Winning USAT Age Group Nationals

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This opportunity to be apart of a team that wins the Age Group National Champion doesn't come very often. I still remember seeing the results of the race and letting out a stream of excitement. As a coach, the messages I try to get across to every athlete are:

  1. Achieve consistency, no matter what. Even if it means slower and less work.

  2. Don't focus too much on the long term. Immerse yourself in the daily details to achieve consistency.


Rachel Creates Success

Rachel is very competitive and incredibly intelligent. She does her research. She knows the courses. She knows who she’s racing. She knows where every QOM is in Madison (A true Strava hunter!). Also, what I like about Rachel is that she does have an off switch with triathlon. She isn't afraid to have a beer and burger. I would say that she is 90% committed to being excellent and this is, in my opinion, the reason she is the best age grouper in the nation. When you immerse yourself too deep, too frequent, your chances for burnout go up. You essentially lose your life balance and Rachel has the right balance on life and triathlon. 

Rachel Shows Up

In 2018 Rachel was 9th overall and 3 minutes away from the overall win at Age Group Nationals. At 2018 ITU World Championships she was 5th Overall (3rd AG) and less than 2 minutes away from the overall win. 

These two results showed that big things are possible. The work that went into the 2019 offseason was not fancy. It was very routine every week. 

The main focus for Rachel in 2019 was

1) Stay healthy running

2) Achieve consistency in training

3) race more competitive events.

I felt that because Rachel is still new to triathlon, we needed more underlying work that would provide her the ability to race harder and longer. We avoided big spikes in training hours and just focused on training. We only had two hard run sessions a week. The rest of the runs were ceilinged at 8:00 per mile, no faster. These changes allowed Rachel to remain healthy, unlike in 2018 when we pushed too much and dealt with reoccurring injuries. 

If you are injured, you are not training. We would finish up hard Tuesday PM Bike/Run practice and Rachel never missed Wednesday AM swim workouts.

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Communication Builds Champions

When training isn't going well, I hear about it. When something is bothering her, I hear about it. This level of communication is the foundation os success. There is no hiding workouts, thoughts, or agendas. That just builds mistrust. I am open to Rachel training with other athletes and groups. If it allows her to be better, it makes sense. I am far from a controlling coach. I am the middle person who overlooks her stress levels. Communication is critical if you want success. Sometimes communication can be hard but when she is standing on the top step, it's worth it.

Less is More; More is More.

Because Rachel's triathlon age is still quite young, I need to train her accordingly. Rachel has a good swimming and running background, but when combining all three at a high level, we needed to be careful. Less training is commonly better than more early. Doing more when the body isn't ready to accept it will result in fewer adaptations and more injuries. Rachel is also a very explosive athlete and in my experience, these athletes can be more injury-prone. Also, understanding Rachel's physiology allows me to balance her intensity buckets better. We don't need to do as much high intensity running as we do tempo/threshold running. 

Once we found the least amount of work possible needed to achieve results, we did quite a bit of training at this threshold. It's not as if we are lazy, Rachel trains a lot and hard, but its enough for her at this time. The acceptable load of an athlete changes as they change. So find your optimal training dose, train as much as you can at it, and slowly increase. Less is more because it allows you to train more. 

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Always Close to Peak Fitness

With short course racing, I don't believe in extensive builds to achieve peak results. I am a firm believer that an athlete should be no more than 4-8 weeks away from a peak race in a four-month period. Short course racing is different than long course racing and the training is slightly different, as well as the mentality. When preparing for shorter events, you should always be developing different buckets of intensity and specificity while maintaining a substantial level of base work. When you get closer to a race you start to add more water in certain ones but never going full in on one. Plus, Rachel needed more experience racing and when naturally racing to win, she needs to be close to your peak form. 


In the final period before Nationals, there was never a workout when we said "Yes, that's it, you are ready" as I feel those moments are risky. We didn't go seeking confidence in workouts. There was just the confidence that she was healthy, focused, and more experienced.

Also, I've never been a fan of formulating a big game plan before triathlons. I don't believe athletes remember them and they do more harm than good. Before the race, I sent her a message saying, "You know what you need to do and how to do it. You've done it and you've done it well. So tomorrow is about going out there and doing it again."


And she did. Better than anyone else.

In conclusion, I feel incredibly fortunate to work with Rachel. It's not often a coach works with the USAT National Champion. To win this race is a tremendous honor. If coaches are reading this, I hope you found this helpful and feel free to reach out if you have questions.  

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IRONMAN Wisconsin, Race Report

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IRONMAN Wisconsin 2019 was a fantastic day, one that I am incredibly proud of. IRONMAN is when you find out what you are made of. IRONMAN is when you discover if you are out there for the right reasons. 


Leading into race day, I was feeling the most relaxed and confident in quite some time. When people would ask me how I was feeling, I could confidently say “excellent”. 


The changes I made into this IRONMAN

  1. My long runs, I never emptied the tank. The sessions were steady but rarely insane. The final six weeks to race day I made sure never to test myself and put in stress that would haunt me on race day. The last eight weeks are the most stressful on the body as your volume is at its peak, and inserting too much intensity is hard to shed on race day. Commonly when you see people underperforming on race day, it can be pinpointed to the run training into the race.

  2. I didn’t taper the bike or swim volume into the race. The weekend before the race I still rode 4 hours with 2 hours of quality. Monday I again swam 4k in open water. The only tapering I did was Monday-Wednesday. These three days were enough to shed the fatigue in my legs and by Thursday I was doing my standard Thursday/Friday bike block of tempo work. I didn’t do the same level of volume of intensity, but it was enough to make me feel like I was building into the race.

Standing at the swim start, I was excited to go. The training is done; my body felt great; my mind was ready. I noticed that the paddle boarders and kayakers were having a hard time staying in one place; they were continually pushing backward. This was the sign that our swim was going to be rough. Every Tuesday we have open water swim practice and I’ve never seen Lake Monona like this. Where there are waves in Lake Monona, there will be wind for the bike. I’ve never felt stronger and confident in the swim. I felt strong until the finish. 


The bike was challenging with the wind and nutrition changes. My original plan was to consume smaller bottles early as I knew it would be cold then settle into 24-30oz of fluid for the rest of the bike. By 30 miles into the bike, I had already peed twice. I went through 16oz of liquid and peed twice more. Luckily I don’t consume calories through fluid, only electrolytes. I was able to get in my planned 400 calories per hour of gel. When I got to Cross Plains, I hit the train tracks and my front tire exploded. IMWI was the 2nd triathlon this year I’ve flatted in, and it never gets easier. I changed the tire quickly only to have my tube explode when inflating it. When the bike support got to me, we found a gash in my front tire which would explain my 2nd tube blowing. Thankfully they put a new tire on and I was off. 


