Testimonials: April 2010 Edition

It’s time again for the monthly review, where we hear from our atheltes about what makes Endurance Nation work for them. Reading the excerpts below, it strikes me how each person has found a different type of value in our team coaching approach. From 24/7 online support to real-world training plans to race day execution guidance, there’s something for everyone. If you’d like to explore Endurance Nation further, please consider signing up for our WaitList: you’ll either get a slot or a great discount on one of our renown training plans.

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“5:16 at Oceanside — an 11 minute PR even though I was a bit sick.  I’m now in CDA and will be getting your 12 week plan, thanks!”

— Marc Feldman

“I had been doing HIM for several years, just winging it on training. Lots of LSD biking and running, and disappointed that as I aged I was getting slower every year ( I was in my 30’s). I had no problem getting out the door to exercise, but I never had a plan.

Folks I had met were starting a local tri club and there I met one of the resident den mothers of EN, Linda Patch. She talked briefly about EN. I was intrigued. When a local iron distance race announced it’s debut event later that year (2008), I decided to go for it. I was terrified and wanted a coach. It was already April. I contacted a well known local coach, he charged $$$$$$$$. The response was that his roster was full and he would not take me on. So I checked into and signed on with EN. Best decision I ever made! Not only did the plan get me ready for the race, but it made me FASTER! (It’s all relative- I’m still slower than many, but I am as fast as I was 20 years ago in college).

I am a faster cyclist and runner. My swimming is very steady- again ROI. I have not lost any time/ speed despite not being in the pool for 1 year or swimming open water since 8/09.
This is my 2nd OS and 3rd race season with EN. Best dollar value anywhere. Everyday I thank my lucky stars that the $$$ coach was unavailable.”

— Michelle

“I was a closet ENer. . . While deployed to Djibouti a friend of mine convinced me to sign up for Cali 70.3® and as I was leaving Ralph Butler who was in the haus relieved me as the general surgeon at the Navy’s Expeditionary Medical Facility on the Horn of Africa. He told me about EN, and encouraged me to check out Jack Daniel’s book. I got my hands on every free resource from EN, came home in December and bought a bike and trained quasi EN for Oceanside. As a big guy (around 200 pounds) and slow runner (vDot around 40) I did Oceanside in 5:44 with pretty good execution. But I had plenty of room for imrovement.

Last fall I tried to get into the Haus and failed but purchased a training plan that allowed me to join EN around the end of November. I did about 9 weeks of the Outseason with the October group, 5-6 weeks of a HIM plan with no problems increasing the volume and was able to shave 22′ off of my previous time for the Cali 70.3.  I shaved 9 minutes off of the bike for a 2:47 bike split – on a windy day and was also able to improve my run time by 10′ to a 1:56. i also saved myself 1 minute on the swim and 1 minute on T1.

After the race I hooked up with fellow ENers – Brian Massey, Peter Carroll, David Ambrose, Matt Ancona and Coach Rich – and had some great beer and pizza.  Via the forums I also had the chance to hook up with Jeff Hansen  last weekend who was visiting from Illinois  for a conference and take him on one of my favorite rides in east San Diego county up Laguna Mountain.

I am now in the midst of preparing for my first IM distance event and enjoying the resources offered by EN.  As a fairly busy surgeon and father of three young children I appreciate the real world perspective of good time management, balance and return on investment that EN promotes ( I went from no swimming in the OS to 9000m a week with little difficulty).  I watch some of my friends who continue to train more than 20 hours a week (for a HIM) to qualify for Kona (and miss a spot by 2-3′) and wonder how they would do with a focused intense outseason and a more intelligent approach to race prep.

Thanks Rich and Patrick!”

— Tom Nelson

“I’ve been doing tris for five or so years, and last year did my first HIM. I struggled with training because I seemed to race better when I trained hard first and then added on distance, but almost all conventional triathlon wisdom says you put in a ton of time at a low effort. So, of course, I just winged it my way. And while I had a PR on the bike, I knew that I needed a “real” training plan that would put it all together for me, especially after I signed up for IMOO 2010 (my first IM). I also did not want to be doing ridiculous amounts of training. 25+ hours a week? Please. I would like to have a life outside work and triathlon.

