An Introduction: Strength Coach, Patrick Warnholtz
August 3, 2016
Strength Training for Endurance Sports
July 30, 2015
Breathing. The Forgotten Piece of Endurance Training
January 16, 2017
Tomorrow is the day! Olympic Dreams
September 10, 2016
This Sunday, Allysa Seely is going to be competing in the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. As the reigning World Champion in Paratriathlon, she has a very real chance of winning GOLD! Her Coach, Bettina Warnholtz, reflects on this incredible journey...
"I met Allysa in April of 2014 when she was looking for a coach. She was looking for someone to help her reach a few high performance goals and mentioned that she had a disability. We talked and discussed what we could do to help her and it wasn’t until the end of our conversation that I asked about her disabilty. She has several neurological conditions that affect certain parts of her brain; which eventually led to the amputation of her left leg, below the knee. (For her whole story and background visit http://www.seelthedeal-rio.com/blank-1). It was very clear to me that her condition did not affect her focus or determination.
I told her that I had never trained an athlete with that type of disability, but I was excited to help her and together to reach her goals…and beyond. We started the journey that got her to Rio, representing the USA in the first Paratriathlon event ever at the Paralympics.
Nothing that is great is ever easy and we all know that athletes of this caliber work very hard and face many challenges along the way. Allysa’s condition and situation is much more complex. In the years that I have coached her, she has faced a number of great hurdles. Her training schedule had to be incredibly precise to take into account her medical condition, her varying recovery times and the crazy race/travel schedule that came along once she became competitive in the USA Paratriathlon team. I had to focus on keeping her strong and healthy so that she could not just participate in these events all over the world, but EXCEL in them.
After a longer stint in the Hospital at the end of 2014 which was a considerable setback, we were even more determined to get her back on the horse because it was announced that Paratriathlon was going to make it’s debut at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016. We built her up again and slowly, but surely, she was back at it.
Allysa's response to the training was great and she kept improving throughout the 2015 season. She worked hard, kept going and ended up winning first place at the Paratriathlon World Championship in Chicago. Not only was she the World Champion, but with her win, she opened a second slot for the USA Paralympic Team. She still had to gain more points in order to grab it, so that winter training block at the end of 2015 was crucial. I took advantage of it. There was no time crunch and we could focus on many details in technique and push her with plenty of time to recover and avoid setbacks. She followed the plan and in March of 2016 she took a great victory in Sarasota, FL, earning her spot on the US Paralympic Team!
So, after a couple of weeks of unwinding and relaxing, we got back to work. Yes, the end goal was now to win Gold at Rio, but there was another important race before that. The 2016 World Championship. As the defending champion, it was important to do well there without losing the focus or risking the results of the Games in Rio.
We chose some strategic races that would build up and support the training and she won ALL of them. In fact, Allysa won first place in every single Triathlon she competed in in 2016.
Every single detail that could give her an advantage in Brazil was analyzed. We worked together with Olympian, Misty Hyman, to give her swim a boost. Racelab Coach, Dave Marks was a big help in fine tuning her bike skills. I pulled all my experience, research and resources, including support from renowned Triathlon & Running Coach, Bobby McGee, to put together the best program for her. One which was 100% tailored to her needs and progress.
Last month, she successfully and easily defended her Championship in Rotterdam. She’s now a 2x World Champion!
Allysa has improved and now excels in each one of her disciplines. Her total Sprint Triathlon time has gone down by an avg of over 6 minutes, which is significant in this distance. She’s gone from swimming towards the end of the pack to being right in front with the top swimmers. Her bike handling skills and strength are getting better and better and her run has come an incredibly long way. She’s taken off an average of almost 2min per mile and recently ran her fastest 5K. All just in time for this weekend.
In the 2.5 years that I’ve coached her, she’s gone from being a passionate triathlete with talent and promise to an extraordinary, world class athlete in the running to be the World's Best. I could not be more proud of her and these accomplishments. I have all the faith in her!
Next stop: Rio…the Gold!
She will compete tomorrow, Sunday, September 11th.
We wish her the best so that this journey is completed with the highest honor an athlete could receive: the Olympic Gold Medal!"