I love Louisville in the summer time much more than any other season. Outdoor swimming, longer days, and lots of group rides. This one is dubbed the Fruit Ride. Not really sure why it is called that since we don’t go by any thing that grows fruit. But, this is one of my favorite group rides that happens during the summer. Lots of good climbing, fast descents, and lots of attacking on the ride due to low traffic on the country roads around the Crestwood and Anchorage areas. Check out this video for some of the sights during the ride.
While competing at the pro level, one of the biggest differences between racing at the age group level and the pro level is the importance of the swim. I’m far from the best swimmer out there, but with the help of Lakeside Seahawks and their coach, Nate, I’ve made some big improvements in my swim in the last year and half. One of the things they really worked with me on is developing a good catch. Something I would argue that most triathletes don’t actually have (I am still trying to make mine better too). What is a good catch? Basically, it’s anchoring your forearm and hand in the water and moving your body past it it. Getting a good catch takes time, drills, practice, more time, more practice, and more time! Breaking those bad habits can be rough. (I speak from experience!)
What I find interesting among triathletes and most triathlon coaches is how much they stress a good catch (and body position). This is a great place to start, but I rarely see people get past this. The stroke seems to be stuck at a very rigid, almost robotic, movement. In a sense, they have all the steps correct, but the smoothness and quickness of their arms is lacking. The rate at which your arms move through the water is called arm turnover. This is very important to efficient swimming, especially in open water.
To help make the connection to how important arm turnover is, let’s compare it cycling and the RPM of your legs. Pretty much everyone knows that the ideal cadence for people is somewhere around 90-100. Why is that? At higher RPM’s, you rely less on muscular endurance and glycogen stores and tax your cardiovascular system and fat stores more. A lower cadence, such as one in the low to mid 80’s, starts using more muscular strength and glycogen stores. (Those glycogen stores are crucial to a good run after biking.) The same holds true with with swimming. A faster arm turnover means you are using less muscular strength and relying more on cardiovascular fitness.
The second reason I believe a higher turnover in the swim is important is more crucial to open water swim success than pool swimming. Open water naturally has more chop in it from the waves and other athletes thrashing around you. If you have a larger time between strokes, the water slows you down and you have to accelerate back to your speed with each stroke. Just as it is with driving a car, the more you slow down and accelerate, the less miles per gallon you get due wasted energy. The human body is no different.
The next big question within this question is, “how do I know what my arm turnover should be?” Obviously someone swimming 1:10/100 meters is going to have a different arm turnover than someone swimming 2:00/100 meters. There are also other variables involved, such as the height of the athlete, arm length, and how efficient their stroke is, etc., but here is a graph to give you a range to shoot for:
Your goal should be to be somewhere in the white area based on your 100 meter time. If you only have a 25 yard pool at your disposal, the easiest way to convert to meters is to add about 10% of your time (convert to seconds and multiply by 1.1 to get your 100 meter time).
Faster arm turnover doesn’t mean you are allowed to start thrashing in the water again with no regard to form or technique. It just means that you need to cut out pauses in the stroke and have a faster recovery portion of your stroke (as in when your hand exits the water by your waist and re-enters past your head).
Here is a great example of fast arm turnover from some of the best swimming triathletes out there in the ITU circuit.
You gotta love a hard group ride. And they don’t get much harder than riding with some Cat 1 cyclists and some former professional cyclists that live in Louisville, KY. Once it warms up in the spring, a weekly evening ride on Tuesdays is one of my favorite training sessions. The cyclists here like to call it Tuesday Night Worlds. Hang on to your helmets and see a little bit of it for yourself from my perspective aboard my Argon 18 bike.
This video shows me doing the run test on the BSX Insight and how it works. It is super simple, blood free, and can be done anywhere there is a treadmill. This device is incredibly useful for any biker, runner, or triathlete that wants to get faster. Use coupon code MAVMIKE to save $40 on the BSX Insight Multisport Unit! #StopthePricks
Over the last couple days, I complied some video of the Maverick squad prepping for 70.3 Puerto Rico. Race goes off in less than 24 hours from now. Looking forward to getting this season started!
I made a short, fun video on some ideas on how to properly taper and be ready for you next 70.3 triathlon. Enjoy!
When I first started getting serious about triathlons, I did most of my training on my own. I hired a coach and pretty much did everything to get race ready solo. I had a lot of room for improvement and the progress came relatively quickly. But in the last 18 months, I came to the realization that if I wanted to get faster I needed to start training with people that would push me, challenge me every day, and maybe even humble me a little bit. I slowly got outside of my own training bubble and began searching out other groups to train with on a regular basis. The purpose of this blog is two fold: 1. Encourage people to find a group of people that will challenge/push you to new limits in training (or any area of life), and 2. A small way to say thanks to the groups I train with in Louisville on a regular basis.
