Monday, March 16, 2015

The Staples of Success

In this entry I will detail what I think are the staples that make up a successful triathlon training program.  This year I am currently working with 4 athletes and they will recognize what they see on this page. 

Swimming- Train for efficiency.  I am yet to consider myself an efficient swimmer.  This comes easier for some than others.  Through lots of drill work efficiency can be developed.  The gains made from improvements in swim efficiency far outweigh the gains from endlessly swimming more yards.  Small improvements in efficiency will lead to big improvements in time.  This is why I believe investing a little money in someone knowledgeable about swimming technique may be worth it.  If you choose not to hire someone to help with efficiency there are lots of youtube videos on swim drills and efficiency that you can find at no cost.  I enjoy learning from a website at

Biking- Early in the season I try to get a big base of mileage.  Not much of the mileage is done at a high level of intensity.  Once each week early in the season I do a bike interval session.  The intervals may be something like 5x3 minutes hard following each with 2 minutes easy or my favorite staple workout is 5x5 minutes hard following each with 5 minutes easy.  These are done at an incredibly high level where I have to be fresh or I won't be able to hit my desired power output.  I have a Cycleops Powerbeam Pro trainer that allows me to control the power output that I pedal at.  If I can't pedal at the desired power output I just won't be able to pedal or I'll be forced to reduce the desired output.  As the season progresses and I round into shape with a good base I cut my number of days a week riding back from 6-7 early in the season to 4-5.  When I get to where I'm only riding 4-5 days a week 2 of them are HARD interval workouts and 1 of the rides is a long ride.  The term "long" is relative for training and racing goals.  Being that I choose to race Ironman distance a "long" ride for me is typically 90-120 miles.  Before an Ironman distance race from 8 weeks out down to 2 weeks out I like to get a minimum of 5 100+ mile rides in.  I do one of them every week. 

Running- I am a big believer in two weekly hard sessions and a weekly long run.  The hard sessions consist of 1 hard interval workout.  That may be something like 6x 3 minutes hard following each with 90 seconds easy jogging or 3x 1 mile @ (5:25 early season or 5:10 later) following each with 2-3 minutes of rest.  The other hard session I believe is key each week is a tempo session.  I do tempo runs about every week.  When I first begin my tempo is 1x2 miles at 6:00 pace.  My tempo pace is about the same as my 1/2 marathon pace.  The next week I do 2x1.5 miles at tempo for a total distance of 3.  Then I do 1x2.5 the following week...2x2 the week after...and I build up to where I'm doing 8 miles at tempo pace and as I get into good shape that pace drops to about 5:45-5:50/mile pace.  In addition to those 2 key hard workouts each week I believe in a weekly long run that is at a comfortable pace.  This year I started my long run at 60 minutes.  The term "long" is relative just like on the bike.  I have built up to 80 minutes by the end of week 4.  If I recovery extremely well I add 5-10 minutes the following week.  If the long run was a stretch and left me at all sore or tight I stick with it for another week before adding time.  For an Ironman I like to get 6 weeks in a row (from 8 weeks out down to 2 weeks out) running 18-22 miles for the long run.  I typically do that the day after the long ride but sometimes I pick the day with nicer weather to ride long and run on the day that isn't quite as nice since the time spent in the elements is a bit less than half. 

Those staple workouts are in addition to the easy recovery runs, rides, and strength training I do at Barre563.  I attend Barre563 3x a week until mid-April which is when I will begin swimming.  At that time I switch to twice a week at Barre563 hoping to have already gained a good amount of strength from my first 2 months of training.  Good luck and DREAM BIG!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Back in the Saddle...Excited for 2015

On Tueday, February 17th I wrapped up my season coaching 9th grade girls basketball.  I love being part of the staff I am on.  It is a lot of fun working with high school athletes and trying to motivate and inspire their best on and off the court.  I officially started my training on Monday the 16th although since late December when my weight reached a 5 year high at 192 lbs. I began eating healthy and riding the bike 5-7 hours a week.  I have done a nice job of watching my nutrition closely coupled with working out regularly and I have managed to shed 31 lbs. over the past 9 weeks.  I weighed in at 161 this week. 

Week 1 was a great start until the weekend.  I came down with a nasty stomach virus that sidelined my workouts for 2 days and left me weakened and forced to drop my volume down.  My plan for now is just to ride and run along with attending my strength and flexibility class at Barre563.  I will begin swimming the 3rd week in April.  The kids are growing up so fast and I'm constantly trying to find more ways to make the balance of family, career, and training work to continue competing at a high level.  One thing I do to make this happen is wait on my swimming.  I've learned that my body can get into pretty good swim shape (by my standards) if I swim for 4-6 weeks at a higher volume.  Right now I am running and biking about every day.  My hope is to lean down by the 3rd week of April and then begin swimming but drop my running and biking down to 4-5 days a week of each with an emphasis on more quality. 

In 2015 I will again be donating all my race winnings to the iHope Foundation.  To date we have provided 8 students with an iPad and a $1,000.00 scholarship.  We are hoping to award 2 more yet this year.  The iHope Foundation provides low-income students that display outstanding character and work traits with an iPad while in junior high and a promise for a $1,000.00 scholarship upon graduation from high school provided they meet the requirements set for them through high school.  This past winter both students in our school who have been awarded in this year's 8th grade class made the honor roll which was very cool to see.  In a few weeks we will begin the corporate campaign for the foundation.  I will represent businesses during the race season that help build the foundation.  Last year I raced for 16 business supporters who contributed to the iHope Foundation.  My goal this year is 20.  If you'd like to support the iHope Foundation you can click either link on my home page to contribute to either the iPad fund or the scholarship fund.  For donors from Iowa if you donate to the scholarship fund the state of Iowa gives a 25% tax credit in addition to the federal tax deduction that all donations qualify for. 

My big early season race this year will be Challenge Atlantic City.  I raced it last year but did so without training for the Ironman distance event.  I raced often in June before this race and did it on a whim rather than something I was trained and rested for.  This year I'm training with that race in mind and hoping for a good result.  I loved Challenge AC and am super excited to be returning there. This week the training goal is 160 bike miles and 38 run miles.  I'm pretty sore from getting back into things but that is a feeling I've missed and welcome.  My disappointment from the pneumonia at Ironman Chattanooga to end last year fuels my motivation to work harder and do all the little things required to be successful.  If you are beginning your own journey remember that the path to success is paved with consistency.  Some days will be good, and others you will not feel so good.  Remember good results come from consistent training and work.  Thanks for reading.  DREAM BIG!!