SoS Coach, Patrick Valentine, on the Podium at Xterra Curt Gowdy!

It is about time!

Wow it has been quite awhile since my last blog post. Here is to a better consistency of updates on my race season. Well last weekend I finally felt like I was back in action with my first Xterra since May of 2012 over 13 months ago! Which race you ask? 2013 Xterra Curt Gowdy!I know what you are thinking were in the world is Curt Gowdy. That my friends is a fabulous question! Curty Gowdy State Park is a hidden gem in midst of the wide open spaces of Wyoming, sitting between Laramie and Cheyenne. To give you a small glimpse of what real wide open spaces look like, here is a shot of the drive to the park race morning.

Race day was absolutely beautiful, not a cloud in the sky and temperature were moderate to warm, much better that they were supposedly last year when the race took place a month later in the year. I was actually nervous for the swim for once as I have only had about 8 swims under my belt since my last triathlon. But luckily working hard the last two to three weeks must have paid off. A couple of Honey Stinger Waffles and chews and I was on my way. I ended up coming out of the water in 1st place with a time of around 16 minutes for a 1200 meter swim. Not a bad start to the morning that is for sure.

Now on to the fun part, the mountain bike! The bike course was rated as a 2009 IMBA Epic Trail system. Basically, that means you better get your butt up here and ride this place because you are missing out on some great singletrack. That also means they have created the trails for mountain bikers by mountain bikers, leading to a fantastic segment of trails to ride on race day. I don’t know what I was most excited about riding my mountain bike fast or getting to try out my new GIRO Helmet and Oakley sunglasses!

I know that words don’t do the course too much just, so here is a snippet of what the course map and ride profile entailed.

After only riding for 67 minutes the bike course was over, quite a shame too as I was just starting to have some fun. However, it was time to wipe the little kid grin off my face and get to the run. Luckily, I had a solid bike with the 2nd fastest time overall and came into T2 in second place only a little over a minute down from 1st.Now for the not so fun part, the RUN! I was a bit worried about the run because I haven’t spend that much time doing actual running. Mainly just riding my mountain bike and having a good old time. That being said I buckled down and hit the first mile hard hoping to wake my legs up from the 13 month hibernation.

The rolling terrain, lack of shade, and the sun beating down on me started to take its toll. On the uphills I tried to just keep one foot in front of the other. However, having a vast array of slick rock incorporated into the singletrack truly made this one of the more exciting runs I have ever done. I just tried to take off and let loose on the downhills and keep my pace up as high as possible. I was pleased to hold off everyone on the run. This my friends is a milestone and step in the right direciton. Because usually I try to just minimize the damage and count the people that are flying by me like I am sitting still. Not today though folks came in at 2nd place overall! This was definitely a great start to the race season and has really recharged my batteries to get some good training during Emma’s nap times.

Big thanks to some of the great folks that are supporting me this season, and helped me through my first race of the year. Honey Stinger, Osprey Packs, Big Agnes, BAP, Oakley, Giro Sports Design, LifeProof, The Adrenalin Project!Next up………….Xterra Mountain Championships in Beaver Creek, COFollow Coach Patrick Here!

Form, Running and Science

Science of Speed, Newton Running Company and Capital City Runners are joining up to provide Tallahassee with a FREE premier running form clinic. Proper running form can increase performance and greatly reduce overuse injuries. Oh, and did we mention that Ironman Texas Female Champion Rachel Joyce will be in attendance. So what will the night entail? Capital City Runner’s owner Kevin Sullivan will discuss how a shoe that is fitted to an individual’s biomechanics can reduce overuse injuries by placing the foot and ankle into the proper alignment. When the foot and ankle are placed into the proper alignment, the knees, hips and back are placed into a better alignment as well, reducing angular stresses at those joints which can lead to many overuse injuries. He will briefly discuss the differences between a traditional running shoe and a minimalist running shoe and the difference between a neutral and stability running shoe. Following a discussion on shoe mechanics, Science of Speed’s Alex Smyth will assist Stephen Pifer from Newton Running Company in taking the group through Newton’s Run Form Clinic. A running form clinic put on by Newton focuses on three things; Posture, Position and Cadence.

  • Posture: Find your proper posture by standing straight and tall, relaxing your shoulders, and looking to the horizon.
  • Position: Level your hips and slightly flex your knees and ankles. Relax your arms and bend them 45 to 90 degrees at the elbow.
  • Cadence: Run in place, with your feet landing as close to your body as possible. Notice how you land relaxed and use your whole foot. Your stride will lengthen as you increase speed, but your cadence should be between 170 and 190 steps/minute for most running speeds. Stride lengthens with improved core strength and stability.

