Treadmill FAQs

treadmill FAQsHere’s a good article by Alissa Hardiman

Originally found at http://www.runnersworld.com/cold-weather-running/treadmill-faqs

Q: Just how accurate are those “calories burned” numbers?

Short answer: Not terribly.
Longer answer: Treadmills fool us by estimating total calories burned during our time on the machine rather than the net number—i.e., calories burned solely through exercise, above and beyond what we would have used anyway. (We all burn a certain number of calories even at rest.) Here are some simple equations to calculate and compare total calories burned per mile versus net:

For running (5 mph and higher): Total calories burned per mile = .75 x body weight (in pounds); net calories burned per mile = .63 x weight.
For walking (3 to 4 mph): Total calories burned per mile = .53 x body weight; net calories burned per mile = .30 x weight.

Q: Is treadmill running easier than running at the same speed outdoors?

Short answer: Yes.
Longer answer: Treadmill running may feel more taxing, but physiologically it’s actually a bit easier than running outdoors. In his book Treadmill Training for Runners, Rick Morris explains, “Running on the treadmill, you don’t have to overcome the effects of wind resistance and you also have that assistance of a moving belt doing part of the work for you.” To more closely simulate road running, set your treadmill’s incline at one or two percent.

Q: Can I train on a treadmill for a road race?

Short answer: If you must.
Longer answer: You can train for a road race mostly on a treadmill, says Jenny Hadfield, coauthor of Running for Mortals and Marathoning for Mortals and a runnersworld.com columnist. But you’ll have to make a few tweaks. For starters, be sure to increase the incline and run “hills” on the treadmill once or twice a week. And because treadmill belts offer a relatively soft landing, take steps to prepare your body for racing on asphalt:

Strength-train twice a week (lunges, squats, hip extensions, planks, push-ups).
Do at least one short outdoor run each week during the last four weeks of training.
During your race, walk a minute at every mile marker or aid station. This will ease the overall impact on your body and give you a chance to hydrate.
Finally, on race day, run by effort—not by pace or time goals. You’ll be on unfamiliar ground, literally.
Q: Should I wear different shoes on the treadmill?

Short answer: Nah.
Longer answer: “Most runners wear the same shoes whether running inside or out,” says Runner’s World shoes and gear editor Jeff Dengate. If anything, Dengate says, treadmill runners might opt for a lighter pair of shoes that offers less cushioning, because the treadmill’s running surface is softer than most outdoor surfaces. That said, if you wear a shoe with any motion-control features, choose something similar for the treadmill to be sure you have the proper support.

Q: Are treadmills “easier” on your body than running outdoors?

Short answer: Yes and no.
Longer answer: In general, running on a treadmill is less stressful on the body than running outdoors. John Post, the medical director for TrainingBible Coaching, explains that the treadmill absorbs a significant amount of impact, sparing your body. On the other hand, he says, “The downside is that it doesn’t condition the shock-absorbing musculature of the lower extremities like road running does.” Result: Over the long term, heavy treadmill use may actually leave you more prone to injuries like stress fractures.

Q: Why do treadmills use “mph” when runners prefer minutes per mile?

Short answer: Because mph is beginner-friendly.
Longer answer: Most treadmills offer both readings of miles per hour and minutes per mile. Manufacturers include mph because beginners or casual treadmill users may not be familiar with the concept of minutes per mile, which is the measure preferred by experienced runners.

If you’re stuck on an old treadmill that offers only mph, converting to minutes per mile just requires some math. Here is a cheat sheet:

Miles per Hour Minutes per Mile
5.0 12:00
6.0 10:00
7.0 8:34
8.0 7:30
9.0 6:40
10.0 6:00
11.0 5:27
12.0 5:00
Q: Am I better off running faster with no incline, or slower with a steeper incline?

Short answer: Yes!
Longer answer: You must do both for balanced fitness, says Morris. The slower uphill workouts build strength and power, while the faster flat workouts build stamina, endurance, and foot speed. Adjust both speed and incline during your workout, and you can better simulate the changing terrain of a road run.

Q: What’s the difference between a $1,000 treadmill and a $3,000 one?

Short answer: Quality.
Longer answer: Pricier treadmills are built with stronger frames and motors that can endure long-term use, says Morris. For a quality treadmill with a smooth ride, look to spend about $1,000 to $3,000. Machines that cost less than a grand often can’t handle long-term use, and those north of $3,000 are technological overkill for most runners.

Keys to Winter Training

winter trainingFour Powerful Keys to Winter Training

by Hunter Allen

What you do this winter can really make or break your season in the coming year. Winter training is different for everyone since we live in different areas of the world and while some people spend a solid five months indoors, others can ride outside year round. However, there are some vital components to creating a very good winter training program and of course a power meter has a lot to do with it. Before you embark on your official winter training plan, you have to make sure you are well rested and recovered from the long season. Hopefully you have taken a couple weeks off and also given yourself at least two weeks of easy cross-training as this is essential to re-charging your physical and mental battery. Once you are rested, re-charged and ready to go, then your winter should contain at least these four important components: Focused indoor training workout, solid workouts in the “Sweet-Spot”, a cross-training routine and balanced rest period. These four components combine to provide you with a strong winter program that can give you one of the best winter’s ever. Let’s expand on each point, so that you can use them to your advantage.

In most of the US, the winter is quite cold and some of it is going to be spent on the indoor trainer. For all you southern California readers out there, keep on reading and try to incorporate some of these workouts into your routine as well. Even though most of us all love riding our bikes outside, the indoor trainer can provide some really great workouts, since there are no real distractions. No cars, no wind, no hills, no dogs, all things that can get in the way of focused session are not a worry on the indoor trainer. Once you have committed yourself to the indoor trainer and doing some workouts on it, then what workouts should you do? There are two basic types of workouts that I prescribe to my athletes in the winter. Almost all of the workouts that my athletes do in the winter are some permutation of these two basic types: Cadence based and ‘Sweet Spot’. Cadence based workouts typically do not stress the cardiovascular system, but are more focused on improving the muscular system and can range from high rpm efforts emphasizing neuromuscular power to very slow rpm efforts emphasizing muscular strength. What is the purpose of cadence based workouts and why should you do them this winter? The higher cadence workouts help to ensure that you maintain your ability to quickly contract and relax your muscles over the winter, which is a very important skill in cycling. By training your neuromuscular power, you can help to keep that critical ability to quickly change your cadence throughout winter and also enhance it. The indoor workouts for these are relatively simple and can also easily be done outside. One of my favorites is just simply one minute fast pedaling intervals, where you pedal over 110rpm for one minute and then pedal at your self-selected (normal) cadence for a minute and then repeat. This is a great ‘leg burner’, but does not get the heart rate too high and therefore push your training into more an anaerobic zone. On the other side of the coin, lower cadence workouts are also great to do in the winter because they can enhance your muscular strength, which can help you to sprint with more peak wattages and also help you to push a bigger gear into the wind, in a time trial or up a steep climb.

Muscular strength workouts are based around hard, but short intervals done in the biggest gear you can manage at a low rpm. Many people have long believed the myth that riding for hours in a big gear at a slow rpm will increase their muscular strength and consequently make them more ‘powerful’. However, this only makes you good at riding in a big gear at slow rpm’s! Riding at 50rpm for hours on end is just not creating enough muscular stress in order to strengthen the muscles. You can think of this analogy: If you are trying to bench press in a weight room 200lbs, then you need to start at 150lbs and build up to it with low reps, high sets and the most weight you can lift. You have to use heavier and heavier weights to stress the muscle in order for it adapt. Now, if you lifted 100lbs, but one million times, you would never adapt to lift 200lbs one time. This is similar in this ‘big gear’ myth in that when you are pedaling at 50rpm for hours on end, it’s just like lifting 100lbs for a million reps. While 100lbs (metaphorically speaking) is more than your normal pedaling force of 80lbs, it’s just not enough stress on the muscles to get them to strengthen. In order to increase your muscular strength on the bike, then you need to do hard, short bursts of effort in a big gear. For example, put your chain in the 53:12 gear and slow down to about 8-10mph, then while you stay seated, tighten your abdominals, grip your handlebars tightly and then with all your force, turn that gear over until you reach 80rpm. Once you have reached 80rpm, then the amount of force you are putting on the cranks has reduced to a point at which it’s just not enough stress to create muscular strength improvements. You should plan on doing about twenty of these power bursts in a session in order to create enough of an overload to achieve some benefits.

The second type of training that I prescribe to my athletes in the winter is called ‘Sweet Spot’ training (SST). When you ride just below your functional threshold power (FTP), approximately 88-93% of your FTP, you are said to be riding in your ‘Sweet Spot’. Why is it called the ‘sweet spot’? Well, if you examine the graphic below in Figure 1, you can see that when you are in this area of intensity, the level of physiological strain (read-amount of pain!) is relatively low, while the maximum duration (read-time) that you can stay in this area is quite high. As well, you can see that your increase in FTP is greatest in this area, so training in your ‘sweet spot’ really gives you a tremendous ‘bang for your buck’. When you do SST, start out with 15-30 minute efforts and gradually build up to 60-120 minute efforts if you can. These efforts are not easy ones, but you will get a tremendous cardiovascular benefit from doing them this winter. Make sure to do at least one to two sessions per week like this and you’ll see a big difference in your FTP come February.

