Tri Coach Tuesday: Winter Training Tips

by Nicole Odell, NEO Endurance Sports & Fitness



It seems that winter hasn’t quite arrived yet, as here in Colorado it still seems like the end of summer as I write this! But no doubt winter will be here and we’ll get cold temperatures and snow. I will admit, I grew up in Florida, so I had to learn a new definition of winter once I left the sunshine state. If you do live in less winter-like part of the world, we’ll be thinking of coming to visit when the blizzards hit!


For those of us who live in the “cooler” parts of the world, here are my tips for dealing with the winter weather.


Pay attention to the weather. Don’t just look at the high and low temps or general chance of precipitation, but read the hourly forecasts ( is a good resource!) so you can see what’s likely to happen throughout the day and plan your training accordingly.


Get appropriate gear for cold and wet weather. Invest in quality gear that will last a long time. If you are in snowy or rainy climate, wind and waterproof outer layers are nice. A nice technical fabric underlayer is also a good idea. Your local running and cycling stores can help, or google “winter cycling gear” and “winter running gear.” There’s a saying “there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.” The same goes for equipment. You want to have things like winter appropriate bike tires (fat bike?) and traction devices for shoes. That said…


Safety First! If there is snow, ice, sand, gravel out on the roads, be extra cautious, and maybe stay inside if it is too much. If you are traveling to your workout destination, make sure you can get there safely. Know what you can handle and for which conditions you have gear. If you don’t feel safe, get some good tunes or videos going and knock out that workouts indoors.


Don’t forget to eat and drink. When it’s colder out, we often don’t feel thirsty or hungry. But if you’re doing a long or intense workout in the cold, you’ll still need to eat and drink. Use insulated bottles if there is a chance of your bottle freezing. Solutions (ie sports drinks) will freeze at lower temperatures than plain water. And pick nutritional items that won’t freeze or get more challenging to eat when cold.


Modify your workout. If you’re supposed to run today and ride tomorrow, but there is a good chance of “winter weather” tomorrow, swap days if you don’t want to ride indoors. It’s often easier to run outside in colder weather. If you can’t do what you want to do, try something different indoors with body weight strength training. Do stair sprints. Put on a yoga video. You can still get in some kind of workout, even if it’s not what is planned. Or just get out and play in the snow, go snowshoeing, or cross country skiing. Enjoy it!



Original blog post here

Tri Coach Tuesday: Getting a Coach, Am I Worth It?

by D3 Multisport Mental Skills Coach, Will Murray

Triathletes invest in their sport time, effort, emotion, and funds.  You invest in running and cycling shoes, a bike, swim goggles and a wetsuit for starters.  Then you may shell out for a Garmin device, a lactic threshold test and a blood test to check for micronutrients and balanced physiology.

Some athletes believe that their absolutely most important investment is in a smart, competent, experienced and supportive coach, who writes your training plan, provides race advice, works through your emerging issues, keeps you injury-free and has your back.

Sometimes, as an athlete, you might have doubts whether if it’s worth all this investment. Or, more truly, have doubts that you are worth the investment. This doubt can be temporary.  You have one disappointing track session, but the next day your tempo run goes fine, and the doubt shrinks in the rearview mirror.  But sometimes these doubts are more deep and stubborn.

Masters swimming: “Oh, I don’t swim well enough to take up lane space from the real swimmers.” Group runs: “Oh, they don’t want somebody like me slowing things down.” Group rides: “What if I get dropped?” A coach: “A coach, for me? I’m nobody. I’m not the kind of person who deserves a coach. I’m not good enough.”

If any of these prickly little phrases sounds familiar, don’t fret. There are answers.


The technique below requires work.  You actually must do the steps, as though you were with your coach and she is expecting you to carry out the instructions.  When you are doing a swim workout, you actually must swim and not just read about swimming—you follow the coach’s direction.  To get ready to do the next steps, round up a pencil and paper (not optional).  Take your time. I’ll wait until you are ready.  Now?  Okay, let’s go.

