Categorized as: Alamo180

Why YOU Should Pump Iron at IRON Class

The off-season is fast approaching. This is where triathletes want to log miles and miles of swimming, cycling and running and build a solid base for the next season. And where runners log miles and miles of running for their next big race. Good plan. Yes, it’s all about consistency.

But what about strength training? Where does it fit in? And do you really need it?

Most runners and triathletes believe they don’t need it. And they don’t need it…they NEEEEEED it.

Alamo 180 Head Strength & Conditioning Coach, Jeff, said it best, “you’re not a pair of legs running down the road, or a pair of legs climbing a steep ascent, you’re a total body moving forward.”

So if you are indeed a total body moving forward, make that the strongest body possible. And it’s not going to come from swimming, cycling and running alone. You need to lift some weights. And the time to do it is in the off-season. That time is NOW.

Let me break it down and explain why:


Let’s talk about force.  The force allows Darth Vader to choke dudes from across the room. Oh wait, oops, wrong force!  Force is the ability to overcome resistance. In triathlon, force is the ability to move effectively through rough water, on the hills, and into the wind. Are your limiters the ability to efficiently and effectively climb hills? Or swim well in choppy water? Or run strong on a hilly course? Or keep it all together at the end of your race?  If so, keep on reading.

Get better at pull-ups to get better at swimming

Get better at pull-ups to get better at swimming


If you can’t do a single pull-up, what makes you think you can swim at your best in smooth or even in turbulent water? You’re pulling the water with every stroke you take. You’re essentially doing pull-ups underwater. And if you have noodle arms, you’re not going to get far with much force. And if your core is weak, you won’t be able to remain stable and in control. You’re a total body moving through the water, not just a pair of arms, so make your body as strong as it can be.


Spending time on your bike and riding hills is one way to get better at climbing, the other part comes from what you do in the gym. If you want to get better at climbing, you need to build strength in your legs doing squats and deadlifts, and other leg exercises. When doing a standing climb, you’re using your arms and torso to help lift and move the bike, therefore you better have some upper body strength. Noodle arms won’t cut it (and bicep curls aren’t the solution!) Chest pressing and deadlifting will help you develop a strong upper body and low back, reduce fatigue, and setting you up for a faster run. You’re a total body on the bike, make it as strong as it can be.




If your legs are weak, how are you going to effectively and efficiently run up hills?

Strength in the legs propels you up hills as well as gives you the added strength for those tough runs off the bike. You’re not a pair of legs running down the road, you’re a total body. Make you body as strong as it can be.

Chest press to get better at cycling

Chest press to get better at cycling

The time to strength train is now. It’s base building period and this is where you focus on building your endurance and aerobic capacity. And by adding in strength training to this phase, you will begin to produce faster paces at aerobic efforts (read: you’re still in zone 1 and zone 2 but with a faster pace!). And when in-season hits, you can scale back on strength training, spend more time swimming, cycling and running, and reap the athletic benefits from all your hard work in the off-season!

So why am I preaching strength training? Because it works. And honestly, if Jeff and I didn’t believe in the power of strength training, we would not have opened a studio with strength training equipment. We would have never taken that risk. Alamo 180 would just be triathlon and run training offered around town. Strength training works and you cannot be your best without it. Period. Not everyone on our team strength trains, but our athletes that do outperform those that don’t. And not that it’s a competition of who is better on our team, it’s just an observation and a fact.

It’s a personal decision and it’s one we can’t and won’t force on anyone. We won’t shove knowledge down your throat or fill your newsfeed, but we will present the facts and hope that one day you consider that strength training is the missing link to becoming your best.

It’s amazing what happens when you start moving around some weights. We encourage you to give it a try this off-season and get ready for an awesome 2016 season! We offer drop-in classes, class passes and monthly passes. We have options to fit any schedule and budget!

Oh…and strength training is not only effective, but fun, too! See!

Having fun post-workout!

Having fun post-workout!

Disclaimer: Our strength training classes are open to ALL athletes, not just Alamo 180 triathletes and runners. And if you’re following your own training plan, or your coach’s plan, we won’t force or guilt you into joining our triathlon or run group training. We are passionate about triathlon  and running and want you to enjoy it and get better. It’s doesn’t matter who you are training with, all that matters is that you’re training.

