Raising Young Athletes [Presentation]

I recently spoke as part of the Middleton, MA Health and Wellness Committee’s Speaker Series on the topic of raising young athletes. As a professional coach, I have countless experiences with parents asking me to help their child do anything from lose weight to complete a marathon. As a parent, I see how businesses have evolve to make my children into professional athletes as soon (and for as long) as is humanly possible.

But this path is full of danger. If we are truly committed to raising healthy, active, and independent young men and women, then we as parents need to model that behavior now as we guide them through these critical early years.

Watch the presentation below and view the slides online here.


The 5 Love Languages of Children

Go to the Amazon Page for more info. 

Premise is that our kids have specific ways that they both feel and express love. In order to meet their needs, we as parents have to find a way to “fill their emotional tanks” using the type of love that resonates most with our children. 

This is a lifelong journey, ideally started with younger (ages 5-7) kids. But it’s never too late to engage your kids where they are at, especially since the love they “need” will likely change over time as they age. 
Takeaway: It was helpful to have love defined in categories. I have definitely had moments of extreme love (and the opposite!) with my girls, and I intuitively I feel as though I know what they need. But reading this book opened my eyes to other types of love that my kids display. Most importantly, it helped me define ways in which I can better meet those needs. 
If it sounds like a massive project, it’s not. Start with the first six chapters (total of 93 pages). By that time you’ll have covered each of the five languages and will likely know where you are strong and where you can improve. 
For reference, the five love languages are:
  • Physical Touch
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Gifts
  • Acts of Service 
Note that there are strong religious undertones in the book — they are values that complement the content of the book, but one doesn’t depend upon the other. 
If you’ve got kids that you’re trying to figure out, this is a great, quick read to help you up your game. I hope you enjoy it and welcome your comments below.  

October 2016 Training Update

After a few weeks of consistency, I had built my bike and run fitness up to a pretty stable level. I was running approximately 12 to 15 miles a week and then cycling somewhere in the neighborhood of 4.5 to 5 hours a week. Overall very pleased with the results and excited to head into the fall/winter for the OutSeason®. But first, we had to head to the Big Island to support Endurance Nation!

Normally I’m going to race, but this year it was to work. I have to say, it’s much easier to race there than it is to work for 10 straight days. We did get that one day of relaxation on the beach though. 🙂 

From a training perspective I decided not to bring my bike so I wouldn’t be tempted to disappear for hours every day. So instead I focused on running and swimming. The run felt okay, not great. The rolling terrain really made a challenging to run as smoothly as I wanted… Not to mention the heat! 

I was able to swim several times which was incredible, but I did feel a bit in my hip flexors / psoas area which still clearly needs some love. 

All in all I felt pretty good about staying consistent while I was there despite not having a sometimes extreme. 

When I came back, it was right back to work. 15 miles a week on the run, and back to my cycling routine while the weather lasted. 

I think I might’ve been a bit too aggressive in coming back, because after a week or so I started to notice my left knee had some tightness behind it. 

I normally have a click in the patella with no pain but all of a sudden there was some discomfort in keeping my knee bent. I first noticed this on the plane flying back from Hawaii. It was really hard to keep my legs just in a bent position without stretching them several times underneath the chair in front of me. 

After doing some self-care and research I decided to visit my good friend Mike Silva at Foundation Performance in Pawtucket Rhode Island. He definitely found some swelling under the kneecap. He advised me to shut it down for a while as we began a protocol of soft tissue work. 

Given that a week is such a small window of time in my overall career as an athlete, I have no problem shutting it down. I will complain about it though!!!! 

Today is my first training session “back,” and I’m headed off to the pool to try and get some aerobic exercise as we continue Project Put Coach Patrick Back Together Again. 

On a macro level I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that given how much time I took off – approximately five months – that it should take a long time to get back to healthy training. I am pleased that my cycling efforts and my run speed were almost equal to what I had had before I stop training…I was running sub-7s and pushing good watts on my road bike. 

A good reminder that my fitness is there when my body is ready to handle the work. 

Thanks for reading! I hope your training is going well and I hope you have a better update for you come December.


