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Is your half-ironman run in need of some help?

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 9.39.52 PMThe biggest challenge for many triathletes is dialing in that darn half marathon run.  If your half marathon run time in a triathlon is slower than your regular half marathon time (10%  or more), then I would recommend working on learning to run under load, the essence of triathlon running.  

The audio(8:23) below explains a workout that can really help sharpen your half ironman running.  Commit to 3-4 weeks of this before your next half ironman and you’ll definitely notice the difference.

 

Ironman Success: It’s All About the Strength

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 3.06.52 PMIronman athletes log hundreds of hours training and preparing for a great performance.  Every Ironman athlete knows the race is about being able to cover the distance as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Every Ironman also knows that there is a point in the race where everything becomes very challenging.  

If your goal is to do more than just cross the finish line, a few key shifts need to happen.  You may already be doing these things, but if not, these will help you get the most out of your Ironman performance.

Each year I help dozens of athletes race faster and stronger at the Ironman and Half Ironman distance.  Almost every single athlete I coach has “time available” as a key limiter; time to train as well as time to recover.  

My approach (The Team FC Method) is different,  yet very effective.  The major focus of the Team FC Method is to help an athlete develop sport specific strength and speed before focusing on endurance.  Big gear work, power intervals on the bike, short fast runs, hill repeats, paddle work divided into very short intervals, and some total body strength mixed in.  My goal is to make an athlete resilient, durable and well balanced before we start heading out on 4 and 5 hour rides and long 2- 2.5 hour runs.

There are five phases that all my athletes go through.  The Foundation, Pre-Competitive, Build, Race Prep, and Rejuvenation.  How long I spend focusing on each phase depends on an athlete’s goals, history and time until race day.  My Kona bound athletes or athletes with a history in the sport will spend up to 16 weeks in the Foundation.  

More endurance is NOT the way to get faster.  Endurance is important, but it’s not what slows an athlete down in an Ironman or half Ironman.  Lack of leg strength, durability and resilience is what causes an athlete to fade. Focusing on strengthening the areas that contribute to your slow down will yield amazing results. 

 

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Ironman Coach Joby Leads Thursday Night Brick Series at Endurance House Orange County

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 5.52.30 AMWe are back at it again!! Endurance House Orange County is hosting the next three consecutive Thursday evenings (3/24, 3/31 & 4/7).  Join us for a structured bike trainer/run session with Ironman Coach Joby of Team FC.

Register for the series here. Please use this link to register. We will need to limit spots.

COST: Simply make a $35 donation to Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) in order to participate in the entire series. A link will be emailed to you upon registration.

These sessions are designed to help you maximize strength on your bike as well as quick and efficient running on fatigued legs. Learning how to run well on fatigued legs is the essence of triathlon. This structured workout will improve your ability to focus and execute a great run.

Register Here – https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1j1oEm0cIT3QbwlnMqHKlXuDtG4iVEOp2i6BOIiszq9Q/viewform

If you implement this foundational workout over the next 3-6 weeks, you’ll see a difference in your ability to run well off the bike.

THE STRUCTURE:IMG_7945 (1)
*Bring your bike trainer, bike and running shoes to Endurance House.
*Have your bike set up and ready to begin the warm up at 6:30 PM.
*Running will take place outside.
*Workout will last 65 minutes total.

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Danielle Winkler and the Double Anvil – Q & A

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 9.03.44 AMWhat inspired you to sign up for the Double Anvil (4.8 mile swim, 224 mile bike and 52.4 mile run)? 
I was inspired to do this race by my boyfriend David.  He has done 3 doubles and a triple.  His experiences at these races planted the seed- and it grew from there.  On a road trip to race in Arizona  Colleen  and I talked  each other  into attempting this race.  Then after crewing for David in Florida in 2015 we knew we had to do it- it is such an amazing community. 
 
Have you completed any Ironman distance races? 
I started doing triathlon in 2010.  I have done 4 full ironman races – the first one in 2013. 
 

Did you have any doubts about completing the distance? 

Honestly I did not have any doubts completing this distance as far as the swim, bike, and run is concerned. However, this race has the unknown of racing over night, and not knowing how your body will respond. It is really important to keep up with your nutrition, and have a plan for dealing with fatigue. I actually thought I would finish between 32-34 hours- and that is exactly what I did. 

