Sunday, May 14, 2017

5 Tips for improved Streching


We all know stretching is important, and most of us don't do it enough. So make sure that every session is effective with these 5 tips that I've picked up over the years of training:


  1. Stretch warm muscles - Study after study shows, and confirms that the best time to do flexibility stretching is right after activity. So do your best to stretch after your workouts.  But for the hard days the muscles might be a little too sore for deep stretching, and some days you're just too busy to fit in the extra time right after a workout. So if you have to stretch later, do so after a hot shower, or warm up the muscles with a quick yoga session. The extra 2-3 minutes of activity will make the stretching many times more effective.
  2. Repeat stretches multiple time in a session - Think of stretching like a strength workout, do the stretches in sets. Pick a series of stretches and repeat the routine 2 to 3 times. The portion of the stretching that does the most is the first 10-15 seconds where you get into the position, and actively increase the stretching. So repeating this is critical.
  3. Actively try to relax the muscles while stretching - Focus on the muscles being stretched, feel the stretch. Increase the stretch and breath into the muscles, focusing on relaxing it while holding the position and form. 
  4. Stretch muscles in pairs - Only stretching one side of a joint can lead to imbalances, so when stretching across a joint, stretch the muscles for flexion and extension.
  5. Adjust your posture and form to target the muscles you need - Every stretch position targets multiple muscles, and we are all different. So for some a stretch might really stretch one muscle and for another, the same stretch might really stretch another. Design your stretching routine to target specific muscles, and know where they are. When stretching, adjust your position so you feel the stretch where it's supposed to be.
Try these and tell me if they helped you! What are your keys to getting a good stretching workout? Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Rolling Thunder 2016!

Rolling thunder CX in Missoula was this past weekend and I felt I really needed to write about it. This is for a couple reasons. One, it will go down as a significant percentage of the race time I’ve had this year, it’s always an awesome race, and the clarity and decisiveness with which I raced and remember the race can serve as an excellent example of the strategy that exists in CX.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Introducing Premium Athlete Coaching

I have been fortunate to coach some amazing athletes other the past handful of years and it has been as successful as it has been fun. In an effort to grow my business and expand my services, I am introducing a new coaching program. Along with my current offerings of Training Plans, Limited Coaching Adviser, and Full Coaching, I am happy to introduce the Premium Coached Athlete. This new level of coaching seeks to offer the most comprehensive coaching possible, expanding upon the full coaching by adding layers of new analysis, access to the latest metrics, and a lot more communication than the full coaching offers. This level of coaching means that athletes have access to whatever level of of service they need, from the most simple, to the most comprehensive through JM Coaching.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Catching up, getting back in it

A lot has happened since my last post so here is a little recap to put some context on this post.
I had very high hopes for the season. Going back to January, I started working at the local airport part time to make what coaching wasn’t covering in the budget, and although the work was physical it wasn’t affecting my training too much. The hours were a little tough which put sleeping and a social life at odds, but through the winter and spring I was able to train in the middle of the day when the sun was out. And training was going well, the number were going up, and I seemed to be breaking through to a new level, at least when it came to threshold.
But as I began to plan my season out another characteristic of my job became more of a problem, I worked weekend and getting time off was not only going to be difficult to do for all the weekend I wanted as one might expect, getting any time off was a challenge because the station is chronically shorthanded. To make a long story short, I only managed to race 2 times by the time July came around. I raced the opener and the second race of the Northwest Epic Series, a 4 race series consisting of 50+ mile MTB races. I was able to win both those races, as a result of being on great form. But The lack of consistent racing was taking a toll mentally on me.
MTB nationals came around and I made sure I was able to go, pulling all kinds of favors. And it turned into a great weekend. The result didn’t quiet measure up, but seeing Tim and Evie, and a long list of other good friends all again, the ability to ride in such an amazing place, and of course the thrilling competition reminded me of just how special racing is, and how lucky I was to be able to do what I did the last couple years. It also motivated me to no end to get back to that level and ability to travel. I felt unfinished, and I still do.
With a few more races on the calendar, I worked to make sure I was getting out as much as possible, and unfortunately the only one I was able to swing was Chequamegon. The lack of racing continued to wear on me, and it reached a bit of a breaking point. About 2 weeks after nationals I just decided I needed to take a break and re-evaluate where I was and what I was doing. About a month of time off and I began to get the itch to at least train again, and as Chequamegon grew closer, I resigned to becoming content with what I thought was an inevitable disappointing finish. But the race was too important to skip, it’s important for more than just the race, it’s family, community, and it’s tradition.

