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Tom Francis – Belgium Bound – BPC Backed

This week marks a few milestones for us. One is that we will be attending the UCI Cyclocross World Championships this weekend. We cannot wait to witness the pain and suffering, while sitting in our overalls offering leafy greens as hand ups. It’s not every day you get to witness a World Championship caliber event.

Photos Courtesy of Southland Cycling

The next milestone is much more impactful on our business and legitimacy in this field. This week we finalized our agreement to coach our first international pro athlete. As of today, we will be coaching New Zealand native Tom Francis during his 7 month stint racing for Belgium pro team CT Tomacc. Tom has been a pro cyclist and triathlete since he was 19 years old, and has raced all over the world, including the Memphis in May triathlon. Most recently, Tom has been racing with Team New Zealand Pro Cycling Limited, and with his diesel engine, has taken the role of work horse extraordinaire. He will have a similar role with CT Tomacc, but BPC will play an important role in helping Tom improve his 5 min and below max power, while making sure he is getting adequate recovery so he can adapt to the training and race at a high level. We are more than up for the challenge, yet this will be an new experience balancing as many as 4 races a week with quality workouts and recovery. We are chomping at the bit…

Stay tuned to the site and our Facebook for updates on Tom’s adventures in Belgium. From time to time, we will be doing posts on his progress, and breakdowns of his race data. Tom will also be providing some race reports every so often to give everyone the inside scoop from a pro peleton.

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Going Short. Ramblings of an endurance coach…

What happened to wanting to go fast?

It seems like everyone wants to go farther or do something that involves mud, freezing cold, zombies, fire, and/or electrocution. You seldom hear people talk about ripping a 5k or blowing themselves up in a sprint triathlon. I know people are going to take this the wrong way, so don’t for a second dream that I don’t think an Iron distance triathlon, 100 mile run, or a mudder are not challenging. I know they are. They require huge commitments from all angles, and are amazing feats of endurance, dedication, and mental toughness. I’ve been there myself several times, and LOVE coaching people through ultra events.

I also know that scheduling family, work, [fill in the blank], and then training is no small feet. Sometimes it’s a struggle just to get in the required volume of training over 6 months to a year, when out of no where you have some factor on your balance sheet change, leaving you much less time to devote to your ultra endurance goal. Or you put in a season’s worth of training and end up going down on your bike 3 days before the big race and you now have to fight extra hard just to finish. Or how about the weather!? Say after a years worth of training you get dealt the coldest and windiest day of the year when the normal temperature is 20 degrees warmer. Having just one thing go wrong can really put a damper on an entire years worth of training.

If it is the challenge you are looking for, how about training to go as hard as you can at a season’s worth of 5/10k races, sprint or Olympic tris, time trials, road races, and crits? If you race to your body’s maximum ability, no matter the distance, you will feel just as crappy as if you just finished an ultra distance race…I promise. The good part!? You can recover from these events in just a few days and do it all over again the next weekend if you want! In today’s endurance community, going harder and not farther may not be as glorious as crossing the finish line of an iron distance tri, but it feels just as good afterward. And since you will actually be able to walk afterwards, you can enjoy the sites, fellowship, and fun of the post race festivities!

Along the same lines, we as amateur athletes also compete in endurance sports for health and fitness right? RIGHT!? Whether its to lose weight, or just have better overall health, we are not getting paid to compete. If you look at the fittest people at any race, are they not also usually the fastest? I know this doesn’t always hold true, but for the most part, fast people are fit people.

Many people training for a long distance event generally do high volume, low intensity training. Their focus is to get in the duration and fatigue resistance required to finish the race instead of training to get to the finish as fast as possible. Therefore, very little, if any intensity is a part of their training program. Training long duration at low intensity burns fewer calories per hour than high intensity exercise. Whether it comes from fat or stored glycogen, you still have to expend more calories in a day than you take in to lose weight.  Since it comes down to burned vs. consumed, equal physical fitness can be achieved through well planned high intensity exercise. Am I advocating that you should go hard all the time? NOPE. You need the aerobic base and fatigue resistance to go fast as well. But if you want to go fast, you have to train and race at high intensity, and high intensity burns a lot of fuel very quickly.

