Monday, June 27, 2011

How much training is enough?

Thanks to the Outside Blog for this article on training for long runs.  Have you found your ideal training for each week?  Are you listening to your body so that you know when to push it and when to rest?  It's important whether you're training for the Olympics or just to feel your best each day.

I also liked this article from about female running guidelines and safety.

How Much Is Enough?

In 2003 and early 2004, in the months leading up to the Athens Olympic games, Kenya's Paul Tergat was obsessed with winning an Olympic marathon title. Tergat was one of the best runners in history and held the world marathon record, but his two Olympic medals were silver, and a marathon gold would have secured his legacy among the best ever. After all, at that point no Kenyan had ever won an Olympic marathon title, despite the country's dominance in non-championship races like the Boston Marathon. (Hard to believe, isn't it?)

Blogs_RyanHall_06222011Among other things, Tergat was a legendarily hard worker, and to prepare for the race he decided to out-train his competition. Through the spring and summer of 2004, he often trained three times a day, at times running as much as 190 miles per week (some news reports said 200). Most pro marathoners log between 120 and 140 miles per week, and, outside of Kenya, few marathoners run more than twice per day.

Somehow, the work did not pay off. In Athens, Tergat struggled home four minutes behind winner Stefano Baldini in tenth place. Of the nine men who beat Tergat, only three were legitimately world class, and only Baldini had ever finished ahead of him in a marathon before. The result wasn't exactly an upset—Olympic marathons are famous in their unpredictability—but neither did it entirely make sense. Tergat was the best runner in the race, and he had trained the hardest.
It isn't terribly original to draw a distinction between training hard and training smart, but in real life, finding that balance is a struggle for everyone, even the very best.

  Overtraining is evidently what undid marathoner Ryan Hall last year. After announcing an attempt on the U.S. record at the Chicago Marathon in October, Hall overcooked himself and withdrew before the race even started. By the time the dust had settled, Hall had dumped his coach, moved from his training camp in California, and redrawn his schedule to include less mileage and only six days of running a week, a somewhat heretical move for a pro marathoner.
On his blog last week, Hall wrote that he had become obsessed with big mileage at the expense of performance:
Now, when I look at a week I don’t see the necessity for mileage, I see the necessity for hard, quality workouts followed by adequate recovery and even making sure to over-recovering (if there is such a thing)...The art of running is learning when to push and when to rest, but in general I have found that when in doubt it is best to error on the side of rest.
Typos aside, Hall appears to be his own best asset. At April's Boston Marathon, he finished fourth in 2:04:56, a time that is almost a minute faster than the American record. (Because the Boston course is a net downhill and therefore record ineligible, Hall won't get offical credit for the time.)

Should Paul Tergat have trained more like Ryan Hall, then? It is hard to say. From the little we know about the habits of elite marathon runners, it appears that hard training and high mileage, in the long term, do pay off. National class runners run a lot, and elites (probably) run even more. Anecdotally, the evidence seems stronger still: the runners who run more also run faster. But the questions persist: What are the limits? How much is enough?

The best guesses are unhelpfully vague. It is doubtful that anyone will run a world-class marathon on fewer than 80 miles per week or more than 180. Practically, that leaves an enormous sweet spot, lots of room both for Ryan Hall's art of running and Paul Tergat's three runs a day.

Tergat, though, eventually got a little vindication: A year after the Olympics, in November 2005, he won the New York City Marathon in a one of the greatest sprint finishes in the history of the sport.

Friday, June 24, 2011

When things don't go your way

I found this article through Twitter and it really hit home for me.  It's from a site specifically for cyclists, but the article applies to any sport, any job, any day of your life, in my opinion.  If you're not a cyclist, skip the first part of the article and go right to "six steps to stay strong".
I've been battling my own ego as of late after an unexpected setback of my own, and I found some great reminders here.  Because I know so many of our clients are marathoners, runners, cyclists, mothers, CEOs, etc.,  I know that most of us are the type who push ourselves, who set goals, who want to constantly achieve more.  But do we allow ourselves time to work through the bumps in the road?  It's part of the race, so the better we are at working through it, the faster we'll be back in the running (even if we're only competing with ourself!)

Toolbox:  When Things don't go your way:

You get dropped – for good. You get a flat and there’s no follow car. Your mind is willing but your body isn’t. Suddenly your goals for the day may become – or at least appear – unreachable. And then what? When the game changes, the mentally fit cyclist avoids common traps and quickly restores focus, motivation, and commitment.

By Marv Zauderer

We’re into the fifth year of this Sport Psychology column; I thank you for reading, asking questions, making suggestions, and for emailing the link to your friends. (And to those of you new to PEZ, welcome! Words in blue are links.) With all of the mental skills that we’ve covered here under our belts (or perhaps our heart rate straps), it’s time to step back and see how to combine many of those skills to solve a common problem in cycling. 

