Coach Kaitlyn & Off Season Training

I used to take the approach that once my last big event was over in the summer, official training was done until January.  Taking 4-5 months off would result in a lot of lost fitness and some weight gain that I had to then conquer come January.  I would only use a coach during my “in season” and the rest of the year, I exercised sporadically or not at all.  After getting frustrated about not making progress year over year, I decided to make a change.

That said, taking a short off season is extremely important after you’ve raced all year, but it doesn’t need to be several months.  Take the time to let your body and mind re-energize, allow yourself the recovery in order to make sure you don’t end up sick or injured.  For most people, this is 2-6 weeks. Use that time to catch up on life, enjoy the nights out, days off, and casual social training.  Then find your focus again.

There are a couple of different ways to approach this time of year.  First, sign up for some short & fun winter races  Knowing that I have an event on the other side of the holidays helps keep me checking my workout boxes and motivated to keep working.  It doesn’t need to be a long or important race – some short 5Ks or 10Ks should be enough to keep focus.

My favorite strategy is to set some goals not around racing – like working on a weakness, for example.  Historically, I have not always been great about getting my strength workouts in.  After a couple different injuries, I realized that strength needs to be a very important part of my workout routine – especially as I get older!  Building stronger muscles helps support joints which can help keep them healthier and happier.  Plus, it’s a huge factor for me and my endurance.  The stronger I am, the longer my muscles can fight for me through long runs and bikes.  So, for me, focusing on strength is a great off-season goal.  I have more time to commit to the gym with shorter swim/bike/run sessions.  Progress is easily measured which helps keep me going as I see the results.  

Another option is focusing on technique, mechanics or form in one particular sport.  We can always improve our efficiencies – and this will result in time gains during the season.  I’ve done swim blocks where I commit to masters swims each week, so I’m getting form corrections along with keeping up with fitness, bike blocks where I work on technique, handling skills and strength, or run blocks where I dedicate time on drills each workout.

There are so many different ways to help you through this time of year and keep you from just binge watching Hallmark movies on the couch – although I still watch them, just on the bike!

Race Results: January – April 2017

January 7-8

Amy S raced the NYRR 10K in 49:08.

January 14-15

Russ K & Kaitlyn H raced the Star Wars Rebel Challenge (10K + 13.1).

January 21-22

Lauren K raced a local 5K in 24:44 (PR).

January 28-29

Catherine W raced the Miami Half Marathon.

Karin O raced a local 5K in 27:23 (PR) for 5th OA.

The following athletes completed our January Green Box Challenge:

Monica C, Kaitlyn H, Russ K, Lauren K, Ann M, Elaine N, Karin O.

February 25-26

Chuck W & Teri W completed the Havana Sprint Triathlon.

March 11-12

Erin D raced the St Patrick’s Day 5K in 22:45 for 3rd OA.

Emma G raced the Running of the Green 8K in 48:43.


March 18-19

Meghan M raced the St Patty’s 5K in 24:55 for 2nd OA.


March 25-26

Hope H raced the Mad Moose Ultra 30K in 4:13.

Stephanie S raced the Arizona Distance Classic in 2:10.


Hannah O raced the San Francisco Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in 2:17 (PR).

April 1-2

Wendy D ran her first 5K (post giving birth to twins!) in 30:57.

Stephane D ran the Santiago Half Marathon in 1:54.

Allison R ran the Santiago Half Marathon in 2:06.

Emily R the Santiago Marathon in 3:27 (BQ!).

Debra D raced the Texas State Sprint Triathlon in 1:24 for 1st AG.


April 8-9

Sarah L ran the Shoes & Brews 5K in 22:29.

April 22-23

Allison R ran the Best Kids 5K in 23:58 for 2nd OA.

Karin O ran the Oiselle Tenacious 10K in 59:50 (90″ PR!).

Sarah L ran the Three Creeks Half Marathon in 1:46:31 for a 3′ PR & 7th AG.