Lastly, let’s talk about the financial aspect of going fast vs. going long. Right now the average domestic iron distance race costs around $2500 just in the race fee and travel (not counting our family coming to support us). If you solely factor out the race fee of around $625, you could essentially enter 6-10 shorter triathlons for the same amount. If in the true spirit of the multisport lifestyle you are also a cyclist or runner, with the average race costing about $30, that is a lot of racing! You can get your endorphin and/or pain fix almost every weekend! Do I advocate racing every weekend? NOPE. That’s how divorces and over training happen. Just sayin’.

In short, I am not in any way, shape, or form saying no one should ever go long. I enjoy beating myself half to death for hours too. I also love helping people reach goals they thought would never be possible for them. It’s just as much of a rush being the coach of someone who crosses that finish line. And I would NEVER tell anyone to give up on their goals. All I am saying is that there is nothing wrong with focusing on speed in shorter distance races rather than going all in on a single ultra distance event. Also, short course events are great race prep for long course events. The most specific form of training is racing! I think some folks are forgetting the reason(s) why they started competing in endurance sports to begin with. Have fun with it!

I’ll leave you with the words of the great NASCAR legend Ricky Bobby… “I just wanna go fast.”

2012 BPC Coaching Policies

Effective January 23, 2012

BPC offers 3 different levels of sport performance and fitness coaching. Each level differs in the amount of contact the athlete has with their coach, as well as in the frequency of program monitoring and changes that are made to the program. Please see our website for the present coaching levels and pricing.

The following are policies that adhere to all monthly coaching packages:

I. Description and details

A. Athlete(s) commit to a set coaching level based on their desire to have contact with their coach and have their program altered on a monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly basis.

B.  BPC coaches develop training sessions based around clients goals and current fitness levels.

C. BPC coach sets all durations and intensities for the client.

D. Athlete(s) receive discounted pricing for agreeing to an extended contract of 3 or more months.

II. Payment

A. Payment for monthly coaching is made prior to services being rendered.

B. Payment can be made via check, cash, or by credit or debit card.

C. All payments are due on the same day each month. Failure to pay within 10 days of your invoice date can result in a late fee of 1.5%. Failure to pay within 30 days may result in termination of services and contract. Please see Canceling Contract below for contract cancellation liability.

III. Canceling Contract

A. If a client fails to pay their monthly fees within 30 days, their contract may be cancelled by BPC.

B. If a client’s contract is cancelled, client is still liable to pay any outstanding monthly fees.

C. If a client cancels prior to contract duration, client is required to pay back any and all discounts they were granted by committing to an extended contract. The cancellation fee schedule will be based on the present monthly rate of coaching packages and personal sessions.

D. If a clients contract is terminated, and the client wishes to continue training, a new contract must be signed.

E. Termination of a client’s contract will result in losing any existing discounts, pricing, or specials they may have received in their previous contract.

IV. Training Downtime/Freezing Account

A. If a client must halt their training for a time period greater than or equal to 30 days, the client acknowledges that their contract may be canceled by BPC and they will be liable for any remaining fees and/or cancellation fees.

B. If a client wishes to halt their training, but wants to retain their present pricing, a client may freeze their account at half (50%) of their monthly invoice. Once the account is frozen, the client is not entitled to any training services as described in their contract. If the client continues training prior to the next billing cycle, they will be charged their full monthly fees for the present month. Any additional monthly fees will be added to the following month’s invoice.

BPC Personal and Group Training Policies

BPC offers its clients two options for personal and group training sessions. This document outlines these two options and the policies that are established for each. Please note that monthly coaching programs are treated separately, but the personal session option one chooses may affect your monthly program pricing.

