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Sonntag, 24. Juni 2018

The Art behind the Coaching Science

What more can you possibly much better do except write a great training plan for swim, cycle and run, so that you made him reaching the finish line for his first Ironman in only 10 hours and 15 minutes?! What is the big Philosophy behind of it?!

I got this question from the triathlon club manager, where my client was a member I felt some lack of trust and a certain quantity of frustration. All the other six athletes from this club, that were racing in this event, were there for their 2nd or 3rd Ironman and were trained for over 18 months for their best finish time of ten hours. My client was doing his first full distance now in Klagenfurt. The others had spent money on training camps, my client did it at home along the Danube. I told him: "If you have the money and want to go to that training camp, do it. However, it is not a must. Do it only if you think it is crucial for your performance, otherwise it is not the right strategy." 
My client started triathlon 2 years ago and after 3 x IM 70.3 he decided to try the full distance.

My reply to the triathlon club manager .... at the end of this post.

All I could say resumes itself to few words:  

Triathlon Coaching is an Art and behind this Art is Science.

Every coach and trainer develop in time his/her personal way of coaching over time. It is true that a good coach has merits in the results of their athletes, but the most part of the responsibility remains on the athletes’ shoulders. The coach/athlete paring must b the right one, that is one of the keys. When the match is the right one, then the communication is working and the understanding level flows on to the both sides of the team athlete/coach. In order to build a great team you need time together. I would say, a real good team needs at least one year together.

On the surface, triathlon training looks very simple: Go swim! Go riding! Go running!

However, there is a much deeper level to triathlon training. You need both components: the Art and the Science. The emotion and the techniques. The passion and etermination. And the experience as an athlete.

Most athletes entering the journey of trainig for a half or full Ironman without a trainer are going on the principle: “More is better.” Years ago, as a newer athlete in this discipline, I tended to believe this as well. As this had been what I always heard from the  “Big Guys”. In a country where in 2011-2014 there were only about five women absolving this distance and having almost no idea about training plans, this was all I could get. The joy of being there at the start was the most important thing. The joy of reaching the finish line was a pure emotional luxury and the intensity of that is undescriptible, believe me!

When I became a coach I had to understand that “Less is more!” And the most relatable example is, in a race where you are competing for over 12-14 hours, it is better to eat less than too much. If you eat less, you have plenty of possibilities to refuel. If you eat too much, you have plenty of chances to get sick and to stop the race!” It makes sense, right?

During a workout your body is under stress, it suffers. Many of you think that repeating that workout, repeating that stress and more, you get the body adapted to it. And this is a huge mistake, because the body adapts to the stress only during the recovery time, allowing the body – read about the supercompensation principle (SUPERCOM) – to become stronger than it was before. This means, the next workout can be longer or more intensive, then you recover, the next workout will be lower in volume and intensity, then you recover, then the next workout will be higher in volume and/or intensity than the pre-previous one. Level 1 of stress – recovery – Level 2 of stress – recovery – Level 1 up to Level 1,5 of stress – recovery – Level 3 of stress – recovery – Level 2 up to Level 2,5 of stress – recovery  - etc. etc. etc.

The recovery time is just as important as the workout itself. When you work all day and are under stress, your energy levels decrease. In order to adapt and to put back your energy reserves, you need to stop the work, eat and go to sleep. This is how life works.

Over the weeks, months and years of training (so named macro-, micro-cycles) you have to keep in mind that your body adapts to the stress (volume and intensity), so you have to progressively and permanently increase the stress factor if you want to become faster and more resistant or both. People who are jogging over 2-3 years on the same route, in the same amount of volume and at same intensities are wondering why they do not get thinner or/and faster. Because their body adapted to that stress, get used to it and relaxes, no stimulus is coming, no better results from the same boring repetition. If you want results, than you have to understand that the body needs a challenge and you can manipulate the way you challenge it by increasing the volume, the intensity and/or the frequency.

This does not mean you  endlessly increase all these components, no way! On the one hand, doing so, you will not resist and the result will be  increased injury risks, overtraining, then depression, then burnout, then end of this journey and start of another journey, where joy is a strange word.

