Most athletes are at the end of their seasons and many are thinking about how they can break through in 2014. Now is the time of year where we often hear conversations about:
- Race distance focus
While these discussions can be interesting, I find them to be a distraction for most athletes seeking a breakthrough.
What really matters?
“Go fast when the race is slow”
Once you’ve demonstrated a deep understanding of my Principles of Pace, the next step in your development is considering how and where to apply additional effort into your event.
I’m going to share a case study that will help illustrate strategic hammering!
During late spring and early summer, I typically share unconventional tips with my most successful athletes:
Consider your season over.
Qualifying for Kona requires a lot of work and, even if you have all day to train, smart overload is an effective way to get better.
Athletes can waste a lot of energy worrying about the structure of their training plan. Prove that you can do the work before you worry about the structure.
Over the last few articles, we’ve been hitting you over the head with how little you know about pacing. Our goal was to instill humility, rather than beat you down!
While you might not know Kona-specific race pace, I’m going to share how fast feels. Cultivate these feelings during the Core Block workouts.
I thought that I’d share how I build a power-based race simulation rides for ironman. It’s not particularly complex (at least to me). The “art” comes from interpreting the fatigue that the athlete will carry into the marathon and not screwing up the run with an inappropriate bike-power strategy.
The main difference between training to qualify and training to compete is the workload of the key days and the spacing of the key workouts.
Mid-pack athletes might train themselves to ultimately complete the ironman distance across four to six days.
Aspiring Kona-qualifiers should build their programs so that they can complete the ironman distance across 30 hours and have the bulk of their training time done at or over specific race pace and power.
Before we get into the specific workouts that I use to prepare an athlete for Kona qualification, let’s review the nature of the event:
Let’s look at the above in more depth and consider what is implied for you.
Following on from my last installment that covered Your Basic Week, I wanted to get into detail with practical examples of the specific work that is required to get you to Kona.
Before we get stuck into the detail, how are you doing with creating a life structure of a Kona Qualifier?
I ask because your best competition have finished their seasons, completed their rejuvenation blocks and are dropping back into a proven routine.
To be successful you need to create the space to follow a path that others find too difficult.
Following on from my first piece on about setting up your life structure to qualify for Kona, AC wrote a great piece on the physiological and training load requirements to position yourself to qualify.
In this article, I’m going to step back from the technical detail and dig a little deeper into my statement that you’re looking at four hours per day, most days, of time commitment.
If you haven’t qualified for Kona then you may have run the numbers on that statement and inferred that I’m talking about a 28-hour training week. That is not the case.
In this article, I’ll discuss the five most common limiters to fast age group ironman performance. I’ll identify the issue and offer you specific tips to improve your race day performance.
The entire series is in it's own library section: How To Qualify For Kona.
Let’s get started.
This year, a friend of mine found out that he had advanced cancer. Another buddy discovered blood clots throughout his body. In both situations, starting treatment earlier would have been better.
Something I learned from our team doc (Jeff Shilt, M.D.) was to rule out the really bad stuff as quickly as possible.
If I could pinpoint the main difference between my approach to endurance, and more classical approaches, it comes from a desire to optimize sub-maximal stamina. With the exception of my female and veteran athletes, I rarely focus on maximal performance.
As a former “fat guy,” here are four tips that have made my life better and helped me keep the weight off.
Last week, I received the result of my final blood test for the year. I’ve been tweeting the results and pulled together a table and chart. I’ll leave it to the experts to analyze.
So, what did I learn?
When you look at what most athletes "do," you will quickly see that their training is not about goal race performance. Rather, training is driven by other factors in their lives -- most typically habit and peer group. If performance matters then understanding the emotional component of your nutritional choices is an essential starting point.
The second part of Gordo's run technique tips
Gordo's tips for running technique
I’ve often felt that life would be better if I had a better bike.
In May, I had a chance to ride a bike that was far better than anything I’d used before. The bike was a De Rosa Protos with Campy Super Record electronic shifting. The bike was everything I’d imagined, not surprising for an MSRP of close to $16,000.
The first two rides on the bike were heaven, with my mind scheming to justify how I could purchase such a fine machine.
I had a painful reminder of the need to train race nutrition last month when I was on vacation in Italy. The first two days I was riding long and intense, and was using my typical fueling strategy of four to six PowerGels at a time, chased with sports drink. At dinner on the first day, a headache kicked in that lasted close to two days. I realized that my body wasn’t used to coping with the level of sugar that I was throwing at it.
Let’s recap my first article on Real World Rehab:
The above will progress you to 7x45 minutes per 14 days. This works out to about 2:40 per week and will give you with a base of about 160 minutes per week that you’ll want to repeat for at least six weeks before adding my tips below.
I’ve been coaching athletes and tracking my health markers since 2000. It’s fashionable to think we are unique but I suspect you can group athletes into three categories:
These are my current “go to” workouts when time is tight (or motivation is low!).
I always feel better after one of these.
From the start of my racing career, I was able to perform above my training and beat athletes who appeared fitter than me. The mental side of life has been an area where I’ve done well over the years.
Rib injuries pop-up fairly frequently in our team.
I crashed hard in October 2011. Despite having to cope with some dark days, I got a lot right with my recovery from that injury.
Last summer, in an effort to improve my cycling, I stopped running. This proved to be a serious screw up that required months of rehab.
I’m a past champion of Ultraman Hawaii and the concept of doing less, doing the minimum, getting by... none of these are appealing to me. I’m all about more and I lose interest when winning isn’t an option.
However, the concept of only needing 12 weeks to ramp myself up (and kick booty) is highly appealing to me. How can we put ourselves in a position so we always have the ability to scale up for a race?
There are three main reasons that I attend training camps:
This week’s article is about the first point above and covers lessons from our most recent camp in Tucson.
Our next camp is June in Boulder -- we cater to all ability levels and distances, including road cyclists and mountain bikers. The camp is priced excluding accommodation so you can scale up or down depending on your budget. Contact us with any questions.
I’ll be there and I hope you can join me.
As an elite, I struggled with my ability to really crank on the flats. Some things I realized about myself:
I had a mental block that I needed to overcome -- a fear of blowing up. So I always rode with a psychological governor. It wasn’t until the end of my elite career that I overcame this limiter by completely exploding myself in an effort to win Ironman Canada!
Aggressive aero positions aren’t optimal for me -- to generate big power, I need my elbows quite close to my hips and a relatively open thigh:torso angle.
Early in my triathlon career, I decided that I need to do some “fast training.” So I warmed up, found a safe stretch of road and did 8x1 mile MAX on 1 mile easy spinning recoveries. My 8x1 “all out” session kicked off a block of high-intensity training that ruined months of smart training.