1. Month-to-Month Session Commitment:

I. Description and details

A. Athlete(s) commit to a set number of sessions per month. This does not guarantee the same number of sessions per week. If the number of monthly sessions is reached prior to the end of the billing cycle, the client has the option to add additional sessions for the month at the same rate. These additional sessions will be billed on the following month’s invoice.

B.  BPC coaches develop training sessions based around clients goals and current fitness levels.

C. Sessions are carried out at remote training locations mutually agreed upon by client and coach.

D. BPC coach supplies any resistance training equipment necessary for the personal session. Any sport specific equipment is the responsibility of the client.

E. Athletes must come prepared and on time to participate in the training session. This includes, but is not limited to, wearing proper clothing, bringing proper and mechanically sound equipment, and bringing any necessary nutritional items (water bottle, food, etc), etc. Failure to do so will result in loss of training time with your coach and/or forfeiting the session. If the athlete is more than 20 minutes late, the training session will be automatically forfeited by the athlete.

F. Sessions take place on the same day(s) and time(s) each week. This reserves the client’s time slot.

G. Athlete(s) receive discounted session pricing for agreeing to train on set day(s) and time(s) and/or ALWAYS training as a group.

II. Payment

A. Payment for personal or group sessions is made prior to services being rendered.

B. Payment can be made via check, cash, or by credit or debit card.

C. All payments are due on the same day each month. Failure to pay within 10 days of your invoice date can result in a late fee of 1.5%. Failure to pay within 30 days may result in termination of services and contract. Please see Canceling Contract below for contract cancellation liability.

III. Canceling/Rescheduling Sessions

A. All sessions are to be performed on the same day(s) and time(s) each week as agreed upon in the client’s contract. If a client must reschedule a session, BPC will in good faith try to arrange a new date and/or time for the session. If a new date and time cannot be agreed upon by coach and client, the session will be forfeited by the client.

B. If a client must reschedule a session, client must do so within 24 hours of the client’s planned session date and time. Failure to do so will result in the client forfeiting the session.

C. If the client cancels a session with their coach, that session will be forfeitied by the client and BPC is not liable to reschedule or credit the client for the session.

D. If BPC cancels a session with a client, BPC will attempt to reschedule the session. If no date and time can be agreed upon by coach and client, the session will be credited on the following month’s invoice. BPC reserves the right to make up sessions canceled by a coach in the following ways:

    1. Rescheduling session for another day/time.

    2. Adding time to future sessions.

IV. Inclement Weather

A. BPC is not responsible for sessions cancelled due to weather or Acts of God. If a session is cancelled due to weather prior to the session beginning, BPC will attempt to reschedule with the client, but this does not guarantee the session will take place. If the session is not able to be rescheduled, that session will be credited on the following months invoice.

B. If a session must be cancelled due to weather or Acts of God during the session, BPC will attempt to add the remaining time onto a future session or sessions.

C. If a session is canceled 45 minutes or later into a session, the session will be considered complete and no extra time will be added to a future session.

V. Canceling Contract

A. If a client fails to pay their monthly fees within 30 days, their contract may be cancelled by BPC.

B. If a client’s contract is cancelled, client is still liable to pay any outstanding monthly fees.

C. If a client cancels prior to contract duration, client is required to pay back any and all discounts they were granted by committing to an extended contract. The cancellation fee schedule will be based on the present monthly rate of coaching packages and personal sessions.

D. If a clients contract is terminated, and the client wishes to continue training, a new contract must be signed.

E. Termination of a client’s contract will result in losing any existing discounts, pricing, or specials they may have received in their previous contract.

VI. Special Considerations for Group Sessions

A. People that agree to train as a group must ALWAYS train as a group.

B. The group is responsible for choosing a day and time in advance that is convenient for the group. The chosen training time will be reflected on each persons’ contract.

