Category Archives: Uncategorized

TT095: Off-Season Training & Time Limited Training With Matt Dixon

Matt Dixon has experience as a professional athlete, coach to elite and amateur athletes, an exercise physiologist, and an author. His newest book is Fast-Track Triathlete.  This book is geared toward athletes who want to maximize their success with limited time to train.  The book explains his concepts and includes a 14 week training plan for both Ironman and Half Ironman as well as a strength plan that can be completed without visiting the gym.

We talk about the book in the second half of our interview.  In the first half we focus on off-season training.

Matt was also a guest on episode 33.

Matt can be found at purplepatchfitness.com

TT094: Zach Boivin’s Inspirational Journey From 330 Pounds To An Ironman

 

Zach Boivin went to watch a friend race Ironman Lake Placid in 2015.  At the time he weighed 330 pounds and was not active.  He was inspired watching the finishers that night and the next day he decided he was going to do a triathlon.  

He thought all triathlons were Ironman distance. Fortunately, he realized there were shorter races and he signed up for Ironman 70.3 Syracuse the following year.  In 2017 he attempted his first Ironman at Lake Placid.

This is his life changing journey that starts with running his first step and then two years later hearing Mike Reilly say “You Are An Ironman!”

 

TT092: Ultraman, Collegiate Recruiting, Random

Billy EdwardsBilly Edwards returns to the show to talk about his experiences since winning Ultraman Florida in 2015.  He completed the Ultraman World Championships later that year and has since cut back on his racing since having surgery on his toe.  However, he is busy in the sport as a coach of the Naval Academy collegiate triathlon team that finished third at the 2017 Collegiate National Championships.

He was one of a few coaches selected for USAT’s Elite Mentorship Coaching program and he recently observed a training camp for the collegiate recruiting program. We talk about all this and a few other random triathlon topics.

Billy was a guest on episode 52 talking about his Ultraman Florida experience.

Billy’s website is at http://billythekidtriathlete.com/

TT062: Hydration & Heat Prep From a Hot Ironman Lake Placid and Mont-Tremblant

Canadian Allan MacKenzie recently completed Ironman Lake Placid and Ironman Mont-Tremblant in hot conditions.  We talked about that experience and his heat and hydration questions following the race.  I answer his questions from my own knowledge, but I also add George Dallam’s answers.  

George, a guest on episodes 3, 4, and 25,  is a professor at Colorado State University in Pueblo.  He was the first USA Triathlon National Teams coach and he coached Olympic triathlete Hunter Kemper.  His answers were originally in response to my email, and he allowed me to publish his email here.

Each of Allan’s questions is listed below, and George’s answers follow.

  1. For someone who doesn’t have the opportunity to train much outdoors in high temperatures, what are the best ways to be prepared if race day ends up being really hot?

Acclimate – hot tub, sauna, indoors with heater/humidifier, any stationary training as well. It is all about producing a high sweat rate.

Here is the link to George’s two week hot tub protocol –http://triathletetraining.com/heat-acclimation-protocol/

  1.   How long does it take to get acclimatized/prepared to race in warmer than normal temperatures?

Even one session can help and you can probably maximize over as little as 2-3 weeks with daily sessions.

  1.    Other than adding more sodium to my diet, are there other things I can do with my diet to help get better acclimatizes to the heat?

I’m not an advocate of adding more sodium to the diet, just the opposite.  The currently in vogue notion that “salty sweaters” need more sodium ignores the underlying issue.  Salty sweaters are inevitably consuming more sodium than they realize so the body must constantly excrete the excess.  By reducing sodium in the diet your body will improve in its ability to preserve sodium over time..  Further by greatly increasing your sodium intake over normal in a given racing situation you probably increase the risk of heat stroke – sodium reduces our sweating capacity by holding water in the vascular and interstitial spaces.  The best approach to heat tolerance is appropriate acclimation and a low salt diet in my estimation.

  1.     What are your thoughts on using arm coolers and/or knee coolers to help to stay cool during races?

Pre cooling to lower the core temperature prior to a hot race is certainly very useful.  If you can create a cooling effect on the fly that is certainly useful as well.  However, to do so means carrying extra weight in most cases in the form of a cold solution or ice.  The idea that any clothing enhances cooling in comparison to what the bare skin can accomplish during periods of heavy sweating is misleading.  See this review.  http://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-200333130-00001#page-1 Some fabrics are relatively more cooling than others (cotton versus wool for instance) but all limit cooling to some degree by  inhibiting the evaporative cooling process in some manner. Maximum skin exposure provides the greatest surface area for sweating and the resulting evaporative effect created as air moves past the body.  The thought with white reflective clothing is that you might avoid radiant heat gain, however the loss in evaporative cooling potential offsets that possible effect.   Of course wearing or not wearing clothing must also be considered in the need for limiting UV exposure and for creating both aero and aquadynamics.   Consider, however that shaved body parts are often nearly as aero/aquadynamic as fabrics designed for the purpose and shaving further increases the potential for evaporative heat loss.  Basically in the heat you should wear the minimal clothing necessary or required and it should be white or light colored.

Very likely your arms and legs have sufficiently keratinized  (tanned) through normal training exposure so that you shouldn’t need to cover them with clothing to prevent sun burn – doing so will reduce your evaporative cooling potential.

5.  And what is your opinion on salt tabs?

See above – this is a worst case scenario.

  1.      When I raced Ironman Mont Tremblant (MT) this year I didn’t pee during the bike portion at all.

That is an obvious indication to me that I was dehydrated. I’m don’t think it had a significant effect on my bike, but I feel it adversely effected my run. Usually I have a good gauge on this and am often guilty of drinking too much. What would you recommend to help prevent this from happening again?

