Training Tips and Articles

The Power of the Baked Potato

by Mike Coughlin These days, endurance athletes have an incredible variety of race day sports nutrition products from which to choose. Drinks, bars, gels, blocks, and beans are just some of the products on the market that help deliver carbohydrates, electrolytes, and sometimes protein to bodies in motion. There is still, however, some “real food” […]

Scouting a Triathlon Training Camp

by Mike Coughlin Last month I had the opportunity to provide coaching and logistical support for Triathlon Canada’s Regional Training Centre (RTC) Guelph training camp in Agoura Hills, California. This location has been a popular one for years, particularly with cycling teams looking for a warm and hilly winter training destination. It was my first […]

Muskoka IRONMAN 70.3 Bike Course Review

by Mike Coughlin I know that many of you have been training very hard for the Muskoka IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon. As your physical preparation comes to a peak and you rest and sharpen for race day, it is a good time to review the course and plan your race day strategy. For those of you […]

My Month on Mount Lemmon

by Mike Coughlin Looking back at over 10 years of training and racing, I must admit I have done some pretty “crazy” things in training. EPIC Camps, back to back races and challenge workouts in extreme conditions are all notable entries in my training diary. However, my most memorable block of training was in October […]

Changing Seasons, Changing Training

by Mike Coughlin Spring is a wonderful time of year for endurance athletes. Here at Discomfort Zone, spring is especially exciting because it marks our annual training camps in the mountains around Asheville, North Carolina where the scenery is spectacular and the cycling and trail running are world class. But no matter where you are […]

Mental and Emotional Pacing

by Mike Coughlin I had a conversation with a training partner last year about mental toughness in which they suggested that we can always become tougher, and should seek to do so. I was reluctant to agree with that outlook, but it sure got me thinking. Like any athlete, I have experienced both sides of […]

Addressing Persistent Weaknesses

by Mike Coughlin Addressing weaknesses is a tricky thing. Once identified, it is tempting to either fight them like a gladiator, or avoid dealing with them altogether. The latter approach will ensure weaknesses remain so, while the former is likely to erode strengths and lead to burnout. I know this to be true because I […]

Killing My Consistency Killers

by Mike Coughlin Short-term consistency is my personal Achilles heel when it comes to training. While long-term improvement in endurance sport is a function of consistent training over months and years, the degree of this improvement depends as much (or more) on day-to-day training habits than big weeks or breakthrough workouts. As a coach I […]

My Race Satisfaction Strategy

by Mike Coughlin Race strategy is a term that usually describes tactics and contingency plans aimed at achieving the fastest and/or most competitive result. However one can also apply a strategy towards making the race experience as enjoyable and satisfying as possible. I was recently reminded of this fact while racing what is perhaps the […]

Lessons the Mountains Taught Me

by Mike Coughlin Earlier this month I had the privilege of attending the EC Colorado Climbing Camp. In addition to the big training, camaraderie, lack of non-training stressors, and other well-known benefits of a training camp, we had the opportunity to train in the Rocky Mountains. I have always felt a special connection to mountainous […]

The Mighty Cyclocross Bike

by Mike Coughlin If you are a long-time cyclist, chances are you have more than one bicycle in your garage. These days, there are many high quality bikes built for specific purposes and with different strengths and weaknesses. However, if you could only own one bike, what would it be? For me the answer is […]

Consistency and Variability in Training Workload

by Mike Coughlin This month EC is examining the workload requirements of the sharp end of the age group field. It should come as no surprise that doing well in an endurance sport takes a lot of work (or shall I say, “focused play”), over a long period of time. However when you look at […]

The Recovery Diaries

by Mike Coughlin Last season I had the richest and most rewarding experience in my 10 years in endurance sports. That in itself is no surprise since I took a sabbatical to “live the dream” for four months, lived and trained at altitude near the training hotspots of Boulder and Tucson, got in the best […]

Healthy Enough

by Mike Coughlin How many times have we heard phrases such as, “if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything”? Health is a primary consideration in both longevity and quality of life, and is one of those things which we often don’t miss until it’s gone. But it is also difficult to quantify. […]

The Art of the Training Race

by Mike Coughlin One thing I love about the triathlon lifestyle is the atmosphere and energy of the races. For the reasons outlined in my Race Satisfaction Strategy, participating in challenging, social endurance events is one of my favorite things to do. However I also like performing to my potential at certain events, typically at […]

Road Tripping for Athletes

by Mike Coughlin I have always loved road trips. Pack the car, grab a map (or not), and hit the open road. In the years since the endurance sports bug infected me for good, most of these trips have involved training, racing, or both. Although more time-consuming than flying to a training destination or race, […]

Keep It Fun

Keep It Fun by Mike Coughlin Winter is an interesting season for endurance athletes. At no point in the year is there a greater variation in motivational energy. Some of us have trouble getting out the door, while others are chomping at the bit fuelled by visions of a breakthrough season. The most driven among […]