303 Beginner Tri Project – Training 201: If you Want to get Fancy

by Alison Freeman

Have you completed your first tri recently? Or maybe it’s still on the horizon … but you’re already thinking about the next one. When triathletes are thinking about their next race, it’s usually with an eye toward how they can improve upon the last one. In fact, I’m convinced that the elusive perfect race is what keeps triathletes coming back to the sport year after year.

As a newer entrant to the sport, one of the fastest ways to improve on race day is to improve your approach to training. For your first race, you may have simply focused on ensuring you were able to complete the full swim-bike-run distances. Which means that for this next race, “getting fancy” with your training regimen will surely yield improvement.

The five key workouts outlined below will build both endurance and speed, and set you up for great results come race day:

The Long, Endurance Workout

What It Is
This is your weekend long bike and long run, which build to at least 120% of race-day distance for sprint- and Olympic-distance triathlons, and is the the fundamental component of training. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you shouldn’t train at your endurance effort level because you’re going to be racing at a faster pace. The long, endurance workout is critical for building your aerobic engine, which is required regardless of race pace.

These workouts should be done at your endurance effort level – your all day, conversational pace. By conversational, I do literally mean that you can hold a conversation while running or cycling at this effort level. Often athletes run faster than their endurance pace on their endurance runs. If you can’t get out a full sentence (10+ words) without needing a break to breathe, then you’re running too fast. Don’t be discouraged if your pace feels unbearably slow at this effort level – it will increase over time with discipline and patience!

When To Use It
Every week, without fail. In fact 80% of your training each week should be done at endurance effort.


Hill Repeats

What They Are

Yup, these are just what they sound like: short but intense bursts of effort going up a hill, that you repeat several times.

FOR THE RUN: Start with a ten to fifteen minute endurance-effort warm up. Then hit the intervals: four to eight repeats of 30 seconds running hard up the hill, and recover by walking or jogging back to the bottom of the hill. You should just barely be able to maintain your pace for the entire 30 seconds, and for the entire set of four to eight repeats. (Yes, they should be that hard – lots of huffing and puffing involved in this one!) Finish the run with an endurance-effort cool down of five to fifteen minutes.

As you get stronger, you can lengthen the hill repeats up to 45 seconds, then a minute, 90 seconds, and even two minutes. Keep in mind that as the length of the hill increases, your sustainable pace will decrease; adjust your pace but follow the same principle that you should just barely be able to hold that pace to the top of the hill.

FOR THE BIKE: You can either find a short, relatively steep hill and repeat that four to eight times, or you can ride up a longer hill just once or twice, or you can ride a hilly route and work each and every hill you encounter. For any of those options, include a ten to fifteen minute endurance-effort warm up and cool down; ride the hills hard – as hard as you can sustain – and recover on the downhills.

When To Use Them
Hill repeats are great tools to develop strength and power early in your training, preparing you for the upcoming speed work. I recommend doing these workouts weekly, 8-12 weeks before your race.


Threshold Intervals

What They Are
Threshold intervals should be done at your lactate threshold, which can be thought of as the pace that just barely keeps that burn from taking over your legs before the interval concludes.

For both bike and run threshold intervals, start with a ten to fifteen minute endurance-effort warm up. Then complete three to six 3-minute threshold intervals with 3-minute very, very easy recoveries; the effort level should be very challenging but repeatable. Finish the workout with an endurance-effort cool down of five to fifteen minutes.

Each week, either increase the number of repetitions, add a minute to the interval duration, or take a minute away from the recovery duration. Unlike with increasing durations for hill repeats, as these workout gets harder, your effort level should remain the same – or even get stronger as you adjust to the demands of the workout.

When To Use Them
Threshold intervals are the best way to build speed at all effort levels. I recommend doing these workouts weekly, 4-8 weeks before your race.


Anaerobic Intervals

What They Are
Anaerobic intervals are executed at a similar effort level as hill repeats, but they’re about going fast versus building strength and power. Intervals at this effort level should produce a “burn” in your legs after the 3rd interval, but should be repeatable with sufficient rest.

For both bike and run anaerobic intervals, start with a ten to fifteen minute endurance-effort warm up. Then complete five to ten 30-second anaerobic intervals with 30-second very, very easy recoveries; the effort level should be extremely challenging but repeatable. Finish the workout with an endurance-effort cool down of five to fifteen minutes.

Each week, increase the total number of 30-second intervals up to twelve, or two sets of eight to ten. Alternatively, you can lengthen the intervals up to one minute, starting with four to six intervals. As with the threshold intervals, your effort level should remain the same as the workouts get harder.

When To Use Them
Anaerobic intervals serve to give a final nudge to your top speed. I recommend doing these workouts in the four weeks before your race.