Some relative dehydration can actually be beneficial to performance (although less than ideal when it comes to the possibility of thrombus formation) because you are simply lighter.  This might be true up to about 2% loss in body weight – possibly more if you train in those conditions.  The primary key to maintaining hydration is to drink fluids that are isotonic (similar salt concentration to your body fluids)  – this approach maximizes absorption at the gut and reduces the tendency for diuresis during the race (you’d really rather not pee if possible).    I would drink on schedule in small amounts if you want to prevent dehydration based on your typical weight loss (2 cups per pound). Something like traditional Gatorade cut in  half with water gets you there – most conventional “salty” drinks have way more salt than is present in the blood stream.  I would use Tim Noakes advice and drink to thirst if you want to allow for a little normal dehydration.   If you have had a reason to believe that you are at risk for thrombus formation I would take the first option and stay hydrated when training and racing.   You can also pre-hydrate pretty effectively using a glycerol solution if you have great concerns for dehydration.

  1.       I wore a visor in Lake Placid (LP), but opted for a hat during MT (so that I could put ice under my hat to try and stay cool). Which do you recommend for a really hot day?

Ice under the hat is effective on the fly cooling strategy – see above.

  1.       I have fair skin and usually need sunscreen to prevent getting a burn. In LP I applied it in the am before the swim and again in T2. I planned to do the same in MT, but I forgot to do so in T2 and I think this really played a role with my run time. Does a sun burn have a significant effect on my ability to stay hydrated?

Interesting question.   I’m not aware of any direct effect of sunburn and/or sun screens on evaporative cooling potential.  However, a quick search reveals the following studyhttp://search.proquest.com/openview/3ca96ce6df9654a03c18b6e0cb47d8bd/1?pq-origsite=gscholar which suggests no negative effect of wearing sunscreen and a possible type II statistical error – suggesting there may even be a small positive effect through an improved temperature gradient (core to skin temperature differential) which the study failed to find probably due to too few subjects or the fact that the difference were so small.  You might also experiment in training with sunscreens that are more water resistant – Bull Frog comes to mind – so you can avoid reapplication after the swim.

 

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.

billythekidtriathlete.com

@billythekidtri

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.

Resources 

2015 Peaks Coaching Group
Camps
– 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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TT048: Joe Friel on “Fast Over 50”, High Intensity Training, & More

Joe Friel

Joe Friel recently released his 14th book, Fast After 50.  It’s geared to all athletes training and competing after age 50.  Most, but not all, of the interview is centered around the book, but there is much in here that will apply to all triathletes.  Topics discussed include sleep, high intensity training, recovery, and items listed below.  Joe also gives some insight into his research process.

Joe discusses three key factors in athletic success:

Fast After 50

  • aerobic capacity
  • lactate threshold
  • economy

As athletes age, economy tends to remain stable, VO2 max suffers the greatest loss, and lactate threshold declines more slowly.  Maintaining or slowing the rate of decline in these areas should be a focus of training.

Joe talks about three key factors that negatively affect aging athletes.  They are:

  • Loss of aerobic capacity/VO2 max
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Negative trend in body fat percentage

Part of the performance loss of the aging athlete is a result of a reduction of high intensity training. This leads to a decline in aerobic capacity.   Joe talks about the importance of keeping this in, or safely adding it back into, your training regime.

Joe generally defines high intensity as a 9 effort level on a scale of 1-10.  It must be added very slowly into a training plan to reduce the risk of injury, starting with short 15 second efforts and gradually increasing the dose.  For a more detailed recommendation refer to Joe’s book.

I asked for a specific example using high intensity training for a 55 year old triathlete training for an Ironman.  With a consistent and well planned training schedule, this athlete would include high intensity training throughout the plan, with a peak dose in the Base 3 period. This would be 12-16 weeks before the race.  After that it would be reduced to a maintenance level.

More From Joe?

I asked Joe about future projects, and he just started work on a new book that is slated to be completed in 2016.  The project is being kept under wraps, but he said “It’ll be my major work of my career as far as writing books.”  Bigger than The Triathlete’s Training Bible? “Yeah.”

Links

Subscribe via iTunes

TT044: A Running Discussion You’ll Want To Hear

Subscribe via iTunes

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

Links

  • http://www.trimechanics.co.uk/
  • @trimechanics
  • http://www.inov-8.com
  • http://www.vivobarefoot.com/us
  • http://www.metronomeonline.com/

 

 

TT025: Heat Acclimation

“When you think about this concept of heat acclimatization, it’s mostly about your body holding on to more water, which is mostly about sweating. Probably 90% of that is done by simply sweating a lot when you train, and what we are talking about is what can you do to get that up even a little bit higher but we are probably talking like 10 or 15% improved acclimatization.”

George Dallam

Episode 25

George Dallam returns to the show to talk heat acclimation, which is a means of adapting to heat in an artificial manner.

If you live in a cool climate and you are preparing for a warm race methods for adapting include:

1. Wear additional clothes to induce sweating

2. Turn up the heat and use a humidifier while training indoors

3. Soaking in a hot tub at 100-105 degrees.

George’s protocol for hot tub use involves daily hot tub sessions in the two weeks prior to your goal race.  Start out at 15 minutes per day and gradually work up to as much as 60 minutes in the tub.  Your training volume should be dropping at the same time.

The sweat lost during the hot tub session should be replaced gradually over a few hours.  Half-strength Gatorade is a good replacement drink, as is water if consumed gradually.  Drink 2 cups of fluid for every one pound lost.  Drinking too much too quickly will cause water to be eliminated from the body.

George includes some bonus information at the end of the interview.  In episode 4 we discussed nasal breathing, and he is finishing up a study that indicates nasal breathing might eliminate EIB (exercise induced asthma).