Find Your Hidden Speed By Coach Amari Holmes

So... everyone wants to continue to see progressions, reduce risk of injury, increase speed.... BUT GUESS WHAT... 

With all these goals and workouts, life happens and we forget to take care of our STUFF!!!

I wanted to create an easy go-to check list for you to reference, in regards to your equipment and care.

Again, this is simply a reference- but also it becomes very useful not just in maintenance but if you notice something begins to twinge or nag at you... maybe you have not changed your cleats in a year, ... use this to help you further dial in solutions and be proactive in your fitness and recovery goals.

If you are forgetting to take care of your equipment, you run the risk of injury, overuse, and/or breakdown= NOT HEALTHY, NOR SUSTAINABLE and definitely won’t make you FASTER.

PLAYTRI'S #1 GOAL IS ALWAYS HEALTH! 

Here is a quick guide to paying attention to the small details when it comes to the bike:

BIKE-

Every 10-12 weeks: Tune Up

3weeks out from 1st race of season & later season A race: Race Ready Tune Up

Every Week: Clean/ Lube your Chain

Every Ride: Clean the frame of all sweat and build up

If riding in rain, high humidity, or extreme elements (heat included): Clean the bike & Clean/ Lube your chain, every time

CHAIN REPLACEMENT-

If you can't remember the last time you did it, do it now!

If needed prior to a race- make sure you do it at least 4weeks prior.

This should be considered at least 1x/yr.

BIKE SHOES-

Road Shoes: 1pair at least every 2-2.5yrs

Tri Shoes: 1pair every 1yr-1.5yrs (WHY??? bc they are now modeled to be as light as possible, while as cool as possible= increased break down= decreased power transfer= you go slower and also your pedal stroke has to compensate= compensation= risk or injury= slower and risking injury= no good!)

Cleats: again just like the chain, if you can't remember the last time you did this, do it now- also ideally you are at least 4weeks out from race day.

This should be considered at least 1x/yr.

PEDALS- 

Depending upon make or model, in general consider replacing pedals every 2-3yr. 

SADDLE-

Only your lil' butt cheeks and sits bones know when or what feels right.  

That said, saddles do break down- even the most minimalist saddles will be worn down and can cause multiple compensating injuries, sores, or god forbid, bike mechanical issues.

The general rule- saddle lifespans are roughly 400-600hours (this depends upon riding style, care, weather, terrain, etc).

HELMET-

Have you crashed in it- replace it YESTERDAY!

Did you purchase it in the '90's- LET HER GO!

Overall the newest technology in the most recent designed helmets are saving lives and brains every day... don't skimp on protecting your goods upstairs- if you have not bought a helmet in the last 5yrs, its time, again, it's worth your life.

BIKE SHORTS-

I do not want to see your butt cheeks through your shorts :)

Shorts are also not meant to have holes- no extra ventilation is needed... And lastly, those short pads, ya, they break down= don't protect you= not comfortable= you end up compensating= you catch my drift!

Every 8-12mth, replace with at least 2pair. (if you prefer to train in Tri specific shorts- leave have even fewer months of survival due to the minimalist pad= 2pair every 6mth).

BIKE POWER METERS- 

Depending upon make or model, this will vary- please check with you local mechanic or specialist to determine your power meters lifetime.

The more important aspect of ensuring quality readings and accuracy= make sure you keep your equipment clean and check for any updates in your equipment/firmware. 

ELECTRONIC SHIFTING/ POWER METER BATTERIES-

Although they promise miles and miles before your electronic shifting goes out- who wants to be stuck on the side of the road with only 1gear to work with or on a long ride with no power???

Every 4-8weeks charge or change all batteries on your bike/ power meters.

WATER BOTTLES-

Yearly: pull out last year's and buy new ones (even washing them after every use, crap grows in them, are you really going to put last year's gunk in your body!?!)

HERE'S TO STAYING ON TOP OF OUR EQUIPMENT AND HAVING FUN YEAR ROUND!