Sweat from the Heart: Bike Puzzle

Sweat from the Heart: Coach Bree’s blog on training, racing, and life.


Bike Puzzle: Why a Power Meter Paints the Whole Picture.

Just this week I was updating a data profile for an athlete and I reached out asking him to re-assess his strengths and weaknesses. One weakness that he mentioned was “losing focus on the bike during training and racing.” This is not the first time I have heard this from an athlete. In fact, it used to happen to me. So, being the very analytical person I am, I began to think about why this might be happening. Whenever there is a concern, I’m going to look for an answer.

I thought about him, I thought about myself as an athlete, and about cycling metrics. And then it all made sense. He’s missing an important piece of the “bike puzzle” – power.

Gorgeous countryside!

Before a power meter, scenery and racers kept me focused.

Using myself as an example: When I used to train and race without a power meter, I lost focus. My speed would slow down on ascents and pick up on descents, and I would always ask myself, “was I working hard enough?” And heart rate wasn’t always accurate. I could have altered values based on heat, nutrition, if it was on correctly, etc. Not truly knowing what effort I was putting out, and in the moment of pain surmounting, I couldn’t convince myself to stick with my plan and I would inevitably lose focus, and then slow down. Later, I would “wake up”, regain focus, and push hard again…only to repeat the process. And when you’re doing the Half or Full distance there are many opportunities to snap in and out focus. All of these moments are wasted time.

Here’s the deal: when you can’t see the whole picture, you lose focus. What is it you’re supposed to look at? What is the focal point? What’s the purpose? And if you can’t figure it out, you give up and move on. We do this in life, and we do it on the bike.

In cycling, when you have pieces of data, and not the whole picture, it’s easy to lose focus. If you can’t figure out what it is you’re doing, and why, and you can’t see the whole picture, you move on. You move on to things that will keep you entertained for the rest of your bike ride: thoughts, conversations, scenery, rest stops with junk food and sodas, group pictures, selfies, etc. But these don’t keep you true to your workout goals and you’re missing out on a quality ride (unless you’re on a recovery ride and by all means, goof off and have fun!)

I call it the “bike puzzle”. The more pieces you have (data), the clearer the picture. You know exactly what you’re doing. You know the effort you are to put out. You know where you’re to be in each given interval. You see the whole picture. 

It’s not fun putting together a puzzle with a missing piece. The whole picture is distorted. Same is true on high quality bike sessions without a power meter. Your heart rate says one thing, speed says another, so does cadence, but what energy are you putting out? Were you going too hard? Too easy? A mixture of both? What’s really going on? The whole picture is distorted. No wonder people lose focus on bike rides without a power meter.

powermeterpicDoes this mean you cannot race and train without a power meter? No. It can be done. I did it for years and still enjoyed riding. But once I got the last piece of my “bike puzzle” the whole picture became clear and everything came into focus. I knew what power zones to stay in for set intervals. No more guessing. In fact, I remember my first race with a power meter. I stayed true to my goals and stayed within my parameters. I never once lost focus. My power meter kept me honest and focused. Those 56 miles seemed to fly by. I had my best bike split ever. It was at that moment I realized I was riding in the “dark” without one….or playing with a puzzle that had a missing piece.

If cycling is going to be part of your life, invest in it. Stop playing with a puzzle that has a missing piece. Do yourself and your passion a favor, buy a power meter.

Our good friends at Bicycle Heaven have installed power meters on our athletes. They order it fast and install it quickly. You will be back on your bike, with a complete puzzle, in no time!

I write this from a coach and athlete standpoint. The coach in me loves it when my athletes have power meters. I can see if they worked hard enough in a workout. I can see if they were on target in a race. For most, they think they are pushing hard enough, but with a complete puzzle, they realize they are not. I can also gauge progression in an accurate manner. And the athlete in me finds the power meter keeps me honest in my workouts and races. If my speed is 8 mph up a steep hill, but my power numbers are above my threshold, I can back off and not feel so guilty for riding slow.

