I was asked to test out a cool pair of before/ after sports shoes from a new company called Todi, and I love them! As a 'sports' clog, they are obviously easy on/ off, but they are so much more theapeutic feeling than just the regular pair of sandals that I'm used to wearing following a track workout, bike race, or multisport session. Check out some pics below, then go to the Todi site to learn more and order a pair at 10% off if you use the code: FliegelmanHasAPair. Also, if you'd like to join their Team, enter their MVP contest here.
As race season approaches for many of us, F4 Coach Scott Gurst shares some thought provoking words to help put our minds in the right place as we head down the home stretch...
Topic Of The Week – The Power Of Words
In a room, subjects wait as part of an experiment. They have not been told what the experiment is about. They have just been told that someone will come and call them one at a time, and when they are called, they should proceed to a room located at the other end of a long hallway, where they will be interviewed. One at a time they are called, and they walk the length of a long hallway to a room where they meet with their interviewer. They have a short interview, and are then excused to go back to the waiting room.
As it turns out, the topic of the interview itself is not really important. What is important is that for half of the subjects, the person conducting the interview purposely sprinkles certain words into the conversation, words like slow, tired, lethargic, sleepy, worn down, etc. The other half of the subject do not hear these words during the interview.
Unknown to the subjects is that the length of time that it takes for them to walk the long hallway is being recorded. The fascinating result is that those subjects who heard the special key words during the interview took significantly longer to walk the length of the hallway after the interview than they took to walk to the interview room before the interview. The group that did not hear the key words had no such discrepancy.
The words that we hear have great power over us. Even if they have no effect at a conscious level, they get imprinted on us at a subconscious level, and have an effect on our performance. If we are not aware of this fact, we are subject to the random words that others say to us, and just as importantly, the words that we say to ourselves. If we are aware of this fact, we can use it to our advantage.
As many of you know, I’m really tuned into the things that all of you say during our times together, and tend to react strongly when I hear some of you use words in a way that does not contribute to your success. It’s frustrating sometimes to see you all work so hard during your workouts to build fitness, only to sabotage your own efforts by imprinting unhelpful messages onto your subconscious. It makes as much sense as attaching a parachute to your back for race day, or trying to run with a backpack full of rocks.
Here are some examples of statements that do not serve us well:
I’m not feeling it today.
I hate the hill at Casey Middle School
I suck at pacing.
I have no finishing kick.
I’m not really very fast.
I don’t run well in hot weather.
I’m not a runner.
I could go on, but you get the idea. Most of these statements are made by well-meaning people who may not grasp how much their negative statements imprint themselves on their subconscious, and in doing so, turn their statements into self-fulfilling prophecies.
Note that I am not advocating for ignoring challenging issues, or pretending that everything is always perfect, happy, and good. All I am saying is that we need to be very careful in choosing our words, speaking the real truth, and finding ways of phrasing things in a way that will help, not hurt our efforts. After all, I could argue that none of the above statements are true, and are just exaggerated extrapolations based on an extremely small set of data points that do not necessarily predict the future with any degree of certainty.
The ironic part is that most people are hesitant to exaggerate on the positive side. If we have a bad race, we say stuff like, “I’m so slow. I suck at racing.” If we have a good race, we say something like, “It was better than usual. I don’t know where that came from.” It like we’re afraid of sounding boastful if we say, “Man, I had a great race today. I’m feeling like the training is really working. I’m getting fitter and faster, and turning into a good runner.”
The point is that we don’t need to worry about what is really true, and what isn’t, because our subconscious can not distinguish between the two. It doesn’t evaluate the truth of statements like the rational part of your brain does. It just hears the words, and the words have an effect. Nobody told those subjects to walk slower. There was no discussion on a conscious level about how fast or slow they should walk. It just happened. The words snuck past the logical, and went directly to work on the physical. Imagine if those words had been words like fast, tough, strong, calm, confident, relentless, focused, patient, hard-working, etc.
Real Life Example
Before our 18 Hours of Fruita race last weekend, I went out with my team to pre-ride the course, and check things out. We had heard that they had added a new section of the course, and we wanted to see what that was like. I had done the course the previous year, and loved the course. I was excited to see what they had added.
But when we got there, we found that the new section was almost a mile of trail that had just been cut a few weeks before, and was extremely rutted, bumpy, loose, and dusty. Not only that, but it was a challenging section with so many twists, turns, switchbacks, and hairpins that there was no time during that section where you could mentally or physically relax. Everyone started complaining about it. About half way through the section, I found myself complaining to myself, too. “I hate this new section. The course was perfectly fine. Why did they have to change it? This is going to ruin …”
And then I caught myself. I realized I was doing exactly what I tell you not to do. By telling myself that I hated this section, I pretty much was guaranteeing that I would not be able to ride it as well during the race. So, I made the decision to change my mind, by changing the words I was using. But I couldn’t just tell myself that I loved this section. I needed to find reasons.
