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Tour de France Rest Day

We are now 16 stages in to the 2016 Tour de France.  It has been a year of surprises.  Chris Froome punched a fan in the face, attacked the field on a downhill putting sizable time into his fellow contenders, crash caused by fans with one rider hitting the back of a support motorcycle, and even the yellow jersey slipping off the front in a breakaway.

Uncommon events have made this year’s TdF an exciting one to say the least!  One thing that never seems terribly exciting as a fan are the rest days.  We are now on the second rest day and many individuals do not understand the preparation and focus that takes place on these important days away from racing.

We often think of our own rest days as just that.  It is a day off from training, to spend time on little more than relaxing, but, for the pros, there is no day off the bike.  With 17 days of straight riding, with many of them being extremely high intensity, a day off the bike would mean certain disaster for the start of stage 17.

RESTDAY!Most riders will do a minimum of two hours in the saddle.  Yep, you read that correctly, two hours of riding, which for many of us would be a workout in itself!

For these men getting on the bike is a way to loosen the legs up, increase blood flow throughout the body and aid in flushing wastes out of the tissues.  Intensity is kept light, but, remember, they are not striving for gains. They are in search of what little snap is left in their legs when they depart from Bern, Switzerland tomorrow.

Along with two hours on a bike, athletes are spending the day focusing on other modalities of recovery which can include but are not limited to: self-stretching, assisted stretching, tools such as foam rollers and getting massages.  Keeping limber is very important and, after many days of hard riding, aches and pains begin to creep up that must continually be managed properly.

Nutrition, as you can imagine, is a large part of a rest day.  Athletes do not decrease their caloric intake from the previous race days.  They continue to be eating machines and, with the luxury of not being to far from the hotel, dietitians are able to get timing of specific nutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) dialed in more accurately to help expedite the recovery processes and protect the body from breaking down muscle tissue.

Just like your lazy Sundays, athletes are able to sleep in a bit later and also take a short nap in the afternoon.  A proper night’s sleep can help to refresh the mind and give the body much needed downtime.  The afternoon nap gives the body a much needed bump of testosterone and other hormones that can help aid in and expedite recovery processes.  Team Sky has even taken it a step further for the past several years and carries athlete’s beds with them throughout the race.  Wouldn’t you like to sleep in your own bed every night before you had a big event?

If you’ve ever wondered how you could train and recover more efficiently, we’d love to chat with you. Email us for a consultation.

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Whatcha Got? Physical Self Awareness

Each day, we wake up to a new opportunity.  With every sunrise, we have the chance to make the day what we, as individuals, are willing to create.  Much of our daily accomplishments are based off of our mood, task lists, emotions, friends and family, and our motivation.  As athletes, our drive is based off of our event or personal goals, competitive nature and what our training plan or coach has on tap for us that day.  Too often I see athletes view their training plan as something on their “to do” list and not as a means of improving fitness and health.  I challenge you to increase your self awareness in two key areas each morning and, with each workout, look for the increases in your performances and overall feel.

We will focus on the hardest thing first and begin with the mental and emotional side of training. I had a very close friend and mentor who was known for saying, “It is 90% mental and 10% physical.”  I could not agree more with this, and see it over and over in field tests, races and workouts for many athletes (Yep, your power meters don’t lie!)

Take what your body will give you each dayBefore each workout, take an inventory of where you are at mentally and emotionally.  What are the status of your levels of stress, anxiety, anger or fear? You might be able to catch this early and alter your mood to improve your workout.  If you are not able to reverse your mood, it is important to determine what the workout is, the level of stress this will place on mental and emotional state and what your ability is to complete the task.  At this point, a decision should be made on what you will do.  For some, a workout is a stress relief. For others, it is a stressor.

Our physical self awareness is a more tangible assessment and often easier to quantify.  Training is a delicate balance of “over reaching” and recovering.  When this falls out of balance is when we become susceptible to illness and injury.  By creating a daily physical assessment of your body regarding injury or pains, as well as a state of fatigue, you can determine what may alter the final outcome of your workout.

Many athletes go with the old High School football mentality of, “push through the pain.”  Occasionally, this is the option to take. However, if the problem is addressed early and adequately, the issue can be more often than not resolved before it becomes a problem and derails your training — or before it risks your long term health and functionality.

Now that you have assessed this data, what do you do with it?  Here are some rules of thumb to consider and then modify for your needs. Remember, everyone functions differently.

  • I’m feeling mentally and emotionally off
    • Get into your warm up and see if your mood is altered
      • If you see an improvement in your mood and you are reinvigorated, then go on with workout
      • If not, consider modifying what your workout is
    • Take a moment to get to a quiet place, sit down and take several deep breaths to clear your head.
    • Stretch. Yes, this is physical, but it can help you to relax as well.
  • I’m feeling physically off.
    • Do you have a physical injury?
      • See a doctor.
      • Rest.
    • Are muscles tight?
      • Stretch a bit.
      • Warm up and see if they begin to loosen.
    • Have you been sick?
      • Rest or take an easy recovery ride/walk dependent upon severity.

