26 April 2007

Desert Thoughts

This week, I'm going to share some thoughts that we have been discussing at Mitch's Desert Camp. These topics come up quite frequently, so I thought that I'd offer my take on them.

First though, from last week, I asked Monica what she thought my key blindspots were. Her observation was that I actively create more obligations than my athletic competition -- I'll be seeking simplification as I head into IMC. As for my own introspection, I came up with my desire to attempt to control the world around me (control, of anything external, being an illusion).

The camp was a great experience and I learned quite a bit from the athletes and other coaches. Alan and Jeff came up with excellent ideas for a series of articles. I hope to share their work with you in the weeks to come (they are writing, not me).

Alan has joined our new business and has two spots for athletes, if you're looking for a coach then drop me a line and we will discuss if we are a good fit for you. Aside from Monica, Alan spends the most time with me each week.

I shared some of Monica's swim workouts with the campers and emphasized a few things about triathlon swimming for them to consider...

>>>Tri swimming is not a competition in maximal oxygen consumption. I see a lot of inefficient swimmers working on their "engines", rather than improving their efficiency. I shared my favourite tool for rapid improvement in economy (three stroke breathing) -- not everyone is willing to "slow down" to speed up. If you've been plateaued using two stroke then perhaps your limiter is effciency, not effort.

>>>Swim pacing -- if triathlons started with a run then pacing mistakes would be much more evident. I know many, many athletes that start their long course racing at heart rates that aren't far off open half marathon levels. In other words, they kick off their day with a 30-75 minute max effort swim.

>>>Digestion -- Jeff shared his observation that max effort swimming shuts down the GI system -- in his IM racing, he has had to wait over an hour for it to restart after the swim. He's working on swimming more relaxed, until he learns how to do that... he needs to wait a long time before starting his energy/fluid intake. His view is that many people with his swim effort profile, run into trouble from eating/drinking too quickly after the swim. 2-2.5 hours without food or fluid intake is quite a deficit to overcome.

>>>Improvement -- I believe very strongly that swim training is similar to bike/run training. The key fitness component being steady state stamina -- this comes from sustained, moderate main sets of 30-60 minutes duration. Three stroke breathing being a great reality check during main sets to keep us in our endurance zones.

The approach above requires a level of dedication that many athletes will never manage. If you step-up then you can achieve an edge relative to the vast majority of your competition.

I started swimming at 30-years of age and trained myself down to a low-50s Ironman swim. I've been fortunate to study under a number of the best swim coaches in our sport. In my last three races I came out of the water with, or ahead, of the race winner. It can be done!

Useful Pots
The Chinese have a saying that the most useful part of a pot is the space inside. In other words, the "spaces" in our lives are as essential as the events. At the camp, I found that I was most able to help people during the "spaces" in the camp, rather than during the training sessions.

When laying out the schedule for a training camp, it is tempting to keep things action packed. However, what I most enjoyed was a moderate training week with time for massage, yoga and interaction with the campers. There was plenty of informal interaction and that's what's most interesting for me.

If you are looking to learn, to grow, to change direction... then the first step is creating the space in your life for the "new" to come it.

Training Protocols
Mitch shared some ideas on his personal training protocols with us and, hopefully, this is an accurate reflection of what he meant. In Mitch's own training, there are two kinds of sessions -- fun sessions (the bulk) and race-prep sessions (the key ones).

Fun sessions are what excite him, keep him training and reflect the way he wants to live. They may, or may not, be specific to his needs as an athlete. By keeping plenty of fun in his program -- he keeps his enjoyment and consistency high across the year. This is important because consistency is the #1 thing in a training program.

Race-prep sessions are his key workouts that he does to prepare his body (and mind) for the demands of his goal races. These are done much less frequently. They take a lot of discipline on his part. On Saturday, I rode with Mitch during one of his race-prep rides. I had NEVER seen him ride like that... dead even pacing, smooth power transitions on the hills... a complete eye-opener and learning experience for me.

