Skip navigation

1 2 3 ... 39 Previous Next

Active Expert: Gale Bernhardt

574 Posts

If you’re competing in cold water, take a thermos of warm (not hot) water to the swim start with you. Just before zipping up your wetsuit, pour the warm water into the suit. With a layer of warm water next to your body, you don’t have to heat up the cold lake water that seeps into the wetsuit the first few meters.

 

************************************************

 

Detailed off-season plans fortriathlon and cycling, along with event-specific running, cycling and triathlon plans are found here.

Comments can be added on Facebook or Gale’s website.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

501 Views 0 Comments Permalink

Before I tell you about High Anxiety and Psychopath, I want to preface the story by telling you this off-season’s work has improved my cycling. More about that later.

 

Breckenridge 4-19-13_edited.jpg

(Click on the photo to elarge the view.)

 

Those of you familiar with Breckenridge ski resort know some of the classic trail names such as High Anxiety and Psychopath. It’s been years since I’ve skied at Breckenridge, but I couldn’t pass up the new snow and a $25 lift ticket. Three of us headed for the hills and took advantage of the opportunity yesterday.


I took the newly rebuilt Garmin 800 on the trip and I could actually see trail names on the map (above), which I wasn’t able to do with theold Garmin firmware. You can see the complete Garmin Connect file for the day here


The snow was great, but (and?) some of the most challenging conditions I’ve skied in a long time. The top t-bar and upper lift runs were windblown thick snow on top of new snow that’s been preserved for a week. (The resort’s official closing was last weekend. They decided to reopen for Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend.) Snow on the upper mountain was really deep with a roughly four-inch layer of wind-packed snow on the top. The top runs off of the t-bar had moonscape snow waves that were wind-hardened. Moonscape was actually a bit easier to ski than the deep powder with the packed top layer. I took a digger in the powder with packed top and when I tried to retrieve a ski I would sink to my crotch. That’s a report on the tough stuff.


We did find some lighter new snow lower on the mountain, some good wind-blown light powder and some great snow on the groomers. None of the snow was classic Colorado champagne powder, but the five feet (yes, that is FEET) of snow we've received in April is much appreciated for the water situation.

 

I’m certainly not the first one to find that winters sports such as skiing, skating, working on strength and doing balance skill building in the off-season helps cycling. Olympian Eric Heiden was among the first notable athletes to use this kind of crosstraining. Dave Wiens is legendary for winning the prestigious Leadville 100 Mountain Bike race and using skiing and hockey as winter training. My interview with Dave can be found here.


Though I haven’t done much mountain biking this spring, what I have found so far is that my balance is better, I have good power output on some of the short climbs and my weaker right turn ability has seen significant improvement.


Not only has more skiing been great fun this winter, I believe it will contribute to a strong cycling season.


Have any of you changed your winter training and seen some positive indicators?

 

************************************************

Detailed off-season plans for triathlon and cycling, along with event-specific running, cycling and triathlon plans are found here.

Comments and questions can be added on Facebook or Gale’swebsite.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

648 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, leadville_trail_100_mountain_bike_race, skiing, skating, dave_wiens, breckenridge, olympian, high_anxiety, psychopath, eric_heiden, skier

In the past month I’ve had two athletes decide to be more accountable for nutrition. By simply keeping a food log, they have both dropped weight. One of them is logging food prior to consumption, the other after. Both have said it has helped them make better choices and control portion size. The mindless eating ended. They are not “dieting” because no food choice is off the table. All choices are available because it is a conscious decision to eat or drink calories/energy/nutrition.


Both athletes feel great and energy has increased.


If you’re beginning to think about shedding some winter fluff, consider holding yourself accountable for your energy bank account. Consider the quality and quantity of your calorie investment. Is that investment going to pay you big dividends in the next one to six months?


If not, change your investment portfolio now.

 

************************************************

Detailed off-season plans fortriathlon and cycling, along with event-specific running, cycling and triathlon plans are found here.

