Wednesday, February 12, 2014


I can't believe I'm actually writing a post about an indoor bike trainer.  Ever since I started cycling, about 12 years ago, I've loathed the trainer.  Sure a good sweat fest spin class can be fun, but I've always stood firm that nothing beats getting out there on the road.  We purchased a cycleops fluid trainer and had it for a good 8 years, but I averaged like once a year on that thing.  I never felt like I got a good workout, and it just didn't feel right.  I didn't like the clunky feel and it just wasn't like being on the road.   Not to mention, we live in Arizona and while we might not have huge big green evergreens to look at, there is something about being out on your bike looking at views like this...

And, let's be honest.... with the exception of our insane summers when you have to get up at 4 am to ride and Jan-Feb when it's "cold and dark," we pretty much have it made here year round.  When I signed up for my first Ironman I had just started working for Four Seasons and had so much freedom.  My trainer partner was my coworker and we had weekly "status meetings" every Tuesday on our bikes.  Conference calls were limited and it was pretty much do your work, bill the hours and be available for last minute "emergency projects".  It made for riding whenever suited me and noon swims.  I had time for pretty much everything.  What a glorious 6+ years that was :)

When our contract with FS ended, I spent 2 months very nervously looking for a new job.  I borrowed dress up clothes (you don't think I kept that work attire in my closet for 6+ years, do you?) and met with recruiters and referrals and had a half a dozen interviews.  Each time I stepped into an office building my heart sank.  I literally felt trapped and depressed.  I needed a job, and I probably would have taken one of those if the stars hadn't aligned and my current company, who was the database management company for Four Seasons, hadn't hired me to work remotely.  Again, super thankful.  However, my freedom is a little less, and I have a LOT of conference calls.

Anyway, my point isn't that I had a great job, got laid off and then found another job, it's about finding ways to utilize my available time so that I can still fit in all of my training!  I love big training blocks and I HATE missing workouts.  So, when I signed up for Ironman Coeur d'Alene I knew the first few months would be hard.  It's cold and dark in the mornings so getting out the door and on my bike at 5am just wasn't going to happen.  I had talked to a friend about her trainer, the Lemond Revolution and was convinced that was the one for me.  It was supposed to be a "real feel" and the best part is the trainer is equipped with a cassette that you attached your bike to so no need for the rear wheel.  Another advantage was that you could purchase a power adapter and use it as a training tool.  Over the past few years I've been intrigued by power, but I've never made the investment.  But, the thought of having a bike trainer where I could use numbers for intervals to hit (not just HR) was something I was interested in trying out.

After talking with my bike shop about the trainer, the owner actually convinced me to purchase a different, but similar model.  Apparently Lemond's company dynamic had changed and the cost of the Revolution went up by several hundred $$s.  An alternative, the Wahoo Kickr was a new trainer in the market that had a lot of fun benefits.  Same concept as the Lemond using no rear wheel making switching between bikes super easy, the "real road" feel, it was super quiet in comparison AND it links up via blue tooth to your ipad/iphone, etc to measure your workout.  Here's a really in depth review of the trainer from another blogger!

I purchased the trainer and got it set up just after the holidays.  The first time I didn't configure the software correctly so it wasn't working right and I was frustrated.  After a little google help, it took like 5mins to set up and I had my first interval workout.  I clicked a couple buttons and the workout was instantly uploaded to my training peaks account.  It gave Michelle some initial feedback of the power I was holding for certain intervals, and from there she's been sending me weekly trainer workouts with set power intervals.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm in love.  Being able to get a SOLID bike workout in under 90minutes with no fuss, no 14 layers, no stop lights or dodging soccer moms for your life with actual measurable data.  It's saving me time and allowing me to do my bike workouts between conference calls.  Not only is it a fantastic workout, but I'm getting a better feel for effort that I can translate to my bike rides.  I'm a complete data freak so having a number to set as a goal and hold that uninterrupted is a fun new challenge for me.  I'm able to get my HR up and know I'm getting a solid training session in.

