Swim Faster without working harder.

If you want to run faster, simply increase your foot turnover.  Bike faster?  Increase pedal speed.  Faster hockey shot?  Apply more force to the stick.  Swim faster?  Not so easy, right?  Swimming unlike many sports is almost entirely based on good technique.  According to ASCA Level 5 coach, Scott Bay, "the secret to faster swimming is learning to relax."

Easier said then done you say!  Bay explains that finding free speed is a matter of "relaxing the parts of your body that aren't helping you swim and preventing them from robbing you of energy."  Muscles that are actively engaged when they don't need to be are using up valuable oxygenated blood that should be going to the muscles that are propelling you forward.  The trick is to not waste any motion that is not related to faster swimming. One way to focus on "swimming only" muscle movement is to develop a keen feel for the water.  You want to "feel" and be aware of any tension throughout your body.  Bay says "carefully monitor your entire body and make a mental note of which muscles are flexed and which are relaxed."  Tense legs, for instance, divert more oxygen -rich blood from the prime movers of the swim stroke.  The same tension could lead to counter-productive cramps as well.  

Remember too, that a rhythmic, relaxed breathing pattern provides much needed resources to swim muscles.  Do not give in to the impulse to hold your breath while swimming.  Think of oxygen as your fuel and remember that holding your breath requires its own effort and it flexes many muscles that are not helping your swim motion. 

As you swim, try to conduct a head-to-toe body check.  Make sure your hands and feet are relaxed, don't over stress your legs.  If you feel tension, relax those body parts "creating the tension that are not doing any of the work for swimming."  

Relaxation, breathing, releasing non-productive tension.......it all requires you to be a "thoughtful swimmer." Relaxation in the water should be an ongoing process and takes a mindful approach.  It will not happen overnight.  Mindful swimming takes time and patience but can be achieved...faster times await!

It's like my niece Megan says, "Relax.  You got this."

 

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New Cave Discovered in Leesburg

CBC Endurance Training is pleased to announce a new alliance with Plum Grove Cyclery.  Located in the heart of Leesburg at 120C East Market St, Plum Grove has been building, fitting and servicing bikes in the community since 2000.  They work with brand new bike enthusiasts to mountain bikers to Ironman Triathletes.

Our first venture, kicking off January 14, 2017 is "The Pain Cave," a demanding triathlon centered indoor bike trainer class.  Running anywhere from 90 minutes to a grueling three hours, these are early season sessions designed to jump start fitness by combining power, endurance and intensity.  CBC Club members are urged to attend; all you need is your bike, shoes, trainer and a towel.  You will certainly need on to mop up the sweat!

Tom and Mike at Plum Grove have offered a spacious heated workout room, featuring a restroom, changing room and even some lockers for our use.  Best of all, it's all in a Bike Shop!  A full service bike shop featuring parts, repairs and a ton of advice from two of the best "bike guys" in Northern Virginia.

We can hardly wait to get started!  How about you?  

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Time to stock up on your Infinit Products

With the 2017 race season coming up fast you might want to take advantage of Infinits Bogo Sale.  Check out all there nutrition products at  http://infn.us/a/Xd68B3uw 

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To Slack or Not to Slack

Let's face it, most of us are not professional triathletes or even at the elite level.  Training everyday gets tedious at best and sometimes you just need to be a slacker.  We are "only" human after all.  Couch time is good in moderation.  

At CBC Endurance Training, we recognize the need to take "slacker breaks" sometimes.  It feels good to sleep in once in a while and that extra piece of pie or frosty beverage tastes extra good.  A good way to approach the down season is to acknowledge that every workout is not an "A" session this time of the year.  If your body is telling you "I need a day off," go ahead and take a rest day.

A great way to keep sharp at this time of year is to double down on your weakest sport and rededicate yourself to get better.  Swim volume can help build a base for early season, as can coached sessions correcting form and improving efficiency.  

Attention to strength and core work can lay a great foundation for a strong and injury free spring and summer.  You don't need to invest giant chunks of your time either.  Forty-five to ninety minutes a week spent improving your weakest sport or building overal triathlon strength will certainly pay big dividends when the "real" training starts later this winter.  

In the meantime, enjoy the occasional "hooky" day.

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Race the Run

At CBC Endurance Training we've built a reputation for taking our athlete's real life circumstances and weaving successful training plans and hopefully, race results.  Our mission statement is simple:  "strength, balance, results"

We work with single moms, tech folks with heavy travel schedules, parents and professionals trying to balance a very hectic life.  We also work with athletes with injury problems and physical limitations.  Most Age group athletes can relate to at least one of the situations outlined above.  Correspondingly, our eight years of coaching experience has taught us that, generallly speaking, run training seems to be the neglected sport given time constraints and training hours devoted to swimming and biking.  

