Saturday, June 26, 2010

As a triathlon coach, I get the opportunity to meet interesting people and train in incredible places. The month of June has been a busy one with lots of travel, racing, camps and other events.

I've spent the last 10 days mostly in New York, starting with the Lake Placid camp. I still have great memories of riding my bike with the campers over the Adirondack mountains. Then, I was invited to do a special fitness blogger event on behalf of Iron Girl (as the Official Coach) with an editor from Fitness Magazine in Manhattan. It was pretty interesting and a great way to communicate via online social networks. You might be able to see parts of the video blog soon on

Then, it was out to Long Island for a 2-day private training camp with a few triathletes from that area.... a great experience.

The only problem with traveling in and around NYC by car is the traffic! Take my word for it, you don't want to be heading over the Verrazano Bridge on a Friday afternoon at rush hour! :)

Next up for me is Minneapolis on July 11th and working the expo, then racing the Life Time Fitness Triathlon. If you're in the area, drop by my booth to say hello!

I want to wish all of you doing Ironman CDA GOOD LUCK this weekend. Be patient, be tough and execute your plan.

Train smart,
Coach Troy

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reflecting back on 2010 Lake Placid Camp

I'm just now getting a chance to reflect back on the recent camp in Lake Placid. The weather this year (our 11th) was incredible. LP is such a great venue for Ironman, and for the active multisport lifestyle in general. I always look forward to heading up there for a few days of suffering in the hills.

Our next camp is in Louisville in preparation for the Ironman to be held there. This is also a challenging course, but not quite as hilly as in LP. The humidity can be stifling, adding to the challenge. There's still time to sign up for both our Louisville and Madison camps by going to

The workloads at the LP camp are very high (it's a 3-day program)... and I feel it in my legs even today. Friday started with a 30 min. swim in Mirror Lake followed by a 2-loop ride (less the out and back) for about 100 miles on the roads. Most campers then transitioned to do a 20-30 min run around the lake.
Saturday included another 30 min. lake swim then the dreaded 'opposite direction' 56 mile loop (including the new out and back) and then 45 min run. The hardest part of the 56 mile loop is the stretch from Keene to LP, including the 10K climb. This 30-45 minutes of tempo shatters the legs, especially after a day of riding 100+ miles. Great training with a touch of suffering!

Sunday included yet another morning swim and then one loop of the marathon course, or 13.1 miles. Some diehard athletes stretch the run out to equal 18-20 miles, depending on their training schedules (and motivation). Overall... a great weekend of volume.

After such a large block of training, I advise the athletes to take a day or two off or to just do some easy 'active recovery' training in order to bounce back. Multiple days of higher volume training can really be tough on the body... and special attention needs to be paid to recovery and preventing overuse injury. I know that i feel a deep down fatigue after a large block of training... and my joints are sore. Ah, the joys of aging. :) The good news is that after recovery, one usually comes back to feel stronger.

While the training that takes place at our camps is great, the social aspect of getting to know the athletes is even better. Lots of friendships materialize at camps as you get to meet other like-minded people who share a passion for the sport. Good stuff.

Train smart,
Coach Troy

Saturday, June 19, 2010

2010 Lake Placid Camp Report

Awesome camp here in Lake Placid! The weather has been unbelievably cooperative (sunny in the low 80's with light winds) as we enter day two. In the 11 or so years we've held this camp, we've had incredible weather like this only a few times.

Day one (Friday) included a 7 am 30 minute swim in Mirror Lake. The water temp is around 62 deg. F, so everyone wore wetsuits. Our swim coaches included Brian Benda (2-time Chesapeake Bay Swim Winner) and age group elite triathlete, OJ Keller. They helped everyone with sighting drills and got us going. Even I enjoyed the swim!

After grabbing some breakfast, we gathered to head out on our long bike ride. Due to course changes, (the bridge on the out and back on Haselton Road is under construction), we opted to cut that portion out. Most athletes did a full 100 miles, with a few opting for one loop. The temps were up there, so it was a tough day in the saddle. Geezzz... LP is a tough bike course! The incredible scenery makes up for the suffering one encounters...especially on the stretch of road from Wilmington back to LP with a head wind blowing you back.

Our support this year is again provided by TriSpeed Multisport. For our 18 campers, we have a SAG Vehicle complete with full mechanical gear as well as two motorbikes on the course. I want to thank Mike and his crew for their continued support of our annual LP camp.

At 5pm we gathered for a lecture, going over the course route and talking about training for Ironman. Our campers this year come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, so everyone learned something and contributed their personal insights/experiences.