IMG_8018 (1)Did you experience any dark moments in the race? 
Fortunately for me the race was for the most part great. I would say my dark time was the first 90 miles of the bike.  I know this sounds funny, but when the bike is 224 miles it is really not that long.  For whatever reason I just felt off- they were having record heat in Florida, and not sure if that contributed.  Then all of a sudden I felt better. It was like a switch turned on, and I really enjoyed riding in the dark.  I knew I just had to keep moving forward, keep a smile on my face, and it would get better.  Plus you feed off all the energy from the other racers. 
 
How did you manage to stay focused during the race?
I think being a first time racer it was easy to stay focused since everything was so new.  But  I owe a lot to my crew- David and my parents- for keeping track of all my splits, when I needed to eat, drink, and take salt. They were a huge part of keeping me going. 
 
How did training for the double compare to training for an Ironman? 
Training for this race  was very challenging at times.  It’s just a huge time commitment.  It was like a part time job.  A lot of training was very similar to ironman- just longer.  There  was more training that simply focused on endurance- time in your saddle and on your feet. 
 
How did you balance your career and training? 
Training for this race and working was definitely a balancing act.  My job is very busy in the winter,can have very early mornings, and weekend hours. So it was important to plan my week ahead of time. I was lucky to have amazing training partners that worked around my schedule, and kept me motivated to get all my training done. 
IMG_8019 (1)
Is there anything else you’d like to share about the race?  
My advice for a race like this is to really know yourself- and what works for you- to have  a plan for the race as far as nutrition, rest and weather. But to be prepared for plan B and C.  I ended up on plan C for my run, and it worked out perfectly. Have a well prepared crew – they will make things much easier for you. 
 
 This race was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had.  I went into this thinking it would be a one and done.  Less than 24 hours after finishing Colleen and I were planning next year. I am so lucky to have a great training partner, and could not imaging doing this without her. The ultra community is such a wonderful family- I will warn you it is addictive. 
 

Colleen Wilcox Conquers the Double Anvil

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 9.03.44 AMWhat inspired you to sign up for the Double Anvil (Iron Distance x 2)? 

In March 2015 we travelled to Tampa to crew for Danielle’s boyfriend David while he returned again to do the Florida Double.  It was an amazing, awe-inspiring event and I knew I wanted to push my boundaries and go for it in 2016.

 

Have you completed any Ironman distance races? 

I have done IMAZ each year since 2013, then in July 2015 I did IM Whistler.

 

Did you have any doubts about completing the distance? 

I was confident that I would train my mind and body to complete the full 281.2, but I didn’t think I could do so before the 36 hour time limit ran out.  I say that because in January I had done an UltraRun and it took me 17 hours to do a little more than a double marathon – and that was without having “warmed up” with a 4.8 mile swim and 224 bike like I would be doing during the Double.

 

Did you Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 9.14.04 AMexperience any dark moments in the race? 

I was really enjoying myself almost the entire time, and when I wasn’t I kept reminding myself that my mood was like the weather in Florida – wait a few minutes and it will change J.

 

 

How did you manage to stay focused during the race? 

I knew that I needed to get out of my head and out of my own way if I was going to be able to do this – so my mantra was “Don’t think about this lap, don’t think about this mile, focus on this moment”.

 

IMG_8019 (1)How did training for the double compare to training for an Ironman? 

So much of this training seemed to be about developing the ability to recover rapidly and repeatedly.  The workouts were longer and there were few true rest days.  There were times when I was thinking “geez, we just rode 100+ miles yesterday and now I have to go out for a long run today?!?!” but it totally makes sense … since so much of the Double would be done in a fatigued state I needed to learn how to keep moving forward even when I was feeling worn out. 

 

How did you balance your career and training? 

