Updated: Jan 18
Aerobic Power has been coaching endurance athletes since 2002. In fact, January 2022 will mark the 20th anniversary for Aerobic Power. Who would have ever thought that?
Due to a variety of work and family commitments over the years I have done the extremes in coaching. There was a time I coached group workouts in one discipline or another 7 days a week, to where more recently I have been 99% just online coaching.
Although we aren’t returning to the schedule of Aerobic Power 20 years ago
I miss the people and the energy out there and feel I can be a more effective coach when I’m out there with the athletes in the trenches. So, starting in January 2022, I will be introducing options for athletes to attain more one on one or small group coaching for any or all their disciplines including the very important strength training component. Check out these options at aerobic power.com
January 10th, 2022: Learn to Train with Power 8 Weeks Plan kicks off
February 26,2022: Aerobic Power Swim Camp
May 2022: Cycling Camp in Jasper with organized novice and experienced coached groups. More details to come.
check out aerobicpower.com for details
Now for some first account athlete success over adversity:
The Downs and Ups of Trying to Race Ironman in 2020-21
Kim Raine and Rob Ellis have been competing together in Ironman events since 2005. Ironman Canada (Penticton) 2020 was supposed to be #12 -- and we all know what happened in 2020! So, we took the rollover to Penticton 2021 (August), and started training with Kevin in earnest in January. Then, IMC was delayed 4 weeks to September due to COVID again, and finally cancelled due to COVID spikes and wildfires. So, wanting to put all of that training time to use, we rolled over yet again to the inaugural IM California in Sacramento at the end of October (another 4 weeks). Ready to race and about to go to sleep Saturday night, we received a text informing racers that due to an expected "bomb cyclone" weather system, the bike was to be cut in half and the swim start delayed until 7:30. Good news: 30 minutes more sleep and a fast bike time! Bad news: Sunday morning the weather was wild with wicked winds and pouring rain. We were told that Sacramento hadn't seen that much rain in one day since 1880! But, we were tough Canadians, used to riding in wind and cold, so we headed to the start. As we pulled into the parking lot an hour before start time, we heard the news - race cancelled. We left our bags in the car, picked up our bikes (Kim's is small and doesn't touch the ground so had blown completely off the rack!) and headed back to the hotel by 7 am. We were soaked and cold, so showered, went back to bed, and a few hours later went out for a big brunch and plotted next steps while sipping bottomless mimosas. We were disappointed but training is never wasted -- we felt fit and strong and we were itching to complete a race in 2021.
We were unable to rollover to a 2021 race, so took a rollover to IM Texas in April 2022. But, we didn't give up on 2021, and noted that IM Cozumel (another 4 weeks away!) was still open for registration, so we signed up. It required a bit of juggling of work schedules (thank goodness for Zoom), but we headed south 9 days before the race, giving us a chance to acclimatize to the heat and try out a lap of the 3 lap bike course which basically circles the entire south end of the island. Cozumel was hot, but was a lot wetter than we expected, absolutely pouring rain for at least a few hours each day or night. One of the locals referred to the weather as bipolar -- pouring rain one minute and scorching hot the next -- and that was what was in store for us on race day! We awoke to pouring rain but it had stopped before we started the swim. The swim is both of our weakest sports, but we loved it! Warm (no wetsuit), clear water, a point to point straight course with a bit of a current pushing us along. We swam together, took it quite easy, and enjoyed every minute. Both of us had swim PRs, taking 15-20 minutes off our usual times. We started the bike in sun and heat. Rob left Kim in his dust after the first few Kms to never be seen again until the run. The first lap was flat and fast -- we were warned of heavy cross winds on one side of the island but didn't feel them. Perhaps it was because a thunderstorm was brewing -- lap 2 brought wicked thunder, lightning and rain -- but that seemed to stave off the winds, so our speed stayed pretty fast -- until we hit the town to start lap 3. The drainage system could not handle the quantity of rain and for a good 3 blocks in town we rode in puddles up to our hubs, with our bottom foot going underwater with every pedal stroke. Locals stood in pot holes and directed us around the hazards! Talk about crowd support! Once through the town the roads were wet but clear, and lap 3 was pretty smooth and still fast. Rob had the bike split of his life (5:32), Kim's time was not her fastest but still sub 6 hours so not bad for an old lady. Rob enjoyed some cooling rain for the first 30 minutes of his run, Kim left transition to be greeted by blistering sun, heat and humidity (36C humidex). We both melted and tried everything we could to cool down. Once the sun set at about 6, it cooled down to a manageable 27C, enabling us to pick up the pace a bit. Kim caught Rob with about 2 K to go and finished with a PB of 11:56, which was 1st place in the W60-64 category and a ticket to Kona! Rob finished 5 minutes later with a PB time of 12:01, 5th place in the M 65-69 AG. He ages up in 2022 so hopes to pick up a Kona slot in Texas in April - he's feeling major #FOMO since we've always competed together! Thanks to Kevin for keeping us fit and race ready for a race with a date which was a moving target, and to the camaraderie of the Ironman community that makes these events so much fun (when they are over)! Looking forward to 2022!
Garth Lane: Marathoner
I had a milestone birthday in February of 2021 so wanted to note this with something special. So in October of 2020 I signed up for the Berlin Marathon and the London Marathon, a week apart. Sounded like a great challenge a year out, but the reality of this goal started to get very real and cause some anxiety as Kevin and I worked towards the Marathon dates – September 26th and October 3rd.