To conclude the evening’s festivities, there will be a Q & A with Professional Triathlete and Ironman Texas Female Champion, Rachel Joyce.   Bonuses:

  • Raffle for a FREE VO2 Max or Lactate Threshold test from Science of Speed.
  • Raffle for a FREE pair of Newton running shoes Capital City Runners and Newton Running Company.
  • Demo pairs of the Gravity running shoe from Newton Running Company to try-on and use during the form clinic.
  • Free food and drinks

So who are these companies? Science of Speed is a Tallahassee based endurance coaching and exercise testing company that uses human physiology and research proven training to personalize and individualize each athlete’s training. Newton Running Company is “a company that exists to inspire the world to run better.” They are a company of runners, teachers, philanthropists and much more. Newton has researched and designed their shoes to provide responsive cushioning and ground-feel to help runners rediscover and strengthen their natural running motion. Capital City Runners is Tallahassee’s premier running store that uses human biomechanics and video analysis to properly fit everyone in the shoe that is right for them. They strive to support, educate and challenge people of all ages to adopt a healthy life style and experience the satisfaction that comes with it.

Killer Abs and a Weak Core:

Becoming a Well Balanced Athlete

So many people dream of that flat stomach and a shredded six pack and do thousands of crunches trying to improve their core strength.  There is one fundamental flaw for this thought process however.  Many people spend their days hunched over their computer at work, slouching in the chairs we sit in and for triathletes and cyclists alike, spare time is spent laid out over their favorite bike.  This routine leads to the rectus abdominis (abs) being worked frequently and many other important stabilizing muscles neglected.  The problem with this neglect is that it leads to an imbalance of weak stabilizing muscles and an underdeveloped core.  So what?  As endurance athletes our core is what stabilizes the rest of our body to do the work that we are constantly demanding of it.  Whether you are on the bike, running or in the pool your core is providing a platform for the extremities to work from and if this is weak we limit our performances before they ever begin. The important part is to remember what all your “core” is composed of.  Not only is it the muscles of the stomach but also the back, neck, obliques, hip flexors, glutes, erector spinae and hip abductors/adductors that are in need of attention and strengthening as well.  There are many workouts that have been designed to help target these specific muscle groups but the sample workouts below are focused on a handful of them that will work the majority of these groups. Try these strengthening exercises after your next workout and begin becoming a more well rounded athlete Plank– Laying on your stomach lift your body off the ground and support your weight with your elbows and forearms.  body should remain straight with knees on the ground.  Hold for 30 seconds each time.Supine Glute push up- Laying on your back with your feet on a medicine ball lift your hips off the ground while keeping your shoulders in contact with the floor.Rotational crunch-  Assume the standard crunch position with your feet flat on the ground.  Raise shoulders off the ground until torso is at a 45 degree angle to the ground.  Rotate upper body 45 degrees to each side (hands should go from one side of body to the other.Side bridge- Laying on your side, Support your body with your forearm and elbow.  Be sure to keep body in a straight line.Bicycles- Laying on your back in a standard crunch position, raise your feet off the ground by bending at the hips.  Make a circular motion in the air with your feet like you are pedaling a bicycle. -Brady IrwinSubscribe to our mailing list

Find a New Peak by Adding Some Intensity in Your Training

After a long winter many cyclist and triathletes will look back at the hours of tapping out a steady rhythm on the pedals for hours at a time accumulating base miles.  With the warmer weather approaching in many regions in the U.S.  there will be races and events for each and everyone to participate in if you haven’t already.  The one thing that has been neglected for months, if not longer for some, is our high end intensity.  VO2 work is not the most pleasant thing to do and I think that is probably why many of you have been avoiding it for so long, however, the gains that you can see from it is often very eye opening to many! I have had many of my athletes log in to look at their schedules and see a solid block of VO2 work and the next thing that usually happens is my phone starts ringing.  First they tend to start off with a half serious question of, “Are you trying to kill me?!” which is then followed with, “My event doesn’t have me doing this sort of intensity, so I don’t need to do this.”  Yep, you may be right… In your century, or Ironman you probably won’t spend a great deal of time at VO2 but that does not mean that you can not see added benefits from these workouts.  Not only can you see increases in lactate threshold through these workouts but you are also raising the ceiling of your ability level both physically and mentally!  So, consider upping the intensity and increasing your power on the bike. When doing VO2 work there are several things to consider:

  1. Achieve the greatest benefit for the time you are putting in.  A perceived exertion of 10/10 achieves the greatest effort (peak and fade) as opposed to maintaining a consistently high power (plateau).
  2. Be sure to get enough time in of interval work:  15minutes of VO²max training has been shown in research to be the minimum amount of time to achieve significant results.
  3. Don’t stretch out the recovery:  Whether you are measuring on distance traveled or power don’t increase recovery when you see the numbers start to become less and less.  Keep up the maximal effort and finish strong.  1:1 recovery is optimal
  4. Don’t go off of your heart rate:  Heart rate has a lag time to it because it is your bodies response to the work being done so if you are shooting for a maximal heart rate you will more than likely not reach it.