Step 1. Articulate your goals and reasons for doing triathlon.

You may be striving for a healthy lifestyle and general fitness.  If you have aspirations beyond this, such as finishing a longer distance race, achieving a personal record or qualifying for a championship race, having a clear, written goal statement is indispensable.  You already know the trick—write your goal statement (e.g. qualify for USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals) on a piece of paper and stick it to your refrigerator or your bathroom mirror.

Step 2.  Ask yourself, in the privacy of your own mind, “Am I worthy enough to pursue that goal?”

Notice carefully any response you get.  If no response, wait a few moments, then ask, quietly, the question again.

Step 3.  Notice whose voice is answering the question.

Carefully listen, not so much to the answer, but to the voice providing the response.  Is it your voice?  Or someone else’s voice? Or a blend, a small chorus of different voices?  Notice carefully who does this sound like?  When you have a clear sense of who is answering your question go to the next step.

Step 4a.  If the voice is someone else’s ask, “What is your positive intention for me?”

Wait for a response.  If the response makes sense to you, great.  If not, ask, “What is important about that?”  Wait for an answer.  Keep asking this same question, “What is important about that?” until you get an answer that makes sense to you.  Thank the voice each time you get a response.  Go to Step 6.

Step 4b.  If the responding voice is your voice ask “What is your positive intention for me?”

Wait for a response.  If the response makes sense to you, great.  If not, ask, “What is important about that?”  Wait for an answer.  Keep asking this same question, “What is important about that?” until you get an answer that makes sense to you.  Thank the voice each time you get a response.

Step 5.  Ask the responding voice, “How old are you?” and notice the response.

If the responding voice is younger than your present chronological age, ask this (exactly as stated here): “Without giving anything up, and while keeping everything you have, would you like to gain all the experience and wisdom available to you to advance to [your current age] or beyond?”  If the response is positive, allow the part to grow up to your current age and ask it to tell you when it is done.

Step 6.  Imagine your next big event.

This could be a key workout session, a race, or even that masters swim that you have been putting off.  See yourself, over there, performing exactly as you wish you would.  Start a color movie at the beginning and run it to the end of this event. Make this image run perfectly, as you are the director and you can have the image run exactly to your desires.

If the image runs well, run it again in fast motion so that it takes five or ten seconds total.

Step 7.  Return to the responding voice in Step 4 and ask, “Do you have any objection to having the image run that way?”

If there are no objections, your work is finished.  If you receive objections, repeat Step 4.


The way you make progress toward your goals is to stretch and pursue improvements.  The way you pursue is to recognize the worth in the pursuit, and the worth in you.  The way you do that is to act as if you are worth it, that you truly do deserve it, and then go do what a deserving person would do.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.  We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Who am I not?’”  Marianne Williamson

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Tri Coach Tuesday: Holiday Eating Tips

by Nicole Odell, NEO Endurance Sports


For me, Halloween is the start of the fall holiday season as we start being presented with plenty of treats. Leftover Halloween candy at home, at the office, then holiday parties, potlucks and seasonal goodies…temptations abound!



Holiday food is often comfort food, bringing back memories of good times, and also creating new ones. We don’t need to avoid it, but sometimes we can be tempted into eating a little too much. But it shouldn’t be stressful.



Here are some guidelines I like to follow to keep everything in check over the holidays:

– Continue to exercise. It doesn’t have to be “training,” but try to do something active for about an hour a day.

– Plan your meals for the week so that the foundation of your eating stays healthy and you are still eating regular meals. Plan around the festivities, and have snacks like celery sticks and other veggies around that are ready to grab.

– Take smaller portions of treats and eat them slowly. If you know you have multiple parties going on, you can still partake in the treats, just eat less of them.

– You are in control of what goes in your mouth. It’s OK to just smile and nod and turn down a second piece of Auntie’s pie.

