Running Triathlon

Running, Triathlon & Race walking information. Cutting edge ideas & insights from a very experienced & highly qualified endurance coach.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Running Triathlon

Running Triathlon

7 Ways to Create Winning Habits in Training and Racing

Most successful runners that I know have very routinized lifestyles. They also have a solid training philosophy that they seldom change. They utilize a core system for living and training that they trust and which has proven itself over countless miles of training and racing. Contrary to popular belief the top runners are not constantly changing equipment and/or their workouts. This holds true both for physical training and the mental approach.

The value of consistent habituated behavior becomes extremely clear when you have a few athletes in a training group who always perform in races up to the standard they display in training, while others are often erratic in terms of their moods and results in training. These “undisciplined athletes almost always fail to perform up to their standards in races. I am fascinated by the ability of the consistent performer to set aside adversity and get on with the business of training and then be able to do the same in races. Runners, who allow negative occurrences to impact their training, do so in other areas of their lives as well, and this always spills over into races with disastrous consequences.

What can be done to ensure that you get the most out of your training and are able to perform consistently on race day?

1. Acknowledge that running is far more than just physical and act accordingly—train the other components as well
2. Seek guidance outside your own perspective
3. Trust expert objective guidance—follow the suggested route to success, not just with training, but with mindset as well
4. Base your training program and subsequent race predictions around facts not fantasy
5. Train regularly in a controlled fashion, rather than too hard too intermittently
6. Take responsibility for your thinking around races and training—consider the concepts of confidence, self-esteem, trust and gratitude/appreciation
7. Be an optimistic realist—use valid data to determine paces and probable results

By applying these concepts you will become a better runner, you will achieve greater satisfaction from the sport and, most importantly, you will have more fun!

Many of these concepts are covered in extensive detail in my book Magical Running, a Unique Path to Running Fulfillment, available at

I am in the process of publishing a training booklet called: Running Essentials – Mobility, Potentiation, Core Strengthening & Stretching for Runners & Other Endurance Athletes. Details regarding this publication will soon appear on my website ( & others.

Have fun on the run!

Bobby McGee

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Running Triathlon

Running Triathlon

Running in the Cold

Frigid air temperatures, especially when the air is dry, pose a problem for runners, especially when running hard.

When running causes the breathing rate to increase, the cold dry air passes through the throat into the bronchial passages too quickly for the mucus membranes to humidify & warm the inspired air. This causes the mucus membrane to dry out, crack & possibly bleed. This in turn causes the airways to become exposed to upper respiratory tract infections—the bane of the endurance athlete.

Some guidelines:
1. When temperatures are below 20 it is suggested that you do all hard running indoors.
2. When running outdoors keep the effort low & try to breathe through a layer of warming material
3. Keep extremities like ears, fingers & toes warm.
4. Keep neck & chest warm with wind proof material
5. Men make sure that the genitals are protected
6. Don’t run alone—stay near shelter
7. Avoid very long runs where fatigue can lead to a reduction of kinetic energy/body heat
8. Avoid repetition training—the rest periods expose the body too much as temperature drops while the athlete rests

Runners will maintain fitness better indoors. Run in extreme cold only for fun & not necessarily for fitness.

Bobby McGee

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Running Triathlon

Running Triathlon

Do great athletes make great coaches?

There is a strange conundrum in the world of coaching. Great athletes seldom make great coaches. The two types of people that make up great athletes and great coaches are widely disparate. The athlete must, by necessity ensure that he/she gets everything they need in order to succeed. In the world of endurance sports that is coaches, therapists, agents, sponsors and the total support of family and friends. These individuals are by nature people with an intense ability to focus on what they need to do in order to perform at the highest level. They are athletes and warriors. Coaches on the other hand are multi-taskers. They are always last on the rung in top sport. They sleep in the worst accommodation and receive the lowest monetary compensation for their efforts. They do not often seek the lime-light, choosing rather to dwell in the realms of service as elder statesmen and motivators. Coaches are not as well known, or not known at all to the public that follows that particular sport. The athlete brings in the advertising dollars; the athlete is the actor, performer and star—and this is how it should be.

However, when the amateur wishes to progress in the sport of their choice they are often drawn to former superstars of their sport for advice on how to proceed. While many top athletes provide very sound advice and guidance, surely it is the support crews of these stars who where instrumental in putting together the performances not only in this individual, but in (often) many others as well. It take special attributes to be a great athlete, some physical, some mental, some genetic, some acquired through hard work, but many are called to compete at the highest level, but few succeed. Very few great athletes achieved greatness without very long periods of intense, educated commitment from coaches and support crews—be they family and or any other of the myriad professionals required in the creation of long term high level performance.

Often, when a star’s prime performance years are past, athletes get into coaching for a number of reasons: to give back to the sport that supported them, to make a contribution to the community that supported them, to supplement their income and so on. Some succeed and some fail—it all depends on the character of the athlete. There have been many occasions when I have worked with amateur athletes who attended seminars or workshops put on by top athletes who have come back disillusioned, confused or disappointed. But there are others who have truly been helped by these former greats. Often also, athletes who are just bubbling under breaking through into the big time go to a top athlete with the hope that they will get what they need to cross over into that rarefied air of greatness where the rewards and accolades are stunning. They fail more often than they succeed. Why? Perhaps the star knows intimately what they specifically did or needed to perform and subsequently share this information. This “thing” like a magic bullet often only works for that athlete. Also the athlete seldom knows the fine details of periodization, timing, volumes, frequencies, intensities and durations that are applicable to the majority of athletes, rather than those specifically applicable to them. I have personally witnessed the frustration of a star athlete when athletes that they have coached fail, despite them showing form prior to competition that would have had the former great themselves perform at a high level. Similarly I have often fielded requests of talented athletes who wish to train with a star that I am coaching at the time. I warn them that they need a schedule specific to their abilities and demands, yet some insist that all they need is to train with the champion in order to succeed. The result? Every time, without exception, the athlete breaks down and fails to perform that season. We all know that “overnight successes” take 10 years to achieve, yet still some athletes somehow hope that they can circumvent that process of hard work, dedication and commitment.

A coach can never know exactly what it took internally, mentally for a top athlete to have achieved a given performance. Here the star can relate and motivate and inspire the “age grouper” with tales of challenges overcome, moments of choice where steps across the threshold into the unknown have brought glory and success. These athletes however seldom have the objectivity, experience, training or feel for bringing other, perhaps less gifted, individuals into great form to produce results commensurate with their ability.

Great coaches are people people, while great athletes are for the people people! When choosing a coach bear this in mind—there is much we can learn from our heroes that can help our performance. This holds true whether we are beginners, weekend warriors or someone with the potential to become a great athlete. There are also great athletes who have become wonderful coaches, but by and large your best bet is to find a coach who knows his/her craft, has a proven track record as a coach and who instills in you a feeling of trust and confidence.

Good luck—we all deserve the best support we can get in pursuance of our very precious goals.