Cross-training is another key to winter success that I believe in. One of the most important cross-training exercises you can do this winter is some type of core abdominal exercises combined with stretching. A Pilates or yoga class can really help you to develop some strong abdominals which in turn help you to transfer energy from your upper body into your legs and also help to protect your back from injury as well. A yoga class can help lengthen your muscles to put more suppleness in your muscles and also help to prevent injury. If you can, take a class a week or do a video, and that will be enough to make a difference.

For cardio-vascular work, I recommend doing some mountain biking, hiking, trail running, roller blading and also cross-country skiing if you have the snow! Just keep it fun and not too intense, as cross-training is supposed to enhance your cycling and not cause injury or major cardiovascular stress. One caution about starting a new exercise … take it easy for the first 2 weeks. I once had a client that was very fit, and decided to just go out and run 10 miles in the first day of cross-training. Needless to say, he was barely able to walk for the next two weeks and inadvertently pulled a muscle which forced him to take three weeks off completely. So, just be careful and break yourself in slowly when you start doing a new exercise. Cross-training is great to do in the off-season, since we don’t really move our muscles in multiple planes on the bicycle, and it provides some great muscular and cardiovascular stimulus.

The final component of a successful winter program is rest. It doesn’t sound like it’s that big of a deal, but too much training in the winter will make you a “January Star”. It is great to train hard in the winter, as that is the key to really pushing yourself to the next level for the coming year, but if you constantly train hard in the winter, then you’ll peak in January. The key to increasing your FTP this winter and making that your new ‘normal’ fitness level is that you only train intensely for two days in a row. After two intense days, give yourself a rest and then come back again to training. Every other week, make sure that you give yourself two days of easy training after two hard days, so that you can keep your battery charged. Your goal this winter is to never let your ‘batteries’ charge go below 97%. With two days of hard training, your battery will be a 97%, so a day off or day of easy training will allow it to re-charge back to 100%. That way you can balance hard training with proper rest, enter into the season fresh and strong, while at the same time you haven’t turned into one of those rides that wins all of the January rides!

These four components of winter training all combine successfully to ensure that you will create your best winter of training ever. A proper winter program will push up your FTP to the next level, maintain your ability to change cadences and arrive at the start of the season with a fresh mind and ready body for a strong and long season! Be sure to keep your focus this winter as the winter really is the time for you to rise to the next level and make this a breakthrough season!

Winter Outdoor Running Tips

By Coach Lora Erickson, BlondeRunner.com

Many people are nervous to run outside; but it’s really fun to run in the snow and it can be a great break from the treadmill.  Personally I don’t own a treadmill and frankly it bores me, so I am an outdoor runner all.the.way.  I like to have things to look at and move past, so I run outdoor year round.  Yes, even in the deep snow like we are seeing in Utah this time of year.  When I started running nearly 30 years ago they didn’t have the winter running clothes selection they do now-a-days.  You can find gear for any weather conditions, so there are really no excuses.  Here are some tips for running in the snow.

  • Invest in a good pair of trail shoes.  They have more traction and are more water proof to keep your feet warm and dry.  Regular training shoes are very “airy” and allow more water in.  I have never needed to supplement with spikes or traxs for traction when I use trail shoes.  The shoes work just fine for me.
  • Gators keep the snow from coming in the top of the shoes.  Short ones, like the ones I am wearing in the picture at the top of this blog post are perfect.
  • Dress in layers, 10-15 degrees cooler than it is outside.  You will get warm when you run.  I usually double up with two light weight dry wicking shirts (one long sleeve) with running tights and do just fine.  If you dress in layers it’s easy to adjust your temperature by peeling of a layer when needed.  In temperatures 20°s or below (when it’s snowing a lot) I add a light weight waterproof breaker.  I usually wear gloves with my wool mittens (they look like oven mitts but I’m warm) and my Blonde Runner earwarmer head band too.   (pictured below)

  • Wear visible clothes, use lights and try to run in a group.  Safety in numbers.
  • I don’t usually wear a facemask but some people do.  I’ve seen a funny hat/facial hair combo for sale before.  Check this out: http://blonderunner.com/2012/11/funny-facial-hair-knit-accessories-winter-training-here-i-come/
  • If possible run in the daytime when it’s easier to be seen and you can view your footing better.
  • If you run in the road, run against traffic and move over for vehicles.
  • Run on cleared sidewalks whenever possible.  Snowblowers cut perfect running paths on sidewalks.  This will also keep you safe from cars that might lose control and slide.
  • Be aware of your surrounds.  Watch for vehicles pulling in or out of driveways or roadway turns.
  • Be careful of slanted drive ways or cambered roads.  These paths can be extra slippery because of the angle.
  • Choose wide road ways with less traffic whenever possible.  More space is always good.
  • If it’s currently snowing, wear a hat with a brim.  This will keep the snow out of your eyes and prevent you from blinking yourself to death (grin).
  • Take it slow around corners; I try to keep my feet flat and resist pushing off my toes which can cause you to slip.  When you keep your feet flat it gives you more surface area which is more stable.  I usually shift my center of balance back slightly to do this.
  • Run on fresh snow rather than packed snow or ice, you will have better traction.
  • Be careful when you are running on areas with refrozen tracks, they are hard to see especially if new snow has fallen over them.  They can create unexpected dips and grooves that can make you turn your ankle.  Be sure and warm up and stretch your ankles before you head out.
  • It takes extra time to warm up in the winter, so be sure and a lot more of your workout to warming up.  I often warm up on my indoor bicycle before I go out for a run.
  • Stay hydrated.  In the winter months it’s not as tempting to drink water and the dry air takes a lot of moisture from our body as we breathe.  Be sure and drink water with electrolyte regularly.  To learn more read my Cellular Hydration post here:  http://blonderunner.com/2012/12/stay-hydrated-the-importance-of-cellular-hydration-electrolytes/
  • Make a workout of it.  To mix it up I like to utilize the deep soft snow by running in it for 30-60 second intervals.  It’s really great for strengthening your lower abs, quads, core and hipflexors.
  • Have a blast!  It’s fun to run in the snow!

Run Happy,

Coach Lora Erickson

www.BlondeRunner.com

To learn more about running, take my Running Class Saturday January 26, 2013, 9:30 – 11 a.m.
To learn more visit http://blonderunner.com/2012/11/running-class-with-blonde-runner/  or contact Coach Lora directly at lora@blonderunner.com

Preparing and Training for Your First Triathlon

Preparing and training for your first triathlonPreparing and training for your first triathlon

You can do it! Let that be my first bit of advice when preparing and training for your first triathlon.  All you’ve got to do is cross the finish line and you will be awarded the title of triathlete.  For most of us the reasons for signing up for a triathlon are peer pressure, looking for another challenge, or a combination of both.  That is exactly what you need to have in preparing for your first triathlon, support and the excitement of challenging yourself.  I have been inspired by so many who have been doing triathlons for years but never really considered myself a candidate because I am a terrible runner.  Everyone comes into the sport with a weak spot.  I suspect that for most it’s swimming, that’s very understandable since most of us haven’t spent time in the pool outside of the irregular hotel stay or pool party during the summer months.  Overcoming your weakness isn’t an overnight deal.  It takes serious commitment, but you can do it.  One of my favorite books that I’ve never read, but am completely in love with is “Slow, Fat, Triathlete.”   Yep, I’ve never read it, but I love the sentiment.  You don’t have to be quick, slim, and super fit to be a triathlete, you just have to participate and finish.  OK, so here’s how I would approach preparing and training for your first triathlon.

Determine Your Goals

Determine how long your first triathlon will be. Starting your training for your first triathlon will all depend upon what your current aerobic levels are and what your goals are. What distance do you want to do? 1/2 sprint, sprint or olympic? A sprint length – 15miles total is a great first choice. Training will allow you to build up endurance, shed some extra pounds, improve your health immensely AND will not take a lot of time out of your busy schedule. If you are starting from scratch, I would recommend triathlons with total mileage between 15 to 20 miles. This will allow you to ‘test’ yourself. You will be able to get familiar with your technique in the two transition areas – T1 and T2, it will allow you to test your equipment PLUS you will have a good time since you will not be concerned with placing your first time.

I will focus on getting you through your first sprint program – 15 miles.

Building A Base (2-6 Months)

Very important first step. We can not just go out and run 5 miles or swim a 1/2 mile to start with? Our joints will fall apart! We need to get our joints used to these new stresses that we will be putting on them. Joints take longer to build up than aerobic stamina. So we build a base. A simple walk/run routine is best. Overweight beginners may find that their knees hurt when starting a conservative running program. NOT TO WORRY! You may be better off starting with biking and shedding off some extra pounds before running. Brisk walking for a few weeks will really help your body transition to jogging and then to running. Your joints will thank you. Everyone has varying degrees of fitness, some are active, but just not used to doing the particular sport.  Listen to your body and be patient. You don’t need to be able to run 3 miles, bike 14, and swim 500-800 meters tomorrow.  Use each week to slowly advance and by race day you’ll be mentally and physically prepared.

Rule#1: The most important rule is to follow the 10% rule. Never go up in training distance or duration by more than 10% the following week. If you do, you will be sorry.

Rule#2: Always schedule a ‘rest’ week once a month. One of the most important aspects to training is REST! You can’t keep going up by 10% every week – you will burn out. You need a 30-50% decrease in duration/distance AND intensity for a whole week at least once a month. Not to worry, you will not lose your base but will come back stronger.

With these rules, you can easily come up with a routine in the run, bike, or swim.

When building a base, try to do your single event training 3-4 times/week.