Taking stock of this information is not self-sabotaging — it can help you to stabilize your training. It is a way to learn how to take what your body will give you each day and nothing more.  Ultimately, this can help reduce the risk of injury, improve the quality of key workouts and events, and improve your long term health. Look inward, listen to your body, and increase your longevity in sport!


If you are unsure of how to best assess your levels of fitness and fatigue consider a Science of Speed coach. Our coaches have years of experience working with all levels of athletes and can help you learn what you are capable of!  Learn more about our coaching options.


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Training Insanity: New Season, Same Training Plan as Last Year

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 doing 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 something 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… Modify training for faster resultswell, you get the point!  .

Much like Einstein had his definition for insanity this is ours for training insanity.  In 2016, we want you to challenge your status quo. We want you to test your limits. We want you to reach new goals.  Over the years we have found a rhythm with our coaching, and that rhythm is as ever-developing as our athletes physical abilities. Our approaches to increasing performance and fitness must change and adapt.  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 in that moment in time.

So, have you just come off of your base training?  Are you looking at an mid 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!

No matter if you are a triathlete, a cyclist, a runner or a general fitness enthusiast looking to shed a few pounds, we challenge all of you to break that insanity loop and mix your early season training up with one of these workouts:

Run: Threshold Ladder

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)

Bike: VO2 Intervals

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 heart rate to slow and your core temperature to decrease.


Break your training insanity loop and change your training plan design with one of our Static Plans or Custom Coaching Packages!
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Power Meters

Investing in the Efficiency of Your Training

By now, you have probably heard of a cycling power meter.  With the dramatic decrease in average costs of power meters, they are becoming much more mainstream.  What might surprise you is that these devices have been used since the mid-1980’s.  Their first public appearance was at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, SRM Power meter 1980sCanada where the German National team used SRM’s first crank based system.  What then looked more like a medieval torture device (they might still be described as such) was attached to many of the track racers bikes.

Since their early introduction, a great deal has been learned about these devices and how we can better utilize the data that they provide to improve training efficiency.  Here are a handful of the ways you will find a power meter can improve your training if you chose to take the next step.

Accurate tracking of improvement – Unlike heart rate with its wide array of variables, power is much more consistent.  Where heart rate is your body’s response to the work that has been completed (delayed by up to 60 seconds), power is the actual amount of work that is being created.  This work-based response takes factors out of the equation to give more consistent verification of current improvement.

More precise training ranges – For those who have been using heart rate for Cycling Power fileyears, your first workout with a power meter will immediately show you that your workouts just became harder!  Why is that you ask? As mentioned previously, heart rate is a response to the work that has been done.  With cardiac drift as a factor involved with sustained efforts, you will quickly notice that workload stays consistent but heart rate gradually increases.  Remember heart rate is a response to the work you have done — power is the actual work.

Caloric expenditure –  You might be ecstatic that you just went out for a ride and your Garmin paired with your heart rate monitor is telling you that you burned 1100 calories.  Now, it is time to go out and eat that 22oz steak, drink a bottle of wine or guzzle a bunch of amazing craft beer. It’s the perfect moment to eat that 1100 calorie dessert at your local go to restaurant, right?  NOT SO FAST!  Pair that same workout with a power meter and you might find that your Garmin has been calculating your calorie burn inaccurately —  150% inaccurately.  You’ll be dismayed to find out that you only clocked in at 650 calories in reality.  Why the difference?  Power measures work done and uses an equation that provides a more accurate gauge of calorie burn.

Gauging extended efforts – For many endurance events like time trials, triathlons, centuries or the popular gravel grinders, effort is everything! Getting from Point A to Stages power meterPoint B as quickly and effectively as possible is what ultimately results in optimal performance.  With proper training using a cycling power meter, sufficient data can be collected and analyzed to calculate the best effort range for your optimal performance.

Now, the question is what brand do you go with. Our coaches have used many power meters over the years and we feel that several provide great data to help you reach your goals.  Consider a Stages Cycling Power meter, a SRM Power meter, Quarq Power meter, or one of the PowerTap line of power meters.  They each have their own benefits and drawbacks, but each of these will provide you with great data to improve your accuracy.


Pair your Science of Speed Coaching with a power meter and receive a discount!  You’ll receive the highest quality training and the top training devices on the market at a great price.

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Presentation: Recovery for triathletes, runners and cyclist

Maintenance is as Important as Training

On Monday evening Coach Brady presented to the Gulf Winds Triathletes, in Tallahassee, Florida, on many of the modalities or methods of recovery.  In this discussion many things were Tallahassee Florida Triathlon coachreviewed from the simple details of sleep and hydration to more uncommon methods such as cryotherapy (more to come later on this) and technological methods of increasing your rate of recovery.