Want to read my other post about power? How to Work Smarter with Power. Click here 

Back to School Fitness Challenge



Lace up your shoes and dress your best, it’s a Back to School Fitness Challenge at Alamo 180.

Perfect attendance and no tardies gets you entered for a chance to WIN a FREE 5 class pass! The winning name is the Alamo 180 valedictorian!

No cost to enter this Challenge. No PTA meetings, no fundraisers, no homework. Back to School has never been easier!

First day of Training: Tuesday, September 8th. Pick any day that works in your schedule. Don’t forget, perfect attendance!

Last day of Training: Saturday, September 19th.

Yes, you have Saturday training. And don’t worry, it’s because you are a good athlete.

Oh and we will let you talk in class! And you can play with chalk!

Looking forward to seeing you on the first day!

Ranger Panty & Daisy Duke Friday



What’s cooler than a fan? Working out in short shorts!

What’s more refreshing than a glass of lemonade? Working out in short shorts!

So, sport your short shorts this Friday, September 4th AT ANY CLASS (and every Friday!) for a cool, refreshing WOD! All the cool athletes are doing it!

Be short! Be awesome!



Finding Balance

Sweat from the Heart. Coach Bree’s blog on training, racing and life.


It’s been months since I have made a blog post. Today I’m going to force one out.

It never fails, I am driving in my car around town (being the best driver I can be since my company logo is all over my car) and the most brilliant blog topic pops into my head. Problem is, I can’t do anything with it. And then the thoughts flow, and it’s magical, and perfect. And then when I have a moment to jot it down – poof – gone. Like it never happened. This happens all too often.

Right now I have a quiet moment, so I am going to force this blog to come out. It’s nothing magical like I have in the car, but it’s still worth sharing.

Do you ever feel guilty, or even lazy, when you don’t have a race on the calendar? And then that awkward moment when you run into an athlete or even a friend, and they ask you what race you’re training for, and you respond, “not sure yet!?” Or maybe you give an honest “I’m not” answer, but then begin running wild with thoughts of how they are secretly judging you?

Well, I might be the only one, but I sometimes feel that way.

I feel guilty for not having several races on the yearly calendar. And then I feel lazy. Like I shouldn’t be enjoying the fact I get to sleep in on a Sunday morning.

Ain't this the truth during racing season. But does it have to be this way every weekend?

Ain’t this the truth during racing season!?! But does it have to be this way every weekend? Just a thought…

And I hate when people ask me what my next race is. I know it’s small talk, but I hate the question and when I respond with “I don’t have a race coming up”, I feel like I’m being judged and then feel like I owe them an explanation.

Then I got to thinking. What’s wrong with not always racing?

Seriously. Do we have to race all the time?

Not only is racing exhausting, but wow, it’s expensive, too. And for some, it’s not possible. Life, work, family, etc.

For me, I’m a mom, a wife, a business owner, a coach, and an athlete. That’s a FULL plate. When you add racing to that, something gives. And sadly, it’s usually my wife and mom duties.

If racing is a passion, I believe you should pursue it, but with balance. Be careful. Because the very people who support you in your pursuit, are usually the ones that can be destroyed by it.

My Iroman was rough on Jeff and Cora. I was gone hours on end training. My athlete (who was also training for the same Ironman) and I talked one day about how much fun it is training for a full, but that it’s also very selfish. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good thing to be selfish. We all have needs and desires and we should pursue them, but not all the time. Not every season. Be selfish in specific seasons. That’s when she and I decided that every other year was a good idea for full Ironman training and racing. You’re welcome to adopt our “every other year” plan.

But it’s not just full Ironmans, it’s half Ironmans, too! Half and full marathons as well! It’s the constant pursuit to always better your last effort. It’s almost an addiction. It’s more of a healthy than an unhealthy addiction, but still, be careful. Be balanced.

With the extra time off, I have more energy for tea parties. During my Ironman training, I fell asleep during one.

With the extra time off, I have more energy for tea parties. During my Ironman training, I fell asleep during one. True story. Poor Cora.

I love it when my athletes tell me they’re going to take some time off to recharge, to spend more time with their spouse, or family, etc. While I miss them for the few weeks or months they take off, I appreciate how they are getting their priorities right and taking some time to rest and recharge.

