Iron Man Tony Rich
Whether you are thinking about running a half marathon, duathlon or training for your first Iron Man, Coach Tony Rich answers some common questions. In this interview we discuss nutrition, event prep & how to overcome mental plateaus.
FF: Let’s start from the beginning with the usual routine. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your company?
Tony R: I’m the founder and head coach of “EventHorizon” endurance sport ( www.eventhorizon.tv ). Building from the science of self-propelled motion, the company provides a broad range of training and coaching services and programs for endurance events from Masters swimming, cycling, running and of course triathlon.
FF: What got you into Triathlons and how long have you been competing? Which triathlon is your favorite and why?
Tony R: I started in 2003, so that’s 11 years now. I’ve completed hundreds of short and long course endurance events. I enjoyed the lifestyle so much I decided to became a certified coach. Swimming, cycling and running consecutively takes a unique mastery of fitness and racing strategy. First as a self coached athlete and then a coach, I’ve enjoyed the challenge.
I’d say my favorite triathlon would be the Lake Placid Ironman. If you’ve ever had a chance to travel up to the Adirondacks you know how beautiful it is up there. As a competitor or spectator I love Ironman Lake Placid.
FF: What do you think about when you are in an important event?
Tony R: I have something called the 4 C’s that guides my psychology in any event. I teach it to every client I work with. Composure, Confidence, Commitment, and Concentration. The composure and the confidence to know that you’ve done all of the hard work to get you to the event, and you’re ready. You have a race execution plan and you’re committed to executing that plan, and you’re concentrating on that plan from the horn to the finish.
FF: One thing I really respect about you is the fact that you are approachable and modest. Do you have many people ask you about training or even weight loss? How have you managed to achieve humility?
Tony R: Yes, I am asked questions all of the time about racing, fitness, nutrition and weight loss. There is an old saying that keeps me grounded and it is, “to a hammer, all of your problems look like nails.” That is to say that the solution to a problem is often biased by the expertise of the problem solver. I make sure I question myself on whether or not I’m the hammer looking at a nail. While I try to help people, I keep in the back of my mind there are potentially many ways to solve a problem.
FF: Let’s get to business – what’s something you consistently see people doing wrong in preparing for a competition?
Tony R: I would say letting their emotions get the best of them. I’ve found that with training for endurance events there are three motivators here that I simplify to greed, fear and herd instinct. Greed causes athletes to overestimate and overachieve their ability. Fear causes them to understate their ability. Finally herd mentality causes athletes to copy or mimic what other athletes are doing, or value social influence more than training consistency.
Iron Man Tony Rich
FF: Do you believe a large percentage of your performance is based on nutrition? Please digress on what are the main points that people are missing with regards to their nutrition?
Tony R: Absolutely! In fact with endurance events, the economy (performance) of any body improves the higher the power-to-weight ratio. So how well you perform on race day largely depends on whether or not you can show up with the right body composition. Good nutrition is a big part of this throughout the training process. Instead of “eating to train” some “train to eat.” In other words they feel that because their burning so much calories in their training, that gives them the license to spurge on so called “comfort” food which is not always the healthiest. You cannot out train bad nutrition.
During a race, race nutrition is important. For instance an Ironman competitor can burn 10,000 to 17,000 calories in one event. Needless to say the nutrients needed to be put back during that event to keep the body going are critical. People either tend to over consume or under consume here. Both can lead to very problematic performance in a race.
FF: How have you been able to overcome physical and mental plateaus? What is your source of inspiration?
Tony R: This is when I come back to the 4 pillars in which my approach is built. Confidence, Composure, Commitment and Concentration. This has never ever failed me. The consistent athlete is rewarded. I also try to find something that inspires me. For me, it is the people. The people that I try to help through coaching and charity that count on me, and care about me. I want to set a good example.
FF: What is the funniest thing you have seen at an event?
Tony R: Wow that’s tough because if you’ve done enough events you’ve seen so many that compete for the top. My own personal funniest experience was when I finished the swim in a triathlon and got out of the water to transition. The male and female change tent are right beside each other and, oops, I ran into the wrong one. Ha! I got a good laugh out of that one.
FF: Last question – if you could only give people one piece of advice to help them achieve their goals, what might that be?
Tony R: If I could give one piece of advice it would to remain consistent. From race training, nutrition, weight loss or whatever the goal. Remain consistent and you will eventually be rewarded.
Thank you, Coach Tony for your time and for sharing your expertise! For more information regarding Tony Rich’s services visit www.eventhorizon.tv