Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Don't Forget the Quality Work - Workout Ideas for your 70.3

IM 70.3 racing blends the need for both speed and endurance.  In many ways, an IM 70.3 training program will resemble that of an Olympic distance one, with the possible exception of longer “long days” and an extended aerobic endurance base period.  In any case, incorporating shorter and faster workouts each week for speed development is a key to IM 70.3 success. Here are a few speed workout ideas for you to try.

Swim Workout
1.2 Miles is pretty darn close to the 1.5K’s you’ll swim in an Olympic distance race.  For most age group athletes, consistent workouts in the 2000-3000 Meter range will suffice. Here’s a good one combining some tempo work for strength and sprints for power.

(All swims are freestyle unless described as ‘choice’, in which you can do whichever stroke you wish.)

Warm up
200 choice
4x50 build @ 1 min.
4 x50 drill (your choice of drill)

Main Set (repeat two times)
200 steady pull w/small hand paddles
4 x 100 steady tempo @ 10 sec. rest
4x50 fast swim @ 20 sec. rest

100 kick w/ board (no fins)
200 choice

Bike Workout
I’m a huge fan of doing quality bike workouts on the trainer. 45 minutes to 1 hour of focused quality work is more valuable than hours of “junk” road mileage, in many instances. Try this workout as your weekly quality session in order to improve your power output over 56 miles.

Warm up
5-10 minutes
3 x 30 sec. ‘hard’ @ 30 sec. rest

Main Set
5x4 min. tempo (choose a gearing to ride at 80 rpms at or near your threshold power and/or HR) @ 1 min. rest
5 x 15 sec. power sprints (heavy resistance and near maximal power) @ 1 min. rest

Cooldown 5-10 minutes

Run Workout
Treadmill training, like bike training on the fluid trainer, gives you the ability to maximize your workout time while also helping to avoid the pitfalls of pounding your body on the asphalt. 

Warm up
10 minutes of jogging pace at 2% grade, then do 4 x 30 sec. ‘striders’ (increase speed) @ 30 sec. rest

Main Set
8 x 90 sec. (3% grade and at 5K pace) @ 1 min. rest

Cooldown for 10 minutes of easy jogging

While these workouts described above are simple, they are very effective and will add the much needed speed development component required for successful IM 70.3 racing as you build your overall mileage.  Give it a try and good luck at your next race!

Train smart,
Coach Troy

Coach Troy Jacobson is the Official Coach of IRONMAN. In the mid- late 90’s, he won several well-known Half Ironman distance races including Eagleman, Vineman and Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon. Learn more at www.coachtroy.com or for his indoor cycling workout videos, visit www.spinervals.com

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Report: Spinervals Taping featuring Ray Lewis | EPIC!

Wow!  In my 15+ years of exercise video production, I’ve never had an experience like I did this past weekend with the video taping of two new Spinervals Team Sports Performance workouts with Ray Lewis. 

First, a little background.  Ray Lewis (his Official Website, THERL52Group.com) is a Super Bowl MVP and multi-time All Pro linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens who will undoubtedly go to the Hall of Fame as one of the best defensive players in the history of the NFL. Even as he nears the end of his career now in his mid-30’s, he’s still revered as one of the best in the league and is the leader and soul of the Raven’s football team.   Ray’s level of stardom and admiration in Baltimore and with football fans throughout the country is that of a rock star.

I grew up playing football since the age of 10 through my freshman year in college, so I’ve always loved the game and I follow it as much as time allows.  I’ll never forget when the Colts left Baltimore in Mayflower trucks for Indianapolis in the dead of night when I was a kid.  That was a sad day.  I think that if I had not discovered and fell in love with the sport of triathlon, I would have pursued a career as a football coach.

Starting the first workout with Ray at Under Armour.
The story goes that Ray has been using Spinervals workouts as part of his off-season conditioning program and was seeing the results he wanted.  So, when the unique opportunity presented itself to have one of greatest players of the game take part in a Spinervals video project, I wasn’t about to pass it up. As they say, when opportunity knocks, you'd better be prepared to answer the call.    After a few conference calls and meetings with Ray’s business partners and agent, Marc Rosen, we quickly set a date to shoot in July, prior to the start of training camp for NFL teams.  I am humbled by this because a star athlete like Ray can work with whomever he wants.  It's an honor to me that he chose Spinervals and further validates the benefits of intense indoor cycling workouts for all athletes.

