Archive for Cycling

Who Wouldn’t Like To Run Faster Off Of The Bike?

 

"The truth isn't always popular, but it's always the truth."  - unknown


I've got some important (and very different) stuff to share with you today, and I know, because you're busy you may not want to stop what you're doing to read this.

But listen, if you want to KNOW how you can train differently and smarter on the bike, AND learn how to run FASTER off of it (no it isn't about the same old blah blah, brick runs, etc.), then ya gotta keep reading!

Trust me, my advice is NOT going to be the same-old, same-old. It will probably rankle a few folks, too. Especially some of the "experts" out there that are reading.So to get to the heart of what I want to share today, I have to start with a story about swimming. It's a true story.

(I know, I know...I said I was going to help you ride and run faster, and I am!  But...you need a little context - and this story will provide it. Keep reading!)

A few years ago I was sitting around with some swim coaches at an ASCA conference. The topics at the table revolved around two things: the iconic swim coach, James "Doc" Counsilman (who is well known for coaching Mark Spitz, winner of 7 golds at the 72 Olympics), and the "S" curve in swimming. 

Now, I don't know if you're a swimmer or not, but if you are, I'm sure you're familiar with the "S" curve pulling path. This "S" curve is what many coaches believe is the "ideal path" for your hand to follow during the pull phase of the stroke.  Shaped like the letter S, this pulling path has become well known as one hallmark of a fast swimmer.

Apparently all the hoopla about this "S" curve began with Counsilman and Spitz. The story goes, the coach was watching Spitz swim and noticed this "S" curve in his stroke. Since Spitz was swimming faster than anyone else in the world, Counsilman (always the innovator), came to the conclusion that the secret to his speed might be this curve. 

So Counsilman figured, if it was good enough for Spitz, it should be good enough for everyone, and proceeded to instruct every swimmer he coached to start putting this "S" curve into their strokes. What began as a simple way to make his swimmers faster, soon became gospel in the swimming world.

Simply put, many believed that to swim fast, you needed to have an "S" curve in your pull.

 

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  

What I'm talking about here is CAUSE and EFFECT, so the chicken/egg analogy may not really work. But it is sort of a funny cartoon, don't you think?  🙂

Anyway, an odd thing happened as Counsilman's swimmers started adding this "S" curve consciously - something he didn't anticipate.

Despite imploring his swimmers to "S" more, not only did most of them not get any faster, some actually started swimming slower.

What was going on?

To answer that question, let's go back to Spitz for a moment.

Is it possible that the "S" curve emerged as a natural byproduct of both his training and his body's intuitive understanding of how best to create more lift (and thus increase pulling power)?

Based on my own experience, I'd have to say the answer is an absolute, YES.

Spitz, like most great swimmers, could "grip" and hold on to the water, making the water more "solid" as his arm traveled past his rotating body.

He didn't consciously try to create that letter S.

It happened as a function of what his body did naturally, AND what he learned via tens of thousands of hours of mindful, consistent swimming.
  

Should you scrape mud off of your cycling shoes?   

I'm betting a very similar kind of story could be told when it comes to riding a bike efficiently and powerfully.  And THEN..running efficiently AND fast after the ride.

How so you ask?

Have you heard that popular advice, made famous by legendary cyclist Greg Lemond, to "pedal like you're scraping mud off of the bottom of your shoe"?

Like Counsilman's advice to articially integrate an "S" curve, trying to artificially change how you pedal a bike is not going to help you, and it may even HURT you.

And that "hurt" might not be limited to riding, but could also negatively impact how you run OFF of the bike. And increase your risk of injury, too.

In fact, I'm here to tell you that for the most part, ANY drill, tool, or technique that you've read about or heard was designed to improve your pedaling technique, is probably a complete waste of your time. 

How about Spin-Scan on a Computrainer? Or those fancy charts that show you exactly where you should apply pressure to the pedal as you go around? All of it, a waste of your time.

...except for one, that is.

One, very different and important, approach.

That one approach is the topic of a 12-minute video I prepared for you, that you've GOT to watch.

Authentic Cycling Video is here.So when it comes to riding faster,

I have to ask...Do the best cyclists have a great "spin" because they consciously "scrape mud" at the bottom of the pedal stroke?

Or (like Spitz in the water), are their pedal strokes and nervous systems more finely tuned and coordinated because of natural ability and perhaps more importantly, thousands of hours in the saddle?