Today starts soon with another 30 minute swim in Mirror Lake. Then, we saddle up to do the bike course in the opposite direction... a crowd favorite! (NOT!). The hardest part is of course the climb back into LP, which includes about 6 miles of 'tempo'. Our legs are tired from the 100 miler yesterday, so it'll be interesting! After the ride, the plan is to transition to a 30-45 minute run around the lake. After training today, we'll have another lecture followed by a group dinner.

Lake Placid is an unbelievably beautiful place and one of my favorite places to train and visit. I hope you can check it out someday if you've not done so already!

Train smart,
Coach Troy

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tough day at Eagleman 70.3!

Here at Ocean City, MD (downy ocean, hon!..with my Baltimore accent :) for a little R&R with the family after Eagleman Ironman 70.3 triathlon and enjoying the beach prior to heading up to Lake Placid for camp this coming weekend. I thought I'd post a quick race report.

The last time I did Eagleman was in 1998 before it became an Ironman 70.3. I was just turning 29, racing pro and at the peak of my athletic career. I won and posted a sub-4 hour finish. Flash forward 12 years later at the age of 41 (in a couple days) and I was back to give it another shot! I love this sport in how it allows you to keep competing and pushing your limits, no matter what your age might be. Granted, we don't have the same physical strengths as we had when we were younger, but the determination and desire remains the same. Awesome!

The day promised to be typical Eman... hot, humid and windy. It started with a twist as the announcer said wetsuits were NOT allowed, a first in the long history of the event. I'm a big fan of wetsuits as a non-swimmer... but it is what it is... let's roll!

The 40-44 AG was the largest wave with over 300 athletes (WOW!). The gun goes off and we attack the river, which has a strong current. Yes... big time current! The Choptank river is very unpredictable and swim times can be fast or slow. This year, they were slow across the board and many didn't meet the cut off time. There are even some rumors that the buoys marking the course shifted overnight and that the course was 200-300 Meters long...but it doesn't matter... we all swim the same distances (if navigation is good). I exit at around 36 min. and think, "hmmm... shoulda done more than 1000 yd workouts in training." :)

T1 was slow as my lower back was stiff from the swim and I had to put a tight lycra tri singlet over my wet torso, which took awhile. I headed out on the bike and had the plan to be patient and not to hammer so as to avoid my constant nemesis as of late...quad cramps! I started out at a nice controlled and relaxed tempo/cadence on the bike.

I also adhered to my nutrition plan of consuming 4 (yes four) 20 fl oz water bottles per hour on the bike due my freakishly high sweat rate (and I sodium loaded all week). I also took 3 enduralyte caps each hour and ingested three powergels and 4 shot blocs during the ride. My riding rhythm was fine but my left glute was extremely tight... likly due to inadequate time in the aero position on my awesome Kestrel airfoil. EMan's 56 mile bike course is flat and fast... so one needs to shift position once in awhile, which I did, but perhaps not enough.

Entering T2, i had already consumed 80 Fl oz and had ingested around 600-800 calories, a ton of nutrition. I hobbled off the bike due to my left glute pain, but had no quad cramps (yet!). As I sat down in transition to put on my socks and shoes, I couldn't help think that I was going to have a hard time running. ugh. I was right as my running gait was off immediately and I couldn't stride out or run 'fast'. bummer

I started hitting the aid stations for fluids immediately and the glute started to loosen up and was not as painful at around mile one. I was actually feeling like my 'old self' and started to hit a 6 min. mile pace but then just after mile 2, things took a turn for the worse and the all-too-familiar quad cramps kicked in. Aggghhh!! So frustrating! I thought the race was over for me and even contemplated walking back with a dnf. Nope... gotta finish. Several people passed me from different age groups and waves as I stood and massaged the quad, trying to get the spasms to subside. They did, and I slowly started running again after what seemed to be an eternity.

I reeled back the folks who had passed me, but couldn't run at 'tempo' because that would have brought the twinges back. Then, at around mile 6, someone told me I had two guys ahead in the 40-44 AG. Cool.

Just after the turnaround of the out and back, I caught the first place masters athlete. All the while, I'm running with the knowledge (and fear) that each step could be the last before I cramp again. Then, it happened as predicted and I had to stop with a cramp in the left inner quad that made my hair stand on end! 30 sec. later, I was passed by my competitor and he was running strong. I had a feeling I could reel him back...but only if I could resume running asap. Finally, after another eternity of over 90 sec., I could start jogging and gradually pick up my pace. With about 4 miles to go, I took the lead again. As I approached the final turn towards the finishing stretch to the line, I could feel the cramps coming on again and thought how funny it would be to skip or crawl to the finish line in front of a 'home' crowd... even my kids and parents were there. I didn't want my 6 yr old to see daddy seize up in pain... not a good race memory for her! I slowed to an easy jog to prevent that from happening and held off the hard charging second place athlete to win the division and as 10th OA amateur. I declined the IM Kona slot as there's no way I'd be ready for it until I figure out these darn cramping issues... and i'd rather someone else get the slot whose dream it is to compete there but has not yet had the chance.