September Training Update

August was a big month for our family as we finished up supporting Maura through her Ironman Lake Placid (number seven!) With the house stuff complete and Lake Placid behind us we spent the better part of August enjoying the summer. Lots of good travel visiting friends and generally having a lot of fun! 

Hard to believe it’s already gone and we’re back in school. But I won’t lie – I am enjoying the routine that school brings.

From a training perspective I feel like things have turned a corner. A small corner at that, but still we’ve made a turn. I have been able to create a basic schedule that keeps me moving forward. 

This is how I set it up:

First I established a run walk approach. What started off as 30 seconds of jogging and one minute of walking over the course of four weeks turned into a few consistent but short runs. At the present time I am running three times a week for a total of about 12 miles. Nothing like I used to do but light years ahead of where I once was. Progress is sweet. 

In addition to this run schedule I am staying consistent on the bike. While I have been conservative on the run, I have approach the bike is two hard weekday rides followed by a steadier endurance weekend session. This gets me above five hours a week cycling and I believe has complemented the work I have done on the run.

But What Does That Mean for My Body?

Well…this is a gray area. 

When I first started returning to exercise everything hurt. Not only did my hip feel out of whack my entire body did. My knees were sore, my calves were tight, the lower back is tight. Definitely a preview of how life will be in a decade or so! 

I kept the effort down though and remain consistent, and over time the basic aches and pains have faded away. What I’m left with the clear need to maintain the self-care routine that will protect my hip. 

I’ve been very consistent with my weekly core exercises as you can see from my tracker. I have also been doing some stretching in the evenings as a complementary effort to stay loose. I am no longer in physical therapy but I do get some ART work done on my psoas and my hip. I plan to keep that going as I continue a slow trajectory my return path. 

I have no illusions that I will suddenly be out running 30 mile weeks. However I’m excited enough with the prospect of training like a normal human being that I still need to focus on restraining myself.

What’s Next?

As of right now I have no immediate goals for performance other than to remain healthy. As you’ll see from my Strava Feed I am still nowhere near getting into a pool. This initially was because kicking and flip turning put my hip under some additional stress. 

At this point, the schedule is just so busy that I don’t necessarily have the window. If I get my act together for September, I will begin doing some strengthening work with the same chords to get back in the groove of proper swim training. 

I’m excited to head to Hawaii later this month to support our teammates competing at the world championships. It’s such a great venue and I’m really excited to hold our second annual Kona Training Camp there.

A New Camp in the Works…

In other news, I am outlining the training camp to happen in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts. Dates will be Wednesday July 5th (arrival) through Sunday July 9th (final ride and departure) 2017. 

This will be a first year camp that I will open to veterans first so we can see if it’s viable. The riding out there is fantastic, the weather is perfect for the middle of the year, and it’s incredibly accessible to both Boston (90 minute drive) and other major metropolitan areas. 

For a sample check out the epic ride day to Mount Greylock here — 9500 feet of gain!

Bonus that there’s tons of great breweries out there as well! If you’re interested you should shoot me an email:  patrick (dot) mccrann (at) gmail (dot) com. Put the subject Berkshire Bike Bash in it. 

Thanks for reading…I hope your training is going well. I’ll be in touch with you guys next month.

~ Coach P


Training Update – Ready Or Not

Last month was definitely crazy as we closed out the school year and moved back into our house. There was just so much to do between home and work that training was almost nonexistent for me. Bonus that my incredible wife was doing her sixth Ironman® in Lake Placid. That meant getting all the logistics ready for travel and for equipment and supporting her over those critical final weeks.

Background: For those of you who might not know / remember, I stopped running in February due to some quad and hip pain. After many visits and multiple MRIs, we decided that Physical Therapy was the way to go.

I was beyond not doing my exercises — I was blatantly getting worse. But now that we are through to the other side I have started to carve out a basic schedule for myself. Talking with my physical therapist we feel like it’s time that I gradually start a “Return to Running” program. 