Jeff noted that if you get ten successful people together in a room, most people will want to discuss their differences. However, the REAL information comes from learning their similarities -- what are the common elements of success?

Watching Mitch, I realized that he is a guy that deeply understands long course race pacing -- when he's "having a little fun" on a group ride -- that's just for kicks. When it comes time for a key session he's all business, as you'd expect from a Marine officer!

A good reminder that we rarely see the entire picture of an athlete's (or coach's) program.


The Boulder swim clinic has been postponed due to a scheduling issue, I'll let you know new dates when announced.

I raced on April 21st and will be writing that one up, as well as my up-coming race, in one week's time. You'll be able to read that on the Planet-X website in ten days or so. I'll post the link when it is live.

With a bit of luck, Mitch will "feature" me at one (or two) of his camps in 2008. I think that it would be fun to repeat a camp like this one (race then training) as well as a BIG bike camp.

Back in a few days,

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19 April 2007

Approaching Information & Intellectual Arrogance

This week, I'll share some thoughts on how we can best deal with information as well as ponder the concept of Intellectual Arrogance. As you see in our photo, the Easter Bunny was very good to me! Bob-the-Bunny is on my lap and the book at my side is Raising The Bar (Clif strikes me as one of a few nutrition companies that have our best interests at heart).

Tomorrow, I am off to the high desert to attend a clinic that is being hosted by Mitch Gold's Counterpart Coaching. Mitch is a great guy and I'm looking forward to spending a week with him and the campers. You can follow along on Mitch's Board. We had two lads from Ireland cancel on us at short notice so there are a couple of last minute slots open -- click through the camp link above to get details and Mitch's email.

I'm back in Boulder in early May and have been invited to a swim technique clinic at Boulder Elks Pool on May 12th (2-5pm). We'll work on swimming for the first two hours then have open Q&A (any subject) for the final hour. Cost is $45 for non-members and $20 for Elks Members. If you are interested then drop me an email and I'll send you registration details. For the Q&A discussion, Siri Lindley and, my wife, Monica have agreed to share thoughts with us.


Approaching Information

Have you ever felt uncomfortable when faced with clear feedback about your current situation (be it fitness, financial, family or social)? The areas that make us feel most uncomfortable are, often, the areas for greatest personal growth.

When I get uncomfortable information (tight cash flow, high overheads, shortfalls against projections, illness, injury), I look past the "data" and search for the cause. What can I change in my approach so that the externals (that might appear to be at fault) will no longer impact my performance?

Sitting here on Thursday afternoon, I'm nursing a niggle in my left soleus. It likely happened because I ran 100+ miles last week -- not Mark's idea, he suggested a cap at 90M (max). So, the injury provides me with a learning experience. A clear reminder about the importance of being able to "consistently do" and the risks of "over doing".

The North American Ironman season opened up this past weekend and, I imagine, that many athletes found themselves nursing injuries, illnesses, anxiety and infections that occurred just as they began to "rest". There is typically only one cause when rest is followed by stress bubbling to the surface -- you over-did-it.

When you look for a person that's likely to improve, look for self-evaluations that focus on what will be changed to improve.

Be wary of the temptation to focus on the (uncontrollable) externals that prevented a successful outcome. This pattern of thinking creates blockages to learning -- successful outcomes derive from doing our best despite external challenges. It is these challenges that offer us opportunity for meaning and learning. It's normal to be a bit scared, what you do about it is what matters.

Under performance in competition (relative to training) is most often due to the combination of over-preparation and under-execution. You tried too hard. You may have lost your opportunity for a great race, but you can still grasp the opportunity for learning. In this situation, I like Joe Friel's advice that the only difference between a good race and a poor race is that we can learn more from a poor race.

I've certainly been there myself.
...I've blown whole seasons trying to get "fast" for a single competition...
...I've started ultramarathons at Half Marathon race pace...
...I've ignored sixty minutes of flashing heart rates at the start of a TT...
...I've convinced myself that "I'm different" only to be (forcefully) reminded that, actually, good advice seems to work pretty well for me.

