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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 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.

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

Thanks to our BETA calendar users' feedback, we were able to determine the top features that will enhance the scheduling and calendar experience for all eteamz users.  The new calendar will launch this Wednesday, February 20th with all these features integrated for your use!

Check out the cool new eteamz calendar— the interface is more modern and intuitive than the old calendar options, with a lot more functionality.

Here are some highlights of what you can do with it:

  • Easily navigate around
  • Drag and drop events
  • Cancel events
  • Import and export events, games and practices
  • Share events across leagues and teams
  • Set up recurring events
  • View by month, week, day and list


Don’t worry, no functionality has been removed—you can still access all of your games, events and practices separately.  It’s now just easier to manage and share all of those important dates your membership needs to know about. 


calendar eteamz.jpg

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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.

774 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.

757 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: skiing, anaerobic, downhill, aerobic, alpine

This is the season when folks training for the Boston Marathon start to ramp up their runs. Having just talked this morning to a Team in Training group, I know that many runners have questions about how to best recover after runs that last longer than 12 miles.  Hence,I am reposting this blog that a student of mine wrote last year at this time.


Boston Marathon Bound - Recovery foods

What to eat or drink after a long run is a hot topic among runners. What you do or don’t consume can effect how you feel later in the day, as well as at your next workout.



After a long run, your biggest priority should be to replace fluids lost from sweat. Hopefully you drank some water or sports drink on your run, but you will still need to replace some fluid. The best way to determine how much to drink is to weigh yourself before and after your run (without clothes). For every pound lost, drink at least 16 oz of water; better yet, 24 ounces. At this point, there is little need for sports drinks, as long as you’re planning to eat something shortly. Your next meal or snack will replenish the lost sodium and glucose. However, sports drinks can be a good option if your stomach isn’t ready for food. Chicken broth, cola, or gingerale are other popular options that may help settle a queasy stomach.

Remember to continue to drink fluids throughout the day to continue to stay hydrated. You can monitor your hydration by the color and amount of your urine. When properly hydrated your urine will be a pale yellow (unless you take supplements, in which case, the color may be brighter), and you will urinate every 2-3 hours.



In addition to properly hydrating, you will want to eat shortly after a long run to replenish your glycogen stores. Make sure this meal or snack is a mix of carbohydrates (to refuel) with a little protein (to repair). While many runners strive for a ratio of 4 to 1 or 3 to 1 carbohydrates to protein, the exact ratio isn’t mandatory. Just be sure you fill-up with more carbs than protein. That is, don't have just a protein shake!


Some easy to prepare carb-protein recovery meals include:

-       Fruit smoothie made with yogurt or milk

-       Turkey sandwich with a piece of fruit

-       Yogurt with berries and granola

-       Bowl of beany soup such a minestrone, with whole grain crackers and low fat cheese

-       Oatmeal with milk, raisins, and slivered almonds

-       Peanut butter (or other nut butter) and banana sandwich

-       Vegetable omelet with toast


If you aren’t ready for a meal after your run, make a small snack such as a glass of chocolate milk, a bowl of cereal with milk, or an apple with peanut butter.


Rapidly refueling by eating immediately after a run is most important for people who will be running again in the next 4 to 6 hours. Most of us can simply eat within an hour after running and will recover well. Yet, a benefit to eating shortly after your run is to keep the cookie monster from showing up!


Even if your stomach doesn’t feel hungry post-run, your muscles want fuel. Feed them! Signs of hunger include irritability and fatigue. Eating even just a small snack post-run and then your meal a few hours later can keep you from becoming ravenous and overeating later in the day. You will also likely feel more energized and recover faster.


Happy eating and running!


Written by guest blogger Sarah Gold.


For more information:

Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions

2,687 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: boston_marathon, nancy_clark, long_runs, recovery_foods, what_to_eat_after_a_long_run

I assigned a power-based workout to an athlete. It is a standard workout that I use for several of my cyclists and triathletes. When I modified the power goals for her, I inadvertently put in a range that was above her current tested goal range.

She tried the workout and was able to achieve the power numbers on the first three-minute interval, but her heart rate was higher than her threshold values that I was looking for. (I use a combination of heart rate and power to build fitness for athletes that have power meters.)

When she decided that I really wanted her to be at her threshold power values (tested within the last few weeks), she dropped the power down to the range we had previously used. That range produced less of a biological response (heart rate lower than threshold heart rate) than was intended for the workout.