C. BPC will NOT split training sessions for groups.

D. BPC will perform a training session without the full group present. However, the session will count for all participants in the group.

E. Group sessions will not be rescheduled.

VII. Training Downtime/Freezing Account

A. If a client must halt their training sessions, but wishes to continue their coaching, the client forfeits any discounts and remaining monthly training sessions and will be charged the full present coaching rate. BPC is not responsible for the remaining monthly training sessions.

B. If a client wishes to halt their training completely, but wants to retain their present pricing, a client may freeze their account at half their monthly fees. Once the account is frozen, the client is not entitled to any training services as described in their contract. If the client continues training prior to the next billing cycle, they will be charged their full monthly fees for the present month. Any additional monthly fees will be added to the following month’s invoice.

2. Session Packages:   

A. Athlete(s) purchase a set number of sessions at one time. This does not guarantee the same number of sessions per week. More sessions can be purchased at any time.

B.  BPC coaches develop training sessions based around clients goals and current fitness levels.

C. Sessions are carried out at remote training locations mutually agreed upon by client and coach.

D. BPC coach supplies any resistance training equipment necessary for the personal session. Any sport specific equipment is the responsibility of the client.

E. Athletes must come prepared and on time to participate in the training session. This includes, but is not limited to, wearing proper clothing, bringing proper and mechanically sound equipment, and bringing any necessary nutritional items (water bottle, food, etc), etc. Failure to do so will result in loss of training time with your coach and/or forfeiting the session. If the athlete is more than 20 minutes late, the training session will be automatically forfeited by the athlete.

F. BPC prefers that the athlete train on the same day and time each week. This insures the athlete is guaranteed a training time slot with their coach. However, days and times will be coordinated by athlete and coach on a weekly basis.

G. Athlete(s) receive discounted pricing for purchasing a bulk amount of sessions at one time.

II. Payment

A. Payment for personal or group session packages is made prior to services being rendered.

B. Payment must be made in full and can be made via check, cash, or by credit or debit card. If desired, BPC will bill groups separately for the total amount divided by the number of people in the group. Services will not be rendered until all group members are paid in full.

III. Canceling/Rescheduling Sessions

A. If a client or group must reschedule a session, client or group must do so within 24 hours of the planned session date and time. Failure to do so will result in the client or group forfeting the session.

B. If the client or group cancels a session with their coach within 24 hours of the session, that session will not be counted against the remaining sessions. If the client or group fails to cancel within 24 hours of the session day and time, that session will be forfetied by the client or group.

C. If BPC cancels a session with a client or group, BPC will attempt to reschedule the session. If no date and time can be agreed upon by coach and client(s), the session will not count against the remaining sessions.

IV. Session Expiration

A. All session packages have an expiration date.

    1. Packages of 3 or less sessions expire 30 days from purchase

    2. Packages of 4 to 8 sessions expire 60 days from purchase

    3. Packages of 8 or more sessions expire 90 days from purchase

V. Inclement Weather

A. If a session is cancelled due to weather, BPC will attempt to reschedule with the client or group. Sessions cancelled due to weather will not count against the clients’ remaining sessions.

B. If a session must be cancelled due to weather or Acts of God during the session, BPC will attempt to add the remaining time onto a future session or sessions.

C. If a session is canceled 45 minutes or later into a session, the session will be considered complete and no extra time will be added to a future session.

VI. Special Considerations for Group Sessions

A. People that agree to train as a group must ALWAYS train as a group.

B. The group is responsible for choosing a day and time in advance that is convenient for the group.

C. BPC will NOT split training sessions for groups.

D. BPC will perform a training session without the full group present. However, the session will count for all participants in the group.

Victories and PR’s are Solidified in the Off-Season

For most cyclists and triathletes, race season is coming to a close. Many of you will focus on another sport such as running, mountain biking, or cyclocross. The other side may throw their bike in the garage, cancel their pool membership, and go from a Saturday long ride to a long day of tailgating and football. Neither of which are the greatest ideas when looking to reach peak performance next spring and summer. Here are a few pointers to help you get through the off season and have you ready to rock come next race season.

