The Next Level Newsletter - April, 2016                       Volume XIII, Issue III


Dear Marty,  

We hope you are feeling great about another season of training and racing! Our feature article this month is about mental toughness, an aspect of sports training we all need to spend some time on now and then.



Summer 2016 Kids Triathlon Training Group: June 19-August 28

We're teaming up with Coach Brooks Doughtie of All Out Multisport to offer a summertime Kids Triathlon training group!  The program, for ages 7-14, will kick off in June, 2016 and run for ten weeks, leading up to a late August kids triathlon in the Raleigh area. We'll have two coach-led practices per week.  Please read more about the OSB Kids Triathlon training group here.



Open Water Season is kicking off! April 16

One Step Beyond offers several open water clinics through the spring and summer at Jordan Lake or Harris Lake.  Each clinic includes lectures on open water venues/conditions and on swim training structure; demonstration and then practice of open water skills such as sighting, drafting, turns, starts, and dealing with crowds; and a monitored 250m open water swim (or two). We work to ensure that each participant is well prepared for their future open water races. Each clinic is certified for 3 CEUs with USA Triathlon coaches.


You can read more and enroll here:

2016 open water clinic dates:

April 16

May 15

June 11

July 10

August 20


Open water swim practices:

We also offer ten 1-hour open water practices throughout the spring and summer.  These are weekday evening sessions meant to be used as training for our athletes and the swim community at large. The first practice is scheduled for Wednesday, April 20.  Please follow this link for OSB open water practice details.


Mental toughness article                                     


I have written a couple articles about mental toughness before, but it's always good to revisit the subject with some more life and coaching experience under my belt.


Mental toughness is a big subject. It encompasses everything about your mind that can have an influence on how you excel in sport and in life. That's a lot of mind-stuff. How you react to the unexpected; how you deal with competitive egos in your face; how you look at yourself first thing in the morning; how you process information about the world and make sense of it in the brainy goop that we call ourselves.  


Serious stuff!  But when you talk about mental toughness you can't just limit it to sports. Mentally tough people = mentally tough people regardless of the field of their pursuit. I haven't read a bunch on the subject lately, so here's a relatively unfiltered list of what constitutes mental toughness from my perspective as a full time coach and trainer, husband and father, with a twenty-two year old BS in Psychology. 


Approach new situations with a flexible mind and recognition of your own preconceptions. Boom. You know you don't know everything, so you can't really be surprised.  


Roll with the unexpected. If you're giving a presentation and the lights go out, you move the party to the local McDonald's and continue onward. Stuff happens, everyone knows it. But how you react to it is what counts. If you're racing a triathlon and get a flat tire, you don't throw a fit and break your bike in half - you change it. Even if it takes you thirty minutes. Don't give up.


Remain centered and focused. Other competitive types may try to throw you off with gamesmanship. It's part of the competitive world and you may do it to, consciously or not. Don't let a competitor bait you into unwise moves ruled by emotion. As far as mental toughness within competition goes, you need to know your strengths and play to them, not to someone else's tune. Stay on task with your goal whenever anything pr anyone tries to interfere.


Defeat isn't the end for you. You have lost before. You'll lose again. Your ability to absorb these and move onwards with your race; career; life is what counts. Michael Jordan has a quote about missing 9,000 free throws or something like that. You get the point.


Believe in yourself. An ability to recognize where your talents lie, with a somewhat realistic assessment of how talented you are. Really knowing that you're good at something is empowering, and will generally help you become even better as you believe in your ability, in that skill and other things. None of us is good at everything but we're all great at something. Recognize this.


Deal with the discomfort. Almost everyone is in pain in the last few miles of a marathon, or gets tired at some point in an Ironman. The front of the pack often separates not on their physical ability, but their mental ability to deal with temporary physical states (like pain, or fatigue). With a strong mind you can overcome. 


Channel your inner Wolverine. A friend gave me this one. :) He's angry, he's got claws, and he heals very, very quickly. Sometimes you just gotta break out a little Wolvie.


Crap rolls down hill. It also rolls over you. Anyone in the business world knows that one. As an athlete you will also experience your share of crap. Crappy workouts. Crappy days. Crappy equipment. Crappy training partners. Crappy races. My goodness, the world is full of crap. But you're teflon, baby. Let it roll on down. Move on to that hill over yonder.


When things go wrong, keep moving on. "Don't give up" is a powerful and simple statement. What other options do you have? Is there another way? Is there any way? What do you have to do to make things go your way? Find it. Do it. This is the mental toughness that carries people through situations where weaker minds crumble. 


Things aren't always your fault. Mentally tough people also tend to be drivers and doers with a predisposition to strong internal locus of control. That's a funny way of saying that it's easy to start to think you can make things happen by just doing your best. Some things are just out of your control and there is nothing you can do to change that. Sometimes there is a competitor out there with a better idea; a higher V02max, or slightly better taper coming into his A-race. See the two rules above and move on.


Mental toughness can be learned via good thought habits and self monitoring. The easiest way to start the process to becoming mentally tougher is to tell yourself it's going to be a good day when you wake up. And then don't let anyone or anything take that good day away from you. Do that every day for a few years and you've got it.


There is more to the overall idea, but I hope this gets you going. 


