Monday, July 20, 2015

Coaching The Coach: My Road To The 2015 Miami Ironman 70.3

Coaching The Coach
My Road To The 2015 Miami Ironman 70.3

So as many of your know for my 45th birthday I decided to challenge myself to my first triathlon. There’s an entire story behind how this guy (me) that absolutely hated running, did a sports where the most grueling part happens to be running.   Since the very early days in my career as a sports chiropractor I worked in the medical tents at local triathlons. Now that I had set my sights on actually doing a triathlon, I figured that after I was done I would simply settle back into my former life and keep trekking through life. But no, something happened when I crossed the finish line for the first time. As it is said in the triathlon world - I got bit by the “triathlon bug”. There was an incredible sense of accomplishment and an incredible sense of disappointment that it had all come to an end-both at the same time. Talk about mixed emotion.

OK, so I was now hooked. If you’re going to get addicted to something, triathlon is a good thing to get addicted to. I signed up for more triathlons, joined a local triathlon club and with open arms I welcomed the triathlon life style.  To date, I’ve done 13 triathlons. Mostly sprint distance, a couple “hybrid” distances and 2 Olympic distance triathlons.  Now it’s 5 years later and decided to give myself yet another triathlon challenge for my upcoming 50th birthday.  The challenge-The 2015 Miami Ironman 70.3.  For those that aren’t into triathlon, this is also known as a ½-Ironman or ‘½-IM’.  

Stella took 1st Place in her Age Group!!!  And I PR'd!!!
RUN HELP. This year started out pretty cool for me. I was training for the South Beach tri and I happened to bump into a friend of mine that I haven’t seen in a while, Stella Shalem. Stella is a running coach and personal trainer from Brazil and now lives here in Miami Beach.  After running together once, she decided that I needed help with my running and invited me to join some of her friends and running clients to her run-coaching group. She taught me there’s more to a track than going around in circles and more to a bridge than going up and over repeatedly.

I learned proper run form, how to make a true workout out of a track and a bridge and use these tools to develop stronger running technique, speed, aerobic capacity and economy. She taught me proper warm ups and drills prior to the main running workout of the day.  She was critical to helping me through the 2015 South Beach Olympic distance triathlon and she even came out there to run along side me in the blistering sun.  Stella is a great running coach and someone that walks her walk and talks her talk. She eats & cooks healthy, thinks positively, motivates you constantly and trains hard & smart.  This girl loves to run which is evidenced not only by her work ethics, but further emphasized by the bumper sticker on the back of her car which reads: “Yes, I run like a girl-try to keep up” (and I never could!). She coached me through my first official 5k and to a personal 5k record. This was my first experience as an athlete with a coach, but it would not be my last.

Because I was a sports chiropractor and a triathlete, other triathletes began to seek me out. I was told countless times “you understand what I’m going through”-or- “you get me” -or- “you get it”. And, they were right-I did.  Several of my triathlete patients kept telling me they wanted me to meet their coach. The same name kept coming up time and time again. Erinne Guthrie of Full CircleCoaching.  "You’ve got to meet her” is what I heard over and over again from my patients.

We eventually met and after getting to know each other, she invited me to participate and speak at her 2015-“Ultimate Triathlete Training Camp” at the National Training Center in Clermont, FL. The training camp was quite comprehensive, technical and a lot of fun. I learned a lot as a triathlete and started to see how much more technical and specific training for a triathlon can be.  There was a ton of cycling, swim training and running in the mornings and lectures in the afternoons. If you’re a triathlete, training camp is definitely something to put on your radar for next season. Plus, it’s camp -who doesn’t like to go to camp?  What I discovered at camp was I was merely exercising on the swim, bike and run. Training was an entirely different approach.

I became curious as to how I could help coaches help their athletes by better understanding the triathlon coaching process. I signed up for a USA Triathlon coaching level 1 certification course and I have to say it was one of the more informative classes I’ve ever taken.  Of course, I had a much higher level of understanding with a sports medicine background than most in the class, so the information meant more to me at a different level.  As the various USAT coaches spoke, in my head I was already applying the information to improve my examination methods, treatment methods and rehab techniques.

It was during the weekend USAT coaching course and the exam process that followed that I realized how much help I really need as a triathlete. I mean, I could purchase a training plan on line and train myself, but knowing what I know about sports medicine and now armed with my new triathlon coaching knowledge and certification, I realized I had quite a few flaws in my swimming, cycling and running that needed to be fixed. If I was going to be training 6 days per week, sometimes twice per day, 1-3 hours per day, I knew I needed to improve my bio-mechanics quickly. Poor biomechanics done repetitively over a long period of time means only one thing – Injury!

IM 70.3 -- 1st official day of training
So I signed up and committed myself to the Miami IM 70.3 October 25th, 2015 and called Full Circle Coaching founder, Coach Erinne Guthrie to help me map out a plan to get across the finish line strong and uninjured. So with that, I signed up for a Training Peaks account, linked it up to Full Circle Coaching’s coaching account and BAM!-My training schedule from coach Erinne magically appeared!! So July 1st, just 2 days prior to my 50th birthday I started. Right from the get go I received some great encouragement while being informed I have some improvements to make (she must have read the book The One Minute Manager).   

Although I was a fast sprinter in the pool, many areas of my swimming technique needed tweaking (that was being kind) and Coach Erinne was able to pick out every flaw.  And, I knew she was right. It wasn’t the kind of swim workout I was expecting, but it certainly was the swim training I needed. I was able to see some results right away and knew that others would take time to master. 

Over the next 4 months I will let you into my world of training for my first “long course triathlon” by blogging my progress with Full Circle Coaching, coach Erinne Guthrie and her other tri-coaching clients.  The only thing I ask of you is this: when you see me or other people cycling while your driving along south Florida roadways, please slow down and give us some room. Trust me, you’ll get to your destination on time-we just want to get to our destination alive.

Healthfully yours

Dr. Todd Narson 
Diplomate, American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians
USA Triathlon-Level 1 Coach 

Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center; A Facility for Natural Sports Medicine.