– Have a normal meal with plenty of protein before a party, especially if you tend to graze a lot.

– Drink a glass of water in between alcoholic beverages if you drink.


One day of indulging won’t hurt… it’s the multiple days that add up. So just pick your day and enjoy!


And if you remember just one thing, have that be “everything in moderation,” and appreciate the season where we get to spend some extra time with friends and family.


Original post here

Tri Coach Tuesday: The Benefits of Hiring a Coach

by Mike Ricci, Head Coach D3 Multisport


As the new year approaches we get a lot of requests for coaching. For those who are new to the sport or who have never had a coach, I thought I’d write up some ideas on what you should look for.

Obviously, one effective way to stay motivated and to develop a solid training plan is to have a coach. A coach will help design your training plan and hold you accountable for your workouts. All of the Olympic Medalists have coaches, as do the top pro triathletes. Is it just a coincidence that they all have coaches? Of course not, they need guidance, support, and direction. They want to know when to go hard, when to go easy and when to take time off. Having a coach benefits them greatly. Why should age group triathletes be any different?


I hear many triathletes say, “I don’t want someone telling me what to do” or “What if I don’t like the workouts?” or “What if we don’t get along?”


These are important questions to ask as you interview your coach. Each coach has his/her own style, his/her own philosophy and motivational techniques. You communicate with your coach, which workouts you like, which workouts you don’t like. You explain to them your time constraints and goals. It’s their job to take all the pieces of the puzzle and make them fit together. Instead of blowing off that important bike workout because you made another commitment, your coach should re-adjust your schedule so you won’t miss the important workouts. Your coach will know what workouts to emphasize, when to push you, when to back you off. You should be able to build a good rapport with your coach. He/She should be trusted and come with a solid endorsement from other triathletes. Make sure your coach isn’t just churning out programs to athletes of all abilities. You want your program to be tailored to you.


What you should look for in a coach:

Q: Is he/she accessible? Do they answer their own voicemail and or email will you get a prompt reply?

A: You don’t want to wait three days to hear back from a coach when your question needs to be answered immediately. Find someone who is personally accessible.


Q: Does he/she have solid credentials; do other triathletes speak highly of their program?

A: Ask how long the coach has been coaching. Always ask for references or proof of certification. You want to know that the program is going to work for you and ask for a sample program to get a feel for the coach’s training philosophy.

Q: Should I do some comparison-shopping?

A:You wouldn’t just go right out and buy any car would you? You would look for the best price, color, the best fit, etc. The same thing goes with shopping for a coach. Find out what works for you. As long as you are paying for it, you might as well get what you want. Not all coach’s fit all athletes. That is a mistake some athletes make. Just because it worked for your friend, doesn’t mean the same coach will work for you.

Q: Find out how you are to receive the workouts.

A: Do they come monthly, weekly, via email, fax etc.

Q: Does the coach provide one level for everyone or are there different levels?

A: You want to make sure the 150 lb athlete gets a different program than the 220 lb triathlete and that the the 15-hour Ironman gets a different program than the 11-hour Ironman.

Q: What if I get sick or even worse, injured? What if my job sends me on an unexpected business trip and I miss an important workout?

A: Ask the coach how she/he will adjust your training bases on changes to your personal schedule and help you adjust these changes within your goals.


Here are some benefits a coach should provide:

Structure. Your program should fit your specific needs. From long easy runs, to gut busting hill climbs to recovery runs and days on the couch. Your program should cover all areas of training.

Motivation. So what if you have a bad training day and your motivation to train is nil? Your coach should provide you the motivation to get you back out the door the next day.

Success. Yes, success. Your plan should help you meet your goals. As long as you follow the prescribed plan the program should work for you. If it doesn’t, sit down with the coach and ask questions, lots of them. You are paying for his or her help, so you should get answers.