The run leg of triathlon sometimes is reduced to a survival march, a painful shuffle to endure.  It is time to change that thinking and start "racing the run."  "Its easy to fall into a pity party" and simply conclude that you are not a runner when you start to slow down, says Jesse Kropelnicki, founder of QTS Systems and coach to many fast running professionals.  

Following are three important areas of improvement to turn your shuffle into a race day weapon.  

1. Fuel smarter to run faster - "the number one issue, by far is race fueling on the bike," Kropelnicki says.  "There's not even a close second."  findings reveal that most athletes are not drinking nearly enough sports drink or taking in enough sodium.  Proper fueling levels need to be established well before race day and practiced on every ride.  Work with your coach or nutritionist to start formulating a plan.  Good fueling on the bike sets up a successful run.

2. Pace the distance - the problem with triathlon running is that it comes after a swim and bike ride.  Many age groupers go out way too hard on the bike, then suffer greatly on the run.  Proper pacing involves parceling out effort over both halves of the bike leg.  Equal splits is a good goal achieved by smooth, consistent pedaling and constant monitoring of your effort.  Kropelnicki suggests watching power output (if you race with power) and/or using Heart Rate to judge effort.  Avoid big spikes in Heart Rate, keeping your effort consistent.  

3. Train more for durability - Most Triathletes are not putting in enough volume.  At CBC, run volume is managed closely especially for athletes running on cranky knees or other structural problems.  Volume is built slowly, safely with peak volume coming two to six weeks before your race.  Run training intensities are generally race pace or slower on longer runs and threshold type paces for shorter runs.  Work closely with your coach to establish the best run program for you so that you can "Race the Run."  

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Inspirational Day at MCM - 2016

 

 

Stephanie and I made our annual pilgrimage to the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday and came away with two compelling reasons to never give up or never give in. 

Despite achy knees, hips and assorted other "infirmities" we hopped on Metro (itself and act of bravery these days) before eight and made our way to Foggy Bottom to support Steph's cousin Al Richmond as he battled to finish his 41st consecutive MCM.  He started the day as one of two remaining "Ground Pounders", a group of Marines (no such thing as "former" marines) that had finished all MCM's.  

It was a great day to watch a marathon but a bit too warm to run one.  We met up with Al at miles 8, 14, 15, 18, each mile taking a progressively bigger toll on Al's seventy-something year old body.  Ever the old school runner, Steph has worked with Al over the years on nutrition and using the bike as a cross trainer.  The nutrition, especially, proved critical in MCM 41.

At mile 18, "The Bridge", Al was suffering.  Eight miles to go.  When we asked how he was doing we got a slight shake of the head "no".  Thats as much complaining you'll get from this stoic warrior.  We made our way to the VIP finish area to await his finish.  It was not a question of if but when.  This is an athlete who embodies the "finish what you started" life style that we all embrace.  And so it was at 6:39 on the race clock Al ran through the Marine Corps Arch to finish number 41.  Marine Corp Colonels and brand new recruits snapping to attention and saluting the living definition of a Marine.  He's also one heck of an example for anyone who lives our crazy lifestyle.

Shortly after Al finished another competitor was finishing a four plus hour 10k.  Pretty slow, right?  Consider this: the athlete is a veteran, paralyzed from the waist down.  He ran/walked with a remarkable device that enables him to stand and make forward progress.  He wanted to do a 10k.  He did it!!  It was an absolutely stunning display of courage, guts, determination and never give up attitude.  Everyone who witnessed this guy finish was moved to tears.  

It should move us all out the door to do something positive.  I'm getting on my bike....right now!  

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The Post Ironman Blues

You trained for a year, maybe more.  Up at 5 am to swim, biking and running in the brutal summer heat.  You threw it all at the Ironman.  Congrats.  But now it's over and you're stuck in the post IM rut.

What to do?  Well, it depends.  Racing after an Ironman oftentimes yields very strong results, and you don't need to invest 20+ hour workout weeks. 

The number one thing you need to consider is this:  Am I recovered from my Ironman effort?  Here are a few things to look for.  Am I constantly tired, falling asleep on the couch; am I so unmotivated I cannot think about pulling on my tri shorts; Am I winded after climbing the stairs; am I injured or unusually stiff and muscle sore; am I breathy while exerting an easy effort and is my heart rate too high for the level of physical effort.

