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A Transitional Month

 

What started off as a return to training plan, with lots of really good intent, quickly devolved into a month of just fun. As you can see from the photos above, I had a lot of catching up to do with the family, and with summer here there are no more excuses! Outside of the Lake Placid Training Camp in mid-June (an annual tradition!), it was a month focused on a few key areas. Training totals from Strava weren't very exciting

 

  1. Swim - 11 total times.
  2. Bike - 15 total rides.
  3. Run - 19 total runs.

The Swim

 

My focus for June was on technique. I know I need to swim better overall, and usually my swim training is just time in the water. More of an aerobic building exercise than a "How can I get faster?" exercise. I did some reading, and thinking and video seeking. I am a very visual learner, so I really enjoy cruising YouTube to find some quality stuff to watch.

 

  1. Super relaxed swimming with fixed head position: Jono Van Hazel
  2. Swimming with higher legs: Funny, but good instruction.
  3. Cross Over Kick: Reading, not watching.

 

 

I have been working on a relaxed stroke with better kick timing. A full stroke with my finish coming through my hip. Interestingly, my 100 times are easily sub 1:25 with this approach, where just working on faster turnover / cadence had me practically exhausted without the speed. I plan on continuing this focus as I build endurance.

The Bike

 

I have been on my road bike all month and have really been loving it. Not a great machine for the longer rides, but in general I have kept things as short as I could. Many 30 mile / 1 hour 20 minute efforts. I also kicked off a concerted effort to ride as much Always Be Pushing / Zone 3 effort as possible.

 

The result has been a consistent stretch of rides all over 300 watts Normalized Power, usually over 22 mph on my road bike.  Super excited about this, as it's been great to watch even though I spend most rides wanting to throw up.

 

There was a volume pop at the Placid camp where I actually set some PBs on my road bike (not tri!), but it was tough riding the road bike for that long!

 

I am looking forward to returning to my P5 and getting some good aero time.

The Run

 

Similar to the bike, I have been pushing the runs. Most of them have been sub-6:40 pace, with two 10 mile efforts at 6:32 and 6:34 pace as well. The running has been awesome; like the bike there's a sweet pace that's easy to fall into...even though it hurts like I am in a human vice. It's been fun to push, but the overall mileage has been pretty low, so I will need to begin to work on building that back up.

The Cost of Intensity

 

My left knee has been feeling it...I guess if you never stop putting torque on the pedals your body is going to push back. It's nothing too serious, but I need to back off to allow it to heal and give myself time to recover between the super quality sessions. I believe it's Patellafemoral Syndrome, so lots of work on my hips and dorsiflexion as I hammer on that quad with self care.

 

Next Steps

 

As I head into July, I plan to get back to a more basic schedule. Similar to my typical training build but not all in with the work. I am still getting back to the volume but I have to exit the short/intense training period that I just finished up. My goals are straightforward:

 

    • Continue working the swim, getting in 4 sessions a week.
      • Get back on the TT bike and continue to push the rides fairly hard...no serious volume this time outside of the week I will be in Lake Placid to support the Team and give our free Four Keys Race Execution talk.
      • I will get back to 4 solid runs a week and build up to sitting on 30 miles a week...the intensity will have to drop a bit b/c of the volume (and summer heat) but I will see what I can do to keep some quality in there.

 

      Thanks for reading and for all of your support!

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Kona 2015 Planning

Time to start practicing what I preach; I hope you find these notes useful for your training!  You can only have the race you prepare for, and preparation starts with a plan and some critical targets -- it's how we work inside Endurance Nation and it's how I plan each phase of my training. I simply don't do well without goals!

 

The Rough Outline

Goal is to have a truly complete race. This is the first time I will be on the island to acclimate to the conditions (usually arrive just 2-3 days prior), so excited to see what that brings. Plus the family gets to go, and that’s what it’s all about.

 

Experience has shown me that the run really matters in Kona…a good bike is nice but the run is where it’s at. I have done all kinds of bikes there, but my runs have always been sub-par. Much of this comes down to better execution, but that’s not something I need to focus on right now (although I am pumped to try the new aid station methodology you all helped me with and worked for me in TX).

 

For my training I will start with run durability and return to the split long runs that have helped me in the past. I will continue to push the steady work as it’s good for me, but I will be incorporating some more run strides as I feel my overall form has fallen off a bit. The broader goal will be to prepare for a bigger run block in September heading in to the final weeks pre Kona. I was about 40 miles per week before TX and I’d like to be at 45 per week for HI including a peak week of 50 miles.

 

To set up the run I will need excellent bike execution and swim fitness. 

 

First and foremost is the swim so I am in a better group. I typically swim a 1:10 which isn’t terrible there but it does put me in a big bike group (non-swimmers who seek revenge on the bike).  Without a doubt the biggest improvement I could possibly have is on the swim. Kona is a one-loop, non-wetsuit ocean swim with a mass start. Not only do I not swim well with others, but the ocean and non-wetsuit set up hurt me as well. I basically have 18 weeks to develop a solid open water swim stroke. I plan on revisiting Mike Robert’s swim thread to plan something out…in fact I might put him to work helping me out.

 

I have learned tons on the bike, and I think I can have a really good split out there (bike wise) with a couple of key changes as I continue to improve riding steady and managing my nutrition.  I think a critical aspect this year will be developing the ability to ride at 85% for key sections of a longer ride, and still recover. On the Kona course there is the climb to Hawi, the climb back to the Queen K, and then the Scenic Overlook…all three of these climbs are sustained and required a good effort (not too hard) but one that I can sustain.