Whenever we start incorporating something into our training because we heard the pros do it, or our friends said they read it in a book or online in a forum, OR we think we can outsmart our nervous system with "better" technology (such as clipless pedal systems), bad things can happen.

That was true for Counsilman's swimmers, it is true despite LeMond's advice, and it's true for running and just about every other activity, too.

There are a few other "truisms" that can be gleaned from all of this, such as...

  • getting faster isn't just about training "hard," it has a lot more to do with our nervous system than most realize.
  • mountain bikers, I think, have known a lot of this for a while. They 'get it.'
  • all of us are learning more every day - no one has all of the answers.

As for how ALL of this specifically impacts YOUR running off of the bike...well you'll have to watch and listen to the video for the answer to that.

When you do, please let me know what you think, ok?

Happy trails!
~Coach Al 

PS: A few minutes into the video, I refer to an article I wrote for Active.com, called: What Kenyans Can Teach Us About Running Economy and Efficiency.  To read it, CLICK HERE.

PSS: Just so y'all know, I have tremendous respect and admiration for Greg Lemond, a true champion and legendary cyclist. My belief is that at one time, he probably made an observation and drew a conclusion from it.  I've done that many times and am always learning. I've also changed my mind on things as a result of having a better understanding of "cause and effect" with certain things.

Are You Having A Crazy Amount Of FUN Doing This?

 

Happy kids in colorful bike helmets holding bikes

Keep the FUN in your training and I guarantee you'll get better, faster, and enjoy the journey more!

I remember when I was a kid how much I looked forward to after school and weekends, when I could ride my bike over to my friend's house. We spent hours playing, working on our take-offs with our "home-made" ramps (made out of whatever scrap wood we could find) and chasing each other around the driveway, exploring the backyard trails and laughing our butts off the entire time! Thinking back, I never got into BMX riding but I sure wish I had.

Do you remember those days? Take a minute and think back.

Riding bikes was so much FUN when we were kids!

Today I'm here to tell you that it can be fun again, and because I know you are the kind of athlete who is serious about your training, trust me that you can also achieve the great workout and fitness boost you want, too! (Would you like to have even MORE hip and core stability, core-glute-leg strength, and even better balance?)

But before I go on...come on now....In this day and age, don't we ALL need more pure, unadulterated (and legal!) FUN in our lives, as well as some child-like joy in our training?

And if we could manage to keep most of our training enjoyable and fun (despite the occasional discomfort that goes with pushing ourselves at times), won't we get better faster, and enjoy the journey more?

From my perspective as a coach, the answer to both of these questions is one million percent, YES!  

(If you are one of those folks who believes that you can only achieve at a high level if training is drudgery and not fun, you are seriously missing out. Life is too short!)

So, the million dollar question for today has got to be, how?

The answer is (drum roll please....) the mountain bike.

Now if you already ride, there's no reason to read on. You're a believerYou get it.

You've smiled, sweated, laughed, gasped for breath, been humbled, scared, euphoric, and even bloodied and bruised. And....you've never been happier while training.

But if you don't ride a mountain bike (yet), please read on!

Exploring forests and trails on a mountain bike is the most fun you will ever have on two wheels.  Ever! There's nothing that makes you feel more like a kid than a flowy, wooded single-track, dotted with rocks, roots, and berms that twist and turn down a slope.

And...conversely, there's nothing that will challenge your strength, focus, balance, power production, movement quality, and mental toughness, than will pushing those pedals up an ever changing landscape to get back up the trail.

Of ALL the many things I do now, riding my mountain bike is without a doubt, the most rewarding, challenging, butt-kicking fun I have as an athlete!

Regardless of where you are right now in your riding or training, consider this note today as simply me encouraging you to get started if you haven't already.

I'll be writing a ton more in the future about this awesome sport, covering topics like skill building, flats vs. clipless, bike/equipment choices, and more.

For today, just in case you're hoping for some basic tips to get you started on the right path, here are a few that will help keep you from getting hurt and also increase the fun factor.

* Riding a mountain bike safely and enjoyably on technical terrain requires good skills. (Doesn't anything worth doing well?) Learning those skills gradually and building upon them will help you have more fun. Why not consider attending a camp / workshop or find a friend or fellow rider who can help you learn what you need to know.

* Take the time to find the right group of fellow riders to learn with who are at, or perhaps slightly above, your skill and experience level. Ride behind someone you trust who is more skilled than you are, and learn by watching how they ride.