A "yes" answer to one or more indicates that more downtime is needed.  Athletes recover at different speeds from an extreme effort like IM.  Some need two weeks, other need multiple months.  Be honest with yourself before attempting a racing comeback.  Rest is more important than your local sprint race for now.  Easy swimming, walking and gently cross-training can keep you fit and occupied.  

If the above scenario does not apply to you....how cool it that?  If the fire still burns, consider racing some late summer sprints or maybe an International distance race.  Longer relays are fun too.  After recovery, all you need are some "sharpening workouts to regain fitness and maybe build a little speed.  Start slow and build any speed safetly.  Your coach should be able to advise and monitor your progress.  As a rule, your workouts should be shorter in duration, purposeful and a bit more intense than the long stuff you did for IM.

If you consider yourself a long-course specialist, it might be fun to shake up your long, slow distance routine.  CBC Endurance Training athlete Marce' Shaffer had a very strong day at IM Mont Tremblant in late August, recovered nicely and was looking for a late summer challange.  Sprint distance races were not on her radar but she gamely entered the Giant Acorn Sprint at Lake Anna Va.  She put some focused training together for a couple weeks, went out and raced and was very happy with her result.  She is now an Age Group Champ at the sprint distance.  Another tool in the toolbox.

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When you think you cant keep going

With a long training year coming to an end you always wonder how you can keep training year after year!  I came across this article with our awesome sponsors Infinit and wanted to share it with you.  Follow this link to find your inspiration to continue for as long as you can!

https://www.infinitnutrition.us/blog/dont-slow-down/?redirect_mongo_id=57c490fdc084073f29000235

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New Years Thoughts

As you begin to formulate a training and racing schedule for 2016, don't forget to build in ample rest and recovery time.  Commit to this simple habit early in the year so that rest/recovery days become an accepted part of your daily schedule.  Injury free training and better race results will be your reward!

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From The Toy Department

Check out Blueseventy Core Shorts @ Blueseventy.com

Lava shorts by Xterra @ Xterrawetsuits.com

The pull buoy is a valuable tool to keep legs afloat as you work on your stroke & build upper body strength.  It can also give tired achy legs a break after a long day on the road.  One of the main drawbacks to the pull buoy is that it really does not mimic the same buoyancy & rotation characteristics as a wetsuit.  At around $99 many of the wetsuit companies have introduced core shorts or, as Coach Rob calls them, "cheater shorts."  This tool gives the lift of a wetsuit & also allows the hips to rotate properly.

Cheaters are ideal for drill sets, recovery days and early season, long pull sets.  Check 'em out.

 

While you are at it, check out TYR hydrofoil Ankle Float

A great swim torture device designed to add resistance, develop good core strength, the float requires more strength than traditional pull buoys.  Retail is about $20.

 

 

 

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Thoughts on Down Season & Base Season Running

Triathlon season has ended and you're entering the "down season".  Problem is, you've got all this fitness and your coach is telling you to shut it down.  This is a time of year when many triathletes turn to running and even run-racing as a way to maintain fitness and stoke the competitive fires.  Generally, a good idea, but it would be wise to follow some simple guidelines.

Fall or winter running is enjoyable weather-wise and a great way to maintain fitness and polish run skills.  5k, 10k and half marathon are perfect distances to keep training focus without overwhelming a more relaxed post season schedule.  As a general rule of thumb for age-groupers winter and spring marathon distances should be avoided in order to reduce the likelihood of injury, over-training and mental burnout.  

A slight uptick in run volume does not mean to hang up the bike and pack away the wetsuit, however, you need to maintain a fine balance of fitness maintenance in all three sports and doubling or tripling run volume leads to all kinds of problems "down the road."

"Your physiology doesn't know the difference between cycling and running, but your muscles, tendons and neural networks do," according to Mark Pearce of Intelligent Triathlon Training in Loughborough, England.

"Put simply, by continuing endurance-based rides, you improve cardiovascular fitness, which will transfer to running.  Since running is high impact activity, however, it is important to prepare you body for the pounding with some additional run workouts" says Pearce.

So, keep bike mileage built into your program and swim yardage too.  If you are tackling the half marathon distance you may need to reduce a swim workout per week.  Pearce cautions to take plenty of rest periods in this training phase.  "recovery is as important as ever, especially before the race,"  he says.  Ideally an athlete should be very well rested before ramping up any run program; think 3-6 weeks if you have completed a summertime Ironman distance.  Race week taper is critical 8-10 days before race day and post race recovery needs to be built into your schedule.

