Sunday, March 13, 2011

Training for The Leadman Tri Epic 250

Ah, yes. The thrill and challenge of training for a long course endurance event. Will someone please knock some sense into me and stop me from doing this Leadman thing?! Just kidding.  I think it's hard-wired into me since I did my first IM "distance" tri over 20+ years ago at the age of 20.  Anyone remember the Lake Sunapee Ironman Distance Triathlon?  What a great New Hampshire based race back in the late 1980s and early 1990's!  Hilly and brutal, but great nonetheless. I won it overall in a time of 9 hrs 46 minutes along with a check for $1000, which I think I spent on beer when I got back to college the following week.  That was back at a time when there were only a few 'ironman' races in the world and it was rare to see someone with an 'M-Dot' tatoo. My how times have changed!

So now I'm getting ready for this new challenge, the LeadmanTri in Vegas. I thought I'd share some of my training log notes with you for a peek behind the curtain. Please keep in mind that the way I train for an event is often times different compared to the way I might train someone else.  In other words, "don't try this at home" and "do what I say, not what I do." ;)

Here goes (starting Mon. March 7th):

Monday: Bike 1 hr easy aerobic (zone 2), run 30 minutes aerobic (road, slightly rolling hills.), swim 1250 yds (technique and some paddles)
Tuesday:  Bike 70 miles (approx 3.5 hrs) aerobic endurance ride, steady pace on road bike. Stretch cords, 4 x 25 reps
Wed: Swim 2500, Run 45 min., aerobic effort with 6 minutes of hard tempo (first 'hard' running since IMAZ last year)
Thurs: 1 hr easy spin (legs were sore from the run!), 30 min easy aerobic run, 1250 straight swim
Fri:  Swim 2000 yds (got humbled by 'real swimmer' lapping me doing kick sets, yikes! ;)., 1.5 hr aerobic bike (first ride on tri bike since IM AZ. Felt awkward as expected, gotta tweak position.), 30 min. easy run
Sat:  3 hr aerobic bike (on tri bike, z2 and some z3 muscle endurance work. Bike is feeling better already), 4 mile easy aerobic run

I've been putting in regular 10-12 hour weeks all winter after IMAZ (working with some knee pain) so this was a bump up to around 15-16 hrs (including tomorrow, Sunday).  I will likely peak at just around 16-18 hrs of training over the next couple of weeks with the cycling and tri camps coming to town.

Although I do have a general sense of weekly training volumes and what I want to accomplish, I do what I call "Intuitive Training". In other words, I listen to my body and train day to day according to how I'm feeling that day, but within the general parameters of my weekly goals.  I have found that I'm no longer able to handle lots of high volume training days  (100 mile bike rides tire me out and bore me to tears), and am most effective training as if I'm preparing for an Olympic distance race, even when doing longer stuff.  I try to train almost every day of the week and let fatigue or work commitments (travel in particular) dictate when I take a day off from training.  I also believe that success at triathlon is based on your year-round commitment to swimming, cycling and running and not simply on what you do in your build up for your 'big race'. Your 'aerobic base' is something you constantly need to build and maintain.  Oh, and quality is key...but not too much of it, especially if you are an 'aging' athlete.  I've found that 10-15 minutes of high intensity training in a workout (per sport) usually does the trick without wasting you or making you too sore to train the following day. Small but frequent doses.

So there you have it!  For Leadman, I'll do a handful of 3-4 hr rides and perhaps, if my motivation and time allows, a 5-7 hr ride... but I doubt it.  For the 3.1 mile swim at LM, I might work up to a 4000 yd workout to build confidence, but given my history of disliking swimming, I'll probably stick to my shorter sessions.  I've found for myself that big workout days are not the key to successful long distance racing...rather, it's the cumulative effect of training day after day, week after week, month after month , etc followed by a long and disciplined taper.

I'll keep you posted on my progress as I tackle this season. I hope you glean a thing or two you can apply to your own training plan! And if you're interested in signing up for coaching with either me or one of my associate coaches, go to my website here.

Train smart,


  1. Troy,
    I have a reaally good coach! If you like I'll send you his name and contact info. Good Luck.

  2. Awesome. Looking forward to more postings.