PharaohsEgyptian & Babylonian nobles knew the value in looking after their feet!

Once foot pain arises, it may compel athletes to put more pressure on the other foot or to land on another part of their foot, of which can quickly cause soreness or strain on another area of your lower leg. As the reality is that we take 10’s of thousands of steps each day. Then, since triathletes are exposed to various environments at the pool, racing/training sockless or being in extreme outdoor situation, the risk of infection with an open wounds is greatly increased. This is especially true when using multiple types of foot wear that might accumulate various bacteria over time.

The solution not probably associated with High Performance triathlon programs?

Investing in a monthly pedicure can help prevent ingrown nails, blisters and toe numbness. By removing dead skin, calluses, warts and corn, it increases circulation and makes the skin smoother. This will help to lessen friction with any outside surface and prevents ‘pockets’ to form. Particular since it’s an area with little muscle and fat, the thin skin and prominent tendons, make topical problems more likely. The major idea, if to PREVENT these problems.

Beyond the basics benefits of a pedicure, many end with a short foot massage, of which can give great overall health benefits and relaxation to the whole body or mind. There’s plenty of literature on foot reflexology that shows the existence of a connection with various internal organs.

Foot Chart

Here are additional various tips to maintain healthy feet:

  • Clean your shoes regularly
  • Always wear clean socks and buy those of superior fabric
  • Get a pedicure once per month, but not before a big workout or race
  • Wear properly cushioned foot wear to walk around after big workouts
  • Self massage your feet before bed
  • Soak your feet in warm salt water when you feel blisters coming or before cutting your nails
  • Pop and drain blisters sooner than later, sterilize and let them breathe at home but cover when outside
  • Don’t walk barefoot in foreign or potentially dirty areas

Another critical aspect, is to avoid wearing flip flops too often or for extended periods. Especially after a workout, when you have any foot/lower leg issues or open wounds. It’s proven that your gait or walking style is altered when we wear flip flops. Our toes are forced to curl and grip the sole as we lift our feet, this can put extra strain to our arch, Achilles or calf. All the while providing little to no arch support. All this can trigger tendinitis or increase inflammation in various areas of our lower leg.

In fact, a 2009 report on the Today Show, according to the University of Miami, they once found a single pair of flip flops with 18 000+ different types of bacteria.

I’m not saying avoid flip flops, simply limit your use of them, especially before/after workouts, before races or when you know you will be on your feet for extended periods of time. If you do live in a very tropical, hot or humid country like I do – definitely invest in top end brands like Fit-Flop, Reef or if it’s your thing, Crocs. And of course, keep them clean by washing them regularly!

In the end, keeping our feet healthy is a fundament part of our health, wellbeing and history. While modern civilization permits our feet to be under used and become a bit weak, for triathletes it can be the source of many problems that go beyond ugly feet. So invest a little, take the extra time and get your feet taken care off, to see for yourself, the overall benefits of superior foot care!

View Coach Mat O’Halloran’s full profile here. triathlon coaches are available to help improve your performance here.