Friday, January 30, 2009

Winter Training on the Treadmill

I coach folks from all over the world not just in Santa Monica, CA, where, I have to admit we're having extraordinary spring-like weather. I've been planning much of their workouts around the weather and have avoided scheduling treadmill sessions as much as possible. But when its have been Siberian-cold for nearly a month, the elements can wreck havoc on your will. Taking it inside is not such a bad idea.

Here is an article I found, By Patrick McCrann, that speaks to running inside and summarizes that which I tell my clients. I hope this helps you stay warm and keep you spirits up!! Enjoy.

With the weather taking a turn for the worse, more and more folks are turning to the treadmill as a safe (and warm) way to stay in shape and maintain their running fitness. While running on a treadmill can be repetitive or even a bit boring, the treadmill is a fantastic training tool when used properly.

Remember Christine Clark, the woman from Alaska who stunned the running community by winning the U.S. marathon trials for the 2000 summer Olympics? She did the majority of her running on a treadmill and managed a great race.

Your winter training could prepare you for a great race if you take the time to really plan out your approach. Here are a couple of things to remember for those winter treadmill runs:

# Your heart rate values are different on a treadmill. Without external stimuli like hills, wind, heat, etc., your heart rate will be lower. It also makes a difference that the treadmill is pushing your legs instead of you pulling your body forward. As a result, at any given pace you'll notice that your HR is lower on a treadmill than on the open road. You can counteract this effect by manipulating the grade periodically to stimulate your aerobic system.

# Use a minimum of 1% grade. Running at 0% grade is similar to running on a slight downward slope. It's also very difficult to maintain solid run form on a flat treadmill, so kicking it up to a minimum of 1% means that you?ll have a better chance of getting into your normal running style (foot strike, body lean, etc.). Note: As you increase the grade for hill workouts, be sure to cut back a bit on the speed. We all slow down a bit as we head uphill, but the treadmill won’t unless you tell it to.

# Mix it up! Just as you have different weekly routes, so too should you have different treadmill locations and routines. I have a part of the gym where I run the hard workouts and a part where the fun/easy workouts are done. Also feel free to mix up the incline and pacing to stimulate different muscle groups. It's very easy to settle in and just watch the TV. You can't do this on race day, so don't do it during your key workouts!
# Consider cross training. Incorporating a basic weight routine is a great way to make sure your legs maintain their in-season strength through the winter. This doesn't have to be a bodybuilding routine; think squats, leg extensions, leg curls and calves for 15 to 20 repetitions each. Alternate a set of leg weights with an upper-body exercise (such as bench press or back extensions) to add variety. You should also consider other great "winter appropriate" exercise -- cross country skiing is a fantastic low-impact, highly aerobic workout.

# Get outside once a week, weather permitting. There is no substitute for the real thing. Even if you have to wait until midday on a weekend for the temperature to climb, do it. Just one outdoor session a week will help you maintain your "feel" for the road.

Training through the winter isn't easy, even with treadmills. If you mix up your routine, it will help you stay fit and sharp and will have you ready for next season in no time!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Use Indoor Cycling Drills to Get Your Spin Down

I know the weather is frightful just about everywhere other than here and everyone has turned indoors to train on the bikes. Here’s an excerpt from an article by Coach Marc Evans that I used as the basis for my indoor rides and training programs. For those of you who cannot find a coached indoor spin and are on your own, here are some drills that will help you tremendously when you get back outside. Enjoy!

“The workouts always began with the athletes in the small chain ring, where I would have them concentrate on various sectors of the spin and revolutions. Those sectors being the downstroke, backstroke, upstroke and overstroke. Soon, I had them "spinning" at what I called "HRPM Spinning," or "high revolutions per minute." Sometimes they'd reach 130 rpm's.

I found this type of spinning to be most effective in teaching a most efficient spin and thus, included this regularly. In particular, after anaerobic threshold, V02 and lactate efforts, I had the athletes spinning at minimums of 100 rpm. During race-pace intervals the rpm was 90.

Perhaps the best drill I used was the "One Leg Spin" or OLS. Simply, I had the athletes emphasize the spin with the right leg and let the left follow without force. Then switch over to the left. Over time, I realized the best way to teach this was when using the small chain ring and say, a 21 cog. This gearing forced the athlete to remain focused on the spin where a more forceful gear would not.

"Descending One Leg Spinning" then became the drill of choice. Start out with say, 10 with the right and 10 with the left, then nine right, nine left, eight seven six and so on. Follow the drill with a normal spin for about 60 seconds.

You can do this drill on the road or trainer, and along with dozens of other possible drills you can make your turbo training fun.”

Here's a workout in detail:

1. Warm up in small chain ring at hrpm spinning start a 90 end at 105 for 20 minutes.

TF Drills 2 (4 x 2 minutes) two sets of the following:
- Work the downstroke (forward and downward)
- Descending One Leg Spins from 20
- 4 x 30 seconds alternating One Leg Spins
- hrpm at 110 and 115 for 1 minute each

Anaerobic threshold
- 6 x 6 minutes at 40K pace plus 1 minute rest
- Or, 8 x 3 minutes plus 30 seconds rest

- 3 x 3 minutes at 100, 110 and 115 rpm

Warm down
- 10 minutes of one-leg spins alternating every 30 seconds

Thursday, January 15, 2009 is live!

