Winter sucks. Come to Spain with us!

We have spots for camp 1 of our famed Strong Like Bull Training Camps.

1285 for 7 days all inclusive! (Excluding airfare) First person to reg gets 300 off!!!! That’s 985 for the entire camp!

Www.stronglikebulltraining.com

Reg here! https://www.bikereg.com/strong-like-bull-training-camps

(Photo: The top of Spain. 32 k climb to 10000 feet. Come and you will do this!!!!)

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10 life lessons From 10 years on the pro-rack

1) BE GRATEFUL FOR PAST SPONSORS:
I use to get bend when I lost a sponsor. In reality it has nothing to do with with me (or any athlete); simply market or marketing changes. I have 4 pairs of socks from an old gel sponsor I refused to wear because they went from a great sponsorship deal to a bad one; causing me to find a new sponsor; which in the end was way better.
Instead of being bent I now look back at past sponsors and am thankful and see them as a part of a career I am grateful for. I even where the socks when no one is looking and they make me happy not pissed anymore :)

2) CHOOSE FRIENDS NOT TRAINING PARTNERS:
I use to want to make friends with fast people and pros. The reality is when I look back at the best and most meaningful relationships I have had it’s always been about the quality of the person’s character not the quality of them as an athlete. After a decade I have made some awesome friends; lucky for me many of them can also hand out an ass kicking but that was only part of the fun. You wanna get deep with someone; train with them. Shrinks don’t know someone as well as a training partner. In the end I want that bond with a quality friend not just someone that can put out watts.

3) KEEP IT AWESOME:
I have a training partner @philiplavoie who often cracks a huge smile and says “this is just awesome.” Amazingly he does that when it’s not all that awesome . If you love your training you will train more. We all have workouts we “have” to do and don’t love; but making most of most workouts makes them a reward not a chore and makes you train more and makes you a better athlete. Most importantly you have the memories of the training; always. You only have any moment so be present and enjoy it. The race is the destination, enjoy the journey.

4) EARN YOUR GEAR:
I qualified for kona on 32 spoke box rim wheels. Focus on what matters; fitness, training, enjoyment and effort. Gear is not the point of sports. Sure at some point you need race wheels, a new areo brain bucket or whatever. But don’t lose the what’s at the core of the experience which isn’t gear. *unless your a science/math dude and get geeked on space age areo stuff. You get a pass because this stuff makes you giddy.

5) BE SOCIAL
Triathletes are awesome people. We share a lot of what my coach calls “core values.” Exercise, work ethic, love of outdoors, challenges, sport, racing. Sure there are grown men having mantrums at their spouse at the ironman and that guy sucks, but if you strike up a conversation with some triathletes you will make a friend. Bring the positive vibes and you will get it back. Don’t take your racing too seriously before the race and drink deep from the rad people around you.

6) CELEBRATE GOOD DAYS.
I have had a lot of bad races. I have had entire bad years! In races with three sports that take an hour to a day a lot will go imperfectly. When things go well celebrate it because you earned it. Nothing sucks more than never being happy; never thinking you did well. Oh and here is the last thing, always being that guy is kinda insufferable. Dude, cheer up, you rocked it.

7) COACHES FOR LIFE:
I look back at the biggest influences in my life and most of them are coaches. In my questionable youth a few (soccer) coaches believed in me when almost (except my mom) no one else did. They fueled my fire rather trying to put it out. I have had the same coach for all 15 years of my triathlon career. Yeah, coaches make you a better athlete but if you develop relationships that last over time you might find they make you a better person. I wouldn’t trade that personal growth for anything.

8) GIVE BACK
Volunteer at a cool event (not wtc). Race for a charity. Coach someone for free who appreciates it. Sponsor a team or athlete if you can. Cheer other athletes at a race or say thank you to a volunteer when racing (nothing is as much fun as running a 5:45 mile and grabbing a cup and saying thank you; the volunteers always go wild when that happens). I have this habit, often when I am in street clothes, where I see someone kill themselves training to just softly say “good job man” and you can see how validating it is to them. I have done each of those things and they were more rewarding than I can explain in words.