With a room of nearly 60 people in attendance it was a great opportunity for questions to be fielded and a large amount of learning to occur for many athletes who were newer to the sport.  Thank you to Gulf Winds Triathletes for allowing us this opportunity and an even larger thanks to the captive audience!

Do you not live in Tallahassee, Florida and/or were not able to attend?  Sign up here to get the unabridged notes!

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Let’s get Social with Science of Speed on Social Media

Science of Speed loves seeing posts from our athletes on social media. We’re excited that you want to share the story of your training! Want to connect with other SoS athletes and make sure we see your updates? It’s easy! Simply use and search for our hashtags.

Whether you’re snapping a selfie post-ride, posting a picture of the medal you earned this weekend, or tweeting about your training schedule, we invite you to use the following tags.


Science of Speed Tallahassee instagram twitter facebook

Not familiar with hashtags? You can use them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Hashtags are a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic. If you click on a hashtag on social media, you will be able to see more posts about the same thing. Think of it as a way to categorize and organize updates!

The SoS team can’t wait to see your posts and engage with our athletes online. If you use our hashtags, we may feature your posts on our social media channels.

If you aren’t following us already, Science of Speed would love to connect with you on social media.

Twitter   –   Instagram   –   Facebook

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Jake Bit the Dog – Endurance Training Plan Design

“Jake Bit The Dog” or “The Dog Bit Jake” 

Smarter Endurance Training PlansThese four very simple words result in two very different outcomes in Jake’s life just by switching the order that they are in.  Much like Jake’s outcome is dependent upon the order of four words, an endurance training plan also uses fairly simple key elements that are dependent upon the layout to create drastically different outcomes.  

A monkey can build a program.  There is not much to taking workouts, putting them on a calendar and saying (or signing in the case of a monkey) “do X, Y & Z”.  The knowledge comes into play when the goal is to make a training plan work to it’s optimal potential.  At this point, there is great thought and consideration of an athlete’s goals, rate of recovery, life experiences, past training and mental fortitude to make the simple elements of training most effective for the time that you have available to train. Let’s be honest!  Time is a precious commodity that we can never get back and unfortunately, we cannot create more of!  If you are a weekend warrior striving for your own personal bests or looking to win championships, the prioritization of workouts is paramount in increasing effectiveness of training.

So what does that mean for you? Bite the dog, don’t let the dog bite you! Utilize the resources available to you to make the most of your training time and be sure that your training plan design and layout is best suited for your specific needs and the demands of your event(s).  Here are several factors to think about when considering your training plan layout:

  • What is your event?
    • It might sound silly, but events can have different demands on your body and you need to prepare for what will come at you on race day.  A course with long climbs requires a much different approach than something with short hard accelerations and a marathon is much different than a 5k.
  • What time do you have available?
    • Don’t live in a fantasy land and say you can train 20 hrs a week when you work 60 hrs a week have a family and many other obligations. This will only set you up for frustration and failure.
  • What are your strengths?
    • Many static plans will not take into consideration what you are strong at or weak at so you might be wasting time doing technique drills when they are not something you need to improve.
  • What are your goals?
    • Seriously!  Set them and write them down, tell your friends and don’t be shy.  Accountability is good when things get difficult and a reminder on a piece of paper, on your phone backdrop or written on the bathroom mirror can be a helpful reminder.
  • Write the training plan!
    • As we said earlier a monkey can put workouts on a schedule.  Taking all of these factors into consideration though helps in creating efficiency in your training and helps to lead to better results.


Are you unsure of what to do and are looking for options to increase your training accuracy consider a custom endurance training plan or a static training plan.

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Science of Speed Partners with Raptor Aquatic Club Elite

Science of Speed is excited about our recent partnership with Raptor Aquatic Club Triathlon Swim CoachElite (RACE) and its swimmers. Our expert triathlon and swim coach, Patrick Valentine, spent an extended weekend in December in Panama City working one on one with this select group of athletes. The weekend kicked off with a dry land workout teaching new skills,  which will serve as a cornerstone to turning each individual into well rounded athletes and not just swimmers, and providing instrumental feedback on proper technique.

The following two days were spent working solely on stroke refinement and drills to properly breakdown each element of every athlete’s swim stroke helping to create proper habits for better swimming. Part of the process in educating each athlete included above water and below water video analysis to effectively provide each athlete with visuals of what their Panama City Swim coachingstrengths and weaknesses currently were, and how that compared with elite swimmers in the US.