You have a race. Or a century. Or a group ride where you’re out to prove something to yourself. You’ve followed your training plan, set and reality-checked your goals for the event, handled your stress effectively, increased your tolerance for suffering, and skillfully attended to all of the relationships that can affect your performance. Perhaps you’ve even been doing some brief visualizations a few times each week. You’re ready. Then, in the middle of the event, a setback:

• You give everything you have to stay with the group, but you’re dropped. Like an anvil.

• You puncture or have a minor mechanical, and there’s no help in sight.

• Someone attacks at a critical point, and you miss the move.

• A rider passes you in a TT. And then another rider flies by.

• There’s a crash, and although you avoid it, you come to a stop. The front group is gone.

• You miss an important time goal in the middle of your century, double, or brevet.

• Your body feels sluggish. At least thus far, you’re having a bad day on the bike. 

Is this a disaster? A test of your mental fitness? How will you choose to see it and handle it? And how quickly?

In the weeks, hours, and minutes leading up to an event, you’re doing what you need to do to get to the start line mentally prepared for peak performance. (Or, if you’re not, check out any of the Sport Psych articles listed here by title.) But once the event begins, stuff happens. Stuff that can completely throw you off your game. Wait a minute…I need to correct that. It’s not the stuff that can throw you. It’s you. When things don’t go your way, you can get weak and stay weak, or you can stay strong and attack the adversity. Let’s look at how to do that.

Six Steps to Stay Strong

1. Don’t let Failure kidnap you. When things don’t go your way, it’s natural to feel disappointed. But you’re in the middle of an important event! If you feel disappointed for more than a flash, you’re working against yourself. Set the disappointment aside for processing after the event. And certainly set it aside long before it morphs into feeling (like a) failure, self-pity, feeling like a victim, and hopelessness.

Self-consciousness is another common trap at a moment like this. Let go of how others (might) see you, of comparing yourself with others, of worrying whether you have what it takes. If you do any of those things, you don’t actually have to face responding to the adversity, right? Don’t hide! Move your attention back to the present. Be consumed by your present experience of the race (or ride) rather than judging, evaluating, and wallowing in what just happened. There will be plenty of time for healthy reflection later. Your ego wants to dominate your attention; fight it. Bring your attention to something your ego can’t mess with. Your breath, for example. Or perhaps a positive word, phrase, or image. Or, as Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh suggests, a half-smile. Try it.

2. Support yourself. You may need some quick emotional support in order to fight off Failure’s claws. If you do, look to yourself first, even if a friend is nearby. 

When you support someone in your life who’s struggling, you need to know something about who they are and what they’re going through to support them well, right? So, ask yourself what you’re feeling and what you need to hear, and give that to yourself. If you don’t know what you need, think of a person who’s supported you effectively – a friend, family member, coach, mentor – and what they’ve said to you when you’ve struggled. Now say that to yourself. And mean it. The rug’s been pulled out from under you? Put it back under your feet. 

3. If necessary, let go of some or all of your goals for the event. You’re in the middle of a transition: from being focused on the goals you were pursuing, to whatever you’re going to focus on next. Sometimes you have to let go of some or all of your original goals. But if you had too much riding (sorry) on those goals, you may dig in your heels when you’d be better served by letting go. You may hold tightly to your goals – giving yourself a superficial feeling of control – when you’d be better off facing and metabolizing the feeling of releasing control (don’t worry, you’ll get it back shortly). Don’t delay your transition to what comes next. It’s time to (wo)man up and get to it.

4. Refocus on your goals, setting new ones if necessary. You might just need torefocus on your original goals. Or, you may need to shift focus to some new goals. They might be outcome goals, such as, “I’m going to beat this rider (or group) that’s with me to the line,” or “Whatever happens next, I’m going to cross the line with nothing left in the tank.” They might be process goals, such as “I’m going to catch every rider I can,” or “I’m going to make it to the next rest stop.” This is a moment to seize, not a moment to seize up. Use your goal-setting skills quickly, redefine the event for yourself, and then it’s time to…

5. Fire up your engines. You’re in the middle of an event! You love to ride, love to compete, love to see what you’re made of. You can still do that. Tap back into yourdesire, your passion, the competitive fire you have for riding or racing. If something just happened that made you angry, it may be to your advantage to use that anger to feed the fire. 

6. Keep the fire hot, but not too hot. Fear or anxiety may threaten to douse the flames. Is there a voice in your head telling you that you’re not good enough? Good enough for what? To achieve your goals? To face your feelings if you don’t? To deal with the stress of competition? Stop the negative thoughts and quash the anxiety. You’ve got work to do (and fun to have).