Timing with this race and turmoil at work was unfortunate.  We were going through a lot of transition so I didn’t always have the ability to get out of work at a reasonable time in the evening.  Knowing that my evening schedule was unpredictable (and I am not a night person anyway) I preferred to do my training in the morning instead of feeling the pressure during the day to get my work done so I could go get my workout done afterwards.  But when the workout is 2 or 2 and half hours, and you work in construction and need to be heading to work by 7am (oh, and everybody would really appreciate it if I showered) I was typically up at 4am.  I was fortunate to have some flexibility periodically, but what really ended up happening was that household stuff (grocery shopping, laundry, etc.) stopped getting done a regular basis.  I was so fortunate that my husband, John, was totally on board and supportive.  Often times when he left work he would head home and cook dinner so it was ready whenever I got there and I could go straight to bed after eating.

 

IMG_8017Is there anything else you’d like to share about the race?  

The people who do Ultra’s along with the people who support them are an incredible, inspiring, welcoming and supportive group.  I think that energy is addicting.  Oh – and they offer the Double as a Tag Team Relay (you don’t select a single athlete per discipline, but are free to swap in/out at any lap) – a totally fun way to dip your toe in the Double pool and see how wonderful it is J

 

My ironman training during the week is completed before my kids wake up.

kidsI managed to fight and scratch my way to the Ironman World Championships the last two years while still balancing a healthy family life. Riding bikes with my kids, going to soccer games, pool days, beach days and the list goes on.

I train 7 days a week and 5 of these days (Monday through Friday) training is completed before my two daughters (ages 5 and 7) wake up for the day at about 6:45 AM. 

The structure of my training isn’t volume based like so many programs out there.  Sure, volume has a definite role in my Ironman training, but the focus is to build sport specific strength and a little speed.   Volume is added later on in the training and not nearly as long as most would think.  This is not the norm in Ironman training and people look at me like I am a little crazy when I share my approach.

This method of training is extremely effective because it allows you to focus on what slows you down most.  We need endurance, but this is not what typically keeps an athlete from making it to the finish line faster, especially for an athlete with a history in the sport. 

Ironman is a strength-endurance sport.  The more sport specific strength you build, the faster you will make it to the finish line.  Sustainable durability is the goal. Structure your training to focus on your limiters and you’ll really reap the rewards of the longer endurance training when you add it later on in your training cycle.

The cool thing is that this method of training has not only helped me (never judge the universal effectiveness of an approach based on a single individual’s success), but it now helps so many of the Ironman athletes I coach. In fact, this method of coaching resulted in 77 personal bests for the 2015 season.

If you are willing to switch up the way you look at Ironman training, you can open up a whole new realm of possibilities. Oh, and you’ll get to hang out with your friends, play with your kids, drink beer (okay, not all the time), surf, ski, and enjoy life.  

Here’s a look a the foundation of the Team FC Method.

Team FC Method

 

 

Need help improving your bike time?  Here’s what we focus on.

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Ironman athletes: If you struggle to run with a high cadence, treadmill running can help

Today I was reminded of the benefits of a treadmill for running workouts, especially when legs are tired. Wanted to remind you too.Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 9.39.46 AM

Background – my butt has ben sore every week for the last 4 weeks. Legs have been pretty sore as well. The end of the week is usually when I feel the load of my training and today (Friday) I needed to give my legs a break.

I jumped on the treadmill for my run and it was done at an easy pace with 1 minute accelerations. Average cadence for the run was 97 with accelerations completed at 114 cadence, with good hip extension and very little fatigue from the workout. To do this same workout on the road, I would have stressed the muscles more than I wanted to. 

Why is running on the treadmill beneficial?

If you are an ironman triathlete looking to improve your run performance off of the bike, the best way to do this is learning to run with a higher cadence.  Running at a higher cadence reduces ground contact time and is less dependent on leg strength, which is significantly compromised in an Ironman.  Running speed is determined by stride length x stride rate.  Your stride length will be compromised in an Ironman and if you don’t have a well developed cadence pattern, then big time slowdown and fatigue is inevitable. Same applies to a half Ironman.

Running on the treadmill allows you to develop the motor patterns to improve your run cadence, while still allowing good hip extension. As you know, cadence without hip extension is equivalent to spinning in the small chain ring with no power behind the pedals.  

If you struggle to run with a high cadence, it isn’t always endurance related. Often it can be the result of  under developed motor patterns in that cadence range. The treadmill allows you to develop those motor patterns without a big load on the body.