If you are new to training, focus on just either the run or the bike for 2-6 months – yes months – to build up your aerobic base. You may find that starting all three sports at once will be too much. Once you have focused on one event for 2-6 months, then you may add the next/other one or two in with your training while ALWAYS following rules 1 and 2.

Swim, Bike and Run Training Plan

Once you have built a base, you can start training for all three sports. Typically for a sprint triathlon, you only need to train twice a week in each of the three sports. That is 6 days with one rest day. OR you can have one day where you do two events, say a swim then a run. Then four others days where you just do one training session per day. That will give you two days off per week (my favorite).

To make your training schedule, follow the Rules (1 and 2), and make a plan where you swim, bike and run two times/week.

For weak events, you may slip in a third day of training per week for that specific event to help.

Tips for running, if you are like me and running is not your fun sport, start by walking/jogging for one mile, do this every-other day for a week – possibly two.  Then advance to jogging the whole mile 3x a week.  After this point you can begin to increase your distance and you’ll find that your pace will naturally increase as your body becomes accustomed to the journey.

Tips for biking, similar to running start off with casual rides, short distances at a conversational pace, but frequently.  Everyday or if possible twice a day, this gets your bottom used to the saddle and your legs and knees ready to add some distance.  After a week or two, take a longer bike ride, 7 miles or so, and take a nice rest day afterward.  Make time for a long bike rides every week and increase your milage each time.  It won’t take very long before your doing 20 or 30 mile rides.  These make great Facebook posts.

Tips for swimming, do not be surprised that you find yourself unbelievably out of breath and out of your comfort zone your first couple times in the pool.  Swimming is not something our bodies do naturally, using arms instead of legs, being vertical instead of horizontal, and breathing out face down in the water and breathing in on your side. Give yourself a at least two weeks of swim time before making any rash decisions.  Most people believe they are bad swimmers, until they realize they just need a little coaching and some time in the water.  Ask for help while at the pool.  I am seriously grateful for an older gentalman 70+ who gave me some pointers and a lot of encouragement when I first got in the water.  Go easy and push yourself when you feel you are ready.  Watch youtube videos on swimming, practice your stroke outside of the pool, and do push-ups to increase arm strength. After you can swim one mile, its all downhill from there. If you can float on your back, you’ll never drown.

Here is an example:


Week

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Sun

1

Swim-X

Run-20 min

Off Bike-X Run-20 min Swim-X Off Bike-X

2

Swim-X+10%

Run-22 min

Off Bike-X+10% Run-22 min Swim-X+10% Off Bike-X+10%

Pre-Race Training – Final 13 weeks

For the final 13 week leading up to your sprint triathlon, go to Sprint Program

I recommend only one book to start your training whatever your current level is. The book is Triathloning for Ordinary Mortals by Steven Jonas, M.D. This is the best book for starting from scratch. Steven Jonas does triathlons for fun, not professionally, so it is very easy to relate to.

Besides learning how to run or to train for a triathlon, I also have The Next Level (weight-lifting). From having the experience of doing both at the same time, I would encourage you to check out both sites. BUT if your just starting any exercise routine after a long hiatus then pick your favorite. Contrary to popular belief, you actually can lose weight on a lifting routine if you are serious and don’t go to the gym for social hour. This would consist of a routine with lots of reps – so as not to build a lot of muscle (lots of muscle is counter-productive for the serious triathlete) combined with a walk/jog routine (Starting from Scratch). This might be a smarter way to start-up than starting training for all three of the triathlon events at once.

Starting with a weight training program with the walk/jog routine will build up your bone density, strengthening your joints, getting your muscles awakened from their long sleep. It will take a couple of months for your metabolism to ‘reorganize’ itself. Your cells will take this period to reconfigure its bio-machinery: enzymatic pathways, energy systems, different metabolic pathways, etc…this is a big step to get used to – your body has probably been in hibernation for quite a while. During this period you will feel sore, maybe worn out at times…you will probably not want to go back to the gym most of the time BUT if you can hold out for 2-3 months you will start feeling better, a lot less sore and you will start having confidence – getting that mental edge. Once this happens, you will start gaining momentum in your workout and how you feel. This feeling will auto-accelerate so you will want to go to the gym now! If you don’t go then you will feel ‘drowsy’ from doing nothing since doing nothing is allowing your metabolism to slow.

In preparing and training for your first triathlon – always remember, you can do this!  Start of easy and slow, and keep at it.  Post your accomplishments on Facebook, this will give you the encouragement and maybe a training partner or two to help you along your journey to becoming a triathlete.

Your thoughts on training for your first triathlon:

  • Who inspired you to begin training for your first triathlon?
  • What steps would you suggest for something thinking about preparing and training for a triathlon
  • How do you train and prepare for a triathlon during the winter?

Training for a Half IronMan

Training for a Half Ironman Triathlon

By Ken Mierke and Joe Friel

This is a  repost from http://www.trifuel.com/training/triathlon-training/preparing-for-a-half-ironman-triathlon

The half ironman triathlon presents unique challenges. This distance is short enough that a well-conditioned athlete pushes throughout the race, but long enough to demand disciplined pacing and effective nutrition strategies. Preparing for a half ironman requires balancing long workouts, designed to improve endurance, with higher intensity workouts, designed to increase the pace that can be maintained for the race duration. Half ironman racing also requires plans for effective fueling, hydrating, and pacing.

Training

The two key workouts for a half ironman triathlon are both brick workouts (bike followed by run). The first is a long brick workout at an easy pace. The second is a race-pace brick workout.

A half ironman is a relatively long race. The endurance to hold up for race duration is always the triathlete’s most important ability. A brick workout at a basic endurance pace, gradually increasing in duration, is key for building that endurance.

Begin with a one-to two-hour ride followed by a 30-minute to one-hour run. Experienced athletes who have already developed a solid endurance base can start at the high end of the range. Gradually build the duration of these workouts until a three- to four-hour ride followed by a one- to two-hour run is comfortable. These workouts should be completed at a basic endurance pace (zone 2 in the Training Bible system of monitoring intensity). Both the ride and the run should take place on flat to gently rolling terrain so that intensity can be kept under control. This workout is the priority during the base period.

After establishing a solid endurance base, a race-pace brick becomes the priority workout. This workout increases cycling and speeds that can be maintained for the half ironman distances. During your build phase, perform one of these workouts each week.

Workout intensity is based on each athlete’s ability. Beginner triathletes should be more concerned about developing the endurance to finish a half ironman than about speed. On the other hand, intermediate and advanced triathletes are not worried about being able to finish, but are concerned with the pace that they can maintain for the duration.

Begin with a ride of about one hour at endurance pace (zone 2). After the hour is up, increase speed and attempt to maintain the intensity that can be sustained for the duration of the half ironman race. For beginning athletes, this will be at endurance pace or just slightly faster. For intermediates, this will be somewhat faster than endurance pace and will probably fall in the upper half of heart rate zone 3. Advanced athletes will maintain sub-threshold pace, approximately five to eight beats per minute below lactate threshold, in the lower half of heart rate zone 4. Increase this workout conservatively, monitoring recovery closely. It can bring quick improvements, but can also lead quickly to overtraining.

Do this workout on terrain similar to the race course. Keep intensity steady and maintain relatively high cadence. Eat and drink exactly according to your race plan. Maintain the intensity that you could realistically hold for race duration. Harder is not better.

Begin running as soon after the ride as possible. For the first segment of the run, hold the pace that feels sustainable for race distance. Continue to eat and drink as you will during the race. Finish the workout with at least 20 minutes of easy running.

Begin using 30- to 45-minute, race-pace segments on the bike and 20- to 30-minute, race-pace segments on the run. Increase duration of the race pace segments consistently, but gradually. These workouts develop efficiency at race intensity and allow practicing the skills of pacing, hydrating, and fueling.

Race-pace workouts should never approach race duration. Even advanced athletes should build up to no more than 50 percent of race duration at race pace. Full efforts should be saved for race day. The time required for recovery from huge efforts, such as 75 percent of half ironman distance at race pace, is not worth the benefit. Save those full efforts for race day and concentrate on consistent and efficient training until then.

Fueling and Hydrating

For an international-distance triathlon, most of the energy to be expended is already stored in the body at the start. While fueling and hydrating during those races can be important, they become even more important at the half-ironman distance, when much of the required fuel must be consumed during the race.

Fueling begins hours before the race, at breakfast. The goal is to provide the body with adequate fuel without overloading the digestive system. Practicing this before workouts is critical. We can provide guidelines, but every athlete is different and finding the unique combination of foods that work best for you is a trial and error process. Consume 400 to 800 calories about three hours before a half ironman. Try to consume one gram of protein for every three to four grams of carbohydrate.

Consuming water and carbohydrate immediately pre-race can benefit as well. Obviously fueling and hydrating during the swim are impractical, but food and water consumed directly before the swim start can be delivered to the working muscles during the swim. We recommend consuming 100 to 300 calories of carbohydrate and 8 to 12 ounces of water immediately before the start. Make sure to consume this last feeding as soon before the start as possible. This prevents an insulin response leaving blood sugar low at the race start.

On the course, hydration is a top priority. A 150-pound athlete should consume 20 to 30 ounces of water per hour. Take this very seriously. Follow a plan and do not rely on thirst. Drink water or sports drink approximately every 15 minutes. The excitement of the race atmosphere can work against you in this area. Some athletes find it effective to set a watch to beep every few minutes to remind them to fuel and hydrate.

