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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Q & A with Coach E

1. Thank you for the interview. Why don't you start by telling us a little bit about your current coaching/work commitments.

Currently, I work as a full-time strength coach at Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California. I train 40-50 clients a week and our main focus is strength training. 20% of my clients are endurance athletes and take part in some workouts that are specifically designed for an upcoming running race or triathlon. I have also coached Swim Masters programs and have taken part in several triathlon specific coaching clinics. I just received my USAT Coaching Certification in 2008, so I am looking forward to coaching more triathlon-specific athletes in the near future.

2. Can you tell the viewer your educational or previous career background and how you ended up working in this industry?

I actually have a B.A. in Economics and a Masters of Science in Education, but have always had a passion for teaching, coaching, and sport. I coached college volleyball at the NCAA-Div 1 level for 2 years while getting into competitive running after being a collegiate athlete myself. I then got a coaching job at Results Fitness after working in Marketing for 3 years and have learned that this is truly my calling. I will continue to work with the triathlon community, as well as clients who want to focus on strength training for fat loss and volleyball athletes.

3. And what is your training background?

How's your triathlon training going! i have been competing in triathlon for 4 years (since the age of 25) and have most recently transitioned to Ironman distance. I have now completed 4 full distance Ironmans since September of 2007 (is is Jan '09 right now), which also completed 1 Kona Championship. All have been completed in under 12 hours, which I am proud of, with an 11:01:30 PR set in Arizona 6 weeks ago.

4. What would you take from your training background that would be valuable for our readers?

First and foremost, strength training is necessary to become stronger, faster, and injury free during triathlon training. I could not have done this well without having a specific training program. Nutrition is also important- both during races as well as while training. I have done a good job with both and feel that I an speak to a successful program that would help an athlete get faster and stronger by using both in a more advanced, planned way.

5. What are your typical clients and personal achievements as a coach?

I have had clients reach many a goal of losing fat and getting stronger. Most of my female clients have focused more on performance goals- for instance, in our last 5K Team, all of the repeating members set PRs as they ran faster than the previous year that they had trained with me for. That was our most recent success at Results Fitness.

6. Can you describe a typical training session consist of for your clients?

In the gym, sessions are 1 hour. They begin with a 10 minute Dynamic Warm Up, then a 5-10 minute corrective phase. Then, 10 minutes are spent doing some more core endurance exercises, and then we focus on our resistance training for the remainder of the time. With most of my endurance athletes, I spend 30-60 minutes with them in the gym- depending on the time of year and where they are at in their training cycle.

7. What are the best general training tips for a triathlete?

1. Don't Overtrain
2. Log your workouts and learn from your successful races, and your not so successful ones.
3. Take more time off than you need in the off-season
4. Taper is so important- especially for Ironman Distance
5. Strength Train year-round
6. Limit Alcohol and Sugar when you can and eat whole foods
7. Enjoy other cross training activities to break up the monotony of training
8. Find a training group- don't always train alone.
9. Get regular massages
10. Enjoy your training- as you may not always have the best race day!

8. And the three biggest mistakes?

1. Overtraining
2. Thinking Strength Training will make you big or slow
3. Not tapering enough before a race

9. Do you have a “go-to guy”? Someone you can go to when you’re left scratching your head, have questions or want a second opinion about something?

Yeah, his name is Mark Montgomery and he is one of my dearest friends and an ex-pro triathlete. He is a bit old school in his thinking,but keeps his mind open to new ways of training. He is not necessarily "old school"- I call him more of a purist. He knows what works- and what doesn't. Overtraining doesn't work- so, don't do it. He is also not an extremist and keeps things pretty level.

10. What do you say to triathletes that tell you they don't have time to incorporate strength training into their schedule?

I say, "see you at the finish line"- I will be there before you. Just kidding...I say that if they have given it an honest try, and it hasn't worked in the past, that they try a different program. Perhaps that is what the problem was. Most athletes think that strength training involves heavy barbells all of the time, and they associate it with bodybuilding- not strengthening. Power is so important if you want to go fast- and I am definitely a believer- just look at my results over the last 2 years when I have been strength training to the 3 years prior- when I didn't. Granted I have had more experience, but bottom line- I have had much quicker times because I have had the luxury of a great strength training regimen.

11. Do you train males and females differently?

No, not at all. Actually, they are treated very equally. Programs are always based upon goals and the individual's needs and assessment. Gender doesn't have an issue- however, if you are talking about nutrition, needs for both men and women can differ- especially when considering age.

12. What are your thoughts on nutrition and the role it plays in athletic preparation?

Nutrition is the fuel that keeps us going. For triathlon, it plays such a huge role- during a race, before a race, post-race, and your everyday feeding during training. You get to know your body very well when doing multi-sport because you can actually feel in-tune to when you are deficient in certain nutrients. That is why supplementation is also very important. We can't always be perfect with our food choices- that is why we need good insurance policies in our supplements that keep us balanced. After all- it is all about balance- nutritionally speaking.

13. What the most recent thing that you have learnt that has changed the way you programme?

I have learned that you can't always follow your program 100%- sometimes, not even 90%. When you are doing multi-sport, including strength training- and most, with a full-time job, and most, with a family..balancing your overall physical and mental health can be strenuous. So, who wants to worry about following a rigid schedule for training? It is impossible. So, when you can (as both a coach and athlete) keep this in mind, it is very freeing and you can enjoy your sport and the training experience much more.

14. What are the top threemisconceptions/myths about physical preparation that you have faced when working with triathletes? How did you tackle them?

1. More is better.
How to tackle it? With a perfect periodization program. If you have the correct program in place that will build your volume at the correct pace, while getting you the recovery you need at the right time to guarantee your peak at the race, you should respect it and not do more than your program calls for. Stick to the plan and trust it. Don't do anymore- your body does better with less.

2. Biking is the most important event.
How to tackle it? Well, sorry- but, the race is really won on the run. Ask any triathlete and they will tell you- especially in the longer distances, that you can 'blow up" very easily on the bike and forget that you still need to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles. Remember that you can always run faster if you saved some legs off of the bike. Don't hammer the bike too much- you need to be able to run strong and finish the race- and pass people on the run. It is way easier to be passed on the bike and then pass people on the run than be passed on the run.

3. I need to train the week before a race.
How to tackle it? I raced Kona this year and let me tell you- I have never seen so much training the week before a race. Some of the best advice I have ever heard- from Alwyn Cosgrove- he says, "There is not a lot you can do the week before a race to prepare, but there is a lot you can do to f$%# it up". Enough said.

15. Where can more people read about your training theories and programmes?

They can read about them from the book I co-authored with Rachel Cosgrove, called "So You think You Want to Train for your Frist Triathlon". You can also email me directly to get some advice for your programs.

16. Bottom line - what's your training philosophy?

To develop a program that best matches the athlete's goals in the most efficient time period- combining smart strength training and nutritional philosophies, while remaining injury free.

17. I know you are always busy - what are you currently involved in that our readers may be interested in?

1. REsults Fitness (
2. USA Triathlon
3. Co-authoring a book with Nick Grantham
4. Training for 2 IM in 2009 and hoping to qualify for Kona in the 30-34 AG.

Clancy, Mike and I

Clancy, Mike and I
SB Tri Finishers- Nice Tiles!