After some furious Googling, I came across the EN open house. EN gives you the plan, and you execute it. But even better, EN also gives you the tools and knowledge to make adjustments based on the fact that things happen in life, and you have to adjust. And RnP are constantly making adjustments and trying to make the plan better. This isn’t your basic, here’s the plan, it’s worked for lots of people, do it and it will work for you. RnP are always listening to the ENers, and I think that’s a huge benefit to being in the haus. As for adding to your tri knowledge, there is always RnP and the rest of EN to help you out when you need it. I’m not a huge poster, but I love that when I do have a question, whether for RnP or for my fellow ENers, I know that I’m going to get an answer, or multiple answers, that I can rely on. The knowledge of this group is incredible, and unlike most other triathlon forums, there’s no sifting through to find the one or two logical answers.

Overall, I can’t recommend EN enough. This past winter, I had the choice to either upgrade my road bike to a tri bike or join EN. After really researching EN during my trial I gambled that joining EN would improve my race more than a new tri bike. I can honestly say after finishing only half the OS, joining EN was obviously the best choice. I’ve already make huge improvements in my bike and run, and that’s even after I had to take a month off for an injury. Add that to the knowledge that I get from my fellow ENers and it’s no contest this was the smart decision. I’d highly recommend joining the haus!”

— Jennifer Burbatt

“I’m also an aspiring Iron Woman… and new EN’er (joined in December).  I’m relatively new to the world of triathlon, too – having only 1 full season (after my first sprint and OLY in 2008) under my belt.  In the 2009 season I did a few OLYs and a HIM and had a pretty good run of it – improving to above the middle of the pack – and that was just winging it while training for a fall marathon.  I am hooked and tris and knew I needed to find the right/smart way to train to improve.

I signed up for my first IM (Florida in November) and knew I’d need a plan.  I asked a fellow DC Tri clubber and friend, who, BTW, had a fabulous season placing in 5 of her 6 races, what plan she followed for her first HIM last year (I did my first last year, but sort of winged it with a charity group, tweaking the program because I didn’t think it was spot on).  She told me about EN… I checked out the web page and bought 2 plans – the OS and the IM.  She encouraged me to join – for the info and the accountability but I resisted at first – because discipline has never been a problem for me; I knew I’d do the work on my own.

Anyway, in December the House had a membership sale and I figured what the heck… I’d had a bad bike crash in late August and lost some mojo and figured the support would do me some good – I’m not gonna pay and then not get my  money’s worth!    It was without a doubt the right decision!  I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of information on the webpage – not only the published plans and data but various forums with the EN team members weighing in on what works/doesn’t work.  I’ve also been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and encouragement…. I’ve never met any of my fellow January OS’ers (outseason training group) but I feel like they’re my close friends and workout partners.  When I’m dragging or having a bad day I log in and post a note and before I know it I’ve got 5 responses and my mojo is back… when I’m suffering through a workout I know that I need to get through it so I can post my results (to the cheers of my teammates).  There is something to be said for accountability… and in the House it’s a situation of all boats rise together… when one of my teammates has a great race or bumps up her VDot on a test it’s so motivating for the rest of us – we all share in each other’s success!

I’m really glad I signed up.  I’m still in OS now and it’s kicking my butt (and I’m loving it).  I’ll be transitioning to a HIM plan soon for a race in June, then doing general prep before the IM.  I am very glad that I have my teammates and the coaches (who have threads for Q&A) to lean on and ask questions – so many of these folks have been there and gone through it… and never make me feel silly for asking questions.  It’s been such a great experience for me!