During a half ironman, a triathlete should consume as much carbohydrate as can be digested and absorbed. For most athletes who have practiced fueling strategies during training, this amounts to about 300 calories of carbohydrate per hour for a 150-pound athlete. Each athlete is different, so experiment with this during workouts to find out how much your digestive system can handle. Find how much carbohydrate you can digest without it sitting in your stomach.

Immediately after the race, providing the body with nutrients required to refuel and to rebuild damaged tissue is critical to minimize recovery time. Make sure to consume at least 400 calories of carbohydrate and 100 calories of protein right after the race. Several excellent products designed to be used immediately post-workout are on the market.

Race Strategy

Very few athletes finish a half ironman thinking that they didn’t go hard enough early in the race. Consistent pacing is necessary to perform to your potential. Pace conservatively, especially during the first half of the bike and the first half of the run. A triathlete who rides two minutes too slowly during the first half of the bike has the opportunity to gain back most of that time. A triathlete who rides two minutes too fast will lose much more than two minutes on the run.

Race pace workouts will teach you the intensity that can be sustained on race day. Even though workouts didn’t approach race duration, a full taper plus the excitement of the race atmosphere usually allow a pace to be sustained longer. The effort that enabled effective running after the bike during workouts should do the same in the race.

Intensity should be steady throughout the race, but perceived exertion will gradually increase. The correct pace will feel easy early in the race. The same speed feels quite different at mile 10 of the bike than at mile 50. Performing to your potential is never easy, even on the best days.

Taper

A correct taper increases a triathlete’s fitness dramatically. In the last several weeks before an event it is too late to significantly increase fitness, but it is not too late to increase fatigue. After a significant taper, athletes store more fuel, deliver more oxygen to muscles, and maintain higher intensities than would have been possible before the taper. Reducing training for two to three weeks before the race will not reduce fitness. Rest!

Hard training athletes should use a gradual three-week taper. Heavy training for a half ironman leaves deep levels of fatigue. We recommend reducing training volume to about 70 percent of normal beginning three weeks before the race, to about 50 percent two weeks before the race, and to about 40 percent the week of the race. It is important to maintain some intensity. Dropping all intensity during a taper reduces red blood cell volume and decreases the efficiency of movements. Reduce workout duration, but maintain segments at race pace several times per week. A shortened version of the race-pace brick done every 72 to 96 hours will do this nicely while allowing you to rehearse your pacing strategy, also.

A half ironman can be an exhilarating experience when proper training, taper, nutrition, and pacing strategies all come together on race day. This requires planning, discipline, and hard work, but aren’t those all part of what triathlon is all about?

Ken Mierke and Joe Friel are both Ultrafit coaches. Ken’s business, Fitness Concepts, is in Annandale, VA. Joe Friel is the author of the The Triathlete’s Training Bible. Article originally published for Inside Triathlon.

What to Eat During a Half Ironman

Hammer Gel RasberryA great blog post from Gordo Byrn on what to eat and how to pace yourself during a half ironman.  Here’s a link to the full article

11 Steps to make your half ironman an amazing experience.  What to eat and how to pace yourself for your half ironman.  

[1] Go out easy on the swim – the swim makes no difference to your overall performance. Use it as a warm-up for the bike. Two minutes faster on the swim can result in 20 minutes slower on the run. I ran past 250+ people at Wildflower last year. In an IM race, I typically pass 5-800 people with this strategy.

[2] Go out easy on the bike – your body will need about 6-10 minutes to make the adjustment from swimmer to rider. Take the first part of the ride easy in an easy gear. Initially drink water or highly diluted sports drink. Don’t start eating until your HR has settled to your normal bike pace. It is okay for the HR to be a little high at the start but if this is the case then you should feel like you are pedalling VERY easy. Remember, it is a long day – there will be plenty of time to hammer later.

[3] About 15-20K into the bike it is time to start eating. By now you have let your HR settle and you have found a pace that feels comfortable. Personally, I will be racing Vineman at 10-15 bpm below my AT. On my first 1/2 IM I was 20-25 bpm below my bike AT. For your first race, remain aerobic at all costs.

[4] 45-75K is, for me, the crux of the bike – this is where you should be fueling up and maintaining concentration. It is easy to get distracted in this period. Maintain concentration, maintain fluid intake and EAT.

[5] Overall, the purpose of the bike is to replace what you lost on the swim and prepare yourself for the run. There are ZERO benefits to hammering – let the hammerheads go. You will see them later [if you don’t then they are faster than you anyhow 😉 Find a steady, comfortable pace. Stay aero, hydrate and focus. Remember that good body position is golden in a long race.

[6] Now the run. Start the run SLOW – are you noticing a pattern here? Many people do 1-5 above and then arrive at the run feeling great. They then blow their load in the first mile. Remember that you are about to run a half marathon. I normally leave a frozen bottle of drink at T2 so I can have a cool beverage to start the run. I run the first two miles real slow. Normally, my stomach is full of food and water from the bike. Stitches are common as is a feeling that your legs will never come right. Believe in yourself, believe in your legs and they will come right somewhere between the 3-5K mark (assuming you listened to me about the bike!).

[7] Personally, I like to think about the run as really 4 x 5K. My strategy is to run the first 5K slowly. All I want to do is find my rhythm, hydrate and ensure that I am fueled up for the real race, about to begin shortly. Don’t sweat your HR. The name of the game is getting your running muscles going.

[8] The second and third 5K pieces are where it all happens. You are still focusing on running steady. Here you can use your HRM to make sure that you don’t run too fast and also make sure that you are not dogging it. If you are having trouble getting your HR up then get on the sports drink or cola if available. If your HR is running very high but you feel OK then this could be a sign of dehydration – water, water, water.

[9] Somewhere in the 8-16K region, you will have a period that feels absolutely awful (at least I always do). Stick with it. It will only last about 5-10 minutes and then you will be through it. Push through these problem times and you will get out the other side. Believe in yourself as an athlete.

[10] Hopefully, you are now around the 15K mark. You are tired but a bit stoked that things have gone so well. You can sense the finish line and you can do the math to see that you are going to beat your goals. You have run a smart race to here and will achieve/exceed your goals. Now it is HAMMER TIME. If you feel like it then rev your pace up. You will know the right amount to increase. Keep it aerobic but it is OK to get a good sweat going. Remember to continue to take fluids at every aid station, particularly around the 15/16/17/18K marks.

[11] Once you hit mile 12 (19K) spend everything you have, or simply enjoy the tailend of the race. I have done both.

To get Hammer Gel at a great price visit our sponsor Hammer Nutrition. 

Your Thoughts:

  • What do you like to eat durning a triathlon?
  • How do you pace yourself in a long endurance race?

Pre-Race Packing List

Make Sure You’ve Got What You NeedRock Cliff Triathlon - Transition

You’ve spent months preparing for your race, so the last thing you need is to have your mind elsewhere hoping you didn’t forget something. We’ve prepared a checklist of things to bring for your triathlon so you can prepare your gear and be ready for the big day. While the list isn’t fully inclusive or may include things you won’t need it is worthy to review.

We’ll break them down according to Swim, Bike, Run and Personal:

Swim
Swim Cap
Wetsuit
Goggles (spare pair)
Anti Fog Solution
Ear Plugs
Swim Suit
Timing Chip (issued morning of …)

Bike
Bike (can’t forget that!)
Helmet (Required to race)
Water Bottle/s & Cages
Aero Water Bottle Straw & Elastic
Bar-end plugs (Required to race)
USAT regulations require all handlebar and aerobar ends to be plugged. Since these can easily fall out, you should pack some extras just in case.
Why are these plugs required? If you crash, an unplugged bar-end can take a core sample of your leg/body.
Spare Tubes
CO2 Pump and cartridge
Hex Tool
Cycling Shirt, Shorts, Shoes, & Gloves
Bike Pump
Race Wheels

Run
Running hat or visor
Running shoes, shirt, shorts, & socks
Fuel Belt
Orthotics
Reflective Tape
Sunglasses
Water Bottle

Personal
ID (Including USAT Card)
Clothing (jersey, singlet, tri-shorts, socks, sports bra, etc)
Towels for the staging area
Transition Bag
Body Glide/Vaseline (to prevent chafing)
Post-Race clothing
Flip Flops/Sandals
Rain Gear
Warm Clothing
Coat
Sunglasses
Race Registration information
Energy/Sodium Pills, Gels, & Bars
Electrolyte Drinks
Watch (Garmin)
Heart Rate Monitor & Chest Strap
Advil/IB
Camera
Directions to Race
Head Lamp/Flash Light
Race Number Belt
Race Number
Rx Glasses
Sun Block
Ipod (This is for pre-race listening. Do NOT take it with you on the bike or run).
Wallet
Cash

What have you forgotten and realized it at the race?

What to Eat Before a Triathlon

pre-triathlon dinner mealWhat types of foods are best? Pasta is a traditional favorite among athletes, but other carbohydrate-rich options include bread, cereal, bagels, potatoes, oatmeal, quinoa, rice, pizza (go easy on the cheese) and sweet potatoes. It’s also important to get some protein the day before your race, so include a 3-4 oz. serving of fish, meat or tofu in your dinner. Avoid high-fiber or gas-forming foods like beans and any type of food that may upset your stomach or can interfere with sleep.

If you’re traveling to a new location for your triathlon, make sure you plan your meals in advance and be sure your favorite foods are available in the race city. Some athletes prefer not to take any chances and pack their favorite foods to bring with them.

The day before your race, spread your calories out throughout the day, so that you’re eating something every two to three hours. Eat three normal-sized meals and two to four snacks. About 65-70% of your calories come from carbohydrates, so try to add an extra serving of carbs to your meals and make sure your snacks are mostly carbs. Stick to healthy options and try to avoid sugary junk foods.