1. Take a 2-3 week mental and physical break – Jumping from one sport to another and continuing to train like you are in the middle of a peak is a recipe for burnout. Once your final race of the season is complete, take 2-3 weeks to enjoy your life and your family again. Cut your training volume to what a normal rest week would be for you. If you don’t feel like training one day, don’t. Don’t feel like swimming one week? Don’t. Let your mind and body refresh and you will find a whole new level of motivation to train through the cold winter months.

2. Don’t jump right into another race season – Racing without a base usually means poor performance. During a season of racing, Saturday and Sunday long rides usually turn into a very intense road race one day and a crit the next. Or in the case of a triathlon, a race one day and a possible rest day the next. Regardless, base is more than aerobic conditioning. Base training creates a resistance to fatigue that can’t be achieved through high intensity exercise. Let’s face it, racing is the most intense workout we can do. If we race every weekend, then jump into more racing, we will not only sacrifice valuable base, but we also run the risk of becoming over trained.

3. Work on your limiters – The off season is the best time to work on your limiters. For some it might be strength, for others technique. During the off season, we can afford to make a few mistakes along the way. Not saying get yourself injured, but you can afford to spend some time getting to know and improving upon your top end fitness without worrying about degrading the quality of the next days workouts. If you don’t know your limiters, and you have no clue where your fitness ceiling is, it makes it very difficult to do any workouts with purpose and specificity.

4. Hire a coach – This one is more than just a shameless plug. Coaches understand how important the off season is to in-season performance. Even with a decrease in total training volume per week, a coach can create and execute a program that will have you where you need to be come next race season. A coach will get the most out of any volume allotment you give them, and also balance in work, family, and the unexpected that life throws at you. We take the thought process out of performance training.

5. Keep up the frequency – If you train 6 days a week now, try to maintain that over the off season. Frequency is the hardest aspect to reintroduce into a training program. A the same time, the same or increased frequency is better for weight management during the off season.

6. Eat based on energy expenditure – Nothing like trying to lose the 15 pounds you gained in the off season before the first race of the year. If you are decreasing your volume per week from 15 hours to 10 hours, you don’t need as many calories per day as when you were doing 15 hour weeks. This is also a good time to work on bettering you eating habits so you can try to take them into the next race season. Cut out processed sports supplements and focus on fresh whole foods. This will help your body become more efficient in using fat as fuel during exercise.

7. Cross Train – No I don’t mean cross the train tracks on your way to the doughnut shop. I mean add in some other forms of training besides just swimming, cycling, or running. Although you should do some cross training in season, the off season is the best time to gain strength, fix muscular imbalances, and build functional power. Other endurance sports are great cross training, but be careful about continuing to lay on a giant workload. Your body has to recover at some point. Make sure it is on your terms and not when your body forces you to.

8. Speed is a skill, it can be taught – One of my favorite mantras. For many of us, whether we know it or not, biomechanics is a limiter. The good thing is, with the right instruction, and a sharp eye (or video camera), small changes in biomechanics can boast huge gains in performance. Take the off season to better you swim stroke, pedal stroke, bike fit, and running mechanics. These changes will pay dividends come next race season.

9. Don’t forget recovery! – Many people think that they don’t have to set recovery weeks during the off season. WRONG. If you are trying to inhibit adaptions in the body (via the proper workload), they will not take place until the body rests and full heals itself. Without recovery, there is no adaption!

10. Have fun! – If you don’t enjoy the process of being an endurance athlete, then you may want to question your participation in endurance sports. However, the off season is a time to have a lot more freedom to do what you want, spend more time with family, and not worry if you miss a workout here and there. Train smart, then train hard.

