Workout Wednesday – The Leg Chiseler

Happy Wednesday! Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (HAHA)

This week’s workout – The Leg Chiseler

Chiseled Legs

There are two factors that determine how fast  you can push on the bike. These are your lungs and your legs. Your legs and lungs work together to produce power, but a weakness in either system will become a limiting factor. I experience this every winter winter when I train for a marathon and neglect  bike training.  When spring comes, and I get out on the road, I have the engine of a Corvette, and legs like a Smart Car. Leg strength is the key to increasing your speed, riding better in headwinds, and climbing. For those of your with some vanity, these workouts will make your go sticks more chiseled.

This workout  consists of on and off bike training designed to increase muscular strength in the legs. While these intervals can be intense, the focus is to get that burning sensation in the legs, not max out heart rate. Load up the tension, so your legs are working harder than your cardio. Aim to keep your cadence around 40-60 RPMs under tension. Ideally, this work should be done on a trainer or spin bike. That way you can control the amount of tension, and there are no interruptions.

On to the workout:

The Leg Chiseler

  • Warm up – 10 mins – easy spin
  • Warm up – 3 X 1 min/30 secs off
  • Main Set – 3 min climb increasing tension every minute (Heavy tension RPM – 40-60)
  • Get off bike and do 20 air squats
  • Easy spin 2 min
  • Repeat Main Set 4-6 times
  • Cool down 10 mins Easy Spin

This workout should be difficult, but know your limits. If you need a bit of extra rest between sets, take it. This type of workout is best scheduled with a rest day or easy day after. Leg strength work scheduled once every week or two, will be enough to see significant improvement. Remember to maintain the best pedal stroke possible. Focus on pushing and pulling the pedals and making circles. For more info on good pedaling mechanics.

Photo Credit:

Is Life Too Easy? Let’s Get Uncomfortable.

Daily life for most, including myself, has gotten too easy. We spend the majority of our time in climate controlled houses, offices, and cars. Even worse most of that time is spend staring at some type of screen. I’m writing this at a stand up desk, so I’m way healthier. (Not so much). I can order pizza from my phone in 20 seconds. I can buy anything I desire, without leaving my home. I can binge watch hours of programs, and I don’t have to go to the movie store. Food is prepackaged, pre-cut, and ready in one easy step. Don’t get me wrong most of these conveniences are awesome. My monkey brain is always seeking to find pleasure and avoid discomfort.

Have these conveniences of modern life made life too easy? Are all getting soft mentally and physically? I would argue yes, but who cares what I think. Look at your own life, and think, “I am too comfortable, too often?” If the answer is yes, find a way to break away from the comforts of daily life, and find a challenge to overcome.

Let’s tie this into triathlon or any other challenge. Find a new challenge that will push you out of the comfort zone, and accomplish something meaningful to you. From great struggle comes great reward. This is the main reason I participate in the endurance events. When I know I am pushing my limits in training or a race, I feel most alive. I am using all of my will to overcome a challenge, and I come out stronger on the other side.

Participation in triathlon, running races, and obstacle races has increased dramatically in the past 5 years. I think people are craving that sense of accomplishment and adventure that comes from struggle. They spend most of their week sitting at a desk, under mental stress. On the weekend they want to get outside and release the negative energy through some strenuous physical activity. As humans we are meant to move under our own power, and grow through resistance and recovery.

Shared struggle is also a great way to bond people together. Have you ever done a hard group workout, and when its over everyone has something in common. We can empathize with their struggle, and relate to that person more closely. If you meet anyone who does the same type of events as you, you will instantly bond over the experience.

A small helpings of discomfort can add up to a more robust life. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to work or the grocery store. Race your kids in the street. (My favorite). Grow some of your own food. Lift something heavy. Sign up for an event.

If triathlon is a challenge you would like to incorporate in your new uncomfortable life,. check out the start page

8 Tips to Overcome New Triathlete Race Day Nerves

You trained  for months and put in your sweat, tears and more sweat. Race day of your triathlon is finally here, but you have some concerns. Below are eight concerns I hear most often from first time triathletes, and some tips to overcome those concerns.


1. “Oh S#!1, I forgot my (insert item)”

Pack everything the night before, and double check your bag. If you wait until race morning, you will be too amped up to concentrate, and something will get left behind. Be sure to include anything you might need that day, gear, bike, nutrition, lucky socks. A transition area freak out, when you find out you left your running shoes, is no fun.

2. Always be early

Finding parking and logistics of race morning for most triathlons can be time consuming. Get there as early as possible. You will be less stressed, find a better spot on the transition rack, and have time to get ready to race. I once did not follow this advice, and arrived to the race with ten minutes to spare. I frantically set up my transition, threw on my wetsuit, and dove in for the swim. I was still stressed the entire race, and struggled mightily.