 

My real focus is on Hawi, and in particular being able to stay on the watts both up and down (this seems to separate most of the race). All in this is 14 miles…7 up and 7 down; call it about 45 minutes of solid work to be safe. I will be working this into my “HI Block 2” bike rides from the 1:45 to 2:30 marks. I also need to decide what to do with my gearing. I currently have a 54/42 on the front with an 11-28 in the rear….I can fly on the downs / flats and in the tailwind…but with the few critical climbs it might be nice to have an easier gear to spin with…not sure If I should go to a smaller front ring in general or just mess with the rear cluster. I kind of am used to the rear…but not sure I can mess with the QXL rings either…any input here welcome.

 

HI Block 1 (June, 5 wks) = Run durability, Bike FTP, and Swim Re-Entry. Total volume per week will be approximately 12.25 hours outside of one bigger week at Placid Camp.

 

HI Block 2 (July, 4 wks) = Swim Volume / Focus (5x a week), Run 4x week @ 10miles per usual, Return to TriBike. Add Hawi Bike Focus to my longer rides, but long ride is still just 3 hours so I can keep intensity up (other than the volume of Placid week). Weekly volume will be about 16 hours a week.

 

HI Block 3 = (August, 4 wks) = Good time to train in the heat here in RI, so make the most of it. Swim sets will move to being slightly longer (hopefully I’ll be in a place to sustain it). My split runs will be consolidated into a few long runs and my long weekly bike ride of 5 hours returns. Weekly volume will remain about 16 hours a week as the time spent swimming will shift to the bike.

 

HI Block 4 (September to Race, 6 wks) = Total Tri Focus. Brick run it out. Longer swim sets. Consider a heat camp in Florida if stars align with family schedule. These will include some of my peak weeks. I estimate a few 20 hour weeks assuming I can recover enough. I rarely have this window for Kona training as I am usually coming off a July / August race and it’s more about getting my legs back vs building fitness. I am both excited and scared about these weeks.

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9:29:46 on a Wicked Windy and Hot Day...and headed back to Kona, baby!

For the speed readers, the full report is below. For the rest of you this was my 21st Ironman and I went 9:29:xx, good enough for 36th overall...26th male...5th age grouper...and 2nd in the M40-44 age group. My swim was baaaad. The bike was almost perfect and the run was a sufferfest...but my ticket is punched -- Kona #7, here I come!

The Build Up

Winter 2015 simply sucked. I wasn't able to ride outside in my town until mid-April...about. 5 weeks pre-race.  I did have a full winter of quality running and a modified OutSeason (see below), plus camps in Florida in January (January Volume Camp), a shortened Texas Camp and the Blue Ridge Cycling Camp (here) which all afforded me some good bike volume.

 

Winter Long Running in Rhode Island

The Winter Training

I decided to keep my run pace pretty high at the outset of my training -- think just slower than Z3 / Half Marathon Pace and then add the bike/run workouts of the OutSeason in to the point where I could still run that quality tempo pace. I wanted to do this as the bike is my current strength and I wanted to target the run with more quality.

 

Well after one week of training and real winter weather I realized that things had to change. First, I couldn't run intervals in the snow (no treadmill for me thanks!) and second, increasing the bike interval duration each week really hurt my run.

 

So I settled on a "fixed" week of bike intervals -- Tuesday was 2x12' @ Z4, Thursday was 4x4' @ 110% FTP / Z5 and Saturday was 2x12' @ Z4 again. This allowed me to push the effort of the intervals up each week since the duration was fixed. I could also easily tell when I was tired as the numbers would drop.

 

I ran 60' to 70' at the sub-Z3 pace on both Wednesday and Sunday and then a few shorter runs during the week when possible. Monday and Friday were 2500y swim sessions.

 

Overall I was pretty pleased with the results. My run quality was pretty high -- not my fastest running but a lot of quality. My bike was super strong and my swim had been fairly consistent.

The Race Prep Training

Race Prep started right around mid-February. With about 10 weeks to go, I decided to use a modified version of the EN*Full Minimalist Plan as I knew I couldn't do 2 long rides a week with the weather (as we usually do) and I wanted to maintain my run.

 

Race Prep Phase One

 

This meant more Tempo (no real run intervals), more swimming and a three solid bikes. A HUGE shout out to the TriFit Lab (run by Todd and Lisbeth Kenyon of TTBikeFit fame -- www.ttbikefit.com) as I used their indoor CompuTrainer facility for a few loooooooooooong rides.

 

Race Prep Phase Two

 

After 4 weeks I transitioned to better weather and a "consolidated" long run, which you can see reflected in the schedule above.

Swim Training

This was about the time that Mike Roberts had posted on his year-long swim hack for IMNZ and how he dialed in his swim.  I read, learned, and did my best over the final 10-ish weeks to implement the knowledge. I was pleased with my swim progress in the pool but am bummed it didn't play out on the race. Regardless, I have a few more months to continue making progress!

Bike Training

Aside from some technical issues getting my TT bike back into workout shape , the transition from my road bike to the Tri bike at the end of the OutSeason was pretty uneventful. The indoor sessions made me mentally tough and the other sessions were short enough I could still get in some good intervals.

 

Given the long rides were indoors they were more at IM Race Pace / Z2 as I couldn't really ride sustained Z3 inside. I was happy when the weather turned so I could go back outside! Overall the numbers were good, combined with the Blue Ridge Camp work I did (back on the road bike) I had a high degree of confidence.

