TT040: Swimming For Triathlon With Olympic Swimmer/Triathlete Sheila Taormina

Four-Time Olympian Sheila Taormina

Sheila Taormina was an Olympian in swimming (gold, 1996), triathlon (2000 & 2004) and equestrian (2008).  She’s stayed busy in retirement as a swim instructor, author, and speaker.

Sheila Taormina

Sheila Taormina

Her latest book, Swim Speed Strokes, was recently released. She has also authored Swim Speed Secrets and Swim Speed Workouts For Swimmers And Triathletes.


This is material from her latest book, posted at

Each of the four strokes—butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle—is represented in the photos on page 7 (below). Each photo captures the stroke during the catch phase of the pull. The arms you see in these photos are the arms of world-record holders swimming the stroke naturally. None of the photos were staged.

Can you match the photo with the stroke? Take a close look and really give this some thought. (The answers are located near the bottom of this page)

From "Swim Speed Strokes"

From “Swim Speed Strokes”


 - Sheila’s website






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TT039: Training Progression With Ironman Boulder Champion Justin Daerr

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Ironman Boulder Champion Justin Daerr

It took Justin Daerr 29 attempts to win his first Ironman.  His victory came in his hometown of Boulder on August 3, 2014.  Justin’s progression has been slow and steady, backed by intelligent training and planning.

We talk about his progression and decisions that led him to become an Ironman champion.

Ironman Boulder Justin Daerr

Ironman Boulder Champ Justin Daerr

Justin shares lessons and tips that athletes of all levels will benefit from.

Highlights of our talk:

  • Ironman Boulder Result – 1st, 53:21 swim, 4:24 bike, 2:56 run, 8:20:26 final time
  • Justin prefers to swim in a sleeveless wetsuit over a sleeved wetsuit, and he says swims faster, even though sleeved wetsuits are proven faster.
  • He trains 22-25 hours/week during his bigger volume.
  • First Ironman was 12:55 at California in 2001.
  • He’s a partner in
  • He was coached early in his career by Joe Friel. His current coach is Cliff English.
  • During an intense, race prep, 5 hour ride he takes 2000 calories, similar to a race.  His source is gels and Powerbar drink. In less intense longer rides he uses some solid food.
  • For Ironman Boulder he took two 1200 calorie bottles on the bike.  His average intake was 533 calories/hour for the 4.5 hour ride. This is more than he would take in for a sea level race.  He believes an athlete burns a higher percentage of glycogen at altitude
  • He was drinking to thirst during the race
  • He will finish the season with Ironman Lake Tahoe (Sept 21) and Ironman Hawaii (October 11).

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TT038: Half Ironman Triathlon Prep

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Half Ironman Prep/Second Year Triathlon Training Questions

Tony Ruales is a second year triathlete preparing for his first half ironman.  He asks some pertinent but unique training questions which haven’t been covered on previous podcasts.

Topics include:

  • How much should and when will this race hurt
  • Goal power on the bike
  • How to pace the half marathon
  • Affects of blood pressure medication on heart rate
  • Intensity vs volume

His race is the New Jersey Half Shoreman in September 2014.

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TT037: GI Distress I High Intensity Training I Heat Acclimation Benefits

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PhD Micah Zuhl

Micah is a professor at Central Michigan University and he shares his research and experience.

GI Distress & Glutamine Supplementation

He has published research on GI distress during intense training.  His studies have found that doses of glutamine can help prevent leaky gut and reduce the likelihood of GI distress.

The oral doses used in his study were .9g per kg of fat free mass (lean body mass) per day, spread out over three doses, for a period of 7 days.  His studies on the topic were published in the Journal of Applied Physiology (Jan 15, 2014) and also Cell Stress & Chaperones (July 26, 2014).

Note that their may be side effects of glutamine use. Pregnant and breast feeding women may want to avoid supplementation. WebMd list potential side effects here.  As with any supplement, take responsibility for your decisions and do proper research and consultation with your doctor in advance.

High Intensity Training

We also discussed the benefits of high intensity interval training. He wrote an article on the topic which is available here.

Heat Acclimation

Finally, we briefly discussed benefits of heat acclimation for improved performance during all conditions, not just hot conditions.

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TT036: Functional Strength For Triathlon With Chuck Wolf

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Chuck Wolf

Chuck joins the show to talk about strength and flexibility for triathletes.  Chuck is the Director of Human Motion Associates in Orlando, Florida.  He’s worked with top athletes in several sports.

