Meet new Team MPI Coach David Bauerle, a USAT Level 1 Coach based in the Dallas, Texas area! He's been a triathlete for 12 years and has completed two Ironmans (Florida & Arizona), seven halves, countless sprints and Olympics, and a number of marathons. He's an electronics engineer who designs the cameras used in law enforcement and like many, he has an affinity for data and numbers. He is naturally drawn to the research and science side of training and race nutrition and has a knack for explaining things in understandable ways.
Coach David has been working with local tri clubs for many years, has coached a number of athletes informally, and is now offering his coaching expertise through Team MPI. He was drawn to Team MPI because of the mentor-based coaching program and collaborative knowledge sharing among our coaches.
One athlete who can attest to his skills as a coach is his wife Dawn, a self described "type-A with a capital A type personality" with a hunger for competition!
Of Coach David she said, "He lets me be me, and has the patience of Job!" Over the past six months that he has been formally coaching her, she has seen her times improve dramatically across all three disciplines. Recently, this grand-master athlete was the top overall female in a 62-mile bike race. With an improved race nutrition strategy developed by Coach David, she's been on the age group podium in every race this year. He keeps a close eye on athlete metrics and makes adjustments to be sure that they are absorbing the training and not overtraining.
Coach David was a competitive distance runner in high school and continued recreationally through college at Texas A&M. Like many of us in adulthood, his fitness lapsed, and by 2003 he hit 250 lbs. That prompted a return to running, which led to marathons, and then to triathlon in 2005. He suffered an almost complete tear of his plantar fascia which kept him from running for nine months, but came back from that injury to race healthy again.
We asked him a few follow-up questions:
You work quite a bit with power data - on the bike and also on the run. How does power work on the run, do you expect it to be used increasingly, and what can it tell us?
While power meters on the bike and run are not necessary for you to achieve your athletic goals, they can provide a valuable metric to develop precise workouts, monitor progress, and prevent over training. Power meters allow the coach to more precisely monitor and apply the proper training stress on an athlete without providing to much stress, which results in injuries. Power meters for bikes have been around for many years and are used extensively. Power meters for running are very new and are available in chest strap, foot pod, or insole forms. I have been personally using a run power meter for about 6 months. Typical run training methods base training zones on either pace or heart rate. The problem is heart rate varies from day to day based on heat, rest, and even psychological stress. Pace works well, but is affected by hills, wind, and rain. Power is "pure", it measures the work load (stress) on your body independent of external factors. The amount of stress on your body from a workout, when measured by power, is the same no mater external conditions. I believe the use of run power meters will increase quickly in the next few years. My experience shows that the accuracy is good and the data provided will help coaches and athletes achieve top performance while lowering the chance of injury.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people make when using power to train?
Focusing ONLY on power is a common mistake for people new to training with power. While power is a good metric, it is not the only one that is important. Coaches must still monitor heart rate, pace(speed), and perceived effort. Using all of the various data available, as well as feedback from the athlete, provides a total picture of the athletes status.
You've described your approach to training and coaching as "Persistently consistent." What does that mean?
Dr. Billy Walker, my former running coach, uses this phrase and I think it sums up what leads to success. Consistency in training is the most important attribute to being a successful athlete, no matter what your goal. All of us have a limited amount of time to train, some more than others. By discussing with your coach how many hours you can realistically train, your coach can provide specific workouts to maximize your training within that time. If you consistently implement your training plan, you can reach your goals. All of us miss a workout here and there, but by minimizing missed workouts you improve your ability to achieve your best performance. For example, if you have a 2 hour bike ride scheduled but something comes up to prevent you from doing this workout, try to at least get some amount of biking workout completed. For instance, later in the day get on the bike trainer for an hour. A shortened workout is better than a skipped workout. The "persistent" means that consistency over the long hall is also important. As we all know triathlon is an endurance sport no matter what distance you race. It takes a long time for you body to adapt to the training load. So if you are training consistently one month but then train inconsistently the next month, you will lose some of what you gained from the first month.
What is your approach to developing a nutrition strategy for an athlete?
Nutrition is often overlooked or minimized by athletes, however, it is critical to athletic success, especially in long course racing. The difficult thing about nutrition is what works for one athlete does not always work for another. When I work with an athlete, I start early in the season to trying different nutritional ideas. There are three parts to race nutrition: nutrition on the days before the race, race morning nutrition, and during the race nutrition. First we work together to find what types of nutrition the athlete likes (solid food, gels, drinks, etc.), because if the athlete does not like the taste of the nutrition, they will not be willing to consume the proper amount, especially on the back side of a long race.
Next I estimate the amount of carbohydrates needed by the athlete based on weight and the amount of electrolytes needed based on sweat rate. Together we develop a plan on how much and how often to take the nutrition during the race, how much to eat race morning, and what and when to eat the day before the race. I then have the athlete practice this race nutrition on longer weekend workouts and "B" races. This is an iterative process, for any given athlete, it can take several weeks or several months to determine the amount and type of calories that achieve maximum performance .
What is a favorite race memory, or a particular challenge that you have faced and overcome in a race?
My most memorable challenge during a race was during my first Ironman. I messed up my nutrition in a big way. I ate too much and too late the night before and then I tried to take in too much and the wrong kinds of nutrition during the bike. At about 90 miles into the bike, my stomach started doing flip flops. When I got to T2 I spent about 10 minutes the the porta-potty. It was not pretty. I felt ok at the start of the run, but soon after it hit again. Needless to say, it was a long day. This was a wake-up call for me on the importance of having a proper nutrition plan and sticking to it.
Anything else you would like to share?
I am glad to be part of Team MPI and look forward to helping athletes achieve their goals and fulfill their dreams.
Coach David has openings for new athletes - from beginners to seasoned competitors. Contact him at david@teamMPI.com.