Comments and questions can be added on Facebook or Gale’s website.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

610 Views 0 Comments Permalink

Question:

Hi Gale,

I've read a few articles by both you, Joel Friel and a few others about training and racing at altitude.  This year I'm racing Leadville and have access to a place in Frisco for training.  My plan is to do all of my higher intensity workouts here in Fort Collins and do longer, steady training rides on the weekends in Breckenridge and up around Leadville.  I've found discussions of benefits for >4 weeks and your suggestions for racing at >8500 ft:

Utilizing Altitude Training for Racing at Altitudes Above 8,500 Feet

  • Live at an     altitude between 5,000 and 8,500 feet for three to four weeks.
  • Drive to higher     altitudes for some training days and consider occasional overnight stays     prior to training days. Keep recovery periods at lower altitudes.
  • Keep power     output high by doing high-intensity work intervals at 5,000 to 8,500 feet     or lower. Or, consider using supplemental oxygen during workouts.

 

But do you get the benefits of living at high altitude by spending weekends at ~9000 ft or is it just not a large enough percentage of time to matter?  I've even dug around on a few Everest web sites that seem to indicate that a couple of extra days at higher camps is enough to help while spending the majority of time at base camp (although that might be too extreme of an example to make sense).

 

Anyway - thanks and I hope to see you at somerides/races this summer,

A.J.

 

Answer:

Hi A.J. ~


First, congrats on your Leadville entry. I am entered in Leadville this year as well, so maybe I’ll see you there – or training on the great trails in Northern Colorado.


For your question, “But do you get the benefits of living at high altitude by spending weekends at ~9000 ft or is it just not a large enough percentage of time to matter? “


In my opinion, yes, you do get benefits from spending weekends or perhaps every three weekends at altitude. I live on the Front Range close to you, as you know from the group ride listing. Here is a blog that I wrote about intermittent altitude exposure. 


I too have access to training around Frisco and I continue to collect one-person data on oxygen saturation. I do a mix of alpine and Nordic skiing through the winter and I’ve found the oxygen saturation data stays consistent. If I can get to Summit County roughly every three weeks, I can maintain higher oxygen saturation levels. Like you, I do most of my training at ~5,000 feet which I believe keeps power output high. I may know more about that (real data) this season.


Hope this helps. See you on the trails (or the road) ~


Gale

************************************************


Detailed off-season plans for triathlon and cycling, along with event-specific running, cycling and triathlon plans are found here.

Comments and questions can be added on Facebook or Gale’s website.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

650 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: training, race, leadville, colorado, mountain_bike, lt100, frisco, 100_miles

I recently read a column written by Christopher Solomon about Kilian Jornet. Jornet has a long list of winning accomplishments including setting a dozen speed records, claiming some 16 titles and winning more than 80 races.


His physiology is amazing, with a VO2max measuring 89.5 ml/kg/min – one of the highest on record.


He is light, 5-foot, 6-inches and 125 pounds.


The column noted that “In moderate temperatures, Jornet says, he can run easily for eight hours without drinking water.”


He also completes long runs eating only berries.


He is very in tune with his body.


Certainly he is an anomaly.


What I wonder...is that if he trained his body to do very well performing on such low levels of fluid and fuel, is it possible for people with fewer natural gifts to do the same? Or is it just in his genetics?


The original column is titled Becoming the All-Terrain Human

 

*************************************************

Detailed off-season plans for triathlon and cycling, along with  event-specific running, cycling and triathlon plans are  found here.

Comments and questions can be added onFacebook or Gale’s  website.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans availableon ActiveTrainer.

581 Views 0 Comments Permalink

I know plenty of endurance athletes that stay fit. They do regular workouts and are settled into some type of routine.They log workout data and race data.


This practice is not self-coaching, this is data logging.


The data-logging athlete will sometimes have a good season of racing. It is also not unusual for this athlete to be ill or injured from doing too much volume and/or intensity – mostly because this person enjoys training and perhaps racing. Once he or she is on the road to recovery from an illness or injury, most probably this person will not take the time to rebuild fitness properly. They jump right back to the long swims, rides or runs and the high intensities that their egos enjoy so much.

 

In contrast, the self-coached athlete takes the time to plan workouts that are intended to address fitness limiters. Planning workouts that build on one another, and current fitness, help this athlete achieve higher and higher levels of fitness. Improving fitness limiters helps self-coached athletes achieve racing goals. 


If the self-coached athlete has a setback, he or she takes the time to rebuild lost fitness before ramping the volume or intensity back up to levels that were common prior the setback. They are very rarely in a repeating cycle that includes illness or injury.


Do you know any data loggers that think they are self-coached?