Speed on the Bike by Coach Amari Holmes

I use the below Bike Speed Workout with my clients for the following reasons: 

  • It is a great benchmark of fitness for the early season.  
  • It will show how your heart rate and power correlate (how much effort it takes to the produce the same power through fatigue as the session repeats).
  • Last but not least it shows the clients cadence comfort zone (does the athlete mash or work the cadence to produce the same power through fatigue during the workout).

BIKE SPEED WORKOUT- 

*This workout can be done as shown below or within a long ride, dependent on the your goals or A race.

Warm Up:
5min warm up
5min: 15-20sec pick up pace through high cadence 100+rpm / 40-45sec easy recovery spin

MAIN SET- repeat 3x's:

4min @ 40k effort/ goal watts (mid RP watts)

1min @ IM or training pace effort/ watts

3min @ 40-20k effort/ goal watts (top RP watts)

2min @ IM or training pace effort/ watts

10min @ 20k effort/ goal watts (top RP-HARD watts)

5min recovery spin

Cool Down:
5min easy spin cool down

I like this workout for my clients because it tests the athlete Physically, Metabolically and Mentally.  

  • PHYSICALLY: can they sustain the race goal watts/effort, and at what point in the workout do they breakdown. If the athlete does breakdown that will give me as a coach a better understanding what workouts they need between the benchmark and the race.
  • METABOLICALLY: This workout allows the athlete to practice hydration, electrolyte, and fueling needed for race specific efforts as well as trying different fuel sources and timing of those sources.
  • MENTALLY: Can the client sustain the focus needed throughout the duration of the workout and their race goal

See you on the Bike! 


Wes' Workout of the Week

Have you ever wondered why you are not getting faster or your long runs are not getting easier?  Your run form could be to blame.  Incorporate the following drills and workout into your training routine for improved running speed and efficiency. The workout below is best suited for the track. The focus for this workout is leg position through the drive and recovery phases of running.  

Warm Up:

Light jog for 1 mile.  Incorporate a few speed pick ups. 

Main Set:  All Drills will be performed 15 yards down the track then you will sprint 15 yards back to the starting point. Drill will be performed 3 times through. 

A Skip Run Drill
1/4 Mile at 10K Pace

High Knees
1/4 Mile at 5K Pace

Butt Kickers
1/4 Mile at 1 Mile Pace

Backwards Run
1/4 Mile at 1 Mile Pace

Cool Down:
Light Jog for 1 mile. 

Drill Descriptions:

A Skip Run Drill: The A Skip Run Drill recruits and strengthens the primary muscles used in running including the glutes and hamstrings.  To perform this drill you will skip forward brining you knee up to waist height. Your back leg will stay straight as you come off your toe.  Your arms will maintain the same motion as running.

High Knees: The High Knee Drill will focus on what I call the drive phase of running.  To perform the drill you will drive your leg down and let your leg spring back up to the high knee position. Your arms will maintain the same motion as running.

Butt Kickers: Butt Kickers will continue to recruit and strengthen the glutes and hamstrings as well as increase your leg turn over time to improve speed and efficiency.  To perform the butt kicker drill you should think about the high knee drill but instead of your feet coming straight up you will bring your heels to your butt. Your arms will maintain the same motion as running.

Backwards Run: Like Butt Kickers running backwards will recruit the same muscle groups and increase your turn over speed by forcing your heel to your butt thus allowing for a faster run cadence. To perform this drill simply run in reverse.  The focus should be on standing tall as your will naturally want to lean too far forward.  Your arms will maintain the same motion as running.


Got a Need for Speed? Find out what Local Speed Racer Christian Toews Recommends and Why:

I get asked for advice on what race wheels to use all the time. I’m going to answer one question and hopefully give you an idea of what wheels to purchase for the 2017 season.

Q: If you could own one set of race wheels, what would you buy?

A: I would always choose the most aerodynamic setup for a particular race course such as a disc and an 808 on a super flat course. But my favorite and most versatile set-up is the “606” or Zipp Firecrest 808 rear wheel and Zipp Firecrest 404 front wheel. It is a super light setup that is very aero in almost all conditions. It’s light enough to handle the hills and aero enough to be fast on the flats. I actually used this setup for most of 2016.