The weekend itself started off with a challenging time getting to the midwest, almost not making my flight. But I managed to make it, get a rental car and drive up. I was very relaxed and focused on spending time with family and having fun. It was amazing seeing everyone, all the people that make up the midwest MTB community. I felt like a winner before Saturday even rolled around.
But when Saturday did roll around, despite my attitude and expectation, it was a very sudden and easy shift to put all the focus on the race. I guess I’ve been racing long enough that when the race starts, the only thing I know how to do is go all in because I was focused. This was my 14th chequamegon, and my 7th 40.
After the anthem was finished and we put our helmets back on, the ATVs started up and we rolled down main street. This is an interesting time of the race. For the leaders it’s a mix of light hearted, calm before the storm, and an important time to focus and get ready for the effort. The race hasn’t even begun yet, but one misstep and it could be over. We make the left and then the right onto the highway and with each pedal stroke, nerves tense, and legs twitch. You can feel the speed and intensity building as the effort very slowly starts to build until the quads take off.
I was waiting for it, and I knew I could hang. You never forget how to pack surf, and that’s what I did. I’ve raced enough years now that I know when you need to be at the front, and I know how far back is too far. What I’ve gotten better and better at is doing it effortlessly. We make the small climb up a slight right and Rosie’s field is in sight. This is the first hurdle to clear. Timing your entry into the field so that you don’t get pushed back is critical. Over the years they have opened it up and it’s made it safer which we all appreciate. I nailed it this year and was sitting top 10 through the field and onto the trail on the other side.

As the front group made it onto the trail the first signs or effort start to show a couple riders fall back and the front group forms. I kept waiting for the effort to overwhelm me, but to my surprise it didn’t’ I made a few mistakes before OO, but was able to maintain position. At this point there was nothing left in my mind except the race and the effort, but I had felt like I’d already surpassed my expectations.

Eventually I got tailed off as I made a bad move through a puddle, I was able to catch on, but that was the start of the end. I caught on, lost it, caught on, tail gunned for a while and eventually was totally off up fire tower. But the fact I’d made it to fire tower in the front felt pretty cool. The rest of the race I was chasing hard with David Lombardo and Mark Lalonde, until I lost them on the Birkie Trail. I ended the day in 11th, a very good finish regardless, but something I am proud of considering the year so far.

I learned a lot from the race, about myself, the midwest community that I miss very much, and about the race that I care deeply for. A big thing I’ve been learning about this whole year and was punctuated with Chequamegon was that my motivation to train is mostly rooted in racing. I love to ride my bike, and I can ride and train without racing, but to train at the level I do, it takes more than just enjoying the time on the bike, you have to be ambitious, motivated, and extremely hungry. Not everyday is a wonderful day on the bike, I’ve found that training take you high and low. And I feel as though I’ve been to both, but the payoff is showing up to a race and giving it your all, the payoff is in the performance when it counts. I wasn’t getting that this year and it made it tough to train and at a certain point I broke.

Another big thing I learned about myself, twice, is that even after time away from the bike I can hold onto the fitness. I was very worried that after the time I took off, I would lose a lot of the fitness and racing ability I’d spent years working on and what I came to find both at nationals and at Chequamegon was that I’ve built something that can’t be taken down easily. I often tell my clients that training is like building a brick house. Each workout, each day, each effort, they are bricks on the house and once laid they are there to stay, but I don’t always listen to myself.

Finally, I learned just how special the midwest cycling community really is, both as a community, and personally to me. Everyone is so welcoming, and at the first sight its smiles, memories, and picking right back up, even after almost a year away. It’s amazing, and I’m lucky to be a part of it, even though I’m thousands of miles away. I still feel like a Midwesterner. And I still bring the pain every time I toe the line at a race. There is a grit and determination that I learned from racing in the midwest, and I will never lose that.


The rest of my season will be somewhat low key. I’ll be moving on to Cyclocross by hitting up as many of the MFG series as I can out in Seattle. Hopefully planting some roots as part of that community as well. I’ll also be hitting rolling thunder in Missoula, an amazing and fun race in October, and I’ll be working hard to make next year go a little better and make sure I line up at a ton more races, make my way to the midwest a lot more, and take a few steps closer to knocking out some big time goals.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Warm Ups: A how to and helpful tips

Warm ups have become an essential part of any workout over the past 10 or 15 years. As a community of coaches and athletes, we’ve come to a consensus that a warmed up athlete is better than one who isn’t.  what we haven’t come to a consensus on yet is what a good warm up is, however. Well, because the internet is a place for people to put in their two cents, I’ll add in mine and hopefully it helps you have your best racing yet.