Resolutions on a Rolling Start?


It’s that time of year again……

The gyms will be packed, the pools will have no lanes, and suddenly everyone is out on running track.   

And then, by March….. all those, well, the majority of those will ghost.   

This is the season the personal trainers become sharks and predators (as if they werent already), and I see it occassionally with coaches I know.  I too have fallen guilty of pressuring someone based on emotionally driven New Years Resolutions. 

But we know it doesnt work.   The end result clearly demonstrates the insanity does not work.  And I was listening to a podcast recently, if we were riding, and in episode 6, they discussed this very issue.  We know it doesn’t work, because the people who train regularly make alternative arrangements for the months of January and February, or rearrange their scheduled to ensure a quiet time in the gym, pool or on the roads.  And those who have committed for a moment tend to become frustrated, intimidated, overhwelmed, bored or distracted and quit.  We know it doesn’t work, because those gyms that were insanely crowded the first week of January are empty in March.  

The ‘tongue and cheek’ solution was to give everyone a different start date, 

so the gyms would not be totally insane on 1January.  

Despite the humor, the reality is many people start and don’t finish. They give up.  For whatever the reason, the want or desire to achieve is NOT greater than the hurdles that come at them.   I keep learning life can be dirty, messy and definitely unpredictable.  BUT, I am here, committed to this ride.   I have to learn how to deal with the challenges that come my way.  I have to be able to look myself in the morning, and live with the choices I have made. 



On my personal blog, I talked about BHAG.  (BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL).  The goal that stays with you, regardless of when you first considered it.  The one that marinates in the back of your thoughts.  The one that keeps showing up.  The goal that drives you. It is prominent on your bucket list!  

Perhaps, as coaches we need to teach the value of just showing up.  The value of doing little things every day to chip away at that elephant.   To keep pressing forward.  Afterall, the individual who runs marathons did not decide to run a marathon yesterday, for the race tomorrow.   It was a goal that needed to be worked on daily.  From nutrition, to strength, to rest and recovery, to the run, these things needed to be cultivated.  They did not just happen.  


As we are preparing for 2019, it is normal to reflect.  I look at where I have been, what ground I have covered, and the detours taken.  I evaluate backtracking and whether different paths or ideas should be sought, or if I should stay the course.   I look at my daily activities and whether or not these things are supporting my goals and objectives.  If they are not, how do I change them?  Or what do I need to change or revise? And I check in monthly.   Later,  I use my birthday as a big check in and perhaps reset.   With the date in August, some may view it to late in the year to change course.  Since I am self-evaluating monthly, I use it as a new start, so to speak.  Another day to reflect on where I have been, where I want to go, and how I am getting there.  


So, my question to you is:   

What is your BHAG? 

How can I help you achieve it? 



Posted in BHAG, celebrate, coaching, coaching tri, commitment, community, cycling, eating, fuel for training, goal setting, goals, goals, goals, goals, motivation, nutrition, planning the day, planning your race, preparation, running, seeyouathefinishline, strength, swimming, training, triathlon, truegoals | Leave a comment

That Intimidating Swim……

The SWIM?!?!?! 


No but really…… the swim!!!!!


Or for arguments sake, 

Let’s just say…..


The swim.

Regardless of how you look at it, the swim can be the most challenging aspect of the race, even to those of us who are part fish.   Sometimes, just looking across the pool or the lake brings feelings of unease, uncertainty and self-doubt.   In fact, the other day I got in the water and struggled to find my feel of the water.  The 500 yards I swam was one of the most difficult and challenging swims I have ever done.  Whatever the reason that made it so difficult, I chose after that to hop out and tackle it a different day.  (Some days are like that.  Not worth the fight). 


I get asked a lot to evaluate and help individuals who are new(er) to the sport of triathlon to assist in the swim.  In fact, I had one such conversation last evening.   The person wasnot certain how to tackle the swim training, learning the stroke and building endurance.  She accomplished a 500yard swim and was amazed at how challenging that could be.  