Try to eat your pre-triathlon dinner somewhere between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., so you’ll have plenty of time to digest before you go to bed. If you eat on the early side, you can also have a small snack a couple of hours later.

Pre-Triathlon breakfast mealBe sure to finish your breakfast at least 90 minutes before the triathlon start. Don’t have a huge breakfast and stick with mostly carbs and some protein. Some examples of good pre-triathlon breakfast foods (again, don’t experiment with any new foods) include: a bagel or toast with peanut butter; a banana and an energy bar; or a bowl of oatmeal. Drink plenty of water and make sure you use the facilities before the race.

30 minutes before the race have a GU or Hammer Gell and you are ready to rock your triathlon.

View other food/diet and nutrition articles by our sponsor Hammer Nutrition

Your Comments:

  • Do you like a big carb meal before your event or do you take it a little lighter?
  • What is the best breakfast you’ve had before a race?
  • Any great or terrible pre-race meal stories – we want to know yours!
  • How much breakfast do you eat?

Barefoot Running by Dr. Matt Evans

Barefoot runningThis has been a hot topic in the running, sports medicine, and, obviously, marketing for the past few years.  There are two major camps in this debate.  One supports modern running shoes stating that they help prevent chronic running injuries like tendonitis and stress fracture, through cushioning, supporting the arch and preventing excess motion like pronation.  The other argues that humans have been running with no, or minimal, shoes for thousands of years and modern running shoes are messing with normal biomechanics that generally work just fine.  I will attempt to address this issue with what information we have to date.

Running is a repetitive sport and its risk lies in the repetition of the impact forces on the body when the foot strikes the ground.  This impact is absorbed by every body part from head to toe (but in reverse order).  How much each body part absorbs depends somewhat on your size and running style.  Nonetheless, we can divide it up into two areas:  1) muscles and tendons, 2) bones and joints.  Generally, people that land towards the front of their foot put more of the stress on their muscles and tendons and people that land on the back of their foot (heel strike) put more stress on the bones and joints.  Some people just naturally prefer running one way or another, but what we wear on our feet can greatly influence this.

To understand this we have to dissect the modern running shoe.  Really, there are three objectives with making these shoes: 1) Cushion-mostly in the heel which makes the heel elevated above the toes.  2) Arch support.  3) Stability or Motion control-this is an attempt to prevent ankle and foot wobble, mostly pronation in the end.  This is done by providing some stiffness to the area behind the toes and making the base of the shoe wider.

All of these things sound good, but some would argue that they are influencing people to heel strike and that heel strike is not natural.  It may throw-off the natural gait and make you at greater risk for stress fractures.  Anyone who has tried to heel strike while running barefoot has quickly found out that it doesn’t work.  It just hurts after a little while.  One recent study showed that running barefoot generated less ground collision forces than running in modern, cushioned running shoes.  It was argued that heel striking creating increased ground collision forces.  One study from the eighties showed that people wearing more expensive running shoes were two times more likely to be injured than those with cheaper shoes.  If you assume that more expensive shoes in the eighties were more supportive, then this supports the barefoot camp.

Another argument against running shoes is that a taller/wider heel lengthens the lever arm of heel motion.  This may actually be increasing the wobble forces that contribute to pronation.  A comparison can be made to trying to walk or even run in high heels (I am not admitting to anything!).  This is not an easy thing to do.  Sure, it looks neat, but from behind you can really see how instability is maximized.

Enemies of the unshod would point to the anecdotal evidence that over-pronators with pain or people with plantar fasciitis feel better with arch support.  And we can’t forget about the potential for cold injury and skin trauma.

Conversely, many will point to the Tarahumara people of Mexico or runners in Africa as support for people who have run incredible distances successfully for centuries with no or minimal shoes as proof that we were meant to run without the added support of modern running shoes.  The only problem with this theory is that in the U.S. we have grown up wearing shoes.  We were them to school, to work, and through most of the winter, and our feet become accustomed to them.  If we wore sandals throughout the year it might be a different.Running Barefoot - Photo by John Lacko

Herein lies much of the problem with switching to barefoot, or minimalist, running: most of our feet aren’t ready for it.  If you have ever tried to do your running on the beach you have likely paid for it the next day with a lot of soreness in the muscles in your lower leg and foot.  Many people jump into it too fast and get into trouble with tendonitis, strains, skin problems, and plantar fasciitis.  This transition needs to be done slowly.  Most of the injuries we are seeing with barefoot runners are related to switching too quickly. Walk barefoot first, then only running a mile or so barefoot initially and gradually increasing thereafter.  Gradually progressing your running surface is also a good idea (grass to dirt to road).  This transition can take more than a month to allow the muscles of the lower leg and foot to grow stronger and to build up the callous needed.  Strengthening exercises are a good idea if you decide to make the switch.  There are some people for whom barefoot running is not going to work.  This is likely best addressed on a case by case basis.

In the end there is no good evidence out there that shows that modern running shoes cause injuries or barefoot running decreases injuries.  Perhaps the most important question is not what you wear while you are running, but what you wear when you are not running to predict how successful you are going to be with it.

Matt Evans, MD

Dr. Matt Evans Dr. Matt Evans is a sports medicine doctor practicing with Utah Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. Dr. Evans offers comprehensive Sports Medicine care for athletes and non-athletes alike, and his goal is to treat the whole person without surgery, if possible.

Your Thoughts:

  • Do you run barefoot?
  • Minimalist shoes, are they a fad or are you a believer?
  • How long did it take you to transition to running barefoot or in minimalist shoes?
  • Do you think you’ll get there eventually?

18 Week Half Ironman Training Program

Utah Half Ironman - RaceTri August 25,2012

The Utah Half is just around the corner and many of you may have your schedules down pat, but here is a excellent article on training for a half Ironman. This article is republished by permission from TriNewbies.com.
Here’s the link

The following program is designed for the triathlete who has competed in several triathlons, perhaps even a season of triathlons, preferably Olympic Distance Races. It also takes into consideration he or she can run at least 7 miles or about an hour with relative ease, swim at least 5000 yards per week and ride at least 25-30 miles 3 times per week on the bike. A half Ironman is a big step-up from the standard Tri. It is definitely doable, you just have to race and train smarter.

Click here to view the schedule

The first 12 weeks of the program is considered a base building phase gradually increasing mileage and yardage. A speedwork/quality phase makes up weeks 13-16 with weeks 17 and 18 dedicated to the taper. You will also notice three recovery weeks on weeks 4, 8 and 12. These are important. Stick to them. By the end of the base building phase, some of you may start to get a little grumpy and irritable. This is due to the fact that you are pushing that “overtrained” state. Fortunately, the speedwork phase begins the following week. During this period you will be cutting back on the mileage/yardage while maintaining your overall endurance. This will also provide you with the added rest for which are looking. You will probably experience an increase in energy and your attitude will start to err towards the positive side! This is also a time when you must begin to use your head and train smart! An improper approach to speedwork can lead to injuries in all three events. We will discuss this further as we break down the individual activities.

The base building phase focuses on general aerobic training and should include the use of a heart rate monitor. If you do not own one, than I suggest you make the purchase. There are several on the market and all do a fine job. Refer to the Tri Links page for more information on heart rate monitors. And you do not have to buy the most expensive. However, you will want a model that has at least an overall time display. This will keep you from having to wear both a watch and HR monitor when you run.

I subscribe to the Maffetone method of determining your aerobic heart rate zone. This is just one method of heart rate training and certainly not the only one. You will find a basic description of this method as well as the tradtional 220-method in the article Follow Your Heart: Methods of Heart Rate Training located in the Triathlon FAQ’s section.

According to Dr. Maffetone, the following formula will give you your aerobic heart rate zone:

180 minus your age will give you your upper range in beats per minute. Then subtract 10 to find your lower range in beats per minute. If you feel this range is too high then bring everything down 5-10 beats per minute.

Ex: A 37 year old individual in descent shape-

180 – 37 = 143 This would be the upper range.

143 – 10 = 133 This is the lower range.

Therefore, the aerobic range of this particular individual is 133-143. You will find a complete breakdown of Dr. Maffetone’s method of HR training on the Tri FAQ’s page. Now according to Dr. Maffetone, this should be fine for the run and the bicycle. However, some folks have a hard time sustaining that high a heart rate on the bike. So an adjustment downward may be necessary.

The heart rate monitor should be used as a means of keeping yourself in “aerobic” check. BE STRICT with yourself and stick to your aerobic levels. Do not let anyone else influence your training. If you have been training with a partner or are currently looking for one, explain to the individual what your goals are and make sure he/she will go along. I also suggest purchasing Dr. Maffetone’s book “Training For Endurance.” I am really not trying to single out or promote his materials, I just feel he does a nice job of conveying his message while keeping things simple and easy to understand. And even if you do not fully agree with his HR training zones, the book is extremely informative and can be applied to any type of training program.

** I have included an extra workout in weeks 9-17 for each activity. You will find each highlighted in red. They include a Saturday swim, a Friday bike ride and a Sunday long walk. Each will be discussed below in their respective section. They are considered recovery workouts but will also contribute to base building within your overall program.