April 29-30

Debra D ran the Fredericksburg Wildflower 10K in 55:40 for 1st AG.

Russ K ran the Raptor Run 5K in 30:12 for 3rd AG.

Coach Katie ran the Raptor Run 5K in 24:41 for 1st AG & 4th OA.


Race Results: November 2016

November 5-6

Hannah M ran the New York City Marathon in 4:29 (first 26.2).

Karin O ran the Mud and Chocolate Trail Half Marathon in 2:55.

November 12-13

Stephanie S ran the Longmont Turkey Trot 10K in 57:27.

Russ K ran the Longmont Turkey Trot 10K in 1:01:28.

Kaitlyn H ran the Longmont Turkey Trot 10K 1:01:28 (4′ PR).

Teri Ward ran the Longmont Turkey Trot 10K 1:04:15 for 4th AG.

Emma G walked the Longmont Turkey Trot 10K 1:48.


Nick D ran the Richmond Marathon in 3:37 (13′ PR).

Kaitlin D ran the Pensacola Half Marathon in 2:05:45 (first 13.1).

Jason B ran the Pensacola Marathon in 3:58:29 (90′ PR).


Ashley S ran the Monterey Bay Half Marathon in 2:09.

November 19-20

Erin D ran the Philadelphia Marathon in 3:54 (20′ PR).

Russ K ran the Panicking Poultry Turkey Trot in 24:41 for 4th AG.

Kaitlyn H ran the Panicking Poultry Turkey Trot in 29:33 for 1st AG.

Debra D ran the Thanksgiving 5K in 42:00.

Kimra M ran the Berkeley Half-Marathon in 2:24.

November 24 (Thanksgiving)

Melissa R ran the Sugar Land Turkey Trot 5 Miler in 46:39.

Amy S ran the Alexandria Turkey Trot 5 Miler in 36:58.


Ashley S ran a local 10 in 56:00

Emma G ran a 2.5 mile unofficial friends Turkey Trot in 28:25.

Karin O ran the Mukilteo 5K in 35:26.

Sarah L ran the Loveland Turkey Trot in 21:37 (PR & 2nd AG).


Coach Katie ran the Louisville Turkey Trot in 23:35 (PR).

Hannah M ran the Turkey Trot 10K in 54:56.

Nick D ran the Turkey Trot 5K in 20:00.

Racing goals aren’t easy

I have wanted my goal races to feel easy so many times. I’ve toed the line wishing fiercely for a day that felt effortless. (That never happens.) The first time I ran a Boston Qualifier (Marine Corps Marathon, 2012), the miles ticked by quickly, and largely without issue, until about mile twenty-two; then the pain set in and suddenly it definitely was not easy. This was one year after I ran a very painful 3:37, because I spent a good part of the first half going too fast, and thinking “Wow! This feels great!” Until it didn’t. I crashed hard.

The second time I ran a BQ (Eugene, 2015) was tough from mile fifteen on. I thought my quads may literally explode right off my femur. I convinced myself that was a thing that could definitely happen, and probably would happen, as soon as I finished. I couldn’t even fathom a walking break, because my legs might not start again if I stopped. It was not easy.

I’ve spent many cycles thinking that only the training would be hard, but the (goal) race would be a breeze. But, isn’t that kind of the opposite of why we race and train hard?

Most of our clients, myself included, race because it’s an opportunity to push personal limits, challenge what we’ve done before and what we could maybe do on this day, and then see what happens! It doesn’t always turn out well. But there is solace in knowing that at least we tried.

If you train well, trust that you are ready for it to be hard.

Training isn’t easy! It takes months of being dedicated to something, many moments of convincing yourself to do a hard workout by choice, and then getting through those workouts. Our brain is used to the “hard” moments, even though we so want to avoid it.

So, come race day, guess what your brain is ready to do? Push through the hard stuff. You just can’t doubt that that’s true.

