Monday, December 31, 2007

Eighth Day Of EN - Happy New Year!

On this Eighth day of EN, it's time to talk recovery. Remember those maids a milking... ringing in the new year may have you looking for the milk jug this morning. Lets talk about those post-hangover remedy / recovery drinks today. Follow up your blog entry with your best recovery beverage recommendation and recipe, if applicable. Post your drinks in the forum as part of our 12 Days Thread.
Hangover Run:
To keep with the theme of "Eight", you have to run 8 minutes for each drink you had on New Years, with the shortest run being 30', no longer than 96' (that's 12 drinks!!). Blog how the run was. Big bonus points for posting a finish photo!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Seventh Day of EN

On the seventh day of Endurance Nation we give you seven gifts of knowledge with the the ENLibrary, ENBlogs, ENMembers, the ENForum, ENNews, ENPodcasts, and ENVideos.
Connect, Learn, Achieve!
Blog on one new piece of knowledge you gained from browsing the EN Library, blogs, forum, news, podcasts, videos, or finding a new member.
Day Seven: Fit Circuit as 5-8 reps of the following seven - quick and easy as you prepare to usher the new year in:
5' spin on trainer
10 push ups
20 jumping jacks
30 sit ups
40" wall sit
20 burpees
10 push ups
Have a safe New Years Celebration!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sixth Day Of EN

On the sixth day of EN, it's time to hit the road for a long run. Nothing beats a good long run in the offseason, especially one on a new route. Do yourself a favor and start plotting a new place to run!
Do the right thing and stretch a bit after your workout. Either search the ENLibrary for a stretching resource or find one online and add the link to the ENLibrary yourself!
Resolution Run Recon:
A Group: 75' total run including 2x12' in z3 (8' z2).
B Group: 45' total run including 2x8' in z3 (4' z2).
Mini ReCap: we've given you six days of creating some fitness: some biking, some running, and we got you to the pool. 'And on the Seventh Day' expect something a little lighter so you'll have plenty of time to primp for an evening of Cheers!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Fifth Day of EN

On the fifth day of EN - as we build you toward the start of 2008 and a new year of training and racing we want you to be mindful of common pitfalls to a successful triathlon season. Check in with Coach Rich's Primer for the Self-Coached Ironman Athlete. Resolution time is coming. Reflect on your recent training and racing season. Do you have a training or racing 'pitfall' you'd care NOT to repeat in 2008?
We also start pointing you towards preparing for next week's longer ride. If you are in a warm weather location, start scouting a cool new course; you indoor folks can start brainstorming a good video to get for the trainer ride.
Resolution Ride Recon:Outdoor Group: 2.5-3 hour steady ride.Indoor Group: 75' as 25' WU in z1-2, the twice through (15' @ z3, 5' @ z1, 3' @ z4, 2' @ z1).
Post a picture of your awesome bike; consider adding as one of the 10 pics you can have attached to your EN profile!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fourth Day Of EN

On the fourth day of EN, it's time to hit the pool. We aren't huge fans of swimming in the offseason, but it's an easy way to workout despite the weather! Enjoy this preparation swim for next week's workout.
Resolution Swim Prep:
A Group: 3k total swim including 4x200 (10)
B Group: 2k total swim including 8x100 (10)
Watch some of our swim videos up on YouTube to help you focus on proper forum and technique!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Third Day of EN

On the third day of EN we give you some interval training on the bike and a chance to remind you that race day success is just as much about your mental preparation . Check in with Rich's article in the EN Library on:Mental Focus for Ironman. Blog reflections today on your own race day mental preparations or pitfalls.
The workout:In case you don't already know it, we are huge fans of intensity, especially on the bike. Trainer ride with 3-5 repeats of 3' intervals at Zone 4 with 2' of rest after each.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Second Day Of EN

On the second day of EN we give you the training wisdom of EN co-founder Rich for today's Brick workout.
Brick: 45' ride, 15' run. Blog how you used Rich's tips to execute this workout. Bonus points if you wear/use your new outfit/toy from Day 1's post and share a photo.
Read Rich's article on brick workouts in the ENLibrary here.

Monday, December 24, 2007

First Day of EN

On this first day of Endurance Nation we give you the home: A place to hang your endurance sporting hat, share your stories, make new endurance friendships,discover a new mentor, be inspired, train smarter, be faster!
Wishing to participate in the 12 days of Challenge? Go to the forum and find our forum thread on the 12 Days.. and post that your are 'in'. Your challenge today is to make a blog entry. While the ribbons and bows are still-a- liter under the tree ...tell us about your newest endurance toy, or outfit, share a photo!
Introductory Podcast: Listen Now

Sunday, December 23, 2007

12 Days of Endurance Nation to Start December 25th

Join us for "12 Days of Endurance Nation" Holiday Challenge. We'll start December 25th - check in here on the ENBlog each day for specific workout / task instructions. Each day we'll give a task or workout for you to do and ask you to make a blog entry in your profile on Endurance Nation (under Blog section). Twelve days = twelve blog entries.

If you are going to participate, be sure to "register" in the forum under the General Discussion/12 Days of Endurance Nation thread by putting your name and EN Username up so that other folks can keep tabs on you. The "12 Days of EN" challenge will help you learn more @ EN while you make friends and get fitter! Twelve days is a long time, however, and if you can get them all done, we gotta give you something!

Triathlon: Final Off Season Group starts on 1/7/2008!

Folks, this is just a quick note to tell you that our final OS training group starts up on 1/7/2008. This is a 3.5-4 month protocol designed to get you ready for a half marathon and boost your bike fitness as well. We have had over 100 folks participate in our Oct/Nov/Dec groups, so this is your last chance to get in on the OS mojo. Click here to read a testimonial on how the program works.

Signing up gets you:

  • online training plan
  • private forum access w/ coach + peer support of 100+ athletes
  • weekly podcasts
  • online data sheet to track your progress
Sign Up Today!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Training and Racing with Power Webinar Series

Training and Racing with Power, for Multisport, presented by Endurance Nation

  • Do you own a powermeter but have difficulty finding quality information on how to apply the tool to multisport racing?
  • Are you a power wannabee, interesting in learning more about these cutting edge tools?
  • Are you ready to take your power training and racing to the next level?

Endurance Nation announces a webinar series focused on the unique power training and racing considerations of multisport athletes. The presenters are leading authorities on power meter use for multisport athletes, with years of experience teaching age groupers how to use these tools to further their multisport training and racing.

In the end, any powermeter is only as valuable as the investment YOU make in learning how to use it effectively. Augment your $2000 whizbang gadget with our $99 webinar series and get the most out of your training and racing power investment!

Register for the series by January 15th and we will include a one year membership to Endurance Nation, a $99 value!

  • Open access to 25 training plans, proven across 3 years and 1000+ athletes, available in TrainingPeaks, WorkoutLog, or Google Doc.
  • Training plans include a wide range of power-based plans already used by hundreds of successful athletes.
  • Weekly podcasts and monthly webinars on a range of endurance training topics.
  • Advice from expert coaches with hundreds of Ironman finishers to their credit.
  • And more!!