The result?

We adjusted the power range up and now she is pushing higher power numbers and getting the heart rate response we want. Her good power performance wasn’t a one-time fluke workout.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had a similar situation occur with an athlete. Though I do like time trial tests to determine power or pace ranges, those tests are not infallible. Sometimes fatigue, dehydration or other factors cause the test values to be too low.

Use your training zones (power, pace or heart rate) with a grain of salt. Be sure you are achieving the power output for the cost (heart rate) that you’re looking to achieve - or vice versa. Watch for trends and make small adjustments. Examine the results and change – or don’t change – training zones accordingly.



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.

597 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: training, power, zones

Elk Turd Trophies.



While the highly sought after lacquered elk turd trophies are certainly a big bonus, most people aim to be a member of this group because the trophy represents a goal that isn’t easy, yet it’s not impossible. This is true for every level of endurance athlete.

The minimum distance to achieve the goal is roughly 21miles, nearly all of which is uphill. For those with loads of endurance and riding from the nearby city of Fort Collins, the round trip is more like 70 to 80 miles.

For the 2012 award cycle, 15 people earned (or will soon earn) their 12-consecutive-months-ride-to-Estes-Park trophy. Over the years, I’ve asked people what drives them to aim for the turd trophy goal. Here are some of the comments:

  • I knew someone else that achieved the goal and I was inspired.
  • A friend talked me into doing it. Without a buddy, I wouldn’t have made it that first year.
  • It seemed like a worthy challenge – not too easy, yet not impossibly hard.
  • It's just fun.
  • It helps me keep a longer ride in my training through winter.
  • All the cool people have elk turd trophies.
  • It motivates me ride outdoors in the winter. Without this goal, I wouldn’t be riding outside at all.
  • Once I started doing the ride, I became addicted.
  • Even though I seldom ride with others aiming for the same goal, I still feel like I’m part of the team or the group. I know others are out there rooting for me and doing the ride as well.
  • I like the ride memories created from some ofthe tough conditions. And, suffering is best done with others.


This isn’t an all-inclusive list by any means. If you’re having trouble keeping on track for your fitness goals, perhaps something in this list or in a past Estes blog will inspire you?





Loveland Cake Guy Chris Brown crafted the party cake.




Bill Frielingsdorf (L) wins the creative cycling outfit award. Kevin McSweeney, I suspect, is envious.




Party attendees Scott Ellis, Chris Brown, Gale Bernhardt, Pam Leamons, Bill Frielingsdorf, Lee Rhodes, Ron Kennedy, Jerry Nicholes, Kevin McSweeney, Brandy Staves, Todd Singiser and Peter Stackhouse. (The background model is not an elk, but a deer. Just in case you were wondering.)


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

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Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

571 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: park, trophies, elk, bust, estes, estes_or_, turd

I was consulting with an athlete that wondered why his progress was stunted and he couldn’t gain fitness. He told me verbally what he was doing for workouts and strength training.

When we examined logged data, his volume was actually 30 percent lower than his memory recalled.

Log your workouts - no matter what system you use. If you’re not logging your workouts, your memory may be too generous and all that does is limit your progress.




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.

536 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: training, log

A couple of years ago, I sent out daily tweets that suggested people try to do something (nutrition, stress relief, exercise, knowledge growth, etc.) for just one day. This series is a twist on that concept in that there are fewer challenges – but the time commitment is longer.

Everyone has bad habits that get in the way of progress. Everyone can stand to improve diet, fitness, flexibility, strength, balance, or some other aspect of daily living. The concept is to commit to changing one thing for just one week. It might be something you want to continue doing or something that is done to just break a bad habit.


Those that are interested in publically sharing goals and seeing ideas presented by others can share on my Facebook page.

I’ll begin – I am giving up cheese for one week. I will bring it back into my diet in a week, but I’ve been enjoying too much of it.Too many calories have been going to this food item.


Here's another example, a local athlete that doesn’t have a Facebook account is limiting soda to one per day. His soda consumption has unwittingly grown.

Another athlete vows to run three times this week - just 20 to 30 minutes each time.

You? What do you want to do this week to break a bad habit or start a new, desireable habit?



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.

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Warning:  Before reading this blog, consider that I could be just another person looking to justify doing the things they love to do – in spite of some evidence indicating that very activity is potentially harmful to health.