— Becky Hirselj

“After squeaking through two 70.3s in 2009 without any coaching and then registering for Lake Placid 2010 I knew I would need coaching and guidance if I was going to pull off a full IM. I had been invited to an EN webinar months earlier and what Rich and Patrick said made a lot of sense. I read all I could on the EN blog and from their Free Resources as well as listening to the podcasts and I knew that I could not do an IM any other way than using the EN approach. I quickly purchased the OS plan and then became a full member shortly thereafter. The OS works, my FTP is up 27% from the start of the OS to week 14 tests. Rich and Patrick are incredibly smart about training for and racing long course triathlons, and moreover the help and camaraderie you get from the other EN members is really the icing on the cake.

EN has given me the confidence to know what I’ll be going up against on race day in addition to the tools to execute my best possible ironman.”

— Cary Blanco

“I am a first time IMer and ENer.  I found myself registered for Lake Placid with that ‘oh crap now what’ feeling.  I heard about EN from a friend on the team.  I figured since I had no plan to get me through this race that I would give it a try.  I got so much more than I bargained for.  For a newbie like me (a few sprints and one HIM under my belt) there is so much knowledge to glean from the members here, not to mention the coaches.  I’m not really a ‘joiner’ or ‘team’ person, but this seems to be the best combination of interaction, the forum, coaches hours are here if you want or you can just get your plan and go to work.  Serioulsy the best $ I have spent in prep for IMLP, which I plan to crush because of the support of EN!”

— Carly Costanza

“I came to Endurance Nation after Rich’s race execution strategies helped me erase years of frustration at Ironman. If you are early into IM or HIM training and racing, the race execution strategies and practical knowledge here is worth the price of admission many times over, and is probably more valuable to a triathlete with less than 5 years of experience than ANY training plan or piece of equipment you can buy.”

— Al Truscott

“I came to EN just after completing my first IM in 2007 at Lake Placid.  I had trained by myself using a plan from an old magazine and advice from Slowtwitch.  My goal was to get faster/race better as I ended up walking what felt like the entire second lap of the marathon, was registered for 2008 and wanted to do better.  I was not really motivated by any real time goal just thought that it could be done “better”.  While I certainly raced faster and “better” the folling year [took 50 minutes off the prior year and ran the whole thing] what I got from being apart of the Nation was much much more.  Although spread out across the country and the world, all of us were essentially doing the same workouts and posting about them in the forum.  It did not matter than many of us had never met, it was like being part of a real team.

It helped so much with motivation and accountability to know that there were others out there doing the same thing even though I was often up way too early running alone in the dark.  Also, made it much more fun.  When the team [or a small part of it anyway] gets together the Thursday night before an IM for the team dinner it is like meeting hanging out with old friends.  All weekend at the races, team EN and support crew are everywhere as are the Coaches.  As the Nation grows it just becomes more fun.  See you at the races…”

— Chris Gleason

“I think I first came across EN through Slowtwich.com.  I may have been reading a thread and what was being said about EN was making some sense.  I checked the website to find out that they were having a promotional free month trial with an option to join if there was room.  With nothing to loose I tried it.  Well, to be honest, EN has the most sensible, down-to-Earth explanations, reasoning, and time saving plans I’ve ever come across… there is no time wasted, everything here just gets down to business to give you the best bang for your buck so to speak with training.  It has also been a pleasure to be a part of a forum where people truly try to help, not simply make fun of you.

I’ve never seen a coaching site where 400+ athletes have unlimited access to their coaches.  Just ask a question or make a comment in the forums in regards to them and they get back to you.  Very user friendly, giving you all the resources possible to become your own best coach.  Absolutely perfect for the age group athlete with no time (I have a full-time job, with 3 children under the age of 6 and the plans are doable).  I am very happy, and comfortable here.  Thanks EN.

— Dan Forbes

“Easy to join for me, since I knew Pat already. Being a busy age grouper, though, I wanted a network to answer my questions and just tell me what I needed to know. However, I didn’t want to feel like I invested in such a personal coach that any day of training I missed for life things, I felt like I let the coach down. EN gives you personal attention without smothering you.”