Aside the whole science, the art of training is the Master Key behind a training plan. It is about the optimal distribution of resources during the season. This means you really need a suitable training plan with all components on it:
# Strength
# Swimming
# Running
# Cycling
# Recovery
# Fueling & Nutrition
# Mental training - my focus in coaching

It is a great idea to understand the goal of every workout, of every week training, of every microcycle. You need a structure in training and in your whole life, you need to understand the importance of alternate stress with rest, when, how long resting, what recovery means, when to sleep, when to use active recovery and so on. 
To the science behind the art of coaching belongs the techniques and the very specific season training plan phases based on the race schedule. You start with basic training (building up power – strength -, endurance and muscular endurance). Then you go on with specific training due to each discipline (techniques), then the race-specific phase (simulations, B and C races), tapering, RACE DAY, recovery. This is the general overview of the training schedle, without going into too many details here.
The difference between being an excellent technical coach vs. a good technician and a good “artist” type coach, can be seen on the state of the athletes before start, during the races and after the finish line. It can be simply read on their faces and reactions.
A very good technical trainer can coach bigger groups of athletes at the same time. He understands that every of them is unique, but he doesn’t make substantial differences in their trainings plans which are pretty much fast the same for all of them. 
To use the science and the art of coaching in the same time needs time. A lot of time. 
From my point of view, the art of coaching individuals (triathlon is not a team sport, this is for sure!) comes in when you:
- use the wide holistic range in coaching, 
- treat every single athlete in the way he/she needs,
- clarify very seriously from the beginning the goals, motivation base and races schedule, as well as the communication channels/hours/frequency/kind,
- Educate your athletes on how to understand the role of developing the self-awareness for their body so that they can take the right decisions at the right moment during difficult phases/moments in training/races and life too,
- Introduce them to all other components of their training plan and make sure they understand the importance of all of them (mental training, recovery with all possible forms of it - active, passive, massage, sauna, sleeping, eating etc.-, stretching, strength, mobility, coordination),
Properly manage the recovery issues recognising in due time the first signals of overtraining (so, less is more, again!) if the case (when taking over new athletes you might have this issue with them),
- Adapt the training plan and the stress level to the life style the athlete is having, because most of the hobby triathletes do have a regular job, a family, a business, a household and a lot of other stress streams in their life,
- Respect your life in the same time and set limits.

These are just a few of the ingredients.
So, as every athlete is unique, the same about coaches and trainers.
As I already mentioned, the right matching is exactly that Master Key that leads to geh deired success. At the massage school I have learned a golden rule: “If you feel the client who entered your praxis has not the right energy field for you, don’t do it, do not run the massage session with him! Find a way to communicate this to him or, after the first session let him know a second session is not possible anymore and refer him to another specialist. It is bad for you and it is bad for the client, as massage is a energy transfer.”. The same in coaching, believe me! It is a big deal of matching in a way.
My motto is: Let your Mind outside!
So, going back to the question that started this post, I have replied to him: "Hire a holistic coach and find out! :-)" 

Wishing you to find the perfect coach and to have the perfect training and racing season!

Feed-back and share are welcome, thank you!
Be flexible, be open minded, put questions! On-line coaching in a very effective way is one of my services.

Good to read:
Off Season for triathletes 
Running in the dark
Maximize your off-season time 