The location chosen was the headquarters of performance apparel company, Under Armour (Official Website, http://www.underarmour.com/).  Another incredible Baltimore success story, Under Armour is one of Ray’s sponsors and features him in many of their iconic commercials, including the slogan, “Protect this HOUSE!” 

The casting of the athletes for the videos were handled by a long time friend and former pro-cyclist, Kristy, and her business partner, Greg, a former NFL player and U.S. Olympic Bobsledder.  They recruited some former professional athletes, including former NBA star Gheorghe Muresan and former Baltimore Oriole, Michael Young, in addition to local high school and collegiate team sport athletes (LaCrosse, Football, Basketball, etc.).  We even had a top Fitness Competitor and Raven Cheerleader in the videos to cover more athletic pursuits. And, of course, we had a few road cyclists and triathletes involved to stay true to our roots, competitive endurance sports training.

The day of shooting was flawless, as usual.  My production group included Mark Gambo and his crew at Jomar Productions, Torrence, Nancy and Heather. We have exercise video making down to a science … as I guess we should after 15 years and over 70 titles! J

I had not met Ray before the morning of the shoot.  He arrived with an entourage of people including his fiancĂ©, personal assistant and personal chef/nutritionist.  He has an aura and a special presence about him that is apparent as soon as he enters a room.  People stared as their football hero got ready to mount his LOOK carbon bicycle attached to the green Kurt Kinetic Fluid Trainer as other athletes got on their own bikes or SPINNER NXT's. He graciously and very genuinely posed for pictures and signed autographs before and after the video tapings.

Coaching Ray through a tough set of intervals.
Ray started using Spinervals videos and added cycling to his legendarily intense training regimen about 1 year ago.  He is known as one of the hardest working athletes in the sport, training 6 hours a day, 6 days a week in preparation for the football season.  He likes Spinervals for the interval training, and saw how workouts like them can benefit team sport athletes, typically concerned more with short burst explosive power and speed than with endurance.  In a way, he’s a visionary, and looks beyond traditional training in the Strength and Conditioning field for team sport athletes. He believes that his hard training on the bike has helped his speed, power and stamina and that’s why he wanted to get together with me to let other Team Sport athletes know of his discovery.  Spinervals Team Sports Performance workouts will help take speed and strength athletes to new heights of success and Ray is creating this path.

Once on the bike, I was immediately impressed by his pure athleticism.  Here was a man of incredible speed, size (6’1”, 250 lbs) and strength and during the first set of high cadence leg speed drills, he was smooth and steady, spinning his legs at over 130 rpms.  “Awesome!”, I thought to myself… “he truly does “get it”.   You should have seen how the bike frame seemed to twist and bend at times when he performed high power intervals… frightening. 

The two workouts are about 50-60 min. in duration and feature a warm up,  a technique set, an anaerobic threshold set and a power/speed development set.  A gradual progression, intensity builds throughout the workout.  As anyone knows who does my workouts, I really get into it during the hard sets. I think that comes from my football background where emotions and intensity are so important, as opposed to patience and ‘holding back’, as in endurance sports.  In any event, during the hard sets when I was getting into it and talking about ‘heart’ and ‘focus’ and ‘paying the price to win’, Ray was getting into it too.  He’s a born motivator and we were playing off of each other’s emotions and intensity. His intensity, and that of the other athletes, was incredible and it gave me goosebumps with each hard set.  I felt like I was in the huddle with Ray getting ready to defend a  4th and goal with one yard to go for a TD in the 4th quarter.  My adrenaline was spiked so high during those sets, I can’t describe the feeling in words! I hope you can ‘feel it’ when you do the workouts.  Here's a sample video of his intensity on the field, 
Thanks goes out to my long time sponsors and partners, Life Time Fitness, SPINNING, Kurt Kinetic and FORD for their continuing support.  And thanks to Under Armour and GARMIN for their help in making this a reality.  Finally, thanks to the professional team at RL52, including Ray Lewis, Marc, Greg, Kristy and Laura... as well as the athletes who took part in the workouts. Awesome job!

Look for these new videos to be released in Fall 2011.