Maverick Multisport connected me with the Lakeside Seahawks, a local swim team in Louisville, KY that has consistently ranked in the top 10 in the nation for kids swim teams. Simply put, these kids can swim! Not too many kids that are literally half my age (some less than that) can deflate your ego in the pool outside this swim team. Between the kids challenging me outside my comfort zone every week and the coaches being more than helpful with critiquing my swim stroke and providing crazy swim sets, where I was in the pool and where I am at now is literally night and day. So, thank you to all the kids on the team for allowing a 27 (almost 28) year old triahlete take part the lane. I don’t think you all know how much you’ve helped me develop into a better swimmer/triathlete.
Moving along in the order of the race, I started seeking out cyclist in Louisville (Purple rides group) that are Cat 1 and Cat 2 riders around the middle of last season. They were kind enough to allow a guy with aerobars show up to their group rides and not turn me away. They definitely helped me stay motivated on the bike and push through discomfort that I wouldn’t be able to get through on my own. So, hopefully I’ll be seeing more these guys in 2015 once the weather warms up.
Most recently, I started running about three times a week with Spalding University’s Cross country and and track team. Coach Kevin and Coach Sowder were okay with me showing up to their practices as they fit my plan given to me by my coach, Brian Grasky. I feel like a big part of what I was missed while training on my own was the track and speed work that we’ve done on the track recently. I’ve noticed my aerobic runs have gotten faster, my tempo runs have become faster and I have more confidence in how fast I can run. The guys on the team have been great in not only pushing me outside my comfort zone, but also helping me enjoy running more than I ever have.
Of course, I have to say thanks to my coach Brian Grasky for looking at these training schedules from the swim team and cross country team and telling me when it is good to join them and when workouts can be tweaked a little to fit the plan to get me race ready. Otherwise, I would be aimlessly training. He has gone above and beyond already this year to help me use my local resources to get faster while taking his vast knowledge of racing and performance to know when I need to do things on my own.
So thank you Lakeside, Purple Riders, Spalding XC/track team, and Brian Grasky for making training my fun, motivating me, humbling me, and contributing to the success I’ve had thus far. And making training much more enjoyable than training on my own.
This is the third year that I’ve been on the Maverick Multisport team, and it is the second year of having a pre-season camp. The team director, Chris Hutchens, worked extremely hard to make this camp a success and have a TON of value in it. Big names from the triathlon industry came into town and helped make this camp a success, such as John Cobb, Christie O’Hara, Alex Bok, Michael Foland, and Jeremy Brown. Due to the time restraint of getting everything done, the camp was very structured. But we managed to get everything done, somehow. Bike fits with John Cobb, spin scans with Christie O’Hara, lactate threshold testing with Jeremy Brown, nutrition talk with Michael Foland, and a talk on the business side of triathlon from Alex Bok. Words can not express how much this last weekend motivated me to make 2015 the best season yet. I also feel extremely lucky/blessed to be part of Maverick Multisport. To only be in its third year and be able to attract the quality of sponsors we have as a team is remarkable, to say the least. I owe a lot my success that I started having in the last couple years to Maverick Multisport and the sponsors associated with us.
I decided to make a video recap of the weekend instead of the typical written blog, because I feel like I can’t put into words what I experienced this last weekend. It was truly amazing! I’m incredibly thankful for the support of the sponsors and teammates as we begin the 2015. Again, thank you to everyone that helped make this last weekend successful and an enjoyable experience.
Another video to help runners and triathletes get stronger, faster and avoid injury. This one targets the hips, core/back and upper legs. Brought to you by:
Duro-last Roofing – Manufacturing products for the worlds best roof in Saginaw, MI. Find your local contractor for your flat roofing needs at www.duro-last.com
BSX Athletics – Developers of the world’s first wearable lactate threshold testing unit. Find out more information at their website. Use MAVMIKE to save $40 on their multisport unit.
Another strength and conditioning video. This time I threw in swiss balls routine and a homemade TRX routine. After all, most triathletes are flat broke, so I made my own using supplies from any home improvement store. 2 lashing straps, caribeaner, PVC piping, and rope. $20-ish vs over a $100 for store bought TRX bands. Works just as well too.
This video is brought to you by:
Duro-Last Roofing – located in Michigan, this company makes flat roofing supplies to make the best roof in the world. Go to www.duro-last.com to find a local contractor to install your new flat roof.
JayBird – wireless earbuds and activity tracker with their new Reign product. check them out at www.jaybirdsport.com