A lot of us are bracing ourselves for the fall marathons (or half-marathons, 10Ks, 5Ks) that are finally here, after months of training. As the taper comes on, so do the nerves. We start to remember, yes, it’s going to be hard in some way or another! That’s the only thing we know for sure, which can be a little daunting.

If you are going for a goal, it’s not going to be easy. Even if that goal is a marathon/race that feels “easy!” Because then you still have to stay in your head all day, before and during the race, convincing yourself that you’re trained to do this and you will be OK. That’s still a fight. It takes consistent effort to stay in that good place.

Always trust these two things: your training, and your self.

Your training probably wasn’t perfect. No one’s ever is. Your self—body, mind, ego, etc—will communicate, you just have to listen up. You’ve done hard work to get yourself to this starting line, trust that you’re ready for hard work on race day, too!

Race Results: October 2016

October 1-2

Erin D ran a local 5K in 22:02 (PR) for 7th OA, 2nd female and 1st AG.


Kaitlyn H ran the Hot Chocolate 15K in 1:41:18.

Russ K ran the Hot Chocolate 15K in 1:41:18.


Rachel T ran the San Jose Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon.

October 8-9

Catherine W ran the Chicago Marathon in 4:08.

Kelli R ran the Portland Marathon in 3:54 (8′ PR).

Lauren K raced Ironman Louisville in 12:46:03 – first-time Ironman!


October 15-16

Dawn R ran the Craft Classic 13.1 in 2:42.

Dylan L ran the Bay State Marathon in 3:58.

October 22-23

Kaitlin D ran the S.C.A.R.E. 5K in 25:17 (9′ PR) for 1st AG/4th OA.


Melissa R completed the Ragnar Hill Country Relay.


Catherine W ran the Grace Race 5K in 26:30 for 3rd OA female.

October 29-30

Emma G ran the Eerie Erie 5K in 26:40 (1′ PR).

Russ K ran the Eerie Erie 5K in 26:40.

Coach Katie ran the Eerie Erie 5K in 26:40

Teri W ran the Eerie Erie 5K in 38:00.

Sarah L ran the Eerie Erie 10K in 48:08 (3′ PR) for 4th AG & 11th OA.


Karin O ran the Captian Jack’s Treasure Run 8K in 48:51.


Teri W ran the Kooky-Spooky 10K in 1:06 for 2nd AG.

Melissa R ran the Houston Half Marathon in 2:24.

Coach Heather ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 4:12.

Race Results: September 2016

September 3-4:

Stephanie S raced the Bonney Lake Olympic Triathlon in 2:31 for 2nd AG & 12th OA.


September 10-11:

Sarah L ran 24 miles in 3 legs with her team at the Flaming Foliage Relay & was 2nd female for a timed segment of the relay.


Dylan N ran the Parks Half Marathon.

Ann M raced the Best in the West 70.3 in 6:40.

Teri W raced the Breckenridge Trail 5K in 42:59.

Chuck W raced the Breckenridge Trail 5K in 56:47.

Monica C won her age group at the 2 mile Shark Swim.

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September 17-18:

Melissa R raced the Woodforest Charity Run 5K in 27:54 for 3rd AG.


Emma G raced the Littlefoot Sprint Triathlon in 1:24 including a 28:23 5K.


Lauren K swam 1:29 at the Upstate Splash OWS.

Rosalyn S was 3rd female at the Dewey Aquabike.

Ann M raced the Constantly Boring 8K in 43:06 (PR) for 1st AG.

Russ K raced the Harvest Moon Aquabike in 4:31 for 4th AG.


Sarah L completed the Denver 5K Kidney Walk in honor of her sister.

Karin O raced the Atlantic City 70.3 in 6:57, a 20+ minute bike PR & overall PR.


September 24-25:

Ann M paced a friend to a 10K PR at the Best Dam Run in 1:04.