Special Offer Registration, $99, expires
January 15

Schedule and Registration

Sunday, January 13, 2008, 5pm PST: Power Training, for Multisport, FREE

  • The specifics of power-training as they relate to multisport, with special attention to the concepts put forth by CyclingPeaks: Functional Threshold Power, Intensity Factor, Normalized Power, Training Stress Score, etc.
  • Everything you need to know, explained in a language you can understand.
  • Training protocols to make you a stronger triathlon cyclist.
  • Transcript and podcast of this event will be made available afterwards in the Endurance Nation Library.
  • Register Now!

Sunday, January 20, 2008, 5pm PST: Power Racing, for Multisport, $55
  • We will introduce the concept of your legs as a bank account, with successful racing simply an exercising in spending from that account wisely so you have $$$ left over to pay the Man on the run.
  • We will give you a proven power race strategy for your next event: from Sprint to Iron Distance, hilly or flat, windy or calm, we will explain the art of racing with power.
  • Register:
Sunday, January 27, 2008, 5pm PST: Analyzing Power Files, $55
  • Power files with their many lines and numbers can be overwhelming. We teach you how to analyze the data, from rides and races, so you get what you need, and only what you need.
  • Tracking performance over time is about analyzing data trends. We cover what a multisport athlete should watch and what it means for their training and racing.
  • Register:
Power Training and Racing, for Multisport, Full Series: $99, includes Endurance Nation membership, offer ends January 15th.
$89 for Endurance Nation Members
  • Special Offer Registration, $99:
  • Current TeamEN Registration, $89:

The Presenters

Rich Strauss, founder of Crucible Fitness and Endurance Nation. Rich has been training, racing, and coaching with power since 2001. Hundreds of athletes have use his power training plans to PR in the HIM and IM distances. Rich has distilled his experience into a simple, easy to understand and implement power training and racing system.

Jason Digman, Coach and Founder of Dig It Triathlon and Multisport. As an expert in power based training and racing, Jason coaches individual athletes of all levels and abilities in using power to its fullest advantage. Dig It athletes not only use the latest technology to train effectively, they have a good time doing it.

Kurt Perham, Coach and Founder of Personal Best Multisport Coaching . Kurt has trained/raced/coached with power since 2000 and helped to guide athletes from first timers, to Ironman World Champions. He specializes in integrating power data into the day-to-day training of his athletes.

Rich Ashburn is an age-group triatlete (M45-49) from Lafayette, CA, competing in all distances since 2002. He has been using power data in his training and racing since 2003, and has brought is day-job skills as an analyst to bear on some of the number-crunching aspects of using power data for training and racing.

Registration Process: after we receive your payment for Sessions #2, #3, or the series, we will email you a link to actually register for the webinar.

Refund Policy: Sorry, we have a very strict no refund policy. If you can not attend a webinar we can apply your registration towards a future webinar or Endurance Nation membership.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

TeamEN Webinar: Off-Season

Join us for a Webinar on December 16

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar Seat Now at:

  • Did you come off a great season but wonder what to do now?
  • Tired of building your fitness 9mos a year, only to see it be torn down and need to be recreated from scratch...every...year?
  • Confused by all of advice that's about there about what exactly you should be doing this time of year?

Using the training and results of the ENGroups Off-Season platform as the model, TeamEN Head Coaches Rich and Patrick will discuss their thoughts on the elements of a successful off-season. They will be joined by TeamEN members, like you, who've "drank the OS Kool-Aid" and will share their experiences and observations with you. The presentation will be about 40' long. Rich and Patrick will then answer questions from the audience for 10-15'.

This webinar is FREE for all Endurance Nation members, friends and training partners. Please invite them to attend our FREE webinar.

Please also note time and time zone.

TeamEN Webinar: Off-Season

Sunday, December 16, 2007

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM PST

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.3.9 (Panther®) or newer

Would you like to see more webinars in the future? Please post a comment and let us know what you'd like to see!

Podcast: Planning Your Triathlon Season

Podcast: Planning Your Triathlon Season

Coach Rich and Coach Patrick talk for 20' about how to lay out a proper triathlon season. The main points are:
  • Conserving Your Head Across a Long Season
  • Focus on Short Term, Consistency
  • Epic Weekends to Boost Fitness
  • Cool Events to Maintain Fun Factor
Please visit and subscribe to our podcast channel! Did you find our podcast helpful? Please leave a comment for us here or on our podcast blog!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Open House Invitation to CF and PTS Training Plan Customers

Thank you for purchasing a Crucible Fitness/Performance Training Systems training plan in the past. We wanted to invite you to participate in the next evolution of our focus on creating high value yet affordable training solutions for endurance athletes: Endurance Nation.

  • Membership in Endurance Nation includes open access to ALL of our training plans (25+ and growing) for only $99 per year. These plans have been honed through the results and experiences of 1000+ athletes, including YOU, over the past three years. Remember the 1-3 of our $99-150 plans you used to PR last season? You now have access to ALL of those plans--and many more--for only $99/yr.
  • Communicate and network with your fellow TeamEN members on our cutting-edge social networking platform. Join a race group, upload photos, start, share, and read member blogs, upload a video or podcast, or browse our library of over 400 quality training articles.
  • Leverage the TeamEN mojo on race day! We have team training and racing kit in the works, will conduct training camps on almost all of the North American Ironman courses (, and will be there for you with a pre-race talk and support for your family at IMAZ, CDA, LP, WI, KY, Kona and FL.

For the month of December we are hosting an Endurance Nation Open House. Come on in, take our platform and the community for a spin for free until December 31, 2007. If you decide to join during this Open House month, Membership is $89 vs $99 and you'll be designated an Endurance Nation Charter Member, complete with secret handshake and decoder ring!

If you choose not to join EN, no worries. You've still purchase a training plan through us, with our Crucible Fitness and PTS hats hats on, and we'll support that plan in the open forums at Endurance Nation.

Since our "super soft launch" on Thanksgiving Day we have quickly grown to over 200 members! We consider each of you to be inside our inner circle, athletes who have been an integral part of the Crucible Fitness and PTS experience for years. We sincerely hope you chose to join us in our new club house, Endurance Nation.

Sign up for your trial membership today and we'll see you on the inside!

Coach Rich + Patrick

Monday, December 10, 2007

EN: Four Keys to Ironman Execution

The Endurance Nation "Four Keys" To Ironman Execution

I'm flying home from IMFL, the last Ironman of the 2007 season, and the end of a long season of Ironman coaching, speaking, clinic-ing and spectating. I'd like to take this time to deliver to you, one last time, the end-all, be-all of how you should race Ironman. Frankly, because after six years of full-time Ironman coaching I'm tired of seeing people screw it up! We're absolutely, 100% convinced that what we're going to share with you works. Our observations this season -- and the results of our athletes -- speak for themselves. Note that we're writing this a little tongue in cheek, using humor to get our point across. This is the style of our live schtick, delivered to you in pixels.

