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!