I was off my bike for 24 minutes. It felt like forever. All I could do was watch everyone ride by me. But I never thought about quitting. I didn’t train this hard to stop. What was I expecting? To have no adversity on race day? My legs were not injured; my body was fine. No excuses. Yes, I was disappointed. I saw Cindi on Old Sauk and let out some good tears. However, after that moment I was back on track. 



At the Athlete Dinner, one of the messages delivered was “Only you decide if you are having a bad day,” and this was in my mind after my mechanical. I have no reason to have a bad day. I could make this a good day if I wanted. I didn’t spend my Saturday’s away from my family to quit. They allowed me to have a great day and I set out to do precisely that. 

The run went phenomenal. It was my faster IRONMAN Marathon at 3:24. I couldn’t have been happier. 


The whole race I felt grateful for the opportunity to be challenging myself. I felt grateful for everyone who was cheering for me and offering support. To everyone who encouraged me, thank you. 

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To Madison Multisport for being so supportive and uplifting. Having such an encouraging and balanced team to train with keeps me balanced. I wouldn’t have gotten to the starting line without you all. Grateful.


To Amanda Marek for achieving her dream of qualifying for Kona. Winning her age group and winning the entire female AG race. I was getting so much inspiration from hearing her updates.



To Ken and Michael for being everywhere on the bike and run course. Grateful.



To my family for being out there all day cheering me on. Grateful


To Cindi and Lucy for the constant love and support. For pushing me out the door to train more when I didn’t want to. For providing me with the desire to become better. I am so fortunate to have a family that supports my goals. I completely lost it when Lucy ran up to me on the run, looking for a hug. My eyes were filled with tears. Grateful. 



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Sunday was a great day.



Steve

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The Session

August 14th, I did one of my IRONMAN Simulation swims, and I had the best swim I’ve ever had.

The IRONMAN Simulation Swim is a standard simulation I have my athletes do. I will change the repetition duration to fit their fitness level. The goal of these sessions is to swim race distance at an intensity higher than what they will on race day. This session teaches them pacing and how to handle the race distance mentally. These sessions are hard but essential for building the specific endurance needed.

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The workout:

1x1000

3x500

3x300

4x200=4,200 yards

Swim Time 56:52, Overall Time 59:58 (avg 1:21 per yards)

There is no warm-up as you commonly don’t get a swim warm-up on IRONMAN day.

The other goal is to have the smallest difference from Swim Time to Overall Time.

Two weeks prior I went 58:53 swim time, Overall Time of 1:01:27 doing 10x400, 1x200 (1:24 per yards)

These swims give me confidence that I can swim the whole duration without going into survival mode. I always have had constant issues swimming well in open water and these sessions have transformed my ability to swim well in open water.

One week after swimming 56:52 I tested myself at Devils Lake and swam 4000 yards in 57:00 (1:26 per yards pace) in a sleeveless wetsuit. This session was another massive boost for me that I can swim under 1:00 on IRONMAN day.

However, this is a triathlon where each discipline feeds into the next one. While I would LOVE to swim under 1:00, I won’t be chasing a time as ill be chasing an effort.

It’s great to see improvement!

Steve

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I'm Not Improving, Part 1

This is so frustrating. 

I'm putting all of this work in with no return. 

Is this worth it. 

Maybe endurance sports aren't for me. 

I could be doing more with my time. 

I'm so slow.

Everyone is faster than me. 


These are the words I hear too often as a coach. I see them typed on social media, I listen to them whispered to friends, and I see it in athletes' eyes and body language. As someone who spends their day investing in others, listening to other people's stories, it is hard to witness such discouragement. Endurance sports can be enjoyable with the right mindset. Endurance events are an accumulation activity and what you put in, you will get a return. However, you need to be in the right mindset to reap these rewards. 

I was coaching an open water swim class this morning and this topic came to mind. The three main reasons people don't improve boil down to 1) Measuring 2) Effort 3) Expectation; and today I will focus on the foundation point, measuring your fitness.

  1. Measuring

In my experience the people who are discouraged continuously don't measure their training, so they have no clue how fast or slow they are going. They measure their effort off of other people which undoubtedly leads to dissatisfaction. Hot tip, there will always be someone faster than you, so this isn't a consistent measuring point. Using others as motivation is also a short term fix. You are ultimately out there for yourself. 

We coach six swim sessions a week that have ranging abilities. I was working with an athlete who stopped mid-workout to express dissatisfaction in how little they felt were improving. My heart sank as this is a horrible feeling as a coach. I asked, "how fast was your last 100 repeat?" The athlete responded, "I don't know." I took a moment and replied, "How do you know you are not improving if you don't know your speeds?" and the athlete responded, "Well, this person has been swimming faster than me."

Here lies the problem with group training, its a constant measure of your rank, which feels like a measurement of your worth even though it’s not. I am swimming the slowest which doesn't feel good, which must mean I'm not improving. A reoccurring observation is that athletes know their running pace but don't know their swimming pace. This is a reason people don't like swimming.

As a coach I know my athlete's swim paces. I time intervals of each athlete throughout practice and thankfully I happened to time this person's last interval. I reminded the athlete that when they first started, they were swimming at 2:00 pace for 100 repeats and this previous 100 was a 1:50. There was a moment of silence as this information was sinking in. The athlete was improving all along but never realized it. I stood next to this athlete the rest of the practice providing splits for the main set. The motivation for the remainder of the swim was something we never saw before; the athlete only got faster the rest of the class! The only difference was being more engaged in the process of swimming. 

This concept is not rocket science, but you need to know your ability. You are waking up every day to better yourself, and the only way to receive productive feedback is by measuring yourself. If you are an athlete, you should be doing tests in the swim, bike, and run throughout the year. It is imperative for long term success. 

Coach Steve

If you are interested in coaching, click on the link HERE 

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Winning Door County Sprint

Photo: FocalFlame

Photo: FocalFlame

Winning Door County Sprint was special. Its not often you have the opportunity to win an overall race. It takes a village and special thanks to Cindi, Lucy, our Madison Multisport Teammates, and High Performance Advisor, Wheel Renter, and Motivator @imkenwood ----

This was the 4th year i’ve raced in Door County and i’ve always raced the Half Ironman Distance. Since having our daughter my racing schedule has changed to where I can’t race every event under the sun. The events I choose have to make sense for our family. Happy Wife, Happy Life. Last year I raced the Half Distance when Lucy was 1 and it was an extremely stressful weekend for our family and promised to not do that again.