 

If you have any questions about how we can help you have a productive off season, contact us at info@buildpeakcompete.com

Why You SHOULD Change Your Running Technique – Elastic Recoil

Ok so you’ve waited long enough. Here comes another piece to the speed and efficiency puzzle. If you missed Volume 1 on Impact, check it out!

In this installment, I wanted to point out the benefits of elastic recoil in regards to ground contact time while running. This topic is pretty straight forward, but astonishing nonetheless.

Our muscles are very elastic, much like a rubber band. When stretched, a muscle will store some of the the energy used during the stretching process. When the muscle can’t stretch any farther, the energy is released and the muscle will recoil. The easiest example is to stretch your finger back as far as it will go (without dislocating it) and let it go. Wham! See how fast your finger moved? Now try to move it that fast just contracting the muscles in your hand and forearm. Not gonna happen. The other part to the equation is that the faster you load and stretch the muscles the faster they will recoil. This can be exemplified easily by doing 2 different vertical jump tests. On jump 1, slowly lower yourself to a squat position, pause at the bottom, and then jump as high as you can. On jump 2, start from standing, quickly drop to a position between a quarter and parallel squat and explode off the ground. Which one sent you sky high, and which one seemed like a lot of work?

So breaking down the movement of a heel striker, we get heel contact with an extended leg. This essentially prevents quick stretching of the major muscle groups upon ground contact. No quick stretch, no recoil. That means it is almost 100% up to you to expend energy to make muscle contractions necessary to keep yourself moving forward. The second part to a heel strike gait is rolling from heel to toe. This movement is a huge source of wasted time and is the main source of time savings for midsole runners. More on that in a second, which includes my sales pitch to also start midsole running. The last part of the heel strike mechanic is toe off, which is actually done by contracting the calf muscles, which constitutes more muscle contractions, and more energy expended. We will talk about energy expenditure in Volume 3.

Enough about the heel strikers, let’s get to the good stuff. Those that also jump on the midsole bandwagon take full advantage of the laws of gravity and our bodies natural physiology. When the foot contacts the ground via the midsole, AND the foot is under the center of gravity, the calf muscles are immediately stretched with the help of gravity pulling you back to the earth. Once the calf is fully stretched, there is a reflexive response in the body that tells the muscles to recoil in order preserve the integrity of the muscles being stretched. This is known as the stretch shortening cycle, and creates a very powerful and efficient movement. This is not to say that you cannot heel strike under your hip. Simply landing under the hip with a slightly bent leg creates the same response in most of the major muscle groups. Thus, creating more speed laden forces.  However, the calves have one of the fastest contractile velocities of any muscle in the body which means they have the ability to create a lot of extra force. Heel striking takes the calf recoil out of the picture.

Prepare for my midsole sales pitch. Here come the numbers.

There have not been a ton of studies on ground contact time, but the main argument is that midsole runners spend less time on the ground. That’s obvious. But how much time is saved? With sprinters and mainstream athletes, we aim to reduce ground contact time by .005 seconds. This basically turns into about a .2 seconds savings over a 40 yard dash. That is just an example of how the savings stack up over a short distance. One study found that elite marathoners that ran midsole vs heel strike saved about .016 seconds on the ground per stride. Now lets do some math. Most people are in the 1000-1200 strides per mile range. Staying on the low end, that would total a time savings of 49.6 seconds over a 5k, 99.2 seconds over a 10k, ~3.5 min over a half marathon, and ~7 minutes over a full marathon! Obviously you don’t have too go straight to midsole running, but bringing your foot contact under your center of mass is a must.

As a disclaimer, these numbers are not perfect and are based on a small sampling of elite runners. Many will argue that stride length is not taken into consideration when figuring these time savings. Some want to argue that the time savings on the ground can be negated by a shorter stride length. But the fact of the matter is that with shorter ground contact time comes bigger force application to the ground, and, in turn, greater stride length. In light of that, midsole runners save time on the ground, travel farther per stride, and typically make more strides per second. That is pretty straight forward.

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Until next time,

~Dale