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Ironman AG World Champion Lisbeth Kenyon: What We All Can Learn From Her

Lisbeth Kenyon, Ironman World Champion

Lisbeth Kenyon, Ironman World Champion, W 45-49. 10:03:26

As some of you know by now, one of the athletes I coach, Lisbeth Kenyon, again won her age group title in the Ironman World Championship yesterday in Kona in a time of 10:03:26. I could not be happier for this extraordinary woman, friend, and competitor. The word “congratulations” hardly seems tribute enough.

In many ways, Lisbeth’s win is beyond amazing, and is a reflection of a ton of work this season. And I will tell you this…everything that has happened over the past year—including a painful bout of shingles in the past month, and the fact that she has three growing kids that keep her incredibly busy—is a testament to the relentless work she did to again become the champion she is. The best in the world in her age group.

I also want to share this with all of you….

Everything emphasized with Lisbeth in her training—from when we started in earnest in January, right Lis Kenon and Coach Al, Pursuit Athletic Performancethrough her race day—reflects what we do with EVERY athlete who trains with the Pursuit Athletic Performance team.

 You want to know what made the difference for Lis this year? It’s this….

 Yesterday she raced with:

  • Better balance
  • Appropriate and improved flexibility
  • Stronger hips and glutes
  • A clear race nutrition strategy
  • A clear race execution strategy

She did all the work in training to get there, and she executed a near perfect race. 

Lisbeth, truly, is a living example of what can be accomplished when an athlete follows the whole-athlete, integrated training we lay out for ALL competitors who train with us.

ANY ONE OF YOU—at ANY LEVEL—can replicate what Lisbeth did to get to YOUR optimal result.

No, not everyone has the innate talent of a world champion athlete, but that does not matter. You simply need the ability to learn the TRUTH about what works in training, act on it, be willing to let go of counterproductive methodologies, and DO THE WORK. It’s as simple as that for your greatness and success to be realized.

Congratulations again to Lisbeth! And may all of you uncover the champion within.

Be Great!

Coach Al

P.S.–Mid-Ironman, Lisbeth got tossed over her handlebars and off of her bike at an aid station, landing on her back! She brushed it off, got back to her race execution strategy, and got down to business. The mark of a true champion!

011: Kona Through the Eyes of a Champion–Lisbeth Kenyon (Podcast)

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LisWaik09Pursuit Athletic Performance triathlete Lisbeth Kenyon joins us live from Alii Drive as she gets ready to take on her 7th Kona this Saturday, October 12. For those of you who don’t know, Lisbeth is an Ironman Age Group World Champion in the 40-44 and 45-49 categories, and she holds the record in the latter.

Lis shares her reflections on what she enjoys most about being in Kona and doing Ironman. She reveals some of her most notable and memorable points along the course. She talks about the Kona vibe this week, as well as how she is preparing for race day on the heels of long travel. And she gives us the inside scoop on the race favorites on the pro side. 

Coach Al has been training Lisbeth for the past 5 years. Theirs is a special relationship, and he has this to say, “Last week, I had the extreme pleasure of spending a few hours with Lis to dial in her strength focus prior to traveling to the Big Island of Hawaii, to once again take on the best 45+ yr old women in the world at the most famous triathlon of them all. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. THIS woman is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. I can’t begin to express in words how honored I am to KNOW her, let alone coach her. She IS an amazing mom, friend, citizen, professional, colleague, and champion triathlete. I know Todd Kenyon would say she’s also an amazing partner and wife. No matter what happens on race day, October 12th, she is a true CHAMPION in my book, and in every sense of the word. More good wishes to come as we get closer to race day, but for today, I just want to say THANK YOU, Lis, for everything you’ve given me.” 

 

Ironman Age Group World Champion Lisbeth Kenyojn and Coach Al Lyman

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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Pursuit’s Lisbeth Kenyon to Defend Age Group Record at the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Kona

Lisbeth Kenyon, coach al lyman, Ironman, triathlonThis 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.

 

 

 

Lisbeth Kenyon’s Norseman Xtreme Triathlon Race Report

Hello All!

