Ironman Certified Coach

IM certification logo

Last week I gained my IRONMAN Coach Certification.  I think it is important to constantly further my own knowledge and skill set so I can be of more benefit to my current athletes and future ones.  I’ve been coaching athletes to Ironman finishes all over the world, so it doesn’t really change much in that regard, but there were certainly some new things I picked up, and will implement these in training plans in future.  I get a real kick out of coaching people to long distance events such as the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 distance.  Seeing their faces and hearing their joy having knocked over their event goals gives me a real thrill.

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The coursework and assessment process was a pretty slick operation and I was impressed with the way it was delivered.  Obviously there was a price tag to this, and it was reasonably hefty, but so are many online courses.  It’s just one of those expenses to be incurred in business.  There are some ongoing fees if I want to be part of the IRONMAN Coach Match system, but I will do some evaluation first to see if it is feasible for me to do this.  I intend to leverage this as much as I can through our other marketing channels as well.

The knowledge I’ve gained from the recent certification courses will help a lot, not only for our Custom Coached athletes, but also for the plans we prepare for our Subscription members.

My aim has always been to make Foot Traffic Coaching one of the first choices for people to come to when making a decision on employing a Triathlon Coach.  Obviously whether they decide to go with us or not is the athlete’s own choice, but if people are at least inquiring further about our services then I know we are doing things right with getting the message out there.  Having Triathlon New Zealand and IRONMAN Coach Certifications strengthens our message even more.

Check out our website if you are interested in learning more about the services we provide.  Please feel free to contact us if you require more information.  You can become a Foot Traffic Coached athlete from as little as $US9.95/month and we even have a risk free 14 day trial period so you can check it out before committing.

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How to nail an Ironman run…don’t nail the Ironman bike.

Edited 16/12/2015 – The athlete this article refers to was awarded ‘Athlete of the Week’ on the IM Talk Podcast this week.  How cool!  Here’s the link to their podcast. http://www.imtalk.me/home/2015/12/14/imtalk-episode-494-karlyn-pipes.html

We all know how important the Ironman run is. It is here that the race is defined. It the part of the day that hopes and dreams can be solidified or lost for good. Of course you are going to make the finish, but will you do it in the time you hope, with all your marbles intact and ready to come back fired up to strike in the next race. For so many, infact probably the majority, the run leg of an Ironman becomes a point in the race where you are just hanging on for survival. Very few athletes are able to press on and build their effort through the run leg, and the reality is that even the fastest runners on the day are slowing down as each KM goes by. The athlete who slows down the least is the one who runs the best, and this may also be the person who runs the best when they are feeling the worst.

But the success of your Ironman run leg is determined by what you were doing to yourself many hours earlier, when you were on the bike leg. And the first few KM’s are as important as the closing part of the bike leg. Making a conscious effort to stick to a predetermined intensity, and being disciplined enough to do just this is the recipe to Ironman run success. A power meter makes this job so much easier.  It can be done with an understanding of your perceived effort and Heart Rate, and a bit of practice in the lead up to an event, but the power meter makes it easier to manage and the post-race analysis of the bike leg a lot more interesting and fun.

It is a well known assumption that a TSS score of 280 points is the recipe to Ironman success. Exceed this and you run the risk that you pushed too hard, go under it too much and you are probably not pushing hard enough and will take too long than you need to on the bike. Taking this knowledge forward you can very easily prepare a power plan for an Ironman bike leg. But your method of getting to this 280 point value is as important as simply achieving it. You don’t want to get there having surged over and under your target watts value over the course of the ride, so a power variability of 3-5% (1.03-1.05) is about the target to hit, and less variability is better again. A greater variable effort is more fatiguing than an even steady output. The athlete who can keep variability low is more focused on the process of racing rather than external factors such as course, conditions, other athletes. This is where the benefits will be found later in the run.

We also know that coming off an Ironman bike leg at about 71-73% of FTP range is ideal for most well trained age group athletes. This is assuming their FTP has been accurately calculated, and they have trained at such intensities.

The other thing is to make sure fueling is consistent and the athlete has the right amount going in for the work they are doing. This helps to deliver the athlete to the start of the run with the least amount of physiological fatigue. The success of this can be determined by viewing the decoupling measure (pw:hr) over the course of the ride. Any thing under 5% can be considered a successful delivery of effort and a very efficient athlete. The amount of decoupling is also dependant on power variability, so it is important to get that mix right.

I recently had an athlete achieve their IM run goal of going under 4hrs. They went 3:58, so that box was ticked. There was a bit of a wobble during the mid-portion of the race (who doesn’t have that happen, but they pulled it back together and finished strong) owing to their fantastic aerobic capacity and strong-mindedness. During the process of getting this run time they took 40mins off their best IM bike split, and took nearly 60mins off their previous best IM time….so it was a very successful day. For me the greatest success came in the way the bike leg was managed.

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Have a look at this pic of their bike leg summary. You will see all the key milestones were reached – 285TSS, 2.38% decoupling, only 1% variability (can’t get much better than that over 180km), 72% of FTP. I can tell you that this athlete is one of the most meticulous I have worked with, and this is reflected in the way the bike plan was adhered to, especially on a day the conditions played a major role, and a lot of people blew their races with poorly managed performances on the bike.