I really enjoyed racing the 'half IM' again...what a great distance as it combines speed with the unknowns (like cramping!) associated with long course racing. Also, it was great to be involved as a sponsor and as an athlete with my hometown race after so many years of not racing. I saw a ton of familiar faces and really appreciated all of the encouragement and support I received out there on the course too. Awesome!

My next 70.3 is Racine in July. I'm hoping to make progress in figuring out my cramping woes and to test them at Racine. I know that many of you also struggle with cramping and would welcome any advice or personal experiences you may have to offer.

Thanks for reading and congrats to everyone who finished EMan 70.3 on a really tough day! My next race is the Life Time Fitness Tri in MN and then Racine 70.3 ... so hopefully I'll see you there!

Train smart,
Coach Troy

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Training in 105 Deg. Heat!!

It's getting hot here in Tucson!! This is how we load our bikes up for rides... my Kestrel here has four water bottle holders.

The high temp hit 105 deg. yesterday with zero cloud cover. It's a dry heat, but dry like opening the oven door after preheating and feeling that surge of hot air on your face. For those of us who are endurance athletes and heavy sweaters, training in these conditions can pose a challenge!

The first step when training in the desert is to smear a tub load of sunblock all over. I like the zinc based sun block, so I have sort of a pale white tint I'm sure draws some interesting comments from motorists passing by me as I ride. I'm not really too concerned about fashion though as I'd rather protect my skin from the desert heat and sun.

Hydrating is where the challenge lies. Routes need to be coordinated so that you can stop frequently and refill water bottles. A poorly planned route without refill stations can leave you dizzy, disoriented and cramping due to dehydration. The interesting thing about 'dry heat' is that you sweat like crazy without really even realizing it until it's too late!

So, yesterday I did a 2 hr aerobic bike followed by a 45 min aerobic run as my last 'long workout' before Eagleman 70.3 this coming weekend. My schedule, between work stuff, kid stuff, etc. ... dictated that I hit the roads at 1 pm... not ideal! I weighed myself before heading out and weighed in at 164.5 lbs. I consumed fluids prior to heading out, including 2 cans of V8 juice to top off the electrolyte / sodium stores (1200 mg sodium in two cans). I took with me 2 bottles full of the new Powerbar product, Ironman Perform, and one bottle of water... or 60 fl oz total. I felt good on the bike at the finish, although I underestimated my fluid needs and was extremely thirsty at the end.

After a 5 minute transition in which I drank another 20 fl oz bottle of Perform plus 12 oz of a water/V8 (sodium) mix, I headed out on my run. I carried with me a 20 fl oz bottle of Perform to hit as I ran along.

I felt good, never cramping (a huge problem for me lately) and ran strong. At the end of the run, I was happy to be done as my insides felt like they were ready to boil! I quickly drank another 20 fl oz of cold water + gatorade.

I then checked my post workout weight (after almost 3 hrs of steady aerobic work in 105 deg. heat) after drinking almost 140 fl oz of fluids during that time period (about 8 lbs of fluid) and tipped the scale at 156.6 lbs! Over 15 lbs of net fluid loss in 3 hours!!!!!! See... I'm a heavy sweater, eh?! Before bed and after downing tons of fluid (including a tall glass of Arrogant Bastard Ale...good stuff!), a vege pizza and lots of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Chunk, I was back up to 165. :)

In calculating my fluid needs, I'm going to have to aim for 60-80 fl oz per hour on the bike at Eagleman should it be a hot and humid day, and then do what I can to consume as much as I can tolerate on the run. My fear is cramping... something that I never used to do when I was in my 20's and racing hard, but seems to happen with frequency now in my early 40's. Finding that right balance of fluids and electrolytes for hot weather long course racing will be interesting and a learning experience for me this year... and I'm guessing I'll need to err on the side of being extremely focused on pushing tons of fluids and sodium.

I'll keep you posted regarding my findings at Eman. I have good fitness now and should race well... but leg cramps can quickly derail well intended race goals. In the meantime, remember to focus on YOUR training nutrition needs too!

Train smart,
Coach Troy