9) RACE HARD
when the gun goes off give it your all. I look at myself in the mirror before each race and promise myself I will be in this same bathroom staring at the same guy in the mirror when I am done and he will want to know if I have it my all. Race hard, and you will have no regrets about the results.

10) BRUSH YOUR TEETH AND FLOSS.

I coach my dentist. Trust me, teeth are important and we eat too much sugar.

(Pic: So stoked to be on the Brooks Elite Team along side Olympians and national champs! Here is me in brooks tights, socks and The Launch. My fav shoe! )

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Interview on Zentri

One of my fav interviews I ever did is here: http://www.zentriathlon.com/home/2014/12/1/zentri-581-john-hirsch-on-training.html

Talking about setting a PR at 39, my ultra debut and charity cause, which is a toy drive for poor kids with cancer (PLEASE READ AND GVE HERE: https://www.teamcontinuum.net/support_the_cause/fundrasing_page/85066 )
Also chatted nutrition and a ton if laughs and insight!

Enjoy!

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Photo at Top of Bear Mt.

Training for my ultra debut with a run up Bear Mt. All smiles at the top!

I am running to raise money for Team Continuum’s toys for kids with Cancer holiday program. You can read more about it and please support me and them and donate here:

https://www.teamcontinuum.net/support_the_cause/fundrasing_page/85066

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Brooklyn Marathon’s Champs Race Report

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kelly bk finish

(click photo to enlarge)

Wanna know what its like to win a marathon two weeks after cracking the top 100 at the worlds biggest most baller event, the NYC Marathon? CREW Athlete Kelly Gillian’s (coached by me(for info on my coaching and to join the squad for 2015 click here ) with nutrition by Christine Lynch (http://liveandeatbetter.com) race report is here:

pre-race nutrition: the usual routine, minimize veggie intake the day before, brown rice pasta with red sauce and a little bit of chicken the night before, bagel with peanut butter the morning of the race.
i won this race in 2011, and this was my first time coming back to defend a title. there were no other previous winners there, but i still felt some pressure. my main goal for this race was to work on pacing. i went out way too fast in nyc and i wanted to correct that mistake by running a negative split. also, since i just ran a marathon 2 weeks ago, i knew i really couldn’t afford to go out too fast — the consequences could be BAD. i was tested right from the gun when 2 girls went out FAST. i watched them speed off, and thought, “if they’re that fast, good for them, or they’ll crash and burn as soon as we start the hills. it’s a long race.” so, i stuck to my plan, and kept my pace at ~7-7:05 min/mile.
sure enough, the hills got to them. i passed one girl to move into 2nd place around mile 8, just 1 mile after we crested the first hill. around mile 13, sam told me that the first place girl was about 3 minutes ahead. as i passed other runners, i heard one say to the other “she’ll definitely catch up to the girl in first”. i was still feeling really good but knew it would be a challenge to make up that much time without crashing later on. i maintained my pace, heard from sam that i was reeling her in, and got some encouragement from other runners (“she’s just ahead, go get her, you got it!”). i passed her around mile 17. as i passed her, i said “good job, way to run” and she muttered something that was barely coherent, so i knew if i could keep up my pace, i’d be good. so, i picked it up a tiny bit, ran a negative split, and won. i had no idea how far ahead i was, so i kept pushing the pace. turns out i was safe, as the second place female was 15 minutes behind me.
during the race, i felt good, not ecstatic like i was in the beginning of nyc, but really really solid and under control. my posture/stride/core felt good, i stayed upright, and heard from a number of people that i looked… good. i was cold, but thankfully there wasn’t a whole lot of wind. since i was so cold, i didn’t take a lot of liquids and didn’t feel like ingesting anything, but that didn’t seem to adversely affect me. i took in fewer calories than in normally do — i nursed my first gel for about 3 or 4 miles, and then had half a package of sport beans. i just couldn’t stomach the thought of taking in a lot more food.
overall: an amazing way to end a season. i achieved my goal of controlling my pace, and ended up winning, and feeling REALLY good doing it. fabulous race, an attentive and professional RD, awesome volunteers, hilarious spectators. this made up for my negative energy from nyc.