A good advisor helps us see the difference between what we think we should do and what we can absorb. Mark's key (physiological) advice to me centers around maximizing what I absorb, rather than what I complete. That is a fundamental shift in my approach.

The focus on absorbing (with specific overload periods) requires a lot of discipline. In the coming weeks I'll share ideas on how this concept impacts Working Athlete Periodization as well as "Grip Tips" (the few areas where Mark has given me specific guidance).


Intellectual Arrogance

One of the neat things about having worked with so many great athlete-coaches is that I get to hear each of them describe the other. Of course, I am hearing all of this through my personal filters, dogmas and biases!

Scott likes to point out that there can be a large variation between "what I hear" and "what he said". If you work with remote advisers (or clients) then count on half the message going missing each time. I'm working more and more with a combination of written with verbal follow-up, especially with my clients/co-workers that don't like to read!

While, my mentors share a deep respect for each other, there is often a current of "...but MY way is RIGHT" lurking beneath the surface. I see this as an element of effective leadership (or sales). Acknowledgement that other methods can be effective but a total commitment to the chosen protocol. Early in my finance and athletic careers, I lacked the experience to see any merit in alternative approaches. I had commitment without tolerance -- I was intellectually arrogant. This blindness slowed my learning and reduced my success. Fortunately, I was assisted by first-class mentors that demonstrated that change was essential for development.

Drucker's paragraph, about believing that being bright substitutes for knowledge, described me perfectly at the start of my first career (see link in last week). In 1990, a very good friend even warned me that I wasn't as smart as I thought that I was. It took five years (!) of hubris to learn that lesson -- it still pops up in my personal life!

I can remember emphatically explaining to someone that "being nice was lame" and "ultimately, all that matters is results". You can still hear that talk in elite athletics as well as international finance. When we are batting 1.000 that may be the case. However, we all take a few lumps and that's when compassionate co-workers (or family) can help. Nothing like a set-back to make one appreciate friends.

I'm still working on identifying my current intellectual biases -- they're so much easier to see (then share...) in others! Perhaps I'll ask Monica once I have overcome my reluctance for clear feedback on my current situation...

Back next week,


13 April 2007

Nutritional Healing & Genetic Potential

This week, I will discuss some tips on how to frame our relationship with food and share some thoughts on VO2 Max testing.

I know that some readers like to keep track of what I am reading.

The best article that I've read recently is Managing Oneself by Drucker (legit link & bootleg version). It was an absolutely fascinating read for me. The article helped me see how comunication failings (on my part) are often due to the pathway, rather than the substance of, the message.

I also decided to educate myself a bit more about the nature of armed conflict -- an interesting read on this is Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Jet Pilot by Stockdale. I'm a little over halfway through.


Nutritional Healing

I'm going to keep this as simple as possible to remove any wiggle room that our minds might seek to create.

Training is a process of breaking down the body. Effective nutrition provides the building blocks that heal the damage that training causes. If you are looking for a sustainable, long term performance edge over your competition then nutrition is where you can find it.

Training = breaking down
Nutrition = healing
Training + Poor Nutrition = stress fractures, illness, burnout, injury, early athletic retirement and failure to achieve ultimate potential

When I look at many images of elite endurance athletes, I see highly motivated people mortgaging their future health for a perceived short term performance edge. The media sex-up, then serve, these images in order to market goods and services. [I acknowledge my role here -- we'll tone down the shirt off shots on the new website!]

When athletes share their honest opinions with me there can be an underlying current that they could really achieve something if they could just eliminate their need to eat. I know many people that spend quite a bit of time searching for reasons to malnourish themselves in the name of performance. From time-to-time, I am one of these people -- fortunately, I have a strong desire to eat and low attachment to self-defeating patterns (once noticed by me).

Blood shot eyes, extended muscle soreness, night sweats, slow training recovery -- you might be starving yourself, rather than striving for excellence.

