TT058: Questions From a Sixth Year Triathlete

Age group triathlete Erin Donovan is in her sixth year of racing and is preparing for a half ironman and the New York City Triathlon, an Olympic distance race.  I answer her questions and some of the topics covered include:

  • Following up a half with an Olympic distance triathlon a few weeks later
  • Heart rate training
  • Training around injury and sickness
  • Sleep
  • Running cadence
  • Structuring intensity and base
  • Strength training
  • Run workouts



TT057: Ironman Pacing & Swimming With Jim Vance

Coach Jim Vance returns to the show to discuss the results of a published study on pacing at Ironman Hawaii.  Jim also talks about his experience and experimentation as a high school swim coach where he successfully emphasizes dryland training, technique work, and lower volume. I also talk about my experience with Altra Shoes and my recent half marathon.


Ironman Hawaii Pacing Study


TT056: Eric’s Ironman Triathlon Experiences

This episode is all me (Eric).  I go over my lessons learned from 4 Ironmans: Ironman Hawaii in 1999, 2001, and 2003 and Ironman Wisconsin in 2004.  My times ranged from 9:19 to 10:43.

I took detailed notes from a few of those races and I have current day thoughts on the mistakes I made.

If you’re looking for other Ironman focused episodes check out 15, 16, 31, 39, 45, 49, and 51.

TT055: Triathlon Wisdom From Olympian Victor Plata & Bike Fitting/Aerodynamics With Retul and Specialized

Victor Plata, a 2004 triathlon Olympian for the United States, is the guest in the first half of this episode.  Victor retired in 2011 and we look back at his career, catch up with his post-triathlon life, and he provides wisdom for all triathletes.

Todd Carver of Retul and Scott Holtz of Specialized are the guests for the second half of the show.  Todd, also the guest on episode 10, is an expert bike fitter and founder of the bike fitting company Retul.  Scott is a former bike fitter and works for Specialized as the head of the Specialized Bicycle Component University and Dealer Education.

Specialized has been operating their own wind tunnel for a year, and we discuss some of the bike fit lessons that Scott and Todd have learned both in the tunnel and from many years of expertise in the field.


TT054: Founder Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper used his computer to try and predict time trial splits during the 2013 Tour de France.  His first go at it produced some very accurate results.  That project turned into a business at

Cyclists using a power meter can use their power meter to help predict and guide race performance.  This is cutting edge stuff that continues to evolve.  If you race with a power meter this software should help you improve your performance.

TT053: Blood Test Results, Testosterone & First Time Triathlete

Garrett Rock On Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, and Testosterone

Garrett Rock, the guest from episode 23, talks about a specific blood test result a listener sent in.  The listener’s hemoglobin and hematocrit had dropped significantly in a short period of time. His training in the days leading up to test #1 was limited, and during the other tests his volume was in the 12-15 hour range.  Normal ranges for a male are 13.2-18 for hemoglobin and 38-54 for a male.

These test results are lower than normal and they indicate something has gone awry.  Items to look at include red blood cell indices, potential blood loss in the GI system or from ulcers.  The results could result from a simple deficiency in iron, folate, or B12 which could either be from lack of intake or an absorption problem.  Garrett explains how he would investigate further.

At the time of the interview we didn’t have the results of test #4, which showed a significant improvement.


Test #1

17 Days Since Test#1

28 Days Since Test#1

34 Days Since Test#1











We also talked briefly about testosterone, which is usually on the lower side for both male and female triathletes.

Garrett does blood testing for endurance athletes.  Check out

First Year Triathlete Hilary Spires

In November Hilary signed up for her first triathlon; a 70.3 event.  Then she signed up for Ironman Canada.  She just did an Olympic distance triathlon as her first ever triathlon.

To compete she had to overcome a knee injury that resulted from wearing away the cartilage in her knee.  She had micro-fracture surgery to grow it back, but the pain didn’t go away until she started foam-rolling her legs.  That was only a temporary fix as the pain came back as she did more running.

Based on what she heard in previous Triathlete Training podcast episodes she changed from heel striking to mid-foot striking and that immediately eliminated her knee pain and hip pain.  As a result her Ironman training is on track.


TT052: Ultraman Florida Triathlon Winner Billy Edwards

Billy Edwards has done many Ironmans and never finished slower than 10 hours.  He recently attempted his first ultra-distance triathlon, winning Ultraman Florida in a time of 23 hours and 17 minutes covering a span of 3 days, besting a field of 39 triathletes.  Ultraman Florida 2015 Results

Billy tells us what went right, what went wrong, and his plans to do Ultraman Hawaii.