— Clinton Fletcher

“I too, am a first time Ironman® in training, and ENer. I came across EN on traithlete websites, or googling. I have done many sprints, a couple of Oly’s, and 2 half-Irons. (The halfs killed me on the bike, thus nothing left for the run!!) I couldn’t afford the one on one coaching with the ‘other coaches’, and liked the idea of the ‘team’ concept and open-ness of the team, via forums, access to coaches, etc. Aditionally, the podcasts, Wiki, and everything else RnP offer, were too attractive and smart to ignore! I joined in October on the free month basis, and haven’t left since! So many of the people in here, I have only met via cyberspace. However, some of the women with whom I converse in the women’s forum, feel like I’ve known them for years! It is nice to have others with whom you can share your experiences, ask (stoopid) questions, and no one laughs at your questions. There is such a wealth of knowledge everywhere, it is amazing! And Rich and Patrick are hands down, the best at what they do, in my humble opinion!

And I appreciate being able to still have a life, while training my tail off!  I cannot wait to meet them and members of the Haus, in person! I think it will feel like a reunion!

Assuming I enjoy my Louisville in August, I intend to continue being a member of EN for a while to come.”

— Barbara Spitler

“First time ENer and IMer!  Joined EN to learn how to execute a long course race.  In all my previous HIM’s, I raced my legs off and died on the run….ALWAYS!  So, when I saw race execution on your website, I was compelled to check it out.  I joined in Oct of 09 and have learned so much from the coaches and all the other members from bike gearing to racing with power to being able to manage doeable training plans.  I love the EN philosophy of ROI= Return on Investment in everything we do from training smart, racing smart and buying gear smart!  And I need ROI because I am a mom of 5 with lots of life to live outside of triathlon.  The experience thus far has been worth every penny and so much more.  Thanks EN!”

— Kathy Nelson

“How many people get to train for their first IM, knowing they get to race with 17 other amazing ladies, and the impressive NIL (and beyond) Sleeper Cell support crew? And mention a coach in a pink speedo? I do!

Simply said, this place is amazing. I can ask any question and get intelligent, thoughtful answers from a number of perspectives. Because sometimes you need to hear Coach Rich, sometimes Patrick, and sometimes Linda and Nemo. One of my favorite things that happened here was John Stark conducting science experiments to find out how well the then new Garmen 310xt paired with a powertap because no one — not Saris, or Garmin, or any forum, had any insight on how these two things worked together.

This place is amazing at cheerleading squad, too. For being a virtual team, I saw teammates at every race I did last year — from Girls on the Run 5k to Steelhead, EN starred kits and spectator shirts were everywhere.

This place also has great book and food recommendations. And lots of cute pictures of dogs.”

“I came to EN in October.  I am training for my second IM but basically starting over as I have been out of the sport for 3 years and coming back off a broken leg.
Last time I did the long slow distance training and it did work out for me sort of.  I over trained, was tired and injured myself working up to a 1/2 marathon.  So I got a long run of 6 miles for my IM in 2004.  I completed the race in 16:09:03, very long and very slow.

The EN philosophy appleaded to be to build the fast then go far.  In 20 week I have build up good cycling speed and combined that with good running gains.  A couple of the best aspect for me is that as mentioned you are on a plan that many others are doing.  The out season motivation was great.  Additionally the coaches and other members are responsive to quesitons no matter what you ask.  Finally in the short time I have been here Coach Rich and Coach Patrick have updated, added and continue to evolved EN based on needs of the group.”

“Quickly, I just wanted to thank EN tonight was the first night I broke an 8 minute mile for 6 miles in about 5 years. I used to be an okay runner, then my family started to grow and running just wasn’t my thing. I missed it, so started again. As a result, I’ve had 2 knee surgeries and the last one (microfracture) was major in the sense I have no articular cartilage left. I trained for an IM last year with the LSD in everything, and guess what, the race was long and slow. I joined EN during a trial period around xmas but could’t swing it then. I kept doing their workouts that I had for a 6 week cycle and just added a little distance and pace every 4-6 weeks. I’ve only been running maybe 1.5x/week and my vdot has gone from 37? to 46. Since I tested almost 2 weeks ago, I find that I can almost hold my vdot pace for 10k, not just 5k. I feel like my time has been well spent, and it has!! I may limp a lot, but my body has figured out how to run by adopting “Work is speed entering the body”. I love that I can almost run again! Best training advice I’ve ever heard.”