It's a complex challenge and I'd encourage you to talk to your doctor/counsellor about it. You will need a trusted professional to guide you through the psychological and physiological construction that is disordered eating.

If you are sitting on the edge, waivering back and forth, good days and less good days... then here's how I approach my own nutrition. I am far from perfect but I manage better than most.

I nourish my body to maximize its potential to heal itself.

What does that actually "mean"?

***Other than sleep, no long periods without food -- I find that I do best with something every three to four hours.

A classic disordered eating pattern is fasting during and after training resulting (a) slower recovery; (b) lower metabolic rate; (c) weight gain due to inevitable binging on poor food choices; and (d) increased muscle breakdown.

***Eating the least processed, highest quality foods available to me -- that means wild and/or organic "real" food. "Real Food" is food that comes without an ingredients list -- an apple, a steak, a carrot, a bag of quinoa...

Choices that prevent us from achieving what we truly value are not "treats" -- they are patterns of self-sabbotage.

***Protein with every meal and readily accessed protein during all long training sessions. We need to minimize the catabolic effects of endurance training.

***Strength training (functional, traditional and terrain) within my year round program.

***Complete elimination of hydrogenated oils and trans fats.

***Reduction of refined sugar and processed carbohydrates.

***Take the majority of my intake in the form of lean protein, fruits, veggies, unrefined carbs and good fats.

Be wary of our mind's habit of a constant search for "new information" as well as our ego's desire to look for justification of self-defeating patterns/habits.

If an elite athlete happens to win a race after eating pizza for dinner -- there might be other factors involved than cheese and bread!

I will leave you with an interesting article on eating real food.


Sports "Nutrition"

Novice and low/moderate volume athletes have little need for sports nutrition products -- use them cautiously and in moderation. These products are energy dense, you'll get a lot more nutrition (and satisfaction) from a balanced meal than 5-600 calories of sugar and salt.

There is an multi-billion dollar industry out there trying to get us to "carb-up" and "recover" in ways that add to our waist-lines and their bottom-lines. I use sports nutrition products during and after training for convenience. In my view, the sports nutrition industry over-promotes their goods.

I know world-class athletes that train exclusively on water and real food. However, with long training sessions and busy lives, an element of sports nutrition is useful. Remember that manufactured foods are convenience-oriented, and rarely nutrition-oriented.

Read your labels -- some of these companies are not acting in our best interests! I can't understand why leading nutrition companies market products with artificial sweetners and hydrogenated oils.

Good health is good business.


Genetic Potential

When I think about genetic potential, I tend to think about VO2 Max testing.

For the record, I've never been tested in a lab. I sense that a certain minority would enjoy finding out that I had a VO2-Max in the 80s -- that might let them off the hook a bit. Well it might, but I know athletes with VO2s in the 80s that struggle to finish their races. So oxygen uptake is merely one factor.

Still, some enjoy these conversations so I'll share a recent email thread...

A.S. asked -- what has your VO2max been at what you consider your peak period?

I replied -- 74 kgs, 75s per 400m, running -- 73 kgs, 400 watts, cycling. Those are my best VO2 pace/power numbers of my career.

A.S. replied -- I estimated it to be around 52ml/kg/min and for cycling around 4.9 L/min or 67ml/kg/min.

I did first the one for running and when I saw that number I thought "No way, this can't be right, it is not high enough". I only started training for triathlon this year, so I can't say that I am experienced enough to judge, so I searched a little bit more to see if there are any measurements for world class athletes. What I found is that the lowest number for runners was Derek Clayton's at 69. For cyclists Lance's was 84 and Indurain's was 88.So my initial thought was more or less confirmed, your numbers are not high enough.

Furthermore after all these years of training you have improved a lot your VO2max which means that it can't increase a lot more.

The thing here however is that you have already ran a 2:48 marathon in an Ironman race and you have done that more than once. So I guess the key words are "high enough". Your numbers are not "high enough" for running these events seperately but on the other hand they are more than enough to complete an Ironman race in 8:30 hours.