After several sessions on the incredible Alter G treadmill, it’s clear that I can’t keep driving into the city just to run on this device. It kills my schedule and I’m not so injured that I’m unable to run. So this is where I’m at:

The (Not) Run

I’m running every other day for roughly 15 minutes. During that time I’m doing a run walk protocol where I will run for 20 to 30 seconds and then walk for a minute. The goal is to gradually increase the time spent running so that I am soon running 15 minutes. 

When I told my neighbor of the plan, he told me to hold on while he got his running shoes because this is the only time he could actually run. 🙂 It’s a humble restart, but it’s the best way to go. This way I don’t do any unnecessary damage to my body and I can easily monitor how I progress. 

The Bike

Express on the days that I’m not running, I’m our riding my road bike. I am roughly in my fourth week of consistent riding. That means between three and five rides a week depending on the schedule. 

I have been riding tempo during the week and, if I can get out on the weekends, with friends a much easier pace. Many of my friends are training for this weekend’s Pan Mass challenge. This is an incredible event fundraiser. You can check it out online here

I have watched each week as my power has slowly come around. At the same time my heart rate has also dropped. Is a very easy to see indication that I’m getting some basic fitness back. In fact, yesterday’s ride was like one of the old days with numbers reminiscent of previous fitness. 

Not Swimming

I have not been anywhere near a pool. I have zero desire to swim right now and it doesn’t help that camp schedule means extremely limited hours. It’s on my radar, but it’s not a priority right now.

Strength and Flexibility

Continued rehab – this is going to be a journey for me in terms of getting back up to some level of athletic health. A huge part of that is continuing the strength and flexibility work that my physical therapist originally prescribed. In true Coach Rich fashion, I have created a spreadsheet to track myself. I have set some goals for total reps as well as individual key exercise reps for each month. I have yet to come up with some kind of complementary reward structure, but I think just being able to get out and train without discomfort Is a reward in and of itself.

Body Composition

The big outlier is body composition. Pun intended. Until recently, I simply have not been burning enough calories. Even just eating baseline food was adding weight and it shows. 

While my watts my look good on the bike, that’s mostly because I’m trying to get my big old but over the top of each hill. I am going to start making an effort to eat a little more cleanly as we head into the Fall. 

I also need to be better about eating more consistently. I have found that a regular training schedule encourages me to eat on a certain timeline. I either need to eat before work out or I need to eat afterwards because I’m hungry. But without that training stimulus my much more flexible in my calories and are more likely to make poor choices. 

As an example of poor choices I mean sitting down at 9 o’clock at night and eating a crap ton of M&Ms which apparently is a new staple food in my diet. Any tips or advice you have on that would be greatly appreciated. 

As always thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement. I love following your workouts and progress as it reminds me of what it will mean to be healthy once again. 

Talk to you guys next month!

~ Coach P


July Training Update from Coach Patrick (or Lack Thereof)

Time for another monthly update from the land of Coach Patrick. 

Well, I have to be honest and say that June was pretty much a wash. Just as I was getting back on the training train, I was hit with pneumonia. As a result, I was out for two weeks hard core. Although I did get in a great ride with my girls.

I have slowly been working my way back up to being able to exercise and breathe at the same time. 🙂 This really set me back in my rehab and physical therapy — I literally couldn’t leave my house. 

Now that I’m on the mend, another curveball. We actually just finished moving back into our house!!! 

That’s right, the work our house is finally complete. A mere 4 1/2 months after ripping the inside out, our house is put back together and I can literally sit down on my own kitchen counter. I can’t overstate the importance of just being back in our own house. I want to thank all of you for your patience this as I have been transitioning through this challenging time. 

Now I’m focusing back on getting into the bicycle and reestablishing my functional strength routine. In all honesty I haven’t had a lot of discomfort in my hip because I haven’t been active. I’m a little disappointed with losing roughly a month on the return to activity timeline, but have no idea how I could have sustained it all without literally imploding. 

I hope I have more to show you over the coming weeks as you follow me on Strava. But first, we are off to Lake Placid to support my wife as she completes Ironman number seven. It’s been a couple years since I’ve been a Sherpa, but I’m super looking forward to it!


2016 World Refugee Day

Today is World Refugee Day (#worldrefugeeday) and I am asking you to join me in making a small contribution to an organization (your choice) that is making a difference. 