 

*************************************************

Detailed off-season plans for  triathlon and cycling, along with  event-specific running, cycling and triathlon  plans are  found here.

Comments and questions can be added on Facebook or Gale’s  website.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans availableon ActiveTrainer.

657 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: triathlete, runner, cyclist, self-coached

Many of us are fixers. We like to fixthings that are wrong, so we go looking for things to fix.


When evaluating your training, be cautious that you not only look at what needs to be changed – but you take tally of what you are doing right. Avoid the temptation to keep fiddling with every aspect of your training.


Stay the course on what is going right with your training and keep changes minimized.

 

 

*************************************************

Detailed off-season plans for  triathlon and cycling, along with  event-specific running, cycling and triathlon  plans are  found here.

Comments and questions can be added on Facebook or Gale’s  website.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

462 Views 0 Comments Permalink

Q. Hi Gale, I am in week 8 of your 27 week plan for the Half-Ironman training program. I tested this week and have made noticeable gains in both swimming and running (my limiters, so this was a big positive!). However, my T1(5) biketesting ended up with identical #s from my first test 8 weeks ago. Conditions were the same, on an indoor trainer, didn't feel tired, ate well, etc. Avg. watts 277, HR avg. 142, total time of 14:30. Any thoughts as to why or what I should do differently? I have not really skipped any workout to date and have clearly made progress in the other 2 disciplines. Thanks - S. T. 

 

A. Hi S.T.~

 

Thanks for using my training plan to help you succeed - and - congratulations on the swimming and running improvements! You mention those are your limiters so I suspect you are a very strong cyclist.

 

If that is the case, you require higher intensities to make improvements on the bike. But - you may not want to add that level of intensity as I suspect you'll trade swimming and running performance. Since those are your limiting sports, holding cycling steady isn't a bad thing right now.

 

I also suspect that as you progress through the plan and intensity increases, cycling should show some gains. Since you are already strong there, the gains may not be as much as swimming and running though.

 

Let me know if my assumption is true (strong cyclist) and keep me posted to the changes as you make your way through the plan. If you do decide to increase cycling intensity, monitor your fatigue. You may need to just keep cycling in a maintenance mode until you get stronger in the other two sports.

 

Gale

 

 

A. Thanks Gale! Good advice and insight--cycling has been my strong suit. I will hold steady on that for now and let my swim and run 'catch up' before increasing bike intensities. I'll keep you updated; thanks for the plan--it's helped immensely so far. S.T. 

 

 

 

************************************************

Detailed off-season plans for triathlon andcycling, along with event-specific running, cycling and more triathlonplans found here.

Comments can be added on Facebook.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

490 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: training, triathlon, bike, run, swim, plan, half-ironman, improvement

Top athletes that blog about their personal training schedules tell you precisely what they want you to know.  For example, several athletes I coach (or have coached) hide key workouts on public training sites such as Strava. 


Why?


These athletes don’t want others to know or to duplicate key workouts or workout combinations. One of my athletes discovered one of his followers was duplicating his workouts, lagging by a day or more. Many athletes feel that their training preparation is part of their success weaponry.


I’ve not had one of my athletes tell me they did this, but I have spoken to pro athletes that have told me they exaggerate training volume and intensity levels in their blogs. If their competitors attempt to follow the supposed training plan, they go into races with dead legs from excess volume and/or intensity.


Are some people 100-percent honest when blogging and posting about their training?


Maybe.  


If you’re trying to replicate a top athlete’s training plan – do you know who is telling the 100-percent truth and who isn’t?


The secret about top athletes is they have secrets.

 

************************************************

Detailed off-season plans for triathlon andcycling, along with event-specific running, cycling and more triathlonplans found here.

Comments can be added on Facebook.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

571 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: training, secrets

For my cyclists that have power meters, I like to use a combination of heart rate and power numbers for some workouts. One reason I do this is to flush out fitness data that would otherwise be hidden. Let me give you an example.


If the assignment is to ride at Zone 2 heart rate (the biological response), the athlete does that workout without regard to power output or speed. This kind of workout has its place in training and I do use it.


If the assignment is to produce Zone 2 power, the athlete completes the workout and typically comments in the feedback section. A comment might be, “Heart rate high (or low) for Zone 2 power.”  Or they might comment, “Workout went well.” In any case I do get information from this workout – and the workout has its place in my mix of workouts.


