Simple Coaching Client Completes First Adventure of the Year

Eileen Whisler, an inaugural member of the Simple Endurance Coaching Adventure Team, finished her first adventure of the year on a hot, windy day at the Early Bird Triathlon in Whitewater, WI.

Eileen reported that “the swim went well, for me. I swam the 1000 yards in about 30 minutes (2 minutes less than at any of my practices). I felt very good about that. The bike ride was only 4 minutes longer than I had hoped for. It was a tough ride, with hills and headwinds.”

I was in no way ready, even remotely, to do a triathlon so early this spring. I was not competing against anyone else at the event, just against myself. Would I be able to complete an Olympic distance triathlon? Thanks to my coaches, I was able to pull it off.

Eileen Whisler

Eileen has also been working with Correen Gorski, a trainer and swim coach at the Wisconsin Athletic Club who has been teaching her better movement to improve her speed.

The run, though, was a different story. The heat and fatigue caught up to Eileen.

“I wondered whether I would have to drop out due to being overheated. But I drank a little more and tried running a bit. I started sweating again,” she said.

Early Bird Tri is Just the Start!

On the first hot and very windy day, most people were pretty happy to finish.

I was thrilled for and proud of Eileen to just finish, given her recent health challenges.

My coaches expressed confidence in me. Whether or not they actually thought I could pull it off, I don’t know. But their hard work and excitement rubbed off on me. Paul put together a plan for overall training and Correen worked with me on the little things of bad form that were causing me to become fatigued while swimming.


As a member of the Simple Coaching’s Adventure Team, Eileen has been planning what comes next.

She has already committed to riding RAGBRAI next year across the entire state of Iowa.

And while she’s facing some challenges in rebuilding fitness after some complicated surgery this month, she’s determined to find events this fall.

Eileen’s Training

We’ve been focusing on three areas in our training:

  • Building aerobic capacity on the bike. Eileen is building as much mileage as possible in her rides. To build in fun and people connections, she’s been riding the Bay View Cycling Club and taking on longer and slightly faster rides.
  • Building speed in her runs and on the bike. We schedule intervals sessions that include HIIT work like 40 seconds on and 20 seconds rest. The time on, though, is really hard, faster and more intense than she’s used to. Her average speed in both running and cycling has been improving a lot!
  • Increasing overall strength. Despite some recent health issues, Eileen has been working with me to adapt her strength training. We’re learning a lot about what works and what is not yet possible. We’ve shifted our focus from building absolute strength with heavy deadlifts to overall mobility, balance, and strength with a lot of stability work. We use dumbbells, kettlebells, bands, and the medicine ball to create as much core strength as possible.

The hardest part for me was actually resting on rest days. But those rest days paid off! My hard days were hard, often including speed work on the bike and run and then spending the afternoon at a square dance or round dance lesson (my other love). Some days were strength training and then a swim session. Some days I just swam 1000 yards just to see if I could. It all paid off. 

Eileen Whisler

Surgery Recovery Tasks

Eileen will have two tasks during recovery from her surgery, besides, of course, healing properly!

  1. I’m assigning a book for her to read called the Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown. I rode behind her for a bit of the Early Bird ride. She might be able to learn some breathing techniques that will help her.
  2. Once she can get on the trainer with her bike, I want to teach her how to spin her pedals to save energy. She’s a gear masher, and as we get older, turning over the pedals more quickly helps our speed and saves strength!

She hasn’t read this yet, so she doesn’t know that these are her training goals during recovery!

Her book arrived yesterday. She texted me about it, wondering who sent it!

The Adventure Team

Several athletes, including Eileen, are working with me as their coach as part of the Simple Endurance Coaching Adventure Team.

We want to approach racing and endurance events with a different focus.

An approach that focused on the fun and challenge of the event, and what training for and completing the challenge can teach us about ourselves and our place in the world.

We look for adventures that challenge us individually, and we train specifically for those events.

And our goal is not the result in the event.

Our goal is to learn something about ourselves in the training and preparation.

The event is itself the result.

Success in the event is sometimes finishing, sometimes getting a good result, sometimes winning.

It doesn’t matter.

Want to talk about your challenges and adventures?

Let’s talk!