This was an 8 minute course PR for me (last ran the race in 2011 in 3:14). i like the direction things are headed.

 

5 Tips For Strength Training

 

 

 

 

 

“People are made of clay; I am waiting for the punishment I know is on it’s way.” slipknoT

 

For most athletes the start of preparation for 2015 is now. If it’s not now, it’s soon. For a lot of athletes they would benefit from some strength work and cross training. Here are some common problems triathletes face when trying to go to the gym.

 

1) own the gym! Walk around and piss on stuff. Push people around and tell them you own this place. Scream and beat your chest. (As a criminal lawyer I strong suggest you don’t do this). But seriously, be comfortable in the gym as your space. YOU ARE AN ATHLETE! Most people in gyms are working out, your a REAL athlete. You have more of a right to this place then anyone else. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t be shy. Walk up to some random huge guy and bury your finger in his chest and say “what are you training for? Nothing? I am training for_______ (fill in your race).” Ok don’t do that. But my point is you are an athlete this is your place. Own it. Bring swagger and be mentally ready to do work.

 

2) know WHY you are hitting the gym. Are you weak and have trouble putting out watts? Do you struggle on hills? Do you have good swim form but can’t get faster? Are you over 33 and losing muscle mass? Does your form and posture fade later in events? Are you injury prone or want to prevent injuries? Do you want to built strength now but not burn out during a long season? If you know WHY your doing strength training, you will be motivated because you will see the work you do as purposeful. Also it will make the work you do targeted. Not all strength workouts are the same and it’s not one size fits all. Be purposeful in your gym work and you will be more motivated because you will know your addressing something you want to improve.

 

3) know what you are doing. Don’t go into the gym without a workout. You need a plan. The plan should be what you are doing that day. That week. Next week. Etc. You wouldn’t go to the pool and splash around in the hope that you get faster at swimming so going to the gym walking around doing a few random machines  won’t make you stronger. You need a focused workout; you need to stay on track and be purposeful there. One big knock on cross fit is that it doesn’t focus on a sport, but it at least keeps people moving and working. Ideally you want and need both; a series of exercises for tri (or running or cycling) AND to be focused on getting it done.

 

4) DO WORK. The other tips also help with this, but ultimately it’s up to you to be mentally ready to do work! Gym work in the early season is THE workout to focus on for any athletes and you need to come to this really to THROW DOWN. This is the workout you fear and focus on all week. This is the place you come to push yourself hard. Kill the gym. Slay the gym. Make that special murders play list and get in there with malice and bad intentions in your heart. Endurance sports athletes go to the gym like agnostics go to church. You need to go in there like sinners heading towards hell fire.

 

5) Learn the movements. Be patient and start slow. Besides the obvious which is if you don’t you will hurt your self you idiot, the confidence of knowing the exercises will make the experience better. More over starting slower and learning will built confidence so your more comfortable in the gym and be consistent with it.

 

 

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Need a coach? I am accepting athletes for 2015 starting now. 100% custom plans, unlimited contact and support and including strength training blended into the SBR you need to do to meet your goals. Use the comment section or email me: evilracingcult (at) gmail (dot) com

5 Common Mistakes That Lead to Disasters At Iron Racing

As I enter my 13th year as a pro and 14th as a coach I have a lot of case studies about common mistakes people make at the full/iron distance. Here as some of the most common.
Lacking BIG DAYS: Every athlete with a job is strapped for time. But they still need to find a way for a few key big days. Pros have these weekly, hell, I have them several times a week and sometimes day after day for a month like when in Spain at www.Stronglikebulltrainingcamp.com but unless you have a van and driver, coaches, a chef, a bike mechanic, and a group of athletes to push you, that kind of training isn’t possible. What is possible is spending some relationship or job capital to get several big days at key points in your prep from the race. A good coach can tell you how to do more with less and exactly which those days should be. You don’t need to be a pro, you just need to train like one a few critical days a year.