Swimming: The swim portion of the half Ironman is 1.5 miles and a set of swimming workouts for the entire program can be found at the bottom of this page. They were designed for training in a 25 yard pool. If you are swimming in a 25 meter pool, you can use the same workouts. For a 50 meter pool, there will be some changes. You are certainly not bound by these workouts so feel free to tweak them as you see fit. Please see the breakdown below:

25 Yard (meter) Pool – usually standard length
1 length = 25 yards (meters)
1 lap (2 lengths) = 50 yards (meters)
2 laps (4 lengths) = 100 yards (meters)
½ mile = about 800 yards = 32 lengths
1 mile = about 1700 yds (meters) = 68 lengths
1.5 miles = about 2500 yards = 100 lengths

50 Meter Pool
1 length = 50 meters
2 lengths = 100 meters
½ mile = about 800 meters = 16 lengths
1 mile = about 1500 meters = 30 lengths
1.5 miles = about 2300 meters = 46 lengths

When you read the swim workouts, you will notice that I did include yardage for stroke drills but did not specify the type of drill. If you are having difficulty with your stroke and you are without a swim coach, I suggest you purchase Terry Laughlin’s book and/or video series (800-609-SWIM) or Steve Tarpinian’s video (800-469-2538). I have not viewed either one but I understand they are full of drills and are terrific!

***The main set of each workout is based on repetitive swims with very little rest between each. Swim these relaxed. The idea is to build endurance while swimming aerobically, NOT fast. You will find your speed will begin to increase naturally. In order to stay aerobic, periodically check your heart rate throughout the set. The quickest way to do this is place your finger under your chin/neck, find your pulse and count the beats for a six second count and add a zero to the total. For example:

14 beats in 6 seconds = 140 beats per minute.

This reading is not as accurate as would be displayed on a heart rate monitor, however, I have attempted to wear a HR strap and monitor on a set of 100 freestyles (do not bother trying this, it is futile!) and found the finger-to-throat test is certainly accurate enough. Besides, it is all we swimmers have! Try to keep your heart rate between 140 – 160 beats per minute. For folks in their 40’s and up, try to keep your rate closer to 140, maybe even a bit less. For athletes in their late twenties to mid thirties, try to keep it closer to 150. And for those in their twenties and younger, 160 should be fine. The idea behind this method of training is to prepare your heart rate for the bike ride upon exiting the water during a race. The closer your heart rate is to your bike training rate, the better the outcome of your entire race. For example:

Let us say you are in your early 40’s and for eighteen weeks the bulk of your aerobic bike training was at an average heart rate of 125 bpm (beats per minute). Come race time, you exit the swim with a heart rate of 175 bpm. As you begin the bike ride, you are now a full 50 beats per minute above your bicycle training rate! Within a mile or two the ride, your heart rate will drop, but probably not the full 50 beats. More than likely, it will settle in at about 145-155 beats per minute or a 20-30 bpm recovery. Thus you will be riding the 25 mile/40k bike coarse with a heart rate some 20-30 beats higher than your training rate. And this will be the beginning of the end, for you will pay the price on the run. Now, if you were to exit the water in the same race with your heart rate closer to 140 or 150 beats per minute, and you recovered the same 20-30 bpm during the bike ride, your heart rate would settle in somewhere between 120 and 130 bpm – your normal bicycle training rate! This would only leave you better prepared for the run.

Flip turns – Do not worry about flip turns while you swim unless you feel very confident doing them. Simply take a quick breath on the wall and push off. Flip turns will cause your heart rate to rise. This in turn may negatively affect your aerobic pace. If you do swim with a masters program, you may be forced to do flip turns to keep up with the swimmers in your lane. If this be the case, move to a slower lane with less pressure from the other swimmers.

Breathing – when swimming freestyle, you should get into the habit of breathing every stroke. The more oxygen you take into the body, the lower your heart rate will remain. However, alternating your breathing or breathing every three strokes, will help you in two ways.
1. It will balance out your freestyle stroke.
2. It will get you used to looking in both directions, which may help during a race when trying to find your mark.
Also practice lifting your head and looking forward when swimming…say once or twice per lap during your main set. You may have a black line down the middle of the lane, but unless you are racing in the clear waters of the Caribbean, the open water in most tri’s will be fairly dark.

** You will notice I added a 1000 yard Saturday swim workout in weeks 9-17. The purpose of this workout is to add base yardage to your swim program and still benefit from the effects of a recovery swim. Treat this workout solely as a recovery workout after your long run on Saturday. Swim easy and relaxed, but not sloppy. There is absolute no stress involved. Kick easy, swim real easy, just relax, rest a lot and piddle in the water.

The quality workouts listed at the bottom of this page are designed to help you build speed. You will be getting a bit more rest overall from here on out, however, there will still be some longer distance workouts to maintain endurance. When you do the workouts, you want to slowly build your exerted effort and work on getting faster as the set progresses. You also want to build each workout with the last week of the quality period showing the greatest results. For example: Your quality set is 5 x 100’s all out on the 6 minutes. First, you want to try to build your effort with each lap of the100 so you are finishing faster than you started. In a 25 yard pool, always swim the first 25 yards building up your effort so when you come off the first wall, you can begin to really push it.You will also want to attempt to descend each 100 so the each 100 gets faster. And your overall set should be faster the last week of the quality phase as opposed to the first. You do not want to start out at a full sprint. You will risk injury, perhaps in your shoulders, and you will be driving your heart rate up too fast, too soon. I suggest you swim your quality workouts in a 25 yard pool. The point is simply to build speed. If you attempt to do quality work in a 50 meter pool, lake or ocean, you will tire out much sooner due to fewer walls which will actually hurt your speedwork. Plus you will not be swimming this hard in a race, so there is no point in trying to simulate such conditions. And again, do not worry about flip turns. In a set like this where you are pushing your heart rate to maximum levels, flip turns will not hurt you. But if you do not know how to do one…it is fine. Taking a quick breath on each wall with a good push-off will actually help you remain in “sprint-mode” for the entire swim.

Cycling: Again, your bike rides should be aerobic, concentrating on staying within your heart rate zone. Remember, for some, the running heart rate zone may be higher than that of cycling, so you will need to experiment to find out what works best for you. Attempting to cycle within your running HR zone may do more harm to your aerobic system than not. To experiment, subtract 5 to 10 beats from your running zone and determine how it feels during the ride. For example:

If you are 40 years of age, and in pretty good shape, your aerobic heart rate zone based on the Maffetone method, should be 130-140. If you were to subtract 10 beats for your cycle training, your zone would be 120-130. And this is where you should experiment.

Obviously, the flatter the terrain on which you ride, the easier it will be to monitor your heart. If you live in a hilly or mountainous area, your rate will definitely rise when cycling uphill. If this be the case, shift to higher gears (so you are spinning) and try to keep your ride smooth. Avoid pumping the pedals if possible. The harder you pump, the higher your heart rate will rise. This will not always be as easy as said but you should at least attempt to keep your heart rate as low as possible during the uphills. Also, try to remain in the saddle while riding uphill and only climb out as a last resort.

Cycling workouts during base building phase:
Monday – your ride should be treated as somewhat of a recovery/aerobic ride after your long Sunday ride. Warm up for 15 minutes keeping your heart rate (HR) below your training zone. For the bulk of you ridekeep your HR at the lower end of your training zone. Finally, leave yourself enough time for a goodcool-down. On all cool downs, wait until your HR drops as close to or below 100 bpm before stopping.
Wednesday – your ride will be about the same as Monday. However, during the bulk of your ride, train with your heart rate at the mid to high end of your zone but do not go higher…stay within it. Just remember to leave yourself enoughtime for a cool-down.
Friday – when you begin your Friday rides on the 9th week, treat each one as an easy, easy spinning day. It will be a nice warm-up for your Saturday long run. Keep your heart rate well below the zone throughout the entire ride.
Sunday – finally, your Sunday ride will be the most important. This is where you will practice your eating and drinking. Begin the ride with a 20 minute warm-up. For the bulk of the ride keep your HR at the low end of the zone for as long as possible. As you increase your distance, you will begin to see your endurance fall off as your heart rate will climb just a bit toward the end of the ride. In fact you will probably be riding slower than when you began. Do not worry, just keep your HR in the zone. Eventually, you will see your endurance increase. Finally, leave yourself enough time for a cool down.

Aero position: Because you will be cycling for about 2.5-3 hours during your race, acclimation to the aero position is necessary, especially on a flatter race coarse. The flatter the coarse, the less the need to get out of the saddle to ride i.e. Hill work. Your Sunday long ride will certainly be a good time to practice. Once you have decided on a race, try to find out as much info as possible about the bike coarse. Is it hilly? What are the winds like…etc? Then try to simulate these conditions within your own training rides. For example, if the coarse is hilly, incorporate some hill work or hill repeats into your biking regimen. If you know the coarse is famous for its winds, say along a coastline, try to ride on days you know the wind has picked up. Typically, the wind will pick up in the afternoons so plan a couple of rides after work. Once daylight savings time begins, you will have time in the late afternoons to get in a good ride. Spending alot of time in the aero position can cause some lower back pain, at least in the begining. If you are experiencing lower back pain after your ride, a good lower back stretch is a must as you increase the distances in your cycling. One good strectch (see figure to the right) is to lay on your back and pull your knees to your chest. Wrap your arms around the outside of you legs and gently squeeze the arms pulling the knees closer to the chest. You should feel this in your lower back. Remember, ease into the stretch by pulling gently. You may also lift one leg at a time to your chest while leaving the other extended with a slight bend. ***NOTE***

When incorporating hill work into your bike rides or if you are faced with strong headwinds throughout your ride, staying aerobic should still be your goal. With the hills, this will be tougher to do. Unlike riding into head winds, gravity plays a huge roll on hill work, and your heart rate can soar. So do the best that you can. As you travel uphill, stay in the saddle, switch to higher gears and try to maintain an easy spin as opposed to pounding the pedals. Obviously, if you live in the west where “hills” are much steeper and longer, some of this is easier said than done, but try to stay as close to your zone as possible. For some of you, headwinds will always be part of your training. If so, again, shift to higher gears, and find a comfortable pace. As I stated earlier, gravity will not play the same role here, but psychologically, head winds can be quite defeating. Find a nice gear and spin rather than grind the pedals. Do not worry about speed.