First, our CVs...
Rich: Ironman coach since 2001, has personally coached 200+ Ironman finishers. Over 800 athletes have used Crucible Fitness training plans since 2005. I have delivered pre-race talks at 2-4 Ironman races per year since 2003 to about 50-70 athletes per talk. This year alone I've:

  • Conducted race specific training camps (ie, how to train and racing Ironman) on the IMLou, IMLP, and IMWI courses for over 70 athletes.
  • Delivered pre-race talks at IMCDA, IMLP, IMWI, and IMFL to over 200 athletes.
  • Ridden motorcycle support for IMCDA and then stood at the turnaroud at mile 7 for three hours. Rode the IMLP course backwards during the race, then stalked the run course on my bike. That is, I've seen, first hand, hundreds of athletes hammering up a hill at mile 60, and the same athletes walking at mile 10.

Patrick: Triathlon coach since 2002, with over 150 one-on-one athletes and 400 training plan athletes sucessfully hitting the finishline in the last five years. I have conducted over 15 race-specific and epic training camps. My personal best is a 10:01 at IMUSA and a 10:37 at Kona 2007.

In short, we have a lot of experience with what works, what does not work, and we've honed this message through the results of our athletes, our observations while being ON the course during the race, and the feedback we've received from pre-race talk attendees.

This is the official Endurance Nation Ironman Kool-Aid, we hope you enjoy it. Help us help you!

The Four Keys
  1. Execution, not Fitness. All you've done for 9 months is build a vehicle. Ironman racing is about how you DRIVE that vehicle, it is NOT about the vehicle. The majority of athletes on race day are fitness-focused (look at my T-shirt, look at my abs/veins/etc, look at how fast I can go in the first hour of the bike, etc.) As coaches we can make you stronger, but we can't fix stoopid if you decide to race your own way.
  2. The Line. Nothing on race day really matters until you reach The Line on the run. The Line is the point at which continuing becomes very, very difficult. You define success as simply not slowing down at The Line. EVERYTHING before The Line is simply about creating conditions for success for when the Line comes to you. Additional Kool-Aid flavored thoughts we'd like to put in your head regarding this point are:
    • A successful race = a good run. There is no such thing as a good bike followed by bad run, period. In our world, if you showed up with solid run fitness, had a "good" bike and a poor run, we will ALWAYS assume you boogered your bike pacing unless you are missing a limb or are in the ICU with an intestinal parasite.
    • If you think you can ride faster than we're telling you, prove it by running well off the bike first (preferrably not attempted for the first time on IM race day).
    • Ride your "should" bike split vs your "could" bike split. Your Could split is what you tell Timmy you could ride on a good day, when you're out together for your Saturday ride. If you say you "could ride a 5:50," your Should split is likely 6:00 and defined as the bike split that yields a good run (see above).
    • Don't eat the paste. Ironman in general, but especially the bike leg, is at best a special ed class: you only have to show up with your C game to be at the head of the class. If you find yourself doing the opposite of everyone else, you're doing the right thing. If Jimmy and everyone else is in the corner eating the paste, don't join them! Sit down, do what we're telling you, and don't eat the paste! Lots of people passing you in the first 40 miles? That's good, don't eat the paste. Going backwards through the field on a hill? That's good, don't eat the paste.
    • Think you made the mistake of riding too easy? You now have 26 miles to fix that mistake. Make the mistake of riding too hard? That mistake now has 26 miles to express itself, to the tune of X miles at 17-18' walking pace vs X miles at 8-10' running pace. Do the math. How is that bike split going to look as you are walking/shuffling the last 10 miles of the run?
    • Every time you feel yourself about to get stupid, look at where you are. Are you at The Line? No. Then sit down, shut up, do what you're told and don't be stoopid. Please. :)

3. The Box: all day long you are going to race inside a box defined by what you can control. Ask yourself "What do I need to do right NOW to create the conditions for success at The Line? Is what I'm doing right now counter to this goal? From what we've seen first hand on the IM courses this season, we believe you should ask yourself "Am I participating in some short-term tactical masturbation?" If yes, STOP!!

On the swim, the Box is the space your body occupies in the water: focus on your form and the rest will come. On the bike, the box is probably about one aid station long. On the run, the box begins as 2-3 aid stations long but often diminishes to "from here to the next lampost/manhole cover/mail box." Regardless:
    • Keep the box as big as you can for as long as you can.
    • Keep in the box only the things you can control. Let go of the rest.
    • Exercise this decision-making process inside your box: Observe the situation, Orient yourself to a possible course of action, Decide on a course of action, Act (OODA Loop).

4. The One Thing. If you swallowed the Kool-Aid we're serving you here, you will show up at the Line, in your Box, ready to git'erdun and simply not slow down. But we're not done yet. There is still some psychological stuff you need to address.

During the course of your race day, expect your body to have a conversation with your mind: "Look, Mind, you've had me out here slogging away for 132 miles. This is really starting to get old and very painful. You need to give me a good reason to keep going forward. If you can't give me a good one, I'm gonna slow down and you can't stop me!" Before the race, you need to ask yourself "Why am I doing Ironman?" In other words, you need to determine what is the One Thing that put you in this race? To finish in the daylight with a smile on your face? To run a 4:10? Whatever your One Thing is, be absolutely clear and rehearse your mind/body debate beforehand. But be warned: your body can be a helluva good negotiator at mile 18, especially if your mind hasn't prepared its rebuttal arguments beforehand.

Unity of purpose creates clarity of focus, yielding breakthrough performance.

What have we not talked about so far? The things you are likely most torqued about: heart rate, pace, speed, watts, how to eat, what to drink, etc. We believe that if you can keep yourself focused on the Four Keys above, the rest of the day is relatively simple and you don't need to worry about these relatively small details. In other words, all the whizbang guidance in the world can't help you if don't have your mind right about the Four Keys above.

But because you're a Type A Triathlete and you want the details, here they are:
  • The Swim: Swim only as fast as your ability to maintain form. When you feel your form go, slow down. Counting strokes is an excellent technique for bringing your mind out of the race and into the Box of maintaining your form.
  • The Bike: JRA (Just Ride Along) for about 45-60'. Then shift from JRA to Easy (5:45+ should split) to Steady (sub 5:45 should split). Guage how well you're doing by how well you're NOT doing what everyone else is doing. REMEMBER: Don't eat the paste!
  • The Run: Jog for 4-6 miles, with a jogging, do-no-harm pace and heart rate cap. Jogging is defined as a pace you could sustain for hours if we kept feeding you. After 4-6 miles, shift from jogging to "running," running comfortably, getting what you need, and preparing yourself for the Line, where things become very uncomfortable. At the Line, just suck it up and giterdun.

That's it, that's as complicated as racing Ironman needs to be and we can't say it any more simply. We've basically given you a Vegas betting strategy, having managed and observed many rolls of the dice. If you sit down, shut up, do what we tell you, you will have a good day. But as you stray towards the Ricky Racer side of the execution scale, you begin to rattle the dice.