Run Training

While my "Tempo" pace fell from 6:30s to 6:45s as the training load increased, I was still pleased with my run. Durability was high and all my sessions were solid. I felt like another 3:15 here in TX was possible for sure. An unintended benefit of the running, I believe, was really good body composition. And I have to say I am a real fan of the Split Long Run to ramp up run volume safely.

Race Week

This is always fun! We had a smaller crew as this wasn't a "Key Race" for 2015, but what to we lacked in size we made up in AWESOME! Our Team Dinner was delish and filled with some great laughs. Mariah made the Four Keys Talk a success -- thanks to all who attended! -- and was my pre-race Sherpa. My amazing wife Maura arrived on Thursday just in time to keep me sane and help me get mentally ready.

Race Morning

Super simple using my checklists. The bike is all set, fueled and powered up. Shoes on the bike with a little rubber band trick for the left one so I can mount quickly. T2 and T1 bags are untied and prepped for the race. A quick drive to the swim start has me on the ground an hour before with plenty of time to do everything and make sure I am ready. A quick kiss to Maura and it's time the swim start!!

The Swim

The Swim -- 1:10:xx, 50th AG.

The swim was a rolling wave start -- like your local half marathon. Folks self seeded and when the gun went off we waded in and started swimming. No warm ups allowed. It was wetsuit optional, so those folks were in the back.

It was crowded at the start, and while I planned to to inside the buoys I saw the course curved right and so I headed for the final buoy. This meant solo swimming vs in the pack -- breaking my swim plan instantly.

 

And honestly it was really hard to tell if I was swimming well without the feedback of a clock. I feel like my swim has improved, but that my open water swim game sucks. I really need to solidify my stroke and get better at swimming with others for sure.

 

That said, aside from the top swimmers, times seemed slow. The water felt surprisingly choppy / angry for a lake; I think we all just sloshed it up. The canal, for the last 1300 just sucks. No two ways about it. It was really hard to maintain any good swim stroke in here.

Leaving T1

T1

I executed this perfectly. Removed the swim skin just out of the water; got my bag put on my helmet and walked top right thru the tent. Gave a volunteer my bag and cap, etc, and then used the GoBag to fill my pockets while I got sunscreened and sloshed to my bike.

 

Sloshed you say? Oh yes. Daily downpours had tuned the transition area into a Woodstock worthy experience...complete with the smell of raw sewage. Not awesome. Since my shoes were on the bike, however, I just rolled out and got on the bike.

The Bike -- 4:44:xx, 2nd AG

After 2012's sub-5 ride I knew I could really fly here. I had the bike dialed in, complete with race tires and latex tubes, and I was ready to rock. My goals were to ride about 245 Watts and to be strongest when it mattered in miles 60 to 80 -- the usual headwind area (plus some chip seal).

 

The start was crowded, given my swim time. I was in that place where every guy is riding like they might win....surging, swerving, cursing, etc. I tried to just stay in my mental box and get my fluids in while trying to get my HR down below 130.

 

I could tell by Mile 20 that things were going to be funky. That's a flat slightly downhill section where I was going to skip an aid station as I'd be going 28mph there. Except I was in a group fighting wind!!! Aargh!

 

Skipping the aid station and the surprise wind turned out to be a good thing, however, as it gave me the momentum to create a gap and leave those other guys behind. As a result of this group stuff, my power was all over -- I resolved to keep my HR in check around 130 to 132.

 

With the wind picking up I knew the return trip would be much harder, so I played it safe on the rollers, sitting up and spinning. Sure enough, at the highest point on the course, the winds were screaming. But I just put my head down and kept the pressure on the pedals. There was really no one for me to work with legally on the bike; from mile 65 onwards it was really a solo TT effort.

 

The wind wasn't terrible on the chip seal as it was a cross-head, but that only meant there would be wind all the way into the woodlands...which is why everyone's last split on the bike just stinks.  I focused on getting wet to stay cool and drinking up. It was overcast for almost the entire bike, but the heat was evident when the sun poked though and the humidity was in full effect.

 

By the time the bike wrapped I was feeling pretty solid about my placing on the day and physically as well.

 

Here is the data from Strava:

 

Ironman Texas Bike Data

T2

Reverse slopfest here, and I struggled with my T2 bag as I left it tied b/c of the afternoon showers that were forecast (but never showed up). I tried to maximize my time in transition by peeing as I sat down putting on my shoes — it kept my feet try but I was a hot stinking mess for sure. Out the door with my GoBag, I finished my admin items as volunteers put sunscreen on my back and it was time to run.

The Run — 3:26:xx, 2nd AG

I made a few changes here to my usual set up. First I didn’t take my FuelBelt with me as I was trying to reduce all weight. Instead, I used a FuelBelt SuperStretch Race with a pouch, gel loops and race number toggles. All in one baby!  I also upgraded my trucker hat to a Zoot Ultra Icefil Cap, with the flaps secured around my neck with an arm cooler. I blatantly copied Ben Hoffman’s race set up for Ironman Hawaii last year, and it turned out to be total money.

 

Without a doubt, however, the biggest upgrade was once again due to the Team….Dave Tallo’s suggestion to take a ziplock bag for carrying ice was killer. This was part of my “run the aid stations” strategy — which I think was a massive success for 2/3 of the race!! — and it really help offset the heat and manage random aid station placements where things really got hot. I simply dumped ice in it as I ran. Then I sealed it and stuck in my top….or I could hold in my hand(s)…if my head got hot, I turned it upside down as I held the ice in a ball and the cold water fell on my head…and I could chomp ice or put in my arm coolers whenever I wanted. It. Was. Awesome!