Ideal cadence?  My goal for all my athletes is to run at 180 -190 foot strikes per minute. The higher the cadence range, the less the athlete will slow down (assuming the training is there).

Give the treadmill a chance as you head into this Ironman season.

Ironman triathletes, make sure your speed work is transferable and specific.

I am a big proponent of doing a lot of short fast work on the run.  By short, I mean 30 seconds to 45 seconds. This helps to significantly improve mechanical efficiency as well as running speed and turnover. Another big plus is the ability to get in much more quality time at a fast pace without placing too much stress on the body. 

However, when it comes to sustained speed, there are some important principles you need to stick to if you want to see all the hard work come out on race day.  Keep in mind, I am speaking in the context of an Ironman or Half Ironman.  

Here are a few thoughts:

 

 

Want to hear more about how you can improve your race results?  Check this out.

Improve Your Bike

Want Improved Ironman Performance? The Diagnostic Field Tests Will Get You There.

Better Ironman Results in 2016 with these 3 diagnostic filed tests

How was your 2015 season? Did you get the results you desired? Perhaps you finished the 2015 season with decent results, but you’re determined to make 2016 an even better season.

Deep inside you know you’re leaving something on the table. Let’s make your 2016 more focused

THE PROBLEM
* You’re overwhelmed – There is so much written about training it’s tough to know which approach will give you the results.
* You want to know what works – Which specific workouts will make the biggest impact on your performance.?
* Tired of just working out – bring focus to your workouts once you know exactly what you need to target.

MAKE 2016 BETTER
* Train with purpose
* Make the most of your limited training time
* Watch your training result in measurable improvements….and better performances
* Crush 2016 and smile at your results

HERE’S WHAT I’LL DO
* Teach you the 3 diagnostic field tests you need to start doing immediately.
* Show you how each test can identify gaps in your fitness. It’s not always what you think it is.
* Help you interpret the results of these tests so you can structure your training in a more purposeful, results driven approach.

JOIN ME
Join me on Jnauary 14th at Endurance House . We’ll begin at 6:30 for a 35 minute presentation covering diagnostic field testing.
Question and answer session will follow the presentation.

If you are coming, please be sure to print out this PDF out to keep track of results as well as for notes. Diagnostic Field Testing – Team FC Method

 

Claim your spot today and I’ll follow up with additional homework you can do before we meet.

Your running ability off the bike in an Ironman depends on your bike durability. This workout will help.

In an Ironman and half Ironman, a great run result is a pace close to your stand alone half marathon or marathon time (7 – 9%).  Nobody expects to run faster than this.  Unfortunately, the drop off that some athletes experience falls in the 20% range and beyond.  What’s your slowdown?

Clearly, this slowdown is not merely a function of your running ability.  Even the most elite runners will be compromised if they hammer their legs on the bike before lacing up their shoes.

So what’s the solution?  You could take the bike nice and easy to retain some of your running potential. While this will help, your total result at the finish line will be less than desirable.  

The best way to help your running is to make your legs bullet proof on the bike so they are able to take a beating. Simply riding more miles won’t help.

We do this by focusing on bike specific strength work.  There are a variety of ways to do this, but here is a great strength workout.  Remember, Ironman is a strength-endurance sport.  It’s not just about endurance. 

In 2015 Team FC athletes posted a total of 77 personal bests and most of these improvements were in the form of a better bike/run combination.  Here’s a look at a staple bike strength workout.  

Warm Up

20′ easy warm up at a variety of cadences. Mix in some harder efforts too to prime the legs.

Main Set:

15 min. at 60 rpm Z3/Z4 w/ 5 min. easy spin to recover

15 min. at 50 rpm @ Z3/Z4 w/ 5 min. easy spin to recover

10 min. at 45 rpm @ Z3/Z4 w/ 5 min. easy spin to recover

5-10 minute easy cool down

Outside or on trainer. I prefer the trainer.

Intensity should be Z3/Z4.  You should feel this in your legs well before your lungs.  Key is to make sure you are not breathing heavy (like in an all out tt effort) during these efforts – get right to the point before breathing becomes very labored. The challenge of this ride builds as intensity wears away at you. Keep breathing under control and this will make sure the workout targets your leg strength. If you are not feeling it in your legs, then add more resistance.