Still not convinced?
The results and feedback of our athletes speak for themselves:

"First, the things Rich and Coach P preached were a lot of common sense, but somehow they seemed to hit home.
  1. There is generally not failure to train, but failure to execute an effective race plan. Test your plan prior to race day, know it, use it.
  2. Don't get caught up in other people's "stuff", e.g., trying new things 24 hrs before the race. Do the things you have tested long before race day
  3. Race your race. If the other guys want to blow past you on the bike, let them. You WILL see them again. Know your training data and use it.
  4. Prepare yourself mentally for the arguments your mind and your body are going to have toward the end.
  5. Swim: only as fast as form stays good.
  6. Bike: pace within your ranges (power/hr) ignore "speed"
  7. Run: start SLOWLY, you don't want to have to walk 26 miles,the real "race" starts @ mile 18
  8. Enjoy what you've worked for and know that while you are suffering Rich and Coach P are somewhere sucking down a Starbucks!!"--Gina

"I passed 20% of the field in my first Ironman marathon, and I am far from being an elite runner. I credit the EN masters with allowing this to happen. Simple, repeatable concepts & key words helped me to remain patient, focused, and detached from other competitors. Look out, ‘cause I’m taking another sip of their Kool-Aid in ’08." -- Dan

"Pre Kool Aid - I had completed 3 previous IM without Kool Aid. They were each about survival rather than completing the event with confidence. I walked the majority of the marathon in each of these events. I honestly thought that maybe I wasn't cut out to run the IM run.
Post Kool Aid - An hour run PR. I ran the whole run. Finished with confidence and absolutely "flew" on the second half of the run. Thanks to the EN pacing guidelines, I ran a 10 minute negative split. It seemed surreal, to think I could actually enjoy the IM run. What an incredible experience! More coaches need to preach execution just as much, if not more than the training phase." -- Alex

Have you had a great race after listening to or reading our drivel? If so, please post your comments and experiences!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

State of The Nation Address

Rich and Patrick team up in this (hopefully) weekly podcast about what's going on inside Endurance Nation. Riveting? No. Informational? We think so. Listen to it here or search for "Endurance Nation" via the iTunes Store on your 'puter.

See you on the inside,

Team EN

Monday, December 3, 2007

New Resourses in the EN Libary

An Athlete's Primer to Weight Management by Coach P

When an athlete comes to me and says they want to lose weight, there are a lot of things going through my head. Is this person losing weight for performance? For personal reasons? Do they have weight to lose? Is this the right time for them to lose weight? But when a person who wants to lose weight thinks about losing weight, they (typically) think of only one thing: counting/reducing calories to lose weight.
Aside from being a difference in perspective (me telling you how to lose weight v. you telling you), there are a lot of other things to consider outside of cutting calories.

For more on this topic join us at and checkout the Library articles.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Triathlon: Ironman Arizona Training Group Starts on 11/26

Ironman Arizona Training Starts 11/26
Email to Sign Up Today!

Hard to believe that it's only 20 weeks to go until IM Arizona, but it's true. With your belly full of turkey, it's time to turn your attention away from the Pumpkin pie and Xmas marketing blitz and to your training.

Endurance Nation's IM Arizona Group training is a 20-week, online training plan that includes:
  • Race-specific virtual training groups, with efficient support provided by our experienced coaches through a dedicated forum.
  • Training with an ENGroup allows you to connect and learn from your fellow participants via a very powerful social networking platform, sharing blogs, photos, training experiences, race successes and more! You'll train side by side, virtually, with athletes doing YOUR program and YOUR race!
  • FREE one-year membership to Endurance Nation ($99 value!)
The total cost of the IM Arizona ENGroup is $399 (approximately $20/week). Email us to sign up today or visit the EN Forum to learn more!

Hope you join us!

Team EN

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Remembering our Veterans November 12, 2007

In memory of our veterans this weekend we posted a challenge to capture a photo shot of 'you' and a memorial. Here are a just a few posts. Check out the ENForum for more submissions.

Drew in Little Rock

Todd with Saint Louis

Gina from the Chickamauga Battlefield

Friday, November 2, 2007

IMFL news over on a new event blog...

Folks -

We have fired up another event specific blog to give a chance for EN members to put their stories in the spotlight. Get all the updates here:


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

First ride in Kona = BANG

Yep, biggest flat tire I was hit by a sniper. No cell phone w/ my friends, so I am in a sketchy taxi back to the posh Sheraton. :) Guess it must be my day to run. Somebody send some good vibes my way!


Coach * Author * Consultant
aim: pjmccrann
p: 617.513.3830

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Almost to Kona...

one gate change later, we are on a jammed flight to da big island. Something @ a stewardess saying Aloha that makes all the stress melt away...



Coach * Author * Consultant
aim: pjmccrann
p: 617.513.3830

Barely making the plane to LAX...

I thought leaving the house 2:30 before would be plenty, but after getting stopped by a state police roadblock & being made to open my bike box on the raod, behind the car, to show I had a bike in the box....and then after picking the one agent whose ticket machine ran out of paper to print my bike box receipt...we barely made it. :) I swear the race will be easy...

Coach * Author * Consultant
aim: pjmccrann
p: 617.513.3830

Coach P's Kona Trip Begins

In the car, headed to the airport. Forget the race, I am more worried about getting the family to Kona in one piece! Bags are packed and the butterflies are making a home in my stomach...more updates soon.


Coach * Author * Consultant
aim: pjmccrann
p: 617.513.3830

Friday, September 21, 2007

Endurance Nation Training Groups (ENGroups)

There has been a lot of talk in the forums and emails in our inboxes re: off-season training options, when will the resources of EN be made available, etc. Patrick and I are also at that time of year where we review what we've learned this season and consider how to improve the training of our athletes for next season. Add to that the transition to Endurance Nation and you have the perfect conditions for a paradigm shift in the coaching world. We would like to use this momentum to offer to you a unique training opportunity...

ENGroups: Off-Season '07-'08

Dates: Oct 8, 2007 thru Feb 3, 2008 (~18 weeks)
Cost: $189 (~$10/wk)
Register: Email Patrick

How will it work?
  • We will publish the schedule to the group 4-weeks at a time, as a shared Google Spreadsheet or Calendar (TBD).
  • Support will be provided via a private forum at Endurance Nation. This is where we will answer questions, issue guidance, and collaborate with you all to tweak each subsequent block of training. In other words, as the group gives us feedback on how things are working, we will incorporate this feedback into the next training block.
  • Likewise, as we learn from your and our own training and have valuable discussions with other coaches and clients, we will push information to you via the forum. In fact, we will be right along side of you, virtually, doing the training ourselves and pushing our feedback to you.

The Coaching Method?
Very simple: if you want to bike/run fast, you need to bike/run fast. Wherever possible, we will write workouts according to an evidence-based coaching philosophy: (1) you will test, (2) we'll determine pace or wattage results, and (3) together we use those results to frame your training. Want to ride 21 mph in your next race? Spend a lot of time at 22-23mph. Want to push 250 watts? See where you are now and frame your training in reference to your current and goal strength on the bike. Do you run 8:30 pace for a 10k? Use that to determine your optimum pacing for endurance and tempo runs. This is not rocket science.