Hey there FLS Sports members,

I wanted to pass this info onto you. One of my clients (and friend) has launched, with his team, a great new site (it actually replaces an older version) called It is fast becoming the premier international networking site for endurance sports enthusiast. Check it out. Sign-up. Add me as a friend!



Julie Silber
FLS Sports: Faster Longer Stronger

Forwarded message:

Howdy folks, is now officially online as the primer Triathlon and Endurance Sports Network. It is a little different to what you know from the previous version of our site. It is more personal, more honest, and more brutal in its product testing and reporting and a hell lot of fun for everybody.

Thanks for joining and showing your support. We are looking forward to growing this network with you and spreading the spirit of multi sports...and that’s why we want YOU to choose the next features to be implemented on the site...Write us what you would like to see to - Is it status updates and a status page to see what your friends are doing, a general chat function everybody can join, A Ride to Share Category, or something else - Rock n' Roll and please invite all your friends to

Also check out our Triathlon Charity - A Jersey for an Orphan - for which we are auctioning off cool signed gear from the pros. Thanks to the rock stars of Triathlon including Miranda Carfrae, Craig Alexander, Faris Al Sultan, Norman Stadler, Ronnie Schildknecht and many more... The charity will be announced on this coming Saturday.

Trinited we stand!

Till BB Schenk

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The FLS Sports Facebook group

The FLS Sports Facebook group is a community of endurance sports enthusiast. It’s a place to share info, stories, recipes and more, get some free training tips and workouts and chill while we're not training. Join us!

To join, click here:

Monday, January 12, 2009

You Gotta Have Hope!

I’ve been receiving emails and comments from clients that suggest we all need a little extra to stay on track this year. Financial issues seem to be permeating everyone’s psyche. Some of us had a hard time with the holidays, or a relationship ending, or even the bitter cold outside. It seems like it is just a little harder for almost everyone these days.

What does this have to do with you, me and the endurance sports world that binds us? A lot. As athletes we have the skills to turn it around and get that feeling of Hope back. We know how to set goals, put a plan together to make it happen. Maybe we just need a reminder on how “gifted” we are with making things happen.

So here is the reminder and a little empirical data that suggests that the race we’re planning on doing next spring/summer/fall could very well be the thing that helps us get through a difficult chapter.

I read this morning about a recent psychology study that proved that setting an achievable goal, devising strategies for working toward it, and believing in your ability to achieve it does something amazing. These simple acts make you more hopeful.

According to this study, when a study-group of people underwent eight sessions of "hope therapy," a program designed to build goal-seeking skills; they came out much happier on the other end. Not only were they more hopeful, but also they became more positive thinkers, experienced less anxiety, and had better self-esteem. And they got things done.

Let’s get that hope back:

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the study was that rather than focusing on problems - as psychotherapy often does - the sessions taught people to focus on goals, strengths, and skills instead. Need help being more resilient through these challenging times? Pick a goal, make the necessary plans to achieve it, enlist the support of those around you and remember that the endorphins will kick in! I believe, you can never be too hopeful.

Now, get focused on that goal and remember that when things get you down!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The 3 "R's" of Endurance Training: Rest, Recovery and Recreation (first in a series)


In this day and age where we find competition in all aspects of our life, we are all constantly looking for that edge. We work a little extra, we have a little more caffeine … we train a little harder. I used the work “little”, but for some of you, I should probably use the words “a lot”. Maybe even “Too Much”! We get up earlier to get in our workouts before we rush off to work, sucking down caffeine in the car on the way. We might cram in a workout at lunch and eat at our desks later, have afternoon meetings which mean a longer day at the office before we leave for the gym at 7:30 or 8 pm, making dinner seem like a midnight snack. We often hear the phrase, “Less is more” … but is it really?

In this series, I’m going to talk about the three R’s of endurance training: Rest, Recovery and Recreation, three things that must be a part of any training regimen if you want to be successful. The fist is Rest or, as we more commonly call it: Sleep.

How many hours of sleep do you get on average? 5? 6? I know I’ve been heard saying, “If only I didn’t have to sleep” when I need more hours in a day. However, we DO need sleep and because we are athletes, the benefits of sleep are even more important to our goals. Sleep is often cited as a cure-all for a wide range of ailments, including all types of stress.

Sleep is an “anabolic” process. This means that your body is repairing itself while you sleep. Muscle tissue gets restored, damages cells are healed. If you don’t get enough sleep or you are one of the many sleep deprived, this not only could interrupt the process, but studies have shown that it is nearly impossible to make-up the loss of sleep on a Sunday of sleeping in an extra hour or two. Eight straight hours is still the best advice according to modern medicine, alternative medicine, your coach and your mom!

If you still think sleep is overrated think about this: repeated studies at Stanford University have shown that athletes who maintained a usual sleep pattern of 8 hours a day for a six to seven week period - across the board - increased their peak performance. Those who got a little extra sleep, some up to 10 hours a day, increased their peak performance even more, decreased daytime sleepy-ness, had higher ratings of vigor and lower ratings of fatigue.

I know that it works with the athletes I coach and it works for me. Here’s a few key things to remember to improve your athletic performance and your everyday life:

• Make sleep a regular part of your training routine
• If you are existing in a state of “sleep debt”, extend your nightly sleep for several weeks to reduce this debt, especially before competition
• Adults need seven to eight hours a night. Teens and young adults need nine or more.
• Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule as much as possible
• If you can, take brief naps during the day