Chuck was a speaker at one of my triathlon camps in Florida, and he’s had excellent success overcoming injury issues experienced by two of my triathlete friends.

His website is 

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TT035: Matt Dixon & “The Well-Built Triathlete”

Well-Built TriathleteSubscribe via iTunes

“It’s a resource for athletes to become empowered to think about the way that they approach their sport and give some insight into my methodology and to steer athletes to look through the correct lens of how to approach performance and how to improve over the long term.”

Coach Matt Dixon

Matt is a San Francisco based coach to several pros and age group athletes.  He discusses his new book, The Well-Built Triathlete.  This comprehensive book is packed full of great information for triathletes, and it’s one I would recommend to any triathlete.  In the podcast interview he gives more insight into his methodology and experience.

Matt’s website:

Twitter @purplepatch


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TT034: Half Ironman Pursuit Part 2

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Postrace Half Ironman Interview With Rodrigo

Rodrigo is back for a follow up interview after the Syracuse 70.3 Half Ironman.  Rodrigo was the guest in episode 33, an interview we did in early April, as he was preparing for this June 22, 2014 race.Rodrigo Finishing Syracuse 70.3

Continue reading

TT033: Training Questions & Half Ironman Pursuit

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Half Ironman Training Questions

Rodrigo Chaves is the guest for this episode and we discuss several questions based around half ironman training.  Rodrigo lives in New Jersey and 2014 is his second season of racing triathlons. He’s competed in running races for the last 4 years and he’s been swimming for 8 years. He is training for the Syracuse Half Ironman 70.3 on June 22.  Rodrigo at Syracuse 70.3

Be sure to check out episode 34 for his post-race interview.

Here are his questions that we discussed in the interview:


1. What’s the common volume of training for a person on their second season training for their first half? I feel like my training compared to others might have too much volume. Here’s the breakdown: Continue reading

TT032: Stages Cycling Power Meter & Saunas

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Ben Sharp of Stages Cycling

I interview Ben Sharp of Stages Cycling about the Stages Power Meter.  Ben was a coach for USA Cycling from 2007 to 2013 before joining Stages.  The Stages Power Meter runs $700-$900 plus a head unit, such as a Garmin or even an iPhone.

I was an SRM user and I did this interview because I was genuinely curious about this lower cost power meter.  I came away persuaded that it is an excellent option. Ben points out some of the advantages:

  • Lower cost
  • Easy  assembly and setup.
  • It can easily be switched between bikes.
  • Simple maintenance and firmware updates

Ben stated that accuracy is within 2%.  Power is measured only from the left crank.  

Are Saunas The Next Big Performance Enhancing “Drug”

The Five Fingers Settlement Didn’t Settle the Barefoot Running Debate

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TT031: A 15 Year Ironman Hawaii Qualification Story

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Dan Dungan At Ironman Texas

Dan Dungan started racing triathlons in 1999 with the Memphis and May. His first Ironman was in 2000.   Going into 2014 he had started 20 Ironmans, finishing 17, but had never qualified for

He did it!

He did it!

Ironman Hawaii.  He was persistent in his training, he learned each year, and at Ironman Texas in 2014 he took another shot at qualifying.

Dan and I discussed his progression over the years, the lessons learned, and his strategy for Ironman #21.  He’s consulted with Gordo Byrn for several years and continued to modify his approach.

At age 57 he was racing in the 55-59 age group and the expectation, which wouldn’t be confirmed until the morning after the race, was that there would be just two Ironman Hawaii spots in his age group.

In his previous 3 Ironmans he had a third place and two fifth places in his age group, and the gap between his time and the time required to qualify was narrowing.

As a weak swimmer he decided to do a major swim block in early 2014.  For 6 weeks he averaged 20,000 yards in the pool.  To accommodate the higher volume he wisely backed off on intensity for many of his workouts.  He also modified his nutrition plan for this race, going with less calories than normal (250 per hour on the bike).

His strategy was to push the first couple hours of the bike, anticipating a tailwind. His goal was 180 watts for the early part of the race.  Coming back into the headwind he was shooting for 165-170 watts.   On this run his goal was to keep the first 3 miles easier, and then bump up the effort to little faster than his average goal pace.

His planning all paid off as he finished second in his age group and earned a spot to Hawaii. He finished in 10:32:22 with splits of 1:12:46/5:18:41/3:52:03.  He was 16 minutes out of first and 17 minutes ahead of third place.