Race Pace Tempo Intervals

What They Are
Race pace tempo intervals are singular, sustained intervals executed at your expected race pace. Your race pace is typically somewhere between your endurance effort and your lactate threshold, based on your fitness and the race distance. As you do these workouts, try to find an effort level that you can hold for the entire race duration.

For both bike and run, the single race pace intervals is bookended by an endurance effort warm up and cool down of ten to fifteen minutes. The race pace interval on the bike can range in duration from ten to thirty minutes; on the run, the duration can range from five to fifteen minutes.

Start with a duration on the lower end of the range, and increase it until two weeks before race day. After that, decrease the interval duration a bit or split it into two, shorter intervals.

When To Use Them
Race pace intervals help you identify and get accustomed to your desired race pace. I recommend doing these workouts in the four weeks before your race.

Just Keep Swimming

The best exercise you can do right now

From Readers Digest

It’s time to forgo your weekly gym session. And no, we’re not encouraging any bad couch potato habits. Your body will get major results if you jump in a pool, instead.

Surprised? Turns out, swimming has loads of science-backed health benefits. (Try even more workout plans that will give you major results.)

Lap swims combine the best of your cardio and strengthening workouts while protecting your body from injury. In fact, many injured athletes begin swimming for this precise reason; doing so allows them to recover without missing out on the strength and endurance perks from exercise.

“You can get any type of cardio workout that you need in the pool and have little or no impact on your joints,” Ian Rose, director of aquatics at East Bank Club in Chicago, told Healthline. “Other exercises come with a list of potential long-term negative effects.”

Your lungs could also benefit from a dip in the lap lane; swimmers tend to have stronger lungs than other athletes, according to a 2016 study. And let’s not forget the strengthening and toning powers of this full-body exercise. (By the way, this is the absolute best way to build muscle, according to science.)

Read the full article

How to increase your triathlon endurance


How to Increase Your Triathlon Endurance

Contributed by Vanessa Davis

If you’ve never been much of a sports’ aficionado, then just the word triathlon can make you sweat. To people who haven’t spent much time in these waters, cycling 40km, followed by 1500m of swimming and finally running 10 km sounds almost impossible, not to mention painful. However, for those who have taken this discipline into their lives, triathlon is a lifestyle, they live and breathe by it and constantly strive to be better. The mentality that is needed for completing a triathlon is the one of discipline, perseverance, and strength, all working in perfect sync. If you skimp on one, your body, as well as your results will suffer. If you’re training for your first triathlon experience, and you’re constantly on the lookout for useful tips, here are some general rules on how to increase your triathlon endurance.

Know Your Body

If you want to be a successful triathlon athlete, one of the very first things to do is to know what you can expect from your body. You can listen to advice, opinions and little cheats that your senior colleagues will share with you, but knowing how you react to exhaustion, injury and how well you manage under pressure is something that no one can tell you so you have to find out on your own. How do your joints react to longer runs? Is there an old injury that could present a problem as preparations move forward? Do you know enough to get you started on your preparations in the first place? There are all very general questions, but it is important to ask them because triathlon is a serious exertion for both the body and the mind, and you have to know what you’re getting yourself into. If you’ve never run a half-marathon and you want to dive headfirst into triathlon workouts, you might be in over your head. This doesn’t mean that you should give up, just slow down and let your body get accustomed to a rigorous regime you’ve got in store by going into it gradually.

You Need the Right Equipment

Getting ready for a triathlon won’t be the cheapest endeavor equipment-wise, but you can bet that it will be worth it in on the track and in the water. It all trickles down to one and the same – if you want to achieve maximum endurance, be explosive or steady whenever you need it and not think about whether your equipment will survive the day, you will need to spend a bit more. Let’s start with the running shoes. Here’s the deal – most running shoes worth their salt will be comfortable, but if you’re training for a triathlon, you’ll need far more than that – you will need a shoe that fits just right. To find a perfect shoe fit might be a bit of a hassle, depending on your body type and your running style but the difference you’ll see in your endurance and cadence will not be negligible. When it comes to swimming, same rules apply – you will need a good-quality wetsuit that will give you lightness of movement, buoyancy and won’t restrict you in any way. You’ll want the wetsuit to fit you tightly so that there isn’t any loose material that could slow you down. The material should also be elastic, flexible and soft and it will help you feel like a fish in the water, allowing you to swim to your best ability without any hindrance.

