Training Resources

This page includes training plans, how to get started with the team, and a variety of training tips. If you find a great resource that you'd like posted here, let Mike know about it.


Getting started with Team Sheeper

Here's an overview of what to expect from Team Sheeper workouts. During the week, our workouts are often varied and provide a mix of runs, rides, swims, combos, spins, Pilates, and more. The big days are Tue-Wed-Thu with Mon and Fri typically for active recovery. On the weekends, our foundational bike rides and long runs are competitive and provide the opportunity get in mega miles.

Cycling Notes

On Saturdays, our bike ride includes a group coached by Hani Juha. He leads our intermediate group on a course that may be shorter and more reasonably paced than Tim's group. If you happen to feel that you're not even up for Hani's ride, show up anyway and at the start of the ride ask Hani about a more suitable route. You may have company!

On Wednesday nights during the daylight savings time, our workout is a fast bike ride. Along with the coaching by Tim, this workout also features an intermediate group coached by Hani that focuses on more basic group riding skills and pacing.

In addition, Hani hosts his famous "How-To" clinics for cyclists, scheduled throughout the year. Topics include: How to Fix a Flat Tire, How to Repair and Install a Chain, How to Adjust and Maintain Your Bike. Check the Workout Schedule for dates and times.


Training FAQ

Q: My fitness has slipped due to travel. What do I do if I'm not feeling up for the particular workout that's on the schedule?

A: Please come to workouts anyway! You can quickly speak to the coach and get a suggestion for a lower-key approach. Or, plan to complete all the exercises in the workout but only to the level you can sustain — slow down the reps or rest more frequently, slow your pace or cut the number of intervals. For example, on Saturdays, you can start out riding with Hani's group but if you're going to be short of energy (or time), plan to shorten the route. Just be sure to let the coach know so that the group doesn't go looking for you! In all cases, don't hesitate to ask about how to approach any workout.

Q: The team's group emphasis is great, but what if I'm looking for an individual training plan?

A: We encourage following your own plan, but the team doesn't offer this specific service. Athletes have different needs, from those who want daily input from a coach to those who want guidance about periodization of a season. In all cases, Team Sheeper membership can complement individual training plans:

  • There are many online and one-on-one coaching programs, and we can recommend some locally.
  • If you engage a coach, you can still join Team Sheeper workouts so that you don't have to train by yourself.
  • If you structure your training using an online program, you can enhance your learning with Team Sheeper's collective knowledge and experience.

Q: What if my training plans don't correspond with individual Team Sheeper workouts?

A: We welcome your participation in all activities. However, if your workout requirements disrupt the objectives of a Team Sheeper workout, we respectfully ask that you choose another session. For example, if your training plan requires a bike workout of sprints or intervals, please don't join a base-building ride that's designed for long, slow distance. This would be like coming to a Pilates class when you need an aerobic workout that day — simply doesn't make sense.


Getting the most out of swims, bikes, and runs

Swim Equipment

Invest in a swimsuit designed for swim training or racing, although you can get through a workout in just about anything. Goggles are a must and a cap is optional. Don't forget the sunscreen. Menlo Masters provides kickboards, pull buoys, and fins, but if you swim on your own you may want to try buying these items for yourself.

Swim Training

Little or no swimming experience: Start with private, one-on-one lessons or talk to the Menlo Masters coaches about your skill level. We offer learn-to-swim lessons with Juliette Applewhite, our resident Swim Pro.

Comfortable swimming laps but never participated in an organized swim workout: Come to a Menlo Masters workout and just observe. This will give you a feel for the skill levels, some points of swim etiquette and workout organization. If you don't know how to do all four of the swim strokes (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle/crawl), you might want to consider lessons as described above, since the workouts will include all four strokes.

Previous competitive swim team experience: You're most likely ready to hop right into the Menlo Masters workouts. Even if you're out of shape, you'll probably find a lane swimming at the speed you need to get back into it.

Bike Equipment

You'll be at a serious disadvantage riding a mountain bike at Team Sheeper workouts, not to mention in traditional road triathlons. To participate in group rides you'll want a road road bike with narrow tires for road riding and with 10-18 gears. Aero bars are NOT necessary nor are they advised for beginners. You'll also want "clipless" pedals and bike shoes with cleats. At minimum, you'll want to have toe-clips on your pedals that fit snugly over your running or cross-training shoes.

Bike Training

Little or no organized cycling experience: Before coming out for your first group ride, ride on your own to get used to your bike and equipment, especially if you've never ridden with clipless pedals before. This is essential! You need to build your basic handling skills so you have the core competency necessary to ride safely in a large group. Plus, you need to have confidence riding by yourself, familiarity with the roads and how to navigate traffic. For safety purposes, all our riders must be self-sufficient. When you think you've got the hang of your equipment, come out to a Saturday group ride. On these rides, we aim to have enough coaches so that riders of all speeds have close interaction with a ride leading coach. Also consider some one-on-one cycling coaching. This individualized attention can help you get into the swing of group rides sooner. You can also help your cycling fitness with spin classes.

Some riding, but never in a large group or on a road bike with clipless pedals: Practice riding on your own in your clipless pedals until you feel completely comfortable getting in and out on the road and review our etiquette and safety rules for group riding. When you think you've got the hang of your equipment, come out to a Saturday group ride. If you can't quite hang with one of the training groups on a ride, that's OK. Keep coming to the group rides, and eventually you'll be able to stay with the group. And did we mention that you should be able to change your own flats?