That's pretty much where we left it. I confirmed that his estimate on my running looked reasonable to me (2:46 is my run PB) -- I tend to reference Daniels' V-dot tables. He asked about my thoughts on the cycling number... I have no idea, I've always considered my IM bike ride to be efficient transport to a fast marathon and far from centrally governed.

If you break it down (I have), a blazing fast Ironman race isn't centrally constrained -- you don't need single sport VO2 prowess. Swim 50 min, Bike 4:45, Run 2:40.

Here's what's really interesting to me...

Why test?

A. Some athletes want to test their VO2 to DEFINE their limits. Personally, I've chosen to avoid tests that might give me an excuse, or a perceived limit, in achieving my ultimate potential.

B. Others may seek to understand their potential -- WE HAVE NO IDEA! Here's another set of data -- 85 kgs, 95s per 400m, running -- that data set is the SAME guy... me!

C. Other athletes may test for an external validation of themselves. I suppose that external validation lies in the attraction of competition (or blog writing!). Using people, tests, races to try to achieve more than we thought possible. However, I doubt if lasting satisfaction will accrue from hitting a magical number in a human performance lab.

Still, if we see it as an interesting game, then I don't see the harm in it. Just don't expect to get meaningful information from what a machine tells you is possible. Similar to finance, the trick is maximizing the use of what you've got, rather than constantly wishing for more.

As for thoughts on my not being able to improve anymore... I'll file that under "M" for Motivation. I've got a few quotes in there from strangers and retired world champions.

Until next week,

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07 April 2007

Personal Excellence & Pain

This week I'm going to run through some thoughts on recent emails, personal excellence and race pain. I'll then pull it all together with some thoughts on the Bottom Line.

But first, our photo this week is Dr. John Hellemans. This shot is going up on the "wall of fame" in our yoga room. Hopefully, John will come by for a visit some day and sign the shot. Of course, he has doctor's handwriting so it could be tough to read what he actually writes!

John is one of those people that, by merely knowing, causes us to lift our game. I don't know the date of the photo but John is in his 50s now (with at least seven world AG triathlon titles) and, if anything, his legs are slightly _more_ muscular today.


Mail Bag

My last piece generated a fair amount of email and I'll respond over the next month. I'm quite backed up on email and that can be tough for me. However, clearing my in-box fails to make my personal Top Ten list so I'm having to make some emotional adjustments.

Do I "need" folks to "believe" me to achieve my goals? No I don't. What I am doing here is sharing ideas that have helped me in my personal journey. Passing along little things that I've learned about achieving what I want in my life. They might help you, they might not, but they have been fundamental in a huge personal transformation.

The purpose of my writing here is:

>>>to affirm within myself the tools, techinques and patterns that I am using to achieve personal excellence

>>>to share ideas for you to achieve personal excellence (be it athletic, financial or in some other sphere)

My mail bag on my endurance protocol tips was fascinating. The various writers noted that the tips didn't apply to them because:

...they were too slow
...they were too fast
...they did not have enough endurance experience
...they had too much endurance experience
...their friend had different heart rate data than them
...there was a small piece of "the plan" that didn't make sense
...they have a different training history to me

One point that I will address -- that Mark and I were in similar positions when we started the protocol -- and -- that this position is different to where you may find yourself.

If you listen to Mark talk about his approach then you'll find that he was at the opposite end of the endurance spectrum from me. Specifically, his top end numbers greatly dominated his low end numbers.

Even if you don't think that you are "fast" nearly everyone that comes to endurance sport is in this relative position. You are in the same boat as Mark.

My story is a little different. I came to triathlon with low end numbers that dominated my top end. This is probably because of my pre-triathlon endurance background (strength training, hiking, mountaineering, ultrarunning) -- I logged many low intensity hours of endurance training. I spent five years primarily training under my aerobic cap -- before I knew that any such "cap" existed.

This is what's fascinating for me -- my VO2-Max speed is the highest that it has ever been using a protocol that well-meaning folks tell me is only designed to benefit my "low end".

