Endurance Coaching for Running, Skiing & Biking

Endurance Athletes Running Coach Laramie

Endurance Athlete Development

Endurance Athletes are close to my heart and where my athletic and coaching careers really started.
While team sports were always important to me, I found early success at distance running which later became a tunnel-visioned pursuit with an eye on national championships. This drive for excellence sparked a passion for learning both historical training methods as well as cutting-edge science-based training techniques. Coupled with personal experience and a love for the unique challenges of endurance sports, I can help athletes implement balanced, periodized training that keeps them safely and efficiently moving closer to their goals.

Learn More About Individual Coaching

Laramie Running Coach Matt Hartsky

Since 1996, I have coached hundreds of runners of all abilities to reach their performance goals. From middle school and high school track and cross country runners to people looking to run their first 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon, full marathon, or ultra-marathon and those wanting to run faster, longer, and stronger I have the experience to help you reach your running goals with Online Training Services including training plans and custom coaching programs! 

Running Coach Laramie Endurance Athletes

“I have lost a total of 71 pounds since working with Matt- never in my wildest dreams did I think I could loose that much weight.
When I’m ready to give up there is Matt in my corner with positive talk and the motivation that I need to keep on going. My safety is always his first priority and he will never risk me getting injured.
I disliked running in my younger days but now there is nothing that could stop me from doing it everyday. I wanted to improve my time in the Bolder Boulder from a previous time and Matt helped me take off 25 minutes back in May of 2008. Since then I have done several 10k’s, 5k’s and a half marathon and I am now training with Matt for the Denver Marathon in October. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think of running 6 miles let alone 26. Each time I have been in a race I have bettered my time considerably and loved every single moment.”
– Review by Alma B.

Running Coach Laramie Endurance Athletes

“Matt Hartsky successfully trained me through my very first marathon, Sept 2005 and many marathons and ultra races since. The schedule Matt provides is always realistic and make it possible for me to fit training in with my busy work schedule. Matt’s positive and motivational training enabled me to reach one of my life-time goals of finishing a marathon, then longer races! His in-depth knowledge and background was an integral part to my success. Ultimately, it depends on YOU to reach your goals, but with Matt Hartsky’s coaching, it becomes reality!!”
– Review by Esther,
National Champion, All-American, Ultra Marathoner

Transforming Strength Running Coach Matt Hartsky

“After a knee injury and some major life changes, I found myself unable to run. Running was one of my passions and it was a very difficult time physically and emotionally. I felt unhealthy and out of shape. I gained twenty pounds and was trying to accept the fact that my running days were over. I met with Matt and we discussed my goals: to lose the extra weight, get in shape and feel fit and begin running again. After working out with Matt, I have met all these goals and I am planning to run some of my favorite half-marathons in the spring. I feel better than I have felt in years. Training with Matt has been one of the best decisions that I have made to improve my overall health.”
– Review by Suzanne

To learn more about some of my training philosophies as a running coach, check out this recent article:
How to Run Faster: A Running Coach’s Guide

Mountain Bike Coach in Laramie

“I have been working out with Matt for over 2 years. I joined because I was having issues with lifting and other workouts due to a backcountry snowboard injury. The Boot Camps were a safe, fun, and energized environment surrounded by supportive individuals with a wide variety of fitness goals. Workouts were always challenging and easily adjusted to your abilities. Matt knows how to safely push you to your limits. I have since moved into personal training to focus more on my personal goals; strength and endurance for my wide variety of interests. One–on–one workouts have been tailored to both avoid stressing my previous injuries while also making me stronger to overcome my injuries from the past. Since starting with Matt, I have not only improved my endurance and speed, but I have also improved my half–marathon and mountain bike race results. Overall, I have never felt stronger or healthier. I am in the best overall shape of my life and I owe it to Matt for his support and kick–butt workouts. Thanks Matt!”
– Review by Jenn

Mountain Bike & Cycling

Mountain bike coaching and cycling training has been a result of my own interest in these endurance sports. As my “professional” running career was coming to an end, I transitioned to a duathlon focus. I found a great deal of pleasure in the road bike and where it didn’t break me down or require the same recovery as running, I found myslef spending much more time in the saddle than pounding the roads. Often times, my only running became intervals or hill training, leaving the cycling to build my strength endurance and fill in on active recovery days.

While cycling required more volume of each training element, I found many similarities between it and running and used many of the same training principles of structure, periodization, and Nutrition Coaching across both sports.

When training athletes of any endurance sport, looking at the individual, their background, level of training experience, and specific needs and goals is paramount in designing a program that gives them the best chance of incurring fewer injuries while also maximizing their individual potential. This focus and strategy has allowed me to successfully work with road cyclists and mountain bikers alike to build them up and move them closer to their goals.

If you’re ready to tackle your next mountain bike or cycling goal with some professional guidance, please don’t hesitate to reach out and Contact Me.

