Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Words of Wisdom from Coach A!

~ Posting on behalf of Coach Amit, honorary member of Tri-oomph!:)~

Ok Lady Tri-Oomphers-

I've been laying (in stealth mode) on many of the discussions on this mailing list and that is of course "by design". I do not want to break the mojo of the "sisterhood of the triathletes" or the peer-to-peer camaraderie and have people stop referring to the group as "HeyLadies!" :) Since as a guy, I have been granted exclusive membershipto this group (for which I am very thankful to Cha/Sha), I felt a little payback was overdue, so here are some of my thoughts (after stating these I will go back into "stealth mode" unless there aredirect questions of course) :)

#1 Swim Coaching:
Swimming is perhaps the discipline that keeps most folks from even attempting to Tri (this is *one* of the reasons there are more Runners and Cyclists than Triathletes around the world. That being said, Triathlon is still the *fastest* growing sport in most parts of the world, defn the US. I think Steph pointed this out earlier). So, why am I saying all of this? For one because Swimming was discussed a lot on this thread and two you've *gotta* take this discipline seriously and some degree of formal coaching for this particular discipline is time and money well spent. I think most Swim programs and pools(heated/non-heated) have been covered. A few of the pools that were left out were Deep Eddy, Barton and Nitro. Deep Eddy and Barton are two of my favorites since nothing is better than finishing yr swim and not reeking of the smell of Chlorine. Especially Barton should be a weekly ritual no matter what distance you training for and whether or not you are already getting formal training. It just NEEDS to be incorporated into yr training schedule. It is by far the best place to practice open-water swim. You can practice all of the valuable traits of open-water swimming such as sighting, navigating, drafting etc out there. It also does wonders for the calming the anxiety one feels (at least I used to feel) on race day morning when the gun goes off (if all you've doing is swimming in lane-pools). When I was training forSprint's/Oly's, it used to be one indoor swim and one Barton a week,at least. For Halfsie (that I am currently training for), it's two indoor and one Barton, at least. It's totally free this time of the year and of course being so cold and all, westuits help but are not a requirement since yr body warms up just fine after the first lap. Nitro has a lot of swim classes and an Oly sized pool so that's a plus but maybe far for most of you folks who live Central or South.

#2 Plans for Races this year:
After Galveston Half in Apr, I think I am going to do a few Sprints and Oly's to build on speed during the middle of the year as I plan onracing at least another two Halfsies before wrapping up the season inOct/Nov. My favorite Sprints/Oly's have always been (in no particularorder) Rookie, Couples, Captex and Austin Tri. The last two are downtown races and there is nothing in the world that can match the phenomenal spectator support for downtown races. Many of you Runners who've run downtown races may be very familiar with what I am talking about. Also, the bike and run courses are pretty flat and well paved in the downtown Tri's. G3- Swimming in TL is not as bad as it's madeout to be. I actually enjoyed it. Lottsa easy landmarks to sight off which rocks since I am usually known to stray off course and be theone poked on the head by the guys in the Kayak (refer to importance of swimming in Barton to practice sighting) !! Rookie is awesome because of the time of the year (read: Texas summer just begun), the scenic rolling bike course, all-you-can drink beer at the end and the fact that my long standing crush and idol pro-triathlete Desiree participates in it every year :) For you ladies, does it help if I told you Governor Rick Perry participates every year? ;) By the way singer Shawn Colvin is there every year also. Also, this was Cha's and my first ever individual race and I have raced this race since 2006*every* year, so it's special. Ok, nuff said about Rookie. Just do it...it's awesome!!! Couples is great since it's the *only* race where someone elses time affects yrs and so that makes for the greatest camaraderie during training, motivating each other and of course on race day.

#3 Bike Shopping:
I think Itisha asked about this and Steph's advice of CL was spot-onw.r.t good deals. That being said, I cannot emphasize enough the need to be in the right size frame. Everything else is modular i.e. can be adjusted or replaced, just not the "frame". So...*before* you go scavenging for good deals on Craig's, make sure you go get fitted at one of the *reputed* (read: BSS, J&A and ATC) bike stores around town.My fav is J&A because they have the friendliest folks in the business and they really *do* care about you riding in the right sized bike even if you don't buy a bike from them. Remember to mention to them what "type" of bike you plan on buying online (Road vs Tri) since the fitting is totally different for the two. Which one between the two should you go for? I can elaborate on that if there's interest but in short it really depends on what you already have, types of rides(races vs organized rides), money you want to spend and how aggressive you want to be. Remember that just because a person with your exact height is selling a bike on Craig's, it doesn't mean it will fit you.Two reasons for that are 1) He/She may not have been fitted into that bike properly and may have bought it on a whim on Craig's like you are planning to and 2) Your measurements (inseam, torso, arm length) maybe vastly different from theirs making it a bad fit for you. Bottomline: Get professional help to determine your right sized frame, then decidewhere you wanna buy the bike from. The best advice for beginner's isto just borrow a bike for the first race (even though it's not the right fit). You will be surprised on the learning curve on bikes as you ride more and more. I bought my first bike almost a year after getting into Tri's.

#4 Kick-Off Gettogether:
I am all for it!! HH one of these Thu evening's?? :)

- Coach-A (pseudo title since I have really not coached most of you in the group) :)

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