Training Log Expectations
Each time you complete a workout I’d like you to upload to Training Peaks. Don’t send me your Strava or Garmin links instead of uploading to Training Peaks because the information in Garmin and Strava is not nearly as useful.
Platinum and Gold athletes, if you ever have a question or a comment that you’d like me to respond to, please email that to me or text me. Don’t write it in Training Peaks. Your training peaks comments are a good way for you to keep track of how you felt during workouts. You should also email me if you are not met feeling up to par for multiple days in a row. If you are a Gold or Platinum athlete, then I can go in and make adjustments to your calendar. Silver athletes will have to self adjust, but be sure to let me know any adjustments you had to make when we touch base at the end of the month.
Consistency of training will allow you to reap the greatest rewards from training. As your coach my expectation is that you will complete 95%-100% of your workouts. If you struggle to complete your workouts consistently, then ask yourself if you really need a coach. All training programs are built with the understanding that the work will be done. Failing to complete your workouts will lead to frustration and lack of improvement. I want each person to take ownership of their training.
Overview of Training
The purpose of your training is to teach your body to move with the most strength, power and efficiency possible. Going long DOES NOT do this. Many of our workouts focus on building specific parts of the total package. Once the strength, mechanical efficiency, neuromuscular patterns, and lactate tolerance are developed, then we can proficiently go long. When we prepare our bodies to go long, we adapt and absorb the “long” training far better than completing the distance in a “weak” state. Far too many athletes are eager to build volume with little to no regard to training the body to move properly. Those new to this method have to take a leap of faith and trust that this is the way to go. Once you race and get your results, then it’s easy to believe.
Repeat of Workouts
You’ll be seeing more repeat of the same workout week after week with a slight variation. This is beneficial because it allows you to be dialed into your body. As an example, going into Ironman Cabo I did 9 weeks of 800 meter repeats. I kept the baseline workout the same week after week and, as a result, I was keenly in tune with how my body was responding to the workouts. If I pushed too hard on the weekend I could see it come out in my workouts. If I had stressful few days or ate crappy food, I could feel it in my workout. Mixing up the workouts too much makes it difficult to know if it’s the change in workout that’s making the work difficult or if it’s your body not being ready.
In my own training I have always repeated the same workouts (with variation) week after week, but have shied away from doing this with my athletes because when I did it early on in my coaching career, I had some athletes express that doing the same workouts was boring and they wanted more variety. In attempt to mix it up a little, I added in different types of workouts. I am going back to the repeat of workouts because it’s the most beneficial for you as an athlete. Helps all of us be in tune with our body.
Order of Workouts
The order of the workouts is set up this way for a specific reason. Try your best to complete workouts in the order assigned as well on the day assigned. If you happen to miss a workout, don’t try and “fit it in” later in the week. Let it go and move on. DO NOT try and cram workouts in if you are going out of town for a few days.
Sometimes you’ll see rest days scheduled in and other weeks there are no recovery days. The order of the workouts will help facilitate recovery. If you ever feel like you need a break from training, then take the day off. It’s okay to train through soreness, but deep fatigue is not good to push through. You should always take the extra steps to aid recovery. Foam roller, trigger point, stretching (especially hamstring, gluteus, hip flexors and quads).
The workouts are set up with a specific outcome in mind. Adding additional workouts to your routine takes away from the overall intent of the program. If you feel the need to do more, then spend the time working on mobility and core strength. In fact, you can add this daily. You can also spend time organizing and coordinating your nutrition.
Soreness and Fatigue
Let’s make a distinction between soreness and fatigue. Soreness is when your muscles ache and fatigue is an overall lack of energy or drive. It’s okay to workout when your body is sore. Sure you’ll have to back off the intensity, but you’ll find as soon as you get into the workout your soreness subsides a bit. Fatigue on the other hand, is something to pay close attention to. If fatigue is present for multiple days, then you need to back down on the endurance portion of your training. Evaluate your sleep, stress and overall nutrition as this plays a huge roll in energy levels and hormone levels.
If you feel fatigued going into a workout, then go ahead and start the workout, giving yourself a little extra time for the warm up. Complete the first interval at a scaled down intensity and see if your body responds positively. If you are no better than when you started, bag the workout and call it a day.
Choosing the Terrain
Follow the workout to the best of your ability. Many of the bike and run workouts are best completed on the trainer or the track/treadmill due to the very specific nature of the workout. If the workout calls for hills and you only have flat land close by, the trainer can always simulate hilly terrain. If you can’t get on a track, mark a flat course and make this route your home track so you know your distance markers (200m, 400m, 800m, 1200m and 1600m). Dirt is ideal.
Using Your Trainer
The trainer will make you fast if you use it properly. In addition to allowing you to complete very specific bike sets, it allows you to hone in your mental focus. If you can’t focus on a 1:20 trainer ride, then there is no way you’ll be able to focus in an Ironman. Many people lose the mental edge by mile 75 of the bike and as a result their perceived effort goes up and they back off. If your mind is willing, the body will follow. Look at the trainer as an opportunity to develop this mental focus.
More sets with swim paddles will enter the workout rotation. It’s very important that these paddles are the smallest you can possibly get. Last year I used a set of finger tip paddles and they worked great. I recently bought a set of the TYR Catalyst size XS and they work even better. The TYR website recommends medium but those are way too big. Get XXSmall if you are under 135 pounds or swimming slower than 1:35/100yds. The reason I want the smallest paddles possible because I don’t want you to slow down your stroke rate while adding some strength focus to your pool sets.