Swim form: working on swim form, is critical for a proper swim and to not be a start the bike and the rest of the long day in an energy hole. Sometimes swim form isn’t even about a faster swim split, its about just saving energy both mentally, and physically. Athletes feel guilty if they don’t suffer in their workouts but sometimes less pain and more focus on form results in more gain.

Race planning: Athletes often make race schedules up based on factors that don’t line up very well. “Well my BFF is running this marathon, and my dad is doing this ultra, and I always wanted to get drunk in New Orleans and puke those awesome donuts so I am doing that 70.3, and I signed up for 3 ironman races in 8 weeks. What do you think?” Building your race schedule is an art form and a science. If you want to have a great IM/full you need to focus on it and that means building a schedule that contributes to that event, not one that leaves you smashed for it.

Race execution: This is more than just “pacing”. Its about setting goals, and doing the work to achieve them. Want to get to Kona? OK, but be honest about the work that it will take and then execute that kind of race. Your race execution should reflect the work you did and be a humble and conservative estimation of your training. IM/Full distance racing punishes those that try to race above their heads. You earn your time, so make sure the pace and effort you race at is realistic. Even then it might all go sideways, but you are SURE to find out just how long a 26.2 mile walk is if you race above your fitness and thats an ego issue as much as anything else. A coach is their to be objective and give you feed back, athletes (including myself when I race) are often to emotionally vested to be objective.

Life Management. I know a lot of athletes that waste a lot of time. The ones that don’t go a lot faster. Plan your life out, plan your day out and ABT: always be training. Of course when you aren’t don’t be. Be a fully present parent, partner, employee, hobo, whatever. But if your surfing the net, watching TV, or procrastating, your wasting time and time is critical for us. Time is the one thing, every Full/IM athlete needs more of.

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Photo: Me doing some hand on coaching at a workout with some of great athletes I had in 2014. (in this photo is are some of my athletes including a NYC Marathon Elite runner, an ironman finisher, my self, and the two time American Zofingen champion.)

I Have several spots for my 2015 team. If you would like me to coach you read about it below or email me: evilracingcult (at) gmail (dot) com

A chat about 100 mile week with my elite runner

I am working with Kelly Gillian, 2Nds place at the VT Marathon, and sub 3 hour runner who contacted me about taking that next step. This was our exchange after finishing up one of her bigger weeks that I designed

Hi John,

Somewhere around wednesday morning, i was convinced that you hated me. i was 3 miles into my 12 mile morning run and thought, “he must hate me. why else would be do this to me?” my quads were tired and i still had another 9 miles to go just to finish my first workout of the day.

i was tired. i felt like i was running underwater, i thought i must have been doing 9 minute miles. i kept looking down at my watch and it was reading 7:39, 7:40, 7:43, 7:34 and swore it was broken. i thought, “this cannot be true. i can’t be running this fast while feeling this shitty.” it was amazing. in a good way.

i’m not through with the week just yet, but i’ve learned these past few days that getting in all these miles is so much more mental than i realized — to me, it’s analogous to your first 20 mile run. it’s not that much more than an 18 or 19 mile run, but psychologically, it’s s huge hurdle to overcome. that’s how i feel about hitting 100 in a week.

also, in my consult with christine on thursday, we spoke about taking better care of myself and recovering harder — i feel like i’ve been putting in some decent runs, but all that won’t mean much if i don’t take better care of myself. so i’m working on that, too.

thanks again for your guidance and for kicking my butt!
kelly

———

kelly,

First; yes I hate you too. Hahahahah feel free to hate me All you want! Hahahah

Second: congrats! 100 miles is insane and a real mile stone for getting better.

Third: when training from now on, it’s the only thing you can really do. The rest of your life you just keep afloat until after the marathon . Make sure Sam in cool with and maybe even on board but you can’t do this and much else. It’s all stressors. You have a stress breaking point and running 100 miles a week will push you 99 percent of the way to it. When people say they want to give it their all, they have no idea what that really means. How deep you can really go. What total focus and purpose looks like. What sacrifice is. You can take a life break after the race and catch up on what you neglect for the next 5 weeks.

Fourth: time not training is not free time. It’s recovery. It’s about not adding stressors to you life. It’s about healing and making sure you are ready for the next workout. Never skip sleep. Don’t eat crap. Don’t plan social events. Your an athlete 24 hours a day.