* Find trail systems that are appropriate for your skill level. Don't get caught on highly technical or hilly terrain if you're not quite ready for it. Nothing sucks the fun out of riding more than crashing a lot.

* Be patient and persistent. Don't take yourself or the riding too seriously and keep smiling.  You'll improve consistently and have a ton of fun learning along the way!

Now let's go out and play! Happy Trails!

~Coach Al

ps: check out this video from PinkBike Trail Love Episode 4 to get even more jazzed about riding! Here we come, Kingdom Trails!

034: Is “Minimalist” The Best Way To Train? [Podcast]

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PAP Podcasts Videos Triathlon TrainingOn just about a daily basis, Kurt and I get questions about what we feel are the optimal ways to train if you're an endurance athlete. Do we believe higher volume training is a necessary component for success over long distances, or do we believe "minimalist" training is the way to go. What we preach and believe is born from a variety of factors: first and foremost, our personal experience gleaned from many years of trial and error, scientific study and research, and our daily work with athletes of every ability level and from every walk of life. What results is a company philosophy and belief system grounded in three things.

1. We believe in training for the betterment of the body (and mind), not to their detriment.

2. We should learn how to establish, develop, and own quality movement first

3. Each of us is unique. We all have individual natural attributes, goals and dreams, and likes and dislikes.  

My own background is a testament to what I personally believe and what I have lived: I ran my marathon PR of 2:39:37 at Boston on a low weekly average of 45miles of running, with a great deal of supplemental stability and strength training added to the mix.  That being said, there ARE a great many factors that go into what might be the best approach for you.   In today's podcast, we discuss a variety of factors that might help you determine the best path.

  • Intensity and volume represent an inverse relationship: when one goes up, the other should go down, right?
  • What kind of experience do you have as an athlete? Do you have the requisite aerobic "plumbing" necessary for success as an endurance athlete?
  • If you are imbalanced or moving poorly, will a higher intensity minimalist type training program increase your risk of injury?
  • The scientific evidence is irrefutable: Intensity is the prime driver for improving fitness! But its a risk - reward equation. Is higher intensity worth the increased risk of injury?
  • Does your age matter?
  • Amateur athletes training and racing for fun and to enhance the quality of their lives are generally very busy people with many responsibilities that go beyond "just" training. What impact should this have on how you decide to train?
  • What about YOUR unique tendencies? Do you love to run or ride for hours on end, or is a 1 hour session about your limit?
  • And much more...

We hope you enjoy our podcast on this fun and interesting topic.

~Coach Al

Getting Your Season Started Right!

 

Lis Kenon and Coach Al, Pursuit Athletic Performance

Coach Al with 4x Ironman AG World Champion, Lisbeth Kenyon

Hey Everyone! Coach Al here. 🙂  If you are like many endurance athletes in the northern hemisphere, the late March marks the time when you really start planning to “get serious” with training and race preparation in anticipation of the upcoming competitive season. Even more, for some athletes this time period marks the time when, after a casual glance at the calendar reveals only a few weeks remain until the first event, a state of shock and absolute panic ensues! ☺

Before you panic and start hammering those high intensity intervals, moving yourself precariously close to either injury or over-training, remember to keep a few important things in mind as you embark upon a fast-track toward improved race readiness.

First, avoid the trap of thinking there is a quick fix, short cut, or easy path toward a true higher level of fitness. Building the stamina and strength that leads to success in endurance sports takes time and patience. However, if you pay close attention to the fundamentals such as skill and technique enhancement and general/functional strength, you CAN make some great inroads over a relatively short period of time that WILL help get you closer to being able to achieve your goals.

Secondly, while there are many facets of your training that will be integral for your success, there are two topics requiring your attention all year long but often don't get the attention they deserve this time of year.  They are: maximizing your daily NUTRITION and daily RECOVERY from training.  (If you're at a point in time when you feel you need a "kick-start" to cleaning up your diet, check out our De-tox!)

It goes without saying that if you don’t eat well most of the time and at the right times and don’t recover adequately between individual training sessions and week to week, your training, fitness, and ultimately your race preparation will stagnate or even worsen.

Here are three TIPS to assist in transitioning optimally to the month of April and also help you get your season started right:

  1. Review your current Limiters and then establish some Training Objectives to improve and overcome those Limiters. Limiters are your weaknesses or “race specific” abilities that may hold you back from being successful in your most important events.   Likewise, Training Objectives are measurable training goals that you set for yourself and which may be based on your Limiters, with the goal of improving upon them.