You cannot ‘go, go, go’ without taking some time to rest and recharge.

You know what I notice every time – my athletes come back stronger. They miss it (missing it can teach you to appreciate it more), they are mentally stronger (they have had time to think about things and approach their training and racing from a smarter perspective), and they are more dedicated (they know the specific season they are training and racing for, so they make the most of it without slacking).

It makes sense. And the more I noticed that as a coach, the more I believed it’s importance. Plus, your body will thank you.

You’re not missing out on anything. Stop stressing over the pictures you see on Facebook of all the awesome workouts your friends are doing without you and race results from races you’re not doing. Just enjoy being in a race free season and focusing on things you can do to mentally and physically prepare yourself for when you jump back into your next race season — things like stretching (increased range of motion and decreased chance of injury), strength training (a stronger body is a faster body), eating cleaner (better fuel for improved athletic performance), upgrading bike components (with all the money saved from not racing – hellloo power meter!), getting an updated bike fit (more aero = free speed) working on swim, bike or run form (efficiency = speed), working on your weaknesses, and the list goes on!

I enjoyed IM 70.3 New Orleans. But now it's time to rest, recharge and soon pick another race.

I enjoyed IM 70.3 New Orleans. But now it’s time to rest, recharge and soon pick another race.

So next time someone asks you what your next race is, give a confident answer. Own your answer! Let the guilt and lazy feelings go! You have plans! Besides, who cares what people think? It’s your life, your plans – be proud of it and own it!

So what’s my next race? Great question! “I don’t know!” I say that confidently! 🙂


Half & Full Marathon Training Program

Alamo 180’s Half & Full Marathon Training Program!

Join us as we train for the San Antonio Rock’n’Roll Half & Full Marathon on Dec 6th!

Whether it’s your first or fifth, bring your goals, and let Alamo 180 help you achieve them!

Program Dates: Monday, July 20th – Saturday, Dec 5th.

Program Orientation on Thursday, July 16th @ 7pm (for you to learn about what we offer and meet the coaches!)

Cost: $44/month.

We have trained countless athletes to their FIRST Half & Full finish line, numerous personal bests, and even one Boston Qualifier! We know what we’re doing and would be honored and thrilled to train you!

Open to ALL! Run/Walkers and runners! Level options to accommodate all levels of athletes!

Group Schedule: Tuesdays @ 6:30pm at the Alamo 180 studio, Saturdays @7:00am at the Alamo 180 studio (and once per month, running sections of the race course!)

Run Flyer

Fix a Flat Clinic

FREE clinic put on by Bicycle Heaven!

If you ride your bike praying to God that you never get a flat, this clinic is for you! If you haven’t changed a flat tire in years, this clinic is for you! If you have never ridden a bike, and don’t know the first thing about a tire, this clinic is for you!

Saturday, June 20th at 12:00pm at Bicycle Heaven!

Bring your bike and comfy clothes. We will be outside in the shade changing tires!

Fix a flat clinic

Swim Skills Clinic

Thursday, June 18th: 6:30pm & 7:30pm Pool Clinic learn more

Saturday, June 20th: 7:30am & 8:30am Open Water Swim Clinic learn more 

Swim Skills Clinics! We have TWO – a pool session and an open water swim session! Attend one or both! We suggest attending BOTH clinics, as what you will learn in the pool clinic, will carry over into the open water clinic (but if you miss the pool clinic, don’t let that deter your from attending, and learning valuable information, at the open water clinic!)

About the Clinic Presenter: Linda Walker for an informative and interactive clinic designed to teach you how to swim more efficiently. About Linda:  20+ years coaching experience of all levels including summer league kids, high school athletes, as well as triathletes ranging from beginner to advanced, including All-State qualifiers and Swimming All-Americans.

About the Clinic: Learn drills that will improve your freestyle by correcting body position, as well as hip and torso rotation. Learn how to break down the recovery, catch, and finish of each stroke for a smoother, more efficient and powerful freestyle!

Open to ALL!  Semi-Private. Limited availability. This is not your typical, large class, one-size-fits all, generic instruction. Limited participation to ensure quality of instruction and opportunities for individual attention.

Spot is secured through online registration & payment.