Ability levels?
Intermediate and Advanced. If you have a season of consistent training under your belt, for any distance, you're good. However, this is not a "get in shape" plan. A relatively early off-season start means that you've maybe taken a few easy weeks at the end of the season but you're not a complete physical wreck. :-)

No thank you! All training will be extremely time-efficient, incorporating only the training you need to achieve your fastest shape ever by early February. The workouts will be delivered as the Main Set of the workout. For example, the Main Set for your Tuesday interval bike session might be 2 x 15' (3') @ L4 (for now, don't worry about what that means!). That's it, that's the workout. What you do around that set, as warmup, cool down, whatever, is entirely up to you as a function of the time you have available to train. This is how real coaches train real people in the real world. That said, the run training will be focused on a half marathon PR so you an expect a 1:30-2hr long run. But that's about the only volume goal that we - as coaches - have for you.

In line with this evidence-based coaching philosophy, we will measure and record metrics whenever possible. For example, the dates of the program are chosen as bracket events that Rich will use for his own training, below. You will be required to duplicate similar events on your own.
  1. 9 mile climbing time trial on Oct 13 followed by a 10k run on the 14th, to establish a w/kg and time baseline for the bike and a pace/hr baseline for the run. If you don't have a local hill like this, all you'll need is a trainer or a stretch of road where you can get about 20' of continuous hammer time, times 2.
  2. Repeat of the climbing TT (end of January) and a half marathon on Feb 2.
  3. Baselines for weight, pullups, pushups, crunches, etc, with testing repeated when you exit the training program.
  4. You will be strongly encouraged to enter your metrics into a public document / info sheet. This will help to keep you accountable and will help us keep track of your progress.

Heart rate monitor at a minimum, though we will push you to break out of the box of heart rate based training. A powermeter and GPS device are HIGHLY recommended. In fact, we will use the training group as a tool to bring your knowledge of how to train and race with these devices several years up the learning curve. If you don't have either of these, you will need a track or measured road for testing. Measured run courses for training would be great, so you can determine average paces. Again, we will resolve this with you once you are "inside" the Group.

Required reading?
Everyone: Scientific Training for Triathletes, Jack Daniels Running Formula, Off-Season Training, The Perfect Season
Powermeter Users: Must have a copy of CyclingPeaks, must read Training and Racing with a Powermeter.


In the last 12 months over 500 athletes have trained with our training plans. We've had many HIM and IM podium finishes and Kona qualifiers with a $150 training solution, but our athletes speak for themselves:
Ready to step up, do the work, and lay the foundation for a breakthrough 2008 racing season?
Email Patrick today!

Additional Questions

Tri-Club Discounts?
We feel this could be a valuable opportunity for your tri clubs: to get many people training on the same schedule together over the off-season. Here is what we are prepared to offer your clubs:
  • Your club members register individually at $189/person.
  • Have your club leadership email us the list of who has signed up.
  • If 10 or more people from your club register, we will refund $25 to each of these participants, making the cost of the program $164 for your members.
  • If you or club leadership have any questions, please have them Patrick at
How will ENGroups be different from the other training plans already offered? The training methods we will use will be cutting-edge stuff that has not yet made it into the training plans featured on TrainingPeaks. We don't want to confine ourselves to the tools available through We see ENGroups as a pilot program to explore the possibilities of a completely new and unique service tier within Endurance Nation: training groups with a specific start and end date, efficient support provided through a dedicated forum, podcasts, etc, using simple tools that allows us to collaborate with the participants to continually improve the training plan and training process. In short, if you have a CF Off-Season training plan, for example, it's an excellent solution. This is just a completely different service and product.

How is this different from ENCoach?
ENCoach is a customized training plan: your goals, your fitness, your schedule, your races, your everything, all incorporated into your individual training plan. Your relationship with your ENCoach is continually evolving, with feedback flowing both directions. The ENGroups Off-Season program is very different: no individual customization, no direct feedback or exchange with a coach, clearly defined start/exit dates, etc...However:
  1. The methods we use and the lessons we learn with this group model will be used in your training.
  2. ENCoach athletes will be allowed to participate in the closed Group Training forum.
Will I need a Google Account to access the training plans?
Yes, you will. If you already have a Gmail or other Google Service related account, you will easily be able to add the training resources to your gLife (or whatever you want to call it!). Folks who have not be Google-ified yet can easily sign up for a FREE basic account here:

Where can I track my daily workouts?
ENGroups is not a workout log (at least not yet!). As this is the off-season, there is no need to go crazy tracking everything you do. That said, data-conscious athletes are strongly encouraged to track their daily metrics using a desktop tool such as CyclingPeaks or by using another online solution (there are many quality free programs out there).

Is ENGroups: Off-Season '07-'08 only for long-course athletes?
Not at all. The off-season training focus is on speed and fitness - qualities applicable to triathletes looking to improve racing abilities at any distance. Note: The only distance requirement will be a half-marathon test in February.

I won't sign up until after 10/8/2007...will my plan shift accordingly?
Nope. The plan runs as is. If you want to mix the dates around on your end, that's fine. This set up is applicable for 95% of the folks our there, save for those racing Kona, Clearwater, or IM Florida. And if you are racing, all you have to do is rest up for a bit and you'll be fitter than most of us in the group!

I won't sign up until after 10/8/2007...will the cost be adjusted?
Nope - the registration is for full access to the plan.

EN Preview

Hi Folks,
First of all, Patrick and I would like to thank you all for making the EN forum such a valuable resource so quickly! We also appreciate your patience and hanging in there while we build the real site behind the scenes. We want to be sure you know that the forum you see here will be just a tiny piece of EN. To that end, I'd like to give you a little taste of what we have in store for you, using the screen shots below. A few caveats:

  • Ignore the design, or lack thereof. These are screenshots of the Alpha site, with no graphics. We should be getting the graphicized version soon and will tweak the look as well.
  • Not everything that will be on the site is yet reflected in the shots. The website consists of modules. Patrick and I have chosen what modules we want to incorporate into the site. Not all of them are plugged in yet.
  • The components of EN will be:
    1. This forum, open to the public.
    2. Networking platform, which I'll explain with the screenshots below, only available to EN members.
    3. ENLibrary: a tagged, searchable, sortable, rateable, reviewable library of written, audio and video content, created by us and by YOU. Parts of the library will be open to the public, other areas will be available to members only.
    4. ENGine: a basic training log and training plan feature. Our motto is "it's about the training PLAN, not the training LOG." The focus will be on making available to you a library of quality training plans (the ones many of you are already using). The training log side of the ENGine will be focused only on what you need: doing the workouts, not downloading every whizbang electronic gadget, tracking your shoes, etc. Our library of training plans, and sample training week templates for you to make your own, will be included in your monthly or annual EN membership fee. IOW, your choice of over 30 training plans, currently retailing for $100-$150, all yours for the price of your EN membership AND with all of these other features as well (see above).
    5. ENStore: a listing of physical and downloadable training products and tools.
    6. ENCamps: epically-cool and race specific camps.
In addition, we are negotiating with other smart guys/gals in the endurance world to create innovative products and services for you: our own line of sports nutrition products, sports apparel, web-based seminars, lecture series, ebooks, and any other out-of-the-box ideas we can come up with.


Landing page
This is the landing page ( Actually, it doesn't look anything like what it will look like, but I gotta start by showing you something . We think we'll include flash video tours of each component of EN. Light on the text, heavy on the interactivity, in other words. There will be a News section, populated by RSS feeds from various triathlon and endurance sports resources.

