Coach Al and Dr. Strecker were in fine form on a recent Spreecast discussing off-season training for triathletes! A lot of give and take with the athletes, and a TON of info you’re just not going to get anywhere else. If you missed it, here’s the replay. Have questions, hit us up in the comments, or on Facebook. Enjoy!
And, remember, 20% off all gait analysis packages AND 30 days FREE on our triathlon team. Check it out here! Offer good through January 6, 2013.
It’s the off-season, and now’s the time to get ready for you best triathlon season ever! Join me for what is sure to be a jam-packed discussion on how you can get strong, get powerful, and get FAST in order to UNLEASH in 2013! A short video below gives you an overview of what I’ll be discussing.
Click the image below, or this link, and sign up through our “FREE TRI WEBINAR” tab on Facebook! As soon as you claim your seat, we’ll get you all the details and the private link to our Spreecast.
It’s the off season! And NOW is the time to join the Pursuit Athletic Performance Team. It is the most effective time of year to begin laying the foundation for the 2013 triathlon season, which could be your most successful yet! Start NOW so you can experience the full benefit of our sophisticated, integrated training programs.
Click HERE to go to our website to find out more about the team and how to join!
Coach Al here with some further reflection from my time spent at the Ironman World Championship. I have not been to Kona since the last time I raced there eight years ago. I can say, however, that having raced the event several times, and now watching from my perspective as a coach, it is the hardest Ironman triathlon on the planet. Getting to the finish line in Kona is an incredible achievement. Huge congratulations to all the athletes.
In the video below I outline my thoughts about three major things that I think truly impact a successful Ironman race:
Nutrition, salt, and STRENGTH
What is the limiting factor on very long race days like Ironman? It is what happens to your body. Nutrition and salt play a major role, for sure. But it is STRENGTH that also helps the wheels from coming off. The struggle in the Ironman marathon always comes from things like cramping, muscular fatigue, and pain in areas that make it difficult to keep race pace. Keeping a consistent and steady aerobic pace in an Ironman, without breaking down, can bring you to a very high age group placement. The marathon definitely becomes a battle of resisting fatigue, and you need the STRENGTH to keep it all together.
I recommend you Ironman athletes out there have a listen and take these messages to heart. Taking action on your strength issues NOW, can help to insure the wheels stay on in your next long course competition.
Coach Al here, and I am having a wonderful time at the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona. Two of the athletes I coach are racing here today. Lisbeth Kenyon is defending her 45-49 age group championship and course record. (Go Lis!) Susan Ford is making her Kona debut.
I was so pleased to have a chance to sit down with Susan for an interview. I knew our talk would center around a discussion of dedication and perseverance, two qualities imperative to athletic success. Susan, without question, possesses both those attributes more than just about anyone I know. Her passion for the sport of triathlon, and long-course racing in particular, drives her relentless pursuit to be the best she can be.
Susan unfailingly believes there is always a way to reach her goals. The word “can’t” is not in her lexicon. She is always willing to listen and learn, facing her gifts and limitations with the kind of truth and honesty I discussed in yesterday’s post. This allows her to set increasingly higher standards of personal excellence.
Susan is so deserving of the opportunity to race here in Kona. To say I wish her the best is an understatement. She will earn her PhD in triathlon out there today–another step in the evolution of this incredible athlete and friend.
Coach Al checking in from the Kailua-Kona on the eve of the Ironman World Championships. This is such a magical place, and those of you who have visited or have had the honor of racing here, you know what I mean.
Thoughts about truth and honesty that I want to share with you today came to me while walking through, of all places, the race expo. I was struck that the biggest challenge facing my partner Dr. Kurt Strecker and me, as we work to build Pursuit Athletic Performance, is that we tell the TRUTH. This may sound harsh, but the hard fact is the expo is full of products of little value, coupled with vendors hawking pseudo-science and false claims all in the service of THEIR agendas. In fact, telling the partial truth has become so common place, we have been domesticated into believing the partial truth IS the truth.
At PAP, we offer the honest truth, to every person who walks in the door. We walk the talk. We do what we say. We have no fancy gadget or magic fixes–we start with a simple mirror. We ask each athlete to take a hard look at what we uncover through their gait and movement analysis and face the TRUTH. It may be difficult to hear, it may not be what you want to be told, but we ask you to see your own “raw reality.” We know it is not easy to look our weaknesses squarely in the eye. But once you do, the reward for being honest with oneself is nothing less than the chance for incredible growth, and an explosion of your performance potential.