Of course we think that we have a pretty good coaching company right here at D3 Multisport, but we know that athletes choose us over other companies due to more than just whom we know, whom we’ve coached or how many athletes have gone to Kona. We maintain long term relationships with our athletes and on top of that everyone keeps getting faster.

In summary,  do your research, ask questions and select the right coach for you. Follow the plan. Don’t expect it to work if you keep adjusting  the schedule or if you keep skipping your long bike rides. You need to work with the plan that you and your coach have designed. I hope you find a coach that fits your needs, do the workouts given to you and go faster next year! You may not win Ironman, but you can have your best year ever!


Original article here

Tri Coach Tuesday: Failure Is Mandatory

by Coach AJ Johnson, D3Multisport


As a coach, I certainly don’t want my athletes to fail at their A priority race, but I do want them to fail in other races. While that may sound counter-productive, failure is where you learn the most. So when I talk about failure, I don’t mean it in the traditional sense, I mean it as a way to see what you are truly capable of.


I’ll use my own racing experience as an example. I was not particularly strong in any one discipline, rather, it was my calculated approach to racing that helped me reach the top 10 in my age group in Kona. I never hammered the bike, or took off on the early portion of the run and ended up blowing up and having to walk. I always had the finish line in mind and metered my effort accordingly. I liked to think that I was racing smart, and I was.


However, while pacing was my strong suit, it was also my weakness because it never allowed me to fully explore how fast I could go. To me, blowing up was a failure, and I wasn’t willing to risk failing in my own sense. In hindsight, I should have chosen some B priority races to find out where the edge of my fitness was and pushed the bike to the limit, or gone out of T2 like a rocket. I never did and if there is any regret in my career, it’s that I didn’t take that risk.


So, look at your own racing to identify what is holding you back. It may not be your fitness, it may be your own pacing strategy, your inattention to nutrition, your lack of mental toughness or something else. For example, many athletes I have coached have told me, “I have to push the bike because I’m not a runner.” My response has always been, “Have you ever held back on the bike and given yourself a chance to run well?”


This is a perfect example of how you can take a risk during a B priority race to see how you can reach your optimum performance. I have athletes choose a B priority event of the same distance as their A priority race and pace the bike a little more conservatively than normal. This allows them to potentially nail the run, which then opens their minds to other strategies of reaching their peak performance.


For some, it can be hard to get past the idea of not using their strength during a race. But it is by addressing your perceived weakness that you find your true limits. After following my advice about holding back on the bike, many athletes have said, “I never knew I could run that well.” This gives them new confidence and a whole new card to play during their A priority race.


Original post here

Tri Coach Tuesday: Erin & Alison’s IM Boulder Pre-Cap

303 Ambassadors and USAT Coaches Alison Freeman of D3 Multisport  and Erin Trail of Trail Endurance Coaching are racing IRONMAN Boulder on June 11, 2017. Here are their thoughts on the race and their top 3 tips for race day.

Alison Freeman


Cuz it’s the hometown race! Honestly, it’s nuts to do several Ironman races and never do the one in your own backyard. The race had been on my radar since my first Ironman, but the previous August date was tricky for me with three kids at home all summer and expecting me to be a parent (not an unrealistic expectation: I am actually their parent and none are old enough to drive yet). As soon as the switch to June was announced I knew it was my year!

I am, without question, most excited for the run course. Not the run itself, because that always hurts, but because I am really hoping to see familiar faces up and down the entire course. Nothing is more energizing than friends and family cheering you on!