——

#1 Did Well: Swim warm up in choppy section of race. I saw that it was going to be choppy past the breaker wall and this has always been a moment of weakness for me. I warmed up a total of 400 before the race. I swam to the breaker wall and did 2 50 efforts into the waves and around the buoy to feel the transition of smooth to wavy water. During the race, this didn’t effect me at all. I knew what was coming and how to handle it


#2 Did Well: Focused solely on technique and sighting. I was in 3rd place for much of the water and knew I was doing well. I was focused on my counting, my catch phase, and my sighting. Swimming a straight line helps. Duh


#3 Did Well…Transitions: I worked on them in the days leading into the race. I often overlooked them. This time I had some of the fastest transitions


#1 Didn’t Do Well: Mental Space on the bike when I didn’t have the legs or power. I was negative. Really negative. It amazes me how quickly I go into the negative thinking when something isnt going to plan. This DOESNT happen in training, but snakes out in a race.

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Take aways for the final 7 weeks into IMWI

1. Don’t panic

2. Don’t do anything stupid

3. Don’t feel the need to prove my fitness every weekend

4. Bike alot

5. Swim alot

I'm Heading Back in 2020!

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I’m heading back to American Triple T in 2020!

TTT was hard and after reflecting on the race I realized I loved what it gave me. I also left with a humble, bitterness to how my overall race went that I want more. 

TTT was unlike any triathlon I’ve done. It was fun, hard, and the unity of everyone doing it was special. The feeling of transition on Sunday morning after having raced 3 triathlons with a half distance triathlon to go was intense. Like many others that morning must with an awkward grin that represented, “WTF did we sign up for?”

This is a grassroots event that brings me back to why I do triathlon, the challenge. The hardness of the course. The camaraderie of the participants.

https://americantriple-t.com/american-triple-t/

See you in 2020! 

Tapering is HARD WORK!

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Tapering is hard work.

We are 9 weeks out from IRONMAN Wisconsin and all I want to do is train. As i sit here, resting, I feel like I am losing all of the training i’ve done this past year. Maybe I should go and pound out some Vo2 Max efforts to ensure I still have good fitness? Wait, I think i’ve just forgotten how to run! 

These thoughts have gone through my mind everyday this week. No matter how many times I tell my athletes this, it’s hard to sit here and rest. 

I am very excited to race at Door County this weekend. It’s my true RACE this year and being able to go flat out for a sprint triathlon is exciting. I love racing short distance triathlons. Minimal thinking, minimal data, just flat out from the start. 

“On the edge of uncertainty” is what I call it. If I am racing and unsure I can finish, I am pacing it right. Within acouple minutes of each discipline I am at my limit, processing my focus points when my legs and arms are screaming at me. Relax, GO, Relax, GO. Keep Pushing, Keep Pushing. 

Doesn’t that sound like fun? I am getting more excited as I write this out.


No elaborate fueling plan. No checking the pace. Full gas on Saturday. 

67 Days to IMWI

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67 days


To me that sounds like a lot of time left till IRONMAN Wisconsin. That’s a lot of swimming, biking, and running to do. That’s a lot of long swims, bikes, and runs to tackle.


At this point in my training I feel like I’m only getting started; physically and emotionally.


You always want to have “the next step” and at this point in my training I’ve entered the final step. Since day 1 of my training for IRONMAN Wisconsin I’ve told myself to not get too emotionally committed till 14 weeks out. I’ve watched countless athletes train too hard too soon and reach their physical and emotional peak in July. I’m just getting started. My motivation is firing on all cylinders. Fitness is improving.


Since TTT my fitness has reached a new level. My training numbers of  weekly CTL, TSS, and KJs have been the highest I’ve remembered them and as my weekly hours only get higher, i actually feel better. 18 hours felt better than 16. It’s all absorbing.


It’s been hard to have patience in this preparation. I’ve wanted to commit earlier. The one thing I know the best is myself. I know that i only have a 12-16 week period where i can fully commit myself to a very big task. This is where having TTT was nice to have a secondary goal to keep me entertained. 


All in all, things are moving in the right direction.

3 Months to IMWI: Creating Self Doubt

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3 months to IRONMAN Wisconsin, officially GO time. 

This past weekend was my biggest weekend of the year and it was filled with reminders. The theme of Patience was at the top of the list.

When Cindi and I talked on Wednesday about what the focus needs to be in the final 3 months, we concluded that it’s 1) Open Water skill and 2) Bike fitness. I swim well in the pool but OW isn’t good. Need more practice.

On Saturday I rode 100 miles and came to an average NP of 200 watts and VI of 1.05. I ride very steady so i don’t have many high outputs that create inflated NPs. While my speed was good, knowing my data points to when I had my best races is dangerous. Looking back to 2015 when I raced my best IM bike at IMAZ, I put in countless flat 100+ milers with an average NP between 215-225.  Sunday was 200 and I need to be 15-25 watts higher if I want to accomplish my goals. It’s that simple. 

Suddenly my satisfaction turned into frustration and self doubt. Why? That’s ridiculous. One moment I am jazzed about my ride and next I’m not because of the simple process of unthoughtful comparing.

Then on the other hand this was my longest ride of the year... and I’m comparing to my best fitness? That’s not fair. It’s hard to juggle these data points and while it’s very motivating it creates fear that I’ll be able to achieve these numbers by September. Can I get there? How do I get there?

My conclusion, stick to the plan and keep working.

Race Report: American Triple T

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American Triple T was everything I thought it would be plus a few more. 


I knew of this extreme grassroots race from Cindi, my friends Justin, Ken, and Tim and always wanted to attempt it but the timing was always difficult. When Cindi gave me the green light I was pumped but immediately fearful. The right kind of stress. New race, new format, big early season fitness. Would I be ready?


140.3 miles of racing over 3 days/4 triathlons. Over 10,000ft of elevation gain.


Day 1: Super Sprint. The theme for me was to keep it under control and i did just that. 


Day 2: AM Olympic distance. Friday we discovered that Michael’s di2 rear derailur motor was broken and there was no way to fix it before the race. He was going into Saturday’s race with 2 gears. When we left the cabin in the morning i discovered that my di2 was completely dead. I had 15’ before transition closed to charge it. That 15 minutes was dreadful. I sat on the couch with my head in my hands. I was able to get some energy into it but as i mounted my bike after the swim portion… the battery was dead. 2500ft of climbing in my 53/19, not ideal. I made it to mile 6 before i said “(explicit) it” and turned around. It took me 2 minutes before i turned back around and reminded myself that i was here to challenge myself, not to give up. In these tough moments I often think of Cindi and Lucy. The time i’m away from them to DNF? How could I explain that, you can’t. If you can finish, you finish. I owed it to them as much as myself. I knew i could finish the bike, so i did. I never got too upset. I took it for what it was, a poor mistake. Because some of the hills were so steep I had to walk my bike 3 times while having over 200 people ask me “are you ok?”. As I walked some of the hills I would just laugh to myself and think “I’m now that person who forgot to charge their di2”. I was certain my legs would be toast after riding 25 miles with an average cadence of 50 but they felt good for the run! After the race, i didn’t fret. I was having fun. A shitty day is better than a DNF. Then sense of overcoming a mistake is better than the feeling of quitting. Go Steve Go.