Montag, 18. Juni 2018

Running through the clouds ... Schmitten 2.000 m

Trail Running Schmittenhöhe Berg: 20 km, 1.000 m uphill
Wow! Again and again ..... just a perfect day for running, again and again running/walking on an empty mountain ..... with the clouds!
A spontaneous long run on Monday. 
Yesterday it was a quiet, silent day and I didn't feel like going out. Not at all. I slept longer and Marty decided to go visit some friends of him. I wasn't in the mood for anybody and for anything, anyway. I have such days, even I do not always love them. But know I just try to work on myself (again), to keep the mind clear of thoughts. Challenging task, you need years to overcome the habit.
But something new happened in this cointext: I drew again! I drew a new drawing and I finished an old one that I started two months ago! And I opened my unfinished book and wrote new pages on it. So, it happenes something all the time and these life phases when you are in a sort of "waiting room" are not by chance here, there is a reason for it. 
I took the weight vest, 4 kg of sand on the back. I have to say that during the run, 4 hours long, I even didn't feel it. I had a small bottle of water on the waist and a thin rain/wind jacket. Cloudy day, agreeable temperature. Just the perfect day for a long trail running. 
The trail steepy starts just behind the building where I still live. Thousand meters uphill for the first km does mean a vertical run. I never got so far on this mountain, but today it was the right time to reach the highest point at 1.970 m: The Schmittenhöhe. 
I run on this mountain for 6 months now, starting 2nd of December, 4 days after I moved out here. Fascination pure. It is a green, not a rocky mountain. A soft mountain with plenty of options and trails. 
After about four kilometers, taking plenty of shortcuts through the forest - abour 1 km shorter, but steeper - I reached the Areit Lounge, the first "level" of the mountain, where a big restaurant and ski slopes starts and where you change the cable cabin to go higher. 
I always take a picture when I get here ....I don't get enough of the view!!
But the Areit Bahn is still closed for big revisions after a crowdy miraculous winter and ski saison. This is why the entire area is pretty empty. Who wants to reach the peak by cable has to go to the other cable which starts somewhere in Zell am See. For me is just perfect! 
The way go steep uphill to Glockner Haus and the 2nd Water Reservoir.
After Glockner Haus there are two ways to the Schmitten: a forest path on the left and the mountain larger road. I choose the narrow forest path that is steeper.
The path meanders through the forest in a very idyllic way. You can be anywhere in the world, if you want.
It is pretty amazing how I always find fascination in banal things that most of the people do not even remark. The scenery with the wooden table and banc at the edge of the path made me stop and take the picture and I do not get enough looking at it. The beauty of silence, the beauty of simple things, the curved path, the high trees, the vivid green ..... so much emotion.
The long way to the sky in front of me .... clouds and fog running from the right directly into the path I was going to follow .... exciting, just exciting!
Zooming the image to what I was thought to be the highest point of Schmittenhöhe ..... a construction site?
Austria entirely is a construction site, all over the country is been built .... houses, hotels, infrastructure, roads .... all over.
And looking back to the Zell am See Lage .... divine ....
And looking ahead while uphill running ....
I was closed to nail a ten km run and a total climb of 1.000 m.
 I reached the Schmittenhöhe at about 16:40. 
A small charming wooden chapel attracted my attention ..... as I didn't expect to see one here, so I went inside.

The Elisabeth Chapel
On 7 August 1885 at 8:00 p.m., Empress Elisabeth, fondly known to posterity as Sisi, arrived in Zell am See on a special Imperial train. She stayed at Hotel Elisabeth, which no longer exists. Before the construction of the Schmittenhöhebahn, guests were carted up to the Schmittenhöhe over a bridle path in a horse-drawn coach. Elisabeth didn’t wish to be transported in such a fashion, so on 9 August 1885, she departed with mountain guide Anton Ullman of Zell am See at 1:00 a.m. and hiked up to the Schmittenhöhe to view the glorious sunrise. Along a moderately steep bridle path, the ascent ordinarily took approximately 3 hours. Elisabeth, avid mountaineer that she was, completed the ascent in just 2 hours and 16 minutes. Sisi was an ardent sports lover, keeping fit and slender through hiking, horse-back riding and fencing.
Planned during 1904/05 by supporters Carl and Emilie Haschke as a memorial chapel to Empress Elisabeth according to designs by architect Josef Wessiken of Salzburg. Under the supervision of Jakob Menis of Zell am See, a carpenter and a mason (Strassgschwandtner and Herzog) both hailing from Zell am See, then built the Sisi Chapel.
On 10 September 1908, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the death of Empress Elisabeth, Dr. Johannes Baptist Katschtaler, Archbishop from 1832 to 1914, consecrated the chapel. There is still a personal souvenir of Empress Elisabeth to the left of the altar.
Until its sale to Agricultural Association and Zell Forest Association in 1984, it was part of the hotel property on the Schmittenhöhe. Its last proprietor was Franz Gramshammer, a hotel owner in Zell am See (Grand Hotel).

