Coaching

UNIQUE APPROACH TO TRIATHLON COACHING

Matt Sheeks – Seattle Triathlon Coach Training Philosophy

 

The foundational principle which unites all endurance sports, discovered by Arthur Lydiard of New Zealand, is that humans naturally lack endurance, but with intelligent training improvements in endurance can be exponential.  I truly believe that all endurance athletes can compete at a level beyond their perceived physical limits – everyone can compete “beyond themselves”.  When I was a junior in high school, I could run just 1 mile in 4:40.  At this time, I never thought I could run this pace for much over a mile.  However, just six years later I was able to run this distance for 6.2 miles, for a final 10,000m time of 29:14.  This represents a 600% improvement in endurance!  These are the types of improvement that should be commonplace and expected, yet unfortunately most endurance athletes never see these types of improvements because they don’t know how to develop their aerobic system to its maximum; in addition, they are often haphazard in periodizing their training schedules.

 

Coaching greats such as Arthur Lydiard, Phillip Maffetone, and Joe Friel are all in agreement that aerobic development is king, yet so much valuable knowledge is diluted or completely lost when individuals try to put together their own training plan based on information they have received from internet forums, magazine articles, and even the well-meaning advice of training buddies. Even scientific research is often biased, usually favoring very high intensity training regimens which have success in the short term (6-8 weeks) which happens to be the same length as most of the studies.  Yet these same high intensity, short duration training protocols are the same plans that stunt the long-term development of many an endurance athlete and thieve the fun out of otherwise highly enjoyable activities.

 

Intelligent training addresses at least 6 elements – (1) base training, (2) lactate threshold, (3) interval training, (4) strength training, (5) speed skill training, and (6) mechanics – at the right time, in the right order, and in the right amount, to optimize potential.

Click on the Drop-Down Tabs to Learn More About Each Element

  • Develops and ensures that overall strength can be used for propulsion in one’s respective sport(s).
  • Increases the body’s ability to burn fat as a fuel source.
  • Increases mitochondrial density.
  • Expands and even creates capillary beds.
  • Improves Heart Stroke Volume.
  • Increases the length of time in which an athlete can maintain an intensity at or close to lactate turnpoint.
  • Allows the body to recruit a larger muscle mass during exercise through neurological adaptations and increases in VO2 max.
  • Develops and ensures that overall strength can be used for propulsion in one’s respective sport(s).

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  • Improves economy, even over long distances.
  • Useful for short bursts potentially needed in endurance events.
  • Ensures the body uses prime movers to propel the athlete.
  • Increases aerodynamics and hydrodynamics to the athletes advantage.

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Examine my coaching packages to decide which one is right for you!  Don’t see what you need?   Let’s talk about a custom option.

A full triathlon training program including down to the minute instructions, weekly updates, and monthly personal coaching sessions.

1. Initial Athlete Assessment – We start by discussing your training and injury history, goals, race schedule, and time constraints. Once I review your forms on the above, I give some tips on how I think we can improve your training going forward.

2. Annual Training Plan – We establish a medium-term training plan based on the athlete assessment. Usually the Annual Training Plan (or “ATP” for short) is a misnomer; I typically create an ATP for about 5-6 months, ending at the next “A” priority race you have on the calendar.  After this time period is complete, we will reassess, then add to your existing ATP.

3. Lactate Threshold Test – Training Zones are established through a torture test on the treadmill or stationary bike trainer.  I prefer the standard 30-minute test promoted by Joe Friel, though other options are available to us.  I even have a brutal 30 minute running climb that we can do outdoors.

4. Weekly Training Program – Each week’s training plan is detailed down to the minute and delivered online via Training Peaks.

5. Training Log Review – I review your training at least two times per week and adjustments are made to future training.  One of these is my weekly review which occurs right before we chat.

6. Weekly Call – At the beginning of the week we discuss how your training is going, which informs the next week’s training.  We then plan out the next week’s training based on your past training, the objectives on your Annual Training Plan, and your work schedule and time constraints for the next week.