 

I set out knowing my bike Average HR was 131…so my run target of 140 seemed right on. However I could tell within the first 1/2 mile that it was going to be a friggin tough run. The sun was out in full force and the heat was on. Legit, Kona-style heat. My HR popped right up over 140 and I had to really slow myself down as I found my legs.

 

I focused on nailing the aid stations per my plan and getting in the food and salt I needed. I took in 2 caffeinated gels in the first 1/2 marathon, as wells 3 tiny Clif Bloks (Margherita with 3x sodium, of course!) as well as plenty of Gatorade Endurance.

 

I was passed round Mile 3 by the eventual winner of my age group, and he looked super strong and smooth. No way I was moving my HR anywhere, so I continued trucking. Even though I didn’t feel like I was running well (no peeking at the mile splits, thank you!), I was passing 90% of folks. I think maybe 15 people passed me all day and I caught all but 4 of them by Mile 25.

 

The fan support was incredible; from the Moxie music-fest to the Crotch Catapult station to the bearded-garbage can bangers…and the normal people were great too. I really never said anything to anyone…I was just trying to stay in my zone. My stomach felt pretty good after some colorful bike burps, but I could tell my calves were borderline in terms of wanted to cramp. At about Mile 8 (of that 8.55-mile loop) there were two sets of stairs DOWN…which I nearly killed myself on as my quads were so tight. I oped to walk these on Lap Two (Lap Three you headed to the finish instead).

 

Lap Two was purgatory. You can see from my HRM file that I backed off a bit here. Reflecting with race friend and fellow coach Tim Snow of QT2 Multisport Systems, I think that this was really due to a lack of mental toughness. I visualized the final 4 miles, but neglected the middle…not next time.

 

I was basically biding my time to the third lap. On lap three I started to pull things back together and run the tangents. By this time the course was wicked crowded and it was hard to get what I needed at the aid stations without actually stopping as there were just too many other athletes in the way. Note to self, I need to yell at volunteers more for what I want.

 

By Mile 22 it was game on and I was running down the last two guys I could see who had passed me. Some solid work here, even if it’s not reflected in the pace. Then at Mile 24 turnaround I could see that there was at least one person close to me in bib numbers…I was about to get a banana for tingly fingers, but instead I had to suck it up. I really picked up the pace and I was surprised to see how good it felt to stretch out my stride and really run. The HR went up, for sure, but there is something here for me to learn from really running vs getting buried in a shuffle. I really pushed, running a 7:24 and 7:04 final two miles, making sure I was in the finishing chute by myself and safe from getting pipped at the line. Always good to finish strong.

 

Here is the data from Strava:

 

Ironman Texas Run File

 

Number One Fan

 

The Finish

I had enough time for a massive smile and the EN-gang sign.

 

It was great to be caught by teammate and good friend Vic Kaiser, who shepherded me to my wife and the finish area for much needed cold water, cooling towel and a massage. Interesting enough there were no chairs or table for athletes to sit at…that really stung as folks were left to sit on the concrete or go off in the bushes. Can’t imagine that’s a big line item that can’t be added back in.

 

I was able to see many of my teammates in the finishing area, and we also were able to meet up at The Goose’s Acre for some post race food and drink. A burger never tasted so good. After getting home and trying to sleep, Sunday brought the awards banquet and Kona slot allocation. It was a nice wrap to the weekend and a good chance to say hi to the folks I met on the run course. A lot of really tough and fit men and women out there. I took my slot to Hawaii, making this my seventh trip in my last seven tries. I am excited to rest, and plan our Hawaii Race Week Camp (for racers and just folks who want to train and experience the biggest week in our sport!).

 

2nd Place Age Group and Kona Bound

Massive Thanks

As always, to my understanding and amazing wife Maura for lifting me up more than she’ll ever know. To my daughters who inspire me and love me no matter how sweaty and tired I am. To my training partners Lisbeth (who also raced, won her Age Group and is headed to Hawaii!, Peter and Todd who push me when we connect. To my mentor, Vinu Malik whose wisdom on all things endurance could fill several encyclopedias..thank you for all your advice.  To my teammates on Endurance Nation who continue to push me athletically to be my best, you never cease to amaze me with you new perspectives, tips and strategies…that run was dedicated to you! If I forgot anyone else, please know I am sooooo thankful….and thanks for reading!

Random Lessons Learned

* Shoes on the bike is a gajillion times better than in a T1 bag; I hope IM continues this trend at other races.

 

* The best thing for your chafed parts post race is chamois cream. Who needs bike shorts for permission?

 

* Be ready for a scary post race pee if you have been beet juice loading.

 

* Chocolate milk is NOT a sponsor / at the finish line this year. BUMMER.

 

* Someone needs to make an “aid station volunteer” video manual that folks can watch. Simple things like how to hold bike bottles or two cups in one hand would make a massive difference.

 

* Yelling what you need at run aid stations really does help.

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March training highlight was the Texas Race Camp, even if the weather didn't cooperate! The hours continue to build up across all three disciplines. Fatigue is high but not unmanageable; then again ask my colleagues what my productivity has been and you'll probably get a different story.

 

Thanks to your input, Team, I have set minimum sleep to 7 hours vs 6 which has really helped. Also enjoying Mike Roberts swim project thread which has been super informative. Thank you!