 From the Chapel, a short round-trip named "Sissi-Rundweg" starts.
Sisi’s circular path is a short walk, only one kilometre, starting from the Elisabeth Chapel situated on the top of the Schmittenhohe. The walk is full of interest as in addition to the marvellous views there are information boards which detail the life of Empress Sisi.
Elisabeth Eugene Amalie, nicknames Sisi was the daughter of Duke Max of Bavaria and Ludovika, the Bavarian King’s daughter was born in Munich on 24th December 1837. The family spent their summertime on Lake Stamberger See in their small castle, Possenhofen, leading to a carefree life. She grew up happy with her seven brothers and sisters.
Sisi’s mother Ludovika, a daughter of Bavaria’s King Maximillian 1, was the only one of three sisters who did not marry into a Royal family. Her husband Max, was a Wittelsbacher, thus he was accorded the title “Duke in Bavaria” only upon his marriage. Conspiring with her sister, Sophie, the emperor Francis Joseph’s mother, Sisi’s mother Ludovika secretly tried to marry her daughter Helene to Francis Joseph. The prearranged meeting of the families did not go according to plan and the Emperor Francis Joseph fell in love at first sight with the young impetuous Sisi. They were married in a magnificent imperial wedding ceremony on the 24th April 1854 in the Augustinekirche in Vienna.
Sisi the traveller.
When Empress Elisabeth was ailing from coughing and respiratory complaints in 1860, she was inspired to take her very first trip abroad alone. She went to a spa in Madeira which gave her the opportunity to escape the rigors of court life. On her return to Vienna she suffered a severe relapse. Her doctors diagnosed “consumption”. The Empress departed to a spa on the island of Corfu.
Her escape from Vienna’s Imperial Court in 1860/61 launched a journey which was to continue up to her death. She travelled throughout Europe, to Asia Minor and to North Africa. When Elisabeth returned to the Imperial Court in Vienna after an absence of almost twenty years, she had transformed from a pale, shy young woman to a self-confident monarch.
Stretching out ahead of me I could see the High Altitude Promenade. I was tempted to do it now but decided to leave it for another day and concentrate on Sisi’s walk.
Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary.
At the beginning of 1867, she succeeded in reaching an accord with Hungary, despite strong opposition from her mother-in-law and members of the Imperial Court. On 8th June 1867, the coronation of Emperor Francis Joseph and Empress Elisabeth as King and Queen of Hungary took place in the St Matthew’s Church in Budapest.
When she was 17 years old, the young Empress Elisabeth gave birth to a girl, who was named Sophie Friederike. A year later another daughter, Gisela was born. In 1858, Crown Prince Rudolph Francis Carl Joseph was born. Her fourth and last child, Marie Valerie Mathilde Amalie was born in 1868 in Ofen, Hungary. Sophie died at the age of two from diarrhoea and fever. Crown Prince Rudolph committed suicide when he was 31 at Schloss Mayerling in Lower Austria, together with his mistress, Mary Vetsera.
The assassination.
On 9th September 1898 on the shores of Lake Geneva.the Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni stabbed Elisabeth in the heart with a knife he had made himself. She managed to board a lakeside boat but then collapsed. She died a short time later in her hotel. The internment took place on 17th September in the Kapuzinergruft in Vienna.
Source about Sisi: crosbyman66.wordpress.com
Back to my running day through the clouds: 
 It was 5 p.m. and the last cable cabin descended from the Schmittenhöhe nach Zell am See. I could have take it, but I didn't want to finish the marvellous day on the mountain, so I decided to run back to Schüttdorf instead.
It took me about 4 hours to get here, so in about 90 minutes I could be back home, by running most of the trail.

It was a relaxed nice long descent over 1.000 m and I enjoyed every single moment of it.
 I knew I will reach town on the day light, so I was worryless.
 A good bath, looking to the pictures, writting the blog and a good long night sleep :-)

Sonntag, 17. Juni 2018

our brain

our brain ..... the endless mistery .... a gelatine mass inside an absolutely dark chamber ..... how do we perceive the outside world through an organ which never is outside of us?!
It is pretty amazing and curious that we can live without some organs of us, but not without our brain or/and our heart.
It was proven that we can train our brain as we can train our muscles and body cells.
The eyes are the main gate to the brain. If we lose our sight, we still can live, we "just" have to train our brain in order to adapt it to our new life. Then the main gate to the brain change to the other senses as smelling and hearing and touching.
All our senses depend of each other. We act depending of what we see, hear, touch, smell. I cannot eat before I smell what I am going to eat, for example. And nowadays, when so much plastic was implemented in our food, is essential. But I have this custom since I was a little child. I smell it, the information went to the brain and from there I got the permission to eat or not.
What we touch influences how we see.
Taste is affected by the sense of smell.
Our sight forms how we hear.
All our senses have to be sincronysed and this work is done by our brain. Timing is essential.
If you pay attention to a race start you will see surprinsingly differences. Watch a sprint race and you will understand better.
We react faster to auditive signs than to visual signs. The visual system is much more complexe and we need some longer time to react. 

