Saturday, September 11, 2010

USAT Certification Training

USA Triathlon
USAT Level I Certification Training

What an experience!  3 days,  23 hours , 6 instructors and a whole lot of information, good information.  We started the day early Saturday AM with Bob Seebohar and he was terrific.  He covered Exercise Physiology, Triathlon Nutrition Strategies, Triathlon Strength Training and finally a night class about Metabolic Efficiency- his hot topic.  It was all terrific.  With only 90-120 minutes per topic it was really an overview but a great start. Anything that is really interesting or I feel I want more information there are books, webinars and more for continuing education. 

It was hard to not just absorb all the information and apply them to me and my training. Learning more about what I am doing right and what I can do better.  The overtraining subject was clearly very relative and close to my heart.  Partially through the class I began to think about the topics and how I can use them to help others when I have the opportunity to coach athletes.

The Metabolic Efficiency class was my favorite and one very relevant to me right now.  Since embarking on this path in May it was great to hear more about the process, how he came to discover the benefits, review the case studies and success.  I am eager to work with others on this process- number one reason to work towards metabolic efficiency?  Reduce GI distress during races!  That is the reason….those who take on the challenge see other great results that are overall health benefits.  Bob is passionate about the process and very clear that if you want other athletes to give it a try you must practice if first.  Practice what you preach!

Bob is a tough act to follow…. The next guy covered Running Skills and Economy Training- He was….well disappointing.  His presentation skills were weak, his material was questioned by many and he did not have the passion behind what he was teaching.   Now I am not a runner not profess to know a lot about running….but I have taken a few clinics, read some books and watched videos and he frankly offered information that was different.   Different is not bad, only bad if you cannot back it up.  Enough on that….

All in all Day 1 was awesome!   Did we party in the French Quarter?  Well I was up at 6, ran an hour in the humidity on New Orleans, sat in class 11 hours and well we were tired.  My roommate (who by the way is awesome) and I took a walk, had a quick drink and I was in bed my 9:30! 

Day 2…..up at 5:30 to get in a semi long run and dang it – it was dark and well New Orleans is a bit of a scary place. So I sucked it up , used mental toughness and ran on the treadmill.  Followed my run with my new favorite post run beverage, fresh coffee with a chocolate-mint GU as an additive, delicious indeed.

Commentary on the class…..38 triathletes from all over, mostly from the South, who are competing at all levels.  Some have been coaching for a while and finally decided to get the certification, others (like me) eager to start a coaching business and help others and some who are PT’s, own running shops, work in the industry who want more information.  Lots of fit people, Ironman shirts and the typical triathlon crowd.  4-5 ppl sporting Vibram 5Fingers, note on those shoes…they smell after a while.  The guy behind me is wearing them and frankly it smells like stinky feet all day long- UG!  

Sports Psychology & Mental Skills: Dara Wittenberg: USAT Level II, MS Exercise Physiology, CISSN
She was terrific, dealt with so many issues on the mental side of this sport.    A lot of it deals with assessing your athlete’s goals, needs and working with them to achieve them.  But she covered imagery and the success of visualization about your race, dealing with injury and how it affects us all- not just physically but socially- frankly most of us socialize as we train and when we cannot train we lose our social support as well, working with the other factors of life and how that affects training and racing…and so much more.  Race expectations, what are realistic and attainable, understanding why an athlete is racing, relaxation techniques, race plans, back up race plans, negative thoughts and how to deal with them, mantra- what is yours? “make it work” (stolen from Beth- is a good one),  you have to create a mantra that is true to you- know it, learn it and use it when it gets tough.

 Swimming Skills and Economy Training Ben Elder: USAT Level II
This is a good one….. When I started coaching swimming (back in college) it was hard.  See I don’t remember learning how to swim, so I had to take “swim classes” to learn how to teach.  I spent many summers thereafter coaching kids and soon evolved to teaching adults.  But around 24 I put the sport of swimming behind me….well for 15 years anyway.

5 years ago when I discovered this dynamic sport I jumped back in the water, much slower, but picked up where I left off years ago.  When I look   I don’t remember learning how to swim so it makes it harder to teach it.  Although having the opportunity to coach swimming for 5 years was beneficial, but I was coaching kids.  As Bob says….we teach kids and change adults.  Working with adults is more of a challenge, but can be done and one component I look forward to doing in my coaching.   

 We covered the  Dynamics of Coaching Youth and Juniors  and well let’s just say I love my 2 kids…..not sure about coaching others- maybe with time- never say never.

And we finished the day with Cycling Skills  and Triathlon Specific Training and Key Workouts with Justin Trolle: USAT Elite Coach.  He was awesome and so full of knowledge my brains are overflowing right now.   So much good information on biking skills, understanding the bike, planning for your race and more.