Bike trainers: During the winter months, some of you will be forced to ride indoors on a trainer. And this can be extremely boring!…even with the most user friendly trainers such as a Computrainer. However, riding on a trainer does provide one excellent benefit – Mental Toughness. And this will only help. Once you begin riding outdoors, the bike trainer can still play a significant role in your cycling program especially during your quality workouts.

Quality workouts can be dangerous on the highways unless you can find a road that is rarely traveled upon. And even this can be dangerous simply because sprint cycling on the highways requires so much thought and concentration, safe biking habits are usually sacrificed. The trainer will offer you the ability to focus solely on your speedwork without any worry of highway traffic.

Quality Work: Like swimming, you will want to build within your quality set, as well as throughout the weeks of the quality phase. For example:

If your quality workout consists of 6 x 5 and 2’s…Five minutes hard, two minutes easy/recover, you should take the first 5/2 of the first day building your effort. On the first 5/2, gradually build your effort throughout the first five minutes. Do not just start out hammering. On the second 5/2, you can build your effort a little quicker so by numbers 3-6 you are really going after it. And each particular quality day, follow this same pattern. By the last week of the quality phase, your output or results should still exceed those recorded on that first session.

** You will notice I added a 20 mile bike ride on Friday’s in weeks 9-17. The purpose of this addition is to add base mileage to your cycling program and still benefit from the effects of spinning. The ride can be used as a recovery ride as well as a prep ride for your Saturday long run. However, to benefit from this ride you must spin in a high gear the entire ride, keeping your heart rate very low. If you are riding on hills, than this will be tougher but try to stick to your plan. If you are riding in headwinds, just slow your cadence until your heart rate drops to the desired mark. For more information on the benefits of spinning and how it can positively affect your running than click here!

Running: The key to a successful endurance running program is training smart. And the best way to accomplish this is through aerobic training with a heart rate monitor. By now you should have determined your running heart rate zone based on the information at the top of the page. However, if you would like to explore other methods of heart rate training feel free to check out the article on Methods of Heart Rate Training. As previously mentioned, I tend to adhere to the methods of Dr. Phil Maffetone. And according to Dr. Maffetone, a successful running program should include a solid warm-up and cool down. When you head out on your run, spend the first 12-15 minutes warming up slowly bringing your HR up to your aerobic zone. After you have completed the bulk of your run spend the last 12-15 minutes bringing your heart back below your training zone. For example:

An individual with an aerobic HR zone of 130-140 bpm heads out on a 45 minute run. The first 15 minutes is spent slowly bringing the heart rate up to 130 bpm. After the warm-up, the individual then runs for 15 minutes keeping his/her heart rate between 130-140 bum. Finally, the last 15 minutes will be spent running below 130 bpm and should be maintained until the run is completed.

The running distances in the program are listed in minutes. However, if you feel comfortable running in miles than that is fine. Just allow yourself a sufficient warm-up and cool down period. The advantage of running by minutes is it allows you to accurately assess your training improvement.

Running hints: If you can, run on a grass path, or gravel path. The softer the ground, the better the shock absorption for your legs. Concrete is the worst, asphalt is next, tar is very soft (running track) with any type of dirt trail being the best. Actually, running on a golf coarse is ideal! Unfortunately, concrete sidewalks surround the entire island on which I live, so remember, you get what you get. Whatever the surface, stay aerobic and you
should be fine.

***For many of you, you will be testing new grounds regarding running distances and injury prevention is of the upmost importance. If you are having difficulty on your long run, then incorporate some walking into the run. Long time marathoner, author and running coach, Jeff Galloway incorporates walking into his training programs for longer distance running. After reaching a particular distance in your long run, say 9 miles or so, then begin a walk/run segment to finish your run. For example:

If your long run is 90 minutes or around 6-8 miles, and you are having problems getting over that 60 minute barrier, than run/walk for the remaining 30 minutes…perhaps 5 minutes run, 2 minutes walk. You will find that your overall time will not be that much slower and most importantly, you will feel much better after the run. At least your legs will thank you! If you do decide to run/walk on your long run, do not run until you become fatigued and then decide to walk. Many folks will say to themselves “I’m not stopping, I feel fine” subscribing to the no pain, no gain philosophy. However, you may find you will not recover fast enough for the next run segment. If you have set a 5 minute limit to your run, then stop at 5 minutes! If you want to build your mileage as pain free as possible then stick to your limits regardless of how good you may feel.

**You will notice walking was added to the program in weeks 9-16. I am a huge believer in walking. You can use it as a means of recovery after your long ride as well as a substitute for an easy run day. I usually walk at least once during the week, for about 75 minutes and at a rather fast pace with a long stride. I like to think of it as an extra day of running without the pounding. I personally do not do a lot of arm pumping when I walk, however feel free. It won’t hurt you.

Weights: Finally, I suggest you lift weights at least two days per week and no more than three. Do some type of circuit training and 2 sets of 15 reps per exercise. Keep the weights light. You do not want to build bulk. We just want to build some strength for endurance. And, make sure you do not rush through each set of 15. Just because the weights are light, does not mean you hurry through the set. Take your time with each rep concentrating on form rather than speed. You may feel sluggish the first couple of weeks but it will get better. A basic circuit consists of Lat Pull Downs, Bench Press, Leg Lifts, Leg Curls, Squats (or lunges), Tricep Pull Down, Bicep Curls, Calf Raises and sit-ups or crunches. Feel free to add or leave out what you see fit.

Speed or Quality Workouts

Swim Quality Workouts

Warm – up
»
 500 sw, 200 k, 100 sw
6 x 50’s build 15 sec. rest bet. ea. …………1100 yds
»
 5 x 100’s hypoxic-breath every 3 strokes……………………………………………………..500yds
»
 5 x 100 fast on 7 min.sw with an
easy 50 while resting………………………………..500yds
»
 Easy 200 sw dn …………………………………….200 yds
Total ……………………………………………………2300 yds

 

Cycling Quality Workout

 

» Warm-up:10 miles easy or 30 minutes.
Keep youe HR below your training zone.
» 6 x 3/2’s – 3 minutes hard/2 minutes easy
10 mile (30 minute) cool-down
» During the hard portion of the ride, build within the ride. Keep your HR 5-10 beats above your HR zone.
Note:During the four weeks add a minute to the
hard ride so by week four you are cycling
6 min hard/2 min easy

 

Running Quality Workout

 

On a Track:
»Warm-up 1.5 miles (6 laps) easy
»5 minute stretch routine
»1 x 880 (2 laps) 5 bpm above top end of HR zone w/ an easy 440 between (1 lap) then rest 1 minute. Do this set 3 times
Easy 1.5 cool down – run/walk
Note: During the four weeks add an 880 eachweek so by week four you are running 6 x 880’s.

**Note** regarding the Quality Running Workout: if you are unable to make it to a track, then you can incorporate this workout into your regular daily run. Just take your average 1 mile split time and half it. This will be the length of time you will run hard. Then divide the average by four and this will be your recovery run. Then walk for 1 minute.
For example:
Your average 1 mile run is 8:00. You will run hard for 4 minutes, recovery for 2 minutes and walk 1 minute. The warm-up and cool down will remain as above.For a 7:00 minute/mile average, your hard run will be 3.5 minutes (3:30), your recovery 1.75 (1:45) minutes and your walk 1 minute and so on.