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Race 3: Olympic (bike, swim, run)... my di2 was recharged and so was my motivation. I had frustration to burn so I went full gas the whole second race. I was in the hurt box by mile 2 of the bike and loving it. With the swim happening after the bike i chose to wear my Blueseventy Core Shorts. The air temperature was in the 80s so the swim felt refreshing. I loved the swim coming 2nd as it was different and fun. As Michael and I sat in the tent post race, there wasn’t alot of talking. We were both just staring and the occasional chuckle. A chuckle that meant, “What did we sign up for? How are we going to do a half ironman tomorrow?” Our legs were shaking and mentally there wasn’t much left. We just sat there in silence. A solid second day.

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Race 4: Half Ironman. I woke up with two feelings, excited and scared to death. I was ready for the challenge of this half distance course, i’ve been thinking about it for months. 4000ft of climbing for 56 miles and 1000ft on the run. We were given all of that elevation gain. At mile 17 I felt the dreaded THUMP… THUMP… THUMP. My second ever flat tire in a race. From what happened with my Di2, a flat tire was nothing. I was in a good mindset that i just got off and fixed it. No frustration, no swearing. I didn’t give up, make excuses or “mail it in”. I got back on my bike and found my rhythm again. I kept telling myself, “let’s keep this challenge going”. The run was hard, that’s when the accumulative fatigue hit me the hardest. The run course was absolutely brutal with the constant hills and sun exposure. I didn’t mind running the exact same route every race, the better I know a route the faster it seems to happen. The 1st loop i was in a mental and physical rut but something clicked the 2nd loop and i was moving. My mindset the first loop was “Oh (Explicit) this is so hard” “My back is killing me” to “I can (explicit) do this” “I feel amazing” “Lets go!”. I ran 3’ faster the 2nd half and it was effortless. When you think negative thoughts, negative things happen. When you refocus to the process the pain can disappear. 



It’s amazing what you can put your body through in 3 days. Looking back on the entire weekend I’ve come to the conclusion that I wasn’t physically prepared enough to meet my goals going in. I was too inexperienced. I mainly lacked the strong bike miles to run well off it. My ambitions didn’t match my fitness. I was out performed in every aspect, every day and i knew it during the races i was going strong. I wasn’t even close to where I thought i would be. Days later as i sit and reflect I get more moments of frustration than pride. My thoughts continually switch from “you should be proud of yourself” to “Is what your trying to do even worth it? What’s the point.” 



However, this is why we race. This is why we train. This is why we step outside the uncomfortable zone. When you try and take the first step its scary to where you are dangling that leg out thinking “no no no I can’t do it”, but once you center your mind and take that step it’s incredibly freeing. We expose ourselves to reality of success, disappointment, failure, humiliation, criticism which all can turn to growth if you treat it right. This race was outside my comfort level. It was amazing. It was special. It was hard. It was rewarding. It was exactly what I needed.

https://americantriple-t.com/

Thanks for reading

Steve

Week 39: Race Anxiety for TTT

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American’s Triple T is 2 weeks away and i’m officially stressing out. 

Here is the layout for TTT:

Friday: Super Sprint

Saturday AM: Olympic

Saturday Afternoon: Olympic (Bike, Swim, Run)

Sunday: Half Ironman

All 4 races will equal an IRONMAN distance. I mean, what the heck was I thinking? Then when you add on the difficulty of the course it adds another level of worry. The bike leg for each Olympic Distance is shown at 1,800ft of gain. The bike leg for the 70.3 shows 4,500ft of gain. Over 3 days of “racing” we will be climbing over 8,000ft on the bike and close to 1,000ft on the run. WHAT WAS I THINKING?


In all seriousness this is exactly what I wanted to spice up my early part of the season. Too many season’s i’ve mapped the same progression with sprints, olympics, then a 70.3, then an IRONMAN. I got bored. I needed a new challenge. I needed to train harder and different. Triple T has provided me the fear needed to be in good shape in June. It’s the best June shape I have been in since 2010! My plan is working!


I’m currently dealing with race anxiety. One way I am seeing this is through wanting to over train and never take a break from hard training. Who needs rest days? Why would i ride my bike under 70% of FTP? Why would I run slower than 8:00 pace? I tell my athletes that the final 8-12 weeks to your A race is when your injuries will happen. It’s because you start to push the recovery runs and rides too hard. You are trying to eek out just a tad more fitness. Stephen Seiler who is one the best sports scientists explains that over training happens when all of your training starts to become “simply hammering” and this is when you lose all training benefits. You’ve lost the balance because you want to feel accomplished only to underperform on race day. I’ve become good at catching myself and sticking to my recovery efforts and using HR on my recovery days and keeping it below 75% of max HR. I also do all my recovery runs with our dog Cedar which includes many walk breaks, pee breaks, and nature viewing. Its a perfect distraction from all the data points. 

I was talking with an athlete yesterday about how to avoid underperforming when it matters the most and i boiled it down to two areas. 1) Setting too high of expectations for your race 2) Focusing too much on what you want versus what can you do. 

It’s amazing what people imagine or feel they can do versus the physical reality. You can tell everyone your big goals but if you dont have the thresholds or aerobic capacity to hit them then you won’t on race day, and that self realization will creep in. BUT if you go into the race with realistic expectations that you will feel confident. Its like thinking you want to Boston Qualify at 3:00 but have never run a long run at sub 7:00 pace. Or trying to Kona Qualify at your first Ironman. Plus, if your motivation for racing is Boston or Kona than you’re already setting yourself up for disappointment. Your race motivation should be on personal performance, achieving your potential, not BQ or KQ.

How am I getting through these next couple weeks? Simple. TrainingPeaks and visualization. I will look over my previous workouts and see what i’ve done in the past 3-4 months in swim, bike, and run. Then go into the % i think i can sustain off of those. If i race an Olympic at 90-95% of FTP, should I race TTT at 80-85%? I will also visualize the process of my swim stroke, my nutrition execution, transitions. I’m not trying to figure out silly swim, bike, or run times. They don’t matter. Who cares. That’s not the point. The point is execution not end result. Even typing this out helps me relax more than where I was before I started this!

Steve

Week 35: How My Training Has Changed

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When I first started with triathlon my primary goal was making the distance, not to “race it”. I talk to my athletes about being able to see the finish instead of swarming yourself with the “how can i complete the swim” mentality. This is very normal with newer athletes because each discipline is daunting and no matter what i say, they simply have to experience the race and distance to feel more confident. Especially for people making the jump to the longer distances. When I did my first Ironman in 2010, even though I had already qualified for multiple 70.3 world championships the distance of the Ironman intimated me to where many of my swims, bikes, and runs were all at or above my desired race pace. I did this to prove to myself that I could accomplish the distance. I was literally searching for confidence every weekend! 