Sample workout:

  • 10-20 minute warmup (dependent upon what you need to feel ready for a maximal effort)
  • 5x3min VO2 intervals
    • 3minutes rest between intervals
  • Cool down

Resources:Poole D.C., Gaesser G.A.Response of ventilatory and lactate thresholds to continuous and interval training, J Appl Physiol, 581985, 1115–1121 Free Full Text  Tabata I.,Nishimura K., Kouzaki M., Hirai Y., Ogita F., Miyachi M., et al.Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max, Med Sci Sports Exerc, 281996, 1327–1330 Medline

Be Realistic With Your Event Selection

Now is the time of year that so many people are looking at their calendars and ironing out what their plans are for the next 3 months, 6 months or for some the next several years.  Depending up what your goal is and what your level of experience is drastically determines the path that many will take.  You don’t see too many people go out for their first run, ride or swim and say I am going to go for an Olympic gold in the next Olympic Games.  This is one of those things that some spend multiple years if not a decade or more preparing for with the proper training, nutrition, lifestyle and focus to get to that point.  Much like the Olympic Gold medalist we as weekend warriors or age group athletes need to be realistic with our goals. Some organizations have systems in place to help bring many individuals down to reality, however, there are some that are not set up that way and often end up leaving people ill prepared for an event that is way over their head.  Ten to fifteen years ago I would have said that this was marathons with people getting injured with the distance or even the extreme circumstances of death because of their lack of preparation.  Many people are still looking at Marathons as a “bucket list” item but there seems to be a large shift to triathlons due to the sheer number that have become available and the massive population of triathletes and the amount triathlon is publicized this seems to be the newest “bucket list” item.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I think triathlons are an amazing thing for many people whether you are racing or participating it is a great motivation for many to become active.  My bigger concern is the over glamorization of the event in the sense that you see a lot of the very inspirational moments on race day.  From the winners crossing the line in record time, the masters competitors pushing their bodies to even the double below the knee amputee who finishes his first Ironman many are lead to sign up for the event.  The thing that is not shown, much like the gold medalist, is the great deal of preparation done by all of these individuals and that they have worked long and hard to make it to where they are today.  There have been countless hours put in staring at the bottom of a pool at 5:30 in the morning for a masters swim, endless hours dazing as they tap out time on the trainer and an endless number of shoes worn out pounding on the pavement.  The most important thing though is the progression that so many of these individuals have made to get to this point.  Many and hopefully most started modestly with a sprint triathlon, working to an Olympic distance and then maybe into a half IM to finally reach a full IM distance and then better yet, they did well enough to qualify for the most prestigious triathlon event of all, Kona. So, as you sit down to consider your event schedule for the year think about your progression of events and be realistic.  If you have swam your whole life but never ridden a bike without training wheels or run to the end of the street don’t sign up for an Ironman this year or if you have been on walks with your dog a few times don’t sign up to do an Ultramarathon in the fall.  Learn the skills of your sport(s) first and what it takes to get to the point you need to be at and then make that decision of your progression.  Not only will it help to keep you grounded but more importantly it will help to make your event much more enjoyable and keep you wanting to come back for more.  

Bike Fit: That which we do not speak of…

Okay, so to often we as cyclists and triathletes are afraid to talk about one thing in particular when it comes to bike fit.  What is that?  It is what some like to refer to as numbness “down there.” Let’s be honest, whether you call it your soft tissue, genitalia, Johnson, Va jay jay or any other little pet name you have for your nether regions, it doesn’t matter!  Your “down stairs” is an important fact about being on a bike as one of your main contact points with your machine and for most of us an important factor off the bike too! Now, let’s be logical about this before we just go Huffy tossing our valuable bikes.  Start off with a proper bike fit performed by a knowledgeable and capable fitter.  With that done and no relief in sight the next option is your saddle choice.  There are so many choices it can often seem daunting, and RIDICULOUSLY expensive if you don’t find the right saddle on the first go around, but the biggest thing to keep in mind is that there are two things worth the money.  Your helmet to protect your head and your saddle for your “down stairs.”  You can’t repair or replace those two things if they are broken!  Keep in mind there are several fit systems that are out there designed to help you find an 