Trail Running: Kitzsteinhorn Mid of June 2018

We had over 30°C during the last two weeks, the first part of June (2018). In May we already had 30°C here at the feet of Kitzsteinhorn and not so far away from Großglockner, the highest Peak of the Austrian Alps!
After a heavy long winter, Zell am See-Kaprun Area suddenly met the summer and the snows on the mountains around melted very quickly. The ski season official ends on 22nd of July and high on the glacier there are still some people skiing and children playing around in the snow.
I spontaneously decided to take the cable to the Kitzsteinhorn and to attend the guided National Park Tour. It was too late for the first tour at 10, as I reached the starting point first at 11:30. I had no idea I have to change 3 different cable cabins until the end point of the journey.
I had in mind the option to go up by cable and to descend by foot, a trail running session, so I took running clothes and some warm stuff for the Peak.
It was too late .... for a lot of stuff, but I enjoyed the journey into the clouds fields all over ..... I even enjoyed not being able to see anything from the mountain range around ....
I wanted to see this platform .... and voila, here I am! A fascinating picture at 0°C.
In July 2015 I climbed the mountain from St. Johann in Tirol, not far away from Kaprun - about 40 km I think. But I didn't know about the platform or maybe I did know, but it wasnt't interesting for me that time. 
Now I am here, fully in the clouds ........... and fully in winter inside the summer ....
The guided Tour in German was interesting. The guide told us, the glacier retreats about 2 meters every year. Less and less ice on the glacier. Two meters yearly is huge!
The brown color comes from a fine Sahara sand flying all over the Alps and also from a specific red-browny plant blowing right now under the last fields of snow. It is not dirt, it is just nature.
We went through the tunnel, another impressive work  and a scientific base lager for the area. From here, they do all the measurements and observe wild birds and animals life. There is a lot of "crazy" stuff happening here at over 3.000 meters.
Natural cristal extracted from the area and just washed with water .... in its natural form and size .....
I put the hand around ...... undescriptible cold .... but I stayed with my hands on it for several minutes and I inhealed the feeling of it .... the energy of the crystal
It was my meditation place for about ten minutes. The few other tourist walking along didn't even stop to watch the crystal despite its beauty and size and energy .... and this is what we all are doing in our life: ignoring the good, positive, healing energy fields around us. I felt blessed for reasons I cannot describe. And I think it is a matter of consciousness and stay open and curious for things, signals we meet every single step on our life path. I even prayed for a wonder to be brought to me.
Outside the tunnel, from the platform, I saw how some sunshine is trying to break the clouds .... a surreal landscape. No wind, just everything white. Down on the right side some people and children playing and skiing, the last weeks of the skiing season.
After about one hour I finally left the peak taking the cable cabin back to the next valley station. I was not decided what to do: to start running back from here or to descend by cable to the next valley station and to start my trail run from there?
I decided for the second option in order to take covered risks because of the hour, it was already 3 p.m. and descending alone on a huge mountain, partially full of snow, wouldn't be a clever decision. I read the marks and I couldn't see any good choice for me, so I decided to take the cable from 2.450 m (Alpin Center) to 1.976 m (Langwied).
I took a last panorama picture over the Zell am See with the lake and I took the cable to 1.976 m. From there, the plan was to descent by running to 900 m.

At Langwied were more tourists. There is also a huge construction site there and afterwards I find out what it will be!