Member homepage
Below is Patrick's home page. From here he can:
  • Email other members.
  • Join/maintain his subscriptions to EN groups.
  • He can start a blog hosted on EN. Alternatively, he can have his posts from his external blog (Sheila ) fed into his blog. Other members (you) can then subscribe to receive updates to Patrick's blog on your homepage. So, potentially, you could have 20 blog feeds from your friends blogs directed into your homepage.
  • News: an admin message from us telling you the latest and greatest in ENWorld
  • MultiMedia: this is a place were you can upload and share your own photos, videos and podcasts.
  • New Members: profiles of people who've recently joined EN
  • My Friends: the profiles of people who've agreed to be Patrick's friend...likely a pretty small list...
  • User RSS feed: you can direct external feeds into this space: triathlon news, etc. Anything you want.
  • Comments: comments that people have made about Patrick's profile.
  • We will work with programmers to have summary training data fed into these spaces as well.

Member profile page
This is what you'll see when you click on Patrick's profile. This is where things start to get pretty powerful. Each item in his profile becomes a searchable tag. For example, under the Training header he can indicate what races he is doing, IMCDA'08, in his case. You can click on IMCDA'08 and see all of the EN members who've also indicated IMCDA as their race. Create a group called "IMCDA'08" and invite all of these people into the group. You can then network, exchange blogs, pictures, training information, etc. We can even feed your training log information, and everyone else's log information, into the IMCDA group so that when you visit the group room you can see something like "The EN members training for IMCDA'08 have swam/biked/run x/y/z this month."

This group tool can be duplicated for every profile item. So, for example, I indicate in my profile that I ride a Cervelo, run in Asics shoes, I have an Ergomo, I enjoy motorcycling, graduated from Emory University with a BA in Economics, have two dogs and like ice cream. I could, if I want, create/join the Cervelo/Asics/Ergomo/Motorcycling/Emory/Dog-slave/Ice Cream groups! If I'm traveling to Nashville I can see if there is an EN member in Nashville with a motorcycle. Maybe I want to hook up for a ride?

How much will EN membership cost me?
You'll get all of this: the networking platform, all the training plans, the training log, full access to all the forums, and all the cool stuff we can think of for....$9.99/mo or $99.99/yr.

We've been pushing the web developers pretty hard and it looks like we're on track for a site launch at the end of October. We'll be sure to keep everyone posted!

Again, thanks so much for your continued support!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Endurance Nation Camps for 2008

Endurance Nation (EN) Camps provide high volume and IM race-specific training opportunities in epic and scenic US locations. 2008 will be our third year of events with a full listing of epic, specific, and clinic training events. Full information is available online at

Epic Experience Camp Series
Excellent for athletes looking to boost their fitness with an early or mid-season volume camp. CA and GA camps are cycling-specific and the Lake Placid camp is more triathlon-focused.

  • Tour of California (February '08) -- 23 campers, SOLD OUT! 3 slots available at $1000 as ride half/work half. Email Rich for details.
  • Tour of Georgia (April '08) -- OPEN
  • Lake Placid, NY (June '08) -- OPEN
  • Tour of Utah/Kona-Prep/Do something cool with your '08 IM fitness (Sept '08) -- Coming Soon!

Race Specific Camp Series
Targeted training for athletes racing this calendar year. With over 8 hrs of Ironman-specific racing and training instruction, these weekend-long adventures will give you the skills and information needed to have your best possible race day.

  • Coeur d'Alene, ID (May 16-18, 2008)
  • Louisville, KY (May 30-June 1, 2008)
  • Madison, WI (July 11-13, 2008)
Early Discount for Race Specific camps available thru 12/1/2007
Athletes who want to sign up for an EN Camp have the chance to take advantage of an early registration discount. Interested folks should email Patrick for specific details.

Triathlon Clinics
Endurance Nation Power Meter Training Camp
NTC - Clermont, FL - Jan 18-20, 2008
Ready to take your training this season to the next level? Join triathlon coaches Rich Strauss and Patrick McCrann for two and a half days of power meter training at the USAT - National Training Center in Clermont, FL. Athletes will split their time between the road and the classroom, learning everything about training and racing triathlons with power. Don't miss out on this chance to get a serious jump on your competition!

Note: No discount is available for the Powermeter Tri Clinic.

Monday, September 10, 2007

IM Wisco Bike Course Pics

From my Treo...

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Coaches @ lunch...

Coach * Author * Consultant
aim: pjmccrann
p: 617.513.3830

12:30 update...

It's still sunny but the wind has picked up...temp is 73. We found an all u can eat buffet on state street and are carbo loading for the rest of the day! :)

Race day energy food!

Coach * Author * Consultant
aim: pjmccrann
p: 617.513.3830

Sheila Sighting&Race Leaders @ mile 30+

Race pics...

Coach * Author * Consultant
aim: pjmccrann
p: 617.513.3830

IM WI Race Morning...

Is clear, calm & gorgeous!! No clouds & no wind! :) off for coffee & down to the swim start...

Saturday, September 8, 2007

IM Wisco Pics 4

Coach * Author * Consultant
aim: pjmccrann
p: 617.513.3830

IM Wisco Pics 3

Coach * Author * Consultant
aim: pjmccrann
p: 617.513.3830

IM Wisco Bike Pics 2

Coach * Author * Consultant
aim: pjmccrann
p: 617.513.3830

IM Wisco Bike Course Pics

Coach * Author * Consultant
aim: pjmccrann
p: 617.513.3830

Friday, September 7, 2007

More IM Moo expo photos...

Coach * Author * Consultant
aim: pjmccrann
p: 617.513.3830

IM Moo Expo

Coach * Author * Consultant
aim: pjmccrann
p: 617.513.3830

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

IMWI Pre-Race Talk

Endurance Nation coaches Rich Strauss and Patrick McCrann will be at Ironman Wisconsin this weekend to support their athletes and deliver a FREE pre-race talk to all participants.

When: Friday, 9am
Where: meet by the Gatorade swim bottle, near the swim start area. If the weather isn't cooperating we'll still meet here and then move inside the terrace.

What: Rich and Patrick will speak for about an hour, giving you the big pictures tools and perspective to ensure you have a successful race day. Their talks at IMCDA and IMLP have been attended by over 150 athlete this year alone, and by several hundred more over the years. We hope to see you Friday!

IMLP and IMKY Race Report Podcasts

We've asked two Endurance Nation athletes to share their Lake Placid and Louisville race reports with us. These are real ladies in the real world, getting it done, and giving us all some valuable lessons for race day!

You can listen to these and all other Endurance Nation podcasts here, on Odeo.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

EN Coach Rich Strauss to deliver FREE pre-race talk at IM Louisville

When: Friday, 9am
Where: meet at the inflatable Gatorade bottle at the swim start area.