When I trained like this I would determine the outcome of my season through EVERY SINGLE session months in advance of my Ironman. If the session went well I was confident. If my session sucked, I was instantly regretting everything i’ve done and rethinking a new plan. So dramatic! If i was ever hurt I was already on WebMD diagnosing I had a stress fracture. I was an emotional roller coaster!

I’ve heard this phrase “endurance training is alot of general conditioning with a tad of specificity” and I really enjoy it because its how I coach and how i view my own training from a physical and emotional stand point. I never get too emotionally high or too low. If you are too far on the specificity side than you are dialed in too often and that creates injury, burn out, and emotional swings. This isn’t healthy. YES, you should compare and track your sessions but not every week. I find that people go full specificity mode when training starts to get feel good. They get motivated, they’re seeing improvement, then they blast it all of the time, every session! Then they quickly find themselves tired, exhausted, and needing a break. They forgot what type of training got them to this great shape. Think about it…

What training in a more general sense brings is greater enjoyment, more fluctuation of training intensity, longevity with athletes, and fewer burnout. Training in a general sense allows you to just go out and ride! No structured intervals, just ride! This is why in key long rides I commonly split sessions between specificity focus versus kilojoule focus. When its specificity focus it may be something like, 3x30’ @ IM/70.3 Power and when its KJ focus it may be, “get your KJ budget in however you want” and many times people enjoy this approach because you can either go short and hard or long and easy. General training does NOT mean training with no plan, structure and make it up as you go. That’s just an excuse to be lazy. Don’t switch your focus every month off of what you read or whats being spewed by the Youtube experts. Being general means have greater long term approach and higher fluctuation in the intensity you’re training at. Find a coach who doesn’t flip flop like a pancake. The ones that hold steady but are flexible to your situation are the best coaches.

Also, with a more general approach you don’t experience as much fatigue build up from all of the long hard demanding sessions. These are the “look at me sessions” you do to look good on social media. I was as guilty as anyone for doing these sessions. I remember doing a session that was 100 miles at IM watts followed by 13 miles running at desired IM run pace (6:45s). You know where that got me? On the couch for a week. The big sessions don’t create the fitness, the weekly consistency does. Those sessions may feed the lack of confidence, but they increase the physical, emotional, and hormonal damage. Also, these sessions create the greatest fatigue which is the reason athletes underperform on race day. Too many hard long training days, too frequent, too close to the race. You enter the race so deeply fatigue you have nothing on race day. Commonly you see people firing on all cylinders during this phase but miss time the stress dosage and show on race day mentally and physically fried wondering why they couldn’t reproduce the magic on race day. I get it though, you’re fit and ready and want to show it… but don’t show it every weekend in training, save a little. The big training days are OK, just not every week.

Now that I no longer have the fear of completing the distance, I’m more cautious during training intervals and my pacing. That doesn’t mean I don’t train hard, I certainly do at times. It just means I don’t go above my prescribed ranges to prove anything. I also go way easier on my easy and endurance training sessions. This approach seems to work as I never get down after a bad session, I don’t take it personally, I just role with the training to build consistency. When you finally get over the “make every session count” mentality, you open up a sense of relaxation and freedom.


My take aways:

  1. Not every long ride is a chance to prove yourself

  2. Going slightly easier will help you in the long run

  3. If you are always going hard, you really aren’t training hard enough

  4. Have a beer, wine, cheeseburger every once in awhile. 

Week 34: 15x200 Swim Workout

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Swim Workout: 15x200

What does this workout symbolize? A change in mindset. A belief that a big result is coming. 

This workout was done in the morning and reflecting back on how I approached it was interesting because I didn’t build it up in my head to be anything other then: the next thing on the plan. 

Even when i’m swimming well I seem to have a mental road block with swimming. I enjoy swimming, but there is just something about it that i’ve never fully committed myself to. When I think back to a reasoning for this it stems from not truly believing in my goals. This is common with athletes I work with, when someone starts to trail off and do a form of self sabotage it comes back to their goals. Either they don’t have any goals or the goals are too high or low. Too high of a goal and you know its not really attainable so you constantly quit on yourself. Too low of a goal and you are always bored and unmotivated. 

I think where I went wrong is I set goals that were too far ahead and I couldn’t see that far ahead so they frightened me. So quite frequently I wouldn’t prioritize my swimming and I would get to 8pm and hadn’t completed my swim and it wouldn’t happen. Another red box. Ugh. 

Don’t get me wrong I have been working very hard in the pool and since November I have set two personal bests, twice! Even with this I never felt engaged with my swimming. Now I am slightly obsessed with it because I know the benefits it will bring me on race day: a faster bike and run split at Ironman Wisconsin. 

Knowing I’ve never worked hard at swimming for a long period of time has also haunted me. I’ve swam multiple Ironman swims in the 1:00-1:08 range with less than 5,000 a week. While I am not proud of this, I did become very good at convincing myself I could slack off with my swim training. “You’re going to swim 1:05 anyways” so i used this method of swim training for over 6 years! However, where did it leave me towards the important part of the race? Walking a lot during the marathon and riding under 70% of FTP in the last hour of the ride. Having constant GI Stress on the bike and run. Not ideal if you want to be competitive and its all traced back to the lack of swim shape. 

So here I am sitting in the sauna after the 15x200 having a self realization that I am on track to accomplish my goals, a powerful moment for me. A realization that i’ve committed myself to my goals, something that hasn’t happened before. A realization that i’m putting in the quality offseason required to be successful. 

Tuesday I did a quality session that was simple, 1x1000, 2x500, 5x200 and today was a main set of 10x200 all at a hard effort. In the past I would have gotten my 2,000 in and left… now I am fired up, seeing improvement, and building up the arm strength. 

Herb Brooks: “The Legs Feed the Wolf” is a quote that i constantly have in my head when doing key strength sessions. 

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Week 29: Another Step Forward

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Another Step Forward

Since returning from our Arizona Training Camp my training has been going very well. I’ve been putting in 600-800 TSS weeks, 4-5x weekly swims, 4-5x weekly bikes, and 2-3x weekly runs, and 2x strength sessions at Functional Integrated Training. 

First thing you may notice is that i’m not running much. At first I had a hard time with this but ultimately it came down to reality, need, and time of season, and absorption. Outside of the final build to a big race, you rarely you aim to have perfect balance in all 3 sports. Why not? Unless you are very balanced in all 3, you should be focusing on improving one area which means you need to lower another. Commonly swim and run fitness don’t work well together. If you are running alot your swimming will take a dive. It’s hard to go through this compromise but I need to get better and this is the time.