Marty Gaal, NSCA CSCS, is a USA Triathlon coach. He has been working with endurance athletes since 2002 and is the co-founder of One Step Beyond. He enjoys mental toughness in the morning with a nice cup of coffee.




Kathy Larkin runs the Cherry Blossom 10 miler!


Joanne Piscitelli 2nd AG at Hagan Stone Duathlon 

Tanner Lovelace PR at Wrightsville Beach Half-marathon

Jenni Barker 32nd AG at Wrightsville Beach Half-marathon

Angie McDonald 3rd AG at Sampson County Super Sprint


Marian Bergdolt 1st AG at the Florence Forth 10k

Leslie Hack runs the Bill Fortune Memorial 10k

Jenni Barker 1st AG at Azalea Sprint Triathlon

Tanner Lovelace 13th AG at Azalea Sprint Triathlon

Scott Cunningham PR at Tobacco Road half-marathon

Jason Schneider 37th AG at Tobacco Road half-marathon

Laurie O'Connor 2nd AG at Tobacco Road half-marathon

Frank Rexford 29th AG at Tobacco Road half-marathon

Paul Amisano PR at Tobacco Road half-marathon

Angie Amisano on goal time at Tobacco Road half-marathon

Rob Moreira 24th AG at Tobacco Road half-marathon

Coach Bri 10th AG at Tobacco Road half-marathon


Kathy Larkin 13th AG at the DC St Patty 10k 

Coach Marty 23rd OA at the Umstead trail marathon 


OSB coaching programscoaching


One Step Beyond offers customized individual endurance training programs to triathletes, runners, and swimmers throughout the year.  Our most popular ongoing program is called Basic Steps coaching.


If you want a great schedule but don't feel the need for extensive interaction during the training cycle, this is the plan for you. Our coaches will create a professional training plan designed around your specific goals and constraints, with adjustments along the way as needed. Your coach will be available to you via email or text, which we check and respond to Monday thru Friday.


The initial interview is conducted by phone, and all ongoing coaching is accomplished through Training Peaks software and email support. You will receive:


- Annual Training Plan

- A weekly schedule with specific daily workouts  

- Group training sessions
- Ongoing email support for all questions (client initiated)
- Race day pacing and nutrition advice
- Necessary adjustments of your schedule
- Regular feedback from your coach
- 20% discount on additional personal training and consulting sessions
- A Trainingpeaks training account


Powerstroke: Speed through force and form DVD powerstrokedvd


Powerstroke® is Coach Marty Gaal's method for teaching competitive freestyle swimming technique to adult triathletes and open water racers. The Powerstroke® DVD was specifically developed for adult swimmers looking to improve their swim speed in triathlon, open water racing, and distance pool events.


Powerstroke DVD


Powerstroke® is:

  • A concept designed to teach the integral relationship between good form and the application of force when swimming
  • A specific drill you can include in your daily workouts
  • A stroke form that will help you torpedo your way to a PR finish
  • A way of swimming

The Powerstroke®: Speed through force and form DVD includes:

  • 40 minute lecture: What is Powerstroke?
  • 25 minute general freestyle swim technique analysis: The three types of freestyle stroke mechanics and how to progress to the strongest: High elbow catch / early vertical forearm
  • 25 minute Powerstroke freestyle swimming technique in-depth explanation
  • 1 hour of seven key drills and detailed descriptions
  • 4 minute stretching and dryland exercise video

Purchase your copy here!



OSB premade training programs are for athletes who would like to follow a well made training plan, but don't require ongoing coaching. These plans can be set so they can end on the day of your A race and include a free TrainingPeaks account.

One Step Beyond currently offers:

Intermediate 16 week Half-Ironman 70.3 Triathlon Training Plan - $79.99

Intermediate 16 week Olympic distance triathlon training plan - $69.95
Intermediate 10 week Olympic distance triathlon training plan - $59.95

Beginner 16 week Olympic distance triathlon training plan - $69.95

Beginner 10 week Olympic distance triathlon training plan - 49.95

Intermediate 10 week sprint triathlon training plan - $59.95
Beginner 16 week sprint triathlon triathlon training plan - $69.95

Beginner 10k run in 10 weeks training program - $44.99


You can review and purchase any of our plans, hosted on the TrainingPeaks platform here.


Swim workout of the monthswimworkouts


This month's swim workout is a threshold challenge set.  


Warm up (900):

300 easy

6 x 50 odds kick, evens drill :10

6 x 50 descend 1-3, 4-6 on :15


Main set (2000-3000):

2 or 3 x through:

6 x 100 descend 1-3 and 4-6 so 3 and 6 are fast/95% effort on :10-15

1 x 400 tempo to threshold (80-95%), optional paddles. Build into the first 100 if you need more recovery.  Rest 1 minute then start again.


Cool down (400):

6 x 50 stroke work or drill choice :10

1 x 100 kick


Total 3,300 to 4,300


You can check out workouts like these with the Titans-OSB Masters swim team in Cary, NC!


Our Sponsorssponsors



Thanks to the following organizations, that provide service and support to One Step Beyond athletes.






Marty, Bri, and Daniel
One Step Beyond 





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One Step Beyond, PO Box 4622, Cary, NC 27519



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