I suggested breaking it down.  For example:

100 warm up

8 x 25 yard catch- up drill

8x 25 yard swim

8 x 25 yard kick (with or without board)

8 x 25 yard swim 

100 yard warm down

And ever so simpy, that 500yard swim has now become 1000yards.   And because of the way it is broken up, very achievable.  Not intimidating at all.   And as the swimmer progresses, add variety and distance to the sets and reps.   

I also suggested looking at the time spent swimming in the water, and how that increases.  Using a variety of measurements increases the feeling of success, especially on those days that 500yards is daunting.  

It is the accumulation of volume that builds the endurance, so the swimmer can swim longer and further.  


Like eating an elephant,

It can be accomplished one bite at a time.

I think we like to over-complicate things to help us feel accomplished.  Instead of taking it one step at a time, one lap at a time, and looking at what was completed, instead of the seemingly large and daunting size of the tasks yet undone.




Posted in coaching, coaching tri, swimming | Leave a comment

How much do I need to DO over Holiday Break?

Training Peaks sent an email yesterday with various articles, including this one entitled,

 ‘How Much Should You Train Over the Holidays?’ 

My first snarky thought was like, ‘Excuse me, Training Peaks.  The Holidays…. well, they are over.’  But I was chatting with a new friend, who is learning to better her swim, preparing for her first triathlon, and the coach in me wanted to share.  

The reality:   

The majority of the athletes I train are on a do as you wish protocol for the one, sometimes two weeks surrounding the Holidays.  

The change in programming is not going to hurt them.  There are no feelings of guilt, if they spent he day sledding and did not run, bike or swim.  There are even less feelings of letting me down should the person likely over-indulge on the treat only made this time of year.  And the change in protocol or programming is empowering and healthy.  

The athlete gets to choose what she would like to do.   I get notes on what they actually did, so the return to regular programming is not brutal.  

It is also provides rest.   Through different activites, and play the individual is able to switch focus away from programs and must dos and just enjoy family, friends and the season.  

And when the choice is to go for a run, bike or swim, it provides an outlet.  Family can get overwhelming at times and we need a break.  Going on an adventure alone, provides that ‘escape’.


Then there are the others with whom I work who have BIG races coming up in January or early February.   

These individuals may not be provided as much or any freedom in their programming.   Programming is a reflection of the goals.  

Before I sound like an uncompassionate ogre, I have a conversation with the client as the Holiday is approaching about training, travel, and plans, so that training is not superseding Holiday Plans.  

I always allow for random days, sets, time within programming to empower the athlete to choose.  I have ‘This is your Day’ days.  The individual chooses.  Something or nothing, it is completely up to him.  And my athletes are happier and healthier for it.  

All snarkiness aside, it was a good article to read, serving as a reminder it is OK to breath.  It is the Holidays afterall. 




Posted in coaching, coaching tri, commitment, cycling, eating, goal setting, running, seeyouathefinishline, swimming, training, triathlon | Leave a comment

Why does healthy eating choices have to be a ‘diet’?

A friend posted a photo of her dinner last night………. salmon teryaki and steamed broccoli.  It looked amazing!   I wish i liked salmon.  Following the photo was a frenzy of comments surrounding the new diet she must be following.  She responded….. not following a diet protocol, just making wiser choices surrounding my allergies and health.  

And I thought to myself, shouldn’t all eating choices be that way.   Based on your needs.   This morning’s breakfast:  three eggs, tomatoes, fresh spinach and New Zealand Cheddar cheese.   Simple.  Satisfying.   Because I wanted an omelette for breakfast.  

Perhaps, we should consider reducing processed foods instead of just persuing a diet prtotocol.  



Posted in coaching, food, fuel for training, NutritionCoaching | Leave a comment

Programming…. it’s OK to overshare

Sometimes, devloping a program can be one of the most challenging things I have to do as a coach.   There are so many nuances to the art of buidling a program suitable for the athlete.   And yes, at times I have borrowed ideas for sets, reps, intensities, movements, and executions from other coaches, because I like the way it presented.   But the art of coaching is like a dance…… sometimes leading, simetimes led…… with everything moving toward the goals established.  


I was thinking about this this morning, as I was programming for the upcoming week(s), on how critical communication between the athlete and coach is.  We have many cool platforms and tools at our disposal yo write, read, send receive programming and feedback, but it is still the dynamic of the relationship of athlete to coach that determines the efficacy of the program.  