I decided that I loved this new section for the following reasons:
I loved the fact that it was a challenge.
I loved the fact that it would test my focus and bike handling skills.
I loved the fact that everyone else hated it, which would be to my advantage.
And that made all the difference. I did 8 more laps over the course of the next 18 hours of the race. And each time I approached that section, I reminded myself why I loved it. It put a smile on my face every time, and I firmly believe enabled me to ride it more efficiently. It didn’t make the course any less rutted, bumpy, loose, and dusty. It didn’t make it any less challenging. I just made it challenging and energizing instead of challenging and miserable. And if you think that it’s just a matter of semantics, then you are underestimating the power of words.
F4 Coach Gail Matherly recently suffered a disappointing DNF at Ironman St, George, and shares her lessons learned...
Post Race Review – Ironman Saint George – May 1, 2010 – Gail Matherly
I signed up for Ironman Saint George right when registration opened.At the time, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.I had not even done a 70.3 distance race yet.I just thought the daunting task of preparing for a race of this magnitude would keep me motivated to stick with a plan to get back in shape.Just over a year later, I made it to the starting line, which people say is half the battle.However, making it to that starting line was in doubt only 2 weeks before race day.I managed to get a very painful knee injury due to some preventable circumstances.Unfortunately, I never got to test the knee on race day, although I believe it may have rallied for the cause.I was pulled to the medical tent upon exiting the water because I was suffering from hypothermia.At least I lived to race another day!This is a review of my preparation leading up to the IMSG race and the attempted execution of the race.The purpose of this review is to document what went wrong, what went right, and to learn how to improve in the future.It is written from the perspective of someone doing an Ironman distance race.Some of the suggestions may be modified for shorter distances, such as wearing the same shoes in racing and training.
WHAT WENT WRONG
A few weeks out from race day, I began having excruciating groin pain after my long rides when I would run off the bike.It would only last for 4 minutes after I started to run and then would completely go away.I kept thinking it would go away as I got used to the longer distance I was riding, but it didn’t.Four weeks later, I was still dealing with the same problem.Instead of seeing a sports medicine professional right away, I tried to self diagnose the problem and decided it was probably caused by my saddle, as it is one of the wider-in-the-front models that I thought could potentially be putting pressure on the groin tendons.Just two and a half weeks out from my race, I decided to change saddles, against the advice of my coach, with the rationalization that this groin pain could become a show stopper if it ever stuck with me on the run.The new saddle was designed to be much lower in the back than my old saddle, which gave me more power when I was climbing.This extra power and lower saddle during high-torque hill-climbing is what I suspect led to the knee injury.Later, I found out from a sports med PT that the groin pain I was experiencing only on brick runs was not really a threat to completing my Ironman so I could have left the saddle alone and not developed the knee injury.
I thought perhaps my running shoes were too worn out to race in them so I bought a new pair of an unfamiliar model about 3 weeks out from the race.Shortly after that I began to experience some knee pain in my right knee which I was able to resolve with icing.However, the shoe change could also have contributed to the pain in my left knee just a few days later.
Two weeks out from my race, I felt a relatively minor amount of discomfort in my left knee when I went for a ride.I thought about discontinuing the ride so as not to irritate it further, but I continued anyway because I had experienced lots of little “discomforts” in training that didn’t ever develop into a real problem.
I also experienced just a bit more discomfort during a run and had to cut it short.This discomfort changed to stiffness and pain after the run.This pain was so bad that my knee hurt even if I was just sitting or standing.
After determining that any activity at all caused the pain to get worse, I rested from training completely for a week and a half until race day.
I did not anticipate that the water would be significantly colder than predicted on race day.Three nights before the race, a huge snow storm dumped a lot of snow in the mountains near Saint George.The snow melt over the next couple of days along with colder than normal spring temperatures reduced the Sand Hollow Reservoir temperature to 55 or 58 degrees depending on the source.I was expecting the water to be at the predicted “low to mid 60’s.”
I stood in line too long at the bathrooms and could not get in the water until after the start because many others did the same thing and we were all in a traffic jam heading down to the water.I didn’t realize it was time for the start because so many people were still up near the transition area.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
I have a coach who is in tune with my goals, my motivation, and my ability.The accountability was a huge factor in sticking consistently with the program, and my tendency to over-do was kept somewhat in line as my coach adjusted my intensity and workload based upon my feedback.I went over a year without a significant injury, which is saying a lot considering my injury-ridden athletic history and the magnitude of the goal toward which I was striving.