My areas of weakness have always been the swim and bike and I commonly run well off the bike to my fitness level. With all eyes on TTT and Ironman Wisconsin which are both 140.3 miles, the swimming and cycling need the priority, especially the swimming. I believe I can muscle my way through a 70.3 with very limited swim training but the Ironman has been a different story and my constant struggle of endless 3:30-3:40 marathons When I should be at 3:20. The goal with the heavy swim block is to build the durability and pure conditioning so I can arrive to the run having spent much less energy as well as have a stronger 2nd half of the bike. I would estimate between the 3 weekly runs I am averaging 25-30 miles per week. Quality Hill and Threshold workout, Quality Long Run, Easy run. 

Second observation is swim frequency. I can’t tell you the last time i’ve swam 4-5x a week for an extended period. This didn’t take any convincing as I knew I needed to. Doing this was critical for accomplishing my long term goals. No one cares about how fast you swim and bike if you can’t run off it. Early in the block I sent some video to Coach C and we noticed some areas of improvement with my breathing and stabilization. Every stroke I took afterwards was focused on fixing these issues, thats alot of drill work! This past Monday we did the CSS 400/200 swim test. I did this test later last year and set two personal bests of 5:08 and 2:29! The morning of the test I was anxious to the point of shortness of breathe and slight shaking, I WAS NERVOUS! Through my nerves I convinced myself that my body was fatigued, my arms hurt, that this test wasn’t going to go well. Self Sabotage at it’s best! In the warm up I rehearsed the mental cues I was going to execute in the test, keep it simple, focus. 1,2,3, Breathe and Reach were the things I was telling myself. In the counting of 1,2,3 were focused on exhaling and the 4 was my breath. I have a habit of holding my breathe when going fast.  

200 yards into the test the fatigue level was pretty high and there was a moment where I said, “hey, you are ok, focus” and I kept drilling it while focusing on my cues to silence my lactate gremlins. The final 100 I was still holding it together. I finished the 400 and saw 5:05, a new personal best at 1:16 average! The 200 went off and around 75 to go my legs were going numb, it was crazy! I stayed focused on my technique and cues and nailed another personal best of 2:26, boom!

My goal of swimming under 1 hour at IMWI is becoming more real. Now, I need to build up the endurance to have the conditioning to handle 4k of open water swimming. The speed is there.

Thank you for reaching and keep training and believing!

Onwards and Upwards.

Steve

Week 21: The Art of Uncertainty

Photo from a race in Seattle

Photo from a race in Seattle

It’s a pattern…

It’s happened before…

It’s a pattern…

It’s happened before…

Its a…. You get it. I’ll stop!

———

What is the trigger for anxiety in your life? Whats the trigger for questioning triathlon training? Everyone has different triggers and thankfully I’ve recognized mine.

When training is successful is when I question myself the most. How does that make any sense? You would think its the other way around.

Injured, hurt, burned out… OK time to change. However that’s not how I think. For me, the greatest the risk the greater the concern. Run fitness is good, cycling FTP is increasing, swim fitness is solid and swimming great paces… stop second guessing!

I’m currently reading a book called “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” that pointed this out to me. It helps me look at not thinking off of emotion and using more logic. Calm down. Chill out. Put your phone down. Don’t do anything stupid. I’ve struggled with this in the past but I am getting better at recognizing it.

I’ve got big goals this year and at times I lose sight of the path that will take me there. When I lose sight of this is when I start to freak out. I get emotional. I make poor choices. I do a form of self sabotage. I become a wreck! (kidding)

It’s all positive though. Everything is good. Everything is great! I’m seeing improvement in all 3 sports. I have good life balance. I’m on track to accomplish my Ironman Wisconsin goals. I believe what I’m lacking is the long term reassurance.

More than anything this post is me speaking out-loud.

Happy January!

Steve

Week 19: New Years Resolutions

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New Years Resolutions


There are two types of people on this subject, you are either making resolutions or you’re not. I don’t think I have ever made New Years Resolutions before. Since starting this blog, posting my workouts on Strava, communicating my goals to the World Wide Web, I have found that it has provided a higher level of accountability. Some people have no problem being accountable to themselves, however, I need accountability. The more accountability I share with people the more focused I remain on the tasks at hand. 

  1. Be more present. When its work time, I work. When its family time, the phone is away. Being an endurance coach its easy to get sucked into this “on call 24/7 availability”. I am getting better at not working as much on the weekends so I can have more family time. Plus…social media can suck the life out of you. It can provide levels of pressure to be someone you’re not. It can also provide constant uncertainty in what you are doing. You can lose yourself and your personal beliefs through it, all for someone to “like” your crap. No wonder depression rates have increased. You be you, not someone else. It can also diminish your focus from whats most important (family, friends, dog, work). I do believe social media can provide good and there are many people who provide positive messages. Lauren Fleshman comes to mind because she is a powerful individual who shares her highs and lows. She’s real. She gets it.

  2. Take Risks. I have so many goals I want to accomplish that I never accomplish any of them. I get side tracked, confused, unfulfilled because i’m half assing so many things. This year I am going to focus on 1-2 projects and do them to the best of my ability. I have acouple long term projects that I would love to accomplish that i’ve always been afraid to tackle. I am starting to talk to the right people, making the correct phone calls to make it happen. 

  3. Be ok with training less. 10 years ago I was fulfilled with how many hours I trained a week. I lived to grow this number. Now I don’t even look at it. I am more fulfilled with being a good husband and father compared to how much time I am spending away from them. I don’t train in the middle of the day. I only train in the morning or at night when my daughter is sleeping. If I train 6 hours or 12 hours a week I am still the same person I was the week before, it doesn't define my dedication or commitment to my goals. What will define me is if I am still married after Ironman Wisconsin. I have big goals, I want to do very well this September. However, what if i don’t reach my goals? What if i go slower than 2016? Oh well! But that’s not the point, what is? Keeping a healthy life balance. Keeping a happy family. Keeping a tired dog are more important than a number or an overall time. 

  4. Stop picking at my hair. It’s a nervous habit, i get it. It’s also making me go bald and I hate it. Not enough Rogaine or men’s voodoo hair products will regrow the hair i continue to pick out. 

If you ever want to take a look at what the training schedule or a Time Crunched Athlete who is trying to Kona Qualify looks like….here it is!

Week 12: ANOTHER PERSONAL BEST!

I was so fed up with never seeing improvement. After years of all talk and no action, it was time to act. I was getting tired of myself. Time to change things up and commit. It paid off again at the Madison Half Marathon. 

Sub 1:23 is possible!

Sub 1:23 is possible!


I cannot tell you the last time I set a Personal Best in running. I think the last time was in 2010 at a 4th of July road 5k when I was training for Ironman Wisconsin. That would mean I went 8 years without any improvement. For 8 years I blamed everyone and everything but myself for my poor results. When you don’t see improvement you start to second guess what you’re doing. I would estimate that my drive to improve really tanked around 2012. In 2012, I moved from Arizona back to Wisconsin. I was starting up a new business. I wasn’t improving in athletics. I lost all life balance. However, I continued to do an Ironman each year only to get slower and that was my biggest mistake. The need to just DO an Ironman because its routine won’t make you a better athlete, it made me worse. It killed my motivation.  