Sometimes, I use a combination of heart rate and power so the athlete can drive the highest power possible on that day, while limiting the biological cost. Below is a sample workout for an athlete with a current Zone 2 top-end wattage of 135 and top-end Zone 2 heart rate of 136. I wanted an aerobic workout  that produced the highest possible power during specific intervals.

 

The workout

Do a 10-minute warm-up.

The entire workout is 4 repeats of the following:

5 minutes at ~135 watts (Keeping heart rate 136 or below. If you can push higher watts than 135 for a cost of 136 heart rate – do it.)

5 minutes at 120 watts or less (Zone 1 heart rate)

End with easy spinning at Zone 1 heart rate


One of my athletes (power and heart rate data used in the sample above) recently returned from a ski trip in Switzerland. He skied for six days at an altitude of 3000 to 4000 meters. He lives at sea level. Though he was only at altitude for a week, his results for the workout I describe above showed a marked change. He was able to push wattages much greater than 135 while keeping heart rate low. Important to note, his low heart rate felt low and the effort felt easy. (Sometimes athletes note that a low heart rate feels really hard – i.e. Zone 2 heart rate feels like Zone 3.)


You can see his graph below.

Power after altitude 2013_edited.jpg

(You can select the graph to make it larger.)


Did his time at altitude change his ability to push higher wattage for a low - aerobic - cost? Is this result just part of his increased fitness due to the training mix? (It’s important to note I’ve worked with this person for a few years.) Or, was this workout a performance fluke? (He was able to produce more wattage than what is normal, given this heart rate.)


The questions are reasonable and I’ll continue to monitor his performance to see if it is time to make an adjustment to training zones.


If you are a self-coached athlete, it is important to cross-reference training zone data from time to time to be sure you are getting the most benefit from the workouts. You can get some of this data from testing – but – I believe it is important to sample workout data as well.

 

************************************************

Detailed off-season plans for triathlon and cycling, along with event-specific running, cycling and more triathlonplans found here.

Comments can be added on Facebook.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

472 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: altitude, power, heart_rate

Q.  HeyGale ~ I had to skip a workout in your Olympic Distance Triathlon Race Plan, Intermediate: 5.75 to 10.5 hrs/wk and I feel very guilty. Is feeling guilty and remorseful normal? Also, I wanted to make up the workout tomorrow, is that wise? D. B.


A.  Hi D.B. ~ I’ve found that goal-oriented people that have a task list to complete (a training plan is a task list) will often feel guilty, remorseful or sometimes angry when missing a workout. By your description, I suspect you didn’t miss the workout because you didn’t feel like sweating; rather you missed the workout due to a life-scheduling conflict. Don’t worry about missing a workout now and then. Also, don’t try to make the workout up by pushing it into tomorrow’s workout load.  Just pick up the training plan tomorrow with the regularly planned workout(s) and you will be fine. If you can execute the majority of the workouts in the plan, you should be able to complete the event. If you miss several high-speed workouts, your time goals will likely suffer.This may require that you rework your race goals and not be as aggressive with time or race day placement.


For many athletes, triathlon is an excellent sport to help them stay fit and healthy. Pressure often comes from performance goals rather than fitness goals. It is fine to be performance oriented, but don’t allow time goals to take the fun out of sport.

 

************************************************

Detailed off-season plans for triathlon andcycling, along with event-specific running, cycling and more triathlonplans found here.

Comments can be added on Facebook.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

453 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: guilt_skipping_a_workout

   

I’ve received several questions on racingin heat and humidity. I wrote a two-part column that can help you racesuccessfully. Here is an excerpt:


Whether you travel for racing or not, you may find yourself concerned with acclimation to heat and humidity. Consider the following situations:

  • You train in cool fall air and your next     race is in a hot environment.
  • You train in cool spring air and the     first race of the season is in a hot city.
  • You live in a city that is always cool     relative to the locations where you race.
  • You live in a hot, dry environment but     plan to travel to a hot, humid environment for a race.
  • You live and work in an air conditioned     environment but race in a hot and humid environment. 

Take a look at PartI - Acclimating to Heat and Humidity

 

 

************************************************

Detailed off-season plans for triathlon andcycling, along with event-specific running, cycling and more triathlonplans found here.