When there is a 404 on the front it’s very aerodynamic but very stable in a cross wind. I would recommend this to any rider who doesn’t have much experience with race wheels. The deeper dish wheels can provide an amazing benefit of speed but can really wear out your core muscles from trying to stabilize your bike and that can hurt you on the run.

An 808 as your real wheel is very aerodynamic but lighter and cheaper than a disc wheel. If you’re wondering why I wouldn’t recommend a 404 on the rear, it’s because the rear of the bike is much easier to control than the front wheel, therefore, you can run a deeper wheel without the consequences that come from an unstable front end of the bike.

I honestly can’t think of a more versatile, fast, and light wheel set up. If you are considering purchasing one set of race wheels for 2017, the Zipp Firecrest 808 rear and 404 front would be my pick. You can find both of these wheels in store at Playtri or at www.playtri.com


Do I Really Need Power?

Do I Really Need Power?
Coach Morgan Hoffman and Coach Ahmed Zaher

Often when we talk to athletes about training with power on the bike, they have the assumption that power meters are only for “top athletes” or “elites.” What we have learned during our years of coaching with power is that this assumption could not be further from the truth. Power is just a metric – it can be applied to any cyclist, regardless of experience or goals.

While the benefits of training with power can be many, our top two reasons for using this metric may surprise you.

First, power meters can tell you when to suck it up, and when to call it a day. Every athlete struggles at some point during a workout with “not feeling it” – but how do we know when to protect our body and call it a day, and when we really need to push through and work on our mental toughness? With power, we get immediate feedback on our output to tell us whether or not we are still performing at a productive level.

For example, let’s say on a 1 hour ride at a heart rate of 160 bpm, I normally average 200w. My speed will always be variable based on topography, weather conditions, riding companions, etc. My average power output, however, should stay the same (or, hopefully, improve progressively over time). One evening, after feeling fatigued all day, I notice that while my heart rate is averaging 160 bpm, my power average is only 150w. This is usually an indication of under recovery or impending illness, and indicates that it’s time to pack it in and call it a day. On the other hand, if one evening I had a hard day at work and I’m really not feeling it, but I can see that my heart rate is at 160 bpm and power, sure enough, is at 200w, then I know that me “not feeling it” has more to do with work, and less to do with a need for recovery. Last, if my coach gives me a hard interval workout with 2 minute intervals at 300-330w, and after 4 intervals I can only maintain at 280w, once more, this would be an indicator that I have ceased to be able to benefit from the workout, and it is time to call it a day and get that feedback to my coach.

Second, power meters provide athletes and coaches with the invaluable ability to assign a “number” to bike performance. Let’s say athlete A wants to beat athlete B in a Sprint race with a 12 mile bike portion in 6 months. Currently they weigh the same, and have the same swim and run times, but athlete B consistently comes off the bike about 1-2 mph faster than athlete A. If we can find out what watts athlete B is averaging in her Sprint distance races, we can know what exactly athlete A needs to be able to produce on the bike (without negatively impacting her run). This makes it simple to create a training plan that is specific to the goal. This same logic applies whether the athlete in question wants to finish their first Olympic distance race, or qualify for Kona.

The third reason to invest in a power meter (yes, there’s a third reason) is that the price point on power meters has dropped by over 50% in the past 3-4 years. Athletes can now find quality power meters for $600-700 MSRP. When you think about the amounts of money we spend on race entry fees, travel, bikes, etc. it makes sense to get the most out of what we’re putting into our training by utilizing one of the most effective metrics currently available.

Questions? Email morgan@playtri.com

Coach Morgan Hoffman is a USAT Level II ITU/Short Course Certified Coach, USAT Youth & Junior Certified Coach, ASCA Coach Member, and Head Coach of Team Playtri Elite.  Coach Ahmed Zaher is the head coach of Playtri with over 18 years of coaching experience from the elite to the beginner.