Susan Ford and Lisbeth Kenyon are two incredible athletes I coach who are racing here in Kona. Lisbeth, in fact, is here to defend an age group championship for the fourth year in a row. I can tell you that both of these incredible athletes looked into that mirror, faced the truth, worked hard to erase their liabilities, and have reached truly amazing performance peaks. The truth can do the same for you.
I just have to share an extremely gratifying testimonial from triathlete Todd Wilkins. Todd was a broken athlete when he contacted us. You can read in his own words below the trials and tribulations he endured dealing with severe iliotibial band syndrome. He was a dispirited athlete, and had just about given up hope on racing again. He did not expect to be able to return to long-course triathlon, that’s for sure.
Todd lives afar from our lab, so we began with our work together with the virtual on-line gait analysis. The more athletes we work with through the online analysis process, the more we know how incredibly effective the system is. We were able to pinpoint Todd’s problems in movement quality leading to compensations, dysfunction, and, ultimately, to his unending cycle of injury. We got him on a regime of prescriptive exercises, and created a training plan for him. He put his head down, believed in the process, and did the work to rebuild his body as a strong, stable, mobile, and durable athlete.
Recently, Todd went a 4:48 in a half Ironman–the first race of that distance he has been able to do in 2.5 years! He was fifth OVERALL, and took first place in the masters category. It is a super, super result. Not only are we over the moon at Todd’s finishing time, but Kurt and I are extremely gratified that Todd is uninjured and pain free! Think about that! He rocked the house with a super solid result, and got on the podium. Thing is, now that he’s a stronger, more stable and durable athlete, he can begin to REALLY TRAIN and unleash his true potential. There are many great races and results ahead of him, no doubt in our minds!
Thanks for the kind words, Todd. Kurt and I are both so happy for you!
~ Coach Al
Coach Al and Dr. Strecker,
I just needed to send a long overdue note to thank you for getting me back to running and racing triathlons. You will remember I had severe ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome). For the last two years, I had gone through self treatment with rest, stretching and yoga. Then I went to see a sports medicine specialist getting MRI’s, injections and physical therapy. When that didn’t work, I went to see a different sports medicine specialist and got more of the same. Finally I was told I would either have to stop running or consider surgery.
You know surgery for ITBS has pretty poor results. I am a physician myself, and am pretty comfortable with most standard medical therapies, but was not going to have surgery. I had pretty much given up hope of running more than a couple of miles ever again.
Then I saw you for a gait analysis.
The program is fantastic! I have run several triathlons this summer that include both Olympic distance and sprints. I just completed my first half iron distance race after two-and-a-half years of being out of racing. It went great thanks to your gait analysis, the Return to Running program, and Coach Al’s awesome coaching this summer. I was able to post the second fastest bike split in the half iron distance race, and still run a decent 1:37:xx half marathon on a hilly course. I could not be happier.
I think I see an Ironman in my future now, something I had given up on not too long ago.
Thanks so much!
Todd Wilkens M.D. F.A.C.S.
PS–You too can find and unlock your potential. 20% off all gait analysis packages AND 30 days FREE on our triathlon team. Click here to learn more.
This is always an exciting time of year at Pursuit Athletic Performance! Pursuit athlete Lisbeth Kenyon will soon be on her way to defend her age group championship at the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on Saturday, October 13. Not only is Lisbeth the two-time defending champion in the 45-49 age group, she is also the record holder having shattered the previous mark by more than 20 minutes.
Lis and Coach Al have been working together for a number of years. Not only did they tackle Lis’s preparation for Kona this year, but Al also coached her to a record-breaking performance at the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon this past August.
The Ironman website recently ran a preview of the Age Group Women’s Champs, and we just had to share Lisbeth’s comments. This is a phenomenal athlete who works incredibly hard at training to her ultimate potential, yet never loses site of life’s priorities while keeping a sense of humor!
GO LISBETH! We are in your corner all the way, and will be cheering!