You asked me what being an elite is like; this is it. You get to live it for 5 weeks. Do it. Do it with everything you have in you; you will have no regrets.

John

Athlete-Professionals NOT Professional Athletes

“I am doing this for the thrill of it, killing it. Chasing the things I want.” -Lorde

I have watched an listened to the debate about pros, and the industry of our sport, and think there has been a great deal of value in the discussion and I don’t want to rehash that debate. However I think there is something missing in the basic understanding of one party that is involved; that of the pro athletes.

People on all sides keep assuming that “pro tri-athletes” are pros first. That they act like rational business people. That they make rational economic decisions about races, purses, careers, and themselves as any professional business person would. People discuss what pros are worth, and even drop capitalistic jargon like ROI (return on investment, which is you shorten into ROI makes you sound super awesomely-corporate).

The problem is that pro athletes are athletes first. We simply don’t value money, business, or our place in the industry like other professionals such as lawyers, or investment bankers do. I can’t imagine most big law firm lawyers waking up and saying “I don’t care how much money I make today, I just can’t wait to defend a tobacco company! LETS DO THIS!” But that is what athletes do daily. We focus on the sport, not the business. Think of us like you do artists and musicians, not business people. We do because we driven by a passion, something deep inside us, that all athletes can relate too. We just happen to have the talent to go fast enough to be pros.

This wasn’t a big problem when the sport was run by people who also loved the sport first and saw it as a business second. When Gram Frazier built ironman he did it with the love of the sport in mind, and profits second, (which it turns out is a great business mode). Pros and Ironman the company had a common cause, common respect and things were lovely.

Then the WTC got sold and sold again and now the WTC is run by capitalist that see the sport like any other business and pros are at a lose to battle them or stand up for themselves because that is just not how they are wired. Athletes like Olympians in countless sports, will toil in poverty for years, work harder than nearly all humans on earth, just to compete once in the Games. That is how athletes are wired.

But here is the thing: YOU want that. you GET that. That reflects your experience as an athlete too, pro or not. Would you want your musicians to write songs that “sell” or do you want them to make art? Do you want people in your sport drive, focused and passionate about the sport you are driven, focused and passionate about? there is a reason commercial jingles suck, and good art is made by freaks.

When pro triathlete make seemingly irrational decisions like racing races they love (like IMLP) or chase Kona points, it makes sense only if you think of them as athletes first and pros second. They want to do IMLP for the same reasons you do, its a great race and they want the experience. They want to race in Kona the same way you do, because they set goals and go after them and want to race the best. Its why they put up with insane exploitation by the WTC, because they love triathlon, its not just a cash grab.

And yes, we sometimes see the light and pick awesome events like Savageman. Sometimes we get so sick of being exploited we leave what we love and know and race elsewhere and often find that its worth it, because its great to be untied with people that feel the same as we do like how I felt with Rev3 and now Challenge.

So I say this to you: pros and age groupers are the same in this. We do it for love. Support us, we are on the same side.

Got Coaching

Got a Coach ?

I am accepting a limited number of new athletes for 2015 starting now. Never though you could afford a pro level coach? I am ONLY 95 bucks a month! Why? because I was a dirt poor punk pro who thinks this sport isn’t only for the super rich. I am far more interested in working with people with a good work ethic and great attitude than someone with deep pockets.

My coaching a program includes:

1) An hour long meeting, call or skype to assess you as an athlete; to discuss goals, plans, strengths and weaknesses.

2) A 100 percent custom plan to help you meet you goals and built around your life and other commitments.

3) unlimited contact via phone, email, text, and instant messenger.

4) A free nutritional assessment with Christine Lynch, A certified holistic health counselor and sports nutritional consultant to countless pros and elite athletes as well as people looking for meaningful heath changes.

5) discounts on the CREW’s many sponsors.

Email me at evilracingcult (at) Gmail (dot) com or drop me a line in the comments section.

“If you are not afraid of getting hurt; then I am not afraid of how much I will hurt you.” – Marylyn Manson