Want a few more strategies for improving your ironman and half ironman run?


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Ironman Racing Shouldn’t Be Easy

Ironman racing should never feel easy. The biggest misconception I hear is the faster and stronger you become, the easier the race will be. Definitely not true.

Holding yourself together(when it counts…like in the back half of the race) while taking a beating is what separates folks on the course. Many are willing to race, but few are willing to give it to themselves on race day….but when you do, the reward is oh so sweet.

This all starts in training, both mentally and physically.  

Be a mental BEAST on the course.

 

Don’t Fall for the Bike Trap

There comes a point where obsessing over the latest set of wheels, aero suit, helmet, or even water bottle placement can be an exercise in futility. I’m not saying it isn’t important, but it should always be secondary…..  

The real issue at hand when you approach a race is your bike fitness, plain and simple(combined with run and swim fitness too).  If you lack fitness on the bike, then no amount of equipment (aside from the obvious well functioning bike) will snatch you out of the depths of mediocrity.  Your fitness is what you have 100% control over so take the time to build “the rider” and don’t over think your set up.  After you know your bike fitness is dialed in, then I would start thinking about the remaining 1%.  

Coach Joby

How Will You Approach Your Next Ironman? – Get Mental

Every Ironman or Half Ironman you compete in presents an opportunity to breakthrough or settle.  The battle is real my friends.  

There is a part of our mind that is merely concerned with survival it sends out messages telling us it’s okay to settle and play it safe.  This keeps us comfortable and little risk is involved. 

There is another part of the mind that wants more and challenges us to get the most out of our ourself.  The problem is that we must risk failure and we often shy away from exploring these possibilities. Yes, by pushing  your limits you can fail miserably…but you can also spread your wings and soar to new heights you never dreamed possible.  The best part is this is now becomes your new reality.

Take risks.  Prepare both your body and mind to makes these leaps.  You WILL NEVER REGRET it once you BREAKTHROUGH. 

Let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious” – Vince Lombardi

Orange County Ironman Triathlon Coach Offers Ironman Course

I am excited to share some of the training principles that we use to help our triathletes race faster and stronger at the half Ironman and Ironman distances.  This Everything Ironman course is available in May, 2015. Registration opens April 21st.  If you you don’t have an Ironman coach or triathlon coach to help you through your training, then this is a good start.  If you are a triathlon coach looking to improve your results with you athletes, this course will offer a new way of looking at how you build up an athletes training.

Why Online?  In the past we have hosted various workshops in the North and South Orange County areas.  Those unable to attend have frequently asked for a recorded version….so we listened.  

This course will be ideal for those who have a late season Ironman such as Ironman Arizona, Ironman Florida, Ironman Cozumel, Ironman Lake Tahoe and Ironman Maryland.

A Faster Bike Split Requires a Shift in Thinking…and Training

You train, you compete and repeat the cycle week to week. Although your friends think you are superhuman (okay so you probably are since you choose to compete in triathlons), you know that there is more speed to be gained. You ask yourself, “Why is bib # 345 riding faster than me?” After the race you commit to riding more miles in hope of improved times. Unfortunately, this is not the answer. When you first started in the sport, more miles and volume definitely made you faster since your body reaped the benefit of this new stimulus. However, once this low hanging fruit is gone something else needs to be done.

I’t’s a bit of a paradigm shift but the rewards are worth it. I’d like to tell you about an athlete I coach. She was initially hesitant to reduce volume because, in her mind, she wouldn’t be ready for her target Ironman. Instead of the usual mega long rides we replaced these with focused and targeted rides that had very specific goals. Volume was reduced and targeted work replaced it. I knew these workouts were making her faster and stronger and I just needed her to race to truly “believe”. Despite her initial hesitations, she made great gains and this is what she had to say, “I improved my Ironman by 48 minutes from 5 years ago (on a tougher course), and I was able to PR an Olympic distance Triathlon 2 weeks after my Ironman by 13 minutes. I was so very happy with my training and how it improved my performance I am still looking forward to improving and setting new PR’s.”

So what did we do? We focused on the key training phases that are essential for peak performance – Strength, strength-endurance, speed, speed endurance and race specifics.