Jen B ran the Beef-a-Rama Rump Roast Run 5K in 29:06 for 5th AG.

Sarah L raced the Oktoberfest Sprint Triathlon in 1:19 in 2nd AG with a PR 23:21 5K.

At the Golden Gallop 5K Russ K ran 25:30, Emma G ran 27:35 (PR) & Kaitlyn H ran 32:07.

Stephanie S ran 2:09 at the Race For A Soldier Half Marathon.

Meghan M raced the Kerrville 70.3 in 6:55.


On Recovery

Recovery is key to improving performance. Adaptation to training stress does not occur during training sessions, but rather, in the rest and recovery that follows those sessions. If you do not rest, your body does not adapt, therefore you do not improve. The number one goal of recovery is to create a sustainable, specific & consistent training load over time. So what are the tools for recovery? Let’s make a list.

#1 Sleep. 7-8 hours a night should be a regular occurrence. All of us have those days where we have to get up extra early here and there, but chronic undersleeping will have a detrimental impact on your training and racing. If you are groggy all afternoon and lay awake in bed at night, unable to fall asleep, that’s a big sign that stress is too high. If this happens repeatedly, that is a red flag from your body that there needs to be significant change.

#2 Meditation. Most of us with full-time jobs are unable to crawl under our desks for a nap in the afternoon but taking 10-15 minutes out of your day to create silence and space in your brain can be as rejuvenating as a nap. I used to think that people that meditated were hippies that ate acorns and didn’t wear shoes but I’ve reluctantly found that even a few minutes of pause can help me reset.

#3 Fueling. Before, during AND after sessions. This is your job as an athlete, fueling properly is not merely a “good idea” but is part of the puzzle of creating a sustainable training load.  By fueling properly, you are giving your body the tools it needs to repair and prepare for the next session.

#4 Respecting true easy. Part of the reason that I place so much focus on heart rate training as a coach is because it is one of the best tools we have to learn what true easy feels like. Going too hard on a recovery day will not allow you to go hard enough on a hard day.  Removing the focus from pace/speed/distance on these active recovery sessions often helps athletes dial into true easy.

#5 Complete rest. A mistake I see often is that when athletes see a complete rest day on their schedules, they immediately fill up the day with a coffee date, a lunch date, a dinner date, a shopping date, a trip to Costco, an oil change, a “light hike,” etc.  Allow your rest days to be as restful as possible so your body can absorb the hard training sessions you did in the days preceding.  Sitting on your butt all day is just as important to training load as a hard workout!

#6 Body work: this includes heat, self massage, compression, recovery boots, etc.  Self massage with a foam roller or SuperNova can be far better on a tight muscle than stretching.  If you stretch a tight/knotted muscle, oftentimes you aren’t stretching the muscle at all but rather the tissue around the muscle.  Use tools/spouse to roll/dig into muscles instead.

As you preview your training each week, take time to plan each day. What are the things you want to accomplish?  What is important to you?  We make time and space for the things that matter.  If training is one of those things, then it needs to encompass all the aspects of it, not just the minutes spent sitting on the bike seat. And do it for you. Your miles, your hard work, your getting up early and spending less time on instagram and more time foam rolling, it’s not for your coach.  It’s never for your coach, or your spouse, or your friends, or for anyone else other than YOU.  You complete your training sessions for YOU, you work hard, you watch power and cadence and pace and speed and you get in the pool when it’s 4 degrees out because you have goals that you are chasing.  And you do it because you’ve decided at some point along the way that you want to be better at this sport. It looks different to every athlete but the desire is the same: we want to be stronger, smarter, faster, healthier, and maybe only a teeny tiny bit of beating that jerk who brags in the pool all the time about his PRs. Become an active participant in your training, ask questions, be curious, recognize and acknowledge how your body reacts and changes and flows, learn about what you, as an individual, need to be consistent and successful.  And respect the rest day!