It is really challenging for me, to coach someone that I do not receive feedback from.  Even weekly, a check-in is valuable.  The check-in is more than stats, and numbers.  It is an opportunity for you, the athlete, to tell me, your coach, what’s up?  Are you, ill, or tired?  What changes or stressors are in your life right now?   All of these influence the ability to execute a program that should be brining you to a ready position to compete and perform.   Despite popular belief, coaches are not mind-readers.   While we can guess a lot, without communication, you are allowing us to program blindly, without a compass.   

Personally, I have the need for control.   I want the people who are giving me advice and direction in my training and performance to know as much about me, about how I performed in the last training session, and what else is going on in my world.  I want these individuals to be empowered to ask, knowing they will get a response.   I want to overshare.   I want the positive dynamic of a relationship, knowing that the information I am sharing will be heard and used to develop a solid plan.   


As your coach, it is OK to overshare.  Text, email, phone.  Be certain to keep me in the loop.  


Have you talked to your coach today? 

Posted in athletic development, coaching, coaching girls, coaching tri, coachingkids, commitment, communication, compass, goal setting, listeningwithintent | Leave a comment


I find myself in an interesting position as Head Coach of both the Otter Tri Team, as well as Houston Christian High School Swim Team.   I am recruiting.   And while coaches tend to forget that a BIG part of their role is salesman —selling the team, selling  their services, selling themselves— I am faced with it Every. Single. Day.   What they forget to tell you is…… a BIG part of selling is the personal relationships developed, the time spent with the client, team member, or prospective is KEY.   How you answer their questions, the time you take for them, how clearly you explain expectations (all things at which I have failed epically!) influences the buy in.   


  • I  always carry business cards.   I am at practice and parents are watching what we are doing, the interactions I may have with the kids, the interactions the kids have with each other.   I would like to be able to collect everyone’s contact information, so my card does not get lost, but it is not always possible, when coaching.   


  • I speak to the kids.   Ultimately, it is the kid WHO is being coached.  I want kids present who want to be there.   I want kids to be engaged, and want to participate.   And so, it is the dynamic that I establish with the kids that makes the differemce.   I shake their hands, I get down on their level (i am 6ft tall, afterall).   And then I speak with the parents.  


  • And I remind myself, that while it would be pretty cool to coach or work with the next great one….. all the kids I coach are pretty awesome in their own right.  They have pretty diverse goals and objectives and are coming together to participate in a common sport.  
This morning, I got a text message from a potential high school swimmer.  ‘I might be recruited by x on the swim team.  I am not sure if I am welcome, because my skills are ok.’   Awesome!  You should come and join us!  We are looking for swimmers who want to learn, get better, practice hard, and have fun!  Response:  Great!  I will be there!  And so, I have made an impression on this high school kid, that it is important to try and learn and improve, and we are not all perfect at swimming.   
My attitude and words greatly influence the kids with whom I work, regardless of their age.   
I keep learning how to express myself, to allow my compassion, energy and empathy shine through.  I want to attract people to my programs, and not chase these away!   
And in all of this……… I am recruiting.   
Posted in ambassador, being engaged, coaching, coaching girls, coaching tri, coachingkids, community, recruiting, swimming, triathlon | Leave a comment


As part of my journey to compete in Lavaman 2019, in conjunction with Team In Training, I get messages from the Team Coach.   To get to know the members of the team better, he send out notes periodically and recently asked us about our swim.  

These were the questions.

1. Can you swim 200yards without stopping?

2. What is your average pace?

3. Is becoming a more proficient swimmer important to you?

4. Are you worried about the 1hr and 10minute swim time cut off at LavaMan? 


My responses(insert humor).

1. Define stopping.  I train in a pool and there are walls.  

2.  Is a shark chasing me?

3.  Always working on efficacy in the water.   Drills in application to the swim. 

4.  No, not really.  I want to swim fast to get out of the water.  See question 2.


I chuckled with friends about the answers, and one said, ‘The coach does not knkw you coach or have to swim for your job’.  