Laramie Nordic Ski Coach Transforming Strength

Nordic Ski Coaching & Programming

Nordic Ski Coaching with Transforming Strength will help you focus in on key components of strength and conditioning directly improving your skiing, including specific techniques, exercises, and drills.

Nordic Ski Programming has very similar components to those of other endurance sports. Balance and periodization are key factors in achieving maximum potential peaking. Contact Coach today to learn more about what your Nordic Ski training might look like.

Nordic Ski Coach Laramie

Transforming Strength Training for Endurance Athletes

A major focus for my endurance athletes looking to improve their performance in running, skiing, and mountain biking lies in building an exceptional foundation of strength.
In days gone by, strength training for endurance athletes was largely an afterthought or supplemental at best. While the law of specificity certainly still holds true today, modern and cutting-edge coaching philosophy places strength at the forefront of an athlete’s training focus.

It is becoming widely accepted and proven that a well-planned and executed strength training program can reduce the risk of injury and maximize the opportunity for reaching athletic potential in performance by developing key physical elements such as muscular development, neuromuscular acuteness & energy system efficiency. This holds true across sport-specific training including those athletes wanting to improve their running, skiing, or mountain biking.

Over the years, I have spoken with many endurance athletes who share a few common misconceptions about strength training runners, skiers, and cyclists: “Strength training will add too much muscle, make me feel heavy, and slow me down, increase my risk of injury due to joint overload and deep tissue fatigue or cause me to lose sport-specific training time because I won’t be able to recover.”

Fortunately, there have been many studies and real-life examples that prove those worries to be false while also backing the strong reasoning behind utilizing strength training for endurance athletes.

Recent studies have shown that well-planned strength training has the potential to improve both short term, less than fifteen minutes, as well as long-term, greater than thirty minutes, work capacity in endurance athletes. These findings proved to be consistent across all ability levels, from untrained beginners to highly trained professionals. Interestingly and important to note, was the clear improvement strength training had on the work capacity of elite athletes since this population usually experiences the least amount of improvement from training because of their level of maturity in their sport. Additionally, these results were reproduced across a wide spectrum of endurance sports including cycling, rowing, and running.

Let’s look at how strength training can directly improve athletic potential.
Strength training can cause an increase in type IIA muscle fibers. Type IIA fibers are more resistant to muscular fatigue, can produce a higher capacity for the maximal force which results in increased muscle strength, and can also increase the rate of force development in muscles which translates into more explosive power.

Strength training can cause an increase in peak velocity. Improvement in measured peak velocity is created from a carry-over effect from the increase in type IIA fibers. Essentially, having stronger and more powerful muscles means athletes will be able to directly increase their peak velocity and potential movement speed.

Strength training can cause a higher level of anaerobic capacity. While some anaerobic factors are considered less crucial pieces of physiology in endurance sports, strength training can improve glycolysis and the utilization and buffering capacity of lactic acid which does have a direct correlation to improving lactate threshold in endurance athletes.

Strength training can cause improved movement economy. A professionally guided strength program will cause only minor increases in muscle mass gained in natural endurance athletes and the muscular strength improvements will negate any impairment from these gains. The muscular strength gained will have a very direct impact on movement economy, in both stride and stroke efficiency.

Strength training can cause improved neuromuscular function motor unit recruitment and muscular coordination. In other words, the athlete’s muscles can be activated faster, more powerfully & efficiently and can work more harmoniously within the kinetic chain of the movement.

Additional Programing Considerations for My Athletes
Strength training has many commonalities across sports. All programs should take into account elements of the proper training continuum, as well as the many details of an athlete’s training background and history, injuries, experience, training maturity, biomechanics, etc. Assuming these details have been addressed, there are several key training components to consider when implementing a strength program for endurance athletes:

There is no replacement for a plan built around balancing stress and rest and recovery. However, studies have shown strength training should be performed at least 2-times per week to have a greater potential effect for developing muscular strength.

Periodization is a critical component of all sports, but perhaps even more so when balancing the strength and sport-specific requirements of endurance athletes and ensuring they have the best opportunity to peak on time.

To promote muscular and neuromuscular development concurrently, a well-planned blend of traditional strength training should be combined with more explosive work like plyometrics.

Endurance athletes should avoid training in the maximal ranges of strength where failure is likely. A focus on sub-maximal training will reduce the risk of injury for the athlete and allow them to control recovery to a greater extent.

Exercises should be chosen not only based on the specific sport and individual athlete’s development but also periodized in relation to the season. While closed chain movements may be more appropriate during early to mid-season base building, racing and peak times of the year should bring a focus on more open chain movements.

Of course, studies have also shown us the most effective strength training programs were also long-term programs that were adhered to consistently. While training benefits can be measured in as little as four weeks, optimal periodized plans will last at least twelve weeks and longer.

All of these benefits highlight the importance of a well-designed strength training program. If you’re looking to take your sports performance to the next level in running, skiing, or mountain biking, a major focus should be on building an exceptional foundation of strength, work capacity, and resiliency to injury.