 

Also managed to go the whole month without a PT visit, and somehow survived the massive fundraiser 5k for the kids elementary school (we raised over $17k!).

 

You can view all my details in Strava here: www.strava.com/athletes/291894

 

The Swim

 

Currently in a 4-swim week program with average yards around 10k. This is (hopefully) a good platform for the final swim push that I need to make a meaningful difference in my swim performance. Usually I don't do ^this^ part of the swim, waiting until now to get to 10k.

 

Make no mistake about it, this is no year-long swim project, but it is a fair amount of focus for me given my history.

 

Up Next -- looking to hit around 14,000 a week for the next 4 weeks if I can make it happen.

 

The Bike

 

March saw the return of the #triathlon bike (P5). We also added long Friday rides come into effect, most of them indoors. This has not been easy, but the work has been really solid. Most of my long ride watts & HR have been consistent with past years -- good.

 

I have seen the FTP and VO2 efforts fall as well. The focus has moved from hard number chasing to "best effort" and let the numbers fall where they may.

 

Up Next -- two bigger rides a week are on the plan, hoping the weather plays along. I will work in some harder efforts within those sessions as well as keep one FTP session during the week.

 

The Run

 

Built the run up to a consistent 40-ish miles a week, mostly at my low-Zone 3 effort. This has been across 4 x 10 milers a week, with two of those being a split long run on Saturday.

 

Times have slowed a bit from Jan/Feb where I was more 6:30s than 6:40s, but the fatigue has gone up. I also initiated the transition to one long run on the weekend, with 13+ then a 15+.

 

Up Next -- (1) a return to some FTP running as integrated into steady runs. (2) and two bigger run weeks closer to 50 miles/week, including a few 18 milers. This means more back-to-back running. I am a little concerned about this, will end to stay on top of the nutrition and recovery.

 

Body Composition

 

Good but not great. I have been eating clean but not super lean. I am low 180s so need to stay smart to break 180. Still debating how badly I want to suffer here.

 

Just about six weeks left to TX so time to make a solid push. Shiny side up!

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It seems absurd to be recapping my winter training, what with record-setting snowfall blocking the roads and literally enclosing the windows of my subterranean Pain Cave. I feel a strange kinship with Rocky IV training in the Russian winter, only my enemy is winter itself. But I digress...Transitioning to March means moving on to the Race Preparation phase of my training for Ironman® Texas regardless of what it looks like outside.

January Highlights

An amazing week in Clermont, Florida, for our January Volume Camp. Full recap available online here, 2016 slots available here.

February Highlights

School Vacation Week: I closed out the OutSeason Training Block with a week of snowboarding with the family in New Hampshire. I brought the trainer with me to ride, and I even managed to get in a 10 mile run on one "non-mountain" day of the week. Both kids got the 24-hour flu on different days -- add in some great wine and friends and things were less than ideal for actual training. But it was a blast!

 

Got Sick with Hacking Cough: After a few weeks of fighting it off, I finally came down with the cough that my poor family has been incubating since December. I have high days and low days, and the medication has really messed with my Perceived Exertion...but I am doing my best to sleep a lot, stay hydrated and stay focused.

Overall OutSeason Training Thoughts

General: One of the bigger changes I made of for this winter was following a "fixed" week, both in terms of what was done each week and day, but also similarity in the type of training was done each day. I have found that it takes a few weeks of a particular plan for my body to adapt to the workload and then force improvement.

 

I also decided to keep the intervals fixed as well -- rather than changing the workload in each weekly interval session, my focus was on seeing increased power within each session.

 

The Swim: Averaged 2-3 Swims Per Week After having some shoulder trouble post Kona due to my aerobar placement and my weak shoulder / collarbone, I had to do some solid rehab back in December. The focus on Jan/Feb was to work in some more rotation in my stroke to engage the lats / back muscles more than simply using my shoulders / rotator cuff.

 

While there hasn't been anything spectacular here, I do feel pretty good about my baseline swimming heading into the final 12 weeks.

 

The Bike: Averaged 3 Rides, 3 Hours Per Week  I followed the basic protocol of Tues/Sat FTP rides of 2 x 12 minutes at FTP, with Thurs being a VO2 / 110% FTP ride with 4 x 4 minute intervals. I started off with my 12' intervals in the mid-320s back in December and finished with them consistently in the 340s.

 

The VO2 4' intervals went from the 350s to the upper 360s. I am pleased with being able to get the 12' intervals up to the 340s...that's a really solid place for me to be as I am usually locked in the 330s range.

 

Interestingly, the week of vacation where I rode some 90% intervals -- vs 100% or 110% of my usual training -- actually had me return to some really strong FTP work. But that could have been some rest from that week as well.

 

The Run: Averaged 5 Runs, 4 Hours Per Week, 30 miles-ish. My plan was essentially two longer runs on Tuesday / Saturday, with shorter runs of 4 to 6 miles on other days. These shorter days were areas for intensity if I felt good. When I started out running in this fixed plan, I was running most of my efforts at sub-6:45/mile pace -- even the "longer" runs of 10 miles.

 

That said, I never really ran intervals. My plan was to do one day of FTP mile repeats, but after the first week I realized that I could do ^that^ work, plus keep my overall running a pace pretty fast, PLUS push the bike workouts. So I made the executive decision to keep the overall pace high vs the interval work. This was cemented by the insane winter we have had so far, where many of my runs have been outside in snow, slush and ice...not to mention the usual wind.

