TT046: Running With Olympian Pete Pfitzinger

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Olympian, Exercise Physiologist, Author & Coach Pete Pfitzinger

Pete Pfitzinger joins the show for a conversation on running and his latest book, Faster Road Racing: 5k To Half Marathon.

Pete lives in New Zealand and works for High Performance Sport New Zealand, which oversees Olympic sports. Pete 4

Topics we discuss include:

  • variable pace tempo runs
  • short hill sprints
  • strides
  • weight training
  • plyometrics
  • cadence




TT045: Ironman Arizona Winner & Olympian Brent McMahon

At age 34 Canadian Brent McMahon attempted his first Ironman in Arizona.  Previously, he was a 2004 and 2012 Olympian, and 2014 was going well with four Ironman 70.3 wins.  On the starting line he didn’t have a time goal, nor had he even pondered a finishing time before this race.

He followed a race plan crafted with Lance Watson, his coach of 20 years.  That included a caloric intake of roughly 500 calories per hour on the bike while ignoring his competitors.  When a couple contenders passed him early in the bike he started to ride with them but backed off when he realized it required a greater power output than he planned to ride.

He finished the bike in third after a 4:21 split.  He ran the first half of the marathon in 1:20 and finished with a 2:43 run, giving him a 5 minute margin of victory and a 7:55 final time, the fastest Ironman debut in history.

Despite competing at a level far above most triathletes, his race execution tips are golden and helpful to all triathletes.

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TT044: A Running Discussion You’ll Want To Hear

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This interview was one of the most intriguing I’ve done.  We cover basic and technical running topics in a clearly explained format.  If your first run was last week, or you are an Ironman champion,  this episode has something for you. It’s also a good follow up to episode 43.

Cadence, Running Form, Shoes, & Barefoot Running

Dr. Thomas Hughes of Tri-Mechanics discusses his journey into the study of running form.  It all started when he decided to run barefoot one morning.

Thomas turned his attention away from practicing medicine toward studying running.  Topics we discuss include:

  • Barefoot running
  • Changes required before increasing your cadence
  • Running off the bike
  • Minimalist/zero drop/big toebox shoes
  • Run shoe cushioning
  • Using a metronome


  • @trimechanics



TT043: Tempo Runs | Zero Drop Shoes With Golden Harper Of Altra

Tempo Runs

Patrick Kelly submitted a question about tempo runs using the “Send Voicemail” on the right side of  He was having difficulty hitting his goal tempo pace in a 10 mile run.  The run was designed to be a 2 mile warmup, 6 miles at 5:52, and a 2 mile cool down.  The basis for his run came from a Jack Daniel’s article.

I addressed the tempo run, the definition, and the reason he wasn’t hitting his goal pace.  It lead me to create this more detailed article on the tempo run.

Zero Drop Shoes

I recently consulted with an athlete who used Altra shoes.  As a result, I called the company to ask more questions.  The guy I reached on their Altra Shoessupport line was very helpful and knowledgable, and I followed up again, which resulted in an interview with Golden Harper, the company founder.

He came up with the idea for the shoe while working in his family shoe store. He credits the use of high speed video video in 2009 in the development of his shoes.  The slow motion video helped him notice an unnatural gait caused by heavily cushioned shoes with a deep base.  Zero drop shoes was the answer to the running problems he was trying to fix.

He coined the term, which means there is no drop from the heel of the shoe to the forefoot.   He discusses the benefits of zero drop shoes and their foot shaped toebox, as well as the biomechanics of a zero drop shoe compared to a traditional running shoe.

It’s a compelling story and I’m looking forward to trying a pair of Altras myself.  They are available in specialty running stores

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TT042: Augusta 70.3 Half Ironman Triathlon Part 2

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“I think the most intimidating thing about doing a half was that I would read so much and I would look at all the things I needed to know about the swim, the bike, and the run and think, ‘can I really do this?  Am I putting in enough training?’”

Trish Roberts Post-Race Interview

The previous episode featured a pre-race interview with Trish Roberts six weeks before her first Half Ironman.  In addition to training, Trish has a full-time job in addition to being a mother and wife.

On September 28, she finished Ironman 70.3 Augusta in 6:55.  Her goal was 7:30.

On race day the temp was 70 degrees with high humidity.  The swim was down a river and resulted in a fast time.  She paced the bike on perceived effort with a goal of 15mpm.  She was 7 minutes faster on the second half of the bike and the effort felt comfortable throughout.

Her biggest issue was discomfort with her seat, and she will be replacing that for future training.  Her goal was 250 calories per hour, and if I recall her weight is 125 pounds.  She had a mix of gel, a Honey Stinger Waffle (designed for athletic use), and Skratch drink.  Her fueling, with one exception, was planned and tested in advance of the race. She made the last minute decision to use Skratch during the race, and didn’t sip water on the ride.  This is something she will change in future races as it resulted in an intake that was too calorically dense and lacked water.  On the run she craved water only and not sports drinks.  However, she still felt good throughout the run.

She plans to do Augusta 70.3 again in 2015 and she took detailed notes of her experience to better prepare for next year.  This note taking is great advice for every athlete and pays huge dividends.

Her results are below.

Augusta 70.3 Results

Augusta 70.3 Results

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TT041: My Ninth Triathlon Is My First Half Ironman Part 1 of 2

Half Ironman Questions

Trish Roberts is preparing for her Ironman 70.3 in Augusta Georgia.  This interview was done 6 weeks before her race, and the next episode will be a post race interview.  She is a personal trainer and it was one of her clients that got her into the sport. She helped a client lose 100 pounds, and that client returned the favor by getting her into triathlons.

Topics include:

  • Goggle Fog
  • Wetsuit use sleevless/sleeved
  • How to pace the half marathon
  • Bike comfort
  • Hand numbness
  • Racing with Coke
  • Getting used to the long run
  • Breathing to the opposite side



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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