Red Performance Multisport 2012 Training

Now is the time to ramp up your training for the 2012 racing season. The base phase is when you lay the groundwork for the entire season. Do not wait! Endurance sport training does not benefit the procrastinator. For info on triathlon/running/cycling/swimming/strength plans and coaching, e-mail Together, we can get you performing to your utmost potential. Ask Santa for a coach this holiday season. Let’s Get Red!

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My Take on How to Gain Sponsorship

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Strength Emphasis

Swim, Bike, Run! Swim, Bike, Run! We, as triathletes, seem to overlook aspects of training other than swimming, biking, and running. Ofter time, what we don’t realize is that it is the other aspects of training that allows us to get the most out of our bodies while swimming, biking, and running. One of the most important aspects we overlook is strength/flexibility training. If you look at any other sport, part of the training regiment is “hitting the gym.” Why should triathletes be any different? Sure, we will not be putting up the weight that a football player would be lifting or be doing the same dynamic movements as a golfer, but triathletes have specific areas of strength/flexibility that they can improve in order to get the most out of their training/racing.
Many triathletes say, “I don’t have time to strength train.” What that triathlete has to realize is that strength training is as vital to their performance as any swimming biking and running would be. I look at it like this: If you were an architect and you wanted to build the tallest skyscraper in the world, you would need the strongest foundation possible. Your body is your foundation. If you want to build up to the highest level of performance, your foundation must be built first.
Not only does strength/flexibility allow you to achieve higher performance it also helps prevent injury. The more solid your foundation, the less likely it will break down when put under stress. There are plenty of triathlon specific workouts you can do to improve your foundation and get strength in the correct places. For more info, or for time efficient strength training for the triathlete, contact me at

I will be holding a basic strength routine clinic at Triathlon Lab in Santa Monica on November 16th at 7p.m. RSVP at

A.B.C.- From 8/5/11

In the movie “Glengarry, Glen Ross,” Alec Baldwin’s character gives an inspirational speech to the other sales people in which he uses the phrase, “ABC- Always Be Closing!”  I was a salesperson for too long, but one thing I can tell you is the most important part, and the most uncomfortable part, of the sales call is the close.  The close is where you actually ask for and gain the commitment for the business.  Racing is no different.  The most important part of the race is the closing section.  This is where champions are made and championships are lost.  Obviously we want to relate this to triathlon, but you can actually relate it to any sport out there.

In horse racing, for example, you rarely see a horse lead wire-to-wire.  Ninety-nine percent of the time the winning horse makes his move down the home stretch and out races it’s opponents.  How many leads in baseball are blown because the closer can’t finish off the other team.  You hear about it all of the time.  I could go on and on with examples, but I think you get the point.

The same goes for racing.  Triathlon, running, swimming,biking, etc.  You have to know how to close.  Look at the 2010 Ironman World Championship in Kona.  Chris McCormick and Andreas Raelert were neck and neck throughout the last 5k until “Macca” dug deep and finished out the race strong.  He knew this was going to hurt, but he knew he would survive it.  He had confidence he could close strong, outlast Andreas, and win the championship.

Macca raced a perfect race.  He positioned himself the whole day so he would be able to close on the run.  He got off of the bike a little ways off of the lead, but one by one he reeled in his competitors in front of him.  He didn’t go out too hard in the swim, he had a nice pace on the bike without over exerting himself, and, because of his strategy, he had juice left in his legs to close hard on the run.

The problem with a lot of athletes is that they let their adrenaline/ego get the best of them.  They don’t have confidence that they will have what it takes in the end,so they go out hard in the beginning.  An Ironman, Half-Ironman, Marathon, Half-Marathon, 10k, etc. are long races.  It takes an incredible amount of energy to complete these events let alone win them.  You must pace yourself because if you go out too hard, you will be the one getting passed in the end.

So how do all of these winners know how to pace themselves and close hard?  One word, PRACTICE!  That horse coming down the home stretch knows he has another gear because he has practiced that a thousand times and knows the suffering it is going to take.  Macca knew he was going to hurt, but I guarantee when Chris runs a track workout, he descends his intervals so the last one is killing him, but it is also the fastest.  This teaches him to close hard in a race.