On November 1st we will begin our 5 week Off Season Bike Program which is designed to focus on teaching you about all the phases of training as well as guiding you through the strength and strength-endurance phase of your training. This program is for a very specific type of athlete. If you would like to build the foundation for a faster bike split in 2015, then check out the details of our program.

Enrollment ends on October 28th and our program begins on November 1st.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Kona Pics and a Few Thoughts

My goal for many years was to qualify for and race at the World Championships in Kona, HI. Well, last week I finally realized that goal.  My daughters were able to see me complete this race, which made it extra special to me.  My goal was to appreciate every single minute of the race.  I took nothing for granted.  I sat up to enjoy the views, I thanked as many volunteers as I could, and I took it all in.  What an experience!!!  I felt so humbled to be there.

I usually share info about training and competing, but today I want to share what motivates me to push day in and day out. I think these pics capture the essence of what drives me.

 

 

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girls cheering 2

Girls at Beach

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Guaranteed Power Improvement – Off Season Bike Program

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Make 2015 a Faster Season

Our low volume Off Season Bike Program helps dedicated triathletes start off the 2015 season with more power. Yes, I am guaranteeing you’ll be producing more power at the end of this 5-week program.

“Dedicated triathletes” – You must be willing to put in the specific work detailed in the workout plan. This might go against what so many are accustomed to in the off-season.

“More Power” – Your bike potential in a triathlon is determined by your top end power and the higher we elevate this in the off season, the more opportunity for growth as the season progresses. We want you to be fast when it matters. This strength phase sets the stage for everything else.

“Less Volume” – Contrary to the high volume approach most employ in the off season, this low volume approach maximizes power gains.

This off season bike program isn’t for everybody. Let’s start with those who should skip out.

Who it’s not for?
New triathletes with limited cycling experience
Athletes with a solid track cycling background
Those who want to be race ready year round
Those looking for a quick fix. Despite the low volume, this is not easy.
Those unwilling to complete the very specific work detailed in the training plan
Injured athletes

Who it’s for?:
Long course triathletes who want a faster bike time and a faster run
Those willing to depart from traditional methods of training
Those who are willing to stick to the bike plan 100%
Those who want to learn more about the phases of training essential for peak performance

What you’ll get:
A 5-week bike plan designed to maximize power gains
Two in-person training sessions designed to ensure you are completing the workouts properly.
5 videos to teach you the phases of training

Our Guarantee: We guarantee you’ll improve your power at the end of the 5 weeks. If you complete all of your workouts as described, attend the two sessions and you fail to improve your 30 second and 60 second top end power, then we will refund your money. Those without of power meter will use an alternate baseline test

Why 30 second and 60 second? Most endurance athletes lack the essential power and strength to build upon. Endurance athletes don’t need more endurance; they need more POWER. Endurance comes later in the training cycle. Neglecting your top end power will limit your race speed. What keeps most long course triathletes from going faster isn’t lack of endurance; it’s lack of strength and power. Notice that we said this wasn’t for athlete with a track cycling background? These athletes already have well developed top end power.

In person sessions:
November 1st, 2014 @ 7:30 AM – Yorba Linda, CA
December 6th 2014 @ 7:30 AM – Yorba Linda, CA

Cost:
$195

Registration closes October 28th at 11 PM.  

If you want to be part  of our Off Season Bike Program, please  fill out this form and details of the first session will be emailed to you.  Please review “Who it’s for? and Who it’s not for?” to make sure this is something that you would benefit from.

 

 

Speed Endurance

One of the most critical phases of training is the speed endurance phase.  This phase allows the athlete to bring all of the preceding phases together. The more attention and focus you have put into the strength, strength endurance, and speed phases of your training, then more growth potential you’ll have when you enter the speed endurance phase.

The purpose of the speed endurance phase is to teach your body to deal with elevated level of lactate.  This can also be referred to as the lactate tolerance phase.  The key factor during this phase is that intensity is right at or just above lactate threshold and recovery is limited. Intervals can vary in length from 5 minutes up to about 20 minutes for the bike and 3 to 15 minutes on the run.  The goal is to teach your body to sustain lactate threshold intensity on limited rest. Carrying fatigue into each repeat is very important.  The rest intervals are designed to give a brief respite from the work being done and then it’s back to the grind.