The construction site is working on Maiskogel and on Kitzsteinhorn, a huge project. An amazing challenging project ..... Why do they do it .... no idea ..... to get more money?! No idea really .... or just to proof the can do it? There are pretty fantastic engineering work all over Austria ..... I sometimes ask myself how good the the nature all these interventions are .... To connect these both mountains it seems to be a huge step and "performance", no doubt, but I do not see any reason for the project .... an investition over 8 million euros .... what for? To be admired, to be wondered ....
Related image
Due to the strong marketing work - here the source -, this is the project:
 We’re bringing together, what belongs together
The K-onnection to the future:
Kaprun – Maiskogel – Kitzsteinhorn

This gondola link is a long-held dream come true.  
Directly from the village of Kaprun with the aid of two new gondola lifts, first up the Maiskogel, from there to the Langwiedboden and the very heart of the Kitzsteinhorn glacier ski area!
Ski-in-Ski-out, 100% snow guarantee from October until well into springtime, along with a wealth of new opportunities – priceless benefits that further solidify Zell am See-Kaprun’s position as a top destination in the Alps. For unsurpassed winter sports, memorable family holidays or high-alpine sightseeing that reaches all the way to the TOP OF SALZBURG at 3,029 meters above sea level. As of December 2019, an ultra-modern tri-cable gondola, the 3K Kaprun-Kitzsteinhorn-K-onnection, will link the Maiskogel with the Kitzsteinhorn.
With this K-onnection, the Maiskogel family ski area essentially fuses with the Kitzsteinhorn glacier ski area to create a single compelling ski destination. This new, second access means of riding up to the Kitzsteinhorn isn’t the only reason holidays will now become more attractive than ever: Beginning in December 2018, Maiskogel Family Mountain will also offer guests added comfort and convenience, along with whole new dimensions and perspectives, in the form of a 10-passenger gondola known as the MK Maiskogel Lift.
Also under development at the valley terminal of the MK Maiskogel Lift, right in the heart of Kaprun, is the Kaprun-Center: a service hub with ticket offices, a ski depot with over 2,000 storage lockers and a modern sports shop.

The direct K-onnection from Kaprun up to the Glacier.

This new connection essentially fuses the Maiskogel family ski area with the always-snowy glacier ski area to create a single compelling ski destination. 

  • Total Convenience - Ski-in-Ski-Out
    On foot from your hotel to the gondola. Now ride the new, ultra-modern MK and 3K lifts, first up the Maiskogel, then to the heart of the glacier ski area, where great snow conditions are 100%guaranteed. And when your winter sports are over for the day, hop back on board the lift with skis in tow for an enjoyable ride down to the valley, all the way back to the town center of Kaprun.
  • Maiskogel Family Mountain - more summer experiences
    Thanks to the new MK Maiskogel Lift, Kaprun becomes more attractive than ever for families and their children. This lift will also run in summer, providing convenient access to the hiking paths and bike trails close to town.
  • Kaprun-Center
    The Kaprun-Center is being created in parallel to the MK valley station – a highly modern service hub which brings together modern services, ticket offices, a ski depot and a rental center/sports shop under one roof.
  • Superlative Lift Axis
    With the longest lift axis (a 12 km-long continuous string of pearls rising from 768 m to 3,029 m) as well as the greatest elevation gain (2,261 m) in the Eastern Alps, the K-onnection proudly boasts several superlatives.
  • More Opportunities
    With the opening of the K-onnection, visitors now have TWO different ways to reach the Kitzsteinhorn:
    -    K-onnection from the town center: Recommended for everyone who is staying within walking distance of the MK valley station.
    -    Gletscherjet/valley station: Recommended for day-visitors and everyone who wants fast, direct access to the glacier on the Kitzsteinhorn.
Crystal clear, it is all just about money! More money!! Because everything will be much more expensive in the area, no doubts. It is already a non-affordable area to live.
Reaching Langwied Valley Station I started my descend crossing the construction site and following the path 711 to Wüstlau via Salzbürger Hüte. The man from the cable was very friendly to explain me the possibilities of descending. He said, by running I should reach the road near to Kitzsteinhorn Basis Cable in about two hours.
It was 15:20, so I still had plenty of time to enjoy the mountain by daylight. If he said 2+ hours for me it meant no longer than two hours. And indeed after 90 minutes I reached the road at the feet of the mountain! Too early.
The descend is beautiful and easy, no technical stuff or so. Just the right trail running shoes and water are essential. I had more than enough, including rain protection, sun protection (my cap, I never use cremes or so). 
to be followed ..... eventually

I'm WATCHing YOU!! :-)