Swim Workouts

(1)
Warm-up # 1 …………………….300 yds
5 x 100’s sw-15″ rest bet. …500 yds
200 swim down real easy ….200 yds
Total ……………………………..1000 yds
(2)
Warm-up # 1 ……………………300 yds
10 x 50s sw – 10″ bet. ea……500 yds
200 swim down real easy …200 yds
Total …………………………….1000 yds
(3)
Warm-up # 1 ……………………300 yds
500 swim …………………………..500 yds
200 swim down real easy ….200 yds
Total ……………………………..1000 yds
(4)
Warm-up # 1 …………………….300 yds
8 x 100’s sw-15″ rest bet. ….800 yds
150 swim down real easy ….150 yds
Total …………………………….1250 yds
(5)
Warm-up # 1 ……………………300 yds
16 x 50s sw -10″ bet. ea. …..800 yds
150 swim down real easy ….150 yds
Total ……………………………..1250 yds
(6)
Warm-up # 1 …………………….300 yds
800 swim …………………………..800 yds
150 swim down real easy …150 yds
Total …………………………….1250 yds
(7)
Warm-up # 2 ……………………500 yds
4 x 200’s sw-20″ rest bet. …..800 yds
200 swim down real easy …..200 yds
Total ………………………………1500 yds
(8)
Warm-up # 2 ……………………500 yds
16 x 50s sw – 10″ res bet. ea.800 yds
200 swim down real easy ….200 yds
Total ……………………………..1500 yds
(9)
Warm-up # 2 ……………………..500 yds
800 swim …………………………800 yds
200 swim down real easy ….200 yds
Total ……………………………..1500 yds
(10)
Warm-up # 2…………………….500 yds
5 x 100’s sw -15″   bet. ea. ..500 yds
10 x 50’s k-15″ rest bet. ea. .500 yds
250 swim down real easy ….250 yds
Total ……………………………..1750 yds
(11)
Warm-up # 2 …………………….500 yds
1 x 100 sw-15″ rest bet. ea.
2 x 50’s k-10″ rest bet. ea.
do this set 5 times ………….1000 yds
250 swim down real easy ….250 yds
Total………………………………1750 yds
(12)
Warm-up # 1 …………………….300 yds
500 sw; 400 pull;
300 kick; 200 sw; 100 pull ..1500 yds
200 swim down real easy ….200 yds
Total………………………………2000 yds
(13)
Warm-up # 2 …………………….500 yds
1000 swim ……………………….1000 yds
500 Drill …………………………….500 yds
250 swim down real easy ….250 yds
Total ……………………………..2000 yds
(14)
Warm-up # 3 …………………….800 yds
Stroke Drill ……………………….500 yds
10 x 100’s sw-15″ rbet. ea. .1000 yds
200 swim down real easy …..200 yds
Total ……………………………..2500 yds
(15)
Warm-up # 3 ……………………..800 yds
Stroke Drills……………………… 500 yds
5 x 200 sw-20″ rest bet. ea. 1000 yds
200 swim down real easy …..200 yds
Total ………………………………2500 yds
Warm-ups
Warm-up # 1
200 sw, 50 k, 50 sw ……………300 yds
Warm-up # 2
300 sw, 100 k, 100sw …………500 yds
Warm-up # 3
500 sw, 200k, 100 sw …………800 yds

Here’s the full 18 Week Schedule

Date

 Swim  Bike  Run
 WK-1

 

 

 

Mon

 (#1) 1000 yds. a.m.

20 miles. p.m.

 

Tues

(#2) 1000 yds. a.m

 

40 min p.m.

Wed

 

20 miles. p.m.

 

Thur

 (#3) 1000 yds. a.m

 

30 min p.m.

Fri

 

 

 

Sat

 

 

50 min a.m.

Sun

 

25 miles. a.m.

 

 WK-2

 

 

 

Mon

 (#1) 1000 yds. a.m

20 miles. p.m.

 

Tue

 (#4) 1250 yds. a.m

 

45 min p.m.

Wed

 

25 miles. p.m.

 

Thur

(#2) 1000 yds. a.m

 

35 min p.m.

Fri

 

 

 

Sat

 

 

55 min a.m.

Sun

 

30 miles a.m.

 

 WK-3

 

 

 

Mon

 (#3) 1000 yds. a.m

20 miles p.m.

 

Tue

 (#5) 1250 yds. a.m

 

45 min p.m

Wed

 

25 miles p.m.

 

Thur

 (#6) 1250 yds. a.m

 

40 min p.m

Fri

 

 

 

Sat

 

 

60 min a.m

Sun

 

35 miles a.m.

 

 WK-4  Recovery  Recovery  Recovery

Mon

(#1) 1000 yds. a.m

20 miles p.m.

 

Tue

(#2) 1000 yds. a.m

 

40 min p.m

Wed

 

20 miles p.m.

 

Thur

(#3) 1000 yds. a.m

 

30 min p.m

Fri

 

 

 

Sat

 

 

50 min a.m

Sun

 

30 miles a.m.

 

 WK-5

 

 

 

Mon

 (#1) 1000 yds. a.m

20 miles p.m.

 

Tue

 (#7) 1500 yds. a.m

 

45 min p.m

Wed

 

25 miles p.m.

 

Thur

 (#4) 1250 yds. a.m

 

40 min p.m

Fri

 

 

 

Sat

 

 

60 min a.m

Sun

 

40 miles a.m.

 

WK-6

 

 

 

Mon

 (#5) 1250 yds. a.m

25 miles p.m.

 

Tue

 (#8) 1500 yds. a.m

 

50 min p.m

Wed

 

25 miles p.m.

 

Thur

 (#9) 1500 yds. a.m

 

40 min p.m

Fri

 

 

 

Sat

 

 

70 min a.m

Sun

 

45 miles a.m.

 

 WK-7

 

 

 

Mon

 (#6) 1250 yds. a.m

25 miles p.m.

 

Tue

 (#10) 1750 yds. a.m

 

60 min p.m

Wed

 

30 miles p.m.

 

Thur

(#7) 1500 yds. a.m

 

45 min p.m

Fri

 

 

 

Sat

 

 

80 min a.m

Sun

 

45 miles a.m.

 

 WK-8  Recovery  Recovery  Recovery

Mon

 (#2) 1000 yds. a.m

20 miles p.m.

 

Tue

 (#4) 1250 yds. a.m

 

50 min p.m

Wed

 

25 miles p.m.

 

Thur

 (#5) 1250 yds. a.m

 

35 min p.m

Fri

 

 

 

Sat

 

 

70 min a.m

Sun

 

35 miles a.m.

 

 WK-9

 

 

 

Mon

 (#6) 1250 yds. a.m

25 miles p.m.

 

Tue

 (#12) 2000 yds. a.m

 

60 min p.m

Wed

 

30 miles p.m.

 

Thur

 (#8) 1500 yds. a.m

 

50 min p.m

Fri

 

20 miles p.m.

 

Sat

 (choice) 1000 yds.

 

80 min p.m

Sun

 

50 miles a.m.

75 min walk p.m

 WK-10

 

 

 

Mon

 (#9) 1500 yds. a.m

25 miles p.m.

 

Tue

 (#14) 2250 yds. a.m

 

60 min p.m

Wed

 

35 miles p.m.

 

Thur

 (#11) 1750 yds. a.m

 

50 min p.m

Fri

 

20 miles p.m.

 

Sat

 (choice) 1000 yds.

 

90 min a.m

Sun

 

55 miles a.m.

75 min walk p.m

 WK-11

 

 

 

Mon

 (#7) 1500 yds. a.m

25 miles p.m.

 

Tue

 (#14) 2500 yds. a.m

 

60 min p.m

Wed

 

40 miles p.m.

 

Thur

 (#10) 1750 yds. a.m

 

50 min p.m

Fri

 

20 miles p.m.

 

Sat

 (choice) 1000 yds.

 

100 min a.m

Sun

 

60 miles a.m.

75 min walk p.m

 WK-12  Recovery  Recovery  Recovery

Mon

 (#3) 1000 yds. a.m

20 miles p.m.

 

Tue

 (#13) 2000 yds. a.m

 

50 min p.m

Wed

 

30 miles p.m.

 

Thur

 (#4) 1250 yds. a.m

 

40 min p.m

Fri

 

20 miles p.m.

 

Sat

 (choice) 1000 yds.

 

90 min a.m

Sun

 

50 miles a.m.

60 min walk p.m

Speedwork/Quality Phase

WK-13

Swim Bike

Run

Mon

 (#8) 1500 yds. a.m

30 miles p.m.


Tue

 (#15) 2500 yds. a.m

 

 Quality Day

Wed

 

 Quality Day

 

Thur

 Quality Day a.m.

 

60 min p.m

Fri

 

20 miles p.m.

 

Sat

 (choice) 1000 yds. p.m

 

90 min a.m

Sun

 

50 miles a.m.

60 min. walk p.m

 WK-14

 

 

 

Mon

 (#9) 1500 yds. a.m

30 miles p.m.

 

Tue

 (#14) 2500 yds. a.m

 

 Quality Day

Wed

 

 Quality Day

 

Thur

 Quality Day a.m.

 

60 min p.m

Fri

 

20 miles p.m.

 

Sat

 (choice) 1000 yds.

 

90 min a.m

Sun

 

50 miles a.m.

60 min. walk p.m

 WK-15

 

 

 

Mon

 (#7) 1500 yds. a.m

30 miles p.m.

 

Tue

 (#15) 2500 yds. a.m

 

 Quality Day

Wed

 

 Quality Day

 

Thur

 Quality Day a.m.

 

60 min p.m

Fri

 

20 miles p.m.

 

Sat

 (choice) 1000 yds.

 

90 min a.m

Sun

 

50 miles a.m.

60 min. walk p.m

 WK-16

 

 

 

Mon

 (#8) 1500 yds. a.m

30 miles p.m.

 

Tue

 (#14) 2500 yds. a.m

 

 Quality Day

Wed

 

 Quality Day

 

Thur

 Quality Day a.m.

 

60 min p.m

Fri

 

20 miles p.m.

 

Sat

 (choice) 1000 yds.

 

90 min a.m

Sun

 

50 miles a.m.

60 min. walk p.m

 WK-17

 Begin Taper  Begin Taper

 Begin Taper

Mon

 

 

 

Tue

 (#15) 2500 yds a.m.

 

60 min p.m

Wed

 

30 miles p.m.

 

Thur

 (#9) 1500 yds a.m.

 

40 min p.m

Fri

 

20 miles p.m.

 

Sat

 (choice) 1000 yds.

 

75 min p.m

Sun

 

50 miles a.m.

 

 WK-18

 

 

 

Mon

(#7) 1500 yds a.m.


40 min p.m

Tue

 

40 miles p.m.

 

Wed

 (choice) 1000 yds

20 miles p.m.

30 min p.m

Thur

(Travel Day)

(Travel Day)

(Travel Day)

Fri

15 min. easy

15 min. spin

30 min walk

Sat

 Race Day  Race Day

 Race Day

Sun