But starting in October 2020, for races almost a year out was a great process. Kevin’s approach for the front end was to get running 4 times a week, but keeping the sessions to more skill based – lots of focus on proper form, running athletically, working on turnover and remembering and practicing all the cues that are needed when the race gets tough. By the time we started the formal marathon training, I felt we had a very good base, had ingrained some good habits on form and turnover and I felt great.
Kevin’s training was excellent and the summer was so good for running. Given Covid, working from home and a series of restrictions – I had the time to really focus on my training. I had 4 runs and 3 strength sessions a week and I was able to get a high percentage of the sessions in. As a runner, most know how challenging the training is and how you obsess over the session that you did not get in!
The two Marathons were amazing – I learned a great deal about my running. In Berlin the temperatures were high, 25C instead of 12C, and I certainly paid the price for not adjusting my race plan as I should have and as a result took my body to a place it had not been before! It was great to see the Brandenburg Gate and 200m more was the finish line. Kevin had a good plan to help my recovery for London and that race was much better.
Two great Marathons provided much learning and many memories.
EARLY SEASON TRAINING
Athletes are typically starting their training anywhere from October to December and then the other half of them start in January. I use that time to let them ease back into it. I’ll emphasize drills, lots of Endurance/ Tempo work with a little Sweet Spot. I sprinkle in a touch of Threshold with some spotty, shorter high-end work intervals just because that’s what the majority loves.
In January we’ll have a consistent dose of strength work and sweet spot. If they are just starting up, we’ll use a little more back and forth between Endurance, and Tempo to let them ease into their start up.
The big workouts for January will be a progression of 2 popular strength workouts.
Steep Climb Bursts, and Bill Edwards Sprints while incorporating Jump Starts as a common workout “warm up”.
Steep Climb Bursts get the legs turning over quickly before hitting them with an extended steep climb. These ones are designed to be difficult to pedal through but always successful. Bill Edwards on the other hand begin with a really fast “downhill” RPM acceleration before dropping a huge load on the legs forcing the athlete to push through an extremely high tension for a shorter interval time and possible failure. Jump starts are more athlete influenced where the athlete comes to almost a complete stop, selects their own difficult tension to overcome from a standstill, and then tries to accelerate to over 90rpms as quickly as possible.
While on the topic of Strength it is still not to late to get into a 2-3x/week strength program that will provide such great injury prevention and performance benefits for your spring/summer events.
How strength training can assist Cyclists performance:
There are two mechanisms in which this is accomplished.
1/Short Explosive Events such as track cycling are improved through the development of inter muscular development of the muscles. Inter muscular development is the improved neural pathway ways, increased rate of force development by increasing the speed of firing off the muscle fibres and the amount of muscle fibres firing.
2/Long Distance Events are improved through intra muscular development.
The coordination between agonist and antagonist muscle groups. For example, the quadriceps and the hamstrings working in unison and not working against each other. In this case a riders efficiency or economy improves and he is able to perform at the same work outputs with less energy. An important note here is the indirect improvement for long distance cyclists through lower rate of injury and less achey discomforts in the second half of long rides.
For you Runners:
Every stride is a product of force application and ground reaction forces and so it is necessary to consider the need to be able to improve these in order to run stronger.
We have always known that strength and endurance are primary ingredients to being a good runner. Every run stride is a byproduct of the force we put into the ground, so why not build your capacity to produce more force and move at a faster rate in conjunction with building your capacity to do more work.
Train to be faster and train to last longer.
COACH’s TRIALS and TRIBULATIONS
I don’t like to do too much highlighting of myself but being out of triathlon competition since 2013 and run competition since 2016 I was thinking my training ups and downs and re entry into some events in 2022 may provide others with help in their own experiences and possibly even some laughs depending on how things go through my workouts and races. Currently I've been focusing on consistency. Trying to hold off as long as I can to not get to caught up with the numbers, although I'm sure it won't last long as that's part of the fun for me. My swimming and running have been enjoyable and consistent, guess that probably goes hand in hand, since late October. January will hopefully see the incorporation of ~ 2x bike workouts per week. The early target will be a 1/2 marathon in February in Vancouver. More of a cold weather escape than a race highlight but will be looking forward to a first "baseline" run result in many years. I'm already learning or relearning a lot. I forgot how hard it is to get 3 sports trained for each week. My early take away for this is some continuous tweaking on some strength programming as I trim them down from when I wasn't doing the swims and runs. Building efficient strength plans without losing the really key components.
For those that depend on the smart trainer to provide accurate rpm’s you maybe in for a surprise. Here is a reply from a Saris bike trainer tech.
“Basically, you will pair both the cadence sensor and the trainer to whatever device/app you are connecting to and the cadence from the cadence sensor will supersede that of the trainer. For the most accurate cadence data I highly recommend this setup as cadence from a smart trainer is derived from power data and is never a perfect representation of actual cadence. Basically as you pedal downward your power will spike. When we analyze this data, power spikes correspond roughly with your RPM. The problem is that many factors like the inertia of the flywheel and power spikes at multiple points in the pedal stroke can mess with the algorithm. If your trainer is calibrated, up to date on firmware, and your watts seem fine but not your cadence, the best option is to supplement with an actual cadence sensor.”
Thank you everyone for subscribing and taking in this first read. I hope to get these out at the start of each month. And hopefully with each one the writing skills get better and better as well.
Wishing everyone the best for 2022 !!!