Seasoned rider with lots of group-ride experience: You're most likely ready to join our rides, but make sure you understand Team Sheeper's particular ride etiquette and protocols, including rules about when it is safe to use your aerobars in a group.

Run Equipment

You don't need much equipment for running, but well-fitting shoes are paramount. Go to a running store and have the staff fit you specifically for the type of running you plan to do. We can't emphasize this enough. Good shoes prevent all kinds of problems. Otherwise, ensure you have cold-weather clothing, hydration system, sunscreen, a light for running in the dark, and always carry an ID when you run.

Run Training

Little or no running experience: You need to slowly build up your running volume on your own before joining a team run workout. Even the fittest athletes with no running experience need to give their joints the time to adapt to the stresses of running. Start with as little as 10 minutes of running per day, three days a week. As long as you are ache- and pain-free, increase the amount of time running 10% every week. When you've worked up to 50-60 minutes at a time with no aches and pains, you're ready to try a team run workout.

Run casually or inconsistently, less than 15 miles a week: Build up from your current volume slowly, increasing about 10% in time each week as long as you are pain-free, until you are regularly logging about 15 miles a week.

Strong competitive running background, but haven't trained consistently in some time: Coming out to a group workout right off the bat is probably a bad idea since you have the ability to run fast but not the miles behind you to prevent injury. Build up your current volume slowly on your own until you are up to a consistent 15 miles a week.

Regularly run at least 15 miles per week: You're ready to join our run workouts. What about speed? When running on the road, our intermediate runners typically hold between 7 and 9 minutes per mile. Our faster runners are in the 5:30 to 7 minute-per-mile range. On the track, our intermediate runners typically hold between 6:30 and 8 minutes per mile. Our faster runners are in the 5:30 to 6:30 minute-per-mile range. If you don't see yourself in one of those groups right away, start by doing the track workouts, since you can at least benefit from the group atmosphere. You're welcome on the road runs, but you may end up running by yourself.

Rules of the road: Cycling etiquette for group rides

1. Safety is the first priority. ALWAYS wear a helmet. Strap should be snug around your chin and helmet should be sitting forward on your head (you should be able to see the edge of it when you are in your aero position).

2. Be sure your bike is in perfect running order before going on any ride. Make sure you have a SPARE TUBE, PUMP, TIRE LEVERS and know how to change your own flat.

3. Carry enough food and fluids. Plan ahead for each ride and don't assume there are stops. Carry water (always!) and an electrolyte replacement or fuel (carbohydrates) drink. Carry bars and gels or real food if you think you will need it.

4. Ride with the flow of traffic and always stay as far to the right as is safe. Always ride in a single file line unless the bike lane is clearly wide enough for a double pace line.

5. Do not go into aerobars when riding in a group even if you are at the very front of the group. Riders have most control on the hoods (tops of the handlebars with fingers touching the brakes).

6. Always ride in as straight a line as possible and avoid making any sudden moves. Call out "SLOWING" if you are coming to a stop or slowing down for any reason. Signal before making any turns and always glance quickly behind you to make sure other riders and cars are not in your way.

7. Be courteous to other riders and share the road. Ride to the right and pass on the left. Be sure to call out "PASSING" or "ON YOUR LEFT" to let the other rider know you are there.

8. Call out any rough road or objects in the road that might cause a problem for cyclists.Riders at the front of the group are responsible for ensuring that riders behind them are aware of road conditions. Short commands like "HOLE!" or "WATCH THAT!" or "GRAVEL!" are usually the most clear. When possible, point to the obstacle or road condition. Pass on any warnings you hear you so that the whole group ride gets the message.

9. Call out cars and pedestrians, especially on narrow or windy roads. Use commands like "CAR UP" or "CAR BACK" or "RUNNER UP", etc. Remember, if you're at the front, you're the eyes and ears for the group so take the responsibility seriously.

10. Exercise particular caution when eating or drinking on your bike in a group ride. Make sure you keep your bike moving at a steady pace and in a straight line while eating or drinking. If you wiggle or can't hold your line, drop to the back of the group.

11. Do not overlap wheels with other riders. Be aware of the other cyclists in the pack. When drafting, be sure to maintain enough distance between your wheel and the wheel of the rider in front of you so as to avoid bumping. If you are new to drafting, follow about one wheel-length behind. Do not become so absorbed in watching the wheel in front of you that you lose awareness of road conditions or riders around you. Be sure that you are always looking ahead.

12. Come to a complete stop at all stop signs and red lights. If you are stopped at a red light, wait until the light changes to green before proceeding, even if it seems clear or safe to go against the light.

13. Know the route your group is riding. Listen carefully when the ride leader explains the route, especially if the area is new or unknown to you. Take a map, if provided.

14. As much as possible, keep the group riding together. If you are just a bit behind the group, work a little harder to catch up and get back in the draft. If you are just slightly ahead of the group, drop your pace a bit so that you fall back towards the group.

15. At the start of the ride, listen to the objectives of the ride and planned pacing as described by the ride leader. Respect the plan by riding at the appropriate pace at the appropriate time, so that the group keeps it overall cohesion. Most rides begin with a more mellow warm-up segment. Be sure to stay with or behind the group leader during this segment even if you consider the pace too easy.