TT051: A 9:36 Ironman Chattanooga Race Report

Mikhail Ivanov moved from Russia to Colorado with his wife and 9 and 1 year old children in early 2014.  He is a 36 year old triathlete who has been racing for 4 years.  He had limited  running experience and no cycling or swimming experience before he started triathlons.

It’s a small triathlon community in Russia with limited warm weather for training.  With all the indoor training time he calls himself a strong “balcony rider.”  While in Russia he was able to train for Ironman Austria in his second year of racing, finishing in a time of 10:26.  In 2014 he went 10:00 at Ironman Boulder and then, after Ironman Tahoe was cancelled just minutes before the start, he went to  Ironman Chattanooga one week later and went 9:36, earning a spot for Ironman Hawaii in 2015.

During the interview we talk about his training and racing experience, things he learned at other Ironmans, and how he put it all together at Ironman Chattanooga.  His target heart rate on the bike for his last Ironman was zone 2-3 using Joe Friel heart rate zones, taking in 300 calories per hour during his 5:10 ride.  His goal during the race was ‘not to slow down at mile 18’. As a result he raced conservatively, and his last 5k of the marathon was faster than his first 5k.

Mikhail uses pickle juice as a concoction to avoid side stitches during Ironmans.   When he races he takes a bottle of pickle juice with pickles in it.

If you’re interested in the research on cramps and pickle juice, check out this

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TT050: Hunter Allen On Cycling For Triathlon

Hunter Allen is a pioneer in the cycling world.  He co-founded TrainingPeaks WKO+ power data analytics software and he’s the founder of Peaks Coaching Group.  He’s also the co-author of Training & Racing With A Power Meter and Cutting-Edge Cycling.  He raced bikes for 17 years, and including several years as a pro.

Among the topics we covered:

Cadence – Hunter believes 95-105 is ideal, and 90 is okay.  Pedaling at a lower cadence requires more glycogen usage compared to higher cadence.  His recommendation is also based on quadrant analysis with WKO+.  A cadence workout he uses is Hunter Allen10X(1 minute at high cadence followed by 1 minute at normal cadence).

Base Phase Workout Structure – for an athlete in base phase, with the ability to do 3 rides per week of 1-2 hours in duration, Hunter suggests three workouts that include ‘sweet spot’ work, which he defines as roughly 88-93% of FTP (functional threshold power).  For example, 3-4X10 minutes in the sweet spot, or alternate 2 minutes at sweet spot with 30 seconds at 120% of FTP.  A minimum of 3-4 weeks of base training is preferable before starting this.

The Wobble – a new brand of power meter is able to measure the side to side wobble of the bike frame with each pedal stroke.  Ideally, a time trialist on a flat course would not have a wobble, while a sprinter and a hill climber on a steep hill have an optimum wobble.  Too much wobble or incorrect wobble can cost as much as 15 watts.

Mistakes Pro Triathletes Make- I asked Hunter what type of mistakes he has observed among pro triathletes.  He mentioned two. The first was having a cadence that was too low.  The second involved the long ride. He believes it’s a mistake to do a regular long ride (4-6 hours) at only endurance page (zone 1-2).  Unless it’s necessary for recovery, he prefers to add in sweet spot riding (zone 4) and something such as hill intervals within the long ride.

The One Thing He Wish He Would Have Known/Done While Racing – Hire a coach.


2015 Peaks Coaching Group
– March 15, 2015 Mallorca cycling camp and April 19 Bedford, Virginia cycling camp.

@HunterPeaks Twitter

Peaks Coaching Group

Training and Racing With a Power Meter by Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan

Cutting-Edge Cycling by Hunter Allen and Stephen S. Sheung


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TT049: First time Ironman at Ironman Louisville

Michael Welk did his first Ironman in 2014 at Ironman Louisville at age 42. His previous experience included a couple sprint triathlons Ironman Louisville Resultsseveral years ago, and just one sprint triathlon in 2014 leading up to his Ironman.  We talk about his progress and experience from November 2013, when he signed up for the race, through race day.

He started training in late 2013 but was not progressing as hoped, so he hired a triathlon coach.  He also hired a swim coach in March. Early in 2014 he couldn’t swim more than 25 yards at a time.  His prep included just one century ride in advance of the Ironman.  His goal was to finish in 15 hours.

Also in this episode

  • I answer a listener question on base training
  • An update on blue light and it’s affect on sleep
  • An update on my use of zero drop Altra running shoes

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