  1. Don’t be a hero on the bike. Between the gradual climb on 36, the more obnoxious climb on Nelson, and umpteen little rollers on each loop, there are a lot of opportunities to blow out your legs. Be smart! Keep your effort level consistent – whether your metric is power or heart rate – and keep your legs spinning at 90rpm as best you can.
  2. This is not a great course to run by pace. You’re either running slightly uphill or slightly downhill at all times, and for long stretches, so maintaining a consistent effort level is a more realistic strategy than trying to maintain a consistent pace. If running by pace is your go-to strategy, then adjust your pace targets by course segment to account for the change in grade.
  3. Have a plan. FOR EVERYTHING. Know when you’re going to do packet pick up. Know which Athlete Briefing you’re attending. (Yes, you should attend an Athlete Briefing. I don’t care how many races you’ve done.) Know when you’re going to do gear drop off. Know when you’re going to wake up race morning and what time you’re going to park and what time you’re going to get on a shuttle. Know what time you’re going to get in line for the port-o-potty. Know where you’re going to line up for the swim. Know what nutrition you’re taking in, in what quantity, and at what minute or mile of the bike and the run. Know how you’re going to approach each leg of the race, and each portion of the course. Know what you’re going to say to yourself when it hurts. Know what you’re going to say to yourself so you don’t push past your limits when you’re feeling good. Know what you’re going to eat after you finish, because isn’t that the best part? (I’m eating donut holes. A LOT of donut holes. My husband is required to have them for me at the finish.)


Erin Trail


I took a 3 year hiatus after IM Boulder in 2014 and found myself being drawn back to the distance after spectating/volunteering in 2016. The location, being able to train with my club and friends on the course, and the change to June checked off all of my boxes. I’m also recovering from a major injury (torn rotator cuff) and training and racing for an Ironman while healing my shoulder has provided me with some great motivation to do my PT and heal smartly.

I love climbing so I’m actually excited to ride Nelson. I also love to ride FAST, so I’m excited to zoom down St Vrain. I’m excited to swim 2.4 miles without my shoulder hurting. And I’m MOST excited about being on that awesome run course, filled with friends (racers, volunteers, and spectators). My arm is going to be sore from all of the high fives I’ll be giving out! And finally, that finish line – MY HOME STATE FINISH LINE – is something truly special.


  1. HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE (even if you’re a local). Elevation + all of that mile high sunshine takes a toll, so have a solid hydration and nutrition plan to get you through the bike and onto the run.
  2. The bike course has a lot to offer in terms of varied terrain and changes in views (and wind direction). The course makes a series of 90-degree turns, which sounds somewhat annoying but it’s actually really fun to ride. My advice is to enjoy all of these changes and use them to your advantage. Don’t like climbing? You just have to make it up 4 miles of Nelson and then you’re rewarded with a really fun descent down St Vrain minutes afterwards. Don’t like false flats? Hang tight as you ride on Jay Road because a really fun set of rollers awaits you. Annoyed by that pesky headwind? Just know that in a few miles you’ll change direction and that headwind will turn into a crosswind – or even better – a magical tailwind! Use the terrain changes to give both your body and brain a break from the tedium of an Ironman bike course.
  3. The run course, at least for me in 2014, was harder than I expected. The course has small rollers as it goes under roads and has a net uphill to the finish. And it’s the marathon of an Ironman, so yeah, it’s going to be hard. Have a mental strategy in mind for the run, especially when it gets hard. What’s your “why”? Think about a power word or motto and write it on the inside of your arm. (for me, its “I am the storm” and “run the damn hills”). Visualize the finish. Think back on all those hours of hard work and how you want to honor them by running the best run that you can. Think about how amazing that FREE locally brewed beer will taste at the Finish Line Beer Garden (I won’t lie – this is my primary run course motivation, and if anyone would like to save an Avery Ellie’s Brown or Lilikoi for me, I will be your BFF [beer friend forever] for life!) And finally, use the crowd’s energy to get you through the tough spots. The IRONMAN Boulder run course is the BEST, especially as a local athlete, because of all of the friendly faces (racers, volunteers, and spectators) that are all there cheering you as you run towards that finish line.

303 Triathlon sends good luck wishes to all of the athletes who are racing IRONMAN Boulder – both local and from afar. We’ll see you out there on Sunday! Check out our Twitter and Facebook feeds on race day for coverage and updates all day long!