Monday, December 30, 2013

The Seven Reasons Why New Year's Resolutions Fail!

New Year's Resolutions (and most goals that people set for themselves) oftentimes fail. Avoid these pitfalls and you'll more likely achieve the breakthrough result that you're looking for:
  1. Lack of Commitment- Most people say they want to achieve a breakthrough goal, but rarely are they truly committed to it. How strong is your commitment? Why is the goal important and what will be possible after achieving it, that's not possible now?
  2. Raising the Bar- If your hand isn't shaking when you reach for your goal, you're not reaching high enough! Is the goal/resolution really significant? Are you raising the bar high enough so that you can get excited about what's possible if you achieve it?
  3. Inadequate Plan- A goal without a plan is just a dream! What's the plan for your goal? If you're planning an endurance goal (e.g. first Ironman finish, or personal best result), do you have all the elements of your plan put together (hint: it takes more than an training plan!)
  4. Inflexible Structure- When working toward a really significant accomplishment, such as completing an Ironman race, or achieving a personal best (e.g. qualifying for National Age Group Championship, or World Championship), things rarely go exactly as planned. Build in some flexibility, and expect to flex and adjust along the way as "life" gets in the way.
  5. Support Team- To many people I know don't truly value and prepare their support team. Key players include your Family (who will likely be making sacrifices during your training), coach (more than someone who posts a training plan, but a mentor and trusted advisor), friends, your employer and bike shop!
  6. Considering the SWOT- Write it out! What's the key strength that you have going for you that you'll rely on? What weaknesses do you need to mitigate against? What opportunities can you seize to help you along (e.g. joining a Tri team or training group)? What threats do you need to neutralize (e.g. history of knee problems, shaky employment circumstance, etc.).
  7. Being specific and measurable- You really should have a set of milestones to measure your progress. Coaches use scientifically based metrics, such as training stress to monitor. You should have a set of milestones for yourself, and insure that your overall goal is measurable.
Read more on the subject at:
Goal Setting for Optimal Results
Building Your Iron- Strong Business

Monday, June 10, 2013

Congratulations, Joe Bordierdi

I had the pleasure to see a lot of friends compete at Eagleman 70.3 this weekend. One of my greatest pleasures was to watch the Inspired Performance put in by Joe Bordieri, who finished in 5:25:05! Great work, Joe. You looked amazingly strong throughout the day!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Inspired Performances this weekend

Congratulations to Our athletes who produced Inspired Performances this past weekend! Amy Avitabile and Scott Avitabile both set PRs at the NJ/Long Branch Half Marathon with Scott finishing 5th in his age group. Terry Garrett of Aurora, CO completed his first marathon in under 4 hours at the Colorado Marathon. Congratulations to him and to his guide, Rich Kiser, a long time Inspired Performance athlete. You guys are all getting the season off to a great start.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Congratulations, Inspired Performance Athlete Joscelin Grizzetti on her first race of the season. 1st Place A/G, 1st Place Masters, 4th Place Overall at the Delaware Valley Duathlon last weekend! Great job!

Friday, March 29, 2013

An Accomplishment of which I'm Most Proud

I lead a pretty active lifestyle; most people tell me that. And of all the things that I've been involved with over the past several years, the one of which I am most proud is the USAT Hall of Fame. It's been six years now that I've had the privilege of being Chair of the "HOF". It started in the Spring of 2007 with a committee of truly great people who came together to do the research and create the structure for something that is so important to the multisports world. We drafted a policy creating the Hall of Fame and the initial procedures and processes in mid- 2007 and it was approved by the USAT Board of Directors in October of that year. It's been a remarkable experience since then.

In a few weeks, on April 18th, we'll hold our Fifth Annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Bahia Resort in San Diego, and induct three truly inspirational people; Jim MacLaren, Julie Moss and Missy LeStrange! For me, presenting these people with their awards, is such an honor. More than 27 people are involved with the selection process and over the past five years, I've represented them in presenting Hall of Fame awards to some of the greatest athletes and contributors to our sport.

At the first Induction Ceremony, held in Colorado Springs in January 2009, Jon Gray Noll, Verne Scott, Sheila Taormina, Karen Smyers and Judy Flannery were inducted, followed in 2010 by Jim Curl, Carl Thomas, Barb Lindquist, Valerie Silk and Paula Newby-Fraser.

Jim Curl and Carl Thomas are largely the reason why I've been involved in the sport since the mid-80s. They created the USTS (US Triathlon Series) and my initial triathlon experiences were at their races and I fell in love with the sport, and the community of people who were involved.

In 2011, joining this great group of individuals, were Susan Bradley-Cox, Dave McGillivray and Dave Scott and then in 2012 Mark Allen, Ethel Autorino (a fellow New Jerseyite), Bob Babbitt, Sally Edwards, Scott Molina and Scott Tinley.