Going to the race course well in advance of race day provided the opportunity to experience first-hand what the course required in terms of effort, intensity, and mental fortitude.After I knew what this difficult course was like, I had the opportunity to train on a similar course at home that is even more difficult so that I would have extra confidence on race day.When we drove the course 2 days before the race, I thought, “This is even easier looking than I remember.It’s nowhere near as tough as the course I’ve been riding in training.”Riding the course in person versus just looking at the course profile or seeing the course on a Computrainer enabled me to experience the wind conditions combined with the hills and the bumpy chip seal road surface.Of course, if you can’t make it to the race course ahead of time, study the course profile, ride the Computrainer course, and read everything you can about the course, previous race conditions, typical weather that time of year, and anything else you can find to help you be mentally and physically prepared.At the very least, be sure to at least drive the course before you race.
I regularly swam and biked the race distance in training until it didn’t feel like a big deal anymore.
When I experienced the knee injury I went to recommended sports medicine professionals who provided exercises, taping, and icing/rest instructions to help me heal faster.
I kept a positive outlook hoping that my knee would heal in time, but mentally preparing for the possibility that it wouldn’t.Each day that the pain seemed to lessen, my hope grew.
Do not change ANYTHING during the last few weeks before an “A” race.Buy shoes that work well for you based upon what has worked well in the past.Acquire them early in your training cycle, and when you find a pair you like buy at least three pairs of the same shoe.Wear one pair just enough to break them in and then save them for race day.Use the other two pairs in training.
Do not change saddles or saddle height at all during the 2 months prior to your “A” race.If you must make changes, do it in very small increments leaving enough time to get accustomed to a new position.Get that all dialed in beforehand.
When you are in your taper, ALWAYS ditch the workout if you feel ANY pain.At that point you have done all the work.Do not risk an injury.If you discontinue the workout when you feel pain, chances are the pain will be gone the next day and you’ll be able to do your scheduled workout.If you don’t, then you may have an injury that continues to plague you on through race day.
Do not try to self-diagnose pains or injuries.See a sports medicine expert who can give you advice to correct the problem without messing something else up.
If the water temp is below mid-sixties and the race distance is IM use a neoprene cap!Hypothermia sucks!I’ve found for shorter distances, that 2 swim caps is sufficient to keep me warm in low to mid-sixties temps.
Keep an eye on the time.Assume the start will be at the scheduled time, even if half of the athletes are still in the bathroom lines.
I hope that sharing my mistakes will help someone else avoid the same speedbumps I hit.Happy training and racing!
F4 Head Coach, Scott Fliegelman, sends Letter to the Editor of the Daily Camera following the latest irresponsible piece of 'journalism' on the subject of barefoot running.
Ryan Thorburn’s “Group to run Bolder Boulder barefoot” is yet another piece of irresponsible journalism on this latest running fad. By not including even one quote from a physical therapist, podiatrist, or credible expert on the subject of biomechanics or even running for that matter, you’ve now added to a growing pile of misinformation on the subject and will surely contribute to many injuries as a result.
As a coach who has help guide over 3,000 runners over the past decade, I am aware of the temptation that many athletes have to jump on the latest trend in an effort to get faster... quicker, and it is my job to help them make prudent decisions accordingly. By glorifying these extreme few who make the individual choice to run barefoot, you make it that much more difficult to provide unbiased and trustworthy advise on this controversial subject.
While there are surely benefits to limited barefoot running on soft surfaces like grass or sand, common sense should tell us that we need a protective layer between our feet and pavement, glass, metal, rocks, and myriad other modern day impediments that were not an issue 75,000 years ago when we chased down our food.
I’m sure Sandler and Lee thoroughly enjoy running without shoes, and if they want to write a book about it that’s fine with me. I would like to think, however, that the media should be doing a much better job of offering a more objective look at this issue, instead of continuing to present such one-sided sensationalist coverage which just adds even more fuel to the fire.
Check out this month's Colorado Runner Magazine, featuring a great shot of some speedy F4 women racing in Moab last month...
Thanks to Coach Scott G. for submitting this photo to Colorado Runner Magazine to help them illustrate how much fun it is to be a part of a Club/ Team/ Training Program like FastForward Sports. Way to rip up the Canyonlands course AND for lookin' good for the camera... (l to r) Kristi, Deanna, some lucky dude, Mary, and Marci.
FastForward Sports was founded in 2005 by Scott Fliegelman in order to provide a one-of-a-kind group training experience for running, triathlon, fitness and fun!
Aspiring and perspiring athletes of all levels are welcomed in a non-intimidating and professional environment. Small pace groups are formed with others of similar ability, led by a FastForward Sports Coach who is hand-picked and specifically trained to work most effectively with each level of athlete.