18 November 2006

Early Base Training

The photo above is a shot of the sunrise taken from Sunrise Beach, Queensland, Australia. I like it because the energy is bursting through the clouds (right at the photographer). Breathe it in!

Before we can build successful races;
We need to create successful lives.
That's what I told myself for all of 2006.

Another thing that I learned with Mark & Brant in Austin. I now see that success is a good thing. I had a reservation on that front with regards to IMC — I didn't see the goodness in it. Achieving our dreams is a very good thing.

I went to the beach to spend some time alone asking for support on my journey -- physical power for recovery; tranquility within myself; empathy for M; and harmony in all the Queensland drivers that see me when I'm riding my bike.

Enough of what matters...
Onto what interests...


I've just finished eight weeks of my Early Season Training protocol as well as my third aerobic run test. I followed it to the letter (did you???). My weekly training volume moved between 7-18 hours (avg was 14), that includes my yoga (3x) per week.

Some tips/lessons:

***I had to back off the traditional strength work about half way through when the major muscle groups in my legs/hips blew out my minor ones. So I've been on cords, core, balancing & body weight exercises for the last three weeks. This week, I'll start to add back some traditional work (mainly lower body free weights done lightly).

***I did aerobic run tests at the end of Weeks 2/5/8 (three different countries, still working on my travel less goal) and saw considerable improvement (7:10/6:50/6:25). Far faster than any previous year in my athletic career -- probably because I didn't have such an overload stress from jumping the volume back up to "what I thought I needed".

***Even with the "taper in" on the volume. I was tired a lot, slept tons. The strength training seems to create a different type of fatigue than normal aerobic stress.

***By never crossing my personal heart rate cap I found that I was able to greatly increase the aerobic quality of my workouts. My average pace was higher and much more consistent. I also found my overall consistency greatly increased -- normally starting back up takes so much mental energy to push through everything. I only had three zeroes -- all travel related. One when I slept 20-hours in an Auckland hotel room at the end of my business tirp.

***Not crossing that cap was very, very, very tough! I was wearing my heart rate monitor riding my cruiser to a run and had to back off! A fair amount of walking (still doing it) as well as micro-strides to get up hills. I have a concern that I may be swimming a little too hard at times so will need to be more careful now that I am swimming in a group here in Noosa.


What's next. Well, if you didn't follow my Early Season Protocol to the letter then you should spend eight weeks redoing your homework! It's like total immersion, there's no point moving forward until you've mastered step one.

Here's what I have planned for the next nine weeks...

***Two weeks where I will get my body used to the Basic Week again. I'll keep the swim/run steady-focused. The bike will come in simply on a frequency basis. No main sets; insert a bit of steady; tweak my position on my new bike.

***Easy week, retest my max aerobic run pace (warm-up; three miles at target HR; cool down)

***Repeat my Basic Week (2x) -- swim/run as before and add some aerobic and big gear main sets -- steady effort.

***Easy week, retest my max aerobic run pace (warm-up; three miles at target HR; cool down)

***Transition week -- easy to moderate -- travel to NZ; get advice on my bike fit (hopefully); hit the lab for a lactate step test to failure (bike) the day before Epic.

***Epic Week One -- I'm writing it here so that you can hold me to it! NEVER cross my aerobic HR cap; maximise average pace for all workouts; never tack-on volume. Pull all the way from Hanmer to Moana on Day Three.

***Epic Week Two -- choose a moment every other day and have 15-25 minutes where I go as fast as I can go. I won't announce where & when just yet because that would spoil the fun!

That will end the first 17-weeks of my season. I then have four weeks of transition where my main goal will be to run six days a week; hit the gym twice a week; and keep the yoga rolling three times a week. Everything else will be a bonus.

During my transition period I have some personal and work related goals that need to be achieved. Athletics will need to take a back seat while I set myself up for the racing phase of my season.


I was going to plug my Spring Training camp with Mitch Gold but it sold out a week after we decided to do it. 80% of my coaching fees from this will go towards our Aquatic Project in Boulder. If you're interested then perhaps Mitch has a waiting list.