 

While my average pace has slowed a bit, I think it's just as much a function of the conditions as of fatigue.

Pros of a Fixed OutSeason Week

  • Great for planning / scheduling.
  • Easy to track progress.
  • Improved odds for consistency.

Cons of a Fixed OutSeason Week

  • Lacked spontenaiety / Not so much fun.
  • Possibly left bike fitness on table with rigid workouts.
  • Schedule hard to tweak with multiple snow days / pool closures, etc.

Outlining A Race Preparation Block

Again, my best laid plans are really being challenged by the weather. Looking back on my 2012 training calendar, when I last did Ironman® Texas, I was riding outside in March!!! Since that's not an option I have outlined a schedule that gives me a family-friendly plan and will (hopefully) build my fitness up through Texas.

 

My targets are about 12,000 yds swimming, 7 to 8 hours on the Bike and 40 miles of running.

 

Here is the basic outline:

  • Mon -  Trainer Ride with FTP / Skill Swim
  • Tues -  Tempo 10 Mile Run / Swim Long
  • Wed - Trainer Ride with VO2
  • Thu - Tempo 10 Mile Run / Swim Long
  • Fri - Long Trainer Ride
  • Sat - Split Long Run (1:10 in AM / 1:10 in PM)
  • Sun -  Long Swim (Make up any missed yards.)

 

Of course along the way I have the Texas Training Camp (http://www.endurancenation.us/camps/im-course-rallies/) to build in some miles and, if fate allows, perhaps one more warm weather expedition in April (TBD).

 

Thanks for reading and for your support!

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In the tradition of telling you what I am up to (in case you aren’t stalking me on Strava!), here’s what I have been doing post Kona.

I spent the first two weeks doing nothing. Really. Well, I organized my pantry, garage and tupperware. Cleaned the bike. Set up the pain cave. Mowed the lawn like 8 times. You get the idea. My wife can’t wait for me to start training again.

I too am pretty excited. This time of year I work with a handful of athletes on crafting their Annual Plan as a target for Kona (see the Additional Services Tab on the Members site, TeamEN Members ONLY!). It’s a lot of fun and very useful for me as well. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, an in the Fall it is the Season of Steps!

 

Tentative Plan for 2015

  • 2 - Weeks Off = Total Rest
  • 8 - Weeks Run Durability = Shoulder Recovery, Consistent Long Run, Dating My Trainer, Solid Body Composition
  • 8 - Weeks of OutSeason = Focus on FTP and vDOT, Adding in 2 skill swims, Core work.
  • 1 - Week of Swim Camp / Transition = Need to rest here and be smart.
  • 12 - Weeks of IM Plan in to IM Texas = Not sure I will be able to handle a full 12 weeks…this is TBD.

The Run Durability Plan is on the agenda for a few reasons. First, I have a few critical things to focus on and it's hard to focus on them when I am also drilling myself to get crazy fast. Second, I know my ability to focus into a race is limited; this way I am reducing the "Work Time to Race" window. Third, I have experience crazy over achieving early in the OS then getting sick and adjusting...I am hoping to reduce / eliminate that pattern this year by putting it at a time when I am ready for the work.

During this window I have several camps and events to keep me motivated and on track, including:

+ January Volume Camp [1/16 to 1/19 — (here) a nice break from the cold and a chance to keep the endurance fires burning.

+ Birthday Run [3/8] — Don’t think I am going to run 41 this year, but I am going to start the annual tradition of a nice long long long run on this day as an early season target.

+ Texas Race Camp [3/19 - 3/22] — (here) a great chance to get dialed in to the course, my fit, nutrition and experience the “heat” on the ground.

+ Blue Ridge Cycling Camp [4/29 to 5/3] — (here) Final big push on the bike before the race.

 

As an Update

I have realized the shoulder pain that I have been dealing with wasn’t going away with rest. A trip to the PT has let me know that my back muscles on the left side are weak, such that my pec, combined with some serious “forward” rotation (think aerobats, swimming and…yes…excessive time at my laptop) has caused some issues. So it’s off to PT again albeit for a slightly lesser issue than normal.

And my “light” focus on Run Durability has already paid off as I have my annual Fall Cold…so no pressure on me to crush the workouts…just have to be consistent. You can follow my daily progress over on Strava or on Twitter

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I have moved my blog to http://blog.nancyclarkrd.com.

 

Come visit that site for my newest blog posts!

 

Best regards,

Nancy

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When done well, your website will act as a strong foundation for your organization and can create an effective online presence that does your marketing for you. So, before another season begins, make sure your website looks clean and is up to date and organized for the best user experience. If your website is unclear or confusing, your online visitors will leave before they can learn about your organization or join it! 

 

Here are some areas you can quickly update to make your website a better place to visit: 

 

1. Update navigation labels. Update your site’s menu names so they are fresh and fun. Change your Home page to “Home Plate” or your Locations page to “Where it’s at!” Get creative and have fun with it! In your site admin, go to My Site Design>Labels.


2. Include pictures or videos on your Home Page. Parents and players LOVE to see photos of your organization in action. Some of the best looking and most visited eteamz sites include photos or videos on their home page. In your site admin, go to Website Pages>Home Page.

 

3. Take it easy. Rather than including everything under the sun on your home page, try to just fit the most valuable information above the fold of the home page (the part visitors can see without scrolling down), then use the News pages to add content to your site. In your site admin, go to Website Pages>My Site News (or Add a New Page).