Rich will discuss the mental, pacing, and nutrition skills he's used to help Ironman athletes have successful race days. Rich has delivered his talks at almost a dozen Ironman events to hundreds of athletes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Endurance Nation Ironman Webinar Schedule

Next weekend is a big one on the North American Ironman calendar, with IMLouisvile and IMCanada both next Sunday, August 26. Not too shortly afterward will be Ironman Wisconsin on Sept 9. You may recall our last Ironman webinar for IMLP. We had a great turnout, however, Patrick and I felt the session was too long and unweildy. So we've decided to split this up into two parts. Here is a quick run down of what we have going on for you.

Please note time zones below

Part I: Monday, Aug 20, 8:00pm EST: Endurance Nation Ironman Pre-Race Talk

This talk is and not course-specific. Please tell ALL of your Ironman and Half Ironman friends and training partners to join us.

Part II: Endurance Nation Course Chalk-Talk, using Google Earth

  • All talks are FREE
  • All times are Eastern time zone.
  • Please subscribe to the Endurance Nation Blog for updates.
  • Finally, if you're not tired of listening to me run my mouth, I will be at IMKY and IMWI to deliver these talks again. Expect 9am, Friday, at the swim start area but check the blog to be sure. Even if you are tired of me, please stop by and say hello :-)

Rich Strauss
Endurance Nation
Crucible Fitness
Ergomo Coaching Center

Pedaling Technique Summary and Drills

  1. The bike goes faster because you apply more watts to rear wheel, period. The rear wheel doesn't care in what manner that power is generated at or applied to the pedals. What matters is what that power is when it reaches the wheel.
  2. Your feet are attached to the pedals, attached to straight cranks, attached to circular chain rings and a round axle or bottom bracket. You have no choice other than to pedal in a circle. All you are really in control of is what muscles you fire when as your legs spin through this circular trajectory.
  3. Your legs have been engineered to apply the most power most efficiently by pushing against the ground (running, jumping, walking), not by pulling up (activating the hip flexor). Contrary to product claims, there has been no evidence to suggest that the "way" to pedal a bike is by applying power in pretty little circles.
  4. If you are thinking about this or that area of the pedal stroke and firing/relaxing different muscles at different times, but the power at the rear wheel is the same or less, you haven't accomplished anything. If you are doing all of this AND applying more watts, then we can talk, but my next question is how long can you sustain this? Another point in here is that nothing is free. If you're applying more watts to the bike, that work has to come from somewhere. It is not gained by efficiency, energy savings, etc. You must do more work in order to output more work. Period.

So how should I pedal a bike?
What I'll now discuss is how you should apply your leg power to the pedals as they trace the circle of a pedal stroke. Divide the pedal revolution into hours of the clock, as seen from the right side of the bike, and into four sectors of three hours each:

  • 11-2pm: Imagine you are "rolling a barrel" under your foot. At 11pm you begin to push forward across the top of the pedal stroke/clock face until your foot is in the 2pm position.
  • 2-5pm: The power phase of the pedal stroke. You're pushing relatively straight down on the pedals, in the manner your legs have been design to apply force most efficiently. Most beginner cyclists pedal straight up and down, like pistons, applying power to the pedals from 2-5pm. I feel they are missing the opportunity to apply that leg strength across more hours of the clock face.
  • 5-8pm: Imagine you are "scraping mud" from the bottom of your shoe. We transition from pedaling down to following through, activating the hamstring and pulling our foot rearward.
  • 8-11pm: When your right leg is at 8pm your left leg is at the beginning of the power phase, 2pm. We want 100% of the power applied by the left leg to be transferred to the rear wheel and move the bike forward. However, if your right leg, at 8pm, is "dead" on the pedal, then a percentage of your left leg power is not applied to the rear wheel but instead is used to lift the right leg. Now, this lifting effect is probably less than you think, as your right leg, spinning at 90+ rpm, does have a significant amount of momentum to "throw" it over the top of the pedal stroke. Instead, from 8-11pm we want to "un-weight" the pedal, applying just enough lifting force to make our foot weigh zero on the pedal, so 100% of the work performed by the opposite leg is used to propel the bike forward. Notice that I'm not counseling you to activate the hip flexor and apply power on the upward phase of the pedal stroke.

Why not?
In my opinion, it goes back to how our legs are designed. They are engineered to apply a great downwards force and comparatively little upwards force. Why waste energy trying to put a relatively small muscle to work (hip flexor) doing something it isn't really designed to do anyway: apply a great deal of power upwards. My experience has been that your leg realizes it is getting worked on the upstroke and compensates by resting, or producing less power, on the downstroke. The result can be a net decrease of power to the rear wheel.

I call all of this Clock Face Awareness: by performing the drills below you become more aware of where you are applying power through the clock face and can therefore choose to emphasize one area/muscle group while deemphasizing another.

Isolated Leg Drills

Purpose: To divide the clock face into sectors, focus on them one at a time, and increase your awareness of what you're doing in each sector. ILD's increase your awareness of these sectors, enabling you to choose to do or not do "something" with each sector.

Drill: After a good warm up and a couple short, hard efforts to loosen up the legs, transition to ILD's:

  • Right Leg, Over the Barrel: Shift to a lower gear, lowering your cadence, and unclip your left leg. Pedaling only with the right leg, think "rolling the barrel" as your foot traces 11-2pm. Begin at lower cadence and increase your speed/cadence. At some cadence you'll experience a ratcheting of the pedal. Work to eliminate this ratcheting so that it occurs at higher and higher cadences. Do this for 30-60" seconds or stop when fatigue becomes to compromise your ability to perform the drill correctly. These are skills drills, we're not worried about your fitness here. Clip in, recover, spinning easily.
  • Left Leg, Over the Barrel: same drill, pedaling with left leg. After 30-60", clip in, recover.
  • Right Leg, Scrape Mud: same drill, thinking about scraping mud from the sole of our shoe from 5-8pm on the clock face. Again, start a lower cadence, increase until you experience the ratcheting effect, then try to eliminate. Over time, try to increase the cadence at which ratcheting occurs. After 30-60", clip in, recover.
  • Left Leg, Scrape Mud: same drill, left leg.

Focus Boxes

Purpose: To transfer the awareness of the sectors above into the entire pedaling action.

Drill: Perform immediately after ILD's. Divide the pedal stroke into four sides of a box. Then, while pedaling at a normal cadence, focus on one side of one box at a time for about 30". A sample focus progression might be: Right Top, Left Top, Right Bottom, Left Bottom, Right Up, Left Up, etc. The sides of the boxes are:

Top = 11-2pm
Down = 2-5pm
Bottom = 5-8pm
Up = 8-11pm

Spin Ups

Purpose: Increase the coordination of muscle groups through the pedaling circle.

As you do ILDs and Focus Boxes, it quickly becomes apparent that cadence plays a role. Specifically, what is easy to do at low cadence becomes more difficult at higher cadences. Pedaling requires Muscles A and B to contract and relax in a coordinated fashion: A contracts exactly as B relaxes. Your muscles can achieve this coordination when the movement is relatively slow, at lower cadences. However, at higher cadences your muscles can no longer fake the funk. A contracts before B relaxes. The result is often seen as a bouncing in the saddle at high cadence: your leg is trying to push down past 6pm, lifting you a bit from the saddle. SpinUps simply take you to this bouncing point and make you sit there for a bit, forcing your muscles to learn how to work together in a more coordinated fashion.