For those of you who might not know, in a former life I worked for the International Rescue Committee in Azerbaijan on a Community Development Project. I worked with “Internally Displaced People” or IDPs. Why IDP? Because you aren’t technically a refugee unless you flee your own country, but there are millions of people who have to flee their towns, and villages around the world. 

I also travelled to Armenia and the Republic of Georgia during my time in the Caucasus. I will never forget how, despite what so many had lost, how resilient and strong these families were. 

Because these refugees aren’t Syrians. Or Sudanese. Or Iraqis. They are families. They are mothers, fathers and children. They are brothers and sisters. 

They don’t live in homes anymore. They live in camps. Or train cars. And those are the lucky ones. There are no schools to speak of. Employment is nonexistent. 

It’s easy to dismiss the flashing images on your smartphone or TV screen as not real, but they are. 

Imagine your town, your country torn apart. No medical care, no rule of law. You have to run, and only the fittest and most determined will survive. 

Take a look at your family. Who would you choose if only half could make it? 

Think that’s sick? 

It. Happens. Every. Day.

This isn’t a movie. It’s real. For the first time ever, the total number of Refugees and Displaced Peoples exceeded 60 million, according to the UNHCR.

There’s not a ton that we can do as onlookers, but one of the best ways to make a difference is to support organizations that are on the ground.

Here are some options for you.

1. You can donate directly to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) online here:   This body oversee almost all refugee efforts and is as apolitical as is possible, however it is the organization that funds other organizations…so it’s a step away.

2. Pick a specific organization on the ground using — here’s a quick shortcut for you: — then go to that organization’s website to make a donation.  CharityWatch is independent and rates organizations on financial criteria as well as other facets such as transparency. 

Thanks for reading and for making a difference. 

~ Patrick


June 2016 Training Update

Back with another monthly training update. This time it’s for May and heading into June 2016.

For those of you who have been supporting me over the last couple months I super appreciate it. There’s nothing like knowing no matter which way I go I’ve got a group of great people at my back. 

Of course, some of you are comforting while others of you are more demanding in what I do. Honestly, I believe I need both! 

The Diagnosis Continues

In May I went back to the orthopedist and had an MRI arthrogram done. This is where they inject a contrast dye into my hip socket and then complete an MRI. This allows them to see the hip socket in full relief. In other words, if there is a tear or some other issue that is rendering the socket “un whole” the fluid will leak and it will show up on the scan.

The outcome of this test was the same as before: I have a clinically insignificant superior labral tear. 

So, what to do next? 

That’s a really good question.

This is something I debated for some time as I wasn’t really 100% sure what I should do. Thanks to the counsel of many of you, here is what I’ve decided.

(1) Three different tests have shown that I do not have a significant hip issue. 

(2) Significant physical therapy has shown that I have well documented imbalances that are affecting my ability to compete and train at a high level. 

(3) Without a specific diagnosis of a major issue, I have decided that doing the rehab is the best course of attack for me now. 

So I am all in with the rehab, with the understanding that the better I get with my flexibility in core the more my condition will approve. And it that doesn’t work, or if it gets worse, then I have simply earned my way into a definite surgery.


All of this aside, I do because important but I’m 100% clear with everyone that I’m not out to set any world records. I have had an incredible run in our sport for the last 15 years. I have achieve things that I never thought I could possibly do. 

If you had told me 15 years ago that I will go to Kona seven times, or that I will Boston qualify, or break three hours for a marathon, or that I would win my Age Group, I would have laughed in your face. 

A tiny part of me still wants to. It just seems so ridiculous.

2016 coach Patrick just wants to be healthy. 

I’m looking to be more well-rounded (haha no pun intended). I want to be fit but I also want to have no pain. 

If I can create the conditions where I can be as active as I want and enjoy a dynamic lifestyle with my kids, then we will see about being competitive again. 

I have no higher-level incentive driving the me forward at this point in time.

As of this update I have completed six bike rides since February 14th 2016. I’m finally outside which is wonderful. 

I am still on the indoor treadmill and will be until early July when I begin a slow transition to “normal” running. I swim about three times a week and use it to keep myself same and as a complements to the core work that I’m doing. 