About a month ago, I wrote a blog that looked at research asking if endurance exercise is actually detrimental to your health. Over the last few weeks, I’ve given this blog and the research considerable thought. One of the first things that came to my mind was research that indicated as much as 90-percent of research is flawed. I looked at this issue in my blog “Are researchers just a bunch of manipulative liars?”

I also went back and read the research paper I referenced in last month’s blog. A couple of thoughts came to mind:

  • Though the research noted, “Serologic markers of cardiac damage, including cardiac troponin, creatine kinase MB, and B-typenatriuretic peptide, have been documented to increase in up to 50% of participants during and after marathon running” – I kept thinking, “What about the other 50% of the people?” If this is a genetic issue – perhaps I’m one of the lucky ones? Maybe I'm one of the "other" 50%  that is not negatively affected?
  • I also considered the cardiac changes in mice forced to do endurance exercise via electric shock. My thought was, “Of course they would show stressful cardiac changes – they were being electrically forced to run!”
  • In none of the studies cited in the research paper were 100% of the people adversely affected by high intensity or long duration exercise. This leaves me to wonder about the people that were not adversely affected – did they live longer? Are their lives somehow better?

One of the athletes I coach sent me a link to a New York Times column noting that researchers believe due to our endurance capabilities as humans, we developed bigger brains. Our very existence is due to  endurance exercise.

Ah ha! There – proof that endurance exercise is good.

I also read a column about 91-year-young Sven Wiik that was an Olympian, “was always fixated on sports” and still skis nearly every day.

Ah ha! Here’s a living example of someone immersed in sport that is an excellent, healthy 91.

Then, across my desk came research that Olympic medalists live an average of 2.5 years longer than the general population.

Few athletes workout longer and more intensely than Olympians and they enjoy longevity. Perhaps some this longevity is due to endurance exercise  past the age of 40?

After mulling all of this around in my head for awhile, I decided that I enjoy endurance sport. I love doing long bike rides, long runs and hours of Nordic skiing. Research does interest me, but I also understand the limitations of any research on human beings. We are complicated and it is impossible to account for controlling all the variables in any research study, including genetic influences.


All things considered, I plan to continue doing the endurance sports and racing that I love to do – until the time when I no longer feel like doing those sports. I figure I’m on the earth for a limited amount of time and I plan to take personal responsibility for spending my time as I please while I’m here.

I might cut years off of my life or suffer cardiac changes that aren’t healthy.

Or, I might live to be over 100 still doing endurance sports making researchers ask “Why? How?”


How do you plan to spend your time on earth?





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.

612 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: endurance, to, health, exercise, longevity, detrimental

I wrote a recent column on balance exercises. Not only do these exercises help your balance and strengthen your ankles, they help with balancing coordination right to left side.

There’s an easy way to add balance work to your dailyhabits. It works best if you have an electronic toothbrush that alerts you to 30-second segments to brush each section of your teeth.

With each segment (inner lower teeth, outer lower teeth, inner upper teeth, and outer upper teeth) alternate left leg, right leg, left leg and right leg for 30-second segments. Of course you can go for one-minute per leg too.

Depending on how often you brush your teeth, you can get some two to six minutes of balance work accomplished every day!


Thanks to Janet Saxon for this trick.



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.

619 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: balance, running, cycling, skiing, exercises

Being injured is one of the hardest parts of being an athlete. If and when you do get injured, you’ll likely wonder how to eat better to heal better. My motherly advice is: Don’t treat good nutrition like a fire engine!


Rather than shaping up your diet when you get injured,strive to maintain a high quality food intake every day. That way, you'll have a hefty bank account of vitamins and minerals stored in your liver, ready and waiting to be put into action. For example, a well-nourished athlete has enough vitamin C (important for healing) stored in the liver to last for about six weeks. The junk food junkie who gets a serious sports injury (think bike crash,skiing tumble, hockey blow) and ends up in the hospital has a big disadvantage. Eat smart every day!


The fear of gaining weight plagues most injured athletes.Here are two myths, debunked!


MYTH: Muscle turns into fat.

Wrong. If you are unable to exercise, your muscles will shrink, but they will not turn into fat. Have you ever seen the scrawny muscles on a person who has just had a cast removed when the broken bone has healed? Those muscles did not get fat!


MYTH: Lack of exercise means you'll get fat.