To help in this process, start by asking yourself these questions: 

  • As you review your current Limiters, how well have you progressed in the Off-Season in addressing those?
  • Did you “miss anything” in your Off-Season preparation that you should focus on now?
  • Is there a chance that your Limiters will hold you back from being successful in certain events?
  • Are you aware of your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Are you doing anything right now to improve your Limiters and thus your chance for success in your upcoming KEY races?

Even though it IS late March, it is NOT too late to start developing some key workouts to help strengthen your weaknesses. Be patient and persistent, and set measurable goals (training objectives) so that when you line up for your most important event this season, you will have the confidence of knowing you did all you could to prepare for success!

  1. Focus on executing KEY WORKOUTS by differentiating intensity and being purposeful in all of your training: To ensure you continue to improve, one of your primary goals must be to execute key-workouts to the best of your ability, which are those workouts that when recovered from them, will have had a specific and material impact on your race specific fitness.  Avoid falling victim to the “rat race” mentality that has you chronically “running” from one workout to the next without any real focus, which only results in tiredness and higher levels of stress without resulting in improved health OR fitness.
  2. Eat as well as you can, most of the time: Eating the best foods to nurture your health and recovery, most of the time and at the right times, is the best path toward optimizing health and body composition. Too often endurance athletes fall victim to waiting until they are close to their goal races and then trying to get lean and “race ready.” Once you begin to do higher intensity race-specific training sessions, your body will be under greater duress – trying to limit calories at that time can be very stressful and may lead to injury, poor adaptation to training stresses, and basically undoing all of the work you are doing to improve!

To summarize, these three tips come back to one very important but often forgotten concept: listening to your body and trusting your intuition.  I believe your intuition may be the most important tool you have in your toolbox as an endurance athlete, and unfortunately many of us don’t listen to it when we need to the most.

If you are a novice, your intuition might not be as highly developed as your more experienced training partners or friends, but it IS there and is often talking to you! Your "inner voice" might be telling you that you are tired and just don't feel up to that ride or run that you had planned, or, that what you are eating isn’t optimal to support your training or health.

Your body is smart! If you learn to really listen to it and stay patient and focused on the fundamentals, you will get your season started right and perhaps have your best season ever! Best of luck!

~Coach Al

031: Intensity Metric Triangulation with Coach Will Kirousis [Podcast]

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Coach Will Kirousis

Coach Will Kirousis

Today I'm joined by coach Will Kirousis of Tri-Hard Endurance Sports Coaching to discuss a variety of training related topics.  I've known Will for many years and know him, along with his partner Jason Gootman, as among the finest coaches in the business.

In today's podcast, we discuss the concept of Intensity Metric Triangulation, which is simply an approach that helps to empower athletes to better understand what their power meter, pace meter, heart rate monitor and perceived exertion level are combining to say to them.

Taken further, and most importantly, Intensity Metric Triangulation helps athletes understand how to adjust and perhaps modify how they are executing a training session based on the feedback they are receiving, both objectively from the training tools they might be employing, as well as subjectively from the information their body is sending to them.  In a nutshell, Intensity Metric Triangulation is a simple to use system that helps the athlete know better what's happening inside in their body and how they might want to adjust training as it evolves.

Will and I also have some fun discussing a variety of concepts that I know will be helpful to consider for any endurance athlete, from communication and self awareness to logging training data to understanding the value of each of our own unique personal histories.  These are key players in our ability to train smart.

One last thing: JOIN Will and I at TRI-MANIA Boston Summit and Expo on March 29, 2014. All information and details can be found here: http://www.tri-mania.com/Boston.htm.  Among many other great speakers, clinics and vendors, Will and his partner Jason Gootman will present a seminar on this topic, Intensity Metric Triangulation at 10:00 AM. I am presenting a seminar at 3:30 PM entitled "Lessons From The Gait Lab."  Its going to be a great day all around. We hope to see you there!

~Coach Al

027: Does Running With a Forward Lean Help Efficiency? Does Your Bike Pedal Fit Matter? We Answer [Podcast]

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Forward_LeanHi Everyone!

Today on the podcast we discuss two things.

First, the foot-pedal interface is an important part of a bike fit, yet it is frequently overlooked.   When this is executed correctly, it can improve power and reduce injury.