For now my top goal is to get fit enough to hang out with everyone coming to our race camps. 

I hope to have more information for you in the coming weeks with a full report on what it means to transition back to real running. 

Thanks again for all your support and I’ll be in touch soon!

~ Patrick


May (Still Not Really Training) Update

Special thanks to everyone who’s been so supportive for me as I continue on this journey of rehabilitation. 

I’ll spare you the details but the latest version of the story is that I’ve had multiple people review my MRI. The outcome basically is that the labrum looks fine. There’s no issues there, and structurally everything looks okay. The x-ray that I had also came back fine so I feel 95% confident that there’s no issue there with the actual joint. 

That said, of course I still have discomfort and pain. 

The MRI did reveal that there is some mild tendonosis in the upper hamstrings while working on stretching that out. 

I am also on a pretty aggressive physical therapy program that has me currently on a slight return to exercise. You have seen the pictures of me on that special Alter G treadmill that allows me to run with reduced weight. (That’s a good thing, because my weight trending upwards right now!) 

I’m creating a pretty hard-core core strength program to help get me back on track. I have also set a tentative date of July 1 as the time I get back to some form of normal exercise. 

For now I am swimming consistently, working on my technique, and also enjoying long walks pretending that it’s running. For all of you reading out there, who are struggling with your health and wellness, keep it up! 

It’s the good fight. Whatever you do, make sure you have a good solid core and functional strength program that you can do to keep you healthy around…unlike your coach!

More info next month,

~ Coach P


April Training (Not Really) Update

Here we are in April and as I look out my window and stare at 5 inches of fresh snow on the ground, I have to admit that the part of me which was originally sad about not training is not THAT sad. 

As an update for everything that has happened over the past couple weeks I can sum it up with one simple word – frustration.

As I have navigated the process of learning more about what’s going on with my hip I have simultaneously been trying to figure out our healthcare system. 

It’s one thing to have a very simple injury that is specific and easy to identify. Creating an action plan around that is a no-brainer; many of you have probably even solved those kind of problems online. 

In my case, the hip pain is so non-specific that it’s actually hard to pinpoint the true cause of the pain.

So here’s where I’m at…

At the end of March I got a cortisone shot directly into the hip joint. The goal behind this strategy was to effectively numb him the joint, allowing us to determine whether or not the discomfort I was feeling was either internal or external to the joint. 

It is now been over a week since that shot and I still have pain. This is both a blessing and a curse. I now know that the joint is not the cause of my pain, but I’m still not any closer to figuring out what the actual source of the pain is.

The Ortho recommended I do physical therapy, but they can’t schedule me in for almost a month! Instead I have started physical therapy with my local team here at Foundation Performance ( Mike and his staff are world-class and will definitely help me get on the mend. 

In the meantime I still need to work with the Ortho to figure out what the issue is. I may well need a referral to get an MRA — that’s an MRI done with the dye injected into the hip which should hopefully show more detail as to what’s happening.

In the meantime, I am just starting to get into a consistent swimming schedule. It’s hard to tell if the swimming bothers my hips or not. But I can tell that it’s clearly a critical part of keeping me sane!

Thanks to all of you for your continued support and advice as I navigate this complicated phase of my training life. I’m confident that there will be a good resolution at some point in time..however I’m not confident that it’s going to happen any time soon!

Camp Update: I had a blast in Texas with the folks getting ready for the race. You can read the recaps here and here…and here

Race Update: For those of you who are asking, I did the defer my race entry from Ironman Texas to Ironman Mont Tremblant in August. It’s wishful thinking that I’ll be ready by then, but I do know that it’s important for me to have a carrot out there as something to aim towards.

Life Update: For those of you who are asking about the status of our house things are on the mend. We are already building and hope to be halfway done with the project by the middle of April. It has been a trying time here at the McCrann household living in a rental house, but the support of our friends and the greater community has shown that what were dealing with is nothing to be truly concerned about. With friends, family, and our health we are truly blessed. 

I hope to come back to you next month with a better update as to where things are at.

Until then, happy training!

~ Patrick