Norseman Xtreme TriathlonFor those of you who may have missed Lisbeth Kenyon’s Norseman Xtreme Triathlon race report, here it is! We think you will enjoy her vivid descriptions that take you through the ups and downs (literally and figuratively) of the most difficult iron-distance race on the planet. In this epic event, Lis finished third woman overall, and together with the first two finishers, smashed the existing course record.

I received a lot of questions about how I coached Lis. You can find my debrief in this video post–Four Principles Guiding Lisbeth Kenyon’s Training for Norseman Xtreme Triathlon I was struck when reading Lisbeth’s race report how her words add force to these principles, just as her race powerfully demonstrated the real performance benefits I know come from getting functionally strong, training smart, and showing up 100% on race day. Yes, Lisbeth is an elite athlete. But these principles apply to every single athlete in any sport you can name–and that means YOU too.

Here are the Four Principles I adhere to in my coaching paired with Lisbeth’s own words.

1. Movement Quality First

Coach Al: This is the baseline for EVERYTHING–your training, your racing, getting faster, unlocking your true potential, and reaching your goals.

Lisbeth: I started my training by taking 2 weeks off from running to concentrate on building my glute strength and resetting some basic movement errors that would cause injury if I didn’t correct it. I actually had to re-learn how to walk up the stairs correctly, avoiding using stabilizers even in simple movements. It would be an experiment to see if I could get up the mountains without the specific hill training, but equipped with new found glute and core usability.

2. Quality over Quantity

Coach Al: It’s also not about maxing out “training load,” but, rather, it’s about building your work capacity under the auspices of quality movement. If that’s not the focus or the strategy of the training you do, you will be forever limited in your development.

Lisbeth: I trained an average of 13 hours per week for the past 6 months; anything more would impact family and work–for a hobby. That doesn’t seem like much, but the sessions I did required this old body more time to recover. Given these limiters, Coach Al focused heavily on functional strength, mobility and movement skills.

3. Strength, Strength, Strength

Coach Al: True functional strength designed to shore up YOUR personal weaknesses and compensations is not just something “nice” to have. It is truly the foundation for all athletic accomplishment, regardless of your ability or your sport.

Lisbeth: Normally at this point in Hawaii I am in survival mode and leaning slightly to the left. Here I am feeling stronger and stronger. Mental note to not stop my planking routine.

4. There Is No Short Cut–No Easy Way

Coach Al: There are no special shoes, no magic workouts, no short cuts that lead you to outstanding achievement. It’s not always fun or sexy to work on the fundamentals and skill development, but it always circles back to the basics when striving to reach one’s potential.

Lisbeth: The climb to the finish–it never ends. Rocks are everywhere. Just rocks, wobbly gray wet rocks as far as the eye can see in all directions. We are on all fours climbing some of them. Now I get why people in the videos are holding their quads. Every time I look up, the radio tower is still far away. It is so much steeper in real life than the videos show and it is way less smooth than I expected. This was the hardest part of the day for me because we are now chasing the clock. What I really wanted was a sit down coffee break. All of a sudden the tower appears big and we are there. We make it in 12:46. Maybe the hardest one hour and five minutes I have done, mentally. This race is epic!

It means more than I can express to see Lisbeth be so victorious at Norseman. She understood our training approach and principles on a very deep level, and never wavered in her dedication to our approach. She also worked incredibly hard, and brought her A-game to race day. In short, she put it all together with 100% commitment, which is how she was able to achieve such an outstanding result. You might not be taking on Norseman Xtreme, but these same principles that guided Lis can lead you to your own epic performances, whatever your goals may be.

Click for Lis Kenyon’s Norseman Xtreme Triathlon Race Report

 

Coach Al’s Debrief: Four Principles Guiding Lisbeth Kenyon’s Training for Norseman Xtreme Triathlon

Hello Everyone!

Today’s blog post is, I believe, the most important one I have done to date.

Coach Al Lyman, Pursuit Athletic Performance, Gait Analysis and Functional Strength Training Expert

Coach Al Lyman, CSCS, FMS, HKS

The video below not only elucidates the passion my partner Dr. Kurt Strecker and I share in the tenets at the core of Pursuit Athletic Performance, but it also gives you a look at how that philosophy formed the foundation of the coaching program I put together for Lisbeth Kenyon’s training for Norseman Xtreme Triathlon. Lisbeth had an amazing result at the world’s most difficult long course race coming in 3rd woman overall, and together with the first two finishers, smashing the existing course record. I am getting a lot of questions about how she trained.

Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, Lisbeth Kenyon, Pursuit Athletic Performance

Lisbeth Kenyon at the finish of the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon

There are four principles I talk about in the video that are, in my opinion, the cornerstones of effective, results-oriented training. These four keys are at the basis of the coaching program I design for EVERY athlete, Lis included.

1. Movement Quality First

This is the baseline for EVERYTHING–your training, your racing, getting faster, unlocking your true potential, and reaching your goals. It is the reason for our gait analysis system, and why all of our athletes undergo the process. (If you want to know more, I gave an entire lecture on the topic of “Quality Movement First” that you can download here. )

2. Quality over Quantity

Training is more than just going “hard,” or “hard before long,” or any other coaching catch phrase out there today. It’s also not about maxing out “training load,” but, rather, it’s about building your work capacity under the auspices of quality movement. If that’s not the focus or the strategy of the training you do, you will be forever limited in your development. That’s just the simple, hard truth.

3. Strength, Strength, Strength

Looking for a magic bullet? Strength is it. True functional strength designed to shore up YOUR personal weaknesses and coach al lymancompensations is not just something “nice” to have. It is truly the foundation for all athletic accomplishment, regardless of your ability or your sport. We created the image posted here to bring attention to the widely-accepted belief that we need to run to get in shape. Actually, the truth is just the reverse. You need to get in shape–and get strong–to run. Strength is the limiter for any athlete in any sport, and the most important determining factor for your success.

4. There Is No Short Cut–No Easy Way

There are no special shoes, no magic workouts, no short cuts that lead you to outstanding achievement. Unlocking your personal athletic potential must be done from the inside out–you can’t impose it from the outside in. Lis understood this on a cellular level. It’s not always fun or sexy to work on the fundamentals and skill development, but it always circles back to the basics when striving to reach one’s potential.

It truly is an incredible honor to coach Lisbeth Kenyon. It is humbling to have an athlete of Lis’s caliber believe in our philosophy, put her trust in it, wrap her arms around it, and then work very, very hard on the training prescribed for her. The victory at Norseman is surely all hers. Lis’s result is a testament to her talent, physical and mental toughness, and unwavering dedication.

But Lis is YOU. That’s right, the fundamentals that I talk about here are essential for ANY athlete no matter your ability, experience level, your age, or your sport. At Pursuit Athletic Performance we see the four principles outlined above take athletes to levels of performance they never thought possible. Hope this video is helpful to you.

Train strong, train smart,
Coach Al

P.S. A great photo album of Lis’s day on the race course can be seen here.

Norseman Xtreme Triathlon: Lisbeth Kenyon Photo Album

Norseman Series: Coach Al’s Debrief: Four Principles Guiding Lisbeth Kenyon’s Training for Norseman Xtreme Triathlon can be accessed here.
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Hi Gang!

Pursuit athlete Lisbeth Kenyon shared some of the photos taken during her race at the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon on Sunday, August 5 in Eidfjord, Norway. I think you will enjoy them.

Lisbeth had an outstanding day racing in the most challenging long course triathlon on the planet. She was third woman overall, finishing in 12:47:42, and together with the first two women finishers, demolished the existing course record. Needless to say, we are still on cloud nine–so happy for, and so proud of her.

These photos also give a glimpse into the kind of athlete she is to coach–upbeat, funny, and very, very determined!

Norseman Xtreme Triathlon
3:15 am! Lis readies to board the ferry that takes the athletes to the swim start. Athletes jump off the ferry deck into the Hardangerfjord when it is barely light for an in-water start. The water temperature during the 2.4 mile swim was 56F. “Not bad at all,” Lis said, “someone smart told me being cold is just in your head, and he was right.”

Nroseman Xtreme Triathlon
Said Lis, and I quote, “Too late for regrets.”

Norseman Xtreme Triathlon
The end of the swim in the Hardangerfjord.