I once read an interview with Andy Potts in which the interviewer asked Andy how he keeps winning all of the sprint finishes at the end of races (at the time Andy had won 4 or 5 events in a row in the last 200 meters).  Andy responded, “Practice.”  He said that he never stops doing track workouts and he always finishes those workouts strong.  So when it comes to the race, he is familiar with what it is going to take to out sprint his opponents and close hard.

I was running with Mammoth Track Club athlete Mike Mckeeman the other day and we were talking about the Boston Marathon.  He was telling me that the problem with Boston is that runners go out too hard and by the time they get to the last uphill 10k they have nothing left.  It should be opposite.  The runners should go out conservative and close the last 10k hard.  They would not only finish strong and feeling good, but they would also reel in countless other runners who did not strategize correctly and were suffering to the finish.

I have been notorious for going out too hard and doing everything within myself to hang on until the end.  I will tell you this was because of a lack of confidence.  I knew I could start fast, but I wasn’t sure if I could finish strong.  After a few races in which I fell off towards the end, I got serious about learning to close.  I paced my workouts and always made my last interval my strongest.  On the track, on the trainer, in the pool, on long runs etc. I was finishing strong.  I cannot tell you how much success this has brought me.  I find myself now reeling in athlete after athlete because I have taught myself to close hard.

A workout I did the other day was 4 x 1 mile followed by a 4K tempo run.  I ran my mile repeats at 5:10, 5:08, 5:07, 5:04(at 8000ft so don’t think I am slowing down!), then I finished off with a strong 4k tempo run so I get used to the feeling of hammering on tired legs.  This prepares me to know that feeling in a race.

Closing is a hard tactic to master because it hurts.  It hurts to dig down and get another gear that deep into a race.  The only way you know how to close is to “Always Be Closing.”  Descend you track workouts, start conservative and finish strong.  On long runs, do the same.  Start easy and finish the last portion as you would finish a race.  You must know the feeling of closing before you can actually do it in a race.  You will build confidence in yourself and you will know that you can close the way a champion can.  RACE HARD!


For Coaching inqueries, contact me at or call me at 310-775-7278


Learn To Hurt

The whistle blows and the coach yells, “On the line!”  Every ice hockey player comes to dread these three words.  When I mean dread, I mean nightmares and constant thoughts of pain and misery.  I was an ice hockey player my entire life up until 6 years ago.  I gave my life to the sport.  From the age of 5 through my teenage years and up into the professional ranks I lived ice hockey.  These three words meant get on the goal line and do sprints of varying length anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half.  The coach had no worries about our nutrition or our fatigue.  We would have 6 water bottles to suffice the entire team and the whistle would blow until our time on the ice was up.  No warm up or cool down, no heart rate or wattage checks.  We would just go.  Guys would puke and keep going.  This would happen day after day, year after year .

I turned professional after dabbling in the sport of triathlon for 4 years.  Actually I dabbled for 3 years, then took it serious the fourth year and turned pro.  A lot of athletes ask, “Jim, how did you make such gains so quickly?”  I believe these gains came from the years of “abuse” I took while an ice hockey player.  It was ingrained in my head to push my body to the next level.  I couldn’t say to the coach, “I can’t go, I am fatigued,” or “sorry coach my heart rate is high today.”  I would have gotten a swift kick in the butt and my teammates would have disowned me.  We practiced the way we played.  In triathlete terms it would be put, VO2 max interval on top of VO2 max interval on top of VO2 max interval for an hour.  This is unheard of in triathlon.  In ice hockey this is called an average day.  Like I said, whether we were in a game or practice, the most nutrition you’d have is a squirt of water here or there.  Now think of you’re VO2 max workouts.  How many gels/sports drinks/etc. do you have?  I am sure it’s more than a squirt of water.

So, when I came to triathlon, I just assumed the way I played/practiced ice hockey was the way triathletes trained.  I would get on my trainer and push the limit interval after interval for hours on end.  I didn’t have a computer or a heart rate monitor and I didn’t even know what a power meter was.  I just went hard!

This was something that was ingrained in my psyche.  I did not know any other way.  After being in the sport for some time now, I find myself becoming a slave to numbers at certain times and I need to remember what got me to where I am at.  I am not saying that numbers are not beneficial.  I use them all of the time.  Watts, heart rate, cadence, etc.  I am saying we can’t be a slave to our devices.  Sometimes we need to put everything away and just go hard.  This is something you must learn.  You can’t just show up on race day and say, “I am going to go hard.”  You have to know what hard feels like, and what it feels like to push YOUR limits with no outside distraction, i.e. devices.