Second, we answer the question about whether running with a forward lean improves efficiency. This questions leads to a rich discussion of running form. To quote Coach Al, unless you build and integrate the qualities that make for strong, efficient running on the inside, "you can lean forward all day long and all you're gonna get is a mess." We dive in.

016: Bike Fit With Todd Kenyon of TTBikeFit (Podcast)

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Hello Everyone!

Every triathlete knows the importance of the aero position on the bike, and all the free speed it can bring. In our opinion, no one sets up that bike fit more expertly than Todd Kenyon of TTBikeFit.

We are very pleased to have Todd on our podcast this week. It's the perfect time of year to learn more about the importance of bike fit--and to get proactive about checking out the efficiency of your own set up. It's a great discussion with lots to learn.

In the podcast we cover:

•    The importance of bike fit for performance, comfort, lower risk of injury, and improved run performance

•    Comparisons of various bike fit “systems.” Good fit advice, and getting set up correctly on your bike has much less to do with the “system,” and much more to do with the expertise, knowledge, and skill of the person actually doing the fit.

•    How to choose or select someone to do your bike fitting?  This is a critically important choice, as the results critically impact your training and racing.

•    The important steps of a bike fit process?

•   How we at Pursuit and TTBikeFit mirror many synergies in our approach to working with athletes. Our focus on movement quality first as a baseline of a smart training progression aligns quite neatly with the smart “fit” progression Todd employs.

Finally, on a separate topic, we had to get into what it's like to wear the “husband” and bike tech hat while traveling to Kona with your wife who just happens to be a 4x Age Group Ironman World Champion (and one of our all-time favorite athletes and people on the planet), Lisbeth Kenyon. And here they are working on her bike fit in the photo below. 🙂 You can read Lisbeth's 2014 Kona race report here, and listen to her unique perspective about Kona here.

Enjoy! Hit us up with questions in the comment section or on Facebook.

Helping YOU Be Great!

Coach Al

TTBikeFit Lab

Todd Kenyon and wife, Lisbeth Kenyon, at the TTBikeFit Lab.

We hope you enjoy our podcasts and find them useful for your training and racing. Any questions? Hit us up in the comments, or on Facebook. Let us know of any topics you would like us to cover too.

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This Is A Super Indoor Cycling Tip!

STAND During Indoor Cycling Training

Hey Everyone!

Cycling standDeep into winter, so many triathletes and cyclists are doing most, if not all of their riding indoors. Here is a super indoor cycling tip I encourage you to incorporate regularly NOW. If you do, you'll see a big payoff in just a few short months down the road.

One of the challenges we face when we are riding, is that we are SEATED most of the time, and being in the saddle is "quad-dominant."

How do we make some subtle adjustments to make our indoor training more effective?

STAND! When you are standing out of the saddle, you are using the larger muscles on the back of your body more effectively, and that has positive effects for all of your performance and health markers. My athletes may be tired of hearing me rave about mountain biking, but the truth is that when I am on the trail, I'm standing a great percentage of the time, using all of the muscles in my body, especially the deeper muscles of the trunk/core, and the backside.

In our indoor class here at PAP, I have the riders do a drill I call a "Hover" drill. That is basically a drill where the rider "hovers" over the saddle, yet is NOT standing straight up, OR allowing their body to inch forward. Give it a try!

So, from this point forward, I want each of you reading this to do the following:

  • Include as much standing during your indoor sessions as you reasonably can-- especially those who know that your glutes need to be stronger.
  • Build up to being able to stand for up to 5min at a time--or MORE.
  • Mix it up! Alternate 1-2min standing at 65-75 rpms, with 1-2min seated at 110+ rpms. That's a great mix that is surely going to wake up your butt!
  • Stand tall, push those hips forward and lengthen the spine!
  • Make standing sets structured, or not--that's your choice. But do take responsibility for your own indoor riding, and get OUT of the saddle more often.

Hope this helps. (and if you DO IT, it surely will!) Here is another of our blog posts on the issue of standing when cycling, should you need more motivation. 🙂

~Coach Al

Cycling Skills: Practice Standing (Triathletes, That Means YOU Too!)

Hello Everyone!

Standing-on-bikeI got a great question from one of our triathlon team members. He asked why I prescribe standing sets in bike workouts when triathletes are best down in the aero position during races.

Here is the answer.

How we might train on the bike in order to lift fitness and create more ability as a cyclist is different than how we might race on the bike to maximize efficiency for a better overall racing result (including the run).