While I was super curious about the whole training with power concept, and I do like it especially for these intervals in a controlled environment, I'm not sure I would want to train with power on a consistent basis.  My biggest fear is that if I were to make the investment into a power meter I would be a slave to it.  Like I mentioned above I'm a complete data freak, so if I had those numbers in front of me all the time, I worry it might take some of the joy out of riding.  This isn't to say that I will never get a power meter, but for now, I'm super happy with my trainer.  I have a feeling it's going to be a consistent part of my training regiment, and pretty sure it's going to save me from some raining days this summer in CDA!

Monday, February 3, 2014

A different way of thinking

I started working with my first athlete in January.  It's been a fun, interesting and totally huge learning experience.  As I sit down every week to write his schedule, I try to think a lot about goals, short term and long, where this person is at in their fitness build and what we need to do to build on that.

With that, I find myself thinking about what I want them to be focusing on for each workout.  What would I be doing if I were doing this set: what should my HR be, pacing, all the way down to which routes (locally) would be best.  It's fun and I think (at least I hope) it's helpful to the athlete that I am over analyzing and thinking everything right now.

Within the next few weeks I will have 3 athletes I'm coaching.  Two with Ironman goals, one a total newbie to the sport, but with ambition and long term goal of doing an Ironman.  They each lead very busy lives, and my main goal is to help them fit their training into their lives in the most effective way. I already have files of emails with personal obligations that I will be working into the training plan and am going to have to get super creative with fitting in bike miles and key swim workouts (you can run anywhere!).

As I am building these relationships, I find myself thinking about my own training differently.  Each and every workout I'm thinking about the purpose.  As I'm swimming, I'm thinking about feedback from athletes.  I'm thinking about my advice and literally trying to feel what they are telling me, then tweak it to do it the right way.  The other day I was actually sore to the touch in my shoulders because I was trying to replicate the good/bad way of swimming with paddles so I could really explain it.

Another one that I've actually needed some reminders of is the phase of training I'm at right now.  While I didn't take a ton of time off, I definitely took some serious down time after AZ.  When I started back up I would be lying if I said I wasn't impatient.  I wanted to go back to seeing my easy runs with super low HR in the mid 8min miles.  I wanted to be able to bust out my T-time continuously in the pool, and jump into my Friday Happy Hour swim group without needing to use my paddles to make the longer sets.  But, I know that I'm one month into a 6 month cycle to get my fitness where it needs to be for Ironman CDA, and this weekend was a great reminder that it will come, but it won't come if I go out and hammer fest out of my current fitness.  There is plenty of time for that, but right now I'm building, and if that means going out for 4hour rides by myself right now to do what I need to be doing, then that's what will happen.  Leave the ego at the door, trust in the plan.

Outside of being overly excited and loving writing training plans and giving advice to my athletes, I think it's also making me a better athlete. Instead of just opening my training peaks and going through the motions, I'm thinking (hopefully not OVER) about what each session is about, and what the goal is.  I open up my plan every Thursday for the next week, then open up my work calendar and figure out how I can fit each session in.  Some days are more of a challenge than others, but so far I've managed to make it all work.  I am using my iphone reminder option on my phone more than ever, and post it's are used frequently around my office.

So far I'm super happy with where I'm at in a lot of places.  It's been nearly a year with my new job and I'm finally getting the groove of it all.  My house might be a bit (ok, a LOT) less organized than I'm used to, but I'm learning to deal and adjust, and my training is off to a great start. TeamBSC is up and running and I love every thing about it.  Our Scottsdale training camp has 8 amazing athletes commited and I'm constantly thinking about how I can make it an amazing experience for everyone!  It's going to be an epic long weekend of stringing together some great training and helping people push past their mental blocks and learning that they are stronger than they think.  We do still have 2 openings so if you are looking for a big kick start to your 2014 season, come join us!