Sample Bike Speed Endurance Workout

20 minute warm up gradually building up to z4 with short bursts into Z5 to prime the legs for what’s in store.
3 x 12 minutes @ Z4 with 2 minute Z2 recovery spin at a high rpm
10 minute cool down.

As you progress through this phase the main set of the workout would evolve into  something like this.
3 x 20 minutes @Z4 with 2 minute recoveries

These intervals are tough and the last one will usually feel much more intense despite the same Z4 intensity.  These intervals are crucial for race day performance.

 

Race Specifics and Putting it all Together (for long course athletes)

During all of the phases I previously described, the volume is not high (will vary by person of course).  If executed properly, the final phase of the training cycle will allow  you to add on volume at a time when your body is best prepared to deal with the increase.  Instead of building volume when the body is weak and just getting back into the routine, you’ll be doing it when the body is best prepared to handle the volume.  The length of the race specific phase will depend on the history of the athlete, but most experienced Ironman athletes do well with 4-7 weeks of high volume.  Less experienced might need more (mostly for the athlete’s mental sanity).  Intensity comes down to a much more race specific nature.  Speed endurance and short bursts of speed are thrown in to keep the athlete feeling fresh.

 

Tomorrow I’ll be announcing our Off Season Bike Program.  This program will help dedicated triathletes enter the 2015 season with more power….AND yes I’ll guarantee you’ll improve bike power at the end of the 5 week program.

 

 

 

Speed

If you spend 5-10 weeks developing your strength and strength endurance, but never transition any of this to race day fitness, then you most assuredly will leave lots of speed on the table. Speed is an optional but highly recommended phase you go through before entering the speed endurance phase. How much time you spend developing speed before transitioning into speed endurance will depend on your background as an athlete. Those who come to me with years of Ironman racing experience can benefit greatly from a focused block of speed training.

Let’s talk a little about speed. The speed we are after is speed in relation to the endurance athlete. Distances can vary from 200 meters up to 1200 meters for running and 1 to 7 minutes for cycling. The intensity is max repeatable effort with lots of rest.   Rushing the rest interval can limit how fast you run each repeat. These repeats are run at Z6 and even beyond. These workouts focus on allowing your body to run and ride as fast as you can. The goal of these session is to raise your upper limit of speed. Most athletes benefit greatly from 4-5 weeks of speed. Extending too much beyond this and your risk for injury goes up.

Run Speed Workout
20 minute warm up
8 x 400 with 1:2 work to rest ratio. If it takes you 1:20 to run your 400, then you are resting for 2:40. Rest can be easy walking with a few drills mixed in.
Easy 10 minute cool down

Factors to Consider
If you are nursing any sort of injury, speed workouts are not recommended. Get healthy first.
If form is compromised, then shorten the interval so you can complete it with good form and mechanics.
Speed workouts should be completed at a time when total training volume is not increasing.

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Strength – Endurance Phase

Strength endurance is very similar to the strength phase. The emphasis is still on maximal force to the pedals, but now we bring the cadence closer to a more natural range. This allows us to bridge the gap between very low cadence and fast cadence riding. The key for the bike intervals is that we are still feeling it in the legs more than in the lungs. If you your legs are doing fine, but you’re breathing is labored, then pick a tougher gear and consider dropping the cadence a bit. The cadence range should be 65 – 80. Depending on your natural strengths, you will need to adjust so that you are achieving the goal of the session.

Sample Bike Strength Endurance Workout
15 minute warm up going through a range of intensities and cadences.
4 x 7 minutes @ 65 – 80 RPM @ Z3/Z4 power. Recover 5 minutes with easy spinning.
10 minute cool down

As far as the run goes, you can extend the hill a bit (up to 8 minutes) but keep in mind you should be able to run up it and not shuffle. Intensity remains about the same as the strength phase, but recovery can decrease a bit. Work to rest ratio can be closer to 1:1.