This didn’t come by mistake. We had discussed at length as to what would be the optimal power plan for the race, and even had a few scenarios incase things out of our control caused a sudden change in plans. With this athlete being on our Custom Coaching Data+ plan we utilised some online power prediction software, and changed the plan as the weather forecast changed in the days leading up to the race. A bike vs car crash 2 weeks prior didn’t even have any significant negative effect, in fact it probably even helped the taper as there was no training for a few days post accident.  We even fine tuned the training sessions in the few days before the event to make sure race-day was hit with the optimal balance of fitness, freshness and mental readiness.

It was awesome for me to see these goals get achieved, and I’m looking forward for what might come next….after a well deserved break from training for starters as this has been a long focused campaign.

For more information on our Custom Coaching and Custom Coaching Data+ services please email rob@foottraffic.co.nz or check our website www.foottrafficcoaching.com you can also find out some information on our subscription coaching memberships, and the training plans you will gain access to here. We have a free 14 day trial membership for you to take some time to check it out.

We have a Podcast!

I figure Podcasts are a great way to get our message out to our athletes and other interested people, so I had a go putting one together.  I hope to get more skilled as time goes by and I might even to a point where I can add cool sounding effects to it.

Check out episode one HERE

I have a chat to Anna Lorimer about some of the new training plans we have added to the database for our subscription members.  We talk about a funny experience I had at the Tinman Triathlon last weekend.  I interview Sam Clark, Professional Multisporter, Ironman, pretty much whatever else he turns his hand to

 

I’d love your feedback

A few months ago we set up an interesting new alternative to our usual Custom Coaching Membership service, subscription membership. The main reason for this was that with time being limited, and only being able to coach a finite number of people (but still wanting to be able to help a lot more people with their training) I wasn’t able to have the influence on many more athletes, despite really wanting to. The typical Coaching Model isn’t scalable to larger numbers, and if we took on more Custom Athletes as demand increases we would be forced to turn people away. We added another Coach to our staff (Anna Lorimer) and she has helped significantly, but eventually she will fill up too, and we will be in the same predicament. In a service industry such as this time is limited, and the more people you pack into a group the less time you can spend on each person, and the more diluted the message becomes. I’m sure I’m not the only Coach who has come across this problem.

It was suggested to me a looong time ago (2 years is a long time in Small Business terms) by my good mate Cam Langsford (www.trainingtilt.com fame) that the subscription method of coaching is the future, as it is something that allows a coach to create training plans and scale it for a large number of people, over many different events. The athlete still has access to a high level of coaching services by using various member only features, which are made available upon reisgtering. This is something that has been done in many different industries. There are a few other Coaching organisations that provide subscription services and I have watched closely how they are implemented, delivered and managed. It’s a cool way feed training plans and advice to a large group of people, but still managing to have an element of customisation, that you don’t get from a generic ‘Off The Shelf’ plan.

The way our system works is you sign up and create your own user profile. You choose the plan you want to follow to train to your target event, and then utilise the additional resources and community components within your Member Dashboard to help you further develop the skills and motivation you require to put that plan in place, and hopefully achieve your goals. We are regularly adding more and more training plans, some of which will allow you to use macro and meso-cycles to focus on specific components of your training (Increased bike power, Run speed, Race Specific work, Tapering, Recovery phases etc…).

The ideal user for this system is the athlete who wants to have a training plan that is built by a professional coach but doesn’t want the same level of financial, emotional and physical commitment. You may be a beginner, or an expereinced seasoned athlete, it doesn’t matter….if you need a training plan, but not necessarily a full time coach I’d like to think we have accounted for most cases here, and if we haven’t got something for you here then we want to add it.

Obviously being the creator of this system, and not the user I don’t see it the same way others would, so I’d really like you to give me some honest feedback. If there is an area that needs to be improved then I want to be able to do that and develop a product that useful and effective, and therefore something you would recommend to your friends. You may not require it, but you might have someone in mind that would benefit from membership, and can put them on to it. It’s a fairly nominal price to sign up, and can be done either as a monthly payment or a one off year payment (which gives you a few months for free). We have some awesome discounts from some of our partner companies, and these actually make membership incredibly good value.

We have a 14 day Free Trial period, so the risk has been reversed. We want people to sign up and check it out, and we are totally cool if you cancel your membership after a couple of weeks having found out it isn’t the sort of thing you are after. If you feel it isn’t for you then please let me know what features it is about the membership that you don’t require. Positive or negative feedback, it’s all good, and is all appreciated. If you like what you see and are keen to continue your membership then don’t just leave your feedback there, keep coming with more ideas that you want to see implemented. We have an interactive in-app messaging system, so if you leave a message for us someone will most likely reply to you very quickly to answer your questions or respond to your comments.

I want this to be something that evolves into an awesome resource for you to come back to on a regular basis to gain more information on training for endurance events.

Visit our website www.foottrafficcoaching.com for more information.
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