I encourage you to try the protocol that YOU believe is best. Don't take my word for it. I have tried many different approaches and, ultimately, we answer to ourselves. Make sure that you can hold yourself accountable to your program and remember that you are using YOUR protocol, not Mark Allen's, not your coach's, not Joe Friel's, not mine.

Every day, you create your own protocol. The people around us are merely guides, they don't do the work on our behalf.

Of course, if you postpone "training smart" until you are "fast" then you might be waiting a long, long time.

The only workout that you truly control is your next one.


Personal Excellence

K.M. asked me about my thoughts on striving for our highest potential. I've been thinking for the last week and here's what I managed to come up with.

The concept of achieving our highest potential seems to approach the "problem" backwards because "achievement" is a perceived result, not a path to follow. Achievement will never offer satisfaction because it is merely a fleeting moment in time -- a life committed to excellence could be what we are seeking.

One of my greatest lessons of athletics is that we have no idea of our highest potential. Specifically, we have NO clue what we can achieve over a five, ten or twenty year time horizon. Some personal examples...

Eighteen months after I started training for triathlons, I qualified for Hawaii at the Half Vineman (July 2000). That FAR exceeded my 1998 perception of my highest athletic potential.

Three years after qualifying at Vineman, I ran 2:49 off the bike at IMC, posting the fastest run split on the day, finishing third and passing a future World Champion in the last 10K. That FAR exceeded my 2000 perception of my highest athletic potential.

In 2004, I ran 2:46 off the bike and finished in 8:29 -- the guy that won that day posted one of the fastest winning times in the history of the event -- I was 107 seconds behind him on a day where I had a flat tire. That FAR exceed my wildest perceiption of my highest athletic potential.

So, my experience is that aiming for our highest potential will ALWAYS sell ourselves short, because we sell ourselves short.

Our limited perception of what we can achieve is our single greatest obstacle.

What to do?

Rather than trying to "achieve" -- what I do is focus on personal excellence in areas of my life that provide me with satisfaction, support and meaning.

Personal excellence is about how I handle the little things. Some examples:

Monica -- experience love, hold hands, kindness
Winning an Ironman -- live sober, train regularly, limit travel, wake up early
Swimming -- breathe second stroke off the wall, three stroke breathing, push straight back, hip over
Cycling -- smooth circles, hold position, commit to cadence
Running -- ribs down, toe through, thumbs up, spine long
Nutrition -- real food, slower eating, frequent meals, internal healing
Personal Finance -- cover overheads, always save
Personal Investing -- preserve capital, trustworthy partners

Now all that sounds pretty simple but, I assure you that it is FAR from easy. In fact, to achieve success requires the support of many people and these people will very quickly see through hoax-commitment to excellence.

When I feel pain, it is most often due to knowing that I am not measuring up in terms of the simple things required for personal excellence. Real pain comes from knowing that we are not measuring up to our highest potential.

...and that explains a lot of angst in the world.


Race Pain

A good friend shared some ideas that he gave a mutual buddy on coping with "race pain". They were excellent and centred around:

>>>Enduring to share, and honour, the pain of a loved one
>>>Enduring to achieve an important goal
>>>Enduring due to fear of failure
>>>Enduring because the emotional pain of "cracking" would be greater
>>>Enduring to uphold a personal honour code

All of the above are excellent short term techniques for dealing with the sensations and emotions that we experience within a race situation.

My long term solution for race pain is a bit more simple.

There is no pain, only performance.

"Pain" is our mind's classification of feedback that we experience in training and racing. Appropriate training/racing intensities are going to feel a certain way. If we choose to classify, and constantly affirm, that we will experience pain then... pain is what we receive. You will get what you desire.

However, if we accept that there will be certain sensations associated with taking actions that are deeply important to us (training, racing) then our breaking point will increase dramatically.

At the early to moderate stages of discomfort, "pain" is too strong a word (for me) and gives an unnecesary emotional content to how things are going to feel.