Sure, all things being equal, it is best that you stay seated during the triathlon bike leg for the majority of time. It does help keep effort and HR lower, and you are certainly more aerodynamic when seated vs standing. To put it another way, it IS generally more efficient than is standing.

However, when we're training, especially in earlier phases of training that are not race-specific training, THE GOAL IS NOT to do things as you might do them on the race course. The goal is to work on certain skills, abilities, and lift fitness, so you will be better prepared to embark on that race-specific training, and, ultimately, race more efficiently and faster.

When it comes to cycling in particular, I'm a BIG FAN of doing whatever we can do to INCREASE the amount and variety of "tools" we have in our cycling "tool box."

What do I mean?

I tell folks to ride a mountain bike and road bike some of the time, because being on THOSE machines challenges us in a different way than a tri-bike. They help develop different "tools" like handling, balance, short power production, riding in a group, etc. We might not develop these skills if we ONLY rode our tri bikes.

Standing is exactly the same thing. When we train our bodies to be able to stand on occasion--for short periods especially--to be able to generate power and speed (and mix up muscle usage as a side benefit), we add a new and beneficial tool to our cycling tool box.

Standing is a great way to get over short very steep hills without losing speed, for example. If you don't TRAIN that, you will never be able to do it with any efficiency in either training OR racing. Train it, though, it you're now able to do it, when you need to, whenever its appropriate.

How many times have you come to a short steep hill, and stayed in the saddle, only to see your speed fall to nearly zero as a result? If you were able to stand to generate speed and power over that short hill, you would be maintaining more speed over the top, which makes it easier to keep speed going on the other side...less loss of momentum. And as I like to say in this regard, "the faster you go, the faster you go." 🙂

In other words, when you're losing speed because you're welded to the saddle, you end up going slower up that hill which slows your overall time on the bike, and may also create more fatigue.

One other MAJOR benefit of standing is that you're using MORE glute and hamstring. Those are large muscles that will help, if you let them.

The key? You must train it. You must practice it.

Great racing is about having as many tools in your overall athletic toolbox, as possible. The more tools you have, the better you're able to meet any challenge you face out there...

Make sense?

Stand, sit, repeat. Be a better rider. Use more glute.

ROCK ON.

~Coach Al

6 Tips To Help You Adapt to the Aero Position That You Can Start Working on Now

Hello Everyone!

Lisbeth_aeroTriathletes often ask me how to build strength and endurance to augment their ability to stay in the aerobars for extended periods of time. Being in the aero position is hard on your body, no doubt about it. Here are a few thing I prescribe to help with adaptation:

1. When indoors in the off season, commit to spending time on your tri bike and in the aero bars. It is very difficult to go to spending extended periods in the aero position when its been a few months since you've "been there." Even small amounts of time--say 10-20 minutes--a few days a week will help a great deal.

2. A good fit is crucial of course, especially as it relates to good skeletal support for your upper body. Look for about a 90-degree elbow and shoulder angle for good skeletal support, at least as a starting point.

3. If you are not working on a functional strength program designed to shore up your movement dysfunction, compensations, weaknesses and imbalances, then you should be. Really, really commit to building a strong back! By this I mean, first stabilizing the shoulder blades and opening the front of the body. Wall slides are an excellent exercise for this. Then make it a priority to integrate that stability into whole body strengthening in all of the functional strength exercises you are doing. Also, along this line, better balance between the front and back of the body is crucial. Again, the simple wall slide is great starting point for this. Open the chest! Strengthen the lats, which, obviously, improves swimming too!

4. Spend gradually more time in that position once you begin some race specific training.....a little more each long ride and or during a week's training, helps gradual adaptation.

5. Lastly, and very importantly, try to RELAX in that position as much as you can when you're there. It may seem like a small thing, but even tiny bits of unnecessary tension, added up over time, can really have a negative effect. Relax, relax, relax.

6. If in doubt at any time, err on the side of being a little less aero to be a little more comfortable. I can't even begin to tell you how many folks have a great 'setup' in transition, but don't spend the time there in the actual race to reap the aerodynamic advantage because their position is too uncomfortable.

We're all an experiment of one, with unique tightness and movement challenges. Never give up basic comfort or power, for aero, in my opinion. Never. The only possible exception and where you'd consider this on a partial level, would be a course like Ironman Florida, that is so flat. Otherwise, no way.

1. Comfort.

2. Power.

3. Aero.

In that order of priority. IMO.

Hope that helps,

Coach Al