Norseman Xtreme Triathlon
The bike is 112 miles from Eidfjord to Austbygde. The race organizers warn, “Don’t push too hard during the first 40 kilometers.” The first hill takes you from zero to 1,250 meters above sea level. The ride wends through the Hardanger mountain plateau before the riders hit 45 kilometers of steep climbs and descents. The last climb is up the “Imingfjell” mountain, peaking at 1,200 meters above sea level, the steepest part of the bike leg. A 30 kilometer descent brings the athlete down to T2.

Said Lis, “I rode through all kinds of weather and temperatures ranging from pelting rain and bone-chilling cold to pleasant, sunny sections.”

Norseman Xtreme Triathlon
Climbing is the word for the Norseman marathon. After 25 kilometers the steep hills begin featuring a 10.5 mile climb.

Norseman Xtreme Triathlon
Always full of spirit, she says, “If you can’t cry, you might as well smile!”

Norseman Xtreme Triathlon
Says husband Todd Kenyon of TTBikeFit–”Norseman run…this pic says it all: 23k into run, and the massive Gaustatoppen looms over a tiny Lisbeth. She/we are headed to the very top edge of picture over the next 19k – a mile vertical.

Norseman Xtreme Triathlon
4752 meters from the top. ‘Nuff said.

Norseman Xtreme Triathlon
“The mountain is not really a mountain, but more of a pile of rocks,” says the race manual. But the path is steep and difficult, and competitors are not allowed to walk this part alone. It takes the average competitor about 1 hour and 20 minutes to make it to the finish line from entry of the Gaustatoppen.

Norseman Xtreme Triathlon
“An unbelievable journey,” says Lis. There is no doubt about that!

So what could possibly be next, you wonder? Lis will continue her incredible race year defending her age group title and course record at the Ironman World Championship in Kona on October 13. Stay tuned!

Pursuit Athlete Lisbeth Kenyon Breaks Course Record at Norseman Xtreme Triathlon

Coach Al’s Debrief: Four Principles Guiding Lisbeth Kenyon’s Training for Norseman Xtreme Triathlon can be found here.

Hello Everyone!

Coach Al here checking in as proud and elated as I can be to report Lisbeth Kenyon’s results today at the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, the most difficult long course event on the planet.

Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, Lisbeth Kenyon, Pursuit Athletic Performance

Lisbeth Kenyon at the finish of the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon

Lisbeth Kenyon
3rd woman overall
12:47:42! A course record-breaking time!

We will be following up with lots more information about her day at Norseman, and her training. But for now, we at Pursuit Athletic Performance are celebrating!

Even for Lis, who is the current Ironman World Champion record holder (45-49), this is an extraordinary accomplishment. To be breaking records on a course like Norseman (total ascent is 5,000 meters) at this stage in her career is a testament not only to her incredible talent, but also to her dedication, her incredible training ethic, and her unwavering commitment to the work we do together.

Here is a glimpse of her day from an email I just received:

Hardest damn thing I have ever done. My head is spinning. It was a lot worse than what I had imagined. It was pouring some including during some of the scary descents, switchbacks, and all, with straight down to your death if you didn’t make the turns. This is one crazy race. Nothing luxurious about it. I am very proud to have finished it. Nothing around [where we live] or similar areas could really prepare you physically for that one, so the training that we did absolutely was the best.

This is a landmark day for me as a coach. Lisbeth’s performance, and her ability to repeat these amazing results year after year, is a complete affirmation of everything I have tried to share with the endurance world for a very long time. Our message and philosophy at Pursuit empower many athletes to believe their goals are achievable, and our brand of cutting-edge, movement-based training gets athletes to their ultimate performance. Lis is an incredible standard bearer for us, but we have many other athletes of all abilities who also do amazing things.

More on Norseman in a bit. Time to get back to celebrating! CONGRATULATIONS, Lis. We could not be prouder of you, or happier for you!

~Coach Al

Coach Al: Three Takeaway Tips from the Badwater Ultramarathon

Badwater, ultra marathon, Pursuit Athletic Performance, Jason RitaCoach Al here. A few weeks ago I crewed for Ultrarunner Jason Rita as he took on the hardest footrace on the planet, the Badwater Ultramarathon. My experience in Death Valley was extraordinary on so many levels. I want to take a few minutes in this video to present a synopsis of the training and racing tenets I affirmed during my time in the desert.