In ALL seriousness, the questions I found interesting.   I may insert into the personal assessment for my athletes.  I see many triathletes who struggle with the swim.  I am in several forums where swim is discussed regularly.  From beginners on up, at some point there is some drama related to the swim discussed.   And yet, from time to time, less emphasis is placed on the swim.   

The swim, while the shortest leg of the race, is first.  It can set the tone for the entire race.  Not all of us are able to shake off the results of the swim during the rest of the race, and keep going stepping into a new zone.   Many of us carry that part of the race with us into the bike and run.   

I remember one athlete telling me after his first season, he changed his entire approach to training for season two.  He spent way too much time on the swim, in the previous season.  I responded that he needed to spend that time and energy on the swim.   He was learning how to swim, and how to be proficient in the water.  He spent the appropriate amount of time on the swim, to lay a foundation from which to build.  And his training should evolve as he continues on this triathlon journey.  

As seasons are winding down in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the time to start considering improving your swim for next season.   The off-season is a perfect opportunity to spend time developing or improving a swim skill that will carry you into the next season.  The same holds true for the other weak links in your race.  I personally would taper down over-all training, and focus on one or two skill sets on whcih you want to improve.  From there start building into your preseason training.  But many wait until preseason to consider skill development.  At this time, you can only hope for improvement as your racing schedule commences and you have compounded poor skills into habits.  

Take a moment to answer the questions asked of me.  And self-evalaute your swim.   Granted, you may not be preparing for LavaMan, but consider the races you are putting on your 2019 schedule.  What are those distances, environments (lake, ocean, river), and time restrictions?  How do you feel about your OpenWater swim vs your Pool swim?  And how are you preparing?  

What drills help you find your stroke, catch, and feel of the water?   Are you using those to improve your stroke, or are you drilling through your race?  How comfortable are you in Open Water?  

Remember, I am here to help you.  I can evaluate your stroke via video, or work with your privately (or in a small group).  

The swim sets the tenor for the race.  How ready are you?  

Posted in coaching, coaching tri, goal setting, planning your race, seeyouathefinishline, swimming, training, triathlon | Leave a comment


Transitions…… I say the word and the David Bowie Song…. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!  Pops in my head!   

Ask one of the Otters, and they will tell you how important transitions can be.  In fact,  Clara will tell you how she went from 7th place to 20th place in her last race, because her transition was not the best.   

But what is transtion besides the ‘ATHLETES-ONLY’ space where you get to store your gear during the race?  

Transition is where the change from swim to bike, and then bike to run occurs.   

Transition is the fourth leg of the race.  (Nutrition is the fifth).

With that said, transitions need to be practiced.   (Cat is optional).




If you ask my Otters, we spend a lot of time putting on our helmets and shoes.   We learn to set up transtion so our helmet sits in our shoes (my Otters are not yet wearing cycling clip-ins), so the first thing we do is put our helmet on our head.  We may lay out a towel to dry our feet, and place a hand towel either on top of or beside the helmet to dry off quickly.   Socks, if we are wearing, are placed on top of our shoes.   


So, dry-off, goggles and cap off, helmet on, socks, then shoes!   RaceBelt on, drink some water!  Unrack Bike!   And you are off!  

When returning from the bike:  Rack Bike, change shoes (if wearing clip-ins), drink more water, and off for your run!  


Practice setting up your transition.   What works for you?  What is comfortable? What helps with flow? 

Practice putting on shoes and socks when you are wet.   (Step in a bucket of water, or do this after you swim.  It helps).

Practice drying off and putting on helmets, racebelts and other gear.   

Practice putting shoes on standing up.  Do you tie your shoes or do you have zip-ties?  



Practice running your bike.  How you move in and out of transition while pushing your bike demonstrates your comfort and can help your comfort with the overall race.   I know there are times I overthink things, and fail to flow even when I fumble and make mistakes.  Keep moving onward.  


Transitions do not seem like much, but this can influence your overall race.    Practice to build your comfort and skill for your race.   






Posted in coaching, coaching tri, seeyouathefinishline, transition, triathlon | Leave a comment

Ever wonder about how real your goal is?