Sample Run Strength Endurance Workout
20 minute warm up consisting of a drills and a steady build up. Finish with strides.
5 x 6 minutes on a 5-7% hill @ Z3/Z4 intensity with 5-6 minute recovery as an easy jog.
Cool down with 5-10 minute easy jog

Here’s a look at the Speed Phase

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Strength Phase

The strength phase of the build up is the most frequently skipped phase. Most likely due to a lack of “race specific feel”. However, this phase is the foundation for all future phases. The more time you spend in this phase, the better your race day fitness can be.

So, what is strength? The strength I am referring to is sport specific strength. Strength in the form of functional strength and other gym based strength can be beneficial and should be incorporated, but the purpose of this overview is to focus on bike and run strength.

The goal of the strength phase is to condition muscles, ligaments and tendons to deliver as much force to the pedals/ground as possible. The more strength developed, the more the speed (incorporated later in the season) can sink is teeth into. It’s important to note that strength is not concerned with speed of movement.

Bike – On the bike your goal is to deliver as much torque to the pedals as possible with the least amount of aerobic strain – that is, these should not make you feel like your lungs are about to explode. These intervals are best done on a trainer or a hill. Cadence target should be in the 45-55 range with power in the Z4 range. Focus on even power throughout the pedal stroke while keeping your upper body still. Recovery between intervals is key and should be no less than a 1:1 work to rest ratio.

Sample Strength Bike Session:
15 minute warm up going through a range of intensities and cadences.
4 x 5 minutes @ 50 RPM @ Z3/Z4 power. Recover 5 minutes with easy spinning.
10 minute cool down

Run – The key for an effective strength session on the run is to choose a hill that you can run and not just shuffle up. Your focus is to run up the hill with good mechanics and focusing on hip extension. Learn to fire the gluteal muscles. Intensity is about Z3/Z4 heart rate. Duration can range from 1 minute to 5 minutes. Rest to work interval should be 1:1. Or 1.5:1. If you start to break down, then this is where you should stop.

Sample Strength Run Workout:
20 minute warm up consisting of a drills and a steady build up. Finish with strides.
5 x 3 minutes on a 5-7% hill @ Z3/Z4 intensity with 3 minute recovery as an easy jog.
5 minutes easy jog

Length of Phase
4-8 weeks

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Here’s a look at the next phase –  strength-endurance

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Don’t enter the off season without reading this

Contrary to popular belief, a lot of volume will not make you faster, especially if you have been in the sport for awhile. Endurance is part of the equation, but it’s definitely not the A well-developed triathlete must develop endurance, speed, strength and power. Neglecting any one of these areas will limit your potential as a triathlete. How we train athlete at Team FC – Fitness Coaching…in a nutshell The first phase of our training focuses on developing some strength and speed. Simply going longer will not make you faster. This is so difficult for many to accept because it is such a shift in thinking. Remember, going long helps you to resist fatigue and breakdown, but early in the season there is no need to develop your fatigue resistance.   Most triathletes come to the sport with limited training exposure to fast and quick training movements.   Although the chance of injury does increase slightly with more powerful and faster stuff, a well-structured program will allow you to build in some strength and speed without jeopardizing your health. The key is to do so without trying to maximize your endurance. Remember we don’t need the endurance early in the season. As the season progresses, our goal is to help build lactate tolerance (speed endurance). This is where we try and extend our early season speed we developed. Rest intervals get shorter and intervals get longer. As we approach race day, the endurance factor takes more of a priority because now we need to focus on what will prepare us for the demands of the race. You’ll see the number and intensity of the intervals shift to longer sustained efforts at an intensity that more closely matches your race day goal. The length of our program determines the time we spend in each phase. For athletes who are with me on a year round basis, we have the ability to focus on addressing the strength and speed component in much more depth. These phases can be repeated within the same season to allow for multiple peaks. So remember, your body must know how to efficiently move with power, strength and speed before we can add endurance to the mix. Focusing exclusively on endurance will definitely get you to to the finish line, but you will sell yourself short of your full potential. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing more about each of these phases. You’ll learn a few key bike workouts for each phase. My goal is to help you better understand how to structure your training.   I’ll be sending this information in our training tips newsletter so be sure and hop on the list if you haven’t signed up yet.  If you know anyone who can benefit from this, please share.

Read more about the strength phase   I want more info like this. Sign me up

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