Since my recent declaration to stop being all talk I have set two personal bests. One in swimming and one in running. I’ve made myself accountable to coaches, friends, and the internet… and it’s working. Instead of hiding my goals and fears, i’m letting everyone in on them.

Around Mile 12. Very tired

Around Mile 12. Very tired

Coming into the Madison Half Marathon I was training really well and times were showing a PR was possible. The days before the race I started to get nervous and my body got weird tightness and aches which is common pre race stress. When your body knows you are about to punish it, it wants to protect itself. 

In 2017, I ran 1:24:15 with an average of 6:26 pace

In 2018, my goal was to break 1:24

Race Morning 

5:00: Wake up, 2 cups of coffee, 4 pancakes, lots of syrup, 1 fruit smoothie

5:50: 20’ Easy Bike on indoor trainer at 60-70% of FTP

6:30: Arrive at race sight having consumed a 400c bottle of carbohydrates

6:40: 10’ Easy run, visualize, breathing, relax, don’t freak out

6:50: Last Portopotty visit

6:55: Check in gear bar

7:00: Try and get near the front, only to start near the 2:00 Half Marathon Starters 

7:10: Race starts. I am no where close to the front “Dont panic, this could be a good thing”

———

Mile 1: “This isnt a good thing, i’m upset, i’m weaving through everyone, i’m wasting energy. My race is over.”

Mile 2: “Ok, i’m done pouting. Focus on your execution goals”

Mile 3: “Ok, this is the long false flat section. Why is my HR so high? Crap, i’m running 6:05s. Slow down its too fast”

Mile 5: “I’m still running 6:05s, this isnt going to end well”

Mile 6: 36:55 (6:10avg)… I’m going to PR today. Holy crap!

Mile 8: “I’m dying. This hill is huge”

Mile 8.5: “This bluff is so stupid. I should just walk. I feel terrible. Everyone is passing me”

Mle 9: “You need to do this for Cindi and Lucy. They have supported you through this”

Mile 10: “My legs feel like bricks”

Mile 10.5: “Dude, stop whining. You’re whining. You can PR today. Toughen up and get it done”

Mile 11: “Oh, there’s Cindi and Lucy. Hey Lucy! She sees me. She smiling and waving, yay!”

Mile 11.1: “I’ve got new energy, bring it on”

Mile 11.2: “Shit another hill, where’d my energy go. This wind sucks”

Mile 12: “Come on! Relax, stay smooth. relax. Keep your rhythm. 1 Mile to go”

Mile: 12.5: “Another hill! Are you flipping kidding me. I’m barely running up this thing”

Mile 12.8: “There’s no way I can PR, i’m dying. There’s nothing left”

Mile: 13: “Holy crap, I can break 1:23. I can still to PR. Effing Push it!”

Mile 13.1: New Personal Best Half Marathon 1:22:58…Boom!

———

I’ve been wondering what has been the secret sauce to my new streak of Personal Bests and i’ve come to a conclusion. 1) Get Married 2) Have a kid 3) start a blog and tell the world your shortcomings and goals. 4) Work with a coach who provides accountability

Mile 7 or 8. In-between two big hills

Mile 7 or 8. In-between two big hills

But seriously, before Cindi and Lucy I was a free bird with no direction or hurry. I got lazy because I had too much flexibility on my hands to train. In fact, it was so much flexibility I never trained. Now that I am the busiest i’ve ever been I’m the most productive. Now, I make everything count and there is no messing around with training. Every session and race that I do I am grateful for. The pressure to deliver is higher and I like that. This is why I respect Jackie Hering so much, she is a mother of 2, Professional Triathlete, Race Director, Ironman freaking Champion, and she is piecing it together like the rest of us. 

Seeing Cindi and Lucy. Very happy!

Seeing Cindi and Lucy. Very happy!

I am beyond happy with how everything is going. On my original goal sheet I needed to get my Half Marathon to 1:22 and ive done it. My swim speed is ALMOST to my original goals. GOAL SHEETS WORK! 

Week 11: Race Week!



Madison Half Marathon 2017

Madison Half Marathon 2017

It is race week everyone, Madison Half Marathon! I am pretty excited since I havent raced anything since Steelhead 70.3 in August. The training has been going very well and when training is going well, you want to race!

The Madison Marathon and Half Marathon is a huge event that starts on the Capital Square. It is one of last races of the year and attracts thousands of runners.

The course is hard because of all of the hills. Short hills, steep hills, long hills. However, what comes up must come down. Don’t think that you cannot run fast on hilly courses, you just have to run them right!

A half marathon is a challenging event to pace because it is close to your lactate threshold, but you cant run directly at your lactate threshold because you’ll bonk. I think of it as running on the point of uncertainty. Can I hold this pace? Yes? No? If I am having self doubt than I am running the right effort. From mile 1 I will be second guessing my pacing.

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Also, I will rarely look at my running watch for the entire 13.1 mile race. Running a hilly race requires you to have a good sense of running off effort because your pace will constantly be slower and faster than what you want to average. When you have a constant influx of pace, that can create self doubt. I’ve been running long enough where I know the level of discomfort I can hold for certain distances. 

Race week is also interesting because its when you see alot of people self sabotaging all of the work they’ve put in. 

  1. Creating less aggressive goals

  2. Creating more aggressive goals

  3. Thinking they can run faster on race day, because its race day

  4. Thinking adrenaline will provide 5% increase in fitness

  5. Going to a Low Carb, High Fat Diet

  6. Going to a High Carb, Low Fat Diet

  7. Become Vegan

  8. Binge eating terrible food because your goals “dont matter”

  9. Figuring out your nutrition plan at the expo

  10. Asking your friend what pace you should run

  11. Buy a different pair of shoes because they will be faster 


These are all common mistakes people make race week. Seriously. They happen. 

Everyone gets nervous race week. Nerves make people do funny things. Things that you would never have done in your lead up to the race. 

How do you distract yourself from making these errors? Reinforce your race goals. Remind yourself how hard you worked. Go back and reread your training journal. Visualize your race before bed each night. Go to the expo with a friend to ensure you don’t buy anything silly. 

It’s going to be under 30 degrees for the race and that makes me very happy. Running in colder weather allows me to keep my core temperature down so you can run hard. I will be wearing half tights, a tight base layer with a t-shirt over it, gloves, and a breathable winter running hat. I do run with music and i’ve already created my playlist for race day. 

My A Goal is to break 1:23. Last year I ran 1:24:XX which was a 6:26 average pace. Breaking 1:23 means I need to average 6:20 pace. That is my A Goal. My realistic goal is to break 1:24 and to do that I need to average 6:23s.