7. Monthly In-Person Coaching Session – I will meet you for an in-person swim, bike, run or strength session where we can test your fitness, run you through a workout, examine your mechanics, or show you new training techniques. If schedules line up I may be able to support you on race day.

8. Race Strategy – Before each race I will create a race plan for you after researching the course and conditions and examining your training up to the event.  This plan details what intensity I think you can race at, your nutrition intake, and any specifics about the course and conditions.

9. Race Preview Call – In addition to the written race strategy, we discuss the race plan a few days out from the event.  This only applies to “A” or “B” priority events.

10. Race Nutrition Plan – I will create a race nutrition plan for you in order to best manage your macro and micro-nutrient needs during the event.  I do this for any event of Half-Ironman distance or longer.

11. Strength Program – A good triathlon training program will always include weekly strength training.  If we are both confident in your strength-training competencies, I will create a strength program for you that you can complete on your own in the gym. Ideally you should be strength training twice per week, so you will typically be given a “Day 1” and “Day 2.”  Strength Training cycles run about 4-8 weeks in length, so you will be given different strength training phases throughout the year.

12. Route Mapping – If you live in the Seattle area, I can map some cycling routes for you to get you off of major roads and highways and onto backroads. Riding these routes is completely optional and done at your own risk.

A full correspondence triathlon coaching package designed for those who don’t need or cannot take advantage of in-person coaching.  Includes:

1. Initial Athlete Assessment – We start by discussing your training and injury history, goals, race schedule, and time constraints. Once I review your forms on the above, I give some tips on how I think we can improve your training going forward.

2. Annual Training Plan – We establish a medium-term training plan based on the athlete assessment. Usually the Annual Training Plan (or “ATP” for short) is a misnomer; I typically create an ATP for about 5-6 months, ending at the next “A” priority race you have on the calendar.  After this time period is complete, we will reassess, then add to your existing ATP.

3. Lactate Threshold Test – Training zones are established through a torture test on the treadmill or stationary bike trainer.  I prefer the standard 30-minute test promoted by Joe Friel, though other options are available to us.  I even have a brutal 30 minute running climb that we can do outdoors.

4. Weekly Training Program – Each week’s training plan is detailed down to the minute and delivered online via Training Peaks.

5. Training Log Review – I review your training at least two times per week and adjustments are made to future training.  One of these is my weekly review which occurs right before we chat.

6. Bi-Monthly Call – At the beginning of each training block we discuss how your training is going, which informs your upcoming training.  We then plan out the next two week’s training based on your past training, the objectives on your Annual Training Plan, and your work schedule and time constraints for the next week.

7. Race Strategy – Before each race I will create a race plan for you after researching the course and conditions and examining your training up to the event.  This plan details what intensity I think you can race at, your nutrition intake, and any specifics about the course and conditions.

8. Race Preview Call – In addition to the written race strategy, we discuss the race plan a few days out from the event.  This only applies to “A” or “B” priority events.

9. Race Nutrition Plan – I will create a race nutrition plan for you in order to best manage your macro and micro-nutrient needs during the event.  I do this for any event of Half-Ironman distance or longer.

10. Strength Program – A good triathlon training program will always include weekly strength training.  If we are both confident in your strength-training competencies, I will create a strength program for you that you can complete on your own in the gym. Ideally you should be strength training twice per week, so you will typically be given a “Day 1” and “Day 2.”  Strength Training cycles run about 4-8 weeks in length, so your strength training menu will change periodically throughout the year.

11. Route Mapping – If you live in the Seattle area, I can map some cycling routes for you to get you off of major roads and highways and onto backroads. Riding these routes is completely optional and done at your own risk.

Full running or cycling specific program, includes:

1. Initial Athlete Assessment – We start by discussing your training and injury history, goals, race schedule, and time constraints. Once I review your forms on the above, I give some tips on how I think we can improve your training going forward.

2. Annual Training Plan – We establish a medium-term training plan based on the athlete assessment. Usually the Annual Training Plan (or “ATP” for short) is a misnomer; I typically create an ATP for about 5-6 months, ending at the next “A” priority race you have on the calendar.  After this time period is complete, we will reassess, then add to your existing ATP.