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"I finished!"

"I finished!!!!  It would not have been possible without my open water lessons with you two.  Thank you so much for your time, your advice and your patience.  It was still hard and I have a long way to go with my swimming technique but this is only the beginning for me.  You will see me at the quarry in April!  I am already looking forward to the 2016 season."    Erin.....1st time Triathlete Finisher

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Another Great day to swim!

"I'm grateful you are working to make open water swimming available to many.  Its been a great tool for me these last seasons to ready for races.  The open swim venue at Millbrook quarry  offered by CBC Endurance Training is a must for any triathlete of any experience.  From beginner athlete wishing to gain confidence in a safe monitored environment to the mid-to-advanced triathlete who needs repetition to work on form/endurance, swimming at Millbrook is a fantastic opportunity.  The water quality is great, and the course is setup in a realistic loop to enable sighting practice.  Open water swimming is a different experience to be practiced; Rob and Stephanie at CBC Endurance Training are great hosts to a great venue."     Chris H......Triathlete

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2015 Season

2015 Season

CBC Endurance Training wants to thank all participants that supported us at Lake Millbrook Quarry this year.  We have finished our 7th successful year and without you, we would not be able to bring this venue to you.  

We are happy to announce that our 2016 Season will have new "lower" prices for the months of May, June and July.  You asked and we delivered!  Help us to grow our attendance so we can keep lower prices moving forward.  The lower prices will only be good through the end of July unless you can help us grow attendance.  

We also will be having 2-3 Open Water Swim Clinics throughout the season with a max attendance of the first 25 athletes.  We are in the process of  working on all the logistics but there will be a short lecture with Q&A's, OWS skills, race tactics, in water swim starts, sighting and more.   Please check back in January - February for further info on this opportunity.  

If you have attended our venue and have a success story due to your opportunity to practice OWS at Lake Millbrook we would love to have a testimonial from you.  Feel free to email it to us and we will post it on our site.

Thank you again everyone and we look forward to seeing you in 2016!

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Congratulations to Coach Steph

  CBC Endurance Training is proud to announce that Coach Stephanie Colburn has been awarded the title "Corrective Exercise Specialist" upon completion of an extensive course of study administered by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

 

Stephanie's coursework focused on common injuries encountered by athletes in general and triathletes in particular. The designation "Corrective Exercise Specialist" certifies that Coach Stephanie can not only identify common injuries but also determine the root cause as well. After the injury and its cause are revealed the Coach can then map out and oversee a course of corrective exercise designed to get her athletes healthy and "back on the course."

 

Stephanie is also a certified USAT Level One Coach and ASCA Level Two Swim Coach. She co-owns CBC Endurance Training based in Ashburn, Va & specializes in run & swim form, strength programs and injury prevention and rehab.

 

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Take a Leap of Faith: Slow Down to Go Faster

As go-getter triathletes our natural propensity is to train hard and train fast. The harder and faster the better, right?

Maybe not says a growing body of research. In fact, the latest thinking confirms that endurance athletes should be doing 80 percent of their training at a low intensity and the other 20 percent at moderate to high intensity. Hammering each & very workout leads to burnout, injury and stale results on race day.

A study published in the "Journal of Sports Physiology & Performance" took two groups of runners, one training the 80/20 method the other running moderate to high intensity paces. After a ten week training block, the 80/20 group performed 41 seconds faster on a 10k time trial. Other studies have found that elite Canadian marathoners & Norwegian cross country skiers conducted about 75% of their training at low intensity.

The thinking is that training at lower intensities allows the athlete to gain fitness without overstressing the nervous system or muscular systems of the body. "If you do too much higher intensity training, your body simply won't be able to absorb all that stress and turn it into fitness," according to well known coach and author Matt Fitzgerald. "Instead, you will accumulate a burden of chronic fatigue that you carry into all of your workouts, compromising your performance and further limiting the benefit that you get from your training."

Researchers conclude ( and anecdotal evidence supports) that one of the most common training errors we non professionals make is a habit of spending  way too much time training the grey zone, pretty hard, medium high intensity zone, or as we call it, the junk zone. The end result of living in the "junk zone" is that the body adapts to those intensities pretty quickly but soon thereafter stagnates & levels off.

The takeaway here: apply the 80/20 rule during training and enjoy 100% effort on race day.