Especially if you’re still angry about things not going your way, you may need tomanage your revitalized will and take care not to push too hard. Remember, your greatest strength can be your greatest weakness.

And particularly if there’s a long way to go in your event, you may need to work with yourself to sustain your motivation. In our sport, suffering has a way of sapping desire, if you let it. Don’t. Use everything you’ve learned to fight against its grip: staying focused on your experience and your goals, using positive self-talk, managing your stress and anxiety effectively. You do not have full control over your power decreasing as you suffer. But you do have full control over your desire. And that will keep the power up as high as it can be.

Adversity on the bike is not just a test of your mental fitness. It can be strength training for the mental side of your game: keeping you strong and making you stronger. It’s a critically important opportunity for you to use and deepen your diverse set of mental skills. 

Stuff happens on the bike. That’s not something to defend against – before or during. It’s something to face up to with all of the confidence you have within you, however much or little that is. It’ll be enough. And you’ll have more next time.
Read the original article here:

About Marv:

Marv Zauderer, in his sport performance coaching practice, works with amateur and professional athletes from all sports on the mental skills needed for peak performance. He works in person, by phone, and by Skype, and speaks to groups about the mental side of sport. Marv co-leads the Mental Skills Training program at Whole Athlete, a performance center in Marin County, California that provides a comprehensive set of coaching, testing, fitting, and consulting services to athletes. Having had a 20-year career in high technology previously, he also coaches business professionals on improving their performance at work. He is a licensed psychotherapist in the San Francisco Bay Area, USA Cycling Level 2 coach, and Masters road racer for Taleo Racing. Marv would love to hear your thoughts on this article – you can email him at His website

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Looking for adventure? Look no further!

Photo: Mountain biking Slickrock Trail, Moab, Utah
A mountain biker pauses to enjoy the view on Slickrock Trail in Moab, Utah.
Photograph by Catherine Karnow















North Carolina

North Dakota

New Hampshire

New Mexico


New York








West Virginia


Monday, June 20, 2011

Road Respect for Cyclists

Wanted to pass along this article about road respect for cyclists since it's so important to all of us at IPTC.  We want all cyclists to feel safe on Utah's roads!  
Cyclists tour Utah promoting ‘road respect’
Margaret Distler | The Salt Lake Tribune Mayor Ralph Becker thanks cyclists for participating in the statewide Road Respect Tour bike ride at the press event in Sugar House Park on the afternoon of Monday, June 13, 2011. 25 cyclists are participating in the ride visiting communities from Logan to Hurricane from June 13 to 18, 2011.
Two dozen bicyclists zipped down a hill in Sugar House Park — and accidentally passed their turnoff for a news conference where they were to call for respecting traffic rules to protect cyclists. So not to go against traffic on the one-way road there, they rode a mile around the park and returned.
“And some of them had already ridden 92 miles from Logan, but decided to turn it into a victory lap,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, who rode with them through his city.
“We are here to talk about respecting laws, so it wouldn’t be good to go the wrong way on a one-way street — especially when we knew you [news reporters] were here watching,” said Carlos Braceras, Utah Department of Transportation deputy director, who also biked with the group. So, Braceras added, it became an accidental demonstration of how heeding the law may take a little extra time and effort but keeps everyone safe in the end.
Cyclists from UDOT, the Utah Department of Public Safety, law enforcement agencies, health groups and others are biking from Logan to Hurricane in a weeklong Road Respect Tour. They finished their first day at Sugar House Park with a rally and news conference.
“On average, six cyclists are killed on our roadways per year,” Braceras said. “There are more than 850 accidents a year that involve cyclists. That’s an incredible amount.”
He noted the tour passed by the spot on 700 East where Brynn Barton, 24, was killed while biking in a hit-and-run accident last week.
He said cyclists have often complained that drivers need to better follow traffic rules, but drivers often say the same about cyclists.
“It’s no longer about us or them,” Braceras said. “It needs to be about us.”
Becker said that is more important as more people begin to bike. “So many more people would cycle if they could feel safe on the roads.”
Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Mike Loveland, who is riding with the group, said he has seen too many auto-bicycle accidents. “We need to understand we share the roads. If we mellow out a bit and get along, it’ll all work out just fine.”
Braceras added, “It’s the same roads, same rules and same laws for both motorists and cyclists in Utah.” He urged drivers to slow down, pay attention around cyclists and give them at least three feet when passing them. He urged cyclists to obey all traffic signs and signals, to ride single file when traffic is present and to always wear a helmet.
More on the Web
O A list of other rallies this week is available online at

© 2011 The Salt Lake Tribune