At a clinic a few years back, Josh Davis (multiple Olympic medalist) shared his views on the essense of swimming. He summed it up along the lines of... moving through self-imposed pain barriers.

Many great athletes equate performance with reseting their own concepts of an acceptable level of personal discomfort. In Penticton one year, Dave Scott described Ironman racing as "managed discomfort". He refused to accept that Ironman racing was painful.

Focus on performance, leave the pain for the athletes behind you.


The Bottom Line

The reason that someone may be faster than "you" mostly has to do with the fact that they have absorbed more work than you. So if it all comes down to work (Landis, Lydiard, Molina) then why bother with protocol at all?

An effective protocol is what enables us to improve relative to ourselves. My true "protocol" is one of learning, sharing, experimenting and applying. I'm constantly looking for techniques, motivation, situations and people that will help me complete more work.

It is a fascinating subject because excellence at every given moment is a tough companion -- however -- to achieve a level of "greatness" we merely have to keep moving forward striving for those simple elements of personal excellence.

Moving forward with consistent application of principle based performance.

Happy Easter,

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01 April 2007

Vegas & Greed

Our photo this time is the swim exit from the race that I did at Lake Havasu -- I just got the snaps and something about this one appeals to me. Right now, I'm sitting in St. George, Utah and the lads are out riding.

Yesterday was a fun day of training and we saw some amazing sites. The main reason that I wanted to train in Vegas was the Lake Mead Recreational Area. It is one of my favourite places in the world to ride and offers a little-bit-of-everything in terms of terrain. The Silverman triathlon is run out there and, some day, I hope to do that race. Maybe I can convince Frank to invite me to help him host a training clinic next Spring...

If you do race then I suggest that you eat, drink and relax for the ten miles that start at the summit just past Highway Marker #20. Denny gapped me pretty good through that section while I relaxed and ate. However, those calories came in very handy later in the day when we ran in the Valley of Fire. If you're racing then the return leg will be "interesting". A few days ago (with a nice tailwind), I big-ringed the return to Henderson -- I don't recommend that for race day but it was fun training.


Sam suggested that I share details of a conversation that we had when he was in Vegas with us. It was about heart rate training and I'll provide the summary.

So you've got this cap? What do you do under the cap? How do you train?
>>>Train exactly like you do normally. Simply make sure that you abide by the cap.

How hard do I go?
>>>The cap means that, effectively, you...
Run -- Steady or lower
Bike -- Mod-Hard or lower
Swim -- Fast or lower
>>>Focus on longer, steadier efforts. If hills spike your heart rate then slow down, change gearing and/or stick to the flats.

So I stick with low heart rate training?
>>>This is not low heart rate training -- this is smart endurance training without the heart rate peaks that are generated by ego or lack of experience. It takes outstanding endurance to place a lot of steady-state training within a week.

Rapidly rising heart rates -- why?
>>>Generally, these are caused by a narrow fitness base. It's not problem, it is part of the natural process of building your endurance base. It is important to remember that if you are sitting at, say, 145bpm while walking up a hill... you are placing 145bpm worth of stress on your body. It doesn't matter if you are running or not... you are placing a decent level of aerobic stress on your system. As an example, I still need to walk hills and my max aerobic test is faster than many athletes' 10K times.

Learning to transcend our egos is useful for many situations other than just endurance training.


At the other end of the training spectrum from overtraining, over-reaching and fatigue is something that we might call speed-greed. I've seen many talented athletes come to triathlon with low expectations of their personal performance. By successfully managing their expactions, they receive a lot of satisfaction from their early race successes (every finish being a success).

Success, breeding ever increasing expectations... these expectations clouding the relaxed fun that was experienced early in their athletic career. Increasing expectations eventually exceeding perceived relality... leading to crisis. This disconnect between expectation and reality is a leading cause of emotional breakdown and quitting.

A philospoher noted that we can only be deceived when we want something. When things aren't going to plan, I consider how I'm fooling myself with misplaced expectations.

From Utah,