Swimming with Bands
You’ll notice some sets may include bands. You can take an old inner tube and cut off enough so you can tie it snugly around your ankles. This will remove your feet from the swim set. Most people don’t notice how far apart their feet kick, even with a pull buoy. This forces you to keep your ankles together. You’ll have to swim powerful enough to keep your feet from dropping like an anchor.
The Little Things
Consistency is your best friend. Linking one workout to the next allows fitness to progress. Training is designed to break you down and then your body rebuilds. We need to do everything in our power to help this rebuilding process. Proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and body maintenance (stretching, foam roll, trigger point, and massage)
Your body will whisper to you well before it screams. Listen to your body. Completing a workout when your body tells you something is wrong is plain stupid. Listen, listen, listen. There is no shame in cutting or modifying a workout when your body is compromised. Be smart. Nailing a workout that sidelines you for 3 days is plain foolish.
Nutrition matters. What you fuel your body with will impact recovery and inflammation levels in your body. Endurance training is very catabolic (especially when we push hard) and this results in elevated cortisol levels as well as inflammation within the body. If our diet consists of eating a lot of empty carbohydrates, then we contribute to inflammation levels and inhibit our bodies ability to repair itself. Additionally, excess carbohydrates (especially when fiber is not included) results in elevated insulin levels, resulting in an inability to metabolize stored fat for fuel. As a result, our body becomes a “carb burner” which makes us rely on a constant flow of carbs to feel normal…..and then we remain in a constant state of inflammation which is horrible for recovery.
First reference of effort should be perceived effort. Each zone will also be referenced by a specific pace, power, heart rate. Your perceived effort takes priority over all else.
Zone 1: – Very Easy – comfortable and almost effortless pace that creates little to no strain. This is something you can maintain for hours and hours. You would not race at this intensity.
Zone 2 : – Easy – This comfortable pace should feel controlled and something you know you can comfortably maintain for a few hours without an increase in effort. Breathing is controlled and you are moving efficiently. Ironman intensity will range from Z2 to low Z3.
Zone 3: – Moderate – This is a moderate pace where you start pushing a bit, but definitely not as hard as you can go or even close to your max. The longer you spend in this zone, the more focus you need to have. This would typically be half ironman intensity
Zone 4: – Moderately Hard – This is your slightly uncomfortable pace and something that requires focus. Sprint and Olympic distance intensity.
Zone 5: – Hard – This uncomfortable effort should feel like you cannot maintain pace more than 5-10 minutes. Requires a lot of focus and will tax your body significantly.
Zone 6: – Max Effort – Extremely difficult and all out. Pushing beyond 30 to 60 seconds should be impossible at this intensity. The shorter the interval, the harder the effort. Wattage and heart rate are not a good indicator of intensity so go completely by feel.
If swimming without equipment, use the swim zone chart I gave you. It’s okay to also go by feel if you are not “on” that day. If using equipment such as paddles and/or a buoy, then rely on perceived effort.
Power meter users should use power as your primary gauge of intensity. It’s more than okay to also use perceived effort on the shorter sets or when your wattage seems more difficult than usual to reach.
Heart rate users should use your heart rate to guide intensity as well as perceived effort. The shorter the interval, the more you should rely on perceived effort.
Run is referenced by pace, except when doing hill intervals or running hilly terrain. Take the time to notice what your heart rate and effort are while you are running intervals on the flats. Then, use both heart rate and perceived effort to guide your intensity on the hills. The shorter the hill, the more you should go by perceived effort.
Your Internal Zones:
As valuable as zones are, there is also great value in relying on what your body is telling you. A good athlete will be able to get reasonably close to their z2, z3, z4 and z5 intensity when using perceived effort. For many of my workouts I use “feel” and then I confirm with pace or power. This builds confidence and carries over well to race day. Each day your body is under varying amounts of stress. sometimes a Z3 wattage target on the bike will feel like a Z4 effort. In this case, go by feel and trust what your body is telling you. On the flip side if a higher wattage or faster pace Z5 feels easier than normal, then allow yourself to rely on perceived effort to guide you. The only thing I ask is that you look at how you progressed through the interval. For example, if you had 4 x 5 minutes @ Z5 and your zone 5 wattage or pace feels easier than normal and you decide to pick up the pace, but you end up slowing down by the 4th interval. This is a good sign that you may not be in tune with your internal pacing clock.
Bottom line, I don’t want you to beat yourself up if you can’t hit your zones. Our body doesn’t know zones. In fact, the effort is more of a continuum so even though you are not in your exact zone, you’ll still reap many of the benefits of being in that zone.
Here is a list of basic exercises that you can incorporate into your training on the strength training days. If it has been awhile since lifting weights, then start with little to no weight and just use body weight or very light weight. If you are unfamiliar with these routines, then I would suggest having qualified trainer review these with you. You should also consider a functional assessment to determine your weak areas. If you are in North Orange County, I would suggest SCAR and if in South Orange County, check out Rausch PT.
By no means is this an extensive list of exercises, but it covers some of the basics. Also, before adding load you should ensure that you are moving properly. A functional movement screening is so important.
TRX Y’s (upper back)
Walking Lunge– build up to adding weight(dumbells)
Reverse Lunge – build up to adding weight
Dead Lifts –Only if you know the proper form.
Single Leg Dead Lift
Single Leg Glute Bridge
Standing Glute Kick Back
Hamstring Curls on Stability Ball
Knee Tucks on Stability Ball – Move ball closer to knee for more support. Keeo lower back from dropping.