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Heart & Power

By now, there is no dispute that training with power on the bike yields a ton of valuable information.  The tricky part is the interpretation of the data and putting it to good use via your training plan.  The end result....faster bike splits, of course.  Lost in all the variable power metrics though is the oft forgotten grand daddy of all training metrics, heart rate.  

As you employ your power numbers and see your average wattage start to climb, remember to gauge your power output against your heart rate.  For example, if on your long ride you push an average of 200 watts and maintain an average heart rate of 130 bpm, what happens when your wattage jumps to 230?  Is the increase in watts a significant jump in fitness, or is it the fact that you are hammering the ride with your training buddies?  Are you having a great day, are you feeling the effects of dropping some off season weight, or is it some combination of effects?

A very effective way of measuring fitness is to not only watch the watts produced but keeping an eye on your heart rate numbers too.  In the example above, if the average watts jump from 200 to 230 and the heart rate remains around 130bpm, the rider has indeed experienced a nice gain in fitness.  Conversely, if he is now pushing 230 watts and his heart rate jumps to 145bpm, chances are, he is just pushing harder.  Over the long haul, that spells trouble.

 

 

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Celebrate the Vernal Equinox with Yellowman!

Don't let the snow keep you from finding the color of spring in your cycling wardrobe.  A message from yellowman below.

Spring means something different for everyone: crocus poking from the snowmelt, return of the sun, and that YMX racer-back tank you love. The days are getting longer and sensation is coming back to our cold-numbed toes, but today something special is happening. Something celestial.

Twice a year the sun perches directly above the equator to create a day that’s as perfectly long as the night: in the fall for the Autumnal Equinox, and now, for the Vernal (Spring) Equinox. These even 12-hour days accompanied by the earth’s gentle tilt toward the sun account for the mild weather we love this time of year. 

The Vernal Equinox has held spiritual significance throughout the centuries. For pagans it was a festival celebrating the turn of the season, marking harvest. In Hindu astrology Aries is aligning with the head of the ram constellation—this year (year of the Ram) this alignment holds even more power! The Ancient Greeks believed this day to be the day Persephone, queen of the underworld, returned among the living.

Spiritual beliefs aside, the Vernal Equinox is the junction of a season. It is an awakening for our bodies, and the earth—a time to shed what we’ve stockpiled in our winter hibernation and start fresh. In simpler words: Spring Cleaning. With all the space from gutting your closet and cleansing your home, it’s a great time to obtain necessity items: the basics and statement pieces that fill our souls. Be encouraged to get out and run through the wilderness.

Happy Vernal Equinox, family! Get outside and feel the sun on your face!

 

http://www.ymxbyyellowman.com/#a_aid=cbcendurance8

 

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Time for fun new gear?

Are your old cycling jerseys ready for updating or just throwing out?  Are you just tired of all the same style jerseys and can't really find anything different?  I wear and love the "Yellowman" designs.  Not only are they different and fun in designs but they are so comfortable.  Wearing these jerseys or any of the workout apparel for extended periods of time, like for instance Ironman distances, there is no questions about the comfort.  Not to mention you will be easier to find in the crowd for all your support crew.  

Check them out here..http://www.ymxbyyellowman.com/   I look forward to seeing fellow yellowman athletes on the course!

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Different way of Thinking!

"A" list keynote speakers and endurance world experts had plenty of surprises  in store for attendees at the second annual "Richmond Endurance Symposium" we attended January 24th.

Ironman champion Andy Potts talked about establishing a strong Mind, Body Spirit connection in your approach toward Multi-Sport and life in general.  He even spoke about....gasp....trying new things on race day!

USAT nutritionist Bob Seebohar gave a strong presentation about a fueling approach that is bound to cause controversy.  His Metabolic Efficiency Theory is based on teaching the body how to utilize the enormous reserves of fat stored in the human body as a main source of energy.  He thinks endurance athletes are better off reducing carbohydrate intake.  CRAZY, right?

The medical and PT folks made presentations that re-enforce some of the things we've been doing here at Colburn Endurance Training, but also offered some new, surprising takes on strength training, functional exercises and rest.

We also were treated to a private core, hip strength workout with Andy Potts, who agreed with us about early season hip and core strength attention to build a solid foundation for the up coming season...which by the way is right around the corner.

We will be back over the next few weeks with more details about the fun, different and new ways to approach our sport!!

 

For more reading on Metabolic Efficiency Training check out this article (copy/paste into browser)

http://www.usatriathlon.org/about-multisport/multisport-zone/fuel-station/articles/make-your-body-metabolically-efficient-012412.aspx

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