3. ” How do I set up my transition area?”

Don’t wait until race morning to figure out how to set up your transition area. A quick practice run through your set up will help out greatly on race morning. During one of your brick sessions, layout all of your gear like you would during the race. Figure out what works best for you.  For your reference here’s USAT Rules for Transition Setup. If you are unsure if you are set up correctly on race morning, just ask fellow athlete for some help.

4. “What if I take a wrong turn, and get lost?”

When possible preview the course before the race. Most courses are well marked, but it the participant’s responsibility to know the course. If packet pick up is close to the bike course, do a quick drive through. Mental note the turns, and any hills, or tricky areas.

5. “I’m freaked out about the swim”

It’s race day, you did your swim training, now it time show your skills. Familiarize yourself with the swim course, and run through the course in your mind. If you are a bit nervous that’s ok. At least 80% of the other first timers out there feel the exact same way. The ingredients of a great swim are to breath and relax. If you start to tense up , just breath and relax. If you get contacted by another athlete, just breath and relax. If anything goes wrong, just breath and relax. See the pattern here?

How to build swim confidence

6. Know your limits on the bike.

A triathlon bike course is fairly chaotic. There are riders passing and being passed, and cars whizzing by. The course could include uphills, down hills, and sharp turns to negotiate. When you add too much speed to this situation, it can be precarious. Stay within your limits in situations that require bike handling. When you get on a straight section of roads hammer away.

7. Build into the run

When you start running after the bike, it will feel slow. You might not be running slow, but the difference in your perception of speed will make it feel like you are crawling. Be mindful of your effort, and try not to start off too fast and blow up. It is a better strategy to hold back a bit and build your pace into the run.

8. Smile and enjoy the finish

You only get to finish your first triathlon once. Enjoy the heck out of it. Pat you self on the back for all of the training and hard work it took to get to the finish. Be grateful for all of the people that supported you. Just enjoy the moment, and bask in your own greatness.

If you have any others concerns, please leave a note in the comments.

Happy racing, and go and crush it.


For more new triathlete tips, check out 10 Definitive Tips for New Triathletes.

Motivation Monday – Excuses the Enemy of Excellence

Have a Marvelous Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.


This sounds like one of those hard core quotes you see with some huge dude flexing in the background. If you stop and think about how we use excuses, the quote rings true. We will not accomplish anything meaningful or difficult by using excuses. Excuses are how we trick ourselves into doing the easy thing, instead of taking the necessary steps toward our goal. A life of progress and propose is not filled with excuses.

I’m certainly not immune to making excuses. After I make an excuse, I rarely feel good about it, but I do it anyway. I see excuses like an ice cream sundae to someone on a diet. If they have that sundae, it will make them feel pleasure now, but it is in direct conflict with the goal of losing weight. I only mention this because I love ice cream, and have faced this dilemma myself. The mind is always going to seek pleasure, and avoid pain. If we want to make meaningful progress toward your goal, we need to put more pleasure in seeking your ultimate goal, that in the easy path offered now.

Excuses slow the learning process of excellence. We will all fail at something along our path. Failure is a lesson, until you make an excuse. The excuse will get you off the hook in the short term, but if the problem isn’t corrected, the same mistake will be made again.

Excuses lead to procrastination. We make excuses instead of doing what we really want in life. I’ll take on that big goal, after I have more time, money, experience. The problem is that time, money, experience, may never come. The enemy of excuse is action. Instead of making an excuse, take the next step toward your goal. It doesn’t matter how small the step, just make progress. When we put together enough of these small steps, excellence will be on the horizon.

What excuses can you overcome, and take that next step forward?

Do it today, and see how it feels to move toward excellence.

Monday Motivation – Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done

Have a Marvelous Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

Exhausted runner

“From great struggle comes great reward”

When was the last time to said to yourself, “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done”? How did you feel as you were saying it? Did you have a smile on your face? Most of those super hard things we encounter are not that difficult, it just seemed impossible before you began. It was so difficult because your inner voice was convincing you, it was beyond your capabilities. Keep pushing the limit of what is your “hardest thing”, and you will grow as a person immensely.

Keep the measure of your hardest thing relative your your own capabilities and progress. Don’t get wrapped up in comparing yourself with the achievement of others. We all have to set the bar for ourselves. Each person is just in a different place on the path.  Keep making forward progress on your own path, and keep reaching for that next hardest thing.

What is your next hardest thing?

Race your first Triathlon :)?

Run a PR 5k?

Give a speech?

Whatever it is, put in your full effort, and know you are making a break through.