The weekend came to a close with the RACE swimmers heading North to swim at a natatorium that holds a great deal of national and international fame, the home of the Auburn Tigers. With the recent stroke work and training techniques the meet served as a great starting point to see how the practice habits transferred to a race scenario. We were just as excited as the athletes to see some fantastic swims including multiple personal best times with the majority of athletes swimming as fast as they have all year long. This marked a great foundation in the relationship between RACE and SoS, and just as importantly the runway for many successful seasons to come. Be on the lookout for these swimmers over the years to come!


If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a better swimmer, whether to improve technique or to take you to the center state of the sport, please contact us. We are happy to setup an individual or a group setting to work on stroke development to fit your needs.


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Selecting your next Cycling or Triathlon Short

For the Fashionista or Bike Snob a new pair of cycling or triathlon shorts is an exciting thing.  Accessorizing can be one of the most enjoyable for things for them to do with some spare money and some fun time.  For many though, the thought of spending $100 or more dollars on a pair of cycling shorts is a frightful thing but it is one of the largest parts to improving your comfort on your bike.  Here are a few key things to consider when you are debating whether your shorts are in need of replacement and what route you need to take when selecting your next cycling or triathlon short:

  1. Elasticity – A snug fitting short is imperative for comfort.  If they twist and shift while you ride you increase your susceptibility to chaffing and saddle sores.  If your shorts are baggy in the legs (unless you are a small child – hard to find sizes small enough) they are worn out! IMMEDIATELY walk over to a trash can,  throw them away and go buy a new pair of shorts now.
  2. Thickness of material – Cycling shorts are not supposed to be see through and honestly no one wants to stare at your crack for hours on a group ride.  Result: Go buy new shorts!
  3. Chamois – This is the padding in your cycling short. It is what gives you a great deal of comfort or discomfort if improperly selected. Over time this padding “packs” or compresses and because of this it does not offer the same level of comfort also. Be sure you find one with minimal seams and smooth stitching around the edges. The newer and higher quality chamois is actually made of one piece of foam with varying thicknesses throughout. They are seamless and very comfortable.
  4. LG bib shortsBibs or shorts – Consider bibs. We can almost guarantee that if you go to bib shorts you will never return to a standard short. They might look a bit like a wrestling singlet but the comfort they offer is worth it! For the ladies they can be more difficult for nature breaks but the newer “drop tail” bibs help reduce this challenge.
  5. Quantity/number of weekly rides – If you ride more than twice weekly you need to have more than one pair of shorts. Save yourself the hassle of having to wash your shorts for every ride and take the chance at trying out several different shorts/chamois.
  6. Don’t Skimp! Cycling shorts can be expensive but are worth the money. Higher priced shorts typically result in a longer lasting short and a higher quality chamois.

Ultimately know that a pair of shorts, dependent upon quality, can last anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000 miles. Keep in mind they are an investment in your body’s comfort.  Higher priced shorts have greater technology including the chamois, shaping, quality of material and the shorts effectiveness at keeping your bodies temperature at more normal levels.

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Athlete Spotlight: Davis Bell

Athlete Spotlight: Davis Bell

Davis Bell is a great example of what the spirit of an athlete can do to help people acheive.  At one point Davis weighed over 280lbs and had smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for nearly 10 years.  In 2007 he made the decision that he was going to change his life by beginning to walk and run.

Setting a goal was one of the biggest motivators for him in his initial success. “Once I reached 200 pounds I would buy a bike and start riding with a friend.”  So, Davis worked out consistently, watched his diet and began to shed weight until he was able to meet his goal to purchase his bike.

Coach Brady met Davis the summer of 2012 after the purchase of his new bike. After years of Brady helping Davis with on bike nutrition and tips for modifying his training, Davis made the leap to coaching. One year after winning his first ever cycling road race.  The stressors of life had played a roll on Davis’ fitness and he had found a little bit of his previously lost weight.  Quoted saying “Just have fun it’s only cycling,” you might believe that on first impression, once you learn his personality better you will realize he is extremely driven and competitive.

After 6 months of training Davis raced his final goal of the season the Pensacola cycling classic.  With an amazing start to the 3 day stage race, Davis cranked out 400+ watts in his time trial to set a new personal best.  He follow that up with a well executed road race and then smashed the field in the criterium by attacking with over 20 minutes to go holding off the field and subsequently producing his highest 20 minute power output ever “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.” Said Davis.  Certainly his day to day changes in his diet and training have lead to some extraordinary outcomes!

Athletes like Davis are the reason we exist at Science of Speed.  He has fought to overcome his routine habits and make a healthier life for himself as well as pushed his body to greater levels of fitness than he thought possible.  The constant philosophy that, “You don’t have to prove anything if you believe in yourself,” has brought Davis to where he is today and will continue to push him through the winter months of training and into an very strong 2016 race season.

Sign up for the same program that has led to Davis’ great success and maybe one day you can be in our Athlete Spotlight!

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