There are three takeaways I want to share with you, and I go into more detail on each point in the video. These issues have been on my mind a lot of late as Lisbeth Kenyon, an athlete I coach who happens to be the 45-49 Ironman Age Group World Champion, takes on the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon on August 5. While a number of racers I saw at Badwater did not have these three elements in place to support their racing, I know Lisbeth is fully equipped and ready to handle the most grueling one-day race in the world.

The Importance of the Basics and the Fundamentals
It always circles back to the basics, doesn’t it? In the video I talk about how essential it is to nail fueling and hydration, have a race execution plan, and be mentally prepared for what may come your way. Sure, we talk about this stuff a lot as athletes. But the essential importance of these elements are laid bare in the desert, that’s for sure. It’s important to revisit.

Strength, Strength, Strength
When you are in an endurance race (or even a 5K for that matter) and you tire, your posture goes to pot, the body begins to collapse, and the effects of gravity and ground reaction forces beat down on you. It is then that the truth rises regarding how STRONG your foundation really is. You can subscribe to this running method, or consciously try to employ a particular technique, but when you are deep into it, what comes to the fore is your strength–or lack thereof.

At Pursuit Athletic Performance our mantra is MOVE STRONG. What I saw out in Death Valley was clear. If you want to finish strong, you have to first move strong. There is no doubt about that.

Mindset
The other truth made fully evident by the rigors of Badwater is the issue of mindset. How you think about yourself is profound. What your negative critic tells you, and how you react to those low (sometimes very low) moments is key to success or failure. Developing a mindset that allows for unlimited possibilities opens up so many opportunities in training, racing, and life as a whole.

Badwater was an extraordinary experience, and I hope these musings are helpful to you. Let me know if you have any comment or questions.

~Coach Al

Pursuit Athlete Lisbeth Kenyon Takes On Norseman Extreme Triathlon, Sunday, August 5

Hello Everyone!

Lisbeth Kenyon, Norseman extreme triathlon, pursuit athletic performance, Ironman

Lisbeth Kenyon

As some of you know, I coach Lisbeth Kenyon, the reigning Ironman Triathlon Age Group Champion (40-44 and 45-49), and she has quite a race coming up this weekend! Lisbeth’s “A” race for the season is the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon. Norseman is arguably the hardest single day race on the planet, and certainly the hardest long course triathlon. If you are a triathlete or a fan of the sport and are not familiar with Norseman, check out the video links below. Just watching the athletes jump into a 15? C fjord when the sun is not yet up is epic! Here’s the description of the race from the website:

Norseman is the world’s toughest long-distance distance triathlon. It is also the most northern, taking place at the same latitude as Anchorage in Alaska. The race is a travel through some of the most beautiful parts of Norway. It is not a normal circuit-race as it starts in a fjord and finishes at mountain Gaustatoppen at 1,850 meters above sea level. Total ascent is 5,000 meters. The water temperature is normally about 15.5 degrees C, and the air temperature normally ranges from 6 to 28 degrees C through the race day. The first about 160 participants are expected to be allowed to finish at the top of the mountain. The others are allowed to finish at the mountain plateau.

The race is limited to only 240 competitors. The competitors need to bring their own support. Normally about 45% of the participants are non-Norwegians and about 15% are female. The prize to the winner is the same as to the last to finish at the top of the mountain; a fabulous black t-shirt. Norseman is the race any hard core triathlete should do once in a lifetime.The male record holder is Bjorn Andersson (Sweden). He hit a snowstorm at mountain Gaustatoppen, but still finished at 10:30 in 2005. The female record holder is Susanne Buckenlei (Germany) at 13:13 in 2010.”

Bjorn Andersson’s record time of 10:30 gives an instant sense of how hard this race is! Bjorn is normally a ~8:30-9 hr IM finisher, and one of the strongest cyclists in all of triathlon.

Lis is in Norway doing a great deal of course reconnaissance and prep before her race on Sunday. We wish Lis the all of the good fortune and luck that is possible for any one person to have! No one deserves the race gods on their side more than she. We’ll let you know how the race turns out for her too!

Llykke Til, Lis, and God Speed!