Train smart,
-       Coach Troy
p.s. for more pics from the video taping, please visit SPINERVALS on Facebook

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Spinervals supports our Wounded Warriors | Team 4MIL

In the spring of 2010, we produced a set of Spinervals Videos in Annapolis, Maryland (Spinervals Volumes 36, 37 and 38) featuring members of Team 4Mil.  Team 4Mil is a group of active and retired military, representing each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, racing in the RACE ACROSS AMERICA (RAAM) to raise awareness and money for the Wounded Warrior Project.  A percentage of revenues generated from the sales of these videos are donated to their organization in support of this worthy cause.  They recently won the Armed Forces Cup at the 2011 RAAM!

We are proud of this team and honored to support their efforts in helping our Wounded Warriors.  For more information about the Spinervals videos starring these athletes, click HERE.  


Dear Troy,

Please pass on to your Spinervals and Lifesports team that, in large 
part, because of the generous support of your company, Team 4Mil was 
successful in completing our 2011 Mission. Spinervals revenue from 
the Warrior Edition has helped our finances and our ability to bring 
two wounded warriors on to the crew this year and additionally plan to 
field a team of WW for 2012 in either a mixed or fully comprised team. 
Please accept our sincere thanks on behalf of the entire Team 4Mil 
family--2011 Mission Complete! Our team of military serviceman 
competed with integrity and passion--we indeed helped define a "new 
normal" for our wounded warriors. If you have the time, please check 
out the brief photo essay (http://tinyurl.com/3rfdv4k) put together by 
our media Team 4Mil member, Bruce Buckley.

Thank you for helping us "Keep the Warrior Spirit Alive!"


To our Team 4Mil Sponsors and Supporters,

Team 4Mil Wins the 2011 Race Across America (RAAM) Armed Forces Challenge Cup

Team 4Mil, an 8-person racing team, completed the 30th anniversary 
RAAM, in a blazing time of 5 days 12 hours 5 minutes (22.6 mph), won 
the 2011 Armed Forces Challenge Cup, and finished second overall. 
The team of 8 racers and 21 crew, which included several wounded 
veterans who accounted for four Purple Heart Medals, was successful in 
returning the Armed Forces Cup to the United States from the United 
Kingdom and is proud to have successfully competed in the largest and 
most competitive field of racers ever assembled to compete in RAAM's 
challenging and majestic 3000 mile course.

RAAM's Race Director, George Thomas proclaimed, ?Team 4Mil is the most 
organized squad of racers this event has ever seen?, as lessons 
learned from 2010 demonstrated that planning, training, and execution 
are key to a successful completion of the world's most challenging 
endurance race. By all accounts, Team 4Mil exceeded its objectives by 
enhancing a strong support network of financial contributors and 
product sponsors who align with the team's goals that support US Armed 
Forces participation in RAAM and support rehabilitative activities for 
our wounded veteran population. We recognize that without your 
support, we could not operate as a 100% volunteer organization. Your 
support helps us to empower our wounded veterans to "a new normal.? 
Thank you for your contribution and we look forward to expanding the 
team's activities in 2012.

In advance of the publication of our 2011 photo-journal, which is 
anticipated by October 2011, please enjoy an introductory digital 
presentation composed by Team 4Mil member Bruce Buckley. The link is: 

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact our 
president at dan@team4mil.org or our racer captain at 


2011 Team 4Mil

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Do this Short Strength Routine for Better Results

Resistance work is an important aspect of training for triathletes of all levels, especially as one gets older.  Focus on resistance training varies throughout the course of the year, depending on the athlete's race schedule.  In a nutshell, the in-season resistance training focus is minimized to allow for more sport specific work while the off-season offers a little more to build a solid base of strength.

For the busy triathlete (raise your hand if you're in that category!), sometimes it's the resistance training component that goes to the cutting block when time is short.  This doesn't have to be the case if you incorporate short and intense workouts into your routine 2-3 times a week.

In this short video clip, I demonstrate a short and effective upper body and core strength training routine that is advantageous to the triathlete as they approach peak volume training weeks.  All you need is an elastic cord w/handles (i.e. surgical tubing), a stability ball and 10-15 minutes.  The routine is done 'circuit style', with a high level of intensity, moving from one exercise to the other.  Repetitions are kept moderate/high in the 12-15 rep range and the intensity is high too...forcing you to work hard and elevate your heart rate while developing muscular strength and endurance.  For best results, go through this routine anywhere from two to five times consecutively, depending on your current level of fitness.

On a personal note, I frequently do this short program two or three times a week and find that it enables me to perform at a high level as a Masters triathlete despite a fairly low-volume training program and busy professional and personal life schedule.  Give it a shot and let me know your thoughts!

Train smart,
Coach Troy