Drill: Do these at a low speed or resistance. It should feel as if your cranks are not even connected to the rear wheel through the chain. Again, this is a skills drill, not a fitness session.

  • Shift to an easy gear and increase cadence to where you begin to bounce in the saddle (usually 100-110rpm). Then back your cadence down a hair and spin there for 30-60. You'll notice that in addition to your legs feeling like they're spinning out of control, they also feel rather tense, like something is still contracted when it should be relaxed. This is exactly the point we are trying to take your body to.
  • Recover by shifting to lower cadence gear.
  • Repeat several times, trying to take the cadence up a bit higher each time.
  • 4-6 SpinUps is usually ideal.

After the drill just ride the bike at whatever cadence feels comfortable for you. You'll notice that this self-selected cadence has likely increased a good bit, just from this simple drill. You should also feel much smoother.

In summary, the bike goes faster when you put more watts to the rear wheel. You do this by pedaling the bike in a circular trajectory at the cranks. By becoming more aware of your pedal stroke you can choose to manipulate where and how you activate your leg muscles as your foot traces this circle.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Ergomo Coaching Center, powered by Crucible Fitness and Endurance Nation

Elite triathlon coaches Rich Strauss and Patrick McCrann launch the Ergomo Coaching Center, powered by Crucible Fitness and Endurance Nation. The site will offer sales and support to Ergomo customers via a library of technical videos, podcasts and a live customer service chat window. In addition, the Ergomo Coaching Center will host power-training resources as Rich and Patrick develop these products for their Endurance Nation members.

The Ergomo Coaching Center is an official, fully stocked Ergomo Dealer offering same day shipping on all Ergomo products. Every Ergomo purchase from the Ergomo Coaching Center also includes:

Questions? Ready to order? Contact us or visit the Ergomo Coaching Center today!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ergomo as a Training and Racing Tool

Powermeter discussions usually focus on hardware, installation, weight and, yes, even appearance. But as I am in the unique position of being both a powermeter retailer and a full-time triathlon coach, I'd like to share with you my thoughts on why the Ergomo is the best power training AND racing tool on the market today.

Before I begin, I have to clarify one thing: The most important component in any powermeter system is YOU, not the powermeter. Any powermeter is only as effective as your committment to making the investment to learn how to operate, train and race with it properly. This will require a good bit of work on your part. If you can't be bothered to wade through user manuals, books, articles, forums, learn how to use software tools, troubleshoot comm port issues, perform pre-flight checks on your powermeter, or even what buttons to push, then no powermeter is right for you. Powertraining requires you to work, on several levels, to yield a good return on your investment. There are lots of people out there with $3500 cyclecomputers, that look remarkably similar to SRMs, on their handlebars. They simply don't know how to use tool they've invested a lot of money in. Don't be that guy!

Software trumps Hardware
Having said that, the major selling point of the Ergomo for me (as a coach first and retailer second) is the software, not the hardware. The Ergomo's close integration with CyclingPeaks sets it apart from the competition. CyclingPeaks is the gold-standard of power analysis tools, having created a universe of terms and tools we use to analyze and understand power data. Ergomo has integrated CyclingPeaks into it's powermeter in two powerful ways: on your desktop and on the powermeter itself.

On your desktop, CyclingPeaks is the tool you use to download your ride from your Ergomo, configure the monitor, etc. Other powermeters come with proprietary software which is not nearly as powerful or as valuable as CyclingPeaks. So Powertap and SRM owners have to take the additional steps of learning they need to purchase CyclingPeaks, making the purchase, and then learning how to use it. In my experience, many don't make it to step #1, much less progress completely to step #3.

On the powermeter display, Ergomo puts critical CyclingPeaks-derived numbers right on the monitor. It is one thing finish your ride, take a shower, download the file and analyze Intensity Factor, Training Stress Score, and Normalized watts, turkey sandwich in hand. It is quite another to see, feel, taste, and smell those numbers in real-time, on the bike, in the middle of your ride. This allows an Ergomo user to adapt their effort during each and every ride - or race - for the desired outcome.

Learn Faster
The results of these two factors is that, in general, my own Ergomo-owning athletes leap farther and faster up the learning curve than my Powertap or SRM athletes. They are hit squarely between the eyes with these CyclingPeaks terms during their rides and then, since their download tool is CyclingPeaks, they have no choice but to learn how to analyze and manipulate their data and the software. Most of these athletes quickly reach an advanced interest and depth of understanding of powertraining that I've seen many Powertap and SRM athletes never achieve. Basically, the Ergomo is a superior teaching and learning tool (see my investment points above).

Your Best Race Day - Every Time
The ultimate expression of this Ergomo + CyclingPeaks relationship is race day. By analyzing the files of my athletes and through discussions with other coaches, I've refined my race day pacing guidance to the level that much of the guesswork has been taken out of the equation. Imagine that your legs are a bank account with a positive balance. Your goal on race day is to spend that money at a rate that leaves cash in the account so you have enough to spend on the run. The Ergomo is the only powermeter that places your spending rate AND bank balance in front of your nose, in real time. That is extremely powerful information to have on race day. And the longer the day, the higher the risk of failure, and the more valuable this information becomes.

Testimonial from Coach Patrick McCrann of Performance Training Systems; Qualified at IMUSA 2007 using Ergomo Pro
"I relied on my Ergomo Pro to make sure that I executed my race plan perfectly. I wanted to start conservative - despite the early hills - and have a solid second loop. I used my Ergomo to track the Stress Score (TSS) of each loop so I could tell the impact my effort was having on my body. Knowing I wanted to ride under 290, I could see at the end of the first loop with a score of 141 that I was in a great place to push lap two. Dialing the effort up, I was able to ride a 152 on the second lap (right up to my target number). This pacing allowed me to get my critical nutrition in early and enabled me to mitigate some of the effect that a late headwind started to have. I got off of the bike 100% confident that I could run at my high-end...and I did. See you in Kona!"

Go Ergomo, Dust the Competition
If you are truly interested in boosting your performance - and are ready to make the commitment to a tool that is just as serious as you are - get an Ergomo. I strongly suggest you purchase an Ergomo from a coaching expert because there is a serious technological - and individual - learning curve, one that you will need guidance to successfully complete. I have trained and coached with power exclusively since 2003, and have turned hundreds of athletes loose on the unknowing Ironman competition. Join the ranks of my Ergomo athletes and get ready to have your best year yet.

Update: Ergomo Releases Customization Firmware
In their continuing commitment to being the powermeter leader, the makers of Ergomo have released a firmware update and software program that allows users to customize their Ergomo display. No more staring at numbers that don't matter to you - you can swap them out for the ideal combination of real-time and cumulative-time data that you need to be your best.

Rich Strauss is the founder and head coach of Crucible Fitness, an Ergomo Coaching Center. Rich has been an Ironman-specific coach since 2001, power-specific since 2003, and has successfully trained over 200 Ironman finishers. Hundreds more have used his training plans, now in their third generation of development. Rich is also the co-founder, with Patrick McCrann, of Endurance Nation and IronCamp.