[Lisbeth] says her strength is definitely the ability to be in more the one place at a time and her second hobby is laundry. A quick glance at Lisbeth Kenyon’s “typical” day and I would have to agree. At the crack of dawn, Kenyon begins to wrestle her three children out of bed. Two are driven to school and the other catches a bus. The family dog is along for the car ride as she is deposited at daycare so she is not alone all day. In between working and training, Lisbeth delivers her kids to saxophone lessons, swim practice and golf. The kid’s activity time is her chance to go back to the office and catch up on work before she retraces her steps to gather up the clan to head off for dinner and homework time.
For Lisbeth, it is all about family first so it was no surprise to see she scheduled in the Norseman Xtreme, which takes place near where her family live in Norway. After reaching the top of the mountain and earning the coveted black t-shirt, she took some time to be with her loved ones before she changed gears and focused back on Ironman training.
Besides having her family in Hawaii, Lisbeth says she is most excited to reunite with the pull apart cinnamon buns at Lava Java.
In the video below, Ali’i Drive: Strength, a number of Ironman triathlon champions discuss what they define as strength, where and who they draw it from, and how they apply it in their own lives. I think it is a great video, and the messages are powerful ones.
Without question, there’s a huge mental component to training and competing. We all know it. The athletes in the video believe as much as 70 or 80% of it is mental. Meredith Kessler quips as she points to her head and then to her body, “If the upstairs doesn’t match the downstairs, it’s almost impossible to prevail in a race.” Personally, I’m not sure what the breakdown is of physical vs. mental, but I do know that when we race, the fitness has to be total if we’re going to achieve what we seek to achieve. Sometimes the hardest thing to do “mentally” is to be willing to step back and take a close look at ourselves. Are we truly all we believe we are? Can we be even better? Sometimes the effort to push oneself in training is relatively easy compared to the effort required to look straight into the mirror.
Similarly, there is no question the drive to excel and the fortitude to do the “little things,” as Craig Alexander alludes to, is huge. Learning to handle the discomfort associated with going “to the well,” is very much a mental piece. Embracing that discomfort, as Macca tells us, helps unite us and make us who we are.
Pursuit Athlete Jeff Merriam. (C) Robert Berkley of Robberkleyphoto.com
My name is Jeffrey Merriam I am 41 years old and live in Connecticut. I am a triathlete, and am coached by Al Lyman.
In the fall of 2010 I had became more active and began running. I quickly found that running was a great outlet for stress relief, and it fostered a healthy life style. After several months and few local 5k races, I decided it was time to get some help. I own two Hyundai dealerships in Connecticut and was familiar with seeking training and coaching in the business world, and I know how effective it can be. It was now time to get the same kind of support for my running.
My sister had a friend who was coached by Al. She was very happy with her training, was doing well, and that was reference enough for me. I was thrilled to find he was local too, although I know he works with athletes from all over the country. But I took advantage of the proximity, and quickly made an appointment for a visit.
We began the coaching process with a gait analysis and a functional movement screen. I quickly learned about my weaknesses and my personal configurations of compensation and dysfunctional movement patterns. This process of learning was incredibly eye opening to me, with light bulbs going off left and right! There was so much to learn about how to be the best athlete I could be. What potential did I really have lying in wait? I worked hard with Coach Al to fix my form and get stronger. With my passion cranked up full tilt, we began an ongoing coaching relationship. The rest is history.
During my visits to the lab, I noticed the Ironman posters and the pictures of Coach competing all over the world. Boy, that’s what I wanted to do next. So, patiently, he took me through the steps of becoming a triathlete. From our first swim lesson together, to my first wet suit purchase, to my first sprint, he held my hand through the process. That winter, he included me in his annual Arizona cycling training trip–and I learned to ride. Again, he patiently taught me how to ride correctly, efficiently, and powerfully. I learned how to ride with a group, what to drink, what to eat, what to wear. I quickly fell in love with cycling as well.
That following spring I was ready for my first triathlon. Long story short, I began racing with a local sprint, then moved up to the Olympic distance, and, finally, in July of that same year, I raced the Amica Ironman 70.3. I finished the 70.3 with a respectable time of 5:30.
Here I am now, less than two years later, placing in my age group and having blast. I continue to learn from Al every day. Most importantly, I am durable and can race week after week injury free. Coach has given me the confidence with each race that I belong in the world of triathlon–and I can be successful.
Al is not only my coach, but he has become my friend, my mentor, and so much more. Without a doubt, out on the race course, Coach Al is my competitive advantage!