Recovery Is Vital

Triathlon workouts are tough, that is no secret, and once you get hooked up on chasing your goal time, it’s difficult to give yourself a break. Maybe you’ve never been too enthused about exercising but once you feel the adrenaline of the need to be better every day, the struggle to let your body recover is real. If you’re training hard for five days a week, then you better have enough sleep throughout the week, so that your body has the time to restore and replenish. It’s important to do your best to get good shuteye, and that means getting rid of any nuisances that could disrupt your sleep, which in most cases is snoring, as well as not being able to sleep due to surrounding sounds. Invest in solid earplugs, and if you have a problem with snoring or sleep apnea, then get a good snoring aid that will help you eradicate all the breathing problems you might be facing. Even if you’re not familiar with what could help you, read trustworthy reviews like Theravent review to find your best fit. Allowing your body to replenish through good sleep is absolutely vital in your triathlon preparations, so take your sleeping routine seriously and constantly work on improving it.

Have a day or two of active recovery, during which you can do yoga or stretching to keep your muscles flexible and in optimal shape. Of course you’re trying to do your best, but it will not be achieved by overworking yourself and you can be sure that the endurance on the track and in the water will suffer, as well as your entire body. It’s true that our minds sometimes stop us from getting to our full physical potential and you should certainly push your limits, but it’s also true that you should know when to stop.

Facing the Shortcomings

Among the three disciplines you’ll be competing in, there is always one that will give you more grief than others, one that will require more work that you don’t really want to do. Though it might not be a joy to commit your entire workout to swimming when you’d much rather cycle, it is essential to face the shortcomings you’re facing in your performance and find ways to overcome them. You’ll never be able to compensate the poor swimming time with your running skills, so hone and work on your weaknesses, the payout will be manifold.

Being a triathlete will be one of the most demanding physical challenges you will face and once you pull it off, you will feel like Atlas. Constantly expanding your boundaries and pushing yourself to be better will prove beneficial in every aspect of your life and if you have any doubt, just give triathlon a chance.

Vanessa Davis is a 32-year-old fitness enthusiast, mother of two and content writer at www.diet.st. She’s originally from Long Island, New York, and when she isn’t cooking up some new health and fitness article, she enjoys doing yoga and figuring out new, delicious organic recipes for herself and her kids.

303Radio Interviews Chris McDonald of Big Sexy Racing – headed to Kona for the 8th time

By Rich Soares

Chris McDonald of Big Sexy Racing is heading to the Ironman World Championship in Kailua Kona for the 8th time this year.

I had a chance to talk with Chris and Brandt Beal about the partnership between Big Sexy Racing and Indur, a results-based health system that launched earlier this year.

“Indur is a wellness from the inside-out platform,” as Brandt explains. Indur analyzes a comprehensive blood panel and then uses their proprietary robust analytical tool to provide customized advice and give individuals customized plans for improving their health. “For athletes, we’re looking to optimize the performance that they can get out of their body.”

Indur tests give athletes insights into how to improve their metabolism, boost energy, sleep better, build muscle and more. Indur helps individuals transform themselves from a health perspective and the partnership with Chris “really made sense for us at Indur.”

Prior to becoming a professional triathlete, Chris explains, “I was a 260-pound construction working in New Zealand eating pies and sausage rolls.” Inspired by his brother, Chris jumped into triathlon and was encouraged by the transformation that took place over the course of six Ironman races as an amateur.

Now as a professional Chris’outlook has evolved. “Performance is something that I depend on for my livelihood. I’m looking for a 1% advantage over my competition. if I can get a ¼ % edge on my electrolytes, sleep and recovery, it all adds up.”

With his Indur partnership in place, Chris heads to Kona with confidence that his body is dialed in. “This year’s approach to Kona is about keeping normality as close to the race as possible.” He’s learned over time how to acclimate to the heat with specific heat protocols while living and training in Colorado.

Go Big Sexy!

Rich Soares, 303Triathlon


img_1815By Nicole Odell

Structure and routine are often quite important in our daily lives. We need routine, but to keep things fresh we can mix up what we are doing and try new things. We can relax a bit within our framework so we’re still maintaining some structure.

Most of us endurance athletes have a regular weekly schedule so it’s easiest to keep our training on a regular schedule. Quality workouts fall on the same days each week. We know what days we are swimming, cycling, and running if we are multi-sport athletes.

But sometimes we get stuck in a rut and ride the same routes, and our motivation falters.

If you’re needing a little extra motivation, or if you are a little bored with your routine, find a way to change it up.

Go exploring!

Spend 30 minutes on Google Maps or Strava to find some new routes.

Join in on a different group ride.

Make that easy ride a cruise to a coffee shop you’ve never been to, or hit up a trail when you might normally be on the road.

A change of scenery can remind us why we like to do what we do. Play around in your swim workout…swim underwater, try new strokes, teach yourself to flip turn, or work on that butterfly kick.

If you’re feeling stressed, bored, or just need a change of pace (even if you’re smack in the middle of race season), doing something a little different can be the ticket.

Remember, we do this because we love it! Keep your love for your sport exciting by switching things up once in a while.