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I was blessed with short stubby legs which makes me excellent at running uphill but not downhill. One of my execution goals is to actively push the downhills out of my comfort zone. On a regular basis I get to run with an incredible athlete, Robin, who is shorter than me and is one of the best downhill runners. There is hope! My other execution goal will be to run more confident on the flat sections. If I dont execute these two things…I wont make up the time I lost on all of the uphills. 

My cycling and swimming this week will be reduced. This is also a recovery week for me so reducing volume and intensity is making my body feel good and my motivation high.

Lets go have some fun!

Steve

Week 8: Swim Breath Through!

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I missed a week, I apologize! Nothing major has been happening outside of the usual: Family, Working, Training.

Something I have been doing is replacing coffee with tea. Why? I drink a lot of coffee, sometimes 10 cups a day. On average I would say 6-8 cups a day. Some would be black coffee, some lattes, some red eyes (coffee and 1-2 shots of espresso). It was getting out of hand and my dad’s side of the family is known for having a bad heart. For almost 2 weeks I have been drinking 1-2 cups of coffee in the morning and then tea in the afternoon. Most green tea or decaf tea. I have felt a significant different in energy and sleeping better. Plus, my breathe smells better and that makes Cindi happy. Happy wife happy life.

Back to Triathlon talk! Who reading this cares about coffee!

On most Mondays I go to Cindi’s Masters Swim Class in the afternoon because I get a good level of technical advice on my swim stroke. This is the time of season where you should be fixing your mistakes. Well… you should always try to fix your technical errors.

“All of your mistakes are happening because you are constantly off balance” Cindi told me. After watching the video I couldn’t believe it. When I swim I feel like i’m hitting a home run, on video I look like a gorilla trying to swim through the water. So much energy and extra drag/resistance to achieve these swim times.

Cindi pointed out these errors to me:

1) Wide Catch

2) Not getting full extension

3) Wiggling Hips

4) Splicing Legs

5) Minimal Core Utilization

6) Constant Redirection, Minimal Forward Motion


All of these mistakes are coming from lack of balance on the water. Which means my catch phase sucks and at some point I am losing balance on the water and everything falls apart.

For a reference point, I did a swim set with the group where we did a multiple pyramids of 100, 200, 300, 200, 100s. During one of the hard 300s I went 3:59 which is 1:20y average. I was swimming VERY hard to hit those times.

After discussing on what drills I needed to work on to fix this, I reduced my weekly swim volume by 50% and didn’t swim repetitions over 100 yards. Every swim was focused on executing the swim drill over a 25 and putting it together into a 25 freestyle. More swimming wasn’t the answer to my technical issues.

What did I notice throughout the process?

My swim strokes per 25 went from 20-22 to 18-20. My swim speeds remained the same at a lower effort.

On Friday I did my first swim test of the season: Max Effort 400 and 200. My 400 was a 5:08 (1:17 average) and my 200 was a 2:29 (1:14.5 average). Putting my threshold swim pace at 1:20y. The 400 was a lifetime best, yay go Steve! And to be honest, It was the “easiest” max effort 400 i’ve ever done. I literally couldn’t believe it. When I got home I told Cindi, “You saved my swimming!”

For years I have been swimming the same paces, never making progress. My motivation in the water was slipping because I wasn’t getting better. But heres the thing, I was the problem. Not swimming. Not the pool. I never really put the time and effort into fixing my swim stroke. I liked to complain about it, but never put the effort into fixing it.

What did I learn?

1) Reduce swim volume when fixing technical errors. You can’t fix technical errors when half of your concern is on the length of repetition. If you keep swimming longer repeats on a broken stroke, you will become a broken record.

2) Go to the pool with 1-2 objectives. Don’t try and fix your kick and your breathing at the same time. You will get confused and upset. The only improvements that will be made is increased hatred of swimming.

3) Don’t just swim drills. Thats worthless and doesn’t translate to holding good technique under higher speeds and fatigue, unless you plan on swimming your Ironman with a closed fist. Execute Drills into Freestyle of varies speeds and lengths.

4) Know your 25 speeds and your 25 stroke count. Every triathlete knows their cycling cadence and power and their running stride rate and pace. Why don’t you know this stuff in the pool. Its an IMMEDIATE display if you’re getting better.

In the Swim Smooth Calculator, it estimates off of my 1:20 threshold I am capable of swimming a 57:40 Ironman Swim. Now that sounds awesome, but I lack the endurance and open water skill to swim that fast. However, it is good to know I have the potential to swim that fast come September.

Hope you learned something from this!

Steve




Week #6: New Challenge

Big Ringers:

All is going very well on the training front and having a blast. I am finding a good rhythm each day with getting my sessions in. Coffee is set to automatically start at 4:00am, the alarm clock is set for 4:05, I am up by 4:10, working out by 4:45-5am. I am very much a morning person, as you can tell. If I could be in bed by 8pm, I would!

It is only October and I am obsessing over what races I am doing next year. I have been waffling over my first triathlon, Elkhart Lake or Madison 70.3? Both because they are back to back weekends?

THEN, a new challenge was presented to me…

American Triple T

https://americantriple-t.com/american-triple-t/

It is 4 triathlons within 3 days… all totaling an Ironman Distance. There is also shorter version that totals a 70.3 Triathlon.

Friday: Super Sprint Triathlon

Saturday AM: Olympic Distance

Saturday Afternoon: Olympic Distance (Bike/Swim/Run)

Sunday: Half Ironman

Why the change? I’ve done Elkhart Lake and used it as a fitness gauge. Madison 70.3 is local and competitive, but it doesn’t draw much interest to me outside of the competition that would be there.

What’s also nice about TTT? I have inside knowledge into how to prepare and race it. How? My superstar wife has WON this event. Yea, I married up. Cindi has always encouraged me to race TTT and having that type of knowledge from a previous champion is second to none.

Importantly, Triple T provides me a lot of motivation. Its going to be very challenging. It’s also different than what i’ve previously done, which is good because i’ve found myself getting bored. My interest has been leaning towards adventure races, long trail runs, Canada Extreme, Swissman, Norseman type of events.

My theme for 2019 Ironman Wisconsin and all of the preparation leading into will be “Conditioning, Conditioning, Conditioning.” I have done many Ironmans so I don’t need more triathlon experience. My limiter for most of my Ironmans have been simple: Conditioning. Endurance. Fitness. GET FIT! Triple T keeps me in this mindset over the winter months leading into both races. To accomplish 140.6 miles, broken into 4 triathlons will require a lot of conditioning but not the same as a stand alone Ironman.

Add in that Triple T is under 300 dollars for the entry fee. 4 Triathlons, Race Kit, Finishers Jacket, and much more what what a single 70.3 event costs. The lodging offered is also very affordable. Plus, I love racing smaller races. The feel and environment of these grassroots events is always nice. Door County Half Ironman is also like this.

Until next week!

Steve

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