If we are successful with a proposal that we're making to the Boulder Elks then I'll be launching a training team based at the lodge from April to October. This will be my main squad as I prepare for Ironman Canada. I'll be solely an athlete until after IMC -- then I'll pitch in on the coaching. More on that after we get the green light.


11 November 2006

Long Course Clinic Notes

The photo is more from Halloween -- the moose antlers were a gift from a good friend on my 31st birthday. I dug them out of storage from my candy duties. We had high margin candy, word spread in the neighbourhood and I was reduced to dealing out PRIA bars after a mere 60 mintues. Groups of 10-12 kids started turning up, some only wearing track suits!


I'm writing this from my hotel desk in Hong Kong. I signed a stack of financial accounts down in the business centre and packed them off to FedEx. So my business trip is officially over. All that remains is an afternoon flight to Auckland and an early morning connection to Brisbane.


Day One of the clinic started with Monica & Andy handling the swim session. I'd never seen my brother-in-law in action and he was an impressive guy. I think that I'll rope him into my tri team in Boulder -- more on the team in my next post (from the Southern Hemisphere).


For Day Two, we had Susan Williams (the most humble olympic medalist I've met); Bobby McGee and Tim Hola (fresh off a <9> "...the struggle is sometimes hard to see because it is not a struggle between good and evil as much as it is a struggle between the good and the best...

"...the good is always an enemy of the best because the good is so good; it has the feel of good, but ultimately it is less useful because it is not the best."
Those lines above sum up everything that I've learned in my adult life and explain why an ethical life devoted to excellence is, on reflection, the only option for personal satisfaction.

Back to the clinic...


Susan talked about Barb building up to sets of 3x100 on the stretch cords -- we need some of those for Noosa!

Tim's program at 24 hours per week in the big weeks shows why he's so dominant. For a working athlete to hit that schedule in his on-weeks shows a mastery of recovery and scheduling.

Tim's tips for what to do outside of training -- W.I.N. and mental attitude -- show where he gets a little extra out of himself and his training.

Tim shared this... "See Your Goals Every Day". Reminded me that I need to print out my goals and paste them up in Noosa. FYI -- I had an "8:29 Ironman Canada" on my wall for 15 months before I did it -- even dreamed about it in the summer of 2004. Cam Brown probably thought I was nuts when he visited my "shrine" (bedroom) in 2003.

If you get the chance to visit Siri's basement in Boulder then you'll see the same thing in action today. She even uses the same quotes as me!

W.I.N. -- what's important now

In listening to certain of the debates/questions over the weekend. I wrote this down, "Information is rarely a limiter". In other words, many coaches/athletes would do better devoting their energies searching for simplicity, rather than additional complexity.

Bobby shared his elite periodization pattern -- by week it goes Long; Long; Easy; Hard -- then you repeat. If you inserted another "easy" at the end of the cycle then you'd have a nice pattern for a five week "camp" in any sport.

Bobby shared his experience that fit athletes need to be worried about key workouts going too well. This has been shared with me by elite swim coaches. As we near true peaks in fitness -- we need to be extra careful as we have the ability to spend that fitness in training. Dave shared this with me in 2004 and I did a good job of limiting myself in training.

Bobby pointed out that Ironman running has more in common with a long hike than marathoning. He challenged the coaches with the question -- do you train your athletes to get the most out of their walking? Do you equip your athletes with the mental skills to get the most out of their walking? Do you enter your races with the strategy to get the most out of your walking?

I've shared his run:walk strategy many times. More can be found on www.BobbyMcGee.com

His best concept... was when he asked that we consider if we are training a central or a peripheral response with our training. Very insightful.

By the end (or even the middle) of an ironman race, most athletes have a peripheral system that is so shot that they have an inability to place a meaningful load on their central system. Ironman is an event that challenges the peripheral system. This is VERY different from nearly all other endurance events (marathons, TTs, road racing, swimming).

Bobby's run:walk is so effective because it preserves the peripheral system. I'm going to trial his protocol when I am down in Australia. It's a good time of year to experiment. He's got a <2:30 style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;">

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