optimal fitting saddle more quickly and effectively which include, but are not limited to, BontragerFi’zi:k & Specialized. The main factors in saddle fit include the Width, and the curvature of the top of the saddle and some are designed specifically for certain positions.  Many of the great saddle companies are now using a very scientific design to their saddles and use such things are pressure sensors to better measure the displacement of a rider’s weight on the saddle.  You can thank these researchers, doctors and bike geeks for all of their hard work because you no longer have to deal with discomfort, pain or numbness.So, I recently got a new Time Trial bike and had a four hour ride.  Up to hour 2 I thought, “This saddle SUCKS!” and “Oh my god!” Well after 3 hours I thought, “Maybe I’m getting accustomed to this saddle.”  I was very wrong!  I got off the bike and from then on could not feel my nether regions.  For hours this continued and since this is the first time that I have ever had this happen I knew that I had to discuss this here.  Since so many are either embarrassed or afraid to bring it up what better forum than to those of you who read this blog.  For those of you that come across this scenario every weekend, or even every ride, I do not know how or why you even continue to ride a bike!  So… know this:  You do not need to live with this pain nor should you. 

So, once you find that dream saddle what do you do?  First of all you enjoy riding your bike and being able to have the wonderful sensation of feeling after a ride.  Then the next step is to buy a couple more of those saddles.  It might seem crazy but saddles have a lifespan to them!  The materials break down and lose their original form and can potentially lose their comfort.  Much like shoes, cars and so many other things they are constantly trying to improve (sell more) items and this newest “improvement” might not be one for your body so save the headache of searching for a new one and stock up!


On Thursday, December 8th Science of Speed opened it’s doors for our Grand Opening party!  The support and turnout of the community was outstanding and we hope to have the opportunity to work with each and every cyclist, triathlete, runner and motocross racer in some form or fashion to help you all reach your peak performance capabilities.     

Our Tallahassee Facility offers many great options for all athletes.  Our world  class equipment gives every athlete the opportunity to test just like the professionals do.  The Retül system offers unparalleled levels of accuracy to your bike fit and the same system utilized by the Olympic Training Centers, N.A.S.A. and a great number of well respected research Universities is brought into our arsenal of equipment to provide you precise and accurate VO² Max testing, for the run and on the bike, that many other public facilities simply can not provide.

Science of Speed Update

This December we will celebrate 3 years of cycling and triathlon coaching in Tallahassee, Florida.  We have had many great successes from creating a name as “The best bike fit around” FREE 30 minute consultation Basic Coaching

Variety in Training Can be Important

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

Albert Einstein

Year after year, person after person we see many athletes do the exact same thing.  They log their base miles, begin their steady intensity, join in on the exact same group rides and then slowly build up to an event.  Some athletes participate in the exact same event which may be a century, a bike race or some thing as grandiose as an Ironman triathlon.  With the thought of the same course or same type of intensity we know of some athletes who even utilize the exact same training plan year, after year, after year, after… well, you get the point!

In 2016 we want you to challenge your status quo, we want you to test your limits and we want you to reach new goals.  Over the years we have found a rhythm with our coaching and that rhythm is much like our athletes physical abilities, our approaches to increasing performance and fitness must change.  The workouts might be similar in philosophy and name but the timing, frequency and quantity are always modified to help each athlete reach their peak performance when best possible.

So, have you just come off of your base training?  Are you looking at an early season event where you hope to perform well?  What are you doing now to guarantee the best results for that event?  We hope it isn’t the same thing that you did last year!

You might be a triathlete, a cyclist, a runner or a general fitness enthusiast looking to shed a few pounds but we challenge you to break that Insantiy loop and mix your early season training up with one of these workouts:


Warm up: 5 minutes (rpe:5/10) 4×7:30 Run Ladder w/5min RBI: 2min Steady State Run (rpe: 7/10), 2min Tempo Run (rpe: 8/10), 30sec Fartlek Run (rpe: 9/10), 1min Tempo Run (rpe: 8/10), 2min Steady State Run (rpe: 7/10) Cool down: 10min (rpe:5/10)


Warm up: 10-15 minutes at Endurance pace(rpe:5/10) with several 30 second Threshold Intervals (rpe:8/10)

Intervals: 8x2minute VO2 intervals (rpe:10/10) w/2min RBI

  • Be sure that these are a maximal effort from the very start. Your legs might fatigue but that is no reason to decrease the intensity.

Cool down: 5-10 minutes

  • Take ample time to allow for core temperature to decrease.