Be forewarned this, yes, THIS is going to get personal.  

I want to apologize.  I feel I have neglected you.  (As well as my personal blog).   My focus has been the Otter Tri Team, PINK otters and growth, that somewhere you got lost in the shuffle.   It was my intent to write twice a week…. sharing inspiration, achievements as well as interesting facts….. and being a party of one, it sometimes becomes extremely overwhelming.  And I do not know where to begin.   That said, I think of you often as I share on the FB Page, and IG Account.  And MSJ Athletics, Otter Tri Team and The Pink Otters are growing.   And I am thinking of new ways to better serve you.   In that, I welcome your ideas.  


I want to talk today about goals.   As I am approaching my 51st birthday (August 15th), I am reflecting.   This is something I tend to do each year.  Where am I now?  Where am I going?  Do I like where I am going?  And what do I need to do to change that course or direction?  Sometimes, I like the answers I come up with.  Sometimes, the answers scare me.  And sometimes, I really have no clue.  

It is easy to sit in your chair and advise.   Sometimes, the break from the every day is what I need.  But I find that my body physically hurts if I have not taken action.   My body hurts if I am sitting for too long. 


BUT have you ever come up with a goal?  

Written out the plans?  

Taken the time to invest in the goal?   

And then not acted on it??  

Instead of taking action, you sat down.  

I cannot explain this phenomena, but it has happened.   I am not certain if I am paralysed with fear, overwhelmed with the prospects of success, not diligent enough to put it all together, simply lazy, or the goals are not true to me…….perhaps, not part of my belief system, part of the me that makes me tick.  


 This quote from The Swim Coaching Bible, Volume One, resonated with me.   Are these things I am setting forth to accomplish part of my being?  Do they consume me?  Or is it OK for me to plan and not execute?   The answers to these will provide insights.  Perhaps it sounds good to others for me to be doing these things.  Perhaps, I want to be percieved differently.  Perhaps……..


Perhaps, you can relate. 


And so, I took the time to reflect and plan and determine what it is I really want to do, and what I am willing to ‘give up’ to make these things happen.   And HOW will I feel if I dont achieve or at least put in motion the effort to achieve these thigns?  Or will I see the obstacles?  



The result scares me actually.   Not because these are unattainable goals.  I can achieve these with the diligence and work necessary to make these happen.  I am not willing to walk away.   And so, I need to be willing to stretch my comfort zone.  


I need to be willing to do this for me!  

As I am preparing for the things I want to accomplish at 51, I want to encourage you to join me.  What is it you have been thinking about accomplishing?  What is it that you can taste but are not certain you can make it real?  Please share with me.   I am sharing today, to share my struggles.  While my intentions are good, I sometimes fail miserably.  

Your ambitions do not need to be triathlon related.   I want to know and encourage you. We can work together to expand our comfort zones, and challenge ourselves.  


Posted in ambassador, athletic development, being engaged, caring, celebrate, coaching, commitment, community, courage, flow, goal setting, goals, goals, goals, goals, mentored, motivation, networking, paying attention, planning the day, preparation, running, seeyouathefinishline, starting on offense, swimming, training, trainingtogether, triathlon, truegoals | Leave a comment

Begin your journey today

 The only impossible journey is the one you never begin. -Tony Robbins. 

Today begins National Triathlon Week.  While many of you have successfully completed your first, second or even twentieth tri, there are some reading this who are still sitting on the fence, not sure where to begin.   I participate in several different triathlon groups, and I will say the hardest part is taking that first step.   


USA Triathlon has broken a week down as described in the photo above.  This is not a tranng plan, but an example of how to celebrate triathlon, and begin.   Join me as I will be executing the training focus each day.  And feel free to reach out for direction of how to begin.   There are many opportunities for coaching, including the Otter Tri Team (for youth), and the Pink Otters (for the ladies).   I am open to building and defining new training groups.   I look forward to working with you.  



Posted in ambassador, athletic development, celebrate, coaching, coaching tri, commitment, community, cycling, goals, goals, goals, goals, motivation, motivation Monday, preparation, running, seeyouathefinishline, training, trainingtogether, triathlon | Leave a comment