2015 Triathlon Research Camp Boulder
Wow was that an experience!!
There are words I could use to explain it. I've used plenty in the 7 posts I've made so far. However, they all fall quite short. Five days learning and working with some of the best in the sport alongside over 50 other athletes and Tri Research staff who are just as passionate as you are. I certainly remember summer camp as a kid quite fondly. This camp is on a whole different level!
However, while the trip was an absolute blast, there is an important question looming over everyone's head. Did camp serve it's purpose.
What did I learn from camp?
What did I take away and implement into my training?
Has my racing/training benefited from going to camp?
I will be the first to tell you that I am super excited to answer these questions. I am a scientist by training, so the notebooks, spreadsheets, and the piles of notes in my head have come together in the week post-camp to make a few changes I think show some great potential. Many items will take much longer to show benefits for, but I think there is plenty RIGHT NOW to say that Yes, my training and racing have benefited from the Triathlon Research Camp.
It might take days just to sort through everything I learned at camp, let alone the time sit down and digest it all so that I can portray it in an orderly fashion. Instead, let me go over the things that I've already started using in my training and racing. I'll start at the beginning of the race, the swim.
Going into camp, I had been frustrated with my lack of progress in the swim. I'm an ex-competitive swimmer, so I know the time gains I make are going to be small, but not much had happened since starting back in the pool this past winter. Eney gave me more to work on, namely catch form and my cadence as well as confirming my notion of how to adjust my swim training volume given my background. Since camp, I have been very mindful of my stroke cadence in the pool - when it is low, when is it high, and how does it change my mechanics.
I also got some words of advice from Rafael Gonclaves and Mirinda Carfrae concerning keeping your mind focused while in open water. I had my first open water swim recently. I went in with a few cues in mind and the time went by incredibly quick! I will absolutely be taking those with me on race day! Thanks guys!
First and foremost, Ivan O'Gorman is brilliant!
Endearingly mad, but brilliant.
My bike fit has been great. I admit that I am considering tilting the nose of my seat down a tad because I'm going numb, but otherwise, the fit feels great. I have 1 more hour in the saddle before I make my first of two prescribed post-fit adjustments. I am excited about how much the fit will help me gain both aerodynamics and power.
I raced the Ten Penny Ale Shamrock Duathlon recently and Ivan's suggestion for head position and a lower profile worked without a hitch. I was comfortable and without a doubt less of an obstacle to the wind.
I had a trainer ride shortly after the race as well. If you didn't know, I use a program called Trainer Road to give me power data. I am finding that I am not only more comfortable in the aero position, but am cranking out greater power than when I'm upright. And all it took was a slight change in position.
Ivan, you are the man!
Aside from the fit, I took a lot of notes on various aspects of the bike from Ivan, Frank of Power Cranks, and Seton from TriSports.com. I've since cleaned up my bike by removing some of the excess "baggage," am looking into a few new parts to increase the efficiency of the drivetrain, and am experimenting with a new tire and tire pressure. I bet not a single one of you are at the proper tire pressure. I sure wasn't!! Not even close!
Lastly, I walked away from camp with my head spinning from all the talk of swim, bike, and run cadence. In my one-on-one with Siri, she explained how to test bike cadence and find which works best for me. These were tests that she did with Rinny going into the 70.3 at Quassy and guess what my first A-race of the year is. QUASSY! I've repeated forms of the test three times already (two on the trainer and one on the Quassy course) and I was quite amazed with the results. I discussed it with my coach and we are quite excited to see how my cycling changes in the next few months.
Such a small thing,
but it is making a HUGE impact!
I've got some well ingrained habits to change here! Bobby gave me some pointers about my form and showed me how changing them will improve my speed and efficiency. For a scientist, I LOVED how much he used physics and mechanics to show us WHY these changes would help. I have three main focuses for my form and while it is hard to keep track of all three at a time while running, it not only gives me something to do on my training runs and races, but as soon as I alter them, my speed picks up without trying. How can you argue with that??
Bobby also gave us a number of warm up movements, drills, and exercises. A couple are already in regular use in an attempt to even out the impact pressure in my feet as they hit the ground, which RPM2 was able to show me while at camp, as well as alter my cadence. I get an odd look now and then, but who cares! At the duathlon race, I got the compliment that made it all worth it.
Your run looks like Mirinda Carfrae!
Bobby, if you can make me run like Mirinda, I don't even know what I'll owe you! I might look that way at the beginning of a race (I doubt even that), but there's no way I'm looking the same at mile 20 of Kona! Haha
I took a lot of ideas and thoughts away from Charlotte's talk on nutrition. Many of her points solidified the way I had thought of things, but some have given me a new way of thinking about my position on certain approaches. There is also a lot more that I admit I have yet to implement. One requires a stop to GNC that I haven't been able to make yet. As someone who generally stands against supplements, that trip is going to break the mold. I will soon though. Promise!
I have, however, altered my pre-race nutrition plan and am excited to put it to use in leading into my next race. The race day nutrition held up to her feedback, so there was no change there. Nutrition had always been the discipline that I couldn't get my head wrapped around. This year, I swear I'm going to at least get within striking distance thanks to Charlotte.
Rally Sport Boulder's owner, Erin Carson, gave us so much to think about that I haven't even processed it all yet. She even gave us a handout on which I made plenty of notes. Her and I could get along very well. Organized!!
What I have done so far is alter the timing of my strength workouts so as to compliment my training as opposed to deter from it and I have felt better during my recovery, as she suggested it would. I feel better post long-ride/run in a much shorter amount of time with the new structure. The reasoning seemed counterintuitive at first, but she had great ways of explaining the parts you wouldn't think about. At the end of the day, whether you know why or not, it's working. That's all I need to know to stick with it.
I plan on purchasing the ECFit Boulder strength program as well, which will take over altering my strength workouts for me.
And of course, I've put the camp swag through a lot of use already!
|GU Bottles for hydration & Rally Sport mug for morning tea
|Getting around with the New Balance 1500s
|TYR bag organizing my swim gear!
I've already been in contact with California, Miami, Colorado, Arizona, and even the UK and Guatemala! There's no doubt that I've got some new friends for life!
We've still got videos and more pictures coming along with more of the material sinking in and taking root. Many of us are just hitting the start to our season as well. I don't doubt we will be seeing some big improvements this summer!
If you have any question of whether the Triathlon Research camp can help you, the answer is yes! You could be looking to do your first race or your 100th, competing as a back-of-the-pack age grouper or shooting for pro and they will give you the tools to move you forward.
Best Vacation Ever!
1. What has been your favorite vacation ever?
2. Is there anything about your swim, bike, run, nutrition, or strength that you know you need to work on?
Plenty! The more I realize I need to change, the more other potential issues come to light.
3. Have you made cross-country or international friends through Triathlon or any sport?
It's a great feeling knowing that through this sport, we are all interconnected.
DREAM. BELIEVE. ACHIEVE.