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Madden on Excellence: Adding Excellence to Your “A” Race

As the 2017 season comes to a close it is essential to start reviewing your season highlights and challenges and start the necessary planning to build your next season around your “A” race. Your “A” race should be the pinnacle of your season. It is the one race that you really want to master and demonstrate a high level of excellence. It is the one race where you will bring your “A” game and get a huge return on your season investment. Furthermore, experiencing excellence during this race will be the litmus test of how well you followed your season training program, nutritional program, advice from your coach, and execution of your race strategy. What does it feel like to…
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Why Core Strength is so Important for Triathlon

They’re not just for looks, guys and gals. Your abdominal section, or better yet your entire core, is the proverbial backbone of triathlon’s three disciplines – excuse the confusing anatomical metaphor. Many triathletes might assume strengthening their arms and legs will generate the most benefits since these are the extremities that directly impact your movement in the swim, bike, and run. However, putting all of your focus there would be a mistake. The core may arguably be the most important muscle group to strengthen in triathlon. But why is core strength so essential for your progress as a successful triathlete? The short answer is posture and form. Core Strength for your Swim Swimming requires a stable trunk and streamlined position…
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How to Measure Your Swim Threshold in Triathlon Training

Most technically savvy triathletes are familiar with terms like “functional threshold power” on the bike or “lactate threshold for their run.” These are measurements of your pace based on your sustained threshold ability for a given amount of time; usually one hour. In other words, what is the maximum pace you can hold for an all out one-hour effort? However, few triathletes know their functional threshold in the swim or even know how to obtain it. Knowing your threshold ability in all disciplines is essential. In essence, there are two types of triathlon training: aerobic and anaerobic. Any kind of effortful training below your threshold is aerobic. Anything above is anaerobic. Now in actuality, triathlon training zones are much more…
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How Many Hours of Triathlon Training Do You Need?

There’s a saying by successful businessman and syndicated columnist, Harvey Mackay, “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” Truer words have never been spoken for the triathlete. Every hour is a precious commodity, which always seems to be in short supply. Yet every bit of time’s small stock is absolutely necessary to achieve any sort of triathlon-related goal. As any seasoned triathlete is aware of by now, successful triathlon training requires a significant quantity of hours of work per week in order to mean something. The real question is, how much is enough?…
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Foam Rolling – Five Important Minutes for Triathletes

Self-myofascial release, or self-massage, is the technical term to describe foam rolling. Triathletes benefit from foam rolling because it targets a specific point on your body that is suffering from muscle tightness or knots. There are major benefits to using a foam roller and the good news is it isn’t time consuming and you can do it while watching TV! Why Use a Foam Roller? Nearly all triathletes have good reasons to partake in foam rolling. For one, stretching by itself isn’t always sufficient enough to release muscle tightness. Sometimes you need a little extra oomph. And if you have a knot in your muscles, just imagine tying a knot in an elastic band. You can stretch the band and…
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Madden on Excellence: Mental Excellence – The Forgotten Fitness from Within

What goes into a display of mastery? Why do some world-class athletes make a physical activity look so effortless? How much mental fitness is needed to achieve your personal goals, reach your personal best, or get on the podium? I am a firm believer in the power of the mind and how it will contribute or take away from achieving excellence. Athletes at all levels spend most of their time developing their physical fitness with dedicated sessions designed to improve their speed, strength, and stamina for their race season or “A” race. While this is essential, it is equally important to invest and make a deposit into your mental fitness account. This might seem counter intuitive; however, I firmly believe…
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How to Handle the Heat when Triathlon Training

For most triathletes, training in the heat is brutal. Not only is the heat and humidity physically draining; it’s mentally demoralizing. In fact, as a triathlete in training, you may even be struggling with the mere reality of garnering enough courage to train outside during these few intense months. However, with the proper planning and the correct mindset, you can master triathlon training in the heat. Here’s how: Hydrate Early Hydrating during your triathlon workout is pointless if you’re starting without the proper amount of liquid to utilize. And hydration to battle severe heat doesn’t start 15 minutes before your workout either. You need to be hydrated many hours or the night before. You’ll need the time for your body…
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Triathlon Cycling: Pedaling Technique – Part II

In Part I of our post on triathlon cycling: pedaling technique, I discussed the differences between toe down and heel down and, with all other things being equal, the lack of advantage one has over the other. Today we’ll look at the implementation of toe down or heel down when cycling on flats vs. climbs as well as the pedaling technique known as ‘ankling.’ First, it’s important to note that you will pedal differently depending on your cadence. It’s widely known that the faster your cadence is, the less likely you’ll be able to control any sort of pedaling technique. This makes sense. High cadence usually equates to high effort. And as Steve Hogg illustrates from "Pedaling Technique – Which…

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