Using another example from Stage 19 of The Tour de France, Cadel Evans knew he had to dig deep in order to catch Andy Shleck and Alberto Contador going up Alpe-D’Huez, so he pulled himself inside out to do it.  The focus and determination Cadel demonstrated was that of a man possessed.  Cadel was not checking his heart rate or his wattage, he didn’t care about his speed or his cadence; he had his eyes focused on the road, his teeth clenched, and his mind thinking one thing, “Push Harder!”

Cadel knew what he had to do, and he knew how to do it.  Test yourself while training.  Put everything away except for your bike, your trainer, and a stop watch.  Get on, warm up, then proceed to do 5×5 minutes (5 minutes recovery between each) with the sole goal of pushing your limit the entire time.  It will hurt, but if you do it enough, you will learn to accept the pain (maybe even like it), and your gains will be astronomical.  Then, on race day, you can say, “I am going to go hard,” and know what that is going to feel like.  Good luck.  RACE HARD!


Well, another race is upon us and this is a BIG one.  I have been gearing up for it for some time.  I have dedicated the last few months to building up for this race.  It is the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.  You may say, “WAIT A MINUTE! I though Jim was a triathlete.  Why is he gearing up for a marathon?”

You see, I have always been a strong runner and this season has been no exception.  I have consistently PR’d, race after race so I said to myself, “What could happen if I really focused on my run training?”  I had been evenly splitting my training between biking. swimming, and running and making HUGE gains on the run.  I went from a half marathon PR of 1:17 to a PR of 1:10 on around 20-30 miles running a week.  So in June, I decided to up my running mileage (while still training on the bike and the swim).  Since June I have averaged 80-100 miles a week running, 20,000 + meters in the pool per week, and 9-10 hours a week on the bike.  My running has been focused and geared towards qualifying for the Marathon Olympic Trials which take place in January in Houston, TX.  The trials will consist of the best runners in the United States and I will be the first male professional triathlete to qualify for the marathon trials.

Joanna and I looked at the marathon schedule and decided Twin Cities would be my first attempt to qualify.  October 2nd would give me 4 months of solid run focused training, but I would have to dedicate myself to my goal.  Through July I moved to Mammoth Lakes, CA to live and train with the Mammoth Track Club.  In August I ran a test race at the Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon.  My official time was 1:11, but the course was 7/10’s long which equates to around 3  minutes so I am calling it a 1:08, but more importantly I held a 5:11/mile pace.  In order to qualify for the trials I will need to hold a 5:19/mile pace at the Twin Cities Marathon which would lead to a sub-2:19 marathon.  The Olympic Trials Marathon Standard is 2:18:59 or less.  Granted Chicago R and R was only 13 miles, but it was a confidence builder.  Post Chicago I went to Boulder, Colorado to live and train at altitude with my coach Joanna Zeiger.  Since being in Boulder I have seen a world of difference.  I am dedicated to my training and treating my body right with consistent Pilates Class, Massages, ART, stretching, and proper nutrition.

So the count down is on.  I have dedicated myself to this goal and I am determined to achieve it.  On race day I have to put my head down, dig deep, rely on my fitness and training, keep a smile on my face, and remember all of those who have contributed to my good fortune.  Thanks for the support.  You can track me at the Twin Cities Marathon Home Page.  RACE HARD! (I will)

I can’t thank everyone, but the support/help I have received prove to me I am surrounded by the best people on Earth including:

Cortney(Your the BEST!), Mom and Dad, Joanna and Mark(and Deisel), Josh Cox, Erik Vervloet(K-Swiss), Lloyd Taylor(Triathlon Lab), Snow Creek Resorts(Mammoth Lakes, CA), Mike Mckeeman, Tim Tollefson, Deena Kastor, Meb Keflezighi, Rita Klabacha, Jorge Torres, Ivette Ramos, Brandon Del Campo, Dave Scott, Powerbar, Gyst Concepts, SportMulti, LA Tri Club, my supportive team at Lube’s Multisport, AJ Johnson, Nancy Reno, Ryan Capretta(ProactiveSP), and anyone I missed you know I appreciate everything and everyone!

New Articles

I have two new monthly articles published, the can be found at Tri-Magazine and 3rd Transition.  Check them out, let me know what you think!