Just running through these names, one can easily understand why I'm so proud of what we, as a committee, have accomplished. What started with a draft policy sent to the USAT Board has blossomed into a Hall of Fame comprised of some of the most amazing people on earth. And for me, having been involved in the sport for "a few years", it's these people, whom I've come across from time to time, who kept me in love with the Triathlon Community. Paula, who helped me pick out a Luau shirt in Kona, and ST, who autographed a collar that my yellow lab...named Tinley... wore when he came to races with me (his game-day collar), Curl and Thomas mentioned above, Scott Molina, who my wife, Toni, and I watched on so many podiums at the USTS Coke Grand Prix events, Dave Scott who, along with his Dad, Verne, and sister, Jane, ran the first Triathlon Camp that I attended, and so on, and so on. Everyone reading this will surely have their own list of many of these names and how these people influenced their lifestyle and caused them to go on to having an inspired performance in the sport and in life.

It's been an amazing ride. Thank you and congratulations to all of you who have been (and are about to be) inducted into the Hall of Fame, for all that you have accomplished, and for all that you have helped others accomplish!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Transitional Season is upon us!

So, my six year old son, Anthony, has been saying over and over how sad he is that ski season is coming to an end! For those of us who are active in winter sports, it's truly bitter sweet that a really great winter season is approaching it's end, while we at the same time look forward to the warm temperatures and long bike rides of the Spring and Summer.

For all of us who focus on our multisports training, this shoulder season also signals a change in our training focus. We move from a base building phase to working on pace and race-specific strategy. Now we start including the appropriate type of interval for our race distance (Tempo, VO2max or LT). Here's a couple of tips that will be important as you make the change:

  1. Know the type of interval that's appropriate, and how to use it in order to get the benefit (e.g. VO2max intervals require that you be at around your VO2max HR for an aggegate of 12 minute minimum to benefit). Doing interval work that is just alternating hard/easy/hard/easy will not get you the bang for the buck that you're looking for.
  2. Progressive is the key. Start at the lower end of the interval minimum and gradually increase the interval as you progress (My friend and mentor, Joe Friel, encourages the use of the Output/Input ratio to measure progress. As the ratio increases, you're making progress. When it levels off, it's time to increase the interval to a higher level).
  3. If a little is good, more is not necessarily better. Interval work is stressful. It's intended to be that way and if it's not, you're not getting benefit. But your body needs to recover from the stress. You get stronger when your resting, not when you're working). Be sure you are getting the right recovery between workouts.
  4. If you can't measure it, you can't manage it! Use metrics from your work to insure progress. The output/input ratio is easy to use. If you're using training software such as Training Peaks or WKO+, you get some valuable calculations provided to you, such as Output/Input, Efficiency Factor (decoupling), Variability Index and so forth. Learn how to use some of these and you'll benefit tremendously in your training!
I (and Anthony) may be among the minority who are sorry to see the winter season coming to an end, but I'm also looking forward to what Spring and Summer have to offer. Have fun...and train safe!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Do You Play to Win, or to Not Lose?

I just read an really interesting article in the Harvard Business Review that relates so much to athletic performance and to motivating different types of athletes (as well as myself, business leaders, employees and peers!). The article, Do you Play to Win -- or to Not Lose, divided people into two categories; promotion focused and prevention focused. Those who are promotion focused take chances, work fast and go all out to win. Those who are prevention focused are more conservative, work more deliberately and avoid taking chances that would cause them to lose. As someone who distributes behavioral assessment tools in my business, I have a deep appreciation of how behavior traits apply to all areas of life. And, they are not judgmental (there's no good/bad, right/wrong), they're just important to recognize in order to be highly effective in whatever area.

So, in your athletic life, how do you train? Are you focusing on doing whatever it takes to achieve your goal (winning a slot to Kona, qualifying for Nationals, achieving a PB)? Do you tend to train really hard and get right out onto that ragged edge that threatens over-training and potential injury in order to achieve your goal? Are you motivated by people who tell inspirational stories about success (e.g. how Julie Moss crawled to the finish line of Ironman in 1982) and give compliments and positive feedback? Or, on the contrary, are you focusing on not doing anything that would prevent you from achieving your goal? Do you train deliberately, following your training plan to the letter to insure that nothing will go wrong? Are you uncomfortable with compliments, or do you like stories about people and situations that you shouldn't follow (e.g. Lance Armstrong's rise and fall!)

As I mentioned, neither category is good nor bad. They're just different, and recognizing which one you fall into will allow you to seek out the situations that will best provide the environment for you to thrive. And for a coach, we'd want to recognize whether we tell our athletes to "allow your heart rate to rise up to high zone 3" or "don't allow your heart rate to go into zone 4". Promoters (Play to Win people) will respond better to the former; Preventers (Play to Not Lose people) to the latter.

I recommend the full article to dive deeper into the distinctions and to learn more about how you can be more effective in your athletic performance by putting yourself into the ideal environment. You can find the article here.