  

4. Play around with color. Keeping with your organization's color theme is great – but how about dressing up your sites a little during the holidays? Or swap the background colors with the font colors? Keep it fresh and people won’t get bored with the same old thing. In your site admin, go to My Site Design>Customize.


5. Update calendar (and keep it up-to-date).  List important dates and/or create an online calendar that plots out all of your not-to-be missed registration deadlines, tournaments and more.  An up-to-date calendar, you make your site a relevant place for your participants to come to get important info about your organization In your site admin, go to Calendar>Click on Calendar to Add Events.

 

Login now to get started updating your site

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Given Christmas is right around the corner, you might be looking for a helpful present for a friend or teammate? Or, given the New Year is right around the corner, perhaps you want to give yourself the gift of higher energy and better athletic performance?

 

Below is my short list of nutrition resources that can make a difference in a person’s life.

 

Sports nutrition books

(Yes,some shameless self-promoting…)

Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, new 5th edition (Oct 2013).

Having sold over 550,000 copies since the release of the first edition, this easy-to-read resource is considered by many athletes to be their “nutrition bible.” It's comprehensive yet enjoyable—and even has a recipes for sports foods.


    You might also enjoy my sport-specific books that make useful gifts for friends, family and teammates:

•Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions

•Food Guide for New Runners: Getting It Right From the Start

•Food Guide for Soccer: Tips and Recipes from the Pros

•The Cyclist's Food Guide: Fueling for the Distance.


Other excellent sports nutrition books include:


Endurance Sports Nutrition,new 3rd Edition by Suzanne Gerard Eberle RD

Power Eating, new 4th edition, by Susan Kleiner RD

Vegetarian Sports Nutrition by Enette Larson-Meyer RD.

Diabetic Athlete's Handbook by Sherri Colberg

The Athlete's Guide to Sports Supplements by Kimberly Mueller RD and Josh Hingst


Books on Weight issues, Dieting, Eating Disorders


An estimated 30 to 60% of female athletes (as well as a smaller number of males) struggle with balancing food, weight, and exercise. If you or someone you know struggles with disordered eating patterns, let them know they are not alone and can benefit from these self-help books.


8 Keys to Recovery From an Eating Disorder by Carolyn Costin

The Don't Diet, Live-It! Workbook: Healing Food, Weight and Body Issues by A. LoBue and M. Marcus.

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works by E. Tribole RD and E. Resch RD.

The Exercise Balance: What's Too Much, Too Little, Just Right by P. Powers. and R. Thompson.

Making Weight: Healing Men's Conflicts with Food, Weight, Shape &Appearance by A. Anderson, L.Cohn & T. Holbrook

Body image: Body Image Workbook: An 8-Step Program for Learning to Like Your Looks by T. Cash.

Food and Feelings Workbook: A Full Course Meal on Emotional Health by K. Koenig.

Surviving an Eating Disorder: Perspectives and Strategies for Family & Friends by M. Siegel et al.

Your Overweight Child: Helping Without Harming by E. Satter

 

With best wishes for happy reading and a healthy 2014!

Nancy

 

PS. Many athletes would rather meet with a sports nutritionist in person than read a book. In that case, use the referral network at www.SCANdpg.org and create a gift certificate for a nutrition check-up!

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For athletes, Thanksgiving is a super day to take a day off from exercise, relax with family and friends, and to carbo-load. Your muscles will benefit from having time to refuel, recover, and heal. As we all know, rest is a very important part of a training schedule. 

 

The traditional Thanksgiving dinner offers the perfect combination of sports foods: abundant carbs (to fuel the muscles) and protein (to build and repair the muscles). The goal is consume three times more carbs than protein. Here is the line-up:

 

Carbs;
mashed potato
sweet potato
stuffing
squash
turnip
peas
cranberry sauce
stuffing
apple pie
pumpkin pie

 

Protein:
turkey!

 

By fueling well on Thanksgiving, your muscles will be ready to exercise hard on Friday. And when your workout is over and you are ready to refuel, why not enjoy a turkey sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce, some fruit from the cornucopia, and leftover apple pie. Yum!

 

With best wishes for a pleasant time with family and friends,

Nancy

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Nancy, here’s a question for you. Should my calorie intake fluctuate based on how much training I'm doing?  I usually do between 90 and 120 minutes a day, but sometimes I might do just a 45-minute workout.  Do I cut my calorie count proportionally?

 

Answer:

On days when you are doing less exercise you will likely want to eat just as much (or almost as much) because—

 

1) Your muscles are using any extra unburned calories to refuel your depleted glycogen stores from the previous days’ tiring workouts, and

 

2) You may be more active during the rest of your "light exercise" days. That is, observe if on your light days or rest days you decide to mow the lawn, vacuum the house, wash your car, and do lots of errands. That extra activity counts!

 

Your best bet is to listen to your body; it is your best calorie counter. If you are thinking about food and fighting the urge to eat, your body is saying it needs more fuel. When you eat something to resolve that hunger, observe if you--

--feel better,

--stop obsessing about food, and

--have interest in doing something other than fight off urges to eat.

 

I generally eat just as much on rest days. Sometimes by dinner I am not as hungry, so I eat a lighter dinner just because I don't want a heavy meal. I listen to my body and trust it can regulate an appropriate food intake. Perhaps you can experiment and observe ithat your body can also naturally regulate a proper intake? (It that seems too hard, you might want to meet with a sports dietitian who can help you eat intuitively. Use the referral network at www.SCANdpg.org.)