Wrong. If you overeat while you are injured (as can easily happen if you are bored or depressed), you can indeed easily get fat. I know of many frustrated athletes who have quickly gained weight because they continued to eat lumberjack portions. But if you eat mindfully, your body can regulate a proper intake. Before diving into meals and snacks, ask yourself, “How much of this fuel does my body actually need?” Eat for fuel, not entertainment.


When injured, some underweight athletes do gain to their genetic weight. For example, a 13-year-old gymnast perceived her body was “getting fat” while she recuperated from a knee injury. She was simply catching up and attaining the physique appropriate for her age and genetics.


Whatever you do, don't skimp on protein and calories when injured ... that will delay healing.


With best wishes for good health,



For more information:

Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook

3,407 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: weight, injury, athlete, nancy_clark, weight_gain_while_injured




I finally picked up the second edition of TrainingPlans for Multisport Athletes, had to because the pages were falling out of the first one.  Anyway, one quick question please.  Can the 13 weeks to a half Ironman be adapted so it becomes 13 weeks to an Olympic distance?  I don't have the 26 weeks to train, my race is April 14th, about 14 weeks away. 

It's not that I procrastinate in picking my races, my students pick my races.  Every so often, usually once a year, one of my students challenges me to race them.  This school year they waited till just before Christmas break to issue the challenge, so I had to pick a race close to home and before they get out of school.  But, I ramble.  Any help you can give in this matter would be appreciated.  






Hi F.D. ~


Thanks for letting me know you enjoy my work. I have a few suggestions: 


  1. If you have the fitness now – you can use the last 14 weeks of the 24-week Olympic plan in Training Plans for Multisport Athletes. If you have the endurance but not the intensity, then you can use Zone 3 for the higher intensity efforts rather than Zone 4+ in that plan.
  2. Another option is to begin the 24-week plan where your current fitness is – that is pick a week that seems “doable” to you. It can be a stretch, but don’t make it a 50% increase from your current fitness. Work your way through the plan by sequential weeks until you are one or two week out from the race. Then use the last one or two weeks of the plan to taper into the event. I say one or two because it depends on where you start now and where that puts you near race day. The bottom line here is you want to be rested heading into the race.
  3. Also, my book Triathlon Training Basics has a fit beginner plan that is 12 weeks long. The training hours range from 5:15 to 8:00 per week for this one, so it’s not a performance oriented plan but rather one intended for “comfortable completion”.


Which option you use depends largely on your current fitness.


Hope this helps. Let me know how the race goes for you ~




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.







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One of my athletes doesn't have access to a cable or other seated rowing machine and needed an alternative exercise. He does have access to a Smith Machine.


The solution?


Inverted row.


I tried this exercise yesterday and it is TOUGH! Though I can do seated rows all day long, I was unable to lift myself from the floor to touch the bar even once. And, I could only do five reps getting my torso about six inches from the bar.


My first goal is to be able to do five consecutive movements, with a solidly planked body, touching my torso to the bar.


Anyone else tried this?





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


Comments can be added on Facebook.


Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

552 Views 0 Comments Permalink

Why is childhood obesity is on the rise?

Why are thin people “fatter” than they used to be?

Why is morbid obesity, type 2 diabetes—and even sex reversalis fish species—becoming common?

…Is something pervading our environment that is making us fatter?


Traditionally, we look at overeating and underexercising as the main contributors to the obesity epidemic. Diet and exercise are deemed to be the solutions to the problem. Maybe we are overlooking other factors? Do we need to pay attention to new research on “obesogens”?


Obesogens are chemical compounds found in food, drugs, and industrial products (like plastics) that may alter metabolic processes and predispose some people to gain weight. These compounds may contribute to more and bigger fat cells. Exposure to these compounds in utero may explain (in part) why childhood obesity is on the rise, why even thin people are “fatter” than they used to be, and why morbid obesity, type 2 diabetes, and sex reversal in fish species is on the rise.


Clearly, we need to explore all possible factors that contribute to weight issues, not just diet and exercise. Some of these factors include looking at ways to reduce potential environmental obesogens that might be in plastics, canned goods, nonstick cookware, air fresheners, laundry products, and personal care products. Obesogens may be yet another reason to eat less processed foods, particularly those that come packaged in plastic or cans. The research is in its infancy, so stay tuned—and until we know more, start eating more foods that are minimally processed!

For more information:

2,007 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: weight, obesity, body_fat, nancy_clark, plastic, obesogens, processed_foods