— Dan

“Wanted to thank you for drastically changing my IM training racing. I bought the 12 week advanced IM plan last fall and have had a chance to see (and prove) the improvements your plan offers. By going harder (but shorter) training has become fun again. I just won my age group in IM New Orleans 70.3® (40-44) and will be doing St. George this weekend. looking forward to hearing your pointers at the expo.”

— Scott Shaffer
Team Monkee Do

“Summary of my only two triathlons (both 70.3) and the training protocols for each.

Rhode Island 70.3® 2009
traditional approach (base building, then some speed and distance)
avg 15-18 hrs./wk for 20 weeks
5:25 finish time

New Orleans 70.3® 2010
EN training (16 weeks of OS; 4 weeks of HIM plan)
avg 7-9.5 hrs./wk for 20 weeks
5:01 and I think I actually had 4:45 in my legs if I had better swim and bike conditions. There is no more volume elephant in MY room!  EN rocks!!!”

“Some feedback on Ironman® South Africa.  Last year I was pretty well prepared and did 12h50 in my first Ironman® South Africa.

This year followed your 12 week intermediate Ironman® program as well as life allowed.  On the race also followed your calorie intake advice to the letter.

Improved swim in difficult conditions by 7 minutes.  Total transitions (T1 and T2, following your less friction advice) 06min30 (3min50 T1, 2min35 T2).  Bike did my “should” rather than “could” split and came in at comfortable 06h00.  (10 minutes improvement on last year).  Used all your run advice and pacing and did a great 04h25 marathon with negative split on last 10km!  Ran last 8km at marathon pace!  (30 minute improvement on last year)

So total time 11h49, broke the sub 12 barrier, and improved my standing in field from 47% last year to 28% this year.

I can honestly say all credit must go to Endurance Nation for your training program and Four Keys DVD.  That was the only thing that changed from last year to this.  Being a typical triathlete I already had all the gear!

It is also clear that distance is no issue with your internet based approach, here I am in South Africa and training just as well as if I am based in the States.  I suspect you are going to add a few more customers from South Africa as all my friends were amazed with my race and wanted to hear how I did it.  Now my goal will be to use your programs to improve my half Ironman® times to 05h15-05h30 and then once that is achieved have a go at Ironman® again.

Best regards and thanks again!”

— Pieter du Plessis

“Well, I did it. I ran 39:18 on Sunday. I didn’t do anything all that special in training. I ran 4×1 at race pace a couple times, and otherwise pretty much tried to follow the General Prep program while fitting in the various races I did. I PR’ed in the 10 miler a couple weeks ago, and did an Oly last weekend. (That was ugly, though. My run time was about 45 min. after a very slow bike.) The one special thing I did was buy racing flats for the first time.

The race went well despite everything working against me. I had massive stomach aches all of the night before and all day after the race, but it let up during the race. I did a hard 3 hour bike ride the day before, so there was absolutely no taper. I programmed by Garmin to pace me with Virtual Partner to exactly 40:00. It’s been acting up recently, though, and I’m not sure whether I misprogrammed it or if it’s totally broken, but after I hit the lap button at the one-mile mark, it said “Workout Complete!” So I did the rest of the race without it, which was great in retrospect. Although each mile marker had a clock, I didn’t have any other feedback so I ran by feel. I know that if the Garmin had kept working I would have run exactly 39:59, so I’m glad that I was able to let it out and beat my goal by a full 42 seconds. Each 5k half was actually a 5k PR as well. The best thing is I blew past my dad’s 39:39 he ran when he was my age.”

— Keith Buell @ Pikes Peak 10k in MD

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Coach P

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