 

For more information:

The recovery chapter in Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook (2013)

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Looking for some comfort food to take the edge off of a tiring day? This recipe from the new fifth edition of my Sports Nutrition Guidebook will give you a “food hug” within the boundries of a healthy meal. Enjoy!

 

Light-yet-lively Mac & Cheese


I’ve lightened up his family favorite meal by adding diced cauliflower. No one will notice the difference, especially if you use small shells for the pasta. The cauliflower hides inside the shell.

 

Becausethis recipe includes chopping and grating, invite a friend or family member to help you cook. While you make the sauce, someone can grate the cheese, and another person can dice the cauliflower. The final result is a meal made with love.

 

If you don’t have time to bake the Mac & Cheese, skip those instructions. It tastes good right off the stove top!

 

2 cups (about half a box) of uncooked small pasta, such as small elbows or small shells

2 cups finely diced cauliflower

2 cups milk

3 tablespoons flour

¼ tsp dry mustard

¼ tsp garlic powder

dash cayenne

salt, pepper to taste

5 ounces shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese

Optional: 2 tablespoons lowfat cream cheese

 

1.Fill a pasta pot with water and to a boil. While the water is heating, dice the cauliflower into small pieces.

2.Add the pasta to the boiling water, cook for about five minutes, and then add the diced cauliflower. Drain when the pasta and cauliflower are tender, in about 4 or 5 minutes.

3. In a large saucepan, wisk together the flour and milk, place over medium-high heatand bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

4.Add the mustard, garlic powder, cayenne, (lowfat cream cheese), salt and pepper; mix well.

5.Add the grated cheddar cheese, stirring until melted.

6.Add the pasta and cauliflower.

7.Enjoy eating it as is, or pour the mixture into an 8 x 8 baking pan that has been treated with cooking spray and bake for 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly.

 

Yield: 5 servings (as side dish)

Nutrition Information

Total calories: 1,250

Calories per serving: 250 (1/5th of recipe)

43 g carbohydrate

11 g protein

4 g fat

 

Reprinted with permission from Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 5th Edition (2013)

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Nancy, I can’t believe you recommend chocolate milk as a good recovery food for athletes after a hard workout. It’s filled with refined sugar!!!!


My response: Yes, chocolate milk (or any flavored milk, for that matter) contains added sugar. For hard-working athletes, sugar is a form of carbohydrate that refuels depleted muscles and feeds the brain. Like the sugar in bananas and oranges, the sugar in chocolate milk comes alongwith a plethora of nutritional benefits. That makes chocolate milk a better option that chugging a sports drink that offers just empty calories.


A reasonable guideline for an athlete is to limit refined sugar intake to no more than 10% of daily calories. That equates to about 200 to 300 calories a day. The sweaty, tired athlete who recovers with a quart of Gatorade consumes 200 calories of refined sugar— and misses out on positive nutritional benefits that could have been provided by chocolate milk. 


Despite chocolate milk's sugar content, the beverage remains nutrient-dense. When athletes refuel with chocolate milk, they get not just sugar that fuels their muscles, but also:

--high quality protein that builds and repairs muscles

--calcium that strengthens bones

--vitamin D that enhances calcium absorption

--sodium that helps with fluid retention and replaces sodium lost in sweat

--potassium that replaces sweat losses and helps maintain lowblood pressure

--B-vitamins such as riboflavin, that help convert food into energy

--water that replaces fluid lost with sweat

--a desirable balance of carbohydrate and protein. (The muscles recover will with three times more carbs than protein.)


I invite you to pay more attention to the nutritional value of the whole beverage rather than just the added sugar. Chocolate milk offers far more nutrients than the sports drinks that athletes commonly chug after a hard workout. Those sports drinks, as well as other commercial  “sports foods” (gels, chomps, sports beans, sports candies), receive little public criticism yet are generally 100% refined sugar with minimal, if any, nutritional benefits. In my opinion, those engineered sports foods are the bigger nutritional concern than the 40 to 50 calories of sugar added to 8-ounces of chocolate milk.

 

 

Peace,

Nancy

 

PS. Yes, a "perfect diet" would have no refined sugar .. but who said an athlete needs to eat a perfect diet to have a good diet?

For more information on how to choose a balanced sports diet, please enjoy the new 5th edition of my Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

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This  event is specifically for women runners over 40.  My talk takes place Monday Nov 18 from 12-1:00 EST; see the list below of others speakers on other days. This is a free opportunity to get running advice from renowned experts so you can discover how to:

  • Deal effectively with the particular challenges that women runners face in their 40s,50s, 60s and 70s.
  • Prevent and treat injuries so you can avoid frustrating layoffs that derail your progress
  • Practice optimal nutrition for performance and maintaining your ideal weight

 

  • Train more efficiently and effectively so that you can improve your running without spending extra precious time

 

“Run Faster, Further andInjury-Free for Years to Come”

Free Women’s RunningTelesummit

 

Monday, November 18, 2013 – Thursday, November 21,2013

 

What an incredible roster of experts.  Benefit from the knowledge and experience of:

           

     • Kathrine Switzer

  • Jeff Galloway
  • Jenny Hadfield
  • Donna Deegan
  • Amanda Loudin
  • Bennett Cohen
  • and me

 

as we discuss many areas of vital importance to woman runners over 40 so that you can run faster, furtherand injury-free.

 

Registration is free!

 

Click on http://bit.ly/Huaen6 for details and to register.

 

Hope you can join me.

 

Nancy

www.nancyclarkrd.com

 


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