Comments can be added on Facebook.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

450 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: training, and, racing, heat, humidity, acclimitization

Q. Hey Gale ~ I just read an article about training like the pros. The column was basically about high volume and high intensity training.  I read another column that emphased high volume and low intensity. Finally, I read another  column about time-crunched athletes doing low volume and very high intensity. I’m so confused. Can you help? I trust your advice because of your long track record of working with all types of athletes. Thanks ~ B. F. 


A. Hello B. F. ~ I’ve used the different types of training formats you describe in your note. The short answer is the type of training you should use depends on your athlete profile which includes sport experience, available time to train, recovery time available and your endurance goals to name a few key areas. The mix of workouts within any training plan should be aimed at achieving your goals – not a random mix of workouts tossed together for fun. That is, unless your primary training goal is fun and variety.


With two to four key or stressful workouts in the mix each week aimed at improving your performance limitors, the remaining workouts need to be recovery and/or technique oriented.


Then you need some patience. Stick with the training strategy for at least three to six weeks to see if you are making progress. If progress is not being made, make plan adjustments. Generally, most people associate plan adjustments with more volume and/or intensity when they really need more recovery.


If you want specific recommendations on your training plan, drop me an email at gale@galebernhardt.com and we can schedule a consulting session.

 

************************************************

Detailed off-season plans for triathlon andcycling, along with event-specific running, cycling and more triathlonplans found here.

Comments can be added on Facebook.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

407 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, triathlon, mountain_bike, different_types_of_training

Hey Gale~


My 15-year-old just got his first road bike and is already a good swimmer. He’s swam competitively for five years and will swim on the high school team. He's a good, strong rider too. He beat me last year in a mountain bike race.


What tips/suggestions would you have for a teen triathlete?  I've never done one as I suck at running. ~ A.S.

 

 

Hi A.S. ~


I'm working with a 14-year-old right now. My main goal is to make "workouts" as fun as possible.


Your son has an advantage with swim team and track in his back pocket. When he is doing his primary sport for school, minimize or eliminate the other two sports. Any time spent doing other sports during the competitive season of his school sport, should be completely aerobic and relatively short. Foundation technique skills and drills is always a good pick during this time.


When he's out of his school sport responsibilities you can add the other sports back into the mix. For the fellow I’m coaching, I had him do two workouts in each sport each week and he had good results. I rotated which sport had intervals or higher intensity segments and generally all the intervals were well under 5 minutes. If he did longer intensity segments, it was usually related to a hill climb and learning about pacing.


Hope that helps ~ Gale

 

************************************************

Detailed off-season plans for triathlon andcycling, along with event-specific running, cycling and more triathlonplans found here.

Comments can be added on Facebook.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

409 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: teen_tri

Often, I get the question “Is alpine (downhill) skiing aerobicor is it all anaerobic?”


The answer depends on the skier, ability, type of runs skied and intensity of skiing. I’ll show you a file from a recent day of skiing. You can find it here.


I decided to carry my Garmin on this particular day of skiing. I did forget to start the unit early in the day, so I’m missing some data. I estimate I’m missing about 2062 elevation gain and 1125 elevation loss making the total loss 16,971 feet.


If I use my aerobic cycling zones, my estimated time in Zones 1-2 is roughly 1:10. The time I spent at Zone 3+ is some 10 to 20 minutes. I estimate actual skiing time (subtracting lift “moving” time out of total moving time of ~3 hours) to be around 2 hours. That leaves some 30 minutes just under Zone 1 low end.


The entire day’s outing was 5:50 (again estimating lost data). The lunch stop ended up being around 1:30 as I met some friends.


For me, it was a big day of skiing. It was my first day this season. Before lunch, on many of the runs I tried to ski a steady pace top to bottom with no (or minimal) stops. These runs were mostly aerobic.


When I went into bumpy terrain, I did stop more to recover from the higher intensity efforts.


On this day, with the type of skiing I did my effort while skiing was mostly aerobic. There were some anaerobic sections as well.

 

So the short answer to the question is, “both”.

 

 

 

 

************************************************

Detailed off-season plans for triathlon andcycling, along with event-specific running, cycling and more triathlonplans found here.

Comments can be added on Facebook.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

396 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: skiing, anaerobic, downhill, aerobic, alpine
1 2 3 ... 39 Previous Next