3. Lactate Threshold Test – Training Zones are established through a torture test on the treadmill or stationary bike trainer.  I prefer the standard 30-minute test promoted by Joe Friel, though other options are available to us.  I even have a brutal 30 minute running climb that we can do outdoors.

4. Weekly Training Program – Each week’s training plan is detailed down to the minute and delivered online via Training Peaks.

5. Training Log Review – I review your training at least two times per week and adjustments are made to future training.  One of these is my weekly review which occurs right before we chat.

6. Weekly Call – At the beginning of the week we discuss how your training is going, which informs the next week’s training.  We then plan out the next week’s training based on your past training, the objectives on your Annual Training Plan, and your work schedule and time constraints for the next week.

7. Monthly In-Person Coaching Session – I will meet you for an in-person swim, bike, run or strength session where we can test your fitness, run you through a workout, examine your mechanics, or show you new training techniques. If schedules line up I may be able to support you on race day.

8. Race Strategy – Before each race I will create a race plan for you after researching the course and conditions and examining your training up to the event.  This plan details what intensity I think you can race at, your nutrition intake, and any specifics about the course and conditions.

9. Race Preview Call – In addition to the written race strategy, we discuss the race plan a few days out from the event.  This only applies to “A” or “B” priority events.

10. Race Nutrition Plan – I will create a race nutrition plan for you in order to best manage your macro and micro-nutrient needs during the event.  I do this for any event of Half-Ironman distance or longer.

11. Strength Program – A good training program will always include weekly strength training.  If we are both confident in your strength-training competencies, I will create a strength program for you that you can complete on your own in the gym. Ideally you should be strength training twice per week, so you will typically be given a “Day 1” and “Day 2.”  Strength training cycles run about 4-8 weeks in length, so your strength training menu will change periodically throughout the year.

Essentially the same as Single Sport Coaching, without the monthly in-person coaching session.  Includes:

1. Initial Athlete Assessment – We start by discussing your training and injury history, goals, race schedule, and time constraints. Once I review your forms on the above, I give some tips on how I think we can improve your training going forward.

2. Annual Training Plan – We establish a medium-term training plan based on the athlete assessment. Usually the Annual Training Plan (or “ATP” for short) is a misnomer; I typically create an ATP for about 5-6 months, ending at the next “A” priority race you have on the calendar.  After this time period is complete, we will reassess, then add to your existing ATP.

3. Lactate Threshold Test – Training Zones are established through a torture test on the treadmill or stationary bike trainer.  I prefer the standard 30-minute test promoted by Joe Friel, though other options are available to us.  I even have a brutal 30 minute running climb that we can do outdoors.

4. Weekly Training Program – Each week’s training plan is detailed down to the minute and delivered on-line via Training Peaks.

5. Training Log Review – I review your training at least two times per week and adjustments are made to future training.  One of these is my weekly review which occurs right before we chat.

6. Bi-Monthly Call – At the beginning of each training block we discuss how your training is going, which informs your upcoming training.  We then plan out the next two week’s training based on your past training, the objectives on your Annual Training Plan, and your work schedule and time constraints for the next week.

7. Race Strategy – Before each race I will create a race plan for you after researching the course and conditions and examining your training up to the event.  This plan details what intensity I think you can race at, your nutrition intake, and any specifics about the course and conditions.

8. Race Preview Call – In addition to the written race strategy, we discuss the race plan a few days out from the event.  This only applies to “A” or “B” priority events.

9. Race Nutrition Plan – I will create a race nutrition plan for you in order to best manage your macro and micro-nutrient needs during the event.  I do this for any event of Half-Ironman distance or longer.

10. Strength Program – A good training program will always include weekly strength training.  If we are both confident in your strength-training competencies, I will create a strength program for you that you can complete on your own in the gym. Ideally you should be strength training twice per week, so you will typically be given a “Day 1” and “Day 2.”  Strength training cycles run about 4-8 weeks in length, so your strength training menu will change periodically throughout the year.

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